North and South Korea’s leaders meet inside DMZ

SEOUL: South Korea said President Moon Jae-in met with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday inside the Demilitarised Zone dividing the two nations, a day after US President Donald Trump said his summit with Pyongyang could still go ahead.

The Blue House, South Korea’s presidential office, said the two leaders held talks for two hours in the truce village of Panmunjom, where they had met last month and made a declaration vowing to improve ties.

“They exchanged views and discussed ways to implement the Panmunjom Declaration and to ensure a successful US North Korea summit,” the Blue House said in a statement, adding Moon would make a personal statement on Sunday morning.

On Thursday Trump cancelled his upcoming meeting with Kim which had been due to take place in Singapore on June 12 — only to reverse course a day later and say it could still go ahead after productive talks were held with the North Korean oficials.

The original decision to abandon the historic summit blindsided South Korea which had brokered a remarkable detente between Washington and Pyongyang after months of Kim and Trump trading insults and threats of war.

Pictures released by the Blue House showed Moon shaking hands with both Kim and his sister Kim Yo Jong, who has played a major public role in recent talks with the South, including leading a delegation across the border during February’s Winter Olympics.

The meeeting between Moon and Kim took place in a grand building on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a surreal and heavily fortified village that lies between the two countries and marks the spot where the armistice ending the Korean War in 1953 was signed. — AFP

Govt agencies’ to go down to villages to provide services in Batu Sapi: Liew

SANDAKAN: Batu Sapi Member of Parliament Datuk Liew Vui Keong will give priority to government agencies’ ‘turun padang’ (go down to the ground) to the villages in the parliamentary constituency.

The Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) permanent chairman said this was to ensure that villagers did not have to travel far to visit government agencies’ offices.

He said the programme would commence in July and government agencies involved included the National Registration Department, Health Department, Social Welfare Department and Land and Survey Department.

He said through the programme, government agencies would provide services, advice and relevant information to the people.

“In Warisan, we want to make a difference and we want the people not only to benefit from the services of various government agencies that are available but also in terms of accessibility,” he said. — Bernama

Need for national debt policy review: Ramon Navaratnam

KUALA LUMPUR: The national debt policy must be reviewed, revised and monitored more closely in order to avoid mistakes of the past, according to the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (Asli) Centre of Public Policy Studies.

In making the suggestion, its chairperson Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said this must be done to prevent the country from falling into deeper debt.

“There has to be a new debt policy that is comprehensive and transparent for the rakyat (people) to appreciate and approve,” he said in a statement today.

The new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has revealed that the federal government debt and liabilities amounted to a total of RM1.087 trillion as at Dec 31, 2017.

He said the debt revelation was a welcome tribute to transparency and accountability and showed a definite move towards greater integrity and more good governance.

“We can only hope that the new PH government will carry on this high commitment to good governance persistently and consistently in the future.

“Otherwise, even the new PH government will face severe criticism as evidenced by the strong and unprecedented reaction against the past Barisan Nasional government’s poor performance and an indifference to good governance,” he added. — Bernama

Our focus is on clearing the mess left behind by BN: Hannah

KUALA LUMPUR: Hannah Yeoh predicts her first term as an MP in Kuala Lumpur is going to be messy as the focus is now on cleaning up what the previous government has left behind.

The Segambut MP said Kuala Lumpur does not have a gazetted city plan which led to massive over-development without proper facilities and dispersal plans in place.

“At least in Selangor, we have a local plan and guidelines for developers to build. In Kuala Lumpur, this is the challenge, because the previous federal territories minister refused to gazette the local plan,” Yeoh said today.

“Now anyone can build as high as they want without a traffic dispersal plan which causes congestion and an overload of traffic in highly dense residential areas.”

She said her immediate plan for her constituency is the traffic situation, especially in high-density residential areas such as Mont Kiara and Dutamas.

“Now we also have to go to City Hall (DBKL) and look at how many developments are under construction, from there we need to ask those developers to come up with a proper traffic dispersal plan before they go on building,” she said.

Hannah was speaking after having a town hall meeting with residents of the Dutamas Raya working committee to talk about issues affecting them.

Hannah said they are currently waiting for the second batch of ministers to be sworn in because they are in the dark as to whether there will be a minister to handle affairs in the city.

“In KL we want to know if there will be a minister or ministry assigned to handle this like the previous federal territories ministry. This way, DBKL also can get direction because currently, DBKL is also looking for direction,” she said.

The former House speaker for the Selangor state assembly said that DBKL has to make efforts to gazette the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 without making excuses.

