Saturday, May 30, 2009

Red Tide

A kit for the detection of a harmful algae that causes the red tide won a gold medal at the recent International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products in Geneva.

Called "Pyroscreen", the kit was the result of comprehensive research by a team comprising Grace Joy Chin Wei Lie, Teoh Pek Lin, Professor Datin Dr Ann Anton and Associate Professor Vijay Kumar of Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Red tides are a frequent phenomenon in the coastal waters of tropical regions.

The algae species produces a paralytic shellfish toxin, which has been linked to neurological symptoms and human fatalities.

Chin said Pyroscreen was an effective and practical DNA probe for the speedy identification and detection of the harmful algae.
UMS researchers submitted nine works in Geneva, winning a gold, a silver and seven bronze medals.

The medals were displayed at a media briefing by UMS vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Kamaruzaman Ampon at its campus here.

Kamaruzaman said UMS researchers also won two gold medals at the recent International Invention, Innovation and Technology in Kuala Lumpur.

The medals were for an innovation on a new technique for surface tension by Dr Chan Eng Seng, Lee Boon Beng and Pogaku Ravindra, and an efficient pre-cast floor panel for modern buildings by Associate Professor Dr Mohd Abdul Manan, N.S.V.K. Rao, Doh Shu Ing and Ng Chee Hiong.

Friday, May 29, 2009

'Glass hold' reveals personality

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kuok, Ananda still the richest Malaysians

Robert Kuok, the Kuok Group patriarch, remains Malaysia's richest with a net worth of US$9 billion, down from US$10 billion a year ago, according to the 2009 Forbes Asia Malaysia Rich List. In a statement here today, Forbes said Kuok has held the top spot every year since Forbes Asia began ranking the 40 richest Malaysians in 2006. Businessman Ananda Krishnan held on to his second place with a net worth of US$7 billion,just down from US$7.2 billion last year. He has also maintained the same ranking every year since 2006.

Together, Kouk and Ananda account for 44 percent of the top 40's wealth.
They are also the two richest people in Southeast Asia.

The third richest is Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng, head of IOI Group, one of the world's leading operators of palm oil plantations. He is worth US$3.2 billion, down from US$5.5 billion last year but keeps his position in the top three.

Malaysia's 40 richest people are worth a combined US$36 billion, down from US$46 billion a year ago.

It said the 22 percent loss in wealth is largely in line with the 21 percent drop in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) and is not too bad, considering the fact that the Malaysian ringgit has lost 10 percent against the US dollar, the currency by which the net worths are measured.
Malaysia has nine billionaires who are collectively worth US$30 billion or 84 percent of the total wealth amassed by the country's top 40.

This is the biggest wealth disparity among Forbes Asia's rich list.

Tan Sri Vincent Tan (ranked 10, US$750 million) of Berjaya Corporation Bhd is the only Malaysian to drop out of the billionaire ranks in the past 12 months as share prices in his companies have declined.

Three making their debut are IOI Board member Chan Fong Ann (ranked 18, US$209 million), gaming tycoon Tan Sri Chen Lip Keong (ranked 21, US$195 million) and software executive Goh Peng Ooi (ranked 34, US$112 million).

Four people have returned to the rankings after an absence of a year or more.Among them are Tan Sri Syed Mohd Yusof Tun Syed Nasir (ranked 37, US$100 million) and Tan Sri Tan Teong Hean (ranked 39, US$95 million), who cashed out of Southern Bank several years ago and is now making new investments.

The latest issue of Forbes Asia also features Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, head of conglomerate YTL (ranked seven,US$1.8 billion).

'War' on smoking stepped up June 1

Starting Monday, all cigarette packs must display pictorial health warnings on illnesses caused by tobacco.

Those caught selling packs without the pictorial warning would be fined RM10,000 or two years' jail, or both under the Control of Tobacco Products Regulations (Amended) 2008.

Director-general of Health Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said cigarette packs must display pictorial health warnings prominently on the front and back.

The pictorial warning must cover 40 per cent of the front and 60 per cent of the back.

Cigarettes are drawing millions of Malaysians into spending more than RM15 million daily. This amounts to a staggering RM6 billion annually.
Despite an aggressive campaign by the government to say "no" to cigarettes, Malaysians smoke 30 million sticks a day.

According to the Malaysian Medical Association's Committee on Action on Smoking and Health, 50 per cent of the 3.5 million smokers nationwide smoked nearly 10 sticks a day.

