Category: United Land of Malaysia


December 10, 2017

Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) is ready to perform its duty towards the issue facing Jerusalem, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Saturday.

“We have to be prepared for any possibilities. The ATM has always been ready, waiting for instructions from the top leadership,” the Malaysian state news agency Bernama quoted Hussein.

“Let us pray that this dispute would not lead to chaos,” Hussein added.

On Wednesday, Trump announced US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said the US Embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem policy triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories and across the world.

Tension has risen across the Palestinian territories since US President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in a 1967 war, to be occupied territory, and say the status of the city should be left to be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

While the international community has almost unanimously disagreed with Donald Trump’s announcement, reports suggest that the announcement was done with the pre-agreement of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Arabia going as far as, allegedly, stating to the Palestinian President to accept a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem as the alternative Palestinian capital.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171210-malaysian-army-ready-to-perform-its-duty-towards-palestinians/.

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September 14, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A fire that blocked the only exit to an Islamic school dormitory killed 24 people, mostly teenagers, on the outskirts of Malaysia’s capital early Thursday, officials said. A government official said a wall separating the victims from a second exit “shouldn’t have been there.”

Firefighters and witnesses described scenes of horror — first of boys screaming for help behind barred windows as neighbors watched helplessly, and later of burned bodies huddled in a corner of the room. School employee Arif Mawardy said he woke up to what he thought was a thunderstorm, only to realize it was the sound of people screaming.

Firefighters rushed to the scene after receiving a distress call at 5:41 a.m. and took an hour to put out the blaze, which started on the top floor of the three-story building, Kuala Lumpur police chief Amar Singh said. He said there were at least 24 charred bodies, 22 of them boys between 13 and 17, and two teachers.

“We believe (they died of) suffocation … the bodies were totally burnt,” he said. Singh said 14 other students and four teachers were rescued, with six of them hospitalized in critical condition. The fire broke out near the only door to the boys’ dormitory, trapping the victims since the windows were barred, fire department senior official Abu Obaidat Mohamad Saithalimat said. He said the cause was believed to be an electrical short-circuit, though Singh said the investigation was continuing.

Another fire department official, Soiman Jahid, said firefighters heard shouts for help when they arrived at the school. He said they found 13 bodies huddled in a pile on the right corner of the dorm, another eight on the left corner of the dorm and one in the middle near the staircase.

Local media showed pictures of blackened bunk bed frames in the burned dormitory. A resident, Nurhayati Abdul Halim, told local media that she saw the boys crying and screaming for help when the fire broke.

“I saw their little hands out of the grilled windows; crying for help. … I heard their screams and cries but I could not do anything. The fire was too strong for me to do anything,” she said. She added that the school had been operating in the area for the past year.

Noh Omar, Malaysia’s minister for urban well-being, housing and local government, said the school’s original architectural plan included an open top floor that allowed access to two exit staircases. But he said a wall was built dividing that floor, leaving only one exit for the dorm.

“The wall shouldn’t have been there,” he said. He added that the school submitted an application for a fire safety permit that hadn’t been approved. The Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah is a private Islamic center, known as a “tahfiz” school, for Muslim children, mainly boys, to study and memorize the Quran. Many such schools are exempt from state inspections.

The Star newspaper said there were 519 tahfiz schools registered nationwide as of April, but many more are believed to be unregistered. The newspaper said the fire department had recorded 211 fires in such private Islamic centers since 2015. In August, 16 people fled a fire at a tahfiz school in northern Kedah state. Another tahfiz school was destroyed by a fire in May but no one was hurt.

The worst fire disaster occurred in 1989 when 27 female students at a private Islamic school in Kedah state died when fire gutted the school and eight wooden hostels.

March 02, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A North Korean man will be released from custody because of lack of evidence connecting him to the fatal nerve agent attack on Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea’s ruler, Malaysian officials said Thursday. In a major fallout from the assassination, Malaysia also announced it was scrapping visa-free travel for North Koreans.

