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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Malaysia's GDP to moderate to 4.4pc in Q2

Malaysia's GDP to moderate to 4.4pc in Q2

Malaysia's GDP to moderate to 4.4pc in Q2

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 10:58 PM PDT


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to moderate to 4.4 per cent in the second quarter of this year, mainly due to the impact of devastating earthquake in Japan and social uprising in the Middle East and North Africa, says Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd.

It said in spite of the external risks, the overall view for the second half of this year was one of higher growth as the base effect wore off and the expectation of the cyclical uptrend started to kick in.

"Backed by an expected higher private spending spurred mainly by the government-initiated Economic Transformation Programme, we project real GDP growth to expand to 6.8 per cent in second half of this year.

"Hence, barring any escalation of the external risk factors we retain our GDP projection at 5.7 per cent for this year," Kenanga said in its economic outlook for the second half of this year here today.

Kenaga said with growth prospects likely to be higher going forward, it expected the powers-that-be to capitalise on this and announce the much-awaited general election to be held in the second quarter of next year.

It said the rate of inflation was expected to remain elevated in the second half of the year as food prices remained high as domestic demand improved

as well as the impact of the festive season.

"Hence, we expect the average Consumer Price Index growth to remain about three per cent in second half comparatively matching the first half of the year.

"Nonetheless, the ringgit still remains relatively strong against the US dollar and the government continues to subsidise food and fuel, therefore, remains a buffer against global inflationary pressures," it said.

On this basis, Kenanga said, Bank Negara Malaysia may raise the overnight policy rate by another 25 basis points to 3.25 per cent in the second half of the year. -- BERNAMA

Kedai Rakyat takes off

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 10:53 PM PDT


PETALING JAYA: The first Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia thrift store opened yesterday with prices of goods 30 to 50 per cent lower than the market price of similar products to help urban families reduce their monthly grocery bills. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who opened the store at the Kelana Jaya LRT station, said it was in line with his 1Malaysia concept to unite the people and help lessen the people's burden.

Operated by Mydin Mohamed Holdings Berhad, the thrift store sells some 1,000 items, 250 of which carry the 1Malaysia brand. The items include rice, milk, noodles, beverages, diapers, tea, crackers, butter and bread.

Najib, in his speech, said Kedai Rakyat was similar to the "Restoran Rakyat" his late father, the country's second prime minister Tun Razak Hussein, had introduced during the recession in the 1970s.

"It was to help families cut down on their expenses.

"Similarly, Kedai Rakyat aims to do the same." He said the thrift store was a smart government-private partnership between Prasarana Negara Berhad, the light rail service provider and Mydin.

"Mydin has its own network of small-medium enterprises, they also provide packaging at minimal prices and no added frills, resulting in lower and affordable prices," he said.

More Kedai Rakyat are expected to be opened soon as more suitable places are identified.

Items at Kedai Rakyat are markedly cheaper than those in supermarkets and hypermarkets.

For example, a packet of 10kg rice sells at RM18.99 (a popular brand is priced between RM25 and RM34), a can of condensed milk is at RM1.95 (RM2.20), and a one-litre bottle of cordial drink is priced at RM2.99 (between RM7 and RM9).

Najib said the smart partnership was an innovative idea which would also help small medium enterprises to have more businesses.

"The 1Malaysia concept is not just rhetoric. It is far from that. This thr ift store will help to lessen people's burden.

"This is my aim. Today we see the result of it," he said, adding that the 1Malaysia brand products could also be used to distribute to the needy in the rural areas and victims of natural disasters, such as floods and landslides.

Mydin managing director Datuk Ameer Ali said they were looking at opening more shops in Setiawanga and Wangsa Maju.

The Kedai Rakyat, he said, would operate on Mydin's books as a corporate social responsibility prog ramme.

"The products are purchased from about 30 SMEs who are already in our supply chain.

"So, the extra volume will help bring down the cost for all parties," he added.-NST

July 9 rally groups summoned to Bukit Aman

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 10:27 PM PDT


KUALA LUMPUR (June 22, 2011) : The three groups planning to have separate rallies on July 9 were summoned to Bukit Aman police headquarters yesterday.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the representatives of the three groups -- Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), Umno Youth and Malay rights group Perkasa were called because they have insisted on having the rallies despite not having a police permit.

"I have already stated that immediate action must be taken on this matter and the PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police) will call all parties involved, because although we have said that we are not going to grant them permits, the

statements from Perkasa, Umno Youth and Bersih, indicate that they plan to proceed anyway," he told reporters after attending a meeting in Parliament yesterday.

Hishammmuddin however declined to give details as to what would happen when the groups are at Bukit Aman.

"My statement is that all three parties will not be granted permits to gather on that date. I am saying categorically that all three will not get it," he said.

The rally, dubbed as the "Walk of Democracy" organised by Bersih is made up of several opposition parties and various civil society groups that want six demands to be met, and an end to the misuse of government machinery during elections.

Many are against the rally and several police reports have been lodged against Bersih. After the announcement by Bersih, Perkasa vowed that it will have a counter protest against Bersih.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin also announced that it will hold a major street rally on the same day to support the current electoral system.

