Monday, July 31, 2017

India's misperceptions have dangerous implications


Over a month ago, Indian troops crossed into China at the Sikkim section of the border between the two countries, instigating a standoff with Chinese troops. This is arguably the biggest crisis facing the two countries since the 1962 border war, since there is still no sign of the Indian troops ending their trespass into Chinese territory.

The Sikkim section of the China-India boundary was delimited in 1890 with the Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet, and the boundary demarcation is recognized by both China and India.

However, India claims that a road being legitimately constructed by Chinese troops in Chinese territory has "serious" security implications for India. It fears it will lead to the cutting of the so-called chicken's neck — the corridor, 20 kilometers wide, that links the Indian mainland to its northeastern states. As a result, New Delhi decided to make a"preemptive" move.

Knowing the Chinese border troops will refrain from "firing the first bullet", Indian soldiers have time and again employed such shady tricks in disputed areas. But this time, New Delhi has sent troops into China's Donglang area, which is not disputed, and which is nowhere near the trilateral junction that separates China, India and Bhutan.

India has harbored the belief that Beijing would compromise due to the upcoming ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province. And because of this misperception, New Delhi has been emboldened to "dig in".

India's border provocation constitutes a diplomatic and military challenge to China, carries strategic implications for it.

With its troops trespassing in Chinese territory, New Delhi has taken a dangerous step by inciting confrontation. So far, China has exercised restraint, but its patience will not last forever.

China has repeatedly stated that it will defend its core interests, which include its territorial integrity. China does not have any strategic ambition to manipulate South Asian or Indochinese Peninsula affairs, but that does not mean it will allow its own territory to be encroached upon.

It seeks to handle border issues in line with international laws and documented evidence, but it does not fear a clash on its borders with a neighbor, if that is what is necessary to defend its territory. It has abundant resources to keep the risks controllable should a showdown occur. The 1962 border war between China and India is history. China can now force illegal intruders back across the border more easily than it could 55 years ago.

While continuing to be engaged in diplomatic efforts to persuade India to withdraw its troops from Chinese territory, China should be prepared for military action should that prove to be its only recourse.

As China has repeatedly emphasized, although the diplomatic channels are unimpeded, the withdrawal of the Indian border troops who have illegally crossed into China's territory is the prerequisite for any meaningful dialogue between the two sides.

Although the crisis is fundamentally an outcome of India's perception of its geopolitical role and worries about the rise of China, playing up the idea of an all-out geopolitical clash between the two countries is uncalled for.

After all, China and India are close neighbors and a healthy bilateral relationship meets the need of both for a favorable environment for development. The two countries should seek to reconcile their border issues and jointly strive to maintain regional stability.

Source: By Ang Gang, China Daily/Asia News Network

The author is a senior researcher at the Pangoal Institution, a think tank.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fake Awards Scam for Penang Island City Council, Seberang Perai Municipal Council !

 
Dubious honours: (Above) Former Penang Island City Council mayor Patahiyah Ismail with the trophy and certificate for Best Municipal Manager awards in 2013 while her Seberang Prai counterpart Maimunah (pictured here with the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his aide Wong Hon Wai) received the same latter award in 2014

Penang local councils ‘fell for vanity awards scam’


GEORGE TOWN: Two European NGOs have exposed the European Business Assembly (EBA) which piled honours on Penang’s local councils as a vanity awards scam.

It is on a list of 10 organisations in Europe and China that hold elaborate ceremonies and create beautiful trophies to go with hundreds of awards.

“In many cases, those awards are bogus, sold by unscrupulous organisations that prey on hu­­man vanity,” the Center for Investigative Reporting of Serbia (CINS) and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) researchers wrote in a 2014 report.

The report states that such organisations sent solicitation letters to companies and government agencies in the world, telling them that they had been nominated for various awards.

“Anyone who replies, shows interest and agrees to pay gets an award. Most of the letters contain the ceremony programme generally held in an attractive European capital, pictures of the trophies and information about costs,” the report added.

CINS was founded in 2007 by the Independent Journalists’ As­­so­­ciation of Serbia to support investigative journalism.

