Five of the men detained for allegedly supporting a defunct militant group have had a writ of habeas corpus thrown out on account of their "bodies" having already been dragged to court while another is seeking to declare a provision under Sosma unlawful.

In other news, an illegal rubbish dumpsite has been found full of foodpanda (and yes, their name isn't capitalised) trash; Cyprus says it "mistakenly" gave Jho Low citizenship; and, Umno Youth speaks its usual nonsense.

Of corpus-es, pandas and other bears

Habis corpus?

Your body has already been brought to court, so back to jail you go.

That, in essence, is what a judicial commissioner told five men, including two DAP assemblymen, who filed a writ of habeas corpus after being detained and charged for apparently having links with the defunct militant group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Habeas corpus, when literally translated from Latin, means “you may have the body”, is a writ which ‘officially’ dates back to as far as the Magna Carta, but actually has been in use for much longer in various forms. What it allows, basically, is for someone detained to challenge that detention and demand his or her day in court. In short, it protects people from unlawful detention.

So it was that these five men filed a writ through their lawyer, DAP politician Ramkarpal Singh, to challenge their detention, which they claimed was unlawful. But judicial commissioner Ahmad Shahril Mohd Salleh ruled against them as the five (together with seven others) had already been produced in court and charged with offences under the Penal Code.

Meanwhile, a grocery store owner who was one of the “LTTE Dozen”, has also filed a suit to declare unlawful a provision under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, and therefore rendering his detention under the provision illegal. The man, B. Subramaniam, is challenging Section 4(5) of the Act, which allows police to detain anyone for up to 28 days without trial.

Since the detention of the 12, many have been up in arms over the fact that they were arrested for allegedly supporting a long-defunct militant organisation; it’s been a decade since a push by the Sri Lankan military utterly destroyed LTTE.

So why bring forth this sudden LTTE bogeyman? Well, according to another DAP politician, it’s because of Zakir Naik. Yes, folks. Everyone’s favourite controversial preacher is being blamed for this, too, even if the accusation seems to be in tinfoil hat territory.

And yes, this is the first time you’re ever reading something about Zakir Naik on this newsletter that isn’t about what a louse the man is.

Naughty panda?

Just when online food delivery company foodpanda must have thought it was beginning to rid itself of the controversy over its new payment scheme for riders, another “scandal” of sorts has cropped up — thanks to a British chappie who loves his Orang Asli, having spent part of his life growing up with the Temiar in Kelantan.

Meet Andy Hickson. He loves the environment and is always disturbed whenever he finds illegal dumpsites. So you can imagine how perturbed he must’ve been (because while the rest of us get pissed off, the Brits just get a little perturbed), when on a walk near the Orang Asli Hospital in Gombak, he found a large dumpsite strewn with garbage which included quite a number of foodpanda thermal bags.

Dumping in Gombak has been going on for years, with as many as 60 sites having been identified. But this, we take it, is the first time foodpanda bags have been found among the crap people throw out. 

The company has since responded, saying it had gotten in touch with Hickson, who has promised to take its representatives to the site so it can investigate what happened. The company says sustainability is one of its key concerns and so it engages another company to properly dispose of its unusable bags. The process, it said, involved breaking down the bags according to material and recycling where possible. Yeeeeeah, that didn’t really happen here. 

Nobody knows yet what happened. Most likely, the other company may not have done what they were supposed to. But it could also perhaps be due to the recent strike by foodpanda riders over the new payment scheme. But this would be a little hard to believe, considering riders pay a deposit of sorts for the bags, and get a full refund when they return the bags. Throwing away the bags would be basically throwing money away and that’s just daft.

Whatever it is, it really shouldn’t just be foodpanda investigating this eyesore. The local council really needs to take action against those found dumping rubbish illegally. And not just Gombak, considering such nonsense occurs all throughout the country. For the love of our environment, do something.

Naughtier bear

Is Teddy Bear Jho Low running out of places to hide?

Low, apparently, was one of “10-15” people who obtained Cypriot citizenship (and that oh so precious passport that comes with it) via a cash-for-citizenship programme with supposedly lax provisions. How did he get it? Well, simply because he threw a few million bucks at a property in Mediterranean island.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has promised to revoke citizenships, saying the were “mistakenly” given to wealthy foreign investors, including Low. But how in the world do you “mistakenly” give someone citizenship? Especially when that someone is at the centre of one of the world’s biggest financial scandals, as Low was when he got this deal back in 2015. 

Following news of his Cypriot citizenship, global citizenship and residence brokerage Henley & Partners were quick to negate rumours it helped Low obtain the passport. The firm said it had rebuffed Low as a client. They haven’t explained but maybe their relocation advise extends only to humans and not bears.

