Local News Local News en Press Digest - Mastermind of trans-border kidnapping case identified
Chinese press had earlier reported that Wak Lan, the armed Indonesian man arrested in Yong Peng, Johor, on Monday was the ringleader of the kidnap gang, which was busted by police with the arrest of 18 suspects.

Earlier in the day, Malaysian police, working closely with their Indonesian counterparts, rescued the housewife from a farm house on the Indonesian isle of Batam, where she had been kept since her abduction on Feb 21.

Wak Lan has admitted to police that he was involved in the kidnapping but denied he was the mastermind.

Indonesian National Police spokesman Brig-Gen Rikwanto told Wak Lan had said in his police statement that he was paid by a man called Asiong to kidnap the woman.

"The Indonesian and Malaysian police jointly recorded a statement from Wak Lan," he said, adding that Wak Lan got to know Asiong as early as 2007 when the two ganged up to carry out robberies in Malaysia.

"In July last year, Wak Lan helped Asiong to smuggle 5-10kg of drugs," he said.

Rikwanto said Asiong was waiting outside in a car when he and four other accomplices entered the woman's house in Bandar Putra Kulai to grab her.

The abduction was captured by a CCTV in the house.

He said Wak Lan was initially mum about Asiong's role for fear that the later would harm his wife and children in Indonesia.

"He only told the truth after learning that Asiong was also arrested," said Rikwanto.

It was reported that the woman's family had paid S$3 million to the gang for her release.]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:09:23 +0000 Kong See Hoh 435017 at
RM379m needed to improve fire safety in hospitals nationwide
Hilmi, who is also Balik Pulau MP, said the cost would include upgrading works on 46 old hospitals that are above 50 years old.

The amount was made based on the fire safety audit initiated by the ministry last year following fire incidents in Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Johor Baru, and Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh.

Hilmi said due to this, the ministry would need additional budget to allow for the upgrade to take place.

"It is hoped that the implementation of the upgrade works and compliance to the standard operating procedure on fire safety, incidents that had occurred in the two hospitals could be avoided and fire risks reduced to the minimal level," he told the Dewan Rakyat.

He was responding to a question from Datuk Rozman Isli (BN-Labuan) who asked on the outcome of the audit done on hospitals above 50 years old.

Hilmi added the outcome of the audit had identified various fire risks hospitals face, such as outdated fire prevention system, dilapidated electrical wiring system and installation of medical gas system that did not meet current standards.

He also pointed out that many old hospitals had medical gas pipe installed close to electrical components.

"If there are any sparks and gas leak occurring at the same time, it would result in a fire," he said, adding that the ministry is looking into the matter seriously.

"We have identified the problem and we will make improvements so gas pipes and wiring systems can be separated," he said.

"It will take some time and high cost and we hope that the Finance Ministry could give us the allocation to solve the issue," he added.]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:09:16 +0000 Haikal Jalil 435065 at
Penang flats now eligible for assessment tax exemption
Chow said the eligibility for low-cost, low medium cost and village houses, which was announced last year, will also include flat units which are 700 sq ft or below and with the original sales value of RM72,500 or less.

"The state government had announced the exemption last year, however flats does not fall under this category.

"So in a recent Penang Island City Council (MBPP) meeting, we agreed to include flats also," he said during a press conference at Kompleks Jalan Kedah today.

Chow added that the eligibility will also include flats on the mainland .

He said eligible tenants who have paid their assessment can now apply for refunds by submitting a form to MBPP.]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:09:16 +0000 Imran Hilmy 435057 at
Industry groups rejects Employment Insurance Scheme (Updated)
Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said there are flaws in the proposed scheme which is detrimental to both employees and employers.

"The scheme might encourage irresponsible employers to forgo paying retrenchment benefits because they know their employees will be taken care of by other employees and responsible employers," Shamsuddin said during a joint media conference on the scheme.

Shamsuddin explained that the proposed scheme was meant to assist the retrenched workers by providing temporary financial assistance and reskilling and upskilling opportunities to the group.

"And under the scheme, employers and employees are required to contribute an equal percentage of employees' salaries (0.25% by employers and 0.25% by employees) to a common pool that is managed by Sosco.

"However, retrenchment does not occur every year, if the scheme is implemented, both employees and employers would have to contribute to it every year," he added.

