Family’s Raya ‘tradition’ goes viral on Twitter

PETALING JAYA — Saving Eid Mubarak from Thanos? A young couple’s move to inject humour and drama in their annual family greeting for Hari Raya Aidilfitri has caught the eye and imagination of Malaysians on Twitterverse.

Twitter user Nur Afifah Mohd Zubir had on Saturday night shared the creative efforts of her brother and sister-in-law to make their Raya celebrations more memorable, with parodies of popular movie blockbusters in the same spot in the padi fields of Taman Uda in Alor Star, Kedah, for the third year running.

In their latest effort, the family paid tribute to Avengers: Infinity War.

Mohd Zuhairi Mohd Zubir, 29, brandishes Captain America’s shield while his wife Nur Adawiyah Rusly, 30, channels Scarlet Witch, along with their son who wields Thor’s Mjollnir.

The family Raya portrait image with photoshopped “cameos” by Iron Man, Spider-Man, Hulk, Rocket, Groot as well as Thanos and his circular space vessel has been retweeted more than 8,477 times and “favourite” more than 7,479 times since its initial posting at 10.04pm.

Infinity War is a no-brainer for the choice of this year’s theme given the popularity of the film, with the third Avengers instalment just crossing the US$2 billion (RM8 billion) mark, making it the fourth highest grossing movie of all time.

It sits US$60 million (RM240 million) below 2015’s Star Force: The Force Awakens and catching up fast, just 50 days after it opened as of yesterday, and looks set to challenge even Avatar (2009) with US$2.79 billion (RM11.1 billion) and Titanic (1997) US$2.19 billion (RM8.75 billion)

The first Avengers sits at sixth place with US$1.52 billion (RM6.08 billion ) while its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron is at eighth at US$1.41 billion (RM5.64 billion).

Nur Afifah said Mohd Zuhairi and his new family started the movie-themed Raya greetings in 2016 when Nur Adawiyah was pregnant with their first child.

Last year, the family decided to go with Harry Potter, though there was a deviation of the theme for a special reminder of the occasion for Nur Afifah herself last year.

However, Nur Afifah did not mention whether it was Mohd Zuhairi or his wife who masterminded the image manipulation.

Other Malaysian Twitter users appear to have been inspired to come up their own “epic” movie themed versions for the Raya celebrations, as can be seen in their creations tagged to Nur Afifah’s account.

‘Go Global with eBay’ attracts 3,500 local entrepreneurs

KUALA LUMPUR — Global e-commerce platform eBay, which launched its “Go Global with eBay” initiative almost a year ago, has managed to attract more than 3,500 Malaysian businesses.

Head of Seller Growth (SEA Cross Border Trade) Wong Mei Inn said eBay was focused on offering localised seller support to catalyse the growth of cross-border trade in the country.

“Efforts in Malaysia are being localised across Asean with a strong focus on Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia,” she said.

Wong said sellers eligible for the Managed Account Programme could manage their goods more efficiently with access to overseas warehouses, on top of collaboration with carriers and third-party providers via eBay.

“Our focus on increasing the sales growth in Malaysia is to enable the local entrepreneurs to go global,” she said.

“We provide them with access to foreign markets with low entry barriers to enable these entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and generate revenue.”

Wong emphasised that the aim was to leverage on the top three export destinations for Malaysian sellers — the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom — for them to expand their businesses and in turn contribute to the country’s sales growth.

She said the US remained the top export destination for businesses based in Malaysia, with 55 per cent of sellers exporting there.

“The ongoing strength of the US dollar continues to provide good momentum for Malaysia’s eBay exporters, given its position as eBay’s largest market,” she said.

Wong said the retail export opportunity on eBay was accessible to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and businesses compared with the more traditional export industries.

“Malaysian businesses not only have the opportunity to grow their business further with the local market. Being on platform enables them to tap into eBay’s global market — accessed by 170 million active buyers worldwide buying items from over one billion listings in our marketplace,” she said.