Anyway, Low is expected to not have a problem with the revocation of his Cypriot passport. After all, he is reported to have a number of passports belonging to several small Mediterranean and Caribbean countries at his disposal. According to this report, he uses these to crisscross the globe and enter countries in Europe and the Middle East. What we’re wondering is this: have the authorities looked closer to home? Say in Sandakan (click and you’ll get it)?

On another note, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission head honcho Latheefa Koya says the commission has yet to identify RM18.904 billion worth of 1MDB assets. These assets, apparently, are being pursued in five different countries. Would one of these assets be a certain property in Cyprus, then?

Silly Mat Sabu; Tricks are for kids

Silly season has well and truly begun, at least in Tanjung Piai.

Umno Youth has slammed Pakatan Harapan minister Salahuddin Ayub for an apparently “racist and chauvinistic” speech during campaigning for the by-election in the Johor constituency. Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki claims Salahuddin had said the country would be in chaos if Barisan Nasional returned to power, with shootings and arson everywhere.

OK, while Salahuddin’s speech may be a little chauvinistic, and possibly in breach of election laws pertaining to the promotion of “ill-will and hostility”, we really don’t see how it’s racist.

Did BN suddenly (and quietly) become a race? Will we now see another box in forms which says “Please pick one: Malay; Chinese; Indian; BN; Others.”

Meanwhile, Amanah president Mohamad “Mat” Sabu has hit out at his old party, PAS, for supporting the BN candidate from MCA as, in previous by-elections, the party had told Muslims not to vote for non-Muslims. What sort of party changes its tune like that, he asks, adding that PAS didn’t have any principles.

Ah, but Mr Minister, you should understand political expediency when you see it. After all, you were a PAS member for decades before leaving to form your own party. In that time, didn’t you go through whole periods when you alternated between hating and loving DAP?

Mat Sabu and his colleagues need to be a little more careful. They can’t afford to alienate Muslim voters by hitting out at PAS like that. After all, it’s not like the support of the Chinese voters is a done deal for Pakatan.

What’s really mad about this Tg Piai election though, is just how blatantly Pakatan is throwing money around. Agriculture Minister Salahuddin Ayub gave RM5,000 to a Chinese school, weeks after he’d pledged RM2 million to upgrade jetties and assist fishermen. Salahuddin also doled out RM56,000 to a fisherman whose house burned down. And that’s just Salahuddin. Pakatan has also thrown RM11.75 million at the constituency for things like building multipurpose halls, upgrading infrastructure in fields and improving upgrade school halls. 

They spent RM127,776 to install street lamps. Gave RM230,000 as grants to village chiefs. Allocated RM4 million to build futsal courts. 

All this (and our laundry list doesn’t go into all of it, mind you) from the same people who used to regularly accuse BN and Umno of vote buying. But hey, Pakatan says all of this had already been allocated before the by-elections. So it must be all good, then.

Odds and ends and bits and bobs

As usual, a whole bunch of other stuff happened yesterday which we think you should know about, at least in brief:

  • Transport Minister Anthony Loke says the JB-Singapore RTS has been held up till April next year just so important agreements can be written and signed between Malaysia and Singapore. 
  • Meanwhile, Loke says the government will allow Indonesian motorcycle-hailing company Gojek and Malaysian company Dego Ride to begin limited operations here beginning next January. 
  • The MACC is probing not just one, but all 16 land swap deals which caused the Defence Ministry to lose more than half a billion ringgit.
  • Bank Negara Malaysia may introduce cash transfer limits in a move to combat financial crime, says its governor.
  • Here’s one for the animals. One of the men accused of killing a pregnant cat by putting her into a laundromat dryer and turning the machine on has been sentenced to 34 months’ jail and a fine of RM40,000. 
  • Move over Iron Man (oh wait, he’s dead!). Meet Sun Bird, a new Malaysian, keris-wielding superhero with healing powers who has joined the Marvel Universe, via Marvel Future Fight.

“Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself.”

- Eric Clapton -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Nine Mormon women and children have been shot and burned alive in Mexico, near the border with the US. A 13-year-old member of the family, who was unharmed in the attack, walked 14 miles to get help.
  • US diplomat Gordon Sondland has testified he told a top Ukrainian official security assistance would be withheld by Donald Trump until Ukraine publicly met a demand for an “anti-corruption” statement which would help the president’s reelection bid.
  • The US has filed paperwork to begin steps to exit the Paris Agreement concerning climate change. This will make it the only country in the world which will be outside the accord. Meanwhile, a group representing 11,000 scientists have endorsed research which says the world is facing a climate emergency.
  • Chinese Xi Jinping is not fooling around with Hong Kong anymore. Events of the past couple of days have sent Hong Kongers a blunt message: You may hate Carrie Lam, but the territory’s chief executive is here to stay.

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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