WE have to be lucid. France is in crisis. Its president, Emmanuel Macron, is taking his nation down the path of hatred of a people and their faith.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) has issued a thunderstorm warning for several areas in Pahang and Sarawak, with heavy rain and strong winds expected to occur until 1am.
MetMalaysia, in a statement tonight, said among the affected areas in Pahang are Cameron Highlands, Lipis, Jerantut and Kuantan.
In Sarawak, the affected areas are Serian, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Sibu (Sibu and Kanowit), Mukah (Tanjung Manis, Daro, Matu, and Dalat) and Kapit. — Bernama
BANGKOK, Oct 26 — Describing themselves as “human beings, not dust”, thousands of Thai protesters demanding reforms of the monarchy marched to the German embassy in Bangkok today to put pressure on King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who spends much of his time in Germany.
Germany has said it would be unacceptable for King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 68, to conduct politics there and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the European power continued to look into his behaviour during sojourns in Bavaria.
Months of student-led protests that began by calling for the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, 66, a former military ruler, have become the biggest challenge in decades to a monarchy that the Thai constitution says must be revered.
The Palace has made no comment since the start of the protests. A government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday’s protest.
At the German embassy, a statement was read from “the People” accusing the king of interfering in Thai politics. It said that having failed to get “the royal puppet” to listen - a reference to Prayuth - they had come to “the puppet owner”.
“The era of change has arrived. The flowing stream of democracy cannot be stopped,” it said. “Down with feudalism, Long live the people.”
A separate letter asked Germany to investigate:
Whether the king conducted state business from there.
Whether he must pay inheritance tax there after the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016.
Accusations of human rights abuses.
The king’s lifestyle in Germany.
It was signed: “Best regards from fellow human beings, not dust” - referring to a Thai expression that people are but dust under the king’s feet.
Criticising the monarchy can mean 15 years in jail, but the protests have swept away the taboo on discussing it.
Protesters accuse the monarchy of helping enable decades military domination. They also complain about royal spending in Europe when the coronavirus has hit the tourism-reliant economy hard.
Thailand’s political crisis has made the king’s presence a challenge for Germany. “We are monitoring this long-term,” Maas said. “It will have immediate consequences if there are things that we assess to be illegal.”
The king is currently in Thailand.
In a special session of the Thai parliament on the crisis, Prayuth’s opponents urged him to stop using the monarchy to justify his hold on power and resign.
The opposition Move Forward party referred to an incident around a royal motorcade that was used to justify tough emergency measures on Oct. 15. The measures, now lifted, backfired when tens of thousands of people took to the streets.
Prayuth rejected protesters’ demand to resign and said last week it was his government’s job to protect the monarchy.
“I’m confident that today, regardless of our different political views, everyone still loves the country,” he told parliament.
Prayuth took power in a 2014 coup and protesters say he engineered last year’s election to keep control. He says the ballot was fair.
Protesters want the king to be bound by the constitution and to reverse changes giving him personal control of the palace fortune and some army units.
They said the Germany embassy had listened.
“Since we cannot ask for this clarity from our government, we seriously hope the German government can do it for us,” protest leader Patsaravalee ‘Mind’ Tanakitvibulpon, 25, told the crowd.
She was among scores of protesters arrested in a crackdown under emergency measures. She was freed on bail. Several prominent leaders are still detained.
Before protesters reached the embassy, a couple of dozen royalists assembled there, shouting: “Long live the king. We will protect him with our lives.” — Reuters
GENEVA, Oct 26 — Washington has appealed against a World Trade Organization ruling that faulted US duties imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods during the trade wars between the two giants.
The United States announced its decision to appeal during a meeting of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body on Monday, a WTO official said.
The DSB had ruled on September 15 that the US tariffs imposed in 2018 on some US$250 billion of Chinese goods were “inconsistent” with global trade rules, and recommended that Washington “bring its measures into conformity with its obligations”.
The tariffs marked the beginning of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had in September slammed the WTO ruling, saying it proved the WTO “is completely inadequate to stop China’s harmful technology practices”.
