At Least 21 Students And 2 Adults Die In A School Fire In Malaysia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Kuala Lumpur (CNN) At least 21 students have been killed after a fire broke out at a school in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur early Thursday morning.

When emergency responders first arrived on the scene, “almost 90% of the building was already on fire,” a Fire and Rescue department official told reporters. Two adults also died in the blaze.
“The firemen could hear cries for help from inside the building,” spokesman Soiman Jahid said. “The first team from (the) fire station managed to save five of the children from the lower level.”

Fire damage at the school.

Jahid said firefighters found bodies in three different locations, all of them badly burned. A large number of victims found were piled on top of each other, while another was discovered in front of the main door.
“Based on my observation, the building has grills that could not be opened from inside,” he said. “Because of the grills, they could not escape through the windows, except for the five students who escaped through the door and sought help from the firemen.”
Photos from the scene showed fire damage to the top floor of the three-story Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school. Emergency services were still at the scene mid-morning local time.

Norhayati Khalid talked to CNN on her way to hospital to identify the body believed to be her son, 11-year-old Amin Ashraf.
She said she’d last seen Amin on Wednesday afternoon when she’d given him some food and drink and he’d passed her a note to say he loved her and his siblings.

School should not have been in operation

Malaysia’s Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Noh Omar, said there have been 29 similar incidents in the past involving fires at religious schools.
The school’s license was being reviewed by the authorities and it should not have been in operation, Noh told reporters.
Six students and a member of the public were injured in the incident, Malaysia’s official Bernama news agency reported.

Firefighters at the scene of the fire

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed his sympathy for those affected on social media.
“Deeply saddened to hear Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Center burned and that more than 20 lives were lost. May their souls be blessed by Allah SWT. Al Fatihah,” he wrote on Twitter.
Malaysian media earlier reported that 25 people were killed, 23 students and two wardens.

Flight From Australia To Malaysia: Man Tries To Break Into Cockpit, Passengers Upset At Police

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(CNN) Australian police have defended their actions after a passenger tried to force his way into the cockpit on a Malaysia Airlines flight from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur Thursday.

Just after a takeoff, a male passenger on Flight MH128 tried to enter the cockpit while holding what one passenger described as a “huge, unusual, black, metallic, strange thing… size of a watermelon.”
“He was yelling ‘I need to see the pilot, I need to see the pilot,'” passenger and former AFL player Andrew Leoncelli told Australia’s ABC News.
The mid-flight scare ended safely, but passengers later criticized the police response which saw them sit on the tarmac for 90 minutes with what they thought could be a bomb on board, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“We could see them [the police] all outside, but they weren’t coming on the plane and nobody knew why,” passenger Selena Brown told the ABC.

Man ‘recently released from psychiatric care’

During a press briefing Thursday, Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Graham Ashton said police initially treated the incident as terror related.
“Counter-terrorism response and protocols kicked in… for us that meant having the plane isolated, and as soon as practicable, getting the passengers off the plane safely and dealing with the offender,” Ashton said.
Ashton confirmed the passenger approached the flight deck with something many feared could be a bomb.
“He was certainly at the cockpit door, seeking entry to the door, holding this device,” he said. “The device was described as an amplifier type instrument… it can potentially be wired up and dealt with in a dangerous manner.”
After flight staff intercepted the man at the cockpit, he was chased down the aisle by other passengers to the back of the plane, where they used a spare seat belt and cables to tie him up.
“He was essentially trussed up as the flight returned to Melbourne,” Ashton said.
Police later identified the suspect as a 25-year-old Sri Lankan man who had recently been released from psychiatric care. He was not considered a terror threat, they said.
Malaysia Airlines confirmed the flight was forced to turn back to Melbourne due to a “disruptive passenger.”
“An investigation led by Australian authorities is currently underway and Malaysia Airlines wishes to extend its appreciation to everyone involved during the emergency situation,” it said in a statement.

Malaysian Authorities Still Baffled Concerning The Murder Of Half Brother Of North Korea’s Leader

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

DETERMINING whether poison killed the half-brother of North Korea’s leader in a busy airport is proving difficult for Malaysian officials, who said yesterday that autopsy results are so far inconclusive.

More than a week has passed since Kim Jong Nam was approached by two women at a budget air terminal in Kuala Lumpur and apparently attacked in the face with an unknown substance. Kim did not suffer a heart attack and had no puncture wounds, such as those a needle would have left, Director General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah told reporters. He did not dismiss poison as a potential cause.

