COMPILED BY WONG LI ZA
CHARGED FOR SHARES RIGGING: (Oct 26) Impetus Consolidated Sdn Bhd’s former group executive director Datuk Philip Wong Chee Kheong and two company directors have been charged with stock market manipulation through 153 central depository securities (CDS) accounts. They are alleged to have created a misleading appearance with respect to the price of Suremax Group Bhd shares on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia through the sale and purchase of its shares via the CDS accounts, which caused the stock price to rise.
EX-MINISTER REMANDED: (Oct 25) Former Sabah minister Datuk Conrad Mojuntin has been remanded for 10 days over the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old youth on Oct 23 in Donggongon, Penampang, near Kota Kinabalu. Ten other people including Mojuntin’s three sons were remanded for seven days under an order issued by Penampang District Officer Steven Sondoh. Mojuntin, 57, was the Youth and Sports Minister from 1982 to 1985 under the Berjaya government. Mojuntin and his sons were remanded another six days.
MASTER PLAN: (Oct 29) The Prime Minister’s mission to make cancer treatment affordable to sufferers has been given a timely boost with the Health Ministry’s announcement of a five-year master plan to provide comprehensive care to Malaysians. Its director-general Datuk Dr Ismail Merican said the “road map” would include early detection, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, rehabilitation, hospice care, herbal therapy and training. He said the plan was to make cancer management available to all Malaysians, and patients need not have to go abroad for treatment.
HIGHER CHARGES: (Oct 23) Foreigners will have to pay much higher charges for medical treatment from next year as the Government moves to provide better healthcare for its citizens. Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said foreigners would no longer enjoy health subsidies given to locals and they would be classified as full paying patients. The new rates, he said, would be based on the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) schedule of fees for private practitioners and hospitals but said the actual charges would be fixed later.
TAKE ACTION: (Oct 28) The Government wants the management of Bank Islam to act fast against those responsible for the RM700mil pre-tax losses the bank suffered. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said there was no excuse for its officers’ negligence and inefficiency as it had caused the bank huge losses.
FIVE-YEAR LIMIT: (Oct 28) Effective Oct 28, the maximum renewal period for driving licences will be five years instead of 10, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He said the move was to enable the authorities to act quickly against those who flouted traffic rules and also reduce road accidents.
PLOT TO OUST MAYOR: (Oct 28) Police arrested three men, including a DBKL department director and assistant director, in connection with the publication and distribution of the book Skandal Seks & Rasuah Ruslin. Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Kamal Pasha Jamal said the publication of the book defaming KL Mayor Datuk Ruslin Hassan was motivated by personal grudges of some officers against the mayor.
MINISTER’S MOM DIES: (Oct 23) Toh Kim Eng, mother of MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, passed away on Sunday at the age of 87. She breathed her last at the Housing and Local Government Minister’s official residence in Damansara Jaya at about 5am, with family members at her bedside. Toh, who died of natural causes, leaves behind 11 children, including MCA secretary-general Datuk Ong Ka Chuan.
RECORD NUMBER: (Oct 23) When faced with “crisis”, members of the Bar showed they could stand united. A record number of 3,027 lawyers turned up to ensure there was a quorum for the Bar Council’s 59th annual general meeting (AGM), which was reconvened as ordered by the court. On Oct 7, the council was ordered to reconvene its controversial AGM when the Federal Court upheld two lower court decisions that the earlier AGM was illegal as it was held without a quorum.
NO POINTS: (Oct 25) Motorists can now continue paying for fuel at petrol stations with their credit cards. However, they will no longer be eligible for bonus points when they use their credit cards for fuel purchases. The decision was made following discussions between Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal and the parties concerned. They include Bank Negara, the Association of Banks of Malaysia, oil companies and the Petrol Dealers’ Association.
FOREIGN MAJOR FIRMS LINKED: (Oct 29) An independent inquiry on Oct 27 linked prominent industrial and oil corporations to the UN oil-for-food scandal, citing evidence of alleged illegal surcharges and kickbacks paid to Iraq. Major firms in Europe and North America such as Siemens, Texaco, Volvo Group and BNP Paribas are among those named in the report that backs up its findings with copies of signed letters, bank transactions and interviews. Over 2,200 companies in the UN oil-for-food programme paid a total of US$1.8bil in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s government.
WILMA HITS MEXICO: (Oct 23) Mexico’s Caribbean beach resorts were knee-deep in water and strewn with debris after Hurricane Wilma roared through, smashing homes and killing at least seven people before taking aim at Florida. Relentless howling winds and torrential rain left famed seaside towns badly flooded, and thousands of sullen tourists looked for a way out after three nights in dark, stuffy refuges with no light or running water.
AIRLINER CRASH: (Oct 23) A Nigerian airliner with 117 people aboard was totally destroyed in a crash shortly after take-off from Lagos and there were no signs of survivors, the Nigerian Red Cross said. The plane disintegrated on impact with swampy earth near Lissa, about 30 km north of Lagos, shortly after leaving for the Nigerian capital of Abuja.
RM215MIL TO FIGHT FLU: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to spend US$58mil (RM215mil) on two projects to help combat avian influenza in Asia and the Pacific. A bank statement said its board was already considering a US$30mil (RM111mil) project for regional communicable disease control in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
BIRD FLU SPREADS: (Oct 26) Avian influenza has spread to more than half of Thailand, with 39 provinces reporting confirmed or suspected cases of fresh bird flu infections.
SUPPLY STOPPED: (Oct 29) Drug maker Roche halted supplies of its Tamiflu pill to the United States to head off hoarding by consumers fearing bird flu, but two suspected human cases in China and France turned out to be false alarms. Roche Holding AG said it had halted deliveries of Tamiflu to the United States and Canada until the start of the flu season.
VOTERS APPROVE IRAQ CONSTITUTION: (Oct 26) Iraqi voters ratified a new US-backed constitution despite bitter opposition in Sunni Arab areas where insurgents are battling to topple the Baghdad government, results showed. Iraq’s Electoral Commission, giving final results from the Oct 15 referendum, said 79% of voters backed the constitution against 21% opposed in a poll split largely along Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic lines.
SAME GREENSPAN STRATEGIES: (Oct 26) President George W. Bush named top White House economic adviser Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in place of near-legendary Alan Greenspan as the official in closest control of US interest rates. Bernanke instantly announced his first priority would be “to maintain continuity with the policies and policy strategies of the Greenspan era”.
OPEN POLICY: (Oct 23) The People’s Liberation Army (PLA), now with a force of about 2.3 million, has opened a website to publicise its military material procurement work and ensure its transparency, China National Radio reported. The PLA procurement network, which can be reached at www.plap.cn and is said to be the only website of its type, aims to provide a platform between military material suppliers and buyers with the aim of “integrity, fairness and openness”, the report says.
TRIO GET DEATH: (Oct 29) A Makati regional trial court sentenced to death an Indonesian and two Filipino Muslim militants for their roles in the bloody 2005 Valentine’s Day bombing. The judge convicted all three of the Feb 14 bombing of a passenger bus in Manila’s financial district that killed four people and injured at least 60 others.
ROSA PARKS DIES: (Oct 26) Rosa Parks, the black seamstress whose refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white man sparked a revolution in American race relations, died on Oct 24. The US civil rights pioneer was 92.
US AIR BASE RELOCATION: (Oct 27) The United States has accepted a Japanese proposal for the relocation of a US air station on Okinawa, resolving a dispute that had blocked progress on military realignment talks and caused friction between the two allies.
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