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Friday, November 18, 2011

Yob spat in face of poppies girl Beth

A YOUNG yob spat in a girl Army cadet's face as she sold Remembrance Day poppies in a city shopping centre, it was revealed yesterday.

One of the three Asian hoodies — all said to be aged about 12 — took a poppy from a box held by Bethany Holmes and spat on it before spitting into her face three times.

In a separate incident, two teenage girl Army Cadets faced a barrage of verbal abuse for selling poppies — because they were Asian.

Others sellers in Bradford, West Yorks, were threatened and attacked.

Poppy Appeal organiser Barbara Allsopp said: "I feel sorry for the cadets. These yobs should hang their heads in shame."

Bethany's mum, Christine, added: "I want to make them apologise. They are disgusting, the lowest of the low."

Police in the city were studying CCTV in a bid to nail the yobs.

My three reasons for not supporting Pakatan

By Raj Dewi,

I write to inform you all that I have decided not to support Pakatan Rakyat on three very important grounds.

First of all, as a civil servant, my ricebowl is at stake since DAP leader Tony Pua has announced that Pakatan will cut nearly 40 percent of jobs in the civil service.

Opposition Anwar Ibrahim has said it is not true. But DAP and its top leaders have not denied Pua's statement.

Compared with the BN under PM Najib Abdul Razak which has extended the civil servants' tenure to age 60 and gave much monetary benefits to civil servants, DAP wants to sack 40 percent of us!

How can we civil servants support such a party. If what Anwar said is true and what Pua said is not true, then to show their sincerity, DAP must apologise to civil servants publicly, and promise not to field Pua as candidate for the 13th general election.

Otherwise, we will campaign against DAP candidates.

Secondly, PAS is insisting on achieving its Islamic state with the implementation of hudud. Can Christians honestly support Pakatan in view of this.

Even Anwar Ibrahim has publicly supported hudud. It is too risky for Christians to support PAS, unless the party publicly promises that it will not implement Islamic law when Pakatan comes to power.

DAP leaders like Lim Guan Eng has been defending PAS, and keeping quiet on the various PAS actions like banning a cinema in Bangi, and calling for the banning of the Elton John concert.
We cannot support Pakatan as it is too dangerous.

Thirdlly, the credibility of many Pakatan candidates is questionable.
There are still DAP people who object to wearing songkok at official functions, although they are prepared to wear hats and Japanese baseball caps.

When Selangor Assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh wore tudung during Hari Raya, she was attacked by DAP leaders and members.

Also, DAP leaders are not that clean after all, they practise cronyism and nepotism, and some are corrupt too.
DAP says they champion human rights and press freedom, yet Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng bans Malay daily Utusan Malaysia in his state.
How can Christians support these hypocrites. For us, it is better to stay with BN which has shows that it can change and will give us a good life.

Pakatan just talks and never delivers. DAP does not even care for the veteran leaders who build up the party, now that upstarts like Pua have come in and taken over.

For these three important reasons, I urge all Christians to stop supporting Pakatan.
All civil servants should also protest against DAP, especially to kick out Pua, who is out to break our ricebowls.

Malaysia’s economy likely to slow despite earlier boom

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 — Malaysia should brace for a protracted economic slump despite the expected announcement today that its economy has grown by up to 4.8 per cent in the past three months, analysts have warned, as the mushrooming debt cloud from the US and Europe spreads eastwards.
As the country heads into the last six weeks of the year, Bloomberg News reported today that most Asian currencies have been falling in the past three months on concern the nations that led the recovery from the 2009 global recession will falter.
File photo of a weekly night market in Kota Kinabalu. Analysts have said Malaysia should brace itself for a slump despite the recent growth in the economy. — Reuters pic
“It’s part of monetary easing if they let their currencies weaken,” the business news agency reported United Overseas Bank economist Ho Woei Chen as saying. The ringgit has fallen more than five per cent in the past three months while the Thai baht has weakened 3.3 per cent but neither countries have cut their rates even as Indonesia and Australia lowered borrowing costs in this last quarter.
“Probably they are not cutting interest rates that aggressively but letting their currency depreciate,” Ho said, adding he expects Malaysia and Thailand to highlight the risks to growth going forward.
Citing United Overseas Bank Ltd, Bloomberg reported that policymakers throughout the region may allow more weakening to support non-oil exports to Europe and the US, which have been crashing across the board in Singapore.
The republic’s main electronics sector has been battered and dropped by 31 per cent last month compared to the same period last year due to poor demand for disk drives and integrated circuits which plunged more than 50 per cent.
Analysts observed that Malaysia’s growth spurt in the last quarter was due to its strong domestic demand and export before the sovereign debt-crisis deepened in Europe.
Investment experienced a sprint in Southeast Asia’s third- largest economy since the Najib administration last year identified US$444 billion (RM1.37 trillion) worth of private sector-led projects to spur growth, Bloomberg reported.
International Business Machines Corp (IBM), Toshiba Corp and Agilent Technologies Inc are among the companies that have pledged new investments here.
Exports grew at the fastest pace in more than a year in September as companies shipped abroad more electronics and commodities.
But the analysts also warned that the growth could be stunted if the external sectors spilled over into the domestic economy.
“Supply chain disruptions stemming from Thai floods may depress industrial production in the short run,” reported Bloomberg, quoting Daniel Wilson, an analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Singapore.

