KUALA LUMPUR: A leading Malaysian rights activist who faces sedition charges at home has said he was denied a visa to enter Australia, raising suggestions Canberra had buckled to pressure from Kuala Lumpur. Haris Ibrahim, a strident campaigner against the Malaysian government now headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak, said he was seeking a meeting with Australian officials for clarification. “I sent a request to meet with the relevant officer at the Australian High Commission with a view to fully explaining the purpose of my intended visit to Australia and to lay to rest any and all concerns they may have,” he said in an entry posted on his blog on Thursday. Haris was charged with sedition after he suggested, shortly after the long-ruling coalition government retained power in divisive May 5 elections, that Malaysians reject the polls outcome. Haris, who is due to be tried next year, confirmed the visa refusal when contacted but declined to discuss specifics.
Thai PM to visit 4 flood-hit areas
BANGKOK: A total of 24 provinces in Thailand are flooded, and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to visit four of them this weekend, according to Thai media reports. Yingluck will visit Pathum Thani, and on Sunday she will visit Prachin Buri, Si Sa Ket, and Ubon Ratchathani. More than 2.1 million people have affected by the floods this month, and over 1.14 million of farmland has been ravaged. The floodwater has damaged 2,310 roads, 6,900 houses, and 145 bridges, according to Chatchai Phromlert, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.
Medical industry gets S$10m boost
SINGAPORE: A S$10m initiative has been launched to attract and retain local talents in the Medical Technology industry. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran yesterday launched the MedTech Industry Transformation Initiative. Iswaran said that over the last 10 years, Singapore’s Medical technology industry has more than doubled its manufacturing output to S$4.3bn in 2012.
Japan firm to buy Zoltek for $584m
TOKYO: Japan’s Toray Industries, the world’s top supplier of carbon fibres, said yesterday it would buy smaller US rival Zoltek Companies for about $584m.