Jumaat, 18 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

14 Laos plane crash victims identified


PAKSE, Laos: Lao Airlines on Saturday said it had identified almost half of the 30 bodies so far recovered after a plane carrying dozens of people, many of them foreign travellers, plunged into the Mekong River.

In the country's deadliest known air disaster, all those on board died when the Lao Airlines turboprop ATR-72 plunged into the swollen waters in stormy weather on Wednesday near Pakse airport in Champasak province.

More than half of the 49 passengers and crew were foreigners from 10 countries.

Lao Airlines said that its team, in cooperation with Thai rescuers, investigators from the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer and local authorities, had identified 14 of the 30 bodies found so far.

Two Australian passengers, the Cambodian captain and several members of the crew were among those named so far.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this terrible tragedy," the carrier said in a statement.

Volunteers have battled strong currents in their search for bodies from the plane, most of which has sunk and is believed to have broken up.

In some cases, rescue teams have plucked the dead from turbulent waters many miles from the crash site.

Families of those identified have already begun holding funerals for their loved ones.

"This is the biggest loss in my life," Souksamone Phommasone told AFP as he prepared to cremate his wife Chinda.

She died along with her mother and father as they returned in the ill-fated aircraft from a visit to see the couple's daughter in Vientiane.

Thailand has said the recovery operation is being led by local authorities with the support of its navy, air force and volunteer rescue teams.

Lao Airlines said the aircraft hit "extreme" bad weather while witnesses described seeing the plane buffeted by strong winds caused by tropical storm Nari.

According to an updated passenger list from the airline, there were 16 Laotians, seven French travellers, six Australians, five Thais, three South Koreans, three Vietnamese, and one national each from the United States, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.

Aircraft manufacturer ATR said the twin-engine turboprop aircraft was new and had been delivered in March.

Founded in 1976, Lao Airlines serves domestic airports and destinations in China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Impoverished Laos, a one-party communist state, has seen 29 fatal air accidents since the 1950s, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

Previously its worst air disaster was in 1954 when 47 people died in an Air Vietnam crash near Pakse, the organisation said. -AFP

Question raised in ex-professor’s sex-for-grades sentence appeal


THE question of whether former law professor Tey Tsun Hang's actions amounted to corruption or simply exploitation of his former student Darinne Ko was raised by High Court Justice Woo Bih Li on the second day of Tey's appeal.

Tey, 42, got out of jail on Oct 5, after serving a five-month sentence for corruptly obtaining gifts and sex from Ko. But he is appealing against his conviction and sentence. He has been absent from the hearing.

Justice Woo questioned if Tey was corrupt, if all he did was give Ko the false impression that he loved her.

He asked: "Even if (Tey) was exploiting (Ko) out of greed and lust, does that make it corruption?"

In response, Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Jumabhoy said the terms exploitation and corruption overlapped.

He noted the corrupt intent was demonstrated by Tey's conduct and state of mind.

He also did not declare the gifts to his employer, the National University of Singapore, breaching its code of conduct.

DPP Jumabhoy noted that his statements to anti-graft officers also said he was corrupt.

Earlier in the day, Tey's lawyer, Peter Low, had pressed on in his attempt to challenge the admissibility of six statements given by his client to officers of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

Low argued his client had been in "a fragile state of mind" during this period.

He referred to evidence given by psychiatrist Tommy Tan that Tey exhibited symptoms of "acute stress reaction" when he saw him last year.

But DPP Jumabhoy argued that another psychiatrist, Dr Michael Yong, had testified Tey was able to respond appropriately and could understand what was said to him.

He also rebutted Low's argument, raised on Wednesday, that Tey had allegedly been subject to threats and badgering by anti-graft officers. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Cops search for second man involved in murder of model


POLICE in Pakistan are looking for a second man believed to have been involved in the murder of Singapore-based model Fehmina Chaudhry.

The man – who investigators say strangled the 27-year-old with a rope – was in a car with Chaudhry and real estate broker Muaz Waqar on the day she was killed.

The three of them were on the way to see the land she had bought from Waqar for three million Pakistani rupees (RM89,090), paid for in the form of gold.

Waqar, who has been arrested, has already admitted to the murder.

"They drove for two hours, and took her to a desolate place," investigating officer Javed Awan said.

"When they stopped, the other man took a rope and strangled Chaudhry from behind the passenger seat. Then they drove a few more kilometres and dumped her body in a drain."

He added that police know the man's identity and are tracking him down.

The body of the pageant winner was found in a drain in Pakistan's capital Islamabad on Monday.

Police say telephone records show contact between Chaudhry and Waqar, and there are photographs of them on his Facebook page. It is believed he visited her at her hotel. These connections led police to Waqar, said officer Awan.

Chaudhry went missing on Thursday last week after flying to Pakistan to negotiate a land deal with Waqar. Chaudhry's mother Nashiba Taskeen reported her missing two days later.

When Waqar seemed unable to carry out his part of the deal, Chaudhry asked for her payment back.

He then offered her a modelling deal with Pepsi worth 20 million Pakistani rupees.

She had been planning to set up a fashion school.

It is believed that she moved to Singapore with her husband a few years ago, but they divorced about 12 months ago.

The catwalk fashion model and beauty pageant judge came from a "very good" family in Karachi, Pakistan, and married at the age of 18.

Those who knew Chaudhry said she had a zest for life and was always ready to help her friends.

She had been working hard to make it in Bollywood before she was murdered, they said. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Pakistan tells U.N. at least 400 civilians killed by drone strikes


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Pakistan has confirmed that of some 2,200 people killed by drone strikes in the past decade, at least 400 were civilians and an additional 200 victims were deemed "probable non-combatants," a U.N. human rights investigator said on Friday.

Ben Emmerson, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, also urged the United States to release its own data on the number of civilian casualties caused by its drone strikes.

Emmerson said Pakistan's Foreign Ministry told him it had recorded at least 330 drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan's largely lawless region bordering Afghanistan, since 2004.

