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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Tycoon Koon Yew Yin must apologise publicly for disparaging Malaysia’s armed forces in his blog post, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) said today.
Its central committee member Sharan Raj condemned the founder of IJM Corporation and Gamuda Berhad for claiming the country’s security forces are “doing nothing except eating and sleeping” in his blog post last Monday, and suggested the government downsize its numbers and second some of them to work in state-owned plantations instead to rebuild the economy.
“Koon Yew Yin should stop treating armed forces as a source of cheap labour to replace the foreign labour.
“The armed forces have sacrificed their future and will sacrifice their lives when needed to save 30 million Malaysians. Malaysian civilians are not prepared to raise a weapon to defend our land and people but the armed forces are 24/7 combat-ready,” he said in a statement.
Sharan added that the businessman’s remarks were both disrespectful and unacceptable towards the security forces whose job it is to protect the sovereignty and safety of Malaysians from not just enemy troops but also drug smugglers, human traffickers, terrorists, pirates and more.
He said Koon owes a public apology not only to current servicemen but also those who had retired from the armed forces.
Koon who made his money in the construction and infrastructure industries had maligned the armed forces in his blog post by claiming they have only opened fire during training on the range and never in real combat.
He suggested that the military be used to replace plantation workers.
This is not the first time Koon had made derogatory remarks against national institutions.
Previously, he accused the late Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak of being corrupt and selling titles to businessmen.
He was later removed from being appointed into the Perak State Economic Advisory Council by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.
The family of British teenager Nora Quoirin, whose body has been found in Malaysia, have said their "hearts are broken".
The body of Nora, who had special needs, was found just over a mile away from the Dusun resort on Tuesday.
The 15-year-old Londoner had been on holiday there with her family when she disappeared from her room on 4 August.
In a statement, her family thanked the 350 people who had been hunting for Nora in dense jungle near the resort.
They added: "Nora has brought people together, especially from France, Ireland, Britain and Malaysia, united in their love and support for her and her family.
"She has truly touched the whole world.
"The cruelty of her being taken away is unbearable. Our hearts are broken."
Her cause of death has not yet been confirmed and Malaysian police said a post-mortem examination began on Wednesday morning.
Police said the teenager's parents confirmed the body discovered by a search team was their daughter.
Malaysia's deputy police chief Mazlan Mansor said Nora, who was of Irish-French descent, was found beside a stream in a "quite hilly" area of plantation, and was "not in any clothing".
Authorities have been treating Nora's disappearance as a missing persons case, but her family have said they believe she may have been abducted.
Nora was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder which affects brain development, and her family said she was "not independent and does not go anywhere alone".
On Monday, her parents Meabh and Sebastien, a French-Irish couple who have lived in London for 20 years, put up a 50,000 Malaysian ringgit (£10,000) reward for help to find her.
Nora, her parents and her younger brother and sister arrived at the resort in a nature reserve near Seremban, about 39 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, on 3 August for a two-week stay.
Her father raised the alarm at 08:00 local time the next day after she was discovered missing from her bedroom.
Search teams were assisted by local Orang Asli people, who have knowledge of the jungle terrain, while two shamans also joined the operation.
The National Crime Agency (NCA), the Met Police, Irish and French police have also been providing support to Malaysian authorities.
3 August: The Quoirins arrive at the Dusun forest eco-resort
4 August: Nora disappears from her room
5 August: The Lucie Blackman Trust says Malaysian police are treating Nora's disappearance as a potential abduction, but officers deny any foul play is involved
6 August: Nora's family say they believe she has been abducted
11 August: Malaysian police set up a hotline dedicated to receiving information about teenager
12 August: A reward of £10,000 - donated by an anonymous Belfast business - is made available for information leading to Nora's safe return
13 August: A body is found in the search for Nora
PUTRAJAYA, Aug 13 — Dirty and foul-smelling toilets along with litter reflect the country’s lack of civic mindedness, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
Claiming he checks on the state of public toilets when he uses them, Dr Mahathir said he regularly found these to be in appalling conditions and urged Malaysians to realise their lack of consideration for others.
“I am very embarrassed when I often inspect the public toilets in Malaysia to see whether it is clean or not, and most of them aren’t and (are) smelly.
