Saturday, March 31, 2007

MORE PICS – ONLINE GAMING Syndicate BUSTED in Selayang; 2 Arrested, 16 Computers Confiscated; KL direct to Philippines for Russian Roulette & Baccarat

Now why the fuss about this illegal gaming on-line? It is because the government cannot impose the gaming tax on them. Those who have internet accounts can also access so many on-line sites and can do so if they can established overseas account. The casinos in Genting Highland or for the matter the Empat Ekor (4-D) punting are all subjected to the gaming tax and the government collects millions through this sin tax.. They cannot allow this form of “on-line” gaming to continue as it will affect the tax coffers.

ABOVE & BELOW: the 16 Computers being carted away for being used as illegal on-line gaming

= = = ==
Kuala Lumpur; Thursday: police raided an Internet Café near Selayang Wholesale market for being involved in illegal on-line gaming.

ABOVE: The well set up internet cafe where you can used it for anything and (BELOW) ACP Ahmad Ibrahim briefing newsmen "how to play games?"

Two male operators were arrested. According to ACP Ahmad Ibrahim, software is installed that connects directly from KL to the Philippines where the games are organized.

ABOVE: ACP Ahmad demonstrating the game on line and BELOW the reporters were amused

All transactions are done through accounts with password protection.

ABOVE & BELOW: the Philippines operator dealing cards in a Baccarat game

No cash is involved. Losers will have their amounts debited and winners will have the amounts credited through password controlled accounts.

ABOVE: The On-line version Baccarat and BELOW: the Roulette version

The police believe the syndicate has been operating for over 2 months and this syndicate is using Hong Kong currency as the mode of transactions.

= = = now for some real stuff

Baccarat Rules

Baccarat is a relatively basic and easy card game where participants place bets and watch the action unfold. Different from Blackjack, players in baccarat are not required to make decisions during the game, but only before the hand is dealt. Players can bet on the side of the house, the player, or for a tie.The object of the game is to bet for the side whose cards have a point total closest to 9. Point totals are calculated in the following way:

* aces count as 1

* cards 2 through 9 count at face value, a

* 10 as well as all face cards count as 0.

However, it's important to note that if you`re dealt a 9 and a 7, for example, the total is not 16, but 6. If you`re dealt a 3 and an 8, the total is not 11, but 1. In other words, it's impossible to have a combination of cards that totals more than 9.

In Baccarat, the dealer deals 4 cards, 2 each for the house and player. If the point total of either or both sides is 8 or 9, it's called `a natural` and no more cards are dealt. If the point total of both sides is the same, of course, it's a tie. The only complication in Baccarat is when the house or the player's points, after the initial two cards, don't add up to a natural, or when there is no tie. In this case, one additional card will be dealt according to specific rules as described below.

If the player's initial hand adds up to 6 or more, he must stand and will not be dealt additional cards. For 5 or less, the player will be dealt an additional card. If the house hand, meanwhile, adds up to 7 or more, the house must stand. If the house total adds up to 0, 1 or 2, the house must take an additional card.

If the house hand totals 3, and the player's third card is anything other than 8 (in Baccarat, the player receives his cards before the house), the house will hit. If the house hand totals 4, and the player's third card is anything other than 1, 8, 9, or 0, the house will hit. If the house hand totals 5, and the player is dealt a 4, 5, 6, or 7, the house will hit. And if the house hand totals 6, and the player's third card is 6 or 7, the house will hit.

Payoffs in Baccarat are very straightforward. If you bet on a winning player's hand, you`ll be paid at 1 to 1. If you bet on a winning house hand, you`ll also be paid at 1 to 1. If you bet on a tie, the payoff is 8 to 1. Online Baccarat tables usually have a minimum bet of $1 and a maximum bet of $250. Check with your online casino for particular ranges and percentages.

= = =


Roulette is a game with a wide variety of betting options and techniques. Played at a roulette table with a roulette wheel and a ball, and you are essentially betting on the number or color of the slot where the ball is to eventually stop. The minimum and maximum bets vary so check on your online casino's site.

Your bet payoff depends on the kind of bet you place, and there are lots of choices. It's possible, for example, to bet on odd or even numbers, red or black (or the green "zero" slot), groups of numbers, and also columns and rows. Below is a short description of the kinds of bets you can place, as well as their payoffs:

Single- betting on only one number. Payoff 35 to 1.

