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Saturday, March 14, 2009

MPH sale starts tomorrow

DISCOUNTS up to 70% off normal prices will be offered at the MPH Stock Clearance from tomorrow till March 22.

You can find prices as low as RM2 for selected books, with choices ranging from bestsellers, fiction, non-fiction, autobiography, to business and children’s books.

The sale will be held at Mayang Plaza (the building formerly occupied by LimKokWing Institute of Creative Technology College), Jalan SS26/2, Taman Mayang, Petaling Jaya, Selangor (daily 9.30am to 7pm).

Throughout the sale, there will be announcements at the venue of special offers of the day. For more details, call % 016-607 3733.

MPH Bookstores have promotions lined up throughout the year. E-mail or go to for details.

Meanwhile, MPH is offering 10 books for free each day exclusively to 10 readers of The Star every day during the MPH Stock Clearance period.

This offer is valid for the first 10 customers of the day with a minimum purchase of RM50. The reader has to present this page (original copy only) at the venue to redeem his or her free book. Each customer is entitled to one copy only on a first-come-first-served basis.

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More evidence that depression is hard on the heart

Severe depression may silently break a seemingly healthy woman's heart. Doctors have long known that depression is common after a heart attack or stroke, and worsens those people's outcomes.

Monday, Columbia University researchers reported new evidence that depression can lead to heart disease in the first place.

The scientists tracked 63,000 women from the long-running Nurses' Health Study between 1992 and 2004.

None had signs of heart disease when the study began, but nearly 8 percent had evidence of serious depression.

The depressed women were more than twice as likely to experience sudden cardiac death - death typically caused by an irregular heartbeat, concluded the 12-year study, published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

They also had a smaller increased risk of death from other forms of heart disease. The big surprise: Sudden cardiac death seemed more closely linked with antidepressant use than with the depression symptoms the women reported.

That might simply mean that women who used antidepressants were, appropriately, the most seriously depressed, cautioned lead researcher Dr. William Whang.

But he said the finding merited more research.

Studies of the newer antidepressants most often used today so far haven't signaled a risk of irregular heartbeat, and some even have suggested protection, noted Dr. Redford Williams of Duke University, a specialist in how psychosocial factors affect health.

The drug question aside, Williams said the work adds to growing evidence that depression is an independent risk factor for heart disease - on top of the classic risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking.

The predominantly white Nurses' Health Study may underestimate it, Williams said.

"If anything, the impact in African-American women is probably greater," he said, adding that it's time for the next step: A study testing whether properly treating depression lowers the risk.

Why might depression have that effect?

The study found that the more severe the women's reported depression symptoms, the more likely she was to have traditional heart risk factors.

Also, stresses like depression have been linked to such physical effects as a higher resting heart rate.

Perhaps a more straightforward reason: Depression can make people do a worse job taking care of themselves. Indeed, the American Heart Association last year recommended that everyone who already has heart disease be regularly screened for depression - because depressed patients may skip their medications, sit indoors instead of exercising, and eat particularly poorly.

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SuperHeadz Plamodel DIY 35mm Camera

DIY projects crapper be modify depending on what you are building. A consort hit today created a DIY camera outfit which belike ranks amongst the coolest of DIY projects.

The camera is titled the SuperHeadz Plamodel and is a DIY camera that you requirement to build. The camera is not digital, but uses 35mm film. The send takes a pair of hours to physique from irritate and every you requirement to do is behave the bits and pieces together. The camera has a 28mm lense to earmark for wideish seek photos to be captured. The DIY outfit costs meet $28.

SuperHeadz Plamodel DIY 35mm Camera Features

* Includes: Assembly outfit in radical bag, carpus band and propellor driver
* No batteries necessary
* Finished camera: 4.25″w, 1″d, 2.5″h
* Vinyl, plastic
* Web inner

Product Page Via: UberReview

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Digital voting plan for Umno polls rejected

The digital voting system may not be used in the Umno elections as almost 90 per cent of the candidate agents have rejected it.

