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Hari tu gaduh sakan,bila bersua…Khairy panggil Ibrahim Ali ‘ayahanda’

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on August 2, 2010

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Oleh: ROSLAN BIAN

Cerita politik tanah air panas dan hangat macam mana pun, tidak ubah macam ribut dalam cawan sahaja.

Begitu juga kalau ada pihak sangka ‘gaduh’ antara Ketua Pemuda UMNO, Khairy Jamaluddin dan Presiden Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (PERKASA) Datuk Ibrahim Ali, sejak sebulan lalu akan berterusan, ianya meleset sama sekali

Sebelum ini Khairy pernah melabelkan Ibrahim Gedebe Politik dan Jaguh Kampung manakala Ibrahim pula membidaskan kelemahan pimpinan Khairy sebagai Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO.

Namun, pada Ahad mereka saling bertepuk tampar ketika berkongsi pentas dalam sebuah forum membincangkan politik ideologi dan bangsa dalam Sidang Kemuncak Pelajar Malaysia ke-4 di sebuah hotel di Jalan Ampang.

Malah, Ibrahim yang juga ahli parlimen Bebas Pasir Mas menganggap Khairy sebagai anaknya dan ahli parlimen Rembau itu pula berulang kali memanggil Ibrahim, ‘ayahanda’ pada majlis itu.

Dengan nada berjenaka, Ibrahim , beliau menganggap Khairy sebagainya anaknya disebabkan Ketua Pemuda itu kini baru berusia 34 tahun, namun beliau sudahpun mencecah usia 59 tahun.

Katanya lagi, beliau juga telah dua kali ditahan bawah ISA malah merupakan seorang pemimpin pelajar yang lantang memperjuangkan nasib rakyat ketika Khairy belum lahir lagi.

Walaupun ada usik mengusik termasuk cerita kononnya Khairy ada hubungan dengan pelakon Maya Karin yang dibangkitkan Ibrahim, ianya tidak lebih bagi menjelaskan sesuatu isu.

Sebelum ini, Ibrahim menjawab tuduhan kononnya beliau seorang yang racist melalui kenyataannya serta tindak tanduk PERKASA memperjuangkan sesuatu isu.

Menurut Ibrahim, sejak dua tahun lalu tidak ada laporan di Bukit Aman mengaitkannya sebagai seorang yang bersifat perkauman.

Menggambarkannya sebagai fakta, sebab katanya beliau tidak percaya Khairy ada hubungan dengan Maya Karin.

“Semuanya mesti ada fakta. Tanpanya kita tidak boleh menyalahkan atau tuduh orang lain,” katanya sekaligus turut menyindir ahli parlimen PAS Shah Alam, Khalid Samad yang turut jadi tetamu membincangkan topik Politik Ideologi dan Bangsa itu.

Ini kerana Khalid menyalahkan peraturan kerajaan menetapkan sekurang-kurangnya tujuh parti mesti bergabung bagi membentuk pakatan sama seperti Barisan Nasional (BN) menyebabkan Pakatan Rakyat antara PKR, DAP dan PAS tidak boleh didaftarkan.

Ibrahim berkata, banyak lagi parti kecil lain yang boleh diterima pakatan rakyat atau pihak berkenaan boleh menubuhkan beberapa parti lain bagi mencukupkan bilangan untuk mendaftarkannya.

Bagaimanapun pada majlis yang dihadiri lebih 300 pemimpin pelajar termasuk dari luar negara itu lebih banyak menyentuh soal perkauman apabila tiga soalan yang dikemukakan wakil pelajar menjurus kepada peranan PERKASA.

Ini menyebabkan Ibrahim terpaksa menjelaskan mengenai kekeliruan banyak pihak bahawa peranan pertubuhannnya itu adalah bagi mempertahankan perlembagaan yang mula dipersoalkan pihak tertentu.

Ibrahim menegaskan bahawa beliau bukan seorang yang racist sebaliknya mementingkan keselamatan dan keharmonian negara serta tidak mahu ada pihak cuba menganggu gugat keamanan tersebut.

Khairy dalam penjelasannya di majlis tersebut berkata, negara ini tidak boleh ditadbir satu kaum sahaja kerana bangsa lain akan memikirkan apa yang bangsa berkenaan fikir.

Katanya, UMNO tiada apa-apa kaitan dengan PERKASA sebaliknya pertubuhan itu memperjuangkan apa yang sudah menjadi hak orang Melayu seperti dalam perlembagaan.

