Archive for May, 2013

M’sians should reject GST – assemblyman

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Likas assemblyman Junz Wong has called on all Malaysians to unite and reject the goods and services tax (GST) to be implemented in Malaysia.

He refuted the claim by Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala that by implementing GST at 7% would increase the nation’s revenue by up to RM27 billion.

Junz said Idris’ explanation that it followed Singapore’s lead, was not relevant nor was it practical.

Why should Malaysia follow the Singapore’s lead by setting GST at 7%? he asked.

“Don’t compare Malaysia with Singapore because we are nothing like Singapore.

“We are not on par with Singapore in terms of industrial and economic development.

“We are not even close to Singapore’s medical and welfare standards. We are far behind Singapore in education and hospital standards.

“We cannot survive without cars and petrol due to bad public transportation system in Malaysia while Singaporeans can.

“Why should we follow Singapore’s lead on GST but not the others?”

Junz, who is also National DAPSY Publicity secretary, disputed Idris’ claim that the 2020 high-income nation goal could even be achieved two years earlier due to extensive government and private sector economic efforts.

GST implementation to add up to RM27 bln to income.

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will be able to rake in an additional income of up to RM27 billion if the proposed goods and services tax (GST) is implemented at seven per cent, similar to neighbouring Singapore.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala said the new taxation mechanism can guarantee additional revenue of RM20 billion to RM27 billion, at maturity.

“At maturity, is when, every Malaysians starts to contribute towards the GST. It must be implemented as soon as Malaysians are ready to accept the mechanism,” he added.

Speaking at the forum, “GE13 – What it means for business?” here yesterday, Jala said education on what the GST is all about and how it benefits the country’s economy is very important, as well as for Malaysians to understand and accept the taxation mechanism moving forward.

He also said the GST will provide extra funds for the government to spend on the well-being of Malaysians, according to what was promised in the Barisan Nasional’s manifesto, before the 13th General Election.

“Even though a new tax is being introduced, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had committed to reducing corporate as well as personal income tax.

“This shows that the government wants a balance in every move that it makes, whether economically or politically,” said Jala, who also heads the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu).

GST will stifle tourism – MATTA Sabah

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Sabah has expressed concern over the impact of the proposed Goods and Service Tax (GST) in the country.

Its chairman, KL Tan, said the tourism industry will be badly affected if GST is implemented without consulting stakeholders in the tourism sector.

GST is a type of broad-based consumption tax that covers all sectors of the economy and it is imposed on a wide range of local and imported goods and services.

The Malaysian government first announced that it intended to introduce GST in 2004. However, it was postponed thereafter due to mixed responses from the public and businesses.

On 16 December 2009, the government introduced the GST Bill 2009 for its first reading in Parliament and had proposed to commence in 2011. However, it was also deferred and expected to commence in the not too distant future.

Tan said it is shocking for Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Idris Jala to guarantee a RM27 billion income if GST is implemented.

“It looks like the all Malaysians, rich and poor, will have to contribute this additional revenue to the government.” he said.

Idris said that the GST should be comparable to Singapore at 7% but Tan pointed out that Singapore is well developed with lower tax rates. Singapore’s corporate tax rate is 8.5% on profits for up to SGD300,000 and 17% on corporate profits above SGD300,000. The Malaysian tax rate is 20% for profits up to RM500,000 and 25% for profits above RM500,000. The Singapore individual tax rates is also lower compared to Malaysia. GST implementation may be considered only if Malaysian corporate and individual tax rates are significantly reduced.

However, Tan agreed that the move to introduce GST is expected to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing tax system, particularly in curbing tax erosion and leakages through transfer pricing and other means.

Perhaps the introductory GST rate should be about 4% on non-essential services and products and increasing slowly over the years to avoid inflation, he suggested.

Tan said that GST will basically make Malaysia more expensive as a destination compared to Thailand, Indonesia and the emerging destinations in Indo-China. It would impact Malaysia’s relative competiveness with other international destinations.

In 40 years, fish will be ‘alien’ food.

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

DEPLETING SUPPLIES: Demand, locally and overseas, has led to overfishing and pressure on certain varieties.

HAVE you noticed that the fish sold these days is smaller compared with a couple of decades ago? There are also varieties not normally eaten in the 1980s and 1990s.

With smaller fish ending up in our markets and supermarkets, it is obvious that our seas are being increasingly overfished. We have even moved on to species that we never considered eating before and those from deeper waters. Our fish food security is under threat.

According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), we risk not having any seafood to eat in 40 years if we continue to consume indiscriminately. As the biggest consumers of seafood in Southeast Asia, 90 per cent of Malaysia’s bottom-dwelling fish stock has declined because of our high demand for seafood, which in turn drives unsustainable fishing practices.

In Europe, 75 per cent of fish stocks are already overfished. There are calls for the European Union to let fish stocks recover instead of bankrupting the oceans.

Europe has turned to farming species, such as salmon, while in Malaysia, it is largely grouper farming.

