NEW CAR PRICES: (Dec 31) Smaller imported passenger cars those below 1,800cc may see a slight drop in prices following the Governments announcement of new import taxes as required under the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) agreement. However, the cost of national cars may also go up because the Government also announced new excise duties for all motor vehicles.
POLICE REVIEW: (Dec 29) The Government is to set up a Royal Commission to review the police force in totality. Announcing the move, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said this reflected the Governments full commitment towards rehabilitating the image of the force and restoring public confidence in it.
CID BEEF-UP: (Jan 2) The police aim to solve high-profile cases within 14 days and more than double its manpower in its Criminal Investigations Department in a revamp that will involve five problematic sections. The move followed a call by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the setting up of a Royal Commission aimed at overhauling the police force.
RANSOM FOR CARS: (Dec 28) Cross-border syndicates are stealing luxury cars in Sarawak and displaying them in mega showrooms in Kalimantan for the owners to pay ransom to get back their vehicles. It was learnt that the showrooms are also used to display stolen vehicles to prospective buyers if the owners do not come to claim or refuse to pay the ransom.
FREE TUITION: (Dec 30) The Government has allocated RM200mil to provide tuition vouchers for poor pupils in Years Four, Five and Six beginning next year. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the scheme would enable pupils from poor families to receive tuition in four subjects English, Bahasa Melayu, Science and Mathematics.
BAN STARTS: (Dec 27) Sundry shops and mini markets in Kuala Terengganu will be barred from selling alcoholic and other intoxicating drinks, including beer, from Jan 1.
TOP SCORERS: (Dec 29) More than 19,600 students obtained straight A's in this years Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination, an increase of 1,614 when compared to last year.
WATER RULING: (Dec 29) The High Court in Penang ruled that the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBA) should not resort to using the draconian action of disconnecting supply to a consumer because it would be breaching its statutory obligation.
NEW GENTING BOSS: (Jan 1) Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong stepped down as chairman of Genting Bhd and Resorts World Bhd, passing over the baton to his second son, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay. Goh Tong, 86, founder of the group of companies, had resigned late last year as chief executive and was succeeded by Kok Thay.
VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT: (Dec 30) The Government wants 5,000 Chinese and Indian youths born in 1986 to volunteer for the national service to fill the vacancies left by trainees who are eligible to defer their training.
BASIC NEEDS: (Jan 2) The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) released a special report urging the Government to ensure that the basic needs of the nations poor and marginalised communities are met.
IRAN TOLL RISES: (Dec 27) The death toll from the devastating earthquake in south-eastern Iran rose into the tens of thousands as the international community mobilised a major relief operation. Hope of finding many more survivors in the rubble of Bam was fading fast. The death toll rose to 28,000 people by Jan 1.
ANITA MUI DIES: (Dec 30) Hong Kong pop diva Anita Mui, known to Chinese across the globe as the Asian Madonna, died in hospital after a long battle with cervical cancer. She was 40.
SARS SUSPECT: (Dec 27) Doctors in southern China examined a man with SARS symptoms as neighbouring Hong Kong stepped up health checks on travellers to avert another outbreak of the deadly virus.
CLOSE WATCH: (Dec 27) The US Agriculture Department quarantined a second herd of cattle in Washington state in connection with the first US case of mad cow disease, as cattle producers scrambled to minimise damage to the US$27bil (RM102.6bil) industry.
SKY MARSHALS: (Dec 30) One week after raising its terror alert level, the US government ordered foreign airlines to place armed marshals on select flights to and from the United States to thwart attacks.
NUKE SITE VISIT: (Jan 2) North Korea has agreed to allow a US delegation to visit its main nuclear complex next week, a South Korean official said. The trip would mark the first time outsiders have been allowed to inspect North Korea's main nuclear facilities at Yongbyon.
ANTHRAX INHIBITOR: (Dec 30) A small group of molecules has been shown to inhibit a deadly toxin associated with inhalational anthrax, a discovery that could lead to new ways of treating the disease, researchers said.