LaLiga Santander Matchday 4 preview: The weekend of Real Madrid’s return to the Bernabéu and Griezmann’s second Atlético debut

LaLiga Santander returns this weekend with Matchday 4 of the 2021/22 season. There are eight fixtures taking place over those three days -from Saturday to Monday-, while two of the round’s matches have been postponed to a later date (Sevilla FC vs FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF vs D Alaves), and there are several storylines to look out for. From Real Madrid’s return to the Bernabéu after a 560-day absence to the debuts of several summer signings, this promises to be a thrilling weekend of Spanish football.

The first fixture is a Saturday evening meeting of two teams who score and concede a lot of goals, with UD Levante hosting Rayo Vallecano. So far this season, UD Levante’s matches have produced 3.0 goals per game on average and the capital city side’s games have produced 2.67. That places both these teams’ matches in the top third for total goals, so there could be fireworks in the city that just celebrated the famous Falles Festival.

Later on Saturday night comes a showdown between two of the youngest squads of LaLiga Santander, as Athletic Club take on RCD Mallorca. Both sides have several rising stars who’ll be on show, such as Jon Morcillo, Dani Vivian and Oihan Sancet in the home team and Takefusa Kubo, Kang-in Lee and Fer Niño for the visitors.

After the two matches on Saturday, there are four more games on Sunday, starting with RCD Espanyol vs Atlético Madrid at 14:00 CEST. Antoine Griezmann could make his re-debut in this away trip, after re-joining Los Rojiblancos on deadline day. Having already scored 131 goals in 257 appearances for Atleti, the Frenchman will be looking to add to that in his first match back, as he takes on RCD Espanyol in Barcelona, the city he has called home for the past two years.

Later on Sunday afternoon, CA Osasuna welcome Valencia CF to El Sadar for a battle between two sides who have started the new season undefeated. In Pamplona, there is great excitement at the attacking resources CA Osasuna have put together for this season, with Chimy Ávila, Ante Budimir, Kike García and Rubén García all available to coach Jagoba Arrasate. At Valencia CF, they’ve started the season well too and summer signing Marcos André could earn his first start, while Carlos Soler will hope to keep up his good form after starting the season in scintillating form for both Los Che and the Spanish national team.

Next, Real Sociedad make the trip to the other side of the Iberian Peninsula to take on Cádiz CF. In this match, we might see the birth of La Real’s new Scandinavian strike partnership, as Swede Alexander Isak and Norwegian Alexander Sørloth return from international duty to lead the Basque side’s attack.

At 21:00 CEST on Sunday night, there will be an emotional return to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu for Real Madrid. With the pandemic and with redevelopment work having taken place over the past year and a half, Los Blancos haven’t played there since 1st March 2020. They’ll take on RC Celta in front of a limited number of fans and, even if there is a lot of focus on the setting, the match promises to be a fun one too, as the past 10 meetings between these teams have produced an average of 4.1 goals per match.

Monday brings two more LaLiga Santander matches, starting with Getafe CF vs Elche CF. These are two teams who only just avoided relegation last season and two teams who made some late summer signings. In this fixture, they’ll hope the new arrivals can make an immediate impression, such as Jorge Cuenca and Jonathan Silva for Getafe CF and Javier Pastore and Lucas Pérez for the visitors.

An Andalusian derby then concludes the weekend’s action, as Granada CF host Real Betis on Monday night at 22:00 CEST. Real Betis won their last meeting 2-1, but the Nazaríes had gone undefeated over the previous five clashes. There’s always a special atmosphere when there’s a regional derby, making this a great way to cap this weekend’s slate of fixtures.

Watch LaLiga Santander live this weekend on BeINSports

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After 560 days away, Real Madrid return to the Santiago Bernabéu

Real Madrid have been redeveloping their home ground over the past year and a half, but will finally return this Sunday to take on RC Celta

This Sunday, for the first time in a year and a half, there will be a matchday buzz in the Chamartín area of Madrid. The Estadio Santiago Bernabéu hasn’t hosted any event since Real Madrid defeated FC Barcelona 2-0 in ElClásico on 1st March 2020 and now, 560 days later, Los Blancos will take on RC Celta at their historic home, at 21:00 CEST on 12th September. 

