DOHA – Qatar said on Wednesday that a new blacklist released by Saudi Arabia and its allies came as a “disappointing surprise” in a diplomatic crisis that has split the Gulf.
The four Arab governments named 18 organisations and individuals on Tuesday that they accused of links with Islamist extremism and Qatar.
The move by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain came despite mounting international pressure to compromise in their weeks-old boycott of their fellow US ally.
Qatari government communications director Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al-Thani official said the blacklist had no basis in fact and was aimed at stripping the emirate of its sovereignty.
“It comes as a disappointing surprise that the blockading countries are still pursuing this story as part of their smear campaign against Qatar,” he said in a statement.
“This latest list provides further evidence that the blockading countries are not committed to the fight against terrorism.
“All individuals with links to terrorism in Qatar have been prosecuted. We encourage the blockading countries to spend less time on drafting these fabricated lists and more time on implementing measures to counter the threat of extremism in their own countries.”
The four governments issued a previous blacklist of 59 individuals and 12 groups last month. Sheikh Saif said it had been “widely rejected by the international community”.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have been boycotting Qatar since June 5 in the region’s worst diplomatic crisis in years.
They sealed the emirate’s only land border, ordered its citizens to leave and closed their airspace and waters to Qatari flights and shipping.
They demanded that Qatar break its longstanding ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, blacklisted as a “terror group” by the four governments although not by the international community.
They also demanded that it close broadcasting giant Al-Jazeera and a Turkish military base, and fall in line with Saudi-led policy in the region, particularly towards Iran.
Qatar has dismissed the demands as a violation of its sovereignty and has received significant support from its ally Turkey.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who last week spent four days in the region trying to broker a settlement of the crisis, has voiced satisfaction with Qatar’s efforts to address any suspicion of terror funding.
But after talks with European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned that the four governments would accept no compromise in their dispute with Qatar.
“We cannot compromise with any form of terrorism, we cannot compromise or enter into any form of negotiations,” Shoukry told a press conference.
KAJANG – Police arrested seven suspects, including a woman, to facilitate investigations into an incident where two men broke into a children’s nursery in Ampang Jaya and raped two caretakers.
Selangor Criminal Investigation Department chief SAC Fadzil Ahmat said the suspects aged between 27 and 45 were detained in an operation launched at 5pm on Tuesday.
“They were picked up in separate locations around Ampang. The arrests came after we received information of the incident on July 14 at 4am where two men barged into a nursery in Pandan Indah and raped the two caretakers staying there.
“They forced the victims to perform lewd acts on them before raping them. The suspects then splashed bleach liquid on them in an attempt to remove biological evidence of the rape,” he told reporters after attending a handing over of duties ceremony at the Kajang district police headquarters today.
Fadzil said the duo then fled the scene with a mobile phone and a television set.
Police believe the two rapists were among the arrested suspects who have previous criminal and drug related records.
“They were remanded today and the case is being investigated under Section 376 of the Penal Code for rape,” he added.
At the event, ACP Dzaffir Mohd Yussof was appointed as the new Kajang district police chief replacing the outgoing SAC Othman Nanyan who takes over as the Pahang CID chief.
Dzaffir’s last posting was as the Security Advisor to the Permanent Representative Office to Malaysia, based in New York.
Meanwhile, in Petaling Jaya, police detained a 36-year-old man for allegedly raping and sodomising his 15-year-old daughter.
Petaling Jaya district police chief ACP Mohd Zani Che Din said police detained the suspect at his house around the district on Tuesday.
“We were informed by his former wife, 35, who subsequently lodged a police report at the Sungai Way police station here about her findings on Tuesday at 9.40pm.
“According to the mother’s claim, the victim was sodomised and raped since 2015,” Zani said in a statement today.
The suspect is expected to be remanded today and the case is being investigated under the Penal Code for statutory rape. – The Sun
KUALA LUMPUR – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has urged the Royal Malaysia Police to take steps to discard the negative perception of the public towards the force so that the people could enjoy peace-of-mind.