Split- betting on any two numbers by placing your bet on the line between them. Payoff 17 to 1.

Trio -betting on three numbers at their intersecting point (possible with either 0, 1, and 2 or 0, 2 and 3). Payoff 11 to 1.

Corner - betting on four numbers by placing your bet at their intersecting point. Payoff 8 to 1.

Four numbers- betting on the numbers 0, 1, 2, and 3 by placing your bet at the intersection of 0 and 3. Payoff 9 to 1.

Street - betting on a row of three numbers by placing your bet at the end of the row. Payoff 11 to 1.

Line - betting on two "streets" of numbers by placing your bet at the end of both rows, on the line between the rows. Payoff 5 to 1.

Dozen - betting on the "First 12," "Second 12," or "Third 12" boxes, as marked, covering 12 numbers each. Payoff 2 to 1.

Column - betting on a column of numbers by placing your bet in any of the three "2 to 1" boxes on the ends of the table. Like betting on dozens, columns cover 12 numbers. Payoff 2 to 1.

High or low - betting on the either the box marked "1 to 18" (low) or "19 to 36" (high). Payoff 1 to 1.

== = = = = =

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Woman Raped & Murdered amongst Tombstones - Christrian Cementry; Throat Slited Open; Subang Man Stabbed in Front of Petrol Station died inside Mesra

It was a foul act on the part of the killer. After satisfying his lust for the moment, he had to resort to snuff out the life of the victim so that "there is no evidence" to incriminate him. That was what he thought. Anyone with info to contact the Cheras Police station 03-9284 2222

When you kill a man, you believe that you kill him forever. Murder is a crime that must then be dealt with. There is never any justification for violence. There is no justification for hatred. There is no justification for murder. Those who indulge in violence for whatever reason are themselves changed, and the purity of their purpose adultered.

Woman found murdered; 30 Mar 2007; NST

KUALA LUMPUR: A woman was found half-naked with her throat slit at a cemetery in Jalan Kuari, Cheras, here yesterday. Her blouse was pulled above her breast and her underclothings clothings were removed.

ABOVE: the terror scene - the Christian cemetery, Jalan Quarry Cheras. BELOW, Dead woman amongst the dead.

The victim was identified as unemployed Vasandy Anmamally, 30, from Seri Petaling. A City Hall employee cleaning the compound of the Christian cemetery found the body among the tombstones at 7am.

City CID chief SAC II Ahmad Ibrahim (ABOVE)said there was a 24cm slit on the victim’s neck with her head almost severed.. "We believe the victim could have been raped before being killed."


Anyone with information can contact the Cheras Police station at 03-9284 2222

ABOVE: The body was taken away together with other evidence (BELOW) found at the site

= = = == = == =

Subang: Mar 29 07

A man knifed in front of a petrol station rushed into the Mesra Shop seeking assistance. But collapsed in a pool of Blood in front of the counter. The killer quickly ran away.

ABOVE: The police came and cordoned off the area (BELOW)

The police is determining the motive of the killing and is appealing to witnesses to come forward to help in the investigation.

ABOVE; The IO came and ask questions to get details and BELOW; The dead person unidentified

= = == = == == == = == == == = == = == =
ABOVE: The police looked around and found the murder weapon (200 mm knife) lying in a drain and (BELOW) The blood soaked clothing

This would most probably be another case marked "murder unsolved"

= = = =

Western Intl. University
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US5 Million REWARD - MALAYSIAN Terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir (a.k.a. Marwan) Trained by killed Jemaah Islamiah bomb expert Dr Azahari Hussin, a Malaysian

This huge reward for his arrest and conviction got the people in Philippines really excited as he is believed now to be in hiding somewhere in the southern islands providing bomb expertise to Abu Sayyaf militants. Informants in the Philippines have so far received at least US$1.6 million in reward money and worldwide US$62 million has been dished out by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security

to more than 40 people with positive leads to the terrorists. But this is a dangerous game to play to venture into the lion’s nest in those islands.
The Malaysian government if offering only a meager sum of RM50,000 (approx US15,000)

= = =
Terrorist Added to Rewards For Justice Most-Wanted List

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has authorized a new reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Zulkifli bin Hir (a.k.a. Marwan), a terrorist believed to be involved in multiple deadly bomb attacks in the Philippines. Zulkifli bin Hir has been added to most-wanted list of the Rewards for Justice program, administered by the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Zulkifli bin Hir is a Malaysian citizen born in 1966 in Muar, Johor. An engineer trained in the United States, he allegedly heads the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) terrorist organization and is a member of Jemaah Islamiyah's central command.

