Friday, June 29, 2007

Cops suffering from 'computer phobia'

MIRI: There are police personnel in Sarawak who are suffering from "computer-phobia," said Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Talib Jamal.

He said he had found that a segment of his staff, including seniors and veterans, were afflicted with this "psychological ailment" during his inspection rounds of police stations throughout the state's 27 districts.

He is worried that this fear of computers would affect the police's delivery system to the public and may result in financial waste.

"We are trying to implement a better police reporting system in Sarawak. However, during my visits to police stations in the districts, I found police personnel who were actually afraid of using computers.

"I saw boxes of newly-purchased computers left unopened and stacked neatly inside storerooms in police stations.

"The policemen there didn't know what to do with these computers.

"This cannot be the case. Computers given to all police stations must be used for daily work. We have spent a lot of money to buy computers as part of an effort to modernise the force. We don't want this project to become a 'white elephant'," he said on Friday during the recent three-day meeting with police chiefs and cops from throughout the state here.

Talib said the state police headquarters will arrange for comprehensive training programmes on computers at the district levels in an effort to cure this computer-phobia.

He assure his staff that technical support would be given to maintain the computers to ensure that they are in good working condition for a long time.

"Jangan takut, ia takkan meletup (Don't be afraid, they will not explode)," he teased his men.


Malaysia still attracting foreign investors

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia remained an attractive destination for foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the first five months this year despite competition from others.

“Of the RM25.5bil investments in the manufacturing sector between January and May this year, 50.2%, or RM12.8bil, were foreign investments,” International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said on Friday.

She said at the launch of the Malaysia International Trade and Industry Report 2006 on Friday that the investments in 379 manufacturing projects comprised 244 new projects and 135 expansion and diversification projects.

Most of the projects approved were in the petroleum products and electronics industries.

Of the total investments approved, RM9.4bil, or 36.9%, were for new projects and the rest for expansion and diversification.

Most of the FDIs in the first five months came from the Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, the United States and Cayman Islands.

“Going forward, Malaysia will have to compete with other emerging economies for a share of the global FDI inflows.

“We have to work towards getting the right companies to invest here and get the companies which are already here to move up to higher levels by making new investments to expand or diversify their operations,” Rafidah said.

The Government, she said, would continue with efforts to improve the investment environment to ensure that Malaysia remained competitive.

“The focus in 2007 will be on specific measures to ensure that the strategies identified under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the Third Industrial Masterplan are effectively implemented,” Rafidah said, adding that policy initiatives and measures would be further strengthened to enhance the competitiveness of the manufacturing and services sectors.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Health Ministry to review effectiveness of healthy lifestyle campaign

It appears that Malaysians are increasingly eating the wrong thing, if recent indications on the rising incidence of heart disease are anything to go by.
It is understood that the outcome of the national morbidity and mortality survey is expected to point in this direction.

Deputy Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noorimi Morad said the Health Ministry would be reviewing its healthy lifestyle campaign to gauge its effectiveness.

“The review will be aimed at ascertaining if the campaign has been successful,’ she told the New Straits Times yesterday.

She had earlier opened the Malaysian Dieticians Association Scientific Conference 2007. She said the review would help the ministry focus on critical areas that needed attention.
She said Malaysians had to watch they ate or risk falling into the high-risk health bracket.

“We want a healthy population. That is why we keep stressing healthy eating. We are what we eat,” she said.

Dr Noorimi said World Health Organisation health statistics showed that food and diet contributed substantially to the health of people.

The WHO has also stated that developed societies reported a higher incidence of chronic diseases.

She said Malaysians suffering from diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol were costing the government RM300 million a year.

Statistics showed that one in three Malaysians aged 30 and above suffered from hypertension.

Three million people have high cholesterol and another 2.1 million have diabetes.

Dr Noorimi said all these conditions related to poor food and dietary habits.

The healthy lifestyle campaign was launched in 1991 with the first five years focusing on diseases. The second phase from 1997 to 2002 shifted attention towards targeting behavioural changes.


Prime Minister's speech at the Mass Media Conference 2007

THE following is the speech delivered by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when opening the Mass Media Conference 2007 organised by the Internal Security Ministry at the Palace of the Golden Horses in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

The conference is being held to allow the audience representing the government, relevant departments and the Internal Security Ministry to listen and gather feedback and views on the role of the media in the government’s push for the country’s development.

This is important because as a fast growing country and in an effort to become a developed nation, we’re facing various challenges that we have never encountered before.

They are triggered by what is happening on the global stage and we are constantly bombarded with news and information that would certainly affect our thinking and attitudes.

And we react to these thinking and attitudes, sometimes according to our perceptions and sometimes because we strongly feel that we should do something.

And for those in the media industry, they may take pen to paper and come up with features and commentaries offering their opinions on what they see and the goingson around them.

Sometimes they feel that their views are so important that they tend to forget about possible repercussions on the country and the people. What we feel about something may lead to comments that may appear to reflect on the feelings of Malaysians.

