The Bandung Spirit: strengthering Asian African economic cooperation & legal consultation


Chinese President Xi Jinping has delivered a speech, with the aim of carrying on the Bandung Spirit and promoting the common development of the two vibrant continents.

Chinese president delivers speech at Asian-African Summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the Asian-African Summit 2015, where he joins leaders and representatives
from around 100 countries and international organizations.

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Opening ceremony: Li giving a speech at the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO) in Beijing. — AFP

Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation was born at a historic moment, but struggles to deal with the present day issues.

LAST week, the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO) held its annual session in the Chinese capital of Beijing.

Here’s a bit of the organisation’s background – with a focus on international law and legal matters of common concern, AALCO is the legacy of the Bandung Conference.

That historic conference in 1955, also known as the Asia-Africa Conference, led to the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War.

INDONESIA-BANDUNG-XI JINPING-COMMEMORATIVE WALK

Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Indonesian Joko Widodo and his wife Iriana take part in a highly symbolic stroll with other Asian and African leaders to commemorate the historic 1955 Bandung Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, April 24, 2015. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

More than 30 world leaders, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chinese President Xi Jinping, gathered in Indonesia this week for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Bandung Conference.

Malaysia is one of the 47 member states of AALCO that has its headquarters in New Delhi, and the current AALCO secretary-general, Prof Dr Rahmat Mohamad, is a Malaysian.

“AALCO is not a political union. That is why it is not popular and people do not know of its existence,” said Dr Rahmat.

“We are a legal consultative body comprising legal experts from the Asian and African countries.”

AALCO deals with issues that affect the legal rights of its member states and highlights their views to the International Law Commission (ILC) and the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly.

It has also established permanent observer missions to the United Nations and set up regional arbitrary centres, one of which is in Kuala Lumpur.

Dr Rahmat, who was the deputy vice-chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Mara, won the election to the post in 2008. He is now serving his second four-year term.

“The regions of Asia and Africa have different political beliefs, culture and systems. But at the end of the day, we get the common concern and bring it to the attention of the ILC and UN,” he said.

“It was the vision of leaders like (Indonesia’s first president) Sukarno and (India’s first prime minister) Jawaharlal Nehru that newly independent countries must have their voices heard in international forums like the United Nations.

“When you have a body like AALCO, the other side will know what our concerns are.”

Using the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an example. Dr Rahmat said many Asian countries are not state parties to the treaty, but that does not mean that they are against the idea.

“It is good but a lot of issues have to be clarified and resolved first,” he said.

“The Penal Code in Malaysia, for instance, only has definition of crime, but not crime against humanity. How do you apply that in our system? We are not used to it, our judges and prosecutors are not used to it.”

The Rome Statute, which has been acceded to by 123 countries, established the ICC to investigate and prosecute four core international crimes, namely genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes and crime of aggression.

“There are issues that need to be resolved domestically first,” Dr Rahmat said.

“However, the politics of it are causing apprehension. My job is to continue to disseminate legal knowledge to make people aware.”

During the 54th annual session of AALCO here last week, delegates from the member states explored issues such as the deportation of Palestinians, the work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (Investment Treaties), international law in cyberspace, environment and sustainable development, violent extremism and terrorism, and law of the sea.

As broad and complex as these topics may seem, Dr Rahmat said the works of AALCO are closely related to the people.

“We do not live in a vacuum. International law is part of every individual’s life,” he said.

“In addition to what is happening within our own country, we must also pay attention to matters in the world.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who officiated at the annual session, proposed a China-AALCO exchange and research programme on international law.

He said the initiative, to be funded by China, would help develop AALCO and promote co-operation in international rule of law.

In his speech, Li said Asia and Africa have a combined GDP of US$29 trillion (RM105 trillion), accounting for 37.5% of the global total. It is a 47-fold increase compared to that of 1970.

He also proposed the Asian and African countries to, among others, deepen exchanges and co-operation on international legal system, and work together to meet global non-traditional security challenges.

