Sabtu, 6 April 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates


Chavez protégé invokes curse on those who vote against him

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 06:39 PM PDT

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan acting President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday a centuries-old curse would fall on the heads of those who do not vote for him in next week's election to pick a successor to late leader Hugo Chavez.

An indigenous girl gives a feather headgear to Venezuela's acting president and presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro (R) during a campaign rally at the state of Amazonas, in this picture provided by Miraflores Palace on April 6, 2013. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout

An indigenous girl gives a feather headgear to Venezuela's acting president and presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro (R) during a campaign rally at the state of Amazonas, in this picture provided by Miraflores Palace on April 6, 2013. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout

Maduro's invocation of the "curse of Macarapana" was the latest twist in an increasingly surreal fight between him and opposition leader Henrique Capriles for control of the South American OPEC nation of 29 million people.

"If anyone among the people votes against Nicolas Maduro, he is voting against himself, and the curse of Macarapana is falling on him," said Maduro, referring to the 16th century Battle of Macarapana when Spanish colonial fighters massacred local Indian forces.

Wearing a local indigenous hat at a rally in Amazonas state, a largely jungle territory on the borders of Brazil and Colombia, Maduro compared Capriles and the opposition coalition to the enslaving Spanish occupiers.

"If the bourgeoisie win, they are going to privatize health and education, they are going to take land from the Indians, the curse of Macarapana would come on you," he added.

CAPRILES SAYS ONLY CURSE IS GOVERNMENT

Calling himself the "son" of Chavez, Maduro has more than a 10-point lead in most polls, although Capriles supporters are predicting a late pro-opposition surge as sympathy wears off from the former president's death a month ago.

Capriles, 40, a state governor, says Venezuela needs a fresh start after 14 years of Chavez's hardline socialism, and is vowing to install a Brazilian-style administration of free-market economics with strong social policies.

He ridiculed Maduro's latest speech.

"Now in their desperation, they're threatening a curse on the people. The people are with God, so nothing like that will happen," he told a rally in the western state of Tachira.

"He (Maduro) lied and threatened the people, saying that if they trust in progress, a curse will fall on them. I tell you here, all Venezuelans, the real curse is that little group that we are going to get rid of on April 14."

The opposition leader also continued to mock Maduro's twice-told story of having seen the spirit of Chavez in a bird that flew over his head and sang to him last week.

While to some outsiders, talk of spirits and curses may seem absurd in an election campaign, Venezuela's mix of Catholic and animist beliefs, especially in the south-central plains and jungles, is fertile ground for such references.

In his daily campaign rallies, Maduro has been referring constantly to Chavez and playing a video where the former president endorses his protégé last year as his successor.

Puncturing Capriles' public admiration of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Maduro has also been playing a video of the former Brazilian president endorsing him too.

At his rallies, Capriles mocks Maduro as a poor imitation of Chavez. He says Maduro's track record during the president's sickness from cancer and after his death has wrought disaster on Venezuelans in terms of a currency devaluation and price rises.

Maduro, 50, was a bus driver and union leader who rose to become Chavez's foreign minister and then vice president.

Venezuela's vote will decide not only the future of "Chavismo" socialism but control of the world's biggest oil reserves and economic aid to a handful of left-leaning nations in Latin America and the Caribbean from Cuba to Ecuador.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

U.S. delays missile test to avoid stoking North Korea tensions

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 06:32 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has decided to delay a long-planned missile test scheduled for next week out of California "to avoid any misperception or miscalculation," given tensions with North Korea, a senior U.S. defence official said on Saturday.

The unusual precaution by the United States follows a barrage of hostile rhetoric from North Korea - including the threat of open war - that has created jitters in South Korea's financial markets.

It also came after reports in the South that Pyongyang, under its 30-year-old leader, Kim Jong-un, had moved two medium-range missiles to a location on its east coast.

The White House said on Friday it would "not be surprised" if the North staged another missile test. At the same time, officials have said there are no signs Pyongyang is gearing up for war, such as large-scale troop movements.

The U.S. decision will delay a test of the Minuteman III intercontinental missile, which had been scheduled for next week out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

"This is the logical, prudent and responsible course of action to take," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. official said the test had been unconnected to "anything related to North Korea" and added that another test launch could be expected next month. The United States remained fully prepared to respond to any North Korean threat, the official said.

Analysts are looking anxiously ahead to April 15, the birthday of Kim Il-sung, North Korea's founder and the grandfather of its current leader, Kim Jong-un. The anniversary is a time of mass celebrations, nationalist fervour and occasional demonstrations of military prowess.

EMBASSIES STAYING PUT

North Korean authorities have told diplomatic missions they could not guarantee their safety from next Wednesday - after declaring that conflict was inevitable amid joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises due to last until the end of the month.

Still, staff at embassies in North Korea appeared to be remaining in place on Saturday despite the appeal.

Most countries saw the appeal to the missions as little more than strident rhetoric after weeks of threats by North Korea to launch a nuclear strike on the United States and declarations of war against the South.

But Russia said it was "seriously studying" the request.

A South Korean government official expressed bewilderment.

"It's hard to define what is its real intention," said the official, who asked not to be identified. "But it (North Korea) might have intensified these threats to strengthen the regime internally or to respond to the international community."

The United States is walking a difficult line, seeking to assure allies it will defend them in a crisis while trying to avoid further escalating tensions.

Initially, Washington used the drills with South Korea as an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment, including flying two B-2 stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in March. The Pentagon also announced new or expanded missile defence systems in Alaska and Guam.

But the officials have told Reuters the United States will likely be less public about the drills in April, perhaps giving North Korea space to wind down its rhetoric. The latest decision to delay the U.S. missile test was also described as a prudent step.

"This test ... has been delayed to avoid any misperception or miscalculation in light of recent tensions on the Korean peninsula," the official said.

Shares in South Korea slid on Friday, but analysts said much of the decline was linked to the Bank of Japan's monetary easing policies and one analyst said further major falls were unlikely.

Most Korea watchers believe Kim is a rational actor who understands his military is no match for Seoul and its U.S. ally and that straying too far from historic North Korean practices could jeopardize his own political survival.

(Additional reporting by Jane Chung in Seoul,; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Egyptian police fire tear gas to disperse Cairo protest

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 02:51 PM PDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian police fired tear gas to prevent opponents of President Mohamed Mursi storming a court and the prosecutor-general's office in central Cairo on Saturday, witnesses said.

Eight people were injured in Cairo during another protest in al-Fayoum south of the capital, the state news agency MENA said.

A protester throws rocks during clashes with police in front of the High Court in Cairo April 6, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

A protester throws rocks during clashes with police in front of the High Court in Cairo April 6, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Some 500 people marched for much of the day through central Cairo, chanting "The people want to topple the regime" on the fifth anniversary of the founding of the opposition April 6 youth movement.

When some protesters hurled fireworks and rockets at the court, which also houses the prosecutor's office, and tried to break down the main gate, police fired tear gas from upstairs windows, witnesses said.

Egypt has been in political turmoil since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, with Mursi and his Islamist allies pitted against various secular opposition groups.

The prosecutor-general angered activists a week ago by questioning a popular TV satirist who is accused of having insulted Mursi. The government denies opposition claims that the case is evidence of a crackdown on dissent.

"We are Muslims but we want a civilian state," said Saffeya Mustapha, a female protester on the Cairo march.

Seven protesters were taken to hospital, MENA said, citing the Health Ministry.

Separately, opponents and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mursi's Islamist allies, attacked each other with stones and fireworks in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, MENA said. It did not report any injuries.

(Reporting by Maggie Fick, Ahmed Tolba and Reuters Television; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio


Serial killers getting prominence on TV

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 09:14 AM PDT

Serial killers are given prominence on television and viewers are loving it... for now.

CRIME has always been a prevalent topic on television, which explains the popularity of shows revolving around cops and lawyers. Within that one hour, a criminal is caught and punished by our valiant hero(es), ultimately giving victims of crimes in the real world a phantom satisfaction that there is justice. Or it could be just the basic reason for providing good-old entertainment to audiences who like crime shows. Despite its popularity however, police dramas thrive on a formula – earning some of them the apt term, procedural drama.

Well, this year, the trend has shifted quite significantly – a few new series premiering in the US have boldly switched the storytelling style – from the points of view of the lawmaker to the criminal. More specifically, serial killers.

Are murderers about to take over the prime time slots with police playing secondary roles? It seems so with the arrival of series like Bates Motel, The Following, Ripper Street, Cult and Hannibal. No doubt these shows with a flawed central character already have an advantage as they provide the audience with surprising plot twists.

In an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, Jennifer Salke, the president of NBC Entertainment, explained the shift: "You need somebody who's going to grab people by the shoulders and force them to watch. We can't just launch a procedural show with a great, well-crafted cop story. It's not going to happen. So we need to just make a little more noise."

One of the new shows about to make some noise in Malaysia is Hannibal, premiering on AXN on April 9 (see story on page 6). This new series developed by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) looks at the early days of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Lecter is, of course, author Thomas Harris' fictional cannibal killer, most famously portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film The Silence Of The Lambs. In this new series, he is played by Mads Mikkelson (Bond villain in Casino Royale).

Evil has two faces

Self-confessed TV addict Sue Tan, who is an actor and scriptwriter, deduced why audiences are currently interested in shows like these: "Serial killers can be very interesting characters and definitely more captivating than your boring one-time killer. Why I love watching crime TV shows/films especially, is because of the motive and what drives someone to kill. They are also usually very charismatic characters plus all that careful planning! How is that not interesting TV? Also, vampires are so last season."

She added: "If the character is written and played well, as it is in The Following by James Purefoy (who portrays convicted serial killer Joe Carroll), somehow it makes a ruthless killer somewhat acceptable. By no means do I mean that slicing someone's throat for fun is acceptable at all but that sick part of the person is just one part of him that he can't help and the rest of him is, well, for lack of a better word, normal. It also helps that they choose good-looking actors.

