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KUALA LUMPUR – The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) said it was cancelling the goods and services tax (GST) on over 60 food items, due to be enforced on July 1, after referring to the Finance Ministry.

“Following consultation, it was decided to annul the “Goods and Services Tax (Zero Rated Supplies) Order 2014 (Amendment) (No.2) 2017” (the Order).

“Following this decision, RMCD is requesting the relevant parties to take note of this matter,” said Director-General Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy in a statement today.

Local media had reported that more than 60 zero-rated food items would be subject to the six per cent GST from July 1, after the order was gazetted on June 6, 2017.

Under the order, food items such as eel, swordfish, corn, frozen vegetables and imported fruits like avocados, apricots, figs, grapes, nectarines, cherries, and berries would have been subject to the six per cent GST. – BERNAMA


LONDON – One person has been arrested after a vehicle hit pedestrians in north London, injuring several people, police said Monday, as Muslim leaders said worshippers were mown down after leaving a mosque.

Police said in a statement there were “a number of casualties”, adding that they were called to reports of “a vehicle in collision with pedestrians” at 12.20am.

“We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque. Our prayers are with the victims,” the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body, said on Twitter.

Harun Khan, the head of the MCB, said the van had “intentionally” run over people leaving night prayers for the holy month of Ramadan.

An AFP reporter could see a helicopter and several emergency vehicles at the scene, which was closed off by a wide police cordon.

Traffic was shut down on a section of Seven Sisters Road, where the incident happened.

“We saw lots of people shouting and lots of people injured,” David Robinson, 41, who arrived just after the accident, told AFP.

MCB deputy head Miqdaad Versi said the incident happened “outside the Muslim Welfare House”, which is on Seven Sisters Road near the mosque.

The London Ambulance Service said: “We have sent a number of ambulance crews, advance paramedics and specialist responses teams to the scene.

“Our priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure that those most in need are treated first and taken to hospital.”

Police described it as a “major incident”.

‘Evil violence’

Finsbury Park mosque was once a notorious hub for radical Islamists but has entirely changed in recent years under new management.

Its former imam Abu Hamza was jailed for life in New York on terrorism charges in 2015.

He preached there from 1997 to 2003 before being jailed for inciting violence. He was later extradited to the United States.

In 2015, the mosque was one of around 20 that took part in an open day organised by the MCB to promote better understanding of Islam following Islamist-inspired terrorist attacks in Paris.

Despite the change in leadership and new focus on community relations, the mosque reported it had received a string of threatening emails and letters in the wake of the Paris attacks.

“If this attack is confirmed as a deliberate terrorist attack then this should be classed as an act of terrorism,” said Mohammed Shafiq, head of the Ramadhan Foundation community group.

“The British Muslim community requires all decent people to stand with us against this evil violence,” he said, adding that “rampant Islamophobia has been on the rise for a number of years”.

Monday’s incident in London follows three Islamist attacks in Britain this year.

On March 22, a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a police officer guarding the British parliament to death before being shot dead.

Five people were killed in the attack.

On May 22, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a pop concert in Manchester, killing 22 people.

And on June 3, three militants wearing fake suicide vests ran over pedestrians and went on a stabbing spree in bars in the London Bridge area.

They killed eight people before being shot dead by police. — AFP


KUALA LUMPUR – The mention of Chow Kit brings to mind dark and filthy alleys, being that prostitution, triads and drugs are some of the things that the place is negatively associated with.

However, such a scenario will soon be a thing of the past with efforts being made by a group of young people to change the life of dwellers at Chow Kit so that they can earn their own living, as well as support their families.

The group, led by Nik Sin Nik Man , 35, started the “Umie Aktif” programme three years ago, providing dwellers at Chow Kit, especially the women, to make and sell handicraft products, such as dolls and bag.

“The programme was introduced as a platform for the women to begin their first step to become entrepreneurs.

“Besides teaching them to make handicraft products, we also teach the women to communicate in English,” he said when contacted by Bernama recently.

Nik Sin, who is an an assistant surveyor, said the handicraft products produced by the women in Chow Kit were sold online and the money from the sale distributed back to the women.

“The programme receives encouraging response from the women in Chow Kit, and so far, we have nearly 30 participants,” he added.

Meanwhile, , Lawrance Abus, 30, a lecturer at a private college who is a volunteer in the programme, said the programme had helped provide some income for the participants.

One of the participants, Cek Rohani Talib, 44, said she was now able to supplement her husband’s income by selling handicraft products.

“We don’t have to come up with the capital, and even given two classes a week to learn sewing and English,” she said.

Cek Rohani said she had been able to earn between RM300 and RM350 a month by selling the handicraft products which she made herself.

Those keen to buy the handicraft products can make their order through “UmieAktif” Facebook account or instagram.


PUTRAJAYA – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants players in the creative fields to cooperate with the government in instilling humanitarian values in their works towards moulding a society that is in line with the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) vision.

Conceding that there was a vacuum in Malaysian society today on the issue of identity and race, he said this (vacuum) made the process of nationhood not yet firm and strong.

