Rabu, 19 September 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Myanmar's Suu Kyi meets Obama, receives medal from Congress

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 05:26 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met President Barack Obama at the White House and received the highest congressional award on Wednesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington September 19, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington September 19, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Suu Kyi, making a coast-to-coast U.S. tour, held private talks with Obama in the Oval Office after being feted by lawmakers in the ornate U.S. Capitol, where she was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal for her long fight for democracy in a country ruled by army generals since 1962.

"This is one of the most moving days of my life, to be here in a house undivided, a house joined together to welcome a stranger from a distant land," she said.

"Among all these faces are some I saw while I was under house arrest, and some I saw after I was released from house arrest," said Suu Kyi, acknowledging strong support from U.S. lawmakers during her 17 years of house arrest.

The Oval Office setting for the first meeting between the two Nobel Peace laureates afforded Suu Kyi's visit some of the trappings normally reserved for visiting foreign presidents and prime ministers.

But the White House, apparently treading carefully lest they allow the Suu Kyi events upstage Myanmar's government, kept the meeting low-key. News photographers were allowed in briefly but not television cameras or print reporters. Obama and Suu Kyi met for about half an hour.

Obama, seeking re-election in November, seized the chance to meet Suu Kyi on the second day of her U.S. tour. The encounter could help him highlight what many see as a foreign policy accomplishment of his administration in helping to push Myanmar's generals onto the path of democratic change.

The president expressed his admiration for Suu Kyi's courage and personal sacrifice in championing democracy and human rights over the years, the White House said in a statement after the meeting.

Obama welcomed the Asian nation's democratic transition and the recent progress made by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Party and President Thein Sein, the White House said.


At her congressional medal ceremony, both Suu Kyi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged the presence in the audience of a minister representing Myanmar's president and the country's new ambassador in Washington.

"This task has been made possible by the reform measures instituted by President Thein Sein," said Suu Kyi in her acceptance speech.

Earlier on Wednesday, the United States removed sanctions that blocked any U.S. assets of Thein Sein and the speaker of Myanmar's lower house of parliament and that generally barred American companies from dealing with them.

Thein Sein and lower house speaker Shwe Mann, once members of the former military junta who have won international praise for driving reforms in the 18 months since the military ceded power to a quasi-civilian government, were both removed from the U.S. Treasury's list of "specially designated nationals."

Thein Sein will visit New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly next week, when he is expected to meet senior U.S. officials.

U.S. lawmakers and officials who turned out to honour Suu Kyi expressed amazement - some tearing up - that she had made the journey from house arrest to Washington.

"I might have hoped, but I'm not sure I expected, that one day I would have the honour of welcoming my personal hero, Aung San Suu Kyi, to the Congress of the United States," said Republican Senator John McCain.


Clinton said she expected change to come in the country also known as Burma, but did not know how long it would take.

"It's almost too delicious to believe, my friend, that you are here in the rotunda of our great capitol, the centrepiece of our democracy as an elected member of your parliament," she said.

The solemn ceremony was sprinkled with lighter moments, as Clinton related a trip to Myanmar last year, where she quoted the speaker of the lower house of parliament as saying, "Help us learn how to be a democratic congress, a parliament."

"He went on to tell me that they were trying to teach themselves by watching old segments of The West Wing," Clinton said, referring to the fictional U.S. television series about presidential politics. "I said, 'I think we can do better than that, Mr. Speaker.'"

Suu Kyi won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for championing democracy in opposition to the military junta that held her under house arrest for years. Her last stay in the United States was in the 1970s as a United Nations employee.

Suu Kyi's election to parliament in April helped to transform the pariah image of Myanmar and persuade the West to begin rolling back sanctions after a year of dramatic reforms, including the release of about 700 political prisoners in amnesties between May 2011 and July.

Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, early in his term with no concrete foreign policy successes on his record, leading critics to say he was rewarded mostly for eloquent speech-making.

(Additional reporting by Paul Eckert, Arshad Mohammed, Andrew Quinn and Mark Felsenthal; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Cartoons in French weekly fuel Mohammad furore

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 04:58 PM PDT

PARIS (Reuters) - A French magazine ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday by portraying him naked in cartoons, threatening to fuel the anger of Muslims around the world who are already incensed by a California-made video depicting him as a lecherous fool.

A riot policeman stands guard outside the French embassy in Cairo September 19, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

A riot policeman stands guard outside the French embassy in Cairo September 19, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

The drawings in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo risked exacerbating a crisis that has seen the storming of U.S. and other Western embassies, the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

Riot police were deployed to protect the paper's Paris offices after the issue hit news stands.

It featured several caricatures of the Prophet showing him naked in what the publishers said was an attempt to poke fun at the furore over the film. One, entitled "Mohammad: a star is born", depicted a bearded figure crouching over to display his buttocks and genitals.

The French government, which had urged the weekly not to print the cartoons, said it was shutting embassies and schools in 20 countries as a precaution on Friday, when protests sometimes break out after Muslim prayers.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby called the drawings outrageous but said those who were offended by them should "use peaceful means to express their firm rejection".

Tunisia's ruling Islamist party, Ennahda, condemned what it called an act of "aggression" against Mohammad but urged Muslims not to fall into a trap intended to "derail the Arab Spring and turn it into a conflict with the West".

In the northern Paris suburb of Sarcelles, one person was slightly hurt when two masked men threw a small explosive device through the window of a kosher supermarket. Police said it was too early to link the incident to the cartoons. One small local Muslim group filed a legal complaint against the weekly but there were no reports of reaction on the streets of France.

The posting on YouTube of a crude video, made in the United States and available on YouTube since July, that mocked Mohammad as a womanising buffoon has sparked protests in many countries, some of them deadly.

The U.S. envoy to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack in Benghazi, and U.S. and other foreign embassies were attacked in cities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East by furious Muslims.

