Watch out, here comes Boris

International gaffes by Britain’s new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson:

Turkey — May 2016

Wins a £1,000 (RM5,210) prize for penning a rude poem about Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan having sex with a goat. His limerick, published by the Spectator as a rebuff to Erdogan’s efforts to prosecute a German comedian’s offensive poem, also calls the Turkish leader a “wankerer”.

United States — April 2016

Criticised for describing Barack Obama as a “part-Kenyan” who harboured an “ancestral dislike” of Britain. He made the comments in a newspaper article after the United States president supported the Remain campaign during a visit to Britain.

Israel — November 2015

Visit to the occupied Palestinian territories is severely curtailed by his hosts in protest at a series of strongly pro-Israel remarks. They included telling an audience in Tel Aviv a trade boycott of Israeli goods was “completely crazy” and supported by “corduroy-jacketed, snuggle toothed, lefty academics in the UK”.

Japan — October 2015

Is filmed dangerously ‘wiping out’ a 10-year-old Japanese schoolboy Toki Sekiguchi during a game of street rugby on a visit to Tokyo.

United States — June 2012

Tells TV chat show host David Letterman he “could be president of the United States, technically speaking” given that he was born in New York City on June 19, 1964.

China — August 2008

In Beijing for the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games, Johnson said “respectfully to our Chinese hosts” ping pong was “invented on the dining tables of England in the 19th century. It was. And it was called wiff waff”.

United States — November 2007

In a Telegraph column headlined: “I Want Hillary Clinton to be President”, he describes the Democrat: “She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.

Papua New Guinea — September 2006

In another attack on Tony Blair in another Telegraph column, Johnson wrote: “For 10 years, we in the Tory party have become used to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing and so it is with a happy amazement we watch as the madness engulfs the Labour party.”

After later apologising for any offence caused, he said he would be happy to “add Papua New Guinea to my global itinerary of apology”. However, he insisted he was not mistaken about cannibalism in the country: “My remarks were inspired by a Time Life book I have which does indeed show relatively recent photos of Papua New Guinean tribes engaged in warfare, and I’m fairly certain cannibalism was involved.”

May gets down to work under Brexit pressure

LONDON — Theresa May came under immediate pressure yesterday on her first full day as Britain’s new prime minister after a series of surprise appointments to her cabinet, including the gaffe-prone Boris Johnson as foreign minister.

Three weeks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, May also came under fire from EU leaders, who pressed her to trigger a Brexit as quickly as possible.

And as economic uncertainty swirls from the shock decision to quit the bloc, the Bank of England was mulling possible rate cuts to stimulate the economy.

Seen as a safe pair of hands who campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, May swept to power promising a “bold new positive role” for Britain outside the bloc.

But her first choices for her close team sparked surprise, including former London mayor Johnson as Britain’s top diplomat and longtime eurosceptic David Davis in charge of the “exiting the European Union” portfolio.

While Eurosceptic tabloids rejoiced, the Daily Mirror said Johnson’s appointment left the kingdom’s credibility “hanging by a thread.”

Johnson himself said he was “humbled”.

“We have a massive opportunity in this country to make a great success of our new relationship with Europe and with the world,” he said.

EU leaders, still reeling from Britain’s decision to become the first country to leave the bloc in its 60-year history, pressed May for a quick divorce.

The vote “has created a new situation which the United Kingdom and the European Union will have to address soon,” European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said in a letter to May published on his Twitter account.

May’s first calls were to Europe’s top two powerbrokers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

During these talks, the British leader stressed her commitment to delivering Brexit but “explained we would need some time to prepare for these negotiations and spoke of her hope these could be conducted in a constructive and positive spirit”, a Downing Street spokesman said.

European Council president Donald Tusk said he looked forward to a “fruitful working relationship”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready for “constructive dialogue” with Britain’s new premier, while White House spokesman Josh Earnest said US officials who had worked with May “found her to be quite effective”.

New finance minister Philip Hammond who took over from George Osborne, a stalwart of Cameron’s government who fell by the wayside in the transition, confirmed there would be “no emergency budget.”

Osborne had been accused of fear-mongering during the referendum campaign by saying a new austerity budget might immediately be needed if Britain chose to leave the union.

Economists have warned the country may be headed for a recession as financial markets continue to seesaw over the vote and investors hold off key spending decisions while waiting to see where the chips fall.

The Times said Britain was at a “turning point”, with its wealth, stability and identity all at stake.

“Economic uncertainty lingers,” it said. — AFP

Najib congratulates new PM

KUALA LUMPUR — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday congratulated Theresa May on her appointment as the new premier of the United Kingdom.

Najib said he was looking forward to working with May in further strengthening trade and investment ties between UK and Malaysia.

“Congratulations @theresa_may. Looking forward to work with you to further strengthen UK-Malaysia ties, especially trade and investment,” said Najib in his Twitter account @NajibRazak.

May, 59, who was UK home secretary, took the office after premier David Cameron resigned following the referendum last month, which resulted in Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU).

May, who is the new Conservative Party leader, became the UK’s second female prime minister, taking charge at one of the most turbulent times in recent political history of the European Union.
— Bernama

Fewer deaths due to ‘total enforcement strategy’

KUALA LUMPUR — There was a decline in the number of fatal acidents and illegal use of emergency lanes during Ops Selamat from June 29 to Wednesday in conjunction with the Aidilfitri celebrations.

Federal Traffic Police Investigations and Enforcement deputy director (Enforcement, Traffic Areas, Summons Management) ACP Ruslan Khalid attributed the drop in cases to the total enforcement strategy implemented by police throughout the operation.

From a total of 20,979 accidents nationwide, there were 273 that involved 299 deaths.

