Death of Indonesian maid: Penang police to complete case soon


MO,13/2/2018, BUKIT MERTAJAM: Police believe they will wrapped up the investigations into the death of an Indonesian maid – allegedly from repated abuse by her local employers – soon. This follows the arrest of a 60-year-old woman and her children, aged 36 and 39 recently. State police chief Datuk A Thaiveegan said police were in the midst of completing the investigation paper in relation to the case.

“Further investigation is ongoing and we have recorded statements from several people, including witnesses, neighbours and the doctor who attended to the maid, Adelina Lisao, 26. “We are still looking for several more witnesses to complete our investigation. For now, there will not be any additional arrest,” he said when met after launching the Ops Selamat 12 in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration at the Juru toll plaza here today.

Thaiveegan said police were also waiting for the full post-mortem report to ascertain how long the abuse could have taken place. It was reported that Adelina was rescued by police on Saturday following suspected repeated abuse by her employers. She died at 4.45pm on Sunday while being treated at the Bukit Mertajam Hospital.

When found at her employer’s home at Taman Kota Permai, she had severe injuries on her head and face, and infected wounds on her hands and legs. Her plight came to light after a police report was lodged by an aide to the Bukit Mertajam member of parliament. The case, which was initially investigated under Section 324 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt, will not be investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder.


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Outrage following death of Indonesian maid


MO,12/2/2018, GEORGE TOWN: Civil society group, Tenaganita, has expressed outrage over yet another death of a domestic worker. “Why are we letting this happen again and again? “The rules and regulations within the Employment Act for domestic workers seem not to be protect domestic workers. “What we need is a separate legislation for them,” Tenaganita director Glorene Das said.

Indonesian maid, Adelina, 21, from Medan, died yesterday, following suspected repeated abuse by her employers. According to Glorene, as long as they are defined as domestic servants and maids in the Employment Act, it creates the mindset and mentality of a master-servant relationship. She added that one death of a girl, a domestic worker, was one too many.

“We seriously need to address the root cause of why employers feel it is perfectly normal to abuse a domestic worker. “There needs to be effective policies and legislation to protect maids like Adelina from abusive employers,” she stressed. It was reported that Adelina was rescued by police on Saturday following suspected repeated abuse by her employers.

She died at 4.45pm yesterday while being treated at the Bukit Mertajam Hospital. When found at her employer’s home at Taman Kota Permai, Bukit Mertajam, she had severe injuries on her head and face, and infected wounds on her hands and legs. Her plight came to light after a police report was lodged by an aide to the Bukit Mertajam member of parliament.


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Teacher fears for her safety after student’s death


MO,8/2/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: The teacher involved in a student’s recent attempted suicide case fears for her safety after receiving hate messages and death threats, with some netizens even sharing her picture online. National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said the public should let justice run its course, adding that both the teacher and her husband are members of the union.

“We’ve met with them and they’ve given their side of the story. “They have lodged a police report and given their full cooperation to investigators.“Please stop hurling abuse at them and making threats. Some have even shared the teacher’s photo on social media, which is very traumatic for the family,” he said yesterday. Appealing to the authorities to act swiftly, he said the NUTP was deeply saddened by the tragic death of 14-year-old M. Vasantha Piriya in Penang last week, and would provide “full assistance” to ensure justice for all parties.

He also reminded the union’s 200,000 members to always be vigilant of their students’ behaviour.“If something is amiss or out of the ordinary, adhere to the school’s standard operating procedure (SOP) when dealing with the problem. “Record every single detail and inform your superiors,” he added. On Jan 24, Vasantha attempted suicide after she was accused of stealing her teacher’s mobile phone. She was left in critical condition after the attempt and died on Feb 1.

The teacher had reportedly reprimanded the girl in front of her classmates and later questioned her for hours with several other teachers before she and her husband sent the student home. Police have recorded statements from 24 people, including the 46-year-old teacher and her 48-year-old husband, said South Seberang Prai OCPD Supt Shafee Abdul Samad. He added that investigations had been completed and the case referred to the deputy public prosecutor (DPP).

Supt Shafee said six police reports were lodged about the case, including two from the teacher.“The teacher lodged a report denying her phone had been found, and another report was about her feeling embarrassed after the incident went viral on social media,” he told reporters after the opening of the Visionary Youth Programme in SMK Teluk Bahang yesterday. Supt Shafee said police are still trying to find the handphone.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon also urged the public to stop speculating about the case. “A life was lost. It’s very sad but please let the professionals do their work. Don’t interfere and make the situation worse. “We’ll ensure that the truth prevails,” he said, adding that the ministry is still waiting for the detailed report on the case.