When the coronavirus pandemic struck, temporarily halting the football calendar and then preventing fans from attending matches, Real Madrid decided to bring forward the redevelopment work that they had planned for the Bernabéu. If no football stadium was going to be able to host supporters for a significant period of time, Real Madrid concluded that it made sense to use that time to start with the construction work that they’d planned to carry out over the next several off-seasons.

As such, Los Blancos fulfilled their final few 2019/20 home fixtures and all of their 2020/21 home matches at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in their Valdebebas training complex. This was the stadium that had been used by the B team and, even if it’s a smaller ground, it is a state-of-the-art venue that has 14 booths for TV and radio, dozens more seats for the written press and a media centre. There was enough space for up to 30 cameras to be installed, meaning that the broadcasts of Real Madrid’s LaLiga Santander matches were still of the highest quality.

During their brief stay at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Real Madrid clinched the 2019/20 LaLiga Santander title, as well as winning important fixtures such as ElClásico or the Madrid derby. In total, including matches in all competitions, Los Blancos played 31 home fixtures in Valdebebas between football’s return and now, for a record of 23 wins, four draws and four defeats. That made for a win percentage of 74%, only slightly below Real Madrid’s all-time home win percentage of 77%.

Now, after playing their first three fixtures of the 2021/22 LaLiga Santander season on the road, it’s finally time for Los Blancos’ homecoming and, even if there is still limited capacity due to the remaining coronavirus restrictions and the fact that fans are returning gradually, there is great excitement ahead of this weekend’s clash with RC Celta Vigo.

Summer signings David Alaba and Eduardo Camavinga will be able to experience the home support of the Bernabéu for the first time, while other stars such as Karim Benzema, Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos can savour the cheers of their fanbase for the first time in over 18 months.

Construction work is still taking place at the stadium, as the redevelopment project is a significant one and won’t be finished for some time yet. However, Real Madrid have been able to accelerate the process as they construct what club president Florentino Pérez has said will be “the best stadium in the world”.

The new-look Bernabéu will bring increased security, comfort and accessibility for fans, while it will also boast a new roof, a new exterior and new spaces, such as convention rooms, stores, car parking and a new interactive museum. Most importantly, it’ll have the special atmosphere that exists at Real Madrid matches, starting from this Sunday.

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LaLiga partners with Sorare to enter the world of NFTs

LaLiga is the first of the top 5 world football leagues to sign a major NFT partnership

It will allow LaLigo to expand the Clubs’ international brands by reaching new fans and creating a new revenue stream

Sorare is a marketplace to trade digital cords from more than 180 football clubs, and has over 500,000 registered users on the platform

Madrid, September 9th 2021. Sorare, the fantasy football platform, has today announced a partnership with Spain’s LaLiga to launch non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for all of its players, creating new revenue streams for LaLiga Clubs via a new category of licenses.

Thanks to this offering, LaLiga fans, collectors and fantasy football players will for the first time be able to freely trade and play with digital cards of players from LaLiga. Sorare’s mission is to build “the game within the game” and to give fans the platform to celebrate, share and own their football passion.

The partnership represents a major milestone for Sorare as it strikes a deal for the first time with one of the biggest leagues in the world, home to world-class football clubs such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid, Villarreal CF, Valencia CF, FC Seville and Real Sociedad, among many others. Sorare plans to partner with every one of the world’s top 20 football leagues by the end of 2022.

The partnership, which covers both LaLiga Santander and LaLiga Smartbank, is a significant development for LaLiga as it moves into the NFT space for the first time, highlighting the global interest in the fast-growing NFT card space which has sold more than $130M in cards this year.

Javier Tebas, President of LaLiga, commented:

“At LoLiga we are always looking [or innovative ways to o|fer our [ans new and exciting experiences and to broaden the appeal o[ our competition, the greatest in the world. This partnership with Sorare, the most exciting sports NFT projects today, enables us to reach new audiences globally and gives existing [ons additional ways they can get involved with the players and the cluhs they love.”

