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Barack Obama visits Malaysia with economy and security on agenda

• US president to hold talks with prime minister Najib Razak
• Obama will not meet opposition leader


barack obama malaysia
King Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, second left, addresses President Barack Obama at a state dinner on Sunday. Photograph: Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images

Opening the first visit to Malaysia by a US president in nearly half a century, Barack Obama looked ahead Saturday to economic and security talks with the prime minister, Najib Razak, who leads a south-east Asian nation with an important role in Obama’s efforts to forge deeper ties with the region.

Stepping on to a red carpet at the Royal Malaysian Air Base, Obama was whisked by limousine to Kuala Lumpur’s Parliament Square, where a 21-gun salute rang out as Malaysia’s king and prime minister greeted Obama under muggy skies and a yellow awning. A military band played the US and Malaysian national anthems twice and Obama inspected an elaborate honour guard in crisp green and white before the arrival ceremony came to a close.

Obama’s next stop was to be the Istana Negara, the National Palace, for an audience with Malaysia’s royal family before he takes his seat later Saturday at a state dinner in his honour.

During the two-day visit, which follows stops in Japan and South Korea, Obama will also meet with citizen leaders and hold a town hall-style forum with young leaders from across the region. But Obama will not meet a prominent Malaysian opposition leader despite appeals from human rights groups.

Obama, in a written interview with the Malaysian newspaper The Star, said his main message is that the US welcomes its growing contributions to security and prosperity in the region. “I see my visit as an opportunity to formalise a comprehensive partnership, and lay the foundation for even closer ties for years to come,” Obama said ahead of his visit, the first by a US president since Lyndon B Johnson came here in 1966.

Trade, defence and maritime security are among the issues Obama and Najib were expected to discuss during talks scheduled for Sunday. Malaysia is one of a dozen countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations, a top priority for Obama’s global economic agenda.

Last month’s disappearance of a commercial airliner carrying 239 people put Malaysia in the international spotlight as Obama was preparing to head to the region. The US is assisting in the huge search effort. Officials are widening the search area in a remote part of the ocean where the jet may have crashed. In a sign of the ongoing agony, about 50 relatives of missing Chinese passengers continue a sit-in protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, demanding answers.

Absent from Obama’s itinerary in Malaysia: a meeting with the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who presents the most potent political threat to Najib amid a decline in Najib’s popular support over the past two elections.

The US spurned calls from human rights groups for the president himself to meet the 66-year-old former deputy prime minister, but was instead sending Susan Rice, his national security adviser and former UN ambassador, to meet with him.

Anwar was recently convicted for the second time on sodomy charges that the US and international human rights groups have claimed are politically motivated. Anwar is appealing, and could be forced to give up his seat in parliament and go to prison if he loses.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told reporters travelling with Obama that the president typically does not meet with opposition leaders during foreign visits, but felt the issue was important enough to dispatch Rice instead. Obama and other top officials have raised Anwar’s case in past meetings with Malaysian officials, Rhodes added.

Halfway through the eight-day, four-country trip, Obama has started showing signs of weariness from the mileage and the 12-hour time shift from Washington while travelling in Asia. He normally jogs up the stairs to Air Force One, but on Saturday slowed to a walk instead.

Before departing Seoul on Saturday, Obama addressed US troops stationed in South Korea and received a military briefing focused on North Korea. Obama will also visit the Philippines before returning to Washington next week.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/26/barack-obama-visits-malaysia-us-economy-security

Donate responsibly

Check trustworthiness of agency before giving money

    WHENEVER any disaster strikes, a community of people, the resulting chaos of people who have lost limbs, loved ones, homes, and often everything they ever knew or owned, presents such a piteous picture that it never fails to stir hearts into giving whatever they can to alleviate the suffering of fellow man, whether it be in the next state or all the way across the world. It is part of the human condition (or assumed to be) that whether one is rich or poor, those who can should give and help those who are  in need. Give generously, and give with heart and humanity.

However, as revelations last weekend regarding British aid supplies to Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines show, not all people think it is their duty to help others in need. Based on preliminary evidence provided by a British witness, a Japanese aid worker, as well as Philippine television stations, not all the donations have reached the victims, and have instead allegedly been siphoned off by corrupt local officials. Foodstuff bought from donations given by the British public and sent by military planes have been diverted to the homes of local officials and been found on the shelves of shops in affluent districts of Manila (hundreds of kilometres away from the disaster area). Aid packages have been auctioned online, and shelter equipment and even more food supplies have been locked up in warehouses, even though there are many victims in desperate need.

