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Altantuya trial judge erred, ex-cops should never have been convicted, rules Court of Appeal

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 07:21 PM PDT

V. Anbalagan, TMI

The two former policemen convicted for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu should have been acquitted at the trial stage. This was the finding of the three-man Court of Appeal bench which said the prosecution was aware that the trial judge had failed to thoroughly analyse the evidence in the trial of Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar.

The prosecution had wanted the Court of Appeal to correct the defects to sustain the conviction but the three-man bench was not convinced.

Judge Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who wrote the grounds, said the prosecution had conceded that there were various non-directions by the trial judge, Mohd Zaki Md Yassin, and urged the three-man bench to use a provision in the Court of Judicature Act 1964 to cure the defects.

In exceptional cases, she said, an appellate court could uphold a conviction despite the misdirection.

"However, looking at the whole evidence and circumstances of this case, we are of the view that this is not a fit and proper case for us to invoke the proviso," she said.

Tengku Maimun said the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution had not been fully and cogently established and the chain of evidence was not complete.

"We cannot say if a reasonable tribunal properly directed, would have convicted the appellants (Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar) on available evidence.

"The court below had ignored and overlooked salient facts and evidence favourable to the appellants which resulted in serious and substantial miscarriage of justice to the appellants," she said.

She said the cumulative effect of these non-directions rendered the convictions of the appellants unsafe.

Tengku Maimun also said that the prosecution's case relied on circumstantial evidence.

"It is our judgment that the circumstantial evidence are insufficient and not strong enough to sustain the finding of guilt," she said.



Cracks in Sabah opposition parties

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 04:34 PM PDT

(The Star) - Cracks are appearing in another Sabah opposition party with four PKR assemblymen said to be unhappy with the choice of Datuk Lajim Ukin to lead them.

The four Assemblymen were said to be upset over the failure of PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to consult them about the choice, sources said.

The four were said be contemplating of staying out of any party activities but had no intention of quitting PKR.

Matunggong assemblyman Jailani Hamdan, who was said to be among the four leaders, was reported to have said they would wait for the appointment of the Sabah PKR leaders council before making their next move.

The other three were Terrence Siambun (Moyog), Jeremy Malajad (Kedaimaian) and Christina Liew (Api Api).

''We will wait to see who Lajim appoints into the council and also whether he would consider our proposals," Jailani was quoted as saying.

Jailani said that they had submitted their proposals to Anwar and Lajim, who is Klias assebmlyman, over certain issues.

He said if their proposals were not accepted, they would not accept any positions in any committees or within the party.

Jailani said they may take a similar approach as the Sabah DAP counterpart Hiew King Cheu, the Luyang Assemblyman, who had resigned as the party's advisor here.

Hiew quit the post last week citing his unhappiness with certain state leaders whom he said had alienated him from DAP activities and failed to consult him on issues.

Four elected DAP leaders also sought disciplinary action against Hiew for supporting Lajim as state opposition leader in the Legislative Assembly.

Sabah DAP's choice was Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Wilfred Bumburing who heads the Sabah Reform Movement but won the seat on a PKR ticket.


Dr M says it again: We don’t need TPPA

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 04:00 PM PDT

Malaysia can still expand its market without the TPPA, says Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Alyaa Azhar, FMT

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is still of the opinion that Malaysia should not sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as Malaysia can still expand its market without the agreement.

"If we do not sign the TPPA, we can still expand our market and be one of the biggest markets in the world," said Mahathir during a roundtable discussion held by the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) here today.

"Our trade has increased year by year and without the TPPA, we have become a rather big trade market.

"We do not need the TPPA, we have managed to expand our market without depending on agreements," stressed the former prime minister who has been vocal about his opposition to the agreement.

He further stressed that Malaysia should not sign the agreement as there is not much that the country can export.

"Why must we accept this agreement which will open our market to the United States (US) as though they are our people?

"What can we sell to the US? Can we sell to them, fighter jets?" he asked.

He also claimed that the US' promise of increased export for Malaysia was nothing but bait on the latter's part.

"They promised if we sign the TPPA, our export will increase.

"However, it is just bait for us to sign the TPPA. They will instead block our export," he said.

Control trade

The former premier also said there was no such thing as free trade, rather, control trade, with regard to the agreement.

"All the member countries will have to follow the terms set in the agreement. By tying ourselves to the US, we won't have freedom anymore.

"Everything will be controlled by the US as the agreement is meant to colonise Malaysia and the other smaller member countries," he said.

