Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mesej Gawai Baru Bian 2017



Perhitungkan Berkat Kita; Lindungi dan Kongsi Tuaian-Tuaian Kita
Untuk segala sesuatu ada masanya, untuk apa pun di bawah langit ada waktunya. Ada waktu untuk lahir, ada waktu untuk meninggal, ada waktu untuk menanam, ada waktu untuk mencabut yang ditanam.’ Pengkhotbah 3:1-2

Sekali lagi kita di sini, bersiap sedia untuk meraikan Gawai, yang menjadi sebahagian besar daripada kitaran hidup yang kita alami di sudut dunia ini. Setiap kali Gawai menjelang, saya teringat bahawa ini adalah satu sambutan dimana kita menerima selepas suatu musim kita bekerja keras sebagai petani. Kepada masyarakat pribumi yang berasal dari Sarawak, usaha ini adalah suatu proses wajib untuk membolehkan mereka mengekalkan taraf hidup mereka. Jika mereka tidak melakukan kerja yang diperlukan setiap musim, mereka tidak akan mendapat apa-apa pada akhir kitaran.

Bagi penanaman sawah padi, proses susunan untuk menyediakan semai(benih), membersih dan menyediakan bidang padi (dengan menbanjiri dengan air, kemudian penyaliran bidang tersebut untuk melembutkan tanah itu), pemindahan benih, turun padang dan menghapuskan perosak, akhirnya, menuai padi.

Bagi penanaman padi kering atau pertanian pindah adalah berbeza. Pertama, tempat itu perlu dikenal pasti, kemudian semak-samun dibersihkan (‘lemidik’). Kemudian itu ‘Temara’ atau penebangan pokok-pokok yang kemudiannya dibakar apabila mereka telah kering (‘nutung’). Menyemai (‘nguan’), dilakukan berpasangan, adalah dengan membuat lubang di dalam tanah dan menjatuhkan beberapa bijiran padi dalam lubang itu. Sementara benih itu bertumbuh, para petani akan pergi ke ladang itu dan membersihkan rumput sekitar tumbuhan itu (‘demamu’), sehingga tiba masanya untuk menuai padi (‘ngerani’).

‘Pada musim dingin si pemalas tidak membajak; jikalau ia mencari pada musim menuai, maka tidak ada apa-apa’ ~ Amsal 20:4

Saya selalu membantu keluarga saya dengan kedua-dua masa penanaman padi dan pengalaman itu berakar umbi di dalam saya bahawa jika kita tidak bekerja keras, kita akan kelaparan. Semestinya, kadangkala terdapat beberapa faktor yang diluar kawalan kita yang akan memberi kesan kepada tuaian kita, seperti cuaca, atau penyakit. Namun demikian, kita harus menjalankan tugas kita setiap musim jika kita mempunyai segala peluang untuk menuai.

Bagi masyarakat pribumi, setiap peringkat dalam proses penanaman dijalankan dengan cara gotong-royong dimana setiap orang akan bekerjasama di semua ladang untuk memastikan bahawa setiap keluarga mendapat hasil tuaian yang baik.

Semangat Gawai mengajar kita untuk bersyukur dalam segala yang kita ada. Pada masa lalu, sebelum musim tuai, nenek moyang kita akan berdoa kepada roh-roh atau pemberkatan dari segala tuhan, manakala pada masa kini, kita meminta berkat-berkat dari Tuhan untuk tuaian yang baik.

Ramai di antara kita bukan para petani, tetapi kita bekerja untuk menyara hidup, and seperti semua petani, kita juga harus bersyukur dengan apa yang kita menuai. Seperti petani, kehidupan kita dipengaruhi oleh faktor-faktor di luar kawalan kita. Dalam kes kita, ekonomi, dasar kerajaan dan pengurusan sumber-sumber kerajaan kita adalah sebahagian dari faktor-faktor tersebut. Negara serta rakyat kita akan melalui masa yang sukar sekarang. Seperti para petani, kita perlu  bekerjasama untuk memastikan hasil yang baik untuk semua.

‘Dan buah yang terdiri dari kebenaran ditaburkan dalam damai untuk mereka yang mengadakan damai’ ~Yakobus 3:18
Antara perkara-perkara yang paling mengancam untuk ‘tuaian’ kita dan juga kenikmatan secara aman adalah rasuah, ketaksuban, pelampau agama, dan radikalisme, dan yang paling membimbangkan, sikap orang ramai yang tidak peduli dan berdiam diri dalam menghadapi ancaman tersebut. Kita semua harus memainkan peranan kita untuk menjadi pendamai, untuk bangun dan menolak segala ancaman tersebut. Sudah tiba masanya untuk rakyat sedar bahawa nasib negara kita ada di tangan kita, dan bukan pada ahli politik atau parti politik. Ini adalah waktunya untuk membiarkan suara sederhana dari majoriti yang senyap untuk didengari.

‘Pada waktu kamu menuai hasil tanahmu, janganlah kau sabit ladangmu habis-habis sampai ke tepinya, dan janganlah kau pungut apa yag ketinggalan dari penuaianmu’ ~Imamat 19:9
Akhirnya, sebagaimana kita meraikan tuaian yang baik ini dengan penuh kegembiraan dan keramaian, janganlah kita lupa golongan yang miskin di antara kita. Datuk saya selalu memberitahu saya bahawa ia adalah adat Lun Bawang untuk tidak menuai seluruh tanaman, tetapi tinggalkan beberapa di ladang-ladang tersebut. Begitu juga, apabila kita mengumpul buah-buahan, kita tidak memetik sehingga pokok itu terdedah, tetapi tinggalkan beberapa buah untuk orang lain yang memerlukan.

Oleh itu, dalam usaha seharian kita untuk meneruskan hidup dan maju, kita tidak boleh melupakan mereka yang kurang bernasib baik daripada kita- orang miskin, orang sakit, janda dan anak yatim-piatu. Marilah kita berkongsi hasil tuaian yang baik selagi kita mampu, kerana ini juga Semangat Gawai.

Saya ingin mengucapkan Selamat Hari Gawai kepada semua rakan-rakan Dayak saya.

Do Aco Gawai.
Gayu Guru, Gerai Nyamai

Baru Bian
ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan/
Pengerusi, KEADILAN Sarawak.

Baru Bian’s Gawai Message 2017



Count our Blessings, Protect and Share our Harvests

‘For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Here we are again, getting ready to celebrate Gawai, a significant part of the cycle of life that we experience in this corner of the world. 

