Friday, 31 March 2017

BUKIT LANJAN: Hello, what happened to ‘super efficient’ kiasu Singapore at Changi!

Not so efficient after all …

BUKIT LANJAN: Hello, what happened to ‘super efficient’ kiasu Singapore at Changi!

If it happened at KLIA, all hell would have broken loose among political doomsayers and they will be baying for the resignation of the Transport Minister.

It must be most embarrassing for Changi and Singapore to stomach such a slip up, thereby denting aviation safety at the so-called world’s best international airport.

Two aircraft, Scoot and Emirates, were involved in a minor collision on Changi’s tarmac, grounding both jets. No one was injured in the collision.

“What happened to super efficient Singaporeans? Obviously something had gone wrong with Changi’s ground aviation control for such a collision to happen,” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff said.

He said humans were prone to making mistakes and “it is therefore not necessary to look up at Singaporeans’ ‘super efficient’ image as a global standard.

“Likewise, it is also best to view mistakes with positive criticisms, not with negative and hostile emotions,” he added.

Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said “there is a lesson to learn for both state and federal governments”.

“Rectify weaknesses and learn from mistakes to improve administrations. It is counter productive to press the denial mode, try to hide or offer excuses for boo boos.

“Just admit and rectify mistakes. That boosts public confidence in public administrations,” he said, adding that responding positively to public complaints is what an efficient administration projects.

Here’s a news report on the “Changi jet collision” posted by The Star Online:


Home > News > Regional

Thursday, 30 March 2017 | MYT 4:06 PM

Scoot, Emirates planes involved in minor collision at Changi Airport

An Emirates plane and a Scoot aircraft came into contact at Changi Airport in the early hours of March 30, 2017.
SINGAPORE: A Scoot airliner and an Emirates plane hit each other in the early hours of Thursday at Changi Airport.

A Scoot spokesman said flight TZ188, bound for Tianjin, China, was taxiing before take-off when the accident happened at 1.40am. All 303 passengers and 11 crew were safe and put on a replacement aircraft for a rescheduled flight at around 6am.

Scoot is a Singaporean low-cost long-haul airline owned by Singapore Airlines.

The spokesman said the left wing of the Scoot plane came into contact with the Emirates aircraft. The damaged plane is undergoing repairs.

"We are working with the relevant authorities to investigate the cause of the incident," she said.

The Emirates Airbus 380, flight EK405, was bound for Dubai when the incident occurred.

A spokesman for the airline said that the plane was "slightly damaged" and will need repairs.

As a result, all affected passengers have been rebooked on alternative flights.

She said: "Emirates apologises for any inconvenience caused. However, the safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance."

A spokesman for Changi Airport Group said the airport is working with relevant authorities to investigate the incident. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network


Thursday, 30 March 2017

BUKIT LANJAN: War against drug abuse, trafficking not just about enforcement and punishments …

A total of 131,841 drug addicts have been registered in Malaysia between January 2010 and February this year, said the Home Ministry. - NST File Pic

BUKIT LANJAN: War against drug abuse, trafficking not just about enforcement and punishments …

For decades Malaysia and the rest of the world have been waging a seemingly losing war against drug abuse.

The latest development is the National Anti-Drugs Agency (Nada)’s effort to draft a National Drugs Policy strategic plan to comprehensively tackle the serious issue of drug abuse in the country.

“For decades we have been fighting drug abuse and drug trafficking but the scourge continues to haunt communities and nations unabated.

“Why is that so? Perhaps we must start identifying the root causes of drug abuse and trafficking,” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff said.

He said the revelation in Parliament that the war on drugs was now aimed at reaching out to high-risk communities.

“So, I assume the authorities, like the police and Nada, already know who, where and what are the high-risk communities. If so, why did they not tackle the root causes of the drug scourge in such communities?

“Why is drug abuse so prevalent in such communities? And, according to what Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed revealed in Parliament, coastal fishing communities as well as those living in Felda, Felcra and hardcore poor housing schemes will be targeted by anti-drug enforcement agencies.

“He (Nur Jazlan) says those living in those areas are considered high risk and enforcement agencies will target 178 areas. Have we found out why are such areas high risk?

“Enforcement is one thing. But to truly eradicate drug abuse, we must identify the causes of such high drug abuse in such communities and take immediate remedial measures and actions,” he added.

Blessed with a large compound, inmates at Tao Yuan Drug Rehabilitation Centre can plant the vegetables they like to eat and at the same time enjoy the therapeutic activity. - The Star
Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said after decades of enforcement, including the death penalty for drug trafficking, “it is clear we must review, revise and innovate our strategy in the war against drug abuse and trafficking”.

“The conventional and traditional way of fighting drug abuse and trafficking is obviously ineffective. Therefore, Nada should not just target and enforce the law and punishments in the high risk areas. That must include schools and institutions of higher learning.

“Identify the root causes and tackle them immediately. And that includes effective rehabilitation programmes and even relocation of communities,” he added.

Here are two reports posted by The Star Online:

"Nada to draft policy as guideline in war against drugs


New Straits Times

March 21, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Anti-Drugs Agency (Nada) will be drafting a National Drugs Policy strategic plan to comprehensively tackle the serious issue of drug abuse in the country, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said today.

Nur Jazlan (BN-Pulai) said the policy will serve as the main reference point and guideline in the government’s war against drugs.

