Monday, June 30, 2008

Khalid: It was necessary for Anwar’s brother to go - The Star

KLANG: Jun 30, 2008

The resignation of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s younger brother Rusli as special adviser to Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB) president Datuk Abdul Karim Munisar was necessary, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said.

He said he had personally advised Rusli to resign from the post about two weeks ago.

“I was not aware of Rusli’s appointment as adviser. He acted on his own accord when accepting and later resigning from the post.

“It is a tough and sad thing (the resignation) but as a transparent and responsible state government there cannot even be a perception of a conflict of interest,” he told reporters after launching the 1,000 Youths Gathering programme here yesterday.

Rusli, 59, resigned from the post on June 25 following allegations by former PKR stalwart Ezam Mohd Nor that he was appointed as an adviser to KDEB because he was Anwar's brother.

Ezam said this went against Anwar's stand that there should not be nepotism in politics.

Rusli criticised Ezam on Saturday saying he was appointed as a special adviser to Karim based on his corporate experience and not because he was Anwar’s brother.

He had also claimed that both Anwar and Khalid were not aware of the appointment.

On the termination of the services of Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Razali Agus on Friday, Khalid said state secretary Datuk Ramli Mahmud would explain today the rationale for the decision by the university’s board of directors.

Khalid, who is the chairman of the Unisel board of directors, said Prof Razali was not sacked.

“The board had merely decided not to extend his probationary contract, which will expire at the end of July,” he added.

Khalid said that Prof Razali had not appealed against the termination of his services yet.

“But he can discuss the matter with Ramli and put forward his name for the list of candidates to be considered for the vice-chancellor’s post.

Asked to comment on allegations that Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had sodomised his aide, Khalid said the state PKR would stand by Anwar’s denial of any involvement.

He, however, refused to comment further saying there was no need to do so as Anwar himself had denied it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Unisel V-C shown the door - The Star

SHAH ALAM: Jun 28, 2008

Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Razali Agus yesterday became the second head of a state-owned establishment to have his services terminated in three weeks.

The termination at the state-owned university comes less than three weeks after Selangor Museum director Maimunah Mohd Saidas was told to leave on June 9.

Taken by suprised: Prof Mohd Razali leaving after press conference in Shah Alam yesterday.

Prof Mohd Razali, 52, said he was attending a meeting at the university’s Batang Berjuntai campus when the termination letter was delivered to his personal assistant at his office here at about 4pm yesterday.

He said there was no reason stated for the termination in the letter signed by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in his capacity as chairman of Pendidikan Industri Yayasan Selangor Sdn Bhd (PIYSB), which owns the university.

He said the letter stated that his termination would take effect at the end of July but he was given a month-long leave with full pay until then.

“I am in total shock because I have given my best to manage the university and to help make it one of the fastest growing universities in the country,” he said at a press conference here.

Prof Mohd Razali, who was deputy vice-chancellor at Universiti Malaya for over four years prior to his appointment at Unisel, said there had been no indication of the termination until he received the notice.

“I have not decided on my next course of action. I need to consider my options before deciding whether I will appeal against the decision or seek legal recourse,” he said, adding that he had not yet contacted the university’s pro-chancellor Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor over the termination.

He also refused to comment on whether there was any truth to rumours that he had written to the Education Department claiming he was not comfortable working under the Pakatan Rakyat state government.

It is learnt that Prof Mohd Razali is an Umno member as well as a committee member of the Overseas Umno Clubs Alumni.

Khalid, in a statement issued last night, said PIYSB did not sack Prof Mohd Razali but merely decided not to extend his service after the second six-month period of his probation expired.

He said there was no ulterior motive involved in terminating Prof Mohd Razali’s services and it was based on a unanimous decision by the board of directors.

“It was the previous Barisan Nasional government that decided to extend his original six-month long probation instead of confirming him because they were not satisfied with his services.

“The six-month extension was coming to end and at the PIYSB board meeting yesterday (Thursday) it was unanimously decided that we were still not satisfied and should let him go,” he said.

He said the board had followed all the legal requirements and had even given him one month's notice as stipulated in his employment contract.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Subang Jaya rep ‘banned’ from function at old school - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Jun 26, 2008 By SARAH CHEW

Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh is allegedly “banned” from attending her alma mater SMK Subang Utama’s (SMKSU) prefects’ reunion, scheduled for July 5 because she is from Pakatan Rakyat.

In her blog, hannahyeoh.blogspot.com, Yeoh said organisers had been asked by the school to withdraw their invitation to her, or the event would be cancelled, as she is from Pakatan Rakyat.

“It’s not that I insist on attending the function. My question is, what is playing in the minds of the students and how will they perceive the new state government if schools act like this?” asked Yeoh, the school's head prefect from 1995/96, when asked to comment yesterday.

When contacted, the organising chairman of the reunion said the school had received a circular from the Education Ministry concerning VIP guests.

The circular, available on the ministry’s website, refers to official school functions and VIPs in general.

When asked to comment on this yesterday, education director-general Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom said the circular only stated that permission was required from the state education director before any VIP could be invited to attend school functions.

He added that the circular was not applicable to the SMKSU prefects’ reunion as it was a private function.

SMKSU declined to comment.

Khalid: Yahya suspended over collection - The Star

SHAH ALAM: Jun 26, 2008 By DHARMENDER SINGH

Senior aide Mohd Yahya Mat Sahri was suspended after he failed to inform Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim of money collected for the state government’s 100-days-in-office celebrations.

Khalid said he had given a directive that his officers inform him of all decisions they made after the Anti-Corruption Agency investigated allegations that Yahya improperly facilitated the approval of cleaning and garbage collection contracts in Petaling Jaya.

(The ACA cleared Yahya of any bribery but said his action was of “improper conduct.”)

He said Yahya failed to inform him of the records of the money collected from businesses for the celebrations.

“The funds collected were deposited into PKR’s accounts without my knowledge and I am not sure of the actual amount,” he told a press conference after chairing the weekly exco meeting.

The matter came about after former PKR stalwart Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor claimed that the Mentri Besar’s office collected funds for the celebrations and deposited the cash into the PKR account instead of the state coffers.

On Monday, Khalid announced that Yahya would be suspended for two months to allow an internal probe.

However, Yahya resigned, saying he had lost confidence in Khalid.

On Yahya’s claim that he was not given the chance to explain, Khalid said the suspension was to allow a domestic inquiry to be carried out and Yahya would have been given a chance to defend himself.

“But he resigned and I have accepted it so the domestic inquiry will stop but the probe into the records of the funds will continue,” he said.

On Sabak Bernam PKR division head Dr Badrul Amin’s statement that 17 of the 22 PKR division heads had submitted a letter to PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim voicing their dissatisfaction that “party warriors” were being sidelined in the appointment of councillors, Khalid said it was impossible to please everyone with the limited number of places.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Contact numbers of reps now included in billboard - The Star

Jun 24, 2008

THE controversial billboard which has a large portrait of Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in Jalan SS2/24, Petaling Jaya has seen some minor modification.

The billboard, which was criticised by certain quarters, now has the mobile numbers and e-mail addresses of Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua and Damansara Utama state assemblyman Dr Cheah Wing Yin.

New look: The billboard now carries the contact details of Pua and Dr Cheah.

StarMetro in an article on June 12 in which residents argued that the billboard put up by an advertising company served no purpose if it does not have the contact details and e-mail addresses of elected representatives.

Khalid when asked whether Pakatan Rakyat would follow the practice by the previous state government to provide the mobile numbers of MPs and state assemblymen in Selangor said they had no plans to do so.

MPK councillors collect letters - The Star

Jun 24, 2008 By EDWARD RAJENDRA

THOSE who have been chosen to be Klang Municipal Council (MPK) members feel their role is to help craft the policies, come up with new ideas, resolve issues related to basic amenities and not settle the council’s parking compounds for Klang residents.

Kota Alam Shah DAP chairman Lim Lip Suan, 36, PKR Taman Sentosa representative M.S. Rajoo, 61, and Pandamaran DAP chairman Ang Mah Chye, 50, feel strongly that those who flout the parking regulations must settle the compounds on their own.

“Residents can’t just pass the buck to us after flouting the law. But, in a proactive manner, as councillors, we would suggest to the council that the motorist pay a nominal RM10 for a parking compound of RM60, if it is settled within two days.

Yesterday, several community leaders converged at the MPK to collect their letters of acceptance to serve the people for the term from July 1, 2008 until June 30, 2009.

Rajoo, a full-time politician, said he would soldier on to have the council change its regulations pertaining to the offer of contracts, from simple electrical wiring to construction, so that it be made an open process.

“MPK has to make public such tenders, so that members of the public who have the expertise to do such jobs can apply. If this is practised in a transparent manner, then corruption can be nipped in the bud,” he added.

