Special team formed 
to hunt tontos

KOTA BARU — Kelantan police and the Customs Department have set up a special team to track down tontos (lookout touts) who had a hand in the death of a senior Customs officer in Pasir Mas on Friday.

Kelantan police chief Datuk Dr Ab Rahman Ismail said police believed there were three to five suspects in the case and they were Malaysians.

“They do not include the suspect in his 30s whom we had identified earlier and is now believed to be in hiding in a neighbouring country,” he told Bernama.

Customs officer Anisah Ali, 54, died on Saturday night after she fell into a coma the previous day when the four-wheel drive vehicle she was in crashed in Kampung Banggol Chica.

She was in the vehicle with two male colleagues and were pursuing a van laden with contraband cigarettes when the tontos in another four-wheel-drive vehicle rammed into them, causing their vehicle to skid and hit a tree.

Police have classified the case as murder.

Ab Rahman also said the police would get in touch with their counterparts in Thailand to track down the suspects.

The Kelantan Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) has suggested that firm action be taken by all enforcement agencies along the Kelantan-Thai border to totally eradicate smuggling activities.

Its chairman, Datuk Abd Aziz Nawi, said the enforcement activities should include tightening control at several entry points on the border into Kelantan.

“The issue of security cannot be compromised, what more when an enforcement officer is killed. Smuggling activities must be tackled firmly to deter the smugglers,” he said.

Abd Aziz said serious attention must be focused on the entry routes along Sungai Golok which formed the Kelantan-Thailand border through the cooperation of the border enforcement agencies other than boosting ties with the Thai authorities.

He said action should also be taken against those who sheltered or were in cahoot with smugglers.

The Malaysian Border Security Agency (Aksem) in Kelantan also suggested that the communities in the state proactively channelled information on smuggling activities to the authorities.

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Police zoom in on 
two-wheeled mobsters

PETALING JAYA — Police have obtained closed-circuit television recordings along the Damansara-Puchong Highway in a bid to identify eight motorcyclists who chased and attacked a couple on Monday morning.

They are also checking motorcyclists who use the highway following the attack which has generated fear among motorists as they, too, could be victims of Mat Rempit.

In the 2.15am incident, Lim Soon Cheong, 26, and his girlfriend, who got lost on their way from Cheras to Sunway, ended up entangled with a group of Mat Rempit in a 17km terror chase.

Their nightmare began when they stopped at the Kelana Jaya lake as they were configuring their traffic and navigation application Waze.

The couple said they were suddenly surrounded by eight men on four motorcycles.

Petaling Jaya police chief ACP Mohd Zani Che Din said the mob started banging on the car windows with unknown objects, shouting at them to get out of the vehicle.

In an attempt to flee, the driver floored the accelerator and knocked down a motorcycle.

The men pursued the couple to the Penchala toll plaza, which is along the highway.

Zani said halfway during the chase, the car tyre punctured, possibly from knocking into the motorcycle when they fled.

“We will scrutinise the recordings to identify the suspects and their motorcycles,” he said.

Zani said Lim, who was the driver, had his statement recorded at the Sungei Way police station yesterday.

“We were on our to Sunway when we missed a junction and stopped to configure our Waze. We were looking at our phones when suddenly eight men on four bikes surrounded us,” the executive said.

He said the motorcyclists “used objects” to knock on their windows.

“We were reluctant to step out of the car. The engine was still running and we wanted to leave the place quickly,” he said.

Lim reversed his car and hit a motorcycle as both the rider and pillion fell. Lim then sped off.

He drove on as the motorcyclists chased them while hurling objects at them for several kilometres.

“They were riding close to my car, knocking violently on my window. One of them threw a spanner at the car, causing the front-passenger window to shatter,” he said.

Lim said when they approached the Penchala toll booth, the suspects disappeared into traffic as a security personnel and policemen came to their aid.

The incident became a talking point after Lim’s girlfriend, identified as San San, posted their experience on her Facebook page hours after the incident.

