Thursday, June 30, 2022

Guan Eng questions Annuar's chairing of inflation task force

Guan Eng questions Annuar's chairing of inflation task force

DAP chairperson Lim Guan Eng today panned Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob for not chairing the special Jihad task force that the government had set up this week to tackle inflation.

In a statement, the Bagan MP questioned Ismail Sabri’s decision to appoint Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa (above) to the post, whom Lim said could not “even get his numbers right”.

“The committee would end up as another empty ‘talk shop’ without any concrete action if the prime minister does not take charge personally to emphasise the government’s serious commitment to addressing the severe financial crisis facing the rakyat and businesses.

“What is the point of setting up another special six-member cabinet committee when headed by Annuar, who cannot even get his numbers right on the cost-benefit analysis of the removal of subsidies for chicken, eggs and cooking oil (except 1kg packs)?

“Annuar had made the false claim last week that the government had decided to increase the subsidies’ value by reviewing the current subsidies even though the government had only passed on to the rakyat RM630 million of the RM960 million in savings from the removal of subsidies for chickens, eggs and cooking oil (except for 1kg packs),” he said.

DAP chairperson Lim Guan Eng

Lim was referring to Annuar’s statement to the media about a week ago, where the minister reportedly denied rumours that Putrajaya was going to remove certain subsidies by the end of next month.

‘Rakyat losing RM330m’

Yesterday, Ismail Sabri announced that the cabinet decided to set up a special task force to gather information from all relevant ministries, agencies and the public to draft and coordinate strategies to resolve inflation-related issues.

The task force will be headed by Annuar and its other members are Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Ronald Kiandee, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Mustapa Mohamed, and Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali.

Lim also lambasted Annuar for saying that the government is increasing its spending for the rakyat instead of withdrawing subsidies.

“In saving RM960 million from subsidy removals but only giving out RM630 million in additional aid in the form of extra cash of RM100 to B40 households and RM50 to bachelors, means the rakyat loses out on RM330 million in previous subsidy benefits.

“Can we expect a minister who does not know what he is talking about or cannot count to help us overcome inflation and rising prices?”

Zaid ridicules committee to wage ‘jihad’ on inflation

Zaid ridicules committee to wage ‘jihad’ on inflation

Zaid Ibrahim asked why the special task force was needed when its head Annuar Musa had touted Malaysia’s inflation rate as being among the lowest in the world.

PETALING JAYA: A former law minister has ridiculed the newly formed special task force to wage “jihad” against inflation, questioning if the committee is really necessary.

Zaid Ibrahim pointed out that most of the members of the task force were ministers and said they should just discuss how to tackle inflation during the weekly Cabinet meeting.

He told FMT the task force was pointless and that setting it up was “all for show”.

“If its chairman, Annuar Musa, says the country has among the lowest inflation rate (in the world), then why do we need a task force?” he asked, adding that there were many other experts who could tackle the issue, even in Bank Negara Malaysia.

“Besides, you don’t need a special task force for inflation. It is a long-term and complex issue that cannot be solved immediately like Covid-19. There are so many factors at play,” he said.

Earlier today, Annuar said Malaysia’s inflation rate remained among the lowest in the world due to the government’s commitment to controlling the prices of goods and necessities

The communications and multimedia minister said while many advanced nations were facing double-digit inflation, Malaysia was able to keep its rate at 2.8% due to government intervention.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government was setting up a committee to wage “jihad” on inflation, with Annuar leading the task force.

The task force met for the first time today and among the issues discussed were the problem of middlemen and cartels.

The other members of the task force are finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, agriculture and food industries minister Ronald Kiandee, domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Alexander Nanta Linggi, economic affairs minister Mustapa Mohamed and chief secretary to the government Zuki Ali.

Lynas claims it is target of social media disinformation campaign

Lynas claims it is target of social media disinformation campaign

The report also revealed evidence of direct and mutual engagement between the pro-China Dragonbridge social media accounts, and that the Malaysian anti-Lynas activists were not driven by actual community or environmental concerns. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Fake accounts may have been behind social media disinformation campaigns in Malaysia, according to Lynas Rare Earths.

In a statement today, the Australian-based rare-earths mining company said it had been subjected to a social media disinformation campaign for some years by accounts associated with the Dragonbridge campaign.

Lynas said this was disclosed in a briefing by Mandiant, an American cybersecurity firm.

The report also revealed evidence of direct and mutual engagement between the pro-China Dragonbridge social media accounts, and that the Malaysian anti-Lynas activists were not driven by actual community or environmental concerns.

“This demonstrates the potential for social media accounts to be manipulated to promote disinformation or to amplify the voices of activists with a self-serving agenda,” the statement said.

Previously, it was reported that a digital campaign known as Dragonbridge had flooded Twitter and Facebook in recent months with posts raising environmental and health concerns over the operations of several major mining firms. — Bernama

Thousands protest in India’s Udaipur after Hindu tailor murdered

al Jazeera:

Thousands protest in India’s Udaipur after Hindu tailor murdered

Holding saffron flags and placards, about 7,000 people call for the death penalty for the two Muslims accused of beheading Kanhaiyalal Teli.

People protest after the killing of a Hindu man in Udaipur, Rajasthan state, India [Reuters]
Published On 30 Jun 202230 Jun 2022

Thousands of people have marched through the Indian city of Udaipur, many holding Hindu saffron flags and placards, following the murder of a Hindu tailor, with many calling for the death penalty for the two Muslim men accused of killing him.

Police had barred public gatherings in the northwestern state of Rajasthan out of fear that it could lead to religious violence. But authorities in Udaipur, a city of nearly half a million people in the southern part of the state, decided to let a short march take place on Thursday.

Senior Rajasthan police official, Dinesh MN, told reporters that about 7,000 people joined the march, and that it passed off peacefully.

Policemen detain activists from right-wing Hindu groups protesting against Teli’s killing in Udaipur [Manish Swarup/AP Photo]

There have been protests elsewhere in India over Tuesday’s shocking killing, and they have also passed without any major incident.

Federal investigators have interrogated the suspected killers, who posted two video clips online, one showing assailants slashing the tailor around the head and neck as he bent to take measurements in his shop.

In the second video, two Muslim men brandished a meat cleaver while claiming responsibility for slaughtering the tailor, Kanhaiyalal Teli, saying he had insulted Prophet Muhammad.

