Selangor govt caves in to developers’ pressure?

The Star today carries a report suggesting that the Selangor government could be buckling under developers’ pressure to allow projects on steep hill-slopes.

Selangor is reported to be drafting new “new development guidelines” for Class 3 (25-35 degrees) and Class 4 (above 35 degrees) slopes.

The state had earlier taken a commendable position by imposing an outright ban on steep hill-slope development.  Its ban on steep hill-slope projects was one of the few issues that had set the Pakatan government apart from the BN government. Residents in Tanjung Bunga in Penang had been encouraged by Selangor’s previous principled ban on hill-slope projects.

Alas, no longer, it would seem. Compared to an outright ban, “guidelines” are pretty worthless. It’s a pity that the Selangor government appears to be caving in to the powerful developers’ lobby.



Ask BN for everything, Anwar urges voters

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Photos by Anil

Last night, I thought I would go and check out the scene in Permatang Pasir at random. It didn’t take me long to stumble upon a crowd along Jalan Kubang Semang, near the Permatang Pauh old town centre. Traffic police were doing a good job making sure the crowd did not spill on to the road.

As I approached the ceramah venue, I heard a familiar voice – Anwar’s. He was urging the voters of Permatang Pasir to ask BN leaders to do as much as possible for the area.

“As the MP for Permatang Pauh (in which the state seat of Permatang Pasir lies), I urge all of you to ask the BN leaders for whatever you need, whether road repairs or improvements to the mosques or whatever. Take whatever is given, but you know how to vote,” he said to chuckles from the crowd.



IMF’s call for GST is part of neo-liberal agenda

The IMF’s call for Malaysia to expedite a goods and services tax (GST) and slash subsidies is part of its larger – and now widely discredited – neo-liberal agenda. The IMF itself is struggling for relevance now as many developing countries especially in Latin America have shunned its advice after seeing the damage done to the national economies of that continent.

The neo-liberal agenda, part of the “Washington Concensus”, is to cut taxes for the rich and the corporations, slash subsidies on social spending, and promote privatisation of essential services or “user-pay” models that benefit large corporations, including MNCs.

The GST is a regressive tax that will hurt the poor, who are now outside the income tax bracket. If a tax on spending is introduced, the poor will bear a disproportionately higher tax burden (in terms of their spending compared to their income) than the rich.