Additionally, anyone with information may contact the nearest Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) or FBI field office. Persons located overseas also may contact the Regional Security Office at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The identity of all individuals providing information will remain strictly confidential.

He has been present in the Philippines since August 2003, where he is believed to have conducted bomb-making training for the Abu Sayyaf Group. His younger brother, Taufik bin Abdul Halim, a.k.a. Dany, was involved in the 2001 Jakarta Atrium Mall bombing, and currently is in detention in Indonesia. Anyone with information on Zulkifli bin Hir, or on any past or planned act of international terrorism against United States persons or property anywhere in the world, is urged to contact the Rewards for Justice program:
= = ==

Malaysian operative was tutored by JI bomb expert; By EDDIE CHUA ; STAR

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Zulkifli Hir, who is high on the United States' wanted terrorist list, is an engineering wizard with a penchant for explosives. Zulkifli, who once worked for a local council in Malaysia, was a protégé of Jemaah Islamiah bomb expert Dr Azahari Hussin, a Malaysian who was killed by Indonesian anti-terrorism police 18 months ago. A regional security source told The Star that Zulkifli and another senior JI operative, Dulmatin, were tutored in the art of bomb-making by Dr Azahari. “They are still providing their expertise to Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines.

“Zulkifli, who heads a JI cell there, is operating in central Mindanao. “We believe he still maintains links with JI leaders in Indonesia and also with Dulmatin,” said the source.

On Tuesday, the United States alleged that Zulkifli was behind a series of deadly bombings in the Philippines and offered a US$5mil (RM17.5mil) reward for information leading to his arrest. The source said that Zulkifli attended primary school in Muar before continuing with his secondary education at Sekolah Datuk Abdul Razak in Seremban from 1979 to 1983. His peers remember him as being a jihad sympathiser from young. “He studied engineering in the US on a Malaysian government scholarship. On completing his degree, he become a mujahideen fighter in Afghanistan,” said the source. He was deployed to the combat zone to defuse Soviet bombs and land mines, which were then recycled and used by the mujahideen to fight the Russians, added the source.

After three years in Afghanistan, he returned to Malaysia where he found a job as a district engineer with a local council. In touch with various militant groups operating in Chechnya and Bosnia, he enlisted Malaysians as freedom fighters in both war-torn countries. Zulkifli, who is married with four children, was said to be the head of the local JI chapter, when police started their probe on his militant activities in 2002. He is also suspected of being behind the JI’s Southern Bank robbery in Petaling Jaya in May 2001, which resulted in his close friend Adnan Daud being gunned down by police. Zulkifli is also wanted by police here for his role in the murder of Lunas assemblyman Dr Joe Fernandez in early 2000. He fled the country in January 2002, when police raided and detained JI members who operated the Lukmanul Hakiem religious school in Ulu Tiram, Johor. In 2003, Malaysian police offered a RM50,000 reward for his capture.

= = == = = =
Friday March 30, 2007; JI man courier for al-Qaeda; By EDDIE CHUA; STAR

PETALING JAYA: The hearing of Jemaah Islamiah (JI) member Mohamad Farik Amin Zubair at a tribunal at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, provided evidence on his role as a courier for the al-Qaeda terrorist network. The indictment against Farik, popularly known as Zubair, revealed that he acted as a middleman in channelling funds for the J.W. Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta in 2003 and to a Cambodian operative to carry out a car-bombing mission. Zachary Abuza, an expert on terrorism at Simmons College in the United States, said that other than revealing Farik's role as a middleman and part of an al-Qaeda suicide team, the tribunal had failed to provide details of his involvement in JI and its network.