The session also commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference. Representatives who spoke during the event agreed that the Bandung Spirit of peaceful co-existence and solidarity is still very much relevant in today’s world.

Check-in China by Tho Xin Yi

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

Lawyers who refused to return client RM4.9mil house sale struck off rolls


Singapore Supreme CourtSingapore’s Supreme Court.

Latest case is second instance of lawyers being disbarred in two weeksSINGAPORE — Two senior lawyers were today (April 13) struck off the roll for taking advantage of a client who had transferred S$1.8 million to their wives for safekeeping.

Mr Manjit Singh Kirpal Singh and Mr Sree Govind Menon had claimed that the money paid by Ms Bernadette Rankine was a gift, and had refused to return the money when asked.

After Ms Rankine lodged a complaint with the Law Society, the duo fought proceedings against them, alleging bias by the disciplinary panel president and filing judicial reviews to challenge decisions of the Chief Justice.

Today, the Court of Three Judges – comprising Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Justices Judith Prakash and Tay Yong Kwang – ruled that the lawyers had been dishonest and ordered their disbarment. “In cases of proven dishonesty, a solicitor will invariably be struck off the roll, regardless of the solicitor’s mitigating circumstances,” the judges wrote.

Mr Singh was admitted to the Bar in 1977 and Mr Menon was admitted in 1998. Ms Rankine had approached Mr Singh for legal advice in 2009, when she wanted to sell her property in Joan Road to live off sale proceeds after breaking up with a Malaysian businessman. She feared her ex-beau would try to prevent the sale of the property, which he did by lodging a caveat against it.

In 2010, the lawyers helped in getting the caveat discharged and Ms Rankine netted S$6.9 million from the sale of the property. She received a S$5 million cheque from the lawyers’ firm and used another S$50,000 to pay her personal assistant. Mr Singh handed her a cheque worth S$1.8 million and the lawyers advised her to issue cheques of the same amount to their wives for safekeeping and future legal fees, which she did.

In Dec 2010, Ms Rankine complained to the Law Society after they refused to return the money. She withdrew the complaint in Nov 2012 after getting her money back, but the Law Society pursued its charges against the duo.

The Society found Ms Rankine’s characterisation of the S$1.8 million payment to be convincing and believable, and said the two lawyers had acted dishonourably and showed no remorse for reprehensible conduct.

The duo had embarked on an elaborate scheme to cheat Ms Rankine, while ensuring the payment could not be traced back to their firm’s account, argued the Law Society, represented by Mr P E Ashokan. Instead of directly transferring the S$1.8 million from the law firm’s account to that of his wife and Mr Menon’s wife, Mr Singh had used Ms Rankine as a conduit so that things would appear above-board, noted the Court of Three Judges.

The judges noted that Ms Rankine had already paid substantial legal fees to the duo and “a gift of this magnitude to a solicitor with whom the client had no previous dealings … simply defies belief”.

Mr Singh also faced a second charge for misusing a S$20,000 cashier’s order from Ms Rankine to pay for an unrelated matter, which the judges said “underlines his lack of…integrity and trustworthiness”.

This is the second time in two weeks that lawyers have been disbarred — veteran lawyer Pascal Netto was struck off the roll last week for professional misconduct that included unauthorised borrowing from a client’s firm.

By Neo Chai Chin chaichin@mediacorp.com.sg

Woman takes due to court over refusal to return RM4.9mil from house sale

Certified dishonest

TWO lawyers who refused to return S$1.8mil (RM4.9mil) to a client were struck off the rolls on April 13.

The client had transferred the money to their wives for what she thought was safekeeping.

Manjit Singh, a lawyer of 37 years, and Sree Govind Menon, a lawyer of 16, were partners in the firm, Manjit Govind & Partners.

In disbarring them, the Court of Three Judges, with power to censure, suspend or strike lawyers off the rolls for professional misconduct, noted that the pair had acted dishonestly.

