Jul 31, 2007

Prominent Blogger Jeff Ooi to join DAP and contest in polls

More bloggers to join the opposition parties?. This is the new trend of political scene in Malaysia?. The so called power of the Internet?. (Check out Jeff's Latest Blog : http://parliament.jeffooi.com/)

Latest updates from Malaysiakini :

Opposition party DAP has issued an open invitation to bloggers to enter into active politics in the wake of its efforts to recruit potential candidates ahead of an anticipated early general elections.

The call was made by DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang at a tea party held in Petaling Jaya this morning to welcome Malaysia’s leading blogger Jeff Ooi.

“I will like to see more politicians taking up blogging and more bloggers entering politics,” Lim told about 70 supporters, bloggers and media representatives who were present.

The Opposition leader also stressed that socio-political blogging is not an end by itself.

Ooi, who is considered the father of Malaysian blogging, was one of the first Malaysians to take to the blogosphere with his ‘Screenshots’ weblog four years ago

Related Updates :

  • RockyBru : Jeff 4 Parliament

  • LKS : Welcome Jeff Ooi to DAP - let it be a catalyst for more bloggers to take political stand

  • The Star : Blogger Ooi to join DAP and contest in polls

  • Susan Loone : Losing Jeff Ooi to the Opposition?

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    Formation Of Cyber Police to Control Socio-political Blogs

    In a country that countinually denies that there is a control over information available over the Internet, here is of the latest step proposed to the Malaysian Government to control socio-political blogs.

    KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 (Bernama) -- The government was today urged to form a cyber police unit to maintain surveillance over the acivities of bloggers.

    Federal Territory Umno youth head, Datuk Paduka Norza Zakaria said the Internal Security; Energy, Water and Communications; Science, Technology and Innovation; and Information Ministries should also take immediate action on the matter.

    "The government should take firm action against the irresponsible bloggers according to existing law," Norza said in a statement representing Umno youth at state levels.

    The statement was issued following a police report made by Umno on July 23 against the owner and operator of "Malaysia Today", Raja Petra Kamarudin, for publishing sensitive comments on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's position and on racist issues through the blog's website on July 11 2007.

    Norza said according to section 121 (B) and Section 123 of the Penal Code, Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948, Section 263 and 266 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, being a publisher, Raja Petra Kamarudin was responsible for providing clear warning to every person who gives comments that they were responsible for their comments.

    He said Umno Youth wanted stern action to be taken against Raja Petra including under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for failing to carry out his responsibilities.

    Norza also asked the mainstream media not to publish unconfirmed information from websites.

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    Jul 30, 2007

    Altantuya Murder Trial Put Off Until Wednesday

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Altantuya Murder Trial Put Off Until Wednesday

  • Malaysiakini : Najib denies link to Altantuya murder

  • SHAH ALAM, July 30 (Bernama) -- The Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial has been put off until Wednesday to make way for a 2004 part-heard murder case following a complaint by the counsel in that case.

    Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin, who only heard the case for half the day Monday, informed the prosecution and the defence that he had allowed the application by the counsel to try the part-heard case at 2pm and for the whole of Tuesday.

    The case involving Vasutevan Batumalai was scheduled for hearing today and tomorrow but Mohd Zaki had previously decided to hear his other cases on Friday to concentrate on the Altantuya case from Monday to Thursday.

    The judge said K.A. Ramu, counsel for Vasutevan, had persistently asked him in a raised voice last Friday to give priority to his case because his client was sick and had been remanded since 2004.

    The trial of C/Insp Azilah Hadri, 31, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 36, both of the Special Action Force, and political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 47, had been going on since June 18.

    The two policemen are accused of murdering Altantuya, 28, at a location between Lots 12843 and 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year while Abdul Razak is accused of abetting them.

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    Jul 26, 2007

    Prosecution Fails To Admit Sirul Azhar's Disclosure Of Crime Scene

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Prosecution Fails To Admit Sirul Azhar's Disclosure Of Crime Scene

  • Malaysiakini : ‘Prejudicial’ statement against Sirul expunged

  • SHAH ALAM, July 26 (Bernama) -- The prosecution suffered another blow when it failed to get the High Court to admit Sirul Azhar Umar's information to the police disclosing the location where Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered.

    Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin ordered that the information produced by the prosecution through its 22nd witness, Chief Insp Kamaroszaman Othman, be expunged from the record.

    In his oral ruling, Mohd Zaki held that the information given by Sirul Azhar, the second accused, during the 20-minute interrogation by Kamaroszaman on Nov 6 last year was not within the ambit of Section 8 of the Evidence Act 1950.

    The prosecution had sought to admit the information as evidence under Section 8 to show that there was a disclosure by Sirul Azhar which led the police to the crime scene.

    Mohd Zaki ruled that the information given by Sirul Azhar was a statement and Section 8 did not include statement.

    Sirul Azhar, 36, together with Chief Insp Azilah Hadri, both of the Bukit Aman Special Action Force, are charged with murdering Altantuya, 28, at a location between lots 12843 and 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year.

    Political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 47, is charged with abetting them in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur between 9.54am on Oct 18 and 9.45pm on Oct 19 last year.

    The judge also ruled that the information given by Sirul Azhar did not fall under the ambit of Section 27 of the Evidence Act.

    Under Section 27, it must be proven whether or not information leading to the discovery of crime scene given by a accused person under police custody is a confession of guilt.

    Earlier, when Kamaroszaman, 44, from the interrogation branch of the Bukit Aman CID revealed the information which he had obtained from Sirul Azhar during interrogation, Sirul Azhar's counsel, Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, objected to its admissibility under Section 27 of the Evidence Act.

