Saturday, February 24, 2007

ALARM & OBSESSION-MOTORCYCLISTS Deaths; WHY Spent Millions on MOTORCYCLE Lanes? Playing God, Avoiding deaths; No one "dies" before His or Her Time

Going hand in hand with the notion that avoiding accidents would avoid deaths imply also a lack of understanding of death. Death is greatly misunderstood as being the end of it all, of coming too soon.

No one "dies" before his or her time. The choice , manner and time of death are always yours. When the soul is ready to release the body, when it has accomplished what it came here to do, it moves on. Therefore, in this case, these motorcyclists were ready. WHY this big obsession and alarm with motorcyclists deaths? There ARE MORE people being born in MALAYSIA than dying. Why this alarm? Economic loss? If everyone lived up to the ripe old age, it would be more expensive for the government in terms of health care.

Their daily dare devil stunts in reckless riding may reveal that they hold the strong belief that old age represents a degradation of the spirit and an insult to the body. Slow death in a hospital or an experience with an illness in old age would be unthinkable to this group of people.
What is their choice? They would prefer to choose the experience – the drama, even the terror when that occurs - to die young like a hero and leave physical life in a blaze of perception on a motorcycle; battling for your life at a point of challenge, “fighting” and not acquiescent like those who prefer to go away in a disaster.

In the first place, we shouldn't call most unintentional injuries "accidents." as being practiced in the States. To do so implies that they are random occurrences that could not have been foreseen or prevented. Unintentional injuries (the preferred term) can be prevented, or at least made less likely by better road engineering, safer vehicles, lower speed limits, and abstention from drinking and driving. These improvements and others have led to continuing decreases in US death rates from all types of motor vehicle crashes, with one exception: those involving motorcyclists.
Deaths on motorcycles have increased 54% since 1997. Per mile traveled, the number of deaths on motorcycles is more than 25 times greater than that in cars. Much of this difference is due to the unique vulnerability of motorcycle riders because of motorcyclists' lack of visibility to other drivers. In a study, motorcyclists wearing any reflective or fluorescent clothing had a 37% lower risk of being involved in a crash than those not wearing such clothing. If the driver's helmet was reported to be white or light colored, the risk was 19% less. And use of daytime headlights was associated with a 27% decreased risk.
Now more motorcyclists’ death in Ops Sikap and Works Ministry is quick to respond to build more motorcycle-lanes in ALL new roads to reduce these deaths. This is just like playing God, avoiding deaths. Why this obsession with a one-track mind to solve this problem. As if the separate lanes would prevent all these deaths.

Learn from published data in the States. They have done enough R & D and there is NO NEED to set up the Safety Research Institute and tried to reinvent an "octogonal" wheel in Malaysia - and this will SURELY prevent all deaths as the motobikes would move slowly! But what do we have? The Works Ministry treat this as another great opportunity for class F contractors to pocket in more money. RM300 million estimate to build these lanes and as usual the final tally would be another mark up of 70% coming to a more realistic final cost of RM500 million.

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Traffic police out in force against law-breaking motorcyclists

24 Feb 2007; Alang Bendahara; ; NST

KUALA LUMPUR, SAT.: More than 2,500 summonses were issued to motorcyclists nationwide in less than 24 hours, confirming what the police always suspected — that motorcyclists are serial traffic offenders. The figures came about after police mounted 80 roadblocks nationwide from 6pm yesterday to try and knock some sense into motorcyclists who always top the list of road fatalities.

Federal traffic chief Datuk Nooryah Md Anvar lamented: “These motorcyclists know the law, yet they persist in ignoring them. “Despite highlighting the number of fatalities, despite taking all possible precautions to ensure the safety of motorcyclists, these are the very people who have no qualms in breaking traffic rules.” More than 5,000 motorcyclists were stopped at roadblocks and screened. They would have broken every law in the book. At least 16 were also arrested after failing their urine tests.

They were believed to have been high on drugs when checked. “Now it seems that it makes more sense having special operations only for motorcyclists. We have tried everything else.” Nooryah had launched the three-day operation against motorcyclists yesterday after statistics during on the ongoing Ops Sikap XII showed that motorcyclists and pillion riders recorded the highest number of deaths.

To date, 183 fatalities were reported in the ongoing operation, with motorcyclists and pillion riders topping the list with 107 deaths. Yesterday’s Ops Sikap figures were not encouraging as 882 accidents were reported nationwide. Four deaths occurred on federal roads, three on state roads, three on municipal roads and one other roads. Five of the fatalities involved motorcyclists, one pillion rider, two car drivers and three pedestrians. And yesterday alone, police issued a total of 11,723 summonses to motorists for various offences.

