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Monday, November 18, 2019

Toll abolishment a contradiction in policy, experts say



The government’s intent to replace the toll system with a congestion charge system on its four recently-acquired highways is a contradiction in policy, experts say.
The latest National Transport Policy (NTP) envisions “a public transport system that is as efficient and across-able to encourage the population to adopt it as a primary means of transport” for the country.
However, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) research manager Lau Zheng Zhou said the new congestion charge system could end up incentivising more private car ridership.
“Toll abolishment among many things may reduce the cost of driving and that may defeat some of these other policy initiatives to encourage public transport ridership, ” he said.
This, Lau said, doesn’t fall in line with the NTP, which has stated that increasing private vehicle ownership would lead to an “unsustainable spiral”.
Both Lau and Universiti Putra Malaysia Road Safety Research Centre head Professor Dr. Law Teik Hua raised concerns on how the government would move to balance its transport policy for public and private transport users.
“Some methods make it seem like we are encouraging people to use public transport, but then we implement some other policies (that encourage more cars) instead, ” said Professor Law.
“You cannot say you want to improve public transportation, and then facilitate the use of private vehicles. We’re not going to solve transportation issues this way.”
Watch: Is abolishing tollways a good idea? | Newsflash
Newsflash is a weekly explainer series by R.AGE that breaks down and discusses current topics.

-star

Another Malaysian in Singapore prison to hang on Friday

Singapore’s Changi prison, where Abd Helmi Ab Halim is being held. (AFP pic)
PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has spoken against the impending execution of yet another Malaysian on death row in Singapore’s Changi prison, questioning the likelihood that Abd Helmi Ab Halim had received a fair trial.
LFL adviser N Surendran said Helmi, 36, had been convicted and sentenced to death for allegedly trafficking 16.56g of diamorphine on March 24, 2017.
He is scheduled to be hanged at dawn on Friday.
“Helmi has consistently denied any knowledge of the drugs he is alleged to have been carrying.
“Once again Singapore is preparing to execute an alleged drug mule while the drug kingpins continue to operate with impunity,” Surendran said in a statement today.
Surendran, who represents Malaysian death row inmates in Singapore, previously accused the Singapore government of “double standards” in targeting Malaysians charged with drug trafficking for execution. He also claimed that lawyers were barred from visiting their clients in prison.
He also spoke of “serial hanging” in the republic after 10 inmates at Changi prison, including four Malaysians convicted of drug-related offences, had their clemency petitions rejected.
Singapore has denied targeting Malaysians, saying it applies the laws “equally” to both local and foreign offenders.
Surendran today said “an unusually high proportion” of those charged with drug trafficking in Singapore are eventually convicted.
“This itself suggests a legal system biased against the accused in drug trafficking cases,” he said.
Urging Singapore to comply with international law under which the death penalty for drug crimes amounts to unlawful killing, he said Malaysia itself had declared a moratorium on executions pending abolition of the death sentence for drug offences.
“We also urge the Malaysian government to make urgent representations to Singapore to save the life of this Malaysian citizen.” - FMT

Teenagers freed after three-day remand for raping a 14-year-old girl



A group of teenagers remanded for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl in a school in Tawau, Sabah, may have taped the incident on the video, according to a report.
However, the police did not confirm if they have received a copy of the video.
The police were probing the case from all aspects, rather than focusing on the video itself, Tawau OCPD Peter Umbuas was quoted as saying by The Star.
“Our main investigation focuses on the alleged rape and sexual assault of this girl,” Peter responded when asked whether the suspects videotaped the rape incident as reported by Borneo Today.

However, the said Borneo Today article could not be found on its website.
It was reported that a Form Two student was found half-naked in a secondary school in Tawau on Nov 15.
The girl's mother lodged a police report on the same day. Seven Form Five students were subsequently arrested.
The girl was allegedly raped by two boys around 11am while four others were said to have forced her to perform oral sex on them. Another student stood watching the incident.
The suspects were released after three days of remand expired on Nov 18. They were released on police bail to sit for their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.
The case is being investigated under Section 375B of Penal Code for gang rape and Section 377A of Penal Code for carnal intercourse against the order of nature. - Mkini

Yoursay: Tanjung Piai a watershed or Waterloo for Harapan?


