Saturday, February 28, 2015

Muhyiddin: Makeshift classrooms only temporary

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the makeshift school without walls in Tuaran was only a temporary shelter for students.

The Deputy Prime Minister said SK Penimbawan was undergoing upgrading works and the students had been placed in temporary classrooms.

He said the ministry’s secretary-general had been sent to Sabah to monitor the situation.

One off the classrooms with plywood walls and zinc tops

Muhyiddin said an allocation of about RM5mil to RM10mil had been approved a few months ago.

“It is a matter of management and implementation which takes time,” he told a press conference after attending the Pagoh youth music fiesta carnival here Saturday.

He said he directed for the upgrading works to be completed by this year.

SK Penimbawan is among 10 schools with a total enrolment of more than 2,000 students that were destroyed by either fires or landslips in Sabah since last year.

Classrooms at the SK Penimbawan are wall-less structures resembling garages with concrete floors. SK Penimbawan was destroyed by a fire in May.

The classrooms equipped with dirty chairs and table at the school

The school was without electricity when it was built and several months ago when power was supplied to the building, a short circuit cause the fire.

Two other schools facing similar predicaments are SK Tampasak in Papar district and SK Pekan primary school in Kiulu.

The two schools' classrooms comprise canopy tents with the bare ground as a floor.

The plight of pupils in SK Peninbawan was highlighted in a viral tweet with the hashtag #SchoolWithNoWall on Friday.

In a tweet directed at Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa on Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, “Please investigate and take action to help if this is true. This should not have happened.”

Friday, February 27, 2015

Najib acts on Twitter pictures of makeshift Tuaran classrooms

A Twitter campaign to highlight the sad state of affairs at a school in Sabah, which had to operate in makeshift classrooms, caught the attention of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Friday.

Pictures posted on Twitter, showing classrooms at SK Penimbawan in Tuaran using canopies, zinc roofs and plywood a year after a fire broke out there, led Najib to issue instructions to Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa.

"TS KSN @alihamsa55 siasat & ambil tindakan utk bantu jika benar. Ini tdk patut berlaku (To Chief Secretary of Government @alihamsa55. Investigate and take action to help if true. This should not happen," Najib tweeted on Friday afternoon along with images of the school.

 The classrooms equipped with dirty chairs and table at the school

Ali later responded, tweeting that he would take immediate action on the matter.

"Salam YAB Dato Sri @NajibRazak. Perkara ini sedang disiasat dan tindakan serta merta akan diambil. Terima kasih. Dr Ali. (Salam Datuk Seri @NajibRazak. The matter is being investigated and immediate action will be taken. Thank you. Dr Ali," he said via @AliHamsa55.

Earlier Friday, the tweet handle #SchoolWithNoWall went viral and received many retweets, alerting Najib's attention.

The pictures attached to the tweets showed classrooms without walls and sparsely equipped with dirty, mismatched chairs and worn-out tables.

Although the floors are concrete there is nothing to stop the wind from blowing red earth into the classrooms.

In one of the pictures, a small wall fan is visible close to a white board. There are no ceiling fans.

The plight of the school also received a response from Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin who called for swift action to help SK Penimbawan.

Muhyiddin: We cannot take threats against IGP lightly

The government views seriously the death threat made by a group of youths on Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar on social media.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said such threats could lead to bigger dangers to the nation in future.

He said three steps must be taken to contain the threat of extremism, including through education, to provide an understanding about security to the younger generation.

"Secondly, the existing laws need to be implemented effectively, and thirdly, cooperation among the public to help the authorities take the appropriate steps.

"We cannot take this lightly because today, extremism is a global issue....some of our people are involved with the IS (Islamic State), which is clear proof that it has already happened in Malaysia," he told reporters.

He was commenting on a 1:27 minute video showing three masked men who called themselves Anak Malaysia Anti Demokrasi (Amad) which went viral on the social media, threatening to blow up the IGP's car.

Another video earlier showed four men saying they planned to burn fireworks at all the courthouses throughout the country on Feb 18.

Najib: I'm suing Harakah to defend my family

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says it is his right to take legal action against PAS organ Harakahdaily in order to defend his family.

"Because they have defamed (my family), I have to sue them or demand they retract what they said in Harakah," Najib told reporters here Friday.

"What was reported in Harakah was defamatory and completely untrue. They did not show evidence. So it is my right to defend myself and my family," he added.

He refused to comment further on the matter.

Harakahdaily recently carried an article on 1MDB and Riza Aziz, who is Najib's stepson.

It was reported on Thursday that Najib had instructed law firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak to hand over a letter of demand to Harakahdaily managing director Dr Rosli Yaakop to retract the article and publish an unconditional apology in writing.

The article was a commentary piece based on a New York Times article earlier this month.
Najib was speaking reporters here after launching the start of Sri Aman Minor Specialist Hospital's construction.

The RM150mil 108-bed hospital, first announced in 2011, is targeted for completion in 2018.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Najib demands Harakah retract 1MDB article

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has given PAS’ organ Harakahdaily 48 hours to retract an article on 1MDB deemed defamatory.

Law firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak handed over a letter of demand to Harakahdaily managing director Dr Rosli Yaakop at 3pm Thursday demanding an unconditional apology in writing.

They also demand the retraction of its article Dana 1MDB Biaya Syarikat Filem Riza Aziz (Bhg 2) (1MDB Funding Riza Aziz’s Film Production Company) published on Feb 19.

Riza is Najib’s stepson.

The article was a commentary piece by Rosli based on a New York Times article on businessman Low Taek Jho’s role as a property investor published on Feb 12.

Harakahdaily is also required to give a written undertaking that it would stop repeating the defamatory statements.

Among the sentences deemed defamatory are that (businessman) Jho Lo was an intimate friend, regarded as part of the first family of Malaysia, and a trusted proxy.

Harakah had questioned where the funds were sourced, as the Prime Minister’s annual salary was only USD100,000 (RM358,00).

Harakahdaily had in the article implied elements of “money laundering”.

Other statements deemed defamatory include implying the Prime Minister had low moral, abuse power for personal interest, gaining wealth from dirty sources, and abusing 1MDB fund.

Najib is also demanding compensation for serious damage of reputation and for cost and expenses incurred in handling the matter.

Najib had given strict order to his lawyers to proceed with court action if Harakahdaily failed to response to the demand within the stipulated time frame.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rahman Dahlan takes a dig at Nurul Izzah's "Anwar offered DPM post" claim

An Umno minister took a jab at PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar for her remark that her father, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was offered the deputy prime minister's post after the 2013 general election.

"BN offering DPM post to Anwar who lost all four GEs in a row? Nurul, get a grip on yourself! #Drama," Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan tweeted.

Rahman was responding to Nuru Izzah's claim that Anwar was offered the number two post in the Barisan Nasional government after Pakatan Rakyat won 52 percent of popular votes in GE13.

Speaking at a ceramah at Seberang Jaya, Penang on Saturday night, Nurul Izzah reportedly said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak offered her father the post, on condition that Anwar agreed to "ignore" his friends in Pakatan Rakyat.

She said Anwar rejected the offer.

Rahman added that Nurul Izzah should know that Anwar didn't fight for democracy.

"He tried to topple the govt on the 16th Sept 2008, remember?" he tweeted.

Soon after the GE13 which was held in May, Anwar had claimed to have enough Barisan lawmakers to jump ship and form a government. The plan did not materialise.

Anwar was jailed five years for sodomy last Tuesday.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ismail Sabri: Unite, let’s move on

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has urged all parties to move on from his controversial Facebook post on boycotting Chinese traders, as he considered that the matter has come to a close.

This comes after Transport Minister and MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he accepted Ismail Sabri's statement of regret that his posting had stirred racial sentiments.

Ismail Sabri, who is Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister, said no good would come out by prolonging the issue.

"We should be addressing the root of the problem, which is irresponsible traders raising prices of goods, despite the drop in oil prices and electricity tariffs.

"What is the end result if we continue to bicker? It will do no good for the country.

"Now that the Cabinet has decided and Liow has agreed to accept my statement, we should stop this issue," Ismail Sabri told reporters after launching the jihad campaign against middlemen in businesses at Pasaraya Syed in Sungai Buloh near here on Friday.

However, Ismail Sabri declined to comment when a reporter asked if his statement of regret was an apology.

He said while he considered this issue to be over, he hoped the same would be true for Liow.

"MCA is a fellow comrade in the Barisan Nasional coalition. The important thing is for us to unite as the enemy is not among us, but out of our coalition," he added.

On the "joint statement" with Liow on the issue, Ismail Sabri said there was some miscommunication, and both of them decided to issue separate statements.

Liow: Accept Ismail Sabri's statement of regret and move on

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he accepted the statement of regret from Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob over the latter's remarks on boycotting Chinese businesses.

"As my colleague, Datuk Seri Ismail has officially issued a statement of regret, and as a member of Cabinet, I take note of his statement of regret and hope that this matter is put to rest and we shall move on," Liow, who is MCA president, said in a statement.

Here is the full statement:

"On the issue of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri’s call to boycott Chinese traders,  I have made clear MCA’s stand at Cabinet this week and the Cabinet had instructed Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri to issue a press statement to take responsibility for his controversial Facebook post in order to end this issue.

"I respect the collective decision of YAB Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Razak and the Cabinet that we need to provide closure on this issue. As my colleague, Dato’ Sri Ismail has officially issued a statement of regret, and as a member of Cabinet, I take note of his statement of regret and hope that this matter is put to rest and we shall move on."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Zahid: Anwar will not get special treatment in prison

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is not being given any special treatment in Sungai Buloh prison while serving his sentence for the offence of sodomising his former aide.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi stressed that all prisoners were treated equally as provided by law and the prison regulations.

"I wish to confirm this (no special treatment for Anwar) here," he said, when asked by reporters about concerns expressed by some quarters that Anwar could be given special treatment by the Prisons Department while incarcerated.

Ahmad Zahid earlier attended the ministry's monthly assembly here on Thursday.

Also present were Prisons Department director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar and Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim.

The Federal Court had on Feb 10, rejected Anwar's final appeal against his conviction and five-year jail sentence for sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, on June 26, 2008.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Power tariffs reduced from March 1

The Cabinet has agreed to reduce the electricity tariff with the imbalance cost pass-through (ICPT) of 2.25sen/ kWh beginning March 1.

The reduced tariff are for users consuming 300kW/h and more monthly.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili consumers can expect a saving of between RM13.50 and RM45 on their monthly bills.

The reduced tariffs are valid till June 30.

Guan Eng: Anwar still MP until Feb 23

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will remain Permatang Pauh MP until Feb 23, said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

He said according to the Federal Constitution, a Member of Parliament's disqualification will only take effect upon the expiry of 14 days from the day of conviction.

"Unless Anwar apologises and seeks a pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the disqualification will be suspended until the pardon is disposed.

"I have discussed this matter with him yesterday before he entered the Sungai Buloh prison but I'm not going to divulge details," he told reporters.

Lim refused to comment when asked about Pakatan Rakyat's plans should there be a by-election for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat.

The Federal Court on Tuesday upheld the Court of Appeal's conviction and five-year jail term on Anwar for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Arrest warrant issued for SSKM’s ‘Doris Jones

A warrant of arrest has been issued for a woman named "Doris Jones’’ who operates a social media-based secession movement called Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM).

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said that the woman "Doris Jones’’ is wanted for seditious activities as she was promoting secession through a Facebook page SSKM and other social media networks.

Jalaluddin said that they have put up an alert for her at all entry points in the country.

However, he did not say for sure if she was operating the page from United Kingdom or other countries.

"I don’t know, some say she in London, or may be Europe. We are on the alert for her if she enters the country,’’ he said, adding that he was not sure if she was still holding Malaysian citizenship or some other nationality as she had been overseas for sometime.

It is understood that the little known Sabahan, who is believed to be from Penampang, with her family settled in Labuan, is believed to be married in United Kingdom and works in a "legal circle”.

She is believed to be keeping in touch with local NGO networks through various social media channels including Skype to communicate with SSKM.

Jalaluddin said that police have set up a special task force and investigating various SSKM-linked postings on Facebook and other social media groups which holds weekly meetings to study the postings under the Seditious Act.

"Each week we meet, a total of 126 investigating papers have been opened over the postings. We have forwarded them to the Deputy Prosecutor,’’ he said, in urging Sabah NGOs not to get to involved in such activities.

He said police also believe that certain opposition figures were behind the NGOs linked to the activities of SSKM.

"These NGOs are going around with petitions asking people to support secession,’’ Jalaluddin said, adding that the five arrested in Lahad Datu on Sunday were released on Tuesday after investigations were completed.

In separate issue, Jalaluddin said the dusk-to-dawn sea curfew in the east coast of Sabah that has been in placed since last July would be extended to another two weeks from Feb 11 to Feb 26.

Sodomy II: Anwar sentenced to five years’ jail

The Federal Court has upheld the Court of Appeal’s five-year prison sentence on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

The apex court earlier on Tuesday upheld the Mar 7, 2014 decision against the Opposition leader.

Anwar, 67, was sentenced to five years’ jail for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari, 30, at the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

Anwar had filed 35 grounds in his petition of appeal asking the Federal Court to overturn the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

Sodomy II: Court says Saiful a credible witness, DNA evidence admissible

The trial judge was correct in dismissing impeachment proceedings against Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the Federal Court has held.

Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria, who leads a five-member panel of the Federal Court, held Tuesday that Mohd Saiful was a credible witness, and that the appellate court should be wary of disturbing the evaluation of the trial judge.

Justice Arifin further held that the DNA evidence taken from Anwar’s cell which was used to compare against samples of his semen were legally obtained.

The Court said that there was no break in the chain of evidence and no tampering.

Anwar, 67, looked downcast as the judge continued delivering the court’s judgment.

Proceedings in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal against a sodomy conviction began 10.10am Tuesday with Justice Arifin Zakaria reading through a summary of the case.

The judge began by focussing on the issues of consent and whether or not there was evidence of penetration.

The Federal Court delivers its decision Tuesday in Anwar’s appeal.

The Opposition leader is charged with sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful.

Anwar was sentenced to five years’ jail on Mar 7 last year by the Court of Appeal for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful, 30, at the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

In its 85-page written judgment, the Court of Appeal overturned an earlier acquittal by the High Court.
Anwar had filed 35 grounds in his petition of appeal asking the Federal Court to overturn the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Mat Sabu: Hadi attending Pakatan leadership council meeting

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has confirmed his attendance at Sunday’s Pakatan Rakyat leadership council meeting, said his deputy Mohamad Sabu.

Speaking to reporters at the party’s headquarters here on Friday, Mohamad said secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali has assured of Abdul Hadi’s attendance.

“We understand that he (Abdul Hadi) will be attending the PAS central committee meeting in the morning and he will stay on until the Pakatan leadership meeting in the afternoon.

“As Muslims say, ‘insyaAllah' (God willing) because you don’t know what is going to happen that day. If I were sick that day, I would probably not go as well,” said Mohamad, laughing.

The Pakatan leadership council meeting has been put on hold for months following their prolonged fallout in the Selangor Mentri Besar crisis.

On Thursday, DAP said the meeting would not proceed if Abdul Hadi did not turn up.

Its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said this was the decision made by the party’s central executive committee.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lawyer Eric Paulsen charged with sedition

Eric Paulsen was charged in a Sessions Court here Thursday over a tweet in which he allegedly accused the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) of promoting extremism.

He was brought before judge Abdul Rashid Daud to have his charge read to him.

Paulsen, who is also Lawyers for Liberty executive director, was charged with publishing seditious words on his Twitter account at stating that, "Jakim is promoting extremism every Friday. Government needs to address that if serious about extremism in Malaysia".

The offence was allegedly committed at the D5 criminal investigation unit, Bukit Aman here at about 8pm on Jan 10, this year.

He later claimed trial to the charge under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948.

Judge Abdul Rashid later fixed bail at RM2,000 in one surety pending mention on April 27.

Counsel Gobind Singh Deo appeared for Paulsen.

Cheap Smartphone Device Detects HIV, Syphilis In 15 Minutes: Study

The US and Rwandan researchers say they have developed a low-cost smartphone accessory capable of detecting HIV and syphilis from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes, Xinhua news agency reported.

This is the first device that replicates all the functions of a lab-based blood test and works by detecting markers of infectious diseases: HIV antibody, treponemal-specific antibody for syphilis and non-treponemal antibody for active syphilis infection.

The manufacturing cost of the device is only US$34, much lower than the US$18,000 that current gold standard of diagnostics, known as the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), needs.

The accessory was recently piloted by health care workers in Rwanda who used it to test blood finger-pricked from 96 patients, many of whom were women at risk for mother-to-child transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

The researchers said the device delivered test results displayed on the phone screen within 15 minutes and performed almost as well as the ELISA test.

Nearly all patients preferred it to lab-based tests, which could take up to two or more hours.

"Our work shows that a full laboratory-quality immunoassay can be run on a smartphone accessory," said lead author Samuel Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University.

"This kind of capability can transform how health care services are delivered around the world," Sia said.

The device, or dongle, can easily connect to a smartphone or computer. It is small and light enough to fit into one hand and draws all the power it needs to run by plugging into a smartphone's audio jack.

Researchers believe that this lab-on-a-chip device could help scale up early detection of HIV and syphilis especially in mobile or field clinics.

"Our dongle presents new capabilities for a broad range of users from health care providers to consumers," Sia said.

"By increasing detection of syphilis infections, we might be able to reduce deaths by tenfold. We might be able to scale up HIV testing at the community level with immediate antiretroviral therapy that could nearly stop HIV transmissions and approach elimination of this disease," he added.

The work, also comprising researchers from Rwanda Biomedical Centre, was published in the US journal Science Translational Medicine.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Anwar the most likely loser

The very public battles within Pakatan Rakyat are likely to lead to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim being its major casualty.

ONE man must be very worried over how his brainchild – Pakatan Rakyat – is beginning to unravel before his very eyes.

Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim needs a united coalition, committed to his ideals now more than ever before because he is facing the biggest game changer of his career.

On Feb 10, the Federal Court will deliver its verdict in his Sodomy 2 appeal but the coalition he heads simply can’t see eye to eye.

Ever since August last year when PAS rebuffed his request to support his wife Datin Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the Selangor Mentri Besar post, he has been watching helplessly how PAS has grown steadily in its rebellion.

Not only does PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang refuses to attend Pakatan leadership council meetings, making it largely irrelevant, the clerics in the party have been opposing one issue after another that the DAP is fighting for.

The latest is the rejection by Hadi and his clerics on local government elections, a cherished dream of the DAP which had promised its Chinese supporters it will organise one soon.

Hadi’s view is that local government elections were banned in the early 1960s because of its potential to cause racial riots and that the party was therefore against it.

Anwar desires a united Pakatan, at least on the face of it, and has been pushing for a president’s council meeting before Feb 10 but he has been frustrated by the clerics in PAS.

Until now he has failed to get Abdul Hadi to attend. Without his presence, the DAP has vowed not to attend, thus hamstringing Anwar.

Anwar is understandably apprehensive at PAS’ refusal to talk with DAP to settle their grouses because he has a lot to lose if he is found guilty and sentenced to jail.

Not only will he lose his Permatang Pauh MP seat as well as his position as Opposition Leader in Parliament, his political career will be over.

Pakatan, or what is left of it, has to choose a new leader acceptable to all three partners equally and one strong contender will be Hadi himself. Besides that, Pakatan is Anwar’s baby and he wants to leave behind a united and workable coalition able to compete with the Barisan Nasional and not a truncated coalition minus PAS, its biggest Malay partner.

He also wants Pakatan to campaign for him and his causes as it did during Sodomy One.

Hadi, however, has chosen a brave course in his opposition to DAP and to Anwar because there is strong opposition to him within his own party. He has to contend with the so called liberals or Erdogans who support Anwar, like deputy president Mohamed Sabu, and by extension they also support the DAP and Pakatan itself.

Hadi has to fight these liberals, or as one PAS leader put it, with “enemies within” and not just the DAP.

“It’s a war of attrition in PAS between the clerics and the liberals for control of PAS and to set directions for the party,” noted a leader, who said key allies of Hadi in PAS include secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali and deputy spiritual leader Datuk Haron Din and influential clerics like Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s son Nik Abduh.

Hadi’s surprising statement linking local elections to the possibility of racial tension came as a big blow to the DAP although PAS had supported local elections, albeit silently before.

“We were caught by surprise when Hadi objected (to local government elections) in such strong terms,” said a DAP MP who declined to be named.

“That’s when I realised that it is over for us and PAS,” he said.

It would appear that the PAS clerics objected to local government elections because the DAP is strongly opposed to the implementation of the hudud law in Kelantan.

“It is a tit for tat kind of situation,” said a political observer adding it makes sense for now but the opposition to Hadi and the clerics is brewing and have to be overcome, sooner or later.

As Lim Kit Siang, the DAP adviser once said, Pakatan might end up as a one-term wonder.

True to his words, Pakatan is being pulled and pushed in different ways. It is a wonder how it can hold together under such stress.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Pakatan parties are bleeding voter support because of their fundamental disagreement and their fightings.

Voters from across the racial divide see the infighting as a bane to them. They expected the coalition they voted for to get down to working for them, not fighting each other incessantly.

Anwar’s personal issues have been framed as coalition issues but the clerics in PAS are reluctant to shoulder him any longer.

Larger issues are gripping both parties. PAS wants to return to its Islamic roots while the DAP is stuck with its secular objectives, leaving little room for cooperation between the two dissimilar political parties.

The loser in this fallout must surely be Anwar.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Anthony Loke: DAP to stop attending Pakatan Council if Hadi doesn’t show

DAP will not attend the Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council meeting if PAS representatives are not attending it.

Its National organising secretary Anthony Loke said DAP will attend the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council meeting provided that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is present as well.

"I am referring to a media report quoting sources who claimed that our secretary general, Lim Guan Eng should apologise to his PAS counterpart Datuk Mustafa Ali during that meeting.

"I would like to emphasize that the necessity to do so does not arise at all and DAP will never bow to any pressure from any party," he said in a statement released on Tuesday.

He added that the party leadership stood behind Lim on the issue of a local government election in Penang and supported the state government implementing the Local Government Elections Act 2012 which was approved by the Penang State Assembly, under the Federal Constitution.

"We reiterate our position that all efforts by the state government for the election were informed by Lim to both Hadi and Mustafa, and they had not objected it before.

"During this debate for the last two weeks, it has been evident that there are many PAS leaders including MP's and veterans who have expressed support to restore the local government elections around the country," he said adding that the elections were parallel to the Pakatan common policy.

Loke said that their Central Executive Committee (CEC) has approved a resolution that DAP leaders will attend the meeting with the presence of the PAS president.

"This is to avoid a situation where any decision reached in PR is not sanctioned by PAS," he said.

Last Wednesday, Mustafa said, contrary to Lim’s allegations, PAS was never consulted on local council elections in Penang before it was tabled in the state assembly in May 2012.

Prior to that Lim had said that he had contacted both Hadi and Awang on the phone before pushing for the implementation of the elections.

Denying this, Mustafa said PAS was only consulted after the enactment was tabled via a phone call from Lim.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Beware of malware on smartphones

The new malware that infects and locks computer data until a ransom is paid can just as ea­sily infect smartphones, warned CyberSecurity Malaysia.

Its chief executive Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab said smartphone users should be vigilant against the Ransomware malware.

“Four cases of Ransomware on computers have been reported to our Cyber999 Help Centre in January alone,” he said.

Dr Amirudin said the incidents involved two companies and two individual users.

In comparison, there were three cases last year, and just two cases in 2013.

“As yet, CyberSecurity Malaysia has not received any reports on smartphones infected with the Ransomware but prevention is better than cure,” he said in an interview.

He noted that among the ways computers and cellphones could get infected was through email attachments containing the malware, which would install itself.

A pop-up message on the screen would state that the PC was locked and all files encrypted, besides a US$100 (RM363) “penalty” for visiting “an illegal website”.

Following the incidents, Cyber­Security issued an advisory to all Internet users, including organisations, about the threat.

Dr Amirudin said victims should never follow the payment instructions but contact Cyber999 for assistance.

“Other than assisting the victim, the report will also provide us with vital information which will enable us to better tackle or mitigate the problem,” he said.

He said Internet users should have up-to-date anti-virus software and not click on unsolicited web links in an email.

Dr Amirudin also advised users to perform regular backups of all critical information to limit the impact of data or system loss and to help expedite the recovery process.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

JDT fans rapped over "dog" banner, 12 detained

Some Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) fans have earned the “royal wrath” for unleashing a giant banner depicting a dog in a suit with Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) emblem on it during the Charity Shield match against Pahang at Larkin Stadium, Johor Baru on Saturday night.

Describing the act as 'biadap' (disrespectful), the Crown Princess of Pahang, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah said she was "ashamed" of the behaviour of the JDT supporters.

"As someone who was born and bred in Johor but settled in Pahang , and as the wife of the FAM president, this is all I have to say; BIADAP and KURANG AJAR (disrespectful and rude).

"My father never brought me up this way," she said in her personal Instagram account  "tengkupuanpahang".

The banner depicted a dog with a human body holding a puppy with “RM” displayed in a bubble talk. 

Many believed that they were implying that FAM only cared about money rather than managing local football.

The banner, which was unveiled at JDT supporters' section, also courted criticism from the netizens, saying that this was not the way to express their disagreement with the football body.

Some had however defended the move and denied allegations that the dog was made in reference to FAM president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah who is also the Crown Prince of Pahang.

"In no way the banner said they were referring to the royalty, they're just mocking FAM in general," said one Facebook commentor.

Although the banner seemed 'shocking' among local football enthusiasts, European football had seen a similar 'message' on a giant banner in August last year.

Polish football team, Legia Warsaw unveiled a giant banner featuring a pig in the logo of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) after it removed them from the Champions League qualifying round against Celtic for fielding an ineligible player.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the controversial dog banner, Johor FA, in a statement said 12 individuals have been identified and detained by the police.

"They will be remanded for five days to assist in investigations. If found guilty, those individuals will be banned from any Johor stadiums for life," said Johor FA, in a statement.

"Johor FA will not tolerate any form of provocation. We strongly urge all the supporters of Johor Darul Ta’zim to protect the good name of the club and heed the mandate of HRH Crown Prince of Johor to be professional fans," it added.

JDT edged Pahang 2-0 in the game which also doubled up as a Super League match.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

MIC: Things will go out of control, says Muhyiddin

Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy are to step in to solve the crisis in the coalition partner MIC.

Barisan deputy chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said they had to meet MIC's top leadership and discuss the next course of action for the party "to protect the image of the coalition."

"With the current situation, it seems that if we do not interfere, things will go out of control.

"We will meet with them and take the next action within the MIC constitution," he told a press conference after launching the new Bahasa Melayu Institute of Teacher Education on Thursday.

Muhyiddin said Barisan will also look into the notice (of re-elections for the top posts and several divisions) from the Registrar of Societies (RoS) before making any further decisions.

"It seems that the president of the party (Datuk Seri G. Palanivel) seems to be out of focus ... and I am not going to criticise and make it look out of control.

"But this is definately not good," said Muhyiddin.

MIC: Palanivel, Subra reach moratorium

MIC president Datuk Seri G Palanivel has agreed to a moratorium to allow for discussions with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to resolve the party crisis.

"I agree to a moratorium to allow both sides to discuss with the Prime Minister as Chairman of Barisan Nasional to find the best way forward to resolve the crisis," Palanivel said in a statement on Thursday.

He said he and his deputy, Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam, will "stand down" as they did not want the party crisis to get worse.

"We will have a moratorium. I do not want the party crisis to escalate," Palanivel said.

He said the moratorium will give both he and Dr Subramaniam "a period of non-crisis to resolve the issues that have come up."

"We will meet and decide on the next course of action that will satisfy all quarters as soon as possible," he added.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PAS challenges DAP to debate over local council polls

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali has challenged Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to a debate over the party and DAP’s dispute concerning local council elections.

Accusing Lim of spewing “half-truths, Mustafa said, contrary to Lim’s allegations, PAS was never consulted on local council elections in Penang before it was tabled in the state assembly in May 2012.

“It was wrong for him to say that we agreed to their proposal. This goes to show that he is 'celupar' (a loose cannon),” he told a press conference at PAS’ headquarters, Wednesday.

Lim is reported to have said he had called both PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Mustafa before Penang pushed for the implementation of council elections.

Denying this, Mustafa said PAS was only consulted after the enactment was tabled via a phone call from Lim.

“He then asked me to give positive comments to the press because he said DAP has been pressured by NGOs to fulfil their election promises by pushing for the third vote.

“All I said was, ‘God willing’. But this did not mean that PAS supported their proposal,” he said.

Mustafa said it was not fair for Lim to have labelled him dishonest and warned him to be mindful of his words.

He added that PAS had consulted DAP on the proposed implementation of hudud in Kelantan before the party joined a special committee to study the implementation of the syariah criminal law.

“Is it fair for me to say that Lim or DAP had agreed to hudud because they had no problem with us joining the committee? Of course not.

Mustafa added that it was better for both he and Lim to face each other in an open debate “to find out the truth”.
“Let’s determine who is telling the truth, who isn’t. As for me, I am responsible for my statement,” he said.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lizard Squad ‘claims responsibility’ for Facebook, Instagram outages

Lizard Squad, the hacker group which claimed responsibility for hacking into Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) website, has indicated that it was also responsible for Tuesday’s worldwide Facebook and Instagram outages.

“Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, AIM, Hipchat #offline #LizardSquad,” tweeted the group at 2.36pm (Malaysian time) Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, many Internet users took to Twitter to complain about glitches on Facebook and Instagram resulting after they were were unable to access both sites.

Instagram posted a tweet on Twitter acknowledging the problem.

“We’re aware of an outage affecting Instagram and are working on a fix. Thank you for your patience,” tweeted the photo-sharing service at 2.51pm.

By 3.10pm, Facebook was back online while Instagram was accessible at 3.20pm.

On Monday, MAS’ website was compromised by a group calling themselves the Official Cyber Caliphate.

The “hackers” later identified themselves as Lizard Squad, the group allegedly behind the hacking of Microsoft’s Xbox Live and the Sony's PlayStation Network last year.

Alleged MAS hackers also took down Microsoft, Sony

Lizard Squad, the hacker group which claimed responsibility for taking down Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) website on Monday, has also claimed credit in the past for the hacking of Microsoft's Xbox Live and the Sony's PlayStation Network.

According to online technology news portal TechCrunch, users of Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on Christmas day last year reported suffering service disruptions and difficulty logging into the networks.

Lizard Squad also claimed to be the “Official Cyber Caliphate”, a hacker group allegedly associated with the Islamic State terror group and which earlier this month took control of the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the United States’ central military command.

The Cyber Caliphate hackers tweeted a message titled “Pentagon networks hacked. AMERICAN SOLDIERS WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS. #CyberCaliphate”.

It was reported that the message also included links to supposedly confidential US Army files, although there is indication that some of the files may have previously been made public or aren’t highly confidential.

In the MAS website hack, the group claimed to have taken information from the airline’s servers. It later shared a screenshot of an inbox with passenger itineraries.

MAS confirmed that their Domain Name System (DNS) had been compromised and that users were re-directed to a hacker website when accessing their website.

“At this stage, Malaysia Airlines’ web servers are intact. The airline has resolved the issue with its service provider and the system is expected to be fully recovered within 22 hours,” said MAS in a press statement, Monday.
MAS has reported the issue to CyberSecurity Malaysia and the Transport Ministry. They also assured customers and clients that the temporary glitch did not affect bookings and that user data is secure.

The airline's website was back to normal on Tuesday.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Anwar to know outcome of final appeal on Feb 10

PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will know the verdict of his appeal against his sodomy conviction on Feb 10.

This was announced in a tweet on Monday by Federal Court communications and international relations chief Mohd Aizuddin Zolkeply, who said "Decision of DSAI v PP at Federal Court fixed on February 10, 2015 at 9.00 am" on the Malaysian Judiciary's official Twitter account, @MYJudiciary.

If Anwar is found guilty, he would be disqualified as the member of parliament (MP) for Permatang Pauh as per Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution which states that an MP would be disqualified if he or she is sentenced to a jail term of more than a year, or fined more than RM2,000.

In the appeal.  Anwar, 67, is asking the Federal court to set aside the conviction and sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal on March 7 this year after it had overturned a High Court decision to acquit him.

The hearings ran for eight days from Oct 28 to Nov 7 2014.

The Court of Appeal found Anwar guilty of having sodomised his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 27, at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

The charge under Section 377B of the Penal Code carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years and whipping, upon conviction.

On Jan 9, 2012, the High Court acquitted and discharged Anwar of having sodomised Mohd Saiful on the grounds that the court could not be 100 per cent certain on the integrity of samples taken for DNA testing from the alleged victim.

Selangor gets dengue warning

The number of dengue cases in Malaysia is on the rise, with nearly 3,000 new cases recorded in the past week.

With more than 1,000 cases, Selangor grabbed the lion’s share of the attention of the Government.

“The Health Ministry has urged Selangor and its local councils to pay close attention to the rise in dengue cases,” said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, who added that dengue in Petaling Jaya had worsened.

“Local councils must keep a close watch on proper waste management and other related problems which may lead to the increase in dengue cases,” he told a press conference after presenting 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) 2015 here yesterday.

Ministry deputy health director-general Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai said the matter was “in the public’s hands”.

“Right now we are looking at 2,500 to 2,800 cases every week.

“The public has to be aware that dengue is back,” he said as he advised the public to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds around and within their homes.

“It is highly important that we take a proactive stance against dengue,” said Dr Jeyaindran.

At the height of last year’s dengue crisis, incidences hit a high of 3,500 cases a week.

On another matter, Dr Hilmi said the ministry was studying the possibility of relocating government clinics away from low-lying areas that were prone to flooding.

“The recent floods in Kelantan and Terengganu have shown that clinics are not suitable to be built in such locations, where the floods destroyed 15 of them – four in Terengganu and 11 in Kelantan.

“The Terengganu government agreed to allocate three pieces of land for the rebuilding of the clinics,” he added.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Najib cancels WEF programmes, flies to Riyadh for King Abdullah's funeral

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak cancelled all his programmes at the World Economic Forum (WEF) here to attend the funeral of King Abdullah Abdulaziz in Saudi Arabia.

Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, are scheduled to leave Davos at 9.30am (4.30pm in Malaysia) and fly to Riyadh at about noon from Zurich, said the prime minister's press secretary, Datuk Akmar Hisham Mokhles.

Najib's working visit to the United Kingdom remains as scheduled, from Jan 24 to 26.

King Abdullah died early Friday at the age of 90. His brother, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, has been named the new king.

Najib to meet high-level decision makers from foreign companies

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will kick off his first day at the 45th World Economic Forum with a message to investors that Malaysia is ready for business.

In his second appearance at one of the world’s important gatherings of great minds, with this year’s theme “The New Global Context”, he will send a message that Malaysia is at the heart of the world’s potential growth area, which is Asean.

As Asean chairman, Najib is expected to deliver a strong message as well as lay the right foundation towards the realisation of the Asean Economic Community in line with Malaysia’s chairmanship of the regional grouping this year.

He will meet 55 high-level decision-making officials from foreign companies, and 39 Malaysian corporate leaders during a closed-door business luncheon jointly organised by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) and Invest KL.

Among top local corporate ­bosses who will attend are Khazanah Nasional group managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Axiata president and Group CEO Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and UEM Group chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali.

Global companies that are attending include General Electric, Barclays, Bata, Huawei, Lippo Group, Hyatt Hotel and Ernst and Young.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, is expected to explain the current economic situa­tion and pre-emptive measures announced on Tuesday to sustain Malaysia’s economic stabi­lity and retain the flow of foreign investments into the country.

Later in the afternoon, Najib will hold a 20-minute bilateral talk with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte at Panorama Hotel, the venue for the WEF, and meet Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu.

Najib will meet heads of five ­foreign companies, possibly for talks on new investment ventures as well as to expand existing investments in Malaysia.

The first day will end with bilateral talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Najib is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with his Kazakhstan counterpart Karim Massimov and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Najib arrived here on Wednesday night and was received by Malaysian Ambassador to Switzerland Datuk Mohd Zulkephli Mohd Noor.

Besides Najib, other heads of states or govern­ment that have confirmed their participation include King Abdullah II of Jordan and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The WEF will see the congregation of more than 40 world leaders, as well as 2,500 participants from 140 countries.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Don’t fear the police, says Robert Phang

The public should not hesitate to approach the police when assistance is needed, said Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission representative Tan Sri Robert Phang.

"They often have a perception that their reports will be ignored or that they will need to wait for a long time before any action is taken.

"In addition to that, it is a common stereotype that police officers often speak in a rough manner by addressing the public with ' apa kamu mahu? '( what do you want?)" he said.

He added that the training for police officers should henceforth include public relations and human relations.

"The public should be able to feel that the Police department and its officers are there for them, to help them when needed," he said during the Safer Malaysia Conference at the National University of Defence  (UNPM).

Robert added that the Police department is under a lot of strain and stress as the expectations on them varies, but it is important for all issues to be addressed by them.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the legal department  also often has trouble in receiving cooperation from the public, especially as witnesses.

"First things first, we need to change their mindset and let them know that they are under no risk and will be protected.

Giving the Prevention of Crime Act ( PCA) as an example, he said that the people fear it as they feel it is a varation of the Internal Security Act  ( ISA).

"Unlike ISA, rhe public prosecutor has a say in the PCA and whether or not a person should be arrested under the act. We look into all the related evidence and evaluate it under section 9.3 of the Act to see what can be done next," he added.

Wan said that identified witnesses are often hesitant to come forward in fear of their life and explained that things are handled differently now.

"When the witnesses do not turn up, we put the case on hold and call in the witness on a private basis.
"They will then be placed under the witness protection program and given the opportunity to testify without a counsel present, after explaining why they did not turn up in court to testify," he said adding that lack of cooperation would interrupt the investigation and delay the conclusion.

Home Ministry obtains stay against ruling to return ‘Allah’ CDs

The Home Ministry has succeeded in obtaining a stay of execution against a court ruling for eight compact discs containing the word “Allah” to be returned to their owner.

High Court judge Justice Asmabi Mohamad allowed the stay application pending an appeal.

Clerk Jill Ireland’s CDs were seized on May 11, 2008, at the then low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Sepang, when she returned from Indonesia.

The Home Ministry had held then, under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA), that the CDs were in breach of the guidelines of the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim).
In July last year, High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Zaleha Yusof had ordered for the items to be returned to the owner.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nik Aziz stable but unconscious

Former Kelantan Mentri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat is in stable condition but remains unconscious, his son Nik Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz has confirmed.

“He is critical and he needs to be in intensive care.

“Doctors have done their best and my father is stable but he’s unconscious,” Nik Abduh told reporters after visiting the PAS spiritual adviser at Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital (HUSM) Kubang Kerian on Tuesday.

Nik Abduh added that is father was warded due to prostate cancer and that Nik Aziz, 83, had undergone chemotherapy in 2012.

“He is on a breathing support machine and I did not talk to him because he was unconscious,” he said.

Nik Abduh, a PAS central committee member, also highlighted that his father’s health had begun to deteriorate in December last year.

Sirul detained in Australia

Sirul Azhar Umar , convicted of murdering Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, was detained in Queensland, according to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation report.

The report said Sirul, 43, was taken into custody by immigration officials in Brisbane overnight after an Interpol red notice was issued.

Sirul is believed to have gone to Australia in October.

He was sentenced to death last week together with his former Special Action Unit colleague Azilah Hadri, 38, for the murder in 2006.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Budget Revision: Highlights

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced key measures to sustain development and economical growth on Tuesday.

