Thursday, July 9, 2009

High Chaparral: State documents declassified - Star

Jul 9, 2009 By ANDREA FILMER

GEORGE TOWN: The state government has declassified confidential state executive council (exco) minutes of the previous Barisan Nasional administration pertaining to the alienation of Kampung Buah Pala land to a co-operative.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state exco decided at its meeting Wednesday to declassify the documents after consulting and getting approval from the state legal adviser.

He said the records showed that the state government land was approved to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang twice on Aug 18, 2004 and June 8, 2005.

“The premium of RM6.42mil or RM20 per sq ft was subsequently reduced to RM3.21mil or RM10 per sq ft.

“So far, (former chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon) has not explained why he approved this project without consulting the villagers or why he sold it to the co-operative at such a low price,” he said in a statement here Thursday.

“If Barisan was in power now and not Pakatan Rakyat, the residents would have been evicted and the village would have been demolished since last year,” he claimed.

The impending demolition of Kampung Buah Pala, popularly known as Penang’s High Chaparral and regarded by some as a cultural icon, has become the biggest headache facing the Pakatan Rakyat administration.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Penang: Glimpses of Hope

Watch the 3-Part video:



Part: 3

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free WiFi on Rapid Penang buses - Star

May 13, 2009

GEORGE TOWN: Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd will be providing free WiFi access to its passengers, the first bus company in the country to do so, beginning with a three-month trial on two buses.

Its chief executive officer Azhar Ahmad said the company was installing the facility in two buses: The first plies the route between Balik Pulau and the Bayan Lepas International Airport, and the second on the Teluk Bahang-Batu Feringgi-Weld Key route.

He said use of the WiFi facility would be free and that the buses would have special stickers for easy identification by passengers.

“After three months, if response from passengers is good, we’ll have the facility installed in stages in all of our 180 buses, and also the additional 200 buses which will be delivered to us by the end of the year,” he told a press conference here Wednesday.

Azhar said the facility was provided to enable passengers to surf the Internet in the bus before arriving at their destinations. -- Bernama

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mansor tipped to be PKR candidate for Penanti - Sun

GEORGE TOWN (April 27, 2009) : Speculation has intensified that Penang PKR veteran Dr Mansor Othman will be nominated as the party's candidate in the Penanti state by-election.

Mansor, the former PKR Penang chief and a member of PKR since 1999, was missing when the Penang state assembly announced its two nominees as senators today.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had announced Mansor and DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim as the state's choice for the vacant senators' seats last month.

Instead, the state assembly meeting adjourned today after approving Abdul Aziz and Penang PKR secretary Mustafa Kamal Mohd Yusoff as the nominees for the senators' posts.

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is scheduled to hold a press conference tomorrow night at Yayasan Aman in Penanti, and it is widely speculated that Mansor will be revealed as the party's candidate for the by-election.

Anwar earlier said if the PKR candidate wins, he will take over the post of Penang deputy chief minister I.

Penanti by-election: Nomination on May 23; polling May 31 - Sun

by Maria J.Dass

PUTRAJAYA (April 27, 2009) : The Election Commission (EC) is gearing up for the sixth by-election to be held just a little more than a year after the March 2008 General Election in Penanti a constituency on Penang mainland. Nomination day is slated for May 23 while polling will be held on May 31.

The seat fell vacant following the resignation of its assemblyman Mohamad Fairuz who was also Penang Deputy Chief Minister I on April 16.

Mohamad Fairuz who was last week cleared of corruption allegations pertaining quarry operations in that state cited continuation of post graduate studies as his reason for leaving.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof who announced this at the EC headquarters in Putrajaya today, said this time around, the commission means business in enforcing election regulations and laws- which if broken could lead to the winner losing his seat or a campaigner losing their voting rights for five years.

Abdul Aziz said police are empowered to arrest campaigners who do not adhere to the law.

“We are giving ample campaigning time from May 23 to 30 but on the eve of polling day - Stop it!” he said.

“This will allow for a conducive environment for voters to go out and vote in a calm and peaceful atmosphere and not worry about tense situations at polling centers,” Abdul Aziz said adding that election workers can still speak to passengers being ferried in their cars to polling centers.

“We cannot control this, and messages being sent through SMS and over the internet,” he said.

Abdul Aziz said this time around the EC will be strict in enforcing regulations pertaining campaigning on polling day and said that “pondok panas” or voters reference stations set up by political parties just outside polling centers will be banned.

Abdul Aziz’s deputy Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said: “If this law is breached- the candidate is responsible, and EC through the Returning Officer (RO) can charge the candidate for going against the law.”

“This is serious because it can nullify a victory for the candidate involved, while a campaigners can lose voting rights for five years,” he said.

“We have informed political parties of this ban in our recent meetings with them,” he added.

These “pondok panas” have become a campaigning hubs which have resulted in tense and chaotic atmospheres around polling centers,” Wan Ahmad said.

