Wednesday, 31 July 2013

New preventive law vital

Introducing a new special preventive law is important to equip the police with enough tools to battle serious crimes, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

He welcomed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement that the new law would be tabled during the next Parliament meeting.

“I can sense the concern of the people after consecutive gun violence incidents since three or four days ago.

“Expediting the introduction of the new law is the best option to curb gun-related crimes,” he told a press conference yesterday after launching Ops Selamat in conjunction with the Hari Raya celebration.

Khalid said he also appreciated Najib’s pledge to back the police with adequate funding.

He explained that the police would boost its intelligence gathering capabilities as well as acquiring new gadgets in combating crime.

On the spate of gun violence of late, including the murder of Arab Malaysian Bank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi and attempted murder of MyWatch chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan, Khalid said the police had stepped up efforts against gun smuggling with a number of seizures in the past few weeks.

“We realised the number of guns in the country is on the rise but we are taking action.

“We have identified that most shooting cases are connected to revenge and business dealings,” he said.

Separately, City police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohmad Salleh said police had increased patrols in hotspot areas, including Bukit Bintang, Masjid India and Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

“There is no need to worry. The public can continue to go about shopping and go out for supper without any problem,” he told a press conference at the city police headquarters yesterday.

He said there was no such thing as random shootings as there was always a motive behind each case.

In PUTRAJAYA, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the ministry was considering purchasing more surveillance equipment for the police force in light of the spate of street crimes.

The surveillance assets belonging to Malaysian police force was “far from complete” compared to their peers in other metropolis, he said.

He also highlighted the lack of manpower in the force, where the police to citizen ratio is 1:700.

“In New York, there is one policeman to look after every 35 residents.

“So, in this matter, I want all parties to understand and sympathise with the duties of our policemen.

“I want all NGOs who are calling on transformation in the law (and) individuals on the frontline who want various changes to understand that the situation in Malaysia is not the same as in other countries and to work together in tackling crime,” he told a press conference during a courtesy visit by Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Miles Kupa, yesterday.

Posted on 16:06 | Categories:

Shootings blamed on EO repeal, easy availability of weapons

The repeal of the Emergency Ordinance (EO) and easy availability of guns due to Malaysia's porous border with Thailand are being blamed for the recent spate of shootings in the country.

Criminologist Dr P. Sundramoorthy, a professor with Universiti Sains Malaysia, told The Star Online that the EO should have been maintained "but amended so it cannot be abused".
"It's very possible that perpetrators know the police won't be able to detain them because they no longer have this tool and have no means of detaining them.

"They know it is very difficult for the police to detect and arrest them. It is also challenging for the Attorney-General's Chambers to prosecute them based on the type of evidence needed to bring them to court," he added.

He said that between 2000 and 2009, there was a 13.4% upswing in violent crimes, which included shootings.

"This is fairly significant growth."

Crime watchdog MyWatch advisor S. Gobikrishnan said he believed the recent trend of shootings was due to the easy availability of weapons.

"Allegedly, there is a syndicate which rents out guns instead of selling them. So for a few hundred ringgit, you can rent a gun for a few hours. Bullets are apparently only 80 sen," he claimed.

However, Gobi believed there was no correlation between the repealing of the EO and the surge in crime.

"It looks like there are some bad apples within the police force who are working in cahoots with the criminals," he alleged.

"Also, the CID department must focus on criminal investigation and not chasing politicians. The bigger picture is that police must do better policing," he added.

Anti-crime activist and Marah (Malaysians Against Rape, Assault and Snatch) founder Dave Avran said the increase was probably due to the "porous border" Malaysia shared with Thailand.

"The police are trying their best, but a lot more has to be done to show they mean business. They must crack down hard on these criminals.

"I am positive that crime will remain at an all-time high if preventive laws like the EO remain repealed, primarily because of the psychological warfare against criminals.

"If there were a deterrent in the form of preventive laws, then the possibility of being brought in under those feared laws or being thrown into a detention camp would make criminals think twice before committing crime.

"Currently, they do not fear the authorities. We need to put this fear back into them," he said.

On Monday, renowned banker Hussain Ahmad Najadi, the Arab Malaysian Banking Group founder, was shot dead in Kuala Lumpur.

On Saturday, in Jempol, crime watchdog MyWatch chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan was shot repeatedly by two men on a motorcycle. He remains in critical condition.

Posted on 11:21 | Categories:

Rampant Gun Crimes Raises Question On Crime Statistics And Public Safety

BARELY 48 hours after MyWatch chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan was shot, the nation was caught off guard by another shooting incident, this time the victim is Hussain Ahmad Najadi, a renowned banker and founder of the Arab Malaysian Banking Group.

This makes it at least 14 cases since April this year and the victims varied from teachers, to criminals, to Customs Department's deputy director-general.

As this article was being written, it was reported that a man was shot in his right thigh while driving with a friend in Bukit Mertajam at 8.30pm. Police said the victim, who had a number of criminal records, was rushed to the Kulim Hospital for treatment while his friend was unhurt.

Sanjeevan's fate, in the meantime, hangs by a thread with his father R. Ramakrishnan saying that his condition has worsened due to internal bleeding. Doctors said the shooting had affected his heart and lungs.

The frequency and brutality of these crimes makes us wonder whether the declining crime statictics in the country are accurate and authentic or merely sugar-coated numbers meant to silence inquiring public and critics.

It was reported that from 2009 to 2012, the national crime rate dropped by 27 per cent while street crime fell by 39.7 per cent.

They added that the crime rate also fell six per cent for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

With rampant cases of shooting around the country for the past few months, the authority should realised that the issue is no longer about perception but a genuine concern among Malaysians.

Crime analyst Kamal Afendi Hashim said criminals these days are becoming more brazen and brutal. The long arm of the law meant nothing to them.

He said shooting cases like these are not only shocking but also spreads fear among the public.

"People are hearing a lot of these cases of late. Usually the victims are fellow criminals but recently victims have become more varied and involved people of influence such as businessman, politicians and government official.

"The motive are also differs and may be revenge-related or rivalry between two parties," he said.

On the latest shooting cases, Kamal said there are many factors that can make a person becoming a target of assassination including the victim's background, association with bad hats or the wrong crowd, jealousy, business rivalry, miscommunication and others.

"For example, if the victim who have ties with the underworld and wants out, surely the organisation will not be happy. Fearing possible exposure of their secrets, the organisation retaliated by paying hired guns to take carre of the 'loose ends'.

"In Sanjeevan's case, it could be related to his tweet prior to the shooting," he said.

However, Kamal said if such allegations were found to be untrue, the accuser should also be prepared to face the music and take responsibility for his or her action.

He urged police to conduct a thorough investigations into these shooting cases and covered all the angles.

Kamal said another factor was the easily obtainable firearms.

"With experience and connections, there criminals can, one way or another, find their way to a pistol. Due to its small size and weight, smuggling firearms into the country should not be too hard,

"With the current technological know-how and the magic of Internet, criminals can also make their own firearms.

"If the fireams is home-made, police will surely have a hard time identifying it." he said.

In Sanjeevan's case, Kamal believed the shooter could be an amateur because he failed to kill his target.

In the end, the government and the authorities should be serious in tackling the negative perception among the public and regain their confidence in the police force.

