- Zahid Hamidi and Papagomo: What's the Link?
- Najib Hypocritical Over Civil Service
- Call for Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence
- Health Minister Confirms E.Coli in 1Malaysia Fresh Milk
- Low Cost KLIA2 Turned High Cost
- Did the Cost of KLIA2 Double?
- 1MDB Got Sg Besi Land for a Steal
- Ismail Sabri and KR1M Victimises the Poor
- 1Malaysia Growing Up Milk: Legal or Safe?
- KR1M Product Quality Issues
Posted: 12 Dec 2011 07:30 AM PST
The presence of blogger Papagomo on board KD Tun Razak Scorpene submarine proved that Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi is an incorrigible liar, for he had promised Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng that Papagomo will not be on board the submarine.
Zahid had even told reporters that no bloggers were on board claiming that "If we allowed any blogger to go, others would ask, too".
However Papagomo's blogpost with pictures has proven beyond doubt that Zahid is not only untrustworthy, Papagomo is the numero uno Umno blogger, hatchetman and special advisor to the Defence Minister, or the latter would not have been allowed on board the high security submarine.
The Defence Minister hasn't only lied to Lim Guan Eng about Papagomo's presence, he had earlier promise the Penang Chief Minister that he would accompany the latter for the ride, but reneged on the promise last minute.
Zahid had also earlier this year made unbelievable and scurrilous allegations againts me when he alleged that I was previously arrested and charged in Singapore which disqualified me from becoming a Member of Parliament in the city state. He had further claimed that it was due to my connections with the Singapore authorities that I was released and returned to Malaysia to become an elected representative here.
Such fantastic stories can only originate from an Umno blogger extraordinaire, who had also started the despicable and fictitious allegations that Lim Guan Eng's son was forced to transfer school due to sexual assault and Lim Guan Eng had paid money to cover up the case. It was later proven beyond doubt that Papagomo and his cohorts had made up the allegations when the alleged victim was a foreigner never to have stepped onto the shores of Penang.
The fact that Papagomo possesses such exclusive privilege with the Defence Minister who is also the most senior Umno Vice-President confirms his position as the latter's inner-circle confidante.
Papagomo 's privilege is a clear cut case of abuse of power and the Defence Minister must answer to all Malaysians for his lies and his intimate association with one of the most despicable of Umno bloggers.
Zahid has singled me out for criticism for not having gone on the submarine sojourn. I was overseas for the past week and was unable to make the trip to Langkawi. However, as pointed out by Lim Guan Eng, going on the dive will only prove the dedication and professionalism of the Malaysian Navy, which was never in doubt. It will give people like Papagomo the bragging rights but does not at all answer our questions over the seemingly exhorbitant billions of ringgit paid, as well as the hundreds of millions of "commissions" made to interested parties.
Posted: 09 Dec 2011 07:32 AM PST
The Prime Minister has the cheek to inflame racial sentiments among the Malays by accusing the opposition of wanting to trim the civil service when it is the BN Government who will chop 29,000 civil servants starting next year
The Prime Minister had in his speech a Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Pekida) gathering 3 days ago accused and berated the opposition of wanting to "halve the civil service" which is majority Malay.
Firstly, there was never any proposal from Pakatan Rakyat to "halve the civil service". I had suggested in reply to questions from an audience in a forum that we could consider early optional retirement and the removal of those who had breached discipline and regulations, such as those who purchased RM1,940 binoculars for RM56,350. I had even emphasized that drastic measures are out of the question because we would need the cooperation of the civil service to govern effectively should Pakatan Rakyat take power in the next general elections.
But secondly and more importantly, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has proven himself to be a hypocrite of the highest degree when two days after his speech, the Public Service Department (JPA) under the Prime Minister's office announced 29,000 redundancies in the civil service.
