Thai police unravel human trafficking routes

BANGKOK — Twenty-three human trafficking “agents” were arrested during a major operation conducted by Thai police to rid southern Thailand from becoming a transit destination for migrants trying to cross illegally into Malaysia.

The operation, which began in May and lasted until this month, also uncovered major trafficking routes used by the human trafficking syndicates to smuggle illegals from Myanmar to Thailand with Malaysia as their final destination.

“These trafficking routes begin from Koh Song, a Myanmar island situated near Ranong in southern Thailand,” Maj-Gen Surachet Hakpal, deputy chief of Thailand’s Tourist Police, said.

“From Ranong, the illegals are taken by bus to Chumphon and Phattalung before continuing their journey to Hatyai.”

From Hatyai, the illegals are taken either to Sadao or Sungai Golok, two border towns just a stone’s throw from the Thai-Malaysian border, for the last leg of their journey into Malaysia.

Surachet said most of the illegals were Rohingya and other Myanmar nationals.

He said four of the 23 human trafficking “agents” caught in the sting were Myanmar nationals who had been “in the business” for over five years, facilitating illegal entry of their countrymen into Thailand and Malaysia.

“They would recruit Myanmar nationals and bring them to Koh Song for a journey which most probably ends in Malaysia as their final destination,” he said.

Surachet said Thai police would step up their efforts to dismantle human trafficking networks operating in the country, including those run by foreigners, and had cooperated with Malaysia to achieve that objective.

He gave an assurance the networks would be crippled in the next three months.

During the operation, the police also seized two buses, three pick-up trucks and three cars believed to have been used by the syndicates to transport the illegals from Ranong to the Thai-Malaysian border.

Region Nine deputy police chief Maj-Gen Daoloi Muendech said investigations revealed there were five groups of human trafficking agents currently operating in Myanmar.

“The investigation also showed that at least 50 people are involved with the crime in Thailand,” he said, adding that there were three groups of agents working in Malaysia.

Thai Police Region Nine, which oversees law and order in southern Thailand, has issued arrest warrants on those suspected to be involved in human trafficking.

Surachet and Daoloi had earlier inspected a temporary camp used by human trafficking agents to shelter illegal migrants in Banklum district, Songkhla, before smuggling their human cargo across the border into Malaysia.
— Bernama

Johor gives backing to de facto leader

JOHOR BARU — PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has already won the support from at least one state after announcing that he will be aiming for the party’s top post in its upcoming election.

Johor PKR chief Hassan Abdul Karim welcomed Anwar’s announcement for the presidency, saying the latter who holds no official post currently will not only unite the party but bolster the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

“PKR Johor is confident that Anwar will bring the party to a higher level to be respected by both friends and opponents,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Hassan also said the state PKR is convinced that Anwar is qualified to assume the president’s post after taking into account several factors including his sacrifices for the people and party, as well as his vast experience in the political arena.

“This also includes his imprisonment by the Umno/Barisan Nasional regime for years,” said the Pasir Gudang MP.

Hassan said Anwar was not only an influential figure in the party, but also regarded as an institution where his ideology, thinking and struggles are very close to the state party members.

He said Johor PKR will give full support and commitment to Anwar for him to contest the post of party president.

Anwar has announced on Twitter that he would be contesting for the party’s president’s post next month.

He said the decision was made after deliberating the matter with party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and other leaders.

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Count me in for PKR top post, says Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR — PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced on Twitter yesterday that he will be running for the party’s presidency in its upcoming polls, in what he said was to preserve “continuity” within the party.

“After discussing this with Azizah, the deputy president and the party leadership, as well as taking into consideration views and for continuity’s sake and very much conscious of the principles of bil Jamaah, I am offering myself to contest for the PKR presidential post,” Anwar tweeted.

Anwar’s announcement would likely come as a surprise to the party since many believed he would be sitting out of the party election to “preserve stability” both in PKR and Pakatan Harapan.

However, it was unclear if his decision to contest would require Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to step down, but holding the post would most likely speed up his entry into mainstream politics and prompt changes within the power arrangements in PH.

The 70-year-old currently holds no post in the party and is considered the “de facto” leader, although the lack of a clear definition about the role has made some within PH question his position.

Addressing this on Twitter, Anwar said his decision to stay away from holding any party post since 2007 was to protect PKR.

“I would remind you that the request for me to lead PKR as president had been made since the party elections in 2007,” Anwar wrote.