Matthew Olsen, director of the U.S. government's National Counterterrorism Center, branded the Benghazi assault a "terrorist attack" and said officials were examining the possibility that individuals involved in the attack may have links to al Qaeda, and particularly the affiliate group al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.


The furore has emerged as an issue in the U.S. presidential election campaign and sparked international debate over free speech, religion and the right to offend. Many Muslims consider any representation of Allah or the Prophet Mohammad blasphemous.

In Los Angeles, an actress who appeared in the video filed a lawsuit against a Coptic Christian man linked to the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, accusing him of fraud and slander and asking that the film's trailer be removed from the Internet.

It was the first known civil lawsuit connected to the film that has circulated online as a 13-minute trailer, including under the title "Innocence of Muslims."

The actress, Cindy Lee Garcia, also named Google Inc and its YouTube unit as defendants. Garcia's lawsuit stated that she thought she was appearing in a desert adventure film, not a "hateful" production about the Muslim prophet.

The United States has condemned the content of the video while defending the right to free speech, and took a similar line on the French cartoons.

"We know that these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory. But we've spoken repeatedly about the importance of upholding the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our constitution," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

"In other words, we don't question the right of something like this to be published, we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it."

In the Lebanese city of Sidon, around 10,000 people joined a march organised by the Shi'ite group Hezbollah to protest against the film and the cartoons, shouting "Enough humiliation!" and "Death to America! Death to Israel!".

In Egypt, Essam Erian, acting head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, told Reuters: "We reject and condemn the French cartoons that dishonour the Prophet and we condemn any action that defames the sacred according to people's beliefs."

At the same time, rights groups demanded the release of a Coptic Christian computer science graduate who they said had been beaten up and arrested in Cairo on suspicion of re-posting the anti-Islam video online.

In France, a joint statement by Catholic bishop Michel Dubost and Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Muslim Council, defended the right to freedom of expression under the cherished French principles of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity".

"But freedom endangers itself if it forgets fraternity and respect for everyone's equal right to dignity," they added.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the publication of the cartoons a provocation.

"We saw what happened last week in Libya and in other countries such as Afghanistan," he told a regular news conference. "We have to call on all to behave responsibly."


France's ambassador to Iran sent French citizens there a message urging them to exercise great caution, especially on Friday, and around diplomatic missions and places of worship.

But Charlie Hebdo's editor, Stephane Charbonnier, rejected the criticism. "We have the impression that it's officially allowed for Charlie Hebdo to attack the Catholic far-right but we cannot poke fun at fundamental Islamists," he said.

"It shows the climate. Everyone is driven by fear, and that is exactly what this small handful of extremists who do not represent anyone want: to make everyone afraid, to shut us all in a cave," he told Reuters.

One cartoon alluded to the scandal over a French magazine's publication of topless photos of the wife of Britain's Prince William. It showed a bare female torso topped by a beard with the caption "Riots in Arab countries after photos of Mrs Mohammad are published".

Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy. Its Paris offices were firebombed last November after it published a mocking caricature of Mohammad, and Charbonnier has been under police guard ever since.

Speaking outside his offices in an eastern neighbourhood with many residents of North African origin, Charbonnier said he had not received any threats over the latest cartoons. In a message on its Twitter account, Charlie Hebdo said its website had been hacked, but referred readers to a blog it also uses.

In 2005, Danish cartoons of the Prophet sparked a wave of protests across the Muslim world in which at least 50 died.

France is already on alert for attacks by al Qaeda on French interests in West Africa.

A diplomatic source said this week that Paris had recently foiled attacks on economic and diplomatic targets and had credible evidence that more were planned.

"Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is a direct and immediate threat," the source said.

(Additional reporting by Sreya Banerjee, Thierry Chiarello, Brian Love and John Irish, Marwa Awad in Cairo, Souhail Karam in Tunis, Margaret Chadbourn in Washington and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Jackie Frank)

Related Stories:
No rules, no regrets for French cartoonists in Mohammad storm

Arab body calls for peaceful reaction to cartoons
Muslim leaders decry Mohammad cartoons, urge peaceful protest

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

U.N. Security Council split over children and armed conflict

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 04:35 PM PDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China, Russia, Pakistan and Azerbaijan abstained from a U.N. Security Council vote on children and armed conflict on Wednesday over concerns that the U.N. envoy on the issue can investigate any conflict, not just those before the council.

The remaining 11 members of the Security Council voted in favour of the resolution, which laid out the mandate for Leila Zerrougui, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special representative for children and armed conflict.

Zerrougui, an Algerian who recently replaced Radhika Coomaraswamy, works to promote and protect children's rights during armed conflicts and identifies countries and groups that kill, maim or rape children in conflicts, or recruit and use children as soldiers.

The four abstaining states argued that the work of the special envoy was restricted to conflicts before the council, and that this limit should have been more clearly reflected in the resolution.

"The sphere of activities of (the special envoy) does not cover all issues of protecting children in armed conflict, but only those situations that are on U.N. Security Council's agenda," said Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Sergey Karev.

A report by Ban to the Security Council on children and armed conflict, based on the work of his envoy, covers conflicts in 23 countries. Of these, 16 are on the council agenda and seven are not - Colombia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the southern border provinces of Thailand and Yemen.

"The mandate of the Security Council resolution cannot be wilfully interpreted to equalize the incidents of terrorist attacks in Pakistan to armed conflict," China's U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong told the council.

"The international community should provide more support and help to Pakistan's effort to counter terrorism rather than creating difficulties and obstacles," he said.

Human Rights Watch accused Russia, China, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan of playing politics.

"Children victimized by war do not care whether the country in which they live is on the Security Council's agenda or not, but instead deserve all the U.N. attention they can get," Human Rights Watch's U.N. Director Philippe Bolopion said in a statement.


Ban's report said children in Pakistan were being used by armed groups allied to Islamist extremists to carry out suicide attacks and were themselves victims of attacks. It also said armed groups continued to target schools in bombings.