Hishammuddin added that he hoped that the Election Commission (EC) will be given the opportunity to meet with Bersih and determine the group's "actual purpose" for the rally.

"Is it simply to seek for transparency and justice in the context of democracy? Or are they also linking it to other issues that are political in nature, or combining it with racial matters, which could jeopardise public safety. My priority is the people's safety," he said.

Asked if there were plans to investigate Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali for his call for the Chinese community to stock up on food for July 9, Hishammuddin said: "I already said the police will call the three parties ... not only Ibrahim Ali. They will be called today (Wednesday), but we do not know if they will come today (Wednesday)."

Ibrahim clarified his statement Tuesday, saying that it was merely an advice and not a threat to the Chinese community.

Earlier today, MCA vice-president and Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung warned party members against participating in the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9 or they will face disciplinary action, and may even be sacked.

"MCA members are well aware that the rally is an illegal gathering without police permit; nothing will be solved with such a demonstration," he said after launching his Ministry's Monthly Gathering which carried the theme -- Knowledge Workers are the Catalyst for the Nation's Transformation.

M'sia not a terrorist target, says Hisham

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 10:18 PM PDT


KUALA LUMPUR (June 22, 2011): Malaysia is not a terrorist target although Indonesian leader of the militant Islamic Jihad Abu Bakar Bashir is confirmed to have visited a religious school in the country some years ago, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday.

He said that Malaysia also faced no risk to its security although a Malaysian member of Islamic Jihad had written a book on his struggles, Bernama reports.

Commenting on a newspaper report of militants trying to use religious schools to recruit new members, he said authorities learned a lot about militant

recruitment strategy from the book published in Indonesia.

"This shows the need for close ties between the task force on terrorism with government agencies with links to religion, be it Islam, Buddhism and

Christianity, which all have extremists who should be monitored," he told reporters after a meeting of the cabinet committee on foreign workers and illegal immigrants.

The writer of the book is 42-year-old Nasir Abas, who was born in Johor and was a Islamic Jihad leader whose area of responsibility covered Sabah, Sulawesi and southern Philippines.-The Sun

D-day for Datuk T men

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 10:06 PM PDT


KUALA LUMPUR: The trio known as Datuk T is expected to be charged here tomorrow for screening a video that showed a man resembling Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim having sex with a woman believed to be a foreign prostitute.

The three businessman Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah, former Malacca chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik and former Perkasa treasurer-general Datuk Shuib Lazim are expected to be charged for breaching the Film Censorship Act.

The matter is being brought to court following police investigations into a report lodged by Anwar, who has claimed that he is not the man in the video and that it is a plot by certain parties to denounce his credibility.

Police had sought the help of local and foreign experts to verify the identity of the man in the video, which went viral over YouTube.

The Datuk T trio had admitted to screening the pornographic material to selected members of the media at Carcosa Sri Negara on March 21.

If found guilty, the three are liable to be fined at least RM10,000 or jailed for five years or both.

The three, who had said they were exposing the video in the interest of the public, have stood their ground on the matter despite criticisms from Anwar's political allies.

"Let the law take its course. Hopefully, the truth will be revealed," said Eskay, who confirmed they would be charged in court.

Shuib, who was discharged from hospital on Tuesday, said the public deserved to know the truth.

"We leave it to the court to decide. But our conscience is clear as we exposed the video in the interest of the nation," he said.

Rahim had said the authorities should reveal the identity of the man in the video.

"The police have already verified the authenticity of the video and the identity of the man in the video. The findings should be revealed in the interest of the public," he said.-The Star

Malaysia elected to chair UN committee

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 09:56 PM PDT


NEW YORK: Malaysia was elected on Wednesday to chair the Third Committee for the forthcoming 66th session of the United Nations' General Assembly.

Malaysia's new permanent representative to the United Nations, Datuk Hussein Haniff, who formally assumed office on May 13, will be the chairperson of this crucial committee.

Haniff, in a statement to the United Nations, said that it was a "great honour" for Malaysia and for him personally to be elected as chairperson of the committee.

He thanked the Group of Asian states at the United Nations for endorsing the Malaysian candidature. He gave the assurance that he would "spare no effort to live up to your expectations".

The Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural affairs, was chaired by Michel Tommo Monthe of Cameroon during the 65th session of the General Assembly.

Haniff acknowledged that the list of issues to be addressed at the Third Committee was "much longer than I can fully read out at this stage", and said that "it is incumbent, however, to ensure that the Third Committee provides objectivity and impartiality to all voices".

"It is my hope and intention that at the upcoming 66th session, all delegations will continue to display the attributes of cooperation, seeking consensus where possible and working together which have led to positive conclusions in the past for this Committee.

"Moreover, even with debate and differing views on issues, the common good of focusing and dealing with the issues at hand far outweigh focusing on, or being diverted to, those which are divisive," the envoy said.

During a recent interview with Bernama, Haniff pointed out that the committee also discusses the advancement of women, the protection of children, indigenous issues, the treatment of refugees, the promotion of fundamental freedom through the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, and the promotion of the right to self-determination.

Over and above, the committee addresses important social development questions such as issues related to youth, family, ageing, persons with disabilities, crime prevention, criminal justice, and drug control.

