ECONOMY STRONGER: (Nov 20) The Malaysian economy looks set to grow beyond the 4.5% initially projected by the Government, going by the strong third quarter gross domestic product growth of 5.1%. The economy expanded by 4.5% in the first half of the year. Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz was confident that overall growth for the year would exceed 4.5% if momentum in the economy could be sustained.
PLEDGE ON RIGHTS: (Nov 17) The rights of the Malays and the non-Malays are enshrined in the Federal Constitution and will be protected by the Barisan Nasional Government, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. These rights were guaranteed and the Barisan would never violate the Constitution, which provides the rights, the Prime Minister assured all Malaysians when he arrived in Terengganu for his first visit here since becoming premier on Oct 31.
ADVICE ON TITLES: (Nov 20) The Cabinet has agreed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should explain to the Rulers the need for a more professional and transparent system in conferring honorary titles. It also felt that the best platform for Abdullah to do so was the next meeting of the Conference of Rulers.
BOOK ON HARASSMENT: (Nov 17) The Women's Development Collective has launched a book of case studies relating to sexual harassment at the workplace to highlight the need for legislation to create a dignified working environment for women workers. The book, A Pioneering Step: Sexual Harassment & The Code of Practice in Malaysia, is part of the group's campaign to encourage the tabling of a Bill on sexual harassment and the implementation of the proposed Sexual Harassment Act.
PAY RISE: (Nov 18) Police personnel from the ranks of Constable to Senior Assistant Commissioner I will receive a pay rise of between RM49.43 and RM471.72 from Jan 1 under a new service scheme for the force.
ALL CIVIL SERVANTS: (Nov 18) The Government will amend the Bankruptcy Act to bar bankrupt civil servants from remaining in office, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
FOUR-DAY BAN: (Nov 20) Heavy lorries have been banned from all roads for four days –Sunday and Monday (Nov 23 and Nov 24) and next weekend (Nov 29 and Nov 30) – following the Government's move to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities during the Hari Raya holidays. Exemption is given to lorries carrying food items, gas and petrol but these vehicles would be allowed on the roads only during certain hours, Transport Minister Datuk Chan Kong Choy announced on Wednesday.
HOLIDAY SAFELY: (Nov 19) A full-scale road safety campaign comprising all relevant road and traffic authorities is underway to ensure that the number of accidents and fatalities during the Hari Raya holidays are kept to a minimum. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ordered the police, the Road Transport Department, the Public Works Department and even PLUS, the operator of the North-South Expressway, to take whatever measures necessary to reduce the figures. He said there were 12,239 accidents during that period last year compared with 10,277 in 2000.
READING MATERIALS: (Nov 19) The public will soon get a glimpse of the reading materials favoured by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when the library at the Perdana Leadership Foundation Complex at Precinct 7 in Putrajaya is opened. Also available are books and publications used by him in his extensive research on various topics, especially on Islam, science and economy. The books are part of Dr Mahathir's personal collection and they have now found a home in the library.
MARGINAL INCREASE: (Nov 21) This year's Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah saw 31,562 straight As scorers, representing 6.7% of the candidates. Of the number, 24,155 were from national schools, 7,051 from Chinese schools and 356 from Tamil schools. The number of top scorers – those with the maximum 5As (national schools) and 7As (national-type schools) – increased by a marginal 0.3% over last year.
WORK ACCIDENT CLAIMS: (Nov 22) Work-related accidents in the country are on the rise, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn. Expressing concern over the worrying trend, he said his ministry estimated RM700mil would be paid out in Socso claims to victims of work-related accidents by the end of the year. Of this amount, 25% were for accidents incurred during the course of work.
ISTANBUL ROCKED: (Nov 21) Truck bombs killed at least 27 people and wounded nearly 450 in attacks on the British consulate and the London-based HSBC bank – days after a bloody terrorist strike on synagogues in Istanbul. The worst terror bombings in Turkey's history coincided with President George W. Bush's trip to Britain and were blamed on al-Qaeda.
ROCKET ATTACKS: (Nov 22) More than a dozen rockets fired from donkey carts slammed into Iraq's Oil Ministry and two downtown hotels on Friday morning in brazen co-ordinated strikes at some of the Iraqi capital's most heavily protected civilian sites. Two other rocket launchers mounted on donkey carts were found within hours – one 30m from the Italian Embassy and another near the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad.
CLOSE RANKS: (Nov 19) George W. Bush and Tony Blair will mount a defiant show of solidarity after the US president flew to London on Tuesday for his first visit to a major European capital since war in Iraq polarised the world. Tens of thousands of protesters have vowed to give the president his first taste of European anger at the war.
WILLING TO WORK: (Nov 21) Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's government announced it was willing to give the country's separately elected president Chandrika Kumaratunga – a political rival of the premier – a broader role in the peace process with Tamil Tiger rebels.