He said the evidence was not worthy enough for the Bush administration to name him one of 14 “high-value terrorists.” Farik and Mohammed Nazir Lap Lillie are the two Malaysians imprisoned in the maximum-security detention facility in Guantanamo Bay for alleged terrorist activities. Both were captured in 2003. Transcripts of the tribunal hearing, held on March 13 and 17, obtained by The Star revealed that Farik allegedly obtained funds from al-Qaeda moneyman Ammar al-Baluchi to carry out a series of bombings in this region. Ammar, or Ali Abd al-Aziz, is a nephew of captured al-Qaeda operations boss Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and cousin of 1993 World Trade Centre bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef. The report stated that Hambali, head of JI and an al-Qaeda operative in South-East Asia, ordered his brother Rusman Gunawan to contact Ammar in Karachi to secure the money.

Farik did not deal directly with Rusman to secure the al-Qaeda funds but used Nazir to get in touch with Osama bin Laden’s moneyman. Ammar was captured with a higher-ranking al-Qaeda lieutenant, Walid Ba ‘Attash or Khallad or Tawfiq bin Attash, who is believed to have organised the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. The tribunal heard that Farik delivered US$50,000 (RM172,000) to Indonesian JI members to buy material for the J.W. Marriott bombing and provided money to their Cambodian counterparts. Farik and other JI operatives left a suitcase containing US$3,100 (RM10,600) with Abdul Aziz Cheming, a Cambodian operative, and instructions on how to make and detonate a car bomb. However, Abdul Aziz was arrested in May 2003 before he could carry out the mission.

= = = = =

= = =via NST, 29 Mar 07
THE Foreign Ministry has released the names of the two Malaysians detained
Guantanamo Bay.
They are Mohd Farik Amin and Mohammed Nazir Lep. Wisma Putra was informed of
their detention on Sept 7 last year. Foreign Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the two were among 14 foreign nationals transferred from the Central Intelligence Agency's secret detention centres to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on suspicion of involvement with al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah. "The government has asked the US government to ensure that Mohd Farik and Mohamed Nazir receive a fair and just trial," he said in reply to Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh).
= = == = = == = = ==
U.S. Puts $5M Bounty on Terror Suspect
The Associated Press; Tuesday, March 27, 2007; 11:04 AM
WASHINGTON -- The United States on Tuesday offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of a U.S.-trained Malaysian engineer accused of involvement in a series of deadly bombings in the Philippines. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice approved the bounty for Zulkifli bin Hir, who goes by the alias "Marwan" and is believed to be a senior leader in several southeast Asian terrorist groups tied to al-Qaida, the State Department said in a statement. Bin Hir, 40, is thought to run the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia organization and be a member of the central command of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida affiliate blamed for numerous attacks, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings in Indonesia, the statement said.

He is also thought to have conducted explosives training for the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf Group, a militant group based in the Philippines where Bin Hir is believed to have lived since August 2003, the department said. His younger brother is now jailed in Indonesia for involvement in a 2001 bombing of a Jakarta mall, said the statement. Bin Hir has long been sought by Philippines authorities and last August, two Filipino police officers were killed in a clash while trying to approach his suspected hideout about 560 miles southeast of Manila. Rice authorized the reward under the "Rewards for Justice" program, which is run by the State Department and seeks information leading to the capture of wanted terrorists. Since its creation in 1984, the program has paid more than $62 million to more than 40 people who have helped capture terror suspects, including informants in the Philippines that have received at least $1.6 million in reward money.

= === = = and the BACKGROUND 2005

Sectarian Conflict and Terrorism in Indonesia

By Zachary Abuza; May 3, 2005 06:50 PM

In early April 2005, Indonesian police announced that they had captured a letter written by a Sumatran-based JI cell to one of the organizations leaders and top bomb-maker, Dr. Azahari bin Husin. The author of the 7-page letter written in a mix of Bahasa and pidgin Arabic, not only mentioned that bomb-making materiel was being stockpiled, but that there was a 12-man cell preparing to become shaheeds (martyrs). The letter explained to the leader that in both materiel and mental preparation the plans were well advanced. JI is down, but it certainly is not out. Though they aspire to increase their rate of attack, which now occur on a roughly one-year timetable, there is little evidence to suggest that they are capable of speeding up that timetable in the near future.