    Deputy public prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah, however, said that the prosecution was not adducing the information under Section 27 but under Section 8.

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    Jul 25, 2007

    Nazri Aziz warns bloggers face harsh laws

    Another warning. Looks like more blog suppressions will come before the next general election.

    KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A senior Malaysian minister warned bloggers the government was fast losing patience and would bring the full weight of the law against those who use the Internet to insult the king or Islam, a report said Wednesday.

    "Even thought the government has been tolerant of anti-government positions and criticisms on the Internet, we are very concerned about statements that insult religion and reek of racism," Nazri Aziz said.

    "It is time to act. We have been very patient," Nazri, minister in the prime minister's department, was quoted saying by New Straits Times.

    He said the government could use three current laws, including the harsh Internal Security Act -- which allows indefinite detention without trial -- and the Sedition Act, to take action.

    The government was also looking at formulating new laws to allow it to monitor and act against offending bloggers.

    Nazri said the proposed legislation was not intended to stifle the freedom of the Internet but "to put a stop to the freedom to lie in the blogsphere."

    "We want blogs to be clean, a place to obtain accurate information, a reference point for honest opinion, not a platform to abuse and slander people," he said.

    Nazri's comments come after a senior official from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) lodged a police report on Monday against a political website, Malaysia Today.

    UMNO information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib alleged that postings on the blog insulted Malaysia's king and Islam, and contained elements that could cause racial tension.

    Media watchdogs have criticised moves by authorities against bloggers in two prominent cases.

    Nathaniel Tan, an aide to former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, was detained by police for four days over an anonymous posting on his blog referring to corruption allegations against a minister.

    Bloggers Ahirudin Attan and Jeff Ooi are also being sued for defamation by the government-linked New Straits Times Press group.

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    Azilah Said He Does Not Like To Lie, Witness Tells Court

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Malaysiakini : Chief interrogator: I did not take down notes

  • Azilah Said He Does Not Like To Lie, Witness Tells Court

  • Blog updates: Altantuya: another lousy witness

    SHAH ALAM, July 25 (Bernama) -- A police officer told the High Court here Wednesday that Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, on trial for the murder of a Mongolian woman, had told him that he did not like to lie.

    DSP Zainudin Abdul Samad, the 21st witness in the case, said Azilah had said this during the time he was interrogated over five days.

    Zainudin, 52, head of the interrogation unit at Bukit Aman police headquarters, gave this reply under cross-examination by Azilah's counsel Hazman Ahmad when the lawyer asked him what Azilah hated most.

    Azilah, 31, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 36, both of the Bukit Aman Special Action Force, are charged with the murder of the Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, at a location between lots 12843 and 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, between 10 pm on Oct 19 and 1 am on Oct 20 last year.

    Political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 47, is charged with abetting them in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur between 9.54 am on Oct 18 and 9.45 pm on Oct 19 last year.

    Zainudin also told the court that Azilah had also told him that he (Azilah) was an intelligent person and that he liked to fast and that he had fasted even in detention.

    He said Azilah, who hails from Sarikei, Sarawak, also liked to enjoy himself and go window shopping.

    Under re-examination by Deputy Public Prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah, Zainudin said that during his "interview" Azilah had stated his desire to show the place where Altantuya was murdered rather reluctantly.

    Earlier, under cross-examination, he said Azilah had said he was happy to discharge his duty because he could often go overseas.

    Zainudin said Azilah, who was from a poor family, admitted to him that he had a fiancee who then worked at the D7 Branch at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters.

    "Azilah often referred to his fiancee as Ani," Zainudin said when questioned by counsel Hazman.

    Azilah's fiancee Lance Corporal Rohaniza Roslan had also testified in the trial.

    Zainudin denied that Azilah had informed him that he (Azilah) had another girlfriend whose name was Azila, almost resembling his (Azilah's) name.

    He said that after completing school, Azilah worked in Johor before joining the police force.

    He said Azilah first served as a crime investigation officer at the Sepang district police headquarters for five years before he was absorbed into the Special Action Force.

    Zainudin said Azilah informed him that his job at the Special Action Force was to escort the prime minister and deputy prime minister and do other escort duty.

    Hazman: He (Azilah) told you he only did escort duty? What about other duties?

    Zainudin: I was told only that.

    Zainudin said Azilah had told him he had many siblings and both his parents had relocated from Sarikei to Sepang, Selangor. He said he told him his parents were old and no longer worked.

    "He (Azilah) also told me he had an adopted child," said Zainudin, adding that Azilah did not tell him the age and gender of the child but that the child was still young.

    He also said he did not know what special skills Azilah had acquired at the Special Action Force.

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    DPM Najib : Website Operators, Journalists Not Above The Law

    While Malaysiakini reported "Raja Petra called for questioning", DPM Najin reminds all website operators to be fully responsible for their website and should not take government's tolerance as a license to slander the government.

    KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 (Bernama) -- Website operators and journalists are again reminded that they will not escape the country's law if they create tension among the people of various races and religions in this country.

    Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said they must be fully responsible for their website and should not take the government's tolerance as a licence to publish anything in the name of freedom of expression without considering the social implication.

    "In the name of freedom, these websites allow slanders, lies, vulgarity, insults and chauvinistic materials to be published. The freedom to write and express opinion has its limit as provided for in the country's law.

    "This development is unhealthy. Although the government is very tolerant with regard to the anti-government stand and criticisms expressed in the websites, we are deeply concerned about the insulting statements against a particular religion as well as the racial sentiments which could cause racial unrest.