According to him, the Government will continue to seek ways to ensure the country continues to grow as well as protecting the people's well-being.

The highlights of his announcement include: 

*  The 2015 National Service Training Programme stopped this year to save RM400mil; programme to be reviewed and enhanced.

*  Electricity tariff will not be increased this year.

*  Free visa for tourists, among them from China, in a strategy to boost the country's tourism industry.

*  Levy on foreign workers to be reviewed.

*  Priority given in project tenders to local contractors registered with the Construction Industry Development Board - Class G1 (Class F), G2 (Class E) and G3 (Class D) contractors.

*  Local contractors to be given the task of carrying out repair works on flood-hit areas.

*  Increasing the frequency and duration of mega sales nationwide.

*  Extending the period of mega sales nationwide.

*  Intensify domestic tourism promotions by offering competitive airfares.

*  Scheduled gas price hike for the industrial sector postponed.

*  Projects such as the MRT Line 2, LRT 3, Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail will be continued.

Najib also said that the Government has revised the fiscal deficit forecast to 3.2% for this year from 3% projected earlier.

He said the notion that declining oil prices and a subsequent contraction in export revenue would result in a deficit current account was not true.

With the reduction in the retail price of petrol and diesel by 35 sen and 30 sen, respectively, Najib said the rakyat's gross disposal income now stands around RM7.5bil.

Najib said the current account balance is expected to remain in surplus, adding that although the ringgit has depreciated, it is expected to stabilise over time to reflect the strong economic fundamentals.

He noted that the development expenditure of RM48.5bil for this year will be maintained and spent, with operating expenditure expected to be reduced by RM5.5bil.

Najib is adjusting Budget 2015, with both proactive and pre-emptive measures, in bid to ensure sustainable development and the resilience of the economy.

His announcement at a special function, Tuesday, focuses on actions and policy interventions to handle the changing economic scenario caused by the oil price slump.

When Najib, who is also Finance Minister, tabled Budget 2015 last year with an expected expenditure of RM273.9bil against an expected revenue of RM235.2bil, oil price averaged around US$90 (RM355) per barrel.

But the price has been falling and is expected to drop to as low as US$40 (RM140) in the first six months of this year.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Floods: Twelve schools closed in Sarawak

A dozen schools in flood-hit Sarawak have been closed, the state Education Department confirmed Monday.

Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah told The Star the affected schools were either flooded, closed due to submerged roads, or being used as evacuation centres.

"Our preliminary report shows 12 schools. More information will be available at 11.30am," Fatimah told The Star.

The schools that are closed are:

* Bau - SK Suba Buan

* Padawan - SJK Chung Hua Batu Kitang and SK St Mathew Mundai

* Limbang - SK Ukong

* Mukah - SK Kuala Kenyana

* Baram - SK Long Tungan, SK Long Bemang and SK Long Panai

* Serian - SMK Tebakang

* Lawas - SK Luagan

* Daro - SK Bawang Tian and SK Orang Kaya Sergunim Matu.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Najib: Malaysia does not tolerate religious provocation

Malaysia will not allow religious provocation or any threatening act or insults of any religion to take place even in the name of freedom of expression, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister reiterated that freedom had its limitation and that authorities would continue to take action against those attempting to stir religious conflict in the country.

"Mutual respect among the various races is a basic principle that we need to practise to ensure national harmony is maintained," he said in his message aired over local radio, Friday.

Najib said Malaysia strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in several locations around the world such as in Paris and Sydney recently.

"In the 'Charlie Hebdo' context, we completely avoid such attacks, nevertheless at the same time, it is pointless to accept such actions of provocation against other religions," Najib said, referring to last week's incident which saw an attack on the office of the French satirical newspaper in Paris that resulted in the deaths of 12 people.

The newspaper had published provocative cartoons that were seen as insulting to Muslims.
Drawing attention to the White Paper on terror, tabled in Parliament in November last year, Najib added that the Government was committed to safeguarding Malaysia from militant threats.

Floods: New disaster management research centre to be set up

A new Centre of Excellence for Research on disaster management will be set up, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. He said RM20mil in special grants will also be offered for research into disaster management and flood mitigation, through the Long Term Research Grant Scheme and Fundamental Reserach Grant Scheme.

 "Landslides, haze and floods often occur in our country, and there needs to be a comprehensive and effective approach to disaster management. "This includes the aspects of environmental management, disaster preparedness, public awareness programmes, relief coordination, communications and the rebuilding of disaster-hit areas," he said in his New Year's address to Education Ministry staff here on Friday.

 Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, said that estimated cost of damage to schools and tertiary institutions in the recent floods was around RM500mil. "I hope schools and institutions located in flood-prone areas will prepare for the possibility of floods.

 "Students, teachers and parents should also be given disaster awareness education so that they will be physically and mentally prepared for such disasters, and are able to look after their families' safety," he said. On another matter, Muhyiddin said that the Malaysia Education Development Plan (Higher Education) 2015-2025 will be launched in the first quarter of this year.

 "This plan will produce innovative and creative talent in line with the 'new academia' agenda of the 11th Malaysia Plan," he said. Muhyiddin also announced the setting up of the Malaysian Inclusivity, Development and Advancement Institute (Minda) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, which will carry out research on "social and economic inequality in society with a focus on economic development that is inclusive and narrows the wage gap".

 Muhyiddin later handed out letters of autonomy to five universities – Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Muhyiddin: No directive on baju kurung for non-Muslim students

There has been no directive by the Education Ministry to stop non-Muslims students from wearing baju kurung to school said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Muhyiddin said on Thursday that the regulation was probably issued by the school itself and added that the ruling was not right.

"We will speak to the school authorities and correct this ruling so that it is in accordance to the regulations set by the ministry," he said.

Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said that schools should not set their own regulations as they wished.

It was previously reported that a secondary student who was non-Muslim was barred from entering class as she wore a baju kurung.

The school claimed that it was against their dress code.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Guidelines for Muslim Community regarding new cartoons(Charlie Hebdo) to be published Tomorrow - Wednesday 14 January 2015

The following points are general guidelines for Muslims on how to initially deal with and immediately react to the depiction of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in magazines due to be published tomorrow (WEDNESDAY).

1. For every Muslim, Love of the Prophet ﷺ is a NECESSARY part of his/her FAITH. He is dearer to us than our mothers, fathers, sons & daughters. We prefer him to our own self.

2. The publishing of cartoons will hurt the sentiments of 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, as well as millions of non-Muslims who respect the great personality of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

3. Muslims do believe in freedom of speech. And they do respect the right for people to say what they believe to be correct. However, we all know that there is no such thing as absolute free speech. There are laws to protect the dignity and properties of people. We urge all decent minded Governments and individuals to respect these sensitivities, as we should respect all races and religions.