He also dismissed allegations that the ministry was protecting the teacher involved. “No way. We’ve always acted fairly in dealing with teachers who have gone against SOP or the law,” he told reporters after closing the second Asean Chinese Education Academic Conference here.


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Robin Williams death linked to rise in copycat suicides

LOS ANGELES: Suicide rates in the United States spiked almost 10 percent following the death in 2014 of actor Robin Williams, and spiked even more among men and those who ended their lives, like Williams, by suffocation, according to a study published on Wednesday.

The study, published in the scientific journal PLOS One, found that in the five months from August to December 2104 some 18,690 deaths by suicide were recorded – an increase of 9.85 percent from the expected number of cases for the period.

Williams, the Oscar-winning star of “Good Morning, Vietnam” who was beloved for his humour, died in August 2014 at age 63 in a suicide that shocked fans worldwide. Authorities said he died of asphyxia after hanging himself at his home in northern California. An autopsy found that Williams was suffering from Lew body dementia, which causes a progressive decline in mental ability.

Suicides following Williams’ death rose by 12.9 percent in men aged 30-44, and the study found a 32 percent increase in the number of deaths from suffocation.

Although the study could not prove a definitive link, it said there appeared to be a connection. Extensive media coverage of Williams’ death “might have proved the necessary stimulus for high-risk segments of the U.S. population (e.g. middle-aged men in despair) to move from suicidal ideation to attempt.”

While the effects of widely reported celebrity suicides have previously been linked to increases in the wider population, the study said media coverage of Williams’ suicide was particularly detailed and sensational and was amplified through social media.

The suicide in 1994 of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, for example, appeared to have a minimal impact on suicide rates in his Seattle home town, partly because of more restricted reporting, the study said.

“The media industry can positively or negatively influence imitation suicides,” the study said. “Popular news media headlines suggest that media guidelines for suicide reporting were not followed in the case of Mr. Williams.”

The study used data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Girl’s death not due to “air jampi”


MO,5/2/2018, KUALA PILAH: The ‘air jampi’ (special drink for spiritual healing) which was seized from Nur Aina Nabihah Mohammad’s house in Lukut, Port Dickson last Friday is not connected to her death. State police chief Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin said the drink was only used for purposes of “spiritual healing” by the deceased’s family.

Earlier reports had claimed that the 9-year old victim was severely beaten by her father after she had refused to take the drink. “The police are still probing into the case and we are in the midst of obtaining statements from those involved,” he told reporters during SMK Tunku Besar Burhanudin’s police cadets and prefects appointment ceremony today.

It was reported that on Thursday, Nur Aina died at the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital (HTJ) in Seremban after she was found unconscious. The post-mortem examination result showed that the victim died of multiple injuries including ruptured intestines and broken left ribs.

The police also seized a small bench, a belt and a drink container allegedly used to hit the victim.

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Death toll rises to 31 in South Koreas hospital fire

MIRYANG (South Korea): Thirty-one people were killed and more than 40 others injured in a blaze that engulfed a hospital in the southeastern city of Miryang early Friday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported firefighters as saying.

The fire is suspected to have started at around 7.30 am in the emergency room on the first floor of the main building of Sejong Hospital in the city, about 280 kilometers southeast of Seoul, according to the authorities. The fire was put out in one hour and 40 minutes.

About 100 patients are believed to have been inside the hospital building when the fire broke out.

The authorities had transferred 52 people, mostly patients, to four nearby hospitals.

Some 93 patients from the nursing home adjoined to the main building evacuated unhurt, they said.

The victims’ identities were not immediately known.


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Falling chair death: Case reclassified as murder


MO,17/1/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: The case involving a teenager who died after being struck by an office chair at a low-cost flat here has been reclassified as murder. City police chief Datuk Mazlan Lazim said the case was initially classified as manslaughter. It is also learnt that police have recorded statements from 31 people.

Mazlan said while police have yet to identify the perpetrator, they have taken the DNA sample from the office chair as well as from five people, who have had their statements recorded, for further analysis. He said police are still waiting for the post-mortem report from Universiti Malaya Medical Centre.

On Monday, 15-year-old S. Sathiwaran and his mother S. Kasthurivai, 45, had just finished grocery shopping and were on their way home. They were about to enter Block 102 of the Seri Pantai People’s Housing Project (PPR) at 8.30pm when a blue office chair, thrown from one of the upper floors, struck Sathiwaran.

