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AWSJ: MTUC Postpones Protest - Subang Airport To Close
By Chris Prystay
13/5/2001 4:21 am Sun
[Walaupun MTUC menangguhkan piket mereka ada sesuatu yang diambil
perhatian oleh pemimpin kerajaan masakini - mereka sudah tidak boleh
bersambil lewa lagi berkhidmat. Rakyat sudah pandai mendesak dan
memprotes sehingga menterinya terpaksa berpeluh juga menjawab segala
tuntutan. Penangguhan setelah Mahathir masuk campur menggambarkan
menteri BN, Fong tidak begitu pandai berpolitik. Begitu juga Kaveas
yang lebih memakan diri sendiri dalam isu MSPJ-Country Heights.
MTUC seharusnya tidak bertolak-ansur atau memegang janji Mahathir walaupun
secara bertulis. Royalti yang lebih tinggi pun dimungkiri juga - inikan
pula janji bertulis sahaja. Mahathir seperti bimbang ledakkan akibat
piket ini yang mungkin memercik ke perhimpunan agung Umno. Pertuduhan
tambahan kepada Anwar telah digugurkan semuanya mengikut berita terbaru
AFP dan AP. Di sini simpati ditakuti akan merangsang kebangkitan rakyat
yang semakin membuak-buak lagi.
Tuntutan MTUC antara lain adalah SEMUA pelaburan dan pinjaman yang mahu
dikeluarkan oleh KWSP hendaklah mendapat kelulusan lembaga pengarah juga.
Sebelum ini hanya kelulusan kementerian kewangan dan bank negara sahaja
yang perlu di ambil kira. KWSP telah rugi RM106 juta di atas kertas sahaja
dalam pelaburan time dotCom. Saham tersebut masih di bawah paras harga
tawaran sampai hari ini. Dengan menangguh lebih 3 bulan, pihak tertentu
mungkin akan memainkan harga saham ini. Tetapi jika ia jatuh semakin teruk
lagi, besar kemungkinan piket yang akan datang akan menjadi lebih besar lagi.
Dalam rencana AWSJ yang kedua, LTAB Subang akan ditamatkan kariernya untuk
diganti dengan pusat ekspo antarabangsa. Di sinilah akan dibina satu projek
NECC yang mencecah harga berbilion juga di mana Kamungting Bhd yang dikuasai
oleh Mokhzani dikatakan mendapat tendernya.
Apa yang menarik rancangan ini mungkin memberi kebaikan kepada MAS tetapi ia
akan menjerut syarikat penerbangan tempatan yang lebih kecil seperti Pelangi
Airways, AirAsia dan Berjaya Air. Mereka ini kroni belaka yang terpaksa menggaru
kepala kerana duit tidak ada untuk mengongkosi perpindahan itu yang tentunya
akan memakan banyak belanja... Apakah tabung haji akan datang menolong pula?
Malaysian Union Postpones Protest;
By CRIS PRYSTAY
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia's largest labor-union organization
postponed a planned nationwide protest against alleged mismanagement
of the country's national pension fund after Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamad agreed to address a list of union complaints and assured labor
leaders that the pension fund will be run with greater transparency.
Leaders of the Malaysian Trade Union Congress -- which represents
550,000 workers -- said they received a letter from Dr. Mahathir this
week stating that the pension fund will rescind a controversial
reduction in death and injury benefits and review an unpopular move to
introduce a privately managed annuity plan. The two issues were among
the grievances that drove the MTUC to threaten to picket offices of
the pension fund -- known as the Employees Provident Fund, or EPF --
MTUC Secretary General G. Rajasekaran said Dr. Mahathir "has given a
very clear assurance on the suspension of the annuity scheme, clear
confirmation the [government] will take steps to restore the benefit,
and thirdly, given a written undertaking that the EPF will assure that
there will be greater transparency in the management of the
In calling off the protest, the MTUC averted what would have been an
unprecedented confrontation between the country's usually compliant
union movement and the Malaysian government. The MTUC, an umbrella
organization for 230 Malaysian unions, had said it would mobilize
thousands of workers to march on EPF offices around the country this
week. The EPF manages 181 billion ringgit ($47.63 billion) in
retirement funds contributed by 9.7 million salaried Malaysians and
Dr. Mahathir's agreement to address labor's concerns is seen by some
analysts as a bid to defuse one of a growing number of political
problems besetting his government. The 75-year-old premier -- in power
for almost 20 years -- is wrestling with restiveness within his United
Malays National Organization and fending off attacks from a persistent
The 1998 sacking of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who
was later convicted on s###my and corruption charges, continues fuel
dissent among Malaysia's ethnic Malay majority. Police jailed 10
opposition activists last month under the Internal Security Act for
allegedly trying to organize street demonstrations against the
Meanwhile, Daim Zainuddin, Malaysia's powerful finance minister and a
longtime Mahathir ally, took a two-month leave of absence, spurring
talk of a widening rift between Tun Daim and the prime minister. And
complaints of money politics within UMNO prompted Dr. Mahathir last
week to suspend six senior officials accused of buying votes in recent
'From All Fronts'
All this comes at a time when the Malaysian economy continues to slump
amid slowing global growth. "He's got it from all fronts right now,"
said the research head of a Kuala Lumpur-based brokerage firm, who
declined to be named.
