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Selangor ready with offers for water players February 13, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Economy, Malaysia.
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SELANGOR READY WITH OFFERS FOR WATER PLAYERS
By Yong Min Wei, The Edge Daily

In a move to prevent a tariff hike and takeover of water assets by the federal government, the Selangor state government is ready to make formal takeover offers to the four water concessionaires in the state.

According to a statement yesterday, the state executive council (exco) has agreed to issue an offer letter within two days to the four concessionaires — Konsortium ABASS Sdn Bhd, Puncak Niaga (M) Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash) and Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas).

Puncak Niaga and Syabas are controlled by Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd which is listed. ABASS is controlled by Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Bhd (KPS) while Gamuda is among the shareholders of Splash.

The state government came up with the valuation six months after embarking on a study of a restructuring scheme of all water assets in the state.

“It must be emphasised that the state government, through a special panel formed to study the restructuring process for the Selangor water industry, has made a detailed study into the valuation of all the assets and equities of the companies concerned,” said the statement issued by the media secretariat of the Menteri Besar’s Office.

“The state government feels that the offer to be made to all the concessionaires is fair and took into account the interest of all parties. No party would lose out from the offer. In fact, the profit rate given to the concessionaires is quite reasonable,” the statement added.

The state government said it wanted to ensure that the restructuring exercise would be smoothly implemented with the aim of bringing maximum benefit to its citizens.

“The main priority is to make the best decision in the name of public interest,” the state government pointed out.

It hoped that all parties would agree to the offer so that their restructuring process could be implemented before March 31, as ordered by the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications.

It also said everyone’s cooperation could help prevent a water tariff hike which would surely be a burden to the public, especially during this time of economic hardship.

Last week, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim confirmed that he had asked Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shahziman Abu Mansor to terminate Syabas’ 30-year Selangor water concession agreement as the water distributor had allegedly violated the terms of the concession agreement.

The agreement, from Jan 1, 2005 to Dec 31, 2034, was signed between the federal government, the Selangor government and Syabas. Puncak Niaga has 70% equity in Syabas while the remaining 30% is held by Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB).

In an earlier report, Shahziman said the Selangor water service assets were worth RM5.5 billion and included main pipes, water treatment plants and water catchment areas. The assets belonged to the Selangor government and the four water concessionaires concerned, he said.

The minister noted that consumers in Selangor risked paying 37% higher water tariff should the state government fail to hand over its water service assets to Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB) by March.

According to the plan, PAAB would take over the assets and lease them back to the concessionaires who would operate the assets.

The handing over by Selangor to PAAB, which is under the Finance Ministry, was aimed at reducing the financial burden of water management in Selangor, which also supplies water to Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

As the restructuring of the water assets involves the people, the statement said that the Mentri Besar’s office would hold a briefing for the public so that they understand the issues at hand which required detailed analyses.

欢迎学巴30%附加费展3月,津贴柴油价至RM1.00 January 6, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Economy.
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新闻文告
2009年1月6日

致:新闻编辑

人民公正党全国妇女组宣传主任兼雪州行政议员黄洁冰于2009年1月6日星期二所发表的文告:

欢迎学巴30%附加费展3月,津贴柴油价至RM1.00

(沙阿南6日讯)掌管旅游、消费人与环境的雪州行政议员黄洁冰欢迎大马学生车联合会暂缓征收30%附加费措施至今年3月1日,并且呼吁中央政府体恤学生车业者的困境,把津贴柴油的价格降到RM1.00,让业者与家长可以达到双赢的局面。

学生车联合会考虑到农历新年将至,家长负担加重而而做出明智的决定,是值得赞扬与肯定。随着学生车的经营成本提高,同业之间的恶性竞争和政府当局苛刻的条例,已经把学生车业者逼到垂死挣扎的边缘。

令人遗憾的是商用车辆执照局主席拿督玛吉曼不但没有投桃报李的回应学生车联合会的善意,反而扬言在1月5日(星期一)开始在全国展开联合取缔行动,对付征收附加费的学生车。拿督玛吉曼应该仔细研究学生车联合会所呈交的备忘录,并且聆听与了解业者所面对的困境,一起与业者商讨如何在保障广大学生家长利益的当儿,可以协助业者渡过难关。

中央政府既然早在去年9月已经同意其他公共车辆,特别是长途巴士征收30%附加费,为什么现在却不批准学生车业者的要求?这不就是双重标准吗?更何况是学生车业者并不像长途巴士业者般有大型企业的撑腰,理应得到政府更多的协助与支持。

