Weekly News Monitor: 14th July, 2008

Malaysia immigration graft a ‘national security problem’: watchdog

In this AFP report, the ACA said rampant corruption at the immigration department was a national security problem following the arrest of seven people. Among those detained was a top immigration official who allegedly issued visas to foreign workers in exchange for money. Cash totaling more than 600,000 ringgit was seized.

ACA director general Ahmad Said Hamdan said the watchdog got wind of the scam two months ago following tip offs from the public.

“It goes right to the top. It involves the public, foreigners, government officers and also syndicates.

“This actually involves national security … and the problem is throughout the country. We have arrested a number of people and we expect to pick up more soon,” Ahmad told reporters in the northern state of Penang.

Cop vs cops in Gemas station

The Star reported that a policeman has lodged a report against all his colleagues including his superiors allegedly over dissatisfaction on how the monthly bribes from those operating illegal activities was being distributed.

In retaliation, one of his superiors, a sergeant, lodged another police report against the policeman, a lance corporal, for allegedly selling station property to scrap dealers.

A source said the lance corporal, in his 40s, was dissatisfied with his superiors for allegedly taking the lion’s share of the bribes while the rank and file received very little.

The sergeant, in an apparent tit-for-tat, lodged another report against the lance corporal alleging that he had sold some old wooden and iron furniture from the police station to a dealer.

State police chief Datuk Osman Salleh confirmed that a report has been lodged.

When an ISA detainee’s daughter dies …

Rockybru wrote about the tragic death of the daughter of an ISA detainee, who was too late to be at his daughter’s side. Permission for him to go to the hospital where his daughter lay dying was granted too late by the Home Minister.


PM to quit in 2010

Abdullah Badawi has said at a news conference that he will leave office in 2010, defying pressure to step down this December. He also said that Najib would take over as head of the Umno party in June 2010.

The prime minister has been under intense pressure to resign over poor election results and high fuel prices. He said he had agreed with Najib to hand over power but that he first wanted the opportunity to implement reforms initiated since he took office in 2003.

“There are many things and programmes I want to achieve before I hand over and I hope that Najib will continue as my deputy in carrying this out,” he said, flanked by Najib and Umno officials.

Najib said that the announcement marked the start of an orderly transition of power.

Almost Half A Million Households Earn Less Than RM1,000 A Month

Bernama carried this report from the Dewan Rakyat.

In reply to a question by Dr Micheal Jeyakumar Devaraj (PKR-Sungai Siput) on household incomes in the country, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz said:

“A total of 498,800 households or 8.6 per cent of 5.8 million households in the country earn less than RM1,000 a month. “

He said the latest number was based on a study by the Statistics Department last year.

“The study covered rural and urban areas and involved 5.8 million households,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Amirsham said for monthly household income of between RM1,000 and RM2,000 there were 1,705,200 households or 29.4 per cent, RM2,001-RM3,000 (1,148,400 or 19.8 per cent) and RM3,001-RM4,000 (748,200 or 12.9 per cent).

He added that 731,000 households or 8.6 per cent earned RM4,001-RM5,000 a month, RM5,001-RM10,000 (916,400 or 15.8 per cent) and for RM10,001 and above (284,200 or 4.9 per cent).

MCCBCHST Press Statement: The Elangesvaran case decision Tuesday, 08 July 2008 07:28pm

This press statement was carried in the Malaysian Bar website.

The MCCBCHST is saddened to learn that yet again, the body of a person who his family members say is Hindu, is being taken away by the Islamic religious authorities to be buried according to Islamic rites based on a Syariah court order given in the absence of the family.

We are equally saddened that the State governments of Perak and Penang ignored calls to ensure that the Islamic religious authorities seek the directions of the civil courts so as to allow the non Muslim family members of the late B Elangesvaran to be heard before a decision is made on whether or not he professed and practised Islam or Hinduism at the time of his death.

