RM volatility, oil - Reuters

RM volatility due to crude oil price slump

KUALA LUMPUR — The ringgit is at its risk premium due to local political uncertainties and a sudden retraction of Brent crude oil prices, said RHB Research Institute analyst Vincent Loo Yeong Hong.

“Oil prices which retraced slightly due to the United States (US) dollar strengthening (after the Federal Open Market Committee statement saying the US economic outlook improved) has impacted the ringgit,” he told the Malay Mail.

He said the committee’s statement revived expectations of another rate hike this year.

Brent crude oil prices have had a huge impact on the behaviour of the ringgit in the past two years.

Meanwhile, Forex Time research analyst Lukman Otunuga believes last week’s unexpected build-up, in both crude and gasoline inventories, rekindled fears over excessive supply while the returning supply from previous disruptions have sabotaged any real recovery in value.

On West Texas Intermediate prices, he remarked, “Oil is firmly bearish and could be destined to trade towards US$40, as the mixture of supply concerns and speculation that demand may be waning attracts sellers to attack. From a technical standpoint, the downside momentum is strong with prices magnetised to the US$40 target.”

On the domestic side, RHB’s Loo said the local interest rate outlook hinges on the strength of the economy in second half this year.

“If growth improves or is sustained this year, then Bank Negara Malaysia is unlikely to cut rates further. However, should growth slow more than expected then we will see another 25-basis-point cut (to 2.75%),” he added.

He said in the current low yield global environment, easing interest rates would not have a major impact on the ringgit, especially as the US is not in a very good position to hike rates.

Inter-Pacific Research Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew, meanwhile, pointed out that the ringgit has had a weakening bias in recent weeks.

“Lower oil prices, as well as year-on year contraction in exports are all weighing on the ringgit,” he said in a Malay Mail interview.

Sunway University Business School economics professor Yeah Kim Leng noted that while most emerging markets’ currencies, including the ringgit, have strengthened against the dollar, some of the gains have been offset by weakening commodity prices particularly crude oil.

“Selective corporate rating downgrades by international credit rating agencies may have also contributed to the poorer ringgit sentiments, compared to other currencies that have gained more from the US dollar weakness,” he said.

On Friday, it was reported the US Federal Reserve had left interest rates as is, acknowledging an improved economic performance.

However, a rate increase may still take place this year.

Policy makers had not expected a raise in rates, which is expected to hamper growth.

The improved view on the economic conditions leaves an opportunity of an increase in the benchmark fed funds rate which is currently at 0.25 to 0.5%, by December.

The ringgit retreated from Thursday’s gains last week, to open slightly lower against the US dollar on Friday morning, as investors returned to safe-haven currencies after the US Federal Reserve opted to maintain its interest rates level.

It closed Friday trade at RM4.066 to the dollar from RM4.049 at the previous day’s close, Bloomberg figures show.

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Daughter of film legend preserves legacy

AS she drove past an apartment complex on a street in Khartoum, Sara Jadallah turned silent.

It was here her late father, the legendary filmmaker Jadallah Jubara set up Sudan’s first private film studio in the 1970s.

But in 2008, following an eight-year court battle over ownership of the land, the government demolished Studio Jad.

The demolition, shortly before the filmmaker’s death at the age of 88, left little trace of the studio.

But stopping next to the blocks of flats that now stand in its place, Sara pointed at a white patch on an old wall among the new buildings.

“The screen is still there,” she said.

With her father’s studio gone, Sara has vowed to preserve his life’s work.

With help from German experts, she has started digitising his entire film collection to create what she believes is Sudan’s first private archive of 15 and 35mm films.

“Through his camera, he documented Sudan’s history. I want to preserve this legacy,” Sara, 66, said at her home in a southern Khartoum district.

Jadallah was once an officer in the British army. Shortly after World War II, he began work as a projectionist in a British mobile film unit.

He went on to capture iconic moments in Sudan’s history, including the hoisting of the country’s flag as it gained independence from Britain in 1956.

In a career spanning more than five decades, he produced more than 100 documentaries and four feature films, including a famous 1984 love story Tajooj.

But years of storage in poor conditions have taken a toll on his film archives.

“Film rolls have a life span and because of exposure to heat and dust, they have been damaged,” Sara said.