因此,当务之急是中央政府应该马上把津贴柴油价格降到RM1.00,以舒缓学生车业者的营业压力。更重要的是这项措施不只是对于政府所推行的”降价运动”可以有立竿见影的效果,也可以造福广大的学生家长和消费人的权益。

黄洁冰
人民公正党妇女组宣传主任
雪州行政议员掌管旅游、消费人与环境

We are not privy to the PWD Bukit Antarabangsa initial report December 18, 2008

Posted by elizabethwong in Bebal-ism, Democracy, Economy, Environment, Huh?!, Human Rights, Malaysia.
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My office has been on a state of high alert to receive the initial assessment report on Bukit Antarabangsa today. I even cancelled my working trip to Singapore just to be in office to go through it.

But …. Public Works Department told us that the Selangor Government can’t have a copy of the report. 

Six pm came and ran off; we’re definitely not going to see it.

This is a disservice to the residents of Bukit Antarabangsa, and yet another good reason why there should be a Freedom of Information Act (not just a state enactment) in this country.

PRESS STATEMENT
18 DEC 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SELANGOR HAS A RIGHT TO INFORMATION REGARDING BUKIT ANTARABANGSA

Today, the Selangor State Government should have received a copy of the initial assessment report from the Public Works Department, including that of the potential geo-hazardous zones, of the landslide-affected areas at Bukit Antarabangsa for the state’s own study and assessment on the integrity of the hillslope and its surrounding areas.

With the said report, the Selangor state would meet with the residents on Friday morning 10 am, to make public the report and to convey the options that would be available for the affected residents, including whether or not they would be allowed to return to their abandoned homes.

This pledge was conveyed to the residents during a closed-door meeting with affected residents and families of the deceased on Sunday, 14th December 2008, with the Selangor Menteri Besar, state representatives and the Public Works Department.

Thus, it is of grave concern that the state has been informed that a Ministerial order has been given to deny the Selangor State Government of this initial assessment report today. Despite being informed of this fact this morning, we gave time for the Public Works Department and the Minister to reconsider their decision.

Instead, we have been told that the information is only for the eyes of the Minister of Works and that only after the Minister makes his announcement, then would the Selangor state government be allowed to view the report. It is further disconcerting to be informed that one of ‘reasons’ given was that because the report was funded by the Federal Government, thus it would be for their eyes only until they ‘allow’ us to view it.

I find this attitude is repugnant and disturbingly partisan.

Both the Minister and the Selangor State Government have a right to the information contained in the initial assessment report compiled by the Public Works Department. We are equally as anxious as the residents to ascertain the safety of Bukit Antarabangsa considering it may affect thousands of people and the future of development in the area.

Instead of wrangling who should read it first, one should reason that the report should be available to both the Federal Minister and the State Government.

I urge the Minister of Works to release the report to the Selangor State Government without further delay so that we are able to have enough time to study the report and to honour our collective pledge to the people of Bukit Antarabangsa.

ELIZABETH WONG
Exco for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and the Environment
Selangor State Government

 

Landslide: PWD decides not to hand report to MB
Jimadie Shah Othman | Dec 18, 08 6:32pm
Malaysiakini.com 
Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is disappointed with the Public Works Department over its decision not to hand over the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide report to the state government.  

first 100 days khalid ibrahim interview 160608 01This has resulted in Abdul Khalid not being able to announce the next course of action as scheduled tomorrow.

According to sources, PWD revealed its decision on the matter to the state government this afternoon.

However, the department did not provide a detailed explanation as to why it decided as such apart from stating that “there were too many implications” if the report is handed to Abdul Khalid.

Sources said the menteri besar has expressed ‘puzzlement’ over the decision. 

Promise given during dialogue

Previously, during a dialogue between the menteri besar, PWD officials and Bukit Antarabangsa residents, the department had promised to hand over the report so that proper follow-up action could be taken by the state government.

It is believed that Works Minister Mohd Zin Mohamad would announce the report tomorrow after it is tabled before the Cabinet.

bukit anatarabangsa landslide pdrm aerial photographs 101208 03The New Straits Times today reported Abdul Khalid as saying that the state government is expected to make an announcement on the safety of Bukit Antarabangsa after going through the report from PWD and the Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram)

“We are waiting for the report from PWD, geologists and Ikram,” 

The massive landslide in the Bukit Antarabangsa area on Dec 16 left four people dead and destroyed 14 bungalows in Taman Bukit Mewah and Taman Bukit Utama.