The veracity of the two videos has not been confirmed.

Outrage in India after Hindu man’s murder over prophet comments

The two men also issued a threat against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their video and alluded to Nupur Sharma, a former spokeswoman for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose remarks about the Prophet earlier this month triggered domestic and international outrage.

“It was only because of the case of Nupur Sharma [that] my father was killed. It wasn’t such a big deal,” the victim’s son, Yash Teli, told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.

“Does it make sense that they killed my father over this small issue?” he said, calling for the two accused to be hanged or killed by police.

People participate in Teli’s funeral procession on Wednesday in Udaipur [AP Photo]

Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told reporters in Udaipur that the case was being investigated as a “terrorism-related incident” rather than a communal one.

Standing outside the victim’s house, Gehlot said police would check claims by the family that Teli had received threats from some group.

“We will ensure that the guilty get punished,” Gehlot said as he appealed for calm.

India’s Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had taken over the investigation into “the brutal murder” of Teli.

“The involvement of any organisation and international links will be thoroughly investigated,” Shah said.

Late on Wednesday, a spokesperson from Pakistan’s foreign ministry rejected reports in some Indian media that linked the suspects to a Pakistan-based organisation.

Members of Bajrang Dal, a Hindu far-right group, react after they were detained by police during a protest on Wednesday against the killing in Udaipur [Amit Dave/Reuters]

Muslim groups and politicians in India have condemned the murder.

“One cannot take law in their own hands. It is a horrible thing to do. It’s inhuman,” Asaduddin Owaisi, a member of parliament, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, India’s federal government has asked social media companies to remove any content that encourages or glorifies the killing.

The BJP has called for people to stay calm. Earlier this month, the party suspended Sharma and another official over remarks about the Prophet, though Muslim groups and opposition politicians have called for stronger action.

Modi’s pursuit of a “Hindu first” agenda since coming to power in 2014 has stoked communal tensions in India, a country with a ghastly history of Hindu-Muslim violence. Muslims, who make up 14 percent of the population, say they have been marginalised under Modi.


Independence for Scotland is not an exclusively Scottish issue

al Jazeera:

Independence for Scotland is not an exclusively Scottish issue

The demand for another referendum has sparked a debate about what kind of country the UK truly is.

Jamie Maxwell
Jamie Maxwell is a Scottish political journalist.
Published On 30 Jun 202230 Jun 2022

A saltire flag and Union Jack flutter in the wind on March 9, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland [Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]

On Tuesday afternoon, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon once again brought the issue of Scottish independence – and the two souls of the movement for its realisation – into the debating chamber at Holyrood, Scotland’s semi-autonomous parliament in Edinburgh.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader has for a long time wanted to stage a second referendum on the breakup of the British state.

She has now set a date.

The new plebiscite will take place on October 19, 2023, Sturgeon said, and between now and then her devolved administration – a coalition between the politically dominant SNP and the smaller, more radical Scottish Greens – will set out the substance of Scotland’s sovereignty in a series of detailed prospectus papers.

Yet, as Sturgeon acknowledged in her statement, the UK government under the leadership of Boris Johnson has thus far shown zero willingness to negotiate with Edinburgh on the legitimacy, let alone the timing, of a fresh vote.

As a result, Edinburgh may be forced to go at it alone – which will happen, Sturgeon announced, if the UK Supreme Court decides that Holyrood has the legislative authority to organise a consultative poll, with or without the explicit consent of the British political class in London.

If, however, the Court rules against Holyrood and affirms that ultimate constitutional power in the UK’s jerry-built political system lies with Westminster (as most experts assume it will), then the SNP will turn the next UK general election, scheduled for 2024 or 2025, into a single-issue contest, anchored around one powerfully resonant question: “Should Scotland be an independent country – yes or no?”

The movement Sturgeon leads has always wrestled with a compound identity.

The first part of that identity – embodied by Sturgeon herself – is hyper-cautious and institutional. The institutional segment of the SNP wants the process by which Scotland eventually exits the UK to be clear, uncontested, and internationally agreed. The centrepiece of the party’s pitch to moderate Scottish voters is independent membership of the European Union – an outcome that will only be possible if Scotland’s ties to the UK are dissolved democratically, without descent into a painful, Catalan-style deadlock.

The second part of the independence movement’s psyche is attritional and populist. Sturgeon – a lawyer by training – is less comfortable with this tendency, but the SNP’s base has grown restless since England and Wales opted for Brexit six years ago and independence activists now view British Conservative rule in Scotland as an intolerable imposition on the country’s national politics.

In her statement this week, Sturgeon tried to balance these conflicting impulses.

Her preference is for Johnson to allow another referendum to take place on precisely the same terms as the initial independence vote in September 2014, which resulted in a 55 percent to 45 percent victory for the pro-UK camp.

If this scenario does not materialise, she would like the British Supreme Court to acknowledge Holyrood’s right to legislate for a poll in the absence of London’s approval.

Failing that, Sturgeon will embrace Scottish nationalism’s most disruptive instincts and campaign in two years’ time for a near-unilateral severing of ties between Scotland and Westminster.

None of these options is risk-free for the SNP.

Assuming that the Johnson cabinet continues with its obstructionist strategy and the Supreme Court is unmoved by Scottish legal appeals, the party will be forced to bet its entire political future on a comprehensive sweep of Scotland’s Westminster seats 24 months from now.

And even then, in the event of an overwhelming nationalist win, Westminster may not shift position, leaving Sturgeon with an awkward, if not intractable, dilemma: should she try to extract Scotland from the Union extra-legally, with all the procedural and democratic pitfalls that would entail, or should she simply double-down on her – until now glibly ignored – demands for a mutually agreed settlement?

Sturgeon’s forceful answer to this question is that independence for Scotland is not an exclusively Scottish issue. The challenge she has laid in front of the Supreme Court relates to the nature of British democracy.

Is the United Kingdom a consensual union of equal nations? Or is it, crudely, a mechanism for English control over the Celtic peripheries?

On the basis of Johnson’s shambolic three-year reign as prime minister, democracy is not currently one of the ranking concerns in the Conservative Party’s list of priorities.

This is, after all, the man who sought to prorogue the UK parliament in order to wedge through a Brexit deal that Scotland voted overwhelmingly against.

