Police zoom in on addict in temple vandalism

GEORGE TOWN — The recent vandalism of idols at Hindu temples in Penang is believed to be the work of a 45-year-old drug addict and has nothing to do with any racial issue or Daesh militants, police said yesterday.

Penang Police Chief Datuk Abdul Ghafar Rajab said the Indian man was arrested at Jalan Nipah 4, Sungai Dua, here on Wednesday and he admitted to damaging three idols at the Sri Muneiswaran Temple in Jalan Tengku Kudin here on July 10.

“He was high on drugs at the time of his arrest,” he told a press conference here.

The man was identified from CCTV camera recordings when he damaged idols at the Hindu temple in Paya Terubong at about 11.30am last Tuesday, he said.

Five cases of idols being damaged at Hindu temples occurred recently and the police set up a special squad, led by Penang Deputy Police Chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan, to handle the matter.

Abdul Ghafar said the man had 13 criminal records, seven of which were crime-related and six on drugs.

Asked for the motive of the man in damaging the idols, he said: “We believe he could be angry over something or intended to steal the jewellery at the temples.”

He said the police recovered jewellery from the man, among them gold rings, chains and lockets, as well as a sickle and two modile phones.

Abdul Ghafar said the police were investigating whether the same man was involved in the damaging of idols at three other temples in the state and whether he was operating alone or had company.

Besides the temples in Jalan Tengku Kudin and Paya Terubong, idols were also damaged at two temples at Penanti Estate, Ara Kuda, near here in early June and at a temple in Bayan Baru on July 2. — Bernama

Strict screening for 
foreign students

KUALA LUMPUR — Local universities will need to tighten the screening of potential foreign students to counter the influence of global terror group Islamic State (IS), Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said yesterday.

He said his ministry had a meeting on Monday with the Home Ministry, police and immigration department for discussions on ways to curb the IS threat.

“We believe we have to be more stringent in taking foreign students into universities to make sure these foreign activities are not going to be absorbed,” he said in an interview with radio channel BFM yesterday.

Noting that IS is “not even Islamic”, Idris said Putrajaya will ensure that lecturers and students are told of the actual meaning of Islam and jihad.

“I am looking at it as a real issue. I look at it as a serious issue, we are meeting vice chancellors, we have to tell the students and lecturers what is meant by the
right Islam.

“Islam has got to be taught the right way, it has to be understood properly,” he added.

Idris said there are currently 122,000 foreign students in local universities.

Acknowledging there were abuses of the student status in the past, Idris said the introduction of the Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) had helped ensure foreigners who came here were genuine students.

He said foreign students who attend local universities and colleges do not cause much problem, but added there was a need to scrutinise those coming in for short-term courses or English lessons of three months.

He also said the government could easily monitor foreign students with the implementation of EMGS’s student cards, with the document allowing the tracking of these students including the institution they were studying at and their country
of origin.

UTM sacks lecturer in Titas slides storm

KUALA LUMPUR — Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has sacked the lecturer who was at the centre of the controversy over its Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies (Titas) module last month, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said yesterday.

He said his ministry did not issue any directive, but the public university decided to terminate the contract of the lecturer who had prepared the slides that had portrayed Hindus as “dirty” and misrepresented the history of Sikhism, sparking uproar from the two communities.

“They are autonomous at the moment. They hired the lecturer and they have the right to fire. I was told on Wednesday that he had been fired,” he told radio channel BFM in its The Breakfast Grille programme.

Earlier, Idris said the lecturer teaching the Titas module had gone beyond the ministry’s curriculum.

“Titas is required but what happened in UTM was he went out of the way. He was not using the curriculum provided by the ministry. But we are serious about it… that lecturer has been fired.

“We have to take stringent action against it,” he added.

Last month, UTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Wahid Omar apologised and pledged a thorough investigation into the “isolated incident” where leaked slides painting Hindus as revering dirt on their bodies, and claiming that Sikhism borrowed elements from Islam.

On June 27, Wahid reportedly said an independent panel of Titas experts had unanimously found that there were too many factual errors in the slides prepared by the contract lecturer, with the material also containing “too many judgmental elements” that were not in line with the Titas course’s intention of promoting harmony and understanding in Malaysia.

Wahid said a committee looking into the Titas slides case had recommended the recall of the Titas textbook published and used by UTM. The committee instead recommended the use of Titas teaching materials recognised by the Higher Education Ministry.

Among other things, the committee proposed training for UTM’s Titas lecturers by experts on Indian and Chinese civilisations before they taught those topics.

MCMC blocks 11 websites, 22 url links propagating Daesh

KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has blocked 11 websites and 22 URL links propagating Daesh ideology in the Malay language, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.

He said the action was taken following MCMC’s monitoring of new media outlets with the cooperation of the relevant government agencies.

“It is hoped that continuous monitoring and action by MCMC and other agencies will contain the spread of the ideology by this terrorist organisation through social media,” he said yesterday.

Salleh said the cooperation of all parties was important and the government wished to seek help from the public to inform MCMC if they had any information on this matter.

