Thursday, 20 December 2012

Reject BN soundly in GE13 or suffer economically

Reject BN soundly in GE13 or suffer economically
By Chua Jui Meng

  MALAYSIANS, especially the rural and urban poor, must reject the super corrupt Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) soundly in the 13th General Election (GE13) or be prepared to suffer economically.
It is clear BN-Umno is not changing its corrupt ways and will step up its plundering of the nation’s coffer.
And BN-Umno intends to make the people pay to help sustain the enriching of its families and cronies.
It has little concern for the people’s painful pinch in their pockets and prices of goods and services are set to skyrocket if BN is returned to power after the next general election.
A case in point is the farcical implementation of the Automatic Enforcement System (AES) which it has suspended temporarily due to the peoples’ nationwide outcry and rejection.
For sure, the AES will be enforced if BN-Umno wins another mandate to govern Malaysia.
Which government do you want after GE13?

In fact, BN-Umno has been forced to put on hold the many suspicious and unfriendly “projects” aimed at enriching its business cronies.
Besides the AES, among other “BN-Umno projects” awaiting implementation to inflict untold economic misery on the people are the 4% GST (Goods and Services Tax), healthcare privatisation, fuel price hikes, toll increases, etc all guaranteed to trigger extensive inflation.
Malaysians can also expect more BN-Umno schemes that will make the people pay to sustain all its mega projects, to be launched in the name of development.
In short, if BN-Umno wins GE13, its economic priority will go the exact opposite of Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s people-oriented and friendly fiscal policies.
PR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has repeatedly guaranteed Malaysians in his ongoing nationwide ceramah road tour that he would announce a slash in retail fuel prices within 24 hours, if he is sworn in as the next prime minister.
There is nothing impossible about this promise because of our oil revenue that can be saved by cutting down on corruption and fancy projects that only enrich BN-Umno cronies.
By reducing the retail price of fuel, transport cost will reduce and therefore the price of goods, essentials, foodstuffs and services will also be cheaper.
Anwar has also reiterated that a PR federal government would do away with all race-based policies so as to fast track socio-economic growth for all Malaysians and Malaysia.
PR’s Buku Jingga (Orange Book) and its alternative Budget 2013 have outlined clearly all its people-centric initiatives and policies.
Among the reforms to be realised within 100 days of governance are:
Ø Reforming institutions like the Election Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission, Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Royal Malaysian Police to return authority to the government administration system;
Ø Ordering Khazanah Bhd, Employees Provident Fund and all government agencies with highway concessions to facilitate the takeover of highway assets for the abolishment of tolls;
Ø Reshuffling the national subsidy structure to reduce the subsidy to the private sector, such as the RM19 billion gas subsidy, and channel the savings to the people;
Ø Recognising the role and merits of civil servants by reviewing their salary structure starting by raising their allowance to RM500 a month;
Ø Making water the peoples’ right by restoring all private sector water management concessions to the government;
Ø Providing free Wi-Fi internet connectivity to the people in urban and semi-urban areas; and
Ø Increasing the oil royalty for Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu and Kelantan to 20%, up from the current 5%.
Malaysians therefore cannot afford to continue to gamble away their and the country’s future after witnessing BN-Umno’s plundering ways for 55 years.
Malaysia’s fast growing federal debt of more than RM620 billion (including RM118 billion in off Budget liabilities or sovereign guarantees for private corporations like the Port Klang Free Zone and government-linked company loans ending 2011) against a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of RM881 billion or 70.4% of GDP is testimony of BN-Umno’s gross incompetence in managing of the country wealth and finances.
For Malaysians and PR, winning the GE13 by a simple majority is not enough because BN-Umno has the financial means to hijack the peoples’ choice, like what it did in Perak in 2009.
It must be a resounding victory for PR to put to rest BN-Umno’s insatiable greed.
The latest development in AES:

Thursday, 20 December 2012 17:50
AES system won't be scrapped despite freeze

NOT A SCHEME TO MAKE MONEY- Cabinet to look into results of study by A-G's Chambers and RTD on all issues

