Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Malaysia, Singapore sign MoU on education
Malaysia and Singapore yesterday formalised their cooperation in the education field after realising recently that their past collaborations were done without official stamp. Malaysian Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said he was shocked to discover that for many years education activities and exchanges between the two countries were conducted informally. He was speaking at the opening of the Malaysia-Singapore Business Forum here prior to signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Educational Cooperation between the Education Ministries of Malaysia and Singapore at the forum venue. His Singaporean counterpart who is also the Finance Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, inked the MoU on behalf of the Singapore Education Ministry. Speaking to reporters later, Hishammuddin said he discovered the matter about six months ago but with the good understanding and his personal rapport with Tharman, and Singapore’s government sincerity, the memorandum with all the details was readied in a very short time. Under the cooperation, both sides will, among others, carry out exchange programmes involving ministry officials, school principals and students from both sides, teaching of the English language and inculcating good values among the students which will go a long way towards constructing a platform for even healthier bilateral relations in the future. Currently, 14 Malaysian schools are linked-up with their Singaporean counterparts in areas such as leadership skills, sports and arts. Hishammuddin is on a five-day official visit to Singapore — his maiden trip to the republic, as Education Minister. He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong today. - Bernama


Eight cash scams from Hong Kong, Macau detected
Eight cheating cases involving offer of RM780,000 in cash via telephone, believed to be from Hong Kong and Macau, have been detected in Pahang since early this year. State Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Supt Zaini Jass said in all the cases, the syndicate’s modus operandi was to call unsuspecting individuals and congratulate them for having purportedly won RM780,000 in cash from companies operating in Hong Kong and Macau. To claim the money, the victims need to pay RM5,000 processing fee. On Monday, a 25-year-old woman from Mentakab lodged a police report after losing RM9,360 when she was asked to bank in RM5,000 in cash twice before realising that she had been duped. Prior to that, another victim from Cameron Highlands reported a loss of over RM35O,000, believed after being tricked into parting with the money by the same syndicate. Zaini said police investigation showed that most of the callers were using telephone numbers that began with “008”, believed to be from Hong Kong and Macau, but the accounts used were from the local banking institutions. - Bernama


Pistol, machetes, knives seized from passengers
An air pistol, machetes and knives were among the weapons detected at the new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Centre (CIQ) which began operation at the jetty here two weeks ago. These weapons were brought into the country by passengers from a neighbouring country, said Customs Tawau KDRM Barter Trade branch officer Ahmad Samad. He advised passengers to refrain from bringing these items in and out detected by of the country. According to Ahmad, three more scanning machines will be added to the CIQ which was built at a cost of RM300,000.There are 11 Customs officers on duty at the centre to oversee the arrival of 3,000 passengers daily, not including those departing from Tawau. Among the facilities at the centre are a waiting hall, a VIP room and a room for the handicapped. The departure hall is provided with seats and fans and under construction are the public toilets.


Two men were killed in separate accidents yesterday and on Monday. One of them was killed in a freak accident at the Kepayan Highway while the other died in a road accident along the Lido-Kepayan Road. The first victim identified as Amat Din @ Ahmad Amat, a 33-year-old labourer from Kampung Mapan Mapan, Pitas, passed away after he was crushed by a lorry while on duty around 3.4O pm yesterday. It was learnt that he was sweeping stones behind a lorry when it reversed and accidentally knocked into him. He died on the spot and the 28- year-old lorry driver was detained for questioning. The second victim was a 35-year- old motorcyclist, identified as Roger Anthony from Kampung Nosoob Baru, Penampang. His pillion rider, who could not be immediately identified, suffered minor injuries. It was learnt that in the 11 .4Opm incident on Monday, the victim had accidentally rammed into the road divider close to Taman Millennium, and was thrown away due to the impact. The victim was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital but succumbed to injuries around 3 am yesterday.


