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Deputy Public Prosecutor Aaron Chelliah speaks to reporters about the forfeiture action of RM48 million by the government on Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur July 19, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho declared that the High Court’s decision today in allowing the federal government to forfeit around RM48.9 million in bank accounts belonging to his father was preordained and politically motivated.

Speaking through a spokesman, Low or Jho Low said the improper seizure of assets purportedly linked to him was the inevitable result of illegitimate proceedings brought upon by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s regime whose attempt blurred the lines between the executive and judicial power.

“This seizure, much like Mahathir regime’s recent attempts to seize the Low family’s home of 20 years, further demonstrates the regime’s shameful strategy of targeted harassment and willingness to abandon proper procedures.

“The regime continues to favour the law of the jungle in pursuit of any inch of political gain,” Low’s spokesman said in a statement.

Earlier today, the High Court ruled that the federal government can proceed immediately with full forfeiture of around RM48.9 million belonging to Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng, Jho Low’s elusive father.

The forfeiture action was filed to freeze Larry’s seven bank accounts containing a total of over RM48.9 million in order to forfeit the funds that were allegedly linked to money-laundering activities after they were seized in December and January.

The court made the order after no one turned up during today’s hearing to show cause as to why the properties should not be seized by the government.

In his statement, Jho Low also maintained his refusal to return to face trial here by claiming he would not receive a fair hearing.

“Against a backdrop of falling approval ratings, the Mahathir regime has not met its promises with respect to basic human rights or the rule of law.

“The evidence is clear: it is simply not possible to receive a fair trial in Malaysia, where double standards prevail and power and politics override basic rights and freedoms,” he said.

On March 21, investigators from the federal police’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Prevention division posted a notice of seizure on the Low family mansion in Tanjung Bungah Park, Penang.

The enforcement was pursuant to an Attorney General’s Chambers notice issued in January under Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act used to seize the senior Low’s accounts.

The two Lows were charged in absentia here last year with money laundering and financial fraud related to Goldman Sachs’ bond issues for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

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Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari interacts with a special needs child during an appreciation ceremony in Shah Alam July 19, 2019. — Bernama pic

SHAH ALAM, July 19 — “No man is above the law in this country,” said Selangor Pakatan Harapan chairman Amirudin Shari when commenting on Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador’s statement that a leader of a political party was the mastermind behind the distribution of a sex video implicating a federal minister.

Amirudin said the mastermind and others involved in the production and distribution of the video clips should be brought to book regardless of their position and status.

“However, they (the accused) also need justice and should be given the opportunity to defend themselves and the like if they believe they are innocent,” the Selangor mentri besar told reporters after officiating an appreciation ceremony for special needs children in Selangor here today.

Yesterday, Abdul Hamid said police investigations showed that an “evil alliance” led by a leader of a political party was behind the sex video, which was aimed at humiliating and destroying the reputation of a certain individual.

Asked to comment on the IGP’s statement that the facial recognition process undertaken could not positively identify the two individuals in the video, Amirudin said he was glad that the issue seems to have been resolved.

“Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), all have been cleared up and let’s not prolong this kind of story; we should move on,” he said.

Amirudin said those involved in the production of the video were behind time because the people had long rejected this type of gutter politics.

Abdul Hamid, in a statement yesterday, also said an analysis done by CyberSecurity Malaysia on the video showed that it was likely authentic but the facial recognition process turned out negative and could not link the persons in the video to the individual implicated.

Recently, the media reported that video clips of two men engaging in sexual acts had gone viral and on June 2, former Santubong PKR Youth chief Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz confessed that he was one of the men in the video.

So far eight people including Haziq Abdullah have been arrested to help in investigations into the sex video case. — Bernama

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Some of the affected students recuperate in a ward at Port Dickson Hospital July 18, 2019. — Bernama pic

SEREMBAN, July 19 — Six of the seven students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Linggi who were admitted to the Port Dickson Hospital due to organophosphate poisoning have been allowed to return home, said Negri Sembilan Health director Datuk Dr Zainudin Mohd Ali.

As of noon, he said, only one student was still under observation and expected to be discharged this evening.

“The student who is still warded is not critical and only under observation, maybe the patient will be allowed home this evening,” he told Bernama here today.