Notable cases this year

July 28
A man was shot dead and his two friends seriously injured when two gunmen opened fire from inside a car in front of a restaurant in Kampung Simee, Ipoh. In the 10.15pm incident, Jasrafveenderjeet Singh, 25, died while undergoing treatment at Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital.

July 18
A secondary school teacher K. Shanmugan of Taman Biadara, Kulim, was shot nine times at point blank range by unidentified gunmen on motorcycle when he stopped his car at a red light near Simpang Empat Keladi while on his way to school.

July 12
A four-year-old boy was injured in the forehead and left leg when a gunman opened fire at him and his car repossessor father in front of their home in Bkt Jambul, Penang.

July 8
Student affairs senior assistant Hashim Mat Zain, 43, was gunned down in a gangland style killing outside the school at a junction in Tawang, near Bachok, Kelantan at 1.45pm.

July 5
Teacher Mat Zaki Hashim, 35, sustained serious injuries after being shot in the neck in Kg Kubang Panjang, Pasir Mas. His car was believed to have stalled on the road before he was shot by unknown assailants.

June 15
Royal Malaysian Customs Dept deputy director-general Datuk Shaharuddin Ibrahim, 58, was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle at a traffic light junction in Putrajaya.

May 29
A businessman survives despite being shot at seven times by two men on a motorcycle in Bandar Rahman Putra, Sungai Buloh.

May 25
A fish wholesaler, Zahari A. Razak, was shot dead while driving his car out from a mosque in Cherang Ruku, Pasir Puteh after performing the Isyak prayer.

May 13
Two people were killed and two others injured when a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire with an automatic pistol as they were leaving a wedding reception in Butterworth, Penang.

May 12
An assistant at a second-hand shop is shot dead at a traffic light junction near Kulim, Kedah.

April 30
A pillion rider fired at a man in the compound of his home in Simpang, Taiping but missed. The men had rode up to the house of the 26-year-old victim and called out his name before firing the shot.

April 25
N. Ragunathan, 39, was shot dead in his car after he had conducted a transaction at the Road Transport Department office along Jalan Seremban-Taiping. He was alone in his Proton Perdana when two men rode up alongside his car outside the RTD office.- MalaysianDigest
Posted on 08:00 | Categories:

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Syria, the 'new Afghanistan'

Article by Bunn Nagara which appeared in The Star, July 28, 2013.

WHEN regime trouble first broke out in Syria in March 2011, Western and
Israeli strategists began to salivate.

That was just one month after a mass uprising erupted in Muammar Gaddafi's
Libya. Following the upheaval and then invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam
Hussein nearly a decade before, Syria's disturbances would be another stab
at a regional strongman who had thumbed his nose at the West and Israel.

From that point on, easy assumptions about the "Syria campaign" acquired a
life of their own. Buoyed by visions of continued success, few if any of the
questions that mattered were asked:

What do foreign military forces hope to gain by removing President Bashar
al-Assad? What other challenges might that prospect unleash? Would Israel,
the United States or any other Western power be able to withstand the
repercussions of Assad's fall?

Such core questions might have produced discomforting answers, so they were
never asked. They were shunted away or buried by consistent wishful
thinking, evasion or denial.

When Assad warned that the militants lined up against him included al-Qaeda
fighters, he was ignored or ridiculed. Nothing could get in the way of
another "regime change" adventure.

Towards the end of last year, reports emerged of several attempts by Western
governments to deepen the conflict. British special forces (SAS and SBS) as
well as American mercenaries were said to be training rebels of the militant
Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Russia and China, as key members of the UN Security Council, have
consistently refused to join the Western-led scramble to train and arm the
rebels. Russia instead stuck to its contractual agreement to sell defence
equipment to Syria.

Last December, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned of the use of chemical
weapons by rebel forces. It would take some time before the Western powers
came around to recognising those risks and dangers.

Meanwhile, the military training the West gave the rebels included skills in
handling banned chemical weapons. The official reason was that these would
become necessary should Syria's stockpile suddenly become publicly

Critics said that was only a cover for enabling the rebels to use chemical
weapons against Assad's forces. One element in this possibility was the
difficulty in telling the "good" rebels from the many terrorists among them.

By the beginning of this year, the FSA continued to press their demands for
heavy-duty weapons from the West such as anti-aircraft systems. The issue
was about raising the stakes and escalating the conflict.

Some 5,000 tonnes of weapons have since been funnelled by the CIA from
several "global surplus" locations into Syria, with the connivance of
Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This was said to minimise bloodshed,
although how increasing arms flows could decrease conflict was never

On the ground in Syria, however, the "unexpected" opposite was happening.
Tension, conflict and casualty tolls continued to rise until the UN
estimated in recent days that killings had exceeded 100,000.

Soon enough, several systemic problems with the Syrian uprising could not be
contained or denied anymore.

Last month, Western strategists began to worry about the unprecedented
spread of terrorist skills and terrorists themselves to other countries. The
scale of fighting in Syria had come to attract militants from around the
world, including the United States and Europe.

EU home ministers met in Luxembourg, having suddenly woken up to the reality
of how their military training given to Syrian rebels could be coming home
to haunt them. European counter-terrorism director Gilles de Kerchove said
the flow of militants into and out of Syria had reached a new high.

Foreign militants in Syria are said to number up to 6,000, with as much as
10% from Europe. A smaller percentage comprises US nationals.

In recent years, dozens of Americans have been arrested for such terrorist
involvement. For most of them, the rebel group of choice is the al-Nusrah
Front, or Jabhat al-Nusrah (JN), which the US State Department has
designated the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda - and being the same as al-Qaeda
in Iraq.

British Member of Parliament Paddy Ashdown has been urging Britain to stop
operations of arming and training Syrian rebels. He said most of the weapons
supplied to them so far are in the hands of militant extremists.

The presence and spread of extremists have exceeded most expectations.
Recent US and British reports mentioned that even bakeries using US-supplied
dough essential to the people's diet are now run by JN.

Foreign aid workers delivering humanitarian assistance have also been
"targeted" by the extremists by way of ideological conversion. Militants
hope to sell their struggle to the foreign helpers so that upon returning
home they would start their own terrorist cells, having gained new contacts
and subversion skills.

In Syria itself, hundreds of attacks have been launched by extremist groups,
universally acknowledged as the best organised rebel units on the ground.
Washington has conceded that extremists are already operating in all the
major cities in Syria.

Earlier this month, Russian scientists discovered that rebels near Aleppo
had used the chemical weapon sarin against troops and civilians. The missile
fired on Khan al-Assal killed 16 Syrian soldiers and 10 civilians.

At the same time, Britain, France and the United States - emotionally
anxious to escalate their military involvement in Syria - have accused the
Syrian government of using chemical weapons. But Damascus reported that
Western intelligence agencies were still checking if that had happened in a
recent army engagement in Homs.

In-fighting among rebel units have been occurring on occasion, notably
between terrorist groups and other rebels. The conflict spiked a fortnight
ago when al-Qaeda affiliates in Iraq and Syria operating under the name of
"Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" shot dead an FSA leader.

To observers, the shooting at an FSA checkpoint illustrated the growing
conflict between "extremist" and "moderate" rebels. The evidence so far is
that the extremists are gaining.

But as Western governments quietly scaled back their ambitions in Syria, the
rebels went on the diplomatic offensive to accuse them of betrayal. Then
London and Washington indicated that they would consider their military
plans again.

