QUOTA STAYS: (July 2) The nomination quotas for Umno aspirants in the contest for party posts will remain for the time being, said acting party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The ruling was introduced after Umno was reformed in the late 1980s following an internal crisis that split the party and led to its deregistration. It was to ensure that only Umno members with genuine support among the rank and file could vie for posts.
HEROIC DEATH: (June 29) A brave van driver was stabbed to death when he tried to catch a snatch thief, making him the latest victim of the menace. Rosli Mohd Saad, 36, who had two years ago apprehended a snatch thief, pursued the thief although dissuaded by his wife. The public has been contributing to funds set up for Rosli's family to express their appreciation of his bravery.
FREE MAN: (July 1) Shah Alam City Council engineer Hanif Basree Abdul Rahman, the man accused of murdering Noritta Samsudin, walked out of court a free man without his defence being called. High Court Justice Abdull Hamid Embong ruled that the prosecution had not made a prima facie case against Hanif, ending a six-month ordeal for him and his family. The prosecution has filed a notice of appeal against the High Court's decision to acquit Hanif.
FIRE SAFETY: (June 30) The Cabinet wants all local authorities to immediately ensure that the fire-fighting equipment at government flats are functioning and within reach during emergencies. On Monday, a family of three died when fire broke out in their government flat here. Neighbours failed to douse the fire with water from their kitchen taps. The flat's fire hose was locked up following previous vandalism incidents.
GRANDMA KILLED: (June 30) A 91-year-old grandmother died a day after a thief beat her up with a stick because he was afraid she could recognise him from an earlier break-in. Before leaving her for dead, the man ripped off her the earrings and took two rings and RM10.
FRONTLINE ARMY: (June 27) Four frontline ministries have been chosen to spearhead the National Integrity Plan (NIP) to fight corruption and improve the Government's delivery system, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Samsudin Osman said. They are the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, Housing and Local Government Ministry, Higher Education Ministry and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
CABINET RESHUFFLE: (June 30) Sarawak has created a Second Finance Minister post in a state Cabinet shake-up that also saw an assistant minister promoted and seven state assemblymen becoming assistant ministers. Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud assumed the post of First Finance Minister, a position held by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam since 1991. Datuk Wong Soon Koh was named Second Finance Minister, and holds a second portfolio as Urban Development and Tourism Minister.
ONE SYSTEM: (July 1) More cash collection toll booths were set up on several highways as the standardised electronic toll collection (ETC) system finally came into force. As directed by the Government last year, all tolled highways are to use only the Touch 'n Go and Smart Tag systems from July.
PROTECT BUYERS: (June 27) The interests and rights of house buyers will be protected before the Government decides to replace the issuance of certificates of fitness by local authorities with declarations by professionals such as engineers and architects. Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said his ministry would look into a system which could check abuses by the black sheep among the professionals.
ARREST POWER: (June 26) Rela officers will soon be given the power to arrest illegal immigrants to combat the influx of illegal immigrants. They will be empowered to search for travel documents, make arrests and detain, and enter premises where illegal immigrants are suspected to be hiding.
CUT RED TAPE: (June 26) In another move to cut red tape and expedite claims, the Government has proposed that Socso get parties involved to sign statutory declarations when submitting claims. Once both the employer and employee sign the declaration, the claims would be processed immediately for prompt payment, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said.
MURDER CHARGE: (June 28) A 28-year-old jobless man was charged with the murder of Nanyang Siang Pau clerk Chong Fee Cheng, who died after a snatch theft incident early this month. Haron Sinong, from Pengkalan Rinting in Tampoi, Johor, is alleged to have caused the death of the 37-year-old clerk with other persons still at large at 7.30pm on June 12.
FEW TAKERS: (June 28) Only a few of the 99 top scorers given places in private medical schools have taken up the offers despite the Government’s favourable loan terms. The schools saw tepid response from the students, some of whom have opted to accept the initial offers of places to study non-medical courses at public universities. However, all 29 of those offered places at public universities have registered for their courses.