"I still want to see him caught and punished, but maybe after season two?"

Airin Zainul, the group general manager for Ntv7 and 8TV, theorised it is human nature to be curious about how other people live. In the case of these new shows, they just happen to be serial killers. "In my opinion, their lives intrigue (the audience) and offer a kind of escapism from our normal everyday lives. With a good storyline, you'd (develop) a relationship with the characters ... they may be anti-heroes, but guided by our altruistic nature, we want to believe that there is good in them still."

That notion of empathy is echoed by Asha Ganesan, a graduate student in social psychology at University of Northern Iowa. "Personally, I think a lot of TV shows are upping the ante, by writing negative characters that people can identify with, (these) grey characters. We are all capable of doing 'not-so-nice' things, but not necessarily to the extremes like these characters. Feeling empathetic may be a good thing because it shows the audience may still value that person's life, even if they have committed heinous acts. Also, maybe the audience needs to be given credit for looking beyond what's on screen. It's possible the audience is taking into consideration other factors that led this person to take on such as lifestyle."

A psycho's path

What drives these individuals to carry out these horrible acts make for continuous debates and scientific researches; no doubt, there are dozens of theories out there. Chemical-imbalance theory aside, what goes on in the mind of a serial killer? How did he get to be the way he is; was there a moment in his life when this violent response was first triggered?

According to the series Dexter – which is based on the first Dexter novel, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay – the character Dexter Morgan gained his desire to kill after witnessing his mother's murder. Both he and his older brother, who were present when the tragedy occurred, became serial killers as adults. Dexter calls his urges to kill as "the Dark Passenger", a presence in his mind that guides him when he is on the hunt and when he does the dirty deed.

Dexter is also one of the earliest TV series to wander into a criminal mind – it premiered in 2006 and enters its eighth season this year. The series, starring Michael C. Hall in the title role, paints a sympathetic portrait of a murderer (with its whimsical voiceover and ironic observations of people). But the series has its share of creepy psychopaths including one Ice-Truck Killer, who drains the blood of his victims, and The Trinity Killer, who kills in three. As the series progresses, Dexter's cheery disposition – a mechanism he uses to blend in and hide his inhuman self – turns dark. Undoubtedly all these make Dexter an entertaining show.

So what makes serial killers an entertaining subject? Asha answered: "I think the entertainment value comes from the curiosity people have about individuals who are different from the norm, similar to some of the oddest reality shows we see. However, it could also be a way to see people doing things that most of us can't imagine doing to others. Most of the good shows make the serial killers multi-dimensional, dramatic and so different from the average Joe that seeing how investigators react to them is interesting."

Mikkelsen, who portrays a young Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal, agreed with that sentiment. "Yes, I do understand the fascination. I'm not sure it just goes on the topic of serial killers, but there is this fascination with the devil or the dark side of the coin. I don't know how many biographies have been written about Stalin, Hitler or Mao and we want to not embrace it but we want to understand what is going on," the 47-year-old actor said in a published interview.

When asked about the side effects shows like these may have on the audience, Asha said: "I think people immediately assume that all serial killers are geniuses, enigmatic or psychopaths. In real life, most of the stories are not as romantic, not all of them are as attractive as the actors on TV and not all of them are misunderstood.

"On the positive side, I think it exposes audiences to information on certain psychological disorders that may not be talked about if they hadn't seen it on TV. I think the TV show portrays how some of them do need some kind of psychiatric help and their current state could be the consequence of not having people around them realise this."

Entertainment value aside, there is the never-ending argument of violence on TV influencing the audience to commit crime. According to the psychology student, research findings tell very different stories. "I would say violence on TV has led most of us to have a higher tolerance towards viewing violent acts, maybe a result of pushing the envelope with how much TV channels can get away with.

"But I wouldn't say violent acts in real life are attributable only to violence on TV," Asha said.

Tan agreed that watching TV is just a form of entertainment. And sometimes for her, it serves as a form of research especiall when she writes script. "From the amount of crime dramas I watch, and read – inclusive of watching serial killers at work – I would be in serious trouble by now if it had any effect on me. I don't think people who are violent in real life got that way after watching something violent on TV. They might have learnt how to chop up a body, put the parts through a meat grinder and serve it so as not to leave a trace of evidence though." she deadpanned.

Now trending

But how long is this fascination with serial killers going to last on TV? It doesn't seem like it has the stronghold in the industry looking at viewing patterns. In the early 1980s, soap opera was in vogue (Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest) only to fade out and to be replaced by family sitcoms (Family Ties, The Cosby Show, Growing Pains and Full House) ... and so, the cycle continues for it to arrive at our fascination with serial killers. When it first aired seven years ago, Dexter was the first of its kind on prime time. The popularity of the show, both with critics and fans, proved that this is an area that's ripe for interesting storytelling.. So, networks started to order more scripts based on serial killers.

In the end, however, the question remains, would an influx of shows revolving the same kind of characters simply turn into a nasty case of overkill?

Well, whether that happens or not, it's safe to say, serial killers are on the loose on TV for now, and the audience are simply loving it.

Related Stories:
A peek into the lives of fictional serial killers
Dr Hannibal Lecter is back
Hannibal's onscreen life

A peek into the lives of fictional serial killers

Posted: 07 Apr 2013 01:51 AM PDT

Serial killers are all the rage now on television. Here are seven series bent on feeding our morbid fascination with serial killers.

Bates Motel – Just mention the name Norman Bates, and those of us who are familiar with Alfred Hitchcock's film, Psycho, will picture the famous shower scene. Another lasting impression gleaned from that film is Norman's relationship with his mother. This series is based on the characters from the novel Psycho by Robert Bloch and, Hitchcock's film, but it's a prequel set in the present day (although the clothes and the furniture are all very retro). It has a teenage Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore), moving into the old house with his possessive mother, Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga), so they can run the motel. Oh, come on, you know which motel. When a boy's best friend is his mother, he never stood a chance.

Cult – Get this, Cult is a TV show within a TV show. Billy Grimm (Prison Break's Robert Knepper) is an actor playing a cult leader on a show called Cult. Now the thing is, a series of disappearances and murders in the "real world" are somehow connected to the show. Is this a case of a copy cat serial killer or something else?

Dexter – Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is a blood splatter analyst with the Miami Police department by day, and a serial killer by night. His father, a police officer, has given Dexter a strict set of rules to abide when he goes on his killing spree so he can never be caught by the law. One of the strict rules is: Dexter must only kill serial killers who have escaped the clutches of the law. Does this make Dexter the good guy or the bad guy? This is something that's debated on the show (and by fans) continously.

Hannibal – From Thomas Harris' book Red Dragon, we know Special Agent Will Graham is a great criminal profiler. But even the great ones need help sometimes – whether they want to admit or not. That's where renowned psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter steps in. Needless to say, the audience knows something that Will Graham does not. Hannibal looks at the early relationship between Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Hopefully, Will doesn't eat any meal prepared by Hannibal.

Ripper Street – Jack the Ripper is the most famous serial killer – one whose identity is still not known. This series is setin the Victorian era, as the police precinct at the Whitechapel district deals with the aftermath of Jack the Ripper. This BBC series stars Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg.

The Following – Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) is so obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe that he teaches about the famous writer in a university. Yeah, a whole subject on Poe. Carroll also happens to be a psychotic serial killer with a legions of followers (hence the title) who kill on his orders. Although Carroll is now jailed, his obsessive fans – some 300 of them – are committing murders on the outside, and all over the United States. Only problem is, the authority has no clue who these people are or how they are communicating with each other, much less with their jailed leader. Former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) has the tough job of finding the trail of the followers ignited by Joe Carroll.

The Mentalist – Although this series, starring Simon Baker, falls under a procedural drama, the one thing that sets it apart from other procedurals is the unseen serial killer named Red John. This madman's heinous actof murdering the family of Patrick Jane (Baker) is the basis for our protagonist to join the California Bureau of Investigation. Even after five seasons in, Red John continues to taunt Jane. Will Red John ever get his comeuppance?

Related Stories:
Serial killers getting prominence on TV
Dr Hannibal Lecter is back
Hannibal's onscreen life

Hannibal’s onscreen life

Posted: 07 Apr 2013 01:56 AM PDT

> Hannibal Rising (2006 novel, 2007 movie, pic above): Thomas Harris wrote this origin story only after being told a new movie would be made with or without him. Eight-year-old Hannibal witnesses his sister's murder and later goes all Munich on the Nazi perpetrators. Directed by Peter Webber, with Gaspard Ulleil (pic, above) as Lecter.

> Hannibal (2013): Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is living undetected as a psychiatrist and FBI consultant with an awesome kitchen.

> Red Dragon (1981 book, 2002 movie): Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), now behind bars, toys with the FBI agent (Edward Norton) trying to find a psycho called the Tooth Fairy. Directed by Brett Ratner.

> Manhunter (1986 movie, based on Red Dragon): The first big-screen adaptation of a Harris novel, its "Dr Lecktor" is played by a menacing Brian Cox. Director Michael Mann gave it a surreal, Miami Vice-air.

> The Silence Of The Lambs (1988 book, 1991 movie): The Oscar-drenched effort put Hopkins' portrayal on everyone's best-villain lists. With Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling, who needs Lecter's help to catch a skinner called Buffalo Bill.

> Hannibal (1999 book, 2001 movie): Having escaped from prison, Lecter (Hopkins) wreaks havoc in Italy before returning to the United States in search of Starling (Julianne Moore).

He drugs Starling and, uh, brainwashes her into becoming his lover. Ridley Scott directed this unpleasant, tedious experience. – The Kansas City Star/McClathchy-Tribune Information Services

Related Stories:
A peek into the lives of fictional serial killers
Serial killers getting prominence on TV
Dr Hannibal Lecter is back

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business


Treasury pulse

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 10:37 PM PDT

Global forex market

MONTHS of speculation over the Bank of Japan's (BoJ) stimulus path has built up into this specific policy meeting that governor Kuroda pledged to do "whatever it takes" to end deflation, and return inflation to 2% within two years.

