Tuesday, August 19, 2014

3 migrant workers die & CEO of MRT resigns - "constantly stressed on the needs to improve on the safety standards in the construction industry"

3 migrant workers from Bangladesh killed at construction worksite accident - and the CEO of Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) resigns - well Azhar, by the way, stated that he had always stressed on the need to improve safety in the construction industry.
Azhar said his decision to resign was in line with MRT Corp taking full responsibility for the incident. “As the head of MRT Corp, I am taking personal responsibility for the incident and this is the correct thing to do...
Malaysia really needs to be proactive and improve the safety at construction work sites - The attitude of just hoping that nothing happens and responding to accidents and death of workers must stop.

Azhar said he hopes this incident will serve as a lesson for those in the construction industry on ensuring safety at construction sites."I have been constantly stressed on the needs to improve on the safety standards in the construction industry since the first day I became the MRT Corp CEO."Unfortunately, this incident showed that safety standards may have been breached and that has brought about my resignation," said Azhar.

MRT boss resigns over fatal accident at worksite 

Azhar has decided to resign following the incident which occurred in Kota Damansara yesterday. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, August18, 2014.Azhar has decided to resign following the incident which occurred in Kota Damansara yesterday. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, August18, 2014. 
Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) chief executive officer Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid has tendered his resignation over the accident at an MRT worksite near Kota Damansara last night which claimed the lives of three workers.

Azhar said his decision to resign was in line with MRT Corp taking full responsibility for the incident.

“As the head of MRT Corp, I am taking personal responsibility for the incident and this is the correct thing to do. I have informed the Chairman of MRT Corp, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, of my decision,” he says.

Azhar was appointed CEO of MRT Corp on September 1, 2011 following the Government’s decision to set up the company to take over the ownership and development of the Klang Valley MRT Project from Syarikat Prasarana Malaysia Bhd. Meanwhile, MRT Corp also informed media in the latest update on the worksite accident that the bodies of the two remaining workers who were trapped beneath the span of the MRT guideway, which had dislodged from its piers and fallen on the ground below at 8.30pm yesterday night, have been recovered.

The bodies of Bangladesh nationals Mohamad Faruk Khan, 38, and Mohammad Alauddin Mollik, 34, were recovered at about 1.35pm after the sixth segmented box girders which form the span were lifted.

The body of the third Bangladeshi, Mohammad Elahi Hossain, was pulled out from under the MRT guideway at 2.34am.

In a statement today, Azhar assured that the relevant authorities will begin an investigation into the incident to identify its cause.

“I hope all weaknesses which are identified will be rectified,” he said, adding that he was "extremely saddened' by the loss of lives.

Azhar had always stressed the need to improve safety in the construction industry and had personally made some effort to achieve this.

MRT Corp also said that the bodies of two remaining workers, who were trapped under the concrete span, have been recovered.

The bodies of Bangladeshis Mohamad Faruk Khan, 38, and 34-year-old Mohammad Alauddin Mollik were recovered at about 1.35pm, after the sixth segmented box girders which form the span were lifted.

Earlier this morning, the body of Mohammad Elahi Hossain, 27, was found at 2.30 am trapped under the collapsed span.

The workers' remains were taken to the Sungai Buloh Hospital for post-mortem.

The three construction workers went missing after the 650-tonne span at the MRT worksite near the former Rubber Research Institute land collapsed at 8.30 pm yesterday

The Bangladesh High Commission has been informed, MRT said, to contact the family members of the three workers who had died.

"MRT Corp and SMPP (contractor Syarikat Muhibah Perniagaan dan Pembinaan Sdn Bhd) will make the necessary arrangements for the bodies to be repatriated to Bangladesh once the next of kin have been informed and consent is given by the High Commission," the statement read.

All work at the site has been called off until further notice, it said, adding that Project Delivery Partner MMC Gamuda KVMRT (PDP) Sdn Bhd has commenced investigations to determine the cause of the incident.

“Initial investigations have revealed that the work method approved for the installation of parapets was not adhered to.

“We will investigate why this happened, and no stone will be left unturned so that we can get to the bottom of this tragic incident. We will also not spare anyone whose actions are found to have caused or contributed to this accident,” Azhar said.

He also assured that the MRT structures have been checked to be safe, allaying public worry over the safety of the span.

“Immediate checks carried out have revealed that there is no reason for the public to worry about the other spans which have been built along the alignment. There is absolutely no issue with structural integrity along our alignment,” he says.

Meanwhile, Subang MP R Sivarasa has urged authorities to suspend the whole MRT project until investigations can be carried out to prove that it was safe, adding that this was the second case of a similar nature in merely two months.

