Khamis, 1 November 2012

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Reports: Freddie Starr arrested in Savile abuse probe

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 05:32 PM PDT

LONDON: British comedian Freddie Starr was arrested on Thursday by police investigating sexual abuse allegations against the late TV star Jimmy Savile, media reports said.

Police said they had arrested a man in his 60s on suspicion of sexual offences. The BBC and Sky News named him as Starr, who has previously denied claims that he groped one of Savile's alleged victims.

He becomes the second person arrested in the investigation after former glam rocker Gary Glitter was held and then bailed on Sunday.

Starr found fame as a comedian in the 1970s and is best known as the subject of one of the most memorable headlines in British newspaper history, when The Sun ran the 1986 front-page splash: "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster".

"Officers working on Operation Yewtree have this evening, Thursday 1 November, arrested a man in his 60s in connection with the investigation," police investigating the Savile claims said in a statement.

"The man, from Warwickshire (in central England), was arrested at approximately 17.45 hrs (GMT) on suspicion of sexual offences, and has been taken into police custody locally.

"The individual falls under the strand of the investigation we have termed 'Savile and others'. We are not prepared to discuss further."

The arrest follows claims by a woman who has publicly accused Savile of abusing her that Starr touched her while they were both in a BBC dressing room in the 1970s, when she was just 14.

The 69-year-old comedian denied this and in a television interview last month, said he wanted to speak to police to clear his name.

"I would never, ever, ever touch an underage girl," Starr said, and branded Savile "despicable". He urged police to contact him over what he described as "false accusations".

Savile, who died last year aged 84 after a long career in British television and radio, has been accused of abusing around 300 victims over a 40-year period at a number of institutions, including the BBC and three hospitals.

The scandal has snowballed since claims that Savile molested underage girls were aired in a television documentary last month, leading to the arrests of Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, and now Starr.

NatWest bank said Thursday it had frozen Savile's estate, which the Financial Times said was worth 4.3 million ($6.9 million, 5.3 million euros). Of this, 3.7 million was to be held by NatWest on behalf of Savile's charitable trust.

Lawyers representing Savile's alleged victims are expected to sue for damages. - AFP

The Red Zone comes to the rescue

Posted: 02 Nov 2012 05:34 AM PDT

Besides listening to good music, you could pick up tech tips from Jeremy on his show.

YOU are in the office and your day is turning a little dull. Fret not, as The Red Zone (Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm) comes to the rescue.

Jeremy, who plays host, keeps you entertained with his fun and quirky personality. The first hour of his show is filled with music and better yet, without ads! He focuses on the latest music that listeners would enjoy.

He enjoys listening to Adele and Taylor Swift, in particularly, because he enjoys hearing about people's break-ups, which offer a whole range of emotions.

On a lighter note, segments like Little Bit on The Red Zone features jokes and quirky – sometimes lame – riddles because Jeremy wants his listeners to not take themselves too seriously when their day has just begun. He also loves to share hilarious bits he finds on the Internet.

It doesn't stop there, Jeremy offers you the latest gadget information, but it is not all about pretentious jargons. He makes techy information accessible to everyday people.

Every fortnight, he brings in Stuff magazine's editor Nigel Yap to share the latest scoop in the tech world and also answer queries about the cluttered tech world.

"I am a product of the 21st century. I am a consumer of technology of all that is new and cool. I embrace what makes life, yours in particular, more relaxed and interesting," says Jeremy.

So, tune in to The Red Zone and let Jeremy keep you entertained.

For more information, log on to Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page at and follow them on Twitter @iloveredfm.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

Red FM's station frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1FM; George Town and Seberang Prai: 107.6FM; Ipoh, Perak: 106.4FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9FM; Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6FM; Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8FM.


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Blind Chinese activist's brother says lawsuit rejected

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 08:04 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - The eldest brother of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng said on Friday a Chinese court had rejected his lawsuit filed against local police and officials for unlawfully barging into his house after his brother's escape.

Chen Guangfu (R), the eldest brother of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, stands with their mother Wang Jinxiang (L), in the front yard of their family home in the village of Dongshigu in Shandong Province, 600 km (370 miles) southeast of Beijing June 9, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray

Chen Guangfu (R), the eldest brother of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, stands with their mother Wang Jinxiang (L), in the front yard of their family home in the village of Dongshigu in Shandong Province, 600 km (370 miles) southeast of Beijing June 9, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray

The rejection of Chen Guangfu's lawsuit on Thursday was an expected outcome, but it underscores the continued pressure on Chen Guangcheng's family in northeastern Shandong province, about five months after Chen Guangcheng left for the United States to study.

Chen Guangfu said he would appeal, and although his legal fight is likely to fail, it could renew international focus on China's human rights and legal system and galvanise lawyers and rights advocates to push for the rule of law in China.

Chinese courts rarely accept lawsuits filed by dissidents or their relatives, and when courts do they invariably find for the government.

The Yinan County People's Court rejected Chen Guangfu's lawsuit on the grounds that he did not provide "any corresponding evidence" and therefore he "cannot prove that his claims are based in reality", Chen Guangfu said by telephone from his village of Dongshigu.

Court officials could not be reached for comment.

Chen Guangfu is trying to sue police and local government officials that oversee his village for "scaling the walls of his home and for wrecking his home" just after midnight on April 27, the day after they discovered his blind brother had escaped.

"This outcome was expected; it's just one of their rogue tactics," Chen Guangfu, 55, told Reuters. "How can they say the evidence doesn't correspond with reality? Kegui is still in their hands."

Chen Guangfu's son, Chen Kegui, has been charged with intentional wounding after he took a kitchen knife and slashed three officials who had barged into Chen Guangfu's home and beat up family members of Chen Guangcheng. Chen Kegui's lawyers have been repeatedly denied access to him.