However, the issue of deeper involvement is not as clear-cut as some would
like. And usually it is the military personnel themselves who have a better
sense of the risks and limitations.

Upon his retirement this month, Britain's senior-most military officer,
General Sir David Richards, warned Downing Street that Britain needed to be
more focused on strategy to avoid failure in Syria.

While careful to remark that decisions would have to be made by Britain's
civilian administration, he said pressing with the country's position would
require more military inputs that could pull it into long-term war.

Within days, the deputy director of the US Defence Intelligence agency,
David Shedd, also avoided recommending deeper military involvement in Syria,
while deferring all decisions to civilian policymakers.

He estimated some 1,200 rebel groups in action, and that dispatching US
troops would mean a war lasting many years and costing billions. Shedd
conceded the complexity of the situation and said the best option may be to
depend on allies in the region.

That would mean Israel, which has already targeted Syrian military rocket

Bunn Nagara is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and
International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia

Posted on 10:10 | Categories:

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sex bloggers granted RM30,000 bail each with four conditions

Sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee (pix) have been granted a RM10,000 bail each in two sureties for each of the three charges by the High Court.

Justice Mohd Azman Husin also imposed additional conditions that they surrender their passports, be prohibited from uploading pornographic images, using network communication devices and report to the nearest police station on the first of each month.

On July 18, Tan and Lee were charged with three counts of mocking Muslims and the holy month of Ramadan and posting pornographic pictures on their blog.

Sessions judge Murtazadi Amran had denied them bail, pending their trial on grounds that the case was a matter of public interest.

In their application for a revision, the two claimed that Judge Murtazadi had erred in law by denying them bail as they had no prior criminal records.

They said there was no ground for the prosecution’s submission that they had a tendency to commit the same offence if released on bail. The couple submitted that all their electronic equipment and computers had been seized by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and if there was a risk of repeating the offence, the court could have set conditions for the bail.

Tan and Lee also said they did not pose a flight risk as their families lived in Malaysia and even if there was, their passports could be impounded.

Posted on 15:01 | Categories:

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

KK Super Mart armed to defend after 11 robberies by same group

Stunned by a series of 11 brazen attacks on KK Super Marts, founder and CEO Datuk Dr Douglas K.K. Chai has beefed up security at his outlets.

“We have hired a security team to go around our stores and we have increased the number of people in our response team,” he said.

“We have 20 people in our response team, with four of them being armed with pistols.”

This follows a number of attacks by a group of five men armed with machetes who robbed KK Super Mart, a 24-hour mini-supermarket chain, 11 times in 10 days.

He said KK Super Mart was working closely with the police force to catch the robbers.

It would increase the number of CCTV in it’s stores, he said.

“Up to 16 cameras have been installed with several of them focusing on the entrance of the store,” he said.

He said that the surveillance cameras were monitored 24-hours a day with the security camera feed linked to the security team’s phone.

Chai said the five men – believed to be in their 20’s – did not wear masks or helmets when they robbed the mini-supermarkets in Klang Valley

“The robbers drove in the same vehicle – a grey Proton Satria with the fake registration number WLV 964,” he told The Star Online. “So far, no one had been injured during the robberies.”

The robbers, he added, stole money from the store and customers and items such as cigarettes.

“We have set up a committee compensate customers who fall victim during the robbery,” he said.

“Those who had their phone, money or other items stolen during the robberies will be compensated.”

When asked why KK Super Mart was a popular target for robbers, Chai said he did not know.

Posted on 13:11 | Categories:

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

#Haze back after false lull

The haze is back in the Klang Valley, Putrajaya, Pahang and Johor, and is expected to spread further inland over the next few days, said the Meteorological Department.

Its central forecasting office director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said visibility in the Klang Valley had “reduced markedly” in a day, with the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang recording visibility of up to 2.5km yesterday afternoon.

“While this later improved, some areas in Petaling Jaya and Subang still had reduced visibility of up to 3km and 4km respectively,” he told The Star.

As of 5pm yesterday, the Department of Environment’s Air Pollutant Index recorded four areas with unhealthy air quality – Bukit Rambai in Malacca (119), Banting in Selangor (110), Muar in Johor (103) and Cheras in Kuala Lumpur (110).

Readings for Malacca city, Nilai and Port Klang hovered dangerously close to the unhealthy mark at 99, 96 and 94 respectively.

No readings were available for Putrajaya, which the DOE attributed to a technical error at the station.

The return of the haze comes just days after Indonesian Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya said his country hoped to ratify the 2002 Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution early next year after last week’s meeting with four of his Asean counterparts.

The treaty aims to stop transboundary haze by requiring parties to prevent burning, monitor prevention efforts, exchange information and provide mutual help.

At the meeting, the ministers had commended Indonesia for its ability to put out the land and forest fires, resulting in a drastic drop in fires.

Its effort had included waterbombing raging fires on plantations in Riau and cloud seeding.

Last month, air quality levels turned hazardous in some parts of peninsular Malaysia as well as Singapore, resulting in the closure of schools and a spike in respiratory illnesses.

Muhammad Helmi said the haze was spreading at a slow rate with the light wind pattern, which was expected to remain steady throughout the week.

He said the haze had also reached parts of Pahang and Johor, and would move northwards to Perak and Penang.

“The main reason for the spread

has been the jump in the number of hotspots in Sumatra,” he said, adding that drier weather conditions in the region would contribute to an increase in Indonesian forest fires.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest reading on Sunday, Sumatra has 261 hotspots.

This is yet another sharp spike from 159 on Saturday, 43 on Friday and three on Thursday.

Malaysia also showed a jump in the number of hotspots to 19 on Sunday from five on Saturday.

The Singapore-based Asean Spe­cialised Meteorological Centre’s latest haze map showed moderate haze had spread from central Sumatra, where many hotspots are clustered together, towards peninsular Malay­sia.

Singapore’s The Straits Times Indonesian correspondent in Jakarta meanwhile reported that two Dumai-bound flights were forced to return to Pekanbaru yesterday morning due to poor visibility from the haze.

It said the airport in Dumai was closed for over a week when the haze last month was at its worst.

Muhammad Helmi said light to moderate rainfall was expected over the Klang Valley and Pahang, and slightly heavier rainfall over Johor after Thursday.

“There will be some reduction in the haze after the rain, but exactly how much haze it clears up remains to be seen,” he said.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Human trafficking syndicate busted

A human trafficking syndicate specialising in luring women from South Asian countries to work here as guest relations officers (GROs) was busted after police rescued 15 of its victims following a tip-off.

Bukit Aman anti-vice, gambling and secret societies division head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Jalil Hassan said police rescued six women from India, four from Pakistan, three from Nepal and two from Bangladesh during a raid on a premises at 12.30am yesterday along Jalan Inai here.

Police rescued the 15 women after receiving a tip-off from the Pakistan Embassy and an e-mail from the family of one of the victims.

It is believed that the syndicates forced the victims to work as GROs in the premises that operates as a restaurant during the day while offering other services in the night.

SAC Jalil said police also arrested three locals and an Indian national, acting as a runner, who were working in the premises.

He said the syndicate lured the women by offering them waitressing jobs at hotels in Kuala Lumpur.

“Some were also offered jobs as cultural and traditional dancers.

