Archive for category IT

Art Harun: Sarawak Report ban is laughable and tragic

FMT Reporters | July 20, 2015

Lawyer takes aim at Najib and says the PM prefers to shoot the messenger rather than probe the wrongdoings he has been accused of

PETALING JAYA: The decision by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block access to the Sarawak Report (SR) website on the grounds of national security and public order is both laughable and tragic, said lawyer and human rights activist Art Harun.

In a blog posting where he goes at the prime minister and the government with guns blazing, Art accused Najib Razak of preferring to “shoot the messenger” and asked, “Has that (the ban) got to do with the immediate witch-hunting by our authorities against those who dare publish ‘facts’ rather than investigating the wrong-doings that are so apparent from those facts?”

He was referring to the expose by the Sarawak Report and The Wall Street Journal that USD700 million of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds had found its way into the private bank accounts of Najib. Read the rest of this entry »

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I never realise that we may have a Cabinet Minister who is a “world beater” in having the world’s lowest IQ for Ministers

I never realise that we may have a Cabinet Minister who is a “world-beater” in having the lowest IQ for Ministers in the world.

This thought struck me when I was told about the New Straits Times report today entitled “’Can DAP deny Pua’s alleged links to Justo?’”

The NST report reads:

“Lim Kit Siang and the DAP leadership have been challenged to deny Tony Pua’s involvement with former PetroSaudi International Ltd former executive Xavier Andre Justo.

“’Can Lim Kit Siang and DAP leadership deny that Tony Pua (DAP Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament) has nothing to do with Justo and not involved in any way?

“”Yes or no?’ Barisan Nasional strategic communication director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan posted on Twitter yesterday.”

I am completely befuddled.

I thought Pua could not be clearer when he answered Rahman who asked the first time early this month whether the DAP MP for PJ Utara had met Justo. Read the rest of this entry »

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For his best self-interest, Najib should immediately direct MCMC to stop blocking access to Sarawak Report or he is transforming 1MDB scandal from a local into an international scandal of first magnitude

What a Hari Raya “gift” from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak – blocking access to the Sarawak Report website and overnight undergoing three transformations for Malaysia’s “Father of Transformation”, viz:

• Transforming the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and the posts on the Sarawak Report website from a local scandal into an international scandal of the first magnitude;

• Transforming Najib from a Nothing2Hide to Everything2Hide Prime Minister, all in a matter of 45 days from June 5, 2015 – the date of Najib‘s ill-fated and aborted 1MDB “Nothing2Hide” forum at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

• Transforming Najib from the most Internet-savvy Prime Minister of Malaysia into Malaysia’s most frightened-of-Internet Prime Minister, even violating Tun Mahathir and the Malaysian Government’s 17-year-old Bill of Guarantee of “No Censorship of Internet”.to the world.

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Google I/O is latest round in escalating high-tech arms race

Jon Swartz, Jessica Guynn and Marco della Cava
USA TODAY
May 28, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — Google fired the latest salvos Thursday in an escalating arms race among tech’s Big 4 for the hearts, minds and coding of developers.

At the eighth annual I/O conference here, Google laid out a futuristic road map to throngs of 5,000 software developers, its infantry in the war against Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.

The tech titans are locked in a worldwide skirmish to make devices of all kinds smarter — whether smartphones and tablets, wearable devices, Internet-connected televisions, cars or virtual reality.

With most people on the planet within an arm’s length of an electronic device, the quartet is vying to become the primary vendor supplying technology underpinning five key battlefields — the Internet of Things, autos, virtual reality, mobile payments and wearable devices – worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Read the rest of this entry »

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Khalid’s failure after 48 hours to name police officers who had met Sirul in Sydney immigration detention centre and rebut the former corporal convict’s accusation that the top cop in the country had lied is the top national embarrassment of the year

Malaysia is probably the first country in the world with the top cop who operates in the Internet time zone, who seems to be running the 130,000-strong Royal Malaysian Police from his twitter post, twittering immediate police commands to police subordinates to harass and investigate Opposition leaders and civil society activists for alleged offences under the Sedition Act and other laws affecting civil rights such as freedom of speech, expression and assembly.

As a result, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has established a reputation of being twitter trigger-happy and earned the moniker of Twitter Cop, thereby raising different expectations from previous IGPs.

In the past, the public expect the IGP to respond within a day to issues of national importance affecting the police.

