Monday, October 31, 2011

Three MPs thrown out

Source: (By Tarani Palani, 31.10.2011)
Three MPs were kicked out of parliament house for disobeying the Speaker’s order to sit down.
Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa was told to get out when he remained standing and continued to demand an answer to a question he posed to the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Mustapa Mohamed, who finished his winding up speech without responding to the former. Er wanted clarification on a piece of information alleging that Malaysia was interested in trading with Israel. Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia repeatedly asked him to sit down, but he was defiant. “Why didn’t the minister answer?” he said. “It’s just a yes or no. I just want to know if Malaysia has economic ties with Israel
Pandikar Amin eventually ordered Er out after several failed attempts to get him to sit down.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng told Er not to leave. A clearly livid Pandikar then showed the door to him as well.
The Speaker said there was no room for questions after a minister had finished his speech. However, he allowed both the DAP reps back into the house 25 minutes later.
Er told reporters that he was not satisfied with the Speaker’s decision as he was merely trying to seek clarification. “I have got documents, including a customs document from an NGO, which shows that Malaysia wants to have economic relationship with Israel,” he said. “I just wanted to clarify if the information was accurate.”
Earlier, Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan (Independent) was shown the exit when he continued to shout at his DAP counterparts, alleging that they had not kept their promises on the Kampung Buah Pala issue. He was sent out a few minutes before lunch break and was allowed back into the hall after the break.

Developer says no more work being done as contruction completed

Easy to get lost: Poor signage at Solaris Dutamas has become a bane for both tenants and visitors.
Source: (By JASTIN AHMAD TARMIZI, 31.10.2011)
CLAIMS made by the tenants and owners of commercial units in Solaris Dutamas Kuala Lumpur about their problems with the joint management of the retail and office has been refuted by the developer and management of the development.
The developer and management of Solaris Dutamas, Sunrise Bhd community and customer development general manager Anne Tong denied that there was still construction works and flying debris as claimed by the stakeholders. “It is impossible that at this stage there is still construction works and debris as the development is already completed. “Whatever works done in the development at the moment are the renovation works within Publika, which is the shopping mall within the Solaris Dutamas development. “Some of the works are by the individual retail outlets done by the tenants or shop owners themselves,” she said during an interview which was also attended by Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, in respond to the claims made by the stakeholders.
However, Tong admitted that there were problems with the signage in the development which was also one of the problems cited by the stakeholders. “We understand that the signage here can be a bit difficult. However, we have engaged a consultant from Singapore to work on upgrading the ‘wayfinding’ signage for the development. As this is an ongoing exercise, changes will be gradual,” she said. Tong added with regards to the high parking rates and claims, that the revised rates would not encourage more customers and they would resort to other malls claimed by the stakeholders were incorrect. “The revised parking rate is fixed at RM1 for the first three hours and RM2 per hour for the subsequent hours not RM1 for the first hour. “We believe this price is reasonable as it is comparable to other shopping malls in the Klang Valley and it is relatively cheaper than several shopping complexes nearby,” she said adding that the parking rate is maintained at RM1 per entry during the weekends to attract and encourage more shoppers.
When asked about the claims by stakeholders that their units are not given proper publicity, Tong said they could not allow the business operators to hang their own buntings and banners along the corridors and the car park as it would affect the outlook of the development. “Just like any other shopping areas, we cannot let them place their buntings and banners as the outlook and appearance will be affected. “We have to maintain and control this,” she said adding that they have also given publicity for many of the outlets in Solaris Dutamas by featuring them in the Sunrise news bulletin without charging them.
Some 200 tenants and owners from Block C and D signed a petition recently to the management of the development and organised a press conference with Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng to highlight the issue. Most of them said there are several things that have hampered their business in the area with one of the most pertinent problem was the delay in the completion of Publika shopping mall and the commercial units claiming there was debris flying around that was affecting their business.
The tenants and owners claimed that the construction was still going on although the works at Solaris Dutamas should have been completed two years ago. They are also unhappy that their units are not given proper publicity and are treated as a separate entity from Publika that has received numerous advertisements and articles in the local media.
Deciding to take matters into their own hands, the business operators printed their own buntings and banners along the corridors and the car park. However, they were told they could not do that and the security guards had gone around collecting the banners and placing them in the carpark to be picked up by respective owners.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Sun: Owners allege overcharging by TNB