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Watch Towers “BN project” for the government using the taxpayer’s money.

Can you trust the road concessionaires to build something safe? When police mooted the idea for more effective enforcement; the visible presence of police personnel would be strongly felt by road users and would deter motorists from flouting the laws, watch towers were built last Feb. They were left unused and un-maintained throughout the year. And now with Ops Sikap 12, the police tried using them again (see pics) and 5 were found to be unsafe.

When they climbed up some of these “scaffolding structures with wooden platforms and ladders, the swaying of structures could be felt.. And when the wind blow against the canvas, the structures started to sway further and frighten the daylights out of the police personnel and the IGP instructed them to monitor at road levels. And the complaints go to the Works Ministry and of course they were to be demolished and the taxpayers were to pick up the tabs again for these 14 NEW TOWERS (14 X RM100,000 =1.4 Million after completion and the leakages, the bill would most probably to be rounded off to RM2 Million) Now how effective would these towers be? 14 of them on Federal, state & municipal and there are 17,500 km of Federal roads. It would be better to make more life size and realistic “police dummies and deploy them (and changing the placing locations) along the accident prone areas.

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February 23, 2007 15:36 PM

New Federal Roads To Have Motorcycle Lane

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 (Bernama) -- All new federal roads will have special lanes for motorcycles to reduce fatalities involving motorcyclists and pillion riders in road accidents, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said. As for existing federal roads, he said, the motorcycle lane would be built if there was still reserve land at the location and availability of funds. He said the Public Works Department had been instructed to submit a proposal on the building of special lanes for motorcycles on all federal roads as well as to identify the "killer-stretch" and cost of the project.

"It is not going to be like before by only drawing lines on the left and right side of the road to separate the lane for motorcyclists. This time, the lane for motorcyclists will be away from the main road," he told reporters after opening a fly-over linking Jalan Ipoh to Jalan Duta here. Due to land scarcity in Kuala Lumpur, Samy Vellu said it would be a problem to build additional lane for motorcyclists at existing roads in Kuala Lumpur adding that at present, the Federal Highway, from Jalan Pantai to Klang, already had separate lane for motorcyclists. He said the government felt the need to have special lane for motorcyclists following a finding that it could reduce fatalities involving motorcycle riders from 60 per cent to 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, sources from the ministry said the proposed building of the motorcycle lanes, estimated to cost RM300 million, would be submitted to the Cabinet after several issues on the matter were to be resolved. Roads in Kuala Lumpur which recorded high accident rate death like Jalan Kepong-Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Kuching and Jalan Cheras will be given priority for building of motorcycle lanes. The government is also considering widening existing federal roads, stretching 17,500 km, from two lanes to four lanes. On the bypass between Jalan Ipoh and Jalan Duta which was opened to traffic yesterday, Samy Vellu said it was among steps taken by the government to reduce traffic congestion in the city.
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February 22, 2007 19:12 PM

Temporary Watchtowers Will Be Demolished If Unsafe

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 (Bernama) -- The Public Works Department (PWD) will demolish all temporary traffic watchtowers immediately if checks reveal that they pose a safety hazard. "The 14 watchtowers erected by the road concession-aires last Feb 17 had been inspected by the PWD and efforts were made to reinforce them to ensure safety,"

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu told reporters after chairing the MIC central working committee meeting here Thursday. He was commenting on a report that five of the temporary watchtowers meant for traffic police to monitor the highways and roads during Ops Sikap XII are not safe. Worried for the safety of his men, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan had on Tuesday directed them not to use the watchtowers until the PWD has conducted checks to certify that they are safe.

ABOVE: The base of a watch tower (if the Scrap dealers are working hard, they would make the base unsafe by removing some braces) BELOW: an officer climbing up "testing" its safety

Musa said the temporary five watchtowers deemed unsafe were in Selangor, Penang, Perak, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan. He said the watchtower at Km 16, Jalan Tampin-Gemas was made of steel used for scaffolding with a canvas roofing and policemen had to climb two wooden stairs with a plywood base supported by pieces of wood.

ABOVE: Nearing the top, the officier must be having "soft knees" at the height and BELOW: The officer at the top; shaking p with the tower "swaying". How can they hold the camera steady. Perhaps the real reasons they abandon these towers are that 1. It is damn hot up there 2. Tiring to climb up & down for refreshements 3. How to piss on the top except onto bottles? 4. It is a graveyard assignment 5. scare of heights

Samy said such watchtowers had been erected since 2005 and no safety problem had been reported. He added that the PWD was in the process of building permanent watchtowers slated for completion by April 7. To date, two permanent watchtowers at routes FT14 Dungun and FT03 Marang, in Terengganu have been completed.

