Fisherman finds body of triathlete off Tanjung Tuan

PORT DICKSON — The body of a Hong Kong national who drowned while competing in the 2018 Port Dickson International Triathlon on Sunday was found floating in the waters off Tanjung Tuan yesterday.

Negri Sembilan Fire and Rescue Department director Norazam Khamis said the body of Yuen Chi Yuen, 42, was discovered by a fisherman at 8.14am, about one nautical mile from where he had disappeared.

Norazam said the body was taken to the hospital for an autopsy.

“His family identified the body and we have handed over the case to the police,” Norazam told reporters at the Port Dickson Hospital mortuary.

He also said his department had earlier mounted a search and rescue operation using two boats and two jet skis, covering two nautical miles from the spot where Yuen had gone missing at about
midnight.

The operation, which also included personnel from the Water Rescue Team, Marine Operations Force, Civil Defence Force and the Port Dickson Municipal Council, was called off
at 9am.

On Sunday, Yuen was reported missing after he failed to report back after the event.

Another participant, Tharm Wei Wong, of Penang, drowned in the same competition. — Bernama

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Suaram tells cops: Stop spying on activist

KUALA LUMPUR — Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) accused police of spying on Malaysian Crime Watch Task Force (MyWatch) chairman Datuk R. Sri Sanjeevan at his home last week.

The civil society group claimed the police action was a violation of privacy and tantamount to intimidation.

“Suaram takes this issue seriously as an individual’s freedom cannot be illegally infringed upon by any party, especially the security forces who are supposed to safeguard the protection of the people, not otherwise,” Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy told reporters after submitting a memorandum to protest against the police action at the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) office here yesterday.

Sevan said the group was concerned over Sanjeevan’s safety.

“We urge Suhakam to investigate the spying of Sanjeevan and ensure that he and his family are free from police intimidation,” he said.

Sanjeevan, who was present, related seeing two men in a blue car who he claimed acted suspiciously in front of his home in Kajang on July 9.

He said he reported them to his neighbourhood security patrol, only to be told later the duo had identified themselves as police officers.

“Why didn’t they show me their authority cards if they were policemen? And when I checked, the vehicle was using a fake vehicle registration number plate,” Sanjeevan claimed.

He said he lodged a report at the Kajang police headquarters at 2pm on the same day.

The MyWatch chief had been shot in July 2013, and was also charged with criminal intimidation and extortion of a businessman two years ago. However, he was acquitted without his defence being called.

‘Man eyed child bride since she was seven’

IPOH — The 41-year-old tapper who married an 11-year-old girl in Kelantan reportedly said he had wanted to tie the knot with her since she was seven.

The father-of-four told a Malay online portal yesterday that news of his marriage had only shocked the outside world, as most of the villagers and his friends had known about his wish for some time.

The man said he had told his friends of the girl, known as Ayu, and even shown them a picture of her.

He said most of them had agreed to the union as the girl was not in school and came from a poor family.

The man said he was unsure what made him feel like marrying the girl, but claimed it was not driven by desire.

He reiterated his claim that he wanted to protect the girl and provide welfare for her.

“I knew Ayu since she was small because we were neighbours and I also taught her the Al-Quran. It was then that I told myself ‘one day I will take this girl as my wife’ and I did so four years later,” he was quoted as saying.

“Insult me if you must, but I am not scared or dissuaded from going through with the marriage …”

The man repeated his claim that he would not “touch” his wife until she turns 16.

He said they would be staying together if he only got married because of desire, instead of waiting for five years.

“I realised many are scolding and criticising me but they are outsiders who don’t know me or Ayu’s family,” he said.

The tapper also hoped all three of his wives would live together in love and harmony.

However, he said, his 11-year-old bride has not met the other two wives in order to “protect their emotions”.

“I promise to steer our household well. Stop insulting us, but instead pray for our happiness,” he said.

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Gobind: EPL matches on RTM likely only in 2020

KUALA LUMPUR — It is too costly for national broadcaster RTM to air the upcoming English Premier League (EPL) matches live this year, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said.

