Tuesday, March 31, 2015

GST

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye: Exempt welfare, charitable organisations from GST

 By Chuah Bee Kim - 31 March 2015 @ 1:39 PM
JOHOR BARU: Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye today appeals to the Customs Department to exempt welfare and charitable foundations from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which will be implemented tomorrow.

  Lee said the MCPF received a letter from the department last month stating that it would have to pay GST if the amount raised was more than half a million.

  Lee urged the government to consider giving charitable foundations an exemption as it would make it more challenging for all non-governmental organisations to raise money to help the underprivileged if they were subject to GST.

  Lee said this at a press conference after handing over 200 sets of desks and chairs to Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) Foon Yew 1, here on behalf of the Eco World Foundation, where Lee is the chairman.

source: NST online



Sunday, March 29, 2015

There Will Always Be Haters And Jokers



In the Straits Times

SINGAPORE - The 17-year-old teenager who last week posted a YouTube video in which he celebrated Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death and criticised his political career was arrested on Sunday. In the video, he challenged Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to sue him and also made insensitive remarks about Christianity.
At least 20 police reports have been lodged against Amos Yee since Mar 27, when he was believed to have uploaded the eight-minute video.
On Sunday, one reader alerted The Straits Times to yet another police report lodged against the teenager, but this time it was regarding his posting of obscene material on his blog. The video, which has been slammed by netizens, is no longer available on his YouTube channel. The blogpost has also been taken down.

and in the Malay Mail Online
KUALA LUMPUR: Astro Awani’s live telecast of the state funeral for Lee Kuan Yew today drew anger from some Malaysians who questioned the satellite broadcast channel’s purpose in giving such prominent airplay to Singapore’s founding father.
In airing their grievances on Astro Awani’s Facebook page — some of which were riddled with expletives — the upset subscribers accused the Malaysian channel of being “pro-Singapore” in according full coverage to a political leader whom they felt did not impact Malaysia’s history or development.
“I paid so much not for you people (Astro) to do a live coverage of this apek. If it is a Quranic recital or Ustad Azhar Idrus, I don’t mind but this? Might as well cancel my Astro subscription,” said one Facebook user who went by the moniker Paksu Yg Punyerr in Bahasa Malaysia.
In a profane-laden vitriolic rant against the Malay-language broadcast channel, Facebooker Shahrul Azyzy Suria Ahmad posted in the national language, “ASTRO P***MAK, WANT TO LIFT EVEN THIS SINGAPORE COMMUNIST STOOGE,,, WHAT IS HIS CONTRIBUTION TO ISLAM IN SINGAPORE AND MALAYSIA?”
Lee was known to be a fierce anti-communist.
Another commenter, Fairus Salleh questioned Lee’s “importance” to Malaysia and Astro Awani’s 
choice of news coverage.
“Come one, Awani, why do this coverage? Is he that important. What did he do for this country?
“Might as well provide news coverage of problems affecting the people,” Fairus said, also in Malay.
Facebook user Mohd Azril Abdul Aziz went a step further, and accused Astro Awani of pandering to Singaporean interests.
“Why is Astro Awani being pro-Singapore, don’t have to do a live telecast of a dead Chinese. If it was the passing of a Malay ruler it is fine... Astro Astro, we are Malaysians in Asean why the need to do this to pay respects... Chinese will be Chinese,” Mohd Azril said.
But some other Facebook users appeared uncomfortable with the tone of the general comments aimed at Astro Awani and urged for calm and respect for the late Lee.
“LKY (Lee Kuan Yew) was one of those who fought for independence of Malaya and the Straits Settlements. He was part of our pre-1965 history,” said Andrew Yeong Endroo G.
Astro Awani had posted a message on its Facebook page in Malay earlier this morning informing viewers to tune in to Channel 501 and its website to follow the live broadcast of Lee’s state funeral procession in Singapore from 12.30pm.
Lee, who transformed Singapore from a backwater to one of Asia’s richest nations in three decades died on March 23 after being admitted to hospital for severe pneumonia. He was 91.


I also got this from Facebook. I don't know whether the writer wants to be quoted, but I "super duper" like what he wrote. Words from a wise man. It goes like this

If you are elected to be the leader, you have to first be true to all you lead regardless of colour or creed.  You have to put their needs before yours or your family. You will be backstabbed. You will be criticized. You will be bad-mouthed. But if you are a good leader, you will stand your ground based on your own principles and do the things you need to do without fear or favour.

And in your passing, history will judge you whether you had been a great leader.



All photos sourced from Channel News Asia website.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sayonara Saudari Annie

Woke up this Saturday morning and saw this post  sayonara.

Have a well-deserved break, Annie. Enjoy the cherry blossoms, and come back revitalized, ok?

Bye, for now ...