However, under Twitter Cop who operates in the Internet time zone of 24/7/365, the public expects Khalid to respond with faster speed in line with the new Social Habit on the social media. Read the rest of this entry »

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Controversial Malaysian Investment Fund’s Computer Records Wiped Off

By Our Correspondent
Asia Sentinel
February 15, 2015

All computers and servers at 1Malaysia Development Bhd, the troubled investment fund backed by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance, were called in and wiped clean just before the end of last year, the investigative blog Sarawak Report reported on Feb. 13.

1MDB employees told the blog that all computers and records at the fund were called in and cleaned, including personal computers and mainframe servers, supposedly because the fund’s system was hacked.

The chief economic advisor of the fund, which was started in 2009, is Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. It reportedly faces RMB43 billion (US$12.01 billion) in debt and has been unable to meet loan payment dates several times. It was forced to go to Bank Negara, the country’s central bank, to ask for an extension in the payment dates, raising concern that its financial problems could threaten the entire Malaysian banking system. The bulk of the loans were made by the government-linked Malayan Banking Bhd or Maybank, and RHB Bank.

Sources confirmed the story to Asia Sentinel but the reason for the action appears unclear. It may stem from the fact that Sarawak Report, which is published by Clare Rewcastle Brown, announced last September that she had access to the fund’s emails. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spyware Embedded by U.S. in Foreign Networks, Security Firm Says

By NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER
New York Times
FEB. 16, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — The United States has found a way to permanently embed surveillance and sabotage tools in computers and networks it has targeted in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and other countries closely watched by American intelligence agencies, according to a Russian cybersecurity firm.

In a presentation of its findings at a conference in Mexico on Monday, Kaspersky Lab, the Russian firm, said that the implants had been placed by what it called the “Equation Group,” which appears to be a veiled reference to the National Security Agency and its military counterpart, United States Cyber Command.

It linked the techniques to those used in Stuxnet, the computer worm that disabled about 1,000 centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. It was later revealed that Stuxnet was part of a program code-named Olympic Games and run jointly by Israel and the United States.

Kaspersky’s report said that Olympic Games had similarities to a much broader effort to infect computers well beyond those in Iran. It detected particularly high infection rates in computers in Iran, Pakistan and Russia, three countries whose nuclear programs the United States routinely monitors.

Some of the implants burrow so deep into the computer systems, Kaspersky said, that they infect the “firmware,” the embedded software that preps the computer’s hardware before the operating system starts. It is beyond the reach of existing antivirus products and most security controls, Kaspersky reported, making it virtually impossible to wipe out.

In many cases, it also allows the American intelligence agencies to grab the encryption keys off a machine, unnoticed, and unlock scrambled contents. Moreover, many of the tools are designed to run on computers that are disconnected from the Internet, which was the case in the computers controlling Iran’s nuclear enrichment plants. Read the rest of this entry »

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If there is nothing wrong with his Facebook post calling on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses, why has Ismail Sabri deleted the post?

Malay Mail Online today reported that “due to his busy work schedule” the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is not expected to give his police statement this week over his controversial Facebook post call on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses.

Yes, Ismail is now very busy basking in the glory of a new “hero” status after political pressure was invoked in the Cabinet, resulting not only in 35 Ministers, but also the two MCA Minister who had been breathing fire and brimstone against Ismail’s racist remarks before yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, to meekly accept that Ismail’s call on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses were actually a very smart call to all traders and not at those of a certain race to reduce prices!

Nobody knows how the two MCA Ministers could square the circle, but clearly they have acquired such superior art of political somersaults not understood by ordinary mortals, including ordinary politicians.

However, if the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s tweet directing a police investigation into Ismail’s Facebook post making the racist call to Malays to boycott Chinese businesses is still to be taken seriously after the Cabinet clearance of Ismail’s Facebook post, shouldn’t the police be investigating the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the entire Cabinet to learn how they could transform Ismail’s racist call to Malay consumers to boycott to Chinese businesses into a call to all traders and not at those of a certain race to reduce prices? Read the rest of this entry »

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Bill Gates Also Worries Artificial Intelligence Is A Threat

Eric Mack
Forbes
1/28/2015

Aside from founding Microsoft, Bill Gates is known as an all-around smart guy who has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to saving the world. It would seem that this makes his opinions worth considering when he tells us that he, like fellow brainiac Stephen Hawking and Tesla Motors founder / Iron Man inspiration Elon Musk, fears that artificial intelligence could pose a threat to humanity.

