Ronaldo, Mourinho accused of hiding millions

LONDON — Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo could have “hidden 150 million euros (RM712 million) in tax havens in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands”, according to claims in German newspaper Der Spiegel.

Leaked documents obtained by 12 European newspapers suggest Ronaldo and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho could be involved in a multimillion-Euro “tax evasion and money laundering” scheme.

The papers involved say over the next three weeks they plan to release details of an investigation into widespread alleged corruption under the collective name “Football Leaks”.

The newspapers claim Ronaldo and Mourinho may have benefited from a tax system orchestrated by their agent Jorge Mendes.

But Mendes’s company, Gestifute, hit back at the claims, saying on Friday that Ronaldo and Mourinho had “fully respected their obligations vis-a-vis the Spanish and British authorities”.

Gestifute added neither man had “been implicated in legal proceedings of the tax evasion commission in Spain”. — The Daily Mirror


Stop ethnic cleansing, Malaysia tells Myanmar

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia described the violence against Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority as “ethnic cleansing” yesterday, ahead of a planned solidarity march in Kuala Lumpur today expected to be led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The strongly-worded statement came after Myanmar said on Friday Malaysia should respect sovereign affairs and follow the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) policy of non-interference in other member countries’ internal affairs.

“The fact that only one particular ethnicity is being driven out is by definition ethnic cleansing,” Wisma Putra said in a statement.

“This practice must stop, and must be stopped immediately in order to bring back security and stability to the Southeast Asian region.”

 Najib said his presence at the gathering was to uphold and defend humanity which was a universal value.

“The Myanmar president’s office sent a letter stating the problem in the country is an internal matter. I want to tell the president this is not about Myanmar. This is about defending humanitarian values … it’s a universal value.

“This is not about internal problem but about refugees coming to Malaysia.

He added: “We now have 36,000 UNHCR card holders from Myanmar and other countries and we do not know how many are here without the cards.

“How can Myanmar call it an internal problem when the people are victimised, burned alive while children and women are raped. We cannot accept such uncivilised brutal behaviour.”

He added this was the government’s stand and demanded for Myanmar to change its ways.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has been increasingly critical of Myanmar’s handling of violence in northern Rakhine state that has sent hundreds of people fleeing across the border to Bangladesh, amid allegations of abuses by security forces.

The violence is the most serious bloodshed in Rakhine since communal clashes in 2012 that killed hundreds.

Persecution and poverty led thousands of Rohingya to flee Myanmar following the violence between Buddhists and Muslims there four years ago. Many of them were smuggled or trafficked to Thailand, Malaysia and beyond.

The Rohingya issue posed a threat to Malaysia’s own security, Wisma Putra said, adding the high number of Rohingya in Malaysia and other neighbouring countries made this an “international matter”.

Myanmar’s deputy director general of the President’s Office U Zaw Htay told the Myanmar Times on Friday Malaysia should respect sovereign affairs.

The country summoned Myanmar’s ambassador last week over the crackdown on Rohingya. The FA of Malaysia, meanwhile, cancelled the national football team’s Under-22 friendly matches with Myanmar.

Senior government leaders and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang are expected to join Najib in the solidarity march today. — Agencies

US lifts sanctions imposed in 1990s

WASHINGTON — US had on Friday lifted sanctions against Myanmar, declaring the government there had made “substantial progress in improving human rights,” despite the heightened brutal suppression of the Rohingya.

The announcement made by US President Barak Obama, in a blandly titled email, was the final step of his efforts to transform the relationship with a once reclusive government, reported New York Times yesterday.

The sanctions that were lifted applied to trade in jade and precious stones, and to doing business with some of Myanmar’s military officials or their affiliates.

Restrictions imposed by Congress, including sanctions related to North Korea and those governing arms sales and military cooperation, will however remain in place.

Obama, had in September, pledged to lift sanctions during a visit by Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi.

The daily reported a White House official said conditions in Myanmar were far better than they were when sanctions were imposed in the 1990s.

John Sifton, Asia policy director for Human Rights Watch, called the decision “astounding”.

“Even without the most recent violence, the last thing the US government needs to do is give up more leverage over the Burmese military,” he said.

A top US diplomat for East Asia Daniel Russel was quoted as saying the escalating violence risks inciting extremism in Myanmar and had urged neighbouring countries to not stage protests as they could further stir religious passions.

