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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Keep the Green Lane to Singapore open, says Johor MB

 

Singapore has suspended a ‘travel bubble’ scheme for three months. (Bernama pic)

JOHOR BAHRU: The Johor state government has called for the “travel bubble” with Singapore to be kept open, for the sake of industrial growth and investment in the state.
Singapore has suspended the Reciprocal Green Lane scheme with Malaysia as well as South Korea and Germany for three months from Monday following the resurgence of Covid-19 cases worldwide.

Johor menteri besar Hasni Mohammad said the state government has conveyed its stand to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and the matter is expected to be discussed at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“The state government hopes the RGL scheme will be continued. We believe there is a lot of investments from Singapore in Johor, so with this arrangement, it can help industries and investments from neighbouring countries that have interests in Johor,” he said.

He hoped the federal government would also allow eligible industries to continue to use the travel scheme.

Singapore has said it will review the arrangement after three months. The republic also has “travel bubble” arrangements with Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, and six provinces in China.

The RGL scheme with Malaysia began last Aug 17 to facilitate important business and official travel. - FMT

Agong calls on people to remain disciplined in complying with SOP

 


Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah today expressed hope that the people will continue to practice self-control and adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government while the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said the king also advised the people to remain calm, strong and resilient in facing the movement control order (MCO) and implementation of the state of emergency in the interest of and for the safety of the people and country.

“Indeed with the implementation of the MCO, His Majesty much understands the challenges faced, particularly the people’s daily economic activities which have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement to the media in conjunction with Federal Territory Day tomorrow.

“Sultan Abdullah has also expressed appreciation to the people, particularly the frontliners who have shown a high spirit of solidarity, togetherness and resilience in combating the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

Fadil said the Covid-19 pandemic had given a very meaningful lesson to Malaysians and His Majesty was grateful that all parties could handle and fight this crisis with their caring attitude.

According to the king, the caring spirit was very visible through the efforts of the frontliners who toiled day and night in containing the pandemic.

“It is also clear through the noble efforts of the government and volunteers in assisting the needy and also through compliance with the SOP by the general public.

“His Majesty stresses that Prihatin is not just a slogan, but it encompasses all the thoughts that went into the drawing up of the government policy up to the stage of implementation and delivery.

“Although the government is in a difficult situation, the people’s welfare is not neglected," said Fadil.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with the theme of this year’s Federal Territory Day, "Federal Territory, Caring Territory", His Majesty also called on the people to remain patriotic and love their Federal Territory by always having a deep caring attitude towards one another.

This includes caring for the family, friends, neighbours, employees and people around.

In conjunction with Federal Territory Day, His Majesty advised the people to carry out their social responsibilities and uphold noble values in their local communities to ensure continued and lasting harmony.

Sultan Abdullah said this is in line with FT Day’s theme this year “Federal Territory, Caring Territory,” which fits the aspirations of the Federal Territories Ministry and its agencies of prioritising the people’s wellbeing and sustenance through various economic and welfare initiatives.

“His Majesty was informed that the Federal Territories Ministry, through its Wilayah Prihatin (Caring Territory) programme has come up with various initiatives for those impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is in line with the spirit of these initiatives in assisting affected groups regardless of race, religion and political affiliation,” Fadil said.

Sultan Abdullah said the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya also act as lifelines that generate the country’s growth by contributing 13.5 percent of last year’s gross domestic product (GDP).

According to the Agong, economic growth only matters when the people have sufficient income, comfortable housing, access to quality education, good health, sustainable environment and continued security and protection.

Meanwhile, Fadil also took the opportunity to extend his congratulations and appreciation to Sultan Abdullah in conjunction with His Majesty’s second anniversary of being appointed the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“May Allah SWT continue to bless Tuanku’s rule, Daulat Tuanku,” said Fadil.

- Bernama

Two nabbed for possession of ketum leaves, cough mixture at Kelantan-Thai border

 Two men were arrested for the possession of  ketum leaves, cough mixture and cosmetic products. - NSTP/Courtesy of GOF

TUMPAT: Two men were arrested for the possession of nearly RM20,000 worth of ketum leaves, cough mixture and cosmetic products here, last night.

The two, aged 36 and 49, were detained by members of the General Operations Force (GOF) near the Aziz illegal jetty in two separate raids.

