Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Turkish uranium project shows strong economics

Anatolia Energy expects to start full-scale development at Temrezli before the end of 2015 after a pre-feasibility study (PFS) revealed better-than-expected economics for the high-grade uranium project in eastern Turkey.
Temrezli exploration - 460 (Anatolia)

The independent PFS was carried out by Tetra Tech and confirmed the proposed in situ leach (ISL) project to be technically low risk as well as highly profitable. Based on the development of the deposit's measured and indicated resources, which total 11.3 million pounds U3O8 (4347 tU), plus the development of some 80% of Temrezli's 2 million pounds U3O8 (769 tU) of inferred resources, the PFS foresees a total output of 9.9 million pounds U3O8 (3808 tU) over a mine life of 12 years, at a cash operating cost of $16.89 per pound U3O8. The initial capital cost for developing the site would be $41 million, with project payback within the first 11 months of operation.

According to Australian Anatolia, the figures will position it as one of the world's lowest cost uranium producers.

The company plans to construct a central processing plant at Temrezli, with an annual capacity of 1.2 million pounds U3O8 (462 tU). The plant could also process uranium-loaded resin from future satellite operations such as the nearby Sefaatli project, where Anatolia is about to start the second phase of a drilling program which should lead to initial resource estimates.

Temrezli is about 200 km east of the Turkish capital Ankara, and the project will benefit from existing local infrastructure including roads and power lines. Anatolia describes the estimated $7.3 million cost of life-of-mine infrastructure as small relative to other ISL uranium projects. The company hopes to further reduce up-front costs by using Turkish plant suppliers where possible.

Anatolia CEO Paul Cronin noted that the test work completed during the PFS had seen many upgrades to the project since a preliminary economic assessment was completed in 2014, leading to better financial returns than previously anticipated. "The strong economics of the project, even at today's term uranium price provides a robust foundation," he said.

With an operation licence already in hand, Anatolia now needs to complete an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) before applying for an operation permit. The ESIA is already in preparation, with the first stage expected to be submitted for approval by the end of February.

Subject to finance, Anatolia expects that full-scale development will begin this year and says it plans to begin some pre-development activities immediately.

Turkey currently imports much of its energy, but work on its first nuclear power plant is expected to begin later this year. The Akkuyu plant, which will eventually comprise four Russian-designed VVER-1200 reactors, is to be built, operated and financed by Russia's Rosatom.

Economic growth could have been only within the 2%-3%

By Ramon Navaratnam

Bank Negara Governor Zeti Akhtar Abdul Aziz did well to give an uncharacteristic press conference on our economic performance based on data from the Fourth Quarter of 2014. She said she was addressing "the misconceptions surrounding the impact of the fall in oil prices and the significance of the oil and gas industries to the Malaysian economy."

She agreed that we are adversely affected by the drop in oil prices, but said our economic growth could have been only within the 2%-3% range had we not diversified our economy. This raises the question of whether we have diversified enough and taken enough measures to face the challenges of these critical times.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Idris Jala said much the same thing in an interview with The Economist. He said it was a "big misconception" that "Malaysia will suffer the brunt of the oil price slide because we are a major oil exporter." Malaysia, he stressed, is not a major oil exporter.

Actually, Malaysians generally refer to our oil and gas earnings together and recognise the major impact the industry has on our growth prospects. After all, as Idris has carefully pointed out, the "oil, gas and energy sector" constitutes 17% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That is a large chunk of our economy. There will definitely be a major impact on our economy if oil and gas prices remain low and slide further. So we must appreciate the deep concern of Malaysians over the falls in oil and gas prices. We cannot afford to play down the problems or ignore concerns about our future.

When we hear talk of "diversifying our economy", we ask how successful economic diversification has been. The residual "Other Industries" constitute 30% of our GDP. Education and Health make up only 1% of the GDP. The rest of the sectors, like Tourism , Electronics, Agriculture and Financial Services, constitute only 5% to 7 % of the GDP each.

Couldn't we have done better after 58 years of Merdeka? Couldn't we have pursued wider diversification and gone into much greater value-added productivity?