"Road users who frequently pass through MRT work sites should have confidence in their safety. These two incidents, unfortunately, do not inspire any confidence.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/mrt-boss-resigns-over-accident#sthash.RCabbStb.dpuf 

MRT CEO resigns over construction site accident

SUNGAI BULOH: Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Corp chief executive officer Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid (pix) has resigned over Monday night's accident at the MRT construction site in Kota Damansara.

"I have informed the Chairman of MRT Corp Tan Sri Ali Hamsa of my decision and I will be submitting my resignation letter to him later. I know my resignation will not bring the lives of the three workers back, but I believe it is the correct thing to do," said Azhar during a press conference at the Kota Damansara MRT project site today.

Azhar said he hopes this incident will serve as a lesson for those in the construction industry on ensuring safety at construction sites.

"I have been constantly stressed on the needs to improve on the safety standards in the construction industry since the first day I became the MRT Corp CEO.

"Unfortunately, this incident showed that safety standards may have been breached and that has brought about my resignation," said Azhar.

Meanwhile, the Director of Stakeholder Relations and Land Management, Haris Fadzilah Hassan will assume the role of acting CEO until a successor is appointed by the government.

In the 8.30pm incident yesterday, 650 tonnes of concrete at the construction site of an overhead rail passage of the Sungai Buloh – Kajang MRT line had collapsed, resulting in the deaths of three Bangladeshi nationals - Mohamad Faruk Khan, 38, Mohammad Alauddin Mollik, 34, and Mohammad Elahi Hossain, 27.

It is learnt that the three victims worked for MRT Corp's sub-contractors.- Sun, 19/8/2014, MRT CEO resigns over construction site accident

EPF beneficiaries, being private sector employees, must be most concerned about losing MBSB - housing and personal loans provider

EPF monies belong to workers - and it is sad that the number of worker representatives is rather low given this fact.

Now, EPF is the majority shareholder of  MBSB(Malaysia Building Society Bhd ). EPF has a 64.73% stake in MBSB, and this means they control the decision making in MBSB. MBSB provides for housing loans and personal loans. Since EPF, which is 100% workers money, naturally MBSB would be expected to be sensitive to the needs of workers - being sensitive also to when a worker is suddenly retrenched or become unemployed - one would expect that in such situations MBSB, compared to other financial institutions, would be more sensitive to workers allowing for delays in monthly payments in such cases. But, I wonder whether this is happening - is there this 'special sensitivity' to the plight of workers. I am shocked, when I visited the MBSB websites, that there is a special loan package for public servants - why not for all workers. Further, Employee Privident Fund monies are monies of usually private sector employees - not public sector employees. Most public sector employees are subscribed to a pension scheme, unlike private sector employees that make monthly contributions for their old age, the public sector employees do not.

MBSB is a building society whose loans are mainly for residential loans and commands a lesser premium. 

Now, there is this big merger being planned for involving RHB Capital Bhd, Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd which will result in the biggest bank in Malaysia - but end result is that the EPF share would be reduced to only 25% - no more controlling interest, and really a minority shareholder despite being the biggest shareholder. 

Should the EPF go ahead with this merger? Well, workers must really decide on this. Now, the EPF has controlling stake in MBSB, and this means policies could be enacted that it functions differently than other financial situations when it comes to private sector employees - the contributors and ultimate beneficiary of the EPF monies. 

Has the Unions discussed this? Have workers been consulted? Or is this decision being made just by the Board of these different companies. Now, a bank is subject to competition to all banks, foreign and national, and really even though it may be biggest in Malaysia risks not doing well - even failing. 

Workers, from the private sector and those under the EPF scheme must be consulted before any merger happens - it is after all worker's monies at the end of the day in EPF today - not employers, not the government - BUT workers' monies.

Thursday July 10, 2014 MYT 9:33:40 AM

RHB, CIMB, MBSB seek to merge

PETALING JAYA: Just as the market was heading towards a period of listless trading due to the World Cup and prevailing cautious sentiments, trading in three financial institutions are being suspended today, paving the way for the formation of Malaysia’s biggest bank.

The trading of RHB Capital Bhd, Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd are suspended today, all three told Bursa Malaysia separately yesterday.

It is learnt that the three banks will write to Bank Negara to seek permission to commence a corporate exercise which will result in a mega bank that will have a market capitalisation of more than RM90bil, assuming the deal is concluded at about 1.70 to 1.75 times book value.

“The deal is likely to be done at 1.75 times book value based on CIMB’s current valuation of almost 1.70 times book. It is unlikely to be transacted at anything less,” said a source.