traffic police bikes file pix

Sarawak traffic police pose a threat to road safety, says an opposition assemblyman.

KUCHING: There’s a nickname for the Sarawak’s traffic police, according to Piasau assemblyman Ling Sie Kiong. They’re called ‘ambush drivers’.

Ling said Sarawak’s increasingly cynical public had begun to describe these cops as such because of the manner in which they carry out their job.

He said ‘ambush drivers’ lurk at dangerous corners of the road and wait for an “opportunity” to pounce on motorists and invite corrupt practices that tarnish the image of the police.

Ling said such actions indirectly affect the reputation of the police and the government.

“There are many complaints about traffic police ambushing drivers at dangerous corners of the roads which has caused panic in some people, especially P-license drivers.

“Is such a practice (ambush) really necessary and is the practice safe, especially when such surprise checks at blind corners might cause accidents due to confusion and negative reactions of some drivers?” he asked.

Ling said road blocks were still an issue in the state.

“I was made to understand that an ‘ambush’ is not considered a road block, but rather a spot check where no barrier is required to be placed as a safety measure.

“The traffic police may have the power to set up road blocks, which is useful in checking crimes like car thefts, but it must be used wisely and safely.

“It should not cause too much disruption to traffic flow,” he said, pointing out that according to Section 78 of the Road Transport Act 1987, a barrier must be placed as a reasonable measure to stop vehicles.

Combating corruption

traffic police bikes file pixLing suggested that the service of the traffic police could be better used for directing traffic during peak
hours and when there is a breakdown in traffic lights.

Ling called on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to consider monitoring those traffic policemen who stand under the tree and issue summons.

He reminded MACC that combating corruption has to start from the top, not from the bottom, as in the motto “leadership by example” which is far more effective in convincing subordinates and followers to go clean.

The public perception now is that the “big fish” is protected from investigation, while only “ikan bilis” were being caught just to show results.

Such half-hearted efforts lack credibility and is not likely to succeed, he said during the debate on the state 2012 budget.

Dissolve ‘category A and B system’ in sports

Because of the system, many national juniors missed the chance to participate in international level events because of financial problem.

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC Youth has called for a revamp of the “category system” in Malaysian sports, saying that the millions spent on ferrying “officials and observers” to international sporting events should be channelled instead towards supporting more sportsmen.

According to its information chief S Subramaniam, Malaysian sportsmen were divided into two categories – category A and category B.

Category A sportsmen’s participation in international events was paid for by the government while those who fell into category B paid their own way.

“We should understand that because of the category system many national juniors missed the chance to participate in international level events because of financial problem.”

“Our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has allocated millions of money to sport development.

“But, sad to say, many associations spent more on administration than on development of sport.

“We believe it is time the National Sport Council and Olympic Council of Malaysia dissolve the category systems in sports and treat all sportsmen representing the country fairly,” he said, adding that the surprise gold medal win by the national 4 x 400metres quartet in the ongoing South East Asia (SEA) Games was a strong message to both the sport councils to reconsider the category system.

More observers than sportsmen

In the SEA Games in Indonesia, Subramaniam said the bulk of the contingent’s budget had gone towards funding non-players.

“For example, Malaysia spent RM2.2 million for 261 officials, 59 VIPs, 279 observers and 355 sportsmen for the SEA games.

“The rest of the 253 were category B sportsmen who spent their own money to prove themselves.

“What kind of system is this?” he asked.

Subramaniam also pointed out that the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) had an absurd ratio of more than one observer per government-funded athlete.

“MAAU took 45 observers where the total track and field athletes are 16 under category A.

“Eighteen other athletes in category B financed their own participation. The ratio of observers to fully financed athletes is absurd.

“This means more than one observer for every athlete… it’s too much,” said Subramaniam, who also raised concern over the future of Malaysian athletics.