    "The government is responsible for social harmony and we will not allow any group to jeopardise national solidarity and create racial unrest," he said at the Malaysian Press Award Night 2007 organised by the Malaysian Press Institute, here tonight.

    He said website operators must demonstrate a responsible and meticulous attitude because as writers, they must appreciate the aspiration of Malaysians to build a peaceful and stable country.

    He said the irresponsible attitude was contradictory to the strict professionalism maintained by media practitioners and went against journalism ethics which advocated correct reporting, objectivity, fairness and obtaining information from official sources.

    Najib said the government was worried about the development in the alternative media because some of them were managing their columns based on personal opinion and inclination without considering the racial and religious sensitivities in the country.

    "Journalists must obtain correct facts and report accurately. Any report and visual or photograph carried must reflect what is actually happening," he said.

    However, despite these developments, journalists remained as the resources that transformed information into news reports and features, thus serious emphasis on training them in the short and continuous term was crucial so that they would continue to maintain strict professionalism.

    Journalists must also understand certain issues which formed the basis of nationhood especially those which were sensitive, and those who had forgotten history would be lost and it would be difficult to find the way forward to attain greater progress.

    "Malaysian journalists, whether representing the mainstream media or the new media organisations must look at history as the guiding principle in churning out various genre of reports namely news, features, commentaries, interviews and so on," he said.

    He said disputes over differences in religion, culture and custom in the media would not resolve the problem but could lead to disintegration and quarrels if not dealt with properly and with responsibility.

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    Jul 24, 2007

    Tun Mahathir : "You cannot stop people from using the Internet"

    (Malaysiakini) Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes that there is an attempt by the government to curb voices of dissent on the Internet.

    “Yes there is an attempt. But you cannot stop people from using the Internet,” he told reporters after officiating the International Conference on Gold Dinar Economy at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur today.

    Mahathir said in the past, his administration would have liked to ban Internet pornography but it was “impossible” because, among others, the content was based overseas.

    “Same with bloggers. You can’t stop them,” he stressed.

    Mahathir’s comments come in the wake of growing concern among the blogging community that the government had begun a clamp down on online dissidents.

    On July 14, PKR staff and blogger Nathaniel Tan was remanded for four days under the Official Secrets Act 1972 and investigated by the Cyber Crimes Unit pertaining to contents on his blog.

    Subsequently, Deputy Internal Security Minister Mohd Johari Baharum announced that he had ordered the police to nab those who spread "lies" on the Internet.

    Yesterday, Umno information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib lodged a police report against the Malaysia Today website for allegedly publishing remarks that insulted the King and Islam.

    While Malaysia Today's owner, Raja Petra Kamarudin has this to say: "See you in hell Muhamad son of Muhamad"

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    Chief Insp Koh Says Police Did Not Enter Room Before Sirul

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Witness: It's Possible Azilah Did Not Know Murder Location

  • Azilah not read his rights during arrest

  • Malaysiakini : ‘Azilah led us to the scene’

  • (BERNAMA) A police officer who took Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar to his house for investigation in the Altantuya Shaariibu murder today denied that Sirul Azhar was left in the hall for 15 minutes before being taken into a bedroom where the Mongolian's belongings were found.

    Chief Insp Koh Fei Chew, 38, of the Kuala Lumpur Police Serious Crime Division also denied that during those 15 minutes he and his men were in the room behind closed doors without Siru Azhar, the second accused.

    He also did not instruct Sirul Azhar to hold a black jacket from a cupboard in the bedroom for a photographer to take a snapshot not did he ask Sirul Azhar to point to items placed on the jacket for the photo to bde taken.

    He made the denial under cross-examination by Sirul Azhar's counsel, Kamarul Hisham Kamarudin, in the High Court.

    In his testimony last Thursday Koh said jewellery and a watch belonging to Altantuya were found in an inner pocket of a black jacket kept in a cupbourad in the two-room flat occupied by Sirul Azhar.

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    Malaysia denies crackdown on bloggers

    It is not a clamp down. Then what it is?.

    (AFP) KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's deputy prime minister denied the government is clamping down on bloggers after a prominent ruling party politician lodged a police report against a website, reports said Tuesday.

    "There is no special decision to go against bloggers but citizens must be aware that there are laws in this country," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted saying by The Star daily.

    Muhammad Muhammad Taib, United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) information chief, on Monday lodged a police report against Malaysia Today, a political website edited by Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

    He alleged that postings on the blog insulted Malaysia's king and Islam, and contained elements that could cause racial tension.

    "Some of the offensive comments are capable of threatening racial stability and national security. The comments show that they do not respect the law," Muhammad said according to New Straits Times.

    The incident comes after Nathaniel Tan, an aide to former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, was detained by police for four days over an anonymous posting on his blog referring to corruption allegations against a minister.

    Tan, a member of the opposition Keadilan or the People's Justice Party to whom Anwar is adviser, accused the police of unlawful detention and discriminatory controls of bloggers after he was released last week.

    Two prominent bloggers, Ahirudin Attan and Jeff Ooi, are also being sued for defamation by the government-linked New Straits Times Press group.

    Ministers, including Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, have accused bloggers and Internet users of spreading lies about the government. - AFP/ac

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    Jul 23, 2007

    UMNO lodges police report against MalaysiaToday

    The big clamp down for all socio-political blogs is here?

    (The Star) KUALA LUMPUR: Umno has lodged a police report against MalaysiaToday for carrying a series of comments and remarks that it deemed as insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, degrading Islam and as inciting hatred and violence in Malaysia's multi-racial society.