On Monday, a US representative asserted that the panel ruling was based on legal errors, insisting that China’s unfair trade practices had cost US innovators, workers and businesses billions of dollars every year.
The DSB verdict marked one of the first in a series of anticipated panel rulings over complaints filed by a long line of countries over US President Donald Trump’s decision to hit them with steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
Usually, the WTO Appellate Body would have three months to rule on any appeals filed.
But that process has been complicated since the WTO Appellate Body — also known as the supreme court of world trade — stopped functioning last December after years of relentless US opposition.
Washington accuses the court of major overreach and has blocked the appointment of new judges, leaving it without the required quorum.
The US once again on Monday blocked efforts to appoint new Appellate Body judges.
By filing an appeal with nowhere for the appeal to be heard, Washington has in effect blocked China’s ability to move forward and request financial compensation for the US activities deemed illegal by the DSB.
China’s representative told Monday’s DSB meeting it was disappointed with the US decision to appeal, and accused Washington of taking advantage of the current paralysis of the WTO Appellate Body.
There are currently 16 appeals pending in the WTO system with nowhere to go. — AFP
SINGAPORE, Oct 26 — Singapore is set to import electricity from Malaysia as early as next year in a trial to diversify the country’s energy supply.
Making the announcement today, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said: “We will kick this off by importing 100 megawatts of electricity imports for a trial period of two years to see how the market works and to see how the technical challenges can be overcome.
“This will allow the region to share the clean energy sources that different countries may have.”
He was speaking on the first day of the Singapore International Energy Week, an annual energy conference involving international policymakers and industry commentators, held in the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands.
In a media release on Monday, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) said that it plans to issue a Request for Proposal by March next year for 100 megawatts of electricity imports. The amount is equivalent to about 1.5 per cent of Singapore’s peak electricity demand.
The highest monthly peak demand last year was 7,404 megawatts in May.
Under the proposal, electricity imports could begin as early as the end of 2021 via the existing electricity interconnector between Singapore and Malaysia.
Singapore currently does not import electricity.
More than 95 per cent of its electricity is generated from imported natural gas, of which the majority is from Malaysia and Indonesia.
EMA said: “To meet our climate change commitments, there is a need to change the way Singapore produces and uses energy. Tapping regional power grids for cleaner energy resources is one strategy to further diversify Singapore’s energy supply.”
The statutory board added that the trial aims to assess and refine the technical and regulatory frameworks for importing electricity into Singapore to help facilitate larger-scale imports from the region in future.
An importer will be selected through an open and competitive selection process. Potential importers will have to demonstrate, among other things, their track record, their ability to secure demand from Singapore consumers and how they manage the carbon output of generation supply.
Chan said that the trial is one way to encourage more players to adopt energy-efficient solutions.
“Moral suasion can only go that far. We will need to make sure that we have the right market structures, right incentives to drive the right behaviour in a sustainable way for the long term.”
Besides the trial, EMA will also introduce a forward capacity market in the coming years to provide greater certainty to energy producers on the energy demand in the next few years.
Interested parties for the trial may email EMA at [email protected] for more details. — TODAY
SIBU, Oct 26 — A couple and a teenager died when their car collided with a cargo lorry at Simpang Salcra, Jalan Saratok-Sarikei, about 110 kilometres from here today.
A Sarawak Fire and Rescue Operation Centre spokesman said the victims were identified as Raju Lian, 43, his wife, Irene Jerah, 44, and a teenage girl, Vanessa Deborah Medan,16, whose relationship with the couple has yet to be identified.
“The couple’s two children, identified as Geneyses Rachle Raju, 15, and Bakter None Raju, 20, and another teenage boy, Moses Medan, 13, were injured and taken to the Saratok Hospital,” the spokesman said when contacted tonight.
According to him, the cargo lorry driver and attendant escaped unhurt in the 5.30pm accident.
