Government pays RM56.36m for improper cleaning services, says Audit Report

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Auditor-General's Report 2014 - pic taken from The Star Online

Auditor-General’s Report 2014 – pic taken from The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Improper payments of RM56.36 million were made to cleaning services concessionaires last year.

According to the Auditor-General’s Report 2014 Series Three, the payments included claims for services not covered in the concessionaires’ agreements with the government.

“The concessionaires for public cleaning services did not carry out the cleaning of drains, sumps and public markets properly and were paid for improper claims last year.

“Between September 2012 and December 2014, improper payments to the concessionaire reached RM116.72 million,” the report said. Read more

Hotels, chalets among illegal structures on hills, says Audit Report

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Auditor-General's Report 2014 - pic taken from The Star Online

Auditor-General’s Report 2014 – pic taken from The Star Online

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 23 — Several hotels and chalets in operation are among 11 illegal structures erected at hills located in the southwest district here, says the third series of the 2014 Auditor-General’s Report.

Also built on the 11 plots of land at the hills were houses and restaurants that are still in operation.

The 11 illegal structures which have no Certificate of Fitness (CF) has resulted in the Penang City Council (MBPP) unable to collect assessment tax from the owners of the premises, the report said.

According to the report, visits on June 17 and July 29, found that the construction of illegal structures in the hills involved chalets in Teluk Bahang and Sungai Ara, hotels in Teluk Kumbar, restaurants in Balik Pulau and houses in Balik Pulau and Teluk Pahang.

The restaurants which are still operating in Balik Pulau does not have any business licence, the report said. Read more

Drop in number of forms needing race info

Source: The SunDaily

KUALA LUMPUR: Only 198 of 346 government official forms retained the space on racial identity, revealed a survey by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) in 2011.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun said racial identity information is still required in several government official forms because they involve legal aspects and certain requirements, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

He said the space on identity information in some government forms was maintained because of the requirements under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and certain laws.

“Efforts to drop the race column in official government forms has been initiated since 2009.

“The cabinet meeting on July 29, 2009, agreed that forms used by the government, except MyKad and certain government documents, be reviewed by government agencies to drop the unnecessary identity information,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today in response to a supplementary question posed by Dr Mansor Abdul Rahman (BN – Sik). Read more

ISDS awards are no small matter – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The SunDaily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

tppa_graphic_bahasa_101015NEGOTIATE for better terms” (Letters, Nov 19) raises several points in reference to my article, “TPPA, the rakyat and democracy” (Law Speak, Nov 2). Particularly targeted is my concern of the ISDS – the investor state dispute settlement provision in the TPPA. Let me deal with the main points raised.

ISDS as a form of dispute resolution has been around for some time, particularly in international trade agreements

Yes, this is true. Indeed it appears in several international investment treaties, perhaps more than 3,000. But it has been heavily criticised. Why? Because experience with the way these clauses have been interpreted shows its deleterious effects on the country sued and its citizenry. As recently as June this year a UN experts group concluded that “the experience of decades related arbitrations conducted before ISDS tribunals … demonstrates that the regulatory function of many states and their ability to legislate in the public interest have been put at risk”.

Look at the examples – to pick a few: Germany had to dilute its environmental standards in the face of a US$2 billion action against it by a Swedish energy giant restricting the use and discharge of cooling water for a coal-fired plant on the banks of River Elbe, with disastrous impacts on the river and its wildlife. The same company also launched a US$4.6 billion action when Germany phased out nuclear power plants following the Fukushima disaster. Argentina had to pay over a billion US dollars in compensation to international utility companies – for freezing the high energy and water bills to protect its people.

You see, the point is that the reach of the TPPA for which a government can be sued is extraordinarily far reaching. Read more

More time for Sarawakian on death row after Singapore court reserves judgment

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lenduk Ak Baling (third from left) and Jumai pose with activists campaigning for Kho Jabing’s death penalty to be reduced to life imprisonment. — Picture by Melissa Chi

Lenduk Ak Baling (third from left) and Jumai pose with activists campaigning for Kho Jabing’s death penalty to be reduced to life imprisonment. — Picture by Melissa Chi

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — The fate of Kho Jabing remained uncertain today after a Singapore court reserved its judgement on the Sarawakian’s bid to review his death sentence.

The Court of Appeal did not specify a date for its decision, and according to activist Kirsten Han, this could hopefully buy more time for the 31-year-old Kho.

Han, who has been campaigning actively to get Kho’s sentence commuted, said with the court vacation coming up end of the month, she hopes the latest development would help the fight for the youth’s life.

