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Thursday, May 28, 2015

PAC warns 1MDB of deceiving

KUALA LUMPUR - The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warned 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) officials today that the parliamentary committee will not pull any punches during their much anticipated hearing, especially if the state-owned fund’s representatives prove to be dishonest.

India's heat wave fatalities exceeded 1,300

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A heat wave in India has killed at least 1,371 people this week as temperatures soar above 47 Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit), and doctors' leave has been cancelled to help cope with the sick.

May and June are India's hottest months, with temperatures regularly pushing above 40 Celsius. But meteorologists say the number of days when temperatures approach 45 Celsius has increased in the past 15 years.

Mahathir warns Bank Negara against 1MDB cover-up

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned Bank Negara against covering up for debt-ridden 1MDB.

Mahathir said doing so would expose the central bank to criminal prosecution.

He was responding to Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz who on Tuesday confirmed receiving reports from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on 1MDB but refused to divulge details.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Probe is on 1MDB's BSI account

KUALA LUMPUR - Bank Negara has handed over the investigative findings on 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) controversial investment in BSI Bank Ltd in Singapore to the relevant enforcement agencies.

The central bank confirmed yesterday that it had already received the report by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on 1MDB’s account with BSI Bank in the republic, but it stressed that the report findings were confidential, and hence, could only be shared with relevant authorities in the country.

Leaked documents show PM’s approval required for all deals under 1MDB precursor

The prime minister has the final say over any “financial commitment” undertaken by 1 Malaysia Development Berhad's (1MDB) precursor, Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), according to TIA's Memorandum and Articles of Association agreement.

Clause 75 of the agreement states that the management of the company and the determination of overall investment policies or decisions lies with the board of directors.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TNB loses RM6bil in shares over six days

PETALING JAYA - The mere speculation of purchasing the power assets under 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) had caused Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) to lose some RM6bil in value over the last six trading days.

On the back of poor sentiment affecting the stock market, TNB’s shares had lost RM1.06 since May 18, largely due to the dominant electricity provider being touted as one of the possible purchasers of 1MDB’s power generation assets.

The counter continued its losing streak yesterday, shedding 46 sen, or 3.36%, to close at RM13.24 – its lowest since mid-December 2014 and off its intra-day low of RM12.98 yesterday – and erased 3.36 points off the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KL Composite Index.

Australia to strip citizenship for terror links

SYDNEY - Australia on Tuesday announced it will amend the law to strip dual nationals linked to terrorism of their citizenship for "betraying the country", but insisted no one would be left stateless.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the new powers would apply to dual nationals who fight with or support jihadists such as Islamic State group or so-called lone wolves who pose a threat on home soil.

Another human trafficking campsite discovered

WANG KELIAN - A few kilometres off a road in Perlis nearing the Thai border lies a campsite once lived in by hundreds of trafficked victims.

It is believed that the “new” campsite is two years older than the 27 human trafficking camps found by authorities.

What’s left now is scattered with bamboo, wood and plastic sheets.

MH370 search to be expanded 12,000 sq km

MOST of the wreckage of MH370 will be left on the ocean floor when it is eventually found by searchers.

Despite the complete absence of any debris being found, search organisers are well advanced in the process of contracting a company to undertake the recovery operation.

But it seems almost certain any effort will focus simply on components required for the investigation, such as the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.

Even scams come with GST

JOHOR BARU - A teacher in her 40s ended up paying nearly RM36,000 in a parcel scam, reporting to the police when the syndicate demanded the Goods and Services Tax charges.

Sources said the teacher got a call from a person in the United Kingdom whom she had befriended via Facebook. He “was so smitten by her” that he wanted to send her some surprise gifts.

Several days later, she got a call from a courier company in Sabah, claiming that it had a parcel for her from UK.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Marina Mahathir searching for the Malaysia she grew up in

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia's diverse culture, easygoing attitude and acceptance of one another's differences is slowly being eroded with every day that passes, says Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.

