Isnin, 13 Mei 2013

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Zhang, Ding out to defend World titles in Paris

Posted: 13 May 2013 06:34 PM PDT

PARIS: Defending champion Zhang Jike of China says he is relishing his return to Paris this week as he aims to retain his title won two years ago in Rotterdam at the world table tennis championships.

Zhang defeated compatriot Wang Hao in the 2011 final before triumphing over the same opponent later that year in the French capital for his maiden World Cup victory.

The 25-year-old then added the Olympic title to his collection at London 2012 to complete a career Grand Slam and is eagerly anticipating taking to the Bercy arena to defend his world championship crown.

"I am feeling no pressure now and I have been well prepared. I can't wait for my first match," said Zhang.

"I won my first World Cup two years ago here, so I think Paris is my lucky place," he added.

Zhang enters the week-long tournament as the fourth seed following a string of inconsistent displays but downplayed its significance, insisting: "The important thing is to win the match, not the ranking. The top players in the world will be revealed anyway."

Compatriot Xu Xin, a potential semi-final opponent for Zhang, is the No.1 seed after regaining the world's top ranking from compatriot Ma Long last month, but he too sought to minimise its importance.

"The world ranking is just about placements, it is not enough to give you good results; so I still adopt a lower profile and have a positive attitude to fight," explained Xu, one of 23 players in the China squad that will be seeking to complete another clean sweep in all five events.

German duo Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov will headline the list of contenders seeking to challenge Chinese supremacy.

Women's title-holder Ding Ning says defeat to Li Xiaoxia in last summer's Olympic final is her greatest motivator as she seeks to banish those painful memories from London.

"(It's) equally a burden as it is a motivation. It's motivation to do a better job," said Ding, who's been at the top of the women's rankings since November 2011.

The 22-year-old, however, has been slowed by a knee problem this term.

"I first had the injury during the Squad Trials in Chengdu," she revealed.

"It is an old injury. In order to avoid any impact in the forthcoming World Championships, it needs to be protected," Ding added, possibly exposing a weakness upon which her rivals may seek to capitalise.

Liu Shiwen and London 2012 champion Li occupy the second and third seeds respectively, while Feng Tianwei of Singapore is the highest non-Chinese entrant at four.-AFP

Jun Hoong-Wendy continue fine form with bronze in 3m springboard

Posted: 13 May 2013 04:56 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: It looks like Malaysia may not have to rely on just Pandelela Rinong-Leong Mun Yee to fly the flag high at the major meets from now on.

The fast-improving women's 3m springboard pairing of Cheong Jun Hoong-Wendy Ng Yan Yee are proving to be worthy contenders as well.

Jun Hoong-Wendy bagged a bronze in the 3m springboard on the final day of the FINA United States Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

It was their third medal in as many competitions – and their first at the Grand Prix level.

The duo had also claimed bronze in the prestigious Diving World Series legs of Edinburgh and Moscow last month.

Jun Hoong-Wendy chalked up 282.90 points to finish third behind China's Zhang Jun-Qu Lin (311.40) and Ukraine's Anna Pymenska-Olena Fedorova (293.70).

A total of nine pairs competed and the Malaysian duo had their work cut out for them.

There was no sign of a medal at one stage – when they were placed a lowly seventh after the third round.

Jun Hoong-Wendy, however, found themselves in medal contention by the end of the fourth attempt – a superb dive of 71.10 points enabled them to climb up four rungs to third.

But they could only garner 61.20 in the final dive.

Fortunately, their closest rivals – Italy's Tania Cagnotto-Francesca Dallape, who finished fourth in last year's Olympics, and Japan's Sayaka Shibusawa-Mai Nakagawa – also flopped in their final attempts.

Jun Hoong-Wendy's good run on the international stage has prompted head coach Yang Zhuliang to rethink his plans.

Zhuliang had earlier wanted London Olympics bronze medallist Pandelela to do triple duty at the World Championships in Barcelona in July.

He was planning to pair up Pandelela, who will already assume a double role in the platform discipline – with her London Olympics partner Jun Hoong once more for the women's 3m springboard synchro at the world meet.

The move was aimed at boosting Malaysia chances of winning a medal at the world meet.

But Wendy has proven that she is not the weak link in the partnership.

"Their performances will certainly help raise their profiles in the international scene. They can do well at the world meet ... we're hoping for a top-six finish at least as that will help the country earn a place in the Diving World Series next year," said Zhuliang.

Pandelela-Mun Yee took silver in the women's 10m platform synchro on Saturday. The divers will now head for Guadalajara, Mexico, for the fifth leg of the Diving World Series this weekend.

Peng Soon says he’s physically and mentally ready for the Sudirman Cup

Posted: 13 May 2013 04:57 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's preparation for the Sudirman Cup is back on track after mixed doubles shuttler Chan Peng Soon declared that he is "physically and mentally ready" for the challenge.