“When they arrive here, the women would then be forced to work as GROs,” he said.

SAC Jalil said police believed that the premises targeted customers from South Asian countries.

Posted on 10:46 | Categories:

Friday, 19 July 2013

‘Voters’ try dipping fingers into ink

The Election Commission held a simulation exercise here for the new requirement for voters to dip their fingers into a bottle of indelible ink for the Kuala Besut by-election.

Several volunteers, including journalists, dipped their left index finger into a bottle of the new indelible ink to test its effectiveness.

Lee Long Hui, a reporter with an online news portal, said he could not wash off the stain on his left index finger despite trying to do so twice using soap.

“The indelible ink could not be washed off but I am not sure if this will be the same ink that will be used on polling day,” he said, adding that the light purple colour turned dark after a while.

The dipping of the finger is a new procedure introduced by the EC for the July 24 polls following complaints on the use of indelible ink in the recent general election.

The simulation yesterday followed the normal process during polling day, including verification of the identity card against the electoral roll and a check to ensure that a voter’s hands are clean. After this, the “voter” dipped his left index finger into the indelible ink bottle and used the edge of its mouth to get rid of excess ink to prevent it from dripping, especially onto the ballot paper.

The simulation was supervised by the EC’s Election Academy director Abdullah Jusoh.

Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof advised voters to ensure their fingers were clean and not oily before dipping their fingers into the indelible ink.

“After the dipping process, the ink should be allowed 30 seconds to dry. The EC has found that even if it is washed off, the colour will return,” he said in a statement.

He also said the National Fatwa Council had verified that the indelible ink used was halal and suitable for use by Muslims.

Posted on 15:23 | Categories:

Sex bloggers denied bail

Sex bloggers Alvin Tan Jye Yee and Vivien Lee May Ling were whisked off to prison – he was sent to Sungai Buloh while she was sent to Kajang – after being hit with three charges over their Ramadan bak kut teh greeting on Facebook and pornographic pictures in their blog.

The Sessions Court also came down hard on them by denying them bail.

Tan, 25, and Lee, 24, were jointly charged under Subsection 5(1) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 (Act 620), Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act and Section 298A(1) of the Penal Code.

They were charged with displaying pornographic images on their blog, uploading content that could stir up hostility based on religion and publishing a seditious photograph and comment (see chart).

The media had been waiting at the lobby area of the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex since 8am for the case to be brought to court.

Both claimed trial to the three charges read out to them before judge Murtazadi Amran.

Tan, 25, glowered at the crowd in the public gallery while Lee, 24, had a wrist cast on her right hand.

Asked about the cast, the kindergarten teacher replied: “I got robbed a few weeks ago.”

Earlier, Tan and Lee, who were in the dock, were seen talking to his mother.

Noorin Badaruddin, Ishak Mohd Yusof, Nadia Mohd Izhar and Henry Tan were the DPPs while counsel Chong Joo Tian, Wong Kee Them and Adila Kamaruzaman acted for Tan and Lee.

Noorin said offences under Subsection 5(1) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 (Act 620) and Section 298A(1) of the Penal Code were non-bailable and said the prosecution objected to any bail.

“They have a tendency to upload content that stirs up public anger. Thus, we apply for the two not to be bailed until the trial ends,” she said.

Noorin also applied for a joint trial under Section 170 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

In response, Chong said the court had the discretion to allow bail.

He said it was premature to say his clients have the tendency to upload content when the trial had not even started.

He said Tan and Lee were young, and that he was unemployed while she was earning about RM900 a month as a teacher.

He added that the court should not be pressured by statements made outside.

Judge Murtazadi granted the prosecution’s application for the three charges to be jointly tried and denied bail.

He set Aug 23 for mention.

Later, Chong told reporters that they would appeal against the decision not to grant bail.

The pair’s posting last Thursday caused an uproar among Malaysians, following which the couple replaced the display with a picture of them eating ketupat, rendang and curry puffs.

The Facebook page was later shut down.

Tan and Lee also apologised for the posting in a 1:22 minute video on YouTube, and said that it was done in humour.


Posted on 10:42 | Categories:

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Decision to replace Sedition Act will not affect Government’s power to deal with threats to national unity

The decision to repeal the Sedition Act and replace it with the National Harmony Act would not affect the Government's power in dealing with any action that threatens national unity and harmony, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said the new act would maintain three main principles to handle any action that create hatred and insults to institution and constitution.

"The new act would deal with any action that could create hatred or raise disloyalty towards the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any Rulers.

"It will also deal with any act that aimed at raising ill will and animosity between the races or among the different people this country.

"The act will deal any action that questioned the right, status, privileges, sovereignty or prerogative as stated or protected by Chapter III of the Federal Constitution or Article 151, 153 and 181 Federal Constitution," he told a press conference here on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister said the rude action by the young couple that insulted Muslims showed that freedom of voice and opinion without responsibility could harm the community.

"Although the Government would like to guarantee the freedom of voice, it cannot be abused to the extent that it harm the country's unity," he said.

Strong winds hit Sabah's west coast causing massive damage and power outages

A farmer is feared dead following the devastating storm that hit Sabah’s west coast.

The farmer, in her 70s, is reported to have been buried under soil and mud at the remote Kampung Mesilau near the foothills of Mount Kina­balu.

The landslip occurred amid heavy rains and strong winds of 85kph that wreaked havoc along the coast from 9.30am yesterday.

The gusts also caused several buildings to collapse while certain areas experienced power outages.

Ranau district police chief Deputy Supt Abdul Rahman Kassim said the farmer was taking shelter from the rain in a hut when rocks and sludge washed down from a hillslope.

“Firemen, police and villagers have mounted a search for her through the rubble,” he said, adding that they were trying to get heavy machinery into the area to assist in rescue operations.

Elsewhere, the storm caused a wooden house on stilts at Kg Gaya in Pulau Gaya near here to collapse at about 10am. Dozens of trees in the vicinity were also uprooted.

“Our houses were shaking and suddenly, we heard a crash and saw the house crash into the sea that is about three metres deep,” said village head Saimah Salam, adding that luckily no one was in the house at the time.

Meanwhile, the Fire and Rescue Services Department reported that winds uprooted dozens of trees in the city, Penampang and the Sipitang district in the south of Sabah.

Several parts of Kota Kinabalu, including Luyang, Penampang, Menggatal and Inanam, experienced power outages and had their electricity supply restored at about 3pm.

Sabah Meteorological Services Department director Abdul Malik Tussin said the strong southwesterly winds were due to a tropical depression over eastern Philippines.

“We expect this type of weather to persist until tomorrow,” he said.

Posted on 11:28 | Categories:

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

IGP wants sex bloggers to surrender to police

Inspector-General of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has asked the controversial sex bloggers to surrender themselves to KL police.

Khalid said the police wanted to investigage Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee under Section 298(a) of the penal code for insulting a religion.

He said their actions had caused anger in certain quarters which in turn had indirectly a man to be abducted and graffiti to be written on his body in Shah Alam.

Last Thursday, they uploaded on their Facebook page a picture depicting them eating bak kut teh and describing it as fragrant, delicious and appetising, with a Selamat Berbuka Puasa greeting.

They could be prosecuted for displaying offensive pictures and words under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

The offence was punishable with a fine of up to RM50,000 or a one-year prison term, or both.