"The government had, on March 10, agreed that the policy will be the main reference point.

"(It) has five main thrusts, namely prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, enforcement, reduction in injury, and international cooperation," he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Nur Jazlan was responding to a question from Datuk Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir (BN-Kulim) on the latest statistics on drug addicts, as well as the number of drug-related arrests in 2015 and 2016.

Abd Aziz also asked about measures being taken to prevent the spread of drug abuse.

Nur Jazlan said Nada's latest statistics, until Sept 2016, showed that 30,846 addicts were arrested, compared to 26,626 in 2015.


Home > News > Nation

Wednesday, 22 March 2017
War on drugs to reach high-risk communities

COASTAL fishing communities as well as those living in Felda, Felcra and hardcore poor housing schemes will be targeted by anti-drug enforcement agencies.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said this was because those living in these areas were considered high risk.

“There are 178 areas which are of high risk and need to be cleaned up in the all-out war against drugs,” he said in reply to Datuk Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir (BN-Kulim Bandar Baru).

The number of drug addicts, he said, had also risen to 30,846 last year from 26,668 in 2015.

Asked if there should be a change in the policy on drugs since a campaign launched last year had failed to reduce the number of addicts, Nur Jazlan said adjustments had been made.

Police, he said, would now be entrusted to solely deal with drug traffickers while the National Anti-Drugs Agency would be handling matters involving addicts.

However, Nur Jazlan disagreed with Abdul Aziz’s suggestion to reclassify the drug problem as a health issue, as done in Europe and South America.

“The West and the others have given up on the war against drugs and are taking the easy way out,” he said. He added that decriminalising ganja would not solve the drug problem."


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

BUKIT LANJAN: Budding young Malay entrepreneurs told to seize business and trade opportunities in OBOR’s Shaanxi

BUKIT LANJAN: Budding young Malay entrepreneurs told to seize business and trade opportunities in OBOR’s Shaanxi

China’s Shaanxi Province in the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative offers vast opportunities for Malaysian entrepreneurs to venture into and tap for trade and business.
Shaanxi’s economic attraction is unique because it is also home to five major Muslim territories.

“It is, therefore, a huge market potential for Muslim businesses to go into joint-ventures for all types of business, be it food or industries,” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff said.

Speaking on the sidelines at the China (Shaanxi) Enterprise Economy and Tourism Cooperation Conference, Syed Razak urged Malaysian entrepreneurs, especially young Malays, to always look out for both domestic and international trade and business opportunities.

“Budding young Malay entrepreneurs should not fear venturing into and seizing economic and business ventures. Learn to be brave and think big.

“Economic and business graduates should be able to understand the mechanics of entrepreneurship, business and trade. Venture in as groups.

“Don’t be greedy and chew too much alone and choke yourself. Pool your resources, talent and brains. Be strategic and innovative as a group of entrepreneurs.

“Business loans are available from commercial banks and the federal government for budding young Malay entrepreneurs,” he added.

Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said as Malaysia strove to achieve developed nation status, Malaysian entrepreneurs must move from the domestic to the international arena.

“This will help Malaysia greatly in the country’s balance of payments as the profits from foreign business and trade JVs will eventually return home,” he added.

Syed Razak urged Malaysian entrepreneurs in Bukit Lanjan to seriously pool their talent as a group to venture into business and trade ventures overseas.

“Use your knowledge and theory after graduation. Pool your natural talents and venture into business and trade. Do not be a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’.

“Accountants, lawyers, masters in business administration, etc can get together in JVs for business and trade. That should make groups more efficient and competent in decision-making,” he added.

Malaysia-China Silk Route Business Chamber president Ong Tee Keat posted this in his B.R.E.A.D (Facebook):

"Biz opportunities for Malaysians in OBOR’s Shaanxi

KUALA LUMPUR (Wed, March 29, 2017): China’s fastest growing Shaanxi Province multi-trillion-ringgit economy features rich resources, high technology and education, modern agriculture and tourism.

“Malaysians, including budding bumiputra entrepreneurs, must seriously consider tapping and venturing into Shaanxi’s potential business and entrepreneur opportunities,” Malaysia-China Silk Route Business Chamber president Tan Sri Ong Tee Keat said.

He said Shaanxi was the gateway to North-West China and was also home to five major Muslim territories.

“Shaanxi is, therefore, not only just a huge potential for business ventures and opportunities, it is also waiting for Malaysians to penetrate the Muslim market,” he said in his address at the China (Shaanxi) Enterprise Economy and Tourism Cooperation Conference.

Ong told some 400 businessmen and traders to go into joint-ventures with Shaanxi by marketing their competitive edge, complementing the bigger economic provinces in China.

“It is time to offer our ability, resources, economic and cultural traits as Shaanxi is aggressively exploring greater market share in Malaysia.

“Shaanxi is a land-locked province. Malaysia is a maritime country that can offer its natural resources to trade and forge joint-ventures (JVs),” he added.

Shaanxi is a province in China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative, a development strategy and framework mooted by Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping.

OBOR focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries between the People's Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia, comprising the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and oceangoing Maritime Silk Road (MSR).

The strategy is China’s latest push to seize a bigger role in global affairs, and its need for priority capacity cooperation in areas such as steel manufacturing.

