Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

British PM calls for early general election on June 8.

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May walks out of 10 Downing Street to make a statement to the media in central London on April 18, 2017. - AFP

British Prime Minister Theresa May walks out of 10 Downing Street to make a statement to the media in central London on April 18, 2017. – AFP

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May called Tuesday for an early general election on June 8 in a surprise announcement as Britain prepares for delicate negotiations on leaving the European Union.

“We need a general election and we need one now. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done… before the detailed talks begin,” May said, despite previously denying that she would do so.

Speaking outside her Downing Street residence in London, May warned that “division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit”.

She said parliament would be asked to vote Wednesday to decide on whether or not to hold an election.

The dramatic announcement comes after months of tumult in British politics following the Brexit vote.

A round of opinion polls over the Easter weekend also showed her Conservative Party far ahead of the main opposition Labour Party.

The Conservatives polled at between 38% and 46%, with Labour at 23% to 29%, according to the polls by YouGov, ComRes and Opinium.

The poll lead had prompted many senior Conservatives to call for an election, particularly as May will need a strong parliamentary majority as she seeks to negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The Conservatives currently have a working majority of just 17 from the last election in 2015 and some of their MPs have indicated they could vote against the government on key aspects of Brexit legislation.

EU leaders except May are set to hold a summit on April 29 where they will agree on the strategy for negotiating Britain’s expected departure in 2019.

The negotiations themselves are not expected to start until May or June at the earliest. The European Commission has said it wants the exit talks to be concluded by October 2018 at the latest.

Britain’s next election was due to have been held in 2020 – a date enshrined in legislation according to which elections have to be held every five years in May.

But the law can be overruled if two-thirds of lawmakers in the British parliament vote in favour of early elections – something that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously indicated he would do.

Corbyn, a veteran socialist with support on the left of the party, won the Labour leadership in September 2015 after the party’s defeat in that year’s election.

High approval rating

Corbyn, 67, enjoys grassroots support from left-wingers but is opposed by most of the party’s more centrist lawmakers, who say that Labour under his leadership is not appealing to the middle classes.

May in contrast has scored consistently well in terms of personal popularity and polls have shown approval of her handling of the run-up to Brexit negotiations.

When asked who they thought would be the best prime minister, 50% of respondents in the YouGov poll said Theresa May and only 14% Corbyn.

May came to power in July 2016 after her predecessor David Cameron resigned following the shock Brexit referendum vote in June for which he had campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union.

The 60-year-old vicar’s daughter is Britain’s second prime minister after Margaret Thatcher and many commentators have drawn comparisons to the steely determination of the “Iron Lady”.

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KFC brings in smiles to eight homes in Sabah

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Eight charitable organizations in Sabah were chosen as beneficiaries to receive contributions totalling RM80,000 as part of KFC’s Add Hope Distribution Programme.

The recipients who are part of the 40 charitable homes selected throughout Malaysia were Rumah Anak Kesayangan, Rumah Anak Yatim As-Sakinah, Rumah Amal Kasih, Rumah Putera Harapan, The Hospice Association of Sandakan, Sabah, Holy Family Residence for Senior Citizens, Rumah Kanak-Kanak Don Bosco, Persatuan Untuk Orang Pekak Tawau. Each home received RM10,000.

“KFC Malaysia is happy and proud to be able to give back to the society. We would also like to take this opportunity to once again thank our customers for their kind contribution towards the Add Hope fund.

“Because of the generosity shown by our customers, we are able to collect the funds and in turn distribute it to deserving individuals all across Malaysia”, said KFC East Malaysia Senior General Manager Lo Yu Foh during the mock cheque presentations ceremony held at KFC Bandaran Berjaya recently.

Add Hope is a yearly initiative by KFC Malaysia to help eradicate world hunger. This year’s campaign will be launched on May 2017 with a list of enthusiastic efforts in raising funds, said Lo

Similar to previous years, he said the three-month campaign will have donation boxes placed at KFC outlets nationwide.


