Monday, 28 October 2013

Impact of costlier sugar starts to hit

SIBU: Several coffee shops owners have hiked the prices of drinks while the rest may follow suit following the increase in sugar price by 40 sen per kg on Saturday.

Sibu Coffee Shop and Restaurant Owners’ Association chairman Tong Ing Kok confirmed this yesterday, adding by the middle of next month drinks in all coffee shops would have increased.

By then, he expected the new price list to be stabilised.

“There are more than 500 coffee shops in Sibu. The owners are making price adjustment of drinks now. Honestly, it is a bit confusing because our association cannot fix a standardised price list for them. They have to do it on their own.”

Tong said the association used to fix a standardised price list of drinks for the coffeeshop owners, but they cannot do it now as it would tantamount to flouting the Competition Act 2010.

He said this statute came into being because the government wanted to protect the interest of consumers.

“With our hands tied, our association will now only provide guidance to members and help them in other ways.”

He hoped coffee shop owners would take the interest of consumers into account when they increase the prices.

“I hope they will also study the previous price list and see how they should hike the prices.

“Let me stress it again – take the interest of consumers into account and hike reasonably.”

Tong said they had to increase the prices of drinks this time because there was no longer subsidy for sugar.

“A bag of 50kg sugar is now dearer by RM20 for us. In the last two years, the prices of sugar have increased at least twice.”

He said they had been struggling because they had to take the interest of consumers into account each time they considered a price hike for drinks.

“Dearer sugar is not the only problem we face in the hike of drink prices. We have also been affected by the hike of petrol prices and other factors.” - theborneopost

Parti Bumi Kenyalang lukewarm to next election

SIBU: Newly formed political party Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) has no intention to contest in the next election as it is in the midst of recruitment, but did not discount the possibility.

PBK president Yu Chang Ping said its main aim now was to promote, expand the party base and setting up its branches in urban as well as rural areas in the state.

“We will have a session soon with other component parties in Pakatan Rakyat to discuss in detail about our role and respective strategies to be adopted in the next state and federal election.

“Our focus is rural areas because we believe they are the most important key places for future development,” he told a press conference to announce the official formation of the party at a hotel here yesterday.

He said the party was among five new political parties in the state approved by Registrar of Societies (ROS) and so far it had over 70 members statewide.

It received ROS approval on Sept 2 this year after it submitted the application in 2008, he said.

“We plan to recruit 500 to 1,000 members in our first year, particularly from the Iban community and young and experienced people.

“We want to do the best for the people,” said Yu, a 39-year-old businessman from Bintulu.

Elaborating on the party’s struggle, he said PBK agreed and supports the two-party system to run the country to prevent cronyism, nepotism and corruption in order for the country to have a better competitive advantage, eradicate poverty and improve living standards for all citizens.

“PBK is formed by a group of people from various races and generations who are interested in social reformation in order to establish a peaceful and prosperous social democracy and offering equal access and opportunity.

“We are also upholding democratic governance, creating wealth and distributing it equally and fight for the rights of people of Sarawak,” he said.

Meanwhile, others in PBK committee line up are: Ngelayang Unau as vice president, Rali Wong as secretary, Yu Chin Liik as deputy secretary, Ling K K and Jessie Ngelayang as assistant secretaries, Ling Mee Hua as treasurer, Lai Chii Chuan as assistant treasurer, Lau Ing Siong as organising secretary, Lu Yew Ai as assistant publicity secretary and Moslie Ladi Sentu as deputy youth chief.

Its committee members are Serijin Ubong, Sentu Itan, Jemain Uji, Susie Buah, Yie Sie Tung, Ngu Song Hua, Yii Hie Lien, Neo Kiaw Fong, Lau Ai Lien, Sia Chui Guan, Ang Hui Lee, Annie Lau Siew Ching, Nguang Swee Lang, Lau Hua Rong, Wang Kang Quan, Zhang Lien Hua, Lee Chee Mien, Kong Siew Kiaw and Wong Fei.

Yu said there were a few important positions still vacant and waiting to be filled by suitable and capable candidates. - theborneopost

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Sugar subsidy abolished

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday announced that the government will abolish the sugar subsidy of 34 sen effective today.

Najib, who is also the Finance Minister made the announcement when tabling the 2014 Budget in Dewan Rakyat. He said the move was to reduce the number of diabetics in the country as statistics showed that 2.6 million Malaysians under the age of 30 are suffering from diabetes.