Pakistan's U.N. Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar described the report's section on Pakistan as "unwarranted and completely misleading." He said Pakistan would have voted against the resolution, but instead abstained to show a willingness to work with Zerrougui and a commitment to the issue.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said that during negotiations on the resolution, some countries proposed amendments "whose effect would have been unacceptably to constrain the role of the special representative."

"We could not accept the assertion made by some council members that (the former envoy Coomaraswamy) over-reached her mandate in the conduct of her business. That accusation is completely unfounded," Lyall Grant told the council.

New conflicts included in the U.N. report - which covers 2011 - were those in Syria and Libya, while those in Haiti and Burundi were removed. The report accused 52 armed forces and groups of violating the rights of children. Ten of them were government forces, while the rest were non-state armed groups.

"The situation for children in Syria is dire," Zerrougui told the council.

"My staff and other United Nations colleagues have documented government attacks on schools, children denied access to hospitals, girls and boys suffering and dying in bombardments of their neighbourhoods, and also being subject to torture, including sexual violence, sometimes for weeks."

Since the publication of the report, Zerrougui said her office had received information about bomb attacks by opposition groups that have killed children, and that the Free Syrian Army "may have children associated with their forces."

Syria's U.N. envoy Bashar Ja'afari told the council that the Syrian government rejected all the allegations and "denounced the politicization of this important humanitarian issue which chiefly concerns the safety and security of children."

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Muizz lands rookie crown in Italian go-kart

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 04:59 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's 10-year-old Muizzuddin Musyaffa Abdul Gafar, who races in Italy, made the country proud by winning the rookie crown at Italy's prestigious go-kart competition at the 2012 ROK Cup Italia Finals.

Finishing third overall in a field of 43 competitors in the Mini 60 category last weekend at the di Siena International Circuit in Siena was enough to give Muizzuddin the Rookie Cup title as well as free entry and sponsorship of racing tyres in the competition next year.

The young Malaysian stunned his rivals, who included some 13-year-olds, as he led the field for the first eight laps of the 12-lap contest but had to be content with third placing in the end after making a minor mistake.

While other competitors earned their places at the ROK Cup Italia Finals through qualifying from their regional races, Muizzuddin was given a wildcard entry to the competition via his rookie status and commendable performance in the Italian Karting Championship this season where he currently sits 10th overall with 39 championship points in the Mini 60 category.

"This is definitely a fantastic achievement by Muizz.

"He was actually P1 in the pre-final and that gave him pole position for the final race.

"With that rookie title, he has now also qualified for the ROK Cup World Finals where top karters using Vortex ROK engines from all over the world will be coming to Italy," said Muizzuddin's manager Zainuddin Radzi.

The ROK Cup World Finals will be held on Oct 13-14 at Lonato near Milan and Zainuddin is hoping to see another strong outing from Muizzuddin.

"However, we are not setting specific targets for Muizz at that Rok Cup World Finals.

"It's a huge competition with the world's best karters and most of them will be much older than him. We just want him to get as much track time as possible and improve his skills," he added.

After a commendable performance in some selected races around Europe last year, Muizzuddin's parents decided to support their son's dreams of becoming a Formula 1 driver by putting him on a three-year racing programme that was worked out with a top Italian racing outfit Gamoto Racing.

Currently staying in a rented apartment in Sicily with his mother Siti Rohanah Hussein and attending a local school, Muizz had made breakthroughs in the sport, including becoming Malaysia's first go-kart winner in Europe.

Though he has yet to win any of the races at the CSAI Italian Karting Championship, Muizz had been victorious twice at state championships in Italy – one at the Puglia Regional Championship on May 27 and the other at the Sicily Champion Cup on June 10.

BAM to appoint supremo to oversee their new 12-year plan

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 04:59 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: One head is better.

This is the conclusion reached by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) when the exco, headed by Datuk Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, created an important post – a project manager – to oversee their new 12-year plan for the future.

And the good news is that the project manager, aka supremo, will be given the full authority to run the programmes.

The BAM have not decided on the candidate for the job but it will not be a foreigner thus hiring South Korean Park Joo-bong is out of the question. Those in the running are Kwan Yoke Meng and Wong Ah Jit and they may even look for others to take up the job.

The project manager will oversee the country's three new squads – elite and 2016, 2020 and 2024 – spanning three Olympic cycles.

The 2020 squad will comprise the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) players while the 2024 squad will consist of players from 9-14 years old from the states.

The BAM have appointed Rashid Sidek and Tan Kim Her as the singles and doubles chief coaches for the elite and 2016 squads and both will be answerable to the project manager.

The project manager will also be given the task to appoint the chief coaches for the 2020 and 2024 squads.

BAM president Nadzmi said that the role of the project manager would be clearly defined.

"We need a really good manager – one who can organise and strategise.

"He must have strong managerial skills and the ability to work well with others. He also needs the technical expertise," said Nadzmi.

"There are three basic elements. The project manager will be given clear responsibilities of his job scope so that he will not have to change the goal posts all the time. And he will be given the authority to fulfil his responsibilities. He, however, will have to be accountable for all his actions.

"The way he manages should ensure that all the squads will be inter-related and linked. He will have to ensure that all analyses and coaching programmes will be documented so that it could be passed on.

"We did not have competent people to fulfil those responsibilities in the past.

"We did not have a perfect fit but with the appointment of a project manager, we hope our programme will be executed well."

Malaysia had a similar set-up before when Morten Frost Hansen was appointed the national coaching director and Yap Kim Hock the chief coach but both did not have full say in running the programmes.

Yesterday, Nadzmi, however, reiterated that coaches had always been given the power to decide in BAM.

When pointed out that there had been several decisions on players which was made by the management and not the coaches, the exco admitted that it was a mistake and promised to go through the right processes this time around.

