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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Zaid time-barred from suing law firm he founded: court filing

 


Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim is statutorily time-barred from filing a suit against the law firm he founded in 1987, claimed a court filing.

A statement of defence by Messrs Zaid Ibrahim & Co claimed that this is due to Zaid only instituting the suit against last month, which is 12 years after he allegedly inked an agreement with the firm to relinquish all his interests, rights and assets in said firm.

On Nov 18, Zaid’s lawyers from law firm Messrs Suflan TH Liew & Partners filed a suit at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to stop Messrs Zaid Ibrahim & Co from using his name, among others.

Law firm Messrs Tommy Thomas filed the statement of defence on behalf of its client, Messrs Zaid Ibrahim & Co.

According to the court document dated Dec 2, the defendant alleged that the plaintiff in 2008 signed away, among others, his interests and rights to the name “Zaid Ibrahim & Co”.

“Neither the execution of the said 2008 agreement nor its performance has ever been questioned or challenged by the plaintiff until the institution of this suit in November 2020,” the law firm claimed.

“For 12 years from 2008 to September 2020, the plaintiff never asserted any claim or interest in the equity, goodwill, name or any part of the business of the firm.

“The plaintiff’s action herein filed on Nov 18, 2020, is therefore time-barred by the doctrine of limitation pursuant to Section 6 of the Limitation Act 1953. The defendant shall forthwith apply to have this action struck out by reason of limitation,” the law firm alleged.

After having been with the firm for 21 years, Zaid left in March 2008 to assume the post of minister of legal affairs and judicial reform then. He held the ministership until September the same year.

Section 6 of the Limitation Act states that generally, legal action shall only be filed within six years from the date that a cause of action accrued over a contract.

The law firm claimed that Zaid never asserted any claim or interest in the firm’s name even during his tenure as its consultant from July 2018 until October this year.

“As the plaintiff harboured political ambitions under the then Pakatan Harapan government, the plaintiff had specifically requested that his name not appear in the letterhead of the firm.

“The firm acceded to this request and accordingly did not place his name in its letterhead from July 2018 to October 2020, despite the plaintiff having rejoined as a consultant,” the firm alleged.

The firm contended that after March 2008, Zaid was never offered the position of being its equity partner and no equity in the firm was ever offered to him. It claimed that the plaintiff held the position of partner without equity.

The firm also denied the suit’s contention that the partnership was dissolved either through the sale of the plaintiff’s remainder equity in 2008 or through his termination as a partner on Nov 9 this year, among others. - Mkini

Minister: Zoo Negara has 'more than enough' funds, should spend prudently

 


Energy and Natural Resources Minister Shamsul Anuar Nasarah believes that Zoo Negara possesses sufficient funds and has advised it to manage its finances “transparently”.

The National Zoological Gardens previously said it could only hold on until February 2021 in its present financial situation.

It had particularly appealed for government funding to help cover the high electricity and food bills incurred by its Giant Panda Conservation Centre.

In a statement today, Shamsul shared that the zoo had collected RM10.6 million in donations in the first nine months of the year. The amount included both cash donations and animal feed contributions.

“Based on Zoo Negara’s spending records, this amount should be more than enough to cover the costs needed to feed the animals. Zoo Negara should therefore manage the donations it receives transparently and prudently,” he remarked.

The zoo previously revealed that its monthly operating costs amounted to RM930,000 - comprising RM400,000 in wages, RM350,000 in food and RM180,000 in utility bills.

Shamsul said that the government had channelled RM1.3 million from the Wildlife Welfare Prihatin Fund to the zoo on April 10.

Zoo Negara previously said it used this RM1.3 million to cover one month of operating expenses, insurance costs for its pandas as well as animal food and medical fees.

The minister added that Putrajaya had further given it a 15 percent discount on its monthly electricity bills for six months.

“The ministry has never stopped helping Zoo Negara even though it is owned by an NGO and operates as a business,” he said.

The zoo is owned by the Malaysian Zoological Society. Veterinarians who had worked at the zoo previously accused the management of alleged financial mismanagement, a claim the latter denied.

In today’s statement, Shamsul said he will be meeting with the zoo's management tomorrow to discuss improvements.

“I will hold a meeting with the management of Zoo Negara on Thursday to discuss a mechanism to strengthen Zoo Negara’s operations, especially in terms of governance.

“This is so it will be more competitive and able to ensure that the welfare of its wildlife is always protected,” he added.

On a separate matter, the minister said that panda cub Yi Yi will be transported to China as soon as Beijing determines a date.

“Yi Yi turned two years old on Jan 14, and was supposed to be sent to China in April but this had to be postponed because the conservation centre in China was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he explained. - Mkini

Islamic economic foundation launches fund to help Zoo Negara

 


The Malaysian Islamic Economic Development Foundation (YaPEIM) has launched a fund to help ease the financial burden faced by the management of Zoo Negara.