In 2005 and 2006, more than 30,000 children, some as young as 10, started smoking.

More than 10,000 people a year die of smoking-related illnesses.

Telling your wife she's not pretty may soon be an offence

A husband telling his wife that she is no longer pretty in an attempt to humiliate her can be classified as an emotional violence offence if amendments are made to the Domestic Violence Act (DVA)1994.

The plan is to amend the DVA for the inclusion of a clause on emotional violence against women.

Currently, they are only protected only against physical abuse, Women's Development Department director-general Datuk Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur said.

She said on Wednesday that the aim for proposing the amendment was to safeguard women both physically and emotionally.

Dr Noorul said emotional violence was a form of abuse that would deeply scar a woman and lower their self-esteem, dignity and self-confidence.

“It could be a case where her husband tells his wife she is ugly or humiliates her until she feels emotionally pressured,” she told reporters at the end of a seminar on how to curb violence against women at Wisma Wanita here.

She added they were in the process of bringing the proposed amendments to Parliament.

State Community development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun closed the seminar organised by Sabah Women’s Affairs Department.

Azizah, in her speech, said that there was a need for the law to protect emotional violence against women.

Azizah said there were a total of 99 cases of violence against women in Sabah in the first quarter of 2009 compared to 220 cases during the same period last year which was reported to the police.

Related story:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wife: Nasyid singer missing

NASYID singer Akhil Hayy has not come home since media reports surfaced that he was “close” to fellow artiste Waheeda, his wife claimed.

Harian Metro reported his wife Maizawati Zainal as saying that she had heard gossip about her husband and Waheeda, which was reported widely in the media, but chose to ignore them.

However, her patience wore thin after Akhil did not return home and had refused to say where he was. Maizawati said it was then that she decided to file for divorce and build a new life.

Attempts by the tabloid to contact both Akhil and Waheeda for comments were unsuccessful. Waheeda had earlier repeatedly denied gossip linking her to Akhil, saying that they were merely good friends.

Utusan Malaysia reported veteran actor-director Tan Sri Jins Shamsuddin as accusing the sensational reports in gossip columns and television shows for the reason behind the divorces among local entertainers.

He said the divorces occurred after the reports were published, many of which were about married actors having affairs with other women.

Jins, who has called for the banning on the publication of such gossip, noted that even a local television show had taken to airing details about the personal life of local entertainers, including their divorces.

In response, Malaysian Artistes Association (Karyawan) president Freddie Fernandez said he had not received any complaint from members that their marriages broke up due to gossip reports.

“Maybe the journalists have heard about the impending divorce from their sources,” he said.

However, Malaysian Singers, Musicians and Songwriters Association (Papita) president Datuk M. Daud Wahid agreed with Jins’ suggestion for gossip columns to be dropped from newspapers and television programmes.

“There’s no need to air such gossip, which will bring problems,” he added.

National Union of Journalists president Norila Daud said gossip columns were written based on factual events, which had been passed on by reliable witnesses to the media.

“Gossip is not slander. The artistes named in the gossip reports are asked to tell their side of the story because they have fans, who want to know their developments,” she added.

DNA way to check halal claims

Are food and cosmetic products which claim to be halal really so? A Malaysian company may just have the solution for a quick answer.

Olipro Biotechnology's por-cine gene chip is said to be the first of its kind in the world that detects pork DNA or pork contamination in processed food and cosmetic products.

Olipro chief executive director Diong Sing Peng said the device could detect porcine elements in four to six hours.

"This is useful to manufacturers of halal products. Many are unaware that processed food and cosmetics could contain elements of porcine."

Diong said this may not be the manufacturer's fault as the ingredients to make products came from all over the world.
"The factory that does meat packing could be packing several types of meat as well, so chicken or beef could get contaminated."

He said the test kit could detect up to one billionth of a gm of porcine elements in any material.

He said the product, which was a result of 21/2 years of research, could raise the standards of halal certification.

It was recently launched at the Halal Industry's Development Corporation's World Halal Research Summit by the prime minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Diong said: "Malaysia is the hub of halal food.

"It would be great if we could integrate a logo that says porcine-free or lab-tested to increase consumers' trust in products."

He said the company's next device could help detect what type of animal DNA was used in the production of a particular food, pharmaceutical or cosmetic product

Monday, May 25, 2009

S’wak to mass produce solar cells

Sarawak is to venture into the mass-production of solar cells.

