Shah Alam City Centre Developments Feature Islamic Elements


SHAH ALAM, 23 Oct: The Shah Alam City Centre will be revitalised by featuring Islamic designs as the main thrust of development.

The move will touch on standardisation of colour, design, attractive building facade and identity, public facilities as well as other measures involving development around the city centre in Section 14.

The Mayor of Shah Alam, Datuk Mohd Jaafar Mohd Atan said the development plan should be carried out immediately before property owners develop their projects.

“Since before, Shah Alam has been developed without following a real plan, so we must start the vision to redesign development in this city before it is too late.

“Usually, landowners do not want to bear costs for too long and wish to develop their projects immediately. So we must be quick,” he said after inaugurating the Shah Alam CIty Centre Development Workshop in Section 14 at the Grand Bluewave Hotel this morning.

The workshop organised by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) also touched on planning involving the issues of peace and prosperity, thus increasing the population’s joy index in Shah Alam in addition to the tabling of the work papers for the development of the city centre based on the concept of Islamic characteristics.

A total of 120 participants consisting of developers, landowners, government agencies, institutes of higher learning, Council members and the MBSA Technical Department took part in the workshop.

Jaafar said that they will discuss with the state government to establish guidelines that need to be enforced in effort to provide parking for women and additional lights in several locations identified.

“There are parking areas that are dark and scary, especially at night. These locations should have lights and special parking for women close to entrances. We will propose this to the state government,” he said.

Chief Minister’s Wisdom, Luck for Selangorians


The success of the Selangor State Government under the leadership of Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as Chief Minister should be acknowledged by all quarters, including political enemies, and especially by his own political friends.

When voters in Selangor gave the mandate once again to Pakatan Rakyat to continue to lead Selangor with the largest seat, certainly the majority of people and residents of Selangor, including those sitting on the fence, are satisfied with the performance of the State Government in his first term, despite the song “Sayangi Selangor Yakini BN” (Love Selangor, Trust BN) being played throughout the campaign period for the 13th General Election (GE-13).

As we all know, among those listed in the Selangor Barisan Nasional (BN) manifesto during the GE-13 is to continue giving 20 cubic metres of water, an idea which was personally inspired by Abdul Khalid in 2008.

The people are aware that when the free water policy for residents of Selangor was first implemented, BN with help of their running dogs (lackeys or lapdogs), namely Utusan Malaysia, presented contrary propaganda to the people.

Allegedly, the free water policy would make the Selangor State Government bankrupt, it will encourage people to waste and many more attacks were thrown.

However, as usual, fiction will never overcome facts when the Selangor state budget recorded a balanced budget and a surplus at the same time when all BN State Governments and also the Federal Government recorded a budget deficit, where expenses exceeded revenue.

Abdul Khalid certainly was smiling when the Selangor BN indirectly acknowledged the policy which was inspired by him by listing the free water policy in their manifesto, finally.

The free water policy is just an example of many other smart policies and programmes that has been implemented by the Selangor State Government under the Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor (MES) agenda which now has 17 programmes to be enjoyed by citizens and residents of Selangor.

Although the Federal Government often act ungentlemanly towards the Selangor State Government, Abdul Khalid remains a gentleman to BN by giving an allowance of RM8,620 per month to the Selangor State Assembly Opposition Leader which is held by a BN Assemblyman.

This clearly shows that Abdul Khalid upholds the democratic system rooted in the doctrine of separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.

By allocating allowances and privileges for the Selangor State Assembly Opposition Leader, it is clear that not only does Abdul Khalid empower the Executive branch under him, but also strengthens the Legislative branch by ensuring that the check-and-balance process in Selangor runs smoothly and transparently.

Apart from the positive approach and policies by the Selangor State Government, citizens and residents of Selangor are also fortunate to have a Chief Minister who has a good personality.

When he was appointed as the Chief Minister in 2008, at the time, he was already categorised as rich as a result of his involvement in the business and corporate world, rather than accumulating wealth and becoming rich from politics after becoming Chief Minister.

Adding to his property and wealth has never been a motivation to Abdul Khalid to continue to lead Selangor for the second term, but his motivation and vision is to increase property, money and state revenues to be enjoyed by all citizens and residents of Selangor, in line with the slogan “Hasil Negeri untuk Rakyat” (State Wealth for the People).

