Anwar pledges to reform polls system

SHAH ALAM — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said his first job as PKR president is to reform the party election system, amid allegations of widespread corruption during the recent polls.

The party is expected to establish a committee to examine and make recommendations for improvements, said Anwar, who won the presidency uncontested, on the sidelines of the party’s national congress here yesterday.

PKR has hired an external auditor to investigate claims of corruption at the party’s elections.

Anwar urged the authorities to also launch their own probe into the allegations, particularly on the voting process.

PKR outgoing president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said an audit team is examining all the complaints.

“We have hired an external audit team and it is looking into all the complaints,” she said.

The PKR elections that had taken place during the past one month had been mired with allegations of foul play and bribery that centred mostly on the race for the deputy presidency.

Observers said the accusations underscored the deep factional infighting between proxies of Anwar and incumbent number two Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

The elections concluded with Azmin retaining the post. His challenger Rafizi Ramli was seen as representing Anwar, who is said to feel threatened by Azmin’s rapid ascendancy.

Azmin is now economic affairs minister and is reportedly close to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

All three PKR leaders, however, have played down the rift.

Anwar said he wants the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to be professional and scrutinise the entire voting process.

“More important is the MCMC to look into the entire process, the e-voting; how is it that the people who voted ‘disappeared’,” he said.

“The MACC must investigate the alleged corruption. There are 40 to 50 reports, and there were also police reports,” he said.

“My position is they should do a professional job.”

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Delegate cheered for ticking off leaders

SHAH ALAM — A PKR delegate yesterday slammed both Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Mohd Rafizi Ramli for nearly splitting the party through a fractious rift over the deputy presidency, a rebuke that earned him a standing ovation from attendees at the PKR National Congress here.

Tengku Nazeri Tengku Aldin said the infighting reflected poorly on the party as he gave a damning indictment that depicted both the leaders as power-crazy and divisive.

“When we are meant to show the country what we can do (now we are in power), we instead resort to defamation,” said the delegate, his voice almost trembling and eyes seemingly teary.

“We speak proudly of new politics but when the moment came to show our moral integrity Team Azmin and Team Rafizi are seen fighting to the death.

“Is this the party we want to inherit … our children to inherit?”

The two PKR leaders fought a heated contest for the party’s number two post, often hurling allegations publicly throughout the polls that became mired with claims of sabotage and corruption.

The elections were concluded on Friday with Azmin retaining the post.

Party grassroots have grown weary of the infighting, judging by the response given to the Perlis delegate who took Azmin and Rafizi to task over their prolonged feud.

When Tengku Nazeri bluntly concluded that the vendetta signalled the party’s moral “failure”, members vented their feelings by cheering the man.

“We failed. We failed because we are fighting like there’s no tomorrow,” he said, as some delegates cheered Tengku Nazeri, while some were heard jeering Azmin and Rafizi.

Tengku Nazeri, in echoing a prevalent sentiment expressed by several delegates, said it was time for the leadership to put an end to the rift.

Another PKR delegate urged the party leadership and its members to safeguard the party and to not let it become another Umno.

Johor delegate Mohd Ysahrudin Kusni said since the May general election, the party is seeing a surge in membership.

However, he cautioned PKR members and leaders on accepting these members and that opportunists should be rejected.

“Please don’t allow PKR to turn into a party like Umno,” he said.

Ysharudin, who is also the Bukit Naning assemblyman, criticised DAP’s Melaka state executive councillor Norhizam Hassan Baktee, whose public argument with villagers concerning a public access road became viral.

“Recently, we heard the term ‘Awak YB kah saya YB?’. I would remind our fellow leaders that we need to remain people-centric and we cannot be complacent or arrogant,” he said.

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Old meets young at bilateral meeting

PORT MORESBY ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad met his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Apec summit here yesterday.

Dr Mahathir is the oldest prime minister at 93, while Trudeau is half his age at 46, among the world’s youngest leaders.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said on Friday the prime minister would likely hold talks on trade relations with Canada.

Canada was interested in meeting Malaysia because it was seeking a position on the United Nations Security Council.

“One common issue that might be brought up by both leaders is the situation in Myanmar because Canada has been very interested in the Rohingya issues,” Saifuddin said.

Canada recently said the country was concerned over reported proposals for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar amid ongoing violence.

Reuters reported earlier this month that Bangladesh declined Canada’s offer to take in Rohingya refugees, as the South Asian nation plans to move ahead with the repatriation process.

Dr Mahathir told the Asean Summit in Singapore last week that Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was trying to “defend the indefensible” by downplaying the massacre of the Rohingya people.

On another matter, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam yesterday expressed her love for Penang.

“I love to go to Penang for holidays. It’s such a nice city,” Lam said at the start of a bilateral meeting with Dr Mahathir.

Lam said Hong Kong had given scholarships to 400 Malaysian students to study in Hong Kong universities.

“I’m sure with your leadership, we can expect closer collaboration in trade, investment and in tourism,” she said.

Dr Mahathir thanked Lam for the scholarships.

He also said flights between Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur could be increased as many Malaysians lived there and came home frequently for holidays.