Yesterday, a total of 24 students were brought to the Linggi Health Clinic for examination and 12 out of the total were then referred to Port Dickson Hospital.

The case was believed to be due to the spraying of pesticides at a chili farm near the school. — Bernama

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Mohamad Amirul Amin filed the lawsuit on June 1, 2018, claiming that he was shot by the first defendant while trying to help an injured person, whom he thought was a victim of a road accident, during the shooting in 2016. — Reuters pic

GEORGE TOWN, July 19 — RTM cameraman Mohamad Amirul Amin Mohamed Amer, who was injured in a shooting incident at the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Highway near here three years ago was awarded a total of RM114,470 in damages and cost after winning the lawsuit he filed against the security company and its employee involved in the incident.

Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail ordered GMP Kaisar Security (M) Sdn Bhd, which was named as the second defendant, to pay to Mohamad Amirul Amin RM70,000 in general damage, RM14,470 in special damages and RM30,000 in cost.

In her judgement, Hadhariah said the company should be held responsible for the injuries sustained by the plaintiff as it should have ensured that the pistol provided to its employee, a bodyguard Jaafar Haalid, who is also the first defendant in the case, was used in a right and responsible manner.

“In this case, it was the company that hired the first defendant and provided him with the pistol and this is a risk that can be anticipated. I rejected the company’s defence in saying that they did not know because the first defendant was hired two days prior to the incident. They cannot say they did not know, they should be more responsible,” she said.

She said the court also found that the company’s defence in blaming the cameraman for wanting to help other victims during the shooting incident unreasonable.

“If the plaintiff had seen the first defendant holding a pistol, he surely would not have gone to the scene,” she said.

Besides, Hadhariah said the second defendant was found to have sent the pistol used by the first defendant to a scrub metal company without complying with the guidelines set by the Home Ministry.

Mohamad Amirul Amin filed the lawsuit on June 1, 2018, claiming that he was shot by the first defendant while trying to help an injured person, whom he thought was a victim of a road accident, during the shooting incident on December 1, 2016.

In his claim, the cameraman claimed that the first defendant had used a Glock pistol and shot his employer dead before firing several more shots which killed two other persons and caused severe injuries to four others, including himself.

Mohamad Amirul Amin sought general damages, special damages for pain and suffering, aggravated damages and other relief deemed fit by the court.

He was represented by lawyer Simon Murali, while the GMP Kaisar Security (M) Sdn Bhd was represented by lawyers Mohamad Nor Azam Rashid and Samry Masri.

Jaafar, currently in prison in Penang and facing nine criminal charges, was not represented. — Bernama

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MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya addresses a press conference at MACC headquarters in Putrajaya June 21, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has embarked on an awareness programme ahead of the June 2020 enforcement date of a new legal provision — Section 17A of the MACC Act 2009 — to tackle corporate corruption.

Its chief Latheefa Koya told Malay Mail that while ignorance of the law is not a legit defence, the commission aims to educate corporate entities, instead of springing an unpleasant surprise on them.

“You see the thing is it will only be effective on June 1, 2020. Actually, we are having a special session to create awareness,” she said in a recent interview.

“The MACC is definitely going to start on an awareness campaign for people to understand what Section 17A is all about. Although ignorance of the law is not a reason, but when you introduce new laws, it must have context and I think there are a lot of people who are unclear on how this is going to take effect.

“So definitely the MACC will be doing some awareness campaign. There should be some kind of period for them to get used to it, but it is something in the works in our programmes.” Latheefa said.

She said that the MACC has currently been conducting briefing sessions for certain targeted sectors, and has also been accepting invitations from companies to attend private briefing session.

“Some we actually provide, and we have also taken up columns in the media to explain what it is all about actually,” she added.

Latheefa pointed out that there must be a proper understanding of the law as it details a new form of liability.

“So, of course, the impact is going to be very obvious and it is going to affect, whether positively or negatively, there will be some impact on how companies are run, businesses, investments and all that.

“So there must be some understanding, before people start fearing for the wrong things and all. That’s part of the reason why we are giving them some space,” the former human rights lawyer said.

The nation’s graftbusters have just 13 months beginning May this year, to familiarise themselves with the Section 17A, a clause introduced last year that specially makes companies liable for corrupt acts.

