THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
AUG 13 – The influenza A (H1N1) mortality rate in Malaysia is close to 2 per cent instead of the 0.1 to 0.4 per cent estimated by the Health Ministry. It reflects an unusual phenomenon.
Without finding out the crux of the problem, assuming that 5 million of people are infected, probably 100,000 of them will die, instead of 5,000 to 28,000 estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
If we compare to other countries, we can see the inadequacy of prevention and control in Malaysia.
Vietnam reported 1,211 confirmed cases with one death and the mortality rate of 0.08 per cent. Hong Kong reported 5,991 confirmed cases with four deaths and the mortality rate of 0.067 per cent. Australia reported 27,663 confirmed cases with 95 deaths and the mortality rate of 0.34 per cent.
Even Singapore, which reported deaths earlier than Malaysia, has recorded only nine deaths.
The Health Ministry believed that the domestic confirmed cases are far less than the announced figure, and said it should be multiply by 20 to get the correct data.
But if we compare it to other countries calculated based on the announced confirmed cases, their rates are still lower than ours.
Why has our death toll shot up to 44 people within three weeks after the first death case reported on July22 ?
And why are we having over 200 new cases each day, causing the epidemic to fall out of control?
Such a high mortality rate might be caused by a variation of the virus, weak immune system of Malaysians, poor public health system and ability to deal with an emergency.
The former two causes have very low probability. If there is a variation or a new virus, the Health Ministry would have recognised it through the autopsy reports. And no matter how weak is the Malaysians immune system, it would not have killed six to eight people every day.
The key should be the public health system and the mobility of medical personnel.
Hong Kong, Japan and Australia no longer take the quarantine measures, but they are still having a low mortality rate because of their sound public health systems in which their medical personnel treat the high-risk patients first.
Many people complaint that government hospitals have been reacting too slow to the influenza, including spending a lot of time waiting for tests and long testing time. Many patients might have missed the golden time for treatment during the waiting period and died.
In addition, during the early stage, the government treated the epidemic with neglect, low efficiency and it did not see it as a serious infectious disease.
If the government has held a large-scale awareness and hygiene campaign, including stopping assemblies, the epidemic would not have lost control.
The people lost the sense of crisis because the government did not propagate it through the media at that time as they took into account the impact of it on the national economy, especially on tourism.
Such a serious epidemic has tested Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s governing philosophy of “people first, performance now”.
The government must take urgent measures and emergency means, including having early school holiday and a general mobilisation of medical resources, to prevent the spread of the influenza. Any hesitation will further push up the death toll. – mysinchew.com
By Wong Choon Mei
The family of DAP politicaL aide Teoh Beng Hock has asked to meet Prime Minister Najib Razak to express their unhappiness over his “neither here nor there” proposals to investigate their son’s suspicious death after a marathon interrogation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
“We hope the Prime Minister will not wait until the findings of the probes are completed before seeing us,” sister Lee Lan said on behalf of their parents on Thursday.
“If he is unable to visit us before that, then we are willing to see him personally in Putrajaya and ask him to change his decision and form a single commission instead.”
Najib had a day ago announced the formation of a much-awaited Royal Commission of Inquiry. He also said he would personally inform the family of the outcome of investigations.
But instead of tasking the high-level panel to investigate what caused Beng Hock’s controversial death, the PM said the RCI would only focus on the MACC’s standard operational procedures for interrogation.
An inquest would be separately conducted by a magistrate to investigate the cause of his death.
The PM’s announcements caught the nation by surprise and has drawn sharp rebuke from both opposition politicians and civil society leaders.
Even Beng Hock’s family harbors doubts. They expressed their disappointment and questioned the government’s sincerity to get to the bottom of their son’s death without bias or trying to cover up for the MACC.
“We were elated when we first got the news but then later felt disappointed when it became clear that the Royal Commission would only investigate MACC’s procedures while the inquest would be carried out to probe my brother’s death,” Lee Lan told a press conference.
“This is not what the family wanted as we had made our request known to several ministers including Najib’s political secretary when they visited us last week.”
The family had thanked Najib when initially informed of the move on Wednesday although they did not yet have the full details.
Sadly, he has not fulfilled their trust in him and the family now wants his assurance that Beng Hock will get the justice he is entitled to.
“We understand how they feel and will stand by their decision to reject the government’s proposal,” said PKR strategic affairs director Tian Chua.
“We hope the Prime Minister will heed their call and broaden the terms of reference for the RCI. Najib should not try to escape his responsibility. That would be totally unacceptable.”
Consultation with civil society vital for independent probe
The 30-year old Teoh was found dead on the 5th floor podium of an adjoining building to the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam, Selangor at 1.30pm on July 16.
He was called in on July 15 for questioning as witness in a probe over alleged misuse of state funds by his boss, Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong.