YaPEIM, in a statement today, said the fund was launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the tourism sector and tourist attractions such as the national zoo.

"Members of the public can channel donations to the fund located at 203 Ar Rahnu YaPEIM branches nationwide within a period of three months starting Dec 2 until Feb 28, 2021," the statement said.

It said the pandemic has affected the normal operations at Zoo Negara, and this adversely impacted the animals sheltered there, which are in need of food and daily care.

According to media reports, the operating costs for Zoo Negara averaged RM1 million per month including staff salaries amounting to RM400,000, animal feed (RM350,00), electricity bills (RM140,000), and water bills (RM40,000).

YaPEIM hopes that the effort will be well received by the community as well as animal lovers, thus helping to ease the plight of the national zoo management.

Bernama

Malaysia needs a relook at retirement age - World Bank

 


Malaysia needs to relook at its retirement age policy, considering that the country is becoming an ageing society, said World Bank Group representative to Malaysia and country manager Firas Raad.

In a statement today, he said Malaysia’s demographics have shifted to an era of low fertility and low mortality from a situation of high fertility and high mortality previously.

“Malaysia has passed a crucial milestone in its development trajectory this year and has become an ageing society; defined per the international convention as having seven percent or more of the population aged 65 and above,” he said.

Firas (above) noted that rapid ageing meant that Malaysians would have to work longer.

Currently, compared to other upper-middle and high-income countries, the employment rate of those aged 55 to 64 in Malaysia is low, especially among women.

By comparison, in South Korea, Japan, and Thailand, more than 65 percent of persons aged 55 to 64 are active in the labour market.

“In Malaysia, this is the case for only 45 percent of those in this age group,” he said, adding that one policy option is to gradually increase the relatively low minimum retirement age to 65 from 60 and to link it to life expectancy thereafter.

Firas said policies are needed to foster inclusive employment of all workers, including older workers, through less physically-demanding jobs, and with more digitally-enabled workplaces.

“A first policy option is to provide enhanced opportunities for training and lifelong learning that consider the specific circumstances of older workers.

“Finally, a regulatory framework for productive and flexible employment of older workers could be developed, and part-time and other flexible forms of employment could be further facilitated,” he said.

Firas also emphasised the importance of addressing women-specific constraints regarding work.

He said relevant initiatives include better availability, quality, and affordability of childcare; reforms of the legal environment; improved support for parents in line with international legal norms; and policies that address gender norms and attitudes.

“Ultimately, the right mix of policies could help Malaysia adapt to rapid ageing, improve the well-being of all, and increase the share of Malaysians that experience old age not as a burden, but as a period of their life full of independence, social inclusion and productivity,” he added.

Bernama

Theft, fight, rape and burglary among top offences involving students in Johor

 


Cases involving theft, fight, rape and burglary are among the top criminal offences committed by students in Johor.

Johor Police chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay (photo, above) said 99 percent of those involved in these crimes were secondary students aged between 13 and 18.

Ayob Khan said even though the student arrest index declined to 538 cases from January to October this year compared to 1,230 in 2019, the trend was still worrying.

As such, he said the police had collaborated with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) to develop the Children and Teenagers Crime Awareness Module (Mekar) to be used in the state’s 1,374 primary and secondary schools as well as institutions of higher learning.

Ayob Khan said Mekar focused on three main modules, namely narcotics, sexual harassment and social crimes, which also incorporated psychological and counselling elements to instil awareness among the students.

"If we educate (the students) at the primary school level using this module… I am confident that when they attend secondary school, they will already have awareness about crime.

"I will ensure consistent and continuous implementation (of the module)… Insyaallah, it will start after the Covid-19 pandemic is over," he told reporters at a press conference after the module launching ceremony in Iskandar Puteri today.

Also present were UTM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Ahmad Fauzi Ismail and Johor Education Department director Shaharuddin Saari.

Ayob Khan said that among the objectives of Mekar are to make students aware of the dangers and negative effects of crime and act as early prevention against criminal activities, thus helping to reduce the crime rate among teenagers and children in Johor.

He said Mekar would be implemented for two hours through several methods, including lectures, small group discussions and video screenings every month.

“The delivery method for these modules will be adjusted according to the target group, meaning the delivery techniques, communication elements, activities and module delivery will differ to ensure the delivery of information takes place in an effective and interactive manner," he said.

- Bernama

Covid-19 (Dec 2): 851 new cases, Johor now a hotspot

 


COVID-19 | The Health Ministry today reported 851 new Covid-19 cases as of noon today amidst 102 infections emerging in Johor.

This is believed to be the first time Johor has reported new cases in the triple digits.

Sixty-four of the cases in Johor were related to existing clusters while 23 were from a new cluster. 