“Considering that Daesh is very active in creating new websites and social media accounts, we appeal to the public to report to MCMC if they have any information regarding this,” he added.

On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the police were also monitoring closely the Malay-language Daesh publication, believed to be operated by the group’s Malaysian and Indonesian followers.
— Bernama

Horse-racing community shocked over jockey’s murder

GEORGE TOWN — Singapore’s horse-racing community is in shock over the murder of former Kranji-based apprentice jockey Chung Wah Thong in Penang.

The Straits Times reported yesterday Chung, who was 28, rode briefly at the Singapore Turf Club earlier this year.

The news portal said the STC had Wednesday expressed its deepest condolences to the bereaved family.

Chung, who won 30 races, including the Malaysian Group 1 Selangor Gold Cup last year, had relocated to Singapore in January and was indentured to Singapore trainer Leslie Khoo, said the report.

“It’s so senseless and to lose his son and mother … makes it even more senseless. WT (Wah Thong) was a quiet boy but he worked hard at the stables,” Khoo was quoted as saying.

Besides Chung, three of his family members were also shot dead at a chicken processing factory in Batu Maung, Penang, early Wednesday.

The victims were identified as Tan Hock Choon, 50, his common law wife Tan Saw Sim, 55, and Chung’s two-year-old son named Chung Ay Dey, also known as Ah Bee. — Bernama

WeChat followed by rape, victim claims

SUBANG JAYA — It was a casual conversation over cellular application WeChat, but what was unexpected was the trauma that followed.

An accounts assistant ended up being taken on a joy ride and raped by a 30-year-old new-found friend identified only as John.

The victim told police that she was raped in an office suite in SS15, which was owned by her attacker.

The victim, aged 24, linked with the suspect about two months ago over the popular mobile chat application.

After numerous chats, she accepted a dinner invitation on Monday.

They met again the following day, and the victim was fetched from her home at Mentari Court along Jalan PJS 8/9.

It was learnt the suspect was taken for a drive in Kuala Lumpur, before taken to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The suspect claimed he had some work to complete, and later returned.

On reaching Subang Jaya, the victim was told that they had to make a detour to the suspect’s office before dropping her off at her apartment.

The victim told police the suspect forced himself on her and warned she would be hurt if she failed to give in to his demands.

She was held at the apartment for several hours and dropped off at her home about 5am on Wednesday.

District deputy police chief Supt Lee Swee Meng said police investigations were underway.


Gunman dead in shootout with police

GEORGE TOWN — Wanted gunman Chung Chun Wah met his Waterloo near the Air Itam market place yesterday evening — some 40 hours after being on the run following the Batu Maung shooting which claimed four victims.

Coincidentally, it was at this market where his mother had suggested that Chun Wah turn over a new leaf and start a poultry business, leaving behind his life of crime, but it fell on deaf ears.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar congratulated the task force team set up to track down the gunman on their success.

His personal twitter account (@KBAB51) confirmed the identity of the gunman.

Police, who had been involved in a manhunt since the predawn shooting of the four on Wednesday, were tipped off about Chun Wah’s whereabouts.

They rushed to the scene and spotted a car fitted with false number plates at about 7pm.

Seated behind the steering wheel was a man wearing a baseball cap.

On seeing the police party, Chun Wah opened fire. But before he could dash out of the vehicle, police returned fire killing him instantly.

They found Chun Wah clutching a semi automatic pistol, and a magazine loaded with several rounds of ammunition. Several spent casings were found.

Soon after the shooting, state senior forensic pathologist consultant Datuk Dr Bhupinder Singh arrived at the scene accompanied by Criminal Investigations Department chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Datuk Razarudin Hussain.

Earlier in the day, police described the manner the victims were killed as being done by someone who was in a confused state of rage and evidently merciless.

“Imagine this, he killed his mother, brother … he may not have hesitated to kill anyone else who came in his way,” Penang Chief Police Officer Deputy Commissioner Datuk Abdul Ghafar Rajab said.

Fourteen shots were fired at the scene of the crime in Batu Maung, with four shots fired each at Chun Wah’s brother, their mother and her live-in partner, and two shots at his two-year-old nephew.

Chun Wah had turned up at his mother’s container cabin home within the chicken processing factory premises at Block H off Jalan Batu Maung.

Investigations revealed an argument ensued after his mother, Tan Saw Sim, 55, rejected demands for money. Her live-in partner Tan Hock Choon, who was the factory owner, got involved in the argument.

Chun Wah whipped out a pistol and opened fire killing his mother first, before training the weapon on Hock Choon.

Chun Wah’s brother, Wah Thong, 28, came down the stairs carrying his son, Ay Dey, affectionately called Ah Bee, to investigate the commotion and firecracker- like sounds.

The gunman opened fire again, killing both father and son, leaving them in a pool of blood at the foot of the stairs.

Soon after the incident, Chun Wah was seen fleeing from the container cabin and speeding off in a four-wheel drive vehicle, which was found abandoned at Taman Bee, near the St Anne’s Church in Bukit Mertajam, about seven hours later.

Crime scene investigators and forensic experts were able to piece together events which unfolded in the premises, and this was corroborated with post-mortem reports performed on the four.