Under the new civil service scheme "Saraan Baru Perkhidmatan Awam (SBPA)", not only did the Barisan Nasional government made redundant thousands of civil servants, JPA also announced that those who were assessed with 70 marks or less for their performance will be given warnings. And if their performance does not improve in 6 months, then they will be removed from the service automatically via an "exit policy".
The Director-General of JPA, Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah had also emphasized during the announcement that the new exit policy will affect all 1.4 million civil servants in the country.
The above civil service downsizing attempts by the BN administration is consistent with Najib's Government Transformation Programme (GTP) which said "the Government will move towards a new model of smaller government" (page 240). Similarly, Najib's cornerstone New Economic Model (NEM) Part II had called for a "reduced government role" which will involve "downsizing and re-focussing" (page 55).
Hence the above proved that the Prime Minister and his fellow UMNO leaders were just mere political opportunists in portraying Pakatan Rakyat as anti-civil service by inflaming racial sentiments using racist arguments.
It is UMNO who is culling the civil service today and yet they had the cheek to claim that Pakatan Rakyat and myself are racists. Dato' Seri Najib Razak has taken an extreme racial position in this matter, and together with other aspects of his speech which pits Malays against non-Malays, he is fighting to retain power at all costs, even if it means spreading vicious lies and even signing the death warrant for his 1Malaysia policy.
Posted: 07 Dec 2011 07:35 AM PST
The Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi yesterday dismissed the need for a bi-partisan parliamentary oversight committee over defence expenditure, claiming that he "is confident in the ability and transparency of the evaluation committee of the three branches of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM)".
Such contemptuous arrogance towards parliamentary oversight over defence expenditure which amounts to tens of billions of ringgit annually has proven Transparency International (TI) right by scoring Malaysia at only 4.5 points out of a maximum of 12, or only 37.5%, well below the failure mark. This was the score given in the inaugural "Transparency of Defence Budgets Report" launched on 19 November 2011.
Director of the International Defence and Security Program for TI in United Kingdom, Mark Pyman, who launched the report in Subang Jaya said "Malaysia ranked far below other countries (for this), where the budget lacked details and no audits were undertaken of the secret programmes."
Malaysia is ranked alongside Afghanistan, Rwanda, Georgia and Azerbaijan in the report, well below other countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The results of the research indicate that approximately 14 per cent of the countries under review in this study scored high and these are primarily developed countries with strong democratic systems in place.
The Minister's disdain towards transparency and accountability is best epitomised in his reply to the question which I had posed in the recently concluded parliamentary sitting. I had asked for the Minister to explain the gap between the RM7.55 billion paid for 257 armoured personnel carriers to Deftech Sdn Bhd, and what latter will be paying to FNSS Defences Systems, a Turkish defence manufacturer – RM1.7 billion for the same items. Deftech is a subsidiary of DRB-Hicom Bhd based in Pekan, a company controlled by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Syed Bokhari.
The Minister had acknowledged the above transactions, but had the gall to claim "no knowledge" of the details of the Deftech-FNSS transactions and hence was not able to explain what makes the difference in the 2 contracts. The Minister was also not forthcoming in explaining other sizeable transactions such as the RM6 billion purchase of 6 Second Generation Patrol Vessels as well as the RM2.3 billion acquisition of 12 Eurocopter EC725 helicopters.
The answer most often given by the Minister and defence officials to justify the much higher pricing had been that the military equipment were "customised to our specific needs". Mark Pyman had stated that it is in the best interests of the government that customisation is kept at a bare minimum as it disproportionately drives costs up. He said that "it doubles the base price before you can say good morning. It's not value for money, difficult and dangerous".
However the best justification for a Parliamentary Oversight committee is the annual litany of scandals and transgressions reported in the Auditor-General Report on the Defence Ministry.
We call upon the Government to honour the Prime Minister's Government Transformation Plan (GTP) which pledged for transparency and accountability by setting up the Parliament Select Committee on Defence, modelled after the United States House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations which looks after defence policies as well as the US Defense Budget Appropriation Committees which review and approve detailed defence expenditure.
