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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Six injured after bus skids

Six people were injured, two of them with fractured ribs, when a double-decker express bus skidded and hit a hillside at Km363 Raub-Bentong road at dawn Sunday.
Raub police chief Supt Wan Mohd Samsuddin Wan Osman said the Mahligai express bus was ferrying 39 passengers to Kuala Lumpur from Kota Baharu when the accident occurred at 5.30am.
He said the victims with fractured ribs were admitted to the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital here while four other injured passengers were treated at the Raub Hospital.
The bus driver was tested negative for drugs, he added. - Bernama

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Syariah judge gets 19 years’ jail

Perak Syariah Court judge Hassan Basri Markum was sentenced to a total of 19 years’ jail and fined RM210,000 after he was found guilty of seven corruption charges by the Sessions Court here.
He is the first Syariah judge to be sentenced for corruption.
However, as Sessions judge Tan Hooi Leng ruled yesterday that some of the sentences are to run concurrently, Hassan Basri, 56, will only need to serve 10 years in jail.
In passing judgment, Tan said the defence had failed to cast reasonable doubt on the charges against Hassan Basri.
”The court cannot accept the money was meant to pay off a loan,” she said.
Tan, however, allowed the defence’s application for a stay of execution pending an appeal and set RM5,000 (total RM35,000) bail for each charge.
As Tan was reading out her judgment, Hassan Basri’s wife Maznah Idris was seen sobbing in the public gallery.
Hassan Basri, who was charged under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, was accused of:
> Soliciting a bribe of RM3,000 from Mohamad Imran Abdullah to release bail money to Yoong Hor Kit over several criminal cases at Restoran Wawa in Tambun at 8.15pm on Aug 15, 2007;
> Receiving the bribe in a car at D.R. Seenivasagam Park at 3.25pm on Sept 6 (over the case involving Yoong);
> Soliciting a bribe of RM1,100 to help Mohamad Asri A. Bakar marry Nor Farihan Hassan without going through proper procedures at the same restaurant in Tambun at 8.30pm on Aug 15;
> Agreeing to receive the bribe in a car at the Hillcity Hotel at 6pm on Aug 17 (in the case involving Asri and his girlfriend);
> Agreeing to receive another bribe of RM1,100 from Mohamad Imran to produce a marriage certificate allowing another couple, Mohd Jefri Afandi Ahmad and Nur Liza Musa to marry without going through proper procedures in a car at D.R. Seenivasagam Park at 3.20pm on Sept 6;
> Soliciting RM20,000 from Yoong Hor Kit, through Mohd Sharif Abdul Ghani, to release bail money and reduce sentences in several criminal cases at the Perak Shooting Asso­ciation building at Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah here at 8.30pm on Aug 7, 2006; and
> Receiving RM10,000 from Yoong to release bail money and reduce the sentences on several cases at the same place on Aug 9, 2006, at 11pm.
In mitigation, defence counsel T. Shan appealed for a lower sentence as the accused had been jobless since he was charged.
”He is now working in a restaurant,” he said.
In pressing for a heavier sentence, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Com­mission (MACC) head of prosecution unit Datuk Abdul Razak Musa said the court must send a clear signal that corruption would not be condoned.

Setting the tone for better London-KL ties

THERE is so much on his plate, yet British High Commissioner Simon Featherstone is excited about being London’s man in Kuala Lumpur.
The good-natured envoy even made a recce trip to KL to check out his new job before taking up his posting in October.
Featherstone: Excited to be London’s man in Kuala Lumpur.
“I’ve actually been here two months and it’s been a fascinating first eight weeks. I think I’m going to enjoy the posting enormously,’’ he tells The Star in his maiden interview.

With trade, education, people and politics as the key areas for him to focus on, the good-natured Mandarin-speaking envoy says he intends to build on the strong political framework for these activities to flourish.

Your forte is trade as exemplified by your work as Ambassador to Switzerland and consul-general in Shanghai. How much of that is going to weigh down here?
Trade and investments are key parts of our relationship with Malaysia and indeed the new (British) Government very much wants high commissioners and ambassadors to be trade diplomats. So I certainly expect that to be a top priority and as you say, I have done that in other parts of the world too.

It must have been quite an experience having been director of the UK’s World Expo programme in Shanghai which closed recently.You must have had a good look at the Malaysian Pavilion?
I did indeed. For the last 18 months I’ve been in charge of the UK programme which was very exciting because apart from building what I think was an iconic pavilion, we organised something like 150 business events and some pretty major cultural events too. It was one of the most exciting jobs I’ve done in the Foreign Office, certainly very different from everything else. I did go and see the Malaysian pavilion and it was very good too. We were rather honoured to be given the gold medal for the best pavilion at the end and that was a nice reward for our efforts.

The British coalition government has revamped the UK’s foreign policy. What is the new tone, the new element, in terms of the UK-Malaysia relationship?
Malaysia is extremely important on a number of levels. Firstly, the UK very much wants to give emphasis on what we call the emerging powers. Countries like Malaysia where the growth rate is much higher than ours is very important to us.
I think there is a feeling among the current government that the previous government didn’t give enough attention to Southeast Asia, and Malaysia, in particular. So we’ve seen an increased tempo of ministerial visits in both directions and I’m sure that will continue right up to the highest level.
We have also given new emphasis on our relationship with the Commonwealth and Malaysia is an absolutely key member. Former Prime Minister (Tun Abdullah Ahmad) Badawi is chairing the Eminent Persons Group which we attach a huge amount of importance to because we are hoping there will be proposals to give new life to the Commonwealth.So Malaysia is absolutely top of the pops in terms of the new Government’s priorities.

The UK government has launched a public consultation on the student visa route to Britain. This is designed to restrict the number of foreign students entering the UK?
Well first let me put this in context which is that we are extremely keen to see top quality students attending really first-rate courses in the UK. Our universities have a very well-deserved reputation, we have the top four universities in Europe and those four are among the top 10 universities in the world. So we certainly want to attract the brightest and best from this part of the world.
I am really pleased to say that the quality of Malaysians students is generally very high indeed. But what the Government is keen to do is to prevent the student route from being used as a way to get around our ordinary immigration rules. They will be looking very closely at a number of aspects, particularly people who are attending courses that are of the lower level and indeed where their English proficiency is extremely low to start with. So part of this consultation is to ensure that we get the rules right so that we continue to attract the brightest and best from countries like Malaysia. But, that we don’t allow it to become a loophole in our normal immigration control.

The consultation will last eight weeks, who are those who will be consulted with?
Anyone can contribute to the consultation, there is a way of doing that online. The consultation ends at the end of January. We are expecting, obviously, educational institutions, organisations which have a particular interest including the British Council and others to contribute. It is open to anyone who has ideas and wants to express a view. There are some clear questions which are set out in the consultation document.

Does this effectively mean an end to students staying back in the UK to look for jobs?
That is one of the areas that the consultation is looking at. How easy it should be to convert from a student visa to a work visa and I think one of the proposals being considered is to require people to come back to Malaysia or the sending country before applying for a work permit rather than it being something which can be done in the UK. But as I said, it is just a proposal which is being considered and that’s part of what the consultation is about.

In terms of Malaysian students, the majority, I should say almost all, go there with a genuine desire to study. What will the impact be on them?
We are very pleased with the quality and level of students that we get from Malaysia. They tend to be very extremely hardworking and a great credit to Malaysia. We don’t see them being affected very much. What we are trying to tackle are institutions which are offering very low level courses which are not really leading to degrees or meaningful qualifications. But I don’t think there are many Malaysians who are entering into such arrangements.

So is this all part of the move to reduce net migration into the UK?
That’s right, we want to make sure that those who go to the UK genuinely are either going to get a worthwhile qualification or have something to contribute on the work front. What we don’t want is people using studying as a way around the immigration system.

Last month, the Migration Advisory Committee published its report into an annual limit on immigration through Tiers 1 and 2, which is about people going to work in the UK. Can you shed some light on this?
What we are trying to do is to make sure that the people who come to work in the UK are genuinely going to add value to the British economy and therefore the high quality jobs, where in the case of Malaysia there are particular qualifications that people can bring to bear. So there will be a ceiling on the overall numbers which is being set centrally. But again we don’t want to deter people who are coming to work and are genuinely qualified to do so.

