Mahathir’s ‘vintage’ age sets ‘super’ high benchmark to other leaders

SINGAPORE: His ‘vintage’ age has set a “super” high benchmark for any leader in the world not to have excuses for not being committed to their duty except if sick.

Tun Dr Mahathir kept up well until the ‘finishing line’ with a non-stop programme that kicked off immediately after his arrival early Monday to this island city-state.

The Malaysian Prime Minister was here for four days, starting with a two-day official visit to Singapore followed by the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits until Thursday.

“I don’t know how I managed. I always attend meetings. It is my duty. If I can I will if I’m sick I won’t,” he said at the end of the Summits here today.

Dr Mahathir was asked by a foreign journalist on how he, at 93 years managed to attend a series of meetings here while one ASEAN leader needed to take “a power nap” and missed a few meetings scheduled during the Summits.

His engagement does not stop in Singapore as he will be in Papua New Guinea for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) annual summit this weekend.

The premier, the oldest head of government attending the 33rd Edition of ASEAN Summit, has already left for Kuala Lumpur this evening before flying to Port Moresby tomorrow. — Bernama

No cabinet reshuffle as yet: Dr Mahathir

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he has not considered reshuffling his Cabinet as yet because it is just six months old.

The Pakatan Harapan chairman was asked on the possible reshuffling of his Cabinet following one of the coalition’s components, PKR, having just concluded its party elections.

“I am not going to, but Pakatan Harapan may want. They might want, they might insist. Then, I have to consider. But on my part, I have not decided about reshuffling (the Cabinet),” he said at the end of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits here today.

Asked who are the “they” he was referring to, Dr Mahathir said: “They are the other parties. PKR or DAP or AMANAH.”

“It is difficult to assess the performance of Cabinet ministers. I do not want to be changing because it leads to lack of confidence,” he said.

As there have been some concerns about the performance of certain Ministers, Dr Mahathir said that they will be given a chance.

“They are new and we need to talk to them. I must admit they are not familiar with being in the government. They are familiar with being in the opposition. So, some of the things they do reflect their positions as opposition.”

On how long more is he willing to give them time, Dr Mahathir said: “I cannot say.” — Bernama

No cabinet reshuffle as yet: Dr Mahathir

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he has not considered reshuffling his Cabinet as yet because it is just six months old.

The Pakatan Harapan chairman was asked on the possible reshuffling of his Cabinet following one of the coalition’s components, PKR, having just concluded its party elections.

“I am not going to, but Pakatan Harapan may want. They might want, they might insist. Then, I have to consider. But on my part, I have not decided about reshuffling (the Cabinet),” he said at the end of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits here today.

Asked who are the “they” he was referring to, Dr Mahathir said: “They are the other parties. PKR or DAP or AMANAH.”

“It is difficult to assess the performance of Cabinet ministers. I do not want to be changing because it leads to lack of confidence,” he said.

As there have been some concerns about the performance of certain Ministers, Dr Mahathir said that they will be given a chance.

“They are new and we need to talk to them. I must admit they are not familiar with being in the government. They are familiar with being in the opposition. So, some of the things they do reflect their positions as opposition.”

On how long more is he willing to give them time, Dr Mahathir said: “I cannot say.” — Bernama

Court dismisses suit by Universiti Malaya against China Press and theSun

SHAH ALAM: The sessions court here ruled today that press reports last year about Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) considering an increase in surgery fees, was not defamatory.

In handing down judgement on defamation suits by Universiti Malaya against the China Press and theSun, Sessions court judge Zulqarnain Hassan said the court found no ‘mala fide’ (bad faith) on the part of the defendants.

“The article clearly says ‘UMMC mulls multi-fold increase in charges for surgery’,” said the judge in ruling that the words used by the publications indicated it was just a proposal or suggestion.

“The plaintiff’s witness who was an accountant confirmed that medical costs is studied every three years. As such, there is no mala fide on the part of the defendants,” he added.

In ruling that the article had not affected UM’s standing and that UM had failed to prove any case of defamation, the judge ordered UM to pay cost of RM10,000 respectively to both China Press and theSun.

In lauding the decision, theSun managing editor Freddie Ng said he viewed the court’s judgement as an affirmation of the freedom of the press to fairly report on what goes on in institutions which are publicly funded.

