Khamis, 26 September 2013

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The Star Online: Nation

Fighting back against blackmail


A blackmail victim beats her abuser at his game.

PETALING JAYA: Most blackmail victims are intimidated into succumbing to their extortioner's demands, but Susan (not her real name) did not take things lying down.

"My ex-boyfriend and I had a very rocky relationship. Four years ago, he suggested a romantic island getaway as a way to kiss and make-up," said the 30-year-old in an interview with The Star Online.

They had an enjoyable time, but unbeknownst to Susan, he secretly recorded her in the nude during that holiday.

"When it finally ended for good, I started dating a colleague of his after a few months. That was when the nightmare began," she said.

Her newfound happiness triggered her ex's jealousy, and the initial verbal abuse soon turned into threats of blackmail in an effort to bring Susan's fledgling relationship to an end.

"He sent e-mails threatening to release a recording of me taken while I was taking a bath, and demanded that I satisfy his sexual desires," she said.

Despite feeling lost and alone, Susan did not seek any help as she did not want the news to go to the police or her family and friends.

"I was terrified and disgusted, and felt so stupid for trusting and dating him," she said.

In a brave and unusual move, she decided to turn the tables on him by threatening to go public with information on his identity if he continued to blackmail her.

"I told him that if he released the clip, I would go to his parents with proof of his misdeeds, call in lawyers, and let them all know what he was doing to me. If I went down, I would drag him along with me," she said.

Thankfully, her aggressor backed off, and Susan has since steadily ignored his advances.

Still, the experience has left some scars, and until today, she does not respond to calls from unknown numbers in the fear that it will be a familiar and unwelcome voice on the line.

"I know stories of many young girls getting tricked by their lovers and losing quite a bit of themselves. Do not provide any form of data or participate in any form of activity that can be used against you unexpectedly," she said of her experience.

And according to Malaysian Psychiatric Association president Dr Abdul Kadir Abu Bakar, Susan's tale - where victims undergo a crippling fear of the unknown and anxiety - is a common one.

"Blackmail is a form of emotional abuse. There is no difference between the psyche of an emotional abuser and a blackmailer," he said.

To him, both perpetrators seek to exert power and control over their victims, albeit in different contexts.

Asked if many victims seek psychiatric help to deal with the mental trauma, he said that most try to solve it by themselves or resort to other methods.

Though victims often feel helpless, he terms it a perceived lack of control: "If the information has been disclosed to people important to you, it is no big deal. As long as it means something, it's a weapon."

"For example, if you know something about my past and threaten me with it for money, I can tell you to go ahead if the information has no value. When everyone knows it, the issue is made redundant," he added.

He advised those affected to "reassert control over your own life" and report the incident to the police as it is a criminal matter.

Eleven not defending positions in Umno's supreme council


KUALA LUMPUR: Nearly half of the current line-up of 25 elected Umno supreme council members will not be defending their positions at the party polls, paving the way for many new faces to join Umno's highest decision making body.

Only 14 of the current 25 elected members will defend their seats. They will be joined by 50 other candidates hoping to make it into the supreme council.

The 64 candidates are among 260 aspirants vying for top posts in the supreme council and the three wings.

Umno election committee chairman Tan Sri Tajol Rosli Ghazali announced the full list of candidates at a press conference yesterday.

The incumbents who have opted out are party seniors and those who are leading state Umno, who will be appointed to the council.

The state Umno chiefs who are not contesting are Johor's Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin, Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob (Pahang), Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir (Perak), Datuk Seri Ahmad Said (Terengganu), Datuk Seri Musa Aman (Sabah), Datuk Seri Noh Omar (Selangor) and Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman (Penang).

Party seniors who will be making way for changes are former Works Minister Datuk Seri Shaziman Abu Mansor, former Sepang MP Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed, former deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin and former Setiawangsa MP Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique.

Khaled had said that he was not contesting to focus on administrating Johor while Zambry wants to make way for "other qualified party members".

Keningau Umno division chief and Sabah's assistant minister for Rural Development Datuk Sairin Karno said he is joining in the fray as he believed this was an opportune time to offer himself to serve the party at national level.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob who is seeking a second term in office said he believed that he could still serve Umno and its members.

"I want to help the president to strengthen Umno so that it can continue with its agenda and be the champion of the Malay struggle."

Tajol Rosli also confirmed the withdrawal of Datuk Hamidah Osman from the Wanita Umno deputy chief race, adding that 33,682 members would be contesting for the various positions at divisional level after 268 candidates had pulled out.

He also confirmed that none of the six vice presidential candidates, five Umno youth chief contenders, three Wanita Umno and two Puteri chief aspirants had withdrawn.

Umno executive secretary Datuk Rauf Yusuh said the party was screening all candidates for bankruptcy and criminal court cases.

"Those whose names are in the Insolvency Department list or who have pending criminal court cases will be struck off immediately."

The final list of candidates is expected to be out by Oct 7.

Court to decide on bid to stop DAP from holding CEC elections


KUALA LUMPUR: Sacked Ladang Paroi DAP vice-chairman A. David Dass will know tomorrow if his bid to stop the party from holding a special congress to re-elect central executive committee (CEC) members this weekend is successful.

High Court judge Justice Rosnaini Saub set the date to deliver her decision in the civil dispute.

During his submissions, DAP's lead counsel Karpal Singh had argued that the decision of a political party was final and conclusive as stipula­ted under Section 18(c) of the Societies Act 1966 and could not be challenged in any court.

"DAP is complying with the directive of the Registrar of Societies (ROS) in calling for a re-election of CEC and this decision was taken by the party," he argued, asking for the suit to be struck out.

The CEC re-election is scheduled for this Sunday.

In his lawsuit on Sept 10, Dass had filed for an injunction to stop the CEC polls for allegedly breaching the party's constitution.

He had stated that the coming re-election contradicted Clause 8 which stipulated that a party election must be conducted at a national congress.

He also wanted an order demanding a 10-week notice before holding the national congress.

Dass, who is also challenging his sacking, has named DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and the party as defendants.

Dass' lead counsel K. Harikrishnan argued that it was the ROS' decision to direct DAP to hold a re-election of CEC members which warranted the court to entertain the claim.

DAP, he said, also had to follow certain basic procedures before holding the election.


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