“Firefighters had to use a rescue tool to remove the three victims trapped in the car and who were declared dead by the Health Department personnel who arrived at the scene,” he added. — Bernama
All MPs should support Budget 2021 for country’s wellbeing, says Economic Action Council executive director
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Economic Action Council (EAC) executive director Tan Sri Noor Azlan Ghazali has called on all Members of Parliament to respect the decree of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and support the approval of Budget 2021.
He said the support was important as Budget was crucial in the effort to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure the country’s overall economic sustainability.
“What we want to convey to all MPs is that the political issue is (just an issue) among them, but whatever happens, they need to ensure that the country has sufficient allocation.
“Until today, the government has spent billions of ringgit to fight Covid-19, and now we are facing the third wave, so I believe we need to provide adequate allocation,” he said while appearing on the Ruang Bicara programme aired on Bernama TV, tonight.
Yesterday, Al-Sultan Abdullah stressed that Budget 2021, which will be tabled in the next parliamentary session, was very important to the people, especially in terms of dealing with Covid-19 and restoring the country’s economy.
Commenting further, Noor Azlan said the country had successfully managed to control the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year, and the data also showed signs of economic recovery.
However, he said the country’s economy took a hit once again when the third wave occurred.
“The current economic situation, on the whole, is indeed bleak, and many segments in society are affected by Covid-19, there are cases of job losses, and businesses are also affected.
“The responsibility (of MPs) remains to the people, please support (the Budget). The well-being of the people is the most important thing,” he said.
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz is expected to present Budget 2021 during the Parliament sitting on November 6. — Bernama
KUALA LUMPUR: There should be no issue for Umno to enter into a conditional cooperation with PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim – without the participation of DAP, said Pekan Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Najib Razak.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
BEIJING, Oct 26 — Chinese e-payments giant Ant Group said today it plans to raise US$34 billion in a joint Asian listing, making it the biggest IPO in history.
The cash raised from the split float between Hong Kong and Shanghai would be far more than the US$29 billion chalked up by Saudi Aramco in December.
The financial arm of Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba, Ant Group runs Alipay, the dominant online payment system in China, where cash, cheques and credit cards have long been eclipsed by e-payment devices and apps.
According to statements released by Ant Group, the e-payments behemoth aims to sell 1.67 billion shares each at HK$80 (US$10.30) in Hong Kong from tomorrow.
A further 1.67 billion shares will be sold in Shanghai at 68.80 yuan (US$10.30).
The total sale would therefore exceed US$34 bn, and could be close to US$40 bn if over-allotment options are taken up.
The securities will begin trading on November 5.
Ant claims an annual transaction volume exceeding 118 trillion yuan, with more than 700 million monthly active users.
Its entry into Shanghai and Hong Kong comes after Beijing called on national flagships of the technology sector to list on domestic stock exchanges, in a period of sharp economic and political rivalry with the US.
Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Alibaba, noted the significance of such a large offering happening in two Chinese cities.
“This was the first time such a big listing, the largest in human history, was priced outside New York City,” he told the Bund Summit in Shanghai on Saturday, in comments reported by Bloomberg.
“We wouldn’t have dared to think about it five years, or even three years ago,” added Ma, who stepped down as Alibaba’s executive chairman last year. — AFP
OCTOBER 26 — Dear Zahidi, It was with great consternation that I read your remarks, reported in the media today, where you blame the Rakyat for the current political turmoil.
You mention that the voters only have themselves to blame for the country’s current political instability. The media quotes you as saying “The people are the ones who made the decision; the situation today is because the people made such a decision [when voting] and the politicians are only correcting the situation,”
What? The mind boggles at your statement and how you can come to such a conclusion, so much so that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
There is so much that is wrong with your statement on so many levels. It smacks of arrogance, ignorance and even foolishness. There are so many other adjectives that can be used as well. How can you even attempt to pin the blame on the Rakyat for the shenanigans of politicians?
You are basically saying that the will of the people should be ignored and that the mandate given by the people does not matter.
Allow me to remind you how the process of elections and forming a government are supposed to work.