The post, which was shared more than 37,000 times, gave a blow-by-blow account of the incident and photographs of the damaged vehicle.

Rowdy Rempit

Here are several cases of Mat Rempit terrorising our roads, and even hurting enforcement personnel, over the past decade.

Oct 1

A group of bikers, between 30 and 40 of them, tailed a Bersih 5 convoy in Lumut and started pulling flags from convoy vehicles, kicking the cars and punching their vehicles’ side mirrors.

Nov 13, 2015

A group of motorcyclists bashed up a motorist after his pick-up truck rammed into a motorcycle ridden by a student. Police said the businessman had wanted to pull over after the accident, but panicked and drove off with the motorcycle still stuck to the front of his vehicle.

June 9, 2013

B. Pathmaraj, 28, was travelling with his friends K. Yogan and S. Selva Raju in a Perodua Myvi at about 3am, when they encountered close to 200 Mat Rempit before they were set upon by the motorcyclists. The trio were badly injured in the incident.

June 3, 2012

Policeman Kpl Mustaghni Tabri, 48, slipped into coma after he was hit with a helmet by a fleeing Mat Rempit while manning a roadblock along Jalan Bunga Raya, Taman Gembira, in Klang.

Nov 16, 2008

Two men were assaulted and their car damaged by a group of Mat Rempit after they accidentally knocked down a motorcyclist at 4.30am in Jalan Travers, Kuala Lumpur. The victims were heading towards Bangsar in their Proton Waja when the vehicle knocked down a youth on a motorcycle near the National Museum. Minutes later, dozens of motorcyclists, believed to be the youth’s friends, surrounded the car. They used their helmets to break the front and rear windscreens of the car.

Oct 22, 2007

A 43-year-old Canadian consultant on a job assignment escaped serious injury when a group of Mat Rempit attacked him along Jalan Rasah in Seremban. Manjit Sokhal from Montreal was driving his four-wheeled drive vehicle at about 11pm with three friends from India, when a car suddenly pulled up in front of him. Some 40 Mat Rempit surrounded his vehicle. He was punched in the face and hit with a helmet.

Oct 25, 2007

A Perak Road Transport Department enforcement officer was admitted into hospital with injuries to his leg and head after being knocked down by a Mat Rempit at a roadblock. This was the third time in the state that officers manning roadblocks were hit while checking on motorcyclists since the start of Ops Sikap XIII that month. In the two previous incidents, the officers were unhurt.

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Authorities at odds over source of river pollution

PUTRAJAYA — Water authorities in Selangor and the federal government cannot see eye to eye on the source of Sungai Semantan’s pollution, which led to closure of the Langat and Cheras treatment plants last Friday.

Selangor tourism, consumer affairs and environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong is convinced a factory in Bentong was the source but Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said there was no confirmation yet.

Wan Junaidi told reporters yesterday the Department of Environment (DoE) was still seeking the cause of the pollution.

“We are still trying to trace the source as it could come from anywhere. It could be attributed to factories operating along the (Semantan) river but we still need time to confirm this,” he said.

“The claims made by the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) and Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd is also in the midst of being confirmed.”

Wan Junaidi said he stood by his officers’ commitment to uncover the source of
the pollution.

“I don’t deny my officers are late to the site (of the factory Wong had identified), but that is because they need time to get to the location after they were informed by the investigative team,” he said.

“I don’t understand why is this a matter of public complaint. It’s unfair to my men as they are doing the same thing as SPAN and Air Selangor. They are just
as committed.’’

Wan Junaidi said the state government played an important role in ensuring factories did not operate near rivers.

“It is all up to the state government to enforce this matter. Factories are not meant to operate at riverside or catchment areas, period,” he said.

“DoE cannot possibly monitor every single oil drum out there simply because people think they should,’’ he said, referring to the discovery of an illegal factory which had caused the shutdown of the Semenyih water treatment plant
on Sept 22.