(But) sometimes they don’t take into account the general feelings of Malaysians, their concerns for continued peace and stability, and the value of (racial) harmony in the country.

Sometimes we comment much too freely but this is normal and something that is bound to happen. Nobody can stop it because as human beings, we have instincts and senses that are always responsive to developments in the country and abroad.

As such, media reports in the form of features, political and economic analyses, as well as those which are supposedly human interest stories, have an influence on the climate in the country.

And those who read newspapers, watch television and surf the internet and other source of news, will perceive this as the media world today. This is the situation now and the influence of the media is being felt by the people.

For both the government and the people, all these are relevant especially when the issues need to be tackled.

In this case, leaders have to use their judgement in deciding when to respond, when do you allow it and how people react.

If the issue is prolonged, it may spread like wildfire, and we may not be able to contain it. It’s not easy to tame a raging wildfire.

Leaders must be prepared for this. This applies to not only political leaders but also media practitioners including group editors and media owners who may react to issues in certain ways, giving out certain instructions like play up this one, forget about this. They too have their respective roles.

In this respect, the media practitioners need to have guidelines on what is to appear of the frontpage of their newspapers, or whether a story should be downplayed or given prominence.

This requires understanding from reporters, editors, editorinchief and newspaper owners especially when a news story involves certain people or a particular race.

And we in the government, particularly the Internal Security Ministry, Abdul Aziz (Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, the ministry’s SecretaryGeneral) call for the media’s understanding on sensitive issues involving the races, while realising that it is sometimes difficult to get the cooperation as they have their own stand on certain issues.

At times, the government has to decide whether to reply or just leave the issues published by the media.

Overall, the Malaysian media has been responsible and sensitive in preserving the racial unity towards realising the objective of transforming Malaysia into a nation of excellence, glory and distinction.

Our media has found itself in the midst of the country grappling with numerous challenges coming from every angle and all sorts of people not only from within the country but also at the international arena.

Surely you are wondering what is next from the government, especially what are Pak Lah’s or Internal Security Ministry’s reactions. I believe this is what is lingering in your mind. Many people are now saying that Pak Lah appears to be quite tolerant at times, (so they say) let’s try and see what is his tolerance level.

We also need to understand that the Malaysian people of today are different from those who lived in the preindependence era or when the country had just gained independence.

Many Malaysians now were born and grew up in postindependence Malaysia.

And the same goes to the media, some of which, especially the mainstream media, had played a role in the days when we just achieved independence. They too had gone through many events and happenings that have now become part of our country’s history which we cherish.

Nowadays, many media practitioners are from the postMerdeka generation. I am not saying that the veterans are no longer around. Many of them are in front of me now.

They are from the era of Pak Samad Ismail, Pak Melan. Datuk Zam (Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin, Information Minister) is smiling.

I have said to Datuk Zam, we are not that young now. We started out very early. You (Datuk Zam) started very early in the media world, I started very early in the government. We went through the same period of changes and challenges.

You are wellversed about the media and I am wellversed about the government. And I am also knowledgeable about the media while you are knowledgeable about goingson in the government.

But the youths of today, including the many bloggers, are finding themselves at the time when the country, as I mentioned earlier, is facing all kinds of challenges in its bid to become progressive and churn out credible citizens.

The challenges faced by the government of today are different from those that had to be tackled by Tunku Abdul Rahman (first prime minister) and subsequent prime ministers Tun Razak (Hussein), Tun Hussein (Onn), Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad), and me.

And the challenges will continue to evolve and we have to deal with them all.

Goingson in the country and what is coming from outside, couple that with a great communication revolution, shifts in the world of publishing, new influences and aspirations, point to the fact that we have matured (as a nation).

When we achieve so much progress, that means we have matured. And when decadence sets in, that means we are getting old and senile.

In terms of the evolution of nations, they will become developed and achieve success and glory. And this is likely to be followed by decadence and destruction. And school children may read about ancient history that would enligthen them about the rise and fall of nations.

I have not given a complete account of what had transpired in the past.

But for those in the know, surely many things will cross their mind about what happened in the past.

(They will ask) What is Pak Lah saying, did we go through the same process or not...(are there differences between) the old days and now.

But we need to play our role, and in doing so, we should learn lessons from history as history is very important.

Even if our history is marked with terrible incidents, we can still learn from it. I always believe that we can draw the best of lessons from the most bitter of incidents.

Whoever can learn from the past will sail through life with maturity and wisdom while those who are unable to do so shall die.

Those who forget history will one day lose their identity as they do not bother to build their personality and protect themselves from being adversely influenced by pressure and challenges.

They do not care about their roots and place little importance to their language and culture of origin.

We do not know these people anymore as they no longer possess the characteristics of what is called the culture and fine traditions of a race.

People who forget history lose their cultural identity as they allow themselves to drift aimlessly in the currents of self and national conflict.

