Limit PM’s term, DAP MP tells govt

KUALA LUMPUR ― Putrajaya should impose a limit on the prime minister’s term in office by means of convention until the required numbers can be achieved in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution, DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh said.

“The federal government must follow Penang’s example by limiting the term of the prime minister as how it limits the term of chief minister, although it may face challenges in doing so as Pakatan Harapan does not currently enjoy a two-third majority in Parliament unlike the Penang state government,” he said.

The Bukit Gelugor MP said the Penang government must be commended for having the courage to amend its constitution to limit the term of the chief minister to two.

“Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has demonstrated great wisdom in leading his administration towards this end, which is in line with the PH manifesto in 14th general election,” he said.

“There can be no doubt that limiting the term of the chief minister is a step in the right direction as this would encourage greater accountability on (the chief minister’s) part and also motivate the chief minister to bring the state to greater heights since the individual knows that the term is limited,” he said.

Ramkarpal said the appropriate limit would be three terms as policies introduced often take time to mature before they can be judged whether they are successful or not.

“Limiting to two terms might be too short for a head of state to prove himself or herself in this regard. However, one term may not necessarily last a full five years, which can limit the chief minister’s term to less than 10 years,” he added.

‘Tan’s graft charge nothing to do with City Hall land sale’

KUALA LUMPUR ― Real estate developer Datuk Tan Eng Boon’s bribery charge has nothing to do with the sale of land belonging to City Hall, said Joland Group of Companies.

Tan, who is the chairman of the Joland Group of Companies, was charged on Thursday under Section 16(b)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and an alternative charge under Section 109 of the Penal Code.

He was charged with bribing former Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor with
RM1 million.

“There had been several news reports in the media speculating that the chairman will be charged for offences relating to the sale of 64 parcels of City Hall’s land amounting to RM5.63 billion,” the group said in a statement on Friday.

“The group makes it clear that the formal charge made against its chairman is unrelated to the sale of City Hall land as speculated.”

Tan, 70, was charged with committing the offence at CIMB Bank’s Pusat Dagangan Dunia branch in Jalan Tun Ismail, where he allegedly handed over the RM1 million cheque to Tengku Adnan.

The court heard that the cheque was issued by Tan under Pekan Nenas Industries Sdn Bhd for increasing the density of a plot of land in Jalan Semarak for development by Nucleus Properties Sdn Bhd (now known as Paragon City Development Sdn Bhd), which had an official deal with Tengku Adnan’s ministry.

Judge Azura Alwi ordered Tan to report to the nearest Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office every month and inform the court seven days before leaving the country for anywhere other than Singapore, since he travels there often for business and medical reasons.

DAP MP to lodge MACC report against Ku Nan

KUALA LUMPUR — An MP will be lodging a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) tomorrow against Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor for allegedly bulldozing through 23 development projects.

An online news portal reported that Lim Lip Eng had accused Tengku Adnan of using his power as Federal Territories minister to waive the projects from undergoing a public hearing before approval.

“Last year alone, Tengku Adnan objected to 23 public hearings using his power as the Federal Territories minister for 23 development projects. He has to answer. I will file a fresh report to MACC to investigate this claim,” the Kepong MP was quoted as saying.

The public hearings were stipulated under the Federal Territory Planning Act 1982.

The Act requires the Kuala Lumpur mayor to discuss with owners of neighbouring land involved in the proposed projects through advertisements. It is meant to invite objections to the development involving land use conversions, zoning or residential density increase.

“Under the Act, a public hearing must be conducted because it involves zoning and increase in density. But the former minister objected to it. He used his power under Kaedah 14, Kaedah Rancangan Pembangunan 1970,” said Lim.

“Although I am aware of his power, how can you object to all 23 projects? All 23 cases were rejected with
no objection.”

He said the projects which did not undergo public hearing were located in Kepong, Bukit Bintang, Batu, Segambut, Wangsa Maju, Lembah Pantai, Seputeh, Setiawangsa, Titiwangsa and Bandar
Tun Razak.

Where’s rule of law, Indira asks govt and IGP

KUALA LUMPUR ― M. Indira Gandhi’s hopes of reuniting with her daughter Prasana Diksa rekindled when Pakatan Harapan took power and gave an assurance the rule of law is the cornerstone of
its government.