Journey into the past

In his early years, Jadallah faced resistance from a conservative Sudanese society, making it difficult for him to find actors.

But a determined Jadallah encouraged family members to work with him, including Sara.

“He believed cameramen were the most important people in the world … and in their hands was the most important weapon,” she said.

Sara, who made a name for herself as a national swimming champion despite having polio as a child, also studied film in Cairo.

She worked with her father when he began to lose his eyesight due to old age, helping him film part of an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

Jadallah’s documentaries included films on Darfur, where a deadly conflict since 2003 had killed tens of thousands of people.

His early films preserved a snapshot of Sudanese society before the 1989 coup which installed an Islamist-backed regime.

Prior to the coup, Sudan was home to more than 60 cinemas, including 16 in Khartoum that often screened films from Hollywood and Bollywood.

Today, after years of economic hardships and government restrictions on importing foreign films, just three cinemas operate in Khartoum.

German filmmaker Katharina von Schroeder, who is helping Sara to digitise Jadallah’s collection, said watching his work was like taking a journey into the past.

“There were lot more enterprises and factories at that time, a lot more night clubs,” she said.

“Without any judgment, it was a different place,” she said as she showed footage from Jadallah’s collection.

In one commercial, a young Sara is seen dressed in a red top and a skirt.

In another clip, Sudanese couples in Western clothes danced at a late evening open-air party, something rare in today’s Sudan.

“There is no conflict between religion and cinema,” said Sara, “but some extremists reject cinema without even understanding it.”

“If you don’t have cinema, you don’t have a voice,” she said.

A gift to Sudan

Over his five-decade career, Jadallah produced more than 100 hours of film.

Digitising them is an enormous job. Around 40 hours have been processed so far, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

The project has received backing from a German foundation, the Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art, and the German embassy in Khartoum.

“It was definitely worth saving this heritage and Sara had this wish to preserve her father’s legacy,” Schroeder said.

The processing was done in Berlin. Sara was initially hesitant to hand over rare footage.

“I could understand that … in films as opposed to digital, you just have one copy and there’s nothing you can do if it’s gone,” Schroeder said.

“As far as I know, this is the only private film archive for 15 and 35 mm materials in Sudan.”

Tayeb Mahdi, director of a Khartoum-based film school, said the project was a fitting tribute to Jadallah.

“This government doesn’t care about cinema, while the private sector is disinterested,” he said.

“Despite this, Jadallah kept making films.”

For Sara, preserving her father’s legacy is a gift to Sudan.

“I feel sad when I remember my father witnessing his studio being demolished … I feel sad when there is no cinema,” she said, wiping away tears.

“I want to preserve his films because Sudan’s future generations should see their country’s history.” — AFP

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Palestinian and Israeli medics caught in turmoil of conflict

WHEN a Palestinian doctor stopped to help a family of Israelis targeted in a West Bank shooting, it was hailed as a rare moment of compassion in a bitter conflict.

Ten months of violence between Israelis and Palestinians have deepened suspicions between the two sides, with doctors and medics saying they come under greater scrutiny at times of increased tensions.

Some Israeli and Palestinian medics say they have been attacked while working, but all insist politics is far from their minds when they respond to a medical emergency.

Dr Ali Shroukh, who lives in the town of Dahriya in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said he did not think twice when he rushed to assist the Israeli shooting victims, and rejected the label “hero”.

Dr Shroukh was on his way to Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on July 1 when shots were fired at a car carrying a family of Israeli settlers south of the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, causing a crash which killed the father.

He stopped to help even though he knew from the car’s number plate the passengers could be Israeli settlers.

“I am not a hero,” Dr Shroukh said. “I followed my religion, my conscience and my profession. It is a humanitarian mission to stop and help.”

Besides, he said, doctors “make an oath to help an enemy before a friend”.

Dr Shroukh has received messages of congratulations from around the world, including from Palestinian and Israeli doctors, praising him for putting politics aside.

But keeping politics out of the medical profession, like most things in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is near impossible. Medics have been accused of bias and of abandoning wounded people from the other side.

One example of this was in Jerusalem.

The Israeli government does not formally draw a distinction between predominantly Jewish west Jerusalem and Palestinian-dominated east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed.