These solar cells will be the main component item in the tapping of solar energy. These cells will be used to convert heat energy - harnessed from the sun by solar panels - into electricity for use in industries and residential homes.

Sarawak's foray into this ''green technology'' industry will be a pioneering effort in this state, said Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan.

''This will be a very high-tech project. It will be the first of its kind in Sarawak. We (ministry) have already negotiated with a foreign consortium on the project.

''The consortium has agreed to set up a factory to produce these solar cells in Similajau (Bintulu Division in northern Sarawak).

''The solar cells to be produced from Sarawak will be used locally as well as for export.

“Most of them will be for overseas markets because we (Sarawak and Malaysia in general) are still very new in the solar energy sectors and we do not have the market yet for big local usage,'' he said during a recent interview.

Sagan, who is MP for Baram, said the venture into the solar-energy sector would be a major step forward for Sarawak in terms of green technology.

He said the project would fit in very well with the state government's plan for SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy).

SCORE will span the length between Mukah district in central Sarawak and Similajau in Bintulu. That belt will be for the setting up of industries that will utilise energy from hydro-dams from Bakun and other sites that are to be built in the years to come.

Sagan declined to reveal as yet which consortium from which country will be the one to handle the solar cell project.

The project will involve huge amount of investments and it will be a long-term industry, he said.

His ministry is aggressively promoting SCORE and the Sabah Regional Development Corridor as well as the other development corridors in peninsula Malaysia by marketing the unique advantages that each has for investors, he stressed.

As far as SCORE is concerned, the bountiful supply of energy that Sarawak has is a massive selling point because investors who want to venture into heavy industries and high-technology sectors will need a constant, uninterrupted supply of huge amount of electricity daily, he added.

Driving the KPI

KEY performance indicators, which come in many forms, shapes and sizes, have been employed by the world's corporations and, for more than a decade, by government-linked companies in Malaysia. Most private sector managers are familiar with them. The measures are also no stranger to top civil servants, the directors-general, secretaries-general and department heads.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has taken the KPI one level higher, and adopted them for members of his cabinet and their deputies. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon has been busy the past six weeks working to come up with the indices for the ministers. Just as a stopwatch can't be used to compare a marathon runner with a gymnast, Koh has a different set of KPIs for each of his fellow ministers and their ministries. A more focused unit called Pemandu (Performance Management and Delivery Unit) would be set up to support each minister and ministry, Koh said.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sarawak tops FDI list in 2008

Sarawak has attracted the highest level of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country over the past year.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan said Sarawak topped the list after it successfully secured investments worth RM12bil from multinational companies for the construction of aluminium smelter plants in the Bintulu division.

“Our ministry has gone to many countries to promote Malaysia as a destination for FDIs.

“We have found that the most important thing foreign investors look for when they want to venture into high technology sectors is abundant electricity and energy supply.

“Sarawak has become so attractive to the investors because the state has the capacity to generate a lot of electricity, especially with the power generation projects to be implemented for Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE),” he said at a gathering with reporters yesterday.

The two aluminium smelter plants will be built in the Similajau Industrial Estate at the outskirts of Bintulu town, some 200km from here.

Several multinational companies from South America, the Middle East, China and Australia have indicated their interest in taking part in the project, which will be a joint venture with local companies.

The two giant smelters will be located within the SCORE belt and will source their energy from the Bakun hydro-electric dam and others to be built within the vicinity.

Sagan, who is also Baram MP, said Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad had already directed the departments and agencies under his purview to help Sabah and Sarawak catch up with Peninsula Malaysia in terms of development.

The ministry, he said, had also stepped up its promotion overseas and introduced schemes and incentives to lure more foreign manufacturers.

Sagan added that more Malaysian products, especially those from Sabah and Sarawak, would be marketed overseas.

Malayan communists go online

Nearly 50 years after the end of the 12-year Emergency against armed communism, people still seem interested in the subject. Blogs that purportedly speak from the perspective of the communists garner good reception, particularly from the younger generation. Should we worry?

Public views sought over new art

The public is being given the chance to have a say about a new piece of art for Leicester city centre.

One of two exhibitions has been held so residents and shoppers can discuss the five pieces being considered for a site on Sanvey Gate.

They include a textile fox, a glass panel featuring boots and leaves and decorated pavement.

Officials said reaction to the first open day had been positive and a decision was expected later this year.

Councillor Andy Connelly said: "This is a really great opportunity to brighten up a very well used area of the city with a great piece of new art.