幸福を祈ります。 


Praise for the Kiwis

source: Straits Times
SINGAPORE - All New Zealand government departments and public buildings will be flying their flags at half-mast on Sunday to mark the funeral of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.
On Tuesday, the New Zealand Parliament on Tuesday expressed sorrow at Mr Lee Kuan Yew's passing. Mr Lee, Singapore's founding Prime Minister, died on Monday at the age of 91.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English tabled the motion, and said: "Mr Lee was a long-time friend of New Zealand, and a supporter of New Zealand's role in South-east Asia."
Speaking after him was Labour Party leader and MP Phil Goff, who remembers as a 12-year-old seeing Mr Lee on television speaking about separation from Malaysia and how it was the first political speech that had left an impression on him. He added, in a more lighthearted vein:
"In 1977, as a student, having gone six years without a haircut, passing through Singapore, I was given my first haircut by the customs officials at the airport as a price of entry. My mother congratulated him (Lee Kuan Yew) for achieving something that nobody else had been able to do for years before that time."
He also said: "We remember him as a man who was a strong leader who gave Singapore an influence totally disproportionate to its size and created a better country for his fellow country men and women."

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/new-zealand-parliament-expresses-sorrow-mr-lee-kuan-yews

Kudos to India





source: Channel News Asia

NEW DELHI: India's government has declared a day of national mourning on Sunday (Mar 29) as a mark of respect for Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

According to a statement on India's Ministry of Home Affairs website, the national flag of India will be flown at half-mast throughout the country, and there will be no official entertainment.
The state funeral of Mr Lee will be held in Singapore on Sunday, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be among the many world leader, past and present, in attendance.
Prime Minister Modi earlier paid tribute to Mr Lee as "a lion among leaders". Some small villages in Tamil Nadu have also put up banners, mourning his passing.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

 refreshing mojito for the soul

What is LOVE?  Is LOVE a good or a bad thing?

What makes me ask this?

An elderly man once shared with me that whenever he asked his son to pray, the son would come up with some excuses that he's busy.

But the elderly man said everytime the girlfriend calls, within 5 minutes his son would be rushing out the door.

The power of love

If the love is uplifting and steering you in the right path, then I guess it is good.  If it causes you to lose sight of your own personal growth, brings you only misery and frustration, makes you forget your goals in life, and you neglect your responsibilities, then you need to bid that love adieu or try to repair the relationship by either consulting a therapist or have a heart-to-heart talk with your spouse.

But then, love is blind.  When you're in love, you become "stoopid", and lose all objectivity and direction.

A healthy relationship is one in which two people complement and encourage each other.  It should be built on mutual respect and admiration, and bring out the best in each other.

Daily life tends to be dull and mundane.  When you're in love, somehow the world becomes a more beautiful place.  You experience a certain high.  But love is sometimes just an escapism.  What you are doing is retreating into a fantasy and believing that illusion to be real.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Salute To Singapore

pic from CNA website

In my last post, I wrote that I was awed by the flood of messages and news coverage over the Internet and newspapers, as well as Facebook.

But what happened the next day was even more amazing.  The people queuing for more than 8 hours as of 5pm, until they were advised not to come anymore at that time.

And when the train and bus services were extended to run round the clock, the people were still streaming in to get into the Parliament House to pay their last respects to the late Prime Minister.  No one expected this to happen.

And along the way, there were little acts of kindness, like people distributing daisies and bottled water.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew wasn't perfect.  Who is?  There were numerous allegations.  And a Singaporean's life isn't a bed of roses either.  Whose is?

But right now,  I only see scores of people coming together to show their gratitude and love to the republic's founding father.  It is phenomenal.
  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mark of a Leader


Since Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away on March 23 at 3.18am, a tsunami of news reports and messages have swept across the Internet, Facebook as well as local and international newspapers.

How the people come together in unity to show their love, respect and support for Mr Lee is simply invaluable and priceless. And they do this not by decree, but because they want to. 

That's what leaders do. They inspire and motivate you to want to give your best because of the sacrifices they've made, the values they've instilled.

The messages in the Condolence Book clearly reflect the close ties between Johor and Singapore.

The public can sign the Condolence Book for Mr Lee at the Singapore Consulate-General office located at Level 35 of the Johor Baru City Square office tower from now to March 28.

Mr Lee's last visit to Malaysia was in 2009 where the republic's founding father had visited Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Penang, Kelantan and Pahang. He was also in Johor Baru for a day to pay his last respects to Sultan Iskandar Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail who passed away in April 2010.
  
Those who have signed the Condolence Book today included Indonesian consul-general Taufiqur Rijal, representatives of private corporations, associations, government, non-governmental organisations...

and me.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Lego




LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort Johor Baru model shop manager Stefan Bentivoglio was at the Galleria@Kotaraya shopping mall in Johor Baru yesterday.

Stefan and his team of model builders had made the crown and figurines of the royal family using Lego bricks to commemorate the coronation of the 5th Sultan of modern Johor.

The 36-year-old hails from Germany.


The day went well yesterday. Many people, including school children and some from childcare centers and kindergartens, were in the city as early as 6am.

They were there to cheer the Johor royal family motorcade which flew past the crowd at Jalan Trus at 10.46am.

Today I will be meeting the Penang governor in Kota Iskandar, and later hope I can make it to the Singapore-General Office in City Square to sign the Condolence Book for Singapore's founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away at age 91 at 3.18am March 23.

The public can sign the Condolence Book from 9am to 6pm from March 24 to March 27. On March 28, the time is 9am to 1pm.

Mr Lee's funeral will be on March 29.

