Sunday, December 30, 2007

Radzi wants Shahidan to go - The Star

By Sira Habibu

KANGAR: The much talked about rift between Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad and Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim is out in the open.

Radzi proposed a change in the state leadership, saying it was the best way to avoid a split in Umno.

“It is nothing personal. I am saying this in the best interest of the party,” he said after opening the Padang Besar Umno election machinery yesterday.

Radzi, who is from Perlis but does not hold any post in Perlis Umno, said Shahidan should be replaced to overcome internal problems within Umno.
The Home Affairs Minister also said that Perlis had not developed like other states because there were no changes at the top.

When contacted, Shahidan said he was not perturbed by Radzi’s comments.

“If the party president said such a thing, I will take note,” said Shahidan, who has served as mentri besar for three terms.

[More at]

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Kata dua Hishammuddin kepada Gerakan - Utusan

Oleh Herman Hamid

MACHANG 22 Dis. – Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO mendesak Pemangku Presiden Parti Gerakan, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon segera memberi penjelasan berhubung kenyataan Naib Ketua Pemuda parti itu, S. Paranjothy yang mendakwa UMNO adalah salah satu punca mengapa kaum India terpinggir.

Ketuanya, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein menegaskan, sekiranya penjelasan tersebut gagal diberi atau tidak memuaskan, tidak mustahil hubungan Pemuda UMNO serta Barisan Nasional (BN) dengan Parti Gerakan akan putus.

“Buat masa ini kita tidak mengeluarkan sebarang pendirian berbentuk mengutuk dan sebagainya tanpa terlebih dahulu mendapat penjelasan Gerakan kerana bagi BN, apabila timbul isu dari kalangan parti komponen, kita perlu dengar penjelasan.

“Namun ini bukan bermakna Pemuda UMNO beralah. Sekiranya penjelasan tidak memuaskan, kita sanggup putuskan hubungan. Hal ini bukan main-main,” katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian pada sidang akhbar selepas merasmikan Program Korban Perdana anjuran pergerakan tersebut di sini hari ini.

[More at]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DPM: Ignore Hindraf - The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The public, especially political parties, should not dance to the Hindu Rights Action Force’s (Hindraf) tune, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said they should not turn hysterical every time the group voiced its comments or criticisms, saying that Hindraf did not speak for the Indian community.

“Who is Hindraf representing? We should not dance to its tune.

“Action can be taken against it if it broke any law, and we have taken action against some of its members recently.

“The situation in the country is still under control, and the people are confident about the measures taken by the Government to maintain peace,” Najib told reporters after giving prizes to the winners of the Felda youth awards here yesterday.
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional deputy president, said he would ask People’s Progressive Party president Datuk M. Kayveas to explain his statement on Sunday that the protests by the Indian groups recently were aimed at the MIC.

[More at]

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Shocked by ‘apartheid’ report - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz was shocked during a recent work trip to India to find a newspaper there carrying a front page article that claimed that Malaysia was practising apartheid against Hindus.

Holding up the DNA newspaper of Nov 28, the International Trade and Industry Minister said that the article quoted a 22-year-old Sri Lankan-born poet who had spent 17 years in Malaysia, as saying that she fled Malaysia last month to escape “systematic racial harassment.”

“Fleeing Malaysia? Oh my goodness gracious. Can you imagine? This is really telling lies,” Rafidah told reporters yesterday after chairing a Wanita Umno meeting.

The Wanita Umno chief said that the poet, Sharanya Manivannan, had also claimed in the article that there had been cases in Malaysia of “body-snatching” of Hindu corpses by the authorities so that the deceased could be buried according to Muslim rites.

She said that the poet, however, had never mentioned that these men had converted to Islam.

Rafidah added that Sharanya had said in the article that “countless (Hindu) temples have been demolished and idols smashed – oftentimes in the middle of prayer sessions and devotees attacked”.

“What a lie. Words like this are terrible. The article really hurts,” she said.

[More at]

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Government Never Ignored Minority Races In Malaysia, Says Nazri - Bernama

KANGAR, Dec 2 (Bernama) -- The Government has never forsaken the interests and welfare of minority races in Malaysia, what more launching an "ethnic cleansing" to wipe them out from the country.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said all races are given due protection under the law and adequate avenues to seize opportunities available in the country.

The Government has never imposed restrictions on their freedom to embrace the religion of their choice and practise their respective cultures and traditions, he told reporters after launching the state-level Thai Loy Krathong festival in Pengkalan Asam here last night.

The minister said the well-being of the minority Thai community in Malaysia was also given due protection by the Government.

"Although there are only about 60,000 Siamese in the country, the Government had never ignored their interests and welfare. This showed there was no racial discrimination in Malaysia," said Mohamed Nazri, who is also Malaysian Siamese Association patron.

"I intend to ask for a bigger allocation from the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry and the Tourism Ministry to preserve the Siamese art and culture which have been well accepted by Malaysians," he said.

[More at]

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Keep out, Nazri tells Tamil Nadu - The Star

By Zulkifli Abd Rahman

KUALA LUMPUR: Stay out of the controversy involving the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) – that’s the stern message for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who rebuked Karunanidhi for interfering, said what happened here had “nothing to do with Tamil Nadu.”

”Do not meddle in our affairs. This is Malaysia, not Tamil Nadu ... lay off,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday, when asked about wire reports that Karunanidhi had written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to take immediate and appropriate action to end the “sufferings and bad treatment” of Tamils in Malaysia.

Nazri said he would not apologise for calling those who participated in the Hindraf rally on Sunday “penyangak” (thugs), stressing that the demonstrators had violated the law as no permit was issued.

He explained that it was illogical to assume that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would not accept their memorandum.

[More at]

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It’s apartheid, says poet who fled Malaysia - DNA

Venkatesan Vembu

22-yr-old Sharanya talks about the plight of Indians

HONG KONG: As a celebrated bilingual poet, Sharanya Manivannan, 22, knows the searing power of words. Yet, as an ethnic Indian-Sri Lankan who lived in Malaysia for 17 years — and fled to India last month to escape systematic racial harassment — she finds even the most powerful words hopelessly inadequate to describe the plight of Indians there.

“What is happening [to Indians] in Malaysia,” Sharanya told DNA from her Chennai home, “is nothing less than formal apartheid.”

Strong words, particularly when you consider that Sharanya doesn’t exactly come from the “bottom of the pyramid”. Her grandfather was a former Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia.

On Sunday, ethnic Indians’ pent-up anger over Malaysia’s Constitution-sanctioned discrimination spilled over on to the streets.

This drew international attention to the dirty truths that lie beneath picture-postcard images of “multicultural Malaysia”.

To go behind the headline-grabbing news of temple demolitions and rising Islamo-fascism in the country and get a first-hand account of how this discrimination manifests itself in day-to-day life, DNA spoke to Sharanya.

[More at]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Muhyiddin: Other races have poor too - The Star

MUAR: Umno vice-president Tan Seri Muhyiddin Yassin warned yesterday that the country could collapse if the people carry their grievances to the streets.

“To me, the group just wanted to create instability and cause problems, especially to the people in Kuala Lumpur,” he said, when commenting on the Hindraf protest yesterday.

Muhyiddin, who is Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, said there were poor people among the Malays and Chinese as well and poverty was not just among the Indians.

He said if Malaysia had treated the Indian community unfairly, as claimed by the organisers of the Hindraf demonstration, the group leader would not have obtained a good education and become a lawyer.

In Penang, Deputy Information Minister Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye said there was no need for Hindraf to stage a street demonstration merely to hand over a memorandum to the British High Commission.