It was unveiled in September and October 2013 in announcements revealing the SREB and MSR, respectively. It was also promoted by Premier Li Keqiang during a state visit in Asia and Europe.

And Malaysia’s proposed RM55 billion East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) is in line to facilitate and drive trade with OBOR.

ECRL is thus set to be OBOR’s rail connectivity not only from Malaysia but also Singapore.

At the one-day conference, the Shaanxi provincial government outlined six economic development features for Malaysian investors to go into JVs. They are:

> Energy and Chemical Industry;

> Modern Manufacturing Industry;

> Aerospace Industry;

> Electronic Industry;

> Modern Agriculture; and

> China (Shaanxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone that is planned to further boost OBOR economic activities.

- B.R.E.A.D (Facebook)"


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

BUKIT LANJAN: When one-bedroom flats cost almost RM6 million each …

BUKIT LANJAN: When one-bedroom flats cost almost RM6 million each …

For the past decade or two, Malaysians have been crying out protests for affordable housing.

The price of houses have shot up nationwide due to rising cost of construction materials and land prices.

“That is expected in a developing nation which is striving to achieve developed nation status. But the housing prices in the not so urban and even rural places have also become unreasonably high,” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak.

He said it was only natural for property prices to go up due to land scarcity and property development in urban cities like Kuala Lumpur and The Klang Valley, Johor Baru, Penang Island, Seremban and Malacca.

“But prices of houses in the outskirts and not so urban towns have also shot up beyond the reach of majority of Malaysians. Why? I must say it is partly due to profiteering,” he added.

Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said it was not surprising to read a news report that “a one-bedroom flat is costing more than HK$10 million (RM5.68 million) after discounts in Hong Kong”.

“Hong Kong is an island, just like Singapore and Penang Island. Land is scarce on islands. It is only natural for the price of property to go up beyond the reach of the average wage earner.

“I guess that is the price of wanting to develop a country to developed nation status. However, the ridiculous profiteering of developers in the not so urban and rural areas are intolerable and unreasonable,” he added.

Syed Razak said, in this respect, both the state and federal governments, need to be extremely pro-active to help ease the housing woes and needs of the majority of rakyat, especially those who don’t own any house.

“If developers refuse to price their houses reasonably, don’t buy from them. There is no need to force yourself into desperation and to desperately buy houses.

“The developers themselves will feel the pinch, and a real painful one, if there are no takers or buyers. Be smart and wait patiently for better offers.

“It will come. All it takes is patience and time,” he added.

Meanwhile, those who need affordable homes can register with the governments and wait patiently. “Only the state and federal governments have the ability to ‘fight’ private developers.”

Syed Razak also urged both state and federal governments to emulate the Singapore government in managing the housing needs of its citizens.

He pointed out that with improved road infrastructure and links from rural to urban cities, “Malaysians should also not be too choosy or worry too much about locality”.

“As long as there is reasonable road access and public transport from a housing estate to the towns and cities, start a home there first.

“The upgrade will come with improved income in the future,” he added.

Here’s a South China Morning Post news report posted by The Star Online for you to chew at:


Home > News > Regional

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 | MYT 3:19 PM

One-bedroom flats in Hong Kong going for almost RM6mil – after discounts

HONG KONG: New World Development and Vanke Property (Overseas) have offered the last 64 units at their joint venture residential project in Tsuen Wan here with a one-bedroom flat costing more than HK$10mi (RM5.68mil) after discounts.

The 421 sq ft unit on the 57th floor of the Pavilia Bay development, commands a full sea view and was being offered at HK$11.79mil RM6.70mil), or HK$28,021 (RM15,936) per sq ft on Monday.

Once a 14.5% discount kicks in, the price will drop to HK$24,000 (RM13,649) per sq ft.

The price will set a record for a one-bedroom flat in the New Territories area of Hong Kong, said agents.

The average discounted price for the 64 sea-view units was HK$19,503 (RM11,091) per sq ft.

Meanwhile, Poly Property Group, the Hong Kong-listed arm of state-owned China Poly Group, released another 108 units at the Vibe Centro project at Kai Tak – the site of the city’s former airport – at higher prices after generating a strong response over the weekend.

The flats, ranging in size from 228 sq ft to 1,146 sq ft, are being offered at HK$5.48mi (RM3.11 mil) to HK$35.59mil (RM20.24mil), or HK$21,649 (RM12,314) per sq ft to HK$31,063 (RM17,669) per sq ft.

Developers have raised prices after Sun Hung Kai Properties sold all 621 units at the Cullinan West development atop Nam Cheong MTR station over two weekends. The project also saw more than 14,000 prospective buyers registering for the first batch of 321 units. - South China Morning Post"


Monday, 27 March 2017

BUKIT LANJAN: Either it’s mandatory death or not, no discretion please!

BUKIT LANJAN: Either it’s mandatory death or not, no discretion please!

(UPDATED: Gallows await 1,122)

The Cabinet’s review of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow judges to use their discretion in sentencing offenders instead of imposing the mandatory death sentence is certainly disturbing.

Disturbing because discretionary powers mean it is open to abuse and is also subject to weaknesses.

“It is either mandatory or not. No discretion. Why must a judge, who is after all human, allowed to decide on the life of a drug trafficker?” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff asked.

He said despite the death penalty, the drug abuse menace continues to grow and cripple communities and society, drug trafficking continues to thrive and flourish.

