Bombs recovered in ThaiSouth made in Malaysia?

A police officer in southern Thailand has claimed improvised explosive devices seized there were made in Malaysia.

Security forces in the restive province have been instructed to intensify investigations over the seizure of 41 home-made bombs from a pickup truck in Narathiwat yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan wants the authorities to identify the culprits behind the bombs.

“The authorities need to find out who was responsible for bringing the bombs.

“They need to investigate more,” he told reporters today, adding that officers were also instructed to hunt and arrest a suspect who evaded arrest by fleeing into some jungle.

His statement came as Thai security forces in the southern provinces stepped up surveillance following the seizure of the bombs.

Narathiwat police chief Maj Gen Manas Sikamat was quoted as telling the local media today that the bombs were made in neighbouring Malaysia and were intended to harm security officers.

He, however, did not provide any evidence to back his claim about the origin of the bombs.

An unidentified Thai officer quoted by the local media claimed the PVC pipes used for the bombs were not available in Thailand.

Continue reading: FMT

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Ex-Thailand PM Thaksin congratulates Dr Mahathir on #GE14 victory

Former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra took to Twitter today to congratulate Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on his success following Pakatan Harapan’s win over Barisan Nasional yesterday.

The 68-year-old posted a series of tweets and only had positive things to say about Dr Mahathir.

“My sincere congratulations to Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on his spectacular comeback.

“The power of the people has spoken loud and clear that they do not only remember his outstanding legacy but needed his leadership,” he said of the then-fourth prime minister of Malaysia.

Continue reading: Yahoo News

Malaysia govt admits failure: only 33 new houses built for Kelantan’s flood victims

Flood victims in northern states of Malaysia are still waiting for the bulk of critical aid. Its been months since the first wave of raging floods swept away houses and lives, and true to the inefficiency of the Malaysian government – homes have yet to be built for many of those who lost their homes.

In this Dec. 24, 2014 photo, residents using a boat pass by flooded shops in Kuala Krai, Kelantan state, Malaysia. The worst floods in the country in decades that have killed people and displaced more than 100,000. (AP Photo)
In this Dec. 24, 2014 photo, residents using a boat pass by flooded shops in Kuala Krai, Kelantan state, Malaysia. The worst floods in the country in decades that have killed people and displaced more than 100,000. (AP Photo)

So we can, and should, forget about the promises of Najib Razak’s administration? After all, to many, the UMNO-dominated government is not known for being effective and transparent.

Distant Thoughts of Malaysia

‎Barely getting enough sleep, unpredictable schedules and erratic meals; with the work constantly looming above me and the blistering heat of Thailand’s summer. I miss the quiet moments, in a simple Malaysian ‘kampung’ (village) somewhere near Sungai Pelek and the calming presence of a sunset at the Bagan Lalang beach.

I must make plans for another trip, back to Malaysia, for outreach work and pleasure. Hmmm. July, sounds good to me; and maybe I will stay there a bit longer.

Domination of the Internet: Mass Police Surveillance of Social Media

With the #KitaLawan rallies, and the swift crackdowns of opposition leaders and activists, the Malaysian police chief wasted no time. His warning was simple, the mass arrests, and one that is similar to what we see of regimes in Southeast Asia within a period of a decade or so.

Of course the main question is why the staggering number of 126,000 police personnel conducting surveillance activities on social media? And what of violent crimes and corruption, and the public’s concern of growing insecurity? I’m curious, how the top cop plans to conduct his mass surveillance program, if one could actually call it a program.

Its ridiculous, naturally. I would think that even Thailand’s junta do not have such a number monitoring the millions of Thais on the internet, particular those resisting the heavy-handed tactics of the army and police.

As it is, I would never underestimate the capabilities of the Malaysian police force, along with the thousands of online trolls the ruling elites have at their disposal for instigation and misinformation purposes. Push comes to shove, the cops are capable of intense perseverance and the occasional flashes of brilliance.

Its all about the politics, and the sustainability of power, as some would say. The rule of law, or what is perceived as ‘rule’, is bent on the interpretation of who is wielding it and who benefits from the existing state of affairs.

But then again, even politics and the status quo are subjected to the inevitable flow of time, when regimes of old fall thanks to their complacency and are replaced by something different. If educated officials and learned ones are good with the history of the region, then they’ll realise that even 100,000 uniformed personnel will not be able to stop the flow of change.

 

Vulnerability of the Poor to Natural Disasters

Floods, landslides in Malaysia, from Peninsula to Borneo. Over 200,000 people were displaced, torn from their homes by raging nature.

Natural disasters leaving considerable impact on lives, land and livelihood. Whether federal or state governments, the institutions need to share data about natural disasters and poverty. Poorer communities are left marginalized in post-flood Malaysia, particularly rural populations. Repetitive floods, the incredible downpour from monsoon and the continued ignorance of policy makers, increase the vulnerability of the poor. As a result, communities are unable to break the cycle of poverty.

Its crucial for civil society and government agencies to collaborate with affected communities in order to reduce the socio-economic impact. Increased disaster risks due to climate change are also expected to stimulate poverty. Are we taking note of these issues and planning ahead for poverty-reduction and disaster preparedness? Or are we still pointing the finger, or shamelessly indulging with photo-ops when delivering conditional aid to those who have lost their homes, land and income?

Rural communities in Malaysia live in the plantations, fishing villages, farms, settlements and indigenous Orang Asli tribes. Obviously there is a lack of coordinated national effort in relief work, and much of the aid distribution comes from volunteers, among them Dapur Jalanan, which is remarkable but the question is why does it seem that the federal and state governments are unprepared for intervention, much less rebuilding initiatives?