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Wednesday, Gates echoed the concerns expressed over the past year by Hawking, Musk and others that something vaguely resembling the science fiction scenarios from the Terminator and Matrix franchises could come to pass if the potential of artificial superintelligence is not taken seriously. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do Umno/BN want Malaysia to slide down the slippery slope to be a failed state by appointing an UMNO stooge to be Chairman of MCMC?

For nine days since the beginning of the year, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has been without a head, as the former Chairman Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi had been informed that his contract which expired on Dec. 31, 2014 would not be renewed.

Utusan Malaysia editor Zulkifli Jalil said in a commentary that Sharil’s contract was not renewed because MCMC under his watch had given free reign to those who had allegedly incited racial hatred, thereby failing in its role as a regulator.

Probably Sharil should have acted firmly against those who had exploited the cyberspace and misused and abused the social media with lies and falsehoods to incite racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension.

And top of the list of those guilty of such transgressions on the Internet in the past few years when Sharil was Chairman of MCMC would be the UMNO mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia and the army of UMNO cybertroopers, who had no qualms or compunctions in disseminating lies and falsehoods on the Internet to incite racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension. Read the rest of this entry »

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Four twitter carpet-bombing of my twitter site by some 100 UMNO Twitter Bomber multiple accounts in nine days – two on the RCIIIS report and two on Mashitah Ibrahim

Yesterday morning, the Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government and Sabah Barisan Nasional secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan issued a statement on the mounting and widespread disappointment and disaffection among Sabahans to the 368-page Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS), and the Barisan Nasional government’s lack of sincerity and political will to resolve the 40-year nightmare and problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Rahman said: “My job and that of my colleagues is not to convince the likes of Jeffrey Kitingan and Lim Kit Siang. Our job is to convince the people because that is what matters most.”

This statement formed the basis of the latest series of attacks by UMNO Twitter Bombers on my twitter site by multiple accounts, with 30 spam attacks on my site at 10.50 am.

The UMNO Twittter Bombers, human and robotic, first showed their hands in their targeting of my twitter site during the launching of the RCIIIS Report in Kota Kinabalu on Dec. 3 at 4 pm, when some 100 tweet accounts, both human but most robotic, launched a “carpet-bombing” of my tweet site, lasting some 90 minutes from 3.54 pm to 5.32 pm, with the most intensive attack registered at 4.11 pm with 46 spam attacks.

There were 49 same tweet attacks in five minutes, delivered in three waves – 17 tweets at 3.54 pm; 4 tweets at 3.58 pm and 28 tweets at 3.59 pm.

We have compiled a list of the tweet attacks and these UMNO Twitter Bomber accounts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Inside the battle for Ask.fm, the site where Islamic State recruited three American teens

By Caitlin Dewey
Washington Post
December 12, 2014

When three teenage girls from Denver left their homes for an Islamic State camp in Syria two months ago, their parents — and the FBI — were quick to search social media for clues to their escape. And in the weeks since the girls were intercepted in Frankfurt and returned home, it’s become pretty clear that they were indeed radicalized and recruited online.

But while accounts of similar Western recruits have fingered major social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, or popular messaging platforms like Kik, a report out from NPR claims another social network, Ask.fm, was actually the major force at play.

Which means Ask.fm — late of several recent cyberbullying and teen suicide scandals — may now officially qualify as the worst-reputed social network on earth. But don’t tell that to the site’s new owner, the blue-chip Internet company IAC: Ask.fm’s new owners are confident they can save the site, trolls and terrorists be damned.

“I absolutely believe rehabilitation is possible if you do the right thing,” said Doug Leeds, the site’s CEO. “There is that perception that [Ask.fm] is a parent’s worst nightmare … but safety is our first priority.”

Unfortunately for Leeds, that reputation has dogged Ask.fm since its beginning. The anonymous question-and-answer site — both a pioneer and an early warning, in the anonymous networking space — was founded in Latvia in 2010, and quickly grew to more than 100 million users in 150 countries. Its premise, both simple and mind-numbingly self-involved, is perfect for the teenage set: Essentially, when you log into Ask.fm, you’re greeted by a series of personal questions other users have left for you, with no indication of who wrote them or how they know you in real life.

You, in turn, get to pontificate to the anonymous masses on topics like “what do you do to fall asleep?” and “what’s the most delicious fruit?” — as well as, naturally, ask anonymous questions, yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

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How a tiny fishing village became the gadget factory of the world, and why that’s just the beginning of its ambitions

By Steve Ranger
TechRepublic

It’s a hot summer evening in Shenzhen, but it’s still cool inside the Apple store. The young shoppers are checking out the phones and nodding along to the music by a British indie band of the early nineties. The music they’re listening to is not only older than they are, it’s also older than most of the mega-city of 12 million people, too.

