Archive for June 2nd, 2009

Have MARA run out of funds leaving hundreds stranded without their bumiputera student loans – and how can such a financial scandal happen?

Has MARA run out of funds leaving hundreds stranded without their bumiputera student loans – and how can such a financial scandal happen?

I have received the following email from a Malay student in a private college:

“I am 21. My father left the family in 1995 and since then my mother has been taking care of the family by herself. I have two other elder sisters, all of whom are working now. My mother was a teacher but now she is retired. She is taking care of the family by herself with the pension she receives every month.

“I studied in … School and later at International Islamic College (IPTS), taking a diploma in computer science. I was a self-sponsored student in IIC.

“I was supported by my mother since she could afford it back then but I had to keep to a really tight budget. Although we were in a quite a difficult financial situation back then, I didn’t waste any time and studied hard.
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Najib should seek a vote of confidence as the first item of June meeting of Parliament starting on June 15

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s win in the Penanti by-election is nothing to boast about as it cannot be used as a yardstick to gauge the popularity of any political parties.

He told reporters at the 20th Asean-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit on Jeju Island that Mansor Othman’s win was “not exciting” as the voter turnout was less than 50 per cent and “a win against independent candidates is not an absolute win…something that one can be proud of”.

This is really sour grapes by Najib, who should be ashamed of himself that the UMNO and Barisan Nasional that he leads dare not contest in Penanti, for fear that it would be his third consecutive by-election defeat in the Peninsular since becoming Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional’s fifth consecutive defeat since the March 8 political tsunami in last year’s general election.

The Penanti by-election results are very telling. Although Umno sponsored one independent candidate and Gerakan sponsored another Independent candidate, all three independent candidates lost their deposits – although the Gerakan-sponsored candidate beat the Umno-sponsored candidate by 102 votes!
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Cabinet assurance needed – all 4,574 student-victims of USM foul-up will be given places in other public universities

From the statement of the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamad Khaled from Yemen and my discussion with the Higher Education Department director-general Datuk Prof Radin Umar Radin Sohadi, no concrete assurance is forthcoming that the 4,574 student-victims of USM Apex University student intake fiasco will definitely be given places in other public universities.

Although Khaled described the foul-up by the country’s only apex university as serious and directed that an independent committee be set up to investigate the matter, he has no assurances for the 4,574 student victims.

All Khaled said was that students who were rejected by USM will get another bite of the cherry, as they will be considered for placements in other public universities by the University Admissions Unit (UPU).

This is scarce consolation for the 4,574 students who went through emotional havoc over the USM foul-up.
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Why was Ong Tee Keat so irresponsible to talk about PKFZ may cost less than RM4.6 billion when PwC reported that the PKFZ “white elephant” had escalated to RM7.5 billion and may cost another RM5 billion to total RM12.5 billion?

Silence, sense-surround silence, thundering silence from Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, MCA President and Transport Minister, to my daily three questions on the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit report on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) Rip-Off despite the open and public directive by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to Ong “to provide answers on every question raised by any party” on PwC’s PKFZ report.

Am I surprised? I am not.

However, as there is standing instruction by the Prime Minister to Ong to answer every question on the PKFZ “mother of all scandals” by anyone, I will continue with my daily three question to the Transport Minister, this being the fourth consecutive “3 questions a day”.

My first question today to Ong is why he was being downright irresponsible when he said in Penang yesterday that “outlays for the controversial Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project could end up being less than RM4.6 billion” (“PKFZ could cost less than RM4.6b” – New Straits Times June 2, 2009) by engaging legal experts and consultants to recover the “overcharging” reported by PcW.
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