Sadly though, such incidences are not uncommon. The generosity of humans ensures that a steady flow of money or in-kind goes towards whichever disaster or in-need area of the season. If these donations go to genuine aid relief efforts, victims benefit from them. But, there is also a chance that donations could end up in the coffers of unscrupulous swindlers, some of whom set up fake charities to fund their own lives. Donation-giving has always been fraught with fraudsters, and rogues, like those accused last week, only serve to affect the confidence of donors. The trick, obviously, is in sifting through all the donation boxes and finding the genuine and ethical ones — to look at whether “administrative costs” outweigh the aid given, and whether it commensurates the organisation’s performance. The sad truth is that giving to charity requires more than just opening one’s wallet and giving to whomever that asks. Don’t just give money without making it count, because the value of that money is not in the good intention of the giver, but in how much it helps the needy receiver. And for this to happen, donors have to ensure that the collecting and receiving agencies are accountable and worthy of the trust given. By all means, give generously; but give judiciously, too.

Car Insurance Claim Void, Malaysia

IMPORTANT

In any case, when making a police report, you must ALWAYS report that the CAR WAS STOLEN without your knowledge. If you reported it as the car was driven away when it was left in the car wash, no insurance will pay you. You can only sue the company for negligence. Advice: Let the professional do the report!I have a car crashed and broke a lampost, and the towing agent told me to pay RM100 to let him and “theprofessional” do the standard report that can guarantee dapat the insurance claims! I got the claims and escape paying for the broken lampost! I was warned: If I were to report the actual reasons my way on how the car crashed, I won’t be able to get the insurance claims.

Note:Reasons such as tyre bursts, driver tidur, car skidded, heavy rain, car went out of control, road slippery, etc all these reasons will be rejected by insurance companies and you get zero claims. It must be reported as an accident not because of your fault, the car’s technical fault, road fault, weather’s fault but must put the blame on others as the cause of accident!

You can declare yourself as the cause of accident, can still get the insurance claim, but the Police will fine you first RM300 and you have to pay for the replacement of the damaged lampost!

A Lampost at Plus Highway will cost you RM4000 !

In an unrelated event:Loss of I.C.If you lose your IC and go to get a replacement at the Bahagain Pendaftaran, the fine is RM100 for a first offender.
If you lost your IC again, the fine will be doubled and so on. If you made the police report that your IC was pick-pocketed (somewhere, say Pasar Malam) the Bahagian Pendaftaran won’t fine you! You get the replacement for free within 24 hr! Just trying to out smart them.

Same thing if you parked your car under a tree and a branch fell off and damaged your car. If you report as a parked car – your claim will not be entertained.
You have to report that while you are driving your car, the branch fell and damaged your car.

CAR INSURANCE CLAIM VOID…

Be careful, if you have the habit of sending your car for car wash or other similar places such as car jockey at car park, while in shopping complex etc..

Two weeks ago my nephew sent his Toyota Harrier for a car wash in the car park of Bangsar Shopping Complex while he had an appointment there. He handed the car keys to the car wash people and left the car park for his appointment.

After the appointment he went to collect his car, & the car wash people told him that his car had been collected. HOW COULD IT BE!?

After a prolonged argument without any results, he had no choice, but to make a police report… and follow up with an insurance claim.

The Insurance company rejected his claim because the car was not stolen. The point of contention was why he had handed over the car keys to someone unknown, and why he had not waited till the car washing was finished.
So, be careful next time. If you really need to send your car for a car wash, better stay there and wait for your car, if not, this may happen to you..

Please forward this message to all your friends to warn them.

” I am agent of MSIG, ZURICH and BERJAYA SOMPO confirm that if you hand over the keys of your car for someone to take care example :- Car Wash, Car Park and on your return if the Car is ‘taken’ away, Insurer WILL NOT PAY for the ‘Loss’.

NOTES FROM AN INSURANCE AGENT:

1: OTHER COMPANIES IN MALAYSIA , TOO, WILL NOT PAY FOR SUCH A LOSS.

2. IF YOU LEAVE YOUR CAR ENGINE RUNNING AND YOUR CAR DOORS UNLOCKED, WHILE YOU POP INTO THE GROCERY STORE FOR EVEN A FEW SECONDS, AND SOMEONE DRIVES YOUR CAR AWAY, THE INSURANCE COMPANY WILL NOT PAY.