He sustained severe head injuries and died at the scene. Mazlan said those who have information regarding the case can contact Assistant Superintendent Firdaus Sharil at 012-3388164 or Deputy Superintendent Tonny Lunggan at 014-6225262.


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Orang Asli siblings devastated by mom’s death


MO,16/1/2018, GUA MUSANG: Three Orang Asli siblings were sent home from school via aircraft today following the sudden death of their mother. Wendy Andlem, 19, her 17-year-old brother Chebdy and their 16-year-old sister Ronal boarded the aircraft provided by the Fire and Rescue Department’s air unit based in Subang.

Their mother, Minah Adek, 50, passed away at about 5am today. She had been suffering from a chronic disease for several months. The children were part of an ongoing operation dubbed ‘Ops Centre’, which is being carried out by the Fire and Rescue Department to ferry 242 Orang Asli students to school.

The students were unable to attend school after the roads connecting their villages were damaged by the recent floods. Operation commander Cik Hamdan Hamzah said the three students from SMK Tengku Indera Petra 1 were sent back home at about 10.20am this morning.

“They were accompanied by several individuals including state fire and rescue department director Nazili Mahmood and Kelantan/Terengganu Orang Asli Development Department director Hashiim Alang Abdul Hamid,” he said.

“Yesterday, we managed to sent 96 of the 242 students from Pos Balar and Pos Belatim to their respective schools. “The rest will be sent in stages today and tomorow,” he added.


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Sterling strikes at death as Man City beat Southampton

RAHEEM Sterling struck in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Manchester City beat Southampton 2-1 for a club record 12th successive Premier League victory on Wednesday.

It had looked as though the Oriol Romeu’s 75th minute equaliser had slowed the City juggernaut, but Sterling curled an unstoppable effort past Fraser Forster at the death to send the Etihad Stadium crowd wild.

Sterling has now scored the winning goal in three successive games for City.

City were never at their fluent best but Kevin De Bruyne’s free kick, which took a touch off of Saints defender Virgil van Dijk, put them ahead straight after halftime.

Forster made some crucial saves to keep his side in the game and former Chelsea player Romeu struck with a shot off the underside of the crossbar to reward Southampton who had gone close twice before the break.

Sterling’s moment of brilliance ensured that City stayed on course to break Arsenal’s all-time record winning streak in the Premier League and restored their eight-point lead over Manchester United who won at Watford on Tuesday.

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Ceritalah ASEAN – A Malaysian tragedy The death of cadet Zulfarhan Osman

AT 11:30PM on June 1, 2017, Zulkarnain Idros, a 53-year-old taxi driver, received a telephone call.

It was an officer from the National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) – the military college where his eldest son, Zulfarhan Osman, 21, was attending, hoping to obtain a Navy commission.

“Your son has died,” he told Zulkarnain.

There was a long pause.

“What happened?”

“He was burnt to death.”

Zulfarhan (middle) dreamed of captaining a navy ship one day. Handout photo

When Hawa Osman, Zulkarnain’s 54-year-old wife, heard the news, she broke into tears. “Allah… my son…”

Initially, the officer read Zulfarhan’s military identity number over the phone. Unable and unwilling to believe the terrible news, the father asked for his civilian identity number instead.

“My mind was racing,” the round-faced Zulkarnain explained. “I kept thinking that it was all a mistake. Maybe it was someone else’s child? I needed to see him for myself.”

At midnight, Zulkarnain, Hawa and their three younger children set off from their home in the southern Malaysian state of Johor for the 300km trip to the Serdang Hospital in Kajang, Selangor.

Hawa, a woman with an intense and somewhat sorrowful expression recalls how she had suspected something was amiss long before the call.

Hawa described Zulfarhan as a 'Mama’s boy' who was not shy about showing affection towards her. Handout photo

“My son usually called every night, but I hadn’t heard from him for more than a week because he’d lost his phone. Even so, after a few days, I felt something was wrong,”

Finally, and just after 3:00am, the family arrived at the Serdang Hospital. The UPNM officer was there to greet them.

However, they weren’t allowed to see the body until later that morning at 9:00am, leaving them to wait for six agonizing hours.

According to news reports, Zulfarhan was allegedly tortured by a group of his peers from May 21 to 22, 2017 for stealing a laptop.

Hawa has a portrait of her late son as the screensaver on her mobile phone. Karim Raslan Photo

He was burned with a steam iron that was pressed and dragged along his limbs and torso. A belt, rubber hose and a hanger were also used.