Yesterday, a more relaxed Peng Soon said that he's ready to get going with partner Goh Liu Ying in the world mixed team event from May 19-26 at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Peng Soon had been suffering from a hamstring injury since the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold here last week and the coaches were even looking at pairing up Liu Ying with other shuttlers.

Now that Peng Soon-Liu Ying are back together again, they will be counted on to play a crucial role in helping Malaysia achieve a top-four finish in the Sudirman Cup.

With Malaysia having more depth in the men's department compared to the women's, the outcome in the mixed doubles could make or break the team's chances.

The other mixed pair in the team are Ong Jian Guo-Lim Yin Loo.

The men's players are Lee Chong Wei, Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem. The women shuttlers comprise Sonia Cheah, Tee Jing Yi, Lydia Cheah, Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo, Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Liu Ying-Yin Loo.

Peng Soon is happy to be back on his feet again.

"I'm glad that the injury is not serious. I have received treatment and I'm now able to play more comfortably. I'll go into the Sudirman Cup with a positive mindset," said Peng Soon during a gym workout at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara yesterday.

Liu Ying was also relieved to learn that her partner will be playing aftear all.

"I'm ready whenever Peng Soon is. I'm glad we can now focus on doing well at home," she said.

National coach Jeremy Gan is aware that Peng Soon-Liu Ying won't have it easy as all the participating countries will be represented by their strongest pairs.

"Unlike other events, most of the countries have at least one strong and established mixed pair. Germany and Taiwan are in our group (Group C) and they too have quite solid pairs. Peng Soon-Liu Ying cannot afford to take it easy," said Jeremy.

"They are our best pair ... I hope they will take this opportunity as a positive challenge. They've done well on home ground and that should be good enough motivation for them."


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

CSC Steel hits high of RM1.45 after firmer earnings

Posted: 13 May 2013 07:05 PM PDT

Published: Tuesday May 14, 2013 MYT 10:05:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of CSC Steel Bhd rose as much as 9% to a high of RM1.45 on Tuesday after its earnings in the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 exceeded analysts' forecast.

At 9.51am, CSC was up 10 sen to RM1.43. There were 792,300 shares traded at prices ranging from RM1.42 to RM1.45.

The FBM KLCI rose 3.85 points to 1,791.75. Turnover was 507.19 million shares valued at RM353.13mil. There were 374 gainers, 188 losers and 213 counters unchanged.

CSC's net profit jumped more than two-fold to RM17.5mil in the first quarter ended March 31, from RM5.5mil a year ago due to a significant increase in sales volume while lower raw material and lower unit production costs also helped boost profit.

RHB Research said CSC Steel net earnings of RM17.5m were above its and street estimates on higher sales and improved profit margin.

"The Indonesian authority's anti-dumping duty against East Asian steel mills spurred the group's sales while the increase in steel prices further boosted its profitability.

"We revise up our earnings forecast and derive a new RM1.72 FV. Maintain Trading Buy," it said.


Trading in I-Bhd halted after MoU inked for RM580m mall

Posted: 13 May 2013 06:38 PM PDT

Published: Tuesday May 14, 2013 MYT 9:39:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Trading in I-Bhd was voluntarily halted for an hour from 9am on Tuesday following its announcement about its MoU with a Thai company to build a RM580mil mall in I-City, Shah Alam.

A Bursa Securities circular said trading its company's securities would resume at 10am.

On Monday, both companies had teamed up to build a 1.5 million sq ft mall in I-Bhd's flagship development i-City with a gross development value of RM580mil.

I-Bhd would have a 40% stake via i-City Properties Sdn Bhd (ICP) in the joint venture while CPN would have the remainder stake via two locally incorporated companies CPN Real Estate Sdn Bhd and CPN Malls Malaysia Sdn Bhd. Work starts next year and to be completed by end-2016.


Verizon Wireless to pay surprise US$7bil dividend

Posted: 13 May 2013 06:37 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S. mobile service provider, said on Monday it would pay its parents Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc a dividend of $7 billion in June, surprising some analysts who had not expected a big payout.

The dividend comes amid mounting speculation Verizon could buy Vodafone's stake in the venture if they can agree on a price. Reuters reported on April 24 that Verizon was preparing a $100 billion bid for the stake but investors have said they expect Vodafone to seek a higher price.

The dividend decision follows recent comments from Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam to JP Morgan analysts that he did not want to pay a premium for the stake and that the two owners could face a "lean" year in terms of the Verizon Wireless dividend.

"I wouldn't call that lean," said Evercore analyst Jonathan Schildkraut referring to the $7 billion dividend, which is payable on June 25.

Verizon, which controls the wireless venture and dividend decisions, declined to comment on the Verizon Wireless statement on Monday. Vodafone had no immediate comment.

Schildkraut said he was surprised by the decision as he read McAdam's previous comments as a sign that the executive wanted to put pressure on Vodafone to agree to a deal. Schildkraut said he does not think Verizon has an urgent need for cash.

"Despite more contentious commentary from Verizon management it's just does not appear that withholding Verizon Wireless cash flow from Vodafone is likely to be part of the negotiation," Schildkraut said.

The Verizon Wireless board decided on the dividend on May 9, according a filing the company made with regulators.

The wireless venture's last dividend to its parents was a $8.5 billion payout in the fourth quarter of 2012, which followed with a $10 billion pay-out made in January of 2012.

Verizon had refused to sanction a dividend from the Wireless asset between 2005 and 2011 because it said it preferred to pay down debt and make acquisitions. At the time that was seen by analysts as a move to pressure Vodafone out of the venture.

Based on Verizon's 55 percent ownership of the venture and Vodafone's 45 percent stake, the June pay-out will bring Verizon cash payments of $3.85 billion while Vodafone will receive $3.15 billion, according to the company.

Verizon shares rose slightly in late trade to $53 after closing at $52.55 on the New York Stock Exchange. - Reuters



The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Who will be the new IGP?

Posted: 13 May 2013 08:05 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: With Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar celebrating his 60th birthday this Friday, speculation is rife on his replacement.

Based on tradition, his deputy, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, is expected to succeed him.

However, the final decision lies with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Khalid, 55, who hails from Seremban, attended training as a police inspector at the Police Training Centre on Dec 5, 1976.

He was head of the Kedah Anti-Narcotic Department in 1997 and six years later, was the Pahang Police Management Department head before being appointed Kuantan police chief.

In 2005, he was appointed Negri Sembilan police chief and then Bukit Aman CID deputy director before being appointed Selangor police chief in June 2007.

On Oct 13, 2010, he was appointed Director of the Bukit Aman's Internal Security and Public Order Department and not long after that, Deputy Inspector-General of Police.

According to police sources, eight other candidates are eligible to be appointed to the post.

They are Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin, Bukit Aman Special Task Force (Operations/Counter Terrorism) director Datuk Mohamad Fuzi Harun and Bukit Aman Special Branch director Datuk Akhil Bulat.

Others are Commercial Crimes Investigation Department director Datuk Wira Syed Ismail Syed Azizan, Management Department director Datuk Mortadza Nazarene and Narcotic Crimes Investigation Department director Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim.

Also eligible for the post are Internal Security and Public Order director Datuk Wira Salleh Mat Rashid and Logistics Department director Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah.

The new IGP, however, has to face various challenges, including improving the image of the force, as well as enhance public security, in tandem with the aspirations of the people for the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to provide international-class policing.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the new person should be capable of reducing the crime index to restore the people's confidence in the force.

"It is impossible to have a zero crime rate, but PDRM can reduce the rate drastically through various approaches," he added.

He also suggested that the police intensify cooperation with the public for a more effective crime prevention.

PDRM, however, has carried out various transformation, following the government's introduction of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) in 2009, including making Kuala Lumpur the safest city to live in.

The government, and the security forces, have also declared 10 districts in Sabah to come under the Eastern Sabah safety Zone and stationed five additional battalions of the Malaysian Armed Forces and the General Operations Force, as well as building additional police stations.

Apart from that, the government has also activated the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) in Lahad Datu, abolished the Internal Security Act, Restricted Residence Act and the three Emergency ordinances, replacing them with the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.

The government also formulated the Peaceful Assembly Act, provided a RM6 million allocation to increase the number of policemen as well as for the installation of closed-circuit television cameras in 25 local government areas nationwide. - Bernama

Report: 21 Malaysians arrested in Singapore over GE13 protest out on bail

Posted: 13 May 2013 07:38 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The 21 Malaysians who were arrested on Saturday for staging a protest over the May 5 general election results at the Merlion Park have been released on bail, according to The Straits Times.

The daily understands that investigations are still ongoing. It is not known when they were released, how much bail had been set at, or whether their work and visit passes will be reviewed.

Singapore police have issued a strong statement which said that foreigners have to abide by Singapore's laws.

"They should not import their domestic issues from their countries into Singapore and conduct activities which can disturb public order. Those who break the law will be seriously dealt with," a police spokesman said in the statement.

The arrests came after nine Malaysians had been warned for protesting in a similar illegal gathering last Wednesday, also held at the Merlion Park. The police said the work and visit passes of the nine were being reviewed by the authorities.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk Md Hussin Nayan has said that the protest was illegal and those who knowingly organised and participated in such an illegal activity should face the consequences.

"I hope Malaysians working or studying in Singapore will reflect more on their situation before acting illegally," he said.

Related Stories:
GE13: Break Singaporean laws and face consequences, says Malaysian High Commissioner
Singapore cops take action against Malaysians over rallies
Nine Malaysians get police warning for illegal gathering in Singapore

William Yau inquest: No Chinese boy seen playing near jetty where body was found

Posted: 13 May 2013 07:00 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: A resident living near Sungei Sireh jetty in Port Klang where six-year-old William Yau's body was found told a Coroner's Court that he never saw a boy that age playing near the jetty.

Satarudin Kamal, 45, was asked whether a Chinese boy aged between six and seven years was spotted playing in the jetty area.

"I have never seen the boy between that age at the jetty area as it is restricted to members," he said. Satarudin was giving his evidence at the inquest to find out the cause of William Yau's death.

William was reported missing in Putra Heights, Subang Jaya on Jan 16 after his father Yau Kok Kang and mother Goh Ying Ying had gone briefly to a store to buy a washing machine, leaving the boy with his two other siblings in the car.

Satarudin, a supervisor at the fishermen's market, said William Yau's body was swollen and decomposed when it was first discovered by a fisherman at the jetty on Jan 24.

He said the body was found floating face up near a boat with the eyes missing probably eaten by fishes.

He said he saw the body being swept by waves from Sungai Kelang while having a drink with his fellow fishermen at a coffee shop at about 6.30pm.

"My friend Yusuf Osman and I rushed to the place where the body was seen floating and tied the legs with ropes to prevent it from drifting away.

"Yusuf later pulled the body to the side," he said.

To another question by DPP Lee Keng Fatt on gender, Satarudin said: "Physically the body was like an eight-year-old boy".

Meanwhile, a worker at William Yau's father's shop, Lim Say Kim, 28, said he knew the family for about five years and had been working at Yau's motorcycle repair workshop for the past three years.

Lim said he had never seen the boy's parents quarrel.

Asked by Coroner Mohd Hezri Shaharil on the last time he saw William Yau, Lim said it was between 5pm and 6pm the day he was reported missing.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Free Epic Tickets

Posted: 13 May 2013 12:03 AM PDT

A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil is taking place. She bands together with a rag-tag group characters in order to save their world -- and ours.

Catch Epic on us. Thanks to 20th Century Fox we have 40 pairs of tickets to give away.

All you have to do is print this page and bring it along with you to our redemption table at GSC Paradigm. Please see details below.

Please note that tickets will be given on a first come, first served basis. Each person will be given only one pair of tickets.

Redemption Details

Date: 21 May 2013 (Tuesday)

Time: 8pm

Venue: GSC Paradigm

Screening Details

Date: 21 May 2013 (Tuesday)

Time: 9pm

Venue: GSC Paradigm

Rules & Regulations

1. This redemption is open to all eCentral fans.

2. Print out the contest page and redeem it at the venue given in this article.

3. Each page entitles you to two movie tickets only. Each person is allowed to redeem only once.

4. Tickets are given out on a first come, first served basis.

5. Queue-jumping and reserving places in line during the redemption are strictly prohibited. The organizers reserve the right to refuse tickets to anyone found doing so.

6. Tickets are not exchangeable for cash.

7. This movie is not yet rated.. Movie ratings will strictly apply for this movie. The organizers reserve the right to refuse entry to the cinema hall to those not within the permitted age limit. No exceptions will be made at any time for any reason.

8. I hereby expressly consent to the collection, collation, use and/or disclosure of all my personal data by Star Publications (M) Berhad for the purposes of the Epic contest.

9. For enquiries, please e-mail

New Star Wars movie to be shot in England

Posted: 12 May 2013 09:15 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Filming of the new Star Wars movie will take place in England, returning the franchise to its British roots, Disney's Lucasfilm said on Friday.

"We've devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of Star Wars as inspiration for our process on the new movie, and I'm thrilled that returning to the UK for production and utilizing the incredible talent there can be a part of that," Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, said in a statement.

The six previous Star Wars films were all partly filmed in the UK at famed studios including Pinewood, Elstree and Shepperton.

Disney announced three new Star Wars films in October 2012, when it purchased George Lucas' Lucasfilm company for US$4.05 billion.

The news was welcomed by the British finance minister, George Osborne, who tweeted on Friday: "Great news for our creative industries. May the force be with us."

Star Wars: Episode VII will be made by director J.J. Abrams, and will further boost the British film industry that has been regenerated by the popular James Bond and Harry Potter film franchises.

The Star Wars franchise has grossed more than US$4.4 billion at the worldwide box office since the first film was released in 1977.

Star Wars: Episode VII is scheduled to be released in 2015.

'Iron Man 3' beats out 'Gatsby' at the box office

Posted: 12 May 2013 08:26 PM PDT

REUTERS - Tony Stark's superpowers lifted blockbuster Iron Man 3 back to the top of movie charts in the United States and Canada, beating out a strong debut over the weekend for lavish Jazz Age drama The Great Gatsby.

Coming off a gigantic opening a week earlier, Iron Man 3 commanded US$72.5 million in ticket sales from Friday through Sunday in its second weekend. Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as millionaire Jay Gatsby in the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald tale, earned a strong US$51.1 million, according to studio estimates.

Domestic ticket sales for Iron Man 3 dropped 58 percent from a week earlier, when the film hauled in US$174.1 million for the second-biggest movie opening of all time. The film from Walt Disney Co's Marvel Studios stars Robert Downey Jr. as Stark, a billionaire businessman with a superhero alter ego.

International sales for Iron Man 3 reached a massive US$664 million through Sunday after adding US$89 million from the weekend, Disney said. The film's worldwide take now stands at US$949 million.

Gatsby outpaced pre-weekend forecasts for an opening of up to US$45 million. Directed by Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, it is the latest Hollywood rendition of Fitzgerald's classic American novel, The Great Gatsby. A 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow fared poorly at the box office.

DiCaprio stars in the title role, a millionaire pining for a lost love, played by Carey Mulligan, during the height of the hedonistic 1920s. Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton also star. Rapper Jay-Z produced the soundtrack.

"We never expected to open this picture at this level," said Dan Fellman, president of theatrical distribution for Warner Bros., the Time Warner Inc. unit that distributed the film.

Fellman said the picture, which has been accorded the prestigious opening night slot at this week's Cannes Film Festival, was now well-positioned for a long run into the summer as an alternative to traditional action movies.

The majority of ticket buyers were female by 59 percent to 41 percent, and 31 percent of ticket buyers were under age 25, Warner Bros. said.

"We're going to have a nice, long healthy run," he told Reuters.

DiCaprio's performance was widely praised, but the movie, which cost about US$105 million to produce, received a mixed reception from critics. As of Saturday, 48 percent of reviews recommended the film on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

But in its opening weekend, the film very nearly eclipsed the total US$57.4 million take of Luhrmann's most successful film, Moulin Rouge, which went on to win several Academy Awards.

Elsewhere over the weekend, dark action comedy Pain & Gain starring Mark Wahlberg placed a distant third with US$5 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

Comedy Peeples, the other new nationwide release, finished fourth with US$4.9 million. Produced by Tyler Perry, the film stars Craig Robinson and Kerry Washington in the story of a well-off family's reunion that is interrupted when a man arrives to seek their daughter's hand in marriage.

Baseball drama 42 finished in fifth place with US$4.7 million.

Star Trek Into Darkness, which opens in the United States on Wednesday, took in US$31.7 million in seven international territories including Britain, Mexico, Australia and Germany, Paramount Pictures reported.


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Day-care centre Tasputra Perkim in a bind

Posted: 13 May 2013 04:42 AM PDT

A RENOWNED day-care training centre for children with special needs that has been operating for 26 years in Kuala Lumpur, must now find a new home if it wants to continue its noble work.

Tasputra Perkim received a notice on April 17 asking it to vacate the premises at Lot 3498, Jalan Ampang Hilir. However, it did not give a date for the centre to relocate but advised the administration to make preparations to leave as soon as possible.

Tasputra Perkim supervisor Grace Jackson said that without a building to work in, the centre's efforts could not continue.

Tasputra cares for 52 special children and adults who are severely physically, visually and mentally disabled. The individuals, who are aged between two and 30 years old, come from poor families.

"Each child requires individual attention, and we have 21 volunteers including occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychologists," said Jackson, adding that the team of dedicated therapists could help these individuals meet their full potential.

Tasputra was in the midst of constructing a new building on the premises to house a playroom and staffroom. It was part of the requirements needed to ensure the centre could apply for a sensory room from a benefactor. A sensory room is designed with special lighting, music and objects that are used in therapy for the children.

The new block was built with a contribution of RM120,000 from UMW Toyota, but the project stalled due to unforeseen circumstances.

"We would not have embarked on such a project had we known that we would be forced to move out," said Jackson.

The letter, sent by the Property Management Division (BPH) of the Prime Minister's Department, informed Tasputra that the land was needed for the redevelopment of the government quarters.

Tasputra Perkim was established in 1987 under the patronage of its early benefactor the Malaysian Muslim Welfare Organisation (Perkim), which then president was the late Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Tunku, who was also Malaysia's first prime minister, was the first to donate RM10,000 to Tasputra to get it started. This was later followed by a donation from Tun Dr Siti Hasmah and members of Bakti (the Association of Malaysian Government Ministers' Wives).

Besides the prospect of losing their current premises, Jackson said Tasputra and other NGOs were told by the Federal Territory Welfare Department to find ways to generate income for our centres as it would be cutting back on grants.

"Our grant from the Government has decreased from RM162,664 in 2010 to RM148,000 in 2011 and RM64,700 last year," said Jackson.

However, the centre is always in need of more money as the equipment needed to help the children is expensive.

The families pay up to RM200 a month towards the costs, but that depends on what they can manage and, according to Jackson, not everyone can afford it.

Most of the current equipment at the centre is broken or old and worn out. Many of the items were donated by the Italian government in 1992, and have long outlived their usefulness.

"Most of the children suffer from varying degrees of cerebral palsy; some are bedridden, some are in wheelchairs and some require walking aid," said physiotherapist Rogini Periasamy.

"While they require constant care and attention, they also need the necessary equipment and accessories such as braces, gym balls, walkers, shoes and wheelchairs for their therapy and exercise," she explained.

"If they do not get their exercise, their condition will worsen and all the work they have put in will go to waste," she added.

StarMetro's efforts to speak to Tasputra Perkim chairman and co-founder Elahe Norman proved futile as employees at the centre said she was still in shock over the letter.

"She is very upset and still in denial, but the reality is that something must be done soon to address the problem," said Jackson.

"Tasputra Perkim employees and associates understand there is much more to be done to help special needs children in this city.

"We also want to share our experience with others involved in special needs issues, but such aspirations must be put on hold with our own future hanging in limbo," she added.

Recently, there have been numerous media reports of welfare NGOs receiving notices from the Welfare Department of grant cuts. Some organisations have been struggling to stay afloat as public donations have also decreased in the past few years.

In March, StarMetro had reported that the Selangor and Federal Territory Association for the Mentally Handicapped (SAMH), which was opened in 1964, was in danger of closing down due to lack of funds.

Government urged to continue helping welfare NGOs

Posted: 13 May 2013 04:42 AM PDT

SEVERAL non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives have voiced their views that the Government must continue to help welfare organisations and non-governmental institutions that run homes for the underprivileged.

The NGOs opine that the Government should accept this as its duty as there will always be people who cannot fend for themselves.

"The Government still has to fund these associations partially and not cut them off totally," said Pertubuhan Tindakan Wanita Islam (Pertiwi) Soup Kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid.

"They can be selective and pick the deserving ones but they should assess the situation and find out which NGOs need more help," she added.

"To what extent the Government should render assistance to those in need depends on the nature of the need and the responsibilities of other institutions," said Selangor and Federal Territory Association for the Mentally Handicapped (SAMH) manager T. Kamaraj.

"Caring for the less fortunate is a joint responsibility; both society and the Government have a role to play, especially since we have a Woman, Family and Community Development Ministry that focuses on providing assistance to vulnerable groups such as the aged, the disabled, single parents and victims of natural disasters," added Kamaraj.

Tara Bhavan orphanage president Datin Poonam Kukreja, said the Government must provide grants to all registered NGOs that serve the community.

"Why have a Welfare Ministry or give out licences to operate an NGO if they do not do this?" she asked.

"This social support is necessary and the Government must accept this responsibility willingly," she said.

Poonam said that if the Government found that there was too large a population that required monetary aid and was not able to help, then the education system needed to be studied.

"Fund management must be charted out for the people. Health education and guidance must be provided to the community on keeping a healthy society.

Some NGOs have been in existence in this country for more than 50 years.

"They have credibility and deserve respect for doing a fantastic job. Do not penalise them as it will affect the recipients, who are physically or mentally handicapped, deprived or poor," she stressed.

Visually impaired social activist G. Gunabalan concurred that the Government should help the poor and eradicate poverty.

"There will always be people who cannot look after themselves. Morally, it never looks good for a Government to ignore these poor souls," Gunabalan said.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Caro Emerald scores first UK No. 1 album

Posted: 12 May 2013 08:32 PM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Dutch jazz singer Caro Emerald (pic) scored her first British number one album on Sunday after a close battle with last week's chart-toppers, London drum and bass quartet Rudimental.

The Shocking Miss Emerald notched up 3,000 more sales than Rudimental's Home to secure top spot, the Official Charts Company said.

British actor Hugh Laurie, best known for his role in U.S. TV medical drama House, was new at number three with blues album Didn't It Rain, his second top five release following on from the success of his 2011 debut.

Canadian crooner Michael Buble's To Be Loved dropped to fourth, with singer-songwriter Alison Moyet's The Minutes in fifth, her first top five album in more than 26 years.

In the singles charts, French electronic duo Daft Punk held on to top spot for a third week with Get Lucky, well ahead of New York-based DJ Chris Malinchak who debuted in second place with So Good To Me.

Singer-songwriter Passenger was up a place to third with Let Her Go, with Rudimental in fourth with Waiting All Night and Can't Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, featuring Ray Dalton, falling to fifth.


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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Johoreans share their wishes of what the new Menteri Besar should do

Posted: 12 May 2013 07:37 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Johoreans from all walks of life are all hyped up for a new Mentri Besar as they shared their hopes for Johor under the new guidance.

Former Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin is expected to be sworn in as the state's new mentri besar.

Many are pinning their hopes that the new leader will not just continue to grow the state's economy but also look into the people problems and help ease their burdens.

F&B outlet worker, Mariam Mohd Sumian, 27, expects the new Mentri Besar to enhance the lifestyle of Johoreans and look into the rising cost of living here.

"My age is catching up and I hope to purchase my own house soon but with the rising prices of house, I still cannot afford one," she said adding that she hoped that more affordable homes would be made available and easily accessible.

For student Austin Hoo Kai Jie, 17, the next Mentri Besar should be more in touch and in tune with the needs of the younger generation.

"I love sports and lately I have been into cycling, but I soon realised that there were barely any cycling lanes around housing estates in Johor.

"I really hope that the mentri besar will look into such the safety issue for Johoreans to live a healthy lifestyle," he added.

Teacher J. Doris, 45, hoped that the new mentri besar would look into the complexity of the current education system in the state.

"As a parent to a 14-year-old, I am still unsure of the language that is supposed to be used in schools for subjects such as Mathematics and Science.

"In my son's school, the Malay language is used for those subjects but in the school that my nephew studies, who is also 14 years, the English language is used instead," she said.

She added that the dual language system confuses not only the parents but the students as well, and made it even hard for students from different schools to share their knowledge.

"I am still confused as to who has the right to pick the language they should be learning in, whether the parents, teachers or the students themselves," she questioned adding that she hoped that the guidelines to the system should be made clearer.

Taxi driver, R. Subramaniam, 57, hopes that the new Mentri Besar would look into the improving public transportation and the infrastructure especially in the town areas.

"The main roads need improvement and I hope that our new Mentri Besar will come up with policies to improve the schedule of busses that ply through the area," he said.

Subramaniam said that another major concern that needed to be addressed was with regards to street crime.

"I notice that many people prefer to use taxis even for short distance trips nowadays because they are so afraid that they will be victims of snatch thieves or muggings," he said.

Cashier, Khatijah Sabari, 18, hopes that more modern art related programmes would be organised after the new mentri besar is appointed.

"The young people in Johor want more international acts to be brought in for concerts, plays and musicals.

"We do not have many avenues to explore our talents and more should be done instead of just focussing on traditional dances," she said hoping that the new mentri besar would be an approachable and friendly person.

Independent candidates say they have no plans to join any party

Posted: 12 May 2013 07:38 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Independent candidates who lost in the GE13 are committed to serve their local communities as they firmly believe that they could be the "voice of the rakyat".

This is the first time Johor has had eight independents contesting in a general election.

However all of them lost their deposits.

Mohd Azaman Johari, 46, who was defeated by Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said for the Pengerang parliamentary seat, plans to establish a non-government organisation (NGO) in the constituency.

He said the proposed NGO would act as a watchdog for developments which would take place in Pengerang to transform the area into a new an oil and gas hub (O&G) in the region.

"I am not against progress and development but they must be done holistically and not sideline the masses in the process," Mohd Azaman told StarMetro.

The former school teacher of 22 years garnered 795 votes in the three-cornered fight, while another candidate Tengku Intan Tengku Abdul Hamid of PKR received 4,488 votes.

He said the NGO would assist the locals affected by the multi-billion ringgit O&G hub in the area including those whose lands were acquired for the project.

Mohd Azaman added that the NGO would not take side by supporting either Barisan or Pakatan Rakyat but would educate Pengerang people on their rights as Malaysians.

"I have no plans to join any political parties as what I see today, certain parties have produced extremists and fail in championing the people," he added.

Apart from setting up the NGO, Mohd Azman would also venture into the food-related business this year by setting up a company involving in producing frozen food products and offering catering services.

Another independent candidate Surendiran Kuppayah, 42, also concurred with Mohd Azaman and has no intentions to join any political parties.

The businessman said by joining a political party, his hands would be tied and he would have to abide by its rules and regulations.

"As an independent, I would have freedom to do my duties as I am not answerable to the party's leadership," said Surendiran who contested in the Kulai parliamentary.

He received 238 votes and lost to Teo Niew Ching from DAP who garnered 43,338 votes, while Tay Chin Hein of Barisan received 29,888 votes.

Surendiran also contested in the Bukit Batu state seat where he received 177 votes, the seat was won by PKR's Jimmy Phuan Wee Tse with 11,676 votes and Barisan's Cheong Chin Liang scored 7,661 votes.

Despite getting only 238 votes, Surendiran said he was "still the winner" as he did not have election machinery teams unlike his two contenders.

"I am going to closely watch the performance of Teo who was a former incumbent of the Serdang seat in Selangor who is now the Kulai MP," Surendiran said adding that she failed to do her duties there and decided to come to Johor.

He said Kulai people did not need a representative who moved from one place to another in every general election just for her political survival but instead they need a local who would stay put in the district.

Off all the independent contestants contesting in Johor, Ho Eng Wah was the only one who had set-up a service centre in the Johor Jaya to serve voters in the area.

The businessman who contested in the Johor Jaya state seat received 177 votes; the seat was won by Liow Cai Tung of Dap with 22,879 votes while Barisan's Tan Cher Puk garnered 21,419 votes.

Ho could not be reached at press time for comments as he was away in Vietnam and would on be back to Malaysia on Tuesday.

Change is needed to move forward

Posted: 12 May 2013 07:40 PM PDT

PERMAS assemblyman Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin is set to be sworn in as the state's 14th Mentri Besar tomorrow.

The 55-year-old is expected to be sworn in before the Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in a ceremony at the Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim in Bukit Timbalan.

The state's 10 executive council members are also expected to take their oaths together at the same ceremony.

Khaled has already met and taken an oath in front of Tunku Mahkota of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim on Friday, in keeping with Johor tradition before being sworn in before the Sultan.

Khaled will replace Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who had served as Johor Mentri Besar for 18 years since 1995.

Speculation is rife that the new mentri besar is expected to announce a mix of old and new faces in the state line-up.

Most will be new faces as only four incumbent exco members contested and won in GE13.

They are Datuk Maulizan Bujang (Tiram), Asiah Ariff (Johor Lama), M. Asojan (Gambir) and Md Jais Sarday (Mahkota).

Barisan sources said one of Khaled's major concerns was the two positions usually reserved for MCA.

MCA only won in two seats out of the 16 state seats it had contested in GE13.

The seats won are Pulai Sebatang by MCA national organising secretary Datuk Tee Siew Kiong and Paloh by newcomer Teoh Yap Kun.

"If MCA does not take up the posts, then Pemanis candidate Lau Chin Hoon may be asked to step in even though Gerakan has never been in the state line-up," said a source.

The source pointed out that there were three scenarios including leaving the MCA position vacant, offer the post to a prominent Chinese from Johor who is a non-politician to help bring up the community's woes at the Government level or just giving the Chinese one position instead of the two in the past.

Talk is also rife that MIC's R. Vidyananthan, who is a third-term assemblyman, may also be considered for an exco position following his improved majority in the Kahang state seat in GE13.

"The component list for the state exco is usually given by the respective party presidents," a source said.

Other Umno leaders that could make it as excos include Md Jais Sarday, Asiah Ariff, Adam Sumiru, Abd Mutalib Abd Rahim, Latiff Bandi, Zulkurnain Kamisan and Dr Adham Baba.

Johor used to be a Barisan Nasional fortress, but with the opposition making huge inroads into the state in GE13, the new MB and his team of exco's will have to change their game-plan and work hard to dispel and counter the opposition attacks.

Although Barisan with 38 assemblymen still governs the state with its traditional two-thirds majority, they are only one seat away from losing that grip.

The new state leadership will need to be vocal as now there will be 18 opposition state assemblymen in the state assembly (13 DAP, 4 PAS and 1 PKR).

This includes the 27-year-old Liow Cai Tung from DAP who is the youngest assemblywoman from Johor Jaya.

"It is going to be noisy at the assembly and people are going to be watching the way Barisan including the Mentri Besar and his exco debate and govern the state," the sources said.

The old style of politics by Ghani, who rarely had press conferences and shied away from national and state issues hoping that it would "die down" would have to change.

The state leadership should also be proactive and must be quick to counter the allegations or accusations from the opposition instead of taking it as "lame ducks".

Excos should also be given the mandate and powers to make announcements involving their portfolios.

Johor Indian Business Association president P. Sivakumar said Khaled should listen to the woes of those living in the cities especially with regard to housing.

"It is so expensive to live in Johor Baru these days.

"There is no point in building public housing for the poor in the outskirts where there is no bus or taxi service," he added.

Sivakumar cited as an example a disab- led woman who was finally given a flat after fighting for many months in Johor Baru but her unit was on the forth four with no lift service.

"How will a disabled woman on a wheel-chair get to the forth floor of her house with no lift services?," he questioned.

He added that when he called the state housing unit, he was disappointed that the official was not sympathetic to the woman's plight.

It is time for the state government to crack the whip on such "little Napoleons" in the state government services who give the government a bad name.

Other pressing issues in major towns include helping to solve the bread and butter issues affecting the people including rising cost of living, building more affordable housing, coming out with more programmes to engage youths, safety and crime issues and better public transportation.

Local councils will also need to buck up to ensure better cleanliness, better amenities and proper infrastructure including roads.

Agencies running and developing Iskandar Malaysia will also be under closer scrutiny from now onwards especially with the opposition making inroads in every parliamentary constituency within the growth corridor in Johor Baru, Kulai, Pontian, Tebrau, Pulai and Gelang Patah.

Khaled, who is regarded as a no-nonsense guy with his own style of leadership, will definitely have to formulate clear policies to benefit all Johoreans to ensure Barisan continues to maintain a grip of the state.


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