MAU finally gets greenlight from Sports Council

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 05:00 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Sports Commissioner Datuk Mohd Yassin Mohd Salleh has given the greenlight to the Malaysian Athletic Union (MAU) to go to hold their long delayed elections on Sunday.

MAU have rectified the mistakes in the 15-page constitution and also removed the article 8.4.4, which called for staggered yearly elections.

They also removed article 8.7.2, which said elections should be held triennially.

MAU president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said that Sports Commissioner was satisfied with the amendments and has approved the MAU constitution.

"We are relieved that the elections and annual general meeting (AGM) will be held as schedule on Sunday," said Shahidan.

Last Saturday, officer in charge T. Kumar, who did not want to open the envelopes containing the nominations forms from the 15 affiliates until the errant provisions were removed or amended, finally unveil the nominations yesterday.

Incumbent MAU president Shahidan received four nominations from Perlis, Perak, Kuala Lumpur and Perak and he faces a three-corner fight from Negri Sembilan AA president Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad and former deputy president Datuk Danyal Balagopal, who each received one nomination.

Incumbent deputy president Datuk Karim Ibrahim received two nominations and he will be up against Terengganu AA president Datuk Wan Hisyam Wan Salleh and Selangor AA secretary K. Yogasveran.

The 55-year-old Karim, who has been the deputy president since 2008, is facing an inquiry committee headed by retired judge Tan Sri V. C. George over his alleged involvement in two doping cases.

Army Brig-Gen Yusri Anuar, who received two nominations for vice-president post has withdrawn.

Incumbent vice-presidents Datuk R. Annamalai and Datuk Paduka Mumtaz Jaafar, will face six others – Mohamed Awang of Kelantan, K. Yogasveran of Selangor, Datuk Paiman Abdul Karim of Sabah, Rajemah Ahmad of Terengganu, P. Solomon of Kedah and S. Rajasegran of Johor – for the post.

Four vice-presidents will be elected and one must be a woman.

Shahidan said that he wants a fair elections with the best candidates winning their posts.

"Those who win the elections must work hard to improve the standard of athletics, which have dropped drastically. My focus, if elected as the president, is that we must win nine gold medals in next year's SEA Games in Myanmar and if we failed to achieve that then I will considered it as a failure and will step down as the president," said Shahidan, who is seeking the fourth term as the president.

Shahidan became the MAU president in 2006 and in the last three SEA Games, Malaysia have won six golds in Korat 2007 and Laos 2009 but in Palembang last year, they only won five.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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Nike approves new US$8bil share repurchase programme

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 06:08 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Nike Inc, the world's largest sportswear maker, said it has approved a new $8 billion program to repurchase shares of its Class B common stock.

The new four-year share repurchase plan will commence once the company's current $5 billion share buyback program is completed during the second quarter of fiscal 2013, Nike said.

"Over the past 10 years, Nike has returned $10 billion to shareholders through the repurchase of more than 167 million shares," Chief Executive Mark Parker said in a statement. - Reuters

Maybank Research maintains Buy on Public Bank, TP RM16

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 06:05 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank Investment Research is maintaining its Buy recommendation on Public Bank with a target price of RM16.

It said on Thursday the valuations were hardly demanding and with the stock trading just about in line with the sector on a PER basis and at a discount to the broader market.

"Our target price of RM16 tags on an FY13 price-to-book value (P/BV) of 3.2 times which translates to an FY13 PER of 13.4 times, only slightly above its historical mean PER of 13 times.

"We maintain our BUY call on Malaysia's most profitable domestic bank," it said.

Maybank Research said Public Bank's valuations are not demanding. The high P/BV is equally matched by high ROEs, which in turn translates to a prospective FY13 PER of just 12.0 times.

"This is comparable to the sector average ex-Public Bank of 11.5 times despite its superior fundamentals and higher FY13 dividend yield of 4.2%. Moreover, the PER of 12 times is an 8% discount to the group's historical one-year forward PER mean of 13.0 times, and is about 10% lower than the current market PER of 13.3x for CY13 earnings," it said.

Shareholders should voice dissent more strongly

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 06:04 PM PDT

THE case of the recent privatisation of Glenealy Plantations (M) Bhd is highlighted for the broader interest of the capital market. Thus, I would like to recap this privatisation exercise.

Samling Strategic Corp Sdn Bhd has proposed to privatise Hong Kong-listed unit Samling Global, in turn triggering a need to privatise Glenealy and its associate company Lingui Developments Bhd.

Samling Global subsequently proposed a privatisation offer for the remaining shares in Glenealy at RM7.50 per share. A dividend of 52.75 sen was subsequently given a day before the court-convened meeting.

We argued that when a company's value is inextricably linked to its land, not undertaking to revalue its most prized asset in making an offer to privatise is unacceptable. Especially so in this case where the valuations were based on book value of the assets in 1998, some 14 years ago.

Though the law is silent on revaluations of assets in privatisation exercises, we urge the company directors to embrace best practices and undertake such exercises before the deal is tabled at the company meeting.

In the absence of such voluntary revaluations, the regulators must then compel companies to undertake the revaluations. At the very least, doing so would have introduced an element of price discovery always an important element when a particular stock is as illiquid as Glenealy.

What about the other gatekeepers? Current practice requires independent advisers to be hired (and be paid for) by the target companies. They are obliged to advise the disinterested shareholders on the offer in a transparent manner and to disclose to them the salient and material information so that an informed decision can be made.

As such, on what basis did the independent adviser state it was fair when the current land value was not even known?

The independent advisers in the same breath also stated that the palm oil industry remained "positive with strong demand and firm prices," and that "between 2007 and 2011, Glenealy had been returning uninterrupted profits." More so, that would mean there is intrinsic value in the company which is not reflected in the share price currently.

In addition, Glenealy has previously been a thinly-traded stock and thus the market price does not mirror its true value. In this instance, a revaluation is even more important to make apparent the current value.