The Hindu mother from Ipoh, who challenged the unilateral conversion to Islam of her three children by their converted father all the way to the Federal Court in Putrajaya and won, is frustrated by the apathy displayed by the authorities in bringing back her youngest child as ordered nearly 10 years ago.

“Where are they? Is Prasana alive? Is she well? As her mother, I do not know these things which I rightfully should. Why? Because the authorities are yet to tell me anything about her,” she said in an emotive open letter addressed to the government and to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun, that was also sent to Malay Mail.

Indira noted Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s widely reported remarks that his new administration is fully committed to upholding the rule of law, which he recently reiterated will be applied to his predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak and all others charged in court in connection with the 1MDB scandal.

“What happened to the Federal Court’s order? Is it not sacred anymore? No one needs to heed it? Isn’t rule of law observed today? When will it apply to my case? Will I see justice?” she asked.

Indira’s former husband, who now goes by the name of Muhammad Riduan, converted all their three children on April 2, 2009, without her consent and applied to the Shariah Court for custody.

He ran away with Prasana when she was 11 months old after the High Court granted Indira full custody of the children nine
years ago.

In January, the country’s highest court ruled that unilateral conversions are unlawful and that a matter that is under consideration in the Islamic courts does not exclude the jurisdiction of civil courts on the same issue.

Indira was represented by M. Kulasegaran in her lengthy legal battles then, including the high-profile interfaith custody tussle that she ultimately won.

Kulasegaran has since been appointed as human resources minister after PH won the May general election.

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Top cop alarmed over early retirements

KUALA LUMPUR ― The trend of early retirement among police officers and personnel is alarming, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

He said 2,446 of the 5,000 policemen who retired this year had opted for early retirement. The rest had gone on mandatory retirement.

“There has been a rise in early retirement or optional retirement over the past five years. The reasons given include taking care of ailing family members, facing pressure at work and health problems,” he told reporters after a passing-out parade for 248 cadet inspectors and 146 cadet sergeants at the Police Training Centre here yesterday.

Cadet Inspector Bernadette Thien Mui Ling and Cadet Sergeant Norashikin Zamri were adjudged the overall best trainees.

Fuzi said more than 5,000 police officers and personnel will retire annually and 7,000 personnel will be recruited to make up for the shortage.

He said the early retirement is having an adverse impact on the police force because it is losing high-ranking as well as experienced staff. ― Bernama


MIC chief: I didn’t break rules at airport lounge

KUALA LUMPUR ― MIC chief and Dewan Negara president Tan Sri S.A. Vigneswaran has hit out at Transport Minister Anthony Loke for accusing him of violating airport lounge rules.

Vigneswaran told Malay Mail he had not broken any rules on Wednesday while accessing the special VIP lounge. He was at KLIA to send his daughter off.

He also questioned the need for a body search, as the sensor alarm did not trigger when he went through the body scanning machine.

“I walked through the sensor. My dear, has anyone body-searched you despite there not being any sound?” he said.

“I then took the lift downstairs, went straight to the officer and asked: ‘Madam, one can’t wear slippers here?’

“Why I asked was because those going for haj and umrah will usually wear slippers
and go.

“There is also a surau in the VIP lounge. When they (Muslims) take the water to cleanse themselves (wuduk), they will wear slippers. So what’s wrong with using slippers?

“It is not the security who stopped me. It is this woman who was in charge of the lounge. I was not even using the VIP lounge. I was just using the lane.”

Vigneswaran said he was wearing sandals as he had a swollen foot.

He said he was disappointed he was not contacted by Loke to clarify the matter before the minister spoke at a press conference yesterday.

He criticised Loke as wanting “cheap publicity” by publicly outing him.

Earlier yesterday, Loke called on Vigneswaran to publicly apologise for breaching protocols at the VIP lounge.

He said Vigneswaran had violated the dress code and encroached into a secure area without going through a proper security check.

The media were made to understand that Vigneswaran’s alleged misdemeanour also violated the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act (Act 298).

Vigneswaran said his officer Suresh Ramasamy had also lodged a report with the Prime Minister’s Department against the lounge management officer.

In the report seen by Malay Mail, Suresh accused the lounge management staff of being someone who was not “smart enough to have handled the situation, which made it worse”.

