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Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

KUALA LUMPUR – The homage speech by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong visualises the manifestation that the king and the people are inseparable, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said, with the presence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the throne as the umbrella to the nation, the people must be united under his shelter.

“Surely, when interpreted the king is the national flag and his presence in the rule of constitutional monarchy showed that the people must uphold and unite under the shelter of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” he said.

He was commenting on Najib’s speech which expressed congratulation and loyalty on behalf of the government and people in conjunction with the installation of Sultan Muhammad V as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong today.

In the speech, Najib regarded the institution of kings and Yang di-Pertuan Agong as an emission of the personalisation of National Identity.

Najib also submitted his heartfelt adoration and thanks to Sultan Muhammad V after his coronation today.
In the meantime, Malaysian Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the installation went smoothly today and expressed his thanks to all parties involved in making it a success.

“I am grateful. This is a historic moment in which the co-operation of all parties, including the National Palace, the Prime Minister’s Office and all agencies involved in making the ceremony successful is very much appreciated,” he said.

Salleh said the historical ceremony could also be seen by all the people live over Radio Television Malaysia (RTM).- BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Youth organisations need rebranding on their spirit, approach and programme content to continue remaining relevant with the flavours of the younger generation now, said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister said youth organisations should think of fresh ideas suitable to the aspirations of Generation Y as well as millennials and not to hold self-serving programmes.

“If we have group trips to Phuket , Bali , these are old stories . Do not corrupt youths with all these perks.

“Youths today want support in terms of programme activity and content relevant to their tastes…do not organise any more unproductive programmes,” he said when opening the 38th Malaysia 4B Youth Movement’s annual general meeting here today.

In this regard, Ahmad Zahid urged the 4B Youth Movement to be the backbone of the government in attracting the younger generation to achieve the development agenda for youths especially the 2050 National Transformation (TN50) vision

He said the movement should not just leave the task of shaping the future of the country’s youth to Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

“4B Youth Movement members should go down to the ground to garner support of the youths so that the organisation regains their acceptance,”:he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister also reminded the new leadership of the movement to foster cooperation with the old leadership to ensure the organisation remained strong and united.

“The old leaders should not create troubles for others, be aware that their time has passed, be dignified past leaders so as to continue gaining the respect of others,” he said.

In the 4B Youth Movement annual general assembly today, its president Muammar Ghadafi Jamal Jamaluddin did not defend his post after holding the position for two terms since 2009. The organisation’s constitution has set a maximum of two terms for the president post

The movement’s deputy president Mohd Nizam Omar and vice-president 1 Ahmad Daniar Ismail are in a straight fight for the president post.

The results of the movement’s election will be known later tonight. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – Dissatisfied groups exist in all political organisations including UMNO but they will not lead to a split of the party which will be celebrating its 71st anniversary on May 11 , said Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid, who is UMNO vice president but discharging the duties of deputy president, said he and party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak were satisfied with the leadership line-up at both the grassroot and national levels.

“It’s true there will be those who are not satisfied in any organisation, not only in UMNO but in other political parties because politics is dynamic.

“So if there are problems, they should be overcome quickly and this is what the Prime Minister (Najib) and I are doing,” he told reporters after opening the International Human Ecology Conference 2017 here today.

Ahmad Zahid who is also Deputy Prime Minister, was commenting on whether he was confident of the unity in UMNO as the party celebrates its 71st anniversaryy.

Commenting on the issue of social media in his speech at the conference organised by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Ahmad Zahid said Malaysians must use social media wisely for positive purposes and reject any information aimed at destroying the existing political ecosystem.

As a citizen in a multiracial and multi-religious country, the community should not adopt the model of other countries for adaptation in Malaysia, he said.

“I have read a book by an American blogger entitled ‘Trust me, I’m lying’. It was written by someone who started the activity of giving wrong information in social media.

“In my view, it is fine to joke, but to create someone’s misery or break-up to get sadistic satisfaction is not our culture,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Ahmad Zahid said social media had become the platform for the propagation of immoral behaviour, a bay for business transactions, a platform to incite terrorism, a propaganda machine, a channel to inform and to disinform, to incite hatred and to propagate lies.

Ahmad Zahid said research conducted by Malaysian psychologists and experts concluded that 95 per cent of the Malaysian terrorists were recruited through the Facebook.

He said the information they acquired through Facebook were distorted views of jihad and tauhid (oneness of God) fabricated by leaders of terrorists’ organisations.

“This a new culture that will turn people against their governments and wars will no longer be fought by armies against armies but armies against their own people.

