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4 theSun | FRIDAY DECEMBER 12 2008

news without borders


Giam Say Khoon and Tan Yi Liang at the Dewan Rakyat

‘Fed govt has no right to act


against states over road signs
THE federal government has no right to act against the effort by the Penang government to enlarge
Demos will not
influence English
state governments that opt for multilingual road Malay wordings together with other languages
signages, Deputy Housing and Local Government such as Arabic, Mandarin and Tamil to reflect
Minister Datuk Robert Lau said. Penang as a heritage city, is actually a way
In his reply to a supplementary question from of showing social harmony in Malaysia?” Lim
Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) asked.
on the form of action against such state govern- Lau said that as a lawsuit had been filed
ments, Lau clarified that it is the right of local and against the state government and Penang Island

policy: Hisham
state governments to decide on languages to be Municipal Council and an injunction applied for to
used for road signages. stop the use of multilingual road signages, “it is
“Article 152 of the Federal Constitution affirms inappropriate for the ministry to comment as the
Bahasa Malaysia as the national language, but the courts have yet to hear the cases”.
same clause does not restrict the use of other Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) and
languages. Anyway, the national language should M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) insisted that
be given emphasis and priority for official purposes, Lau state his own stand on the matter but were JAC will
including for use on road signages,” he said. not successful. EDUCATION Minister Datuk Seri Association) president Ong Chiaw
lead to Hishammuddin Hussein says any Chuan warned that DJZ would
Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan), who is also The Penang government had decided in July
the Penang chief minister, said Kuala Lumpur to put up multilingual road signages in the state’s problems, form of demonstration would be launch a protest should the
City Hall’s initiative to include Arabic on its road heritage areas for the benefit of tourists and other says meaningless in influencing the government decide to continue with
signages without objection from the public was visitors. policy on teaching Mathematics and the policy.
retired CJ Science in English. “The Chinese community has to
an effort to internationalise the city as well as the The move was criticised by Barisan Nasional
country. backbenchers who described the decision as pg 6 He said the ministry had held act if the issue is not resolved,” he
“So, can the deputy minister explain whether “disrespectful to the nation’s social contract”. roundtable discussions with said.
related parties and explained Ong urged Chinese-based
comprehensively the rationale for political parties and Chinese
the policy. ministers, especially those from the
“Demonstrations have been MCA, to stand firm in fighting for
rampant inside and outside the the use of Chinese as the medium
country. So such threats are not of instruction for Science and
something surprising,” he told Mathematics in Chinese primary
reporters after launching the schools.
Malaysian Book of Old Documents He said most of the participants
and Agreements at the Parliament at the second and fourth roundtable
lobby. talks on the policy held on Aug 27
“If the Dong Jiao Zong or and Oct 21, respectively, including
DJZ (United Chinese School DJZ and educational and cultural
Committees Association) insists on groups of various races, political
going ahead with their protest, let parties, academics and former
them do it. education officers, were not in
“Our effort (to implement the favour of the English policy.
policy) is for the future of our “Studies by educational groups
children and it’s the best decision and universities, and even the
based on facts and figures as well as Education Ministry’s own survey,
mature and rational discussion.” showed that the implementation of
On Saturday, Jiao Zong policy has not produced the desired
(United Chinese School Teachers results,” he said.

Students’ rights not violated: Khaled


THE Dewan Rakyat passed the Universities and Mohamed Khaled said the Bill does not violate
University Colleges (Amendment) Bill to improve the basic human rights of the students. “They
the welfare and fundamental rights of the uni- are not allowed to join political parties because
versity administration, university workers and we do not want political parties to interfere with
students yesterday. campus administration,” he said.
Despite criticism from opposition MPs that the He said the students can still study politics,
amendment will continue to restrict the freedom and campus elections allow them to “experi-
of students to be involved in politics, Higher ence” an election.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled On the criticism that the government is
Nordin said it did not restrict them from taking practising double standard by allowing students
part in academic-based activities organised with overseas to join the Umno Club, he said the club
political parties, except joining the parties. is not a political party per se as it is a club formed
“The students can still attend talks and de- to take care of the welfare of the students.
bates with political leaders to talk on (such topics “Umno does not set up clubs in the country.
as) fuel prices, which is a topic that relates to If the Opposition wanted to, it can also set up its
academics,” he said when winding up the second clubs abroad for students who study overseas,”
reading of the Bill. he said.

Govt properties abroad worth RM3.59b


THE government has properties abroad worth 2007,” he said in reply to a question from Lim
RM3.59 billion which are managed by the Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut).
Foreign Ministry. “As our assets are located in different
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, countries, sometimes it is difficult to know the
replying to a question on behalf of the Foreign exact value. However, based on reports from
Ministry, said some of these assets were acquired Malaysia’s diplomatic missions, their current
soon after independence. worth is estimated at RM3.59 billion according
“Overall, the assets were bought for about to the market value.”
RM578.5 million in the open market and also Syed Hamid said the government has 32
through land allocation arrangements between chancery buildings, 33 official residences for
the Malaysian and foreign governments, such Malaysia’s heads of missions and 189 apart-
as that allocated by the Turkish government in ment units in 43 countries.

No radiation in imported foods


IMPORTED foods do not contain radiation, with declared to the Health Ministry and Customs
none having been rejected for such contamina- with documents and food samples.
tion, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul In the case of irradiated foods, importers
Latiff Ahmad said. had to comply with section 396 (2) of the Food
“Only one company from Australia had ap- Regulation 1985.
plied to export irradiated mangoes to Malaysia,” “Under section 396 (2), importers have to
he said in reply to a question from Fuziah Salleh meet three conditions, namely to apply for
(PKR-Kuantan), who had inquired whether the permits from the Agriculture and Agro-Based
ministry’s scanning procedure had detected Industry Ministry, label the products and have
radiation in imported foods. certificates from the countries of origin,” he
Abd Latiff said all imported foods had to be said. – Bernama