12 fatal drowning cases in Selangor this year: Fire Dept


MO,20/2/2018, SUNGAI BULOH: A total of 12 people have died from drowning in Selangor so far this year, said the Fire and Rescue Department after five anglers were reported drowned in Sungai Gasi yesterday. State Fire and Rescue Department director Azmi Osman said seven deaths were recorded in January alone, adding that the high number of drowning related fatalities was alarming.

“Last year, 24 drowning cases were reported and in February last year, only three deaths were recorded,” he told reporters here today. Azmi urged members of the public to be careful when swimming in rivers or when participating in water-related activities.

“I would like to advise the public not to go near rivers or drainage ditches,” he said, adding that these places were dangerous due to the uncertain weather. In the latest incident on Monday evening, eight people were swept away by strong currents, believed to be triggered by a flash flood, as they were fishing along Sungai Gasi.

Three victims survived while the bodies of another two anglers were recovered by search and rescue teams. The fate of three more anglers remains unknown.


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Sabah Water Dept scandal: March 20 decision for revision applications of ex-deputy director


MO,20/2/2018,KOTA KINABALU: The High Court here has fixed March 20 for the decision on an application of review by former Sabah Water Department deputy director Teo Chee Kong, who was charged with money laundering. Judge Datuk Nurchaya Arshad set the date and instructed both prosecution and defence teams to file their submissions on March 6.

She also fixed Feb 27 for the prosecution team to submit their affidavit in reply after deputy public prosecutor Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman, who represented Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) requested for more time. Early this month, Teo applied for three criminal revision applications, through his counsels, to the court. The revisions were against the refusal of Session Court Judge (Abu Bakar Manat) to recuse himself from hearing the trial and Teo’s objection to the Session Court’s order for a joint trial with three other accused.

Teo also filed a notice of motion on the production of documents and CCTV footages, which were dismissed by the Session’s court judge. Speaking to reporters outside the court, Tengku Amir Zaki said Teo had requested for MACC to return the seized income tax return documents dated from 2004 and 2005. “We object to this and the court has fixed March 20 to decide whether session court judge (Abu Bakar) will be recused and trial will be conducted seperately,” he said.

Teo was represented by a team of counsels led by Roland Cheng and assisted by Ram Singh. Last month, the Sessions Court initially fixed Feb 21, 22, and 23 for joint trial dates for Teo, former SWD director Awang Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, Mohd Tahir’s wife Fauziah Piut and retired department deputy director Lim Lam Beng. The trial has since been postponed to an undetermined date.

Teo, on December 13 last year claimed trial to 146 charges of money laundering involving RM32.93 million. All charges were under Section 4(1)(a) and Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001. In October 2016, Teo and Mohd Tahir were remanded by MACC to assist probe on mishandling of funds for water infrastructure projects in this State before being released on bail. On Dec 29, 2016, Mohd Tahir and Fauziah pleaded not guilty to 31 money-laundering charges involving RM59.1 million, as well two counts of possessing 575 pieces of jewellery and 346 other valuable items, acquired through illegal means.


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Onset of high tide phenomenon has Sarawak Rescue Dept on alert


MO,3/2/2018, KUCHING: The state Fire and Rescue Department is primed to deploy it personnel and assets to areas which may experience flooding during the high tide phenomenon, which is expected to occur between 6pm today and 5am tomorrow. The department’s flood operation room will be closely monitoring low-lying areas every two hours from today until Sunday, and updating residents of high-risk locations.

“According to the telemetry system (of the state Drainage and Irrigation Department), there has been an increase in water levels in Batu Kitang here and in Dalat, Mukah. “And based on previous incidents, Batu Kitang will continue to see a rise in water levels – which is why the department is closely monitoring the area. “The department is also keeping tabs of the situation in Ulu Baram, where the water flow of rivers in the area has slowed down,” said the department’s director Nor Hisham Mohammad.

Although the situation is under control, authorities fear that the current rainy spell the state is experiencing will exacerbate the effects of the high tide phenomenon. “Our concern is that the heavy rain will slow the flow of water from hilly areas to the sea (which could result in flooding). “Regardless of whatever happens, the department will be prepared,” he added.