A 25% advance from US dollar/yen in less than six months carries a very clear fundamental drive outside of the normal bounds of risk trends or relative economic performance and that is the hallmark of excessive stimulus expectation, and markets are now expecting more than pledges and something beyond the anti-deflation credentials of BoJ.

The April 3-4 BoJ meeting turned out to be a surprise as markets expressed their support with the yen depreciated to trade above 96 compared to 93.32 in the early part of the week. Added to this was the announcement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to give every citizen the ability to print currency using a desktop computer application.

The reopening of European markets after the Easter holiday has brought fresh risk appetite, with European indices enjoying healthy gains. Markets didn't set to high expectations on the European Central Bank (ECB) given that its own policy bearings have been held broadly steadfast for some time (with a few words of concern about the euro and downgrade on growth forecasts). No talk of further easing has been offered by the ECB and with some kind of stability seen in Cyprus and region-wide austerity drive. Euro rebounded from recent low and kept above the 200MA of 1.2893. The ECB president Draghi appeared to leave the door open for a cut in official interest rates if forthcoming data in the weeks ahead show extended weakness in activity.

In response to these developments and weaker US data, the benchmark S&P 500 posted its biggest daily drop in five weeks and moved the market up to the lower boundary of this year's persistent bullish trend channel. The tension is high, but this has not yet upgraded to a truly serious risk aversion situation. The ADP national employment gauge showed that 158,000 private sector jobs were created in March, the weakest growth in five months and below expectations for a gain of 200,000 positions. Also, the ISM services index eased from 56.0 to a seven month low of 54.4 in March.

Australia was the best-performing major, after a better-than-expected trade balance emboldened the Australian dollar bulls, with the currency sitting just below a two-month high at 1.05. The Australian dollar was stronger also due to an upbeat central bank report, which cited a reduction in downside risk for the domestic economy. This left rates unchanged.

The ringgit ended the week on bullish tone with 1.1% appreciation against the US dollar following from Prime Minister Najib's announcement to dissolve Parliament in preparation for the 13th General Elections. Barisan Nasional currently controls 137 seats in Malaysia's 222 member parliament and Najib's popularity rating stands at 61% based on survey conducted from Jan 23 to Feb 6 by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research.

US Treasuries (UST) Market

US Treasuries advanced this week, with yields easing lower on the back of softer economic prints. Employment data for the month of March is expected to come in softer than the previous month. Yields on 2-, 5- and 10-year note seen easing to settle at 0.23%, 0.70% and 1.77% respectively at time of writing.

Malaysian bond market

This week saw the re-issuance of the seven-year Malaysian Government Securities (MGS) benchmark. The issue size of RM3.5bil was within market expectations. The tender attracted a bid to cover of 1.64 times with an average yield of 3.417%.

Trading in the MGS/GII was thin at the beginning of the week following the announcement of the tender. Market players were also on the sideline waiting for details of the upcoming election. Sentiment turned in mid-week following the dissolution of the current Parliament. Local bond activities picked along with the bullish sentiment in the ringgit. The newly re-issued MGS 03/20 saw trading volume reaching RM3.3bil at time of writing.

On private debt securities, total trading volume amounted to RM3bil, of which 69% came from the GG/AAA, 29% from the AA segments and the remaining trades from the single A segment. Daily average trade volume rose to RM742mil compared with RM740mil average seen in the prior week.

In the GG/AAA segment, active trading was seen on Manjung Island's bonds maturing 2018-2031, last dealt in the range of 3.71% to 4.43% with a collective trading volume of RM291mil. Other notable trades include the bank-guaranteed Boustead's bonds maturing in 2015, which attracted a total trading volume of RM280mil, last dealt in the range of 3.77% to 3.9%.

In the AA band, power-related bonds were flavour of the week. Tanjung Bin Power's bonds maturing 2019-2028 were well sought with a collective trading volume of RM165mil, last dealt in the range of 4.02% to 4.72%. Elsewhere, Gamuda 03/18 attracted a volume of RM135mil with yield easing 3bp to 4.02%.

MYR IRS market

The dissolution of the Parliament had minimal impact on the ringgit (MYR) interest rate swap (IRS) rates and rates only dipped towards the end of the week after US data disappointed and US Treasuries rallied. The IRS curve ended the week 1-3bps lower.

For enquiries, contact: fx-research@ambankgroup.com or bond-research@ambankgroup.com

Biological aspects of boom and bust

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 10:35 PM PDT

The Hour between Dog and Wolf: Risk-taking, gut feelings and the biology of boom and bust

Author: John Coates

Publisher: 4th Estate

ON the surface, The Hour between Dog and Wolf seems like a gimmick that cashes in on the most recent financial crisis, the one that turned the world upside down and wreak havoc in the lives of traders and bankers.

Given a quirky title, the book looks intriguing, and its premise ground-breaking how biology explains Wall Street's booms and busts. That, coupled with the book's portability and affordability, makes it a book that stopper at first glance.

Truly it is. This book is wondrous to read. John Coates, who is a neurologist and a former Wall Street trader, disentangles the dichotomy of economics and biology. He shows how hormones of traders collectively form the physiology foundation of highly volatile financial markets, and that it is our body that affects our brain, not entirely the other way round as commonly understood where our brain commands our bodily actions. According to Coates, our body, through muscles, transmits information back to the brain fast enough to keep up with our emotion as well as to generate it. This theory can best be tested in the highly fluid and intense financial markets as Coates did on four professional traders.

With consummate skills, Coates narrates and demonstrates how these traders, when placed in the nerve vortex of world economy, can discern the tiniest clues with their sense and react to market events so quickly that their brains cannot keep up and they have to draw on signals from their bodies to optimise their trades.

Following Coates' theory, the traders pass through various cycles of changes both in their bodies and in minds from thrill and excitement to the belief that they are infallible. At their euphoric high points, one trader with impaired judgement places dangerous risk-taking bets, and his positions grow to dangerous sizes. As a result, traders are generally time-bombs having no inkling of their biological workings. But neither did we until Coates tells us so.

"Human biology can today help us understand over-confidence and irrational exuberance, and it can contribute to a more scientific understanding of financial market instability," writes Coates, heralding a new movement that explains the tacit knowledge that we subconsciously concede but do not know how to explain it.

This tacit knowledge shared between the body and the brain is now completely brought to light by Coates who ploughs deep down into our body like a surgeon. Hormones such as adrenalin, testosterone, cortisol that send instructive messages for us to react come to life under Coates' command. Along the veins as they travel, they fight to subdue each other, affecting rationality and regularity.

But Coates obviously is not as wry and dry like a serious surgeon. He is funny, making the process of understanding the unification of body and brain, a process called homeostasis, highly entertaining and enlightening. Our goose bumps rise because our animal instincts have called for us to raise our fur, which we do not have. Our throats turn dry because in the face of challenges, our body conserves water, hence the dry mouth. The amount of bodily signals coming as they do from various tissues, every muscle and organ to be processed by the brain is as voluminous as the fun of reading this book.

The entire narrative is awe-inspiring, and Coates himself, unlike most traders in the financial markets, displays cool composure in vindicating his theory. Hormones, brain cells, dollar and sense criss-cross and blink like security prices on traders' screens, but Coates is unfazed.

He deals with them one at a time and in an organised manner. In the end, two highly distinctive fields of study coalesce, and the truth is out to our dismay the financial system balances precariously on the mental health of those risk-taking, risk-loving, adrenalin-pumping traders who have way too many of the bad hormones to be trusted. Like athletes, these traders are short-term sighted and they do not make great use of their cognitive abilities because cognitive reactions are too slow for the cut-throat environment. Instead their responses are guided by subconscious fast reactions. In less scientific terminology, they follow instincts rather than methodical reasoning.

Coates' compelling narrative questions the grand theory of Efficient Market Hypothesis and wobbles the foundations of one of neo-classical economics' most sacred tenets that human behaviour is volitional we choose our course of actions with a rational mind! This tete-a-tete conversation between biology and economics is a total game changer, as Coates says, "If the walls separating brain from body came down, so too would the barriers between many subjects."

There are many ways to better manage fluctuations of financial markets, and defusing the explosive mix of hormones and risk-taking is likely to work if we do as Coates believes financial bubbles are largely a male phenomenon. In that case, we should manage by first changing the biological diversity of markets. Welcome then women (calmer) and older men (wiser) to the testosterone world of trading.

5%-10% increase in Khazanah CR initiative funding seen

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 10:31 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd will likely increase funding for its corporate responsibility (CR) initiatives this year by 5% to 10% from the RM62.4mil spent in 2012.

The Malaysia's state investment arm said its CR initiatives last year had benefited more than 140,000 individuals across the country. Since 2004, Khazanah's total funding for its CR initiatives stood at RM255mil, and was believed to have touched more than 500,000 lives nationwide.

"It is important for us to work with NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to build their capacity and ensure their resilience," Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said after the launch of Khazanah's 2012 CR Report yesterday.

"We want organisations to align with our thinking, where we can add value. Not just the money, but also the corporate mindset in terms of achieving efficient delivery."

The report, its fourth since 2009, detailed a range of CR initiatives on which Khazanah focused, including responsible investments and value creation; human capital development; social capital development and environmental stewardship.

"We hope that the publication of this CR Report will encourage more corporates to help underserved communities and protect the environment," Azman said, after pointing out that Khazanah was more than just about financial and strategic returns.

This year, Khazanah collaborated with Wolfson College of Cambridge to sponsor two Malaysian journalists for the inaugural Khazanah-Wolfson Press Fellowship programme for 10 weeks. The first two recipients of the award were Marhaini Kamarudin of Utusan Malaysia and Cecilia Kok of The Star.

The annual programme aims to provide Malaysian journalists the opportunity to enhance their expertise and knowledge in the field and contribute towards the further development of journalism in Malaysia.

