Saturday, September 24, 2016

Nancy’s claim that travel time would be reduced ‘is pure fantasy’

Nancy Shukri has been quoted as saying that the new RM211 million Batang Sadong Bridge would cut travel time from Kuching to Sibu by at least two-an-a-half hours from a total of eight hours, first by Bernama on Aug 28 and then by The Borneo Post the following day.
What Sarawak DAP Socialist Youth (Dapsy) chief Wong King Wei had questioned was whether the travel time was reduced or not. He did not question the need for the bridge and he definitely did not said the rural communities of Sarawak do not deserve any development brought about by the existence of the new bridge.
What he questioned was whether Nancy was making up figures when she claimed that travel time between Kuching and Sibu would be reduced by at least two-and-a-half hours by using the new Batang Sadong Bridge.
That claim by Nancy is pure fantasy.
When road users drive to Meludam, the road there is so bumpy and we cannot even drive at a speed of 60 kilometres per hour before reaching Pusa-Meludam ferry jetty. Travel time from Kuching to Sibu is different from the travelling time of the people of Simunjan and Meludam to Kuching.
The main point raised by Wong was that after road users cross the Batang Sadong Bridge from Kuching, there is another two rivers that need crossing, and those two rivers are only serviced by ferries.
It is true that if there are two more bridges, travelling time may be reduced by about one hour (70-80 kilometres), but the bridges currently do not exist.
And the ferries that service the two additional rivers, Batang Saribas and Batang Lupar, are located at river deltas which are very wide, close to the sea and users are known to experience difficult crossing conditions.
To say that using the additional two ferry services at these crossings would reduce travelling time is fantasy.
There is no point arguing with Nancy on the calculations because most BN leaders do not know how to calculate correctly. We used the calculations to justify the point why the Batang Sadong Bridge alone is not good enough to help to shorten the traveling time. This is more meaningful than arguing about the calculation itself.
DAP’s contention is that travelling time, as of now, in the absence of the two other bridges, is much longer because of the two ferry trips. If Nancy says that travelling time will be shorter with the completion of the two bridges, we can accept that.
But instead of addressing the travel time, Nancy has twisted the issue saying we are not supportive of rural development and has urged the rakyat to reject DAP’s Impian Sarawak that sought to bring about development to the rural constituencies.
A constant BN tactic
This is a constant BN tactic deployed against us. BN is the one that has kept on politicising development issues in Sarawak and is the true master of ‘political gimmickry’ in their 53 years of control.
The truth is, since 1963, BN has failed to provide connectivity and development for her people throughout the state. BN is the one that has broken the hearts of many rural communities. They failed to see the hardship and difficulties that the people in the rural areas have to face without good roads and connectivity for the past 53 years.
BN does not truly know how difficult it is for the people in the rural area to commute from their villages to the city nearby especially when there is an emergency and there is a need to go to the nearest hospital in the city. Otherwise the roads and bridges would have been built decades ago.
The issue is not about whether DAP wants development for rural folk. The real issue here is that Nancy made a false claim, and is backtracking on it.
She will never admit she was wrong and she cannot say travel time is actually the same, or longer.
If Pakatan Harapan comes to power, we will build more bridges connecting every part of Sarawak.

ABDUL AZIZ ISA MARINDO is special assistant to the Sarawak DAP chairperson and Petra Jaya DAP Socialist Youth publicity secretary. -Mkini

Man held after claiming 'deputy minister's aide' threatened to shoot

A man has been detained after alleging that an individual alleged to be the personal assistant to a deputy minister threatened to shoot him and his wife.
However, Home Ministry sources told Malaysiakini, the man who allegedly made the threat does not work for Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamad.
Similarly Second Deputy Home Minister Masir Kujat when contacted also denied the accused works for him.
The individual is also not listed as an aide to either deputy ministers on the Home Ministry website.
Home Ministry sources also told Malaysiakini the man, allegedly a 'datuk', does not work at the ministry.
It is understood Nur Jazlan will be lodging a police report against the individual,
Assault claims
According to a police report posted on Facebook, Mohd Adli Effendy Mohd Zaki said the incident took place when he dropped off his daughter near a school in Damansara for his ex-wife to pick up, yesterday afternoon.
The former journalist said his ex-wife's husband arrived several minutes later accompanied by two minivans.
He said a woman he did not know then "dragged" his daughter away, prompting the seven-year-old to scream.
Mohd Adli Effendy said he told the group not to use force on his daughter, after which he was assaulted by several men.
He claimed the men also roughed up his daughter, wife, and mother.
He said a man who claimed to be a deputy home minister's personal assistant then threatened to shoot him and his wife if he did not hand over his daughter.