He then revealed that even during the height of the Asian Financial crisis 1997-98, the number of employees retrenched was only about 0.6% of the total workforce and of all the retrenched employees, 95% received their termination benefits while only 5% were left in the lurch.

Shamsuddin stressed that there is no need for the EIS as the current system of paying termination and lay-off benefits under the law and payment of retrenchment benefits under collective agreements is effective enough.

Other flaws with the proposal is that the scheme might dwell into Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) which involve job seeking, job matching, job placement, career counselling, and job training/ upskilling/ reskilling, which is the responsibility of the government.

"Employees and employers should not be made to pay and contribute to the EIS whereby part of the fund would be used for the functioning of the ALMPs," he said.]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:33:59 +0000 Adrian Phung 434997 at
S'gor to adopt humane, compassionate practice when dealing with strays
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals (SPCA) Selangor today launched "Stray Free Selangor: The Humane and Compassionate Way (SFS)", an initiative to change stray population control methods in Selangor that has the support of the state government and the Royal family.

SPCA Selangor patron Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the SFS committee will be meeting with local governments to educate them on the soon to be enforced Animal Welfare Act and on sterilising strays for population control.

"We have already met the Mentri Besar (Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali) and he said he will arrange a meeting for us with the local councils.

"SFS will be clarifying and educating local councils on the Animal Welfare Act and on how to properly handle strays," Lee told a press conference after SFS's launch today.

SPCA Selangor chairman Christine Chin said culling has been proven to be ineffective for population control as it does not prevent other strays from breeding.

Furthermore, Chin said, whatever vacuum left by culling will be quickly filled by other animals.

"It is simply more effective to prevent breeding, and teaching communities to be more compassionate to animals," she said.

Chin added that educating humane treatment of animals had reduced SPCA's stray intake from about a thousand a month to a mere 60 animals a month in the past 15 years.

SFS co-chairman Datin Norely Abd Rahman said another benefit of sterilising is having a controlled population of docile and healthy animals that will not endanger the community.

Norely said strays are often territorial animals and will not allow other strays from wandering into their territory, thus preventing the spread of diseases.

She also pointed out that developed nations that implement sterilisation programmes do not have stray animals wandering their streets, making the country cleaner and safer.

The launching ceremony was graced by Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin, who is also SFS patron, and Mohamed Azmin.]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:09:16 +0000 Lee Choon Fai 435037 at
Azmin: PKR is still talking to PAS on a daily basis
The PKR deputy president said talk by certain sections in PAS to cut ties with PKR is not final as the Muktamar, scheduled from April 27 to May 1 in Alor Star, had not decided on it.

"Every day, we still talk," he said after attending a function at the Shah Alam convention centre here.

Azmin, who is Selangor Mentri Besar, posted "Ada Tok Lebai nak tawan Selangor. Kawasan sendiri pun kalah tersungkur." (There's a person in skullcap wishing to conquer Selangor, but got thrashed in his own territory.) on Twitter today.

This drew flak from PAS grassroots in Selangor, with some tabling motions to cut ties with PKR at PAS's upcoming Muktamar while most threatened to withdraw support for PKR in Selangor.

When asked of the tweet, Azmin was evasive and said "Tok Lebai" could be anybody, even someone from PKR, as he did not refer to anyone specifically.

"Who's Tok Lebai? I did not mention any names, there's Tok Lebai in PKR too," he said.

The tweet came after PAS Youth chief Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz declared that PAS no longer supports PKR as it did during the last General Election.

Nik Abduh also recently failed in his bid to challenge incumbent PAS Pengkalan Chepa division deputy chief Izani Husin.

Meanwhile, Azmin said the acquisition of state water concessionaire SPLASH is still under discussion and the state government will leave the final decision to the federal government.

"There is no conclusion yet, discussion is still ongoing. We are still waiting for the final report which will be presented to the Cabinet, and the Cabinet will get back to us," he said.

Azmin added that the Cabinet will also decided on the price of the acquisition and who will be paying for it.]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:11:59 +0000 Lee Choon Fai 435005 at
Guan Eng will be cheering for Dr M during the debate with Nazri
"I will definitely support my own ally while Nazri will be on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's side," he said when asked by journalist at a press conference today.