Solaris Dutamas tenants, owners face multiple problems with retail area

In unison: Tenants and owners have joined forces to voice their problems. (Photos by DANIL ROSLAN)
Source: (By PRIYA MENON, 25.10.2011)
TENANTS and owners of commercial units in Solaris Dutamas Kuala Lumpur have joined forces to voice their problems against the joint management of the retail and office. Some 200 affected tenants and owners from Block C and D have signed a petition to the four different management offices of the development. They organised a press conference with
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng recently to highlight the issue.
Most of them said there are several things that have hampered their business in the area. One of the most pertinent problem was the delay in the completion of Publika shopping mall and the commercial units. According to them, works at Solaris Dutamas should have been completed two years ago but the construction is still on going.
Spidy Aktifan, a tenant said, it was dangerous for people walking around with construction debris flying around.
Basil Joseph, the owner of Comida restaurant, said he had started a comments form for his customers and most of the 200 forms are about the condition of the place. “Once customers declined to come into the restaurant because the front was dirty and dusty from all the construction work,” he said.
Another tenant Florence Lambert said many of her customers found it difficult to find parking spots inside the building. The lack of signages also makes it difficult for people to find their way to the retail units. “Most of the time, I have to go down to the carpark and bring them up. We put so much effort to make it look nice and it is a shame if we cannot welcome our customers properly,” she said.
The parking rates have also increased to RM1 for the first hour followed by RM2 for every subsequent hour. The stakeholders feel that this would not encourage customers who will resort to other malls because of the high rates. They are also unhappy that their units are not given proper publicity and are treated as a separate entity from Publika that has received numerous advertisements and articles in local media.
Deciding to take matters into their own hands, the business operators printed their own buntings and banners along the corridors and the car park. However, they were told they could not do that. During the weekend, security guards would go around collecting the banners and place them in the carpark to be picked up by respective owners. They were upset with the management, who have turned a deaf ear to the cries, despite their efforts to improve the situation.
Lim said the developer and management, Sunrise Bhd, had been sold off to a government linked company several months ago. “I will try to speak to the former owners and see if they still have control over Solaris Dutamas and request that they meet up with stakeholders. If that fails I will write in to the new owners requesting a meeting,” he added.
One of the tenants who started the idea for the meeting, Leong Hoo-Yin, said all the affected parties are also looking at setting up an association to deal with the problem professionally.

Dewan Rakyat: New coins, banknotes to tackle counterfeiting

A picture of Lip Eng carrying the Auditor-General Reports at the Parliament after it was released. ORIENTAL DAILY PIX
Source: (24 October 2011)
Bank Negara Malaysia decided to issue the the new third series of the Malaysian coins and the fourth series of the ringgit banknotes with improved security features to overcome counterfeiting.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai told the Dewan Rakyat the move would help Bank Negara Malaysia to reduce the cost of producing the new coins by 49% a year through the use of base metals and other technical specifications.
"The appointment of suppliers for the new series of Malaysian coins and banknotes is made through an open tender," he said in response to a question by Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) who wanted to know the government's rationale in producing the new series of the Malaysian coins and banknotes.
He said all the contracts for the supply of the new series of Malaysian coins and banknotes had been tendered to international companies of high reputation and credibility.
"The supplier which has been selected to supply the coins is Poogsan Corporation, South Korea, and the coins are minted at the Bank Negara Malaysia mint in Shah Alam.
"The suppliers for the new series Malaysian banknotes are Crane AB, Sweden; Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, Germany; Oberthur Technologies, France, and Orell Fussli, Switzerland," Donald added.
On the decision by the United States of America to limit its debt rate, he said it did not give any impact on Malaysia. – Bernama

