Vital to know your rights when get arrested; comments on social media not be a serious crime


Know the law: Citizens need to know how to react if approached or arrested by police.

YOU wake up, read the latest news updates on your mobile phone, retweet some interesting comments, and post your own reactions. Just another ordinary day, right?

Wrong. If you are not careful, that retweet or comment might land you in legal hot water.

Former journalist Sidek Kamiso found himself in that predicament early last week when a band of plain-clothed policemen banged on his door at 4.40am to arrest him for an alleged Twitter insult. They had not only come for him at an ungodly hour but also reportedly jumped over the fence to forcefully nab him.

After checking their identification, Sidek had let them in, although they did not produce an arrest warrant. The police officers then searched the house, confiscating his phone and laptop before dragging him away in handcuffs to the police station.

The conduct of the police and the nature of that alleged offence notwithstanding, how many of us would have just opened the door when the intruders commanded, “We are the Police! Open the door!” and let them in?

Confirming the police officers’ identity first is extremely important, stresses Sevan Doraisamy, executive director of human rights advocate group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

Many Malaysians are too quick to obey whatever the police tell them to do without first confirming the officers’ identity, says Sevan.

“We always advise the public to ask the police to identify themselves and show their identity card when they are stopped on the street by someone who claims to be the police or when the police go to their house,” he adds, highlighting the public workshops on human rights and the police that Suaram has been holding for more than a decade.

It is normal for policemen on duty on the ground to be in plain clothes, which is why it is crucial to establish their identity.

Eric Paulsen (C) arriving at the lobby of Kuala Lumpur court to have his sedition charge read to him.AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star 06 Feb 2015

Eric Paulsen (C) arriving at the lobby of Kuala Lumpur court to have his sedition charge read to him.AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star 06 Feb 2015 The laws like the CPC and IGP’s Standing Order clearly protects a person’s fundamental liberties, but they are also general. – Eric Paulsen

Senior level police officers, from the rank of Inspector and above, carry blue IDs, while constables and below carry yellow cards. Reserve police carry white IDs while red is for suspended policemen.

According to Suaram, when making arrests, conducting raids, roadblocks or body searches, a police officer of at least the rank of Inspector (with a blue ID) must be present.

“You can also ask them which police station they are from and call it to verify the officers’ identity,” says Sevan.

Another safeguard against unlawful arrests or violations of a person’s civil rights is the police warrant.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has asserted that an arrest warrant was not necessary when the police arrested Sidek at his home in Petaling Jaya, as the alleged offence, over a tweet on the death of PAS spiritual leader Datuk Dr Haron Din, fell under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.

“For this offence, a warrant is not needed. For offences under the (CMA) Act, there is no need for warrants. There is no need for a warrant to detain and no need for a warrant to search homes,” he reportedly said.

The local legal fraternity was quick to refute him.

According to lawyer Siti Kasim, who represented Sidek’s family, a warrant was necessary in his case as arrests made under the CMA generally requires a warrant.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Research Team on Crime and Policing head Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy. (CHARLES MARIASOOSAY/ The Star/06/ March 2016).

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Research Team on Crime and Policing head Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy. (CHARLES MARIASOOSAY/ The Star/06/ March 2016). ‘Police personnel who violate criminal laws and other regulations will have to face the consequences’.

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan concurred, explaining that although the police have general powers to make arrests without warrants, they can only do so for offences that are listed as seizable offences under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), namely those carrying the maximum jail sentence of three years and above.

But for offences under the CMA which carry a maximum jail term of one year, the police would need a warrant when making arrests, he reportedly said.

Conceding that the details of the law might be beyond a layman’s grasp, Sevan advises members of the public to always demand for a warrant when they are being arrested.

What is important, he adds, is that any arrest can only be made after adequate investigation has been conducted on a case.

“You cannot be arrested if you are a witness or just to assist the police in an investigation.

“Always ask if you are being arrested, and for what charge or under what Act. There is no harm in also asking for the warrant,” he notes, adding that in any CMA case, the investigation should first be conducted by the country’s Internet regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), before any police arrest.

And just like in the American cop movies and television series, when we are arrested in Malaysia, our fundamental rights are guaranteed, as stipulated under the Federal Constitution, the amended CPC and the IGP’s Standing Order on Arrest, says Sevan.

Just don’t expect to be read the Miranda Rights, those words many of us have grown up hearing on the telly: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

Still, as stated on the Malaysian Bar website, our right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions when arrested is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

Under the Constitution, a person also has a fundamental right to be informed of the grounds of his arrest as soon as possible, as well as a right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.

