Cops decline Siti Kasim’s chocolate offer

KUALA LUMPUR: Police refused to accept several packets of chocolates from lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim, more popularly known as Siti Kasim, who had come to the Hartamas Police Station accompanied by the public, here this evening.

They were seen arriving at the police station with a couple of boxes of various types of chocolates at 4pm.

However, their gift of chocolates for the police was declined by the policemen and officers at the station. They were also not allowed to enter the police station.

The group headed by Siti Kasim then handed over all the chocolates to Sri Hartamas Fire and Rescue personnel at the station next door.

Siti Kasim organised a campaign called ‘Jom Bagi Coklat Kat Abang dan Akak Polis’ (Let’s give chocolates to our brothers and sisters in the police force) via her Facebook page, starting from 4pm to 5pm today, to get Malaysians to donate chocolates as a token of appreciation to all police personnel across the country.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said Kuala Lumpur police thanked the public for giving chocolates as a token of appreciation to the police today.

“However, police cannot accept it because there are certain standard operating procedures that must be complied with,” he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

Checks by Bernama on the Facebook page created by Siti Kasim found many netizens claiming the chocolate gift to police officers and personnel in other areas were also declined. — Bernama

Perlis MB confusion caused by lack of communication

KANGAR: Perlis Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim did not know that Datuk Seri Azlan Man was chosen by the party’s top leadership to be appointed as mentri besar, according to Perlis Umno Youth chief Syed Atif Syed Abu Bakar.

He said the crisis in the state might not have happened and that Shahidan and the nine BN assemblymen might have responded differently if they knew that Azlan had been the preferred choice of the party leadership to be appointed as the Mentri Besar of Perlis.

Syed Atif claimed that on May 22, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, as the top leaders of the party that won the general election in Perlis, had an audience with the Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail to present the list of potential candidates to be appointed as mentri besar.

“There were two names in the list, namely Datuk Seri Azlan and Datuk Ismail Kassim. Reliable sources said that both Zahid and Hishammuddin agreed that Azlan be appointed as the Mentri Besar of Perlis.

“However, Shahidan and all the other BN assemblymen in Perlis were not informed of the decision, causing them to continue giving their support to Ismail,” he said in a statement here today.

Syed Atif said without knowing about the approval and decision made by the party’s top leadership, all the Perlis BN assemblymen jumped into conclusion that Azlan had acted in total disregard of the party when he accepted the appointment.

The proposal for Azlan’s immediate expulsion from the party was made last Thursday, right after he was sworn in as the Mentri Besar of Perlis for the second term at the Istana Arau.

Syed Atif said right before the announcement of Azlan’s expulsion, a meeting with BN top leadership was held in Kuala Lumpur.

“At that moment, the assemblymen were torn between attending the swearing-in ceremony and the call to meet with the party’s top leadership in Kuala Lumpur as both events took place at almost the same time.

“However, the nine BN assemblymen opted to attend the meeting to discuss and listen to the message from the party’s top leadership,” he said.

Shahidan had earlier announced that Ismail would be appointed as mentri besar after BN won 10 out of the 15 state seats in Perlis in the May 9 general election. — Bernama

Guan Eng slams Arul Kanda as ‘utterly dishonest and untrustworthy’

PETALING JAYA: State investment arm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in a meeting with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng admitted it was “insolvent” with Lim describing its president Arul Kanda Kandasamy as “utterly dishonest and untrustworthy”.

Stating this, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said it is completely unbelievable that such a highly paid and experienced investment banker can claim that he is in the dark about the financial matters in 1MDB.

Lim has ordered that his position as president be reviewed and an independent audit to determine 1MDB’s actual financial status.

Lim made the decisions after meetings with 1MDB Board of Directors members Datuk Norazman Ayob and Datuk Kamal Mohd Ali and with Arul Kanda respectively.

“The directors of 1MDB confirmed that 1MDB was insolvent and was unable to repay its debts.

“The former Chief Financial Officer Azmi Tahir had also written to the Finance Ministry in March 2018 to state that 1MDB will not be able to service its interest due in April and May 2018,” he said in a statement after the meetings.

Lim said all three of them were questioned on 1MDB’s financial status and supposed overseas investments but was not satisfied with Arul Kanda’s responses.

“I have found Arul Kanda to be utterly dishonest and untrustworthy, and instructed the legal advisers to the Ministry of Finance to review his position as the president of 1MDB,” he said.

He said the purpose of the meetings was to determine the financial status of 1MDB, especially with regards to its ability to repay and service its debt obligations.

“I have instructed that the ministry take steps to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct a special position audit and review of 1MDB so that Malaysians would know the true financial state of affairs of the company.