Despite all this, minorities voted for the resolution.

Glenealy's 54% owner Samling Group had proposed a resolution that needed 75% approval from the shareholders who are present and voting at the CCM. It also requires not more than 10% of the disinterested shareholders that vote against this resolution for the deal to go through.

The offer was voted through by 331 shareholders in the privatisation bid, a number that represented 85.31% of the total number of shareholders present in person or by proxy at the meeting.

Minority shareholders owning 4.23% of the shares opposed the deal but this was not sufficient as it did not reach the 10% required level.

I can only rationalise this mom-and-pop retail investors trait who usually think that they are at the losing end, giving in to sweeteners and consequently choosing the path of least resistance when accepting the offer with reliance on independent advice.

Lastly, we urge that minority shareholders stand up and voice their dissent more strongly at the meetings if they believe the offer is not in their best interest, especially the institutional investors who are more savvy and have the muscle to influence the outcome.

The regulators too must look into similar deals to protect the interest of the minority shareholders.

  • Rita Benoy Bushon is chief executive officer of Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group.
Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Tag team

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 05:29 AM PDT

A real-life couple bravely took on the challenge of playing a pair of star-crossed lovers in Untuk 3 Hari.

IT WAS a dream come true for director-actor-musician Rashidi Ishak to act alongside his award-winning actress wife, Vanidah Imran, on the big screen.

Their first and only onscreen work before this was in the TV drama Athirah in 1999, when they first met and fell in love; he proposed to her two weeks later! The pair married in 2000 and are blessed with two children – Mikhail Aimran, 11, and Maryam Rashika, who is eight.

After waiting for so long, Rashidi, or Shidi as he is more popular known among family and fans, finally gets to star opposite his beautiful wife in a big screen feature, Untuk 3 Hari. The couple plays ill-fated lovers in the film directed by actor Afdlin Shauki.

Based on a popular novel of the same name by Ahadiat Akasyah (of the famed Lagenda Budak Setan film and novel), Untuk 3 Hari tells the story of longtime lovers Zafrin (Shidi) and Ujie (Vanidah) who agree to arranged marriages with their respective future spouses Juwita (Ayu Raudaha) and Amri (Afdlin) to please their families. They had planned to file for divorce after three days of marriage. However, in those three days, one of them starts to realise that they are both playing with God's will and maintaining their marital bond may not be so bad if they just tried.

So, what will happen to the original pact between Zafrin and Ujie? Watch the film to find out how Afdlin weaves the stories together and subtly manipulates the viewers' emotions with laughter and tears.

Shidi and Vanidah, or simply Vee, both said that they are really excited, yet nervous, to watch Untuk 3 Hari, which opens nationwide tomorrow.

Shidi, for instance, couldn't contain his delight.

"Truth to be told, I was extremely excited when Afdlin approached me to play Zafrin in the movie. I have been waiting for this moment (to act with his wife) for so long," gushed Shidi in an interview after the movie preview in Kuala Lumpur recently.

"I never told this to Vee before (that I really wanted to act with her in a movie). But now she knows," he said with a laugh.

Shidi continued: "Actually, we have been waiting for the right script to come along so we can work together in a project ... having said that, I also wanted to deliver what the director wanted of me in Zafrin."

In Untuk 3 Hari, Zafrin puts in view the dilemmas faced by a young man. He's the only child in a wealthy family and he has been obeying his mother's wishes all his life. He broke off his relationships with several girls at his mother's insistance, until finally, he meets Ujie. Unfortunately, Zafrin is too afraid to tell his mother about his feelings for Ujie and decides that it is easier to just to go along with the family's wish for him to marry Juwita, a girl of his mother's choice. He then hatches a plan to divorce Juwita after three days.

"This is a good movie," said Shidi, who recently directed Hari Raya telemovie entitled Mimpi Sabrina.

"And with Afdlin at the helm as director, I put a high standard on my acting because I didn't want to disappoint him," he added.

If the news to act as Zafrin excited Shidi, it was a complete surprise for Vee.

"The news that Shidi will act as my hero in the movie came as a complete surprise to me," recalled Vee.

"I was aware of the movie two years ago, before filming started last year, and Afdlin told me that he would get in touch with me once everything was confirmed. But the fact that Shidi would be playing my boyfriend Zafrin in the movie, now that was really a surprise," said Vee who won the best actress award for her role in Red Kebaya in the 20th Malaysian Film Festival (2007).

"You know, our film industry is small and I don't think many directors would dare to gamble it all by getting a real husband-and-wife team to play the leading roles in a movie. (Plus), we are not that young anymore. I guess it shows that Afdlin is a one-of-a-kind director.

"Working with Afdlin has always been a thrilling experience for me because he knows what he wants and is always looking to showcase the different sides of actors in his movies. We have to be alert and ready at all time because we wouldn't know what Afdlin will ask us to do next. He is spontaneous on the set," shared Vee.

She added that after being informed of the project, she went out to buy the book to familiarise herself with the story and characters. "Yes, I did buy the book and read it twice but I didn't expect to play Ujie. In the book, Ujie is described as tall, fair and very organised. In other words, the opposite of me in every way!"

When asked whether it was hard to play a romantic couple in a film with your own spouse, Shidi said that they had to put some sort of "limit" on their characters.

"In real life, we have been husband and wife for 12 years, but in the movie we are still in the 'boyfriend-girlfriend' phase, so we have to put certain limits to our characters like their emotions, closeness and stuff like that," said Shidi.

Vee couldn't agree more.

"We have to be careful at all times; we shouldn't, and couldn't, be too comfortable with each other."

Vee and Shidi have been known to be very supportive of each other's career. Despite their busy schedules, Shidi and Vee are both now pursuing their studies.

