Monday, March 31, 2008

Buntong Assemblyman's Conduct Tarnishes Party Image, Says DAP Chairman - Bernama

PENANG, March 31 (Bernama) -- DAP chairman Karpal Singh has expressed disappointment over the conduct of Perak state assemblyman A. Sivasubramaniam, saying he had tarnished the party's image with his resignation drama.

He said the matter would be discussed at the party's central executive committee (CEC) meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

"This is not something to fool around with. I do not understand why he did that. I cannot accept such conduct," he said when contacted by Bernama.

Karpal Singh was asked to comment on the Buntong assemblyman's action in deciding to resign from the party earlier today and then reversing the decision in the evening.

Sivasubramaniam had sent his resignation letter to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and despatched copies to Perak DAP chairman Ngeh Khoo Ham and several media organisations.

In the letter, he had alleged that Ngeh had not kept his pledge to Indian voters to allocate two state executive council posts to Indian assemblymen, and said that the decision was a big blow to the Indian community.

He reversed his decision in the evening and at a news conference in Ipoh apologised for his hasty action which he said arose out of a misunderstanding.

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Buntong Assemblyman Retracts Resignation From DAP - Bernama

IPOH, March 31 (Bernama) -- Buntong state assemblyman A. Sivasubramaniam this evening reversed his decision made earlier in the day to resign from the DAP over alleged failure of the party to fulfill its pledge to Indian voters in Perak.

He attributed his hasty action to a misunderstanding and apologised to all quarters.

"I apologise because my action was due to a misunderstanding. I hereby withdraw my letter of resignation," he told a news conference which was also attended by Perak DAP chairman Ngeh Khoo Ham and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.

Sivasubramaniam had sent the resignation letter to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and despatched copies to Ngeh and several media organisations.

In the letter he had alleged that Ngeh had not kept his word to allocate two state executive council posts to Indian assemblymen, and said that the decision was a big blow to the Indian community.

Ngeh said he managed to contact Sivasubramaniam at 5pm and they met.

"As I had expected, Sivasubramaniam had acted due to a misunderstanding and we took less than five minutes to resolve the matter," he said.

Ngeh said the misunderstanding arose because he had refrained from announcing the decision of the state government to appoint an Indian assemblyman as the speaker of the Perak state legislative assembly.

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Syed Hamid Confident Umno Will Regain Strength - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 (Bernama) -- Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar is confident that Umno will recover from the shock of the March 8 general election and will be capable of defending the Malays.

He said Umno will now look into ways to strengthen the party and to get back the support of the Malays.

Syed Hamid said although a two-third majority in parliament was not achieved in the recent election, the Barisan Nasional (BN), which Umno is the pillar, was still strong.

"At the national level, we just didn't get two-third of the seats but our majority was good. It's just that we have never been faced by this sort of situation, that many people now are worried and voicing (their concern)," he told reporters after visiting the police headquarters in Bukit Aman here.

Syed Hamid was asked to comment on Gua Musang member of parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's statement Sunday night that Umno must now accept the reality that the Malays had lost power, and could only hope of help from Sabah and Sarawak to continue leading the country.

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林冠英:只给土著承包商‧公开招標未剥夺权益 - Sin Chew Daily






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Buntong Assemblyman Quits DAP - Bernama

IPOH, March 31 (Bernama) -- The State Assemblyman for Buntong, A. Sivasubramaniam on Monday sent a letter to DAP secretary-general to announce his intention to leave the party which, he claimed, had not fulfilled its promises to the Indian voters in Perak.

However, Sivasubramaniam could not be contacted for confirmation on the letter, a copy of which had been sent to Perak DAP chairman Ngeh Khoo Ham as well as several media organisations here.

Speaking at a press conference, Ngeh confirmed that the DAP had received the letter but its authenticity had yet to be ascertained because he could not contact Sivasubramaniam.

In the letter, Sivasubramaniam, 41, claimed that the allocation of posts in the State Executive Council for two leaders from the Indian community had not been implemented as promised by Ngeh previously.

"The decision was a big slap and had cheated the Indian community in Perak. The DAP victory in the recent general election was through Makkal Sakti (People's Power)," he said in the letter.

In the general election on March 8, Sivasubramaniam, who is deputy secretary of the Perak DAP, beat Barisan Nasional candidate Lee Tung Lai with a 5,315-vote majority.

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Malaysia PM in deeper crisis as 2 Cabinet ministers seek leadership reforms - AP

By Julia Zappei, AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Two Cabinet ministers have endorsed demands by ruling party dissidents to hold an open contest for the party leadership, highlighting the prime minister's weakening control over power in Malaysia after disastrous election results.

