MCMC Investigates Astro’s product promotion contents

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has issued a warning to the broadcasting company Astro about the contents of promotional products which allegedly ridicule people’s skins and faces at the Gegar Vaganza 5 Concert programme broadcast through the Astro Ria channel recently.

In a statement here today, MCMC said an investigation was conducted following public complaints on the matter.

“Astro attended a meeting with MCMC on Nov 7 to explain the details of the incident as well as the precautionary measures and corrective actions taken.

“The apologies from the sponsor and Astro were released during the programme broadcasted on Nov 11,” said the statement, adding that as in an effort to prevent a repeat of the incident, Astro had also pre-recorded any segment involving the major sponsor of the programme.

“The MCMC view the matter seriously and have issued a warning to Astro to ensure that incidents like this do not happen again.

“Astro, the Individual Content Application Service Provider (CASP-i) licence holder is subject to compliance with the Special License Terms and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code,” said the statement. — Bernama

MYTV, TM must resolve digital tv broadcast disturbance

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has urged MYTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd (MYTV) and Telekom Malaysia (TM) to resolve the digital television testing service disturbances currently taking place.

MCMC, in a statement, said that until Nov 14, transmission tests to several states, namely. Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak had been affected.

“MCMC has held several meetings with MYTV and TM to facilitate the problems.

“MYTV and TM have been instructed to solve the relevant problems in order for the digital tv service to go on air for the audience as soon as possible,” it said.

MYTV was previously reported to have asked MCMC to intervene in resolving its dispute with TM.

The statement also stated that MCMC understood that MYTV has submitted the proposed solution to the problem for TM’s considerations.

“For the sake of viewers, MYTV and TM should not forget about the delivery of their services to the people. They need to work harder to solve their commercial problems quickly.

“MCMC is closely monitoring the development of the digital tv project to ensure that the analogue broadcast closure target remains in the first quarter of 2019,” it said.

The statement also said people could still watch television shows provided by free television services on the analogue platform. — Bernama

Govt mulls idea of cryptocurrency: Tun M

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is mulling with the idea of cryptocurrency, especially on the role it might replace, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

“It is her opinion. (But) We are starting it, anyway,” he said when asked about International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde’s remarks on the possibility of central banks around the world considering issuing digital currency.

Various central banks around the world are seriously considering the ideas, including Canada, China, Sweden, and Uruguay.

“Generally, we are thinking about it. Even the government is thinking about it. To find out the role they replace,” he said at the end of his visit to Singapore today.

On Harapan Coin, Dr Mahathir said it was not given much thought yet.

“We may accept it … but depends on how well it functions,” he said.

Asked if Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) would agree to it, he said: “I haven’t spoken to BNM.”

Cryptocurrency or digital currency is not a legal tender in Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir went on to say that more interesting than cryptocurrency was a cashless society.

“More interesting is the cashless society of India. They hardly use any money.

“When money is not used, corruption is less possible,” he said, adding that he had spoken to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about it.

Dr Mahathir also said that he did put forward the idea of a common East Asian Currency, but only for trading purposes and not for domestic use during the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) Summit.

“This is an old of idea of mine. I mentioned we should have an East Asian Currency only for trading, not for domestic use.

“That was an old proposal of mine. I thought that this (is) something (that) would enable even foreign countries to handle problems of not having enough foreign exchange,” he said.

On the US-China trade war issue, he said ASEAN countries were concerned about it.

“China itself is not keen on the trade war (as) it felt it was not contributing to the development of peace in the region,” he said when asked if the issue was discussed during the meetings of the just concluded 33rd ASEAN Summit and related meetings. — Bernama

Rosmah, Rizal allowed bail at RM1m each

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here today to two counts of soliciting and accepting bribes totalling RM1.5 million in connection with the supply and installation of solar energy at 369 rural schools in Sarawak two years ago, was allowed bail of RM1 million in one surety.

Judge Azman Ahmad allowed Rosmah, 66, to pay RM500,000 of the bail amount today and the balance to be settled within seven days.

He set Dec 10 for mention.

Earlier, the prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Umar Saifuddin Jaafar proposed bail of RM1 million for Rosmah and for the woman to surrender her passport to the court.

Lawyer Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent, representing Rosmah, did not object to the amount but requested for the payment to be made in instalment within 10 days.

He also informed that court that his client’s passport had been surrendered to another Sessions Court in another case.

However, Umar Saifuddin objected to the bail payment to be made instalment.

Meanwhile, Najib was also present in court and was seen holding Rosmah’s hands as they entered the courtroom.

Also seen in the court were Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki , Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa, former Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Kepala Batas Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican and former Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

Meanwhile, in another Sessions Court, Najib’s former special officer, Datuk Rizal Mansor, 44, who pleaded not guilty to four counts of soliciting and accepting bribes, involving RM5.5 million, for himself and Rosmah over the same project, was allowed bail of RM1 million in two sureties.

Judge Rozina Ayob, who presided the case, allowed Rizal’s lawyer, Ridha Abdah Subri’s application for the bail amount to be paid in instalment with RM500,000 to be paid today and the balance before Nov 22.

Rizal was also ordered to surrender his passport to the court.

Earlier, the prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Kamal Baharin Omar said both parties agreed to the bail amount, but the prosecution objected to it being paid in instalments.

Ridha Abdah, in requesting for his client to be allowed to pay the bail in instalments, said her client had given full cooperation to MACC during the investigation.

“My client also came to court today voluntarily and had never breached his bail condition when he was in remand. Today, the bailors for my client are in court. They are his wife and a younger sister,” she said.

Kamal Baharin also told the court that the case facing Rizal was related to Rosmah’s case.

“Therefore, I request for time for the prosecution to apply for both the cases to be heard jointly,” he added.

Rozina ordered the prosecution to file an official application and set Nov 29 for mention. — Bernama

Ministries looking into female genital mutilation: Wan Azizah

KUALA LUMPUR: The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is in discussion with the Health Ministry on female genital mutilation (FGM) in Malaysia, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.

“We will discuss and look at it. If it doesn’t give any benefit, then we should do something (about it),” she said to reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said that though FGM is seen as a cultural practice in Malaysia, it is not the same as the practice in Africa.

She was asked to comment on the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) statement yesterday that Putrajaya had misled the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on human rights on the FGM when it had defended FGM on female infants as a ‘cultural obligation’ in Malaysia.

Responding to a question on a separate issue, Dr Wan Azizah said the welfare of teachers and their family members must be taken into consideration.

She said it is important to ensure that the environment where the teachers serve is conducive for them.

“If their children need help, the Welfare Department must look into this,” she said.

A female teacher had uploaded a post on her Facebook account expressing disappointment that her application for a transfer next year has been turned down.

She admitted that she suffered from depression and asked whether anyone can offer to take care of her six children aged from two to 14. — Bernama

Marriage laws to be amended soon: Wan Azizah

KUALA LUMPUR: Two laws pertaining to child marriages are set to be amended as soon as next year, according to Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, or Act 164, and Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, or Act 303, would be tabled in the lower house next year as the government bids to tighten regulations to protect minors

“The amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, which will focus on non-Muslim underage marriages, will be tabled to the cabinet in 2019.

“These amendments will, among other things, include the need to present a social report, health report and police report for the purpose of underage marriage under Act 164, which is helmed by the Home Ministry.

“The government also plans to table a bill for both these acts (Act 164 and 303) during the second meeting of the Dewan Rakyat in 2019 at the latest,” she told the Dewan Rakyat, here, yesterday.

Wan Azizah was responding to a question by Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) on the efforts being taken by the government to improve and tighten requirements for underage marriage and whether certain acts would be amended to stop any form of such marriages in the future.

The Women, Family and Community Development Minister said in addition to the proposed amendments, the Syariah Judiciary Department has also prepared a standard operating procedure (SOP) for underage marriages involving Muslims, that was enforced beginning July 23, 2018.

“Among others, the SOP requires a social report from the state Welfare Department, a health report from the state Health Department and a police report to be presented to the Syariah court.

“Information such as the applicant and bride’s background, income, social status, financial ability and education status are also among the elements required to be stated in the social report so the Syariah judge can make a decision that will protect the children involved,” she said.

Wan Azizah also urged more states to follow the footstep of Selangor and increase the minimum age allowed for a wedding from 16 to 18.

To date, only Selangor has made the necessary amendments to increase the minimum age, while Melaka, Penang, Kedah, Johor and Sabah have expressed desire to do so, she added.

ICERD will not have impact on Article 153

KUALA LUMPUR: Article 153 of the Federal Constitution will not be abolished even if the country chooses to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the government has assured.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator P. Waytha Moorthy explained that according to Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a state is allowed to exclude or make reservations on certain provisions of treaties they sign, to accommodate their laws.

“Reservation means a unilateral statement however phrased or named, made by a state when signing, ratifying, accepting, or approving a treaty whereby it purports to exclude or to modify the legal effects of certain provision in their application to the state,” he told the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.

The minister in charge of national unity and social well-being was responding to a question by Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) on what guarantee the government has that ratifying Icerd would not lead to the abolishment of Article 153.

Previously, other leaders from the opposition have also expressed disagreement and worry that the move to ratify ICERD could take away the special rights of the Bumiputra.

Article 153 grants the Yang di-Pertuan Agong the responsibility to safeguard the special position of Malaysia and natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities, by among other things, establishing a quota system.

ICERD is one of the remaining six United Nations (UN) treaties that the government is looking to – and yet – ratify.

Waytha reiterated the government’s commitment that any decisions made regarding the ratification of ICERD would be realistic, practical and could be observed without conflicting the constitution.

He added that any decision on the matter would only be finalised upon discussions with the relevant stakeholders.

“The government will undertake an active approach of consulting all relevant party in the first quarter of next year.

“This is necessary in order to get the approval from all quarters before we make a final decision. However, there is no timeline for this,” he said.