Panel proposes new political funding law in Malaysia

Source: The Straits Times

A government-appointed committee yesterday proposed a new law in Malaysia to regulate political financing, and that would include a ban on donations from foreign sources.

Mr Paul Low, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who heads the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing, said it will submit its proposal to the Cabinet in two weeks’ time.

This is the first step towards regulating political donations following an uproar over revelations of a massive cash transfer made to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts in the run-up to the last general election in 2013.

Key among the recommendations for the new Political Donations and Expenditure Act is the ban on cash donations from foreign sources to a political party or politician. “We do not want outside influence on local political institutions as a means to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty,” said Datuk Low.

Datuk Seri Najib was found to have received US$700 million (S$954 million) in his bank accounts in early 2013. The Wall Street Journal has alleged that the money was from debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

But Malaysia’s Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali cleared the Prime Minister of wrongdoing in January, saying the money was a donation from the Saudi royal family.

Another recommendation by the committee is for political donations worth more than RM3,000 (S$990) per year to be declared. The funds must be deposited into specially designated bank accounts with the party’s records audited. Read more

Internet Society congratulates global Internet community on successful IANA stewardship transition

Source: Internet Society

internet-society01 October 2016

The Internet Society Board of Trustees joins the Internet community in celebrating today’s historic milestone whereby the stewardship of the IANA functions will be transitioned to the global Internet community.

Today’s IANA stewardship transition fulfills a vision of multistakeholder governance set forth nearly 20 years ago. The work undertaken by the global Internet community to develop a robust, consensus proposal for the IANA stewardship transition demonstrates the legitimacy of the collaborative approach to governing critical Internet resources. By allowing its contract with ICANN regarding IANA oversight to expire, the U.S. government has demonstrated its continued support for the multistakeholder model.

“Today’s outcome confirms the strength of both the community and the multistakeholder process in tackling issues important to the continued growth and evolution of the Internet,” said Gonzalo Camarillo, Chair of the Internet Society’s Board of Trustees. “We commend the NTIA for its trust and confidence in the multistakeholder Internet community to achieve this important accomplishment.” Read more

The hills of Lojing stripped bare

Source: The Star Online

Pristine forest no more: Excavators (circled) clearing land on the slopes in Lojing Highlands as greenhouses line the land above near the Central Spine Road. Pic taken from The Star Online.

Pristine forest no more: Excavators (circled) clearing land on the slopes in Lojing Highlands as greenhouses line the land above near the Central Spine Road. Pic taken from The Star Online.

GUA MUSANG: Travelling along the Central Spine Road from Cameron Highlands into Lojing, it’s hard to spot much greenery on both sides of the highway.

When we reached there by jeep, we saw the tractors, a few almost perched on the treacherous slopes. The tractors looked like little more than ants against the vast backdrop of cleared hills.

Some of the areas involved were so vast that only an image from a drone or satellite could do justice to the size.

Where the excavators are not around, the land is almost certainly marked with the ubiquitous lines of greenhouse plastic all over the hillside.

The plastic covering is much like those at the vegetable farms in neighbouring Cameron Highlands.

Along the highway, several signboards, warning of wildlife from the permanent forest reserves nearby, including Lojing and Sg Brok, and that any development or land clearing must get the written permission of the Gua Musang land officer have been put up. Read more

UM law students voice concern over LPA amendments

Source: The Star Online

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya - File pix

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya – File pix

PETALING JAYA: A group of local law students have thrown their support behind the Bar Council in opposing the proposed amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976 (LPA).

Universiti Malaya Law Society president Ng Seng Yi said the amendments, which are scheduled to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat during its next sitting later this month, would interfere with the independence of the Malaysian Bar.

He said the Bar Council never requested nor was it consulted on the proposed amendments, one of which is to allow the Minister overseeing legal affairs to appoint two members to the legal body who would report directly to Government.

“This duty to report will ultimately be in breach of the LPA, which requires that Bar Council meetings be kept confidential,” Ng said in a statement Saturday. Read more