Khalid pula menyatakan harapan pakatan rakyat untuk mentadbir negara kerana beranggapan rakyat bersedia menerima perubahan atas alasan keadilan untuk semua.

Beliau turut menyentuh kononnya kerajaan BN sekarang masih gagal menyakinkan rakyat terutama dalam soal pencegahan rasuah dan turut membidas Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negara (ISA).

Apapun majlis hampir dua jam dalam suasana santai itu berjalan lancar dengan ketiga-tiga wakil rakyat itu saling mempertahankan pendirian parti dan pertubuhan masing-masing.

Program dialog tersebut merupakan antara tarikan utama dalam persidangan selama dua hari, berakhir hari ini, anjuran Majlis Pelajar United Kingdom dan Eire (UKEC).– 1/8/2010

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Transforming Axiata

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on July 18, 2010

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By B.K. SIDHU
bksidhu@thestar.com.my

Can Jamaludin Ibrahim make the group a regional champion?

SCEPTICS were doubtful if Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim could make any real change to Axiata Bhd apart from the branding perspective when he returned to the world of technology and communications.

This silver-haired corporate chief quit Maxis Communications Bhd in July 2007 to take a break and spend time with his family. Little did he know that his retreat would be short-lived.

In March 2008, he was back, heading Axiata (formerly TMI International Bhd). Axiata was a gem within Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s (TM) ambit but it needed a real good shine. Sceptics thought his experience did not match the job he had taken on at Axiata, which had legacy issues too.

At that point Axiata had also just finished spending millions of ringgit to widen its geographical footprint in Asia and those assets needed to be consolidated. Axiata has operations in 10 countries including two populous countries, India and Indonesia, where cellular growth has been phenomenal.

It is indeed a challenging job given his mandate to turn Axiata into a regional champion, pitting it against giant Singapore Telecommunications that has struck that pose in Asia.

What lured Jamaludin to dump his beach wear and the white sandy beaches for the job was the chance of “having a nice platform to develop talent for Malaysia and internationally,’’ besides doing national service.

“That really motivated me,’’ he says in an interview. He is the managing director, president and group CEO of Axiata and formerly group CEO of Maxis.

The call may have been tough, the sceptics unconvinced, but he just moved in to take the bull by its horns.

Enter Jamal

He looks at the group and felt “enough of inorganic growth”. That came just less than two months at the job.

He also closed the doors to new acquisitions. Moreover, opportunities were also limited in Asia and assets becoming increasingly pricey.

“I also felt then and even now that we had this nice bunch of companies and if we bring the right management team and strategy, it would be better,’’ he says.

Axiata, or TMI then, had its own strategy, but to work towards becoming a regional champ meant heads must roll, cuts must be made, and change was critical.

A simple branding exercise was not the way to go.

The obvious first step was the need to strengthen the management team. To do that the bar needed to be raised, standards improved, operational models revamped, cost reduced to raise the return to stakeholders.

“Good is not good enough,’’ he says.

Of course, change is often difficult when it concerns people and that was one of the most difficult parts of the change process, admits Jamaludin.

Engage the talent

Among the first things he did was engage with the staff to build talent and that was tough.

It was not a question of Axiata not having talent but managing that, retaining, rewarding and at the same time axing what did not jell. The thought process then was “build for the future.’’

Jamaludin says: “We had the wrong notion that people don’t work hard, so we were pleasantly surprised that Axiata had a good set of people. That was good news (from the onset).’’

After two years, he has 50 CxOs (the x stands for such things as operations, financial, technology and information) across Asia of which 25 are new. It was a good mix of Malaysians and foreigners some of whom are from the respective geographic locations from which Axiata operates.

“It is diversity and our strategy is supportive of that,’’ Jamaludin says.

But getting 25 newcomers in was not easy because of resistance from within, especially from those who thought they were candidates for the posts.

The way he handled the situation was via discussions and engaging with the employees. He explained the need to bring in talent and the need to drive Axiata into a regional champ. Recently Axiata announced some management changes and these were intended to give people a chance to learn new things and this move helps minimise vertical promotion.

“We asked them to go somewhere else or do something else, such as from finance to non-finance before they move up,’’ he says.

By 2015 he wants 100 CxOs, and he is well on track to achieving that. Half would be Malaysians.