[More at]

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ethnic Indians protest in Malaysia - Al Jazeera

Members of Malaysia's Indian community have protested on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

They are demanding equal rights in a country they believe discriminates against them.

They are also said to place blame on the colonial policies of Britain, and were intending to deliver a petition to the British High Commission in Malaysia.

Al Jazeera's Hamish MacDonald was there.

Malaysian police fire tear gas at ethnic Indian protesters: witnesses - Channel NewsAsia

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police fired tear gas at ethnic Indian protesters rallying here Sunday in support of a four trillion dollar lawsuit that blames Britain for their economic problems, witnesses said.

At least 8,000 protesters defied a ban and pushed their way towards the British High Commission (embassy) despite a heavy security presence.

Police used water cannon on the crowd that had gathered from around the country despite a police blockade since Thursday.

"Over the last 50 years Indian have been marginalised in this country and we now want the same rights as enjoyed by other communities," M. Kulasegaran, opposition lawmaker with the Democratic Action Party, told AFP.

"They have no rights to stop us from protesting today. This is the will of the people," he said.

The lawsuit targets Britain, Malaysia's former colonial ruler, and is aimed at highlighting what ethnic Indians there say is continuing discrimination.

It seeks four trillion dollars' compensation for the estimated two million ethnic Indians whose ancestors were brought here as indentured labourers by Britain in the 1800s.

[More at]

Monday, November 19, 2007

Police report lodged against Malaysia Today, Raja Petra - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: A businessman has lodged a police report against web portal Malaysia Today and its owner Raja Petra Kamaruddin for an article in the site which he alleged could cause disunity.

Noor Hisham Yusoh, 33, lodged the report at the Brickfields police station at about 7.30pm yesterday accompanied by seven other friends urging the authorities to carry out investigations into the article.

He said the article headlined “What the eye does not see” by Raja Petra had elements of instigation.

“As a Malaysian citizen, I think that his accusations are serious and can convince a lot of people in Malaysia that the country is not peaceful anymore,” he said, adding that the article could make the situation worse.

Noor Hisham from Bukit Subang said he decided to lodge the report after having a discussion with his friends who agreed that the article could cause disunity in the country.

“We are living in a very prosperous country and we do not want such an article to cause any problem,” he said.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Tuanku Mizan Regrets Claims He Supports Illegal Rally - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 (Bernama) -- Yang di- Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin has expressed regret over claims that he and the Palace approved and suppported Saturday's illegal rally in the city.

In a statement issued here today by the Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja of Istana Negara, Datuk Wan Mohd Safiain Wan Hasan, the King also regretted the gathering which was organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) and supported by the opposition parties.

Tuanku Mizan stressed that he and Istana Negara had at no time approved or given any support, directly or indirectly, to any quarters that organised or was involved in the illegal assembly or any other activities that contravened the law.

On Saturday, Bersih, which comprises several non-governmental organisations, as well as some opposition parties had gathered their supporters at various spots in the city, including around Masjid Jamek, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and the National Mosque, before marching to Istana Negara to hand over a memorandum to Tuanku Mizan.

The following Monday, PAS secretary-general Datuk Kamaruddin Jaffar said Bersih had decided to submit the memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after the ruler himself approved of it, and that the presence of Bersih at Istana Negara was to hand over the memorandum to the King's representative.

In the statement, Tuanku Mizan said as the head of state, he was responsible in ensuring that the country's administration based on the constitutional monarchy system as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, was respected and adhered to by all.

[More at]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kayveas raps Puteri Umno - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The People's Progressive Party, irked by recent criticisms by Puteri Umno chief Datuk Noraini Ahmad, has accused her of being arrogant.

“The Barisan Nasional could lose Terengganu in the next general election if she continues to make arrogant statements,” PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas said in a statement here yesterday.

Noraini, at the recent Umno general assembly, had said that her junior movement had about the same membership strength as the PPP, which is a whole party by itself.

Her remarks followed earlier remarks in the Barisan camp against the PPP, which wanted more seats to contest at the next polls.

Kayveas said it was not the size of the party that counted but the voters and the support that they give during the elections.

“No Umno president nor leader in the history of the Barisan has made statements that compared the size of a component party when it comes to seats.

“I am very surprised that the agenda of Puteri Umno is to talk about another component party,” Kayveas said.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bersih succeeds in submitting memo to King -

The Bersih delegation led by Anwar Ibrahim handed the memorandum to theKing's secretary at the gate of the Istana Negara. Anwar is accompaniedby PAS' Hadi Awang and Nasharuddin Mat Isa and DAP's Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng. The organisers are asking the 40,000-strong crowd to disperse.

Reject demos and use polls, PM urges public - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The people should reject street demonstrations and effect any change through polls, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Prime Minister reiterated that today’s planned demonstration by the non-governmental organisation Bersih was illegal as it did not have a police permit.

Calling the organisers stubborn, he said: “I am disappointed. Are they trying to challenge the Government and leadership? But what they are actually challenging and casting aside is the law.

“People want the country to always be stable and peaceful and that is what they (Bersih) are challenging, not me.

Saya pantang dicabar (I don’t take to being challenged),” he said yesterday in his winding-up speech.

The Umno president said street demonstration was not the Malaysian way.

[More at]

Friday, November 9, 2007

Pak Lah: Malaysia is for all - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: There is a future in this country for every Malaysian, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Umno president said the party does not engage in duplicity.

“We are not makhluk dua alam (amphibian or semi-terrestrial creatures).

“We do not change our tune to suit the occasion or the audience.

“We are ready to seek intelligent resolutions and win-win solutions when dealing with sensitive issues relating to race and religion,” he said.

However, for these issues to be addressed effectively, they should be discussed behind closed doors, Abdullah said in his presidential address at the Umno general assembly on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister said the harmony among the various communities and religions in the country was not an “optional luxury” but a necessity.

[More at]

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Malaysian opposition rallies for change - Asia Times Online

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR - A mammoth opposition rally planned for next week threatens to expose examples of vote-buying, gerrymandering, fraudulent electoral rolls and blatant use of public resources to win votes in Malaysian elections, unless the government is able to stop it.

Organized by BERSIH, a coalition of four main opposition political parties and 67 civil rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the rally is the first concerted effort to change the election rules ahead of the country's 12th general election, widely expected to be held by March.

The government is dead set on stopping the rally, which could be the biggest since Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi came to power in 2003. The premier rode a wave of popular adulation that has since soured by his failure to fight corruption and promote the rule of law.

The police have issued a warning, citing a pre-colonial era law that bars gatherings of more than five people that the rally is banned and anybody who turns up at independence square in the capital risks being arrested.

"Despite the concerted threats we expect over 10,000 people to turn up," said Sivarasah Rasiah, a key organizer and vice president of the opposition National Peoples Party. "The threats are not going to force us to back down," he said. "It is our democratic right to gather peacefully to show our unhappiness with the tainted system."

[More at]

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hishammuddin: Keris protects all, not just Malays - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The keris is a protector of not just Malays but everyone as the Government will protect Malaysians of all races, said Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

With this assurance, he hoped to lay to rest concerns about the keris which had been a bone of contention among non-Malays.

He said that the keris had been misinterpreted last year by some quarters, who questioned why he had unsheathed and kissed at the Youth assembly.

"They said the keris is a symbol of fighting. It looks like 50 years after independence, there are still some of our people who do not understand the culture of our people and country," he said in his speech at the Umno Youth assembly on Tuesday.

Saying that the keris is a symbol of strength and for centuries a part of Malay heritage, he said it signifies sovereignty, power, dignity, and responsibility.