We may not be in crisis now, but I dare say that we are facing critical times ahead. The major world economies are generally slowly recovering or are still struggling to recover. Malaysia has done better, with its 6% growth registered for last year. But how long can this high growth last in this sluggish world economy?

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Langkawi fired up for Lima ‘15

LANGKAWI: Almost 95 per cent of the exhibition spaces for the 2015 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition (Lima '15) have been snapped with 38 days left prior to its kick-off on Mar 17.

Ministry of Defence (Mindef) secretary-general Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Mohamad Radzi said the ministry had received an overwhelming response for this year's exhibition with a total of 502 exhibitors from 36 countries already confirmed their participation.

Abdul Rahim, who is also Lima '15 chairman, said the number had exceeded the initial target of pulling 476 exhibitors from 36 countries.

"We are proud to announce that Lima '15 has attracted bigger number of participants as compared to 433 exhibitors from 31 countries recorded in the previous edition.

"Lima '15 has attracted 70 per cent of 25 world's biggest defence companies such as Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Safran which will be exhibiting their new and state-of-the-art technologies.

"For the first time, Japan has voiced its intention to take part in the exhibition which will also be the first exhibition in South East Asian region participated by the country since the leniency given to its defense products export policy.

"At the same time, there are also other positive development in this year's exhibition, for instance the People's Republic of China booked 219 metre square of the exhibition space compared to only 60 metre square in the previous exhibition," he said in a press conference after the fourth main committee's meeting and visit to the exhibition sites here yesterday.

Also present was Armed Forces chief General Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin who is also the exhibition joint-chairman.

Abdul Rahim said Lima '15 exhibition would emphasise on the Association of South East Asian (Asean) elements in its programme, in line with the Malaysia's chairmanship of 2015 Asean.

He said the five-day exhibition would kick start with the Asean Defense Minister's meeting which would be held back to back on March 15 and 16 at Langkawi International Convention Centre.

Besides attractive programmes lined up during the event, including Air Chief Conference, Chief of Navy Round Table Talk, Maritime demonstration and tourism carnival, he said that there would be new programmes such as Multi-Nation Maritime Sea Exercise and Multi-Nation Counter Terrorism Exercise.

"We are expecting a significant hike of commercial and public visitors throughout the event where the first three days would only be opened to commercial visitors and invited guests.

"Air show will be carried out daily between 12.30pm and 2.30pm from March 17 until 19 and between 10am and 4.30pm on the following days," he said.

Backstreet’s back in Malaysia

By Dennis Chua

From left, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough, and AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys pose for a portrait in promotion of their theatrical documentary "Show 'Em What You're Made Of" in Los Angeles. AP photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The world's best-selling boy band, the Backstreet Boys, will be heading to Malaysian shores as part of their "In A World Like This" tour on May 3.

Their showcase will be at Stadium Negara and is organised by The Livescape Group.

The one-night show is set to attract over 6,000 fans.

"We are thrilled to be working with Livenation to bring the Backstreet Boys back to Malaysia. As one of the world's largest and foremost boy bands, we are sure that their appearance in Kuala Lumpur will be highly anticipated", said The Livescape Group's director of live events Rahul Kukreja.

The five-member American pop vocal group was formed in 1993 and consists of AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell.

The band shot to fame with their self-titled debut album, Backstreet Boys in 1996.

Following the success of their first album, they released their second international album Backstreet's Back in 1997.

Singles from this album include "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)", "As Long As You Love Me" and "All I Have To Give".

The single "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" and "All I Have To Give" peaked on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number four and five respectively.

The then teenage heartthrobs not only won the hearts of many with the success of their first two albums but rose to greater heights and superstardom with their third album Millennium in 1999.

Singles from this album include "Larger Than Life" which peaked on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 25, "I Want It That Way" which peaked at number one on the US Billboard Top 40 Tracks and the UK Singles Chart, and "Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely" which peaked at number six on the US Billboard Top 100.

The Backstreet Boys released a fourth album, Black And Blue in 2000 and the most popular single from this album was "Shape Of My Heart" which peaked on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number nine.