    Party information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib lodged the report at 12.57pm at Tun H.S. Lee police station here Monday.

    He said the comments and remarks, consisting of criminal elements and inciting religious and racial sentiments which could affect the country’s security, were carried by the blog on July 11.

    The report was lodged under Section 121 (B) and Section 123 of the Penal Code, Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 263 and Section 266 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

    "I think they are very irresponsible," he told reporters at the police station.

    As reported by MalaysiaKini :

    Umno has filed a police report against political website Malaysia Today for allegedly publishing disparaging remarks against the King and Islam.

    The report was filed at the Dang Wangi police station by Umno information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib this afternoon. He was accompanied by some 30 people.

    When contacted, Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Mohamad Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman confirmed that a report was lodged.

    “We will investigate the matter,” he said.

    Taib told reporters later that the report was regarding remarks published on the website on July 11 and several other articles.

    He claimed that the postings and articles were disrespectful to the King and Islam. According to him, they had the potential to create unrest in the country and strike fear in the people.

    “The reports contain criminal elements which could incite anyone and cause fear. Maybe these people (bloggers) had forgotten that Malaysia is a country with many sensitivities,” he said.

    Taib said such postings and articles could have a negative influence on the younger generation and urged for the police to take swift action.

    Conspiracy theory

    In an article published on Malaysia Today, Raja Petra wrote on the possibility of efforts being mounted to close his website down and have him arrested.

    In the article titled 'A game of cat and mouse', he claimed that the "intelligence community" informed him that Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman and Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan had met Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Australia recently to discuss this matter.

    Malaysia Today had published numerous articles containing allegations of corruption and abuse of power against the chief minister and police chief, which had since been denied.

    The website had also been highly critical of the prime minister and his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also Umno Youth deputy chief.

    Meanwhile, Raja Petra, when contacted later, declined to comment on the report.

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    Jul 19, 2007

    Azilah Took One-and-a-half Hours To Show Murder Location

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Azilah Took One-and-a-half Hours To Show Murder Location

  • Malaysiakini : Azilah’s counsel requests for voir dire

  • Malaysiakini : Altantuya’s jewelry found in Sirul’s jacket

  • (Malaysiakini) A prospect of another voir dire (trial-within-a-trial) in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial is looming following an application by a defence counsel this morning in the Shah Alam High Court today.

    Lawyer Hazman Ahmad, acting for first accused chief inspector Azilah Hadri, requested the voir dire to determine the admissibility of evidence tendered by a witness. Hazman said the evidence was unfair on Azilah.

    The prosecution's 19th witness, chief inspector Koh Fei Cheow (photo), 38, started by telling the court how first accused Azilah, 31, had led his team of four officers and him to Puncak Alam on Nov 6 last year.

    Mongolian national Altantuya is believed to have been shot before her body was blown to pieces with explosives at a secondary forest in Puncak Alam, near Shah Alam in October last year.

    During examination by deputy public prosecutor Tun Majid Tun Hamzah, Koh said ASP Tonny Lunggan had instructed him to bring the first accused and find the crime scene at 5:20pm on that date (Nov 6).

    According Koh, Azilah had directed the team from the Kuala Lumpur Contingent headquarters to the crime scene. They arrived at Puncak Alam at 6.50pm in a blue Pajero owned by the Royal Malaysian Police.

    “The entire journey was directed by the first accused. We took several wrong turns along the way. I did not know any of the roads there. I’m not sure if my men knew the area either,” he said.

    Koh, who is attached to the Serious Crime Unit (D9), said Azilah then told them to stop at a jungle and wanted to look around.

    “We stopped the car on the right side of the clearing. My team brought Azilah out of the car to observe the surroundings.

    “He then led me into the jungle, not far from the clearing. I asked him if this was where the murder happened and he said yes,” he said.

    as reported as BERNAMA
    SHAH ALAM, July 19 (Bernama) -- Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri took about one-and-a-half hours to direct police to a spot in Puncak Alam where Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu was said to have been killed.

    Chief Inspector Koh Fei Cheow, 38, who is attached to the Major Crimes Investigation Division of the Kuala Lumpur Contingent Police Headquarters (IPK) told the High Court Thursday that throughout the journey, they had stopped several times because they had taken the wrong road.

    Koh said he and three other police personnel together with Azilah had left the Kuala Lumpur IPK in a four-wheel-drive at 5.20pm on Nov 6, last year and reached an open space in the jungle at 6.50pm.

    He said they had gone to look for the murder site after Azilah had given information to him during a questioning session.

    Koh said they had gone towards the Jalan Duta Toll Plaza from the Kuala Lumpur IPK and came out at the Kota Damansara Toll Plaza.

    He said that as they were not familiar with the route, his team had taken the Jalan Persiaran Suria, Jalan Kampung Subang, Bukit Jelutong and Jalan Puncak Perdana before reaching the open space.

    Counsel Hazman Ahmad, representing Azilah, will submit this afternoon to support his applicaton for a trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of Azilah's confession on the murder site to the police.

    Azilah, 31, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 36, both from the Police Special Action Unit (UTK), are charged with murdering Altantuya, 28, at Lots 12843 and 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, between 10pm on Oct 19 last year and 1am the following day. Political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 47, is accused of abetting them.

    All the three accused face the death sentence upon conviction.

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    Ethnic Malays Have Frittered Away Opportunities, Mahathir Says

    (Bloomberg) -- Ethnic Malays have blown the opportunities given to them under the country's 36-year-old affirmative action policy and still need preferential treatment, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said.

