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Wee: Projects still on track

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KULAI: Ongoing public transport projects, including the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), are not affected by the weakening of the ringgit, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Wee Ka Siong (Photo).

He said that the ECRL project was already more than 30% into its contract and was on track to meet a completion date of January 1, 2027.

“The costs involved in such contracts have been fixed from the beginning, so the value of the ringgit will not affect the start of the projects.

“In fact, there are 1,076 project sites in the ECRL, big and small, running simultaneously,” he told reporters after launching the Johor MCA convention here yesterday.

He said that other projects such as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) 2, MRT 3 which was still in the bidding process, Gemas-Johor Baru Electrified Double Track project, as well as Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link), were also in the pipeline. grade.

“RTS Link is more than 20% complete overall. I will have a discussion with the Singapore government in the next day or two to discuss the technical issues with the project.

“Things that fall under the project’s bilateral agreement will also be discussed, such as the relocation of utilities from the Board of Public Services,” he added.

Dr. Wee said that the RTS Link was on track to be completed by December 31, 2026 and would begin operations on January 1, 2027.

With a capacity of 10,000 passengers per hour each way, the RTS Link is set up to provide easy and comfortable transportation between Johor Baru and Singapore in just five minutes.

In a separate matter, Dr Wee said the ministry had allowed Class D driver’s license holders to drive trucks with an unladen weight of up to 4,000kg, up from the previous limit of 3,500kg, with immediate effect. This will allow holders of the class D driving license to continue driving the vehicles without having to take out the class E driving licence, allowing the holder to drive vehicles weighing up to 7,500 kg empty.

“I received feedback from various industry players about their truck drivers, who have a Class D driver’s license, who were ticketed for driving vehicles weighing 3,600kg or 3,800kg unladen.

“This has caused problems for employers.

“As such, the ministry has decided to grant a special permit to help industry players reduce their transportation costs and make it easier to hire drivers with a Class D driver’s license, especially when the country is experiencing an economic recovery. .

“I think this will help small and medium-sized businesses and make it easier for them to do business and even create more job opportunities,” he added.


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Azalina vows to address, amend outdated laws to be relevant with current times

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KUALA LUMPUR: As the new Minister for Law and Institutional Reform, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said promises to address laws that are outdated and make necessary changes to make them relevant to current times.

In a statement on Saturday (December 3), Azalina said, among other things, that the reform includes the separation of powers of the Public Ministry and the Public Ministry, to preserve the independence of the discretion of the Public Ministry.

“I will also ensure that outstanding issues, including the citizenship status of children born abroad to Malaysian mothers, make continued progress and, where necessary, reform laws to restore the rights of the vulnerable, marginalized and those who don’t get the same treatment in our nation,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the same statement, Azalina said that there are many challenges ahead for the Unity Government as it navigates the next term, taking into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic downturn expected in the coming year. .

“The portfolio that I am leading involves efforts that span the length of government. I look forward to working together with elected representatives from various parties to address the challenges,” he added.

With vast experience as a Cabinet member and having headed various ministries since 2004, Azalina once made history when she became the first woman to be appointed Minister of Youth and Sports in 2004 and the first woman to be appointed Vice President of The House of Representatives. Representatives in 2020.

Azalina was also Minister of Tourism from 2008 to 2009 and Minister in the Department of the Prime Minister (Legal Affairs) from 2015 to 2018. – Bernama


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Bung says Sabah sidelined in Cabinet line-up

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KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (Photo) says he feels Sabah is underrepresented in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s federal cabinet.

Sabah’s deputy chief minister said the two ministerial posts the state received through Pakatan Harapan’s Upko and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) party did not reflect the support given to the unity government by Sabah MPs.

“It seems that Sabah has been left out of the Cabinet formation in the new unity government.

“There is not even one Sabah Barisan representative in the cabinet compared to Sarawak, which has five,” he said in a statement here on Saturday (Dec 3), adding that this was not fair to Sabah.

