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Lim Guan Eng Challenged About Poverty in Penang

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Lim-Guan-Eng-gEver since DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng took the helm in Penang, he has gone to great lengths to make it known that he is the one to thank for "eradicating hard-core poverty" in the state.

In April he claimed he had been successful in that goal, when "Penang created history this year for being the first state in the country to wipe out poverty," (a claim he strangely also made back in 2009).

Indeed, just prior to GE13 he ambitiously claimed that if Pakatan Rakyat took Putrajaya, their combined brainpower could eliminate poverty nationally within five years.

But Lim's claim has been proven to be false time and again.

After his most recent dalliance with smoke and mirrors socialism, the Malay Mail carried the story of Muniandy Kolandai, the partially blind 74-year-old who could not even afford his RM150 rent and had made his home in a food court basement car park.

"I applied for welfare aid two years ago but I have yet to receive any response," Muniandy, a native Penangite, said tellingly.

Now, Lim Guan Eng's own coalition ally, PAS, has claimed that he has failed in his promise.

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Transformation in the Area of Taxation Means Malaysia Needs a GST

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TaxFor a nation such as ours a Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a no-brainer. It is far easier to administer than the existing sales taxes and will boost government revenues while helping to reduce the fiscal deficit.

Unlike income tax it rewards savers and is easy to understand. Consumers need to know no more than that a flat percentage is added at the point of sale to the things they buy.

That percentage, as proposed in the 2013 budget, is a mere seven percent – exactly the same as Singapore's. It is below the 10 percent Australians pay for their GST and a far cry from the whopping 20 percent that is Value Added Tax (VAT) in the United Kingdom.

Added to this compelling argument, economists say it will have only a temporary impact on inflation, adding between 0.8 to two percent depending on how our consumption patterns adjust to the changes. Government officials have vowed to be on the lookout for any profiteering that coincides with the introduction of the tax.

As Malaysian Rating Corp chief economist Nor Zahidi Alias put it: "One way it will benefit the economy is that GST is neutral with respect to market forces and businesses, unlike the sales tax."

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Government Targets Red Bean Army and Its Anonymous Backers

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RedBeanArmy-CybertroopersConsidering how quick Pakatan Rakyat figures are to sue when they feel their reputations have been slighted, it's sheer hypocrisy that they should be so relaxed about the Red Bean Army, the cyber troops that have been busy spreading damaging falsehoods online under a cloak of anonymity.

But when the Government finally announced in the Dewan Rakyat that it is time to get tough with this group that has operated with utter impunity, there were groans from the Pakatan benches. It's as if the Red Bean Army doesn't matter to those MPs because its efforts so suit the Opposition.

The Home Minister told the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday that the Government will use two tools to clamp down on this group: the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and the penal code. It will do this, he said, because the police in particular have been the targets of much of the Red Bean Army's wrath.

"We will stick with this approach to counter defamation against the police," he said.

This clampdown is necessary despite Pakatan's feeble efforts to portray the group as just a bit of fun. It isn't. It is propagating lies without any accountability for what it says and Pakatan Rakyat is conveniently a key beneficiary.

In May, former PKR Youth information bureau secretary Nordin Ahmad confirmed the existence of the group, and alleged Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had used it to spread lies about the election before and after the polls. Hardly just a few nerds having fun then, is it?

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Air Asia X Floatation Cements Malaysia as IPO Powerhouse

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AirAsiaPlaneAlthough the day's trading ended the same as its offer price at 1.25 ringgit, investors in AirAsia X Bhd, which debuted on Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, are here for the long haul.

"Right from the beginning we didn't expect much from the initial listing," Ang Kok Heng told Bloomberg after buying the stock in the IPO as chief investment officer in charge of RM1.3 billion.

"This stock is meant for the long run."

The day's most actively traded stock by far, the deal will allow the airline to increase its burgeoning fleet size and cater to the rapidly expanding market as more and more travellers get airborne.

"I think it looks like we priced it right," AirAsia X Chief Executive Azran Osman-Rani said at a news conference on Wednesday, describing what the company plans to do with the funds it raised last month.

With some RM988 million ringgit at its disposal, Azran was clear on the direction he would be piloting the carrier.

"Planes, planes, planes. Bigger network, more destinations, more frequencies."

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Why Shouldn’t Former Ministers Get Jobs in the Private Sector? Let’s Ask Anwar

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Anwar-Ibrahim-KOne of the biggest challenges for Governments everywhere is to stay connected with evolving society and industry. Our very own Federal Government needs expertise from the corporate sector and likewise, companies, organisations and NGOs can benefit from those who have in the past had their hands on the levers of government.

This is precisely why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak included figures like Maybank CEO Wahid Omar in his new cabinet as a minister without portfolio along with Transparency International Malaysia chief Paul Low. They have the power to energise Government with their vast experience.

The wisdom of this strategy would be self-evident to most, except Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who has Tuesday launched a withering attack not on these eminent figures, but on those who have been forced to make way for the new ideas and outside experience Najib knew was so necessary at GE13.

Anwar has cobbled together a list of outgoing Government figures he believes don't deserve a job after their time in politics and therefore have nothing to contribute. For example he has targeted de-selected MCA MP Ng Yen Yen, who has been made chairperson of the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board. This, says Anwar, is pure cronyism, pure and simple.

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