Kuala Perlis residents ready for high tide

KUALA PERLIS — Residents of more than 4,000 houses near river estuaries and beach fringes in the state are prepared to face the king tide phenomenon expected to take place from Sunday until Nov 17.

They faced the ordeal for the first time from Oct 17 to 21, but early preparations had prevented damage to property and losses were minimal.

“The government will help in any way it can, including providing temporary shelter for important and valuable items,” state housing and local committee chairman Mat bin Hassan said yesterday.

In Kuala Nerus, traders in Pantai Tok Jembal vowed to continue their businesses despite the warning on the possibility of the king tide.

Generally, they are confident the new 1km breakwater currently being built at the beach would reduce the impact of the waves.

A visit to the commercial centre under the container cafe concept, Dapo Pata (Beach Kitchen) since yesterday found the public were still visiting the location, but avoided being too close to the beach.

Its owner, Affandi Hamzah, said the decision to continue was made after considering several factors following a briefing by Malaysia Meteorological Department.


Rafizi still MP until appeal process over, says EC

PUTRAJAYA — Rafizi Ramli will remain the Pandan MP until his appeal is heard, said Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah.

He said although the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court sentenced Rafizi, who is also the PKR vice-president and secretary-general, to 18 months’ jail yesterday, his position, according to the Federal Constitution, would remain unchanged until his appeal was heard.

“The seat will not be vacated,” he said in a statement.

Mohd Hashim said it would not be appropriate for the EC to speak on the possibility of a by-election because the case had not been resolved.

He said all matters pertaining to the Pandan parliamentary seat would only be decided once the appeal process had ended.

Under Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution, a person cannot stand as a candidate if he received a sentence of at least one year in jail or a RM2,000 fine or both.

Rafizi, 39, was found guilty under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) of unauthorised possession of a page from the 1MDB Audit Report in March.

He was alleged to have committed the offence during a press conference at the lobby of the Parliament at 3pm on March 24.

Rafizi was also found guilty of exposing the contents of the report at the press conference.

Though he was sentenced to 18 months for each of the offence, they will be served concurrently.

Judge Zulqarnain Hassan granted a stay pending Rafizi’s appeal to the High Court, and raised the bail from RM3,000 to RM5,000.

Rafizi’s lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo, told reporters after the judgment his client would not be able to contest in the 14th general election (GE14) if Parliament was dissolved while his appeal was
still pending.

“In law, a person who has been convicted and imposed a fine of RM2,000 or a jail term of more than one year cannot be a candidate,” he said.

PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said the party was not disheartened by the court decision.

Reacting to the sentence, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said Rafizi had “made a career out of
slandering opponents”.

“This time he deliberately and knowingly broke the law.  He has been tried and found guilty, which was his aim all along. He wanted to be jailed so that he could present himself as a political martyr,” he said in a statement.

Abdul Rahman, who is also the Barisan Nasional strategic communications director, said Rafizi was warned repeatedly he would be breaking the OSA if he disclosed any part of the report, but he chose to go ahead anyway.

He said no country could operate with people deliberately breaking the law and being allowed to get away with it.

“Does Rafizi think he is above the law? That the law applies to his constituents but not to him?” he asked.

“He tried a cheap stunt for personal political gain, but he knowingly committed a serious crime in doing so. It is right he pays the price — and he has only himself to blame.”

Witness tells of indignation on face of accused

KUALA LUMPUR — There was indignation on the face of Col Dr R. Kunaseegaran when the late public prosecutor Datuk Anthony Kevin Morais brought two additional charges against him in a case in June last year.

DPP Savinder Singh Jugindar Singh, 27, who appeared as a prosecution witness, told the High Court this yesterday at Morais’s murder trial, in which Dr Kunaseegaran, 53, is the first accused.

“Dr Kunaseegaran initially faced one charge under Section 168 of the Penal Code. Morais submitted two more charges against him under the same section,” Savinder said.

Section 168 covers public servants unlawfully engaging in trade.

Savinder, who is now with the Attorney-General’s Chambers in Kedah, said the additional charges were submitted in the Shah Alam Sessions Court.

During examination in-chief by DPP Saiful Edris Zainuddin, Savinder said he saw Dr Kunaseegaran talking with a few men after the proceedings.

He said Dr Kunaseegaran was usually accompanied by four men every time he arrived at the Shah Alam Sessions Court.

However, he could only recognise two of the men — second accused G. Gunasekaran and seventh accused S. Ravi Chandaran.