Meanwhile, I also received confirmation that the stars lined up for the Iskandar Waterfront Carnival in Danga Bay are:

March 26: Nicole Tai (Astro talent search star), Datuk Rossa (Indonesia), SISTAR (all girls K-Pop group from South Korea)March 27: Geraldine Gan (Astro talent search star), Jacklyn Victor, Sheila Majid, Penny TaiMarch 28: Crystal Lee, Fuying & Sam (Taiwan), Alleycats and Faizal TahirMarch 29Shila Amzah, T-Ara (Korean K-Pop group), Havana Brown (USA) and Taboo (a member of “Black Eyed Peas”).

If I had received this confirmation earlier, I would have been elated. Now, not so much.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Daulat Tuanku

The writer is president of the Council of the Royal Court, Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli (source: NST online)
July 29, 1886, saw Johor creating history with the first-ever coronation of a Malay ruler witnessed in Malaya, that of Sultan Abu Bakar.

Since then, there have been two more coronation ceremonies for the Johor Sultanate.

Sultan Sir Ibrahim was crowned on Nov 2, 1895. Johor and the nation then waited 65 years for the coronation of Sultan Ismail on Feb 10, 1960.

The coronation of Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar will be held on Monday.

The 55-year gap is because the late Sultan Iskandar, who ascended the throne on May 10, 1981, and passed away on Jan 22, 2010, did not wish to be crowned.

His Royal Highness Sultan Ibrahim had chosen May 5 to reflect the fact that he was the fifth sultan of modern Johor.

A coronation is defined as an act of placing a crown on the head. Since Johor is the first Malay state to have a crown for its ruler, it is correct to assume the terminology “coronation.”

pic sourced from Jbt Penerangan Johor facebook page
Rulers of other states undergo an installation ceremony on their accession to the throne.

States like Selangor, Kelantan and Terengganu commissioned crowns for their rulers 30 years after Johor, but do not hold a coronation ceremony.

Instead, the rulers are installed and crowned at the same time.

In Johor, the coronation of the sultan is not a legal requirement but a hereditary and customary tradition to enhance the daulat (divine element of kingship) of the ruler.

On the demise of a ruler, the Jumaah Pangkuan Negeri (Council of the Supporters of the Country) confirms and appoints the heir apparent as the new ruler, who then takes the oath of office.
Prior to the burial of the late ruler, the menteri besar proclaims the heir as sultan and sovereign ruler followed by three cries of “Daulat Tuanku” (Hail the King).

The oath as prescribed in the First Schedule of the Johor State Constitution of 1895 and the proclamation fulfil the legality of the appointment.

The coronation ceremony may be held at any time the ruler so desires.

The rulers of the ancient kingdom of Johor (Johor Lama) under the descendants of the Malacca Sultanate and the Bendahara dynasty assumed the title of “sultan”.

When he took possession and ownership of the state and government of Johor except the province of Kesang, a territory between the Kesang and Muar rivers, from Sultan Ali following a cessation agreement in 1855, Temenggong Ibrahim did not use the title “sultan” in deference to Sultan Ali, who clamoured for recognition although he no longer possessed Johor.

Abu Bakar continued to use the title of Dato’ Temenggong Sri Maharaja upon his accession to the throne, later truncating it to Maharaja.

Aware that the title of “sultan” will elevate his status and authority above the British governor and at par, if not higher, with other Malay rulers, Abu Bakar took steps to obtain the title.

The Malay rulers and the British regarded Abu Bakar as nobility, but had no right to the throne although he possessed royal lineage from the old kingdom of Johor.

Some Malay rulers shunned him at ceremonies. He was ridiculed by the descendants of Sultan Hussain, the sultan of Johor who was conveniently installed by Sir Stamford Raffles in order to fulfil British political control and trade.

The British feared that Abu Bakar as sultan may influence the Malay rulers against them. Abu Bakar sought advice from his kinsmen in Riau for use of the title. His crowning glory came in 1885 through the Treaty of Friendship, when the British recognised him and his heirs to the Johor throne as sultan of Johor, 23 years after ascending the throne.

Malay traditionalists believe as a fountain of justice, a ruler must possess an aura of sanctity, or daulat, an institutional charisma and a supreme expression of the quality of majesty to protect his command and his dignity.

Daulat is the foundation of legitimation comprising several related elements, including ownership of the state, political legitimacy and rules of succession, a legal and recognised status, a people to rule, regalia and a set of laws.

By 1879 Abu Bakar had full ownership of Johor when Kesang became a territory of the state, recognised with a legal status, a population to rule, and feudal and Islamic laws to be adhered to.
He wanted a more tangible symbol to confirm his sovereignty. He commissioned a crown and the insignias of authority as part of regalia for his coronation.

To complement the heraldry, he designed flags, a coat-of-arms and instituted two orders of chivalry, the Darjah Kerabat Yang Amat Dihormati (Most Esteemed Order of the Royal Family) and the Darjah Mahkota Johor Yang Amat Mulia (Most Honourable Order of the Crown of Johor).