“The judgment in Jabing’s case was reserved today. The stay in execution will remain until the judges decide,” the co-founder of We Believe in Second Chances told Malay Mail Online via text message in an update on the case.

The Singapore Court of Appeal earlier today heard the criminal motion filed by Kho’s lawyer. Read more

A-G: Although worst-hit, Kelantan, Terengganu not given priority in flood mitigation projects

Source: The Malay Mail Online

File picture shows an aerial view of houses and plantations being submerged in floodwaters in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Baru, Kelantan on December 28, 2014. — AFP pic

File picture shows an aerial view of houses and plantations being submerged in floodwaters in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Baru, Kelantan on December 28, 2014. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — East coast states such as Kelantan and Terengganu were not given priority in the RM3.35 billion Flood Mitigation Projects (FMP) by the Department Of Irrigation and Drainage, said the latest Auditor-General’s (A-G) Report 2014.

The Third Series of the report released today also said that there were components of the FMP worth more than RM6 million that were not utilised optimally, while some were just not well-maintained.

“Some states particularly in the east coast such as Kelantan and Terengganu were among the states with the largest flood area and highest average losses caused by flood.

“However, they were not given priority in the implementation of FMP,” said the report. Read more

TPP cost benefit analysis to be presented to Putrajaya tonight

Source: The Malaysian Insider

tppa_graphic_bahasa_101015Malaysia’s cost benefit analysis (CBA) on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement will be presented to Putrajaya and the relevant government agencies tonight at 8pm.

International Trade and Industries Deputy Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan told Parliament today that the CBA was prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Malaysia’s Institute of Strategic and International Relations (Isis) and would be handed over to members of the lower house next week.

“The cost benefit analysis prepared by PwC and by Isis is completed and will be presented to Putrajaya, MITI and the relevant officers tonight at 8pm in Putrajaya. We will hand over the CBA next week.

“We will have around more than a month and the debate is (expected) to begin in February, once the Speaker of the House (has) determined the date,” Ahmad said to queries by Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar. Read more

Auditor-General’s Report: More than a quarter of Sarawak schools have serious defects

Source: The Star Online

Auditor-General's Report 2014 - pic taken from The Star Online

Auditor-General’s Report 2014 – pic taken from The Star Online

KUCHING: More than a quarter of schools in Sarawak have “serious defects” that are “risky to use”, the latest Auditor-General report finds.

A whopping 388 schools out of 1,452 schools in Malaysia’s largest state were either deemed to have inferior quality of buildings or poor maintenance, said the third and final A-G report for this year.

The poor state of these schools was despite the A-G giving the thumbs up to on-going and completed repair and renovations projects.

The infrastructure of 124 schools “had serious defects that require immediate and urgent repair”. Read more

PSM leader charged under Sedition Act for criticising judiciary

Source: The Star Online

Arutchelvan (centre) speaking to his lawyers.

Arutchelvan (centre) speaking to his lawyers.

KUALA LUMPUR:  Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader S. Arutchelvan, was charged on Monday under the Sedition Act for his criticism against the judiciary at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

Judge Amernudin Ahmad decided that bail would be set at RM5000 while the court also set Dec 22 for mention.

Arutchelvan was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act while an alternative charge under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 was added.

He is being charged after he had condemned the Federal Court’s decision on a Facebook post following Anwar’s sodomy conviction on Feb 10, while acting as the party secretary-general.

He had previously been and arrested under the Sedition Act on Feb 19.

However he was released the following day after a four-day remand was rejected by the magistrate’s court.

Arutchelvan claimed trial to the charges.

Speaking to reporters after the case, Arutchelvan defended what he had posted on Facebook by saying that he was merely reflecting PSM’s position on the Federal Court’s decision on Anwar’s trial. Read more

MCMC lifts ban on Bersih website

Source: The Malaysian Insider

The ban on Bersih's website, imposed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) just before the Bersih 4 rally in August, has been lifted following a letter of demand from the electoral reform group. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 23, 2015.

The ban on Bersih’s website, imposed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) just before the Bersih 4 rally in August, has been lifted following a letter of demand from the electoral reform group. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 23, 2015.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has lifted the ban on Bersih’s website, imposed just before the 34-hour street gathering in late August.

Lawyer New Sin Yew, who appeared for the electoral reform group for free and fair election, said the Internet regulator had lifted the ban following a letter of demand.

“Bersih took the position that it is a violation of the freedom of information,” he said.

New said Bersih was also of the view that MCMC’s move was unreasonable, illegal and done in bad faith. Read more