The Star daily Monday quoted International Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin as saying that everybody should be eligible to run for the post of the United Malays National Organization party's president.

At present, a contestant must be nominated by 30 percent of the party's divisions, which is hard to secure by someone not endorsed by the party leadership. The party president automatically becomes the prime minister.

The nomination quota encourages an "unhealthy political culture," Muhyiddin, who is the party vice president, was quoted as saying.

"I hope that with the abolition, the party at all levels will have a healthy democratic election system," the daily quoted Muhyiddin as saying.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is facing the biggest crisis of his political career after the March 8 general elections, in which the ruling National Front retained power but lost its traditional two-thirds majority. It also conceded five states to the opposition.

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Math prodigy now a £130 hooker claim - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Sufiah Yusof, the child Maths genius who won a place at Oxford University when she was just 13, has been found to be working as a prostitute, according to a report in London’s News of the World.

Sufiah, now 23, whose father Farooq is a Pakistani and mother Halimathon is from Johor, was reported to have entertained an undercover reporter in her flat in Manchester.

Claiming that she had posted her services for £130 (RM829) on the Internet, the newspaper said she had called herself Shilpa Lee on a hookers’ website. She is said to have advertised herself as “a sexy, smart student” who preferred “older gentlemen”.

The story in the newspaper comes just days after her father was jailed for sexually assaulting two 15-year-old girls as he home-tutored them in Maths.

Sufiah passed the Maths A-Level she needed for entry into Oxford at the age of 12.

Three years into Oxford, she sparked a massive police hunt after running away.

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The ferry is a Penang icon, says Guan Eng - The Star

PENANG: The vehicular ferry, a state icon, should not be scrapped even after the completion of the Penang Bridge widening project.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government was not consulted over Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB)’s decision to stop the service between Penang island and Seberang Prai.

“I don’t agree with the move. I think they can’t just stop the sea link,” he told reporters after attending the Chinese Town Hall Chinese Cultural flag-raising ceremony yesterday.

He said the decision to scrap the important service should be made by the Prime Minister or the Transport Ministry.

“Even if there is such a plan to scrap the service, it is necessary for PPSB to discuss it with the Government,” he said adding that commuters would be affected if the service was discontinued.

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Zam: Dr M to blame, too - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad must shoulder some of the blame for Barisan Nasional's worst-ever performance in the recent general election, says former Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin.

Dr Mahathir’s various accusations swayed the people to vote against Barisan, he said.

“Laying all blame on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for Barisan’s losses is not right because it is clear that Dr Mahathir is full of anger and uncontrolled vengeance,” said Zainuddin.

“Maybe he was not aware or maybe he purposely did not want to be aware that his credibility as a former leader is still strong and that his influence on the grassroots, both Malay and non-Malays, is significant.”

“His credibility influenced people into believing what he said and he also lent this credibility to bloggers and websites,” he said when met at his house here yesterday.

Zainuddin said there were three statements in particular that affected Umno’s and Malaysians’ confidence in the leadership in the run-up to the elections.

“The first was when he said he regretted appointing Abdullah as the Prime Minister.

“This was then followed up by Dr Mahathir saying that Abdullah was only meant to be a one-term Prime Minister and that more opposition was needed in Parliament.”

Zainuddin added that the third and most damning statement that was widely accepted by all segments of society was about the role Deputy Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and his advisers played in the country’s politics and economy.

“This even caused Gerakan adviser Tan Sri Lim Keng Yaik to ask Abdullah to get rid of his advisers,” he said.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Umno Denies Distributing "Suara Rakyat" Leaflets - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama)-- Umno has denied it is behind the distribution of leaflets titled "Suara Rakyat" (The People's Voice) to the public, particularly Umno members in the country.

Its secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor urged the public and UMNO members not to be influenced by the leaflets said to be distributed by Umno as it bore the party envelope, logo and headquarters address.

"The distribution of the leaflets is just another attempt to instigate and divide Umno," he said in a statement faxed to Bernama here Sunday.

He said the leaflets contained lies aimed at worsening the political situation in Umno.

Tengku Adnan urged those who received the leaflets to contact Umno headquarters by calling 03-404295111 or faxing to 03-40416955 for clarification.


Malays Will Be Made Tools By West If Anwar Becomes PM, Says Mahathir - Bernama

PENANG, March 30 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Malays will be made use of by foreign powers if they choose Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister.

Describing Anwar as a "a man of many parts", he said Anwar had a glib tongue and hence could draw the attention of people from different groups and backgrounds.

"When he talks about Islam, Muslims will think he's a champion of Islam. He's also good at talking to the kampung (village) folk and also to those at temples.