Clearing out militant border sanctuaries is seen by Washington as crucial to bringing stability to Afghanistan, particularly as the U.S.-led combat mission ends in 2014. Most, but not all, attacks with unmanned aerial vehicles have been by the United States. Britain and Israel have also used them.

In an interim report to U.N. General Assembly released on Friday, Emmerson said Pakistani government records showed that drone strikes had killed at least 2,200 people and seriously wounded at least 600 since 2004.

He said Pakistan had confirmed that "at least 400 civilians had been killed as a result of remotely piloted aircraft strikes and a further 200 individuals were regarded as probable non-combatants."

"Officials indicated that, owing to underreporting and obstacles to effective investigation, those figures were likely to be an underestimate" of civilian deaths, Emmerson said.

Emmerson, who visited Pakistan in March, noted that principal media monitoring organizations had recorded a "marked drop" in reported civilians casualties from drone strikes in the tribal areas during 2012 and the first half of 2013.

The tribal areas have never been fully integrated into Pakistan's administrative, economic or judicial system. They are dominated by ethnic Pashtun tribes, some of which have sheltered and supported militants over decades of conflict in Afghanistan.

"The involvement of CIA in lethal counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan and Yemen has created an almost insurmountable obstacle to transparency," Emmerson said.

"One consequence is that the United States has to date failed to reveal its own data on the level of civilian casualties inflicted through the use of remotely piloted aircraft in classified operations conducted in Pakistan and elsewhere."


During his Senate confirmation process in February, CIA director John Brennan said the closely guarded number of civilian casualties from drone strikes should be made public. The U.S. government, without releasing numbers, has sought to portray civilian deaths from these strikes as minimal.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said at the time that she had been trying to speak publicly about the "very low number of civilian casualties" and to verify that number each year has "typically been in the single digits." However, she said she was told she could not divulge the actual numbers because they were classified.

In May, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a document that he said codified guidelines for the use of force against terrorists. He said before drone strikes were taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians would be killed or wounded.

Emmerson urged the United States to declassify to the maximum extent possible information "relevant to its lethal extraterritorial counter-terrorism operations; and to release its own data on the level of civilian casualties inflicted through the use of remotely piloted aircraft, together with information on the evaluation methodology used."

He reported that in Afghanistan, the U.N. mission said while casualties were likely underestimated, it had assessed that in recent years drones strikes appeared to have inflicted lower levels of civilian casualties than other air strikes.

Emmerson said "the United States appears to have succeeded in avoiding the infliction of large-scale loss of civilian life in Yemen" when carrying out drone strikes. "Nonetheless, there have been a number of incidents in which civilians have reportedly been killed or injured," he said.

"The most serious single incident to date was a remotely piloted aircraft attack on 2 September 2012 in which 12 civilians were reportedly killed in the vicinity of Rada'a," Emmerson said.

The full report can be viewed at: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/68/389

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Colombia's ELN rebels release oil workers after brief capture - police


BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's ELN rebels released three oil contractors hours after kidnapping them in the eastern province of Arauca on Friday, a police commander said, following an intensive air and ground search launched by security forces.

The contractors, all from Colombia, had been hauled from their car by men in military fatigues commonly used by the country's guerrillas, near the town of Arauquita close to the eastern border with Venezuela.

The kidnapping followed a spate of bomb attacks in the past 10 days that shut some of the Colombian oil industry's biggest oil and gas pipelines. The sector has enjoyed an influx of foreign investment because of improved security in the past decade.

"It appears to be another doing of the ELN as part of its escalation in terrorist activities," Arauca regional police commander Wilson Bravo said on local television, which reported that the kidnapped contractors were a geologist, an assistant and their driver.

Bravo later told Reuters the men had been released, and attributed it to the pressure the kidnappers faced after security forces quickly launched a search.

Local media said the contractors work on Colombia's second-biggest oil pipeline, the Cano Limon-Covenas, owned by Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol and U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. It transports crude along the border with Venezuela to Colombia's Caribbean coast.

The 480-mile (780-km), 80,000 barrel-per-day pipeline, has been functioning sporadically since three bomb attacks closed it this month. The attacks were attributed to leftist guerrillas.

The ELN, or National Liberation Army, which operates mostly in the country's northeast, is the smaller of Colombia's two guerrilla groups, with about 3,000 fighters. The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has about 8,000 fighters.

Both groups have been fighting the government in a bloody five-decade conflict estimated to have killed more than 200,000 people.

In August, the ELN released a Canadian geologist it had held hostage for seven months. President Juan Manuel Santos had said the release was a condition for ELN peace talks with the government, which the rebel group has expressed interest in pursuing.

Both guerrilla groups have attacked oil infrastructure with increasing frequency in the past year or two, even with peace talks proceeding between the government and FARC. Oil companies had to contend with attacks as frequent as every two to three days in 2012.

The ELN has battled a dozen governments since it was founded in 1964 and is considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.

It has sought peace before, holding talks with the Colombian government in Cuba and Venezuela from 2002 to 2007.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Peter Murphy and Peter Cooney)

Guinea's ruling party falls short of majority in legislative vote


CONAKRY (Reuters) - President Alpha Conde's ruling party won 53 seats in Guinea's September 28 legislative election, falling short of securing an outright majority in the West African nation's 114-seat parliament, the electoral commission said on Friday.

Provisional results published by the commission showed that the main opposition UFDG party, led by Conde's rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo, won 37 seats while former Prime Minister Sidya Toure's UFR secured 10 seats.

Other smaller parties grabbed the remaining seats. No party was expected to win an outright majority and parties are expected to try to form coalitions following the long-delayed and tense election in the world's top bauxite producer.

Conde's RPG has been in power since 2010.

"The Electoral Commission will transmit the results to the Supreme Court, which is authorised to publish the final results," electoral commission president Bakary Fofana, told a news conference in Conakry.

The legislative vote is due to complete a long-delayed transition back to civilian rule following a 2008 military coup in Guinea, which is also home to some of the world's largest iron ore reserves.

Disputes over the results from a partial count of votes from various districts had raised fears of a resurgence of violence that killed about 50 people before the election.

