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SHAH ALAM – National SEA Games squad head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee was satisfied with the performance of his charges despite the slim 2-1 victory over Brunei in their opening Group A Kuala Lumpur SEA Games match at the Shah Alam Stadium, last night.

He said collecting three points in the opening match was more import than scoring more goals as it will boost the players confidence to face the next group match against Singapore at the same venue on Wednesday.

“The players missed a lot of goal scoring chances as the Brunei players had ‘parked the bus’ which made it even harder for the players to score more goals but I’m happy that we managed to secure three points in the first game,” he told reporters after the match.

In the match, Muhd Safawi Rasid put Malaysia in front as early as the fourth minute before Mohamed Zulkhairy Hady Razali equalised for Brunei in the 12th minute but Adam Nor Azlin turned saviour for Malaysia after heading in the winner in the 60th minute.

Kim Swee also praised the performance of a few newcomers in the squad, especially Muhd Safawi who struck a good understanding with other players although he had only trained together for a few weeks before the start of the SEA Games. – Bernama

 

HORROR, war or animal-centered comedy – take your pick. This weekend, horror prevailed on North American movie screens, with “scary as hell” film Annabelle: Creation pulling in US$35 million (RM150 million) in its first week out, more than paying off the US$15 million (RM64 million) Warner Bros. spent on it, analysts said.

The estimated three-day opening take for Annabelle, the fourth installment in the popular Conjuring franchise, was considered healthy for a supernatural horror flic. The film stars Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Miranda Otto, Lulu Wilson and Anthony LaPaglia.

While this has been a weak summer overall for film, it was a good weekend for Warner Bros., which saw another of its productions, war movie Dunkirk, hold steady at second in the box-office race, with ticket sales of US$11.4 million (RM49 million), industry site Exhibitor Relations reported.

That movie, starring One Direction singer Harry Styles, depicts the heroic 1940 evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Allied troops from northern France. The film has a global take of US$363.6 million (RM1.6 billion) so far, and has yet to be released in China, Japan or Italy, according to boxofficemojo.com.

In third spot is the Open Road film Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, at US$8.9 million (RM38 million), less than half the opening weekend take of the first Nut Job movie. The animated adventure tells the story of a group of animals trying to save their home from the bulldozer.

Sony’s The Dark Tower placed fourth, at US$7.9 million (RM34 million), slipping from the No. 1 spot a week earlier. The sci-fi production, based on best-selling novels by horror/fantasy master Stephen King and starring Tom Taylor and Idris Elba, tells about a boy trying to save the world from enemies including bad guy Matthew McConaughey.

In fifth place, also from Sony, was The Emoji Movie, with US$6.6 million (RM23 million) in ticket sales. The computer-animated comedy, based on the expressive little symbols on cell phones, has an all-star voicing cast including James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Christina Aguilera and Sofia Vergara.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

Girls Trip (US$6.5 million) (RM28 million)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (US$6.1 million) (RM26 million)

Kidnap (US$5.2 million) (RM22 million)

The Glass Castle (US$4.9 million) (RM21 million)

Atomic Blonde (US$4.6 million) (RM20 million)

— AFP

 

KUANTAN – UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has urged party members to think in more serious terms as the time for being ‘jolly’ was over.

He said the 14th general election (GE14) was getting closer, and members should not rest on their laurels, but rather work to ensure victory for UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN).

He also urged for realistic decisions to be taken for the GE14, such as fielding suitable and winnable candidates in each contested constituency.

“UMNO today must be firm in placing candidates. For example, if 50 per cent of the voters in the area are Malays, then a representative from UMNO should be placed there.

“If we take a look at Perak in the last general election, we (UMNO) took back two (state assembly) seats namely, Pasir Panjang and Behrang and we won. In 2008, a component party contested there but lost.

“UMNO is not stingy, but we saw what happened. It is clear, that we cannot take it easy by saying that we have enough seats, but be sure to win (enough) to form the government,” he told reporters after opening the Kuantan UMNO Division Delegates Conference here today.

Also present were Kuantan UMNO Division chief Datuk Wan Adnan Wan Mamat.

Mohamed Nazri added that UMNO should also be more firm on the issue although he was aware that the decision may disappoint certain parties.

He said such a move could be made in the Kuantan parliamentary constituency as 65 per cent of the voters are Malay, giving UMNO a chance to win back the seat from PKR.

Mohamed Nazri also reminded UMNO leaders and members to strengthen the party machinery ahead of GE14, especially in fending off defamation attacks from the opposition.

