Khamis, 14 November 2013

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The Star Online: Nation

Government donates RM3.2mil to Philippines


PETALING JAYA: The Government is donating US$1mil (RM3.2mil) to relief efforts in the Philippines after parts of the country were devastated by typhoon Haiyan, said Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainudin.

He said the aid was approved by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a meeting with the Foreign Ministry and related agencies, including the National Security Council.

Apart from that, Malaysia is also donating essential items such as food and medicine worth RM1mil through the 1Malaysia Putera Club (KP1M), he said at a news conference after seeing a relief airlift leave for the Philippines at the Royal Malaysian Air Force airbase in Subang here yesterday.

There are fears that an estimated 10,000 people may have died in the storm on Friday.

On the delay in despatching the aid, he said RMAF aircraft were not granted permission to land in the devastated areas earlier.

He said 20 Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart) members would also be sent to get a firsthand look at the disaster.

KP1M president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim said the KP1M 38-member delegation comprising volunteers, medics and journalists would work alongside RMAF personnel in the typhoon-ravaged areas.

"The relief aid airlifted today could cater for about 7,000 families for a month while another consignment to be flown tomorrow could help 10,000 more families.

"I hope we will be able to help between 20,000 and 25,000 families during this mission. A temporary medical tent will be pitched in the disaster area to hand out medicines," he added.

A RMAF C-130 aircraft carrying 14 tonnes of food, medicine, clothing, tents and infant nutrition products left the RMAF airbase for Tacloban, the Philippines, at 8.36am yesterday while another aircraft flying relief team members departed about half an hour later.

Twenty RMAF personnel were involved in the five-day operations. — Bernama

Cost overrun blamed on payment to K-Pop group


THE cost overrun of a National Youth Day celebration function organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry has been blamed on the payment made to a K-Pop group, said minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said initially, the ministry had expected sponsorship from private parties to cover all activities during the celebration last year.

"However, there was a shortfall of sponsorship, which resulted in the ministry forking out its own funds to cover expenses," he said in his winding-up speech on Budget 2014 to questions related to his ministry.

Khairy said his ministry had allocated a total of RM27.5mil to cover the event's activities and programmes.

To a question from Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam) on why the ministry had decided to bring the K-Pop group to perform when it is against the Islamic principles, Khairy said that the group was successful in attracting non-Muslim youth to attend the celebration.

On a separate matter, Khairy said that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to announce the National Football Development Plan in January 2014.

The plan is a collaboration between the Education Ministry and Football Association of Malaysia to identify youth aged between seven and 17, to be picked as new talents for the national football team.

During the debate on the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry, its minister Datuk Hasan Malek said a new databank will be created to monitor the cost of items before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented.

It is to ensure that businesses will not take advantage of the GST to raise their prices.

"The database mechanism will be used as a reference point for the Government to check whether the prices of items had been manipulated," he added.

Hasan said the ministry has also set up a central committee together with the Customs Department in anticipation of the GST.

"It will function as a body to look at aspects of the laws, enforcement as well as data collection," he said in his winding-up speech.

Hasan also gave the assurance that the Government will continue to take action against errant businesses and monitor the prices of items nationwide after GST comes into force.

Anifah: We are not boycotting CHOGM


COLOMBO: Malaysia will still take part in Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) despite calls to boycott the summit by certain quarters who have questioned Sri Lanka's human right records.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said the Government took note of the opposing views but stressed it was the prerogative of the Government to decide whether to attend the summit, which begins tomorrow.

"We have taken note of opposing voices but we have to look at the bigger picture of the benefits (of CHOGM) and see how the reconciliatory process is going on in Sri Lanka," he told reporters here yesterday.

Anifah was asked on calls by certain quarters in the country pressuring Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to forgo CHOGM in light of Canada and India's decision not to participate in the event.

He also said Malaysia would be able to contribute towards international security by promoting moderation via its Global Movements of Moderates, which is in line with the aim set during CHOGM in Australia two years ago.

"We look forward to continue working together with our Commonwealth partners to promote moderation as an approach to tackle global challenges and threats to international peace and security.

"We believe that whatever the conflict, it should be settled through moderation and dialogue," he added.

He said Najib's attendance and active participation in CHOGM was very significant also as the country would be able to share its experience as Malaysia strives towards the high-income and advanced nation status by 2020.

"At the same time, we can learn from other Commonwealth countries on ways and means that could contribute to improving our efforts to achieve Vision 2020," he said.

Anifah also said Malaysia was ready to host CHOGM in 2019.

He added that Najib, who will be accompanied by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, will also attend a dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and a state banquet by Sri Lanka's president.

CHOGM is a voluntary association comprising 53 former British territories with a population of 2.1 billion.


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