“Based on statistics there are 2.6 million Malaysians under the age of 30 suffering from diabetes,” he said.

Najib said if left untreated, patients will face serious complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.

“I urge Malaysians to take care of their health and reduce sugar in your food and drinks,” he said. — Bernama

Budget 2014

Strengthening Economic Resilience, Accelerating Transformation and Fulfilling Promises

• The domestic economy is projected to grow at a stronger pace of between 5.0 per cent to 5.5 per cent.

• The unemployment rate is estimated at 3.1 per cent while the inflation rate will remain low at between 2 per cent and 3 per cent.

• Goods exports are expected to grow 2.5 per cent due to improving external demand while on the supply side, the construction sector is expected to grow 9.6 per cent.

• The per capita income for 2014 is expected to reach RM34,126 compared with RM24,879 in 2009, an increase of 37 per cent over six years.

• It is even possible that Malaysia will achieve developed nation status much earlier than 2020.

• The 2014 Budget allocates a total of RM264.2 billion to implement programmes and projects.

• Of this amount, RM217.7 billion is for operating expenditure and RM46.5 billion for development expenditure.

• In 2014, the Federal government revenue collection is estimated at RM224.1 billion, an increase of RM4 billion from 2013.

• The Federal government’s fiscal deficit will further decline from 4 per cent of GDP in 2013 to 3.5 per cent in 2014.

• Private investment is expected to increase further to RM189 billion or 17.9 per cent of GDP, particularly in oil and gas, textile industry, transport equipment and real estate development.

• Public investment is estimated to reach RM106 billion.

• The Government allocates RM1.6 billion for development in the five regional corridors.

• Agropolitan project and oil palm-based industries to be implemented in Sabah Development Corridor, Samalaju Industrial Park and Halal hub in Sarawak Regional Corridor.

• Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Miri, Sibu and Mukah airports to be upgraded with RM312 million allocation.

• Internet speed to be increased to 10 Mbps.

• To increase Internet coverage in rural areas, 1,000 telecommunications transmission towers to be built over next 3 years, with a RM1.5 billion investment.

• To increase Internet access in Sabah and Sarawak, new underwater cables will be laid within 3 years, at a cost of RM850 million.

• Environmental, Social and Governance Index (ESG) to be introduced.

• Government targets 5,000 young entrepreneurs to be trained yearly.

• RM50 million to reduce graduate unemployment under Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund to be managed by SME Bank.

• The Fund will provide soft loans of up to RM500,000 at interest rate of 4 per cent.

• RM120 million for an integrated package to increase innovation and productivity of SMEs.

• Difference in minimum wages paid by employers for the period of Jan 1, 2014 to Dec 31, 2014 to be given further tax deduction.

• To conduct audit on projects valued at more than RM100 million.

• Monthly Tax Deduction as Final Tax, effective from 2014 assessment year.

• Sales tax and service tax to be abolished, to be replaced by Goods and Services Tax (GST) effective April 1, 2015 fixed at 6 per cent.

• Corporate income tax rate to be reduced by 1 percentage point from 25 per cent to 24 per cent.

• Individual income tax rates to be reduced by one to three percentage points for all tax payers.

• Chargeable income subject to maximum rate to be increased from exceeding RM100,000 to exceeding RM400,000.

• Current maximum tax rate at 26 per cent to be reduced to 24 per cent, 24.5 per cent and 25 per cent.

• Training grant of RM100 million to be provided to businesses that send employees for GST training in 2013 and 2014.

• Bumiputera equity holdings and property ownership to be increased through Skim Jejak Jaya Bumiputera, Skim Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 and strengthening of Bumiputera real estate institutions.

• Real Property Gains Tax increased to 30 per cent for properties disposed of within holding period of up to three years.

• Minimum price of property that can be purchased by foreigners increased from RM500,000 to RM1 million.

• 223,000 units of affordable houses to be built by government and private sector in 2014.

• RM331 million allocation to continue price uniformity programme and subsidies including transport costs in Sabah and Sarawak.

• RM30 million to open 60 Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) to help reduce prices of daily necessities.

• Special tax relief of RM2,000 for tax payers with monthly income of up to RM8,000 received in 2013. - theborneopost

PM has kept all his promises, Masing says of budget

KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing described Budget 2014 as a realisation of promises made during the 13th general election (13GE).