"I can't bear to live in a country where people are constantly sour and angry, where joy and beauty are considered sinful," she said on her Facebook page on Sunday.

Marina said that she is constantly searching for the Malaysia she grew up in.

Mahathir steps up attacks as Najib clings on

KUALA LUMPUR - The contradictory statements on whether 1MDB has cash in its account with BSI Bank in Singapore, “assets” or “units”, continues to pre-occupy Putrajaya and bog down Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration.

Political analyst Shahbudin Husin, in his latest blog posting, referred to the conflicting answers given by Najib on the issue in Parliament and former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s response: “In the case of the monies which 1MDB said was brought back from the Cayman Islands and kept at BSI Singapore, the first written answer provided by Najib in Parliament was not true at all and neither was his second answer. Obviously, there’s something that’s not right and therefore has been kept secret.”

One-third of MAS staff will be jobless in a matter of days

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is set to terminate at least one-third of its workforce in a matter of days as a last effort to save the flailing national carrier, The Star reported today.

The report said MAS would terminate its entire staff and re-employ two-thirds of the 20,000 workers under new conditions.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mahathir's daughter speaks out against 'Arab colonialism'

KUALA LUMPUR - The outspoken daughter of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, has spoken out against the "Arabisation" of Islam in Malaysia amid growing conservatism of the religion in the country.

Ms Marina also said she may emigrate if hudud - the Islamic penal code that allows, among other things, flogging and amputation as forms of punishment - were implemented in Malaysia, in a recent interview with news website Malay Mail Online.

ESSCom plans strategy to counter remnants of foreign abductors

LAHAD DATU - The East Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) will continue to draw up strategies to face remnants of the cross-border criminals although one of the leaders of the militant group Abu Sayyaf, who was linked to the abduction of two Malaysians in Sandakan, was killed recently.

ESSCom commander Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said ESSCom took a serious view on the threat posed by remnants of the criminals who could jeopardise security in the East Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone).

Shocking, mass graves found in Perlis!

Despite the Home Ministry’s earlier denial that there were no ‘death camps’ for trafficking victims on the Malaysian side of the border, police have discovered about 30 mass graves containing 100 corpses in Padang Besar, Perlis.

Police had discovered the death camps and grave sites last week in Wang Kelian and other villages along the Thai-Malaysian border, which are believed to be linked to the mass grave with 26 bodies found in Songkhla, Thailand.

Dr M claims 1MDB’s Cayman ‘cash’ a cover-up, demands criminal probe

KUALA LUMPUR — Dr Mahathir Mohamad today accused Putrajaya of a cover-up over 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) US$1.103 billion (S$1.47 billion) “redeemed” from the Cayman Islands after it revealed the amount was in assets and not cash.

The former prime minister said the Finance Ministry’s confirmation that the sum was in assets directly contradicted Prime Minister Najib Razak’s previous parliamentary reply that 1MDB’s funds were brought back from the Cayman Islands and parked in Singapore’s BSI Bank.

About 400 villagers left homeless in Likas fire

KOTA KINABALU: About 400 villagers sought shelter at the Dewan Likas after fire destroyed their homes at Kampung Gusung here, last night.

It is learnt that more than 60 houses were razed in the fire that started at about 8pm.

Sabah Fire and Service Department public relations officer Mohd Affendy K. Ramin said the department received a distress call 8.02pm and deployed 31 firefighters to the village.

“Safeguard Sabahans in Proposed MAS Retrenchment – Dr. Jeffrey”

KOTA KINABALU - “The Sabah government and the Minister responsible for labour and tourism need to look immediately into the plight of Sabahans in Malaysia Airlines (MAS) who are facing imminent retrenchment,” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Chairman of STAR Sabah on the proposed retrenchment of some 6,000 MAS staff.

It is rumoured that of the 6,000 staff to be retrenched, most of them will be from Sabah and Sarawak, so as to give priority to retain MAS staff from Malaya.