Umno executive secretary BrigGen (R) Datuk Husainay Hashim said however, the final decision would be made by the Umno Management Committee headed by Umno Deputy President Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"We decided to introduce the digital ballot to the representatives today but almost 90 of them were not in favour of the idea.

"So we will revert to the manual vote counting system and like in previous elections, the results will be known late," he told reporters after attending a briefing on the digital voting here on Friday.

The party's Election Committee headed by Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman decided to discontinue the dry run of the electronic system rented from Angkatan Koperasi Kebangsaan Malaysia Berhad after a dialogue with the agents.

Husainay said the agents did not want delegates, who had voted for the wrong candidates, to correct their mistakes or to change their minds during the elections.

"If it's wrong, it's wrong. They also want the ballot papers to be displayed especially the spoilt votes.

"We will do that but we will ensure that the delegates and agents will not get too close to the election workers to avoid suspicion and disturbing the process," he said.

He said the Election Committee also accepted a request that delegates could either put a cross or right marks for the candidates of their choice on the ballot papers.

On whether Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Norza Zakaria, who was charged this morning in Temerloh for alleged involvement in money politics, could contest in the elections, he said:

"It's not fair to comment. We have to wait for the black and white before making any decision," he said.

A total of 269 candidates are vying for the supreme council executive committee posts of the three wings of the party.

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Three postal clerks charged with road tax rebate fraud

Three Pos Malaysia Bhd clerks were charged in the Sessions Court here on Friday with criminal breach of trust involving RM6,875 in cash rebates for 11 road tax renewals.

Mohamad Amirul Helmi Shafie, 20, from Jalan Raja Nong, claimed trial to two charges.

He was alleged to have approved false claims for six cars amounting to RM3,750 at the Klang Selatan Pos office on Oct 31, last year.

He was also accused of committing a similar offence involving three cars amounting to RM1,875 at the Rantau Panjang Pos office on Nov 14, last year.

Mohamad Amirul also faces another charge with Shafful Sraffiq Shawar, 28, from Taman Anika, for approving a false claim worth RM625 at the Klang Selatan Pos office on Oct 31, last year.

The two claimed trail to the charge. Meanwhile Mohd Fikri Mohpot, from Taman Masnah, pleaded guilty to a similar offence involving one car at the Klang Selatan Pos office on Nov 5, last year.

Each offence carries a jail term of up to 20 years, whipping and a fine upon conviction.

Prosecuting officer ASP Nasula Ibrahim proposed a RM10,000 bail for each offence citing that the cases involved public interest and it had tarnished the image of Pos Malaysia.

Judge Mazilah Manap set bail at RM6,000 on one surety for each charge.

She also fixed May 5 for mention and March 23 for sentencing.

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Perak’s "Democracy Tree" vandalised

Vandals have broken the edges and damaged the plaque marking the “Democracy Tree” under which a historic Perak assembly was held on March 3.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders including former Perak Mentri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and former state executive council member Nga Kor Ming took an oath beneath the tree.

They swore that they would continue to defend the people’s democratic rights and believe they could solve the political crisis in the state through the dissolution of the state assembly.

Nizar told reporters that this was the work of the people who did not want to see democracy in the country.

“We feel that this was done to deny the rakyat their rights to choose their own government,” he said, adding that they were still undecided on lodging a police report on the damaged plaque.

Nga said Pakatan will start a fund to collect money to rebuild a bigger and stronger plaque which would have four languages - Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil, English, and Chinese.

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Six charged for insulting Perak Sultan on the web

In the first conviction of its kind, lab assistant Azrin Md Zain, 33, was fined RM10,000 or, in default, five months jail, at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for posting comments insulting the Sultan of Perak on the Internet on Feb 12.

He became the first ever person to be convicted under the Multimedia and Communications Act 1998 and was among the six charged Friday in courts nationwide for similar offences.