Following this, Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Chuan said there were no indications of human negligence as the cause of the incident.

Bukit Antarabangsa: A govt must do what is right and not what is popular December 9, 2008

Posted by elizabethwong in Economy, Environment, Malaysia.
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22 comments

One of the earliest policy announced by the new Selangor State Government after the March 8 General Election was to ban any development on Class 3 and Class 4 hill slopes. This would mean that no development could be carried out on hill slopes 26 degrees and above.

This decision was heavily criticised by the developers and their association. The state government was accused to be hostile to development. Citing that land is already scarce in Selangor, the developers argued that there would be no more land to be developed in a few years time.

However, the recent tragedy in Bukit Antarabangsa had silenced these critics but with four deaths and thousands displaced, it is inappropriate for the state government to brag that they are correct to impose the ban. A government should do what is right and not what is going to be popular.

The same thing goes for the current crisis in Bukit Antarabangsa. The experts have announced that almost 2,000 people need to be evacuated as their homes are unsafe. If further reports confirmed that these homes could never be made safe then a decision on the future of Bukit Antarabangsa must be made. Even if this would mean demolishing these homes or closing down certain parts of Bukit Antarabangsa, the state government must do what is right and not what is popular with the people.

Allowing the people to move back into their homes and announcing that they are safe would be very popular but what is the point if this tragedy would repeat itself in the future?

Ministers, deputy ministers and VIP’s would visit the site, make sympathetic statements and pose for the cameras but at the end of the day, the state government, the Menteri Besar and Excos, would be burdened with the decision making. The people should brace themselves for the worst as this decision would be based on the safety of the people and not on the winning of elections.

Iskandar Abdul Samad
Selangor State Exco for Housing, Building Management & Squatters
8 December 2008

Bukit Antarabangsa landslide: Bitter vindication December 7, 2008

Posted by elizabethwong in "We can do better", Economy, Environment, Malaysia.
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80 comments

One of the earliest policy decision made by the new Selangor state govt of Pakatan Rakyat was to throw out any housing and building applications on Class 3 and Class 4 hillslopes, in order to preserve environmentally sensitive areas and prevent the recurrence of landslides. This was decided on April 2, 2008 Executive Council meeting.

Selangor became the first and only state in the Federation to have complied with the Federal Town and Country Planning Department’s “Total Planning Guidelines” 1997 (2nd edition, 2001) which states that no housing development should be allowed on 25 degrees and above gradient slopes. 

Developers thought it was a late April Fool’s joke. Since our ban, they have used all means – the media, blogs, lobbying of ADUNs and MPs etc. to change of our minds. We were labelled and villified as “anti-business” and “anti-development”. I have even had some of our Pakatan MPs asking us to make exceptions for Class 3.

I was told they particularly disliked me and called me “lan-si” (very ‘action‘) just because during a public meeting of developers, NGOs, residents and the Exco, one of the key developers questioned how could the state government stop hillslope development, and I answered, “Because we can…”. And none were too happy when I had to repeatedly and literally wave the ‘Total Planning Guidelines” book at them. 

And every couple of months, we have to repeat our policy decision again. Even as recent as last month, developers were insisting that they had theright to develop hillslopes and some had told a couple of ExCo members that they were planning to sue us. One of them said we would have to compensate them RM 330 million (25% of our state budget) of possible loss of profits. Imagine the pressure of a lobby group whose combined income and assets dwarfs the state government. 

Saturday’s tragedy proves the correctness of the decision of the state government. But vindication which comes after loss of 4 lives and more homes is unspeakably bitter. There are some 5,000 residents living within the vicinity of the landslide who face uncertainty and possibly have to vacate their houses.

We ask that developers to stop pursuing and pressuring us to review our policy, and instead they should be thoroughly go through every single technicality of their existing hillslope projects.

While Ikram and Public Works department will be charged to pinpoint the cause of the tragedy on Saturday, the state government will immediately review all approved hillslope projects by the previous administration, standing or partially constructed.

Those, which there is no construction yet but approved previously prior to March 8, 2008, should not be allowed to proceed, especially along the same range of Bukit Antarabangsa and Ulu Kelang – which should include Taman Hijau and Bukit Melawati. 

We had come too late. Many of the hillslope projects have already been standing for a number of years, some were half completed when we came into power. Without proper maintenance of slopes and drainage on these private lands, tragedy will strike after many years, always after the period of indemnity is over. 

