Jomo: No need for ECRL, just take a flight

Jomo: No need for ECRL, just take a flight

The rationale given that the East Coast Railaway Link (ECRL) would speed up the connection between the West Coast and East Coast is merely a ruse by those interested in enriching themselves with such “fake projects”, says economist Professor Jomo Kwame Sundram.

“I understand the government needs space to solve and minimise the losses (from the cancellation of ECRL).

"There will definitely be losses from the cancellation of ECRL. The question is how do we minimise that loss?

“Those who are for it say that it is to develop the East Coast. Actually no. This project does not develop East Coast.

"There are other problems in the East Coast, such as the water problems in Kelantan, lack of sanitation and the issue of flooding, which must be given more attention,” said Jomo.

He also said the excuse that ECRL, once built, would speed up the connection between the West Coast and East Coast did not hold water.

“There are those who say we are ignoring the East Coast. This is a mere ruse by those who want to save such fake projects.

"It is not as if there is no rail line to the East Coast.

"It may be slower but what is it we want to speed up for the East Coast. Apparently, they want to use high-speed trains.

"Who is it that is in such a hurry to come from there? If you are in a hurry, why don’t you just take a flight?” asked Jomo.

He was speaking to the media after a dialogue at the Malaysian Press Institute.

Jomo has been at the forefront in asking for the ECRL be scrapped, saying that it is a burden to a country already deep in debt due to mismanagement by the previous government.

He was part of the Council of Eminent Persons, an advisory council set up by the Pakatan Harapan government in its early days to discuss the state of the nation inherited from the previous Barisan government.

~Courtesy of The Star~


‘Wait for ECRL announcement’

‘Wait for ECRL announcement’

The ball is now in Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s (pic) court to state Malaysia’s official stance on the future of the controversial East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called for patience in the matter, and said the government’s decision on the project would be announced by Lim.

“Has Lim Guan Eng made a statement on this? No? So we wait for him lah. Be patient,” said Dr Mahathir to reporters when asked to clear the confusion on the status of ECRL.

Dr Mahathir acknowledged that there had been contradictory statements coming from members of his Cabinet, but he said mistakes are to be expected from a new government.

“The number of mistakes we make are little, but people notice it more.

“Just wait for Guan Eng to make the announcement, be patient lah,” Dr Mahathir said at a press conference after a meeting with top executives of statutory bodies here.

On a letter bearing Lim’s signature being widely circulated – indicating the cancellation of the ECRL – Dr Mahathir refuted its authenticity.

“It has a government letterhead? Anyone could draft a letter and cut out a government letterhead to make it look real. That is not official,” he said.

On Sunday, Lim said the official announcement on ECRL would be made in a written statement and issued this week.

It has been reported that the government is looking for a new contractor after terminating the contract awarded to China Communi­cations Construction Company Ltd to build the RM81bil mega rail project.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will stick to its decision on banning Israeli athletes, despite the stripping of Malaysia’s right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships.

“We stand by our principles that Israel is a criminal nation.

“It has been breaking international laws without people saying anything about it.

“We have a right to voice our own feelings and to have our own policies,” he said.

When asked if the stripping of the rights to host the event would affect Malaysia’s future in hosting other games, Dr Mahathir was unperturbed.

“They want to cancel it, then cancel it. I do not understand why the world must follow Israel. The world has the power, but they choose to obey Israel. We do not obey.

“If we cannot organise this sporting event, we can organise other ones,” said Dr Mahathir.

On Pakatan Harapan’s defeat in the Cameron Highlands by-election, Dr Mahathir said he accepted it as the will of the people, and added that the government must address the cost of living issue affecting the rural folk.

“We must find ways to reduce cost of living as well as help them earn better income,” he said.

~News courtesy of The Star~


Sup Kambing

Sup Kambing or Sop Kambing is a mutton soup commonly found in Indonesian cuisine and Malaysian cuisine. It is prepared with goat meat, tomato, celery, spring onion, ginger, candlenut and lime leaf, its broth is yellowish in color.



Putrajaya to terminate ECRL project

Putrajaya to terminate ECRL project, says Chinese daily

Putrajaya has decided to terminate the 688km East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) project, a Chinese daily reported.

On Thursday (Jan 24), Sin Chew quoted a cabinet source as saying that this had been determined during Wednesday's (Jan 23) Cabinet meeting.

However, Cabinet did not discuss the issue of compensation with the contractor, China Communications and Construction Company (CCCC), the sourse said.

It is understood that the government is still in discussion with CCCC on the compensation amount.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir reportedly denied knowledge of the termination.

The report came a day after Singapore's The Straits Times reported that Malaysia was seeking a new contractor to build the ECRL, after terminating the original contract awarded to CCCC on Tuesday (Jan 22).

The report said Putrajaya was seeking to halve the estimated project cost of RM81bil to RM40bil.

In response, Gerakan vice-president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai said Putrajaya owed an explanation to the people of Pahang, Terengganu, and Kelantan for cancelling the project

~The Star~



A kopitiam or kopi tiam is a traditional coffee shop patronised for meals and beverages, predominantly operated by Chinese proprietors and especially members of the Hainanese community. The word kopi is a Malay/Hokkien term for coffee and tiam is the Hokkien and Hakka term for shop (Chinese : 店). 

A common sight in Malaysia and neighbouring Singapore, menus often feature offerings like nasi lemak, boiled eggs, roti bakar, noodle dishes, bread and kuih. The owners of some kopitiam establishments may lease premise space to independent stallholders, who sometimes offer more specialised dishes beyond standard Chinese kopitiam fare. 

Typical beverages include Milo, a malted chocolate drink considered iconic to Malaysians of all ages, as well as coffee (kopi) and tea (teh). Diners would use slang terms specific to kopitiam culture to order and customise drinks to their taste.



Visa exemption for China tourists extended to Dec 2019

Visa exemption for China tourists extended to Dec 2019

The 15-day visa exemption for tourists from China has been extended from Jan 1 to Dec 31 this year, a piece of good news for local tourism industry players.

With many Chinese nationals going on holiday during the Chinese New Year next month and China’s National Day Golden Week break in October, Malaysia’s tourism association is hopeful that the exemption will boost arrivals.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Jan 2 made three separate orders to grant visa exemptions for Chinese and Indian tourists.

The orders granting the exemption under the Passports Act 1966 were published on Jan 3 in the Federal Government Gazette.

The three are: Passports (Exemption of Visa to Tourist Who is Citizen of The People’s Republic Of China) Order 2019; Passports (Exemption of Visa to Tourist Who is Citizen of India) Order 2019; and Passports (Exemption of Visa to Expatriate Who is Citizen of India) Order 2019.

Chinese tourists were first granted the 15-day visa exemptions on Oct 1, 2015, while Indian citizens including expatriates who visit Malaysia as tourists were first given exemptions on April 1, 2017.

The exemptions for both countries were extended every year since.

The exemption for tourists who are citizens of China comes with a number of conditions.

According to the orders, applicants must register with an electronic travel registration and information system provided by the Immigration Department.

They must have a return ticket and must produce on arrival, proof of sufficient pocket money, credit card or bank card with the UnionPay, AliPay or eWallet logo.

They must also produce their itinerary in Malaysia upon arrival.

The orders stated that the 15-day exemption could not be extended, and upon leaving Malaysia, the tourist was only allowed to re-register for exemption again after three months. 

The exemption for tourists who are citizens of India has almost similar conditions while the exemption of Indian expatriates applies to all citizens of India working as expatriates outside India in all countries except Singapore.

They are granted the exemption when travelling to Malaysia as tourists.

~News courtesy of The Star~