Fish, prawn and shellfish farming around the country has led to clearing of mangroves. Factory fishing vessels, farmed salmon and industrial aquaculture are threats to both sustainable fisheries and traditional fishing communities.

by Eleanor Chen

SIDMA College Welfare and Orphanage “Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Pengurusan Rumah Anak-anak Yatim Al- Mughni” Launched 2013

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Prof. Dr. Morni Hj kambrie, Chairman and Board of Directors, SIDMA College launched Al-Mughni Welfare and Orphanage;  “Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Pengurusan Rumah Anak-anak  Yatim Al-Mughni” at Kampung Lubok, Weston on 27th May 2013 (Monday).

The ceremony was witnessed by SIDMA Acting CEO, Puan Azizah Khalid Merican, Puan Rukidah Binti Ruddin (Manager, Finance), Managers, Head of Departments, staff from SIDMA College; and Imam Haji Bakar Bin Japar and Kg Lubok, Weston local communities.

Dr. Morni, the founder of the welfare orphanage, during the launching ceremony announced that Pertubuhan Kabajikan dan Pengurusan Rumah Anak-anak  Yatim Al-Mughni which began its operation early this year, had its registration approved by the Registry of Society, Malaysia on 21st February 2013.

Currently, the  welfare orphanage has adopted six (6) children (between 5 – 12 years old) mainly from Kampong Lubok, Weston and Putatan financially deprived families (monthly income below RM 800.00). Although these children are still staying with their respective parents, Dr. Morni announced that a monthly allowance of RM 50.00 had been given to each child since April 2013. Other assistance will be provided as and when needed.

The initiation and management of  Pertubuhan Kabajikan dan Pengurusan Rumah Anak-anak Yatim Al Mughni is part of Prof Dr. Morni and SIDMA College Cooperate Social Responsibilities to assist the financially deprived families in supporting their children’s education. He planned to have and manage his own orphanage  in future.

During the ceremony Dr Morni personally donated RM 5,000.00 to the welfare 0rphanage. Mr. Abu Saied Safwan and Cik Noradilah Binti Mohamaddia were appointed as the Secretariat of the  orphanage.

The 2013/2014 Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Pengurusan Rumah Anak-anak Yatim Al-Mughni Committee Member is as follows:

Advisor: Puan Azlina Binti Ngatimin
Chairman: Prof. Dr. Morni Bin Hj Kambrie
Deputy Chairman: Puan Azizah Binti Khalid Merican
Secretary: Cik Noradilah Binti Mohamaddia
Assistance Secretary: Encik Abu Saled Safwan Bin Ali
Treasurer: Puan Rukidah Binti Ruddin
Committee Members:
1. Puan Izah Binti Muhilin
2. Cik Norsyakila Bin Abdul Aziz
3. Cik Anisah Saidi

Dr. Morni also announced that the welfare orphanage committee planned to solicit fund from the general public during this coming month of Ramadan Al-Mubarak.

Meanwhile, the general public is encouraged to donate generously to the welfare orphanage. Donation can be made in cheque addressed to its Treasurer,  Pengurusan Rumah Anak-anak  Yatim Al-Mughni, or through online payment via Bank Islam, Current Account number 100520100043303.

For more information about  Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Pengurusan Rumah Anak-anak  Yatim Al-Mughni, please call Ms Noradilah / Mr Abu Saleh at 088-732000/732012.

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‘Open system’ to produce the best teachers

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

PUTRAJAYA: The new “open system” approach will soon be implemented for trainees in teacher training institutes (IPG), says Education Minister II Datuk Idris Jusoh.

It will be established in phases and allow only the top graduates to be given postings, in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025), he added.

“The recruitment bar have been raised to draw high-quality human resource for the profession. This way, only the cream of the crop will be given the responsibility to educate our young,” he said at the convocation ceremony for the IPG graduates yesterday, where he presented scrolls to 579 of them.

The system, also outlined in the 10th Malaysia Plan, had already been implemented for graduates of public higher learning institutes who joined the teaching programme.

The IPG graduates will be posted according to the needs of schools around the country.

Graduates of public universities and the 27 IPGs nationwide would soon have to compete to reach the standards required by the ministry, said Idris.

He said the ministry would also look into the issue of trainees who did not make the cut to prevent a surplus of teachers.

“We will find ways to make sure that they would not be sidelined, and they can also be directed to other areas where their talents and achievements can be put to use.”

English teachers from Britain to teach in Asian countries

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: Business conglomerate Melewar Group has joined forces with a British education recruitment specialist to send out native speaking English teachers from Britain to 14 countries in Asia to teach the language.

The first batch of teachers are expected to arrive in these countries in the third quarter of this year under an agreement signed between English Learning Group Ltd, a member of the Melewar Group, and STC Consortium Ltd here yesterday.

The teachers would be sent to South-East Asia as well as to Bangaladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Melewar Group group executive chairman Datuk Seri Tunku Iskandar Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah said the teachers would be placed in urban and rural schools and universities.

“Whether in Malaysia or elsewhere, our indigenous and national languages are primarily used within our countries.

“However there is a strong need for emphasis to be placed on the use of the English language,” he told reporters after the signing ceremony.