How many student visas did the High Commission issue to Malaysians for the new UK academic season this year, and what was the success rate?
Over the summer period, which is obviously our biggest period, there were just over 6,000 applications processed and well over 90% of those were successful. And a number of the 10% were re-submitted and were then successful.
We obviously need to make sure that when people apply, they get all the right documentations and that’s been one of our big efforts this year, to make sure that people don’t lose out on a visa just because they misunderstood the instructions or not given the right paperwork.

Our approval rating has always been on the higher end, about 97% to 98%. How was it this year?
I think it was lower than that but it was an improvement on the figures for the previous years. So I think people are getting more used to the system and are applying in a better way. Each year we hope that that figure will go up.

On bilateral trade, the figure from January to September 2010 has increased by £200mil compared to the same period last year. We take it that the tough business climate in the UK over the past two years has passed?
It is still a very challenging economic environment but that’s why trade links with countries like Malaysia where the growth rate is still higher (than the UK’s) in the region of 6% is really important to us.
The Government really wants to promote our trade as a way of helping us get through this economic downturn. So we are hoping that by the end of the year, our exports would have topped £2bil for the first time. And imports from Malaysia, about £1bil or a bit higher.

When will our prime ministers have their first bilateral meeting?
They’ve already had a very good telephone conversation shortly after our prime minister (David Cameron) took office.
We are actually currently in discussion with the Prime Minister’s Office about the best way of getting the two of them together. That’s certainly the intention on both sides, that there should be an early meeting.

The London 2012 Olympics is nearing, how do you intend to promote the games here?
In a sense, for a sports-loving nation like Malaysia, the attraction of going to London for the Olympics will be very strong without us having to do a lot of promotions!
It is going to be a very exciting Olympic Games, we are already well-ahead of schedule in building some excellent facilities, the transport links, the East London line is all going to be improved for the Games.
So we very much hope that a lot of Malaysians and others from the region will want to go to London for the Olympics.

Kelantan MB discharged from hospital

Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who was warded at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital in Kubang Kerian since last Thursday, has been discharged on Tuesday.
His press secretary Mohd Fadzli Shaari said however Nik Abdul Aziz still needed to rest at home.
"He left the ward at about 10am on Tuesday," he said on Wednesday.
Nik Abdul Aziz, 79, was warded for back problems due to an old spinal injury he sustained after falling off a horse in the past.
Mohd Fadzli said the Mentri Besar would be required to do follow-up treatment at the hospital on Saturday

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kandungan Memo Kepada Agong

Isu Penstrukturan Semula Industri Perkhidmatan Air di Selangor Darul Ehsan

Duli Yang Maha Mulia
Tuanku Al-Wathiqu Billah Al-Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin
Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al Muktafi Billah Shah
Yang Dipertuan Agong, Malaysia

Rakyat Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya serta Kerajaan Negeri
Selangor Darul Ehsan


Dengan nama Allah s.w.t., Tuhan Yang Maha Pengasih dan Maha Penyayang.

Selawat dan salam buat junjungan besar Nabi Muhammad s.a.w., pesuruh Allah s.w.t. yang sangat mencintai dan menggesa umatnya berlaku adil.

Assalamu'alaikum w.b.t.
Ampun Tuanku beribu ampun, sembah rakyat harap diampun.

Dengan keinsafan bahawa kehidupan asasi manusia cukup bergantung dengan akses kepada air yang bersih pada kadar harga munasabah,

Dengan kesedaran perkembangan kos sara hidup rakyat kian meningkat berbanding pendapatan,

Dengan ketegasan menentang penyelewengan, salah guna kuasa dan kepura-puraan,

Dengan iltizam menegakkan sebuah kepimpinan yang prihatin, telus, bertanggungjawab, cekap, dan menghormati semangat dan amalan Persekutuan;

Maka dengan ini kami, Rakyat dan Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, berkumpul marafak sembah ke bawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku untuk menyampaikan suara hati kami terhadap isu Penstrukturan Semula Industri Perkhidmatan Air di Selangor Darul Ehsan.

Ampun Tuanku beribu ampun, sembah rakyat harap diampun.

1) Mengembalikan Hak Air kepada Rakyat

Kami, mewakili 150,000 rakyat Selangor yang telah menurunkan tandatangan sebagai tanda sokongan kepada Memorandum ini dan juga keseluruhan rakyat Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya yang mendapatkan perkhidmatan air yang sama, menuntut keadilan untuk diri kami membetulkan kesalahan dalam penswastaan Industri Perkhidmatan Air yang telah dibuat, sehingga menyebabkan kualiti dan perkhidmatan air yang teruk serta peningkatan tarif air pada kadar yang tidak munasabah. Justeru, kami menuntut kualiti air dan Perkhidmatan Air yang bersih pada kadar yang munasabah, dengan mengambil kira rakyat miskin serta mereka yang berpendapatan rendah di Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya. Kami merafak sembah memohon Tuanku menitahkan agar Hak Air ini dikembalikan kepada rakyat melalui pengambil-alihan oleh Kerajaan Negeri Selangor.

2) Mematuhi Akta Industri Perkhidmatan Air 2006 (WSIA 2006)

Kami merafak sembah memohon Tuanku mendokong semangat dan matlamat Akta Industri Perkhidmatan Air 2006 yang telah menjelaskan keperluan Industri Perkhidmatan Air ini distrukturkan semula secara holistik dan diuruskan oleh Kerajaan Negeri Selangor. Sesungguhnya, Akta ini telah dirangka dan diluluskan dengan tujuan membetulkan kesalahan yang dibuat semasa menswastakan Industri Perkhidmatan Air sebelumnya. Kami merafak sembah memohon Tuanku mengingatkan Kerajaan Persekutuan agar tidak berdolak-dalik tentang keputusan ini.

3) Menghak-upayakan Rakyat

Perjanjian konsesi yang ditandatangani pada tahun 2004 antara Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn. Bhd. (“SYABAS”), Kerajaan Persekutuan dan Kerajaan Negeri Selangor mengandungi sejumlah persoalan yang jelas menunjukkan SYABAS tidak pedulikan kebajikan rakyat seperti kenaikan tarif air pada kadar yang tinggi (37% pada tahun 2009, dan 25%, 20%, 10% serta 5% pada 2012, 2015, 2018 dan 2021). Perjanjian ini seharusnya dirundingi dengan rakyat Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya kerana mereka adalah penerima kesan utama daripadanya. Kami merafak sembah memohon Tuanku menghak-upaya rakyat dengan memastikan bahawa sebarang perjanjian baru yang mahu dibuat perlulah dirunding dengan rakyat Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya sebelum dimuktamadkan.

4. Mengembalikan Kuasa Kerajaan Negeri

Perkhidmatan air yang telah dimasukkan dalam Senarai Bersama Perlembagaan Persekutuan 1957 memberikan kuasa bersama Kerajaan Negeri Selangor dan Kerajaan Persekutuan dalam hal berkaitan. Kami mendesak Kerajaan Persekutuan untuk menghormati semangat Persekutuan ini dan kuasa yang dimiliki oleh Kerajaan negeri dalam isu berkaitan perkhidmatan air ini, dan jangan berdolak-dalik menentang Kerajaan Negeri Selangor. Kami merafak sembah memohon Tuanku untuk mengembalikan kuasa Kerajaan Negeri Selangor dalam hal ini.

5) Menghapuskan Kronisme

Telah menjadi persepsi umum bahawa Kerajaan Persekutuan mengambil sikap menyebelahi sektor swasta, dalam kes ini syarikat tertentu, yang boleh disabitkan dengan amalan kronisme. Telah terbukti bahawa usaha membolehkan syarikat-syarikat penerima konsesi ini mendapat sejumlah keuntungan tertentu, mereka dibenarkan untuk menaikkan kadar tarif yang tinggi dengan pemberian jaminan pinjaman Kerajaan Persekutuan yang bermaksud rakyatlah menjadi pembayarnya. Rakyat di Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya kini perlu membayar kadar harga air yang tinggi, dan pembayar cukai Malaysia perlu menjamin risiko perniagaan SYABAS. Kami merafak sembah memohon Tuanku mengingatkan janji Kerajaan Persekutuan untuk segera menghapuskan kronisme.