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February 11, 2007 15:48 PM
Watch Towers For Federal, State And Municipal Roads To Monitor Traffic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 (Bernama) -- The government is erecting 14 permanent watch towers along federal, state and municipal roads in peninsular Malaysia to monitor the traffic in `Ops Sikap 12' which starts Sunday. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the towers, which cost less than RM100,000 each, had been approved by the Cabinet last Wednesday and were being built by the JKR.

"This is the first time watch towers are being built along the federal, state and municipal roads. Previously, they were only erected along the highways, and were used for the subsequent Ops Sikap."The locations have been identified," he told reporters after presenting Chinese New Year angpows and goodies to some 210 elderly poor people at Wisma MCA, Selayang Branch near here, today.


KLCI index Surge for Real & Lasting OR Ground Exercise for a General Election? Rife Speculation - Election by Year End under Feel Good Factors

The speculation is widely predicted by the opposition that a snap election is on the cards. The latest indication is from Datuk S Samy Vellu after chairing MIC CWC meeting on 22nd Feb 2007 in Kuala Lumpur. He told newsmen he had directed all Chairman’s of State MIC chiefs to set up election committee in preparation of the coming General Election.

The committee is task to go to the electro roll of the respective constituency make house-house visit. Anwar Ibrahim the advisor to PKR and soon to be President also predicts an early one and opposition PAS is preparing. But others felt the BN is preparing but isn't about to call one as Abdullah doesn't need a new mandate although under pressure to prove his mettle.

In another matter, Samy Vellu was asked about reports that he did not want another Ministerial position for MIC but clarified that he had suggested many time to the PM for another Ministerial position in the government.

“It is up to the government to think. We have already made our appeals several times. Normally the positions of Minister and all these, we do not discuss. No I don’t want another minister; I like to be a single minister. That’s what some fellow from outside was saying”

Asian Wall Street Journal; February 23, 2007
Is Malaysia Near a Vote?; Talk Rallies Stocks, But Late '08 Election Appears More Likely; By HASAN JAFRI

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia is seeing a wave of speculation that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is about to call snap elections, even though analysts and diplomats dismiss the idea. Economic numbers show the country in a feel-good phase: 2006 two-way trade was a record one trillion ringgit ($286 billion), gross domestic product last year grew at about the targeted 6% level, while the stock market -- up 16% so far in 2007 -- looks set to reach all-time highs. The ringgit is trading near a nine-year high and bond prices have also risen sharply. Talk of an election is so strong that on Feb. 17 the ruling party-owned Utusan Malaysia newspaper said on its front page it is "Time to disband Parliament," a move that typically precedes the calling of an election. Malaysian stocks traditionally rally ahead of elections on hopes of increased spending and incentives to lure voters.

But many observers strongly doubt there will be a quick election, and if the speculation peters out, the market could decline slightly. Political observers argue that Mr. Abdullah would want to wait until the latter half of 2008, when he would be able to highlight the results of several high-profile projects on which he has staked his political reputation. In celebrating the positive economic numbers, "Abdullah is clearly trying to drum up sentiment," an Asian diplomat said. "He's preparing the ground for an election but isn't about to call one.

I think second half of 2008 is a more realistic time frame." Khairy Jamaluddin, Mr. Abdullah's son-in-law and deputy leader of the ruling coalition's dominant United Malays National Organization party's youth wing, told Dow Jones Newswires his view is "it's a little premature" to call an election. Politically there is no compelling reason...," he said. "The prime minister doesn't need a new mandate." The impact of "the Ninth Malaysia Plan projects [that] are just being rolled out...will be felt on the ground in the next 12-18 months," Mr. Khairy said. Mr. Abdullah led the ruling coalition to a landslide victory in March 2004 and doesn't need to call elections until March 2009. While his less combative public persona offers a contrast to that of his predecessor, Mahathir Mohamad, Mr. Abdullah has come under pressure to prove his mettle. The prime minister has spent the first half of his five-year term trying to wean Malaysia away from Dr. Mahathir's can-do attitude on the economy, which led to excessive spending. Mr. Abdullah has cut the fiscal deficit and introduced economic and corporate policy changes that he said will create the right environment for sustainable

long-term economic growth. While economists have applauded Mr. Abdullah's decisions to trim government spending, the Malaysian electorate isn't pleased with the belt tightening, particularly when it leads to rising prices for gasoline and higher road tolls among other costs. That is where the Ninth Malaysian Plan comes in. The five-year, 220billion ringgit plan is regarded as crucial in supporting Malaysia's economic development and ambition to become a developed nation by2020. The plan is aimed at positioning Malaysia to grow at least 6% each year, and the spending, when it kicks in, could also buffer the economy against a possible slowdown in global growth, economists say. Since the plan was announced more than a year ago, dozens of projects have been identified, including a second bridge to link Penang to mainland Malaysia to boost business on the northern island. However, red tape is slowing the implementation. Making the Ninth Malaysia Plan work is Mr. Abdullah's biggest challenge, given the country's poor record of implementing infrastructure projects on time and without cost overruns.