Otherwise, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi's contemptuous attitude towards transparency and accountability marks the lack of honesty and sincerity by the Prime Minister to honour his GTP pledges.
Posted: 05 Dec 2011 07:36 AM PST
The developments over the past few days, including the dialogue between the Health Ministry with the Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah Anwar and myself have proven that there are serious concerns over the food safety of 1Malaysia products.
The Health Minister, Dato' Seri Liow Tiong Lai has finally confirmed the presence of e.coli bacteria in the 1Malaysia fresh milk yesterday. However, he had attempted to downplay the incident by claiming that most of the other 13 products were withdrawn over "labelling" issues and not over food safety concerns. The list of products included all the products which we have raised which had quality issues or failed to comply with Food Regulations 1985 – fresh milk, ice-cream, evaporated milk, sweetened creamer, ghee, fruit jam, oyster sauce, tinned sardines and curry chicken.
He was quoted in The Star as saying "the products were removed due to non-compliance with food regulations such as incomplete labelling, he said, stressing that it was not due to food safety matters." In fact, most shockingly The Star had made absolutely no mention of the e.coli find.
Various strains of the E.coli or Escherichia coli bacteria produce potentially lethal toxins which causes common food-related illness such as diarrhoea, and at its worst, even deaths have been recorded.
Instead of giving a severe warning or even taking punitive action against the supplier of the harmful food products – where under the Food Act 1983 the supplier is subjected to a "fine not exceeding RM100,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years", the Minister chose to go on a rant against me for exposing the 1Malaysia food products scandal.
The Minister must realise that it is his responsibility to enforce the food safety and quality standards of products sold in our stores and not the role of the opposition members of parliament. The fact that the stores were selling all of the above products over the past 6 months proved that the Minister had failed in his role, most likely because these products were sold under the "1Malaysia" brand which was heavily promoted by the Prime Minister and the Government.
Had it not been due to the exposé by the Pakatan Rakyat MPs and the subsequent public pressure, no action would have been taken. Hence Dato' Seri Liow Tiong Lai must not try to downplay the incident or deflect responsibility by trying to put the blame on us instead.
On the other hand, we would call upon the Minister to make the public announcement to be printed in ALL mainstream newspapers for all consumers who have purchased the products to return the items to Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia stores for a full refund. That is the very least the Minister could do for the ordinary Malaysians, if he has decided not to take further action against the supplier(s) of the offending products.
Posted: 01 Dec 2011 07:38 AM PST
Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAB) had confirmed fears that the cost of KLIA2 has effectively doubled from less than RM2 billion to a massive RM3.9 billion and will only be completed at the earliest in April 2012, a delay of more than 8 months.
MAHB admitted increases in scope in practically all elements of the airport were increased significantly causing the cost of building the airport to balloon. The KLIA2 airport terminal for example, for increased from the original 2 storeys to the new 9 storey's building, costing an additional RM420 million. At the same time, the footprint of the airport increased by 130.7% which caused a whopping RM670 million extra. In addition, there was an increase of RM530 million just for the construction of buildings of government agencies.
The biggest question must be, were all these major expansion of scope justified? Underlying MAHB Managing Director, Tan Sri Bahsir Ahmad Abdul Majid's basis for the cost increase was for the new airport terminal to cater to 45 million passengers, as opposed to the original 30 million. Hence the increase in cost for the airport is just a case of "bring forward the capex".
The Ministry of Transport must justify the approval for such a massive increase in capacity which involved MAHB raising RM2.5 billion in debt in 2010 when the current passenger traffic at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) is only 15.4 million. What's more, even the current main KLIA terminal which has a capacity for 25 million passengers received 18.7 million passengers or 74.8% of the capacity. As a gauge, the Dubai airport, which is one of the busiest hub in the world today, served 47 million passengers while Changi Airport served 42 million in 2010.
