Friday, May 30, 2008

PEMUDAH - Public Procurement Process and Management of Projects Must Reflect Ease and Transparency All the Way

PEMUDAH – the government’s task force for facilitating businesses in Malaysia – will spend the next six months streamlining several processes and measures related to public procurement, facilitating e-payments for all government transactions as well as ease cargo clearance.
This comes in the wake of the Prime Minister’s call made at the ASEAN Integrity Dialogue held recently, for transparency and accountability in all public procurement and tender processes.
PEMUDAH will be formulating a framework to improve the public procurement process, making it more transparent and accountable.
In Co-Chairing the 5th PEMUDAH meeting of the year, the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan said that they are working towards completing the framework by year-end. PEMUDAH, by virtue of its public-private membership and mandate to facilitate business, is the ideal vehicle to ensure positive improvements to the public procurement system, he further added.
To date, many related initiatives have already been put in place to improve the public procurement system including the issuance of the Treasury Circular Letter (TCL) 5/2007 incorporating changes and improvements to the government procurement rules and procedures.
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has also expounded blueprint measures to ensure that all government agencies implement and comply with the TCL 5/2007, making the bidding process competitive and transparent.
Initiatives are being implemented to make transactions with Government Agencies more efficient through the streamlining of e-payment systems. By 1 July 2008, all payments to the government will be e-payable. However, counter service would still be made available for those who prefer it. A major initiative, the e-payment implementation process will ‘convert’ the facilities in a total of 106 agencies in three stages. Of the 106 agencies, 21 will be ready by 1 May, followed by another 55 agencies by June1, and 30 agencies by July 2008.
Currently, 83 counters in 72 branches of Road Transport Department (JPJ) accept credit card for payment of renewal of road tax. The debit card will come on stream by the end of 2008. JPJ also accepts payment via e-Services at 111 approved sites for booking of theory test, issuance / renewal of learner’s driving licence, renewal of competent driving licence and traffic summons.
Another key improvement announced today was on pre-clearance of cargo based on Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) of vessels. This will take effect from 1 July 2008. Customs will also be working with the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) to expand its Customs Golden Client and Authorised Economic Operator facilities to companies endorsed by FMM. ETA information will be made available to all Government Agencies ahead of time to facilitate clearance at any time of the day and on weekends and public holidays.
Sidek reminded PEMUDAH members that in the government’s efforts to establish and enhance integrity, the private sector has to also assume its due role. Delays as experienced in the past are not always attributable to government processes but rather they are caused by the private sector.
“The construction industry for example feeds into the lives of many of us in its various form and facets. Therefore the private sector must assume greater responsibility and accountability when implementing these projects. Delays and non compliance from some of these projects has resulted in abandoned project with its associated problems as well as unacceptable levels of disruption and disturbance to lives of people who live and work in the vicinity. Sub standard quality of work by developers and contractors alike has also affected buyers of properties”, he reaffirmed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

River Cruises and Rides

The Kelantan River is one of the more magnificient rivers in South-east Asia and is the only river known to flow northwards.

The name of the river can be quite confusing due to the peculiar nomenclature of a Malay for her rivers. All the great rivers of other states in the country such as the Perak River, Pahang River and including the Kelantan river, are called after, or as seems equally probable have given their names to the State of which they are the main artery.

The peculiarity of the Kelantan River consists in fact that instead of tracing the rivers so named along the main channels and right up to their principal source, regarding all lesser confluent streams as tributaries, the Malay runs them to earth in some creek near the mouth of the first tributary, above the confluence of which the main streams take a new name, only to lose it again when the next big tributary is met.

Thus, the main river of Kelantan is known as the Betis for the first twenty miles of her course, then as the Nenggiri, then as the Galas and ultimately as the Kelantan River when it joins the Lebir at Kuala Krai to flow into the South China Sea at Kuala Besar.

Extracted from The Kelantan River and its Bridges by Mike Wrigglesworth

Lebir River

There are a few river trips you can take to explore the interior or the rustic part of Kelantan. The Kelantan River was the main means of transportation in the ancient days. By taking a river cruise or ride you will be transported back in time.

If you are lucky enough, villagers along the river(s) will share their findings from the river(s) with you, such as ancient weapons, keris, spearheads and even coins.

WauKelantan is famous for its kites and kites are famous because of Kelantan. The fascination in kites can only be experienced when we see the huge Kelantan kites swaying in the blue skies. We would be truly experiencing the wonder and beauty of kites when various and numerous colourful designs completely envelop the Kelantan skies.

In northern Malaysia, kites are known as “ Wau”. The history of Malay kites is deeply steeped in legend. Kites had been used in wars to frighten enemies. There is a story of a kite being used by a Malay prince to fly off to meet his love in the heavens.

