PONTIAN,. The Home Ministry will call up those involved in the publication and distribution of the comic book titled Inisiatif Jalur dan Jalan Meraih Manfaat Bersama for further investigations, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today.

The home minister said the authorities will conduct an in-depth investigation into the distribution of the comic book to educational institutions in Penang, including schools.

“There is something wrong with the comic, which is why action has been taken against those who publish and distribute it,” said Muhyiddin, after a working visit to the Pontian district police headquarters here.

Present was Johor deputy police chief Datuk Shafie Ismail and state criminal investigation chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Md Yusof Ahmad.

Muhyiddin said he was informed that the Education Ministry (MoE) has requested that the distribution be withdrawn.

He said this in response to an earlier statement by the MoE that said it will work together to obtain a review by the Home Ministry on the security aspects related to public sensitivities and foreign relations.

“We will investigate in detail how this happened. I was once the education minister and I know that no material can be distributed to anyone in the school education system except with the permission of the ministry,” said Muhyiddin.

The Pagoh MP also said all parties involved will be called for further investigations, but added this will not happen immediately.

Earlier today, the MoE in a statement said that it never gave any approval or permission to distribute comic books to all educational institutions including schools.

The ministry said it had received reports on distribution of the comic books to schools across Malaysia.

“The respective State Education Departments and District Education Offices have been ordered to ensure that all schools do not accept and distribute the comic books from any party or supplier,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin left to university authorities the matter of a group of five non-governmental organisation protesting at the gate of University of Malaya earlier today to express their support for the university’s vice-chancellor Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim.

He said it was up to the university’s administration as they have autonomy over such matters.

KUALA LUMPUR,. A 13-year-old student at a tahfiz centre in Keramat sustained burns to his chest, stomach and back after a friend allegedly poured scalding water on him, early Wednesday.

Wangsa Maju district police chief Supt Rajab Ahad Ismail said the victim’s father lodged a report at 4am, the same day.

“The father was informed of the incident by the tahfiz centre while the victim was being sent to Kuala Lumpur Hospital for treatment. The victim is in stable condition but still being monitored by the doctor,” he said when contacted today.

He said a 12-year-old student of the centre was detained at 2pm the same day. The initial investigation revealed that the friends had been involved in a heated argument, two days before the incident.

“The child has been released on police bail and the case is being investigated under Section 324 of the Penal Code. The investigation paper will be submitted to the prosecution for further action,” said Rajab. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 ― PKR has denied last night issuing any statement regarding the status of Bukit Gantang MP Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Abdul Fasal, following a contradictory remark from its Perak chapter.

“The office of the PKR secretary-general confirms that the party and especially its Central Leadership Council has not issued any statement regarding the status of Bukit Gantang MP,” its communications director Fahmi Fadzil said in a brief statement.

This came hours after Perak PKR chief Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak welcomed Syed Abu Hussin, who left Umno more than a year ago, to the party.

Farhash said with Syed Abu Hussin’s purported entry, PKR would have had 51 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.

Following Farhash’s statement, Syed Abu Hussin released his own statement denying such a move, saying he did not even apply to join PKR.

The Bukit Gantang MP insisted he is still independent.

Syed Abu Hussin is among three Umno Perak MPs who have left the party since the defeat of Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election. The other two are Bagan Serai MP Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali and Larut MP Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, both of which have joined with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Sabah chief minister and the former Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak had also applied to PKR, stating that the party represents his viewpoint in promoting multiracial unity.

PUTRAJAYA,. The Orang Asli will be appointed to the 2020-2021 session of the Committee for the Promotion of Inter-Religious Understanding and Harmony among Adherents (JKMPKA), said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, P. Waytha Moorthy yesterday.

Waytha Moorthy, who holds the National Unity and Social Wellbeing portfolio, said one to two places will be allocated for the community.

It is obligatory for the Malaysian government to recognise believers of animism, he said, during a JKMPKA appreciation ceremony held here.

The committee’s 2018-2019 session comprises 32 members, representing the Islamic, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Taoist, Sikh and Baha’i religions, along with academics, youths and representatives from Sabah and Sarawak.

The minister added that his team would make a special request to the Finance Ministry for a budget to be allocated to the committee to enable it to play a more active role in addressing various issues.