At the same time, the Tory leader, a politician permanently beset by scandals and allegations of gross misconduct, may not be around all that much longer – and it is possible that the next occupant of Downing Street will be more amenable to Edinburgh’s requests for compromise.

The end of the UK may not be any closer this week than it was last. But by seeking clarity on Scotland’s legal and constitutional standing within the Union, Nicola Sturgeon has sparked a debate about what kind of country the UK is.

In other words, she has not just evoked competing accounts of what it means to be a Scottish nationalist, but what it means to be a British one, too.

Hans Isaac wins Ampang PKR chief post

Hans Isaac wins Ampang PKR chief post

Former Finas Chairman Datuk Hans Isaac

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30, 2022 : The race for Ampang PKR chief went truly down to the wire as Datuk Hans Isaac edged fellow celebrity Syed Ahmad Syed Abdul Rahman, or Altimet, by a meagre two votes in the re-election, unofficial result shows.

According to the PKR election website, Hans managed to garner 748 votes to Altimet’s 746.

However, the official results are only expected to be announced within the next couple of days, with a number of dubious votes yet to be accounted for by the election committee.

Speaking to The Vibes, Hans expressed his gpratitude towards those in Ampang who voted for him, indicating their support for the vision that he and his team have for the constituency.

“Obviously, we also want to work with everybody in Ampang, even the other candidates who did not make the winning list,” the celebrity said.

Hans, who is former National Film Development Corporation chairman, also credited his unofficial victory to his team for heading the campaign.

“But we still have to wait for the official announcement, because there are a few dubious votes that need to be looked at before the official final number is tallied.”

Last Friday, following the conclusion of the PKR election, the party decided to revoke Daing Muhammad Reduan Bachok’s victory in the race for the Ampang division chief after he was found engaging in vote buying during campaigning.

The election committee subsequently set June 29 for re-election, which was held at Dewan Dato’ Ahmad Razali in Kg Baru Ampang.

Daing, who was disqualified from contesting in the re-election, is a controversial figure in PKR after he was charged in 2018 with insulting the modesty of the party’s new deputy president Rafizi Ramli.

However, the Kota Kinabalu sessions court acquitted him last November after the judge ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case.

Daing won the original polling with 942 votes, with Hans and Altimet trailing in second and third places, respectively with 609 and 589 votes.

Cops nab 3 Nigerians over subsidised cooking oil smuggling

Cops nab 3 Nigerians over subsidised cooking oil smuggling

Police have arrested three Nigerian men in Klang for allegedly smuggling subsidised cooking oil to their country by concealing the commodity in kettles and rice cookers meant for export.

North Klang district police chief ACP S Vijaya Rao said the suspects, aged 30s to 40s, were nabbed when police raided a vehicle spare parts shop in Bandar Baru Klang about 2pm three days ago

Police seized 1,100 packets of cooking oil, 225 kettles and 51 units of electrical appliances, all estimated to be worth RM18,910, in the raid, which was made following public complaints, he told a press conference today.

“Their modus operandi was to purchase subsidised cooking oil from locals and hide up to three packets in a kettle or an electric rice cooker for shipment to Nigeria in containers.

“We believe the high price of cooking oil in Nigeria prompted the suspects to smuggle the items. We are conducting further investigations to determine the amount of cooking oil smuggled out,” he added.

Vijaya Rao said the three suspects’ passports had expired three years ago and they have been renting the business premises for the past five years.

The suspects have been remanded for four days until tomorrow, he added.

May 13 bloodletting, Bersih different kettle of fish - Ambiga

May 13 bloodletting, Bersih different kettle of fish - Ambiga

Equating a racial clash which claimed scores of lives with a gathering pressing for free and fair elections is egregious, according to those who disagree with Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.

For Ambiga Sreenevasan, the distinction between the two is obvious or in her own words, “a different kettle of fish altogether”.

“Rioting is a criminal offence. A peaceful assembly is not.

“Malaysians have matured and well appreciate that their rights extend only to assemblies, protests and gatherings that are peaceful,” she told Malaysiakini.

Ambiga was the former chairperson of the electoral reform group Bersih, whose mammoth street rallies rattled the political elites and led to the implementation of several measures such as the use of indelible ink during the voting process.

The initial rallies, however, were marred by sporadic incidents of violence which the organisers claimed resulted from the police’s unwarranted actions.

Last week, Sultan Ibrahim, in denouncing a DAP leader’s call for street protests over price hikes, recalled May 13, 1969, racial clashes and Bersih rallies.

Urging the people to learn from the past, the monarch argued that these “riots” achieved nothing other than chaos and destruction.

Right to peaceful assembly

Meanwhile, Ambiga noted that the right to peaceful assembly is recognised internationally and protected in Malaysia under the Federal Constitution as a fundamental right.

“So important is this right that the United Nations has established the mandate of a special rapporteur on the rights of peaceful assembly. Malaysia has passed the Peaceful Assembly Act in 2012 that recognises this right.

“Malaysia sits on the UN Human Rights Council now for the third time and must understand and value this right or we will lose our moral authority to remain on the Human Rights Council,” she added.

Eventually, Ambiga, who is also the former Malaysian Bar president, said the police realised this and facilitated the subsequent Bersih protests.

However, she criticised the police for thwarting the planned march by lawyers to safeguard the independence of the judiciary following MACC’s investigation into judge Mohd Nazlan Ghazali, who convicted former premier Najib Abdul Razak in the SRC International case.

“Shame on the police because they are well able to facilitate such assemblies effectively and instead chose to encircle the lawyers refusing to allow us to walk. What a disgrace for a country that is a member of the Human Rights Council,” she added.

Between elections, Ambiga said, people are only able to communicate their grievances to the government through the exercise of their freedom of speech and/or assembly.

“A curtailing or unreasonably restricting such a right breaches all human rights norms and merely increases the anger and frustration of the people,” she added.

New Suhakam commissioners

On a separate matter, Ambiga agreed with former Suhakam commissioner Mah Weng Kwai who urged the appointment of new commissioners to be expedited.

“We have had some excellent commissioners in the past who have issued solid rulings and it is hoped that the new commissioners will live up to the standards set by previous commissioners.

“Of course, it is anticipated that the new appointees will have the basic knowledge of human rights as well as the relevant international instruments.

“Ultimately they must have respect for human rights and have the hearts and minds for the job,” she added.