But the Israeli medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) says it will only enter parts of east Jerusalem with a police escort for security reasons – which medics say can lead to delays of more than 30 minutes in people receiving vital treatment.

In their absence, the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) tries to fill the gap, while MDA first responders who live in east Jerusalem or volunteers from the United Hatzalah group also rush to the scene to provide first aid until ambulances arrive.

Palestinian Ramzi Batesh, who works for United Hatzalah, said the rescue group established an east Jerusalem branch of the originally Jewish organisation because the time gap was leading to lives lost.

Responders in east Jerusalem are all Palestinians, except for Jewish volunteer Josh Wander.

He said he had had stones thrown at him as he raced to provide care while wearing his yarmulke skull cap, but that those in need are rarely concerned about his religion.

“I have never faced hostility from the people calling me,” Wander said.

“I have only found appreciation from the people in need. (But) I have had issues in the past going into certain neighbourhoods and coming out of certain neighbourhoods.”

Violence since last October has killed 217 Palestinians and 34 Israelis, with Israeli authorities accusing most of the Palestinians killed of carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks.

Palestinian medics say they are regularly prevented from reaching wounded people by Israeli soldiers, and witnesses have seen soldiers threatening medics.

A video which circulated last year showed Israeli forces firing pepper spray at Red Crescent medics during a dispute amid clashes in the West Bank.

Last year, an Israeli woman claimed PRCS medics refused to treat members of her family after an attack near a settlement in the West Bank in which her husband and son died.

The Israeli government accused PRCS of failing to remain neutral, with wide Israeli media coverage condemning the medics.

However, an internal probe by the International Committee of the Red Cross later rejected those claims.

International medical organisations that work with Palestinians have also been accused of failing to remain neutral by campaigners. Several NGOs declined to be drawn into the debate for fear of being accused of anti-Israeli bias.

The representative of one international medical organisation said foreign medics and groups have to walk a fine line in terms of criticism in order to avoid losing access to those in need or face an Israeli backlash.

The source, who declined to be named, said groups opposed to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians faced a “very difficult balancing act”. — AFP

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Is there such thing as impersonal sin?

READING G25’s statement which called on the religious authorities to stop combating “personal sins” such as adultery, close proximity (khalwat) and so on gives rise to this question: Are there sins that are not personal?

Based on our Islamic knowledge, the term “sin” refers to acts of rebellion either by denying an obligation or violating the restrictions imposed by God on His servants, which are all impersonal. Whether the sin is committed upon oneself or is inflicted on another, it is still considered impersonal. This is because the “self” is the one who bears all responsibilities and consequences on the Day of Judgment.

So, when a person does not fulfil the rights of others upon him or herself, such as being disobedient towards parents, hurting neighbours, disturbing public order and so on, it is not the rights of the parents or the neighbours that are being ignored, but his own right which has been violated. His or her right to do what is right will later save him or her from the punishment in the Hereafter.

When some people claim the religious authorities should not combat personal sin, this essentially means not combat sin at all. The same impact is affected by their statement “do not practise religion outside the personal boundaries”, or “do not bring religion into the public space”.

The question which arises then, is Islam a personal religion which does not engage within the social context? If that is the case, then anything contrary to the Shariah should be neither enforced against nor eradicated.

It makes us wonder if these people have ever learned the basic principles of their religion, namely the concept of sin, and halal and haram, which are among the important principles in Islam.

Imam Al Ghazali quotes the Prophetic saying in his Ihya Ulumuddin, in the chapter “Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil”, where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If some people commit sins while there are others who are fit to prohibit them, but do not, they are abstaining from a religious act. Soon, the punishment of God will fall upon all of them.”

Al Ghazali also quoted a narration by Abu Darda’ (may God be pleased with him): “You shall enjoin good and prohibit evil, or else God will place over you such a tyrant ruler who will not show honour to your elders nor kindness to your young (youngsters/youths). The religious men among you will pray against them but God will not accept their prayer. They will seek help against them but they will not be helped, they will seek forgiveness but they will not be forgiven.”