OCCRP comprises investigative reporters throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The two local councils in Penang were left red-faced for getting EBA awards in 2013 and 2014.

The now retired Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Datuk Patahiyah Ismail was awarded the Best Municipal Manager while the council was given the Best Municipality Award in 2013.

A year later, Seberang Prai Municipal Council got the Best City award while its then president Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif won the Best Municipal Manager award.

On Monday, it was reported that EBA was generating millions of pounds by selling fake Uni­ver­­sity of Oxford awards and cer­ti­ficates.

Pulau Betong assemblyman Da­­tuk Muhammad Farid Saad said he found many articles on­­line exposing EBA as a vanity awards organisation.

“Did they spend ratepayers’ money to get those honours? It’s like buying fake academic degrees,” he said in a statement.

Penang MCA secretary Tang Heap Seng said the state government should explain to the people whether it had purchased the awards to enhance its reputation.

In a statement, MBPP said it regretted that the awards were suspected of being false and had applied to the organiser to reaffirm the recognitions.

State Local Government Com­­mit­­tee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said he hoped both councils would be more discerning and careful in future.

Source: The Star/ANN by Tan Sin Chow

Councils: We won EBA awards after paying entry fees


Mayor: I apologise if accolade not genuine




GEORGE TOWN: Two councils in Penang have admitted that they won the awards given by the Europe Business Assembly (EBA) without any assessment after paying a total of 7,800 euros (RM39,088) in entry fees.

Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif said EBA did not send any auditor or judge to review the performances of the then Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP).

“We received letters via email from EBA that we were nominated for the awards. We then corresponded on the matter.

“EBA stated their judging criteria in the letters which they would be basing their assessment on.

“As far as I know, they did not come and talk to us but assessed us (themselves),” Maimunah told reporters yesterday, adding that the MPPP and MPSP had paid £4,400 (RM20,680) and £3,400 (RM18,408.10) for the entry fees.

Maimunah, who just returned from a conference in Manila, was commenting on the EBA controversy which was reported as a vanity awards scam.

It was reported that in 2014, the Centre for Investigative Reporting of Serbia and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project researchers had exposed the EBA for giving out the awards.

“If it is true that the award is not genuine, then I apologise. I wish to stress that the local councils do not have any intention to spend taxpayers’ money to buy any award or recognition from any group,” said Maimunah.

She said at that time, both MPPP and MPSP had considered the awards as a prestigious recognition based on the assessment criteria, which included economic environment, educational infrastructure, public services and transport, recreation and entertainment.

“The entry fee is a package inclusive of the participation cost for the conference. Both of us (Patahiyah and herself) went alone and we flew economy class although we were both entitled to business class.

“We did check on the awards but we did not receive any information which would have raised suspicions.

“There are other Malaysian local authorities, agencies, universities and individuals who have received the EBA awards before us.

“As such, the councils were of the opinion that the awards ceremony were worth joining,” she said.

Both councils, she said, were still waiting for a reply from EBA to clarify the matter.

Source: The Star by Chong Kah Yuan


MPSP to participate in awards despite 'vanity awards' controversy

BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) will continue to participate in international awards despite the controversy on so-called 'vanity awards' received by the council from the Europe Business Assembly (EBA).

The council's newly appointed president Datuk Rozali Mohamud said they would continue to take part in international awards, but would heed the advice of state Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation exco Chow Kon Yeow to be more cautious.

"Up to this moment, we have decided to take part in the Wego (World e-Governments Organisation of Cities and Local Governments).

"The awards are held annually, and it is free. We do not have to pay any entry fee," he told reporters at a press conference.

On July 24, it was reported that the EBA was generating millions of pounds by selling fake University of Oxford awards and certificates.

Researchers from two NGOs wrote in a 2014 report that such organisations sent solicitation letters to companies and government agencies in the world, telling them that they had been nominated for various awards.

"Anyone who replies, shows interest and agrees to pay gets an award," the report stated.

The now retired Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Datuk Patahiyah Ismail was awarded the Best Municipal Manager award while the council was given the Best Municipality Award in 2013.