Mat Malaya believed to be in Tawau

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah police have intensified their search for Mat Malaya in the east coast Ta­­wau district after someone thought he had seen a man resembling him in the area three days ago.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said the man fled when policemen approached him.

If he had not done anything wrong, there was no reason for him to run away, he said after witnessing the passing out parade for auxiliary constables at the state police headquarters yesterday.

He said police were not sure if the man was Mat Malaya.

“We have mounted an operation to track him down in Tawau. It is ongoing,” said Jalaluddin.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Azmin: PAS and DAP should stop bickering

Selangor Mentri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali today urged for both DAP and PAS for a ceasefire to resolve their differences which has resulted in a rift within the coalition.

"There is no need for any parties to issue any challenges towards each other. Pakatan Rakyat's strength lies (on the fact) that we can talk it out (while) respecting each other.

SAPP urges Sabahan Pandikar takes lead in reforming Parliament

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has urged Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Hj Mulia to take the lead in reforms for Parliament so as to restore the spirit of the formation of Malaysia.

The first step Pandikar should consider is to restore the 1/3 composition of Parliament, its deputy president, Edward Dagul Friday.

IS Suicide bomber kills 21 at Saudi Shi'ite mosque

DUBAI (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed 21 worshippers on Friday in a packed Shi'ite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia, residents and the health minister said, the first attack in the kingdom to be claimed by Islamic State militants.

It was one of the deadliest assaults in recent years in the largest Gulf Arab country, where sectarian tensions have been aggravated by nearly two months of Saudi-led air strikes on Shi'ite Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen.

Go ahead and quit Pakatan, DAP dares PAS

DAP has challenged its Pakatan Rakyat partner PAS to go ahead and leave the coalition and form a government with Umno.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang is now increasingly behaving like an "Umno leader", by playing racial sentiments and attacking DAP.

Cash-strapped 1MDB needs RM5b this year, RM1.4b in annual interest

KUALA LUMPUR - State investment firm 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) will need to overcome its liquidity issues to meet RM5 billion in loan payments this year and an estimated RM40 billion in principal and interest payments by 2023, The Star reported today.

According to the report, 1MDB must meet massive repayments totalling RM13 billion in 2022 and another RM11.7 billion in 2023, based on lump sum payment of the loan principal upon maturity.

NGO vows to lift the lid on cause of 1976 crash

KOTA KINABALU - A newly established NGO called Sunduvan Sabah vowed it will not rest until the Australian government releases the official findings of the-June 6, 1976 plane crash chat killed five Sabah Cabinet members.

Its President Aloysius Danim Siap said since the report of the findings had been kept confidential at the request of the Malaysian government, the Sabah government must call for its release since it is considered a foreign government.

Three calls received by victims' families

KOTA KINABALU - At least three calls were made the past week to the families of two Malaysians kidnapped by gunmen at a seafood restaurant in Sandakan.

The callers demanded money to buy diabetic medicine and food for Thien Nyuk Fun, 50, and Bernard Then Ted Fen, 39, who were taken from the Ocean King seafood restaurant in Sandakan on May 14.

Friday, May 22, 2015

11th Malaysia Plan unrealistic in setting high-income target

(Comment) - The just released Eleventh Malaysia Plan (11MP) strives to inspire, cajole and rally us toward 2020. I have no problem in general with slogans, catchphrases, cheerleading, even a dash of hyperbole. The document has to contain some of that.

But the mandate to tug at our hearts does not give license to toy with the facts.

This Plan handles some data in a bizarre, anomalous manner. The most prominent of the 11MP’s six multidimensional goals rests on flawed foundations.

Zahid on the hunt for video maker of 'sack 1MDB board' video

Two Umno-linked websites have reported that the party is on the hunt for the maker of a video clip depicting Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's controversial speech at a closed-door party function.

Both mykmu.net and suara.tv reported that Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is leading the investigation.

In the video clip, Muhyiddin claimed that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak ignored his request to sack 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) board members for putting the prirme minister in a bad light.