Dengan mandat diberikan rakyat, Kerajaan Negeri Selangor bertekad untuk memastikan nasib mereka terbela. Dengan pengambil-alihan Industri Perkhidmatan Air ini, Kerajaan Negeri Selangor berjanji untuk mengusahakannya dengan cara terbaik untuk manfaat semua.

Sekianlah penjelasan daripada Kerajaan Negeri Selangor dan rakyat Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya yang bersama mendoakan dan menyokong tindakan penting ini.

Menjadi harapan rakyat di Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya untuk melihat ia diambil perhatian serius oleh Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku. Rakyat menjunjung kasih atas perhatian yang diberikan.

Sekian, terima kasih.
Daulat Tuanku.
5 Disember 2010.

Istana Kelantan Tarik Balik Pingat Dari Ku Li



Menjunjung titah perintah Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Muhammad Ke-V, al-Sultan Kelantan, saya memaklumkan bahawa Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Muhammad Ke-V, al-Sultan Kelantan, telah mengampuni perkenan perkara berikut:

1. Menarik balik Darjah Kerabat Yang Amat Dihormati (D.K.) (Al-Yunusi) serta Tauliah Pelantikan Ahli Yang Pertama (Seri Paduka) Bagi Darjah Kebesaran Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (S.P.M.K.) (Al-Muhammadi I) yang telah dianugerahkan kepada Yang Berhormat Mulia Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, No. K/P: 370413-03-5083, sebelum ini, mulai pada 2 Disember 2010.

2. Menarik balik Tauliah Pelantikan Ahli Yang Kedua (Dato’ Paduka) Bagi Darjah Kebesaran Jiwa Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (D.J.M.K.) (Al-Ismaili II) serta Pelantikan Jaksa Pendamai (J.P.) yang telah dianugerahkan kepada Dr Haji Yaacob Hussain Merican, No. K/P: 380920-03-5597, sebelum ini, mulai pada 2 Disember 2010.

Kedua mereka yang terbabit dalam penarikan di atas telah dimaklumkan melalui surat pada tarikh-tarikh tersebut.

Adapun penarikan balik ini adalah hak Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Muhammad Ke-V, al-Sultan Kelantan, yang dijalankan menurut hemah dan budi bicara Baginda jua.

Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan

Bertarikh Pada: 28 Zulhijjah 1431H
Bersamaan: 5 Disember 2010

Sumber :

Kelantan women worst hit by HIV

The number of women contracting HIV was four times higher in Kelantan compared with other states. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said for every 100,000 people in Kelantan, 47 women were infected with HIV in 2008 and 37 women last year.

He said statistics showed that 13.3 and 10.8 people for every 100,000 from other states were infected with the virus in the corresponding period.

Overall, he said, Kelantan had the most number of women infected with the virus with 1,211 cases, Johor (1,124) and Selangor (1,107).
"Kelantan also has the highest proportion of people when measured against its population to have been infected with HIV over the last five years," he said when launching the national-level World AIDS Day celebration in Pengkalan Chepa yesterday.

His speech was read by his ministry's deputy director-general (public health) Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman.

Liow also urged the authorities in Kelantan to organise more programmes to create awareness and educate the public on AIDS and HIV prevention.

On a related issue, he said the government set aside RM32.5 million annually to treat HIV patients with antiretroviral (ARV) in the country.

"So far this year more than 11,000 people have received the ARV treatment compared with the ministry's initial target of treating 10,000 for the whole year," he said, adding that research showed HIV infection through sexual acts could be reduced by treating the patients with ARV.

Read more: Kelantan women worst hit by HIV

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

After pink train coaches, Malaysia launches women-only buses

Women-only transport has been stepped up a gear in Malaysia, it was reported Thursday, after the launch of female-only buses to help counter sexual harassment.

The buses follow ladies-only pink train carriages on the transport system to give the Muslim majority country's females the option of travelling separately from men.

Bus company RapidKL, a state-owned firm, started the special service for its female passengers on Wednesday on seven routes in the Malaysian capital during peak hours, the New Straits Times newspaper reported.

"This is based on feedback received from our customers, especially females, who shared with us their discomfort during peak-hour travels," the firm's chief operating officer Mohamed Hazland Mohamed Hussain said.

The official did not say whether the firm has received any sexual harassment complaints.

"I will feel safer, not because I do not trust men, but for someone my age, it's hard to fight for space during peak hours," Poovan Kaur, 63, told the paper.

In April, the Malaysian Railway launched pink women-only train coaches.

The northern Terengganu state has reportedly said it was aiming to establish a waterfall site exclusively for women to picnic and bathe, in a bid to attract Middle Eastern tourists to holiday there.

Another northern state, Kelantan has also enacted laws that require separate queues for men and women in shops. The rules are not strictly enforced.

More than 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million population are Muslim Malays, and the population includes large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

MB: Genuine Terengganu batik getting bad name

Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said has expressed concern over irresponsible people passing off the low quality batik they produced as the genuine stuff from Terengganu.
Their inferior products would undermine the image of the high quality batik produced by the state, he said.
“This has a negative impact on the genuine batik industry of Terengganu,” he said at the Seri Iman Terengganu Darul Iman Trophy 2010 Gala Night here Wednesday night. Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah attended the event.
Ahmad said the state government had launched a special logo to identify the genuine batik of Terengganu in an effort to stop the practice of the irresponsible people.
This would enable buyers to differentiate between the genuine batik and imitation products, he said, adding it was hoped that the batik art would be appreciated not only in Malaysia but also around the world.
At the event, held to reward new and modern batik creations, Mohamad Hafizi Mohd Radzi Woo of UiTM Shah Alam was adjudged winner of the Seri Iman Trophy 2010, RM30,000 and a certificate with his creation titled “Underline” and themed “Khazanah Kenyir” (Kenyir Treasures).
The runner-up was IIi Aaina Yahya of Kuala Terengganu, who won RM15,000, and third was Nur Amirah Mohamad Yusof of Kedah, who won RM10,000.
Ten finalists presented their creations. Tuanku Nur Zahirah gave away the prizes. -- Bernama

Penang to give civil servants RM800

Nearly 8,000 civil servants working at state agencies had received RM800 as a surprise gift from the state government in recognition of their contributions.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the reward is also a special form of financial assistant to those with school-going children.
“We hope the money would come handy and help ease the burden of many parents who are busy preparing for their children returning to school,” he said.
The money had been banked into the civil servants bank accounts on Tuesday.
Lim said the state had set aside RM25mil for this purpose.

Suhakam: Tharmendran is safe in military remand

Suhakam has found that suspended Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) sergeant N. Tharmen­dran is safe in military remand and was not subjected to abuse.
Suhakam commissioner Detta Samen told reporters that an investigation found no signs of abuse and that he was well cared for.
“We have seen him and interviewed him. He told us he is ok,” Samen told reporters Wednesday at the military detention centre at the Batu Cantonment Camp in Jalan Ipoh where Tharmendran is currently held.
Samen earlier met with RMAF provost marshal Lt. Col. Mohd Razif Ramli for a discussion.
Tharmendran was charged with abetting in the theft of two RMAF F5 jet engines in Dec 2007 with Senior Airman Mohamad Shukri Mohamad Yusop at the Sungai Besi air base’s Material Processing Shed.
He was released on a RM50,000 bail on Sept 6 but was re-arrested by military police on Nov 25 on grounds of absence of duty.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sultan Selangor dukacita

SULTAN SELANGOR (kiri) menyampaikan cenderahati kepada pembentang kertas kerja, Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi di Shah Alam semalam.

Sultan Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah bertitah baginda sedih dan dukacita kerana ada segelintir individu yang berhijrah ke negeri itu, terutama orang Melayu, sanggup mempersoalkan peranan institusi Raja Melayu serta kedudukan dan hak keistimewaan bangsa Melayu.
Baginda bertitah, golongan itu turut mempersoalkan kerelevanan institusi Raja Melayu serta peranannya dalam sistem pemerintahan negara ketika ini.
“Matlamat mereka agar sistem Raja Berperlembagaan ini disemak dan dikaji semula atas alasan negara telah menjalani arus pemodenan dan sistem yang diamalkan sekarang ini sudah tidak bersesuaian adalah amat tidak bertepatan,” titah baginda pada majlis pembukaan Wacana Raja Berperlembagaan - Perspektif Sejarah, Kini dan Masa Depan di sini semalam.
Sultan Sharafuddin bertitah, terdapat juga suara lantang di kalangan orang Melayu sendiri yang meminta perkataan ‘Melayu’ dihapuskan daripada ungkapan Raja-Raja Melayu.
Baginda percaya perbuatan itu dilakukan golongan berkenaan untuk kepentingan diri sendiri atau kepentingan politik mereka.

