Selasa, 26 Februari 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Shooting at South Carolina university wounds one, school says

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 08:30 PM PST

Charleston, South Carolina (Reuters) - At least one person was wounded in a shooting on Tuesday at a residence hall of a South Carolina university near the resort area of Myrtle Beach, and authorities were searching for a gunman, the university said.

Students were urged to remain in their dorm rooms at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, near the resort town of Myrtle Beach, but the gunman was believed to have fled the scene, school officials said.

The shooting occurred just before 7:30 p.m. at University Place, an apartment-style residence hall that is home to nearly 2,000 students.

"The suspect fled in a vehicle. The campus is still on lockdown, although people in classrooms were allowed to go home. Those in dorms were advised to stay inside," said Mona Prufer, a university spokeswoman.

Prufer said a shooting victim had been taken to a hospital in Myrtle Beach but had no further details.

Classes will be held on Wednesday, university spokesman Doug Bell said.

The nation remains on edge over gun violence following the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in December, in which 20 children and six adults were shot and killed.

That rampage reignited a broad national debate over gun control and prompted President Barack Obama to push Congress to pass tighter gun restrictions.

More than 9,000 students attend Coastal Carolina University, which was founded in 1954 as Coastal Carolina Junior College and became an independent university in 1993.

(Reporting By Cynthia Johnston, Barbara Goldberg and Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Greg McCune and Jackie Frank)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Syria needs grow, rebel-held north out of reach - U.N.

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 07:50 PM PST

GENEVA (Reuters) - The rebel-held north of Syria remains largely out of reach to aid operations, even though they have been stepped up elsewhere in the country torn by civil war, U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said on Tuesday.

A member of the Free Syrian Army aims his weapon during what they say are clashes against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in a street in Aleppo February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Giath Taha

A member of the Free Syrian Army aims his weapon during what they say are clashes against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in a street in Aleppo February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Giath Taha

"We are watching a humanitarian tragedy unfold before our eyes," Amos told a news briefing. "We must do all we can to reassure the people that we care and that we will not let them down."

Syrian opposition representatives told the United Nations this week that some three million people living throughout rebel-held territory require international assistance, she said.

The Syrian government still refuses to allow U.N. convoys to cross from Turkey into northern Syria, as most border crossings are controlled by the Free Syrian Army, she said.

Four million Syrians were deemed in need of aid late last year, but the situation has deteriorated since due to shelling, inflation, and shortages of food and medicine, she said.

Some 70,000 people have been killed in the nearly two-year-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad that has also sent 860,000 refugees fleeing abroad, according to the world body.

Typhoid has broken out in an rebel-held Deir al-Zor due to people drinking contaminated water from the Euphrates River, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

In the last few weeks, the U.N. refugee agency reached rebel-held Azaz with aid for the first time. WHO has delivered vaccines in many opposition-held areas, Amos said.

"Cross-line operations are difficult but they are do-able.

"We are crossing conflict lines, negotiating with armed groups on the ground to reach more in need. But we are not reaching enough of those who require our help. Limited access in the north is a problem that can only solved using alternative methods of aid delivery," Amos said.

She held talks with Suhair al-Atassi, a vice president of the opposition Syrian National Council, on Monday. Syrian deputy foreign minister Hossam Eddin attended the closed-door Geneva forum on Tuesday but opposed the rebels taking part, she said.

The Syrian government has agreed that 3 more international agencies could deploy aid workers - Mercy Corps, NRC and Merlin - bringing the total to 11, but still not enough, Amos said.

"With respect to the Turkish border, I have spoken to the (Syrian) government on a number of occasions about allowing us to bring in supplies across that border. My last conversation with them was yesterday. The answer remains no," Amos said.

The U.N. must uphold General Assembly resolutions requiring consent of a government to allow relief goods to be imported, unless authorised by a Security Council resolution, she said.

It is importing fuel, vital for convoys and U.N. aid operations, via Lebanon with Syria's permission, she said.


John Ging, director of operations for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that most goods are imported via Lebanon and Jordan, with Syria's permission.

"They are opposed to operations across borders that they don't control," Ging told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

"The reason it's significant and important for us is that our access across the conflict line from within to those areas (on the Turkish border) is very limited and very difficult and dangerous. As a result, we're not getting adequate or anything even close to an adequate humanitarian supply into those areas."

Claus Sorensen, director-general of the European Union Office for Humanitarian Aid who attended the Geneva forum, said it would be far better and safer to bring in aid through Turkey.

"This is very much what was the discussion was about today," Sorensen told reporters.

The United States, which announced a further $19 million (12.5 million pounds) aid contribution, called for "direct, cross-border delivery".

Related Stories:
U.S. considers sending aid to Syrian rebels - report

Syria civil war threatens to pull Lebanon into conflict - U.N

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Shooting reported at South Carolina university - school website

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 07:01 PM PST

(Reuters) - A shooting took place at a university residence hall in South Carolina on Tuesday and students and faculty were urged to stay indoors, the university said on its website.

The alert from Coastal Carolina University provided no information on injuries, but said police were on the scene at the school in Conway, near the resort area of Myrtle Beach.

"The shooting is not ongoing," the Coastal Carolina University Dean of Students Office said on Twitter. "Police continue to search for one suspect. Stay indoors."

More than 9,000 students attend the university, which was founded in 1954 as Coastal Carolina Junior College and became an independent university in 1993.

(Reporting By Cynthia Johnston and Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Greg McCune and Doina Chiacu)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Comedies over divas

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 02:46 AM PST

Dating woes, leggy models and dead people – just a regular week on TV.

NOW that awards season – and Chinese New Year – is over, let's get back to watching TV.

A number of new shows have cropped up in the schedule over the past few weeks. This includes The Mindy Project, Go On (both on Diva Universal), Bunheads, Ben And Kate (both on Star World), Catfish (MTV), American Colony: Meet The Hutterites (National Geographic Channel), Outlaw Empires (Discovery Channel) and Nashville (premieres today on beTV). Meanwhile, new seasons of award-winning and popular series like Sons Of Anarchy (FX), The Walking Dead (Fox Movies Premium), All On The Line (Li) and Hell On Wheels (Sundance) are now showing.

