Thursday, September 25, 2008



53 China-made food items sent for testing 
By : Regina Lee 

Datuk Liow Tiong Lai showing one of the food items to be tested.
Datuk Liow Tiong Lai showing one of the food items to be tested.

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has sealed 53 milk-related products produced in China for testing.

Samples of the items, including chocolate, candy, yogurt and biscuits, have been sent to the Chemistry Department for tests on suspicion that they may contain milk tainted by the banned substance, melamine.

Household names, including distributors of M&M's chocolates, Snickers chocolate bars and the White Rabbit creamy candy, will know their fate when the tests results are released today.

The ministry will also start seizing products off shelves if the test results show that they contain dangerous amounts of the substance.

"But, this is no cause for alarm at the moment. We are doing our best to check everything and we hope to get cooperation from the manufacturers, importers and retailers," Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday.
He also said other food products imported from China and suspected of containing melamine had been placed on Level 5 of the six-level Food Safety Information System of Malaysia, which requires that products be detained pending results of sample analysis.

Milk-related products from China have been placed at the Level 6 alert since Sept 13, which means an automatic rejection.

Liow confirmed that there were no dairy products (milk or milk powder) from China sold in Malaysia since last year.

"To sell milk here, you would need a special licence from the Veterinary Services Department. The department has said that none had been given to Chinese companies since last year." 

Liow said it was normal for food items to contain a small amount of melamine as a result of using plastic wrappers. A directive from the European Commission said up to 30 parts per million (ppm) of the substance was still safe.

Powdered milk produced by China's largest dairy producer, Sanlu Group, was found to have a melamine content of up to 2,563ppm.

Liow urged doctors who come across kidney disorders suspected to be caused by tainted milk products to report the cases to the ministry.


Saturday, September 20, 2008


Teresa: "I was made a scapegoat..."
Giam Say Khoon

PETALING JAYA (Sept 19, 2008) :
DAP's Seputeh MP and Selangor senior executive councilor Teresa Kok, who was released from a seven-day detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) today, has claimed that she was made scapegoat in the move to contain the outrage over the alleged racist remarks.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok makes a gesture during her
press conference at the DAP office today.

"I see my detention as a ploy by Umno to try to cover up the embarassment and the outrage over the racist statements made by (Bukit Bendera Umno division chief) Ahmad Ismail in Penang," she told a press conference shortly after her release at the DAP headquarters here.

"I wonder why they chose an innocent person like me as I have never made any racist remarks or racist speeches in the past," she said, adding that she has instructed her lawyer to sue the government for her unlawful arrest and detention.

She also urged police to investigate her report lodged against Utusan Malaysia, columnist Zaini Hassan and former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo under the Penal Code.

She also reiterated that she will sue the newspaper, the columnist and Mohd Khir for defamation.

On her detention, she said she was held at a detention camp "somewhere between Sentul and Jalan Ipoh" in Kuala Lumpur.

Kok, 44, said the police officers were only able to ask her a few questions entirely based on an article by Zaini, titled "Azan, jawi, JAIS, Uitm dan ba-alif-ba-ya" that was published in Utusan Malaysia on Sept 10.

She said the three main questions that the investigation officers asked were:

> Whether she mobilised a group of residents at Bandar Kinrara to present a petition to oppose the azan at the Bandar Kinrara mosque;

> Whether she made a statement that 30% of the Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS) allocation is to be given to other non-Islamic religious bodies; and

> Whether she opposed the road signates which contained Jawi wordings in Kuala Lumpur.

"I denied the first two accusations as I did not do any such things. I also told them the issue of opposing Jawi road signages in Kuala Lumpur were done in January or February this year at the request and following the pressure of resident associations.

"I was quite surprised that there were no other questions posed to me besides these few main questions," she said, adding that when she asked why she was being detained, the police officers only told her that they were only following orders from "the top".

Recounting her ISA detention ordeal, Kok said: "I was put in a six by eight holding cell everyday after 5.30pm and my only opportunity to get fresh air was during the sessions with the investigation officers which was conducted in an air-conditioned room.

"The food (at the detention camp) was similar to dog food, there was one day that I was only given two hard-boiled eggs with gravy and cucumber for my lunch and dinner," she said. (It was earlier reported by her parents that Kok suffered from diarrhoea).

Kok was spirited and happy at the press conference and answered questions animatedly. Asked if she cried during her detention, she said she was very upset and sorry for her family, friends and supporters who prayed for her release when she was informed that she might be detained for 28 days.

"A chief inspector told me that I would be detained for another 28 days and asked me to sign the order. This was ridiculous as I had given my full cooperation answering all questions and there was nothing else they needed to know.

"I blasted all the officers and told them that it was uncalled for but I did not blame them because it was not their fault," she said.

Kok also said when she was detained, she had just had a meeting with potential investors from Guangdong, China, adding that her arrest would have an impact on her duty which was to bring investors into Selangor, and by extension , the country.

Kok also called for the release of Malaysia-Today blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, the five Hindraf leaders and all other 60 over detainees under the ISA.

"I would like to thank all politicians in the ruling parties as well as the Pakatan Rakyat, NGOs, churches and all social organisations who have campaigned and prayed for my release," she added.

Asked if she would fight for the release of Zaini if the author is detained under the ISA, she said: "Of course, I will fight for Zaini's release because one should be charged in court and not detained under the ISA."