A year later, MPSP got the Best City award while its then president Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif won the Best Municipal Manager award. Maimunah is now MBPP mayor.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Gerakan sues Penang Chief Minister


https://youtu.be/F895ql1qlU0


https://youtu.be/Hce4MCPbDt0

Party takes Lim to court over Tanjung Pinang land sale remarks


GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan is suing Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng over allegations made on the sale of a Tanjung Pinang plot of land, which was reportedly sold for a minimal premium of RM1 per square foot (psf) by Gerakan.

The party, through its secretary-­general Datuk Liang Teck Meng, filed the defamation suit in a George Town court yesterday and named Lim as the sole defendant.

The party is seeking general damages, exemplary damages, aggravated damages, costs, interests, reliefs and for Lim to publish an apology.

In the statement of claim made available to the press, the party said Lim had allegedly uttered defamatory remarks against Gerakan through reports carried by several social media platforms, including media statements and articles.

According to the statement of claim, one publication reported Lim as alleging that the previous Barisan Nasional administration had sold a plot of prime land in Tanjung Pinang for a minimal premium of RM1 psf.

The report in an online portal article dated March 17, 2013, claimed the previous administration led by Gerakan had approved the reclamation of 940 acres (380.4ha) at RM1 psf, with 10% of the land to be given to the state government.

Liang, accompanied by counsel Datuk Baljit Singh and other Gerakan members, claimed that Lim’s statements had painted an impression that the previous leadership under former chief minister Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon had disregarded the interests of Penangites by selling the land below market price.


Taking action: Liang (right) leaving the George Town Court with Baljit (second from left) and other Gerakan members after filing the suit.

Asked why Gerakan had waited so long before filing the suit, Liang said it was because people had started to believe Lim’s statements.

“When he repeated the accusations, some people started to believe them. I think it is a serious form of defamation. That is why we have to take action,” he told a press conference after filing the suit.

Further asked why Koh did not file the suit, Liang said Koh had already retired but could be a witness to the suit.

https://youtu.be/yaG_FwH-6jQ

At a press conference later, Lim said the suit was filed as political capital in view of the upcoming general election.

“They are suing me four years after I made the statement. Usually, a lawsuit is done within the shortest time possible and not after four years. I will leave the matter to my lawyers and let the court decide.

“I will also ask my lawyers whether it is possible for a state government to sue for defamation, as usually defamation refers to defaming an individual and not a government,” he told reporters after the investiture ceremony at Dewan Sri Pinang here.

Source: The Star/ANN

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The stalled building defects causing delays of relocation ..

Not ready: (Clockwise from top) The front view of the Batu Ferringhi market in Penang, exposed electrical sockets and cracked floor in the badminton court, and a leaking pipe in the washroom.


Defects causing delay of move to RM9mil Batu Ferringhi market


The scheduled relocation of traders to the RM9mil Batu Ferringhi market on Aug 14 is postponed to a later date until shortcomings such as leakage in the washrooms and cracks on the floor are fixed.

Lim checking on the condition of the market.- Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

SENIOR officers of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) were left red-faced after Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng spotted several defects in the almost completed RM9mil Batu Ferringhi market during a site visit.

Lim, who was irked with the shortcomings, asked his officers to collect back copies of his text speech given earlier to reporters.

“Before I came in, I went to the washroom. I thought it would be ready.

“But the male washroom was locked and I had to use the unoccupied ladies washroom instead.

“If the market is considered ready (by the council), then it is unacceptable,” he said.

Washroom with missing taps

 
A leaking pipe pipe in the washroom

It is learnt that the ladies washroom was leaking and some of the taps had yet to be fixed.

Lim, who was walking to the dining area, was stopped by several traders who requested the council delay their relocation into the market which was earlier scheduled on Aug 14.

Speaking to newsmen, Lim said another date would be set.

“We cannot fix a date now until we are satisfied that the shortcomings have been rectified,” he said.

MBPP mayor Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif said she would hold discussions with the market contractor and architect.

“Cracks have also appeared on the floor of the badminton courts,” she said.