Assistant Secretary of State Russel told The Associated Press: “If mishandled, Rakhine State could be infected and infested by extremists which already plagues neighbouring Bangladesh and other countries.”

Also see Page 20

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Blue skies and sunshine from today, says dept

PETALING JAYA — Residents in the east coast states will no longer have rainy days and cloudy skies as the Meteorological Department (MET) has lifted their red-stage warning and predicted sunny days ahead.

MET director-general Che Gayah Ismail said the ‘’red’’ alert has ended as the wind turbulence in the coastal areas is under control.

“We have been monitoring the weather conditions and found a reduce in rainfall. This shows the east coast residents will no longer be facing sombre weather,” she said.

Che Gayah said the department was keeping a close lookout on the overall weather conditions since Malaysia is going through the northeast monsoon.

In Ipoh, 17 people from four households in Kampung Padang Serai in Beruas were brought to an evacuation centre at noon yesterday.

Perak State Disaster Management Commission chairman Mohd Noor Hassan Ashari Sulaiman said the victims had to be transferred to the evacuation centre as the water rose to almost half a metre.

“All the flood victims have been sent to the temporary evacuation centre at Sekolah Agama Rakyat Kampung Padang Serai,” he said.

Among the victims were 10 adults and seven children.

Terengganu Civil Defence Force evacuated families from homes in Kampung Cacar Baru, which came under at least a metre of water.

Yesterday, the department reaffirmed their forecast that several states would be affected by thunderstorms until the end of the week.

According to a statement issued by the department, there is a strong possibility of heavy rain over districts in Kelantan and Terengganu .

Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan are on “orange’’ alert with intermittent rains expected over Rompin, Pekan, Maran, Kuantan and Jerantut.

A “yellow’’ alert has been in place for Perlis, Kedah, Penang, and northern Perak.


Erdogan urges Turks to convert foreign currency to lira

ANKARA — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Turks to convert their foreign money into gold and lira to stimulate the country’s economy as Turkey’s currency continued its slide against the dollar.

“For those who have foreign currencies under the pillow, come change this to gold, come change this to TL (Turkish lira). Let the lira win greater value. Let gold win greater value,” he said during a televised speech in Ankara.

“What necessity is there to let foreign currency have greater value?” he asked.

The lira lost value against the dollar as he delivered his speech, however, reaching lows of 3.51.

Later the Istanbul Exchange said on its website it would convert all of its cash assets into Turkish lira “in support of (Erdogan’s) call,” leading the lira to make up some of its losses against the greenback after it reached record lows of 3.58.

The lira was at 3.50 against the dollar around midnight on Friday, down 0.30 per cent on the day in another volatile 24-hours for the currency.

Last month, the lira haemorrhaged more than 10 per cent of its value against the dollar.

Erdogan also suggested that there were forces “playing games” against Turkey, which Turks could counter by changing their money.

“Don’t worry, in a short while, we will destroy this game,” he said.

The Turkish currency was also reacting to Erdogan’s repeated insistence on lowering interest rates because, he claims, there is “no other remedy”.

He pointed to the United States, Japan and Europe as examples of economies where rates are low and questioned why Turkey still had such high rates.

After several rate cuts earlier this year, the central bank stepped in with an unexpected hike of 50 basis points in its leading rate last month.

But concerns over Turkey’s political instability, including the government’s race to expand Erdogan’s powers, as well as its fractious relationship with the European Union, meant a rally in the lira was short-lived after the bank’s announcement.

Worries over Erdogan’s influence grew after Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Thursday that the government would bring a Bill to parliament next week which would change the Constitution and hand the president increased powers.

The economy’s fragility and the lira decline seem not to have gone unnoticed by the government with its economic coordination committee meeting for five hours on Friday night in Ankara.

In a statement reported by local media after the meeting ended, the committee said it decided on several measures to support public finances, the banking and finance sector as well as the property and labour markets, but gave no further details of its decisions.

It said “technical studies” would be undertaken before it publicly shares the measures next week. — AFP

Bank Negara takes steps 
to strengthen ringgit

KUALA LUMPUR — The ringgit will see range-bound trading this week and move between 4.45 and 4.46 against the US dollar on market adjustments, following the announcement of new measures by Bank Negara, said a dealer.

On Friday, the central bank introduced measures that will come into effect tomorrow. The measures were aimed to further broaden, deepen and tackle the imbalance in the onshore foreign exchange market, reported Bernama.