On Feb 13, 1886, Abu Bakar was officially proclaimed by the Dato’ Menteri Besar Jaafar Mohammad as sultan of Johor at a simple, but historic ceremony at the Throne Room of the Istana Besar: “Here ye all who are in attendance, that His Highness Maharaja of Johor, Abu Bakar, our beloved Raja had adopted the new title of Sultan of Johor and its territory as has been acknowledged by Her Majesty Queen Victoria of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India as was dictated in the latest Treaty between the government of Her Majesty and His Highness.

“Therefore, we should all thank God of All Universe for His Blessing and, therefore, on this day it is announced and we should all know of the new title and refer His Highness Sultan for the State and Territory of Johor, and we should notify it to our family members and friends who are not in attendance today for this announcement.”

pic sourced from Jbt Penerangan Johor facebook page

A grand coronation ceremony was held on July 29, 1886, upon his return from England. The people of Johor and Malaya gazed in awe at the glittering crown and regalia that was exhibited for the first time in the country.

The coronation was unique in many ways. Being the first ever coronation held in Johor and Malaya, there were no precedents. However, Abu Bakar and his ministers would have observed European court culture during his visits.

In spite of being handicapped by not having the experience it was indeed a commendable effort of the people of Johor then to successfully organise the event. The rituals and palace culture put in place during Abu Bakar’s coronation were adapted at the coronation of Sultan Ibrahim and Sultan Ismail, respectively.

Coming Or Not?


Updated: Just got confirmation, Sistars are in the line-up. State government confirmed this is a private matter.

Sistar

Original post

Someone asked me today if I were keen to meet Sistar, the South Korean girl group that was on the list of performers lined up for the concert, jointly organised by the Johor Tourism Department and the Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd, to be held in conjunction with the Sultan of Johor's coronation ceremony.

The artistes were scheduled to perform from March 26 to March 29. But it was reported that Johor religious council executive committee chairman Abdul Mutalib Abdul Rahman said the Sultan had ordered several international artistes to be dropped.

The artistes reportedly axed were Taboo of the group Black Eyed Peas, Sistar and Taiwanese duo Fuying & Sam (which I was told are Malaysians and not Taiwanese).

So I asked: "Are you sure they are coming?"

The someone replied: "Of course they're coming. Arriving in JB anytime soon. The concert is definitely happening."

Now I am confused and will wait for the  Johor religious council to confirm this.  

It was reported that the decision to drop the artistes was in light of “public sensitivities with regards to the coronation ceremony”.

The other artistes that will be performing are Indonesian singer Datuk Rossa, and local artists Sheila Majid, Jaclyn Victor, Penny Tai, and Shila Amzah.

March 23 this year has also been declared a public holiday in Johor in conjunction with the coronation, and this will replace the November 22 public holiday which is in conjunction with the ruler's birthday.

Or maybe we should all just wait till the concert starts to see if the stars will be performing.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stay-at-home Mom Meets Singleton




What a crazy day this has been. I didn't know going out with a stay-at-home Mom would be "so much fun".

Married life is hard work. Being single is no bed of roses either. Life's journey is never easy, even for the head that wears the crown.

The above picture is of me with 5-year-old JS and (below) his 18-month-old sister, JE.


Their mother is my friend, Gladys, who told me the last time she took her kids to out on her own to meet friends was 10 months ago.  Gladys said it's because her 18-month old would not sit still for long as she has just started walking and loves to explore.

In my opinion, Gladys' two kids are quite manageable. I have seen worse.

Ok, I said it was a crazy day because in the morning, Gladys had to turn the car back and go home after we had started our journey because she realised one of her ear-rings had dropped.  She had to find it because it was a Valentine's Day gift and secondly, she didn't want JE to stumble upon it first.

She managed to find the ear-ring at her home, so we set off once again on our journey to Kulaijaya.


This is our first visit to the Aeon mall here.


The kids wanted to play so we spent most of our time at the kids zone.  Gladys had to change JE's diapers, among other things ... I think I'm not going to go into the details.

And then Gladys' hubby called. It turned out she had missed several of his calls. Her husband is out of town.

I will only say the call stirred some kind of anxiety in Gladys who abruptly lost the mood to look for the things that she had wanted.

She then sent me home, but decided that it would be nice if I could sleep over at her place. So, I grabbed some clothes, and we set off again to her house.

When we reached her house, the autogate wouldn't open due to a power trip. Both Gladys and I had to lift the heavy iron gate in order to get in. It's quite easy actually, to "break" into a house.

I'm definitely out of my comfort zone today. I think the kids enjoyed themselves, though.

The grass always looks greener on the other side, and everyone has their own set of challenges. 


Monday, March 16, 2015

Stalking Shahrum

I'm sorry. I've been following Shahrum Sayuthi's coverage of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's working visit to Japan for the United Nations World Conference.

I just love his writings so much. Lucky thing it's only a 4-day working visit.

I get a little "fanatical" at times.  Sorry.

My friend asked me why I had abandoned "Ardent Indulgence" --- my other blog --- to start a new blog..  I guess I just want to start life anew.

I want to continue living my life with passion and enthusiasm, but one thing I need to change is ... not to be over indulgent.  No more ardent indulgences. Stop spending money like there's no tomorrow, but also remember that you can't take it with you if tomorrow never comes.

So, "MODERATION" is the word.  Jalan jalan, explore, have fun... but there must be some self-discipline.  Maybe I can explore ways to save money and have fun at the same time.

