Friday, October 31, 2014

Dr M: Absolute equality between sexes a “stupid idea”

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says absolute equality between men and women is a "stupid idea" as there are inherent differences among them.

"Today, Islam is faced with the idea that men and women should be equal.

"There are differences between men and women, physically and mentally, so it would be a stupid idea to suggest that all women do what men do and all men do what women do," he told the audience at the International Islamic Forum here on Friday.

Dr Mahathir said Muslims should be prepared to defend their stand that there is no such thing as absolute equality between the sexes.

"There can be equality when it comes to becoming the Prime Minister, but not in other matters," he said.

Dr Mahathir had said on Thursday that there was no law to prohibit a woman from becoming PM.

He also said that Malaysian men were becoming lazy as more women had successfully entered institutions of higher learning and earned higher salaries than their male counterparts.

This had led to many women being forced to marry men with lesser qualifications than them, he was quoted as saying.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sodomy II: Appeal proceedings extended to Thursday

Proceedings in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal against conviction will be extended a day, with the prosecution expected to only begin submitting on Wednesday.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah confirmed the prosecution’s submissions would be either “tomorrow afternoon, or the day after tomorrow”.

Despite starting his submission at 9.30am, Anwar’s lead counsel Gopal Sri Ram had asked for two extra hours to finish his submissions when the court took a break for lunch at 1pm.

Asked his opinion about the defence’s submission, Shafee said it was an argument they expected to hear, and that the prosecution had “all the answers”

Anwar verdict: Federal Court hears appeal against sodomy conviction

The final appeal for Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to set aside his five-year jail sentence for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, began Tuesday.

A five-member panel led by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria will hear submissions from Anwar’s defence team of 14 lawyers led by former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram.

The other judges on the panel are Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Shariff and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar and Datuk Ramly Ali.
The court will also hear the prosecution’s cross appeal to increase the jail sentence imposed on Anwar, 67.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is leading the prosecution team.

He is assisted by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria.

Wearing a black suit, Anwar arrived in court at 8.55am, accompanied by his wife PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and their children, including Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah.
The courtroom was packed with local and foreign press, as well as members of the public.

On Jan 9, 2012, the High Court acquitted and discharged Anwar of sodomising Mohd Saiful, 27, on grounds that the court could not be 100% certain on the integrity of samples taken for DNA testing from the alleged victim.

The court had ruled that the samples could have been compromised before they reached the chemistry department for analysis.

However, on March 7 this year, the Court of Appeal overturned the high court’s judgement and found Anwar guilty of sodomising Mohd Saiful.

The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge had erred in his findings about the samples which were based on the evidence of two expert witnesses called by the defence.

Anwar was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for the offence allegedly committed at Unit 11-5-1 Kondominium Desa Damansara, Jalan Setiakasih in Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

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

This is the second sodomy case against Anwar.

In the first case, he was found guilty of sodomising his family’s driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, at Tivoli Villa here in 1994, and was sentenced to nine years’ jail by the High Court on Aug 8, 2000.

The court ordered him to serve the sentence after the completion of his six-year jail term for corruption; Anwar was found guilty of four charges of corruption on April 4, 1999.

After spending nearly six years in jail for corruption, he was released on Sept 2, 2004, after the Federal Court led by Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad, who went on to become the Chief Justice, overturned his conviction and set aside Anwar’s jail sentence on the sodomy charge, in a 2-1 majority decision.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Security reportedly tight in UM ahead of Anwar event

Campus security at Universiti Malaya (UM) is noticeably tighter ahead of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's scheduled appearance at the institution on Monday.

Traffic was already building up at the university's Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya gates around 11am, as cars without official UM stickers were stopped and questioned by campus security.

The Damansara gate near the Kerinchi Link toll booth was closed. This was in stark contrast to just three hours earlier when vehicles were freely allowed to enter the campus.

Earlier at 7am, guards posted at the Petaling Jaya gate on Jalan Gasing scarcely looked at vehicles streaming in (motorists regularly use the campus as a "shortcut" between Petaling Jaya and Brickfields).

It was reported on Sunday that the university would supposedly be in a lockdown, with all its entrances except the main gate to be shut by 4pm, over a student event with Anwar that is set to take place at 9pm.

It was also reported that the police would allegedly handle the university's security from 7am onwards.

However, UM sources and the police subsequently denied these reports, saying that neither parties’ had plans nor knowledge of the lockdown.

As of 12.30pm, it appeared to be a calm and regular day at the UM campus, with no police personnel in sight.

Angry Birds ‘on the loose in JB’

Five years since its debut when it was all the rage among gamers, the Angry Birds are now “nesting” in an indoor park that is set to open its doors to the public on Oct 31.

The park will provide games, activities and entertainment related to Angry Birds like Lazer Bird Shoot, Red Bird Goal, Piggy Shooting Gallery and Captain Black Bird Ship.

Located on the third floor of the Komtar Johor Baru City Centre (JBCC) shopping mall here, its tickets will be priced at RM75 per entry.

MyKad or MyKid holders, however, are charged RM60.

There will be also be special passes such as those for families. Children below 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult at all times while at the park.