After breaking free from 19 months of house imprisonment in April, Chen Guangcheng sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, embarrassing the Chinese authorities and sparking a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Washington. He is now studying law in New York.

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

CIA officials in Libya made key decisions during Benghazi attacks

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 06:08 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA officials on the ground in Libya dispatched security forces to the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi within 25 minutes and made other key decisions about how to respond to the waves of attacks on U.S. installations on September 11, a senior American intelligence official said on Thursday.

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

Officials in Washington monitored events through message traffic and a hovering U.S. military drone but did not interfere with or reject requests for help from officials in the line of fire, the official said.

The information emerged as officials made available on Thursday a timeline chronicling the U.S. response to the Benghazi attacks in which Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other American officials died. The material appears to refute claims by critics that officials in Washington delayed sending help to the besieged personnel.

The handling of the attack by the Obama administration and CIA has come under sharp criticism by supporters of Republican challenger Mitt Romney during the campaign ahead of the presidential election on November 6.

The senior intelligence official said that CIA officers in Benghazi, "responded to the situation on the night of 11 and 12 September as quickly and as effectively as possible.

"The security officers in particular were genuine heroes. They quickly tried to rally additional local support and heavier weapons, and when that could not be accomplished within minutes, they still moved in and put their own lives on the line to save their comrades," the official said.

"At every level in the chain of command, from the senior officers in Libya to the most senior officials in Washington, everyone was fully engaged in trying to provide whatever help they could," the official said.

"There was no second-guessing those decisions being made on the ground, by people at every U.S. organization that could play a role in assisting those in danger. There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support," the official added.


Intelligence and other administration officials expressed particular dismay about a report on Fox News last week that alleged that armed CIA operatives near the U.S. compound in Benghazi were repeatedly told to "stand down" after asking for permission to assist on the night of September 11 and were also refused military backup by the CIA chain of command.

Following the initial broadcast of the Fox News report, Jennifer Youngblood, a CIA spokeswoman, denied that CIA had ever turned down requests for help from U.S. personnel in Benghazi.

"No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate," Youngblood said.

According to the timeline, around 9:40 p.m. Benghazi time, officials at the CIA's relatively fortified and well-defended base in Benghazi got a call from State Department officials at the U.S. diplomatic mission about a mile away that the less-fortified public mission complex had come under attack from a group of militants, the intelligence official said.

Other official sources said that the initial wave of attacks on the diplomatic mission involved setting fires using diesel fuel. The dense smoke created by the fuel both made it hard for people at the compound to breathe and to organize a response to the attack.

About 25 minutes after the initial report came into the CIA base, a team of about six agency security officers left their base for the public diplomatic mission compound.

Over the succeeding 25 minutes, the CIA team approached the compound, and tried, apparently unsuccessfully, to get local Libyan allies to bring them a supply of heavier weapons, and eventually moved into the burning diplomatic compound, the intelligence official said.

At around 11:10 p.m., a Defense Department drone, which had been on an unrelated mission some distance away, arrived in Benghazi to help officials on the ground gather information. By 11:30, U.S. personnel who had been working or staying at the mission had been rounded up except for Ambassador Stevens, who was missing, the intelligence official said.

When they tried to drive out of the diplomatic compound to return to the CIA base, however, the convoy carrying U.S. evacuees came under fire.

Once they got back to the CIA base, that installation itself came under fire from what the intelligence official described as small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. These patchy attacks went on for roughly 90 minutes, the intelligence official said.


Around the same time, a CIA security team based in Tripoli, which included two U.S. military officers, landed at Benghazi airport. Upon its arrival, however, the team spent some time trying both to arrange local transport and to locate the missing Ambassador Stevens.

After some time trying to solve these problems, the security team that had flown in from Tripoli eventually arranged for an armed local escort and extra transportation, but decided not to go the hospital where they believed Stevens had been taken. In part this was because they had reason to believe Stevens was likely dead, and because security at the hospital was believed, at best, to be "uncertain," the intelligence official said.

Not long before dawn, the reinforcements from Tripoli managed to take themselves and a convoy of vehicles to the CIA base to prepare for an anticipated evacuation.

However, just after they arrived at the CIA base, the official said, a new round of attacks on that facility was launched, this time with mortars. Although the mortar attacks lasted only 11 minutes, two U.S. security officers were killed by a direct hit from one of the shells, the intelligence official said.

Finally, a bit less than an hour later, a heavily armed Libyan military unit arrived at the CIA base to help evacuate the compound of U.S. personnel to the Benghazi airport, the official added.

Over the next few hours, roughly 30 Americans, as well as the bodies of Stevens and the other three Americans killed during the attacks, were loaded on planes and flown out of the city, several U.S. officials said.

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Obama, Romney return to attack as campaign hits final stretch

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 05:46 PM PDT

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney went back on the attack on Thursday, breaking a storm-induced campaign truce to hit the road and pound home their closing messages in the final stretch of a tight battle for the White House.

U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 1, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 1, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

With five days left until Tuesday's election, Obama received an endorsement from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, resurrected his 2008 "change" slogan and said he was the only candidate who had actually fought for it.

Romney criticized Obama as a lover of big government who would expand the federal bureaucracy.

National polls show the race deadlocked, and Obama and Romney will spend the final days in eight swing states that will decide who wins the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House.

Obama made Wisconsin the first stop on a four-state swing on Thursday that also took him to rallies in Nevada and Colorado before going to Ohio for the night. Romney had a full day of campaigning across Virginia.

"You may be frustrated at the pace of change, but you know what I believe, you know where I stand," Obama told a crowd of 2,600 people on an airport tarmac in Wisconsin, a state that is a vital piece of his electoral strategy. "I know what change looks like because I've fought for it."