Nicolas Julia, CEO and co-founder of Sorare commented:

“NFTs are the [uture o[gIo6aI sports [ondom because they allow [ans to come together and to [eel ownership o[ the sports they love.

“This partnership isn’t just a sign o[ Sorare’s growing leadership in the NFT sports space, it is a major signal o[ intent fry the sporting world that it sees Sorare’s unique ability to connect [ans with sports through NFTs as a crucial port o[ their plans [or the [uture.

“LoLigo is one o[ the hest leagues in the world, home to some o[ the most exciting cluhs and[oothollers on earth. We are very proud that they have 6ecome our[irst ever league partnership, and we ore looking [orward to working together in the years ahead.”

Sorare cards are NFTs, meaning each card is unique, scarce, and its ownership can be publicly verifiable via the blockchain. Sorare’s combination of NFT technology with sports cards and a fantasy game is the leading next-gen offering within football, and backed by football legends including Gerard Piqué, Antoine Griezmann and Rio Ferdinand. Through the collecting, owning and trading of limited edition digital collectibles, Sorare has created a unique game experience where users can own their game, build real-world connections and protect and control their assets in a secure space.

Sorare’s next-generation gaming experience will help LaLiga and its clubs to expand their international brands by reaching new audiences of fans, including crypto- enthusiasts in the US and Asia, where Sorare is growing strongly, and fantasy gamers across the globe. The partnership opens up a new revenue stream for LaLiga clubs by creating an entirely new licensing category: NFTs.

The partnership means that Sorare now has the majority of the top 100 football clubs in the world under license, including global clubs such as Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain FC, and Juventus FC.

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Spearheading Thailand’s Drive for Economic Diversity

Nestled within the centre of the Indochinese Peninsula lies one of Southeast Asia’s most powerful economies, a melting pot and convergence point where diversity is warmly embraced with opportunities. Often been earmarked as one of the success developments stories of the region, Thailand represents an orgy of mind-bending numbers when it comes to sustained economic growth. 

With sustained economic development over the past decades amidst economic recessions, admirable poverty reduction rates and gains along multiple dimensions of welfare; the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) of Thailand has embarked on the new phase of their mission to position Thailand’s trade competitiveness across the region by disseminating its economic stronghold to its neighbouring countries. With DITP at the helm, Thai entrepreneurs will be able to expand their market while promoting sustainable value creation for Thai products and services delivered internationally.

DITP’s Outreach Efforts

An integral part of DITP’s advocacy efforts to market their Thai products was to directly include their Malaysian counterparts in their outreach plans. Another thriving economy experiencing a paradigm shift in digitalization and economic growth, Malaysia represents a quintessentially untapped market for DITP to focus their outreach efforts on.

With the ravaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic decimating the global economy and curtailing the possibilities of physical trade, DITP embarked on a different approach by harnessing the prowess of social media to convey their message to their target audience

Featured Videos

In order to promote their distinct lineage of unique and carefully handpicked products to their target audience, DITP harnessed the potential of social media by enlisting the services of Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) to create a series of engaging videos to captivate their audience. In this campaign, which is named Thailand Future Trends Showcase, each video will have a runtime of up to 2 minutes, with the main objective being to enlighten the Malaysian people and business owners regarding the appeal of native Thai products.

The following are products that DITP have channeled their outreach resources and efforts in:

  1.  Eco-friendly Packaging

With the world being devastated by one setback after another, it makes complete sense that sustainability should be an utmost area of concern, and it’s only fitting that DITP gets the ball rolling with Superbee’s line of eco-friendly packaging. 

Featuring an impressive array of eco-friendly packaging ranging from their beeswax wraps to their bio-degradable containers, Superbee certainly provides some food for thought when it comes to sourcing for a sustainable alternative to the conventional and much maligned plastic packaging. At a time when the usage of packaging is in ascendancy, DITP is certainly leading by example by building this harmonious rapport with Superbee.

DITP video of Superbee’s eco packaging products showcased the charismatic Melissa Tan, who allures audiences by touching on the sentiments of being eco-conscious as well as her interpersonal relations with the Thai communities. 