“UMNO needs to strengthen the team before facing the enemy, and firmly believe that any defamation and slander against the top leadership is not true at all. Continue to work to help the people, cast aside all the slander, and never have a sense of doubt,” he said.

— BERNAMA

 

ALOR GAJAH – “The move to allow over 165,000 grassroot members to vote for the election of UMNO president in 2013 is a solid evidence that UMNO does not belong to me, unlike in the era of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Najib, who is also UMNO president, said in Tun Dr Mahathir’s era, the former prime minister and party president had used the ‘quota and bonus votes’ mechanism during party polls to ensure that he could retain power.

“After I became UMNO president, I abolished the mechanism and left my fate to be decided by over 165,000 UMNO members nationwide.

“It turned out that I won uncontested and it showed that UMNO openly supported my leadership. It is also a solid evidence that UMNO does not belong to me, but to all its members,” he said when opening the Masjid Tanah UMNO Division Delegates Conference here today.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahidi, Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and UMNO Executive Secretary Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh, who is also Masjid Tanah UMNO chief. UMNO became more open, democratic and inclusive when the amendment to the party´s constitution was passed in 2009, which among others, increased the number of members allowed to vote for the election of top leadership and divisional leaders, and also abolished the quota system in party polls.

Najib said Tun Dr Mahathir became the Prime Minister and UMNO president not because he was a popular leader, but because he had ‘secured’ the party’s top leadership by using the “quota and bonus votes”.

“During the 1987 election, he (Tun Dr Mahathir) contested against Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and he won by only 43-vote majority. Although I was quite close to Tengku Razaleigh, I upheld the principle of wala’ (loyalty).

“Back then, I was UMNO Youth chief and Tun M was my boss, so I’m compelled to support him and I did pledged my support to him. But what did he do? He secured the top leadership using the quota and bonus votes,” Najib said.

He said as UMNO president, he had made various decision upon discussions with Ahmad Zahid and other UMNO leaders and as a result, UMNO has become a party which is more open today.

“Who is more dictator in the party? UMNO doesn’t belong to me. In fact, it is more open today than in the past. I became the party leader because of the support from UMNO members,” he said.

Meanwhile, Najib said he need not to look over his shoulder when performing his duties as the prime minister as he had full confidence in Ahmad Zahid.

He said the close relationship between him and Ahmad Zahid was not built yesterday, but had developed over the years since 1986 and many did not know what they had been through together.

“No one knows how many times we had attended the same courses and stayed in the same dormitory. No one knows Ahmad Zahid’s trials and tribulations in Bagan Datuk and how I, as the UMNO Youth chief, braved myself to campaign for him.

“Now that there is an attempt to shake my confidence in Ahmad Zahid, I would like to reassure you that my confidence in him cannot be shaken nor questioned by anyone,” Najib added.

— BERNAMA

MACHANG – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has outlined three principles that could help Barisan Nasional emerge victorious in the 14th General Election (GE14).

He said first and foremost, members must embrace the spirit of Barisan’s struggle and toe the line while remaining loyal to the leadership.

“If we practise these three principles, Insya Allah (God willing), GE14 is ours,” he said at the Oghe Mache (people of Machang) Meet-the-PM session and launching ceremony of the RM75mil People’s Housing Project at SMK Bandar Machang yesterday.

Also, Najib praised PAS for displaying a high-level of political maturity, because the party does not blindly attack others without checking facts first.

He expressed his gratitude to the PAS leadership for checking the facts with 1MDB president Arul Kanda before announcing its positive view of the sovereign wealth fund’s rationalisation plan.

“It shows that PAS puts the interests of the rakyat and nation first.

“It does not attack for the sake of attacking an opponent.

“It embraces the principles of tabbayun (to check and verify news and information before accepting it as true), where they meticulously check facts before forming an opinion,” he said.

He also commended PAS for breaking ties with DAP.

Earlier when launching the housing scheme, Najib said the RM75mil allocated was to build 418 units on a 16ha plot in Batu 25 Machang.

He said the Government subsidised between RM80,000 and RM120,000 for each unit, which was sold for RM35,000 to buyers earning below RM3,000 a month.

He said the Government has built 1,000 such units in Kota Bharu.

Najib also announced a RM8.5mil allocation to improve infrastructure and amenities in Machang.

This includes RM5mil for the building of rural roads, RM2mil for social amenities and RM1.53mil to upgrade mosques and surau.

“The allocation is also for the refurbishing of 100 houses belonging to poor folk, repairing drains and fixing damaged rural roads,” he said.

