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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Abu Sayyaf kidnapping squad leader among men killed in shootout with Malaysian police: Philippines

MANILA - Malaysia's security forces have dealt a serious blow to the notorious Abu Sayyaf group by killing the leader of a squad that has been snatching tourists, fishermen, and sailors in waters off Sabah and the Philippines' Sulu archipelago, Philippine officials said on Saturday (Dec 10).

Abraham Hamid, the alleged kingpin, were among the three men killed by police officers from Malaysia's Tiger Platoon in a shootout on Thursday (Dec 8) evening off Sabah's Semporma town, the officials said.

"The death of Hamid is a big blow to the (Abu Sayyaf), as it neutralised one of the notorious bandits' leader and will degrade their capability for spotting and kidnapping victims in the future," Major Filemon Tan, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, said in a report.

The other two slain were Hamid's men, said Major Tan, without identifying the men.

Harith Iskander wins Funniest Person in the World competition

Malaysian comedian Harith Iskander is the funniest person in the world after emerging triumphant in the finals of the Funniest Person in the World competition held in Levi, Finland on Saturday

He beat out four finalists - Alex Calleja from The Philippines, Katerina Vrana from Greece, Mino van Nassau from India and David Kilimnick from Israel - to win the title.

New study finds yoga beneficial in lowering blood pressure

Yoga could be beneficial to patients suffering from prehypertension (slightly elevated blood pressure), according to a study presented December 8 at the Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India.

Researchers at the Sir Gangaram Hospital in Delhi, India, studied the impact of yoga on blood pressure in 60 patients with prehypertension but otherwise healthy.

Friday, December 9, 2016

PTPTN Defaulters, Why Getting Out Of Debt Should Be Your First Priority

As the year comes to an end and dark clouds often fill the skies, melancholy thoughts frequently crowd our conscience.

Yes, I am referring to outstanding personal debts which we all tend to accumulate.

To get straight into it, everyone has to manage their debt. Be it a little debt, you have to keep up your payments and make sure it doesn’t get out of control. On the other hand, when you have too much debt, you have to put more effort into paying off your debt while juggling interest payments on the debts you are not paying right now.

Philippines: Murder, kidnap complaints filed against Duterte, 27 others

Self-confessed former assassin Edgar Matobato on Friday filed criminal and administrative complaints against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte over alleged vigilante-style killings in Davao City, where the latter used to be mayor.

The complaints, filed through Matobato’s lawyer Jude Sabio before the Office of the Ombudsman, also names Davao vice mayor Paolo Duterte, Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa and 25 members of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS).

Two kidnappers still on the loose with hostage in tow

KOTA KINABALU - A massive search for two gunmen and a hostage is underway following a gunfight on Thursday in the sea off Semporna.

Three kidnappers were killed and two others arrested in the incident.

The police's Tiger Platoon team managed to rescue one kidnap victim, while a lance corporal, who was shot in the foot, is recovering in hospital.

Jho Low family denied in move to claim assets in 1MDB probe

NEW YORK - Relatives of a Malaysian financier at the center of the 1MDB fund scandal were dealt a setback in their efforts to claim assets seized by the U.S. government when a federal judge denied a motion that would have given them time to try their luck in overseas courts.

Earlier this week four relatives of Low Taek Jho filed a motion to delay the Dec. 12 hearing to Jan. 23 so they could go to courts in New Zealand and the Cayman Islands to try and get real estate and other assets transferred to a new trustee.

Three kidnappers shot dead in Sabah waters

KOTA KINABALU - Security forces are believed to have shot dead three gunmen in a firefight during a kidnapping attempt in Merabung at Darvel Bay in Lahad Datu.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun confirmed that there was a shootout between security forces and the armed group in the 9.30pm incident on Thursday.

"I will be giving full details later, we are still getting the full feedback," he said.

A source said that a security personnel was also injured during the attempt by the kidnap for ransom group to abduct a fisherman.

He also said three other intruders were nabbed during the incident.

The six are believed to be members of a Tawi Tawi based kidnap for ransom group responsible for at least six of the nine kidnappings in the east coast of Sabah this year.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sabah editor: ‘Fake’ news may impact coming GE14

Daily Express chief editor James Sarda hopes that 'fake' news will compel readers to turn away from social media and return to the print media

KOTA KINABALU - The editor of a leading English daily in Sabah has warned of the possibility of “fake” news influencing the outcome of the coming general election.

