Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Floods: Victims who lose important documents given free replacements.

Flood victims who have lost their birth certificate, identity card or other self identification card due to the floods will be given free replacement.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said they could apply for the replacements at any National Registration Department (JPN) when the situation had returned to normal.

"For enquiries on the matter, members of the public can contact the Public Relations Unit, JPN at telephone numbers 03-88807077, 03-88807067, 03-88807069 and 03-88808206 or e-mail to," he said in a statement Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said the ministry, through the agencies under it, had taken immediate action to assist flood victims who were facing difficulties following the disaster.

He said they were carried out through operations by the Civil Defence Department, the involvement of Immigration Department volunteers, coordination and supervision by the Royal Malaysia Police and support services and assistance from other departments and agencies.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Missing AirAsia flight: Debris from plane, sighting of bodies reported

Debris spotted during an aerial search for Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 is likely from the missing plane, said Indonesia’s director-general of civil aviation, as rescue teams also reported sightings that resembled bodies.  

Djoko Murjatmodjo was quoted as saying that “for the time being, it can be confirmed that it’s the AirAsia plane".  

A navy chief spokesman told reporters separately on Tuesday that the "crew had visual of people at sea surface, not far from the debris." 

"We are checking whether the people are still alive," navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir told TVOne. 

Items resembling an emergency slide and plane door were spotted during an aerial search east of where flight QZ8501 was last detected on Sunday. 

“We spotted about 10 big objects and many more small white-coloured objects which we could not photograph,” Indonesian Air Vice Marshall Agus Dwi Putranto told reporters in Pangkalanbun Bun in central Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. 

“The position is 10km from the location where the plane was last captured by radar,” he said. 
Local television showed him displaying 10 photos of objects resembling a plane door, emergency slide, and a box-like object.

Search vessels and aircraft are now heading to the area, officials said. 

The latest developments came as Indonesian authorities expanded the search operation for the plane which went missing with 162 people on board.

Flight QZ8501 vanished from the radar screens on Sunday morning over the Java Sea about 40 minutes after taking off from Surabaya to Singapore. 

The aircraft had reportedly requested to deviate from its original flight path to avoid thick clouds and rise to a height of 38,000 feet from the initial height of 32,000 feet.

Indonesian air traffic control lost contact with the plane at 6.24am (Western Indonesian time, an hour behind Malaysian time) as it was flying with 155 passengers and seven crew members.

Floods: Sarawak government donates RM2mil to victims in peninsular Malaysia

The Sarawak government is donating RM2mil to assist flood victims in peninsular Malaysia.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem handed over a cheque to the relief fund known as Kumpulan Wang Amanah Bantuan Bencana Negara at the State Legislative Assembly here on Tuesday morning.

The fund is coordinated by the National Security Council and the Prime Minister's Department.
"We are giving RM2mil for a start to assist our fellow Malaysians in peninsular Malaysia who have become victims of floods.

"Where Sarawak is concerned, we are on the alert and making preparations should there be floods here. The (state disaster relief management) committee has met and they are ready," Adenan said.

The Chief Minister also said the state government and people of Sarawak were saddened by the missing Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501, which included a Sarawakian among its passengers.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Missing AirAsia flight: It's not like MH370

The plight of Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 that went missing over the Java Sea cannot be equated with Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which vanished without a trace in March, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday. 

Australia is leading the search for MH370 which was on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared off radars on March 8 with 239 people on board. 

“I think it would be a big mistake to equate what has happened here with MH370,” Abbott told Sydney radio station 2GB after the budget airliner said a flight carrying 162 people was missing. 

“MH370, as things stand, is one of the great mysteries of our time. It doesn’t appear that there’s any particular mystery here. 

“It’s an aircraft that was flying a regular route on a regular schedule, it struck what appears to have been horrific weather, and it’s down. But this is not a mystery like the MH370 disappearance and it’s not an atrocity like the MH17 shooting down.” 

MH17, also a Malaysia Airlines flight, was shot down on July 17 over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board - among them 38 Australian residents. 

MH370 is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean far off Australia’s west coast after diverting off course for an unknown reason and flying for several more hours over the remote waters. 

An intense air and sea search failed to find any wreckage from the aircraft, while an underwater search has been underway for weeks in the area considered the plane’s most likely resting place with no result.

The disappearance of MH370 provoked a string of theories, including that it had been hijacked.
But aviation expert Neil Hansford said that such a scenario was unlikely for Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200. 

“These are very different circumstances to MH370,” Hansford told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.      
“This plane does not have the range to go very far for a major detour.” 

Abbott said he was sure that aviation experts would convene to come up with more effective ways to track planes following the events of 2014, to ensure “that we don’t just lose planes”.

He said Australia would make itself “as available as we can be” to assist Indonesian authorities in the search for the Indonesia AirAsia plane which was heading to Singapore from Surabaya in Indonesia’s east Java when it disappeared in bad weather on Sunday. 

An Australian air force AP-3C Orion joined the search early Monday.

Indonesian rescue agency says AirAsia plane believed to have crashed in sea

An AirAsia plane carrying 162 people that went missing after its pilot failed to gain permission to alter course to avoid a storm is believed to have crashed into the sea, a senior Indonesian rescue agency official said on Monday.