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In 2009, Singh was hired by Bernadette Rankine, then an art gallery owner, to handle the sale of her house in Joan Road, off Thomson Road, which was sold for S$12mil (RM32.5mil).

She had decided to sell the property and live off the proceeds after ending her 13-year relationship with Malaysian businessman Amin Shah.

But her former boyfriend lodged a caveat against the property to block the sale. In February 2010, the caveat was lifted and the net sales proceeds of S$6.9mil (RM18.7mil) held by the law firm were ordered to be released to her.

Singh gave her a cheque for S$5mil (RM13.6mil) as well as S$50,000 (RM135,000) for her assistant’s wages.

A few days later, he gave her a cheque for S$1.8mil, while she in turn issued two cheques, one for S$1.6mil (RM4.3mil) to Singh’s wife and the other for S$200,000 (RM544,000) to Menon’s wife.

Singh had advised her to place the money with their wives for safekeeping, saying that if her former boyfriend launched more legal action against her, her money would be frozen and she would not have the means to pay for lawyers.

Nine months later, she asked them to return the money. When they refused, she complained to the Law Society. They have since returned the full sum.

In April last year, a disciplinary tribunal found the pair guilty of misconduct – Singh for advising her to pay the money to the wives and then refusing to return it, and Menon for agreeing with the advice.

The pair contended that the money was a gift from Rankine but the tribunal found this “inherently absurd”.

Yesterday, the court agreed, saying it was unlikely that Rankine, who needed money for pending legal matters, would give away one quarter of her key asset to the wives of the two lawyers she had known for less than six months and to whom she had already paid fees. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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HSBC Bank officer charged for stealing money from victims of missing flight MH370


KUALA LUMPUR: A couple pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to multiple charges involving theft from the bank accounts of four passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Bank officer Nur Shila Kanan and her mechanic husband Ba­­sheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed, both 33, were accused of making illegal transfers and withdrawals, amounting to RM85,180 in total, from the accounts.

Nur Shila faces 12 principal charges in relation to transferring money from the HSBC Bank accounts to other bank accounts, theft, getting approval for a debit card and making a new Internet banking application with intent to cheat, and using forged documents at the HSBC branch in Lebuh Ampang from May 14 to July 14.

Basheer faces four main char­ges, including one for allegedly using a debit card and an ATM card to withdraw cash from the bank accounts.

He allegedly committed the offences at the bank’s ATM centre at Ampang Point here between May 15 and June 29.

Each of them also face four alternative charges of stealing from the HSBC Bank accounts.

The money was reported missing from the accounts of two Chinese nationals, Ju Kun and Tian Jun Wei, and Malaysians Hue Pui Peng and flight steward Tan Size Hiang.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Fadhli Mahmud applied to the court to set bail for each at RM20,000 in one surety and asked that the couple be made to surrender their passports to the court.

Lawyer Abdul Hakeem Aiman Mohd Affandi, who appeared for the couple, asked that bail be set at RM10,000 in one surety for each and said that they were willing to surrender their passports.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah set bail at RM12,000 in one surety for each and impounded their passports.

He fixed Aug 25 for the case to be brought before him again.

The Star/Asia News Network

MH370: Couple claim trial to illegal withdrawals

KUALA LUMPUR: A bank officer and her husband pleaded not guilty in the sessions court today to multiple charges involving illegal transfer and withdrawal of money, amounting to RM110,643, from the accounts of four passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Nur Shila Kanan and her husband, Basheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed, both 33, face multiple charges under the Computer Crimes Act, 1997, and Sections 379, 465 and 471 of the Penal Code.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah allowed them to be tried jointly. He set bail at RM12,000 each in one surety and ordered that their international passports be surrendered to the court.

Nur Shila faces 12 principal charges of illegal transfer of money from HSBC Bank, thefts, cheating and forging documents.

She also faces three alternative charges for theft, all of which she allegedly committed at HSBC Lebuh Ampang branch between May 14 and July 8.