The report also stated there were no signboards in the lounge barring its users from wearing slippers there or at the VIP line.

Suresh called for appropriate action to be taken against the staff as “it is the joint responsibility of us all to ensure that VIPs who qualify to use the special waiting room can continue to use the facility comfortably, while observing the existing rules.”

Jho Low drops claim to New York hotel to help sale

KUALA LUMPUR ― Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho has agreed to withdraw claims on the luxury New York Park Lane Hotel, therefore allowing its sale to Mubadala Development Company to take place.

According to a press statement issued by Low’s spokesman, the sale to the Abu Dhabi government owned company is part of a US forfeiture lawsuit.

The spokesman said Low made the decision to withdraw his claim after a “lengthy and successful negotiations” endorsed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Mubadala.

“Claimants in the civil proceedings relating to the Park Lane Hotel in New York will seek to withdraw their claims to the property, thereby paving the way for the expeditious sale of the hotel to Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala and other investors,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“Low is in agreement with the prospective actions of the parties to this proceeding, which will serve as an important step towards ensuring the value of the property is maintained through immediate sale.”

The statement also noted the US government understood that Low was not admitting guilt, wrongdoing or any liability by withdrawing his claim.

The hotel was one among high-profile assets that Low had agreed to sell, including EMI Music, Blackstone’s GSO Capital Partners, David Geffen and the Jackson estate to the Sony Corporation.

Low, who is wanted for defrauding 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), said he was looking forward to continue cooperation with the US government and asset owners to ensure the value was maintained and “the rule of law is properly followed”.

The source material for bestseller The Billion Dollar Whale had spent more than US$1.1 million (RM4.6 million) in a global publicity exercise to brighten his tarnished reputation as the alleged mastermind of the 1MDB financial scandal via two high-powered US law firms.

The New York Times had reported the “litigation communications” campaign was carried out by Kobre & Kim and Schillings International over the past seven months.

The services covered round-the-clock crisis public relations response, efforts to shape internet search results, and a website with international reports and legal filings aimed at bolstering the Penang-born’s side of the story.

Payments were reportedly made to three public relations firms and a digital search firm.

1MDB probe finalised within 2 months

GEORGE TOWN ― The investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case is expected to be fully completed in another month or two, according to Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim.

He said the police were currently preparing the investigation papers by compiling all evidence, including from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, into a file before handing it over to the attorney-general for further action.

“Every week, the special forces investigating the case will have a discussion for action to be taken as soon as possible. The investigations are running smoothly and we are trying to have them completed very soon,” Noor Rashid told reporters.

He said the police would also call several other individuals from companies linked to 1MDB to give their statements.

Earlier, Noor Rashid took part in the Police Solidarity Fun Ride on the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge on Friday night.

The programme was attended by Tunku Laksamana of Kedah Datuk Tunku Shazuddin Ariff Sultan Sallehudin.

A total of 4,000 people took part in the 56.5km fun ride.
― Bernama

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Teary-eyed Dr Wan Azizah recounts PKR’s struggles

SHAH ALAM ― Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was in tears at the PKR national congress here yesterday as she recalled the tumultuous early days of the “Reformasi” movement.

The outgoing PKR president delivered a heartfelt speech and imparted an outgoing message that had constant reminders about the party’s origins which, she said, was born out of a real struggle during the turbulent years that followed her husband’s incarceration.

Dr Wan Azizah said PKR had but little support at the time of its birth, as it waged a tough campaign to free Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was sacked as then deputy prime minister as a result of a political rift with then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir, Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah are now allies in the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH).

“We are a party that was born of struggle,” Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the deputy prime minister and minister of women, family and community development, said as she broke down in tears.

Dr Wan Azizah stayed out of the party polls to make way for Anwar, who claimed the presidency unopposed and is set to become the next prime minister once Dr Mahathir steps down.

The party concluded its elections on Friday and the new lineup, led by Anwar, officially took over the leadership yesterday.

At the congress, PKR also appointed Dr Wan Azizah as the first chairman of its advisory council.

Dr Wan Azizah recounted the critical moments leading up to her decision to take her husband’s place while he was in prison, stating that it was the people’s support that kept her motivated.