“Nowadays we also see a lot of littering and trash around us there is so much that civic awareness that can do to help create a better environment for us to live in,” Dr Mahathir said in his speech during the launch of national-level civics education here today.
Failure to adopt civic mindedness would lead to individuals behaving with impunity, he said before warning that this could then devolve into chaos when members of society stop caring for each other.
“For example if we take what is not ours and it is normal for it to be done and we do it because we think no one sees us doing it or action won’t be taken against us.
“If we have such an attitude where we can take what is not ours, then today we take what belongs to others, and the next time others will take what belongs to us,” he said.
Under the new policy, civics will be taught in schools for an hour each month and incorporated as part of other subjects in the school syllabus.
Selangor Criminal Investigations Department chief Fadzil Ahmat said they arrested a couple involved in a road rage incident, which has been classified as a murder case.
Police investigations revealed that a 29-year-old man had initially knocked into a car driven by a 40-year-old just after the Sungai Besi toll plaza.
Said Senior Assistant Commissioner Fadzil: "Following the incident, the two drivers were involved in a car chase.
"A scuffle ensued between them at the Bandar Baru Bangi interchange. Witnesses at the scene broke up the fight, and the two drivers returned to their vehicles," he said.
But shortly after, the 29-year-old man got out of his vehicle with a baseball bat and smashed the other car's bonnet, he said in a statement.
The older driver then lurched his vehicle forward and hit the victim.
"The man was pinned between the car and the road divider. He was subsequently rushed to the Nilai Medical Centre but died while receiving treatment," he said, adding that they also arrested the suspect's 36-year-old wife. Both have been remanded for seven days.
SAC Fadzil refuted claims that the case had racial elements.
"Our investigations revealed that the motive for the case was based on the accident. The viral messages claiming it was a racial issue are fake," he said.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Veterans group Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan believes Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik has gone overboard with his racial, religious provocation after questioning the loyalty of Malaysians of Indian ancestry.
Its president, retired Brigadier-General Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said Patriot had refrained from criticism, but the Mumbai-born preacher’s latest remarks during a public lecture in Kota Baru, Kelantan last Friday were the last straw.
“Zakir Naik spoke and questioned the loyalty of Malaysians of Indian origin, trying to curry favour of our prime minister,” he said in a statement today.
Arshad said Indian Malaysians are like citizens of other ethnic groups and have contributed greatly to Malaysia, including serving in the armed forces.
He added that by questioning their loyalty to Malaysia’s King and country showed Dr Zakir is not only ignorant but dishonest with a hidden agenda.
He noted that it was not Dr Zakir’s first time making incendiary remarks about people of different religions and beliefs, recalling his past comments about Hindus in Malaysia and “loose cannon” allegations that the Chinese government denied Uighur Muslims in the republic their right to fast, learn the Quran and even forced them to imbibe alcohol.
He said Patriot advised Dr Zakir to “shut up” and strictly to preaching purely about Islam and not continue overstepping his bounds by encroaching into politics and Malaysia’s international relations with other countries.
Arshard said anything to do with Uighur Muslims is best left to the Foreign Ministry, and that it is not for Dr Zakir to instigate the uninformed public, and arouse hatred and animosity towards China.
“Especially at a time when our relations with China is improving. Furthermore, trade and infrastructure investment are also at stake,” he added.
Patriot’s statement was echoed by DAP lawmaker RSN Rayer, who appealed to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to not let Dr Zakir destroy the country.
“I think Dr Zakir Naik crossed the line when he recently questioned the loyalty of Malaysian Indians or Malaysian Hindus in his speech, mischievously suggesting they were more supportive and loyal to Narendra Modi than to you as our prime minister,” the Jelutong MP said in a separate statement today.
Rayer asked Dr Mahathir to intervene in the matter of Dr Zakir by deporting the Malaysian permanent resident to curb the erosion of public confidence in the Pakatan Harapan government.
“I implore you to listen to the ever-growing number of pleas and send Dr Zakir Naik back to his country of origin or anywhere else as he is causing more destruction, disunity, distrust, and damage to the delicate race relations in this country,” he said.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — Chinese firms’ pullback on investments here has opened the door for American investors to take over as Malaysia’s main source of foreign funding.