But there is huge politicking behind the scenes and it is an open secret that Selangor Umno – which Najib heads – has been trying hard to destabilise the Pakatan Rakyat state government through all ways and means.
Weeks before Beng Hock died, the MACC piled pressure on seven Chinese Pakatan assemblymen including Ean by raiding their service centres and questioning their aides and associates.
Kajang municipal councillor Tan Boon Hwa, who had supplied RM2,400 worth of flags to Ean, was also interrogated at around the same time as Beng Hock.
Tan has since blown the whistle on the MACC’s interrogating methods which he said included torture to force false confessions from witnesses. He has filed a lawsuit against the agency for illegal detention and for trying to extract a false statement from him to implicate Ean in corrupt activities.
His revelations sparked a huge uproar, forcing Najib to conduct a more thorough probe. The authorities had initially said Teoh had apparently “jumped” while the police were quick to deny foul play.
However, latest clues including the discovery of Beng Hock’s missing handphone have bolstered postulations that foul play was indeed involved in his death. The seat of his pants and his shoes were also badly torn when his body was found.
Civil society leaders have also urged Najib to consult the public before broadening and setting the terms of reference for the RCI.
This was to ensure that the Inquiry would be independent and that vested interests with the MACC and the government itself would not be able to mislead the direction and scope of investigation so as to deflect attention from areas they wished to keep under wraps.
“I hope the government will take into account the deep and wide concerns of the people. There is still time to review and expand the terms of reference before members of the commission are appointed. Let this opportunity be seized,” said Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of the MACC panel for prevention of corruption and consultation.
“In drawing up the terms of reference for any public commission, it is always better to consult people from outside and who are concerned with the future of the country because sometimes if done in-house, there can be unhealthy inbreeding.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
Flanked by Pakatan Rakyat leaders, Soh Cher Wei addresses the crowd. – Picture by Choo Choy May
By Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 – Teoh Beng Hock’s fiancee Soh Cher Wei, two months pregnant, stepped on the stage at the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night, looking pale but bright eyed.
The crowd packed into the hall leapt to their feet and gave her a standing ovation.
Surrounded by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders on both sides, the 28-year-old looked straight out at the crowd and spoke, in Mandarin, steadily and clearly: “I can do nothing more for Teoh Beng Hock but I’ll take care of his child. Thank you.”
Soh stepped off the stage, head held high, followed by the crowd’s thunderous applause in support of the steadfast school teacher.
By the stage, roses and chrysanthemums were beginning to droop in the heat. Their delicate petals – white and yellow – bruised easily, releasing a sweet, heavy, heady perfume that also smelled a little sickly with the thousands that thronged the hall here last night in memory of Teoh, the DAP political aide who was found dead last week outside the national anti-graft body’s office.
Many who came did not seem to know Teoh personally. When asked, they shook their heads, no.
Why did they come? They came to show they were angry, said those who wore something black – shirts, tee-shirts, blouses, pants, a headscarf.
Because they were sad, said those who dressed in other colours. They came because there were so many questions unanswered.
How could a 30-year-old man who was going to get married die suddenly? Why was he held for so many hours for questioning? Why is the “go’men” always doing this?
Before Teoh’s fiancee took the stage, the master of ceremonies also read out a personal letter she had first dedicated to her dead husband-to-be at his funeral, promising to marry him even if they were now living in separate worlds.
The crowd had earlier listened to the impassioned speeches of the politicians blaming the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
Many stood up and pumped their fists in agreement, especially when veteran politician Lim Kit Siang called on them to stand up and let the media photographers snap their pictures protesting the Cabinet’s move to hold separately investigations into Teoh’s death and into the way the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) interrogated him.
Lim had earlier mocked the Cabinet decision on Wednesday to let a magistrate’s court carry out an inquest instead of getting the royal commission of inquiry, which they had also agreed to set up soon, to handle everything, from Teoh’s death to possible procedural abuses by the MACC.
He noted that if the people had no confidence in high court judges and federal judges, what more magistrates under pressure from the BN government?
“They are asking for the moon!” he cried, referring to the Cabinet members.
“We must dare to be sad and dare to be angry,” the DAP parliamentary leader said.
“But we must translate our sorrow and anger into People’s Power,” he added.
“Then at the next elections, these people who refuse to listen to the voice of the people to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the death of Teoh Beng Hock will descend into the dustbin of history!” he concluded.
As one, the crowd roared their approval.
THIS CENTURY’S longest solar eclipse plunged large regions of Asia into darkness at dawn yesterday, and millions watched the breathtaking spectacle, which will not recur for 123 years.
Lasting six minutes and 39 seconds in some Asian countries, it was visible for over four minutes over India before moving on to Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Bhutan and crowded Chinese cites along the Yangtze River, after which it headed out to the Pacific.