Khazanah's investment portfolio registered a growth of 138.7% from RM50.9bil on May 14, 2004 to RM121.6bil as at Dec 31, 2012. This was accompanied by an increase in value created in excess of RM53bil over the same period.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Ill-prepared Chong Wei no match for Houwei

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 06:08 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Forget Chen Long and Lin Dan. An ill-prepared Lee Chong Wei will need to buck up after being sent crashing out in the semi-finals of the Australian Open GP Gold by another of China's badminton princelings – Tian Houwei – in Sydney.

World No. 1 Chong Wei was expected to stroll to an easy victory Down Under but struggled to get his game going as world No. 196 Houwei outplayed him for a 21-19, 17-21, 21-18 win yesterday.

Houwei, the 2009 world junior champion, playing in only his first tournament of the year, got off to a bright start and showed no fear against Chong Wei, taking a close first game 21-19.

The two-time Olympic silver medallist, however, utilised all his experience to fight back ad level the tie by winning the second 21-17.

But Chong Wei, who was ill prior to the tournament, appeared a spent force as Houwei raced to an 11-3 lead in the deciding rubber.

To his credit, Chong Wei managed to close the gap to 14-17, but the 21-year-old Houwei held firm for a famous victory.

Making the final represents Houwei's best career achievement, having been beaten in the first round of this tournament by Hong Kong's Hu Yun last year.

For the title, he will face 19-year-old compatriot Xue Song, who also gave a polished display to oust Indonesia's Alamsyah Yunus 21-10, 18-21, 21-15 in the other semi-final.

National singles head coach Rashid Sidek believes that "the defeat is a good lesson for Chong Wei never to underestimate his opponents".

"The China shuttler really played well. He showed maturity in his game and was not afraid to take on Chong Wei," said Rashid.

"We did not even expect him to play like such a seasoned and experienced player.

"In contrast, Chong Wei's performance was affected by the fact that he is still recovering from a sickness, although that should not be used as an excuse.

"This defeat is a good lesson for him to never ever underestimate the younger players ... especially those from China.

"But I'm confident though that he will bounce back well and be better prepared for his next tournament."

Chong Wei's next assignment will be the India Open Super Series in New Delhi from April 23-28.

Meanwhile, it was a fairly disappointing day for the professional duo of Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari as they were beaten 18-21, 18-21 by Malaysian Open champions Hendra Setiawan-Muhammad Ahsan of Indonesia.

The fifth-seeded Indonesians will face compatriots Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra for the title.

Results

Semi-finals
Men's singles:
Xue Song (Chn) bt Alamsyah Yunus (Ina) 21-10, 18- 21, 21-15; Tian Houwei (Chn) bt Lee Chong Wei (Mas) 21-19, 17-21, 21-18.

Men's doubles: Hendra Setiawan-Muhammad Ahsan (Ina) bt Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari (Mas) 21-18, 21-18; Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra (Ina) bt Kim Dae-eun-Shin Baekcheol (Kor) 21-9, 21-14.

Women's singles: Sayaka Takahashi (Jpn) bt Pai Hsiao Ma (Tpe) 21- 16, 21-15; Nichaon Jindapon (Tha) bt Suo Di (Chn) 9-21, 21-8, 21-11.

Women's doubles: Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella-Vita Marissa (Ina) bt Ko A-ra-Yoo Hae-won (Kor) 19-21, 21-11, 21-12; Savitree Amitapai- Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Chen Qingchen-Huang Dongping (Chn) 21-17, 26-28, 21-15.

Mixed doubles: Irfan Fadhilah-Weni Anggraini (Ina) bt Liu Yuchen- Huang Dongping (Chn) 21-19, 13-21, 22-20; Shin Baek-cheol-Jang Yena (Kor) bt Huang Kaixiang-Chen Qingchen (Chn) 23-25, 21-13, 21-19.

Divers to skip Canada Grand Prix to focus on US GP

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 06:10 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: A change of plans will see Malaysian divers going only for the United States Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale from May 9-12.

It will be a crucial meet to assess their readiness ahead of the World Championships in Barcelona in July.

Head coach Yang Zhuliang had earlier planned to take the divers to the Canada Grand Prix on the preceding week but has since changed his mind.

"If we were to go for the Canada GP, it will be troublesome. We have to go to Singapore to apply for the visas this time and they have to skip training.

"We're only going for the US GP next month. It's important to us and we cannot afford to miss it.

"It's an outdoor competition and conditions will be similar to what we'll face at the World Championships.

"Many countries will be sending their top divers to the US GP this time ... it will be like an Olympic field," he said.

The biennial world meet will be held from July 19-Aug 4 at the Piscina Municipal de Montjuic.

Zhuliang said that the venue for the world meet was located on a hilly area and "can be unnerving for divers who have no experience competing in an outdoor pool".

"They can feel the force of the wind when they stand on the 10m platform. In indoor competitions, you do not have to worry about anything except your dives and the competition," he said.

"But diving outdoors is challenging because wind conditions make it harder for co-ordination.

"We're planning to go to China after the US Grand Prix for training and we are looking at an outdoor venue."

The squad have not been finalised but several newcomers – like Chew Yiwei, Traisy Vivien Tukiet and Nor Dhabitah Sabri – could be included.

Malaysia won a medal at the aquatics world meet in 2009 when Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee bagged a bronze in the 10m synchro platform in Rome.

Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela will be competing along with Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Leong Mun Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong, Ooi Tze Liang and Yiwei in the third leg of the FINA Diving World Series in Edinburgh next weekend.

Pandelela already has a bronze medal in individual platform from the first leg in Beijing last month.

Friendlies with China on road to World League semis

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 06:10 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team will play five friendlies against China here next month in preparation for the World League semi-finals at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru from June 29 to July 7.

The friendlies will be played after the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), which ends on May 19. The scheduled dates for the matches are May 25, 26, 28, 30 and 31.

The competition in Johor Baru is an important assignment for Malaysia to qualify for next year's World Cup in the Hague, Holland.

Malaysia have failed to qualify for the last two World Cups – Germany (2006) and New Delhi (2010).

Eight teams will feature in the World League semi-finals. Besides Malaysia, the other teams are Olympic champions Germany, Argentina, England, South Korea, Pakistan, South Africa and one more team to be named later.

However, all the six teams are ranked higher than 13th-placed Malaysia.

There are two World League semi-final competitions. Rotterdam are hosting the first semi-finals from June 13-22 and the teams competing there are Australia, Spain, India, Ireland, New Zealand and two more teams that will be announced later.

Four teams from each semi-finals will qualify automatically for the 2014 World Cup.

National assistant coach S. Arulselvaraj said that the friendlies against fast-attacking China would be vital in preparation for the World League semi-finals.

"The matches will also give us an idea on our team's strengths and areas which we need to work on," he said. There are 30 players in the squad and training will commence next week.

The World League is an important assignment for national coach Paul Revington, who was hired last September to help Malaysia qualify for the World Cup.

Under the South African coach's guidance, Malaysia finished fourth in Champions Challenge I in Argentina last November. A month later, in the second edition of the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha, the national team won the bronze.

And in the six-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh last month, Malaysia lost 3-2 to Australia in the final.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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GE13: BARISAN NASIONAL MANIFESTO

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 08:54 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: This is the verbatim version of the Barisan Nasional manifesto released by its chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on April 6, 2013.

A PROMISE OF HOPE

My fellow Malaysians,

The time has come for us to decide. The path of democracy has determined that the future of this nation lies in your hands as citizens. Power to the people is what free and fair elections are all about.

My late father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein once said, "Your duty to the nation is to fulfill the trust of the people to the best of your ability."

I stepped into the political realm 37 years ago and this is the first time that I will be leading the BN coalition into a general election. It will be an arduous task and a heavy responsibility.

Our founders have always expounded the values of commitment and sacrifice and these same values will guide me as I commit to fulfilling this task and honouring this responsibility.

The record of this Government in delivering on its promises speaks for itself. From economic, political and social transformation, to the upholding of democracy and human rights, we have moved surely and firmly towards a path of greater liberalization. Real changes have taken place, but the journey towards total transformation will take time.

The Vision 2020 policy to achieve developed status by the year 2020 was launched in 1991, and now 22 years later, I am happy to say that with the careful and conscientious policies of the BN Government, we are on track to achieving that.

As we head into this 13th General Election, I, as the leader of BN, humbly seek your mandate to carry on this task of lifting Malaysia to new heights. I seek to lead a Government that puts the interests and the welfare of the people first.

As Prime Minister of Malaysia, this mandate that I seek is about continuity and sustainability against disruption and stagnation, about moving forward versus regressing, about unity, stability, harmony and prosperity versus division, chaos, discord and crisis.

A mandate from you is a promise of hope, a mandate for us to achieve greatness together as one people, one nation, one vision. Allow me to continue serving you to the best of my ability.

I would like to assure you that the best is yet to come!

WHY BN?

Malaysia needs a strong & stable government

- We have to safeguard what we have already achieved - We cannot put at risk what we have; we cannot gamble away our future;

- We need a strong government capable of delivering our National Transformation Agenda towards achieving a fully developed, high income nation;

- Serving the People - We believe in social justice and being inclusive, touching and improving the lives of all Malaysians irrespective of race and religion.

Track record

- We have delivered 55 years of undeniable success - We are a party with a record of solid achievement and fulfilled promises;

- Through this period, the BN-led government has brought progress to all segments of Malaysian society;

- We will continue to build on this track record - Now is not the time for risks. Do not experiment with our future;

- We deliver - BN is always striving to improve and the last four years have seen us making huge strides in improving our delivery system and level of productivity.

Experienced

- We are experienced in managing a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society - Ours is the politics of unity;

- We have proven our ability in facing challenges and overcoming adversity - Time and again, we have come through crises stronger and wiser;

- We are a dynamic coalition - We adapt to changing landscapes but we never sacrifice on our principles.