"It is really important that people have their say on the project because it will be pride of place in Sanvey Gate for years to come."

A second public show will be held on 28 May at Leicester Market.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Orchid named after Najib and Rosmah

A TALL and robust hybrid of the Dendrobium Ronald Imanuel and Dendrobium Jeffrey Tan orchids was named Dendrobium Najib Rosmah in conjunction with the visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to the National Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens yesterday.

Najib and Rosmah, who are on a two-day visit to Singapore, were shown around the orchid garden by the chief executive officer of the National Parks Board, Ng Lang.

They spent 20 minutes at the garden before leaving for the Istana for the welcoming ceremony by the Singapore government.

In a separate event later, Rosmah visited the National University of Singapore High School of Mathematics and Science.

She was accompanied by Ho Ching, the wife of Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Rosmah was given a briefing on the school by principal Dr Hang Kim Hoo and Director of the Education Programme, Sun Chee Wah.

US state's first assisted suicide

A 66-year-old US woman with advanced cancer has become the first person to die under a new assisted suicide law in Washington State.

The woman, Linda Fleming, died on Thursday night after taking drugs prescribed by her doctor.

The "Death with Dignity" law was approved by 60% of Washington State voters in a referendum last year.

It is based on a law in neighbouring Oregon, where 400 people have chosen to die over the last 12 years.

The advocacy group, Compassion and Choices of Washington, said Ms Fleming died with her family, her dog and her physician at her side.

In a statement, Ms Fleming, who lived in the town of Sequim, said: "I had only recently learned to live in the world as I had always wanted to, and now I will no longer be here.

"The pain became unbearable, and it was only going to get worse. I am a very spiritual person, and it was very important to me to be conscious, clear-minded and alert at the time of my death."

She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last month.

Under the "Death with Dignity" law, any patient seeking to die must be at least 18, terminally ill, and live in Washington State. In addition, the patient must be declared competent, make two spoken statements 15 days apart, and produce a written request witnessed by two people.

Friday, May 22, 2009

No 1M’sia without Sabah, S’wak

The 1Malaysia concept may not be realised without the involvement of Sabah and Sarawak youths, Sabah Youth Council (MBS) president Mustapha Sakmud said.

He said special attention needed to be given to the youths from the two states because it was “sad to see that there are still Malaysians, especially youths, who are not on par with their counterparts from other parts of the country”.

He regretted that this happened although Malaysia is now about 46 years old.

Mustapha said physical development in Sabah and Sarawak, particularly in the rural areas lagged behind that in the peninsula, adding that basic amenities like water and electricity supplies were equally lacking and more funds needed to be made available.

“Basic educational facilities to educate Malaysians in Sabah and Sarawak, in particular in the rural areas, are still very poor.

“We feel sad when we see the condition of the uniforms these children wear to school.

“Many of them in their desire to acquire knowledge have to walk to school over mountainous terrains and muddy and dusty roads,” he said when speaking as a member of the panel at the 2009 National Youth Convention at MITC in Ayer Keroh, Melaka recently.

He said the socio-economic status, poor infrastructure and many other negative factors resulted in the dropout rate among students in the two states to be higher compared with other states in the country.

“If this situation persists, how can youths in Sabah and Sarawak compete with their counterparts in the peninsula who have all the infrastructure and facilities.

“This will widen the gap between them in terms of educational achievement and skills and eventually their way of thinking,” he said.

He feared that if the problem was not addressed, the youths from the two states would feel discriminated against and if that was the case, it would not be possible to achieve the objectives of the 1Malaysia concept.

He said in principle, MBS agreed and supported the concept, adding that the definition should be based on the country’s history and the formation of Malaysia.

He said Malaysian youths in the two states did not want any quarters to disregard history.

“We don’t want any concepts or ideas put forward by the leaders to be interpreted based on the present day understanding just to maintain power without referring to the conditions and basis for the formation of Malaysia,” he stressed.

He said important issues such as the social contract, especially the special rights of the Malays and Bumiputeras should not be questioned in the name of equal rights and social justice.

He said the special position of Sabah and Sarawak as enshrined in the constitution needed to be safeguarded and maintained.

Soccer's Million Dollar Babies

$46 million

Team: AC Milan / Los Angeles Galaxy

Country: U.K.

Age: 33

With his heart set on making one more appearance at soccer's most coveted event, the 2010 World Cup, Beckham has to prove to a skeptical Fabio Capello, coach of England's national team, that he isn't washed up. So he pursued a loan transfer from the Los Angeles Galaxy to top-flight Italian club AC Milan and in a few short months in the Serie A this year he reminded everyone--himself included--of a critical aspect of his fame: He can actually play the game.

