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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Don’t allow extremists to tear the country apart

By SSK

Umno Supreme Council Member Puad Zarkashi has urged the Home Ministry and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate the masterminds behind Free Malaysia Today, The Malaysian Insider and MalaysiaKini, which he said are fuelling an internal crisis in Umno.

Batu Kawan Umno vice-chairman, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, responded to this by saying, “Ow! Stop tickling me, Puad Zarkashi. No one can split Umno if the party has leaders of quality, particularly those who champion the people.” Khairuddin added that any crisis in Umno could only be because of a weak party leadership.

This public debate between Puad and Khairuddin is just one more of many that have cropped up of late. It appears like the opposition need not do anything any more. All they need to do is to sit back and allow the Umno leaders to slander each other.

There are many issues more important than fighting one other.In Penang,33 Indians were detained on allegations that they were planning to start a riot during the Thaipusam celebrations. 

This is very alarming and is a matter that should not be taken lightly. Any riot in Penang will very quickly spread to the rest of Malaysia and without laws such as the ISA that allow for pre-emptive detention the authorities would be hard-pressed to act until it is too late.

Chinese Muslim preacher Ridhuan Tee is also not helping with his fiery and very inflammatory statements. This just raises the sentiments of the people even further and fuels the hatred that already exists between some Malays and non-Malays. Religion is a very dangerous weapon to use and once conflict is triggered it is very difficult to stop it.

Take the religious conflict in Serbia and Bosnia as one example. That was a conflict that started 500 years ago during the time of the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans and it never went away. It just simmered below the surface for hundreds of years until it exploded with a great loss of life.

If the Umno leaders are so preoccupied with fighting each other they will lose focus of the more important issues. And the more important issue is national reconciliation and tolerance and to not drag Malaysia to the brink of a civil war.

In fact, it may even be time for Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to sit down and discuss how they can mutually work towards promoting national unity. This is something that is greatly needed and should not be neglected for the sake of internal party squabbles or inter-party rivalry.

I am just grateful that the people of Sabah and Sarawak and more level headed than those from West Malaysia and it is right that people like Ridhuan Tee are banned from coming to East Malaysia.

URUS PERBEZAAN PANDANGAN, HORMATI KEPUTUSAN KETUA - ANTARA NAJIB DAN TUN M

NAJIB
Oleh SSK

1. BARU-BARU ini, saya terbaca satu laporan mengenai apa yang dikatakan sebagai `perang' antara bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dengan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

2. Ini berikutan pandangan terbuka dan teguran pedas yang dibuat mantan Perana Menteri terhadap pentadbiran Datuk Najib.

3. Selain disiar dalam media arus perdana, cerita itu juga terpapar menerusi laman sosial. Maka, banyaklah komen termuat. Ada yang positif. Tidak kurang yang negatif.

4. Saya ada membaca komen-komen Menteri Kesejahteraan Bandar, Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan serta tawaran Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim yang mahu menjadi `orang tengah' mendamaikan Dr Mahahtir dan Datuk Najib.

5. Secara peribadi, saya mengenali kedua-dua pemimpin ini. Tun Mahathir saya kenal sejak sebelum saya menjadi Ketua Menteri, manakala Datuk Najib saya rapati sehingga hari ini.


6, Pada pendapat saya, perbezaan pandangan adalah perkara biasa. Ia lumrah dalam politik. Sebabnya, masing-masing mempunyai pendapat sendiri. Bergantung dari sudut mana sesuatu hal itu dilihat.
TUN M

7. Maka dalam hal Tun Mahathir ini, yang pernah mentadbir negara lebih 20 tahun, tidak salah bagi beliau memberi pandangan, apatah lagi dengan statusnya sebagai seorang negarawan. 8. Namun, beliau tidak boleh memaksa orang lain menerima pandangannya. Kerana orang lain juga mungkin mempunyai pandangan berbeza.

8. Dalam politik, yang mustahak bagaima kita mengurus perbezaan pendapat ini. Kita kena bijak mengurusnya. Ini kerana perbezaan pendapat tidak semestinya membawa keburukan dan perbezaan pendapat juga tidak menjanjikan kebaikan.