Officials never said why they arrested Ri Jong Chol four days after Kim was attacked at Kuala Lumpur’s bustling airport. On Thursday, Malaysian Attorney General Mohamad Apandi Ali said Ri will be released and deported because he does not have valid travel documents.

The attack was caught on grainy security camera footage that showed two women smearing something on Kim’s face as he waited for a flight in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 13. Malaysian officials say the substance was VX nerve agent, a banned chemical weapon.

Kim was dead within an hour as the fast-acting poison coursed through his body, authorities say. No bystanders reported falling ill. The poisoning has unleashed a serious diplomatic battle between Malaysia and North Korea. While it isn’t one of Pyongyang’s key diplomatic partners, Malaysia has been one of the few places in the world where North Koreans could travel without a visa. As a result, for years, it’s been a quiet destination for Northerners looking for jobs, schools and business deals.

That could all begin to change in the wake of Kim’s death. Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the visa-free arrangement with North Korea will be scrapped from Monday due to national security. He also slammed the North Korean ambassador in Kuala Lumpur who accused Malaysia of “trying to conceal something” and “colluding with hostile forces.”

“We don’t want to make enemies, but if they had used Malaysia for their own agenda, they should not accuse Malaysia and tarnish our image on the international stage,” Zahid said. “We will act firmly to guarantee the safety of our people. Don’t ever use Malaysia as a base to do anything you like.”

The two female suspects caught in the security footage were charged with murder in a Malaysian court Wednesday. They face the mandatory death sentence if convicted. Both say they were duped into thinking they were taking part in a harmless prank.

“I understand but I am not guilty,” Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong told the court in English after the murder charge was read. The other suspect, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, nodded as her translator told her, “You are accused of murdering a North Korean man at the departure hall” of Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The women did not enter pleas because the magistrate court where they appeared has no jurisdiction over a murder case. Lead prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad told the court he will ask for the case to be transferred to a higher court and for the women to be tried together.

In the surveillance video, Huong was seen clearly in a T-shirt with “LOL” emblazoned across the front. Both women were originally from modest farming villages and had moved to their countries’ capitals seeking a better life.

Also Wednesday, the court approved a gag order to prevent police and potential witnesses from making public statements about the case. North Korea is widely speculated to be behind the killing, particularly after Malaysia said that VX had killed Kim. Experts say the oily poison was almost certainly produced in a sophisticated state weapons laboratory.

North Korea’s official news agency called that finding the “height of absurdity” on Wednesday, saying the two women could not have used such a deadly toxin without killing or sickening themselves and anyone around them.

North Korea opposed Malaysian officials even conducting an autopsy on Kim, while Malaysia has resisted giving up the body without getting DNA samples and confirmation from next of kin. Kim is believed to have two sons and a daughter with two women living in Beijing and Macau.

Authorities are seeking seven other North Korean suspects, four of whom fled the country the day of Kim’s death and are believed to be back in North Korea. Others sought include the second secretary of North Korea’s Embassy and an employee of North Korea’s state-owned airline, Air Koryo.

Kim Jong Nam was estranged from his half brother, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He reportedly fell out of favor with their father, the late Kim Jong Il, in 2001, when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Isolated North Korea has a long history of ordering killings of people it views as threats to its regime. Kim Jong Nam was not known to be seeking political power, but his position as eldest son of the family that has ruled North Korea since it was founded could have made him appear to be a danger.

February 20, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s ambassador to North Korea has been recalled from Pyongyang amid rising tensions between the countries over the death in Kuala Lumpur of an estranged scion of North Korea’s ruling family.

The Malaysian foreign ministry said in a Monday statement that it had recalled its ambassador “for consultations” and had summoned Kang Chol, North Korea’s ambassador to Kuala Lumpur, “to seek an explanation on the accusations he made against the Government of Malaysia.”