“The court decision clearly upholds the role of the press in reporting on issues of public interest, in good faith,” he added.

theSun was represented by lawyers Himahlini Ramalingam and Lee Wei Ting, and China Press by Yiew Voon Lee while UM was represented by Alicia Loh.

Rosmah, Ku Nan court roundup

KUALA LUMPUR: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has claimed trial to soliciting and receiving a bribe amounting to RM189 million relating to the RM1.25bil solar hybrid project for rural schools in Sarawak.

The charges were read to her before Sessions Court judge Azman Ahmad.

On the first count, she was charged with dishonestly soliciting for herself, made through Rizal Mansor, 44, gratification, to the amount of RM187,500,000, which is 15% of the value of the contract for the project, from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin.

She was charged with committing the offence at Lygon Cafe’, G-24, Ground Floor, Sunway Putra Mall, 100, Jalan Putra, Chow Kit, here between March and April 2016.

On the second count, Rosmah was charged with dishonestly receiving for herself RM1,500,000 from Saidi for the same purpose at ‪No. 11, Jalan‬ ‪Langgak‬ ‪Duta,‬ ‪Taman‬ ‪Duta‬, here on Sept 7, 2017.

She was charged under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act, and faces imprisonment for up to 20 years and fine of not less than five times the amount of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

The prosecution was conducted by deputy public prosecutor ​​​​​​​Datuk Umar Saifuddin Jaafar, while the defence team was led by Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent .

Both charges are offences under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and punishable under Section 24(1) of the same Act.

Azman allowed bail at RM1 million in one surety.

He also allowed the bail to be paid in two instalments with RM500,000 to be paid yesterday and the balance within seven days.

Meanwhile, her former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor also pleaded not guilty at a different Sessions court for allegedly soliciting RM212.5mil and received bribes amounting to RM5.5mil on behalf of

Rosmah and himself in helping Jepak Holdings secure the deal.

Rizal’s first charge was for securing the RM187.5 million from Saidi and RM25 million for himself as a guarantee to ensure the company gets the project.

The third and fourth charges were for receiving RM5 million on behalf of Rosmah and RM500,000 for himself.

He allegedly received the money from Saidi between March and December 2016.

Bail for Rizal was set at RM1million.

Also yesterday, former Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to two counts of receiving RM3 million for land deals
involving Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

The money was paid to him by two property developers, one of whom was Datuk Tan Eng Boon who also claimed trial.

Ku Nan as he is referred to allegedly received a cheque amounting to RM1 million on Dec 27, 2013, which was deposited into his bank account named Pekan Nenas Industries Sdn Bhd, even though he had knowledge that the company, formerly known as Nucleus Properties Sdn Bhd (now known as Paragon City Development Sdn Bhd) owned by Tan, had official negotiations with DBKL.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Putra World Trade Centre CIMB bank branch.

On the second count, Ku Nan was also charged with receiving an RM2 million cheque from businessman Cai Kin Kong through a cheque from property developers Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd.

The charge read that he did this despite having knowledge that Aset Kayamas had dealings with his ministry.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Pusat Bandar Damansara CIMB branch bank here on June 14, 2016.

The charges were read out to him before Azman.

The first charge was made under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act, with an alternative charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code.

The second charge was made under Section 165 of the Penal Code.

If found guilty, he could be jailed for up to two years, fined or both.

Ummar Saifuddin led the prosecution while Ku Nan’s team was led by Datuk Tan Hock Chuan.

The judge set bail at RM1 million in two sureties and told Tengku Adnan to surrender his passport to the court.

Meanwhile Tan was charged in a separate sessions court before Judge Azura Alwi for giving Ku Nan the RM1 million cheque.

Tan pleaded not guilty to the charges and the judge set RM700,000 bail in two sureties.

Next case mention is also on Dec 12.

64,632 Malaysians declared bankrupt over last 5 years

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Department of Insolvency says 64,632 Malaysians aged between 18 and 44 have been declared bankrupt over the last five years.

Additionally, 13,338 have also been declared bankrupt as of September this year.