Putin rejects Johnson’s claim a woman wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine

Putin rejects Johnson’s claim a woman wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin brought up Britain's past involvement with the Falkland islands. — Reuters pic

LONDON, June 30 — Russian President Vladimir Putin today rejected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's charge that if he were a woman he would not have invaded Ukraine.

Speaking at a news conference in the early hours today during a visit to Turkmenistan, Putin pointed to former British leader Margaret Thatcher's decision to send troops into the Falklands as a rebuttal of Johnson's theory.

Johnson yesterday dubbed Putin's decision to launch what Moscow calls a "special military operation" against Ukraine a "perfect example of toxic masculinity" and mocked Putin's macho posturing.

Hitting back, Putin told reporters: "I just want to recall the events of recent history, when Margaret Thatcher decided to launch military operations against Argentina for the Falkland Islands. So, a woman took the decision to launch military action.

"Therefore it's not an entirely accurate reference from the British Prime Minister to what is happening today."

The Russian leader went on to criticise Britain's move, 40 years ago, to respond militarily to Argentina's attempt to seize the sparsely populated British-run islands in the South Atlantic.

"Where are the Falkland Islands and where is Britain?" Putin asked. "Thatcher's actions were dictated by nothing less than imperial ambitions and (a desire to) confirm their imperial status."

Moscow repeatedly rails against Western military interventions in the likes of the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq as examples of Western imperialism and hypocrisy.

But during his two-decade rule Putin himself has faced multiple charges of imperialism, wanting to forcefully expand Russia's borders and influence across the former Soviet space, and has himself said he wished he could reverse the collapse of the Soviet Union.Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has destroyed numerous cities, killed thousands of civilians and forced millions from their homes across Ukraine. — Reuters

Fatal maid abuse in Singapore - A World of difference to the Adelina Lisao case in Malaysia

Fatal maid abuse: Singapore apex court rejects woman's appeal against 30-year jail term

(Left) An old picture of Piang Ngaih Don. (Right) Gaiyathiri Murugayan (centre) being led by investigators to her Bishan flat in 2016 for a re-enactment of how Piang died. ― TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, June 30 — Three apex court judges yesterday (June 29) dismissed an appeal lodged by Gaiyathiri Murugayan, who was jailed for 30 years last year for heinously abusing her domestic worker till she died in 2016.

The Court of Appeal hearing yesterday afternoon lasted about an hour, with Gaiyathiri repeating her claims of prison authorities and fellow inmates reportedly abusing her, for instance. She sought a shorter sentence of 12 to 15 years’ jail.

Her victim, 24-year-old Myanmarese Piang Ngaih Don, had lost 40 per cent of her body weight and suffered dozens of scars and external injuries from the months-long abuse.

It led to widespread ire from the public and a High Court judge calling it one of the worst cases of culpable homicide to come before the courts.

Gaiyathiri, 42, appealed against her jail term after pleading guilty to 28 offences.

During sentencing in High Court about a year ago, Justice See Kee Oon said that he would have had “little hesitation” in imposing life imprisonment — as sought by the prosecution — if not for Gaiyathiri’s mental disorders.

She suffered from major depressive disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, which three psychiatrists agreed had substantially contributed to her committing the offences. Her murder charge was reduced to culpable homicide because of that.

After pleading guilty last year, Gaiyathiri's then-lawyer’s failed in a bid for a gag order prohibiting further reporting on the case, in order to protect her children from adverse media publicity.

She has been remanded in prison since July 26 in 2016, when she was arrested on the day of Piang’s death in the family’s three-bedroom flat along Bishan Street 11.

Allegedly bullied

In May, the Court of Appeal rejected her application for medical records in relation to herself and her mother, after she alleged that they had not been given appropriate treatment and care by the prison authorities.

She also asked for records kept by the prison authorities in relation to her complaints about being allegedly abused physically and sexually by fellow inmates.

The three judges — Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash and Steven Chong — said that these records were not relevant in determining whether her plea of guilt was conducted properly or if her sentence was “manifestly excessive”.

Yesterday, Gaiyathiri rehashed many of these same arguments in a semi-incoherent rant. She appeared via a video-link from prison, with her former lawyer Joseph Chen also present.

The judges had to caution her not to raise these complaints because this was not the appropriate platform to do so. She had spoken about “things at prison... getting from bad to worse”, claiming that prison officers spoke about “gang sex bang” and directed vulgarities at her.

In her written submissions, she raised several other points.

These included assertions that her offences were a result of her psychiatric conditions, as shown by the fact that she had improved to the point of refraining from violence, despite allegedly being bullied or ill-treated, in prison.

She also argued that Justice See failed to consider a diagnosis from Dr Jacob Rajesh, a defence psychiatrist, who had found that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder — a more serious condition than the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder that was diagnosed by the prosecution’s psychiatrist.

She also said that she had felt pressured to be sentenced so that her mother, Prema S Naraynasamy, 61, could be promptly sentenced as well.

Prema and Gaiyathiri’s spouse, suspended police staff sergeant Kevin Chelvam, 42, face 49 and five charges respectively in relation to the abuse. Their cases are before the courts.

No reason to reduce sentence

In their judgement yesterday, the same three judges said that Gaiyathiri was not allowed to consider Dr Rajesh’s diagnosis in any case.

They said there was also no evidence that the hearing where she pleaded guilty was substantially hastened, because the defence and prosecution had already agreed in December 2018 that proceedings against her would conclude first before Prema’s case proceeded.

The apex court judges said that the stressors Gaiyathiri relied on, including her children’s ill health due to Piang’s supposed bad hygiene, could not provide any excuse for her behaviour.

They agreed with Justice See that she showed a “patent lack of remorse” by seeking to “blame anything and anyone but herself for her offending behaviour”.

She was not prepared to accept responsibility for her actions for a “considerable period” after Piang died, having covered up her role and limited the medical care that the domestic worker received, the judges noted.

As for her psychiatric condition, the three judges said that the High Court had already considered this when she was sentenced. In any case, she appeared to be “making good progress” with her treatment, they added.

Her sentence was thus not manifestly excessive, the factors she raised were “wholly without merit” and there was no basis for appellate intervention, they found.