According to analysts speaking to The Straits Times (ST), US firms viewed Malaysia as the region’s “sweet spot” in terms of cost, infrastructure, and regulation.
The US interest also made up for Malaysia’s inability to capture investments from firms relocating outside of China to escape the fallout of the tariff war between the two superpowers.
“Vietnam is cheap but its manufacturing ecosystem isn't as developed. On the other end of the spectrum, labour costs are much higher in Singapore.
“This puts Malaysia in a nice middle ground,” Barclays' regional economist Brian Tan was quoted as saying.
Data cited by the Singapore daily showed Malaysia received RM11.5 billion in US foreign direct investment during the first three months of 2019, or over three times what the country took in during the same quarter last year.
This offset Malaysia’s position behind Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines’ in drawing Chinese investments during the same period.
Chinese FDI in Malaysia was below forecasts and dipped to RM4.4 billion in the first quarter.
Political observers who spoke to the ST suggested that Chinese firms’ reluctance to invest more in Malaysia could be due to the latter country’s move to cancel or renegotiate high-profile contracts but stressed that this was not the primary cause.
Malaysia is locked in a compensation dispute with China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Ltd after it seized RM1.1 billion from the state-linked firm over a pipeline project the Malaysian government cancelled after winning the general election last year.
Putrajaya also tried to cancel the East Coast Rail Link but was forced to proceed after negotiating for a lower price.
“There is apprehension in China as to Dr Mahathir's flip-flopping attitude, but the main reason investors choose Vietnam is cost and work ethic,” Singapore Institute of International Affairs' senior fellow Oh Ei Sun told reporters.
International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Ong Kian Ming said E&E firms here must seize the opportunity that could both steer and propel the industry for the next decade.
US-China trade tensions had appeared to ease after the leaders of both countries met at the sidelines of the G20 summit earlier this year, but the lack of tangible reductions in their tariff war has caused new conflicts between the two superpowers.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Malaysia teams up with Malaysian Nature Society to conserve hornbill habitats
PETALING JAYA, August 8 — The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Malaysia and Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) are joining forces to save the country’s beloved hornbill.
The three-month-long fundraising campaign will contribute towards conservation of the iconic bird’s habitat through the Save Bill Campaign.
Funds raised will be channelled to the MNS Hornbill Conservation Programme.
According to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Malaysia director of marketing and development Fiona Rodrigues, the popular coffee chain adopts a different local animal every August in conjunction with Merdeka.
“Malaysia is home to many beautiful local species and environmental changes are affecting many of them.
“This year, in collaboration with the Malaysian Nature Society, our focus is on the Hornbill Conservation Programme, to support the Society’s efforts in protecting their habitat,” said Rodrigues.
On top of donations collected from the sales of hornbill-themed merchandise and Coffee Bean’s Caring Cup Fund, there will be educational materials, interactive games, activities and workshops to raise awareness.
In Malaysia, there are 10 hornbill species and they all thrive in tropical rainforests but several species have become endangered due to habitat destruction.
“Malaysia’s iconic birds, the hornbills are a symbol of the nation’s rich diversity and an indicator of a healthy forest environment, of which Malaysia has long been known to have.
“Our Hornbill Conservation Programme is dedicated to preserving this unique species and our current focus is to protect the Belum-Temenggor area as an essential habitat for the Hornbill while ensuring the ecosystem — and all the other species it supports — continues to thrive,” said MNS head of conservation Balu Perumal.
From now until October, customers can take part in the campaign and do their part to save the precious birds by purchasing a Malaysian Hornbill Mug (RM48) or a Malaysian Hornbill Tumbler (RM88), activating RM100 of the limited-edition Hornbill Coffee Bean card or RM100 The Coffee Bean Card top-up on Save Bill Day each month (August 25, September 25 and October 25).
The Coffee Bean will contribute RM5 to MNS for each of the purchases above.
Throughout the campaign, hornbill conservation leaflets will be available at all outlets including information to support MNS initiatives.
Coffee Bean &Tea Leaf will also highlight a different hornbill species each week on its social media platforms along with fun facts and quizzes.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 ― Malaysia's access to major world markets such as the US and Europe makes it the perfect location for China-based exporters to relocate, Lim Guan Eng said today.
