Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Racist remarks "Chinese were immigrants": No action taken

PETALING JAYA: The MCA is shocked that no action is being taken against the Prime Minister's former aide Datuk Nasir Safar, who was earlier accused of making racist remarks at a 1Malaysia seminar.

MCA publicity bureau deputy chief Loh Seng Kok said some form of government action should have been instituted against both Nasir and former Bukit Bendera Umno chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail.

(Ahmad sparked a public outcry after his alleged remarks that Chinese were pendatang or immigrants, during the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election in 2008. He was suspended by Umno for three years but the suspension was lifted in December last year.)

"This is to serve as a deterrent to other Malaysians from wantonly categorising individuals, irrespective of nationality or ethnicity, with derogatory terms," Loh said in a statement here Tuesday.

He said failure take action would only embolden other racist-bent Malaysians to espouse bigoted views and then conveniently apologise for their statements.

Loh said the reasoning that the labelling of Chinese and Indians in Malaysia as pendatang referred to economic migrants, and not locally-born Chinese or Indians, was flawed and unacceptable to public sensibilities.

"It is insulting to our ancestors, who contributed tremendously to the growth, development and wealth of our beloved nation," Loh said.

He said it did not matter if the labels were meant for economic migrants, and that Malaysian Chinese and Indians were offended by it.

"It is paramount that guidelines with definitive parameters are established as to what form of content, be it verbal or publication or public policy, is tantamount to inciting racial ill-will and sedition," he said.

He said it was now not uncommon for mankind, irrespective of country of origin, to venture abroad for economic opportunities or legally settle down in other continents for foreign direct investment, higher salaries or experience.

"The application of the term economic migrants is an insult to all individuals working overseas, away from their own country," he said.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Licks balls 1 Malaysia and gets RM31 million

KUALA LUMPUR: The Shah Alam Hospital saga has taken an “Ali Baba” twist with revelation that the main contractor for the RM482 million project did not do any work at all and yet had made a handsome profit.

Opposition MP Tony Pua (DAP-PJ Utara) said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should look into this matter.

Speaking at press conference at Parliament today, Pua produced two documents which clearly showed that the whole project was being carried out by the sub-contractor, GM Healthcare Sdn Bhd, and not the main contractor, Sunshine Fleet Sdn Bhd.

One document stated that a letter of award was given to a sub-contractor, Isyoda (M) Sdn Bhd, a company which eventually had to opt out after it was delisted from Bursa Malaysia.

The project was subsequently given to GM Healthcare.

“In the letter of award, it was stated that RM451 million would be given to Isyoda while Sunshine Fleet (the main contractor) would receive RM482 million from the government.

“So the main contractor gets a net profit of RM31 million… this is a clear ‘Ali Baba’ project. The PWD needs to take action against Sunshine Fleet...,” he said.

Pua said the fact that Sunshine Fleet is making a net profit without doing any work (since the whole project is handled by the sub-contractor) contradicts the terms of the contract awarded by the ministry.

Pua also said that a second letter by Isyoda to Sunshine Fleet showed that the former had promised a payment of RM46 million to the Sunshine Fleet chairman personally, and not through the main contractor.

'Unconditional payment'

The unconditional payment, according to the letter, was in consideration of Sunshine Fleet’s “efforts to procure the letter of award to be issued to us in further consideration of your future contribution and cooperation to ensure the smooth operation and success of the project”.

It also said that the RM46 million would be paid by instalments. From this amount, said Pua, Isyoda promised to pay 9.5% progressive interim payments to the Sunshine Fleet chairman totalling RM77 million.

“This is seen as a commission for this contract. But is it really a commission or a bribe? We have given this to the MACC for further investigation,” he said.

Shah Alam Hospital is reportedly bogged down in a legal tussle between Sunshine Fleet and GM Healthcare, giving rise to fears that the project will not be completed on time.

But Works Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor dismissed such fears, saying that the project is on track.

Besides, he told Parliament today that the government is only responsible to the main contractor and has no authority over payments to the sub-contractor.

It has been reported that GM Healthcare has filed a petition to wind up Sunshine Fleet over a RM10 million debt.

Sunshine was served the notice on April 1 this year after it failed to pay the RM10 million owed to GM Healthcare. The RM10 million is the bond GM Healthcare had placed with the Public Works Department (PWD) on behalf of Sunshine Fleet for the design, construction, equipping, commissioning and maintenance of the Shah Alam Hospital.