These rights are clearly spelt out and reiterated under Section 28A of the CPC which came into force in September 2007: An arrested person has the right to be informed as soon as may be the grounds for this arrest; to contact a legal practitioner of his choice within 24 hours from the time of his arrest; to communicate with a relative or friend of his with regards to his whereabouts within 24 hours from the time of his arrest; and the right to consult with his lawyer and the lawyer is allowed to be present and to meet the arrested person at the place of detention before the police commences any form of questioning or recording of any statement from the person arrested.

SEVAN DORAISAMY TAMAN SRI CHERAS HOUSING PROJECT ABANDONED COORDINATOR

SEVAN DORAISAMY TAMAN SRI CHERAS HOUSING PROJECT ABANDONED COORDINATOR ‘Ask if you are being arrested, and for what charge or under what Act. There is no harm in also asking for the warrant’. – Sevan Doraisamy

“We always advise those arrested to remain silent in order not to unknowingly incriminate themselves or be forced to make a confession. You can also say, ‘Saya jawab di mahkamah.’ (I’ll answer or say it in court),” Sevan notes.

As for family members, he advises them to get the name of the police station that the arresting police officers are from and are taking their loved one to.

At the police station, he adds, they need to get the name of the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case and his or her contact details.

“The good thing now is that the police’ public communications have greatly improved, and the IO will usually give out their handphone numbers to the family members,” he says, commending Sidek and his wife, Norlin Wan Musa, who is also a former journalist, for knowing and exercising their rights when the police took Sidek to the Johor Baru police station without informing her, and when they allegedly intimidated her and tried to harass their children.

Unfortunately, says Sevan, many Malaysians don’t know their rights when they get arrested, making it easy for errant police officers to intimidate them or abuse their rights.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen concurs, stressing that the police also need to act responsibly and reasonably, in accordance to their Standard Operating Procedure when conducting an arrest.

“The laws like the CPC and IGP’s Standing Order clearly protects a person’s fundamental liberties, but they are also general, especially in their wording.

“They were drafted with the expectation that the police would act reasonably and without bias in accordance to their SOP,” he says, describing the police conduct in the arrest of Sidek and two others in relation to the “Twitter insult” as excessive and an abuse of police powers.

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chief Tan Sri Razali Ismail urges the police to defend civil liberties in Malaysia rather than repress the exercise of human rights.

“In essence, the police should be the face of human rights, and not a face of intimidation, even as the police needs to be the bulwark of the country’s security. Regulations are being promulgated in a sweeping fashion that will have the effect of threatening democratic practice and undermine the fundamental liberties enshrined in the Federal Constitution,” he had reiterated in his speech at the Malaysian Bar’s International Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur last week.

Khalid has given assurances that the police are subject to the laws and regulations enshrined in the Constitution.

“If we flout the laws, action will be taken against us. We are also subjected to the laws and regulations under the Constitution. So are the Members of Parliament,” he told a press conference after a dialogue with Universiti Utara Malaysia students in Sintok, Kedah, on the role of undergraduates in overcoming national security threats.

Universiti Sains Malaysia criminologist, Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy agrees that nobody should be above the law, especially the police.

“Police personnel who violate criminal laws and other regulations will have to face the consequences. Everyone who gets arrested has equal rights under the Federal Constitution and the CPC, irrespective of the nature of the case, so the police and the prosecution need to adhere to the law without bias. If they did not follow the SOP that is clearly spelt out then they should have to face the legal consequences, ”he says.

Critically, he adds, it is important for the general public to be aware of the laws of the land and their rights.

“Especially now that social media is an integral and pervasive part of our day-to-day lives. People need to be aware of the law – you make choices in life and you need to face their consequences.

“Similarly, you make your choice of tweeting and retweeting something or posting anything and making comments on social media, so you will have to bear the consequences.”

And as Dr Sundramoorthy puts it bluntly, “If you are so good at using social media, you should also be able to source the relevant information on the law and your civil rights online.

“If you are an expert on social media, you should be able to Google the dos and don’ts of when you are arrested, from the Malaysia Bar website and other civil society groups.”

By Hariati Azizan The Star/Asia News Network

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

When Police stop you on the street

■ If cop not in uniform, ask to see his/her Police authority card. Note cop’s name and Police authority card number.

■ If cop in uniform, note cop’s name and ID on uniform, and number plate of vehicle.

When Police question you on the street

■ Only give your name, ID card number and address.

■ Politely ask, “Am I under arrest?”. You can walk away if you are not under arrest.

When Police call you for questioning to help in investigation

■ If the place and time is convenient for you, cooperate. Important: Police cannot arrest you if you are a witness.