    The race-based program gives the group privileges over ethnic Chinese and Indians for government contracts, homes and company shares in a bid to redistribute wealth. Without the policy, ethnic Malays, or Bumiputeras, will slip further behind, risking a return to racial violence in the Southeast Asian nation, Mahathir, 81, said in a July 17 interview.

    ``The Malays have not responded to the efforts made by the government and because of that, the disparity remains,'' said Mahathir, who stepped down in 2003 after 22 years in power. ``When you're coming up from behind to catch up, you have to run faster, you have to make more effort.''

    Mahathir and his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, scrapped some elements of the 1971 New Economic Policy program to lure investment. The program hindered Malaysia's trade talks with the U.S. this year, while opposition parties and some analysts say the rules crimp competition and should be dropped completely.

    ``There's more than enough headway given to the Bumiputeras now,'' said Maznah Mohamad, a senior research fellow at the University of Singapore. ``The NEP has been reduced to a kind of charity scheme. That is not good for any economy.''

    Bumiputeras, which literally mean ``sons of the soil,'' are given more places in public universities and discounts on home purchases. Hypermarkets and department stores must allocate 30 percent of shelf space for goods made by Bumiputera suppliers, and foreign retailers have to set up local companies that are 30 percent-owned by Bumiputera shareholders.

    The program was devised after bloody clashes between ethnic Malays and Chinese on the streets of Kuala Lumpur in 1969.

    Selling Contracts

    Some ethnic Malays failed to develop their own business expertise, choosing to sell to other races the government contracts set aside for them, or auction specially allocated permits to import cars, Mahathir said.

    The poverty rate in 2004 among Bumiputeras was 8.3 percent, compared with 2.9 percent for ethnic Indians and 0.6 percent for Chinese, according to the government. Ethic Malays owned 19 percent of the nation's corporate equity that year, while the Chinese had 39 percent and Indians 1.2 percent.

    The greatest failure of Malaysia, which this year marks 50 years of independence from British rule, is not correcting the economic disparity, Mahathir said.

    Still, pursuing the policy risks angering local Chinese and Indians, he said. Without it, Malays, who account for about 60 percent of the 27 million population, may struggle, he said.

    `Bad Results'

    ``That is the dilemma,'' Mahathir said from his office on the 86th floor of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. ``We can say let's take it away, then I'm quite sure they will regress. One way or the other, we are going to get bad results.''

    Policies favoring ethnic Malays led to ``significant protectionism'' in industries including automobiles, agriculture, services and in government contracts, Thierry Rommel, the European Commission's envoy to Malaysia, said last month.

    Malaysia must reconsider the program to facilitate a Southeast Asian free-trade accord with the European Union, Rommel said.

    The Malaysian government's reluctance to change policies that benefit the Malay majority and yield to demands to increase access to government contracts are among the issues that delayed the signing of a free-trade agreement with the U.S., its largest trade partner, this year.

    Missed Deadline

    The two nations missed a March 31 deadline to complete the talks and now plan to reach an agreement in the first half of 2008. Malaysia has ruled out discussing policies that favor its Malay majority in the talks.

    ``The domestic policies will be outside the ambit'' of the free-trade agreement, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on July 17. ``We hope that eventually we will find an agreement with the United States.''

    Concern about the race-based policy's validity grew last year after a report by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute said Malays may own as much as 45 percent of Malaysia's corporate equity, higher than the government's estimate of 19 percent in 2004 and surpassing the New Economic Policy's goal of 30 percent.

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    Jul 18, 2007

    Tun Mahathir not contesting to be delegate to UMNO assembly

    PUTRAJAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed that he will not contest to be a delegate in the next Umno general assembly.

    This was despite obtaining three nominations from the Kubang Pasu division.

    The former Prime Minister said being nominated did not mean he could win to be a delegate.

    Last year, Dr Mahathir received 15 nominations from a total of 138 branches to contest for the post.

    However, he lost, coming in ninth out of the 15 aspirants who vied for the seven seats.

    Mahathir was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Somali Land vice-president Ahmed Yusof Yasin at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here on Wednesday.

    Dr Mahathir added that he would attend this year’s Langkawi International Dialogue but would not present any working paper.

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    Altantuya Murder Trial Accused To Be Taken To Crime Scene

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Altantuya Murder Trial Accused To Be Taken To Crime Scene

  • Malaysiakini : Court to visit crime scene today

  • SHAH ALAM, July 18 (Bernama) -- The accused in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial will be taken to the crime scene Wednesday.

    High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin, who is hearing the trial, and the prosecution team headed by deputy public prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah and the defence team will also be going there at 2pm.

    Tun Majid told the court that only four-wheel-drive vehicles could access the area.

    Yesterday, Kuala Lumpur police special investigation officer Supt Zainol Samah told the court that the accused, Chief Insp Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, had led police to the murder scene on the fringe of an open area in Puncak Alam heading towards Kuala Selangor.

    Azilah, 30, and Sirul Azhar, 36, are charged with murdering Altantuya, 28, at a location between Lots 12843 and Lot 16735 in Mukim Bukit Raja between 10pm on Oct 19 last year and 1am the following day.

    Political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 46, is accused of abetting them in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur between 9.54am on Oct 18 and 9.45pm on Oct 19 last year.

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    Jul 17, 2007

    Malaysia is an Islamic state: DPM Najib

    DPM : "Islam is the official religion and we are an Islamic state, But as an Islamic state, it does not mean that we don't respect the non-Muslims. The Muslims and the non-Muslims have their own rights,"

    (AP News) KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia is an Islamic state and not a secular one, the country's deputy prime minister said Tuesday, while carefully assuring members of minority faiths that their rights will be protected.