  1. Live Plants and Soil

In line with their efforts to promote conservationism with eco-friendly packaging, DITP’s next showcase in their flagship line of promoted products is Coco’s unique take on peat and soil. Coco employs a robust and unique method of incorporating the very best of ingredients into the basic building foundation for every plant-based lifeform.

Enlisting the help of Jane Lee, a budding entrepreneur who runs a business curating and nurturing indoor plants, the video manages to interlink the importance of good soil and how it translates to the flourishment of indoor based plants. Coco’s uniquely conceived peat and soil mixtures contains all the nutrients that an indoor plant will need, and it certainly bodes well with Jane herself.

  1. Plant Based Meat

DITP’s next feature video is a unique take on proteins uniquely curated from the essence of plants and vegetables. At a time when our personal health is of paramount importance, it is greatly acknowledged that incorporating and leaning towards a plant-based diet will reap greater long-term benefits for your body – a point that was agreed upon in unison by Mei Ling, Kya Abdul and Ryan.

While all three of them have different backgrounds – with Mei Ling being a lifetime vegetarian and business owner, Kya being a certified personal trainer and Ryan being a wellness coach, they all share a similar common trait – being advocates of a plant-based diet. 

A general misconception is that proteins must be from harvested from animals for it to taste good, a claim that was directly refuted by all three talents as they were full of praises about these plant-based meats, ranging from Mantra’s shrimp balls and bacon to Morefood’s take on using mushrooms as the base for the proteins. 

  1. Dried Fruits

“If there is one thing that Malaysians can’t live without, its snacks. We love a good nibble and munch whenever we are seated on the couch enjoying our favourite television shows, or simply at our desk getting some work done.” 

These were facts agreed upon unanimously by Anna, Haneda and Za, as they featured in DITP’s video emphasized on the wonderful delicacies that Thailand has to offer in the form of dried fruits as snacks. 

While seemingly sharing similar traits when it comes to their food preferences, all three featured talents also shared a similar fondness of the Thai culture as well.

Ranging from the 100% fresh dried strawberries and mangos from Nana fruits to the dehydrated cherry tomatoes and roselle herbal tea on offer from Beefruits; these dried fruit snacks will certainly keep your jaws busy!

  1. Home Decorations

DITP’s final feature video showcased Hui Wen, an interior decorator with an acquired taste when it comes to the fine arts of interior design. Being an avid fan of natural and organic materials when plying her trade, it comes as no surprise that Hui Wen was in awe with the functional art pieces that Thailand has to offer.

Be it the specially crafted wooden products from V.S.T Woods impressive lineage of affordable selection, to Prempracha’s uniquely designed Thai artisan ceramics, and finally to Sapparot’s unique take on “Sustainable Décor” made from pineapple fibre –  Hui Wen found herself visualizing her next project taking shape with a touch ofThai essence.

“Combine all of them, and you will definitely get a unique fusion and blend of what Thailand has to offer when it comes to home decoration. For me, I feel like a kid in a huge candy store!”

The crippling effects of the global pandemic certainly did not hinder DITP’s effort in bringing Thai products to the Malaysian market and people. While we bask in the fruits of their labour, DITP will continue to strive and achieve their vision to position Thailand as the leading trade powerhouse in Asia by 2027.

For more information regarding how to import products from Thailand, feel free to contact DITP via their website.

把最痛Moment变成创业灵感!

■企动人心

题:把最痛Moment变成创业灵感

人生其中一个“最痛的Moment” 大概就是……失恋!

大部份人在失恋后,男的就找兄弟喝酒解闷,女的除了找闺蜜大哭一场,还很可能化悲伤为食量!

但是本期的主人公就十分厉害,竟然把失恋变成创业的灵感,充份体现灵感自于生活的精髓。

他,就是美国著名交友App之一Hinge的创办人Justin McLeod。

一讲起交友App,约炮、一夜情、外遇、假帐号……等一堆关键词都会浮现脑海。

随着科技的演进,交友App已演变成一门潜力无限的生意,每年全球营业额达到30亿美元。

可能你会认为,Justin最大不了不就是创造了另一个“约炮工厂”,但他的爱情故事却感人到上了《纽约时报》爱情专栏,还被亚马逊拍成连戏剧。究竟是什么回事?