It will be opened from 10am to 10pm daily.

The 26,000sq ft park, which has a gross development value of RM17mil, is South- East Asia’s first indoor Angry Birds Activity Park.

Johor Corporation president and group chief executive Datuk Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim said the park was targetting about 150,000 visitors in its first year of operations.

He said the park offered an alternative for visitors who were looking for family-oriented entertainment and not just shopping outlets.

“We believe we can exceed the target and even hit the 200,000th visitor count as our sales partners have committed some 40,000 tickets. The response has been encouraging,” he told reporters after the preview session here yesterday.

The park is a joint venture with the game’s founder Finland-based Rovio Entertainment Ltd to let visitors enjoy themselves through interactive and educational activities.

Rovio’s director of sales and relationships Jonna Nummela expressed her delight with the partnership with JBCC in their first South-East Asia venture and commended their attention to detail to stay true to the game.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Maal Hijrah: Forge Greater Unity Call To Muslims

As Muslims usher in the Islamic new year of 1436 Hijrah tomorrow, calls have emerged for the community to discard differences of opinion and forge greater unity.

They have also been reminded to adhere strictly to the Quran and Sunnah in keeping with the decree of Prophet Muhammad.

Two of the Muslim leaders who have been quoted as giving such advice are Ahmad Fazrin Yahaya, chief executive officer of the Association of Malaysian Muslim Intellectuals (Ilmu), and Mohammad Fazril Mohd Saleh, president of National Association of Muslim Students Malaysia (PKPIM).

Ahmad Fazrin advised Muslims to adhere strictly to the Quran and Sunnah before the differences of opinion turned into a cancer against Muslim unity.

He said the differences of opinion in religion arose when Muslims banked on logic without making the Quran and Sunnah as the basis for resolving problems.

As such, he said, the authorities responsible should proactively promote religious programmes and hold comprehensive discussions on the confusion arising from the differences of opinion so as to enhance the religious literacy of Muslims.

"Do not wait for something to happen before issuing a statement. Instead, Muslims must continue to be educated in order to emphasise the importance of studying religion so as to be always on the right path of Islam," he told Bernama.

Ahmad Fazrin said the differences of opinion must be managed so that every issue linked to religion could be resolved more effectively.

Mohammad Fazril, meanwhile, said Muslims in the country should apply the concept of community consensus in dealing with current issues.

He said Muslims should act more wisely when confronted with complex issues involving religious sensitivities and, at the same time, resolve them without conflict.

"We have to solve problems in the right way according to Islamic law so that people of other religions do not have a negative perception of Islam," he said.

Mohammad Fazril advised youths to equip themselves with religious knowledge to ensure that they were not easily influenced by the changes in the globalised world.

This year's Maal Hijrah carries the theme 'Unity, the Pulse of National Transformation'.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Petrol subsidy rationalisation system using MyKad being studied

Petrol subsidy rationalisation system is still under study and would be implemented using the MyKad, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

Ahmad said on Thursday that the high-income group would have to pay RM2.58 per litre for RON95 while the low-income group would still continue to pay at per current RM2.30 per litre rate.

The rich will have to pay the full market price of RON95 petrol beginning June next year while the low-income group will continue to enjoy the current subsidised rate.

"For the middle class, some will still enjoy the subsidised rate," he said in a press conference after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Budget 2015 briefing for officers from Rural and Regional Development Ministry and agencies.

He said that it did not make sense for those driving luxury cars to enjoy a subsidy of 75 litres of petrol while the low-income group 7.5 litres for each refueling.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Malaysians celebrate Deepavali in a joyous ambience

Malaysians of the Hindu faith Wednesday celebrate Deepavali in a joyous ambience by holding religious events and open houses.

The highlight of the celebration in the national capital is the Deepavali open house hosted by MIC at Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here, which was attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

The beating of drums and flutes accompanied the arrival of Najib, who is also Umno President and Barisan Nasional Chairman at about 10.15am.

On hand to receive him were MIC President Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, his deputy Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam and other party leaders.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri and about 5,000 people of diverse races.

Najib, who was in a cream-coloured kurta, the traditional Indian attire, later cut a cake together with other guests of honour before leaving the function at 11.10am.

Speaking to reporters later, Najib said the Deepavali open house being held annually in the country could create a cordial atmosphere among each and every Malaysians.

"Many can get to meet their friends of the Hindu faith and we must enhance further the feelings of goodwill and harmony among Malaysians," he said.

He described this year's event as very joyous and in accordance to tradition.
Meanwhile MIC secretary-general A. Prakash Roa said it was a unique feature that all races could celebrate together whenever there was a festival in the country.

"Not only Deepavali, during Chinese New year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, all can join in to sample the food and understand the culture of all the different races in the country and this harmonious atmosphere must be sustained," he said.

Foreigners who visited the open house also get to enjoy the auspicious festival.

Czech Republic Ambassador Rudolf Hykl said the Deepavali celebration in Malaysia, that was participated by all Malaysians from multi-racial backgrounds, was very interesting.

"The Indian community is one of the largest communities in this country, which is an ethnically rich nation. So for me it is important to have this experience," he said.