YOURSAY | ‘People didn't really vote for BN. People just want Harapan to know their disappointment.’
Vijay47: It must not be ignored that the seat of Tanjung Piai was given away by the voters, not won by MCA.
Yet I will not say that the rout spells the end of Pakatan Harapan, but whether it arises from this savage defeat or whether it will be buried depends on the leadership of the parties making up the coalition.
These leaders must focus on only one objective and that is the well-being of the nation. They must be guided by integrity, a commodity greatly in short supply of late.
Their conduct in Tanjung Piai was far worse than Umno, shamelessly indulging in the same manner of voter rewards that Umno was previously criticised for.
The Harapan leaders must speak up, though not necessarily in public.
This brings us to the hemlock in the chalice. It boggles the mind that Bersatu, the party with the least seats, calls all the shots, with the others meekly wrapped around its little finger.
Bersatu must be told in no uncertain terms that they either toe the line for the greater good, or take a flying leap with its leader in tow.
Which brings us to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He will never again regain the people’s trust, and any respect accorded to him will be due to his age rather than his accomplishments.
He has made his bed, now he must lay on it; he could have been a Mandela, but he chose to be a Mugabe. It is your call, Harapan - madu (honey) or racun (poison)?
Proarte: The worrying thing is, DAP leaders ditched their espoused principles and went along with Mahathir's racist, divisive agenda. It was Mahathirism and its corrosive effects on good governance which allowed for the excesses of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and turned him into a kleptocrat.
After Harapan won the elections, Mahathir laughed off the election manifesto, saying unrealistic promises were made because they did not think they were going to win the elections.
Mahathir has been doing his utmost to destabilise Harapan, including being equivocal about the two- year period of transition of power to PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim.
It was made clear to the rakyat in the last elections that Mahathir was to be the interim PM because Anwar was in jail following a show trial which Najib engineered using the same Mahathir sodomy script.
From his actions, it is clear Mahathir has not reformed and still believes in the notion of Malay supremacy and 'privilege', and the non-Malay citizens are generously tolerated. This immoral and mendacious philosophy has informed Malaysian politics for far too long. It has resulted in the Malay elite ruling on entitlement and privileges.
Because of Malay 'ownership' of Malaysia, the non-Malays owe Malays 'tribute' by accepting the unjust privileges. Clearly, this modus operandi promotes corruption, immorality, racism, religious bigotry and a deliberately dumbed-down education system.
The result is a debilitated nation which can never achieve its full potential, and in fact, will head towards a failed state if no corrective measures are taken.
David Dass: The people now know the worst of the previous administration, and yet they are prepared to vote them in. Some of their leaders are faced with scores of criminal charges and yet they support them.
Such is their anger, disappointment and disillusionment with Harapan.
GE14 was supposed to bring in change. It started with a bang. The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) and Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC) had their hearings and produced their reports. They were handed to the prime minister, and then shelved.
Oppressive laws pledged to be repealed are not only still in the statute books, but are being used to persecute people.
Radical reform of the educational system has produced very little; in fact creating issues like the non-recognition of the United Examination Certificate (UEC), the introduction of khat, the number of Matriculation places, the threat to do away with vernacular schools.
The Malay Dignity Congress and the stupid things that were said there conveyed the impression that there is never going to be serious reform.
Just a Malaysian: The most important thing is to stick to what Harapan stands for and what is right for the country. Mahathir played politics, tried to waver on all fronts, pleasing no one, but angering all.
We need a statesman with a sole purpose to clean up the country and realign its core values so that the country can move forward. Mahathir is passe. He is so 90s in his thinking. It’s time for him to retire.
Hang Babeuf: People must now look at the situation with illusion-free clarity.
The net effect of GE14 has been, first, to drive the unreformed rump Umno and PAS into an alliance,
largely on PAS’ terms; and, worse, to empower Bersatu, operating under Harapan’s flag and auspices, to implement Bersatu/Umno/PAS policies for the promotion of their common stance of "Malays on top, now and forever - that, with Islam’s imprimatur, is Malaysia, like it or leave it!”
So what to do? An alternative and genuine opposition must be created from the diverse “civil society forces” that impelled Harapan to victory in 2018.