Aduan kakitangan awam biadab meningkat

Timbalan Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk T. Murugiah menyuarakan kebimbangan terhadap peningkatan kes membabitkan penjawat awam berlaku biadab dan bersikap perkauman terhadap orang ramai.
Beliau berkata, masalah salah laku penjawat awam terutama yang bertugas di barisan hadapan tersebut disedari meningkat berdasarkan peningkatan aduan yang diterima oleh Biro Pengaduan Awam (BPA).
"BPA menerima lebih 60 aduan dari seluruh negara setiap bulan yang membabitkan penjawat awam bersikap kasar, biadab dan menyentuh isu perkauman sehingga menimbulkan rasa kemarahan pengadu dan rakyat," katanya pada sidang akhbar di pejabat BPA Perak di sini semalam.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Perak MB Dr Zambry wins suit against PKR

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir has won his suit against the PKR over a defamatory article published by Suara Keadilan.
Senior assistant registrar Noordura Mohamed Din on Monday allowed the application by Dr Zambry to enter judgment against all the defendants in his RM100mil suit.
Dr Zambry's lawyer Firuz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin said it was a judgment on liability in respect of a major part of his client's claim against the defendants.
Damages are to be assessed.
Dr Zambry had on Feb 25 filed the suit against PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, her deputy Datuk Dr Syed Husin Ali and two others over the article published by the party’s monthly newspaper.
In his statement of claim, Dr Zambry said Suara Keadilan had published and circulated an article titled “Zambry disyaki pengganas gagal masuk ke Amerika Syarikat” (Zambry denied entry to US on suspicion of being a terrorist) in its Dec 29, 2009 - Jan 5, 2010 edition which contained defamatory words.
Dr Zambry claimed the words meant that he was suspected of being a terrorist and was unfit to be the Mentri Besar of Perak.
The defendants in their statement of defence stated that an apology titled “Mohon Maaf Dr Zambry” and withdrawal of the said article was published in Suara Keadilan in its March 30 - April 5 edition.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Foreign govts to help recruit specialists

The Health Ministry will work directly with the governments of Egypt, India and Pakistan to hire qualified medical specialists to help resolve the shortage of these experts in Malaysia.
The ministry previously advertised in the foreign media for specialists but those who applied were not very good, minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said.
“The doctors who replied to our advertisements were qualified but many of them were sent back because of attitude problems,” he told reporters during a visit to the Temenggong Seri Maharaja Tun Ibrahim Hospital in Kulai near here, yesterday.
“Of course, these doctors also had to go through an interview locally.

Concerned: Liow talking to a woman who was waiting for her turn at the Temenggong Seri Maharaja Tun Ibrahim Hospital’s emergency unit during his visit yesterday. — Bernama

“But, sometimes, they could not perform according to our expectations,” he said.
“By working directly with the governments, we would be able to hire better doctors, as they would be vetted by both the foreign and local governments,” he said.
Liow said the Egyptian health ministry submitted a list of 58 specialists who would be recruited to work in local hospitals or medical facilities.
“The Egyptian government has given these specialists sabbatical leave.
“So, many of them are more than willing to leave their country and serve here,” he said, adding that the agreement was for these doctors to serve only for two years.
Liow said the same system would be applied to recruit specialists from India and Pakistan. On another matter, Liow said he would be asking for more allocations from the Finance Ministry for additional medical supplies in Johor.
“I have been informed that the state needs RM22mil worth of additional medical supplies,” he said, adding that he would forward the proposal soon.

RM64mil question, No progress in CBR programmes after three years

There has been no improvement in community-based rehabilitation (CBR) programmes for disabled persons despite RM64mil being allocated three years ago, said Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
She lamented that until now there was no specialised work to upgrade facilities for disabled people like many other Asia-Pacific countries.
She added that she would personally monitor the programmes from now on through monthly meetings with disabled development department directors and social welfare officers.
She would also oversee the economic empowerment programmes to tap the potential of disabled persons and ensure that CBR centre staff be trained to use new technology for communication to help the disabled.
Shahrizat said the CBR centres should be easily accessible to disabled persons and alternative communication for the disabled should be looked into in view of the IT era.
“I’m not happy. The CBR has yet to improve the disabled facilities despite the CBR transformation plan, which kicked off three years ago,” she told newsmen after closing the Asia Pacific Convention on CBR here yesterday.
Shahrizat also expressed disappointment with employers for not recruiting disabled persons and not providing disabled-friendly facilities for them.
“It is regrettable since Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s administration emphasises inclusiveness, disabled persons are not given their proper place,” she said.
Currently, there are 428 CBR centres nationwide with 1,654 workers handling 18,943 disabled persons.
On the proposal to introduce sex education to kindergarten children next year, Shahrizat said her ministry would have another round of meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The teaching modules and syllabus were already in place, but had yet to be finalised.
“Tan Sri Muhyiddin will make the announcement on the matter,” she said.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trio assaulted for honking at cars

Three men were seriously injured after they were attacked for honking at two stalled cars in Jalan Genting Klang here. The incident occured at 5.30am yesterday when the victims, who were in a lorry, noticed a BMW and a Toyota Alphard moving haphazardly before stopping in the middle of the road.
Sentul OCPD Asst Comm Zakaria Pagan said the lorry driver decided to honk at the two cars to the chagrin of the drivers who stormed out of their vehicles.
The lorry driver sped off but the two cars caught up with the vehicle at a traffic light near Danau Kota. Ten suspects then alighted from the two cars and assaulted the three men with knives and wooden bats.
ACP Zakaria said the victims, who sustained injuries to their head, hands and legs, were sent to a nearby clinic by some passers-by.
The trio, aged between 25 and 48 years, were later transferred to Hospital Kuala Lumpur because of their serious condition.
He urged those with information to contact the nearest police station.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Source: Hunt for bin Laden missed 'real opportunity'

Hamburg, Germany (CNN) -- When Osama bin Laden was being bombed at Tora Bora, Dr. August Hanning was Germany's foreign intelligence chief charged with hunting him down.
"He was watching the bombing," Hanning told CNN in an exclusive interview. "I know this," Hanning told CNN without elaborating on his source of information.
After bin Laden escaped from the mountain in December 2001 Hanning said he had agents feeding him information about the al Qaeda's chief's movements.
Frustratingly however, their information never led to actionable intelligence that would have allowed Western agencies to move against al Qaeda's leader.
"We have got information always on where he was. And that's the problem -- days, week later. But he was present there. He hadn't left the region," Hanning told CNN.
Hanning says that after bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora the search for al Qaeda's leader became much harder.
It was an opportunity the international community and the United States in particular have good reason to regret. His assessment of bin Laden's ability to inspire and lead today might make him more dangerous today than back then.
"He's not operational but I think he knows the basics. He makes strategic decisions, and of course he's a symbolic figure and figures are important. "
Hanning, who was appointed State Secretary in the German Federal Interior Ministry at the end of 2005 -- one of the country's most senior counter-terrorism positions -- retired late last year.
He says he agrees with recent comments by an unnamed senior NATO official to CNN last month that bin Laden is alive and well in Pakistan.
"I think there are still a lot of hints that he is in Pakistan, and according to my estimates he is in the tribal areas in the region near Peshawar: the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan," Hanning told CNN.
Pakistani officials consistently deny bin Laden's presence on their soil. Hanning believes rogue elements in their intelligence service, the ISI, are hiding him.
"It's hard for me to believe that they know nothing," he said, and in some ways the al Qaeda leader is useful to Pakistan. "So long [as] bin Laden is in Pakistan so Pakistan will get support from the Americans' fight against terrorism."
And Pakistan would be in a bind if bin Laden were caught, because to some Pakistanis he is a hero. "If he were caught the Pakistani government would be in a very difficult situation, because the Americans would ask the Pakistanis to extradite him."
Hanning believes bin Laden's presence in Pakistan is one of the United States' most delicate diplomatic problems and one that needs to be solved before U.S. troops can safely withdraw from Afghanistan -- because given the chance al Qaeda would return to Afghanistan.
"If they would have the opportunity to operate in Afghanistan they would use this opportunity as well," Hanning said -- because al Qaeda's assumption is that once Western troops were withdrawn it would be difficult for them to return.
It is a problem that would become more pressing if serious negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban developed. Hanning and other intelligence officials believe it would be difficult for the Taliban to abandon Osama bin Laden because of his stature as a leader of global jihad.

