Full ministerial status for Anwar, Guan Eng new Parliamentary Select Committee member

Democracy and governance in Malaysia took a fresh step forward after the government awarded Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim ministerial-level status and amenities.

Anwar, the opposition leader from PKR, received his letter from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during a meeting between the government and opposition leaders in Parliament yesterday.

This was revealed by opposition party chief whip, Anthony Loke, on social media last night.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, meanwhile, was added to the Parliamentary Select Committee, replacing Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

The other five members of the committee are International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, Umno president and Bagan Datuk MP Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Pas president and Marang MP Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, and Anwar.

The concept of a ‘unity’ government was widely talked about as Malaysia is still grappling with political instability, despite the resignation of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister in August.

Like his predecessor, Ismail Sabri is also holding on to a slim majority, and this majority would be tested, yet again, when Budget 2022 is tabled in Parliament on Oct 29.

However, the Umno vice-president is confident of receiving support from leaders of both sides of the divide.

Last month, the government and Pakatan Harapan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on transformation and political stability.

Following the MoU, leaders from both sides of the aisle would meet every fortnight. Loke said such meetings have brought about a new political dimension to Malaysia.

“Although there are political differences among the political parties, we can still sit together to discuss and find common ground for the sake of the nation,” Loke said.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

‘ALLOW PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE PANDORA PAPERS, DON’T HIDE BEHIND SPEAKER’

Klang MP Charles Santiago said Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun’s conclusion, that the Pandora Papers isn’t about the illicit outflow of money was “baffling”.

“And even if ‘they (the Pandora Papers) are a revelation about the shareholdings in offshore companies’, as Azhar said (yesterday), why wouldn’t he allow for a debate? Isn’t it a matter of public interest?” asked Santiago.

“Funds from tax evasion, if any, would come in handy to mitigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic … the money could be channelled to help the poor.”

Santiago agreed that it was not illegal to have an offshore account but stressed that it was “wrong to avoid taxes and have hidden assets.”

“Without independent investigations, we would never know what some of the prominent Malaysians named in the leaked documents have been up to. It’s especially damaging when a sitting Cabinet minister, (Finance Minister) Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, is also named.”

He added those named in the papers had an obligation to the rakyat – to tell them the truth, to show documents and tax papers.

“And if they have nothing to fear, they would do it without hiding behind the Speaker,” he added.

ACQUITTAL OF WOMAN IN BASIKAL LAJAK FATAL CRASH: PROSECUTION FILES APPEAL

The prosecution has filed an appeal against a magistrate’s court decision in acquitting and discharging a saleswoman of reckless driving, which resulted in the deaths of eight teenagers, aged between 13 and 16, in 2017.

The prosecution filed the appeal at the High Court against the decision by the magistrate’s court, made over the weekend.

The appeal was filed following instructions from Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun.

On Sunday, the Johor Baru magistrate’s court acquitted and discharged Sam Ke Ting, 26, on a charge of reckless or dangerous driving, which resulted in the deaths of the teenagers who were riding modified bicycles or ‘basikal lajak’ along Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, in Johor Bahru, on Feb 18, 2017, at 3.20am.

Magistrate Siti Hajar Ali, in her ruling, said that the prosecution failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Siti Hajar also took into account the testimony of the accused, that she had no knowledge of the ‘basikal lajak’ activities in the area and that there were no warnings of such activities.

DROP IN NUMBER OF COVID-19 CASES IN MALAYSIA

Malaysia recorded 7,276 new Covid-19 cases today, as the number of cases nationwide continued to drop.

Over 90 per cent of the adult population in the country have been fully vaccinated. The government, over the weekend, allowed interstate travel.

SENIOR PATHOLOGIST TO ASSIST SPECIAL COMMITTEE’S PROBE ON ADIB’S DEATH

A senior pathologist will be roped in to assist the Special Committee tasked to look into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Kassim who died after sustaining injuries during a riot at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in USJ 25, Subang Jaya, in 2018.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who is the committee chairman, said the pathologist would conduct a thorough investigation to examine the decision by the Coroner’s Court, police investigation findings, as well as other sources to determine the cause of death.

“The pathologist has been given a specific deadline to conclude the probe and come up with a detailed report. The government is serious about resolving this case, which has been pending since 2018.

“The special committee is scheduled to meet again in one month, upon obtaining the report from the sub-committee of senior pathologists,” he said, without naming them.

FINAS REMINDS PRODUCTION CREW TO FOLLOW SOP

The National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) called on filming protocol supervisors to ensure those at the set complied with the standard operating procedures.

In a statement, Finas said it took note of a report that Covid-19 cases were recently detected at a film location.

“Our enforcement unit has taken proactive measures to monitor filming activities to ensure each production agency complies with the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” Finas said.

Finas added its Licensing and Enforcement Division had opened an investigation paper following the detection of Covid-19 cases at the film site.

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