Each time Gawai comes around, I am reminded that it is a celebration of what we receive after a season of hard work as farmers. To the native community of Sarawak, this hard work is a mandatory process that enables them to sustain their livelihood. If they do not perform the jobs required each season, they will get nothing at the end of the cycle.

For wet padi cultivation, the order of the process is to prepare the semai (seedlings), clear and prepare the padifield (by flooding with water, then draining the field to soften the ground), transplanting the seedlings, tending to the fields and getting rid of pests, then finally, harvest the padi.

For dry padi cultivation or shifting cultivation the process is different. Firstly the place needs to be identified, and the undergrowth cleared (‘lemidik’). Then comes the ‘temara’’, or the cutting down of the trees, which are then burnt once they have dried up (‘nutung’). Sowing (‘nguan’), done by a pair, is by making a hole in the ground and dropping a few grains of padi in the hole. While the seedlings are growing, the farmers tend to the fields and clear the grass around the plants (‘demamu’), until the time comes to harvest the padi (‘ngerani’).

Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time, they look but find nothing.’ ~ Proverbs 20:4
I used to help my family with both times of padi cultivation, and the experience ingrained in me that if we do not put in the hard work, we will go hungry. Of course, sometimes there are factors beyond our control that affect our harvest, such as the weather, or disease. Nevertheless we must carry out our tasks each season if we are to have any chance of a harvest.

For the native communities, every stage of the cultivation process is carried out in a gotong-royong manner where everyone works together on all the fields to ensure that every family gets a good harvest.

The spirit of Gawai teaches us to be thankful for everything we have.  In the past, before the harvest, our ancestors invoked the spirits’ or the gods’ blessings, whereas nowadays, we ask for God’s blessings for good harvests.

Many of us are not farmers, but we work to make a living, and like the farmers, we should also be thankful for what we reap. Like the farmers, our livelihood  is affected by factors outside our control. In our case, the economy, government policy and management of the country’s resources are some of the factors. Our country and our people are going through difficult times now. Like the farmers, we need to work together to ensure a good outcome for all.

‘Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.’ ~ James 3:18
Some of the matters most threatening to our  ‘harvest’ and peaceful enjoyment of it are corruption, bigotry, religious extremism and radicalism, and of most concern, the apathy and silence of the many in the face of such threats. We must all play our parts to be peacemakers, to stand up and reject these threats. It is time for the people to realise that the fate of our country is in our hands, and not the politicians’ or political parties’. It is time to let the moderate voice of the silent majority be heard.

‘When you harvest your land’s produce, you must not harvest all the way to the edge of your field, and don’t gather up every remaining bit of your harvest.’ ~ Lev 19:9.
Finally, as we celebrate the good harvest with joy and merrymaking, let us not forget the poor amongst us. My grandfather used to tell me that it is a custom of the Lun Bawangs not to harvest the entire crop, but to leave some in the fields. Similarly, when collecting fruits, we do not pick the trees bare, but leave some fruit behind for others who may need them.

Therefore, in our daily endeavours for survival and advancement, we must not forget those who are less fortunate than us – the poor, the sick, widows and orphans. Let us share our good harvests while we can, for this is the spirit of Gawai as well.

I wish all my Dayak friends a happy Gawai.

Do Aco Gawai.
Gayu Guru, Gerai Nyamai.

Baru Bian
ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan /
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak

Native courts should be on the same level as civil, shariah courts, says Malanjum


Native courts should be on the same level as civil, shariah courts, says Malanjum
THE native court system in East Malaysia should be given the same standing as the civil and shariah courts, Bernama quoted Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak, Richard Malanjum as saying yesterday.

He said this would raise the standard of the judicial system in dealing with the customs of the indigenous people.

“Native laws should be dealt with in a native court, not in a civil court or in the shariah court.

“The natives know better about their customs, they know better about their native land than outsiders,” he said on the sidelines of a legal seminar on “Justice and Rights – The Way Forward” in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.

Malanjum said putting the native courts parallel with the other court systems in the country would give them the independence they should have when hearing cases.

“At the moment, the native courts are being overseen by state executives. That cannot be right.” He said a paper on raising the standard of the native courts was being drafted by the Attorney-General's (AG) Chambers, and he hoped there would be progress would on this matter under the current AG Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Malanjum also hoped that the Sabah State Native Affairs Council (MHEANS) would include non-Muslim members, as most of the indigenous people of Sabah are non-Muslims and guided by their customs as a way of life.

Former AG Abdul Gani Patail said he believed that the AG's Chambers was still looking into elavating native courts, but it required some time.

He said although the native court system was in the Federal Constitution, it lacked a proper structure like the civil and shariah courts, which was why there was a need to strengthen native courts. – May 30, 2017.

~ The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian economic indicator that is raising red flags

The Malaysian economic indicator that is raising red flags
Malaysia must reduce its dependence on unskilled foreign labour to address its current account deficit, say economists. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, May 30, 2017.
OF all the statistics trotted out to show the health of the economy, one indicator is causing some concern among economists, who said it spells trouble for every Malaysian over the long term.

The current account balance is a gauge for the state of the economy and if it goes into a deficit for an extended period, it affects everything from wages to the price of vegetables.

Malaysia’s current account balance still shows a surplus but the bad news is that it has been declining steadily from 2014.

Economist Ali Salman said that the surplus dropped by more than half or 57.75%, from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of this year.

If this decline is not addressed, it will mean years of tepid growth and hit the pockets of ordinary Malaysians. Economists said these are among the impacts of a declining surplus:

* It makes it harder to create new jobs and sources of income for citizens thus, curbing their spending power.

* It saps investor confidence, which can then weaken the ringgit.

* A weak ringgit would make imports, such as food and goods, more expensive and drive up supermarket prices.

* The worst part is that the above factors can compound and feed off each other, thus, leading to slower overall growth.

“(This then) becomes a vicious cycle of poor growth and rising inflation which can lead to social unrest,” said economist Ramon Navaratnam.

Decreasing surplus

According to the website Investopedia, a country’s current account consists of its trade balance (exports minus imports), income from abroad and net current transfers, including remittances by foreign workers.

Ali of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) said the current account contains four components – the goods account, services account, primary income and secondary income.

“The current account balance decreased by about 57.75% from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017, with a total loss of RM 7.2 billion,” said Ali, who is IDEAS head of research. 

According to the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER), the country’s current account surplus stood at RM48 billion for 2014. It declined to RM34 billion in 2015 and RM25 billion in 2016.

MIER executive director Prof Zakariah Rashid said the decline is primarily caused by the  weak global demand for Malaysian exports, its uncompetitive maritime industry and the prevalence of unskilled foreign workers.

“Weak global commodity prices of palm oil, natural gas and crude oil as well as deteriorating competitiveness in its manufacturing base have weakened export performance,” he said. 