Uncertainty over the vote, which was delayed by over two years, contributed to a dampening of enthusiasm of major mining firms, which have in recent years pledged billions of dollars in investments in Guinea, mainly for iron ore operations.

Opposition parties rejected earlier partial results alleging the government was rigging the vote. Last week they pulled their representatives out of the election's organising commission, and called for the vote to be annulled.

UFR's Toure said opposition parties were not aware and were not informed that provisional results were to be announced on Friday.

"We will meet tomorrow (Saturday) to make a decision in relation to these results. For now, we once again denounce the massive fraud that was orchestrated by the government," he said.

Toure did not give further details or say whether the opposition will lodge complaints with the Supreme Court.

Ruling party spokesman Moustapha Naite said though relieved by the announcement of the results, the party has filed complaints with the Supreme Court over results from some districts.

According to Guinea's law, parties have eight days to file complaints and the Supreme Court is expected to publish final results three days after that deadline.

(Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Sandra Maler and Paul Simao)

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

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The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

Blake Lively finds eternal youth


The American actress has been cast in the title role of the romantic fantasy film The Age Of Adaline.

Blake Lively is set to star in The Age Of Adaline, a movie that has been in the "in development" stages since 2010.

The actress replaces Katherine Heigl, who was originally slated to headline the project before backing out two years ago.

According to Deadline.com, the former Gossip Girl star will play a woman who mysteriously stopped ageing after an accident at age 29. After enjoying immortality for several decades, she begins to question her status when she finds true love.

The actress will likely be joined on the set by Ellen Burstyn, who is in talks to replace Angela Lansbury in the role of the protagonist's daughter, who is in her 80s.

Indie director Lee Toland Krieger will helm The Age Of Adaline, which is scheduled to begin principal photography next March. The young American filmmaker made a name for himself in recent years with The Vicious Kind (2009) and Celeste And Jesse Forever (2012).

Blake Lively was recently seen in Oliver Stone's crime thriller Savages. — AFP Relaxnews

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star eCentral: Movie Reviews

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Blake Lively finds eternal youth


The American actress has been cast in the title role of the romantic fantasy film The Age Of Adaline.

Blake Lively is set to star in The Age Of Adaline, a movie that has been in the "in development" stages since 2010.

The actress replaces Katherine Heigl, who was originally slated to headline the project before backing out two years ago.

According to Deadline.com, the former Gossip Girl star will play a woman who mysteriously stopped ageing after an accident at age 29. After enjoying immortality for several decades, she begins to question her status when she finds true love.

The actress will likely be joined on the set by Ellen Burstyn, who is in talks to replace Angela Lansbury in the role of the protagonist's daughter, who is in her 80s.

Indie director Lee Toland Krieger will helm The Age Of Adaline, which is scheduled to begin principal photography next March. The young American filmmaker made a name for himself in recent years with The Vicious Kind (2009) and Celeste And Jesse Forever (2012).

Blake Lively was recently seen in Oliver Stone's crime thriller Savages. — AFP Relaxnews

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

icapital not keen on Bursa


KUALA LUMPUR: Closed-end fund icapital.biz Bhd is less enthusiastic about investing in the local stock market at present as it thinks most stocks are currently trading at expensive valuations.

"Shares on Bursa Malaysia are not cheap… many stocks are overvalued at present," icapital.biz managing director Tan Teng Boo said.

Tan revealed that the fund was currently holding around RM200mil, or about 50% of its net asset value, in cash, waiting for the right moment to enter the market to invest.

He added that it had been maintaining a high cash position for the last nine to 10 months, not only because the market was looking expensive, but also because of the surrounding domestic political and international economic uncertainties.

"We only look at undervalued stocks as we believe in having a sufficient 'margin of safety' for our investments," Tan explained during a press briefing in conjunction with its upcoming 2013 Investor Day.

Themed "Great Beginnings," the event will be held on Oct 26 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from 9am to 6pm. It will feature special sessions with Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar, Asian Development Bank economist Niny Khor, and corporate captains Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Datuk Seri Ajib Anuar and Aminul Rashid Mohd Zamzam, among others. There will also be games with exciting prizes.

Tan said he expected the conference to attract 10,000 participants.

When asked what he thought would be a reasonable level for icapital.biz to enter the local stock market, Tan said it would be when the valuation hovered around 11 to 12 times price-earnings (PE), compared with the present level of 16.5 to 17 times PE.

"The present valuation is not cheap based on our economic growth that has slowed and corporate earnings growth that is not strong," Tan explained.

He pointed out that his team was now sceptical about Asean capital markets in general. Besides the Malaysian stock market, Tan said stocks on the Philippines' market were also overpriced at their present levels, while the Jakarta stock market was plagued by Indonesia's fundamental economic problems and Thailand's stocks looked less attractive after the country's economy slipped into a recession.

Meanwhile, Tan said he was looking to double the icapital.biz's staff size from the present 70 people to facilitate its expansion plan. He revealed that his aim was to make icapital.biz, a truly global investment house within the next 10 years.

Up Close & Personal with Paul Moung


WHEN he was a young boy, Paul Moung stayed at a monastery in his native country of Myanmar (formerly Burma).

Although he did this just twice in his life – both of them briefly, the experience has remained with him a lifetime. In fact, Moung believes that many of the values he inculcates in his daily work schedule stems from his time at the monastery.

"Watching the monks go through their daily rituals, it was all about calmness, commitment and self-discipline," says the managing director of IBM Malaysia.

Moung says he spent about a week each time at the monastery – the first was with his two brothers when he was six years old; the second with his cousins when he was nine.

"There were certain rituals that we had to follow, such as fasting, wearing sacred robes, chanting prayers and having our heads shaved."

Moung recalls he had to wear two types of robes at the monastery – one during prayers and another almost most of the time.

"There was one sacred robe we had to wear all the time, and no matter what, we were not allowed to drop it below our knees, even in the bathroom!

That required a lot of discipline, he says. But playing the role of a monk was more than just about aesthetics – it's a way of life, albeit a tough one, especially for a young boy.

"We had to go around begging with bowls and I had to fast from noon until the next morning. We could only have sips of water, so the temptation to eat was strong and it was difficult."