Basheer faces four principal charges of using an ATM card and debit card to make illegal withdrawals and four alternative charges for theft, all of which had been allegedly committed at the HSBC ATM at Ampang Point between May 15 and June 29.

DPP Ahmad Fadli Mahmud asked the court to set bail at RM20,000 each in one surety.

Defence counsel Abdul Hakeem Aiman Mohd Affandi, however, requested for the bail to be reduced to RM10,000 on grounds that Nur Shila is a staff in HSBC earning RM3,000 a month, while Basheer, a mechanic, earns RM2,000 a month and have five people under their care, including three children aged between five years and six months old.

Mat Ghani fixed Aug 25 for mention before Judge Norsharidah Awang.

It was earlier reported that money had been missing from the bank accounts of four passengers of MH370 – Chinese nationals Ju Kun and Tian Jun Wei, and Malaysians Hue Pui Heng and flight steward Tan Size Hian.

Initial investigations reportedly revealed that the suspect had transferred funds from three passengers’ bank accounts into the account of a fourth passenger through Internet banking, and together with the fourth passenger’s account, the amount totalled RM110,643.

It was also reported that the missing money came to light on July 18 when a bank officer from a foreign bank detected a series of suspicious transactions and transfers from the four accounts.

Flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens on March 8 as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board. The plane has yet to be found, even after an exhaustive search in the southern Indian Ocean where it is believed to have gone down.

By Karen Arukesamy newsdesk@thesundaily.my

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Mercedes-Benz under monopoly investigation in China


MercedesA Mercedes Benz hood ornament is pictured at the Jacob Javits Convention Center during the New York International Auto Show in New York April 17, 2014. [Photo / Agencies]
German automaker Mercedes-Benz Shanghai office has been searched by anti-monopoly officials on Monday, China Finance Information reported Tuesday.

Investigators, sent by China’s antitrust regulator, the National Development and Reform Commission, visited the automaker’s Shanghai office and inspected several office computers, the report said.

It also said that almost all the staff there was questioned and several top management leaders were questioned until 21:00 pm.

The unexpected probe reportedly targets Mercedes-Benz’s car price policies and price floor imposed on dealerships in China, said the report quoting people familiar with the matter.

The company has not confirmed the news yet. But an insider said to China Daily website that it is preparing a statement on the issue.

Under pressure from Chinese antitrust regulator’s monopoly concerns, Mercedes-Benz was the first to officially reduce the cost of after-sales for its major models by launching its Start Maintenance Menu earlier on July 1.

Covering both smart cars and Mercedes-Benz models, including the A-, B-, C-, E-, GLK-, M-, R-, and S-Class, the cost of maintenance will be cut by 20 percent on average and the reduction for some specific models could be as much as 50 percent.

Then on Sunday, the German automaker announced that it will cut the prices of spare parts by an average of 15 percent in after-sales maintenance for all models from Sept 1.

Mercedes-Benz under antitrust probe: report Mercedes-Benz under antitrust probe: report
Mercedes-Benz cuts spare-part prices on anti-monopoly probe Automakers lower prices following monopoly concerns

Malaysia’s flight MH370 mistakes reflect stagnant politics; Bad apples in NZ sex crime..


Malaysia is poised to escape the middle-income trap, but also ready to fall back into it.

Normally the middle-income trap refers to countries with per capita GDP ranging from $1,000 to $12,000. GDP per capita in Malaysia already reached $1,000 by 1977, and $11,000 by 2013. After ups and downs over almost four decades, it seems Malaysia could walk out of the middle-income trap very soon.

Nonetheless, according to the Asian Development Bank that created the concept, GDP per capita is only a superficial indicator. The more accurate definition of the middle-income trap is that when a country enters the ranks of middle-income countries, a series of problems emerge, including rising labor costs, a lack of technological innovation, and subsequent economic stagnation.

There are two aspects of the definition: rising productivity and good governance. The essence of governance here means encouraging reasonable competition to maximize the value of talent and give boost to innovation.