At 1.75 times book value, RHB Cap would have a market capitalisation of about RM30bil, while MBSB’s total capitalisation would be about RM6.8bil. 

“Together with CIMB’s market capitalisation, the merged entity would fetch a market value of more than RM90bil,” said the source.

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will play a significant role in this merger because it has significant stakes in all three entities.

It is the major shareholder in RHB Cap with a 40.76% stake. The other major shareholders of RHB Cap are Aabar Investments PJSC with a 21.43% stake and OSK Holdings Bhd with a 9.91% stake.

The EPF has a 64.73% stake in MBSB and 14.46% in CIMB. 

The eventual merger will see the EPF emerge as the largest shareholder in the mega bank, with a stake estimated to be more than 25%.

RHB Cap and CIMB closed four sen lower each at RM8.72 and RM7.24 respectively, while MBSB ended 12 sen higher at RM2.34 at yesterday’s market close. 

Sources said the impending merger was a well-kept secret, with only a few people having knowledge of it.

“Only a few people were clued in on the entire deal. News of a merger between RHB Cap and MBSB was already out in the market in the afternoon, but CIMB entering the fray caught most people by surprise,” said a source.

When the market closed and the announcements came out late, it became apparent that the creation of Malaysia’s largest bank was in the making. 

At the close yesterday, CIMB was trading at 1.70 times book value, RHB Cap at 1.29 times book value and MBSB at 1.60 times book value. 

Sources said the exercise would possibly involve a share swap between CIMB and RHB Cap at a book value of 1.75 times and an outright buyout of MBSB.

MBSB is a building society whose loans are mainly for residential loans and commands a lesser premium. 

“But it is probably one of the most profitable financial institutions and has the fastest growing balance sheet. 

This is evident from the returns it has given to its shareholders in the last two years,” said an analyst.

A merger of the three financial institutions will result in a bank with the largest asset base, market capitalisation and earnings based on the latest published numbers.

Based on latest figures, the merged entity’s asset size is expected to be more than RM600bil and combined profits based on its last financial year will exceed RM7bil.

It will surpass that of Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) that has a market capitalisation of RM91.1bil currently and asset size of RM578bil as of March 31 this year.

RHB Cap has been a takeover target as far back as three years ago, with both CIMB and Maybank as its suitors.

The block in RHB Cap that belonged to Aabar Group from Abu Dhabi was up for sale then.

However, talks fell through due to a pricing issue and the block changed hands between companies related to the Aabar Group.

Recently, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak charted a leadership transition plan for CIMB, whereby he will relinquish his role as group chief executive in September this year to become the chairman of the group replacing Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof, who is retiring.- Star Online, 10/7/2014, RHB, CIMB, MBSB seek to merge

MAS : Will increasing Khazanah's ownership from about 70 to 100% save MAS?

Khazanah, a Malaysian government company,  owned about 70% of Malaysian Airlines - hence would have 'total dominance and control' - hence the move to make Khazanah the 100% shareholder may be futile - unless the CEOs and decision makers of Khazanah itself is CHANGED....

If the same people in Khazanah are calling the shots - there will be no change, and MAS may continue to slide down... so maybe, they are putting new people in charge? 

Khazanah Nasional Berhad is the Government of Malaysia's strategic investment fund. As trustees to the nation's commercial assets, our role is to promote economic growth and make strategic investments on behalf of the Government which would contribute towards nation-building. Khazanah is also tasked to nurture the development of selected strategic industries in Malaysia with the aim of pursuing the nation's long-term economic interests...

The government is taking over - but they are still calling it 'privatization' - interesting, for after all, if it is a private company, there will be less ability to scrutinize and monitor MAS - and when and if, things go wrong, so easy to blame the 'private company'. Well, in this case, maybe ownership should be taken over by another 100% government owned entity or better still nationalize it(back with the government).

INDEPENDENT INQUIRY TEAM  - this may be needed to analyze what were the things that have been done WRONGLY (be it linked to also corruption, cronyism, mis-management, etc...) - maybe a Parliamentary Select Committee...maybe some kind of 'Royal Commission'... In any event, MAS should come under the continuous scrutiny of Parliament - and there must be transparency and accountability.[How much was the CEO of MAS being paid - some say half a million ringgit per month?? - Be transparent about this and even the Director's allowances, etc...Frankly, they should not be earning more that Malaysia's Prime Minister.]

'...Khazanah, I believe, is a Government company, or at least a Government controlled company. The CEO reports to the Prime Minister and usually acts on the direction of the Prime Minister....'
Well, if this is true, then it is time that Prime Minister Najib should also be held accountable...HEY - PM's brother also appointed as Director in   Khazanah on July 2014 [Dato' Sri Nazir Razak appointed to Khazanah Board of Directors 3 July 2014]

Our former PM, Dr Mahathir, wrote about this and I believe that you should consider his views...