To a question from Saiful Edris as to his last contact with Morais, Savinder said he met him on Sept 2 last year at the Attorney- General’s Chambers in Putrajaya, two days before Morais was reported missing.

“My last contact with Kevin was on Sept 4 at 12.30am when I received an assignment email from him regarding a case in Johor Baru,” he said.

“He requested me to download the documents attached with the email and bring them later in the morning, but that day, he did not arrive at the office and could not be contacted.”

Six men — Gunasekaran, 48, Ravi Chandaran, 45, R. Dinishwaran, 24, A.K. Thinesh Kumar, 23, M.Vishwanath, 26, and Nimalan —are facing a charge of killing Morais between Jalan Dutamas Raya Sentul and 1 Jalan USJ1/6D, Subang Jaya, between 7am and 8pm on Sept 4 last year.

Dr Kunaseegaran is accused of abetting the six in the murder at the same place, date and time.

The trial before Justice Datuk Azman Abdullah continues on Nov 28.
— Bernama

New MCA spirit ready for next fight

KUALA LUMPUR — A new and rejunevated MCA is ready to fight again in the political arena where the landscape is forever changing according to the environment, weather as well as issues.

It is not that the party has never fought, but it lost and was nearly wiped out in the last general election, rendering its leaders useless and feeling unwanted by the community they had served sincerely and diligently all the while since before the country’s independence.

This time the party has received a boost: Prime Minister and BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak has just given it a “present” — vast economic activities with China as well as a promise to help the community so long as they are possible and within limits.

Najib’s China visit opens a new era in trade and industry to the community and Malaysians at large, and can boost the image of MCA and its leaders whose credibility took a dive after the 2013 general election.

Without being racial, MCA can now fight alongside other parties in BN, particularly Umno, in serving the people more effectively and with substance and not just words and empty promises, like its long-time political rival DAP.

Times have changed and the party can now move on to launch a new battle cry with renewed fervour.

BN, under Najib’s leadership, has made it easier for racial-based component parties to state their causes and develop their respective communities without touching on racial sensitivities.

Moderation and discussions have been key words that allow grievances to be resolved through compromise and effective delivery without the need to shout, hurl abuses or organise rallies.

MCA has adopted a resolution to widen its voter-base from just the 2,000-odd delegates to some 30,000 members at divisional level that will open up its doors to members voting in younger and better leaders.

The party is now free of factionism from within which had all along caused it to stay stagnant and become irrelevant instead of moving forward.

And, most importantly, it has found a direction to lead the community without being racial or playing the race card that has split Malaysians at large.

The party lost much support to DAP because of the racial card — it is a component of BN and has to care for Malaysians at large rather than propagate racial sentiments to win the hearts and minds of the community.

MCA has to face the reality that communal politics played by DAP will not benefit the country, and the notion that not dancing to DAP’s tune will make it a loser, as reflected in the 2013 general election results.

The changing political landscape, scenario and issues have presented to the party a new perspective and dimensions to work on and regain lost confidence and ground.

The BN’s concept of moderation and discussion have given the party a new perspective in championing the community’s cause that is not dangerous to the harmonious situation of the country.

The ground work has already been laid by Najib and it is up to the party leaders to chart a new course.

The MCA leadership at Sunday’s assembly had shown confidence it can deliver, just like the confidence Najib showed and expressed when he launched the event.

Vaccination refusal double in two years

KUALA LUMPUR — The number of parents who have refused to have their children vaccinated has doubled in government clinics in the last two years.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said the number jumped from 918 in 2014 to 1,851 last year and because of that, there had been a rise in cases of diseases like measles and diphtheria.

“The number of measles cases increased from 235 cases in 2014 to 1,318 last year and there were 1,009 cases until June,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

“Diphtheria also increased from two cases in 2014 to four cases last year and 13 cases until June.”

He was replying to Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (BN-Sabak Bernam) who asked the ministry on the success of the national immunisation programme and the number of cases where parents or guardians had refused to have their children immunised.

Fasiah also asked what impact vaccine refusal had on the reemergence of preventable diseases such as diphtheria, polio, measles, whooping cough and tuberculosis.

Dr Hilmi said among the factors that could cause a measles outbreak were immunisation rejection, missing vaccination schedules due to poverty, guardians being busy, and the increase of foreigners who were not vaccinated.

“There is also the issue of lack of understanding on the methods to prevent disease transmission within the community, delay in seeking treatment as well as weakness in managing cases,” he said.

He said the ministry also noted that many parents were sceptical about vaccination and urged them to get information from reliable sources.