Klang branch DAP vice-chairman Yap Beng Lee, 54, Pandamaran branch DAP vice-chairman M. Ganeson, 47, Malaysian Indian Development and Unity Association president Segaran Landasamy, 43, as well as special assistant to state speaker Tee Boon Hock and non-governmental organisation member Tee Beng Lee fully support Rajoo’s suggestion of Rajoo.

The MPK councillors comprise one palace representative, seven PKR members, six DAP members, four PAS members and six from the non-governmental organisations.

Council president Mislan Tugiu said he was happy with the make-up of the councillors.

“It is too early to comment but I hope that I will receive their commitment to build a better community. To me, the councillors are a bridge to the neighbourhood people,” he said.

Kuang villagers lead the way with Village Security Patrol Units - The Star

Jun 24, 2008 By STUART MICHAEL

THE Selangor government has introduced a neighbourhood watch programme for the suburbs and outskirts which will involve residents patrolling their villages to reduce crime.

The first of these units, called the Village Security Patrol Units (Unit Kawalan Keselamatan Kampung, UKKK), was set up at Kuang, near Sungai Buloh recently.

The villagers in Kuang have given their support to the formation of UKKK, which is similar to the Rukun Tetangga programme of the 1970s and 1980s.

Informing the others: A UKKK member speaking on a walkie-talkie at Lorong Mangga in Kampung Chempedak, while a few other members, on motorcycles, wait.

Some of the villagers turned up for the night patrol with torchlights, batons, walkie-talkie and whistles.

Selayang MP William Leong, who joined the villagers during one of their night patrols recently, was impressed with the good turnout at the designated areas in Kuang.

Some of the villagers even turned up in their sarongs.

Others were making coffee in a kettle to keep themselves alert throughout the night.

“This is a good way to get youths involved in helping to deter crime instead of participating in unhealthy activities like lepak and illegal motorbike racing.

Having a chat: Leong (right) talking to the volunteers doing their rounds in Ladang Baru, Sungai Buloh.

“Each time we ask the police personnel about the crime rate getting higher in the area, the police always say they are short-handed and there are not enough patrol cars, especially with the high crime throughout Selayang area.

“So, we took this matter into our own hands and formed this UKKK. Eventually, other areas throughout Selangor will adopt this concept to keep the neighbourhood safe, especially in villages,'' Leong said, adding that he used to do this when he was living in Petaling Jaya about 30 years ago.

Leong was at the event to give biscuits and mineral water to six UKKK zones, which he had visited throughout Kuang.

“The UKKK people on patrol do not have the power to arrest thieves. They have the contact numbers of the Rakan Cop and the nearest police station should they come across any suspects in their area.

“All this is on a voluntary basis – even items like torch lights, vest, sticks and walkie-talkie are their own.

“I will be requesting the Selangor government to provide some of the zones an allowance for those who ride their motorcycles during the patrolling,” he said.

Resident R. Subramaniam of Taman Prima Selayang was impressed with the commitment of the villagers and their interest in forming a UKKK in Taman Prima Selayang.

Subramaniam said a total of 400 motorcycles, 72 cars and 13 lorries had been stolen in the area since he has lived there for the last eight years.

“Residents there are very fearful that their vehicles might get stolen. We have to put a stop to it and so we came here to see how the UKKK is being run,” he added.

There are six UKKK zones in Kuang – Ladang Baru, Balai JPK Ladang Baru, Surau Al-Munirah, Lorong Mangga, Lorong Beringin and Kampung Damai – involving a total of 36 people – with each zone having about five or six people at any one time.

The UKKK patrol starts at midnight and continues until 5am daily.

Kuang UKKK zone director Saad Ramilan said so far, 30 vests, 12 walkie-talkies, 60 T-Shirts, 10 torchlights and some batons had been sponsored for the unit and distributed to the six zones.

“With so many villagers helping out, each person need only do one shift a week, which is quite reasonable for working people.

“Last week, our patrol managed to deter a house break-in in Lorong Atap in Kampung Chempedak and a thief just ran away. We want tell thieves out there that the UKKK is here is stay and will keep doing this until crime rates are low.

“We don’t want to catch the thieves in the act but if we do, it is a bonus. We just want to deter thieves from coming to our village to steal and we will send a clear message to everyone out there,” he said.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Their vision and mission as councillors - The Star

Jun 23, 2008 Comments recorded by JADE CHAN

Following are some of the views:

Transparency International executive director Richard Yeoh:

“As a civil society representative in the MBPJ, I will seek to ensure good governance, transparency and integrity are practised among the councillors and administration staff of the MBPJ.

“I will encourage the MBPJ to introduce globally-tested integrity monitoring and ethical training programmes for the councillors and staff so that everyone embraces a culture of ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘doing things right’.

“One way is for the city and local councils to collaborate with organisations that have expertise in the field such as Transparency International, Institut Integriti Malaysia, and even trade bodies such as Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and the international chambers of commerce.

“After the March 8 general election, all sectors of our society, from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi downwards, are acutely conscious of the need to speed up the reform process in the public bureaucracy to further improve the delivery system.

“Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has also repeatedly stressed the need for local councils to be more responsive to the people's needs.

“Policies and practices must be transparent so that the ratepayers get the level of service they deserve.

“The MBPJ being the first tier of government, a level that has daily, direct contact with the people, must ensure that the basic needs of the poor are met before even thinking of spending money on grand projects.”

Environment activist and lawyer Derek Fernandez:

“As a councillor, I will make sure all members of the MBPJ are aware that the decisions they make affect not only the parties involved, but also the PJ residents.

“Public interest has to be taken into account in every decision. This means that three parties are involved when making decisions, not just an applicant and the MBPJ, but also the public at large.

“The role of the local authority is to make sure, as far as possible, that the quality of life of the residents is enhanced so that they become happy, useful and productive citizens.

“This means that the people’s problems should be attended to in a reasonable manner. Things like dirty drains, garbage disposal, planning control, roads and other amenities must be maintained and provided in a manner befitting the expectations of residents within the budgetary constraints.

“It is also vital that the values of the people in the areas of family, religion, culture and education be upheld in the implementation of the policies of the PJ city council.”

Petaling Jaya Selatan PKR treasurer Latheefa Koya:

“As a councillor, my focus will be on areas neglected by the MBPJ and previous councillors, like Taman Medan and the stretch at Old Klang Road on the PJ side.

“These areas have many of problems, such as basic drainage, flooding and traffic congestion.

“Overall, I will also focus on the safety and cleanliness issues in PJ, as waste management is a serious problem.

“Crime problems are of personal concern to be because I was a victim of a car break-in.”

“As far as I am concerned, my term as a councillor is just a transitional period as I believe strongly that councillors should be elected. I hope that local elections will be restored as soon as possible.”

Kelana Jaya PKR Youth chief Halimey Abu Bakar:

“Among my main concerns as a councillor is to help solve the infrastructure and garbage disposal problems in the Seri Setia constituency, particularly in the Desa Mentar, Desa Ria and Kelana Jaya areas.

“There is also the flood problem, with SS7 being the worst hit area whenever there is a huge downpour.

“I would also highlight the need for more public amenities like recreational and religious spaces.”

Liu: Councillors should provide mobile numbers to their constituents - The Star

Jun 23, 2008 By EDWARD RAJENDRA

THE newly-appointed councillors must be diligent in serving the people and thus must be prepared to provide their mobile numbers to the people in their respective zones.

Selangor local government, research and study chairman Ronnie Liu said councillors must make themselves reachable if they want to serve effectively and solve the problems in their respective areas.

Ronnie: ‘The new councillors must go down to the ground as often as possible.’

“The new councillors must go down to the ground as often as possible and listen to the people and pick up their grouses and attend to them immediately. Even their mobile numbers should be made available so that the residents can have access to them when the need arises,” he said.

Liu said councillors would be assigned zones within their city or municipality so that they could better serve the people.

“Each councillor would have their respective zones. If it is in Petaling Jaya or Klang, it could be 15 neighbourhoods in one zone while in Sabak Bernam it could be nine to a zone. Our mechanism is to ensure better service,” he said.

Ronnie added that the new councillors who are to be sworn-in soon are required to have a census on each household within their zone to better understand the needs of the neighbourhoods.

Ronnie said a councillor who has a good relationship with his area residents would make it easier for the local authorities to implement beneficial decisions or policies.

“Our state wants to encourage public participation in local decision-making with one aim to help build accountability for officials, councillors and citizens. Actually it is law that public officials notify the residents of community-level public meetings by posting notices before the meeting,” he said.

He added that public participation provides an opportunity for people to speak up about local proposals before they go into effect.