Trailer trucks parked indiscriminately at Beverly Hills
A member of the public has complained about the indiscriminate parking of trailer trucks at the sides of the road to Beverly Hills, Phase 3. Malik told Public Hotline that these trailer trucks not only cause obstruction but also pose a risk to other motorists. “The area is not meant for them to park their trucks. It is not only causing inconvenience but also causing obstruction to the place,” he said, adding that the trucks are also causing a lot of noise. According to Malik, sometime the trucks occupy almost an entire lane and obstruct other road users. “As the trucks are long and big, they can disrupt traffic flow and obstruct motorists’ view, especially at corners. At our place, the trucks are normally seen parked near the entrance to the apartments,” he said. “I hope the traffic police will inspect the place regularly and ask the operators of the trucks not to park indiscriminately. This is clearly a traffic offence as the trailers cause traffic obstruction,” he added. The traffic police have issued summonses to many trailer truck drivers who caused obstruction by parking their vehicle indiscriminately at roadsides around the City. According to a spokesperson from the City traffic police when contacted about the matter, some of the truck drivers continue to commit the offence. He said the department would try its best to overcome the matter and assured that it would send men to inspect the situation and issue summonses to the drivers of trailer trucks that are found parked indiscriminately there. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Penampang District Council said they had received a similar complaint before. “Normally, if the complainant gives us the details, we have the right to issue summonses,” he said. “But due to the lack of details, we would have to do an inspection. We will find out who the owners are before issuing any summonses,” he said. He added that those found committing such an offence would normally be compounded a minimum of RM100.


Fund may assist patients with chronic illnesses
The Health Ministry will propose to the Cabinet to allocate part of the Medical Aid Fund to assist patients with chronic illnesses seeking treatment at private hospitals due to the long wait at public hospitals. Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said they would, however, be saddled with hefty bills at the private hospitals as it cost them between RM25,000 and RM3O,000 for treatment. “We found that some chronic patients had to wait between one and two years and sometimes even longer to get treatment at the public hospitals,” he told reporters at the presentation of a contribution from the National Energy Foundation (NEF) for child heart patients to the National Heart Institute (NHI) Foundation here yesterday. Dr Chua said he had discussed the proposal with the relevant parties, including private hospitals, and hoped he could table the proposal to the Cabinet in two weeks’ time. On the eligibility for the aid, he said the ministry would study the background of the patients. “We have the mechanism.... we have to look at the household income and the family size before we determine the socio-economic status of the family,” he said. On the other hand, he hoped private hospitals would also carry out their social responsibility by charging minimum rates on chronic cases from the lower-income group. On Monday, Dr Chua had expressed concern over the exorbitant charges at private hospitals which tantamount to profiteering.


300 to be trained in Scotland to build navy frigates
About 300 workers from various disciplines will be sent to Scotland soon to be trained to build frigates for the Royal Malaysian Navy, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday. He said the technical specifications for the two frigates had been finalised and this included the missile system. “There is complexity in signing the agreements to finalise the contract of constructing the frigates. We are still fine-tuning the proposal and the final cost is subject to negotiations,” he said after touring the maritime section of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) 2007 exhibition, here. Najib, who is the Defence Minister, said the frigates would be built in Malaysia. On Lima 2007, he said the quality of product presentation and the layout in both the maritime and aerospace sections had improved, with mixed participation of defence and civilian products. Najib said a lot of civilian products had come to the forefront at this Lima, giving a good sign of the industry as well. “My wish list is very long but affordability list is quite short. We have to look at the midterm review (of the Ninth Malaysia Plan) on how much allocation we can get,” he said in reply to a question on whether the good products presentation had kindled an interest in him, particularly in terms of national defence. - Bernama


Dengue cases drop by half in Sandakan
The number of reported dengue cases in the district has dropped by nearly half since January this year compared to the same period of last year. There were 200 reported cases from January to November, 2007 compared to 500 cases in 2006. Sandakan Area Health Officer Dr G. Navindran attributed the drop to the increasing public awareness on cleanliness and the danger of dengue and the continued monitoring by the Health Department. “Dengue cases are reported every year but this can be checked if we continue to raise public awareness on cleanliness and the cause of dengue from time to time,” he said. On another development, Dr Navindran explained that the Health Department personnel are not authorized to collect money from members of the public who failed to observe cleanliness regulations. “Our personnel will issue summonses to offenders on the spot but they are not allowed to collect or ask for money from the latter,” he pointed out after receiving public complaints on the matter.


