Week that was


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 12 Jun 2005

Compiled by SHANTINI SUNTHARAJAH

HIGHLAND RESCUE: (June 8) Brothers Chew Tsyr Yee, 16, Tsyr Han, 14, and Tsyr Ming, 10, and their Singaporean cousin Jeremy Tio, nine, went missing on Monday while trekking along Bishop’s Trail in Fraser's Hill. A massive rescue and search mission covering 8,000 sq m on the ground and from the air was mounted soon after the boys were reported lost. Rapi Bata, 41, a former Senoi Praaq commando and three other rescuers spotted them at about 10am on Thursday. They were 3km from the search and rescue area. 

BLOWN OVER: (June 5) The winds of change have swept through PAS, with a group of young and progressive leaders headed by university lecturer-turned-politician Nasharudin Mat Isa securing key posts in the party. The 42-year-old rising star was voted in as the party's new deputy president, nudging out one-term incumbent Hassan Shukri at the end of the 51st PAS Muktamar. 

DEARER GREENS: (June 4) Vegetable farmers have been hit hard by a labour shortage, resulting in a drop in yield and an increase in market prices. There are about 2,000 fewer workers now and this has led to a drop of about 25% in vegetable production. As a result, the price of vegetables has risen by between 50% and 100%. 

HIKING MISHAP: (June 9) Mohd Azid Tahrim, 14, and his uncle Rahman Othman, 57, were found on Thursday after having gone missing in Cameron Highlands. The two had gone hiking up Gunung Brinchang on Tuesday but did not turn up at the police station where they were supposed to meet their family who were there on a holiday in the highlands. Both were sent in separate ambulances to the Tanah Rata Hospital where they were warded and treated for minor bruises, cuts and dehydration.  

SUSPENDED: (June 7) Wanita MCA deputy chairman Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew was suspended from the party for a year. The one-year suspension – recommended by the MCA disciplinary board on May 13 – pertains to her distribution of video recordings of a fracas that took place during the Jalan Young MCA branch election on April 17. The incident was aired over Astro the same night. 

HONG LEONG QUERY: (June 7) Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has told Bank Negara to ask Hong Leong Bank to explain why it is not offering margin financing for certain shares. He said Hong Leong's action, which affected “good companies”, was irresponsible and unacceptable. The Securities Commission and Bank Negara were given one month to complete their probe. The one-month period was to ensure that the regulators would not take a long time to complete their investigations.  

FIRST GLOBAL BANK: (June 6) The CIMB banking group will emerge as Malaysia's first universal banking entity with its investment banking business being integrated with that of Commerce Asset-Holding Bhd's (CAHB's) commercial banking arm, Bumiputra-Commerce Bank Bhd (BCB). Under the RM5.3bil deal, CIMB's investment banking business will be taken private and its shareholders given an option to either receive RM5.50 a share in cash or new CAHB shares valued at RM4.80 each. 

TOP CLASS: (June 4) National schools will continue to be consolidated into premier schools that enjoy the support and trust of the people, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said. The Government's desire was to see national schools become the preferred choice of the people and to play a major role in fostering national solidarity. 

SHORTER WAIT: (June 5) Foreign women married to Malaysian men and other foreigners interested in applying for permanent resident (PR) status here can look forward to a much shorter wait in future. The Home Ministry has introduced a system to cut down on red tape to reduce processing time for such applications by at least 50%. 

GOOD HOMES: (June 8) The days of policemen living and working in inferior or rented dwellings is coming to an end as 160 projects to build 25,000 units of houses and office complexes for them are expected to get off the ground soon. The Employees Provident Fund and the Pension Fund would finance the “build, lease and transfer” projects, which are expected to cost the Government RM2.5bil.  

FAST TRACK: (June 6) Nine months – that's all it will take to build the new low-cost carrier (LCC) terminal at the KL International Airport. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the fast-track construction work on the RM108mil terminal would be round-the-clock to ensure that it was completed by February.  