“We have to confirm with the lab report before we can make any conclusive remark,” he said.

He added that medical specimens had been sent to experts for analysis.

However, Rahmat Awang, director of Malaysia’s National Poison Center in Penang, said he had not yet received any samples despite expecting them to arrive two days ago. He said with such a high-profile case, specimens were likely being sent to his lab and to facilities abroad to seek the cause of death or confirm findings already reached in Kuala Lumpur.

Identifying a specific poison could be challenging, especially if a minute amount was used and it did not penetrate fat cells in the victim’s tissue. If the toxin only entered the bloodstream, it could leave the body very quickly. And even if a substance was found, it would need to match the symptoms Kim Jong Nam experienced before death.

The more unique the poison, the harder it was to find.

“Our lab, for example, traces the usual chemicals,” Awang said. “If the substance involved is not something we often see, the likelihood is that we might not be able to detect it.”

Highly sophisticated facilities, such as in Japan or at the FBI’s crime lab in the United States, are among those that have greater capabilities for discovering unusual toxic substances.

The case has perplexed leading forensic toxicologists who study murder by poison. They say the airport attack is a bizarre case, and question how the two women could walk away unscathed after deploying an agent potent enough to kill Kim Jong Nam before he could even make it to the hospital.

Some type of nerve gas or ricin, a deadly substance found in castor beans, have been suggested as possible toxins used. A strong opioid compound could also have been liquidized, though that would likely have incapacitated the victim immediately. Surveillance footage instead shows Kim walking calmly downstairs to the airport’s clinic.

Kim, the older half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, had spent most of the past 15 years living in China and Southeast Asia. The victim is believed to have had at least three children with two women. No family members have come forward to claim the body.

The attack spiraled into diplomatic fury when Malaysia refused to hand over Kim Jong Nam’s corpse to North Korean diplomats after his death, and proceeded with an autopsy over the ambassador’s objections.

The two nations have made a series of increasingly angry statements since then, with Malaysia insisting it is simply following its legal protocols, and North Korea accusing Malaysia of working in collusion with its enemy South Korea.

Seoul’s spy agency believes North Korea was behind the killing, but has produced no evidence.

Kim Jong Nam was not known to be seeking political power.

Malaysia summons North Korean ambassador, recalls envoy from Pyongyang

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Malaysia summons North Korean ambassador, recalls envoy from Pyongyang

Malaysia’s foreign ministry summoned North Korea’s ambassador on Monday over allegations he had made over the Southeast Asian country’s handling of the investigation into the murder in Kuala Lumpur of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother.

Malaysia also recalled its envoy from Pyongyang “for consultations”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the North Korean ambassador Kang Chol was summoned for “an explanation on the accusations he made against the Government of Malaysia in his press conference on 17 February 2017”.

“In his press conference, the Ambassador…insinuated that…the Malaysian Government had ‘something to conceal’. The Ambassador also alleged that Malaysia was ‘colluding and playing into the gallery of external forces’,” the statement said.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor)

Is Malaysia A Failed State: Economic Data Says No

(This article is courtesy of the Kuala Lumpur Daily News Paper)

NTP’s success brushes off perception of Malaysia as a failed state – PM

NTP's success brushes off perception of Malaysia as a failed state - PM

Datuk Seri Najib and wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at the PWTC Tuesday night. -BERNAMApic

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Transformation Programme (NTP) which is now in its seventh year of implementation has recorded encouraging growth, and thus brushed off negative perception of Malaysia as a failed state, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said the tabling of the NTP report last April showed that the National Key Result Area under the Government Transformation Programme had achieved 99 percent of their key performance indicators (KPIs).

“For the National Key Economic Areas under the Economic Transformation Programme, we had succeeded in achieving 111 percent KPI. Through the Strategic Reform Initiatives, the KPI had surpassed the target of 108 percent,” he said in his National Day 2016 Message here, Tuesday night.

Najib said the Government’s efforts and various agencies had received the recognition from international organisations including the World Economic Forum which placed Malaysia at the 18th position in the Global Competitiveness Report.

He said according to the Financial Market Development of the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Ranking 2015-2016, Malaysia was ranked at ninth position, which is the only emerging market listed in the top 10 countries.

“Malaysia is also recognised in the World bank report in terms of Ease of Doing Business, at 21th position in 2010, and has risen to 18th spot in 2015,” he said.