“There is still no fear in many drug pushers and traffickers despite the death penalty. Imagine what will become of the drug abuse problem if the death penalty is removed,” he added.

Syed Razak said no doubt the death penalty for drug traffickers was “cruel” but “isn’t it more cruel to defend drug pushers and traffickers who harm our children, communities and society?”

He said the death penalty for drug trafficking should either stay or be removed. Or the amount of drugs that constitute drug trafficking be raised slightly so that normal users/petty pushers are not given the death sentence.

"The big time drug lords who finance and bring in drugs by the kilos are mostly hidden and do not face the brunt of Malaysia's mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking," he added.

(Any person who is found in possession of:

1. 15 grammes or more in weight of heroin;

2. 15 grammes or more in weight of morphine;

3. 15 grammes or more in weight of monoacetylmorphines;

1. a total of 15 grammes or more in weight of heroin, morphine and monoacetylmorphines or a total of 15 grammes or more in weight of any two of the said dangerous drugs;

4. 1,000 grammes or more in weight of prepared opium;

5. 1,000 grammes or more in weight of raw opium;

1. a total of 1,000 grammes or more in weight or prepared opium and raw opium;

6. 200 grammes or more in weight of cannabis;

7. 200 grammes or more in weight of cannabis resin;

8. a total of 200 grammes or more in weight of cannabis and cannabis resin; otherwise than in accordance with the authority of this Act or any other written law, shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be trafficking in the said drug;

9. 40 grammes or more in weight of cocaine; or

10. 2,000 grammes or more in weight of coca leaves,

otherwise than in accordance with the authority of this Act or any other written law shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be trafficking in the said drug."

“No discretionary powers, please! Discretion opens the door to abuse and weaknesses. It may even breed corruption in the judiciary and may even cause racial misunderstandings when one race is sentenced to hang but another is not.

“If one is found carrying more than an amount of drugs that constitutes drug trafficking, just hang him or her. Why the discretion?

“If it is deemed cruel, then do away with the death penalty. No discretion, please,” he added.

Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said “we are already seeing so much confusion in judicial decisions and the meting out of punishments”.

“A mother who steals a can of baby milk powder is jailed two years. But a man who steals millions of ringgit may even get a lesser jail term. That’s discretion?”

He reiterated that the Cabinet should refrain from making changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 that would cast doubts and confusion in implementation and enforcement.

“Just decide whether you want to make it mandatory to hang the scumbags or not. If not, remove the death penalty. No discretion please. It is just seen as unfair when decisions and punishments are meted out,” he added.

On another note, Syed Razak said, drug abuse is a disease that needs to be treated via methadone replacement therapy, religious and moral counselling and also some strict disciplinary regiment.

"Thus, it would be wiser to raise the amount of drugs in possession to constitute drug trafficking to deserve the mandatory death penalty but not to allow judge the discretion," he added.

Here are three news reports posted by The Star Online and online news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT):


Home > News > Nation

Friday, 24 March 2017

Judges may be allowed more discretion in sentencing drug traffickers

THE Cabinet has agreed to review the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow judges to use their discretion in senten cing offenders instead of imposing the mandatory death sentence.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the review will enable judges to mete suitable sentences in marginal cases where offenders could be given jail sentences.

Azalina said the review was presented to the Cabinet on March 1 by Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

“The Cabinet has agreed to an amendment of Section 39(B) of theDangerous Drugs Act 1952 to include the additional clause to provide discretionary powers to the courts when sentencing, apart from the mandatory death penalty, for drug trafficking.

“As such, the ministry as well as relevant agencies will prepare a Cabinet Ministers Memorandum together with a recommendation to amend the Act for the consideration and approval of the Cabinet,” said Azalina during the winding-up speech on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address yesterday.

She said the implementation had to be done through the legal process, and added that many countries had also made changes on the death penalty.

“However, some countries like the United States of America, China, India, Singapore and Thailand have retained the death penalty as a punish ment for serious offences.”

Ramkarpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) had asked if the move could have a retrospective review on pending death penalty cases, if approved.

Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) also asked if there could be a moratorium in place on pending cases until the Act was amended.

To this, Azalina said it was too soon to say as the matter was still at an early stage and there were many other processes to go through before a decision could be made.

Azalina also said that according to Prison Department statistics, there are almost 800 prisoners on death row for drug trafficking offences under Section 39(B). - The Star Online

Malaysian Bar: Halt all executions now

FMT Reporters

| March 25, 2017

Lawyers’ body wants government to abolish death penalty for all crimes following Cabinet decision to review mandatory death sentence in the Dangerous Drugs Act.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar has called on the government to declare a moratorium on all pending executions.

This follows a decision by the Cabinet to amend Section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to include an additional clause providing discretionary powers to the courts in sentencing drug traffickers.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said studies had shown that there was no conclusive evidence of the death penalty having deterrent value, particularly in respect to drug offences.

“It is prudent and just that the decision regarding whether to impose the death penalty be left to the discretion of the judge,” he said in a statement today.

He said in light of the imminent amendments, the council was renewing its call to the government not to carry out executions in the interest of justice and fairness.

“It is only right that when the reforms come into effect, they should be applied retrospectively,” he said.

On March 23, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said announced the decision following a presentation to the Cabinet by Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali.

She said she had directed the Solicitor-General to expedite the drafting of the necessary legislative amendments.

