In view of those with poor vision

GOOD news is in store for those in Teluk Intan, Perak, with poor eyesight as reading glasses will be made available for them to mark their ballot papers. Each pair will come in a case affixed with the image of incumbent MP Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong. At the Gerakan operations headquarters, Barisan Nasional volunteers (from left) Michael Wat, Ng Ying Shan and Ng Zui Ning were busy packing the glasses for party supporters. The constituency has more than 60,000 voters, with Malays and Chinese forming the majority, while Indians comprise almost 20 per cent. Mah is expected to face DAP’s Nga Kor Ming. — Picture by Marcus Pheong

Sime Darby Plantation rolls out tropics-friendly helmet

KUALA LUMPUR ― Sime Darby Plantation Berhad has introduced a new generation of safety helmets for oil palm plantation workers, designed specifically to cater to the Asian build and tropical climate.

Launched by caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the opening of Minggu Saham Amanah Malaysia 2018 at the Batu Pahat Stadium, the helmet’s prototype was jointly developed by the company’s research and development department and Universiti Putra

In a press statement, the plantation giant said the helmet features a special design catering to hot tropical climate and the physical attributes of Asian workers who form a significant part of the industry’s workforce.

“The special features of the new prototype include a ventilation system to reduce heat stress, shorter brim that allows for better vision and less ergonomic stress to the neck, additional protection to workers’ head, eyes and face, as well as a whistle for emergency alert,” it

“Designed and manufactured 100 per cent by local experts, the new prototype adheres to MS183:2001, the standard for industrial safety helmet.”

AirAsia adds 120 flights, extends validity

KUALA LUMPUR ― Low-cost carrier AirAsia said it will add more flights in anticipation of the surge of travellers around polling day on May 9.

The airline also said it was extending the promotional period and maintaining the special fixed rates previously announced by group chief executive Tan Sri Tony Fernandes

“To accommodate this demand, the original May 8-10 travel period for our fixed fares will also be extended to include May 7,” it said in a statement.

“Between May 7 and 10, AirAsia will operate 120 additional flights, 20 utilising the 377-seat Airbus A330 aircraft.”

Fernandes had announced on Twitter the one-way fares would all be locked at RM99 for flights within the peninsula, RM129 between the peninsula and Sarawak, and RM199 between the peninsula and Sabah.

AirAsia was among the first to respond with such offers following the Election Commission’s announcement that polling will be conducted on May 9, a Wednesday.

Another low-cost airline, Malindo Air, said on Tuesday it was also increase flight frequency to cater to travellers during the polling period.

Bernama reported MSIG Insurance (Malaysia) Bhd will provide its travel insurance customers a refund of their insurance premium if they choose to cancel their travel plans because of the elections.

“Customers who decide to cancel their travel plans because the polling date falls within their period of outbound travel will be eligible for a full premium refund,” it said in a statement yesterday.

MSIG is also offering customers the option of changing their travel date without charging any additional premium, if they decide to postpone their travel to a new date within 90 days of the original travel date.

However, additional premium will still be imposed if the customer extends the length of the trip or changes the destination.

Customers who wish to make any changes to their travelling plans may contact their insurance adviser or email MSIG Customer Service Centre at myMSIG@my.msig-asia.com by
May 7.


Ensure flags do not pose danger, says TNB

KOTA BARU — Political parties are reminded not to place party flags on cables, conductors or electric poles to prevent anyone from getting

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) Kelantan senior manager Datuk Yuslan Md Yusoff said TNB is also banning flags to be hung at restricted areas like power substations, low and high voltage main points and supply stations.

“In the last elections, two men died after they were electrocuted while fixing party flags in Tanah Merah and we don’t want a repeat of such incidents,” he said.

Yuslan said TNB will call representatives from each political party in the state to brief them.

“We will also inform political parties to immediately remove flags that are fixed at places prohibited by TNB,” he said.

In Perlis, Road Transport Department (RTD) director Shahrul Azhar Mat Dali caution vehicle owners who paste party flags on their vehicles to ensure they do not affect their view and endanger other road users.