At a rally in Doswell, Virginia, Romney criticized Obama's comment that he would like to consolidate government agencies that deal with business issues in a new department under a secretary of business.

"I don't think adding a new chair to his Cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street," Romney said.

Jobs will again be the focus of fierce debate on Friday when the government releases the unemployment figures for October. Any big change from the 7.8 percent number in September could potentially sway voters.

Obama and Romney had put campaigning on hold for several days as the historic storm Sandy pounded the eastern seaboard, leaving a trail of destruction and forcing Obama to turn his attention to storm relief.

That pause produced some unexpected political benefits for Obama, who won warm praise from Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Romney supporter, and he spent days directing federal relief efforts in a show of presidential leadership that largely sidelined Romney.

New York's Bloomberg - a Republican-turned-independent who did not back a candidate in 2008 - endorsed Obama and cited the Democrat's record on climate change, an issue that has gained more attention since the storm.

Bloomberg said Obama had taken significant steps to reduce carbon consumption, while Romney had backtracked on earlier positions he took as governor of Massachusetts to battle climate change. Obama said he was "honoured" by the backing of Bloomberg, who flirted with White House runs in the past.

On their first day back on the trail, both Obama and Romney returned to political attacks but struck a slightly more positive tone than usual in trying to woo undecided voters and push their own supporters to vote.

In Doswell, Romney proclaimed his faith in the future and said, "The American people have what it takes to come out of these tough times."

In Wisconsin, Obama drew distinctions with Romney but dropped his usual reference to "Romnesia" - the term he uses to describe what he calls Romney's tendency to shift positions.


Obama has a somewhat easier path to 270 electoral votes than Romney, fuelled primarily by a small but steady lead in the vital battleground of Ohio - a crucial piece of any winning scenario for either candidate - and slight leads in Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada.

Barring any surprises elsewhere, Obama can win a second term by capturing the Midwestern bastions of Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa, and his schedule was aimed at shoring up his safety net there.

Obama plans to visit Ohio on each of the last four days of the campaign, and plans two more trips to Wisconsin and Iowa. He will conclude his campaign on Monday night with rock singer Bruce Springsteen in Iowa, where a 2008 caucus win launched his run to the presidency.

So far, Obama has planned just one visit each in the final days to Florida and Virginia, where most polls give Romney a slight lead. Romney will hit Wisconsin and Ohio on Friday, and New Hampshire, Iowa and Colorado on Saturday.

Romney plans to finish up his campaign on Monday night in New Hampshire, the state where he launched his bid last year.

Romney's campaign has aired ads in recent days in the Democratic-leaning states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, hoping to put them in play after polls showed the races tightening but Obama still ahead.

The campaign said Romney would visit Pennsylvania on Sunday, marking his first campaign visit since the nominating convention to one of his new target states. A win in Pennsylvania would be a crippling blow to Obama, but most public polls still show Obama leading there.

Romney aides said the moves into those three new states were a sign of their growing momentum, although Obama aides described them as a desperate ploy to find new paths to 270 electoral votes.

A Reuters/Ipsos national online poll on Thursday showed the race remained effectively deadlocked, with Obama at 47 percent to Romney's 46 percent. Most national polls showed roughly similar results.

Most swing-state polls have found Obama clinging to slender leads in five of the eight most heavily contested states - Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire. In most polls, Romney has a slight lead in Florida, while Virginia and Colorado were effectively tied.

A Reuters/Ipsos online poll on Thursday showed Obama with a 5-point lead in Virginia, and 2-point leads among likely voters in both Ohio and Florida. Romney led by 1 point in Colorado in the Reuters/Ipsos polls.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Virginia; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

Related Stories:
Bloomberg endorses Obama for a second term, climate change a focus

White House race tight in 4 key states; Obama up in Virginia - Reuters/Ipsos poll
Romney to make unexpected campaign stop in Pennsylvania

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Lloyds takes extra £1bil hit

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 06:55 PM PDT

LONDON: Britain's state-rescued Lloyds bank has set aside another £1bil to compensate clients who were mis-sold insurance, pushing it into another third-quarter loss.

Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), which is 39.6% owned by the taxpayer after a vast bailout at the height of the global financial crisis, said that the new provision would take its total bill for the insurance mis-selling scandal to £5.3bil.

The London-listed bank added in a results statement that it faced a net loss of £361mil in the three months to the end of September. However, that marked an improvement from a shortfall of £501mil a year earlier.

Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio added the payment protection insurance (PPI) charges were the "primary driver behind the statutory loss".

From the £5.3bil that Lloyds has set aside, the bank added that it had paid out £3.7bil at the end of September.

However, stripping out the PPI provision, the group doubled its underlying profit to a better-than-expected £840mil in the third quarter, as it cut bad debts and narrowed losses from its non-core businesses.

Horta-Osorio added: "We have made further significant progress this quarter, improving underlying performance in a challenging environment, while continuing to deliver returns above the cost of equity in the core business and strengthen our already robust balance sheet."

The bailed-out group also revealed that it was ahead of schedule in its ongoing restructuring plans that were unveiled last year.

LBG has now exited 12 of the 15 countries that it had already signalled it would depart from by the end of 2014. That leaving it with current operations in 18 nations.

In addition, Lloyds has reduced its non-core assets by 31 billion to 110 billion, ahead of its 2012 guidance.

LBG has slashed more than 30,000 posts since 2009 as it looks to nurse its way back to health after its part-nationalisation, which was sparked by the ill-fated 2008 takeover of rival bank HBOS at the height of the financial crisis.

British banks have suffered heavy compensation bills for PPI, which provided cover for consumers should they fail to meet repayments on a credit product such as loans, mortgages or payment cards.