She said eBay was committed to increasing the number of Malaysian SMEs with an online presence and export.

“Malaysia is in a strong position to benefit from the burgeoning cross-border trade opportunity created by e-commerce,” she said.

Wong said as a one-stop solution for Internet retail, eBay was a global platform with local players in mind.

She also said eBay took a strong stance against online piracy and the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and products that infringe on individuals’ intellectual property (IP) rights.

“We created a Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) programme allowing owners of IP rights and their authorised representatives to report eBay listings that may infringe on those rights,” she said. — Bernama

20,000 attend Sabah Aidilfitri open house

KOTA KINABALU — About 20,000 people attended the Sabah Cabinet ministers’ Aidilfitri open house here yesterday.

The open house from 10am to 1pm served a variety of local delights such as satay, ketupat, lemang and rendang, and was held at the compound of Menara Tun Mustapha (Yayasan Sabah) in Likas.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the presence of so many guests reflected the spirit of unity among the people of diverse races and religions.

“The attendance of so many guests from all districts in Sabah to celebrate Aidilfitri also showed their support towards the new state government,” he told reporters.

“As such, we hope those at the grassroots level will continue to work together to develop Sabah. With unity of the people and government, our efforts to develop the state will be achieved.”

Also present at the open house were Sabah Yang di-Pertua Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and his wife Toh Puan Norlidah R.M. Jasni.

Others included deputy chief ministers Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, Datuk Jaujan Sambakong and Christina Liew and several state ministers. — Bernama


Mat Sabu on new role and shifting to ‘Dracula house’

KUALA LUMPUR — “Challenging, being challenged and one of the most crucial positions in the government”.

That was the reaction of Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, 63, when asked about his venture into the ministry.

Better known as Mat Sabu, he said that after more than three weeks, he is still adjusting to ministry and the role he should play.

“This Mindef (Ministry of Defence) family is full of protocol, mostly during meetings with the sultan and royal heads of state who are patrons of a particular branch of service in the Armed Forces,” he said.

“As a regular person, I have to adhere to protocol, especially regarding my attire and other matters. This is something new and challenging but I can, God willing, adapt myself in a short time.”

Mat Sabu, who is also the Parti Amanah Negara president, and 12 other Cabinet members took their oaths of office before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V on May 21 following Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the general election.

He said although he is known as a person with a sense of humour, he took seriously any decisions being made pertaining to the ministry besides ensuring such decisions are implemented as soon as possible.

“When decisions are made in our meetings, we have to be serious and be firm and resolute about these decisions. So those who know me well will know how to differentiate which one is a joke and which one is serious,” he said.

Asked whether he knew he would be appointed the defence minister, he said initially he was expected to be appointed the home minister and had received many congratulatory messages from his friends.

However, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad later announced he was appointed the defence minister, while Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was named the home minister.

On his family life following his appointment as a minister, Mat Sabu said it did not change much but his new job demands meant he has to leave home early and return home late at night.

“Sometimes I feel that at my age I should have retired but I have only started working. So my children are also making jokes and teasing me about it,” he said.

“Of course, I feel a bit tired but to admit being tired is out of the question because my boss, Dr Mahathir, at 93, is still working. So he is motivating me to work.”

Mat Sabu said he and his family will move from their home in Shah Alam to a new residence being provided by the federal government soon.

“I will move to a government house, God willing, in Bukit Persekutuan, an old house that some people call the Dracula house,” he laughed.

“Now, early in the morning, outriders and a driver have to fetch me and the people around the housing area are excited to live next to a minister as neighbours. But in another few months, they will probably be uncomfortable with the blaring sirens.” — Bernama

Chow moves from squatter home to CM’s office

GEORGE TOWN — Chow Kon Yeow is the new Penang chief minister but little is known about how he made his way up the ranks.

He has been a Pengkalan Kota assemblyman (1990-1995), a Padang Kota assemblyman (2008-present) and a Tanjong MP (1999-2008 and present).