From Vietnamese refugee to U.S. representative

It was April 1975 when I was packed into a military transport plane with two of my siblings as the Vietnam War ended. We left Vietnam to escape communist rule and eventually, take on an additional identity.
I was 8 years old, and being separated from both parents for the first time in my life was confusing and scary. My mother decided to stay behind with my five remaining siblings to wait for my father to return. An officer in the South Vietnam Army fighting alongside the Americans during the Vietnam War, my father spent the next seven years in the communist prisons, which were euphemistically called "re-education camps." It was many years later when our family was reunited.
The challenges I faced growing up were probably not that different from the struggles all other immigrants face when they first arrive in the United States. I suppose most immigrants, regardless of origin, would have to deal with obstacles such as the language barrier and unfamiliar customs. I vividly remember small things like missing rice as the staple in my diet and bigger challenges, including loneliness and the sense of being displaced.
I never imagined that one day I would think nothing of ordering gumbo or eating burritos, much less have a career in politics as the U.S. congressman representing the 2nd District of Louisiana.
Name: Rep. Ahn Cao, R-Louisiana
Age: 43
Birthplace: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Home: New Orleans, Louisiana
Occupation: Member of Congress
Like most immigrants, my siblings and I learned to assimilate into this big melting pot called the United States of America. We worked hard on our studies and in our businesses. Along with other Vietnamese immigrants and refugees of the time, stories of successes and heartbreaks quickly spread around the community.
Although the academic achievements of Vietnamese students in schools were touted in the media, we also agonized over the horrific news about the plights of the Vietnamese boat people.
Facing persecution and hardship in the old country, Vietnamese refugees braved the perilous seas aboard small fishing boats to seek freedom. Many lost their lives to piracy, storm and starvation. The lucky ones who were able to land somewhere would face cold rejections by a world grown tired of having to deal with refugee problems. The boat people saga continued well into the 1990s. I volunteered with Boat People SOS, a national organization that advocates for the refugees. My experience with them shaped my path in the years to come.
Vietnamese refugees braved the perilous seas aboard small fishing boats ... Many lost their lives to piracy, storm and starvation.
--Rep. Ahn Cao

  • Saigon
  • Vietnam
  • Louisiana
  • U.S. Congress
After graduating from Baylor University with a bachelor's degree in physics, I joined the Jesuits for the priesthood. After working with some of the poorest communities in Third World countries, I decided that politics would bring about quicker changes for the less fortunate among us. I studied to be a lawyer, and while working as an immigration lawyer in New Orleans, Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina changed my life. The storm destroyed my home and office.
Like many in my Vietnamese-American community in New Orleans, I came back to pick up the pieces after the storm. Facing one obstacle after another, we fought as a community to rebuild our homes and lives. During our efforts to close a landfill the city and state had opened right next to our community, Rep. Mike Honda came to hear our complaint and did not find anyone from within the community in public office to advocate for ourselves. He asked: "Who among you wants to run?" I raised my hand and began a new course as a public servant.
It has been 35 years since the first wave of Vietnamese refugees landed on American soil. Now things like Pho and spring rolls have joined the Americana mainstream. I no longer see myself as a displaced stranger; I am a Vietnamese-American.

Malaysian medical student killed in road mishap

Malaysian student Muhammad Akmal Shahiran Marzukhi's dream to become a doctor was cut short after he was killed in a road accident in South India on Thursday.
Akmal, a first year student at the JJM Medical College in Davangere in the state of Karnataka, was riding pillion on a motorcycle ridden by another student when the accident happened.
His friend had tried to avoid an auto rickshaw (three-wheeler) but lost control of the motorcycle, which skidded off the road and fell into a ditch.
Akmal suffered multiple skull fractures and died on the same day in a local hospital. His friend survived.
The 19-year-old Mara-sponsored student arrived in India to pursue his medical course last September.
Davangere is located about 260 km from Bangalore.
Malaysia's Consul-General Anuar Kasman said the body was flown out of Bangalore to KL International Airport early Saturday morning.
His funeral would be held in Kuala Kedah.

Cabinet to attract non-Malays to armed forces

The cabinet has decided to take concrete measures to attract non-Malays to the armed forces, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. The Cabinet decided at Friday's meeting to take steps to increase the participation of Chinese and Indians in the armed forces which is currently at an all-time low, he told reporters here.
"This is a positive move," Koh said, but did not elaborate what the measures were.
According to recent reports, 8,151 or 90% of those who joined the armed forces last year are Malays. Only 82 Indians and 26 Chinese enlisted in the armed forces last year, while the remaining 795 were from Sabah and Sarawak.
Koh said that efforts to bring more non-Malays into the armed forces should be carried out, but stressed that the limited participation of the other races should not be a subject of polemics.
"As the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) said, we should stop with the polemics. If we continue, nothing can be achieved," Koh added.
He was commenting on a statement by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Dewan Rakyat last Saturday which some had interpreted to mean that not many non-Malays are in the armed forces due to non-patriotism.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Media ban

The Pas-led Kedah government became the second state under Pakatan
Rakyat to penalise the media for what it deemed as a manipulation of news.

A letter, signed by the press secretary to the menteri besar, said that certain
media organisations would be banned from covering the budget session of the
state assembly beginning tomorrow.

The Kedah move followed the banning of the New Straits Times from covering the
DAP-led Penang government functions and events, effective March last year.

The Penang ban on NST has not been lifted despite appeals from some of the
biggest names in Pakatan Rakyat, including DAP chairman Karpal Singh.

Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Ken Liang described the Kedah action as censorship
and contrary to Pakatan Rakyat’s pledge to promote press freedom.

“The state assembly sitting is of public interest and every media house should
be allowed to attend and cover the meeting,” he said.

Yesterday, National Union of Journalists president Hata Wahari asked the Kedah
government to rescind the ban, announced in a letter dated Thursday and signed
by the press secretary, Muhamad Helmi Mohamad Khalid.

The letter said the state government would only allow Harakah, The Star, Sinar
Harian, Sin Chew Daily and Makkal Osai to cover the budget session which ends
on Tuesday.

This follows what the state government defined as manipulation of news and coverage directed against it.

Journalists said the letter was faxed to the bureau chiefs of all print and electronic media organisations based here.

Earlier in the week, journalists attending a press conference after the state executive councillors’ meeting on Wednesday were subjected to a reprimand by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak.

The ban means all publications and networks under Media Prima Bhd, Utusan
Malaysia and Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) cannot cover the assembly sitting.

Hata said the NUJ was disappointed with the state government’s decision.

“It is irrational and unfair of the state government to pick on selected media

“It should not overreact to reports that are not favourable towards it.”
Hata said he would discuss the issue with Helmi.

“If the state government refuses to retract the letter, all media organisations must boycott the sitting as a sign of protest.”

Kedah Barisan Nasional Youth chief Badrul Hisham Hashim said Azizan should
not overreact.

Read more: Media ban

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Trial run of sex education module yields positive results

More holistic approach to sexual health lessons for Forms 1, 2 and 4 ready to be implemented, but not compulsory.
The module for a more holistic approach to sex education is ready to be implemented in Forms one, two and four, the National Population and Family Development Board revealed.

Its director-general, Datuk Aminah Abdul Rahman, told the New Straits Times the module, co-developed with several non-governmental organisations, would also be geared towards helping curb sexual abuse among children and promoting responsibility in taking care of reproductive health.

Aminah, one of the key figures involved in developing the module, said it was meant to address a range of issues including baby dumping, teenage pregnancies and lack of parenting skills.
While the module has yet to receive any formal acknowledgement from the government, part of it is currently being taught in five schools in Kelantan, Pahang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

“This is just a trial run. Holistic sex education is important as it addresses critical informational needs not merely of the young, but of parents and the community in general.

“Comprehensive sex education must, therefore, empower individuals to ask the right questions and get the right answers without fear, shame or stigma,” said Aminah, adding that the board had also consulted the Education Ministry when it was developing the module less than a year ago.

The board, she said, had proposed that the module be taught to students in Forms one, two and four as Forms three and five were examination years.

Aminah also said that they were ready to train facilitators either from the board or school teachers for this subject.

However, Aminah said implementation of the module would depend on which ministry
or government agency would like to take part.

She was commenting on the announcement by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong that sex education would begin in secondary schools next year.

Wee had told Parliament it would not be known as “sex education” but as “social
and reproductive health education”.

Students would be taught health, psychology, sexual relations, and family and
social values.

The director of the National Population and Family Development Board’s human
reproductive division, Dr Norliza Ahmad, said the module would be a co-curricular subject and not part of the main syllabus.

Parents can opt to have their children attend class or not.

She said the trial run conducted last year yielded positive results and was well-received by both teachers and students.

“We saw a significant improvement in terms of knowledge and a more positive
attitude when we compared pre-trial and post-trial,” she said, adding that the module used in the trial run focused on cultural values, religious aspects and how to handle peer pressure, as well as assessing risk.

Dr Norliza said the board had proposed that the module be introduced simultaneously in Forms One, Two and Four and not in stages, but the decision lay with the Education Ministry.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul
Jalil said ignorance and prejudice could only be overcome through education,
adding that people must recognise that sex education was a shared community responsibility.

“We must ensure there exists a common holistic and comprehensive standard for
education on sex and reproductive health.

“This way, all Malaysians, regardless of age, gender or background, will possess
the same knowledge, skill sets and the confidence to approach the issues at hand.”

She said her ministry, through the board, had been advocating the need for comprehensive social and reproductive health education since 1995.

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (Page) chairman Datin Noor Azimah
Abdul Rahim welcomed the announcement, saying it was long overdue.

Congratulating NGOs for pushing for such a module, she said the country faced
problems such as baby dumping because sex education was not introduced earlier.

“If it had been done a long time ago, we wouldn’t need a baby hatch,” she said, referring to the facility launched earlier this year for couples who could not take care of their newborns.

National Parent-Teacher Association Collaborative Council president Associate
Professor Dr Mohamad Ali Hassan said students needed to be empowered to take
care of their mental, physical, psychological and emotional makeup.

This way, they could make wise decisions, ensuring that the future generation
was healthy in “mind, body and soul”.

“Please don’t politicise this issue as we are talking about the future of our society. I recommend that this issue be viewed with an open mind from both religious and cultural perspectives.”

Father-of-two Muhammad Shah Abdullah, 55, said he hoped students were taught
in stages so they could understand the lessons more comprehensively, adding that
sex education should cover every aspect.

“In my time, sex education was taught only in Form Four. Even then it revolved
around the reproductive organs, but it wasn’t enough. I had to learn more about it outside of school.”

Read more: Trial run of sex education module yields positive results

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

33,000 in shelters: Flood situation ‘very bad’ in Kedah, ‘precarious’ in Perlis

The floods in Kedah claimed the lives of two young sisters yesterday, bringing the total number of fatalities in the state to four since Monday. The situation in Perlis is still precarious with two-thirds of the state inundated by floodwaters, while in Kelantan it is easing up.

To date, however, more than 33,000 victims are being housed in relief centres in the three states.

The two latest victims — Siti Nadia Syukur, 13, and Sharipah, 8 — were believed to have drowned after they fell off a motorcycle, ridden by a neighbour, into an irrigation canal in Kampung Telaga Emas, Langgar in Pokok Sena about noon.
The neighbour, Intan Malik, 14, also fell into the canal but she held on to a tree and was saved by villagers.

The two earlier victims were identified as a 64-year-old German woman, Erna Fischer, who drowned in Kampung Kota Giam near Jitra on Monday night and schoolboy, Mohd Zaki Shaari, 13, who fell into a pond in Kampung Charok Bongor on Tuesday.

Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak said the number of evacuees in Kedah and Perlis was rising.

This was despite clear skies over the past two days and the Meteorolo gical Department lifting the red alert status for the states in both states on Tuesday.

Azizan said residents in Kedah, es pecially in low-lying areas, should brace for the worst.

He said the “very bad” situation in Kedah — in the districts of Kubang Pasu, Padang Terap, Kota Setar and Pokok Sena — was compounded by high sea tides.

But he expressed relief that Federal and state government agencies, as well as non-governmental organisations, had been quick in providing relief to the victims.

“The state government has ap proved a RM300,000 allocation for flood relief efforts.”

Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Md Isa Sabu said about two-thirds of the state were still remained under water, including several relief centres.

“The floods are worse than in 2005,” he said, adding that five years ago, only 19,000 victims were evacuated in both states.

The floods this time had caused the closure of the North-South Express way in Changlun, Kedah, since Monday.

Power and water supplies to four districts were also disrupted with Kota Setar being the hardest hit.

Offices and eateries, especially food stalls in both states, have yet to resume business since Monday.

Bottled water is also quickly running out of stock at most supermarkets and hypermarkets.

The Sultan Abdul Halim Airport near here had been closed since Tuesday when the runway was inundated.

At press time, Kubang Pasu recorded the highest number of evacuees at 15,275; Padang Terap at 3,993; Kota Setar at 4,543; and Pokok Sena at 823.

Fifty-five schools have been closed in Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan.

Read more: 33,000 in shelters: Flood situation ‘very bad’ in Kedah, ‘precarious’ in Perlis

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Man drowns trying to save wife

A man drowned while attempting to rescue his new bride after both of them were swept away by strong currents during a family picnic at a recreational spot in Kampung Pasir Kubur, Sungai Lembing here on Friday. It is learnt that Mohd Hazrul Abdul Jalil, 26, had taken his wife Norfaridah Mohd Amin, 26, together with his mother and younger brother, Mohd Helmi, 25, to the spot for a picnic at 10.30am.

Relating the incident, Helmi said his brother and his wife had gone for a dip at the deeper end of a river flowing by when they were suddenly swept away by strong currents.

"My brother tried to push his wife up to the surface before they were swept away to a shallow part of the river where passers-by hauled them up to the river's bank," he said.
He added that one of the passers-by performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on his brother, but paramedics who arrived soon pronounced him dead.

The wife escaped unhurt.

Helmi said his brother, who worked at the Farmers' Organisation Authority in Perak, married Norfaridah, last month.

The body was taken to Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital for a post-mortem.

Kuantan police chief, Assistant Commissioner Mohd Jasmani Yusof, when contacted, confirmed the incident. -- Bernama

Read more: Man drowns trying to save wife

Help them

The number of flood evacuees in the four affected districts
here remained high yesterday, with Kota Setar being the hardest hit. Its
number increased by more than 2,000 from Friday. In Perlis, the people were
warned to be prepared for a possible second wave of floods.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on all agencies to give their all to alleviate the suffering of flood victims in Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu.

Sultan of Kedah Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah expressed sadness at the plight of those affected by the floods, the worst in the state in recent years.

He urged all political parties, whatever their affiliation, to help those affected.

Read more: Help them

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Clinton says Malaysia a model nation to the world

Washington yesterday hailed Malaysia’s promotion of religious moderation, pledging its “whole-hearted” endorsement of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call for a Global Movement of Moderates (GMM).
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States stood behind Malaysia in its stand that moderates should not lose out to extremism as it was not the path to building sustainability and stability, as well as peace and democracy.

“Extremism promotes only conflict and hardens hearts.

“We very much welcome the prime minister’s call for a global movement of moderates and we are eager to support him and urge other leaders to take up his call to promote interfaith dialogues,” Clinton said at a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman at Wisma Putra.
Najib had, at the United Nations general assembly in September, called for the GMM, which aims to rally Muslim leaders and intellectuals to state their stand against extremism.

Clinton said the recognition of Malaysia as a global “thought leader” and a “model nation to the world” by the administration of US President Barack Obama, made the US enthusiastic about building on its ties with the country.