The Klang Valley reported the highest number of infections (39.2 percent) followed by Sabah (26.9 percent) and Johor (12 percent).

[For 14-day cumulative new cases count at mukim (locality) level, click here. For details of new cases by clusters, click here. There will be slight delays due to data entry process.]

Leading indicators:

  • Active cases: 10,686 ↑ (191 more than the previous day)
  • Patients in ICU: 122 ↑ (2 more than the previous day, new record)
  • Intubated patients: 47 ↑ (3 more than the previous day)
  • Deaths: 2

The two deaths were reported in Sabah, bringing the state's cumulative death toll to 214 or 58.6 percent of the national total (365).

Details of the two victims, both with comorbidity, are as follows:

Patient 65,961 - Malaysian male, 84, dead on arrival at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Patient 65,962 - Foreign male, 63, dead on arrival at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Of the cases reported today, four were imported. A breakdown of the new cases are as follows:

Selangor (249)
Existing clusters: 77
New clusters (Impian and Desa Pinang): 5
Close contact: 86
Other screenings: 81

Sabah (229)
Existing clusters: 39
Close contact: 103
Other screenings: 87

Johor (102)
Existing clusters: 65
New cluster (Baloi): 23
Close contact: 8
Other screenings: 6

Kuala Lumpur (85)
Existing clusters: 7
New clusters (Desa Pinang, Jernai, Seri Wangsa): 40
Close contact: 3
Imported: 4
Other screenings: 31

Negeri Sembilan (62)
Existing clusters: 43
Close contact: 4
Other screenings: 15

Penang (60)
Existing clusters: 52
Close contact: 5
Other screenings: 3

Perak (34)
Existing clusters: 31
Other screenings: 3

Kedah (26)
Existing clusters: 19
Close contact: 7

Kelantan (2)
Existing clusters: 1
Close contact: 1

Pahang (1)
Other screenings: 1

Malacca (1)
Other screenings: 1

The states of Sarawak, Terengganu and Perlis, as well as the territories of Putrajaya and Labuan, did not report new cases.

The Health Ministry said there are 183 active clusters, of which 44 had new cases added today.

The three clusters with the most number of new cases are:

  • Batu Tujuh cluster (51 new cases), involving the Johor Bahru and Batu Pahat districts.
  • Beringin cluster (36), involving several districts across Penang.
  • Kaya cluster (33), which originated from a MASKargo staff at KLIA.

The ministry also reported five new clusters. The largest new cluster is the Baloi cluster, which has 30 cases so far. This cluster involved the Johor Bahru and Pontian districts in Johor.

The Desa Pinang cluster has 25 cases involving the Kepong, Lembah Pantai, Titiwangsa and Cheras districts in Kuala Lumpur as well as the Gombak district in Selangor.

The index case for this cluster was diagnosed on Nov 28 after reporting symptoms.

The Impian cluster involved the Gombak district in Selangor. The index case was diagnosed on Dec 2 after reporting symptoms. So far, nine cases have been attributed to this cluster.

The Jernai cluster involved the Titiwangsa district in Kuala Lumpur and has 13 cases so far. The index case for this cluster was detected after being screened before the person was supposed to leave the country.

The Seri Wangsa cluster also involved the Titiwangsa district in Kuala Lumpur. Eight cases have been attributed to this cluster so far. This cluster's index case was diagnosed on Dec 2 after reporting symptoms.

 - Mkini

Improvements to election SOPs based on MOH recommendations - deputy minister

 


Amendments and improvements to the Covid-19 Prevention Guidelines for the Implementation of Elections take into account three recommendations submitted by the Ministry of Health (MOH), said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Shabudin Yahaya.

He said the three recommendations were banning inter-state crossing, house-to-house campaigning and gatherings that involve large crowds.

"The Election Commission (EC) will draw up stricter and comprehensive guidelines to minimise the risk and infection of Covid-19 during the election process, including amendments to the guidelines used during the Sabah State Election (PRN)," he said during a Special Chamber session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was responding to a question by Vivian Wong Shir Yee (Harapan-Sandakan) on a safe election process during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taking into account the experience during the Sabah state election, the EC will provide face masks at all polling stations and all election officials are required to constantly monitor compliance with the prescribed standard operating procedures (SOPs), especially on physical distancing.

Among the SOPs that were violated during the Sabah state election were not wearing face masks while at polling stations, failing to observe physical distancing and not recording attendance before leaving the polling station.

"Non-compliance with standard operating procedures by the those involved in the Sabah state election, especially during campaign activities, is one of the factors that increased the number of Covid-19 cases because in the by-elections held previously, namely the Chini and Slim by-elections, there was no report of new clusters," he added.

Shabudin said the EC would continue to study and consider views or suggestions from other parties to improve the implementation of the election process with issues on safety and health to be given priority in facing the Covid-19 epidemic. - Mkini