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Just help Switzerland in RM16.8 billion probe, DAP tells Putrajaya

DAP today urged Putrajaya to cooperate with the Swiss authorities in their investigations into the misappropriation of US$4 billion (RM16.8 billion) by Malaysian state companies. Its secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng, said Putrajaya should take seriously the discovery and request made by the Swiss authorities, which was uncovered in the ongoing…
via The Malaysian Insider : Malaysia

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Just help Switzerland in RM16.8 billion probe, DAP tells Putrajaya

DAP today urged Putrajaya to cooperate with the Swiss authorities in their investigations into the misappropriation of US$4 billion (RM16.8 billion) by Malaysian state companies.

Its secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng, said Putrajaya should take seriously the discovery and request made by the Swiss authorities, which was uncovered in the ongoing investigations on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

“It is a worrying development, coming from the attorney-general of Switzerland, a country known for its respect for the rule of law.

“If the A-G of Switzerland can openly disclose the finding of the case, it means there is basis to it. It is serious.
“We cannot just let it slide, and risk affecting our Transparency International ranking and reputation in fighting corruption.”

Lim was commenting on a report by The Wall Street Journal three days ago that Swiss authorities investigating 1MDB had found that some US$4 billion from Malaysian state companies was misappropriated.

It claimed some of the money was transferred to Swiss banks by public officials from Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

Swiss A-G Michael Lauber also expressed concern over Malaysian Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s decision to stop investigations into the RM2.6 billion donation to Prime Minister Datuk in Najib Razak, saying the move could hamper Switzerland’s probe into the troubled state-owned investment firm.

“We are very concerned,” WSJ quoted Lauber as saying.

“Without assistance from Malaysia, our investigation in Switzerland risks running into a dead-end.”

On another matter, Lim also urged the federal government to stop burdening the people with policies, following its decision to double the levy rate for foreign workers.

“We have asked for the 6% goods and services tax to be scrapped… now we have this increase in levy. There are many complaints against this.

“Do it when the economy is good, not now. We are worried that the increase in operating cost will force some businesses to close, and that will also affect the Malaysian workers employed.

“Tak wajar, tak waras (inappropriate, crazy). Don’t tell me (they) are so obsessed with money, to hike up prices to prevent bankruptcy?”

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had announced the new charges on Sunday.

It was reported that the foreign worker levy for the manufacturing, construction and service sectors has been increased to RM2,500 while for those in the plantation and agriculture sectors, it has been raised to RM1,500.

Zahid added that the revised levy would boost government revenue by RM2.5 billion. – February 2, 2016.

PM announces construction of new bridge in Batang Lupar for Sarawak coastline

BINTULU: The Sarawak and Federal governments will build a bridge to serve as a gateway to the vast coastline in Sarawak in a joint venture project.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he had proposed to Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to work with the state government in building the bridge in Batang Lupar in Sri Aman to open up links to the coastal area.

“Imagine if we can accomplish this, it will open up more opportunities in the coastal areas across the state,” he said in a meet-the-people session at the Dewan Suarah field here.

Najib said construction of the RM16 billion Pan Borneo Highway which will stretch over 1,000km from Lundu to Lawas has begun and is already showing promise of new opportunities for people who live along the route.

“The plan to build the new bridge will be in the manifesto in the coming elections,” he said adding the government will also start rebuilding 107 dilapidated schools identified by the Education Department.

The government will also allocate RM70 million to repair or rebuild longhouses, Najib said.

“Sarawak has big potential but it cannot be achieved without connectivity. We need to build roads, bridges, telecommunication towers, bring clean water supply and electricity in order to do this.

“With all this in place Sarawak can contribute better to the Malaysian GDP. This is why I have big plans for Sarawak and I am determined to do this together with the Sarawak government because we are together in Barisan Nasional.

“This is not political rhetoric, I can do it, the Federal government can deliver, we have delivered and we will continue to deliver,” he said.

Najib said he wants to make sure the state and the people continue to prosper.

He said he believes Adenan has what it takes to lead Sarawak and deserves to be given the mandate in the coming elections.