“If there are doubts or there is a need for clarification, please refer to medical staff,” he said.

Dr Hilmi said diseases such as pertussis, neonatal tetanus and rubella had seen a decrease.

“Pertussis cases dropped from 939 last year to 138 in June. Tetanus cases also decreased from 16 to four until June,”
he said.


in unity

DEFENCE MINISTER Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein shares a light moment with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, who is Second Deputy Premier and Defence Minister, yesterday. Hishammuddin, who is on a two-day official visit to Riyadh, held discussions on a broad spectrum of issues. They exchanged views on establishing a centre that will further foster cooperation between the two countries on countering ideologies that underpin terrorism and radicalism in Islam. They also highlighted the need to promote Islam as a religion of peace and moderation. Hishammuddin also met King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Hishammuddin was accompanied by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki and senior government officials.

Firearms smuggled in pieces

KUALA LUMPUR — Firearms are being smuggled into the country piece by piece and then assembled here, making it difficult for the authorities to detect them.

The Home Ministry said this was one of the methods used by criminals to obtain weapons.

It said this in a written reply to a question by Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh (BN-Setiu) who wanted to know why shooting cases were on the rise and the number of cases solved.

The ministry said dismantled firearms, like pistol and revolvers, were small and they were the ones that most likely passed border checkpoints without being detected.

“Police will need precise intelligence information to find such weapons when they are are being smuggled in,” it said.

The ministry said another reason why there were still illegal firearms was that they were hidden by criminals before they were detained under the Emergency Ordinance.

“Once they are released, they get their weapons back,” it said.

It said used firearms being sold in other countries were affordable for most criminals in Malaysia.

Drug trafficking syndicates were also giving out firearms as part of their “package” to members.

“Hired killers are also contributing to the demand (for firearms) as they require weapons to carry out their jobs,” it said.

The ministry said it had taken steps to strengthen border security, including integrated enforcement with relevant agencies.

Statistics from 2014 to September revealed there had been 105 murders committed using firearms, of which 61 cases solved.

There were 117cases of attempted murder using firearms with 57 cases solved, and 27 robberies involving firearms with four cases solved.

The highest number of murders was in 2013 with 95 cases with 2011 having the lowest number with 36 cases.

“The biggest number of victims were Indians,” the ministry said.

In July 2016, police said most shooting cases involved elements of hired killers.

This was based on analysis conducted on ballistic evidence police had gathered from various crime scenes and victims.

Celebrities sending wrong message

KUALA LUMPUR — The lavish weddings and quick divorces of celebrities are being blamed for the increasing number of divorce cases among young people.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said statistics compiled by the ministry showed about 30 per cent of the total number of divorces were within the first five years of marriage.

“Many don’t want to reconcile when there is a problem because they think it is not an issue getting divorced, since it is portrayed that way,” Azizah told Malay Mail at the parliament lobby yesterday.

She said many young people followed trends and the celebrities were setting a poor example.

Earlier, Azizah told the House the number of Muslim divorce cases recorded by the Shariah Judiciary Department totalled 59,712 in 2014, while the number of non-Muslim divorce cases was 9,029.

The number of divorce cases among Muslims increased by six per cent in 2015 to 63,463 cases while the number of non-Muslim cases was 9,326.

A total of, 48,077 Muslim divorce cases had been recorded until July 10, compared to 4,939 non-Muslim divorces recorded until September.

“Among of the main factors for divorce among men were misunderstanding, a cheating wife, and in-law interference,”
she said.

“For women, most say the reasons are misunderstanding, a cheating husband and an irresponsible husband.”

The three states with the highest number of Muslim divorce cases this year are Selangor (7,731), Sabah (6,638) and Johor (4,700).

Last year, the three states were Selangor (11,873), Sabah (8, 272) and Johor (6,147).

The three states with the highest number of non-Muslim divorce cases this year are Johor (1,669 cases), Kuala Lumpur (1,263) and Selangor (1,195).

Last year, the states were Kuala Lumpur (1,707), Johor (1,637) and Sarawak (1,171).


Xi tells Trump 
cooperation the only choice

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping told US president-elect Donald Trump cooperation was the only choice for relations between the world’s two largest economies, with Trump saying the two had established a “clear sense of
mutual respect”.

Trump lambasted China throughout the US election campaign, drumming up headlines with his pledges to slap 45 per cent tariffs on imported Chinese goods and to label the country a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

His election has injected uncertainty into relations at a time when Beijing hopes for stability as it faces daunting reform challenges at home, slowing growth and a leadership reshuffle of its own that will put a new party elite around Xi late next year.