I think it's time to re-adjust my lifestyle.  Make saving money a priority, perhaps, since things are going to get more expensive when the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented on April 1. 

But old habits die hard.  I'll just indulge in a Matcha green tea ice cream today.  It's only RM3.50.  The price may go up next month. So, enjoy the moment ...


UN World Congress - MOC

A wider cooperation in education between Malaysia and Japan on the card 

By Shahrum Sayuthi - 16 March 2015 @ 4:51 PM

Muhyiddin with education, culture, sports, science and technology minister Hakubun Shimomura after the signing of the MOC - Bernama pic.

TOKYO: The quality of Malaysian kindergartens, schools and institute of higher learnings may soon benefit from some Japanese touch following an agreement for a wider cooperation in education between both countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the memorandum of cooperation on the matter, signed by Japan and Malaysia today here, will enable a more extensive exchanges of ideas and technical know-how in education between the countries.

‘It’s a continuation of existing cooperation between us and the Japanese, which now enable us to explore an even wider area, including pre-school education,” he said.

Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister said among the expertise in educational subject matters which could be gleaned from the Japanese education system include those in science, technology and mathematics.

Muhyiddin had also today held a bilateral meeting with education, culture, sports, science and technology minister Hakubun Shimomura.

He said the closer cooperation in education with Japan will also among others help the government’s effort to improve the international ranking of the country’s universities to the same level of those in developed countries.

On the overall outcome of his three-day visit to Japan which ends today, Muhyiddin said it was a fruitful trip as other than improving cooperation in education, the Japanese government had also shown keen interest to assist Malaysia in matters such as disaster management and upgrade of its transport system, specifically the implementation of high speed train project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

source: NST online


UN World Congress - Day 3

Malaysia to study Japanese model for its proposed disaster management council

By Shahrum Sayuthi - 16 March 2015 @ 4:01 PM 


 source: NST online

TOKYO: The government will study the Japanese disaster management model as part of its plan to set up a council, specifically tasked with coordinating the handling of calamities in the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Japanese government had agreed to lend its assistance whereby Malaysian officials will be sent here to carry out their studies.

Muhyiddin, who is also the national disaster management committee chairman said the matter had been finalised during his meetings with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, Akihiro Ota.

The meetings were held on the sides of the United Nation World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai during the weekend.

He said Japan’s good track record in managing natural disasters could likely due to it having a specific council for the task, which Malaysia could emulate for its needs.

‘We can learn from the Japanese as for now we don’t have a specific body akin to a governance structure such as a council to handle disaster management,” said Muhyiddin after a briefing on disaster management and prevention policies at the Central Government Building here today.

The government, he said, will also be studying the possibility of enacting a law, specifically in disaster management, similar to the one in Japan.

Muhyiddin said Malaysia could also benefit from the pledge by the Japanese government to contribute USD4 billion in assistance for disaster management in developing countries as announced by Abe at the opening of the conference on Saturday.

On a report, quoting him, that the government is considering to build an underground waterway similar to the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel in Kelantan to mitigate flood in the state, Muhyiddin said such a project has indeed being considered but no concrete decision has been made about it.

“We have to take into consideration the costs of such a project which was actually quite high,” he said, adding that the report was written by a journalist who attended the conference and was impressed by the use of such tunnels to mitigate problems posed by floods in the country.

‘We should learn from the Japanese in handling disasters but we have to tailor their models to our needs and capabilities,” he added

Sunday, March 15, 2015

UN World Conference - Day 2

Malaysia, Japan held talks on proposed KL-Singapore high-speed train project: Muhyiddin

By Shahrum Sayuthi - 15 March 2015 @ 3:48 PM


SENDAI (Japan) : Japan became the first country to conduct high level talks with Malaysia over possible involvement in the proposed high speed train project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
  Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had requested for the special meeting, held yesterday, to discuss possible involvement of the country’s rail companies in the project.
  The meeting was on the side of the United Nation World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction here which was opened by Abe on the same day of the meeting.
  “Prime Minister Abe had conveyed his country's wish to be involved in the proposed high speed train project mooted by Malaysia and Singapore,” Muhyiddin said after meeting Japanese land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister Akihiro Ota today.
  The deputy prime minister said the same subject on the rail project was discussed in more details with Ota.
  ‘They (the Japanese government) are really serious in trying to get their companies to be involved in the project.
  “On our part, we are interested to get them onboard as they have the experience and technology,” said Muhyiddin, while pointing out that the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train network, being part of that country’s rail lines established 101 years ago has good safety and reliability records.
  He said the government is currently studying the proposed project in order to lay down its details for implementation.
  He also said that bidding for the project will be processed through open tenders.
  “I had been informed by the Cabinet that the project will mostly be managed by the private sector.  
  The government will be involved in matters such as land acquisition,” he added.
  Asked if any other country had shown interest to be involved in the project, Muhyiddin said the Chinese government had also shown interest.
  Muhyiddin said the Japanese government was also interested in getting involved in a proposed high efficiency coal generated power station.
  He said Malaysia needed such a plant for future electricity supply demand in the country.
  “Japan has the technology, and if it’s competitive they should be able to submit their proposal to be involved in the project,” he said.
  Muhyiddin had also held a meeting on Sunday with his Turkish counterpart. deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus where they discussed issues and possible cooperation in handling in containing the security threat posed by Islamic State terrorists and the growing sense of Islamicphobia around the world.