Ronnie added that councillors would listen, record and solve community problems but also filter down decisions taken at the council’s sub-committee and Full Board meetings to the people.

“We encourage councillors to form focus groups involving a targeted group of residents where discussions could bring about ideas and opinions. It is like a think-tank to build a synergy of thoughts and ideas,” he said.

Ronnie also encouraged the residents in Klang to attend the monthly Full Board Meeting.

“While much of the responsibility of engaging citizens in local decision-making falls upon the local council officers or councillors, the residents also need to become actively engaged as it will help to craft the policies and decisions that will shape the future of their community,” he said.

Not an easy ride, but Yeoh is taking it all in her stride - The Star

Jun 23, 2008 Stories by LIM CHIA YING

THE last 100 days have not been easy for Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh who has had to dealt with issues that residents have heaped upon her through calls, visits, and e-mails.

From the simpler meet-the-residents session, Yeoh has gone on to tackle issues from problematic housing projects like Mutiara Court in Bandar Sunway and Lagoon Perdana in PJS 9, security dialogues, to traffic congestions and development objections.

Hannah Yeoh

“While I've managed to highlight the Mutiara Court case to get it the attention it deserves, and now monitoring the Lagoon Perdana revival works to ensure buyers get their promised units, I'm at the same time juggling hundreds of other problems daily,” admitted Yeoh.

“For example, working on the issue of joint management bodies (JMBs), had talks with police on crime here at my service centre, initiating the 10-minute dengue campaign, and looking into the gated and guarded community issue, a point which I've raised at the state assembly and am now waiting for its regulations,” she rattled off.

“Then, I've had to do lots of follow-ups, like merely ensuring the authorities remove the telecommunication tower in USJ 5 based on what was already decided last year.”

While admitting work has been overwhelming, Yeoh said what frustrates her most is when people who claim to represent the majority of residents have their own personal interest at heart.

“There have been many internal squabbles and fights between the different resident associations, or within members of a committee itself, which I tell them to resolve among themselves. Some who have come to me saying they want to work for residents have actually their own agenda or wearing double masks,” Yeoh lamented.

Then, there is also the difficult part about dealing with people who have been over-critical of her.

“People expect things to turn overnight, but they don't realise that a lot of study needs to be done. It takes time to change policies and people's working styles.

She said she is happy to note about the political awareness she has helped generated among young people, and hoped to see more young people register as voters.

“There are a few areas that I want to continually develop, like youth activities, education, and health screening for the less well-to-do community. There are things I want to do more but am faced with restrictions,” claimed Yeoh.

She said residents can be assured that her commitment stays against over-development.

Yeoh said she wished to see an improvement in the delivery system, from the simple lighting of poles in the streets to the screening of contractors so that petty problems would not arise.

She cited the importance of re-educating people's mindset so that they go to the right channels to complain and not just throw everything to the elected representative, who can then focus on the more macro issues.

She said some things she had pledged had been carried out, like publishing her campaign funds on her blogsite which people can see.

“I've to be more careful with allocation funds, so that priority is given to those who really needs it. It's my responsibility to know how the funds will be used and spent,” she said.

WHAT THE PEOPLE SAY

USJ 3ABCD resident Jason Lee said 100-day is too short a period to assess Hannah Yeoh. However, thus far, he thinks she has done an outstanding job and based on his experience working with her, she has taken several issues head-on. “For example, the continuity of the slip road in USJ 3ABCD. I'm quite happy with the response from her office so far,” said Lee.

“As an assemblyman, she has responded to e-mails quite efficiently when some people don't even bother to reply.”

Lee said he had spoken to Yeoh about her involvement in sports which he feels is currently slightly lacking from her office.

“I've mentioned to Hannah about organising sports games which she can perhaps look into, as an assemblyman's responsibility to the community is more than just solving problems,” he said.

SS17 Subang Jaya resident Moaz Yusuf Ahmad said he thinks Hannah has been working very hard and has a lot of good plans drawn out.

“She is very committed to what she is doing, and putting the attention to pressing issues like dengue, which I wish more people would give her the support,” said Moaz.

He said it has been just 100 days so she should be given more time.

“So far, she has been very receptive, she listens to the people, and is proactive to make things happen.

“Hannah may need a stronger hand in the local council but this would require all levels of the government system to work, which is not at the moment,” he opined.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Former town planning director Zamri back as Shah Alam councillor - The Star

Jun 22, 2008 By ELAN PERUMAL


FORMER town planning director Ahmad Zamri Kamaruddin heads the list of 24 local councillors appointed to the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA).

Zamri, who retired in Sept last year, has been appointed under the NGO quota.

Zamri: It is an honour to be appointed.

“It is a real honour to be appointed as a MBSA councillor especially when I am very familiar with the Mayor and officers of the council.

“I have worked there for 25 years and it will be really interesting to return as councillor where I have the privilege to make decisions for the benefit of the people,” he told StarMetro.

However, he added that it would be a challenge to serve in the capacity of a councillor as he would be required to meet the ratepayers in person.

All sorted out: Mazalan holding up the list of new MBSA councillors

The others appointed under the non-political quota are Zulkefli Mohd Nani of Muslim Care Malaysia, Datin Noraini Md Top (Pusat Zakat Selangor consultant), K. Uthayasoorian (Tamil Foundation) and V. Papparaidu who is a social activist.

Most of the poltical appointees were made up party workers of the Pakatan Rakyat’s coalition parties. Parti Keadilan Rakyat has the highest number of representation with nine followed with five from PAS, three from DAP and 1 from PSM.

Shah Alam Mayor Mazalan Md Noor said all those selected for the posts would be notified immediately on their appointment.

He said they were required to sign their letter of acceptance before they were called for swearing-in ceremony.

“They will be sworn-in during the first full council meeting which will be held next week,” he said

On the appointment of Zamri, Mazalan said, he welcomed the move and was looking forward to working with his former officer.

“I think the list of the councillors had a fair mix of people and most of them are also young,” he added

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Selangor cancels Utusan subscription - The Star

KLANG: Jun 21, 2008

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has ordered an immediate end to the subscription of Utusan Malaysia, its Sunday edition Mingguan Malaysia, and all publications under the Utusan group of companies.

Khalid’s political secretary Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad signed a one-page circular instructing all local authorities, district offices and agencies to cease the subscription of the publications.

When contacted, Nik Nazmi said that the decision to end the subscription of the publications was done due to the “unfair reporting and its choice to play the racial card.”

“Based on certain news articles, the Selangor Government found that the newspaper had chosen to play the racial card and it did not practice balanced reporting.

“This approach is certainly putting the people and state government at logger heads and it is not healthy,” he said.

Nik Nazmi also added that there was no gag order issued to the heads of departments on news releases to the Utusan media.

A check at a few local authorities revealed that the administration unit had cancelled the advertisement contracts and informed newsvendors to stop the delivery of Utusan publications.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Disabled rep among 24 new city councillors in MBPJ - The Star

Jun 20, 2008 By DEBBIE CHAN and TAN KARR WEI

THE Petaling Jaya City Council will have, for the first time, representation from the disabled community on its board of councillors.

Animal Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association president Anthony Thanasayan is one of the 24 newly chosen councillors for the MBPJ.

Anthony has been fighting for the rights of the disabled community for years and his selection as a city councillor will definitely enhance the cause of the disabled in PJ.

“If it is true that I made it to the list, it's fantastic. We have always asked to be included in the decision-making process,” he said.

“We strongly believe in the motto 'Nothing about us without us'. We must be there to make the decisions,” the wheelchair-bound Anthony said.

Among the changes the plucky crusader would like to see are designated car parks for the disabled.

The list of new councillors includes some prominent names from the non-governmental organisations.

Two such persons are Suara Rakyat Malaysia executive director Cynthia Gabriel and Transparency International executive director Richard Yeoh.

Environment activist and lawyer Derek Fernandez, who has been making newspaper headlines for being vocal on various community issues, is also on the list.

The representation from community and NGOs is part of the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government’s move to include members of the public in the decision-making process and to tap their views and expertise for the benefit of the community.

The rest of the names on the list are members of the three Pakatan Rakyat coalition partners – PKR, DAP and PAS.

However, none of the coalition’s elected representatives, whether MPs or state assemblymen, had been appointed as councillors.

This is a change from the previous Barisan Nasional state government where most of the elected representatives are appointed as councillors.

Among the people named on the list is former StarMetro reporter Mak Khuin Weng.

“There are some issues I would like to look into, like condominiums and privatisation of contracts. These are the things that I've been following up as a reporter,” Mak said.

He looks forward to working with the other councillors to help resolve issues affecting PJ while striving for transparency and accountability.