Among the promises made by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, he said, was additional allocation for native customary land surveying, and the prime minister made good of the promise when tabling the budget yesterday.

Welcoming the allocation of RM50 million under Budget 2014 for this purpose, Masing, who is also Land Development Minister, believed this would hasten perimeter survey work.

“This will (eventually) demarcate, once and for all, the state land and the NCR (native customary rights) land. Thus, disputes between state and NCR land will be reduced, and government can develop NCR land without disturbances.

“NGOs, or the opposition, will have no reason to accuse the government of grabbing NCR land. If there are any more disputes, it will only be between NCR landowners themselves,” he said yesterday.

Masing also said the RM500 million allocated under Budget 2014 for the Pan-Borneo Highway project would include the construction of the Kanowit – Kapit road.

“It is as PM (Prime Minister) promised. In short, PM keeps all his promises.”

Masing also welcomed the RM6 billion allocated for the implementation of high value-added and commercial viable agriculture programmes nationwide, and the RM54.6 billion for the education sector.

“This is the first Budget tabled after the 13GE. The prime minister kept his promises. His emphasis is correct. Money on agriculture, for instance, is catering for the ‘small men’ or lower income group.

“Money for education is to improve our human capital as we move forward. It’s for the future.”

On the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2015, Masing said GST was a shared responsibility form of taxing, where everyone is accountable for the upkeep of the nation.

“However, essential items for lower income group are exempted, thus living up to the People’s First concept as the PM promised.” - theborneopost

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Gabungan pemimpin baharu, lama diyakini lonjak perjuangan PBB menuju kecemerlangan

BERGABUNG: Beberapa pemimpin baharu dan lama MT Bumiputera, PBB 2013-2016 meraikan kemenangan selepas keputusan pertandingan diumumkan pada sekitar jam 9.30 malam kelmarin di BCCK. — Gambar Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Gabungan pemimpin baharu dan lama dalam Majlis Tertinggi (MT) – Sayap Bumiputera, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) 2013-2016 diyakini akan memberi lonjakan kepada perjuangan parti terbesar di Sarawak itu untuk menuju kecemerlangan pada masa depan.

Menurut ADUN Pantai Damai yang juga salah seorang pemimpin baharu dalam MT tersebut, Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, keputusan pemilihan sempena Perhimpunan Agung PBB Ke-13 itu telah menunjukkan kematangan ahli-ahli dalam memperkasakan parti.

“Gabungan antara pemimpin lama dan baharu telah dibuktikan.

“Harapan saya adalah semoga kita (pemimpin baharu dan lama) dapat bersamasama kepimpinan tertinggi membawa agenda pembangunan negeri supaya dapat dilaksanakan dengan sempurna,” katanya yang ditemu bual selepas pengumuman keputusan pemilihan Ahli MT – Sayap Bumiputera, PBB 2013-2016 di Pusat Konvensyen Borneo Kuching (BCCK) di sini, kelmarin.

Justeru, Dr Rahman mengucapkan setinggi penghargaan dan terima kasih kepada ahli-ahli parti yang telah memberi sokongan padu kepada ahli-ahli MT yang dipilih dalam perhimpunan kali ini, di mana beliau juga telah memperoleh undi kedua tertinggi.

Seorang lagi pemimpin baharu iaitu ADUN Saribas Ricky @ Mohammad Razi Sitam kemudian menyifatkan gabungan tersebut akan membantu membangunkan PBB sebagai sebuah parti yang kuat dan terus relevan di Sarawak.

“Saya yakin, sokongan yang diberikan kepada calon yang menang akan memberi signifikan kepada perjuangan parti untuk menuju kecemerlangan pada masa depan,” katanya.

Kejayaan dipilih dalam MT Bumiputera juga telah menjadi rahmat bagi Razi, yang meraikan hari jadi ke-40 hari ini.

“Saya gembira dengan keputusan ini dan ia menjadi hadiah istimewa untuk hari jadi saya yang ke-40,” katanya sambil menyampaikan penghargaan kepada semua penyokong yang memberikan kepercayaan kepadanya.

ADUN Demak Laut Dr Hazland Abang Hipni yang juga seorang daripada pemimpin baharu berkata dengan adanya lonjakan kepimpinan melalui pemimpin baharu, PBB diyakini akan mencapai segala matlamatnya.