He further stressed that the agreement will only be beneficial for the US.

"If we study the agreement, some of the terms will only incur losses for us.

"It's not a partnership, rather, the agreement is to tie a few countries who are not so aware that some of the terms will only benefit the US.

"The US won't introduce an agreement with other countries unless they can reap as much profit as possible," said Mahathir who cautioned that agreements will only put Malaysia at the losing end.

"We are always trapped when we join agreements with other countries," said Mahathir, citing the water agreement with Singapore.

He then added that although the US make it seem as though member countries can export their goods easily, the fact is otherwise.

"Although the US say they are opening their market, their terms will be strict.

"And for example, because we cannot fulfill their terms, we cannot sell our cars to them," he said.



Waytha determined to stay in government, calls on minister to help Indian community

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 02:04 PM PDT

(TMI) - "When realised, it will certainly help wean these wayward Indian youth from crime and into productive economic activity. That will really be a win-win approach. I have chosen to come into government primarily for this purpose," he stressed.

Two Umno ministers have warned him to follow the government line but P. Waythamoorthy is not backing down.

Waytha has little to lose in making his stand because if he is kicked out of cabinet, he will be given the credibility he does not have in the Indian community.

Today he asked if crime should be tackled by shooting all gangsters.

"Every major town in the west coast, I am sure has several gangs and probably as many members as in Penang. That is a large and disturbing number. Is anyone suggesting we shoot off all these wayward youngsters to clean the streets of crime?" he questioned in a statement.

Labelling it a crisis in the Indian community, the deputy minister said there was a need for urgent and and positive intervention to stop the slide, adding that a memorandum of understanding had been signed between the Barisan Nasional and Hindraf before the elections for a 5-year blueprint for the advancement of the Indian community.

He called on his critics in the Cabinet to work with him on solving problems of Indian youths involved in crime rather than call for his ouster from the government.

Waythamoorthy said Putrajaya needed to address the root cause of the issue, which was a symptom of socio-economic malaise affecting the Indian community.

"In my discussions with the Prime Minister, I had it made very clear that my role is to deliver comprehensive and permanent solutions to the longstanding socio-economic problems of the Indian community and nothing else.  I have chosen to come into government primarily for this purpose," he said in a statement today.

Over the weekend, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Defence Minister Datuk Hishamuddin Hussein had told the former Hindraf leader to quit his Cabinet position after the deputy minister had questioned the police shooting of five alleged gang members.

"In the war against crime, there should be no quarter given to criminals," Ahmad Zahid had said.

Hishammuddin had called on the former Hindraf leader to "think rationally before making statements now that he is in government".

The five shot dead – J. Gobinath, 31, R. Ramesh, 27, N. Rakan, 25, M. Suresh, 25, and M. Gobinath, 21 – were believed to be linked to nine shooting cases this year, according to police.

They were in an apartment in Sungai Nibong when the police moved in.



Can 300 SPAD enforcement officers cover West Malaysia?

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 01:59 PM PDT

( - With only 300 personnel throughout the whole of Peninsular Malaysia and more than half of that based in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, does the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) have the strength to make a dent in the slew of public transport problems facing the nation?

Its enforcement general manager Major General Datuk Che Hasni Che Ahmad told that he only has 105 enforcement agents to monitor the Central Zone consisting of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Southern Perak and Northern Negeri Sembilan.

When compared to the Road Transport Department (JPJ) that can mobilise 1,500 enforcement agents just to go undercover for Chinese New Year, SPAD's lack of personnel is really telling, raising the question of whether or not it can perform its duties effectively.

During an operation to bust errant taxi drivers last Tuesday, Che Hasni admitted that cases of taxis refusing to use their meters are on the increase. This operation alone saw 29 out of 30 taxi drivers checked found to be committing offences from not using their meters to not carrying a taxi driver's identification card.

One 35-year-old man was even caught twice on the same day for not using his meter – a first for SPAD.

If that was not enough, he tested positive for syabu and has been referred to the relevant authorities.

"This year we have caught 144 taxi drivers and the statistics are rising. Around 60% of the cases have been compounded or were brought to court. You have to understand, each case needs two to three months before completion as there is a lot of paperwork to do.

"After that, we still have to submit the investigation papers to the deputy public prosecutor who will decide what to do with the case," said Che Hasni.