The people vote for their elected representatives. You were, in fact, one of those elected. The party or alliance with the majority in parliament forms the government. The government then carries out their duties for the rakyat. That is what the people voted for.
When scheming takes place to make the government of the day fall and when MPs jump ship, these MPs have BETRAYED the peoples Mandate. Pure and simple.
That is what happened in February 2020 in the Sheraton Move. MPs jumped ship and disregarded what the people voted for. These are the real people at fault. Don’t forget that. That includes you.
By saying that politicians are only trying to correct the mistakes of the people you are in effect saying that the will of the people has no bearing. The people do not matter. You are going against the very semblance of what democracy is. This is pure arrogance on your part.
To question the people’s choice of their elected representative goes against the very grain of what democracy is about. For arguments sake, let’s say that the people did indeed make a mistake. It is not for you to try and rectify that mistake. It is for the people to hold their elected representative accountable and responsible and thus correct that mistake. If that fails, then it is for the people to then re-evaluate their decision at the next elections. And if the people decide they want to make the same ‘mistake’, it is their prerogative. That is what elections and democracy are about. It is pure ignorance to think or claim otherwise. The choice of the people is what is paramount. Not what you think.
When MPs or Ministers such as yourself try to justify political manoeuvring by saying that you are only correcting the situation, it shows that you have no concern for the Rakyat at all. It shows that you do not honour the will of the people. It proves how self-serving you are and how you are only interested in your own political survival. It shows utter foolishness on your part.
Have you forgotten that you are supposed to work for the Rakyat and do the will of the Rakyat? Or has power gone to your head. Have you forgotten that it is your own party that has caused instability in the current government by complaining and making demands for more positions?
You are a Deputy Minister. You are the Deputy minister of Communications. Surely you should be able to communicate your thoughts in a far better and concise manner. The rakyat expects more. So much more. I can only surmise that you are living in your own little bubble and have no clue what the sentiment on the ground is. I think it is time that someone burst your bubble.
Perhaps tomorrow you will turn around and say you were misquoted. That’s what a lot of you politicians seem to do when you are caught out making foolish and imprudent statements.
Or maybe I just got it all wrong and what you really meant was that the people made a mistake by voting for you. Because quite frankly, your statement pinning the current political imbroglio on the rakyat is nothing short of shameless. Shame on you Zahidi.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.
LONDON, Oct 26 — A 66-year-old man appeared in court today in connection with the death of Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala in a light aircraft crash last year.
Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority charged David Henderson with two offences under the Air Navigation Order 2016 earlier this month.
At a hearing in Cardiff, he denied endangering the safety of an aircraft, and attempting to discharge a passenger without valid permission or authorisation.
Sala, 28, died after a single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft flown by David Ibbotson crashed north of the Channel island of Guernsey in January 2019.
He had just become then-English Premier League side Cardiff’s record signing, and had been returning from his former club Nantes when the plane went down.
Sala’s body was found the following month but that of Ibbotson, 59, has not been recovered.
Air accident investigators concluded that Ibbotson was not licensed to fly the plane or at night, and that he lost control and flew too fast as he tried to avoid bad weather.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said the pilot, who also had had no recent practice on instrument flying, was affected by carbon monoxide poisoning.
The first charge against Henderson relates to Ibbotson, who was contracted to fly the plane but did not have a commercial pilot’s licence at the time as it expired the previous year.
It also concerns the bad weather and whether he was “competent to fly” in such conditions, Cardiff Crown Court was told.
A provisional trial date was set for October 18 next year but the judge said a decision would be made about the venue, given Sala’s link with the Welsh capital’s football club.
Henderson was given unconditional bail until then. — AFP
MARSEILLE, Oct 26 — Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas said today Manchester City are “a machine ready to win the Champions League”, on the eve of the two teams’ group-stage meeting.
City have never reached the Champions League final and are yet to even reach the semi-finals in four attempts under Pep Guardiola.
