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Monday, May 31, 2021

Maya Hejnowska crowned Sabah's Unduk Ngadau 2021

 

KOTA KINABALU: Maya Hejnowska, who is of mixed Kadazan-Polish parentage, was crowned Unduk Ngadau (harvest queen) as Sabah's month-long Kaamatan celebrations ended on Monday (May 31).

The 21-year-old, who speaks Kadazandusun fluently, will now become an ambassador of sorts for Sabah and promote the state's products during her tenure as Unduk Ngadau 2021.

Hejnowska also picked up RM66,830 worth of prizes including RM25,000 in cash and an education scholarship worth RM35,000 from North Borneo University College, among others.

Hejnowska, whose mother is a journalist with a local newspaper, first won the Api Api Unduk Ngadau contest in May to qualify for the state-level finals that saw her beat 21 others from across the state to clinch the title.

Hejnowska is a Universiti Malaysia Sabah student.

In an earlier interview with The Star, she said her late grandmother had instilled the practice of speaking only Kadazandusun at home.

Hejnowska said anyone of mixed parentage can call themselves true Sabahans if they live here, speak the language, learn the culture and history of their own ethnicity and – most importantly – are nice to others.

“Culture is about how we live our day-to-day lives while incorporating traditions – be it the language we speak, the food we eat or anything related, it is not just about blood and ethnicity, ” she said.

The first runner-up was Dianarin Vahidin, the Paginatan beauty queen from the Ranau district. She won RM42,280 worth of prizes including RM12,000 cash.

Second runner-up was the Paginatan beauty queen Febby Angelica (Kundasang), also from the Ranau district. She won RM32,980 worth of prizes including RM10,000 cash.

The Unduk Ngadau is held to commemorate the legend of the kind and beautiful Huminodun, the daughter of Kadazandusun gods Kinoingan and Sumundu, who sacrificed her life to save the people from a famine.

Today, the Unduk Ngadau remains a symbol of beauty and portrays what a true Sabahan woman is. - Star

Bomba bantu pindah jenazah pesakit Covid-19 alami obesiti

 

Jenazah seorang pesakit Covid-19 yang obesiti dipindahkan dari HSAH Sungai Petani ke Tanah Perkuburan Islam Kampung Berapit Tikam Batu melalui lori milik JBPM Kedah pada Isnin.

PETALING JAYA: Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat Malaysia (JBPM) Negeri Kedah hari ini melakukan operasi memindahkan jenazah pesakit Covid-19 yang mengalami masalah obesiti.

Operasi itu buat pertama kali dilaksanakan di Kedah selepas diminta membantu Kementerian Kesihatan (KKM) yang berdepan kekangan dari segi pengangkutan dan tenaga kerja.

Ketua Balai Bomba dan Penyelamat Tikam Batu, Muhamad Syukri Hashim berkata, operasi bermula dengan memindahkan mayat seorang lelaki berusia 27 tahun seberat kira-kira 190 kilogram dari Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim (HSAH) Sungai Petani ke Tanah Perkuburan Islam Kampung Berapit Tikam Batu.

Katanya, operasi melibatkan 10 anggota dari BBP Tikam Batu menggunakan sebuah lori dan tiga buah kenderaan utiliti dalam membantu KKM menguruskan mayat pesakit obesiti.

“Pergerakan bermula dari BBP Tikam Batu ke kawasan perkuburan di mana proses sanitasi di kawasan perkuburan telah dilakukan terlebih dahulu, lori kemudian bergerak ke HSAH kira-kira jam 3.15 petang untuk memindahkan mayat ke kawasan pengebumian dengan diiringi anggota polis,” katanya menurut laporan Sinar Harian.

Syukri berkata, anggota bomba turut membantu proses pengebumian di tanah perkuburan berkenaan,

Katanya, pihaknya menerima maklumat bahawa mangsa yang mengalami masalah obesiti meninggal dunia pada jam 2.44 pagi dan dimaklumkan untuk bantuan pihak bomba pada jam 8.30 pagi bagi proses pemindahan mayat dan pengebumian.