This is the challenge that now faces Bersih, G25 and everybody else of similar inclination, who must now begin, urgently, to create and install a different kind of national government.
Have no illusions: It will be a long, hard road.
Kangkung: DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong talks about Umno-PAS racial narratives, while conveniently leaving out Bersatu's racial narrative.
One of the reasons why non-Malay voters are upset is DAP turning into Bersatu’s doormat, like what MCA is to Umno. DAP has to be daring, as in the past, to call a spade a spade.
Quigonbond: It’s good to be humble and acknowledge that a lot needs to be done. But no one is really addressing the elephant in the room. This is not a vote for Muafakat Nasional (the Umno-PAS alliance). It is a protest vote.
The danger of a protest vote is that when people are upset, they don't think what bringing back the klepto-theocrats will do to the nation.
Hence, Harapan, and especially Bersatu, should be under no illusion that they can slap paint over their flaws and all will still be well for GE15.
Don't spin it as Umno-PAS' divisive narrative, when the media is a lot freer today than ever. It is precisely because the media is free that the nonsense spewing from Bersatu is known far and wide, and rightfully condemned.
Apollos: Liew says the Harapan leadership will conduct a nationwide tour to listen to the views of the grassroots to chart its future direction.
We have spoken for the past 18 months. Apparently, it has fallen on deaf ears. What will that this nationwide tour be any different? Putting on a facade that Harapan is listening?
We can't hear what you are preaching until we see what you are doing.
Jaded: The fact that Liew needs to undertake a "study" of the grassroots to find out why they lost is worrying. It reflects the government, so enamoured with their own narrative, they have stopped listening.
BN once ruled from an ivory tower. It seems the same fate has befallen the Harapan government now.
Sure, Harapan is new, but it's almost two years now and aside from the criminal cases against Najib, there hasn't been much changes. Mahathir is still spewing racial rhetoric. DAP was silent as a mouse when the race superiority issue was drummed up.
Headhunter: There is no need to go for a nationwide roadshow. It's just a waste of time. The rakyat has spoken repeatedly, but no one was listening. Just read Malaysiakini subscribers' comments and you should get the drift.
The question is, do you in Harapan dare to take the bull by the horns and do what is necessary or still continue with your one-man show?
Anonymous_b5fa4795: What Liew said is very sensible. We need an inclusive narrative to move forward. Harapan cannot compete with Umno-PAS by veering further to the right.
What they should do is to hold on to the middle ground, and discipline their leaders and members to move away from playing on racial sentiment, and focus on governance.
Anonymous_1566891822322.03441566891350406: As expected, many took the opportunity to express their 'wisdom' on how to run a government.
I agree that Mahathir should go. I agree that some nitwit ministers need to go. But give credit where credit is due. DAP ministers are the most hardworking and sincere of the lot. Do not count chickens with the ducks.
Skippy: Keep on talking... but realise that you're wasting your time, and ours.
You know what's wrong. You just don't have the courage to say it. You allow a mosquito party to ride roughshod over us, and all of you kept quiet. So, keep talking… it won't help you unless you decide to walk your talk.
XED: Umno and PAS seized the opportunity to decide on the agenda, one based on race and religion.
Instead of Harapan changing the agenda to one of universal values, respect for the rights of non-Malays and non-Muslims, respect for human rights, respect for minorities, respect for women, a stronger position against corruption, cronyism, and mismanagement, an emphasis on needs-based policies to fight poverty, and the promotion of meritocracy, it tried to outdo Umno and PAS at the latter’s game.
Some of Harapan’s outrageous moves: protecting Zakir Naik; introducing khat in government schools; dragging its feet on recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC); trying to pass a bill in the Selangor state assembly for the unilateral conversion to Islam of children by a parent; supporting the Malay Dignity Congress; dragging its feet on correcting the injustices suffered by the people of Sabah and Sarawak; keeping and using unjust laws.
As has been said, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Harapan carries much of Umno’s DNA. Here’s the lesson from Tanjung Piai - don’t take your support for granted.
Anonymous_152818822: Indeed, Harapan must pursue relentlessly its manifesto and its principles. No compromise.
If at the end of the five years, the rakyat decided to vote against Harapan for sticking to your principles, at least you bow out with grace, honour and dignity. If they vote for Harapan at the end of five years, you got it right,
But to play politics and betray the very principles that got you voted in during GE14, is sad, disheartening and downright disgusting. - Mkini