9. Maka dalam institusi kepartian dan pemerintahan di negara ini, kita kena terima hakikat mengenai sistem ketua -- iaitu Perdana Menteri dalam kerajaan dan Presiden parti dalam institusi politik. Ini hakikat mutlak dan perlu dihormati.

10. Saya kira, Datuk Najib selaku Perdana Menteri dan Presiden Umno sentiasa bersikap terbuka serta mendengar setiap pandangan sebelum membuat sesuatu tindakan atau keputusan. Oleh yang demikian, kita kena hormati keputusannya yang saya cukup yakin untuk kebaikan majoriti.

11. Saya tidak berapa setuju jika ada yang guna istilah `berperang' dalam konteks perbezaan pendapat antara Tun Mahathir dan Datuk Najib. Ini kerana Najib tidak `melawan' sekalipun Tun Mahathir kelihatan seperti menyerang bertubi-tubi.

Monday, January 26, 2015

DENGAR PANDANGAN SEMUA SEBELUM GANTI AKTA KANAK-KANAK 2001: SALLEH

KOTA BELUD: Kerajaan perlu mendengar dan menimbang pandangan semua pihak sebelum menggubal rang undang-undang baharu yang akan menjadikan perbuatan merotan anak sebagai satu kesalahan jenayah, kata Speker Dewan Undangan Negerio Sabah Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Tun Said Keruak.

Beliau berkata ia perlu diberi perhatian berikutan pelbagai reaksi orang ramai, pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) dan pemimpin politik terhadap cadangan memperkenalkan rang undang-undang baharu, bagi menggantikan Akta Kanak-Kanak 2001.

Katanya, kerajaan harus meneliti pro dan kontra cadangan itu bagi mengelak implikasi dan kesan jangka panjang.

"Yang penting, kerajaan perlu mendengar suara majoriti dengan mengambil kira dari pelbagai aspek, termasuk sudut agama kerana tokoh-tokoh agama sudah pun memberi pandangan terhadap cadangan ini," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian pada perasmian Ceramah Perdana `Motivasi Pembangunan Keluarga Bahagia' oleh Prof Dr Basir Aziz di Dewan Masjid Pekan, di sini hari ini.

Dua hari lepas, Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim memberitahu, merotan anak bakal menjadi satu kesalahan jenayah jika rang undang-undang baharu menggantikan Akta Kanak-Kanak 2001 yang dijangka dibentangkan di Dewan Rakyat selewat-lewatnya Julai depan, diluluskan.

Salleh yang juga Timbalan Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Sabah berkata kerajaan tidak boleh terburu-buru memperkenalkan akta berkenaan, sebaliknya perlu mendapatkan pandangan menyeluruh terlebih dahulu.

Katanya, sesuatu perundangan yang hendak diperkenalkan perlu menjurus ke arah kebaikan dan dalam konteks ini, ia mestilah ditentukan tidak merencatkan institusi keluarga.

"Membina sebuah keluarga bahagia mempunyai pelbagai cara dan kaedah mengikut amalan institusi keluarga itu sendiri...bagaimana mendisiplinkan anak masing-masing tanpa melampaui had.

"Begitupun, kita menentang keras sebarang bentuk penderaan terhadap anak-anak, termasuk dipukul secara fizikal dan didera secara mental," katanya.

Salleh berkata kes pasangan suami isteri yang merotan anak mereka di Sweden, dan kemudian dipenjarakan pada tahun lalu, boleh dijadikan iktibar oleh kementerian yang berkaitan, termasuk melihat kesan pemisahan sementara antara anak-anak berkenaan dengan ibu bapa mereka.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The local council elections debate

 By SSK

The issue of the third vote or local council elections is being hotly debated by both sides of the political divide and is receiving mixed reactions from both those in government as well as those in the opposition.

Not everyone in Barisan Nasional agrees with the third vote and the same for Pakatan Rakyat as well. And various arguments are being put forward to support their view, the danger of another May 13 being one of them and the more controversial of the reasons given to oppose the elections.