"It was hard to find time in between acting and directing to go to class, but I did it," said Shidi who graduated with a degree in communication from Universiti Putra Malaysia last year. Shidi's graduation inspired Vee to take up a degree course in language and teaching at the Open University Malaysia – she is currently in her third semester.

"I have a few more semesters to go and at the moment Shidi is shopping for the right university to do his MBA," said Vee. She revealed that they decided to pursue their studies because they wanted to be a good example to their young children.

The film and entertainment industry is a fickle-minded one. Hence, seeing Vee and Shidi still thriving in the scene and happily married to one another after 12 years is indeed a pleasure. What is their secret?

"We don't have any secrets. I can only say this for myself – I've been in love with Vee every single day since I saw her 12 years ago. Honestly, each time I see her my heart flutters.

"She is such a wonderful person to be with and I'm the luckiest man to share my life with her," Shidi admitted. Everybody now, awwww ....

Untuk 3 Hari is screened in cinemas beginning Sept 20.

Oscar nominations set for January 10

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 12:15 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES: Nominees for this year's Oscars awards will be revealed in Los Angeles on January 10, five days earlier than had been announced, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Tuesday.

"In an effort to provide members and the public a longer period of time to see the nominated films, the Academy will reveal the 85th Academy Awards nominations on January 10, five days earlier than previously announced," it said in a statement.

The Academy Awards - honoring the best movies, performances and technical film achievements of the year - are scheduled to be held on February 24 at the Dolby Theatre, where the ceremony has been held for a decade.

Some 6,000 members of the academy will cast their ballots - online for the first time this year - starting December 17.-AFP

Joan Collins, Robert Wagner to Guest Star on 'Happily Divorced'

Posted: 18 Sep 2012 11:48 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: Fran Drescher is getting some new company for the third season of her TV Land series "Happily Divorced." "Dynasty" star Joan Collins and "It Takes a Thief" star Robert Wagner have signed on to guest star on the sitcom, TV Land said Tuesday.

Singer Cyndi Lauper and "Entourage" actress Debi Mazar also will be aboard for the upcoming season, which begins production Oct. 1 for a Nov. 28 premiere date.

Collins will play a fictionalized version of herself, who takes Peter - the gay ex-husband of Drescher's character Fran Lovett - into her employ as an assistant. Wagner, meanwhile, will play the father of Elliot, Fran's first love and on-off relationship interest. Lauper comes aboard as the daughter of Fran's mother, Dori Newman (played by Rita Moreno).

Mazar will play a potential new roommate for one of the Lovetts.] "The Karate Kid" star Ralph Macchio is also returning to the series as a guest.

Previous guest stars on "Happily Divorced" include Dan Aykroyd, Rosie O'Donnell, Morgan Fairchild and John Schneider.-Reuters

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Armed masked men rob goldsmith

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 09:03 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Three men, armed with two pistols and hammer, robbed a goldsmith shop at Taman Sri Selayang.

The three masked men rushed into the shop and escaped with RM10,000 worth of gold in the 6pm robbery on Wednesday.

It is learnt that the store did not have any security guard.

Gombak deputy OCPD Supt Rosly Hassan said the robbers smashed the glass display cabinet with hammer to get the gold items.

They threatened the shop owner and her sister at gunpoint, took away few gold bracelets and fled in a Perodua Kancil.

The shop owner's son M. Rajesh, 37, said only his mother and aunt had been in the shop during the robbery.

This was the first time the shop had been robbed since started business two years ago, he said when met at the scene.

The CCTV installed in the shop had recorded the whole incident, he added.

DPM: Improving teacher quality is top priority

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 06:58 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Improving and empowering teacher and school leadership will be given top priority under the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2012-2025, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The deputy prime minister said since 60 percent of teachers were expected to remain in the education system for another 20 years, efforts to improve their skills and capabilities were of the utmost importance.

These include providing opportunities for them to undergo continuous skills training and competitive career-development path, he added.

"We want to see in the not too distant future, teaching quality will be different," he said in the "Soal Jawab" programme on TV3 moderated by Media Prima executive director (news and editorial operations) Datuk Ahmad A Talib Wednesday.

Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said starting this year, the selection criteria for trainee teachers was upgraded where only 30 per cent of outstanding graduates were offered teaching courses.

He said teachers would be equipped with higher-order thinking skills to enable them produce students with higher level of thinking.

The ministry is contemplating of providing an exit plan for teachers who are not fit to teach, he said, adding that, "We have not decided to do it yet. If they are not fit to teach where should we put them. That will be determined later."

Meanwhile, he said the district education office (PPD) would be restructured in tandem with the sixth shift outlined in the new education blueprint preliminary report where more experts would be deployed to strengthen schools and education quality.

He said the PPD revamp, which would be carried out in phases, started this year and was expected to be completed by 2014.

On the new education blueprint preliminary report, he said it was formulated after going through reports made by Unesco, the World Bank, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Trends In International Mathematics and Sciences Study and Programme for International Student Assessment, and research by local scholars.

Muhyiddin said more than 12,000 people attended a roadshow on the proposed education revamp where over 7,000 proposals and 156 memorandums were received, and nearly 90 per cent of them were taken into account in producing the report.

"So, if there are those who say that theirs (suggestions or proposals) had not been taken into account, it is not true," he added.

Muhyiddin said a series of open houses would be held from Oct 6 to showcase the new education blueprint preliminary report for public scrutiny where stakeholders could give their views, and seek clarification and feedback.

The final report is expected to be completed by December before it is submitted to the Cabinet for approval prior to its implementation next year, he added. - Bernama

AIDS Council: Guidelines on gay and lesbian children is discrimination

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 05:40 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) has rejected the introduction of guidelines to help parents and teachers identify so-called gay and lesbian symptoms in schoolchildren.

In a statement here on Wednesday, MAC president Datuk Dr Raj Karim said, singling out people based on their sexuality was the very foundation of discrimination.