He said that although athletes under the MAAU won six gold medals, none of them were new faces.

No new faces

Malaysia’s six gold medals in the track and field events came from Noraseela Khalid (400m hurdles), Lo Choon Sieng (20km walk), Lee Hup Wei (high jump), Tan Song Hwa (hammer), Roslinda Samsu (pole vault) and the 4x400m relay team men.

“Despite MAAU achieving its target, it is a clear that MAAU has failed to cultivate new gold- winning athletes.

“The victories in the SEA Games came from the old faces,” he told FMT.

He recalled that Malaysia was once champions in the track and field events not only in the SEA Games but also in Asia, but today other countries such as Thailand and Indonesia have overtaken Malaysia.

He said that part of the blame rested with the poor administration of the MAAU.

He urged the Youth and Sports Ministry to set up a special task force to probe into MAAU’s structure and operation system.

“We believe that the inefficiency of MAAU is one major cause of Malaysian athletes’ performance declining in the international arena,” Subramaniam said, adding that MIC Youth was not the only group that was critical of MAAU.

He said many parties as well as athletes had complained about the system within MAAU.

The latest rant came from national track and field athlete Noraseela Khalid.

On Wednesday, Noraseela reportedly slammed MAAU for neglecting the welfare of its athletes.

She lambasted the MAAU for bringing home the Malaysian 4x400m men’s quartet of S Kannathasan, P Vuvaraj, Schzuan Ahmad Rosely and Mohd Yunus La Salleh even before the medal presentation ceremony.

The quartet were the surprise winners of a gold medal in the event which was held on Monday. The medal presentation ceremony was scheduled for the next day.

Poor excuse

Responding to Noraseela’s angst, MAAU deputy president Karim Ibrahim told her not to be a “poodle” of others who were trying to destroy the union.

Karim said the MAAU did not have the power to reschedule the medal presentation ceremony, which was the prerogative of the organising committee and neither could it delay the quartet’s flight home as the flights were fully booked out of Palembang at the time.

But Subramaniam described Karim’s statement as a “poor excuse”.

‘It’s not impossible to reschedule their return after the medal presentation. What is wrong paying extra money for accommodation and flight for our golden boys?” he asked.

Suspected militants held under ISA

The Sun
by Charles Ramendran

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 17, 2011): Despite it being in its last months of existence before it is abolished in March next year, the Internal Security Act (ISA) was invoked again on 13 suspected members of a militant group in Sabah on Monday.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said today, following investigations and intelligence gathering over several months, police learnt that the suspects were planning to revive militancy in Sabah.

He said in a brief statement that the probe led to the arrest of seven Malaysians and six foreigners between Monday and Wednesday.

He said the suspects are being held and investigated under Section 73 (1) of the ISA which allows detention up to 60 days without a arrest warrant for activities which could affect the security of the country.

Ismail said if the activities of the group can threaten or affect national security if it is not thwarted.

Although it was not disclosed by police, it is believed that the foreign suspects detained are Indonesians and Filipinos.

Low BN attendance at Selangor State Assembly

Quite a number of BN state assembly members have been missing from the Selangor State Assembly in recent days.
Photograph: Hannah Yeoh, yesterday

Selangor state assembly member Hannah Yeoh (Subang Jaya) tweeted yesterday that not a single BN Adun was in the House as at 2.32pm.
I contacted a Selangor state exco member to find out if BN attendance was a problem. He said about five or six BN Aduns (out of the 20 BN Aduns, all from Umno) are usually present. Some of them do not stay for long, just saying what they have to say before leaving, he added.
In contrast, he said nearly all (“99%”) of the 36 PR Aduns have been attending proceedings.

Slavery: A 21st Century Evil - Bridal slaves

Refer Syria's leaders to International Criminal Court

Democracy supporters burn a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at Arab League headquarters in Cairo on Saturday.
Notre Dame, Indiana (CNN) -- The crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Syria has resulted in at least 3,500 deaths. The United Nations Security Council should immediately request that all charges of crimes against humanity in Syria be referred to the International Criminal Court.

If the claims of gross misconduct by the Arab League and many national governments are correct, then something definitive would finally be done. And if the accusations prove to be wrong, as the Syrian government claims, then the court would confirm that.

The Security Council needs to act because the court lacks jurisdiction to investigate on its own, since Syria has refused to join the court. But with Security Council authorization, the legal door opens for a full-fledged investigation that could reach President Bashar al-Assad himself and, if warranted, indict those accused of responsibility for mass murder.