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dustbin lids act as covers for manholes

No cover: A resident showing how dangerous the manhole can be without the proper lid. Looking on is Lim (second left, in white shirt) and other park patrons. (Photos by PUTRI NUR ELLIS)
Source: (By PRIYA MENON, 18.10.2011)
Joggers risk serious injury at a park in Taman Manjalara Kepong because 11 manholes only have dustbin lids as covers.
Yab Fong Yoon, 63, said many senior citizens jog at the park in the mornings and it could be dangerous for them. “The park is full from 6.30am to 8.30am and some of the lights are faulty so you can hardly see anything,” he said.
Liam Tiam Soon, 68, a regular at the park, said he feared for the lives of the children who could fall into the manholes. “There are no guards in the park so no one can keep an eye on the people,” said Liam.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said he brought up the matter at a meeting between Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail and the MPs in August.
There are two other issues that needed immediate attention — a faulty man-made waterfall and a broken platform at the edge of the pond. “The mayor promised to carry out repair work and instructed the directors to deal with the matter within a month,” he said. Two weeks later Lim received a call from a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officer asking him to list out the problems in the place. Lim in turn urged DBKL to visit the park to see the extensive damage for themselves.
They fixed the fountain and removed the platform permanently. “However, they have failed to replace the missing manhole covers and it has been already been three months, ”Lim added. He said he would ask Fuad about the matter again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Malaysia and China to recognise mutual varsity degrees

Source: (14.10.2011)
MALAYSIA and China have agreed to certify Bachelor’s degrees, Masters and doctorates awarded by higher learning institutions from both countries. Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the decision was based on the Malaysia-China Mutual Recognition Agreement signed on April 28.
“Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s and PhD holders certified by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency would automatically be recognised in China,” he said in a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut). Lim had asked the ministry to state which higher learning institutions from China and Taiwan had been given the accreditation. Khalid said the accreditation of higher education programmes between Malaysia and Taiwan was still being discussed.
Meanwhile, those who had borrowed from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) will see their administrative loans reduced from 5% and 3% to 1% if they convert their study loans to the ujrah system.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Hou Kok Chung said as of Sept 30, 565,427 borrowers have converted their conventional study loans to the Islamic loan system and 435,160 qualified applicants had been asked to convert their loans to the ujrah system.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

'Stealthy EC rule changes hampering voter registration'

Source: (Hazlan Zakaria, 11.10.2011)
The DAP today questioned the "sudden changes" in rules for voter registration by the Federal Territory Election Commission (EC), describing this as “unreasonable” and a hindrance to its efforts to register new voters. The most recent rule change, without notice, led to the rejection of more than 500 new voters by the the Federal Territory EC because their forms were not accompanied with copies of their identity cards.
“This is very unreasonable,” said Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, who explained at a press conference at Parliament House today that it would be difficult for them to follow up with all the 500 registrants to chase for copies of their identity cards.
Forcing them to do that is unfair, said Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who joined Kok at the press conference. “Our job was to help get those who want to register as voters fill in the forms for the EC. Verification and getting the voters' credentials is their job, not ours,” he said.
The need for a copy of the MyKad was never a requirement before, said DAP leaders, adding that this sudden rule change "is an ambush by the commission" as it was the fourth in the last six months and done without prior notice.
“There was no prior notice,” said Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai, who was also at the press conference. As the party often opened its registration booths in many places other than its service centres, the leaders argued that requiring them to attach a copy of the MyKad for each person registering as a voter would require them to lug around a photostat machine, which would make the job of their volunteers all the more difficult. Earlier, the EC had sent back forms submitted by the DAP, asking for a statement to be attached to each form, a time-consuming process that had to be repeated for each registrant. Later, Tan explained, the party was told that the EC had changed its voter registration form, which forced party volunteers to fill up the forms all over again - which was further hindered by the smaller columns in the new forms.
The latest rejected batch was sent after complying with all the previous requirements, only to be rejected out of hand for another unannounced rule change.
Related news: EC urged to inform asst registrars of policy changes