He indicated the high cost would also make it impossible to show the tournament on terrestrial TV next year, but indicated it might be possible in two years.

“That is one thing that has been brought to our attention, but I think we are not able to broadcast this year’s league live on RTM because it costs a lot,” he told reporters at the “Jom Bola” programme in conjunction with the live screening of the FIFA World Cup final between France and Croatia on two giant screens at the Puchong Indah field on Sunday.

“As for RTM’s World Cup live telecast, we managed to secure sponsors for the RM30 million that was paid for the rights to show some of the matches live, but for the EPL the cost is higher.

“In the coming years maybe we can re-examine the situation. But for EPL, maybe not this year or next, but the following year.”

Gobind said keeping costs manageable was in line with the Pakatan Harapan government’s initiative to cut federal spending.

He said public support towards RTM had been encouraging over the past month before the World Cup telecasts, which was a reason for the national broadcaster to improve its performance.

“This is the starting point to show how RTM is going to be a major player in the broadcasting industry,” he said.

Gobind said he was looking at other new shows for RTM to air.

“I give my guarantee that we will look at other shows, not just live but new shows that will refresh RTM,” he said.

Programme empowers bright Orang Asli students

KUALA LUMPUR — Suhairyzal Majid is the epitome of a successful Orang Asli student who has done well academically despite living in the interior and having to make do with limited facilities.

A Form Four student of Sekolah Menengah Sains Tuanku Jaafar in Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan, the 16-year-old’s siblings have also done well for themselves.

Suhairyzal and his family are part of the Temuan ethnic group from Kampung Orang Asli Guntur, 38km from Kuala Pilah.

His six older siblings are graduates and work in the pharmacy, banking, accountancy, engineering, teaching and medical fields.

Suhairyzal is one of 44 Orang Asli students whose excellent academic performance earned them a place at full residential schools nationwide, in addition to 62 Orang Asli children in Mara junior science colleges and cluster schools.

Suhairyzal is not embarrassed by his ethnicity but takes pride in being an Orang Asli capable of competing with other Malaysians.

He received his early education at Sekolah Kebangsaan Tengkek where he scored five As in his Ujian Peperiksaan Sekolah Rendah, which earned him a place in a science residential school.

Last year, he scored seven As and two Bs in the PT3 examination, but felt a little disappointed.

“I was expecting nine As but ended up with only seven. However, the failure has spurred me to target better results in SPM (Sijil Pelajaraan Malaysia) next year,” he said at an empowerment programme for Orang Asli students at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) in Serdang.

Suhairyzal resolved to do well in school after experiencing the hardship his family has endured. His father is an od-job worker who earns RM500 a month and his mother is a housewife.

“I know the only way to get out of poverty is to get a good education,” he said, addingthat his siblings also drummed into him the importance of a sound educational foundation.

The computer engineering hopefulsaid he wants to help other Orang Asli children improve in their studies.

“The drop-out rate among them is high and many of them have zero IT knowledge. In fact, some of them don’t even know what a computer is, let alone use one,” he said.

Only one per cent of the 14,000 Orang Asli students at secondary schools across the country are categorised as outstanding.

According to the Education Ministry, only 20 per cent of Orang Asli students completed their secondary education compared to the national average of 72 per cent in 2013.

Only 61 per cent of pupils at primary schools catering to Orang Asli children managed to pass all the core subjects, compared to the national average of 87 per cent.

In addition, 35 per cent of Sekolah Kebangsaan Asli schools are categorised by the ministry as Band 6 and 7 schools because of their poor performance. Only one per cent of mainstream schools fall within these categories.

A round-table conference organised by the ministry’s Education Performance and Delivery Unit in 2016 resolved to increase the number of Orang Asli students placed at full residential schools.

The unit collaborated with UPM and the Orang Asli Development Department to implement various initiatives, one of which is the empowerment programme.

UPM Faculty of Human Ecology senior lecturer Dr Mohd Roslan Rosnan said the programme comprises three elements — mentoring sessions and attitude and personality formation, learning styles, and appreciation of values and culture.