Najib said Malaysia was also an example of a Muslim country that is progressive and dynamic which was emulated as a role model that upholds the principles of moderation and has achieved top position in the Global Islamic Economy Indicator 2014-2015 from a list of 70 countries.

Besides that, Malaysia is the world’s largest sukuk issuer with almost 55 percent of total global sukuk value of over US$320 billion as of end-2015.

He further said even though Malaysia was facing uncertainty and gloomy global economy, its gross domestic product for the second quarter recorded a four percent growth.

14 Month Old Malaysian Baby Needs $30,000 For Emergency Heart Surgery

(This article is courtesy of the Kuala Lumpur Daily News Paper)

Baby with holes in heart needs RM120,000 for immediate surgery

Baby with holes in heart needs RM120,000 for immediate surgery

Qarl Muhammad Ziqri Abdul Hafiz has been put on standby to undergo a major surgery to close two holes in his heart, until his parents can come up with the money. – BERNAMApic

KUANTAN: “As a mother, I just want my baby to be healthy.”

These are the words of a grieving Norlida Othman, 35, an administrative assistant, over the plight of her 14-month-old son, Qarl Muhammad Ziqri Abdul Hafiz, who was diagnosed with holes in the heart when was 42 days old.

She said when Qarl was born, his lips and nails were bluish in colour, but she and her husband, Abdul Hafiz Mohd Asri, 24, did not suspect anything until they brought Qarl to a clinic for a bad cough.

“The doctor at the clinic told us that it might due to heart problems. Qarl was then referred to Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan where he was warded at the intensive care unit for two weeks before he was transferred to the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur,” she said when met at her house in Indera Mahkota 1 here Monday.

She said her son had undergone a surgery to insert a stent in October last year and a heart catheterisation surgery to fix his blocked artery earlier this month.

Right now, Norlida said her son had been put on standby to undergo a major surgery to close the two holes in his heart.

“The cost of the surgery is expected to reach RM120,000, but we only have RM2,000 in our savings as most of it had been used spent to pay for the first surgery, which cost RM40,000, and the second surgery, RM30,000.

“Now, we are hoping for public donation as the major surgery cannot be postponed any longer,” she said.

Donations can be deposited into Norlida’s Bank Rakyat account number 221131136782 or to her husband’s Maybank account number 156012393383 (Abdul Hafiz Mohd Asri) or by contacting them personally at 013-9181004 or 017-9990065.

3 High Ranking Malaysian Civil Servants Arrested For Abusing Their Power (Stealing)

(This article is courtesy of the Kuala Lumpur Daily News Paper)

MACC finalising investigation papers on 3 senior government officers

MACC finalising investigation papers on 3 senior government officers

The MACC is finalising investigation papers on three high-ranking civil servants who were detained on Aug 15 in connection with corruption, abuse of power and money laundering. -Filepix

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is finalising investigation papers (IPs) on three high-ranking civil servants who were detained on Aug 15 in connection with corruption, abuse of power and money laundering.

MACC Strategic Communications Division director Abdul Samat Kasah said the trio, one with the title ‘Datuk’ and another ‘Datuk Seri’, had been released on police bail while waiting for the IPs to be finalised before being submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for the next course of action.

“All of them were released on police bail. This does not mean the probe is over as the IPs are still being finalised before they are handed over to the AGC for further action.

“The cases are taking some time as it involves seized assets worth millions of ringgit,” he told Bernamahere Monday.

The three men, who are attached to KL City Hall, Public Works Department (JKR) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), were arrested in simultaneous operations in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Kelantan.

The 54-year-old ‘Datuk Seri’ from DBKL was released on Saturday after he was picked up at his office at 3.07pm on Aug 15.

The ‘Datuk’, a 56-year-old attached with Melaka JKR was released on Thursday.

The other suspect, a 47-year-old senior officer of TNB in Kota Bharu, Kelantan was released on Sunday.

They were all released on RM300,000 bail each.

MACC Investigations director Datuk Azam Baki said following the arrests, the commission had frozen bank accounts of the suspects with amounts totalling over RM13 million, including their savings and unit trust shares valued between RM1 million and RM6 million each.

Also seized were several luxurious condominium units including a penthouse and a bungalow, as well as Maserati, BMW and Audi cars.

The operations were conducted in line with newly-appointed MACC chief commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad aim to ‘clean up’ the civil service of corruption, misappropriation and abuse of power.