He said the police should get closer to the public and non-governmental organisations through people-friendly approaches so that the general perception about them would be more positive.
“The police can be fierce, stern but keep smiling and be friendly to people, be community-friendly,” he said in his speech at the Addressing Perception on Safety and Security Forum organised by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) of the Prime Minister’s Department here today.
Ahmad Zahid said the public still saw the crime rate in this country as being high, even though the crime index rate had dropped by 47 per cent since the Government Transformation Programme was implemented in 2009.
In fact, he said, the police had been acknowledged as being the best security agency in ASEAN through various efforts to combat crime.
“This is the reality but the public perception does not agree with it because our mind often sees only negative things,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said his ministry had also taken various steps to combat crime including helping former inmates to stay away from criminal activities.
He said according to statistics, only 0.6 per cent of inmates in the country who completed their sentences returned to crime.
This was much lower than the 65 per cent rate seen in California, United States who returned to crime, he said.
He added that the National Anti-Drug Agency had also worked hard to rehabilitate 3,794 patients at the cure & care rehabilitation centres throughout the country to prevent them from returning to a life of drugs.
He said drug addiction contributed to crime with 57.2 per cent of prison inmates committing drug-related crimes. – BERNAMA
GEORGE TOWN – The High Court here today fixed Nov 14 for management of a corruption case involving Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon over the purchase of a bungalow at below the market price.
Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail set the date after lawyer R.S.N Rayer, representing Lim, informed the court that the hearing of the appeal application by Lim and Phang against a High Court’s decision in rejecting their application to challenge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act at the Court of Appeal would begin on Aug 7.
The prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutors Budiman Lutfi Mohamed and Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, while Phang was represented by lawyer Datuk V. Sithambaram.
Lim and Phang were however not in the court today.
On March 7 this year, the court rejected a petition by Lim and Phang to declare Section 62 of the MACC Act 2009 as unconstitutional and void. Lim and Phang filed the application in January this year.
(Section 62 states that once the prosecution submits documents pursuant to Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused shall, before the trial begins, submit the following documents:
(a) a statement of defence and
(b) a copy of any document that can be presented as part of the evidence for the defence.).
On June 30 last year, Lim pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption in the conversion of land from agriculture to housing, and the purchase of a plot of land and bungalow at below market value.
For the first charge, Lim was accused as a civil servant, namely the Penang Chief Minister, of using his position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew Gek Cheng, by approving the conversion of agricultural land to residential in the southwest of Penang for a company, Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd.
Lim, 56, allegedly committed the offence while chairing a meeting of the Penang State Planning Committee in the Operations Room, 8th Floor, Komtar tower on July 18, 2014. He was charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 which provides for a jail-term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of graft involved, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
On the second charge, Lim was accused as a civil servant of obtaining for himself a plot of land and a bungalow at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, at a price which he knew did not commensurate with its value from Phang, at RM2.8 million, when its market value at the time was RM4.27 million.
He allegedly committed the offence at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, on July 28, 2015.
The charge, under Section 165 of the Penal Code, provides a jail term of up to two years, or fine, or both upon conviction.
Phang, as the former owner of the bungalow, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring with Lim for him to obtain the bungalow at below market price at the same place and date.
The businesswoman was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code read together with Section 165, which provides for a jail term of up to two years, or fine, or both, if convicted. – BERNAMA
ANKARA – The speaker of Turkey’s parliament has called on Islamic countries and the international community be reactive to “violations on human rights and religious liberty in Jerusalem”, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
Ismail Kahraman, speaking amid ongoing going unrest in Jerusalem, said the use of metal detectors at an Islamic holy site in the city was “treating Muslims as if they were terrorists”.
In remarks in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly in Ankara, Kahraman said: “The ongoing suppression against Palestinians is false and cannot be accepted. The security policies conducted by Israel are against religious liberty and human rights.”