Meanwhile another well-wisher Ghazal Nabil from Syria said the festivity was very special because it was celebrated by all the communities while the food served could be savoured by everyone.

"I'm interested in the racial diversity here, I want to know as much as I can while I'm staying here," he added.

Jais' Dakwah chief: Let's build religious understanding

When officers of the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) are seen at a temple or church, more often than not, the first thoughts on people's mind would be - no, not another raid.

This perception arose probably due to the raids carried out by Jais in seizing bibles from the Bible Society of Malaysia last year.

Last month, however, the presence of the officers at several non-Muslim places of worship were greeted with open arms.

The visits at the Sri Maha Maryaman temple in Shah Alam, the Samadhi Vihara Buddha temple in Shah Alam and the Syrian Orthodox Church in Klang were part of a Jais programme to expose participants pursuing a course on comparative religions to other faiths.

“It is the first time that we organised something like this. We want the participants to know for themselves how devotees of other religions observed their faiths.

“We want to build an understanding so that in future, religious issues don’t become a polemic,” Jais' Dakwah Department assistant director Mohd Basori Omar said.

The programme was attended by 50 participants ranging from dakwah officials, college lecturers, teachers, government servants and committee members of mosques.

Basori said Jais had conducted five series this year of the comparative religions course but the first time it included the visits to temples and churches.

He said for some of the participants, the visit was the first time in their lives that they had stepped into a non-Muslim place of worship.

He noted that Muslims were allowed to walk into a church or temple as long as they did not sway from their faith in Islam.

“Muslims must strengthen their own faith and understanding of their religion before visiting other places.

"But the important thing is not to let differences of religion be a barrier in having relations with others,” he said.

“There is no problem if you want to learn. Organise the visit properly so no misunderstanding will occur,” he added.

Basori said during the time of the prophets in Madinah, Muslims and Christians lived together in harmony.

“Why can’t Muslims follow what has been practised by our prophets long ago?,” he said.
He believed that both sides might have misconceptions because of the lack of understanding of one another’s religions.

Basori added that all religions are the same in that they only taught good – they did not teach people to steal, consume alcohol and lie.

“It is not right to put down other faiths,” he said.

He said non-Muslims could visit mosques although they have to observe the rules.
“This would be similar to how other places of worship have their own rules as well,” he said.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

FT PAS Youth: What next, a sex fest?

PAS is worried that after the ‘I Want to Touch a Dog’ campaign, Muslims will be invited to participate in a sex fest next.

Its Federal Territories deputy youth chief Nurul Islam Mohamed Yusof said there was a valid reason for concern, especially after events like ‘Topless Friday’ and ‘Octoberfest’ were organised in the country recently.

“We are worried that one day someone will organise a ‘sex and condom’ campaign, based on the rationale of safe sex and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“Our stand against such events is because we consider it a threat to the religious and cultural values practiced in this country, and not because we are paranoid,” Nurul Islam said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said Muslims had a responsibility to preserve the sanctity of Islam in a multicultural society like Malaysia, and said more thought must be given before organising events that clearly serve to diminish religious values.

“Muslims are advised to increase their knowledge of Islam and its appreciation for the self and their families, as well as the society around them.

“We hope programmes like the dog-petting event can be prevented sooner in the future,” he added.

Let's get our act together, Najib tells Muslim world

Muslim nations need to continuously work together in finding new ways to strengthen sustainable economic growth, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said the Muslim world must continue to emphasise that they are peaceful nations and a source of global prosperity despite the recent negative reports involving certain Muslim countries.

“Our potential is enormous if we organise and get our act together,” he said when addressing participants at the ADFIMI-SME Bank International Development Forum 2014 at a hotel here on Tuesday.

The forum, attended by financing professionals, policy makers and market players, was organised by the ADFIMI (Association of National Development Finance Institutions In Member Countries Of The Islamic Development Bank) and SME Bank.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said while there remain obstacles to the development of the Muslim population, Islamic countries have generally made remarkable progress.

“Many Muslim countries have transformed themselves in the past decades to become hubs and sources of prosperity.

“These include in the areas of logistics, oil and gas, services and Islamic finance.

“This is why we need to continuously explore working together to challenge ourselves and develop revolutionary methods on how entrepreneurs can leverage on each other to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic growth,” he said.

Najib pointed out that member nations of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have become a significant group in the global economy.

“The total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of OIC countries has grown 25.3% over the period between 2008 and 2012.

“From US$7.5 trillion in 2008, it reached US$9.4 trillion in 2012,” he said, quoting statistics from the 2013 report of the Statistical Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries.

The forum attracted speakers from various nations including Yemen, Turkey, Indonesia, Qatar, Bahrain, Uganda, Iran, Malaysia and Oman.

Zahid Hamidi: Illegal gambling centres in Perak suspected of funding some politicians

Some politicians in Perak are believed to be financed with proceeds earned from illegal gambling centres in the state, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. 

He said although the politicians concerned were not directly involved, they were believed funded by the illegal gambling centres namely in - Kuala Sepetang, Bagan Panchor and Pulau Kuala Sangga - to carry out their political activities. 

"Based on information I received, there are politicians involved. If they want proof, the police have the evidence," Ahmad Zahid told reporters here on Monday. 

