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Sunday Star, 25 November 2012

NATION 31

AES thorn among best friends


Touch of drama in debate over Transport ministrys budget allocation

By MARTIN CARVALHO
mart3@thestar.com.my
AFTER almost a month of gruelling
debate and heated arguments, the
RM251.6bil Budget 2013 tabled by
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Sept
28 was passed by the Dewan Rakyat
on Thursday.
It was the last day to debate the
Transport Ministrys budget allocation and there was drama linked to
the Automated Enforcement System
(AES).
Since September, Pakatan Rakyat
MPs have been attacking the AES
from every conceivable angle,
objecting to its implementation.
Undeterred, Transport Minister
Datuk Seri Kong Chor Ha held his
ground and spent two hours wind-

At The Dewan

Rakyat Last Week


ing up the debate.
Kong initially refused to give way
to MPs who interrupted him but
gave in to Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PASPokok Sena) who made a passionate
plea.
Come on YB, we are the best of
friends and even visited Chile
together ... please let me speak, the
fiery MP said.
To Kongs dismay, the best friend
term was a ruse used by the PAS
vice-president to seize the opportu-

nity to attack the AES.


But Kong proved up to the task,
holding his ground and rebutting
Mahfuzs allegations.
He said the AES was introduced to
reduce road fatalities and prevent
sorrow and hardship among those
who might lose family members in
road accidents.
An average of about 19 people die
on Malaysian roads daily, causing
economic losses amounting to
RM8bil annually.
Opposition lawmakers tried to
block the ministrys budget through
bloc-voting (by show of hands
instead of a voice vote) when it was
put to the floor for a decision by
Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin
Mulia.
At the end, the budget was passed

by a 78 to 49 vote margin.
Mahfuz was later seen at
Parliament lobby pacifying Kong
over his best-friend ruse and subsequent outburst in the Dewan.
Meanwhile, Deputy Defence
Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff
Ahmad turned the tables on the
Opposition when he went on a tirade
against Pakatan Rakyat MPs who
derided the Scorpene deal via
Suarams French lawyers.
Dr Abdul Latiff criticised the
Opposition for trying to link a third
party with the issue.
He also chided Pakatan for confusing the people by creating an impression that there was a judicial inquiry
on the Scorpene probe in France.
Pakatan had invited Suarams
lawyer William Bourdon to brief

MPs in Parliament on the issue subject to approval of his entry into the
country by immigration authorities.
Dr Abdul Latiff said the Opposition
was only out to tarnish the countrys
image.
However, common ground for
both sides of the political divide
came in the form of the IsraelPalestine conflict that saw lawmakers condemning Israels attacks in
Gaza.
The emergency motion tabled by
Minister in the Prime Ministers
Department Datuk Seri Mohamed
Nazri Aziz on behalf of the Prime
Minister saw MPs unanimous in
their condemnation of Israels
aggression and called for an immediate end to hostilities.

Application for Chevening Scholarship to close on Jan 2


PETALING JAYA: The prestigious
Chevening Scholarship is now open
for Malaysians who want to further
their studies in a UK university of
their choice.
Application for its 2013/2014
intake will close on Jan 2.
The programme which is funded
by the Foreign and Commonwealth

Office and partner organisations


provides an avenue for individuals
to pursue post-graduate degrees.
For the 2013/2014 intake, up to
30 scholarships are available to
Malaysians for the following fields
Climate Change, Sustainable
Development, Human Rights,
Foreign and Security Policy, Science

and Engineering, Good Governance and Business, and Islamic


Finance.
With the contribution of BAE
Systems, courses in Engineering
and Sciences have also been added
to the programme, with HSBC
sponsoring two scholarships in the
fields of Finance, Economics and

Environment and the Cambridge


and Commonwealth Trust offering
two scholarships for study at the
University of Cambridge.
Former Star R.A.G.E. editor Niki
Cheong, who received the scholarship to pursue a Masters degree in
Digital Culture and Society at Kings
College, London, described the

experience as a dream come


true.
Those interested should log on to
www.chevening.org, or e-mail Jade
Robinson, Scholarships Officer at
Jade.Robinson@fco.gov.uk.
A video on the Chevening
Scholarships is available at http://
ukinmalaysia.fco.gov.uk/en/.

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