Local News Local News en Employment insurance system to be implemented from Jan 2018: Riot
He said the SIP Bill would be tabled in the Dewan Negara next Monday after the Bill was passed by Parliament.

He added that although SIP was being opposed by employers, the scheme was important to act as a safety net and ensure that retrenched workers were protected.

"If SIP is implemented immediately, private sector workers who have been retrenched will be able to receive temporary financial assistance for up to six months," the minister said in his speech at a Christmas celebration with Socso beneficiaries, here today.

He said under the SIP, employers should contribute 0.2% while employees would also contribute 0.2%, and the payouts to eligible recipients are expected to begin from January 2019.

However, Riot said workers who were retrenched in 2018 were eligible to receive interim benefits in the form of a cash allowance for a maximum of three months.

"The interim benefits are funded by the government under a RM122 million allocation channelled to Socso."

Meanwhile in Kangar, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man said the government was prepared to look into a proposal to consider Socso protection for civil servants serving statutory bodies and the local authorities in the state.

He said the proposal by Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services required thorough study, especially in terms of its financial implications.

"Since this is a good suggestion, we will look at it positively. However, we need to scrutinise it closely and study its full implications to avoid future problems," he told reporters at a National Union of Local Authority Employees conference, here today. — Bernama]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:05:41 +0000 theSundaily 512572 at
Police identify Bangladeshis involved in smuggling compatriot labourers
Deputy inspector-general of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said this following the arrest of several syndicate members operating in Bangladesh and Kuala Lumpur.

He said the police had been conducting a study on the smuggling of Bangladeshis from that country over the past year at KLIA.

"Our investigations revealed there are three Bangladeshi syndicates which play their respective roles, namely a Bangladesh-based syndicate gathers people, another operates at KLIA to facilitate their entry and the third in Malaysia receives the smuggled labourers.

"The modus operandi of the (three) syndicates is to seek out whichever way illegals could enter the country, including via the giving of bribes and so forth," he told a news conference on the Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar Endurance Championship at the Equine Centre of Universiti Putra Malaysia, here today.

He said the RMP was currently monitoring the entry of foreigners at KLIA, and did not rule out the possibility of nabbing more syndicate masterminds in the future.

Recently, a local newspaper revealed that Bangladeshi labourers were smuggled daily into Malaysia via KLIA by four major syndicates operating in Kuala Lumpur and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

It is believed the syndicates could earn about RM5.2 million annually by charging between RM15,000 and RM20,000 for each illegal immigrant, including the 'lubricant' money to several authorities, especially personnel of certain enforcement authorities. — Bernama]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:35:30 +0000 theSundaily 512580 at
Malaysia heading in the right direction: PM
The Prime Minister was referring to a recent IMF report which stated that Malaysia's real GDP growth has surprised on the upside and is projected at 5.5–6.0% for 2017, driven by domestic demand and robust exports.

"Proof that we are heading in the right direction," Najib said in his Twitter post.

IMF stated that the authorities' comprehensive structural reform agenda, laid out in the 11th Malaysia Plan, which focused on supporting higher productivity and improving labour market outcomes, would help boost medium-term growth and improve living standards.

The IMF team, led by Nada Choueiri, visited Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from Nov 28 until Dec 8 2017 to conduct discussions for the 2018 Article IV Consultation with Malaysia.

The team exchanged views with senior government and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) officials and met with representatives from the private sector and think tanks.

In a statement after the conclusion of the visit, Choueiri stated that the Malaysian economy has shown resilience in recent years and continues to perform well.

"However, core inflation and credit growth are contained. Headline consumer price inflation has gone up on higher oil prices, and is projected at close to 4% for 2017. On the external side, the current account balance surplus has increased, helped by strong exports," Choueiri said.

"Real GDP growth is projected at 5.0–5.5% in 2018. While the cyclical upturn will begin to normalise, momentum in activity is expected to remain strong in the first half of the year, supported by domestic demand and continued strength in global trade.

"Headline inflation is expected to decline to the 3.0–3.5% range on lower impact from global oil prices.