They have sold over 130,000 million records worldwide.

The group took a two-year break before releasing a comeback album Never Gone in 2005.

After this, Richardson, left the group to pursue a solo career in singing, modelling and acting.

Nevertheless, the Backstreet Boys continued as a four-member group and released two albums, Unbreakable in 2007 and This Is Us in 2009.

In 2012, Richardson rejoined the Backstreet Boys and a year later, the band celebrated their 20th anniversary by releasing their first independent album, In A World Like This.

Tickets are priced between RM208 and RM688.

Backstreet Boys members Kevin Richardson, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and Nick Carter attend the premiere of Gravitas Ventures' "Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of" in Hollywood, California. AFP

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

TransAsia’s safety record under scrutiny after latest crash

SINGAPORE: Taiwan regulators are likely to put more pressure on TransAsia Airways to review its maintenance and safety procedures after Wednesday's crash, its second fatal accident in seven months.

Industry data showed the crash of Flight GE235, in which at least 16 people were killed, was the fifth aircraft the airline has written off since 1995.

The death toll could still rise after the ATR 72-600, which had 58 passengers and crew on board, crashed into a river shortly after taking off from Taipei's Songshan airport.

This comes just seven months after a TransAsia ATR 72-500 crashed while trying to land at Penghu Island, killing 48 of the 58 passengers and crew on board.

There have been two other fatal accidents and another two major incidents in the airline's history, according to data from Flightglobal Ascend, an industry consultancy.

In December 2012, an ATR 72-200 freighter crashed en route to Macau from Taipei, killing both crew members. In 1995, an ATR 72-200 crashed into a hill near Songshan, killing all four crew.

In 2003, an Airbus A321 was written off after colliding with a vehicle that had strayed onto the runway while the plane was landing. A year later, an Airbus A320 was severely damaged when it over-ran the runway while landing at Songshan.

There were no fatalities in either of those incidents.

Investigators into the latest disaster are likely to focus on cockpit procedures and maintenance issues at the airline, said Greg Waldron, Asia Managing Editor at Flightglobal.

"Coming so soon after July's crash, the airline could come under intense scrutiny by regulators, not to mention the impact this will have on public perceptions of the carrier," he added.

Taiwan had a poor air safety record from the 1980s to the early 2000s due to several fatal crashes, mostly at flag carrier China Airlines.

Before last year's TransAsia incident, Taiwan's last fatal crash came in May 2002 when a China Airlines Boeing 747-200 broke up mid-air on the way to Hong Kong, killing all 225 people on board.

That prompted the Taiwan government, with help from agencies such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to revamp its regulatory agencies.

China Airlines also reviewed its procedures and passed IATA's International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) in 2005, which meant that it met global safety standards.

The focus now is on TransAsia, which was listed on the Taiwan stock exchange in November 2011 and remains a much smaller player than China Airlines and EVA Air.

The airline, which also has Airbus A320s and A330s, mainly operates services from Taiwan to other Northeast Asian destinations in China and Japan. It also has services to South Korea, Macau, Thailand and Cambodia.

Its ambitious management has, in the past, expressed hopes of eventually becoming a larger carrier with services to Europe or the United States using aircraft such as the Airbus A380.


Sirul to fight extradition to Malaysia

QUEENSLAND: Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar who is wanted back in Malaysia to face the death sentence for the murder of Altantatuya Shaariibuu, has engaged Australian lawyers to fight any attempts at his extradition.

Confirming this to the Malaysian Insider, Sirul's lawyer, Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin also said, "There will be some interesting developments but I can't reveal yet until we get things sorted out."

He also revealed that contrary to popular belief, Sirul was not being detained for violating Australian immigration laws but only detained because Interpol had issued a red alert out on him earlier.

He said his client would continue to be detained pending the Malaysian authorities next course of action.

"However, Sirul cannot be held indefinitely," Kamarul said, adding that Sirul had a valid visa when he was arrested at his family home but that it would most likely have expired by now.

"He has to apply for a protective visa to remain in Australia and fight any court battle there," Sirul's lawyer explained.