When the hearing concluded, Gaiyathiri said that she will continue to write to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, adding: “Because it's my life and my mother's life. I cannot die here.” ― TODAY

Russia steps up attacks in Ukraine after landmark NATO summit


Russia steps up attacks in Ukraine after landmark NATO summit

Rescuers work at a site of a residential building hit by a Russian military strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine June 29, 2022. Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS


  • NATO brands Russia most 'significant and direct threat'
  • Ukraine lauds 'difficult but essential decisions' by NATO
  • Putin: Russia will respond to NATO moves in Finland, Sweden
  • Russian missile attacks intensify across Ukraine

MADRID/KYIV, June 30 (Reuters) - Russia pressed on with its offensive in eastern Ukraine on Thursday after NATO branded Moscow the biggest "direct threat" to Western security and agreed plans to modernise Kyiv's beleaguered armed forces.

Ukrainian authorities said they were trying to evacuate residents from the frontline eastern city of Lysychansk, the focus of Russia's attacks where about 15,000 people remained under relentless shelling.

"Fighting is going on all the time. The Russians are constantly on the offensive. There is no let-up," regional Governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian television.

Russian troops had attacked the Lysychansk oil refinery on Thursday morning, Gaidai later wrote on Telegram.

The ambassador of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic told Russia's RIA news agency the Lysychansk oil refinery was now fully controlled by Russian and pro-Russian forces, and all roads to Lysychansk were also under their control.

Russian forces are trying to encircle Lysychansk as they seek to capture the Donbas region, which comprises Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.

At a summit on Wednesday dominated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the geopolitical upheaval it has caused, NATO invited Sweden and Finland to join and pledged a seven-fold increase from 2023 in combat forces on high alert along its eastern flank.

In reaction, President Vladimir Putin said Russia would respond in kind if NATO set up infrastructure in Finland and Sweden after they join the U.S.-led military alliance. read more

Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying he could not rule out that tensions would emerge in Moscow's relations with Helsinki and Stockholm over their joining NATO.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced more land, sea and air force deployments across Europe from Spain in the west to Romania and Poland bordering Ukraine.

These included a permanent army headquarters with accompanying battalion in Poland - the first full-time U.S. deployment on NATO's eastern fringes. read more

"President Putin's war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe and has created the biggest security crisis in Europe since the Second World War," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference, committing to put 300,000 NATO troops on high readiness from 2023. "NATO has responded with strength and unity." read more

Britain said it would provide another 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion) of military support to Ukraine, including air defence systems, uncrewed aerial vehicles and new electronic warfare equipment. read more


As the 30 national NATO leaders were meeting in Madrid, Russian forces intensified attacks in Ukraine, including missile strikes and shelling on the southern Mykolaiv region close to front lines and the Black Sea.

The mayor of Mykolaiv city said a Russian missile had killed at least five people in a residential building there, while Moscow said its forces had hit what it called a training base for foreign mercenaries in the region.

Attacks on the northeastern city of Kharkiv continued, Ukraine's military said, with shelling from tanks, mortars and missiles.

Video showed police and emergency workers examining the destroyed remains of a factory and damaged residential buildings in Kharkiv on Wednesday.

“Where, why and what they (Russians) targeted is unclear, yet. We are figuring out where they aimed because there are no military units in that area,” Volodymyr Tymoshko, chief of Kharkiv region police told Reuters.

In the southern Kherson region, Ukrainian forces were fighting back with artillery strikes of their own, Oleskiy Arestovych, adviser to the Ukrainian president, said in a video posted online.

A video clip aired on Russia's RIA state news agency showed former U.S. soldier Alexander Drueke, who was captured while fighting for Ukrainian forces. read more

"My combat experience here was that one mission on that one day," said Drueke, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, referring to the day he was captured outside Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. "I didn't fire a shot. I would hope that would play a factor in whatever sentence I do or don't receive."

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy once again told NATO that Ukrainian forces needed more weapons and money, and faster, to erode Russia's huge edge in artillery and missile firepower, and said Moscow's ambitions did not stop at Ukraine.

The Russian invasion that began on Feb. 24 has destroyed cities, killed thousands and sent millions fleeing. Russia says it is pursuing a "special military operation" to rid Ukraine of dangerous nationalists. Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of an unprovoked, imperial-style land grab.

The top U.S. intelligence official Avril Haines said on Wednesday the most likely near term scenario is a grinding conflict in which Moscow makes only incremental gains, but no breakthrough on its goal of taking most of Ukraine.


In a nod to the precipitous deterioration in relations with Russia since the invasion, a NATO communique called Russia the "most significant and direct threat to the allies' security", having previously classified it as a "strategic partner".

NATO issued a new Strategic Concept document, its first since 2010, that said a "strong independent Ukraine is vital for the stability of the Euro-Atlantic area".

To that end, NATO agreed a long-term financial and military aid package to modernise Ukraine's largely Soviet-era military.

"We stand in full solidarity with the government and the people of Ukraine in the heroic defence of their country," the communique said.

Prosecution asks ‘naughty’ Zahid to behave while testifying as court not ‘kedai kopi’

Prosecution asks ‘naughty’ Zahid to behave while testifying as court not ‘kedai kopi’

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 30, 2022. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — The prosecution today asked Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to behave himself in the High Court while testifying during his corruption and money laundering trial, pointing out that the court is not a kedai kopi (coffeeshop).

Throughout his cross-examination yesterday and today, lead prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran had to repeatedly remind Ahmad Zahid to answer her specific questions directly, instead of giving his own explanations that were not directly in reply to her questions.

Raja Rozela and the High Court judge also took the time to explain to Ahmad Zahid about the process of cross-examination of witnesses in a trial, where he is required as a defence witness to answer the prosecution’s questions and that he would be allowed to provide his own explanations to his own lawyers at the re-examination stage.

For example, certain questions asked by the prosecution only required Ahmad Zahid to answer whether he agreed, disagreed or have no comment, as is typical for all other witnesses.

At one point, however, when Ahmad Zahid replied, “Fully agree with that, but...” and was cut off by Raja Rozela who said, “Thank you very much”, Ahmad Zahid immediately shot back with a seemingly sarcastic remark of “Thank you to you too”.

That was when Raja Rozela cautioned him.

“You are being naughty. You must be careful. You are in court, not kedai kopi, not majlis tertinggi, I am reminding you as an officer of court to behave yourself,” she said, referring to the term for coffee shop and supreme council. Ahmad Zahid as the Umno president also sits in Umno supreme council meetings.

