08 April 2014

Ooi Malaysia... GST dah lulus...

Dewan Rakyat lulus Rang Undang-Undang GST dengan 118 sokongan ahli Parlimen BN...

Rang Undang-Undang Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) hari ini diluluskan di Dewan Rakyat selepas ia dibacakan kali ketiga dengan 118 ahli Parlimen menyatakan persetujuan pada kali pertama manakala hanya 81 ahli Parlimen yang menyuarakan bantahan.

Bacaan kali kedua pula menyaksikan 119 ahli Parlimen bersetuju dan 81 yang lain tidak bersetuju dan ia membawa kepada bacaan kali ketiga apabila Yang Dipertua Dewan Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia meminta persetujuan ahli Parlimen.

Ahli Parlimen Pokok Sena, Datuk Mahfuz Omar meminta pertimbangan Yang Dipertua agar undi kali kedua dibuat dan ia tidak ditolak beliau.

Proses pengundian hari ini menyaksikan ahli Parlimen pembangkang membawa sepanduk membantah GST dan menimbulkan sedikit kekecohan di dewan.

Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak semasa mengumumkan Bajet 2014 bahawa GST akan dilaksanakan pada April 2015 dengan pengenalan cas sebanyak 6%menggantikan Cukai Jualan dan Perkhidmatan.

Sementara itu, Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng menyifatkan dengan lulusnya rang undang-undang itu maka fasa baru beban rakyat akan bermula malah kerajaan mempunyai mekanisme lain selain melaksanakan GST.

Katanya, rakyat berpendapatan rendah dan sederhana tidak wajar dikenakan GST dan beban cukai sebaliknya perlu diperkukuhkan kepada syarikat korporat.

“Ini adalah tanggungjawab setiap ahli Dewan Rakyat menentang GST kerana kami berasakan cara ini bukanlah paling wajar. Ia akan membawa beban yang sangat besar kepada rakyat.

“Kenakan syarikat besar dahulu seperti IPP atau konsesi tol. Tadi Menteri Kerja Raya ada menyebutkan boleh menghentikan konsesi tol. Ini semua tidak dilakukan dan yang kena adalah rakyat biasa.

Photo: Ahli-ahli Parlimen BN bersorak bila menang undi belah bagi luluskan rang undang-undang GST. 118 BN sokong, 81 Pakatan menolak.

Tahniah Najib!

Lim berkata kadar hutang peribadi di Malaysia sudah semakin membengkak dan dengan pelaksanaan GST pada 2015 akan memburukkan lagi situasi penghutang di Malaysia.

“Jangan lupa hutang peribadi kita yang kedua tertinggi di Asia iaitu 87%. Ini hanya akan meningkatkan beban hutang di kalangan rakyat,” katanya.

Ahli Parlimen Bagan itu turut menyifatkan kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) sebagai lupa daratan apabila mengenakan cukai tersebut di saat keperitan rakyat.

“Mereka nak habis cepat-cepat sahaja. Ini macam cukai segera. Ini menunjukkan mereka sudah lupa daratan kerana mereka patut memudahkan rakyat tetapi yang berlaku sebaliknya,” katanya kepada The Malaysian Insider.

Mahfuz pula menyifatkan BN jelas tidak melihat permasalahan rakyat apabila memperkenalkan GST.

Katanya, menteri yang bertanggungjawab tidak memberikan jawapan sewajarnya kepada ahli Parlimen pembangkang ketika diminta mengulas mengenai cukai itu.

“Ini jelas menunjukkan ahli Parlimen BN langsung tidak prihatin kepada permasalahan yang dihadapi rakyat akibat pelaksanaan GST.

“Menteri sendiri tidak menjawab apa yang dibangkitkan secara spesifik apa yang dibangkitkan pembangkang,” katanya.

Mahfuz berkata kerajaan memang sengaja melaksanakan GST dan tidak memberikan pilihan kepada golongan berpendapatan rendah.