Avoid sensationalising religious issues for political mileage: Raja Nazrin

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 01:41 PM PDT!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_454/ximage.jpg.pagespeed.ic.KYaPF21sQz.jpg

Regent of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah inspects the guard-of-honour during the opening of the 13th Perak state assembly. -- NST Pix/Muhaizan Yahya

(NST) -  The Regent of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah reminded the state's assemblymen, regardless of their political group to demonstrate mutual understanding in avoiding sensationalising the religious issues for their political mileage.

Delivering his royal address at the opening of the 13th Perak state assembly here today, Raja Nazrin said the assemblymen from both the political divide must be at the forefront in representing the voice of moderation to ensure the democratic culture continues to flourish in the state.
Also present was Raja Puan Besar Perak Tuanku Zara Salim
Raja Nazrin said the complexity in dealing with issues relating to religion  must be understood as disagreement between parties were often occurred due to the lack of understanding on the sensitivity of the issue.
"Religion issues should be handled with the utmost discretion and wisdom to ensure public order will not be affected.
"Harmony can not be achieved if all parties choose confrontational methods," he said.
Raja Nazrin also urged for the long-awaited West Coast Expressway project connecting Banting in Selangor and Changkat Jering in Perak to be implemented immediately.

Showing Thursday, but disputes over Tanda Putera aren’t going away

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 12:05 PM PDT 

(TMI) - Lim said the government-backed film has spurted lies and accusations and if the Barisan Nasional (BN) government allows the film to be screened, it only proves that BN is intentionally stoking racial tensions in Malaysia.

Ahead of the controversial movie Tanda Putera's opening in local cinemas on Thursday, DAP has urged the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture to re-examine the film due to concerns it could worsen race relations in the country.

The film paints an inaccurate picture of incidents that occurred during the May 13 race riots in 1969, according to secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Lim said the government-backed film has spurted lies and accusations and if the Barisan Nasional (BN) government allows the film to be screened, it only proveS that BN is intentionally stoking racial tensions in Malaysia.

"The ministry should take appropriate action. DAP wants to see what the government would do after this. If nothing is done soon, we would discuss our next steps," he told The Malaysian Insider.

The film, directed by Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba, was supposed to be aired last year but was postponed three times following protests against several scenes in the movie.

The cost of the movie is estimated to be RM4.8 million and the project is a joint effort of Persona Pictures, National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) and Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).

Last Thursday, The Malaysian Insider reported that DAP had urged Tanda Putera's producers to declare the film a fictitious work.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said then the film would provoke anger and racial tension.

Read more at: 

Indian-based parties told to merge into single entity

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 11:55 AM PDT 

(Bernama) - All Indian-based political parties under the Barisan Nasional umbrella should merge into a single entity in the best interest of the Indian community, said Barisan secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

He said it was no use for the numerous parties to compete with each other, when what they should be doing was to work together to formulate the best policy to ensure a better future and to achieve the aspirations of the community more effectively.

"I would like to call on those parties, namely Makkal Sakti, MIC, Malaysian Indian United Party (MIUP), Indian Progressive Front (IPF) and the People's Progressive Party (PPP) to merge so that they will become a stronger entity."

"Why should they go separate ways?

"Why create different parties to fight the same cause?

"Maybe they need to analyse or convene a meeting to find solution to this problem."

Tengku Adnan said MIC, as the most senior party, should be open to suggestions and should analyse why too many Indian-based parties were being established.

"Something must have gone wrong and MIC needs to rectify it.

"Why are there so many rejections, is it because of the party leadership or policies? How do we get all these parties to work together to help the Indian community?" he asked.

Makkal Sakti president Datuk R.S. Thanenthiran lauded Tengku Adnan's call but insisted that all party leaders should agree to compromise and be prepared to step down.

"I hope it will come true. The re-engineered merging parties can use a new name to fight for a better future for the Indians," he said.  

We can then explore single education system, says Saifuddin

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 10:57 AM PDT 

(The Star) -  "There is a push-and-pull factor why non-Malay parents don't send their children to national schools. It's mainly about quality," he said, adding that even Malay parents were sending their children to Chinese schools.

KUALA LUMPUR: While a single education system might be an ideal situation, the problem of quality in national schools should be addressed first, said Umno supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

"Unity is important and education is an important platform to foster unity among young people.

"But we should get our priorities right. The quality of schools has to be improved," he said in response to a question from the floor on whether abolishing vernacular schools would be good for unity during the 7th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here yesterday.

Saifuddin, who was formerly Deputy Higher Education Minister, believed that many parents sent their children to Chinese vernacular schools because of their prowess in Maths and Science.