“I was consoled by the presence and outstanding support of the people. We succeeded in breaking the walls of power of Umno-Barisan Nasional and gave a tough fight with allies in the Alternative Front (AF),” she said.

The AF was a loose coalition that comprised PKR, PAS and DAP. It dissolved in 2004 only to reincarnate again as Pakatan Rakyat, before a fallout with PAS broke them apart again.

The “Reformasi” movement lasted more than 20 years, with Anwar jailed the second time in 2015 for yet another sodomy conviction. He was granted a full royal pardon after PH took federal power in May.

In the later part of her speech, Dr Wan Azizah stressed the need for PKR to remain grounded. She said the party was at risk of losing support if it veered away from the course of justice, truth and equality.

“With the spirit of New Malaysia, the legislative and judiciary must remain separated. This is paramount to ensure check and balance,” she said.

“Corruption, power abuse, oppression and misappropriation must not happen. This was a promise we have long made and fought for.”

Some PH supporters have slammed Dr Wan Azizah for what they saw as her tip-toeing on issues that demanded strong leadership, such as those on child marriage and female circumcision. Critics claimed her soft stance was meant to placate a conservative voter base when she should have been decisive instead.

Dr Wan Azizah told PKR members it must not be seen to perpetrate corruption and weaknesses of past governments.

“How unfortunate it will be to our struggle and sacrifices if this were to happen,” she said, adding that she is leaving a party much stronger than its time of inception, and that she felt relief to depart on that note.

“We survived against the odds and we grew stronger and changed the government. That gave me a lot of emotional feeling because of what we had gone through,” she said.

“Maybe its part of the price we pay for a change of government but tears sometimes can be tears of joy because I am relieved of my position, my responsibilities and passed the (task) when the party is at that level.”

Rafizi denies being Rantau by-election candidate

SHAH ALAM — Mohd Rafizi Ramli has denied that he is the PKR candidate for the Rantau state by-election.

Instead, the Pandan PKR chief stressed that Dr S. Streram is the best candidate for the seat.

“No, I have said specifically before the general election that I do not wish to take part for at least two years, and I think the party understood that,” Bernama quoted him as telling reporters at the PKR National Congress yesterday.

He was responding to rumours that he would become the PKR candidate for the Rantau seat after the Election Court in Seremban declared on Friday that Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s victory there in the general election as null and void and that a by-election should be held immediately.

Mohamad, who is the Umno deputy president, was declared the winner after Dr Streram was denied entry to submit his nomination form on April 28 because he did not have a pass issued by the Election Commission (EC).

At the event earlier, PKR president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also confirmed Rafizi’s name had been brought up as a possible candidate for the by-election.

Rafizi said Dr Streram’s efforts and campaigns, including the filing of a petition against the EC’s decision, proved that he (Dr Streram) was most qualified to become a candidate for the seat.

“He has worked so hard on the ground, he knocked most of the doors in Rantau, so the best candidate is Dr Streram,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sarawak PKR Information chief Vernon Kedit yesterday asked Rafizi not to find excuses when conceding defeat in his bid to oust incumbent deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali in the party elections.

He said he was amused of being singled out by Rafizi from the thousands of Azmin’s supporters as one of the reasons for his failure to win the deputy presidency.

“He cast aspersions on my character just because I made two reports to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption (MACC) on the sudden spike in the membership of Julau branch,” Kedit said when responding to Rafizi’s claims.

“He further suggests that I would not desist but bring the party to the Registrar of Societies and the courts if Azmin had lost.”

Kedit said Rafizi should not question him over the lodging of two MACC reports as it was the right thing to do.

On a separate matter, PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail thanked Rafizi and his data analytics outfit Invoke over their roles in helping Pakatan Harapan defeat Barisan Nasional in the general election.

“Invoke Malaysia harnessed the spirit of volunteerism among the rakyat and helped the party to campaign in a smarter way by targeting marginal seats with the help of data analytics,’’ he said.

Saifuddin said the efforts by Rafizi and Invoke were perfectly summed up in an article published by The Wall Street Journal on May 7, titled “Malaysia Elections: Opposition Seeks to Slay Goliath With Smarter Campaigning”.

“Thank you, Rafizi and team, due to your contributions, we have indeed slain the Goliath,’’ he said, referring to the downfall of the Barisan Nasional government.

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