STC Consortium Limited chief executive officer Susan Moore said the company will source, screen and select the best possible teachers to help achieve success in both written and spoken English in the selected countries.

Moore said the partnership with the Melewar Group and the English Learning Group is significant and instrumental in helping transform teaching in the region.

British Trade and Investment director Tony Collingridge said competency in the English language is essential in Malaysia’s drive to be an innovative, high incomeb and high value-added economy.

by Luwita Hana Randhawa.

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Villager left home after NCR land ‘taken’, RCI told.

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Charles Magandap from Kota Marudu had no choice but to leave his home village in Matunggong because there was no more ‘land’ for him to live on.

The security officer said that their NCR (native customary right) land in Kampung Sampil gazetted under SAFODA had been ‘taken’ by a mega company.

Charles who is now squatting in Bukit Punai, the land gazetted for the High Court, said that 370 of them left the village after being told that the 60,000 hectares gazetted for SAFODA were no longer theirs.

“We left the kampung and came to the state capital to seek our fortune,” he said and when asked by Commissioner Tan Sri Herman Luping if they knew whose land they were squatting on, Charles replied, “kami tidak tahu siapa punya. Kami nampak tanah lapang jadi kami bina rumah di sana. (We do not know who owns it but when we saw the empty space, we built our houses there).

“There are about 23 houses in Bukit Punai with about 100 families who are mostly Rungus and Dusun,” he told the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah yesterday.

He added that they had received the eviction notice from City Hall but were appealing for assistance from the elected representatives to relocate them at PPRT or PPR in the state capital.

On the issue of the land in their village, Charles said they had referred the matter to the local elected representatives but were told that they were in the dark about the land transfer as well.

“We have also appealed to the Kota Marudu member of parliament (Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili) but if nothing happens, we will have to find other land to build our homes,” he added.

Filipinos, Indonesians and Singaporeans not recognized as natives.

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah was told that the Interpretation (Definition of Native) Ordinance had listed Filipinos, Indonesians and Singporeans as ‘native’ to Sabah.

Kudat district chief Harun Bidin, when replying to Commissioner Tan Sri Herman Luping yesterday, said that Sabah Cap. 64 of the Interpretation Ordinance had yet to be amended to remove the three nationalities.

He, however, stressed that although there had been no review to the Ordinance, Filipinos, Indonesians and Singaporeans are not recognized as natives of this country.

Harun was replying to Luping who asked if Filipinos, Singaporeans and Indonesians are still natives of Malaysia as they are included in the interpretation of natives by the North Borneo Legislative Council.

Harun, who is the 89th witness called to give a statement before the Royal Commission of Inquiry panel, said that there are more than 32 ethnic groups in Sabah which are recognized as natives and among them are the Suluks of Sabah.

“There are Suluks who are of Sabah origin and Suluks from the Philippines. We recognize the former as natives but not those from the Philippines,” he explained.

To Luping’s further question if the issue of reviewing the interpretation or repealing that particular section in the Ordinance was ever discussed at the biennial Sabah Customary Chiefs Conference, Harun said, “No”.

“It is a good idea and we have never discussed it but I will suggest it in the next conference,” he said.

by Nancy Lai

Mediation can resolve conflicts over resources

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

ENVIRONMENTAL DISPUTES; Mediation can reduce the delay, expense and backlog of cases pending in courts.

ENVIRONMENTAL disputes have become increasingly common nowadays. The rise in such disputes has a lot to do with the growing public demand to safeguard the environment.

Such concern has become a major factor driving public protest against any activity that can be detrimental to nature.

In fact, studies have shown that environmental conflicts have emerged as key issues challenging global security. It has been reported that environmental crises and problems are widespread and increasing rapidly.

Common sources of such conflicts include threats to biodiversity, air quality, forestry, water, land and resource management.

Climate change, which is now hailed as mankind’s common enemy, has been a cause of tension. Its impact on environmental conflicts has also been documented.

There are many definitions of conflicts. The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes defines conflicts as “a state of human interaction where there is disharmony or a perceived divergence of interest, needs and goals. There is a perception that interests, needs and goals cannot be achieved due to interference from the other persons”.

Such conflicts have remained a relatively neglected field of research. There are some universities that have initiated programmes to study such conflicts. The University of Queensland in Australia anchors a centre on conflict resolution in the mining industry.

Many believe such conflicts will continue to rise as the growing world population fights for scarce resources. The world population will soon pass nine billion in a matter of years. At the same time, global economic output is expected to quintuple.

As a result, the scarcities of renewable resources will rise sharply. High quality agricultural land may drop. The degradation of rivers and other water resources may also increase. Not to mention the decline of fisheries.

Common conflicts centre around biodiversity, patent rights, coastal zone conflicts, air quality, noxious pollutants; land conflicts because of scarcity and ambiguous land rights; and water conflicts where countries share rivers. Droughts and water disputes also linked to food security since agriculture uses a lot of water.

Poor communities are particularly at risk since they are exposed more frequently to such shocks. And they do not have resources to cope with such risks.

Experts believe the world must, therefore, develop poverty reduction strategies consistent with resource conservation.

by Ahmad Ibrahim