Aktivis tak setuju polis semak telefon bimbit orang awam

KDN berkata polis mempunyai hak menyemak telefon bimbit orang awam untuk memastikan tiada komunikasi yang mengancam keselamatan awam.
PETALING JAYA: Seorang aktivis masyarakat menyifatkan tindakan polis menyemak telefon bimbit orang awam tanpa alasan kukuh boleh dianggap sebagai menceroboh privasi.
Lee Lam Thye berkata perkara ini sudah tentu tidak dapat diterima orang ramai yang pasti mempunyai privasi masing-masing.
“Kalau polis boleh tahan dan ‘check’ telefon bimbit seseorang tanpa alasan kukuh, saya rasa ini tak wajar dan ini memang bercanggah dengan privasi.
“Telefon bimbit itu privasi, tak boleh lah ‘check’ begitu saja. Orang ramai pun mesti tak terima cara ini,” katanya kepada FMT.
Lee berkata sebarang isu berkaitan telefon seperti yang disebut Azis, ia bukanlah di bawah kuasa polis.
“Kalau ada yang sebar maklumat tak betul, lucah, mengugut dan sebagainya, itu di bawah Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia (SKMM), bukan polis.
“Tapi tak kiralah SKMM atau polis, tapi pada pandangan saya secara peribadi, ini tak wajar dilakukan,” katanya.
Semalam, Timbalan Menteri Dalam Negeri Mohd Azis Jamman ketika menjawab soalan di Dewan Rakyat berkata polis mempunyai hak untuk menyemak telefon bimbit orang awam untuk memastikan tiada sebarang komunikasi berunsur lucah, jelik, mengugut dan mengancam keselamatan.
Katanya, perkara itu dibenarkan berdasarkan peruntukan undang-undang di bawah Seksyen 233 Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia (AKM) 1998.
Sebelum itu, Ahli Parlimen Alor Setar Chan Ming Kai membangkitkan soal akta dan prosedur operasi standard (SOP) yang membenarkan polis menyemak telefon bimbit orang awam pada bila-bila masa.
Manakala, peguam Muhammad Akram Abdul Aziz berkata skop kuasa pemeriksaan Kementerian Dalam Negeri pada Seksyen 233 AKM itu kelihatan tidak jelas, namun kuasa itu jelas apabila dirujuk pada akta-akta lain.
“Contohnya, Seksyen 245(1) di mana menteri boleh secara bertulis memberi kuasa mana-mana pegawai awam atau pegawai SKMM untuk menjalankan kuasa penguatkuasaan di bawah AKM 1998.
“Seksyen 246(2) juga menyatakan mana-mana pegawai diberi kuasa menjalankan semua kuasa khas berhubung dengan penyiasatan polis’.
“Seksyen 252(1) juga boleh diguna pakai di mana skop penyiasatan menyatakan pendakwa raya, jika beliau berpendapat mana-mana komunikasi mungkin mengandungi apa-apa maklumat yang berkaitan suatu kesalahan di bawah akta ini, boleh memberi kuasa kepada pegawai polis untuk memintas komunikasi yang dihantar atau diterima melalui mana-mana alat komunikasi,” katanya. - FMT

Lawyer moots cooling-off period for retired judges

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya which houses the Federal Court and Court of Appeal.
KUALA LUMPUR: A lawyer has called for a moratorium period of three years before retired judges are given government-linked appointments.
Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar Al Mahdzar said judges should not be appointed to the boards of government-linked companies after retiring from the bench, as the appointments would reflect badly on the appointing authorities.
“Any immediate appointment will be seen as the government rewarding the judge,” he told FMT.
He said a better option would be for retired judges to take positions in organisations dealing with the law and human rights, as befitting their experience and expertise. He gave examples such as the Human Rights Commission, Judicial Appointments Commission and Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission.
Last week, former chief judge of Malaya Zaharah Ibrahim was appointed chairman of government-linked, public transport owner and operator Prasarana Group.
She filled the vacancy left by former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar, who resigned on Aug 17 last year.
Zaharah became chief judge of Malaya on July 17, 2018 and retired in May this year.
In January, former Federal Court judge Zainun Ali was appointed the non-independent, non-executive chairman of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.
Zainun, who has held various positions in the legal and judicial service, retired on Oct 4 last year.
Another lawyer, R Kengadaharan, said Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat should also see that judges are paid a higher pension to prevent them from looking for employment immediately after leaving the bench.
“Retired judges should be paid well to maintain their stature in society instead of them immediately returning to law practice or joining the corporate world,” he said.
Kengadharan said they could be utilised by institutions of higher learning to impart their legal knowledge and judicial experience to law students.
He said appointing them to government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies should be out of bounds, warning that ex-judges who take such positions will be seen mere “figure heads” of those organisations. - FMT