Those who forget history also become materialistic, selfcentred and do not care about what happens to others as long as they are safe.

When this happens, there will not be any effort to progress.

As I have said before, we need to preserve our history and build our civilisation. It means that we must always be aware of what is happening around us, and hold on to our convictions and values.

And this history of ours will shape our civilisation.

I am grateful for the achievements which we have witnessed so far. This is what I have been trying to convey to you.

I have prepared a thick speech more than 40 paragraphs (for this ceremony) ... (but) I have decided that I should say what I want to thoughts as a person who is destined to lead the nation.

I am here not by force but I choose to be with you because we complement each other.

We should not forget history, (as) it has shown that the media has contributed immensely since the days we were struggling for independence. The media has also played its part when we were grappling with communist insurgency and confrontation with Indonesia.

Tumultuous periods in our history such as the May 13 episode, turmoils in the administration and government as well as in Umno, MCA, MIC, all these have left an indelible mark on the country’s political landscape and the people.

And as we join our hands in shaping the future, we cannot escape the fact that media practitioners must be responsive. Otherwise, there will be greater calamity in the country which may not be resolved other than through cooperation based on understanding.

We want to see continued stability and unity, respect for the Rukun Negara, we want to uphold our constitution and our law. We need to care for this nation of ours which practises parliamentary democracy.

For humans, freedom is priceless. But what is the meaning of freedom when in the effort to uphold human rights, an individual would only think about himself and his group, forgetting that others too would like to see their rights respected.

So we should be mindful of all these things.

The value of the freedom to think and act is truly immense. But freedom is not a licence to live aimlessly. And freedom has its limitations. There is no absolute freedom to do whatever we like.

We are a nation aiming for progress and success. We have our respective roles to play. We should always be mindful of that, so be careful. It’s also important to consult one another as this is encouraged under the democratic system.

I hope the media will understand all these things just like how I have to understand them as we move together towards a progressive and successful nation. Let’s create history. Let’s move forward in a civilised manner.

Thank you. – Bernama

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

IGP: Seven gang leaders in JB identified

JOHOR BARU: Police have identified seven gang leaders who have been terrorising the state with the help of influential people.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said police were in the process of gathering intelligence to either take action against these leaders under the preventive laws or to charge them in court.

“Many crime heads are from the state. Not only are locals involved but Singaporeans also control certain areas,” he said, admitting that there was a lot of illegal activity in the state which needed to be cleaned up.

Musa explained that the police would have to weed out gangsterism, clamp down on VCD pirates, loan sharks and those involved in prostitution.

“We must take action against the leaders and not just target VCD sellers,” he said.

Musa was in Johor on a one-day working visit to discuss the crime situation with his men and also to brief Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman on police plans to curb the problem.

Asked whether officers carrying out their duties might fear reprisal or transfers because of these influential people, Musa replied: “My men need not worry about getting transferred if they are doing a good job. Just do not victimise anyone.”

Musa, who was satisfied with the efforts taken by the local police to tackle crime in the state, said there was no need for a special task force from Bukit Aman to be sent to Johor as had been done in Sarawak.

“They (Johor police) have their own task force. The situation in Sarawak is different as they (the gangsters) were too much,” he said.

“The situation in Johor is under control but can be improved.”

On gangsterism, Musa said nobody wanted to come forward to give evidence and, as such, the police would have to use preventive laws against the suspects.

“If the gangster comes out from detention within three months, what are we to do?” he asked.

Musa also took local councils to task for approving entertainment licences everywhere, which made policing difficult.

“Even in villages there are entertainment outlets,” he said, adding that fights usually broke out at pubs and clubs.


Malaysia to gain organic farming expertise

ROME: Malaysia is keen on getting Italian technical expertise in offshore fish farming, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday.

This is one of the specific projects that has been identified by the two countries as they set out to develop closer links in the field of agriculture.

To signal their commitment, Muhyiddin and Italy’s Agriculture and Forestry Policies Minister, Paolo De Castro, yesterday signed the Joint Declaration on Agricultural Co-operation, which was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Muhyiddin said the two countries would form a joint committee to move it forward.

To be chaired either by the minister or a senior officer, the committee will meet once a year alternately in Kuala Lumpur and here.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia was also interested in gaining Italian know-how in organic farming; research and development in crop genes and microbiology, farming automation, vaccines for the livestock industry, and alfalfa planting for the equestrian industry.

The Malaysia-Italy Business Council would also be created for the private sector, he said.

The minister noted that trade in agriculture between the two countries was limited now as the bulk of Malaysian agricultural products entered Italy through the Dutch port city of Rotterdam. — Bernama


Eric Chia acquitted of CBT

Tycoon Tan Sri Eric Chia Eng Hock was wheeled out of the Kuala Lumpur court complex a free man after he was acquitted by the Sessions Court of committing criminal breach of trust 13 years ago involving RM76.4mil.