For the week just-ended, the ringgit was traded higher at 4.4500/4550 against the greenback from 4.4530/4600 on Friday.

It ended mostly lower against other major currencies.

The ringgit appreciated against the yen to 3.9128/9179 on Friday from 3.9379/9455, but declined against the Singapore dollar to 3.1274/1327 from 3.1159/1224.

The ringgit fell to 4.7375/7432 against the euro from 4.7175/7267, and eased against the pound to 5.6057/6137 from 5.5538/5639.

Meanwhile, up to S$2 billion (RM6.2 billion) of Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs) will be offered next year, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), half of the S$4 billion (RM12.6 billion) upper limit this year amid weak demand for the investment type, although analysts say investor interest may pick up as yields rise, reported Today.

“We have revised the issuance size for next year, taking into account the subscription amounts this year,” said a MAS spokesperson, noting that total SSBs issued for this year amounted to S$276 million (RM866.3 million).

She said the MAS is encouraged by the take-up so far. Since the launch of the programme in September last year, 35,000 individuals have invested S$987 million (RM3,098 million) into 15 SSB issues, she said.

SSBs are a low-entry, risk-free investment vehicle to help Singaporeans meet their long-term financial goals and to save for retirement. Interest rates increase the longer the investment is kept, and individuals can choose to cash out before the 10-year tenure is up without suffering any penalty.

Despite these attractive features, they have not garnered the expected level of interest due to low rates and the lower returns, compared with those for riskier products.

UOB economist Francis Tan said: “As seen by a cut of 50 per cent of bonds offered for next year compared to this year, the take-up rate has not been strong. This is due to lower interest rates offered to retail investors. The interest rates rose at the start of the year and then fell again as the hype on interest rate normalisation by the US has fallen.

However, there is the question if next year’s cut on offerings could be behind the curve, as there is talk on a pricing of higher interest rates for next year due to US president-elect Donald Trump’s talk on fiscal stimulus that may push the yields to higher-than-average levels.

“We may see more people looking at SSBs,” he added.

Applications for the first SSB for next year — to be issued on Jan 3 — are open from now until 9pm on Dec 27, with up to S$150 million (RM469 million) available.


10 things about: barista and trainer Shane Tan

KUALA LUMPUR — A burning desire to learn can take you places. Shane Tan, coffee purveyor at APW Bangsar’s PULP, knows this well.

Tan joined the Singaporean-based coffee company Papa Palheta’s flagship cafe in Malaysia when it first opened two-and-a-half years ago. He was groomed by Papa Palheta founders Leon and Marcus Foo. Since then, thanks to his passion and eager attitude, Tan rose up the ranks to become PULP’s head barista and trainer.

From guiding newbie baristas on the intricacies of properly crafted latte art to educating home brewers on how to make their do-it-yourself cuppas taste better via C-Platform, Papa Palheta’s signature coffee appreciation classes, Tan has come a long way.

The affable barista, teacher and all-round nice guy shares his thoughts on what making and serving coffee has taught him about life.

In his own words:

I am born and raised in Kuala Lumpur. Growing up as an only child, I naturally love making friends. In my teens, the idea of gaining new experiences led me to work for various events. After graduating from high school, I pursued public relations and events management as my major.

So being in coffee wasn’t my first job. In fact, when I wasn’t doing events, I was working as a bartender. Come to think of it, mixing up concoctions and tending to people wasn’t too far from what I’m currently doing.

Coffee only started to interest me when a barista friend at the bar where I used to work made me a cup of filtered coffee. That cup changed my perspective of what a simple cup of joe can be. A little research here and there, and before I knew it, I was making coffee for a living.

In the beginning of my career as a barista, there was definitely a lot of self-learning. When I met Marcus and Leon, the coffee geeks that they are, regaled me with stories about their trips to coffee farms. What they shared inspired me to take my coffee career more seriously, with more passion and heart.

Back when I was learning the dos and don’ts of coffee, I often over-frothed my milk and it spilled over. Definitely one of my early failures. I made such a mess learning how to properly froth milk but hey — no point crying over spilled milk!

It wasn’t till I was able to not only make a great cup of coffee for my customers but also help make their start to the day a good one that I finally felt that I had become a real barista.