Azrin admitted to have sent his comments to the guests book at which has linked to the Sultan’s official website with intention to annoy other person.

The father of one has committed the offence using his personal Internet protocol account at his house in Taman Tun Dr Ismail here at 9.12pm on Feb 12.

According to the facts of the case, information technology officer Noorhaliza Masri, from Perak secretariat office, lodged a complaint at Multimedia Communications Commission on Feb 16 upon detecting the posting which insulted the Sultan.

The Telekom Malaysia had confirmed that Azrin had used TM Net Streamyx on that day.

The commission had obtained a search warrant from Kajang magistrate’s court on Feb 19 to check at his house and seized a laptop, a modem and a telephone bill dated Dec 28 last year registered under his name.

On Friday, Azrin told Sessions Court judge Rozana Ali Yusoff that it was his own mistake for committing the offence.

“I was not in the right state of mind. I was in the midst of doing online forex trading to New York. My profits were negative. So I just clicked to the website. I posted the comments without thinking.

“I will not touch the website anymore because the Malaysians are actually sensitive,” he promised.

The diploma holder repeatedly expressed his regrets to the judge.

In mitigating further, Azrin said he was not a member of any political party.

“I have also clicked on a website which praised Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak,” said Azrin who stood near the witness stand and promised to be a law abiding citizen if he got a lenient sentence.

DPP Nahra Dolah however pressed for deterrent sentence saying that the case involved public interest and the court had to send a strong message to Internet users about the gravity of the offence.

At the same court, self-employed Muslim Ahmad, 54, claimed trial to three counts of posting offensive remarks against the Sultan in February.

In the Butterworth Sessions Court, Chan Hon Keong, 27, pleaded not guilty while Khoo Hui Shuang was absent and was summoned for mention of the case on April 15.

The two were accused of posting and distributing comments containing obscenities and offensive comments on a website linked to the Sultan of Perak’s website.

At the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court, land surveyor Nor Hisham Osman, 36, claimed trial to defaming the Sultan of Perak.

Judge Balqis Ainin Mohd fixed bail at RM4,000 with one surety and fixed next hearing on Apr 14.

Meanwhile, in Kota Kinabalu, Bernama reported that a mobile phone salesman pleaded not guilty to spreading a comment which insulted the Sultan of Perak through a website.

Rutinin Suhaimin, 36, was charged with committing the offence on Feb 13 and linking the offensive remarks to the website with link to a website on the Sultan Perak,

If found guilty, Rutinin can be jailed for up to a year or fined up to RM50,000, or both.

Sessions Court judge Ummu Kalthom Abdul Samad fixed May 25 and 26 for trial and allowed bail of RM10,000 with a deposit RM5,000 and two sureties.

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Teresa Kok files suit against Home Minister for unlawful arrest

MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok Suh Sim has filed a suit against Home Minister and three others for wrongful detention and false imprisonment under Internal Security Act (ISA).

Kok has named Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, Special branch senior officer DSP E Kim Tien and the Malaysian Government as defendants.

Her lawyer, S.N.Nair filed the suit on her behalf at the High Court civil registry at 8.37am on Friday.

“The way my client was arrested and interrogated that day is not right. All her constitutional rights, to call her family and her lawyer, were denied.

“No communication was allowed, all of us were left in the dark. It is only by chance that we know about her arrest after more than two hours later,” Nair told reporters after the filing on Friday.

In the statement of claim, Kok said the defendants and or their agents had forcibly and in a dangerous manner effected her arrest at the entrance gate of her house in Jalan Awan Cina here at 11.15pm on Sept 12 last year.

She claimed that she was not given an opportunity to contact her family or lawyers despite repeated pleas.

Kok said she was not informed as to the place of detention but was taken to Wangsa Maju police station without her consent where she was kept under unlawful detention for about two and a half hours.

The next day, Kok said she was informed by DSP Kim that she was being detained under Section 73(1) of the ISA 1960.

Kok said she was continually kept under detention in a certain secret place of detention-without-trial from Sept 12 to Sept 19 last year.