Ruslan said the fatal accidents this year dropped by 10 per cent compared to 330 fatalities in 303 accidents in the same operation last year.

He also said there was a 56.8 per cent drop in cases of abusing emergency lanes, with 1,146 cases reported this year compared to 2,652 last year.

“Awareness of the importance of not using the emergency lanes were highlighted by the media, and we believe this resulted in fewer offenders,” he told a press conference.

A total of 246,104 summonses were issued during the operation with speeding making up 133,695 summonses. In the same operation last year, there were 239,107 summonses, including 133,918 for speeding.

Ruslan said investigations found the culprits of most accidents were local people who did not adhere to road traffic rules.

He said those in the more visited areas were not used to heavy traffic and were careless with the sudden influx of cars.

“The increase in the vehicles, added with the complacency of locals, attributed to accidents as the smaller roads became busier,” he said.

Also present at the press conference was Bukit Aman Operations, Intelligence, and Records Department (D4) Superintendent of Criminal Records Supt Shamsul Amar Ramli who said there was a drop inhouse break-ins over the festive period.

He said this year there were 794 cases of break-ins nationwide, which were a 8.9 per cent drop as compared to 872 cases last year.

Penang recorded the biggest drop in break-in cases with 12 reported compared to 51 last year.

“Sarawak recorded the highest increase with 71 break-in cases, a 61.3 per cent spike as compared to last year,” he said.

Shamsul said Kuala Lumpur and Selangor recorded an increase and decrease in break-ins respectively.

“The capital saw 110 cases of break-ins, 11 more than last year,” he said.

Selangor on the other hand recorded a four per cent drop in house break-ins, with 263 reported incidents as compared to the 274 cases last year.

Federal Police Crime Prevention and Community Safety Department Assistant Superintendent of Operations ASP Syahrul Nizam Abu Bakar said a total of 68,716 reports were received by residents intending to ‘balik kampung’.

This, he said, resulted in 163,267 visit and patrols by officers to empty houses nationwide.

“There were only three houses which reported their absence to police that were broken into,” he said.

Runaway bus driver freed on police bail

IPOH — The driver of the express bus which rammed into 10 vehicles near Menora Tunnel on Sunday was released on police bail yesterday after the expiry of his four-day remand.

District police chief ACP Sum Chang Keong said the driver aged 51 could not be charged yet as police had not received the relevant report from the Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre (Puspakom).

“We submitted the investigation paper to the deputy public prosecutor yesterday. When the Puspakom report is completed, we will refer the case to DPP again,” he said in a Bernama report.

Sum said police had also recorded statements from other vehicle owners and passengers in the bus.

Brake failure was believed to have caused the bus to ram into the 10 vehicles at Km 265.8 along the North-South Expressway at about 2.45pm.

All 28 passengers in the bus and the driver, and occupants in the other vehicles escaped unhurt except for a 21-year-old woman who complained of pain on
her abdomen.

The bus was found to have 63 outstanding summonses from other drivers for various offences while the driver himself has nine outstanding summonses for various offences, including speeding, between 2011 and 2015.

Following the discovery of unpaid summonses, Malay Mail on Wednesday exposed flaws in the blacklist system for traffic offenders.

The police, Road Transport Department (RTD) and Public Transport Commission (SPAD) are not linked to a common system to share information and ensure repeat traffic offenders, including drivers of commercial vehicles, are kept off the road.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi had said this allowed motorists, including those with numerous unpaid summonses, to renew their licence and road tax easily.

“All three authorities are working on different platforms and there is no one system to synchronise the information of motorists who break the law,” he said.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai confirmed this on Wednesday when he urged RTD to synchronise its list of blacklisted drivers with the police and SPAD.

He said in Bentong that he was aware that JPJ could not blacklist traffic offenders as it did not share the police and SPAD’s system.

Meanwhile, Federal Traffic Police Investigations and Enforcement Department deputy director (Enforcement, Traffic Areas, Summons Management) ACP Ruslan Khalid said there was no particular time frame for a traffic offender to be blacklisted after the issuance of a summons.

He told reporters in Bukit Aman yesterday that when summonses were unsettled, police would send a court order by post.

If the order is ignored, the report would then be forwarded to the Road Transport Department(RTD) for investigations.

“We can then propose to blacklist the concerned offender to the RTD, but the final decision is with the agency issuing the licences and permits.

“There is no time frame that decides when an offender would be blacklisted. It is all subject to investigations,” he said.

Group slams SPAD over one-month suspension 
of company

PETALING JAYA — The company that operates the bus that went out of control near the Menora Tunnel has been let off with just a slap on the wrist, a public transport group said.

National Users of Public Transport Association president Ajot Johl said the punishment meted out by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) against Qistna Express Sdn Bhd was a “joke”.

“SPAD’s punishment is a joke. We are shocked at the commission’s methodology of disciplining irresponsible express
bus operators.”

Qistna was slapped with a one-month suspension after one of its Penang-Kuala Lumpur bound buses lost control and slammed into 10 cars at Km265.8 along the North-South Expressway.

“This is literally encouraging others to keep violating the system … the operator did not even get a fine. What is the purpose of having a regulator who cannot seem to regulate?”

Ajit said SPAD should take full responsibility for the incident.

“SPAD should have ensured its strict guidelines were adhered to when issuing an operating licence instead of passing the buck around.

“The commission should have suspended the operator till a full investigation was completed.

“The company directors should be fined and the company itself should be placed on an official watch-list, so users are aware of how they have flouted the law,” he said.

Ajit appealed to the authorities to ensure a thorough and complete investigation of the incident and prosecution of those responsible for putting the public at risk.

“SPAD needs to be made accountable to the public.

“We ask that SPAD be placed directly under the Transport Ministry. Public transport is too important to be left in the hands of an independent commission.”

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

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