GOF Ninth Battalion commanding officer Superintendent Nor Azizan Yusof said the 36-year-old man, who is a suspected drug addict, was detained in the first operation at the illegal jetty at about 10.30pm.

"The suspect was in his Perodua Myvi during the arrest. He was in the possession of 380kg of ketum leaves worth about RM11,400.

"The GOF members also seized his car valued at about RM20,000," he said in a statement.

Nor Azizan said initial investigations revealed that the ketum leaves were to be smuggled to Thailand via the illegal jetty.

About 30 minutes later, he said the GOF members discovered 464 bottles of cough mixture, believed to contain codeine, and three boxes of cosmetic products at an unnumbered house in the same area.

"The items are worth more than RM8,000. A 49-year-old man was arrested later," he said. - NST

115 volunteers receive Covid-19 vaccine under third phase of clinical study

 Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said that this batch were the earliest group from 3,000 volunteers comprising individuals above the age of 18 years who met the stipulated conditions and criteria. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said that this batch were the earliest group from 3,000 volunteers comprising individuals above the age of 18 years who met the stipulated conditions and criteria. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

MERSING, Jan 31 — A total of 115 volunteers have been vaccinated under the third phase of a Covid-19 clinical study involving nine hospitals in five states.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said that they were the earliest group from 3,000 volunteers comprising individuals above the age of 18 years who met the stipulated conditions and criteria.

He said the hospitals used as the sites for the study under the supervision of the Institute of Clinical Research were Ampang Hospital and Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor; Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital and Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital in Kedah; Penang Hospital and Seberang Jaya Hospital in Penang; Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital and Taiping Hospital in Perak; and the Sarawak General Hospital.

“The programme has just started three days ago after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the date (of the study) at the end of this month which will be conducted for 13 months.

“Continuous monitoring will be conducted to determine the effectiveness, safety and quality of the vaccine being developed,’’ he told reporters after visiting a cystic hygroma patient in Kampung Semaloi, Endau here, today.

Dr Adham said the remaining volunteers were expected to receive the injections in stages in four weeks’ time.

The third phase of the clinical study is being conducted in collaboration between Malaysia and China via the Institute of Medical Biology Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. — Bernama

Malaysian Navy expels boat carrying 25 undocumented migrants near Pulau Angsa in Selangor

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) expelled a boat carrying 25 undocumented migrants from Indonesia out of the country’s waters, four nautical miles southeast of Pulau Angsa, early this morning.

In a statement, it said the junk boat was detected about 1am as a result of cooperation between RMN, Marine Police and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Sector 5.

The RMN vessel accompanied and expelled the boat from Malaysian waters at 6.53am.

“The RMN is always boosting ‘Op Benteng’ through cooperation involving various agencies under the National Task Force (NTF) to protect the country’s maritime borders against encroachment by illegals and in curbing the spread of Covid-19,” it said. — Bernama

Ex-AG Tommy Thomas, in his book, calls coroner’s ruling on fireman Adib’s death ‘bizarre’

 Tan Sri Tommy Thomas described the coroner court’s ruling of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death as ‘bizarre’. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Tan Sri Tommy Thomas described the coroner court’s ruling of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death as ‘bizarre’. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Tan Sri Tommy Thomas described the coroner court’s ruling of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death, which stated it was due to a criminal act by two or three persons, as “bizarre.”

A report by local news portal The Vibes was quoting from the former attorney general’s recently-published book My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.

Thomas said he found coroner Rofiah Mohamad’s findings unusual as he was briefed by the police that foul play had been ruled out as Adib’s cause of death, following detailed

investigations by different police units.

“In late September 2019 the coroner released her findings. She decided that two or three persons had caused the death of Adib. It is mind-boggling that she arrived at this conclusion, when police, with their experience, expertise, manpower and resources, could not.

“The coroner was also specific; two or three persons. Why not one? Why not five or more?” he wrote.

The coroner court’s decision resulted in officers from the Attorney General’s Chambers requesting that Thomas file an appeal against the findings at the High Court.

Stating that although he believes Rofiah’s findings and reasoning to be wrong, Thomas added that he ultimately decided not to appeal as the coroner’s decision was for the police to resume their investigations.

“The inspector-general of police immediately responded that the file had never been closed, and that police will continue investigating. I had no objections to this course of action,” Thomas said.

