Khamis, 12 Disember 2013

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The Star Online: Nation

Manager in teen rape case ordered to enter defence


KOTA KINABALU: A 40-year-old restaurant manager, who raped a 13-year-old schoolgirl and later married her in an apparent bid to get the rape charges dropped, has been told to enter his defence.

Sessions Court judge Ummu Kalthom Samad ruled that there was a prima facie case against Riduan Masmud (pic) after taking into consideration all the evidence given throughout the trial.

Riduan was ordered to enter his defence on Dec 16 and 17.

"Having also given a maximum evaluation on the evidence heard, the prosecution has established a prima facie case against Riduan. If he chooses to remain silent during the two days, I am prepared to give a conviction," she said during the ruling at the Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court yesterday.

Riduan remains unrepresented after his counsel Loretto S. Padua discharged himself from the case on Sept 19.

He is expected to call on several witnesses, including the victim's parents, when he enters his defence next week.

Riduan, a father of four children aged between two and 17, was charged with raping the schoolgirl in a parked vehicle on a road near Kionsom Waterfall in Inanam between 9am and 10am on Feb 18.

The news shocked the nation when he later took the schoolgirl as his second wife in May as efforts were made to withdraw the case against him.

Riduan is also charged with bribing the girl's father to withdraw the police report.

He is accused of offering RM5,000 to the man on April 18 and for giving RM2,000 and RM3,000 between 9pm and midnight at separate locations in Kota Kinabalu on the same day.

The Corruption court set Jan 9 for the mention of the case.

Unicef recognises Malaysia's efforts to alleviate child poverty


PUTRAJAYA: The United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) recognises Malaysia's efforts to alleviate child poverty and provide access to children in the country to healthcare, education and protection.

Its latest Profile of Children in Malaysia: Implementation of Children's Rights with Equity report showed, among others, poverty among those aged 15 and below had dropped from 29.3% in 1989 to 9.4% in 2007.

The report said Malaysia had shown tremendous progress towards improving the well-being of children in the country.

"Malaysia can and should be proud of its commitment to the idea of inclusiveness or equity, which is that all children, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or geographic location, should benefit from the improvements that have taken place," Unicef representative to Malaysia Wivina Belmonte said at the launch of the report here yesterday.

The report, a collaboration between Unicef Malaysia and the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister's Department, compiled information and data from various ministries and government agencies.

"(The report) allows us to assess the effectiveness of national programmes that contribute to the well-being of children in Malaysia where we are doing well and where there are gaps," Belmonte said.

The report, quoting a household income survey for last year, said most of the poor children in the country were in Sabah, where 31% of the children in the state were living in poverty. This is followed by Kelantan (15% of the children population in the state).

The best-off state was Selangor, where only 2% of the children population live in poverty.

The report found that more indigenous children and non-Malaysian children were likely to drop out of school and enter the labour force early, compared to those in the major ethnic groups.

In terms of healthcare, Malaysia reported a commendable immunisation coverage for children with close to perfect scores for children with the BCG (tuberculosis), DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) and Polio vaccinations.

It also suggested that access to healthcare was not discriminated against one's economic status.

The report further stated that there is an increasing number of children being enrolled in preschool education but that school enrolment of children with special education overall needed to be improved.

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NUCC member: National identity vital for our unity


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia must go back to its roots if its people aim to stand together as a united nation, a National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) member said.

Anas Zubedy said he was drumming out a proposal for an upcoming NUCC meet that would address unity problems, noting that having a national identity was vital.

"We need to identify what is the minimum standard requirement for what a Malaysian is because after 50 years we still can't pinpoint what that is. We need to go back to the basics," he said in an interview yesterday.

He said factors that contributed to the problem included selective views on local history and the Federal Constitution.

The Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd managing director said that while the Federal Constitution covered special privileges for bumiputras, it also guaranteed that other Malaysians would not be deprived of their rights.

He said the document did not appear to be followed in its entirety and that its "spirit" was not adhered to.

On history, he said that Malaysia was a country built on many aspects, adding that much of it was forgotten by the people.

Examples, he said, included the proto-Malays, the country's Hindu heritage, its centuries-long Islamic-style rule, the role of the Indians in nation-building and even the Chinese-paid taxes in the early days of Malaysia's development.

"We have a history that goes back thousands of years. What I see right now is that Malaysians from different groups pick and choose what they want. It's like six blind men picking at one elephant," he said.

Also of concern, he said, were worries of mono-culturalism in schools and urban neighborhoods.

He said these matters and suggestions to better Malaysia's issues would be raised in his proposal that he expected to present before the NUCC in about a week.

Other NUCC members are also expected to present their proposals to the council soon.

On possible public cynicism to these proposals, Anas said it was "okay" for people to react in such a way, and that they would pose as "mirrors" to what the NUCC was planning to do.


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