28 November, 2006

Malaysia - Five highways to charge new rates from Jan 1

Toll rates will be increased for five concessionaires come Jan 1, 2007, according to Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

He said the Government could not afford to compensate the concessionaires for the Guthrie Corridor Expressway, Karak Highway, Grand Saga Cheras-Kajang Highway, Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP) and Kesas Shah Alam Highway the estimated RM2bil, if no increase was approved during this round of concession agreements.

You see ? Malaysia Boleh or Malaysia Bodoh ?

Mirzan's wife withdraws application for divorce. It was earlier reported that Jane, 45, who married Mirzan in 1992 had filed for a divorce from the son of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the syariah registry on Oct 20.

Jane is the daughter of the richest man in Indonesia, Liem Sioe Liong. She and Mirzan have three sons and a daughter.

THE New Straits Times and Utusan Melayu, two of Malaysia's oldest media groups, will be merged in a corporate union that will establish the country's largest media grouping, according Singapore Straits Times via Google alert.

It looks like another mega merger is in the making, just when we have the mega merger deal resulting in the world's largest listed palm oil company in the form of Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd . Read more -
(Entire Merger Deal To Be Transparent, Says Nazir Razak )

Meanwhile, Malaysia may revisit a massive 2.5 billion dollar project to link a powerstation on Borneo island to the mainland using undersea cables, a senior minister has said.

Lim Keng Yaik, energy minister said Monday the power cables, if approved, could transport up to 5,000 kilowatts of electricity to the Malaysian peninsula from the controversial hydro-power generation plant in Bakun, in the eastern Sarawak state.

Also, A railway line linking Asian nations from Singapore to China -- part of a broader "Iron Silk Road" network stretching to Europe -- will be completed by 2015, Malaysia said Monday.

Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said the eastern link of the Trans-Asian Railway network would start from Singapore and travel north through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before ending at Kunming in southern China.

Three sections of the eastern link are waiting to be built in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Mega merger, mega projects, who said Malaysia Bodoh? Did anyone mention about white elephant projects ?

Thailand Army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin yesterday left for a one-day visit to Malaysia to discuss the southern insurgency with his counterparts, a military source said. The visit to Malaysia comes as violence in the strife-torn South has escalated. Kuala Lumpur was recently angered by remarks by Prime Minister Gen Surayud Chulanont that a network of Thai restaurants in Malaysia was aiding militants.

''Malaysia used to help us, but we didn't behave. They had handed over people [suspected militants] but we killed them. Now they are reluctant to help. So I'll see how they can help us this time,'' he said.

Malaysians have been reminded to be extra careful in dealing with racial and religious issues.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who issued this reminder, said: ”Race and religious issues are still very sensitive issues. We shouldn't be too alarmed but at the same time, it must serve as a lesson to us.”

He was referring to people's unhappiness with speakers who touched on religious issues at the last Umno General Assembly, which was televised live.

Muslim nations have right to pursue nuke prog

Muslim countries shouldn't be prevented from developing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, a Malaysian government minister said on Sunday at an International Conference on Nuclear Energy.

World powers must not "misinterpret the interest of Muslim nations to generate nuclear energy as having a hidden motive," Science and Technology Minister Jamaluddin Jarjis was quoted as saying by the National News Agency, Bernama.

"The tendency for such misinterpretations based on a country's religious beliefs is truly tragic and should be tackled accordingly," Jamaluddin told reporters on the sidelines of the forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia, held in Malaysia's Eastern Pahang state.

Keris-wielding Hishammuddin the most divisive and polarised Education Minister in history


Malaysia seeks to ease rivalry, deepen cooperation with Singapore

Malaysia and Singapore must set aside their economic rivalry and intensify cooperation if they want to survive in a competitive global economy, Malaysia's deputy leader said Monday.

The two neighbors must invest in each other and encourage their businesses to join forces to venture offshore in new areas amid growing competition from China, India and Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam and Thailand, said Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak.

He noted that Singapore's acquisitions of Malaysian companies far outnumbered purchases of Singaporean assets by Malaysians and urged the island-state to "show a greater degree of reciprocity" to achieve equitable partnership.