She claimed that she was continually held in solitary confinement and was deprived of all her constitutional rights.

She said she had been put to severe mental anguish, pain and suffering during the period.

Among others, Kok is seeking damages for unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, pain, suffering and mental anguish.

She is also asking for other relief deemed fit by the court.

Speaking to reporters later, Kok said she decided to initiate the legal suit as her arrest was baseless.

“I am a wakil rakyat. I have official duties to carry on.

“I have waited for half a year for the police and Government to give proper explanation but they never responded to the letter of demand issued by my lawyer,” she added.

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Australian judge jails Malaysian cocaine trafficker

A judge sentenced a Malaysian woman Friday to eight years in prison for smuggling cocaine from Brazil into Australia.

Customs officers arrested Ramia Binti Jimson, 46, at Brisbane International Airport a year ago after finding more than four pounds (almost two kilograms) of cocaine hidden beneath a false bottom of her suitcase.

Prosecutor Glen Rice told the Queensland state Supreme Court on Friday that Jimson had been selected for a random bag search on arrival from Brazil.

Defense lawyer Dennis Lynch said Jimson, who pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, was offered $2,000 to smuggle the drugs, which police estimate had a street value of more than $1.3 million.

Jimson planned to use the money to improve her poverty-stricken life outside Kuala Lumpur, Lynch told the court.

Judge Peter Lyons sentenced a tearful Jimson to eight years in prison without the possibility of parole for four years and six months.

She had faced a potential life sentence.

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Retired policeman shoots Ah Long

Three loan sharks met their match in a retired policeman, who shot one of them in the buttocks.

In the 4.30pm incident on Wednesday, the Ah Long had gone to the former cop’s house in Taman Shatin here looking for his son.

Armed with sticks, the loan sharks, in their 20s, created a ruckus at the 70-year-old man’s house, following which he fired his rifle at them in self-defence, hitting one of suspects.

The suspect was later sent to a private hospital here for treatment while a remand order was obtained for the other two suspects.

When contacted, state CID chief Senior Asst Comm (II) Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim confirmed the incident.

“We are still investigating what led to the shooting,” he said.

Asked whether it was normal for a retired policeman to own a rifle, SAC Mohd Dzuraidi said: “They can apply for it.”

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Doc held for selling cough mixture to addicts

A 53-year-old doctor is among five people arrested for the illegal manufacture and sale of cough mixture to drug dependants this week.

About RM500,00 worth of medical preparations and designer drugs have also been seized.

The group’s activities were uncovered when police arrested a man and a woman in Subang Jaya on Tuesday after finding 10 bottles of cough mixture and 400 Eramine 5 pills in the car they were in.

Selangor deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm I Datuk Jamshah Mustapha said police raided a private clinic in Klang the same day and arrested the doctor and his two assistants.

Police seized various medical preparations and food colouring from the clinic.

Initial investigations indicated that the clinic was used as a lab to make and sell cough mixture.

“Later, the doctor led us to his house in Klang where we recovered more medical preparations and RM58,000 cash,” SAC Jamshah told a press conference yesterday.

The cough mixture and drugs were sold throughout the Klang Valley.

The doctor and the four others, in their 20s, have been remanded until March 19 to facilitate investigations.

In an unrelated incident, police arrested a 28-year-old masseur and seized RM65,000 worth of ketamine and Eramine 5 pills in his house at Cheras on Thursday.

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Mat Rempit Strikes Again!

Just the other day, 2 guys were attacked by 50 Mat Rempits. Now, a lady waiting at a bus stop was robbed by the same menace to society. What's next?

When will the Home Ministry solve this menace and disgrace? This problem has been terrorising us for God knows how long. They are nothing but robbers on motorcycles or should I label them with harsher words... terrorists on our roads!

One of my unfortunate friends was attacked by Mat Rempits 2 years back. The incident left him with a bloodied face and damages to his car of almost RM15,000.

