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New sexual crime Bill 
ready for Cabinet

KUALA LUMPUR — The first draft of the Child Sexual Crime Bill is ready and expected to be presented to the Cabinet for policy drafting by next week.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, who chaired the task force for sexual crimes against children at the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration yesterday, said the Bill would incorporate a change in the definition of sexual crime to include crimes committed online.

The Bill, if passed, would be an extension to the Child Act (Amendment) 2016 and the Penal Code.

“We want to bring it to Parliament this month but we need views and to carry out discussion with the committee and all ministries at the policy level,” she said.

Azalina said the Bill would see the change in definition of online and offline sexual crime.

“We will also see anti-grooming laws to prevent predators from using social media to lure young children,” she said.

Azalina said the committee was of the opinion child sexual cases need to be solved immediately.

“It is best if a case is solved within a year after a report is made,” she said.

“We want a shorter time-frame for the case to be settled in court.”

She also called for the setting up of a special court to hear such cases to ensure a quick solution.

“Presently, such cases are brought to the criminal court, but they get postponed and victims have to wait between five to eight years,” she said.

“When it comes to evidence, they (children) may want to forget and there may be intention to withdraw (the case) when it is delayed in court.”

Azalina said changes in the law were important to ensure it was relevant with current times.

“We have to look at certain acts that are happening now, like online sexual grooming. This is a new situation compared to 10 years ago,” she said.

Online sexual grooming is where predators communicate with young children on social media, develop their trust and build a relationship with them, subsequently acting out on their intentions.

“Anti-grooming law is very important. The existence of the Dark Net has to be accepted,” she said.

“The Act may not be adequate to cover all aspects, but we have to work on gender policies and preventive action with the relevant ministries.”

Azalina said the task force was also looking into child pornography.

“We are looking into sexual harassment against children and want a preventive Act to tell perpetrators certain acts are not welcome in this country.”

She said the public and lawmakers must also show their support to changes in the law.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how the law is drafted. The public must accept certain things cannot be tolerated,” she said.

“The law on its own will be inadequate and has to be supported by change in policies and procedure.”

In June, British paedophile Richard Huckle was handed 23 life sentences after he pleaded guilty to 71 counts of child sex offences.

Huckle, 30, had preyed on vulnerable children from the poor communities in Malaysia while posing as a photographer and a teacher to groom his victims.

Salleh: Exodus shows PKR, 
DAP failure in Sabah

KUALA LUMPUR ― The resignation of PKR and DAP leaders in Sabah is evidence of both parties’ inadequacies in the state, according to Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak yesterday.

Salleh, who is also from the state, was commenting on the departure of senior leaders from both parties, including Sabah PKR chief Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin and his deputy,
Darrell Leiking.

“It’s clear in the decisions made by the PKR and DAP representatives that something is not right with these parties in Sabah,” he told reporters after launching Asia Pacific Satellite Communications Council here yesterday.

On Sunday, seven DAP Sabah leaders, all part of the 16-member state committee, quit the peninsula-based party for a local political platform.

Lajim also announced his resignation the same day, while Leiking left earlier in the week.

Some of those who exited the Pakatan Harapan parties are set to align with former Umno vice president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal who is starting a new multiracial Sabah-based political party.

Lajim is also reportedly set to launch his own political party.

Salleh stressed, however, that the developments will not affect Barisan Nasional’s strength in the state.

“We do not look at other people’s weaknesses. We look at our own strengths,” he said.

“The last election clearly showed that the people of Sabah have faith in BN.”
— Malay Mail Online

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Malaysia, Brunei to begin talks on Pan Borneo Highway

The Sultan of Brunei and Najib arrive for their meeting in Putrajaya yesterday. Second from left is Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar, who is the minister-in-attendance. — Picture by Bernama

PUTRAJAYA — Malaysia and Brunei are set to initiate discussions on the Pan Borneo Highway network to improve connectivity and accelerate economic and social growth between them.

In a Malaysia-Brunei joint statement released in conjunction with the 20th Annual Leaders Consultation between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, here yesterday, they recalled their discussions on the importance of improving and upgrading highway networks in both countries to facilitate connectivity between Sabah and Sarawak, with Brunei.

“They urged officials of both countries to initiate discussions on the Pan Borneo Highway network as improvement in connectivity would accelerate economic and social growth between both countries,” said the statement.

The Pan Borneo Highway project with a distance of 2,325km from Telok Melano to Lawas in Sarawak and from Sindumin to Tawal in Sabah is expected to be completed by 2021.

Both leaders in the statement also reiterated the importance of defence cooperation in maintaining peace and stability in light of growing security challenges and threats in the region.

They expressed satisfaction with the existing bilateral cooperation in defence, which continues to strengthen through meetings, exchanges of views, regular exchanges of visits, training courses and military exercises between the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to maritime cooperation and urged officials to continue discussions towards increasing collaboration, with a view to having a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in maritime cooperation.

Both leaders also noted that officials of Malaysia and Brunei were currently discussing matters relating to fisheries cooperation and encouraged them to conclude the discussion expeditiously, with a view to having a memorandum of understanding pertaining to it.