The Chinese must have brought the kites to the Nusantara region. The Malays developed the kites in their own unique flavour. Kites were made and flown to appease the Weather Gods. Prince Ahmad, son of Mahmud Shah of Malacca flew kites, says the Malay Annals.

The type of decorative designs selected are an individual choice. The designs are influenced by decorations found in carved timber walls, palace pillars or from the borders of sarongs. Flowers and leaf motifs are abundantly found in kite designs.

Traditions demand that kites should have ‘eyes’ to allow the kites to know their way in the celetial realms. Each kite must have a ‘head’, a ‘spine’, a ‘ waist’, a ‘wing’ and a ‘tail’.

The frame of the ‘wau’ should be strong but flexible. A type of bamboo is used for this purpose. Another feature of the kite is the noise making bow or hummer. The noise makes the kite to come ‘alive’. The bow in the frame allows balance in the kites. There is something mystical about the way a kite defies gravity by swaying and climbing slowly up the sky.

There are more than 20 styles of wau bulan or moon kites.

It takes 2 days to 2 weeks to make a ‘wau’. It takes skill and patience to construct a wau. Traditionally, the flying line was a fishing twine made from free fiber wound on a wooden spool. Now modern monofilament nylon is used for kite flying.

Kites are flown after the harvesting season is over. People are happy and free to pursue pastimes. It takes two persons to fly a kite. One lifts the kite (principal) and the other helps the lift (assistant). Kites need strong calm winds for successful flying. Months between May to July see calm winds in the East coast.

The Kelantanese are fond of holding kite competitions. The kite that flies higher and lasts longer would be declared the winner. Successful flying depends equally on the principal (Juru anjong) and the assistant (Juru tarik). The reputation of the village depends heavily on the successful launching and flying this 5ft x 4ft kite.

In the high flying match, two teams of four fliers each pick their best kite and launch. The losing team may choose another kite and try again. The competition continues until all kites of one team have been defeated. In the humming match, the winners are judged by the sound they make continously for 1/4 hour. One must not use modern material to produce the sound in kites.

Kite festivals are often organised by the state government. Tourists can buy souvenir miniature kites throughout Kelantan.

Kelantan success in holding international level events applauded

TUMPAT - Kelantan has been widely acknowledged as successful in holding various international level programmes including the yearly held 2008 Kelantan International Wau Festival.

National Kitefliers Association President (Pelayang), Tan Sri Mohd Ali Hashim said the involvement of numerous countries in the event is an indication of its' success.

"The number of foreign entries is on the increase and this has made the state's wau festival on par with other wau festivals such as the Pasir Gudang Wau Festival in Johor and another in Bintulu, Sarawak," he said at the launch of event at Panting Geting May 24 evening.

It was officially launched by the Kelantan Crown Prince Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra Sultan Ismail Petra.

Also present were the Kelantan assembly speaker Nasuruddin Daud, his deputy Mohd Zaki Ibrahim and exco members Datuk Anuar Tan Abdullah, Mejar (B) Md Anizam Abd Rahman, Dr Mohd Fadhli Hassan and Che Abdullah Mat Nawi.

Delegates from Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Japan, Thailand, China, South Korea, Brunei, India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Singapore, France, Germany, Philippines and Lubnan took part in the event.

Kelantan International Wau Festival first started off 26 years ago.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hadi calls for Malay unity, urges all quarters to "save" Malaysia

by Saadon Aksah e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
SHAH ALAM - PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has reached out to UMNO members and supporters to work together with PAS for the sake of Malay unity and to "save the country".

Abdul Hadi said PAS has worked with UMNO/BN in a coalition government after the 1969 general election but the experience has taught the party that the move by UMNO then was out of political expediency.

Addressing concerns on why the party did not form a coalition with UMNO to "safeguard Malay-Muslims" interests, Abdul Hadi put it to some 20,000 audience present at an event here whether PAS should do just that.

After his question was answered with a resounding "No", Abdul Hadi said promises of development alone were not enough if the country was "suffering from various diseases after 50 years (of independence)".

"Tonight I want to say that UMNO (members and supporters) should work with us but no longer through the Barisan Nasional Front but through an alliance to save the country," he said.

"Umno and BN (members and supporters) should not be arrogant (to discount working together with PAS)," Abdul Hadi said in a post-election speech interspersed with raucous applause from those present.

His remark came a day before the opposition party of PAS, Parti Keadilan Rakyat(PKR) and DAP announced their intention to "consolidate the cooperation" under the name "PAKATAN RAKYAT"

The event held at a stadium filled to a capacity here was also attended by deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and DAP central working committee member Ronnie Liu. Abdul Hadi also led a congregation for a special prayer before the speech.