While they attempt to build more bombs, they need to also focus on regrouping and recruiting new members to fill their depleted ranks. JI’s primary strategy to do this is to foment sectarian conflict. Unfortunately further evidence has emerged in the past few days.

In October 2004, 123 IEDs were discovered in a cache hidden in a Muslim cemetery outside of Poso. On 28 March 2005, Indonesian police raided safe houses used by Islamic militants in Ambon, seizing a cache of some 95 IEDs and ammunition.

Then, on 24 April, another sectarian conflict flared in Mamasa Regency in Central Sulawesi. A gang of Muslim Kommandos torched houses in a Christian community, killing six. The first suspect arrested in conjunction with the attacks admitted his plans to carry out terror attacks and bombings across the country. His arrests were followed by two bombings in April in Poso.
2 May 2005, Indonesian police arrested three suspects wanted in conjunction with the August 2003 bombing of the JW Marriott in Jakarta. [12 people have already been sentenced in conjunction with the attack]. Alarmingly, the arrest took place in a small village outside of Poso, Sulawesi. The three were in possession of detonators, two IEDs, two handguns, rifles and ammo, 16 VCDs about Osama bin Laden, five instruction books on jihad, a book on the sectarian conflict in Ambon, and several bomb-making manuals.

All three, as well as a fourth who escaped, were involved in not only the sectarian bloodletting in Ambon in 1999-2000, but also the 24 April attacks in Mamasa. We have a clear connection between the same people engaged in both international jihad and sectarian conflict. The three were not disaffected locals, but educated individuals all in their mid-thirties. While one was a religious teacher, one was had an engineering background and had studied in Australia, wile the third was a computer expert.
Clearly militant seek to spoil the fragile peace in the Malukus and
Sulawesi, and provoke a heavy-handed government response, affirming to the moderate majority that the government is corrupt and anti-Muslim.
With sectarian conflict also on the rise in both Mindanao, Philippines and Southern Thailand, where over 600 people have been killed since fighting commenced in January 2004, it is clear JI seeks to create a broader conflict, to instill their Manichean world view, and create a new generation of recruits who are ready to wage jihad in defense of their religion.

= = = == = == = 2003

Police hope to nab top terror suspects after new arrest

Jun 20th, 2003, AFP

The police hope to track down six top leaders of militant group Jemaah Islamiah after the recent arrest of a suspected terrorist and the discovery of bomb-making chemicals, an intelligence official said today. The suspect, Alias Osman, 36, was arrested in Kuala Lumpur on June 9 and led police to a cache of chemicals similar to the ones used in the Bali bombings in Indonesia last year which killed more than 200 people, mainly Western tourists. He is being held as a suspected member of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror network accused of carrying out the Bali attack, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Bomb expert The chemicals, buried in a dustbin on a palm oil plantation in Perak, were labelled as potassium chloride, calcium chloride and aluminium powder. "We found some chemicals, including some acids, and we have sent the chemicals for analysis to ascertain the contents," the official said. "Alias was told to bury them on the plantation, but he has not told us who obtained them for him. He says he does not know what the chemicals were for." The Malay Mail newspaper reported that there was about one kilogram each of potassium chloride amd calcium chloride in the bin, along with 14 detonators in the bin.

The paper said Alias had been trained by bomb-expert Azahari Husin, a Malaysian wanted by Indonesian police for his role in the Bali attacks. Azahari is top of the list of six Malaysian militants being hunted throughout Southeast Asia. Bounty on offer"We believe they are currently under immense pressure wherever they are," the intelligence official said. "The regional situation in Indonesia and Thailand should help us in arresting the six." Recent arrests in Thailand and beefed-up security laws in Indonesia showed the two countries were serious in the fight against terrorism, he said.

Malaysian police have offered a bounty of RM50,000 for the arrest of Azahari and the five other suspects -- Noor Din Mohamad Top, Shamsul Bahri Hussein, Amran Mansor, Zulkifli Hir and Zulkepli Marzuki. Apart from the six "there are still a few hundred members of the Jemaah Islamiah who have gone underground here," the official said. "We are working hard to identify them and pick them up as soon as they resurface."