“Wars will no longer be fought to protect sovereignty or territories but wars will be fought against some madmen with guns in their hands in the name of race, religion and politics,” he said. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – The need to send an envoy to North Korea and the status of the Malaysian Embassy in Pyongyang will be discussed, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“I will discuss (the matter) with the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) and Foreign Minister (Datuk Seri Anifah Aman),” he said when met by reporters after opening the International Conference on Human Ecology 2017 here today.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, was asked on whether the government would be sending an envoy to the Hermit state.

The Malaysian Ambassador to North Korea Mohamad Nizan Mohamad was called back to Kuala Lumpur on Feb 22 by Wisma Putra following tensions between Malaysia and North Korea after the murder of Kim Jong-nam in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13.

Jong-nam, 46, estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was murdered using the VX nerve agent by two foreign women while waiting for a flight to Macau in klia2.

Diplomatic tension arose when North Korea’s Ambassador in Malaysia, Kang Chol made baseless accusations against Malaysia on how it was handling the case, which resulted in Malaysia declaring him as persona non grata (PNG).

Kang Chol left Kuala Lumpur on March 6 and North Korea responded by declaring Malaysia’s Ambassador to North Korea as PNG.

On March 7, Pyongyang barred Malaysian nationals from leaving that country and Kuala Lumpur in a tit for tat action also prohibited North Koreans from leaving Malaysia.

However the nine Malaysians, barred from leaving North Korea following the diplomatic row, safely returned to the country on March 31.- BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – All firearm licensees and permit holders are  required to apply for an arms card from 1 June, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the card to be issued by the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) was an improvement to the existing arms book in identifying firearm licence and permit owners.

He said the card contained several security features such as signature of the IGP, photograph of the owner, MyKad number of the owner, category of the licence or permit and information on the firearm.

“It is not only for individual owners, but also security companies. It must be renewed yearly,” he told a media conference after his ministry’s monthly gathering here today.

He said the card application as stipulated under the Weapons Licensing Regulations (Amendment) 2016 and Weapons Regulations (Amendment of Second Schedule) could be done at any district police headquarters nationwide.

On whether the arms card was introduced because of the case of missing firearms belonging to the Department of Volunteer Corps (Rela), he said the requirement was planned two years ago to replace the existing manual system which did not have any security features.

Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim who also attended the media conference said the 26 missing shotguns belonging to Rela in Selama, Perak had already been recovered.

He said there had not been any new arrests to add to the present 14 suspects including a Rela officer.

The shotguns were reported stolen from Rela Northern Region Training Centre in Sungai Petani, Kedah, last month.

The disappearance was detected after the Firearms Licence Enforcement Unit, Inspector-General of Police Secretariat (Firearms Licence), Bukit Aman, conducted an inspection and audit. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – There is a need to foster mutual recognition of halal certification among the various certification bodies across the world, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He suggested this solution given that the possibility of having a single harmonised standard appears to be remote.

Ahmad Zahid noted that there were more than 200 certification bodies around the world, issuing their own halal certificates and logos.

“We should foster mutual recognition of each other’s certification. I sincerely hope we will look into this possible solution seriously,” he said when opening the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) 2017 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), here, today.

The lack of a single unified standard was a challenge, he said, adding that upholding halal integrity was another.

Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia had entered the third and final implementation phase of the Halal Industry Master Plan, with an emphasis on broadening home-grown companies and internationalisation of the halal industry.

He said the Malaysian government was focused on a more holistic approach towards creating a halal ecosystem to turn the country into a leading global halal hub.

The approach, he said, emphasised on enhancing activities through the halal supply chain.

“Besides halal products and providing halal-related services, the halal supply chain also includes Islamic finance and banking, logistics, tourism, takaful and other halal-related support services,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid also said that a number of Arab countries had expressed keen interest in building a halal ecosystem with Malaysia.

In terms of economic development, he said Malaysian halal products continued to command strong interest among customers worldwide, with exports increasing from RM23.9 billion in 2011 to RM39.3 billion last year.

“We attribute this to the aggressive promotion of our halal products and services through events such as MIHAS as well as our trade missions abroad,” he said.

The deputy prime minister said China was among the top destinations for Malaysian halal exports, along with Singapore, the United States and Japan.

He said the major items exported were food and beverage followed by halal ingredients and palm oil derivatives.

It is forecast that by 2020, Malaysia’s annual halal exports will exceed RM50 billion.

This year, MIHAS 2017 hosts 580 exhibitors from 33 countries including ASEAN members, Palestine, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, China, Japan and Taiwan. – BERNAMA

KOTA MARUDU – Talks about Sabah state election to be held much earlier than the 14th General Election (GE14) is only speculation because the matter had not been decided at the federal and state Barisan Nasional (BN) levels.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the decision to hold state polls in Sabah would not only take into account the political situation in the state but also nationwide.

“Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak), who is also BN chairman, has not finalised any study obtained based on numerous feedbacks from the empirical studies conducted.

“Positive implications must also be prioritised in considering a decision to hold a general election,” he told reporters after simultaneously launching the UMNO branches, Wanita, Youth and Puteri movements meetings in the Kota Marudu Divisions here today.

Also present were Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman as State UMNO Liaison Committee chairman; Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili as Kota Marudu Member of Parliament and UMNO Kota Marudu Division chief Datuk Wetrom Bahanda.

In a related development, Ahmad Zahid said he had decided to conduct two working visits to Sabah every month as promised to the state government and State UMNO Liaison Committee.

According to Ahmad Zahid, he would also visit Kota Marudu in six month’s time from now to ensure all the developments promised were implemented on schedule.

“In addition, we also want to look at the preparedness of the BN machinery in Kota Marudu and other Parlimentary and State Assembly areas,” he said. – BERNAMA

Trader Excited To Be Able To Get Up Close With Ahmad Zahid

KOTA MARUDU – “I want my children to succeed like him. If not become the Deputy Prime Minister, at least achieve something in life,” said Yusuf Ajib, 40, after getting his lifelong wish of shaking hands with Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Yusuf, a trader at the Kota Marudu Tamu, was at the market as usual today with his wife and two children, not expecting to meet Ahmad Zahid who had gone there for a walkabout with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu MP.

“My children Yusmariawati, four, and Mohd Azwan, two, really wanted to shake hands with the Deputy Prime Minister. But because of the crowd and tight security, we were too far away from him.

“But when Ahmad Zahid waved at us and signalled us to go to him. Without wasting time, I took my children to go up to him and shake hands,” Yusuf said excitedly.

Yusuf, who is from Kampung Goshen, Kota Marudu, said he was so excited because the chance to meet Ahmad Zahid did not come often.

“After shaking the hand of the Deputy Prime Minister, I hope my children will work to be successful like him,” Yusuf told Bernama.

Ahmad Zahid’s surprise visit also got Sulina Dohonggot, 48, all excited. She had only seen him before in the newspapers and on television.

The fruit-seller said this was the first time she met him in person and shook his hand when he stopped to buy langsat at her stall.

“I was so surprised when he turned up at my stall. I did not know he was coming to the market today. I was nervous but very happy,” she said. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi wants all policy decisions made by the government, especially on border security issues, to be followed by proactive and comprehensive action by the relevant enforcement agencies.

When chairing the High-Level Committee Meeting on Border Security and Control here today, Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, stressed that the move would ensure effectiveness of the national border control operation to combat transborder crime.

The meeting, which is the first in its series, focused on issues and challenges faced, as well as strategic cooperation among enforcement agencies to empower security control at the borders.

In a statement issued in conjunction with the meeting, Ahmad Zahid said the establishment of the Malaysian Border Security Agency (AKSEM) specifically to
focus on anti-smuggling operations and violation of laws at the Malaysian border areas was indeed a right and appropriate move.

This is because the five main agencies under the AKSEM, namely the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), Customs Department, Immigration Department, National Anti-Drug Agency and the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board, had their own expertise and strengths, he said.

Ahmad Zahid said AKSEM would also implement a strategic cooperation with other enforcement agencies, especially those operating in land border areas.

The cooperation, he said, would cover various aspects, including in the sharing of intelligence information and in the implementation of integrated enforcement activities to optimise the impact, strategies and effectiveness of the operations.

The deputy prime minister said the Volunteers Department (RELA) would also collaborate with the agencies to implement border control, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

“This approach is another step forward taken to make optimal use of the capabilities of the existing agencies to strengthen national border control,” he said.

Four briefing papers were tabled at the meeting, namely on the empowerment of national border security management, national land border control operation, RELA’s participation in helping AKSEM to implement border control in Sabah and Sarawak, and the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (MAQIS) operation at all entry points in the country. – BERNAMA

KLUANG – Malaysia’s effort in helping convicts through rehabilitation process in prison, especially in reducing the rate of recidivists is recognised by the international community, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the rate of recidivists, or people who continued to commit crimes even after being caught and punished, in the country last year was at 8.59 per cent.

“Although we are still not satisfied with this achievement, it is recognised by the international community.

“There are several developed countries where their recidivist rate are more than 50 per cent, meaning convicts who left the prison after going through rehabilitation and punishment continue to commit crimes after that, not in Malaysia, Alhamdulillah,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said efforts would continue to be made to further reduce the recidivist rate by improving existing rehabilitation modules.

He said this when opening the National Prisons and Anti-Drug Day at the Simpang Renggam Prison near here today. – BERNAMA