Maimunah said the council had issued the Certificate of Practical Completion (CPC) for the market but not the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC).

The market was scheduled for completion by the end of last year.

There are 16 hawker stalls, 28 wet and dry market units, a multipurpose hall, a library, three badminton courts, playground, bicycle path, shower rooms and 90 parking bays.

Source: The Star/ANN by Intan Amalina Mohd Ali

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Penang properties: security for homeseekers, location for foreigners, increased value for investors

https://youtu.be/kskER7ZMU5U

Security ranks high for the homeseekers


GEORGE TOWN: Security is a key feature sought after by property buyers at the StarProperty.my Fair 2017 at Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon Mall here.

Eco World Development Group Berhad (EcoWorld) sales executive Andre Lim Han Lin said potential buyers approached the company due to the security features of its projects.

“We stress a lot on security in our projects. Take for example the Eco Meadows gated and guarded mixed development project in Simpang Ampat on the Penang mainland.

“Each housing unit comes with intercom system and alarm system to provide enhanced safety for our customers.

“In cases of emergency, homeowners can contact our well-trained security guards for assistance,” he said at the fair yesterday.

Hunza Properties (Penang) Sdn Bhd head of sales and marketing Karen Thein said the company’s Alila2 project in Tanjung Bungah comes with a top-notch security system to ensure the safety and security of its homebuyers.

“We have layers of security from the guardhouse, to the car park, lobby area and to the home unit.

“The project is equipped with security tags, access card control system and CCTVs,” she added.

She said Alila2 was also equipped with smart home panel that allows owners to view their visitors who are at the lobby.

“Owners can open the door to the lifts at the lobby from their home after confirming the identity of the visitors through the smart panel.

“Aside from that, each unit is equipped with a panic button for owners to alert the security guards during emergencies,” she said.

BDB Land Sdn Bhd sales executive Mohd Zaidi Md Jasmin said potential clients who came to their booths were also concerned about security.

“Security is one of the important factors we stressed in our Darulaman Perdana township in Sungai Petani.

“The project is a guarded community, crafted to meet the needs of those who seek comfort and safety in their homes.

“We have our security guards patrolling our project to ensure safety at all times.

“Besides safety, we are also into building a healthy and environmental-friendly community,” he said.

The StarProperty.my Fair 2017, organised by the Star Media Group, is open from 10am to 10pm daily until Sunday.. Admission is free.

By Christopher Tan The Star

Foreigners eyeing Penang properties



FOREIGNERS were among the early birds who visited the StarProperty.my Fair 2017 in Penang on its first day, looking for properties to invest in.

Couple Wallace Ng and Minnie Yip, both 50, from Hong Kong, said they were looking for a property with sea view and good facilities to invest in.

“Good location will be an added value to the property,” Ng said while checking the City Residence project in Tanjung Tokong by Ivory Properties Group Bhd at the fair yesterday.

Another couple from Shanghai, Liu Jun and Hua Wen Xin, both 49, were checking out Ewein Zenith’s City Of Dreams project in Gurney Drive.

“We are interested in having a property at a bay on Penang island. It would be a good investment for us. Location plays an important role,” Liu said.

New Zealander Brad Harman, 31, echoed similar sentiments, saying suitable location would be his first preference while looking for property in Penang.

“I understand that investing in the property market in Penang is profitable as it’s growing rapidly. This may be a good time to look for one but it will be a better choice when it has a good location too,” he said.

Henry Teoh, 29, and his girlfriend Jesslyn Tan, 24, both insurance agents from Penang who are searching for a second property in the state, said they were looking for a landed home since their first property is a high-rise.

“We prefer to have the house on the island as we think that the land value on the island is higher and it will be a good investment too,” Teoh said while checking the properties offered by IJM Land Bhd.

Sales and marketing executive Marie Kam, 37, who was eyeing Sentral Suites by Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) in Kuala Lumpur Sentral, said the development attracted her due to its location.

“KL Sentral is a prime location in Kuala Lumpur,” she said.

At The Star’s booth in Gurney Plaza, retiree Ho Kam Hoong signed up for a one-year standalone ePaper subscription for RM180.