Essentially, what MAHB is building is a terminal 80% larger than the current main terminal! In addition, the provision for super-scale A380 operations, walkalators, fully automated baggage handing system, substantially larger commercial space including a public shopping mall, provision for 4 hotels excluding an Airside Transit Hotel and a premium lounge gives the impression that KLIA2 is a "replacement" for the KLIA Main Terminal today, instead of being a new Low-cost carrier terminal!
The Ministry of Transport and MAHB appears to have gotten the concept of a "low-cost" terminal completely wrong and have obviously not been able to adapt and cater to the new business model despite demands from the low-cost carriers. Their penchant to spend big money for grandeur has resulted in Malaysia missing a true and rare opportunity to bring about a game-changing transformation for the Malaysian aviation sector.
What is more, shareholders of MAHB, including Khazanah and the Government must question MAHB's reckless expenditure – for if the passenger tax will not be increased as a result of the massive expansion of cost as asserted by Tan Sri Ahmad Bashir, then effectively, the returns to MAHB would have reduced by nearly half as a result of the doubling of costs. One could also argue that had MAHB not overspent on KLIA2, then there would have been no need for the recent 28% increase in airport taxes from RM25 to RM32 at LCCT and RM41 to RM65 at the main airport terminal, which resulted in lower competitiveness for Malaysia.
What is more important for MAHB is to improve the efficiency, service and other intangible qualities of our airport in the region instead of being obsessed with everything "big". It is unfortunately that Malaysia today serves fewer passengers today than most of our regional competitors – Indonesia (44 million), Singapore (42 million), Bangkok (43 million) and Hong Kong (50 million) – compared to KLIA's (Main Terminal and LCCT combined) 34 million.
The Ministry of Transport must give an assurance that there will be no further cost increases and no further delays in the construction and operations of KLIA2 which will further jeopardise our leadership in the increasingly competitive low-cost carrier industry.
Posted: 23 Nov 2011 07:42 AM PST
It was reported on the front page of The Edge Financial Daily yesterday that the cost of KLIA2, or the new low-cost terminal has ballooned to more than RM4 billion or more than double its original budget.
The severe cost overrun is shocking and shows that the Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha has failed in his responsibilities to keep the cost of its projects. MCA Ministers of Transport has a history of failing miserably in managing project costs which has resulted in the rakyat having to bear the burden of billions of ringgit in cost overruns such as the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone, the RM5.8 billion Ipoh-Rawang double-tracking railway and the purchase of substandard train systems for KTM Bhd at inflated prices.
Now it appears that the KLIA2 project will be added to the list of MCA Transport Minister's incompetence. The consequences of such extravagance will be enormous as the higher cost will either be translated into higher airport taxes and charges – hurting both domestic consumers and international passengers, and ultimately our tourism industry. Or if the charges are kept at currently levels, then the cost burden will be shifted to the Government which has to unnecessarily subsidise the airport via soft loans, grants or drastically reduced financial returns from the project owner, Malaysia Airports Bhd (MAB).
It is worthwhile to note that in early 2009, Sime Darby, in partnership with AirAsia had proposed to build a new KLIA low-cost airport in Labu at the cost of only RM1.6 billion without costing the Government a single sen. However, the plan was scrapped by the Government, partly because MAB had promised to build a new terminal at KLIA at the cost of less than RM2 billion by June 2011.
Therefore the Minister of Transport must provide full clarification and justification as to why he has failed to manage and control the cost of the new airport. He must also explain why the project has been delayed to April 2012 as announced by the MAB Managing Director, Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad in August this year, and whether there will be any further costly delays to the project.
If Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha does not respond to parliament in a transparent and accountable manner, I will be formally requesting the Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor-General's office to investigate the project to find out the real reasons for the massive RM4 billion KLIA2 scandal.
Posted: 23 Nov 2011 07:40 AM PST
Did the Government subsidise 1MDB by more than RM3 billion by "selling" the 495 acres of prime land in Sg Besi to 1MDB for only RM1.6 billion?
