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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Malaysia mulls return of strict laws to fight crime

Posted: 14 Aug 2013 05:13 AM PDT

Malaysia is considering the return of strict laws that allow for detention without trial, to clamp down on violent gun crime.

(CNA) - Malaysia is considering the return of strict laws that allow for detention without trial, to clamp down on violent gun crime.

This comes after a recent spate of killings sparked concern among the public.

Since mid-April, more than 30 shooting cases have been reported across the country.  

Most of them were said to be linked to the illegal drug trade or turf wars between rival gangs.  

Malaysians are jittery over the unprecedented level of gun violence in the country.  

They want the police to double their presence on the streets, and they want tighter controls to stem the flow of illegal firearms from across the border.  

"It's quite worrying to go out now at night, especially at night, because you don't know what's going to happen. It may not happen to me, or my friends, but someone else in the same area," said a local resident. 

The Kuala Lumpur city police have again tried to allay public concerns.

Ku Chin Wah, CID Chief of Kuala Lumpur, said: "Rest assured that there is no random shooting of innocent bystanders. If you are targeted to be murdered, you can be killed anywhere, you don't have to come to KL to be killed."  

The government and the police have blamed the surge in violence on the abolition of the

Emergency Ordinance two years ago, which was said to have returned some 2,600 hard core criminals or well connected gangsters back on the streets.  

The Home Ministry is now mulling bringing back preventive laws that allow for detention without trial.

All state police CID chiefs have been tasked to personally handle investigations into the shooting incidents.  

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have set up their own crime task force.

They said at least half of the entire police force ought to be patrolling the streets, and getting involved in criminal investigations. Currently only less than 10 percent of the 112,000 strong police force are doing that, they added.


Khairy slams Sarawak DAP leader

Posted: 14 Aug 2013 05:03 AM PDT

(Bernama) - Umno Youth strongly condemned Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen who allegedly claimed in a statement to the Borneo Post on Monday that rampant shooting cases in the country are part of the drama by the Barisan Nasional.

"Umno Youth strongly condemns Chong's dirty political statement and hopes it will open up the eyes of the people on the quality of thinking and political struggles of the opposition leaders," said movement head Khairy Jamaluddin on Wednesday.

Chong had claimed that the murder cases involving firearms were allowed to spread to enable the Barisan government to formulate a new law to replace the Emergency Ordinance (EO).

Commenting further, Khairy said Umno Youth had also lodged a police report against Chong so that legal action could be taken against him.

Meanwhile in KUCHING, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Nancy Shukri also criticised Chong, saying that his statement was irresponsible.

 "It was so irresponsible of Chong to make such statements. As a responsible government, we are working very hard to ensure peace and stability in the country, perhaps it is also a strategy to divert people's attention from their political crises," she said.

Nancy said everyone should work together in tackling criminal cases instead of pointing fingers at others.

"We should work together to monitor serious crimes and make sure the situation does not worsen," she said.


Book on Pak Lah meant to threaten Umno unity, analysts say

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 03:43 PM PDT

Melissa Chi, MM

The timing of a book on Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's tenure as prime minister was meant to create discord in Umno ahead of the annual general assembly in December, according to two political analysts yesterday.

In a report by Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia, Geostrategist at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Dr Azmi Hassan said the editors and publisher of "Awakening: The Abdullah Years in Malaysia", have been accused of portraying the book as based solely on Abdullah's opinion, which was not the case.

"Abdullah's view was not out of the ordinary but what was controversial was the editors had painted a bad perception of the former prime minister, especially on the part where it touches on his relationship with the fourth prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"It was clear that they had used Abdullah to ruin the unity in Umno, especially ahead of the annual general assembly," he told Utusan Malaysia yesterday.

The 620-page book was a collection of multiple views from different personalities, including politicians across the divide and academic observers as well as exclusive interview where the usually quiet man finally speaks out against his detractors.

In the short few days following its release, the book dominated headlines in the media, with heavy focus given to Pak Lah's words on Dr Mahathir and what the former prime minister described as "unwarranted attacks" on his person that eventually led to his ouster.