“Hujah mereka orang miskin tidak akan terkena GST bermakna orang miskin itulah makanannya. Kerajaan tak fikir bagaimana meningkatkan pendapatan rakyat agar barang yang baik boleh didapatkan rakyat,” katanya.-tmi

Anti-GST placards waved as Bill is passed...

Pakatan Rakyat MPs raised anti-goods and services tax placards in the Dewan Rakyat today as a last-ditch protest against the GST Bill 2014, which the Lower House later passed.

The placards were held up by the opposition bench as bloc votes were tabulated at the end of the first and second readings of the Bill.

A total of 118 MPs voted in favour of the GST Bill and 81 opposed after two days debate at the first reading stage, which started last Thursday.

Later, 119 MPs voted in favour of the Bill while 81 opposed in bloc voting at the second reading stage.

There was no debate during the committee stage level as opposing MPs did not ask for specific changes to the Bill, rather for the entire Bill to be retracted.

It now needs to be passed by the Dewan Negara and gazetted into law with the assent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, before the controversial GST can be implemented on April 1 next year.

Although present for the vote, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak did not wind up the debate, but left it to Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan.

'IMF says we are right'
Winding up, Ahmad said that the International Monetary Fund's March 2014 report said Malaysia's proposed GST regime was not regressive as it provided safeguards for the poor.
He said simulations showed that those earning RM2,000 a month would only pay an additional RM15.06 a month in taxes under the GST, which could be "offset" through the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M).
However, Ahmad did not directly address questions from Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj (PSM-Sungai Siput) and Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) on the knock-on effects of inflation due to profiteering.
He also brushed off Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang), who pointed out that Canadian research showed a gaping income disparity as a result of 10 years of GST in that country.
Further, Rafizi Ramli (PKR-Pandan) said government data itself showed that inflation would rise with the GST, indicating that prices would indeed go up.
However, Ahmad said the government would launch an anti-profiteering campaign to ensure prices would not go up beyond the anticipated 1.8 percent.
"Whoever raises prices unnecessarily will be caught and sent to jail," he said.
Responding to Santiago, Ahmad said 159 other countries that had implemented the GST did not suffer the same, so the government was not swayed by the Canadian example.
He also said that the government has researched the matter since the 1980s, and was adamant that this would be the best way to capture the black economy, which made up about a third of the gross domestic product.- mk

Nurse earns whopping RM27mil...

As far as the National Higher Education Loan Fund's (PTPTN) records are concerned, nurses can earn up to RM27 million a year, and their children can still apply for financial aid, while a clerk must make do with an annual income of RM34.

This discrepancy, with regard to the salaries of parents and guardians of loan applicants, was highlighted in the Auditor-General’s Report.

The report noted that there were 384 such unusual records.

The auditor-general also reported that there are 921 records with duplications, with one particular student having 13 similar accounts. 

Besides job income, the home addresses of the borrowers, useful in collecting back the loan, were also poorly kept.

Under the category of “residential town” - the report found data entry with bizarre information such as "unemployed" (pengganggur), "off Jalan Ipoh," "no employer" and the most popular entry  was simply "none."

Under "implausible" job titles of borrowers’ guarantors it found "zz", "guru sandaran", "head of the family", "kelani" and "Ho Seng Le."

Despite the poor record keeping, PTPTN had successfully dished out RM53.23 billion education loans over the last 16 years from 1997 to some 2.34 million needy students. From 2011 to 2013, it consistently loaned over RM5 billion a year.
"PTPTN had used the Education Loan Management System (ELMAS) first developed in 2000 and Fastrac inquiry module to handle borrowers’ information and payments.

"System modifications were made from time to time by Paradigm Systems Berhad since 2003 to fulfill government aims and PTPTN policies," the auditor-general report, released online today, said.

For example, in 2010, PTPTN launched the Islamic Education Loan Management System (ELMAS-i) to account for Islamic financing ways.

Staff get desktop and laptop

Government audit officers did a "walkthrough" of the two systems before discovering the bizarre errors. It also visited six PTPTN branches in Pahang, Sarawak, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur.