“Kami (pemimpin baharu) boleh memberikan banyak idea baharu kepada pucuk pimpinan dan membawa cara baharu untuk meningkatkan lagi taraf sosioekonomi rakyat dengan sistematik,” katanya.

Bagi pemimpin lama Datuk Seri Mohammad Ali Mahmud, beliau berbangga dengan semangat kekeluargaan yang ditunjukkan dalam perhimpunan kali ini.

“Ahli-ahli parti telah menunjukkan semangat kerjasama dan ingin merapatkan hubungan antara satu sama lain.

“Saya yakin, pemimpin lama dan baharu akan bekerjasama dalam satu pasukan,” katanya.

Pertandingan MT Kuota Bumiputera sempena Konvensyen PBB 2013 yang berlangsung kelmarin menyaksikan seramai empat pemimpin baharu dipilih iaitu Dr Rahman, Razi, Dr Hazland dan Datu Len Talif Salleh.

Manakala pemimpin lama yang kekal ialah Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, Ali, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Ahmad Lai Bujang, Datuk Idris Buang, Murni Suhaili dan Datuk Aidan Wing.

Sementara MT Sayap Pesaka (Iban, Bidayuh dan Orang Ulu) PBB 2013-2016 menyaksikan semua penyandang menang tanpa bertanding.

Mereka terdiri daripada Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, Datuk Benedict Bujang Tembak dan Watson Bangau (Iban), Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit, Datuk Frederick Bayoi Manggie dan Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn (Bidayuh), Datuk Henry Sum Agong dan Mujah Lihan (Orang Ulu). - theborneopost

Nazri reiterates stand on ‘Allah’ issue

KUCHING: Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz reiterated his stance that the word ‘Allah’ can only be used in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia and that if people from these two states go to the peninsula they have to follow the customs and traditions.

Elaborating on his support for the Court of Appeal’s decision to back a Home Ministry ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by The Herald, Nazri said East Malaysian culture was different from that in the peninsula and the two should not be mixed.

While Christians can continue using ‘Allah’ in Sabah and Sarawak because that is a century-old practice, in the peninsula, they must mind sensitivities. “It is not practised in Peninsular Malaysia. Because of that, I protest against it (the use of ‘Allah’ by Christians). I don’t care what others are saying,” Nazri was quoted in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“So, don’t kick up a fuss. For Christians from Sabah and Sarawak, when they come here, they need to follow the customs and traditions in the peninsula,” he added.

Nazri said the difference in the implementation of the ban was not hard to accept. When Peninsular Malaysians visit Sabah and Sarawak, they had to show their passports to get into the Borneo states, but not the other way around.

Nazri obviously still maintains and is consistent with his strong views he expressed when he was interviewed by The Borneo Post on the same subject in early 2010.

He said, “We don’t care what you do in Sarawak and Sabah, but don’t bring to Semenanjung.It’s entirely different culture for us. That’s cultural. So avoid any future conflict, it is best that we go back to status quo while waiting for the decision of the court.”

When pressed on by journalists on sentiments being stirred by two sets of law on ‘Allah’ issue then, Nazri said, “If the court so decides, we must respect. I am a seeker for law. I am a lawyer, if you break the laws, I don’t care. It does not matter you are Muslim, non-Muslim, you are Malay, you are Chinese, I fight.”

His parting words three years ago was, “‘Allah’ shall continue to be used in Sarawak and Sabah. But if you come to Semenanjung Malaysia, please respect our belief and traditions.”

The full interview “Face to face with Nazri on ‘Allah’ issue” is available on Borneo Post Online.

Meanwhile, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing is satisfied with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s assurance that the Court of Appeal’s ruling is not binding on both Sarawak and Sabah.

“As a politician, I am satisfied with PM’s assurance that the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the term ‘Allah’ (to refer to God) is not binding on Sarawak and Sabah. Whether the legal interpretation of the ruling is in sync with political interpretation is not for me to judge. I am not a lawyer.

“But as long as it keeps peace and maintains religious harmony in the two eastern states, I am happy. I hope personalities from outside of Sarawak and Sabah do not poke their noses and create problems for us in these two states; we will be okay as we had done over 100 years,” Masing told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He was commenting on Najib’s assurance in Sabah on Monday that Christians in Sarawak and Sabah could continue using the word “Allah” in their worship, as the Federal Government would honour the 10-point solution on the issue made in 2011.

Najib had also advised all groups not to politicise the issue “as they will be playing with fire that can eventually burn them”.