This is reflected in declines in the country’s goods account and services account, said Ali.

The goods account decreased by 18.93% from the previous quarter, while the services account slipped by 15.29%, he said.

The country’s primary income also went down by 7.19% compared with the previous quarter and is already registering a deficit.

Worrisome trends

Although overall, Malaysia is still exporting more than it is importing, said Zakariah, this trade surplus is deteriorating.

Given that Malaysia is a maritime country, a big portion of the services account comprises of shipping services but this is where the country falters.

“Less than one-third of the ships plying the Malacca Straits used the services of Malaysian ports. Similarly, only one-tenth of our volume in international trade was shipped by Malaysian ocean liners.”

Combined, Malaysia still records a surplus in its goods and services accounts, said Zakariah. But this declining surplus is “a worrisome trend”.

The other “worrisome trend” is the large number of foreign workers who make up one-third of the labour force, said Zakariah.

When they remit what they earn here to their home countries, this drives down the country’s primary income account, which currently records a deficit.

“This deficit is a reflection of the structural weaknesses in the maritime industry and labour market.”

Structural problems

In the long run, a current account that slips into negative territory will sap economic vitality, said Ali of IDEAS.

“Foreign investors will be demotivated to invest in Malaysia and demand weakens for the country’s assets, including government bonds.

“As foreign investors withdraw investment, the national currency will lose value relative to other currencies. Ultimately, there will be capital flight from Malaysia.”

It is still not too late to prevent this slide as the declining surplus is a sign that certain structural weaknesses in the economy need to be fixed, said Zakariah.

This includes cutting the dependence on unskilled foreign labour and strengthening the maritime services industry.

“Addressing these will certainly bring a rewarding and positive impact on the creation of high-skilled jobs,” said Zakariah. – May 30, 2017.

~ The Malaysian Insight

New Silk Road: Is there a China plan for M’sia?

Dennis Ignatius     Published     Updated

COMMENT | The leaked China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Long Term Plan invariably invites questions about China’s plans for Malaysia.

Given the detailed and comprehensive planning that went into CPEC, it is more than likely, given the country’s strategic location and its critical importance to the success of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative in Southeast Asia, that a similar master plan for Malaysia has been crafted.

What are we to make of the profusion of projects (many of dubious value), the huge infrastructure proposals, the purchase of key national assets, the billions of loans and investments being offered, the new cities that are being built and offered for sale primarily to China nationals, the burgeoning military and security cooperation, and China’s increasing political involvement in our domestic affairs?

Is it merely a natural evolution in bilateral cooperation or is it part of some wider strategy? 

Discerning the game plan

While we do not have leaked documents to fall back on, there is already sufficient information based on public statements, policies and actions to make some assumptions about China’s Malaysia strategy.

It is, for example, safe to conclude that China’s interest in Malaysia, as with Pakistan, is as much about geopolitics as it is about economics. 

As in Pakistan (and Cambodia and Laos as well), a key goal appears to be the creation of a pliant government, one that is sensitive to, and fully supportive of, China’s wider geopolitical interests.

Political influence also makes possible the achievement of another equally important objective: the integration of the local economy into China’s supply chain and access to markets for Chinese technology, skills, products and labour.

This is a major preoccupation of the Chinese Communist Party as its legitimacy depends on maintaining steady growth rates and creating new jobs; a massive challenge given the millions of young people who enter the labour market each year. It is not unusual, for example, for up to 10,000 applicants to vie for a single job.



Keeping China’s factories running at optimal capacity, securing new contracts and job opportunities overseas, ensuring a steady supply of raw materials and market access undergirds the whole OBOR initiative.

While such a preoccupation is, of course, not unique to China, its size, proximity and power presents unique challenges for smaller economies.

Exploiting vulnerabilities

In Malaysia, internal weaknesses (the 1MDB scandal, corruption, ethnic, religious and political division, declining productivity, mismanagement, etc) have provided China with extraordinary opportunities to maximise its leverage.

China has, for example, been quick to capitalise on the 1MDB imbroglio to expand its influence over the administration, push for maximum political and economic concessions and leapfrog other countries to become primus inter pares among Malaysia’s partners.

China’s economic and diplomatic strategy has already yielded impressive dividends as Malaysia shifts significantly closer to China, upending the more cautious and nuanced approach to big power relations that has long been the hallmark of Malaysia’s foreign policy.

In short order, Malaysia has moved to purchase naval vessels from China, open its ports to Chinese warships and submarines and invite the People’s Liberation Army to participate in joint land exercises, something that would have been unthinkable not so long ago.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has hinted that a new mutual defence partnership with China might be in the offing as well.

In keeping with the new closeness to China, the Najib administration appears to have also opted for a policy of benign neglect in respect of China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. It is not inconceivable that both sides are quietly discussing shared sovereignty and joint exploitation of oil, gas and fishery resources. Such an agreement would be a major concession to China.

The new ‘Kapitan Cina’

In the meantime, Chinese embassy officials are staking out a role for themselves in our domestic politics in contravention of established bilateral principles and diplomatic norms.
 
Embassy officials now regularly accompany government politicians on constituency visits and to meetings of local trade and clan associations where they openly enjoin Malaysian citizens of Chinese origin to support the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and laud the Najib administration’s pro-China policies. The Chinese ambassador himself has emerged as one of the MCA’s strongest supporters and has criss-crossed the country speaking in its favour.

His active involvement in domestic politics has earned him the nickname ‘Kapitan Cina’ (a colonial-era appointee vested with significant power to act and speak on behalf of the Chinese community).

How far China will go to protect its increasing interests in Malaysia and ensure that pro-China personalities, political parties and policies remain in place is a key question.

Rapidly growing economic influence

At the economic level, China appears to have used its new-found influence to rapidly embed itself in key sectors of the economy. It has, for example, become the second largest independent power producer in the country through its takeover of the 1MDB-linked Edra Energy and, in time, could emerge as the largest automobile manufacturer thanks to the recent deal between Proton and Geely.

Many of the infrastructure projects given to China on a preferential basis, will further strengthen China’s influence over the economy while at the same time significantly increasing the nation’s indebtedness to China for decades to come.

While many insist that there is nothing sinister about China’s participation in the economy, the lack of transparency and governance standards is troubling and raises questions about whose interests are being served.

Whether it is purchasing submarines from France or contracting China to build railways, a lack of transparency invariably gives rise to all sorts of suspicions, particularly in a country like Malaysia which is riddled through and through with corruption.