Kuala Lumpur and Washington, she said, shared strong partnerships that were based on common values, including respect for cultural diversity, pluralism and religious tolerance, aside from crucial trade, investment and business ties.

Washington also endorsed Malaysia’s leadership in the region’s economy, saying its role for greater economic growth was “absolutely essential”.

“Since day one of administration, Obama and I have made it a priority to re-engage with Asia Pacific as we knowthat much of the history of 21st century will be written in this region because it is the centre of so many of the world’s biggest opportunities and challenges.

“The US is committed to strengthening its ties and we are particularly enthusiastic about deepening, broadening and strengthening our relationship with Malaysia.

“We are also exploring to connect ties around the world but in particular we are very committed to expanding people-to-people engagements between the US and Malaysia.”

She later paid a courtesy call on Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is standing in for Najib, who has chickenpox.

Clinton, who earlier had a telephone conversation with Najib, also said Obama admired Najib’s vision for improving the English language through new partnerships, adding that Malaysia and the US could also improve their people-to-people ties through education and student exchanges.

“We have already begun delivering the prime minister’s vision by doubling programmes that help young Malaysians get access to high-quality after-school English programmes.

“The foreign minister (Anifah) and I agreed that our teams will begin discussing how to further expand English language learning.”

She commended Kuala Lumpur for helping Afghans rebuild their lives, especially through the deployment of aid missions that include women doctors.

On her trip, Clinton said she had been very excited about coming over and likened her visit to an appetiser.

Read more: Clinton says Malaysia a model nation to the world

Rosmah: Aim high for success

Women should change their mindset and aim for a higher degree of success, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of the prime minister, said yesterday. “This is to ensure that women are continuing meeting the challenges at both the local and global level.”
Rosmah said as the only constant in life is change, women should hold this as their mantra.
“Change is no longer a choice, but a requirement in order to remain with the quickly shifting times.”

She was speaking at the KWAP Leadership Series on women and leadership organised by the Retirement Fund Incorporated.

She said women must be creative and do away with the norm and think out of the box.
“They must seek opportunities to form strategic alliances, smart partnership and strong networking in order to strengthen their positions so that their voices will continue to be heard,” Rosmah said.

She urged women not to be discouraged by the challenges they are facing along the leadership journey.

“Women should remain focused and not get distracted easily by criticisms.
“Try to look at it as a job hazard and remember that all these challenges will ultimately make women better leaders.”

Read more: Rosmah: Aim high for success

33,000 in shelters: Flood situation ‘very bad’ in Kedah, ‘precarious’ in Perlis

The floods in Kedah claimed the lives of two young sisters yesterday, bringing the total number of fatalities in the state to four since Monday.
The situation in Perlis is still precarious with two-thirds of the state inundated by floodwaters, while in Kelantan it is easing up.

To date, however, more than 33,000 victims are being housed in relief centres in the three states.

The two latest victims — Siti Nadia Syukur, 13, and Sharipah, 8 — were believed to have drowned after they fell off a motorcycle, ridden by a neighbour, into an irrigation canal in Kampung Telaga Emas, Langgar in Pokok Sena about noon.
The neighbour, Intan Malik, 14, also fell into the canal but she held on to a tree and was saved by villagers.

The two earlier victims were identified as a 64-year-old German woman, Erna Fischer, who drowned in Kampung Kota Giam near Jitra on Monday night and schoolboy, Mohd Zaki Shaari, 13, who fell into a pond in Kampung Charok Bongor on Tuesday.

Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak said the number of evacuees in Kedah and Perlis was rising.

This was despite clear skies over the past two days and the Meteorolo gical Department lifting the red alert status for the states in both states on Tuesday.

Azizan said residents in Kedah, es pecially in low-lying areas, should brace for the worst.

He said the “very bad” situation in Kedah — in the districts of Kubang Pasu, Padang Terap, Kota Setar and Pokok Sena — was compounded by high sea tides.

But he expressed relief that Federal and state government agencies, as well as non-governmental organisations, had been quick in providing relief to the victims.

“The state government has ap proved a RM300,000 allocation for flood relief efforts.”

Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Md Isa Sabu said about two-thirds of the state were still remained under water, including several relief centres.

“The floods are worse than in 2005,” he said, adding that five years ago, only 19,000 victims were evacuated in both states.

The floods this time had caused the closure of the North-South Express way in Changlun, Kedah, since Monday.

Power and water supplies to four districts were also disrupted with Kota Setar being the hardest hit.

Offices and eateries, especially food stalls in both states, have yet to resume business since Monday.

Bottled water is also quickly running out of stock at most supermarkets and hypermarkets.

The Sultan Abdul Halim Airport near here had been closed since Tuesday when the runway was inundated.

At press time, Kubang Pasu recorded the highest number of evacuees at 15,275; Padang Terap at 3,993; Kota Setar at 4,543; and Pokok Sena at 823.

Fifty-five schools have been closed in Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan

Read more: 33,000 in shelters: Flood situation ‘very bad’ in Kedah, ‘precarious’ in Perlis

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sosilawati's family file RM60 million suit

The family of murdered victim Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya has filed a suit agst N. Pathmanabhan and five others claiming for damages amounting to RM60 million over her wrongful death. The suit was filed at the Shah Alam High Court registry through Messrs Kamarudin & Partners at 8.45am today.

Sosilawati's children Erni Dekritawati Yuliana, Erwan Suwari Rizuwan, Md Erwan Nasri, Erni Erinawati Sofia, Erni Rineelawati and Siti Nur Fatimah named N. Pathmanabhan, R.Kathavarayan, R.Matan, T. Thilaiyalagan, K. Sarawanan, and U. Suresh as respondents.

The respondents were charged over her murder.
Pathmanabhan and his farm hands Kathavarayan, Matan and Thilaiyalagan were charged with murdering the cosmetic queen while Sarawanan and Suresh were charged with disposing of evidence.

The two were sentenced to seven years jail for the offence.

The plaintiffs are claiming for RM20 million in general damages and RM40 million in exemplary damages.

Read more: Sosilawati's family file RM60 million suit

Victim hits out at bus company

The victim who lost both his legs in the Genting Sempah bus crash said the bus was in a bad condition from the start. Adip Ramli, 20, said the bus could hardly move at certain stretches. “When we passed Grik, we felt the bus might break down anytime. We heard all sorts of noises,” he said at Kuala Lumpur Hospital yesterday.
He was saddened with the irresponsible attitude of the bus company. “First, they hire a bus driver with no licence and then they give us an old bus,” he said.
He also hoped stern action would be taken against the bus company and the driver. During the accident, he said he heard all his seven friends who died screaming. The first-year architecture student hopes to pursue his studies to keep his mind occupied. His mother, Zainab Abdullah, 56, was in tears when she said she will look after her son. The housewife has nine children and Adip is the seventh. Next to his bed was the driver of the bus which crashed on Oct 29. Nurses at the unit said the driver had gone into depression. His wife was also with him to keep his mind occupied while waiting for psychiatric treatment. They added that all the victims were “traumatised by the incident” and would be sent for counselling sessions to help them cope. Meanwhile, the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board has started a probe on the bus company.
CVLB chairman Datuk Halimah Sadique said the bus, with registration plate RC 9863, belonged to Taipan Suria Sdn Bhd.
“We will look at how the company manages its drivers, vehicles and journey timetable.” The results will be presented to an Enquiry Committee on Road Accidents on Nov 8.

Read more: Victim hits out at bus company

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Driver 'sorry' for causing grief

Baling Umno division chief Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim bertanya asking Dr Fadlina Mohtar (right) about the condition of accident victim Mohd Adid Ramli ’s amputated legs at Kuala Lumpur Hospital yesterday. Adid’s legs were amputated from the knee onward.

The driver of the bus that crashed at a Genting slip road on Friday apologised unreservedly to the victims and their families for causing so much grief.
"I am so sorry and I wish I could undo what had happened," the 36-year-old said from his hospital bed in Hospital Kuala Lumpur, yesterday.

Speaking to reporters with his 35-year-old wife by his side, the driver looked remorseful and became teary when relating the incident.

He said he had been a driver for the last five years despite having no driving licence.
He said he was blacklisted by the Road Transport Department (RTD) about 10 years ago for owning a lesen terbang (illegally obtained licence).