Malaysia joins Indonesia, Brunei as worst regional human rights violators in 2016

Malaysia continues to be a “violator” of human rights, including the freedom of thought and expression, coming under serious assault, according to this year’s Freedom of Thought Report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

“Malaysia rates very badly with ethnic Malays subjected to strict state controls over an enforced, homogenous religious identity, including mandatory shariah laws, and in two states hudud enactments mandating death for ‘apostasy’,” the report stated giving the country a “5” rating for the category of “Freedom of Expression, Advocacy of Humanist Values” – with 5 being the lowest rating.

SakSaMa: Warisan’s ‘olive branch’ to BN ‘not logical’

The realpolitik demands that BN Sabah be fought, as enemies, to the finish, says SakSaMa supreme council member Shamsudin Osman

KOTA KINABALU - SakSaMa, a newly-formed Borneo-based formal opposition alliance, has reiterated that it’s ready to work with Parti Warisan Sabah and others in the opposition including in Malaya (peninsula).

Instead, said SakSaMa supreme council member Shamsudin Osman, Warisan wants to court Barisan Nasional (BN) Sabah parties.

Najib destroying Malaysia, stoking racial tensions: Mahathir

PUTRAJAYA (AFP) - Malaysian ruling party icon Mahathir Mohamad has accused current leader Najib Razak of "destroying" the country by clinging to power despite a corruption scandal, and vowed to campaign vigorously for the opposition in coming elections.

In an interview with AFP, the 91-year-old former prime minister excoriated Najib over the sensational graft allegations swirling around the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.

The man who strove to subdue Malaysia's opposition parties during his time in office from 1981-2003 said he could now work with them to topple Najib, including the party of his jailed former deputy Anwar Ibrahim.

Dr M has right to attend Agong installation, says law don

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has "every right" to attend the installation of the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong, said constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari.

"If it is true that the invitation extended to Dr Mahathir has been withdrawn, then the Conference of Rulers or the national palace should clarify the matter.

"As former prime minister and holder of the Tunship, Dr Mahathir has every right to be there," Aziz (photo) said in a statement today.

Killer bodyguard remanded another seven days

The remand of a bodyguard over the police investigation into a shooting at the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway here on December 1 was extended today by another seven days.

Another suspect, who was also remanded for seven days, was released after the Sessions Court dismissed the application to extend his remand.

George Town Sessions Court assistant registrar Ahmad Tajuddin Zain had issued the order to remand the 37-year-old bodyguard.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bank Negara reserves fall to RM427.149 billion as of Nov 30

Malaysia's central bank announced today that gross international reserves stood at RM427.149 billion (US$96.4 billion) as of Nov 30, down from RM435.567 billion (US$98.3 billion) on Nov 15.

Bank Negara Malaysia said the lower international reserves position reflected the liquidity support in the foreign exchange market.

It said the reserves were sufficient to finance 8.3 months of retained imports and were 1.2 times the short-term external debt.

A third political force in the making?

With Umno's speeches in last week's general assembly contravening the BN spirit, other BN component parties may want to reconsider the future of the coalition.

Bank Negara introduced six major measures to stem the outflow of funds from the country last Friday in the hope of checking the depreciation of the ringgit.

Unfortunately, the effects were poorer than anticipated because the just concluded Umno general assembly failed to lift market confidence but has instead deepened public concerns for the country’s future.

Najib destroying Malaysia, ‘has to be removed’ - Mahathir

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Malaysian ruling party icon Mahathir Mohamad has accused current leader Najib Razak of "destroying" the country by clinging to power despite a corruption scandal, and vowed to campaign vigorously for the opposition in coming elections.

In an interview with AFP, the 91-year-old former prime minister excoriated Najib over the sensational graft allegations swirling around the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.

Shake up in Sabah BN political party

KOTA KINABALU - A Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) division chief has quit and more are expected to do so following the birth of several new Opposition parties that has shaken the political landscape in this north Borneo state.

PBS secretary-general Datuk Johnny Mositun confirmed the resignation of Rakam Sijim as Sulaman division chief early this month amid talks that at least six more would follow suit, The Borneo Post reported today.

Man claims robbery after paying for sex

A 70-year-old Felda settler’s infidelity was exposed – thanks to the police who investigated his false report that he was robbed of RM500 by a woman, reported Kosmo!

