30 May, 2014


The Star maintains its position as the country’s number one English daily, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) report.
Its average daily circulation increased to 339,162 in the second half of 2013. up 2.4% or 8,042 copies from a year earlier.

The Star’s circulation rose for both the print and digital formats. The digital replica saw a circulation of 49,551, up 17% year-on-year.

Sunday Star also recorded an improved performance, with circulation growing 2.2%, or 7,814 copies, to 341,963. The digital edition accounted for 49,737, up 19% from a year earlier.

Harian Metro retains the top spot among Bahasa Malaysia dailies but with a lower circulation. Its circulation slid 9.5%, or 36,174 copies, to 343,840 in the second half of last year.
For the first time in at least two years, Mingguan Malaysia has overtaken Metro Ahad as the premier Bahasa weekly. Its circulation grew 1.9% to 373,352 in 2013’s second half while Metro Ahad’s circulation fell 10.6% to 362,807.(The Star)

17 May, 2014


Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew, who will turn 90 next month, said in a new book published Tuesday that he feels weaker by the day and wants a quick death.

"Some time back, I had an Advanced Medical Directive (AMD) done which says that if I have to be fed by a tube, and it is unlikely that I would ever be able to recover and walk about, my doctors are to remove the tube and allow me to make a quick exit," he wrote in the book "One Man's View of the World".

The book is dedicated to the Asian statesman's views on international affairs but an entire chapter contains his musings on death, religion and other personal issues. The 400-page work is dedicated to his late wife Kwa Geok Choo, whose death in 2010 shattered the normally stoic veteran politician.

Lee has visibly weakened since then and revealed in the book that despite daily exercise and a disciplined lifestyle, "with every passing day I am physically less energetic and less active."

"There is an end to everything and I want mine to come as quickly and painlessly as possible, not with me incapacitated, half in coma in bed and with a tube going into my nostrils and down to my stomach," he wrote.

Lee, a British-trained lawyer who served as Singapore's prime minister for three decades and turned it into a high-tech industrial and financial centre, expressed his blunt views on religion in the book.

"I wouldn't call myself an atheist. I neither deny nor accept that there is a God," he said.

"So I do not laugh at people who believe in God. But I do not necessarily believe in God -- nor deny that there could be one."

Asked where he drew comfort from if not from religion, he said: "It is the end of any aches and pains and suffering. So I hope the end will come quickly."

Elsewhere in the book, Lee addressed what he considers the biggest long-term threat to Singapore -- its low birth rate -- and rejected as "absurd" suggestions that his population programme in the 1970s urging couple to stop at two children contributed to the current situation.

Despite a slew of so-called "baby bonuses" to encourage couples to have children, Singapore's total fertility rate last year stood at 1.20 children per woman, far below the 2.1 needed to maintain the native-born population.

Lee, who retired from politics in 2011, blamed Singaporeans' changing lifestyles for the problem and said monetary incentives would only have a "marginal effect" on it.

"I have given the job to another generation of leaders. Hopefully, they or their successors will eventually find a way out," said Lee, who handed power to his deputy Goh Chok Tong in 1990 after 31 years in office.

Lee's son, Lee Hsien Loong, is now prime minister after succeeding Goh in 2004.

Singapore's low birth rate has forced the government to open the country to foreigners, who now comprise a third of the population.

The influx, however, has sparked protests from citizens and prompted the government to tighten immigration flows in recent years.

Lee pointed to the example of Japan, which he said is on a "stroll into mediocrity" as the ranks of its elderly swell due to young couples not producing enough babies.

Japan's reluctance to open up to immigrants will further lead to its decline, he said.

"If I were a young Japanese and I could speak English, I would probably choose to emigrate," said Lee.
(Source : AFP News)

08 May, 2014


KUALA LUMPUR 7 Mei - Persatuan Pedagang dan Pengusaha Melayu Malaysia (Perdasama) menyambut baik cadangan pengambilalihan PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) kepada syarikat swasta yang dikaitkan dengan Idaman Saga (Idaman Saga) Sdn. Bhd., milik Tan Sri Halim Saad.

Presidennya, Datuk Moehamad Izat Emir berkata, walaupun cadangan itu dilihat masih samar namun persatuan itu menganggap langkah pengambilalihan tersebut harus dipertimbangkan bagi meringankan beban rakyat.

"Perdasama beranggapan cadangan itu harus dipertimbangkan bagi meringankan beban rakyat sekali gus menurunkan kos tanggungan rakyat dan dapat mengurangkan subsidi yang ditanggung oleh kerajaan setiap tahun," katanya dalam kenyataan kepada Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Sebuah akhbar berbahasa Inggeris pada 25 Mac lalu melaporkan Halim melalui syarikatnya, Idaman Saga berhasrat mengambil alih PLUS dengan cadangan terbarunya kepada kerajaan untuk mengekalkan kadar tol pada paras semasa.

Isu pengambilalihan itu bagaimanapun dibantah oleh Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) kerana bagi pertubuhan itu, PLUS merupakan tulang belakang dan pemacu kepada perkembangan ekonomi negara.

Naib Presiden Perkasa, Syed Osman Syed Mansor semalam berkata, PLUS yang kini dimiliki bersama dua syarikat milik kerajaan (GLC) dan agensi kerajaan, iaitu Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) dan Kumpulan UEM Bhd. (UEM) selama ini juga telah diurus dengan baik.

Menurut Moehamad Izat, tidak dinafikan kedua-dua agensi kerajaan ini menunjukkan prestasi yang baik malah kedua-dua agensi tersebut mendapat manfaat daripada pelaburan mereka dan disalurkan kepada rakyat.

"Bagaimanapun saya percaya cadangan baharu yang dikemukakan oleh Tan Sri Halim Saad itu tidak harus diketepikan. Ini kerana, PLUS merupakan tunjang yang menghubungkan negeri-negeri di Malaysia dan merupakan landasan utama sektor pelancongan dalam negeri.

"Inisiatif seperti ini bukan sahaja membantu meringankan beban rakyat malah merancakkan ekonomi negara," katanya.


One in ten Americans think 'space aliens' were involved in the disappearance if the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, it was revealed today. A survey found that nine per cent of the people believe 'space aliens or beings from another dimension were involved'. 

Investigators are still continuing their search for the missing plane and the 239 people on board, which vanished from radars on March 8. The poll by CNN and ORC International found that while most people in the U.S. believe the search for MH370 should continue, half believe authorities are searching in the wrong place.

Findings also showed that the vast majority (79 per cent) believe there are no survivors. Just over half (52 per cent) think we will eventually find out what happened to the flight. However, a further 46 per cent say we will never know. 

The survey comes as 11 terrorists with links to Al Qaeda were arrested in Kuala Lumpur and Kedah and questioned about being involved in the plane's disappearance. Aged between 22 and 55, the suspects were believed to have comprised students, business professionals and odd-job workers. Terrorism was seen as a possible cause of the disappearance by Americans, with 57 per cent of those surveyed saying terrorists were likely involved, despite no group or organisation yet coming forward to take responsibility. 

Furthermore, 42 per cent of the U.S. public believes hijackers were involved, while 52 per cent said a mechanical failure was probably involved. Just a quarter said it was very likely that the crew or plane's pilots had something to do with the disappearance. Yesterday, it was revealed the Malaysian tourism minister has said the government will not inject any more money into the state-owned Malaysian Airlines after the MH370 disaster. The ailing national carrier has suffered a slump in bookings and £750 million losses following the disappearance of the flight two months ago and is undergoing 'restructuring'. 

Mohammad Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture, said the government will not put 'any more money' into the troubled airline. Malaysia Airlines - which is owned by the government through a holding company - had already suffered $1.3billion losses over the past three years as it faced stiff competition and unprofitable routes, Gulf News reports. 

Mr Aziz said that the government is now unsure what it can do - but he added: 'To inject new capital is certainly not an option.' It now looks unlikely that the government will sell the national carrier to private investor after the share price dropped both under the restructuring plans and the flight MH370 disaster. Report Daily Mail UK

07 May, 2014


KUALA LUMPUR 6 Mei - Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) menentang cadangan pengambilalihan PLUS Malaysia Bhd. (PLUS) oleh syarikat swasta kerana pemegang konsesi lebuh raya itu merupakan tulang belakang dan pemacu kepada perkembangan negara. 

Naib Presiden Perkasa, Syed Osman Syed Mansor berkata, PLUS yang kini dimiliki bersama dua syarikat milik kerajaan (GLC) dan agensi kerajaan, iaitu Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) dan Kumpulan UEM Bhd (UEM) selama ini juga telah diurus dengan baik.

“Cadangan oleh syarikat persendirian untuk tidak menaikkan tol sehingga tahun 2038 dan kerajaan boleh menjimatkan RM40 bilion adalah tidak masuk akal tanpa bukti-bukti kukuh. 