In their first interaction since the election, Chinese state media said Xi told Trump in a telephone call yesterday as the world’s largest developing and developed economies, there were many areas where China and the US could cooperate.

“The facts prove that cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the United States,” China Central Television (CCTV) cited Xi as saying.

Xi’s remarks were a reiteration of phrasing typically used by Beijing to describe bilateral relations.

The two sides must “promote the two countries’ economic development and global economic growth” and “push for better development going forward in China-US relations”, Xi said.

“During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another, and in Washington, Trump stated he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward,” a statement from Trump’s presidential
transition office said.

The two agreed to maintain close communications and meet soon, CCTV said. Xi had congratulated Trump in a message delivered shortly after his surprise election victory last week.

There is intense speculation over the impact of Trump’s win on issues facing the two countries, from climate change and global trade to the security balance in
the Asia-Pacific.

Trump’s criticism of US allies, including Japan, for free-riding on US security guarantees, has deepened anxiety among Washington’s allies about its commitment to post-war security arrangements in the face of a rising China and volatile
North Korea.

Trump appears to be seeking quick ways to withdraw the US from a global accord to combat climate change, which has been billed by China and US President Barack Obama as a key area for cooperation.

China has also signalled it will promote plans for regional trade integration, vowing to seek support for a Beijing-backed Asia-Pacific free trade area at a summit in Peru later this month, after Trump’s win dashed hopes for the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership. — Reuters

China threatens ‘tit for tat’ approach in trade war

BEIJING — United States president-elect Donald Trump would be a “naive” fool to launch an all-out trade war against China, a Communist party-controlled newspaper,
has claimed.

During the race for the White House Trump repeatedly lashed out at China, vowing to punish Beijing with “defensive” 45 per cent tariffs on Chinese imports and to officially declare it a currency manipulator.

“When they see that, they will stop the cheating,” Trump, who has accused Beijing of “the greatest theft in the history of the world”, told a rally in August.

The Guardian newspaper in Britain reported yesterday the state-run Global Times warned such measures would be a grave mistake.

“If Trump wrecks Sino-US trade, a number of US industries will be impaired. Finally, the new president will be condemned for his recklessness, ignorance and incompetence,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

The Global Times claimed any new tariffs would trigger immediate “countermeasures” and a “tit-for-tat approach” from Beijing.

“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the US.”

“Making things difficult for China politically will do him no good,” the newspaper warned.

China’s foreign ministry has used more diplomatic language to caution Trump not to square up to Beijing.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters last week: “I believe any US politician, if he takes the interests of his own people first, will adopt a policy that is conducive to the economic and trade cooperation between China and the US.”

The editorial was printed hours after Trump spoke to China’s president, Xi Jinping. The president-elect’s staff said Trump thanked Xi for his well wishes and congratulations on his election victory.

The statement read: “During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another, and president-elect Trump stated he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward.”

However, experts say officials in Beijing are still battling to untangle what a Trump presidency means for relations between the world’s two largest economies but wager he is unlikely to follow through on his most radical campaign pledges such as imposing 45 per cent tariffs on “cheating China”.

The Guardian quoted Paul Haenle, a veteran US diplomat who is director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua centre at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, as saying: “The biggest lesson they draw from watching our presidential campaigns over the years is that he will become more realistic and more pragmatic once he is in the position where he has to govern. That is what they are hoping for when it comes to Trump.”

Haenle warned the introduction of protectionist measures would immediately “inject friction” into already fraught US-China ties as well as harm America’s own economy.

“If he follows through on a 45 per cent trade tariff, then I think it will be damaging to our own interests and we will have fallout that will affect our own companies and our own economy and it won’t be effective. It will not achieve what he is setting out to achieve. So from that standpoint, he is going to have to moderate some of that rhetoric as he puts together actual concrete policies,” he said.

The Guardian also quoted Jorge Guajardo, Mexico’s former ambassador to China, as saying he too expected Trump to moderate many of his audacious campaign pledges when he took office.

Guajardo said Trump’s bluster would be quickly replaced with more realistic talk as he understood serious engagement with Beijing was now needed on a range of key issues including the Paris climate deal, North Korea and trade ties.

Attempts to strike a deal would soon be set in motion with Trump and Xi, likely to come together early in his presidency, Guajardo said.

“He’s a dealmaker and nobody is more of a dealmaker than China.”

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