He added that the keris is unique in the way it is made, sheathed, worn and used, and it carried with it specific dos and don’ts.

[More at]

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sparks fly even before start of Umno assembly - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Umno general assembly begins today but the sparks have started to fly with one politician hitting out at the English media for carrying opposition reports.

Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said some media were being used by the opposition to highlight their causes now that there was greater press freedom and transparency.

“Since it has been free, there are some mainstream papers which favour those who do not support the Government.

“Some are done in an indirect manner and some directly, especially in English papers,” he said when speaking to student leaders at the Overseas Umno Club leadership course here yesterday.

Citing the judiciary issue as an example, Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said the media had its own agenda.

“For example, (the Sultan of Perak) Sultan Azlan Shah’s speech talked about various issues but what was only highlighted was the teguran (warning) on the judiciary,” he said.

[More at]

Friday, November 2, 2007

Khairy: I want to use ‘protection’ to change things - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Khairy Jamaluddin says that being the Prime Minister’s son-in-law has provided him “protection” which he wants to use to change things for the better.

The Umno Youth deputy chief said he was able to “push the envelope now” partly because of that relationship with the prime minister.

“There’s a certain extent (to which) these people in Umno will not go after me. So it gives me ‘protection’ to change things.

“If I don’t use this ‘protection’ to change things for the better, then I’m just wasting time and marking my time to go up the ladder of politics. That’s not what I am about.

“I want to use this time that I have while I have this ‘protection’ to change things, to change Umno for the better,” he said yesterday during a question-and-answer session at the Kancil Awards Festival Speakers series.

Khairy, who is married to Nori, the daughter of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said it was true that this relationship meant he knew which buttons to push and which leaders to pull in to make a particular programme a success.

[More at]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Keris tradition to continue - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth will continue to use the keris as its symbol at the coming party general assembly and believes that with time the non-Malays will become de-sensitised to it.

Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said there was no need for the movement to be apologetic or defensive about it.

He believed there was “nothing sensitive with carrying on” the tradition started by the movement two years ago.

“I feel it is important we continue to do it so that the issue becomes de-sensitised over time.

“We will explain our position without any fear and with time, God willing, people will understand that there is no personal, sensitive and ulterior motives for doing it,” he told reporters yesterday after chairing the Umno Youth executive council meeting.

Hishammuddin said that he would touch on the keris and explain what it means to Umno Youth and the Barisan Nasional Youth in his policy speech at the party assembly next Tuesday.

[More at]

Saturday, October 20, 2007

ACA to act against those implicated in A-G’s report - The Star

By Lourdes Charles

PUTRAJAYA: The Anti-Corruption Agency is wrapping up its investigations into questionable dealings involving several senior officials highlighted in the Auditor-General’s (A-G) report recently.

The officials, believed to be from at least two ministries, were said to have bought equipment that were “overly priced”, causing the Government losses of millions of ringgit.

The ACA is believed to have questioned several officials before the Hari Raya holidays and is expected to either charge them in court or recommend serious disciplinary action.

ACA director-general Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan confirmed that investigations were nearing completion and that action would be taken against several people.

He declined to elaborate further.

Sources familiar with the investigations said they were centred on three aspects.

One was on whether government officers had received bribes from parties in the private sector.

[More at]

Friday, October 12, 2007

Action against those implicated in AG’s report - The Star

By Devid Rajah

PUTRAJAYA: Government officers and staff investigated for corruption and mismanagement of public funds under the 2006 Auditor-General’s (AG) report will either be charged in court soon or face disciplinary action.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, told a media briefing yesterday that the Government would use a three-pronged approach to rectify problems highlighted under the AG’s report.

“If it involves corruption and there is clear evidence, the ACA will charge those responsible, and you can expect this to happen very soon.

“If there are clear abuses but the case lacks evidence, disciplinary action will be taken against them,” he said.

The disciplinary action could be in the form of demotions and dismissals.

Mohd Sidek said the Government would also make public the type of disciplinary action taken against civil servants for various offences, other than the impending action against those implicated over the AG’s report.

[More at]

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Highlights from the AG’s reports - The Star

EVERY year, when a new Auditor-General's report is published, the mismanagement of funds and irregularities highlighted in previous reports are forgotten amid fresh outcry for accountability of public funds. Sunday Star looks at some of the “old” cases that made news.


1. Extra expenses: Selangor incurred an additional RM21mil in expenses for the delay in constructing two slaughterhouses. The original cost to build the two slaughterhouses was RM8mil.

2. More repairs needed: Despite RM65.51mil spent on construction costs and a delay of two years, the Gelami Lemi Fresh Water Fishery Research Centre in Jelebu, Negri Sembilan, had to undergo further repairs. The contractor, did not follow specifications, resulting in poor construction.


3. Deals Gone Bad: Three water privatisation deals caused the Sabah state government to be saddled with debts of RM888.08mil.

4. Out of order: The RMAF said it was unable to repair flight simulators for the Hawk and F/A-18 jet fighters in Butterworth because of a lack of funds. This was despite it signing a RM50.3mil contract covering training, hardware and maintenance with a private company in 1988 and extended to April 2005.

5. Complex under-utilised: The RM25mil International Sea Sports Complex in Labuan was left unutilised for nearly two years since it started operations in June 2001. In 2003 and 2004, only 51 activities including the Labuan International Sea Challenge, Labuan Arts Festival, Aidilfitri Open House, and government-department and private functions were conducted at the complex.

6. Delays increase cost: Delays in building four district police headquarters (IPD) plus quarters in Raub, Gua Musang, Kerian and Perak Tengah caused the Government to suffer at least RM5.85mil in losses.


7. Way above market price: The Government paid up to 36% above the market price for certain medicines used in public hospitals and clinics despite sourcing them through open tenders. Although 140 contracts worth RM425mil were awarded through open tenders between 2001 and 2003, 83 contracts worth RM283mil went to one supplier while the rest were distributed among 11 others.


8. Below par pool: The so-called international-sized pool at the RM45.5 million Darul Ehsan Aquatic Centre fell short of the required measurements set by the swimming world's governing body, Fina. The length of the aquatic centre's pool is less than 50m, the standard for an Olympic-sized pool.


9. Expensive tailoring: A total of RM3.02mil was paid to alter uniforms at the Armed Forces between 1997 and June 1999. The alteration fees for the 11th Royal Malay Regiment at Semenggo Camp, Sarawak, was RM31 per uniform while for the 15th Royal Malay Regiment Sri Miri Camp, it was RM68. At the Sungei Besi air force base, it was only 70 sen.


10. Expensive Door: Yayasan Melaka, a foundation fully-owned by the state government to provide scholarship for poor students, purchased a door for RM25,000, toilet and floor mats worth RM11,000 and 25 designer briefcases worth RM38,750 among many others without calling for tenders or supporting quotations. Altogether, the foundation was found to have breached financial procedures in spending a total of RM639,423.

11. No letter for RM1.6bil in loans: Two loans totalling RM1.6bil were given to Perwaja Terengganu Sdn Bhd in 1997 and 1998 in which no letter of agreement was signed between the company and the Government.

12. Failure to check account: The Defence Ministry failed to monitor an account which paid for the purchase of military equipment from the United States, resulting in a discrepancy amounting to US$32mil (RM121.6mil). As there was no monitoring done, about US$66.7mil (RM253.5mil) was withdrawn from the account although the equipment supplied was worth only US$34.7mil (RM131.9mil).


13. Poor revenue management: The Immigration Department in Damansara Town Centre did not bank in 4,680 bank drafts worth RM32mil in 1997. They were not cashed within the bank draft's validity period of three to six months. Of the amount, only 1,757 bank drafts worth RM14.97mil were recovered from those who issued the drafts.