In the book, he also expressed shock upon learning that private legal practitioner Syazlin Mansor also represented Adib’s family for the inquest into his death. Syazlin was also a representative for the Housing and Local Government Ministry as well as the Fire and Rescue Department.

As such he contacted its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin to request that she revoke Syazlin’s appointment as representative.

“To compound matters, the husband of the private practitioner (Syazlin) selected by Zuraida was employed as her press secretary. If such conflict of interest raised eyebrows, a worse conflict arose between the lawyer’s duty to Adib’s family and that to the Housing Ministry and Fire Department.

“The interests of these three parties did not coincide: On the contrary, they diverged,” Thomas argued, adding that Syazlin should have realised it would have been unacceptable to act for all three parties.

Looking at the matter more closely, he discovered that during the inquest, Syazlin often took positions in contradiction to those taken by deputy public prosecutors, which in turn caused embarrassment to the ministry and Fire Department which she also represented.

Although Thomas did not object if the private legal practitioner wanted to continue in representing Adib’s family, he said her decision to withdraw completely from the inquest towards the end was purely her choice.

“That decision was made by her, for reasons known to her. We were not responsible for that decision. I issued a statement on May 28, 2019, announcing the dropping of the private practitioner as a lawyer for the housing minister and Fire Department.

“That raised a storm of protest, and subsequently, the institution of contempt proceedings against me,” he wrote.

Thomas added that at the time of writing his book, the contempt proceedings brought by Adib’s family were pending at the Court of Appeal.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said in August last year that a proposal for a second inquest into Adib’s death was awaiting the approval of current Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Azizan Harun.

The 24-year old fireman sustained serious injuries during a riot at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Subang Jaya on November 27, 2018. Although he regained consciousness several days later, he eventually died on December 17 that year at the National Heart Institute in KL.

Thomas’ 573-page book is now available for purchase via Gerakbudaya’s website. - malaymail

Comparing Dr M’s remarks on Malays, Tommy Thomas says even Trump knew not to attack support base

 File picture of then Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas (centre) at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex February 4, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

File picture of then Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas (centre) at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex February 4, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Even former US president Donald Trump did not attack his own support base, ex-attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas reportedly said when commenting on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s past actions in criticising the Malays.

In his newly-released memoir My Story: Justice in the Wilderness, Thomas described Dr Mahathir as a riddle to his fellow allies in the Pakatan Harapan (PH), particularly when the latter criticised the Malays in public.

“A politician uses his base as a platform to increase his support elsewhere. Donald Trump, for all his stupidity, was smart enough to refrain from attacking his base,” Thomas was quoted saying in his book by the news portal The Vibes.

In his book, Thomas was also reported saying that Dr Mahathir had the “primary responsibility for the failure to manage” the PH coalition, as he was the leader of the coalition.

Thomas in his book criticised Dr Mahathir for alleged failures in his leadership over the PH Cabinet as the then prime minister, noting that Cabinet members then had gone against the principle of collective ministerial responsibility as some of them contradicted each other, The Vibes reported. 

Thomas was attorney general during the PH administration from June 2018 until February 28, 2020, when he resigned ahead of the end of his term following the collapse of the PH administration.

In February 2020, the PH government collapsed following the Sheraton Move, and the pull out of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia from the coalition.

Dr Mahathir then quit as Bersatu chairman and also stepped down as prime minister, with the PH Cabinet subsequently dissolved.

A new federal government under Perikatan Nasional was then installed, with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister on March 1.

Published by Strategic Information and Research Development Centre (SIRD), the 573-page book is available for purchase from Gerakbudaya. - malaymail


Thomas says he had support of Kit Siang, Karpal to be AG if Pakatan won GE13

 

PETALING JAYA: Former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas has claimed he had the support of DAP bigwigs Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh to be appointed to the post had Pakatan Rakyat, as the coalition was called then, won the 13th General Election.

In his newly-released memoir "My Story: Justice in the Wilderness", Thomas recounted how he had met the late former lord president Tun Salleh Abas to secure PAS' and then-PKR president Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Ismail's support.

Thomas claimed he was named as the "leading candidate for the post of attorney general in the event of a Pakatan victory in GE13", which was held in 2013.

Thomas did not identify those who named him as the "leading candidate" but mentioned "long-standing friends in the Bar".