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Dr M: No one must be left behind in age of disruption

PORT MORESBY ― Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned business leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) 2018 summit here that technological disruptions, normally viewed positively in business, should not widen inequality.

At the session held on The Pacific Explorer cruise ship, Dr Mahathir highlighted the effects of disruptive technology in Malaysia and other countries, like ride-sharing apps that replaced taxis, sparking protests, as well as hoteliers’ frustration with home-sharing platforms, or brick and mortar shops that faced competition from online retailers.

“The challenge is how to ensure no one is left behind in the age of disruption,” he said in a keynote address at the Apec CEO summit session here yesterday.

“Some will be slow on the uptake but others will be faster. But once we understand, the pace will certainly increase.

“Still we must be careful that the disruption will not widen inequality. And inequality is bad for growth, and bad for social stability.”

Dr Mahathir expected further disruptions amid greater automation that would render both unskilled and skilled workers irrelevant which, he cautioned, if unattended, would cause unemployment and upheaval.

He said such disruptions were not only found in technology, but also in politics and economics.

“The benefits of free and fair trade and economic integration have been ruptured, exemplified by Brexit and trade wars between major economies,” he said.

“The trade war between the US and China has amplified further the disruptions to our trade and commerce.”

He said governments must ensure technology was accessible and affordable, and that education was also crucial.

“History has shown that nations which respond quickly to disruption with systematic and coherent strategies for their citizenry had always been able to ride the wave of radical changes,” Dr Mahathir said.

He said Malaysia had in its pipeline retraining programmes, more scholarships for professional and postgraduate studies, and programmes for youths on technology to tackle disruption and the fourth industrial revolution.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia was also considering introducing the latest technology modules in the school curriculum.

“Second, the policy must take care of the ‘losers’. For instance, those brick and mortar shops, taxi drivers, small hotels, and displaced workers who are losing to disruptive technologies must not lose out entirely. The policy must encourage them to be retrained and re-hired,” he said.

“Third, there is a need to build capacity, especially in developing countries, to face the disruption. Investment in infrastructures such as in 5G can be facilitated by multilateral organisations. Every country must invest in advanced technologies.”

Dr Mahathir also called for international cooperation to manage technological disruptions.

“Are we to assume that the age of disruption that demands adjustments and sweeping changes so as to deal with the radical changes brought about by technological advancement also includes the need for us to re-evaluate trade globalisation and economic integrations?” he asked.

“The debate on data localisation, intellectual property rights, and other related matters will continue, but the philosophy of finding a mutual agreement is that it must benefit national government, and not just big multinational corporations or advanced economies.”

He stressed the need for global collaboration to ensure everyone benefits from advances in technology.

“To a certain degree, the very process of building our capacity opens up opportunities for inclusiveness, especially in trade,” he said.

“It is a new frontier, mostly still uncharted. Apec will have to deal with this disruption, failing which, it too will become irrelevant.

“It is time that member countries of Apec and other trade organisations realise that in the age of disruption, a fairer and more genuine cooperation between the developed and developing nations can help member states deal with the disruption.”

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Poor countries appreciate Malaysia’s help, says PM

PORT MORESBY — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s poorest countries, still remembered his 2003 visit, his last official visit before resigning as prime minister.

Dr Mahathir, now in his second stint as prime minister, said that when he was the prime minister in 1981, his administration’s policy was to visit poor countries and he only went to the United States three years after assuming office.

“I want to build good ties with Pacific countries. That’s why I came here to meet Somare because what little we can help them with, they appreciate,” Dr Mahathir told Malaysian journalists at the Apec summit, referring to his 2003 meeting with then Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare.

“If we go to big countries, whatever we do also they don’t want to say thank you. They just say ‘oh you’re not for democracy, oh you’re not free’, anything and everything.”

Dr Mahathir had a bilateral meeting with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill earlier yesterday and is scheduled to visit a mosque here today.

He also said the government would continue with a third national car project, even as he extolled the necessity of protectionism for developing countries.

Dr Mahathir said Japanese cars were not popular when they first started because they were not of European standards, but Japan improved the quality of their automobiles after protecting locally made goods until their vehicles became the global standard.

“Malaysians are very scared when the Westerners scold them —they think ‘oh it’s not good’,” he said.

“I’m ashamed. I don’t care what they say to me. If I think I’m right, I will do it.”

He claimed that free trade and globalisation were ideas from developed nations influenced by big business who merely wanted bigger markets.

Protectionism of infant industries like motor vehicles, kitchen equipmen, and vital goods, he argued, was necessary so developing countries could compete with richer nations that had economies of scale.

Dr Mahathir said a car was a catalyst for other things.

“I keep on telling people that to make a car, you have to make 4,000 different components, and then put them together. It’s not easy, but we have mastered it in a very short time,” he said.

On a separate matter, Dr Mahathir praised American companies for being among the first to respond to Malaysia’s call for foreign direct investment (FDI).

He said American companies have played their role in boosting the country’s economic development.