Immediately after that, Ahmad Zahid then started answering to the point to Raja Rozela’s questions, such as by stating his disagreement to the prosecution’s questions.

Raja Rozela had to caution Ahmad Zahid, just minutes after she had explained to him again about his role as a witness in court.

“Datuk Seri has to learn to respect the court ya, Datuk Seri, when I ask a question and that question is specific, you please answer the question specifically, unless I ask you to explain. I’m an officer of the court, I and your lawyers are officers of the court. We carry out duties to conduct proceedings for this court,” she had said minutes earlier before her caution.

Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik interjected to say the judge had previously already provided guidance to Ahmad Zahid on how to answer questions in court.

High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah then suggested that Raja Rozela was making this comment as the witness was still refusing to answer specific questions, noting: “When a specific question is put, the witness is obliged to answer either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I think that’s the reason why she’s making that observation.”

Raja Rozela said she could always ask the witness to give explanations or leave it to his lawyers to ask him to provide further explanations during re-examination.

The judge also said that Ahmad Zahid may of course need to provide explanations sometimes, but said he should answer specific questions.

“But sometimes to contextualise the answer, the witness of course needs to elaborate, but when specific questions are asked, the witness must stick to answering specific questions,” the judge said, with the trial then proceeding.

Before the trial began this morning, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh presented a medical certificate and referral letter to the High Court following his client’s seeking of medical treatment yesterday. The trial yesterday only went on in the morning and could not proceed in the afternoon, as Ahmad Zahid was unwell and had to go to Avisena Hospital for medical attention.

“We just got that this morning, if Yang Arif can see, the medical certificate is for two days, yesterday and today. I wish to inform the court that my client still appeared to provide his testimony although he is still on MC. This shows the sincerity in continuing this case. However, we can have some frequent breaks,” he said, with the judge also saying that Ahmad Zahid can request for breaks during today’s proceedings if he feels uncomfortable.

While Hamidi did not specify Ahmad Zahid’s condition in court, he mentioned “neck pain” when requesting for a short break during trial earlier on.

In this trial, Ahmad Zahid — who is also a former home minister and former deputy prime minister — is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.

The trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes this afternoon.


I’ll consider standing if no other choice, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad previously said he would not defend his Langkawi parliamentary seat in GE15 because of his poor health and age.

kt comments: It's OK - we know he often didn't keep his words

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he is willing to consider contesting the next general election (GE15) to defend his Langkawi parliamentary seat.

Mahathir, 96, said Pejuang is eyeing several candidates to contest the seat, but he is open to standing if none was found to be suitable.

“We have candidates, we can’t name them yet,” he was quoted as saying on AstroAwani.

“If there isn’t (any other suitable choice) and if people suggest (I contest in Langkawi), I will consider it,” he said after a meeting with ferry operators at a hotel in Kuah, Langkawi, last night.

In March, Mahathir said he had decided not to defend his Langkawi parliamentary seat in GE15, citing his poor health and age.

Puad offers to sue Dr M over Batu Puteh issue

Puad offers to sue Dr M over Batu Puteh issue

Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi says Dr Mahathir Mohamad should be taught ‘a lesson’ over PH’s failure to file a review of the International Court of Justice’s decision on Batu Puteh. (AFP pic)

PETALING JAYA: Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi has offered to sue Dr Mahathir Mohamad for withdrawing an application to review the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision that Singapore had sovereignty over Batu Puteh.

“We can no longer afford to do nothing. The appeal period is over and, as a lesson, Mahathir must be sued and pay damages,” he said in a Facebook post.

“I am willing to sue Mahathir myself.”

He said damages “to the tune of RM3 billion” was appropriate.

This comes after Mahathir abruptly walked out of an interview with the special task force reviewing the Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge sovereignty case at the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on Tuesday.

According to a report on Astro Awani, Mahathir did this in protest against former attorney-general Apandi Ali remaining as the task force chairman. He said Apandi’s appointment was a conflict of interest as he was the attorney-general in 2017.

Putrajaya had, on Feb 3, 2017, filed an application to review the ICJ’s decision on May 23, 2008 that Singapore had sovereignty over Batu Puteh.

However, in 2018, the Pakatan Harapan government under Mahathir withdrew the application before the case came up for hearing on June 11.

Terengganu PAS open to return of ex-leaders, members

Terengganu PAS open to return of ex-leaders, members

Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah (left) says Khairuddin Aman Razali 
can decide for himself if he wants to return to PAS.

PETALING JAYA: Terengganu PAS said it would welcome any former leaders or members back to its fold, months after an MP quit the party following his sacking from the Syura Council.

Its secretary, Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah, said the party had never closed the door on the return of former members, including Kuala Nerus MP Khairuddin Aman Razali.

“We are ready to accept anyone who wishes to be with the party, including those who left and wish to return. The door is always open,” he told FMT.

Khairuddin quit PAS in March, saying he had no choice but to leave in hopes of compelling party leaders to manage it properly.

The two-term MP had been sacked as the secretary of the Syura Council in February for disciplinary reasons and had earlier been expelled from its central committee in January.

Asked if any party leaders had attempted to persuade the former plantation industries and commodities minister to return, Wan Sukairi said no such efforts had been made, adding that Khairuddin was capable of deciding for himself.

He said Khairuddin’s resignation had no impact on the party as members were taught to obey its top leadership and to respect decisions made by them.

After his resignation in March, Khairuddin said he had not ruled out returning to PAS once he was done reprimanding the party. He said he would still support the party in terms of its direction and policies.

MCA Youth: Hamzah must apologise for flippant remarks on immigration deaths

MCA Youth: Hamzah must apologise for flippant remarks on immigration deaths

MCA Youth’s Heng Zhi Li has chastised Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin for what he called flippant remarks over immigration deaths.

This came after Hamzah said the Immigration Department should not be held responsible for deaths in immigration detention centres before asserting that it should not have been an issue because “sometimes people die even while walking, they don’t even have to be in a depot”.

“His remarks dishonour Malaysia’s recent achievement of getting elected into the United Nations Human Right Council for the 2022-2024 term.

“Taking to heart Prime Minister Ismail Sabri’s pledge to commit to the agenda of advancing global human rights, MCA Youth urges him to pressure Hamzah to issue a public apology for his callous approach to the worrying number of deaths in detention centres,” said Heng in a statement today.