Movement In Moderation

- We practice an effective power sharing formula - we abhor the politics of hatred and division;

- We respect and accept religious and racial diversity - We build bridges; we do not erect walls;

- We oppose the exploitation of race and religion for political expediency - In unity there is strength, in division there can only be disaster;

Time tested power-sharing coalition;

- We are a tested multi-party coalition - After 55 years, it still represents all the peoples of all the states of Malaysia;

- We believe in continuity - Leaders have come and gone, but the coalition has remained intact;

- We practice the politics of consensus & inclusiveness - All views are considered, all voices are heard.

Committed to your ideals

- Sharing your hopes and aspirations - Striving to make them a reality for all;

- Empowering our people - A managed transition towards a modern, democratic and progressive society under-pinning our strong commitment towards safeguarding human rights & the environment;

- Our Promise of Hope - Bringing the country and her people to a new level of excellence and service predicated by the concept of People First, Performance Now!

"HOPE IS NOT A DREAM BUT A WAY OF MAKING DREAMS BECOME REALITY"

PEOPLE FIRST

1. EASING THE COST OF LIVING

Our on-going efforts to provide basic goods, services and necessities at lower prices are evident in our 1Malaysia products such as Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia, Klinik 1Malaysia and Menu Rakyat 1Malaysia.

In Sabah and Sarawak, the Price Uniformity Scheme, transport subsidies and KR1M have all helped reduce prices of goods sold there. The National Agro-Food Policy has been introduced to ensure a secure and affordably priced supply of basic foods.

For the entire populace, schooling aid of RM100 per child and the RM250 1Malaysia Book Voucher scheme help alleviate expenditure, while the BR1M assistance for households earning below RM3,000 and singles earning below RM2,000, has provided much welcome relief.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Gradually increasing BR1M up to RM1,200 for households and RM600 for singles while maintaining it on an annual basis;

- Increasing 1Malaysia Book Vouchers to RM300 & Schooling Aid to RM150;

- Revamping the National Automative Policy to gradually reduce car prices by 20-30% & increasing the competitiveness of our national cars;

- Increasing the number of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia;

- Introducing 1Malaysia products in petrol stations and hypermarkets;

- Opening Klinik 1Malaysia in high density housing communities;

- Setting up more 1Malaysia Daycare Centres for working parents;

- Lowering broadband fees by at least 20% with guaranteed bandwidth;

- Introducing a 1Country 1Price policy for essential goods;

- Introducing more 1Malaysia products driven by GLCs and the private sector;

Thus far, we have:

- Allocated RM6.4 billion in 2012-2013 for BR1M, 1Malaysia Book Vouchers & Schooling Aid;

- Spent RM586 million in the last two years for the Price Uniformity Scheme to bring equally priced basic items to Sabah and Sarawak;

- Opened 85 KR1M throughout the country;

- Opened four new paddy granaries with a combined acreage of 19,000 hectares;

- Spent RM134.8 billion since 2010 on various subsidies such as rice, flour, sugar, fuel & energy, and educational assistance & social welfare;

- Allocated RM150 million to establish 100 1Malaysia Internet Centres in the cities for the benefit of the urban poor;

- Undertaken a subsidy rationalisation initiative to ensure that subsidies are enjoyed only by targeted groups that truly need them;

- Introduced RM10,000 launching grants and tax breaks for the setting up of early childhood education & daycare centres;

"The prosperity of the nation and the well being of the rakyat is our ultimate objective."

2. UPLIFTING URBAN WELL-BEING

Today, more than 70% of Malaysia's population reside in urban areas. The BN Government has already begun, and will enhance, efforts to bring about major structural changes to reflect prevailing population patterns.

More efforts will be taken to ensure that urban centres develop in a systematic and well planned manner aimed at maintaining the quality of life for those living there.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Restructuring the Government, including setting up a new Ministry, to reflect the pronounced urban shift in the country's demographic pattern and address urban economic & social challenges;

- Increasing representation of members of NGOs and civil society in local government;

- Rehabilitating low cost houses and flats in the cities;

- Undertaking the maintenance of public housing infrastructure;

- Providing quality public housing catering specifically for the younger generation of job seekers;

- Providing recreational areas and facilities to enhance the quality of life in urban centres;

- Ensuring sufficient educational, training and health services & facilities;

- Improving the transportation links between urban centres and their outlying areas;

- Opening more Anjung Singgah shelters (temporary shelters for the homeless) in high demand areas;

Thus far, we have:

- Set up 3 Anjung Singgah centres to provide temporary shelter, food and job counseling & referrals to the urban destitute;

- Committed to another 6 Anjung Singgah centres in city areas;

- Increased the allocation for the 1Malaysia Maintenance Fund by RM40 million in 2013;

- Implemented the Urban Transformation Centres (UTCs) to ensure seamless private & public services in KL, Melaka & Ipoh;

- Committed to another 6 UTCs in Alor Setar, Kuantan, Ipoh, JB, KK & Kuching;

- Initiated a Group Insurance Scheme for hawkers and small business owners;

"We must rebalance the government's capacity so that besides emphasising on the rural agenda, we must endeavour to improve the wellbeing of the urban community so that we also struggle for urban prosperity.

3. PROVIDING AFFORDABLE & SECURE HOUSING

The BN Government's policies through the years have ensured the steady supply of all types of housing for the people. The last five years have seen an increase in affordable housing projects to ensure continued supply.

Apart from new homes, units that are in need of upgrade and repair are also being addressed with the setting up of a RM500 million fund while a further RM200 million has been set aside to rehabilitate the homes of fishermen throughout the country.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Building 1,000,000 affordable homes - driven by public & private sectors - including 500,000 PR1MA houses;

- Pricing PR1MA houses at least 20% below market prices;

- Introducing a lease & own scheme for Government housing projects;

- Reviving abandoned housing projects to safeguard homebuyers;

- Taking over the maintenance and upkeep of all Public Housing Projects;

- Assisting poor & lower income home owners to rehabilitate their houses;

- Replacing squatter settlements with secure & permanent housing;

- Improving housing in estates and providing houses for former estate workers through Government-Estate partnership;

- Abolishing stamping fees for first home purchases priced below RM400,000;

Thus far, we have:

- Committed to build 23,000 low and medium-priced apartments, Rumah Mesra Rakyat and Rumah Mampu Milik in 2013;

- Allocated RM543 million for 45 projects under the Rakyat Housing Programmes for the construction of 20,500 units;

- Revived 126 abandoned housing projects involving 30,000 units;

- Provided RM307 million in 2012-2013 to revive abandoned housing projects;

- Provided a facilitation fund of RM1.2 billion to PR1MA to build 80,000 houses in high demand locations in 2013;

- Given a 50% stamp duty exemption on transfer and loan agreements for first property purchases of up to RM400,000.

"The Government is committed in ensuring that the rakyat has the opportunity to own a house. This is not only an economic imperative, but also a moral imperative for a responsible Government."

4. ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTH SERVICES

The Government subsidises 90% of all healthcare services to ensure access to quality treatment at the cheapest rates. Klinik 1Malaysia has expanded the network of outpatient treatment centres and the Government is also upgrading clinics in both rural and urban areas nationwide.

In order to address the country's evolving health services needs, more attention has been directed towards introducing affordable and wide-spread care for those suffering from lifestyle diseases and terminal illnesses.

Special attention must also be given to the care of an aging population and those with special needs as diagnostic methods and services continue to improve.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Developing a national system that will provide every Malaysian with access to quality healthcare;

- Establishing a Heart Centre & Cancer Centre in major hospitals in every zone - North, South, East & West Peninsula and Sabah & Sarawak;

- Providing public facilities for dialysis treatment in every high-density area;

- Introducing a card carrying system for Malaysians with special needs to provide for discounted prices of specific medications;

- Introducing a support system for palliative home care for the aged & terminally ill;

Thus far, we have:

- Allocated RM66.1billion for healthcare services from 2010-2013;

- Committed to upgrading 350 Government clinics and opening another 70 Klinik 1Malaysia in addition to the 175 as at end 2012;

- Established facilities for cholesterol and urine tests at Klinik 1Malaysia;

- Allocated funds for 150 dialysis machines in Government haemodialysis centres across the country;

- Introduced methadone replacement & needle exchange programmes resulting in the halving of new HIV cases since 2005.

"The Malaysian healthcare system will be transformed into a more efficient and effective system in ensuring universal access to healthcare"

5. TOWARDS GREATER EFFICIENCY IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

No matter how fast we build, there will never be enough roads to cater for the number of vehicles. Good and reliable public transportation is therefore imperative.

The BN Government has established the LRT, Monorail and Commuter systems and expanded public bus services to cater to a growing need for public transport.

The expansion of LRT and Commuter lines will eventually see a combined total of 34km of new tracks and 13 new stations to serve the Kelana Jaya and Ampang areas.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Expanding the Rapid Bus System to every state capital, complete with facilities for the aged and the disabled;

- The continued expansion of the MRT, LRT & Commuter rail systems;

- Building Integrated Bus, Rail & Taxi Terminals in all towns and cities;

- Re-routing bus routes to ensure more efficient and accessible services for the rakyat;

- Increasing individual taxi permits;

- Implementing the national high speed rail network & expanding the double tracking railway system.

Thus far, we have:

- Initiated the high speed rail link between KL & Singapore;

- Initiated the MRT project which will be integrated with the LRT, Komuter, Monorail and city bus networks;

- Expanded high quality bus transport services through RapidKL, RapidPenang & RapidKuantan;

- Provided access to soft loans for intercity, mini and school bus operators through the RM150 million Public Transport Fund at SME Bank;

- Injected 478 new buses into RapidKL and introduced six Bus Expressway Transit routes to significantly reduce travel time on public buses.

"It is my belief that among issues that will impact most on the rakyat's well being is the improvement in quality and access in our public transportation"

6. WORLD CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT & RURAL TRANSFORMATION

The BN Government is continuously upgrading our infrastructure to ensure the continued and efficient growth of the economy and productivity. Infrastructure development also opens up new growth areas leading to the fairer distribution of wealth and development and more employment and business opportunities at all levels.