He noted there were restrictions imposed on PKR then by the Registrar of Societies, and he chose to step back for a while, allowing his wife to helm the party.

Political observers have often said Dr Wan Azizah only served as a proxy for Anwar.

PKR insiders previously told Malay Mail that Anwar must step forward and go for the party’s top post to prove his commitment to being the next prime minister as there was another faction rooting for the incumbent deputy Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to take over.

PKR is scheduled to have its elections at the end of August with nominations set for July 29.

Get treated online for minor illnesses

GEORGE TOWN — Don’t want to brave the jam just to see a doctor for the flu or minor conditions like constipation?

Instead of self-medicating by buying medicine at pharmacies, there is an easier and safer way to treat yourself — through DoctorOnCall at www.doctoroncall.com.my.

DoctorOnCall is a pioneer telehealth platform in Malaysia that provides medical consultation through phone calls or video calls at a fee of RM20.

DoctorOnCall co-founder and director Maran Virumandi said the platform boasts over 100 certified and registered doctors to provide consultation and over 200 pharmacists to dispense medicines prescribed by the doctors.

“Our doctors are certified and registered with the Health Ministry, so patients can be assured of professional consultation when they go to DoctorOnCall,” he said.

Maran said the website’s health services mostly cover minor, low-risk and non-complex ailments that can be diagnosed through phone calls or video calls, such as conjunctivitis, the common cold, diarrhoea and migraines.

“The registered patient has an option to purchase the prescribed medicine from our site or the doctor can give them a prescription and they can go to a pharmacy to purchase their own medicine,” he told Malay Mail.

Those who have no access to transport to see a doctor or to buy medicine may use the service for a diagnosis, or to purchase medicine and have it sent direct to their homes.

The medicine will be delivered within two to four hours for patients in the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Baru, while those in other states will get theirs the next day through courier.

Maran said they dispense all medications except for those listed under the Dangerous Drugs Act and psychotropic drugs.

The site also provides free medical advice to those who want clarification on certain health issues or conditions.

“We get a lot of calls on sexual health care, family planning and sexually transmitted diseases as these are considered taboo and many young women or men are too shy to actually see a doctor to talk about such things,” he said.

Since the consultation is over the phone, the doctors will issue referral letters for conditions they deem serious so that the patient can seek full medical help at any clinic or hospital near them.

Maran said the convenience of the telehealth platform will be a good option for those who do not have time to see a doctor.

“This is better than the patient going to a pharmacy to purchase medicine on his own without prescription as this is potentially dangerous,” he said.

Telehealth or telemedicine is not something new as such platforms are available in the United States, India and China.

Maran said China has three public-listed telehealth companies, and India has over 120 telehealth companies.

Currently, there is no certification for telehealth or telemedicine in Malaysia, but Maran said they are working closely with the Health Ministry to ensure they do not break any regulations.

This includes ensuring all of their doctors and pharmacists are registered with the ministry.

DoctorOnCall is also recognised by some insurance companies, so patients can claim insurance for the medical care provided through the platform.

18 HFMD cases detected in Kota Belud

KOTA KINABALU — Eighteen cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) have been detected in Kampung Kiau, Kota Belud.

Sabah Health Department director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi said of the total, nine are pre-school pupils from Sekolah Kebangsaan Kiau.

“The pre-school has been ordered to close to enable the premises to be cleaned and to check the infection from spreading,” she said yesterday.

State education director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul said only Sekolah Kebangsaan Kiau has been temporarily closed for 10 days from last Wednesday following the detection of the HFMD cases.

The most common cause of the disease stems from the contagious Coxsackievirus A16 and Enterovirus 71 and the disease can spread through saliva, wounds and the faeces of an infected person.

Signs of infection include fever, rashes and spots on the palms and feet and ulcers in the mouth and tongue, as well as infection in the upper respiratory tract and shortness of breath. — Bernama

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Spring in his step

AUTISTIC child Muhammad Faiz Syukri is happy and excited as he takes part with other children in the ‘Walk for Autism 2018’ event in Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. — Picture by Bernama

Chairman, deputy chairman and secretary of Umno liaison body in each state

Sabah

 

1. Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak (Chairman)

2. Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (Deputy Chairman)

3. Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia (Secretary)

 

Perlis

 

1. Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin (Chairman)

2. Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin (Deputy Chairman)

3. Azizan Sulaiman (Secretary)

 

Kedah

 

1. Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom (Chairman)