The makeover

Legacy issues were a given. The name change was a necessity to reflect the dynamism of a cellular company which evolves at a fast pace. Logically, the separation from TM was critical for it to stand alone.

Axiata was picked from the 700-odd names on its list. It does not mean anything but it reflects “an international company.’’ Its theme now is “advancing Asia’’ and that is about connecting Asia to the rest of the world.

“It is not a jaguh kampung. We were quite worried about the name change, about its sensitivity and trying to find a name that reflects a bit of Malaysian (yet) not so Malaysian,’’ explains Jamaludin.

To stay further away from the image of TM and to cut links, Axiata moved to its spanking new address at Sentral KL where its corporate office is located and so is the shared training facility known as “Celcom Axiata Infinity Centre.’’ It has 120 people at its corporate office and the total staff strength of the group is 25,000 people.

Axiata’s crown jewel, Celcom Axiata Bhd, has been a major contributor to earnings. That remains, but increasingly the overseas operations are contributing more. Indonesia’s PT XL Axiata tbk (XL) is seemingly fast becoming a favourite as its contribution has been staggering the past one year.

Axiata found its way to Bursa Malaysia in April 2008 and has been a pick of fund managers who see this as a pure cellular play competing with the likes of Singapore Technologies, SK Telecom and several other regional players.

Fast forward to today

Axiata’s market capitalisation today has tripled from RM12bil before the demerger to RM34.7bil as at this week. Its share price has never hit the RM4 mark until this week. It hit RM4.12 on Monday. The stock has outperformed the KLCI by 35.1%. The stock closed at RM411 yesterday for a year-to-date gain of more than 30%.

In terms of subscribers, the change has been drastic from 40 million when he took over, to 130 million of which 10 million is in Malaysia alone.

Celcom has been a major contributor towards Axiata’s coffers but change is happening as the overseas operations are now contributing positively.

The revenue contribution equation of 45:55 (Malaysian:international) will change to 35:65 by 2015.

“We have targets for both revenue and profit for 2015, and we are not far from that,’’ he says.

It is no wonder Jamal feels Axiata is undervalued.

At RM34.7bil, its market value is still below the re-listed Maxis (sans its foreign operations) whose market value is RM39.8bil. Should Axiata then re-consider a re-listing of Celcom to get into the same league as Maxis in terms of market cap?

“In the short term it is tempting, but in the longer term that may not be the best vision. We need to have complete control to spurt our growth,’’ Jamaludin said.

Its India operations from Spice has been merged with Ideal Cellular, giving Axiata a 20% stake in a much bigger company that has business in seven out of the 22 circles in India from three previously. The book value of this investment in India is about US$2bil now.

Axiata wants a bigger stake in India, but may have to wait as “right now there is none.’’

Jamaludin says the source of future earnings will be from its overseas business and product-wise, data and broadband services will bring in the returns the market has been talking about for over a decade. Its data business contribution should be about 40% over the next 3-5 years from 30% currently.

There is cash in the coffers to the tune of RM2.85bil (cash and bank balances at at end-March 2010) and a dividend policy is in the works. But Jamaludin is not saying anything for the moment.

But analysts are betting on it for this year. Let’s see if he shocks the market later this year.

Profit forecast for this year is well “on track’’, he says.

The hurdle ahead

While Jamaludin may have done things smartly by bringing in people, getting the processes in order and bringing the cost down, the job is far from complete.

Axiata’s challenge will be to bring innovations to the market place and video-based applications. It is working with partners but the call would be tough given the fact that Maxis, its biggest rival, is going to combine content with sister company Astro for its future offerings.

Perhaps this is the time for Axiata to go back to TM, both of whom share common shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

It works to Axiata and TM’s advantage to team up as one lacks a fibre network and the other is a cellular outfit. The fit could bode well for both but content will be the biggest challenge and video-based services will be the theme of the future.

Axiata is also not about to pour in millions of ringgit to build a fibre network. Jamaludin is not for it, saying “we have the licences to roll out fixed broadband but it is not economical.’’

Elsewhere its operations will be subject to regulations, geopolitical issues and competition. The emergence of over the top non-traditional players such as Google and Skype that can offer free voice and other services will be something to watch out for.

Building partnerships to reduce cost, like it is contemplating with DiGi.Com Bhd, for sharing of transmission facilities will help reduce costs and duplication.

It would also need more spectrum locally and abroad and there is a price for that as seen in the recent intense price war in spectrum auctions in India. All this requires funding but Jamaludin says “according to our plan, all the operations are self-funding and we do not see the need to raise funding over the next one to 1½ years.’’

Could the entire transformation of Axiata be done differently or at a faster speed?

Says Jamaludin: “It could have been done slightly faster, be it in talent management, leadership programmes, strengthening of the company etc.

“However, we do not simply make changes as we are dealing with people’s lives. We have to respect that.’’

The real champ

Yes, he has made changes beyond mere re-branding change. It is a total revamp, and if the people and systems are the right ones and at the right places, there is more than a decent chance that Axiata will become one of Malaysia’s regional champions.

“I have to hand it to him as there was sceptism earlier that he will not make it,’’ says an analyst.

But for now, we will have to wait as the finishing line is still miles ahead. Regional champ in 2015 – that is five years from now, and there is already talk of a second economic slowdown.
AXIATA :  [Stock Watch]  [News]

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A holistic approach

Celco maintains consistent growth

Tenaga posts higher profit

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on July 15, 2010

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PETALING JAYA: Tenaga Nasional Bhd posted an 8.2% rise in net profit to RM1.1bil for the third quarter ended May 31 versus RM1.02bil in the same quarter of 2009 on higher electricity demand.

Revenue for the quarter rose 1% to RM7.7bil from RM7bil year-on-year.

In a filing to the stock exchange today, the company said sales of electricity in Peninsular Malaysia recorded an increase of 12.1% or RM771.6mil and units sold registered a growth of 13.7% as compared with the corresponding period.

For the nine months ended May 31, net profit jumped 273.3% to RM2.81bil versus RM753.6mil recorded in the same period of last year.

Revenue rose 5.3% to RM22.4bil for the period against RM21.3bil.

Tenaga said the improvement in earnings was the result of continuing increase in demand growth, better cost control and the stronger ringgit.

“The appreciation of the ringgit has resulted in a foreign exchange translation gain of RM668.1mil as compared with a loss of RM933.5mil in the third quarter of 2009,” it said.

PuTERAKL says “Cayalah TNB! ;)”

Khairy sedang ‘timbang secara serius’ lepas jawatan Ketua Pemuda UMNO

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on July 15, 2010

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Oleh: Noor Hasilah Ismail

Khairy Jamalauddin berkata beliau sedang menimbangkan secara serius untuk tidak mempertahankan jawatannya sebagai Ketua Pemuda UMNO Malaysia dalam pemilihan parti yang akan datang.

Bercakap dalam interbiu dengan Agendadaily di ruang rehat di bangunan Parlimen Selasa, Ahli Parlimen Rembau itu berkata, keputusannya untuk melepaskan jawatan itu semata-mata kerana mahu memberi laluan kepada bakat baru.

Khairy berkata demikian apabila ditanya sama ada benar atau tidak beliau ada membuat kenyataan mengenai hal itu ketika merasmikan satu mesyuarat perwakilan Pemuda UMNO Bahagian di Pahang baru-baru ini.

“Ya, memang saya ada berkata begitu. Walaupun belum muktamad lagi, tetapi saya memang menimbangkan secara serius untuk tidak mempertahankan jawatan Ketua Pemuda,” katanya.

Khairy menafikan langkah yang dilihat untuk ‘ tarik hand brake’ dalam karier politiknya itu kerana merajuk.

“Oh tidak. Kalau saya merajuk, saya terus berhenti dari politik. Tetapi saya tidak ada niat nak berhenti politik,” katanya.

Khairy ganti Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein sebagai Ketua Pemuda UMNO setelah memenangi jawatan itu dalam peertandingan tiga penjuru dengan Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir dan Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo dalam pemilihan parti yang lalu.

Jawatan nombor dua yakni Naib Ketua Pemuda sekarang disandang oleh Datuk Razali Ibrahim,yang juga Ahli Parlimen Muar dan Timbalan Menteri Belia dan Sukan.

Apabila ditanya tidakkah tempoh beliau memegang jawatan nombor satu dalam Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO itu telalu singkat, Khairy berkata soal sama ada tempoh itu pendek atau sebaliknya adalah relative.

“Saya sudah memegang jawatan Exco Pemuda selama sepenggal, begitu juga sebagai Naib dan Ketua Pemuda. Kiranya dah tiga penggal saya berada dalam kepimpinan tertinggi Pemuda Umno. Dalam politik ini dah kira lama jugalah,” katanya.

“Mungkin ada orang yang cakap dia( ada pihak) tak berapa suka saya jadi Ketua Pemuda UMNO. Mungkin dalam masa setahun dua ini saya boleh mencari muka baru. Tetapi saya tidak mahu tinggalkan Pemuda kepada orang yagn sama taraf dengan saya. Falsafah saya, kalau kita nak tinggalkan, biarlah kita tinggalkan kepada orang yang lebih baik dari kita.

“Sekarang saya dalam proses mencari dan memerhati. Itulah sebabnya saya memberi banyak ruang kepada Exco kerana saya mahu melihat sama ada mereka dapat memikul tanggungjawab itu atau tidak. Kalau saya sendiri nilai, agak sukar, tetapi sekiranya mereka menonjolkan diri, saya boleh mendapat maklum balas dari rakyat.

“Saya bajet dalam dua tahun ( untuk menilai) . Saya nak selesaikan beberapa perkara, antaranyameletakkan Pemuda di peringkat centrist (kelompok tengah), membantu konsep 1Malaysia diterima semua rakyat, menamatkan program Jelajah 1Malaysia dan menyusun barisan pengganti. Kalau saya dapat selesaikan keempat-empat misi ini, Alhamdulillah,” katanya.

PuTERAKL says “Cayalah KJ! ;)”

TNB: Register online for bill info

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on July 10, 2010

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PETALING JAYA: Customers of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) are advised to register at its free web-based service for their online bill information.

In a press statement, TNB said that by registering at http://e-services.tnb.com.my, customers especially those with rented or leased-out premises can easily monitor their electricity accounts.

The service enables them to track the accounts registered under their names.

Customers can check on their outstanding bills, account details, bill history and payment history on this e-service.

For more information, those in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur may call their one-stop enquiry centre at 1-300-88-5454.

The status of outstanding bills and payments can also be checked at their nearest TNB outlets.

PuTERAKL says “Cayalah TNB! ;)”

TNB E-Services for easy monitoring of electricity accounts

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on July 10, 2010

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KUALA LUMPUR: Customers can now monitor their electricity accounts by logging on to
https://e-services.tnb.com.my, a free web-based service provided by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB).

Customers can register for “customer online bill information” under its free web-based service, said TNB in a statement. This service allows customers to check their outstanding bills, accounts details, bill history and payment history, among others.

TNB customers with rented or leased out premises will find this service valuable as it enables tracking of electricity accounts registered under their name, it said.

For more details on TNB e-services, customers in Selangor and Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur can call TNB One Stop Enquiry Centre at 1-300-88-5454.

Customers can also check on the status of their outstanding bills and payments by visiting the nearest Kedai Tenaga. – BERNAMA

PuTERAKL says “Cayalah TNB! ;)”

Try holistic approach, TNB

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on July 5, 2010

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I WOULD like to suggest that Tenaga Nasional Bhd use a different approach to collect payments other than cutting supply to customers who haven’t paid their bills (“TNB strikes” – Sunday Star, July 4).

Cutting supply has three very damaging drawbacks that any company should avoid – (1) it angers the customer; (2) it reduces the chances of receiving payment because an angry customer will find a way to retaliate; and (3) if the company is not able to carry out its threat of cutting supply to defaulting customers for any reason, it will register an even greater default rate.

And if the trend continues, even a mighty company will eventually be in trouble.

We learn in business school that one of the main reasons companies cannot collect payment on time is wrong billing. This would certainly appear to be the case with Tenaga.

We have read reports of customers being double billed, and I am inclined to think that the lack of manpower does not allow Tenaga to read meters every month and so customers are billed for two or three months at a time.

The much higher bill amount will certainly make it difficult for customers to pay on time.

Tenaga should review its billing procedures and ensure customers are billed regularly and only for the amount of electricity used.

It should also consider how its cost-cutting measures have prevented the company from collecting the due payments on time. The human touch is essential and cannot be substituted by even the most sophisticated computerised system.

Any reasonable customer will pay for what is used, and the majority of customers are quite reasonable.

Big companies are the blueprint for smaller ones, and if they enact policies that are good for now but damaging in the long run, smaller companies will suffer too and will eventually be wiped out, just like Tenaga will cut supply to errant customers.