He also recalled how he had visited the late Karpal at his office in Pudu prior in 2013 to check if the latter was vying for the same post.

"I then asked whether he would serve as attorney general, to which he replied 'no'. I then told him my wishes.

"Karpal said he would completely support my appointment, and that he would mention it straightaway to his good friend and leader of the DAP, Lim Kit Siang.

"It was agreed that the matter would remain confidential."

Later, Thomas said the Opposition "did not win sufficient seats to form the federal government in 2013. Hence, my candidacy remained a secret, known to just a few individuals".

Thomas further wrote that the selection of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad "as leader of the Pakatan Harapan coalition to contest GE14 had a profound effect on my chances of becoming attorney general".

He then spoke of his "topsy-turvy relationship" with Dr Mahathir and how his relationship with his former lawyer Matthias Chang helped to open doors for him to get close to the seventh PM in 2015 on matters of 1MDB and law reforms.

He added that as GE14 approached in 2018, the matter of the appointment of the AG if Pakatan Harapan won was brought up again.

"I informed Zainur (Zakaria) and Ambiga (Sreenivasen) of my chats with Tun Salleh and Karpal Singh in 2013 and their enthusiastic support for my appointment then. That resolved the issue.

"A few days later, Zainur, Ambiga and I visited Tun (Dr Mahathir) in his office. Zainur brought up the subject of the important role the new attorney general would play in a Pakatan Harapan government. Tun agreed and specifically mentioned the 1MDB issues.

"Then Zainur recommended my appointment, praising my achievements and stating that I would be the ideal candidate. Ambiga and I stayed silent, so did Tun."

He later mentioned how the Pakatan won the 14th General Election and Dr Mahathir appointed him as the AG, despite "meeting resistance from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong".

At that time, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was Sultan Muhammad V.

"Tun said that he was adamant to see my appointment through, and I was to leave the matter with him."

He further wrote that as his was the only name submitted by Dr Mahathir to the Conference of Malay Rulers, they had no choice but to agree.

"On Monday, June 3, 2018, the King signed my letter of appointment. The newly-released (from prison) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim visited the King in his palace in Kota Baru that day. But the reports were conflicting about Anwar's role.

"Some say he objected to my appointment, while others said he supported it. Whatever might have transpired between the King and Anwar, the Palace issued a statement on Monday night announcing my appointment".

Thomas spent one chapter on his appointment on how he was asked by Dr Mahathir to tender his resignation one day after his appointment.

However, he did not elaborate on their conversation and merely wrote, "when that hurdle was overcome. I was advised to report for duty on June 6, 2018 at the Attorney General's Chambers".

The 531-page memoir "My Story: Justice in the Wilderness" was released on Jan 30 and published by the Strategic Information and Research Development Centre. - Star

Simpang Renggam Prison, staff quarters under EMCO from Feb 1-14

 

PETALING JAYA: The enhanced movement control order will be enforced at the Simpang Renggam Prison and staff quarters in Kluang, Johor from Feb 1-14, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The Senior Minister also said that the MCO would be implemented in Song and Kapit districts in Sarawak from Feb 2 to 15.

He said that the implementation of the enhanced MCO was made following a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in the two areas.

"As of Jan 29, the MOH has conducted 198 screening tests and out of that number, 108 cases have been recorded involving 100 detainees, six staff members and two close contacts.

"The enhanced MCO SOP in this prison is also the same as previously announced, including that in and out movement and visits by family members are not allowed, to ensure that there is no transmission of infection to the community,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the Health Ministry confirmed that there has been an increase in Covid-19 cases in the Song district, which was previously a green zone, with 93 cases recorded.

"While in Kapit district, from zero, there are now 31 positive cases. The SOP of the MCO is the same as previously announced,” he said in a statement Sunday (Jan 31).

On the SOP compliance operation, he said the police arrested 578 individuals, with 525 compounded and 53 remanded on Saturday (Jan 30).

On "Ops Benteng", he said that a total of 40 illegal immigrants were detained, while a land vehicle and a boat were seized. - Star

Tindakan Orang Asli buat sekatan sendiri tak salah, kata polis

 

Ketua Polis Kelantan Shafien Mamat (kanan) menandatangani gambar memaparkan petugas barisan hadapan yang akan diserahkan kepada polis di negeri itu. (Gambar Bernama)

KOTA BHARU: Tindakan penduduk Orang Asli suku Temiar di Pos Sendrop, Gua Musang melakukan sekatan di laluan masuk ke kampung mereka bagi mengekang penularan Covid-19 tidak menyalahi undang-undang, kata Ketua Polis Kelantan Shafien Mamat.