The books two editors, Professors Bridget Welsh and James Chin, have insisted the book was miscategorised as "Pak Lah's book" in the media.

Further in the Utusan report, Azmi alleged that the book's editors will use any medium to create a false perception of Abdullah and Umno.

"One of their strategy is to use someone within Umno and not the opposition to criticise the party," he said.

Meanwhile, senior lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia Prof Dr P. Sivamurugan said the onus was now on Umno to counteract any confusion that may arise from the book's contents.

"It has created a new dilemma as to whether Abdullah's interview which spoke about Umno's leadership after his time, were based on facts or it was only the writer's perception," he said.

Following the furore stemming from reports based on the book, Abdullah came out to deny that he was part of a conspiracy to attack the Malay nationalist party.

In it, the usually-reserved politician takes aim at predecessor Dr Mahathir  and what the former prime minister described as "unwarranted attacks" on his person that eventually led to his ouster.

The controversy also moved Welsh and Chin to postpone the Kuala Lumpur launch on August 16 and cancel the Singapore launch on the 30th, citing concerns over its "politicisation" and sensationalisation by media organisations in their reportage of portions of the book.


Support for Pakatan soared, says UMCEDEL

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 03:18 PM PDT

BN only manage to maintain its support base in the region of 40% to 49%.

K. Pragalath, FMT

According to a study by a university research centre, the support for Pakatan Rakyat has increased tremendously since 2011 till the 13th general election; where else Barisan Nasional's support base is somewhat the same.

A series of surveys conducted by University Malaya's Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMCEDEL) since 2011 revealed that Pakatan only had 18% support in 2011 compared to BN's 43%.

BN's support base was highest during the first quarter of 2012 at 49% but Pakatan only received 21% during the same period.

The third survey carried out during the first fortnight of September 2012 revealed the beginning of BN's support declining to 44% whereas support for Pakatan rose to 30%.

During the last quarter of 2012, BN had 42% support compared to Pakatan's 37%.

The number of undecided voters reduced from 39% in 2011 to 21% in the last quarter of 2012.

On nomination day for the 13th general election that was held on April 20, Pakatan had the majority support of the people. A total of 5% of the undecided voters supported Pakatan.

That gave an edge for Pakatan against the ruling coalition with 48% support. BN was trailing with 43%. Nine percent of the voters were still undecided.

On May 5 polling day, BN received three percent support of the undecided voters and obtained 46% votes. On the other hand Pakatan received a boost of five percent vote swing to gain 53% of the popular vote.

However the final outcome of the 13th general election saw BN winning 133 parliamentary seats. Pakatan only clinched 89 out of the 222 parliamentary seats in total.


‘KDN ignored my ideas to help ex-cons’

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 02:53 PM PDT

Malaysian Crime Preventive Foundation vice-chairman Lee Lam Thye says his numerous suggestions to the Home Ministry to help rehabilitate former prisoners were brushed aside. 

Alfian ZM Tahir, FMT

The Home Ministry's impotence in helping former prisoners obtain a new lease of life is among the factors that has contributed to the recent escalation in crime rate.

Malaysian Crime Preventive Foundation vice-chairman Lee Lam Thye said for the past 10 years he has written numerous letters to the ministry (KDN) on how to help rehabilitate former prisoners.

"Since 2000 I have given my views on these issues but I've not received a single feedback from the authorities. I've given up," he said in a phone interview.

Lee said the government should be the one to lead the initiative to help create job opportunities for these former prisoners.

"The government should have come up with a plan. The problem now is when prisoners have served their sentences and are released, the private sector is unwilling to offer them jobs.

"So, instead of depending on these private companies, why not the government create projects and offer job opportunities to these former prisoners?" asked Lee.

"By doing this, it will definitely give an impression to the private sector that these former prisoners are capable of performing jobs just like everybody else.

"This was my idea back in 2000 but until today the authorities have yet to be hear me out or review my suggestions," he said.



Christian Church opens doors to Muslims

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 12:39 PM PDT


St John's Episcopal Church has opened its doors to Muslims for Friday prayers

(BBC) - Reverend Poobalan adds: ''I felt very distressed when I saw my neighbours praying out in the cold and I knew I needed to do something to help.''