“I don’t want to wait hundreds of years to see this again,” said an animated Song Chun Yun, sporting special protective glasses and a new white dress for the occasion in coastal Shanghai, where clouds initially shrouded the eclipse.
Across superstitious India, however, where eclipses are linked with Hindu fables, one of which associate the phenomenon with the demon-dragon swallowing the sun, tens of millions shuttered themselves indoors and abstained from sleeping, eating and drinking – all such activity being considered inauspicious during the eclipse period.
Many Hindus believe the sun’s rays during an eclipse adversely affect newborns, and expectant mothers asked doctors to either advance or postpone births to avoid complications and wretched subsequent karma for their children.
Tens of thousands of Hindus also immersed themselves in the holy Ganges river at Varanasi in northern India, believing it would cleanse their sins and help their souls attain salvation by releasing them from the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth.
“We have come here because our elders told us this is the best time to improve our afterlife,” said Bhailal Sharma, a villager who travelled to Varanasi from central India.
Throughout the day, Indian television channels relaying the eclipse featured a host of astrologers informing viewers of how it would impinge on their respective birth signs.
A 10-member team of astrophysicists filmed the eclipse from a specially equipped Indian Air Force transport aircraft, while a commercial airline operated a charter flight with seats at 80,000 rupees (€1,159).
In neighbouring Hindu-majority Nepal, the government declared a public holiday, and thousands took the opportunity to head off to bathe in rivers and ponds.
“Taking a dip in holy rivers before and after the eclipse saves and protects us from disasters and calamities,” said Sundar Shrestha (86) – who had come to bathe in the holy Bagmati river with six children and grandchildren – with heartfelt conviction.
Eclipse-viewers in central China were luckier than those in the coastal cities near Shanghai, where overcast skies and rain in some places blocked the view of the sun entirely.
Crowds gathered along the high dykes of the industrial city of Wuhan exultantly waving the sun goodbye as the moon moved directly between it and the Earth, covering it completely.
In ancient Chinese culture, an eclipse was an omen linked to natural disasters or deaths in the imperial family.
– IRISH TIMES-
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
Anwar addressing the crowd in Sungai Besar last night. — Pictures by Choo Choy MayBy Adib Zalkapli
SABAK BERNAM, July 22 — In an attempt to stop certain quarters from turning the death of Teoh Beng Hock into a racial issue, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim likened it to his black eye incident.
The former deputy prime minister was arrested soon after he was sacked in 1998 and was assaulted while in police custody by the then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor, resulting in a black eye.
“I was beaten up to a pulp, but thank God I was rescued, but some people died in custody,” said Anwar to some 3,000 people at a public rally in Sungai Besar, near here.
The rally, held near the Selangor-Perak border, appeared to be an attempt by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to mobilise the Malays to support the coalition in pressuring the government to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Teoh’s death.
Anwar told the largely Malay crowd that it was hard for him to accept the outcome of police investigations.
“Our ministers said do not politicise the issue, let the investigations be completed, but who is going to investigate? Musa Hassan?” said Anwar.
“Last time they said, ‘Anwar was safe and sound’,” he added, referring to Rahim’s remark soon after his arrest 11 years ago.
Pakatan has been accused of undermining Malay institutions by Umno-controlled newspapers because of their criticism of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over Teoh’s death.
THE MIGHT OF THE PEN
It will be the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting at most 6 minutes, 39 seconds. It has sparked tourist interest in eastern China and India.
The eclipse is part of series 136 in the Saros cycle, like the record setting Solar eclipse of July 11, 1991. The exceptional duration is a result of the moon being near perigee, with the diameter of the moon 8% larger than the sun (magnitude 1.080).
This is second in the series of three eclipses in a month. There was a lunar eclipse on July 7 and now a solar eclipse on July 22 and then a lunar eclipse on August 6.
TO READ MORE GO TO :
My CSI findings I (drrafick)
1. The following writing is done based on assessment of various images and writings on the mainstream media (MSM) as well as the online media. I am trying to understand the tragedy that took place at Plaza Masalam. It would be great if I have access to MACC office and location where the body was found but without such access, readers can expect some gross margin of error in my writing. Do let me know what the errors are so that we can come to a clear conclusion on what transpired.
2. It was reported that Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) was supposedly to register his marriage on the 16th July 2009 at the registrar of marriage. He was already married (via traditional marriage ceremony) and his wife is pregnant. Is there a problem at home that is so gravely torturing that would force TBH to take his own life? My reading so far showed that there is no grave problem at the home front.
CONTINUE READING :
My CSI findings II (drrafick)
1. After the release of the first part of my investigative findings on TBH death which is based on the information in public the domain, it appears that what I have been postulating so far seems to fall into place. With the trickling information from Selangor Police Chief and other readers, I believe we (me and my blog readers) would probably solve the first part of the mystery ahead of the police revelation.