When contacted, Petaling Jaya police chief Mohd Zani Che Din said Mohd Adli Affendy and four others had been detained for questioning over the incident.
He said in total six people, including the man who allegedly claimed to be a deputy minister's aide, are being probed for rioting.
"We will investigate the alleged shooting threat if there is any evidence of it," Mohd Zani said.
All those detained will be released on police bail today, he said. -Mkini

Walk the talk, TMJ tells Najib

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Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim told Johorean football fans that he had informed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to implement policies and not just talk.
This, he said, was after he expressed his concerns about the country's political stability to the premier.
Recounting his meeting with Najib, Tunku Ismail said he also told the PM that he was worried about what will happen to the country in the future, for despite their differences of opinion, the federal government and the royalty are interlinked.
"If you were to pinch my left thigh, my right thigh will feel it too."
He added that he had also asked to know about present government policies, and gave the PM a piece of his mind about the matter.
"Then I advised him to implement whatever it is, and not just talk. And from now on, its time to move forward," he said.
His comments were detailed in a post on the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page describing a dialogue session he held with Johor Darul Takzim football fans and the media yesterday.
The crown prince had met with Najib in August, at the latter's official residence, Seri Perdana, in Putrajaya.
Meanwhile, Tunku Ismail said Johor is independent and neutral, and that he speaks out for the people, not because anyone is his enemy.

"Don't only think of yourself. I'm sad, (and) as His Royal Highness the Sultan of Johor stated lately, most politicians nowadays are busy pursuing more power.
"They sacrifice for power more than they do for the people."
Unlike other royalty, who prefer to keep a low profile, Tunku Ismail has a penchant for taking potshots at the federal government, mostly on Facebook.
He was previously embroiled in a public feud with Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz who criticised the prince for being too vocal, especially in remarks he made against the government. -Mkini

Husam, Matthias drop 1MDB class action suit in US court

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Salor assemblyperson Husam Musa and lawyer Matthias Chang have dropped their class action suit against US-based corporations and individuals linked to alleged embezzlement and money laundering involving 1MDB.
This is according to a court filing on Friday, in the New York Southern District Court, by US-based attorneys representing the duo.
Appended below is the listing for the notice of dismissal available for public viewing on the US Federal Court System's Public Access to Court Records (Pacer) online website, as noted on federal court cases monitoring service site pacermonitor.com.
"NOTICE OF VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the plaintiff(s) and or their counsel(s), hereby give notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed, WITHOUT prejudice against the defendant(s) Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Debra Whelan Johnson, Timothy Leissner, Christopher Joey McFarland, Metropolis IX Capital Advisors, LLC, Red Granite Pictures, Inc., Riza Shahriz Bin Abdul Aziz, Low Taek Jho. Document filed by Husam Musa, Matthias Chang. (Burke, Louis)."
According to Rule 41(a)(1)A(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the plaintiff may voluntarily dismiss their suit without a court order by filing a notice of dismissal before the opposing party serves either an answer or a motion for summary judgment.
The voluntarily dismissal was also done without prejudice, which will give them leeway to file a new legal action in the future, if they so desire.
However, the reason the suit was dropped is unknown.
When contacted, Husam told Malaysiakini, "I have not received an explanation yet from my counsel, but they will update me soon."
Malaysiakini is also attempting to reach Chang for comments. The duo filed the suit in a US court in August.
Meanwhile, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Red Granite said, "Dismissing this frivolous lawsuit was the right thing to do because it never should have been filed in the first place.
"Red Granite continues to work on exciting new projects," added the film production and distribution company.
The class action suit was to seek damages for the theft of the state investment firm's funds as well as to recover assets acquired using the stolen funds.
The class action followed the US Department of Justice (DOJ) civil forfeiture suits which sought to seize more than US$1 billion in assets allegedly acquired using stolen 1MDB funds.
The DOJ claims that overall, US$3.5 billion of 1MDB funds were misappropriated.
US$731 million of this was found to have been transferred to the accounts of a figure the DOJ referred to as 'Malaysian Official 1' (MO1).
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan has since confirmed MO1 is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Najib, however, has denied claims of misappropriating government funds.
But his stepson, Riza, is also named in the DOJ's court documents, and was one of the eight defendants in the class action suit by Husam and Chang. -Mkini