Haniff thanked ambassador Michel Tommo Monthe of Cameroon for his "remarkable leadership" and contributions to the work of the Third Committee during the main session of the 65th General Assembly.

"He (Monthe) has set very high standards which I hope to emulate. I would also like to recognise and thank his bureau, as well as the other members elected to the bureau for the 66th (General Assembly) session, and to express my enthusiasm and anticipation to work together with them, as well as the secretary and his staff," he said.

Each year, the General Assembly allocates to the Third Committee agenda items relating to a range of social, humanitarian affairs and human rights' issues that affect people all over the world.

As in previous sessions, an important part of the Committee's work focuses on the examination of human rights' questions. The Committee hears and interacts with special rapporteurs, independent experts, and chairpersons of working groups of the Human Rights Council.-Bernama

Hisham promises to probe Ambiga death threat

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 09:50 PM PDT



KUALA UMPUR, June 23 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today that the police will investigate the death threats made against Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

Hishamuddin (picture) said that the threat is very serious especially considering the circumstances.

"I am going to Bukit Aman immediately afterwards and will get the police to make sure that the SMSes that have been going around and where they originate from are not a threat. A lot of things go through SMSes. I get death threats too but in the circumstances of Bersih, we need to take this particular threat more seriously," he told reporters in Parliament here.

Ambiga received a death threat via text message which was also sent this morning to reporters and some members of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih).

The text message warned Ambiga as well as PAS and PKR leaders from going ahead with the July 9 Bersih rally, and said her life would be in jeopardy should it (the rally) proceed.

"Korg ni buta hati ke?? buat apa sokong ambiga keling paria haramjadah tu? dia ni kapir laknat. korang tau tak dia ni jadi alat anjing2 politik untuk musnahkan keutuhan melayu. dia kata je nak BERSIH kan SPR. bersih kepala bapak dia. puak2 PAS n PKR pun buta tuli n pekak badak.. kalau SPR tak bersih, boleh ke diorang menang kat Sgor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan n perak dulu?

"DAP cina sial tu pulak lagi haram jahanam. dia tengok je melayu bertekak. hujung2 dia perintah negara ni dan kristiankan kita semua. aku nak kasi amaran kat korang semua. kalau perhimpunan ni jadi, aku dan org2 aku akan bunuh ambiga dan korang2 keliling dia satu persatu, termasuklah orang2 politik bangang yang bersekongkol ngan kafir laknat tu.. ini amaran aku. Korang tengok nanti."

(Are you people blind? Why would you support that pariah keling Ambiga? She is an infidel. Don't you know that she is a toll of those political dogs who are out to destroy the strength of the Malays. She is just saying she wants to clean up the Bersih election, she should clean up her father's head. And the PAS, PKR leaders, they are deaf, dumb, blind and illiterate. If the EC is not clean then how did they win Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Perak? The damned Chinese DAP are even more despicable. They just watch the Malays go at each other's throats. In the end, they will rule the country and turn all of us into Christians.)

Ambiga has confirmed that she will be lodging a police report on the matter today.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component parties and activists are gearing up to march on July 9 in the second such rally by election watchdog Bersih.

The first rally in 2007 saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital's street, before they were dispersed by police armed with tear gas and water cannons.

Najib says 1 Malaysia more than just rhetoric

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 09:43 PM PDT


KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — Two years after coming to office with his 1 Malaysia concept, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today that the slogan was more than empty rhetoric but a policy that will improve the lives of the public.

He said the 1 Malaysia concept promises to prioritise the people with improvements in public service delivery and economic reforms.

"1 Malaysia is also products and services which will lighten the burden of the people and improve their quality of life," the prime minister said at the launch of the pioneer Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia (KR1M) thrift store at the Kelana Jaya LRT station today.

He said that this included other initiatives such as the Klinik Rakyat 1 Malaysia which provided affordable healthcare for all Malaysians.

The KR1M, mooted by the government but operated by local retail giants Mydin, promises essential goods at up to 50 per cent discount, in hopes of countering surging inflation.

According to Mydin, the pilot store will sell 1 Malaysia-branded goods such as rice, milk and diapers without profit-motivation.

The move comes as Putrajaya was forced to make cuts to a subsidy bill that would otherwise have doubled to RM21 billion this year while it grapples with inflation that hit a two-year high of three per cent in March and continued climbing to 3.3 per cent last month.

If successful, the store will spawn more outlets in other rail stations that cater to lower income commuters, Mydin managing director Datuk Ameer Ali told reporters earlier this week.

"The cost of promotion usually adds 25 to 30 per cent to the price tag. With the 1 Malaysia brand, it is the PM himself who is providing the promotion," he said.

Basic household goods such as sweetened creamer are being sold at KR1M at RM1.95 instead of RM2.80, and diapers at RM20.50 instead of over RM40 as found in Mydin stores.

Najib added that KR1M was an example of public-private partnerships that would help the poor and low-income group.

The prime minister is expected to call a general election within the year but recent hikes to fuel, electricity and sugar prices have sparked public anger, leading to protests from groups such as fishermen, whose recent strike caused a spike in seafood prices.

