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Judge rebukes lawyer over grilling of witness

KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 – Lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader, representing Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in a corruption case involving a hybrid solar project for rural schools in Sarawak, was rebuked by High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, who is presiding the case, for his way of “grilling” former Education Ministry (MOE) secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad, who is a witness during cross-examination today.

“He (Alias) is not on trial here…mind yourself of the charges,” said the judge to Akberdin, who claimed that the 12th witness had interests in the RM1.25 billion hybrid solar project.

Earlier, Akberdin questioned on Alias’ action in personally contacting a former secretary at the Government Procurement Division of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Datuk Othman Semail, to request for MOF to proceed with MOE’s application for approval of RM130 million in advance payment for the implementation of the hybrid solar project.

Akberdin: After receiving a letter dated April 19, 2017 from the MOF, I put it to you that you personally made a call to Datuk Othman asking for his good office to approve MOE’s application for advance payment of RM130 million.

Alias: About the call (to Othman), I agreed (making the call), but to talk about other matters, not about the RM130 million advance payment.

Akberdin: I put it to you that the response from Datuk Othman was that he held to the letter, he could not entertain your request because you did not follow procedures.

Alias: I disagree.

Akberdin: I put it to you that you took extra effort and initiative, to the extent of calling Othman because you had interest in the project.

Alias: I disagree.

During the previous proceeding, former secretary at the Asset Procurement and Management Division of MOE, Kamarudin Abdullah, had told the court that the letter dated April 19, 2017 was a from MOF to MOE which stated that the MOE’s request for approval of the advance payment of RM130 million was being looked into.

According to Kamarudin, MOF, also stated in the letter that to expedite the payment process, MOE would need to take action, like adhering to financial procedures and regulations and to expedite the process of signing a procurement contract with the contractor of the project, Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Rosmah, 68, is facing a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving a bribe of RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin through her former aide, Datuk Rizal Mansor as gratification for helping the company to secure the RM1.25 billion Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project and Maintenance and Operation of Genset/Diesel for the 369 rural schools in Sarawak, through direct negotiation from the Education Ministry.

She allegedly committed the offences at three places, namely Lygon Cafe at Sunway Putra Mall in Jalan Putra here; her house at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta here, and at the Seri Perdana Residence, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Precinct 10, Putrajaya between January 2016 and Sept 7, 2017.

The hearing continues on April 6.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

39 pct of child abuse cases perpetrated by biological mothers

� Over 39 per cent or 192 from 685 child abuse cases reported in the country were perpetrated by biological mothers.

According to statistics released by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, this was followed by fathers at 158 cases (32 per cent), employees of childcare centres with 29 cases (six per cent) and stepmothers at 15 cases.

Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh said the cases were among the total 25,868 calls received by the Talian Kasih 15999 hotline last year.

Talian Kasih recorded an increase of over 70 per cent compared with 15,046 calls in 2018 which demonstrated that the people are more aware of the services provided by the ministry.

Child abuse and domestic violence made up the highest number of cases reported, she told reporters after witnessing the signing ceremony of the MoU for Chilhood Cancer Awareness between Ronald McDonalds House Charities (RMHC) and Lions Club International at Ronald McDonald House, Hospital Canselor Tunku Muhriz, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia here today.

In the event which was also attended by Malaysian International Lions Club district governor Datuk Javern Lim and Malaysian RHMC president Azmir Jaafar, Yeoh also launched the Lions Wonderland, an outdoor playground for children at the hospital.

Meanwhile, Yeoh said four Anjung Kasih Centres were currently being built in Melaka (the Melaka Hospital), Johor Bharu (the Sultan Aminah Hospital), Sandakan (the Duchess of Kent Hospital) and Penang (the Seberang Perai Hospital).

Two other shelters would be built at the Putrajaya Hospital and another in Kota Kinabalu, by 2021, she added.

Currently, there are 12 Anjung Kasih centres all nationwide, which have benefited over 75,000 people.

Source: Bernama News Agency

Rosmah’s trial : Najib asked to leave court room

KUALA LUMPUR, Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was today ordered to leave the court during the hearing of his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s case for corruption.