source: NST online

Saturday, March 14, 2015

UN World Conference - Day 1

Malaysia will have more robust disaster management agencies and better alert system 


BY SHAHRUM SAYUTHI - 14 MARCH 2015 @ 4:10 PM

SENDAI: Malaysia is reshaping its disaster management agencies to be more robust while integrating the country’s early warning systems in preparation for possible future major calamities.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told delegates at the United Nation (UN) World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction here that the effort will be part of explicit focus on strengthening disaster risk management of the country under the 11th Malaysia Plan to be presented during the current parliament session.

“An effective early warning system can make the difference between life and death.

“The December 2014 floods experienced by Malaysia serve to remind us that we still have more to do in building the nation’s resilience towards disasters.

“We are now looking into and learning from the best practices of other countries with a view to adapt it where suitable,” he said, adding that the country’s five year development plan will include disaster risk management efforts covering both structural and non-structural measures.

The massive flood late last year had affected more than half a million people and damages to public infrastructure alone was estimated at RM2.85 billion.

Muhyiddin, who is also the national disaster management committee chairman said the country is also establishing a centre of excellence for research on handling major disasters.

The five-day conference, attended by over 5,000 delegates from more than 30 countries was organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) to draw an international framework for better cooperation between countries in managing future major disasters around the globe.

Muhyiddin said the conference was pivotal as the international community are currently at a critical juncture in their efforts to make the world a safer place.

“No country, not even the most developed is immune from the impact of natural disasters. developing our resilience and prioritising disaster risk reduction must be accepted as a shared global responsibility,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Asean ministers in charge of disaster management, Muhyiddin said the establishment of the South East Asian regional grouping’s committee on disaster management in 2003 has brought progress towards building the resilience of member states in facing major calamities.

Malaysia as chairman of Asean for the current year, Muhyiddin added, will take initiatives to realise the vision of “Asean responding to disasters as one”.

“Malaysia is fully committed towards supporting Asean’s initiatives for reducing risks and responding collectively and expeditiously to disasters in the region. Given the borderless nature of most natural hazards, both international and regional collaboration is necessary,” he said.

Muhyiddin also voiced the country’s commitment to support the post-2015 framework being laid down at the conference as the key mechanism for disaster risk reduction.


source: NST online





Friday, March 13, 2015

Flood Relief Efforts

UN Disaster Forum eyes our flood relief efforts

LESSONS: Delegates keen to know how we coped with disaster


by Shahrum Sayuthi in Tokyo

The handling of recent major floods, which caused extensive damage in several states late last year, will feature prominently in Malaysia's presentation at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, which started today (March 14).
  Presentation by the country's delegates will contribute to a new international framework of cooperation in the handling of future major disasters around the globe, which will be drafted in the five-day conference.
  Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who arrived at Haneda Airport in Tokyo at 11pm loal time, will attend several discussions on finding ways for nations to assist each other in mitigating risks of calamities and handling their aftermath, scheduled in conjunction with the event.
  Izlan said the country's delegation consisted of officials from the National Security Council, Works Ministry, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, Education Ministry as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations involved in disaster relief efforts.
  The massive floods which hit several states particularly in the east coast last year had drawn world attention due to the extensive damage it caused and the efficient way the government handled relief and reconstruction efforts.
  Sendai, which is 380km from here, was chosen as the venue of the conference as it was at the epicenter of the devastating Tohoku earthquake in 2011, which triggered a massive tsunami, killing almost 16,000 people.  More than 2,000 delegates from about 30 countries are attending the conference.
  "Our delegates will share Malaysia's experience such as that during the major floods last year, which caused huge losses in several states.  It will be our contribution at the conference, which aims at enabling the world community to set up a new international framework for better cooperation in the handling of future major disasters around the world," said Izlan.
  Muhyiddin will also, among others, participate in a ministerial roundtable meeting at the conference to discuss ways to improve international cooperation in managing disasters around the world.
  On the sidelines of the conference, the deputy prime minister will meet his Turkish counterpart, Numan Kurtulmus, to discuss bilateral relations, Izlan said Muhyiddin would hold several meetings with Japanese officials during his visit to discuss further improvement of bilateral cooperation in education and housing management,
  Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, will meet with Japanese Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakabun Shimomura and Land, Transport and Tourism Minister Akihiro Ota.