A mere 35 years ago, Shenzhen was little more than a fishing village clinging to the coast, peering enviously at wealthy Hong Kong across the water. But then it was chosen to become the first of China’s special economic zones under Deng Xiaoping — an area where foreign investment and entrepreneurialism was encouraged.

Since then it has rapidly grown into a massive metropolis — one of the largest cities on the planet — and along the way it has also become the manufacturing heart of the global tech industry. If Silicon Valley is the world’s software epicentre, then Shenzhen is home of hardware. Read the rest of this entry »

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How broadband prices can be lowered

Broadband Issues (5)

G. Sharmila
KiniBiz
September 12, 2014

A perennial problem is that relative to income, broadband prices are still high in Malaysia. With industry experts and analysts saying that prices are not going to come off anytime soon, can measures be taken to remedy the current situation?

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”- Thomas Jefferson

Human beings like the idea of the future because it brings fresh starts and the possibility of righting past wrongs. In the context of broadband pricing, all Malaysians are doubtlessly looking forward to the day when broadband prices become more affordable. In an utopian world, this would mean broadband would become more affordable, as affordable as water and electricity is to us today.

While we’re in an utopian frame of mind, let’s think about what today’s broadband landscape would be like if our government had used Singapore or South Korea as benchmarks on how to rollout a national broadband initiative.

It is indisputable that the National Broadband Plan has resulted in higher broadband penetration in the country, compared to pre-HSBB (High Speed Broadband). And while Telekom Malaysia (TM – the company that owns and operates the HSBB infrastructure) has played a key role in this achievement, the fact remains that the burden of fulfilling the NBP goals rests on one company.

The result of having a single, dominant player as opposed to multiple players building and operating broadband infrastructure is that the market is not as competitive as it could have been. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why broadband access will continue to be pricey

Broadband Issues (4)
G. Sharmila
KiniBiz
September 11, 2014

Telekom Malaysia’s monopoly over the provision of basic broadband infrastructure and its drive for profit, is likely to keep broadband prices in Malaysia high. Only a drastic change in scenario, which is unlikely to happen, will make a difference.

While Telekom Malaysia (TM) has been lauded as the ‘national broadband champion’, particularly after the implementation of phase one of the HSBB (High-Speed Broadband) initiative, many will say that it is not.

TM itself argues, in an e-mailed response to KiniBiz, that there is little room to bring broadband rates down and maintains that there are special circumstances in Malaysia which makes broadband rates here higher than in other countries.

It is now four years since its fibred broadband service Unifi has been introduced, yet prices of the service are still high and so are prices of its Streamyx broadband service, which runs using ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) technology on copper lines. Read the rest of this entry »

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MCMC, Pemandu answer broadband criticisms

Broadband Issues (3)
G. Sharmila
KiniBiz
September 10, 2014

In today’s instalment, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi and Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek, director at the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), reply to criticisms that broadband is expensive and slow in Malaysia.

So why aren’t Malaysians getting cheaper, faster Internet on par with our Asean neighbours? Industry regulator MCMC says the capability is actually there but lack of demand and the need for equitable access are factors accounting for this.

KiniBiz asked MCMC chairman Mohamed Sharil why the target is only 50Mbps by 2018 when Singapore is already able to offer 1Gps to home users. Industry experts say that Telekom Malaysia, the dominant broadband player is believed to be able to offer that capacity to users already and therefore this should be possible.

“While we’re looking at this, we want to be equitable and egalitarian. Even today there are some parts of KL that can be serviced with 100Mbps already. But when we announce 50Mbps it is for every household – any household that wants broadband by that time (2018) will have access to that minimum of 50 (mbps),” says Mohamed Sharil.

“We want access to be equitable. The national target for household access is 50Mbps. By the end of this year we’re looking at 10,000 homes in downtown KL with 100Mbps already . So it’s not that we’re not doing that, we are; but the bigger message is no Malaysian gets left behind,” he adds. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons from South Korea

G. Sharmila
KiniBiz
Sept 9, 2014

Malaysia has its broadband strategy all wrong with some of the lowest speeds in Asean and the highest charges. Perhaps it could learn something from South Korea which has been very successful in increasing broadband penetration.