    Najib Razak said mainly-Muslim Malaysia has never been a secular nation as the government has always been driven by the fundamentals of Islam, according to state Bernama news agency.

    "Islam is the official religion and we are an Islamic state," Najib told reporters after he opened an international conference on the role of Islamic states.

    "But as an Islamic state, it does not mean that we don't respect the non-Muslims. The Muslims and the non-Muslims have their own rights," he said.

    Najib's comments come at a time of heightened religious tension in moderate Malaysia, where ethnic Chinese and Indians fear their rights have become endangered, following a growing sense of Islamisation in the country.

    More than 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people are Muslim Malays and Islam is the official religion under the country's constitution.

    But while the constitution defines the ethnic majority Malays as Muslims it also guarantees freedom of religion.

    Minority Chinese and Indians are mostly Buddhists, Hindus or Christians.

    "We have never been secular because being secular by Western definition means separation of the Islamic principles in the way we govern a country," he said.

    Lawyers and rights groups have consistently argued that Malaysia is largely a secular state and should be ruled by the constitution.

    However, in a string of legal cases involving Muslims and non-Muslim spouses who have been forced apart by Islamic religious officials, sharia court judgements based on Islamic jurisdiction have always been upheld.

    In a recent landmark decision, the nation's top secular court rejected a woman's bid for legal recognition as a Christian after she renounced Islam. - AFP/ch

    Link Malaysiakini : This is an Islamic state: Najib

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    Altantuya Case : CCTV footage viewed by court

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Malaysiakini : CCTV footage viewed by court

  • Altantuya Did Not Complain, Hotel Employee Tells Court

  • Hotel’s CCTV shows figures of two men

  • SHAH ALAM, July 17 (Bernama) -- The defence in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial in the High Court here Tuesday questioned the authenticity of the Hotel Malaya closed-circuit television (CCTV) recording of the images of two men, believed to be the accused.

    Hasnal Redzua Merican, counsel for the second accused, Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, said it was bizarre that the video tape with the recording also contained images captured on Nov 11 last year, when the 17th prosecution witness, Jimmy Loo Mow Chan had testified earlier that he handed over the video tape to a police officer the day before, that is Nov 10 2006.

    Loo, 50, Hotel Malaya's operations manager, could not explain the discrepancy and was seen smiling.

    Earlier Loo admitted that he did not have the technical expertise to explain why there was a discrepancy in the CCTV recording.

    Sirul Azhar, 35, and the other accused, Chief Insp Azilah Hadri, 30, are charged with murdering Altantuya, 28, at a location between Lots 12843 and 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, between 10pm on Oct 19 last year and 1am the following day.

    Political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 47, is accused of abetting them.

    Yesterday, Loo testified that there was discrepancy in the time displayed on some of the images as the audio visual equipment used to play the tape in court was not compatible.

    However, today he agreed that he was guessing when he said that the discrepancy was due to the incompatibility of the audio visual equipment.

    As reported by Malaysiakini :
    The Shah Alam High Court was today shown a close-circuit television (CCTV) footage from Hotel Malaya which was taken during Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu’s stay in the hotel last October.

    Prosecution witness Loo Mow Chan, 50, the hotel’s operations manager, was then asked to confirm if the footage was taken and recorded in the hotel by the CCTV system.

    Loo agreed and also identified eight photographs taken from the footage, and confirmed that they were also taken from the hotel’s CCTV footage.

    The CCTV footage and eight photographs showed some people in various locations in the hotel.

    The prosecution did not ask Loo to identify the people in the footage or the photographs.

    The CCTV footage was to have been shown in court yesterday but technical glitches forced it to be adjourned to today.

    Contradicting answers

    During cross examination by the defence counsel, Loo was asked to clarify the discrepancies in the time and date found in the footage, to which the witness gave contradicting answers.

    Further questioning by the defence lawyers implied that the CCTV recordings have been tampered with.

    Judge Mohd Zaki Md Yasin then adjourned the sitting for lunch.

    Two police officers, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 31, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 36, are charged with the murder which allegedly took place between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year.

    The body of Altantuya was said to be blown up in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam, Selangor.

    Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 47, is charged with abetting the murder between 9.54am on Oct 18 and 9.45pm on Oct 19 last year in Kuala Lumpur.

    All three face the death penalty if convicted.

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    Jul 16, 2007

    Altantuya trial: Hotel CCTV footage screened despite hiccup

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Altantuya trial: Hotel CCTV footage screened despite hiccup

  • Malaysiakini : CCTV footage marred by glitches

  • tags :

    Tun Mahathir unlikely to contest to be delegate

    Tun Mahathir is unlikely to contest to be UMNO General Assembly delegate this year.

    (The Star) SUNGAI SIPUT: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will not contest to be a delegate in the coming Umno general assembly despite obtaining three nominations from the Kubang Pasu division.

    Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said his father felt he had had enough and was tired of the ways of the Kubang Pasu division.

    “In view of the response of its members last year, I think it is time for him not to be involved in the election of the delegates,” said Mukhriz yesterday after opening the Sungai Siput Umno Youth division meeting here.

    Last year, Dr Mahathir received 15 nominations from a total of 138 branches to contest for the post.

    However, he lost in his bid, coming in ninth out of the 15 aspirants who vied for the seven seats.

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    Jul 15, 2007

    Bloggers beware!!