In March he made his 109th international appearance for England, becoming the country's most capped outfield player. Now it looks as if he will exercise his opt-out clause with the Galaxy at the end of its 2009 season and return to Italy permanently. This resurrection of the 33-year-old's playing career should help him pick up additional endorsements to replace his Pepsi contract that lapsed in December 2008.

Device to detect breast cancer

A new device that can detect cancer cells at an early stage, in just five minutes, will spare women the agony of going through a mammogram.

It was developed by Dr M. Iqbal Saripan and his team at Universiti Putra Malaysia after seven years of research since 2002.

They have come up with a device, called the "Wire Mesh Collimator", which when installed in nuclear imaging machines is more sensitive to any changes in terms of activity in human cells.

It can detect breast cancer cells as small as 1mm.

Dr Iqbal filed for a patent in July last year and the device has won many awards, including the gold with special congratulations from the Jury of Geneva 2008; chairman award and gold by the Malaysian Nuclear Agency, and the silver award at the Malaysia Technology Expo.
The findings by the team have been published in more than 20 research papers and presented at international conferences.

Part of the project's development cost was funded by an international grant given in August 2007.

Medical companies in Britain and China are ready to conduct clinical trials once the device has been patented.

"The device can detect cancer cells at an early stage, with minimal modification needing to be done on the current nuclear imaging machine.

"Hospitals need not buy the whole new machine, only upgrade the collimator," said Dr Iqbal at a press conference at UPM's Faculty of Engineering yesterday.

Only four public hospitals in the country -- Kuala Lumpur Hospital, University of Malaya Medical Centre, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre and Sarawak Hospital -- have nuclear imaging machines, costing about RM5.7 million each, to detect cancer cells.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Informer RM80,000 richer

An informer who tipped off the state Customs to cigarette smuggling is now RM80,000 richer.

The informer, whose identity is confidential, led Customs to seizures of smuggled imitation cigarettes on which over RM430,000 in taxes should have been paid.

State Customs director Datuk Rusmani Abdul Sukur said the seizures involved more than 200 brands of cigarettes.

"The smuggling of imitation cigarettes not only contributes to the loss of tax revenue, but could be hazardous to health because the cigarettes contain uncontrolled amounts of nicotine and other harmful chemicals," he said yesterday.

And New Straits Times has learned that many of these cigarettes contain shredded newspaper and little tobacco.
Rusmani said the highest number of cigarettes seized was in Sibu last year with 9,902kg. This was followed by Kuching (5,189kg), Miri (3,145kg), Sarikei (491kg), Bintulu (310kg) and Limbang (29kg).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Toilet king of Malaysia calls it a day

Malaysia’s “toilet king” is stepping down next month after a five-year reign.

Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew, who earned the nickname for his tireless effort in fighting for clean public toilets in the country, said: “It is an unfinished business but I have to move on.”

The 67-year-old accountant-turned-politician was inducted into the Housing and Local Government Ministry’s clean toilet campaign when he was the deputy minister in 2004.

His mission came to an end when he was appointed Deputy Transport Minister last month.

Lau is best remembered for setting up the first toilet association in Malaysia — Quality Restroom Assocation Malaysia (QRAM) — of which he has been chairman since its inception in 2005.

The Sibu MP said he is not seeking re-election at the QRAM annual general meeting to be held next month.

He said it is time for the Government to wield the stick on the country’s 148 local authorities so that they were serious in making sure that the 250,000 public toilets within their jurisdictions are clean.

“Only 60 local authorities took part in a star-rating programme for public toilets last year,” he lamented.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Land of lightning

The anecdotal evidence is backed up by hard facts – according to our Meteorological Department places like Subang (Selangor), Bayan Lepas (Penang) and Kluang (Johor) have a whopping 180 to 200 “thunderstorm days” (TDs) per year (the number of days that thunder can be heard at the weather monitoring stations there. )

In contrast, figures from the National Lightning Safety Institute (NLSI) of the United States show far fewer TDs in Japan (35-40), Australia (10-70), most of Europe (15-40) and England (a paltry 5-10). Even Florida, considered the “lightning capital” of the USA, has “only” 90-110 TDs.