Anger has spilled across the West Bank since last week when Israel shut East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, venerated by Muslims and Jews — who call the site Temple Mount — following a deadly shootout.
The mosque was reopened after two days, with Israel installing metal detectors and cameras at its gates. Palestinians say this aims to change the status quo — a delicate balance of prayer and visiting rights.
Israel refused to remove the detectors, claiming the security measures were similar to procedures taken at other holy sites around the world.
Three Palestinians were killed on Friday in protests against the Israeli measures around the holy site. Three Jewish settlers were also killed in an alleged Palestinian attack in a settlement in the West Bank.
The city of Jerusalem is sacred to members of all three Abrahamic faiths — Muslims, Jews and Christians — and the Al-Aqsa Mosque represents the Islamic world’s third-holiest site.
SEPANG – National elite diver Pandelela Rinong is delighted over the success of teammate Cheong Jun Hoong, who created history as the country’s first diver to win the world title at the FINA World Aquatics Championships.
Pandelela, who partnered Jun Hoong for the silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, said the latter deserved the success, after all her hard work and sacrifices.
“As a teammate, and she (Jun Hoong) being a senior, I feel very happy, because she is an icon (role model) who always provides motivation to all other divers. Jun Hoong has always given full commitment in training.
“I have seen her dedication in training since I entered the squad in 2007,” she told reporters after the squad’s arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here, today.
At the world championship in Budapest, Hungary, which ended on Wednesday, Jun Hoong produced a stunning performance to win the women’s individual 10m platform gold medal, with 397.50 points, albeit beating two Chinese divers, a feat that has not been possible at every level of diving competition for decades. – Bernama
PETALING JAYA – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today advised Malaysians going to perform the Haj this year to pray for Malaysia to remain peaceful and achieve many successes in the international arena.
“Perform the Haj to the extent possible. Do not forget to pray for our beloved Malaysia. Pray for Allah (God) to shower His blessings on our country so that it remains peaceful and successful and is respected by all.
“Hopefully, all pilgrims will be able to undertake a good Haj. A safe journey to and fro, and undertake the Haj in peace and calm,” he said when bidding Bon Voyage to the second batch of Malaysian Haj pilgrims at the Kelana Jaya Tabung Haji Complex near here.
Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Malaysia Mahmoud Hussen Qattan were also present at the event.
The second batch of pilgrims comprises 420 people scheduled to fly to the Holy Land at 9.30 pm. The first batch of about 400 people left at about 6 am.
A total of 112 flights by Malaysia Airlines and Flynas will ferry 30,200 pilgrims to the Holy Land in this Haj season, with the last outbound flight on Aug 26.
Najib drew attention to the good conduct of Malaysian pilgrims and said this had resulted in the Saudi Arabian government raising Malaysia’s country quota of pilgrims for this year.
“We in Malaysia benefit from many privileges. Do not think that this came by chance. This is the result of the government‘s actions.
“It is not that I want to claim credit for everything. This is the outcome of the good conduct of our pilgrims in the Holy Land, a model for others,” he said.
Najib also said that the efficiency of government administration and Tabung Haji management were also taken into account by Riyadh in raising the quota that was applied for in 2013 and approved this year.
“Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), the quota was raised following the request I made during the visit of King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia recently. The special consideration has resulted in the raising of the Haj quota to 30,200 from 27,900. Now, more people can make the pilgrimage. There is no need to feel pressured,” Najib said.
He also said that the special and close relations between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia had contributed to the raising of the quota.
Najib also said that there was a possibility of the subsidy for the pilgrims being raised next year. He did not elaborate.
“We have a subsidy equal to almost the amount paid by a pilgrim, almost 100 per cent. The pilgrims pay RM9,980 and the government subsidises RM9,570. Perhaps, next year, the subsidy will be increased to higher than the RM260 million for this year.
“If Tabung Haji is not managed well and becomes political capital, who will lose? This is our institution that we must care for. It is because of Tabung Haji that we get so much subsidy,” he said.