Heng, who is the MCA Youth Civil Society Movement Coordination Bureau chairperson, said that aside from an apology, MCA Youth wanted the Home Ministry to take the health, safety and wellbeing of detainees in the custody of the Immigration Department more seriously.

“The cabinet must also form an independent task force to assess and look into the conditions of detention facilities over rising concerns of potential inhumane treatments behind closed gates,” he added.

Heng cited the Coalition of Sovereign Migrant Workers’ (KBMB) report “Like In Hell: Conditions at Immigration Detention Centres in Sabah, Malaysia”, which claimed that at least 149 Indonesians had perished in the past 18 months as a result of gross mistreatment, malign neglect and violence in our immigration depots.

“The report also alleged that up to 260 detainees, including children, were cramped into windowless cells the size of a badminton court and equipped with just three toilet holes.

“Under the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (1988), no person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Heng said MCA Youth regards the Immigration Department’s fundamental responsibilities as exceeding that of a warden.

“They also take on the roles of custodians and caretakers of those under their charge.

“All detainees must be allocated proper welfare and respect on account of inherent human dignity,” he said.

Sack Hamzah

Hamzah’s remarks had also drawn brickbats from DAP’s Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh and Johor PKR Youth legal bureau chief Lau Yi Leong.

Lau even called for the sacking of Hamzah Zainuddin and said that the government had shown no intention to investigate the rising cases of deaths in immigration custody.

“If the government still maintains any belief in human rights, I call upon Ismail Sabri to immediately remove Hamzah as home minister.

“Form a Royal Commission of Inquiry and investigate conditions of the immigration detention centres, the wide-spread corrupt practice within the immigration department and the rising number of deaths in the immigration detention centres,” said Lau, adding that the move must be made with a view towards implementing urgent reforms to the immigration detention centres.

Loke flays ‘unprincipled’ Shafie over willingness to work with GE15 winners

Loke flays ‘unprincipled’ Shafie over willingness to work with GE15 winners

DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook says Shafie Apdal’s statement on working with whoever wins GE15 does not make sense.

PETALING JAYA: DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook has criticised Shafie Apdal for being “unprincipled” after Shafie said Warisan would work with any political coalition that wins the 15th general election (GE15) to ensure political stability.

kt comments: unprincipled?? ... which was why an evil old man nominated him as the PM-candidate over Anwar 

In an online programme, Loke expressed disappointment over the Warisan president’s statement, describing it as “nonsensical”.

“When a coalition wins (a general election), why would it want to work with other parties? Unless they lose, then they would want to cooperate (with other parties).

“That is something that I feel does not make sense at all,” the Seremban MP said.

Loke acknowledged the possibility that no single coalition could form a government on its own after GE15, adding that this called for some sort of cooperation with other parties and coalitions after the polls.

However, he maintained that the opposition parties needed to focus on strengthening themselves at this time.

“One of the major conditions in (forming any cooperation) is that we (political parties) need to have a lot of seats, then we have the chips to bargain.

“If we lose (heavily), we would not be able to offer anything, and the party that won big would not negotiate with you. If we just intend to back whichever coalition that wins (GE15), I feel that that is unprincipled.”

On Sunday, Shafie reportedly said his party was willing to work with any political coalition that wins GE15 to ensure political stability and safeguard the interests of the people.

The former Sabah chief minister said this was because the winning coalition was chosen by the people and that by cooperating with them, Warisan was showing that it respected Malaysians’ choice.

However, he stressed that it should be a smart and fair collaboration that put the interests of the people above all else.

Name the 130 division chiefs who wanted Zahid out, Tajuddin told

Name the 130 division chiefs who wanted Zahid out, Tajuddin told

Wangsa Maju Umno division chief Shafei Abdullah said he and a few others felt that the party president should complete his term. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former Umno Supreme Council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman should name the 130 Umno division heads who he claimed wanted to pressure party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to vacate his post in 2020, says an Umno leader.

Speaking to FMT, Wangsa Maju Umno chief Shafei Abdullah disagreed with Tajuddin’s claim that there were 130 division heads across the country who agreed with a proposal to urge Zahid to step down as president. Umno has 191 divisions.

However, Shafei admitted that there were initial attempts to get the division heads’ views on the proposal, which he said failed to materialise as it did not get majority support.

“Why does he want to bring up old stories? Does he want everyone to go to war? If he claims 130 (division heads) supported the move, then why didn’t it go through? He shouldn’t just make such claims, he has to provide the names.

“It was not a movement but an attempt to try and get the views of (the division chiefs). I was called in too, but at first, I did not know why. When I was asked about it, I disagreed with the move along with a few other division heads.

“We asked ourselves, why are we doing this? The president was elected, let him finish his term,” he said.

He said that if the majority had agreed with the proposal, it would have been brought up at the Umno general assembly.

Paya Besar Umno chief Ahmad Tajuddin Sulaiman claimed that Tajuddin, the outspoken Pasir Salak MP, was behind the movement to get rid of Zahid.

“Everyone (division heads) knows him and his plans. That (revelation on Monday) was just his personal view, especially after he was dropped from the Supreme Council.

“Any movement outside the party’s constitution is a private effort and cannot be said to represent Umno,” he said.

At a press conference on Monday, Tajuddin said Zahid had been running the party like a one-man show, with decisions by the Supreme Council heavily influenced by the president, and council meetings held just “for show”.

He said this led to a movement within the party to submit a memorandum to Zahid for him to step down as president “in the interest of Umno” involving 130 division chiefs.

He alleged that the movement was led by Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan.

He also named former prime minister Najib Razak, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki and Umno vice-president Khaled Nordin as others involved in the movement. He claimed they had a meeting at his home to discuss the matter.

However, he said the push for Zahid’s resignation failed as Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, backtracked on his intention to hand over the memorandum to the Umno president.

Unlikely out-of-favour Tajuddin can keep Pasir Salak without Umno’s backing, say analysts

Unlikely out-of-favour Tajuddin can keep Pasir Salak without Umno’s backing, say analysts

Political experts said Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Rahman’s success in the Perak federal constituency was based heavily on his role as an Umno leader, and which he has a low probability of repeating either as an independent or a PAS candidate. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Political experts have dismissed Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman’s claim he could defend his Pasir Salak seat even if he were not selected by Umno, saying even his three-term record there meant little without the endorsement of the Malay nationalist party.

