Najib vows more cash in Malaysians’ pockets

Updated 07 April 2013
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Najib vows more cash in Malaysians’ pockets

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Premier Najib Razak unveiled a manifesto yesterday pledging bigger cash handouts, millions of new jobs and lower taxes and crime, as he seeks his first mandate in looming national polls.
Speaking to tens of thousands in a packed stadium just outside the capital, he talked up Malaysia’s economic prosperity over his four years in power, promising to do better should he win an election expected late April convincingly. “We have fulfilled the hopes of the people. If that was our performance over just four years, imagine what we can achieve in the next five years if we have a strong mandate,” he said in a speech telecast live on national television.
Najib, who dissolved parliament Wednesday, has previously said he is “cautiously optimistic” of a “big” win as his United Malays National Organization (UMNO) faces what is seen as the toughest challenge to its 56 years in power.
The vote is tipped to be the closest ever, driven by concerns over corruption, the rising cost of living and high crime under an UMNO-dominated coalition which has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957.
Najib has worked hard to rebrand the 13-member Barisan Nasional, or National Front, since taking over the coalition in 2009 by launching a series of reforms to strengthen the economy and grant greater civil liberties.
He has reversed a recession despite global economic instability with Malaysia recording a 5.6 percent growth last year while keeping inflation and unemployment at 1.6 and 3.3 percent respectively.


Syria regime strikes kill 6 civilians in south Damascus, war monitor says

Updated 25 April 2018
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Syria regime strikes kill 6 civilians in south Damascus, war monitor says

BEIRUT: Syrian regime air strikes have killed six civilians in southern Damascus where government forces are fighting the Daesh group, a war monitor said Wednesday.
The six, including two men and their wives, were killed in the strikes on the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk late Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
Regime strikes and rocket fire Wednesday morning targeted the neighboring districts of Hajjar Al-Aswad and Qadam, the Britain-based monitor said.
The latest civilian deaths bring to 18 the total of non-fighters killed in regime bombardment on the capital’s southern neighborhoods since Thursday last week.
Yarmuk, which is now Daesh’s last urban redoubt in Syria or Iraq, was once Syria’s biggest Palestinian refugee camp, home to around 160,000 people.
But the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA says most of the 6,000 refugees still living in the camp last week have since fled.
At least 52 pro-regime fighters have been killed in fighting to expel Daesh from the capital’s southern suburbs since April 19, the Observatory says.
Syrian officials do not usually disclose losses within army ranks.
The monitor has said at least 35 militant fighters were also killed during the same period.
There are an estimated 1,000 Daesh fighters left inside Yarmuk and the adjacent districts of Hajjar Al-Aswad and Qadam.
Daesh swept across large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, declaring a cross-border “caliphate” in areas the jihadists seized.
At its height their pseudo-state covered an area the size of Italy, but Daesh has since lost most of the land it controlled in both countries.
More than 350,000 people have been killed since Syria’s war started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.