Speaking at the Malaysia-China Belt & Road Economic Cooperation Forum 2019, the finance minister added that Malaysia’s strategic location in the middle of Asean, which its collective population of 650 million people, is also the icing on the cake for Chinese exporters to change bases.
“Beyond domestic considerations, Malaysia has easy access to the world's major markets, be it the US, Europe or elsewhere.
“This is an important point at the time when the global supply chain is being reoriented due to trade flows either in the Pacific driven by the US, or in the Atlantic driven by the UK.
“Amid the significant reorientation, Malaysia is the reliable partner that has continued access to various economies. For China-based exporters affected by the trade war, Malaysia is clearly a base that you need,” said Lim in his speech text provided to the media.
The minister reiterated his June announcement that in the first quarter of 2019, Malaysia approved a foreign direct investment (FDI) of RM29.3 billion, an increase of 73.4 per cent compared to RM16.9 billion last year.
He said that the boost was powered by a 127 per cent increase in approved manufacturing FDI worth RM20.2 billion from RM8.9 billion in the same quarter last year.
“Out of the RM20.2 billion approved manufacturing FDI during the period, RM4.4 billion came from China, making China the second biggest source of approved manufacturing investment during the first quarter of 2019.
“China is also Malaysia's single biggest trading partner. In the first half of 2019, total goods trade between Malaysia and China was valued at RM148.8 billion or 16.6 per cent of total Malaysian external trade of RM895.5 billion,” said Lim.
Last year saw Malaysia's trade with the Asian superpower hit RM313.8 billion, which was a record breaking amount between the two nations.
However, Singapore daily The Straits Times (ST) reported today that the US is out to overtake China in manufacturing investments where US-based companies have tripled last year's manufacturing investments in 1Q19.
The paper cited several economists saying Malaysia is losing out to its neighbours in obtaining investments from tariff-hit China as Chinese firms might have been put off by the soured relations between Beijing and the Pakatan Harapan administration which has reviewed many Chinese funded mega-projects.
Data on Malaysia's approved FDI showed that Putrajaya is lagging behind Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines in attracting Chinese investors.
However, Barclays regional economist pointed out that the US finds Malaysia attractive as it hits the middle ground for their needs.
“Vietnam is cheap but its manufacturing ecosystem isn't as developed. On the other end of the spectrum, labour costs are much higher in Singapore. This puts Malaysia in a nice middle ground,” Brian Tan told ST.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Malaysians need to jointly address fundamental education issues and build up the local economy to its full potential, Lim Kit Siang said today.
Commenting on similar remarks from Tun Daim Zainuddin, the Iskandar Puteri MP said Malaysia needed to undo the damage from being a “global kleptocracy”.
“The time is indeed long overdue for Malaysians to unite and move purposefully to make the country a top world-class nation in as many fields of human endeavour as possible,” Lim said in a statement.
He cited as example Bangalore, India that succeeded in positioning itself as Asia’s Silicon Valley while Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor did not despite starting at the same time.
Lim also said the economy of the small island state of Singapore was able to surpass that of Malaysia’s in five years out of the last 38.
“Three of the five years occurred from 2015 to 2017,” Lim noted.
Controversy is raging in Malaysia over the proposed introduction of khat calligraphy in primary schools.
KUANTAN - A businessman died after being shot three times in front of his friend's house in Jalan Air Putih here.
Pahang police chief Comm Datuk Abd Jalil Hassan said the case had been classified as murder.
The police are looking at several angles, including gangsterism and revenge, as possible motives.
The 63-year-old victim was dropping off his friend after a night out at an entertainment centre when an unknown assailant suddenly opened fire at his vehicle.
According to the police, the incident is believed to have happened between 1.30am and 2am yesterday.
The victim managed to drive away despite being hit.
He was later found in front of a nearby pharmacy.
The victim was seriously injured and could be seen coughing up blood in a video recording.
Members of the public sent him to the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital but he died upon arrival.
"The 47-year-old friend, who is also a businessman, has been detained to assist in investigations, " Comm Abd Jalil said.
He also urged witnesses or those with information to contact the police immediately.