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New tea product from mulberry leaves launched

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) together with villagers from Kg Tudan launched a new tea product made from dried mulberry leaves.

UMS Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Dr Sharil Yusof said the Tudan Organic Mulberry Tea Leaves product was a project by the university with the local community of Kg Tudan in Tuaran.

“The main objective for this project is to help enhance the economy of Kg Tudan as the villagers there are generally farmers who mostly sold their produce in the tamus/local markets in Donggonggon town and Penampang as well as by the roadsides on the way to Tambunan.

“It has the potential to be a product for visitors to the State similar to Sabah Tea, for example, which is well known in the State and country so the next product which could be famous from Sabah could be Mulberry Tea.

“This is the result of the first project in Kg Tudan and UMS will continue to assist to ensure the success of the project. UMS and the villagers are still in the process of looking for an industrial partner to market this product.”

Sharil added the project had acquired the KTP Grant (Knowledge Transfer Programme) from the Ministry of Higher Education which totalled up to RM167,690.

He said this to the media during a press conference on the launching of the UMS-Tudan Organic Mulberry Tea Leaves product at UMS, on Friday.

Sharil said on their first visit to Kg Tudan in 2015, they (UMS) discovered many mulberry trees being planted randomly behind the houses and by the drains near the houses of the villagers.

“Based on our observation at that time, we felt that this plant could be a valuable resource that could be utilised to better the livelihood of the people.

“Hence, through this grant of knowledge transfer, we taught the interested villagers the correct way to plant and care for the mulberry tree. In addition, we introduced the agro-entrepreneurs concept to the villagers so that they learned about ways to create a variety of mulberry products.

“The villagers have been selling the fresh mulberry fruits on their own in markets before our project took place.

“However, since the fruits are soft, they rapidly became mushy and unappealing to be sold after three to four hours of being plucked. On realisation of that issue, we introduced an innovation to the villagers, i.e. mulberry tea.

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The intelligence man

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017
SB plays vital role: Abdul Rahim, who was the Special Branch director when the treaty was signed, says that the SB is still crucial in the face of current threats.

SB plays vital role: Abdul Rahim, who was the Special Branch director when the treaty was signed, says that the SB is still crucial in the face of current threats.

WHILE most Malaysians would recognise Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor’s contributions as the fifth Inspector-General of Police in the 1990s, some could say his greatest contributions were made when he was the Special Branch (SB) director.

He was promoted as the SB director in January 1986, at a time when Malaysia was still finding ways to defeat the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) which had retreated to Southern Thailand.

Having no experience in the SB was not a problem for him as he felt at home dealing with the communist threat.

Since he was a student, Abdul Rahim had always been interested in the communist theory and spent a lot of time reading up on it.

Little did he know back then that he would be an instrumental player in getting the CPM to lay down its arms and sign a peace treaty with the Malaysian government in the Peace Agreement of Hat Yai 1989.

“Who knew that my interest would actually help me?” he quipped when met at his home recently.

Now retired, Abdul Rahim still has vivid recollections of his work leading to the peace treaty.

He said that when he joined the police force, he had continued reading up on communism and even kept track of the regional and global communist movement.

In 1960, Chin Peng had gone to China to seek for assistance after the CPM was pushed by the Malaysian security forces to the border of Thailand, he said.

“He went there to seek assistance in funding to buy weapons and radios for the assault units, which were planned for the CPM to make a resurgence in the country.

“Around 1971, splinters of at least a thousand trained CPM units came in and with the help of China, they managed to buy weapons and other items to further their cause.”

He added that the police field force and other armed units were handling the CPM’s advances at first.

Abdul Rahim believes the SB and the F-Team deserve credit for blasting the Communist Underground.

As he pointed out, intelligence on the CPM was solely gathered by the SB, which would be fed to the security forces for operations at the time.

“The special branch had learnt that the Communists United Front (CUF) had been rebuilt and that it was a faceless enemy.

“Anyone could be the enemy, even teachers and clerks, and this is why they were confident in winning the second round.