Najib, 67, in a short-sleeved red shirt was sitting at the public gallery behind Rosmah, when he was asked to leave the court room at about 10.45 am, about 15 minutes after the fourth prosecution witness was called to testify.

Najib’s presence was noticed by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib, who then informed presiding judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

During the course of investigations, MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) had recorded Datuk Seri Najib’s statement. There is a possibility that he may be a witness and I don’t think it is appropriate for him to be here, Ahmad Akram said.

Rosmah’s lawyer Datuk Jagjit Singh told that Najib came to court to support his wife.

His name (Najib) is not in the witness list that the prosecution will call, he added.

Justice Mohamed Zaini then faced Najib and said as a matter of caution, could I ask you to leave the court, please?

Najib nodded, before walking out of the courtroom.

Rosmah, 68, claimed trial to a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving a bribe of RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin, through her former aide, Datuk Rizal Mansor , for projects to provide solar energy to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

She allegedly committed the offences at three places in Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall in Jalan Putra, at her house in Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta and at Seri Perdana Residence, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Precinct 10, Putrajaya between Jan 2016 and Sept 7, 2017.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

First case of Malaysian positive for coronavirus

KUALA LUMPUR, A 41-year-old man is the first Malaysian who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV).

He is one of two new positive cases, bringing to 10 the number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia so far.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the other case involved a 63-year-old man from China who arrived at the KL International Airport on Jan 18.

“As for the Malaysian, he was in Singapore from Jan 16 to 23 to attend a conference which was also attended by several international delegations including from China.

“He returned to Malaysia on Jan 23 and, on Jan 29, sought treatment at a private health facility in Selangor for fever and cough. Thereafter, he was referred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Feb 2, and was admitted to an isolation ward. He was confirmed positive for 2019-nCoV yesterday, he told the daily press conference to update on the coronavirus situation in Malaysia, here today.

He said the Malaysian was in stable condition and that the Health Ministry was working closely with the Singaporean authorities on contact tracing.

The eight positive cases reported earlier all involved China nationals.

Dr Dzulkefly said the Health Ministry had already started contact tracing involving close family members of the Malaysian.

On the second new case, the minister said the man, who came from Wuhan, experienced normal fever on Jan 23 and sought treatment as an outpatient at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

“The case was reported to the Health Ministry and he was placed under home surveillance for 14 days.

“On Feb 2, the fever did not abate and he was admitted to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for further treatment. The laboratory tests confirmed he was positive for 2019-nCoV on Feb 3, the patient is now at an isolation ward and his condition is stable, he said.

Dr Dzulkefly said of the 10 positive cases reported, five were from the Patient-Under-Investigation (PUI) category while the others contracted 2019-nCoV through close contact.

“Cumulative PUI cases from Jan 10 till 6 pm as of Feb 3 stood at 213 people involving 122 Malaysians, China nationals (86), Australian (1), South Korean (1), Jordanian (1), Brazilian (1) and Thai (1),” he said.

Asked about the status of the 34 Malaysians who could not join the evacuation mission from Wuhan early today, Dr Dzulkefly said he believed the Foreign Ministry would act on the matter.

An AirAsia chartered flight brought back 107 individuals stranded in Hubei province in China due to the coronavirus outbreak. Wuhan is the capital of the province.

They comprised 88 Malaysians and 19 others made up of non-Malaysian spouses and children of some of the evacuees.

The special flight arrived at KLIA at 5.57 am.

Wuhan is the epicentre of the novel coronivirus outbreak which is spreading across the globe. The death toll stands at 427 with more than 20,000 confirmed cases.

Two of the deaths were outside China, one in the Philippines and the other in Hong Kong.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Stop playing up racial issues in Sabah – Omar

KOTA KINABALU, Sabah police commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah advised all parties not to raise sensitive issues that can undermine racial harmony in the state.

He said this is due to current development where racial issues were being played up and has became a cause for concern.

According to Omar, there were parties who came out with very sensitive comments that could be viewed as offensive, provocative and racially hostile.

I admit that there were certain incidents (of raising racial issues) but let us put an end to it, so it will not spread and create fear and dissatisfaction among many communities in the state.