Police caution public on illegal anti-Lynas rally

Posted on May 8, 2013, Wednesday

KUANTAN: The Pahang police cautioned the public against attending the illegal anti-Lynas rally purportedly planned around the state today.

“So far we have not received an application for a permit to hold such a rally,” state police contingent headquarters management chief ACP Anuar Osman said here yesterday.

“Therefore we advise members of the public to stay away from the event due to safety and security reasons,” he added.

On a separate issue, he cautioned bloggers and individuals to refrain from repeating any statement alleging a power disruption at the Dewan Jubli Perak Sultan Ahmad Shah counting centre in Bentong during the polls last Sunday.

He said such a statement could cause confusion and tension among the people. — Bernama

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2013/05/08/police-caution-public-on-illegal-anti-lynas-rally/#ixzz2c0UQN8G4

he Sarawak Tourism Board is bringing another exciting musical tourism event to the tourists from all over the world while embracing the beauty of nature in Sarawak. Taking place at the Sarawak Cultural Village Kuching, this 4 days musical tourism event will feature lots of wonderful performances and workshop from 28 June till 30 June 2013.

Date/Time : 28 – 30 June 2013, 10am – 12am 
Venue : Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching, Sarawak

Rainforest World Music Festival Website
Rainforest World Music Festival Performers List
Sarawak Tourism Facebook Page
Buy Tickets Online @ TicketCharge.com.my

The Rainforest World Music Festival is a unique festival that brings together on the same stage renowned world musicians from all continents and indigenous musicians from the interiors of the mythical island of Borneo.

With a line-up of 18 bands playing a diverse range of world genres, the festival is featuring 7 different acts per night over 3 nights.
– See more at: http://www.eamo.my/details–664/rainforest-world-music-festival-2013#sthash.9fqSs9uZ.dpuf

664-rainforest-world-music-festival-2013

Spot checks for illegal medical ads

Priscilla Prasena

March 30, 2013

PETALING JAYA: The Medicine Advertisements Board (MAB) has warned medical and health providers that it is stepping up action against establishments that violate the legal restrictions on the advertising of drugs and services.

In a letter to various medical and pharmaceutical associations, MAB said it was carrying out a three-month campaign of surprise checks on private hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other such premises to ensure compliance with the Medicines (Advertising and Sale) Act of 1956 (Revised 1983)and the Medicine Advertisements Board Regulations of 1976.

The letter, dated March 1, said enforcement officers would examine advertising materials displayed at these premises and would book their owners if they went against the restrictions of the law.

The act prohibits advertising related to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of 20 diseases, including cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and loss of sexual function.

Muhammad Lukmani Ibrahim, the deputy director of the Health Ministry’s Pharmaceutical Services Division, told FMT today that MAB was working closely with the Malaysian Medical Council and the Private Medical Practice Control Bureau in the enforcement effort.

Apart from the surprise checks, enforcement officers were also studying advertisements in the printed media, Lukmani said.

First-time offenders of the act face a fine of up to RM3,000 or a year’s jail or both. For a subsequent offence, the fine can go up to RM5,000 and the jail term is two years.

The 1976 regulations require all advertisements from the industry to carry MAB’s stamp of approval.

Lukmani said the boom in the healthcare industry had resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of applications for approval of advertisements.

“We have now shortened the time to approve applications from six weeks to only five working days,” he added.

He said applicants needed only to fill up some forms, which are available at http://www.pharmacy.gov.my.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/03/30/spot-checks-for-illegal-medical-ads/

Uneasy Neighbors: The Plight of Illegal Indonesian Immigrants In Malaysia‏

By | January 31 2013 9:06 AM

The prosperous Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia has something in common with many Western Europe states and the U.S. — a massive influx of illegal immigration from poorer neighboring countries.

According to the New Straits Times newspaper of Malaysia, an estimated two-thirds of the country’s 3.1 million foreign workers are illegal. The Jakarta Post newspaper estimates that 2 million of these laborers originate in Indonesia, working primarily in the agricultural sector. (Malaysia has a total population of about 29 million, meaning more than one-tenth are foreign laborers.)

Poverty in nations like Indonesia and Philippines drives people to seek work in Malaysia, while unscrupulous agencies exacerbate the problem by exploiting the desperation of the poor with unrealistic assurances of good-paying jobs.