Varughese said the death penalty should be ended for all crimes. “The Malaysian Bar calls upon the government to act swiftly to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, and to uphold the right to life, which is absolute, universal and inalienable,” he said.

“There are also provisions for the imposition of the mandatory death penalty in the Penal Code and Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, and of the discretionary death penalty in the Kidnapping Act 1961,” he noted.

He stressed the Bar’s stand that the death penalty was an “extreme, abhorrent and inhumane punishment” irrespective of the crime committed.

Varughese said judges were currently prohibited from considering mitigating factors and circumstances that surrounded each case before sentencing.

“Such mitigating factors can include, and are not limited to, the offender’s age, rehabilitation goals, past criminal record, role played in the offence, mental capacity, reparations made, fear of another person, use of violence, harm done to property or persons, and degree of cooperation with the authorities,” he said. - FMT


Home > News > Nation

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Gallows await 1,122

THERE are about 1,122 prisoners on death row nationwide as of Feb 21, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He was quoting Prisons Department statistics in a written reply to Kasthuri Patto (DAP-Batu Kawan).

The MP had asked Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, to reveal how many prisoners were facing the gallows.

The Deputy Prime Minister also said that 16 prisoners were executed between 2014 and Feb 21, and 14 of them were Malaysians.

“They were hanged for murder while one case involved a firearms offence,” he said.

Last week, the Cabinet agreed to review the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow judges to use their discretion when sentencing instead of requiring them to impose the mandatory death sentence.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said that the review would enable judges to mete out suitable sentences in marginal cases where the offenders could be given jail terms.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also said police investigations revealed that a baby-for-sale syndicate has been selling infants for between RM3,500 and RM6,700 each since 2012.

He said the syndicate was uncovered by an Al-Jazeera documentary, Malaysia-Babies For Sale.

In a written reply to Sim Tze Tzin (PKR-Bayan Baru), he said the investigations focused on human traffickers, a doctor and a government officer, under the Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act.

He said six suspects – two men and four women – were arrested in raids on two private clinics in Klang, a private clinic in Puchong and four homes in Seremban and Selangor on Nov 30 last year.

Two more suspects, an Indonesian man and woman, were detained on Dec 3 last year.

“It was found that the sale of babies had started in 2012 and went on until September last year.

The investigations are still ongoing he added. - The Star Online


Sunday, 26 March 2017

BUKIT LANJAN:Preparing for disruptive technology and cyberspace with Jack Ma

The Star Online Pic

BUKIT LANJAN: Preparing for disruptive technology and cyberspace with Jack Ma

It’s enlightening to note that Malaysia is moving to prepare its workforce for disruptive tehnology and cyberspace.

And, that is what it was all about when Prime Minister Najib Razak and Alibaba founder Jack Ma launched the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff said disruptive technology had unfolded since the advent of the digital era.

“Disruptive technology is really a very wide term that covers everything about digital development or technological advancement.

“It is only in recent years that the tech industry has started stressing on the need to address disruptive technology issues to adapt to lifestyle evolution,” he added.

“To simplify the understanding of disruptive technology, the banking industry is most appropriate. The banking services and industry in the 60s and 70s, and today are completely different.

“We don’t have to queue up so often at counters for the services of banking staff. We don’t have to pay for goods and services with just cash only.

“Credit cards have changed our spending style, likewise banks had also to adapt to changes, revolutionising its marketing and services to suit the credit card needs of its clients.

“And now, we are seeing the use of digital wallets and handphones to transact payments digitally. This will also affect banking services and the need to update or evolve its marketing and services strategy.

“That’s how disruptive technology can be, in the nutshell or for understanding simplicity,” he added.

Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said Malaysians and Malaysia would be left far behind if it did not move to tackle or address the ever global evolving era of disruptive technology.

This also raises the question of digital security of transactions.

“Malaysians are acknowledged as amongst the most attached society to their digital devices and cyberspace. The bad news is Malaysia is also the sixth most vulnerable to cybercrime.

“This is not to say that Malaysians are idiots. They are simply blinded and dazed by greed. They easily fall prey to scams because greed makes them believe all the promises of money and wealth being strung up by internet cheats,” he added.

Syed Razak said: “If only Malaysians stop believing all that is in the internet and be so trustworthy, then cyber cheating would be reduced.

“According to the Sophos Security Threat Report 2013, cyber criminals have hit Malaysia to the tune of RM1 billion in losses. The report listed Malaysia along with several countries, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, China, India and Indonesia.”

National news agency Bernama had quoted Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Jailani Johari as saying Malaysians were also facing threats from international criminal organisations which abuse the internet for activities such as drugs, human trafficking, financial fraud and money laundering.

Jailani had revealed that cybercrime in the country increased to 10,636 cases in 2013, from 9,986 cases the previous year.

He said statistics from the Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT) showed incidents on malicious codes had the highest increase with 1,106 more cases recorded in 2013, from 645 cases in 2012.

While the digital technology has turned earth into a borderless world and a haven for lightning information access, thus inflicting a slow death on print media information (another disruptive example by technology to lifestyle), internet users need to seriously stay alert and be wary of misinformation when in cyberspace.

This also means a much more competent disruptive technology workforce is needed for Malaysia to progress digitally in cyberworld.