The government has repeatedly explained that it must cut subsidies to ensure that the budget deficit, which hit a two-decade high of seven per cent in 2009, is reined in to a projected 5.4 per cent this year.

Rakaman ceramah Mat Sabu menjelang Bersih 2: ari kita turun beramai-ramai ke Kuala Lumpur 9hb Julai ini…

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 09:46 PM PDT

Filed under: Malaysia news Tagged: Mat Sabu

Refuse to wear ceremonial attire – DAP’s showing true spirit of ‘pendatang’

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 09:33 PM PDT


By:  Fareed Dawood

Rude is the only word to describe DAP's behavior in Sarawak's State's Assembly last Monday.   The 11 DAP's Assemblymen turned up without proper ceremonial attire aimed to make a point of how 'un-racist' and truly Malaysian they are.

Instead, their arrogance and rudeness only confirmed that they have never 'embraced' Malaysia for they have never accepted Malaysia's customs and culture.   

And what's worse is that the reason given for their uncivilized behavior is that the ceremonial attire particularly the 'songkok' is only meant for Muslims or Malays.   Bingo!  Once again, they have re-confirmed the well-known fact of their racism.

'Songkok' has been our homeland's image since Malaysia wasn't yet called Malaysia.    The complete ceremonial attire is in itself a statement that the person wearing it is an Assemblyman in Malaysia and not Singapore or other countries.

Apparently, DAP is not proud to be the State Assemblymen in Malaysia.

I bet they must be wishing that their ancestors had never set foot in Malaysia and remained here till they were born.   In their minds, they carry the dreams of their motherland surrounded by yellow skin and small eyes people like them.   It is obvious that DAP just hate to have anything to do with Malaysia, ..perhaps because the name begins with 'Malays'..?

The bad news for DAP is, this land once belonged to only the Malays and the bumiputras.  We didn't bring you here, the British did.   

We gave you the right to prosper and be rich and multiply your wealth to the extent that now you are controlling the economy.    Since we benefit as much from your economic activities, we don't mind that you were given the citizenship by our former leaders.  

We would have taken you as bumiputras too and abolish our special rights, but you have again and again refuse to become one with us by refusing to uphold Malaysian customs and culture.

You have never stopped pushing the idea of putting your mother tongue first or the same level as the national language.   You don't want to blend in.  You don't even want to go to the same school with other races.  If this is not the character of a 'pendatang', then what is it?    

To protect us from being swallowed by your greed and cruelty, our former leaders who must have sensed this beforehand, made a wise decision to come out with the special rights policy - a formula proven to be the best for any multiracial or multi-ethnic countries.  

But until today, after years of independence, you hearts and souls remain detached from 'Malaysia'.

And because of your arrogance, intolerance and chauvinist attitude, we will always see you as 'pendatang' simply because there's no Malaysian spirit in you.   There's nothing Malaysian about you.  You are 100% Chinese – racist, chauvinist with a mindset of a communist.    

Malaysia is all about tolerance, acceptance, about give and take.  You benefit a lot from the citizenship that we granted to your forefathers and we benefit from your flair in business.     Thanks to the wisdom of our former leaders, Malaysia managed to achieve as far and as high compared to other countries of the same landscape.

But in spite of these outstanding achievements, DAP is determine to challenge everything about Malaysia that spells 'Malay'.  The irony is that they also insist that they are the true Malaysians.   Such contradiction is laughable. How stupid do you think the Malays and Bumis are to open ourselves to your oppression? You are the stupid ones for trying to show the spirit of true Malaysians by rudely displaying the true spirit of a 'pendatangs'.

Bersih and the Aftermath of Libya

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 09:29 PM PDT


By:  Terrence Fernandez

The Oppositions are quite open on their intention to create turmoil and a coup de tat ala Egypt, Libya or Tunis, in Malaysia.    They call the rebels in those countries as heroes and the destruction that they caused as 'victory' to inspire their supporters to do the same in here.  

And their supporters believe wholeheartedly that Malaysia would be a better place after the fall of the BN government and PR takes over by force.    What they fail to see is that there is no 'victory' in Egypt, Tunis or Libya.   What happened there is that nobody won and everybody failed.

Their economy is destroyed.  The people are still or much more divided than before and there are unrest situation everywhere.   

Of all, Libya faces the worst fate, where NATO offered them 'hell' instead of 'help'.    Babies and kids died of NATO's bombs.  Libyan people who once lived in peace had, in a blink, destroyed their own lives.   Undeniably, no matter how bad they thought of Gaddafi, still, life under Gaddafi was a lot better than now.

In actual fact, Libya is just a repeat lesson.

The world has witnessed the same in Iraq.  The once peaceful and prosperous country was destroyed because some minority groups hated the President so much and some opportunist leaders wanted to become President.    With 'outside' help and support, these groups succeeded in bringing the 'most-hated' President down and even got him trialed and eventually killed by a death sentence.

But that is about all.

Iraq is now destroyed.  The people who had 'won' now realized that they have actually lost everything including the right to their oil resources and most devastatingly, the lives of their loved ones.