source: New Straits Times

The Sultan of Johor's Coronation

JOHOR BARU: Private companies are urged to grant a day off for the Sultan of Johor's coronation on March 23 although it is not a gazetted public holiday in Johor.
  Johor Council of Royal Court president Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli, in a media briefing here yesterday, said it would be a "once in a lifetime" spectacle that has not taken place since the coronation of Sultan Ismail Sultan Ibrahim on February 10, 1960.
  "I am sure private companies would want their staff to witness this event, which has not taken place for 55 years," he said.
  Rahim said the state took four years to prepare the coronation of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.
  "Di mana bumi dipijak, di sana langit di junjung (where one treads, that is where the sky is)." He said private companies should not be overly concerned about profit-making on this day, and miss the historic occasion.
  Rahim said on this day, there will be stamps and first day cover, souvenirs and community sports events as well as ethnic cultural performances. Abdul Rahim also touched on the roles of the Chinese in the development of Johor, when Chinese immigrants came to the land in 1840, which was 15 years before Johor Baru was founded.
  "The Chinese immigrants had gone to Singapore to cultivate gambier and black pepper. "However, three factors hindered their progress --- gangsterism, lack of land and opium. "Sultan Iskandar then invited the Chinese to Johor Baru (Xinshan in Mandarin, which means "New Mountain").
  So, the Chinese came over and together, all the etchnic races contributed to the economic development of the state. Rahim said Johor also partly contributed to the development of China.
  "Gambier was processed to soften the skin of animals, so processed gambir was exported to China in a barter trade," he said, adding that it was unity of our forefathers that made Johor what it is today.
  "Johor has much to be proud of, and March 23 marks a day for everyone to rejoice," said Rahim.

Bejewelled crown for Johor ruler

JOHOR BARU: On March 23, the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar will wear a crown weighing 1.6kg, made of gold and silver, and adorned with emeralds and rubies, as the ruler makes his rounds in the city during the coronation.
  Johor was the first state to have a crown, after Sultan Abu Bakar commissioned a crown for himself and his heirs.
The year was 1886. 
  The crown of Johor was made by J.W. Benson, a London jeweller based on the crown of King Edward.
  However, Sultan Abu Bakar changed the design to accommodate Islamic motifs of the crescents and five pointed stars.
  The crown is made of gold and silver encrusted with diamonds and other gems.
  At the top of the crown are the words "Allah" (made up of 37 red rubies) and "Mohammad" in Arabic (made up of 58 greeen emeralds), symbolising the Sultan's faith in upholding Ilam as the official religion of the state.
  The crown will be taken out of the vault of the Bank Negara for the coronation ceremony on March 23.
  Sultan Ibrahim will arrive at the Tangga Agung of the Istana Besar dressed in blue and fully decked in a cloak of rubbies.
  Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin will then read a long speech which will end with three shouts of "Daulat Tuanku" (Hail the King) to mark the start of the coronation ceremony.
  This will be followed by Lagu Bangsa Johor, and a 21 gun salute.
  "There will be seven helicopters flying from West to East emitting coloured smoke," said Johor Council of Royal Court president Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli at a media briefing here yesterday (March 13).
  The Sultan's consort Raja Zarith Sofiah will also be crowned with a diadem at the event.
  The royal couple will then be driven in a open hood car, and tour the city to let their subjects view the crown, which will be kept in the vault again after the ceremony.
  A crowd of 50,000 comprising school children and members of the public are expected to line the streets as the convoy take the 7km route.
  Rahim said there will be a state banquet on the night of the installation, but only 78 guests are invited. The dignitaries include the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
  Rahim said the crown would also be displayed in the districts from April 3 to April 20 where the sultan will have tea ceremonies with his subjects.
  "The crown will then be kept in the vault again after the events," he said


source: New Straits Times (March 14, 2015)

UN World Conference - Curtain Raiser

Muhyiddin to share Malaysia’s experience on disaster management at UN World Conference in Sendai

By Shahrum Sayuthi - 13 March 2015 @ 12:14 PM


TOKYO: Malaysian delegates at the Third United Nation's World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which starts here tomorrow, will contribute to the country's input for a new international frame work of cooperation in the handling of major disasters.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who will arrive here later today for a three-day working visit, will attend the opening ceremony of the conference and several of its discussions.

Malaysian ambassador to Japan Datuk Ahmad Izlan Idris said Malaysia's handling of its recent major flood in the East Coast will feature prominently in its presentation to the conference in Sendai, about 380 km from here, which was to be attended by over 2,000 delegates from almost 30 countries.

"Our delegates will share our experience such as that during the major flood late last year which caused huge losses in several states. It will be our contribution at the conference which aims at enabling the world community to set-up a new international framework for better cooperation in the handling of future major disasters around the world," he said.

Muhyiddin, who is also the national disaster management committee chairman, will among others participates in a ministerial round-table meeting at the conference to discuss ways to improve international cooperation in managing disasters around the world.

Izlan said the deputy prime minister, who is also education minister, will also hold several meetings with Japanese ministers during his visit to discuss better cooperation between the two countries in fields such as education, housing and environmental management.

source:  NST online

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hidden Jewel


A visit to the Johor Cultural and Sports Club (JCSC) at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak in Johor Bahru, always calms my mind.

Today I brought someone there. No matter how hard I tried to tell her about this very special place in the past, she seemed unconvinced. Today, any reservations she had evaporated the minute she laid eyes on the captivating lake.


To me this place is a hidden jewel in the city.  The natural setting certainly offers one a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

This is also my second visit to the JCSC, formerly known as Johor Civil Service Club. It was previously located at Jalan Sungai Chat.

The JCSC, built in 1920, is one of the oldest clubs in Johor. Its members were only senior British government officers until 1983 where membership was offered to the public.



And here I am at the JCSC with a copy of today's New Straits Times.  