Digital marketing icons that change/disrupt lifestyle

Here are three The Star Online postings for more information and understanding of Malaysia's push for a digital economy:


Home > News > Nation

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Malaysia to create pool of talent for tech-driven future


PETALING JAYA: With more jobs at risk of being “replaced” in the near future by the advancement of technology, Malaysia is set to nurture a “digital workforce”.

To tackle the challenges of disruptive technology – advances that replace and make existing tech obsolete – steps to build industry-relevant talent are to be carried out this year.

This digital workforce, a labour pool that integrates technology to connect all elements of the supply chain, is tailored to meet the digital economy’s demands.

Upskilling the future’s young, undergraduate and professional talents will ensure employability in a soft economy where workers are threatened by disruptive technology.

By working with schools, institutes of higher learning and digital tech sector, the holistic move would create a sustainable pipeline of digital workers, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

“We want to create 10 premier higher learning institutes for digital tech and simplify the approval process for such courses.

“Some 1,000 undergraduates and graduates will get industry placements this year. This is on top of the 500 spots for SPM leavers keen on matrix and pre-uni digital tech courses,” she said, adding that 200 scholarship commitments have already been secured for the students.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Alibaba founder Jack Ma launched the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

Mooted by Najib under Budget 2017, the DFTZ would create 60,000 jobs, a new Kuala Lumpur Internet City to house 10,000 Internet firms, and 25,000 tech professionals in Bandar Malaysia.

Allocations from the Human Resources Development Fund would be used to develop critical ICT skills as part of the Digital Talent Strategic Intervention Roadmap for a sustainable industry-led development model, Yasmin said.

“Disruptive technology may force corporations to tap into a talent pool with tech skills but it doesn’t mean that corporations have started reducing their workforce. The numbers have instead increased, especially for tech-skilled workers like graphic designers, data analysts and data engineers.

“With such demand, our youths must embrace the trend and start looking at acquiring tech skills to remain relevant,” she said.

National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) chairman Chin Chee Seong said disruptive technology improved the way things were done.

“We must start preparing the country’s future leaders to be on par with our Asean counterparts and ride the challenges it brings to the workforce,” Chin said.

On Feb 23, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) warned that the introduction of disruptive technology in a weak economy would result in more people getting axed from their jobs this year due to the current economic challenges.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said multi-skilling and multi-tasking were needed for more efficient use of human resource.

“This will lead to greater productivity and competitiveness. The Government must invest in building and developing skills linked to science, technology and design, so that our talent can work alongside machines, and be augmented, not replaced, by technology,” Shamsuddin said.

On March 12, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh told Sunday Star that public varsity lecturers would be sent to various companies, including technology-driven organisations, for industry exposure so they could experience disruptive technology in the real world. - The Star Online


Home > News > Nation

Sunday, 26 March 2017
The Jack Ma factor


Poignant figure: Ma presenting during the Transformation Masterclass II session at the Global Transformation Forum 2017.
THE buzzword that kept everyone excited at the recent Global Transformation Forum (GTF) 2017 was “Jack Ma”.

The 1.5m tall Alibaba founder and executive chairman was clearly the main draw at the two-day event in Kuala Lumpur, with the who’s who of Malaysian industries glued to their seats in anticipation of what he had to say.

Many might dwarf Ma physically, but they were all in awe of f China’s e-commerce giant, murmuring in agreement and astonishment throughout his talk.

Ma, 52, set up Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, in his apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, with 18 other friends in 1999.

Today, Alibaba Group generates an annual gross merchandise volume (GMV) of US$580bil (RM2.5tril) – placing it at the 21st position on the list of countries by GDP – with a goal of achieving one trillion dollars by 2020.

Clad in a simple white shirt with sleeves folded up to his elbow at the hour-long talk, the charismatic figure was very humble about his success, stressing that he was not the brightest, and had made mistakes and failed many times.

“I spent seven years in primary school while normal students took five years. I applied three times to get into university. I applied for 30 jobs but did not get one.

“When I tried to look for a job at KFC, 24 people went and 23 were hired. I was the only one who was not accepted. I also tried to be a policeman. Five classmates went and four were accepted, I was turned down,” he said.

But Ma said it was the rejection and failure that made him who he is today.

“Every setback, every time people refuse us, I take that as a training course,” he said.

During his talk, Ma constantly stressed the importance of having a good team and the need to groom and train talents within an organisation to ensure the success of a company.

And just like his speech at the launch of Malaysia’s Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) a day earlier alongside Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Ma emphasised on his notion of elevating small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and young people to greater heights using technology.

Speaking with a wry humour, Ma shared: “We are now in DT – not Donald Trump but Data Time. Asia and small businesses, especially countries with low information technology, it is the chance for us.”

Likening e-commerce to mere “dessert” for developed countries like the United States, Ma said it was the “main course” in China, where infrastructure for traditional retail lagged far behind, leaving much room for a new form of retail to emerge.

While the IT era gave birth to IBM, Sisco and the like in the West, Ma said Asia could ride on DT through mobile technology and machine learning.

Cautioning that machines can be smarter and more powerful than people, Ma said a lot of jobs would be replaced.

But that being said, a human being can always trump a machine with culture and values, so his advice is to change the way we teach our children.

“Education should focus on imagination, creativity and teamwork.

We should teach them music, sports. Sports make kids understand what is teamwork, music and painting make kids understand what is imagination and creativity.