The best thing about TV these days, though, is the fact that we no longer have to hear US supermodel/TV host and producer Tyra Banks talk about how gorgeous the Asian cheekbones are in the cringe-worthy promotional clip of Asia's Next Top Model (previously on Star World). The competition was won by 27-year-old Bangkok University student Jessica Amornkuldilok, who is of German-Thai parentage.

However, the end of Asia's Next Top Model sees the beginning of another possible nightmare – America's Next Top Model season 19, aka College Edition (Star World). From the few promotional clips that have been shown so far, one can assume that this is a show strictly for those who can handle over-the-top, diva-esque drama among 30 young college students.

At the other end of that spectrum is an interesting documentary called American Colony: Meet The Hutterites. The Hutterites is a religious colony originating from Europe, who can now be found mostly in North America. Much like the Amish, the Hutterites have strict rules and don't exactly welcome modern technologies and ideas. They make their living through farming and ranching, and their first language is German. Last year, leaders of a Hutterite colony featured in this documentary, demanded an apology from the National Geographic Channel for misrepresenting the colony's way of life, and damaging their reputation. Watch the show to find out more about these fascinating folks.

If you're not into documentaries, then perhaps some comedies might make your days – or nights – better. Forget flighty shows like New Girl (ugh, does anyone actually watch this pretentious show that's currently on Star World and Ntv7?), According To Jim on FX HD (this old show may be silly, but at least it doesn't pretend to be smart or sophisticated) and The Millionaire Matchmaker on beTV (OK, it's not a comedy, but it has such a foolish premise that it's hilarious).

Instead, get a taste of Go On, a series about a sports jock who is forced to go to group therapy sessions by the station manager Steven – who is also his best friend – to deal with the death of his wife. The show has some pretty erratic characters, especially those in Ryan's therapy group, and it is slowly turning out to be quite an endearing comedy. It stars Matthew Perry, and you can see traces of his Friends character Chandler Bing in Go On's Ryan King (even their last names rhyme!).

Last week on the show, Ryan pretends to not know his therapy group friends, because he doesn't want his workmates (apart from his assistant Carrie and Steven) to know that he's having problems and that he is attending these sessions. There's a sweet and poignant moment in the episode where Ryan's dead wife's gardener, who just found out about her death, installs and plays a musical fountain in Ryan's backyard.

Expect to see another Friends alum, Courteney Cox, appear in Go On over the next few episodes where she plays a love interest. Incidentally, the show's creator is Scott Silveri, who worked his way up from being a story editor to an executive producer on Friends.

Another show that's high on everyone's radar is The Mindy Project, created by and starring Mindy Kaling, formerly of the US version of The Office. It trails the life of the hopelessly romantic Dr Mindy Lahiri, one of those women who would probably include the hashtag #ForeverAlone in their Facebook status or Twitter update, thanks to her many disastrous dates and hook-ups. In last week's episode In The Club, Mindy and her colleagues hit up a fancy nightclub where pro-basketball players hang out. The best thing about the episode? When Mindy got real-life NBA players Amar'e Stoudemire, Danny Granger and Baron Davis to talk about their favourite romantic comedies.

"Splash," says Baron on the show.

Speaking of athletes, the new season of The Amazing Race (AXN) has just started. That's good news for fans of the show, but not so much for those of us who are just no longer amazed by it all.

Also on the same channel is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which recently returned with its 13th season. It kicked off with an episode where the usually calm and collected DB Russell (Ted Danson) goes mental trying to find the people who kidnapped his granddaughter (the cliffhanger from season 12). Last week's Wild Flowers episode trailed the story of a runaway sex slave, whose tongue had been cut off to prevent her from revealing the bad guys. You would think that there would be some intense moments in an episode like this, but unfortunately, the whole thing fell short of interesting.

A heads up to CSI: NY fans: In a season cross-over, Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) turns up at the office of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation towards the end of the season in search of his missing girlfriend.

While we're on the topic of girlfriends, check out the new reality-based documentary series Catfish, which takes a closer look at the exciting world of ... online dating. A "catfish" is basically a person who creates fake online profiles in order to attract the attention of, well, strangers. In this documentary, by MTV no less, hosts Nev Schulman and Max Joseph help online couples who have never met but are totally enamoured with one another, to meet in real life. Their mission is simple: To find out if these couples' relationships are in fact real, or have they been "catfish-ed"?

It seems a little weird (and a bit creepy) at first, but the programme does drive home the important point that many people still seem to ignore – danger lurks in the online world, too, so it pays to be cautious and wary of sharing any personal information on the web.

Tweet us at @MyStarTwo if you have any TV shows that you want us to check out.

Digging minis to the max

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 02:48 AM PST

Grand in scope, rich in entertainment value, the miniseries as 'event television' is ripe for a comeback.

THE first miniseries I ever watched was Roots, which was based on Alex Haley's novel of the same name, about the slave trade in America in the 18th century.

Haley's story focused on Kunta Kinte (Levar Burton), a young African boy who was captured by slave traders and shipped to America where he was then sold as a slave.

The series horrified me. It was the first time I had heard of the slave trade in America and watching how they were treated, or rather mistreated, was just shocking. It was heartbreaking. Young or old, men or women, these slaves were whipped and beaten for no valid reason (Kunta Kinte, for example, was beaten brutally for refusing to answer to his slave name of "Toby"). The women were raped and abused. It was a chilling account of human cruelty and suffering and I was glued to the TV set.

The story followed Kunta Kinte's life – his capture, his attempts at escaping and his journey to adulthood – and carried on through the lives of his children, grandchildren and finally, his great-grandson who was the first free man of the family.

Roots became one of the most watched TV series at the time (with 100 million viewers tuning in nightly) and remains the third highest-rated US TV show of all time.

In the 1980s and 90s, miniseries were all the rage. They often comprised one grand story that was told, in detail, over a limited number of episodes (often six or 12).

Their stories usually spanned decades or centuries and the productions were huge, much bigger than any regular TV series and sometimes even movies.

Apart from Roots (which was actually made in 1977 but only aired on RTM in the early 1980s), there was North And South, a 1985 miniseries based on John Jakes' American Civil War trilogy about the iron-making Hazards of Pennsylvania and the slave-owning Mains of South Carolina. The series aired in three parts, representing the trilogy: the second part (1986) was called Love And War and the final part (1994), Heaven And Hell. The saga spanned the periods before, during and immediately after the American Civil War.