“Among the few companies which have responded to our call for FDI, Americans were the first. We appreciate that. They set up manufacturing plants in Malaysia and produce a lot of sophisticated things including microchips and the like,” he said in his opening remarks at the US-Apec Business Coalition meeting in conjunction with Apec summit yesterday.

He said their presence has helped lift Malaysia’s export sector.

Dr Mahathir pointed out that Malaysia had always been producing rubber, palm oil, cocoa and pepper. However, these products cannot enrich the country.

“What can enrich the country is manufactured goods, but we have no expertise in manufacturing and markets, and that limits our capacity to improve on our exports,” he said.

Executives from companies such as UPS, Moody’s, Shire, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, UL, Cargill, Freeport-McMoRan, GE and Google attended the session.

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Proud husband

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim embraces his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail after she gave her speech as the outgoing PKR president at the party’s national congress in Shah Alam yesterday. The teary-eyed deputy prime minister recalled the tumultuous early days of the “Reformasi” movement to remind members of the party’s idealism. — Picture by Bernama

> SEE PAGES 4 & 5

DANGEROUS DISRUPTION

Apec risks irrelevance if it does not reevaluate free and fair trade practices amid technological advances that have created an ‘age of disruption’,

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says. In a keynote speech in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, the prime minister cited two examples: ride-sharing and home-sharing platforms, which have disrupted conventional taxi and hotel businesses.

> SEE PAGES 2 AND 3

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Winners take all

Gareth Southgate called for his England side to end the year on a high by beating Croatia at Wembley in their Nations League A Group 4 clash today. Zlatko Dalic’s men defeated Spain on Thursday but will miss playmaker Ivan Rakitic through injury against England. The winners will progress to next year’s four-team finals, while the losers will be relegated to League B.

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Rakitic blow for Croatians in key clash

LONDON — Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic will miss the Nations League game against England at Wembley today due to injury, manager Zlatko Dalic said on Friday.

Barcelona’s Rakitic came off in the 67th minute of the 3-2 home win over Spain on Thursday which gave Croatia the chance to top League A Group 4 and claim a place in next year’s four-team finals.

“He will go to Barcelona, it’s a serious injury. You know I usually take no risk. If there is a doubt the injury could be serious, then we let him rest,” Dalic told Sky Sports.

He did not specify the injury but Rakitic left the pitch in Zagreb suffering discomfort in the back of his right thigh.

“We want healthy players and Ivan in this moment is not 100 per cent ready. Unfortunately, we are going to play without him.”

Rakitic, 30, has played 102 games for Croatia but Dalic said they have players capable of filling in.

“We will see who will replace him. We have (Mateo) Kovacic, we have (Josip) Brekalo, we have (Milan) Badelj,” he added.

“There is always a solution and we should stop whining about someone who’s not going to be there. We will find a solution and we are going to Wembley to enjoy football.”

The winners of today’s game will qualify for the Nations League semifinals with the losers being relegated to League B. A draw would see leaders Spain clinch top spot in Group 4.

Rakitic is suspended for La Liga leaders Barca’s next game on Nov 24 at third-placed Atletico Madrid, who trail by a point, after being sent off in the home defeat by Real Betis last week. — Reuters

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All or nothing

LONDON — Gareth Southgate has challenged England to end their “brilliant year” in memorable fashion by beating their Croatia at Wembley to reach the Nations League Finals today.

Southgate’s side defied expectations earlier this year by reaching the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1990, where they were beaten by Croatia after extratime in a gruelling clash.

The England manager has turned to youth to revitalise the country’s relationship with the national team.

“It has been a brilliant year. Whatever happens, we’ve had real shoots of progress and achieved some outstanding results and good performances and blooded a lot of new players,” said Southgate on Friday.

“It’s given us a real depth to the squad and competition for places.”

The momentum from that semifinal finish in Russia has carried over to this season.

Now England can gain a measure of revenge over Croatia in their winner-takes-all Group A4 showdown at Wembley.

“We were very keen to move on from the World Cup as quickly as possible,” Southgate said.

“Everybody wants to go another stage and get to a semifinal out of a group which is as tough as there has been in this competition.

“So, it is a really good game for everybody to look forward to.”

If England beat Croatia, they will win the group and progress to the finals of the new competition — which offers the chance of qualification for Euro 2020 — as well as relegate Croatia.

Meanwhile a win for Croatia would take Zlatko Dalic’s men to the semifinals and send England down to League B, and a draw would send current group leaders Spain to the knockout stage.

England can also be relegated with a draw, and Croatia will drop down a level if they finish goalless.

England warmed up for today’s clash by defeating the United States 3-0 in a friendly on Thursday that doubled as a fond farewell for Wayne Rooney, who made a final appearance as a substitute.

Southgate named an even less experienced side than usual, with the likes of Lewis Dunk, Callum Wilson and Jadon Sancho seizing the opportunity to impress.

But Southgate will recall Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling to face Croatia.

“We’ve got two days to prepare, so it was one of the reasons we played the team we did,” he said.

“We know pretty much all there is to know about Croatia, most importantly that their desire.

“Coming to a full house at Wembley, they’ve got big players that will relish that challenge and we’ve got to relish that challenge as well.” — AFP

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