Thursday, 11 February 2010

Are We actually in The Bermuda Triangle? First our fighter planes engines went missing; now our submarine refuses to go diving.

By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 2/11/2010

Malaysia says first submarine unable to dive

Malaysia's first submarine, a European-made Scorpene delivered last September, has developed problems that make it unfit for diving, the defence minister said Thursday.

The KD Tunku Abdul Rahman sailed into a grand reception last year as the first of two commissioned from French contractor DCNS and Spain's Navantia for a total of 3.4 billion ringgit (961 million dollars).

Named after the country's first prime minister, it was hailed as an important acquisition despite opposition allegations of corruption in the deal.

"The submarine can still dive but when we detected the defects, we were advised that it should not dive," Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters.

"The (parts found with) defects are still under warranty so the supplier and contractor are repairing them," he added.

Navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar said a problem first emerged in the submarine's cooling system last December. After being fixed, another defect was identified in a different system last month.

"We hope it can dive again after February 18 so we can carry out the tropical water trials," Abdul Aziz told reporters.

The navy chief said the second submarine, the KD Tun Razak which is named after the nation's second premier, is expected to arrive from France on May 31. It was originally scheduled for delivery in late 2009.

The two submarines have attracted controversy since the deal was signed in 2002.

Malaysia's opposition claims that a 540-million-ringgit commission was paid to a close associate of Prime Minister Najib Razak in brokering the contract.

Najib has denied there was any corruption in the deal, which was made when he was defence minister.

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

In the forests of Peninsular Malaysia: Humans and Tigers Fight for Life

By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 2/10/2010

Malaysian tribesman paid by syndicates to poach tigers: WWF

Tribesmen in Malaysia are being paid by syndicates to trap wildlife, including critically endangered tigers, to meet insatiable demand from China, a conservationist said Wednesday.

"Local tribesmen are being used by the middlemen to collect the forest products as they are familiar with the jungle," said Dionysius Sharma, executive director with WWF-Malaysia.

"The demand for wildlife from Asia's forests to be used in China for traditional medicine is strong," he told AFP.

As China's society becomes more affluent, the demand for exotic animals to be used in traditional remedies for illnesses such as heart disease and asthma is expanding rapidly.

Sharma said the poachers, often members of Malaysia's indigenous peoples, do not have the resources to market the animal parts, or smuggle them out of the country.

"The tribesmen receive a small sum of money but the middlemen reap lots of profit," he said, adding that the syndicates were not identified, but likely involved both foreigners and Malaysians.

Sharma's remarks come after a four-year-old male tiger which had injured a Semai tribesman in northern Malaysia last week was found dead with gunshot, spear and snare wounds.

Yok Meneh, who sustained a deep gash on his back and injuries to his hands and legs, said he fought off the injured beast armed only with a rock after it attacked him while he was out picking wild beans.

But Shabrina Shariff, wildlife department director in Perak state told AFP Wednesday that Yok Meneh was in fact part of a group of seven men who had snared the tiger but came under attack when they tried to kill it.

"He was among the tribesmen who trapped the tiger. They shot the tiger four times. Then they used the poisonous spear and blowpipe darts to kill it," she said.

Shabrina said the tribesmen were "promised thousands of ringgit", the Malaysian currency, by unidentified middlemen and admitted to killing another tiger and a panther previously.

Sharma said poachers from other nations were also hunting for wildlife in Malaysian jungles.

"There is a lot of evidence that hunters from Thailand and Vietnam are setting traps in Malaysia. We have found their camps and hunting equipment. They spend a long time in the jungles. They are very organised," she said.

Loretta Ann Shepherd, coordinator with the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers, pressed for swift action.

"It is a sad way to welcome the Year of the Tiger. The authorities should prosecute those responsible. Let it be a lesson for other poachers," she said this week.

Conservationists last month called for a war on the poachers who are undermining Malaysia's ambitious goal to double its population of wild tigers to 1,000.

With 2010 declared the Year of the Tiger according to the Chinese zodiac, experts fear there will be a surge in tiger poaching.

In the 1950s, there were as many as 3,000 tigers in Malaysia but their numbers fell as the country opened up more land for agriculture.

MSN News

Monday, 8 February 2010

Food or Pets? China may ban pet meat from menus

Al Jazeera English - Asia-Pacific - China may ban pet meat from menus

Prehistoric human bones found in Malaysia: Any idea whether it was a Malay or Proto-Malay youth Prof Nik?

By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 2/7/2010 Prehistoric human bones found in Malaysia: reports

Malaysian researchers believe they have discovered a new set of prehistoric human bones in a cave near the largest man-make lake in Southeast Asia, newspapers reported on Sunday.

The skeletal remains are of a youth who died 8,000 to 11,000 years ago, the Sunday Star quoted Nik Hasan Shuhaimi, deputy director of the Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation of the National University of Malaysia, as saying.

The bones were found in the Bewah Cave near Kenyir Lake in the northeastern state of Terengganu in November. DNA samples have been sent to the United States for radiocarbon dating with results expected in March, it said.

Nik Hassan said pieces of pottery, some bearing apparent rock paintings and believed to date back to the Neolithic Age, were also found in the area.

The oldest human remains in Malaysia were discovered in 1991 in the northern state of Perak. The skeleton of "Perak Man" was believed to be 11,000 years old, the New Sunday Times newspaper said.

Source: MSN News

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Even after 37 Years of Malaysia: West Malaysian Papers Still Reminded to Be Mindful Of Local Sensitivities

February 07, 2010 12:14 PM

National Newspapers Eyeing Sarawak Advised To Be Mindful Of Local Sensitivities

KUCHING, Feb 7 (Bernama) -- National newspapers planning to expand their operations to Sarawak have been reminded to be mindful of the state's social and political sensitivities and not incite racial disharmony by capitalising on racist issues.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said competition should be seen as a positive development for the media industry but outsiders or individuals who raised sensitive issues which could create havoc and racial disharmony would not be welcome in Sarawak.

"Members of the press must assist the government to preserve peace and racial harmony through responsible reporting. We must stand for truth, and rumours must not be a source of our news," he said at the Kuching Division Journalists Association (KDJA) Chinese New Year gathering, here Saturday night.

He said plans by the big peninsula-based dailies to expand to Sarawak was also a wake-up call for local companies to improve the terms and conditions for their employees, besides giving greater room for journalists to grow in their profession or career.

He also said that local journalists should also embrace social networks like Facebook and Twitter or even have their own blogs by utilising the tools available to them through the development in information technology, particularly the Internet.

"Through the social media, a journalist can become his own brand and feel the pulse of the society he works in," Dr Chan said, but advised journalists to be smart about it and not take everything on the Internet at face value.

He said that in disseminating news and information which were critical for creating a well-informed public, it was important for the media to understand the power it had to influence, shape and mould society.

The media had to realise that its reach was becoming even wider now because a local newspaper could be local for its content but its readership could reach beyond its circulation borders due to the Internet, he said.


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