Furthermore, the audit report was puzzled why a loan collection system (e-UPKB) started in 2003 was not integrated with the ELMAS. Therefore, the auditor-general office recommended PTPTN to do severe "data cleansing."

Despite the poor IT system management, the auditors noted the loan institution had plenty of computers to spare.

Each staff received on average a laptop and desktop. On top of that, from the computers loaned to PTPTN under contract from two companies, some 104 units worth RM101,400 were spared and kept in storage.

"In the auditor's opinion, computer procurement is not satisfactory because PTPTN has not planned carefully," the report said.

It added that PTPTN could have saved RM1.4 million over three years if it didn't give all executive staff both a personal desktop and laptop to use.

In response, PTPTN has promised to clean its master data files and this should be completed before June 2014, it said.

PTPTN also promised to look into mining and sharing more accurate borrowers’ data from other government agencies such as Road Transport department (JPJ), National Registration Department (JPN), immigration and the Employees Provident Fund (KWSP).

Also, PTPTN will look into “emergency data recovery” measures which have never before been considered as a necessary security measure.- mk

Jururawat dapat RM27 juta setahun?

Dr Wan Azizah angkat sumpah Adun Kajang...

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail mengangkat sumpah sebagai Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Kajang di hadapan Speaker, Hannah Yeoh pada persidangan Dewan Negeri Selangor (DNS) ke-13 di sini hari ini.

Majlis mengangkat sumpah yang berlangsung tepat pukul 10 pagi di Bangunan DNS itu disaksikan Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Hadir sama, Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri (SUK), Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi, ahli Exco negeri dan wakil rakyat Pakatan Rakyat (PR) serta Barisan Nasional (BN).

Pada 23 Mac lalu, Wan Azizah yang juga Presiden PKR memenangi Pilihan Raya Kecil (PRK) Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Kajang menewaskan calon BN, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun dengan majoriti 5,379 undi.

Wan Azizah berjaya meraih sebanyak 16,741 undi, manakala Mei Fun memperoleh 11,362 undi.

PRK Kajang diadakan selepas Adun Kajang, Lee Chin Cheh dari PKR meletakkan jawatan tanpa sebab pada 27 Januari lepas bagi memberi peluang kepada Ketua Umum PKR, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim bertanding.

Bagaimanapun, Wan Azizah diangkat sebagai Adun Kajang yang baru setelah menggantikan Anwar apabila ketua pembangkang itu diisytihar tidak layak bertanding ekoran didapati bersalah atas tuduhan ke smembabitkan bekas pembantu peribadinya di Mahkamah Rayuan.

Pada Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13 (PRU-13), Lee menang dengan majoriti 6,824 undi dalam pertembungan enam penjuru dengan BN, Berjasa dan tiga calon bebas.- harakahdaily

MH370 had skirted Indon airspace...

News that the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have flown around Indonesian airspace on the night it disappeared in what may have been a deliberate attempt to avoid radar detection, has taken on a sinister tone.

The information leaked by a 'senior Malaysian government source' comes as Utusan, the newspaper controlled by Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno party fuelled belief in the swirling conspiracy theory that MH370's disappearance was the work of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

"If the CIA could arrange for the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, it is not improbable to link MH370 with the intelligence agency," wrote an editor of the Umno mouthpiece, which has come under frequent attacks and lawsuits for its sensational stories, usually aimed at taking down Najib's arch rival Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

"What if the MH370 tragedy had been arranged by certain parties to put Malaysia's relationship with China in jeopardy?"

Under pressure to quit

The 60-year-old Najib had himself muttered similar comments when grilled by reporters in the immediate aftermath of the latest debacle, where a Shanghai tourist and Philippine worker were snatched away from a hotel resort in the middle of the night by armed gunmen who came and left in boats.

Already under pressure to resign to take responsibility for bungling the MH370 search and rescue operations, Najib was accused of trying to save his own political skin by starting a blame game, although he did not mention any names.