Najib said this was an immediate response to a request by Machang MP Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub for extra allocations to improve the infrastructure and facilities in the district.

In an earlier speech, Ahmad Jazlan said the people of Machang hoped to see greater development, as the district was neither under the purview of the South Kelantan Development Board nor the Kelantan Agriculture Development Board.

Among those present was International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who is also MP for Jeli.

Afterwards, Najib opened a new building worth RM57mil at Hospital Jeli.

Construction was completed last year and the new building has two operating theatres and 56 beds, among other amenities.

Najib said that although Kelantan has been under PAS rule for 27 years, the Government puts the interests of the rakyat before politics.

Also present was Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam. – The Star Online

 

GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Nick Jonas has signed on to star opposite Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland in Lionsgate’s post-apocalyptic thriller Chaos Walking.

The film, to be directed by Doug Liman, is an adaptation of the best-selling YA novel by Patrick Ness, and will also co-star Mads Mikkelsen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Demian Bichir (Alien: Covenant), and Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter.

The script, adapted by Charlie Kaufman, Patrick Ness, Lindsey Beer, Gary Spinelli and John Lee Hancock, will follow along the lines of the novel which is set in a dystopian world where all living creatures have been affected by The Noise, a virus that inflicts immersive visions of ones’ every thought and drives many to madness.

Jonas will play Davy Prentiss Jr., a young soldier in an army led by Mayor Prentiss’ (Mikkelsen). Holland will play his longtime rival Todd Hewitt, with Ridley to play a girl who may be the key to unlocking the world’s many layered secrets (via Variety).

Lionsgate has set the film for release on Mar 1, 2019. — AFP Relaxnews

 

KUALA LUMPUR – A local man was found dead with severe wounds, believed to have been beaten in front of the Speedmart 99 supermarket in Sunway Batu Caves, Selangor early today.

Gombak District Police chief ACP Ali Ahmad said police received a call on the incident at 1.58am.

“The 41-year-old victim was believed to have been beaten by more than one person but we have yet to identify the object used to hit him,” he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

Ali said the man was confirmed dead at the scene due to severe injuries on his head and face.

The police were still tracking the suspects and the motive of the murder was still under investigation, he said.

He added the victim’s body had been sent to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital. — Bernama

 

KUALA LUMPUR – The population of wild elephants in Peninsular Malaysia is estimated to be between 1,220 to 1,450, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said the animal distribution in the peninsula is concentrated in Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Perak, Johor and Negeri Sembilan, with the highest elephant population to be found in the National Park in Pahang of about 290 to 631 elephants.

As a ‘keystone’ species in the forest ecosystem, Wan Junaidi said elephants played an important role in terms of ecosystem balance, becoming a symbol of national biodiversity conservation.

Wan Junaidi said the awareness and cooperation of all Malaysians was crucial to protecting, conserving and appreciating national biodiversity, especially wildlife such as elephants as a priceless living heritage.

“In ensuring that these elephant species survive, the cooperation of all parties is very much needed to play their respective roles. Apart from the government that conducts public awareness programmes, the private sector are welcome to jointly carry out their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes towards the conservation of wildlife in our country.

“This earth is ours together. We should live in harmony with the flora and fauna that need each other for our survival in the future,” he said in his message in conjunction with the World Elephant Day today.

Wan Junaidi said the ministry through the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) launched the National Elephant Conservation Action Plan (NECAP) on Nov 27, 2013 which outlined elephant conservation activities from 2013 to 2022.

NECAP is a comprehensive plan to ensure effective elephant conservation efforts such as increasing elephant population in key habitats, protecting elephant habitat, strengthening elephant law enforcement, effective elephant conflict management and enhancing research and knowledge on elephants’ ecology and biology.

World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12 every year since 2011 to expose the world community on conservation efforts of elephant species as well as fostering public awareness of the critical threats faced by elephant populations worldwide.

— BERNAMA

 

MUSIC superstar Taylor Swift told a US court Thursday of her shock as she realized she was being groped during a photo opportunity in Colorado, as she faced the former DJ she accuses of assaulting her.

Swift, 27, said there was no doubt in her mind the radio personality she was being photographed with ahead of a Denver concert in 2013 reached under her skirt and fondled her buttocks.

“It was a definite grab … a very long grab,” Swift testified in a Denver federal court. She declined to speculate how long the incident lasted.

“He stayed latched on to my bare ass cheek as I lurched away from him. (His hand) didn’t let go,” she told the jury.

Swift was called as a witness by the attorney representing David Mueller, the former Denver radio host accused of groping her during the photo session.