On a bitterly cold and snowing afternoon in Aberdeen, the doors of St John's Episcopal Church are open to hundreds of Muslim worshippers, arriving for daily prayers.

The familiar sounds of Christian hymns have been replaced with Islamic prayer in the chapel this Friday lunchtime and the church priest with the imam from the neighbouring mosque.

Muslims from the Syed Shah Mustafa Jame Masjid mosque next door share this church with Christian worshippers up to five times a day.

Church leaders believe this may be the only place in the country where Christian and Muslim worshippers pray side by side.

The rector at St John's has opened his doors to Muslims because there was not enough space for them to pray in their own mosque and many were forced to worship outside on the street.

The Reverend Isaac Poobalan, who grew up in Southern India surrounded by Islam, said he would not have been true to his faith if he did not help his neighbours.


Reverend Isaac Poobalan grew up in Southern India surrounded by Islam

"It was a very cold day, like today, and when I walked past the mosque I saw dozens of male worshippers praying outside, on the streets, right near the church.

''Their hands and feet were bare and you could see their breath in the freezing cold.

''Jesus taught his disciples to love your neighbour as yourself and this is something I cannot just preach to my congregation, I had to put it into practice."


Does Kuan Yew fear a Pakatan rule?

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 12:30 PM PDT


It is in Lee Kuan Yew's interest for BN to hold on to power forever as he has seen what Pakatan can do in Penang and Selangor, and this would challenge his Singapore.

He would most definitely not want Pakatan to helm the nation because he is shrewd enough to know that if Pakatan is the federal government, Malaysia can compete with Singapore and give the island nation a run for its money.

Selena Tay, FMT columnist

Lee Kuan Yew in his new book 'One Man's View of the World' has described Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as "an opportunistic and ad hoc group not held together by even a vaguely coherent set of ideas but by a common desire to unseat the government" (as reported in an English daily on Aug 8).

He is absolutely wrong as all of Pakatan's three component parties are championing the cause of good governance and that is the main ideology that holds the opposition coalition together.

Lee of course would love Barisan Nasional to go on controlling Malaysia so that Singapore can surge ahead in terms of economic prosperity. As long as BN is in power, Malaysia cannot hope to catch up with Singapore. Therefore Lee is certainly a great fan of BN.

This columnist's Singaporean cousin who was in Malaysia for an aunt's 80th birthday dinner last September had made this insulting remark about Malaysia:

"As long as BN continues winning general elections, I am very happy. With BN at the helm, you guys can only chase after the dust we left behind."

Another Malaysian cousin of mine defended Malaysia by saying that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and ETP (Economic Transformation Programme) can challenge Singapore but this Singaporean cousin only laughed it off.

Thus Lee's remark talking bad about Pakatan is certainly a great boost to BN. Many Singaporeans think that Malaysia is far behind Singapore in terms of economic progress.

Singaporeans brag that many Malaysians find greener pastures in the republic especially in terms of jobs and education.

This columnist's friend who works in Singapore but stays in Johor is earning well and benefiting from the cheaper cost of living in Johor although he mentioned that he had to face the daily hassle of travelling across the causeway to his workplace.

Lee prides himself on building Singapore to what it is today and it is in his interest for BN to hold on to power forever as he has seen what Pakatan can do in Penang and Selangor.


Criminology team warned of violent crime surge

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 11:45 AM PDT


Criminologist Prof Dr P Sundramoorthy led a research commissioned by the government to study the condition of crime and policing in the country.

(fz.com) - "We recommended that there is a need to retain the EO, but we clearly spelt out that it needs to be amended to give zero room or zero tolerance for any abuse or error," Sundramoorthy said.