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Myanmar nationals top asylum seekers’ list

Source: (10.10.2011)
KUALA LUMPUR: Myanmar nationals are the largest number of asylum seekers in Malaysia, the Dewan Rakyat was told Monday.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said until Aug, 7,582 of the total 10,850 asylum seekers were Myanmar nationals.
Statistics by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur showed there were 94,843 'persons of concern' where 83,993 were refugees and 10,850 were asylum seekers.
"Of the total, 67,145 were men and 27,698 women with Mynamar nationals the majority with 7,582 asylum seekers," he said in a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) here. Lim asked about the number of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia and laws that guarantee their welfare and safety while in detention.
Nazri said although Malaysia did not sign any agreement on refugees, no illegal immigrants holding UNHCR cards had been arrested on humanitarian grounds. Malaysia is not signatory to United Nations Convention Relating to The Status of Refugees 1951 and Protocol Relating to The Status of Refugees 1967. "Malaysia has allowed the refugees to stay here temporarily until they are relocated to a third country," he said.
However, since Malaysia did not sign any agreement on refugees, the government could not guarantee their welfare and safety. - Bernama

Monday, October 10, 2011

The many hats of a politician

Source: (By PHILIP GOLINGAI, 10.10.2011)
Having to settle a broom fight between two 60-something neighbours, play private investigator and exorcise ghosts are but some of the more interesting tasks asked of an MP.
POLITICIANS tweet. They do it mostly to gain a point or two over their political rivals. But their tweets also give an insight into the life of a politician.
One politician whom I follow on Twitter is @limlipeng – Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng. Occasionally, Lim will tweet about the “innocent but ridiculous” requests he gets from his constituents.
@limlipeng tweeted: “A parent wants me to run background check on his soon(-to-be) daughter-in-law. Grr ...” “These parents from Jinjang asked me to find out the marital status of their 20-something son’s future wife (who is 10 years older than him),” the DAP politician explained. “They heard rumours that she was a divorcee or was staying with another boyfriend and they wanted me to do PI (private investigator) work for them.” Lim told them that their son was an adult and they could not control him for the rest of his life.
Who do you call when you live in a condominium facing a stretch along busy Jalan Kuching that is accident-prone and believed to be haunted? Ghostbuster Lim. “I’ve received at least three complaints from people living in that condominium. “They told me that a particular spot is accident-prone because a ghost appears in the middle of the night to frighten motorists,” the Segambut MP said at his service centre facing Jalan Kuching. “They told me to ‘cleanse’ the road but I’ve not done it yet.”
Lim also tweeted about settling a broom fight between two 60-something neighbours over a parking lot in front of their luxury homes in a gated community in Desa Park City. “They quarrelled using vulgar words in Cantonese. “One ‘auntie’ could not take the verbal abuse and she took a broom to whack the other ‘auntie’. And the son – who saw his mother being beaten – told the assailant that he would kill all her family members,” he said. The assailant lodged a police report about the death threat and the man (a senior government officer) ended up in a Jinjang lock-up. He called Lim to settle the case, who managed to get the case withdrawn by asking the man to apologise to his neighbour.
The Segambut MP’s job also involved negotiating a former VIP’s loan shark debt. “I received a call from a Datuk who lives in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. “When we met at a nearby coffeeshop, he showed me photographs of him with prominent leaders, including national and foreign dignitaries taken about 20 to 30 years ago,” he said. “He said he helped a friend who was in deep financial trouble to borrow money from some Ah Long. However, his friend ran away and could not be traced. “The Datuk gave me the names of five Ah Long and asked me to negotiate with them to delay payment of the debt (about RM80,000) for about two weeks.” The Segambut MP tweeted: “Two of the five Ah Long agreed to extend payments owed by a Datuk in TTDI to end of the month. This is the best I can do for him.”
Once, Lim was approached by a 50-something woman who claimed to be a journalist with a “critical link” to a case involving a prominent Taiwa­nese politician who killed a political rival in Taiwan 10 years ago. “I met her and she showed me photographs of her with Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian, Taiwanese Cabinet ministers and high-ranking bosses of Sin Chew Jit Poh (Chinese daily). “She wanted me to organise a press conference to highlight that Taiwanese hitmen were pursuing her,” he said. Lim told her that he would only organise a press conference if she lodged a police report. However, the woman refused, alleging that Malaysian police were in cahoots with the Taiwanese killers.
Twitter is also a medium for the MP to interact with his constituents.
@nizran77 tweeted: “@limlipeng: Besides looking for potholes in @ttdiTV, can you add: Remove Massage + Ah Long ads? Anno­ying!” Lim replied: “It’s on my list.”
“Any weird request that you’ve not tweeted about?” I asked Lim. He grinned.
There are times when the happily-married MP has to entertain “dirty calls”. And it is not about dirty drains, but rather female admirers who want to vividly describe their sexual acts with their ex-boyfriends.
That and receiving life-threatening calls all seem to be part of a YB’s job.

PR denies urban electorate as fixed deposit

Source: (By ASRUL HADI ABDULLAH SANI, 10.10.2011)
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Federal Territory lawmakers in Kuala Lumpur have denied urban constituencies have become the Opposition's stronghold after 2008. The parliamentarians believe the electorate must not be taken for granted and admitted Barisan Nasional (BN) will go all-out to regain the seats in the upcoming snap polls, speculated to be early next year.
Segambut DAP MP Lim Lip Eng said the 2008 results should not be used as backdrop for the 12th general election. “It is possible for them to capture the seats. We cannot take Umno lightly. I always tell my party members to never take BN lightly because anything can happen in politics," he told The malay Mail. “Overnight, the vote can swing to the other side. The best preparation we can do is to do our best and not just give lip service. This is important because BN will come down hard this time and will use every resource available."
PKR Batu MP Chua Tian Chang said PR must work hard to inform the public to counter BN's election machinery. “I won’t dare to say it (federal territory seats) is fixed deposits because urban voters are very knowledgeable. So if the prime minister wants the seats back then he do something substantial,” he said. Tian said the PR was able to win in the last election because the public wanted a proper check and balance in the country's administration.
Lembah Pantai PKR lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar also stressed the seats wouldl be determined by issues and not a leader’s popularity. “The level of PR’s continued success hinges upon two key issues. Our promise to implement minimum wage and BN’s hesitance in do so immediately and the implementation of goods and services tax which is in the order of bills to be tabled in parliament but not addressed in BN’s budget,” she said.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Illegal structures outside restaurants torn down

Taken down: DBKL personnel using a bulldozer to bring down the structure put up in front of an outlet in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
Source: (Photo by RICKY LAI & story by CHRISTINA LOW, 7.10.2011)
OWNERS of seven restaurants and bars in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, were caught by surprise during a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) raid yesterday. Most of the restaurants in Lorong Rahim Kajai 14 had not even opened their outlets for business when the DBKL officers visited the outlets. The enforcement officers told the operators to bring down the illegal extensions in front of their shops.
BoatHouse owner Adeline Lim said DBKL officers came to their outlet on Tuesday night and confiscated the tables and chairs placed along the corridors without notice. “They also told us to dismantle our extensions where our patrons usually sit and dine,” said Lim. Her business partner, Yenni Law, said DBKL should have given them more time to remove the structures instead of coming by early in the morning before she could even hire contractors to remove it. “We were not given enough time and it was unfair take it down this morning,” she said. Law said she had been running BoatHouse for the past seven years without any problems until late last year. “The officers say that the restaurants are noisy but we do not even play loud music. “Perhaps the DBKL should measure the noise frequency in each outlet before coming to a conclusion,” she said.
The Pier operator Albert Liew said DBKL did inform him not to place tables and chairs outside his restaurant a few months ago. He was caught by surprise when he arrived to open the restaurant for lunch and saw DBKL’s bulldozer tearing down his neighbour’s structure. Liew said his losses for the day would amount to about RM10,000.
Sid’s Pub owner Geoff Siddle said DBKL’s action was improper as they did not even issue any notice to remove the structures. “We are not like mamak stalls where tables and chairs are placed all along the road. We only have two tables and four chairs outside and yet all were confiscated on Tuesday night,” he said. Siddle said the officers chased his customers away while they were still dining outside the restaurant. “We applied two years ago to DBKL to put tables outside but never got a reply,” he said.
About 50 DBKL officers from the licensing and enforcement department were involved in the raid. The officers also did not allow Siddle to place potted plants outside his shop because they said it obstructed the walkaway. “We are a neighbourhood restaurant and bar but we are not even allowed to beutify the area with potted plants,” he said. Siddle said he and another outlet as well as a represenattive from the residents association would meet the Kuala Lumpur mayor on the issue soon. Other outlets involved were Fourty Two East, Chip & Dale, Deutshes Gasthaus 2 and Tom, Dick & Harry’s.
A DBKL spokesman at the site said the action was taken after receiving complaints of noise from the residents. Furthermore, the shops were said to have violated the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974, Section 46(1)(a) by erecting extensions and causing obstruction to the public.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said DBKL should have given the operators more time before taking down the structures. “Some owners also complained that DBKL is practising a double standard. “They do not summon or confiscate stalls operating illegally along the road side but act against those who have licences instead,” said Lim who will be be meeting DBKL on the issue.
DBKL could not be contacted for comments at press time.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

262 tear gas munitions used on July 9 protesters

Photo & article from (By S Pathmawathy, 6.10.2011)
More than 262 tear gas canisters were used to disperse the Bersih 2.0 rally participants on July 9, a written reply given to Parliament says.
Replying to a question from Segambut DAP parliamentarian Lim Lip Eng, the Home Ministry said 226 tear smoke shells (TS shells) - which are fired with tear-gas launchers - and 36 tear smoke grenades (TS grenades) - which are hand thrown - were used against the protesters. "The costs of the TS shell and TS grenade are RM79.76 and RM135 (each), respectively," Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said. The government spent a total of RM22,855.76 on the ammunition, he said. "Both the tear gas types is made in the United States by ALS Technologies Inc," he added.
Lim had also asked on the total participants arrested during the rally and their breakdown according to gender, race and age, as well as the action taken against them. "A total of 1,509 - 1,412 males and 97 females - were arrested. "From of the total, 1,435 were Malays, 21 Chinese, 29 Indians and 24 others," said Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
Action taken? Unknown
Over half or 761 of the those nabbed were between the age of 11 to 35, while 645 individuals were age 36 to 60. The remaining 103 were above the age of 61. The reply, however, fail to state the action that was taken against them after arrest.
On Tuesday, the government said that it had spent over RM2 million to deploy over 11,000 police personnel to clamp the Bersih 2.0 rally. The amount spent on handling the rally in Kuala Lumpur included deployment of personnel from police contingents nationwide to aid the KL contingent, Hishammuddin had said.
Bersih 2.0 had led more than 10,000 people from across the nation to march the streets of the capital in their demand for electoral reform. The authorities have since been fiercely criticised for their mishandling of the rally while dozens of photographs and videos alledging police abuse had been spread online.
Related news: RM23,000 in tear gas hurled at Bersih marchers
RM22,885 spent on tear gas during Bersih rally, says ministry
262 rounds of tear gas fired during Bersih 2.0

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10 'Bersih T-shirt' councillors given a discharge