■ If not, you can negotiate for a more convenient time and place with Police.


When Police arrest you

■ Ask why you are under arrest.

■ Ask which Police Station they are taking you to.

■ You have the right to telephone:* i) Your relative or friend ii) A lawyer or a nearby Legal Aid Centre (LAC)

► Inform them: – you have been arrested; – the time, place and reason of the arrest; – the Police Station you will be taken to.
 

In police raids and searches

■ Demand for a warrant – raids without warrant are usually done when Police believe their suspect is in the building, stolen goods are hidden in the premises or some criminal activity is going on there.

After arrest and during detention

You may be detained up to 24 hours at the Police Station, or in a lock-up to “assist” police investigation.

YOUR BASIC RIGHTS WHEN UNDER ARREST

Right to remain silent

The Federal Constitution gives you the right to remain silent when questioned.

Right to counsel

– Under Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution, an arrested person also has the right “to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice”.

– Section 28A of Criminal Procedure Code, which came into force in 2007, also gives an arrested person the right to consult a lawyer.

– The Police must accord you reasonable facilities and a reasonable time period to meet and consult your lawyer. This right can be denied if the delay in questioning you may cause the occurrence of another crime or cause danger to others.

Right to clothing

You are allowed to have one set of clothing with you in the lock-up.

Right to personal belongings
The Police must record and put all your personal belongings in safe custody. Your personal belongings must be returned to you upon your release.

Right to welfare

– You are allowed to take a bath two times a day. If you are sick, you have the right to receive immediate medical attention. – You are to be given proper and adequate food and water during detention.

The Police may only detain you for up to 24 hours for investigation.

It is the Police’s duty to complete their investigations within 24 hours and release you as soon as possible. Failing that, the Police must bring you before a Magistrate for a remand order to extend your detention beyond 24 hours (Remand Order).
For more information, check out the Malaysian Bar’s Redbook pamphlet at http://bit.ly/KBZhlw

Source: The Malaysian Bar, Suaram

Making comments on social media should not be a serious crime, says don

TWO years ago, a 17-year-old boy was investigated for sedition when he “liked” a pro-Israel Facebook post. When questioned by the police, the student had explained that he had accidentally clicked “like” for the post that read “I love Israel” and featured a picture of the Jewish state’s flag.

We will see more and more “insensitive” and “ill-advised” online postings like this – either done intentionally or not – with the Internet and social media growing as an integral and pervasive part of our daily life, says Universiti Sains Malaysia criminologist, Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy.

“We have seen this trend of ‘slanderous’, ‘defamatory’ and ‘insensitive’ remarks constantly being made by all segments of society. It is not limited to people in leadership positions or prominence, ordinary people are also making these comments, including the young.”

As he sees it, stopping people from expressing themselves when they have access to these channels will be impossible.

“We can’t stop people from using the Internet and social media, and many will use them without thinking of the consequences. The question is where do you draw the line for freedom of expression?” he poses.

“For the proponents of absolute freedom of expression, they will say it’s the right of the people to express themselves.

“People who are against absolute freedom of expression will say that this freedom will create chaos, disharmony and trouble in general, and they will prefer some sort of censorship.”

The issue was thrust under the spotlight again recently with the arrest of three people under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 for their Twitter comments over the death of PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Dr Haron Din.

This time around, the glare was on the police conduct during the arrests – the police had allegedly trespassed into the compound of former journalist Sidek Kamiso’s house in the wee hours of the night to arrest him for his tweet, traumatising his wife and children. The police had also allegedly searched his house without a warrant while denying him his right to contact his family and lawyer after his arrest.

While he believes that it depends on the laws of the land, Dr Sundramoorthy feels that social media boo-boos should not be treated as a crime per se.

“Granted, there are limitations on the subject matters that we can comment on as they can create racial or religious disharmony and other types of conflict among citizens here, but we need to take a reasonable approach towards it.”

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director Sevan Doraisamy frankly describes the police action towards Sidek as “excessive and a waste of resources”.

He says many of the CMA cases undertaken by the police do not meet the criteria of hate speech and dangerous speech to justify arrests or prosecution. In fact, he stresses, the cases are a “severe threat” to freedom of expression.

“If you ask me, ‘insensitive comments’ should not be an arrestable crime. It is also unacceptable that just because of one or two incidences of inadvisable comments, the Government should curb the freedom of expression of everyone.”

He points out that CMA cases can be investigated without physical detention. “If the police receive reports on alleged insensitive comments, they should not waste their resources to arrest the people, they can just call them in to give their statement.