    If you are a socio-political blogger in Malaysia, then beware of what you are posting on the Internet. In the recent development, Nathaniel Tan, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) information bureau staff has been remanded for '4 days' remand over alleged violation of OSA.

    Read more :

  • PKR’s webmaster remanded four days under OSA

  • RockyBru : What you need to know about OSA

  • Malik Imtiaz : Concern For Nathaniel Tan

  • Malaysiakini : OSA probe: 4-day remand for blogger

  • JITRA, July 14 (Bernama) -- Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharom who himself was slandered on the Internet that he had taken bribes, wants the Police to initiate investigations to trace writers spreading lies through websites.

    He said that he had instructed the Police's Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) to undertake the investigations and bring the culprits to book.

    "Now all kinds of slander about the nation's leaders are being spread through the Internet. The Police must act to prevent them from tarnishing the image of the country," he told reporters after the opening of the delegates meetings of the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings of Kubang Pasu Umno here today. Umno Information Chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib graced the function.

    On Wednesday, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail ordered the Anti-Corruption Agency to close investigations into the bribery allegations against Johari as there was no evidence to link him to accusations that he had received RM5 million to release several suspected criminals who had been held under the Emergency Ordinance 1969.

    The investigations were initiated after the allegations against him were posted on an anonymous website.

    Johari, who is also the Member of Parliament for Kubang Pasu and the head of its Umno division, said he thanked God that the truth had prevailed and was relieved the episode was over.

    He said now he could fully concentrate on his government duties and also prepare for the upcoming general election.

    "I also received many SMSes (on the short-messaging-service) from Kubang Pasu Umno members voicing their support for me. It gave me added strength to weather the challenging period (corruption allegations) in my life," he added.

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    Jul 12, 2007

    Altantuya Case : PKR - Check Najib's Passport, Azilah Never Had Any Specialised Training Explosives

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Witness Says Azilah Never Had Any Specialised Training On Handling Explosives

  • Malaysiakini : Sirul took machine gun for 'special mission'

  • 'I'm Not The Only One Not Following Procedure,' UTK Personnel Says

  • Altantuya: Justice In Trial?

  • (Bernama) -- Chief Insp Azilah Hadri, the first accused in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, had never been instructed to perform detonations in any operation, the High Court here was told Thursday.

    DSP M.V. Sri Kumar, 41, training officer of the Bukit Aman Special Action Force (UTK), said that throughout his service, he had never instructed Azilah to perform detonations because Azilah did not have any specialised training on handling explosives.

    He also confirmed that the second accused, Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, also had no such training and that both only underwent basic training when they joined the force.

    He said that each officer tasked with taking explosives from the armoury had recorded the amount taken and when the remainder was returned, the amount had also to be recorded.

    "They had no opportunity to take away the remainder on the sly," he said at the trial of Azilah, 30, and Sirul Azhar, 35, both from the UTK, charged with murdering Altantuya, 28, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year.

    Also in the dock was political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 46, charged with abetting them. The trial entered its 18th day today.

    Sri Kumar said there was no likelihood at all of explosives going missing during training and operations under him.

    However, he was not sure whether there had been such losses during training and operations under other superior officers.

    While Malaysiakini reported:
    'Dining with Altantuya': Check Najib's passport

    PKR wants the police to check the passport of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to determine if there is any link between him and slain Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

    Speaking at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today, the opposition party’s supreme council member Latheefa Koya said it is important for the police to look into this matter since Najib previously denied knowing Altantuya.

    She said this based on the testimony of the murder victim’s cousin Burmaa Oyunchimeg during the ongoing murder trial.

    On June 29, Burmaa told the Shah Alam High Court that she saw a photograph of Altantuya dining in Paris with the third accused Abdul Razak Baginda and a government official known only as “Najib Razak.”

    Latheefa said the police should check the passports of all three individuals, to determine if they were in Paris at the same time.

    Circumstantial evidence

    “All this is circumstantial evidence. It doesn’t show that those in the photograph were involved in the murder. But since the deputy premier had denied any relationship, then it boils down to suspicion.

    “If there is no such photograph, let the public know. If there is none, it boils down to the testimony of the prosecution witness and she can be charged (for perjury),” she added.

    Two members of the police’s elite Special Action Squad (UTK) chief inspector Azilah Hadri, 30 and lance corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 36, are charged with the murder of Altantuya while political analyst Abdul Razak, 47, is charged with abetting them.

    All three face the death sentence if found guilty.

    Najib, who is also defence minister, is known to have close ties with Abdul Razak, who owns a consultancy firm which helped Malaysia procure arms.

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Cop : Abdul Razak Did Not Resist Arrest, Gave us gave us 'broken English' memos

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Abdul Razak Did Not Resist Arrest, Says Witness

  • Malaysiakini : Cop: Razak gave us 'broken English' memos

  • Malaysian murder trial yields 'mind-boggling' testimony

  • Sirul Azhar On Office Duty The Day Altantuya Was Murdered

  • Deputy commander: Weapons not exclusive to UTK

  • ‘Missing’ keys hold up hearing for a few minutes

  • * Theory and conspiracies :

    SHAH ALAM, July 11 (Bernama) -- Political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda did not put up any resistance and cooperated fully with the police when arrested at his office in connection with the death of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, the High Court here was told Wednesday.

    DSP Lim Meng Seah said Abdul Razak even served refreshments to him and the other seven police officers who had gone to Abdul Razak's office at Bangunan Getah Asli in Kuala Lumpur to effect the arrest last Nov 7.

    Lim, the 15th witness, said this under cross-examination by Abdul Razak's counsel, Wong Kian Kheong, in the Altantuya murder trial which entered its 17th day today.