“This must be avoided. There may be those who are attempting to drive a wedge between us and China. They may be trying to take advantage of the situation,” Najib was quoted saying in Australia by The Star.

Utusan also said in its Sunday op-ed that conspiracies at the highest levels involving the CIA with the September 11 tragedy were not something new, adding that facts and convincing arguments had been put forward to support this claim.

"Many parties have accepted that the September 11 incident was a plan by the United States to get a free ticket to attack Afghanistan and Iraq," said the Utusan op-ed.

Graphic: Jamie Brown

Blame game as the truth from black box nears?

Meanwhile, CNN had reported a senior Malaysian government source saying that the missing jet made the detour after it had left the range of Malaysian military radar.

The latest details emerged as new satellite calculations put the likely location of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the same spot where Chinese patrol vessel Haixun 01 detected deep water acoustic sounds on two consecutive days.

In the strongest lead to date, Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston said the Haixun 01 picked up sounds coming from about 4,500m down, in two locations just two kilometres apart, on Friday and Saturday.

The searchers are seeking the jet’s two black boxes, the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder. This has raised the possibility the Haixun 01 may have heard frequencies from the two separated boxes from a crashed and broken plane.

While Mr Houston viewed the developments as positive, he warned against any drawing any conclusions until the sounds had been properly evaluated.

He said the Australian Defence vessel Ocean Shield had also detected acoustic noises from its towed pinger locator on Sunday morning, in a more northern area.

But given the strength of the Chinese lead, Ocean Shield would likely be deployed to join Haixun 01 once it had fully investigated what it was picking up.

She and HMS Echo, which also has deep-sea listening equipment, would not likely arrive till later on Monday or Tuesday, in a new search area which appears to be about 1500km west of Shark Bay.

An image showing a piece of white debris which was spotted by Chinese air force in the southern Indian Ocean yesterday close to where they heard the 'pings' believed to be from the black box
An image showing a piece of white debris which was spotted by Chinese air force in the southern Indian Ocean yesterday close to where they heard the 'pings' believed to be from the black box

This location coincides with new advice from experts calculating the plane’s likely flight path, now placing it slightly further south than they thought.

It is understood the revision is because they found issues with the satellite when it was receiving information from the flight as it headed wildly off-course on March 8.
The Chinese have reported seeing white objects floating about 90km from the new area.

News of Friday afternoon’s acoustic detection was released to the world by the Chinese government’s Xinhua news agency, via reporters on the boat.

Mr Houston, who is leading the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, agreed this was how he first heard about it.

The Australians approached the Chinese asking for more information.

“This morning we were contacted by the Chinese authorities and advised that Haixun 01 had late yesterday afternoon redetected the signals for 90 seconds within just two kilometres of the original section,” Mr Houston said.

He would not be drawn to criticising the Chinese method of information sharing, preferring to see it as a positive.

“This is an important and encouraging lead, but one which I urge you to treat carefully,” he said.

“Based on the new advice, the southern area (of the existing search zone, where Haixun 01 is operating) now has a higher priority.”

Could it be? Authorities have confirmed Australian ship Ocean shield has detected 'pings' consistent with the black box signals in the southern Indian Ocean

Air and sea searchers will converge on the Haixun 01 location today, with 10 military, two civil aircraft and 13 ships participating.

Neither Mr Houston nor the RAN’s Commodore Peter Leavy talked in terms of the vessels picking up frequencies at 37.5 kHz per second, which is the international standard beacon frequency for black boxes.

They instead talked of “fleeting acoustic events”. Mr Houston said Haixun 01 stayed in the area after hearing the first sound, and picked up a more sustained event lasting 90 seconds yesterday.

As the search entered Day 30 yesterday, the batteries in the black boxes are due to fail at any time, putting greater pressure on the multinational task force.

Pleading with the media not to draw conclusions that the plane had been found, Mr Houston said for the sake of families all information had to be treated as unverified until it was confirmed. - malaysian chronicle


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