Both leaders also were satisfied with the efforts of both countries in addressing the threat of emerging and re-emerging infectious disease such as the Zika virus.

They also urged expediting efforts to conclude the joint demarcation and survey of the land boundary between Malaysia and Brunei, particularly in priority areas. — Bernama

Aziz Tapa a Malay warrior, says Najib

KUALA LUMPUR —Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak described the late Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Tapa as a Malay fighter who had made significant contributions.

Najib, who is also the Umno president, said the nation had lost another warrior with the death of Abdul Aziz at Hospital Putra, Malacca, at 11.55am yesterday.

Innalillahiwainnailaihirajiun. Received sad news, noted Malay figure Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Tapa had just left us,” said Najib through his official Facebook website.

“(My) condolences to his family, let us all pray together that his soul is placed with the faithful. Al-Fatihah.”

Abdul Aziz, 93, was born in Kampung Rim, Jasin, on June 13, 1923, and was a teacher before he entered politics in 1946 when he joined the Pergerakan Melayu Semenanjung Johor, a movement that was against the Malayan Union led by Datuk Onn Jaafar.

He had held important posts in Malacca Umno and the Barisan Nasional, including as chairman of the Malacca Umno Veterans Bureau, Malacca BN treasurer, permanent chairman of the Jasin Umno division and Jasin Umno division deputy head.

He was a senator from 1975 to 1977 and state assemblyman for Nyalas in 1978 and for Rim in 1982.

In recognition of his struggles for the Malays, Abdul Aziz was conferred the Tokoh Melayu Terbilang Umno 2016 at the 70th anniversary of Umno on May 12. — Bernama

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Comforting arm

Tengku Mahkota Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah consoles Azman Awang, 45, (right) after the body of his son, Alif Lokman Hakim, 13, was recovered during a search and rescue operation at Sungai Kuantan yesterday. Alif drowned when he slipped into the river while washing his clothes near his home at Sungai Isap, Kuantan. — Picture by Bernama

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Golden honours

Felda group chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad (left) accompanies Rio Paralympics gold medallist sprinter Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi during the celebrations to honour him at Menara Felda, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. — Picture by Bernama

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Trapped in Serbia

Several hundred refugees and migrants walk in the direction of the Hungarian border in Belgrade, Serbia, yesterday, holding handwritten banners and chanting demands for open borders. Some 7,000 migrants, most fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere, are trapped in Serbia, prevented from continuing further into Europe by fences now running the length of the Hungarian-Serbian border. — Picture by Reuters

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Rallying to change lives

PETALING JAYAUnreserved, a fortnightly magazine, organised a sale at the Malay Mail boardroom yesterday to raise funds for the Orang Asli in Kampung Tasik in Sungai
Siput, Perak.

Proceeds will be donated to Redberry Ambient to help fund their Community Outreach initiative. About 30 underprivileged families comprising 130 people, including women and children, live at the Orang
Asli village.

Dubbed the ‘‘Lunchtime Charity Sale’’, the fundraiser saw homemade food and pre-loved items on offer for a song.

Unreserved editor Saleha Allen Ali played the role of host and salesperson for
the afternoon.

“When we heard that one of our sister companies was going to raise funds for the Orang Asli in Sungai Siput, we knew we could do something a little more creative than simply raising money,” she said.

“Since the team had lots of things to sell, we proposed the idea of having our brand of a sale to the board of directors and we immediately got the green light for a lunchtime do.”

Unreserved deputy editor Suraya Al-Attas sacrificed sleep to cook pasta and bake cakes in the wee hours of the morning for
the initiative.

“Instead of individually contributing, we came together as a team to do a little sale for the staff of Redberry,” said Suraya, who got the team to bring whatever they could to contribute to the sale.

The Unreserved team wrapped up the sale within an hour-and-a-half, after managing to sell most of the items on display, including clothes, shoes, accessories and even a teddy bear to a soon-to-be father.

The takeaways from the event? Creativity and teamwork are powerful tools in any endeavour and ‘‘to die for’’ Rubi Ishack’s basmathi rice and chicken dish.

Redberry Ambient managing director Tho Tuck Wah was pleased with the support by his colleagues.

“We found this particular Orang Asli village through some friends who are also helping them out,” said Tho.

“The villagers are still using wood fire to cook. They are in dire need of supplies and provisions and we hope to help them.”

He said any form of proceeds will go a long way to helping the families.

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Bhoy wonder Karamoko

GLASGOW — Karamoko Kader Dembele made his debut for Celtic Under-20 yesterday.

Okay, what’s so special about him?

He is 13-years-old. Yes, you read that right.

The barely teenage namesake of senior striker Moussa replaced Jack Aitchison in the 81st minute of the Bhoys’ 3-1 win
over Hearts.

Here’s a bit of his background.

Parents are from Ivory Coast, now “happily settled” in Scotland

Has been with Celtic’s academy since he was 10

Achieved fame when footage of dominant performances at a Dublin tournament in March went viral

Likened to Lionel Messi due to his pace, power and close ball control when running at speed

Like Messi, Dembele often cuts in from the right wing to his favoured left foot

Takes a wicked setpiece

And according to Celtic’s website, “the diminutive playmaker didn’t look out of place” against the older lads at Cappielow Park.