It is always in the interest of a company to educate both its staff and customers. Yet, while companies do spend to train their staff, they completely disregard the need to teach their customers the value of their products or services, and the necessity to make prompt payment so that there may not be any interruption in the ability of the company to provide the service, and the customer to enjoy it.

Finally, my opinion is that a landlord is liable to pay the electricity bill run up by his tenant, and Tenaga should not fall for such excuses that the electricity was not actually used by the account holder.

A landlord collects rent, and also a utility deposit, sometimes for a few months in advance, and therefore is responsible for the behaviour of the tenant while the tenant occupies his premises.

To say that the tenant has left without settling the electricity bill shows lack of maturity on the part of the landlord. And if Tenaga does not require the landlord to settle the bill, it shows the company’s inability to enforce the law.

MARISA DEMORI,

Ipoh.

PuTERAKL says “Hehehe…jawab jangan tak jawab TNB ;)”

TNB strikes: Nationwide exercise to cut supply to errant consumers

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on July 4, 2010

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By JOSHUA FOONG
joshuafoong@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional (TNB) is on a nationwide exercise to disconnect power supply to homes and commercial premises that have chalked up huge unpaid bills.

The move will include installing new outdoor meters that will enable the utility company to easily disconnect supply.

TNB said that those with outstanding bills of more than two months would also be targeted in an effort to recover millions of ringgit in unpaid electricity bills.

TNB chief operating officer Azman Mohd said the company was also planning to introduce a computerised system to disconnect power supply remotely.

He said TNB’s disconnection teams could not cut supply to 51% of the errant consumers because the meters had been placed in areas that were not easily accessible.

Azman, who declined to reveal how many consumers had not settled their arrears and how much they owed in total, said: “By installing outdoor meters, our enforcement officers can easily disconnect power supply because currently the meters are located within the house compound.”

“In most cases, we are not able to access the meters indoors because the doors are locked and nobody is at home when our officers come by.”

He said there were situations whereby the customers had renovated and extended their houses resulting in the meters being located inside the homes.

If initial disconnection efforts failed TNB enforcers would continue to return to the premises to cut supply, even during weekends untilthey succeeded, Azman said.

“Customers with meters inside their compound (mostly in front of the house) should move the meters (maybe on the gate pillars) so that they are easily accessible,” he said.

The Star had reported that many landlords of residential properties had been left to foot power bills amounting to tens of thousands of ringgit after their tenants moved out without paying.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong had said that from the 29 complaints he received since 2008, unpaid bills amounted to RM216,348.48.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Chong said.

Responding to this, Azman said it was in TNB’s interest to curb such problems and that it understood that landlords might find the huge bills unjustified as they did not consume the electricity.

Related Stories:
Simpler electricity bills
RM436,000 shocker for sales manager

PuTERAKL says “Cayalah TNB! ;)”

World Cup rankings: Spain’s star rising

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on July 1, 2010

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By Martin Rogers

getty_spaincelebrate

Getty Images

David Villa is not even the richest and most famous player in Spain’s attacking line, let alone the Spanish team. Yet what Villa lacks in celebrity attraction he more than makes up with his performances on the field.

No player at this World Cup has been more productive than Barcelona’s new signing as Villa racked up the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Portugal that sent Spain hurtling toward the quarterfinals.

With four goals and the most enterprising and innovative thinking of any man in the tournament, Villa is the primary reason why Spain has recovered from its dismal start to the World Cup to restore its place as one of the favorites.

The 28-year-old has exceptional feet with the ability to turn any defender and create shooting space for himself. While Liverpool star Fernando Torres has looked shaky alongside him, Villa has been the shining light that has given Spanish fans hope of going all the way to the July 11 final.

[Photos: See Spanish striker David Villa in action]

Brazil and Argentina are leading the charge for the South American nations as both showed exceptional form in the round of 16. However, the Spanish challenge has hit top gear over the last three games and cannot be ignored.

The latest round of our World Cup rankings ahead of the quarters sees Brazil retain its place in the No. 1 slot. As the tournament enters its most critical stage, anything can happen.

Yahoo! Sports’ World Cup rankings

1. Brazil (last ranking: 1) – Head coach Dunga has had his share of criticism, but he’s molded together a side that is producing a spectacular brand of soccer. Magnificent skills and attacking flair doesn’t stop them from being defensively resilient.