14. Medical tools lying idle: Audit checks found 55 pieces of medical equipment worth RM1.41mil lying idle in government hospitals and dental clinics. The equipment included two operating microscopes each worth RM49,950 in Muar and Kangar Hospital, both unused for more than 19 months.


15. Fund for disaster victims abused: The Malacca state used money from an emergency fund meant for flood and fire victims for the purchase of five Mercedes Benz cars for state executive councillors, a RM279,250 on an official car for the Malacca governor's wife, a RM271,500 car for the Chief Minister and a Proton Perdana costing RM60,644. Other purchases included RM13,160 for a computer table and RM13,300 for two chairs. Altogether RM10.18 million for 29 expenses was drawn from the emergency fund in 1995.


16. Exorbitant seminar: The Melaka state government paid RM194,204 for a political party seminar. The Chief Minister's Office paid for the purchase of fountain pens as souvenirs for the delegates and organisation costs totalling RM168,394. Another RM25,810 was for a dinner for seminar delegates. The government also undertook three purchases involving RM216,084 without calling for tenders in 1993. They include the purchase of 1,434 food packets costing RM81,594. – Compiled by RASHVINJEET S.BEDI


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

M'sia rises a rank in Corruption Perception Index - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has risen a rank up on Transparency International's 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

It was ranked 43rd this year but the score of 5.1 was a minimal improvement from the 5.0 that Malaysia recorded last year.

However, the slight positive change in how people perceived corruption in the country's public sector stopped a five-year downward trend in the rankings, which was 33rd in 2002, 37th in 2003, 39th in 2004, 39th in 2005 and 44th in 2006.

The annual survey was carried out in 180 countries and is a composite index that draws on 14 expert opinion surveys. It was released Tuesday.

There were 16 new countries including Afghanistan, Maldives and Somalia.

The highest Asian country was Singapore which was ranked fourth and is the only non-Western economy to break the Top 10 list, led by Denmark. Somalia and Myanmar shared the last spot.

[More at]

Friday, September 21, 2007

No record of purchases - The Star

KUCHING: The Sarawak State Sports Council spent RM2.67mil on sports equipment from 2004 to 2006 but did not keep track of the purchases to prevent wastage or abuse.

The Auditor-General’s report noted that two bicycles worth RM19,800 could not be traced as there were no written records authorising their use elsewhere.

A RM5,300 lane rope for swimming also went missing while 24 types of equipment for silat, athletics and boxing worth RM47,911 meant for various training centres had not been used.

It added that 25 javelins worth RM3,570 were kept unused at the Miri Stadium because they were oversupplied by the council’s headquarters.

In addition, archery equipment worth RM30,859 was supplied too late to be used for training for the 11th Malaysia Games in 2006 and was not distributed to other training centres which needed them.

The report said the council did not maintain an asset register to record its purchases or appoint store officials to acknowledge the receipt of equipment.

[More at]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Malaysia: Elections without representation - Asia Times Online

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR - Political tension is rising in the run-up to Malaysia's next general election as demands for free and fair polls made by a coalition of opposition political parties and civil-society groups are increasingly being met with violence by the ruling 13-party Barisan Nasional (BN, or National Front) coalition.

This month, police fired tear gas and shot at protesters, injuring two opposition supporters in the chest, while breaking up a massive opposition rally in Terengganu state, one of the few areas of Malaysia where the opposition and government are matched roughly equally in electoral strength.

The rally, organized on September 8 by BERSIH, an acronym for a coalition of five opposition political parties and 26 civil-society groups that means "clean" in the Malay language, was the biggest gathering held so far to demand reforms to the electoral system. The United Malays National Organization (UMNO), Malaysia's largest political party and the leader of the BN coalition, has won all 11 general elections held since the country achieved independence in 1957.

BERSIH has been touring the country mobilizing public support for its reform cause ahead of next polls, which are widely expected to be called in November. Police responded with what demonstrators contend is excessive use of force, adding a new and violent dimension to Malaysia's electoral politics.

"The use of such hard force and firing weapons, injuring opposition supporters, is unprecedented in recent history," said parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang.

Police said the assembly did not have a proper permit and was therefore illegal, but opposition leaders have insisted on their right to peaceful assembly.

[More at]

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pak Lah: ACA must probe those named in A-G’s report - The Star

By Shahanaaz Habib

KUALA LUMPUR: The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) should step in and investigate any suspicion of corruption in ministries and government agencies implicated in the Auditor- General’s (A-G) Report 2006 for mismanagement of funds, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Prime Minister said the report was open to be read and scrutinised by all, including the ACA.

“And where the information causes suspicion, then of course the ACA should go in and investigate. We will not hinder the ACA from carrying out investigations,” he said yesterday after the seventh National Small and Medium Enterprise Council meeting at Bank Negara here.

It was reported that the ACA was scrutinising the AG's report to see if any of the transactions or projects involved corruption.

Since Budget Day on Sept 7, when the A-G's report was released, newspapers have been highlighting the detailed findings of financial irregularities.

[More at]

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Paying through the nose for tools - The Star

By Royce Cheah, Elizabeth Looi and Manjit Kaur

PETALING JAYA: Would you pay RM224 for a set of four screwdrivers?

Probably not, but that was what the Government paid to supply tools for students at the eight National Youth Skills Institutes (IKBN) around the country, according to the Auditor-General’s (AG) report.

The AG said the screwdrivers had a market price of RM40 and according to pictures in the report, resembled the average Philips screwdrivers you could buy in any hardware shop.

And it does not stop there – the AG went a step further by examining the prices paid for 12 other tools and equipment bought for the IKBN project, comparing it with market prices when the procurement was done in late 2002.

Among these were technical books consisting 10 titles that had a price tag of RM10,700 and a 3.1 megapixel digital camera that was bought for RM8,254.

[More at]

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Malaysia considers switch to Islamic law - The Daily Telegraph

By Thomas Bell in Kuala Lumpur

Hardline Islamic law could be introduced across Malaysia under reforms proposed by the country's chief justice.

As the nation in south-east Asia celebrated 50 years of independence from Britain yesterday, its government was preparing to discuss a plan that would revolutionise the legal system put in place by its former colonial administrators.

As Kuala Lumpur witnessed celebrations that included parades, fireworks and a fighter-jet fly-by attended by the Duke of York, the proposal pointed to the deep differences which locals say are poisoning social relations beyond the glitter and skyscrapers of Malaysia's modern capital city.

Ahmad Fairuz, the chief justice, told an Islamic conference in Kuala Lumpur that 50 years of independence had failed to free Malaysia from the "clutches of colonialism". Sharia law should be "infused" into the gaps created by abolishing common law, he said.

Malaysia's non-Muslim Chinese and Indian communities, who form 40 per cent of the population, are alarmed at creeping Islamisation.

[More at]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PKFZ, Johor Crimes Among Issues Raised At Dialogue With Rafidah - Bernama

SINGAPORE, Aug 28 (Bernama) -- The annual seminar on business opportunities in Malaysia took place in Singapore today, attended by some 1,000 members of the Singapore business community as well as representatives of state governments and agencies in Malaysia.

As was the case in the past, the participants took full advantage of the opportunity to shoot questions at International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz in a no-holds barred style.

A participant, for instance, spoke of the backlog of pending cases in courts which he said could affect confidence among investors who want speedy settlement in the event of commercial disputes, citing his bad experience in Penang involving a piece of land for development.

Rafidah said the government is equally concerned of matters that could affect investor confidence, hence the decision to set up Pemudah, a special task force to find ways to facilitate business in Malaysia.