Source: (Nigel Aw, 5.10.2011)
Ten councillors from the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) were this morning given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Kajang magistrate’s court on a charge of “displaying a pictorial and written statement through a shirt for the interest of an unlawful organisation, that is Bersih 2.0".
The 10 had donned Bersih T-shirts during a council meeting on June 29 and were charged a week later, under Section 74(1) of the Societies Act 1966, with displaying symbols or propaganda of an unlawful society.
When contacted, the group’s lawyer Lim Lip Eng said magistrate A Akhiruddin @ Boy Acho made the decision after deputy public prosecutor Mohd Azahari Harun asked for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. “When we came to the court, the DPP told the magistrate that he had instructions from the Attorney-General’s Chambers to apply for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal,” said Lim. This, he said, comes a week after he sent a letter to the AG's Chambers, calling for the charges to be dropped. "I objected, as I wanted a discharge amounting to acquittal because the charge was defective. They wore the Bersih T-shirts on June 29 but Bersih's illegal declaration was only effective on July 1."
'DPP refused to explain discharge'
Lim said he challenged the DPP to explain the defect but was told that there was no need to argue as the case would no longer go on.
"From the reaction and answer of the DPP, I feel it is political prosecution," said Ng Tien Chee, one of the 10 councillors.
Another, Lee Kee Hiong, was still upset despite the decision. "We are unhappy. We should have been acquitted and discharged, not given a discharge not amounting to acquittal... the DPP should have been a gentleman," she said.
The other eight are Zulfikar Ali Ariffin, Ong Seng Peng, Lee Learn Eng, Tan Boon Wah, Razaly Hassan, ST Chandra Mohan, Chan Jeong Hon and Mohd Mohiddin Mohd Misbah. Also part of the legal team was Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.
Lim, who is Segambut MP, said initially 11 individuals were supposed to be charged but Cheong Seow Foon could not make it to court and was told he would be charged at a later date. "It's very ridiculous... he was not charged after that," said Lim.
Today's decision comes after the a sessions court in Kuantan last month discharged two individuals for wearing Bersih T-shirts, but also refused to acquit them.
Related news: 10 MPKj councillors given a discharge not amounting to acquittal

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Customs confirms USD24mil ring exists

Source: (4.11.2011)
The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) has confirmed the existence of a RM24 million diamond ring which the prime minister's wife, Rosmah Mansor, was said to have purchased.
However, in a written reply to Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng in Parliament today, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz clarified that the ring was not sold after it was brought into the country. “The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Comission (MACC) has referred the matter to the JKDM and JKDM has confirmed that there was no such purchase of the ring. “After a few days, the ring was returned to the company which owns it," he said.
In July, former PKR central committee member Badrul Hisham Shaharin had claimed that a ring, 'Natural Fancy Gray Cushion Cut Diamond' priced at RM24,458,400 had been flown in via the KL international Airport. Producing a Customs Department information system printout, he said that the item was purchased through fine jewellery company Jacob & Co based in New York and brought into Malaysia by one Jeremy Beh Sin Tee. He added that the document showed Rosmah's name in the receiver's column of the Customs form, which he claimed to be evidence implicating her in the purchase.
Rosmah has vehemently denied the allegation, which she described as another series of “slanders” against her. “This is nothing funny, this is slander... what have I not experienced? I have experienced all,” she had said.
Despite the denial, opponents of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak have jumped on this and the issue has often been played up at political ceramah.