Posted on 15:51 | Categories:

Petty crime concern for #Malaysian students in #Egypt

Shafikah Sabri, a second-year medical student at Tanta University in Egypt, had her mobile phone stolen twice in a year.

Such petty crime is becoming something of a norm in Tanta, which is 95km from Cairo.

"Many of our Malaysian students have become victims of petty crime in Tanta. We are targeted because they think we are rich and have money.

"There are some students who had to go to hospital because they were injured when those extorting money used knives to threaten them," said Shafikah, who had finished her exams for the year and was on a return flight to Kuala Lumpur from here.

She said Malaysian students in Egypt are much more careful these days when they move about because of the increasing crime rate.

Her friend Shazni Amran, who was on the flight with her, said a year after Egypt had its elections and president Mohamed Morsi came to power, the unemployment rate seemed to have increased.

"People have become more desperate for money. And the police do not seem to function at all," she said.

"Even our students wearing face veils (purdah) are not spared. I know one who got on a tuk-tuk and the usual fare is one or two Egyptian pounds, but the driver insisted on five Egyptian pounds and pulled out a knife when she refused to pay," she said.

Shazni said village heads in Tanta had given a few Malaysian students staying in hotspot crime areas guns to defend themselves.

"So we have two or three Malaysian students carrying guns for safety. They had gone for national service back in Malaysia so they know how to use guns," she said.

Both girl have taken the recent political upheaval in Egypt - Morsi's ouster and rival groups holding streets demonstrations - in their stride.

"When we read news reports back in Malaysia asking to evacuate our students from Egypt, we think 'Ala there is no need, it's still okay here'," said Shafikah.

On June 30, millions took to the streets in Cairo calling for Morsi to be booted out of office.

Three days later, the army, saying that it was "acting on the will of the people", moved in to oust him.

But pro-Morsi supporters are not taking this sitting down. They are holding massive rallies of their own seeking that he be re-instated. There have been clashes but all these are concentrated in a few areas.

Shafikah and Shazni said they suffered an inconvenience as a result of the demonstrations.

One of their exam papers kept getting postponed. They finally got to sit for the exam on Saturday (July 13). The next day, they were on the flight home.

"We are actually supposed to be in London now. We bought flight tickets for July 10.

"We had wanted to go there for a eight-day holiday but because our exams kept getting postponed, we had to change the date of the flight. We had to pay another RM400 to get the date changed. Now we are going to London in October instead," said Shafikah.

The students start their new academic year in September.

On what advice they would give to those who are currently considering whether they should go to Egypt to study, Shakifah said they should go ahead because the lecturers at the universities in Egypt were really good.

"My only advice is that those coming here have to be mentally and physically strong because there are challenges but this is normal.

"People say that 'if you have lived in Egypt, you can live anywhere'," she said.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Overhaul for #KLIA transit area security

Security at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) transit area will be overhauled to curb the problem of stranded passengers overstaying in the passageway.

MAHB senior general manager of special operations Datuk Azmi Mu­­­­­­rad said he would be calling a meeting involving immigration, airlines and related agencies this week to draw up measures and plug loopholes to combat the problem of passengers making the transit area their home.

He said they viewed the 50-odd days stayed by Palestine national Ahmed Kanan, 22, and seven other foreigners seriously because the facility could be abused.

“Currently, there is no time limit for transiting passengers at the transfer point. In fact, they can stay as long as they want. This is the same in other airports in the world.

“KLIA transit comes under our charge and as long as connecting passengers do not commit any crime or breach security, they will not be disturbed.

“We do not have the powers to detain passengers and if they cause any trouble, we will call in the police and relevant enforcement agencies.

“Transiting passengers have been screened at the point of departure and they are not a security risk,” he said, adding that there was no chance for them to get into the operations area or onto the tarmac.

He said the MAHB security task force had now stepped up checks on waiting passengers and those sleeping at the terminal every night.

Azmi said details of dubious travellers were recorded and monitored to ensure they left for their final destination within the stipulated period.

He said they were also aware of all the secluded areas in the terminal and it was not possible for anyone to hide.

“We have a security force of over 1,800 personnel working 24/7 and have CCTV cameras to monitor the entire terminal.

“There are cases of passengers staying up to seven days on transit because their connecting flights are once a week,” he said.

Azmi said the police did not patrol the transit zone and they would be called in only if a crime had occurred.

He took to task certain irresponsible airlines that did not inform MAHB and the immigration department on deported passengers because it was their (airlines) responsibility.

He said airlines offloading passengers with improper travel documents should take responsibility for such individuals.

“We, on our end, will facilitate with the airlines and agencies to ease the burden of stranded passengers by contacting the respective embassies and parties concerned,” he said.

On the status of stranded Syrian Khaled Ali and his family, Azmi said they were housed at the transit hotel and also provided meals by a well-wisher.

He also said they were discussing with an Egyptian airline to sort out the problem of Palestinian Moham­med Abulabbad, who has been waiting in the transit area to get a visa to fly to Egypt since July 1.

Posted on 11:29 | Categories:

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Kuala Besut by-election: EC to show how voters will use indelible ink

The Election Commission (EC) will demonstrate through the media how the indelible ink will be used by the voters in the Kuala Besut by-election.

EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the demonstration would be given before advanced voting was carried out on July 20.

"We must perform the demonstration so that voters here are familiar with the correct method of applying the ink," he said after visiting the nomination centre at Besut Rakan Muda complex on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the EC had said that voters in the Kuala Besut by-election would be required to dip their left index finger into the indelible ink instead of it being painted on.

On proposal that the ballot counting process for the by-election be televised "live", Wan Ahmad said this was rather difficult to be done due to logistics constraint.

However, the EC would discuss with the relevant ministry and agencies to find if this proposal was possible, he said.

Wan Ahmad conceded a "live" telecast would satisfy and boost the people's confidence in the election process carried out by the EC.

He said the nomination process on Friday was expected to be concluded by 10.30am.

"That is why, we advice supporters of the candidates not to come in too large a group so that we can complete it faster," Wan Ahmad said.
Posted on 15:50 | Categories:

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Ex-EO detainees top criminal offenders - @Zahid_Hamidi

Most of the criminals arrested for offences in the country are ex-detainees under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), says Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
"This is not perception but it is reality. From the aspect of arrests, most of the offenders were released from the repealed EO," he said when answering a supplementary question from Azmin Ali (PKR - Gombak) during question time in Parliament Wednesday.

Azmin had asked if a recent statement by the Government that the crime rate had gone up was used as the basis to consider for a new law to replace the repealed EO.

The Opposition MP also asked why the Government had said it was only public perception that crime was on the rise but changed its stand after a minister's house was broken into.

Ahmad Zahid said all crimes must be combatted, whether involving a minister or just an ordinary citizen.

"The EO has been abolished but if we were to replace it with new laws, we ask for all parties to agree to this," he said.

He added that criminals were "colour blind" when committing offences and did not differentiate between states ruled by Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat.

It was reported that the Government was mulling the introduction of  new legislation to lower the crime rate.

The EO was abolished in 2011 following criticism that it was draconian and undemocratic.

On efforts to curb crime, Ahmad Zahid said police were in the midst of setting up a direct 911 hotline to Bukit Aman to enable the public to report crimes immediately.