After Barisan Nasional (BN) lost the state in 2008, he also became the state local government, traffic management and flood mitigation committee chairman, a position he held for the past 10 years.

Asked about the scarcity of his background information, Chow said it was because he preferred to remain low-key.

The 60-year-old grew up sharing a room with his parents in a squatter settlement in Jalan Chan Sow Lin, Kuala Lumpur.

He is the sixth of nine children and his parents worked in a foundry near
their home.

Chow’s brothers also joined the same industry, as did Chow during school holidays to earn extra income.

After he finished his Form Six from TAR College in 1977, Chow worked in a civil engineering firm as a trainee draftsman for two years before he enrolled at Universiti Sains Malaysia to study Social Science in 1980.

He also had a brief stint as a reporter and a sub-editor with the National Echo between 1984 and 1986 following his graduation.

He then became Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary and went on to win the Pengkalan Kota state seat in 1990 as an opposition assemblyman.

When he lost in the 1995 general election, Chow went into a trading business with his friends selling clocks and tau sar pneah (bean paste pastry) for two years.

But the siren song of politics beckoned and he returned to prepare for the general election in 1999.

Then, he won the Tanjong parliamentary seat and remained so until 2013 when he made way for Ng Wei Aik to contest the seat.

Chow won the Padang Kota state seat in 2008, avenging his losses to Gerakan’s Teng Chang Yeow in 1999 and 2004.

He defended the state seat in 2013 and last month’s general election. He also defended his Tanjong parliamentary seat after Ng was dropped.

When former chief minister Lim Guan Eng moved to Putrajaya following Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the elections, Chow was named as his replacement.

Chow said he had always believed all major state government decisions should be made only after consultation with the party and its allies.

Though he was never openly critical of his predecessor, he said the previous state government had been “quite free to do whatever the state government thinks is appropriate” without allowing the party to agree or disagree.

Now in charge, he said he will be more open not only to DAP but also its partners in PH before taking major policy decisions.

“I have a more inclusive type of leadership. I don’t know how well it will work. Sometimes, when you are in government, you want to do things fast and quickly and you think the party will support you, but it may not happen that way,” he said.

Being more inclusive may “put him in trouble” as seeking feedback from others may hinder fast decision-making, but he is a firm believer that all components should contribute to the process.

Chow said the coalition and his party must continue to learn from their own as well as rivals’ mistakes to avoid the same fate.

“It tells us that in politics, we must stay relevant to the cause of the people. It shows that the people think that BN is no longer relevant, at least the component parties feel that way.”

Chow said it was also crucial for DAP to stay true to its principles of fighting for a “Malaysian Malaysia”, equal opportunities, nation-building, institutional reform, the eradication of corruption, and of being people-centric.

Residents hope Pangkor gets duty-free status soon

PANGKOR — If Pangkor is given duty-free status, it will certainly boost economic growth and breathe life into the resort island of 25,000 inhabitants.

Following the collapse of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in Perak and the federal government after the 14th general election, residents here are unsure if plans to to transform the island — inhabited mostly by people dependent on sea produce — will proceed.

It was announced in Budget 2018, tabled in October last year, that Pangkok would be declared tax free, with the exception of tobacco, alcohol and vehicles.

The residents now hope the Pakatan Harapan (PH) state government under Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu will continue to renew or rebrand the island, as well as prove the new administration’s concern in safeguarding the welfare of
the people.

A resort operator in Pasir Bogak, Asmadi Teh, 55, who hails from Kampung Teluk Gedung here, said Pangkor needs change to ensure it continues to be the choice of tourists.

“The island will be bustling with tourists during school holidays and weekends, but the situation is different and rather quiet on normal days,” he told Bernama.

Asmadi said it is necessary to upgrade the infrastructure and facilities.

“We are hoping that Pangkor will be given duty-free status, thereby redefining the tourism sector as well as socio-economic activities to bring it on par with other duty-free islands such as Pulau Langkawi,” he said.

