Malaysia’s PKFZ: A look into the multi-billion dollar scandal with no culprits

Source: Asian Correspondent

BY A. AZIM IDRIS

Image via @PKFZ, taken from Asian Correspondent

ALMOST a decade ago, Malaysia was rocked by a colossal RM12 billion (US$2.6 billion) corruption scandal involving the development of a regional shipping hub known as the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ).

But despite wide-scale investigations on allegations of funds misappropriation, several arrests and countless lawsuits, not a single person has been held accountable to date.

The 1,000-acre PKFZ, an integrated commercial and industrial zone nestled in Malaysia’s most affluent state of Selangor, was mooted in 1997 by former politician Dr Ling Liong Sik, who was transport minister at the time.

It was originally budgeted at RM1.1 billion (then around US$300 million) but the construction bill mysteriously quadrupled to RM4.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) by 2007 when the project was completed.

In 2008, an audit by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers commissioned by then-transport minister Ong Tee Keat concluded that the total cost of the project could balloon to RM12.5 billion, after factoring in interest payments.

The incident sparked public outcry, made headlines for years and became campaign fodder for the Malaysian opposition for at least two federal elections – but still led to no conviction.

And the likelihood of anyone being taken to task over the controversy looks to be wearing thinner by the day. Read more

Suhakam: Govt must uphold rights of Orang Asli, refugees

Source: FMT News

Human rights group chief Razali Ismail criticises those who deny Orang Asli control over their own lands and development based on their own values. Pic form FMT News.

Human rights group chief Razali Ismail criticises those who deny Orang Asli control over their own lands and development based on their own values. Pic form FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) says equality must be upheld in the country, especially for minorities such as the Orang Asli and refugee communities.

Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail said poverty and vulnerability continue to threaten the Orang Asli despite a clear ruling from the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination classifying discrimination against indigenous people as racial discrimination.

He added that they faced many challenges and that despite government efforts, their human rights were frequently violated.

“The Orang Asli are denied control over their own lands and development based on their own values.

“They have also been the victims of forced displacement due to uncontrolled logging,” he said in a statement released in conjunction with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today. Read more

You are not our appointed moral guardian, Nazri tells Censorship Board

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz censured the Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) today after rumours surfaced that another movie might be banned here because of LGBT elements.

Nazri also asked the LPF to allow the screening of 'Power Rangers', but rate it PG 13 to allow parents to make their own judgement. ― Picture by Choo Choy May for the MMO.

Nazri also asked the LPF to allow the screening of ‘Power Rangers’, but rate it PG 13 to allow parents to make their own judgement. ― Picture by Choo Choy May for the MMO.

In a press conference at the media centre in the Dewan Rakyat here, Nazri called LPF’s actions “depressing” and reminded the board not to overstep its bounds.

“Who can be better than the parents to decide for their children? Who is the Censorship Board to say in a blanket rule that it’s not good for the children?

“PG 13 is clear — parents can bring their children. We have never appointed the Censorship Board to be our moral guardian in such matters,” he said, referring to the viewership rating system.

He was responding to a question at the press conference on the rumour LPF will ban Power Rangers, or censor a scene which reportedly portrays one of the protagonists as a lesbian.

“Now it’s Power Rangers. I’m depressed. I feel the Censorship Board is going overboard. I think we should rein in the Censorship Board, and their standards should not be used for all Malaysians. We must do something about this,” he added.

Nazri also asked the LPF to allow the screening of Power Rangers, but rate it PG 13 to allow parents to make their own judgement. Read more

Report: Racial discrimination in Malaysia growing despite Putrajaya’s efforts

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Pusat Komas recommended harsher punishments for individuals, especially politicians, who make racially inciting statements. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng for the MMO.

Pusat Komas recommended harsher punishments for individuals, especially politicians, who make racially inciting statements. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng for the MMO.

PETALING JAYA, March 21 — Discrimination based on the colour of one’s skin seems to be on the rise in Malaysia despite the government’s efforts to promote moderation and racial harmony.

The Racial Discrimination Report 2016 by non-profit social outfit Pusat Komas released tonight found that strained ethnic relations are growing although the National Unity Consultative Council has been working to bolster ties.

“Recent incidents of racial discrimination, racism and stained ethnic relations within the Malaysian society have increasingly surfaced over the years despite the Prime Minister’s numerous assurances and claims at home and abroad that the government promotes moderation in the country,” the report presented by programme coordinator Ryan Chua read.

The report added that the growth of social media has also made the racial divide further with more room for such negative sentiments to be propagated. Read more