Today, the newspaper reported a statement from Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad that "foreign agenda is behind the turmoil in Syria," and he couldn't be more accurate.  

But believe me, without 'ready' traitors, Syria, Malaysia, Libya, Iraq or any country in the world would not have fallen and will never fall into foreign hands.   In Malaysia, the traitors are not invincible, in fact they move about in the open making noise, provoking, creating chaos and spreading lies just to instill hatred and prejudice towards the government and each other.   Malaysiakini, SUARAM, BERSIH are the tools and equipment for them to plant seeds of hatred and prejudism.

We know for a fact that PKR is getting the funds and 'training' from IRI, a CIA linked organization which is behind almost all the political and leadership crisis in the countries where they have 'personal' interest - be it oil, market power or political influence.   

Their standard M.O is to provoke the different ethnics or groups to fight against each other and to increase the pressure until the time is right to let it burst on the streets and forced the country into a state of 'comma' until the current government steps down.  Should they be outnumbered as the majority is most probably still support the government as proven democratically, they would call for 'back-up' in the form of NATO who would then shower the country with bombs.

What the demonstrators don't know is that, the NATO or their leaders do not care if they live or die or if they lost their families and their jobs afterwards.  

This is what happened in Iraq and Libya….and it can and will happen to Malaysia if we let ourselves be fooled by Ambiga, Anwar Ibrahim, Nurul Izzah, Mat Sabu, Lim Kit Siang,Karpal Singh, Malaysiakini, Malaysian Insider, Merdeka Review and all…


Never ending search for the missing

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 08:12 PM PDT

They came in their hundreds in search of their loved ones. Almost all returned empty handed.
Nearly two thousand Tamils have visited the police in the northern Sri Lankan town of Vavunia over the last ten days to find details of those missing during the war and since the military declaring it's victory over Tamil Tigers more than two years ago.

Ten days ago Sri Lankan police announced they will release information about those held by the police to relatives.

Police spokesperson SP Prishantha Jayakody told BBC Sandeshaya that the information will not be made available to "any body other than the close relatives".

Three centres established in the north, south and the capital Colombo will provide details of those held by the police Terrorist Investigation Division (TID), he said.

Only one man out of thousands who went to the centre in Vavunia was told where his son is. As soon as he was told that the detainee is held hundreds of miles away in the southern town of Galle, he rushed to board the first available train out of town.

Due to the large number of relatives approaching the Vavunia centre, police only meet 200 people each day.

Journalists barred by the police were only able to talk to desperate and tearful relatives by the wayside.

Those who were unable to gather information of their missing relatives were desperate.

"My 26 year old son Pradeep was taken by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) when he went to Colombo to get his passport. That's all we know," Mylu Shanmugathas from Tellipalai told the BBC after his search since 2008 drew a blank once again.

Mr. Shanmugathas has been to police stations, military camps and human rights offices in search of his son.

Some were looking for their sole breadwinner.

"There is no one to provide me. Who will look after me or care if I fall ill?" cried a frail looking Tamil woman who said that her son had gone missing since been taken by the police in 2007.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in place since 1979 gives the authorities power to hold detainees for 90 days incommunicado.

The defence secretary is the sole authority to renew or revoke a Detention Order (DO) under the PTA.

Brother of the president Gotabhaya Rajapaksa currently holds the position.
United Nations, European Commission and India alongside human rights organisations have called for the repeal of teh PTA.

TID officials in Vavunia say that they are unable to provide details of the 'dissapeared'.
The Committee for the Investigation (CID) in Sri Lanka say that they have recorded details of over five thousand dissapearances that took place since 2006.

Relatives in Vavunia keep coming to the TID information centre daily with gradually diminishing hope.
Leading the Sri Lankan delegation Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told the UN Human Rights Commission in early July that over five thousand suspected Tamil Tigers are held in what he called rehabilitation centres.

Three killed, nine wounded when Shia minoritites were gunned down in Pakistan.

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 08:09 PM PDT

The shooting happened in Akhtarabad, on the outskirts of Quetta–Photo by AP 
Gunman kills Shia pilgrims in bus attack: police
QUETTA:AFP news in DAWN: A gunman opened fire on a bus carrying Shia Muslim pilgrims in southwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding nine others, police said.
The shooting happened in Akhtarabad, on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of oil and gas-rich Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.
"At least three people were killed and nine others were wounded when one of the four gunmen riding two motorbikes opened fire on a bus carrying Shia pilgrims to Iran," senior local police official Farid Breach told AFP.
He said it appeared to have been a sectarian attack but that the shooting was under investigation.
Local intelligence officials also confirmed the incident and casualties.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Baluchistan is rife with militancy, sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shia Muslims and a regional insurgency waged by separatists.

Dr M blames press for worsening race relations

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 08:06 PM PDT

Dr Mahathir says race relations today are not as good as when he was prime minister. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad blamed press freedom today for poor race relations which, he claimed, had worsened since he stepped down as prime minister in 2003.He said that this was because press freedom has allowed racial and religious tension to ferment in Malaysia.

"Those days we didn't talk so much about race, showing disrespect to others. Today we talk about race and religion, putting a wedge between the different races.

