Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seized animals gone in three months

Source: (By Natalie Heng, 28 Sep 2010)
Some 90% of the animals seized by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks from a warehouse in Taman Wahyu three months ago have allegedly either died or gone missing, claims an informant.

The wildlife haul of over 20 species encompassed thousands of birds – including a rare pair of Cenderawasih, also known as the Bird of Paradise said to be worth RM1 million in the black market – as well as leopard cats, albino pygmy monkeys and domestic cats. Other rare birds seized in the raid were the blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, the black-coloured Palm Cockatoo and the white rump Shama.

The news of the missing or dead animals was revealed by Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng who said the informer, who claimed to be a wildlife department staff, approached him a week ago. "He told me that the animals found deceased had clearly died due to starvation," Lim said at a press conference today. He added that the informer had not told him how many animals were dead and how many were missing.
The animals had been handed over to the department in July by the police, who were investigating a stolen car ring, stumbled upon them during a raid on the warehouse.

Lim said he had tried to verify the information with the department last Friday but did not manage to speak to any top official. Instead, he was told the status of the seized animals is unavailable as the case is still under investigation. "That is unacceptable to me; it has been three months since the seizure. I challenge the Department of Wildlife to tell the public where the animals are," he said. Lim also said he hoped that wildlife and animal protection NGOs would join in and put pressure on the wildlife department to reveal the status of the animals seized in July.

The department's director-general could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Religious man" in scratch-and-win scam

Source: (By Meena L. Ramadas, 20/9/2010)

Scratch-and-win scams continue to thrive, with unscrupulous conmen now dressing up as religious figures to ensnare victims.

At a press conference today, Khairuddin Karim recounted how his uncle and aunt visited a grocery store in Selayang on Aug 21 where a "religious man" approached them with some papers. "The man recited Quranic verses and handed them a scratch-and-win paper sheet," he said. Taken in by the man’s pious demeanour, the couple proceeded to scratch the paper and found they had won a prize. They were then told to visit a company office in Kepong to find out what they had won. Upon arriving there the next day, the couple were told by the staff that they had won a Toyota Altis, but that they had to pay RM12,000 for road tax, insurance, storage fees and so on before receiving their prize. The eager couple returned with the money, but soon realised that the number on the scratch-and-win paper did not correspond with the prize number indicated by the staff. When this was pointed out, they were told they had won a Jade mattress instead, which led them to suspect something was amiss.

The couple later approached Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng for help. "I asked them to lodge a police report and they got their money back after I went with them to demand a refund," he said.

Lim reminded the public not to be "naive and gullible" in believing such schemes.
"Nothing is free. There is no such thing as a free lunch," he said.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Federal Territories to sing a new tune

Source: (By BAVANI M, 17/9/2010)
WORD is out that the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry is going to replace the anthem of the three Federal TerritoriesKuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan before the next Federal Territories Day celebration on Feb 1. A source told StarMetro that the Cabinet had given the go ahead to change the FT song - Maju dan Sejahtera (Progressive and Peaceful) after it was gazetted and launched by the former Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail at Dataran Merdeka on Aug 20, 2006. Since then, government agencies and schools in the Federal Territories have been honouring the song at official events. It is also sung at school assemblies on Monday morning. The anthem together with the flag was created to infuse a new spirit and provide a sense of identity for the Federal Territories. It is also meant to provide KL-ites with a sense of belonging and a feeling of pride for their home.

Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abdin confirmed the Cabinet’s decision to change the song. In a text message to StarMetro, Raja Nong Chik said the FT song would be changed by the next Federal Territories Day as decided by the Cabinet. “The lyrics will be in line with the 1Malaysia concept and more upbeat as the present anthem is too slow,” he said.

Labuan MP Datuk Yussof Mahal also agreed that the current song was too slow. “It does not raise the spirit of the Federal Territories. We need something more up-beat that is suitable for the current generation,’’ he said.

The move, however, has drawn flak from Opposition leaders who are questioning the rationale and reasoning for changing the song.

“The FT anthem is a respected emblem of the city and should reflect the values of a city. If its lyrics no longer reflect that values then by all means make the changes otherwise why change it,’’ said Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng. Lim added that the FT song was not a fashion statement that could be changed as and when the need arose.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar expressed shock when she heard about the song change.

“What ever for? The song holds a special meaning for the people of KL. It inculcates a sense of belonging with the residents and gives them something to be proud of,’’ she said. “This is also disrespectful to the previous Agong and it speaks volumes on how Kuala Lumpur and its residents are being treated,’’ Nurul Izzah added. Batu MP Tian Chua said: “One should not play around with something as respected as the anthem or the flag. “I find this news appalling,’’ Chua said. Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw said any changes to the FT song must get feedback from the people of the Federal Territories. “Have they sought their views on this? Tan asked. “If the lyrics are not meaningful or the music not nice, then get the people to provide feedback on it. Why the hurry to change,’’ Tan asked.

Teacher Sulaiman Yaaob said the song Maju dan Sejahtera held a deep meaning for him as it had been sung in his school in Keramat for the past four years. “It provided us with a deep sense of belonging and I do not think it is a good idea to change it now after four years,’’ he said. Student Tan Hui Ling of SMK Sri Sinar in Segambut said they had already learnt the song by heart and it would be a hassle to learn a new one. “Maybe the authorities can change the beat or tempo like what they did with the Negaraku,’’ she said.

The FT anthem was composed by Datuk Wah Idris, the man behind the current version of the Negaraku and Commonwealth Games 1998 theme song Standing in the Eyes of the World. The song’s lyrics written by Sheikh Faisal Mansor projects the hope and aspiration of the people. It was first used by the Federal Territories contingent at Sukma XI in Kedah in 2006. When contacted, Wah Idris said the FT anthem was a respected element that should not be changed every two to three years. “Everyone is entitled to their views but one should not make changes especially when it concerns national anthems. “If they feel that the song is too slow then they should come back to me and changes can be made. “Careful thought was given to the FT anthem and the melody and the tune should be maintained,’’ Wah Idris said.

New traffic lights causing congestion

Source: (6/9/2010)

A new traffic lights system in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur, is causing frustration among motorists as it is the cause of congestion in the area. The traffic lights at the Jalan Segambut Pusat and Jalan Segambut Tengah junction is causing a backlog of vehicles all the way to the Duta roundabout since it started operating on Sept 2.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said the traffic lights were installed by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) three months ago without consulting the residents. He added that last week during the testing of the traffic lights, there was a huge backlog spilling into Jalan Duta from Jalan Segambut Pusat and Jalan Segambut. “Despite that, the traffic lights became functional this week and there are many unhappy people here because it takes more time to get to their destinations,” he said during a press conference on Friday. He said he would bring the matter to Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Fuad Ismail’s attention.

Businessman Liew Way Mun, who operates an auto parts shop in Jalan Segambut Selatan, said it now took him 45 minutes to get to his shop from Jalan Segambut when previously it took less than 10 minutes before the traffic lights started operating. “There is also a problem getting back to Jalan Segambut from my office. Last time it took me only three minutes but now I am stuck for almost half an hour,” he said.

Another businessman said the traffic lights were not solving any traffic problems but only causing more frustration among motorists. “Before it was operational we did not think it would be a problem but now I must say it is madness. DBKL should have conducted a proper traffic study before deciding on this,” he said.

Christopher Ong, 52, who lives in Taman Segambut Hilir said the traffic lights was a good idea because it was much easier for him to get out of Jalan Segambut Tengah to Jalan Segambut Pusat. “It is difficult to get out of Jalan Segambut Tengah without the traffic lights. Sometimes it took me 10 minutes just to leave the junction because motorists in Jalan Segambut Pusat would not give us a chance to turn out,” he said.