Works on flyover to intensify
Works on the flyover at the Karamunsing intersection will continue at intensified speed regardless of the weather conditions, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah yesterday. Tan, who is also the Infrastructure Development Minister, said he wanted the construction works on the nearly completed overhead road to carry on regardless of the weather to ensure the long waited infrastructure could be fully completed soon to help ease the worsening traffic congestion in the City. “I want to see the works continuing and in order to be on schedule, they’ll have to work under whatever conditions, even if it rains,” he said. He said the construction progress was still behind the initial schedule and the daily downpour had slowed down the works but assured that the remaining structural works would be completed within this month and the flyover would be fully opened to traffic early next year after the additional works, which include the installation of flood lamps and levelling process, are completed. “I was made to understand by the Public Works Department (PWD) officer-in-charge that the flyover is now near completion with only five to 10 percent of the structural works left to be done. “Hopefully we can have all the structural works completed before the end of the year,” Tan told reporters after officiating the PWD’s Quality Day here yesterday.
In the meantime, he advised motorists to be extra cautious when passing the intersection, especially at night or during heavy rain. As more workers and machineries are being sent to the construction site, the roads near the intersection are narrower as they have been partially closed for the construction works, he said. He suggested motorists use alternative routes whenever possible to avoid worsening the traffic congestion around the intersection, especially during peak hours. Tan also disclosed that another flyover to be built at the Kepayan-Lintas junction near the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) Terminal One is expected to commence construction early next year. He said the ministry is currently in the process of finalizing the design with the contractor, Global Upline. “The designing process took a long time because the flyover is not just an ordinary one. It is going to be a big one,” said Raymond, adding the designer needed to take into consideration future upgrading of the existing road as well as construction of new ones in the area. He said the flyover meant to relieve traffic flow along Jalan Kepayan, would also serve as a direct access to Terminal One as well as Jalan Lintas and the coastal ring road which will be built alongside the KKIA runway.
IHe said the flyover could cost more than RM4O million depending on the final design which is expected to be submitted by the contractor end of this month. “The actual cost will be assessed when the final design is completed but it would definitely cost more than the average flyover which requires RM3O-RM4O million each,” he said. Meanwhile, Tan urged the PWD officers to strive towards improving the public’s perception towards the image of the department. He said the department should always take good care of its image as it is much more difficult to effectively deliver development to the people if its integrity is being doubted by the public. In this regard, he said all PWD officers and staff must constantly renew their commitment towards achieving better quality in all aspects of their job.
Tan reminded that although the department places high value on quality in providing its services, this appreciation of quality can only be accurately projected and shared with the public if all officers and staff are committed in delivering every task given to them responsibly and with emphasis on quality. According to him, the PWD plays a crucial role and shoulders an equally crucial responsibility in the implementation of infrastructure development.


Rubbish spoils breakfast of visitors to Tawau
The back alley of the shops at Lorong Jalan Kee Abdullah in the Sabindo complex in Tawau is an eyesore to visitors. A former journalist was irked by the filthy sight of the rubbish and garbage left unattended by the authority concerned, in this case the Tawau Municipal Council (TMC). According to Silverius Kunjan, he and his company director were shocked to see the terrible condition there and almost lost their appetite due to the unbearable stench of the garbage. “We were about to have our breakfast at one of the well- known Indian coffee shops in the area and since there were no parking spaces at the front, we decided to park the vehicle at the back alley and that is what we saw,” he said. According to the shop operators in the area, they have made numerous complaints but nothing has been done to clean up the mess. “I hope that TMC would do something (clean up the area) so as not to give visitors to Tawau a bad impression of the cleanliness of the town,” added Silverius, who is a frequent traveller to the east coast.