He said this when asked to comment on newspaper reports on gambling activities in the three areas, which were said to be hard for the authorities to penetrate. 

In this regard, he said, the political parties concerned should take action against members who were funded by proceeds from illegal gambling activities. 

Earlier, Ahmad Zahid held a meeting with members of Motorcycle Clubs nationwide in conjunction with the Registrar of Societies' carnival to be held next month.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gerakan suspends Tan Lai Soon for ‘pendatang’ statement

Gerakan has suspended Johor delegate Tan Lai Soon over his speech that implied that Indians, Chinese and Malays are "pendatang" or immigrants.

The party's central working committee, after an emergency meeting on Monday that was called in response to complaints by 14 party members, decided that Tan would be suspended and has been issued a show cause letter.

At Gerakan’s 43rd National Delegates Conference on Sunday, Tan chastised Umno members for calling Chinese and Indians "pendatang" and said that Malays were no different as they came from Indonesia.

Tan said only the Orang Asli and natives in Sabah and Sarawak could be considered the original inhabitants of the land.

Gerakan deputy president Datuk Dr Cheah Soon Hai told reporters on Monday that the party condemned the remarks made by Tan.

"It is not the party's stand, we are all Malaysians and no Malaysian is a "pendatang" or an immigrant.
"All Malaysians that are born here are Malaysians. I think that if a Malay called a Chinese "pendatang" it will hurt and vice versa," Cheah said.

"We have taken note that Tan has retracted his remarks and apologised for it," said Cheah.
Tan will be given 14 days to respond to the show cause letter on why he should not be expelled from the party in accordance with Article 17.2 of the party's constitution.

Cheah apologised to all Malaysians who have been hurt by Tan's remarks.

"We reiterate once again that Gerakan is a party of all races and we do not condone any remark that is un-Malaysian," he said.

"We call on all parties to cease making any accusation that will further aggravate the situation. Gerakan has always uphold and will continue to uphold the Federal Constitution and Rukunegara," he said.

Better for Muslims to learn to care for orphans, says Hadi’s son on dog-touching event

PAS deputy youth chief Muhammad Khalid Abd Hadi says Muslims would be better off campaigning for other things besides "touching a dog".

"Instead of campaigning to touch a dog, it would be better if they campaigned about taking care of an orphan.

"The Prophet Muhammad once said that anyone who strokes the head of an orphan would receive plenty of reward for each strand of hair stroked.

"Instead of learning about how we should stroke a dog's back, why not we learn how to cleanse our feet during wudhu (ablution) without taking off the layer of clothing," Khalil, who is the son of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Suggesting that the "Touch a Dog" event on Sunday was a way for Malaysians to de-stress from problems such as the fuel hike, Khalil said Muslims should first learn how to hold and kiss the Hajar Aswad stone in Kaabah before they thought about how to stroke a dog.

"There is an incident related in the Holy Quran about pet dogs. The lesson from it is not for us to have dogs as pets, but for us to acknowledge that dogs also played an important role in Islam's struggle."

He added that Muslims' involvement with dogs went as far as feeding it when hungry and not injuring it as it deserved to be treated as any of God's creation.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sex blogger Alvin Tan slammed for alleging ex-girlfried Vivian Lee offering escort services

Facebook users have slammed sex blogger Alvin Tan for claiming that his former girlfriend Vivian Lee is now offering escort services.

Tan, who jumped bail to seek asylum in the United States, made the allegation in a Facebook posting on Thursday.

Lee has since hit out at him over the allegations and replied with a scathing response titled "Dear Alvin Tan the Almighty", stating that it was her "final act of love" as his allegation was "the last straw".

Facebook user Ivy Lam urged Lee to stop wasting her time by trying to get back Tan’s attention.
"Girl, don't waste your time on him. He is not facing his own problems like a man. Well, if he was, he wouldn't have left you here to face the music alone. Repent and get your own life. It's okay, we all learn from mistakes," she commented.

Joyce Teo also urged Lee to move on with her life and learn from her mistakes.
"Dear Vivian, just move on with your life and learn from your mistakes. Don't let others take advantage of you," commented Joyce.

"Alvin doesn't deserve to talk about love. Even if she did that, as a friend or an ex-boyfriend, shouldn't you just guide her or care about her? If this is the way you want to show your concern, which is to humiliate her on Facebook, that’s pretty shameful," said netizen Ng Yang Yang.

Adonis Plutus Alangre said advised Tan to be careful in the near future.
"Alvin, karma will eventually catch up with you and hopefully it involves some bizarre accident. You don't actually use your brain that much so it's considered as a waste of oxygen for the rest of us," Alangre wrote.

Ooi Keat Shang said that Tan was just bored in the United States and seeking attention with his Facebook post.

“Hides in the United States and he keeps posting updates on Facebook. He is afraid that Malaysia will forget him. Let him 'enjoy' his freedom alone in the United States,” said Shang.

Yakvb Tvfail felt Alvin was displaying a pattern of chronic narcissistic behaviour and urged him to seek professional help.

Adrian Amalraj said that he has never seen such a “crap” person in his life.
“In my opinion, he should protect and secure the girl he once loved even if they are separated,” said Amalraj.

Tan and Lee were slapped with multiple charges over their now-defunct Sumptuous Erotica sex blog and their controversial "Ramadan greeting" involving a pork dish bah kut teh.

They regained temporary possession of their passports on May 18, but only Lee showed up on June 3 to return it.

The Sessions Court has issued a warrant of arrest for Tan and forfeited his RM20,000 bail after he failed to return his passport on Aug 22.

Malaysia Wins UN Security Council Seat

Datuk Seri Anifah Aman
Malaysia won a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), taking 187 out of the total 192 votes.

The voting took place at the United Nations General Assembly hall to fill five vacancies among the Security Council's non-permanent membership.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, was at the hall to observe the voting process.

The new members will take up their seats on Jan 1, 2015 and will serve on the Council until 31 December 2016.

The five seats available for election in 2014, distributed regionally, will be: one seat for the African Group (currently held by Rwanda); one seat for Asia-Pacific Group (currently held by the Republic of Korea);

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hisham: I will not protect my brother if he is in the wrong

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has denied any involvement in the awarding of a liquor-labelling contract to his younger brother, Datuk Haris Onn.

"I don't know what my brother gets up to. I do not have any knowledge or involvement in what he does.

"If there is some discrepancy, then he should be answerable," answered Hishammuddin when queried on the issue by reporters at a press conference at the Parliament lobby on Thursday.

"As far as I know, he has not benefited from my present ministry or any previous ministry which I have held in the past.

"I will leave (the issue) to the authorities. He will not have personal protection from me if he is in the wrong," added Hishammuddin.

He stressed that he had a principle against awarding any contracts to family members, as it would be a conflict of interests.

On Wednesday, Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua questioning the award of the RM77mil concessions contract from the Royal Malaysian Customs Department to Haris' company, Lembah Sari Sdn Bhd.

The contract to print security labels for liquor products was awarded via direct negotiation, said Pua.

Lembah Sari Sdn Bhd is also employed by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department to print security labels for cigarettes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ahmad Maslan: No plans to privatise KTMB

The Government has no plans to privatise Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB), the Dewan Rakyat was told Wednesday.

"If anyone has heard that KTMB is to be privatised, I w

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the Government was instead striving to transform KTMB's operations and services and strengthen its financial position.

"Hopefully, the transformation will enable make KTMB profitable," he said when replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad (BN-Mersing) during question time.

The original question came from Lee Boon Chye (PKR-Gopeng) who had wanted to know the financial performance of KTMB after being incorporated in 1992.

Ahmad said several initiatives had been adopted to restore the railway company's financial position through the KTMB Transformation Laboratory that was established with the help of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).

The initiatives included a review of passenger fares and cargo charges, rescheduling of the time table or termination of unprofitable services and a focus on maintenance, he said.

 "The implementation of these initiatives is expected to enable KTMB to garner a profit of RM33.1mil in 2015. With a better financial position, KTMB will be able to continue with its services in a sustainable manner without having to depend on financial aid from the Government," he said.

He said several factors contributed to the losses suffered by KTMB, such as low fares, high cost of operations involving maintenance of wagons, cost of electricity and diesel consumption, and cost of manpower.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Malaysians who die fighting for IS are not martyrs

The Malaysians who went to the Middle East to fight and die for the cause of Islam did not die as martyrs but is a common death and tantamount to meaningless death, said Kelantan Mufti Dato Muhamad Shukri Muhamad.

He added that while many believed that going to another country to die in the name of Islam, whether or not a person who died a martyr is determined by the country they were killed in.

"In my opinion when a person joins an extremist group like Islamic State (IS) and died while fighting for such groups had a common death like any other accidents," he told reporters at the sidelines of the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly meeting here on Tuesday.

Muhammad Shukri was asked to comment on Malaysians who died fighting in the Middle East after joining militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were hailed as martyrs.

He said martyrdom must first be recognised by the Islamic country where the person died before it is also recognised by the country of origin.

"In the first place persons who joins an extremist groups cannot be recognised a Muslim fighter and the basic consideration for martyrdom is when the person dies fighting a hostile Kafir (infidel) and dies in the process of freeing his country from aggressors who intend to invade their country's sovereignty and religion," he added.

Wisma Putra was reported in a statement released on June 25, confirmed that a total of 15 Malaysians had died in Syria under IS.

Shafee maintained as prosecutor in Anwar Sodomy 2 case

Muhammad Shafee Abdullah from acting for the prosecution.
The Federal Court here has dismissed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's third bid to disqualify lawyer Tan Sri

The panel lead by Justice Arifin Zakaria dismissed the attempt to nullify the Attorney General-Chambers (ACG) to appoint Shafee, finding no reason to interfere.

"The proper mode of challenge is by judicial review," said Justice Arifin Tuesday.

This was Anwar's third attempt to disqualify the veteran lawyer from leading the prosecution team in the main appeal.

In the application filed on Feb 27, Anwar stated that Muhammad Shafee was not a fit and proper person to lead the prosecution appeal team following his being fined by the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board.

However, the five-man Federal Court panel disagreed, saying the fine did not disqualify him as a lawyer.