It has been great fun conducting coffee appreciation classes and workshops. I’ve met all sorts of people, from the young to the young at heart. But in all honesty, I’ve come to realise, even though I’m teaching them about coffee, how I approach different individuals has to be different. I’ve since gone back to a few of my teachers and told them I finally know how it feels when I was giving them trouble. But at the end of the day, it’s worth it seeing students making a cup of coffee, and leaving the class even more enthusiastic than when they first started.

I never knew that coffee has so many sides to its story. What inspired me the most was the meticulous efforts of everyone involved throughout the chain to create the final cups that consumers enjoy. And at different grades of coffee, there will be either more or fewer people involved in the trade. I suppose quality comes at a price.

Managing expectations of customers has always been a tricky skill to muster, but working at PULP makes a difference. The demographic of those who come to our cafe — from all age groups — helps me cater to different customers and curate their experiences according to their needs.

What’s next in the pipeline for me? I will be participating in competitions in the hope of representing Malaysia in the world arena. I’m also into horticulture and agronomy so let’s see where that takes me. — Malay Mail Online


Mandatory refresher courses for Sabah, Sarawak lawyers

KUCHING — Private legal practitioners in Sabah and Sarawak will have to attend refresher courses before their annual certificate of practice will be renewed, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum said yesterday.

The senior judge, who mooted the move, said he was in talks with officials of the Attorney-General’s Office as well as legal associations in both states to come up with the rules, which may be implemented in two years.

“After we have the rules done, we may implement it in 2018,” he told reporters after opening a Third Advocacy Skills seminar, organised by Legal Plus Sdn Bhd in collaboration with the Advocates Association of Sarawak, Malaysia Inner Temple Alumni Association and the Lincoln’s Inn Alumni Association of Malaysia here.

Malanjum said, as the chief judge of the two states, he had the authority to formulate the rules, but would rather have a consensus with the stakeholders.

“It is good to have the lawyers to have this kind of refresher course. If they don’t attend it for a number of hours in a year, then the lawyers will not have the renewal of the Practising Certificates approved,” he said.

He admitted there were pros and cons to his proposal, but said that the refresher course would help the lawyers to upgrade and improve their skills.

Malanjum said he was not certain if legal practitioners in peninsular Malaysia are required to attend courses before their certificates are renewed.

He said it was mandatory for legal practitioners in Australia to attend courses and seminars.

Earlier in his speech, Malanjum urged junior lawyers to widen their scope of knowledge not just on legal matters, but other issues.

“Some years ago, we asked a junior lawyer about who was the chief minister of Sabah. The reply we got was shocking,” he said. — Malay Mail Online


Will India’s crackdown on black money work?

IT is fair to say that the Indian government’s decision last month to declare 86 per cent of the banknotes in circulation effectively worthless took most people by surprise.

Secrecy is the crux of a measure such as this and the fact the government maintained secrecy until the time it came into effect is a tribute to its governance standards.

By demonetising — or more accurately delegalising — the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, the government says it hopes to rein in so-called “black money”, the vast amounts of cash transactions that go untaxed.

The move is also aimed at curbing counterfeit currency, which is used to finance terrorism and drugs and as a conduit for money laundering.

The decision means that what had been the two highest denomination notes will be replaced with an entirely new 500-rupee note and a 2,000-rupee note.

In an economy where the bulk of transactions are done in cash, a measure like this was bound to cause fear and panic.

Yet, given the sweeping scale of this move it is worth noting that, while it has inconvenienced millions and caused long queues at banks, it has not resulted in any significant unrest.

So, why did the government take such action? In the 2014 election campaign that brought him to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made much of tackling black money.

The black economy is the trading of goods and services that escapes capture in the official GDP statistics. The tax lost on this activity is known as black money.

The most recent estimate of India’s black economy was by the World Bank in 2007, which put it at 23.2 per cent of GDP.

Assuming, conservatively, that it has since grown to a quarter of GDP, we can make a ball-park estimate for the black economy of about US$500 billion (RM2.2 trillion), based on a current total GDP of US$2 trillion (RM8.8 trillion). If this were taxed at the current average of 16 per cent, the tax loss comes to about US$80 billion (RM355 billion).

Yet despite a range of measures since coming to office, the public perception has been that Modi’s government has not succeeded in getting to the root of the problem.

At the same time, currency in circulation has been growing rapidly — going up by 15 per cent year on year since financial year 2015-16 and clearly outpacing the expansion of economic activity.