Katanya, ini kerana laluan itu hanya digunakan penduduk kampung berkenaan.

“Tindakan itu sebenarnya tidak salah kerana laluan ke situ hanya digunakan oleh penduduk kampung itu yang berjumlah kira-kira 500 orang.

“Namun, mungkin dengan kebimbangan mereka terhadap Covid-19 menyebabkan mereka bertindak sedemikian,” katanya kepada pemberita.

Mengulas lanjut, Shafien berkata beliau sudah mengarahkan ketua polis daerah Gua Musang untuk berjumpa dengan penduduk di petempatan Orang Asli berkenaan.

Pada masa sama, beliau turut menasihati tok batin melaporkan kepada polis berhubung sekatan laluan ke kampung mereka agar tidak disalah anggap oleh pihak lain.

Difahamkan, sejak Disember lalu ada penduduk di beberapa perkampungan Orang Asli termasuk Pos Tuel di Gua Musang bertindak melakukan sekatan di laluan masuk ke kampung mereka kerana bimbang dengan kemasukan orang dari luar yang mungkin membawa jangkitan Covid-19 di situ.

Terdahulu, Shafien menerima sumbangan untuk barisan hadapan yang disampaikan oleh syarikat Raja Perfume Malaysia dan Fahaf Global Sdn Bhd. - FMT

Sabah cadang wujud kilang proses sarang burung walit

 

Timbalan Ketua Menteri Jeffrey Kitingan mahu menjadikan sarang burung walit Sabah jenama antarabangsa. (Gambar Bernama)

KOTA KINABALU: Timbalan Ketua Menteri Jeffrey Kitingan berkata kerajaan akan bekerjasama dengan sektor swasta berpengalaman dalam industri burung walit bagi mewujudkan kilang pemprosesan sarangnya di Sabah.

Katanya, langkah membangunkan industri burung walit itu dilihat mampu memberi peluang kepada mereka yang kehilangan pekerjaan akibat pandemik Covid-19 untuk menceburi industri itu.

Selain itu, beliau berkata kerajaan juga akan membangunkan aktiviti hiliran bagi memperkembangkan lagi industri berkenaan di Sabah.

“Inilah yang kerajaan mahu wujudkan bagi membantu rakyat menjana pendapatan lebih baik.

“Kerajaan sentiasa mengenal pasti pendekatan terbaik dan efektif dalam memulihkan semula ekonomi rakyat yang terkesan akibat pandemik Covid-19. Pembangunan semula ekonomi rakyat tempatan amat penting kerana ramai yang kehilangan kerja dan berdepan pengurangan gaji pada masa ini.

“Sehubungan itu, aktiviti hiliran ini penting kerana juga mewujudkan lebih banyak peluang pekerjaan yang berpendapatan tinggi kepada rakyat tempatan,” katanya dalam kenyataan.

Beliau yang juga menteri pertanian dan perikanan berkata, produk mentah sarang burung walit perlu diberi nilai tambah untuk menjana pendapatan lebih baik kepada pengusahanya.

Katanya, memandangkan kerajaan merancang menubuhkan Lembaga Burung Walit Sabah tahun ini, maka kajian dan penyelidikan (R&D) perlu turut dilaksana bagi memberi nilai tambah kepada produk sarang burung walit di Sabah.

“Kita tidak boleh bergantung kepada produk mentah sahaja kerana jika dilihat sekilogram sarang burung walit yang berkualiti berharga RM5,000, namun produk mentah yang diproses boleh mencapai lebih RM15,000 setiap kilogram,” katanya.

Dalam pada itu, beliau berkata Sabah akan mengambil pendekatan memperluaskan pasaran produk sarang burung walit.

“Kita bukan hanya fokus kepada pasaran China sahaja, impian saya untuk memasarkan produk sarang burung walit Sabah ini sebagai satu jenama antabangsa,” katanya. - FMT

Bunyi letupan kuat di Sabah masih misteri

 

Penduduk di beberapa daerah di Sabah dikejutkan dengan bunyi letupan kuat dalam kejadian kira-kira 11 pagi tadi.