交友App宇宙大爆发

1984出生的Justin,在纽约柯尔盖特大学 (Colgate University) 就读经济与政治科学时,就认识了女友 Kate Stern,女方因无法忍受Justin爱到酒吧喝酒的习性惯而跟他分手,3年恋情就此泡汤。

2006年毕业时,失去Kate 的Justin觉得生活像失去了方向,后来他到了哈佛商学院进修,也改掉了到酒吧的习惯。尽管到了2010年,他和前任分手已经4年,但还是无法走出来,更经常试图挽回这段感情。

但早已远赴他国的Kate,对他厌恶不已,与他断绝来往。伤心欲绝的Justin,为了填补感情上的空虚,萌起开发一款连接Facebook应用“认识朋友的朋友”的网上平台,取名“ Secret Agent Cupid”。

如果说当年Mark Zuckerberg开发Facebook是为了帮学院生结识异性,那Justin的交友平台是二度创新,再循环使用Facebook应用。

Justin从朋友和家人那里筹集了一些资金,与友人各出资1万2000美元,以2万 4000美元的创始资金,投入编写程序原型,在华盛顿特区开始了他的创业之路,还因此放弃了在麦肯锡的工作机会。

2012年、2013年是各交友App百花齐放、宇宙大爆发的年代,由于意识到“手机就是未来”,Justin也推出了Hinge,与Tinder及Bumble等交友App一较天下。

跟风开发  变约炮神器  

“Hinge“其实是一种连结门和门框的金属片,Justin以此命名,就是喻意这是用来连结两人感情的工具。

在2013年底,Hinge获得数百万的融资,同时也在2014年底获得1500万美元融资。尽管看起来发展不错,但是Justin愈发感觉到,自己的产品跟Tinder很相似,为了追赶竞争者及满足用户要求,Hinge基本上都在跟风,Tinder有什么功能,Hinge也随之补上。

如果说Tinder是一个“约炮神器”,那跟风的Hinge,也只是另一个约炮神器,没有自家的独特主张,更没有差异化。

没有明确市场定位及产品差异化,Hinge得到的综合成果就是了制造了大量成功速配,但却有许多错误撮合、错失良缘及假帐号等问题。

由于竞争剧烈,Hinge业绩表现并不理想,用户也只有数千人。

到了2015年,Justin重新思考 Hinge的方向,才惊觉这并不是自己创业时的初心,当初激发他开发Hinge的初衷是帮助用户找到真爱,不是找到炮友;他希望用户在这里找到真正的连结,不是纯粹滚床单的关系。

找回初心 收获爱情事业

就在Justin对载浮载沉的事业感到迷茫、感情也空空如也之际,与《纽约时报》记者Deborah Copaken的 一席访问,扭转他的人生路向。

也是Hinge用户的Deborah,因为好奇该App的演算法如何配对而采访Justin。在访问结束前,Deborah问他是否在恋爱中,Justin提起他与Kate那段无疾而终的恋情,并表示尽管已经分开8年,心里始终惦记着Kate。

听完故事后,Deborah提到自己也有一段遗憾而深刻的爱情,更表示很后悔自己一直没有做任何事来挽回。她告诉Justin,他还年轻,应该再做点什么,为自己再争取一次!

在Deborah鼓励下,Justin用电邮联系了Kate,获悉前任当时已在瑞士后,他便买了机票飞往瑞士。两人见面后发现对彼此的感觉依然强烈,而且在阔别8年后,有了人生历练及更成熟了的Justin,也让Kate对他改观。

本来已定在一个月后要结婚的Kate,终于被Justin的诚意感动,为了他悔婚。

他们这段爱情故事后来也被Deborah发布在《纽约时报》的“摩登情爱”(Modern Love) 中,成为许多读者津津乐道的课题。亚马逊 Prime TV更在 2019 年把这个故事改编,成为纽约都市爱情故事连戏剧中的其中一集。

找到真爱 删除我吧!