The offence was allegedly committed at the UPNM Jebat hostel between 2:30am and 5:30am on May 21 and 1:30am to 5:45am the following day.

The same news reports added that a week later on May 27, two of his batch mates drove Zulfarhan to a clinic in Bangi for treatment. They subsequently brought him to the clinic again on May 31.

On June 1, some 11 days after the initial attack, Zulfarhan was finally taken to the hospital. He died almost immediately on arrival despite two attempts to revive his shattered body.

Zulfarhan was athletic. He participated in marathons, duathlons and triathlons while in university. Handout photo

For the parents, the initial viewing was tense and unbelievably painful. As Hawa explains: “When they first brought us in to identify him, we were only shown his face.”

She says this with her hand to her chest, indicating the part of Zulfarhan’s body that was exposed. “We asked to see our son’s entire body,” at which point her voice falls silent as the pain of her grief momentarily overwhelms her.

According to an autopsy report, 80% of Zulfarhan’s body was covered in burns. Zulkarnain picks up the thread of the narrative: “I have no words to describe how it felt to see our son in that state. I had no more tears left. It’s particularly heart breaking for his mother. She gave birth to a perfect, healthy baby boy.”

The father continues haltingly: “I couldn’t stop asking myself: why do we have to bury him like this? What happened?”

Zulkarnain received a call from a UPNM officer informing him of Zulfarhan’s death on June 1, 2017. Karim Raslan Photo

Zulfarhan’s body was released to the family at 3:00pm on June 2, 2017. He was buried in Johor that evening.

I met the family at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex on October 27. Both parents were wearing T-shirts with “#justice4farhan” printed across the chest. It was the court mention for the nineteen young men charged in connection with Zulfarhan’s death.

Five were charged with murder and one with abetment. Both charges carry the mandatory death penalty and these boys – they looked so young – had been remanded in custody. They were chained alongside the drug offenders and petty thieves that appear all too regularly in big city courts.

Thirteen others were charged with voluntarily causing hurt and if found guilty, they face up to seven years in prison. They weren’t in remand.

Instead, they were more formally dressed in long-sleeved shirts (some were even in suits) – waiting at the side and the back of the public gallery. As the Registrar called out their names they walked – some seemed to march, I remember thinking they were military cadets after all – to the front where they crowded out the dock, creating a degree of confusion.

I couldn’t help but feel deeply disturbed by the scene in court. It was so bizarre.

All these fresh-faced and smart-looking boys. In any other context, I would be thinking “Here are a bunch of bright young things: my country’s future.” But instead, they were gathered in the centre of the courtroom and their futures very much in question all because of what happened to Zulfarhan some six months earlier.

One boy – one of their number – had died and hideously so.

Only they – this group of nineteen – knew why. Only they knew how.

Throughout the proceedings, Zulkarnain, Hawa and their 15-year-old daughter sat in the front row of the public gallery. Silent and dignified, they looked on as the alleged perpetrators of their son’s murder thronged in front of them.

Meanwhile, all around them were the parents of the nineteen, some looking shame-faced, others trying their best to cheer up their boys.

Zulfarhan was the eldest of four children. Handout photo

Having noticed the invisible divide between the two groups I asked if there had been any interaction.

The father explained: “Two of the suspects’ parents have approached me to apologise.”

“I said to them: if I forgive you, will my son come back?”

But at least with a trial date pending, the family will soon learn about their son’s last days and the reasons – if any – behind the extraordinary brutality of his death.

Zulkarnain is candid when he describes how they feel. “We have no idea what happened in that whole week from when he was tortured to when he was found. It’s like no one even noticed he was missing. That’s why we have to come to the trial.”

Despite mandatory, nightly roll calls, Zulfarhan’s absence remained a secret.

Zulfarhan was very close to his youngest sister who was six years his junior. Handout photo

Hawa adds: “There has been a lot of gossip since the incident. We’ve heard many rumours about what happened. But we need to find out the truth. Although this case will take a very long time, I will continue following it for my son. We can’t just let it go.”

You can understand why as you listen to Zulkarnain (who, despite his suffering, never loses his warm, special smile) and Hawa talk about their eldest child.

He was a loving and responsible third-year electrical engineering student. He dreamt of captaining ships one day.

Those hopes are now gone. But for the nineteen accused, the future has become almost as cloudy. An endless trial. Legal fees. Glittering careers destroyed.

Amidst it all, Hawa, the grieving mother is implacable. “I have to know. I can accept that my son has died, but I can’t accept the way he died.”

NOTE: Follow Karim Raslan on Twitter @fromKMR / Instagram @fromkmr

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