Mini buses cannot occupy public parking areas
Minibuses and other public transports are not allowed to wait for passengers at public parking areas, an officer from the Kota Kinabalu City Hall said yesterday. They are also not allowed to park and wait for customers at bus stops in the state capital, City Hall’s Public Complaint Unit head Nolin Mojinun said. He was responding to a complaint by a motorist about minibuses waiting for passengers at the parking area opposite the Milimewa Superstore in the city. Jusli, a bank officer who works at Jalan Pantai, said the minibuses have taken up precious parking lots in the car park leaving motorists who really need them frustrated. “Sometimes it takes about an hour just to get a parking space in the city and the situation is made worse by these minibuses which take up the lots which are supposed to be used for parking,” he said. According to Jusli, the minibuses occupy the parking lots closest to the main road and there are usually more than six of these public transports waiting for passengers there. The minibuses are there from early morning, he said and urged the relevant authorities to do something about the problem. To my understanding the area is a parking area, not a bus terminal so why are the minibuses allowed to conduct their business there?” he said. - According to Nolin, City Hall is aware of the matter and is taking action against minibus drivers found to have done so. “For public information, it is illegal for minibuses to park their vehicles at the area. It is also an offence for them to wait or pick up passengers there,” Nolin said. “That is why, City Hall has its enforcement unit patrolling parking areas as well as bus stops in the City, especially those near Hotel ShangriLa’s, at the back of the State Library and also at the Cathay bus station during peak hours,” she said.


Man robbed by ‘policeman’
A youth who claimed he was a cop relieved a 20-year-old man of a cellphone and RM100 cash on Sunday. The victim was taking a bus to Muhibbah at 3. 3Opm when the suspect confronted him. Acting District Police Chief Superintendent Hj Ramli Ali Mat said the police had detained a suspect who was found in possession of a few phone cards, sim cards and credit cards in his wallet. Police believed the suspect is able to help them solve several cases here. Meanwhile, a 20-year-old youth lodged a police report after his house at Tanjung Batu here was broken into on Monday morning. The complainant claimed that the thief entered the house from the kitchen and stole two cellphones and a wallet which contained a MyKad, a GDL licence and RM100 cash. In another case, a 20-year-old youth claimed that his lorry’s battery worth RM800 was stolen from his house at Jalan Utara here at 6am on Sunday. Police also received a report from a 30- year-old man working at a secondary school at Jalan Apas here that 20 notebooks and other computer accessories which belonged to the Education Department were missing on Monday. Estimated losses were RM8,000. A man reported the theft of a water meter at his house at Taman Setia last week.


UMS student receives suspended death sentence in China
Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim, the Kelantanese woman caught for smuggling nearly three kilogrammes of heroin into China’s southern Guangdong province, received a suspended death penalty in May. She was sentenced to death with a two- year reprieve by the Shantou Intermediate Court, Roslan Abdul Rahman, Malaysian Consul-General in Guangzhou, said when contacted yesterday. “Our consulate officials have been visiting her before and after the trial,” he said. Umi Azlim had pleaded guilty to trafficking in 2.983kg of heroin at the airport in Shantou, a port city in the northern tip of Guangdong. In China, all death sentences are reviewed by the Supreme Court, which was reassigned the role on Jan 1 2007 after a gap of 26 years. The family of the 24-year-old University Malaysia Sabah graduate was informed by Wisma Putra of her case, her mother told the media in Malaysia. Meanwhile, the Royal Malaysia Police will establish contact with the Chinese Government to get more information on a drug smuggling case involving a Kelantanese woman who has been convicted by a Chinese court. Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Ismail Omar said there were international drug syndicates using Malaysian nationals, especially women, as tools to traffic in drugs overseas. The syndicates had been found operating behind other activities and employing various tactics including offering jobs with lucrative income as a lure, he told reporters at the Kelantan Police Contingent Headquarters yesterday. Many Malaysians had been tricked without them knowing, he said. “We can only advise people in the country to be careful and be more alert,” he added. According to the woman’s mother, Umi Slaia Ibrahim, 45, her daughter worked for a company selling foot massage equipment owned by one “Datuk Anas” in Kuala Lumpur. Umi Azlim was sent to conduct business dealings overseas because she was fluent in English but the family lost contact with her in January, the mother said on Monday. Fearing something had happened to her daughter, Umi Slaia went to the Immigration Department to seek assistance in locating Umi Azlim but she was told to refer the matter with the Foreign Ministry. In a letter dated July 12, the Foreign Ministry informed Umi Slaia that her daughter was being held in China since Jan 19 and had been sentenced to death for smuggling drugs into China. Umi Slaia said that based on testimonies by Umi Azlim and other witnesses and letters produced in court, she was convinced that her daughter had been tricked by a Nigerian. Ismail, who is here for a two-day visit, said: “We will contact the Chinese government to investigate the case further. We respect the laws of foreign countries; everything needs to be done according to procedures, “In this case, she can still appeal. We will try our best to assist,” he said. Umi Azlim’s is not the first case of a Malaysian being held overseas for drug offences. Recent reports said a mass communication student of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Cyberjaya, Raja Munirah Raja Iskandar, 22, has been sentenced to seven years’ jail by a Japanese court for attempting to smuggle 690 grammes of syabu at the Narita airport on Dec 20 last year. Her mother, Karimah Mamat, 46, said an Iranian man whom she knew only as Milad, had offered Munirah a monthly salary of RM9,000 if she took up a a job as a public relations officer with his company in Japan. Police statistics show that there are over 40 cases of Malaysian women being imprisoned in a number of countries for drug smuggling. - Bernama