“It was a very shocking thing. I had never dealt with something like this before,” Swift said.

Mueller, 55, is suing Swift, alleging she and her team slandered him by telling his employer about the incident, resulting in his firing.

She is counter-suing, alleging she was sexually assaulted.

“Someone could have concluded it appeared she was trying to get away from me,” Mueller testified Wednesday when shown a picture taken during the alleged assault.

‘3-D recollection’

The photo of Swift, Mueller and his girlfriend shows the morning show host on radio station KYGO with his hand behind the singer’s rear end.

Mueller claims his knuckles may have touched her ribs, well above where his arm is shown. But he admitted he did not know for sure where his hand was because he was concentrating on the photographer.

Swift, who was 23 at the time, did not file a police report. Her mother, Andrea Swift, testified Wednesday that the singer’s management wanted to keep the matter out of the public eye.

Swift, who wore a short-sleeved floral print dress, was in combative form as she was questioned for around an hour, occasionally rebuking Mueller’s attorney for his line of inquiry.

“I’m not going to allow you or your client to say I am to blame,” she told him at one point.

She also rejected Mueller’s contention that he may have touched her somewhere less inappropriate.

“He did not touch my hand. He did not touch my arm. He did not touch my rib. He touched my bare ass,” Swift said, adding that she had a “3-D recollection” of what had transpired.

Visibly upset

She dismissed attempts to dissuade her from her story and rejected the suggestion that she had continued greeting guests for as long as 30 minutes after the alleged assault, as if nothing had happened.

“This is a fact. This is what happened to me. I knew when it happened,” she said.

Swift’s assistants testified in depositions that as soon as the photo session ended, the singer told everyone in the room about the incident. They described her as being uncomfortable and visibly upset.

Robert Call, Mueller’s boss at KYGO and the man who fired him, later told the court the photo indicated to him that Mueller’s hand was in an inappropriate place and that this was a large reason for his dismissal.

“I have seen hundreds of meet-and-greet photos,” Call said, adding he had never seen any with hands positioned like Mueller’s.

Call also testified that Mueller had changed his story, first denying the incident occurred at all and then conceding that it might have taken place, but that any contact would have been “accidental or incidental.”

The station’s program manager Herschel Coomer – known in the industry by the pseudonym Eddie Haskell – testified that Mueller was adamant he hadn’t done anything improper.

“We felt he violated the morality clause in his contract,” said Coomer, who was Mueller’s immediate supervisor. — AFP

 

KUALA LUMPUR – Following is the statement by Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak posted on his blog in response to chairman of Pakatan Harapan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s article on the issue of ‘tak malu’ (shameless).

Two days ago (Aug 8), Tun Dr Mahathir, in an article posted in his blog Chedet.cc listed three ‘shameless’ groups in the country.

The groups are the Prime Minister (and his family), ministers and top government officials, whom he called thieves, corrupts and robbers.

These groups, according to Tun, were given appointments and promotions not because they were qualified, but because it was done without following the law.

He said these groups were given appointments and promotion because they were efficient in sucking up to the bosses, and were willing to follow the bosses’ instructions, no matter how wrong. They are shameless… as long as there were money and positions to gain, they don’t care about dignity.

Tun’s allegation is serious. As if he was all clean during his tenure. As if he forgot about scholars’ views of his administration. Read Khoo Boo Teik’s book on Paradoxes of Mahathirism: An Intellectual Biography of Mahathir Mohamad (1995) and John Hilley’s

Malaysia: Mahathirism, Hegemony and the New Opposition (2001).

Read also books by D.K. Mauzy, G. P. Means, Harold Crouch, William Case, K.S. Jomo and E. T. Gomez.

Their studies on Tun’s administration ended with this conclusion: Tun ruled using his Machiavellian principles, practising political patronage, cronyism and nepotism.

Looking back on history, doesn’t Tun remember the risky investment done by the BMF in Hong Kong? The losses suffered by Maminco to control tin price? Doesn’t he remember the losses suffered by Perwaja Steel? Doesn’t he remember the Forex scandal? The privatisation of MAS?

What happened to all those companies and investments? Are they suffering losses? Or making profit? Do they still have their dignity? If Tun remembers all these issues, doesn’t he feel ashamed?

I will not scrutinise this article, but I would like to remind Tun, just because he had quit UMNO, he probably forgot that ‘a crab cannot teach its children to walk straight’.

Let us learn from our history so that we will not continue making mistakes. Quoting George Santayana: Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.

— BERNAMA