Let’s get you up to speed with the day’s stories.
The Malaysian government has declassified two reports pertaining to the RM9.13 billion (US$2.04 billion) procurement of six littoral combat ships for the navy.
The government has paid 66.65 per cent of the cost so far but not even one of the ships has been delivered. According to the timeline, five ships should have been delivered to the government by August 2022.
The declassified documents, among others, shed light on more details of the deal, including the ministers involved, the possible increase in costs and suspected irregularities.
Documents also revealed former defence ministers Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Razak were linked to the scandal.
Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was back in the courtroom on Thursday (Aug 25) for his 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) embezzlement trial. He faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes, totalling RM2.3 billion (US$513 million) in 1MDB funds, and also 21 charges of money laundering for the same funds.
This was his first appearance in public since being sent to Kajang Prison on Tuesday, after the Federal Court dismissed his final appeal bid in the SRC International case.
The court went through the testimony of former Finance Ministry senior officer Siti Zauyah Mohd Desa as a witness for the prosecution. Ms Siti Zauyah testified that she did not draft her own witness statement.
In addition to Thursday’s 1MDB trial, Najib still faces more pending court cases.
Indonesia’s latest reduction to the prison sentence of Umar Patek, one of the masterminds behind the Bali bombings in 2002, means he could be released on parole before the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
That is a galling prospect for survivors of the bombings, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
“Please let him serve what he deserves as a terror convict, not like a chicken thief whom we can easily forgive,” said survivor Thiolina Ferawati Marpaung, who was left with permanent eye injuries.
Indonesia said Patek is giving up his extremist beliefs after completing a deradicalisation programme. He has served two-thirds of his 20-year prison term and shown progress towards reform, said a spokesperson of the Law and Human Rights Ministry office in East Java.
The Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) will encourage its members to pay out safety bonuses to incentivise contractors with good Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) performance.
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said that developers have “tremendous influence” as service buyers to raise safety standards and reward contractors for good safety performance.
There have been 34 workplace deaths to date this year. Construction workplace deaths have been trending up after COVID-19 work stoppages, and of the fatalities this year, 12 cases or almost 40 per cent were from the construction industry.
The Manpower Ministry has also stepped up enforcement and doubled fines for WSH infringements.