Isnin, 9 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Sultan: No reason to change weekend


KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor will not make Friday and Saturday its rest days, said Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

The Sultan said that Selangor had been a centre of nationwide and international commerce even before Independence and switching to a Friday-Saturday weekend might discourage investments and affect business dealings in the state.

"There are many international businesses in Selangor and I do not think that the banking community would like it (a change).

"If Friday is a public holiday, it will be hard to coordinate with other countries, including Singapore.

"It will be hard for the business community to carry out their transactions and it could affect the stock markets," he said in an interview with The Star.

Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar anno­unced the change to Friday and Satur­day as rest days from the present Saturday and Sunday effective Jan 1.

The Johor Ruler said the change would make it more convenient for Muslims to perform their Friday prayers. 

Kedah, Kelantan and Tereng­ganu are the states which now have Friday and Saturday as their off days.

Sultan Sharafuddin said in Selan­gor that there have been no complaints from the Muslim community on any problems in performing the Friday prayers.

"Every time I go to a mosque in Selangor on Friday, it is always full. The employers have always been accommodating and allowed their staff to perform their religious duties.

"There is no reason for us to change it (the weekend) to Friday (and Saturday)," he said.

On the raising of racial and religious issues in the country after theGE13, Sultan Sharafuddin urged the rakyat of the various races and religions to continue to respect one another.

"I think the rakyat of different races get along well with one another, but certain issues are created by politicians. We must always remember that the country cannot progress without teamwork and without the help of all the races. Malays, Indians, Chinese and the others must learn to work together as no single race can move forward alone," he said.

Sultan Sharafuddin, who is the head of Islam in the state, reminded Malaysians not to touch on the religious sensitivities of other groups.

"For many years, each group never touched on the religious and cultural sensitivities of others. We never criticised or questioned what the other groups were doing.

Referring to the issue on the use of the term Allah, he said: "I hope that the non Muslims will not get involved in all things Islam."

He expressed regret that there were still cases of people using mos­ques for political ceramah in the state.

"The reason I disallowed this practice was because it could divide the ummah (community). We should go to the mosque to perform our duties to God," he said.

The interview with the Sultan was held in conjunction with his 12th year on the throne and his 68th birthday on Dec 11.

Country's tallest condo to be ready in 2017


JOHOR BARU: In just seven months, 50% of the Astaka @ 1 Bukit Senyum, the tallest high-end residential tower development project in the region, has been snapped up by buyers.

The project, which has a total of 438 units, commenced in early July this year and is expected to be ready by 2017.

Its developer Astaka Padu Sdn Bhd is selling each unit between RM2mil and RM8.45mil.

Astaka Padu chief executive officer Datuk Zamani Kassim said another 20% of the units have been booked while waiting for the sales and purchase agreements to be signed.

"The Astaka, which means 'royal pavilion' in English, is already on its way to becoming a new landmark here.

"Once completed, the Astaka, standing proudly at 304m above sea level, will be the tallest residential tower not only in the country but throughout the region," he said during the official launch of the Astaka by Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar here yesterday.

He said the Astaka is being developed on the site of the former Hockey Stadium and Johor Baru Indoor Stadium.

"The towers will house 438 luxury suites, including penthouse duplexes. The units will have a built-up area ranging from 2,207 sq ft to 5,408 sq ft. Each floor will house four units.

"The projected gross development value of The Astaka will be more than RM1bil and will be the forerunner in the Johor Baru city transformation plan," he said.

The project will have a first phase of mixed development, which includes two condominium towers.

Zamani added that the contractor appointed, Penta Ocean Construction Company Ltd of Japan, is well-known in the construction industry, especially in Singapore, with projects including the ION Orchard, the Esplanade Theatre Bay and Marina Promenade.

No infectious disease outbreaks reported amid floods


MALACCA: There have been no reports of of infectious disease outbreaks due to the floods that inundated the east coast states and Johor since last week.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said district health office staff had visited the relief centres to monitor the health of flood victims.

"It is the ministry's standard operating procedure to visit and monitor the health of flood victims at evacuation centres and provide advice, such as diet and medication," he told reporters after opening the Malacca Healthy Living carnival organised by the World Youth Foundation (WYF) here yesterday.

In BATU PAHAT, Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Mohamad Radzi advised rescue and humanitarian aid workers to protect their safety and health while carrying out their duties in hazardous conditions.

"They should stay strong and healthy because they are important in helping and supporting the people who need their services at this critical time," he said during a visit to the district Civil Defence Department (JPAM) office and distribution centre yesterday.

Meanwhile, Johor JPAM director Col (CD) Ghazali Abd Rahman told his officers and volunteers to be on alert and be ready in the event of another wave of floods.

In KUALA LUMPUR, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the construction of a tactical bridge at Sungai Limbun-gan, Kemaman in Terengganu was expected to begin as soon as all building materials had arrived at the location.

He said a squadron of army engineers based in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan were already at the site yesterday.

"This bridge is important to provide a vital link to areas affected by floods there so that relief operations to bring food, medicine and other essential supplies can be carried out," he told reporters at the Gleneagles Hospital here, where he has been admitted to undergo angioplasty for a blocked artery.

Kemaman is one of the worst hit districts in the East Coast in the wake of the northeast monsoon season.

The tactical bridge is to be built as a 5m-stretch of the river bank there has collapsed.


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