1. I am a bit mystified by the privatisation of MAS. Khazanah, I believe, is a Government company, or at least a Government controlled company. The CEO reports to the Prime Minister and usually acts on the direction of the Prime Minister.

2. The Prime Minister personifies the Government. If a company is fully acquired by a Government company, is it privatisation or nationalisation?

3. Yes, a company that is owned 100% by one entity, is not a public company. It is a private company. But if that person or entity is the Government, can it be said to be private?

4. I believe prior to this privatisation, Khazanah owned 70% of MAS shares. Its control over MAS must be almost absolute. None of the minority shareholders can really say ‘No’ to MAS even if they all act together. 
So Khazanah has been in full control of MAS all this time. And all this time MAS has been bleeding profusely. In 10 years it has lost 10 billion Ringgit in terms of capital injection.

5. So why should anyone believe that with 100% control Khazanah will not keep on losing.

6. In fact with no one to check and give concerned criticism as when there were minority shareholders, MAS can go very wrong indeed.

7. In true privatisation, fear of losing money on the part of a private owner would force him to scrutinise the management and check the balance sheets frequently. The Government as the owner would be less concerned. The Government is about spending money. Any shortages (or losses) can be overcome by increasing taxes or borrowing money. The way money is being spent nowadays doesn’t indicate the kind of careful financial management and scrutiny that MAS would require in order to turn around.

8. Once when a new CEO was appointed MAS registered some profit. But that was through selling assets. How much more assets can MAS sell?

9. Catering was given to a company with very long term contract and even as MAS loses money the contractors seems to be doing well. A Government company will not be able to terminate this unusual contract. It is too sensitive. Someone might advice against it.

10. People in glass houses should not throw stones. Right. I shouldn’t say all these. I had such a bad record as Prime Minister. But I was ready to resign. And I did. I did because I failed. But no one wants to follow my example.

11. I may be wrong but I think Khazanah’s 100% ownership of MAS will not be much different from its 70% ownership. We are going to see a lot of new people who will receive huge salaries, allowances and bonuses and not much else. That I believe is how Khazanah operates.- Che Det (Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 12/8/2014, MAS PRIVATISATION

Monday, August 18, 2014

MB Selangor Saga - Does Pakatan Rakyat operate just like BN or differently?

Well, the Selangor Menteri Besar crisis should be over now since the majority of the ADUNs(State Assembly Persons) have indicated that they no longer support Khalid, and now support Wan Azizah to be the new Menteri Besar. PAS, after their Exco meeting, was the last to make the decision.

This incident raises much question about Pakatan Rakyat - and the political parties that are members of PR.

How does Pakatan Rakyat come to a decision?

- Call a meeting of the heads of DAP, PAS and PKR and make a decision.... well, the problem with democracy is that a rep or even the President cannot really make such a decision. If there is a decision have to be made, the respective parties will have to take the matter back to the EXCO [Executive members of the party], and then make a decision. I believe PAS rightfully held an Exco meeting to come to a decision on behalf of the party - prior to that we had different members of the leadership expressing different views...
- Certain decisions really cannot be 'rushed' ....especially, matters of which a political party has never before considered as a party. 

KAJANG MOVE - I wonder whether that came about as a result of a decision by Pakatan Rakyat - or just a decision by PKR? Well, if it was just about replacing a 'bad ADUN' with a better one, maybe one can argue, it could have been a decision of just PKR ....but then, even this would lead to a by-elections, where all the PR parties would have to expend energy and resources - so, maybe, even this should have been a Pakatan Rakyat decision.

Well, now we are being told that the intention of the Kajang Move was to get a suitable replacement for the current Menteri Besar - that surely had to be a Pakatan Rakyat decision, which should have also involved all the PR ADUNs of Selangor. Was it? Or was it a decision made by a few only or just one party? 

Well, the perceived problem in the Barisan Nasional is the dominance of one party - hopefully the Pakatan Rakyat will not move in that direction where the shots are called by one party or certain individuals - but will always remain a 'democratic grouping' - where hopefully one day, it will be even more democratic with greater involvement of the general membership in the decision making process. 

But at the same time, PR must really come out with what changes that they want with regards to education, healthcare, agriculture, taxation, employment, welfare, etc - Is Pakatan Rakyat more for accountability and transparency? Is PR more for greater democracy at all levels? Is Pakatan Rakyat for real change for the better? 

Or is Pakatan Rakyat just for 'cleaner, efficient and trustworthy' (besih, cekap dan amanah).