Bagi memastikan operasi berjalan lancar, beliau turut meminta setiap anggota agar sentiasa mematuhi prosedur operasi standard (SOP) bagi mengelakkan sebarang kejadian tidak diingini berlaku.

“Setiap anggota dikehendaki memakai alat pelindung diri (PPE) termasuk pelitup muka dan pelindung muka,” katanya.

Muhamad Syukri berkata, operasi pengebumian selesai kira-kira jam 6.14 petang.

“Kita juga meminta orang ramai di luar sana agar mematuhi SOP perintah kawalan pergerakan bagi memutuskan rantaian penularan wabak Covid-19,” katanya. - FMT

Turun padang, dengar masalah rakyat sepanjang ‘total lockdown’, kata Naib Presiden Umno

 

Naib Presiden Umno, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, berkata Umno sememangnya berpegang kepada tradisi membela kebajikan rakyat yang menjadi teras perjuangan sehingga parti keramat itu terus kekal relevan sampai hari ini.

PETALING JAYA: Pemimpin Umno di semua peringkat akar umbi seluruh negara diseru turun padang mendengar keluh kesah rakyat yang terkesan akibat pelaksanaan sekatan penuh perintah kawalan pergerakan (PKP) bermula esok.

Naib Presiden Umno, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, turut meminta jentera Umno di setiap peringkat bersiap-siaga dan sedia berkhidmat termasuk menyalurkan sumbangan kepada mereka yang terjejas sepanjang “total lockdown”.

“Umno sememangnya berpegang kepada tradisi membela kebajikan rakyat yang menjadi teras perjuangan sehingga parti keramat ini terus kekal relevan sampai hari ini.

“Tradisi membela nasib rakyat perlu terus diperkasakan ketika pandemik Covid-19 ini. Umno perlu menjadi juara membela nasib rakyat. Namun dalam melaksanakan tanggungjawab ini, pastikan pematuhan SOP sentiasa dijaga dan amalkan kawalan kendiri yang ketat,” katanya dalam kenyataan.

Ismail yang juga Menteri Kanan (Keselamatan), berkata pelaksanaan PKP penuh bertujuan bagi membendung dan memutuskan penularan wabak Covid-19 yang melanda negara ketika ini dan kerjasama semua pihak amat diperlukan dengan mematuhi SOP

“Dua minggu yang kritikal ini saya menyeru seluruh rakyat Malaysia supaya patuh pada SOP yang telah ditetapkan dan duduklah di rumah jika tiada keperluan untuk keluar,” katanya.

Perdana Menteri Muhyiddin Yassin pada 28 Mei lalu mengumumkan penutupan penuh sektor sosial dan ekonomi atau “total lockdown” akan dilaksanakan di seluruh negara selama dua minggu bermula 1 Jun. - FMT

Sarawak MCO now ends on June 14 with changes to rules

 

The Sarawak state government said it had decided to keep the MCO in force in the state until June 14. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: Sarawak’s movement control order period will now end on June 14 instead of June 11, the state disaster management committee announced today.

The committee said it had scrutinised the guidelines issued by the National Security Council and had decided to keep the existing MCO in force with several extra conditions.

“They include changing reference to ‘zones’ in MCO areas to ‘district’, placing a limit of two persons in a private car including the driver, and making additions or amendments to the essential service list,” said the statement.

A 12-day enhanced movement control order (EMCO) was enforced at 12 localities from June 2 to 15 following a spike in Covid-19 cases in the areas concerned.

The EMCO involved 11 longhouses (Rh) and a primary school in Tanjung Manis, Mukah, namely, Rh. Mut anak Merom @ Bohom; Rh. Sana anak Changgai; Rh. Jimbun anak Saging; Rh. Bon anak Depa; Rh. Empading anak Edi; Rh. Jaapar anak Anyut; Rh. Jebat anak Talak; Rh. Puso anak Lunak; Rh. Nyalau anak Engkamat; Rh. Noh anak Bin; Rh. Damat anak Enggie; and Sekolah Kebangsaan Stalon.