The man, from a Felda settlement near Jempol, had lodged a report on Nov 24, stating that he was robbed at knife point by a woman.

Jempol police brought him in for questioning after finding the woman who allegedly robbed him.

Myanmar suspends sending migrant workers to Malaysia

Myanmar authorities have indefinitely suspended sending of migrant workers to Malaysia in wake of demonstrations there against Myanmar, according to a statement of the Labor Department made public Wednesday.

Notifying employment agencies through which the Myanmar migrant workers are sent, the statement said the suspension will be effective from Tuesday for the sake of safety of Myanmar workers.

Myanmar Muslim Groups Condemn Protest by Malaysian Leader Over Rohingya Crisis

A coalition of Muslim civil society groups in Myanmar has condemned protests led by Malaysia’s prime minister against the Southeast Asian nation’s treatment of the stateless Rohingya minority group, which has been subject to a recent security crackdown in Rakhine state.

The groups took Muslim-majority Malaysia’s ruling United Malays National Organsation (UMNO) party to task over a Dec. 4 rally in the capital Kuala Lumpur, expressing disapproval of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s participation in the protest for what they called political purposes, said the open letter dated Dec. 5.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Rohingya Crisis: Regional Security Implications


After the border attacks in Maungdaw by Muslim militants, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar national army) has been accused of raping and killing Rohingya and burning their villages by the media and human rights groups.

This has rekindled pro-Rohingya jihadist sentiments in the region as well as globally.


ON 9 OCTOBER 2016, some 200 men crossed from Bangladesh into Myanmar’s Rakhine (Arakan) State by boat to attack three border guard posts in Maungdaw Township.

Explain why RM2.6b not probed under Section 124C, asks Ambiga

With the spotlight now on foreign funding, former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan has demanded Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed to provide an explanation on the RM2.6 billion donation issue.

Speaking to Malaysiakini, Ambiga said it was outrageous that NGOs are being hounded over their funding when there is an admission that the RM2.6 billion in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s accounts was used for the last general election.

Get out of S’wak before offering autonomy, Soo tells DAP

Sarawak Reform Party chief Lina Soo dismisses 'lip service' from DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng over 'new deal' and other promises made at national conference.

Sarawak Reform Party (Reform) president Lina Soo has dismissed Lim Guan Eng’s offer of autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak as mere “lip service”, Borneo Post reported.

She called for the Penang chief minister to back his words with the right action by first pulling his party out from the state.

S4S: Sarawak should control its own resources

Sarawak 4 Sarawakians says the group will be sending a memorandum asking the British government to ensure Putrajaya abides by the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Myanmar to lodge official complaints against Najib

The Myanmar government will be issuing an official response to object Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s involvement at a protest yesterday in solidarity with the Rohingya people, according to a report.

The Myanmar Times quoted the country’s deputy director-general of the President’s Office U Zaw Htay saying so yesterday.

“Asean countries should respect the actions of Myanmar on the Rakhine State issue.”

Philippine VP quits Cabinet in new Duterte dilemma

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine vice president resigned her Cabinet post Monday after citing irreconcilable differences with President Rodrigo Duterte, who had banned her from attending Cabinet meetings, in a new political dilemma for the leader.

Robredo, who stepped down as housing secretary but will stay on as vice president, spoke of "major differences in principles and values" with the brash-talking president and an unspecified plot to remove her from the vice presidency. There was no immediate reaction from Duterte.

Bodyguard upset by questioning

GEORGE TOWN - The 37-year-old bodyguard, who shot dead a Datuk businessman and two others at the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, was apparently upset when his boss asked him why he had taken out his firearm at a restaurant about two hours before the incident.

Datuk Ong Teik Kwong and his business partner of nine years Lim Boon Leng, both 32, were having coffee and drinks with a male friend at a restaurant on Karpal Singh Drive when the bodyguard, who had started work for Ong that day, suddenly took out his Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol and placed it on the table on Thursday.

UN rep: Wrong to criminalise groups for receiving foreign funding

Putrajaya should not criminalise civil society groups for receiving foreign funding when even governments around the world do so as well, a United Nations (UN) representative said today.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on the rights to peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai pointed out that there should only be one international standard to regulate the foreign funding.

“So why is it a problem when NGO gets foreign fundings and not businesses or government?