Posted on 15:26 | Categories:

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Only 1% of crimes are committed by foreigners

Only one percent of the crimes in Malaysia are committed by foreigners, says Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said the remaining 99% of crimes reported were committed by locals.

"We have 12 depots to hold illegal immigrants in the country including in Malacca, Semenyih, Langkap, Bukit Jalil and KLIA. Some of these are already full," he said Tuesday during question time in Parliament, in reply to a supplementary question by Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh (BN - Kalabakan).

Abdul Ghapur had asked if the ministry planned to build more depots to detain illegal immigrants rather than let them roam around the country freely.

In his response, Wan Junaidi said the Government was currently studying and planning what it can do to tackle the large number of illegal foreigners in a holistic way.

"Some come to Malaysia to study but drop out of learning institutions and do other things instead. If they do not return to their country, they become illegal immigrants," he said.

He said all Malaysians needed to play their part in addressing the problem of illegal foreigners by refraining from sheltering, hiring or renting properties to them.

"It is undeniable that our own people are the culprits by prioritising their personal interests instead of the safety of our country," Wan Junaidi said.

He said this was proven when 25 employers were caught during the total 330 operations conducted between May 23 and June 17.

A total of 2,179 illegal foreigners were detained during the operations.

Posted on 16:18 | Categories:

Monday, 8 July 2013

Electricity tariffs to reflect cost of fuel next year

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) will implement the Fuel Cost Pass-Through (FCPT) mechanism next year to determine electricity tariffs more efficiently for consumers.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the mechanism was one of the components in the Incentive-Based Regulation (IBR), under the electricity tariff rate determination programme.

"The Energy Commission is in the process of implementing the IBR and among the components to be implemented is the FCPT mechanism.

"Under this mechanism, any change in the fuel will be channelled to the consumers based on the tariff set by the Government," he said in the Dewan Rakyat in reply to a question from Liang Teck Meng (BN-Simpang Renggam).

Liang wanted to know when the FCPT mechanism would be implemented by TNB to reflect the actual cost of fuel.
Posted on 16:19 | Categories:

Contentious FT religion Bill withdrawn from #Parliament

 The controversial Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 was withdrawn from Parliament Monday.

This followed a motion by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Two other related Bills - the Syariah Court Civil Procedure (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2013 and Syariah Criminal Procedures (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2013 - were also withdrawn.

The Bill was tabled for the first reading in Parliament on June 26.

On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Bill would be withdrawn until an agreement was reached with all stakeholders.

He said the Cabinet decided to withdraw the Bill from the current Dewan Rakyat meeting following concerns from various quarters, including Barisan Nasional's component party members.

Various groups had voiced their opposition to the Bill, which included a controversial provision allowing a child to be converted with the consent of only one parent.


Posted on 11:55 | Categories:

Friday, 5 July 2013

Selangor softens stance on Langat 2

The state government has softened its stance on the Langat 2 water treatment plant, with Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim saying he is willing to discuss the project with the Federal Government.

Previously, the Selangor Govern­ment had objected to it, claiming that it was too expensive and the cost of construction would be borne by the people through higher water tariffs.

Khalid said the state government was prepared to accept the project if its economic value was appropriate.

“If we have already terbuat (accidentally constructed) Langat 2, we can sit down and discuss how to provide water to the people of Selangor at a reasonable rate,” he said in response to a question from state Opposition leader Datuk Sham­suddin Lias (BN-Sungai Burong).

Shamsuddin had asked Khalid whether the state was prepared to allocate funds to reduce non-revenue water as it would be costly to replace and repair water pipes.

While Khalid did not give a straight answer, he said the state government was ready to have a “professional discussion” with the Federal Government to ensure that Selangor residents would get treated water supply at the best price.

The RM3bil Langat 2 water treatment plant is a federal project but it needs to be approved by the state government under the Land Code.

The plant will receive raw water from Pahang via an underground tunnel, which is almost completed.

After he was sworn in as Mentri Besar for a second term in May, Khalid said the Langat 2 project must be discussed as part of the water services industry restructuring exercise and not as a stand-alone matter.

Last week, Khalid said he was optimistic that the restructuring exercise could be completed by September as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had expressed his readiness to complete the matter in line with the Water Services Industry Act.

The state government had made three bids to take over water management from all four water concessionaire companies in Selangor.

On Feb 20, the state government made a RM9.65bil offer to take over Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holding.

In 2009, the state government made a bid of RM5.7bil but it was rejected by all the players. A subsequent offer of RM9.2bil was made in 2011 but it was rejected by Puncak Niaga and Syabas.

The Federal Government holds one golden share in Syabas through the Minister of Finance Inc.

Stay cautious, #Malaysian students in Egypt told

The Malaysian Embassy in Cairo has advised Malaysian students to be cautious when posting their views on the social network on the situation in Egypt even as the Government prepares plans for evacuation.

Malaysian Embassy in Egypt charge d’affaires Shaiful Anuar Mohammad said there were claims that some groups of international students have been declaring their support for President Mohammed Morsi, who was removed by Egypt’s army, while others were against him.

“These students may be targeted by certain groups. We want to prevent our students from being targeted,” he said when contacted yesterday.

He said there are about 9,100 Malaysians, most of them students, in Egypt.

“So far, we have not received any negative reports from them,” he said.

Shaiful said he had advised students to remain indoors and to postpone any travel within Egypt.

“We have also advised the students to be in constant communication with their families at home to give a true picture of the current situation here (in Egypt),” he said.

In a statement, The Malaysian Embassy in Cairo said it had opened an operations room following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said that all Malaysians in Egypt were reported to be safe.

“Malaysians have been advised to avoid conflict-ridden areas namely Tahrir Square, Rabaa Square in Nasr City and Al-Nahda Square in front of the main campus of Cairo University.

“Those residing in Egypt are also advised to follow the security guidelines issued by the embassy and the local authorities, and to restrict their movements,” he said, urging them to stay in close contact with the embassy.

Anifah added that the Foreign Ministry together with the embassy in Cairo were monitoring developments very closely.

“Embassy officials have been working round the clock to ensure that Malaysians in Egypt are safe,” he said.

In Nilai, Negri Sembilan, Armed Forces chief Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said that an evacuation plan had been drafted for Malaysians in Egypt if the situation in that country worsened.

All Malaysians are advised to keep in touch with the embassy, which can be contacted at (202) 37610013/19/68/73 or Embassy of Malaysia Operations Room at 00-2-02-37610270 or 02-37610013/02-37610068 ext 141.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Cabinet is expected to discuss proposals to ensure the safety of Malaysians in Egypt.

Senior officials from the Education Ministry, Wisma Putra, National Security Council and police met on Wednesday to discuss coordination for a safety plan and came out with three proposals.

A senior official said that one option was to encourage students to return home while another was to evacuate them based on the model of “Ops Piramid” which was used when Egypt was in crisis in 2011.

“The third option was for the Public Service Department and Mara to bring their sponsored students back,” the offcial said.

“We have submitted the proposals for the Cabinet to discuss.”

Posted on 11:45 | Categories:

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Negligence, lack of safety management cause of Ampang slope collapse - #MPAJ

The accident at the construction site in Ukay Perdana, Ampang, was not due to structural failure or slope collapse.

Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) corporate planning director Rosliza Mohd said the incident on Wednesday was probably caused by negligence and the lack of safety management during construction work.