This trained Moung to be self-disciplined.

"Discipline is easier when it's imposed on you. But self-discipline is not easy. Like dropping the robe below your knees – although no one can see you when you're in the bathroom, you take it upon yourself to ensure that you abide by the rules."

Born and raised during the early part of his life in Burma, Moung is also no stranger to hardship. Following the military coup led by General Ne Win in the early 1960s, Moung's father, who was a police commissioner, was a political prisoner for four years.

Moung was only eight when it happened.

"Many people were made political prisoners at the time. What's worse was that we were not allowed to see him. My brothers and I would joke that even a convicted murderer was allowed to receive visitors.

"The only correspondence we had with him was through letters. We could send him things but, of course, they would have to be screened."

Moung and his family left Burma and moved to Hong Kong in 1971. The family then moved to Tokyo, where Moung received the bulk of his formal education.

IBM man

He would later graduate with a Master of Business Administration from Sophia University, Tokyo. Moung recalls during his university years in Japan when many of his professors would refer to IBM in their lectures and course practices.

"IBM would always be mentioned as the company was highly regarded and admired. I think that had a huge influence on me and why I wanted to work there."

Moung joined IBM in Hong Kong in 1979. Since then, he has held various management jobs in sales and marketing in Hong Kong, China, India and Singapore. Moung was instrumental in introducing IBM's RISC Unix platform in China in 1990, which catapulted the company to become the undisputed market leader in this space in China.

In 1994, he was appointed general manager in Hong Kong, the first Asian to be appointed to this role in the history of IBM in Hong Kong. During his time, Moung transformed and grew IBM's market share in Hong Kong as the computer giant struggled to revive its business worldwide in the wake of a major crisis.

His success led to him being tasked with building IBM software business in South Asia for the newly created IBM Software Group. During this period, Moung was also responsible for the integration of the Lotus software company into IBM in this part of the world.

Subsequently, he was appointed general manager, systems, software, and cross industry solutions for South Asia. Here, Moung was instrumental in leading IBM's re-entry into the India market after a 30-year absence. IBM had exited the sub-continent in 1978.

In 1999, Moung was assigned to Tokyo as vice-president, storage systems group, Asia Pacific, and went on to lead the revival in the storage market for IBM in Asia Pacific. He then returned to Singapore as vice-president, systems and technology group/business partners for South Asia.

In 2008, he was assigned to Tokyo as vice-president, systems and technology group, and appointed a member of the board of directors at IBM Japan.

In April of this year, he was appointed to his current position as managing director of IBM Malaysia.

Moung admits that working in various countries presented different challenges.

"Based on first-hand experience, every market is unique and different. In mature markets, attrition is not much of a problem. But in growth markets, it's harder to retain talents. So you have to manage things differently."

Moung no doubt is using his past experience to oversee his Malaysian operations.

"Malaysia is like all other markets. There are companies here that have the aspiration to go regional or global, while some want to focus on the domestic market.

"When I divide Malaysia into different groups, it's similar to many countries. So in reality, the business is not much different."

As for skills and talents management, Moung says IBM tries to ensure its people are retained and remain competitive.

"As companies out there strive to go to the next level, upgrading of skills is required. Every customer I've spoken to aspires to do that and we also need to improve ourselves.

"We have a commitment to serve global clients using Malaysian talents."

Having a wide presence, a big challenge for IBM is to be able to tweak and offer its services to specific target groups, says Moung.

"A question that often comes up is how do we bring all this to our customers in Malaysia. We have large, medium and small customers. So how do we cater to their individual requirements? We need to provide customised solutions."

"We don't want SMEs to feel like IBM is unapproachable. So we're always finding ways to make IBM relevant to the broad market rather than just the larger companies out there."

The well-read athlete

Moung is married with two children. His hobbies include golf, tennis, listening to music and reading. When he was young, he aspired to be an athlete.

"My initial ambition was to become an athlete, so that I could win trophies and medals. I was in the swimming, tennis, track and field, badminton, football and rugby teams."

"My monastery experience, and involvement in sports, has helped me to stay focused and think straight."

An avid reader, Moung says he loves reading biographies of famous people.

"I've been reading biographies for the last 30 years, ranging from musicians, entrepreneurs, business leaders, self-made billionaires, politicians to even spiritual leaders."

Moung lists Richard Branson, Howard Hughes and Gandhi among his favourites.

"When you read about these people, it tells you something that relaxes you and helps you to come to terms with the global, social problems that might worry you."

Moung says it is a dream of his to be able to write his own book some day.

"I want to write a biography of my own. Of course, I don't know if people will actually read it," he says with a chuckle.

Gearing GST towards public acceptance


GOODS and Service Tax (GST) is tax on what is spent and not on what is earned. Earlier on March 30, 2010, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak unveiled the New Economy Model (NEM) and it recognises that a wider tax base is an important part of reforms, where the introduction of GST is a key component. It was reported that a more diversified tax base is needed to compensate for an expected future reduction in the share of revenue from oil and gas.

Najib will make his Budget 2014 speech on Oct 25 and the long overdue GST is likely to be a major part of a package of tax reforms. Malaysia's household debt to GDP was 83% in mid-2013 compared with 70% in 2009. Policymakers and tax analysts too consider its introduction inevitable, particularly given the paradigm shift in tax policies worldwide in favour of indirect taxes. More than 160 countries worldwide have already introduced GST (known as VAT in European countries) and more than 90% of countries have some form of GST exposure.

Goods and Services Tax Bill

On Dec 16, 2009, a Goods and Services Tax Bill was tabled in Parliament but it was subsequently withdrawn for reassessment. The GST Bill sought to impose a tax on goods and services but essential items would either be zero-rated or exempted. To protect small businesses, the Finance Ministry has recommended a threshold of RM500,000 in annual turnover. This would imply businesses below that threshold need not register nor do they need to collect GST. Once an announcement is made to introduce GST, actual implementation would be subject to a 12- to 15-month long preparation period for businesses to familiarise themselves with the new accounting procedures.