Last year Mr. Abdullah threatened to fire "Little Napoleons" in the bureaucracy if they didn't act fast enough, and this year he formed a high-level committee of mostly bureaucrats to ensure smooth implementation. Without some concrete signs of progress on the economic front, Mr. Abdullah would be hard put to find the more buoyant public sentiment needed to assure him of the political mandate he seeks. Data that typically measure public sentiment continue to indicate that the mood among voters remains downcast, in part because increases in wages haven't kept up with the rising costs of living, particularly in urban areas. Job growth has also been slow. "Although Abdullah does mean business, based on his many statements against corruption, the public remains unconvinced that enough is being done substantially," Ramon Navaratnam, president of Transparency

International Malaysia, said in the New Straits Times newspaper Wednesday.Write to Hasan Jafri at
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February 23, 2007 00:26 AM

KLCI's Significant Rise Not Influenced By Govt, Says Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Thursday denied that the government had influenced the significant rise in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index of late. He said this when responding to a question on speculation that the rise in the share market was artificially induced by the government to face the general elections."What did the government do?" he asked.

The rise in the CI has indeed been stable, and reflective of the increasing interest among both foreign and local investors in the stock market, Abdullah said. Share volume on Bursa Malaysia Securities hit another all-time high of 4.78 billion shares in Thursday's trade. At 5pm, the 100-quality stock Composite Index (CI), which saw an intra-day high of 1,280.51, ended the day 1.70 points lower at 1,276.52. "Foreign investments into Malaysia has gone up and so has domestic investments. Put together, they have exceeded RM42 billion. "Apart from that, our currency has also strengthened. So, is the government doing that? No," Abdullah told a press conference following the Umno supreme council meeting here Thursday. The prime minister, who just arrived from a visit to Indonesia today, said that the improved share market also reflected strong economic fundamentals.

"Besides that, the mergers among big companies recently has been also seen as a good sign for our economic future. These are the factors that have convinced investors about our economy," he said. Abdullah, who is also the Finance Minister said the relatively low share prices on the local market were also an attraction. A declining deficit, a stable economy and Malaysia's capability to meet the challenges of increased oil price in the global market last year were also other factors that have contributed to the bullish share market. The development in southern Johor has also attracted the interest of foreign investors, he pointed out.

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February 23, 2007 15:26 PM

Govt Will Decide When To Internationalise Ringgit - Zeti

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 (Bernama) -- The government will decide when to internationalise the ringgit, Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said Friday.

"The government will monitor the environment and we will only consider when it will be on Malaysia's interest to do so," she told reporters when asked on the matter after delivering her opening remarks at INCEIF's Inaugural Intellectual Discourse Series, here.

The ringgit, pegged to a basket of currencies, is currently being traded at around RM3.50 to a dollar. On inflation, she said the inflation rate is expected to move up and down but on an average it will remain below three percent in 2007. Inflation stood at 3.1 percent in December, giving the whole year of 2006 3.6 percent. The government is schedule to release the latest figure on Feb 28.

February 23, 2007 17:11 PM
Press Statement; by Lim Guan Eng
(21/2/2007); Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is spurring a stockmarket frenzy and buying boom in blue chip counters with the first indication in history by a Malaysian Prime Minister that the KLCI might breach 1,350 points. Abdullah said during the Chinese New Year that after hitting a 10-year high of 1, 262.1 points last week, the KLCI might breach the 1,350 mark – which would be the highest in Malaysia's history.

For a Prime Minister to publicly state such a target, it is clear how high the stock market will scale and it would not surprising to see Malaysians investing fully in blue chip counters to earn guaranteed quick profits. For investors, there is no risk to invest in the Bursa Malaysia as Abdullah would not only lose his credibility completely if the KLCI does not break 1,350 points, but investors may even claim losses from the Prime Minister should they lose money by taking his stock advice.
Abdullah had based his confidence that the KLCI would break its record on the rise in foreign reserves, the lower deficit, the record RM 46 billion invested by local and foreign investors, national trade volume of RM1,069 billion last year, up 10.5% from the previous year. However such goods news may be an inspiration to the rich and those with cash to invest but not to the many small businessmen and workers.