We would like to call upon the Government to confirm that the 495 acres of land in Sg Besi, or the existing RMAF Sungai Besi airfield has been sold in June this year to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) for RM1.6 billion or only RM74.20 per square feet.
If true, then this prime land is sold without any tender to 1MDB at a ridiculously low price at the expense of the Government tax payers.
Recently, the Penang state government has conducted an open tender for 101 acres of land, of which 65% of the area still needs to be reclaimed. The winner of the bid offered RM1.07 billion or RM240 per sq ft.
There can be no doubt that the land in Sg Besi surrounded by developed infrastructure will be worth well in excess of the market price of land in Penang, given its unbeatable location in Kuala Lumpur. At RM240 per sq ft, the Sg Besi land should already be worth a whopping RM5.2 billion. Despite its high potential valuation, the Government has chosen to transfer the land to 1MDB for only RM1.6 billion or RM3.6 billion less.
It would not be a far from the truth to say that the land could be worth a lot more given its development potential compared to other pieces of land in Kuala Lumpur which are valued at in excess of RM500 per sq ft.
The sale of land to 1MDB at such subsidised and preferential prices will only lead to the loss of revenue to the government for additional investments and programmes for the people. In addition, any profits generated by 1MDB as a result of development on Sg Besi will be inflated as it was handed the land at bargain basement prices.
The Prime Minister has clearly failed to meet his own promise of "open tenders" and maximising income from undeveloped land. Just before he took over the premiership, he was reported in The Star (5 Nov 2008) to have said:
Open tenders to ensure transparency and value for money as well as to generate more income will be the way forward for the Government. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Government would ensure that a large portion of government procurement would be via open and restricted tenders... Najib said that the Government planned to maximise income on all its existing assets, including on parcels of land that have not been developed, via open tender.
On the contrary, it is the Pakatan Rakyat Penang state government which has walked the talk by practising its policy of "Competency, Accountability and Transparency" by implementing open tenders which have maximised revenue for the state government on its assets. This in turns allow the state to implement additional development and welfare programmes to help the man on the street.
We call upon the Government to disclose in full the terms of the agreement on all land sale to 1MDB and explain why 1MDB has been given such unfair preferential treatment, which will in turn only crowd out investments from the private sector.
Posted: 18 Nov 2011 07:44 AM PST
Pakatan Rakyat MPs are the real heroes fighting for the interest of Malays and poor Malaysians by exposing the substandard and illegal products being peddled by BN Ministers as "cheap" and "quality" products comparable to branded goods
Pakatan Rakyat members of parliament have over the past 2 weeks exposed the fact that many of the goods sold in Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) were not only substandard, illegal and unhealthy, many of these products were also not cheaper than products sold in existing hypermarkets.
We were criticised by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister, Dato' Ismail Sabri as being unfair by not comparing "apple to apple", that is we should not be comparing 1Malaysia products with house-branded products from Tesco, Giant or Carrefour.
However, we have proven that the comparison was indeed not "apple to apple" for products such as the "oyster sauce" because the sauce from Tesco contained real oyster extracts, the 1Malaysia product had only flavouring and no oysters.
At the same time, the comparison of 1Malaysia milk powder with that of Nestlé's Nespray 1+ demonstrated not only a far inferior product but also the fact that the latter was 24% cheaper than the former. The 1Malaysia milk powder was short of at least 15 legally required vitamins and minerals, deficient in calcium and iron and provided a 802% overdose of Vitamin A, putting at real risk our very young children.
Instead of facing up to the problems, Dato' Ismail Sabri has chosen to go on an inflammatory rant calling Pakatan Rakyat MPs, DAP and myself racists for allegedly being anti-Malay in our exposés.