Private hospital rates set by association
The rates imposed on patients by private hospitals in Malaysia is in accordance to the guideline set by the Malaysia Medical Association (MMA). Rafflesia Medical Centre (RMC) executive chairman Dr Roland Chia said there is a guideline set by MMA on the rates and it should not be raised unnecessarily by private hospital operators. “I do not know if there are unregistered private hospitals or non-MMA members who have increased their rate more than that set by the association. “As far as I know, the rates are set by MMA and even stipulated in the association’s constitution,” he said, adding that the rates imposed on RMC patients are based on the MMA’s specification. He believes that the rates imposed by RMC are affordable, adding that to date, they have yet to receive any complaints from their patients. Chia said he was shocked to read Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek’s statement that several private hospitals have increased their rates, an act which was seen as wanting to gain more profit. “This is really shocking. I have yet to come across such cases here in Sabah, may be it is just happening in Peninsular Malaysia,” said Chia. Chua in his statement on Monday said that the matter had been brought to the Cabinet’s attention. However, he expressed that the issue is not easy to be handled as it refers to a lot of matters. “The rate imposed by private doctors kept increasing probably due to the hike of prices of medicine, information technology and commercialisation of medicine usage,” he explained. He added that the medical practice today was not just restricted to curing the sick only but also is seen as a business that would bring in bigger returns to shareholders.


Suhakam inquiry on riot from Dec 14-16
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will conduct a public inquiry from Dec 14 to 16 on the riot in Batu Buruk, Kuala Terengganu, on Sept 8. Suhakam commisioner Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said yesterday he would chair the inquiry, which would be held from 9am to 6pm on the three days at the Primula Beach Resort in Kuala Terengganu. The others on the inquiry panel will be Tan Sri Asiah Abu Samah and Prof Datuk Khoo Kay Kim. In a statement yesterday, Shafee said the inquiry would be open to members of the public and the media, and called on witnesses to the riot and people who may have information on the incident to contact Suhakam at 03-26 12 5600 or through its website, humanrightssuhakam. org. my. “The inquiry will also look into the alleged usage of live ammunition by police personnel (during the riot),” he said. The riot in Batu Buruk erupted on Sept 8 when about 600 people, believed to be members of an opposition party, defied police orders to disperse an illegal assembly in Jalan Sultan Mahmud, Kuala Terengganu, and hurled hard objects at policemen. Seven people, four of them policemen, were injured in the incident in which it was claimed that police had fired shots. - Bernama