Furthermore, it is more than passing strange that all of a sudden Malaysia has to upgrade all of its ports, build some new ones as well as invest in two, maybe three, new railway projects - all with China’s assistance. It is a godsend for China, of course, but the case that it is in Malaysia’s interest has not yet been made.

It doesn’t help either that independent reviews of projects such as the East Coast Railway suggests that it is massively overpriced, of dubious economic benefit and heavily skewed in China’s favour.

How is it that China keeps coming out ahead time and again in all these mega projects?

Malaysians, who already have good reason to be distrustful of their government, cannot but view these developments with grave concern.

Where are we headed?

Of course, none of these developments in themselves suggest that Malaysia is now a client state.

However, when a bilateral relationship shifts so dramatically, when a foreign power makes such rapid political and economic inroads, when it suddenly acquires a monopoly of major infrastructure projects, when it begins to involve itself in domestic affairs, it does raise questions about where the relationship is ultimately headed.

And, while OBOR itself may bring some benefits to Malaysia, the way both governments are going about pursuing it leaves much to be desired. Without greater political and economic transparency and accountability, closer relations with China will always be dogged by suspicion and controversy.

Next: Demons within, dragons without

Part 1: Pathway to prosperity or slippery slope to subjugation?

DENNIS IGNATIUS, a former Malaysian ambassador, firmly believes that we should put our trust not in the leadership of politicians but in the sanctity of great institutions - our secular and democratic constitution, a democratically elected parliament, an independent judiciary, a free press and a government fully accountable to the people. He blogs here.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

New Silk Road: Pathway to prosperity or slippery slope to subjugation?

Dennis Ignatius     Published     Updated

COMMENT | China has just concluded a very successful international conference on President Xi Jinping’s signature One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, an infrastructure master plan to connect China to key countries and regions in the world through roads, railways, ports, pipelines and telecommunications infrastructure. Some 28 heads of state and officials and researchers from more than 80 countries met in Beijing to hear President Xi outline his bold and ambitious vision for a new world order with China at the very centre of it.



The almost US$1 trillion OBOR programme of loans and aid packages certainly has the potential to transform key regions of the world, boost interconnectivity, open markets and stimulate investments flows.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the world has not seen anything this ambitious and as well funded before. Understandably, there is no shortage of world leaders, including our own, ready to sing China’s praises and sign on to OBOR.

But is OBOR a win-win strategy for both China and its neighbours, as China’s leaders have repeatedly emphasised, or does it mask a hidden neo-colonial agenda?

Integrating Pakistan into China’s supply chain

Newly leaked documents concerning the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Long Term Plan provide some instructive insights into China’s strategy and plans.

CPEC, part of the OBOR initiative, has been officially touted as a US$50 billion master plan to transform Pakistan’s economy by building new infrastructure (roads, railways, ports, airports, pipelines), modernising agricultural production and spurring industrialisation in key sectors.

What the leaked document, which was revealed by Dawn (Pakistan’s leading English language newspaper), shows, however, is something far more disquieting – a brilliant and stunningly detailed plan to integrate Pakistan’s economy into China’s supply chain with the aim of fuelling the industrialisation of Xinjiang.

Xinjiang, a restive mainly Muslim autonomous region of China bordering Pakistan, is undergoing rapid demographic change. Hundreds of thousands of migrants from the rest of China are being encouraged to resettle in the province as part of a pacification policy. In order to sustain these demographic changes, Xinjiang will need major economic development.

To this end, the plan proposes a detailed strategy for the exploitation of Pakistan’s resources and the leasing of thousands of acres of agricultural land to Chinese companies which will bring in capital, machinery, technology and manpower to upgrade production to feed Xinjiang’s growth.

The centrepiece of the whole project is the construction of a road and railway corridor from Kashgar in Xinjiang to the Chinese-built port of Gawdar in Pakistan. Gawdar, which is already operational, has been leased to China for 43 years. The corridor will open landlocked Xinjiang (and parts of Central Asia) to the rest of the world. It will also compliment the separate Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, which is also funded by China.



CPEC, therefore, appears to about creating new jobs and spurring economic growth in Xinjiang more than anything else.

Interestingly, CPEC also has cultural provisions - the extensive dissemination of Chinese culture through a new broadcast television network and the teaching of Mandarin Chinese in schools and educational institutions.

Domestic surveillance

In addition, the plan calls for the creation of “safe cities” through extensive electronic monitoring, surveillance and control systems with 24-hour video recordings of roads and marketplace, and the installation of a new national fibre optic network built and managed by China.

As Pakistani observers have pointed out in response to the Dawn report, such a system together with bilateral security cooperation agreements already in place, will give China unprecedented political control over Pakistani society.

This is a pattern that is beginning to manifest itself in other countries where China has critical interests as well.

It suggests that as China’s political and economic stake in a country rises, it will be tempted to protect its interest by actively engaging in domestic surveillance and domestic politics to ensure that pliant regimes and favourable policies remain in place and that any opposition is quickly contained; this is not uncommon behaviour for big powers. 

A win for China

Even before the plan was leaked, opposition to CPEC had been mounting, especially in Baluchistan, one of Pakistan’s four provinces. Political and civil society leaders in the province, which is an integral part of the corridor, complain that CPEC would lead to the extinction of their culture and the plunder of their resources, and have vowed to oppose it.

Now that the long-term plan has become public, both China and Pakistan are scrambling to explain how it will benefit Pakistan. Some changes appear inevitable.

Whatever the outcome, the CPEC master plan indicates the extensive and detailed inter-departmental planning that has gone into crafting all aspects of China’s OBOR strategy. It is also a confirmation that OBOR is a multi-dimensional strategy designed to advance Chinese interests above all else.

If CPEC is anything to go by, OBOR will certainly be a win for China but much less so for others.
 
Local politicians and businessmen who enthusiastically and uncritically promote OBOR, would do well to reflect on the CPEC documents and ask themselves what exactly are they signing on to when they join the rush to participate in OBOR?
It would be tragic if they become, unwittingly or otherwise, pawns in a plan that ultimately works against the best interest of their own countries.

Tomorrow: Is there a plan for Malaysia?

DENNIS IGNATIUS, a former Malaysian ambassador, firmly believes that we should put our trust not in the leadership of politicians but in the sanctity of great institutions - our secular and democratic constitution, a democratically elected parliament, an independent judiciary, a free press and a government fully accountable to the people. He blogs here.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Singapore's central bank fines Credit Suisse and UOB over 1MDB

Published     Updated

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today announced that it has imposed financial penalties on two banks - Credit Suisse and United Overseas Bank (UOB) - for involvement in transactions linked to Malaysian state-investor 1MDB. 