Sarawak reported 10 deaths from Covid-19 today, the highest number in the state so far, while the total number of Covid-19 cases now stands at 47,329 after 645 new cases were reported.

Four deaths were reported at Miri Hospital, two each at Sarawak General Hospital and Sibu Hospital and one each at Kapit Hospital and Sri Aman Hospital. - FMT

NGO chief charged over use of federal coat-of-arms

 

T Sivanesan was charged with 15 counts of having name cards bearing the federal coat-of-arms without permission. (Bernama pic)

BANTING: The head of a society has been charged with using the federal coat-of-arms without permission on his name card, as well as using a fake lawyer’s letter.

Malaysian People Welfare Organisation president T Sivanesan pleaded not guilty at Teluk Datuk magistrate’s court to 16 charges.

He was charged with 15 counts of possessing name cards of himself bearing the federal coat of arms without valid permission. The offence carries a fine of up to RM20,000 or jail of up to three years, or both.

Sivanesan was accused of committing the offence at the Sg Jarom Police Station in Kuala Langat at 10.10am on May 13.

He was also charged with one count of using a fake lawyer’s letter, an offence punishable with a jail term of up to seven years and a fine.

Sivanesan was accused of committing the offence at the management division office of the Kuala Langat district police headquarters at 3.30pm on March 30.

The court allowed Sivanesan bail at RM15,000 for each count of using the federal coat of arms and RM10,000 for the charge involving document falsification in one surety, and set July 12 for mention. - FMT

Court date for Neelofa and hubby now set for June 23

 

The celebrity couple were charged with not registering before entering the shop while Muhammad Haris Mohd Ismail was also charged for failing to wear a face mask.

SEREMBAN: The case of celebrity couple Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor and her husband Muhammad Haris Mohd Ismail, who have been charged with violating movement control rules, has been postponed to June 23.

Their lawyer Haresh Mahadevan said that case management had been scheduled to resume on Friday but was rescheduled due to the 14-day total lockdown starting tomorrow.

“The Seremban magistrates’ court has fixed June 23 as the next case management date. The June 4 date is hereby vacated,” he said.

On May 20, the couple pleaded not guilty to charges of violating movement control rules at a carpet shop in Nilai near here early this month.

They face a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both, if found guilty.

Muhammad Haris, 26, was charged with two counts of failing to wear a face mask and also not checking-in through the MySejahtera application or recording his details in the registration book at Kedai Naeem Carpet Sdn Bhd, Kawasan Perindustrian Nilai 3, Nilai, at 4pm on May 2.

Noor Neelofa, 32, was charged with failing to check-in at the same place and time.

Asked about the case against Noor Neelofa for not wearing a face mask in court, Haresh said the matter was still under investigation. - FMT

Singapore PM in court over defamation suit against Malaysian

 

An article about Lee Kuan Yew’s home led to a defamation suit against a Malaysian writer. (Wikipedia pic/Sengkang)

SINGAPORE: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a virtual appearance in court today in a defamation suit against a Malaysian writer over an article which allegedly contained false statements about the home of his late father, Lee Kuan Yew.

Lee filed a suit against Rubaashini Shunmuganathan for her story on a Singapore news site in August 2019, which included references to a disagreement within the Lee family about what to do with the home of Kuan Yew, Singapore’s modern-day founder.

The prime minister appeared briefly in court via video conference to reaffirm his affidavits, in which he said he was seeking damages from Rubaashini.

He said he had obtained judgment in default of appearance on Dec 31. Rubaashini was not present in court and Reuters was unable to reach her.

“The article contained sensational allegations against me, the prime minister of Singapore, which were likely to attract a great deal of attention and go viral on the internet and on social networking sites,” Lee said.

Senior figures in the ruling People’s Action Party, including Lee Kuan Yew, have also previously sued foreign media and political opponents for defamation, saying such action was necessary to protect their reputations.