On Monday night, Wong had issued a statement saying SPAN and Air Selangor had identified the factory in Bentong to be the culprit.

She said the surveillance team had been investigating the source of the pollution since Friday in Pahang and it was traced back to the point of discharge at the factory.

“Water sample at the source were taken and it was found to be similar to the odour detected at Sungai Serai Outlet Portal and Sungai Langat Intake,’’ she said.

Wong wanted Pahang’s DoE to explain how they could have concluded Sungai Semantan was “pollution-free”.

“The threshold odour number was at 18 and remains pervasively high,” she said. The number dictates how many dilutions it takes to produce odour-free water.

Wong said the state department director might claim the water was free of contaminants, but preliminary test results and also Monday’s inspection
revealed otherwise.

“Results from the water samples collected on Oct 7 and 8 at the Sungai Serai Outlet Portal detected the presence of Teradecane, Pentadecane and Hexadecane, compounds that contribute to the unusual odour in the raw water,’’ she said.

Supply back to normal from Saturday

PETALING JAYA — The water disruption brought about by the shutdown of the Langat and Cheras treatment plants will end on Saturday, says Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas).

The plants stopped operating last Friday after the contamination of the raw
water supply.

They are now back in operation but some of the 430,000 affected consumers still have dry taps.

Syabas corporate communications head Amin Lin Abdullah said water was being restored according to schedule with water rationing in
certain areas.

“Everything should be stabilised by Oct 16. But if there is any delay, relief water will continue to be sent to the affected areas,” he said yesterday.

“There’s no fixed duration of how long we will be sending out relief water. This is one of our temporary arrangements to lighten the consumers’ burden.”

Syabas was yesterday struck by a series of unexpected equipment failure.

According to its Facebook page, six incidents of burst pipes caused water disruption in several areas.

The water supply was expected to resume in most areas by 11pm last night.

In Gombak, however, water supply was expected to be back by 6am today.

Some consumers in Kuala Lumpur also experienced water difficulties since Monday due to a damaged component at the Pudu Ulu reservoir.

Recovery was expected by
yesterday evening.

Illegal factory clean-up under way

PETALING JAYA — The illegal oil recycling plant in Jalan Sungai Lalang which caused the shutdown of the Semenyih water treatment plant is undergoing a massive clean-up.

Selangor Water Commission Board acting director Nor Zamri Sondor said the clean-up would take several days as they had a
lot to cover.

“The clean-up works is still in progress by Department of Environment’s (DoE) contractor and 24-hour surveillance is still in effect on the site along with surrounding areas to ensure no more contamination gets into Sungai Semenyih,’’ he told
Malay Mail yesterday.

Nor Zamri said they concluded their investigation and passed all relevant documents to the Attorney-General’s office.

“Alongside DoE, we have submitted our investigation papers for further action,”
he said.

A spokesman for the Kajang Municipal Council said they identified 120 factories along Sungai Semenyih and would continue their enforcement action against law breakers.

“We will continue our joint operations with DoE and the Hulu Langat land office to identify illegal factories in the area in order to prevent further contamination of the river,’’ the spokesman said.

The water disruption resulting from the Semenyih plant shutdown on Sept 22 affected about 1.8 million consumers in the Klang Valley and lasted for more than a week.

samsung

YouTube video shows Note 7 up in flames

SEOUL — A YouTube video showing an oven-gloved Burger King employee struggling with a burning Galaxy Note 7 has become a viral illustration of the crisis facing Samsung over its troubled smartphone.

The video has been viewed nearly one million times since it was posted on the video-sharing site on Saturday, two days before Samsung announced a global halt to sales and exchanges of the Note 7.

The world’s largest smartphone maker issued a worldwide recall of the model in early September following complaints that its lithium-ion battery exploded while charging.

The move turned into a PR disaster when reports emerged a week ago of replacement phones also catching fire.