Desperation drove the father of three to continue driving, despite his wife's objections, when he failed to land a job after a motorcycle accident in 2006.

The man, who said he had not driven for a month prior to the accident, claimed that a friend persuaded him to take the job as the latter was too tired from his recent driving stint.

He was to be paid RM120 for the trip to Genting Highlands and Kuala Lumpur.

"Everyone in the bus started praying when the bus went out of control."

The driver broke the right leg and is due for surgery today. He also received 15 stitches on the forehead.

He has been remanded for four days, since Saturday, to facilitate investigations.

Putera 1Malaysia Club president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, who visited the victims yesterday, said the tragedy could have been avoided if the bus company had been responsible.

Azeez said the company was at fault for using a bus that was not roadworthy and for hiring a driver without a driving licence.

"We want the authorities to take severe action against the company for allowing this to happen.

"We have engaged a lawyer to sue the company for negligence," said Azeez, who is also the Baling Umno division chief.

He also paid tribute to ustaz Mohd Zaidi Mohd Sufian, 28, who was also killed in the incident, saying he was "an active man who always thought of others".

"We heard he had asked rescuers to help others first before attending to him, even though both his legs were pinned under the body of the bus. That was how selfless he was."

The chartered bus was ferrying 43 youths, aged between 14 and 25, from several villages in Baling, Kedah, on an educational trip.

The youths were members of Pusat Belia 4B from Kampung Siong.

At 7pm on Friday, the entourage left Genting Highlands for Kampung Melayu Subang to participate in a homestay programme.

At 7.50pm, the bus skidded and hit a divider on the Genting slip road about 300m from the Karak Highway.

Seven people were killed while at least 17 others suffered severe injuries and were admitted to nearby hospitals. There were 46 people in the bus, including the driver and the co-driver

Read more: Driver 'sorry' for causing grief

Friday, October 29, 2010

MIND & SPIRIT: Breathing right by breathing less

DID you know that breathing has a far greater impact on our physical, mental and emotional well-being than diet, exercise or sleep? According to Russian medical doctor Dr Konstantin Buteyko, most diseases of modern-day civilisation stem from over-breathing, or hyperventilation.

Since over-breathing is not obvious, it’s called hidden hyperventilation. Its symptoms include upper chest breathing, regular yawning, sighing, sniffing, large breaths prior to talking, panting, shortness of breath, and lack of stamina or endurance. Most of us don’t give the quality of our breathing much thought even though breathing is a fundamental part of our life. It’s only when something goes wrong with our breathing, or if we require breath training for sports, singing or a medical condition, that we stop to think about the way we breathe.

Breath is life. It’s the beginning of life, it sustains life, and no life remains when breath is gone.

Through the ages, the “breath of life” has been equated with the spirit or life force. The ancient world believed that the observation, awareness and the study of the breath were key to achieving physical, mental, emotional and spiritual mastery.

Shilpa Ghatalia, a Buteyko breath practitioner, says many of us don’t breathe naturally because of the constant pressure in our inner and outer lives. We habitually hyperventilate by taking quick, shallow breaths from the top of our chest. These quick, shallow breaths sharply reduce the level of carbon dioxide in our blood and decrease the flow of blood throughout the body. Then our “fight or flight” or stress reflexes will be switched on, making us tense, anxious and irritable. This also reduces our ability to think clearly and magnifies psychological and emotional problems. In this fast-paced society, we either breathe very fast or hold our breath as a coping mechanism. We have learnt to use breathing to cut ourselves off from uncomfortable feelings and sensations. By breathing shallowly, we generally feel less.

Causes of faulty breathing include: 1. Restrictive clothing: We impede our full range of breath by wearing belts or clothes that are too tight, limiting the natural movement of the abdomen.

2. Poor posture — a sunken chest, drooping shoulders, the habit of sucking in the belly to appear slimmer, excess tension in the face, neck, throat, shoulders and respiratory muscles.

3. Physical pain, illness or injury: We have a tendency to hold our breath when we’re in pain or facing any form of stress, be it psychological, emotional or physical.

4. Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of daily exercise, stretching and movement in our daily life conditions our breathing to a narrow range of movement. Many office workers sit immobile at their desks for hours each day.

Ghatalia says we can learn the correct way to breathe by watching how babies breathe. Babies breathe lightly with a relaxed abdomen and change their breathing in a fluid manner. Natural breathing involves the harmonious interplay of the lungs, diaphragm, belly, chest, back and other parts of the body.

Our belly needs to be supple so we can breathe naturally. It needs to be able to expand on inhalation and retract on exhalation. When the belly expands on inhalation, the diaphragm moves downward into the abdomen, allowing the lungs to expand more fully. When the belly retracts on exhalation, the diaphragm moves upward to help the lungs expel gases completely. The movements of the diaphragm and belly slow down our breath rate, take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide more efficiently and help to massage the internal organs. This internal massage has a positive impact on digestion, blood flow and the immune and nervous systems.

Ghatalia believes that authentic breathing such as the Buteyko breathing technique can influence the quality of exercise we get, the way we feel about ourselves, the type of food we eat, and the amount of energy we have, all of which will result in losing or gaining weight naturally.

This breathing technique was founded in the 1950s by Dr Buteyko with the goal of restoring health by retraining the breath to normalise breathing patterns and to induce diaphragmatic breathing. It is a series of breathing exercises to teach people how to breathe less.

It is said to be an effective drug-free approach for the management of asthma and other breathing-related problems.

6 teens, ustaz die in bus crash

Six secondary school students and their trip coordinator were killed when a chartered bus skidded and hit a divider before landing on its side on the the Genting slip road about 300m from Karak Highway last night.
The bus, ferrying 44 members of Pusat Belia 4B from Kampung Siong, Baling, Kedah, was on its way back from here when the accident happened at 7.50pm.

At least 17 others others were seriously in jured.

The dead were Form One student Mohammad Amirul Mohd, 13; Form Four students Muhamad Khairy Mo hammad and Mohd Firdaus Rosedi, both 16; Form Five students Mohd Ridzuan Husin, Mohamad Yusoff Akhis and Muhamad Fahmi Mustafa, all 17; and ustaz Mohd Zaidi Mohd Sufian, 28.
At press time, several fire engines and ambulances were at the scene.

Resorts World Berhad security personnel also helped to take the victims to the hospitals.

Federal Territory Fire and Rescue Department assistant director Azizan Ismail said the remaining passengers had minor injuries.

The bus driver, in his 40s, fractured his leg while his assistant escaped unhurt.

Azizan said two passengers were flung out of the bus on impact of the accident.

The bodies of the victims and the injured were taken to the Bentong, Kuala Lumpur and Selayang Hospitals.

Gombak police chief Assistant Commissioner Abdul Rahim Abdullah said the six boys died on the spot while Zaidi succumbed to his injuries on the way to Selayang Hospital.

Police believe faulty brakes caused the accident.

Co-driver Abdul Ghani Ahmad, 56, said he was asleep when the incident happened.

Muhammad Fais Nasharuddin, 18, and Ahmad Iswal Abdul Halim, 15, were in critical condition at Selayang Hospital.

Mohd Shamsuri and Mohd Ajril Azizi Azhari, both also 15; Mohd Akram, Muhammad Syakur Sulaiman and Mo hd Hafifi Yahya, all 19; Mohd Safwan Md Mokhtar, 20; Hafizudin Onan and Mohamad Nazren, both 16; and Faiz Syazwan Azlan and Mohd Azfar, both 18, who had minor injuries received treatment at the same hospital.

Mohd Zairul Hafizad Fadzil, 15, from Kampung Baru Mukim Siong, when met at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, said he and others, including Mohd Zaidi, screamed before the bus skidded and landed on its side.

“It was drizzling when the accident happened and we all were thrown all over the place in the bus.”

Mohd Zairul said his brother, 20, was also injured.

“An ustaz organised the trip and invited youths from several villages to take part. Each of us paid RM50 for the trip.”

He said the group left for the high lands about 11pm on Thursday and reached its destination at 8am.

“It was a whole-day sightseeing pro gramme and we left the place about 7pm for a homestay programme in Kampung Melayu Subang when the accident took place.

”We were supposed to visit the city (Kuala Lumpur) today and go home about at 5pm.”