“The police and RO will be tasked to ensure no “pondok panas” are set up, we can stop them and this is provided for by law,” he said.

Abdul Aziz earlier admitted that the commission had been lax in enforcing this in the past though this is a regulation in the Election Act.

“Because in the past we don’t see the number of people getting bigger and bigger and the behaviour of people… I don’t know how to describe it- sometime they are like possessed, not conscious, in a trance,” he said.

When we chide them they say we are being emotional, but this happens because they are in high spirits and in large numbers, Abdul Aziz said that the general perception was that a large crowd demonstrated the strength of a party.

“The whole country turns up at these constituencies to campaign causing traffic congestion in the area and inconvenience to genuine voters,” he said.

Abdul Aziz earlier said it was not necessary for the “pondok panas” to be in existence as the EC had ample avenues for voters to check their details and polling stations.

He said the electoral roll will be out on May 8 and voters can check their details on the EC website at www.spr, or via SMS by typing: SPR SEMAK (MyKad no) and send to 15888.

Alternatively they can call the EC office in Putrajaya at 03-88856500 or in Penang at 04-2617692.

Abdul Aziz also dismissed insinuation that the delay in announcing the dates was to accommodate the decision and outcome of the Umno Supreme Council meeting held on Friday.

“There was no postponement to accommodate the outcome of this Umno meeting, we just needed time to make sure that the arrangements with the Returning Officer (RO) and his assistants were settled and then we met with the political parties and had to work on securing the needed venues and facilities,” he said.

Our announcement today has nothing to do with the Umno supreme council meeting, he added.

“The Election Act states that a writ on the vacancy of a seat is to be produced no earlier than four days and no later than 10 days from the official date of the vacancy, thus the timing of our announcement is permitted and provided for by the law,” Abdul Aziz said.

Seberang Perai Tengah district officer Roslan Yahaya has been named as the RO. He will be assisted by assistant district officers Masirah Che Ani, Hisan Abu Bakar and Kamarul Haizal.

The 2008 electoral roll with 15,384 registered voters as at April 16, 2009 will be used for the by-election. Of these 72.68% are Malays, 24.22% Chinese, 2.39% Indians and 0.71% other races.

Approximately 15,360 are ordinary voters and 24 are postal voters.

The Dewan Besar Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN) in Bukit Mertajam has been named as the nomination and vote tallying centre.

Abdul Aziz said the estimated cost incurred by the EC alone for the by-election is RM500,000, while other agencies like the police will decide on how many personnel they need to send, and money to be spent based on their intelligence report.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fairus says it again: I quit - Malaysiakini

Apr 24, 09 4:03pm

Former Penang deputy chief minister Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin has reiterated his resignation as Penanti assemblyperson in a press statement today.

“I reaffirmed my position to resign as Adun N12 Penanti and pledge full support to the PKR leadership under de facto leader Ibrahim Anwar,” he said in a statement issued by the party’s information bureau at 3.30pm.

Fairus' Press Statement: (Click on pix to enlarge)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

MACC clears Fairus of corruption charges - Sun

PETALING JAYA (April 23, 2009) :

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today said the statements it had taken in its probe on former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin over alleged corrupt links with quarry operations in the state did not provide a basis for prosecution.

It said in a statement that its legal and prosecution section took into account all testimonies and found no grounds to prosecute Mohamad Fairuz, and that the Attorney-General too was informed and concurred with the decision.

Newspapers had on Wednesday reported that Mohammad Fairus, 33, claimed to have been cleared of corruption and that he was told this by a MACC officer.

Mohammad Fairus who had been linked to an investigation into corruption related to quarry operations resigned as Deputy Chief Minister I on April 8.

He also quit as Penanti state assemblyman on April 16 saying he wanted to continue post-graduate studies.

The MACC statement said Mohammad Fairus' portfolio in the state government did not directly cover quarry operations, but noted that he was given the task of handling an investigation into the award of Lot 954 and 955 in Mukim 20 of Seberang Perai Tengah to an individual.

"Investigations found that Mohammad Fairus had asked for and received sponsorship from a quarry operator to attend a course in London, but this operator has no direct link to the investigation undertaken by him."

The MACC said Mohammad Fairus had attended the international course in London together with the Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy who was funded by the organiser and the Penang government.

"With regards to this, the MACC wants to draw the attention of all state governments, ministries and departments towards the need to adhere to procedures and guidelines in the procurement and receiving of contributions from sponsors," the MACC said.

The Commission will be send an officer to Penang to conduct a study to enhance the transparency and accountability through guidelines and procedures when receiving contributions from sponsors.

The MACC will suggest that the results of the study be applied in other states and in ministries.

This is in line with the duties and responsibilitites of the MACC as provided for under Section 7 of the MACC Act 2009, the statement said.

The Election Commission has been informed of a vacancy in Penanti but is only expected to make an announcement on Monday.