“(City) are a machine ready to win the Champions League,” said Villas-Boas. “They may not be at their best level, their coach admitted that.
“That’s why I allow myself to say that, but they are still at a higher level than us and remain the favourites tomorrow (Tuesday).”
City, who relinquished their Premier League title last season to Liverpool, have only won twice in five league games this season.
Marseille, the only French club to win the European Cup, are playing their first Champions League campaign since 2013-14, when they were knocked out in the group stage.
They lost their Group C opener to Olympiakos last week but have made a solid start in Ligue 1 and are only three points behind the pace-setting Paris Saint-Germain and Lille.
Dimitri Payet has only scored once this season, and Villas-Boas admitted he needs his star winger to find form.
“Dimitri (Payet) is a key player. We have spoken and we both know he can do better,” said the former Chelsea and Tottenham coach.
“But it does not only depend on him, also on the team, which must help raise his level. He needs to rediscover what he brought to the team last season.”
City came from behind to beat Porto 3-1 last week in Manchester, but Guardiola will likely make at least one change to that team, with Kevin De Bruyne fit again and Sergio Aguero struggling with a muscle problem.
Villas-Boas admitted he cannot know what to expect from Guardiola, who has been criticised for tinkering tactically in Europe.
“Pep is able to create surprises, and the problem with City is that they have several dynamics and they can adapt. For us, however, this is not a game for experimenting.” — AFP
KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad (Bank Muamalat) today affirmed that one of its Johor Baru Regional Office employees has tested positive for Covid-19.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
PUTRAJAYA, Oct 26 — Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah denied that the Ministry of Health (MOH) manipulated the Covid-19 pandemic data reported.
He said the Covid-19 data was collected by MOH until 12 noon every day using the public health information system in each state.
“It is not done by me alone but together with the team behind the scene from day one (Covid-19 case).
‘‘Let’s not only accept the data when zero (Covid-10 case) is recorded. But there are parties who do not accept the data when 1,000 cases are recorded,’’ he said when answering a reporter’s question at the media conference on the latest development of Covid-19, here, today.
Dr Noor Hisham said discussions were also held in determining the cluster of a case.
Malaysia today recorded 1,240 new Covid-19 positive cases, the highest number since the pandemic began in the country.
This was the second time Malaysia had recorded new positive cases touching four figures after recording 1,228 new cases last Saturday.
Meanwhile Dr Noor Hisham said the press conference on the development of Covid-19 was cancelled at the last minute yesterday because he was asked to table the latest Covid-19 situation at the Special Discussion of the Malay Rulers which took place at Istana Negara.
“I shared the journey of the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) (in dealing with Covid-19) from December, until to date, the latest developments of Covid-19 and tasks in the field,” he said.
Yesterday, Noor Hisham’s press conference which was scheduled for 5.30pm was cancelled at about 3.45pm.
Dr Noor Hisham said, in yesterday’s presentation, he also informed about MOH’s expectation that the Covid-19 situation was expected to be able to be controlled in three to four weeks.
He said during the presentation session, MOH was also asked about (Covid-19) vaccines and he informed that currently there were nine studies on vaccines but MOH had yet to receive a complete report, he said. — Bernama
BERLIN, Oct 26 — Bayern Munich forward Thomas Mueller said today the Champions League holders are “happy to be playing in our competition again” ahead of their group-stage game at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Bayern visit the Russian capital tomorrow looking to build on a 4-0 thrashing of Atletico Madrid in last week’s Group A opener.
“We’re happy to be playing in our competition again,” Mueller told a pre-match press conference.
“We want to continue the flow we currently find ourselves in.
“We’re confident, the team is in form, the omens are positive.”
Bayern, who have won their last six matches in all competitions, have reached the Champions League knockout stage in each of the last 12 seasons.
“Bayern are always among the favourites, we are always in the mix in spring,” added Mueller, who has won the European Cup twice with the Bavarian giants.
“At the moment, we feel very, very strong, but that won’t help us in March and April when it comes to the knockout stage. However, I have faith in the club and the team.”