LBG was pushed into a vast net loss of £2.78bil in 2011 as a result of soaring claims. - AFP

Probe on EU solar products

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 06:54 PM PDT

BEIJING: China has announced a trade investigation into European exports of solar-grade polysilicon, escalating a bitter trade row with the European Union (EU), which has unveiled a similar probe into Chinese products.

The probe into the product, a key material used in the making of solar cells, is the latest in a series of trade disputes between China and its Western trading partners, including autos, steel and rare earth minerals.

The commerce ministry said in a statement that it would examine whether firms from the European Union sold the products at artificially low prices in China.

It will also investigate alleged subsidies received by the EU producers and exporters and probe any damages caused to Chinese companies. The findings will help the ministry "come to a just ruling according to the law".

The probes were launched after complaints by Chinese polysilicon producers that included claims that EU firms received German government subsidies and favourable loans from the European Investment Bank, a separate ministry statement said.

European companies that may be affected must register to respond within the next 20 days and report values and quantities of the products they sold in China between July 1 last year and June 30, it said.

The ministry aims to complete the investigations in one year or a maximum of 18 months if "unusual conditions" come into play, it added.

The row in the solar sector between China and the European Union escalated after Brussels in September launched an investigation into whether Chinese companies were selling panels in Europe at up to 80 % below actual cost.

EU ProSun, which groups European makers and called for the anti-dumping probe, has also filed an official complaint with the European Commission over alleged illegal subsidies to Chinese firms.

Beijing reacted sharply to the EU investigation, warning that restricting Chinese solar battery products would harm both sides.

More than 60% of China's US$35.8bil of solar product exports went to the EU last year, according to Chinese industry figures, while the country imported US$7.5bil worth of European solar equipment and raw materials.

China has also urged the United States to rescind hefty anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Chinese solar-cell makers.

The US Commerce Department this year announced penalties that include anti-dumping taxes at between 18% and 250% to offset the impact of alleged unfair competitive edges of Chinese firms.

The measures are still up for confirmation by the US International Trade Commission, which is expected to rule this month. - AFP

WIEF boost for Iskandar

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 06:49 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Malaysia will continue to attract interest from potential investors from all over the world with the upcoming 8th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF).

The three-day event to be held from Dec 4 to 6 at the Persada Johor International Convention Centre here will see the participation of over 1,500 delegates from 50 countries.

"This is an opportunity for Johor and Iskandar Malaysia, in particular, to promote the economic opportunities which they could offer to investors,'' said WIEF Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam.

He said that since its launch six years ago, Iskandar Malaysia was moving in the right direction and investors would have a first-hand look at the developments taking place in the economic region.

Musa said "Changing Trends, New Opportunities" was chosen as the theme for this year's event following the Arab uprising and eurozone crisis.

Musa was speaking at a luncheon to give the media the latest update on the event which would be held outside Kuala Lumpur for the first time since its was first organised in October 2005.

Also present were WIEF Foundation secretary general Tan Sri Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak and managing director Datuk Syed Abu Bakar Almohdzar.

Last year, the event was held at Kazakhstan's capital Astana in June, and the 9th edition of the WIEF would be held in London in October 2013.

Apart from Kuala Lumpur, the event was also held in Islamabad, Pakistan in 2006, in Kuwait in 2008 and in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2009.

"WIEF does discuss issues concerning religions or faiths, but our objective is to connect Muslims and non-Muslim communities to drive collaborations and seize business opportunities,'' Musa said.

He said the images of Muslims had been tainted the world over since the 9/11 attacks in the United States and many associated Muslims as terrorists and that an economic forum like WIEF was vital to correct the negative perception of the Muslim world.

Musa said there would also be a Business Networking Breakfast for participants covering 16 economic sectors such as healthcare, technology, agriculture, green industry, halal industry, tourism, logistics, and oil and gas.

"This is a business matching session and feedback from our previous events showed that many who attended the networking have benefited from it,'' he said.


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Daren breaks into world top 20 after French Open win

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 05:45 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: National singles shuttler Daren Liew has jumped six rungs to break into the top 20 of the world rankings.

The 25-year-old Daren is now ranked 18th in the world, thanks to his French Open win on Sunday.

This is quite an achievement for someone struggling to make a name for himself at the start of this year.

But Daren has been quite consistent since making the quarter-finals of the All-England in March.

And he can further improve on his ranking when he competes in the China Open (Nov 13-18) in Shanghai and Hong Kong Open (Nov 20-25) in Kowloon.

Lee Chong Wei continues his reign as world No. 1.

In the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) world rankings released yesterday, the other Malaysians who managed to stay in the top 50 are Chong Wei Feng at 26th, Apacs-sponsored Tan Chun Seang (33rd), KLRC's Mohd Hafiz Hashim (40th) and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif (44th).

There was also good news for men's doubles pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying when they moved up one spot to be ranked fourth in the world respectively.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong reached the final of the Japan Open and Denmark Open in the last two months.

As for Peng Soon-Liu Ying, the fourth spot is the best achievement in their five years together.

The women's department, however, is another story all together. The best women's singles player is Tee Jing Yi, who is ranked 51st while the top women's pair of Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei are in 26th spot.

Underdog Yee Han marches into last eight

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 05:45 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: National shuttler Chong Yee Han is supposedly the weakest link in the boys' singles team but it was he who stood tall yesterday – marching into the quarter-finals of the World Junior Championships in Chiba, Japan.

The 18-year-old stunned joint fifth-eighth seed Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong 21-15, 21-18 to set up a meeting with another seeded player, South Korea's Heo Kwang-hee.

Malaysia's Soo Teck Zhi lived up to his billing, albeit the hard way, when he made it to the last eight with a 21-13, 19-21, 21-15 win over Dani Harsheel of India.

The 17-year-old Teck Zhi has a mammoth task ahead of him as he will be up against reigning Asian Junior champion and second seed Kento Momota of Japan today.