Is PR for neo-liberalism? Is it right? or left? or what? Is it for privatization of even basic amenities or what? 

People want CHANGE - and this does not just mean change in the parties and persons that rule and govern....but real changes...



Friday, August 15, 2014

Malaysian HR Commission rightly condemns the response to the Facebook ‘like’ issue

As it is, the state of freedom of expression and opinion in Malaysia is deplorable...and the internet was one thing that this government promised earlier they would not try to 'control'. 

Malaysians generally have been cowed to silence and obedience - and people generally are afraid to reveal contrary opinions, disagreements, etc ... Since the end of 90s, there has been changes as more and more people are willing to take the risks of arrest, detention and other forms of persecution to come out to the streets the express their views collectively. 

With the advent of satelite TV, Malaysians have also been more exposed to what is happening in other countries, and they are making comparison with our Malaysia. For example, the question arises as to why in Malaysia, unlike other democracies, we the people of Malaysia do not have the right to elect our own local government - the Local Councils. Mind you, even in Palestine (and Gaza) there is elections for local government. 

Now, we are all angry with what is happening in Palestine - but really this anger must be directed at the Israel government - the Zionist regime NOT all people of Israel. Remember that that about (possibly more) of the Israeli citizens are Palestinians(most Muslims but there are also Christians and Jews). Now, likewise the Palestinian people are multi-religious - Muslims, Christians and Jews. I remember once when Arafat came to Malaysia, he clearly stated that the Palestinian struggle was never a Islamic struggle or a 'Jihad' but a struggle of the Palestinian people. Now, also in Israel, there are many who are also opposed to what their government is doing. 

'I love Malaysia' - does it translate to 'I love BN government' - I do not think so. We all love Malaysia, and that is why many are struggling for a better Malaysia...and this many a times means opposing the current government...

Freedom of expression and opinion means that I also allow those with opposing views to do so as well. There is and must never be double standards - one rule for those with like views, another set or rules for those with a different view. We are always in a continuous dialogue...discussion...debate - and it is often that we find that we may change our original stand after considering all the other points of view. 

Look at the Facebook groups that discuss current affairs, rights and justice, and you will see that there may be many members - but really a very few that actually posts or comment...and a few more who read that press the 'Like' button. Unfortunately, there is no button 'Agree', 'Disagree', 'Neutral - meaning I am still considering'. So pressing the 'Like' button does not really imply anything but an appreciation of the point made...a 'syabas' for voicing out - and cannot be taken as anything more than this....unless the one who posted or commented, asked readers to press 'Like' if you agreed. 

So, why the overkill with this issue of teen pressing 'Like' button. Is it just to put fear into all Malaysians to return to where they were - silent, obedient, unquestioning,.? Wonder whether this and all the other 'internet' things being highlighted is to prepare us for laws that may come in to further affect our freedoms and rights? 

Sedition probe into Facebook ‘like’ draws criticism from Suhakam

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia is shocked that the police is pressing ahead with a sedition probe into the ‘I love Israel’ Facebook page which was ‘liked’ by a schoolboy. – August 15, 2014. 
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia is shocked that the police is pressing ahead with a sedition probe into the ‘I love Israel’ Facebook page which was ‘liked’ by a schoolboy. – August 15, 2014.The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is shocked at the way the police are handling the incident involving a Form Five student who "liked" a "I Love Israel" Facebook page, just as authorities said today they would press ahead with the sedition probe.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, in a strongly-worded statement today, said that the sedition probe was an overreaction on the part of the police.

He added this was yet another example of how the Sedition Act could restrict freedom of expression, adding that it could have been resolved without invoking the act or exposing the student to criticism and threats.

"We call upon all relevant authorities to weigh their actions accordingly and to use their discretion appropriately in the handling of matters that concern the social media and the expression of various views and opinions." A concerned Hasmy said that it was also unfortunate that the teachers failed to handle the matter responsibly as educators.

"Instead, they created a situation that has violated the basic rights of the student, contrary to the spirit and articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Malaysia is a State Party.

‎"We also call upon the Ministry of Education to incorporate human rights as part of the school curriculum to better promote respect, understanding and acceptance of the basic rights of all citizens, including those of students."

Hasmy urged everyone to practise restraint and not to partake in any action that promotes ignorance and hatred.

The Form Five student at the centre of the controversy attends a school in Taman Tasek Mutiara in Simpang Ampat, Seberang Perai Selatan.

It was reported that he allegedly liked the "I Love Israel" page on Facebook and his teacher posted a screenshot of what he did.

