LICENCE TO SELL (July 7): Distributors and retailers of optical discs and computer software will have to apply for licences to trade in these items, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said. With the move to make VCDs, CDs and DVDs controlled items, those selling the merchandise would have to obtain a licence as stipulated under the Price Control Act, he said.
ACA OPENS UP (July 10): The Anti-Corruption Agency has pledged to be more responsive towards public demand for information on its investigations. The agency said it has come up with three measures it feels will address public concern for more transparency.
SCHOOLS WIRED (July 12): The Government is moving quickly to provide all public schools with Internet access in a “top priority” plan to reduce the digital divide. Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Amar Leo Moggie said some 10,000 primary and secondary schools in the country would be wired under the plan.
HALT TO MEGA DAMAGES (July 8): The decision to stop awarding “mega damages” for defamation suits was confirmed by the Federal Court. A three-judge panel rejected an application for leave by three lawyers to appeal against the reduction of mega damages awarded to them by a High Court after they had won in a defamation suit.
DUO REINSTATED (July 11): The MCA has lifted its suspension of Penang assemblymen Tan Cheng Liang (Jawi) and Lim Boo Chang (Datuk Keramat) with immediate effect. The two, who were suspended from the party indefinitely on Dec 16, had their status reinstated following appeals from the people. They were suspended after they abstained from voting in the state assembly against a DAP motion on the state’s Outer Ring Road Project.
BACK TO NORMAL (July 8): All measures put in place to control the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Malaysia will cease immediately as the World Health Organisation has declared the world free from the virus.
POLICIES STAY (July 8): Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will not carry out wholesale or radical changes in Malaysia’s policies when he takes over as Prime Minister this October.
SHUT OUT (July 12): There was a dramatic turn in the leadership fight for control of the Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak when president Datuk Daniel Tajem and all his men were elected unopposed. Tajem’s camp shut out the rival faction, led by state Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Datuk Dr James Masing, a day before nomination closed for the triennial delegates conference.
FOSTERING UNITY (July 6): Malaysia is looking once again to principles in the 33-year-old Rukun Negara to instil values that will foster unity among the people. National Unity and Social Development Minister Datuk Dr Siti Zaharah Sulaiman said there was an imbalance in spiritual and intellectual growth among the people.
DON’T FORCE FIRMS (July 6): The Cabinet has directed the Foreign Investment Committee not to force companies to restructure following a sell-down by local shareholders.
NEW SYSTEM (July 6): The Public Services Department has introduced an online system for smooth and speedy processing of pension and gratuity payments to retiring civil servants. The system will start this month.
MORE CHOICES (July 11): The first batch of seven integrated residential schools opened their doors this year, offering secondary school students the option of pursuing either pure, technical or religious-based science education, or a combination, under one roof.
A-G TO PROSECUTE (July 12): Former enforcement chief of the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council Kapt (Rtd) Abdul Kudus Ahmad will be charged with falsely declaring that he was not a bankrupt when accepting his post in the local council.
BLASTS AT FESTIVAL (July 6): Two women suicide bombers killed at least 16 other people when they blew themselves up at an open-air rock festival staged at a Moscow airfield, Russian security forces said. Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov blamed Chechens opposed to President Vladimir Putin’s plan to hold a local presidential election in Chechnya in October for the incident.
TWINS DIE (July 9): Surgery to separate Iranian twins joined at the head ended in tragedy when the women died from massive blood loss on the operating table soon after doctors separated their enmeshed brains. The deaths of Laleh and Ladan Bijani, 29, abruptly halted the historic 50-hour operation by a team of 28 specialists and 100 assistants at Raffles Hospital, Singapore.
SOLE SURVIVOR (July 9): A three-year-old boy was the sole survivor after a Sudan Airways plane crashed on a domestic flight in Africa’s largest country, killing 115 people.
HALT IN WMD TRADE (July 11): Eleven industrialised nations agreed to hold military exercises aimed at halting trade in weapons of mass destruction by intercepting ships and aircraft. The United States said the consensus at the meeting gave it the authority to launch such interceptions immediately.
BILL CHANGES ANNOUNCED (July 6): Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa announced three major concessions on a controversial security law that critics say would limit freedoms in the former British colony. The amendments came four days after 500,000 people marched in protest of the Bill.
TOP OFFICIALS NABBED (July 10): Three former senior Iraqi officials, including a suspected intelligence operative who may have been in contact with leading Sept 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, have been captured by US troops in Iraq, US officials said.
PROBE CLEARS GOVT (July 8): A parliamentary inquiry cleared the British government of misleading the country in the run-up to the Iraq war over the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, but criticised Prime Minister Tony Blair for publishing an unreliable intelligence dossier.
FLOODS WORSEN (July 9): Thirteen people have died, thousands of villages are besieged and over a million residents are stranded in the worst floods since 1991 in China’s Huai River valley, officials said. Ministry of Civil Affairs statistics showed that the three provinces in the valley – Anhui, Jiangsu and Henan – have suffered economic losses of nearly 7.2bil yuan (RM3.3bil).
OUTBREAK CONTAINED (July 6): The World Health Organisation said the global outbreak of SARS had been contained as it removed Taiwan from its list of areas with recent local transmission of the disease.