- When Will Najib Call For Polls?
- MRT: Chinatown Land Acquisition
- Bersih: Now Ministry of Health Abdicates Responsibility
Posted: 10 Aug 2011 08:42 AM PDT
Bursa bloodbath gives Najib pause on polls
By Shannon Teoh August 10, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — With some RM91 billion slashed from the stock market since last Monday (over eight days), Datuk Seri Najib Razak faces yet another global financial meltdown ahead of general elections — due in less than two years.
Although the prime minister was said to be mulling snap polls as early as the end of the year, politicians and analysts say that economic factors are now firmly out of his hands, with him hanging on to his Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) projects only for a rebound next year.
"These projects are his only defence against the storm clouds on the horizon," said Jupiter Securities research head Pong Teng Siew, stating that Najib (picture) will only go to the ballot boxes after the ETP bites.
But DAP's Tony Pua, one of the opposition's top economic spokespersons, said that Najib is "hamstrung" as he heads into the pre-election period.
"In the last two years, he has been able to rely on high oil prices to bankroll public spending but that is not going to happen this time as the global slowdown will hit oil prices and our exports.
"This is Najib's worst nightmare. The perfect storm is brewing and he can only hope to wait it out," the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said.
For full article on The Malaysian Insider, click here.
Posted: 09 Aug 2011 08:43 AM PDT
Traders and shop owners express their opposition to the proposed acquisition
of their properties for the MRT today. — Picture by Jack Ooi
Chinatown businesses suspicious over MRT acquisition
By Melissa Chi August 09, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Traders and shop owners in the historic tourist enclave of Chinatown expressed outrage today over government plans to acquire properties in the area, and are bracing themselves for the destruction of heritage buildings to make way for the Klang Valley MRT (KVMRT) project.
To date, 34 units have been served compulsory acquisition notices to make way for the KVMRT project, which runs along Jalan Sultan and Jalan Petaling, cutting through the arch that bears the name "Petaling Street" in three languages.
"That means they are trying to chak jiu pai (shut down our business) and cheong ngo dei ge fan woon (steal our livelihood)," said Daniel Wong, a trader who owns multiple properties in the area, during the first meeting with the traders last week. "How can we just stand by and watch?"
Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun met with the traders today at the Lok Ann Coffee Shop, located in a building which will be acquired as well, and encouraged them to step up their protests and be vocal about their dissatisfaction over the acquisitions.
"Chinatown has witnessed the development of KL. It's been around for a hundred years," he said, adding that it was not right for the government to just take their businesses and properties from them. "All we can do now is protest against it."
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, who was also present to speak with the traders, told The Malaysian Insider that there was no reason for the government to acquire the land specifically for the MRT project.
"The MRT station is actually located a block away, so these shops are actually not above the MRT station itself. They are above the tunnel track but because the tunnel is actually 100 feet below ground, there is no reason for the government to acquire these particular shop lots. So the only reason why they would want to acquire these shop lots is so that they can profit from the appreciation resulting from the construction of the MRT system.
"We disagree with this kind of mechanism for the simple reason that when the government builds infrastructure, it's meant to benefit the people in and around the area. You cannot, just because you build the infrastructure, claim that all the profits have to go to the government," he said.
For the full article in The Malaysian Insider, click here.
Posted: 08 Aug 2011 08:54 AM PDT
Tung Shin probe a whitewash, says DAP
By Shannon Teoh August 08, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — The DAP has accused the authorities of sweeping under the rug the firing of tear gas and water cannons into the Tung Shin hospital compound during the July 9 Bersih rally.
Although Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had ordered a "high-level" ministry probe into the incident, publicity chief Tony Pua (picture) said he was informed by the Health Ministry on August 5 that it was now "joining the police in building an investigation report that will be held soon."
"The minister initially delegated his responsibility to his secretary-general. Now the whole ministry is delegating to the police.
"After more than a month since Bersih, all the police have done is release some heavily-edited video clips to show how nice they were. The Health Ministry has got no courage to declare the truth," the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said.
Party international secretary Liew Chin Tong also accused the police of "trying to rewrite history with its own version of what happened."
"It is regrettable that police can still refuse to accept responsibility and admit its mistake," the Bukit Bendera MP told reporters today.
In the aftermath of the rally that saw tens of thousands dispersed by police with tear gas and water cannons, Liow ordered the probe on July 14 after a group of medical consultants had written to the media refuting the hospital board and police who claimed that no gas canisters or water cannons were fired directly into the hospital.
The MCA deputy president had initially agreed with the hospital but then ordered the probe, stating that patient security and hospital safety were paramount.
Pua, Liew, Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching and Zairil Khir Johari, the political secretary to the DAP's secretary general, had offered themselves as witnesses to the Health Ministry, which Liow had accepted and forwarded to the committee.
But Pua said he received a call from Bukit Aman on August 5, asking him to record his statement on the Tung Shin incident and to "bring along the other three."
On the same day, the Health Ministry wrote to him asking him to co-operate in the "inquiry and investigation," which the letter said was now being done with the police.
Police had absolved themselves of any wrongdoing during the July 9 rally after setting up six internal teams to investigate claims of police brutality that followed after nearly 1,700 were arrested, scores injured and an ex-solider died during chaotic scenes in the capital.
However, they admitted on July 21 that Tung Shin was hit with tear gas canisters and water cannons during the rally, but denied shooting directly into the compound.
Federal police internal security and public order director Datuk Salleh Mat Rashid said that shots were only fired "nearby" the hospital compound on July 9, and speculated that the wind caused by the rain probably caused the tear gas and water cannons to enter the hospital compound.
However this statement flies in the face of various video clips uploaded on the YouTube video-sharing site showing water cannons and tear gas fired into the hospital.
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