Another NLSI measurement is that of “lightning density” where Kuala Lumpur is ranked fifth in the world with 48.3 lightning strikes (to the ground) for every square km of real estate. (The other top four lightning density sites are in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

AF7 champ. :Hafiz

Last night was the final episode of AF7 which was aired for the last 10 weeks. Initially there were 14 participants chosen from thousands of hopefuls throughout the nation.

This is a TV reality show, where the participants were judged by SMS. whereby the most popular participants will proceed to the next stage. 5 reached the final, where they have to sing 2 numbers.

The last 2 edition was won by the gals and this is the first time that a Sarawakian became a Champ.

Hafiz was from Kuching and was voted as the most popular contestant in the final. It was a dream come true for the lad as he has waited 12 years to achieve his ambition to become a champion one day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Man U wins 3rd Premier League title in a row

Manchester United sealed a third successive Premier League title by getting the point they needed against Arsenal - but the Old Trafford celebrations only started after an afternoon gripped by tension.

Manchester United has won the Premier League for the third season in a row after a 0-0 draw with Arsenal at Old Trafford.

United needed only a point to clinch the title on Saturday, and the result puts the club out of reach of second-place Liverpool, which is seven points behind and has two games to play.

United has now won 11 Premier League titles in the last 17 seasons under manager Alex Ferguson and is tied with Liverpool on 18 in the all-time list of English league champions.

Ferguson now has 25 major trophies since he arrived at the club in 1986 and hopes to make it 26 when United faces Barcelona in the Champions League final on May 27 in Rome.

Heavy security in major drug trafficking trial

The magistrate's court here was heavily guarded when the main suspect for the country's biggest drug trafficking case was charged today. Lee Yong Toe, a 48-year-old lorry driver from Taman Iskandar, Johor Baru, was brought to court about 2.45pm with his eyes covered with a pair of dark goggles.

He was heavily escorted by dozens of policemen, some of whom were armed with submachine guns.

The situation was tense outside the court and reporters covering the case were not allowed to take their belongings inside the court, except a note book.

Even the pens for writing were supplied by the policemen after a thorough body check was made on each reporter and member of the public who wanted to follow the proceedings.

"This is a big case and we cannot allow any type of recording material, in whatever form, inside," said a policeman on duty.
Lee was later charged with trafficking in 978.015kg of syabu (methamphetamine) at Km3 Jalan Cenderawasih here about 6.45am on May 2.

He was alleged to have committed the offence with another person still at large.

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Fadhli Mahmud appeared for the prosecution while Lee was represented by counsel Mashanida Mohamad Mazalan.

Magistrate Emma Shahriana Ali fixed July 15 for mention after Fadhli said he had to wait for a report from the Chemistry Department.

Meanwhile, in Kuantan another two suspects were taken to the magistrate's court in the afternoon.

The suspects, aged between 40 and 50-years-old, were also heavily guarded before the police obtained a 60-day remand order.

Another suspect, a Datuk in his 30s, is expected to be charged in Johor Baru soon.

On May 2, police busted the biggest syndicate in the country when they stopped a lorry and confiscated the RM254 million worth of syabu here.

Outbreak of leptospirosis

A Myanmar illegal immigrant from the Juru detention centre here died of leptospirosis at Bukit Mertajam Hospital on Tuesday.

As of noon yesterday, 26 cases were reported -- 24 cases are being treated at Bukit Mertajam Hospital and two at Seberang Jaya Hospital.

All affected were detainees at the centre.

The 21-year-old Myanmar died after being treated at the hospital's intensive care unit for suspected leptospirosis since his admission on May 7.

He showed symptoms of pedal oedema (fluid accumulation in the leg), fever, decreased urine output, constipation and lethargy.
Three cases with similar symptoms were also reported on Tuesday and upon further investigations by the state health department and Seberang Perai Tengah district health office, more cases were identified and referred to Bukit Mertajam Hospital.

The department said samples from the camp's water supply had been taken for checks on contamination, and that its health teams were visiting the camp daily to monitor the inmates for similar symptoms.

Disinfection had also been carried out at the detention camp's blocks, toilets and bathrooms.

It is believed that the outbreak of the disease was caused by rat urine.

Sources said initial investigations revealed that bacteria similar to that found in rat urine was found in the fresh water sample taken from the camp.

The source, however, said the situation was under control.

Checks at the detention depot yesterday showed that the compound was placed on high security.

Rela personnel manning the entrance said they received instructions to bar visitors who did not have the immigration department's permission to enter the camp.

State immigration department officials could not be reached for comment.