The teacher's post attracted many comments condemning the boy, with some calling for him to be boycotted. One Facebook user even remarked that the boy should be burned.

Lawyers and netizens have criticised the police for the sedition probe, describing it as an overreaction and a waste of resources.

Communications and Multimedia minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek had also described the probe as "unfair".

Despite that, ‎Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi had said two investigation papers had been opened, and the boy would be probed under Section 4 (1)(c) of the Sedition Act.

  Suhakam says pro-Israel 'like' probe overreaction


The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has slammed the authorities for overreacting tothe incident of the teenage  schoolboy who 'liked' a pro-Israel Facebook page.

Suhakam is of the view that the reported sedition probe of the 17-year-old is an overreaction on the part of the police, said chairperson Hasmy Agam in a statement today.

“It is unfortunate to note that the teachers concerned had failed to handle the matter responsibly as educators and instead created a situation that has violated the basic rights of the student, contrary to the spirit and articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Malaysia is a state party,” he added.

Hasmy said the heavy handed action was an example of how the Sedition Act is misused when the matter could have been easily resolved..

"Such an incident is another example of how the Sedition Act can restrict freedom of expression.

“This matter could have been resolved through other approaches without having to invoke the
Sedition Act or to expose the student to criticisms and threats by various parties.”

The commission also told the authorities to "practise restraint" in their actions especially in matters concerning the social media, and "not to partake in any actions that promote ignorance and hatred".

The police are probing a Form Five student from Simpang Ampat, Penang for sedition after he clicked 'Like' on the ‘I Love Israel’ Facebook page.

Penang police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi said they schoolboy is being investigated under Section 4(1)(a) of the Sedition Act and if convicted will be fined up to RM5,000, jailed up to three years, or both. - Malaysiakini, 15/8/2014, Suhakam says pro-Israel 'like' probe overreaction

Below are extracts of the relevant provisions of the Sedition Act.... 

 4  Offences.SEDITION ACT 1948
(1) Any person who -
(a) does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act which has or which would, if done, have a seditious tendency;
(b) utters any seditious words;
(c) prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication; or
(d) imports any seditious publication,
shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable for a first offence to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both, and, for a subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and any seditious publication found in the possession of the person or used in evidence at his trial shall be forfeited and may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the court directs.

3  Seditious tendency.

(1) A "seditious tendency" is a tendency -.SEDITION ACT 1948
(a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or against any Government;
(b) to excite the subjects of any Ruler or the inhabitants of any territory governed by any Government to attempt to procure in the territory of the Ruler or governed by the Government, the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter as by law established;
(c) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Malaysia or in any State;
(d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State;
(e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia; or
(f) to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III of the Federal Constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Local Council Elections - Federal Court says no to Penang's State Law that tries to have LC elections?

Malaysians are still being denied the right to have local government elections, that is the right to elect Local Councilors and Mayors. Even Palestine has local government elections.

In Malaysia, we only have the right to elect MPs and ADUNs(State Assembly Persons) but still no right to elect our own local government - the Local Councils. At present, they are appointed by the State Government.

For people, local government is very important as they have the power to decide on what happens in their area - quit rent(cukai pintu), business permits/approval, approval of 'development' projects, environment and beauty of our community, upkeep of roads and drains, etc... [Federal government has apparently taken over garbage collections and grass cutting... and Local Councils just remain as conduits of complaints....]

When not elected, Local Council is really 'not so much bothered' with what the local people wants - after all, the people have no power to choose or remove bad Councillors. All that Local Councils need to do is be 'good and friendly' with the State Government. 

It is sad that in Malaysia, there is also no democratic elections at the communities - kampung, kampung baru, taman, kampung orang aslim etc... now, these can very easily be done by the State Governments, and is not barred by law as is the Local Council Elections. I hope that Pakatan Rakyat would at least get these elections done...

So how does the government get the approval of the people of the community? From their own political party reps? From the JKKKKs (appointed people)? Because, I see projects approved and built and the people are totally left out - the very people in the community who will suffer the effects of such projects... The practice of even having Notice Boards calling for comments, objections, etc before the approval of a project is given seem to have just disappeared... and we know of 'already approved projects' only when the developer moves in and starts constructions and it generally is too late to do anything...If people in Kuantan, knew about LYNAS, for instance, before the factory was build ...., I am sure it would have been democratic and people would have had much to say...

Is Malaysia a democracy? Or is it really NOT? The right and the ability of the people to protest or voice out against government decisions and corporations are slowly withering away... Peaceful Assembly - so difficult now, and the suing for damages after the event will only deter such actions, Publishing in print or internet - well, that is slowly gone ....now they use Defamation Suits, and other laws... Shame of Pakatan MB Khalid Ibrahim who is now suing Malaysian Insider, a credible online alternative media... I believe in the freedom of expression and opinion - and if one feel that they have been wrong then use your words - not sue people in court. 