When you think of the words “high-speed broadband” and are asked to associate an Asian country with it, there’s no doubt that South Korea will be at the top of your list.

It’s hardly surprising then that in its 1Q14 State of the Internet report, Akamai Technologies highlighted that at country/region level, South Korea continued to have the highest average connection speed at 23.6 megabits per second (Mbps) and maintained a broadband adoption rate of 94% in the first quarter.

According to BuddeComm, a global independent telecommunications research firm, South Korea has the world’s highest number of broadband services per capita. Into 2014 over 38% of the population and around 95% of households were broadband subscribers.

It also pointed out that since 2006, South Korea’s policy emphasis has been on completing a Broadband convergence Network (BcN) with wireline speeds of 50-100Mbps per household and 1-2Mbps on wireless connections.

It’s not just high broadband speeds that South Korea is famous for, but also the affordability of high-speed broadband. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why broadband is slower and costlier in Malaysia

G Sharmila
KiniBiz
Sept 8, 2014

Malaysia has ambitions of becoming a developed nation in six years’ time, yet broadband speed and affordability remains a critical, unresolved issue. In fact, research shows that even Thailand is ahead of us in terms of broadband speed and affordability. Where did we go wrong?

Although Malaysia is targeting developed nation status by 2020, our broadband speeds are still lagging behind our closest neighbour Singapore, and even that of Vietnam and Thailand, as shown by a study in April this year by Asean DNA.

The study was highlighted in an article by Asean Briefing, which said that within Asean, Singapore and Thailand have the fastest average Internet speeds at 61 megabits per second (mbps) and 17.7 mbps. Vietnam has an average speed of 13.1 mbps while Cambodia has 5.7 mbps. Malaysia on the other hand, has an average speed of 5.5 mbps. The average Asean Internet speed is 12.4 mbps, which puts our broadband speed well below average.

What’s more disturbing is that while Malaysia lags behind in Internet speeds, it’s service comes at a much higher price – more than triple that of services in countries such as Singapore and Thailand on a comparable basis .

A Comparison of Broadband Speeds and Charges 090914 02For instance, Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s UniFi charges RM199 (US$62.40) a month for its 10mbps fibred Internet service, while as the article by Asean Briefing points out Singapore’s largest telco offers 15 mbps Internet for US$30 a month and Thailand charges around US$25 a month for 12 mbps speeds. Read the rest of this entry »

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What would be the response of the authorities if there is a non-Malay Isma which openly attacked Najib as anti-Chinese or anti-Indian, out to wipe out the Chinese or Indians in Malaysia?

In response to online news reports that Isma had concocted downright lies and falsehoods in its latest accusations of a plethora of crimes and horrors against me like being “anti-Malay”, “gunning for Malays since 1960s” and “wanting to wipe out the Malay race”, I had tweeted yesterday, among others, the following:

1. How should I react? Such blabber. My hair should stand but sorry, No! http://goo.gl/x7MYkW Isma: Kit Siang wants 2wipe out Malay race (Mkini)

2. Should I lose sleep? Will u if some crazy hurl abuse at u? http://goo.gl/OxUefz Isma labels Kit Siang “anti-Malay” – Looi Sue-Chern (TMI)

3. Thankful for live examples of jesters and liars. http://goo.gl/6lCfW8 In reprisal, Isma claims Kit Siang gunning for Malays since 1960s (MMO)

There have been hundreds of responses on the facebook, twitter, blog and online news portals to the wild allegations by Isma and advising me how to react – basically that I should just ignore Isma and that I should sue it until kingdom come! Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for a high-powered squad comprising MCMC, Police and representatives from BN and PR, to clean up social media of incessant incitement of racial and religious animosities and hatred through lies and falsehoods to set Malaysia aflame

The latest criminal harassment and intimidation of DAP National Vice Chairperson and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok for her “Onederful Malaysia CNY 2014” video must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

The police should act under Section 124A of the Penal Code which provides for up to seven-year jail sentence for the offence by anyone who “attempts to overawe by means of criminal force” a Member of Parliament from exercising her lawful powers.

Last night, Utusan Malaysia had, around midnight, sent an SMS alert stating “Seputeh MP Teresa Kok was slapped by an unknown man after a ceramah at Taman Permatang Pauh at 11.30 pm”.

However, the Umno-owned daily soon issued a correction stating that Kok had not been slapped but was instead “handed” a rotten egg by a man, which later broke when they shook hands. Read the rest of this entry »

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