Earlier this week, the Jakarta Post reported that 82 illegal immigrants from Indonesia were deported to their homeland. These particular women had been recruited by various migrant agencies who promised them jobs in Malaysia and Mideast countries. None of them possessed valid work visas.

Illegal Indonesians in Malaysia tend to work in construction, in domestic service or in palm oil plantations, usually for very low pay under unpleasant working conditions.

Nonetheless, Indonesians can integrate into Malaysian society quite easily compared with other foreigners, given the two culture’s similarities in religion, language, customs and foods.

As in the U.S., Malaysian businesses depend heavily on the cheap labor provided by illegal foreign workers.

“We are still very dependent on them [foreign workers],” said Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam, according to New Straits Times.

“Business owners said that without foreign laborers, their businesses would take a hit, which in turn, would affect the economy.”Again, similar to the plight of Hispanic immigrants in the U.S., Indonesians in Malaysia are willing to work in the kinds of menial jobs that native Malays tend to shun.

“The work environment is not attractive enough for our locals,” said Shamsuddin Bardan, the executive director of The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), according to New Straits Times.

“No matter how much an employer is willing to pay them, locals shun them due to the low social status associated with the jobs.”A quick survey of the economies of Malaysia and Indonesia may shed some light on why so many Indonesians seek greener pastures in Malaysia.

According to the CIA World/Factbook, Malaysia boasts a GDP-per-capita figure that is almost four times that of Indonesia, while the percentage of people living below the poverty line is three times as high in Indonesia.

But the Malaysian government approves of only five sectors where it encourages foreign labor participation: plantation, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and domestic help. Employers who use foreign labor in other sectors of the economy are subject to punishment and fines, and their charges are vulnerable to deportation.

“These [approved] sectors are critical, and if we discard foreign labor altogether, it would be difficult for them to survive,” Shamsuddin noted.

“Needless to say, to a certain extent, we cannot do away with them [foreign labor], and we must be careful in gauging the sectors which would require them.”

Not surprisingly, despite the similarities in Malay and Indonesian cultures, some Malays are unhappy with the large presence of Indonesians (illegal or otherwise) in their country.

Last April, three Indonesian migrant workers were shot to death in the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan by Malaysian police, who suspected them of criminal activity. The killings sparked demands by human rights activists in Indonesia for greater protection of Indonesian workers in Malaysia.

The executive director of the Jakarta-based Migrant Care organization, Anis Hidayah, complained to the Jakarta Post: “Among the destination countries for migrant workers, Malaysia is the most unsafe for Indonesian workers, as between 600 and 700 Indonesians die of various causes, including torture, shooting and exploitative acts by their employers.”

A Malaysian human rights activist, Irene Fernandez, the executive director of Tenaganita, has also campaigned for the right of Indonesian workers in her nation. She condemned the shooting deaths of the three Indonesians in Negeri Sembilan.

“The Malaysian police have no authority to shoot them, even if they are criminal suspects,” she told the Post. “Based on the report that we received, the three workers were not criminals or fugitives and they were not caught committing any crimes.”

On a broader scale, Fernandez lamented that foreign workers in Malaysia have few rights.

“Malaysia has no legal framework, nor a particular law to protect workers,” she stated.

”Even worse, the Malaysian government has upheld discrimination against housemaids and plantation workers, both of whom are excluded from the newly issued regulation on minimum wages. Migrant workers have been objects of exploitation, physical abuse, violence and rape.”

She noted that Malaysian employers frequently hold onto their foreign workers’ passports, multiplying their woes, and are also guilty of paying off police and government officials to avoid punishment over hiring illegal foreigners.

“The Indonesian government should not resume sending workers to Malaysia until the government and employers change their mind-sets and make a particular law to protect them and their rights,” Fernandez declared.

In addition, Indonesian female domestic workers have been raped in Malaysia, placing great strain on relations between the two countries. For two years, Indonesia banned women from migrating to Malaysia to work as domestics — that prohibition was lifted in December 2011.

However, a shocking gang-rape of an Indonesian maid in November 2012 (allegedly by three Malay policemen) again brought the problem of abuse to the surface. According to reports, the police sexually assaulted the woman because she did not have proper work documentation.

Hidayah of Migrant Care called on Indonesian authorities to re-impose the ban on sending female maids and housekeepers to Malaysia.

