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KOTA KINABALU – Two Malaysians who were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group in
July last year are said to have been rescued by the Philippine military
force.

According to Philippine news portal Otago Daily Times which quoted the
commander of the Western Mindanao Command, Maj Gen Carlito Galvez Jr., the two
men, Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdul Rahim Summas, 62, were rescued in the waters
off Pulau Pata, in the southern Sulu Province.

The news portal said the two Malaysians were weak and “in a sickly state”
when rescued.

“Military medical doctors are treating them in our hospital,” said the
article, quoting Galvez today, without specifying when and how the two victims
were rescued.

Meanwhile, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din, when contacted by
Bernama, said they were checking the validity of the report.

“We’re trying to get confirmation (from the Philippine authorities),” he
said.

Tayudin Anjut and Abdul Rahim Summas were among five local fishermen
reported missing, believed to be kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf in the waters off Lahad
Datu while fishing on July 18, last year.

Also reported missing were Mohd Zumadil Rahim, 23, Fandy Bakran, 26, and
Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32.
— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The government is contributing RM5 million for Takaful CuepacsCare Program this year to cover the increase in health cost, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said the protection plan, which provided an alternative for civil servants to obtain treatment at private specialist hospitals, had benefitted about 73,000 government employees, apart from addressing overcrowding at government hospitals.

“We see there is a proposal for an increase in the fee, but the government will continue to provide assistance, despite the increasing health cost.

“This year, the government will contribute RM5 million for the scheme to cover all the increase,” he said when speaking at the ‘Budi Disemai, Jasa Disanjung’ programme with the Prime Minister and beneficiaries of CuepacsCare here today.

The programme is organised by the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Service (Cuepacs).

Najib, however, hoped the subscription to the protection scheme would remain low and continue to be affordable for civil servants in the country.

He urged Cuepacs and Sun Life Malaysia Takaful Berhad, the operator of the protection scheme, to discuss and look for the best way to ensure subscription to the scheme remained low.

The Takaful CuepacsCare Program, which offers a protection plan for as low as RM85 a month per family, has disbursed claims amounting to RM201 million until last year.

Meanwhile, Najib said revenue collection from Goods and Services Tax (GST) also helped to cover health service cost which amounted to about RM22 billion a year, hence reducing the country’s annual expenditure for the health sector.

“We have to spend about RM22 billion a year for health services, but we only collect about RM400 million to RM500 million a year, meaning RM21.5 billion has to be borne by the government.

“That is why, when people ask the revenue from GST is spent on what, the answer is, among others, providing health service for the Malaysian people.

“So, we cannot politicise GST collection because if we do not increase the cost of public health care, we will have to cover the cost from other sources,” he added.

Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda said the RM5 million fund from the government would be used to cover the excess claim for protection, if necessary.

— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Conducting of investigation by outsiders including North Korean agents into the murder of Kim Jong-nam here is against the law, says Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

He said any party that wished to investigate the case, should first seek permission of the Malaysian police as it could disturb the on-going investigation.

“If they want to do investigation here (Malaysia), not only the agents or spies but also the legal authorities need our permission and approval.

“(Any investigation they conduct will be illegal) because they have no power to question people and no power to look at the documents,” he told a press conference after the handing-over of KIA Sorento CRDI SUV 4×4 vehicles to the Royal Malaysian Police in Bukit Aman, here, today.

Khalid was asked to comment on reports that North Korean agents were investigating the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in this country on Feb 13.

Meanwhile, Khalid said he wanted all the suspects holed up in the North Korean embassy here to surrender themselves.

“We want the three individuals sought, who are in there (embassy). We know they are inside (the embassy),” he said.

The three individuals believed to be still at the North Korean embassy are its second secretary Hyon Kwang-song, 44, Air Koryo employee Kim Uk-il, 37, and the third suspect, Ri Ji-u, 30, also known as James.

Last Feb 13, Kim Jong-nam was murdered at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) while waiting to take a flight to Macau.

He was approached by two foreign women who wiped the VX nerve agent on his face. Jong-nam who was using a passport bearing the name Kim Chol, died while being taken to Putrajaya Hospital. – BERNAMA

LANGKAWI – Malaysia has agreed to collaborate with Indonesia, Qatar, Pakistan
and Turkey to strengthen their relationship in facing common new threats.

Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today said representatives
from the five countries agreed to work together in counterring extremist
ideologies, interoperability of assets and operation transformation.

He said the agreement was reached at a meeting he held yesterday on the
sidelines of the ongoing Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace
Exhibition 2017 (LIMA ’17) here.

It involved Qatar’s State for Defence Affairs Minister, Dr Khalid Mohammad
Al-Attiyah; Turkey’s Deputy National Defence Minister, Suay Alpay; Pakistan
Defence Production Minister, Rana Tanveer Hussain; and Indonesia’s Technology
and Defence Industry Director, Brig-Gen Dr Pieter Ate.

“We are all facing the same challenges, (for instance) prices of oil had
affected Qatar and their (defence) planning. They want to know how we are
managing with that challenge,” he told a press conference after delivering the
keynote address for the LIMA ’17 Chiefs of Navy Round Table Talk here.

Hishammuddin said the agreement was not a mere rhetoric as they planned to
proceed with the formation of a working group who will meet in Istanbul, Turkey
this April before a ministerial-level meeting in Doha, Qatar.

He said the five-nation meeting also came timely after a plan by Malaysia
and Saudi Arabia to form a King Salman International Centre for Global Peace
earlier this month.

“Global movement of moderates could be intesified through the collaboration
of these five countries,” he added.
— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia has been fair and reasonable in dealing with the Kim Jong-nam murder case, said South Korea’s National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun.

He also expressed confidence that the Malaysian government would remain fair and reasonable in their stand on the matter.

Speaking to reporters after a courtesy call on Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia at the Parliament building here today, Sye-kyun said the most important thing was the return of nine Malaysians now stranded in Pyongyang after they were barred from leaving the country.

KUALA LUMPUR – The National Transformation Programme (NTP) created 1.8 million jobs between 2010 and 2016, of which over one million were high-income jobs, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said through NTP the Gross National Income increased by nearly 50 percent and Malaysia has almost eradicated poverty, reducing it to just 0.6 percent.

“We have kept inflation and unemployment low, and have been acclaimed by global institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for the reforms we have undertaken.

“We are firmly on the path to become a high-income nation. In short, we have an economic plan. That plan is working, we have delivered, and we will continue to deliver,” Najib said during his keynote address at the 2017 Global Transformation Forum (GTF), at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, here today.

Najib said through NTP, no Malaysian gets left behind, where the needs of all people are met, and all communities are able to contribute to and share in the wealth of the country.

Meanwhile, the success stories of two individuals, Zul Izzamin and Chik Azmily Che Abdul Aziz, who benefited from the NTP that was launched in 2010, received special mention from Najib during his keynote address.

He said, under the Small Retailer Transformation Programme (TUKAR), Zul Izzamin who inherited a sundry shop from his late father in Johor was cited under the NTP to improve the living standards of low income households.

Najib said Zul took a TUKAR programme that was advertised in a newspaper and found out he was eligible, enrolled and took the initiative to implement expert advice from TUKAR programme mentors.

“He took a RM25,000 loan offered under the progamme and renovated his shop. Since then he said ‘our shop income increased by 100-200 per cent’. A wonderful example of the NTP in action,” he said.

The other success story is that of a Kelantanese, Chik Azmily and his wife who are involved in the 1AZAM (Poverty Eradication Programme) initiative, which provided him with agricultural equipment, seeds, fertiliser and herbicides.

He said Chik Azmily started growing short-term seasonal cash crops such as cucumber and watermelons and selling them to wholesalers.

“His wife (name not mentioned) was provided with sewing machines to kick-start her tailoring work, and she managed to secure a deal with a batik factory to tailor batik shirts.

“Within a couple of years, they had gone from earning RM500 a month to RM5,000 a month. Isn’t that remarkable?,” he added.

Furthermore, Najib also shared the success stories of Idris who comes from a small community, Kelabit in the rural area of Sarawak, which consists of only 5,000 people in that community, and once had made himself a cabinet minister.

“We are so proud. Despite representing a very tiny community, he made it to become a Cabinet Minister. That is also another transformation story,” he said. – BERNAMA

KULAI – Former Teluk Intan DAP chief Hew Kuan Yau was today remanded for four days to facilitate investigations into a social media posting that allegedly mocked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Police obtained the remand order through magistrate Ahmad Farid Ahmad Kamal.