The Penang state government is pushing for local council elections to be held and they even passed it in the Penang Legislative Assembly, which, however, was blocked by the Federal Court.

Local government elections were last held in Malaysia 50 years ago in 1965.

There are, of course, merits to having local council elections, as there are demerits. In a democratic system nothing is perfect, especially in a first-past-the-post system where not necessarily the one with majority support wins.

For example, if six candidates were to run, the candidate with only 20% of the votes would win if the other five all get less that 20% votes each. However, if only two candidates were to run, the entire scenario might change. Hence 20% would not really reflect majority support but the support of the largest minority because 80% of the voters did not support this candidate.

Hence saying that local council elections is to serve democracy is a fallacy when 80% of the people did not vote for you and yet you can still be declared the winner without majority support.

The more important issue here is that even though the state may be pushing for it, whatever the states do must comply with the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. And according to the Constitution there is no provision for the third vote unless Parliament amends the Constitution.

If the state attempts to override the Constitution then Kelantan would legally be able to implement Hudud laws in their state, which currently according to the Constitution they cannot.

Hence let us go back to the Constitution to argue our case for or against.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The opposition opposes for the sake of opposing

By SSK

The opposition wants the government to do away with the ‘lain-lain’ column in the race category on government documents. This is what the opposition has been demanding for some time now, in particular the DAP. They do not want government forms to stipulate the race of the person as they feel it is a racial discrimination policy.

However, this idea is being met with mixed reactions. While some welcome it, others are a bit concerned about it and do not think it is a good idea as it will ‘wipe out’ the ethnicity of that person.

We cannot always have it both ways. And this is the problem with the opposition. They criticise the government and demand that the government do certain things but when the government meets these demands they are still not entirely happy.

Take the price of fuel as one example. The opposition is not happy with the government subsidy on fuel and demands that it be removed as it benefits the rich more than the poor since the rich have more cars and burn more fuel -- hence they benefit more.

At the same time the opposition also protests the high price of fuel and demands that the price be reduced. So the opposition wants subsidies removed and at the same time they want the price of fuel to be reduced.

Now the price of fuel has been reduced, mainly due to world prices, and this is causing financial problems for petrol station operators. And the opposition is also protesting about the financial dilemma being face by the petrol station operators.

So what does the opposition want the government to do, subsidise the petrol station operators with taxpayers’ money so that they can make money and not face a financial crisis?

This is what happens when the opposition opposes for the sake of opposing and adopts the mentality of everything that the government does is wrong. And we must also understand that there is no ultimate solution. When we solve one problem we trigger another. So one solution to a problem only creates another problem.

Malaysians lament about the dangerous racial politics that Malaysia is suffering from. At the same time Malaysians do not want detention without trial or the Sedition Act. Instead they want absolute freedom of speech.

But is not unrestricted speech the cause of all this? When people can say what they like this triggers conflict. Hence Malaysians have to decide whether they want absolute and total free speech and run the risk of racial conflict or laws that control what you can and cannot say.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