2. Datuk Othman Aziz (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Hashim Jahaya (Secretary)

 

Penang

 

1. Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir (Chairman)

2. Datuk Dr Shaikh Hussein Mydin (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Shah Headan Ayoob Hussain Shah (Secretary)

 

Perak

 

1. Datuk Saarani Mohamad (Chairman)

2. Datuk Hasbullah Osman (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Ahmad Shalimin Ahmad Shaffie (Secretary)

 

Federal Territories

 

1. Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani (Chairman)

2. Datuk Zainal Abidin Mohd Rafique (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Ramlan Askolani (Secretary)

 

Selangor

 

1. Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Chairman)

2. Datuk Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Armand Azha Abu Hanifah (Secretary)

 

Negri Sembilan

 

1. Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan (Chairman)

2. Datuk Ismail Lasim (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Mustapha Salim (Secretary)

 

Melaka

 

1. Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh (Chairman)

2. Datuk Seri Mohamad Ali Mohamad (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Hasan Abdul Rahman (Secretary)

Johor

 

1. Datuk Hasni Mohammad Mohammad (Chairman)

2. Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Samsol Jamali
(Secretary)

 

Kelantan

 

1. Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Chairman)

2. Tan Sri Mohamed Fatmi Che Salleh (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Zaluzi Sulaiman
(Secretary)

 

Terengganu

 

1. Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (Chairman)

2. Datuk Din Ahmad (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Rozi Mamat
(Secretary)

 

Pahang

 

1. Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail (Chairman)

2. Datuk Hasan Ariffin (Deputy Chairman)

3. Datuk Seri Ab Hamid Nazahar (Secretary)

— Bernama

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Muhyiddin recovering after op to remove tumour

KUALA LUMPUR — Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin appears to be on the mend after undergoing an operation to remove a growth on his pancreas last week.

A snapshot posted on his Facebook page yesterday showed the 71-year-old sitting upright in a chair dressed in a purple hospital gown with several tubes sticking out of his body.

He was holding several sheets of paper while a flatscreen TV in front of him was tuned into a channel with a game of golf under way.

Several people with medical face masks on, including three attendants dressed in blue and one woman dressed in a baju kurung, were also in the room.

“He is in a good condition and resting,” Muhyiddin’s press secretary Hafiz Abdul Halim said in a statement on the same Facebook page.

He thanked well-wishers for their prayers.

Muhyiddin underwent the surgery on Thursday and will be on medical leave for one month to recuperate. It was not stated if the tumour on his pancreas was benign or malignant.

In his absence, his official duties as home minister are being undertaken by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Khaled Nordin new Perlis Umno chief

KUALA LUMPUR — Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin has been appointed the party’s new liaison chairman for Perlis, replacing Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

The Johor-born Khaled also said Datuk Hasni Mohamad will replace him as Johor Umno chief.

Khaled, the former Johor menteri besar, said his appointment was decided by the Umno leadership, but added that he hoped to work with all party members to return the party to its glory.

“I am aware my appointment will invite many questions among Perlis Umno leaders, ” he said in a statement yesterday.

“I leave it to the president to explain the rationale behind my appointment to the Umno state leadership.”

Shahidan was reported by The Star to have suffered a minor stroke last week that affected his mobility though he is not
bedridden.

Najib blames loss on ‘turncoat’ leaders

KUALA LUMPUR — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak claims some of those with positions in Umno are disloyal and have betrayed him.

The former Umno president reportedly blamed his party’s shock defeat in the 14th general election on turncoats, many of whom also held posts.

“We only think of how we could profit. We think more for our factions, and when we don’t get what we want, we would go as far as betraying the party,” he was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.

“In fact, there are those who behaved as if they held the party ransom, and what is weird is that they are done by those with positions, so it’s not surprising then if we were to be attacked by our opponents, we would be seen as a party that has lost the traditional
values of its struggle.”

Najib made the allegation at a small gathering organised by party supporters at a restaurant here on Friday. He was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and children.

Najib has been charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power in relation to the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad
(1MDB) scandal.

One of the charges allege that RM42 million from SRC International, a 1MDB subsidiary, had been diverted and deposited into his personal account.

After his fall from power, Najib had repeatedly accused many party leaders of betrayal without naming them.

On Friday, he made the same allegations to reporters who covered the gathering, and said Umno would do better by weeding out traitors.

“It’s better for people like these to leave Umno. We only want those who will die for the party,” he was
quoted as saying.

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