.If the Prime Minister is inspired by the performance of the economy, why is it that many Malaysian small businessmen and workers are not equally inspired? According to the Ninth Malaysian Plan (9MP), the mean monthly household income for a Malaysian family was RM 3,249 in 2004. This is misleading as it is doubtful that a Malaysian family would have even a monthly household income of RM 3,249 now.

With the economy performing at such an "inspiring" level in 2006, the mean monthly household income should even be higher. But does every Malaysian family get to enjoy the fruits of the country's economic success equally with a mean monthly household income of more than RM 3,249?

The answer is in the United Nations Human Development Report which consistently list Malaysians as suffering the worst income inequality between the rich and poor in South-East Asia . The 9MP shows the share of income of the bottom 40% of the population declined from 14.5% in 1990 to 13.5% in 2004 whilst the share of the top 20% of the population increased from 50% in 1990 to 51.2% in 2004. Malaysians want real inspiration in the form of bonuses and real wage increases, not false inspiration of good economic performance that is not shared by all but enjoyed by only the few.

Malaysian spin on economy sparks poll talk

Monday February 12, 4:54 PM
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's media has been trumpeting good news
about the economy
, and that is stoking speculation of an early election this year. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi does not need to hold an election until early 2009, and insists he is in no hurry following the big mandate that he won in 2004. But political analysts do not rule out snap polls this year.” The PM is likely to give more candies, including the promised review of civil service's salary, if he decides to go for polls this year," said political analyst Yahaya Ismail. At the weekend, Abdullah's ruling party revved up its election machinery to try to regain power in the northeastern state of Kelantan, ruled by the conservative Islamic party PAS since 1990. PAS, or Parti Islam se-Malaysia, is also gearing up for the polls.

"We expect the election this year," one official told Reuters. Analysts say the climate appears favourable to Abdullah. Malaysia's opposition parties remain relatively muted, and the economy, the government says, is on a roll. The mainstream media, which generally cheers the administration, went to town last week with a slew of upbeat stories ranging from a record 2006 trade volume to rocketing share prices, a stronger ringgit and rising foreign reserves. "Good times are back," blared one headline in the best-selling Star newspaper, summing up comments by Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop. "The feel good factor is clear. Retailers are enjoying better business and restaurants are packed," the minister said. "Economy now more resilient than ever," was the headline in the New Straits Times, a daily controlled by Abdullah's ruling party. More such stories are on the cards, said one editor, who attended a government briefing recently.

OLD BOSS AND BLOGGERS The PR drive and promises of higher spending on state projects could help Abdullah fend off challenges posed by two big thorns in his sidebloggers and his outspoken old boss, Mahathir Mohamad. The former premier has called Abdullah's government "gutless", giving vent to a host of bloggers who have often targeted Abdullah personally, accusing him of pampering himself while raising living costs. "The PM is now on the offensive," said one media strategist who advises several ministers. "With the feel good factor, Mahathir will have no or the slightest impact on voters." Abdullah, 67, has kept the election card close to his chest. "What I'm thinking now is about work," he said last week after announcing the record

trade volume figures. "There's a lot of work now." Abdullah won the last election in 2004 by a landslide on a pledge to fight corruption and carry out reforms. He can choose to delay the polls until mid-2008. But that could present a new danger. Opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim, freed from jail in 2004, is banned from standing for parliament until April 2008. But if the polls are held after that, the 59-year-old could emerge from his political wilderness.

Despite the government spin, the real economic picture is not that rosy and Abdullah's promises of reform remain largely unfulfilled, critics say. Private economists only expect growth of 5.5 percent this year, against an official forecast of six percent, largely because of weaker U.S. demand for Malaysian exports. Car sales are unlikely to pick up sharply this year while property sales are sluggish as consumers, concerned about job security, remain wary of big-ticket purchases."We have to tighten our belt. There are not many jobs around, and there is
less purchasing power," said Lokman Mohamad, a building contractor. "Some firms also face cash flow problems."

Malaysia's Islamic opposition expects elections this year, starts preparing

By VIJAY JOSHI; Associated Press Writer; Feb 10, 8:17 PM EST

KOTA BARU, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysia's main Islamic opposition party has started preparing for general elections, saying it expects the government to seek a new mandate later this year - at least 17 months ahead of schedule. The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, known by its Malay acronym PAS, held a major closed-door meeting of party members on Saturday night to discuss strategy for the elections, party officials said. The meeting, presided by party leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat, was held in Kota Baru, the capital of northeastern Kelantan state, the only Malaysian state ruled by an opposition party.