“I believe the future is not about competition of knowledge, but wisdom and experience,” he said.

Ma described successful entrepreneurs like Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok and Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing as “social scientist plus artist”.

“You have to understand human beings, their behaviours and needs. You should be very artistic,” he said.

Ma’s English was fluent as he gave an articulate account of his experiences and opinions.

He won “cookie points” when he publicly applauded women for their indispensable role in the workforce for their caring nature.

In Alibaba, he said, close to half of the employees are female, who also represent 33% of senior management. More than half of the sellers on Alibaba’s online shopping sites are also women.

In November last year, Ma was named the digital economic adviser to the Malaysian Government when he met Najib in Beijing for the second time. The first was in 2014.

Ma said he did not expect to draw a salary from this role but saw the appointment as an honour.

Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, the Prime Minister’s special envoy to China who received Ma at the airport on Tuesday, found Ma to be friendly and humble despite his phenomenal success.

“He carries no airs. He acknowledges everyone watching him, including the airport staff and police officers, with a wave and a smile,” Ong said.

It was Ma’s first time in Kuala Lumpur after a visit to Langkawi some time back, and he seemed impressed with the capital city.

He told guests at the DFTZ launch that he was inspired by Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor in 1996 when he was building his Internet business.

“It made me think ... hmm, that country has a great idea about the digital world,” he said.

Najib was noticeably relaxed and jovial at the launch event, in contrast to his seriousness at the GTF that morning.

To create a casual vibe that is the “cool” thing of IT business, both of them were not wearing ties – at Ma’s suggestion, according to Ong.

“Najib and Ma seemed to have very good chemistry. They share similar points of view on inclusivity, assisting SMEs, and improving GDP,” Ong explained on how the two hit it off. At the GTF talk, Ma said he was happy to see young faces in the crowd, advising them to design their own future and focus on the double H: health and happiness.

The question of retirement also inevitably cropped up.

For someone who lives a hectic life and spent 800 hours in air travel last year, Ma said he dreams of “retiring and dying” on a beach, and not in the office.

“Life is not only about Alibaba. There are so many interesting things that I don’t have time to enjoy, so I will never go back to the company and criticise the young people like a stepfather,” he said.

Perhaps, we might get to see Ma getting a tan on the lovely tropical beaches in Malaysia when he decides to call it a day! - The Star Online


Home > News > Nation

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Push for digitising Malaysia


Joint force: Najib with (from left) Maybank group chief strategy officer Michael Foong, group technology officer Mohd Suhail Amar Suresh, Ma, Ant Financial Services Group chairman Lucy Peng and senior vice-president Douglas Feagin at the Digital Free Trade Zone memorandum of understanding exchange ceremony.
For the country, which is developing a digital economy as a new source of growth for its gross domestic product (GDP), this project promises to generate trade worth RM286bil by 2025.

WHEN launching Malaysia’s digital free trade zone (DFTZ) jointly with Alibaba Group’s founder Jack Ma last Wednesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s opening remark was: “Today is a special day for Malaysia”.

Indeed, it was not only a special day for Malaysia, it was also a day of triumph and pride for the PM – spotted smiling throughout the tech-inundated dazzling ceremony.

To Malaysia, which is developing a digital economy as a new source of growth for its gross domestic product (GDP), this project promises to generate trade worth RM286bil by 2025.

Within the next eight years, the DFTZ – mooted by Najib late last year – is expected to create 60,000 direct and indirect jobs for Malaysia and double the export growth of small and medium enterprises (SME).

By pushing for this DFTZ – the first e-free trade zone outside China – Malaysia can herd SMEs, micro businesses, warehousing facilities and logistics firms into one place, and increase trade with the world.

'There is no shortcut on the journey to digital transformation. It requires completely different skill sets and attitudes, as well as greater expectations among the stakeholders.' - Lee Heng Guie
For the local economy, there is now a new impetus of growth. With the DFTZ, the digital economy is expected to contribute 20% to the GDP in 2020, up from initial target of 18.2%. In fact, the digital economy is seen as the way forward to spur immediate growth.

For the Prime Minister, the mere presence of Alibaba Group’s founder Jack Ma at the launch the DFTZ was a personal achievement and honour. This is the man that the whole world wants to partner with now.

Najib met with this legendary e-commerce wizard in Beijing last November and both agreed that Malaysia should launch the e-zone soon, after Ma agreed to be Malaysia’s adviser. Ma gave Najib a timeline of four months “to make it happen”.

For Najib, the excitement was also to see Ma bringing along four CEOs and 16 Chinese logistics companies, whose combined business in the delivery of goods and parcels account for 43% of global logistics business.

“This is by far the largest entourage Ma Yun (Jack’s Chinese name) has brought along in his overseas tours. I sense the importance Alibaba is attaching to this country,” said a senior journalist in Ma’s media entourage.

Indeed, it was most exhilarating for the PM – whose voice refused to betray him – when he learnt that even US President Donald Trump could not match his charm.

When Ma met with the most powerful man in the world in the US in January, there were fewer Alibaba executives following him.

Pride was also written all over Najib’s face when Ma, who confessed he had originally thought the launch would not be held in time, said: “Malaysia is more efficient than I thought”.

In reply, the beaming PM said joyfully: “We have proven to you (Ma) and the world that the Malaysian government can make it happen within four months. I want to assure you I will drive this personally.”