SABAH CONTOH TERBAIK KEBEBASAN AKHBAR DI MALAYSIA - SALLEH TUN SAID

KOTA KINABALU, 22 Jan (Bernama) -- Sabah mungkin contoh terbaik dalam amalan kebebasan akhbar di negara ini, kata Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Tun Said.
    Beliau menyifatkan perkembangan itu sebagai apa yang dinamakan "pendekatan liberal" oleh kerajaan Malaysia, yang menilai kebebasan akhbar sebagai komponen utama tadbir urus demokratik, terutamanya hak untuk kebebasan memberi pendapat.
    "Setiap hari dalam media Sabah, kita dapati atau dengar pihak pembangkang dan badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) mengkritik parti pemerintah Barisan Nasional (BN) atau kerajaan, dan kadangkala artikel mereka diterbitkan di muka depan (akhbar-akhbar tempatan).
    "Begitu juga, para pemimpin BN negeri juga bebas mematahkan kritikan mereka. Senario ini telah berjalan berdekad lalu. Dengan perkataan lain, media Sabah nampaknya menikmati margin yang begitu luas dalam kebebasan akhbar berbanding amalan media di negeri-negeri lain di negara ini," katanya dalam ceramah 'Prinsip Demokrasi - Hak kepada Kebebasan Memberikan Pendapat' sempena lawatan anggota Institut Akhbar Malaysia di sini hari ini.
    Bagaimanapun, Salleh berkata walaupun peruntukan Artikel 5 hingga 15 Perlembagaan Persekutuan jelas menggariskan hak bagi kebebasan memberikan pendapat, ia adalah salah bagi sesiapa untuk mendakwa bahawa "dia mempunyai hak mutlak untuk berbuat apa sahaja yang dikehendaki atas nama kebebasan".
    Atas alasan itu, Salleh berkata Parlimen Malaysia menyediakan beberapa sekatan terhadap perkara-perkara sensitif yang boleh mengancam keselamatan negara.
    "Saya percaya kebebasan bukan suatu yang mutlak, malah kebebasan memberi pendapat. Kebebasan memberi pendapat tidak boleh diambil secara membuta tuli, tanpa menghiraukan sensiviti agama, etika dan nilai-nilai moral.
    "Di Sabah sahaja, kita mempunyai lebih daripada 32 kumpulan etnik dengan pelbagai budaya, kaum dan agama. Oleh yang demikian, kebebasan memberi pendapat tidak boleh melampaui batas atau melanggar nilai-nilai ini," katanya.
    Oleh itu, beliau berkata demokrasi di sebuah negara seperti Malaysia dengan kepelbagaian masyarakat perlu difahami dalam konteks kebebasan bersyarat.
    Bekas ketua menteri itu berkata kebebasan harus diiringi dengan tanggungjawab sambil berkata "lebih-lebih lagi dalam sebuah negara berbilang kaum seperti Malaysia yang masih mempunyai banyak isu-isu sensitif".
    Beliau berharap media memainkan peranan mereka dengan bertanggungjawab terutama berhubung dengan penyebaran maklumat yang sensitif demi kebaikan rakyat, negeri dan negara seperti yang dibayangkan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dalam konsep 1Malaysia yang mengutamakan perpaduan negara.
    -- BERNAMA

SABAH THE BEST EXAMPLE OF PRESS FREEDOM IN MALAYSIA, SAYS SALLEH

KOTA KINABALU, (Jan 22) -- Sabah is probably the best example in the practice of press freedom in the country, said Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said.

He attributed that development to what he termed “liberal approach” by the Malaysian government which valued freedom of the press as a key component of democratic governance, particularly the right to the freedom of expression.

"Every day in the Sabah media we notice or hear opposition parties and non-governmental bodies (NGOs) criticising the ruling party Barisan Nasional (BN) or the government, and sometimes their articles are published on "front page" (of the local newspapers).

"Likewise, state BN leaders too are free to rebut their criticism. This scenario has been going on for decades. In other words, Sabah media appears to enjoy the widest margin of press freedom compared to the media practice in other states in the country," he said in his talk on the principle of democrary - the right to the freedom of expression in conjunction with the visit of members of the Malaysian Press Institute at the Rafflesia Hall, here today.

However, Salleh said although the provisions of Articles 5 to 15 of the Federal Constitution clearly outlined the rights to the freedom of expression, it was wrong for anyone to claim that "he or she had an absolute right to do whatever he or she pleases in the name of such freedom".

For that reason, he said the Malaysian Parliment provided some restrictions on sensitive matters that could threaten national security.

"I believe no freedom is absolute, not even freedom of expression. Freedom of expression should not be taken blindly, ignoring religious sensitivity, ethics and social values.

"In Sabah alone, we have more than 32 ethnic groups with different cultures, races and religions. As such, freedom of expression should not transgress or violate these values.

"Thus, democracy in a country like Malaysia with diverse society must be understood in the context of a conditional freedom, the people enjoy the freedom of expression as long as it does not touch sensitive issues," he added.