New SOP on Al-Kitab violates freedom of religion

The government has been told to stop adding more restrictions on the distribution of the Malay language Bible or Al-Kitab, and to enforce the cabinet's 10-point solution.

Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) today lamented the increasing limitations on religious freedom in the country, citing the recent cross protest in Selangor and the controversies surrounding the Al-Kitab.

Inflation doubled up in April after GST

The country's inflation increased by 1.8 percent in April following the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

According to the Department of Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is used to measure inflation, increased from 109.9 to 111.9, compared to the same month last year.

This was compared to an inflation rate of only 0.9 percent in March.

Doris, you are safe, no sedition act here in Britain

KOTA KINABALU - Malaysia will not be able to extradite wanted Sabahan Doris Jones, a London-based activist operating the Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM) Facebook page as Britain laws do not recognise her 'crime' under Sedition Act.

Insp. Mohd Shahrizan Yahaya said they can only arrest Jones, who is identified as Yapp Kim Youn by Malaysian police if she returns to the country.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Zaid 'congratulates' Muhyiddin over call to sack 1MDB board

PETALING JAYA - Former minister Zaid Ibrahim has “congratulated” Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s over his call for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) board of directors to be sacked.

“Congratulations Muhyiddin for speaking out,” tweeted Zaid on Wednesday.

The former minister however went on to question whether the call was realistic.

Putrajaya now says it's a mistake, only after 2 months

KUALA LUMPUR - Putrajaya admitted today that the US$1.103 billion (RM3.91 billion) redeemed from 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) Cayman Islands account had been mistakenly described as “cash” instead of just assets by the investment firm.

Explaining the matter, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah confirmed his ministry’s clarification earlier this week that the redemption, now parked in Singapore’s BSI Bank, is in the form of “units” and not US dollars as previously claimed by 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Sabah should have full autonomy powers to look after security of state

KOTA KINABALU - Another cross border kidnapping is triggering another round of laughable statements from top officials that are causing more loss of confidence that the kidnapping itself because the statements make the people feel that the government does not have a grip on the security situation.

Former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee said the numerous excuses and blaming like "Ban barter trading", "CCTVs not clear", "community to be blamed", "suspected inside job", "kidnap happened in between police shifts," "we cannot have a patrol boat every 100 meter," big ransom sum demanded," "long coastline" are some responses of security officials who never cease to amuse the people.

Najib vows to forge ahead despite calls to step down

Faced with criticism over his leadership and some of his policies, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today declared that he would forge ahead and not give up. 

"Despite the numerous challenges and obstacles lately, the government and I only choose one path, which is to forge ahead and will never ever turn back," he said at tabling of the 11th Malaysia Plan in the Dewan Rakyat.

Malaysia ranked bottom 69th of 70 of the class by environmental democracy watchdog

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians has been ranked poorly in environmental democratic rights, coming in 69th of 70 countries surveyed worldwide.

Scoring an overall 0.58 out of three points on the US-based World Resources Institute's Environmental Democracy Index, narrowly beating Haiti.

Lithuania scored highest worldwide, with an overall score of 2.42, followed by Latvia at 2.31 and Russia at 2.25. The global average score is 1.42.

Sabah kidnap gang leader killed in shootout

KUALA LUMPUR - The leader of a kidnap-for-ransom gang responsible for a string of kidnappings in Sabah was killed in a shootout with security forces in the southern Philippines province of Jolo last night, according to the Philippine military.

The Singapore Straits Times cited a spot report filed by Colonel Alan Arrojado of the Joint Task Group Sulu, who confirmed that security forces had killed Mindas Muktader, one of the leaders of the notorious Muktadil brothers’ gang.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PAC to begin probe on 1MDB at onset

KUALA LUMPUR - Past and present leaders and auditors of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) will be called up. Frequent changes in auditors will be examined. And the entire history of the company since its start in 2009 will come under intense scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which has begun its probe into the controversial company.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Najib's negligence and stupidity allowed rogues to cheat Malaysian public - Ariff

PETALING JAYA - 1MDB has become a black hole in the Malaysian cosmos, Raub MP Ariff Sabri declares in his latest blog posting.