4. As it is clear that the cartoons are to be published again, Muslims will inevitably be hurt and angered, but our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the one we love & are angered for, ﷺ.
Enduring patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy as was the character of our beloved Prophet (peace and Blessings be upon him) is the best and immediate way to respond.
With dignified nobility we must be restrained, as the Quran says “And when the ignorant speak with them, they say Peace.”

Our aim is to not, inadvertently, give the cartoons more prominence through our attention. Muslims must remain calm and peaceful in their speech and actions. Repel harm with goodness is the Qur’anic imperative and by which the Prophet Muhammad lived. Legal action, civil protest, letter writing & other legal avenues can then be considered,insha Allah.

5. Muslims have to remember that by depicting the Prophet ﷺ, no one can ever tarnish his image, as he is way beyond what is depicted, as Allah says, ‘We have elevated your remembrance’. We should spend such regrettable moments in reading lots of Durood, sending salawaat and blessings to his beloved personality. May Allah's mercy, peace & blessing be upon his soul.

6. Engage with others about your feelings. Speak of your love for the Prophet ﷺ and do not be shy to let your non-Muslims friends know your justified anger at the mockery that is made of our faith. People need to know HOW MUCH WE LOVE OUR NABI ﷺ.

7. Learn more & share more about the great Prophet Muhammed ﷺ.
Here is a piece I wrote about al-Mustafa, the Chosen One that will help you along that path.
From a distance you notice his eyes – piercing, brilliant and engaging. The choicest Praise and Mercy of Allah be upon him. Muhammed, the Praised one is Ahmed, the greatest in Praise of Allah; sublimely appropriate. Al-Mustapha, the Divinely Chosen, is real. He was flesh and blood. Human.
I love him, O Allah, I love him sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

In a world of distortion, where truth is overcome by fiction, the full moon rises. Although obscured by shadows or an overcast sky, the moon remains. Such is the fame and honour of Muhammed, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Of average height, he towers above the elite of history. He would stand fully erect without a lazy slump. He was powerful, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. His chest was broad with a dusting of hair that extended vertically in a thin line down to his flat stomach, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
Any kind of hardships you can envision and pray to never face was shouldered by him, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, simultaneously.

He experienced in his 63 years of blessed life more tribulation than a cohort. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was an orphan, a widower, battle scarred, and unjustly outcast. He outlived many of his children and buried some of his grandchildren. His uncle, the Mercy of Allah be upon him, was martyred and his body desecrated. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was defamed, mocked, lied to and lied about. He was poisoned, stoned, and had to witness his companions tortured on account of their faith in his Message, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.,

Sabraan, remain steadfast in patience, O Family of Yasser; your destination is Paradise. His teaching was simple. Allah, the All Mighty, is the only One deserving of worship and devotion. All that we encounter is by His Command. No harm can befall without His Permission.

His hair, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was black and wavy. He liked to keep it longer in length, usually not past his earlobes. It contained a few gray strands, about 23 in number. With dark irises he could, by Divine Permission, view a world that was unseen. He had long, dark eyelashes that from a distance could be mistaken for kohl. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, would not avert his attention from a petitioner until their voice fell silent. His eyes would sleep but his heart was awake. His eyes never betrayed or invited treachery, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

The weakest, poorest and socially downtrodden would access him, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, as readily as the chieftains. He sheltered the needy, fed the hungry, protected the vulnerable, guarded the secrets and instructed the uninformed. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was calm when others were agitated, loving when others were filled with hate, and polite when shown contempt. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is the highest standard of character and the spring of Divinely ordained etiquette.
His skin, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was soft and naturally fragrant. His blessed hands were softer than silk and gave off the scent of aromatic musk. He was reddish in colour. He was not dark, nor was he pale. His skin was blemished with the seal of prophethood between his shoulder blades. He was proportional in all respects, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

In his prayer, he found comfort and pleasure. His voice quivered in awe of the All Mighty. When leading others, he would, for the most part, recite from al-Qisar (the short chapters). If he heard a child crying, he would cut the recitation short to relieve the parent of any distress. His, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, grandchildren would ride atop his back during his prostration, and he would not move until they felt content. His voice was measured, and he paused at the end of every verse. He would recite the Qur'an in various accents to accommodate all the dialects of his companions. When alone at night, he would pray. He would remain vigilant for half the night, sometimes more,
sometimes less. When he recited a passage addressing Allah's Divine Mercy, he would stop and ask for it. If one of torment, he would seek protection from it, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

His face, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was manifest beauty. His eyes were well set apart and covered by full brows. They were not sunk into his face or overtly protruding. His mouth smelled sweet, and his teeth were always clean and white. His saliva was a medicine and blessing, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. By the Grace of Allah, it was a cure to the blind, increase in food to the poor, and an ointment to the disfigured. He had a full, dark beard that obscured his slender long neck from a distance. His smile was radiant, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

He was soft spoken except when he sermonised on Friday. His voice was melodious and captivating. He spoke only when necessary and refrained from idle chit-chat. His, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, tongue was true. He loved to listen and would ask questions of those whom he instructed. He was modest and sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. He smiled and laughed often, seldom loudly.
When he, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was displeased, it could be read from his face. He never raised his hand against another living creature except during Divinely ordained battle. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was courageous and led from the forefront. He stood in the ranks of his soldiers and faced the hardship they endured. He ate what they ate, slept where they slept and dressed as they dressed. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was a man unlike the world has ever seen.

He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, dressed similar to his compatriots. He never owned a throne or regal markings to distinguish himself, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, from others. He would walk without an escort and disliked sentries being placed to guard him. He preferred neutral shades of white, green and black to clothe himself with. When he ate, it was never to his fill, and he always ate while sharing his food with others. He loved milk, dates and honey. His favourite dish was tharrid – roasted mutton on buttered bread and broth.

He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, cared for the earth and despised wastefulness and corruption. He was a tree hugger LITERALLY. He loved animals and instructed his companions to show kindness to them. When a camel wept, he would stroke it and speak to it in hushed tones. When the tree whimpered, he paused his sermon and embraced its trunk, whispering to it soothing words of comfort. Animals took comfort in him, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Today, his modality of life and tradition remain intact, preserved not only in print, but in conscious spirit.

He loved us so much, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. He would think of those who would believe in him many generations after his generation and weep in longing and hope. He loved us more than some care to consider. Every Messenger of God was allowed a request that would be answered by Allah. All the Messengers utilised their invocation in the worldly life except for Muhammed, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, preserved his invocation to be intercession on the Day of Judgement for those who accept his message!

None can truly claim faith until Muhammed, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is more beloved to them than their parents, spouse and children. To know him is to love him. To love him is to obey him. If he, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was to walk into your life now, what would he think?
O you who believe, send your greetings to Muhammed, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

by Yahya Adel Ibrahim