"Race relations today are not as good as when 'a dictator of 22 years' was leading the country," the former prime minister told a forum of chief executives today.MORE TO COME

SMS death threat against Ambiga making its rounds

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 08:04 PM PDT

(Malaysiakini) Several journalists and some members of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) have received an SMS threat late last night and early this morning.

The SMS from the number 601119732179 was sent containing a death threat against Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan as well as leaders of PAS and PKR who may participate in the proposed July 9 rally for electoral reforms.

Ambiga, when contacted by Malaysiakini, confirmed that she had received a similar SMS.

"Yes, I have received it and will make a police report," she said.

ngo pro selangor government rally 230111 ambigaThe SMS in Bahasa Malaysia says: "Korg ni buta hati ke?? buat apa sokong ambiga keling paria haramjadah tu? dia ni kapir laknat. korang tau tak dia ni jadi alat anjing2 politik untuk musnahkan keutuhan melayu. dia kata je nak BERSIH kan SPR. bersih kepala bapak dia.

"puak2 PAS n PKR pun buta tuli n pekak badak.. kalau SPR tak bersih, boleh ke diorang menang kat Sgor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan n perak dulu? DAP cina sial tu pulak lagi haram jahanam. dia tengok je melayu bertekak. hujung2 dia perintah negara ni dan kristiankan kita semua. aku nak kasi amaran kat korang semua.

"kalau perhimpunan ni jadi, aku dan org2 aku akan bunuh ambiga dan korang2 keliling dia satu persatu, termasuklah orang2 politik bangang yg bersekongkol ngan kafir laknat tu.. ini amaran aku. Korang tengokla nanti."
(Don't you have any sense? Why should you support that pariah keling haramjadah Ambiga? She is a scorned infidel. Don't you know that she is a tool of those political dogs who are out to destroy the Malays. She claims she wants to clean up the Election Commission. Clean up her father's head.

These PAS and PKR lots are deaf, dumb, blind and illiterate. If the EC is not clean then how did they win Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Perak? The damned Chinese DAP are even more despicable. They just watch the Malays go at each other's throats. In the end, they will rule the country and Christianise all of us.

I am warning you. If this rally takes place, my people and I will kill Ambiga and you kelings one by one, including these stupid politicians who are hand-in-hand with this scorned infidel... this is my warning. You watch.)
Yet to be told about Bukit Aman meeting
NONELast Sunday, Malay rights pressure group Perkasa had torched and stomped on pictures of Ambiga at a rally, calling her a "Hindu woman".
Meanwhile, Ambiga said that she had yet to receive any notice to go to the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has yesterday announced that Bersih had been summoned to go Bukit Aman over its plan to hold the July 9 rally.

Two other groups - Perkasa and Umno Youth - which vowed to hold counter-rallies have also been summoned.

Mutual agreement for Samy Vellu-MIED case

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 07:59 PM PDT

All parties reached out-of-court settlement and wished to withdraw the suit.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here struck off the case brought by former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam and two others against Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) chairman S Samy Vellu and its trustees.

Judge Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was informed by T Rajasekaran, representing the three plaintiffs, that all parties had reached an out-of-court settlement and wished to withdraw the suit.

Defence counsel Intan Azlina Mazlan confirmed the case had been resolved out of court on May 20.
The court struck out the suit without liberty to file a fresh civil action and made no order on costs.

A High Court interim injunction preventing MIED from admitting new members
until the suit was settled, dated April 18, was also set aside.

Subramaniam and the two other plaintiffs, former MIC Youth chief S Vigneswaran and Kedah MIC deputy chairman S Ganesan had filed the injunction on March 1 against Samy Vellu and nine others, preventing them from increasing MIED's membership pending the MIED's board of trustees meeting onMarch 7 this year.

On March 1, the trio had submitted a requisition to MIED's company secretary to call for the EGM to remove Samy Vellu and T Marimuthu, who werethe signatories of MIED cheques following huge losses suffered by the MIC-owned education institution.

- Bernama

Federal scholarships for undergrads, not SPM top scorers from 2012

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 07:56 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA, June 23 — The Najib administration has decided to only give Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships to university entrants instead of SPM top scorers from 2012 to avoid the distress they have caused in past years.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak however said those who do well in the Form Five SPM examination will receive small bursaries instead to pursue their foundation studies.

"Scholarships will be reserved if you are able to get very good results (at foundation) and (a) place at top universities," said Najib (picture) in an interview with the Chinese-language One FM radio station today.

"Giving out scholarships at SPM level is not a good idea... Just because you do well at O-levels doesn't mean you'll do well at A-levels," he added.

Putrajaya gives out 1,500 scholarships annually and has asked government-linked companies to also offer money for top scorers.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek had said last week public examinations are too easy, leading to a high number of top scorers seeking scholarships.

Asked which universities were deemed "top" institutions, Najib said they would be identified in due course.

The PM also stressed that not all top students will be given overseas scholarships.

"Our universities here need top students as well. Here, we complain our universities are not ranked highly in terms of the world ranking," he said.

"At the same time we insist on sending our top students abroad. It is a contradiction in terms of what we want to achieve," he added.

