Friday, October 26, 2012

Deported Malaysian demands apology

VIDEO INSIDE: Hooi Mei Then was denied entry into Taiwan because she was accused of being a human trafficker, a charge that puzzles her.
A clerk who has no criminal record was shocked to learn that she was denied entry into Taiwan when she went there for a trip a few weeks ago. Hooi Mei Theng, 28, was barred by the Taiwanese immigration officers upon arriving there on Oct 7 as she was accused of being a human trafficker. Having been detained and deported by the Taiwanese authorities, she felt humiliated and demanded an apology from them.
DAP Segambut parliamentarian Lim Lip Eng, DAP lawyer Eric Tan and Hooi related the incident to the media after meeting the secretary of the Taipei Economic and Culture Office here this morning.
Hooi was on her maiden seven-day trip to Taiwan with her husband and a friend, and arrived at the Taoyuan International Airport at around 10.40pm. While her husband and friend passed through immigration without any problems, she was however stopped and accused of committing a human trafficking offence in Taiwan in March 2009.
“They claimed that I was on their blacklist and they have banned me for 10 years starting 2009. I asked for clarifications but they only showed a paper that had my name, identification card number, passport number and the accusation that I brought illegal immigrants into Taiwan before,” she claimed.
She was subsequently detained overnight by Taiwan’s immigration authorities and deported back to Malaysia on Oct 8. Puzzled by the deportation, Hooi said she had never faced this kind of situation before when visiting China in April this year, and Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia earlier.
“I have never lost my identification card or passport. I am completely clueless why this happened,” she added.
Hooi later brought her case to the Bukit Aman police headquarters, Malaysian immigration department and Foreign Ministry. She was certified with a letter of good conduct by the ministry on Oct 16.
“I want them [the Taiwanese authorities] to apologise and compensate the RM7,000 hotel fees and other expenses I have paid upfront for the trip,” she said.
A different version
Lim said the Taiwanese embassy’s secretary told them a different story during a meeting.
“He said it was not accurate to say she committed the offence in Taiwan. The Taiwanese authorities only got the information from an international network against human traffickers which they are a member of.
“He said the reason that Hooi was still allowed to enter a few countries was that those nations are not members of the network,” the MP said.
Lim also criticised the secretary’s arrogance for allegedly refusing to reconsider the ban, saying that Taiwan “can afford to lose a tourist like Hooi”. He said such a statement was uncalled for as Malaysians would generally choose developed nations such as the United States or Japan if they were to work illegally.
“If we go Taiwan, the sole purpose is only to spend, not to work illegally,” he said.
He added that the Malaysian’s police assistance was much needed to further pursue the case to clear Hooi’s name.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Residents do not want badminton court

Cordoned off: The portion of green space at the children’s playgound in Jalan Sri Bintang 2 in Taman Sri Bukit Bintang, Kepong.
(Story by S. PUSPADEVI & photo by KIMBERLY YEO, 22/10/2012)
Residents of Taman Bukit Sri Bintang in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur are against any construction work that would take away the green space at the children’s playground at Jalan Sri Bintang 2. They noticed a portion of the playground had been cordoned off two weeks ago and attempts to get details from the workers and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) were futile.
“There isn’t any notice or signboard informing the residents about any upgrading work and we want to know what is going to happen as we live in the area. There is only one playgound here and the green space is very limited,” said Angus Ng, who has been living in Taman Sri Bintang for 12 years. He said if the green area was taken away, there would not be enough space for children to play since there is an existing basketball court in the field.
Bukit Sri Bintang Apartment Management Corporation chairman Victor Low said the area that had been cordoned off measures 35ft x 70ft and could be converted into a badminton court. “We do not need a badminton court as the area is windy in the evenings. The elderly and children will be unhappy if this green space is taken away,” said Low urging the City Hall to stop any work on the field.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said he had written to DBKL’s Landscape Department and their reply via email on Oct 2 stated that the work would facilitate the upgrading of the playground. “The residents have the right to know of any upgrading work that will take place in a public area. I believe this new construction is meant for an outdoor badminton court but I don’t understand why DBKL had failed to erect a notice board to inform the public about the project, as even a private land owner is required to put up a notice before any work can be done,” said Lim, hoping that the Kuala Lumpur Mayor will halt the project as majority of residents were against any encroachment on the green field.
Lim said DBKL should provide more parks and playground in area, as it was necessary to promote a green lung in the neighbourhood.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lawmakers want faulty KL traffic info system scrapped

Source: (By By Clara Chooi, Assistant News Editor, 16 October 2012)
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers today demanded Putrajaya scrap its RM365 million Integrated Transport Information System (ITIS), an eight-year-old traffic monitoring system that the Auditor-General’s Report 2011 has highlighted for wastages and described as “unsatisfactory”. In the report released yesterday, it was revealed that despite the project’s implementation since 2005, a significant 70.6 per cent of road users were not aware of its existence and its hotline number, while 65 per cent have never used ITIS online to obtain the latest traffic information.
ITIS kicked off operations in 2005 with the co-operation of KL City Hall (DBKL), the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA), Transport Ministry and the Public Works Department (PWD) as a system to monitor traffic, accidents, roadworks and other activities occurring on roads and highways in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.
Citing a parliamentary reply on June 18 this year, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng told a press conference here that it had already been revealed that only 46 of the 140 Variable Message Sign (VMS) display units under the ITIS are currently functional. Under ITIS, real-time information of traffic conditions are meant to be disseminated via the VMS to help reduce traffic congestion within the city. “The federal territories minister told the Dewan Rakyat that the main cause of the malfunction and breaking down of the VMS is because the components have achieved their economic age and there are no replacement parts available in the market,” Lim said. He pointed out that the ministry had also revealed that despite this, an annual allocation of RM1.5 million has been granted to DBKL to maintain the ITIS. “So for eight years, they have paid RM12 million... they are paying them every year to purchase spare parts that no longer exist,” he said.
Lim also cited the Auditor-General’s Report as revealing that the government had allocated RM36.87 million to DBKL to purchase a building for ITIS but City Hall had instead used RM8.49 million to rent premises for the system. “My question is: was the remaining allocation used for other purposes or was it returned to the government?” he asked. He pointed out that the report had also revealed that DBKL’s tenancy agreement was for a 30-year period, indicating a possibility that the RM1.5 million maintenance allocation for ITIS may continue for the same period.
“We want to know if the government plans on discontinuing ITIS due to these concerns raised... or do they plan on proceeding with the faulty system, at the risk of squandering more taxpayers’ monies?” he said.
Agreeing, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar pointed out that the ITIS project, which involves some 255 CCTVs and 728 automatic incident detection cameras, had on its launch in 2005 been meant to help the authorities with crime fighting. But, she said, after five years of implementation, the authorities, including DBKL, had repeatedly refused to update lawmakers on the system’s failures and status of the allocations. “This is another clear reason why we in Pakatan reject the system of awarding projects via direct tender,” she said.
Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai said the system should be scrapped entirely as it had purportedly failed to fulfil its objectives. “Today, road users rely more on obtaining traffic information from radio stations instead of using the ITIS,” he said.
Related news: PR MPs point out flaws in ITIS system