'Gani didn't concede removal as AG was lawful'

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Former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail did not concede that his sudden removal from the post 14 months ago was lawful, said lawyer Ragunath Kesavan.
Malaysiakini yesterday reported that Gani said his removal is in accordance with the government's General Orders, as the prime minister has the power to remove an AG when he deems fit.
Gani said this when faced with a question on his removal during the 'Independence of Institutions in a Democracy' session at the International Malaysian Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur, moderated by Ragunath.
"Tan Sri Gani did not at anytime concede that his removal was in accordance with the law and government orders.
"He had only stated that the position of the AG did not have the constitutional protection, unlike the position of judge," Ragunath, who is also former Malaysian Bar president, said in a statement.
Ragunath added Gani noted that there were amendments to the law to allow a politician to be appointed AG, but "did not at any time concede on the lawlessness of his removal".
Instead, Ragunath said, Gani "left the position of his removal open and said that he would stand guided by his lecturer and master".
Malaysiakini yesterday reported Gani as saying that an amendment to the law made 50 years ago rendered the AG and auditor-general as government servants bound by government orders.
"There was an amendment to the provision some time back and this was because they want to bring in or brought in a politician to become the AG.

"Therefore, it is up to the powers of the PM to remove him at (his) whim... ermm sorry, and when he deems fit,” he reportedly said.
“However, as a student and adhering to my master, I stand guided by them,” Gani said referring to former Court of Appeal judge Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof who was his law lecturer in Universiti Malaya, and Ragunath, who took Gani under his tutelage in private practice after his removal.
Gani, who led the task force probing 1MDB, was removed ostensibly for health reasons last year and replaced with Mohamed Apandi Ali.- Mkini

Friday, September 23, 2016

Funded by credit cards? Sarawak Report editor laughs off allegation

Sarawak Report editor Claire Rewcastle-Brown laughed off allegations she receives substantial funds to run her whistleblower site.
She denied that the blog was funded by anonymous credit cards as alleged by a new online site, Open Source Investigations (OSI).
"Oh, I have two prepaid credit cards? Where are they?" she responded in jest.
"They have to put up with the fact that in the world of internet, it doesn't cost that much to do investigative journalism.
"I can go online and find out a lot (of information), I can be in contact with people and I can write. It doesn't cost that much," she said, when met at 2nd Asian Investigative Journalism Conference in Kathmandu, Nepal on Thursday.
She asked that those who made these accusations to be more specific.
OSI in March claimed 80 percent of Clare's funds came from two prepaid credit cards, which allowed her to travel "lavishly".
"Those funding sources come with deep pockets. Rewcastle-Brown herself has admitted that it costs around $15,000 a month to run the site," said OSI.
It also claimed Rewcastle-Brown travelled extensively in 2014 and 2015, across Europe, Asia and Australia.
"I have done some travels that's largely been funded by my radio project, for which I did have a grant from European-based donor, whose interests were rainforests and human rights issues," she added.
"My journey here was paid by the conference who invited me," said Clare, who was invited to talk on corruption investigations.
She said she is willing to reveal the source of Sarawak Report's funds and its expenditures.
"Yeah, unlike (Malaysia Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak). I have a company, I have my accounts. You can go to Companies House (the British Registrar of Companies). Have a look," she said.

"And frankly, you can ask my husband because he moans that I can really be out doing a job that earns some money, but he means it very nicely.
"The idea that somehow I am running a multi-million operation, you know, the truth can actually be quite cheap," she said.
Rewcastle-Brown founded Sarawak Report in February 2010 to highlight deforestation and corruption in Sarawak. She set up Radio Free Sarawak on December 2010. - Mkini

With new boundaries Noh Omar may be next Selangor MB - DAP Youth

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Selangor voters have been warned they may see Umno leader Noh Omar as the next menteri besar if the Election Commission's (EC) redelineation pushes through.
"If BN has enough seats to take Selangor, it is very clear Noh Omar will be chosen to be the state's menteri besar.

"Do the rakyat of Selangor want a leader who does not prioritise the education of our children?" asked DAP Youth publicity secretary Muhammad Shakir Ameer in a statement.
He was referring to the Urban wellbeing, housing and local government minister's suggestion last month that Parents and Teachers Associations (PTA) raise their own funds for their schools.
"Surely not. Selangor people do not need someone who is heartless," he said.
He therefore urged voters to actively reject the EC's redelineation proposal, saying DAP will do the same.
[More to follow]