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Jamil Khir berkata, pelajar di negeri di bawah pakatan pembangkang yang tidak menerima bantuan kerajaan negeri pula boleh mendaftar di portal Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) bagi mendapatkan bantuan.


Friday, February 4, 2011

From NST Reporter: Cairo ongoing protests turn violent

M. Hamzah Jamaludin reporting from Cairo

CAIRO: At 4am in Cairo (10am Malaysian time), the demonstrators could still be seen in several parts of the city particularly at the Tahrir Square, where clashes were reported between those who support Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and those who are against him.

It's very difficult to close our eyes when the square, which means "liberation" in Arabic, is just two kilometres from the Grand Hyatt hotel we are staying in.

"You better stay in your rooms as it is not safe outside. We have beefed up our security with more personnel being stationed at the main access road," said the hotel manager when we told him our plan to check the situation at Tahrir Square.

We have made the right decision to stay indoors as there were cases of journalists being attacked at the square last night.

Our Media Prima team- comprising three journalists, a photographer and a cameraman from New Straits Times, Berita Harian and TV3 - managed to reach the hotel before the curfew was enforced at 5pm yesterday.

We were relieved when we finally reached the Cairo International Airport via Dubai on Wednesday, as our direct flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport was cancelled when EgyptAir services were disrupted by the turmoil in the country.

The situation was calm at the airport and most of the city, with small demonstrations held at various spots.
There were also roadblocks along the main road including those mounted by volunteers.

However, the situation was more tense when our van moved towards the hotel which is situated on Roda Island, along the corniche of Nile river.

The road was chocked with motorists, who were rushing home before the curfew began, and demonstrators marching towards Tahrir Square.

Van driver, Syaaban Abdullah, has advised us not to take pictures of Mubarak supporters as he claimed that they did not like the "bad publicity" created by foreign press which had affected their livelihood.

"You can differentiate them from the placards that they carry with them. They sometimes call themselves a pro-development or pro-Egyptian group," he said.

About five kilometres from the hotel, Syaaban stopped his van as the road was impassable due to a massive traffic jam.

"You better walk from here and please pay me extra tips," said Syaaban who had earlier asked us to pay USD200 for the trip.

We managed to reach the hotel after walking about 45 minutes.

We were shocked to see how tight the security was with most of the hotel's signages were covered with black plastic bags.

"We don't want to attract unnecessary people here especially looters. There are many of them nowadays and they will normally steal during curfew period," said a security officer who declined to be named.

He said the hoteliers were badly affected by the continuous demonstrations with some of the smaller hotels were forced to close their businesses when they could not afford a better security system.

For us who have stayed at a five-star hotel before, what we saw at Grand Hyatt Hotel had sent shivers down our spines.

Its glass doors were covered with wooden planks while banquet tables were used to strengthen the main entrance.

We also have to go through strict checks with our luggage were screened several times.

While waiting for our rooms to be ready, which took more than three hours due to lack of housekeeping staff, we were shocked to hear that a looter was caught at the hotel premises.

"Please proceed to your rooms sir and we will send your luggage later. You should have your dinner here as all the shops and restaurants are already closed now," said a front office staff, Meena. We heeded her advice and agreed to stay indoors. From our rooms, we could see thousands of people continuing their to march towards Tahrir Square even after the curfew order had been enforced.