Leptospirosis, which is also known as Weil's disease or syndrome, canicola fever or Fort Bragg fever, is a rare and severe contagious bacterial infection that affects humans and a wide range of animals.

The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing animal urine-contaminated water to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or the mucous membranes.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Malaysia confirms first case of A(H1N1) flu

Malaysia on Friday confirmed its first case of the A(H1N1) flu in a 21-year-old student who returned from the United States on Wednesday morning.

All passengers on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH091 from Newark on Wednesday are urged to contact the Health Ministry by calling 03-88810200 or 03-88810300

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the case made Malaysia the 36th country to be affected by the virus.

“Malaysia is now on high alert,” said Liow, who is in London now, enroute to Geneva, for a World Health Organisation meeting. He added he would return earlier than his scheduled return next Friday.

We are ready for polls

Barisan Nasional is ever ready to face the people in the event fresh state elections are called in Perak, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.

The BN chairman and Umno president said the ruling coalition was not afraid as "we have to face the rakyat and we will face them whenever the time comes".

Calling for state elections, he said, was one of the options under the Constitution.

"It is up to the sultan (of Perak). So, it is not something that has to happen, but something which depends on the ruler."

Earlier, Najib, who is prime minister, addressed about 5,000 government servants at the Public Sector Workers Day event at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Several quarters, including Gerakan, had urged Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir to immediately request for a dissolution of the state assembly.

Najib was also asked if he was receptive to the idea of a dialogue with the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, on the Perak crisis.

"As I have said earlier, it depends. In the first place, there must be mutual respect for one another. Then, we have to follow the rules and regulations, even if it is inside or outside the state assembly, and thirdly, there should be no preconditions.

"It must be open to explore any possibilities."

On Pas spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat's rejection of a unity government between Umno and Pas, Najib said the question did not arise.

"We have not come up with anything. So, the question of it being turned down does not arise. There have been no proposals. What is there to reject?"

Replying to a question on the date of a BN convention, he said: "What is important is the outcome of the convention.

"We need to iron out some matters first as I do not want the convention to be held but the inputs and outcome are not there."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ferguson stays cool on title bid

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has warned Manchester United against complacency, even though they only need one more point to win the Premier League title.

United came from behind to beat Wigan 2-1 on Wednesday and a draw at home to Arsenal on Saturday will be enough.

But Ferguson warned: "We'll approach the game the way we always approach a game. We still have a job to do.

"It is against a very good Arsenal side - I don't take any notice of what is written, they are a very good side."

United had to come from behind to beat Wigan at the JJB Stadium, thanks to goals from Carlos Tevez and Michael Carrick.

Aglaia tree compound patented for cancer study

THE state government has patented the Silvestrol/-CBL316, a compound extracted from a species of Aglaia mahogany trees, which is now in pre-clinical research stage for anti-cancer treatment.

The compound was discovered by the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC).

Assistant Minister of Planning and Resource Management Naroden Majais said SBC was identifying, isolating and purifying the compound to be used in pre-clinical research with the National Cancer Institute and the Ohio State University Medical Centre for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

It was doing this in collaboration with the State Forest Department and the State Agriculture Research Centre, he told Vincent Goh (BN-Pelawan).

Naroden said SBC was also collaborating with the National Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation to screen, isolate and develop photodynamic agents from plants such as entemu, kacangma, sembong and lengkuas, which could be activated by light to treat cancers. These plants could have the potential for the development of cancer therapy.
SBC, he said, had also discovered a compound from fungi which could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease.

It was working with the Nimura Genetic Solutions, a Japanese biotech company, on the potential of the compound.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Children sanitation alert issued

Millions of children's lives are being put at risk each year because aid agencies and governments make wrong choices about health care priorities.

This is the conclusion of a new report from the charity WaterAid.

It says that diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation is killing many more children than HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

The report says the global spending on HIV/Aids hugely outweighs the amounts spent on providing better sanitation.

Judge with eye for detail

Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, who made the ru­­ling that Datuk Seri Mohammad Ni­­zar Jamaluddin is the rightful Perak Mentri Besar, is known to be a “fair judge” who does not care much for the political affiliations of the parties involved.

According to those who had worked with him in Sarawak, Justice Abdul Aziz dares to make decisions without fear or favour.

“He makes his rulings without considering the political background of the parties involved.

“His judgments are very detailed, and he looks at each case based on the merits of the case and not on the people in­­volved,” sources said yesterday.