In a statement, MAS said Credit Suisse was fined S$0.7 million (RM2.16 million) while UOB was slapped with a S$0.9 million (RM2.78 million) fine for breaches of MAS Notice 626 - Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. 

The fines were imposed following completion of its two-year review of banks involved in 1MDB-related transactions known to-date. 

“The latest inspections of Credit Suisse and UOB revealed several breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) requirements and control lapses. 

“These include weaknesses in conducting due diligence on customers and inadequate security of customers’ transactions and activities,” MAS said.

Apart from the fines, MAS said it has also directed the banks to appoint independent parties to assess and confirm that rectification measures have been effectively implemented. 

“MAS has also instructed the management of Credit Suisse and UOB to take disciplinary measures, where appropriate, against errant staff,” it added. 

Prohibition Orders on convicted employees

At the same time, MAS also announced that three former bank employees convicted of 1MDB-linked charges has been issued with a lifetime ban from working in Singapore’s financial industry. 

“Further to its announcement on March 13, MAS has issued lifetime Prohibition Orders (POs) against Mr Jens Fred Sturzenegger and Mr Yak Yew Chee, as well as a 15-year PO against Ms Seah Mei Ying with effect from 29 May 2017,” it said.

Yak, a former managing director of Swiss bank BSI, was sentenced to an 18-week jail term and a fine of S$24,000 (approximately RM75,000) after pleading guilty to four criminal charges last November. 
 
He used to serve as a bank relationship manager for businessman Low Taek Jho (photo) and at the time pleaded guilty to forgery and failure to flag suspicious transactions in the investigations related to 1MDB.

Sturzenegger, a Swiss national, had in January pleaded guilty to six 1MDB-linked charges and was sentenced to 28 weeks' jail and fined S$128,000. 

Among others, he was charged for failing to report potentially criminal transactions involving billions of dollars and for lying to authorities to protect Low's financial interest.

Seah, meanwhile, was sentenced to two weeks in prison last December and fined S$10,000 after pleading guilty to three charges, including forgery and failure to disclose suspicious transactions involving Low.
 
MAS said it is also still in the process of issuing prohibition orders on three others for involvement in related offences. 
As a part of its crackdown, MAS had last year shut down two merchant banks - BSI Bank and Falcon Bank - for failing to adhere to Anti-Money Laundering controls and improper conduct of the senior management. 

This was on top financial penalties of S$29.1 million (RM89.83 million) imposed on eight banks for various breaches of AML requirements.

Describing the process as its most extensive review to date, MAS concluded that it had uncovered a web of transactions involving numerous shell companies and individuals operating in multiple jurisdictions, including the US, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Malaysia.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Debate Speech of YB See Chee How, DUN Sarawak May 2017

N.11 Batu Lintang See Chee How Debate Speech text 17.05.2017

Datuk Speaker,

A few days ago, I have read a very passionate message from John Lewis, a 77-years old American Congressman of African-American origin. He wrote:

“Friend --

54 years sounds like a long time ago -- but in the context of our movement, it's only a blink.

It's only been 54 years since I marched with my brothers and sisters from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

It's only been 54 years since we were jailed, beaten, and killed for trying to cast a vote. For trying to participate in democracy, in the United States of America.

This isn't ancient history. It's the experience of my life …”

The American congressman was referring to the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the March on Washington for civil and economic rights, or The Great March on Washington which was held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. It was followed by the historical match from Selma to Montgomery which was in 1965.

The message from John Lewis was significant to me because this seasoned lawmaker - well-built, dark and handsome - reminded me of our very dear friend and leader, our former Chief Minister the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

The date 54 years ago was significant to John Lewis because as the then chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the young John Lewis was standing beside Martin Luthur King when MLK delivered his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

54 years ago, the youthful Adedan Satem was beside his father at the bank of Sungai Sarawak, witnessing the birth of Malaysia, as he recounted to us, not very long ago.

For the two big men, from a very young age, they are living and have lived to contribute to the nation that they have loved, changing the course of history.

For John Lewis, the spirited March on Washington and the even tempestuous March on Montgomery propelled the U.S. government into action on civil rights, creating political momentum for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

For our late former Chief Minister, I can do no better than to join the band of my honourable colleagues in this august House to pay tribute and to credit the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem for leading Sarawak on a march to start anew, to claim and defend what are rightfully ours, the autonomy promised and envisaged, to vigorously pursue the devolution of power.

“I love Sarawak and I want the people of Sarawak to love and care for Sarawak as much as I do,” let it be recorded that the 5th Chief Minister of Sarawak had left this Fairland Sarawak with those parting words.

Indeed, in his 3-years reign, “Sarawak” and “Sarawakians” had meant much more to the people of Sarawak, in the last 54 years.

This fairland Sarawak and her people were on his mind until his last breath.

Correspondingly, the name “Adenan Satem” was carved in the hearts of all Sarawakians. In her moving maiden speech, I am heartened to note that Honourable member for Tanjung Datu had acknowledged that and find solace and comfort in her irreparable loss.

With the late former Chief Minister, we have begun our march for economic and civil political rights for a new Sarawak. That is his legacy. We have to soldier on.

I congratulate Yang Amat Berhormat the Right Honourable Chief Minister for his appointment and I salute him for openly expressing his determination to continue the legacy of his predecessor.

With an open mind, it can be glimpsed from his new administration that the Right Honourable Chief Minister is restructuring the cabinet and making appointment of the ministers and assistant ministers according to what he envisages Sarawak to be in the future and to prepare and organize the executive for the global socioeconomic and political trends and the opportunities for the betterment of Sarawak.

The elevation and mounting emphasis towards education, oil and gas, energy development, digital economy, international trade and e-commerce development, native land development, urban public transportation and the setting up of the State Ombudsman are indicative of his directions to re-engineer the state’s governance and that deserves our due recognition and support.

The message is clear: The march for Sarawak’s economic and civil political rights is on.

I pray that I am right to say, that our Right Honourable Chief Minister is tuning the executive to be ready for the eventual successes in the series of discussions and meetings on the devolution of powers. I am positive with it, for why do we have a Ministry of Education if we do not foresee any headway in our pursuit for education autonomy, Sarawak’s ‘freedom in education’ as our former Chief Minister had set up to achieved? Surely, we do not want our Sarawak Education Minister finding himself not really having any more authority or responsibility than what our present state director of education has.

I look forward to the winding-up speech by Yang Amat Berhormat Ketua Menteri and am hopeful that the Right Honourable Chief Minister will enlighten this august House on the progress of our quest for autonomy and devolution of power.