与Kate破镜重圆让Justin最大的领悟就是爱情不是在讲究数量(volume),直白一点来说就是真爱不是你滚过多少张床单,而是找到可以互补并完整对方的拼图方块。

到了2015的秋天,Justin决心改变经营策略,将原本的“约炮工厂”Hinge摧毁再重造,打着真爱口号,Hinge重新定位“为了让你删除而设计的App”(Designed to be Deleted) 。

与其注重22、23岁只想找炮友的年轻人,Hinge更倚重26、27岁开始想要认真寻找人生伴侣的群体。

新版Hinge先摧毁的是“滑左、滑右”的选对象功能,Justin认为与其轻易地把某人“滑掉”,用户更应该想想自己想找什么样的对象,透过深一层思考自己的择偶条件,展现自己“脆弱”的一面,让他人认识真正的自己,这才可能撮成真正的连结。

因此Hinge用户会被要求填写更多资料,回应更多问题,目的就是希望透过这些更详细的资料,可推荐更精准的配对;例如“我的愿望清单上包含…”、“我最让别人惊讶的是…”、“我最近发的白日梦是…”等。

旧版Hinge用户要通过逾千次的点赞换来1次约会,新版只需50次点赞就可以促成一次约会,这无疑是更高效及精准的配对。

去芜存菁 吸引新投资

2016年,Justin决定利用仅剩的2万5000美元资金,做最后一次的赌注!就是把所有资源都押在重新推介的App上。

但并不是所有用户都喜欢 “问多多” 新版Hinge,由于不像其他交友App让用户快速的建立帐号后就开始使用,该App在重新推介初期也面对用户剧减20%的问题。

坚定的Justin相信,这些功能可以去芜存菁,把纯心想约炮的用户过滤后,找到真爱的几率才会提高。

当找到真爱以后,正如Hinge的口号“为了让你删除而设计的App”,Justin希望用户不再需要使用这个App。

重新定位的Hinge有了更明确的目标用户群,也在2018年获得风险资本家的投资。

而竞争对手Tinder的母公司Match.com更是在2019年对Hinge发动收购,成功套现的Justin,至今仍继续留任CEO职位。

2020年新冠肺炎疫情爆发后,让交友App使用率飙升,Justin指出,比起疫情前,现今有一半用户愿意尝试“视频约会”,因为这比花上一个晚上出来见面,还要花钱消费来“博看”对方合不合适,视频约会无疑效果更佳。

根据Sensor Tower的第三方资料,Hinge在全球下载数量达到550万次,仅在美国下载数量为420万次,截至2018年年度营业额520万美元。

一场失恋 赢取千万投资

数据告诉我们,我们平均每人一生会认识1700人不论何时我们的社交圈里大概都与300人来往。且无论人的一生中会遇到很多人,但真爱只有一个。

就像离离合合的Justin和Kate…

故事说到这里,你是不是很关心最后Justin和Kate有没有开花结果?答案是有的!两人选择在2019年秋天结婚,并在2020年生了第一个宝宝 。

还是那句“人生何处无春天”,只要你抱着信念,万万没想到一场失恋可以赢取千万美元投资。

Hinge创办人Justin教会我们的事:

  1. 初心:常说初心很重要,失去初心等于失去灵魂,跟一条咸鱼就没差别了。迷失的Justin找回初心,找回自己当初创业时的理念,拨乱反正,最后不但赢得美人归,还把事业推上高峰。
  2. 勇气:发现路走偏了,你有勇气把所有东西摧残再重建吗?Justin认真的要改变 Hinge 经营策略,为了展现自己真的有决心,放弃原本的程式码,全部打掉重练。冒着用户大减20%的风险,他还是撑到底,勇气与胆识可嘉。
  3. 差异化:新版Hinge定位摒弃一般评估网站流量的方法,即不再在意流量、跳出率、互动率、点击率、转换率等,因为这些旧做法虽然造就了很多的“配对”,但却无法建立真正的“连结”。这种“另类”定位更让 Hinge做出有别于其他交友软体的差异化。

Now MACC is pinning blame on its own officers

Pic: The Rakyat Post

The saga of the Felda director whose corruption case made headlines for the past four days took yet another murky twist – the MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Committee (ACAB) declared that its own officers acted “unprofessionally and were influenced by political considerations.”