At the moment, it looks like a government also is looking to control social media and the internet - looks like 'good Malaysians' are those that just 'Listen....Listen' and not question anything your government and the big corporations(and rich powerful people) do - we are expected to watch TV, enjoy sports, shout 'Malaysia Boleh',.... but not question, think or offer a differing opinion, just obey...and survive... Sometimes, it feels that we are being treated like SLAVES...not human beings, for human being have rights and should always be free to exercise these rights...

The Federal Court has now given Pakatan Rakyat the needed justification for not holding Local Council Elections - but, as was always asserted there are alternatives how the 'appointments' could be democratically chosen people.... One example, is to have democratic elections in kampungs, taman, etc ... and from those elected, let them elect representatives for the State to 'consider and appoint' as Local Councillors. There are options if there really is political will...

What did the Federal Court actually say - we have to wait and see the full judgment? Remember the Federal Court was only making a ruling on that Penang Enactment - maybe another enactment may work, maybe there are other ways - apply to the Local Goverment Council - which if they refuse could also be challenged in Court, maybe other ways .....I hope Pakatan will actively look into this...

Penang cannot hold local elections, says Federal Court

The DAP-led Penang government has no jurisdiction to conduct local government elections, says the Federal Court. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 14, 2014. 
The DAP-led Penang government has no jurisdiction to conduct local government elections, says the Federal Court. – The Malaysian Insider file pic,

August 14, 2014.The Federal Court has ruled that the DAP-led Penang government has no jurisdiction to conduct local government elections.

Judge Tan Sri Raus Sharif, who led a five-man bench, said the state could not unilaterally suspend provisions in the Local Government Act to hold polls to elect councillors.
“Such exemption will also be against national policy‎," he said when delivering the unanimous decision today.
Raus said to conduct such elections would also go against the Federal Constitution.  He said an enactment passed by the state legislature in 2012 to hold local council election was also null and void as it went against the Federal Constitution and laws passed by Parliament.

He said any attempt to hold elections must go through the National Local Government Council which the state had failed to do.

The Penang government was of the view that local government elections are state matter and the legislative assembly has the authority to hold the polls.

This is provided under the Ninth Schedule (state list) and Article 113 (4) of the Federal Constitution.

In May 2012, the Penang assembly passed the Local Government Elections (Penang Island and Province Wellesley) 2012 Enactment which provides for the Election Commission to conduct local government elections in the state.

The Penang government informed the EC that the enactment would come into force in Penang by January 31, 2013.

However, the state did not obtain any commitment from the EC to conduct the elections to the Penang Municipal Council and  Seberang Perai Municipal Council.

In June 27, 2013, the Federal Court allowed the Penang government leave to commence a petition to challenge the validity of a provision in the Local Government Act 1976 which prevented state legislatures from holding local government elections within their states.

The question of law was whether Parliament has the power to enact laws relating to local government elections.

In the petition, the Penang government sought to declare Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976 invalid as it claimed that the section was void because Parliament acted beyond its powers under the Federal Constitution in enacting that provision.

Also named as petioner is former president of the non-governmental organisation Aliran, P. Ramakrishnan, a local resident and ratepayer.

The state government and Ramakrishnan said local government elections were held in George Town in 1951, conducted by the local authority.

They said the Penang assembly passed the Local Government Elections (Penang Island and Province Wellesley) Enactment 2012 and subsequently gazetted.

Senior federal counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching argued that section 15 was a valid law.

She said that section was validly enacted under Article 76 (4) of the Federal Constitution as under that article, Parliament could make laws on subject matter within the legislative powers of the state.

Loke said even though local government elections were within the state legislative power, if the state law was inconsistent with a federal law, it (the state law) would be invalidated to the extent of any inconsistency.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was in court, told reporters said the only recourse available was to convince the Local Government Council to hold elections or wait for a change in the federal government.

"We have tried and failed but we respect the court ruling," said a disappointed Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general.

He said the state wanted to return the third vote to the ratepayers who sustained their local governments.

"It is appropriate for them to vote in councillor and mayors who determine the quality of life in their jurisdiction.”

Currently, councillors and local government heads are appointed by the state governments.

Ramakrishnan said the decision was no surprise to him as he got the vibes when the judges, who heard submission from lawyer Tommy Thomas last April, were rushing the lawyer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MAS - Pay Cuts? Union Busting or No more Unions? > Are workers and unions to be penalized for mismanagement?