Kok also specially thanked former de facto Law Minister Senator Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who resigned after protesting against the use of the ISA on the three people arrested last Friday.

"He (Zaid) is really my friend and I thank him for taking a stand on this issue and I hope that he will be one of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) members," she said.

Also present were Kok's parents, Kok Kim Tong and Poh Seh Kwon, Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang, , DAP chairman and Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh, Selangor

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, other Selangor executive councilors, Federal Territories and Selangor MPs from Pakatan Rakyat and a group of supporters who brought a chocolate cake, mooncakes and a few bouquets of flowers.

Lim said the release of Kok and Sinchew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng after their detention under the ISA was further proof of the abuse of the Act, as the law is only meant for subversion and organised violence.

Kok's father, Kim Tong said he was very happy for his daughter's release. "I thank the people who showed their love, concern and care about Teresa.

She is now not just my daughter as everyone has taken her like their daughter. I also would like to thank all religious bodies, the churches, temples and mosques for their support," he said.


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Saturday September 13, 2008 MYT 5:41:36 PM

Washington summons Malaysian envoy

KUALA LUMPUR: The United States has summoned Ilango Karuppannan, the charge d’affaires of the Malaysian embassy, to protest what it called the “crackdown on dissent” at a time when the opposition was attempting to form a new government.

According to the AFP, Ilango was summoned to the State Department after the three arrests under the Internal Security Act (ISA) on Friday.

”Peaceful expression of political opinions is a fundamental right and critical to a democracy,” a State Department official told AFP.

”The United States believes that the Malaysian Government should provide due process and treatment consistent with Malaysian law and international standards,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

”We expect that democratic countries that purport to advocate free expression of political views will not curtail such freedom,” the official said.

This is the second time Ilango was summoned to the State Department in a month.

The last time was when PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was charged with sodomy.

”The United States firmly believes that freedom of the press and freedom of speech are fundamental to a vibrant democracy,” the State Department official said.

On Friday, Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng and Seputeh MP and Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok were arrested under the ISA.

Three publications - Sin Chew Daily, The Sun and Suara Keadilan - have also been issued show-cause letters by the Home Ministry for breaching guidelines set by the Government.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Monday September 8, 2008 MYT 9:37:45 PM

PM to Ahmad Ismail: Explain, or face action

PUTRAJAYA: Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s fate will be decided Tuesday after a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“He will be asked to explain himself, after which we will decide what action will be taken against him,” Abdullah said.

“I’m very unhappy with what has happened and will take a firm stand on the issue,” he told reporters after meeting ambassadors and foreign dignitaries at Wisma Putra on Monday.

When briefed on a meeting earlier Monday in which Ahmad had asked Gerakan to leave the Barisan Nasional coalition, Abdullah said, “Ahmad should not blame other parties; it’s not for him to ask a component party to leave Barisan.”

Ahmad, already embroiled in a controversy where he is alleged to have described Malaysian-Chinese as “squatters,” has also been involved in a war of words with Gerakan.

Earlier Monday, he said Gerakan should leave the coalition because it has only created chaos among the component parties.

He also said that Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon should be stripped of his post as the state Barisan chairman and the post be given to the MCA.

He said this was because a few Chinese leaders from Gerakan, including Dr Koh, had deliberately taken advantage of the situation and turned it into a racial issue “to hide their own weaknesses.”

Dr Koh should apologise not only to the Malays and the Muslims but also to the Chinese in the country for creating so much tension, he said at a press conference called by leaders and representatives of the 13 Umno divisions in Penang, led by state Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah and secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim.

Ahmad made veiled threats as well, saying that “He (Dr Koh) is a leader who is really good at tai chi but I would also like to remind everyone not to forget that the Malays are equally good at silat,’’ referring to two martial arts disciplines.

He reiterated that he would not apologise for his remark made at a ceramah on Aug 23 and was prepared to face the consequences.

He said what was important now was for all parties to be united so that there would be peace and harmony in the country -- however, at the end of the 40-minute press conference, reporters who were in the meeting room witnessed several supporters bringing down a picture of Dr Koh, which was hanging on a wall, and tearing it to pieces.

When contacted later, Ahmad denied any role in the incident.


Sunday, September 7, 2008


Checks to ensure clean food

KUALA TERENGGANU: The cleanliness, quality and handling of food at Ramadan bazaars throughout the state will be monitored during the fasting month to prevent food poisoning.

State Health, Unity and Consumer Affairs committee chairman Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar said similar checks conducted last year and in 2006 by the Health Department showed that food contamination at the stalls was high.

Kerabu, a mixed salad, was the most contaminated dish, followed by noodles and drinks.

The most commonly contaminated foods were those that were made by hand, half-cooked food, dishes that use coconut milk, sugar cane juice, rojak and cakes.

"From my own experience, I have treated a lot of people with food poisoning during the fasting month.
"We hope to reduce the number by monitoring the bazaars," he said after visiting the Ramadan bazaar in Marang on Wednesday.

Those found guilty of violating the Food Act 1983 and the Food Regulations 1985, under which the checks would be carried out, would be fined and their goods could be confiscated, he said.

Last year, action was taken against 31 stalls throughout the state, while 1,594 items worth RM24,709 were seized.

A total of 1,114 notices were also issued.

Dr A. Rahman also said he had not received any reports about food shortages for the upcoming Raya holiday or complaints of unreasonable price hikes.