ON NATIONAL SERVICE: (June 10) Some 8,000 private doctors and specialists nationwide will have to perform a stipulated number of hours of compulsory service in government hospitals every year, said Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek. Their services are necessary to help lessen the heavy workload of doctors and specialists now working in government hospitals and for them to gain more experience, he said.
TAINTED MEAT: (June 9) The Government plans to crack down on local farmers who have been using beta-agonist – a drug listed under the poisons schedule – to produce more marketable lean meat. Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said beef and pork with residues of this drug could be harmful to humans.
FASTER PROBES: (June 8) As part of initiatives to improve the remand system, all deaths of detainees in police custody will be investigated within a month and an inquest held to find out the causes. Other initiatives include installing closed-circuit TV at lock-ups, providing prayer mats for Muslim detainees and converting the concrete flooring of cells to wooden flooring.
DIRECTIVES TO POLICE: (June 10) In a bid to deal with the flood of public complaints against the police, seven directives have been issued to police personnel with a warning that disciplinary action will be taken against those who fail to follow the rules. Among the directives are police personnel must accept reports from the public, follow procedures when arresting or detaining a suspect, and take good care of exhibits and evidence related to a case.
VIGILANT: (June 6) Malaysia remains vigilant of the minority group of Muslims who practise extremism, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. He said he did not discount the fact that some, even those in the educated middle-class, were attracted to radicalism.
CHEAPER TREATMENT: (June 6) The cost of the three-in-one combination drug treatment for HIV-infected patients will be reduced from RM1,200 to between RM200 and RM220 from this month. Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the reduction came after his ministry amended the Patent Act to enable the patented drugs to be imported from India.
CHEAPER SMART TAGS: (June 6) The price of Smart Tags is expected to go down by 20% ahead of the standardisation of the electronic toll collection system on July 1. Sources said the tag, currently sold at RM220, would cost about RM180 following a government request to the system’s operator, Rangkaian Segar Sdn Bhd, to lower its price.
JPJ WARNING: (June 6) Unsuspecting people have been buying used cars previously involved in accidents, said director-general of the Road Transport Department Datuk Emran Kadir. The cars were illegal and dangerous, as their body had been reattached with parts from other cars before they were sold, he said.
FUNDS INCREASE: (June 11) The Government will increase its grants to public universities in a bid to increase student capacity in critical courses such as medicine, said Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow.
WEEDING OUT: (June 8) MIC branch chairmen who have failed to carry out the party's programmes will be replaced by more energetic newcomers under a leadership revamp, party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said.
SACKED: (June 11) Parti Bersatu Sabah has sacked 11 of its leaders and members for contesting as independents against Barisan Nasional candidates in the March 21 polls. The party has also banned three other former leaders from rejoining PBS.
DRUG PEDDLERS DETAINED: (June 10) A Malaysian and six foreigners have been detained for their involvement in an international drug syndicate and the setting up of a narcotics factory in Fiji. Federal narcotics director Deputy Comm Datuk Najib Abdul Aziz said police believed they were linked to a recently busted group which was operating South-East Asia's largest syabu manufacturing factory in Kajang, where two tonnes of syabu worth RM160mil were seized.
POPULATION INCREASE: (June 10) The Malaysian population has grown to 25.1 million, a growth of 2.2% from 2000, but there has been a decrease in the fertility rate.
PUBLISHED: (June 9) The Government released the names of 8,599 national service shirkers with a warning that they are liable to be repeatedly charged in court if they continue to evade training.
VENUS IN TRANSIT: (June 8) Thousands of Malaysians joined millions of people around the world to watch Venus crossing the Sun on Tuesday. In Kuala Lumpur, staff at the National Planetarium set up two telescopes outside the building to give the public a chance to view the event outdoors. In Kota Kinabalu, city folks stood in long queues at Karamunsing to view the transit through a telescope put up by the Survey and National Mapping Department.
ForeignSUSPECTS HELD: (June 8) In a co-ordinated strike across Europe, police arrested 17 suspected Islamic militants, including a suspected mastermind of the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people. In Milan, Italian police picked up Rabei Osman Ahmed, 33, simply known as Mohammed the Egyptian, who is described as the ringleader who allegedly helped plan the March 11 Madrid attacks.
MILITIAS TO DISBAND: (June 7) Nine of Iraq's militias, comprising more than 100,000 armed men, agreed to disband as part of a rewards and retraining programme, but the deal does not cover rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's fighters.
RONALD REAGAN DIES: (June 6) Former president Ronald Reagan, America’s charismatic Cold War warrior, died on Saturday at the age of 93, surrounded by his family, after a decade-long battle against Alzheimer’s disease.
NEW BUG: (June 7) A deadly new antibiotic-resistant superbug related to golden staph has emerged in Australia causing at least one death, infecting 50 others and threatening many more, The Australian newspaper reported.
VETERANS HONOURED: (June 6) In an emotional ceremony on a cliff-top overlooking the English Channel, world leaders rose to their feet to pay tribute to elderly veterans of the D-Day landings who 60 years ago to the day risked their lives in the fight to liberate Europe.
PLAN APPROVED: (June 6) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government approved an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in principle, but a last-minute compromise with Cabinet hardliners diluted a historic decision and shrouded the fate of 21 Israeli settlements in Gaza in uncertainty.
RESOLUTION PASSED: (June 9) The UN Security Council resolution on Iraq, which endorses a “sovereign interim government” in Iraq and mandates a US-led multinational force to keep the peace, was adopted unanimously overnight.
REFORM PLAN ADOPTED: (June 10) World leaders at the Group of Eight summit approved a “Partnership for Progress and a Common Future” aimed at spreading reforms in the Middle East and North Africa. “Our support for reform in the region will go hand in hand with our support for a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict,” officials of the G8 said in a joint statement.
EXPANDED EU VOTES: (June 10) Voters in 25 nations, with concerns ranging from national sovereignty to Europe's role in Iraq, began on Thursday to elect representatives to a European Parliament that is bigger and more influential than ever before.
WRONG DATA: (June 11) Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that poor data in a terrorism report allowed an erroneous conclusion that terrorist acts had decreased worldwide, but insisted the foul-up was unintentional.
BLAIR THRASHED: (June 11) Britons angry over Iraq gave Prime Minister Tony Blair a drubbing in local elections, relegating his ruling Labour Party to an unprecedented third place. But analysts still expect him to take Labour to a third general election victory in 2005 despite his humiliation at the polls, the biggest test of public feeling both since the Iraq war and since Blair won a second term in 2001.