Meanwhile, the state Natural Disaster Management Committee secretariat said that 11 people from four families were evacuated after their houses in Kampung Sungai Batu here were inundated by floodwaters. The secretariat said the evacuees are temporarily taking shelter at a surau in the village. “Although the surau is not gazetted as a flood evacuation centre, the families have been relocated there, as the situation is under control.

“If there is no improvement in the flood situation at the village, the evacuees will be relocated to the nearby Sinaran Lumut hall,” the secretariat said in a statement.


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February trial dates fixed for Sabah Water Dept money-laundering case


MO,30/1/2018, KOTA KINABALU: The Sessions Court here has fixed February for the trial dates of former Sabah Water Department (SWD) deputy director Teo Chee Kong and three others for money-laundering. Corruption Special Sessions Court judge Abu Bakar Manat fixed February 21, 22 and 23 for the joint trial dates for Teo, former SWD director Awang Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, Mohd Tahir’s wife Fauziah Piut and retired department deputy director Lim Lam Beng.

He allowed the application by the prosecution team for a joint trial on the grounds that charges were derived from same illegal activities according to the charge sheets, and that they share a similar witness list. “The trial can be expedited as the prosecution could call upon the same witnesses,” said Abu Bakar. Teo on December 13 claimed trial to 146 charges of money laundering involving RM32.93 million.

All charges were under Section 4(1)(a) and Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001. In October 2016, Teo and Awang Mohd Tahir were remanded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) over a probe on the mishandling of funds for water infrastructure projects in Sabah.

On Dec 29, 2016, Awang Mohd Tahir and Fauziah had pleaded not guilty to 31 money-laundering charges involving RM59.1 million, as well two counts of possessing 575 pieces of jewellery and 346 other valuable items, acquired through illegal means. Lim meanwhile was charged with four counts of money-laundering involving RM2.38 million.


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5,000 alleged GST cheating cases under investigation: Customs Dept


MO,20/1/2018, PUTRAJAYA: The Customs Department has opened more than 5,000 investigation papers on cheating cases involving the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the 2.5 years since its implementation. Its director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy said the probe involves 5,000 out of 465,000 companies registered as of Dec 31 last year. “These companies are ‘hardcore cheaters’ who intentionally cheat. They are not among those who genuinely do not understand (the GST system).

“Legal action will be taken against those who are guilty of cheating,” Subromaniam told reporters on Saturday. He was speaking during the department’s ‘Largest Simultaneous Charity Cycling Event’ which attracted 2,000 participants in Putrajaya, and 6,000 people nationwide. To curb cheating and increase understanding and awareness of GST among the public, Subromaniam said the department has introduced a “GST Ambassadors” programme.

“The department’s personnel will take on the role of ambassadors to help companies manage their GST claims, and further increase compliance among businesses in the country. “We believe this ‘informed compliance’ strategy, where we reach out to (the business community), is the best way to improve and increase GST awareness levels. “Meanwhile, for ‘hardcore cheaters’, we will implement the ‘enforced compliance’ approach by carrying out stricter enforcement,” he added.

Subromaniam added that the department targets to achieve RM43 billion in GST collection in 2017 – one billion ringgit more than 2016. “We are happy that we were able to surpass our target of RM42 billion (in 2017). The actual amount of our collection will be announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak next week,” he added. On a related note, he urged certain quarters not to politicise the GST system, as it has proved to be an effective tax collection method compared to the Sales and Services Tax (SST), which it replaced.

“We have about 465,000 companies registered (today), but during the SST, there were only 200,000 companies (registered). “This shows that there was a ‘black economy’ under the SST – all (this was exposed after the imposition of) GST. This is one of the upsides of the GST.

(So) why should we go back to SST?” he said. Subromaniam added that the GST was implemented for the good of the people, with the money collected returning back to the rakyat through various government programmes. “GST is only paid by those who are earning well, and can afford to pay tax. There is no need to politicise GST, as it is done for the betterment of the country,” he said.


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Met Dept says it did not advise people to wear thicker clothing – Nation

PETALING JAYA: The Meteorological Department has denied reports that it had advised people to wear thick clothes to avoid getting a fever.

The fake report had cited the Met Department as saying that the drop in temperatures in the west of Peninsular Malaysia was due to incessant rain brought by monsoon winds from the Philippines.

The Met Department had said in a statement that the lowest temperature recorded on Saturday (Jan 13) was 21 degrees Celsius in Mersing and Kuala Pilah.