He said COA’s decision to uphold the Home Ministry’s ban on the use of term “Allah” in the Catholic publication The Herald did not affect the Christians of Sabah and Sarawak.

(Under the 10-point solution announced by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Idris Jala, Bibles in all languages can be imported into the country, including those in Bahasa Malaysia or Indonesia, and the Bibles can also be printed locally in Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Bibles in the indigenous languages of Sabah and Sarawak, such as Iban, Kadazandusun and Lun Bawang, could be printed locally and imported.)

Najib said the people of Sabah and Sarawak should not feel threatened by this issue because whatever they had been practising so far could continue without any restriction. - theborneopost

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Jangan berpuak-puak, kata Taib

Kestabilan ekonomi dan politik di negeri ini yang didokong dan dipimpin oleh PBB mesti dijaga.

KUCHING: Perpaduan kukuh yang terjalin sejak penggabungan tiga parti asas yang membentuk Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) sehingga ke hari ini harus dipertahankan meskipun berhadapan dengan pelbagai ranjau dan cabaran.

Ketua Menteri merangkap Yang DiPertua Parti PBB, Abdul Taib Mahmud menegaskan, kestabilan ekonomi dan politik di negeri ini yang didokong dan dipimpin oleh PBB mesti dijaga.

“Saya ingin memberi peringatan dan nasihat kepada semua, pantang sekali sekiranya ada kalangan ahli yang berpuak-puak atau berpihak kepada satu-satu kumpulan kerana tindakan seperti itu boleh meruntuhkan keharmonian dan perpaduan dalam parti,” katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian semasa berucap pada Majlis Pelancaran Ulang Tahun Ke-50 Parti PBB Sarawak dan Seminar Perihal Politik dan Pendidikan di Pusat Konvensyen Borneo Kuching (BCCK) di sini, semalam.

Menurutnya, kejayaan istimewa yang dinikmati dalam PBB selama ini adalah dipacu perpaduan kukuh dalam parti itu.

Kata Taib, sekiranya ada kalangan ahli parti yang berpuak-puak, akibatnya parti yang sudah berusia 50 tahun itu akan berpecah-belah.

“PBB dipercayai oleh rakyat selagi kita (parti) kekal bersatu padu dan ini membolehkan kita melaksanakan banyak projek pembangunan seperti yang diinginkan oleh rakyat.

“Kita bukan sombong tetapi PBB telah membina perpaduan kukuh sehingga menjadi sebuah parti yang paling stabil dan teguh pada hari ini walaupun menghadapi pelbagai cabaran,” jelasnya.

Dalam pada itu, Taib menyifatkan perpaduan kukuh dalam parti PBB adalah satu tuah sekali gus menjadi landasan perjuangan parti untuk rakyat.

“Ahli PBB tidak takut menghadapi perkara baharu, meninggalkan keluarga, berhijrah ke tempat baharu atau menukar adat resam yang lapuk kerana sikap ini telah dididik dalam parti sehingga ahli yang terdiri daripada berbilang kaum dapat bersama,” tegas Taib.

Tambahnya, PBB juga mempunyai perjuangan dan hala tuju yang jelas, maka ia menyebabkan parti itu masih terus relevan dalam arena politik meskipun 13 pilih raya sudah berlalu.

“Rakyat tahu perjuangan kita dan mereka juga tahu kita dapat melaksanakan pembangunan di negeri ini kerana, PBB dan Barisan Nasional (BN) adalah parti yang paling relevan untuk memenuhi kehendak rakyat,” ujarnya.

Menurut beliau, kejayaan dan pembangunan sekarang hasil perjuangan pemimpin terdahulu. Sehubungan itu, beliau mengajak ahli PBB bertafakur sebentar sebagai menghormati perjuangan pemimpin terdahulu. - FMT

Toyad loses PBB veep race

Former tourism minister Leo Michael Toyad and Daud Abdul Rahman, the assistant minister in the Chief Minister's Office, failed to defend their positions in the PBB election last night.

KUCHING: The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Sarawak election for the post of three vice presidents last night saw two major casualties.

Former tourism minister Leo Michael Toyad and Daud Abdul Rahman, the assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Office, failed to defend their positions in the election held last night.

Leo Michael Toyad received 300 votes while Daud had 351 against Sarawak Tourism Assistant Minister Datuk Talip Zulpilip’s 780; Sarawak Industry Development Assistant Minister Julaihi Narawi’s 552 and Sarawak Housing Assistant Minister Abdul Wahab Aziz’s 546 votes.