Many say that he is not good at politics. In this author’s opinion, this should be viewed from a positive perspective because the people are tired with two-bit politicians who only know how to play politics, politicising every issue, and issuing statements that are biased and have political sentiments.

His no-nonsense approach is actually the key to the success of the Selangor State Government since 2008 till now, and insyaAllah (God willing) for the future.

Not forgetting the service of the Selangor State Executive Councillors, from before till now, who have completed the Selangor State Government administration.

The same goes for the sweat of every civil servant in the State of Selangor who worked hard and contributed to the success of the State Government.

Certainly, the bonus received by civil servants of Selangor (which is definitely more than that received by civil servants of the Federal Government) recently is well worth it with all effort given in supporting aspirations of the Selangor State Government leadership. (By Kolar Putih)

* This article is taken from The Malaysian Insider and translated.

(ARTICLE) Pakatan Rakyat Budget 2014 Summary


Global Economic Forecast

The global economy in 2014 is forecast to increase from 2013. IMF forecasts (4.0% vs 3.3%), the World Bank (3.0% vs 2.2%) and OECD (4.0% vs 3.1%).

However, the reality is that the global economy which is rather fragile and is uncertain at this point (as will be described below) can bring about risks on the forecast above to change to a lower rate;

i. Uncertainty in the solution of the US debt problem (debt calling, quantitative easing)

ii. Economic recession and continued high unemployment rates in Europe due to austerity measures

iii. China’s lackluster economic performance and the slow recovery of the Indian economy

Pakatan Rakyat forecasts that the economic growth in Malaysia for year 2014 will be at 5.2% (compared to 2013 at 4.5% to 5%) based on the forecast of global economic growth.

Deficit Estimates

Pakatan Rakyat estimates the national deficit for 2014 to be at RM34 billion, equivalent to 3.2% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). This estimate is based on:

i. Estimated National revenue of RM228 billion

ii. Estimated National expenditure of RM262 billion, after factoring in a 10% fall in operating expenditure excluding emoluments

iii. Estimated GDP of RM1,055 billion based on projected growth of 5.2% for 2014

Since Pakatan Rakyat provided an alternative Budget, PR’s deficits are often lower than BN’s. BN’s actual deficit can be estimated to be higher than 3.2% (estimated at 3.8% to 4%) due to their failure in tackling corruption and leakages.

Core of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) Budget

This time, PR’s Budget is designed based on three key themes:

a) Strengthening the National Fiscal Position and Public Financial Empowerment

b) Balanced, Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Development

c) Increase in the People’s Wellbeing and Quality of Life

1st Theme: Strengthening the National Fiscal Position and Public Financial Empowerment

Strengthening the National fiscal position is very important in ensuring continuity of the National credit rating which is now facing the possibility of sovereign downgrade due to the increase in deficit and national debt which has been festering since 2009.

PR’s alternative Budget 2014 is an effort to introduce fiscal reforms that will ensure the achievement of the budget deficit at 3% of the GDP by 2015 and to then achieve a budget surplus, latest by 2018. This fiscal reform is expected to enable Malaysia to:

i) Climb out of debt which is now estimated to be above RM500 billion with costs of servicing the debt exceeding RM20 billion each year

ii) Ensure that our economy becomes more resilient to face the global environment which is becoming more challenging and uncertain

iii) Move away from an economic growth from one that is dependent of borrowing to one that is driven by genuine government pump-priming

To ensure a more efficient and orderly government EXPENDITURE, PR will:

a) Launch a rationalisation of cost in every ministry and government to achieve a reduction in operating expenses by 10%. This will be achieved through;

i. A temporary delay in the increase of allowance of cabinet members and heads of government departments

ii. Reviewing of government spending policies, particularly in the awarding of contracts and equipment procurement

iii. Streamlining targeted subsidy mechanism and also the control of subsidised goods such as diesel, petrol, sugar and flour to prevent misuse of subsidies

b) To review spending priorities by reducing or eliminating spending for ineffective and less important programmes such as;

i. The National Service programme which is seen to have failed to achieve its objective of fostering racial unity and identity among trainees. The programme costs RM800 million annually, which is greater that the expenditure by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (RM700 million), which also has the same goals.