Imam al Mawardi in his book al Ahkām al Sultaniyyah in the chapter entitled “Ruling Governing Criminal Actions” stated criminal actions refer to acts prohibited by the Shariah and for which Allah punishes the perpetrators with hadd or discretionary punishment (ta’zir).

Al Mawardi then elaborated on two kinds of offences in respect to the rights of Allah: first — punishment that result from abandoning (religious) obligations, and second — the consequences of committing something forbidden in religion.

A person who has forgotten to perform the obligation of prayer, for instance, must be asked to repent if he has not done it due to personal weakness. Some jurists, in fact, consider a person as out of the fold of Islam if he abandons it and claims it as a non-obligation. Does this not indicate personal sins are punishable?

Such claims about impersonal religious practices reek of Western secular humanism.

Religious upheaval during the Enlightenment were initially driven by the greed of the clergy who manipulated the sacred position of religion in the community. This hypocrisy eventually victimised the religious institution as well as the religion itself.

This problem should not arise among Muslims because this problem does not exist in Islam. There is no separation between religion and worldly matters in Islam, despite the fact some things are secular in nature. That is why there is no term in Islam which can be used as a synonym to the word “church” which serves as a spiritual institution as in Christianity.

I believe we should identify this as a problem that will destroy religion itself. It happened in Europe, where humanism, which was initially debated within the religious framework, eventually resulted in people leaving religion when it became unable to withstand the rapacity of human desires and ambitions.

I think this is the wisdom of what Syed Muhammad Naquib Al Attas states in one of his important books, Prolegomena To The Metaphysics Of Islam, that secular humanism ultimately led men to secularise their religion, eliminating God from their lives, until finally men begin to lose their purpose of life.

He said; “Humanistic philosophy and the gradual process of secularisation together with the rise of secular philosophy and science, made tragedy, instead of religion, the exaltation of man. Fear must be purged not by faith in God, but by the banishment of God from the realm of creation; self pity must be purged not by remembrance of God, but by pride in humanity and defiant acceptance of the human predicament.

“The causal factor in tragedy is no longer the old Greek Fate nor the God of religion, but social and individual conflicts, biological heredity, the psychology of the unconscious, defeat by frustration, man confronted by the mystery of the universe, the eternal quest of man, and the absurdity of life. Freedom of the will becomes a firm belief because it helps in the perpetual struggle against obstacles that prevent from reaching the goal. But the goal is evershifting. Can Sisyphus ever be happy in having eternally to push the stone up the hill where at the top it is destined to roll down again?”

People often questioned, “Who is entitled to speak for Islam?”

A scholar is the one who speaks for Islam.

All of us recognise each branch of science has its own authority. We will not send our children to an engineering college to learn medicine. We would be more inclined to send our children to the most prestigious medical college which has proven its credibility, and has produced many nurses, doctors and specialists.

Religious sciences are the business of the serious scholars who have proven their credibility not through the assessment of the public but by other scholars. Their works can be read, referred to and depended upon as guidance.

What the liberals such as the G25 have done to this country is not merely denying the authority of true Muslim scholars, but to also confer authority upon themselves, or other liberal “scholar” of their choice.

Assoc Prof Dr Khalif Muammar in a seminar on religious liberalism said: “It is obvious they are ignorant about Islam and trying to interpret Islam according to their whims is disrespecting to the authorities. If they desire to choose a Western way of life, it’s their choice but when they want to impose their view on the state and the people, then it becomes a big problem. It is a kind of intellectual terrorism.”

Although the question of “personal sin” refers to the statement made by the G25, in reality, they are just one of the consumers of liberal ideas that are too often recycled and spitted to the public.

This group should be honest in examining their arguments if they really want to see reforms that benefit the religion. Otherwise, what they are doing will not merely secularise Islam, but might in fact, religionise secularism.

AKHRUN MUSA

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

JAKIM

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Jalur Gemilang our beacon of hope

I WAS watching this Hindi movie called Airlift. It is a true story about how a businessman’s courage, sacrifice and efforts helped to evacuate about 150,000 Indians who were living in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion.

When they finally reached the airport, everyone was looking out for the Indian flag, signifying Indian planes had arrived. I found the scene which showed joy in the eyes of the Indians when the Indian flag was finally raised very touching. It was a reminder to me the flag can come to mean much more than just a design on a cloth flying in the air.