Whistleblower unhappy with reply on the 'Rosmah' ring
Source: (4.10.2011)
The explanation in Parliament on the RM24 million diamond ring brought into the country is unsatisfactory, as it does not explain the "mystery" surrounding its import, says former PKR central committee member Badrul Hisham Shaharin. “I am not satisfied (with the reply by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz); and it does not answer the mystery behind the ring,” said Badrul, who was the whistleblower in the ring that he alleges had been ordered by the prime minister's wife Rosmah Mansor.
Badrul, who heads a youth group called Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM), says the parliamentary reply proves that he has a case in lodging a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Jul 13 to investigate the matter. “So MACC after this reply should have enough evidence to prove that the document (that I had furnished them) is authentic, otherwise they would not have questioned the cargo company officer A Krishnan till the wee hours of the morning in their investigation,” he said in an email today. SAMM and Badrul, who is also known by by blog name Chegubard, lodged a report with the MACC in Penang on July 13 on the alleged purchase of the diamond ring by Rosmah. Badrul had said then that based on information received by the group on April 16, the “Natural Fancy Gray Cushion Cut Diamond” ring tagged at RM24,458,400 was flown in via the KL International Airport. “The item was purchased through a fine jewellery company - Jacob & Co - based in New York, and brought to Malaysia by one Jeremy Beh Sin Tee," Badrul had said then, and that the Customs document stated Rosmah as the receiver of the item.
In a written reply to Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng in Parliament today, Nazri said that the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) has confirmed the existence of the controversial diamond ring. However, Nazri said the ring was not purchased after it was brought into the country, and added, “After a few days, the ring was returned to the company which owns it."
'Imelda of Malaysia'
Badrul pointed out that the Customs document also stated that the item was tax free, and demanded MACC to investigate the reason behind this. “Did Rosmah's husband - Najib - use his power as finance minister to obtain the tax-free status?” he had said at the time. He has likened Rosmah to the spendthrift former Filipino first lady Imelda Marcos, saying that such luxury living contradicted the fact that ordinary Malaysians were suffering from the rising cost of living.
“What about a bracelet worth RM1.65 million that was sold by the same company (New York jeweller Jacob & Co that is behind the diamond ring) that is being worn by Rosmah?” Badrul asked today. “This coming Monday, SAMM will distribute 25,000 brochures about the ring and other spendthrift habits,” he added.
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DAP MP protests unchecked powers in new medical Act

Source: (By Clara Chooi, 3/10/2011)
The Dewan Rakyat today passed the Medical Device Authority Act, which grants absolute power to authorised enforcement officers to conduct raids and seizures over unregistered medical devices without producing a warrant. The Act also stipulates the authorities will not be bound to pay damages or relief costs or be liable to court action for such seizures, unless a raid was conducted “without reasonable cause”.
During debate in Parliament today, Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) urged Putrajaya to withdraw and review provisions in the bill, arguing that it grants too much enforcement power to the Health Ministry and its agents. “Section 57 gives blanket immunity to officials to raid or seize any medical devices. And no one can initiate any legal proceedings before any court,” he told the House.
The bill was tabled by Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai for the second and third readings today, before being passed by majority vote. Under the Act, “medical device” refers to “any instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, appliance, implant, in-vitro reagent or calibrator, software, material or other similar or related material intended by the manufacturer to be used on human beings” for various purposes such as “diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of disease” and other reasons. The law compels all manufacturers, importers or distributors to register their medical devices with the newly formed Medical Advice Authority (MAA), following safety standards set by the Conformity Assessment Body, an independent regulatory agency formed under the Act. Unregistered devices are also banned from being advertised and any person who violates this provision will be liable to a fine not exceeding RM3,000 or a maximum three-year jail term, or both.
Speaking to The Malaysian Insider later, Lim said he was not opposed to the requirement for all medical devices to be registered in order to meet safety standards. “But the wide scope of powers granted to health officials could be open to abuse and the manufacturers or retailers are offered no protection,” he said. He pointed out that any negligence by health officials would be overlooked as no court action could be initiated to question their decisions.
According to Section 48 of the Act, the health minister may, in writing, authorise any public servant to exercise enforcement powers. Section 50 states that the authorised officer “shall have all or any of the powers of a police officer of whatever rank in relation to police investigations in seizable cases as provided for under the Criminal Procedure Code”. While Section 51 stipulates the officer should obtain a search warrant from a Magistrate, Section 52 states the said officer could also conduct the raid without a warrant if he has reason to believe that any delay in obtaining the warrant could adversely affect the evidence. The Act also allows any “aggrieved” persons to appeal to the minister, who has the power to confirm, reverse or vary the decision of the MAA.