But some rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, say litigation stifles freedom of speech and political opposition.

In another recent defamation case, the High Court in March ordered a blogger to pay Lee damages of S$133,000 dollars. Leong Sze Hian raised money to cover that via crowdfunding on social media.

The family disagreement over the house has been about whether to demolish it, or let the government decide whether to make it a heritage landmark.

The prime minister has said his father was prepared to consider alternatives for the property if the government decided to list the site as a landmark and that he has recused himself from government discussions on the matter. - FMT

Stock market slumps ahead of lockdown but glove shares up

 

On the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange, losers thumped gainers 843 to 273.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia bucked the trend in most major regional markets to close lower today on continued selling in selected heavyweights including banking counters, ahead of the total lockdown tomorrow, but losses were cushioned by buying in glove counters.

At 5pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI index fell 10.89 points to close at 1,583.55 versus 1,594.44 at last Friday’s close. The index opened 23.4 points lower at 1,571.04 and moved between 1,568.47 and 1,585.97 throughout the day.

Market breadth was negative with losers thumping gainers 843 to 273, while 354 counters were unchanged, 712 untraded, and 58 others suspended.

On the broader market, buying momentum was mild with total volume decreasing to 6.42 billion units worth RM3.48 billion from 8.82 billion units worth RM4.19 billion last Friday.

Tech and shipping may rebound

However, MIDF Research said the local equity market may witness positive buying momentum in technology and shipping stocks linked to the global markets, as well as counters related to the production of personal protective equipment.

Likewise, consumer, logistics and telecommunications stocks may also benefit from the movement restrictions and heightened e-commerce activities.

“We are maintaining the FBM KLCI year-end 2021 target at 1,700 points with a buy-on-weakness stance,” it said in a note today.

Among the 30 blue-chip counters, Maybank slipped two sen to RM8.18, Public Bank dropped six sen to RM4.21, PChem lost nine sen to RM8.05, and Tenaga was four sen lower at RM9.95.

Top Glove, however, rose nine sen to RM5.18, Sime Darby Plantation added one sen to RM4.55, Genting Malaysia gained two sen to RM2.79, while Sime Darby was one sen higher at RM2.29.

Serba Dinamik, which hit limit down today, led the top losers, erasing 48 sen to RM1.13 with 28.33 million shares transacted.

Other counters related to its managing director and chief executive officer Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah also posted losses.

Among them, KPower Bhd, in which Mohd Karim holds a 33.29% stake, slid 23 sen to RM1.08. The company was formerly known as Kumpulan Powernet Bhd.

Meanwhile, among the actives, Kumpulan Jetson and Kanger International eased half-a-sen each to 58 sen and eight sen respectively, while HB Global was two sen better at 31 sen.

Main Market volume narrowed to 3.78 billion shares worth RM2.7 billion from 4.14 billion shares worth RM3.01 billion recorded last Friday.

Consumer products and services accounted for 837.36 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (1.31 billion), construction (155.21 million), technology (360.48 million), SPAC (nil), financial services (65.51 million), property (302.16 million), plantation (34.61 million), REITs (6.84 million), closed/fund (4,600), energy (424.77 million), healthcare (88.63 million), telecommunications and media (80.13 million), transportation and logistics (104.19 million), and utilities (18.95 million). - FMT

Police to review health status of new suspects in custody - IGP

 


Police will review the health status of all new suspects brought into custody, according to Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani.

Acryl said the measure is an improvement undertaken by PDRM to prevent more incidents of death in police custody.

“Following incidents of death in custody, for purposes of administration, we have temporarily instructed all investigating officers or any police personnel who brought in suspects to be detained to first review the person’s health status either with the individual themselves or their next-of-kin,” he said during a press conference in Bukit Aman.

Acryl Sani said the police view the issue of deaths in custody seriously and will continue to improve its detainee management procedures.