The former Chief Minister said freedom must come with responsibility, saying "more so in a multi-racial country like Malaysia which still have a lot of sensitive issues".

In this respect, Salleh hoped the media would play its role very responsibly, especially with regard to dissemination of sensitive information for the good of the people, the state and the country as envisaged by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's 1Malaysia concept which prioritised the national unity.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

When parochialism takes over

By SSK


I am very concerned about talk by some Sabahans that Malaya annexed Sabah in 1963 and that Sabah needs to conduct a referendum as to whether Sabahans still want to remain in Malaysia or opt for independence and the creation of a Republic of Sabah.

Those from Sabah may have certain issues with Putrajaya, and some of these issues may even be warranted or justified, but talk of secession and the creation of a separate republic is dangerous and irresponsible talk and is a very extreme solution to whatever problems we may be facing.

The fact that the Islam-Christian divide (brought on by the Allah word and the Bahasa Malaysia Bible issues) is being cited as one of the reasons Sabah must consider leaving Malaysia makes this talk even more dangerous.

We must never forget the death and destruction in Yugoslavia around 25 years ago when they chose this same route. After the death of Josip Broz Tito, the President of Yugoslavia, in 1980, the people of Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian ethnicities began to become more parochial and called for a referendum to decide on the breakup of Yugoslavia.

For ten years tensions simmered below the surface and Yugoslavians no longer considered themselves Yugoslavians. Around 12 years later in 1992, armed conflicts broke out and the four-year war saw about 100,000 casualties.

The war came about as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Following the Slovenian and Croatian secessions from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991, the multi-ethnic Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was inhabited by Muslim Bosniaks, Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats, passed a referendum for independence on 29th February 1992.

This is not the route that we must consider because nothing good can come out of such a solution and such talk will only heighten the tensions even further.

Putrajaya must be made to understand the unhappiness of Sabahans and this can only be achieved through dialogue and not through threats, especially threats of secession.

Let common sense prevail. As they say, loose lips sink ships and the last thing we want is to try to solve a problem with an even bigger problem. Of prime importance is the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah and the perception that Islamisation, or rather the acts of Muslim extremists, is taking root in Malaysia.

These can all be solved and can be solved through dialogue. So let us continue talking but not throw threats of secession if Putrajaya does not consider the unhappiness of Sabahans. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

CURB FANATIC IDEOLOGY IN SCHOOLS: SALLEH

KOTA BELUD: The government has been urged to monitor and tighten up the existing regulations of the independent and private schools in this country, particularly those suspected of instilling fanatic ideology.
    In making the call, Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said said the move was necessary to prevent the spread of fanaticism among students, thus avoiding the children from being influenced by the extreme doctrine that could trigger chaos and hostility.
    "Therefore, it is important that we should monitor and tighten up regulations on private and independent schools, essecially those suspected of instilling religious fanatic ideology among its students," he said in his speech at the handover ceremony of the 1Malaysia Early Schooling Special Aid at SMK Pekan, here today.
    Salleh said through observation, the government should take an early stern action to keep religious fanaticism in check.
    "Anything that could lead to a dispute should be discussed behind closed doors or in the spirit of mutual respect.
    "It's important to maintain a peaceful atmosphere, especially in Sabah, which is relatively peaceful and stable since it gained or achieved independence (the formation of the Federation of Malaysia)," he said. 
    In this respect, the former Chief Minister said the education system must be able to produce a new generation of Sabah, who were disciplined and possess the confidence, skills and moderate thinking in terms of relationship between race and religion.
    "They (students) must understand the history of the formation of this country and able to seize economic opportunities and jobs available everywhere, including overseas.
    "It has been proven, Sabahans are capable to rise to greater heights and is capable to compete in all professions," he said.

SEKAT FAHAMAN FANATIK DI SEKOLAH: SALLEH

KOTA BELUD: Kerajaan harus memantau dan mengetatkan peraturan sedia ada khususnya ke atas sekolah swasta dan persendirian di negara ini, yang disyaki menanamkan ideologi fanatik, kata Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said.