"But this is not the norm, but if you are the aggrieved party, you don't care whether this is a norm or not, you just want your problem settled," she said, adding that she would raise the matter with the Cabinet.

She also pointed out that land matters are under the jurisdiction of state governments but assured the business community that they too are committed to ensuring that bureaucratic processes are minimised.

Another participant questioned Malaysia's concern over pollution since the matter was not mentioned in Rafidah's keynote address earlier, but she assured that Malaysia is indeed concerned about the environment, saying:

"Environment is very important to Malaysia. We want to make sure that we have enough forest cover to make sure the environment is not spoilt, but cultural habits also contribute to pollution."

There was also a question about "problems" relating to Port Klang but Rafidah said she was not aware of it.

"I don't think you are talking about Port Klang but about the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ)," she said.

"The problem is not with the port. It's the development of a free zone. These are all commercial ventures and the government is now looking at it ... there was some financial escalation."

[More at]

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I’m not with the Opposition, says Dr M - The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has refuted claims that he is on the “Opposition’s side”, stressing his love and loyalty remained strongly with Umno, the country, and his religion and race.

“I have never taken sides with the Opposition. I love my party dearly but this does not mean that I support the party leadership,” he said at a dialogue session with the Malaysian Concerned Citizens Council ad-hoc committee (Prihatin) at the Perdana Leadership Foundation yesterday.

The former prime minister said that when he quarrelled with the late first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, it was because he loved the party and wanted to save Umno.

He said that while loyalty to the party should remain steadfast, members must be brave enough to point out leaders' mistakes so they would not be repeated and “bring about destruction and downfall, and weaken the party”.

“Leaders on the other hand, must not have this misconception that support for Umno means support for them too. When there is victory, leaders think it is because the people support them when the support may just have been for the party.”

Unlike other races, particularly the Chinese, who would use their votes to send a message or make a point, the Malays, he claimed, would blindly support political parties, whether Umno or PAS.

[More at]

Cabinet rejects apology from Negaraku rapper - The Star

By Loh Foon Fong

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has not accepted student Wee Meng Chee’s apology for the furore caused by his Negaraku rap videoclip on video-sharing web portal YouTube.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the Cabinet had decided yesterday that they were not in the position to forgive him and that “the law would have to take its course”.

“The offence was not against the Prime Minister or ministers concerned but against the nation,” Nazri told reporters after the launch of the International Conference on Media and Information Warfare: A Global Challenge of the 21st Century here.

“If he had committed an offence, which I think was an offence, then we must allow the Attorney General to investigate and decide whether to take him to court,” he said.

Wee had on Tuesday apologised for the parody and agreed to remove the videoclip from his blog.

[More at]

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Student rapper apologises - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Student Wee Meng Chee, 24, who caused a furore here with his Negaraku rap video clip on YouTube, has apologised for the parody and will remove the video clip from his blog.

“It has taught me a lesson about the spirit of nationalism and race relations. As a Malaysian, I did not intend to shame the country or ridicule any religion.

“To end the controversy, I will remove the video clip from my blog and I hope other bloggers will stop distributing the video clip,” said the mass communications student at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan.

Meng Chee said he also did not have any intention of creating anti-government sentiments or fan racism by writing the song as he was loyal to the King and the country where he was raised, gained knowledge and given the freedom to develop his talent.

He said he wanted to return and contribute to the country.

“I am proud to be a Malaysian and my loyalty to my country has not wavered even though I’m now studying in Taiwan,” he said.

[More at]

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thousands gather in Putrajaya demanding end to marginalisation of Indians -

The overcast and gloomy weather in Putrajaya reflected the mood of the thousands of Indian Malaysians who had gathered at the administrative capital this morning.

There was a reason for this crowd to be in Putrajaya on a wet Sunday. They wanted to tell Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that they should not be further marginalised as Malaysians.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

University student comes under fire for video clip - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian student Wee Meng Chee has frequently courted controversy with his numerous postings on video search engine YouTube, but his latest parody of the national anthem has been severely criticised by politicians.

Wee has come under fire for mocking the national anthem and making statements many found offensive because they contained racial slurs.

His six-minute video clip, which used Negaraku in a Mandarin rap, has been viewed more than 400,000 times since the middle of last month.

Wee, a 24-year-old mass communications student at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, has insisted that he is patriotic.

“I wrote the song in conjunction with the country’s 50th anniversary of independence and it is my gift to the country,” the Johorean said.

Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum said police would investigate the rap video while MCA Youth chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said Wee had insulted the national anthem.

[More at]

Monday, August 6, 2007

Malaysian official allays minorities' religious concerns - AP


Muslim-dominated Malaysia is neither a secular nor a theocratic state, the prime minister said in an apparent bid to make amends after his deputy upset minorities by describing the country as Islamic.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said late on Saturday the country can be best described as a multiracial nation that practices parliamentary democracy with freedom of religion for all.

"We are not a secular state. We are also not a theocratic state like Iran and Pakistan ... but we are a government that is based on parliamentary democracy," Abdullah told reporters after making a speech in the northern state of Penang.

Abdullah's aides could not be immediately reached to confirm the comments.

The prime minister's attempt to take the middle ground comes amid rising concerns among Malaysia's Chinese and Indian minorities that their rights are becoming subordinate to Islam.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak added fuel to fire last month when he said Malaysia is not secular but is an Islamic state that protects the religious rights of minority groups.

[More at]

Umno is not racist, says Khairy - The Star

KLANG: Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaludin has refuted allegations by the Opposition that the movement practises racism.

“I don’t understand how the accusation come about – calling us racist. In fact, Umno always emphasises on the power-sharing concept and history has proven it.

“Ijok is a good example, where an Indian candidate was nominated despite a Malay majority in the constituency. This had been repeated in many other constituencies.

“How can we be racist, when we are defending equality?” he asked after opening the Kapar Umno division youth delegates meeting here yesterday.

Khairy also said that Selangor did not need a comprehensive development blueprint from the Federal Government as it was already a well-developed state.

He said such development plans should be channelled to the less developed states such Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

[More at]

Friday, August 3, 2007

Anwar a traitor to Malay cause, says Khairy - The Star

KUALA KANGSAR: Umno Youth has labelled Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim – who was once head of the movement – a traitor to the Malay cause.

In making the declaration, Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaludin said: “The (coming) general elections is not about politics but the future of the Malays.”

“Anwar is a puppet of the United States and the Jews, thus he must be hounded until there is no more place for him to run to,” he told a state Umno Youth gathering on Wednesday night.
Among the 5,000 people present were the wing’s former chief Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Deputy Information Minister, and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali.

Khairy said the movement was angered by Anwar’s persistence in wanting to do away with the New Economic Policy, a cause close to the hearts of the Malays.

“He wanted to abolish it simply because he wanted to win the support of the non-Malays,” he said.

In Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Khairy said there should be no more statements from any Barisan Nasional component party leaders concerning demands for extra seats for the parties.

[More at]

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bloggers Who Slander Must Be Brought To Book, Says Khairy - Bernama

KIMANIS (Sabah), July 28 (Bernama) -- Umno wants bloggers who resort to slander to be brought to book, said Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said these bloggers did not think about the sensitivities of others and the repercussions their writings can cause.

"There are no laws in the cyberworld except for the law of the jungle. As such, action must be taken so that the "monkeys" behave," he told reporters after opening the Papar, Kimanis and Sipitang Umno Youth annual delegates conference here today.

Khairy said there were some bloggers who thought they were above the law.

He said this when asked about Malaysia-Today webmaster Raja Petra Kamaruddin being called by the police for alleged seditious comments posted on it.