National flags have been around for a very long time, since the concept of a modern national state was created. It is a means of identifying a country and I suppose more importantly how the country wants to portray itself to the rest of the world. Most flags also reflect the history of the country itself.

The Malaysian flag, for instance, has 14 stripes of alternating white and red to signify the union or federation of the 13 member states together with the federal government. They are equal in size to denote equality of status. The star also has 14 points to represent the unity of these members of the Federation of Malaysia. I would argue legal unity of the federation is based on the agreed document between the members called the Federal Constitution, the highest law in the land. While each state may have its own constitution, the Federal Constitution is supreme. And while each state has its own flag, we are united by the Malaysian flag.

When we look at the 14 alternating stripes and the 14-point star, it should be able to remind us of the sacrifices and efforts made by our people to reach the state of a united Federation of Malaysia. We should never take this for granted as the unity has allowed us to progress far better than we were back in history. As we evolve as a nation, I am sure we will be giving further meaning to the unity of the federation depending on how we further shape the destiny of our country.

We can take inspiration and encouragement from the fact our Malaysian flag is named “Jalur Gemilang” or “Stripes of Glory”. This should constantly remind us as a nation we should think, behave and plan so that we can live up to its name. Obviously, this will call for further sacrifices, efforts, understanding, unity and cooperation between its people. We will therefore have to learn to put aside our differences and work with common values and principles to achieve a common vision for the Malaysian people so that we truly become a nation of glory. After all, the blue canton of our flag symbolises the unity of the people.

The crescent on our flag represents the fact that Islam is the official religion of the federation and the yellow represents the royal colour of the Malay rulers. The Malay rulers are heads of religion (Islam) in each of the states and hence have a significant role in shaping the nature of Islam in our country. The Federal Constitution in Article 3 states Islam is the official religion of the country while recognising the freedom to practise other religions.

Today, whether we like it or not, for various reasons, Islam has developed a lot of negative elements, partly due to the behaviour of Muslims themselves. Whatever may be happening in the rest of the world, the critical question to me is: when we and the world look at our Malaysian flag, what kind of Islam in our country comes to mind? Do we portray and propagate a compassionate, just and progressive Islam or a rigid, dogmatic, inclusive and regressive “Islam”? Even the Malaysian flag demands we address these issues.

We must always remember flags are held in high esteem if they represent and reflect good values and principles that the country and people stand for. Hence, if we take the flag to be more than just a mere symbol, it becomes a constant reminder people must do all they can for good values and principles to be a norm in society.

People should never lose hope regardless of any political development because they must remember the country belongs to the people, not just the politicians. A great, prosperous and glorious nation is never built in a few years without challenges. Politicians come and go in the power game but the people and their families will continue to live on the soil of this land. Hence, it is the people who have to toil to till the land and make it prosper. Then we will see the flag for what it really is: a reminder of our gratitude, our pride and our home which only we can safeguard.

Jahaberdeen is a senior lawyer and founder of Rapera, a movement that encourages thinking and compassionate citizens. He can be reached at rapera.jay@gmail.com

US action in 1MDB case flawed, says Aussie lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR — The move by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to seize assets allegedly linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is legally flawed, according to a senior Malaysian-born Australian lawyer.

Quintin Rozario, a prominent litigation lawyer in Brisbane, said by making public statements on Malaysian individuals allegedly to have laundered illicit funds into the US, its attorney-general Loretta Lynch had herself committed “excesses and breaches of natural justice”.

Rozario said Lynch overstepped the mark and her authority by concluding an offence or offences had been committed by Malaysia or its agents.

“She went further by implying they were guilty of the offence by making assertions without a scintilla of proof or a valid court decision which could back her assertions.

“In order for that to occur, the Malaysian defendants ought to first to have been heard. They were not,” he said.

Rozario said it was a legal principle even the most vile of criminals were deserving of and entitled to the doctrine of natural justice under the constitution.

“The right to be heard and to be afforded an opportunity to present their defence, to challenge the assertions and charges and the evidence against them and for the respondents in this matter to confront their accusers have not yet arisen,” he said.

“For the highest legal officer of the land in Loretta Lynch to act in such an arbitrary manner is to deny the respondents a fair hearing or any hearing at all. Loretta has become a judge, jury and executioner all in one.”