BEAUFORT: Bunyi letupan kuat didengari di beberapa daerah termasuk Beaufort, Sipitang, Membakut, Kuala Penyu dan kawasan sekitarnya masih misteri kerana belum ada pihak membuat laporan berhubung kejadian itu.

Ketua Polis Daerah Beaufort Azmir Abd Razak ketika dihubungi mengesahkan belum menerima sebarang laporan berhubung kejadian berlaku di sekitar Beaufort dan Sipitang kira-kira 11 pagi tadi.

Beliau sudah berhubung dengan ketua polis daerah Sipitang dan Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan dan setakat ini tiada laporan mengenainya diterima.

Katanya, siasatan awal bagi mengesan punca bunyi sudah dibuat namun jika polis mengetahui lokasi kejadian dan laporan dibuat barulah siasatan rasmi akan dibuka.

“Selagi kita tidak tahu di mana lokasi (letupan), selagi itu kertas siasatan tidak dapat dibuka kerana dalam peruntukan undang-undang, kita kena tahu lokasi kejadian barulah menjadi tanggungjawab ketua polis daerah mengarahkan siasatan dibuka,” katanya.

Sementara itu, pegawai perhubungan awam Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia (TLDM) menafikan bunyi letupan kuat itu berkaitan latihan perang Borneo pihaknya.

Katanya, latihan perang Borneo itu dilaksanakan pada 28 Jan lalu.

Kejadian itu tular di media sosial hari ini dengan beberapa pengguna Facebook memuat naik status mendakwa satu letupan kuat berlaku sehingga didengari di beberapa daerah di Sabah. - FMT

Distrust, failure to rebuff racist attacks led to PH downfall, says ex-AG

Former AG Tommy Thomas said tensions between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim worked against Pakatan Harapan.

PETALING JAYA: Former attorney-general Tommy Thomas says lingering and growing distrust among politicians within Pakatan Harapan and Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s failure to manage the coalition effectively led to its fall early last year.

He said other factors included the tensions between Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim, and the failure of Malay parties in PH to rebuff racial narratives spreading in the country.

Thomas said the unity between the Malay parties and their other coalition partners “evaporated” after the general election, with PPBM, PKR and Amanah choosing to remain silent on racially charged narratives.

“Why were Tun Dr Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin and Redzuan Yusof, from Bersatu (PPBM), Anwar Ibrahim, Azmin Ali and Wan Azizah, from PKR, Khalid Samad and Mohamad Sabu, from Amanah, so silent in the face of repeated onslaughts from their people?

Tommy Thomas.

“If each had taken turns to immediately respond in a sensible, moderate manner, calmly dealing with the facts, the effect of racist attacks would have diminished,” he said in his book, “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”.

On Mahathir, Thomas wrote that he was not as assertive in comparison to his first spell as prime minister (from 1981-2003) and was unable to present the coalition as a united front.

This was shown by a lack of cohesion among leaders of component parties. “Cabinet ministers, sometimes from the same party, were publicly taking positions contrary to that of the Cabinet or of their colleagues,” he wrote.

Thomas also questioned Mahathir’s “constant and harsh attacks on the Malays”, which he said was “a riddle” to many PH members as the Malay electorate was a significant part of their voter base.

“Tun ought to have acted like a statesman, unifying the different races,” Thomas said.

Another example of Mahathir allowing problems to fester was his failure to make a timely decision on the timeline for Anwar’s succession as prime minister, thus creating growing distrust between the two leaders.

Thomas said Anwar’s doubts over his future as PM were compounded by the quickly growing ties between Mahathir and Azmin Ali, whom Thomas described as “Anwar’s arch enemy in PKR”. Azmin was given the newly created portfolio of economic affairs minister and frequently travelled overseas with the prime minister.

PH and 1MDB

Thomas also questioned whether PH had come to power equipped with a plan to govern the nation; bringing former prime minister Najib Razak and others to account for alleged crimes was not the coalition’s responsibility, he said, despite the alleged offences being a driving force of the election campaign.

He said PH “certainly was not keen on pushing legislative reforms, despite the many promises in its manifesto” and added that the electorate takes promises seriously “and political parties which ignore, disregard or break promises are punished by voters”.

Regarding Najib’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal, Thomas asserted that members of Umno and Barisan Nasional could not shirk culpability.