The revelation is a slap in the face for hundreds of honest MACC officers (present and past) who carry out their responsibilities without fear or favour. Besides, this has caused a serious dent on MACC’s image and independence which the commission touts brazenly. And now, critics have every reason to shout: “I told you so”.

To put matters in the right perspective, this is a brief re-cap of the events:

  • In 2019, Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narrashid was charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on 14 charges of accepting a bribe of RM23,540.68 in instalment payments for a BMW 3 Series car from a printing company, Karya Hidayah Sdn Bhd, in 2014 and 2015.
  • In the Johor Bahru court, he faced 10 charges including receiving a bribe of RM50,000 and a piece of land from the same company in 2013 and 2014. He was also charged in the Shah Alam Sessions Court with five counts of accepting the maintenance of two vehicles and the legal fee payment of RM12,707.60 for the purchase of a piece of land.
  • On May 21, the MACC withdrew all charges. On Sept 2, belatedly, his counsel, Hasnal Rezua Merican explained: “This came about after the MACC investigated the defence’s statement under Section 62 of the MACC Act and was satisfied that all transactions made as stated in the charges were advances that had been fully repaid.”
  • On Sept 6, the MACC issued a statement, which among others, said: “Based on new findings (obtained) through Noor Ehsanuddin’s new (defence) statement, the accused successfully proved that he had paid back the sum in question before the start of the (initial) investigation. A key witness also confirmed the matter (money) as advances.”

Yesterday, the same mantra was repeated in a statement by ACAB chairperson Abu Zahar Ujang, who said: “Following explanations from MACC’s top brass, the committee found that the decision to drop charges against Noor Ehsanuddin was due to new facts that emerged only after he had been charged in court.”

As I had argued in my column on Tuesday, the “real” issue is the reason advanced by the MACC on its decision to withdraw charges, which many found unacceptable.

The question was and still is: Does the repayment or reimbursement of monies paid as a bribe towards the instalment of the car absolve the accused of any liability?

For example, one pays for a civil servant’s monthly travel pass for over two years in exchange for favours. When the latter gets wind of impending investigations into the arrangement, he pays a lump sum and asks that the monies be treated as advances. Both would certainly be guilty.

Even if there was evidence that the monies had been repaid, the mere act of accepting gratification is an offence.

If at the material time of investigations (in 2019), there was no evidence of repayment (which only emerged in a subsequent defence statement), how does it make it “unprofessional or influenced by political considerations”?

AGC must explain too

For good measure, the Attorney General’s Chambers has been drawn into this fiasco.

Abu Zahar said: “The ACAB views there are shortcomings in the investigation; and the decisions by the Attorney-General’s Chambers in early February 2019 and the MACC management and administration at the time was made without a comprehensive consideration.”

What is meant by “without comprehensive consideration”? What were the shortcomings? If they were so monumental and crucial to the case, how did the AGC give the sanction to prosecute?

According to Abu Zahar, “new facts emerged only after he (Noor Ehsanuddin) had been charged” but that was hardly unprofessional. It was not that there was no case in the first place, but how and where did “political considerations” come in?

It is not for the public to get involved in word games and puzzles to try and decipher the cryptic messages emanating from MACC. There’s much more that is being hidden from the public. Unless the committee and the management are willing to have an open discussion on this issue, the people will always be suspicious of the motives of MACC’s actions or inaction in certain cases.

By the way, Abu Zahar and his committee have not addressed the elephant in the room: Is it legal and acceptable for any person to accept gratification and later repay the money and call it “advances” to escape prosecution?


R NADESWARAN says the latest turn of events has left a bad taste in the mouths of right-thinking Malaysians whose confidence in MACC will be somewhat diminished.

*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.