“We have a social problem. In the last day or two, we heard about gangsterism and bullying which became the focus of society.

As such, I hope you will play your respective roles to instill noble humanitarian values in our society,” he said at a breaking-of- the-fast event at Seri Perdana here today.

Over 2,000 guests comprising literary figures, humanists, writers, cartoonists and artistes attended the event, which was held for the first time with the prime minister. The prime minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was also present.

Sixty arts association were also involved including the Federation of Writers Associations (Gapena), Malaysian National Writers Association (Pena), Malaysia National Broadcasters Associations, Malaysian Artistes Association (Seniman), Malaysian Film Producers Association (PFM) and the Malaysian Entertainment Writers and Journalists Association (Karyawan).

Recently, the nation was rocked by the death of cadet officer at Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM), Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnian, 21, and a youth T. Nhaveen, 18, after they were cruelly abused and assaulted in bullying incidents.

Commenting further, Najib said the government not only wanted to develop the best infrastructure for the nation but also to build a civilisation with high noble values.

“The message can be given in the works of all of you in a partnership which can be nurtured between the government and all of you so that we can create a new society in line with our TN50 vision,” he said.

Meanwhile, the prime minister announced a sponsorship package to perform the Umrah (minor haj) for 25 selected individuals from among the authors, artistes, arts and creative activists and humanists, intellectuals and broadcasters.

Najib said priority would be given to those who had never performed the Umrah and the less well-to-do.

“This is a sign of our sensitivity and proof the government views seriously the welfare and lot of the arts and creative people,” he said.

He said those picked would perform the Umrah after this year’s haj season.

In the meantime, he said that he was also prepared to consider a request that 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PRiMA) units be also allocated to arts activists.

“This is the government’s pro-active effort to help those in this group who are needy, other than appreciating their deeds and sacrifices all these while to society, religion and country,” he said.

Based on the outcome of the TN50 discourse with the group on May 17, Najib said the government, though the Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) had also agreed to create a special quota for arts activists to get housing benefits via the People’s Housing Programme (PPR) in Simpang Dua and Kepong, Selangor. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Recalling the traditional Malay atmosphere ahead of the Aidilfitri celebration, some 500 lamps will be lighted up in a section of Dataran Merdeka in conjunction with the ‘Malam Tujuh Likur @ Dataran Merdeka’ programme from tonight until June 24.

Kuala Lumpur Tourism Bureau general manager Khairul Anuar Mhd Juri said this would be the third time Dataran Merdeka is adorned with the lamps, meant to showcase the unique Malay culture to foreign tourists.

“It’s been a tradition of the Malay community to light the lamps during Ramadan, especially in the last 10 days before Aidilfitri.

“However, this tradition is slowly being forgotten, especially in cities like Kuala Lumpur, so we hope this programme will bring back the nostalgia,” he told Bernama after officiating the event.

Khairul Anuar said the atmosphere at Dataran Merdeka was also made lively with the [email protected] programme held every weekend during the month of Ramadan.

The mass iftar programme has so far attracted over 60,000 people, including foreign tourists. – BERNAMA


LOS ANGELES – Pop diva Beyonce and her rap mogul husband Jay-Z have welcomed twins, according to multiple US media reports, with two new members joining music’s royal family that already includes five-year-old Blue Ivy.

News that the songstress had given birth, which was first reported by People magazine and US Weekly, ignited social media, with the so-called “Bey hive” fan group buzzing over the yet unrevealed sexes and names of the latest additions to the Carter Clan.

Entertainment news outlet E! said the power couple was spotted at a Los Angeles area hospital on Thursday.

Speculation grew when an unidentified woman was photographed Friday carrying a large bouquet of pink, blue and purple flowers – complete with a card that appeared to read “B + J” – along with twin pink and blue balloons in the shape of feet that read “Baby Girl” and “Baby Boy”.

Superstar Beyonce in February made the blockbuster reveal that she was expecting.

Clad in panties and a bra under a flowing veil, she commanded control of the internet by posting a picture of herself kneeling beside a human-size floral arrangement, her hands cradling her rounded belly.

“We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over,” the 35-year-old singer wrote.

“We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for all your well wishes,” she added, signing with Jay Z.

As an expecting mother she made a New Age celebration of women at the Grammy Awards earlier this year – putting on an extravagant and abstract performance while proudly displaying her baby bump cloaked in a flowing gold gown.

She made a number of red carpet appearances while carrying the twins, and documented her pregnancy via social media to the joy of her legions of adoring fans. — AFP


KUALA LUMPUR – Muslim prisoners can meet their family members on the third and fourth days of the Aidilfitri celebration (June 27 and 28).

Prisons Department Deputy Director (Policy) Supri Hashim said this involved all prisons and rehabilitation centres nationwide as well as the Henry Gurney School, while all visits would be closed on the first two days of Aidilfitri.

“Priority for the visit will be given to the Muslim prisoners and the visiting hours are from 8.15 am to 4.15 pm,” he said in a statement today.