“He has a good heart, a good man who is popular, he is our partner in the Federal leadership and I know he will secure a good future for the people of Sarawak.“


© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

Local traders hard hit this Chinese New Year as shoppers cut spending

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 28 — With just 10 days to go before Chinese New Year, small traders and shops that usually depend on a windfall during the festive season are in for a disappointment.

Stalls selling Chinese New Year cookies and snacks can be seen at wet markets here but most of them are reporting a drop in sales. In some instances, the drop is by a whopping 30 per cent.

Bottles of ribbon biscuits, kuih kapit (love letters), kuih bangkit, pork floss rolls, almond cookies, pineapple tarts and many other types of baked goods selling from RM16 per bottle onwards are stacked up high while the sellers sit idly waiting for customers at many of these markets.

One of them, Summer Wong, 31, said sales has dipped by more than 30 per cent when compared to the same period last year.

“I started selling the cookies and biscuits a month ago and usually, I’d be having very brisk sales two to three weeks before Chinese New Year but this time, sales has been very slow,” she said.

Wong sells her products, taken from suppliers in Sungai Petani, at night markets and several wet markets in Pulau Tikus, Tanjung Bungah and Taman Lip Sin.

Sales at each location has been similarly slow and not as good as it used to be, she said as she arranged bottles of the cookies at her small stall situated at the Pulau Tikus market here.

She said her regular customers are also cutting down their orders from last year by half.

“Even my suppliers have cut down their supplies because they are worried about having too much stock and being unable to sell everything,” she said, adding that they don’t want to be left with too much stock which they will not be able to sell after Chinese New Year.

Wong’s predicament is similar to what a snack shop seller in Kajang is facing.

Kuah Su Keong, who works at a snack shop on Jalan Besar in Kajang, said he has seen fewer people coming in to buy or order cookies for Chinese New Year.

“Our business is down by 30 per cent this year, really bad. You have bad economy and you have GST, this make people less willing to spend,” the 33-year-old said, referring to the controversial consumption tax.

When asked if he expected sales to pick up in the last week, he shook his head and pointed at the shelves full of containers of cookies and crackers ready for Chinese New Year as well as the empty street outside his store.

“It will be the same, do you see any business here?” he added.

According to Penang Hawkers Association vice chairman Ooi Thean Huat, hawkers and traders in Penang are facing a drop in sales of more than 40 per cent.

“Chinese New Year is a time when people will stock up on fresh produce, meat and seafood because the markets will be closed during the holidays but this time around, people are buying less,” he said.

He believed consumers are being very careful with their spending and cutting down by reducing the amount of produce and meat they buy.

“If previously they buy one whole chicken, maybe now, they will buy only half a chicken,” he said.

He said many consumers also now shop at hypermarkets as they offer more competitive prices compared to the wet markets.

“Our vegetable sellers do not take as much supplies as compared to the hypermarkets so their prices are higher and customers are now so careful, they will compare prices and choose to buy at hypermarkets instead,” he said.

Even the food hawkers are facing a reduction in sales as they increase prices for Chinese New Year, bringing the average price for a plate or bowl of hawker fare up to RM4.50 as compared to RM3.50 previously.

“They have no choice but to increase prices since their costs increased and this means fewer people can afford hawker food every day soon,” he said.

The food hawkers will remain open during Chinese New Year to capture the influx of visitors to the island state during the festive season but Ooi said many that are located away from tourism spots would close for that week.

There also seems to be fewer makeshift stalls set up to sell hampers, boxes of mandarin oranges and bakwa (pork jerky) as Chinese New Year draws near.

One of the workers at one such stall said business has been slow since they set up the stall a week ago.

“Usually, we will sell boxes of mandarin oranges and many hampers within the first week but now, we are lucky to even sell one box of mandarin oranges per day,” the man, who did not want to be named, said.

Over in Kajang, a Malay trader who wanted to earn some extra income by selling mandarin oranges at the Sungai Chua market regretted his decision.

“I decided to sell mandarin oranges as Chinese New Year is coming and there are more Chinese buyers here,” Mizi, 25, said.

“But I think it is probably not a good idea. I sell only one or two boxes a day. Some days, I sell nothing,” he added sadly.

Bakwa is considered one of the essential items for Chinese New Year in Penang but this year, customers are also cutting down their purchase.