Hew, 46, dubbed ‘Superman’ arrived at the Magistrate’s Court at 8.20am wearing the purple lockup uniform.

He was met by his lawyer Chan Kheng Fai and DAP members including Senai assemblyman Wong Shu Qi, Johor Jaya assemblyman Liow Cai Tung, Pengkalan Rinting assemblyman Cheo Yee How and Pekan Nanas assemblyman Yeo Tung Siong.

Hew was detained by police at Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (Komtar) in Penang around 1pm following a police report lodged on March 16. – BERNAMA

IPOH – Perak police have rejected the application for a permit by the organiser to hold a debate between former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Nazri Abdul Aziz which is scheduled to be held in Kuala Kangsar near here this Saturday.

Perak acting police Datuk Hasnan Hassan said the application was denied after taking into consideration factors like safety and security, public order, upholding the rights and people’s freedom.

He said Kuala Kangsar police chief ACP Ahmad Termizi Abd Haq received the application from a representative of the organiser Kumpulan Media Karangkraf at 3 pm yesterday as per Section 9(1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

“It was stated in the application that the debate between Nazri and Dr Mahathir would be held on March 25 from 2.30pm to 4.30pm at Dewan Maktab Rendah Sains Mara, Kati, Kuala Kangsar.

“The Kuala Kangsar police chief has rejected the application and this will be followed with an official notification which will be hand delivered to the organiser today. The organiser has already been informed of the decision (to deny the permit ) yesterday,” he said in a statement here today.

Hasnan said one of the reasons why the application was denied was due to the delay in submitting the notification form as stated under Section 9 (1) of APA 2012.

“The organisers shall produce a notification to the officer in charge namely the district police chief within 10 days before the gathering,” he said.

He also said that the selected venue for the debate, the MRSM Kuala Kangsar, a school, was a protected place as stated in the First Schedule (Section 3 APA 2012).

“Besides, eight police reports have been lodged by the public and local residents who are concerned about their own safety as well as of their families,” he said.

Hasnan also added that in the Third Schedule of the act, it was stated that such an assembly or dialogue was not included in the list of permitted assemblies and asked all parties involved to abide orders by the Kuala Kangsar police chief.

“Stern action will be taken according to the law if this debate continues,” Hasnan said.

— BERNAMA

LANGKAWI – Malaysia wants to collaborate with the other ASEAN member countries to reap the opportunities from the growth in the defence industry in the region which is projected to generate about US$100 billion by 2030.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today said that Malaysia has been producing a number of good components and would be willing to share its technology and knowledge with the other ASEAN members.

“ASEAN (countries) should not be regarded only as end users (in the defence industry) but should upgrade themselves to friendly collaboraters of industry system integrators,” he told reporters after attending the official opening of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2017 (LIMA ’17) by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here.

He said the LIMA ’17 which attracted more than 500 exhibitors worldwide to Langkawi can be a stage for ASEAN members to explore further the opportunity for collaboration in the defence industry.

“We should not be left behind in the (development of the) defence industry. We want to go along to participate in the industry,” he added.

— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Scenes of local and foreign pressmen waiting outside the North Korean embassy to catch embassy officials for comments related to the murder of Kim Jong-nam is slowly diminishing.

Pressmen feel there is no reason to wait outside the embassy because none of the embassy staff or its spokesman Ri Tong-il had issued any statements or talked to the media since Feb 18.

Jong-nam was killed on Feb 13 after two women smeared his face with a dangerous chemical believed to be VX nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Klia2) when he was bound for Macau.

The two woman, a Vietnamese and Indonesian national had been charged at the Sepang magistrate court for murder.

South Korean wires, Yonhap news agency correspondent Harrison Choi Hyun-seok said as far as the agency was concerned the case was considered solved and they would be heading back home soon.

“We have been here since day one and even tried to track down Jong-nam’s family in Macau. We have no idea when the body well be claimed by the family and probably, they won’t even claim it,” he said.

Previously, international and local reporters would be camping outside the embassy until 11pm and be back at the site as early as 8am but now, less than 10 reporters are seen waiting daily and all will leave the embassy compound by 7pm.

Yesterday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police were currently looking for a VIP among several others to assist in the murder investigation of Jong-nam, including the three North Koreans who are believed to be hiding in the embassy.

Jong-nam is the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. – BERNAMA