Russian and Chinese officials, who feel they were taken advantage of by NATO countries when they expanded the Security Council authorization of a no-fly zone for civilian protection in Libya into a military effort to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi's government, have resisted taking strong action against Syria. To encourage them to support a council referral of atrocities to the court, a U.N. resolution could explicitly take international military action against Syria off the table. This would also reassure members of the Arab League who oppose external military intervention even though some want Assad to resign.

To obtain that reassurance, the Arab League simultaneously could ask the Security Council to refer alleged Syrian crimes to the court, while also underscoring its disapproval of the Syrian government's violation of its agreement with the Arab League to stop atrocities.

An investigation by the international court could produce many benefits. It might deter heinous crimes, because Syrian officials would know that the world is now watching and ready to take legal action. If indictments resulted from the investigations, they would discredit any Syrian officials who refused to stand trial, even if arrests of indictees could not be made in the immediate future.

If Assad were indicted, this would add strength to the claim of those arguing that he should step down. Indictments would encourage and empower democratic forces within Syria, while also helping to keep protesters nonviolent, thereby discouraging the kind of civil war that occurred in Libya.

A Security Council referral might even put pressure on Damascus to accept a proposal being advanced by some in the Arab League to deploy 400 to 500 observers throughout Syria from a coalition of 16 Arab human rights organizations. Of course, Assad might refuse to allow them into Syria, fearing that they might find evidence useful for prosecutions. However, if he refused the Arab League offer to observe what is going on, that refusal would undermine his claim that officials are doing nothing illegal.

Finally, a swift Security Council referral would place the killings of several thousand people and the question of wrongful conduct precisely where they should be: in a legal framework where the conduct of officials and others is judged against well-established international laws that few dispute. Such a move, in tandem with European Union economic sanctions already taken to freeze the assets of 74 Syrians and an expanding oil and possibly arms embargo, would reduce the likelihood of violence among Syrians themselves, discourage external military intervention and enable the council to honor its charter obligation to take responsibility for preventing armed conflict.

An indictment could even produce a humanitarian consequence for an accused official. This is suggested by events surrounding Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, whom the court indicted because of suspected abuses of civilians in the Libyan revolution. He and any accused Syrian officials might prefer going to The Hague to face their legal fate rather than run the risks of a more violent destiny closer to home.

Kissing teenagers wreak havoc in shopping mall

A teenager and his girl friend caused furor at a crowded Kuwaiti shopping mall when they kissed each other and walked around hugging each other.

Ignoring rebukes from scores of male and female shoppers, the couple then sat at a coffee shop inside the mall and continued their amorous scene, prompting the mall’s security men to intervene and kick them out.

“The two still did not give up…they went out of the mall and resumed hugging…people had to call the police to the area,” the Arabic language daily Alwatan said. “When the police arrived, the two ended their obscene performance, smashed through the surrounding crowd and ran away.”

Bantu usahawan RM 100 juta, India Muslim tersepit

School aid suggestive of vote-buying

Opposition MPs query ministry directive for BN reps to be present during the distribution of funds to schools.

PETALING JAYA: A recent Education Ministry directive for BN parliamentarians and assemblymen to be present at the distribution of schooling assistance to parents has raised eyebrows in the opposition camp.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had announced in the 2012 Budget that all primary and secondary students nationwide would receive RM100 by the end of this month.

The funds would be deposited into the Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) accounts of the schools and subsequently handed out to the students or their parents.

Last Sunday however, the ministry issued a circular requesting all BN representatives to be present during the distributions to act as a “touchpoint” between the government and the people.

PKR’s Subang MP, Sivarasa Rasiah, said that the one-off payment in itself is suggestive of vote-buying and that the presence of politicians appeared as an attempt to seal that connection between the “gift” and the intended vote.

“If this allocation was made a permanent benefit and the right of poorer familes, then these questions wouldn’t arise,” he said. “And this is the difference between the BN and Pakatan budget. Our aid programmes are continuous.”

“My other problem with this aid is that it is part of a budget that hasn’t yet been approved in its entirety which makes the distribution of funds inappropriate at this point.”

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, meanwhile, observed a contradiction between this new directive and an earlier one in in January barring all politicians from entering school compounds.

‘Education should be above politics’

She also noted that BN parties appear to be dominating government schools in the country and this isn’t welcome by all Malaysians.

“Look, while I appreciate the government fulfilling its promises to the people, you also have to look at the procedures involved,” she said. “It goes beyond the issue of vote buying and into clouding the governance of education.”

“It isn’t about whether this will affect my rice bowl as a politician but about the fact that a responsible government should prioritise education above politics.”

Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong added that the directive appeared to be part of a last- minute campaign before an election spurred by the belief that the gesture would garner votes.