Tan Ah Luan, who has a pork stall that also sells a variety of bakwa and pork floss at the Macallum Street market here, said her regular customers who usually order boxes of the dried meat as gifts for their business associates have cut down their orders.

“If they used to place orders of more than RM3,000 for Chinese New Year, this year, they have reduced it to RM2,000,” she said.

Even those selling prayer items and decorations for Chinese New Year are feeling the slowdown at a time when business used to be brisk.

Datuk Loh Boey Huat of Hock Huat Heong Sdn Bhd said there is a drop of between 20 to 30 per cent this year, especially for decorative items such as lanterns and wall hangings.

“People will still buy joss sticks and other prayer items because they will still need to pray to the deities but they won’t buy anything extra or other miscellaneous items that are not necessary,” he said.

He said shoppers are more careful with their money and do not want to spend on unnecessary items, not even for the festive season.

A business student in Kajang concurred with what Loh said and added that they, as consumers, are spending less and making their own Chinese New Year cookies instead.

“My family has not bought anything. We make our own cookies and cakes now, and also some seaweed sheets to sell,” Lim Hui Ing, 21, said.

She added that her family does not buy mandarin oranges too as family friends will give them boxes as gifts but this year, they are getting fewer boxes too.

“Maybe we will experience a quieter Chinese New Year this year,” she said.

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Not wrong for Swiss authorities to request information, says Ramkarpal

Telling Swiss authorities to relay information or allegations in its probe into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) via official channels gave the impression that Putrajaya has something to hide, a DAP lawmaker said today.

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said that there was nothing unusual or improper about one government publicly requesting another for information or for action to be taken on matters which concern both countries.

The lawmaker was commenting on Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s remark that the Swiss attorney-general (A-G) should not have made public his request for Malaysia’s help with its investigations into 1MDB, adding that such details should have been kept private between the two governments.

His remarks came after Swiss A-G Michael Laubner’s press statement on January 30 that some US$4 billion (RM16.8 billion) may have been misappropriated from Malaysian companies.

The discovery was made in the course of investigating two former 1MDB officials and others on suspicion of bribery involving foreign public officials.

Ramkarpal also pointed out that Malaysia did the same that last October when National Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar publicly told the Indonesia government to be stern and not compromise on any party responsible for the forest fires, which had caused the prolonged smoke situation, adding that the minister in this case, did not make a request to Indonesia through “official channels” as the matter affected both countries.

“The position is the same in this case.

“The said investigations that are being conducted by the Swiss OAG are certainly in the public interest as it may involve 1MDB and Malaysian state firms.

“As deputy prime minister, Zahid should welcome the said OAG’s request and not condemn same as being inappropriate,“ Ramkarpal said.

Ramkarpal, who is a lawyer, also expressed hope that the Swiss attorney-general would continue with its request in the public sphere and not be influenced by Zahid’s remarks.

“Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali has said that he will cooperate with the said Swiss OAG and the public has every right to know the developments of such investigations.

“Perhaps its best for Zahid not to interfere with the jobs of the said attorney-general’s.” – February 1, 2016.

Oil & gas royalty discussion on hold for now, says Adenan

BINTULU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak makes frequent visits to Sarawak because he cares for the people, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

Adenan said during each visit, Najib would bring gifts such as the Pan Borneo Highway which stretches more than 1,000km, costing RM16 billion.

The prime minister had even suggested building the longest bridge in Batang Lupar in a joint development plan between the Federal and state governments, said Adenan.

“Because of the drop in global oil prices, the state has agreed to put on hold discussion on the oil and gas royalty review with the Federal government,” he said.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

Biryanistic Post by spicysharon at http://ift.tt/1Vtt4uH 🍴 Last weekend at Malgudi, I sampled both the Chicken Biryani (Rm16) as well as the Mutton Biryani (Rm19). I enjoyed the latter more - the succulent chunks of mutton added juicy flavors to the overall dish 💋
.
Thank you Malgudi for the fantastic Indian feast. Read more about my experience on the blog
.
#malgudi #malgudiindianrestaurant #indianfood #lunch #tbt #photooftheday #picoftheday #follow #me #followme #love #food #fun #beautiful #happy #instagood #instafood #instadaily #tagforlikes #girl #smile #like4like #igers #instalike #vscocam #panasonic

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