Chan Eng Hoo, 48, from Kampung Sungai Pinang, said the state government should intensify tourism promotion on the island because local traders have seen a decline in business revenue in recent years.

“This is due to various factors, including people who are increasingly cautious about spending, given that the economic situation is still uncertain, even though the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is zero-rated,” said Chan, who has been dealing in marine products for the past 18 years.

A foodstall operator near the Lumut jetty, Mohd Salleh Ismail, 42, hopes Pangkor will be declared fully duty-free, which will help to rebuild Lumut.

“We hope business conditions will improve because the atmosphere here is quite gloomy due to fewer visitors over the past two to three years,” he said.

Tourists Abd Karim Wahidun, 29, from Klang, and R. Darmindren, 33, from Batu Caves, Selangor, believe that if Pangkor were to be declared duty-free, it will excel as a tourist destination.

This is because the island is synonymous with “budget travel”, with the distance between Pangkor and Kuala Lumpur considered near.


Is it illegal to broadcast World Cup matches at ‘mamak’ shops? Here’s what the law says

KUALA LUMPUR — There’s no better way to enjoy a World Cup match than with friends and a cup of teh tarik at your favourite mamak spot.

After Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo’s announced at the end of May that state broadcaster RTM would be airing 41 football matches — and possibly more — the question arose as to whether the biggest beneficiary would be restaurant owners, especially those who cannot afford to subscribe to Astro.

So, if broadcasters are paying such a huge sum for the rights, is it totally fine for a restaurant to show a match?

The answer is YES, as long as your favourite mamak spot has a capacity of fewer than 5,000 spectators.

A document from Fifa’s official website gave a clearer insight, stating that public viewing events are broken down into Commercial Public Viewing Events, Non-Commercial Public Viewing Events, and Special Non-Commercial Public Viewing Events.

A mamak restaurant would fall under the “Non-Commercial Public Viewing Event” category, which means if you are a restaurant owner— with a capacity of 5,000 and below — no licence is required.

Another rule under this category states that you are not allowed in any way gain commercial benefits from airing the matches. So, as long as you do not sell any World Cup merchandise, you are safe.

Selling mamak shop food such as roti canai, teh tarik, thosai and mee goreng would not be considered a commercial benefit but a poster or signboard that carries the words “Fifa World Cup” is a big NO.

Section 6 (No Use of Competition Marks) of the Fifa Regulations for Public Viewing Events states that an exhibitor shall not use, nor authorise the use of any Competition Marks (or any part thereof) as all copyright and intellectual property rights are exclusively owned by Fifa.

Thus, symbol, emblem, logo or mark which, in Fifa’s opinion, is similar to, or is a derivation or imitation of, any of the Competition Marks is still
strictly prohibited.

Delays and replays are also strictly prohibited. A “Non-Commercial Public Viewing Event” must commence coverage 20 minutes prior to kick-off and until at least 10 minutes after the completion of the match.

A public viewing event will be considered as a “Commercial Public Viewing Event” if the exhibitor stages it for commercial purposes — by charging an entrance fee, or hosting activities in relation to the World Cup.

An event only falls under the “Special Non-Commercial Public Viewing Event” if the exhibitor has a space of more than 5,000 spectators.

So, Malaysians and restaurant owners relax — it’s totally legal to eat nasi lemak and have a cup of teh tarik at your favourite mamak spot while enjoying some World Cup action.


Shake-up among police, Immigration top brass

PAGOH — The Immigration Department and the police force will both be restructured to avoid overlaps that have caused confusion, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday.

He said both enforcement agencies under his ministry recorded the highest number of complaints, resulting in negative perceptions towards the government.

“The reshuffle is important to ensure the two agencies and other agencies implement the policies and laws of the country in a transparent as well as uncompromising manner,” he told reporters at the Pagoh Sports Complex where he hosted a Hari Raya open house.