Yoursay: Pressure mounts for Dr M to quit after humiliating polls defeat


YOURSAY | ‘Clueless and egotistical, Mahathir has become the biggest millstone around Harapan’s neck.’
Kural: Having anticipated a loss in the Tanjung Piai parliamentary constituency won by his own Bersatu representative in the last election is quite akin to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad acknowledging his inability to remain as champion in the hearts and minds of those who favoured his party and the Pakatan Harapan coalition just over a year ago.

Apparently, the loss is due to voters’ displeasure with Harapan leaders for compromising on principles and convictions professed during last year’s general election.
In short, the blame is not on the founding mission and objectives of Harapan, which was favoured by a historical victory, but the subsequent floundering and ineffectiveness in governance.
Straight Talk: Mahathir expected to lose the Tanjung Piai by-election by no more than 2,000 votes? How did the prime minister arrive at that figure?
His thinking must be: “Bersatu has a Malay candidate, I attended the Malay Dignity Congress and our man is the Johor menteri besar, so the Malay voters won’t abandon Harapan even if the non-Malay voters do. Many Chinese voters will still stand by Harapan because PAS is now with Umno/BN.”
However, Harapan’s, and more precisely Bersatu’s, huge defeat shows that the voters simply have no more respect for those who, instead of inspiring them, have disappointed them in more ways than one.
Hearty Malaysian: Mahathir needs to be honest with himself and admit that he has lost touch with the rakyat and lost the plot with the overestimation of his own popularity. Bersatu is a small party but wants to be Umno 2.0.
Among Mahathir’s anti-popular decisions include not sanctioning the Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu for his irresponsible speech in Tanjong Piai, attending the Malay Dignity Congress and not condemning the racist speeches delivered at the event, using khat to gain brownie points among Malays, and refusing to deport controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik back to India.
He still has one last chance to maintain his dignity – by handing over the prime minister’s post to someone willing to reform the country as the majority of the voters in GE14 had wished for.
OMG: Mahathir did bring progress to the nation after 1990 but at great costs in a misguided attempt to secure votes of Muslims.
He did craft a good strategy for toppling former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak in 2018. But he has proved unable to adapt to new realities as shown by the series of backpedalling fiascos, and his obstinate boosting of Bersatu by giving a disproportionate share of cabinet posts to his party’s MPs.
GE14 has no lessons to teach Harapan today. To confront GE15, Harapan has to map out a new strategy or risk being kicked out.
Muruga: The best chance for Harapan to make an impact in the 2021 Sarawak state election is by having PKR president Anwar Ibrahim at the helm.
If Mahathir remains as prime minister then, we will see more of what happened in the Tanjung Piai polls.
Raikonen: I think Malaysians should have respect for Mahathir. Without him, BN would probably remain as the government of the day.
That said, Mahathir should consider handing over the premiership based on the Harapan agreement.
If he fears being a lame-duck prime minister, then there is no need to declare the timeline for the handover. He should instead step down immediately.
The rakyat will always be indebted to Mahathir for helping to dislodge Najib and BN from Putrajaya.
Falcon: It is time for the nation's leadership to be handed over to the person who commands the support and confidence of the majority in Parliament. It is time for Mahathir to quit and spend quality time with his family.
It is not tenable for Bersatu to masquerade as the lead party in the Harapan coalition when it neither has the MP numbers nor support to hold that many cabinet positions as it currently does.
Hanafiah Puteh: Shameless Malaysian politicians should learn from their British counterparts. When one’s service is not needed or when unable to meet the expectations of the people, resign.
There is no point in clinging on to something when one is not qualified or has lost the majority’s support.
Dear Prime Minister, the nation needs to move forward. Just resign.
Anon Two: Clueless and egotistical, Mahathir has become the biggest millstone around Harapan’s neck.
Last Train To Malaya: The biggest mistake that Bersatu is currently committing is playing the race card by trying to be more Umno than the real Umno itself.
In the Tanjung Piai by-election, Bersatu and its candidate, Karmaine Sardini, were not only unable to attract Umno supporters, they also lost the “fence-sitting” Malay votes.
The worst part was that even the non-Malays, who had wholeheartedly supported the Bersatu candidate in GE14, abandoned the party this time. Harapan needs to rein in Bersatu’s antics or risk defeat in GE15.
Bright Morning Star: The by-election result was a resounding thumbing of noses at Mahathir and his policies. Despite the clear writing on the wall, he wants to do a "detailed, serious and honest assessment" of what went wrong.
It was indeed a referendum on his leadership. The voters in Tanjung Piai spoke on behalf of the Malaysians who supported Harapan in GE14.
They want him to go now and let Anwar take over as the next prime minister.
Surely, there's no dignity left if Mahathir refuses to step down soon. He is not indispensable. He needs to go before destroying Malaysia totally.
Sarawak 4 Malaysian: Surely, with all the feedback from the grassroots, Mahathir would have known that the defeat would be quite bad. But just in case he did not get it prior to last Saturday’s election, Tanjung Piai voters made sure he got the message now.
I wish to thank Mahathir for saving the nation at a time when the rakyat needed him to make a comeback. But no thanks for destroying it a second time.
The Himalayans: If Mahathir had announced his resignation prior to the by-election, I believe Harapan would have won with a 2,000-vote majority.- Mkini

