26 December 2013

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad  said today that Putrajaya can increase its revenue by cutting costs instead of raising prices of necessities, despite needing a bigger amount annually to manage growing expenses.
Weighing in on the current debate over rising prices, which according to some pundits could cost the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) votes in the next polls, Dr Mahathir said  that while the Government needed a bigger amount annually to manage its growing expenses, by applying the business concept of “cost down”, Putrajaya could minimise wastage and improve efficiency.
“We must accept that the government needs more money with the passage of time. But should the increase be as big as it says?”
By paying attention to the yearly Auditor General’s Report on government waste, Dr Mahathir said:
“The Government often wastes money because it is not too concerned about the returns on its expenditure in whatever form… If the Government is interested in reducing the cost of governance, it can do so and perhaps quite substantially.”
For example, the Government could save substantially, more than 50%,  if it opted for light-emitting diode bulbs, he added.
“The subsequent reduction in the amount of electricity to be generated will reduce subsidy on fuel for power. But this has not been done by the Government.”
He said while people understood that higher tax rates are necessary to cover the cost of development, the rise in living costs has to move in parallel with incomes earned.
“But the taxpayers cannot suddenly come up with the money to pay the new taxes and charges,” he said, adding that the cycles corresponds with the rising costs of doing business when wages, taxes and tariff are increased.
The effect on raising taxes must be carefully studied first, said Dr Mahathir. He proposed for a gradual increase in taxes, saying that it was a more viable option.
“Can the increase not be in stages, for example, 6% per year for three years or longer? The losses in current contracts will be minimised. Future contracts will take into consideration the increases.”
He said that by taking a friendlier approach of increasing price hikes in stages, Malaysians would respond better to the change and be more receptive to the Barisan Nasional government.
“It will not hurt the Government too much but it will gain a lot of goodwill from people.
“They might even remember in the next election,” he said.
“Otherwise far from collecting more taxes, the Government may lose much when other businesses and business people emigrate”. 
University of Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMCEDEL) on Tuesday unveiled findings of a survey, saying that the increase in the cost of necessities, electricity tariff and petrol had had an impact on the lives of Malaysians. And if nothing was done, BN would suffer in the 14th general election. – December 26, 2013.

04 December 2013

Damning SD dismissed as 'rubbish'

Former senior policeman Mat Zain Ibrahim's damning statutory declaration (SD) on the Batu Puteh legal misadventure has been dismissed as a "load of rubbish".

Noor Farida Ariffin, who acted as co-agent in the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the 2008 case, added that the contents of the SD comes from someone "who obviously has not read the judgment or understood it."

Mat Zain, the former Kuala Lumpur CID chief, made an SD accusing Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail of accepting money to ensure the Malaysian legal team lost in the island dispute.

However, Noor Farida told The Star that it was a "win-win situation" for both Malaysia and Singapore because the ICJ awarded Batu Puteh to Singapore and Middle Rocks to Malaysia.

She explained that the court found that the Sultanate of Johor had the original title over Batu Puteh but decided that through Malaysia's conduct, it lost the title between 1851, when the Horsburgh lighthouse was built by Singapore, and 1980 when the dispute arose.

The former Malaysian ambassador to the Netherlands also commented on Mat Zain's allegation that the case was lost because Abdul Gani had submitted a "doctored" photograph of the island's location during the proceedings.

"The photograph was inconsequential. The decision did not revolve around the photograph," Noor Farida was quoted saying.

"I am puzzled by the allegations of bribery, which are nonsensical and totally without foundation.

"It was not possible for anyone to be bribed because all the decisions pertaining to the preparation and conduct of the case were collective decisions," she added.

Noor Farida also clarified that Wisma Putra headed the team and not Abdul Gani, with former Wisma Putra secretary-general Abdul Kadir Mohamad acting as Malaysia's agent for the case.

"All relevant government agencies were represented on the team, including the AG's Chambers, and we also had a legal team of four international lawyers who were some of the best in the business," she said.

01 December 2013

Actor Paul Walker Dead At 40 After Car Crash

paul walker

Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

Paul Walker has died at the age of 40 after he was involved in a single-car accident and explosion in Santa Clarita, Calif., Saturday afternoon, the actor's rep confirmed to TMZ.

The actor, best known for his leading role in "The Fast and the Furious" and its sequels, was reportedly in a Porsche with another person when the unidentified driver lost control and slammed the vehicle into a tree. The car burst into flames at the scene. Both were killed at the time.

"Sources close to Paul tell us he was in Santa Clarita for a car show to support the Philippines typhoon relief effort, and had been taking friends out for rides in his new Porsche GT," reports TMZ. "The accident happened during one of those test spins."

“At the conclusion of the accident the vehicle struck a light standard and the whole car was burned,” a Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal was also reporting on the incident:

Spectators gathered at the scene, and several said the driver was the star of “The Fast and the Furious” series of films. One witness at the scene said he tried to put the fire out and recognized Walker inside the vehicle.

Walker is said to have business ties to Always Evolving Performance Motors, located down Constellation from the scene of the crash. Always Evolving hosted an open house and car meet on Saturday.

Walker's official Twitter account has since confirmed the news:

It's with a heavy heart that we must confirm Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident...MORE: - #TeamPW

— Paul Walker (@RealPaulWalker)December 1, 2013

From the full Facebook post:

It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences. - #TeamPW

Universal Studios soon after released the following statement.

“All of us at Universal are heartbroken. Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the FAST AND FURIOUS films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul’s family.”

Walker and the cast of "The Fast and Furious" were in the middle of filming the seventh movie of the series.

Filming began in late September and was scheduled for a July 2014 release.

fast and furious 7 set

Vin Diesel / Facebook

While promoting his latest film, "Hours," earlier this month, Walker revealed that his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow, moved to live with him last year after living with her mother in Hawaii.

Paul Walker car crash scene tmz pic

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