“And the top officers do not need to get involved, especially when there are more serious crimes and security issues in the country – for instance, we have hundreds of people still missing from unsolved abduction and kidnapping cases,” he says. “Crucially, there is no need for those detained in Petaling Jaya to be taken to Johor Baru for investigations, for example, as it is a waste of public resources.”

Sevan, however, concedes that Malaysians need to be more responsible when using social media.

“It should not be a crime – people have a right to express themselves – but they need to be responsible about what they post or comment on.

“While they continue to assert their freedom of expression, people should also realise that they don’t need to comment on everything and anything, especially if they know that it might lead to slander or instigate something. We are still living in a sensitive society entrenched in racial and communal politics. You don’t want to get caught in the middle of it,” he says.

Denying that they are making light of hate speech, Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen contends that the Government and Malaysian authorities need to come to terms with social media.

“Nobody is saying that the Internet and social media should be free for all – if someone promotes hate or threatens someone with murder or rape online, or if they are cyber terrorists, then police should take action against them. But they need to be fair, and the legal action should be proportionate.

“We should not prosecute someone for a mere comment – no matter how unsavoury or insulting we think it is. Without any serious element of hate speech or real element of incitement to violence or harm it should not be a crime.”

Paulsen also believes that the police conduct in the arrest of Sidek was excessive, calling it “overkill”.

Declining to comment on whether there is a need to review the CMA or enforce a hate speech law, Paulsen says what is needed is a review of police policies.

“What are their priorities in crime fighting? What constitutes serious crime for the police? Anywhere in the world, corruption, criminal breach of trust, robbery and murder are traditionally considered the serious crimes and resources are channelled towards fighting them. Unfortunately in Malaysia, a lot of our resources are wasted on frivolous cases like this.” – The Star

Your name is your fortune


Everyone’s name contains positive or negative vibes, based on the combination of letters in it.

Numerology_Pronology_Name Science_Pronology

AN individual’s character, prosperity, fame and good health depend on how his or her name is pronounced.

According to the sciences of pronology and numerology, we can improve our lives and minimise troubles if we make certain changes to our name as per the rules of this ancient knowledge.

Pronology analyses sound vibrations in a name while numerology deals with numerical values of each letter assigned to the name.

Making modifications to your name can change your fate, stresses renowned numerologist Alaghar Vijaay from Chennai, India.

He says that when a name is given to a newborn child, it is vital for the date of birth to be “added”, based on numerology principles, to give the most auspicious sound to the infant’s name.

I recently met Vijaay, who has authored 21 books on ancient secrets, to get a better understanding on the phonetic impact and hidden secrets of names.

People facing challenges in the areas of health, relationship and prosperity, or obstacles in life, should check on how their name is pronounced.

This is no laughing matter because our name carries a power that can determine our destiny, says Vijaay, an engineer by training.

There are 26 letters in the English language and each has a special wavelength, colour and characteristic.

Take, for example, the letters O and N appearing together in a name. The numerological value of O is 6 and that of N is 5. The sum of the two is 11, whether the letters occur as “ON” or “NO”.

But ON denotes forward movement and positive action, whereas NO has a negative connotation and failure.

Vijaay says pronology offers an understanding of both the forces that may occur in a name and gives people an opportunity to act accordingly to remove the ill effects and increase the beneficial values.

For example, he said, names containing the sounds “dhi”, “dy” or “di” could benefit from some modification because those vowels represent something related to demise.

Our name is like a mantra. When it is repeated like a chant it vibrates a certain sound which exerts an influence on the cells in our body.

This may produce auspicious or inauspicious results.

In his book entitled Pronology, Vijaay explains that when two letters are combined, their separate wavelengths meet and generate a sound that can be positive or negative.

For instance, he says, when the letters A and P are paired it will produce a sound like “APE”, and an individual having such letters in his or her name will have ape-like characteristics.

Where the letters K and L are joined, it sounds like “KILL” and those with this component in their name will face trials and struggles.

When the letters are reversed from KL to LK, the sound “LIKE” is generated and this vibration will boost their energy, allowing them to enjoy peace and happiness.

When the sounds “Han” or “Khan” occur in a name, the person gets an enhanced sense of self-confidence and a strong desire to achieve their goals in life.

Hindi stars Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan are some of the living examples of success and fame owing to such names.

Other favourable names are Kartik, Ayappan, Raman, Mahalingam, Selvan, Aravin, Barath, Praveen, Ashvin, Jayakumar, Uthayakumar, Velu, Murugan, Vishnu, Ganapathy, Ramakrishnan, Ashvin, Rajen and Rajakumar,

Women having vibrant-sounding names can be assured of a happy, peaceful and comfortable life.