MACC ready to help companies identify gaps in anti-corruption plans



The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is prepared to help commercial organisations to identify the gaps or the uncovered areas in their anti-corruption plans ahead of the enforcement of Section 17A of the MACC Act in June next year.
MACC Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya said the MACC would provide training and guidance in preparation for the companies to deal with corruption issues in their respective organisations.
She said among the matters that need to be taken into consideration for the enforcement of Section 17A of the MACC Act is whether or not the companies’ anti-corruption plans are already in place.
“This is the biggest challenge for the MACC because there are still so many questions to be answered, including whether or not they (companies and corporations) are fully ready with their plans,” Latheefa said at a special session of the Institutional Investors Council (IIC)-Securities Industry Development Corporation (SIDC) Governance Convention 2019 yesterday.
On April 5, Parliament passed Section 17A of the MACC Act to introduce corporate liability for corruption offences and give the MACC the power to prosecute commercial organisations engaged in corruption, marking a significant shift from the focus given to individuals.
- Bernama

Watch out! Dr M timepieces a hoax


Too good to be true: The brochure advertising luxury watches supposedly signed by Dr Mahathir.
PETALING JAYA: Dozens of people ordered luxury watches engraved with the signature of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and parted with their money, not realising that there was no such product.
However, the plan to relieve people of tens of thousands of ringgit was ordered to be halted immediately after Dr Mahathir himself was alerted, said the Prime Minister’s Office.
“As soon as we got to know of it, it was stopped immediately, ” said an aide to the prime minister.
The aide also said Dr Mahathir had never endorsed such watches with his signature to be sold to civil servants.
More than a fortnight ago, The Star chanced upon a brochure with an order form for a watch engraved with Dr Mahathir’s signature.
The brochure was circulated among civil servants in selected departments in Putrajaya.
After checking with all parties involved, it was found that no such watch existed and that the brochure was false advertising.
When The Star checked with the organiser, purportedly a sports club for civil servants, we were told that they had stopped taking orders for the watch.
“We have stopped it because of technical reasons. We now have to return the money to those who made the orders.
“We have many who ordered but do not worry, we will have another watch on offer in the near future, ” said the person whose name was listed on the brochure as the contact person.
The number was the same as the Prime Minister’s Office.