If the police cannot handle these Rempits, perhaps the Ministry of Defence should step in? Send in the armoured cars, helicopters, army or what have you and STOP these terrorists.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why don’t ants have traffic jams?

Why don’t ants have traffic jams?GOOD question. Or is it a stupid one?

“They never get stuck in traffic,” Audrey Dussutour, an entomologist in the University of Sydney, says in
‘Taking Traffic Control Lessons From Ants’ in Wired Science.

“We should use their rules. I’ve been working with ants for eight years, and have never seen a traffic jam...”

Why don’t ants have traffic jams?

If humans could learn from ants, they might spend less time in traffic jams, the story says. “When opposing
streams of leaf-cutter ants share a narrow path, they instinctively alternate flows in the most efficient way
possible. Studying how ants manage this could provide the basis for a system of driverless cars running on ant traffic algorithms.”

The operative word above is “driverless cars”. That is the reason ants don't have traffic jams. They are not
greedy nor selfish and, most importantly, not stupid. (I am, of course, talking about other people – we are
not like that, are we? Tut, tut. The way some people drive!)

Audrey Dussutour is only 30 years old but as a scientist, the quality of her work is already well recognised.
Her questions are simple. Why don’t ants get into traffic jams? Why don’t they bump into each other in
tight spaces? How do ants and social caterpillars make group decisions?

What factors govern decisions about whether or not ants will climb over or around walls? And so on.

In the February issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, Dussutour’s team found that ants leaving
the colony automatically gave right of- way to those returning with food.

Right. Try telling our motorist that they are better off trailing that overloaded smoke-belching truck than
trying to overtake it. Like any other red-blooded egocentric human, I hate following that 30-vehicle-long
queue behind a truck.

But I also know that it would be futile, not to mention life threatening, to try to overtake it on a single-lane road, particularly with another massively over-laden under-powered truck also trying to pass it.

So, logically, the best thing to do would be to stop by a nice roadside warung for a drink, to stretch cramped legs and to buy some fruits, and then when one gets back on the road 15 minutes later, the queue would be nowhere to be seen.

Some readers are probably familiar with the work of Dr Richard Dawkins of Harvard. The Selfish
Gene, with its singularly persuasive argument that natural selection acts at the level of the gene and
only the gene, gave rise to the rather politically incorrect contention that evolution only favoured men (and
women) of quality, those who were brave, strong, innovative and smart.

He contended that there is no such thing as true altruism, that it is only selfishness in disguise.

Looking around us, it is understandable how easy it is to buy into that argument. One can’t help asking
the question if charitable organisations are genuinely charitable or are they merely vehicles for yet another
ego trip for some of its members?

Be honest; that thought has occurred in many of our heads.

Another scientist working with ants, some 14,000 species of them, is Dr Edward O Wilson, also of Harvard who, based on studies on the genetics of ant colonies, believes that natural selection operates at many levels, including at the level of a social group, that often evolution takes place for the benefit of the group at the expense of the individual.

In humans, these take the form of generosity, morality, ethics, and even religion. (Dawkins coined the term
“meme” to account for the evolution of culture – a software evolution as opposed to the hard-wired one as it were.)

Still, people have long been fascinated with the organisational ability of ants and scientists are now converting ant traffic flows into algorithms that can be applied to data transmission and vehicular traffic.

For ants, common good is more important than individual good. This is hard-wired into them. Humans
preach the same thing (because it is politically correct, and makes them look good to do so) but their actions are often the opposite.

As for driving, Marcus Randall, a Bond University software mathematician says, “We essentially would
have to hand over control of the vehicle to a collectively intelligent system that would move all vehicles
from their source to destination (and) accidents would be virtually non-existent and travel would become
much more efficient.” University of Zoln traffic flow theorist Andreas Schadschneider says, “One dominating factor in human traffic is egoism.” We can’t argue with that, but no one is about to be persuaded to give up driving – it is too much an extension of our ego.