'No action against Sunshine Fleet'

In reply to Pua, Shaziman said that as long as the project is on schedule, the PWD will not take action against Sunshine Fleet.

However, he said that a new law, Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act, will be introduced to ensure sub-contractors are paid on time.

“This will help protect sub-contractors who do not get any payment from the main contractor,” he said.

Shaziman also said that the PWD has not detected any breach of contract allegedly committed by Sunshine Fleet.

“In view of this, the question of the project being delayed or the contract being terminated does not arise. This is because the project is on track and (the parties) have observed the terms of the contract agreed to by the government,” he said.

The hospital, which was slated to be completed in November this year, will be ready by June next year.

Opposition MPs have repeatedly raised the issue, alleging that there were discrepancies in the contract PWD awarded to Sunshine Fleet through direct negotiation in 2007.

The situation took a turn for the worse when the board of directors of Sunshine Fleet, many of are related to the Sultan of Selangor, became involved in the legal squabble. - MT

Friday, June 18, 2010

The BN Corruption in Felda and unnecessary miscellaneous spending


MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17 June 2010



Statement by Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim, Parti Keadilan Rakyat Central Leadership Council Member, in response to the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Ahmad Maslan's explanation on the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda)'s declining cash reserves:

Yesterday at parliament, the Deputy Minister Ahmad Maslan responded to questions about the agency's declining cash reserve (from RM4.08 billion in 2004 but dropped to RM1.35 billion in 2009 -- a plunge of RM2.73 billion in five years).

It is obvious that the Deputy Minister knows very little about Felda based on his answers in Parliament yesterday. He failed to explain what returns Felda may gain through its investments, instead of using the money for a shopping spree and for 'welfare purposes’, as it was described.

RM2 billion for replanting crops

RM2 billion is a huge sum for a replanting programme. The Deputy Minister should detail in full the allocation of RM2 billion: the number of settlers involved, land area, if this includes subsistence and income advance to the settlers in the programme and whether proper replanting standards are in place.

RM253 million for the Sabah poverty eradication fund

The Deputy Minister did not explain how was RM253 million disbursed, nor detail in full its beneficiaries. Did the money go directly to the poor settlers, or was it channelled to the Sabah state government, who is strapped for cash? If this is considered 'public welfare', we must wonder if Felda's statutory duty includes helping out a BN state government that is short of cash.

Menara Felda in Platinum Park, KL City Centre

The Deputy Minister did not explain why Felda paid 40% deposit (instead of the customary amount of 10%) to Naza TTDI for its new RM662 million headquarters, nor did he justify paying the price that is way above market price.

Closure of companies & unnecessary miscellaneous spending

Within the past 5 years, the following companies have closed down: Felda Rubber, Sutera Jaya and Felda Herbal. There should be a detailed explanation behind the reasons for the closures and whether this was due to further poor mismanagement.

There should be also an explanation on how RM4,000,000 to RM5,000,000 is spent to facilitate futsal competitions and also support the Felda Football Club. To place it some perspective, most national football associations have spent less on their national football teams, including those who have gone on to qualify for the World Cup.

The Minister -- not his deputy -- should be answering these questions in Parliament.

Public accountability is of utmost importance when taxpayers money are used.


I call upon Prime Minister Datuk Najib Tun Razak to relinquish his hold on Felda and let the organisation be managed professionally and in a transparent manner.


ZAID IBRAHIM

Member of Central Leadership Council (Majlis Pimpinan Pusat)
Parti Keadilan Rakyat





Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Welcome to Boleh Land: No More Scholarship But Spending Millions


Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz had said that government scholarships for undergraduate studies overseas would be phased out from next year.

He was quoted as admitting that the government does not have the “capacity” to finance the studies of the growing pool of bright students.

Although it is an unpopular move, the public will have to accept the reality of the government's situation, he had added.

Both MCA and MIC are against the move. What else can they do?

Ironically, this government is willing to spend another RM800 million to build a new parliament building in Putrajaya.

More than RM810 million has been budgeted for the still under construction new palace at Jalan Duta. I am sure the the royal highness would rather see the money being used to send our brightest to acquire skills and knowledge from some of the best universities in the world since ours can't even break into the top 500 league.

With such contradictions, how can the government help to move our workforce up the value chain and help to enable them to earn higher salary?

This is the second flip-flop after the finance minister said that no sports gambling license was ever issued to Ascot Sdn Bhd.

Who is telling the truth? Vincent Tan or Finance Minister?

Welcome to Boleh Land!

By: Khoo Kay Peng