Najib and Rosmah exchanged greetings with the pilgrims. – BERNAMA
MELAKA – Police suspect murder in the case of a six-day-old baby boy whose body was found in a well behind a house in a village in Jasin last night, and have arrested the parents and four other people.
Jasin Police chief DSP Arshad Abu said today the body, wrapped in a white diaper cloth, was found by villagers and retrieved from the six-metre well at about 10.30 pm by personnel from the Jasin Bistari Fire and Rescue Station.
The father of the boy had reported to the Batang Melaka Police Station that his son was missing from the home at 7.45 pm on Saturday.
“According to the report, the boy was last seen at 6.30 pm sleeping in a room with his mother,” he said.
He said the police were informed by some neighbours that the body of a boy was in a well behind the house.
A police team rushed to the area and fire and rescue personnel retrieved the body, he said, adding that the body was sent to the Melaka Hospital.
Arshad said the six people arrested were aged between 16 and 24. – BERNAMA
PUTRAJAYA – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today announced six incentives for the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) settlers.
These incentives are in the form of debt disposal, incentive payment, setting up of a special fund and grant as well as housing incentive, among others.
Sharing the good news with over 50,000 people, including Felda settlers who were not deterred by the heavy rain at Dataran Putrajaya here, Najib announced a special incentive for Felda settlers of RM5,000 to 94,956 fully eligible families of Felda settlers for their welfare.
“With a total allocation of RM474.78 million, the payment will commence at the end of August, 2017,” he said to the applause of those attending the national level Felda Settlers Day 2017 celebration here.
In line with the effort towards a stronger corporate governance and integrity, Najib, who is also Finance Minister, announced that part of their Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) equity loan would be disposed off.
“Some 77,934 settlers, who are still paying for the FGV equity loans, will have the balance of their loans disposed off at a rate of ringgit to ringgit,” he said.
Najib said 1,626 settlers, who had paid their loans, would receive a cash reward of RM1,820.
“This involves a total allocation of RM128.10 million. For settlers who have never made any FGV equity loan payment, they will not receive this incentive,” he said.
He also announced the incentive to dispose off replanting debts amounting to RM5,000 for every settler who chose to replant through Felda involving a total allocation of RM519 million.
Additilonally, a special replanting overdraft debt disposal fund was also set up involving an allocation of RM300 million for a period of five years commencing from 2017 until 2021 to dispose off the operating cost debts exceeding RM40,000.
“This means, if the debt for replanting operating cost is RM60,000, a total of RM20,000 will be disposed off using this special fund, based on an assessment on the application sent and approved by a committee at the Felda level,\” he said.
Najib also announced the establishment of a special replanting grant which had been approved for Felda by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and the rate for the replanting programme is RM7,500 per hectare beginning this year up to 2020.
“This involves an area of 24,280.31 hectares with an allocation of RM166.6 million over the four-year period,” he said.
To add cheer to the Felda settlers in raising their families, Najib also announced an approval to build more than one house on a site.
To date he said there were 4,711 settlers owning two houses on a site and this could be further implemented on another 70,506 suitable sites.
“To overcome housing problems faced by the new generation, Felda and the state government will work together to approve on the construction of more housing units on one site. The settlers will have to bear the building costs,” he said.
Najib stressed that the incentives were granted to 94,956 eligible settlers as their land and products were managed by Felda.
He said, those who cooperated with Felda, had loyally repaid the money which had been loaned to them for replanting purposes or for their house renovations.
He said that they also made contribution to various funds managed by Felda such as replanting scheme and village development funds.
Meanwhile Najib said for the first time it was with noble intention that he was giving a chance to 17,679 settlers who had not sold their products to Felda and who had sued Felda, to return to the fold.
“However we are giving them a six-month period starting from next month to cooperate with Felda and to fulfill the requirements set,” he said.
Najib said the settlers, who returned to cooperate, would be eligible for the six incentives beginning from February 2018. – BERNAMA