“I prefer The Star ePaper since it is more convenient as I can surf the news from anywhere.

“I like the lifestyle, social event and sports sections,” said Ho who received a complimentary RM20 Starbucks card, three free spins in the fair’s Spin & Win Contest and two additional months of free ePaper for signing up for the package.

More than RM50,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs in the Spin & Win Contest during the four day fair which is being held at Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon Mall.

The fair also offers visitors the opportunity to win a one-bedroom serviced suite worth over RM550,000 at PJ Midtown in Section 13 of Petaling Jaya, Selangor, under the Win A Home (WAH) campaign.

Simply like and follow the StarProperty.my Fair Facebook page, then register online at wah.starproperty.my or at the WAH booth in Gurney Paragon Mall, to get one entry.

Finally, complete a creative slogan in English.

Those who buy properties during this and all subsequent StarProperty.my Fairs until Dec 31 will be entitled to multiple entries.

Visit http://fair.starproperty.my for details and the terms and conditions.

The public could also sign up for the Penang Starwalk 2017 on Sept 10 and Fit For Life Fun Run on Nov 19 during the fair at The Star booth in Gurney Paragon.

The fair, organised by the Star Media Group, is open daily from 10am to 10pm until Sunday. Admission is free.

RM78,000 house four decades ago now priced close to RM1mil



PROPERTIES are a hedge against inflation as their value increases with time, said full-time property investor Kaygarn Tan.

Citing a single-storey house in Island Glades in Penang as example, he said the price doubled from RM78,000 in 1977 to RM158,000 in 1988.

“In 2015, it was priced at RM900,000,” Tan said in his talk titled ‘Creating Wealth Through Property Investment’.

He described the current property market as soft where purchasers hold much of the power in negotiations.

“This sentiment is shared by many business analysts and experts. It is now the buyer’s market.

“The people should grab the opportunity as sellers will be more flexible in their pricing,” he added.

Lawyer Khaw Veon Szu, in his talk titled ‘A Landmine-free Roadmap to Property Ownership/Investment’, said buying a property was arguably the biggest investment for ordinary people.

He advised buyers to equip themselves with basic knowledge of property purchasing and trust nobody.

“They should exercise due diligence, especially on the background of lawyers or real estate consultants before they engage their services,” he said.

In another talk, feng shui master Stephen Chin provided feng shui tips on selecting the right home.

The property education talks were brought to the fair by BDB Land.

Source: The Star/ANN

Educating the young urbanites




GEORGE TOWN: Well-known developer BDB Land Sdn Bhd has launched its Property Education campaign at the StarProperty.my Fair 2017 organised by Star Media Group, in Penang.

Aimed at providing valuable insights into home ownership for the public, it includes informative talks at the four-day fair which ends today.

There will also be radio segments on 988 and Suria at prime time daily starting Aug 2, and digital content on The Star Online, to reach out to a broader audience.

The radio segments encompass topics like current property trends, upcoming developments, sub-sales market information, property investment, legal aspects, first-time buyer tips, foreign property news and more.

For the digital segment, there will be videos on various aspects of property ownership.

First-time buyers should benefit from the buying guide 101 that includes budget planning, things to prepare for, payment procedures and renovation costs, among others.

For experienced home buyers, there are also topics to look out for, such as refinancing a property, selling a property without making losses, who to approach if defects are found with the property, questions to ask the developer, and the importance of real estate management.

Izham presenting a momento to bin Yusoff, June Wong, Chief Content Officer of Star Media Group and her colleagues in Penang. Izham presenting a memento to Wong. With them are Liong and Hwang.

BDB Group managing director and the BDB Land Sdn Bhd executive director Datuk Izham Yusoff said the campaign was in line with their EZY Home programme for young urbanites.

“Our track record of successfully delivering homes in self-sustaining townships in Kedah for over 30 years puts us in good position to give advice.>

“This reflects our long-standing commitment to help individuals own a home,” he said after the launch which started with an ice-breaking session by Suria Cruisers who engaged visitors in games and a quiz.