Sabah chief Barisan Nasional said he respected the Prime Minister’s decision, but said Sabah needed to be reflected equally in the Cabinet to show that the Federal Government meant business in ensuring that Sabah’s rights and development were in the agenda of the new Federal Government. .

“I’m worried. Does this mean that Sabah will also be left out of the development?” questioned Bung Moktar, who led Sabah Barisan to a seven-seat victory in the just-concluded GE15, the most among parties they contested in the state.

Anwar had announced on Friday (Dec 2) evening that incoming Upko Chairman Datuk Ewon Benedick and GRS Papar MP Datuk Armizan Ali have been appointed to their cabinet as Minister for Business Development and Cooperatives, as well as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak). Affairs) respectively.

Of the seats in Sabah, GRS won six, Pakatan (five), Warisan (three), Independents (two), and one seat for Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat and Perikatan Nasional.

Bung Moktar congratulated the two new Sabahan ministers, but stressed that it was important that Sabah receive portfolios that would benefit the state.

“The people chosen for the job must be well-versed in the issues of Sabah’s rights and the needs of the state.

“Sabah needs a strong voice in Cabinet to make sure that development funds for our schools, roads and electricity, among others, are dealt with quickly without further delay,” he said.

Bung Moktar said he hoped all the new ministers would prioritize Sabah affairs so that the state does not remain in the background.

“We don’t want Sabah to be left out again in terms of development, especially infrastructure, which is vital for the people.

“For example, the Pan Borneo highway project must continue and be accelerated. We do not want the project to be discontinued again as it happened when Pakatan became the government in 2018,” he said.


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More than 30 locations nationwide at risk of landslides

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PETALING JAYA: More than 30 locations across the country have been identified as landslide hotspots and with the current continued rain, the potential for landslides is even greater.

Malaysia’s Department of Minerals and Geosciences said continuous rainfall during the northeast monsoon, which is expected to last until March next year, is the main reason why areas with slopes greater than 25° are at risk of erosion. .

“This current monsoon phenomenon may result in the potential for landslides being higher, especially in settlement areas with slopes greater than 25°, hillside roads and river basin areas in some ecological parks,” it said in a statement.

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The department added that the hotspots are in Pahang (Cameron Highlands, Fraser’s Hill), Selangor (Bukit Antarabangsa-Hulu Langat, Kuala Kubu Bharu), Kedah (Gunung Jerai, Baling), Penang (Tanjung Bungah, Paya Terubong), Negri Sembilan ( Genting Peras, Jalan Seremban-Simpang Pertang), Perak (Ipoh, Kledang), Terengganu (Aring-Kuala Berang-Kenyir), Kelantan (Lojing – Gua Musang), Johor (Gunung Pulai), Sarawak (Miri, Kapit, Bau) and Sabah (Kota Kinabalu, Kundasang, Sandakan), among others.

The areas are under constant monitoring by the department and relevant agencies, he said.

The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and its agencies, which include the department, have also been evaluating, monitoring and implementing landslide risk reduction programs throughout the country.

“A total of 25 ecological parks, which are tourist attractions, have been identified as potentially threatening with the occurrence of mapped debris flows.

“These areas have been installed with an early warning system, while community-based disaster risk management has been established involving local residents and district-level agencies,” the department said.

Staff from the Malaysia Institute of Public Works help rehabilitate landslides at Taman Mega Jaya in Ampang, including shoring up areas with concrete.  — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The StarStaff from the Malaysia Institute of Public Works help rehabilitate landslides at Taman Mega Jaya in Ampang, including shoring up areas with concrete. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

Under the program, local residents receive training to improve their level of preparedness against landslides.

The department said it is also working with local authorities to map the hazards and risks of the slopes.

“The department is committed to providing early information related to geological landslide disasters, including working hand in hand with other technical agencies under the National Disaster Management Agency to develop a network of early warning systems, including the public awareness to reduce the risk of loss of life and property damage,” he added.

Last month, the Meteorological Department said that the northeast monsoon phase will persist until March next year.


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