MTUC leaders stressed that the unions' protest over the EPF's
management was "postponed" and not canceled. Mr. Rajasekaran said the
protest would go ahead Aug. 9 if the government fails to make concrete
reforms concerning the transparency of the EPF's investment policies
and the fund's public accountability. In addition, union
representatives are demanding to fill at least half the seats on the
EPF's board of directors; they now have five seats on the EPF's
18-person board. The MTUC also wants the EPF's investment panel --
which is appointed by the finance minister -- to seek board approval
for all major investments and loans.
The fund's investment practices came under fire in March after the EPF
took a 3.22% stake in Time dotCom Bhd., a telecommunications company
controlled by the politically influential Renong Group. The EPF agreed
to take most of that stake as partial repayment for a 500 million
ringgit loan the fund made to Time dotCom's parent, Time Engineering
Bhd., in 1996.
Time Engineering agreed to repay half the loan in cash and half in the
form of 78.7 million Time dotCom shares valued at their
initial-public-offer price of 3.30 ringgit each. The EPF bought
another 2.85 million Time dotCom shares in January under a restricted
sale offer in the run-up to the IPO in March. Time dotCom's stock
price has plunged about 37% since its shares began trading, reducing
the value of the EPF's shareholding by about 106 million ringgit on
Write to Cris Prystay at cris.prystay@a...
The Asian Wall Street Journal
Malaysia's Old Airport To Close to Passengers
By ZACH COLEMAN
Kuala Lumpur's old international airport at Subang will be closed to
scheduled passenger flights next April, according to the airport's
Adnan Shamsuddin, executive director for operations at Malaysia
Airports Holdings Bhd., said remaining flights will move from the old
airport at Subang once express-train service opens in April to link
the capital's downtown to the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport
But train service might not be enough to mollify some travelers.
Although spacious and visually stunning, the new KLIA is almost three
times farther than the old airport from downtown Kuala Lumpur. The
announced fare for the train is also double the cost of a taxi from
downtown to the old airport.
When the new airport in Sepang opened three years ago, flag carrier
Malaysia Airlines initially moved all its flights there. However, the
distance and cost of transportation to the new airport hurt Malaysia
Airlines's business, as passengers chose to drive to their
destinations or take one of the smaller airlines that stayed at
Subang. As a result, Malaysia Airlines reversed itself after a few
months and moved some flights back to Subang.
After its April closure to commercial passenger flights, Subang will
continue to serve private planes and other general aviation uses, Mr.
Adnan said. Malaysia Airports opened an auction center in a former
terminal at the airport last year, and is also developing a
convention-and-exhibition center at the site.
Although Malaysia Airlines accounts for most of the typical 18
passenger flights a day flown from Subang, the airport is also home
base for four smaller Malaysian airlines, most of which have no
operations at KLIA. The Subang airport handled 2.1 million passengers
Executives from the smaller carriers said they have yet to receive any
official notification that the airport will close to scheduled
passenger flights. Ravi Vijayarengam, assistant commercial manager at
Berjaya Air, said the shift to KLIA would be expensive for the airline
because it would need to move all its support operations and
equipment. Lo Chok Ping, a finance official with Transmile Group, said
the company doubts a shift would affect its cargo flights from Subang.
The other carriers based at Subang are Pelangi Airways and AirAsia.
John Casey, an aviation analyst with SG Securities in Singapore, said
the move will benefit Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia Airports, now
both under government control. Malaysia Airlines will save on the cost
of duplicating operations between the two city airports. Its existing
international and domestic networks and operations at KLIA also will
give it a leg up on the small carriers just getting set up.
Malaysia Airports, Mr. Casey said, will get a small step closer to its
goal of turning KLIA into a leading Southeast Asian hub through a
boost from the additional flights and connections. The airport has
recently lost service from several international carriers. To try to
tempt airlines, KLIA is waiving landing and parking fees on new
flights as of this month.
Write to Zach Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.