JI, which seeks to create a pan-Islamic state across Southeast Asia, is accused of aiming to destabilise the region through terror attacks. Malaysia is already holding a total of 90 suspected Islamic militants, many of them alleged JI members, under the Internal Security Act which allows for detention without trial. - AFP

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

YTL BULLET TRAIN KL-SINGAPORE Proposal Still Under Consideration Clarifies Transport Minister; YTL Confirms Work on the Sentul-Batu Caves Project Only

UPDATE: MAR 29 2007

This is all double talk by the DPM on the feasibility study. The proposal was mooted way back in July 2006 and the PM has already suggested a formal proposal be submitted and when a proposal is given all the feasibility study has been done. Maybe an EIA study is needed. Perhaps the stumbling block and delay is how the train crosses the causeway. The government would want it to use the new bridge rather another simple link.

= = = =
March 28, 2007 20:05 PM

Private Sector To Develop, Finance KL-S'pore Bullet Train

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (Bernama) -- The bullet train linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is likely to be developed and financed by the private sector, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.(ABOVE) The Deputy Prime Minister said the YTL Group which had proposed the project had to carry out the feasibility study and submit the findings to the government for consideration. He said the Transport Ministry and YTL Group were asked by the Cabinet last week to discuss the proposal which included its feasibility and the capability of the company to finance it. "This is a private initiative, so it is up to them (the company) to study the feasibility of the project for the government's consideration.

"I am not sure to what extent they (the company) need the government's support," he told reporters when asked on the status of the high-speed train project. Earlier, Najib delivered a keynote address at the Global Islamic Finance Forum here. In the Dewan Rakyat Tuesday, Johor Baharu Member of Parliament Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad questioned the significance of the project and compared it to the Rawang-Ipoh double-track railway electrification project. Asked about the decision on the project, Najib said: "It depends on the feasibility study carried out by the private sector." The high-speed train from KL Sentral to Singapore costing about RM8 billion which was proposed by YTL Corporation managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh would cut down travel to merely 90 minutes.

= = == = == = = = = =

It must be embarrassing of the YTL unnamed official to announce the “cat is in the bag” for the bullet train approval and award and being widely carried by the newswires and with the transport minister saying no “final decision” yet. When the government said they are “still considering” the YTL proposal, it implies that there is still intensive lobbying behind the scene to get a piece of the cake worth RM8.1 billion. The rival bidder Saujana Beta and Golden Land said they are “unaware of any plan by the Government to hand over the entire project to YTL”. By right, the project should go to the best proposal and at the lower cost even though it is privately finance so as to ensure the fares to be charged can be at the most economical and practical for travelers.

The proposed YTL bullet train is said to model after the Japan–Taiwan [very similar 345 km compared to KL Sentral-Singapore 325 km and the new travel times are 90 mins. But Taiwan old trains are faster. The old journeys took about 5 hrs compared to 7 hours in Malaysia; but it cost a bomb in Taiwan $15 Bln compared to YTL RM8.1 Bln] one and it looks like Shinkansen, or bullet train technology for the Taipei-Kaohsiung route recently opened in January 2007, delayed from 2003. In Taiwan, people still had reservations about the system and concerns raised over safety issues as there were two minor derailments during test runs. The media there played a pivotal role and being blamed for lack of confidence using it.= = == = =
March 27, 2007 20:29 PM
= = == = == = == =

Malaysia Govt Still Considering YTL Bullet Train Proposal

ABOVE: Typical Japanese bullet train
KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 (Bernama) -- The government is still considering the YTL Corp Bhd's RM8.1 billion proposal to build a high-speed rail project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy today. "The government has not made a final decision. We are still looking at the proposal," he told reporters after attending the MCA presidential council meeting here, Tuesday. Chan, who is also MCA deputy president, was commenting on a news report that YTL would commence work on the project by year-end. The report also said the proposed private finance initiative bullet train project was expected to be ready by end-2009.

Asked when the government was expected to make the decision, Chan said: "We don't want to set a time frame as the government has to thoroughly evaluate the project." The report, which quoted a company official, also said the Malaysian and Singapore governments had given the thumbs-up for the project. It said YTL has started work on the design and track laying (DTL) plan, which would include a prototype design quite similar to the bullet trains in Japan and Taiwan and would submit to the respective agencies for approval in the next four to six months. The official also said the DTL plan was handled by experts who would also be studying details of environmental preservation and would involve minimal relocation of people along the stretch.
= = == = = = = == = = == =
M'sia, S'pore approve bullet-train
March 26, 2007, 12.32 pm (Singapore time), via
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia and Singapore have approved construction of a bullet
train linking the two countries,
to be built by Malaysian conglomerate YTL
Corporation, according to a report on Monday. The New Straits Times, citing an unnamed official from YTL, said the high-speed train would cost some RM8.1 billion (US$2.34 billion) and that design plans and studies were underway.