National junior programme manager Hau Kim Tho said that Yee Han, who joined their academy three years ago, clearly relished the underdog tag.

"We had four singles representatives in the world junior meet and Yee Han is ranked fourth. While the spotlight was on others, he has quietly sneaked into the last eight. He is a fighter and has shown that quality in this tournament," said Kim Tho.

"Our juniors have been unpredictable so far but I hope Yee Han and Teck Zhi will go far."

Earlier, the two more established youngsters – Soong Joo Ven and Tan Kian Meng – had crashed out in the second and third rounds respectively. The loss of top junior Joo Ven came as a big surprise as he was expected to reach at least the quarter-finals.

Malaysia suffered a huge meltdown in the boys' doubles when all three pairs – Tai An Khang-Tan Wee Gieen, Darren Isaac Devadass-Ong Yew Sin and Dede Ryan Philip-Marcel Simon – failed to make the quarter-finals.

Malaysia have always been successful in the boys' doubles. In fact, Nelson Heg Wei Keat-Teo Ee Yi did the country proud by winning the title last year.

There was, however, some consolation for Malaysia when the top girls' pair of Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean stormed into the quarter-finals after beating lower-ranked pairs yesterday.

Their real test will come when they face Indonesians Melati Daeva Oktaviani-Rosyita Eka Putri Sari, the joint 5th-8th seeds, today.

Kien Keat and Peng Soon looking forward to new line technology

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 04:14 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: National doubles shuttlers Koo Kien Keat and Chan Peng Soon are looking forward to a new technology to challenge line calls after being victims of "biased" judging.

The World Badminton Federation (BWF) events committee, headed by Paisan Rangsikitpho, have proposed the introduction of new technology – similar to the Hawk-Eye in tennis – to curb poor line calls.

A decision will be made at the world body's council meeting next month.

If approved, a player will be given a limited number of challenges and the umpire will decide after viewing instant replays on the screen.

Kien Keat and Peng Soon, who are training for the China Open in Shanghai from Nov 13-18, said it was high time that such a technology is used.

Kien Keat will partner Tan Boon Heong in the men's doubles while Peng Soon will be on double duty – combining with Goh Liu Ying in the mixed doubles and with Lim Khim Wah in the men's doubles.

Kien Keat, who still remembers the questionable line calls and poor umpiring at this year's All-England, said the introduction of the new technology would enable the match to be fairly judged.

"This is the fastest racquet sport and, sometimes, the shuttle travels so fast that it could deceive the eyes. So naturally, the new technology will help us judge the line calls accurately. I am all for it," said Kien Keat.

"Our sport has evolved and come a long way. I hope that with this new technology, human errors can be minimised."

Peng Soon is happy that the BWF are finally looking into ways to arrest the problem of poor line calls.

"I was so upset during the German Open this year. The shuttle clearly landed out but was called in. I made a big fuss and was shown a yellow card. Things like this can disrupt a player's concentration," said Peng Soon.

In the German Open, Peng Soon-Liu Ying lost to Indonesians Mohd Rijal-Debby Susanto 21-19, 18-21, 18-21 in the opening round.


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Police launch manhunt for Gua Musang shooter

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 08:54 AM PDT

KOTA BARU: The police have identified a fugitive gunman who shot and seriously injured a policeman at a road-block in Paloh, Gua Musang, two days ago.

In the incident, Lance Corporal Mohd Samsul Anuar Mohd Adnan, 27, sustained gunshot wounds in the abdomen and has been warded at the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital's intensive care unit.

Kelantan police chief Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said the police had launched a manhunt for the fugitive.

"We hope those with information on the suspect will assist us," he said, when met after visiting Mohd Samsul Anuar and Corporal Mat Raduan Mat Hassan, 50, at the hospital today.

Mat Raduan was shot and injured in the hands and body by local underworld leader Zawa Abd Halim, 34, in a shootout before the thug was shot dead by the police.

Also present at the hospital was Kelantan Umno Liaison Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Earlier, Jalaluddin handed over certificates of appreciation and cash to representatives of the two policemen's families, in recognition of their bravery.

Chief Justice concerned over recurrence of postponed cases

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 08:40 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria has expressed concern over the postponement of hearing of court cases which had recurred of late.

He stressed that being involved in other court cases, being on leave or attending a seminar should not be the reason for counsel to justify the postponement of hearing of a case.

Therefore, Arifin reminded judges and judicial officers to comply with the Chief Justice Directive 2008, which restricts postponement of hearing of court cases.

He said the courts should return to the practice of hearing cases until completion, without long postponements like before where hearings in the High Courts were conducted with the assistance of the jury.

Arifin said although Article 5 (3) of the Federal Constitution "guarantees that an accused person is entitled to be represented by counsel of his choice, it is with a condition that the counsel is able to be present in person to handle the case at the fixed time".

"I wish to remind counsel to adhere to Rule 6 of the Rules of the Legal Profession Act (Practice and Modesty) 1978, which clearly and firmly requires counsel not to accept a case unless he is reasonably confident that he can be present and represent his client on the fixed date," Arifin said in his speech at the swearing-in of four newly appointed judicial commissioners.

Arifin also reminded that Rule 24 of the same Act had provided that a lawyer should make every effort to be prepared for the trial at the fixed time and should not apply for an adjournment unless for a valid reason.

"In the event that a case is adjourned for a decision, the judge has to comply with the directive that any decision has to be delivered within a period of not more than four weeks, while the grounds of judgment have to be given within eight weeks from the date of filing of the appeal," he said.

The top man in the judiciary also reminded judges to be honest and courageous in making a decision in a court case based on the rule of law although the verdict was not preferred by the other party.

"Remember, the duties and role of the judiciary are not to seek popularity, but to uphold the rule of law in dispensing justice," he said.

