Blog Page 543

The Penang state government has appointed Tengku Idaura Tengku Ibrahim as Chief Controller of the Botanic Garden in a move seen as a positive development after months of wrangling over controversial ‘upgrading’ projects.

Victoria Amazonica lilies at Kew Garden: One suggestion is for the dug-up area between the two soon-to-be-demolished arches at the PBG to be converted into a large pond for giant water lilies and other water-based plants

The present Director of the garden, Nor Wahida Hassan, is expected to report to the new Chief Controller, who will in turn report to the Chief Minister and the State Secretary.

In recent months, the Botanic Garden has hit the news for all the wrong reasons after ill-conceived federally-funded ‘upgrading’ projects marred the lush garden surroundings. 

A judge in France investigating a 2002 bombing in Karachi that killed 11 DCN employees has confirmed the existence of “illegal rétrocommissions” linked to the sale of submarines to Pakistan.

This was revealed by a lawyer for the victims’ families, according to a French general information magazine.

‘Retrocommissions’ are funds skimmed off ‘commissions’/kickbacks paid which are then illegally remitted to French officials i.e. individuals or entities in both countries get a share of the ‘commissions’.

The Paris-based Le Nouvel Observateur (or Le Nouvel Obs), a prominent weekly in terms of audience and circulation, along with AFP reporting, observed on 19 June:

Judge Marc Trévidic in charge of the investigation into the bombing of Karachi in 2002, confirmed the existence of “illegal rétrocommissions” outside the contract of sale of submarines to Pakistan, said Friday, June 18 counsel families of victims, Mr. Olivier Morice.

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One of the worrying things about Penang is the rising prices of houses, even as communities in certain areas are displaced.

Some of these problems are probably inherited. But where are the displaced residents going to move to? Can they afford to buy new homes?

Penang needs to have a housing policy that caters to the needs of its own residents. At the moment it seems like developers are building for foreign and outside speculators/’investors’ even as home ownership and property prices soar across the island.

One reason for the property investment or speculation is that bank interests rates are low, and the other is that regional investors still find Penang prices fairly cheap compared to say, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.