To facilitate the visit arrangements, visitors are asked to respectively bring their visiting and identification cards while outside food or drinks are not allowed to be given to the prisoners.

“Visitors are advised to not give money to the prisoners as all their basic needs have been provided by the Prisons Department, and if they intend to do so for purposes such as for examination fees, it must be included with an official receipt as a declaration of acceptance,” he said.

Visitors are subject to regulations that allow the prison to run a physical examination on them before entering and leaving the premises.


ALOR SETAR – A director at the Community Development Department (KEMAS) in Putrajaya pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here today to two counts of corruption involving RM159,053.22.

Mohd Adnan Md Daud, 54, made the plea after the charges were read out to him before judge Azman Abu Hassan.

On the first count, Mohd Adnan, who was then a development officer with Selangor KEMAS, was charged with accepting bribe of RM73,000 from one Sah Hizam Halim as an inducement to appoint his company, Perniagaan Naluri Pertama, to carry out work to supply milk powder to PERMATA child care centres.

It was also as an inducement to appoint Alpha Elite Resource, a company also owned by Sah Hizam, to supply chocolate milk powder to PERMATA child care centres.

He was alleged to have accepted the money at the Alor Setar Maybank branch on Dec 14 last year.

On the second charge, Mohd Adnan was alleged to have accepted RM86,053.22 from Sah Hizam as an inducement for him to appoint Perniagaan Naluri Utama to supply biscuits, worth RM78,246, and to supply and send milk powder, worth RM123,786, to the child care centres.

The money was also as an inducement for Mohd Adnan to appoint One Blue Diamond Enterprise to send additional food supply worth RM130,410, another company, Golden North Enterprise, to supply Nestle Koko Krunch cereal worth RM62,505, and Malbery Enterprise to supply biscuits worth RM94,702, to the child care centres.

He was also alleged to have accepted the money as an inducement to appoint LD Dinamik Enterprise to supply and send Koko Kruch, worth bRM59,512 , and also additional food, worth RM61,582.50, to the child care centres.

All the companies involved are owned or under the control of Sah Hizam.

Mohd Adnan was alleged to have accepted the money at the Alor Setar Maybank branch on Jan 7, 2015.

Both the charges were made under Section 17 (a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act.

The court set bail at RM80,000 in one surety and fixed July 34 for mention.

Deputy public prosecutor from MACC, A.Hafiizh Abu Bakar , prosecuted, while lawyer Abdul Hadi Ahmad represented Mohd Adnan. – BERNAMA


TOKYO – Seven crew members of US Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald were missing following a collision between the Aegis destroyer and a Philippine container in waters off Japan’s central Shizuoka Prefecture early Saturday, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

The Japan Coast Guard said the collision, which left one person injured on the destroyer, occurred about 100 km southwest of Yokosuka.

The collision was first reported by the Philippine container at around 2:30 a.m. local time, according to the coast guard.

The Japan Coast Guard said it believed the Philippine merchant vessel is the ACX Crystal, which, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, is 222.6 metres long and weighs 29,060 tonnes.

The USS Fitzgerald is 154 metres long and weighs 8,315 tonnes.

NHK reports said the US guided-missile destroyer had suffered considerable damage to its right side, with helicopter footage revealing an orange hose on the deck of the destroyer.

Crew members, according to local media images, could be see on the deck of the Aegis-equipped destroyer assessing the damage while a Japan Coast Guard vessel was in the vicinity of the ship to offer assistance.

More patrol vessels and a helicopter would be dispatched to the collision site, Japan’s coastguard said.

NHK’s aerial footage showed that the Philippine ship, which was sailing towards Tokyo, had scrape marks from the collision on the left side of its bow section.

According to US Navy personnel, the damaged destroyer was heading towards the Yokosuka Naval Base, located about 50 km southwest of Japan’s capital of Tokyo.

Neither of the vessels involved in the collision were in danger of sinking, according to the Japan Coast Guard.


KUALA LUMPUR – The government has always emphasised on women’s significant role when formulating the country’s policies, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Numerous endeavours, he pointed out, had been initiated to empower women both in the corporate and social sectors.

“We want to produce many more ‘heroines’ who are looked up to in their respective fields.

“I am confident that women could realise their full potential through the opportunities offered by the government, God willing,” he said in his latest blog entry najibrazak.com, with the heading, ‘Kehebatan Tokoh-Tokoh Wanita Dalam Sejarah’ (The greatness of women in history) .

He noted that the role of women was not merely as mother and wife but has a major impact on the development of a society or nation.

“As the Malay saying goes, ‘Tangan yang menghayun buaian mampu menggoncang dunia’ (The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world),” he said.

Najib cited Saidatina Siti Khadijah RHA who not only was a very successful businesswoman looked upon as a role model for her vast contribution but the main source of inspiration for Rasulullah SAW (Prophet Muhammad).

“We also acknowledge the wisdom of Saidatina ‘Aishah RHA as an educator, and the courage of Nusayba binti Ka’ab al-Ansariyah, who defended Rasulullah SAW in the Battle of Uhud,” he said. – BERNAMA