But as a compromise, he says, improved communication between drivers and cars would help.

“This has already been achieved by new devices which transmit information about abrupt velocity decreases to the following cars, which then start to brake automatically, before the driver even realises the
need to brake.” Cool. Better than self-parking.

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Getting to know George Town

TO be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the site in question must posses “outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity”.

A lofty definition to fill indeed but in July 2008 George Town, Penang, was awarded World Heritage Status, along with Malacca.

Enter iGeorgeTown Penang (iGP) (, a portal created with the aim of telling people more about Penang and its capital.

For the team behind this venture, in addition to its recognition as a site of cultural and historical

importance, its preservation and awareness within the consciousness of the people is most crucial
to its survival.

“Even in its present neglected form, George Town offers a lot surprises to visitors. There is much
to discover in the city which has a history of over 200 years,” writes iGP assistant manager for projects, Sheetal Sharda.

“A lot of people from all over the world have made their mark there. Apart from various groups of Malays, Chinese and Indians, there were (and, in some cases, are) Armenians, Acehnese, Burmese,
British, Eurasians, Germans, Japanese, Jews, Portuguese and Thais with sizeable communities there at one time or another,” she says.

So for the uninitiated and the curious, head over to iGP for an introduction or refresher on a vibrant
and enduring piece of this nation's historical roots.

How and when did iGeorge-Town Penang start?

We started in December 2008, when we launched the project in conjunction with the first Penang
Cultural Fest.

What were the reasons?

Culture and heritage are two invaluable assets of Penang. However, there is a lack of integrated and
comprehensive information about them. So we thought we would try and do that. The site is still in its infancy and we will constantly develop it to include more facets to further benefit its intended audience. We welcome suggestions and comment.

What would the site really like to achieve through Cyberspace communication?

New media is the way to go in publishing. We are embarking on a new adventure in communications that is multi-channelled. iGeorge-Town has done print, website and audio-visuals. We intend to go into mobile too.

Any regrets?

No. It has only been four months. It is hoped that the site it will help make George Town and Penang more accessible to people in terms of information.

We are happy with the response so far and would like now to build a bigger readership.

Therefore we appeal to all Penang lovers out there to register with us so that they can get a bimonthly e-newsletter called iGT Connect.

The “Blogosphere”. What does it mean?

A medium that gives even the most common person a voice, from expressing the most mundane everyday story to reporting news-altering events. It has also created a “public sphere”, where views, opinions and beliefs are openly aired.

Absolute favourite blogger?

As a team, we read all blogs related to George Town and Penang.

Some Penang food blogs are really great and we link our readers to them. There is even a podcast
that is dedicated solely to speaking Penang Hokkien (

Foremost feature of cyberspace?

Two things irritate/disgust us: Lies and the cyber-assassination of people and organisations by
ruthless people. With freedom comes responsibility, but many people on the Net are utterly irresponsible.

If there were someone who should take up blogging, who would it be?

The many living heritage keepers of Penang should blog more, start websites for various places
of interest, get themselves interviewed by newspapers, TV stations, websites, etc, so that content
on the State can be enriched further.

Otherwise, it would start disappearing. For example, there are many octogenarians who played a
big part in Penang’s development.

Can you imagine the stories that they would have for us? If only... Any memorable incidents?

We had to work very hard (almost round-the-clock) to launch on Dec 4, 2008, at the E&O Hotel
in Penang. Apart from the site, we produced a booklet called “George Town World Heritage Site”, a video called “We are our heritage”, which is available on YouTube via our site, and a sideshow on a plasma screen. And, yes, we would do it all over again if we had to. It was a great rush.

Additional thoughts?

Two things. Firstly that iGeorgeTown is privately-funded and privately-driven so we need all the support we can get from advertisers, sponsors and our audience.

Secondly, we have a Facebook cause, “Why George Town, Penang, needs our attention”. So
please join and take part. George Town needs all the proper attention it deserves.

