Isnin, 30 September 2013

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Xi to witness signing of pacts during KL visit


BEIJING: China will sign documents to boost cooperation in the fields of outer-space, trade, technology and fishery with Malaysia and Indonesia during Chinese President Xi Jinping's official visit to the two countries this week.

In a press conference yesterday, Chinese deputy foreign minister Liu Zhenmin said this would be Xi's first official visit to South East Asia.

"Besides bolstering ties with our neighbours, Xi's visit from Oct 2 to Oct 5 is also aimed at enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation.

"It not only deepens bilateral relations between China and the two countries, but will also further develop the relations between China and Asean," said Liu.

Following his visit to the two countries, Xi will be attending the 21st Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

During his stay in Malaysia, Xi will pay courtesy call on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and attend a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"Both Chinese and Malaysian leaders will exchange views on a wide range of topics, including bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues.

"Should the territorial disputes in the South China Sea be brought up during the meeting, the discussion will be based upon a mutual goal to maintain peace, stability and freedom of navigation on the marginal sea," said Liu, adding that Xi would not be visiting Sabah.

Last year, the bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia reached US$94.8bil (RM305.97bil).This makes Malaysia China's top trading partner among the Asean coun­­­­­­­­tries for the fifth consecutive year.

'Long live the Queen' arch raises eyebrows


An archway in Queenstown proclaiming "Long live the Queen" has left some scratching their heads, even as residents gathered for a concert to mark the estate's 60th anniversary.

The arch was put up as part of the celebrations at the estate, which was named after Queen Elizabeth II.

Nine of 15 Singaporeans described the arch as odd, calling it a "colonial hangover".

"It's not appropriate as we are an independent country and no longer under British rule," said polytechnic course manager Tia Boon Sim, 57, who lived in Queenstown for the first 16 years of her life.

Since Sept 13, the estate has been marking its anniversary with a two-week-long arts and heritage festiva.

Over 22,700 residents attended these events. An anniversary concert was held at Tanglin Halt Community Plaza last night.

"It's actually just good fun," said Minister for Social and Family Deve­lopment Chan Chun Sing on the arch, on the sidelines of the concert.

"It's just part of our heritage... and to recognise how Queenstown started 60 years ago."

In his speech, he also conveyed the well-wishes of Queen Elizabeth II in a letter from her private secretary Chris­to­pher Geidt.

The festival, organised by civic group My Community and supported by the Queenstown Citizens Consul­tative Committee, was to showcase the area's history.

My Community founder Kwek Li Yong, 24, said the arch – featuring a photo of the Queen and decorated with the Union Jack – is a re-creation of a larger one that was erected in 1953 in North Bridge Road to celebrate the Queen's coronation.

"History teaches us to look back at events. So, we are tracing the estate's roots back to when the British started it, as Singapore's first satellite town," he said.

Residents said the arch, which had been up at the entrance of Tanglin Halt's community plaza near Block 46-2 since Sept 15 and would be taken down today – could have come with a sign explaining why it was there.

"Otherwise, the proclamation seems out of place in the Singaporean heartland," said secretary Aileen See, 53.

But others, some of whom posed for photos under the lit-up arch, said it "need not be taken too seriously".

Older residents, such as L.H. Khoo, 74, said it was a fitting tribute because the British had a role in building Singapore's first modern town. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Cost of N-Day giant vase draws ire


BEIJING: A giant vase installed in Beijing's Tiananmen Square ahead of a national holiday has met with scathing criticism from Chinese Internet users after a newspaper revealed its cost.

An enormous psychedelic-looking red pot topped with huge fake flowers and imitation peaches was installed this week on the square, the symbolic centre of the Chinese state.

But it came at a cost of more than 570,000 yuan (RM300,605) up 8,000 yuan (RM4,219) from the previous two years, according to the state-run Beijing Youth Daily.

The cost prompted critical comments among Chinese Internet users – even though the report said that the overall number of flowers used around Beijing for China's National Day had halved.

"Who permitted spending taxpayer's money in this way?" one user of Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, wrote.

Another user wrote: "570,000! That money could be put to much better use."

The report said that some money-saving measures including the use of 800,000 small flower pots in the square itself, compared to 1,000,000 last year, had been introduced.

China's new President Xi Jinping has touted a campaign to reduce government waste, introducing a ban on new government buildings and guidelines for banquets, after reports of corrupt officials enjoying wasteful lunches and unnecessary building projects.

A county in eastern China built a giant copper sculpture of a puffer fish at a cost of around 70 million yuan (RM36.9mil), reports said this week, bringing about angry comments about government extravagance.

Tiananmen Square usually gets a makeover ahead of China's National Day which falls on Oct 1 and is a platform for the ruling Communist party to showcase its achievements and drum up nationalist sentiment. — AFP


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