“We would then be able to determine the cost of the shenanigans to the tax-payers. We will submit the PwC Report to the 1MDB Special Committee set up by the Prime Minister once it is completed,” Lim said.

Special Branch director backs new govt policies

KUALA LUMPUR: The police Special Branch pledged today that it will do all in its capacity to ensure there are no undesirable elements that attempt to disrupt the implementation of policies of the new government.

Commissioner Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador who reported for duty today as the new federal Special Branch director said his department will ensure the government’s plans are executed smoothly without hindrance.

“To realise its vision and expedite its policies, the government needs a department that is 100% professional and dedicated to the noble cause. This is the main role and function of the Special Branch, in establishing peace and thwarting any possible threats, either internally or externally that might hinder the initiatives of the new government,” he told theSun.

Abdul Hamid said he will continue the good work of his predecessor Commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff but will align his focus to the needs of the current government led by Tun Mahathir Mohamad.

Asked if the Special Branch will act against certain parties that post slander and malicious content on the new government in the social media, he said Malaysia is a free country and there is freedom of speech in line with Mahathir’s vision to liberate the rakyat.

“They can criticise and write what they want. However, if they cross the line and post content that threatens the unity of Malaysians and national security then we will take action.”

Earlier at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman, a closed-door handing over of duties ceremony between Abdul Hamid and Mohd Mokhtar took place at about 9.30am.

Abdul Hamid, 60, who went on early retirement in 2015 was recalled to help the department by Mahathir last week.

He is also among the four officials in a new special task force formed on Monday to probe the 1MDB scandal.

In 2015, he went public with his grouse of non-action against those behind the 1MDB scandal, for which he was ostracised by his friends and branded an “enemy of the state”.

After being transferred out of the police force to the Prime Minister’s Department, the exasperated police top brass opted for early retirement and returned to his hometown where he chose to be self-employed as a farmer, tending to his vegetable plot to supplement his pension.

Spy agency under Najib to be disbanded, says Tun M (Updated)

PUTRAJAYA: A covert agency under the former Prime Minister’s Department during the era of Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak will be disbanded.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the agency, Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO), would be rendered unnecessary under the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“We don’t need them. We don’t need their intelligence. I think we are quite intelligent ourselves,” he told a press conference after chairing the first PH’s cabinet meeting after the coalition victory in the 14th General Election.

Dr Mahathir said he had not been fully briefed on the role played by the agency during the administration of the previous Barisan Nasional government.

However, Dr Mahathir stated that he knew the activities conducted by the agency would not serve any good to the present government.

“We don’t want to be spying on the people,” he added.

Asked whether such agency had been established during his first premiership, Dr Mahathir said: “I don’t remember having this so-called intelligence agency”.

Media reported that a house belonging to a high-ranking female officer, believe to be the head of the agency, was raided over the weekend.

Malaysia Decides reported that the female officer went on leave pending a probe that Najib had handed her important documents two days before GE14.

Infighting at Najib’s intelligence agency, police report filed

PETALING JAYA: A police report has been filed after officials turned on each other at the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO), a powerful intelligence agency within the former Prime Minister’s Office under Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

A top official of the secret intelligence and surveillance agency has lodged a police report, complaining about a Wikipedia entry that accuses him of syphoning billions of ringgit from the troubled 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund, a news portal reported today.

Malaysia Decides said the 35-year-old complainant said the contents of the entry were aimed at defaming him, along with two other top officers of the intelligence unit, known officially as the Research Department.

The news portal said it had seen a copy of the police report. It added that the complainant said a screen of the Wikipedia page had been circulated in the messenger application WhatsApp to his friends within the department as well as those outside the circle.

He said he believed the insertion in Wikipedia was the work of a former staffer.

“The person had accused me of managing monies in amount of RM3 billion, including helping my top officer in buying luxury vehicles, home and seven palaces,” the portal quoted the unnamed complainant as saying.

“The person also said two of the posh homes were located in London and Budapest. Not only that, the person also defamed us by saying we are trying to sabotage the Pakatan Harapan government.”

Rohingya militants massacred Hindus in last year’s turmoil: Amnesty

YANGON: Rohingya militants massacred Hindu villagers during last year’s uprising in Myanmar’s Rakhine, Amnesty International said Wednesday in a report that sheds fresh light on the complex ethnic rivalries in the state.

The killings took place on Aug 25, 2017, the report said, the same day that the Rohingya insurgents staged coordinated deadly raids on police posts that tipped the state into crisis.

Myanmar’s military responded to the insurgent raids with harsh reprisals that forced some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims out of the mainly Buddhist country where they have faced persecution for years.

The UN says the army crackdown amounted to “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya, with soldiers and vigilante mobs accused of killing civilians and burning down villages.

But the Rohingya militants have also been accused of abuses.