“The SB picked up at least 5,000 CUF elements, which more or less clipped their wings. Without ground support, they were broken.

Part of this was also due to the E3F, also known as the F-Team, which was formed by Senior Asst Comm Datuk Leong Chee Woh, said Abdul Rahim.

SAC Leong was a seasoned SB operative, and he knew what needed to be done to cripple the CPM, he added.

The F-team definitely had an impact on the peace talks, Abdul Rahim said.

“They were smashing the Communist Underground even before I took office.

“The E3F, I would say, definitely had a role in setting the positive ground work for peace talks in the mid 1980s.”

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Md Raus is new Chief Justice of Malaysia.

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif (pic) has been appointed the new Chief Justice of Malaysia.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Yang di-Per­tuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V consented to the appointment on the advice of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and after consultation with the Conference of Rulers.

The statement said Sultan Muhammad V also consented to the appointment of Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin as Court of Appeal president, replacing Md Raus.

It added that Federal Court judge Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop was appointed Chief Judge of Malaya, succeeding Zulkefli. All the appointments were effective April 1.

“On behalf of the Government, I wish to record my highest appreciation and gratitude to Tun Arifin Zakaria for his service while in office as the Chief Justice,” the Prime Minister said in the statement.

Arifin retired after reaching the age of 66 years and six months.

The statement said Sultan Muhammad V had also given his consent for the ceremony to present the letters of appointment to the respective justices to be held at Istana Negara at 11am tomorrow.

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Do you . . . want to know about April Fools’ Day?

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

> The exact origin of April Fools’ Day, which has been celebrated for centuries by different cultures, remains a mystery.

> On April 1, 1983, the Associated Press reported about Joseph Boskin’s discovery that the celebration had begun during the fourth century. The story appeared in hundreds of papers. Several weeks later, the Boston University professor confessed that none of it was true.

> The occasion lasts two days in Scotland. The first day is “hunting the gowk”; victims sent on phony errands are called gowks (cuckoo birds). The second day is Taily Day and involves people sticking onto the backside of others items like fake tails or “kick me” signs.

> In France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, it is known as “April Fish”. This involves stealthily attaching a paper to the “fool’s” back.

> It was “banned” in China. Last April 1, state news agency Xinhua posted on social media: “Today is the West’s so-called April Fools Day. It is not in line with our cultural tradition and socialist core values. Hope you will not believe, create or spread rumours.”

> 1972: Newspapers around the world reported the sensational news that the dead body of the Loch Ness Monster had been found.

> 2016: reported that Lionel Messi had agreed to move from FC Barcelona to its arch-rivals Real Madrid under a €500mil deal for five years. The article was written by “Lirpa Loof”. The hoax was plain to see when you spell the name backwards.

> Also last year, two Russian pranksters came up with “Mark Zuckerberg x H&M” fashion line featuring the Facebook supremo’s signature grey tees and blue jeans.

> Closer to home, in 2014, 7-Eleven released an ad on its Facebook page promoting its newest Slurpee flavour – Nasi Lemak.
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Michelle Yeoh now a Commander of the Legion of Honour.

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: International movie star Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh is now a Commander of the Legion of Honour.

The Ipoh-born actress was conferred the title, the highest honour available to a non-French citizen, by French President François Hollande during a ceremony at the official residence of the French Ambassador here Tuesday evening.

The National Order of the Legion of Honour (Legion d’Honneur) is the highest decoration in France and rewards men and women, French or foreigners, for their exemplary services rendered to France or to the causes supported by France.

Established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, it is divided into five ranks: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).

Yeoh, 54, was first awarded the Chevalier title in 2007, and subsequently the Officer in 2012.

Other Malaysians who have been awarded the Commander title are the Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin when he was the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

Yeoh flew back for the ceremony from Toronto, where she is filming the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery TV series, in which she plays Captain Georgiou of the starship Shenzhou.

The new series will air later this year.

Yeoh studied dance and martial arts before being crowned Miss Malaysia/World in 1983, which led to a commercial with action star Jackie Chan and then a film career in Hong Kong.