“There is no need for their presence,” he said. “It won’t make a difference because it’s not about improving the system. What is needed is a genuine open policy on the country’s future.

“Instead of just being a touchpoint, there should be open engagement with parents. In this situation, it is not enough to literally stand there and be counted.”

According to Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, a Taiping school board chairman had recently given the government a tongue lashing over politicians entering school grounds.

“He said that politicians don’t belong on a holistic campus and I fully support his stand,” he said. “Let the aid be distributed by the principals without any political presence or involvement.”

Hasan Ali: Muslims being converted by solar-powered talking bible

Hasan said Jais research shows Christian were spreading their faith through free classes and counselling. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — Evangelical Christians are using high-tech devices such as solar-powered talking bibles to proselytize to Malay Muslims in Selangor, state lawmaker Datuk Hasan Ali said today.

Hasan, who is in charge of the state’s Islamic affairs portfolio, said the state’s religious authority (Jais) had discovered that Christian missionaries were now spreading their gospel through technologically-advanced means apart from setting up welfare groups providing cash and other financial aid to single mothers and the destitute.

He added that Jais’s research showed Christian evangelists were spreading their faith to young Muslim students in free tuition classes and counselling sessions, besides distributing Christian pamphlets in public places, homes, universities and places that were ostensibly called “community centres” to carry out their evangelical work.

The website claims the device’s batteries can be recharged using solar power.
The ex-PAS state commissioner disclosed this in a written reply to a question from Umno-Sungai Burong assemblyman Datuk Mohd Shamsudin Lias.

According to a website called Book of Joe, the palm-sized radio-like device contains all the books in the New and Old Testaments and is fitted with batteries that will run for almost 10 hours before needing to be recharged, whether by the sun, a light bulb or a nine-volt AC adapter. It costs only US$99.95 (RM310).

 This latest disclosure, after a controversial August 3 raid by Selangor Islamic authorities on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) in Petaling Jaya, could trigger another Christian-Muslim conflict.

Christian leaders have consistently denied claims that they are attempting to convert Muslims, but relations between the two creeds with roots in the Middle East continue to smoulder in multi-religious, multi-cultural Malaysia where the religion of the federation is Islam as stated in the Federal Constitution.

Hasan said Jais is working to counter Christian proselytism of Muslims by holding sessions to clarify Islamic doctrine and its laws.

The lawmaker said Jais is also seeking to strengthen the enforcement of the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988 as well as the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995.

NFC beat target, says Shahrizat’s husband

Shahrizat’s husband and children operate the RM250 million NFC project. — File pic
GEMAS, Nov 17 — The controversial national cattle farming project went beyond its set target, chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail said today, disputing a federal audit describing the scheme as being “in a mess”.

“In fact, [National Feedlot Corporation (NFC)] has raised 8,016 head of cattle in 2010, surpassing its target of 8,000 head of cattle. We are importing cattle from Australia and we have to feed them for between four and six months.

“We do not slaughter them soon after arrival,” Mohamad Salleh, husband to Cabinet Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil, was reported saying in a Bernama Online report today.

Today was the first time Mohamad had spoken up on the brewing scandal that began after the RM250 million federally-funded project made it into the pages of the Auditor-General’s Report for 2010.

The report released last month had criticised the NFC, pointing out that it was now “in a mess”. It further said production in 2010 was only 3,289 head of cattle or 41.1 per cent of the target set.

Mohamad’s figures today echoed Agriculture Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar’s interpretation of the project’s objectives

Noh previously informed the Auditor-General “the total number of cattle brought into the farm was 8,016 between 2008 and 2010.”

“Of that total, 5,742 were slaughtered up to November 2010. Therefore, the target of 8,000 cattle by 2010 was met. It (the NFC project) is a success,” Noh told Parliament on October 31.

The project operated by Mohamad and his two children ran into further controversy when PKR revealed that RM9.8 million from government loans to the corporation was used to buy a luxury condominium unit in Bangsar.

During a press conference today, Shahrizat’s husband disputed PKR’s numbers and said the project had purchased not one but two units of the condominium, adding that these had cost over RM6 million each.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin earlier defended the condominium purchase as an investment when the project found itself with excess liquidity after the government ran out of funds to develop satellite cattle farms.

Mohamad today called the decision to purchase the two condo units “a good business decision” that reportedly yielded a claimed RM900,000 in rental and developer rebates during the first year.

Despite clamour for the project to be investigated for irregularities, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has passed the case to the police by saying the matter should be probed under the Penal Code.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar today said, however, that he has yet to receive anything on the matter from the MACC.