As a reporter, Mak has met many PJ residents and worked with former MBPJ councillors.

“I would be able to draw from their experience. I look forward to working with the other councillors,” he said.

NEW COUNCILLORS FOR PETALING JAYA

1. Mohd Halil Haji Harun – Petaling Jaya Utara PKR deputy chief

2. Syed Abdul Malik Syed A Hamid Al Jafree – Subang PKR deputy chief

3. Thiruvenggadam Aamuthu – Petaling Jaya Selatan PKR deputy chief

4. Halimey Abu Bakar – Kelana Jaya PKR Youth chief

5. Mahharul Ismail – Petaling Jaya Selatan PKR Secretary

6. Latheefa Koya – Petaling Jaya Selatan PKR treasurer

7. Tang Fuie Koh – Petaling Jaya Utara PKR treasurer

8. Dr Melasutra Md Dali – Urban planner

9. Michael Soon Kwai Choy – DAP

10. Mak Khuin Weng – DAP

11. Robert Tan Siang Chok – DAP

12. Tiew Way Keng – DAP

13. Francis Chang – DAP

14. Ahmad Yusof Ludis – PAS

15. Ghazali Shaari – PAS

16. Kamarudin Suhaimi – PAS

17. Muzammil Hafiz – PAS

18. Chan Chee Keong – Social activist

19. Richard Yeoh – Transparency International executive director

20. Anthony Thanasayan – Representative of the disabled community

21. Cynthia Gabriel – Suaram executive director

22. Derek Fernandez – Environment activist and lawyer

*23. Ramakrishnan Suppiah

*24. Paneer Sivam

* The last two names are yet to be confirmed.

49 women among 288 councillors - The Star

Jun 20, 2008 By WANI MUTHIAH and

FORTY-NINE women have been selected to serve as councillors in the 12 local councils in Selangor.

They constitute 17% of the total 288 councillors picked by the Selangor state executive council.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced this at a press conference in Shah Alam yesterday.

Khalid said 25% of those chosen were professionals, officials of non-governmental organisations and representatives of the disabled community.

The three component parties – PKR, DAP and PAS – of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition state government have been allotted 75% of the councillor posts.

On the selection process, Khalid said the minimum academic qualification set for the new councillors was at least a college diploma.

Khalid, however, would not reveal the names of the selected candidates, saying that the respective local council chiefs would announce them once the candidates had signed their letters of acceptance to serve as councillors.

“No names will be revealed at this time as we want those who have been chosen from the 900-odd applications to submit their acceptance letters,” he said.

It is believed that Khalid decided on having the confirmation letters from the candidates before announcing their names because among these selected are members of the Barisan Nasional component parties who may snub the appointment.

According to Khalid, certain professionals such as architects, engineers and real estate practitioners, who were not appointed councillors, would be invited to serve as advisers and allowed to sit in during meetings of the sub-committee or even the full-board meetings.

He said these professionals would attend the meetings as observers with no right to vote on any matter.

“All the councillors would serve a three-year term. For the first year, each would be monitored according to the zones in the respective districts. On completion of the first year we would evaluate their performance,” he said.

Khalid said none of the Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives, whether MPs or state assemblymen, had been selected as local councillors.

He said this was perhaps the main departure from the practice of the previous Barisan Nasional state administration that appointed its elected representatives as local councillors.

“We do not want any conflict of interest but a focused idea of serving and improving the neighbourhoods for the people,” he said.

State local government, research and study committee chairman Ronnie Liu said the new councillors would be given a three-day training at Morib to equip them with the knowledge of the local council laws.

“Except for the Orang Besar Daerah who represent the Selangor Palace in the local councils, most of those selected are first-time councillors,” he said.

Khalid: I could have delayed pig-farm project - Part 2 - Malaysiakini

Khalid: I could have delayed pig-farm project - Part 1 - Malaysiakini

If there is one thing that Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim could undo, it would have been the state government's announcement to continue with the RM100 million modern pig farming project.

While arguing that the decision was "not really a mistake", he conceded that the matter - which generated both accolades and a backlash - could have been handled in a "more politically-savvy way".

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

MB Khalid: Balkis still registered - The Sun

SHAH ALAM (June 18, 2008): By Llew-Ann Phang

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim says the Registrar of Societies (ROS) has not approved the dissolution of the Wives of Selangor MPs and Assemblymen Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis).

"The state government received a letter from the ROS about a week ago confirming the status of Balkis," he told reporters in a post weekly state exco meeting media briefing today.

"The letter states that Balkis has not been dissolved. We are still collating information on land ownership and management of its assets, like the building (they operated in), to be given to the ROS.

"These serve as an explanation to the ROS as it is important for it to inform those involved in the handling of these assets, should the dissolution be approved.

So there will not be losses or destruction of the assets that were entrusted (to Balkis) to carry out activities for the benefit of the people in Selangor," he said.

Khalid said: "Whatever happens, our activities will continue. I don’t know about a new society but all our welfare activities will continue."

He affirmed that the wives of assemblymen and MPs as well as women elected representatives in the state have held discussions to continue with providing welfare and social services to the people.

Balkis hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons soon after the March 8 general election when the Barisan Nasional (BN) Selangor government was toppled and the wives of former elected representatives quickly "dissolved" Balkis and transferred some RM10 million to Bakti (the national body of wives of Ministers).

On a separate matter, Khalid also announced that the state government has finalised the list of municipal councillors for Selangor.

However, he said a statement will issued today on the breakdown of representation, their professions, their affiliations, the districts and all the local councils.

When met by reporters later, Selangor Local Government, Research and Development Committee chairman Ronnie Liu said the selected individuals were "10-times better than the previous batch".

"They are not corrupt and are willing to try and are willing to serve. We will be providing them with training and guidance," Liu said.

To kick off part of Pakatan Rakyat (PR)'s concern for the poor, Selangor Health, Plantation Workers, Poverty and Caring Government Committee chairman Dr Xavier Jeyakumar said beginning tomorrow, families with monthly incomes of lower than RM1,500 will each receive 5kg of rice, and 1kg of sugar and milk.

"Each (PR) assemblymen will receive between 700 and 800 bags of rice of 5kg and sugar and milk weighing 1kg each in their offices to be distributed to the people in their area," he said.

Asked what his vision was for the next 100 days of his administration, Khalid said: "The test for us is to see how much we provided value to the people of Selangor.

From now on, we are evaluating ourselves to see if we can add value added services to the investment and growth opportunities for the state."

On Selangor Sultan's threat to call off the Sultan of Selangor Cup’s football match should PAS Youth proceed with their protest against the concert due to be held before the July 6 match, Khalid said he met with the state ruler who has agreed to meet the PAS Youth wing for a discussion on their reservations and concerns on the concert.

"I do not think we want to stop the diplomatic friendly games between Selangor and Singapore but I think now it is a good idea for PAS Youth to get an audience with the Sultan for a discussion," he said, adding that it would be organised before the month's end.

S'gor bagi beras percuma Jumaat ini - Malaysiakini

Jimadie Shah Othman | Jun 18, 08 3:56pm

Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat Selangor akan membahagi-bahagikan beras, susu dan gula secara percuma mulai Jumaat kepada rakyat Selangor yang berpendapat di bawah RM1,500 sebulan, sempena sambutan 100 hari pentadbirannya.

Exco Kebajikan Negeri, Dr A Xavier Jayakumar berkata, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim berkata, bahan-bahan tersebut akan dibahagi-bahagikan melalui seluruh Dewan Undangan Negeri di Selangor.

Katanya, bagi kawasan yang dimenangi Pakatan, bahan-bahan tersebut akan diedarkan melalui Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun).

Manakala di 20 kawasan yang dikuasai Barisan Nasional (BN), ia akan dibahagi-bahagian melalui exco kerajaan negeri.

Beliau memberitahu demikian dalam satu sidang akhbar selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat exco kerajaan negeri di Shah Alam hari ini.

Beliau berkata, 800 beg pertama yang masing-masing berisi lima kilogram beras, setin susu dan sekilo gula akan diedarkan mulai Jumaat ini manakala bakinya akan diedarkan secara berperingkat-peringkat.

Bulan lalu, Dr Xavier dilaporkan berkata, golongan miskin di Selangor akan mendapat bantuan beras bagi menampung kenaikan harga makanan ruji itu.

Untuk itu, beliau dilaporkan berkata, kerajaan negeri akan membelanjakan RM500,000 untuk membeli beras untuk dibahagikan kepada golongan miskin di Selangor.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yeoh gives RM5,000 to surau - The Star

Jun 17, 2008

Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh presented RM5,000 from her state funds allocation to the Surau al-Muhajirin at the Angsana Flats in USJ 1 recently.