The unfounded guidelines would only breed intolerance among schoolchildren, and those exhibiting the perceived 'symptoms', would be subjected to discrimination, ridicule and bullying by their peers, she said.

"We know, all too well, the negative impact such practice has on the lives of sexual minorities, especially those living on the fringes of society.

"It will drive them further underground and force them to live in greater fear of being 'identified'," she added.

"We must not allow such stigmatising condition to permeate our education system and it's our responsibility to ensure all children are given opportunities for positive personal development and growth and protection against harm," said Dr Raj.

The guidelines were recently published by the Teachers Foundation of Malaysia and the Putrajaya Consultive Council of Parents and Teachers Associations.

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Metro Watch

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 04:57 AM PDT


Badminton enthusiasts will have a chance to play with badminton stars such as Lee Wan Wah, Wong Choong Hann, Chan Chong Ming and Chew Choon Eng in a two-day badminton tournament held at Sunsuria Badminton Academy in Kota Damansara from Sept 29 to 30. The tournament are divided into five age groups — Under-12, Under-19, Youths (aged 20 to 29), Adults (aged 30 to 49) and Veterans (aged 50 and above). There are singles, doubles and mixed doubles categories. For details, call 012-246 0976 (Tan).


Freedom Arts Festival 2012 will be held at PJ Live Arts at Jaya One, from 11am to 10pm this weekend. The event, jointly organised by Komas and the Selangor government, will be screening several Malaysian and international human rights films. There will also be activism workshop and exhibitions. For details, visit www.freedomfilmfest.komas.org


A Family Walk Hunt will be held at Taman Tasik Permaisuri, Bandar Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur on Sept 30 from 9.30am to 11.30am. This event is open to families with young children. The profits go towards charitable causes in Malaysia. For details, call 03-2141 7575 (Sangeet) or download the registration form at www.krista.com.my


Soroptimist International Club of Bangsar is organising a comprehensive health screening and talks from 8am to 4pm at Life Care Diagnostic Centre in Bangsar Suria South on Sept 30. Participants can learn more on menopause, cervix and breast cancer. Admission is free, For details, call 03-2282 1832 (Lieza) or )12-283 0959 (Doris Lim) or email matrixid@unifi.my


Extol Toastmasters Subang Jaya will be conducting its yearly Youth Leadership Programme for those between the age of 12 to 18 from Nov 23 to 25. For details, call 013-337 5370 (Shirly Bak), 012-232 3578 (SK Ratnam) or 019-231 9800 (Kwa Ngan Eng) or email nganeng@gmail.com


A certified therapist and coach Loke Kok Wah will be conducting a workshop on personal profiling at Wisma WIM in Jalan Abang Haji Openg, Taman Tun Sri Ismail, Kuala Lumpur from 9.30am to noon on Sept 29. For details, call 03-7725 0268 (Sumana Nip).


The National Kidney Foundation is holding a health screening from 10.30am to 3pm in the Setia Alam Gospel Assembly at 11-3-2 Jalan Setia Prima U13/H Setia Alam, Shah Alam on Saturday. For details, call 012-685 6060 (Christina) or 013-398 4718 (Mary).

PJ Half Marathon: Sponsors providing drinks, honey and even watches

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 04:56 AM PDT

SPONSORS are coming in full force to support the PJ Half Marathon at the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kelana Jaya on Sept 30.

Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) has come on board as part of GSC's 25th anniversary celebrations.

GSC chief executive officer and PBB Group Berhad (PBB) corporate affairs senior manager Koh Mei Lee said: "GSC will be the presenter of the PJ Half Marathon while the PBB Group will be contributing cash which will be distributed to selected welfare homes for the physically challenged.''

Koh, who will be taking part in the 7km run, said the annual event was a good platform to encourage their staff to get involved in a fun and healthy activity.

"We encourage our staff to bring along their family members to participate in the run as part of our CSR programme is to promote fitness and health.

"About 100 staff from GSC and 40 from PBB have already registered for the run,'' said Mei Lee.

PBB's part-subsidiary FFM Group, a subsidiary of PBB, will be sponsoring 10,000 Massimo Favorito and Duetto buns in a variety of cream filings including blueberry, coffee, chocolate and corn.

FFM Marketing Sdn Bhd product group manager Susan Toh Siew Sian said they would also be sponsoring 10,000 V-Soy packet drinks.

"We will be giving out our V-Soy Multigrain drinks to the runners as it contains a variety of healthy grains including purple brown rice, black sesame, barley and malt.

"The V-Soy Multigrain drink, which is ideal as a snack or a light meal, will be suitable for the runners since they will be exhausted after completing the 21km distance.

"It will be good for the runners to drink the V-Soy Multigrain drink first to fill their empty stomachs in the morning," she said.

Participants will also get to sample calcium magnesium supplements courtesy of Basic Health & Beauty Sdn Bhd which will be sponsoring 1000 units of their 10ml Salus Fruit Juice Calcium Magnesium supplement.

"The supplements will be helpful for long distance runners as it will give them bone and muscle strength. Without magnesium, the runners are likely to get muscle cramps. The supplement is in liquid form so that it can be absorbed fast," said Basic Health & Beauty Sdn Bhd sales executive Joyce Chang.

Participants will also stand a chance to win Timberland watches courtesy of Aura Concept Sdn Bhd.

Aura Concept Sdn Bhd director Murli Menon said the company would be contributing nine Timberland watches as prizes.

"We've decided to support the cause as Timberland is synonymous with outdoor sports and activities. We also want to support the run as it is a good social cause and encourages people to be more mindful of their health," he said.

Network Foods (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd is giving participants something sweet to bring home after the run by handing out a minimum of 10,000 sachets of their 12gm Signature Taste Honey Life product.

"The product, called Active Enzyme Rainforest Honey, can provide runners with a healthy energy boost," said Network Foods Sdn Bhd brand manager Nicholas Nyeow.

He is also looking forward to taking part in the 21km category as he had joined the event a few times.