NOT RECOGNISED: (June 27) Three students who studied for their engineering diplomas at colleges in Japan are unable to further their studies as their qualifications are not recognised by the Public Service Department (PSD), which had issued the offer letters for them to study in the colleges and fully sponsored them. PSD has since stated that it is recognising the trio's diploma as being on par with engineering diplomas from local universities.
ICT PARTNERSHIP: (June 29) The Education Ministry has embarked on a partnership with software giant Microsoft to increase access to information and communication technology (ICT) in Malaysian schools. Under the “Partners in Education” programme, Microsoft will invest RM10mil over a five-year period to provide technology skills training to pre-service and in-service teachers, assist in curriculum development and bring ICT to all schools.
SAFER CITY: (July 2) Putting up barriers between roads and walkways to curb snatch thefts is one of the measures considered under the “safe city” concept, proposed by the Housing and Local Government Ministry. Another measure is to ensure that crime prone areas are well lit.
IDENTITY CHECK: (June 28) Malaysia Airlines will check the identity of all passengers above 12 years old travelling on its domestic flights from peninsular Malaysia beginning July. Passengers would have to show that their names matched those appearing on their boarding passes prior to boarding their flight, it said in a statement.
FISHERMEN FREED: (June 29) The three fishermen who were abducted from their trawlers about 10 nautical miles off the Kuala Sepetang coast by armed bandits two weeks ago have been freed unharmed. Teh Chor Joo, 30, Ng Teck Lai, 38, and Teoh Yang Chua, 30, arrived at the Kuala Sepetang fishing town about 9.30am in a taxi from Penang on June 29. No ransom was paid.
CD SALE: (June 30) A month-long mega sale of CDs and VCDs will be held from July 26 instead of the plan to introduce ceiling prices, which has been scrapped. Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal said the sale, which would offer discounts of at least 20%, was a better way of making the discs more affordable.
SADDAM CHARGED: (July 1) Saddam Hussein was hauled before an Iraqi court for a landmark appearance to face capital charges. The seven preliminary charges against the former Iraqi leader are: invading Kuwait, suppressing Kurdish and Shi'ite uprisings, Anfal ethnic cleansing campaign against Kurds, gassing Kurdish villagers in Halabja, killing political activists over 30 years, killing religious figures, and killing thousands of the Kurdish Barzani clan.
HISTORIC HANDOVER: (June 28) The United States handed sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government two days earlier than expected on Monday, aiming to forestall guerilla attacks with a surprise ceremony formally ending 14 months of occupation.
JUDICIAL CHALLENGE: (June 29) The US Supreme Court placed the first limits on President George W. Bush's war on terrorism on Monday when it ruled that terror suspects can use the American judicial system to challenge their confinement. The rulings marked a defeat for the president's assertion of sweeping powers to indefinitely hold “enemy combatants” after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks.
NEW TERM: (June 30) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo began a new six-year term as president of the Philippines, promising to drive through tough economic reforms that would hurt the rich to benefit millions of poor.
DEMOCRACY MARCH: (July 1) Thousands of people dressed in white marched on the streets of Hong Kong to demand for democracy from the Chinese government. Waving green and black banners, protesters chanted “Return power to the people, fight for democracy”.
BABY BONUS: (June 30) Australia's conservative government introduced a A$3,000 (RM8,028) “baby bonus” for new mothers, sparking claims it was trying to bribe voters ahead of national elections due later this year.
CLOSE CALL: (June 29) Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin clung on to power but voters stripped his scandal-tainted Liberals of their majority, and saddled him with the country's first minority government in a generation.
HOSTAGE PROBE: (June 26) South Korea's parliament ordered a formal investigation into Seoul's failed attempts to rescue a Korean hostage beheaded in Iraq by an armed Islamic group. The decision came hours before the body of Kim Sun-Il, 33, was set to arrive in Seoul, with public anger over the killing and the government's alleged mishandling of the case reaching boiling point.
LEGEND’S DEATH: (July 2) Two-time Oscar winner Marlon Brando died of pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that involves scarring of the lungs. He starred in classics such as On The Waterfront, The Godfather, and A Streetcar Named Desire. He was 80.