“This is to enable the surau to organise holiday camps for the Muslim children.

“There isn't a playground at the flats and it is not advisable to have the children playing all over the place,” said Yeoh.

A helping hand: Hazlan (second from left) receiving the cheque from Yeoh. Looking on are (from left) Suhailah, Zulkanian and Yeoh’s special assistant Timothy Ho.

The surau chairman, Zulkanian Ismail, imam Hazlan Omar and a teacher from Kafa Integrasi USJ 9, Suhailah Zolkapli received the cheque from Yeoh at her office.

“About 70 children aged between six and 12 took part in our three-day camp during the recently-concluded school break. It was mainly to instil good moral values such as respecting parents, fostering friendships and cultivating cooperation among the kids,” said Hazlan.

“The participation fee was RM40 but with the funds, we will be able to lower the fees for the upcoming camp in August,” he added.

Final background checks being done on councillors - The Star

JUn 17, 2008 By JADE CHAN

THE new local council line-up in Selangor will see PKR having the majority in terms of party representation.

Sources said PKR members would make up the majority of councillors in 10 out of the 12 local councils.

The party representation in the Selangor councillors line-up would be as follows: PKR 28.5% (82 councillors), DAP 26.4% (76 councillors) and PAS 17.0% (49 councillors), while the remaining 28.1% (81 councillors) would comprise representatives from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), residents’ associations and professional groups.

The breakdown list, made available to StarMetro, showed the Petaling Jaya City Council, Subang Jaya Municpal Council and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council having the largest representation of non-political councillors.

Out of the 288 councillors, five would comprise those from the disabled group (orang kurang upaya or OKU).

The party representatives encompass senior division committee members who have strong leadership qualities as well as adequate experience and qualifications while those from NGO and professional groups comprise those who specialise in fields like urban planning, law, health and environment.

“None of the wakil rakyat’s assistants are on the councillors list. Nominated party members also cannot be involved in the construction business to avoid conflicts of interest,” a source said.

“On PKR’s side, we try to emphasise that each council has at least one Chinese and one Indian representative to reflect a multi-racial line-up.”

The source added that all the councillors’ performances would be reviewed after a year and those who had not performed would be replaced.

One of the reasons for the delay in announcing the new councillors line-up, the source said, was the early resignation of the previous batch of councillors.

“It was irresponsible of the Barisan Nasional side to have their councillors resign. The previous councillors should have completed their contracts and left once the new councillors were sworn in.”

Sources said final background checks are being conducted on the candidates and that the new line-up would be announced at the end of this week , during a celebration to mark the 100 days of the Pakatan Rakyat coming into power in Selangor.

It was also revealed that the mayors and presidents heading the present local councils would be retained, unless they resign, are unable to perform their jobs or if their contracts expired

Monday, June 16, 2008

Khalid: Selangor in talks with Dubai investors - The Sun

SHAH ALAM (June 16, 2008): By Tim Leonard

The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Selangor government has entered into talks with seven potential investors from Dubai to boost the state's economy.
Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said he met the potential investors in his recent trip to Dubai.

"They (the investors) have expressed interest to invest in the state as they are confident in our (PR) management," said Khalid, after chairing a monthly meeting with government department heads today.

He said the investment value could amount to US$10 billion but he did not specify when and how the investments would start rolling in.

He added that the investors were interested in various sectors of the state’s economy, particularly in the food and manufacturing industry.

Khalid said the investments would create ample opportunities for the people of Selangor, especially during the current "stressing" economic climate caused by soaring oil prices.

On another development, Khalid said he would make an announcement on Friday on how the state government will channel profits and revenue from natural resources to the people.

He said the announcement will be part of the government's approach to have a people-orientated economy.

"Civil servants and state executive councillors are just managers of the state's resources as ultimately, the people are the natural owners. We are interested in channelling revenues and profits from the state's natural resources to the people," said Khalid.

He said for example, sand and natural resources, under the previous government, contributed about RM20 million a year in revenue.

"If properly managed, these natural resources can contributed about RM200 million a year," said Khalid, adding that the revenue can then be put to better use to help the people.

Aid for Selangor-born students - The Star

SHAH ALAM: Jun 16, 2008

Selangor-born students can start applying for the RM1,000 tertiary education aid pledged by the state government from July 1.

State Education, Higher Education and Human Capital Development Committee chairman Dr Halimah Ali said forms would be available on the Selangor government’s official website www. selangor.gov.my. Forms could also be collected from elected representatives.

She said 8,500 students taking up degree or diploma courses in the state would be eligible for the study aid that would be disbursed as soon as their applications were approved.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Guidelines will lead to scarcity - The Star

Jun 15, 2008

THE landslide victory by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the recent general election created a new era for the Selangor State Government.

For the first time, Selangor is being run by the PR and the new state government has a lot to live up to and the people, both public and private sector, have very high expectations of them.

In a dilemna: Developers are now stuck with land they have already bought since the state government put a halt to development on Class 3 and 4 slopes.

We believe the new state government has a strong desire to improve Selangor because they have been the backbenchers for such a long time.

We understand their desire to improve Selangor, which resulted in, within a short period of time, several drastic measures.

Recently, Tan Sri Abd Khalid Ibrahim and Elizabeth Wong announced that land of Class 3 (gradient > 25%) and Class 4 (gradient > 35%) could not be developed, for fear of landslides.

We would like to clarify that the issue of landslides is not new and landslides happen everywhere in the world.

In the June 10 article in StarMetro, Dr Gue See Sew said landslides are not caused by development on hillslopes but, more often than not, are due to the design.

As such, we would strongly recommend the state government seek advice from independent technical professionals specialising in hillslope developments.

Dr Gue: Landslides are caused by the design of the development.

From a developer’s point of view, we strongly recommend that an independent body be set up to advise the state government on how to tackle this issue.

A blanket ban on development of Class 3 and Class 4 land would cause a serious scarcity of land in Selangor and we believe this will cause the price of housing to escalate tremendously, resulting in higher inflation.

We would also like to point out that in countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan, due to the scarcity of land and the nature of its contours, even Class 4 land is developed but these developments must adhere to stringent guidelines.

As developers, we feel that we have been treated unfairly.

When we purchased our land for development, we used guidelines provided by the previous state government.

With this new restrictions set by the new state government, we are left in a dilemma.

This creates a negative impact on us all, the very same people who voted for change.

This uncertainty may also deter foreign investors from investing in Selangor or to pull out their investments in totality.

We believe the new restrictions affect more than 20 local and foreign developers in Selangor. This uncertainty will hamper the economic growth of Selangor.

We understand that during this transitional period, time is required by the new government to come up with changes.

However, we sincerely believe new policies and guidelines affecting the development of the state must be practical and fair.

Before these changes are made, organisations and bodies affected must be consulted to ensure that the interests of all are protected.

Lately, there has been an outcry by the general public, objecting to hillslope development. We can fully understand their concern, but would like to clarify this misunderstanding.

To reiterate what Dr Gue See Sew had said “landslides are not caused by the hillslope development but the design and safety measures taken by the developers to maintain the slope.”

Finally, we urge Khalid to sit down with the people affected by this new guideline and clear the uncertainty.

We also hope the state and Federal governments can work together on a standard guideline for hillslope development in order to avoid confusion to developers.

CONCERNED DEVELOPER

Kuala Lumpur

New breed of local councillors emerging - The Star

Jun 15, 2008 Valley View By GEETHA KRISHNAN

THE current changed political scenario, especially in Selangor, has brought about a sort of grassroots political awakening involving a new perception and a holistic perspective on the role and scope of the local councils and councillors.

The Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171) Section 10 (2) states that “councillors of the local authority shall be appointed from among persons the majority of whom shall be persons ordinarily residents in the local authority area who in the opinion of the state authority have wide experience in local government affairs or who have achieved distinction in any profession, commerce or industry, or are otherwise capable of representing the interests of their communities in the local authority area”.

Section 10 (1) states that “the local authority shall consist of the mayor or president and not less than eight and not more than 24 other councillors to be appointed by the state authority”.

Section (3) stipulates that the term of office of each councillor shall not exceed three years while Section (6) states that a councillor shall be eligible for reappointment upon the expiry of his term of office.

Under previous state governments, it was a tradition of sorts for state assemblymen to be appointed as councillors.

“This was based on the understanding that assemblymen worked closely with local authorities in handling community issues and as such, maintained a better line of communication in dealings,” said a former assemblyman and councillor.

From a wider scope of things, their positions as councillors were clearly viewed as political appointments.

In the 1950s and 1960s, councillors were elected through local council elections but this came to what was supposed to be a temporary halt in 1963 due to the Indonesian Confrontation (Konfrantasi) against the formation of Malaysia.

Local council elections were eventually abolished in 1965 with an amendment to Section 15 of the Local Government Act.

Following the outcome of the 12th general election on March 8 this year, when the Barisan Nasional lost control of four states and failed to unseat the PAS state government in Kelantan, there have been calls to amend the Local Government Act to bring back local council elections.

In Selangor, the new Pakatan Rakyat state government has declared that elected representatives would not be appointed local councillors in the two city councils (Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya) and 12 municipal councils in the state.

The Selangor state executive council, meanwhile, is going through a list of public nominees for councillors comprising professionals and representatives from the NGOs.

Under Section 28 of the Local Government Act, each local authority may, from time to time, appoint committees, either of a general or special nature, consisting of a chairman, councillors and such other persons as it may deem fit.

The new batch of councillors for the two city councils and 12 local councils in Selangor are also expected to sit in the relevant committees, rendering their expertise in areas like licensing, building, infrastructure and finance.

Each of the councillors of the previous administration used to serve in at least two to four committees.

Their selection to the committees is based on recommendations made by the state leaders of their respective political parties.

Section 28 also states that councillors shall be paid allowances determined by the local authority.

Contrary to general public perception, councillors are paid only a miserable monthly allowances ranging from RM500 to RM650. Not something to shout about!

An additional of RM50 or RM100 is paid for each attendance at the monthly full council meetings or a committee meeting.

According to a former councillor, each councillor was given an annual grant of RM10,000 to spend on projects in his or her area.

“But the amount was hardly sufficient for big projects.

“We usually organised gotong royong, talks and small community events and even had to fork out our own money for these events,” he said.

In the awarding of contracts, Section 34 (1) of the Local Government Act clearly states that any councillor with a pecuniary interest, whether direct or indirect, in any contract or proposed contract should withdraw from the meeting where the matter is under consideration.

There have been allegations from the public that the previous elected representatives strongly influenced decisions on the awarding of contracts in Selangor.

The present Pakatan Rakyat state government has recently announced that assemblymen and politically-appointed local councillors would no longer be allowed to sit on tender boards.

All that remains now is to keep our fingers crossed as the list is finalised and hope that better days are ahead for Selangor.

Selangor MB heads committee to select local councillors - The Star

Jun 15, 2008 By ELAN PERUMAL

A SPECIAL high-profile committee headed by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has been formed to vet a list of 288 names nominated for local councillors of the 12 municipal and two city councils in the state.

The committee members include three state executive councillors – Ronnie Liu (local government and research), Datuk Hassan Mohamed Ali (Islamic affairs, Malay customs, infrastructure and public amenities) and Yaakob Sapari (agriculture, natural resources and entrepreneurial development).

Khalid: The committee aims to ensure that the appointments are made solely on merit.

“The committee is looking through the names of all those nominated to ensure that they are appointed on merit and not due to cronyism and nepotism,” Khalid said.

“There have been rumours and allegations that we are appointing our friends to the local councils and this committee is tasked with ensuring that such a scenario is not happening,” he said.

According to Khalid, the appointment of the councillors, especially those under the NGO quota, would be based only on merit and not on favouritism.

He said the committee would study carefully all individuals proposed so that only those suitable were appointed.

Khalid said the names of those recommended by the committee and endorsed by the state executive council would be announced by June 20.

Khalid said the Pakatan Rakyat state government would appoint only those who were qualified and able to perform.

He said the people expected a lot from the local councillors and those appointed should be able to perform with excellence and transparency.

“We know it used to be very rewarding under the previous state government to be appointed as local councillors in the various municipalities and city councils,” he said.

“But I can assure you that from now on, the job of a local councillor would not be a glamorous one with a lot of perks, financial gains and benefits,” he said.

Khalid said that those appointed councillors would be required to serve with dedication and sincerity.

Liu said he endorsed the mentri besar’s decision and felt that the vetting committee would enhance the merit of being appointed a local councillor.

“It is good for the government and the people,” he said.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Museum chief shocked over sacking - The Star

SHAH ALAM: Jun 14, 2008

The director of the Sultan Alam Shah Museum is shocked and perplexed over her 24-hour sacking by the Selangor Government.

Maimunah Mohd Said said she received a letter signed by state secretary Datuk Ramli Mahmud at 10am yesterday informing her that her two-year contract, which had another five months to run, was terminated.

“No reason was given for my removal,” said Maimunah, adding that on Tuesday, a state secretariat staff had initially informed her of the termination over the phone.

“Tuesday was my 60th birthday and it was the worst gift in my life.

Actually, I have another five months before my contract ends and I see no reason at all to hasten my departure,” she said.

It is learnt that 75 of the museum’s 85-strong staff have signed a petition criticising the move, and sent it to the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Islamic affairs, Malay customs, infrastructure and public amenities chairman Datuk Dr Hassan Ali and Ramli.

An irate Maimunah said she wanted an explanation from the Pakatan Rakyat government because the termination could affect her credibility as an academician.

“I am not a politician or a member of any political party. So I am not a threat to the state government,” she added.

She claimed there was a political motive behind her sacking and that the state government wanted to put the current senior curator in charge.

Maimunah who retired as the Museum and Antiquities deputy director of the National Museum, and served as a senior consultant for private museums with several financial institutions, is credited with reviving the Sultan Alam Shah Museum.

Meanwhile, Dr Hassan clarified that Maimunah was not sacked or terminated but had to withdraw from the position as she had reached the age of 60.

“On her side, she had not made any attempt to send in a letter of appeal to extend her service.

At the same time, we were in the process of appointing new board members and decided that a new person would helm the post,” he said.

Ramli could not be reached for comment.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Selangor plans fund for babies - The Star

SHAH ALAM: Ju 13, 2008

To mark its 100 days in office, the Selangor Government wants to set up a fund to meet the welfare needs of babies born from Jan 1.

The criteria on who is eligible for such aid would be announced in detail by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim during a Pakatan Rakyat gathering at Shah Alam Stadium on June 20.

Other programmes include aid to the elderly and needy such as the distribution of rice to them.

University students from the state can also expect some form of aid to pursue their education.

Khalid’s political secretary Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad told a press conference yesterday that the programmes would focus on ensuring that the welfare of needy people in Selangor was taken care of.

He said parents of babies born from Jan 1 could register at the stadium during the gathering.

According to Nik Nazmi, the state government had bought rice to be distributed to those eligible under the state’s welfare scheme.

He said the programmes were meant to create a platform for the the state’s revenue to be shared among the people.

He said the state government would also make public its successes, including the distribution of free water, during its first 100 days in office.

PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, its president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang are expected to be present to address the gathering.

Selangor wants to build new township in Pandamaran - The Star

KLANG: Jun 13, 2008 By CHRISTINA TAN

The Selangor government has proposed turning Jalan Papan and Jalan Bukit Kerayong in Pandamaran into a new township.

State local government, research and study committee chairman Ronnie Liu said he would call the developer and resident association soon to discuss the details.

“The houses and premises in the new village will be torn down and rebuilt into a proper planned and conducive place for living.

“The squatter problem has been going on for a long time and we hope the project can commence latest by the end of the year,” said Liu when met at Jalan Papan here recently.

Liu said the new township on 40ha of land would consist of houses, commercial areas, an industrial zone and infrastructure such as a clubhouse, playground and park.

He said squatters could opt to buy the 1,400sq ft double-storey houses for less than RM100,000 or get compensation in cash.

Liu added that all places of worship would remain or be relocated to suitable places.

“We are looking for a win-win situation for all, not just the government or developer, but the people as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Jalan Papan Urban Pioneers, Pandamaran New Village, Ang Mah Chye said he hoped the new state government would investigate why the new village residents were asked to move out.

He said Jalan Papan has existed for about 54 years and residents have been given a Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL) to reside there since the 1960s.

“We have been paying TOL for 22 years until 1990 when the TOL was cancelled for no reason,” he claimed.

Ang added that in 2003 1,100 families in 522 houses were given notice by the Klang Municipal Council to vacate their houses to move to the low cost flats built by TPPT Sdn Bhd, a housing development company initially set up by Bank Negara to take over and manage abandoned projects.

The development project there was later given to another developer by TPPT, Ang claimed.

“We want to know why,” he said.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Unit formed to screen list of local councillors in Selangor - NST

SHAH ALAM, THURS: Jun 12, 2008 By Neville Spykerman

A new committee has been form to review the names of all local councillors who have been shortlisted to serve.

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said he has already received the names of those selected but a review will be conducted following allegations that ‘friendship and favouritism’ was the basis of the selection.

“There have been many allegations that some of those shortlisted fell short in ability to serve the various committees.”

However Khalid said the names of new councillors for local government will be announced, according to schedule, on June 20.

Khalid was speaking yesterday after the weekly Exco meeting.

In an unrelated development he said the state was also looking into ways to cut cost following the increase in fuel prices.

He said a task force has been set up and measures will be announced in due course.

MPSJ starts building drain to alleviate flood woes - The Star

Jun 12, 2008 By LIM CHIA YING

INSTANT action – that’s what the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) took the day after its president inspected Kampung Tengah 13th Mile Puchong, Selangor, following a flood.

The MPSJ started work to construct a new drain yesterday as an immediate measure to alleviate flood woes there.

MPSJ president Datuk Adnan Md Ikhsan had accompanied senior state executive councilllor and Kinrara assemblyman Teresa Kok to visit the site on Tuesday to look for the best solution to the problem.

Concerned: Adnan (third from right) making a site visit to Kampung Tengah Batu 13 Puchong to draw up a solution that will enable water to flow whenever there’s a downpour.

The 100m-long drain being built on state land runs parallel to the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP).

Construction of the drain is scheduled to be completed by the weekend, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Adnan said the land on which Kampung Tengah is located is low-lying and any heavy downpour would result in flooding as there is no channel for water to flow out.

“Previously, the water could flow out to the back but the land belongs to a private individual, who has built a retaining wall and raised the level of the earth, resulting in a higher land foundation now,” Adnan said.

“Even the drainage was sealed up. Therefore, the water could not flow out during the recent downpour,” he said.

Adnan said the new drain would allow the water to flow out. “The water would be able to flow out once this culvert is ready,” he said.

This is the second time that the council has carried out drain construction in the area.

Adnan said Kampung Tengah 13th Mile is a big area and after the first drain was built at another spot, water flow has improved and the council has not received any flood reports until the latest downpour.

The MPSJ, meanwhile, urged for the residents to pay up their assessment taxes so that it has sufficient funds to carry out maintenance works in their area.

Residents upset over approval given to shopping complex - The Star

Jun 12, 2008 By TAN KARR WEI

RESIDENTS of Section 19 and SS2 in Petaling Jaya are still upset over the approved building plans and construction hours of a commercial and shopping centre in their neighbourhood.

Thirteen residents, accompanied by Damansara Utama assemblyman Dr Cheah Wing Yin, showed up at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) headquarters to voice their grouses.

Among MBPJ officials present to meet them were town planning department director Sharipah Marhaini Syed Ali, engineering department acting director Ismail Shafie, building plans department director Hamidah Ariffin, development and maintenance department assistant directors Mohd Aswardi Kong Mohd Azizi Kong and Ismathinoon Abd Rahman.

All ears: Dr Cheah (far right, in yellow tie) attended the meeting between MBPJ and Section 19 and SS2 residents.

According to Jalan 19/16 resident Kong Chong Soong, the construction of the road would only affect the houses along it but would create traffic problems in the area.

“Our road would be narrower and we don't want cars parked haphazardly around here. We want the road to be 40feet (12.19m) from our houses for residents' use and the bridge going across the river should also be moved further away,” Kong said.

The residents also want an assurance from the MBPJ that the only access into the building should be from Jalan Harapan because Jalan SS2/72 would not be able to handle the traffic volume.

SS2C Rukun Tetangga chairman Magirin Haron said many high-density projects around the area were built without residents' consent and were causing frustration among the people.

“They keep telling us that we'll be consulted before development took place but it has never happened,” Magirin said.

Sharipah, the MBPJ town planning department director, said the area had been gazetted as a commercial area under the Petaling Jaya Local Draft Plan 1 (RTPJ1) in 2003.

“Under the law, once the plan is gazetted, we don't have to go through the process of hearing with residents all over again,” she said.

“I'm aware of the traffic problem in the area. The whole road system in Jalan Harapan has not been upgraded and this missing link (that connects to the Sprint Highway) has not been put into place. SS2/72 should not be used as an access road to the building until the whole Jalan Harapan road system has been fully built,” Sharipah said.

“I objected to the plans in 2007 but the plans were approved on the basis that residents have been consulted,” she said.

“Based on the objection by residents now, we will review the approval of the plans,” Sharipah said.

As a compromise, Sharipah said she would request for the building setback to be increased while allowing one or two additional floors to be built.

The residents also complained that construction works started as early as 6.45am and goes on until past midnight.

“Sometimes, they even work 24 hours. We can barely sleep with all the noise going on. We can't even access Jalan 19/27 because the construction vehicles are parked all along the road,” Ow Yew Teik said.

The residents suggested that the contractors should only be allowed to access the construction site on Jalan SS2/72 as the roads in their residential area were too narrow.

“If there is an emergency, fire trucks would not be able to get into our road,” Kong said.

Ismathinoon said the council had rejected the contractors' application for the extension of working hours.

The current hours allowed are from Mondays to Saturdays, 8am to 6pm.

MBPJ building plans director Hamidah said that since the contractors did not abide by the stipulated working hours, the council would issue a stop-work order on Friday.

Residents want elected reps to provide contact details - The Star

Jun 12, 2008

PETALING Jaya residents want the Selangor government to provide contact details and e-mail addresses of elected representatives on billboards instead of just having a portrait of them.

“It is unnecessary for the state to spend money on billboards for the purpose of self–promotion,” said Petaling Jaya Residents Association president (PJRA) Eashvara Lingam.

He said this was the reaction of most people on a new billboard in SS2, Petaling Jaya, depicting Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and a slogan that reads Sentiasa Berusaha Untuk Kemajuan Negeri Selangor, (Constantly striving for Selangor’s development).

Waste of money?: The Selangor state government’s new billboard along Jalan SS2 in Petaling Jaya has become a subject of discontent among residents.

He felt that the billboard used in such a manner was a waste of money.

“It could have been paid for by loyal supporters or the MP of the constituency. But anything which is done purely for self promotion does not benefit the public,” Eashvara said.

He said the practice of publicising assemblymen's contact numbers and e–mail through billboards by the former state government was seen as beneficial to the rakyat.

“Many of the present assemblymen are new faces to the residents. If the government could provide information on how they can be reached to improve the living conditions and standards in their constituencies, it's a win–win situation,” he said.

Old billboards containing pictures of local representatives and the former mentri besar were removed from strategic advertising locations around Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya.

Eashvara said that what the Barisan assemblymen had done in the past by giving out their contact information should continue.

Former Bukit Tunku assemblyman and Petaling Jaya city councillor Datuk Dr Wong Sai Hou said the new billboard should contain value-added information for the public.

“The new mentri besar wants to reach out to the people, which is fine. All he needs to do is to add his telephone, cell–phone, fax number and e-mail address. This would be the added value,” he said.

Wong suggested that it was a possibility that the outdoor advertising company responsible for putting up the signage might have done so to show their appreciation to the present state government.

“I feel that the comment made by the PJRA president was relevant. But, to be fair, we cannot tell the government to follow exactly what the Barisan Nasional in Selangor had done by putting up their assemblyman's information on billboards,” Wong said.

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Khalid billboard not put up by Selangor government
By ELAN PERUMAL


A BILLBOARD at SS2 in Petaling Jaya depicting a portrait of Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was not put up by the state government or the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).

According to state local government committee chairman Ronnie Liu, the advertising company that put up the billboard did not obtain approval of the authorities to do so.

Liu: ‘The state government will meet with the company officials to sort out the matter.’

“The company has done it without the knowledge of the authorities and the billboard does not cost the government a single sen,” Liu told StarMetro.

He said the previous Barisan Nasional state government had given the advertising company a contract to erect 160 billboards with the image of former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khir Toyo under the Mesra Rakyat concept.

Liu said that in return, the State Economic Planning Unit had given the company the right to put up 100 commercial billboards.

“The previous state government gave the company the rights to solicit advertisements for the billboards to generate income for itself for its donation of the 160 billboards,’’ he said

Liu said that when the Pakatan Rakyat coalition gained power in Selangor after the March 8 general election, the company was ordered to do away with such billboards.

Liu said the state government would meet with the company officials to sort out the matter.

“We hope the people of Selangor know the real story and will not accuse the state government of wasting money on such billboards,” he said.

“The state government is very responsible and will not misuse public funds to promote the interests of politicians,’’ Liu said.

Khalid: Allegations of graft unfounded - The Star

SHAH ALAM: Jun 12, 2008

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said yesterday that an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Agency has cleared one of his senior aides of involvement in graft.

“The allegations of graft were unfounded,” Khalid told reporters after chairing the weekly exco meeting.

However, the officer in question will be asked to attend a seminar or course on integrity and responsibility so that he would be more careful when carrying out his duties in future, he added.

Khalid, who also met ACA officers for an hour after the exco meeting, thanked the agency for quickly initiating investigations after the allegations were made.