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Guan Eng thanks Najib for money, then asks where it will come from??

Like many other Pakatan Rakyat leaders, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng welcomed the new stimulus deal, with a great deal of scepticism thrown in.

The Penang Chief Minister thanked Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for setting aside RM250 million to expand the state's international airport.
But he wants the federal government to pump in an additional RM11.5 billion into 21 state projects he described as "critical" to boost economic growth, such as the proposed RM500 million halal hub in Balik Pulau and Batu Kawan; RM200 million loan for its Heritage Rehabilitation Plan in Georgetown as a Unesco-recognised World Heritage Site; and RM1.1 billion to expand the Mengkuang Dam.

"The reality is if Penang fails, Malaysia will fail because 30 per cent of the total export and tourists originate from and visit Penang," Lim, who is also Bagan MP, said in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Lim's biggest beef with the stimulus concerned the RM60 billion figure. "Where is the RM60 million coming from?" he asked.

"How does the RM10 billion equity investment benefit ordinary workers?" he added.

He claimed that the RM10 billion would be used as a "rescue package for certain crony companies" and pointed to last year's RM5 billion loan from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to ValueCap to support his statement.

He concluded his speech by offering to work together with the federal government to face the economic crisis if it prioritised the public.

"What we want to see is direct assistance to the rakyat, not only focusing on companies. Look at Taiwan and Singapore which gave RM8.5 billion or RM400 spending money in cash to each citizen. Not a sen was for ordinary Malaysians," said Lim.

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Azalina's Office raided by MACC

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers raided the office of Tourism Minister Datuk Azalina Othman in relation to a probe on vote-buying for the Umno party elections.

Azalina was not present during the raid.

MACC officers spent three hours in her office and inspected documents in relation to the award of contracts by the ministry.

The officers also took away with them a number of files and other documents.

Today’s raid follows the detention last week of Azalina’s political secretary who was caught by MACC officers with RM75,000 in cash in his car.

The arrest of Azalina’s political secretary and the raid on her office today will have a significant impact on the minister’s fortunes in Umno and continued employment in the incoming Najib administration.

The minister is competing for a position on the party’s supreme council.

So far no senior Umno politician has been charged with corruption in relation to vote-buying in the Umno elections though there has been a trail of claims saying that money has been exchanging like never before for Election 2009.

Azalina is the highest profile politician to be under investigation in the current probe on vote-buying in Umno.

In a statement issued after the MACC raid, her office said they noted press reports about the probe into her political secretary’s affairs.

They also pledged to give their full cooperation to MACC officers.

It is understood the investigations are centred on whether the Tourism Ministry had awarded contracts to Umno delegates ahead of the party polls.

Investigators are also looking into the affairs of Pempena, a subsidiary of the Tourism Ministry,
which had shed its investments in five companies after suffering a loss of RM20 million.

This was out of an RM54.4 million total outlay on 24 companies as stated in a summary report of a “high level business review” of the Pempena Group released to the ministry on Nov

In their probe into vote-buying activities for the Umno polls, the MACC has so far picked up 12 party divisional officers.

They were allegedly working to help Datuk Norza Zakaria defend his supreme council seat.

The men are being investigated for distributing between RM300 and RM500 to some of the 2,000 delegates who will be attending the general assembly-cum-elections.

Norza has also been questioned by the MACC but has denied any involvement in money politics, saying that he was a victim of a scheme to discredit him.

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Malaysia's First Submarine To Arrive In July

The country's first submarine is expected to arrive as scheduled in July, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

He said the preparation for the arrival of the French-made Scorpene-class KD Abdul Rahman was progressing well.

"I am told that the Sepanggar Naval Base will also be completed on schedule in July," he told reporters after visiting the 190ha naval base project in Sepanggar, near here.

Abdullah, who is Defence Minister, said he was satisfied with the facility at the RM636 million base, which will house the submarine.

Also present was Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

The second submarine, KD Tun Abdul Razak, is expected to arrive at the end of the year.

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