Kang said Malaysia may be “trying to conceal something” and that the autopsy on Kim Jong Nam was carried out “unilaterally and excluding our attendance.” Kim Jong Nam is the half brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un.

The statement called Kang’s comments “baseless,” adding it “takes very seriously any unfounded attempt to tarnish its reputation.”

03 February 2017 Friday

Malaysia has sent its first ship carrying 2,300 tons of humanitarian goods to Rakhine state in Myanmar to help the persecuted minority Rohingya Muslim community.

Prime Minister Najib Razak in Klang Port attended the send-off of the aid consisting of food, medical supplies and other basic necessities near the capital Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

The mission has been organized by the 1Malaysia Club and the Malaysia Islamic Organizations Consultative Council with the cooperation of Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi Foundation, which is supported by the Turkish government.

Besides Malaysia, nine other countries have contributed to the mission, including France, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Germany, the U.S. and Bangladesh.

Speaking at the event, Razak said the mission is a testament to the unity of Muslim community globally, when it comes to issue of humanitarianism.

“We the Muslims, can no longer bear our Rohingya brothers and sisters being tortured, raped, burnt alive and killed,” he said.

“The flotilla flagging off is a very historic event for Malaysia, to be able to lead such a noble humanitarian effort.”

Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, who is leading the Food Flotilla for Myanmar mission, told reporters the vessel was expected to reach Yangon in five to six days, depending on weather conditions.

Abdul Rahim said the aid will be handed over to Myanmar’s Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye on arrival at Yangon, after which it will be supplied to the Rohingya community.

The ship will sail to Teknaf, Bangladesh, after unloading in Yangon on the same day to provide aid to Rohingya refugees in that country, Rahim said.

“We are going in a team of 230 volunteers and activists from various non-governmental organizations are part of the mission,” he added.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=184184.

Beijing (AFP)

Nov 1, 2016

Malaysia and China signed a defense deal and pledged closer cooperation in the South China Sea Tuesday, signalling a potential strategic shift by Premier Najib Razak as his ties with the United States fray over a corruption scandal.

Najib’s week-long trip marks another potential setback for Washington’s “pivot” toward Asia, two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte of longtime US ally the Philippines visited China with olive branch in hand.

Meeting at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Najib and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang witnessed the signing of nine agreements spanning defense, business and other spheres.

“I believe this visit will bring our bilateral ties to a new high… a historic high,” Najib said prior to meeting with Li.

Asked for details of the defense arrangement, Chinese vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin said that the two countries were “focusing on naval cooperation,” adding that the deal “marks a big event in our bilateral ties.”

China and Malaysia have an outstanding territorial dispute in the South China Sea, which is claimed almost in its entirety by Beijing.

Parts of the vast maritime region are also claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam, among others, who have found themselves caught in an increasingly tense dispute between the US and China over Beijing’s construction of military-capable artificial islands in the region.

“China and Malaysia are littoral states of the South China Sea so we need to enhance our cooperation to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea and enhance our mutual trust,” Liu said.

— Separation anxiety —

Last month in Beijing, Duterte stunned observers by announcing his country’s “separation” from longstanding partner the United States.

Though he subsequently backed off, saying their alliance remained intact, the episode underlined China’s increasing diplomatic and economic gravitational pull at the expense of the United States.

Najib’s visit provides fresh evidence, said Southeast Asia politics analyst Bridget Welsh.

“This is the new regional norm. Now China is implementing the power and the US is in retreat,” she said, adding Washington’s Asia “pivot” was “dead in the water”.

Taking office in 2009, Najib reached out to Washington, and relations warmed following decades of periodic distrust.

But he has increasingly leaned toward China as it became Malaysia’s biggest trading partner, and especially after the eruption last year of a massive corruption scandal implicating Najib and a state investment fund he founded.

Billions are alleged to have been siphoned from the fund, 1MDB, in a stunning international campaign of embezzlement and money-laundering that has sparked investigations in several countries.

Najib’s ties with Washington became strained when the US Justice Department moved in July to seize more than $1 billion in assets it says were purchased by Najib relatives and associates using stolen 1MDB money.

Justice Department filings said a “Malaysian Official 1” took part in the looting. Malaysia has since admitted that official was Najib.

Najib and 1MDB deny wrongdoing and have railed at foreign forces they say concocted the scandal.

1MDB launched a fire sale of assets to stay solvent, and China’s biggest nuclear energy producer China General Nuclear Power Corporation came to the rescue last year, purchasing its power assets for $2.3 billion.

Depressed oil prices have slashed government revenue in energy-exporting Malaysia, which also faces rising public-sector debt.

“This trip reflects not only Malaysia’s geostrategic re-alignment to China as the ‘regional banker’ but also the reality that Najib is desperate for alternative financial sources,” Welsh said.

China has increasingly won major infrastructure and other projects in Malaysia.

Among the agreements was one to build a new rail line on Malaysia’s east coast.

Later this week Najib will meet President Xi Jinping, as well as Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba…

Source: Space War.

Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Malaysia_PM_signs_defence_deal_in_tilt_toward_China_999.html.

15 October 2016 Saturday

Malaysia handed over three members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) to Turkey late Thursday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.

In remarks made to the media in southwestern Turkey’s Antalya province, Cavusoglu said a FETO member had infiltrated the Second Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit in Bangkok last week. “They threw him out. This is an organization which tries to infiltrate everywhere.”

He reiterated that Turkey would continue its fight against FETO till the end. “Our fight against them will continue till the end, both inland and abroad. We will not stop following them.”

About his meeting with Malaysian Premier Najib Razak last week, Cavusoglu said Razak told him Malaysia would surrender the three FETO members to Turkey during the summit in Bangkok.

“I gave the information [about the FETO members] to our president, prime minister and related [state] institutions after I returned to Turkey. They surrendered the three people last night following the mutual dialogues,” he said.

Turkey accuses FETO, which is led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, of organizing the July 15 coup attempt as well as a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

The defeated coup left 241 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/todays-news/178706/malaysia-hands-over-3-feto-members-to-turkey.

October 9, 2016

Malaysia and Turkey have agreed to enhance defense relations, including the strengthening and coordination of military cooperation, according to Malaysia’s defense minister.

In a statement emailed to Anadolu Agency on Sunday, Hishammuddin Hussein said that following a recent working visit to Turkey relations between the two countries would be more structured and focused moving forward.

He added that areas of potential collaboration discussed with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Defense Minister Fikri Isik included the enhancement of tie-ups in the defense industry as well as other strategic areas of interest.

“We also discussed a range of counter-measures against the Islamic State [Daesh] threat and agreed that returning fighters from territories lost in Iraq and Syria pose a serious threat to Muslim countries that uphold democracy,” he said.

During the meetings, Hussein said he conveyed Malaysia’s unwavering support to Erdogan’s administration and condemned July’s attempt to overthrow the Turkish government.

“We both agreed to stand together in opposing unconstitutional attempts. Coups in any form that undermine the people’s will must never be tolerated,” he underlined.

Hussein said that Erdogan had also conveyed the need for continued cooperation between the two countries on issues related to terrorism.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161009-malaysia-turkey-agree-to-deepen-military-cooperation/.

16 July 2016 Saturday

Indonesian and Malaysian lawmakers have voiced support for democracy in Turkey after an attempted military coup.

Indonesia’s foreign ministry expressed concern Saturday over the situation in Turkey, as well as hope that the principles of democracy would be upheld.

“Indonesia emphasizes the importance of respect for the constitution and the principle of democratization,” it said in a statement quoted by detik.com.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said “we are monitoring the situation in Turkey closely” in a post on his Twitter account.

Leaders of Malaysia’s opposition pact expressed “shock” at the attempted coup late Friday.

“This military attempt to force regime change in Turkey is a blatant disregard for the democratic process and totally undermines the will of the Turkish people,” the Hope Pact said in a statement, underlining its solidarity with Turkey’s president and people.