Those include the mass killing of Hindus in the far north of Rakhine, where the military took reporters – including AFP – to witness the exhumation of putrid bodies from a grave in September.

The militants, known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), denied responsibility at the time.

But Amnesty International said Wednesday that a new investigation had confirmed the group killed 53 Hindus “execution-style” – mostly children – in the Kha Maung Seik village cluster in northern Maungdaw.

“Our latest investigation on the ground sheds much-needed light on the largely under-reported human rights abuses by ARSA during northern Rakhine state’s unspeakably dark recent history,” said Tirana Hassan, crisis response director at Amnesty International.

Victims rounded up

“Accountability for these atrocities is every bit as crucial as it is for the crimes against humanity carried out by Myanmar’s security forces in northern Rakhine state,” she added.

Citing interviews with eight survivors, the rights group said dozens were rounded up, blindfolded and marched out of town by masked men and Rohingya villagers in plain clothes.

“They slaughtered the men. We were told not to look at them … They had knives. They also had some spades and iron rods,” 18-year-old Raj Kumari told Amnesty.

He said he hid in the bush and watched as his father, brother and uncle were killed.

The report said that in a separate village nearby called Ye Bauk Kyar, 46 Hindu men, women and children disappeared on the same day. It cited information from local Hindus who believe they were killed by ARSA.

While Rakhine was home mainly to Buddhists and Muslims before the crisis, it also boasts a small but longstanding Hindu minority – many of whom were brought in by British colonisers looking for cheap labour – as well as several other smaller ethnic groups.

Myanmar has faced a flood of international condemnation for the its persecution of the Rohingya, who are stateless and have been targeted by bouts of communal violence.

The government denies any widespread abuses and has accused rights groups of a pro-Rohingya bias, while highlighting the suffering of other ethnic groups swept up in the violence.

“It is important that the international pressure on Myanmar won’t favour ARSA’s actions,” government spokesman Zaw Htay told AFP when asked about the Amnesty report.

But David Mathieson, an independent analyst, said the report should strengthen the argument for Myanmar to allow independent investigations into the crisis.

Authorities have severely restricted media access to the conflict zone and barred UN investigators from entering the country.

“Failing to grant access to humanitarian aid workers and researchers and journalists will continue the official culture of denial, which has zero credibility in the eyes of the world,” he told AFP. — AFP

Hamid is new Special Branch chief

KUALA LUMPUR: The Special Branch former second-in-command Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador, who was constructively steered out of the police force after he broke ranks with his superiors over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, will report for duty today as the department’s new chief.

Abdul Hamid, 60, who went on early retirement in 2015, was asked by Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad last week to take the post.

He replaces Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff, who steps down as head of the Special Branch and retires from the police force today.

Mohd Mokhtar, who was due for mandatory retirement when he was head of the federal narcotics crime investigation department in August last year, was given a one-year extension of service.

Abdul Hamid is also among four officials in a new special task force formed on Monday to probe the 1MDB scandal.

The other three are MACC chief Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, former MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed and former attorney-general Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

In 2015, Abdul Hamid went public to express dissatisfaction over non-action against those behind the 1MDB scandal.

After being transferred to the Prime Minister’s Department, he opted for early retirement.

All Umno top posts contestable: Zahid

KUALA LUMPUR: All Umno top posts will be up for contest in the party’s coming elections, announced Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Umno vice-president who is performing the duties of the president said the decision was made after the party’s supreme council members agreed to it unanimously in a meeting today.

This decision meant the motion of no-contest for the party’s top two post, namely president and deputy president, that was passed by the Umno general assembly in December last year was null and void.

“We ask that any Umno members who wish to offer themselves for any positions in the party to register between June 1 and June 17.

“All the party positions that are available according to Umno’s constitution are open for contest, including the posts of president, deputy president, vice-presidents and the wing’s chief,” he told a press conference after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting, here, today.

“Hence, the question of no-contest for party posts does not arise. In fact, (Umno vice-president) Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and I are open and welcome that all these posts be contested,” he added.

The announcement came in light of several Umno leaders voicing out and calling for the party to open its top positions for any members to contest.

Ahmad Zahid however did not specify when the party election would take place.

He added that the qualification for contest would be subject to the candidates fulfilling all requirements as enshrined in the party’s constitution.

On Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull’s claim that he had met with then-cabinet members to urge that Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak be replaced as prime minister following the 1MDB issue, Ahmad Zahid said he had no knowledge of the matter.

When press further, he said: “I don’t know. Datuk Hisham, did he meet you?,” he said, gesturing to Hishammuddin who was seated next to him.

“I don’t know, we are no longer in the cabinet,” he laughed off.

Mohd Shukri had earlier today revealed that he had met with all ministers to appeal that Najib be replaced, but that only Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah spoke out. — AFP