The top aide was questioned by the ACA for about four hours on Tuesday for allegedly being involved in approving contracts for cleaning and garbage collection in Petaling Jaya.

The investigations were initiated after several people claiming to be PKR members lodged a report against the officer last week alleging that there were irregularities in the approval of the contracts.

Khalid said he had met the ACA state director and suggested that an officer from the agency be assigned at the mentri besar’s office to carry out further investigations and study how administrative procedures are executed ethically and responsibly.

On another matter regarding a posting in a blog “Another brick in the wall” stating that Khalid’s “secret relationship” with I-Bhd chairman Datuk Lim Kim Hong was now in the open, Khalid said: “I didn’t know that I had a secret relationship with him and to say that I do not know Datuk Lim Kim Hong is not true because I do know him.”

He added that as a former businessman, he had met and befriended many other businessmen.

“I can give you a list and quite a lot of them come to my dinner parties,” said Khalid, adding that there was nothing wrong in having business friends provided that there was “proper conduct” in the relationship.

In Shah Alam, the Selangor ACA director Jaafar Mahad said the agency had completed its investigations into the case.

It is learnt that the ACA interviewed no fewer than seven people, including officers from the Petaling Jaya City Council as well as those from Alam Flora.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

S'gor dapat air percuma, akhirnya - Malaysiakini

Muda Mohd Noor | Jun 11, 08 5:31pm

Lebih sejuta penduduk Selangor akan mendapat bekalan air percuma, seperti dijanjikan, mulai 1 Jun selepas kerajaan negeri menyelesaikan rundingan dengan Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) pagi ini.

Manifesto Pakatan Rakyat untuk memberikan 20 meter padu air secara percuma - atau potongan RM11.40 - akan diteruskan kepada pengguna domestik bermeter individu, demikian diumumkan oleh menteri besar.

Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim berkata beliau telah berjaya mencapai persetujuan tersebut dengan ketua pegawai eksekuif Syabas, Datuk Ruslan Hassan dan presiden syarikat kerajaan negeri Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB), Datuk Abd Karim Munisar (foto bawah, kanan).

Dalam rundingan di pejabatnya, menteri besar Selangor berkata penyelesaian yang telah dicapai:

Pemberian air percuma sebanyak 20 meter padu sebulan kepada pengguna domestik yang bermeter individu di Selangor akan bermula 1 Jun akan tetap dilaksanakan.

Pengguna domestik yang bermeter individu di Selangor akan mendapat bil baru dengan rebet air percuma sebanyak 20 meter padu sebulan bermula 16 Jun.

Pengguna domestik yang bermeter individu di Selangor yang telah menerima bil sebelum 16 Jun akan menerima rebet bayaran untuk penggunaan 15 hari pertama bulan Jun di dalam bil bulan berikutnya.

"Kos pembiayaan rebet tersebut dibuat oleh KDEB bagi pihak kerajaan negeri Selangor. Sebelum ini masalah bil menjadi isu tetapi telah berjaya diselesaikan dalam perbincangan hari ini.

"Ia berlaku kerana tiap-tiap hari bil air baru dikeluarkan kepada pengguna dan Syabas sukar melaksanakan rebet," katanya dalam sidang media di pejabatnya di Shah Alam hari ini.

Abdul Khalid berkata, Syabas merupakan anak syarikat Puncak Niaga tetapi saham syarikat bekalan air turut dimiliki oleh KDEB, sebuah syarikat milik kerajaan negeri.

Syabas kelmarin menolak permintaan kerajaan negeri untuk berbuat demikian, termasuk selepas berunding dengan KDEB, sebuah syarikat milik kerajaan Selangor yang terlibat dengan syarikat pengurusan air tersebut.

Ruslan (foto, kiri) berkata Syabas tidak bersetuju dengan kandungan surat akujanji bersyarat KDEB yang ditandatangani pada 6 Jun lalu dan dihantar kepada syarikat itu pagi Isnin.

Ruslan berkata cadangan KDEB secara langsung menjejaskan aliran tunai Syabas dan boleh menjejaskan operasi syarikat itu.

Dalam sidang media tersebut, mengulas siasatan Badan Pencegah Rasuah (BPR) terhadap seorang pegawai kanan di pejabatnya, Abdul Khalid menegaskan tiada sebarang unsur rasuah di kalangan pegawainya.

Menteri besar menambah, jika ada, beliau memberi jaminan tidak akan berkompromi dengan jenayah itu.

"Dakwaan rasuah tidak berasas sama sekali. Bagaimanapun, kita menjemput BPR supaya menempatkan seorang pegawainya di pejabat menteri besar untuk tempoh sebulan atau lebih supaya dapat mengurangkan atau menghapuskan segala peluang untuk mereka yang ingin rasuah dan salah guna kuasa.

"Dan BPR telah setuju untuk menempatkan pegawainya di sini (pejabatnya)" katanya.

Abdul Khalid mengulangi seruannya agar individu yang membuat laporan BPR berhubung kes itu tampil ke depan.

Mengulas mengenai pelantikan ahli majlis kerajaan tempatan, Abdul Khalid berkata, kerajaan negeri membentuk pasukan petugas bagi menilai seorang demi seorang ahli majlis yang bakal dilantik itu.

"Isu ini sensitif, kita berharap senarainya boleh dikeluarkan pada 20 Jun ini," katanya.

Market traders cry foul over huge fee - The Star

Jun 11, 2008 By STUART MICHAEL

THE current economic environment is certainly not too friendly to the petty traders and hawkers. With the recent big increase in petrol price, accompanied by the spiral price increase of other essential items, these people are surely facing a difficult time.

But, instead of helping these people tide over the hard times, the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) is using a company it has set up to charge the morning market traders at Bukit Rahman Putra in Sungai Buloh an annual fee of RM1,600 each.

The traders feel that the fee imposed on them by Laman Bunga Raya Sdn Bhd is too stiff and unjustified.

Not happy: Sivarasa (second from left) talking about his meeting with Zainal Abidin on the issue.

According to Subang MP R. Sivarasa, the council only charges Laman Bunga Raya RM1,200 a year for the piece of two-acre land but the company is charging each trader RM1,600 a year.

“This does not make any sense. The market traders are willing to pay a reasonable fee of about RM50 a month, which amounts to RM600 a year each,” Sivarasa said.

“The high charge of RM1,600 is unfair and unjustified, especially when the company is owned by the council,'' he said.

Sivarasa met council president Zainal Abidin Azim at the MPS building in Bandar Baru Selayang on Monday to raise the matter.

Sivarasa said he would have another meeting with Zainal to seek a solution on the issue.

“Why should the council own a company? Who is behind such a scheme?''

Sivarasa said he had asked Zainal the two questions on Monday but was not given any answer.

Sivarasa also said for the sake of residents in the area, the morning market at BRP7/1 should be relocated.

“The traders have agreed that the market be relocated to an abandoned TNB sub-station about 500 metres away from the current venue,” he said.

Sivarasa also said he asked Zainal why the council had approved 200 more permits for the night market at Desa Aman Puri in Kepong, which was already congested with 300 stalls.

He said increasing the number of traders at Desa Aman Puri to 500 would cause the already chaotic traffic situation there to worsen.

According to Sivarasa, all the revenues generated from the market permits are not credited to the council but to certain individuals and the respective residents associations.

“If such a scheme is allowed, the local councils are deprived of income from the public services and facilities. It is estimated that with so many night markets in Selangor, the local councils lose up to RM30mil a year,” Sivarasa said.

He said such a huge amount of income could be used for better purposes like road maintenance and streetlights.

Sivarasa urged the Selangor government to review such practices by the councils.

MB's aide quizzed by ACA - NST

SHAH ALAM: Jun 11, 2008

An aide of the Selangor menteri besar was questioned by the Anti-Corruption Agency yesterday for allegedly being involved in approving contracts for cleaning and garbage collection in Petaling Jaya.

The officer, who is in his 40s, voluntarily went to the state ACA headquarters at Plaza Masalam at 6pm and was questioned for four hours.

Selangor ACA director Jaafar Mahad confirmed that the officer was called to provide a statement to facilitate investigations.

He said statements were also recorded from officers of the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBJB) and Alam Flora.

Jaafar refused to elaborate further, adding that they would complete investigations soon.

ACA investigations were initiated after a report was lodged by four Parti Keadilan Rakyat members last week.

The group alleged irregularities in the approval of cleaning and rubbish collection contracts approved by the official.

They also claimed the contracts were awarded without the knowledge of the menteri besar.

Previously, it was reported that PKR members from Kuala Selangor, Tanjong Karang and Shah Alam divisions had lodged a police report against the officer before lodging another report with the ACA.