"We know the west believes that Anwar will become prime minister in the near future. They can then lead him by the nose," said Dr Mahathir during a question-and-answer session after he opened the annual general meeting of Persatuan Melayu Tanjong (Penang Malays Association) here Sunday.

Someone in the audience had asked him about western media reports that Anwar would soon become Malaysia's prime minister.

"If the Malays are willing to kowtow to the foreigners, then they can choose this person (Anwar). I am sorry... he had maligned me all over the world, accusing me of arresting him and throwing him in jail," Dr Mahathir said.

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Penang BN Appoints Own Exco To Monitor State Gov't Administration - Bernama

PENANG, March 30 (Bernama) -- The Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) Sunday announced the setting up of its own executive committee (Exco), dubbed as the State-Development Committee, to monitor the Opposition-led state's administration, as well as to be the people's channel for suggestions and opinions.

Penang BN chairman, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the state liason committee meeting Sunday agreed to the establishment of the committee, which comprised of the 11 state assemblymen who won in the March 8 general election.

He said each of them were given portfolios similar to the current state Exco and that they would monitor the development of their particular portfolios.

Speaking to the media after chairing the committee's meeting here Sunday, Koh said Opposition leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim would lead the committee while Bahang assemblyman Datuk Dr Hilmi Yahaya would be responsible for International Trade and Industry Development as well as the Land Affairs and Development portfolio.

Shabudin Yahaya (Permatang Berangan) will handle Religious Affairs, Cooperatives and Entrepreneur Development, Information and Social Affairs; Datuk Jahara Hamid (Telok Air Tawar) State Economic Planning, Education, Human Resource and Science, Technology and Inovation; Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah (Seberang Jaya) Local Government, Environment and Traffic Management; Datuk Roslan Saidin (Pinang Tunggal) Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

Datuk Jasmin Mohamad (Sungai Dua) will be in charge of Works, Utility and Transport; Farid Md Saad (Pulau Betong) Tourism Development, Culture, Art and Heritage; Datuk Mahmud Zakaria (Sungai Acheh) Health, Welfare and Loving Society; Datuk Azhar Ibrahim (Penaga) Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Flood Insulation.

Syed Ameruddin Syed Ahmad (Bayan Lepas) will handle Town and Village Planning and Housing and Zabariah Wahab the Youth and Sports and Women, Family and Community portfolios.

Koh said the committee was set up in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi call to BN assemblymen in the state to play the role of an effective opposition.

He added that the committee would set up a website soon to interact better with the people.

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在野党:技术层面“打转”‧国阵未正视败因 - Sin Chew Daily

(雪兰莪‧八打灵再)国內的在野党认为,虽然首相拿督斯里阿都拉已擬定重夺5州政权的3大政策,但国阵似乎还不愿意接受真正的败因, 反而还一直在技术问题上“打转”。




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Dr Mahathir: Impossible for BN to win back the 5 states - The Sun

By Regina William

PENANG (March 30, 2008): It will be impossible for Barisan Nasional (BN) to wrest back the five states which it lost to the opposition in the general election, says former prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir said those who voted for the opposition were no longer interested in the BN and would not return to the party.

"If the opposition governments succeed in governing these states well, even the Malays will be attracted and turn their backs on the BN.

"Even Umno members during this elections secretly voted for the opposition, not because they loved the opposition but for the love of the party (Umno).

"They wanted to send a warning to the party leadership but unfortunately the leadership is still in a slumber and in denial about the losses.

"Not only has Umno been destroyed, but also MCA, MIC, Gerakan and even BN," Mahathir said in his speech when officiating at the Persatuan Melayu Tanjung (Permata) annual general meeting in a hotel here today.

The former prime minister was in his element, raising laughter among those present though his speech was laced with hard hitting comments on the present government leadership.

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Ng Yen Yen Concerned Over Perak's All-men Line-up - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama) -- Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen today expressed her concern over Perak's all-men state executive council line-up.

The Wanita MCA chief said she would put forward the concern over the non-existence of a woman state executive councillor in Perak to the new coalition state government.

She was speaking to reporters after attending Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)'s convocation at Wisma MCA here Sunday.

At Saturday's swearing-in ceremony, all the 10 Perak state executive councillors from the DAP-PKR-PAS coalition government were men, despite DAP having three assemblywomen -- Lim Pek Har (Menglembu), Hee Yit Song (Jelapang) and Leong Mee Meng (Jalong).

In the previous Barisan Nasional state government, the executive councillor for Women, Family and Community Development had been a woman.

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Lee Kah Choon Resigns From All Gerakan Posts - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama) -- Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon Sunday announced his resignation from all party posts with immediate effect.

Lee, former parliamentary secretary to the Health Ministry, said it was his personal decision to step down as he felt responsible for the party's dismal performance in the recent general election.