KUALA LUMPUR: THE cabinet has directed the Attorney-General's Chambers and the Road Transport Department to thoroughly address all issues surrounding the Automated Enforcement System (AES).
Top in the list of priorities for the two parties are:
TO ensure that measures put in place are in the spirit of protecting the people's interests;
TO ensure that nobody is victimised; and,
TO ensure that there will be no legal backlash in its implementation.
Sources said the directive followed Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail's briefing to the cabinet on contentious issues related to AES and the chamber's decision on Tuesday to freeze all court proceedings on summonses under the system.
Gani, in his statement on the freeze, had said the decision stemmed from concerns over matters related to "law and other technicalities" and they had to address them, with a decision to be made "within the next few days". But he maintained that summonses issued by RTD were valid.
A source said the chambers and RTD were also told to ensure that the people fully understood how the system worked.
"There have been a lot of misconceptions on how AES works as several parties have been politicising the issue.
"Many do not know that while the enforcement system was privatised to save the government from incurring costs, the decision to proceed with summonses lies solely with RTD and no one else.
"It is not a money-making mechanism but a system to promote a safer driving habit among Malaysians.
"Most people, including law-abiding drivers and those whose families and friends have died due to reckless driving, all support this system," said the source, adding that the cabinet had not set any deadline for the chambers and RTD to address all issues.
On talk that the AES system would be scrapped, another source said this would not happen.
"The fact is that this system is used by 90 countries and they have seen positive results from its implementation.
"At the end of the day, everyone wants Malaysian roads to be safe, at least for the sake of their loved ones. So, why resist the very move that could help us get there?"
The cabinet, the source said, would look at the result of the study by the chambers and RTD into various issues before deciding on the next course of action. Among the issues discussed was the enforcement side.
Under the project, 831 AES cameras would be set up all over the country in stages. Fourteen such cameras have been operational since Sept 23. They are located in hot spots or accident-prone areas in the Klang Valley and Perak.
The implementation of the system had drawn mixed reactions, with one party supporting the effort to reduce accidents and fatalities, and the other against it.
The number of traffic offences committed at the 14 locations has plunged drastically since the day the cameras were set up. - New Straits Times

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 17:13
AES firm to take Selayang Council to court

KUALA LUMPUR — Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd, one of two companies awarded the controversial Automatic Enforcement System (AES) contract, is challenging in court the Sepang Municipal Council’s directive to dismantle two speed-trap cameras installed in Selangor.
“The judicial review application will be heard on February 14,” a lawyer for the concessionaire, Alex De Silva, told The Malaysian Insider when contacted today.
The Sepang local council had, in a letter dated December 6, ordered Beta Tegap to dismantle two of its cameras that had been set up on the North-South Highway and the South Klang Valley Expressway within 14 days.
Beta Tegap is seeking to declare the local council has no jurisdiction over the two highways, but the company’s legal standing will likely be raised as well because it is a private company contracted to install the speed-trap cameras while traffic summonses are issued by the Road Transport Department, considered the rightful authority to issue any legal challenge.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has ordered a halt to all court proceedings related to the AES summonses to study legal issues that have been raised even as it said the tickets were still valid, it said in a statement yesterday.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in a statement today acknowledged the AGC’s statement as “legally correct” but insisted “there should be no more unnecessary delay in putting an end to this sordid scheme of allowing two BN crony companies to profit based on commissions imposed on every traffic summons disguised as enforcement to reduce accidents”.
The Malaysian Insider had reported yesterday that Putrajaya was considering suspending the implementation of the system as it appeared to duplicate police speed traps along the highways.
It is understood that Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha has been one of the few ministers who have been defending the implementation of the AES behind closed doors.
The privatised RM700 million project began in September with a pilot phase of 14 cameras but the RTD has pledged to roll out a total of 831 cameras by end-2013 to catch speeding motorists and prevent more road deaths.
The police, who enforce the speeding laws, have said they will continue enforcement and carry on putting up mobile speed traps near the AES cameras, raising the prospect of dual fines for errant motorists.
“The government is considering putting on hold the implementation of the AES due to the duplication of the summons system. That will cause hardship,” a source had told The Malaysian Insider.
He also noted that several lawmakers from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) have also asked the government to stop the implementation until all views are considered.
Another source said the government wants to ensure the AES will help ensure that motorists follow speed limits throughout their journey rather than just in the areas where the cameras are situated.
“This system is to enforce speed limits and ensure road safety,” he added. –themalaysianinsider

AES operator gets leave to challenge MPS' decision

Posted on 19 December 2012 - 06:51pm
Last updated on 19 December 2012 - 10:16pm
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 19, 2012): The operator of the Automatic Enforcement System (AES), Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd, has obtained leave for a judicial review to challenge the decision of the Sepang Municipal Council (MPS) in ordering the company to dismantle the two AES cameras in the municipality.
High Court justice Datuk Zaleha Yusof granted the leave in chambers in the presence of lawyers Alex De Silva, representing Beta Tegap, and M. Indrani and K. Kandiah, both for MPS.
De Silva told reporters later that the court also ordered MPS to not take any action pending a court decision on his client's application which had been fixed for case management on Feb 6 and the hearing on Feb 14.
Beta Tegap filed the application seeking a certiorari order to quash the decision by MPS. According to Beta Tegap, the municipal council, through a letter dated Nov 19 this year, required that the company apply for permission to install the AES poles and cameras at KM301.7 of the North-South Expressway and at KM6.6 of the South Klang Valley Expressway, both located in Dengkil, Sepang.
The MPS, in a letter dated Dec 6, ordered the company to dismantle the cameras within 14 days of the notice. Following which, Beta Tegap filed an application to the court seeking a declaration that MPS had no jurisdiction over the two highways. – Bernama/theSun