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Malaysia Bolsters Its Reputation as Technology Hub

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technologyUrban Malaysians have long enjoyed a reputation as being ahead of the curve when it comes to adapting to new technology. From the huge Internet reach to the saturation of mobile devices, Malaysians are better connected than ever.

This hasn't happened by accident. Long ago it was recognised that keeping up with the latest technology would be vital to Malaysia's aim of reaching developed nation status.

Simple measures like low import tariffs on electronics mean that shopping centres like Plaza LowYat can thrive with tourists and locals alike enjoying the best deals.

Indeed, according to figures from Hongkiat released this month, Malaysia has some of the best prices not only in Asia for certain brands such as Apple, it has better prices even than those in the U.S. and Europe.

A MacBook Air for example starts at around RM 2,999. That's some $70 cheaper than the $999 entry price in the United States. That's also cheaper than the starting price of $1,051 in Singapore or $999 in Hong Kong, both traditional consumer electronics hubs in the region.

Telecom network liberalisation has been another major achievement of recent Governments.

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Mukhriz Offers Olive Branch to Lim Guan Eng on Kedah-Penang Water Issue

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Lim-Guan-Eng-aDatuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir was always going to have his work cut out when he took up his new post as Menteri Besar of Kedah.

Picking up the pieces after years of PAS rule that was marred by allegations of nepotism, cronyism and corruption – not to mention ineptitude – Mukhriz's position is one of the toughest in the country.

Yet, despite his relative inexperience, he has got off to a flying start.

The New Straits Times this weekend pointed out that Mukhriz had solved issues facing Kolej Universiti Insaniah (Kuin) staff in less than two months – despite the previous PAS administration sitting idly by while employees were paid late for some five years.

Next on his checklist is resolving the on-going spat between Kedah and neighbouring Penang about the provision of raw water supplies.

Kedah's former Water Supply, Water Resources and Energy Committee chairman Datuk Phahrolrazi Zawawi explained that Kedah had spent millions in maintaining and conserving water catchment areas, ensuring that raw water supplied to Penang was clean and unpolluted.

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Revitalised KLIA2 Cleared for Take Off

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KLIA2-GraphicThe highly publicised delay to KLIA2 has frankly provided easy pickings for Pakatan Rakyat and Opposition-friendly news portals.

One of the most hotly anticipated developments of the year, it surely was uncomfortable to have to admit that the project's start date was being re-assigned.

Yet rather than try to pin the blame on contractors or wriggle out of it, the Government and operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) have opened up and been honest about expectations.

Last week Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi was named as the head of a Special Committee that would be launched to monitor progress of the new terminal.

"The committee's first task is to ensure that work is done on time. All other issues such as red tape will be handled by the ministry," said Interim Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, adding that "all stakeholders including the retailers and airlines must be engaged."

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A By-Election Test of Reconciliation for BN and Disunity for Pakatan Rakyat

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KualaBesut-BEIs Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin tempting fate by expressing confidence that Barisan Nasional will win the Kuala Besut by-election with a bigger majority?

Perhaps. But it is easy to see what is motivating him.

"I am fully confident that the qualities of Tengku Zaihan and his family can garner the support for the BN," Muhyiddin said Friday.

Apart from the fact that he has faith in the abilities of BN candidate Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abdul Rahman, there is the timing of this poll that is giving the DPM optimism. In the month since BN was returned to power in Terengganu and federally, the Government, led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has done all it can to show that it is getting on with government.

It is listening to the people, and compromising - the best example of which was the decision to abandon the controversial child conversion legislation. It is also getting on with reform, with the Election Commission and the income tax system on the agenda.

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Malaysia’s Credibility as an Investment Hub Continues to Soar

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BursaComputerScreensIt has been written before, in these pages and elsewhere, but it bears repeating that Malaysia is one of just a few success stories in recent years.

Of course, there is Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who will try everything to make people believe otherwise. But for all the theatre he provides, the real success story is Malaysia's economy, which continues to outshine most of the rest of the world.

Malaysians can count themselves particularly lucky to have been led through the enduring international financial crisis by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has overseen record growth levels and maintained a largely civil and safe society.

Political protests stretch today from Brazil to Turkey via Egypt, with people unhappy at the leadership that controls their nations' coffers. In turn these disturbances are spurring huge capital flights from emerging markets previously reckoned to be in good hands.

Malaysia, it seems, is acting as a safe haven for these funds. And – sadly for Anwar – no Black 505 rallies can change that.

With a Government in the midst of a RM1.4 trillion infrastructure overhaul and undergoing historic transformation programmes in the form of the ETP and GTP, Malaysia's credibility as a financial refuge is secured.

This week Bloomberg provided a glowing report on Malaysia under Najib, pointing out that the stock market is the region's best performer.

"Najib's victory over opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has spurred investors to buy stocks," it wrote.

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