Another candidate, Datuk Bolhassan, a former Sarawak Assistant Minister received 171 votes.

Earlier, in the race for two more vice presidents, Michael Manyin Jawong (Sarawak Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister) and Alexander Nanta Linggi (Deputy Minister of Rural Development) had already secured victories.

Meanwhile, the election for PBB Supreme Council posts saw Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, state assemblyman for (Bukit Kota), Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi (Pantai Damai), Len Talif Salleh (Belawai), Mohamad Ali Mahmud (Muara Tuang), Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (Asajaya), Ricky@Razi Sitam (Saribas), Dr Hazland Hipni (Demak Laut), Dr Murni Suhaili (Daro), Sibuti MP Ahmad Lai Bujang, Idris Buang and Aidan Wing elected.

PBB is headed by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. He received a resounding endorsement from the party’s 71 branches which wanted him to continue holding the position.

His two deputies, Alfred Jabu Numpang and Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, were also returned unopposed, alongside two senior vice-presidents in Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Douglas Uggah Embas.

Two vice-presidents for the Pesaka (non-Muslim) wing – Michael Manyin Jawong and Alexander Nanta Linggi – also retained their posts uncontested.

Toyad’s defeat was unexpected as he appeared to be coming out of the political woodwork lending weight to speculations of a bigger role awaiting him.

Toyad, a Melanau, has been on the local political observers’ checklist as a possible successor to Chief Minister Taib. He also had Taib’s backing for the vice-president’s post. - FMT

Sarawakians’ loyalty to nation unflinching, says Chief Minister

TRADITIONAL WELCOME: An usher dressed in traditional Orang Ulu costume placing a beaded handicraft necklace on Najib upon his arrival at the BCCK. — Photo by Tan Song Wei
VIP RECEPTION: Najib exchanging pleasantries with Taib (second right), PBB senior vice-president Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (left) and other party leaders upon his arrival at the BCCK yesterday. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The loyalty of the people in the state to the country is unquestionable, Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud assured.

He said Sarawakians might appear to be parochial but they were all as loyal as their counterparts in any other states in the country.

“We may seem parochial but our hearts are fully Malaysians,” he stated in his welcoming speech at the opening of the 13th Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Convention by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.

He said when Sarawak agreed to form Malaysia together with the Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Singapore 50 years ago, the state had pledged its full commitment to sink and swim together with other states and nobody should ever doubt this spirit until this very day.

However, he said, in Sarawak there could be some difference in the ways of doing things compared with the other states in Peninsular Malaysia and due to its vast size with a population of about 2.5 million people it was very difficult to develop the state.

“We don’t deny that some of our policies differ from some other states in Semenanjung (Peninsular Malaysia) and it is not that we want to show that we are clever but because we feel that they best suited the situation in the state,” he said.

He said nevertheless the state and federal governments shared a common interest which was to unite the people of various races through the concept of moderation in order to bring Malaysia to greater heights.

“As for us in Sarawak, I can give the assurance here that we will play our role in developing the nation and for this, on behalf of the people in the state, I am very thankful to the federal leaders for helping us to develop Sarawak which was never easy,” he said.

According to Taib, the biggest challenge that the federal and state governments had to face now was to ensure that the basic infrastructure could be put in place to develop Sarawak into a fully industrialised state by year 2030.

“The period of greater migration will come when there are ample employment opportunities and requirement for greater manpower to fully develop Sarawak and that will be the start for a stronger nation that is more united prosperous and equal to any developed nations in the world,” he anticipated.

He noted that in the long run Sarawak has great potential to provide plenty of new job opportunities with the implementation of SCORE.

However, Taib said, this could only materialise with the help and support of the federal government. - theborneopost

Remain united, BN component parties told

BN ANTHEM: Najib (centre) and other PBB top leadership wave the BN and PBB flags during the playing of the Barisan Nasional anthem before the start of the programme. Also seen are (from left) deputy president Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Taib, Rosmah and Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi, the wife of the chief minister (right). — Photo by Tan Song Wei
OFFICIAL OPENING: Najib and Taib (right) launching a gimmick to mark the opening of the 13th PBB Convention held at the BCCK yesterday. Also seen is PBB deputy president Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu (left). — Bernama photo
WITH ONE VOICE: A section of some 5,000 delegates singing the Barisan Nasional anthem at the start of the official opening ceremony of the 13th PBB Convention. — Bernama photo

KUCHING: All component parties of the Barisan Nasional (BN) must remain united to maintain stability, which is the cornerstone of the ruling coalition’s success.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also national BN chairman, said if the interest of the party was put above all other issues, BN would maintain its stability and success.