Weaknesses of existing system

The existing sales tax, introduced in 1972, is a single stage tax on the manufacturing of goods and the importation of manufactured goods. Exemption from the tax is dependent on the turnover (RM100,000) of licensed manufacturers and the type of manufacturing activity. Despite a complicated procedure for claiming relief of the tax in respect of business-to-business transactions, the tax has a cascading effect, which means that, to a certain extent, the tax incurred by manufacturers is taxed again at subsequent stages of the manufacturing process. The service tax was introduced in 1975 and it is also found to have an arbitrary effect on consumer prices.

Service tax only applies to a narrow set of defined activities classified as "taxable services" whose value has exceeded (exceptions apply) a certain annual threshold. Liability for service tax is therefore based on a combination of business characteristics and the types of services. The turnover threshold does not apply to numerous professional services. The service tax does not only have a cascading effect, it also accumulates with sales tax.

Impact on consumer prices

The introduction of GST will have an impact on consumer prices and, therefore, on real income. The extent of the tax burden on various categories of expenditure will depend on the GST rate, threshold limit as well as on the scope of the exemptions or application of zero rating.

In 2012, sales tax yielded RM9.2bil while service tax yielded RM6.2bil. Both these taxes account for 7.7% of Federal Government taxes. In the same year, indirect taxes (RM33.1bil) merely accounted for about 15.8% of federal taxes while direct taxes accounted for RM124.8bil or 59.7% and non-tax revenue was RM51.3bil or 24.5%.

An increase in revenue collection from the switch to GST from existing sales tax and service tax will come from enforcing tax collection across a broader chain of production and distribution of goods and services.

Attraction of GST

The single most attraction of GST is it being seen as a neutral tax that would provide substantial revenue to the Government without lowering the effectiveness or efficiency of the market system in allocating capital, land and labour. It is a means of increasing the government tax base by reaching out to a broader group of people, namely consumers. The GST system has a self-policing mechanism due to in-built cross-checking features which would improve tax compliance. Taxpayers (i.e. registered persons) are also compelled to maintain orderly accounts and hence there is less scope for tax evasion.

GST in Singapore

In 1994, the Singapore government introduced GST at a low rate of 3% and with a high threshold limit of S$1mil. Hence, only large business enterprises were needed to register to collect GST. However, very minimal goods and services were either zero-rated or exempted, hence lowering tax leakages and improving efficiency in the collection of revenue. The GST rates were gradually increased over the years to 7% from July 2007 onwards.

During this period, corporate tax rate in Singapore was lowered from 30% in 1993 to 27% in 1994; and further lowered over the years to 22% in 2003; 20% in 2005; 18% in 2008 and 17% from 2010. To help companies cope with rising business costs, the Finance Minister announced in Budget 2013 that, for the years of assessment 2013, 2014 and 2015, companies will receive a 30% corporate tax rebate that is subject to a cap of S$30,000 per year.

Salient features of GST

If GST is implemented, the tax would be charged on any taxable supply of goods or services made by a taxable person; and on the importation of goods or services. The word "business" includes any trade, commerce, profession, vocation or any other similar activity.

The generic term GST covers a set of broad-based ad valorem taxes that share two common features, namely:

(i) The tax is collected at every stage of the production process, and

(ii) The amount collected at each stage is based on the value added at that stage.

The GST is supposedly a regressive tax but there are ways to mitigate the tax burden faced by middle and lower income groups as well as small businesses. It is likely that the proposed GST charged on a broad range of taxable supplies is at the standard tax rate of 5%, hence revenue from GST would only increase modestly. Essential supplies of over 40 items would be either zero-rated or exempted and such a move would be favourable to the broader community, particularly the lower income groups.

Zero-rated supplies

Zero-rated goods and services are goods that have no tax charged on consumers. This means that the final consumer will literally pay GST at a rate of zero per cent. When goods or services are zero-rated, the firm can still claim credits for all inputs but is required to charge output tax only on non-zero rated supplies, hence it could receive a net refund.

Likely zero-rated supplies are exports of goods, international services, agriculture produce, essential foodstuff (example: rice, sugar, table salt, plain flour and cooking oil), livestock supplies and fish. It is likely that a pre-determined units of electricity to domestic users and limited cubic metres of water to domestic users would be zero-rated.

Exempted supplies

Exempted supplies are those items that "miss out" on one or more stages of the GST assessment process. In Australia, exempted supply are referred to as "input taxed supply". Producers of exempted supplies do not receive a credit for the GST incorporated in their input costs and are not charged tax on their exempted supplies. The effect is that the commodity is taxed at a lower effective rate. For example, if a firm purchases inputs costing A$110, GST-inclusive (at say 10%) and makes exempted supplies of RM160, the only tax on final sales is the (non-credited) A$10 included in its purchases, so the effective rate is (A$10/A$160) = 1/16 of the gross price (7%).

Exemptions, however, introduce economic inefficiencies and reduce the revenue base, but the effects will not be as severe as zero-rating because the exempted commodities still bear some GST. The effective rate is proportional to the share of value-added at the relevant stage in the total value of the commodity.

Critical items likely to be treated as exempted supplies are financial services, private health and education, domestic transportation of passengers, sales and lease of residential property, and land for public use. The GST credit offset mechanism cannot be used to tax financial services on a basis consistent to other goods and services. This is due to the absence of explicit fees for financial services; the value of input supplied by financial institutions is a spread that may be only a few basis points in the total charge to a customer.

Distributional effect of GST

The author investigated the distributive effects of a comprehensive GST on prices of a broad group of commodities and services in Malaysia. Base data was compiled from the Household Expenditure Survey (HES), which collates information on levels and trends of consumption expenditure by households on a comprehensive range of goods and services. The 11-monthly expenditure classes (categories) vary from below RM500 (Class 1) to above RM5,000 (Class 11). A simulation model was developed to determine the effects of the GST on households. Four GST rates, namely 3, 5, 7 and 10 percentile points were considered in the simulation exercise.

The findings of this study suggest that the GST is not necessarily a regressive tax and it is even found to be fairly progressive.