Rozario said the US attorney-general’s action was also clearly against a decision made by the US Supreme Court in 2014 in the case of Daimler vs Baume, in which the apex court ruled any violation of act committed by residents in the US, their conduct could not be attributed to the government or as in this case, 1MDB.

“Instead the Supreme Court ruled their activities would only establish specific juridiction in the state they reside in the US,” he said.

Lynch, in prepared remarks to announce the legal action on July 20, said among other things a high-flying Malaysian businessman known as Jho Low had allegedly laundered hundreds of millions of illicit funds into the US, which funded real estate purchases and a lavish personal lifestyle.

“The 2014 US Supreme Court decision is a clear authority even if Jho Low or others mentioned in the complaint were residents of any state of the US and were agents of 1MDB or the government of Malaysia and that they had committed a violation of any act in their state, their conduct could not be attributed to the government or 1MDB,” Rozario said.

The lawyer also spoke of the US record of observing international law which he described as “inconsistent at best and selective and flawed at worst”.

He said the US had the economic, political and military might to exercise over those who they could and wished to subdue.

“Lynch’s approach to 1MDB follows a long line of authority of the US using strong arm tactics on smaller states. It does this by appropriating to itself powers to dilute Malaysia’s sovereignty and to enforce against it ‘legal obligations’ usurping that power from the US and Malaysian courts and other arms of their government,” he said.

Rozario’s arguments reinforced Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s remark on Thursday due process needed to be respected and those named in the DoJ action should have a chance to defend themselves, including in court. — Bernama

Ahmad Said warns of backlash if sacked by Umno

KUALA LUMPUR — Kijal assemblyman Datuk Seri Ahmad Said said yesterday he had “no problems” with being expelled from Umno but cautioned there will be repercussions in the Terengganu legislative assembly.

Some Umno members had urged the party leadership at a closed-door meeting here on Saturday to sack the former Terengganu menteri besar for his vocal criticism of the state government and his bid to table a no-confidence motion against his successor Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman last March,
Sinar Harian reported yesterday.

“I have no problems and will accept any decision, only whatever decision may impact the position in the state legislative assembly,” Ahmad Said was quoted by the Malay daily.

“For now, I will continue to focus on my duties as an elected representative to fight for the people’s rights even though I have to face all sorts of accusations from certain people.”

The state Barisan Nasional (BN) is in power in the state with just a single seat advantage with Ahmad Said’s possible expulsion from Umno leading to a 16-16 deadlock in the 32-seat state assembly.

Ahmad Said was appointed the new Terengganu chief of Malay rights group Perkasa on July 21, the same day he was appointed but declined a post in the state government.

Ties between Ahmad Said and his successor have been strained after the Kemaman Umno division chief was forced to step down as menteri besar in May 2014.

Ahmad Said and two other state Umno assemblymen then quit the party, which resulted in the BN becoming a minority government in Terengganu for 48 hours that ended only after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak intervened.

The three rebels subsequently rejoined Umno.

Last March, Ahmad Said sought to table a motion of no-confidence against Ahmad Razif in the state assembly but this was refused by Terengganu Speaker Datuk Mohd Zubir Embong.

Dr M’s party may spur BN to new heights

KUALA LUMPUR — The new party to be set up by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be doing a favour to Umno and other Barisan Nasional (BN) parties as the competition will help the coalition become more successful, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said.

He said countries like Japan and Germany excelled because they had to struggle to survive whereas empires such as Britain faded away due to rot and complacency.

“Sometimes, competition is good when it makes you aware unless you buck up and work harder you face the risk of defeat,” he said in his latest blog entry on sskeruak.blogspot.com.

“So, maybe Dr Mahathir is doing Umno and Barisan Nasional a favour by offering us some competition because competition is always good to see success.”

The newly-appointed Umno treasurer, however, said Dr Mahathir’s decision had proven the latter’s stand clearly he was not trying to save Umno but destroy it.

“Dr Mahathir has finally admitted the only way to change the government is in a general election. Of course, Mahathir will not admit he is trying to change the government,” Salleh wrote.

“He claims he is just trying to remove Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak to save Umno, Barisan Nasional and Malaysia.