“Perkasa berpendapat, aset kritikal negara iaitu PLUS wajar dikekalkan hak miliknya oleh dua agensi itu dan tidak dijual kepada syarikat swasta," katanya dalam kenyataan di sini hari ini bagi mengulas isu PLUS yang kini menjadi sasaran pengambilalihan oleh sebuah syarikat swasta. 

Dalam pada itu, Syed Osman turut mempersoal mengapa PLUS perlu dijual kepada syarikat swasta sedangkan dimiliki oleh agensi yang kukuh. 

Katanya, Lebuh Raya Utara Selatan yang konsesinya dipegang oleh PLUS telah dibina berdasarkan konsep bina-kendali-pindah (BOT), maka harus kekal dalam pemilikan kerajaan. Beliau berkata, kerajaan juga disaran agar menguruskan aset kritikal negara demi menjaga kepentingan rakyat. Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd 

05 May, 2014


KUALA LUMPUR 4 Mei - Lebuh Raya Utara Selatan, aset kritikal negara yang merentasi lapan negeri di Semenanjung Malaysia adalah pemangkin kepada nadi pembangunan negara dan harus dikekalkan hak miliknya, demikian menurut seorang penganalis. 

Pengarah FA Securities, Zakie Ahmad Shariff berkata, PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS), pemegang konsesi lebuh raya tersebut, kini dimiliki bersama dua agensi kerajaan, Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) dan Kumpulan UEM Berhad (UEM), dan cadangan untuk memiliknegarakan PLUS kelihatan dangkal. 

"“Kenapa kita pilih untuk UEM dan KWSP mengambil alih PLUS empat tahun lepas ialah untuk memberi faedah kepada negara, memperbaiki kedudukan kewangan serta penyelenggaraannya dan mereka telah menunjukkan prestasi yang sangat baik," katanya ketika mengulas PLUS, yang kini menjadi sasaran pengambilalihan oleh sebuah syarikat swasta. 

Pemilikan sekarang bukan sekadar telah menjadikannya milik rakyat, malah secara langsung memberi manfaat kepada lebih 14 juta pencarum KWSP. Sebaliknya, beliau mengalu-alukan pihak ketiga mengambil alih lebuh raya bertol dalam bandar memandangkan faktor kekerapan penggunaan lebuh raya dalam kehidupan seharian warga kota berbanding lebuh raya PLUS di luar kota. “

Kalau betul-betul nak tolong rakyat, lihatlah lebuh raya bertol dalam bandar, bukan PLUS. Kalau sesebuah syarikat ingin mengambil alih tol-tol yang ada, kenapa tidak ambil alih tol-tol seperti LDP (Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong) dan sebagainya," katanya. 

Zakie yang juga pakar ekonomi turut berpendapat bahawa, selaku pemilik aset terbesar yang menjadi tulang belakang kepada rangkaian pengangkutan Semenanjung Malaysia, adalah wajar bagi PLUS kekal status quo. 

Beliau berkata, untuk meringankan beban kerajaan, rangkaian lebuh raya PLUS telah dibangunkan oleh pihak swasta berdasarkan konsep ’bina-kendali-pindah’ (BOT). “Kembalinya PLUS ke tangan kerajaan melalui usaha sama KWSP dan UEM adalah selaras dengan matlamat penswataan negara. Biarlah kedua agensi kerajaan ini, KWSP dan UEM, mendapat manfaat daripada pelaburan mereka, tambahan pula rakyat juga yang meraih faedahnya. Untuk diserahkan semula kepada pihak swasta, saya tidak nampak rasionalnya," ujar beliau. 

Seruan agar hak milik PLUS kekal status quo turut disokong oleh Pensyarah Kanan di Fakulti Perniagaan dan Perakaunan Universiti Malaya, Dr. Ervina Alfan. “Adalah jauh lebih baik bagi orang ramai jika lebuh raya itu kekal milik kerajaan. Ia sebenarnya adalah untuk kepentingan orang ramai secara keseluruhan," katanya. 

Ervina berkata, operasi lebuh raya berdepan dengan pelbagai risiko sama ada dari aspek politik, pasaran, pembinaan ataupun permintaan, dan aset berharga seperti Lebuh Raya Utara Selatan tidak seharusnya berada di tangan pihak swasta untuk mengelakkannya daripada dicagarkan bagi menyokong pinjaman. - BERNAMA