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Laundry Queen


Cat (left) and Joanne
Cat Teo, 52, and Joanne Teo, 47, are now business owners under the Laundry Queen licensing programme which operates on a coin-operated, round-the-clock self-service computerised system.

Joanne opened her outlet at No. 26, Jalan Sagu 36 in Taman Daya, Johor Bahru, today (March 8) while her elder sister Cat will open her outlet at No. 16, Jalan Rotan Utama, Taman Sri Jaya in Batu Pahat on Wednesday (March 11).

"We're both so excited to be business owners. It is the ideal retirement plan. We don't even need to be at the shop as it runs on a computerised system.

"We can monitor the business from our homes and anywhere where there's WiFi," said Joanne.

Both the outlets have six washers and four dryers. The detergent, softerner and sanitiser are offered free here. 

Since opening its first outlet at 55, Jalan Dewata, Susur Dewata 1, Larkin Perdana, Johor Bahru, in April last year, Laundry Queen is set to open another four outlets after Joanne and Cat's outlets by the end of next month.

(7 outlets within one year!!!!)

The four soon-to-be opened outlets will be in Taman Sri Pulai Perdana 2, Kempas Town Centre, Kipmart Tampoi and Taman Timur Skudai, all in Johor Bahru.

Laundry Queen owner and finance manager, Michelle Lai said the coin-operated concept was introduced in the United States some 50 years ago.

Lai said before she ventured into the business, she was rather apprehensive about running a shop without the presence of a staff.
"How is it possible to operate a 24-hour shop without anyone to man it? Who is going to tidy up the place?
"To my surprise, I saw from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that some of the customers took the initiative to organise all the baskets after they were done with their laundry," Lai said.
She said another thing that caught her by surprise was the fact that customers came in even between 1am and 3am to do their laundry.
"I had anticipated a lukewarm response as I had just opened the outlet.
"However, throughout the day and night, there will be people coming in with bags of laundry," she said.
The franchising fee is RM350,000 (with computerised system) and RM300,000 (without computerised system).
Those who are interested in getting the licensing for Laundry Queen, can call Lai at 012-773 0281.



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rally fails to produce 1998 effect

NO "REFORMASI": Police estimate crowd of 2,000 while organisers claim it's 10,000


by Shahrum Sayuthi and Syed Umar Ariff

KUALA LUMPUR: It was supposed to trigger mass protests similar to the Reformasi movement in the late 1990s, but it appeared to have not achieved its goal.

  The rally on March 7 to demand the release of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from jail here attracted about 2,000 people, according to police estimates, a far cry from the mammoth crowd at rallies when the opposition leader was jailed in 1998 for abuse of power.  Leaders of protesters at the rally, however, insisted that there were more than 10,000 present.

  Anwar is serving a five-year jail sentence for committing sodomy, an offence he was also charged with in 1998.  Three groups of people had gathered at the Pas headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut, Masjid Jamek and Central market before marching about 3.30pm to the Sogo shopping complex in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, where a crowd of similar strength had gathered.
  
  Traffic at the affected stretches came to a standstill as the protesters walked in the middle of the road.

  At one point of the rally, the protesters even stopped in the middle of the junction in front of the Sogo shopping complex as their leaders started to deliver speeches.

  They only moved to the roadside after traffic policemen started clearing the way for vehicles.  The bulk of the protesters appeared to be members and supporters of PKR, which Anwar is the de facto leader.  They were joined by a much smaller number of Pas and DAP members.

  Among opposition leaders in the crowd were PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, Pas central committee member Khalid Samad and DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke.

  Policemen monitoring the protest made their presence felt but did not interfere with the gathering in front of the shopping complex.  PKR Youth, which organised the rally, had not obtained permission from the police to proceed with it.

  Security personnel of the shopping complex were also on standby.

  The crowd was bolstered by several hundred shoppers and curious onlookers.  After spending about half an hour delivering speeches, the leaders of the protesters urged those present to march to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), which was not in the original itinerary.

  About two thirds of the protesters then walked towards the location in a light drizzle.  Upon reaching KLCC, they gathered in front of the Petronas Twin Towers where there were more speeches.
  
  Some of the speakers even urged the crowd to stay in the vicinity of KLCC for the night as a mark of protest but, in the end, they dispersed just after 6pm.

  Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa, who confirmed that 2,000 people attended the rally, said there were no untoward incidents in the rally, which started about 3pm.

  "Despite the unexpected stop at KLCC, the situation was under control and no arrests or police reports were lodged by the end of the rally about 6pm."

  On claims that there was an explosion during the rally, Tajuddin said initial checks indicated that it came from firecrackers.

  However, later in the night, Kelana Jaya Keadilan Youth chief Saifullah Zulkifli was detained by police.

  City Criminal Investigation Department chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Zainuddin Ahmad said Saifullah was picked up at Masjid Jamek at 7.45pm and taken to Jinjang police station.

  "He was detained for participating in the unlawful assembly and will be investigated under Section 143 of the Penal Code for rioting."

source: Sunday Times, March 8, 2015

with additional reporting by Hana Naz Harun, Zafira Anwar and Kalbana Perimbanayagam in the printed version of the Sunday Times.



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