Police had earlier rejected the application for a permit on the debate to be held in Padang Rengas on March 25, as it did not comply with the ten days notice required under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

Lim however said it was unlikely that he would be attending the debate to be held in Shah Alam early next month due to other appointments.

Commenting on former DAP member Hew Kuan Yau who was remanded for alleged insulting comments posted on social media, Lim said such actions were totally uncalled for.

On Tuesday, Hew was remanded for four days to facilitate investigations on a social media posting that allegedly insulted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:11:59 +0000 Edmund Lee 435007 at
Two Malaysian hostages found safe in Philippines
Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdurahim bin Sumas, 62, were abandoned by the Abu Sayyaf gunmen before dawn near their coastal forest hideout on the remote island of Pata, a military statement said.

"The... kidnap victims are weak and in a sickly state," regional military commander Major-General Carlito Galvez said in the statement.

They were receiving treatment at a military hospital in the area for ailments that Galvez did not specify.

He said a Philippine Navy patrol boat found the pair, eight months after they were abducted along with three other crewmen of a tugboat that was boarded by gunmen near the sea border between the two countries.

Their recovery followed a Philippine military operation against the kidnappers on a nearby island early last month that left eight gunmen dead, Galvez said.

The Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history, have been kidnapping people for ransom for decades.

In recent months they have taken to seizing sailors from vessels plying the waters between the southern Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Maritime security officials have warned that the region is in danger of a "Somalia-type" situation unless action is taken.

The International Maritime Bureau said in January the number of maritime kidnappings hit a 10-year high in 2016, with waters off the southern Philippines becoming increasingly dangerous.

The Abu Sayyaf, established with seed money from Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network in the 1990s, are believed to still be holding 23 foreigners and six Filipinos, military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla told AFP.

They include Malaysian, Indonesian and Vietnamese captives as well as a Dutch bird watcher abducted in 2012, he added.

Last month the group, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State movement, beheaded an elderly German yachtsman abducted last year after failing to extort ransom for him. — AFP]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:46:05 +0000 theSundaily 434986 at
MPSP worker killed in traffic accident
In the 6.45am incident, Muhammad Faiz Shuhaimi was hit by a taxi while walking towards the Jawi MPSP depot, at Jalan Kerian Kedah.

According to Southern Seberang Perai district police chief Supt Abdul Shafee Abdul Ahmad, the deceased who sustained major head injuries died on the way to the hospital.

"His body will be sent to the Sungai Bakap Hospital for a post mortem," he told reporters.

Abdul Shafee said the 63-year-old taxi driver did not sustain any injuries in the accident.

He said the case will be investigated under Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for causing death by dangerous driving.]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:39:10 +0000 Lee Hooi Boon 435001 at
H5N1 epidemic only confined to small breeders of fowls
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said this showed that the situation was still under control and animal husbandary could be carried out as normal.

"If the epidemic spreads to the bigger operators, then it will give a more negative impact on the economy and raise the number of existing H5N1 cases," he told reporters before the question-and-answer session (MQT) at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.

As such, he said, the Health Ministry in collaboration with the Kelantan Veterinary Services Department (JPVK) as well as the District Health Office would ensure that the H5N1 epidemic did not spread to the whole industry.

Meanwhile during the MQT, Dr Subramaniam said that six districts namely Kota Bharu (14 locations), Pasir Mas (six), Tumpat (three), Pasir Puteh (three), Tanah Merah (one) and Bachok (one) were affected by the epidemic.

He said that in the six districts concerned, the JPVK disposed off 35,999 fowls and 14,330 eggs in the operation to eliminate the H5N1 epidemic in Kelantan.

Meanwhile, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Kelantan would be declared as being free from the bird flu (H5N1) epidemic soon as there were no new cases found.

"So far, there are no new cases detected. If this situation continues, we will soon declare that the situation has returned to normal," he said at a media conference in Parliament.

However, the government would not take the easy way out following the positive development, instead, it would continue to make close monitoring especially in areas within a radius of 10km of the location where the epidemic occurred.

In order to regain the confidence of foreigners, his ministry implemented various proactive measures including giving briefings on the current situation regarding the epidemic to the foreign governments.

"Last Monday, we sent the secretary-general of the ministry, Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar and deputy director-general of veterinary services Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam to China to give briefings on the epidemic which was now under control. — Bernama]]>
Local Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:00:41 +0000 theSundaily 435003 at