"Risks to the near–term outlook are balanced. Strong global demand for electronics, which has benefited Malaysia's exports, could last longer than anticipated, while downside risks, include policy uncertainty in advanced economies and tighter global financial conditions. Going forward, striking the right balance in policies will be key.

"The government's planned pace of fiscal consolidation for 2017-2018 is appropriate, and will help build buffers and maintain financial market confidence.

"In the medium-term, fiscal policy should follow a gradual consolidation path, and the composition of adjustment could be improved to make it more revenue based and to make room for the structural reforms and increased social spending for inclusive growth.

"Medium-term fiscal targets should be better communicated. The current accommodative monetary policy stance with a bias towards reduced accommodation is appropriate, given above–potential growth but still stable core inflation.

"The financial sector is resilient. Bank profitability and liquidity are sound, and corporate access to credit remains healthy. While housing price growth has moderated, pockets of risks exist in exposures to household mortgages and the property development sector. However, their impact on macro-financial stability appears contained.

"Priority should be given to policies to encourage female labour force participation; improve the quality of education and skills; improve vocational and technical training to reduce labour market skill mismatches; encourage research and development; and update public infrastructure," she said. — Bernama]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 11:59:23 +0000 theSundaily 512570 at
Painter drowned after falling into the sea
According to a Penang Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson, the 29-year-old, Mohd Khairul Azhar Bin Mat Arik, had fallen into the sea while carrying out paint work at the scene.

The spokesperson said they received a distress call about the incident at 1.37pm, and a team of 20 firemen from Perai Fire and Rescue Station reached the scene at 1.45pm on Thursday (Dec 14).

He said the operation commander of the team, Khairul Affandi Arifin, had divided the team into three groups to conduct "water surface searching".

"The team have searched from the point of the deceased falling off at Penang Bridge and also every pole of the port.

"The team had found the deceased at the pole of 130 at 1.44pm today," he told reporters.

The spokesperson added they had sent the body to police for further action, and the operation was over by 3.26pm.]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 10:14:37 +0000 Lee Hooi Boon 512553 at
Penang govt launches flood relief aid campaign
Sungai Dua had 4,553 applicants who received approval, followed by Padang Lalang with 4,363, Seberang Jaya with 3,279, and Machang Bubuk with 3,268 persons.

On the island, the constituency with the most number of applicants was Datuk Keramat with 2,238, followed by Pulau Betong with 2,140, and Air Itam with 1,701 applicants.

All 40 constituencies have recorded residents seeking compensation from the floods.

Lim announced that the state had processed 52,950 applications in record time, of which some 48,424 were approved where each aggrieved family would receive up to RM700 each to help them rebuild their lives following the devastating floods on Nov 4 and 5.

Penang also announced a budget of RM105 million to help the state recover from millions of losses incurred by the people here, after 16 hours of consecutive rainfall left the state battered and damaged from the ill effects of floods, strong winds and landslides.

In addition, under the initiative, the private sector has raised close to RM19,000.

"We pledge to try to ensure that all successful applicants can receive their sum by year's end," Lim said.

In Bukit Mertajam to oversee the mainland distribution of aid, Lim said that the RM700 to be given is the highest amount in the country for flood victims.

He also hoped that the federal government would not discriminate or marginalise Penangites, who are seeking help.

"They should treat residents in the state the same as other Malaysians," said Lim.]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 09:49:12 +0000 Ian McIntyre and Lee Hooi Boon 512549 at
PH to assemble at Dataran Merdeka on Dec 31 to protest fuel prices
Amanah Youth deputy chief Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin said the group hopes the government will cap the ceiling price for RON 95 at RM1.90 and diesel at RM1.80.

"We understand the plight faced given the effect on the fuel price. We intend to pursue this until the 14th General Election," he said when met here today, at a flash mob event held at the Sogo shopping mall.

He added that the supporters will wear white in a show of solidarity to highlight to the government the burden posed by the announced weekly fuel prices.

"Today's gathering is a lead-up to a massive rally scheduled to be held at Dataran Merdeka on Dec 31. We expect to have some 5,000 participants to attend the assembly on New Year's eve.