Some 40 final year students from Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s (UMS) School of Engineering and Information Technology (SKTM), School of Science and Technology (SST) and School of Business and Economics (SPE) obtained valuable first-hand learning experience and insight into the oil and gas industry after their visit to Shell Malaysia’s Exploration & Production office in Lutong, Sarawak and the Shell IT International Sdn Bhd (SITI) office in Cyberjaya last week. The study visit represented a milestone activity under the Shell-UMS Campus Ambassador Programme following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Shell and UMS early this year. UMS delegation leader to the Miri visit, Razak Mohd Ali Lee, said the visit benefited the students immensely as they saw for themselves the real-life atmosphere of working in an oil and gas company. “They were just amazed by the technology that Shell has at its disposal to conduct its operations. More importantly, they were able to interact with the human face of Shell, its personnel who gave them tips and words of encouragement about the new window of career opportunities that are within reach in the oil and gas industry,” Razak elaborated. A final year Mechanical Engineering student, Reena bt Rahman, found the visit an eye- opener. “We were able to match a correlation from the basics that we learn in class during the briefing. The visit motivated me to work harder and I certainly would want to apply for a job in Shell.” At Cyberjaya, the visiting students listened to a series of briefings on SITI operations, led by Jet Baustista, SITI’s Global Applications Hosting Operations Manager, and how IT acts as an enabler for Shell businesses to deliver its goals and targets. An MSC status company, SITI is an IT mega centre providing infrastructure and application support for SAP and e-business solutions to the Shell group. Twenty-two-year-old Wong Chan Fui, an IT Software Engineering student who visited the Shell office in Cyberjaya, was impressed with the working environment in Shell. “I think the Shell work culture is excellent - I noticed that they all enjoy their work and 1 like the flexibility that is exercised. Another IT student, Sheila Mitchele Michael, said the visit enabled her to learn about the various career opportunities in Shell. “I am so thrilled with the information about Shell that it makes me wanting very much to get into the company,” she enthused. Penang-born Karthiyani a/p Baskaran, a computer science student, also found the experience very useful to final year students like herself. “I hope that Shell would continue to organize such a trip for future students in UMS because there’s no comparison to what is gained from learning about the industry firsthand,” she said excitedly. Their sessions included briefings on career planning and job hunting upon graduation by Shell. Two new graduate recruits shared their personal experience going through the Shell recruitment process. Sabah Asset Manager George Ling, who welcomed the visitors in Lutong, hoped they gained new knowledge from the visit, adding: “I hope to see some of you working for Shell when you graduate.” Ling said the Campus Ambassador programme, which is carried out at six universities in Malaysia, was initiated by Shell Malaysia as a holistic way of building and developing relationships with the partner universities and student groups. Activities are primarily aimed at exposing students to industrial practices and operational experiences through facility visits, guest lecturings, career talks, soft skills management workshops and sponsorship of relevant research papers. Under the Shell-UMS Campus Ambassador programme, Shell also awards two top students from the School of Engineering and Information Technology, School of Science and Technology and School of Business and Economics each year.


Lawyers call off People’s Freedom Walk
Malaysian lawyers have cancelled a planned march this weekend to mark Human Rights Day after they refused to apply for a police permit, a body representing the lawyers said on Tuesday. The decision came as the Government warned last week it would use a tough colonial-era security law (the Internal Security Act) to stop a wave of street protests that have rocked the nation in recent weeks. “The Bar Council takes the position that the requirement for an application for a permit violates our constitutional right to peaceful assembly,” Bar Council President Ambiga Sreenevasan said in a statement. Malaysian law requires a police permit to hold an assembly of more three people. Offenders face a fine or jail or both.
Ambiga said the controversy surrounding the planned Dec 9 People’s Freedom Walk, which had been held peacefully in the past two years, was “unfortunate and unwarranted.” “It should not be vilified as affecting race relations or be regarded as an anti-government rally,” she said. “It is an event that would have demonstrated complete racial harmony.” On Nov 25, thousands of Malaysian Indians staged the community’s biggest anti-Government protest, sparked by anger over policies they say prevent them from getting decent jobs or a good education for their children. Two weeks earlier, another crowd rallied in the capital to demand electoral reforms ahead of possible early elections in the next few months. They were the biggest street demonstrations in a decade. Following the rallies, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the Government might use the Internal Security Act, which allows for years of detention without trial, to clamp down on street protests. In September, hundreds of Malaysian lawyers defied police to stage a rare protest demanding a thorough probe into allegations a lawyer fixed judicial appointments with a senior judge. Meanwhile, prosecutors charged 26 ethnic Indians with attempted murder Tuesday, their lawyer said, in connection with major anti-discrimination protests last month. “Twenty-six Indians were charged in court with attempted murder of an individual on November 24 during a protest in Batu Caves,” N Ravi, a lawyer acting for the accused, told AFP. If found guilty they face up to 10 years in jail, he said. The protest at Batu Caves, the site of an important Hindu temple on the fringes ‘of Kuala Lumpur, occurred on the eve of a mass rally by ethnic Indians in the capital. Ravi said the accused, aged between 19 and 46, would fight the allegations and other charges levelled against them including rioting, illegal assembly and causing damage to public property. “We can raise reasonable doubt against the charges,” he said, adding that the 26 were being detained in Pudu jail in downtown Kuala Lumpur. — Reuter, AFP