Police hunting down suspects involved in whipping man in viral video

KUALA LUMPUR - Police are expected to make more arrests of suspects involved in the incident where a man was whipped at a funeral parlour in Penang.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said they are in the midst of identifying those featured in a video clip that went viral on social media a few days ago.

"The one who assaulted the 47-year-old victim, was nabbed but we are looking for the remaining perpetrators, especially those who picked the victim from Ipoh and those who restrained him," he said after attending the 61st anniversary celebrations of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) here today.

He said since the suspects are linked to an underworld gang, they could also be investigated under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) for possible links to gangsterism.

Syariah Court dismisses Anwar’s qazaf appeal against Saiful

The Kuala Lumpur Syariah Court of Appeal has dismissed a qazaf (making false allegations) application by former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to prosecute his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

The three-man panel, chaired by Syariah Appeals Court judge Justice Md Yusup Che, Justice Yusof Musa and Mohd Amran Mat Zain unanimously dismissed the application today with RM5,000 in costs.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

'Datuk Ong was a respectable businessman'

GEORGE TOWN - A close friend of Datuk Ong Teik Kwong, killed last Thursday by his bodyguard, has described the victim as a respectable businessman.

Jason Mah, 45, said Ong was also involved in various charitable work and was generous with his assistance.

He said his friend had an eye on giving back to society and to provide help to those in need.

He said he was unaware of Ong being allegedly linked to Gang 24, a notorious secret society active in Penang.

Thousands rally in Indonesia to celebrate diversity

JAKARTA - Thousands gathered along the main thoroughfare in downtown Jakarta during the capital's weekly Car-Free-Sunday to celebrate Indonesia's diversity.

Aerial photos show devastation of logging of Orang Asli land by Kelantan govt

Orang Asli speak of bathing, drinking from muddy waters, as photos prove logging activities destroyed farm lands, disrupted flow of river waters

Police: Murdered Datuk M was Gang 24 boss

GEORGE TOWN - The Datuk businessman who was shot dead in the Penang bridge rampage on Thursday was head of a crime gang involved in murder, extortion and drug trafficking, police said.

Datuk Ong Teik Kwong, 32, was head of Gang 24 and was under surveillance for some time, George Town police chief Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid was quoted as saying in an exclusive report in The Star today.

“We have information that the members were involved in protection rackets but no one has come forward to lodge a police report.

Man whipped 47 times for insulting deceased Dato

GEORGE TOWN - A heavily tattooed man who is seen being whipped repeatedly in a video that has gone viral on social media was rescued by police, while his punisher was arrested.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Penang bodyguard who 'went berserk' shot dead boss on first day of work

GEORGE TOWN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)- It was his first day at work with his new boss. And it became the last day of his life for the boss, businessman Ong Teik Kwong.

Colombia Plane Crash survivor said he curled up in fetal position before impact

One of the six survivors pulled from the wreckage of the Colombian plane crash that killed 71 people Monday reportedly told South American media he curled up in a fetal position with a bag between his knees before the jet slammed into a mountainside.

"I put the bags in between my legs to form the fetal position that is recommended in accidents," flight technician Erwin Tumiri told Fox Sports Argentina in Spanish. "During the situation, many stood up from their seats, and they started to shout."

Tumiri suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to the hospital treating him. Others found alive amid the plane's mangled remnants suffered more serious injuries, including thoracic trauma and spinal damage. One person had a leg amputated.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Stop bullying us, Orang Asli tell Kelantan government

GUA MUSANG - Two representatives from the Orang Asli community in Gua Musang today urged the PAS-led state government to stop bullying them, saying that they are protesting only because their rights were being trampled on.

Manila put on highest terror alert in 16 years

A terrorist cell formed by a group seeking recognition from the ISIS terror network is already operating and planning a big attack in Manila. This comes as the Philippine capital was placed on its highest terror alert for the first time in 16 years following the arrest of two alleged militants over a makeshift bomb planted near the US Embassy on Monday.

A senior police officer, who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to speak to journalists, told The Straits Times that the two - identified as Rashid Kilala and Jiaher Guinar - were part of a cell in Quezon City's sprawling Novaliches district that security forces had been monitoring for over a month.

Three more suspects being hunted had already likely fled back to their jungle strongholds in the war-torn southern Mindanao islands, police chief Ronaldo de la Rosa said at a news conference yesterday.