"We will be at Sogo about 10pm and head to Dataran Merdeka on that day," he said.]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 08:50:53 +0000 Elly Fazaniza 512535 at
Police arrest eight Thais suspected of offering immoral activities
According to North Seberang Perai district police chief ACP Noorzainy Mohd Noor, the police raided the centre during a six hour operation codenamed "Ops Dadu", and detained seven women and a man, who ranged in age between their 20s and 40s, in the Butterworth district.

Noorzainy said the seven women had first committed offences under Rule 39 (b) of the Immigration Rules 1959/63 for breaching their social visit passes.

The police will also check if they are involved in vice activities and narcotics distribution.

"The man who is also from Thailand, has tested positive for drugs. Therefore, the police have arrested him under Section 15(1) of the Dangerous Drug Act 1952 for possessing narcotics. We will detain them at the district police headquarter for further investigation," he told reporters here.

Noorzainy added that the "Ops Dadu" was a collaboration between the police, the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP), and the state religious department.

He said that there were 13 police officers, 41 police personnel, 15 local council enforcement officers and seven from the state religious department, who had jointly carried out the operation.

"They checked 13 family entertainment centres and screened a total 97 individuals. We will continue to hold similar operations to seek for zero vice activities," he said.]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 09:26:46 +0000 Lee Hooi Boon 512545 at
Malaysians urged to join PM in rally for Palestine
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said the people should be united and cast aside their political differences to show solidarity with Palestine against the United States' recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"The issue of Palestine is a big thing because it violates international laws, making it difficult for the ongoing peace process," he told reporters after visiting Berita Harian Pasir Puteh stringer, Rokaid Chik at his home in Selising, here today.

Najib and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang are expected to jointly attend the rally to be held at the Masjid Putra on Dec 22.

The rally after the Friday prayers will involve Muslim and non Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGO). — Bernama]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:24:16 +0000 theSundaily 512578 at
Jerusalem: Buy local products as sign of protest
Parti Ekonomi Rakyat Malaysia (Pekira) president Datuk Mohd Redzuan Abdullah said the solidarity with the Palestinian people was relevant and could be implemented because the quality of locally manufactured goods was comparable to imported goods from the US.

"We don't want to merely say we want to boycott products manufactured by companies with interests in Israel, we also want to provide an alternative for Malaysians.

"We give priority to our own products and reduce our reliance on outside products," he said at a media conference, here today.

The decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has sparked new tensions in Palestine as well as protests from Muslim communities around the world. — Bernama]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:11:56 +0000 theSundaily 512574 at
Johor DAP proposes SOP for electricity users seeking compensation
Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong said this when he and several DAP assemblymen visited affected shoplots in Taman Sutera Utama, Skudai on Saturday afternoon. According to Liew, the Energy Commission should act in an arbitrary role and protect the consumers' interests.

The blackout in Johor Baru had begun at 10.45am, on Dec 12 due to a failure of the main substation locates at Bukit Indah. It affected 1.8 million account users in Skudai, Iskandar Putri and some parts of Gelang Patah.

To stabilise the situation, some mobile generators were stationed in the affected areas, shortening the period of time that people were left without power.

The blackout lasted on average of between 40 to 72 hours, depending on the availability of generators.

At least two shopping malls, specifically Paradigm Mall and AEON Mall, were closed on Thursday because of the blackout.

Liew said that Pengkalan Rinting assemblyman Cheo Yee How has posted a special form for affected account users to fill in information on Saturday.

According to Liew, it is very difficult for household electricity users to sue TNB for compensation. As the sole electricity provider in the nation, TNB has the social responsibility to compensate those who suffered losses during the blackouts.

Liew also seeks a meeting with Ministrer of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili to find out the causes of the blackout and ways to prevent its reoccurrence in the future.

"It is the most serious blackout in Johor after the national blackout in 1996," he added.]]>
Local Sat, 16 Dec 2017 08:08:47 +0000 Low Sock Ken 512521 at