Those having names with pleasant sound combinations like Vijaya, Preethi, Anujaya, Jeyashri, Karisma, Rajaletchumi, Abarami, Gyathri, Jeya and Ragavi will generally enjoy peace and comfort and get good-natured husbands. Names like Vimala, Kamala, Mala, Nirmala, and Malathi will be dominating and they will have the skills to earn as much as or more than their husbands.

To attract positive vibrations into a name, an individual should add letter combinations such as UD, ON, RUN, GAIN, VIN, VIND, ARARS, AN, GA, VN, NS and RS.

Avoid letter combinations like SAD, LOSS, SAT, DOWN, NO, LESS, ILL, NA, NE, LO, SK, VK, KK and KL.

Some examples of positive names: Abdul, Rahim, Hassan, Halim, Rashid, Jaffar, Yassin, Zaid, Karim and Azar, Faroz, Arshad; Kuan, Tong, Man, Wong, Liang, Shing, Chin, Fatt, Yee, Sing: Richard, Henry, Clinton, Albert, Robert, Anthony, Winston, Johnson, Angela, Amy, Angeline, Betty, Jacquiline, Rebecca and Rita.

To increase the power of a favourable name, Vijaay suggests that people should write their name in red ink and capital letters 108 times daily on a white sheet of paper.

Another exercise is to enunciate their name as many times as possible in front of a mirror for a minimum of 48 days.

Such acts can also be performed while bathing, driving and combing your hair, and can stimulate the results to take effect immediately.

To further invoke the power of your name, take a rectangular card and write it down 27 times in red ink.

The name card should be read out loud at least nine times and placed under the pillow.

If the above exercises are done consciously for 180 days continuously, an individual can expect to see the desired result in his or her life within this period.

Whether you place a new letter to enhance your name or remove one to correct any ill effects, what is vital here is for the exercise to be done with absolute faith and utmost respect in expectation of the desired results.

Vasthu Sastra Talk

T. Selva will present a talk on how to choose an auspicious property and energise a house using pyramids at The Star Property Fair today at 11.30am at G Hotel, Jalan Gurney, Penang. Admission is free; to register, call 012-329 9713.

T. Selva, senior consulting editor at The Star, is the first disciple of 7th-generation Vasthu Sastra master Yuvaraj Sowma from Chennai, India. This column appears on the last Sunday of every month.

Sources: Ancient Secrets T.Selva

T. Selva is the author of the Vasthu Sastra Guide and the first disciple of 7th generation Vasthu Sastra master Yuvaraj Sowma from Chennai, India.

tselvas@thestar.com.my

Malaysia plane carrying 239 people missing, crashed off Vietnam? Malaysian minister denies crash report!


State media: Malaysian plane crashed off Vietnam

  A relative (woman in white) of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she talks on her mobile phone at a Beijing airport. (Reuters)

Malaysia minister denies crash report

Malaysia Airline

Video:  

Wang Yi: China has initiated emergency response

Chinese Foreign Miniser Wang Yi said in today´s press conference that he is very worried about…

Reports from China’s Xinhua news agency say the plane was lost in airspace controlled by Vietnam.

Reports from China’s Xinhua news agency say the plane was lost in airspace controlled by Vietnam.

The aircraft did not enter airspace controlled by China and did not make contact with Chinese controllers, Xinhua said.

A report on a Chinese TV network, citing the microblogging website Weibo, said 160 Chinese nationals were on board the flight.

Distressed family members of those on board the flight have also been gathering at Beijing airport.Chang Ken Fei, a Malaysian waiting at the airport for friends to arrive, said: “I got here at 7:00am. At first I thought the plane was just delayed as normal, so I came a bit later, I’ve just been waiting and waiting.”

“I asked them what was going on but they just tell us, ‘we don’t know’.”

If the plane is found to have crashed, the loss would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year, after an unblemished safety record since the jet entered service in 1995.

Last year, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash landed in San Francisco, killing three passengers.

Boeing said it was aware of reports that the Malaysia Airlines plane was missing and was monitoring the situation but had no further comment.

Among previous accidents involving Malaysia Airlines planes, one of the smaller Twin Otter aircraft crashed upon landing in Malaysia’s Sabah state on Borneo island last October, killing a co-pilot and a passenger.

And a jet crashed in 1977 in southern Malaysia, killing all 93 passengers and seven crew.

——————————————————————————————————-
Malaysia Airlines has still not been able to confirm what happened to the flight. The airline has confirmed that there were 4 Americans — 3 adults and one infant — aboard the flight, which also carried Canadians and Australians, and a majority of Chinese and Malay passengers.
 