“In the excitement to raise the spirit of party supporters, they might not realise the flags fixed on their vehicles might obstruct the view of other drivers,” he said during the department’s 72nd anniversary state level celebration yesterday.

“We will see how the flags are placed, and if they’re not suitably positioned, we will offer guidance accordingly,” he said.

Shahrul Azhar said the size of flags fixed on cars and motorcyles must be suitable to the size of the vehicles.

He said that when flags are fixed haphazardly, accidents may occur especially during strong winds when the flags can block the view of others, or worse, fly off and land on other vehicles’ windscreens. — Bernama

Bank officer who siphoned RM715k for football bets nabbed

KUALA LUMPUR — An assistant branch manager of a bank here was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of transferring RM715,000 from a customer’s online account to pay off his failed football betting debts.

It is believed the father of three, who has no criminal record, had made a series of bad bets since December.

City Commercial Crimes Investigation Department chief Assistant Commissioner Luthfi Ismail Abdullah confirmed the arrest.

“We are looking at all possible angles to establish the motive but at this point it is too early to be certain,” he told Malay Mail yesterday.

“Investigation papers will be handed over to the deputy public prosecutor, as we are looking to further extend his remand order which ends tomorrow.”

According to a police source, investigations showed the 46-year-old man has been an employee of the bank for about 10 years.

It is believed he was recently promoted to assistant branch manager, and started placing six-figure bets on each football match at the end of last year.

“He was just trying his luck with the bets, but the debts accumulated over time after he lost most of the wagers,” said the source.

What drove him to forge a customer’s online transactions was a recent RM200,000 wager on a Uefa Champions League match.

“He placed RM200,000 on Manchester City to win their quarter-final match with Liverpool but they lost 3-0,” he said.

“Following the loss, the suspect is believed to have been pressured to settle the debts, and he allegedly misused his powers at the bank and found an account with sufficient funds to wipe out his accumulating debts.”

The suspect, from Rawang, allegedly forged the documents needed to approve the online transaction and proceeded to deposit the RM715,000 into a dummy account.

“Money was taken from a private company’s account and transferred into the bank account we believe was being controlled by the bookies. Checks later proved it was a dummy account,” th source said.

Not long later, the bank’s internal audit system detected the large transfer amount and alerted the higher management.

“After conducting their independent investigations, the branch manager lodged a police report on Saturday alleging breach of trust by one of the bank’s employees,” the source added.

On Monday afternoon, a team from the Dang Wangi commercial crime department, headed by Inspector T. Selvakumar, arrested the suspect at the bank’s branch in Jalan Raja Laut.

Cops held over drugs trade, skeletal finds

SEREMBAN ― Four policemen, including a senior officer, are being held under preventive legislation for their alleged involvement in the drugs trade and a recent find of skeletal remains, following a nationwide crackdown on organised crime.

They are being held under Section 4 (5) of the Security Offences (Special Measures) (Sosma) Act 2012.

Negri Sembilan police chief Datuk Noor Azam Jamaluddin said the police personnel, who were arrested on April 6, were from the state police headquarters in Pahang and Negri Sembilan.

Investigators have obtained a remand order for their detention until May 4.

Noor Azam said the officers, aged between 27 and 41, were believed to be involved in a drug deal with Gang 36 members but tested negative for drug abuse.

They were picked up following the arrest of a number of alleged Gang 36 members.

“We will not compromise with officers and policemen involved in crime and abetting criminals. We do not want black sheep in our team tarnishing our image,” Noor Azam said at a press conference.

He said police were also investigating the four over human bone fragments and skeletal remains found at Bukit Galena and Sungai Gadut in Negri Sembilan on April 11 and 13.

“The skeletal remains are believed to be connected to several murder cases reported in the state in 2014 and 2015. We also believe at least five people were murdered by Gang 36 members,” he said.

“The bone fragments and ashes are believed to be of two murder victims in Sungai Gadut. The skeletal remains of three other murder victims were found buried in Bukit Galena.”

Noor Azam said police were waiting for a report from the Chemistry Department to identify the victims.