For the benefit of the rural community, we have built thousands of kilometers of roads, dug thousands of kilometers of water pipes, erected thousands of electricity poles and laid thousands of kilometers of communication lines in the interior and rural areas.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- The rapid expansion of the North-South Expressway with more lanes and exit points;

- Building a 2,300km Pan Borneo Highway stretching from Sematan, Sarawak to Serudung, Sabah;

- Extending the East Coast Highway from Kuala Krai - Kota Bahru & Gambang - Segamat;

- Constructing a new West Coast Highway from Banting- Taiping;

- The gradual reduction of intra-city tolls;

- Implementing the 21st Century Village concept to spur rural transformation and bring the rural community into the mainstream of development;

- Building another 6,300km of paved roads in Peninsula Malaysia, 2,500km in Sabah and 2,800km in Sarawak to benefit an estimated 3.3 million people;

- Solving the treated water supply problem in Selangor, WP & Kelantan;

- Extending the supply of clean water to another 320,000 homes throughout the country;

- Expanding electricity supply to another 6,000 homes in the Peninsula, 60,000 in Sabah and 80,000 in Sarawak;

- Compelling service providers to ensure quality mobile phone services & reliable wireless access coverage throughout the country.

Thus far, we have:

- Abolished tolls at Jalan Kuching, Kajang & Cheras;

- Reduced toll rates at Petaling Jaya Selatan 2 plaza on the New Pantai Expressway and at the Sunway & Kemuning plazas on the Kesas Expressway;

- Imposed a 5-year freeze on toll rates at the NSE, NSE Central Link, Linkedua, Butterworth-Kulim Expressway, KL-Karak Expressway & the East Coast Expressway Phase One;

- Allocated RM18.7 billion in 2010-2013 for rural infrastructure development;

- Committed to build 441 km of rural and village link roads in 2013 to benefit 220,000 villagers;

- Expanded water supply to 24,000 houses and electricity supply to 19,000 houses in 2013;

- Introduced the Rural Transformation Programme to ensure that equal emphasis is given to development in the rural areas;

- Set up the Rural Transformation Centre in Gopeng, Perak and Wakaf Che Yeh, Kelantan to provide integrated business services.

"It is the responsibility of the Government to change the lives of the people in the rural areas so that we can provide a balanced development for all"

7. BUILDING A RESILIENT, DYNAMIC AND INNOVATIVE ECONOMY

Despite economic upheaval in many parts of the world, Malaysia managed to cushion the impact of the global economic slowdown and sustained its economic growth. This did not happen by chance but through careful and strategic planning initiated by the BN Government and supported by the people.

We are committed to further improving Malaysia's competitive position in global rankings.

A high income economy, driven by various transformation initiatives including emphasis on innovation and creativity, and based on fair & equitable distribution that is inclusive & sustainable, will see Malaysia reaching developed status come 2020.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Attracting RM1.3 trillion worth of investments and creating 3.3 million new jobs, of which 2 million will be in high income sectors;

- Building towards achieving per capita income of USD15,000 (RM45,000) by 2020;

- Providing special incentives for innovative & creative ventures to generate more wealth and jobs;

- Implementing policies that are fair and equitable to all races in Malaysia including pro-growth policies, greater participation of the private sector & development of the capital market;

- Enhancing the effectiveness of the Bumiputra agenda, including Bumiputras in Sabah & Sarawak, by providing business opportunities, a stronger eco-system (e.g. training & credit facilities) and institutional support;

- Working with state Governments to allocate more land & increase productivity of existing land to enhance food & livestock production;

- Reforming the existing tax structure towards a more broad-based tax system and gradually reducing personal and corporate tax;

- Continuing special cash payments and development & operational funding exceeding 20% of oil and gas revenue to Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu, Kelantan & Pahang;

- Implementing a plan for the transformation of SMEs and establishing a National Trading Company to source overseas markets for SME products;

- Creating & promoting more global and regional champions;

- Ensuring GLCs continue to develop entrepreneurs by divesting non-strategic GLCs and increasing outsourcing programmes for Bumiputra companies;

- Providing RM500 million in seed funding to increase the equity of the Indian Community to at least 3 percent;

- Setting up a Special Unit to ensure the successful implementation of policies for the upliftment of the Indian community;

- Increasing access to micro credit for all Malaysians, including RM100 million for hawkers & petty traders.

Thus far, we have:

- Established the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund worth RM1 billion to leverage outsourcing activities and acquisitions of technology by Malaysian companies;

- Provided soft loans of up to RM25,000 for licensees and RM500,000 for licensors to hawkers and small businesses;

- Facilitated funding for SMEs through a RM1 billion fund managed by the SME Bank;

- Established TERAJU as a one-stop unit to monitor & implement the Bumiputra agenda;

- Initiated a "carve-out & compete" policy for all projects above RM500 million for Bumiputra companies;

- Provided RM2 billion from 2008-2013 to TEKUN for small scale entrepreneurs, inclusive of RM50 million for the Indian community in 2013 alone;

- Established Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia which has provided micro credit facilities of up to RM8 billion for mainly women small scale entrepreneurs;

- Begun a review of the Bankruptcy Law towards allowing those declared bankrupt and those blacklisted, a second chance;

- Provided an extra RM600 million in 2013 for Bumiputra business community development.

"It is clear Malaysia's development success story was not crafted in the boardrooms of skyscrapers...it is the result of hard work of all Malaysians regardless of race, beliefs, gender or socio-economic status."

8. BUILDING TOWARDS EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE

Malaysia provides free primary and secondary education for all. Pre-school education has been expanded with an additional 1,700 classes and enrolment has reached 72 percent. A National Education Blueprint (2013-2025) has been drawn up to put Malaysia on the path towards achieving quality education.

The BN Government's policy on higher education has continued to stress on producing high calibre and employable graduates. Access to attaining a higher education and skills & vocational training will increase, as will the financial means to achieving this.

We will continue efforts to upgrade the teaching profession into a profession of choice by implementing a policy that rewards high performers not only through better remuneration but also through fast-track promotions.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Bringing Malaysia into the "top third category" of the best education systems in the world by improving the quality of national schools;

- Improving the command of Bahasa Malaysia and English among students from the pre-school level, and making English a compulsory SPM pass subject in all schools;

- Improving access to quality education for the rural & minority communities, especially in Sabah & Sarawak;

- Providing more merit-based scholarships, with special provisions for disadvantaged communities;

- Continuing special allocations to all types of schools including SKs, SJKCs, SJKTs, Sekolah Agama Bantuan Kerajaan, MRSM, Sekolah Berasramah Penuh & Mission Schools;

- Expanding Single Session Schooling;

- Revamping Teacher Training Colleges & raising the qualification bar for trainee teachers;

- Introducing a simplified teaching & learning system for BM in Chinese and Tamil schools;

- Building more schools of all types in areas of high demand;

- Enhancing performance in Mathematics & Science, and developing higher order thinking skills in students;

- Providing financial incentives of RM100,000 per annum for schools with classes for Special Needs children;

- Converting SJKTs that wish to change status, into fully aided schools;

- Setting up ICT labs in all schools that require them;

- Transforming vocational schools into colleges & increasing enrolment to 20% of the student population;

- Expanding pre-school education to cover all types of schools;

- Providing new career pathways to allow performance-based fast tracking promotion of 420,000 teachers;

- Providing free & guaranteed Broadband WIFI on all campuses of public institutions

- Introducing a laptop ownership scheme in schools bundled with Internet access.

Thus far, we have:

- Allocated RM2 billion from 2012-2013 to upgrade and improve all schools including SKs, SJKCs, SJKTs, Sekolah Agama Bantuan Kerajaan, MRSM, Sekolah Berasramah Penuh & Mission Schools;

- Provided RM500 million in 2013 to enhance teacher training & introduced fast-track performance-based promotion for teachers;

- Introduced the upscaling of 70,000 English language teachers with 14,000 trained in 2013 alone;

- Restructured the Ministry to provide more administrative assistance to all schools to ease the burden of teachers;

- Embarked on a pilot project for specialist pre-schools for those with learning disabilities;

- Provided RM3.7 billion to train students in technical and vocational skills;

- Allocated RM1.7 billion to upgrade facilities at Industrial Training Centres & National Youth Vocational Institutes (IKBN) from 2010-2013;

- Established a Graduate Employment Blueprint and Graduate Employability Taskforce to assist graduates in finding employment;

- Allocated RM2.6 billion for per capita grants, Hostel Meal Assistance Programme, Food Supplement Programme, purchase of text books and financial assistance for children from low income families.

"The Government is aware that investment in education and training is a pre-requisite for prosperity of the country and well being of the rakyat"

9. ENHANCING SECURITY & PUBLIC SAFETY

The BN Government will do everything in its power to provide the people with a comfortable sense of security. Our efforts have paid off with marked reductions in the national crime index and overall street crime between 2009 and 2012. Despite this, we realise that much more needs to be done, including boosting community policing, to keep our families, homes & streets safe and secure.

The recent incursion by armed intruders into the state of Sabah has jolted all Malaysians into realizing that the peace and security we have enjoyed for so many years can never be taken for granted. We pay tribute to the security personnel who sacrificed their lives for the country as we look to ways to better secure our borders.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Boosting PDRM Omnipresence, with additional 4,000 police personnel per year;

- Lighting up our streets, alleys and lanes to further reduce street crime;

- Strengthening the PDRM Motorcycle Patrol Unit by 5,000 vehicles;

- Upgrading the welfare, professionalism & capability of the Police, Armed Forces & the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency;

- Enhancing the total capability of the Armed Forces to deal with any form of incursion & external threat;

- Maintaining & strengthening the Police Commission;

- Using the 6P system to curb the influx of illegal foreigners;

- Creating the SafeCam Programme to link up private and public CCTV systems;

- The extensive expansion of CCTV monitoring for high traffic public areas such as car parks, recreational areas, night markets and schools;

- Introducing security initiatives in public housing schemes;

- Enrolling an additional 50,000 Police Volunteer Reserves to assist PDRM in patrolling and keeping our streets safe.