“There is no substitute for stability. All political parties certainly have their own challenges but there are ways to overcome these issues.

“All BN component parties be it Umno or PBB must manage their internal affairs properly. A strong party is the one that is united,” Najib said when officiating at the 13th Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Convention held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.

Najib was confident Sarawak would continue to deliver the seats for BN in the next general election.

Stressing the need for the state and Federal Government to continue its strong cooperation, he said that the state could rest assured that it could count on the Federal Government for support.

Also present were his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, PBB president and Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, the party top leadership and state dignitaries among some 5,000 delegates and independent observers. - theborneopost

Talib Zulpilip comes out top

Jepak rep garners 780 votes in race for PBB veep post followed by Julaihi Narawi, Wahab Aziz

Datuk Talib Zulpilip
Datuk Julaihi Narawi
Datuk Abdul Wahab Aziz
KUCHING: Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talib Zulpilip garnered 780 votes – the highest – in the election for vice presidents of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) last night.

He was one of two new faces for the party vice-presidency. The other newly elected was Assistant Minister of Industrial Development (Investment and Promotion) Datuk Julaihi Narawi, who managed to obtain 552 votes.

The only incumbent retained was Assistant Minister of Housing Datuk Abdul Wahab Aziz, who polled 546 votes to enter his third-term as vice-president.

Dato Sri Dr Muhd Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah and Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman failed in their bid to retain their posts.

PBB election commission chairman Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar announced the election results at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.

In the race for the supreme council posts, Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail garnered 819 votes to head the new line-up.

The others elected were Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi (807 votes), Datu Len Talif Salleh (806), Dato Sri Mohammad Ali Mahmud (801), Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (797 ), Ahmad Lai Bujang (784 ), Dato’ Idris Buang (759 ), Ricky@Mohammad Razi Sitam (757), Dr Hazland Abang Hipni (757), Murni Suhaili (680) and Datuk Aidan Wing (629 ).

Met by reporters after the announcement of the results, Talib, who is Jepak assemblyman, attributed his victory to the collective effort of party members and friends who worked hard to ensure his victory.

Talib said it was a tough fight and he was thankful that it was clean and fair.

“I said right from the beginning that let’s have a clean fight, no dirty tricks and my campaign did not touch on personal issues,” he added.

Meanwhile, Julaihi who regarded the contest as a family affair, said the contenders were all his friends.

MOST POPULAR: Supporters carrying Talib aloft after he was elected a vice-president.

Abdul Wahab when met said he was very grateful to the party leaders, especially party president Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud who had guided party members to be good and dedicated politicians.

Abdul Wahab had won the vice-president post uncontested twice in the last two terms.

The main body of the party only saw contests at the vice-president level (Bumiputera quota) and supreme council while the top posts including that of the president (Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud), two deputies (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg) and two senior vice-presidents (Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas) were not contested.

The posts for Pesaka quota at all levels of the main body were won uncontested. - theborneopost

Federal govt committed to develop S’wak — Najib

GREETINGS: Najib waving to the delegates after officiating at the 13th PBB Convention at the BCCK yesterday. — Bernama photo

KUCHING: The Barisan Nasional (BN) government is committed to develop Sarawak, assured Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday.

The prime minister, who is also national BN chairman, agreed that the state needed more funds for basic infrastructure such as roads and treated water supply.

He assured that the state would be given a fair consideration in Budget 2014, but the amount of development funds depended on the country’s current economic strength.

He pointed out that his walkabouts to 43 locations in the state since becoming prime minister were an assurance that the state would receive its fair share of the economic pie.

Since 2009, Najib and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had given an extra RM2 billion from the initial budget allocation.

“The government highly appreciates the contributions of PBB, the other state BN component parties, and all the people of Sarawak. No matter what the opposition or outsiders say, we cannot deny the fact that Sarawak is the most prosperous site for the Barisan Nasional.

“We may have lost a few seats in the urban areas but the resilience of PBB and other component parties in the rural areas cannot be questioned,” he said when officiating at the 13th PBB Convention at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) yesterday.