The remaining 12 states are ruled by Barisan Nasional, a multiethnic coalition dominated by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's United Malays National Organization, a moderate Muslim party. Reporters were not allowed into the meeting, but PAS vice president Husam Musa told The Associated Press that the party expects elections to be called either in early September or late October.

Abdullah has refused to specify a date for the elections that must be held before March 2009. But political circles are rife with speculation that he may call early polls while the country's economy is doing well and not take the chance of dealing with an unforeseen crisis during election year. Also, there is fear that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has been carrying on an anti-government campaign for more than one year, may step up his attacks and weaken the party by 2009. Musa said elections could be held after the Aug. 31 Independence Day celebrations but before the start of the fasting month of Ramadan in mid-September, or in late October after the budget has been presented.

Government officials were not immediately available to comment on the PAS speculation. Asked why the party has started preparations so early, Musa said: "We are the weak students, we need to learn early. Not like UMNO who can come in any time and be strong." PAS, whose aim is to create a theocratic Islamic state, holds only a handful of seats in the national parliament but has controlled the Kelantan state assembly since 1990. It has governed with Islamic principles including a ban on rock concerts and gambling, restricted alcohol sales and a dress code for Muslim women.

The PAS government recently lifted bans on karaoke lounges and snooker parlors in a bid to shed its hardline image. The party suffered a stunning defeat in the last national elections in 2004, and afterward tried to project itself as more moderate by reducing its religious rhetoric. In recent party elections, a crop of young leaders including Musa were elected as office bearers. About 60 percent of Malaysia's 26 million people are Muslims but the PAS defeat was seen as a rejection of its hardline policies.

= = == =Further read Go H E RE on

for the Better; Nothing More Stimulating, More Worthy of Actualization in his Endeavour.

= = =latest post (Feb 24) Go H E R E on

Tan Sri ROBERT KUOK HOCK NIEN, Malaysian Business Top 40 Richest M’sians (SUGAR KING - Worth RM32.4b) NOT RELATED to Johore MP Datuk SHAHRIR’s Chinese WIFE; No 2: Ananda Krishnan (RM19.2b); No3: Quek Leng Chan (RM10.2 b), No:4

Thursday, February 22, 2007

300,000 Protested Sungai Nyior TOLL; EFFECTIVE: SAMY’s U-Turn TOLL Collection-Defer Indefinitely; BORR’s COST - RM410 Mln to RM700 Mln; WHY Samy?

All the way from LONDON (see Bernama’s report below dated 16th Feb 07) Samy admitted defeat and announced that Sungai Nyior Toll Collection be Deferred without even the Cabinet nod. And will the Taxpayer be AGAIN made to Pay for this deferment? When the toll agreement needs to be declassify, all the red tapes were pulled out and that he needed to present a paper for a decision to be made. Now he can made an announcement and defer tolls. Isn’t all these “wools being pulled over our eyes” to suit their conveniences.

When they protest to the Penang government over the Sungai Nyiur toll at BORR (Butterworth Outer Ring Road, starting on 20th Feb 07); the State government quickly build 4 Toll-free roads linking Seberang Jaya and Butterworth, with a 300m stretch (costing RM2 Million to be build on a fast-track basis (NST Feb 15) so that “to ensure motorists who do not want to pay toll have an alternate route to use" And Samy can announced the toll there is deferred indefinitely.

The reasons they protested:
The road leading to the toll plaza was not new and that it was an existing trunk road and it was ridiculous for motorists to be charged toll now”.
Using the same reasons, when DAP protested against the tolls charged along Jalan Pahang & Jalan Kuching, then they did not want to know! And the same now in Bandar Mahkota Cheras -Toll 11 km. Why this double standards and marginalisation
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Wednesday February 21, 2007; STAR

DAP Lim Guan Eng questions jump in cost for BORR Why Samy?

BUTTERWORTH: How did the construction cost of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) jump from RM410mil to RM700mil? This was the question posed by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng to the Government, adding that Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had previously quoted RM410mil in Parliament when responding to a question by Bagan MP Lim Hock Seng. “Now, we read in the newspapers that the amount is RM700mil.

Why has the cost suddenly gone up?” he asked at a press conference at the BORR Sungai Nyior toll plaza here yesterday. Lim also asked for the concession agreement between the Government and BORR concession holder, Lingakaran Luar Butterworth Sdn Bhd, to be made public. “The public has the right to know the terms and conditions in the agreement,” he said. The collection at the Sungai Nyior toll has been deferred till further notice following public objection.