"There is a push-and-pull factor why non-Malay parents don't send their children to national schools. It's mainly about quality," he said, adding that even Malay parents were sending their children to Chinese schools.

An estimated 80,000 non-Chinese students are studying in Chinese schools in the country.

Saifuddin also believed that many national schools were becoming like sekolah agama(religious schools).

"Even I as a Malay Muslim got that feeling. My Year Three daughter was singled out because she was not wearing a baju kurung. There are all kinds of stories that make people believe this," he said.

Saifuddin said that Malaysians should work on their difficulties together rather than harping on their differences.

He declared that he was a Malaysian first and a Malay second.

Saifuddin said many parents were sending their children to private religious schools, which he believed were more open and progressive than national schools.

"The results in these schools are good and they are more active in co-curricular activities," he said.

AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, on his part, gave away several free airline tickets to lucky participants, including one ticket to watch Queens Park Rangers in England.

He also took out his wallet when a student asked for some money to start a business.

Tony, who had RM450 on him, gave the student RM200.

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan said people should be given a choice of the schools they would like their children to attend.

"I strongly believe in the need for choice. In having that choice, we have to make sure that we do not become divided," he said.

Swoop on gangsters

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 10:41 AM PDT

Police conducting an operation at an entertainment outlet along Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong.

(The Star) -  The operation, code-named "Ops Cantas Khas" is meant to send a clear signal that gangsters and elements of the underworld will not be tolerated.

PETALING JAYA: The full brunt of the police force is being used in a blitz against violent criminals with more than 1,000 people, mostly gangsters, nabbed within a week.

The operation, code-named "Ops Cantas Khas" is meant to send a clear signal that gangsters and elements of the underworld will not be tolerated.

Bukit Aman anti-vice, gambling and secret societies' division head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Jalil Hassan said 1,018 people were detained during raids in Selangor, Penang, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Johor since Aug 17.

"Most of those nabbed are members of the notorious Gang 36, Gang 08 and Gang 04," he said, adding that police also seized 13 weapons, including pistols, machetes and knives and recovered 36 stolen vehicles.

SAC Jalil commended the public for providing positive feedback and valuable tip-offs since the start of the operation.

"About half the arrests were due to information given to us. Public cooperation has helped us greatly during the operation," he said, adding that those who tipped off the force chose to remain anonymous for their safety.

"Despite this, we pursued the information but vetted it carefully to prevent wrongful arrests," he said.

Among the common tip-offs received were about suspicious-looking people gathering at a house or at particular public locations.

SAC Jalil said 920 police personnel had been assigned under the ongoing operation to man roadblocks, conduct stop and frisk exercises as well as pursue wanted criminals.

He said the operation, conducted between midnight and 5am daily was aimed at reducing serious crime and preventing other crimes from occurring.

"Last week, we screened 50,246 people and checked 22,956 vehicles, mostly motorcycles. We will not stop the operation until we are satisfied with the results in reducing crime and making the streets safer," he added.

Ops Cantas Khas is being jointly conducted by Bukit Aman, state police contingents and police districts.

"We are using the Crime Prevention Act 1959 to arrest the suspects," he said.

In George Town, police rounded up 77 people, including six women aged between 20 and 40 and a teenager, in several raids over the weekend.

Penang Deputy CID Chief Asst Comm Nasir Salleh said that some of the men were wanted for various crimes.

Police personnel, including several geared in bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets and Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns, stormed two nightspots where loud music was being played in the early hours yesterday.

In the first raid, police recovered two machetes measuring around 70cm long inside the toilet at a pub in Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong.

Six women and 27 men, three of whom were foreigners, were arrested in the pub.

"The three foreign men were working as waiters without permits," said ACP Nasir, adding that the weapons recovered might have been used in fights over the past six months.

In the next raid on a pub in Jalan Penang, police arrested 33 men and the teenager.

"We will take action against the pub owner for allowing a minor into the premises," said ACP Nasir.

ACP Nasir said police also raided 44 homes after being tipped off by the public.

"Sixteen suspects involved in various cases such as rioting, causing grievous hurt to others, robbery, burglary, extortion and cheating were nabbed," he said.

AG, police at odds over preventive laws

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 10:32 AM PDT 

(TMI) -  Police want preventive laws reintroduced, laws similar to the repealed EO where a suspect could be detained for 60 days for investigations. Previously under the EO, police would then submit a report to the Home Minister who could then issue a detention order of up to two years.