Indonesia was searching the Java Sea on Monday for the AirAsia plane that went missing on Sunday during a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

"Based on our coordinate estimation, initial estimation is in the water," Soelistyo, head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, said of the missing plane's likely location.

"It can be expanded based on evaluation," he told reporters on Monday.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Floods: PM cuts short vacation, to return Saturday

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has cut short his year-end leave and will return to the country Saturday to oversee emergency response to the worsening flood situation in the east coast.

The Prime Minister is expected to fly in directly from Hawaii to Kota Baru, where he will chair a meeting and be briefed by the National Security Council (NSC), the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee, the state government and local emergency responders.

He will also meet those affected by the floods and discuss new measures to support those who have been displaced.

"I am deeply concerned by the floods. I feel for the people who have lost their homes and families who have lost their loved ones," he said in a statement Friday.

More than 100,000 people have been displaced by floods in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Perak.

Floods: Hotlines for the public

With the worsening flood situation, the public have been advised to be vigilant when travelling to the east coast.   

For information on road closures due to the floods, visit the Public Works Department (JKR) disaster help page at or call 03-26967727. 

For other information, the Civil Defence Department can also be reached at 03-33410443. 
Information on the weather can be obtained on the Meteorological Department's website at or call 03-79678110.

In the event of an emergency, call the Fire and Rescue Department headquarters at 03- 78464444.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Kit Siang threatens to quit Pakatan meetings if PAS insists on hudud

DAP leader Lim Kit Siang has threatened to boycott Pakatan Rakyat council meetings if its coalition partner, PAS, insists on going ahead with its hudud plan in Kelantan.

“If the Kelantan State Assembly special meeting to push through the implementation of hudud, which even the PAS Central Committee is unaware of, is held, I see no purpose in my attending any future Pakatan Rakyat Presidential Council meetings, and I leave it to the party to decide on its next course of action,” he wrote on his blog on Wednesday.

Lim said that if PAS "comes to an agreement to implement hudud at the Dec 29 Kelantan State Assembly special sitting, it will be a ‘point of no return’ for both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat."

Lim voiced his support of PKR deputy president Azmin Ali who said "PAS should bring the issue to Pakatan’s presidential council for discussion as hudud is not a common policy of the coalition."

It was reported that Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob quashed rumours that the sitting has been postponed due to the critical flood situation.

“We will be going ahead with the special meeting as the flood situation is under control. It is not true that the meeting has been deferred,” he said.

The sitting is to discuss amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code II 1993 which, if approved, would then be inserted into two private member’s Bills that will be tabled in Parliament by a PAS MP.

Lim argued that PAS had not raised the matter at Pakatan presidential council and by pushing for hudud in Kelantan, the party was ‘renegading’ on its promise to keep to Pakatan’s common policy framework.

According to a decision made at a Sept 28, 2011 presidential council meeting, new issues relating to hudud would only be a part of Pakatan’s joint common policy framework if agreed upon by all members.

While reaffirming DAP’s stance against hudud, Lim argued that PAS’ actions could possibly cost the coalition the Kelantan state government and the chance to seize the Federal government.

“DAP leaders have agreed to disagree with PAS leaders on the issue of hudud because we believe we are on the same page to want to promote justice, freedom, democracy, good governance, incorruptibility and moderation in Malaysia,” said Lim.

“We believe that we are honest politicians who will not use devious and dishonest means to mislead and cheat voters to vote for PR candidates under false pretenses,” he said.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Umno MP takes Isma to task over Xmas greeting

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan has slammed Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) activist Abu Ameen for reportedly saying that Malays should not wish Christians "Merry Christmas" and celebrate with them.

Umno's Kota Belud MP tweeted that he would continue to wish Christians "Merry Christmas" and will have a bigger Christmas celebration in his constituency this year.

"ISMA says I can't greet my fellow Christian friends "Merry Christmas". Well, I want to say it anyway -> Merry Christmas everyone. #1Malaysia.

"Not only I wish big Merry Xmas to all, I will host a bigger Christmas celebration this year in KB. ISMA is invited to learn abt moderation," Abdul Rahman tweeted early Tuesday.

He posted two more tweets, saying that Isma was not his voice and did not represent him and the many millions of Muslims in Malaysia.

"In Sabah, we are taught to be moderate & respect family members & friends who are non Muslim. ISMA will never understand this. So butt out!" he tweeted.

His followers showed their support by re-tweeting and replying to his tweets.

"@mpkotabelud ISMA who? Oh yea, the minority voice but given unnecessary publicity and attention," tweeted Umar Razak, @umarrazak2.

Laisan Haji Sain, @laisansain tweeted, "Not only seeing moderation, let ISMA see the real 1Malaysia concept in KB @mpkotabelud. We are proud being truly MALAYSIAN."

"@mpkotabelud just as we all look forward to hari raya aidilfitri, deepavali and CNY... the same goes for Christmas. We are in this together!" tweeted David Chiam, @davidchiam.

On Monday, MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon said Non-Muslims were not desperate for festive greetings from Isma.