"The AGC found him a fit and fine person to represent the prosecution.

"We are of a firm view Shafee as a prosecutor would not compromise the integrity of proceedings," said Justice Arifin.

The panel on Tuesday also included Justices Md Raus Sharif, Abdull Hamid Embong, Suriyadi Halim Omar and Ahmad Maarop.

Anwar was represent by lawyer Tommy Thomas, while Shafee acted for himself.

Anwar had first challenged the legality of Muhammad Shafee’s appointment by the Attorney-General by fiat (authorisation) under Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

However, this was dismissed by the Federal Court on Nov 20, last year.

His second application to disqualify Muhammad Shafee, based on a statutory declaration (SD) by former Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim, was also dismissed by Federal Court on Feb 11, this year.

These cross appeals were in regards to the main appeal involving Anwar's second sodomy case.
Anwar is applying to the Federal Court to acquit himself of his sodomy conviction by the Court of Appeal.

Concurrently, the prosecutor sought to increase his jail sentence from the current five years.
Anwar, 67, was acquitted by the High Court on Jan 9, 2012 for allegedly sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, his former aide, at Desa Damansara Condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

However, the Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and sentenced Anwar to five years in prison for the offence.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Status of Chinese schools no longer an issue, say leaders

Any attempt to question the status of Chinese schools in the country must stop now that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given his reassurance of its place in the country’s education system, said leaders.

United Chinese School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong) president Ong Chiow Chuen said Najib’s reassurance, which was made during his speech at the 61st MCA assembly, proved that vernacular schools had its place in the education system.

“With this assurance, the community does not have to worry about this anymore,” he said.
Condemning those who had made use of the issue to stir up racial sentiment for their own political gain, Ong urged Najib to take stern action against them.

Najib’s reassurance had come in the wake of a call by Petaling Jaya Utara Umno deputy chief Mohamad Azli Mohemed Saad for his party’s coming general assembly to discuss the possibility of abolishing Chinese primary schools.

MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said Najib had in his speech endorsed Chinese education in the country.

“If the Barisan Nasional chairman (Najib) has endorsed this, it is a non-issue,” he said.
Najib’s call for MCA to close its ranks, he said, was also “wise and timely”, adding that people were “fed up” with internal conflict.

“A united MCA will not only benefit the party but subsequently improve the general election results,” said Dr Wee, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

A central delegate from Subang, Low Seow Hwee, warned those threatening to close Chinese primary schools not to test MCA’s patience.

“We (MCA) also have feelings. Do not push beyond our limit. If you want to close Chinese schools, you have to close MCA first,” said Low when delivering his motion of thanks on the party president’s speech.

MCA central committee member Datuk Ti Lian Ker said he took his hat off to Najib for taking a strong stance on Chinese education.

“He also encouraged the Chinese to be fluent in Bahasa Malaysia, which is welcomed,” he said.
Welcoming Najib’s statement, Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong said it “confirmed the position of Chinese and Tamil schools as part of the Malaysian education system”.

He said the call for MCA to “move towards the right direction” also served as a reminder to other Barisan component parties, including Gera­kan, to do the same.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Several injured in Bukit Bintang bomb blast

At least 14 people, including two women, were injured after a grenade exploded in front of the Sun Complex in Jalan Bukit Bintang here on Thursday.

Police said they received information of the blast outside a pub at about 4.30am. Four cars were damaged in the explosion.

It is learnt that the explosion came from underneath a car that was parked in the area. Another unexploded device, also believed to be a grenade, was found underneath another car, a Toyota Camry.

It is learnt that two explosive objects were thrown at the scene from the second floor of a building.
The injured, ages between 22 and 40, have been sent to Hospital Kuala Lumpur and the nearby Tung Shin Hospital. A car jockey is said to have been warded at the intensive care unit.

The cars that were damaged by the explosion included a Toyota Vellfire, Camry, Mazda and a BMW 5 series.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Twelve-hour water supply disruption in Selangor tomorrow

There will be an unscheduled water supply disruption in Selangor from 9am to 9pm Thursday, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) has announced.

The disruption will affect the districts of Sepang, Hulu Langat, Petaling and Gombak, Syabas said in a Facebook statement.

The reason for the disruption is an emergency maintenance done by Konsortium ABASS Sdn Bhd at the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant.

"Simultaneously, Syabas will also be carrying out maintenance and upgrading work in 4 locations within the area.

"All of these maintenance works has been approved by the National Water Services Commission (SPAN)," said the statement.

The public who would like to get more information on the specific areas which may face disruption can contact their customer service at 1-800-88-5252, visit their Facebook page or log on to their website at

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Minister: Govt still mulling over Sedition Act

The Government is still mulling whether to amend the controversial Sedition Act 1948 or to abolish it altogether.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri  said the Government was studying ways to address weaknesses of the Act.

"Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) has already committed to (abolish the Act) but at the same time, I hope you appreciate the current situation.

"The process to create a new law is going on, and so is the discussion on whether we can amend the Sedition Act or draft a law that will complement it," said Nancy in reply to Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Parliament Tuesday.

Anwar had asked why the Sedition Act was still being used when Najib had committed its abolition.
He also said the continued use of the "draconian" law was against Najib's promise.