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Cooperation From All Quarters Vital To Cultivate Interest On STEM – Mary Yap

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

News Pic

KOTA BHARU, March 26 (Bernama) — The cooperation of all quarters is vital in instilling passion and creating awareness among students on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching.

She said such a cooperation could be implemented via the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) initiative where the relevant quarters in education would work together to plan and carry out activities, in order to achieve the objective.

“The country is facing a shortage of students who are keen on science and technology (subjects) at the school level, and the impact can be felt at the tertiary level.

“The objective of the country is to have a 60:40 ratio between science and non-science (stream) students, and this requires great efforts from all parties including the educators, parents and the society as a whole,” she told reporters after launching the Kelantan Chapter of the National STEM Movement, here today.

Also present were Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) deputy vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Che Omar, who is also UMK Chapter National Professors Council (MPN) chairman; National STEM Movement chairman Prof Datuk Dr Noraini Idris; and State Education director Jaafar Ismail.


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Sabah’s oldest book store is closing

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The oldest bookshop in Sabah – Tung Nan Book Store at Gaya Street – is closing on March 31 after in business for more than half a century.

“We can no longer compete with the bookshops in shopping malls,” said Winnie Fung, the owner of Tung Nan Book Store which was established by the late George Wong in 1952, a couple of years before the Federation of Malaya gained independence.

Tung Nan Book Store was previously located at No. 1, South Road, Jesselton West Coast, British North Borneo, the site where the old Sabah State Library was, behind the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) building, before the premises was relocated to its present address at Gaya Street.

“My father-in-law (George) and his wife both came from China.

“They were both teachers – George in sports while his wife was in music,” Winnie, now in her 70s, said when met at the bookshop.

George and his wife had two sons and two daughters. Winnie’s husband, Edward, now 82, is the youngest child.

“When he was not at school, my husband would help his father out at the bookshop.”

Edward and Winnie were married in 1966 and have six children together. She quit her nursing job to take care of her children and started helping out at the bookshop in 1986 as her kids grew older.

Winnie said Tung Nan Book Store was one of the first bookshops to bring in English books published in England.

“In the 1960s, officials from the Education Department asked why the bookshop did not sell English books.

“My husband told them that that was because no one had recommended English books to him.”

The Education Department subsequently sponsored Tung Nan Book Store and Tim & Ad owners to a book fair in London where they were introduced to a variety of English books.

“They were the first batch (of booksellers) to join the book fair in England,” she said.

As a result, Winnie said Tung Nan Book Store gradually began importing English books published by Longman and Oxford, among others, from its supplier in Singapore and later, from Peninsular Malaysia.

“In the 1980s, we supplied books to a lot of places, including Sandakan, Tawau and Kudat.”

The bookshop also sells imported vintage game sets, such as Jackpot Yahtzee, Hexago new colour matching domino game, poker game, wooden blocks and wood puzzles which dated back to the 1980s.

Winnie said many old customers who got wind of the bookshop’s impending closure had turned up recently.

“A customer in his 60s said his father used to bring him here to buy books.

“Some told me that they used to come here to read comic books.”

Winnie said her husband wished to keep the business going but their children thought  it would be best to venture into other line of business instead as they can no longer compete with the bookshops in shopping malls.

by Chok Sim Yee.

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Malaysia slips a point in TI’s corruption index.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia dropped one point in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2016.

It is now ranked 55 among 176 countries, with a score of 49 out of 100.

In 2015, Malaysia was ranked 54 out of 168 countries, with a score of 50.

TI-Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar (pix) said the one-point drop “is not much” as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), under new leadership, has proven its effectiveness in tackling high profile cases last year.

“It has been doing very well. The raids by MACC also saw its officers seizing millions of ringgit, apart from arresting high-profile figures,” Akhbar told a press conference Wednesday.

He stressed that the MACC also needs to pay attention to “corrupt politicians” in order to improve the country’s CPI ranking and score.


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