The story focused on the friendship between Orry Main (Patrick Swayze) of South Carolina and George Hazard (James Read) of Pennsylvania, who meet while training at the West Point Military Academy and later find themselves on opposite sides in the war.

It was a story of friendship, romance, war; a mix of drama and melodrama; the perfect recipe for compelling TV (although I found the third part less interesting than the first two).

I found myself hooked on the genre: I watched Thorn Birds (1983), a romantic miniseries about the forbidden love between Meggie Cleary and Father Ralph de Bricassart, a young, good-looking priest; Anne Of Green Gables (1985), a series based on the novel of the same name by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, about a precocious orphan girl; and The Jewel In The Crown, a British miniseries about the final days of the British Raj in India during World War II, based upon the novels by Paul Scott (I watched this with my mother, who loved it).

Oh, there was also Tenko, a short series about British, Australian and Dutch women who were captured by Japanese soldiers after the fall of Singapore in 1942. The story depicted the struggles of these women in concentration camps where they lived in appalling conditions.

The popularity of miniseries kind of dwindled in the 1990s and early 2000s – there were only a few to speak of such as the 1995 production of Pride And Prejudice starring the drool-worthy Colin Firth and Band Of Brothers (2001) with Homeland's Damian Lewis.

These days, though, there seems to be a resurgence with series like The Pacific (2009), Mildred Pierce (2011), The Kennedys (2011) and Hatfields & McCoys (2012) earning accolades in addition to being popular. I have to admit that the lull in the 1990s and early 2000s must have affected my sensibilities as I find myself favouring episodic drama series over miniseries. But now is as good a time as any, I guess: I borrowed a copy of Mildred Pierce from a colleague many months ago and I hear it calling. – SI

A RECENT article on Jeremy Irons in Beautiful Creatures reminded me of one of my earliest television memories of the austere actor with that inimitable voice. Strangely, I'd forgotten all about the miniseries, until last week when Indra and I were discussing what to write about.

The series, Brideshead Revisited (which originally screened in Britain in 1981) must have come to our shores in the mid-1980s as I remember being in secondary school then. It is only a hazy memory for me now but when I Googled it, I learned that the series is ranked 10th on the list of 100 Greatest British Television Programmes compiled by the British Film Institute, and that Time has called it one of the 100 best TV shows of all time.

I was also amused to find it being compared to Downton Abbey quite a bit, and coming out tops to boot.

Based on the 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories Of Captain Charles Ryder, by British writer Evelyn Waugh, the miniseries (it's called a series, but I believe it was a miniseries as there only ever was one season, and the story was told in full. The tale centred on Army captain Charles Ryder (Irons) who moves to a new Brigade Headquarters at Brideshead, once home to the Marchmain family.

The story is told in narration by Ryder and features the entire Marchmain family, including Sebastian Flyte (my favourite character, played Anthony Andrews). The cast reads like a veritable Who's Who, with the likes of Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud appearing.

I remember being enamoured by the beautiful setting, the wealth and privilege of British aristocracy, being amused by how foppish and flamboyant the men were sometimes portrayed, being enthralled by the discussions on religion (the series had a central theme of the family's devotion to Catholicism), the elegant language that was used.

It was a tale of innocence and experience and I remember being wholly mesmerised. I think I should buy the series and watch it again now that I've whetted my appetite with bite-sized nuggets from YouTube.

Other miniseries which come to mind are Roots, of course (I remember the whole family congregating to watch that one – it was like an event itself), and also Centennial, Twin Peaks and Angels In America.

I'm not sure if Battlestar Galactica and V qualify as miniseries, I believe they began as minis, and then spun off into fully fledged series. All very different in genre but they made for riveting viewing nonetheless.

As did Lace, a US miniseries based on a novel by Shirley Conran, which was albeit somewhat trashy and fluffy (the world may cringe to see me writing about Brideshead Revisited and Lace in the same article … *chuckle*).

The 1984 series traces the search by sex symbol Lili (Phoebe Cates) for her natural mother, who gave her up for adoption when she was born. Lili boils down her search to three likely candidates, best friends Pagan Trelawney (Brooke Adams), Judy Hale (Bess Armstrong) and Maxine Pascal (Arielle Dombasle). My cousin Shereen and I still quote a line from the miniseries, where the three best friends promise friendship "through sick and sin".

The great thing about miniseries, I think, is that they offer closure. They don't go on indefinitely (Indra, I'm referring to The Bold And The Beautiful here) and just rob you of your half your life.

Miniseries are carefully planned tales that span only about 13 episodes or so, are easy to digest, excite you for just about the right amount of time, leave you with thought-provoking ideas and lasting memories. Bring them back, I say! – AMC


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Leading scorer Syafiq puts his team above everything else

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 03:06 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) forward Mohd Syafiq Zulzairin won the best player award in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) last season and is currently the top scorer in the Under-19 league with 10 goals.

But it's the team that come first. Everything else, he says, is secondary.

"Helping UniKL win the overall title is more important than me bagging the top scorer's award," said the skipper.

"Last year, I was named the best player in the league but I was disappointed when we didn't win any silverware. We finished as runners-up in Division One and lost in the final for the overall title," said the Sentul-born Syafiq, who helped UniKL bag the league title in 2011. Last season, Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt bagged the double.

"This season we finished a disappointing third in the league. But my team-mates and I have vowed to give our best to qualify for the final and win the overall title," said Syafiq, who will turn 19 on Oct 5.

UniKL will face SSTMI Juniors in the first-leg of the semi-finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today. The return leg will be played at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru on Friday.

UniKL had hammered SSTMI Juniors 6-2 in the league but Syafiq said that won't lull them into complacency.

"SSTMI Juniors ousted former champions MBPJ (Petaling Jaya City Council) in the quarter-finals ... they'll definitely go all out to get the better of us. So, we have to be cautious," said Syafiq, who was delighted to be called up to join the Project 2013 training squad two weeks ago.

He hopes to keep on improving and earn a place in the Junior World Cup, which will be held in Chandigarh, India, from Dec 5-16.

SSTMI Juniors coach Mohd Shafiq Nordin, meanwhile, admitted that they would start as the underdogs against UniKL.