Thus far, we have:

- Proclaimed the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone involving 10 districts and the deployment of 5 additional battalions from the Army & General Operations Force plus the construction of additional police stations;

- Activated the Eastern Sabah Security Command in Lahad Datu;

- Abolished the ISA, Restricted Residence Act & 3 Emergency Proclamations and replaced them with the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012;

- Enacted the Peaceful Assembly Act & a new Rela Act;

- Provided RM6 million to increase police personnel and install CCTV cameras in 25 local authority jurisdictions nationwide;

- Increased the Police Volunteer Reserve Corp in terms of numbers, skills training and professionalism;

- Embarked on collaborative strategies with the Armed Forces to put more security personnel on the streets;

- Introduced the bio-metric system for foreigners at all points of entry;

- Launched the 1,000-unit PDRM Motorcycle Patrol Unit.

"We must make our contribution in fighting crime, because it is our common responsibility."

10. STRENGTHENING WOMEN'S PARTICIPATION

The BN Government's policies through the years have provided women with the choice of being at the forefront of business and innovation without giving up on their natural instincts as homemakers.

But we must desire to do more. From administrative posts to corporate hierarchy, efforts have been, and will continue to be taken to ensure that women have equal say in the decision making process. We must also improve efforts to eradicate sexual harassment and provide women with a more secure sense of being.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Increasing the number of women participating in national decision making;

- Promoting gender equality to maximize the potential of Malaysians in all fields, regardless of gender;

- Providing more business & income generating opportunities for women to provide them a greater sense of independence;

- Creating more incentives for work-from-home initiatives, with greater emphasis on single mothers;

- Opening 1Malaysia Daycare centres in all GLCs and Government offices and encouraging the private sector to do the same;

- Tightening laws to prevent incidents of sexual abuse and harassment in homes and in the workplace.

Thus far, we have:

- Passed The Code Of Practice On The Prevention And Eradication Of Sexual Harassment In The Work Place;

- Passed guidelines on sexual harassment in the workplaces of the Civil Service;

- Extended maternity leave for women in the public sector to 90 days;

- Implemented a policy to ensure women's participation in corporate decision making by encouraging the appointment of women to 30% of top corporate positions;

- Announced the appointment of at least one woman to all GLC Boards of Directors;

- Introduced the Single Mothers Skills Incubator Programme (I-KIT) to provide entrepreneurial skills training to single mothers;

- Established the Get Malaysian Business Online (GMBO) with an allocation of RM50 million to help women entrepreneurs increase online sales of their products;

- Provided free mammogram examinations for women & HPV immunization for teenage girls;

"Women play an important role in raising happy families as well as contributing towards economic development."

11. NURTURING OUR YOUTH

Our youth today make up two thirds of the population and their voices cannot and must not be ignored. We will continue to provide the platform for our youth to showcase their talents and thoughts, articulate their dreams and desires, to fulfill their wishes and aspirations, and to create Global and Regional Champions.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Providing funding, training and incentives for youth-centric commercial ventures;

- Providing commercial space within shopping complexes one day in every month for youths to exhibit & market their creative products & services;

- Establishing incubators to nurture quality leadership and creativity;

- Creating a more resilient youth through active volunteerism in 1M4U;

- Providing more free WIFI hotspots, with particular emphasis on rural and semi-urban areas;

- Producing more high performance athletes at regional and international levels & promoting a more healthy lifestyle;

- Revisiting laws pertaining to entertainment for the promotion of performing arts & culture.

Thus far, we have:

- Set up a New Entrepreneur Foundation (NEF) for ICT initiatives with an allocation of RM50 million;

- Set up a RM200 million Strategic Action for Youth (SAY 1Malaysia) Fund to provide skills training for youth who have fallen out of the mainstream of development;

- Allocated RM50 million to prepare our young sportsmen and sportswomen to compete in international sporting meets;

- Introduced a RM200 million MyCreative Venture Capital fund to harvest new and innovative ideas;

- Established the RM130 million Dre1M fund to support volunteer activities amongst the youth.

"When we pass on the torch to the younger generation, we must leave a nation which is stronger and more prosperous."

12. WEAVING A NETWORK OF SOCIAL SAFETY NETS

From the physically & mentally handicapped to the aged & marginalised, it is the Government's responsibility to provide disadvantaged groups with their basic needs and ensure their comfort and ease of living. The BN Government has always subscribed to a welfare system that caters to all sections of the community regardless of creed or colour.

Our policies expand to both rural and urban pockets of the disadvantaged. We are aware that assistance and contributions from NGOs and other Malaysians are essential and necessary for these efforts to be more impactful.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Streamlining & improving safety net assistance through a unified database system;

- Providing financial assistance & educational opportunities for lower income earners irrespective of race;

- Turning Brickfields into a blind friendly zone to serve as a model for future zones throughout the country catering to other sections of the disabled;

- Setting up special courts with the same status as High Courts under the present justice system, whereby Judges will be assisted by assessors chosen from among community heads, to deal specifically with NCR issues;

- Gazetting all native customary land in close consultation with State Governments;

- Providing more income generating opportunities within indigenous communities & increasing the intake of indigenous youth into tertiary & vocational education;

- Providing funds for registered NGOs & Civil Society Movements.

Thus far, we have:

- Introduced KAR1SMA whereby RM3.67 billion has been allocated from 2010-2013 to provide assistance to the elderly, children and disabled workers as well as those with chronic diseases;

- Increased monthly safety net assistance from RM80-RM300;

- Introduced 1AZAM with an initial funding of RM400 million to provide opportunities for the low income group to generate more income;

- Presented a one-off payment of RM1,000 to Armed Forces veterans;

- Allocated RM138 million to provide facilities & employment opportunities for the Orang Asli in 2013.

"We have people who are in need of help. If there is no government intervention...they will be sidelined."

13. PROMOTING ISLAM, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM & HARMONY

Malaysia is recognised as a country that celebrates its diversity in unity, with the Government acting as enabler of religious practices. Our success as a Muslim nation is recognized by our status as the leading initiator and practitioner of Islamic banking and insurance systems.

While upholding Islam as the religion of the Federation, the freedom of non-Muslims to practice their faith is guaranteed, facilitated and enshrined in the Constitution. We will continue the work of the Inter-Religious Harmony Committee to promote not just tolerance, but acceptance of our multi-religious culture.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Upholding Islam as the religion of the Federation & promoting the Syiar & Syariat of Islam in accordance with the principles of Maqasid Syariah;

- Ensuring that other religions can be practiced in peace and harmony;

- Assigning jurisdiction over non-Muslim matters to a Minister in the PM's Department;

- Promoting the principles of moderation (wasatiyyah) in all undertakings;

- Increasing initiatives in uniting the ummah;

- Unlocking income from developing wakaf land in cooperation with State Religious Authorities;

- Increasing tax exemptions for contributions to the construction, expansion and upkeep of places of worship;

- The continuance of allocating land for the building of places of worship;

- Providing more financial assistance to registered religious institutions & places of worship;

- Promoting the welfare of Imam, mosque officials & Guru-Guru Kafa by providing service-based salaries & increments;

- Upgrading the quality of Sekolah Agama Rakyat and allowing their students access to quality education & Government education infrastructure;

- Providing financial assistance to Sekolah Agama Rakyat & Sekolah Pondok.

Thus far, we have:

- Achieved global recognition of our religious harmony;

- Recognised religious celebrations as national events & holidays;

- Established Tabung Haji as a model for the most efficiently managed Haj body;

- Achieved international recognition as a model developed Muslim nation and a contributor of ideas to other Muslim countries;

- Gained recognition as the world leader in Islamic financial & capital markets, Islamic education and as international halal hub;

- Provided financial assistance to various religious bodies for the building of houses of worship;

- Initiated inter-religious discussions for continued harmony;

- Established diplomatic ties with the Vatican.

"As Malaysians, we must take a stand that if any race or religion is hurt, then the whole community has been hurt."

14. FIGHTING THE SCOURGE OF CORRUPTION

Fighting and eradicating corruption has been and continues to be, one of the Government's highest priority. While much has been done over the years to strengthen the agencies fighting and prosecuting cases of corruption, we are committed to doing much more to combat the scourge and improve rankings on corruption.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- The public disclosure of contracts to enhance transparency in Government procurement;

- Empowering MACC through the establishment of a Service Commission whereby the power of recruitment and service matters will lie entirely with the Commission;

- Elevating the Head & Senior Officers of the MACC to a higher level;

- Giving equal emphasis on investigations into, and action taken against, bribe givers and receivers;

- Fast tracking access to the Auditor-General's Performance Audit Report for immediate action;

- Establishing additional special corruption Sessions and High Courts;

- Implementing integrity pacts for MPs and State Assemblymen.

Thus far, we have:

- Established integrity pacts with business communities to inculcate an anti-corruption attitude;

- Implemented the signing of integrity pacts by candidates running in General Elections;

- Increased allocation for MACC to expand in both personnel and activities;

- Set up 14 special corruption courts throughout the country;

- Tightened Government procurement measures to reduce the incidence of corruption;

- Made MACC answerable to an Independent Parliamentary Committee.

"Today...fighting corrupt acts... includes criminalizing the proceeds of the crime of corruption and bringing to book corruptors, swiftly."