“The main problem with Orang Asli students is their lack of self confidence,” he said, adding many students are apprehensive about making themselves noticed even if they are “brilliant”.

The second phase of the programme will be held in September in Pangkor with the involvement of the students’ parents, and the third phase is scheduled for January at UPM.

Mohd Roslan said a group of top-scoring Orang Asli students will act as mentors to fellow students.

“This will motivate the younger ones to follow in the senior students’ footsteps,” he said, adding that the success stories would be compiled into a book to inspire children from other indigenous communities.
— Bernama

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‘Just the beginning’

KYLIAN MBAPPE and another supremely talented generation of French players may just be getting started after overcoming Croatia to win the tournament in Russia.

While the 19-year-old is the poster boy for France’s new crop of talent, the make-up of the squad suggests they have the youth and firepower to dominate international football for years to come.

The average age of a fine back four of Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernandez is just 23.

France’s other goalscorers on Sunday, Antoine Griezmann, 27, and Paul Pogba, 25, are in their prime.

In scoring his fourth goal of the tournament and France’s fourth of a 4-2 win in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, Mbappe — named Young Player of Tournament — became the youngest player since Pele to score in football’s biggest match.

“I have a story to write, this is just the beginning,” Mbappe warned the world. “I intend to go even further.”

The Paris St Germain forward has been compared to Brazil great Pele after scoring two goals against Argentina in the last 16, becoming the first teenager to score multiple goals in a finals game.

“If Kylian keeps equalling my records like this I may have to dust my boots off again,” tweeted Pele.

Just nine players of the World Cup-winning squad were at Euro 2016, although there were just five changes comparing the starting line-ups from the two finals.

Only Nigeria sent a younger group than Didier Deschamps’s 23 to Russia yet France can boast serial winners at club level in Varane, Mbappe, Pogba and N’Golo Kante.

“Kylian Mbappe is just 19. I hope he will win it again, but you never know,” said France coach Didier Deschamps, who captained the side World Cup winning side of 1998.

“Just like 20 years ago there were also 19-year-old players like David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry. They could have (won it again) but did not.”

Despite a failure to lift the trophy a second time, Henry, Trezeguet and Deschamps were part of the side that backed up their success by winning Euro 2000.

Following in the footsteps of their boss is the challenge for France after making amends for losing the Euro 2016 final on home soil, when they did not have Mbappe to call on when looking for inspiration against Portugal. — AFP

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Luk-warm feeling

CROATIA captain Luka Modric said being awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player was “bittersweet” after losing the final 4-2 to France at Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.

“Obviously I liked the recognition and I’m thankful for it, but clearly I would have preferred to have won the tournament,” said the Real Madrid midfielder.

“It wasn’t to be and now we will rest and soon celebrate this because it is still a huge thing for Croatia, but right now the feeling is bittersweet.

“We are proud of what we have done, but a bit sad at losing the final.

“Although we deserved more, we can’t change anything.

“We can only be proud of what we did — we never gave up and fought until the end.”

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic told his players they should be proud of their sensational run and their performance in the final on Sunday despite losing to France.

The Croatia players received a standing ovation by their fans after putting up a great performance for 90 minutes.

Their efforts came undone only by an own goal, a penalty awarded by VAR and two second half strikes.

The 51-year-old gathered his players in a circle on the pitch and told them they should in no way consider the defeat a failure.

“Of course, we are downcast, but I told them ‘hold your heads up high. You have given your all and should be proud of your performances’,” he told a news conference.

“‘Chin up lads, if somebody had offered us to be runners-up at the start of the tournament, that would have been fantastic’.

“‘Sometimes in football you lose, that’s football, but we were dignified in our victories and we must be dignified in defeat, we have to respect the scoreline,’ that was the message to my players.”

Dalic thought the 18th minute own goal and the France penalty, awarded seven minutes before halftime for a Perisic handball after the referee viewed the TV footage, had been the turning points.

But Dalic said he thought overall VAR was good for the game.

“Don’t take this as me a saying something bad about the referee,” he added.