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February 21, 2007 20:21 PM

Smooth Operations At Bagan Ajam And Perai Toll Plazas

BUTTERWORTH, Feb 21 (Bernama) -- Operations at the Bagan Ajam and Perai toll plazas of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) went smoothly despite the public uproar over toll collection at the Sungai Nyiur plaza near here. Toll collections at Bagan Ajam and Perai started from 6.00 am Wednesday, while operation at the controversial Sungai Nyiur toll plaza had been postponed indefinitely due to protests by local residents. While the charges for using the Bagan Ajam and Perai routes should have been imposed a day earlier, the highway concessionaire Lingkaran Luar Butterworth Sdn Bhd decided to enforce them today as Tuesday was a public holiday. Checks by Bernama at the Bagan Ajam and Perai plazas found that motorists were aware that the use of the routes was no longer free as the highway concessionaire had erected enough signs along the road to remind them of the toll charges. The motorists were in fact ready to pay toll yesterday but they were informed by the company's workers there that the charges would only take effect Wednesday.

The toll rates for cars are RM1.20 and RM1.30 at Bagan Ajam and Jalan Prai respectively, while for double axle lorries, the charges are RM2.40 at Bagan Ajam and RM2.60 at Jalan Prai. A bus driver Salahuddin Hashim when met said the outer ring road has reduced travelling time and traffic congestion particularly during peak hours in the morning and evening. With the road, the journey from Bukit Mertajam to Butterworth took only 30 minutes against almost one hour when using Jalan Chain Ferry, he added.

Another motorist Mohd Noor Hussein said he escaped a lot of traffic lights' frustrations when using the outer ring road. "This is an alternative route for motorists to take advantage from. I do not mind paying the toll as long as the journey is smooth without interruptions by traffic lights," he added.

February 20, 2007 17:29 PM

Toll Collection At Bagan Ajam, Perai Plazas Starts At 6AM Wednesday

BUTTERWORTH, Feb 20 (Bernama) -- Toll collection at Bagan Ajam and Perai toll plazas located in the road alignment of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) starts at 6am Wednesday. Although the Malaysian Highway Authority director-general Datuk Mohd Noor Yaacob had said toll collection at the BORR route would begin Tuesday, users of the route would start paying toll only from Wednesday. Banners have been strung up at the two toll plazas to inform motorists on the start of toll collection from Wednesday morning. A signboard had also been put up stating the toll rates according to vehicle categories. Lingkaran Luar Butterworth Sdn Bhd general manager Suhaimi Mohamad Yusof told Bernama toll collection would only start Wednesday as Tuesday was still a public holiday for Chinese New Year. A Bernama check showed the situation at the two plazas was quiet, with several employees putting the final touches and testing the tol systems at the toll booths before collection starts Wednesday. The rates for cars at Bagan Ajam is RM1.20 and RM1.30 at Jalan Prai and for double-axle lorries are RM2.40 and RM2.60 respectively. For three-axle lorries, taxis and buses, the rates are RM3.60, 60 sen and RM1.20 at Bagan Ajam and RM3.90, 70 sen and RM1.30 at Jalan Prai, respectively. Besides the two plazas, there is another toll plaza at Sungai Nyiur along the 19km BORR.

However, toll collection at Sungai Nyiur has been deferred following appeals by the state government, residents in Seberang Jaya and surrounding areas and several non-governmental organisations not to impose toll until an alternative road was built to lighten the people's burden. Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said recently toll collection at Sungai Nyiur Plaza had been postponed indefinitely but operations of the other two plazas would proceed as scheduled.

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February 16, 2007 20:15 PM

Sungai Nyior Toll Collection Deferred

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 (Bernama) --- The government has decided to defer the toll collection at the Sungai Nyior toll plaza of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR), Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said. He said the toll collection scheduled for Feb 20 had to be put on hold until further notice.

"However, the toll collection at the two other toll plazas of the BORR would proceed as scheduled," he told Bernama from London after an official visit to Ghana.

Samy Vellu said the toll collection was being deferred pending a study and also at the request of road users there. "In the meantime, there will be no toll collection at the Sungai Nyior toll plaza. We will decide on it after looking at the study," he added. Road users have protested over the toll collection, claiming the route is not new a road constructed under the 19km BORR project. They have been using the route for free for almost 10 years. They said by charging toll at the Sungai Nyior plaza, vehicles heading to Kulim from Butterworth would have to pay two toll charges, the other being at Kubang Semang, a short distance from Sungai Nyior. On Thursday, Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) director-general Datuk Mohamd Noor Yaacob clarified in Butterworth that the Sungai Nyior route was part of the package under the BORR project. He said no toll charges were imposed previously because the BORR project had not been completed. Meanwhile in Penang, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah said the state government was thankful for the decision to defer the toll collection, describing it as a smart response. "We had requested the federal government to postpone the toll collection and the Works Minister had given a positive response in line with the aspiration of the state government and local residents," he said.