I must, however, repeat my gentle caution that the re-engineering of the state’s governance will require the fullest support of all Sarawakians, and that warrants the new administration to adopt a new mindset towards the opposition parties in Sarawak, to recognize their positive and constructive roles in checking and monitoring the functions and performance of the administration. The mechanisms and process for “check and balance” should also be elevated and enhanced.

Parliamentary democracy may not be perfect, but it is the best there is. The “citizens initiated referendum” is being used by most countries practicing representative style of parliamentary democracy to compliment representative democracy and strengthen it, lobbying and mobilizing our citizens to participate in major decision-making. The people and the executives, and the government, are one in the march, a true force to claim and safeguard Sarawak’s rights and interests.

Where John Lewis comes from, representative democracy is being practiced. They have federal referendum, referendum at the state level, the district and local government level. Similarly in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines and many other countries that are practicing representative parliamentary democracy. It is, therefore, mistaken to say that only countries practicing direct democracy like Switzerland, has citizens initiated referendum.

Datuk Speaker,
I am particularly concerned with an aspect of civil rights of which our late former chief minister had always, in his administration and practice, advocated and defended but this civil right is always precarious and chanced upon circumstances and the will and pleasure of another leadership.

I am referring to the former Chief Minister’s legacy in upholding freedom of the press, which I hope it will also be the hallmark of the new administration.

Datuk Speaker,
I have the honour to be invited to attend the Kenyalang Journalism Awards held in Kuching two years ago. The late former chief minister was the guest of honour.

In his speech, the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem encouraged the media to be daring in exposing truth and injustice in society in their reports, so that “members of society will ‘wake up’ rather than being mere bystanders, and inspire them be more proactive towards issues”.

This, Adenan said, would enable the people to be more conscious on the lack of facilities in the rural areas as well as those that had been provided by the government.

However, he said it would only be fair that news reports must also touch on the positive happenings and not only highlight negative issues in the state. And he advised the media to also practise fairness in their reports by not accusing people without any back-up points or concrete proof.

“When people talk about the freedom of expression, it is usually seen as a right to support the opposition, it can also mean the freedom to support the government. There must be a balanced picture — do not think that only because one village has no water supply, the whole country is without water supply,” he said.

In simple words, he expressed his clear understanding of the significance of the freedom of the press to a democracy in which the government is accountable to the people, that a free media functions as a watchdog that can investigate and report on government wrongdoings, and it is also a vibrant marketplace of ideas, a vehicle for citizens to express themselves and gain exposure to a wide range of information and opinions.

Essentially, civil rights come with economic rights. The maxim goes as follows: “We want employment and with it, we want the pride and responsibility and self-respect that goes with the free access to jobs.”

The march for Greater Sarawak is on, I pray that the legacy of the late Tan Sri Adenan will be continued. I fervently wish that our Right Honourable Chief Minister will lead all Sarawakians to scale greater heights, for what Sarawak and Sarawakians truly deserved, for the betterment of all and our future generations.
 

Debate Speech by Ali Biju, DUN Sarawak May 2017

Bahas by Ali Biju N39 Krian, Persidangan Penggal Pertama DUN Sarawak ke 19, 11 May 2017

Tuan Speaker, terima kasih kerana memberi ruang kepada saya untuk turut mengambil bahagian membahaskan usul penghargaan atas ucapan Tuan Yang Terutama sempena upacara pembukaan persidangan pertama penggal kedua Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak ke-18 pada 11 Mei 2017.

Tuan Speaker,

Unemployment Among Graduates

First of all, I would like to highlight the issue of unemployment among graduates who are diploma and degree holders. Numerous statistics have indicated that the number of unemployed grads is rising year after year and this is very worrying and needs to be addressed immediately. According to the latest report from Bank Negara, 23% of university graduates are unemployed. Based on data from the Statistics Department and Job Malaysia, there are between 15,000 to 20,000 unemployed graduates in the state for the year 2016. The number of graduates applying for jobs in the State Civil Service is 40,834 out of a total of  169,527 applications. I agree that being a university graduate does not necessarily guarantee a job. However, unless the unemployment rate is reduced drastically in the near future, it may cause myriad of social problems. According to a JobStreet survey there are several contributing factors for unemployment of graduates, mainly:

1.  Unrealistic salary and benefits being demanded;

2.  A poor command of English;

3.  Being choosy about the job or company;

4.  Poor attitude or lack of character of graduates;

5.  Poor communication skills;

6.  A lack of initiative in job-seeking and disadvantaged self-marketing skills; and finally

7.  Mismatch between course curricula and industry requirement.

Further, Jobstreet glaringly pointed out that 70% of Malaysian employers are disappointed with the quality of fresh graduates. Employers felt that graduates lacked adaptability, multitasking skills, decision-making skills, problem solving skills and creative-critical thinking skills.  And most alarmingly, graduates are unemployed because they have pursued studies irrelevant to the job market. As such, the government needs to introduce new measures to improve the employability of graduates. I would like to suggest these measures:

1.  Improve proficiency in English by introducing access to special courses in English communications for fresh grads at no cost to them; 

2.  Create opportunities through work experience via government initiatives in the private sector for making available internship and practical training on a large scale throughout the State;

3.  Develop both hard and soft skills to be more well rounded via special free courses introduced at diploma and university levels;

4.  Greater involvement of the private sector in training and producing high quality graduates through incentives such as special tax rebates and exemption; and

5.  Government policy requiring institutions of higher learning such as colleges and universities to incorporate curricula relevant to industry requirements. This would inevitably entail improving the curriculum by including additional skills for the graduates and creating links with industries so that the industries can provide job opportunities for the graduates.

I believe local universities and colleges have placed too much emphasis on academic achievement compared to the soft skills. Let us be clear, academic qualifications are essential but in today’s workforce climate, the attitude of graduates is equally or even more important to employers. The establishment of a new Ministry of Education by the Sarawak government is crucial in addressing the employability of local graduates. The current Malaysian education system needs to be restructured and undergo a thorough overhaul to improve our graduates’ skills which will eventually increase their marketability and employability.

A final note on our unemployed graduates - the implementation of the Graduate Enhancement Training Sarawak (GETS) programme to assist unemployed graduates has yet to produce significant improvement. Few years back, Sarawakians were excited with the SCORE Project which was supposed to provide 2 million job vacancies. It was expected that there would be no such thing as graduate unemployment once SCORE became a reality but unfortunately, and quite apparently, that is not the case at the moment. Therefore, I would like to ask and know: how many jobs have been created from SCORE since it first started till today? Of these jobs, how many are being filled by local Sarawakians, how many by West Malaysians and how many are held by foreigners?

