DCNS delivers Royal Malaysian Navy’s very first submarine 

15:15 GMT, January 27, 2009 Today, DCNS delivered the Royal Malaysian Navy’s first-ever submarine. This on-time delivery follows Malaysia’s decision to set up a submarine force comprising two Scorpene-type conventional-propulsion boats. The Royal Malaysian Navy took formal delivery of Scorpene submarine KD Tunku Abdul Rahman at today’s official handover in Toulon. The guests of honour included RMN Chief of Staff Admiral Dato’Sri Aziz Hj Jaafar. KD Tunku Abdul Rahman is the first of two Scorpene submarines ordered by Malaysia in June 2002 and developed jointly by DCNS and Spanish naval shipbuilder Navantia. In addition to the submarines proper, the contract calls for associated logistics and training. This major milestone for the RMN follows the completion, in late December 2008, of KD Tunku Abdul Rahman’s final sea trials demonstrating remarkable operational and combat system capabilities. These trials included successful firings of Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes and missiles. KD Tunku Abdul Rahman is scheduled to arrive in Malaysia early in the second half of 2009. The second of the series, KD Tun Razak, is scheduled for delivery in late 2009. Manned by Malaysian crews of just 31, the boats offer an endurance of 45 days for a displacement of 1,550 tonnes and a length overall of 67.5 metres. Scorpene represents the state of the art in submarine design and construction and benefits from the latest technologies developed for nuclear-powered classes operated by the French Navy, particularly as regards acoustic discretion and combat system performance. Excellent endurance makes the Scorpene one of the few medium-displacement designs suitable for extended ocean patrol duties. The modular design can also be readily tailored to each customer’s specific mission profiles and other requirements. This programme confirms DCNS’s know-how as a leading prime contractor for sophisticated warship programmes. With ten units ordered to date (two for Chile, two for Malaysia and six for India), Scorpene is truly an international benchmark in SSK design. 

Pakistan scraps duties on 1,600 Malaysian products

Published: 2009/01/29

THE Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) announced yesterday that Pakistan had eliminated import duties on over 1,600 Malaysian products as of January this year. Malaysian exports to Pakistan that will benefit from the duty elimination are parts and accessories for machinery, digital processing units, natural rubber, sawn wood, industrial chemical products, fruits and nuts, insecticides as well as butter, other fats and oil, said Miti. Miti has urged the Malaysian business community to take advantage of the duty elimination, as the potential to supply the Pakistan market was considerable. "These duty elimination will give Malaysian exporters to Pakistan an edge over their competitors, who have to pay duties ranging from five to 35 per cent," it said. The MPCEPA was signed on November 8 2007 between Malaysia and Pakistan and came into force on January 1 last year. Under the MPCEPA, both Malaysia and Pakistan, will progressively reduce and eliminate tariffs on most agricultural and industrial products by 2014. In the first year of the MPCEPA's implementation, 91 Malaysian companies benefited from the preferential tariffs accorded by Pakistan. In 2008, Miti issued a total of 3,026 Certificates of Origin (COO) with exports totaling RM4 million. The COO are documents that confirm a product's country of origin and are needed by Malaysian companies to qualify for the preferential treatment offered by Pakistan. According to Miti, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) also offers opportunities in the services sector.  Pakistan has allowed a 60 per cent foreign ownership for Malaysian service suppliers setting up businesses in Pakistan.  Malaysian has also gained new, exclusive and more liberalised market access than what other countries are able to get, through the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The newly liberalised sectors are professional services such as legal, accounting, auditing and book-keeping, architectural and veterinary services; business services, telecommunication and distribution services. Others sectors include educational, environmental, medical and dental services, recreational, cultural and sporting activities and rail, road transport services. The FTA with Pakistan provides a greater opportunity for the business community of both countries to further expand their bilateral trade and investment linkages. The agreement will also enable the Malaysian business community to use Pakistan as the base to expand their business in the South Asia region. - Bernama 

Photograph shows 'giant snake' lurking in Borneo river

Villagers living along the Baleh river in Borneo fear a 100-foot snake could be lurking in the murky waters. An aerial photograph that appears to show a gigantic snake swimming along the remote waterway has emerged, sparking great concern among local communities.  But it is not clear whether the photograph is genuine, or a clever piece of photo-editing. Some suggested the 'snake' was in fact a log or a speed boat and others complained the colour of the river in the photo was too dark. The most common theory is that the photo has been manipulated on a computer. The image has even stumped the New Straits Times newspaper in Kuala Lumpur, which suggested readers decide for themselves.  However, on the banks of the river, villagers are convinced of the massive serpent's existence and have even given it a name, Nabau, after an ancient sea serpent which can transform itself into the shapes of different animals.  Earlier this month scientists unearthed the fossil of a snake that was longer than a bus, as heavy as a small car and which could swallow an animal the size of a cow. The 45ft long monster - named Titanoboa - was so big that it lived on a diet of crocodiles and giant turtles, squeezing them to death and devouring them whole.