Those areas which are shown to be prone to landslides such as in Ulu Kelang which as far back as 2005, the Public Works Department had already flashed its red card, more stringent conditions will be imposed on already existing housing projects. 

All developers and private land owners have to protect and reinforce their own hillslopes if they want to continue to prosper, own property and do business in Selangor. We have recently received complaints from Ampang, Kajang, Cheras and Pandan where private land owners and developers have neglected to protect their hilslopes and there are already signs of wear and tear. Some put plastic sheets and some said they were bankrupt, those they don’t have to funds to repair their slopes. Whatever. If they do not do the necessary, we will blacklist them in the state and beyond. 

We ask that ‘People’ be put ahead of ‘Profits’.

We heartened that finally, after 8 months of battling the housing industryalone, that the Federal Government has come on to our side to give Selangor, both the moral and policy support it needs, with both the PM and DPM calling for all hillslope development permits nationwide to be cancelled.

We can only hope Federal government doesn’t forget after 3, 4 months, December 6, 2008 will not be forgotten – like what had happened in 1993 (Highland Towers), 2002 (Tmn Hillview) and 2006 (Kg Pasir – which was less than a km away from Saturday’s landslide) and the lives lost, both yesterday and in the past will not be in vain.

New stock market terms; Singapore in recession October 10, 2008

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Economy, Malaysia, Southeast Asia.
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Anne James sent some jokes around today. At this point, a bit of humour goes a long way. But everyone should brace themselves – the good times are indeed over.

CEO–Chief Embezzlement Officer. 

CFO– Corporate Fraud Officer. 

BULL MARKET– A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius. 

BEAR MARKET– A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex. 

VALUE INVESTING– The art of buying low and selling lower. 

P/E RATIO– The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing. 

BROKER– What my broker has made me. 

STANDARD & POOR– Your life in a nutshell. 

STOCK ANALYST– Idiot who just downgraded your stock. 

STOCK SPLIT– When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves. 

FINANCIAL PLANNER– A guy whose phone has been disconnected. 

MARKET CORRECTION– The day after you buy stocks. 

CASH FLOW– The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet. 

YAHOO– What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share. 

WINDOWS– What you jump out of when you’re the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share. 

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR– Past year investor who’s now locked up in a nuthouse. 

PROFIT– An archaic word no longer in use. 

And let’s hope our new Finance Minister has the courage to state the economic situation as it is, like in Singapore. Commissions don’t count as part of GDP growth. 

Singapore is in recession

SINGAPORE, Oct 10 – Singapore has slipped into recession and the Government has revised its 2008 growth forecast to around 3 per cent from a previous estimate of 4 to 5 per cent.

The economy shrank at an annualised, seasonally adjusted rate of 6.3 per cent in the third quarter, according to third quarter advance estimates released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Friday morning, pushing the export-dependent economy into its first recession since 2002.

The government also revised down its 2008 growth forecast to around 3 per cent from a previous estimate of 4 to 5 per cent.

Economists had expected the Republic to narrowly escape a recession in the third quarter by growing 1.1 per cent, lifted by a slight improvement in electronics output.

A recession is often defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contractions.

The deepening financial crisis, which sparked banking crises in the United States, Iceland, Britain, Germany and Ireland, is threatening to drag the world economy into recession.

The advance estimate, based largely on July and August data, gives an early indication of the economy’s performance during the July-September period.

MTI said the Singapore economy is estimated to contract by 0.5 per cent in the third quarter, than a year ago.

On a seasonally adjusted, annualised quarter-on-quarter basis, real GDP declined by 6.3 per cent, following a 5.7 per cent decline in the previous quarter.

On the outlook for the year, MTI said since the revised GDP forecast in August, “external economic conditions have deteriorated more than expected and some sectors of the economy have weakened significantly on account of industry-specific or domestic factors.

“The worsening of the financial crisis in the US in recent weeks has deepened the credit crunch, making it more difficult for businesses to sustain economic activities. With unemployment on the rise and house prices continuing to fall, US consumer sentiment has weakened further and will affect demand for exports from Asia and the rest of the world.”

It added that Singapore’s export-oriented sectors, such as manufacturing, will be affected, noting that Europe is also facing severe strains in the banking sector, tighter credit conditions, and adjustments in housing prices.

Growth in major economies such as Germany, France, Italy and the UK has dipped sharply in the second quarter.