“And this black hole was created by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak,” he says. “He and the board of directors – present and previous – are responsible for the financial disaster which has hit the nation.”

Police to propose banning barter trade in Sabah

To curb criminal activities, especially kidnapping which was getting rampant, the police will propose to the Sabah Government to ban barter trade between the state's east coast communities and southern Philippine residents.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police wanted to propose that both legal and illegal barter trade be stopped as many were capitalising on the situation while exchanging goods.

Pandikar admits handing quit letter, but stopped by Najib

KUALA LUMPUR - Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia admitted today that he had wanted to resign as Dewan Rakyat Speaker but was blocked from doing so by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Speaking at a press conference in his house, Pandikar revealed that he had communicated his intention to Najib, but the prime minister refused to accept or even look at his resignation letter and pledged instead to attend to his grouses.

Misuari denies negotiating with Msian execs on Sabah claim

MANILA, Philippines – Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari denied having negotiated with Malaysian officials on the status of Sabah and Sarawak, saying the group is leaving the matter up to the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysia to peacefully work things out over the disputed territories.

In a statement, Misuari dismissed as “unfounded and without any ounce of truth” some media reports that pointed to the MNLF as having negotiated with Malaysian authorities.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ex-cop with alleged Sayyaf links nabbed in Sabah

Philippine law enforcement authorities went to Malaysia last week to take custody of a former policeman arrested there for his alleged involvement in the 2011 kidnapping of Australian national Warren Rodwell in Zamboanga Sibugay.

SPO2 Jun A. Malban, who was arrested by Malaysian authorities in Lahad Datu in Sabah last month, has a pending arrest warrant for kidnapping for ransom issued by Judge Josefino Bael of Regional Trial Court Branch 24, Ipil, Zamboanga, Sibugay.

Cops say kidnap victims' families yet to report ransom sum

Police are puzzled why the families of the Sandakan kidnapped victims have yet to report the ransom demands made the by gunmen.

According to The Star today, Sabah police commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said that police are aware that the gunmen had called the families of captives Thien Nyuk Fun and Bernard Then Ted Fen within 72 hours of the kidnapping last Thursday.

Why is 1MDB sellling TRX land hastily?

The contentious RM188 million Tabung Haji-1MDB land deal raises many questions - not least over issues of transparency, inflated prices, conflicts of interest and allegations of a bailout for 1MDB.

Another significant question - why is 1MDB disposing land at one of its prized assets - the centrepiece Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project - in such a hasty and surreptitious way?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sandakan kidnapping inside job says Sabah CP

KOTA KINABALU - The kidnapping case of a man and a woman at Ocean King Restaurant in Sandakan three days ago is likely masterminded by 'insiders', said Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman.

He said the suspected 'insiders' had conspired to give information about the targets and that the matter was being investigated.

Thousands call for the North of England to join Scotland

'New Scotland' would take in everything north of Chester to the west and Sheffield to the east - including Manchester

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the north of England to break free - and join an independent Scotland.

The extraordinary demand - on the change.org website - would create a border from Chester in the west to Sheffield in the east.

Eleven illegals nabbed off Sandakan entering by backdoor

Boat that was used to smuggle illegals
KOTA KINABALU - Police foiled a bid to smuggle in illegals from southern Philippines following a high speed chase at sea off the east coast Sandakan district early Saturday.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said 11 people, including an infant, were held after the boat they were travelling in capsized following a collision with the police vessel.

Sandakan Kidnap: 'Large ransom' demanded by captors, says Sabah police

KOTA KINABALU (The Star/Asia News Network) - Gunmen believed to be holding two Malaysians kidnapped from a restaurant in Sabah have contacted the victims' families with demands for a "large" ransom, said police in the eastern Malaysian state.

The sum demanded by the gunmen was "large", said Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, according to a report published by The Star online on Sunday. It said Jalaluddin declined to state the amount.