The ranking of public institutions in Malaysia has dived through the years to the point of dropping out of the top 200 universities in the QS World University Rankings last year.

Six out of seven Malaysian universities, however, improved their ranking on the QS Asian University Rankings this year, with Universiti Malaya climbing three spots to 39th, although no Malaysian university entered the top 10 ranks.

Despite Putrajaya handing out 500 special local scholarships recently on top of the 12,000 PSD grants it gives out annually, many top scorers were still disappointed they did not receive government funding to study overseas.

The main bone of contention in the annual allocation of PSD scholarships centres around the 1,500 overseas grants, of which only 20 per cent are decided based on merit.

Nine hundred are given out based on racial quotas, with Sabah and Sarawak natives getting 75 grants each and the remaining 10 per cent to special needs students.

Kedah Pas Drops Mahfuz Omar And Taib Azzamuddin In State Line-up

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 07:48 PM PDT

ALOR SETAR, June 20 (Bernama) -- PAS vice president, Datuk Mahfuz Omar and the Member of Parliament for Baling, Datuk Taib Azamudden Md Taib have been dropped from their positions as Kedah PAS deputy commissioners II and III for the term 2011/2013.

The decision to drop them was made at the special meeting of the PAS State Liaison Body at the Kedah PAS Complex at Batu 9, Kota Sarang Semut, near here last night.

The Menteri Besar who is also Kedah PAS commissioner, Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak said they were replaced by the State Exco for Health, Dr Ismail Salleh and the former State Assemblyman for Belantek, Md Isa Shafie.

The State Exco for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Ir Phahrolrazi Zawawi was retained as deputy commissioner I while the posts of secretary, treasurer, information chief and state director of election had also been filled with new appointees.

The special officer (Information) to the Menteri Besar, Musoddak Ahmad, was appointed secretary, State Exco for Agriculture Datuk Ir Amiruddin Hamzah (treasurer), and former Kedah PAS secretary, Senator Yusuf Husain (state director of election).

Musoddak took over the post of state PAS secretary from Senator Yusuf who had been appointed Kedah PAS director of elections while Ir Amiruddin replaced State Exco for Religion and Education, Datuk Taulan Mat Rasul.

According to Azizan, the post of information chief, which was previously held by Ir Amiruddin was handed over to his Political Secretary, Mohamad Sanusi Md Nor while the post of assistant secretary went to a Committee Member of the Kedah PAS Youth movement, Aizat Zakaria.