Nancy said the only reason the Sedition Act was being was because there was no other act to deal with those with the tendency to incite and create chaos in the country.

She also stressed the Government practised the separation of powers and thus would not step into the shoes of others.

"The one responsible for this process is the Attorney-General's Chambers, so as the Executive, we do not get involved.

"They are the ones who have the power to charge, prosecute or drop the charges," said Nancy.

She said the Government was committed to protecting Malaysians and action would be taken against anyone disrupting the peace and harmony of the nation.
"No one is above the law," she added.

Two million Malaysian families surviving on less than RM3,000 a month, Parliament told

The country's average household income may have risen by some 10% in the last five years but there are still two million families living on less than RM3,000 a month, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar told Parliament Tuesday.

"Although the Government believes we are on track, it is still is not comfortable," he said in reply to a question raised by Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim (BN-Kuala Selangor).

He said that average household income had seen a positive rise from 2009 to 2014, but 28.7% of families still survived on less than RM3,000 a month.

He added that the household income for some 40% in the lowest income level had recorded a rise, from an average of RM1,440 in 2009 to RM1,847 in 2012 and RM2,313 in 2014.

The Government would continue to assist those in the lower-income group and ease their burden via programmes such as BR1M, Kedai 1Malaysia and affordable housing, he said.

"One crucial area is ensuring continued economic growth, which will result in improved job opportunities for the rakyat to better their income levels," he said.

Earlier, Abdul Wahid told lawmakers the Statistics Department had carried out surveys in 2009, 2012 and 2014 on household income levels, based on United Nations criteria.

He noted that median household income rose an average of 8% annually for the past five years which was above the annual inflation rate of 2.3% for the same period.

He said that average monthly household income in 2009 was RM4,025,  RM5,000 in 2012 and RM5,919 for 2014.

Massive waves hit Penang seafront

Strong west-southwesterly winds whipped up huge tidal waves here, driving the swells into retaining walls at the Esplanade and Gurney Drive.

The giant waves rose higher than lampposts along the promenade, drenching the roads with sea water.
Pedestrians were seen recording and snapping photographs as vehicles hit by the white foamy breakers inched along.

Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) work
ers and bulldozers were deployed to both locations to clear sand that was washed onto the roads.
At the Esplanade seafront, MPPP worker S. Prakash, 27, slipped and fell when a large wave hit him as he was clearing the pathway filled with sand.

“Throughout my five years with the MPPP, I’ve never seen such huge waves.

“I panicked when I saw how high they were,” said Prakash who did not suffer any injuries.
Over in Batu Ferringhi, the tidal waves wreaked havoc at the food court in Miami Beach, destroying the tiled floor, tables and chairs.

No one was injured in the incident as most of the stalls were closed yesterday for Hari Raya Haji.
A spokesman from the Meteorological Department said the strong winds over Thailand had caused the huge waves to hit the northern states of Malaysia.

According to the department’s website, the strong winds had caused waves of up to 3.5m high over the waters off Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Miri in Sarawak, the west coast of Sabah and Labuan.
The strong winds and rough seas are expected to last until Sunday.

The department warned that current conditions would be dangerous to small crafts, recreational sea activities and sea sports.
Aftermath: A council worker  checking the damage sustained after waves hit the food court at Miami Beach.
Aftermath: A council worker checking the damage sustained after waves hit the food court at Miami Beach.
State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow meanwhile said the state government was not evading responsibility by blaming high rainfall for the recent flash floods.

“We acknowledge that our drainage systems were unable to cope with the intensity of rainfall in the two hours from 8pm to 10pm on Friday,” Chow told a press conference.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Budget 2014 will address difficulties caused by 'very minimal' fuel price increase

The upcoming Budget 2014 will ease any difficulties created by the recent fuel subsidy reduction, resulting in a 20 sen increase in RON95 petrol and diesel prices, said Datuk Seri Hasan Malek.    

"Wait for the budget. We will address any burdens through several measures, including increasing BR1M," the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister told reporters after launching the Malaysian Intellectual Awards ceremony here Thursday.

Hasan said that the 20 sen increase was "very minimal".
"We are not doing this to burden the people. This is to strengthen the nation's financial reserves," he said.
Hasan said his Ministry would conduct 24-hour surveillance to ensure prices for goods and services did not go up due to ripple effects from the fuel price hike.

"I am confident the budget will stick to the 'people first' promise," he said.

The prices of RON95 petrol is now RM2.30 per litre and diesel is RM2.20 per litre.

Petrol and diesel prices were last increased, also by a 20 sen margin, on Sept 2 last year.

The current unsubsidised market price for RON95 is RM2.58 per litre while diesel is RM2.52 per litre.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Azmin announces Selangor exco portfolios

SHAH ALAM: Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali (pic) announced the portfolios for himself and his 10 state executive councillors, Wednesday.

The list of portfolios is as follows:

1. Azmin Ali (PKR-Bukit Antarabangsa) - Chairman of Finance, Land Development, Natural Resources, State Economic Action Council and Information.