“I think that [migrant workers] will only become the target of more exploitation, I hope that the government considers a moratorium, not only for migrant workers and maids, but for all kinds of workers,” she told the Jakarta Globe.

But even illegal workers who are deported from Malaysia, frequently seek to return, due to a lack of opportunities in their native countries.

The Malaysian Insider reported earlier this week that two illegal immigrants, a Filipino and an Indonesian, told the local Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) that they want to return to work in Sabah, a state in northern Malaysia, but legally.

“I want to get a passport and come back,” the Filipino told the RCI.

“I want to find work. Pay is low [in the Philippines],” he said.

The Insider reported that since 1990, more than 446,000 illegal immigrants have been deported from Sabah alone.Sabah state officials estimate that, even accounting for the steady stream of deportations, about 28 percent of the province’s population comprises foreigners (legal or otherwise).

http://www.ibtimes.com/uneasy-neighbors-plight-illegal-indonesian-immigrants-malaysia-1051856#

Hypnotic Kuala Lumpur – Our Metropolis As You’ve Never Seen Her Before

http://my.news.yahoo.com/video/hypnotic-kuala-lumpur-metropolis-youve-085410958.html

This 5-month long labour of love by photographer Rob Whitworth (www.robwhitworth.co.uk) showcases the beauty and bustle of Malaysia’s capital.

Michael Wong unhappy with GE13

By Elaine Ewe

7 May – After the results of Malaysia’s 13th General Election was announced, many Chinese celebrities voiced out their unhappiness, including Malaysian singer Michael Wong.

According to Jayne Stars, the Malaysian-Chinese singer, who is a supporter of Pakatan Rakyat, changed his Facebook cover photo to black and lamented, “Heaven is watching what people on earth are doing!” when the final results were reported.

He later added, “I can only use strange to describe it…” and “Evil cannot triumph over justice.”

Throughout the vote counting, Michael kept updating his Facebook, with statements such as “They keep talking on TV, it’s been three hours, and they’ve used up almost all of their words. Are they still unwilling to report the results in other electoral districts? Are the Malaysians’ knowledge of mathematics that bad? They can’t bear to lose, so they don’t dare report it? Or are they waiting for the opportunity to ‘strike’?”

Other celebrities who were dissatisfied with the results are Malaysian-Chinese singer Fish Leong and Taiwanese singer Kenji Wu. Fish wept upon hearing the news while Kenji uploaded a black picture on his Sina Weibo, saying, “Today a friend from the other end of the world passed through a dark day, but I believe that after the darkness, there will be a radiant rebel attack!”

Barisan Nasional (BN), which has been Malaysia’s governing coalition since its formation in 1971, emerged victorious in the recent general election. However, former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who leads Pakatan Rakyat, challenged and rejected the election results, saying that the Election Committee had neglected to investigate the existence of voter fraud.

Reject independent candidates in GE13: Kit Siang

Posted on April 23, 2013, Tuesday

IPOH: Veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang has urged voters to reject all independent candidates, regardless they are Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or Barisan Nasional (BN) members, in the 13th General Election (GE13).

Urging the voters not to vote for independent candidates, he said the GE13 should be a contest between PR and BN and there was no room for a third candidate.

“Regardless whether they (independent candidates) are PR or BN members, there is no room in this battle for change for a third choice because it will only undermine the possibility of political change.

“Everything must be subordinated to this possibility of political change between PR and BN.

“In the past, history has shown that independent candidates never made an impact in Malaysia,” he told reporters after a walkabout in Pasir Pinji here today.

Yesterday, DAP member Sim Tong Him withdrew as an independent from the race in Kota Laksamana to fully back Lai Keun Ban, the candidate fielded by DAP.

However, Sim continues to contest the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat under the DAP banner.

Lim urged DAP members who had gone against the party by standing as independent candidates to withdraw and continue to support the party.

“In the past, we had former DAP members contesting as independent candidates but they failed to make any impact…they have since left the political arena,” he said.

Asked whether he would meet other DAP members who contested as independent candidates, Lim declined comment.

Few DAP members such as Jenice Lee and Ng Lam Hua joined the GE13 race as independents. Lee and Ng are defending their state seats in Teratai (Selangor) and Mengkibol (Johor). – Bernama

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2013/04/23/reject-independent-candidates-in-ge13-kit-siang/#ixzz2RLXMijBf

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