Give peace a chance, says PM


  • Letters
  • Sunday, 02 Mar 2003

The week that was from Feb 24 to March 1.

LOUD AND CLEAR: (Feb 24) Give peace a chance to solve problems, said Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a Peace Rally in Bukit Jalil Stadium on Sunday. He said Malaysians' struggle for peace would not be confined to the rally but would continue until the thinking that killing was the means of solving problems changed. The Prime Minister said he feared the superpowers would not stop after going to war with Iraq, and would go after North Korea, Iran and other countries. 

 

OUTLAW WAR: (Feb 25) Malaysia took the stage as the new chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement amid blazing colours and dances and against a backdrop of a looming war in the Middle East. Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a blistering inaugural address as head of the host country with a call for the global community, through the United Nations, to outlaw war and create a new world order where power is shared by all nations.  

OIL FOR PEACE: (Feb 27) An informal meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, which included some of the world's biggest oil producers, agreed here to look into the possibility of using oil as a weapon to fend off a war in Iraq.  

Though the 47 leaders conceded it could be dangerous and might lead to negative repercussions, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said if they did not consider it Muslim nations might not be able to influence events in their favour.  

 

MORE TOP SCORERS: (Feb 27) The number of top scorers in last year's Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination increased with 663 candidates obtaining 1A for all subjects and 2,732 candidates obtaining a combination 1A and 2As, compared to 489 and 2,116 respectively last year.  

 

GRADING CHANGE: (March 1) The Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examination will have a new grading system from this year that will correspond with that of the matriculation system.  

 

CURRENCY OPTIONS: (Feb 28) The international community should be encouraged to use other currencies or even gold as the benchmark in international trade because the domination of the US dollar in global transactions is distorting the world's economy, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.  

 

WIN-WIN FORMULA: (Feb 27) A win-win formula for MAS and Air Asia to compete in the domestic market will be implemented soon. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik said he would write to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad for consultation and his views on the formula before its implementation.  

 

EPF OPTIONS: (Feb 28) The Employees Provident Fund is considering the introduction of a two-tier contribution system under which lower-income members will contribute a higher percentage of their pay to the fund.  

 

BAN STAYS: (Feb 28) Despite promotions going into high gear, the Film Censorship Board has turned down an appeal by a distributor to screen the movie “Daredevil” at cinemas. The board's appeal panel gave the final verdict on Feb 21. 

 

UP TWO SEN: (March 1) Price of petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas was increased by two sen. In announcing this, Domestic Trade and Consumer affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the increase was inevitable due to a rise in oil prices in the global market.  

 

DESTROYING MISSILES: (March 1) Iraq said it will begin destroying it’s Al-Samoud 2 missiles yesterday, the last day of a deadline given by chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, Iraqi sources said.  

 

TROOPS IN GULF: (March 1) The US military build-up for war topped 200,000 troops in the Gulf region while inside Iraq, Saddam Hussein was said to be moving some of his best-trained forces into new positions.  

President George W. Bush called anew on Thursday for Saddam's total, complete disarmament and defended his father for stopping short of ousting the Iraqi president in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. 

 

HIGH-RISK STANCE: (Feb 28) Having been dealt an embarrassing blow to his prestige by the Commons, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is unlikely to pay heed to opposition to his hardline policy on Iraq, according to most commentators, because the powerful warning from 199 MPs, including 121 from the Labour backbench, that the case for war remains unproven, confirmed the widening gap between Blair and his critics.  

VACCINE FALLS SHORT: (Feb 25) The first AIDS vaccine to be tested in people does not offer general protection to Americans and Europeans but may protect blacks and Asians, vaccine-maker VaxGen Inc said.  

Long-awaited results from VaxGen's trial of AIDSVAX showed the vaccine reduced the rate of HIV infection only by 3.8% in 5,400 men and women considered at high risk in the United States and the Netherlands, VaxGen, the Brisbane, California-based company, said in a statement. 

 

MISSILE TEST-FIRE: (Feb 26) North Korea test-fired a missile and accused the United States of conducting spy flights, upstaging the inauguration of a new president in Seoul attended by US Secretary of State Colin Powell.  

News of the test, the latest twist in a four-month nuclear standoff, rattled Asian financial markets with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer saying Pyongyang was trying to create a sense of a crisis. 

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