Brave leadership that institute reforms

In his speech Abdul Hadi spelled out key agenda for reforms that need to be embarked by the country on its road to recovery.

He said unjust and discriminatory laws such as the Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows for detention without trial, Universities and Universities Colleges Act that restrict academic freedom and the Official Secret Act which made government business opaque need to either be amended or abolished completely.

He said an immediate electoral reforms need to be undertaken, in particular relating to the task and operations of the Election Commission.

Abdul Hadi also said the Anti Corruption Agency need to be truly independent so that it can be effective in fighting graft.

He also reminded the need for the public faith to be restored in the judiciary and to ensure that it’s truly independent.

He said if Barisan Nasional component parties would not be brave enough to embark on this reform agenda then the Pakatan Rakyat government at the state level would pave the way forward.

"The number of seats (garnered by each party) was not an important factor. What is important, is for the leadership (of any party) to be brave enough to institute fair and just reform," he said.

He was also heartened by the voters decision to support parties across racial divide.

"I was heartened that the Malay could vote for the DAP while the Chinese could vote for PAS. This is a transformation," he said.-ES

Friday, May 23, 2008

Many joining PAS supporters club after disillusionment with BN leadership

NIBONG TEBAL – The Barisan Nasional parliament constituency of Nibong Tebal continues to suffer losses when 120 Malaysians of Indian decided tha Many joining PAS supporters club after disillusionment with BN leadership t they had enough of Barisan Nasional (BN) and joined the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) Supporters Club, according to Changkat PAS secretary Aziz Ramli.

The internal turmoils involving BN and MIC caused the villagers living in the three estates to take the necessary step as they were disappointed with the BN leadership who were mostly interested in taking care of only their cronies, he said.

Thus, when a group of Indian villagers came to us and ask to be members of the supporters club, Changkat PAS branch felt honored.

"Looking this encouraging progress, a ceremony to hand over the membership forms and meet with our leadership was held.

"The were also determined to find and encourage more villagers to join the club to ensure that Pakatan Rakyat continues to hold the parliamentary and state seat in the 13th general election," he added.

Meanwhile, a leaders of the local Indian community, Phonanvirappan explained that the large number of news members into the PAS Supporters' Club showed that PAS is seen as the party that is able to head the political struggle in Malaysia.

PAS sambungnya, terbukti cekal walaupun telah mengalami kekalahan tetapi tetap maju dan sabar sehinggalah kemenangan besar pada pilihan raya umum ke-12 lepas apabila diberikan amanah mentadbir Perak, Kedah dan mempertahankan Kelantan.

He added PAS continued to be determined and patient even though were defeated in the past and it came to fruition with when the party was given the mandate to administer Perak, Kedah and Kelantan.

"PAS is the only party capable of continuing struggle. Even though we are not Muslims, we know that PAS is capable of governing with justice, transparency and tolerance," he said. – rfa/ES

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Malaysia to cut fuel subsidies

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - - Malaysia's rich will have to pay more for heavily subsidised items including fuel as part of a new two-tier scheme to reduce government spending, reports said Friday.

"We need to have a good system for those who deserve the subsidy, such as the lower and middle-income groups," the second finance minister, Nor Mohamed Yakcop was quoted saying by The Star daily.

"The prime minister will announce it," he said at a press conference in Singapore without elaborating.

The scheme is expected to be introduced in a few months.

In morning Asian trade, New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for July delivery was at 131.07 dollars per barrel after hitting new record highs of more than 135 dollars a barrel earlier this week.

Malaysia, a net oil exporter, pays a hefty fuel subsidy of 45 billion ringgit (14 billion dollars) based on the oil price of 120 dollars per barrel.

The government's total subsidy bill, including food items, has already hit the 50 billion ringgit mark for the year, and spiralling fuel prices will stretch government spending further, Nor Mohamed said according to state Bernama news agency.

"If we do not do anything, we will have to spend more on subsidy but we are definitely doing something," he said.

Malaysia's state oil giant, Petronas has come under fire by the opposition for not using more of its oil revenues to increase subsidies but Nor Mohamed said the country has to stop relying on Petronas.

"The income from Petronas is not going to last forever. By 2014, we may be a net importer of oil. This money has to be used in income-generating activities so that when we have no oil, we still have income from these investments," he said.

Nor Mohamed said the country's inflation rate was forecast at 3.0 percent or slightly higher from 2.0 percent in 2007.

Malaysia imposed its highest-ever fuel price rises in February 2006, citing the spiralling cost of crude oil. The move was condemned by political and civil groups, arguing it was unnecessary as the country is a net exporter of oil.