This was a most disturbing report - it talked about pay-cuts ...and a possible end to the UNIONs in MAS. The Malaysian government has taken over, and we expected that finally worker and trade union rights will be respected.... but this report seems to imply that this will not be the case...  

MAS just gave RM2,000 to all employees for Hari Raya, which was good - but this threat of pay-cuts...and even end of unions in MAS? 

MAS must now first withdraw its challenge of the Minister's decision to accord recognition to NUFAM, reinstate the NUFAM leaders...

National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM) ... succeeded in getting 62.73% of the votes, and thereafter on August 2013, the DGIR issued the formal letter acknowledging NUFAM as a recognized union.- 54 groups and unions:- Malaysian Airlines Must Respect Trade Union and Worker Rights Cease Anti-Union activities against NUFAM and its members

Updated: Tuesday August 12, 2014 MYT 8:18:13 AM

In new MAS template employees told brace for complete overhaul

PETALING JAYA: The management of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has told its employees to brace themselves for a complete overhaul of the ailing airline, as it undergoes its biggest crisis yet.

In a meeting with representatives of the unions yesterday, union members said MAS chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof had told them that there would be a new template for MAS at the end of the exercise.

According to union representatives, they were told that previous restructuring exercises had been done on a piecemeal basis.

“This time around, it is going to be a comprehensive exercise. No longer piecemeal measures ... this is the message we got,” a union representative who had attended the meeting at the MAS office in Subang told StarBiz yesterday.

There were more than 30 unions represented at the meeting, where Md Nor was accompanied by the top management of MAS. 

According to some union representatives, the new template could likely involve the setting up of a new holding company, renegotiations of all contracts and an airline without unionised staff.

For instance, the workforce in Firefly, which is a sister company of MAS, is not unionised.

The loss-making MAS is going through a tough period that no other airline has gone through in aviation history. Within a space of four months since March 8 this year, two of its planes have crashed.

The first was flight MH370 that went missing on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It remains the biggest aviation mystery to date.

Then, on July 17, a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down while flying over strife-torn Ukraine. 

The airline reported an RM1.17bil net loss for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2013 due to competition from low-cost carriers and other full-service airlines. The two aviation tragedies have added to its financial woes.

According to a union official, Md Nor cited previous restructurings in MAS such as the Widespread Asset Unbundling, or WAU, implemented in 2002 undertaken then to address its need at that time, which was to restructure the balance sheets.

Similarly, the exercises undertaken by his predecessors were to address the airline’s need at that particular time.

“We were told that there was no effort for a wholesome restructuring, perhaps because it had lacked the political will then, or there were too many obstacles, or those in charge had feared undertaking an indepth restructuring for fear of unravelling things that were not meant to be revealed. So, the airline has suffered to this date,” said an official. 

The WAU, implemented in 2002, had its limitations because the company given the mandate, Bina Fikir Sdn Bhd, was told that the restructuring should not involve laying off employees, cutting down on route networks, and there should not be any haircuts for suppliers and bankers. 

The plan for a new template has come about after the major shareholder of MAS, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, on Friday announced a proposal to take MAS private, offering shareholders 27 sen a share to mop up the remaining 30.63% it does not own in the national carrier.

MAS yesterday issued a statement that its leadership had met with representatives of the various employee unions and other associations as the first step towards informing and engaging employees on the future restructuring of the airline.

“While there are still many details about the future which will be forthcoming, MAS is committed to working closely with all its employees and airline partners throughout this process following the principles of fairness, transparency and compassion,” MAS said.

A union official said that the chairman did not really answer questions on whether the current collective agreements with the unions would be honoured.

“All he said was that they were working on a new template,’’ said the union official.

Details on the job and salary cuts, if any, will only be known at the end of the month, as that is when Khazanah aims to release details of its plan.

But some divisions within MAS were already preparing for the workforce to be cut by between 20% and 25% and had started to prepare their staff to start looking for jobs elsewhere, said an employee.

“The staff are already demoralised and fear has set in. There seems to be a sense of insecurity. But more troubling is the methodology MAS will use to decide on the layoffs. Will an independent body be appointed or will it be done unilaterally?

“There is a need for transparency and accountability and those in charge need to understand that in good and bad times, the staff have continued to work and that is why the airline is still flying till today,” said an employee.

See also:- 

MAS diambil alih kerajaan Malaysia - sekarang pastikan hak pekerja dihormati dan pekerja dijadikan 'rakan kongsi' usaha mengembangkan MAS

54 groups and unions:- Malaysian Airlines Must Respect Trade Union and Worker Rights Cease Anti-Union activities against NUFAM and its members