Other areas recorded a low of 22 degrees Celsius in the early mornings.

It said the phenomenon is linked to overcast skies, non-stop rain

and cold winds from the northeast monsoon.

The cold spell is expected to end on Sunday (Jan 14).

The Met Dept also issued a yellow alert for severe weather conditions in Pahang (Kuantan, Rompin, and Pekan) and Johor (Segamat, Mersing and Kota Tinggi).

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Immigration Dept never issued circular to stop stateless children from attending school: Mustafar


MO,12/1/2018, PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department has denied issuing a circular preventing stateless children from being enrolled in schools. Its director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali clarified that the document, which was mistakenly regarded as a circular, was actually a letter responding to questions from the Education Ministry.

“It was not a circular. Only a letter which the department sent to the ministry to answer some questions. “On Nov 28, last year, the ministry’s Daily School Management Division has sent a letter to us to clarify issues related to status of children. “In the letter, the ministry wanted to know the categories or schedule of children who were born in and outside Malaysia after the Malaysia Day, whether they require a passport or valid travel document to enrol in government schools.

“We later replied on Dec 28, explaining that foreigners born here or abroad are required to have passports; Malaysian children don’t need to have passports while children without citizenship but have applied for it are required to have passports,” he told reporters today. Mustafar stressed that the Immigration Department has nothing to do with matters involving the enrolment of students.

“That is under the Education Ministry’s jurisdiction. Whether the child is stateless or not, only the ministry can solve their enrolment issue,” he said. “In short, stateless children can still attend school as long as they have all the documents needed by the ministry,” he said. According to the Education Ministry’s circular, stateless children are allowed to enrol in any government schools with the conditions that one of the parents is Malaysian, and have obtained a confirmation or acknowledgement letter that the child is under the care of Malaysians.

Mustafar was responding to a report on Jan 9 about a seven-year old girl in Seremban, who was stopped from attending school after clearing registration with the Education Ministry. An English daily reported that the girl’s adoptive parents were believed to have been told by the Immigration Department that she required a passport in order to be enrolled at the school.


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Transport Ministry, PM’s Dept to meet cabbies over Grab, Uber grouses

Commuters pass Grab transport booking service app advertisements at a train station in Singapore

MO,11/1/2018, PUTRAJAYA: The Transport Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Department will meet with taxi drivers to address their complaints that their income has been greatly affected by ride-hailing services. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he would ask Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri to hear the grouses of the cabbies, who were against companies such as Grab and Uber.

“I will ask Liow and also Nancy, who oversees the Land Public Transport Commission, to meet with the taxi drivers to resolve their issues. “The taxi drivers should also stop issuing threats. The government is not intimidated by threats from any parties,” he told reporters after attending the monthly assembly, today. He was responding to calls by Big Blue Taxi Services founder Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail, who has threatened to withdraw support for Barisan Nasional if the government proceeds to support Uber and Grab.

Shamsubahrin said the taxi drivers would support the opposition if the government failed to address their issues. Meanwhile, at the event, Zahid launched the all-new Malaysian passports with enhanced security features. Zahid said the price of the new passport will remain the same. “The new passport has better and improved features to ensure that the document could not be forged, even with the latest technology. The best part is there will be no extra charge for those who want to make new applications or renew their passports,” he said.

Among the new security features were biometric data, facial recognition capabilities, embedded chip, security stitching thread and the use of ultraviolet light to verify its authenticity.


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True or Not: Tilapia fish safe to eat, assures Fisheries Dept – Nation

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian tilapia fish is safe to eat, assures the Malaysian Fisheries Department.

In a statement here Monday (Dec 18), the department rubbished an allegation in the social media that the tilapia fish should not be eaten as it would cause cancer.

“There is no scientific article inside and outside of the country regarding reports that there are cancer cells in the flesh of the tilapia.

“There is also no scientific report concerning the use of hormone-mixed fish pellets and growth booster agent in the country’s fishing industry,” it said.

According to the statement, the department under the Agriculture Residue Monitoring Programme had conducted a fish quality monitoring programme at farm-level to ensure fish and its products were free from pollution and safe to eat.

It said most tilapia fish breeders currently used tilapia strains which had been improved through selective breeding and hybrid to increase growth rates.

“Therefore, the use of hormones and growth boosting agent is unnecessary and it will increase the operating cost,” said the statement. – Bernama

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