15. REVITALISING THE PUBLIC SERVICE, ENHANCING GOOD GOVERNANCE

Malaysia owes a large part of her growth and development to the contributions of the civil service. They are the backbone of our economic development, they protect our borders and uphold law and order, they medicate and nurse us and they teach and guide our children.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Introducing the Transformative Salary Scheme for civil servants, including reviewing allowances and providing a special salary movement of 3% to those on maximum salary, in the event there is no salary review;

- Improving the civil service scheme to include more opportunities for promotion and development of talent & ensuring the quality of their general well-being;

- Extending the tenure of contract officers & appointing those who are competent on a permanent basis;

- Expanding Urban Transformation Centres to all major cities and towns;

- "Merakyatkan Perkhidmatan Awam" to ensure excellent service delivery;

- Mobilizing & empowering the civil service, including Local Governments & District Offices, to fulfill the demands, interests & concerns of the rakyat;

- Improving counter services through the appointment of multi-racial frontliners and expanding on-line services for payments & applications;

- Introducing recruitment programmes to ensure a fair mix of all races in the Civil Service and GLCs at all levels;

- Enhancing the potential, capacity & capability of all civil servants regardless of race and gender;

- Giving special attention to OKU to harness their full potential & capacity.

Thus far, we have:

- Introduced an upgraded remuneration scheme for civil servants including overall salary increment and other new initiatives totaling RM2 billion;

- Provided 3 additional annual increments after the maximum salary on the salary schedule effective 1 January 2013;

- Upgraded the levels of policemen and military personnel on a par with the rest of the civil service to provide for higher salary grades;

- Committed to providing an additional salary increment based on the current rate of annual increment according to grades effective 1 July 2013;

- Introduced a Group Insurance Coverage Scheme for serving armed forces and police personnel with an allocation of RM12 million;

- Provided annual housing loans of up to RM6 billion for civil servants;

- Implemented an annual pension increment of 2%.

"In providing excellent services, civil servants must adopt a culture of productivity, creativity and innovation...that will trigger a new paradigm and improve the rakyat's confidence in a more effective, efficient and responsive public service."

16. A GLOBAL MOVEMENT OF MODERATES

Malaysia holds firm to its status as a respected and model moderate & progressive Muslim country. As an independent nation, we will continue to advocate the agenda for global peace & prosperity through moderation, thus diminishing the influence of extremists to cause damage to international peace, cultural understanding and interfaith harmony. And, as we have shown time and again, we are committed to putting our words into action for enduring and just peace.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Fighting for the establishment of a Palestinian state;

- Supporting the realisation of ASEAN as an economic community by 2015;

- Vying for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in order to play a prominent role in regional peace & international security through our policy of moderation;

- Enhancing economic & bilateral interests with major trading partners and emerging economies;

- Formulating Foreign Policy which supports our strategic political, economic & security interests;

- Taking the lead in fighting trans-national crimes such as human & drug trafficking;

- Spearheading humanitarian outreach programmes in conflict areas such as Gaza, the West Bank, Southern Thailand, Mindanao & elsewhere.

Thus far, we have:

- Gained recognition and endorsement from ASEM, CHOGM, and ASEAN for the Global Movement of Moderates;

- Proven our commitment to the Palestinian cause through our humanitarian programmes;

- Brokered the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine Government and the MILF;

- Assisted the Thai Government in stabilizing security & improving socio-economic development through bilateral cooperation;

- Set up the China Xiamen university and launched the Malaysia-China-Kuantan Industrial Park;

- Signed the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with India involving total trade of USD15 billion.

"The real divide is not between Muslims and non-Muslims, or between the developed and developing worlds, it is between moderates and extremists."

17. PRESERVING NATURE'S RESOURCES

Apart from our natural resources, which have been the engine of economic growth for decades, this country is also blessed with abundant water supply and endless days of sunshine. We have numerous rivers and miles of coast that flourish with all sorts of marine life.

We need to protect these gifts from nature, while improvising on ways and means to harness their natural energy. We will continue our efforts to clean up our rivers and waterways, while preserving our rainforests for the benefit of generations to come.

In the next FIVE years, we commit to:

- Giving financial incentives to commercial & private premises which invest in renewable green energy resources such as biomass and solar;

- Allocating more space for green lungs within major cities;

- Revitalising rivers & streams via increased allocations and enactment of stricter laws and by-laws, and via special UNDP & River of Life programmes;

- Increasing educational programmes to inculcate appreciation of the environment;

- Preserving our forests & undertaking re-forestation programmes;

- Enacting stricter and updated laws to prevent illegal activities of deforestation of vital and strategic conservation areas;

- Employing green & latest state of the art technology in waste disposal & management;

Thus far, we have:

- Introduced the RM500 million River of Life project to transform Klang River into a vibrant and livable waterfront with high economic value;

- Set up the Malaysian Green Technology Corporation towards the research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency;

- Established the Green Technology Financing Scheme worth RM3.5 billion to provide soft loans to companies which contribute to the production and utilization of green technology-based products;

- Enacted The Renewable Energy Act 2011 as a commitment to voluntary reduction of up to 40% in terms of emissions intensity of GDP by the year 2020.

"This is not an option but a reality that all nations must face up to. Only those who master the application of green technology and sustainable energy will be the winner in the 21st Century."

REFLECTION

"In our national discourse and in pursuing our national agenda, we must never leave anyone behind. We must reach out to the many who may have been disaffected and left confused by political games, deceit and showmanship...

"We must sow the seeds of goodwill and understanding in every corner of this land, so that we continue to harvest the fruits of progress and prosperity for all Malaysians...

"We recognise that the BN Government is not without fault. But while we have the courage to admit our weaknesses, there are those who are only willing to see the fault in others...

"In its 55 years of rule, the BN Government has recognised that racial unity forms the basis for national stability. But there are those who, for the sake of power, would rather sow seeds of conflict and hate...

"Thus, I urge Malaysians to judge the BN on its merits. Please join my colleagues and me in fulfilling our potential towards developing a country that we can be truly proud of...

"A country where the weak are protected, those in want assisted, the strong protect, the young are loved, the elderly valued, those in need are attended to, and those with potential given opportunities to bloom."

- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak

For more election stories, please visit The Star's GE13 site

GE13: Thousands at the launch of BN manifesto

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 08:38 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands gathered to witness the unveiling of the much-anticipated Barisan Nasional manifesto at Stadium Putra Bukit Jalil on Saturday night.

Supporters from various Barisan component parties, had gathered as early as 5.30pm at the venue which was turned into a sea of blue with the Barisan flags.

Retired civil servant A. Somu, 69, who came from Batu Pahat, Johor, said that he came his family members to show support for Barisan.

"We left Johor early this morning and we are excited to hear what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has to reveal about the manifesto. We believe that the manifesto will be able to improve the livelihood of the people," he said.

Businesswoman, Haniza Haron, 43, said that she was glad that Barisan was committed in its manifesto to uphold the rights of the women and to bring more women at the decision-making level.

"I have travelled all over South East Asia and I think our government is one the best in terms of increasing women's participation at the decision making position," she said.

First-time voter and sales coordinator J. Geetha, 21, said that she attended the event to learn for herself details of Barisan's manifesto.

"I am one of those fence sitters and I came all the way from Seremban. I hope that it will be able to address the problems of young Malaysians such as housing and education," she said.

Retiree, Ong Thin Chin, 54, commended the manifesto, saying that it showed the direction of the coalition on how to improve the country's economy.

The manifesto, themed "A Promise of Hope" offers focused, compelling and concrete pledges, aimed to spur the country's economic growth.

Among others, the manifesto highlighted that the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) payment would be gradually increased from RM500 to RM1,200 for households and RM600 for singles on annual basis.

For more election stories, please visit The Star's GE13 site

GE13: Six reasons why voters should return BN to power

Posted: 06 Apr 2013 08:38 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged the people to evaluate his track record as a staunch Umno member for 37 years during which he remained loyal to the leader and never stabbed anyone in the back.

Outlining the Barisan Nasional's (BN) campaign for the 13th general election, the prime minister said he started from below and climbed the ladder one step at a time before reaching the pinnacle of his political career.

"I have been in the government for a long time... from spotting thick black hair to what it is today. I moved up one step at a time. And I have never stabbed anyone from behind.

"This is because one of the principles in the struggle is loyalty to the leader. I have served three prime ministers and I have been loyal to the three the prime ministers," he said.

Najib, who is also BN chairman, was speaking at the gathering of the 1Malaysia pledge "People First" in conjunction with the launch of the BN 2013 manifesto at the Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil.

He said the manifesto presents a strong case why voters should return the coalition to power for the next five years.

It cites six main reasons for Malaysians to do so, including the need for Malaysia to have a strong government.

Besides this, the manifesto touted five other attributes of Barisan as an entity with a proven track record, experienced, a movement in moderation, a time-tested power-sharing coalition, and committed to Malaysians' ideals.

"We need a strong government capable of delivering the National Transformation Agenda towards achieving a fully developed and high-income nation," said the manifesto titled 'People First'.

"We have to safeguard what we have already achieved. We cannot put at risk what we have, we cannot gamble away our future," it said.

On Barisan's track record, the manifesto pointed out that the coalition has delivered 55 years of undeniable success, a party with a record of solid achievement and fulfilled promises.

"We will continue to build on this track record. Now is not the time for risks. Do not experiment with our future," it said, noting that the Barisan-led government has brought progress to all segments of the Malaysian society.

Noting that the Barisan espouses the politics of unity, the manifesto said the coalition is experienced in managing a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society.

"We have proven our ability in facing challenges and overcoming adversity. Time and again we have come through crises stronger and wiser," it said.

The manifesto explained that the coalition practices an effective power-sharing formula, respects and accepts religious and racial diversity, and opposes the exploitation of race and religion for political expediency.

It stressed that the coalition is a tested multi-party coalition and, after 55 years, it still represents all the peoples of all the states in Malaysia.

"We practice the politics of consensus and inclusiveness. All views are considered, all voices are heard," the manifesto said.

It said the Barisan shares people's hopes and aspirations as it strives to make them a reality for all.

In saying the Barisan is about a promise of hope, the manifesto said the coalition will bring the country and its people to a new level of excellence and service predicated on the concept of People First, Performance Now. - Bernama

For more election stories, please visit The Star's GE13 site

BARISAN NASIONAL MANIFESTO

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