Pengambilan Tanah Tanaman Mulong/Rumbia Untuk Pembesaran Kampung

Tuan Speaker, saya telah dimaklumkan akan kemusykilan yang dihadapi oleh beberapa penduduk Iban dari Engkudu berkenaan dengan pampasan tanah asal Native Customary Right mereka di kawasan tanaman mulong atau rumbia di Lemachang, Hilir Sg Sebetan. Mengikut tuan tanah - tuan tanah disitu, moyang mereka yang bernama Liang anak Entalang bersama dengan penduduk rumah panjang asal Engkudu yang ber-Tuai Rumah-kan Encik Entika anak Sumbang telah menetap di kawasan berkenaan dengan mengusahakan tanaman mulong. Surat keizinan telah diberi oleh kerajaan negeri Sarawak yang diwakili oleh Resident Simanggang Encik Edward Jerah pada tahun 1920, hampir-hampir 100 tahun yang lalu. Sejak tarikh tersebut keturunan Encik Liang anak Entalang bersama dengan penduduk rumah panjang Engkudu meneroka dan bercucuk tanam dikawasan berkenaan dan sepanjang Sungai Sebetan mengikut adat tradisi suku kaum Iban tanpa halangan dari mana-mana pihak. Malahan penduduk Engkudu mempunyai hubungan yang rapat dengan kampung terdekat iaitu Kampung Kupang sejak dari dulu hingga sekarang. Menyedari akan keperluan penduduk Kampung Kupang untuk sebuah kawasan tanah baru untuk memperluaskan kampung mereka, maka kerajaan negeri Sarawak telah mengisytiharkan kawasan tanaman mulong di Lemachang iaitu sebesar 64.2 hektar sebagai Government (Kampung) Reserve yang dikenali sebagai Lot 5 Blok 11 Awik-Krian Land District; bertarikh 21 May 1987. Semasa proses pengambilan tanah tersebut melalui Gazette No. 2538, penduduk asal dari Engkudu yang telah pun memiliki hak NCR langsung tidak mengetahui perkara tersebut. Tiada perbincangan atau mesyuarat dibuat di antara Jabatan Tanah Ukur dengan penduduk asal.  Mereka hanya menyedari akan perkara tersebut apabila dihalang daripada membuat pembersihan [clearing] di kawasan tersebut. Sejurus menyedari akan kawasan tanaman rumbia mereka telah di gazette menjadi Government (Kampung) Reserve, penduduk rumah panjang Engkudu terus mengambil tindakan untuk menuntut pampasan gantirugi kehilangan tanaman rumbia yang telah ditebang tanpa pengetahuan mereka dan juga gantirugi tanah NCR daripada Jabatan Tanah dan Ukur sejak dari tahun 1994. Tetapi malangnya tuntutan meraka enggan dan/atau tidak diendahkan langsung. Memandangkan tuan tanah pernah menerima pampasan daripada kerajaan semasa pembinaan benteng [“ban”] dibawah Sebetan 1 Drainage Scheme, maka mereka adalah berhak dan wajib dibayar pampasan apabila tanah yang selebihnya diambil untuk memperluaskan Kampung Kupang. Ahli parlimen Saratok yang terdahulu pernah membuat rayuan kepada Ketua Menteri Sarawak pada tahun 2004 agar campur tangan untuk menyelesaikan kemelut tuntutan ini. Tetapi malangnya, sehingga kini belum ada sebarang cadangan mahupun penyelesaian. Oleh yang demikian, saya ingin meminta jasa baik pihak kerajaan untuk mempertimbangkan tuntutan mereka sewajarnya dan mencari penyelesaian yang memuaskan kedua-dua pihak. Tuan tanah ingin menegaskan bahawa mereka tidak sama sekali menentang rancangan memerluaskan Kampung Kupang, namun mereka hanya memohonon supaya adanya  tuntutan yang sahih dan berpatutan.

Kemudahan Infrastrukur dan Kemudahan Asas

Tuan Speaker, masih banyak kemudahan infrastruktur dan keperluan asas yang belum dilaksanakan dan saya sebagai wakil rakyat tidak akan jemu menagih janji-janji yang telah dibuat oleh menteri-menteri. Acapkali jawapan daripada pihak kementerian beralasankan menunggu peruntukan atau di dalam proses perancangan. Kenapa meluluskan projek sekiranya belanjawan tidak mencukupi? Penduduk setempat pasti terasa tertipu sekiranya perlaksanaan projek yang kononnya diluluskan tidak dilaksanakan secepat mungkin.

Jalanraya

Tuan Speaker, ada beberapa projek pembinaan naiktaraf jalan raya telah lama diumumkan oleh Perdana Menteri dan Menteri yang lain sejak bulan April 2016 yang lalu. Maka disini, saya ingin menyampaikan suara rakyat meminta pencerahan yang munasabah akan status projek-projek naiktaraf jalanraya seperti berikut;

1.  Penurapan Jalan Ulu Krian bermula dari Sungai Bansu ke Awas dan Ulu Krian yang berjumlah RM 15 juta.

2.  Penurapan Jalan Kabo-Sg Bangkong yang berjumlah RM 8 juta

3.  Menaiktaraf dan menurap Jalan Krangan Rusa-Babang dan membina jambatan merentasi Sg Krian di Krangan Rusa.

4.  Menurap Jalan Bajau-Kupang dan pembinaan Jambatan merentasi Sg Krian yang berjumlah RM 100 juta.

5.  Menurap Jalan Lubok Renit, Temudok, Klua, Sg Antu dan Senyawan

6.  Menurap Jalan Ulu Awik sepanjang 13.5km

7.  Menaiktaraf dan menurap Jalan Ulu Paku/Nanga Alum/Pakan sepanjang 11.8km

8.  Menaiktaraf Jalan Nanga Drau yang menghubungkan SK Nanga Drau dan 2 buah rumah panjang

9.  Menurap Jalan Mudong sampai ke Rumah James Bali di Tapang Ujan.

10.              Menaiktaraf Jalan ke Rumah Henry Sang, Ulu Krian

Akhirnya, apa yang sangat mengecewakan saya adalah keadaan Rumah Ibi di Nanga Ibus yang hanya beberapa km sahaja jauhnya. Hingga kini ianya masih belum lagi  disambungkan dengan apa-apa jenis jalan samaada jalan bertaraf kampung atau pun jalan bertaraf JKR. Penduduk Rumah Ibi masih lagi menggunakan perahu panjang berulang-alik ke Roban melalui Sg Seblak yang terkenal dengan populasi buaya yang banyak. Inilah satu-satunya rumah panjang yang masih terasing di seluruh N9 Krian. Banyak permohonan kepada pihak kerajaan telah dibuat sejak 15 tahun yang lalu. Saya telah membawa isu ini ke dewan yang mulia ini tetapi jawapan yang diterima adalah sama sahaja iaitu menunggu peruntukan. Yang aneh nya adalah perasmian pecah-tanah untuk pembinaan jalan ke Nanga Ibus telah beberapa kali dibuat sebelum pilihanraya, tetapi diberhentikan sebaik saja selepas pilihanraya selesai. Oleh yang demikian saya ingin menyeru mana-mana pihak yang bertanggung jawab seperti JKR, Majlis Daerah Saratok, Pejabat Daerah dan mana-mana pihak yang berkaitan untuk memberikan perhatian yang khursus dan mengambil tindakan segera terhadap keluhan penduduk-penduduk di situ.