As the adage goes, if you’re good enough you’re old enough.

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No tanks, 
no bloodshed, no news

NO tanks, no bloodshed, so there’s no news, the Director-General of Information from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Sek Wannamethee told the audience, as conveyed by a CNN correspondent when the coup d’etat was announced on May 22, 2014. Sek was responding to a question on the immediate reactions of the international media when Thailand’s army commander General Prayut Chan-o-cha took over the reigns from an elected government.

The audience was a 23-member delegation from nine nations to the Asean Media and PR Officers’ visit to Thailand from Sept 27 to Oct 1, organised by the MFA. I was one of the two Malaysian invitees.

Art of public relations showcased

The Sept 30 morning session was — Meeting with the spokespersons from Royal Thai Government. The panel was top brass, comprising the deputy government spokesman from the secretariat of Prime Minister Major General Werachon Sukondhapatipak, who was to be promoted Lieutenant General the next day. Others were Executive Director, Advertising and Public Relations Department, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), who was also to be promoted the next day, as Deputy Governor of TAT, Inspector General of the Ministry of Commerce and its Deputy Director-General of the department of foreign trade, Director of marketing and corporate image from the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), Office of the Prime Minister. The session chair was the engaging Sek.

TAT reported that they expect even higher tourist arrivals than the record 29.88 million registered in 2015 for this year. It must be noted though that the industry already took a dip from the political unrest through 2013 and the massive street protests in 2014 before the coup took place.

The tourism industry is worth some US$35billion (RM143.5 million) annually and habitually accounts for 10 per cent of Thailand’s gross domestic product.

The TCEB briefing was titled Asean Cooperation on MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions). She provided a clear outlook on the massive potential of working together – if Asean were a single country it would be the seventh largest economy in the world and is projected to be the fourth largest economy by 2050. I think her presentation created quite an impact on most of the delegation. A Myanmar delegate confided that he never heard of MICE before. Well, that’s what a closed economy does.

The deputy director-general of the department of foreign trade was in his element expounding the YEN-D (Young Entrepreneur Network Development) programme. It is dedicated to business people less than 45 years old, with setups having an annualised revenue of a minimum US$350,000 (RM1.44 million) and, with a capacity to expand to CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) markets.

What we were witnessing was the country’s public relations blitzkrieg! Foreign investments, tourism arrivals and even MICE bookings are all on track. The stress on Asean solidarity was resounding and the particularly clever plan of promoting CLMV plus T (Thailand) topped it.

Foreign Minister cum State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi’s first official itinerary was to Thailand. This is politically impactful, as she had spent more than a quarter century fighting the military regime in her country, 15 years of which were spent under house arrest.

This can’t be just another
military coup

The May 2014 incident is the 12th since 1932 when the country replaced its absolute monarchy to a constitutional one. Through various sources, I gathered most Bangkokians at least, preferred the military to end the protracted political impasse. The virtual gridlock in Bangkok, the first three months of 2014, did cause paralysis ranging from personal mobility to the economy.

A 10-seater coach driver I spoke to said their business was still affected from as far back as 2013 when the yellow and red shirts started their confrontation. Theirs should relate to the MICE sector.

Only Thai folks embedded in the political goings-on/military/bureaucracy can begin to comprehend the surface and behind the scenes political backdrop i.e. increasing palace intrigue (the king’s recovery and relapse health conditions), the parallel military: civil societies, and the regional/rural landscape vis-à-vis Bangkok.

Obviously the western powers have noted that Thailand is not one to fit into their model of democracy. The United States merely cancelled military aid of up to US$10 million (RM41 million) and its back to business as usual. The travel advisory of the US, EU, ANZ and other critical economies lasted two months. Seems to me the crux wasn’t about a non-elected head of government, but simply whether the country is actually safe to visit.

According to Sek, Thailand’s schedule to all regional and international conferences have not been disrupted. There will be the cursory inquiry on the date of the planned parliamentary elections.

The way Prayut has handled the situation suggests strongly to me that his reform of their political theatre includes the non-necessity of future military coup. As of now he has assured and promised in no uncertain terms that parliamentary elections will be held in the later part of 2017.

I noted that one of the first measures Prayut took was to engage the bureaucracy, to ensure that the government mechanism is uninterrupted, which spared the citizenry. He is no ordinary soldier.

Postscript

Nutta Vasantasingh, posted as the second secretary three months ago to Kuala Lumpur was our liaison officer for the trip. She was very focused on her assignment and was a great help.

There was a police outrider escorting our convoy to the meet venues, so we were not affected by the famous Bangkok jams. On the final evening we were checked in to Dusit Thani Hotel in Hua Hin (a beach resort). The Cicada night market is a “must visit”. The attractively arranged stalls selling local handicrafts is a sight to behold. Smoking is not permitted within the compound even though open air.

Next week – Hero or just another coup leader?

Datuk Lee is the CEO of
Genovasi Malaysia

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