Khairy added that he too had been slandered on websites but had yet to take legal action because the case might take a long time to be settled.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Police Quiz Malaysia Today's Blogger - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 (Bernama) -- Police today interviewed Malaysia Today's blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin following a report lodged on Monday by Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib who claimed that the blog had churned out sensitive remarks.

Accompanied by his wife, Marina Lee Abdullah, 51, and Parti Keadilan Rakyat information chief Tian Chua and several supporters, Raja Petra, 57, showed up at Dang Wangi Police District headquarters at about 11am.

Raja Petra who was led into the police headquarters by a policeman gave his statement at 12.15pm and until 6pm he had yet to leave the station.

According to Marina, Raja Petra received a call from a police officer with the rank of an ASP at 8am asking him to give a statement at the police station.

Dang Wangi District Police Chief ACP Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman confirmed that Raja Petra was summoned to give his statement over his article in Malaysia Today's blog on July 11 which was said to delve on religious and racial sentiments.

This is the second time Raja Petra was summoned by police to give a statement over his article posted in the blog which started in August 2004. He had given a police statement last year.


Umno Youth Hails Action Against Errant Bloggers - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 (Bernama) -- The Umno Youth movement said it fully supports the government's move to act against webmasters and bloggers who flouted the law and belittled the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Its Economic Bureau chief Datuk Reezal Merican Naina Merican said although they were free to voice their opinions, they should do so responsibly.

"Those found guilty of insulting the king must be brought to justice," he said in a statement here today.

Reezal Merican, who is also Federation of Peninsular Malay Students Association president, said nowadays bloggers were abusing freedom of speech to the extent that they dared to insult the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and disseminate slander and lies against the administration, the prime minister and his deputy.

Concerned about errant bloggers, he said, the movement lodged a report with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission on July 10.

Meanwhile, Umno Youth Public Complaints Bureau chief Datuk Subahan Kamal described groups who write on sensitive issues which include insulting the king and Islam as irresponsible and having little respect for the dignity of the people or the country.

[More at]

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mat Taib Lodges Police Report Against Malaysia Today - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 (Bernama) -- Umno information chief Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib today lodged a police report against blogsite Malaysia Today for carrying articles deemed to have insulted the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Statements and comments posted in the blogsite dated July 11 were deemed to have contravened the Penal Code, Sedition Act and the Communication and Multimedia Act, he told reporters after lodging the report at the Tun H.S. Lee police station here.

"It was over a report which had insulted the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the monarchy. It had also insulted and poked fun at Islam as the official religion of the federation."

Muhammad said comments posted on the blogsite also incited hate betweem the various races and could affect unity and national security.

The Kelana Jaya Umno division leader said he had been advised against divulging the statements and comments to the media as they were too sensitive.

"As responsible citizens, we cannot allow such articles to be posted on blogsites and urged the authorities to act in accordance with the law," he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today the government is not on a witch hunt for bloggers.

[More at]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Malaysia Not Secular State, Says Najib - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Tuesday Malaysia is not a secular state but an Islamic nation with its own interpretation.

He said the country had never been affiliated to secularism but was always driven by the fundamentals of Islam as it is clearly stated in the constitution that Islam is the official religion.

"Islam is the official religion and we are an Islamic state. But as an Islamic state, it does not mean that we don't respect the non-Muslims. The Muslims and the non-Muslims have their own rights (in this country)," he told reporters after officiating the "International Conference on the Role of Islamic States in a Globalised World" on behalf of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at a hotel here.

The conference is organised by the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim). Ikim chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and director-general Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas were present.

Najib was asked whether Malaysia was seemingly moving towards being a secular state.

"I have to correct you. We have never been secular because being secular by Western definition means separation of the Islamic principles in the way we govern a country.

[More at]

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Apologise or face action, BN leaders tell Tian Chua - The Star

TANGKAK: Say sorry! That is what several Umno and MCA leaders want Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) information chief Tian Chua to do to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak over a doctored picture depicting Najib with Abdul Razak Baginda and a woman alleged to be Altantuya Shaaribu that was posted on the Internet.

While Najib said yesterday that he would not make any comment at the moment over the doctored photo, his colleagues gave Tian Chua an ultimatum to apologise or face legal action.

Najib said he would, for the time being, let the people vent their anger at Tian Chua.

“There is no need for me to comment on the matter at present,” he said.

Tian Chua had said the photograph, which he had created personally, was merely a fantasy and a work of art.

However, Tian Chua insisted that he would not retract the photograph or apologise to anyone.

[More at]

Friday, June 22, 2007

Debate takes ugly turn - The Star

At the Dewan Rakyat
Reports by Elizabeth Looi, Zulkifli Abd Rahman and Florence A. Samy

STRONG words were exchanged between Barisan Nasional MPs and their colleagues in the Opposition when the issue of corruption came up during question time.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz was speaking about Malaysia's poor ratings on the Transparency International corruption index when Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang stood up and accused the Government of not doing anything about corruption.

Lim brought up the case involving Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Johari Baharum who is being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Agency.

Johari had earlier denied allegations made in the Internet of a politician receiving money to ensure the freedom of suspects detained under the Emergency Ordinance.

Lim questioned why Nazri, who was in charge of legal affairs, could not say anything about the investigations.

Nazri said he could not reply on behalf of the Attorney-General because that would be seen as trying to usurp his powers.

“Malaysia cannot become a successful and developed country if such people (Lim) are in the House.

[More at]

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Malaysia In The `Premier League' Of CPI - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 (Bernama) -- Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said although the preception on corruption in this country is considered to be unfavourable, Malaysia is still included in the `premier league' comprising 50 countries with the least corruption.

"When we have reached (the group of) 50, how can we go up further? We are already in the premier league, it is not easy to improve," he said in the Dewan Rakyat when responding to a question from Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Keadilan-Permatang Pauh) who wanted to know the measures taken by the government in view of the decline in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for Malaysia prepared by Transparency International compared to countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore.

Malaysia's position dropped five rungs to 33 last year from the 39th spot in 2005.

Nazri said although the CPI was a study based on foreign perception or opinion, which did not reflect the real situation in the country, the negative perception must be accepted as a reminder to all strata of society to work harder to eliminate corruption.

He said the government would redouble efforts to check corruption through various approaches perticularly in terms of the legal aspects, counselling and social education and thus improve Malaysia's position from the CPI perspective.

"Efforts will also be made to improve the government's delivery system for services particularly those involving the economic sector, forging closer cooperation with the GLCs (government-linked companies) and the private sector in the context of the prevention of corrupt practices and strengthening integrity, and to seek the cooperation of the various sectors within and outside the country to assist in changing the preception," said Mohamed Nazri.

[More at]

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Doctored photos of Perak DAP leaders in sex acts - The Star

IPOH: Doctored photographs showing several Perak DAP leaders supposedly performing sexual acts have been circulated to the Chinese press.

The pictures, sent to the e-mail addresses of the Chinese newspapers here, have caused an uproar among the leaders, whose faces were superimposed on those of the “participants” of the sex acts.

The doctored photographs targeted Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan, Sitiawan assemblyman Ngeh Koo Ham, Pantai Remis assemblyman Nga Kor Ming and Menglembu assemblyman Keong Meng Sing.

The four told reporters yesterday that the first e-mail containing the faces of Ngeh and Fong reached the China Press office on June 5.

Ngeh, who acted as spokesman, said that over the next two days photographs of other leaders in similar acts were also e-mailed to other Chinese newspapers.

[More at]

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Nik Aziz: Muslims should not back parties that are non-Islamic - The Star

By Ian McIntyre

KOTA BARU: Lost souls – that is how PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat describes Malays who vote for non-Islamic parties.