'The governments of Malaysia and Singapore have given the thumbs up for the bullet train project and YTL has started working out the design and track laying plan,' the official was quoted as saying by the newspaper. The plan 'will include a prototype design quite similar to bullet trains in Japan and Taiwan, to submit to the respective agencies for approval in the next four to six months,' the official said. YTL and Germany's Siemens AG are expected to commence work on the project by the end of 2007, with completion seen at end-2009, according to the newspaper. AP
= = = == = == = == = = == =
YTL plans 2 high-speed rail projects this year
By Sharen Kaur March 26 2007, via
YTL Corp Bhd, the country's largest builder and power group, will ride on its expertise and experience from its Express Rail Link (ERL) development, to execute two high-speed rail projects in Malaysia this year. The two are the proposed private finance initiative bullet train project by YTL linking Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, which may cost more than RM8.1 billion to develop due to its technical and engineering aspects and environment protection plan, and the pending Sentul-Batu Caves high-speed rail project estimated to cost some RM550 million.

"The Government of Malaysia and Singapore have given the thumbs up for the bullet train project and YTL has started working out the design and track laying (DTL) plan, which will include a prototype design quite similar to bullet trains in Japan and Taiwan, to submit to the respective agencies for approval in the next four to six months," said a company official who
declined to be named.
The official said the DTL plan is handled by experts who will also study details of environmental preservation and minimise as much as possible the relocation of people along the stretch.

"Feasibility studies are being carried out. The design will be very sleek and the building of structures will take time to complete to avoid going through grey areas. "YTL plans to use the prototype of its ERL project and draw the expertise of Siemens AG, Europe's largest engineering company, for the bullet train project," the official said. The official added that YTL and Siemens are expected to commence work on the project by year end, and the cut off time would be end-2009. It is firmly believed that YTL is also planning to rope in Siemens, which has worked on several railway developments in Malaysia including the ERL project, as the civil and engineering contractor for the Sentul Batu Caves project.

YTL will work on the Sentul-Batu Caves project via its partly-owned unit, Sentul Raya Sdn Bhd, the developer of the Sentul West project. The Finance Ministry had in 2005 given out letters of intent to Sentul Raya, Saujana Beta Development Sdn Bhd, a unit of Brunsfield Corp Sdn Bhd, and Golden Land Development Sdn Bhd, an infrastructure development company, to
jointly work on the project. "YTL is expected to work on the entire project after Saujana Beta and Golden Land could not agree on certain terms and conditions and the price
structure," said a source familiar with railway development in the country. When contacted, Saujana Beta and Golden Land said they are unaware of any plan by the Government to hand over the entire project to YTL.

YTL had also declined to comment, saying instead that it is not in their place to make any comments at this point. "We are however going to confirm our plans for the expansion of the Sentul KTM Komuter station, which in the future will be an integrated themed train centre with retail, F&B outlets, offices and more," it said in an e-mail reply. The Sentul-Batu Caves rail project involves the installation of a double-tracking system along a 7.5km stretch and electrification, signaling and communication works, upgrading of the Batu Caves station, building of three flyovers and two underpasses and fare collection.

= = = =and in Taiwan...
The bullet train bites in Taiwan; By Caroline Gluck; BBC News, Taipei
Thursday, 4 January 2007, 14:03 GMT

Taiwan's new high speed train service - which begins commercial operations on Friday - is expected to herald the start of a transport revolution on the island. Taiwan's high speed train (ABOVE)The train reaches speeds of 300 kilometres per hour. The service could change the way people work and live along Taiwan's densely populated western corridor, which is home to more than 90% of its 23 million population.