Justice Abdul Aziz is from Penin­su­lar Malaysia but had served in Sara­wak for the last seven years.

He was elevated to the position of a judge in the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak in 2003.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Man Utd 2-0 Man City

Tevez celebrates after scoring Man Utd's second against Man City

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Meningitis outbreak: 434 under quarantine

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Wesak Day

Ohara Floral Art Society members decorated a Wesak Day float at the Malaysian Buddhist Association in Jalan Burma here yesterday. The float, with a giant statue of Lord Buddha, was decked with thousands of stalks of flowers.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Caught on camera

Labour' s Charles Clark was Education Secretary when he visited a north London school , only for a student to sabotage the press call

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona

Andres Iniesta's spectacular strike deep into stoppage time wrecked Chelsea's dreams of a second successive Champions League final against Manchester United amid chaotic scenes at Stamford Bridge.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Dahalan Ahmad's house is an added attraction in Langkawi. With a two-headed salamander as a pet, curious on-lookers have been making a beeline to his house in Kampung Perana in Mukim Melaka since Thursday to see the lizard which the Tenaga Nasional employee intends to keep.

Court grants teen breast removal

An Australian teenage girl has been given permission by a court to have both breasts surgically removed to more closely resemble a boy.

The 17-year-old, known as Alex in court and referred to as a boy, has a psychological condition that makes him unhappy with his gender.

The Family Court in Melbourne said the removal of both breasts would help Alex to build a new life as a boy.

The decision has angered Catholic groups, who view it as irresponsible.

Alex has "gender identity dysphoria", a psychological condition where a person believes they are the opposite sex, the Age newspaper reported.

Alex has been on hormone treatment since he was 13 to prevent menstruation, it said.

Social development

He applied to the court for a double mastectomy before he turned 18 - the age at which he would not need the court's consent and which he would no longer receive social support services as a minor.

Family Court chief justice Diana Bryant said Alex, who lives life as a male, was socially constrained by the breasts, avoided being hugged and wore binding at the beach.

"So it was quite an impediment to his social development, which everyone thought was very important," Judge Bryant was quoted as saying by the Age.

"Overwhelmingly, the evidence was that it was in his interests. And I made that order.

"I wanted to make it quickly so that he could have the operation straight away.''

Critics say that such radical surgery on a 17-year-old is irresponsible and premature.

Campaigners have said that a man from Melbourne who had a sex-change operation in his early 20s was now suing his doctors because he regretted the decision.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Superb Barca destroy rivals Real

Barcelona romped to a 6-2 victory at fierce rivals Real Madrid to move seven points clear at the top of La Liga.

Barcelona have now scored 100 goals in the league this season and stand on the verge of their first La Liga title since 2006

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Flu death toll 'less than feared'

Mexico has revised down the suspected death toll from swine flu from 176 to 101, indicating that the outbreak may not be as bad as was initially feared.

Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told the BBC that, based on samples tested, the mortality rate was comparable with that of seasonal flu.

The news came as Mexico continues a five-day shutdown in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.

Italy reported its first case, bringing the number of countries affected to 17.

Five countries outside Mexico have confirmed person-to-person transmission.

China is trying to stop the spread of the virus, after getting its first case on Friday.

It says it will quarantine all those who travelled on a flight from Mexico with a man suffering from swine flu.

Flights from Mexico have been suspended, and fellow guests and staff at the Hong Kong hotel where he was staying have been quarantined.

South Korea has also now confirmed a case of the virus.

Mexico: 101 suspected deaths - 16 confirmed
US: One death, at least 141 confirmed cases
New Zealand: 4 confirmed, 12 probable cases
Canada: 35 confirmed cases
UK: 13 confirmed cases
Spain: 13 confirmed cases
Germany: 4 confirmed cases
France: 2 confirmed cases
Israel, Costa Rica: 2 confirmed cases
Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy: 1 confirmed case

Countries with confirmed cases of secondary transmission


Friday, May 1, 2009


German riot police officers stamp out small fires during a Mayday demonstration in Berlin's Friedrichshain district late yesterday, as police fought May Day demonstrators who hurled bottles and stones overnight till today, making 49 arrests while about 30 police were injured.

Last respect

Taib pours scented water over his wife’s grave. Also seen are Dato Sri Mahmud Abu Bekir (third left), Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Salahuddin (fifth left), Sultan of Brunei
Hassanal Bolkiah (centre) and Dato Sri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman (second right).