“We don’t want these incidents to happen. If we can see lately, the way how we manage detainees have improved, (but) there is still more room for improvement.

“From time to time, we always strive to improve,” he said when commenting on a recent Home Ministry order for police to initiate a probe on recent deaths in custody.

The long-standing issue of death in custody once again caught public attention in April after the death of A Ganapathy.

Ganapathy’s family claimed the 40-year-old milk trader’s health had deteriorated while in custody as a result of beatings, as his legs were swollen and bruised as though he had been assaulted.

Ganapathy had spent 12 days in police custody from February 24 to March 8 before he was admitted to Selayang Hospital, where his legs were later amputated after contracting necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease, and later died.

Police, however, said there was no evidence to show that Ganapathy was assaulted while in detention.

Ganapathy’s death, as well as that of 21-year-old Surendran Shanker in custody of Simpang Renggam Prison, had sparked fresh outcry from politicians and rights groups for greater accountability.

Acryl Sani further welcomed other agencies, including the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC), to investigate PDRM over any misconduct in the death in custody cases.

“We are trying to take PDRM towards a higher level of service while remaining close with the people,” he said. - Mkini

Eligible malls to turn into PPVs for tenants, retail frontliners

 


Shopping malls have been offered the option to set-up vaccination centres on their premises for all eligible tenants and workers, provided they meet the requirements set by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF).

When contacted, the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association said it has reached out to its members with the offer to participate in an upcoming Economic Frontliners Vaccination Programme.

“We have asked our members who are able to do it because not all members have the capacity.

“The principal objective is to vaccinate the retail frontliners,” said an association representative.

The representative said the programme is currently in the initial stages and eligible members are in the process of reaching out to their own tenants, before getting the final approval from CITF.

It is understood that the requirements include having enough space to accommodate the vaccination process and other supporting facilities.

Malaysiakini sighted a letter dated June 1 from a mall operator to tenants in its three premises.

According to the letter from IOI Malls, tenants and their workers at IOI City Mall, Seri Kembangan, IOI Mall Puchong and IOI Mall, Kulai, Johor, can register their interest to be vaccinated under the programme, which is expected to launch by the end of this month (June).

An IOI City Mall representative confirmed the letter shared with Malaysiakini is legitimate and was issued in response to the association’s offer.

The representative also said it would have a clearer picture on the number of eligible participants after the registration has closed.

Malaysiakini also sighted a letter from the management of Suria KLCC to its tenants and their workers with a similar offer to be vaccinated under the programme.

Eligible participants are given until noon tomorrow (June 2) to register and they comprise tenants and workers, including foreign workers, who have yet to be vaccinated or a confirmed appointment date under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP).

Unlike the current NIP, which is free, each individual approved for vaccination would be charged a nominal fee of RM50 for the two required doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Sinovac vaccine, said the letter from IOI Malls senior general manager Chris Chong.

It stated the fee comprised a vaccine administering cost of RM15 per dose, and RM10 to defray the logistic expenses per dose, charged to cover related costs as well as to secure commitment from the participant.

Operations of shopping malls under the current “total lockdown” have been restricted to only individual tenants listed as essential services, including food and beverage, supermarkets, pharmacies and pet care outlets.

Last Friday, The New Straits Times quoted Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs minister Alexander Nanta Linggi as saying more than 500,000 retail workers would benefit from the economic frontliners vaccination programme.

Aside from the malls association, Alexander cited an ongoing collaboration with the Malaysia Retailers’ Association and Malaysia Retail Chain Association to set-up vaccination centres at strategic locations nationwide. - Mkini

Covid-19: Jangan Salahkan Kerajaan Gagal Apabila Kita Sendiri Yang Gagal

 

Pembangkang berkata kerajaan Malaysia ialah “kerajaan gagal” kerana tak mampu mengatasi masalah Covid-19. Di UK pula, Perdana Menteri Boris Johnson kata, “Stay home, stay safe, save the NHS.” Ini kerana kalau sistem kesihatan runtuh, maka ramai rakyat Malaysia akan mati. Suntikan vaksin sahaja tidak mencukupi sekiranya rakyat masih degil dan tidak berdisiplin. Jadi bukan semuanya salah kerajaan. Rakyat pun banyak kesalahan juga.