Sometime in June, before the public alarm over criminal attacks reached its current peak, a research team from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) had warned of a "significant surge" in violent crime.
Citing its studies, the team head, criminologist Prof Dr P Sundramoorthy especially cautioned of crimes involving gangs and recidivist, or repeat offenders.
In particular, he pointed to the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance (EO) last year, said to have allowed some 2,000 criminals to be released.
Emphasising the need for such a preventive law, Sundramoorthy said: "If we don't decide soon to act on it then be prepared to see further disruption of peace and safety."
This was before the shocking shootings of MyWatch chairman R Sri Sanjeevan on July 27, and of Arab-Malaysian Development Bank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi two days later; and before the series of highly publicised gunfire and explosive assaults in Penang over the last week, and one more death involving a bomb in Tumpat, Kelantan.
Since these attacks, which have gripped the nation, Sundramoorthy has stood his ground.
"I don't think there is any other period in the history of Malaysia since after the insurgency (which ended in the 1960s) that there has been so many shootings," he said when met by fz.com.
Need to retain EO for public safety
In 2010, the criminology team from USM was commissioned by the government to study crime and policing, with emphasis on trends and patterns as well as strategies for crime control.
The team analysed reported crime data up till 2009, before the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) on crime was introduced.
One of its major findings was that from 2000 to 2009, there was an average annual growth rate in violent crime of about 13.4%.
However, the percentage of murder cases remained about the same – two to three cases per 100,000 people – from the 1970s to 2009. (Interestingly, rape cases rose from two to three cases in the 1970s, to eight to nine cases by 2009.)
"We recommended that there is a need to retain the EO, but we clearly spelt out that it needs to be amended to give zero room or zero tolerance for any abuse or error," Sundramoorthy said.



Use of CPA soon to curb crime

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 11:37 AM PDT


(The Star) - "The question of new preventive laws does not arise at the moment and those accusing the Government of attempting to enact new draconian laws are jumping the gun.

The Government will invoke the Crime Prevention Act 1959 (CPA) soon to counter gangland and underworld syndicate-linked serious crimes that are currently on the rise.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said the use of the CPA comes in light of the absence of preventive laws specifically meant to deal with secret society members being investigated by inquiry officers.

"We are looking at existing laws such as the CPA and how best to use them effectively to deal with the rise in crime," he said.

Low added that the appointed inquiry officers, who are not from the police force, must also be given a platform to justify the suspects' detention.

He said the move follows a pending study by the Government to determine if new preventive laws were needed.

"For the time being, we are looking at existing laws such as the CPA and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) 2012 to see how these can be effectively enforced by the police," he said.

The CPA, applicable in peninsular Malaysia, will allow for suspected gang members to be detained for 14 days and an additional 28 days if required for further investigations.

Inquiry officers will be appointed during this time to determine if there are grounds for the suspects' detention and if they are indeed gang members.

The inquiry reports would then be forwarded to the Home Minister for endorsement with the remanded suspects having the right to appeal against their detention orders.

Last month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the Government was mulling over tabling new preventive laws in Parliament.

A special committee, headed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, was formed to study the need for new preventive laws following Najib's announcement.

Other members in the committee are Low, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri and Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Meanwhile, Low chided certain quarters for "jumping the gun" when accusing the Government of attempting to enact draconian preventive laws.

"The question of new preventive laws does not arise at the moment and those accusing the Government of attempting to enact new draconian laws are jumping the gun.

"Nothing has been finalised yet," he added.

However, he said that any new preventive laws to be enacted must strike a balance between safety, security and liberty.


In crackdown on religion, activists see a nation in fear

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 11:28 AM PDT


(The Malay Mail) - Malaysia will become a nation shrouded in fear and intolerance if the authorities continue its harsh persecution of religious offenders, human rights activists and an analyst have said.

Such a show of intolerance by the country's leaders, they warned, could drive an even deeper wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims here and result in a nation more divided than ever before.

Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan suggested a possible future scenario where non-Muslims find themselves thinking twice before inviting a Muslim into their homes, fearing that even this would upset them.

"We might think it's a bit extreme, but we never know. The list of sensitive things is growing," he told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Citing the recent crackdown by religious authorities in a string of cases, the lawyer said that harsh action would only render interfaith efforts difficult as the country's many religious groups may stop daring to speak their minds.

"I think this is going to create a climate of fear in which people would not want to say what they want to say," said Syahredzan.

Since last month, a string of religious incidents have incurred the wrath of the authorities just ahead of the country's 56th Merdeka celebration on August 31.