Growth forecasts for several Asian economies, such as China, India and South Korea, have been revised downwards since the start of the year.

The estimates showed that Singapore’s manufacturing sector continued to be weighed down by the negative growth in biomedical sciences, as pharmaceutical companies are still producing a mix of pharmaceutical ingredients with values lower than compared to a year ago.

The precision engineering and chemicals clusters have also slowed, because of weaker external demand.

The construction sector grew by 7.8 per cent in the third quarter, compared to the 18.3 per cent growth in the first half of 2008. Despite a strong pipeline of construction projects, a shortage of contractors, a tight labour market for engineers and project managers, and longer waiting times for equipment, have delayed the realisation of these projects.

MTI said the financial services sector is likely to see slower growth in the coming months as the ongoing global financial crisis has heightened uncertainties for sentiment-sensitive segments such as stocks trading and fund management activities.

“Taking into account the slowdown in the global economy and key domestic sectors, MTI has revised the 2008 GDP growth forecast to around 3 per cent. The inflation forecast of 6 – 7 per cent for 2008 remains unchanged,” it said. – The Straits Times, 10 Oct 2008

Debate of the Year (Live!) July 15, 2008

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Economy, Malaysia, Politics.
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3 comments

1 million against petrol price hike June 25, 2008

Posted by elizabethwong in "We can do better", Current Affairs, Economy, Malaysia.
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27 comments

Word is there may be another hike before Budget this year!!???!!

6 July 2008 | 9 am | Amcorp Mall
Be part of this historic protest!

[Youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF1cZppY34U"]

Go ahead and JUMP! June 8, 2008

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Economy, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics.
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38 comments

Since Thursday, I’ve had a maddening Van Halen song playing in my head, thanks to all who had SMSed and called with one and only one message:-

“Petrol price will kill us … Cannot tahan til Sept 16! Do it NOW!”

Even my normally cool capitalist bro freaked and scheduled an emergency family meeting to go through our family finances together.

Last night at Machap Baru, Melaka, during a ceramah which i shared the podium with Chegubard, Mike (Kapar MP) and Mr. Tai (Perak Exco).

Mr. Tai, towards the end of his speech which centred on the fuel price hike, told the audience to get their pens ready as he was going to give them a very very important telephone.

We held our breaths.
(more…)

KeADILan’s Malaysian Economic Agenda (MEA) March 16, 2008

Posted by elizabethwong in "We can do better", Current Affairs, Democracy, Economy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Race Relations.
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34 comments

Let there be no confusion about this.

KeADILan Media Statement (English)
15th March 2008

KeADILan HAS CLEAR AND FIRM STAND ON NEP

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party) has a clear and firm stand on the New Economic Policy (NEP). As explained by the Ketua Umum of the Party, Anwar Ibrahim in his 20-page article as well as through his many public pronouncements and ceramah, and further reaffirmed in several Party documents, including the Election Manifesto, we intend to replace the NEP with the Malaysian Economic Agenda.

The NEP, after nearly 40 years is already anachronistic. It has been abused by a handful leaders and cronies in Umno-Bn to rob the country of its wealth to enrich themselves, in the name of the Malays as a whole. It has led to discriminatory practices that are against the spirit of justice and fairness for all Malaysians, particularly the poor, marginalised and disadvantaged groups of all races.

The Malaysian Economic Agenda aspires to:

(a) institute and implement fair, just and equitable redistribution of the wealth in the country;

(b) fight against and finally abolish the evil practices of corruption, cronyism and nepotism and ensure the award of contracts and projects are done in open and transparent manner;

(c) continue the policy of positive discrimination in favour of poor dan deprived Bumiputera while at the same time giving equal opportunities to poor and deprived non-Bumpiputera on the basis of need and not racial greed;

(d) utilise the wealthy resources of the country to provide better social facilities – especially education, health and housing – for the poor, irrespective of ethnic backgrounds; and

(e) generate pro-people development and strengthen the competitive capacity of Malaysia so that she can stand tall with all developed countries, starting with those in Asia.

Those leaders of Umno-Bn and the media they own that accuse Parti Keadilan Rakyat as having no stand on the NEP and on other ways of improving the lot of the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged Malays are deliberately indulging in lies to mislead the public. We wish to emphasise that a policy of positive discrimination in favour of all Malaysians who are poor, marginalized and disadvantaged will benefit the Malay rakyat more, because they form the big majority of this category of people.

Dr. Syed Husin Ali
Deputy President
Parti KeADILan Rakyat

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