Malaysia Airlines lost contact with a commercial aircraft bound from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China, the airline reported Saturday morning.Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER that was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, was scheduled to land at 6:30 a.m., but lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 a.m. on March 8. Its whereabouts are unknown.At 7:24 a.m. local time, the airline posted a message to its Facebook page stating it was working with local search and rescue authorities to find the aircraft, and that it would continue to provide updates. It encouraged the public to contact a number provided for information.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 5.34.03 PMA search for the flight on FlightAware.com showed its status as “result unknown” and included a map that depicted its partially completed route.

Malaysia Airlines VP of operations Fuad Sharuji told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that it had tried but “failed to establish any contact” with the plane before he detailed concerns about how much fuel it was carrying.

There were “about seven hours of fuel on board this aircraft and we suspect that by 8:30 this aircraft would have run out of fuel,” Faruji said. He added, “At the moment we have no idea where this aircraft is right now.”

Kuala Lumpur is the hub for Malaysia Airlines, which services over 60 destinations globally with a heavy presence in Asia, according to its website. The airline told the BBC that it would hold a press conference on the situation later in the day.

According to Reuters, Boeing’s 777 had a solid safety record after its 1995 introduction up until last summer’s Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco, Calif.

We will continue to update this post with more information as it arises.

–  mashable.com

Trapped Chinese research ship & icebreaker Xuelong makes successful escape from Antarctic ice


Snow Dragon
Chinese research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong sails in the open waters in Antarctica, Jan. 7, 2014. Trapped China icebreaker Xuelong made successful escape through heavy sea ice at 18:30 Beijing time on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Zhang Jiansong)

ABOARD XUELONG, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) — Trapped Chinese research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong made a successful escape through heavy sea ice at 18:30 Beijing time (1030 GMT) Tuesday.

Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, has been making consistent efforts to “veer around” the whole day while navigating through thick floes.

The vessel had a difficult time trying to make a turnaround rightward, which started at 5 a.m. Beijing time (2100 GMT Monday), because of the thick ice and the snow covering the floes.

No breakout was made until about 17:50 Beijing time (0950 GMT) when Xuelong pulled a 100 degree turn and strongly pushed away the ice. Under the huge blow, a big floe right ahead suddenly split up and a channel of open waters showed itself. Xuelong quickly voyaged through the channel and broke free of the ice.

The Chinese research vessel and icebreaker, which was on China’s 30th scientific expedition to Antarctica, on Dec. 25, 2013 received a distress signal from the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy which was trapped in Antarctic sea.

Xueying-12, a helicopter on-board Xuelong, last Thursday successfully evacuated all the 52 passengers aboard the Russian vessel to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis.

Snow Dragon rescrued RussiansA helicopter from the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long rescues members of an expedition who had been stranded after their Russian ship was trapped in Antarctic ice. (AFP PHOTO/Jessica Fitzpatrick/Australian Antarctic Division)

However, after the rescue, Xuelong’s own movement was blocked by a one-km-long iceberg which was continuously drifting northwest. Xuelong attempted to maneuver through the ice after the giant iceberg drifted away, but its breakout early Saturday morning was unsuccessful.

For these days, Xuelong’s being stranded in heavy sea ice in Antarctic Ocean has drawn great attention from the Chinese leadership and the Chinese people. Under the directions of an emergency relief working group aboard, the Xuelong crew have been working in joint efforts to find a way out.

Currently, Xuelong is on voyage in open waters in the Southern Ocean where only a few floes drift on the sea surface, at approximately 66.45 degrees south and 144.50 degrees east. The ship, now sailing at a speed of 9 knots, continues its scientific expedition to Antarctica. – Xinhua

Xuelong epitome of humanitarian outreach

A series of events involved in the rescue of passengers from an icebound Russian research vessel in Antarctica have attracted attention from much of the world in recent days.

Now, China’s research vessel Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, has successfully transferred all the passengers to safety, but eventually got stuck itself. The US is sending its most advanced heavy icebreaker to site of the incident for rescue, and Xuelong is trying to break out of the ice.

Xuelong has been in the spotlight during the whole process of the rescue. Originally sent to found China’s fourth research station in the Antarctic, this research vessel turned its course immediately when it received the Russian ship’s distress signal, regardless of any risks ahead.

Xuelong, not a professional icebreaker, failed to rescue the ship from the ice. But its performance, especially the success in rescuing all the passengers, has been given the thumbs up by global public opinion. China should be proud of it.

The Chinese public also expressed their full support to Xuelong‘s rescue operation. Although Chinese taxpayers would finally pay all the expense for the rescue, they believe that Xuelong has assumed its international responsibility, not giving a thought as to whether the mission was “worthwhile” or not.