“I respect the referee, he made the decision he thought was right. On VAR, when it goes in your favour it’s good, when it goes against you it’s bad.” — Agencies

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French in delirium

HUNDREDS of thousands of French fans partied into the night on the Champs Elysees on Sunday to mark the country’s World Cup victory, celebrating football and the power of the game to bring a tense and often fearful nation together.

The country erupted in joy on Sunday after Les Bleus clinched a 4-2 victory over Croatia in Moscow, with fans streaming into the streets, honking car horns and flying the tricolour flag.

Cheers rang out throughout the country for each of goals in the final, which has transformed the young team into national icons 20 years after the country’s first
World Cup triumph.

Even before the final whistle in Moscow, crowds packed the Champs Elysees in central Paris in a repeat of the scenes of 1998 when more than one million people partied there into the early hours.

“1998 was magical! Tonight my son has the chance to experience the same happiness,” said Eric Rodenas, 42, with his son Raphael, who had travelled from France’s south coast to the capital.

As night fell, the dancing and singing continued, with the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the famed boulevard lit up in the blue, white and red of the French flag.

An increase in road accidents, as well as isolated clashes with police and the looting of a store on the Champs Elysees, marred an otherwise joyous occasion attended by people of all backgrounds.

“MERCI” President Emmanuel Macron wrote in a one-word tweet after the match which saw him pictured celebrating wildly in the stands and visiting the players in the changing rooms.

Midfielder Steven N’Zonzi said Macron “had found the right words… He just told us it was huge for the country, for all
the young people.”

France’s Journal du Dimanche newspaper rushed out a special edition in Paris hailing a team which has ascended “To the Stars”.

Amid the dancing and singing of the national anthem, some fans paused to savour a moment of unbridled joy and national unity after a difficult period for France.

“We’re a country that’s under too much pressure. Economic, social pressure, there’s too much of it,” said Thomas Bazzi, a 31-year-old with the colours of the French flag painted on his cheeks.

“We needed this release.” — AFP

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Strong minds

THE key to France’s 4-2 victory over Croatia is overcoming mistakes and imperfections with mental strength to lift the trophy for the second time, says manager Didier Deschamps on Sunday.

Deschamps became only the third man, after Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and German Franz Beckenbauer to win it both as player and coach.

But they were made to sweat for about an hour and needed an own goal and a penalty to take the lead.

“My greatest source of pride is they had they right state of mind,” Deschamps, who had captained France to the 1998 title, told reporters.

“There were imperfections, but we had the mental attribute which is decisive for this tournament.”

France took the lead from a Mario Mandzukic own goal and they had to soak up a sustained Croatian offensive, including a 28th-minute equaliser by Ivan Perisic, before going in front with a penalty by Antoine Griezmann.

They then struck twice midway through the second half to put the game beyond
the Croats.

Deschamps said 14 of his players were finals newcomers but were ready to work towards a common goal and were mentally more mature than their age.

“Talent is not sufficient. You need a strong mental game too. Any team is then able to climb mountains,” Deschamps said.

“Sometimes I can be hard very hard, but I do it for them and despite their youth they usually do listen.”

Among the newcomers are Kylian Mbappe who was voted Young Player of the Tournament and scored France’s fourth goal.

“The collective is always important but there are individual players who have made the difference,” he said, naming Mbappe and Man-of-the-Match Griezmann.

“Those 23 players will now be linked forever whatever happens. From today onwards nothing will be the same professionally because they are world champions.

“We will realise what has happened tomorrow,” he said after his players stormed the news conference twice to douse him with champagne.

“At the moment they do not know what it is to be world champions.” — Reuters

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colours of Russia 2018

Vive La France!

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris lit up with France’s colours with a projection reading ‘Proud of being Blue’ to mark their World Cup victory . — Picture by AFP

France’s Paul Pogba poses for photographers after the final. — Picture by Reuters

A Croatia fan blows a good luck kiss before the game. — Picture by Reuters

Croatia players and officials in high spirits despite their final heartache. — Picture by Reuters

France fans in delirium celebrating their win. — Picture by Reuters

President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (centre) celebrates after Croatia’s first goal. — Picture by Reuters

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