MH370 mistakesMalaysia’s poor response following the disappearance of flight MH370 reflected the fact that the country is still way behind in terms of governance. Behind the chaotic information are the flaws in Malaysia’s system of governance.

There are both systematic and cultural reasons behind Malaysia’s poor governance. But it is more related to the lack of secularization.

One driving force in the rise of Malaysia’s GDP per capita has been the export of abundant raw products such as oil and rubber.

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country, with Malays making up 68 percent of the population, Chinese 24.6 percent, and Indians 7 percent. According to the law, Chinese Malaysians, who were historically dominant in the economy despite their smaller numbers, cannot take positions as top leaders; and Malays must make up two-thirds of ministers and parliamentary members, and three-fourths of civil servants.

Malays also enjoy special policies in other fields such as college admission and civil servant recruitment. Malays even enjoy a higher quota in the issuing of taxi operation licenses.

Some Malays simply acquire the licenses and rent them to Chinese, collecting unearned income.

This rigid system which shows special care for Malays, to a certain extent, helps different ethnic groups to stay in their own places and thus boosts social stability. But this also closes the channel for upward mobility because it fails to provide a reasonable platform for competition.

The special privileges enjoyed by Malays give leeway for corruption. And in terms of governance, these privileges translate into a conservative group with vested interests and a lack of talent.

The modernization of Malaysia’s governance is also related to Islamic modernization.

In 2001, then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that Malaysia was a Muslim country. Current Prime Minister Najib Razak also declared in 2007 that Malaysia has never been a secular country.

Even today, some states in Malaysia still maintain elements of Sharia law. Different religious populations have different civil laws, even when living in the same place.

Islam is not a negative element. However, integrating religion with the law and politics rather than separating them may cause social conservatism and isolation.

In fact, this is a misinterpretation that sees Malaysian politics as strictly controlled by the elite. What’s dysfunctional is not elite politics itself, but a rigid, dull system that is responsible for selecting the political elite.

Malaysia is determined to enter the ranks of developed countries by 2020. But judging from its handling of the MH370 incident, Malaysia’s modernization will take far longer than this.

Source: By Ding Gang Source:Global Times Published: 2014-3-19

Bad apples -Malaysian envoy in NZ sex crime 

NZ Sex crime_Muhammad Rizalman

 

Malaysian envoy in NZ sex crime named

A photo of the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand. 
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian diplomat who is at the centre of an alleged sexual assault case in New Zealand has been identified as Muhammad Rizalman Ismail.His identity was allowed to be revealed after media organisations challenged a judge’s decision to grant permanent name suppression, The New Zealand Herald reported today.

The identity of Muhammad Rizalman, 38, who worked at the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington, was previously concealed due to a immunity order imposed by a Wellington District Court judge on May 30.

However, the High Court at Wellington today held an emergency hearing to overturn the immunityruling and it was successful.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Ministry said it will not waive Muhammad Rizalman’s diplomatic immunity just yet. But they are prepared to do so, if necessary, so that the suspect can be prosecuted under the New Zealand law, its Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said.

He said the Malaysian government is committed in ensuring the transparency of the investigation of this case.

“If it is absolutely necessary that we think it is best to (waive his immunity) we will do it without hesitation,” he told a press conference in Wisma Putra here today.

NZ Sex crime_Muhammad Rizalman1
Anifah also said, the Malaysian government has confidence with the Defence Ministry’s (Mindef) board of inquiry (BOI) that they will communicate with the New Zealand authorities, adding that they will not hesitate to take stern action against the suspect.”Mindef will not hesitate to act under the Armed Forces Act 1972, if it is proven beyond doubt that Muhammad Rizalman is responsible and guilty of the offense as charged,” he said.

He said the waiver would be deemed necessary when New Zealand requested for Muhammad Rizalman’s return, out of belief that the investigations in Malaysia were not done properly.