“It is strange someone would want to save the party he claims he still loves by trying to destroy it. It is like saying you want to save humanity by destroying the world,” he said. — Bernama

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PTAs may have to carry out own fundraising

PETALING JAYA — Parents-Teachers Associations (PTA) in Selangor may have to organise annual fundraisers to help finance the maintenance costs of schools.

Urban Wellbeing Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar said Putrajaya allocated billions of ringgit annually for schools but the amount was never enough for their upkeep.

“I’m thinking about making it compulsory for PTAs in the state to have programmes to raise funds,” he told a press conference after opening a PTA carnival at Sekolah Menengah Seafield here.

Noh, who donated RM20,000 to the school for its upkeep, said such fundraising programmes will help schools resolve their infrastructure maintenance issues at a speedier pace without having to wait for federal funds.

School PTA chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Ali said the event was to upgrade facilities in classrooms, teachers’ rooms and the school hall.

“Besides that, the school needs a fresh coat of paint to give it a new facelift,” he said, adding that the PTA planned to raise RM 200,000.

“We had wanted to raise RM300,000 but the economy is not good and RM200,000 will be good enough. We will find other means to raise the difference.”

The school was a hive of activity yesterday with more than 120 stalls set up offering a variety of food, drinks and games.

Callen James Marsh, 17, who set up a haunted house with a concept adapted from the computer game “Slenderman”, took two days to complete the project.

“I am a gamer and since the game is too frightening to be played on the computer, I made it happen in real life,” he said.

Callen and a team of 15 transformed a classroom into a haunted mansion.

“It was not easy taking something from a computer to make it life size but with the help of my team, we pulled it off,” he said.

Teachers also set up a stall selling fresh vegetables from Cameron Highlands.

“We want to encourage our students to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat nutritious food instead of junk food,” said Gawri Narayanasamy.

Lower Form six student Kam Poe Yan, 18, and classmates set up a face-painting stall that was a hit with students.

“We chose to be different and it paid off,” she said.

Association to help resolve Indian fishermen’s woes

MANJUNG — Some 300 Indian fishermen around Manjung have been facing problems for more than a decade due to the absence of an association.

But this may end soon with a move to set up the Manjung Indian Fishing Entrepreneurs Association to represent their interests.

Raja Kumaran, 55, who has been fishing for more than 30 years, is expected to head the association.

He said the association will help bring up their problems so that the state government and relevant agencies will be aware of what needs to be done.

“We have been facing numerous problems over the years and have not got anywhere resolving them as we lack an association to represent our needs,” he said, adding that the most common problem was fishing nets being either stolen or damaged.

“We have to spend at least RM80 to repair the nets and if we want to buy a new one, it will cost a few hundred ringgit,” he told Malay Mail when met at the Kampung Pasir Panjang jetty.

Raja said the nets were damaged by large boats which cut into their path in open sea.

He said he had reported the matter to the marine police and fisheries department several times but no action had been taken.

“Our fishing nets are still getting stolen and damaged,” he added.

Asso Munusamy, 37, from Kampung Permatang, said most Indian fishermen here had no safety equipment on their boats.

“Most of us don’t even have life jackets. We cannot afford to buy them. Most of the time, what we earn is just enough to make ends meet,” said the father of two, aged seven and nine.

Asso said the life jackets would help in rough seas and strong winds.

Kalaiselvan Chinniah, 56, from Kampung Batu 1, said he had yet to receive his fishing licence despite applying for it
five years ago.

“Every application I sent has been rejected. There are other fishermen who have yet to receive their licences too,” he said.

Kalaiselvan said the licence was necessary for deep sea fishing.

“Fishermen going out to the deep sea without a licence can be fined or arrested by enforcement authorities,” he said.

Meanwhile, special officer on Indian affairs to the menteri besar of Perak, Datuk V. Elango, said the proposed association will be assisted by the Lumut MIC division.

“We are aware of their plight in Manjung and will try our best to help them,” the division chairman said when contacted.

Elango, who also will be the advisor to the association, said he will raise the fishermens’ problems with the state government.

“We will try to get them licences besides helping to market their catch,” he said.

“We will also try to resolve housing problems faced by some of them.”

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