Xuelong‘s mission is an epitome of China’s attitude toward its international obligations. China is willing to integrate itself within the international community as a responsible member.

Along with the establishment of China’s fourth research station, the country’s scientific research level in Antarctica has already been ranked as one of the best. It is China’s growing industrial capacity that empowers Xuelong to perform such a rescue operation. Once again, China’s national progress was accidentally confirmed in Antarctica.

This whole rescue operation, at the very beginning, was just a “ship-to-ship” business. But public opinion gradually sensed the existence of the nations behind the scenes. It will come to an end as a humanitarian rescue event. Xuelong has already offered its best performance in this humanitarian test, which shows that Chinese society is growing to be highly mature.

Chinese people care about the image of its nation, but such an image never confuses them when it comes to making the right choice. Throughout the whole event, the safety of the rescuers and the people who were trapped was always their biggest concern.

Well done, Xuelong. We hope it can pull through from the trouble and resume its mission.

We also hope that such effective international cooperation will not only be seen when catastrophes occur. Such a spirit of cooperation will become the most powerful strength to reshape international relations in the 21st century.    – Global Times

The new Beijing beckons


New Beijing
Customers with bags containing first day purchases from a H&M fashion collection designed by French fashion designer Isabel Marant at a window display at a H&M store branch in Beijing, China. — EPA

Here, you are surrounded by optimistic and enthusiastic young people with the zeal to do well not only in China, but in the globalised world.

I JUST took a short trip to Beijing to attend a conference on women. It has been seven years since my last trip and 28 years since my first. In 1985, China was gingerly opening up to the world. People still wore blue Mao jackets and rode around mostly on bicycles. There were few hotels of the standard we were used to in Malaysia.

Today, so little of that Beijing remains. Tall glittery skyscrapers abound. Shopping malls carry every type of international luxury brand and people dressed as if they had just walked out of the pages of Vogue China that just celebrated its 100th edition by commissioning the photographer Mario Testino to shoot the entire issue.

Sitting at the French bakery chain Comptoirs du France, I saw a fashionable young couple walk by with their miniature dog. The dog wore a Chanel sweater….

When I arrived at the vast modern Beijing Capital airport, a young volunteer from the conference received me. She was a graduate student at Beijing University, spoke perfect English and was extremely efficient in getting me to my hotel and comfortably settled.

In fact, throughout the conference, a whole bevy of eager young volunteers shepherded us through the programme with remarkable efficiency, politeness and charm. Whenever a special request was made, they followed through until it was fulfilled.

I also met some impressive young female entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. There is now a generation of young Chinese who had been educated abroad and who are returning to start their own businesses or head companies.

The head of McKinsey in China is a Beijing-born woman as is the head of SK China, South Korea’s third largest company. Additionally, young women are using their cosmopolitan education to start businesses. The organiser of the conference was a 27-year-old former chess champion born in Chengdu.

Another 27-year-old has combined the experience of her education at both a Swiss finishing school and Harvard Business School to start a business giving etiquette lessons to Chinese wanting to venture out into the world beyond their own country. They have an acute sense that to succeed in this globalised world, they need to discard provincial habits and tastes.

The most impressive person I met, however, was Zhang, a taxi driver. I hopped into his taxi at my hotel and asked him to take me to Panjiayuan, the flea market. Taxis in Beijing are very clean and neat except that they tend to smell of cigarettes. But they are safe and as long as you get someone to explain to the taxi driver where you want to go in Mandarin, you will get there in one piece.

So I was not expecting Zhang to turn round and wish me a good afternoon. It turned out Zhang spoke pretty decent English. When I asked him why, he said he decided to learn it because he wanted to communicate with his international passengers and he loved to practise with them.

Indeed, Zhang proved to be a gem, not only did he take me to the flea market and wait until I was done but he also took me to find some other items I was looking for, drove me around Tiananmen Square so I could take photos and then took me back to my hotel, all the while chatting merrily in English.

(Some were however a bit cynical about Zhang, that he should by coincidence have picked me up that day. Apparently, there are no such coincidences in China.)

China does still have many problems, Beijing’s terrible pollution being just one. And no doubt there are huge gaps between the cities and the countryside. But there are enough eager young educated and entrepreneurial Chinese today ready to take the lead in almost everything, both domestically and perhaps even internationally. The socialist slogans are now found only on posters you can buy at the flea market.

For a few days, I had a break from home news because there is no Facebook or Twitter in China. It was nice to be with optimistic and enthusiastic young people wanting to do so much, instead of the angst-filled navel-gazing we indulge in back home and the thousands of ways we find to bring people down.