Teenager’s life-long burden of guilt

GEORGE TOWN –— A teenager will carry the burden of guilt for the rest of his life knowing he could have averted the tragic Batu Maung shooting which claimed the lives of four, including that of his two-year-old cousin.

To add to his woes, police are now anxious to meet the 18-year-old to record his statement.

The teenager, whose identity is known to police, had prior knowledge about the suspect being armed with a semi-automatic pistol.

For reasons best known to him, he failed to tip off the police but instead made the disclosure during a media interview following the shooting. The interview was published in the morning newspapers yesterday.

“We will be calling the teenager soon as we are aware of the interview he had given,” state Criminal Investigations Department chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Datuk Razarudin Husain told Malay Mail.

Razarudin, describing the incident as shocking, said it could have been averted had police been made aware of the firearm possession earlier.

It was learnt police would also speak to one of their personnel who had a close relationship with the victims as they wished to ascertain if he also had knowledge of the weapon.

The teenager had told reporters the gunman, who was a close relative, had flashed the pistol at the family and workers at the factory soon after he got possession of it.

It has since been established the man was not a licensed firearm owner.

In Singapore, the horse racing fraternity was in shock over the murder of former Kranji-based apprentice jockey Chung Wah Thong.

The Straits Times reported yesterday Wah Thong rode briefly at the Singapore Turf Club earlier this year.

Its news portal said the STC had expressed its deepest condolences to the bereaved family.

Wah Thong, who won 30 races, including the Malaysian Group 1 Selangor Gold Cup last year, had relocated to Singapore in January and worked with with Singapore trainer Leslie Khoo, said the report.

‘Bomb near rail track 
may be sabotage’

KUALA LUMPUR — A crudely made bomb was found near the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) railway track in Jalan Kolam Air 9 in Sentul during peak hours on Wednesday, in what is believed to be an apparent case of “sabotage”.

Police were alerted to the explosive — a mineral water bottle wrapped in a plastic and newspaper — along the tracks by KTMB’s auxiliary personnel at 4.35pm.

A police source said the bottle contained gunpowder, ball bearings and glass shrapnel wrapped in a cylinder-shaped cardboard paper and plastic.

He said the top part of the bottle was covered with a cone-shaped polyvinyl chloride pipe and contained gunpowder similar to that used for fireworks.

“It was an explosive. Sentul police immediately contacted Special Branch when they saw the contents in the bottle,” the source added.

Bukit Aman Special Branch director Datuk Seri Fuzi Harun, in confirming the incident, said the case was being investigated as “sabotage”. He ruled out Islamic State (IS) links in the incident.

The explosive was found where two KTMB lines run — the Batu Caves-Tampin Komuter line and the Tanjung Malim-Port Klang line.

At least two trains had passed the area within 10 minutes before the bomb was found. It remained unclear how long the explosive had been at the site.

The trains were from Sentul and Segambut stations heading to Putra station.

A KTMB spokesman said they were working closely with police regarding
the incident.

“Special Branch has not informed us the outcome of its investigations. We are happy to assist in anyway possible,” he said.

He added police had already warned the rail company before the Hari Raya celebrations to step up security as IS militants had threatened to attack public transport services.

“None of our auxiliary police personnel were allowed to go on Raya leave and it is thanks to their watchful eyes that they found the explosive,” he said.

The threat comes following a grenade explosion at a bar in Puchong on June 28. Police had initially ruled out terror links but later confirmed IS militants were behind
the attack.

Suspicious stakeouts at Bukit Aman, Putrajaya police headquarters

KUALA LUMPUR — Police encountered two incidents of suspicious characters staking out Bukit Aman and Putrajaya headquarters just hours apart.

The individuals had taken pictures of the entrance and surroundings of
both headquarters.

Police are unsure of the motive behind the actions of the duo or if they knew
each other.

A police source said a policeman stationed at Bukit Aman’s Gate A spotted a “bald, fair-skinned and heavily bearded man” in a silver Proton Perdana. He was driving along Jalan Cenderasari while snapping pictures of the headquarters’ entrance at 5.15am
on Tuesday.

When the officer approached the man, he accelerated and drove towards Jalan Tembusu, near Masjid Negara. Checks revealed the car had used a fake registration number as it was registered to another vehicle in Johor Baru.

The second incident occurred at 4pm on Wednesday when a policeman manning the guard post at the Putrajaya headquarters nabbed a 27-year-old who had pulled over his Proton Saga and taken pictures of the entrance and its surroundings.

The suspect is from Felda Sungai Koyan, Pahang.

“He tried to escape when he was approached but police managed to arrest him,” the source said.

Both cases are being investigated by the Special Branch.

Bukit Aman Special Branch director Datuk Seri Fuzi Haron, in confirming both incidents, said security has been intensified with heavily armed personnel guarding state police headquarters nationwide.

Fuzi said state police headquarters nationwide were one of the top targets of Islamic State militants.

“The threat is real. We are not taking anything lightly,” Fuzi said.

“Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, Special Branch assistant director DCP Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay and I have received death threats over the phone from these IS militants,”
he added.

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