Travelling on the sleek white and orange trains at speeds of up to 300km/h (186 mph) will see journey times between the capital, Taipei, in the north, and Kaohsiung, the island's second largest city in the south, slashed from more than four hours to just 90 minutes. "With the opening of the high speed rail, Taiwan island will become Taiwan city," predicts Hank Huang, at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research. He has been studying the economic impact that the world's largest BOT (build-operate-transfer) project, costing nearly $15bn, is likely to have. "Travel times and costs will dramatically decrease, communications between cities will be far easier, and Taiwan city can compete with the top Asian cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai," Mr Huang said. “I have the confidence that the more people ride on this train, the more confidence they will have” Ou Chin-der THSRC chief executive officer

In the first phase of operation, 19 trains will run return journeys each day. The operator, the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC), hopes to attract 150,000 passengers per day. The company hopes to quickly expand services to full capacity of 88 round trip journeys per day. Currently, there are eight stations along the 345km (214 mile) line, although one 10 km section of the line from Taipei to Banciao will not be open in the initial stage. There are plans for four new stations to be added to the system by 2010. Classroom tests Journalists were recently invited to check out the train in a test ride. Our journey was fast, smooth and trouble free.

ABOVE: the route in Taiwan (345 km), cost $15 Billion, YTL proposal RM8.1 Bln (325 km) is cheap

But two minor derailments during test runs had prompted the postponement of the inauguration ceremony, planned for 7 December. With so many concerns raised over safety issues, our tour included a stop at the system's operation control centre in Taoyuan county. This involved a peek inside a classroom where new drivers - who had only previously driven trains capable of maximum speeds of 80km/h - were being tested in simulated training exercises. Each driver receives more than 1,000 hours of training - including simulated and on-the-job exercises - over an eight month period. The instruction is all in English, and experienced international high speed train experts have been recruited as tutors. But the high speed rail project has had image problems and became mired in controversy, almost from the start. The decision to switch from the European Eurotrain consortium to a Japanese consortium offering Shinkansen, or bullet train technology, proved costly. Train drivers' training centre

ABOVE: Drivers are being taught how to cope with the faster speeds.
The THSRC eventually agreed to pay the European consortium $65m in compensation. There were technical, construction and financing problems. And the system's original target opening date, 2003, was delayed several times.

Concept towns
Despite the negative publicity, Ou Chin-der of the THSRC predicted that the service will get enough customers and break even within a year. Under its BOT contract, the company has operating rights for the high speed rail system and stations for 35 years, before management is transferred to the government. It will also operate and develop businesses in station special zones for a 50 year period. "The traffic volume, the demand is extremely high, but it will depend on... how many trains we can run," he told the BBC. But he also admitted that people still had reservations about the system.

ABOVE: Train passengers at the platform

Officials believe the train will change Taiwan's economic face. "Frankly, they still don't have sufficient confidence. It’s just because of the media. But I have the confidence that the more people ride on this train, the more confidence they will have," he said. The government has high expectations of the new transport link. It hopes the rail service will foster more balanced regional economic development.

More than 1,500 hectares (3,706 acres) of land has been set aside for multi-million dollar new town developments around five stations. Lu Hsiang-hwa, deputy chief engineer at the Bureau of High Speed Rail, showed off computer generated designs for the five areas - which will be jointly developed by his bureau and the THSRC. Each station will have a different development concept. If these areas can't build a local character industry to pull some people in, I fear they will die Professor Stone Shih

Taipei's Soochow University He is convinced the high speed rail will strongly influence Taiwan's future development. "Most people now live in cities; but maybe the rail can help to revolutionise lifestyles. People can live in the suburbs and go to work in the station district areas," he said. But the images and maps in the brochures so far remain plans on paper. Previous attempts to develop new towns in Taiwan have failed - largely because they have lacked integrated transport and communication facilities.

And it could take several decades for the new towns to mature. Not everyone is convinced the high speed rail will have such positive benefits. Professor Stone Shih, a specialist in urban sociology at
Taipei's Soochow University, fears poorer areas - such as Yunlin and Changhua counties - could suffer as people migrate towards what he calls extended metropolitan areas. "Taipei and Kaohsiung are like magnets... pulling people towards the two cores," he said. "People can't find good jobs, good leisure facilities in smaller, local areas. They'll push to move near the cores. "If these areas can't build a local character industry to pull some people in, I fear they will die," he warned

= = = == See Related previous post H E R E On


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