He urged them to return to the true path of Islam so that their religious direction could be corrected.

“Muslims should only vote parties whose political struggle is for Islam.

“Those who vote non-Islamic parties are sesat (lost).

“They should review their faith and throw their support behind Islam,” he said at a dinner he hosted for the media covering the party’s muktamar.

He was asked about the split among the Malay voters.

On PAS rejoining Barisan Nasional, Nik Aziz, who is Kelantan Mentri Besar, revealed that he was once asked to join Umno but rejected the offer.

[More at]

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wan Azizah wins unopposed - The Star

By Shahanaaz Habib and A. Letchumanan

SEREMBAN: In a dramatic turn of events, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail won the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) presidency uncontested.

It came after her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was denied the right to contest by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) on Friday and Abdul Rahman Othman pulled out of the race at 2pm yesterday.

Anwar is barred from entering politics until April 2008 but had applied to the ROS for an exemption. The ROS letter came at 4.30pm on Friday.

The former deputy prime minister, who was sacked from Umno and jailed for corruption, was released in September 2004.

In a special address to the delegates at the party's fourth national congress, Anwar said he would be the party's de facto leader.

“If you want me to be legitimate, then give Wan Azizah the president's post but I will lead the party.

[More at]

Saturday, May 19, 2007

MPs say sorry - The Star

By Jane Ritikos

KUALA LUMPUR: Nine days after they made their “bocor (leak)” remarks that led to an uproar among women’s groups, the two Members of Parliament finally made a formal apology to all Malaysian women.

Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin, who made the remarks in Parliament on May 9, and Jasin MP Datuk Mohd Said Yusof who supported him, issued a public apology yesterday to women “who might have been offended” by their words.

Bung Mokhtar and Mohd Said however maintained that they were merely carrying out their duty as Barisan MPs in defending the Government against “the Opposition’s unfounded claims”.

In doing so, some of the Barisan MPs might have gone overboard but there was no intention to insult women, said Mohd Said.

On May 9, during a heated exchange in the Dewan Rakyat with Opposition MPs over the roof leak at Parliament House, Bung Mokhtar had said: “Mana ada bocor? Batu Gajah pun bocor tiap-tiap bulan juga. (Where is the leak? The Batu Gajah MP also leaks every month.)”

[More at]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shahrizat to meet with MPs - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will meet with the two MPs who have been criticised by groups for making sexist remarks against a female MP in Parliament recently.

“I will meet MP for Jasin Datuk Mohd Said Yusof and MP for Kinabatangan Datuk Bung Mokthar Radin on Friday,” said Shahrizat in a press statement.

She said the meeting was scheduled following a Cabinet mandate yesterday.

“The issue alleging MPs who had used the bocor (leaking) word has been discussed in Cabinet. I have been asked to look into the issue further,” said Shahrizat.

Her statement, however, did not state the general sentiment of other Cabinet members when the matter was brought up for discussion.

[More at]

MP says sorry to women, then retracts his apology - The Star

By Muguntan Vanar and Florence A. Samy

KOTA KINABALU: Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said he was sorry to all Malaysian women for his “unintended remarks,” but retracted the apology following a Cabinet directive to discuss the matter with Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

“I tender my apologies to all Malaysian women,” Bung Moktar said when contacted yesterday morning.

“It was not my intention to hurt any woman. I said it in the heat of an argument with DAP members who were calling me binatang (animal) and accusing Barisan of corruption.

“I too strongly feel that women’s feelings should be respected as I too have a mother whom I respect greatly. If my remarks have hurt the feelings of women in Malaysia, I sincerely apologise,” said Bung Moktar, who with Jasin MP Datuk Mohd Said Yusuf were accused of using un-parliamentary language against Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan at Wednesday’s sitting.

However, Bung Moktar said the public must understand that at the time of the incident, there was a heated exchange of words between government backbenchers and opposition MPs.

“They (the DAP MPs) were all standing and we also stood up and in the heat of the argument, I uttered the words without intention to hurt anyone, let alone women,” he said, adding that the Speaker had rejected the opposition motion.

“I am ready to apologise in Parliament if I am asked to,” he said, adding that the next session of Parliament would only be on June 18.

In the afternoon, he called up The Star requesting to withdraw his earlier statement.

“I have been directed by the Cabinet to meet with the Women, Family and Community Development Minister to explain what exactly transpired in Parliament,” he said.

[More at]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Group hands over memo to minister, demands apology - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of women – and men – gathered in front of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry yesterday to protest against the sexist remarks made by two MPs and demanded their suspension and an apology.

Led by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), a coalition of seven non-governmental organisations, the protestors, including representatives from various political parties like Wanita MCA Beliawanis, DAP, PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat, handed over a memorandum to minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil calling for an end to sexism in Parliament,

The furore started last week in the Dewan Rakyat when Opposition MPs tried to raise a motion on the leaking ceiling near the media centre.

Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan) and Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (BN – Jasin) then said “Mana bocor? Batu Gajah pun bocor setiap bulan. (Where is the leak? Batu Gajah [MP Fong Po Kuan] also leaks monthly).”

[More at]

Jasin MP denies making ‘bocor’ comment - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Mohd Said Yusof, one of the two Barisan Nasional MPs, who uttered sexist remarks against women in Parliament, refused to say if he would apologise or not.

The Jasin MP even denied making such statements saying that the media had blown it out of proportion.

This is despite Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s plan to bring up the matter in today’s Cabinet meeting to see if it is possible to amend the Standing Orders to include a requirement that the language used in Parliament be gender sensitive.

Shahrizat also said on Monday that it would be an honourable thing for the MPs to apologise.

When asked if he would apologise, Mohd Said said: “Let it be. The press exaggerated it. I didn’t say it. I don’t want to comment anymore.”

Mohd Said said he would issue a statement on the matter in Parliament today.

[More at]

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sexist remarks to be brought up to Cabinet - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The issue of sexist remarks by two Barisan Nasional MPs will be brought up in tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting.

Stating her “deep displeasure” over the remarks, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said an apology from the MPs would be the honourable thing to do.

“I will bring this up to the Cabinet to see whether it is possible to amend the Standing Orders to include that language used in Parliament must be gender sensitive.

“I see this happening over and over, and it’s getting worse,” she said.

Last week, following Fong Po Kuan's (DAP – Batu Gajah) observations of leaks in the Parliament building, Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan) reportedly said:

Mana ada bocor, Batu Gajah pun tiap-tiap bulan bocor juga (Where is the leak? Batu Gajah leaks every month too).”

[More at]

Monday, May 14, 2007

Said refuses to apologise - The Star

THERE will not be any apology from Jasin MP Datuk Mohd Said Yusof over his remark to Batu Gajah MP Fong Poh Kuan, reported China Press.

Mohd Said was quoted as saying that he did not need to apologise because his bocor tiap-tiap bulan juga (leaks every month, too) statement did not mean a woman’s period.

Mohd Said and his colleague Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin have come under fire for saying in the Dewan Rakyat that Fong also “leaked every month.”

“Who says that it means the menstruation cycle? Bocor can be translated into different things.

“Besides the leaks in the Parliament building, it can also mean to urinate.

“Apologise to Fong Poh Kuan? What is there to apologise for? I did not mean to offend her or other women,” he said when contacted by the daily on Saturday.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

There they go again - The Star


It’s amazing how our lawmakers who repeatedly display political cockiness, make sexist remarks and behave in an uncouth manner can still get themselves re-elected.

THERE he goes again with his looney tunes. The incorrigible Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin has once again infuriated most Malaysians with another of his off-colour remarks.