“DBKL says there are a lot of changes from the first proposal of the plan so that is why they can’t gazette it, for me that is not a problem,” she said.

“We have already spent a lot of money on the plan, gazette it first then we will work on the changes.”

The Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 was gazetted in 2004 and outlined the goals, development strategies and policies of the development of Kuala Lumpur.

Despite a plan to gazette the KLCP2020 draft in 2013, it remained a draft until last year when Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor announced that it would not be gazetted in its present state as it was due to expire by 2020.

Azmin withdraws appeal to get Jho Low extradited

KUALA LUMPUR: The newly-minted Economic Affairs minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali has withdrawn his appeal to compel the arrest and extradition of Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low over the scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Azmin had named the Inspector General of Police (IGP) as the sole respondent in his application to seek an order of mandamus for the IGP to take all necessary steps to arrest and bring back Jho Low.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya, who represented Azmin, said as the new government is showing clear commitment to investigate into the 1MDB scandal, the appeal is being withdrawn.

“This is due to the fact the new government has clearly shown commitment to investigate the 1MDB scandal, including apprehending Jho Low,” she said.

The Selangor mentri besar had appealed at the apex court against the High Court’s decision that had dismissed the judicial review application.

He was seeking a court order to locate, apprehend and produce Jho Low before the court to face criminal charges for offences under Sections 409 and 420 of the Penal Code for criminal breach of trust and cheating.

Azmin alleged that Jho Low is suspected of various criminal offences related to 1MDB.

Police probe teacher for allegedly caning Year Two pupil

PETALING JAYA: Police have initiated an investigation into an incident where a disciplinary teacher was alleged to have caned a Year Two pupil’s legs so badly that he suffered bruises and swelling.

In the May 22 incident, the victim got into an argument with a classmate who allegedly hid his school bag.

Ampang Jaya district police chief ACP Hamzah Alias said police received a report from the victim’s 43-year-old father who is a manager.

“He claimed in the report that his son told him about the caning when he came home at around 1 pm,” he said.

Hamzah said the man checked his son’s legs and found eight swollen marks and wounds.

“He claims that the misunderstanding between his son and another student triggered following an incident where someone hid the victim’s school bag,” he added.

However, Hamzah revealed that investigations also pointed out that the disciplinary teacher had received a report from another student who claimed to have been shoved and kicked by the boy.

“He claims that he took action by caning the boy but not to the extent of the injuries they were claiming.

“We are investigating the case as voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons,” he said.

Police had recorded a statement from the disciplinary teacher so far.

Johor removes party quota for affordable housing

KOTA ISKANDAR: Johor will scrap the political party quota system for allocation of affordable housing units, which has been in place for decades.

Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian said 3,000 of the 16,010 houses under the Johor Affordable Housing Scheme (RMMJ) built over the last three years over-allocated to Barisan Nasional (BN) component party members.

Speaking said this after chairing his first Exco meeting here yesterday, he said it was part of Pakatan Harapan’s pledges to remove the 20% quota for the housing scheme to be fair to all.

The scheme has three types of houses, with prices set at RM40,000, RM80,000 and RM150,000.

Osman said the government will set up a committee to work out the allocation system without the quota.
The mentri besar also said RM50,000 would be allocated for each state assemblyman to service their constituencies this year.

“The allocation was given to all 56 state constituency including those won by the opposition,” he said.

The government will allocate RM993,000 for mosques and suraus for Ramadan. Mosques will be allocated RM500 while surau will get RM300 as special financial assistance.

He said similar financial assistant will be allocated for houses of worship of other religions. “Johor economy is good, and our debt is well under control,” he said.

Arul Kanda summoned to Finance Ministry

PUTRAJAYA: 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy is believed to have been questioned by Finance Ministry officials including Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng following a meeting at the ministry, here.

Arul, who arrived at the ministry around 2.40pm was scheduled to meet Lim to explain the troubled national sovereign fund’s plans to settle RM143.75 million due to be paid by 1MDB to lenders by May 30.

However, after almost three hours, Arul who was escorted by several police personnel left the ministry without speaking to members of the press.

It is learnt that his employment contract as 1MDB president and CEO will expire on June 30.

Lim also revealed that Senior Treasury officials such as Deputy Treasurer-General Datuk Siti Zauyah Mohamad Desa and Auditor General Tan Seri Madinah Mohamad were blocked from accessing certain accounts and reports with most of these “red files” pertaining with 1MDB.