The government’s surprise move was evidently in response to this.

However, how much of this black money will be exposed by delegalisation remains a matter of conjecture. The impact will depend, among other things, on the proportion of black money that is held in cash as opposed to land, property, stocks, gold or foreign currency.

In the very short-term, delegalisation may hurt growth — a shortage of cash puts the brakes on consumption.

The faster and more effectively the government and the financial authorities are able to handle the transition, the less intense the adverse impact will be.

What is important, however, are the medium- to long-term macro-economic implications.

As delegalised currency is deposited in banks, and as new currency comes into circulation, some very positive dynamics will kick in.

By far the most important outcome will be that as the shadow economy merges with the formal economy, it will spur economic activity into a virtuous cycle.

This will be further buttressed by the “windfall” deposits banks will get, which can be as high as 7.5 per cent of GDP.

Banks will see their cost of funds declining and this should encourage them to reduce lending rates and pump credit into the economy.

Delegalisation should also be disinflationary.

At an aggregate level, the supply side response will raise production capacity and prevent overheating of the economy.

Moreover, real estate, which has been a safe-haven for black money, will experience a squeeze.

Although property values do not enter the CPI consumption basket, its benign impact will come through decline in rental values and transmission of that into the general price level.

Government finances will improve as tax is levied and collected on the disclosed wealth.

How big this will be is a matter of debate, but there should be no doubt that the tax and enforcement agencies will scrutinise bank deposits closely.

The “cleansing of the system” will also be positive for savings and investment. It will improve the ease of doing business, inspire investor confidence and raise the productive capacity of the economy.

Households, which have traditionally parked a bulk of their savings in physical assets such as gold and dwellings, will now be positively biased towards financial savings, which will have a significant multiplier impact on the economy.

Finally, the shift to electronic modes of transactions, engendered by the temporary squeeze in cash, may actually persist even after the cash position normalises. That will be a big positive for growth and curbing corruption.

The key question is whether the positive impact of this sweeping move will last.

Delegalisation is not a new or original idea. Several countries have tried it in the past and India has done it twice — in 1946 and again in 1978, when the 10,000-, 5,000- and 1,000-rupee notes were withdrawn.

Global experience has been that the black economy starts building up all over again once the government lets its guard down. This has been India’s experience, too.

However, this time may be different for several reasons. First, in 1978 the value of currency demonetised was less than 2 per cent of what was in circulation, compared with nearly 85 per cent this time.

Second, the significant advances in technology in the past 40 years will facilitate a more effective audit trail of cash, making it difficult for hoarders to countenance a determined government.

Third, the expected launch of the Goods and Services Tax in a few months, one of whose chief characteristics is self-policing, should reduce the scope for the black economy.

Ultimately, it will be up to the government to keep up the vigil, put fear into people transgressing the law through ruthless prosecution and bruising penalties and to curb corruption with a draconian hand.

The Modi government has both the challenge and the opportunity of making this time different. — Today

Duvvuri Subbarao is a former governor of Reserve Bank of India.


Evidence shows deep IS role in Bangladesh massacre

BEFORE Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury orchestrated Bangladesh’s worst militant attack, he sought and won approval for it from Islamic State (IS).

A Canadian of Bangladeshi origin, he was told by his contact in the militant group, Abu Terek Mohammad Tajuddin Kausar, to target foreigners, according to a senior police official who has seen communications between the two men.

Chowdhury, located in Bangladesh at the time, proposed an attack on a Dhaka eatery frequented by expatriates.

On July 1, a group of gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan cafe in the city’s Gulshan neighbourhood, murdering 22 people, most of them foreigners, in an overnight siege that shocked the country.

The back-and-forth between Chowdhury, 30, and Kausar, 35, which includes drafts of articles later published in IS magazines, has not been previously reported.

Together with attempts by people linked to IS to recruit and fund militancy in the country, the documents show the extremist organisation has built deeper connections with Bangladeshi militants than was previously known.

The police official declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the information. Reuters could not independently verify the contents of the communications.

In the year before the cafe atrocity, a string of grisly individual murders, including of bloggers and foreigners, had already raised the alarm for overseas investors.

In its Rumiyah magazine published after the cafe massacre, IS claimed two dozen attacks in the country since September last yeart. The claim could not be independently verified.

The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said IS does not exist in the impoverished South Asian nation of 160 million people, and instead blames the rise in political violence on the Islamist opposition.