The DFTZ will also see the creation of a new Kuala Lumpur Internet City (KLIC) in Bandar Malaysia and Catcha Group has been made the master developer.

The KLIC aims to house 1,000 internet-linked firms and 25,000 tech professionals, by taking up five million sq ft feet (464,515 sq m) built over 15 years.

Within Bandar Malaysia, Alibaba will also be occupying 500,000 sq ft (46,451 sq m) for the setting up of small businesses.

Involvement of Alibaba

After the extravaganza of video display and drum beatings, hard work has to follow to develop the digital economy, which effectively means an advanced form of Internet economy with more pervasive use of technology in life and business.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Hangzhou-based Alibaba have laid down their long-term plans, which can be completed in four to 14 years.

Among others, the DFTZ will help SMEs to export their products globally with ease and enable global marketplaces to source goods from local manufacturers.

Alibaba and its units are participating in four areas in the DFTZ: e-fulfilment hub, e-service platform, e-payment and financing, and e-talent development.

The e-fulfilment hub will be set up within KLIA Aeropolis in a 8ha (plus 36ha) of land given by the Malaysian government. This hub will facilitate smooth clearance of imports and exports, and thus faster delivery of products to consumers.

Alibaba’s units will work with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd to develop a regional e-commerce and logistics hub in KLIA Aeropolis.

The e-service platform here will be connected to Alibaba One Touch Platform, which will link Malaysia to Hangzhou’s Cross Border E-Commerce Pilot Zone to enable SMEs of the two nations to trade efficiently.

In e-payment and financing to facilitate business-to-business trades, Alibaba has signed pacts with Maybank and CIMB.

Leveraging on its cloud, big data and Internet of Things (IoT) technology, Alibaba’s e-talent development unit will help local entrepreneurs and startups to train and develop e-talents.

Founded in 1999, Alibaba is the world’s largest retail commerce company. Its businesses comprise core commerce, cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, innovation initiatives.

It is known for creating and operating the world’s largest one-day online shopping festival every year on Nov 11. Last year, it sold goods worth 120.7 billion yuan (about RM70bil) through Alipay.

First to come – Alipay

For Alibaba, the first step to digitising Malaysia is the introduction of its time-tested Alipay system.

“Malaysia should be a cashless society and your PM supports the idea. We want Alipay to be here, sooner and faster,” Ma told reporters at a press conference last Thursday.

If Malaysia acts to Ma’s expectations, its people will soon be using mobile phones to make payments at retail outlets, restaurants and hawker centres, instead of cash and credit cards.

And in ordering products online, delivery is within 72 hours.

And in future, even villagers – not just SMEs in urban areas – can prosper by selling their produce to the outside world.

Indeed, this development is taking place in some Chinese villages adopted by Tencent – China’s second largest Internet giant.

The PM is thrilled by the prospects that even orang asli and Penans in jungles could be financially inclusive with the new system. He said at the launch: “I am excited about this.”

Challenges ahead

But in terms of ICT infrastructure, Kuala Lumpur is seen as lagging behind Beijing by seven to eight years. Therefore, there is a lot to catch up.

To economist Lee Heng Guie, the most challenging task for Malaysia to digitise is to drive the development and adoption of cloud services, big data analytics and the IoT, which are the necessary enablers to catalyse economic digitalisation.

And Malaysia’s broadband must be reliable and have a wide coverage and speed, he adds.

Lee, who heads the Socio-Economic Research Centre, tells Sunday Star: “There is no shortcut on the journey to digital transformation. It requires completely different skill sets and attitudes, as well as greater expectations among the stakeholders.”

Within the country, the expected disruptions and loss of jobs in some sectors brought about by digitalisation may cause resistance.

While Alibaba has created 35 million jobs, it has also resulted in the closure of traditional businesses and loss of jobs. Many fashion outlets in China are facing this fate after the emergence of online shopping.

However, the digital economics is still acknowledged as an enormous and unstoppable force.

Ma acknowledged there are challenges ahead. He said: “The next four years are crucial”.

“The launch ceremony was good. The negotiations in the past four months were good. But there will be difficulties in implementing them,” said the frank tycoon, ranked by Forbes as the second richest in China with a nett worth of over US$29bil (RM128bil).

But Ma said he has confidence Malaysia’s DFTZ will succeed as the PM shares his vision of empowering SMEs and micro businesses. During this trip, Ma made several demands on Malaysia.

According to the PM, Ma said he only wanted to work with an efficient and result-oriented government, and the PM readily agreed to this condition.

But the senior journalist in Ma’s media team tells Sunday Star: “There is no doubt Alibaba has the sincerity and technology to help Malaysia, but the success of this digital plan will depend on the local politics and culture.”

For example, there may be a clash of cultures.

Alibaba has made it known that it has embraced a corporate culture of not engaging in corrupt practices in its dealings. Hence, the cooperation may see a red light if its business partners act otherwise.

At a transparency forum in Singapore last year, Ma shared his experience in firing a team of salesmen guilty of offering bribes to raise sales. It was a painful decision for the startup then as the wayward team brought in the most revenue.

But Ma sacked them anyway.

Ma’s emphasis on integrity has enhanced Alibaba’s image. Alibaba’s professionals are now targets of head-hunters and “everybody now wants to do business with Alibaba”. - The Star Online"