Section 17A, which was passed in Parliament on April 5 last year, provides that a commercial organisation commits an offence if any person associated with it commits a corrupt act in order to obtain or retain business or an advantage in the conduct of business for the commercial organisation.

MACC deputy commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki was previously reported saying that his officers were still studying and preparing to investigate crimes under the section on corporate corruption.

As part of their preparation, he reportedly said that the MACC has also engaged the assistance of “certain experts” while training and preparing their officers with the knowledge to conduct corporate investigations. promising that there will be improvements for MACC once the law is enforced.

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It is understood the man assaulted a foreigner before he was overpowered by members of the public. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

JOHOR BARU, July 19 — An axe-wielding man caused some anxious moments in the vicinity of a restaurant in Mutiara Rini, in Skudai here last night when he became violent before being arrested by the police.

Iskandar Puteri district police chief ACP Dzulkhairi Mukhtar said the police had received a call from a customer in the restaurant who told them that a man carrying an axe was causing trouble outside the restaurant.

According to the complainant, the suspect appeared in the area at 11.50pm and believed to be intoxicated.

“The man then assaulted a foreigner, which prompted the complainant to rush over and overpower him, before calling the police,” Dzulkhairi said in a statement here today.

Patrolmen from the Iskandar Puteri district police headquarters who arrived shortly after then arrested the suspect and also seized the axe.

The 34-year-old suspect is now under investigations under Section 323/506 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing grievous hurt and criminal intimidation and Section 6 (1) the Corrosive, Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act 1958 for carrying a dangerous weapon. — Bernama

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Pasir Gudang Umno Youth chief Noor Azleen Ambros urged the state government to immediately give priority to the town hall meeting in the interest of the district’s residents in light of the recent air pollution situation. — Picture via Facebook

JOHOR BARU, July 19 — Pasir Gudang Umno Youth wants to know when the Johor government plans to call for a town hall meeting to discuss the air pollution in the industrial district that has resulted in two critical situations within the first half of the year.

Its division wing chief Noor Azleen Ambros reminded the state government that the given timeline of holding the town hall talk had passed without any public engagement.

“The Johor government was reported to have expressed their intention to hold a town hall meeting with residents in a week’s time to resolve the air pollution issue based on news reports published on July 7.

“However, to this day, Pasir Gudang residents are still waiting for the details of the town hall meeting that has yet to be announced,” said Noor Azleen in a statement today.

His response came following reports yesterday that 39 students from five schools in Pasir Gudang were reported to have health symptoms such as vomiting and shortness of breath. The students were from SK Tanjung Puteri Resort, SK Kopok, SK Kota Masai, SK Pasir Gudang 4 and SMK Tanjung Puteri Resort.

Noor Azleen said it was disappointing that such an incident could still happen and demanded that the state government immediately look into having the promised town hall meeting.

“This is the third wave since the first incident took place on June 20,” he said, claiming that the residents have not been informed on the exact facts of the events happening in Pasir Gudang.

On July 7, Johor Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar announced that the state government will hold a town hall session with Pasir Gudang residents in a week’s time.

However, details and exact date of the town hall session have yet to be announced.

Noor Azleen claimed the residents are left to worry about their health and safety, despite the state government’s assurance that the situation in Pasir Gudang is safe and secure.

“The residents are also disappointed as they are not being informed about what is actually happening,” he said.

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Reporters are seen during a visit to alternative fuel manufacturer ResourceCo Asia in Chemor July 17, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, July 19 — The government needs to study various options to deal with the plastic waste problem as burning waste in any form has adverse effects, says Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president Meenakshi Raman. 

Meenakshi said that the government must not be deluded by these false solutions and instead take measures to prohibit the burning of plastic waste, whether in waste incinerators, cement kilns, make-shift furnaces or plastic-to-fuel operations.

“This is because the plastic waste burned will result in toxic emissions and toxic ashes which further spreads harm to the environment and threaten public health,” she said, in a statement.

On Wednesday, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the government is looking into the possibility of turning plastic trash in the country into an alternative fuel and source for producing cement.

Zuraida said the ministry was looking at the technology used by ResourceCo Asia (M) Sdn Bhd in Chemor, which processes local plastic waste and imported dry materials such as plastic, papers, clothes and wood into an alternative fuel known as processed engineered fuel (PEF).