On the proposed National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission, Waytha Moorthy said he expects the legislation providing for its establishment, to be ready early next year. ― Bernama

IPOH,. The appointment of the concessionaire undertaking road works in Perak with a budget from the Malaysian Road Record Information System (MARRIS), was done without tender, as is the case with the Public Works Department’s (PWD) appointment of such entities.

Announcing this today, state Communications, Multimedia, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), and Information Committee chairman Hasnul Zulkarnain Abd Munaim said the appointment of the concessionaire, Syarikat Puncak Emas Infra Sdn Bhd, as of August 1 this year, without a tender, was not a new matter.

The PWD’s fee schedule was used as guidance by the state when setting contractual prices which were also based on modification works needed, he said, in a statement issued today, adding that as a check and balance measure, section secretaries at local authorities were appointed as enforcement officers for road works, while other officers at local authorities were appointed to monitor such works.

Hasnul Zulkarnain also said that in reference to works undertaken at project sites, the concessionaire served as a manager which would hire only local contractors and suppliers who were registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) — so far, about 150 contractors had been hired to undertake various road works in accordance with specified work scopes.

The state executive councillor was responding to allegations raised at a press conference yesterday by Bersatu Lumut division member Razif Syed Rabii that the concessionaire appointed by the state in connection with the MARRIS budget, was involved in corruption and that the latter had lodged a report on the matter with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on September 17.

In his statement today, Hasnul Zulkarnain said the appointment of the concessionaire was undertaken by state authorities through a State Executive Council Meeting held on June 19, and it was in accordance with procedures and criteria set by the state government.

He added that the concessionaire was registered with the Finance Ministry and possessed expertise in civil engineering and construction, among others. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR,. Beginning October 23, PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) plans to introduce a SmartLane Test Initiative manually to overcome traffic congestion along the Setia Alam route to the Shah Alam Toll Plaza exit.

PLUS chief operating officer Zakaria Ahmad Zabidi said in a statement issued today that the company also planned to implement Intelligent Transport System (ITS) technology and strengthen SmartLane’s electronic initiative.

“Both initiatives are aimed at optimising the use of all lanes to help ease traffic flow and reduce congestion by 30 to 40 per cent at the Setia Alam to Shah Alam route on the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) in morning peak hours.

“The SmartLane system testing will be conducted from KM3.2 to KM9.2 (Northbound) from 6.30am to 9.30am on Monday to Friday. During the peak period, the existing space on the left would be opened as an additional temporary route to increase lane capacity and help streamline traffic flow,” he said the statement.

The first phase of the SmartLane implementation will operate manually based on the road signs installed along the route and the second phase is expected to operate in the second quarter of 2020 using the full ITS System technology to enable PLUS to run traffic more efficiently.

The statement also stated that PLUS had made various preparations prior to carrying out the initiative by placing police and PLUSRonda personnel at the site, installing traffic signs, providing additional towing trucks at strategic locations and providing emergency stops at KM5.6.

The SmartLane initiative also has the support and cooperation of the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM), the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS). — Bernama

GEORGE TOWN,. The Penang state government is working on the best ways to create long-term income for fishermen affected by the Penang Sea Reclamation (PSR) project.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said he was open-minded in accepting opinions from various parties for the benefit of the people.

“We will look at creating a fund that will be able to provide long-term income to the affected, rather than giving one-off cash. This is because if we give a one-off cash, we worry the money will be spent soon.

“That’s why we want to find a formula, maybe a gradual grant until the project is ready so that it will be able to benefit them in the long run,” he said here today.

He told reporters after attending a dialogue session on the use of public transport organised by the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) here yesterday.

Chow was commenting on PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s statement at Penang PKR Convention which called for the implementation of the PSR to be discontinued until a further study and detailed analysis on the effects on the area and those involved were carried out.

“It is not just compensation that should be considered but a long term project to ensure the livelihood of the fishermen in the area are sustained,” he said.

According to Chow, the state government is trying to set up regular cash contribution until the PSR project is fully completed so that the fishermen will not get into financial trouble.

“Anwar neither support nor object the PSR project but simply asked the state government to take care of the people’s interests so that they would not be adversely affected if the project were to go ahead,” said Chow. — Bernama