2. Spain (3) – That dismal opening defeat to Switzerland is now long forgotten and the Spaniards are starting to sense they can win back-to-back major tournaments. The European champion has steadily built momentum.

3. Argentina (2) – The Maradona show keeps on rolling and it is going to take something special to stop this juggernaut. Lionel Messi continues to impress and you sense this is a team with much improvement left in it.

4. Germany (6) – This young side has coped outstandingly without Michael Ballack, but a huge test lies ahead against Argentina. Miroslav Klose is at the peak of his powers and the team showed its counter-attacking threat by decimating England.

5. Netherlands (4) – The Dutch have looked typically stylish and efficient and will like their chances against Brazil. But Robin van Persie’s touchline argument with coach Bert Van Marwijk was a bad omen for a team that so often collapses mentally.

6. Uruguay (8) – Diego Forlan is far from being the only star on a side that owes just as much of its quarterfinal berth to Luis Suarez. Two-time champion Uruguay has grown in confidence with every game.

7. Ghana (13) – The last remaining African team has pride and passion on its side and is physically imposing. A great opportunity to become the first African semifinalist ever will undoubtedly spur the Black Stars on.

8. Paraguay (9) – The South Americans have somehow managed to scrape their way into the quarterfinals by scoring only three goals in four matches. The Paraguayans’ offense looked especially impotent against Japan.

PuTERAKL says “Ranking latest last 8…aper bro,dah jatuh no 3 nih? ;D”

Argentina beats Mexico 3-1 at World Cup

Posted in Uncategorized by PuTERAKL on June 28, 2010

Source

By IAN PHILLIPS, Associated Press Writer

Argentina head coach Diego Maradona celebrates victory over Mexico with Carlos Tevez. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG (AP)—Argentina needed a couple of breaks in its second round World Cup match. It got one from the referee and another from Mexico.

Carlos Tevez scored twice—once on a disputed goal—and Gonzalo Higuain added another as the Albiceleste beat Mexico 3-1 on Sunday to move into the quarterfinals.

“We’re not here on vacation, we came here to leave everything so that the Argentines can be proud of us,” coach Diego Maradona said.

With Mexico getting the best scoring chances early on, Tevez headed in a pass from Lionel Messi in the 26th minute from close in. One problem: He was clearly offside.

Referee Roberto Rosetti of Italy awarded the goal after consulting with his linesman, the pair surrounded by angrily gesturing Mexican and Argentine players.

Then in the 33rd minute, Higuain rounded the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 after Mexico’s Ricardo Osorio, under no pressure, played the ball straight into his path. In the 52nd Tevez blasted in one of the tournament’s best goal, an unstoppable shot from 25 yards.

“Two mistakes … drastically changed the course of the game,” Mexico coach Javier Aguirre said. “There was a before and after.”

The call on Tevez’s first goal came just hours after the referee at Germany’s 4-1 win over England failed to recognize that a shot by England’s Frank Lampard, which would have tied the score at 2-2 late in the first half, clearly made it across the goal line after striking the crossbar.

Argentina, which also beat Mexico in round of 16 four years ago now plays Germany in the quarterfinals. That’s a rematch, too—a repeat of the 2006 quarterfinals, which the Germans won. The Germans also defeated Argentina in the 1990 World Cup final.

“We know Germany is a different team than the Mexico team we faced today,” Maradona said. “It’s more powerful, but we’ll have the right players on the pitch to face them.”

Mexico’s Javier Hernandez scored in the 71st.

Tevez proved difficult for Mexico’s defenders to handle, and Higuain—the leading scorer at the World Cup with four goals—should have added another but headed a cross wide from close range just before halftime.

Messi, one of the best playmakers in the tournament, again failed to score and struggled in midfield for much of the game. Still he came close: His shot in the 91st minute was tipped over the bar.

The Mexicans enjoyed the better chances as the game started, with Carlos Salcido’s fierce shot shaking the crossbar in the eighth minute.

After Tevez’s opening goal, though, the Argentines slowly began to control the game.

“We had trouble getting into the game in the first few minutes,” Tevez said. “We knew Mexico was going to press from the onset, try to take the ball away from us in the first minutes and try to hurt us.”

The Mexicans couldn’t, and Argentina has won all four of its matches in the tournament.

PuTERAKL says “Cayalah La-Albiceleste-ians ;)”