Muhyiddin, who is also the Pagoh MP and Bukit Gambir assemblyman,
said the reshuffle involving senior officers will only be finalised after he meets with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“The restructuring measures of the top officers in the police force may involve other agencies under the Home Ministry and will have an effect on the respective agency’s existing leadership,” he said.

Muhyiddin said his ministry has received many complaints regarding the handling of illegal immigrants.

“When we examine the problem, we find a messy structure involving the role of the police and the Immigration Department,” he said.

“The parties involved include syndicates bringing in illegal immigrants through improper channels. There are scams, corruption, scandals and it has caused the issue of illegal immigrants to be unresolved for a long time.

“Because it’s messy, we have to clean it up and it will take some time.”

More than 20,000 guests turned up at the Hari Raya celebrations. Muhyiddin and his wife Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman were present to greet the guests.

Also present were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian, Rural Development Minister Rina Mohd Harun and Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Muhyiddin also said he has put his era with Umno behind him and regards the party’s current affairs as of no concern to him.

“I don’t care about Umno. Sorry, I am not concerned as to who is contesting what,” he said when asked about the party’s upcoming elections.


Stop issuing support letters, says Syed Saddiq

PAGOH — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman yesterday urged the authorities to review the issuance of support letters by politicians amid a power abuse controversy dogging a party leader over Ramadan bazaar stalls in Kuala Lumpur.

The Muar MP also urged public servants to act without fear or favour to prevent corruption from proliferating under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.

“It is time the authorities look at the implications that such support letters may have,” he told reporters at a Hari Raya open house hosted by Home Minister and Pagoh MP Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at the Pagoh Sports Complex.

Syed Saddiq was weighing in on Bukit Bintang PPBM Youth leader Mohd Noorhisyam Abdul Karim, who is alleged to have abused his political connections over the renting of stalls at the Ramadan bazaar in Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur.

DAP Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun has admitted issuing a letter of support to Noorhisyam, saying he only intended to help traders who were unable to obtain the limited bazaar lots to set up business for the lucrative Raya period. He also denied profiting from the move.

Syed Saddiq said civil servants have the right to reject requests for favours from politicians, including himself.

The 25-year-old reiterated that PPBM takes a serious view of corruption allegations, especially those implicating the party or its members.

“We will study the issue. There is a need to know who ordered the unauthorised collection of the money,” he said.

Syed Saddiq was the centre of attraction at the Hari Raya open house as he was surrounded by his admirers from all races and backgrounds who requested endless selfie moments with him.

The PH’s rising political star obliged despite unintentionally taking the limelight away from the hosts.

The first-term Muar MP took 15 minutes and had to be escorted to his dining area at the front of the hall where Muhyiddin, Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian and other PH leaders were present.

Approached later, Syed Saddiq said he was taken by surprise at the crowd’s constant requests for selfies and giving words of advice to him.

“It’s a good sign and most of the people here are also my Muar constituents,” he said, shrugging off the celebrity-like status accorded to him earlier.

Muhyiddin: First task is to arrest Jho Low

PAGOH — Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday his first order after returning to the Cabinet was for the arrest of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho as the main person of interest in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption scandal.

He said the 36-year-old Penang-born, popularly known as Jho Low, has been on the authorities’ wanted list since last month.

“I gave out the order to arrest Low when I first entered the Home Ministry as he was seen as instrumental in the 1MDB scandal involving the previous prime minister,” Muhyiddin told reporters at the Pagoh Sports Complex where he hosted a Hari Raya open house.

“For me, this responsibility lies with the police, together with related agencies that have been formed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in managing the 1MDB issue.”

Muhyiddin is confident the police will be able to arrest Low and four others who are wanted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The four are Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil Nik Othman, the former managing director of SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of 1MDB; Tan Kim Loong, a signatory to the funds; Tang Keng Chee, a former 1MDB investment director; and former 1MDB general counsel Loo Ai Swan.

MACC has been looking for them to assist in investigations into US$4.5 billion (RM17.9 billion) allegedly siphoned from 1MDB between 2009 and 2015.

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