Arifin said the dignity and integrity of the judiciary would be safeguarded if the decisions of judges were based on legal principles and the rule of law.

During the swearing-in, Arifin also announced that the Office of Chief Registrar of the Federal Court had received official approval to increase the number of judicial officer posts, which would also see promotions among judicial officers.

"With the approved additional posts, the competency of the judges, magistrates and registrars of the suborninate courts would be enhanced by having more experienced and trained officers," he said.

At the event, Datuk Hashim Hamzah, 50, Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said, 54, Datin Azizah Nawawi, 50, and Wong Chiang Kiat, 55, received their credentials as judicial commissioners from Arifin.

Their appointments were effective today.

Before the appointments, Hashim served as chief registrar of the Federal Court, while Kamaludin was head of the Appellate and Trials Division of the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC).

Azizah was head of the AGC's Legal Division and Wong had served as director-general of the Judicial and Legal Training Institute under the Prime Minister's Department.

When met by reporters, the Chief Justice declined to comment on the postponement of hearing of the appeal by two former commandos from the Special Action Unit who were found guilty by the High Court of murdering Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006.

The hearing of the appeal brought by Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 34, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 39, had been fixed for yesterday and today but it was postponed. - Bernama

Woman dies after being robbed

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 07:24 AM PDT

ALOR SETAR: A 68-year-old woman who lived alone, died of breathing difficulties after being robbed in her house at Lorong Keriang here Thursday.

In the 5.30am incident, G. Supama was found lying on the floor in a room on the ground floor by her neighbours who sent her to the hospital but she died on the way.

Kedah CID chief ACP Zakaria Ahmad said the robber entered the house from the roof of the victim's house and tied her up before relieving her of her jewellery.

"The victim who lived alone was not injured but we are waiting the post-mortem report from the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital to determine the cause of death," he said when contacted.

"Police are investigating the case under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder." - Bernama


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Films from Europe

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 02:28 AM PDT

THE European Union Film Festival (EUFF) is back for the 13th year, featuring some 29 movies and documentaries from 20 European countries. This annual event is happening at selected Golden Screen Cinemas in Kuala Lumpur (Nov 8-18), Penang (Nov 22-28) and, for the first time, in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (Dec 6-13). Organised by the Delegation of the European Union to Malaysia, in collaboration with the embassies of 17 European Union members as well as Croatia, Norway and Switzerland, the festival aims to share the culture, history and identity of these countries through films.

Tickets for EUFF are priced at RM5 (except for Mataharis, Senna and Pina) and are available from Nov 8 at participating Golden Screen Cinemas outlets. You can also get them online ( or via the GSC Mobile App. Tickets for Wim Wenders' Pina (screened in 3D) are priced at RM10, while Mataharis and Senna are screened for free.

All the movies are showcased in their original language with English subtitles. Do take note that selected films will be subjected to manual censorship and that showtimes are subject to change.

Here's the list of some of the films scheduled to screen:

> A Distant Neighbourhood (drama, Luxembourg) – When a man wakes up to find himself a teenager again, he must use the second chance to his full advantage.

> A Perfect Match (romance, Belgium) – What better time to look for a wife than on the day that one is forced to retire. Hence, a grumpy school principal decides to do just that ... online.

> A Road To Mecca: The Journey Of Muhammad Asad (documentary, Austria) – Director/writer Georg Misch follows the journey of Muhammad Asad as the latter goes to the Holy Land.

> A Second Childhood (drama, Italy) – Director/writer Pupi Avati looks at a married couple who seem to have it all, until one of them is diagnosed with a degenarative brain disease.

> Almanya (comedy, Germany) – Explores the lives of Turkish workers and their family members who move to Germany, and adapting to a totally different lifestyle.

> Automatic For People (short, Czech Republic) – A 2010 short written and directed by Jan Vejnar, featuring the talents of Petr Brukner and Dora Hostova.

> Crusade In Jeans (fantasy, the Netherlands) – A young boy messes with a time machine built by his mother only to end up in 1212. Needless to say, manoeuvering through this time is a little more difficult than he imagined.

> Dear Alice (drama, Sweden) – Go through one day with several individuals (including a character played by Danny Glover).

> In A Better World (thriller, Denmark) – Two Danish families meet and they leave a wake of loneliness and sorrow in their paths.

> Mataharis (drama, Spain) – The story unfolds through the eyes of three women who work at a detective agency.

> Morgen (comedy, Romania) – Revolves around a security guard at a supermarket at a town near the border.

> Senna (documentary, Britain) – Director Asif Kapadia focuses on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, the three-time F1 world championship who died at the age 34

> Simon And The Oaks (drama, Sweden) – Tale of two boys come who come of age during World War II.

> Stationspiraten (drama, Switzerland) – Set at a cancer ward where a group of 15-year-old boys stay and go through adolescents there.

> The Illusionist (animation, France) – The Oscar nominee (in the best animated feature film category) about a French illusionist who goes to Scotland to look for work, only to have a life-changing adventure there.

> The Italian Key (comedy, Finland) – Follow a 19-year-old girl who inherits a key that unlocks a whole lot of unexpected things.

> The White Space (drama, Italy) – A young woman has to deal with an unexpected pregnancy which propels her into uncharted territory.

> The World Is Big And Salvation Is Around The Corner (drama, Bulgaria) – Alex finds his true self when he embarks on an interesting journey with his charimastic grandfather.

> Twin Sisters (drama, the Netherlands) – A 2002 film based on the book by Tessa de Loo, about a pair of twin sisters who have been forced apart.

> What Is A Man Without His Moustache? (comedy, Croatia) – Based on Anto Tomic's novel which focuses on three different people and how they come to terms with a changing environment.