Let us maintain the peace in Sabah. We have to accept and realise that we live in Sabah, surrounded by other races, requiring us to respect each other, he told reporters after paying courtesy call on Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Shafie Apdal, here today.

Omar, who held the position of Sabah police commissioner since September 2018, will be retiring in the middle of this month after 30 years of service with Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).

He said he was reluctant to comment on any racial incidents to media as he did not want to be misinterpreted.

Regardless of race and religion, as long as we are the people of Sabah, we are all the same, he said.

Omar also said that police have the power to investigate reports regarding racial statements that could cause disharmony and disturb the public order under Section 504 and 505 of the Penal Code.

He added that his approach on the fight against drugs by instructing district police chiefs to focus on five locations known for drug activities in their respective areas, had reduced drug-related offences up to 80 per cent.

Due to the success, Sabah police have also been named as the best contingent in effort to curb drugs in the country last year, he said.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Couple working round the clock to meet kavadi orders for Thaipusam

GEORGE TOWN, With only four days to Thaipusam, utmost on the minds of most Tamil people now will be the kavadi, which is basically a physical burden made of elaborate framework of steel rods, plywood and other decoration, for them to carry with pots of milk as a ceremonial sacrifice and offering to Lord Muruga.

Kavadi in Tamil means carrying weight on shoulder. This offering needs lots of will power and devotion, not all can take Kavadi to Lord Muruga, only the ones who are destined for this can take Kavadi.

For married couple, R. Ramesh, 50 and Priscilla Quah, 47, who are kavadi-makers for 33 years, now is the busiest time of the year in having to complete the orders for various types of kavadi.

The couple, who has been in the business for 33 years, could afford to sleep for only to to three hours daily over the two weeks to get the orders ready, with their customers coming from as far as Kedah and Kuala Lumpur.

This year, we received seven orders for 3D (three dimensional) kavadi, which we make using polyfoam, and five others, for the normal kavadi, said Ramesh to Bernama.

Ramesh said he became interested to design and make the kavadi because of its vibrant and colurful decorations.

That got me learning to make the kavadi from friends and in 1987, I produced my first kavadi, for which I had to pawn a necklace to be able to buy the materials need to make it.

I was still working as a kitchen assistant at a hotel then. I gave the kavadi to a friend and he told me that the kavadi was beautiful and attractive. That got me excited and soon words spread. Since then I began to get orders to make kavadi, he added.

Ramesh said in 2004, he quit his job as a chef and became a full-time kavadi maker with the support and encouragement from his wife.

Thaipusam, which falls on Feb 8 this year, is a festival celebrated by the Tamil community on the full moon in the month of Thai in the Tamil calendar to commemorate the act of Goddess Parvati presenting the vel (spear) to her son Lord Muruga as an embodiment of her shakti or power to vanquish the evil Soorapadman and restore peace and well-being.

In Malaysia, Thaipusam will also be celebrated on a grand scale at the Sri Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani temple in Penang and the Arul Subramaniar temple in Ipoh, Perak, and Johor.

The festival normally attracts local and foreign visitors, who will be highly impressed to see devotees carrying kavadi to pay penance to Lord Muruga.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

MYC2C exposes students to national justice system

KOTA BHARU, The From Courtroom to Classroom (MYC2C) programme will expose students to the country’s justice and legislative system, said Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

She said the idea was the brainchild of former Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum as there were many people who did not fully understand the functions of the courts and the legislative system.

Many people do not really understand the justice system, so we have to tackle this at an early stage so that future generations will understand it better, she told reporters after launching the programme at the Sultan Ismail College here today.

Also present were Appeals Court President Datuk Rohana Yusuf, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, and Deputy Minister of Education, Teo Nie Ching.

Commenting further, Tengku Maimun said the MYC2C programme comprises three modules – Judge to Schools, Young Lawyers and Visit to the Courts.

She said the Registrar’s Office of the Malaysian Federal Court had set up the MYC2C portal as an online medium to provide knowledge and information on current developments of the programme.

She said schools could apply for the programme through the website www.MYC2C.kehakiman.gov.my.

Meanwhile, Teo said the Education Department supported the move by the legislative body to expose students to the country’s legislative system.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency