Malaysia’s vernacular schools not the problem

Those who oppose vernacular schools … are driven by their desire to produce a society moulded in a way that they desire. Please keep element of choice for both parents and students.

AMONG those opposing vernacular schools, you can detect one umbrella argument that is continuously used by many parties. They say that the existence of vernacular schools is a threat to national identity and a hindrance to unity. Their fear is that this student segregation will lead to a fracturing of our society.

I disagree with this view. I think they confuse the purpose of education and there is also a lot of hypo­crisy going on.

Let us firstly look at the concept of schooling. Historically, the entity known as a school has its origin in Prussia in the early 1800s.

At that time, Prussians were looking at methods to produce citizens who would loyally work and fight for causes determined by their rulers. So they devised a system where, from a very young age, their citizens were trained to live a regimented life.

It did not matter what your abilities and interests were. As long as you were of the same age, you would be grouped together and forced to learn subjects determined by the elites.

Like the military, there was heavy emphasis on leadership by head teachers and teachers, while students were mere recipients of what was taught to them. That regimentation remains as the nature of modern schools.

After two centuries of bureaucratic evolution, schools these days are not about providing holistic education to support the child’s individual growth anymore. Instead it is about producing cohorts of citizens who can be easily grouped and compartmentalised.

Every one of us who went through the modern school system has been compartmentalised into groups based on our exam results.

And that is also why it has become the norm for those in power to use the school as a tool for social engineering. From day one, since Prussian times, the purpose of a school has always been about social engineering. Yet the vast majority of people today confuse schools with education.

In reality, you can still get an education without going to what have become our traditional schools. Education can be obtained from home, or in informal groups that come together for what is today known as “home-schooling”.

More interestingly, there is also a global interest in concepts such as unschooling, Sudbury schools, and democratic schools.

Those who oppose vernacular schools usually do not argue about the quality of education received by the students. They are not driven by the desire to catalyse social mobility by ensuring everyone has access to quality education. But they are driven by their desire to produce a society moulded in a way that they approve of.

The elites have a concept of what they feel society should be like and they want to use the Prussian factory-like model of schools to produce underlings who behave according to their pre-determined mould. To legitimise their mould, they label it as unity.

Note that their desire for unity has nothing to do with education. Their focus is on schooling. And this is where the hypocrisy creeps in.

Many of the people who want to promote their mould of unity have never attended any of our government schools. They don’t even send their own kids to our schools.

They step into our schools perhaps for a few hours a year for hyped-up visits, yet they speak as if they really know. More amazingly, they speak as if they actually have faith in our school system when their actions show otherwise.

In reality, these elites campaign for something that will never affect them. When it comes to their own families, they send their children for a “better” education elsewhere.

They want to limit our choices on schools because they know that they can always pay their way out and send their own children to a school of their choice.

This is the tragedy of some of the privileged. Instead of looking for ways to make sure everyone can afford school choices like them, they want to kill choice for everyone who cannot afford to pay.

Let me pose a rhetorical question.

If unity can only be achieved by making students from different backgrounds come together in one school, then why do they just want to close vernacular schools?

To be specific, data shows that Chinese schools have higher ethnic diversity than other schools. I can think of many non-Chinese schools that are completely mono-ethnic. If we are objective, it is not the Chinese schools that need to be closed down.

This is why I say that there is a lot of hypocrisy in the debate. Worse, that hypocrisy is clouded by confusion about whether we want to educate or we just want to have factory-like schooling.

The vernacular school debate is a debate of the elite. For us common people, our sole desire is to be able to provide our kids with quality education.

It is possible to provide school choices for the commoners, such as by using school vouchers so that choice is provided but schools are still free for the students.

Of course, it will take time to move towards this choice-based system. Until we get there, I beg the elites to stop trying to kill what few choices remain for us poorer citizens of this country.

By Wan Saiful Wan Jan The Star

Thinking Liberally

Wan Saiful Wan Jan is chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs ( The views expressed here are entirely

the writer’s own.

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N. Korea nuclear test short of strategic deterrent, blame it on THAAD

North Korea’s official media announced today the country had successfully conducted a nuclear test, confirming international media reports that Pyongyang had carried out its fifth nuclear test. A 5.0-magnitude earthquake in North Korea was detected by overseas monitoring services. South Korea claims the explosion was equivalent to about 10,000 tons of TNT, the most powerful one North Korea has tested thus far.

Today’s test happened only eight months after the claimed hydrogen bomb test of January, the shortest time span between any two previous tests. Two weeks ago, North Korea conducted a submarine-launched ballistic missile test, and a few days ago it launched three missiles.

Pyongyang seems to be set to intimidate the US and South Korea, who are exerting more military pressure. It is also trying to force the international community to abandon their efforts to seek a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. But the efforts only drew a backlash. It has created anger and embarrassment, but unlikely to scare the outside world. The other five countries of the Six-Party Talks, which are now in a deadlock, are unlikely to make concessions.

North Korea should bear in mind that nuclear weapons are only a strategic deterrent tool and cannot be resorted to. North Korea has scarce resources and its economy is limited, therefore, even if it has the ability to make nuclear bombs, the number of its nuclear arsenal would be small, so it could not reach the minimum threshold of a global nuclear power. Its nuclear capability would pale in comparison with the nuclear prowess of the US. The US believes if North Korea uses nuclear weapons first, it would lead to its destruction. North Korea is not capable of ensuring an effective strike-back after being hit by a nuclear weapon. Several factors combined, North Korea cannot build a nuclear deterrent in the traditional sense.

Look at how much Pyongyang has sacrificed to develop nuclear weapons. It has become the world’s most isolated country. It is suffering from extreme economic difficulties and sees no hope of getting out of trouble any time soon. No North Korean leader has visited China in the past few years. Its top leader diplomacy is almost zero. Owning nuclear weapons appears to have added a strategic tool for North Korea. But the severance of diplomatic channels means the “growth in national strength” cannot transform to influence.

Northeast Asia is in a mess. The THAAD issue has led to a stalemate between China and the US-South Korea alliance. North Korea is taking advantage of this, hastening its nuclear tests. Seoul believes the new North Korean tests make it more necessary for the US to deploy the THAAD missile system.

They are all wrong. What they are doing will only drag Northeast Asia into deeper chaos. The Korean Peninsula will become an even more dangerous powder keg.

Owning nuclear weapons won’t ensure North Korea’s political security. On the contrary, it is poison that is slowly suffocating the country. It is turning into a country possibly with one or two nuclear bombs but nothing else – no prosperity, no opening up, no confidence in national security. Pyongyang will have to always be on alert.

North Korea has not become any stronger because of its fifth nuclear test. The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue knot has merely tightened.

It’s North Korea’s national day on Friday. We understand how eager the country wants to boost morale and enhance national cohesion. But the nuclear weapon that’s more like a firework for the North Korean people may well become one that signals a new crisis. We sincerely hope North Korea is aware of the situation and open to advice. Global Times

Blame DPRK’s fifth nuke test on THAAD

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said on Friday, its 68th National Day, that it “successfully” tested a nuclear warhead in the morning. This is the fifth nuclear test conducted by Pyongyang since 2006 and the second this year. The DPRK only on Wednesday rejected a UN Security Council statement condemning its latest missile tests and threatened to take “further significant measures”.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement censuring Friday’s nuclear test and urging the DPRK to meet its denuclearization commitments.

In the Republic of Korea, the presidential office reportedly held a National Security Council meeting on Friday afternoon after “a seismic event” of magnitude 5.3 was detected near the DPRK’s northeastern nuclear test site.

The nuclear test carried out by the DPRK on Friday should not come as a big surprise given the planned deployment of the US’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in the ROK. In other words, the almost confirmed deployment of THAAD, an anti-missile defense system, has prompted Pyongyang to continue its ill-designed foreign policy.

Judging by its latest nuclear test, the DPRK still stands firm on its strategic misreading, believing that by developing nuclear weapons it will pressure the United States to respond to its concerns. That also explains why the DPRK has conducted missile tests this year even though THAAD might not necessarily pose a major threat to it.

Besides, a nuclear test on the 68th National Day of the DPRK also has a noteworthy political implication – that top leader Kim Jong-un will keep expanding the country’s nuclear arsenal.

But it does not suggest the situation on the Korean Peninsula is out of control, because Pyongyang’s nuclear efforts usually follow US and ROK military moves.

China is determined to divert this trajectory toward a peaceful direction. But admittedly, China’s strategic choices in the face of a rising nuclear threat in the neighborhood are limited because of the geopolitical complexity and the denuclearization process may take five to 10 years to complete. So Beijing has been urging all parties concerned to make more concerted efforts to becalm the ensuing turbulence.

Washington and Seoul, in particular, should sincerely rethink their decision to install THAAD on the peninsula and review their other strategic mistakes that have prompted Pyongyang to make the wrong steps.

A vicious cycle is in the making between the US and the ROK on one side and the DPRK on the other, which can make peaceful reunification of the peninsula even more unlikely. In fact, if tensions continue to rise on the peninsula, the DPRK and the ROK will eventually be the worst victims.

The peninsula policies adopted by the US and the ROK are not conducive to lasting peace, as they have exhausted the very few opportunities to replace the 1953 armistice with a peace treaty.

As US President Barack Obama will leave office in four months and his ROK counterpart Park Geun-hye faces a presidential election next year, there is hope their successors (if there is one in the ROK) would make a difference and forge a permanent peace and security mechanism with China.

The author is a researcher in Asia-Pacific strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The article is an excerpt from his interview with China Daily’s Cui Shoufeng.

By Wang Junsheng (China Daily)

The author is a researcher in Asia-Pacific strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The article is an excerpt from his interview with China Daily’s Cui Shoufeng.

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Philippine President calls Obama the “son of a bitch”, reveals cracks in ties as he refuses to be lectured on human rights

Duterte: Who is Obama to ask me about human rights?

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called Barack Obama a “son of a w****”/”son of a bitch” on Monday as he vowed not to be lectured by the US leader on human rights when they meet in Laos.

The acid-tongued Duterte bristled at warnings he would face questioning by the US president over a crime war in the Philippines that has claimed more than 2,400 lives in just over two months.

“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum,” Duterte told a news conference shortly before flying to Laos to attend the summit.

“We will be wallowing in the mud like pigs if you do that to me.”

Duterte was due to hold a bilateral meeting with Obama on Tuesday afternoon on the sidelines of a summit of global leaders hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Vientiane, the Lao capital.

In response to Duterte’s tirade, Obama said he had asked his staff to assess whether it would be productive for him to meet with Duterte.

Duterte was elected in May after a promise to wage an unprecedented war on illegal drugs that would see tens of thousands of suspects killed.

Official figures released Sunday show that, since Duterte took office on June 30, over 2,400 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations and by suspected vigilantes.

Duterte has angrily rejected criticism from the Catholic Church, human rights groups, legislators and the United Nations.

Duterte vowed Monday the bloodbath would continue as he pursued his goal of eradicating illegal drugs in the Philippines.

“More people will be killed, plenty will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets. Until the (last) drug manufacturer is killed, we will continue and I will continue,” he said.

Duterte insisted he would not take orders from the United States, a former colonial ruler of the Philippines, and did not care about how he was perceived.

“I don’t give a shit about anybody observing my behaviour,” he said.

Duterte also used vulgar language to accuse his domestic critics of wanting to please the United States.

“There are others who have the mental capacity of dogs who lap at the a** of the Americans,” he said in reference to his critics.

Duterte is notorious for using offensive language.

During the election campaign Duterte described the US ambassador to Manila as a “son of a w****” and being homosexual.

This was in response to the ambassador’s criticism of Duterte for making a joke about wanting to rape a “beautiful” Australian missionary who was killed in a Filipino jail.

IN QUOTES | Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines’ president 

IN QUOTES | Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines’ president

“A leader must be a terror to the few who are evil in order to protect the lives and well-being of the many who are good.”

“If I become president, I advise you people to put up several funeral parlour businesses. They will be packed. I’ll supply the dead bodies.”

“Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte.”

“You son of a whore Pope Francis. Why don’t you just go home?”

“Many are asking what my credentials are and what I can do for the Philippines. They are telling me that they heard I am a womaniser. That is true. That is very true.”

“I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first, what a waste.” – The Telegraph UK

Insult reveals cracks in US-Philippine ties

“Son of a bitch.” This is how Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte referred to US President Barack Obama on Monday. This has set a dilemma for Washington. When Obama was asked to respond to the remarks, he said the Philippine president was a “colorful” person, showing a generous response. However, the White House still expressed its anger through diplomatic means by canceling Obama’s meeting with Duterte that had been scheduled during the ASEAN summit in Laos.

Although Duterte’s spokesperson said he regretted his sharp words, they have spread all over the world. He meant it when he said the Philippines has long ceased to be a colony and that “I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody.” The hostility between the US and the Philippines can hardly be settled easily.

During his election campaign, Duterte was dubbed the Philippines’ Donald Trump. Still, his big mouth as president has shocked the world, especially the West. The Western media listed the figures he has referred to as “sons of bitches,” which included Pope Francis and the US ambassador to the Philippines. Duterte cursed these people when they pointed their fingers at the domestic politics of Manila. After he assumed power, he dealt a heavy blow to drug dealers, while the West accused him of violating human rights.

But Duterte’s actions have been welcomed in his country. Although his dirty words have tarnished his international image to some extent, he apparently attaches more importance to domestic support. He is clear which side matters more to him. The latest friction between Washington and Manila seems accidental, but conflicts between Western values and developing countries are common. Duterte, on behalf of developing countries, only showed that he had had enough.

Many people believe it is time for Manila to seek support from the US as the maritime disputes between Manila and Beijing highlighted the importance of the US-Philippines alliance to the latter. But why did Duterte slap Obama in the face? The reason is that the Philippines does not feel insecure even faced with China’s “threat.” Beijing and Manila do have territorial disputes. But despite US support and a favorable arbitration award to the Philippines, the Philippines gained no real benefits. The alliance with the US is not the only consideration for Manila. The Philippines has shifted the focus back to internal governance. The US needs the Philippines more as it sees this Southeast Asian country as a pawn to counter China.

Chinese netizens applauded Duterte’s words about Obama. But the US-Philippine alliance will remain solid. China should not hold too many illusions. From a long-term perspective, it will not necessarily be easy to deal with the Philippines under his rule.

The human rights issue has brought enmity between the US and its two allies of Turkey and the Philippines. We can judge the role of human rights in US diplomacy. The dispute between China and the US over the issue is worth our observation. – Global Times

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G20 summit recognizes China’s success, a historic starting point for the world, expert said

MOSCOW: The fact that the G20 summit will be held in Hangzhou, China, reflects the global recognition of and respect for China’s giant economic success, a leading Russian economic expert has said.

“The international community admits that China has become a major economic power, which largely determines the economic development of the whole world,” Vyacheslav Kholodkov, head of the International Economic Organisa­tions Department at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, told Xinhua.

As the second-largest economy of the world, China has a strong impact over global economic processes, the economist said, adding that the performance of China’s stock markets and its import of energy resources exert a powerful influence on world markets.

Kholodkov also expressed the belief that the Western media today have exaggerated and distorted the existing problems with the Chinese economy.

“China’s economic success is like a thorn on the side of many Western politicians and journalists, because it shows that there are other more successful models besides the Western liberal economic model,” the expert noted.

In his opinion, the current problems plaguing China were those of structural adjustments and shifts in economic development pattern.

If previously China’s development had been driven mainly by exports, it is now shifting from an export-oriented development model to focusing on domestic demand, Kholodkov said.

Kholodkov saw “nothing dramatic” in such a development, as other countries that experienced similar problems have survived such transitional periods.

China’s GDP grew by 6.9% last year, a rate to be envied by many countries, according to Kholod­kov.

China presents an example for many developing countries, including Russia, which are closely watching China’s experiences and following some of its trends in their political practices, he concluded. — China Daily/Asia News Network

Summit can be historic starting point for the world

The Austria-born American management philosopher Peter Drucker once attributed the absence of right-wing fanaticism in North America to the self-organizational ability of society, represented, first of all, by the thousands of well-managed business enterprises.

That point should be appreciated today, when, eight years after the 2008 global financial crisis, all major economic powers still cannot guarantee a sustainable recovery for the world.

The annual meeting of the G20 bears witness to the shared will and joint efforts of the leading developed and developing economies in the world. All countries have so far remained steadfast in their agreement to hold a defensive line for the globalist agenda. There has not been a full-scale trade war and competitive currency depreciations-at least not yet.

The global financial crisis has cast a very long shadow, with growing income inequality in many places and corporations holding onto their capital instead of investing, and judging from the rising protectionism, along with some ideologically-charged rhetoric, from various political forces, there are some who seem willing to set back or spoil the globalization process.

A genuine “mass flourishing” of businesses is needed to help the world both stay on the course of globalization and avoid the malaise that caused the last crisis.

That is why the G20 created, alongside its annual summit, a business leaders’ meeting, called the Business 20. That is also why the G20 needs not just a business leaders’ meeting, but also a distilled vision of common concerns and necessary actions, which is what President Xi Jinping delivered in his keynote speech at the B20 Summit on Saturday.

Drucker proposed that long-range planning does not deal with future decisions, but with the future of present decisions. In his speech Xi urged all parties to prescribe remedies to the world’s economic problems and explore new sources of growth and expand the space for development.

The foreign guests can see for themselves through Hangzhou, the host city of the G20 and B20 summits, how China has become a leader of growth, as the city is home to many new businesses and new management models.

As Xi said it is an unprecedented achievement for a country with such a large population to realize modernization. The more businesses are created, the more they spread from developed to under-developed areas. In the process, obsolete industries are phased out and new ones emerge, jobs are created, and cities such as Hangzhou become vibrant.

The same process can also prove true elsewhere in the world. – (China Daily)/ANN

China plays a key role in setting G20 agenda

The G20 summit meets against the backdrop of two interrelated global issues.First,since the international financial crisis global growth has been slow. Second, asa result social and geopolitical crises have persisted. China’s proposals for the G20 summit – an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive economy –simultaneously and in an integrated way address both issues.

China’s four proposals are inseparably connected:

Innovation, in technology and in management, logistics, skills and ideas, is indispensable for sustained economic development.

But innovation purely in ideas is insufficient to lead to sustained economic development. Advances in ICT technology, for example, had to be embodied in investment in internet and computer technologyto produce productivity gains. Therefore, the global economy must be invigorated through increased investment, new trade liberalisation agreements, new financial institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and modifications in global economic governance. This requires drawing on numerous resources in global economy and finance.

Development is most powerful if internationally integrated. Since Adam Smith founded modern economics it has been known that the most powerful force developing productivity is division of labour, which in a globalised economy necessarily includes international division of labour.Retreats into protectionism deeply damage the world economy. But advancing international division of labour requires not only legal trade and investment agreements but development of internationally integrated infrastructure making such trade possible and supporting international investment. Such integration highlights the importance of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’initiative,while China supports economic integration in Africa, Latin America, Europe and elsewhere.

Development must be inclusive both between and within countries.Failure of sections of the world’s population to benefit from economic development is dangerous politically. Impoverishment of sections of the population and social disintegration has led to terrorist organisations gaining support, andin some cases open warfare, in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Within advanced economies failure of parts of the population to gain from economic growth strengthens protectionist and xenophobic forces which threaten global economic integration and therefore global prosperity.

Success in developing innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive economic growth will therefore lessen geopolitical and social tensions.

China is in an unequalled position to give leadership on this G20 agenda not only theoretically but due to China’s practical achievements in dealing both with the international financial crisis and over the longer term.From 2007, the last year before the financial crisis, to 2015 China accounted for 46% of world growth measured at current exchange rates – compared to 22% for the second placed US.China was the world economy’s most powerful engine to face the international financial crisis, benefitting both advanced and developing economies.

World Bank data shows 83% of the world’s population still lives in developing countries. Economic development therefore remains the most pressing issue facing humanity. China, the world’s largest developing economy, increased its per capita GDP, the fundamental index of economic development, from 2007 to 2015 by 86% – the fastest of any G20 country.

China playsa key G20 agenda setting role because, in addition to these shorter term anti-crisis trends, China’s historical economic and social achievements are unprecedented.From 1978 onwards China experienced the most rapid economic growth in a major economy in human history. China lifted 728 million people from World Bank defined poverty, 83% of the reduction of those living in poverty in the world. This is greatest contribution of any country to human well-being.

But despite these achievements China’s stress on integrated inclusive growth means China has no conception it can successfully develop alone. Instead China advocates strengthening the G20’s role. G20 economies account for 85% of world GDP, including the largest advanced and developing economies. The G20 is therefore provides an unequalled forum to coordinate measures to deal with the world’s most pressing economic issues.

China’s proposals for an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive economy are therefore crucial not only for this year’s Hangzhou summit but a step towards the G20s strategic development.

By John Ross (People’s Daily Online)

John Ross is Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.

G20 can unlock global economic potential

The 2016 G20 Hangzhou summit will kick off on Sunday and a related meeting, the Business 20, will be held this weekend. As China is the chair of this year’s G20, expectations are running high though some still try to interpret the event through an ideological lens. But the fact that the global governance capability will be mobilized to its maximal extent at this year’s summit may be a common consensus.

China sees G20 as a top item on its agenda and has strived to create favorable conditions for the summit. Some say too much attention has been put on G20. However, the positive significance of a successful G20 overweighs the negative effect. From the perspective of urban development, the summit has promoted Hangzhou’s growth and image.

China is a unique member of G20. It is the world’s second-largest economy and the largest developing country. It has excelled in some areas but the overall economic and social development is not as advanced as in some other countries. China’s high speed development together with its experience, from both successes and mistakes, make us easier to find common ground with both developed nations and emerging markets.

China is sincere about promoting global governance and creating a win-win situation in resolving world economic issues. China’s rise, to some extent, is the result of globalization. Chinese believe strengthening international cooperation is a global trend and are devoted to the win-win principle. We believe the G20 playing a greater role will benefit China and the world.

Compared to the time of the first G20 summit in 2008, the global economic issues have become more complicated and morale has taken a further beating. Eight years after the financial crisis, the developed nations have yet to walk out of the shadows and the emerging markets are facing increasingly grave challenges. G20 needs a passionate summit and the enthusiasm of the Chinese society will help make it happen.

There is still great potential in the global economy and the key is to redistribute resources more reasonably so that less developed regions can drive growth that benefits all sides. The same issue has also been haunting China. The country has been restructuring and developing through the process of reform. The exploration belongs as much to China as to the world.

Macroeconomics may not be the most popular stories. Some Western media tend to politicize the summit or sprinkle their coverage with gossip. The summit only takes two days and the topics proposed by China revolve around the economy. As the global economy is once again at a crossroad, we hope the media can make the call heard for an “Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive” world economy. Global Times


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Islamic State terror attacks on eve of Malaysia’s National Day foiled

KUALA LUMPUR – For months, the three men laid low, going about their daily routine while waiting for the signal to attack to come from Syria.

When at last the instruction came from notorious Islamic State (IS) militant Mohamad Wanndy Moha­mad Jedi at the end of July, the men quickly started gathering arms and putting together a chilling plan.

They were going to attack on the eve of National Day when the rest of their countrymen were celebrating what it meant to be Malaysians and among their targets are a temple in Batu Caves, the Kajang police headquarters and various entertainment outlets.

The men were in the last phase of their plans – even going to the extent of monitoring their targets – when the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division moved in on them.

Anti-terror officers detained the men – a 20-year-old contractor, a 27-year-old butcher and a college student, also 20 – in Selan­gor, Pahang and Kuala Lumpur between Aug 27 and 29.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said all the planning and logistics had been masterminded by Mohamad Wann­dy, who appeared to be pulling the strings among the network of IS militants here.

“They were taking orders from him,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Sources revealed that the contractor was arrested on Aug 27 when officers raided his home in Sungai Merab Luar in Kajang.

“We seized a K75 grenade and a CZ 2075 RAMI pistol along with 24 .9mm bullets. We believe he obtained the weapons from a middleman,” said Khalid.

The man was believed to have picked up the weapons from a drop-off location at a cemetery in Damansara at about 9pm in late July.

“It was no doubt arranged by Mo­hamad Wanndy. Authorities believe that militants from another cell supplied the weapons and placed them at the drop-off point.

“Militants from different cells often do not know each other to reduce the risk of being tracked by the authorities,” a source said.

It is learnt that the butcher was detained in Kampung Paya Kecil in Temerloh, Pahang, while the college student was picked up from his home in AU3, Keramat, in the city.

“The other two did not have weapons with them but authorities believe they were waiting for supplies,” added the source.

Authorities are also not ruling out the possibility that one of the men could have been tasked to pick up a ready-made Improvised Explosive Device.

“Some of their targets were police patrol units in Kajang. The authorities believe that Mohamad Wanndy really wanted his cell members to carry out a big attack on the eve of National Day.

“He wanted to make a big impact as he was not satisfied with the scale of the Movida bomb attack,” a source said.

It is learnt that the three men had been communicating with Moha­mad Wanndy since January but the order to attack was only given on July 30 once they had gotten hold of the explosives and ammunition.

It is also believed that they were planning to escape to Thailand before eventually making their way to Syria, where they are expected to meet Mohamad Wanndy.

With the grenade seized in this latest case, this brings to seven the number of those still unaccounted for after the Movida attack on June 28.

The first known IS attack on home soil injured several people after a grenade was thrown at the Movida Restaurant in Puchong.

Four people are expected to be charged in various courts in Johor for abetting in the bombing of Movida today.

With the latest arrest, the number of militants detained since 2013 has risen to 239 and the attacks foiled to date, 13.

When police detained nine IS mi­­li­­tants in early August, three of them – two were involved in the Mo­­vida bombing – had also been taking orders from Mohamad Wanndy.

They were ordered to launch another attack against an entertainment outlet in Johor.

Mohamad Wanndy has emerged to be the main influence on the IS militant network in the country, with people caught following his orders and raising funds.

By Farik Zolkepli The Star/Asia News Network

Bank Rakyat Chairman, Abdul Aziz nabbed over embezzlement probe

Video: //

MACC picks up bank chief 

PETALING JAYA: Bank Rakyat chairman Jen (ret) Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Haji Zainal has been detained for questioning over a RM15mil case, the second top level person from the bank to be hauled up by the MACC.

The bank’s managing director, Datuk Mustafha Abd Razak, was detained on Thursday and has since been remanded.

MACC investigation director Datuk Azam Baki confirmed that the commission had moved in yesterday.

“I confirm the arrest. It is to facilitate the ongoing investigation,” he said, declining to elaborate further.

A source told The Star that the chairman was detained at his office in Jalan Rakyat at about 1.15pm yesterday.

“Nearly RM1mil of the suspect’s cash in his bank account has been frozen pending the probe. We went to his office to detain him,” he said.

Jen (ret) Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Haji Zainal

The source added that the MACC did not rule out the possibility of freezing other assets belonging to the 65-year-old if the funds were found to be connected to any shady dealings.

“The commission will submit a request tomorrow morning (today) to remand the suspect,” the source said, adding that the graftbusters were aiming to obtain a lengthy remand.

The source said the duo were the only individuals from the bank who were being questioned by MACC over the case.

The chairman and the 48-year-old managing director were detained over a multi-million-ringgit book publishing contract and a project to upgrade the bank system.

The Star reported yesterday that a second banker was being sought by the MACC over the publishing contract and the upgrading project.

It is believed the RM15mil was given to a publishing company to come up with a coffee-table book about a prominent political figure. The deal was for the publisher to print about 20,000 copies but the number printed is said to have been much lower.

A source said that several bank accounts, totalling about RM10mil, have been frozen by the MACC in connection with the case.

Top executives: Mustafha (left) and Abdul Aziz.
Top executives: Mustafha (left) and Abdul Aziz. Datuk Mustafha Abd Razak

Another source told The Star that the MACC suspected several people of collaborating in the project.

“The MACC also wants the mastermind behind this,” the source said.

The MACC has been on crackdown against graft in high places in recent days.

On Aug 15, three government officers – one with the title “Datuk” and another “Datuk Seri” – were arrested by the MACC for graft, misuse of power and money laundering.

All three men, who were employed at a government department, a local authority and a government-linked company, were detained in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Kelantan respectively.

All accounts belonging to them – with deposits totalling more than RM13mil – were frozen.

It is not known if the cases are related.

By Nadirah H. Rodzi The Star

Bank Rakyat chairman remanded over RM15mil graft case to be held for seven days



PUTRAJAYA: Bank Rakyat chairman Jen (ret) Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Haji Zainal has been remanded for seven days to help in the investigation into an alleged corruption case involving RM15mil.

Magistrate Nik Isfahanie Tasnim Wan Ab Rahman granted the request by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for the remand to run until Sept 5.

The 65-year-old is one of three people from the financial institution to be questioned over a multimillion-ringgit book publishing contract and a project to upgrade the bank’s system.

Nearly RM1mil of Abdul Aziz’s cash in his bank account has been frozen pending the probe.

It is learnt that two others from a publishing company have also been further remanded until Friday.

However, the bank’s managing director Datuk Mustafha Abd Razak and a former procurement officer, and another two owners of the publishing company have been released by MACC as investigations against them have been completed.

In the case, RM15mil was believed to have been awarded to the publishing company to come up with a coffee-table book about a prominent political figure.

The deal was for the publisher to print about 20,000 copies but the number produced was said to have been much lower.

In another case involving the alleged abuse of power over a multi­million-ringgit oil pipeline project, six people – five contractors and an officer from an oil-and-gas company – have had their remand extended until Friday.

Two others – a contractor and another officer from the same oil-and-gas company – were released.

Magistrate Nik Isfahanie also allowed for a 27-year-old man, who is the son of a contractor implicated in the case, to be remanded for five days until Saturday.

He was detained at the MACC headquarters when he showed up to give a statement at 5pm yesterday.

MACC has frozen 17 bank accounts, with deposits totalling RM5.5mil, in connection with the case.

It also seized a double-storey house, some jewellery, several luxury cars including four Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari, a Toyota, a Mercedes and a Volkswagen, as well as two motor­cycles.

The managing director of the oil-and-gas company is alleged to have taken a bribe from a sub-contractor for appointing him and approving a falsified invoice for the RM76mil project.

By  Martin Carvalho, Hemananthani Sivanandam, Royce Tan, Joash Ee De Silva The Star/Asia News Network

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Penang low cost housing gone awry?

Probe into housing bribery case

MACC investigating Penang rep’s father for allegedly soliciting money

GEORGE TOWN: The father of Sungai Pinang DAP assemblyman Lim Siew Khim is being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly soliciting money from applicants for low-cost and affordable housing.

It is learnt that MACC has begun calling up several people after a video clip purportedly showing Lim’s father, Keat Seong, was posted on social media on Sunday explaining to some people how to “cut queue” in the state’s housing schemes by paying RM260 for the application form and a few thousand ringgit to one “Uncle Lim”.

Penang MACC director Datuk Abd Aziz Aban could not be reached for comment but it is learnt that the commission had begun gathering information yesterday from the so-called victims, those featured in the video and several Gerakan leaders who held a Monday press conference on this.

Penang MCA deputy chairman Tan Teik Cheng said the case may just be the tip of the iceberg.

He said the Penang government should take action over the alleged soliciting of bribes by Lim’s father, a 68-year-old retiree.

“The state government proudly proclaims its ‘ Competent, Accountable and Transparent’ (CAT) policy, hence it should address the case instead of playing up the drama to divert public attention.

“After all, the demand by Penangites for low-cost housing is still high in view of the exorbitant property prices,” he said in a statement yesterday.

State DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow has also posted on Facebook the photograph of headlines in three Chinese dailies and The Star, which all referred to Lim’s father.

The caption read: “We are politicians and public figures. What we do matters. Unfortunately, what our parents, spouses, in-laws, and even distant cousins do, also matters.”

Penang Gerakan Anti-Corruption and Land spokesman H’ng Khoon Leng said the party would be seeking an audience with the Penang Yang diPertua to ask for the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry into the matter.

State Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said there was no need to form a commission as it came under the purview of the police.

By  Arnold Loh Tan Sin Chow The Star

Lim clarifies video comment

DAP rep forced to explain alleged bribery video statement


GEORGE TOWN: Sungai Pinang DAP assemblyman Lim Siew Khim has been forced to clarify her earlier comments on her father’s alleged corruption case involving affordable housing units after the release of a second video clip on the issue.

“I did receive a call from a youth leader from another party sometime last year but when I confronted my father, he denied any involvement,” she said after opening a Youth Empowerment programme in Sungai Pinang yesterday.

Last Sunday, a video clip purportedly showing Lim’s father, Lim Keat Seong, soliciting bribes to help obtain low-cost housing units in the state as early as June 2015 went viral after being posted on social media.

Siew Khim was then quoted as saying: “All this (in the video) was without my knowledge and I only knew about it on Sunday night.”

Now, a second video clip, which lasted about three minutes, was released yesterday.

This time it shows a screen-grab of a Whatsapp conversation between a mediator and a victim.

“I contacted her and gave her (Siew Khim) one day to reply and find ways for her father to return the money,” the mediator was heard as saying to the victim.

In another conversation, a man, who is said to be Siew Khim’s stepbrother Ong Hock Hin, was heard saying that his sister (Siew Khim) had asked for a meeting to be arranged with the aggrieved parties.

Siew Khim refused to comment on the contents of the second video, urging the person who released it to lodge a police report.

“Why release bits and pieces? They should report it to the police with their evidence,” she said.

Siew Khim also denied asking her stepbrother Ong to arrange for a meeting with any of the victims.

Asked why she only confirmed she had confronted her father when the second video surfaced, she said she could not remember it.

While her father has been remanded for seven days, Siew Khim was grilled for two hours by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) on Friday.

When contacted, Penang MACC director Datuk Abdul Aziz Aban said he was not aware of the second video but would direct his officers to investigate it.

Siew Khim’s counsel Ram Karpal said it was an offence to withhold information on the case as it was now investigated by the MACC.

“I urge anyone with information on the matter to pass it to MACC,” he said in Air Itam yesterday.

Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the uploading of the two videos showed it was a politically motivated move against Siew Khim, the state government and DAP.

Source: The Star Malaysia 4 Sep 2016By R. SEKARAN

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