Malaysia says 1.8 million-year-old axes unearthed

By JULIA ZAPPEI, Associated Press Writer Julia Zappei, Associated Press Writer Fri Jan 30, 6:38 am ET

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysian archeologists have unearthed prehistoric stone axes that they said Friday were the world's oldest at about 1.8 million years old. Seven axes were found with other tools at an excavation site in Malaysia's northern Perak state in June, and tests by a Tokyo laboratory indicate they were about 1.83 million years old, said Mokhtar Saidin, director of the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Science Malaysia. The group released their conclusions Thursday, and other archeologists have not yet examined the results. "It's really the first time we have such evidence (dating back) 1.83 million years," Mokhtar said, adding that the oldest axes previously discovered were 1.6 million years old in Africa. However, other chopping tools, as well as human remains, have been found in Africa that are much older, with some dating back 4 million years, he said. Geochronology Japan Inc., a lab in Tokyo, calculated the age of the tools by analyzing the rock that covered them, Mokhtar said. The result has a margin of error of 610,000 years, he said. Some previous discoveries have suggested there were humans in Southeast Asia up to 1.9 million years ago, but those have been disputed, said Harry Truman Simanjuntak, a researcher at the National Research Center of Archaeology in Jakarta. Simanjuntak cautioned that others still need to investigate claims about the axes' age. The oldest previous evidence of human existence in Malaysia was stone tools dating back about 200,000 years, found at the same excavation site in Perak. The archeologists are trying to find human bone remains in Perak, Mokhtar said, but stressed that it might be unlikely because of decay due to warm, humid climate conditions. The oldest bones found in Perak so far have only been about 10,000 years old.

Archaeologists find buildings from third century AD in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, March 5 2009: A group of archaeologists has unearthed two prehistoric buildings from the third century AD in the Bujang Valley in Malaysia recently. The group, from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)'s Centre for Global Archaeological Research, found a building and a smelting factory, following an excavation project in Sungai Batu, Semeling. Discovered in two areas near an oil palm plantation in Jalan Lencongan Merbok recently, the buildings proved that an ancient civilisation had existed in the Bujang Valley. According to USM Vice-Chancellor Professor Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, the discoveries were important historical findings. He said that the date depicted the early beginnings of commercial smelting activities in the Bujang Valley. The excavation, conducted with the cooperation of the National Heritage Department, began on February 1, with a total of 70 participants, including USM students. "This finding is solid proof that the prehistoric civilization depended on basic knowledge, trade and large-scale industrial production," said Dzulkifli. The excavation project resulted in two weeks of digging before the buildings were unearthed. Dzulkifli said that the project was part of a plan to develop the National Heritage Department Bujang Valley Heritage Park. "The finding at Sungai Batu is different from artifacts found in other sites in the Bujang Valley. Previously, archaeologists only found buildings that had the characteristics of ancient temples," he said. "This latest finding at Sungai Batu I were of bricks believed to be from a house or office, and another at Sungai Batu II which functioned as a smelting factory," he added. According to Dzulkifli, both findings were important as it could unravel questions regarding the real date when civilization started in the Bujang Valley. Dr Mokhtar said coal samples found at the foundry were sent for Radiocarbon Dating tests at the Beta Analytic Inc, Florida, US, which confirmed that it dated back to the third or fourth century AD. He added that the Sungai Batu area would be gazetted as the Bujang Valley Heritage Park next year, after research was completed. --- ANI

Performers play a drum on stage in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, March 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Mokhtar Saidin, director of the Center of Archaeological Research at the University of Malaysia, holds a 1.8 million-year-old artifact during a press conference on Penang Island, Malaysia, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009. Malaysian archeologists have unearthed what they claimed Friday were the world's oldest prehistoric stone axes, which could prove that humans inhabited this part of the globe about 1.8 million years ago.(AP Photo)