Dato' Ismail Sabri said on his Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1631334090) and Twitter on Tuesday 15th November 2011 that
"tony phua DAP ni masih tk habis2 menfitnah KRIM. kini dgn tuduhan tdk berkualiti. semlm isu ini tlh dijwb oleh Mydin & pembekal IKS. jelas agenda DAP yg ingin menguburkan KRIM yg rata2 supplier nya terdiri dari IKS bumiputra. Rata2 pembeli nya terdiri dari gol berpendapatan rendah bumiputra. Mydin pun bumiputra. malangnya ada bumiputra spt nurul izah & zulkifli 'menyalak' bagi pihak DAP.."
The racist accusations made by the Minister is not only completely baseless, it is the complete opposite of what the Pakatan Rakyat MPs are trying to achieve. By exposing the list of poor quality and illegal products which do not meet the minimum legal standards set out in the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985, it is Pakatan Rakyat that is truly fighting for the interest of the mostly Malay consumers at KR1M as well as other poor Malaysians.
If not for our exposés, many Malays and other poor Malaysians will still be consuming poor quality oyster sauce, evaporated millk, ice-cream, sardines and fruit jam sold at KR1M. What is worse, if not for Pakatan Rakyat highlighting the shocking deficiencies of the 1Malaysia children's milk powder which resulted in the product's withdrawal yesterday, a whole generation of Malay and poor Malaysian children might end up suffering from malnutrition, disease and poor physical development.
It is the BN Ministers like Dato' Ismail Sabri who are more than willing to sacrifice the interest of ordinary Malays and Malaysians by giving unsubstantiated "guarantees" on the quality of KR1M products and pander to the monetary and vested interest of certain businessmen.
The fact that Dato' Ismail Sabri's ministry is going to subsidize the KR1M stores to the tune of RM40 million in 2012 to sell some of these products to ordinary Malaysians without first ensuring strict quality control over the products shows that BN Ministers are only keep to score political goals with KR1M. They are not at all interested in the welfare of Malaysians, especially the Malays, who will suffer the most.
Posted: 16 Nov 2011 07:49 AM PST
KEY TAKE AWAYS FROM PRODUCT COMPARISON BETWEEN 1MALAYSIA AND NESPRAY 1+ GROWING UP MILK POWDER BASED ON THE FOOD REGULATIONS 1985 – REGULATION 389A TWENTY-FIRST SCHEDULE ON FOLLOW-UP FORMULA
A. Completely missing key nutrients from 1Malaysia Growing Up Milk Powder per Food Regulations 1985 based on "follow-up formula" for infants 6 months and above to 3 years old:
B. Grossly inadequate quantity of certain key nutrients
C. Grossly excessive quantity of Vitamin A
D. KR1M is more expensive than Nespray 1+
Although there are differences in packing sizes (small packs are usually relatively more expensive) but a per gram calculation of a 300g pack of KR1M milk powder versus a 1kg pack of Nespray 1+ showed a remarkable price difference of 23.8%, that is, Nespray 1+ is cheaper.
E. Contradictory ingredients between English and Bahasa Malaysia Version
On the ingredients labelling, the Bahasa Malaysia version says "pepejal susu rendah lemak" but the English version says "instant wholemilk powder". So is it "susu rendah" or "wholemilk"?
Posted: 12 Nov 2011 07:54 AM PST
Click for a larger image (or open image in new window) to read
Food Act 1983 Offences
Offence: Clause 13 - Food containing substances injurious to health
Penalty: Fine not exceeding RM100,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years
Offence: Clause 13B(2)(e) - "Adulterated food" – non-compliance with the standard or specification prescribed by any regulations made under this Act.
Penalty: Fine not exceeding RM20,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years
Offence: Clause 14 - Prohibition against sale of food not of the nature, substance or quality demanded.
Penalty: Unspecified fine and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years
Offence: Clause 15 - Labelling etc., not complying with standard of food
Penalty: Unspecified fine and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years
Offence: Clause 16 - False labelling
Penalty: Unspecified fine and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years
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