However, he informed that it was the New Zealand authorities who had allowed the man to be brought back to Malaysia in May.

Besides that, Muhammad Rizalman has also undergone medical checks at the Mindef Medical Centre on May 29 which include physical and mental tests.

Anifah said blood and urine tests were also conducted and the results were satisfactory. Muhammad Rizalman is now at the Tuanku Mizan Military Hospital to have his mental and emotional health assessed.

On the Malaysian High Commission’s website in New Zealand, Muhammad Rizalman, who had previously claimed diplomatic immunity, is listed to be Defence staff assistant, with the rank of a warrant officer II.

The man was arrested after he allegedly followed a 21-year-old woman to her house on May 9 and attacked her.

Sources: Astro/The Star/Asia News Network

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FIFA World Cup gambling on the go, technologies got smarter


Fifa-world-cup-2014


KUALA LUMPUR: Illegal betting for this year’s World Cup is set to hit a record high – thanks to smart technology which will allow punters to place bets from anywhere and at anytime.

Federal Secret Societies, Gambling and Vice Division (D7) principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Roslee Chik said the total bets for the last World Cup in South Africa four years ago amounted to more than RM438mil nationwide.

“We expect this year’s tournament to surpass that amount as syndicates and gamblers are using smartphones rather than laptops.

“In the 2010 World Cup, we only had to deal with syndicates and gamblers using laptops but now smartphones have become the tool of the bookies,” he said.

Some of the gambling apps that are easily available are M88 Sports, IBCBET and SBOBET.

“We have started preparations in the last three weeks and we are ready to come down hard on anyone involved in illegal football betting,” SAC Roslee told a press conference in Bukit Aman yesterday.

Betting on football matches is illegal in Malaysia and even those who place bets on betting websites that are legal in other countries will face action.

Johor police have also set up a taskforce in every district to check on gambling activities and will focus on premises such as cybercafés and restaurants that offer live matches.

Johor police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff had these words of advice for those likely to get into bigger trouble by borrowing from loan sharks: “Just enjoy the games. There is no need to bet.”

Sabah police have set up eight teams for the Ops Soga 5 to combat football betting activities.

State CID chief Senior Asst Comm Omar Mammah said the police did not want to reveal details of their operations so they could catch the bookies and the gamblers by surprise.

According to SAC Roslee, although police arrested 143 people in 2010, including bookies and those who placed bets, most of them could not be prosecuted due to lack of evidence.

The youngest among those arrested was 15 and the oldest was 73. There were also 22 women and nine Indonesians.

He added that a total of 270 premises were raided nationwide during the month-long tournament and RM110,124 seized.

“We have learned some lessons and have improved our strategies.

“We will use the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Act 2001 (Amlata) and enforcement will be more stringent,” he said.

SAC Roslee said bets for the World Cup would increase as the tournament progressed, with the stake getting higher for the quarter-final, semi-final and the final.

It is learnt that a minimum bet could from between RM200 and RM300 and they could go up to hundreds of thousands of ringgit.

SAC Roslee vowed the police would use the Prevention of Crime Act to catch syndicate members as a last resort.

“We will also work closely with the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission to identify illegal gaming facilities and websites,” he said.

SAC Roslee added they were also looking into amending existing gambling laws, to enable the authorities to have more bite against illegal gambling syndicates as syndicates are using the Internet with servers based overseas.

“It is hard to get cooperation from the authorities in countries where gambling is legal,” he said.

– Contributed by Farik zolkepli, Yuen Meikeng, Randeep Singh, Aida Ahmad, Stephanie Lee, & Farhaan Shah

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Football Every Day Webcast to keep up with the samba beat

PETALING JAYA: The greatest show on earth has kicked off and the Football Every Day Webcast will be keeping up with the samba beat on a daily basis throughout the tournament’s duration.

With seasoned faces as well as fresh ones, join football crazy fans Zack Yusof, Daryl Goh, Ian Yee, Brian Martin and Nelsen Ng as they get together to run the rule over each day’s matches.