2. I believe we are the first to postulate that TBH actually fell from height (possibly the MACC office) and first to highlight the relevancy of the torn pants on the motionless body and the possibility that the pants was caught in the window latch that leads it to a big tear.
CONTINUE READING :
My CSI Findings Part III (drrafick)
1. After the first two write ups and further reading and observation of the various statements by several individuals in the media, I believe the police findings may not vary very much with what I have wrote. The IGP press statement after meeting Najib at KLIA indicated that the investigation is almost complete and they are expected to submit their report to the AG Chambers very soon.
2. The conclusion of the last 2 days of internet research and photographic evaluation has led us to the following conclusion.
CONTINUE READING :
It was an emotional moment for ordinary citizens and the families of the Mumbai martyrs when Ajmal Kasab confessed to his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Vijay Salaskar, Hemant Karkare and Ashok Kamte – three officers, all seated in the same car, drove down to confront the terrorists and were killed in a shower of bullets. The tragedy defines the losses of 26/11.
Kasab also shot at Abdul Qureshi at CST, and a bullet is still lodged in his shoulder.
”Kasab should be hanged. He did not differentiate between Hindus or Muslim, woman or children, just kept firing. He is not a Muslim,” said Abdul.
Karuna Waghela’s husband had offered Kasab water, and in return, Kasab killed him. She thinks the confession comes too late.
“Kasab’s confession is fine. But all this has come too late. My young children still ask about their father. I have nothing to say to them,” said Karuna.
During the trial that has completed 65 hearings, key witnesses have corroborated Kasab’s crimes – the doctors who treated him at Nair Hospital, the railway commentator who dodged his gunfire, and kept warning people to safety, the 10-year-old witness, who took Kasab’s bullet, and is on crutches, the photojournalists who captured his killing spree, and the constable who took him on with a gun that refused to work.
The terror attack in Mumbai was something all residents watched in shock and pain. And today as Ajmal Kasab has finally confessed his crime, this is what people have to say:
“The family members have already lost their loved ones. So what kind of justice is this?,” said a Mumbai resident.
“Still there are camps running in Kashmir and there are still blasts. So it will happen again,” said another.
In just a little while from now, the longest solar eclipse expected to occur in the 21st century will be visible in a stretch of Asia, beginning in India and crossing through Nepal, Bangladesh, China and part of the Pacific Ocean.
It is a rare celestial event. The solar eclipse that will take place will be a total eclipse of the Sun.
The eclipse will last six minutes and 39 seconds in some areas. The enthusiasts from around the world have descended on the region to view the event by land, sea and air.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth so that the Sun is fully or partially covered. This can only happen during a new moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction as seen from the Earth.
While large parts of central and eastern India will see a total eclipse, other parts of the country will experience a partial eclipse. The big worry, however, is that the monsoon clouds could play spoilsport.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
The MACC said it released him at 3.45am on the day he was to get married. His body was found sprawled on the rooftop of the block beside the MACC’s headquarters in Shah Alam at 1.30pm later that same day.By Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — With the public baying for blood over the mysterious death of political secretary Teoh Beng Hock, talk has been rife that the national anti-graft body’s top advisers might quit or demand changes to interrogation procedures.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, who heads one of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) five advisory panels, confirmed today that several of his fellow advisers have indicated they may quit their appointed posts to protest the methods in which witnesses are questioned for information.
While he said none have openly declared they would step down for certain, the chief of the Panel on Consultation and Prevention of Corruption seemed to feel the rising heat and pressure from the public.
“Speaking for myself, I want to carry on,” Navaratnam told The Malaysian Insider when asked if he would step down in protest.
“No point in resigning. That’s the easy way out. We’ve got a public trust to fulfil,” the former civil servant explained, stressing that the challenge was in taking accountability for something he had committed himself to.
Navaratnam said he fully backs the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the MACC, which is suspected to have had a hand in the death of Teoh.
The 30-year-old had been questioned for over eight hours straight by an MACC officer on a case of alleged fraud over state funds involving his boss, Selangor exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah.
The MACC said it released him at 3.45am on the day he was to get married. His body was found sprawled on the rooftop of the block beside the MACC’s headquarters in Shah Alam at 1.30pm later that same day.
Navaratnam pointed out he was the first among the 42 people who were appointed early this year to oversee the fledgling MACC to publicly condemn the manner in which the officers carried out their job.
Six months ago when it was launched, the MACC enjoyed the full weight of public approval behind it as it took over the anti-graft fight from disgraced predecessor, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), although the personnel remained the same.
Today, the supposed giant of reform is reeling from the full weight of the public’s fury.