We seem to think that our country is special when we should be worrying about how this giant country only a few hours away is poised to leave us in the dust, despite our headstart.

I did meet one young Malaysian currently working in Shanghai who wants to come home to start a new IT enterprise. It was so refreshing to meet someone who is still eager to invest in his own country. I just hope that our daily nonsense does not crush his eagerness.

Contributed by Marina Mahathir

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

2nd Penang Bridge ramp collapses, four in car feared dead!


Second PG Brige Ramp Collapse
A picture of rescue personnel at the scene of the collapse. Photo by Sim Tze Tzin.

GEORGE TOWN: An uncompleted flyover connecting to the still-under-construction second Penang bridge at Batu Maung collapsed at around 7pm Thursday, burying at least one car and a motorcycle under the debris.

Police fear that four people are dead after one car, a white-coloured Perodua Kelisa was found buried under the rubble.

State Fire and Rescue Department confirmed that one motorcyclist, who was earlier trapped under the debris, has been pulled out. He suffered injuries to his head.

Hundreds of firemen, volunteers and medical personnel from throughout the state have been mobilised to the scene.

Firemen are removing debris to reach the cars and motorcycles under the rub

ble, comprising mostly metal scaffolding and steel beams.

Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, who was on the scene, said about a 30m-long span of the ramp was believed to have collapsed around 7pm, as work to install concrete boulders to strengthen the structure was ongoing.

He said he was informed a few people may be trapped under the rubble.

State executive councillor Lim Hock Seng said the cause of the collapse had yet to be determined.

“We cannot confirm the cause of the accident,” he said, adding that a full investigation would be carried out.

Police have began deploying traffic policemen as the incident has caused a severe jam to ensue near the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.

Many motorists have also stopped to look at the debris.

As of 9:30pm Thusrday night, fire department authorities have briefed Sim and Lim.

R. Thilasheni, 24, whose car windscreen was shattered by a falling beam during the incident, was still in a state of shock.

“We were lucky to come out alive. We were only about three seconds away from when the ramp collapsed,” she said.

She was travelling with her friend G. Gajashaantini, also 24.

She believed a motorcyclist was trapped under the rubble and said a beam fell onto a car in the incident.
The 24km-long bridge was set for completion next month.

The longest bridge in South-East Asia and 20th in the world was supposed to go through road commissioning and testing in August before being officially opened in September.

By CAVINA LIM, IAN MCINTYRE, ANTHONY TAN, ALEX TENG, JOSEPHINE JALLEH, OH CHIN ENG and TASHNY SUKUMARAN, The Star

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Right move for the planned car prices reduction 20% ~ 30% in Malaysia


Car

The Government’s plan to reduce car prices gradually by between 20% and 30% within the next five years is the best mechanism for consumers and the automotive industry without disrupting the ecosystem, said an industry expert.

“Five years is the right timing to reduce car prices because a sudden reduction would impact the second-hand car industry,” Malaysia Automotive Institute chief executive officer Madani Sahari said.
He said although the car price cut plan had recently received wide publicity, the exercise itself started last year with some popular car brands reducing their car prices by 2% to 5%.

“The Government has had the car price reduction plan in the yet-to-be-announced National Automotive Policy since 2011 and had started to implement it since last year in a silent way,” he said on the sidelines of a forum on “Business Time Insight The National Automotive Policy” here yesterday.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak reiterated the Government’s commitment to gradually reduce car prices by 20% to 30% within the next five years.

Madani said the car price reduction did not involve a cut in the excise duties, as Malaysian companies in reality were only paying about 40% of excise duties, even though it hovered at around 65%-105%, depending on the segment, due to value-added activities undertaken in the country.

“Completely-knocked-down (CKD) cars which are assembled in Malaysia basically have value-added activities, and are therefore receiving the privilege of lower excise duties. “Based on our calculations, most of our CKD cars enjoy excise duties in the range of 40%,” he said. Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group Malaysia managing director Dr Zeno Kerschbaumer said the car price reduction policy showed the Government’s effort to put consumers into the focus of their attention.

“This perfectly matches our (Volkswagen‘s) policy to continuously bring the latest technology to customers at the best price possible. I think it’s a big message to consumers and gives them the confidence that the Government was giving the consumers interest in the focus of their policy,” he said.

He said the move was also in line with the principle that the customers had to drive the policy. “We need to leave all our options to the customers, and the customers in the end need to decide what better fits their requirements,” he said. – Bernama

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Car prices in Malaysia will be reduced gradually 

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