Opposition leaders deny any link and say it can be traced to the bitter rivalry, which has long poisoned politics in the country, between Hasina’s ruling Awami League and its main rival, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), as well as Jamaat-e-Islami.

“These are all home-grown people,” said Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, adding that the siege militants belonged to a new faction of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a banned group he said had ties to the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party.

An aide to Hasina said that, while local militant groups had links with IS, the extent of support was limited.

“They are not an organised group here. People with IS links are here. But that is not to say IS is here.”

Bangladesh police first came to know about Chowdhury around fall of last year, but they did not know his whereabouts, the police official said.

Last December, Dhaka police seized about 3.9 million taka (RM222,000) destined for a close associate of Chowdhury’s.

The money, which the police official said was sent via the informal hawala cash transfer network, came from a UK-based company. The company’s founder, Siful Sujan, was killed a few days later in Syria.

At the time, investigators could not establish the money had been sent on IS’s instructions, the police official said.

Chowdhury’s group, meanwhile, was recruiting.

Tanvir Kaderi and his wife, Abedatul Fatema, had a comfortable middle-class life in Dhaka, with two children and steady jobs.

“We were a happy family,” Kaderi’s son Mohammed Tahrim Kaderi Abir wrote in a confession presented before a magistrate.

Abir, an eighth grade student, wrote that his parents’ behaviour started to change after they went on the Haj pilgrimage in 2014.

After that, Kaderi told a preacher he had dreamed he was standing with a weapon in his hand in the middle of a desert.

Kaderi also started spending time with acquaintances from the local mosque, who introduced the family to others, including associates of Chowdhury.

They in turn preached to the family about faith and showed them videos of the war in Syria. One gave them a copy of Dabiq magazine, an IS publication, according to the confession.

The preparations for the cafe attack began at least as early as June, around the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to Abir’s confession. Kaderi rented an apartment in Basundhara area of Dhaka, near the cafe.

A few days later, the five militants who conducted the attack showed up at the house. Kaderi’s family moved to Dhaka’s old city the night of the raid.

Chowdhury was killed on Aug 27. That and the other raids gave police access to his correspondence with Kausar.

In one, Chowdhury was asked by Kausar to answer questions for an interview, which was eventually published in Dabiq in April under the nom de guerre Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif.

Al-Hanif was identified in the magazine as head of IS in Bangladesh.

In another, Chowdhury sent the draft of an article about the cafe attack, which was published after his death in Rumiyah magazine, the police official said.

Kausar’s mother said he moved to Australia in 2006 and she had not heard from him since before the attack. Tahera Begum, who lives in a town 216km from Dhaka, said she did not know whether he had links with IS.

Before his death, Chowdhury made Kaderi the new point of contact with Kausar, the police official said.

At around 7.30pm on Sept 10, police knocked on the door of Kaderi’s apartment, where his wife, one of his sons and some associates were hiding.

In the ensuing chaos, police were attacked with grenades and knives, while some women in the apartment threw chili powder at them. Kaderi ran into a room.

As they tried to apprehend him, he swung a scythe at police, who were using his son as a shield.

Kaderi told his son, “If you get hit, you will either be martyred or Allah will reward you.”

By the time the raid was over, Kaderi had slit his own throat. The last known link to IS in Bangladesh was dead, although the police official said they did not know if anyone else was in contact with the militant group.

Opposition leaders accuse the government of using militancy as an excuse to stifle dissent.

“A democracy deficit is definitely encouraging the extremists,” said Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, BNP’s secretary general who spent months in jail and now faces prosecution in dozens of cases.

The Jamaat-e-Islami leadership has gone into hiding after several of its top leaders were executed during the past two years for war crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

In an email, Maqbul Ahmad, the head of the party, denied any connections with JMB or other militants.

“The government is consistently denying the actual presence of terrorism in Bangladesh,” Ahmad wrote. “Rather they are using it as an effective instrument of repression of Islamists.”

Soon after the cafe attack, the government placed a bounty of 2 million taka (RM111,000) on Chowdhury’s head. A series of raids on militant hideouts followed. By Oct 3 police said they had killed 42 militants and arrested at least 221 people, according to an internal police report.

Militant groups, including a faction ideologically linked to al Qaeda, have gone quiet and police say the overall security situation is under control, although the threat is not over. — Reuters

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