30 December, 2006

Demonstrate against toll hikes

A rare scene indeed ! MCA leaders and members demostrating against their government for TOLL HIKES .

The MCA and two opposition political parties, DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), today staged separate demonstrations to protest against toll hikes.

About 100 Puchong MCA members led by division chairman Wong Hock Aun gathered at the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP) toll plaza in Bandar Sunway at 10am, carrying banners and placards at 10am.

About 50 police personnel, including Special Branch men in plainclothes, led by Subang Jaya OCPD ACP Muhammad Fuad Talib kept a close watch on the protesters and maintained public security.

Wong said: "We condemn the toll hikes. Puchong residents are vey upset. The government should review its decision to allow the increase in the toll charges because the LDP is not alleviating the daily severe traffic congestions here."

Puchong MCA Youth chief Datuk Theng Book said the demonstration reflects the peoples' sentiment, especially the Puchong folks who have to bear the 60% increase in toll rates.

Effective Monday (Jan 1, 2007), LDP users have to pay RM1.60, up from RM1.

Before the MCA protesters could leave the scene, about 20 DAP and PKR arrived at 10.40am and headed to the LDP's operations complex.

They handed a memorandum of protest to Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Berhad (Litrak) communications manager Zuhri Iskandar Kamarzaman.

Floods round-up

Johor Flood Death Toll Rises To 12 !

The number of deaths due to floods in Johor rose to 12 Friday with the recovery of the body of a five-year-old girl who was reported missing two days ago.

A Batu Pahat police spokesman said the body of Pavithra Kamalanathan was found at 3.45pm in an oil palm plantation near the spot where strong currents carried away the car she was travelling in with her parents and sibling in Kampung Kamisan, Yong Peng.

The bodies of her mother Punithavathi, 31, and sibling Panithra, three, were found Thursday.

Her father Kamalanathan, an estate assistant manager, survived the incident and was receiving treatment at the Batu Pahat Hospital.

Despite extensive damage caused by the floods, the people of Johor have shown remarkable resilience in overcoming their personal loss.

Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the disaster had also brought out the best in human values and compassion for those who had lost everything in the floods.

"The floods wrought terrible damage and destruction. Most villagers lost everything. All they had was the clothes on their backs.

"Yet, their spirits have not been broken. This is the unique feature about our people, particularly the Malays. They regard this as nothing more than a test from God."

Ghani, who has visited flood- hit areas since Dec 19, said he had never seen such extraordinary strength and courage in the people.

The Menteri Besar, who spearheaded the flood rescue and relief operation in the state, also noted that, despite their trauma, the flood victims were not whining.

"Not one (of the victims) has complained about clogged drains or poor infrastructure."

Ghani said another human trait that emerged was the community spirit to reach out and help others in distress.

He also paid tribute to government offices, saying they did a fine job responding speedily to the emergency, even though many were on year-end leave.

He said the floods had reinforced the need for Johor to step up efforts to resettle squatters in low-lying areas to higher ground.

Rocky's Bru asks :
Where's Syed Hamid? Where's Khaled? Eleven(Twelve now) people have died in the worst floods in Johor's - and the country's - history. Last night the number of evacuees in Johor rose as more areas went under. For now, it is getting worse for the state, not better.
And while the Menteri Besar has been working round the clock to help the victims, people have begun to notice the absence of certain Johor politicians and MPs from the scene.
They couldn't all have gone to Perth for holiday, could they?

Meanwhile,Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said investigations will be carried out on a police report lodged against a soldier who had allegedly asked for money before rescuing flood victims in Segamat.

Guang Ming Daily reported that a flood victim, Wong Yee Ken of Segamat, had lodged a police report on how he was forced to bribe a military officer to take food and drinks to his customers and staff who were trapped in his hair salon and also to rescue them by boat.

The report, (Police Report Number SEGAMAT/007292/06), confirms widespread rumours about military personnel demanding bribes from flood victims in Segamat last week. The allegations had also appeared in a Chinese-language website, www.segamat.8talk.net.

The content of the police report is as follow:

“Pada 20/12/2006 jam lebih kurang 2130 hours semasa saya berada di simpang jambatan kedua ke Sri Genuang. Ada 2 buah bot tentera ada di situ dan saya minta pertolongan mereka untuk menghantar makanan dan minuman kepada pelanggan dan orang kerja saya di kedai gunting rambut Feiwan, Jalan Genuang. Salah seorang daripada tentera tersebut yang berpakaian uniform telah meminta wang kepada saya untuk pergi
menghantar makanan ke kedai tersebut. Saya terpaksa membayar RM250 kepada tentera tersebut. Tujuan saya buat laporan ini kerana tidak puas hati terhadap perkara ini. Sekian laporan saya.”

Guang Ming Daily reported how Wong said that on the night of Dec 20, the military personnel agreed to rescue seven people who were stranded in his saloon in return for a RM250 bribe. But after money exchange.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said appropriate action would be taken against the soldier if the allegations were found to be true.



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