Lokomotiv had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Salzburg last week before suffering a shock defeat in the Russian Premier League by Rotor Volgograd.
But Bayern boss Hansi Flick warned his side not to be complacent against a team who finished bottom of their group last season and in the 2018-19 campaign.
“(Lokomotiv) are one of the most in-form teams in the Russian league,” he said.
“They have conceded the fewest goals and have some great attacking players in (Fedor) Smolov and Eder. We need to stay alert and focused.”
Lokomotiv coach Marko Nikolic said his side would go into the game with a point to prove.
“Our attitude is good. We are facing the best team in Europe, so what kind of attitude can we have? We are very happy for a chance to play against such opponents,” he said.
“Scepticism is always there, but it’s not my job to answer the critics who don’t believe in us.”
The other match in Group A tomorrow sees Atletico host Salzburg. — AFP
LONDON, Oct 26 — Midtjylland are a credible threat that cannot be taken lightly and Liverpool do not see them as a “small team” in the Champions League, the Premier League club’s manager Jurgen Klopp said today.
The Danish club qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time this season but Klopp said he has been aware of their project even before he took the Liverpool job.
“We don’t see (Midtjylland) as a small team. They are there because they earned the right to be there,” Klopp told reporters ahead of tomorrow’s match at Anfield.
“I know the story of the club, the things they tried. Very interesting project. Five years ago, in my break, I was interested to go there... to see how things are done there, but then I signed for Liverpool.
“They are really good, it’s a real challenge... They are a bit more direct in their buildup. They have really experienced defenders, good footballing midfielders, speed on the wings, physicality in the centre up front. They have a clear plan.”
Liverpool face an injury crisis, however, with Klopp saying midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita and defender Joel Matip were unlikely to play.
With defensive leader Virgil van Dijk also sidelined with a knee injury which could potentially rule him out for the rest of the season, Klopp’s side have adapted with defensive midfielder Fabinho slotting into the back line.
“Every team in the world would miss Virgil van Dijk, he’s the best centre half in the world. He played pretty much all the games since he’s been here in the past three years,” the German coach added.
“All the boys have played together with Virgil... They are not used to each other, as other pairings. That will get better.
“It needs time as well to bring to a specific level, we don’t expect perfection but there is space for improvement.” — Reuters
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has confirmed today he suggested to Umno leaders to work with PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim if they are dissatisfied with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional government, on the condition it does not involve DAP.
Dispelling claims he had lobbied Barisan Nasional to support Anwar during the meeting between the pact’s MPs held earlier today, the disgraced former prime minister explained the aforementioned suggestion was one of two he had put forth to Umno leaders.
“My second suggestion was, if the first is rejected by Perikatan Nasional, then Umno must open itself to negotiations with other political parties including Anwar’s if Umno is still dissatisfied with how it is being treated in the government after what transpired in Sabah.
“However, my suggestion to work together with Anwar comes with a condition that it does not involve DAP. This has been emphasised several times during the meeting,” he said in a Facebook post.
The Pekan MP then suggested that Umno can negotiate with Anwar to work together until the next general election, especially when it has itself worked with Muhyiddin and Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali despite being political rivals back in February.
Among the terms include opening the path for Umno to take on prominent roles in the financial and economic direction of the country, Najib said.
He cited how Muhyiddin’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia is now monopolising the post of prime minister, the most senior of senior ministers, finance minister, economic affairs minister and the Economic Action Council without any representatives from Umno, PAS or other parties.
“With this we can draft aid plans and economic stimulus that are more effective including extending the loan moratorium and expediting aid packages especially for Sabah who are in dire need of them,” he said.
Umno leaders are set to decide later tonight if the party would continue to back Muhyiddin or withdraw their support, following the embattled prime minister’s failed bid to declare an emergency.
Najib also affirmed that tonight’s meeting was for the party’s parliamentarians to discuss the party’s direction in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Touching on his first suggestion, Najib said he had proposed for Umno to push for a date to be fixed in order to hold a general election in the future once the Covid-19 situation is contained.
