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KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officers today conducted a search at the office of Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad at Jalan Stesen Sentral here over the MACC investigation into cases related to Felda Investment Corporation (FIC).

Mohd Isa, who was chairman of Felda and later Felda Global Ventures Berhad prior to his appointment as chairman of SPAD, is being held under remand after he was arrested on Tuesday over the probe. FIC is a subsidiary of Felda.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad said the search at the Mohd Isa’s SPAD office was the normal process following the arrest of any individual for alleged corruption.

He said the investigation was on the purchase of two hotels by FIC, one in Kensington, London, and the other in Kuching..

“The investigating officers are working hard on the cases and we will determine whether any other action needs to be taken. I do not want to comment further,” he said to reporters after witnessing the taking of an anti-corruption pledge at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, here.

GUATEMALA CITY – At least six people died in an attack staged by gang members on Wednesday on Guatemala City’s Roosevelt Hospital, officials said.

A prison inmate, identified as Anderson Daniel Cabrera Cifuentes, who had been taken to the hospital for treatment, escaped during the attack and shootout with police that followed.

The National Civilian Police (PNC) is searching for the fugitive in the southern Guatemala City area where the hospital is located.

The situation inside the hospital is chaotic following the attack, PNC and fire department spokesmen said.

Authorities have not identified the people killed, some of whom are gang members, and wounded in the shooting.

Cabrera was taken from the Fraijanes II prison to the hospital for some medical tests, the PNC and Penitentiary System said.

The 29-year-old Cabrera, who is a member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) street gang, started serving a prison sentence in December 2013 for murder, attempted murder and criminal conspiracy, Penitentiary System spokesman Rudy Esquivel said.

The MS street gang was originally formed by Salvadorans living in Los Angeles during the 1980s, with most of its members young men whose parents fled their nation’s erstwhile civil war for the United States.

Because many of the gang members were born in El Salvador, they were subject to deportation when rounded up during immigration crackdowns in California in the 1990s.

MS spread throughout El Salvador and to neighboring countries in Central America.

Police responded to the shooting and have arrested at least eight gang members, including a minor, and seized two AK-47 assault rifles.

“There are several dead and wounded, it’s barbaric,” Roosevelt Hospital director Carlos Soto told Guatemalan media.

The gunmen apparently went to the hospital to free an inmate taken there for treatment, Soto said.

Roosevelt Hospital will no longer provide treatment to inmates even if “I’m ordered to do it by the president,” Soto said.–BERNAMA-NNN-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR – Film and drama producer-cum-director, as well as actress Fatimah Rahmad, or popularly known as Erma Fatima, and Badaruddin Azmi, also known as Bade, were divorced today after 26 years of marriage.

Bade ended the marriage after pronouncing “talak satu” against Erma Fatima at the Gombak Timur Syariah Court before judge Shaiful Azli Jamaluddin, who allowed Bade to make the divorce pronouncement after being satisfied that the marriage could not be saved anymore.

However, before Bade made the divorce pronouncement, Shaiful Azli gave opportunity for the couple to shake hands and seek forgiveness from one another as husband and wife for the last time.

The couple hugged for awhile, before Bade pronounced the divorce against Erma Fatima, who produced and played the title role in the popular TV series “Mok Cun”.

Bade, 53, who is a director, filed for the divorce last Oct 10 under Section 47 of the Islamic Family Law (State of selangor) Enactment.

The couple married on Nov 30, 1991 and has five adopted children –  Syamil Ikhwan, 24, Ahmad Arir, 22, Ahmad Aifin, 20, Citra, 15, and Nurain, 11.

Erma Fatima, 49, who was represented by Syariah lawyer Datuk Jamal Mohd Lokman Sulaiman had filed for the divorce in May 2015, but withdrew the application.

Bade, who is now married with a child, arrived at the court alone at about 10.30 am, and about 20 minutes later, Erma Fatima arrived. She was accompanied by her sister and close friends. – BERNAMA

dKUALA LUMPUR – Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL)  will have “zero tolerance” on vehicles found blocking traffic at venues for the 2017 Kuala  Lumpur SEA Games (KL2017).

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said DBKL will be strict on the matter and its enforcement staff would not hesitate to issue summonses or tow away the vehicles in order to ensure smooth traffic flow at the venues.