This time around, viewers and footie fans alike stand a chance to walk away with a pair of the latest Adidas Battle Pack Footwear worth up to RM800 and dining vouchers from SOULed Out.

To win, simply send us your most wacky and creative photo or video selfies of you and your friends enjoying the World Cup.

Entries can be submitted by email to football@thestar.com.my or via Twitter at @switchup.tv. Make sure to include your full name, IC and contact numbers.

The Star’s Football Every Day webcast can be viewed at www.Switchup.tv.

Smartphones causing a spike in betting among youth

PETALING JAYA: Internet gambling has become more rampant among young people, especially since it has become so easy to bet using smartphones.

Those aged between 17 and 30 now make up 75% of online gamblers. The other 25% consists largely of those aged between 31 and 42.

Data from Gamblers Rehab Centre (GRC) Malaysia received between 2007 and last year show that the number of online gamblers who received counselling have increased from just 16 cases in 2007 to 112 last year.

“We received an average of 120 gamblers seeking help from us every year.

“Due to the popularity of smartphones, internet gambling has become more common,” said the GRC in a statement.

“There is no age minimum and it is open to everyone. The only qualification is the amount of money one has in the account,” it said.

The GRC said online gambling on credit was operated by illegal syndicates that set up their own websites and appointed agents to get clients to open trading accounts.

“They will give their clients credits to bet. This type of gambling is very popular, especially among school students,” it said.

Any losses or wins would be transacted via the account on a fixed day of the week.

“Since it does not require any cash deposit, it causes many to lose control and fall into the whirlpool of gambling.

“In order to win back lost money or to repay their debts, clients tend to borrow money from loan sharks, who in fact, are partners in the whole operation,” the GRC said.

However, there are a few types of online gambling games which do not involve money and are found on Facebook, said GRC, adding that such games might encourage some to move on to “real” online gambling.

The GRC has conducted awareness seminars in schools and other places to prevent people from picking up the habit.

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China rejects arbitration tribunal South China Sea ruling ; History backs China in sea disputes


China on Wednesday rejected a Hague-based arbitration tribunal’s ruling giving it six months to respond to a legal claim by the Philippines over disputed waters in the South China Sea.

China’s stance of not accepting or participating in the arbitration proceedings filed by the Philippines has not changed, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said at a regular briefing on Wednesday.

The response came after the tribunal of The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, issued a statement on Tuesday, which requires China to submit evidence to defend its territorial claims in the South China Sea before December 15.

The tribunal cited an obligation to assure “each party a full opportunity to be heard and to present its case,” according to a Tuesday statement.

The Philippines in March filed a memorandum to the international arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), questioning the validity of China’s “nine-dash” territorial claim.

However, experts said that without a bilateral agreement, the UNCLOS has no jurisdiction to interfere in sovereignty issues, which made China’s stance reasonable and lawful.

“The international arbitration procedure must be agreed by both parties. If China rejects participating, the arbitration will not work,” Ji Qiufeng, a professor of international relations with Nanjing University, told the Global Times.

Ji noted that the international tribunal is most likely to withdraw the Philippines’ case.

“It will be a wise decision for the international tribunal as it lacks power to enforce. Even if the tribunal makes a judgment by default, China will not accept its verdict,” Ji said. “The tribunal may lose its credibility.”

The United States has said it supports the Philippines’ arbitration case, which is closely watched by other claimant countries including Vietnam, which said last month it was considering legal action against China after a Chinese oil rig started to operate in waters near the Xisha Islands that Hanoi claims as it territory.

Ji pointed out that Vietnam’s legal threat is very likely to depend on the result of the Philippines’ case. “As China stands firm against the Manila plea, Hanoi should be aware that the threats would prove in vain.”

– By Hu Qingyun Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-5 0:43:01

History backs China in sea disputes

China has been criticized by some countries for making “ambiguous” claims on the islands, islets, reefs and waters in the South China Sea. For example, it has been criticized for “failing to honor” the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea despite being a signatory to it, as well as for “violating” other international laws on the sea.