Three people arrested in baby selling racket exposé

Malaysian police have arrested three people for allegedly selling babies following an Al Jazeera investigation into the country's underground baby trafficking trade.

A woman and two men were arrested on Wednesday after police raided clinics and homes on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

The woman who was arrested was shown on Al Jazeera's 101 East programme trying to sell a baby to undercover reporters.

Maute terrorists defeated but Butig was left devastated

BUTIG, Lanao del Sur - Military forces have flushed out members of the Maute group and have regained control of this town, but scars of the six-day firefight remain visible as homes and establishments were left with gaping holes from tank and gunfire.

"The town is deserted and the Maute is withdrawing towards the mountain," military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla earlier said.

"They have been decimated. The capability to sustain and get back to the fight is no longer there," Padilla added.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Philippines' fight against Muslim insurgents is hitting a new and sticky blockade

Philippine President Duterte campaigned on the idea he could solve one of his country’s stickiest, oldest and most violent political problems. He would make peace with two Muslim separatist groups on the giant southern island Mindanao but use force against a third that’s usually seen as a pack of bandits without political cause. Now, after five months in office, the ever enigmatic Duterte says he wants to negotiate with that bandit group, Abu Sayyaf. Abu Sayyaf has pledged allegiance to ISIS and is known for kidnapping and beheading foreign tourists.

47 Orang Asli released, reunited with families

Activist lawyer Siti Kasim thanks police for their help and absolves them, saying Kelantan forestry department responsible for actions against Orang Asli.

GUA MUSANG - The 47 Orang Asli who were detained by police on Tuesday after refusing to move from a blockade they set up here, were released today.

The men who spent two nights at the Gua Musang police station, were released at 2.50pm and some of them were in tears when they were reunited with their families.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ringgit tops list of monthly Asia forex losses

Emerging Asian currencies were set to post monthly losses in November after Republican Donald Trump's surprise US election win inspired a rousing rally in the dollar.

Malaysia's ringgit has lost 6.1 percent against the U.S. dollar so far this month on bond outflows.

The currency's slide would be the largest monthly depreciation since August last year when domestic markets tumbled as a financial scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) engulfed Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Brazilian Soccer Team Plane Was ‘Doomed’, Expert Says

Early reports state the aircraft suffered an electrical failure but investigators aren't ruling out the possibility that the plane ran out of fuel

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a fairytale bringing Brazil’s celebrated underdogs to the top of the South American soccer league. Instead, a chartered flight to Medellin, Colombia carrying most of the Chapecoense football team and its entourage of journalists and coaches ended in tragedy late Monday.

Maute's main force leaves Lanao town, 49 dead

The military says the situation is 'fluid,' but it aims to drive away the remaining members of the terror group from the abandoned municipal hall 'within the day'

LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines – The main force of the Maute terror group that occupied parts of Butig town in Lanao del Sur has left the area, according to the military.

At least 49 members of the local terror group inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS) were killed in days of operations while 21 soldiers were injured, the military added.

Sosma has potential for greater abuses, warn lawyers

In calling for the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) to be repealed, lawyers at a Bar Council forum yesterday said not only does it retain elements from the defunct Internal Security Act (ISA), it also has the potential for greater abuses.

Top of the list of concerns raised was the unrestricted power of the police to detain an individual under Sosma for up to 28 days, without trial.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Explosives, M16 with live bullets found in Lahad Datu

KOTA KINABALU - Several explosives, an M16 rifle with live bullets and several empty magazines were found at a farm in Kampung Tanjung Batu, Lahad Datu on Sunday.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said police did not rule out that the items were likely to be weapons left behind by Sulu militants during the 2013 instrusion.

“Based on initial investigations, we believe that the weapons had been left behind by the militants during the ‘Op Daulat’ as they were found within the operation area,” he said after launching the Sabah chapter of the Malaysian Association of Retired Senior Police Officers (Respa) here today.

Also present were Respa deputy president Datuk Mohd Nawawi Ismail and Sabah Respa chairman Datuk Sulaiman Junaidi.

Abdul Rashid said a 50-year-old man who discovered the items had also been detained to facilitate the investigations. — Bernama

Police summon Al-Jazeera crew to obtain more info on baby-selling activities

PUTRAJAYA - Police have summoned the production crew of international television station, Al-Jazeera, to seek more information concerning its documentary on alleged baby-selling activities in Malaysia.