 

'Time for advice is over', says IGP as lockdown looms

 


As lockdown looms, Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani has warned flouters of Covid-19 prevention procedures that the time for advice has long passed.

He said it is expected that people have understood the procedures and consequences of flouting any measures, after more than a year of living under various phases of movement control orders (MCOs).

“We have been under MCOs for over 430 days and I believe, I am confident, that the public understands its intention and enforcements.

“So in our view, the ‘mood’ or time for advice has long ended,” said Acryl Sani during a press conference at Bukit Aman.

He said this when asked whether police would immediately compound SOP flouters or give a chance to first-time offenders.

Starting midnight (June 1), a “total lockdown” will be in force for 14 days until June 14.

Only 17 sectors considered as essential services are allowed to open, the remaining economic and social sectors have been ordered to close. - Mkini

Loan moratorium for B40; increased aid for BPR recipients

 


The government and banks have agreed to grant a loan moratorium for those in the B40 group, as well as those who have lost their jobs and small businesses who can't operate during the total lockdown.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also announced increased aid for Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) recipients.

In a televised address tonight, Muhyiddin said for loan moratoriums, those eligible can either get a full moratorium for three months, or get a 50 percent reduction on repayments for six months.

According to Muhyiddin the full moratorium option will be applied automatically.

"I hope this moratorium announcement will help give some relief to bank borrowers

"Borrowers need only contact their respective banks to get this aid," Muhyiddin said. This is believed to be referring to the option of getting reduced loan repayment instead.

Meanwhile, for BPR recipients, households earning below RM2,500 will get an additional RM500, paid out at the end of June.

Households earning between RM2,501 and RM5,000 will get an additional RM300.

As for single BPR recipients, they will get RM100.

[More to follow] - Mkini

Azmin, his children settle suit with travel firm

 


Senior minister Azmin Ali and his four children have settled with a travel agency a lawsuit linked to allegedly unpaid flight tickets and hotel stays.

Lawyer Adam Yap, who acted for travel firm YHA Travel & Tours (M) Sdn Bhd, today confirmed that the settlement was recorded before the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court this afternoon.

“The plaintiff (YHA) withdrew the case (suit) with no order as to costs, and no liberty to file afresh.

“The defendant (International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin) withdrew their counterclaim and had no liberty to file afresh. The defendant is to pay RM1,000 to the plaintiff as costs for the counterclaim.

“Parties agreed to have the terms of settlement to be confidential,” Yap said when contacted today.

The lawyer confirmed that the travel agency has also agreed to withdraw the suit against Azmin’s children with no order to costs and no liberty to file afresh.

On May 24, online business news portal The Edge Markets reported the deferment of the lawsuit, due to “positive developments”.

On Nov 5, 2019, it was reported that YHA had sued former PKR deputy president Azmin for the recovery of RM328,901 in allegedly unpaid flight tickets and hotel stays.

YHA claimed the amount owed was for travels between September 2018 and August 2019. According to a breakdown of the claim, the firm had allegedly booked flight tickets and hotel stays for Azmin, his family, friends and ministry staff.

Azmin was then economic affairs minister under the then Pakatan Harapan administration in 2019. He later became international trade and industry minister under the Perikatan Nasional government in early 2020.

The firm claimed, in the past, it had to advance payments to airlines to secure the tickets and would be paid by Azmin or his representative every three to four months, among others.

On Dec 14 2019, it was reported that Azmin had filed a counterclaim against YHA, alleging that the suit had an ulterior motive linked to purported sex videos allegedly involving him and former Santubong PKR Youth chief Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz.

On Dec 30 2019, it was reported that YHA had filed an application to include Azmin’s four children as defendants in the legal action.