“We encourage the public to opt for public transport, it is much easier. We appreciate and laud the people for coming out to support the national contingent, but breaking traffic laws is a no-no because it inconveniences others, “ he told reporters after launching  The Park 2 serviced apartments project in Bukit Jalil here today.
KL2017 officially opens on Saturday (Aug 19. The closing ceremony is on Aug 30.

Thirty-eight sports are on offer with 404 gold medals at stake. -BERNAMA

court

PUTRAJAYA – A man was charged in the Special Court for Sexual Crimes Against Children here today with raping his 15-year-old girlfriend, who had subsequently given birth.

The accused, aged 21, however, pleaded not guilty to the rape charge.

He was alleged to have raped the girl in a room of a house in Subang Jaya in October last year.

The charge, under Section 376 of the Penal Code, provides an imprisonment for up to 20 years and whipping, if found guilty.

The prosecution, represented by deputy public prosecutor Nordalina Ali, did not offer bail as the offence was serious, adding that the girl gave birth to a baby last July.

“The baby’s DNA report has yet to be obtained. The baby was born last July and I fear the accused will intimidate the prosecution witness, especially the victim, if he is allowed bail,” she said.

However, lawyer  M.Tharuma Ratnam, representing the accused, requested the court to allow his client bail as there was no possibility of him fleeing.

Judge Yong Zarida Sazali then set bail at RM10,000 and ordered the accused not to disturb the victim.

She also set Sept 26 for mention. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia targets to be the third ASEAN country accepted into the United States Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) through the implementation of the National Immigration Control System or SKIN (Sistem Kawalan Imigresen Nasional) by 2021.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government was optimistic of achieving this mission following the acceptance of Brunei and Singapore into the VWP after implementing the same immigration control system.

“In this matter, so far 38 countries have implemented the system, with all having managed to reduce the risk of  entry of negative elements from outside and these countries have obtained the visa waiver from the US.

“At the moment, only two ASEAN countries, Brunei and Singapore, have got it (visa waiver). We hope to be the third ASEAN country to obtain it after implementing the system (SKIN),” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif in the Dewan Negara today.

Ahmad Zahid said the government was optimistic that the implementation of SKIN would help Malaysia to be accepted into the VWP as to date, it had fulfilled six of the seven conditions set to get the visa waiver.

Early this year, Ahmad Zahid was quoted in news reports as saying that only one condition had not been met yet, that was, a visa rejection of less than three per cent while Malaysia’s rejection rate was currently at 3.7 per cent, which meant 0.7 per cent more to go.

To the original question from Senator Datuk Bashir Alias on the advantages of SKIN, he said the implementation of the system could assist the Home Ministry and its agencies to tackle cross-border crime and human smuggling in a systematic and integrated manner.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said SKIN would be integrated into all the existing immigration systems including the Malaysia Immigration System (MyIMMs) and it was expected to generate additional income of about RM800 million for the government after 12 years of operation.

He said while the implementation of SKIN would be in four years’ time, the ministry was always improving the existing system since 20 years ago to ensure the country’s border entry points were safe from infiltration of undesirable elements.

To another question on the need to build a Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at certain locations along the border areas, especially along the ‘rat’ trails such as at Mundok in Kelantan, Ahmad Zahid said the Home Ministry was seriously viewing that need.

“I wish to inform on the potential of CIQ complexes to be built in such areas to ‘legalise’ the illegal (rat) trails which have become ‘elephant’ trails.

“We will ask the team to study and ensure that these routes become entry/exit points for those with (valid) documents and where there is control and a tax system, so that the smuggling of arms or subsidised goods can be monitored and prevented.”

However, he said, the effort required close cooperation of the state government leaders concerned by setting aside political differences in the interest of the country’s border security. – BERNAMA

KANGAR – Two senior officers of the Perlis Fire and Rescue Department were ordered to be in remand for seven days from today for alleged corruption.

The remand order was issued by Kangar Magistrate Court registrar Monica Gasiah  following an application from Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy public prosecutor Anis Sofiah Che Hakim.

The two fire officers, aged 49 and 45, were detained by MACC at about 12.45 pm yesterday at a business premises in Pauh, Arau.