According to them, Tajuddin’s success in the Perak federal constituency was based heavily on his role as an Umno leader, and which he has a low probability of repeating either as an independent or a PAS candidate.

Senior fellow at the Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR) Azmi Hassan pointed out that Pasir Salak has been an Umno seat ever since its creation in 1984, decades before Tajuddin first won in 2008.

“Umno played a critical role in helping all the previous candidates, including incumbent Tajuddin, to win the Pasir Salak seat.

“If Tajuddin wants to defend the seat by contesting Independently then he will be in a lot of trouble. Because using his popularity alone as a three-term parliamentarian will not be able to help get enough votes,” he told Malay Mail.

While Tajuddin has said he could take up the offer from PAS' leadership for him to contest on its ticket, Azmi said the Umno man was unlikely to gain the backing of local Islamists.

They were unlikely to see beyond Tajuddin’s image as an Umno firebrand in order to vote for him, he predicted.

“So, I think all is lost for Tajuddin,” he added.

Having criticised Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for dropping him from the party’s supreme council in a recent press conference, Tajuddin claimed he could defend his federal seat without the party’s support.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan subsequently said Tajuddin was welcome to further his political career with the Islamist party.

According to analyst Prof Ahmad Atory Hussain, Tajuddin’s claim was unconvincing as Umno supporters typically voted for the party over the candidate.

Matters were worse for Tajuddin as the Umno division under him in Pasir Salak became fractured after the 2018 general election.

“Since then, party members have been splitting off into groups and cliques, some have grouped into other leaders in the Umno division.

“In other words, Tajuddin does not have solid support among members in his own division. A lot of division leaders have been axed or left the party joining either PAS, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) or Amanah,” he explained.

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman political analyst Teh Boon Teck said Tajuddin could have a chance in the seat if he could convince all of PAS' supporters to back him in the next general election.

Depending on political developments from now until the 15th general election, he also said Umno’s own popularity could drop in that time.

Teh conceded, however, that Tajuddin would still need to split the Umno vote in order to keep this hope alive.

“But his remarks from the recent press conference have offended many (Umno) leaders,” he said.

While Tajuddin as an Independent would not have a very good chance of winning, University Sultan Azlan Shah (USAS) vice chancellor Prof Tan Sri Nordin Kardi said he could still make life difficult for any hypothetical opponent of Umno.

Depending on how each candidate positioned himself on economic issues, he said the person might be able to secure the backing of non-resident voters as well as the young and undecided.

“These groups of voters have no affection for Tajuddin. Campaigning content and strategy will determine who will win the seat. The constituency is not very much developed.

“Its main economy produce is rice and oil palm. Candidates should understand the lifestyle and the voter’s way of thinking. What can be offered to them? Outside voters will want to know what are the opportunities given to their villages,” he said.

Ultimately, however, Azmi said it was unlikely that the rift between Umno and Tajuddin will grow bigger.

He predicted that tempers would subside once Tajuddin departs for Indonesia where he will be Malaysia’s ambassador, allowing the argument to die a natural death.

On Monday, Tajuddin claimed of a plot in 2020 to remove Ahmad Zahid as the president of Umno; he made the allegation in retaliation to Ahmad Zahid’s decision to expel him from the Umno supreme council.

Tajuddin also said that he, Ahmad Zahid and 13 other Umno MPs had signed sworn declarations affirming support for PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to become prime minister.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The CIA and NATO’s ‘Stealth Network’ in Ukraine: American Boots on the Ground Coordinating a Proxy War Against Russia

Military Watch:

The CIA and NATO’s ‘Stealth Network’ in Ukraine: American Boots on the Ground Coordinating a Proxy War Against Russia


American Special Forces

Since the outbreak of war between Russian and Ukraine on February 24 the provision of tens of billions of dollars worth of material support to Kiev by NATO member states has been well documented, and has played an important role in slowing although not halting Russian advances. What has been less well publicised, however, has been the the role of American and other NATO boots on the ground supporting the Ukrainian government’s war effort, including not only volunteers and various military contractors but also personnel from intelligence agencies and from the United States Military itself.

A rare insight into these operations was provided by the New York Times, which referred to the U.S. as setting up within Ukraine’s borders “a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training... C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in the capital, Kiev, directing much of the massive amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces.”

Ukrainian Serviceman with American Javelin Anti-Tank Missile

While CIA and Pentagon personnel have reportedly not been deployed for combat roles, they have advised frontline units from headquarters in other parts of Ukraine.

The “signs of their stealthy logistics, training and intelligence support are tangible on the battlefield,” the Times observed. “Commandos from other NATO countries, including Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania, also have been working inside Ukraine... training and advising Ukrainian troops and providing an on-the-ground conduit for weapons and other aid,” it added, emphasising the sheer “scale of the secretive effort to assist Ukraine that is underway.”

Provision of personnel and material support was supplemented by access to tremendous quantities of intelligence, with Ukraine officers provided with tablet computers running battlefield mapping applications to target and attack Russian units and providing access to satellite imagery from the U.S. Military’s array of surveillance assets.

Ukrainian Forces on Parade

The extent of Western material support was perhaps best symbolised by Ukrainian special forces operating in the contested Donbas regions, which the Times highlighted had

American flag patches on their equipment and carried new Western-supplied portable surface to air missiles and both Belgian and American assault rifles.

Efforts on the ground in Ukraine were supplemented by considerable support provided to Ukrainian personnel in NATO member states themselves, an example being training for Ukrainian commandos in Germany provided by the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group. At Ramstein Air Base in Germany, U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard personnel simultaneously trained the Ukrainian Air Force. 

The extent of the involvement by NATO member states has left little doubt that war is being waged against Russia by proxy, mirroring the prior proxy war waged against Moscow and its allies in Syria in the 2010s which similarly saw Western special forces embedded in units armed, trained and given intelligence by NATO member states. 

While Ukraine was formerly part of the Soviet Union, and until 2014 was aligned more closely with Russia than the Western Bloc, the overthrow of the Ukrainian government in 2014 with Western support and installation of a pro-Western government in Kiev paved the way for efforts to turn and empower the smaller Soviet successor state against the larger one.

The result has been a war fought entirely on the territory of the former USSR, and largely with Soviet weapons on both sides, which has provided an effective means for NATO members to erode Russian power at a relatively low cost to the alliance.