A few international observers also accuse China of deliberately obscuring its territorial claims in the South China Sea by using terms not found in the UNCLOS, such as “adjacent waters” and “relevant waters”. And some countries keep demanding that China “clarify” its nine-dash line map.

The fact is that, if these countries do not change their mindset and attitude, the nine-dash line will continue to be vague for them irrespective of how clearly China defines it.

China has an unequivocal and consistent territorial claim on the islands and other land features in the South China Sea. As a matter of fact, it has unequivocally stated its claim in three official documents: the 1947 Location Map of the South China Sea Islands released by the Kuomingtang government in Nanjing, the 1958 Declaration of the Government of New China on the Territorial Sea and the 1992 Law on Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone. These documents state that the Dongsha Islands, Xisha Islands, Zhongsha Islands, Nansha Islands and other islands are part of the sovereign territory of China.

Some countries view China’s maritime claim in the South China Sea as ambiguous because of certain historical reasons. The first reason is that the UNCLOS does not properly address the issue of historic rights. Despite the reference to historic title in Articles 15 and 298(1)(a), the provision on historic bays in Article 15(6), and the recognition of traditional fishing rights in Article 51, it does not have any provision for the definition of historic rights or their specific connotation and denotation.

The second is that no consistent understanding has been reached in international law on historic rights. For example, Yehuda Z. Blum, an Israeli professor of law and diplomat, has observed: The term “historic rights” denotes the possession by a state, over certain land or maritime areas, of rights that would not normally accrue to it under the general rules of international law, such rights having been acquired by that state through a process of historical consolidation … Historic rights are a product of a lengthy process comprising a long series of acts, omissions and patterns of behavior which, in their entirety, and through their cumulative effect, bring such rights into being and consolidate them into rights valid in international law.

Besides, a state acquires historic rights through effective exercise of these rights (long series of acts, omissions and patterns of behavior) by one or more states, a practice followed by relevant states. The concept of historic rights is almost equivalent to that of historic water.

In this vein, Leo Bouchez, a renowned international law professor, says the concept of “historic rights” has evolved from the concept of “historic water” and “historic bays”. The development from “historic bays” to “historic water” and from “historic title” to “historic rights” indicates the evolution of legal concepts with the development of state practice, and that such concepts have not been finalized.

From the point of view of China, one of the world’s oldest civilizations, the South China Sea is part of the traditional Asian order and, hence, it would be inappropriate to comprehend the nine-dash line by relying solely on the Westphalian nation-state system.

As Keyuan Zou, Harris professor of International Law at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK, has observed, the South China Sea nine-dash line map was officially released by the Chinese Kuomingtang government half a century before the UNCLOS, and one decade before the 1958 Four Geneva Conventions on the Law of the Sea. Thus, China’s historic rights within the nine-dash line cannot be ignored. The nine-dash line drawn by the Chinese government in 1947, at approximately the median position between China’s South China Sea islands and reefs and the coastlines of bordering states, reflects the scope of China’s claims. The consistency of the claims has been maintained by China after 1949, and the claims have been recognized or acquiesced to by bordering states over a long period of time. Therefore, the nine-dash line has probative force and weight under international law.

The so-called ambiguity in China’s nine-dash line map and its claim on the waters within that line mainly stems from the imperfection of the UNCLOS. To some extent, international law on historic rights is defective in theory and doctrine and lacks a unified standard.

China has been striving to clarify its claim in the South China Sea. But the joint efforts of the international community are also needed to complement and improve the UNCLOS by agreeing to a new international convention or protocol in order to clarify the understanding of historic rights.

The author is deputy director of Maritime Security Institute at East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai. The views expressed are personal. His most recent book is Legal Interpretation of China’s South China Sea Map: An Inclusive Approach to Ocean Public Order.

– By Zheng Zhihua (China Daily)

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