Beliau berkata langkah itu perlu bagi menyekat penyebaran fahaman fanatik dalam kalangan pelajar, sekali gus mengelak anak-anak terpengaruh dengan ajaran yang extreme sehingga boleh mencetuskan keadaan huru-hara dan permusuhan.

"Oleh itu, adalah penting kita harus memantau dan mengetatkan peraturan ke atas sekolah-sekolah swasta yang disyaki menanamkan ideologi fanatik agama kepada pelajarnya," katanya berucap pada Majlis Penyerahan Bantuan Khas Awal Persekolahan 1Malaysia di SMK Pekan 2 di sini hari ini.

Salleh berkata menerusi pemantauan yang dilakukan, maka tindakan tegas lebih awal boleh dilakukan oleh kerajaan.

Katanya, sebarang perkara yang boleh menimbulkan pertelingkahan seharusnya dibincang secara tertutup atas semangat saling menghormati.

"Ini penting demi mengekalkan suasana aman, khususnya kita di Sabah yang sememangnya aman damai sejak merdeka lagi," katanya.

Dalam pada iu, Salleh yang juga bekas Ketua Menteri Sabah berkata sistem pendidikan harus mampu melahirkan generasi baru Sabah yang berdisiplin, memiliki keyakinan diri, berkemahiran serta berfikiran sederhana dalam hubungan antara kaum dan agama.

"Mereka (pelajar) wajib memahami sejarah pembentukan negara dan mampu merebut peluang ekonomi dan pekerjaan yang tersedia di mana-mana pun, termasuk di luar negara.

"Sudah pun terbukti, anak-anak Sabah mampu dan boleh bersaing dalam semua profesion," katanya.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The political landmine of 2015

By SSK


The year literally started with a bang when Paris saw once of its worst acts of terrorism in recent years. This was followed on Sunday by a massive 1.5 million people march to protest what they said is an attack on free speech.

2015 may prove to be a very explosive year not only internationally but also for Malaysia as well. Even the economy may take a beating with the price of oil expected to drop below US$45, which will see many countries staggering on the brink of bankruptcy. There is even talk that some countries may abandon the Euro and go back to their own currency.

Malaysia will not be spared either. Both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat are seeing inter-party squabbles with fiery statements flowing to and fro. Patience is wearing thin and tempers are flaring. Many parties are also facing internal conflict, some out in the open and some simmering below the surface just waiting to erupt.

Thus far Malaysia’s political divide has been very ideologically oriented with both sides of the fence almost equally represented by all ethnicities. That, however, is beginning to change with talk that the new political landscape may be Malays on one side and non-Malays on the other.

If this prediction comes true that will not augur well for the country, which is a melting pot of ethnicities, cultures and religions. That is the sort of divide that has torn many countries apart and which will also happen to Malaysia if we are not careful.

PKR and PAS appear to be facing a crisis, both within their respective parties and also with one another. DAP is watching to see which group will emerge the victor before deciding on its alignment. Invariably, the divide is still going to be race and religion oriented with Islam being the core issue.

Umno has to be very careful before jumping in. Some in Umno want the party to align itself with a certain faction in PAS or even invite the disgruntled members from PKR to leave their party to join Umno. It may not be prudent at this stage to attempt to capitalise on the problems within the opposition coalition, as the dust has not quite settled.

Umno needs to focus, and the focus must be on the coming general election. And one crucial ingredient for Umno’s survival is the support from Sabah and Sarawak. So let us, therefore, not try to take advantage of other people’s problems when we are yet to resolve our own issues.

This is what we have to seriously take into consideration if we want to come through the next general election unscathed.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Capitalise On Declining Ringgit To Lure More Foreign Tourists to Sabah: Salleh

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said has called on local resort owners to take advantage of the declining ringgit value to attract more foreign tourists to visit Sabah.

Expressing optimism that more tourists would visit this country, he said local tourism players should take the initiative to woo them to come to Sabah.