The minister also said they received another suggestion from a local company which uses “pyrolysis plasma” technology to incinerate plastic junk.

Zuraida said these technologies could help the government cut down the illegal plastic garbage piling up nationwide.

Meenakshi pointed out that SAM had previously protested the burning in cement kilns of imported waste and demanded the importing company, ResourceCo Asia, send back all the solid waste which was imported from Australia to its origin country. 

“This is the very technology that the Malaysian government is now considering to clear the un-recyclable plastic wastes that have flooded our country,” she said.

Meenakshi also questioned why Malaysia should host polluting disposal technologies and be exposed to pollution from the burning of other countries’ waste.

“Are emissions from cement kilns continuously monitored by the government or are our communities being subjected to these hidden dangers from the emissions?

“Even the best of air pollution control technologies may not be able to trap all the toxic gases,” she said.

Meenakshi said that waste burning or incineration releases a range of pollutants into the air, water and soil.

“The air emissions include carbon monoxide, greenhouse gases, acidic gases (NOx, Sulfur dioxide, HCl), dioxins, furans, heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium depending on the type of waste that is fed.

“Direct and indirect exposure to such substances, including through inhalation of contaminated air, direct contact with contaminated soil or water, or ingestion of toxins that enter the food chain can have adverse health impacts affecting the neurological, immune, reproductive and endocrine systems,” she explained.

Until an option to safeguards public health and the environment is found, Meenakshi said that the residual plastic waste should be stockpiled safely.

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Zarith Sofia Mohd Yasin, 27, was charged in the Sessions Court with illegally keeping a sun bear cub in her Kuala Lumpur condominium on June 12, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — The Sessions Court here today fixed August 26 for the case management of singer Zarith Sofia’s case, accused of keeping and confining a sun bear cub at her apartment at Desa Petaling last month.

Judge Manira Mohd Nor set the date during mention of the case today.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Syamim Abd Manan told the court that all documents related to the case had been handed over to the defence.

The former reality programme participant also known as Pia, was represented by counsel Tan Jiin Hock.

On June 12, Zarith Sofia Yasin, 27, claimed trial to keeping a sun bear (Helarctos Malayanus) cub, a totally protected species under the Second Schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, without a special permit.

The charge framed under Section 69 (1) of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and punishable under Section 69 (1) of the same Act provides a fine of up to RM200,000 or imprisonment of up to 10 years or both upon conviction.

The singer was also accused of confining the cub in an environment that was not conducive to its comfort and health and was charged under Section 86 (1) (c) of the same Act which carries a fine of not less than RM5,000 and not exceeding RM50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both, upon conviction.

The offence was allegedly committed at a unit of Sentrio Pandan Condominium, Desa Pandan, here on June 6. — Bernama

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Parliament has agreed in principle to register an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) as part of its function. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Seeking to improve relations with critical civil society organisations (CSOs), Parliament has agreed in principle to register an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) as part of its function, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said today.

APPG, a concept borrowed from the UK Parliament, is an informal working group of MPs and senators to tap society at the grassroots level and come up with policies addressing issues such as food security and sustainable development for the country.

It is separate from the existing formalised bipartisan parliamentary select committees (PSCs), which exists to oversee the execution of policies and acts as a check-and-balance.

Ariff said APPG can provide a clearer perspective on what the public actually needs.

“APPGs is not confined to formalities and it can be as wide as the boundaries of society. In bridging the gap between Parliament and the people, APPGs can rise above political divide and put the people first.

“There are tremendous mutually beneficial relationships when MPs partner with CSOs in APPGs,” said Ariff in his keynote address at the National Forum on Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2019 held at Parliament here.

He said lawmakers are elected to act in the public interest “but they may lack in-depth knowledge of policy areas that more specialised CSOs possess or the special expertise and skills of external oversight institutions”.

“Most CSOs operate at grassroots levels and thus, in general, have active engagement with local actors and communities. It is almost obligatory upon MPs to seek and maintain dialogue with a wide range of CSOs as a regular part of the parliamentary process,” he added.

He said all the APPG working groups will be registered under Parliament and will consist of a minimum of five MPs.

Membership of the working groups will be open to both members of the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara.

Ariff also revealed that the formation of the country’s first APPG will be focusing on sustainable development goals.

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