    He said he was instructed by DSP Gan Tack Guan to arrest Abdul Razak for interrogation into Altantuya's death.

    He said he also seized a laptop and five letters with Hotel Malaya envelopes which contained, among others, notes saying "you love money or love life" and "I came with my father waiting outside" during the arrest.

    Abdul Razak is charged with abetting Corporal Sirul Azhar, 35, and Chief Insp Azilah Hadri, 30, of the Special Action Unit who are accused of murdering Altantuya, 28, here between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year.

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    Jul 10, 2007

    Court disallows Sirul Azhar’s confession

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Court disallows Sirul’s confession

  • Confession Not Made Under Inducement, Threat And Promise - DPP

  • The 5 grounds to reject 'confession' are:
    1. The prosecution has not proved that the alleged confession was made voluntarily;
    2. Sirul Azhar was not cautioned on his rights under Section 113 of the Criminal Procedure Code
    3. It is unclear whether Sirul Azhar was under arrest when he was taken into Mastor's custody ("confession" not made before magistrate or judge);
    4. Statement supposedly made by Sirul Azhar was involuntary; and
    5. Sirul Azhar did not read, correct or sign any statement he allegedly made to Mastor, who had assumed the role of investigating officer, when he attempted to extract information on the murder.

    As reported by Malaysiakini :

    Court disallows Sirul’s confession
    The Shah Alam High Court today ruled that a confession made by corporal Sirul Azhar Umar to his superior officer was inadmissible as evidence in the Altantuya murder trial.

    The confession was allegedly made to UTK deputy commander ACP Mastor Mohd Ariff during their flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur on Nov 6 last year.

    Justice Mohd Zaki Mohd Yasin said that Sirul’s responses to Mastor were made involuntarily, thus making them inadmissible.

    "The confession made by Sirul was not done voluntarily, therefore they are not admissible and would not be mentioned in the trial," said the judge.

    "In my opinion, in the context of the factual background, there was clear inducement from Mastor," he added.

    Sirul is the second accused in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial.

    Sirul’s lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin had yesterday outlined five main points as to why his client's confession should not be admissible.

    Among others, he said, the confession was made under "oppressive" circumstances and that Sirul was "in a distraught state under severe mental anxiety" when he made the confession.

    The prosecution team, led by Tun Majid Tun Hamzah, had submitted that the confession should be admitted as evidence as it was not obtained through inducement, threat or promises.

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    Jul 9, 2007

    Deputy IGP asks policemen to discard 'Saya Tak Tahu' attitude

    Isn't irony that PM said "Saya tak tahu" yesterday and today Deputy IGP asks policemen to discard "I don't know" or "Saya Tak Tahu" attitude.

    (The Star) KUALA PILAH: Discard the “saya tak tau” (I don’t know) attitude and you will get safer streets.

    Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Najib Abd Aziz said the men in blue should not be solely blamed for the high crime rate in some areas, particularly in Johor.

    “We have cases where people had actually witnessed a crime right before their eyes but simply refuse to assist in police investigations ... they just "saya tak tau," he said.

    He added under such circumstances, the police often took longer time to solve cases.

    He was responding to a statement by Parliamentary Caucus on HumanRights and Good Governance chairman Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz on Sunday that police should accept criticism levelled against the force by the public.

    Mohd Najib said the fact that the police could solve 40 per cent of all reported cases goes to show that it was doing a good job.

    “By Interpol’s standards, it was already considered good if a police force could solve 25 per cent of all cases. We are close to doubling that,” he said.

    Mohd Najib was speaking to reporters after opening the national level Cadet Police Camp in Ulu Bendol near here.

    He said if the people were prepared to assist the police, nine out of 10 reported cases could be easily resolved.

    The people, he said, had no reason to fear assisting the police as their identities were always kept confidential.

    “The public also expects us to solve cases immediately as they see it on television. It is impossible because criminals have become more advanced these days,” he said.

    Mohd Najib said in the west and developed countries, people would voluntarily come forward to help the police.

    Asked why simple procedures such as chemistry and post mortem reports could take months to be prepareddelayed, Mohd Najib said this was not necessarily true.

    “There may be isolated cases. Every department has their own set of procedures and Client’s Charter to adhere to and I don’t think that is a widespread problem,” he said.

    Sometimes, the delays were caused due to the complexity of a case.

    Earlier, Mohd Najib said there were 52 rape cases involving students in the first five months of this year.

    For the whole of last year, 96 cases were reported.

    He said 3,350 students were arrested for various criminal offences last year.

    Of these, 1,831 were involved in criminal activities, 620 for extortion/causing hurt and 587 for motorcycle thefts and 322 other thefts.

    As reported by Malaysiakini :
    Kit Siang: Quell ‘fear of crime’

    The police must recognise and put a stop to the ‘fear of crime’ that has gripped Johor Bahru and many parts of the country, said Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang.

    “Let Johor Bharu be a national test case whether it is possible to wipe out the fear of crime which is haunting the daily life of the people of the city or the fear of crime will worsen and spread to other parts of the country with the police losing the long-term war against crime,” he said in a statement today.

    Lim said that up until 20 years ago, the “fear of crime never existed” in Johor Bahru and in most parts of the country.

    He claimed that the authorities had failed to keep abreast with the rapid socio-economic developments and changes in metropolitan areas where residents become victims of crime and the ‘fear of crime’.

    “Johor Bahru outranks all the other urban centres in the country as the capital of crime where fear of crime haunting the daily lives of its residents is most palpable like a permanent haze in the city’s air,” he added.

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