They were alleged to have solicited and accepted bribe of RM1,200 from a building owner as an inducement for action not to be taken against him for breach of building regulations.

The case was investigated under Section 17 (a) of the MACC Act. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia clinched its second and third gold medals today through the women’s and men’s team compound archery events.

The Malaysian women’s team bagged the gold after defeating Vietnam, 253-252 in a thrilling contest at the National Sports Council’s field in Bukit Jalil here.

Indonesia had earlier beaten Thailand for the bronze.

The Malaysian men compound archers later added another gold by beating Singapore 228-222.

The Philippines clinched the bronze after beating Vietnam. – BERNAMA

SIBU – Sarawak’s timber industry players have been urged to conduct research and development (R&D) in order to be more sustainable in the future.

Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, said this was line with the digital economic activities and industrial forestry policy the state government was promoting now.

Sarawak would be able to put itself in the forefront in terms of research and exploitation of resources that were well-managed, he said.

“I have promoted industrial forest policy so we can retain our primary forests and use planted forests for us to sustain our timber industry and the market is still there.

“We will be able to manage our resources efficiently with available technology. That is why I go for digital economy, meaning you have data centre where you have all information to do researches,” he said during the topping-out ceremony of Ta Ann Group building’s new wing at Jalan Rawang here today.

With the data and through technology, labour could be optimised and at the same time a lot of scientists could be produced to produce new products, he said.

Abang Johari praised Ta Ann for taking the lead in R&D and that should be taken as an example for other players in the timber industry.

Ta Ann started its R&D works in tree planting in mid-1990’s and started with industrial tree planting in 2001. To-date it had planted about 33,000 hectares of predominantly Acacia Mangium Superbulk tree species.

It had various R&D projects with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Sarawak Forestry Corp and other agencies with the aim to develop genetically-improved planting materials.

The group had also carried out terrace planting of Kelampayang trees, where the method minimises ground disturbances as  vegetation along both sides of the terraces are left intact to enhance natural forest stock in future rotations. – BERNAMA

KUALA LIPIS – Fajarbaru Builder Group Bhd, a local construction company, is eyeing to secure the maintenance works for the 688-kilometre (km) East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project that will link Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan, in the east coast, to the Klang Valley.

Group Executive Director Eric Kuan Khian Leng said there was potential for huge maintenance contracts that would come with the vast spending being undertaken on rail-related jobs.

Currently, there are over 2,200 km of railway tracks in the country, of which Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) owned more than 80 per cent.

“In view of some RM50 billion that has gone into rail-related infrastructure projects in the last five years, Malaysia is poised to spend a further RM80 billion at least in the next five years.

“We hope both KTMB and Fajarbaru can tap into each other’s expertise and capitalise on the synergistic competencies to keep the rail network well maintained,” Kuan said during the handing over of  RM50 million worth of track work machineries to Fajarbaru by its China suppliers, China Jiangsu KTK Locomotive & Rolling Stocks Co Ltd and Gemac Engineering Machinery Co. Ltd.  Shunting here today.

The handing over was witnessed by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

At the ground breaking ceremony for the ECRL on Aug 9,  Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak described the establishment of the link as a ‘game changer’ and ‘mindset changer’ for Malaysia as it would significantly cut travel time to and from the east coast of the peninsula.

The rail journey from the Integrated Transport Terminal in Gombak, Selangor to Kota Bharu, Kelantan was expected to be less than four hours compared with the average eight hours and even up to 12 hours or more.

Costing RM55 billion, the ECRL would be built by a Chinese company, China Communications Construction Company Ltd.

Kuan also said that with the new machineries that would have a shell life of at least 20 years, the company would be able to make further inroads into the construction-maintenance sector.

“This marks the beginning of a transformation and further development for the company in the rail business and gives us a significant competitive advantage in the bidding of new construction and maintenance jobs for rail-related projects in the future,” he added.

Among the machineries received were ballast wagon, flat wagon, crane, ballast cleaning machine, ballast regulator and tamping machine switch tamper that would be used for the construction of  the Jerantut, Pahang and Gua Musang railway stations in Kelantan.

On May 5, 2016, Fajarbaru secured a RM259.7 million contract from the Ministry of Transport for the rehabilitation of the railway stations, expected to be completed in 36 months or June 2019. – BERNAMA