Chong was commenting on the statement by Abu and said the remark suggested that Isma had a "siege mentality" that the Christians or non-Muslims were stepping on the toes of Muslims or Isma.

He said MCA Youth would still convey to Isma blessings for peace not only during Christmas but every day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib denies having affairs

Sarawak tycoon Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib says he did not have affairs (hubungan sulit) with women from all over the world.

Mahmud denied it in a Syariah High Court here when replying to his former wife Shahnaz A. Majid’s counsel Akbardin Abdul Kader du­­ring cross-examination yesterday.

Asked by Akbardin whether he had affairs with other women between 1992 and 1999, he replied: “It is not true.”

However, Mahmud added that he did meet an Australian woman who was atten­ding a course for Muslim converts in Singapore at the time.

But he denied that he met a Latvian woman and a Russian woman during that period.

The 51-year-old son of Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud was testifying at the hearing of the RM100mil mutaah (conciliatory gift) claim by Shahnaz as divorce settlement.

Akbardin asked whether the Latvian woman was non-existent and if the plaintiff had given false evidence, Mahmud said: “It is all false.”

Mahmud said he was surprised to know Shahnaz was worried when he did not return to Sarawak and stayed at his father’s house here between 1994 and 1997.

“It is true that I seldom came back to our house. I am puzzled, if she was restless, why did she vent her anger.

“She was scolding me as I left the house (in Sarawak),” Mahmud added.

Earlier, he said he knew Shahnaz when they were both 15 years old. He was studying at Victoria Institution and she, at the Methodist Girls’ School here.

Mahmud also said that he was of Sarawakian-Polish-Russian pa­­­­rentage and is the second of four siblings, adding that their son Raden Murya Abdul Taib was about 18 years old when they divorced.
The couple were married on Jan 9, 1992, and divorced on May 11, 2011.

Syarie judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab adjourned the trial to Jan 21.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Permatang Pauh Umno chief: My remark about Penang Chinese misinterpreted

Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said has denied accusing the Chinese in Penang getting rich through illegal economic activities. 

"I was misquoted and misinterpreted by reports which had led my statement into a racial issue, said the Permatang Pauh Umno chief on Monday. 

"It was not a clear picture as what I had actually said in my speech. 

"In my speech, I said the weaknesses of the enforcement authorities have caused the kadang-kadang of some Chinese getting rich through illegal economic activities. 

"The word kadang-kadang means it's rarely or a minority, but it doesn't reflect all the Chinese.  
"But the word kadang-kadang was omitted from my speech in the report, and it is a bad practice to create racial disturbance within the country" Mohd Zaidi said at a press conference at the Pematang Pauh Umno office.

During his debate at the Umno general assembly on Friday, Mohd Zaidi was reported by an online news portal as saying that the Penang Chinese made money and gained political power from “being involved in illicit economic activities”.

PM: Sedition Act will be fair

The enforcement of the Sedition Act, which will be amended and strengthened, will be fair to everyone, assures the Prime Minister.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it was not just about protecting the Muslims and the Malays but all the other races, too.

“We ensure the enforcement of the Act will be fair to everyone so that all who transgress and do not respect the other races and religions will have action taken against them according to the law,” he said at the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) 61st annual general meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.

The decision to retain the Act, said Najib, had nothing to do with keeping Barisan Nasional in power.
“There is no ulterior motive,” he added, as doing so would not ensure the coalition would be re-elected in the coming or future general elections.

“At the end of the day, we realise that the protection of Barisan lies not with the Sedition Act but with the people of Malaysia.”

Najib reiterated that Barisan would continue to make and enact policies that were fundamentally moderate in their stance and position.

“I want us to remember that above all, we are a political party. We must be electable and have the support of the people,” he said. “And for that to happen, we must ensure that our policies are well accepted by the people.”

He said even developed countries were not immune to religious and racial tensions and as such, laws were needed to maintain the security and stability of a country.

“Not too long ago, there was a racial riot in the heart of London and in the last couple of days, you can see massive demonstrations across the United States, where vehicles and stores were left burning and looting took place everywhere.

“God forbid, if such a thing were to happen in Malaysia; it can turn out to be ugly,” he said.
On Thursday, Najib, who is also Umno president, announced at the party’s general assembly that the Act would not only be retained but would be strengthened to protect the sanctity of Islam as well as other religions.

He said the outcome of the assembly had resulted in the Government’s commitment, under Barisan, that all its policies would be based on the principle of wasatiyyah.

“It means that it will be moderate, balanced and believe in the pursuit of excellence,” he said.
In his remarks, PPP president Tan Sri M. Kayveas assured the party’s full support for Najib’s decision to retain the Act.

The Act should be retained, he added, to keep the country moving forward as it could help maintain peace and unity among the various races.

“PPP will not be like some half-hearted, cautious soothsayers but instead, we will give our full support,” he said.

Malaysia, said Kayveas, was unique in that every race got to maintain its name, language, festivals and cultures.

“We hope that the moderates can rise, speak up and stand up against certain irresponsible groups that want to destroy and bring us down,” he said.