The distributional effect of GST in Malaysia should not be examined in isolation but viewed within the context of a fiscal system comprising tax and government expenditure programmes. A tax is seen as regressive when it would impose a proportionately higher tax burden on lower income earners than higher income earners. The mild regressive aspects of the indirect tax could be overcome with financial assistance programmes, imposing graduated excise duties on non-essentials and prudent use of a GST coupon system to support the lower income groups.

Dollar for dollar reimbursement

It is generally felt that GST implementation is more urgent now due to rising GDP-debt ratio, low earnings from the petroleum, gas and commodity sectors as well as the need to narrow the budget deficit. In a GST environment, greater efforts are needed to boost productivity and promote innovation. In this regard, a dollar for dollar reimbursement should be given for GST-related expenditure on R&D activities, cost of purchase of new accounting software and expenses related to re-training staff. A double deduction should also be given under the Income Tax Act 1967 for all GST related book-keeping expenses which the Malaysian Inland Revenue Board would find useful for tax audit verification.

The GST when implemented in Malaysia can be seen as a reformatory move to further promote efficiency of the tax administration.

> Jeyapalan Kasipillai is a professor and deputy head of school of business, Monash University Malaysia. He is also an adjunct senior research fellow, Monash University Melbourne.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Blake Lively finds eternal youth


The American actress has been cast in the title role of the romantic fantasy film The Age Of Adaline.

Blake Lively is set to star in The Age Of Adaline, a movie that has been in the "in development" stages since 2010.

The actress replaces Katherine Heigl, who was originally slated to headline the project before backing out two years ago.

According to Deadline.com, the former Gossip Girl star will play a woman who mysteriously stopped ageing after an accident at age 29. After enjoying immortality for several decades, she begins to question her status when she finds true love.

The actress will likely be joined on the set by Ellen Burstyn, who is in talks to replace Angela Lansbury in the role of the protagonist's daughter, who is in her 80s.

Indie director Lee Toland Krieger will helm The Age Of Adaline, which is scheduled to begin principal photography next March. The young American filmmaker made a name for himself in recent years with The Vicious Kind (2009) and Celeste And Jesse Forever (2012).

Blake Lively was recently seen in Oliver Stone's crime thriller Savages. — AFP Relaxnews

First look: Woody Allen’s ‘Magic In The Moonlight’


Director's film brings together the talent of Marcia Gay Harden and Emma Stone.

Two promotional images have been released for the film shot in the South of France by the 77-year-old director earlier this year. The feature now also has an official title: Magic In The Moonlight.

The film marks Woody Allen's return to France after Midnight In Paris (2011). Emma Stone and Colin Firth will headline the prolific filmmaker's eighth film set in Europe. While plot details have been kept under wraps until now, the period costumes and vintage cars in the stills suggest that the action will be set in the years following World War I.

The cast of Magic In The Moonlight also features Marcia Gay Hadren, Jacki Weaver and Eileen Atkins. The film is slated for worldwide release before summer 2014 after premiering at a prestigious international film festival, such as Berlin in February or Cannes in May.

For the time being, Woody Allen is basking in the success of Blue Jasmine. The comedy drama, starring Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins, has been warmly received by critics and moviegoers alike. – RelaxNews

Flipping over flops


Why surprises at the box office are becoming more common.

THE numbers said Kick-Ass 2 was going to do just that.

Before its theatrical release, audience tracking surveys estimated the superhero action-comedy could gross as much as US$25mil (RM79.5mil) in its opening weekend.

Instead, the sequel took in only US$13mil (RM41.3mil), finishing far behind the civil rights drama Lee Daniels' The Butler and earning Kick-Ass 2 an instant reputation as a flop.

For decades, tracking was used by studios to determine filmgoer interest ahead of a new movie's release and tell marketing executives where to spend their advertising dollars.

Now trade publications, national dailies, blogs, TV newscasts and even drive-time radio shows share the once closely-held numbers with everyday moviegoers.

Tracking establishes financial expectations for a new film as well as an A-list star's ability to "open" a movie. The estimates effectively declare a winner before the weekly box office battle begins.

But at a time when tracking's influence on a film's fate at the box office has never been greater, chronic inaccuracies have led industry observers and some studio chiefs to conclude that tracking may no longer be a dependable barometer. With a cluster of Oscar-worthy films now heading into theatres, the pre-release surveys are increasingly coming under attack.

"Tracking is broken. There's no doubt about it," said Vincent Bruzzese, chief executive of the tracking firm Worldwide Motion Picture Group. "It's been asking the same questions since 1980. It isn't predictive anymore. And it doesn't cover the way consumers make choices anymore."

This summer, several movies were damaged by inaccurate tracking. The Lone Ranger, The Wolverine and The Hangover Part III were said to have "underperformed" when they had openings at least US$10mil (RM32mil) below estimates. All went on to sputter domestically after bad word of mouth and earlier-than-expected exits from theatres.

Even a hit film can fall victim to bad tracking. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 opened at No 1 but is seen as having underperformed by grossing US$10mil less than estimates predicted.

When movies exceed expectations, they generate positive buzz that can increase returns. Recently, Gravity took in US$55mil (RM174.9mil) — US$10mil more than the most optimistic pre-release surveys indicated it would earn. Man Of Steel, The Conjuring and Now You See Me earned much more than tracking predicted.

"You can say, 'The testing was great'," said one respected studio marketer who, like other top executives interviewed for this story, declined to be identified for fear of jeopardising his industry standing.

"But you know in your heart you don't believe in the testing anymore. And if you do, you're fooling yourself."

Because of the sheer volume of movies being released — 660 last year — as well as seismic social media changes, tracking service executives say, pre-release audience awareness and anticipation have never been more difficult to gauge. This is especially true, experts say, for non-sequel films and films popular with minority moviegoers, who can be harder to survey because they are a statistically small and not reliably representative cross-sampling of respondents.

Even with tracking's accuracy increasingly doubted, it's such a dominant part of the Hollywood conversation that none of its studio detractors interviewed for this article voiced willingness to give up the service.