This programme has resulted in a total of 22 deaths since its inception and there were cases of female trainees giving birth during the programme, dues to bad planning and implementation of the programme. This programme should be deferred until a comprehensive study is conducted by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).

c) Take decisive action against all ministries involved in any wrongdoing and wastage, as reported in the Auditor-General’s Annual Report. PR estimates that at least RM20 to RM30 billion can be saved if all wasteages and fraud reported are stopped. Some examples of great wastage reported are;

i. RM2.051 billion spent from 2010 to 2012 from a total amount of RM3.689 billion allocated to the Ministry of Education to pay unarmed guards to guard schools and educational institutions.

While the intent is indeed noble, the lack of monitoring has allowed over-aged, non-security vetted personnel and non-functioning CCTV’s to be trusted as means of keeping our children safe in schools. Waste is estimated at RM1.6 billion.

ii. The Mansuh project management by the Ministry of Public Works. From 2010 to 2012, in the Mansuh project, the 83 projects were estimated to amount to RM2.2 billion. Losses estimated at RM1.1 billion or 50% from the original value due to weak project monitoring and failure to recover payment from contractors.

iii. The Ministry of Transport spent almost RM 1.42 billion from an already revised allocation of RM 1.47 billion to upgrade the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Despite spending over 96% of a revised allocation, this project initiated since 2006 is far from completion with arrival halls and passenger toilets in unsatisfactory condition, 599 potholes were found on the runway and taxiway since 2010, which are not yet repaired.
Estimated losses reported so far is around RM120 million. It is most likely that this project will cost much more to complete.

B. To generate a more equitable and fair government INCOME, PR will:

1. Postpone the implementation of the GST (which is seen to more of a burden to the low and middle income group) until:

i. The minimum household income reaches a level deemed appropriate to absorb any impact on purchasing power due to the GST

ii. Widening the income tax ‘band’, especially for the middle class to prevent their entry into the ‘band’ of higher taxes in a short term. More tax exemptions should be given to the middle class.

iii. Comprehensive study of the corporate/individual trade-off tax with the GST will be conducted and explained to the public to avoid from the people being burdened by an increase in tax due to the GST if corporate/individual tax is maintained at the same rate.

2. Introduce a more equitable tax system;

i. Bringing back the RPGT (real property tax gains) to pre-2007 levels, where the rate is 30% for sales within the first year and the lowest rate is fixed at 5% for sales in the fifth year. This is to more effectively curb speculation activities.

D. Other aspects of the PR 2014 Budget

1. PR believes that increasing connectivity, be it in terms of communication such as the Internet, or physical connection like highways, are essential to ensure a more balanced, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. To achieve balance in terms of development of people from rural/urban Sabah & Sarawak;

i. The Pan-Borneo highway connecting cities in Sabah & Sarawak will be upgraded and its construction will be accelerated to early 2014. Accident locations will be identified to be repaired, and periodic maintenance will be performed.

ii. Reviewing the cabotage policy imposed on Sabah & Sarawak. A better policy would be able to reduce the price of cargo and goods that enter/exit Sabah and Sarawak, thus contributing to economic growth.

iii. Ensuring 100% water and electricity supply for rural and urban areas, especially in Sabah & Sarawak. This is to ensure clean water supply and electricity through the use of solar technology, windfarms and microhydra.

2. PR greatly appreciates contribution of women in National development. Women will be given the following incentives to encourage them to continue to contribute to the National economy:

i. An allocation of RM1,200 per annum for every working mother to finance child care services for children below 12 years.

ii. An allocation of RM3 billion a year for the National Women’s Contribution Scheme (SCWN), in the form of a comprehensive social safety net for wives, especially housewives.

The PR Government will contribute RM600 per year, regardless of the level contribution of the husband (husbands contribute a minimum of RM120 to RM1,200 per year on behalf of their wives) and SCWN can be withdrawn upon the death of their spouse, divorce, permanent disability and permanent loss of income.

iii. Maintaining policies to increase women’s leadership to at least 30% in 2017. Women’s leadership in Parliament, corporate management and national leadership in the public and private sector will be the main focus.

Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader
Parti Keadilan Rakyat