“Dissolving Parliament to return the power to the rakyat to choose their choice of party when the seventh prime minister resigned last February.
“I am in the opinion that this is the best option for the country because the thin majority held by the PN government has become the source of our ongoing political instability which will reduce investors’ confidence over fears that the government may collapse at any time,” he said.
On Muhyiddin’s failed bid to declare an emergency, Najib said it was a misstep by the former in seeking for a state of emergency declaration as an attempt to consolidate power which may lead to Umno being blamed by voters for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s royal decree.
Despite this, Najib said he was open to suggestions in providing conditional support to PN until the next election but asserted that renegotiations on the terms must be conducted so Umno and BN are given more prominent roles especially those concerning economic planning.
“Anyway, those are the suggestions and my opinions in today’s meeting. It is up to the party to evaluate and discuss them.
“As a party man, I will continue to support the decision made by the party’s Supreme Council,” he said.
This comes as DAP MP Tony Pua declared that any government that requires the backing of Najib “can go to hell”.
In response, Najib had in a separate post saying that he too, does not wish to be involved with the Pakatan Harapan party.
ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said Muslims in Europe were subjected to a “lynch campaign” like Jews before World War II, and accused some Western leaders of championing Islamophobia, calling them “fascists.”© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
LONDON, Oct 26 — Aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce will ask shareholders tomorrow for £2 billion (US$2.6 billion) in a make-or-break attempt to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, which has stopped planes flying and hammered its finances.
At stake is the future of a company which has been at the heart of manufacturing in Britain for more than 100 years, making engines that powered World War Two bombers and still drive the country’s fighter jets and nuclear submarines.
Investors are expected to back the rights issue, supporting CEO Warren East’s plan to cut 9,000 jobs and close factories to adjust to a lower level of demand from airline customers that fly with Rolls engines on Boeing 787s and Airbus 350s.
Shareholder advisory groups Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis have both urged clients to back the fundraising.
“We find the terms of the proposed rights issue to be reasonable,” Glass Lewis said in a note, while ISS said the rationale was “compelling”.
Investors can buy 10 new shares for every three they own at 32 pence each, a 41 per cent discount to the theoretical ex-rights price.
The company, which made a £5.4 billion loss in the first half of 2020, faces a cash crunch at the end of next year, when £3.2 billion of debt needs to be repaid.
In a sign of Rolls’s strategic importance, the UK government has guaranteed a £1 billion loan on top of the £2 billion it backed in July through its UK Export Finance arm.
Rolls accounts for 2 per cent of all UK goods exported and is one of the country’s biggest spenders on research and development. It also buys from 2,300 smaller UK suppliers, and before the pandemic supported as many as 135,000 UK jobs.
But Covid-19 has shattered the company’s finances because airlines only pay it when their planes fly, forcing it to seek a £5 billion debt and equity package to survive many more months of expected turmoil.
Rolls’s market value has slumped from over £20 billion in 2018 to £4.7 billion, putting it broadly on a par with online clothing retailer ASOS.
Analysts are positive on Rolls’s future if it secures the 50 per cent plus one of votes cast at tomorrow’s virtual meeting.
“They’ve given themselves enough time and space to make sure that they get through to the other side,” said Agency Partner analyst Nick Cunningham.
Further debt options will also open up if shareholders back the fundraising, including £2 billion from bonds, after strong investor demand enabled it to double the amount it had been aiming for.
While the rights issue will be highly dilutive for shareholders, investor advisory groups say it is preferable to a stake sale to a sovereign wealth fund, which would not have given them the option to participate.
But ongoing travel restrictions mean the outlook is bleak. There were just three orders for the wide-body jets that Rolls supplies in the third quarter, according to UK industry body ADS. — Reuters
KUALA LUMPUR: Several opposition Members of Parliament (MP) have indicated that they would back Budget 2021 on Nov 6, provided it is beneficial to the rakyat amid the Covid-19 pandemic.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd