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The Star Online: Nation

Religious teacher puts up brave front after son’s body is found

Posted: 20 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

BALIK PULAU: Religious teacher Ku Abdul Halim Ku Taha was composed when news first came that the body of his 19-year-old son had been found.

He had cut a forlorn figure at the search and rescue operation base near Penang National Park entrance. But when the body of his son Ku Muhammad Ilyas was brought to shore, the tears began welling up in his eyes.

Still, Ku Abdul Halim put up a brave front and thanked the authorities and residents for taking part in the search.

"Thanks for all the help rendered and prayers offered throughout the last three days. Alhamdulilah (praise be to God), we managed to find him," he said, adding that his son would be buried at his hometown in Bukit Mertajam.

At about 4pm yesterday, a team from the Fire and Rescue Department found the floating body some 3.4km to the north of Pantai Kerachut near Muka Head.

Ku Muhammad Ilyas was the third victim to be fished out after he went for a swim with four others in the waters off Pantai Kerachut in Teluk Bahang on Saturday.

The team-building event organised by Oriental Advertising turned tragic when five of them were swept away by strong waves.

On Sunday, the body of Ashwan-paljit Singh Charnjit Singh, 23, was found several metres away from where he was swept away.

The body of P. Yogambigai, 24, was found at 4.35pm on Saturday.

Two others – Norhayati Nasrul, 22, and Nurain Nabilah Mokhtar, 21, – were saved from the waters.

Ku Abdul Halim said he was told that his son had actually gone in to help Yogambigai but was instead swept out to the open sea.

Describing his son as adventurous but physically frail, he said he only allowed his son to take swimming lessons recently.

Operations commander Insp Mohd Zin Mat Ali said 78 people from various agencies, 10 boats and a helicopter were involved in the search.

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Green group: Make EEVs affordable for more Malaysians

Posted: 20 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: While environmental groups commended the move to make Malaysia an attractive production hub for energy efficient vehicles (EEVs), they were doubtful whether it would help the green movement in the long run.

Environmental Management & Research Association of Malaysia (Ensearch) president Abdul Aziz Long said the move, under the latest National Automotive Policy (NAP), would lead to lower fuel consumption and exhaust emissions in vehicles.

"However, it is important for the Government to ensure that EEVs are made affordable for more Malaysians, especially those vehicles below 1,800cc," he said.

Abdul Aziz also predicted a steady increase in the number of registered vehicles annually, resulting in more cars on the road, contributing to pollution in the long run.

He stressed on the need to strike a balance.

"For instance, reducing the tax imposed on cars and reducing bank loan rates will make cars more affordable, but it contradicts government initiatives to promote use of public transport," Abdul Aziz explained.

Environmental Protection Society Malaysia president Nithi Nesadurai said the Government's move to lower car prices by 20% to 30% in the next five years was sure to "spell disaster for the environment".

"While making hybrid cars a tad more affordable is an improvement, one must remember that a car is still a car, and it can still pollute the environment."

The revised NAP will see an exemption on import tax and excise duties only on hybrid and EVs that are assembled locally – up to Dec 31, 2015 for hybrids and Dec 31, 2017 for EVs.

Meanwhile, Fomca secretary general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said there appeared to be minimal impact of the revised policy towards consumers, as the excise duty and import tax for foreign cars remained in place.

However, Selvaraj welcomed the extension of exemption for these taxes on hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) assembled locally.

Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M Mohamed Idris said the move to get more people to buy eco-friendly cars would be feasible only in the short term, as hybrid cars do not mean there is completely no pollution.

Mohamed Idris also lamented the absence of a mention on the end-of-life policy for automobiles, suggesting a cap of 30 years on vehicles to start with, "as it is definitely uneconomical and unsafe to use a vehicle beyond that limit."

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Umno Youth and lawyers plan Sweden trip

Posted: 20 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

PUTRAJAYA: Umno Youth and legal volunteer group Sukaguam are planning to go to Sweden to assist the family of the Malaysian couple detained there for allegedly smacking their son's hand to discipline the child.

The wing would also work with the Malaysian embassy and local authorities in Sweden to help find a suitable foster home for the couple's four children, said Umno Youth executive secretary Ibdililah Ishak.

He said several Muslim families residing in Sweden had volunteered to look after the children.

"We are very concerned about the custody and the welfare of the children.

"As Muslims, we feel it is important that they be provided with an environment sensitive to their needs, such as issues with prayers and their food intake," Ibdililah said after a meeting with Wisma Putra undersecretary (consular) Ambassador Mat Dris Yaacob.

Sukaguam president Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat said they would examine the legal aspects of the incident to see if there were undue delay in the detention of the Malaysian couple.

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