"Ten of my boys are making their MJHL debut ... so, reaching the semi-finals is already a bonus for us. Our initial target was to make the quarter-finals," said Shafiq.

The other semi-final pits Thunderbolt, who won the Division One title, against MBI-Anderson.

Siti stays solid for silver medal in Auckland

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 02:51 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Elite woman bowler Siti Shazwani Ahmad Suhaimi held her nerves to deliver a silver medal in women's singles at the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championship in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.

Isaac Russell Paul, however, had to settle for bronze with a total of 1,247 in the men's singles behind winner Sam Cooley of Australia (1,444) and runner-up Jaris Goh of Singapore (1,328). But it was Siti Shazwani who shone for Malaysia, having knocked down a total of 1,188 pins to finish behind England's Kirsten Penny, who scored 1,301.

It was a fantastic performance by Penny, who overcame a disastrous start in the first game where she only scored 147.

Siti Shazwani too struggled initially, especially during the second game where she only scored 169.

Although the 25-year-old from Johor recovered well, it wasn't enough and she had to settle for the silver.

"It's a pity I couldn't win the gold but I'm quite relieved to have got through this ... I'm thankful for the silver," said Siti Shazwani.

"I actually didn't bowl that well and the lane gave me a bit of a problem.

"Hopefully, it'll get better in the next event – the doubles.

"I didn't really focus on checking my own scores. It wasn't until the third game that I realised I was in contention for a medal.

"But I couldn't make the most of it and, in the end, I just had to maintain my own game because there was no chance for gold at that point."

It was, however, a disappointing outing for Dayang Khairuniza, who scored a lowly 1,069 to finish 14th.

The Sarawakian, who won a bronze in the doubles in the World Youth Championship last year, will need to raise her game in the doubles, which starts today.

In the men's event, Isaac started strongly – scoring 237 in the first game to stay within touching distance of Cooley.

But poor lines of 182 and 189 in the second and sixth games respectively ended his hopes of finishing higher than third.

Sixteen-year-old Mohd Rafiq Ismail, who has been on fire this year, showed that he still has much to learn after scoring 1,167 to finish ninth.

Leezer returns from serious injury to win stage in Kuantan

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 04:46 PM PST

KUANTAN: Dutchman Thomas Leezer of Team Blanco capped a stunning comeback from serious injuries suffered during a fall last September by winning the 217.5km Stage Six of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Mentakab to Kuantan yesterday.

Leezer won with a solo effort after joining the breakaway group at the 180km mark. He crossed the finish line in 4'33:42.

Jung Ji-min of South Korean outfit KSPO was second – 27 seconds behind. Polish national champion Michal Golas of OmegaPharma-QuickStep was third – 35 seconds behind.

Mohd Harrif Salleh of Terengganu Cycling was Malaysia's best finisher in ninth place, riding in with the big bunch 40 seconds behind Leezer.

Team Nippo's Julian Arredondo continued to don the yellow jersey after clocking 4'34.28 – 46 seconds behind Leezer.

"It was a crazy race ... nothing like I've experienced before. There was attack after attack from the riders ... I think maybe 30 or 40 of them (attack) at the beginning and the peloton reacted to every one of it," said Leezer, who powered away from the breakaway group with 3km to go.

"I trained hard in the winter before coming here, working with the physio to get myself ready for the race.

"I thought I was ready for a race but to come away with a win is something special," added Leezer, who suffered a bad crash in a race in Belgium last year, breaking the bones on his shoulder blade.

He also suffered from concussion.

The longest stage in LTdL this year offered chances for breakaway groups to form but the peloton was vigilant in keeping things together with Team Nippo marshalling the peloton.

"I thank my team for doing such great work today. It was a difficult stage with many attacks but we managed to keep them under control," said Arredondo, who now holds a 1:16 lead over second-placed Pieter Weening of Orica GreenEdge in the overall classfication.

"Tomorrow (today) will be a shorter stage and I hope it will be easier for us to control the race."

Yesterday's win makes Blanco one of the most successful ProTour teams thus far this year with 10 wins, sharing the honours with Lotto Belisol.

Earlier in Stage One and Two, Blanco notched two wins with Theo Bos.

However, Bos was down with diarrhoea and pulled out from yesterday's race.

"I'm sure he (Bos) will be happy with the win. Without him, we can be more active in the breakaways ... perhaps we can set up a few stages for (Graeme) Brown," said Leezer.

Stage Six results

Mentakab-Kuantan (217.5km): 1. Thomas Leezer (Ned) Blanco 4'33:42, 2. Jung Ji-min (Kor) KSPO 27secs behind, 3. Michal Golas (Pol) OmegaPharma-QuickStep 35, 4. Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Venezuela, 5. Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge same time, 6. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana 40, 7. Allan Davis (Aus) Orica GreenEdge, 8. Jacob Keough (US) UnitedHealthcare, 9. Mohd Harrif Salleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling, 10. Anuar Manan (Mas) Synergy Baku all same time.

Leading overall standings: 1. Julian Arredondo (Col) Team Nippo 22'17:48, 2. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge 1:16 behind, 3. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) MTN Qhubeka 2:10, 4. Peter Stetina (US) Garmin-Sharp 2:32, 5. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 2:40.

Points competition

Blue jersey: 1. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana 57pts, 2. Anuar Manan (Mas) Synergy Baku 43, 3. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 36.

King of the Mountain (red jersey): 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 48pts, 2. Julian Arredondo (Col) Team Nippo 45, 3. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge 32.

Best Asian rider (white jersey): 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 22'20:28, 2. Amir Kolahdozhagh (Iri) Tabriz Petrochemical 18secs behind, 3. Mizbani Ghader (Iri) Tabriz Petrochemical 58.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

AirAsia soars on dividends, earnings

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 05:33 PM PST

Published: Wednesday February 27, 2013 MYT 9:30:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday February 27, 2013 MYT 9:33:23 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia's shares were in the limelight early Wednesday after posting a strong set of financial results for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2012, its dividends and more upside for the low-cost carrier.

At 9.17am, it was up 19 sen to RM2.83 with 3.29 million shares done. Its call warrants, AirAsia-CU rose 0.5 sen to one sen.

The FBM KLCI was slightly higher by 0.82 of a point to 1,625. Turnover was 64.34 million shares valued at RM40.56mil. There were 102 gainers, 91 losers and 118 counters unchanged.

CIMB Equities Research has upgraded its target price for AsiaAsia from RM3 to RM3.10 and also its recommendation for the low-cost carrier.

Alliance Research said stripping out exceptional items, AirAsia's FY12 core net profit of RM847.1mil (up 32.5% on-year) came in above its expectations.

The low-cost carrier declared a special dividend of 18 sen and a final dividend of 6 sen, which came as a pleasant surprise.

"Going forward, management commits to pay up to 20% of net operating profits as dividends. Despite near-term hiccups, we remain positive on the fundamentals and growth prospects of AirAsia. Maintain Buy but raise target price to RM3.50 (from RM3.40)," said Alliance Research.


KLCI edges higher, AirAsia, banks advance

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 05:18 PM PST

Published: Wednesday February 27, 2013 MYT 9:18:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips climbed in early trade on Wednesday, as sentiment was boosted by the firmer key regional markets, with AirAsia advancing in active trade.

At 9.04am, the FBM KLCI was up 1.07 points to 1,625.25. Turnover was 35.17 million shares valued at RM17.79mil. There were 76 gainers, 54 losers and 81 counters unchanged.

Consumer stocks were the top gainers, with Dutch Lady up 54 sen to RM43.20 and Carlsberg 24 sen to RM12.94 while BAT gained eight sen to RM58.38.

AirAsia jumped 18 sen to RM2.82 after it was rewarded shareholders with single-tier dividends of 24 sen per share.

RHB Cap and and Hong Leong Bank gained six sen each to RM7.82 and RM14.50.

Star Publications climbed seven sen to RM2.63 after its net profit for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2012 surged over 93% to RM97.10mil.


CIMB Research upgrades AriAsia target price to RM3.10

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 05:07 PM PST

Published: Wednesday February 27, 2013 MYT 9:08:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research has upgraded its target price for AsiaAsia from RM3 to RM3.10 and its recommendation for the low-cost carrier.

It said on Wednesday that AirAsia's share price at RM2.64 has adequately reflected the risks of a Malindo entry, having declined 31% from a high of RM3.82 last July.

Malindo secured its Air Operator's Certificate on Tuesday, and plans to start operations by end-March 2013.

"Our forecasts have already incorporated a 3% underlying yield deterioration for 2013 (reduced from a 6% decline previously, due to a likely slower-than-expected ramp-up for Malindo), followed by another 6% underlying yield decline in 2014," it said.

CIMB Research said as a result, it expects Malaysia AirAsia's (MAA) core net profit to experience on-year declines from 2014 onwards, until the moment arrives when Lion Air decides to call off the Malindo venture in view of what it expects to be relatively large losses.

"Hence, we emphasise that our target price for AirAsia has already taken into consideration these yield decline expectations," it said.

The research house said AirAsia's 4Q12 core net profit was 23% above its forecast, due to 9% higher earnings at MAA on lower-than-expected interest expense, and stronger-than-expected performance of IAA.

"As a result, the full-year 2012 core group earnings were 9% above forecast," it said.



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RM900,000 payment for child support

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 03:36 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The Syariah High Court has granted an order by Shahnaz A. Majid, the former daughter-in-law of Sarawak chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, requiring her former husband to pay an interim maintenance of RM902,746.69.

The interim maintenance applied by Shahnaz was for expenses incurred for their son since she and Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir divorced on March 11, 2011.

High Court Syarie judge Mohd Amran Mat Zain made the order after allowing Shahnaz's ex-parte application in chambers yesterday.

Judge Mohd Amran ordered Mahmud to pay the amount within 12 days from yesterday.

Syarie counsel Dr Rafie Mohd Shafie and Akbardin Abdul Kader represented Shahnaz.

Akbardin told reporters that the expenses covered lodging, food and fees for their son's pre-university studies in Britain.

He said the application was made under Section 201 of the Syariah Court Civil Procedure (Federal Territories) which allows parties to apply for an interim order on maintenance.

Last month, the court fixed March 13 and 14 for the child support claim trial.

On Nov 30 last year, Shahnaz, the older sister of singer Datuk Sheila Majid, said in her statement of claim that she and Mahmud were married on Jan 9, 1992 and divorced on May 11, 2011. They have a son, Raden Murya, 19.

Shahnaz said that under the divorce order, the boy would be under her custody but there was no agreement on his maintenance.

Shahnaz alleged her former husband had failed to pay any maintenance after their divorce.

She is claiming an education trust fund of RM40mil and a RM60mil London terrace house.

She is also seeking tuition fees in Britain amounting to RM315,000, two Aston Martin cars, air travel for six times a year, RM10,000 for books, RM72,000 pocket money, RM5mil medical insurance and monthly pocket money for two years totalling RM72,000.

Shahnaz had earlier filed a claim of RM300mil in matrimonial property and RM100mil in mutaah (gifts) as a divorce settlement. She is also claiming 50% of all assets owned by Mahmud. The hearing is ongoing.

Man builds ‘luxury villa’ for departed wife

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 03:31 PM PST

A 53-year-old man spent RM10,000 on a paper effigy of a luxury villa for his wife who died three years ago.

The villa, made by six workers in three weeks, featured a badminton court, a swimming pool, an automatic gate and all sorts of electrical items as well as furniture, China Press reported.

Wu Chun Fa said he loved his wife very much and he hoped she could also "enjoy" life after she died.

"I am very satisfied with the design of the villa," he said, adding that the paper effigy of the villa would be burnt after a prayer ceremony that would be held from March 1-3 in Segamat.

> China Press reported about a 11-year-old boy who stole a female rabbit from a neighbouring house and replaced it with a male one.

The boy did not show any remorse when he was caught.

A 76-year-old man said that the boy used to play with his grandchildren and neighbour's children in his house in Batu Pahat prior to the incident.

"My daughter-in-law spotted the boy with a rabbit at about 4pm on Sunday so we went to check our rabbits.

"None of the rabbits were missing so we thought everything was okay.

"Later in the day, my son found that one of the male rabbits in the cage was not his," he said.

Eventually, the boy and his mother came to return the rabbit after the mother found out that the boy had stolen the rabbit.

The boy refused to step out from the car and apologise to the man.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this ' >'sign, it denotes a separate news item.

Conduct prayers properly, temples urged

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 03:31 PM PST

MALAYSIAN Hindu Sangam president R.S. Mohan Shan urged Hindu temples to conduct prayers according to Indian traditions and customs, reported Tamil Nesan.

He said temple committees must ensure that the prayers were held properly at the prescribed time.

Mohan also said the temples must ensure that they have trained priests and conduct religious talks every Friday for the devotees.

> A Standard Eight pupil of a private school in Haryana, North India, was allegedly killed by two of his classmates after he asked one of them to return his mobile phone, reported Makkal Osai.

Haryana's police superintendent Arun Nehra said Shubham, 14, lent his mobile phone to one of the suspects a week ago and when he insisted on getting it back, he was asked to go to the school backyard on Friday to collect it.

When he reached there, Shubham was strangled to death by the suspects. His body was dumped in the bushes near the school's boundary wall.

The victim's body was recovered on Saturday night and police investigations led to the two suspects, who confessed to the crime and were arrested on Sunday.

Shubham's father had earlier filed a missing persons report after he did not return home on Friday.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this ' >'sign, it denotes a separate news item.


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Youngest Oscar nominee Wallis to play Annie

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 03:21 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Quvenzhane Wallis, fresh from the Oscars spotlight as the youngest ever best actress nominee, is to play "Annie" in a Tinseltown remake of the hit Broadway musical, filmmakers said.

The nine-year-old, who drew praise for her amazingly mature performance in "Beasts of the Southern Wild," will play the title role in "Annie," also a remake of the Oscar-nominated 1982 movie.

"With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, (Wallis) is a true star and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star," said Hannah Minghella, Columbia Pictures production head.

"She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as a singer and dancer, and we can't wait for audiences to further discover her."

The new "Annie" - produced by Overbrook Entertainment, Marcy Media and Sony Pictures - will be released around December 2014, directed by Will Gluck and with producers including James Lassiter, Will Smith and Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter.

Gluck is currently revising the film's screenplay, written by British actress Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the stage musical.

Wallis - whose favorite pastimes include singing and dancing, basketball, volleyball and cheerleading, according to the filmmakers - has already worked on an upcoming film, "Twelve Years a Slave" with Brad Pitt.

She also has made "Boneshaker," a short about an African family lost in America.

"Silver Linings Playbook" star Jennifer Lawrence won the best actress Oscar on Sunday, beating shortlisted rivals including Wallis and, coincidentally, the oldest ever nominee in the category, 86-year-old French star Emmanuelle Riva. - AFP

'Identity Thief' regains top of N. America box office

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 03:21 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: The comedy "Identity Thief" topped the box office in the United States and Canada in its third week, bouncing back on Oscars weekend after slipping from the top spot, figures showed Monday.

The buddy flick, starring Jason Bateman from the TV series "Arrested Development" and "Bridesmaids" star Melissa McCarthy, pulled in $14 million from Friday to Sunday, according to tracking firm Exhibitor Relations.

"Identity Thief," which opened in the number one spot three weeks ago, took the top position over the action film "Snitch" starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which opened in second place and pulled in $13.2 million.

Third was the animated kids movie "Escape from Planet Earth," which earned $10.7 million, followed by the romantic drama "Safe Haven" by Sweden's Lasse Hallstrom, which made $10.5 million.

The fifth spot, down from number one last week, was "A Good Day to Die Hard," the latest "Die Hard" action film with Bruce Willis reprising his role as supercop John McClane. The movie, panned by reviewers, earned $10.2 million.

Opening in sixth place was science fiction horror movie "Dark Skies" with $8.2 million, followed by Oscar-nominated romantic comedy "Silver Linings Playbook," starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, with $5.8 million.

Lawrence, of "Hunger Games" fame, won the best actress Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards on Sunday. "Silver Linings" has pulled in more than $107 million since it opened 15 weeks ago.

In eighth place was the romantic zombie comedy "Warm Bodies," inspired by Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," which earned $4.8 million, while "Beautiful Creatures," a supernatural fantasy flick featuring British Oscar-winner Emma Thompson, was in ninth with $3.6 million in its second week on the big screen.

Rounding out the top ten was director Steven Soderbergh's thriller "Side Effects," starring Jude Law and Rooney Mara, which earned $3.4 million. - AFP

Locals drive Life of Pi to Oscar victory

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 03:19 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: A group of Malay-sians can bask in Oscar glory with the movie Life of Pi clinching the golden statuette for best visual effects.

The team at Rhythm & Hues KL that worked primarily on the ocean and the tiger Richard Parker in the movie directed by Ang Lee cheered, screamed and cried when they discovered their work had helped win an Academy Award.

"We were watching the live telecast," said KL branch senior manager Hasnul Hadi Samsudin. "When they announced Life Of Pi as the winner for visual effects, we were ecstatic."

The award was presented during the ceremony to Guillaume Roche-ron, Bill Westenhofer, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott.

But being part of the Academy Award-winning blockbuster could prove to be more than a well-deserved honour for Rhythm & Hues – the win could also result in a slew of investors looking to buy over the studio and save them from folding.

Hasnul was confident the win would help attract investors and that good news concerning the company's future would be announced "sooner rather than later".

But Hasnul considers his team winners no matter what happens.

"We've come out of this winners, we are already winners," he said, adding that while he had always felt the studio's work on Life Of Pi was award-worthy, he had never thought it would scoop not one, but four Academy Awards.

According to Hasnul, preparing a few seconds of footage had taken weeks of work.

As the film was shot in a water tank, the team had to remove the background and the divers so they could be replaced with computer-generated seas and skies.

Emmalynn Yam, 23, who did rotoscopy and prep work for the film, could hardly believe the "surreal" turn of events.

"I consider myself extremely lucky because I never once expected to be involved in a film of such calibre.

"During the long hours, I used to joke that if it fell short of an Oscar, I'd flip tables in the studio. Needless to say, there won't be tables flipping anytime soon!"


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Metro Watch

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 05:43 AM PST


A free public lecture titled "The Japanese Election System Reform 1994: Implications to Habatsu in Jiminto" will be held today from 10am to noon at Lecture Hall B (DKB), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiti Malaya. The talk by Malaysian Association of Japanese Studies president Asmadi Hassan will be conducted in Bahasa Malaysia. For details, call 03-2284 6228 or email to


Registrations for the Run & Fun Rides category of "World Kidney Day Run and Carnival 2013" are now open until April 5. Forms are available at The event organised by National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia, in collaboration with the Malaysian Society of Nephrology and Health Ministry will be held at Dataran Putrajaya on April 28. For details, call 03-7954 9048 (Vevien).


Vista Eye Specialist Curve, Bangsar and Klang will kick-off a three-day family carnival from March 1 to 3, from 9am to 5pm at their respective centres. There will be complimentary doctor eye screening and consultation vision checks, hearing consultation and a health test. For details, call 1800 883 937 or visit


Seri Sinar Charity Foundation is providing free pick-up service for those wishing to give away usable furniture, electrical items, household items and food to the poor and needy. For details, call 03-9021 1888 or 012-686 1633 or email or visit


Silva Method Malaysia is organising a free talk titled "Building Mental Resilience : From Stretched to Strengthened" at Silva Method Malaysia HQ, Mid Valley City, on March 7, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. For details, call 03-2282 9939 / 09, email or visit


The Universiti Malaya Alumni Association (PAUM ) is organising a Public Discourse Series titled "The Feasibility of a Two Party System for Malaysia" at Perdanasiswa Auditorium, Universiti Malaya on March 14 at 3pm. Free admission For details, call 016-328 2257 / 03-7931 7592 (Ellen).


A free antenatal class will be held at Pantai Hospital Ampang, Pandan Indah on March 9 from 1pm to 5pm. Light refreshments and goodie bags will be provided. For details, call 03-4289 2877 (Neetha) or 03-4289 2969 (Halma).


Kuala Lumpur City Hall will be installing the traffic light system at the Jalan Yaacob Latiff-Jalan Bakti, Bandar Tun Razak junction starting today at 10am.

USJ basketball club bids farewell to their coach of four years

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 05:43 AM PST

USJ6 Basketball Centre (U6BC) successfully organised an exhibition match as a tribute to their former coach, Zoe Looi Swear Kean.

The match took place at the club's outdoor basketball court in USJ 6/2B.

Zoe was also given a farewell dinner by the club in appreciation of her being the most dedicated coach in the club's history.

Zoe served a colourful four years with the boys' and girls' U6BC team.

However, U6BC could not secure her services anymore because she had accepted a job as a design consultant in Singapore.

She managed a last game with U6BC as her former-boys took on the current U16 U6BC team coached by Alan Sim in a friendly game.

The game resulted in a win for Zoe's team with a 77-73 score.

After the game, Zoe said she was very happy throughout her time in U6BC. She is happy for the boys too as she had seen them grow up.

"I started coaching some of the boys when they were only 13. Back then, they were so young and mostly shorter than me. Now, everyone has grown up so well and they are now taller than me," she said.

"Besides that, I have always emphasised on attitude. This group of boys are always at their best behaviour. I will definitely miss them. I would like to thank U6BC for giving me their best too."

On the exhibition game day, U6BC also marked their 10th anniversary.

Zoe hopes U6BC can keep going with what they are currently doing for the youngsters. She congratulated U6BC for successfully maintaining a community club for 10 years.

Over the last 10 years, U6BC have great achievements. They have contributed to the Subang and USJ Community by organising training for the children.

Zoe hopes this club will progress further in their support of the Subang and USJ community and encourage the children to stay healthy in life.

The match was witnessed by Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo Burne and Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh and U6BC Club patron Datuk Lee Hwa Beng.

U6BC secretary Juan Lee appealed to the local leaders to help the club upgrade the court for the boys.

The club also needs funds to upkeep their meeting, store and changing rooms which is badly leaking and infected by termite.


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Wangkang festival listed as a National Heritage event by Federal Government

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 08:42 PM PST

MALACCA: The Wangkang festival, a rare and unique event designed to get rid the "world of evil" has been recognised as a National Heritage by the Federal government.

The recognition has brought cheers to 2012 festival organising committee chairman Lai Poon Ken who strived hard to have the unique event, listed as part of Malaysia's legacy.

It was the greatest news for the committee and devotees of the Yong Chuan Tian temple in Jalan Parameswara, he said.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and State MCA chief Datuk Gan Tian Loo also visited the temple following the recognition by the National Heritage Department.

Wangkang Festival was organised to collect wandering souls, evil spirits and other negative elements on the streets of Malacca.

These evil spirits are thought to be responsible for the epidemic scourges and chaos that plague the world.

The spirits are then sent into the unknown by way of a barge that is burned on the last day of the festival where devotees hope it will bring health, peace, prosperity and happiness to the world and to Malacca in particular.

The grand and costly religious procession was introduced to Malacca by Hokkien emigrants from Fujian province, China.

Every year since, the temple members have collected the wandering souls, but only when the medium at the Yong Chuan Tian Temple gets the command from the heavens can they organise the elaborate Wangkang procession.

The message is delivered via a small chair, where through the chair the deity directs the temple committee to organise the Wangkang.

Then the main attraction of the festival, the Royal Barge measuring six metres long and two metres high with a six-metre-high mast is pulled by a rope around the city by devotees before setting on fire at the end of the procession.

As recorded in the Malacca Guardian newspaper (Nov 26, 1933), Wangkangs have been organised during troubled times such as in 1905 (the Russian-Japanese war and the Chinese boycott of American goods) and 1919 (when a global flu epidemic broke out after World War I).

In Malacca, the festival was first held in 1845, and then took place every five or eight years.

It stopped in 1880 but revived in 1891 during an outbreak of virulent cholera.

The festival was dormant for 68 years before it was revived in 2001 during the height of the SARS epidemic which jeopardised tourism in Malacca.

The Wangkang customs were brought to Malacca by Hokkien migrants who were fleeing persecution during the Qing or Manchu Dynasty (1644 to1911) in China.

In the Chiang Chew and Chuan Chew districts of Fujian province, China, five deities or Ong Yahs with the surnames Choo, Hoon, Tee, Lee and Pek (in order of seniority) were worshipped.

When the Hokkiens brought their deities to Malacca, the locals came to regard them as their patron saints.

Former mining town is now taking a different course for academic and agricultural excellence

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 08:40 PM PST

RAUB: Despite being one of the oldest townships in the country, Raub has not lost its vigour and charm.

The former mining town is still abuzz with activities while development is taking shape at its own pace.

Besides the mushrooming of new housing schemes, shoplots were also expanding steadily.

Over the next three years, a branch campus of Universiti Tekno-logi Mara costing RM230mil is expected to be completed.

In addition, a RM148mil Institut Kemahiran Mara will be built on a 10ha site to provide skills training to some 2,000 youths and school leavers.

To reduce traffic congestion, a new highway from Simpang Pelangai to Merapoh has been planned so that Kelantanese travelling back home need not drive into Raub town.

Other projects earmarked to benefit Raub residents include upgrading of water piping system and basic infrastructures in housing settlements and new villages such as futsal courts, mosques, parks, taxi stand, bus station and a new landfill.

There are also plans to promote Raub as an agricultural town and agro-tourism destination with many homestay-style establishments sprouting especially in Kampung Sungai Pasu and Sang Lee.

On the first week of every Sunday, there is the Sunday Bike Ride campaign in which residents are encourage to cycle around town to promote a healthy lifestyle and cleaner environment.

Products such as durians, groundnuts and bean curd are being commercialised to attract more visitors during weekends, school and public holidays.

Raub residents can also take pride in having a scenic Taman Tasik Raub for them to partake in exercise and other recreational activities such as picnicking, boating and fishing.

On the part of the private sector, a proposal to construct a RM300mil gold park and historical museum is on the cards, awaiting approval from the state government.

If given the green light, the project - similar to the concept in Brisbane, Australia - is expected to further boost tourist arrival.

Back in the 1700s, Raub was a historic gold mining thriving township. The town obtained its name from the word "meraub" meaning prospecting gold near river embankments using hands and other simple devices such as a dulang (tray).

This episode was narrated by J.A. Richardson in his book "The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Neighbourhood of Raub Pahang."

According to him "for every tray of sand, there was a handful of gold."

Raub became famous in the early 20th century and gold mining was operated by the Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM) until 1961.

Back then, the shaft mining method was employed at the Raub Hole, now known as Bukit Koman.

The area was once dubbed as "Malaysian gold capital" due to the rapid development of gold mining.

At the height of the Communist insurgency, new settlements were erected namely Cheroh, Sang Lee, Sungai Ruan, Sungai Chetang, Bukit Koman, Sempalit, Sungai Lui, Tras and Sungai Klau.

Colonial-style buildings are still evident especially along Mason Road (now known as Jalan Tengku Abdullah) such as the old Raub police station, built in 1906.

After the gold deposit was depleted, Raub turned to agriculture comprising natural rubber, oil palm, cocoa and local fruits as its main economic activity.

Residents interviewed by Star Metro expressed mixed reactions with some for the Government and others critical of it.

Housewife Noridah Mohamed, 51, of Taman Medan Indah, was grateful to the various assistance given by the Government such as Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) and the cheaper goods available at Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia in Dong.

She said there was no reason for her not to support the Government as the welfare of the people was being looked after.

"Even my daughter has received a letter informing her to collect RM250 under BR1M. We are happy with the development in Raub," said the mother of three.

Hawker Yong Kon Foong, 58, from Sungai Lui, wants the authorities to address the issue of traffic congestion within the Raub town.

She said many outsiders particularly Kelantanese were causing jam around town to travel back to their hometown every weekends.

Yong said the local authorities were doing a good job in maintaining cleanliness and sprucing up the surroundings.

"Our parliamentarian (Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen) is very friendly and has helped the poor rakyat to secure proper homes.

"She deserved to be re-elected," Yong said, adding that she had met her (Dr Ng) and shook hands on several occasions.

Taman Sri Raub resident Lim Kam Hoong, 39, who runs a business was also fed up with the problem of traffic congestion.

Lim said the authorities should resolve the issue promptly and build a new by-pass for motorists travelling to Kota Baru.

He also proposed for more private colleges to be set up in Raub for the benefit of school-leavers.

"Raub is a serene and conducive town to live and study. There is not much happening and we are quite content with our lifestyle.

"However, the Government need to address the rising cost of properties," he said, citing an example of a shoplot near Sempalit costing RM880,000 which was beyond the means of petty traders to conduct business.

Lim said more opportunities and assistance should be provided to Chinese entrepreneurs and farmers to undergo training and secure loans to expand their businesses.

Settler Siro Kudin, 43, of Felda Tersang, said he was pleased with the development taking place in Raub and assistance rendered to settlers by the Government.

The father of five, aged between three and 26, said however, there was still room for improvement and urged the Government and Felda to enhance more amenities in their settlements.

"I hope the relevant agencies can push up the prices of our commodities in the market to enable us to increase our monthly disposable income," he said.

Trader R. Balakrishnan, 50, from Taman Raub Jaya lamented that the MIC and the Government had not been helping the community enough.

Sundry shop owner S. Shanti, 40, of Bandar Raub, said traffic jam and stiff competition were hurting their business.

She also expressed her concern on the usage of cyanide in nearby Bukit Koman gold mine which could pose health problems to residents.

"We are not against businesses but not at the expense of our health. We have nowhere to move to as we were born and grew up here," she said.

Shanti claimed crimes such as snatch thefts and house break-ins were on the rise while many Indians youths were involved in social ills due to the absence of proper guidance and education.

Hardware shop worker C. Ilango, 22, said there was lack of employment opportunities for youths, citing numerous interviews he had attended before landing a job.

"Crimes are happening almost daily. Just two days ago, a car parked several shoplots away was broken into. The police should conduct more patrolling to ensure a safer neighbourhood," he said.

In the last general election, incumbent Dr Ng defeated Abu Bakar Lebai Sudin of the DAP with a 2,752-vote majority.

Recently, Dr Ng, who is also an MCA vice-president, has expressed her intention to defend her seat.

However, several names were also heard making its rounds as possible replacement including Pahang executive councillor Datuk Hoh Khai Mun, who is the Bilut assemblyman, and Kuantan MCA division chief Datuk Ti Lian Ker.

DAP is expected to field its state deputy chairman Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, banking on the Malay votes in the state seats of Dong and Batu Talam, in addition to the unhappiness of Bukit Koman residents on the gold mine operations, to create an upset.

Raub parliamentary seat has a total registered voters of 54,775 as of December last year.


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