> For more information and screening schedule, visit or

George Clooney is distant cousin of Abraham Lincoln

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 11:23 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: Aunt Rosemary was not George Clooney's only famous relative. You can add a certain Civil War American president to the Oscar-winning actor's family tree.

Politics has apparently run in the activist actor's blood for centuries, as website on Thursday revealed that the "Ocean's 11" star is distantly related to President Abraham Lincoln.

According to, Clooney is the half-first cousin five times removed from Lincoln, the 16th president.

The genealogy website breaks down the connection, explaining the "half" means that two of their ancestors were half-siblings - Lincoln's mother Nancy Hanks was the half-sister of Clooney's 4th great-grandmother Mary Ann Sparrow.

Hanks and Sparrow shared the same mother, Lucy Hanks, but had different fathers. Lucy Hanks was Lincoln's maternal grandmother as well as the 5th great-grandmother of Clooney.

Clooney's aunt was singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, who died in 2002.

Clooney, long noted for his political activism, is a major Hollywood backer of President Barack Obama. He hosted a Democratic Party fundraiser at his Los Angeles home in March that raised $15 million.

Lincoln, a Republican, is considered one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States. He led the country through the Civil War and is credited with the abolition of slavery, which officially became law in 1865 after his assassination.

He is the subject of an upcoming Steven Spielberg film "Lincoln," starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, which is to open in the United States next week. is offering free access to more than 20,000 documents showcasing Lincoln's life, his family tree and the most pivotal moments of his presidential career. The details can be found at - Reuters

Evan Rachel Wood marries 'Billy Elliot" star Jamie Bell

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 09:08 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: Hollywood actress Evan Rachel Wood has quietly married Briton Jamie Bell - star of the 2000 "Billy Elliot" dance movie - in a ceremony in California, Wood's spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

"The bride wore a custom dress by Carolina Herrera. It was a small ceremony with close family and friends," the spokeswoman said in a statement, adding that the wedding took place on Tuesday.

In a Twitter posting on Wednesday, Wood, best known for her roles in "The Wrestler" and coming of age movie "Thirteen," said "Words cannot describe the happiness i am feeling. Overwhelming."

Wood, 25, first began dating Bell about seven years ago. But the pair broke up and Wood went on to have a highly publicized engagement with heavy metal rocker Marilyn Manson, who is almost twice her age.

Wood and Bell, 26, were rumored to have become engaged in January this year, but never confirmed their relationship.

Bell found fame as the teen star of "Billy Elliot" about a ballet dancer growing up in a tough coal mining town in northern England. He won a British BAFTA award for the role and has since appeared in adventure movies like "The Eagle" and "Jumper." - Reuters


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Elevator vandalism rampant in flat

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 06:59 AM PDT

A RECENTLY repaired elevator was saved just in time from a fiery end when a few residents at Block B of Flat 700 in Pandan Perdana, Ampang spotted the flames and managed to put it out quickly.

While the damage is not too bad, from stains on the elevator ceiling to a burn-marked floor, and the elevator still works, Flat 700 Joint Management Body known as LC700 are worried that the recent incident was linked to a string of vandalism cases.

"We have noticed several cases of elevator vandalism since the new committee took over in the middle of this year. In one instance, someone had knocked the door frame crooked and in others the lights were stolen," new LC700 chairman Tong Tick Chong said.

He said there were four blocks consisting of 700 flat units and each block has two elevators.

For some seven to eight years, one elevator on each of the blocks has been out of order.

"In June, the committee performed a check at each of these broken down elevators and we were shocked to discover everything of use inside the lifts, from the control box, cables, motors and pumps are missing. We have made police reports about all these problems as we encounter them," Tong said.

The estimated cost of damage done to the four elevators was about RM200,000.

"It was one of these elevators that we repaired where the fire broke out," Tong added.

He also said that maintaining lifts was very expensive and climbing up and down the 10 storey building was no joke.

"Due to the increasing boldness of the vandalism, we are considering installing CCTVs in the working elevators soon and hope it will prevent further inconvenience to the residents," Tong said.

Teratai constituency public complaints bureau chief Ben Liew urged the police to take swift action as it involved the people's safety.

Metro Watch

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 06:44 AM PDT


To facilitate construction works for the MRT project, the night closure of the right lanes of both the Kajang-bound and Kuala Lumpur-bound directions of Jalan Cheras between Leisure Mall and Phoenix Plaza will be extended for another two months from Oct 31 to Dec 31. The closure will be from 11pm to 5.30am daily except Sundays and public holidays to enable utility piloting work and pre-construction works. Safety barriers, hoardings and traffic cones will be installed at the work site to ensure roadusers and pedestrians are pre-warned of on-going works.


Fairview International School Kuala Lumpur will host a free talk titled "Allergic Diseases: How the Allergy and Immunology Specialists can Help" by Dr Kent Woo, Consultant Allergy and Immunology from Gleneagles Hospital, Kuala Lumpur on Nov 3, between 3pm and 4.30pm, at the school located at Jalan 1/27D, Section 6, Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur. Call 03-4142 0888 to reserve your seat or visit for details.


Etiqa Insurance and Takaful is organising "Hunt with A Heart" charity treasure hunt on Nov 11. The event, jointly organised with Soroptimist International, will be flagged off at Etiqa's headquarters in Dataran Maybank, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, at 9.30am and end at Putrajaya Marriot Hotel. Participants can download the entry form from or before Nov 4.


THE 11th Latin American Film Festival will be held from Nov 6 to 11. The movies will be screened at KLPAC, Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan (Off Jalan Ipoh), Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free. For details, visit and


MALAYSIAN Conservation Alliance for Tigers will be holding a workshop on identifying commonly traded wildlife parts and products at Rimba Ilmu, University of Malaya on Nov 3, 12.30- 5.30pm. It will be conducted by TRAFFIC Southeast Asia. Call May at 017-682 1006 or email for free registration.