Bekalan Air Terawat

Tuan Speaker, meskipun Loji Penapisan Air Kaki Wong sudah siap lebih 2 tahun yang lepas, masih ada kawasan yang belum lagi menikmati bekalan air terawat. Kawasan tersebut adalah seperti berikut:-

1.  SK Ulu Sebetan dan 4 buah rumah panjang di sepanjang Jalan Ulu Sebetan

2.  SK Mudong dan 8 buah rumah panjang di Jalan Mudong

3.  Sebanyak 10 buah rumah panjang di kawasan Brayang.

Maka disini saya ingin sekali lagi meminta pencerahan akan status perancangan pembinaan paip utama, tangki air dan booster pumps di kawasan berkenaan. Menteri yang berkaitan pernah memberitahu bahawa semua kawasan di atas akan menerima bekalan air bersih pada penghujung tahun 2017.

Dengan ini saya ingin mengakhiri uapan saya dengan mengucapkan Selamat Hari Gawai Dayak kepada kaum Dayaks, Selamat Hari Raya kepada penganut Islam dan Selamat Hari Guru kepada warga pendidik.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hadi’s bill: Suhakam warns of treaty violations

 | May 16, 2017

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia also says it's the right of all Malaysians to voice concerns even though the bill is aimed at the Muslim community.
razali-1

PETALING JAYA: The government’s rights commission has today for the first time joined criticism of PAS’s recent move to give wider powers to shariah courts, saying the private member’s bill tabled in the Dewan Rakyat violates international treaties against torture signed by Malaysia.

“Caning and/or lashing in any setting violates the absolute prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment under international law,” the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said in a statement today.

“Parliament must accordingly ensure that all laws passed by it, are reasonable, equitable and proportionate; as well as progressive and fair,” said the commission’s chairman Razali Ismail.

A main feature of the amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 proposed by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang is to increase the punishments for shariah offenders, from the current maximum fine of RM5,000, six lashes and three years imprisonment, to a maximum fine of RM100,000, 100 lashes and 30 years imprisonment.

The move has drawn mixed reactions from across the political divide.

PAS leaders and the bill’s backers from Umno have scoffed at critics, saying it was the right of Muslims to govern their lives based on what the party claims are divine laws.

Razali however warned that the bill’s proposal to allow shariah offenders to be sentenced to a maximum of 100 lashes of the cane was a violation of the “absolute prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment under international law”.

He reminded PAS that Malaysia was signatory to three international treaties, namely the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The Suhakam chief also questioned attempts to stifle criticism of the bill on the pretext that it was only targeted at Muslims, saying the proposals would affect all Malaysians.

“Malaysians accordingly have the right to question whether the rights to liberty and to dignity are being protected adequately with the proposed amendments, and Suhakam underscores that the concept of proportionality is one of the fundamental principles of sentencing, grounded on the premise that, to be just, a sentence must be of a length and type,” said Razali.

~ Free Malaysia Today

CONSTRUCTION OF LAWAS HOSPITAL: Answer to Baru Bian's question DUN May 2017


CONSTRUCTION OF LAWAS HOSPITAL

(15)  YB Encik  Baru Bian  asked the Minister for Local Government on construction of
Lawas Hospital:

(a)         What is the status of its retendering?

(b)         What is the percentage of the allocated budget that has been utilised? 
(c)       What is the percentage of its completion? and
(d)         What is the new expected completion date?


Menteri  Muda  Perumahan  dan  Kesihatan  Awam  (YB Dr Haji  Annuar  Bin  Rapaee): Terima kasih, Tuan Speaker dan juga Yang Berhormat bagi Ba' Kelalan. Dia ada empat soalan di sini;

(a)    Yang pertama ialah mengenai status of its re-tendering. Tender untuk Fasa 2B projek Hospital Lawas telah dibuka pada 4 Mei yang lepas dan dijangka tutup pada 1 Ogos 2017;

(b)    Mengenai percentage of the allocated budget that has been utilized, setakat ini hanya 12.3% daripada peruntukan keseluruhannya yang berjumlah RM228 juta telah digunakan;

(c)    What is the percentage of its completion? Untuk Fasa 1 dengan kos RM2.4 juta, Fasa 2A dengan kos RM2.5 juta telah siap. Manakala Fasa 2B dengan kos RM2.4 juta yang telah saya maksudkan tadi sudah di-retender dan Fasa 1 dan 2A telah siap dengan sepenuhnya;

(d)    What is the new expected completion date? Proses pembinaan Hospital Lawas dijangka mengambil masa 36 bulan, Namun demikian tarikh siap projek ini akan bergantung kepada kelancaran retender yang telah disebutkan tadi. Terima kasih Yang Berhormat.

VB Encik Baru Bian: (Soalan Tambahan)   I wish to record my thanks to the answers from the Assistant Minister. If I may, Tuan Speaker, to ask two additional questions:-

(a)    What are the reasons for the retendering of this project?

(b)    Whether there is any plan to have a resident specialist allocated to Lawas once this project is completed? Thank you.

Menteri Muda Perumahan dan Kesihatan  Awam (YB Dr Haji Annuar Bin Rapaee): Let me answer the second question first. Mengenai specialist yang akan dihantar ke setiap hospital, dia banyak bergantung kepada kapasiti ataupun jumlah pesakit yang ada.

Pertama adalah dari segi bed occupancy  rate. Kalau bed occupancy rate nya tinggi maka memadai untuk pakar dihantar di kawasan tersebut. Walaubagaimanapun, Pakar Pelawat memang senantiasa dihantar di setiap hospital malah di Hospital Limbang pun adanya Pakar Pelawat.

Untuk re-endering, I would like to apologise, Yang Berhormat, I do not know the clear status why the retendering has been done but I can get back to you on that matter. Thank you very much.