“We pray for the safety of the Turkish people who are now amassing on the streets as a show of support for democracy,” it underlined. “We also call for a swift end to this attempted military coup, and a calm and restrained response by all sides.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier announced that a group within the Turkish military attempted an overthrow of the government.

Tanks drove around the streets of Istanbul late Friday, while warplanes and helicopters flew overhead in the capital Ankara, where bombs exploded at Parliament.

Some pro-coup soldiers attempted to take over state TV channel TRT, block CNN TURK broadcast and cut off TV networks at the ground station of satellite communications agency Turksat in Ankara’s Golbasi district.

Citizens responded to the action by the group, identified by Erdogan as the FETO/PDY terrorist organization, by taking to the streets across Turkey to protest.

The incidents have left at least 90 people dead and more than 1,000 others injured.

Erdogan declared the coup attempt over Saturday from Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, where he vowed to remain until the situation in the country returns to normal.

He also slammed United States-based preacher Fetullah Gulen, who is accused of leading a terrorist organization and attempting to infiltrate and overthrow the democratically-elected government in Turkey.

“It is enough the betrayal you have done to this nation,” Erdogan said, without mentioning Gulen’s name, and called on him to return to his country, where he would face trial.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/todays-news/175029/indonesia-malaysian-mps-support-democracy-in-turkey.

April 15, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia deported 20 Taiwanese criminal suspects to Taiwan on Friday despite Beijing’s request that they be sent to China, amid an ongoing battle over jurisdiction involving the self-ruled island. A Malaysia official said another 32 Taiwanese suspects sought by China also will be sent to Taiwan.

A Taiwanese Foreign Ministry statement said the 20 suspects, who were detained on suspicion of committing wire fraud, had boarded a plane bound for Taiwan on Friday. Malaysian officials had delayed the flight, saying they were awaiting legal approval, but the Taiwanese foreign ministry said the plane was allowed to take off late Friday afternoon.

Taiwan’s statement Friday evening said its officials were actively engaged in talks to pressure Malaysia to allow another remaining 32 suspects to be deported to Taiwan for investigation. Later Friday, a Malaysian government official said the country has decided “to send the suspects back to their respective countries to be dealt with accordingly.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

The latest battle over Taiwanese deportations came after Kenya sent 45 Taiwanese suspects to China instead of Taiwan. Beijing wants to investigate them for defrauding victims in China by posing as police officers and insurance agents over the phone in order to obtain banking details.

China claims jurisdiction in such cases where the victims are Chinese, and says the perpetrators aren’t given due punishment when they are returned to Taiwan. The Malaysian official said a total of 120 foreigners — 68 from China and 52 from Taiwan — were detained last month in connection with a scam. He said two masterminds from China were deported April 13.

China then requested for all the remaining 118 to be sent to the mainland, on grounds that the scam involved 600 victims in China, the official said. The official said China reiterated its request to Malaysia on Friday after the 20 Taiwanese were deported to Taiwan. But he said Malaysia, which has no extradition treaty with China or Taiwan, is not obliged to accede to Beijing’s request.

Taiwan has protested that Kenya violated the legal process and accused Beijing of violating a tacit agreement not to interfere in each side’s citizens’ legal affairs abroad. A Taiwanese delegation is expected in Beijing soon to negotiate the matter.

Some see China’s moves as attempting to assert its claims to sovereignty over the island and legal authority over its residents. The sides split amid civil war in 1949 and China has long sought to isolate Taiwan diplomatically by preventing it from maintaining formal ties with most countries, including Malaysia and Kenya. China’s economic cloud lends it political influence.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV has covered the Kenya deportations extensively, with suspects shown being led from the plane in prison smocks with bags over their heads. Others were shown in front of police and television cameras confessing to their crimes and apologizing to their victims.

Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen in Beijing and video journalist Johnson Lai in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.