Sirul who fled the country before his conviction in the murder of the Mongolian in 2006, was a former police commando. His colleague Azilah Hadri was present during sentencing but Sirul, having already left the country for Australia, was not in court.

Last week, another one of his lawyers, Hasnal Rezua Merican, told a Malay daily that Malaysia was unlikely to be successful if it applied for Sirul's extradition because Australia has abolished the death penalty and would not send a criminal back to his country if the death penalty was carried out there.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Malaysian Malacca Bans Alcohol in Muslim Areas

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia's opposition Islamic party has supported the decision by Malaysia’s southern state of Malacca to ban alcohol sales in Muslim dominant areas, urging a similar ban on Muslim workers involved in alcohol industry as illegal in Islam.

“We congratulate the Malacca state government for enforcing the ban,” Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) central committee members Nasrudin Hasan, Datuk Khairuddin Aman Razali and Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz said in a joint statement quoted by The Rakyat Post on Monday, February 2.

“This indirectly helps individuals involved to gain halal livelihoods. As a Muslim individual, the sale of alcohol is prohibited by law,” the PAS parliamentarians added.

Why Is Alcohol Forbidden?

Alcohol: Dangerous, But Why?

The new ban, approved by Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron, stipulates that store owners must immediately stop selling alcohol, deemed as haram, or prohibited in Islam.

The decision, applied in local communities in which Muslims make up more than 90 per cent of population, will result in banning from 7-11 stores from selling alcohol.

The PAS leaders have also welcomed Singapore’s move to introduce the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill and institute an island-wide ban on the public consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages from 10:30pm to 7am.

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“This clearly shows the impact of alcohol on society,” they added.

“Furthermore, alcohol in Malaysia, especially in urban areas, are easily available in convenience stores and no action can be taken.”

Islam takes an uncompromising stand in prohibiting intoxicants.

It forbids Muslims from drinking or even selling alcohol.

The general rule in Islam is that any beverage that get people intoxicated when taken is unlawful, both in small and large quantities, whether it is alcohol, drugs, fermented raisin drink or something else.

Welcoming Malacca’s decision, PAS parliamentarian called for applying a similar ban on alcohol sales nationwide.

“We urge for alcohol-related state government policies to be standardized nationwide,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement cited by the MalayMail Online.

“Furthermore, every effort to free Muslims from the alcohol industry must be supported.”

The ban will help “free” Muslims from being involved in work prohibited by their religion, they added.

Despite of PAS support, other parties like Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Gerakan have opposed it.

According to MCA, the new ban would result in ethnic segregation as well as blocking integration among the various ethnicities in the country.

Gerakan Youth reportedly said that the government’s new policy was akin to political interference in commerce, urging the state government to reconsider the ban.

Five years ago, Mosque officials in Selangor, like imams and muezzins, have been authorized to arrest Muslims drinking alcohol in public.

Malaysia has a population of nearly 26 millions, with Malays, mostly Muslims, making up nearly 60%.

Monday, 2 February 2015

It’s all about the money

JANUARY 27 — On Sunday, January 25, 2015, residents living in Kampung Keramat demonstrated against the Datum Jelatek luxury condominiums.

"Fearing their Malay-majority city neighbourhood may soon be overrun by Chinese, a group of residents in Taman Keramat marched to the construction site of upscale condominium project Datum Jelatek here and violently tore down its cladding today."

Yesterday, PKNS was quoted in The Star that, "All 674 units of controversial Datum Jelatek condominiums have been registered to Bumiputra buyers, debunking allegations that the Malays could not afford to purchase the luxury units. Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) in a statement said that a total of 1,097 potential bumiputra buyers have shown their interest, exceeding their expectations on the project."

With the median salary in Malaysia at RM1,700, one would need to pay a monthly instalment of RM3,500 for a RM700,000 apartment.

Melayu sudah maju. Melayu sudah kaya.

Social media, of course, exploded with heckles — who's embarrassed now? The protesters now have egg literally on their faces. There would not be an invasion of Chinese moving to the mostly Malay enclave, but rich, moneyed, we-have-arrived Malays. Their very own brethren.