"This can be done through the provision or offer of attractive packages and incentives, with the cooperation of the state and federal tourism agencies," he told reporters after attending a brainstorming session on Tourism Masterplan for Kadamaian, here today.

Salleh said with the existing favourable foreign exchange rate, foreign tourists would spend less coming to Malaysia.

As such, he said local tourism players play a vital role to help generate income or revenue for the country and the state.

Meanwhile, Salleh, who is Sabah Umno Liaison Deputy Chairman, hoped Federal government leaders to be cautious in announcing mega projects to avoid any unnecessary implication.

He said what was important was to implement immediately approved projects after securing allocation as this approach was more effective in winning the hearts and minds of the people.

"We should not be over excited in announcing the implementation of mega or big projects without taking into consideration the country's economic situation and the government's financial standing," he said.

Salleh said the people were awaiting for any announcement on project implementation, and as such it should be carried out carefully, taking into consideration all factors, including the current economic environment.


These included declining oil prices in the world market, devalution of Malaysian Ringgit as well as the
enormous loss due to the floods in eastern part of peninsula which needed big allocation for re development, he added.

"I think it is better we implement first a project and later launch the completed project and only then we start talking about government development agenda.

"If we announce first, the people surely will wait for that project to be in place, and if the government fails to turn it into a reality or is late to implement, it may bring negative implication to the government of the day," he said.

Manfaatkan kejatuhan Ringgit untuk tarik pelancong asing: Salleh

KOTA KINABALU: Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said berharap pengusaha pelancongan tempatan memanfaatkan kejatuhan nilai Ringgit sekarang, untuk menarik lebih ramai pelancong asing melawat negeri ini.

Beliau optimis akan lebih ramai pelancong asing melawat negara ini, maka pengusaha tempatan perlu mengambil inisiatif untuk menarik mereka datang ke Sabah.

"Ini boleh dilakukan menerusi pakej serta insentif menarik, dengan kerjasama agensi-agensi pelancongan di peringkat negeri dan Persekutuan," katanya kepada pemberita selepas menghadiri sesi `brainstorming' Pelan Pelancongan di kawasan Kadamaian, di sini hari ini.

Salleh berkata dengan nilai tukaran wang asing yang lebih tinggi, bermakna perbelanjaan pelancong luar ke negara ini menjadi lebih murah.

Sehubungan itu, katanya, peranan pengusaha pelancongan penting bagi membantu menjana pendapatan kepada negara dan negeri ini.

Dalam pada itu, Salleh yang juga Timbalan Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Sabah berharap pemimpin Kerajaan Pusat lebih berhati-hati dalam pengumuman projek yang memerlukan dana besar, bagi mengelak sebarang implikasi.

Yang penting, kata beliau, laksanakan terus sesuatu projek selepas mendapat peruntukan kerana ia akan lebih meyakinkan rakyat.

"Kita jangan terlalu ghairah mengumumkan sesuatu projek untuk dilaksana tanpa mengambil kira keadaan ekonomi dan kewangan kerajaan, kerana implikasinya akan berbalik kepada kerajaan," katanya.

Salleh berkata sebarang pengumuman pelaksanaan projek sememangnya dinantikan oleh rakyat, justeru ia perlu dibuat dengan berhati-hati dan mengambil kira faktor-faktor di persekitaran ekonomi.

Antaranya termasuk kejatuhan harga minyak di pasaran dunia, kemerosotan nilai Ringgit serta kemusnahan akibat banjir di pantai timur Semenanjung yang memerlukan peruntukan besar untuk pemulihan dan pembangunan semula.

"Saya rasa yang lebih elok, kita laksanakan dulu sesuatu projek itu, kemudian dirasmikan dan baru kita cerita mengenai agenda pembangunan kerajaan.

"Kalau kita umum dahulu, rakyat akan menanti-nanti, dan jika tidak dapat dipenuhi atau lambat dilaksana, ia akan membawa implikasi negatif kepada kerajaan hari ini," katanya.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sabah’s autonomy on religion

By SSK

The issue of religion, in particular regarding Islam, is a sensitive issue, made worse of late due to the Allah issue and Bahasa Malaysia Bibles controversy. What is happening in some states in West Malaysia is of concern to Sabah. The main concern is that what is happening in West Malaysia may soon happen in Sabah if the issue is not clarified.