Despite the cultural and social lifestyle differences among the people of Sarawak and the peninsula, Najib noted that Sarawakians were very patriotic.

He said the state achieved its independence through Malaysia with certain agreements, understanding and authority, which was fully understood by the federal government. This led to the strong relations between the state and federal government.

THE WINNERS : Talib (fourth left) leading other winners to show their gestures of victory. The others are (from left) Dr Hazland, Mohammad Ali, Dr Abdul Rahman, Talib, Abdul Wahab, Julaihi, Ahmad Lai, Idris and Mohd Razi.
Najib noted that the state had always backed its federal counterpart through thick and thin, and the delivery of 25 seats for the BN in the last general election was an impressive achievement, he added.

In return, he said, seven Sarawakians were appointed full ministers while four others as deputy ministers in the federal Cabinet, a record for the state.

“This is the difference between Barisan and the opposition, who only knows how to advocate hate campaigns. That’s all they have because they do not have the agenda and the capability to do what the BN government has done for the nation’s prosperity,” said Najib, adding that the opposition only knew how to make empty promises.

On another note, he pointed out that the people should not simply reject the government for the sake of change.

He asked the people to ponder whether changing the government or bringing changes to improve the nation was more important.

“What is more important? To change the government or to bring a real change for the people’s future that is more important? Improving the future and life quality of the nation is more important.” - theborneopost

Monday, 21 October 2013

Allah only an issue in peninsula, Sarawakians are tolerant, says Taib

Taib speaking to reporters after the PBB meeting today. He reiterated that Christians in Sarawak are free to use Allah as they have been doing so for generations. The Malaysian Insider pic, October 21, 2013.

Taib speaking to reporters after the PBB meeting today. He reiterated that Christiansin Sarawak are free to use Allah as they have been doing so for generations. The Malaysian Insider pic, October 21, 2013.

The Allah issue between Muslims and Christians in Peninsular Malaysia does not affect Sarawakians because they are a tolerant people, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

“To us (people in Sarawak) there is no issue. We have lived with people of different races and different religions for many decades, even before Malaysia,” Taib said in his first public statement on the issue since the Court of Appeal ruled last Monday that the word Allah could not be used by the Catholic weekly, Herald.

Taib declared the ruling was not binding on Sabah and Sarawak.

“We cannot alter the status quo in Sarawak,” Taib said when asked about Sarawak's stand after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak opened the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) convention today.

Taib said the use of the word was not a problem in the state as the “spirit of tolerance” among Sarawakians is high, one of the features of multi-racial Sarawak which made it a bedrock of stability and harmony.

“When I travel to the longhouses, I'd just look for a Muslim cook from the city and they (the longhouse folks) would buy the food and even buy praying mats for me to pray in one of their rooms.

“This is quite natural with us in dealing with people of different religions.

“I myself came from a mission school and it never bothered me when other people made the sign of the cross,” he said, referring to a Christian practice.

“It’s because it’s their religion, expressing their respect for the Almighty. I can understand it.”

Taib said he would bow and offer his own prayers the Muslim way when his Christian friends made the sign of the cross in their prayers.

“The Chinese would probably do it their way. The intention is the same.

“It's all praying to the superior being which we believe is the Creator of this world.”

“It's this kind of spirit we have in Sarawak,” Taib said, stressing again that it is not the thorny issue that is in the peninsula.

“The Ibans, the Malays, the Chinese have shown their respect for other religions and cultures even before Malaysia.

“When we came to Malaysia, we carried this with us and it has become one of the features of Sarawak.”

In 2010, Taib had also spoken out against an attempt to curb Bahasa Malaysia bibles from being freely brought into the state.

He described the order to stamp the Bahasa Malaysia bibles with serial numbers by the Home Ministry as a “stupid idea” that should not be applied to Sarawak.

He had also called the strictures on the Al-Kitab nonsense.

Yesterday, Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail reiterated the Court of Appeal decision was confined to the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Herald.

He said the court held that the Al-Kitab and the Herald are two publications of an entirely different character.

“The Al-Kitab is the Malay version of the Bible and meant for Christians and used in churches whereas the Herald is a newspaper which is also accessible online and can be read by Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Abdul Gani added that the court stated the permission given by the home minister for the printing and publication of the Al-Kitab, in which the word Allah appears, therefore cannot be treated in the same manner as with the Herald. – MI - October 21, 2013.