Studios receive tracking information over a three-week to two-month pre-release window. The estimates sample audience awareness, "definite interest" in seeing a movie and the proportion of respondents ranking the movie as their first choice, as well as projected breakdowns by gender and age.

Firms crunch their polling results, comparing the movies with previous titles by genre and release window to yield an estimated opening-weekend gross.

But because respondents must self-identify as moviegoers who see at least six films per year, a sizable population remains under-accounted. Especially difficult to predict is audience turnout for faith-based films and movies based on TV shows such as Sex And The City.

Citing issues similar to those faced by election-year pollsters, some studio marketing executives privately fear that tracking's respondents are not only less diverse but have been over-polled, succumbing to a kind of survey fatigue.

"The phone rings, you don't answer if you don't recognise the call. And nobody answers the land line anyway," a studio marketer said. "It's one of the real challenges." — Los Angeles Times / McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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The Star Online: Nation

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Umno polls: Five candidates fight for two remaining vice-president spots


PETALING JAYA: The battle for the Umno vice-presidency is set to be a cliffhanger with only one clear winner in sight – incumbent Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, which leaves the other five candidates fighting for the two remaining spots.

The odds appear to be even for the five vying to be the second echelon in Umno.

While many are predicting that Dr Ahmad Zahid will easily secure one of the three positions, the large number of voting delegates – totalling 146,500 – has made it hard to predict who will fill the two remaining slots.

Last Saturday's elections saw delegates give sweeping victories to Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Wanita head Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, leaving the impression that the power of incumbency may favour Dr Ahmad Zahid as well as Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

However, the overwhelming response by delegates towards Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Seri Ali Rustam at the party's meet-the-candidates roadshow suggests that there could be changes to the status quo.

While Mukhriz, Ali and Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad may be the challengers, they are all political heavyweights, making the outcome tough to predict.

Mukhriz is the youngest of the six candidates and is seen as the face of change in Umno. The popularity of his father Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also helped his campaign.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who was the top vice-president in the 2009 Umno election, is riding a wave of popularity after his tough and no-nonsense stance on crime.

Hishammuddin is credited with heading the committee that introduced the new election format giving an opportunity to more party members to decide on the leadership.

Shahrizat praised him at a Wanita gathering yesterday but stopped short of openly endorsing him unlike Khairy who gave him an unqualified endorsement and said the movement would support his re-election. The backing from the two wings will be crucial as they make up about 40% of the voters.

Shafie's portfolio as a two-term Rural and Regional Development Minister has made him popular among the country's Malay rural community, including many in the party grassroots.

Former Malacca Chief Minister Ali has gone on a platform of defending the position of the Malays, religion and the country.

Isa has been enjoying a new high profile as Felda chairman. More than 50 Umno divisions are involved in Felda schemes and that is where his strength lies.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said support from the delegates would enable him to carry out his heavy responsibilities as Home Minister in these challenging times.

Hishammuddin has been on a tireless mission throughout the country to clear misconceptions that he was a weak leader and to explain his role during the Lahad Datu incident.

Shafie said he was not just relying on support from his home state and was confident that Umno members in the peninsula appreciate the role Sabah Umno played in delivering seats during GE13.

Mukhriz and Ali said all the candidates had their strong points, putting them on almost equal footing in the eyes of the voters.

Isa urged delegates to vote for leaders who will remain loyal to the party through its ups and downs.

Related stories:

Umno veeps to spearhead GE14 campaign

Umno polls: Delegates flooded with SMSes dinners and post cards

Intense campaign right to the end

Teacher freed of molest charge


PETALING JAYA: A primary school teacher was freed of a charge of molesting a student after a magistrate's court here acquitted him on the grounds of reasonable doubt.

Magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abd Wahid ruled that Mohd Radzi Misran, 57, had managed to raise reasonable doubt against the prosecution's case.

Mohd Radzi had been accused of molesting an eight-year-old pupil at a primary school in Subang Jaya on March 29, 2011.

The court found that the prosecution's witnesses' evidence could not support the victim's testimony as it was based merely on what the victim had told the other witnesses.

"However, the victim's testimony still contradicted with other witnesses' statements, especially on how she was molested," said Ahmad Solihin.

In his grounds, Ahmad Solihin found that the prosecution's failure to produce the student's classmates as witnesses also undermined their case as they were unable to determine what Mohd Radzi's behaviour as a teacher was like.

"What he has done appears to be in line with how a teacher would handle the mischievous behaviour of students in a classroom," he said.

Mohd Radzi appeared relieved after his acquittal.

On Nov 30 last year, the same magistrate acquitted Mohd Radzi of a separate charge of molesting a year three student in his school, in March 2011.

Magistrate Ahmad Solihin ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case.

The court also found that a medical report had not been produced to determine the child's emotional capacity.

Diesel worth RM100,000 seized from factory


KOTA KINABALU: Authorities in Sabah's east coast Sandakan made their biggest fuel bust this year with the seizure of over 50,000 litres of diesel from an abandoned factory.

Sandakan division Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry enforcement chief Joe Azmi said they seized the diesel worth about RM100,000 from the abandoned factory at 9th Mile, Jalan Lubuk, about 1.30pm on Thursday.

"We believe these subsidised fuel are to be sold to industries around the vicinity," he said.

Two men believed to be the caretakers of the factory, however, managed to escape just before the authorities arrived.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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You'll be ensnared


The Mousetrap has stood the test of time for a reason: the clever plot keeps you guessing.

It is the classic murder mystery set-up: a group of people are brought together in a particular location, when suddenly, one of them ends up dead. Now, the rest have to race against time to discover who amongst them is responsible, before the murderer strikes again.

The Mousetrap, however, is not just another whodunit; it is possibly THE whodunit, especially when it comes to stage. Penned by the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie herself, it is the longest play in the world, having opened in London's West End in 1952 and playing continuously since then.

Having the opportunity to catch it in Kuala Lumpur, as part of the production's Diamond Anniversary celebration, then, feels like a real privilege, and theatregoers will not be disappointed by the show, which is presented by the British Theatre Playhouse and Milestone Production.