Fix Your Skin And Hair Problems With Dr. KO

The respondents’ skin and hair concerns based on the poll results

With all that is going on around us, it is easy to become stressed out. Being stuck at home for the past couple of months has not made things any better either. In fact, a poll carried out by Dr. Ko Skin Specialist through Newswav has shown that the stress of staying home may have prompted several skin and hair issues. Of the 5,500 votes collected in the poll, 67% mentioned that they have skin or hair problems. Of this, 33.9% cited skin problems such as allergies, eczema, and psoriasis. The next largest group of 26.2% noticed hair loss.

In the medical world, stress has been proven to be one of the leading causes of various skin and hair problems. One might think the solution is simple: just reduce or remove that stress. Let us face it – that is easier said than done! Some problems such as alopecia areata, eczema, or psoriasis are related to inflammatory reactions which can be triggered by stress. The root of these problems is in-built and once they are triggered, proper treatments are needed to address them. When these skin or hair problems arise, they add to the existing level of stress and worsen the condition. This leads to a never-ending vicious cycle that continues to fuel the skin or hair problem.  

Solutions for skin allergies & skin diseases

A broad range of conditions can affect the skin, leading to a number of common skin diseases. Common skin diseases affecting Malaysians include skin allergies, eczema, psoriasis, and skin infection. Skin diseases can either be acute, a short-term problem, or a chronic long-term condition. People suffering from skin issues are not only affected physically but also mentally. Patients with chronic skin problems are more prone to depression, low self-confidence, and reduced productivity.

Skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema are chronic immune-related conditions characterised by skin inflammation. These are chronic skin illnesses that require specialised long-term management. As such, they are best treated by a skin specialist or doctor specialising in skin illnesses. Dr. Ko Skin Specialist has extensive experience and complete modalities for addressing such skin problems. For the past 25 years, Dr. Ko Skin Specialist has been helping to treat allergy-related skin problems. 

As each individual is unique, the treatment varies from one patient to another. Treatment at Dr. Ko Skin Specialist is tailor-made to each individual so that it can work the best according to that individual’s physical condition and medical history.

Solutions for abnormal hair loss

Hair shedding is a normal progression. Shedding up to 100 strands of hair a day is generally considered acceptable. But if it exceeds this number, it is considered abnormal. Abnormal hair loss could result in bald patches or general thinning. Aside from the scalp, balding can occasionally occur on other hair-bearing areas such as the eyebrows, moustache, or beard.

The most common abnormal hair loss problem is Androgenetic Alopecia followed by Alopecia Areata. Androgenetic Alopecia is also known as patterned hair loss that can affect both men and women. Aside from stress, factors contributing to this condition are genetics, increasing age, and excessive androgen (male hormone).

Alopecia Areata is a condition where hair loss occurs in patches. Occasionally, diffused or total hair loss may occur. This can extend beyond the scalp to the eyebrows, beard, and other parts of the body. Severe Alopecia Areata causes complete balding (Alopecia Totalis). The cause of Alopecia Areata is believed to be related to autoimmunity. This means that the body’s immune cells recognise their own hair follicles as being foreign and attack them, thus causing hair to fall out.

Dr. Ko Skin Specialist has personalised treatment plans to address all forms of Androgenetic Alopecia and Alopecia Areata. Besides these two most commonly seen hair loss conditions which we have discussed, there are many other hair loss conditions that can lead to distressed balding. At Dr. Ko Skin Specialist, personalised treatment regimes are provided, catering to different hair loss problems. Never again let hair loss and balding take charge and ruin your confidence.

Other treatments by Dr. Ko Skin Specialist Centre

Aside from the skin and hair problems mentioned above, Dr. Ko Skin Specialist also treats a wide range of other skin-related ailments including acne, pigmentation, wrinkle, and aging-related skin issues. Treatments related to cosmetic surgery, aesthetic services, and orthopaedic services are also provided.

For more information, visit www.koskinspecialist.com or send an email to info@koskinspecialist.com. To make an appointment, Whatsapp/call 0111 922 9228 or fill in the BOOK NOW form on their website.