To understand the issue of religion in Sabah we must revert to the Cobbold Commission and the 20-Point Memorandum where it says that while there was no objection to Islam being the religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion of North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo.

The British members of the Commission were of the view that the non-Muslim community wanted complete religious freedom concerning worship, education and propagation in North Borneo and that the provisions of the Federal Constitution regarding Islam should not extend to North Borneo and that the State Legislature should be the authority that decides what happens.

Article 5A of the Sabah State Constitution says, “Islam is the religion of the State; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the State.”

Article 5B(1) says that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Head of Islam in Sabah but Article 5B(2) says the State Legislative Assembly shall be responsible for making provisions for regulating Islamic religious affairs and for constituting a Council to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in matters relating to Islam.

Despite having Article 5A and 5B, Articles 11(1) and 11(4) of the Federal Constitution is retained to guarantee religious freedom and to allow State Law to control or restrict the propagation of any religious belief among Muslims.

In other words, this would mean there is a certain degree of autonomy in Sabah and the Sabah State Assembly can formulate its own policies, which may differ from that of the West Malaysian states, but just as long as it does not contradict the Federal Constitution. This results in the preservation of the freedom of religion in Sabah, with limited exceptions for the propagation of Muslims, and the Sabah State Assembly retaining the power to decide on the ‘rules of engagement’ and recommend these rules to the Agong.

Overall, there should be no confusion on this matter as far as Sabah is concerned and there are no restrictions to Christians in Sabah using Allah or publishing Christian literature, Bibles included, in Bahasa Malaysia. So let us not allow the controversy in West Malaysia to spill over to Sabah because Sabah has specific laws on what should and should not happen.

And this is the guarantee we must give to the people of Sabah.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

It is not that I love Najib less…

By SSK

NAJIB
It is not that I love Najib less but it is that I love Malaysia more. Yes, that is what veteran journalist Kadir Jasin implied in his ‘it is not that I love Caesar less but I love Rome more’ comment. Raub Member of Parliament, Ariff Sabri, added to this by saying that Najib is finished, meaning the Prime Minister is surviving on borrowed time.

It is most unfortunate that Kadir chose to use Caesar and Rome as his example as to why Prime Minister Najib Razak needs to be ousted. In fact, Rome saw greatness during the time of Julius Caesar and he was assassinated by certain members of the senate, some who were his friends, not because Caesar was bad for Rome but because of political rivalry and jealousy.

What Caesar’s detractors were worried about was that he was getting too popular and therefore needed to be removed. However, his removal through assassination triggered a civil war with a great loss of life and which just saw dictator after dictator taking over thereafter.

Hence the removal of Caesar did not solve Rome’s problems. In fact, it triggered even more problems. And this soon brought about the decline of Rome and its eventual collapse because it did not have leaders with the same calibre and vision as Caesar to lead them.

The removal through assassination of Caesar to allegedly save Rome is probably not the best example to use if you know your history. That move was not to save Rome. It was a grab for power by jealous rivals. And it just led to bloodshed later when Romans killed Romans on the battlefield.

The problem was not Caesar. The problem was a corrupt Roman society. And it was this corruption that eventually brought about the decline and collapse of the Roman Empire.

Hence, to save Rome, they needed to reform society rather than assassinate Caesar. And to save Umno this is also what you need to do, reform the party.

It does not matter whether Najib or whoever it may be heads Umno and becomes the Prime Minister of Malaysia. As long as Umno does not see that it is its own worst enemy and start executing reforms, Umno will face the risk of being rejected by the voters.

It is very convenient to blame Najib for all the problems that Umno is facing. Do these people really think that by kicking out Najib Umno is going to be saved? Umno can only be saved once it realises that the voters are not opposed to the Prime Minister as much as they are angry about the Umno culture, which can no longer be accepted in a civil society.