The YouTube video, shot on a mobile phone by a customer, showed a Note 7 smouldering next to an empty food basket on a table at a Burger King outlet in the South Korean city of Incheon.

A Burger King worker wearing large heat resistant gloves struggles to remove it from the table but it drops to the floor, causing shrieks among onlookers.

She eventually picks it up with both hands and walks away from the table, which is scarred with a black, charred mark.

A Samsung spokeswoman confirmed the device in the footage was a Note 7 without elaborating further.

The manager of the outlet told an online news website Wikitree the store had requested compensation from Samsung for the damage to the table.

Samsung’s new smartphone was launched with the expectation of scaling new heights in a highly competitive, rarified market. Instead it has left the company staring into the abyss.

What initially might have proved to be a technical glitch in a few devices has turned into a full-blown crisis that looks set to inflict incalculable damage on the South Korean electronics powerhouse in a market where brand confidence and loyalty are paramount.

So serious has the problem become with the Galaxy Note 7 and its exploding batteries that some analysts are suggesting Samsung may be forced to take the unprecedented move of scrapping the model completely.

That could have devastating consequences given that the large-sized Note series, along with the Galaxy S smartphones, are Samsung’s flagship bearers in the fierce battle with arch-rival Apple’s iPhones for supremacy in the high-end handset market.

Stock in the world’s biggest smartphone maker tumbled eight per cent, sending Seoul stocks sliding 1.2 per cent after it told customers to stop using their Galaxy Note 7 devices.

Over a month ago Samsung announced a recall of 2.5 million Note 7s in 10 markets following complaints that its lithium-ion battery exploded while charging.

“The group’s flagship handset has turned out to be worse than a dud — it is a dangerous fire risk,” City Index analyst Ken Odeluga said. — AFP

reds

Malaysia Airlines, Liverpool make it a red-letter day

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia Airlines Bhd will be Liverpool FC’s global airline partner for the next three years, and Malaysians will be able to see flag carrier’s easily recognisable logo spread over every home game at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium.

The partnership between Liverpool and Malaysia Airlines, signed yesterday, also means the airline will be seen prominently on the Premier League club’s website, publications and Facebook page, besides co-branding in merchandising as well as giving lucky Malaysia Airlines customers pitchside access to Liverpool players and legends.

In addition, the club’s players will be featured as ambassadors and appear in all related communications materials for the national airline.

Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer Peter Bellew said both brands have a long and illustrious history with similar cultures rooted around a sense of family.

“Liverpool FC is one of the most followed clubs in the world, including around 100 million followers in Southeast Asia and 40 million in China, our key markets,” he said yesterday.

“Additionally, Liverpool FC will go a long way in strengthening our brand in the United Kingdom, our gateway to Europe.”

Liverpool FC chief commercial officer Billy Hogan said: “Liverpool and Malaysia have always shared a special passion for football — when we visited Malaysia on our pre-season tour in 2011 and 2015, the reception was incredible.

“The club aims to bring Anfield a little closer to its huge fanbase of loyal and passionate supporters in this part of the world.

“The partnership is a reflection of this bond and we are very much looking forward to a bright future working with Malaysia Airlines.”

Malaysia Airlines will also benefit from football clinics with Club International Academy coaches delivering coaching and coach education programmes both on and off pitch.

Bellew said the partnership will enhance Malaysia as a tourism destination to the world community as a whole.

“We will be offering a special sale to celebrate the partnership announcement with flights from RM2,499 all-in return from Kuala Lumpur to London and £399 (RM2,046) all-in return from London to Kuala Lumpur, both on economy class.”

The sale period for Malaysia starts now until Oct 17, for travel from Oct 13 to March 31 next year.

Flights from major Chinese cities to London are also up for sale from 4,657 yuan (RM2,910) all-in return.

Invited to the launch were young players from First 11 Malaysia FC, Malaysia’s newest football academy for children four and 16 based in Subang Jaya.