Disheartening also is the attitude of the learned High Court Judge who seems to have meekly obeyed an order made by the Syariah courts despite recent Federal Court pronouncements clearly stating that the Syariah courts have no jurisdiction in any dispute where non Muslims are involved. Instead of disregarding the unconstitutional order of the Syariah court, the High Court has yet again avoided its Constitutional responsibility to ensure that justice is done.

We are also disappointed with the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Attorney General. After the fiasco of the “Everest Moorthy” body snatching, we had been promised so many times that legislative reforms will be made to ensure that situations like this will not recur. Yet, nothing has been done. No attempts have been made to make meaningful changes although there has been a lot of talk of reform.

The nation cannot long survive a continuation of these gross injustices. It is rather poignant that it was the Regent of Perak who famously said last year that all of us have a place under the Malaysian sun. For the family of Elangesvaran living in Perak, the words of their Regent rings hollow.

Their right to have their say in Court has been held by the Federal and State governments, the Ipoh High Court, the Ipoh Syariah court and the Islamic religious authorities to be worthless.

Datuk A. Vaithilingam,


Mother Of Three Becomes Pahang’s CPO

With her apointment as Pahang CPO, a mother of three, Robiah Abdul Ghani has become the country’s first female chief police officer. Her 35-year journey in the police force began in 1971 when she became a probationary inspector rising to platoon commander of the country’s first women PFF (Police Field Force) in 1973 before being posted to the management department at HQ in Bukit Aman. She served in several departments including the serious crimes division in CID and the narcotics department before heading the disciplinary department. She expressed hope that her promotion would raise the morale of other female police officers and asked all concerned to help reduce crime in the state.

Parents, Grandparents Put Aside RM 116.3 Million For Children’s Education

Since the inception of the national education savings scheme in 2004, some 412,404 accounts have been opened with deposits amounting to RM116.3 million in May 2008. Fifty percent of these accounts belong to kampung folks. In revealing this, CEO of the National Higher Education Corporation (PTPTN) Yunos Abdul Ghani also told the story of a 80-year old grandmother who invested RM30,000 for her two grandchildren’s education.

However, the savings scheme started rather slowly with only 15,551 accounts in 2004. In 2005, there were 17,937 new accounts and 51,107 new accounts in 2006. With better promotion campaigns, 180,130 new accounts were added in 2007 and then 147,679 new accounts by May this year. If the trend for 2008 continues, it is anticipated that the year will record a total of 400,000 new accounts. For further information of this savings scheme and its benefits, go to http://www.ptptn.gov.my/web/english/home

Inability To Answe Maths Question Results In Inability To Walk

In Kuala Klawang, Negri Sembilan, 17-year old Nurlieyana Nazran failed to answer a maths question addressed to her. The teacher caned her on her buttocks. This might have compounded an injury the girl had sustained in an earlier fall. The girl is now in Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban and is unable to walk. State education director, Abdullah Mohamad, promised a full investigation into the incident expressing his hope that teachers will abide by the guidelines on caning students, especially girls. Meanwhile, the teacher concerned had visited the girl and her family to convey her apologies.

Uncertainties Loom Over Hari Raya Travel

Will they or won’t they? There is serious uncertainty over whether express bus operators will offer advance ticket sales for Hari Raya break travellers come October. Express bus operators have been anxious about not receiving the full amount of daily subsidised diesel promised by the government in June. The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry said they were still awaiting instructions from the Finance Ministry. Speaking about this, Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said that it might take another three months before operators could receive the full subsidy quota. Ashfar said that if operators cannot absorb the costs in the coming three months they might have to cease operations altogether and this would lead to serious problems if they could not carry out the services for which advance ticket sales have been made. Not being able to purchase advance tickets will disrupt the plans of thousands of would-be Hari Raya travellers and jeopardize their chances of going home to their kampungs to be with their families.

Nervous Breakdown Should Have Insurance Coverage

Since lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, migraine, arthritis and diabetes are already eligible for insurance cover, why not mental disorders? This is the issue raised by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) citing that such a facility is already available in developed countries. NIOSH is concerned that employees suffering from nervous breakdown are still having to pay their own medical expenses since their employers’ insurance plan did not cover illness which is mental in nature.

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