The Attorney-General's Chambers and police are at loggerheads over the use of the archaic Preventive of Crime Act 1959 (PCA) to check the escalation of violent crimes in the peninsula.

Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said he recently met police top  brass, including the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, to explain why the law was still viable although enacted in 1959.

"This law is more transparent than the repealed Emergency Ordinance (EO) and offers a check and balance," he told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the PCA also protected the legal rights of suspects and prevented any abuse.

Gani said this when asked to elaborate on his statement in a news portal, Malaysia Gazette, which implied that chambers and police were at loggerheads on the use of the PCA.

"They (police) do not want to go through us. They want to do it on their own," he told Malaysia Gazette.

Gani said this worried him and he questioned whether police did not have confidence in the court.

"If they do no not, then they can do it on their own. They don't need the A-G's Chambers," he said.

Police want preventive laws reintroduced, laws similar to the repealed EO where a suspect could be detained for 60 days for investigations.

Previously under the EO, police would then submit a report to the Home Minister who could then issue a detention order of up to two years.

Gani said the AG's Chambers was totally out of the picture under the EO but had to defend the government when detainees mounted a legal challenge once they filed a writ of habeas corpus.

Explaining the workings of the PCA, Gani said it gave police powers to detain suspects for 24 hours without a warrant of arrest.

Gani said suspects must then be produced before a magistrate who could order a 14-day remand.

He said the police and a deputy public prosecutor must issue a written statement to the magistrate to hold the suspect for a further 28 days when there was sufficient evidence to hold an inquiry.

Another 28 days extension could be obtained if there was delay in completing the inquiry, or to place the person under supervision.

Gani pointed out that under the PCA the AG's Chambers was always involved.

He said police had been doing a wonderful job, especially over the past one week, by using the PCA and he could see no reason why a preventive law should be introduced.

Gani, who is also the public prosecutor, said the procedures in the PCA could be executed since there were many DPPs now compared with 30 years ago.

He said the PCA only covered the peninsula but could be amended to include Sabah and Sarawak.

"We can also rely on the PCA to monitor suspects and the penalty is severe if conditions are violated," he said, expressing confidence that serious crimes could be curbed under this legislation.

Gani said there were also many other laws to check violent crimes but the problem was effective enforcement of existing laws. 

Hagel Underscores Commitment to Partnership With Malaysia

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 09:57 AM PDT 

(American Forces Press Service) - The Malaysian military has made impressive contributions to counterpiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and to United Nations peacekeeping efforts with nearly 1,000 troops deployed worldwide this year, he said, adding that Malaysian armed forces medical personnel are contributing to security in Afghanistan. 

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug. 25, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had productive meetings here today with Malaysian officials and said the United States is committed to building on progress made over the past few years and strengthening the U.S.-Malaysian partnership.

Hagel's first visit to Malaysia as defense secretary is part of an Asia-Pacific trip that will include visits to Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.

"Malaysia has been a good friend to the United States, and the close security partnership we've forged holds great promise for ensuring our shared security and prosperity in the 21st century," Hagel said this afternoon during a joint news conference with Defense Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

"I know President [Barack] Obama appreciates the close relationship that exists between our two countries," he added, "and I know he looks forward to his visit here in October to [attend] the Global Entrepreneurship Summit."

Hagel and Hishammuddin met, the secretary said, "to discuss a range of security issues of importance to both our countries and to this region."

Praising Malaysia's growing military capabilities, Hagel said Malaysia has made increasingly important contributions to regional and global security.

The Malaysian military has made impressive contributions to counterpiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and to United Nations peacekeeping efforts with nearly 1,000 troops deployed worldwide this year, he said, adding that Malaysian armed forces medical personnel are contributing to security in Afghanistan. 

The United States welcomes these efforts by the Malaysian military, Hagel said, "and today I made clear that the U.S. is continuing to assist Malaysia's military as it increases its capabilities in areas like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping, maritime security and counterterrorism."

This year the United States will conduct more than 75 activities, exchanges and visits with the Malaysian military, the secretary added, all designed to help it become a more professional and flexible force.

Hagel said he and the defense minister also discussed ways to counter transnational threats, such as trafficking and proliferation, and future areas of cooperation, such as technology collaboration and expanding defense trade and information sharing.

"Minister Hishammuddin and I reaffirmed our shared belief that greater multilateral cooperation and strong regional institutions are essential -- essential," Hagel stressed, "to greater stability in the region."  



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