The lawyer cum columnist, Azhar Harun, wrote a public note on his Facebook, of his suspicions about the protest.

"I can't help but suspect that the said demonstration was orchestrated by certain parties who were out to tarnish the Selangor state government. Call it a hunch. Or intuition. Or reasonable deduction. Whatever. I don't have evidence. But that's how I feel. That was my first reaction. Which public rally or demonstration would make available free nasi lemak and drinks to the rally goers?"

He continued to say that Sunday's demonstration was a stark reminder that within our seemingly peaceful multi-racial society, "… there are sections that are parochial and exclusionary in nature. At a glance, such parochial, tribalistic and hence, exclusionary sub-society, is almost a trademark of our society so much so that it has been accepted by all and sundry. Or at the very least, accepted by acquiescence.

The damaged hoarding of the Datum Jelatek Project is seen following a demonstration by a group of residents in Taman Keramat, Kuala Lumpur, January 25, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaThe damaged hoarding of the Datum Jelatek Project is seen following a demonstration by a group of residents in Taman Keramat, Kuala Lumpur, January 25, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa"The failure of our affirmative actions and economic policies in establishing a fair and equitable distribution of wealth and closing the gap between the haves and the have-nots only serve to create inter-class enmity and resentment."

I refer to Muhammed Abdul Khalid's book The Colour of Inequality and his paper on wealth distribution in Malaysia.  He shows that about 90 per cent of Bumiputera households have no savings, and about two-thirds have no financial assets.

In terms of wealth, about 72 per cent of Malaysians who are without wealth are Bumiputera, while 17 per cent are Chinese and 10.7 per cent are Indians. What is rather shocking is that an average Bumiputera has about less than one month of financial reserve to cover his monthly expenditure in case of loss of income or employment.

His study also finds that wealth distribution is extremely skewed, top 10 per cent of Malaysian households per capita control 40 per cent of the country's wealth, while the bottom 40 per cent own only 5 per cent.

More than 92 per cent of wealth comes from real estate, while financial assets contribute the rest.  The study also finds that ethnic disparity in wealth is much higher than the disparity in income.

The Chinese, on average, have the highest wealth which is 90 per cent higher than the Bumiputera and 50 per cent higher compared to the Indians. 

Improving socio economic status of Malaysians requires a consistent two-pronged approach, with a focus on both the bottom 40 per cent and on maintaining/increasing growth equality.

The weekend's demonstration is more than about politics, political intrigue and Azmin Ali. It is not about Malays versus Chinese and Indians. It is about the Haves and Have Nots among the Malays, and there may be hell to pay.

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Boycott Chinese businesses to lower price of goods, minister tells Malays

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Malays consumers should boycott Chinese-owned businesses that have been raising their prices indiscriminately, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today, claiming it will help in lowering the price of goods in the country.

The agriculture and agro-based industries minister was quoted as saying in a Facebook posting that Malay consumers could assist the fight against profiteering by boycotting Chinese businesses.

He singled out the Old Town White Coffee franchise as an example, accusing it of being "anti-Islamic" and having links to DAP's Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham.

"The majority of consumers are Malay, Chinese are a minority, if the Malays boycott their businesses, they will surely have no choice but to reduce their prices.
"As long as Malays don't change, the Chinese will take advantage to oppress the Malays," Ismail had said.

The post appears to have been removed from the minister's official Facebook page.

Ismail has however used his Twitter account and shared tweets of users praising him for urging a boycott on all Chinese businesses.

"I support @IsmailSabri60 to boycott old town white coffee with its questionable halal status and other business owners who refuse to lower down their prices," said Umno senator and supreme council member Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki on his Twitter account, with a link to the minister's official microblogging handle.

Another user, Rezal Rashid described Ismail's remarks as bold and timely, given the current economic situation.

Ismail has yet to respond to Malay Mail Online's attempts to contact him over the matter.

But news portal The Malaysian Insider quoted the federal minister as saying that his remarks were aimed at Chinese businesses who were "reluctant" to lower their prices.

"I am referring to Chinese traders who are reluctant to reduce the prices of goods even though the price of petrol has come down.