On Jan 23 last year, the Sessions Court allowed YHA’s bid to include Azmin’s four children as additional defendants in the suit, namely Farah Shazliyana, Farah Afifah, Farah Amira, and Mohamed Ameer Shazrin.

In September last year, YHA withdrew its suit against three of Azmin’s children. However, later that same month, YHA refiled the travel bill suit against Farah Afifah, Farah Amira and Ameer.

In effect, this meant that YHA then ended up with two separate travel bill suits - one against Azmin and Farah Syazliyana, and another involving Farah Afifah, Farah Amira, and Mohamed Ameer.

Today’s court outcome has settled all of the above suits. - Mkini

EAIC to probe 'police cartel' claims, PDRM to keep 'hands off' - IGP

 


Police will not interfere in investigations to be carried out by the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC) surrounding allegations of an internal cartel

Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said police had sent a letter to the EAIC inviting the oversight body to investigate the claims.

“We have sent a letter to the EAIC to investigate the claims. (We take a) hands off (stand).

“Let a third party come in and do a transparent investigation, because I want to explain that the PDRM has always been a member of society,” he said during a press conference at Bukit Aman.

“[...] These are claims made against the institution, so only a third party can investigate and decide.

“I believe the EAIC is an organisation with a good reputation,” he said, when asked whether police would initiate a probe against cartel claims made by former IGP Abdul Hamid Bador.

Hamid at his final press conference in March had exposed the alleged existence of an internal cartel, which included high-ranking officers, with connections to crime syndicates.

Hamid also alleged the cartel members include younger police personnel who colluded in attempts to remove him as part of a bigger plan to control the force for their personal benefits.

The revelation had sparked widespread reaction, including from among opposition politicians, Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin, as well as the Bar Council, which called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry. - Mkini

Ministers and deputies forego three months pay

 


All cabinet ministers and their deputies will forego their salaries for three months starting June, announced Muhyiddin Yassin this evening.

The prime minister said their salaries, including his, will be channelled to the Disaster Trust Fund to help finance Covid-19-related expenses.

In March last year, the cabinet gave up two months salary to fund Covid-19 expenses.

[More to follow] - Mkini

Cancel the Penang South Reclamation project

 


MP SPEAKS | The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project should be cancelled by both the federal and state governments in view of immediate pressing needs of the pandemic, and in the effort to preserve Penang’s valuable fishing ground, the livelihood of fishermen and overall food security

First announced in 2015, the PSR was originally meant to finance the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). While my fellow party members and I initially supported the push for better public transport, we began to develop doubts when the PTMP evolved to include mega-highways across the hills and rivers, LRT, monorails, skycab and land reclamation.

Therefore, we have to weigh this matter against the priorities of environmental protection and the wellbeing and livelihoods of our constituents. The losses and risks of this project far outweigh any possible gains to the state and its people.

PSR (now also referred to as Penang South Islands, PSI), has consistently drawn my opposition through internal channels, public statements, as well as questions raised in Parliament. My objections are for the following reasons:

  1. The need and necessity to reconsider mega infrastructure projects, particularly as we navigate yet another unforgiving wave of this pandemic with an expected K-shaped recovery.

The state and the people of Penang should not be burdened with a project fraught with risks, debt, uncertainties, and U-turns. As it stands, the entire PSR project will be funded and managed by a 70-30 joint-venture between SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd and the Penang state government – it is now a privately-led megaproject, lacking clarity on the various aspects of the mammoth project.

In a recent statement, SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd (the project delivery partner for the PSR project) stated that the 70-30 joint venture agreement will ensure that Penang benefits from the ensuing foreign direct investment, GDP contribution and creation of high-skilled jobs over a 30-year development time-frame for the three PSI islands.

While we do not deny the need for constant evaluation and improvement of physical and economic infrastructures, this must not result in permanent and irreparable environmental destruction as admitted by SRS’ own environmental impact assessment (EIA) consultants. The state’s ambition to leave a legacy must not be at the expense of rakyat; not only fishermen whose livelihood are directly threatened, but also all Penangites who will bear the costs of diminishing supply of fresh seafood and resultant higher prices.

The pandemic has exposed the deep levels of systemic inequity – further reminding us of the need to adopt development models that protect citizens rather than profiteering entities.

It is also important to ask if these infrastructure projects create meaningful value for the state and its people. We need to strengthen our re-skilling efforts, to enable local communities to compete effectively for incoming high-skilled roles; bearing in mind the years of educational opportunities lost by children in low-income households due to the pandemic.

Given the above considerations, can we afford to wait without adequate socio-economic safeguards and certainty for another 30 years before reaping the intended benefits of this project, while we navigate an unprecedented public health and economic crisis?

  1. Unanswered questions yet to be addressed – why has the state decided to enable this project despite the EIA confirming that this will result in permanent environmental loss?

In the EIA report for the PSR project, it is clearly stated that: “Permanent destruction and residual impacts will be suffered by the mudflat ecosystem, fishing grounds, turtle landings, and some of the coral reefs on Pulau Rimau. This permanent destruction will have a significant negative impact on fisheries resources, fishermen and the security of the country’s food supply.”

Phase 1 of Island A alone requires an estimated 11 million cubic meters of sand: comparable to 4,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. This large-scale sand mining for land reclamation purposes will adversely affect fisheries resources and will impact inshore fishermen and aquaculture farmers’ sources of income in both Penang and Perak.

While we fully agree with the stated aims of the state government, such as to build a smart city, provide employment, develop human capital, expand the Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone (BLFTZ), relieve development pressure on George Town, and provide new beginnings for fishermen, we must remember that reclamation is a highly costly exercise – both financially and socioeconomically.

Instead of reclaiming 4,500 acres of land from the sea, there is plenty of land on the Penang mainland. More efforts should be focused on small-scale pro-community development on the Penang mainland (as advocated by Think City) to address unbalanced growth; this should be the main trajectory of Penang’s development.

  1. The irreversible and irrecoverable damage to the livelihoods of fisherfolk

In terms of social and environmental impact, it is difficult for us to quantify and assess the impacts that are likely to be irreversible.

This development project will not only affect the livelihood of fishing communities and increase poverty, but also threaten the safety of fisherfolk. Coastal reclamation will result in fishermen and women having to travel further to obtain their catch. The cost of diesel incurred is also higher, as well as the time required to catch fish and other marine catch. In addition, fishermen face higher risks of physical danger, as well as damage to their boats and nets.

Although Penang is offering ex-gratia packages and programmes that are intended to provide long-term benefits to the 1,615 affected fishermen, the project will result in damage to the ocean and coastal ecosystems that threaten the livelihoods of almost 5,000 fishermen, as the impact of the reclamation will extend beyond Teluk Kumbar and even beyond Penang waters. Both the quantum as well as the mitigation measures are inadequate and do not address the costs incurred by fisherfolk or the safety considerations.

The above is in line with a memorandum received by PKP MPs in Penang, which stated that positive response on the project was only obtained from part-time fishermen and retired fishermen. The decision taken should be centered on sustainable development without ignoring or denying the voice of full-time fishermen and women – who remain steadfast in their stand to oppose the project.

As such I have no choice but to voice this objection publicly in the hopes that the reclamation project is terminated and is replaced with a truly sustainable economic rejuvenation plan – more in line with the need to build back better and greener in a globally recovering post-pandemic world.

As a result of voicing these objections, there may be those who say I am anti-development/growth/employment. Please let me assure you that I stand for development, growth, and employment that truly results in greater equity of socio-economic impact with minimum destruction to the environment and livelihoods.

The Environment and Water Ministry must revoke the earlier approval provided by the Department of Environment; and energise all possible efforts to collaborate with the Penang government in managing the people’s socio-economic recovery as we chart the uncertain post-pandemic recovery terrain. - Mkini


NURUL IZZAH ANWAR is PKR’s Permatang Pauh MP.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.