His advice to those taking part in the race, "Have a good night's rest and a light breakfast before the race. Eat an energy bar or fruits to get enough energy to keep going throughout the race," he said.

The Wrigley Company (M) Sdn Bhd Extra brand manager Tracy Soh said they would be sponsoring 10,000 units of their Extra Professional Mints to participants of the marathon.

"Extra is committed to provide clean and healthy mouth and this is a good way to make the participants feel comfortable during the marathon," said Soh.

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UK singer Robbie Williams becomes a father

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 01:58 AM PDT

LONDON - British pop star Robbie Williams has become a father for the first time, announcing the arrival of a baby girl - Theodora Rose, "affectionately known as Teddy".

The 38-year-old singer said his daughter was born on Tuesday, weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces (3.28 kilos).

"Baby, mummy and daddy are all rockin..." Williams said in a message on his website late on Tuesday. "Thank you for your best wishes."

The girl was born in London, British media reported.

Williams announced in March that he and his wife Ayda Field were expecting their first child. Williams married the actress at his Beverly Hills home in 2010.

Williams forged a successful solo career after leaving British boy band Take That in 1995, and signed one of the world's biggest music deals with EMI in 2002.

He has sold over 60 million albums as a solo artist, rejoining the boy band in 2010. - Reuters

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Community agrees to relocation of graves

Posted: 18 Sep 2012 04:27 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Muslim community in Pengerang had agreed to the relocation of graves in the area to make way for the development of the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC).

Some 1,545 graves on seven Muslim cemetery plots are expected to be relocated within the next four months beginning early next month.

All costs related to the relocation of the graves including the site preparation of the new cemeteries would be covered by the state.

"The affected residents have agreed to the exercise following discussions with the state religious agencies," said the Johor Petroleum Development Corp Bhd through its media statement.

The Johor Islamic Council and the Johor Religious Affairs Department had conducted three briefing sessions on July 16 to 18 on the issue.

The sessions were held for the affected villagers in five villages — Kampung Teluk Empang, Kampung Sungai Kapal, Kampung Sebong, Kampung Jawa Laut and Kampung Jawa Darat.

The graveyard would be relocated to a new burial ground in Punggal about three kilometers away from the new resettlement area in Kampung Dato' Abdul Ghani Othman.

A company under Perbadanan Islam Johor was appointed by the government to develop and to relocate the graves.

All related work for identifying the affected heir to the deceased has been completed.

Site preparation for the new 32.37ha Muslim graveyard is expected to begin in mid-September and the first phase of 16.18ha would be developed where the first grave is planned to be relocated by next month.

Villagers affected by PIPC project advised to be calm

Posted: 18 Sep 2012 06:51 PM PDT

NUSAJAYA: The Johor government did not issue eviction notices to villages affected by the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC) project.

State economic planning unit director (UPEN) Elias Hasran had issued an advice to the villagers to ignore the rumours as they were not legally binding.

He was asked to comment on the notices that were put up at the homes of the affected villagers.

"Don't listen to rumour mongers or coffee shop talks, and we hope that irresponsible parties will stop spreading lies or cause any inconvenience to the villagers," said Elias.

He added that Pengerang residents affected by the project would be relocated to the new resettlement scheme Taman Bayu Permai on a 156.61ha site which would be ready by March next year.

He said the state would bear all the expenses to provide public facilities such as health clinic, primary and secondary schools under the new resettlement scheme.

"About 640 households from three villages will move to their new houses at Taman Bayu Permai in April under the phase one of the relocation exercise."

The three villages are Kampung Sungai Kapal, Kampung Teluk Empang and Kampung Langkah Baik.

By October 2013, four villages would follow suit — Kampung Sebong, Kampung Batu Mas, Kampung Jawa and Kampung Sungai Buntu.

He said although villagers came from different villages, they would be allowed to retain the original names of their former villages at the new resettlement scheme.

On a related issue, Elias said some 16 land owners affected by the project would receive their compensation following the conclusion of the land acquisition award hearing which ended recently after 12 days.

They are among the 74 owners of the 223 plots of lands who were affected by the project made up of the Petronas' Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development and the Pengerang Independent Deepwater Petroleum Terminal.

Another 33 owners had consented but still has some issues to settle.

"Those who are still unhappy with the compensation could file their reasons and seek their own counsel or land valuers and all expenses will be borne by the government," he said.

Attempted hijack in Pontian

Posted: 18 Sep 2012 07:13 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) had thwarted an attempt by six pirates to seize a vessel off the waters near Tanjung Piai in Pontian.

The six wearing ski masks, armed with a pistol and parang had climbed the vessel and tied up its crew members.

MMEA Southern Region enforcement chief First Admiral Adon Shalan said 10 of the ship's seamen were Indonesians while the other two were Chinese and Indian nationals.

He added that three of them suffered light injuries after the pirates had struck them with their weapon.

"The pirates, believed to be foreigners, escaped when one of them saw our enforcement boat approaching the vessel.

"They left hastily and jumped into a waiting speedboat parked near the vessel and headed towards international waters," he said.

Adon added that initial checks on the vessel found six parang left on the Tarawa, a Kiribati-registered vessel.

The pirates, he added, got away with some cash and mobile phones belonging to the crewmen.

Adon said the pirates had wanted to hijack the vessel and sell its cargo and ship parts elsewhere.

"We believe the pirates belong to a bigger syndicate targeting vessels anchoring in Johor waters.

In a separate case, a Mongolia-registered ship was found conducting illegal oil transfer from the vessel that was robbed.

Adon added that the Mongolian registered vessel with 10 crewmen, Indonesians and Myanmar including its captain, ages between 27 and 47 years were detained at the MMEA Southern headquarters for questioning.

He added that the MMEA would increase its patrol to ensure that those responsible will be brought to justice and to keep Malaysian waters safe from such syndicates.

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