Improving The Odds For Our Disadvantaged Students

Posted: 23 Jun 2011 12:51 AM PDT

Improving The Odds For Our Disadvantaged Students M. Bakri Musa (a target=_blank rel=nofollow href=http://www.bakrimusa.com[link]/a) Students from a disadvantaged background face many challenges; thus it is not a surprise that they lag academically. This has always been true and accepted as normal. The consequence to this acceptance is that the studentsamp;rsquo; disadvantaged background becomes too ready an excuse for teachers and policymakers not to address the issue of widening educational achievement gap, blaming instead such factors as poverty and lack of parental involvement. While those are relevant, there is much that schools, teachers and policymakers can do to turn disadvantaged students into amp;ldquo;resilientamp;rdquo; ones. A recent OECD study, Against The Odds. Disadvantaged Students Who Succeed in School, (a target=_blank rel=nofollow href=http://www.pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/6/12/47092225.pdf[link]/a) confirms this. amp;ldquo;Resilientamp;rdquo; students, as defined by the study, are those from a disadvantaged socio-economic background relative to students in their country, and attain high scores by international standards. Across OECD countries, nearly a third of disadvantaged students are resilient; in Finland and South Korea, nearly half. The bottom line, as the report confidently asserts, is: amp;ldquo;Disadvantaged students can and often do defy the odds against them when given the opportunity to do so.amp;rdquo; Note the reportamp;rsquo;s emphasis. At first glance the report may be stating the obvious. We all can readily recall examples of those from disadvantaged backgrounds who have successfully overcome their many obstacles. Some would attribute their success to their innate ability, sheer grit, and unwavering determination. Those of humbler persuasion would generously credit other factors amp;ndash; talented teachers, superior schools, and opportune openings. This OECD report marshals impressive data to support its contention that when the disadvantaged are given equal opportunities to learn, foster their self confidence, and effectively motivate them, they can exploit their potential. It then carefully collates and sensibly summarizes the experiences of those member countries that have successfully executed their strategies and achieved those desirable objectives. Learning From OECDamp;rsquo;s Experiences Suitably adapted and with some enhancements, Malaysia could usefully adopt the findings of the OECD report. Granted, the disadvantaged in an OECD member country are a universe away physically, economically and in many other ways from their counterparts in Malaysia. Consider that in America students from poor families get free textbooks, transportations and school meals. They are also spared the expenses of uniforms and examination fees. Malaysian parents are burdened by these ancillary expenses. They make a mockery of our amp;ldquo;freeamp;rdquo; schooling. A good beginning would be to get rid of such burdens. We could go further and reward parents who pay attention to their childrenamp;rsquo;s schooling. Brazilamp;rsquo;s Bolsa Escola and Mexicoamp;rsquo;s Progresa pay parents if they were to keep their children in school. Such amp;ldquo;Conditional Cash Transferamp;rdquo; initiatives are powerful incentives. If we pay our poor fishermen and rice farmers to keep their children at school, we would dramatically reduce the dropout rates. If we add a bonus in the form of extra payments if their children were to excel, then watch those parents become diligent in ensuring that their children attend school and do their homework. A universality of the human trait is that we respond to incentives. The secret is to find the right one. For many, it is still cold cash. The key finding of the OECD study is that resilient disadvantaged students attend more regular lessons at school than those who are not. Thus extend the hours of our rural schools to a full day, and increase the number of school days from the current 180 to 220 per year, as in Japan. This means single-session schools. If these disadvantaged children are in school for much of the day, well fed, well taught and well supervised while there, then we could not care less if their parents were unable to help them with the homework or read to them at bedtime. Further, with an extended school day, the afternoon could be devoted to enriching extracurricular activities like athletics and fine arts. Thus instead of loitering in the afternoon or otherwise getting into mischief, they would be in school practicing their music or participating in sports. Those extracurricular activities help nurture a more wholesome development; they are also true and tried confidence builders. Nurturing Self-Confidence As for self-confidence, the OECD report emphasized the importance of instilling this, especially in disadvantaged children. This cannot be achieved merely by participating in cheerleading rallies and endlessly proclaiming our supposed glorious past. Instead, and this is another key finding of the report, resilient students spend more time studying science. Excelling in science boosts their self-confidence; this in turn spills over in other areas. This benefit is particularly pronounced with disadvantaged students; the more disadvantaged they are, the more they benefited. Resilient students spend more class hours on the subject. In France, Germany and the Netherlands these students spend an hour and 45 minutes more in science classes per week than disadvantaged low-achievers. Thus we must not only expand the school day of our rural schools, which are mostly attended by disadvantaged children, but also increase substantially the hours devoted to science classes. Their enhanced literacy in science, apart from boosting their self-confidence, would also greatly improve their employability later in life. For disadvantaged Malay students, another effective way of boosting their self-confidence would be to enhance their English proficiency. Our leaders endlessly exhort our students to learn English, as if that can simply be wished upon or achieved by waving a magic wand. Instead we should, as the experience with science proficiency of resilient students in OECD countries demonstrates, devote more hours to the subject. Additionally, more subjects should be taught in English so students could practice their English skills outside their language classes. In this regard, the greatest burden of the recent decision to end the teaching of science and mathematics in English falls disproportionately on our rural (meaning, Malay) students, the very group our leaders profess to champion. That fluency in English could greatly boost a studentamp;rsquo;s confidence is dramatically demonstrated in California. The state has a large number of immigrant children with severely disadvantaged backgrounds and who cannot speak English. In the days of bilingual education they would be taught in their mother tongue (most commonly Spanish) as well as English. That policy ended with the passage of an amp;ldquo;English Onlyamp;rdquo; referendum in 1998. Today these students have to spend their first year in an English immersion class, and only when they are sufficiently fluent would they join the regular stream. The results of that experiment are now clear. Whereas in the past these pupils would perpetually be handicapped by their limited English ability and remain at the bottom of their class right up to their final years in school, with the mandatory immersion classes, their ability to speak and write English improved quickly. That boosted their self-confidence, which in turn spills over onto other areas. Today those students readily mix in the playground with the other children and fully engaged socially and other ways while at school. In the past they would segregate themselves as they felt inadequate; they had low self-esteem because of their language handicap. Today no one would wish to return to the bad old days of bilingual education, most of all those children and their parents. Californiaamp;rsquo;s success, now widely acknowledged, directly contradicts the opinion of a widely quoted UNESCO study that purported to show that mother tongue-based bilingual education has a positive impact on learning and learning outcomes. The self-confidence of Malay students would similarly be boosted if they were to be fluent in English. We could achieve this by replicating Californiaamp;rsquo;s experience of English-immersion classes. We had something akin to that with our amp;ldquo;Special Malayamp;rdquo; and amp;ldquo;Removeamp;rdquo; classes of yore. Better yet, bring back the old English schools back to our rural areas where the need for enhanced English fluency is the greatest. If we supplement that with an increase in the hours they stay in school, enrich the curriculum to devote more hours to science, and have a full offering of extracurricular activities to include sports and the performing arts like music and drama, then While parental and social factors are important, there is much that our schools and teachers can and should do to improve the current abysmal academic performance of our kampong kids. The key lies with the teachers and schools. In the next essay I will explore the experiences of those countries that have highly effective schools and how they have managed to attract the best to be teachers. Learn from the experiences of the OECD countries. If we adopt the measures discussed here, then watch the miracles unfolding in our rural students. We can break the link between disadvantaged background and low academic achievement. Next: Attracting the Best To Teaching

Hema (Student) looking for financial aid

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 07:53 AM PDT

Dear Sir / Madam, br p First and foremost, the reason I am opposing this mail is to ask for your br kindness to provide financial aid both for my education and family purpose. br pI am from a broken family where my mother is a single parent. My father left the br family when I was 9 years old and apparently its been almost 9 years now and my