Also present were the company’s sales and marketing head Anneta Hassan, marketing and product development head Fadzil Amidi Ahmad and sales head Mohd Shukry Shuaib.

Joining them were Star Media Group Content Development chief operating officer June Wong and regional operations general manager (north) Simone Liong, as well as Star Media Radio Group general manager of sales Erin Hwang.

The public forums, themed “Let’s Talk Property”, continue today with sessions on “Attacting Wealth by Applying Vasthu Sastra (Indian Feng Shui)” at 11.30am by T. Selva, and “How Incredible i-Ching Helps Boost Prosperity in Your Home Fengshui” at 1.30pm by Mak Foo Wengg.


Popular with the masses: Visitors checking out The Light City project at the IJM Land’s booth during the StarProperty.my Fair 2017 at Gurney Plaza, Penang.

Completing the line up are talks on “5 Trends That Will Change the Malaysian Property Market Forever” at 4pm by Ahyat Ishak, and Penang Property Outlook at 5.30pm by Leon Lee.

The StarProperty.my Fair 2017 is organised by Star Media Group.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

China's powerful drone ready for global market

China is ready to mass-produce the CH-5 reconnaissance/combat drone, the nation's latest offering to the international military drone market.

The first mass-production CH-5 made its debut flight, in which it was airborne for more than 20 minutes, at an airport in Hebei province on Friday afternoon.

Ou Zhongming, project manager of the Caihong, or Rainbow, series of drones at the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics in Beijing, said after the test that several nations, including current users of other CH models and new clients, are in talks with the academy on procurement of the CH-5, which is believed to be one of the best unmanned military aircraft in the world.

"Today's flight means the CH-5's design has been finalized and we are ready to mass-produce it," he said, refusing to name potential buyers.

The China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics is the country's largest military drone exporter by the number of products sold overseas. Its CH-series drones have been sold to militaries in more than 10 countries, making it the largest drone family the country has exported, according to statistics from the academy.

Shi Wen, chief designer of the CH series, said the CH-5 outperforms all of its Chinese-made counterparts when it comes to operational endurance and payload capacity. The plane is as good as the US-made General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, a hunter-killer drone often deemed by Western analysts as the best of its kind, he added.

The prototype CH-5 was first flown in August 2015. The drone is made of composite materials and has a wingspan of 21 meters. Twice as big as its predecessors in the CH family, the drone can stay in the air for 60 hours, almost three times that of other Chinese models. Its maximum operational range is designed at 10,000 kilometers, according to Shi.

The drone's 1-metric-ton payload capacity enables it to bring as many as 24 missiles on a single mission, strong enough to take out a convoy of armored vehicles.

The unmanned aircraft is also able to carry an airborne early warning system to act as a platform for regional surveillance and battlefield command and control. It also can carry electronic warfare instruments to collect electronic intelligence and to jam enemy communications or radar.

Moreover, the CH-5 can detect underwater targets such as submarines when mounted with certain devices, Shi said.

The CH-5 can also use high-resolution cameras, radar and radio transmitters to serve a wide range of civilian and public sectors.

Source: (China Daily)


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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Making the corrupt fear whistleblowers, not the other way !

WE ARE so used to seeing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on the frontlines in the war against corruption that we often forget the importance of whistleblowers. 


Graft-busters cannot be expected to single- handedly detect cases of corruption and abuse of  power because this requires surveillance capabilities that are impossibly expensive and intrusive. Instead, they typically rely on people channelling quality information on alleged offences so that the investigations can start.

Federal Land Development Authority chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad reminded us about this when he warned Felda employees, including its top management, that there were whistleblowers within the organisation who would report wrongdoing. - (Check: Shahrir backs Felda staff who expose wrongdoings)

Commenting on the MACC’s raid on Monday on Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd over the purchase of a London hotel, Shahrir welcomed the probe as a “good development” and said he believed that the new leads received by the commission came from whistleblowers.

“I want to assure those who expose the corrupt practices within Felda that they will be protected,” Shahrir added.