The data highlights the importance of financial literacy in family institutions, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

“Financial education, is in fact, critical to the stability and resilience of the family institutions which in turn leads to a financially strong and prudent nation.

“I strongly believe fiscal discipline starts at home. Parents have an important role to play in educating their children on this,” she added.

Wan Azizah, who is also the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, said this in her opening remarks at the Debt Management and Counselling Agency’s (AKPK) inaugural Financial Literacy Symposium 2018, here today.

“I understand that some non-profit organisations and financial institutions have also conducted financial literacy programmes in schools, aimed at teaching children to differentiate between needs and wants.

“Initiatives such as these should be applauded and I hope more financial literacy programmes will be carried out among school children,” she said.

Wan Azizah added that it was important for agencies such as the AKPK and other stakeholders to conduct financial literacy programmes for parents on ways to develop the right financial attitudes among their children. — Bernama

Govt not protecting local airlines, says Loke

SEPANG: The government will not be protecting local airlines amid competition from foreign airlines opting to operate in Malaysia, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

Instead, he said, more airlines coming to Malaysia would promote healthy competition.

“We welcome competition and we would like to see more competition. We don’t protect. We want a competitive market, not a protected market,” he told reporters after welcoming the maiden flight of India’s largest low-cost airline IndiGo to Kuala Lumpur International Airport at its second terminal (klia2) today.

The Airbus A320 aircraft, carrying 140 passengers, was given a traditional water cannon salute as it landed at the airport at about 10.34 am today.

Welcoming IndiGo as the 59th passenger airline to operate from KLIA, Loke said he was confident the Indian airline, which was founded in 2005, would contribute to the increase of passenger movements at KLIA.

“We see India as a huge market that can be tapped and see the growth together to keep low fares, hassle-free, and more frequencies and movements,” he said.

He said Malaysia aims to attract 1.9 million tourists from India in a few years’ time. In 2017, about 552,000 Indian tourists visited Malaysia.

Loke also suggested that IndiGo increase its fight operations and fly to other destinations in Malaysia including Penang, Langkawi, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Johor.

“This would allow for greater connectivity and position Malaysia as a preferred global hub,” he said.

Also present were Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd Acting Group Chief Executive Officer Raja Azmi Raja Nasuddin and IndiGo Chief Commercial Officer William Boulter. — Bernama

No warships in Asean waters, Mahathir tells United States

SINGAPORE: No warships in Asean waters, small boats are fine, Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told the United States today.

“Well, if the strategy does not include sending the Seventh Fleet into the area, we are welcome to that,” he said when asked on Asean’s understanding and hopes on the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Asean Summit 2018 here, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia has stated its stand that the seas around the Asean region should be free of big warships.

“Small patrol boats are needed to deal with piracy mainly, but big warships may cause incidents and that will lead to tension,” he said.

The Seventh Fleet is a numbered fleet (a military formation) of the United States Navy. It is part of the US Pacific Fleet. — Bernama

New Finas board appointed: Gobind Singh (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said today the new board of directors of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) has been appointed and will be introduced to the public next week.

He said the new line-up consists of, among others, people experienced in finance and corporate restructuring.

“At the same time, we are also appointing a group of advisers consisting of people who are actually involved in the industry, who understand the problems of the industry and will be able to assist us to try to solve current problems,” he told reporters after the launch of the Malaysian Entrepreneurs Festival here.

Gobind Singh said the group of advisers will also advise on the appointment of Finas’ new director-general.

“Hopefully, next week, we can have a press conference where we can introduce all of these people to the public,” he said.

Finas is under a probe by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over several allocations it received in 2017.

Earlier, in his speech, Gobind Singh said the government is pushing for greater participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ), a platform for SMEs to market their products overseas.

He said about 3,300 SMEs have joined the DFTZ platform since it was implemented last year.

Cross-border online business will be the norm and SMEs must quickly jump onto this bandwagon to be part of the digital economy, he said.

He also said that the Southeast Asian Internet economy is expected to grow from US$50 billion to US$250 billion (about RM200 billion to RM1 trillion) over the next seven years.

“In this digital age, connectivity is key. My ministry has been actively working to increase broadband speed and lower the price of services in order to create the most conducive conditions and infrastructure to develop and grow business and the economy,” he said. — Bernama