“We have initiated investigations under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder,” he said, adding that 35 members of Gang 36, aged between 20 andthe 40s, had so far been arrested through a special operation dubbed “Ops Khas Hoben 1/2018”. ― Bernama


Customs seize RM3m ketamine hidden in cupboards

NILAI — Customs officers foiled an attempt to smuggle 50kg of ketamine worth RM3 million after it was found concealed in the back lining of two cupboards.

Customs deputy director-general (Enforcement and Compliance) Datuk Zulkifli Yahya said acting on intelligence, officers followed two men after they removed a cupboard from a container which had arrived from a port in Karachi, Pakistan, on April 8.

“The team stopped the suspects’ vehicle and found 25 packages containing white powder concealed at the back of the wooden furniture,” Zulkifli told a press conference yesterday.

He said the white substance, believed to be ketamine, weighed about 25kg and was worth RM1.5 million.

Following further questioning, another cupboard with the same amount of drugs hidden in it was seized from a warehouse at Port Klang on the same day.

Zulkifli said men — two Malaysians and a Pakistani aged between 27 and 42 — have been detained.

The suspects have been remanded for 14 days are being investigated under Section 32B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. — Bernama

Customs: Tax relief on mega projects common

PUTRAJAYA — Tax exemptions have commonly been awarded to mega projects owned by the government since the 1980s, and the issue of waiving the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for procurement of materials and services related to the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project was for the nation’s benefit.

Customs director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy said tax relief for the ECRL project was given due to the fact the project was wholly-owned by the government through Malaysia Rail Sdn Bhd.

“It is true the government has given tax exemption for the ECRL project to Chinese companies, but we have to remember that this project belongs to Malaysia, and the real owner is Malaysia, which ultimately benefits Malaysia and not China,” he told a press conference yesterday.

“This issue should not be twisted out of context because the government has also given exemptions like this during the era of the Sales and Service tax for several large projects in the 1980s, during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s tenure (as prime minister).

“Under the Incentives For Approved Service Projects, import duties and sales tax exemptions on machines and equipment have been granted for projects in the transport, telecommunications and utilities sectors.”

Subromaniam said telecommunications companies, independent power producers (IPPs), seaports and airports as well as train companies were also among the beneficiaries under the incentive scheme.

“Among the major projects which received exemption to reduce cost are the IPPs, SMART Tunnel, Bukit Jalil Stadium, KL International Airport, Express Rail Link and Mass Rapid Transit,” he said.

Subromaniam said there is a mechanism under GST aimed at reducing the impact on targeted groups.

“The department will, from time to time, consider exemption applications from companies that are eligible.”

In general, he said, the tax exemption on the companies concerned was to ensure the ECRL project could be carried out successfully, benefiting the people.

“If the exemption is not given, the government will have to bear GST on these procurements, in turn requiring the government to increase borrowings to cover costs, or bear losses,” he said. — Bernama.


Python caught trying to cross road

THIS python measuring seven-and-half metres was captured as it tried to cross the road in Kampung Penor, Padang Tembak, Kuantan, yesterday. Personnel from the Fire and Rescue central station took almost an hour to bag the reptile weighing about 100kg. Station commander Kamarul Bieza Mohamed Kassim said the team responded to a 2.13am emergency call from a passers-by. — Picture by Bernama.

Brokers wary of Bursa’s short selling debut

KUALA LUMPUR — Brokers and traders responded with caution to Bursa Malaysia’s reintroduction of Intraday Short Selling (IDSS) this week, with one saying the timing left most unprepared.

In February, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced at the World Capital Market Symposium 2018 that Malaysia would reintroduce short-selling with new safeguards, which Bursa executed on Tuesday.

Pong Teng Siew, head of research at Inter Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd, said the reintroduction of short-selling was positive,

However, Bursa “jumped the gun” with its introduction.

“Most brokers are not ready to offer the IDSS as they have not prepared their backend operations to handle trading,” he explained.

Another trader said the IDSS system was not cost efficient and not suitable for all retail investors. It requires a separate agreement with brokers and is better suited to bigger retail players.

Bursa Malaysia’s chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan told Bernama the introduction of IDSS to a wider group of investors was timely considering the growing sophistication of market participants.

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