"Excavation works caused a 3.5m-high bank to collapse and bury the construction workers nearby," she said on Thursday.

The 11.30am incident killed three Myanmar workers, while a Bangladeshi worker was hospitalised.

Rosliza said following a site inspection with Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), MPAJ had issued a stop-work order on the entire construction site with immediate effect.

#China cop foils snatch theft bid

The fight against crime never takes a break – as shown by a policeman on holiday here from China who helped catch a snatch thief.

Luo Yong, 40, was taking a photograph of his wife, Dai Qi, strolling along the tourist spot Love Lane when a motorcyclist came from behind and grabbed her handbag.

He immediately pounced on the man and shoved him off his vehicle during the 9.30pm incident on Tuesday.

Luo overpowered the man, a Penang Municipal Council worker who was still wearing a council T-shirt, before passers-by and traders came to help.

The crimefighter, who suffered light injuries on his legs, said he did not hesitate to pounce on the man when he saw him snatch the handbag.

“In my mind, I was only thinking that our holiday would have been over if we lost the bag. It contained our passports, cash, credit cards and driving licences,” said Luo, who also gave the thumbs-up to the local police for arriving at the scene within three minutes.

He said he remained undaunted by the incident, adding that “he would not be frightened”.

“In fact, we are touched by the warmth and hospitality of the police and the people here. I will be coming back here again,” he said.

Luo’s photograph of the man about to snatch his wife’s bag is believed to be the first of its kind here.

The couple, who was on a holiday with their 10-year-old son from Chengdu, was on their way to their hotel in Penang Road after having dinner in Chulia Street when the snatch theft happened.

Dai, 40, is also in the police force. The family has since left for Langkawi.

Meanwhile, George Town OCPD Asst Comm Gan Kong Meng said the 31-year-old suspect in the case tested positive for morphine.

“We will be presenting a letter of commendation to Luo for his daring and courageous act. We will pass the letter to the Chinese Embassy,” he said yesterday.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hardcore criminals running loose

The repeal of the Emergency Ordinance saw some 2,000 detainees being freed. If even a third of them returned to crime, that means there are about 800 hardcore criminals running loose in the country.

Police, however, believe the number could be far bigger.

Most of the youths released from detention under the EO usually return to their old ways, a police officer said.

The assistant superintendent from Perak, who requested anonymity, said that when the EO was in effect, these individuals were kept off the streets.

“As soon as they were off the leash, it was back to breaking the law,” he said in an interview.

This was inevitable as crime is the only livelihood former detainees were accustomed to, he said.

“All they need to do is make a telephone call and they will be ‘hooked up’. Some need not even make that call; they almost immediately get ‘recruited’.”

Add to this situation the seemingly easy availability of firearms all the way from Bukit Kayu Hitam to Johor, and we have a scary scenario on our hands.

With violent snatch thefts, assaults and robberies of restaurant and their patrons, even food outlets are resorting to hiring armed guards to protect them.

Others are keeping their doors locked, only allowing regular patrons into their premises.

The ASP also said many former detainees were capable of anything, even robbing wedding guests at religious premises.

“There have been many such cases when temple weddings were held during the wee hours, an auspicious time for Hindus,” he said.

“Robbers see this as an ‘auspicious’ time, too. It is ideal for them – it’s 5am, it’s dark and there’s no real security.

“Also, they know that women wear jewellery during these functions,” the ASP said.

On why the former detainees escaped prosecution, the source said it was difficult to find incriminating evidence against them.

“Most of them are gang members. To society, they are ruthless and intimidating. Witnesses are not forthcoming; it is hard to gather concrete proof to put the suspects behind bars.”

“Many of them are also either on drugs or are pushers themselves,” another senior police officer said.

He said that while addicts on traditional drugs like ganja and heroin could be sent for rehabilitation programmes, those on amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) like syabu have greater feeling of confidence and were harder to control.

There was also no tailored rehabilitation programmes for this group, who only use the drugs when they set out to commit crimes.

ATS, he said, was the kind of drugs used by kamikaze pilots in World War Two before their suicide dives. ATS users are also likely to end up with mental health problems.

Posted on 16:10 | Categories:

Listen, stop telling Malaysians to leave, leave, leave

Source : TheStar

Grow up and stop asking people to leave the country, that is the viewpoint of Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs’ (Ideas) chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

To him, it is unacceptable to ask another Malaysian to migrate just because of difference in opinions.

“In reality, every single one of us belongs to the country, and the country belongs to us. If A can tell B to move out, B can tell A to do the same,” he said.

Wan Saiful advocated the need for maturity, especially from “politicians who continuously leak these kind of suggestions”.

“They need to realise that time has moved on. These attitudes are too childish for the era we are in now,” he said.

MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu believed those who made such statements were in need of a basic education on democratic principles as there had to be room for disagreement.

“Such remarks are uncalled for, no matter who utters them.

"Reasonable opinions may differ and we should cherish the deliberation of differing views and ideas with the objective of betterment. Don’t be a sore loser,” he said in a phone interview.

Wan Saiful and Gan were commenting on a speech in Parliament by Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin who took to task Air Asia X chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani for calling Utusan Malaysia a racist newspaper.

On June 30, Utusan in its Awang Selamat column told DAP publicity chief and Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua to migrate to Taiwan or Hong Kong if he did not approve of Ramadan bazaars in Malaysia.

MIC vice-president Datuk S.K. Devamany felt that statements from one or two did not reflect the spirit of the country’s leadership or people, as Malaysia was “an example of the spirit of unity.”

“Perhaps those statements were a manifestation of frustrations after putting in much work,” said the Perak state assembly Speaker.

He warned that leaders should be thoughtful of the rakyat’s feelings as such statements cut deep into people’s hearts.

Devamany said the grassroots were changing due to a democratisation of the mind with social media.

“People are going for a just government and transparency. We must reform the fundamentals of the nation rather than throw words that can hurt people and be detrimental to nation-building,” he added.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah termed this sort of talk “out of date” as Malaysia had celebrated 56 years of independence.

“Malaysians from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds consider Malaysia their home. I strongly believe that they also love their country,” he said.

Though people may have differing views on matters, Saifuddin was firmly against asking people to leave the country.

“If they make statements or hold on to certain views that may contradict with official or mainstream points, they do it out of love for the country,” he said.

Saifuddin suggests that everyone make an effort to find out about the differing views of others.

“If you strongly feel that your stand is right, then persuade them to agree with you. Don’t ask them to leave!

"We must be able to live in the 21st century, appreciate differences and accommodate people with different beliefs,” he added.

Posted on 10:48 | Categories:

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

#PAS snubs DAP’s call to boycott polls

PAS has snubbed a call by its Pakatan Rakyat partner DAP to boycott the Kuala Besut by-election.

Its state commissioner Abdul Wahid Endut said it would not allow Barisan Nasional to retain the seat uncontested.

“There were calls to boycott the swearing-in of MPs before, yet everyone was sworn in.

“The issue of boycotting the by-election does not arise,” he said here yesterday.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng on Sunday suggested that PAS should boycott the by-election to protest alleged dirty tactics by the Election Commission (EC) during the May 5 general election.

Abdul Wahid, the Wakaf Mempelam assemblyman, said the by-election was crucial for Pakatan Rakyat, as a win for the Opposition coalition would bring the seat assembly to an equal tally of 16 representatives from both sides.