Checks with civil servants showed that they, too, were told that Dr Mahathir was informed of this and that it was stopped immediately because he did not want his name to be used to make commercial profits.
“The PM was very angry, ” said a source.
Maurice Lacroix Malaysia, when contacted, said a luxury watch gallery had made informal inquiries using the same brochure a few weeks ago.
“The person who inquired said it should be kept private and confidential.
“I was asked, ‘How much would an engraved watch like this cost?’ I said I would have to check with the factory.
“The person did not provide any formal inquiry or internal purchase order as it was merely a verbal inquiry.
“Our head office told me that it would cost about RM3,000 to RM4,000 for an engraved piece – half the price stated on the brochure, ” said the spokesperson from Maurice Lacroix Malaysia, who did not want to be named.
According to the brochure, the watches come in three styles: MM 2020, MM 2019-I and MM 2019-II.
MM 2020 is allegedly from the Maurice Lacroix range and comes in black and brown of editions of 50 each.
This costs RM7,000 each.
According to the Maurice Lacroix spokesperson, the design advertised on the brochure is one of their watches from the “mass luxury” range, which can go for up to RM8,000.
“There are other ranges which can go for up to tens of thousands of ringgit, ” said the spokesperson.
The other two watches advertised in the brochure are of a “cheaper” version and come in editions of 100 each.
Meanwhile, MM 2019-I and MM 2019-II cost RM1,800 and RM1,200 respectively.
If indeed such a watch existed, it would be the first of its kind in the history of Malaysia’s prime ministers.- Star

LET MALAYS SEE FOR THEMSELVES WHAT A GOOD MUSLIM IS ZAHID HAMIDI: NOT A SINGLE SEN FROM UMNO PRESIDENT’S PERSONAL FOUNDATION WHICH GATHERED RM31 MILLION IN FUNDS WAS USED ON THE POOR’

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had allegedly failed to channel even a single sen to the poor from the RM31 million in Yayasan Akalbudi funds, which was set up with the objective of helping the group and others in need.
The allegation was stated by DPP Raja Rozela Raja Toran in her opening statement at the criminal trial against Ahmad Zahid connected to the foundation, which commences at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.
Ahmad Zahid, who is former deputy prime minister, is facing a total of 47 charges, including 12 criminal breach of trust, eight counts of receiving gratification, and 27 counts of money laundering involving Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds.
The trial is presided by Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah, and the accused was represented by Hisham Teh Poh Teik.
Raja Rozela said the prosecution aimed to prove that Ahmad Zahid had misappropriated about RM31m from the funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, which was an incorporated organisation set up to channel assistance to the poor and needy.
“Money-trail to be presented in court will reveal that not a single cent out of the RM31m was used for the benefit of the poor.
“Instead, the money-trail will show that a substantial amount had been used, among others, to pay for personal credit card bills, and to make purchases for motor-vehicle insurance policies and road taxes for private-owned vehicles,” she said.
Raja Rozela told the court that the prosecution would then continue the trial with the bribery charges against Ahmad Zahid, who was accused of receiving RM17m when he was the Home Minister as gratification of awarding three contracts to several companies.
Ahmad Zahid was also accused of receiving RM4.25m from “someone” around the same time for awarding MyEG project to a company. MyEG was a project that fell under the ministry’s control.
On the money laundering charges, Ahmad Zahid was accused of receiving cheques estimated to be worth RM65m from several parties, which were deposited into his account through a lawyer.
He had allegedly used the money to purchase two bungalows worth RM5.9m.
“Witness testimonies and documentary evidence will be adduced to show proof that the accused knew or had reason to believe that the millions of ringgit he had received were proceeds from unlawful activity,” Raja Rozela added.
Ahmad Zahid was slapped with the charges on Oct 19 and Dec 14 last year, and Feb 20 this year.
All the charges were made under Section 409 of the Penal Code (for criminal breach of trust); Section 16(1)(a)(B) of the MACC Act 2019 (bribery); and Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amlatfapua).
The prosecution is planning to call 20 witnesses to testify against Ahmad Zahid for the CBT charges, and another 15 witnesses for the bribery charges.
Judge dismisses Zahid’s application to challenge constitutionality of charges
Before the commencement of the trial this morning, the judge delivered his decision dismissing Ahmad Zahid’s application to challenge the constitutionality of several charges against him under the MACC Act and Amlatfapua.
Hisham Teh had earlier submitted to the court that they are mounting the challenge as it involves admissibility of documents to be produced by the prosecution.
The judge ruled that he agreed with Raja Rozela’s submission that Ahmad Zahid’s application was premature as the trial had not started.
“This challenge, at the time being, is premature as it is presumptuous in nature towards admissibility of documents prepared by the prosecution,” said the judge.
However, he ordered that all documents being disputed in the trial to be marked for identification, and any challenge should be raised along the course of the trial.
“I will decide the admissibility of the documents during submission at the end of prosecution’s case,” said the judge.
MKINI