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15 Feb 2007; 6.23 pm; NST Updates; Audrey Dermawan

GEORGE TOWN, THU.: Four toll-free roads linking will be built as alternatives for motorists who choose to bypass the Sungai Nyiur toll plaza at the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR). The four routes include:

* a new road linking Jalan Todak and Jalan Chain Ferry through Taman Kimsar;

* upgrading existing roads in Sungai Nyiur, Jalan Siram and Jalan Permatang Pauh;

* construction of a bridge across Sungai Prai from Jalan Jelawat to Taman Bagan; and

* a filter road parallel to the east-west Highway.

State Traffic Management Committee chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said that work on two of the four roads began yesterday, while construction of the other two roads is expected to start within the next few months. He said the road linking Jalan Todak to Jalan Chain Ferry through Taman Kimsar will take at least three months to complete. Dr Teng said work to build the 300 metre-long road, which is expected to cost about RM2 million, will be done on a fast-track basis to ensure it is quickly completed. "We are doing all this to ensure motorists who do not want to pay toll have an alternate route to use," he said yesterday. The State government's decision comes in the wake of an uproar created by some 300,000 residents in Seberang Jaya and Butterworth who have voiced their displeasure at having to pay toll at the BORR. They claimed the road leading to the toll plaza was not new and that it was an existing trunk road. They claimed it was ridiculous for motorists to be charged toll now. Yesterday, several Barisan Nasional component party leaders, led by Penanti assemblyman Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid, held discussions with Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon over the matter. Dr Teng said the State government will continue to appeal to the Federal overnment and the BORR concessionaire company to postpone the implementation of the Sungai Nyiur toll. "However, we have no authority in making any decision on the matter. "The decision to impose toll was decided by the Federal Government and the concessionaire company more than 10 years ago," he said.

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February 13, 2007 21:54 PM

Appeal To Defer Toll Collection Until Alternative Road Ready

BUKIT MERTAJAM, Feb 13 (Bernama) -- The people of Seberang Jaya and nearby areas, Tuesday appealed for the proposed collection of toll at the Sungai Nyiur plaza in Butterworth to be deferred until after an alternative toll-free road is built for their use. Permatang Pauh Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid said users of the road have to pay 90 sen for a one-way trip through the toll plaza for a road distance of only 500 metres and that many of them had to travel up and down that road several times in a day to send their children to school in Bagan and Butterworth. He told reporters that 7,000 residents in Seberang Jaya and nearby areas have signed a memorandum asking for the speedy construction of an alternative road to resolve the issue. The memorandum will be handed over to Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon to be given to Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu. "We understand that the highway concessionaire has to collect money for the road it has built but collect from those who use the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) and not the Seberang Jaya-Sungai Nyiur stretch," he said. Abdul Jalil said the people, many of whom were from the low and medium income levels, did not object to the project but asked the government to consider their appeal.

Monday, Malaysia Highway Authority Director General Datuk Mohd Noor Yaacob announced the toll rates for the BORR, at Jalan Prai, Bagan Ajam and Sungai Nyiur, which will be imposed from Feb 20. The rate of toll at Jalan Prai is RM1.30 for Class 1 vehicles (of two axles and three or four wheels, except taxis and buses), RM2.60 for Class 2 vehicles (of two axles and six wheels, except buses), RM3.90 for Class 3 vehicles (of three axles or more, except buses), 70 sen for Class 4 vehicles (all types of taxis and limousines) and RM1.30 for Class 5 vehicles (all types of buses).

The rate of toll at Bagan Ajam is RM1.20 (Class 1), RM2.40 (Class 2), RM3.60 (Class 3), 60 sen (Class 4) and RM1.20 (Class 5) while at Sungai Nyior it is 90 sen (Class 1), RM1.80 (Class 2), RM2.70 (Class 3), 50 sen (Class 4) and 90 sen (Class 5). Meanwhile, Khor Hock Peng, 32, a representative of non-governmental organisations in Seberang Jaya, said he regarded the 90 sen toll for a road of several metres as "the most expensive rate in Malaysia".

He said about 300,000 people in and around Butterworth, Prai, Seberang Jaya, Permatang Pauh and Bandar Perda would be directly affected by the toll.

The issue over the proposed collection of toll at Sungai Nyiur cropped up because the Seberang Jaya-Butterworth stretch is not new but an existing part of the toll-free Butterworth-Kulim Expressway.

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