“However much Najib had centralised power in the office of the prime minister, no one in a leadership role in BN or Umno could credibly claim that he or she did not know of these frauds.”

After the revelation of US$600 million being found in Najib’s personal account in July 2015 and the sacking of deputy prime minister Muhyiddin and senior minister Shafie Apdal, “those who remained in office in the Cabinet, in BN and Umno, were complicit,” he added.- FMT

Free rice for poor families in FT, says Muhyiddin

 

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said 5,750 packets of rice would be distributed every week.

KUALA LUMPUR: Free rice will be distributed every week to poor families living in the Federal Territories starting today, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Muhyiddin said 5,750 packets of free rice will be distributed in a joint initiative by the Federal Territories ministry, Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and the Federal Territories Residents Representative Council.

He did not specify how much each family would receive.

Muhyiddin’s announcement came in a speech to mark Federal Territories day tomorrow. He said more than 400,000 families living in the Federal Territories are classified as members of the urban poor, after the revision of the poverty level from RM980 monthly income to RM2,208.

He said statistics from Sosco showed that 6,805 people had lost their jobs in December. “To combat this problem, the FT Ministry through their MyJob@Wilayah initiative has allocated 3,259 job vacancies in various industries,” he added. - FMT

Another tapir ends up as roadkill in Kelantan

 

An eight-year-old tapir, weighing 450kg, found dead on the Gua Musang-Kuala Krai road. It is believed to have been struck by a vehicle. (Bernama pic)

GUA MUSANG: A male tapir was found dead by the side of the Gua Musang-Kuala Krai road near the Felda Chiku Satu settlement today, and is believed to have been hit by a vehicle and dragged for around 15m.

Kelantan Wildlife and National Parks Department director Ady Ermanty Haniff Mohamed Hanif said the remains of the tapir, which weighed 450kg, was found by a member of the public who was passing the area at about 7.45am today.

The eight-year-old tapir was believed to have been hit by a vehicle between midnight and early this morning. “Initial investigations indicate that the tapir was trying to cross the road before being rammed by a vehicle in the darkness,” he said in a statement today.

He added that the tapir had left its habitat probably because it was looking for food in the area.

According to the department’s records, three tapirs had been killed after being hit by vehicles in the state last year. - FMT

Panthers begin to mate as zoo goes quiet without visitors

 

The zoo has not had a panther birth despite preserving the species since 12 years ago. (Freepik pic)

MELAKA: Thanks to the peace brought about at Melaka Zoo by Covid-19 restrictions, four of the zoo’s black panthers have begun to mate, giving hopes that they will breed.

Zoology Unit head Azman Ghazali said the absence of visitors at the zoo had left the animals free to express their natural behaviour and interact freely with their own kind.

Other animals were also showing the possibility that they might breed in the new calm.

Azman said that when visitors were allowed, the animals were often seen to be passive and would even shy away.

The changes as a result of the movement control order were now evident even in the mating behaviour of the zoo’s six black panthers, he said, giving rise to hopes of a panther birth.

The zoo has not had a panther birth over the 12 years of conservation efforts for the species. The female panther was taken in about six months ago.

“My hope is for the two to have healthy cubs so that after this we can design a programme to release these valuable species into their original habitat.

“The chances for the female panther to get pregnant are high because the animal caregiver is more focused on making observations, preparing a nutritious diet, providing a better play area as well as being able to make preparations for the birth,” he said.

Azman said other animals had also shown the possibility to breed more in this new quiet at the zoo.

“For example, parrots are among the ‘key species’ at the Melaka Zoo and there are more than 20 species, such as the blue-and-gold macaw and scarlet macaw, and these birds need a calm atmosphere to incubate their eggs in the nest.

“If the bird is depressed or feels disturbed by visitors, it will leave its nest thus causing the egg to not hatch,” he said.

Wildlife assistant Muhammad Aizad Faizatul Azreen said that although the zoo is not open during the current MCO period, a total of 40 trained animal keepers still work daily to ensure the welfare, safety and health of animals under their care.

Black panthers are black-coated leopards of the species Panthera pardus. They are found in the tropical rainforests of South and Southeast Asia, and are most common south of the Kra Isthmus where almost all panthers, or leopards, are black. Nowhere else in the world are there as many black panthers, according to a National Geographic article. - FMT