That is an important message. People are reluctant to volunteer information on corrupt practices mainly because they believe there would be reprisals if it was made known to others that they had blown the whistle.

Employees worry about being treated poorly by bosses and colleagues. Businessmen risk losing customers and deals. And sometimes, the stakes are so high that a whistleblower may even have reason to fear for his life.

People need to be convinced that there is a better alternative to saying nothing about corrupt practices. First and foremost, a whistleblower wants to be sure that if he so chooses, his identity will be kept confidential.

This is why the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 matters a lot.

It is described as an Act “to combat corruption and other wrong­doings”, showing that it has a central role in the fight against corruption. And yet, according to the MACC, few people have asked for protection under the Act.

In 2015, the commission received about 6,300 reports and complaints, but only 16 people sought (and were given) protection under the Act. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, 65 people were given such protection.

In its Annual Report 2015, the MACC said more individuals were writing in to give information on corrupt practices. In addition, the commission received fewer anonymous letters in 2015 than in the year before. The MACC said this showed rising public confidence in supplying information to the commission.

The commission also attributed the trend to its improved transparency in handling information from complainants.

But what about the low number of whistleblowers seeking protection under the Whistleblower Protection Act? Can it be that few people are aware that the Act can shield them from the fallout of whistleblowing?

The authorities should look into this. There has to be more awareness of how the Act works and this should then be used to encourage more people to come forward with information that can help the graft-busters.

The corrupt should be the ones fearing the whistleblowers and not the other way round.  - The Star


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Deadly Rabies in Dogs Alert !



Quarantine declared in ‘rabies area’


The war against rabies is on with the Matang sub-district declaring it a “rabies infected area” effective yesterday, following the death of a rabid dog which bit two girls in Kuala Sepetang.

Calling it an immediate measure to curb the spread of rabies, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir signed the declaration, which bars people from bringing dogs out of the zone.

If they want to do so, they will need written permission from the state Veterinary Services Depart­ment director.

Announcing the decision to the press yesterday, Dr Zambry said the area would be monitored by the Perak Veterinary Department.

A special task force headed by Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon was also formed.

“Those with pet dogs will have to watch them closely and keep them in enclosed areas.

“The Veterinary Department has hired qualified personnel to deal with rabid dogs. Dogs found having symptoms of rabies will be culled,” Dr Zambry said.

The authorities had begun vaccinating all pets within a 1km radius of Kuala Sepetang, about 70km from here, on Sunday.

Veterinary Services director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam said the two-year-old rabid dog bit its owner’s 11-year-old daughter and 12-year-old niece at a house in Tepi Sungai at about 7pm on July 4.

The dog is believed to have been bitten by another dog brought into the country on a boat by foreigners.

Dr Zambry said that although no other cases had been reported, the quarantine was put in place as a precaution.

“This restriction only involves animals. Humans can move freely in and out of the area,” he added.

At a separate press conference in Kuala Sepetang, assemblyman Chua Yee Ling said the focus would be on monitoring the movement of dogs, vaccinating pet dogs and taking samples from strays.

Meanwhile, the mother of one of the two girls bitten by the pet dog was unhappy that she was not told that the dead dog had tested positive for rabies.

The 40-year-old hawker, who only wanted to be known as Ooi, said she found out about it from friends who came to her house.

She said the two girls had recovered and returned to school.

“I hope the public will respect my privacy and let me focus on looking after the girls,” she said.

She said both girls would receive four more vaccine jabs at Taiping Hospital in the next two weeks.

Residents in the fishing village seemed calm, although many remained jumpy at the sight of stray dogs.

Veterinary Services Department officers were spotted going door to door to inform the villagers about rabies and enquire about pet dogs.

Sources: The Star  by T. Avineshwaran Amanda Yeap


Related Links:

Infectious diseases making comeback - Nation | The Star Online

Five-year-old girl succumbs to rabies in Sarawak

19 strays culled in location of rabid dog attack

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Perak declares Matang sub-district a rabies infection area

Fisherman: At least 60 strays died mysteriously  

Plan to quarantine several areas in Sarawak to contain rabies
 
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