Thai police warn of
Bangkok bomb plot

BANGKOK — Police said yesterday they have increased security at major landmarks in the capital here, at airports and in surrounding provinces following reports of bomb plots just weeks after deadly attacks rocked the country’s south.

An armed group was plotting car bomb attacks in a province near here, Thailand’s national security head said.

“The deputy prime minister instructed security agencies to closely track and monitor anything unusual including things used to prepare bombs and cars,” Thawip Netniyom, chief of Thailand’s National Security Council, told reporters.

“Why target Bangkok? They probably want to make an impact,” he said, without giving details on which groups could be behind the plot.

Popular tourist destination Thailand has seen a series of bomb attacks in the country’s south over the past few weeks, including a wave of bombs in tourist towns between Aug 11 and 12 that killed four Thai people and injured dozens, including foreigners.

Police have linked the attacks to Muslim separatists operating in Thailand’s far south.

Thawip said he was not sure whether the planned car bombs and the August attacks were related.

Thailand’s tourism industry, which accounts for 10 per cent of gross domestic product, has weathered more than a decade of unrest including two military coups and the recent bombings.

Britain’s Foreign Office advised travellers to exercise caution following the August bombings.

“You should exercise caution, particularly in public places. Further incidents are possible in these and other areas of Thailand,” the Foreign Office said.

In August last year, a bomb ripped through a religious shrine here killing 20 people, most of them tourists. But the attack failed to dent tourist arrivals to any discernable degree.

Two ethnic Uighur Muslims from China are on trial here accused of carrying out the attack.

Analysts and diplomats suspected the attack was linked to Uighur sympathisers angered by Thailand’s deportation of more than 100 Uighurs to China the previous month.

Bangkok is currently playing host to a regional meeting attended by some world and business leaders.

Police are on high alert.

“I have ordered all police under my supervision in the area around Bangkok to monitor news, investigate and gather intelligence on groups who could come in and cause trouble,” said Police Lieutenant-General Charnthep Sesawet, acting chief of Provincial Police Region 1, which oversees areas around the capital. — Reuters

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Birthday cards for death row inmate

KUALA LUMPUR — Death row inmate Shahrul Izani Suparman, 32, has grown to accept his fate — whatever it may be — after 13 years behind bars for a drug offence.

He still hopes the Sultan of Selangor will grant him a royal pardon or that his sentence could be commuted to life imprisonment.

“(But) he accepts whatever comes his way and he appreciates all who support him,” his mother, Sapenah Nawawi, told reporters after visiting him at Sungai Buloh prison yesterday.

Amnesty International had presented 200 birthday cards to Sapenah outside the prison gates as part of the #AbolishDeathPenalty 2016 Campaign.

The cards were from the Amnesty International organisations from other countries with children as young as 12 years old showing their support for the cause.

Shahru Izani’s actual birthday is in March but the organisation is only doing it now in conjunction with World Day Against Death Penalty, which falls on Oct 10 every year.

Sapenah said Shahrul Izani was touched by Amnesty International’s efforts.

“I will give him the cards during my next visit. Shahrul’s fellow inmates are also looking forward to it,” she said.

Amnesty International had collected 10,000 signatures in its petition against the death penalty, with over 7,000 signatures from Switzerland and 452 from Malaysia.

“The last two years, we have been campaigning on Shahrul’s behalf because we believe the death penalty is never the answer,” said Amnesty International Malaysia executive director, Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu

“After more than 13 years on death row for cannabis possession found when he was riding a friend’s motorcycle, Shahrul Izani needs to be spared the noose.”

Shahrul Izani was arrested when he was stopped at a roadblock while riding a motorcycle in 2003. The police found 622gm of cannabis wrapped in newspapers and placed in separate bags on the motorcycle.

He was sentenced to death in 2009.

Having exhausted all his appeals with the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court, he applied for clemency with the Selangor Pardons Board and is awaiting a decision.

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