"For Malaysia and Singapore, the stakes are high. We are no longer the darling of foreign investors as we were in the previous decade," Najib told a regional business conference.

The conference was attended by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng.

"We must raise our political will to work together where we can and accommodate each other in areas where we cannot," he said. "We have no real choice. The economic logic is as clear as the day. We must build the necessary partnerships in order to take advantage of new opportunities present within the region."

Najib said Malaysia and Singapore can together become winners in the global landscape. "But if we choose to remain aloof, to go it alone, we risk being torn apart by the competition," he warned.

The two countries, which briefly united in the 1960s, share close social and historical ties but have had a history of testy relations. Disputes have ranged from the price of water to airspace use to territorial disagreements.

In September, Singapore's elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew sparked a furor in Malaysia when he told an international conference that Malaysia and Indonesia "systematically" marginalize Chinese minorities.

Malaysia's government strongly protested Lee's remark, warning it could stir up Malaysian Chinese, who make up about a quarter of the country's 26 million people. Lee apologized for causing "discomfort" to Malaysia's leadership but didn't retract his criticism.

Najib reiterated that Lee's comments were not appreciated and described it as "little bumps in the road" that the two countries must contend with.

"Whether we like it or not, our two nations are joined at the hip," he said. "With increasing competition, it simply makes common sense for Malaysia and Singapore to invest in each other's future."

Najib presses S'pore button


Man In the Net

His Royal Blog-ness: Prince Charles adds 'blogging' to his list of talents

It's the 21st Century cult that has spawned the careers of chart toppers Lily Allen and The Arctic Monkeys.

Now Prince Charles has latched onto the internet to broaden his appeal with his very own royal 'blog'.

Unfortunately, the prince's fly-on-the-wall video diary isn't quite as rock and roll those usually posted on the web, however.

Instead users are treated to footage of the heir-to-the-the-throne and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, on a day-trip to Birmingham.

The blog features on Charles's newly revamped website, whose home page is littered with glossy photographs of the prince, his wife and children.

Charles also uses the website to lay out his 'personal manifesto' , espousing his views on everything from health and 'responsible business' to faith and ethnic communities and farming.

On it he says he sees one of his roles as Prince of Wales to raise issues of national importance that might otherwise be overlooked.

Surprisingly given the criticism he has received in recent years for intervening in politically sensitive subjects, the web-site boldly states the Prince lobbys through 'meetings with Government Ministers and other people of influence, by giving speeches, writing articles and participating in television programmes'.

It adds: "The Prince's work aims to promote and protect what is good about Britain and its people. This will often involve The Prince acting personally as a catalyst to facilitate chance, to generate debate or to raise overlooked issues.

"In all these areas, the Prince aims to encourage a public debate over what he sees as vital issues to the health of the nation while avoiding party political issues.

"When issues become a matter for party political debate or the subject of Government police, The prince stops raising them publicly."

Earlier this year Charles's former aide, Mark Bolland, claimed the Prince views himself as a 'political dissident', bombarding senior ministers with memos on his views about everything from farming to the armed forces.

Camilla is something of a figure in her own right with a personal profile - minus, it has to be said, any mention of her previous marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles - and links to pages featuring her 'at work'.

There is also a segment on her interests featuring fascinating facts such as her passion for fishing, walking and gardening.

It also reveals that she has three horses stabled at Highgrove - Molly, Willie and Bearskin - and owns three Jack Russell terriers, Tosca, Rosie and Freddie.

A Clarence House spokesman refused to reveal how much has been spent re-designing the web-site, saying it was a private matter for the Prince who paid for it personally, although industry figures estimate it to be around £40,000.

"The last time it was updated was more than eight years ago, which made it quite archaic," the spokesman said.

"The Prince was very much involved in the project on a personal level and feels it is an important tool in explaining and publicising tdifferent aspects of his work.

"The video diary helps to make it even more accessible."

The web-site, which was re-designed by Soho-based company Reading Room and features a children's section with games and quizzes as well as a complete back catalogue of speeches the Prince has made over the past five decades, took four months to create.

Royal fans can also sign up for free email updates on everything from Princes William and Harry to Duchy Originals food products.

The Prince of Wales



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