“This situation has never occurred before. We are going to approach this by-election with an aim to form a new state government should we win,” he said.

Abdul Wahid added that the party already shortlisted three to four candidates and would make an an­­­­­noun­­cement at the appropriate time.

On reports that PKR is interested in fielding its own candidate in Kuala Besut, Abdul Wahid said the seat must be contested by PAS as it did so in the last general election.

He added that state deputy PAS commissioner Satiful Bahri Mamat, who is also Paka assemblyman, will be the party’s by-election director.

In Kuala Lumpur, PAS information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the party had no intention of boycotting the by-election.

“Although there are things which we disagree on pertaining to the electoral process by the EC, we have no intention not to contest as this seat is very crucial for PAS in Terengganu,” he told online news portal The Mole yesterday.

Tuan Ibrahim said PAS had three important requests for the EC regarding this upcoming by-election.

“Firstly, we want the EC to ensure no interference from the government’s machinery.

“Secondly, we want fair and balanced media coverage.

“Thirdly, we hope for improvement in terms of observers as well as the conduct of the EC officers during the polling day itself,” he said.

Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that he would lead Barisan’s charge in the by-election.

Muhyiddin, who is Umno deputy president, said the Prime Minister had tasked him to lead the election machinery in Kuala Besut with Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as his deputy.

“We are fully prepared for the by-election. We are working with Men­­tri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said to determine our strategies to face the by-election.”

Shisha smoking under fire over health risks

A hookah habit can harm your health, largely due to the many misconceptions about shisha, says Dr S. Dhesi Baha Raja, former assistant state health director of the Maternal and Child Health division at the Sabah State Health department.
The flavoured tobacco is smoked by enthusiasts worldwide for its sweet smell and smooth taste.

An American Lung Association study in 2007 showed a worldwide increase in shisha use in recent years, mostly among youths and university students.

"Teenagers think shisha is a herbal product. That when they smoke it, no tobacco is inhaled. This is wrong, because the herbal packaging has tobacco," said Dr Dhesi in a phone interview.

In 2010, the Monitoring The Future survey found that 17% of high school seniors in the United States smoked shisha in the previous year.

Dr Dhesi also cited studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to outline the dangers of shisha smoking, which include unclear levels of tobacco content in shisha itself.

"By law, registered cigarette products in Malaysia can only have a certain permissible level of nicotine and tar (Total Aerosol Residue). But shisha comes in many different packagings, so you don't know how much tobacco content varies between them," he said.

In Malaysia, cigarette emission standards are regulated according to the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2008.

The current maximum allowable level for nicotine is 1.5mg per cigarette, while tar levels should not exceed 20mg per cigarette.

Even the way shisha is prepared poses a danger to its fans who enjoy taking deep breaths of the relaxing, aromatic smoke before exhaling into their surroundings.

"At the very top of a hookah, the bowl containing shisha is covered by aluminium foil, upon which burning charcoal is placed to roast the tobacco. Toxic fumes are produced by the reaction between the burning charcoal and aluminium foil," said Dr Dhesi.

The hookah's glass base, which acts as a chamber for the shisha smoke, is also filled with water.

"This water mixes with the toxic gases and increases the smoke's humidity, which causes the carcinogenic fumes to stay in the lungs longer," he said.

As shisha smoking is a largely social activity, a nozzle used to inhale and exhale the flavoured smoke is usually shared between many people.

"A study showed that the nozzle can play host to huge amounts of microbacteria and viral hepatitis such as tuberculosis and even Hepatitis A, which increases a shisha smoker’s risk of contracting diseases," said Dr Dhesi.

According to the WHO, a 60-minute shisha session produces about 100 to 200 times more smoke than a regular cigarette, which translates into a heavier output of toxic fumes for both the smoker and the people around them.

As shisha sessions are considered a leisurely activity, smokers also tend to take deeper puffs over a longer period of time, which can cause a higher risk of developing oral and lung cancer due to prolonged absorption of toxins.

"Anything that contains tobacco increases the chance for cancer cells to develop. People think shisha is harmless, whereas they at least know cigarettes are bad for them. So shisha smokers have a higher risk of developing lung cancer because of the 'no-tobacco-content' misconception!" he said.

Last week, the Perlis Fatwa Committee banned the smoking and sale of shisha in the state as it is more detrimental to health than smoking cigarettes.

The Malacca and Kelantan state governments were the first to ban the sale of shisha in 2011.

But Dr Dhesi is of the opinion that merely raising awareness on the dangers of shisha smoking will not effect any lasting change.

"It is all about studying and diagnosing the community’s pre-existing behaviour before we intervene with behavioural change measures. Only then will we succeed in changing the misconceptions of shisha," he said.

However, the proposed "community diagnosis" is not a blanket rule.

"People’s culture and background will determine their attitudes towards shisha smoking. We have to understand that before we introduce any health measures," he added.

Posted on 10:57 | Categories:

Monday, 1 July 2013

#Kedah duo to meet Penang reps on raw water bill issue

Kedah will hold a discussion with Penang soon on the state’s intention to seek raw water payment.

State secretary Datuk Mohd Puat Mohd Ali and Kedah legal adviser Datuk Anas Ahmad Zakie have been instructed to meet their Penang counterparts to discuss the matter.

“This is a process before the actual negotiations,” Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir told newsmen after meeting with the Kedah local government council members here yesterday.

It was reported that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had said that Penang would not pay Kedah for drawing water from Sungai Muda, as it was taken from the Penang side.

Despite the spat with Kedah on the water supply issue, Lim still announced that PBA Holdings Bhd had recorded an increase in revenue by about 3.5% year-on-year in 2012.

Mukhriz had said that the state would not ask for more than they deserved.

“We have a valid argument.

“Although several representatives from Penang have already had their say regarding this issue, we also have our own views,” he said.

Deputy Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid urged both Kedah and Penang to sit down amicably and discuss the matter thoroughly.

“From the legal point of view, there are a lot of things that they still need to check.

“We need to look at it from all angles.”

Earlier, the deputy minister had attended a farewell luncheon which was held by the Muda Agriculture Development Authority (Mada) for him on his last day as chairman yesterday.

Mahdzir said that so far, none of the states had submitted a letter to his ministry seeking an intervention on the issue.

Posted on 15:22 | Categories:

Daylight robbery in @Khairykj home.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has become the latest victim of robbers when his home was hit on Saturday afternoon.

Three men scaled the wall of the bungalow in Jalan Setiabistari, Bukit Damansara, at about 5.30pm before breaking in through the front door.

Khairy and his wife, who live in the house which belongs to his mother, were not in when the robbers struck.

The only person in the house was a maid, who said the three men ransacked the place, including the master bedroom where most of the valuables were kept.

The robbers took off with several laptop compu­ters, watches and other expensive items.

City CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ku Chin Wah said police were trying to find out the total number of items taken away.

“There have been no arrests yet. We are probing all angles for the robbery,” he said.

Khairy, who also confirmed the robbery on his Facebook page yesterday, thanked family members and friends who offered words of kindness.

“Thankfully no one was hurt and I leave the matter in the hands of the police.

“This incident is a reminder to us all that crime is a serious problem in our country.

“It is a real issue and not just merely a perception,” he said, urging other victims of crimes to stay strong.

He also urged everyone to keep their families and themselves safe.