The loud Sabah politician, who has a notorious reputation for using un-parliamentary language, created Malaysian parliamentary history when he uttered a four-letter word against a DAP woman six years ago.

The microphones of all MPs had to be switched off by the Speaker in the heat of the debate but Mokhtar’s profanity was loud enough for other members and reporters to hear. He must be proud of his record.

Strangely, the Hansard, which records the House meetings in verbatim, has no record of the outburst during the debate. Things would have remained that way until the media approached Bung Mokhtar in the lobby and, to their surprise, he admitted the deed and went on to defend himself on record.

Before that, the MP sparked a controversy when he uttered a sexist-tainted boleh masuk sikit? (Can I come in a little?) remark in his attempt to seek clarification from Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng.

As expected, he said he meant no harm and that the phrase was commonly used in Sabah.

[More at]

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Putera Umno skydivers to try similar feat in Mecca - The Star

PEKAN: Fresh from their successful jump in the North Pole, Putera Umno skydivers will attempt a similar feat in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The wing’s chief, Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, said they had received an invitation from the Governor of Mecca, Prince Faisal, who is also a keen freefall parachutist.

He said the entire team felt honoured and was prepared to create another historical feat.

“The North Pole expedition saw us creating six new records and had attracted the attention of many countries, including Islamic nations.

“We were proud to achieve feats dominated only by Westerners previously,” he said after attending an excellence awards presentation ceremony in SM Seri Pekan yesterday.

Abdul Azeez said the team, comprising 12 former Mat Rempit, was awaiting the right time and condition to make the jump outside the Holy Land.

[More at]

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

North Pole Jumpers Break Several Records - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 (Bernama) -- The Putera Umno team which jumped at the North Pole last week has broken a series of records in skydiving, International Parachute Commission's (IPC) delegate Datuk Abdul Rahim Dahalan said.

Abdul Rahim, who was also Putera Umno North Pole Free Fall Expedition operations head, told Bernama here that the Association of Russian Polar Explorers Arctic and Antartica would officially endorse the records within a month.

He is the sole Malaysian representative to the IPC, which is a commission under the World Air Sports Federation (FAI).

The records involved the first world youth skydiving expedition team to jump at the North Pole and the biggest national flag carried to the region. The Malaysian and Umno flags unfurled there to mark the occasion were 100 feet long and 50 feet wide.

Sixteen jumpers, including 12 Putera Umno members aged between 19 and 24, had jumped from a Russian helicopter at the North Pole on April 23.

Abdul Rahim said the team also cracked two Asian skydiving records.

[More at]

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Umno shuts the door on ex-deputy president forever - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno has closed its doors permanently on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“He will not be taken back. Period,” Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad told reporters after the Umno supreme council meeting yesterday.

He said the meeting had discussed Anwar, who was sacked as deputy president in 1998, and reaffirmed that he “would never be accepted back into the party”.

“There has been talk that Anwar has friends in Umno and people are talking about him coming back. Let me just say that he will not be taken back.

“We made that decision before and we reiterated it today,” he added.

After Anwar’s release from prison in September 2004, the party's supreme council decided that the door was shut on him “for now”.

[More at]

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ijok Win Shows BN Still Popular Among The Masses, Says Najib - Bernama

KUALA SELANGOR, April 28 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tonight said that the Barisan Nasional (BN) victory in the Ijok state by-election is testimony to the continued popularity of the ruling government among the people.

Observing that the rakyat continued to have faith in the BN, the Deputy Prime Minister said the win also illustrated their unflinching support for the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"This is a truly significant victory as Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) had launched a very aggressive campaign... they hurled all sorts of slander against BN leaders. But we remained stoic and patient," he told reporters after the announcement of the result of the by-election at the Batang Berjuntai community hall here.

Pointing out that the BN had chalked up an increased majority in Ijok compared to the one garnered in the 2004 general election, Najib said the rakyat had opted for a responsible party, mindful that their future was inextricably linked to the BN.

The BN retained the Ijok seat when its candidate, K. Parthiban, 38, beat Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim of the PKR in the straight fight to win by a 1,850-vote majority.

The by-election was held following the death of BN assemblyman Datuk K. Sivalingam of a heart attack in Chennai, India, on April 4. In the last general election, in 2004, Sivalingam had garnered a 1,649-vote majority to beat PKR's Abdol Rahman Moharam and Mohamed Shariff Nagoorkani, an independent.

[More at]

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tuanku Mizan installed as king - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan of Terengganu, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin was installed as the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong in a ceremony steeped in the tradition of the Malay rulers at Balairong Seri of Istana Negara yesterday.

Soon after the 45-year-old King read out his pledge as the Head of State, the VIPs and guests led by Datuk Maharaja Lela Tengku Farouk Tengku Jalil hailed “Daulat Tuanku” three times.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in his pledge inscribed in Jawi on a goat hide, vowed to govern the nation with utmost fairness in accordance with provisions in the Federal Constitution and uphold Islam.

Tuanku Mizan said he would ensure a just and peaceful administration.
After His Majesty read out his pledge, a nafiri (trumpet) was sounded followed by the beatings of the nobat (drum) “Raja Bertabal” (the King has been installed) by the Royal Terengganu Nobat Group.

This was followed by a 21-gun salute by the 41st Artillery Battery Regiment followed by the rendition of Negara Ku by the Royal Armour Corps.

[More at]

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Focus On Training, Ignore Criticism, Putera Umno Skydivers Told - Bernama

By Syed Azwan Syed Ali

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 (Bernama) -- Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein today advised the 10 Putera Umno members who will skydive over the North Pole next month to concentrate on their training and ignore criticisms against their venture.

In defending the expedition, Hishammuddin said the 10 skydivers comprising Putera Umno members of between 19 and 24 years should succeed in their venture to silence the sceptics.

"Prove it with your action, prove that you (Putera Umno) can do it and that will silence the critics," he said when commenting on the scepticism expressed by some people over the expedition organised by the Umno Youth bureau, at the Parliament lobby here.

Ten Putera Umno members will skydive from 6,000 feet from an aircraft over the North Pole sometime between April 15 and 20, depending on the weather. The average temperature at the pole is minus 34 degrees Celsius.

The team of skydivers, led by Haziq Azlan, 19, was chosen from about 100 Putera Umno members who had registered to participate in the programme initiated by Putera Umno Bureau Chairman Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, who is the expedition leader.

Hishammuddin, who is Education Minister, said it was normal for people to criticise a novel effort, what more when it was an extreme one like the skydiving venture.

[More at]

Friday, January 19, 2007

Selangor Continues To Be Top Choice Among Investors - Bernama

By Yong Soo Heong

KLANG, Jan 19 (Bernama) -- Back in the 1960s when Malaysia embarked upon its import substitution policy, Selangor was a logical choice among investors because of its relatively advanced infrastructure with the country's premier airport and shipping port located in the state.

Today, the story is again no different for Selangor in terms of infrastructure facilities as the country's leading airport at Sepang (KLIA) and main shipping port of Port Klang are located in the state.

Port Klang interestingly has two privatised entities managing the port facilities, Northport and Westports.

A new attraction at Port Klang is the Port Klang Free Zone, an area comprising some 400 hectares, designed to promote entreport trade and manufacturing industries primarily for export.

All these facilities have helped Selangor to become an attractive manufacturing hub despite economic development in other parts of the country.

Besides the prevalence of top infrastructure facilities, the many international schools catering for the children of expatriate employees in Ampang, Ulu Klang, Sungai Buloh, Seri Kembangan, Cheras, Petaling Jaya and Subang (all in Selangor) are also major contributory factors in drawing investors to the state.

[More at]