Four Muslim girls were barred last month from contesting the Miss Malaysia World 2013 beauty pageant as Islamic authorities cited a 1996 fatwa (religious edict) against their participation.

Two Chinese bloggers — Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee — were charged last month with sedition after they posted a mock "Selamat Berbuka Puasa" (breaking of fast) greeting on their Facebook page that showed them eating "bak kut teh", and describing the soupy pork dish as "wangi, enak, menyelerakan" (fragrant, delicious, appetising).

Maznah Yusof, a Muslim dog trainer, is also being investigated for sedition after a video of her bathing and walking her three dogs resurfaced recently on YouTube.

The latest case is of a resort manager who was arrested yesterday after several newspapers reported on a YouTube video, which was uploaded last week, showing a surau (Muslim prayer room) in the Johor resort being used by Buddhist tourists for worship.

The police are investigating the Singaporean Muslim man, who is also a permanent resident in Malaysia, under Section 295 of the Penal Code for "injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class".

"Will we come to a stage when even eateries have to close if it's Ramadan?" Syahredzan questioned.

"It's not incredible to think it'll come to that one day. We are moving towards that. Everything must conform to Muslim sensitivities, must respect Muslim sensitivities, even if those sensitivities are unreasonable," he said.

Syahredzan said that such incidents would also put a stop to inter-religious discourse involving Muslims.

"That's the end of it. It will happen, but excluding the Muslims, since apparently anything can offend us," said the lawyer.

A reader called Patricia Anne Martinez also wrote on her Facebook page last Monday about a TV warning calling for "viewer discretion" on a documentary about Pope Francis on the Astro History channel.


"The disclaimer — if it can be called that — was shown FOUR TIMES throughout the programme," added Martinez, who is also Roman Catholic.

Syahredzan said that such a disclaimer indicated "self-censorship because of state pressure".

"More and more disclaimers are going to be put out. Anything which is even remotely religious in nature, it's going to be shielded," he said.

Dr Lim Teck Ghee, director of the think-tank Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI), said that non-Muslims are alarmed at the "growing trend of religious fundamentalism".

"An increasing intolerant and narrow-minded Islam dependent on its interpretation and policing by religious bigots that want to extend their sphere of influence and are out of touch with modern trends is perhaps the biggest threat to the character and well-being of our country," he told The Malay Mail Online via email yesterday.

"It will only divide our communities; undermine moderation and tolerance; and breed prejudice, hate and suspicion," added Lim.

Lim also noted that businesses would become more wary about Muslim sensitivities, such as not having dogs around at sports events or not organising lunches during Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month.

"This will only pander more to the religious right found in government agencies and political and social organisations that are increasingly the arbiters of what is correct social or religious behaviour and norms — not only among Muslims but also among non-Muslims," said the political analyst.

Lim Ka Ea, chief of human rights group Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR), said the recent religious incidents would not cow activists into silence, but pointed out that "those who are less aware or less empowered, they would definitely be threatened".


'Guns Are Cheap, It's The Courier Fee That Costs More'

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 11:26 AM PDT


(Malaysian Digest) - Firearms are relatively easy to smuggle into the country from Thailand, according to a source from Gang 04.

According to him, pistols are available for as low as RM300, and can be smuggled into the country for RM2,000 to RM4,000 per firearm.

"It is the bribe or the price you pay to smuggle it in that is expensive, depending on the type of gun you purchase.

Asked whether a gang leader's orders to his followers to participate in gang fights had to be complied with, the source said: "Triad members are people who can be considered brave enough to risk their lives above anything else."

He added that once a gangster displayed his capabilities, he would earn the right to lead.

"It all then boils down to money. The more you have or manage to make, the more powerful and fearsome you become.

"Most are, of course, illegal activities because it is hard for gangsters like us to earn money the right way.

"The risk is definitely high, but drug pushers will be rewarded with a handsome return," he said.

Some gangs even resort to robbery or abduction for fast money.

"Murder is also among the top underworld jobs to earn some cash. You can end someone's life for as low as RM3,000 and a more professional job comes with a higher price," the source said.


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