DREAMS FULFILLED: (June 10) The Public Services Department has offered scholarships to five SPM top scorers who initially failed in their bid. Ng Ee Liang, Desmond Chee and Khaw Chok Tong will study medicine in Australia. Chew Ying Dee will take up pharmacy in Britain and Teoh Wan Ying was offered to do actuarial science in the United States. Except for Khaw, who top-scored in Pahang with 12 1As, the other students had all achieved 13 1As in the SPM examination.  

BOOST FOR VILLAGES: (June 6) A soon-to-be announced master plan for new villages will revitalise agriculture in these settlements and cut down on vices such as petty gambling, smoking, loitering and drug addiction. Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said the emphasis on agriculture was aimed at reducing the nation’s massive food import bill as well as improving the villagers' standard of living. 

FAKES SEIZED: (June 10) Petaling Street, famous for its fake branded products for sale, has been raided. Some RM321,000 worth of fake items were seized. The raids were carried out following complaints from the public that some traders there harassed them when they refused to buy the goods.  

FOREIGN 

EU VOTE SHELVED: (June 6) Prime Minister Tony Blair's office confirmed that Britain has put off a referendum on the European Union constitution, following its rejection in France and the Netherlands. Blair's official spokesman said the results of the French and Dutch referendums had to be discussed at the European Council summit later this month. He insisted that indefinitely shelving the referendum did not send a message that Britain thought the constitution was dead, and said a referendum may still be possible in the future. 

PRESIDENT QUITS: (June 7) Bolivian President Carlos Mesa resigned after he was forced to flee his office amid angry street protests demanding nationalisation of the country's huge natural gas industry, as Congress prepared to meet to decide the future of the government. Mesa asked demonstrators to allow Congress to debate his successor. Caretaker president Eduardo Rodriguez began his first day on the job pledging to call early elections and take steps to calm opposition protesters.  

ENDING DEBT: (June 8) US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday they were close to completing a proposal for other rich nations to eliminate 100% of debt for the world's poorest countries. Bush also announced after a summit with his close ally that the United States would give an extra US$674mil (RM2.56bil) to humanitarian relief efforts in Africa. 

TOUGH STAND: (June 9) The Bush administration is turning to Congress for help in persuading China to give up a currency exchange policy that the United States feels gives China an unfair advantage over US competitors, a member of the US Senate Banking Committee says. Senator Charles Schumer of New York is among a vocal group in Congress seeking to force China to break the yuan's fixed link with the dollar and float the currency. 

COUP FEARS: (June 7) Police across the Philippines went on full alert against moves to destabilise President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as she fought corruption allegations against her and her family.  

CLASSROOM BOMBED: (June 10) An 18-year-old student tossed a homemade bomb into a high school classroom in southern Japan, wounding 58 teenagers when the gunpowder-filled jar exploded near the teacher's desk, spraying the room with shards of glass. Police arrested the suspect for questioning, but said his motive remained unclear in the attack at Hikari public high school in Yamaguchi state.  

PELE SADDENED: (June 8) Soccer legend Pele wept when he visited his son, Edson Cholbi Nascimento, 34, known as Edinho, who is in police custody in Brazil on suspicion of drug trafficking. Pele said he regretted failing to see that Edinho was using narcotics. Edinho was arrested on Monday along with 51 others in the port city of Santos. 

CROWE CHARGED: (June 6) Actor Russell Crowe was arrested for allegedly throwing a telephone at an employee of the Manhattan hotel where he was staying, police said. Crowe, 41, allegedly threw the phone at the Mercer Hotel employee, striking him in the face, during an argument at 4.20am, said police spokesman Sgt Mike Wysokowski. 

SWEET ANNIE (June 9) World health advocates are increasingly looking to Artemisia annua, a plant traditionally used to fight fever, as a key weapon in the fight against malaria. The benefits of extracts from the plant, also known as “wormwood” and “sweet Annie”, and ways to increase its production were the focus of a World Health Organisation (WHO) conference in Tanzania. 

SUICIDE CONSULTANT: (June 5) Dutch prosecutors have charged a man calling himself a “suicide consultant” with helping a mentally-ill woman end her life. The 73-year-old founder of Dutch suicide consultancy De Einder, who prosecutors identified only as J.H., would face trial for providing medicines to help a 27-year-old woman kill herself in 2003.  

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