The Students' Society of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Veternak) and Zoologico Club, University Putra Malaysia (UPM), Serdang, are organising the annual Dogathon from 6.30am-2pm on Nov 4, at Bukit Ekspo, UPM Serdang. The theme is "Howl with the hounds or you're doomed!". For details, call 012-336 2470 (Deva).


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Government to send more orang asli students overseas to further their studies

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 02:06 AM PDT

LIPIS: More orang asli students will be sent overseas to further their studies by the Government said orang asli Senator Datuk Mohamad Olian Abdullah.

He added that those who excelled in their studies would also be given an opportunity to study in local universities and institutions of higher learning in courses of their choice.

"Presently, there are 11 orang asli students pursuing various courses in United Kingdom and Australia.

"This shows that the orang asli community are not neglected by the Government."

The senator said with the support of their parents and society, orang asli children too could also excel and achieve success in life.

He said there were many examples of orang asli who held high posts in the civil service and become professionals in the private sector.

"The time has come for the society to cast aside the perception that children of orang asli community are not interested to study.

"Gone are the days when they prefer to stay in the jungle," he said, adding that many orang asli community had been relocated to new settlements with basic amenities such as electricity, water and proper roads.

Mohamad Olian said the Government would continue to look after their welfare to enable them to live progressively in tandem with mainstream development.

He said various assistance had been given out and would continue to be rendered to the community including financial aid to assist orang asli pupils.

On another matter, Pahang Rural Development and Orang Asli Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said the Government had approved a RM8mil road linking Pos Titom to Pos Betau and Pos Lenjang.

He said a 29km road linking Pos Betau and Pos Lenjang had been completed last year with an allocation of RM19mil.

"The state government will continue to provide the necessary assistance and basic amenities to help the community to improve their standard of living.

"On their part, the community must realise that only through education they could secure a better future," he said, adding that parents must ensure their children attend classes and do their homework.

Wan Rosdy said more orang asli teachers would be trained at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Teachers Training Institute branch campus here to teach orang asli pupils upon their graduation.

Staff and guests come together for event

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 02:07 AM PDT

KUANTAN: The BASF Petronas Chemicals Sdn Bhd's responsible care week saw the participation of some 1,000 staff and guests in various activities held at its plant recently.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Senator Datuk Maznah Mazlan was the guest-of-honour.

With the theme "Chemistry Drives Sustainability," this year's programme was the 13th edition in the company's 15-year history.

In his welcoming address, managing director Dr Joachim Queisser said they placed safety and health aspects as its top priority.

"We are strongly committed to the protection of the environment. This commitment is reflected in our active participation in responsible care - a worldwide sustainable environment code subscribed to by chemical companies.

"By benchmarking ourselves through close monitoring and submitting our processes for regular auditing by the relevant authorities, we strive for continuous improvements and sustainability in all areas," he said.

Dr Joachim said other activities organised include the English, Maths and Science Fest involving more than 40 schools and 1,000 students, sponsoring of mangrove replanting and conservation project at Balok River as well as first aid training and emergency preparedness at schools.

He said earlier this year, they also sponsored a programme to plant 2,000 mangrove saplings, 1,000 Rhu trees and 200 palm trees in Chendor beach and estuary area.

"Our belief is that safety, health and environmental protection need to be an integral part of education.

"Last year, we signed as a pilot company for a mentor-mentee programme with a school in Bandar Muadzam Shah on ways to improve safety practices and create awareness," he said.

After the presentation of safety awards, visitors were taken on a plant tour and explained how the various complexes were linked up.

There were also exhibition booths, optometric test, games, fire extinguisher training and health talks.

Guests at MCA mega dinner lauds innitiative and impact

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 02:08 AM PDT

KULAIJAYA: The football field in Foon Yew High School here was set up with 1,500 tables decorated with colourful helium balloons for the MCA mega dinner last Saturday.

The school's football field was packed with thousands of guests and although the event started off with an hour-long shower, it went in full force with MCA members performing the popular Korean pop 'Gangnam Style' song and dance.

SMK Kulai Besar student Chen See Min, 16, was impressed at the whole set up of 1,500 tables for the function held at Foon Yew High School, Kulai's football field.

"I have never been to an event of this scale before so it was interesting to see all the colourful helium balloons decorating each table as well," she said, adding that she attended the dinner with her brother and uncle.

The earlier shower was not an issue to insurance agent Kowa Cher Chiang, 50, who arrived at the event about one and a half hour earlier to beat the jam.

But the MCA supporter admitted that he was not a fan of the party in the beginning.

"I was influenced by the Opposition's empty promises and misleading statements until one friend of mine brought me to an MCA ceramah years ago.

"Everyone should analyse the facts with a clear mind to differentiate which party is telling the truth," he added.

Meanwhile, Chinese Chamber of Commerce Senai president Wong Ton Yang said it was a positive sign that in trying times where many economic giants like the Eurozone and America are slowing down but Malaysia is enjoying consistent economic growth.

"The economic outlook in Kulaijaya and Senai has also been good and stable all these years. Hopefully we can experience more similar growth and development in future," he said.

Southern University College Board of Directors chairman Datuk Teo Ah Khiang who received a mock cheque of RM200,000 presented by MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, said that MCA had earlier donated RM300,000 to the higher education institute.

"The party has always been supportive of Chinese education and they are the ones who would always channel funds to the university college without us asking," said Teo.

For first time voter Low Yi Tuck, 22, attending the dinner was one of his ways to observe and decide which party to vote for in the upcoming general elections.

"Personally, I feel that education is very important so my vote will probably be given to whichever party places more emphasis to help education," said Low, who works as a tuition teacher.

The school was also presented with a RM300,000 donation during the event.


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