2. Datuk Teng Chang Khim (DAP-Sungai Pinang) - Chairman of Investment, Industry (SME) & Commerce and Transportation.

3. Iskandar Samad (PAS-Cempaka) - Chairman of Housing, Development Management (Pengurusan Bangunan) and Urban Living.

4. Elizabeth Wong (PKR-Bukit Lanjan) - Chairman of Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Consumerism.

5. Ean Yong Hian Wah (DAP-Seri Kembangan) - Local Government, New Village Development and Legalising of Factories.

6. Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi (PAS-Sijangkang) - Chairman of Islamic Affairs, Malay Customs, Rural Development and Village Traditions.

7. Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PKR-Seri Setia) - Chairman of Education, Human Capital Development, Science, Technology and Innovation.

8. V. Ganabathirau (DAP-Kota Alam Shah) - Chairman of Poverty, Compassionate Government and Plantation Workers.

9. Dr Daroyah Alwi  (PKR-Sementa) - Chairman of Health, Welfare, Women and Families Affairs.

10. Amirudin Shari (PKR-Batu Caves) - Chairman of Youth Generation Development, Sports, Cultural and Entrepreneurship development.

11. Zaidy Abdul Talib (PAS-Taman Templer) - Chairman of Infrastructure, Public Amenities and Agro-Based industry.

Anwar tries to influence Azmin’s administration

PKR is working to strap a leash on Azmin Ali barely a week into his job as Selangor menteri besar.
Treading on egg shells between governmental duties and his political party’s demands, Azmin was apparently irked by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s hankering for the former to use his position to justify Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s ouster.

An aide claimed Azmin had wanted to focus on running a tight ship, rather than jumping into another political fray as soon as entering office.

“He has, in some way, now agreed why Khalid was pulling his best efforts to keep party politics away from the office. Too much political bureaucracy will create a noose around his neck. Azmin does not want that.

“My boss wants to lead the administration well. He wants to do better than his predecessor,” the aide said, referring to Khalid’s rocky tenure as menteri besar.

Anwar recently urged Azmin to “expose” the alleged discrepancies in the RM30 billion deal between the state and the Federal Government, made to restructure Selangor’s water industry and mitigate its perennial shortage of supply.

He also demanded Azmin review the construction of the RM2 billion Kinrara-Damansara Expressway. The two projects were used as prime catalysts to boot Khalid from office.

The sultan of Selangor last week described Khalid as an excellent administrator, in a speech that also blamed PKR for prompting the state’s leadership crisis.

“This is another point that Azmin has to look into. He would not jump the gun against someone endorsed by the Sultan as capable.

“Since PKR was at loggerheads with the ruler on the menteri besar candidate controversy, Azmin wants to build a cordial relationship with the palace after everything that has happened,” the aide said.

Azmin had chosen to be quiet on the sidelines and has turned his attention to the delegation of work among his new state executive councillors. He is expected to announce their portfolios today.

“He is busy with work. At least, Anwar should not be hasty in coercing Azmin to justify the removal of Khalid,” the aide claimed.

Universiti Utara Malaysia political scientist Dr Muhammad Fuad Othman agreed that Anwar was attempting to use Azmin’s office to justify PKR’s case against Khalid.

“Anwar used to heap praises about Khalid’s administration. Back then, Khalid was perfect. And now, he is somewhat desperate to substantiate the accusations against his former comrade,” said Fuad.

At the same time, Fuad suspected that Anwar was working his way to dictate how Azmin should run the state government. He said it was another opportunity for Anwar to be in the limelight.
“Anwar just wants to show Azmin who’s boss. The man still wants to assert his authority. Anwar is now akin to an old, retired gladiator who wants to wield the sword because he likes to be in the view of spectators.”

Another analyst said if Azmin let himself be led by others, it would only prove that he was incapable as a leader and, worse, inferior than Khalid.

National Professors’ Council political cluster head Professor Datuk Dr Mustafa Ishak said as a menteri besar, Azmin was more answerable to the sultan and the people, rather than Anwar.

“The menteri besar must use his wisdom in asserting leadership qualities. He should be professional and prioritise the task at hand, instead of looking for mistakes supposedly committed by the previous administration. Does he want to be a better leader than Khalid?”

Mustafa added that if Azmin were to review the agreements made by Khalid’s office, it should be carried out with a sense of responsibility for the people.

“You cannot just scrap all the projects set by Khalid. The people’s interest will have to come first. He has to see whether the said projects are beneficial to the people. He has to be his own man and not be influenced by the need for political mileage, especially in his first days as menteri besar.”

Karpal’s nephew questioned over Facebook postings

Dalbinder Singh Gill, a law student and nephew of the late Karpal Singh, was questioned by police for allegedly making seditious statements pertaining to bumiputra rights and the monarchy on his Facebook page, an online news portal reported.

According to the report, Dalbinder surrendered himself at the Northeast Police District Headquarters in Jalan Patani, Penang at 10.45pm, Tuesday for questioning.

He told the news portal that he was bailed at around 1.30am, Wednesday.

“I was told that it was the police who lodged a report against me, prompting them to detain me,” he is reported to have said.

Dalbinder said that authorities seized his iPhone and iPad to help with the investigations.

He added that he has to report back to the station in a month.