The Mousetrap is set in Monkswell Manor, a guest house in the English countryside, where seven people, including the owners Giles and Mollie Ralston, are stranded thanks to a snowstorm. They hear news of murder in a nearby farmhouse, and a policeman, Sergeant Trotter, manages to reach them to ensure they are alright. When one of the seven people is myteriously murdered, however, the awful truth dawns upon the rest: that one of them in the house is the culprit.

As Sergeant Trotter tries to uncover who this could be, lies are exposed and secrets are revealed about every person there, making each one a plausible suspect; will the murderer be found before he or she strikes again?

The play is vintage Christie, and any fan of her works will feel a thrill watching her legacy come alive onstage. Brilliantly written, the script is so very British, with delicious lines of dialogue and a liberal dose of dry humour sprinkled throughout. Some parts of the play may feel slightly antiquated, particularly to a modern audience used to more gritty crime thrillers – however, there is also an elegance to the way the characters and plot are allowed to slowly develop that points to Christie's mastery of the genre.

Adding to the experience is the fantastic set design, which is very much a part of the plot. Originally conceived in 1952 by Roger Furse, it was executed here by Malcolm J. McInnes (with Ken Wilkins consulting).

Dropping in: Sergeant Trotter (Thomas Richardson) shows up to solve the mystery at Mollie Ralston's (Isla Carter) guesthouse.

Dropping in: Sergeant Trotter (Thomas Richardson) shows up to solve the mystery at Mollie Ralston's (Isla Carter) guesthouse.

While it is just one main set — the great hall at Monkswell Manor — the use of multiple doors and clever positioning creates a very dynamic feel to the space, and often, the set itself is an essential part of the storyline. For all its simplicity, the way the physical boundaries of the set integrate with the storyline is theatre at its best.

One of the staging's biggest pluses is an excellent cast, who ably carry the burden of bringing these classic characters to life. Playing these roles require a delicate balance, revealing a character's personality while also keeping their motivations under wraps, and each actor manages this to great effect, keeping the audience on its toes the whole way through.

Chemistry and tension between the various cast members are also essential, and this is another aspect in which the performers excel. Some standout performances include Thomas Richardson as Sergeant Trotter, Richard Keightley as a quirky young architect named Christopher Wren, and Isla Carter as the much-put-upon proprietor Mollie.

No doubt, The Mousetrap has stood the test of time for a reason, and while bearing all the hallmarks of a classic, still ensnares the first-time viewer with its clever plot that keeps you guessing.

And as for who really did it, well now, that would be spoiling the fun, wouldn't it?

>The Mousetrap is currently playing at Dewan Bandaraya Auditorium, DBKL Tower 1, Jalan Raja Laut in Kuala Lumpur till Oct 20 (8pm, with an additional matinee show on Oct 19). Tickets available from www.ticketcharge.com.my cost between RM80 and RM380. Hotline: 03-9222-8811.

MPO meets MJ


Michael Jackson is dubbed the King Of Pop for many reasons, and one of those is the worldwide phenomenon his music created during his 40-year music career.

Hence, it is delightful to still be able to discover new depths to the late singer's works, such as when they were recently presented by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO).

The Music Of Michael Jackson at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) was an opportunity for both Jackson fans and classical music aficionados to experience how these two seemingly-disparate genres can, in fact, complement each other to create something rather special.

From the moment the show kicked off with a medley of Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough and Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', the audience was smitten.

Frontlining was James Delisco, who kept the crowd going with his vocals and dancing, not to mention his infectious personality, while the MPO was conducted by the enthusiastic Brent Havens.

The show did its best to cover the entire breadth of Jackson's career, from the Jackson 5 days – with favourites like I'll Be There – to his later chart-toppers like Earth Song.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the show was how Jackson's music allowed the MPO to show off their skill at genres we wouldn't usually associate with them.

Numbers like The Way You Make Me Feel, Bad and Beat It had them in top form, and the appreciative audience was on their feet with them all the way.

Conversely, being performed by a full orchestra also added new dimensions to familiar hits. The intense backing of the string section, for instance, heightened the inherent darkness and drama of numbers like Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal.

And while there can be no replacing the man himself, Delisco provided fitting tribute – some of his best performances of the night included a moving rendition of Man In The Mirror and a lovely duet of I Just Can't Stop Loving You with singer and former American Idol contestant Felicia Barton.

As the night ended with the entire audience dancing to Thriller – many in fedoras and white gloves, reenacting the iconic dance moves – that four years may have passed since the King Of Pop's death, but his music continues to find new ways to live on. — Sharmilla Ganesan

'Lion King' first Broadway show to hit US$1bil at box office


Long-running, award-winning production will reach milestone this week or next.

THE folks at Disney Theatrical Group are humming Hakunna Matata this morning. The Lion King is on the verge of achieving what even musical mega-hits like Les Miserables and The Phantom Of The Opera have yet to accomplish: becoming the first Broadway show in history to cross the US$1bil (RM3.15bil) mark at the box office.

The show should hit that number either this week or next, a spokesman for the company said.

The Tony Award-winning show has been on Broadway in New York City for 16 years and has been hailed for its innovative use of puppets as stand-ins for animal characters and the stylish direction of Julie Taymor.

"This humbling milestone is a testament to the vision and artistry of Julie Taymor," Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, said in a statement.

"For nearly 17 years she has been The Lion King's guiding creative force and an inspiration to the show's brilliant cast, musicians and crew. But above all, we thank our loving audiences who continue to be moved and delighted night after night at the Minskoff Theatre and all around the world."

The selection of Taymor was a courageous one – she was best known at the time for her imaginative and offbeat staging of works by Shakespeare and Mozart – but Lion King earned critical plaudits and Tonys for Best Musical and Best Director.

Not all of her subsequent endeavours have been as fruitful. Taymor was fired from the Broadway show Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark in 2011 over creative differences and cost overruns. Critics didn't care for the final product much, either.

Last July, The Lion King's North American touring companies made US$1bil. The film adaptation of The Lion King has made more than US$960mil (RM3bil) worldwide. – Reuters

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