"What I want to emphasise is for people not to depend solely on the government to ensure the price of goods comes down because as consumers, they can use their power to pressure businesses," he was quoted as saying.

A year after ‘Onederful Malaysia’ video, Kok back with another

A screen capture of the latest satirical video by DAP’s Teresa Kok, titled ‘1 Goat Year 1 Great Family’.
A screen capture of the latest satirical video by DAP’s Teresa Kok,
titled ‘1 Goat Year 1 Great Family’.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 — DAP’s Teresa Kok has published another satirical video parodying Malaysian events and leaders for Chinese New Year, even as she remains in the dock for sedition over last year’s controversial edition.

This year’s video is titled “1 Goat Year 1 Great Family”, continuing the apparent mockery of Putrajaya’s penchant for the number 1, and stars Kok, national laureate A. Samad Said, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, Lembah Pantai lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar, DAP’s Hew Kuan Yau, C4 founder Cynthia Gabriel and actress Lim Jing Miao.

Keeping the theme from last year’s video, Kok and company gather in what appears to be preparation for Chinese New Year and proceed to lampoon current and national affairs using double entendres, wordplay, graphics, costumes and innuendo.

Although they avoid directly mentioning any of the individuals and topics directly, those familiar with Malaysian politics and current affairs will be able to spot the references.

The 5-minute long video is largely in Mandarin although some parts are in English and Malay, while subtitles are available to help viewers along.

Kok was charged with sedition last year over her “Onederful Malaysia CNY 2014”, in which she is accused of mocking the country’s security forces by lampooning the Lahad Datu standoff with Suluk invaders.

The case is now pending before the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

The Seputeh MP denied that the video had mocked the armed forces or any other agencies or individuals, and said that it was merely satire.

Last year’s videos drew outrage, protests and police reports from supporters of the ruling Umno and this year’s edition is likely to do the same.

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How about staying with Malaysia to fight for change, Anwar tells Sabahans

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says he agrees with many of the marginalisation grouses voiced by the locals here that resulted in the set-up of an online secessionist movement, ‘Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia’ (SSKM). — AFP pic

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 31 — Saying secession won’t solve Sabah’s problems, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made a plea yesterday with native Borneo groups seeking autonomy to stay and transform the country through the democratic process.

The federal opposition leader said he agreed with many of the marginalisation grouses voiced by the locals here that resulted in the set-up of an online secessionist movement, “Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia” (SSKM).

The Penang lawmaker noted the increasing support for breaking away, but reminded those in its favour that such a move was against the Federal Constitution.

“Let’s subscribe to the process and affect change through the democratic constitutional process. We are not supporting the secession of any states. That is not the solution,” he said in dialogue here yesterday with some 150 youths here, including students and youngsters from the rural areas.

Talk of secession became rife in August last year, with groups across several social media platforms organising themselves into a loose alliance and operating under the SSKM banner.

The movement gained traction, particularly among youngsters in Sabah and Sarawak, who called for a review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 that saw four distinct groups: The Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, and North Borneo — now called Sabah — combine forces to form one nation.

The agreement incorporated some of the 18- and 20-point agreements drawn up by North Borneo and Sarawak, and played a part in the formation of the Federal Constitution.

In his dialogue session yesterday, Anwar reminded the country’s leaders not to underestimate the growing sentiment in Sabah and Sarawak — the two states considered the vote banks for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

“I have heard from many Sabahans from various groups and sub groups. The consensus is great. People are disenchanted by the neglect, marginalisation, poverty and inequality. Throughout the country, many are calling for major transformation of policy. I agree to many of their concerns,” the 67-year-old Permatang Pauh MP said.

“There is growing support for Sabah and Sarawak rights and the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement. But attempts to hijack this process will not benefit us in the long run. There will be more civil strikes under this regiment,” he said.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has warned the group of people believed to be behind the movement to drop their demands for Sabah and Sarawak to secede or face the law.

He said the police were conducting an investigation on these people — all of whom have been identified — and added that the papers would be sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for prosecution action.

So far though, no one has been arrested for supporting the movement.

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