"Yes, I resigned from all the party positions with immediate effect Sunday. However, I will remain a party member," he told Bernama when contacted here.

Lee said that besides resigning as party deputy secretary-general, he also gave up six other party positions -- member of the party's powerful decision-making body, the central committee (CC) and the party's central working committee (CWC); Penang Gerakan deputy secretary; member of the Penang Gerakan working committee; Gerakan Jelutong Division chairman and Gerakan Jalan Jelutong Branch chairman.

Lee, who was one of the three persons named by the Barisan Nasional (BN) as its candidate for the post of Penang chief minister, lost to Tan Hock Leong of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in the contest for the Machang Bubok state seat in the general election on March 8.


Majority Malaysian Indians voted for opposition - IANS

An estimated 69 per cent Indian settlers voted for the opposition in this month's general elections in Malaysia, severely restricting and denying the two-thirds majority to the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, a study said on Sunday.

The vote swing in favour of the opposition was as high as 42 per cent in the case of the Chinese, who constitute 33 per cent of the 28 million population.

Ten per cent of the local Malays, mainly in the cities, voted with the opposition.

Ethnic Indians, most of who came to Malaysia during the British era, number over 2.5 million. Majority of them are Tamil Hindus, but there are also large pockets of Punjabis and other north Indians besides other language groups from south India.

Ibrahim Suffian, director of programmes at the Merdeka Centre, an independent polling agency, said dissatisfaction was most evident among Indian voters.

"We heard so many stories of how Indian voters and youths volunteered to help the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) in many places throughout the country," he said.

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Samy Vellu Calls For Release Of Hindraf Leaders - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama) -- MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu today asked the government to release the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders under detention, saying two of them should be freed sooner because one was ill and the other was now an elected representative.

He said R. Kenghadaran, 40, "is very sick" and M. Manoharan, 46, had won a seat in the March 8 general election. Manoharan had won the Kota Alam Shah state seat in Selangor on a DAP ticket.

Samy Vellu also said that V. Ganabatirau, 34, and K. Vasantha Kumar, 34, had not been very much involved in the massive rally organised by the unregistered Hindraf in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25 last year, which was a reason for the five to be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The fifth Hindraf leader under detention is P. Uthayakumar.

The MIC president spoke at a news conference after opening a workshop on "Rebranding the MIC" attended by the party's 150 divisional leaders, here Sunday.

"We are concerned about Kenghadaran and Manoharan. I spoke to the wives of both of them and, under the circumstances, I have decided to raise it with the government on these two people because they have made the approach.

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Ahmad Said Sworn In As New Terengganu Menteri Besar - Bernama

KUALA TERENGGANU, March 30 (Bernama) -- Kijal state assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said was sworn in Sunday as the new menteri besar of Terengganu, three days after the Umno Supreme Council endorsed his appointment by the Terengganu Regency Advisory Council.

Ahmad, 51, took his oath of office before the Regent of Terengganu, Tengku Muhammad Ismail Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, at the Balairong Seri (Throne Room) of Istana Maziah here. After taking his oath, Ahmad signed the letter of appointment.

Ahmad, clad in black traditional Malay attire, was composed throughout the ceremony.

The ceremony was also witnessed by the President of the Regency Advisory Council, Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman, and the two members of the council, Tengku Sri Laksamana Raja Tengku Sulaiman Sultan Ismail and former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman.

All the Terengganu state assemblymen attended the ceremony, including former menteri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, the elected representative for Jertih, and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, the elected representative for Rhu Rendang. Terengganu Mufti Datuk Ismail Yahya read the "doa selamat" prayer.

Before leaving after the function, Ahmad shook hands with Idris and hugged the former menteri besar as emotion got the better of him.

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Open Tender Doesn't Guarantee Fairness, Says PM - Bernama

BUTTERWORTH, March 30 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Saturday lashed out at the Penang state government for adopting a fully open tender system as it does not guarantee fairness to those who are financially weak to compete.

He said in principle the proposal by the state government to emphasise on equitability appeared to be good but this would actually result in only those who were financially strong benefiting from the system.

"The transparency, open tender and open bidding approach is certainly good and gives comfort to everyone but we have to remind them that not everything that is said to be equitable is fair. Actually, only the strong and those with financial capacity will derive benefits from it.

"This is our reminder to them because it is our (Barisan Nasional's) responsibility as the opposition party (in Penang) to give our views and we will become an opposition that is active, sensitive and curious about what is happening in Penang. We are not around just to keep the seat warm," he said at a thanksgiving gathering held by the Penang Umno Liaison Body, here Saturday night.

He clarified that the New Economic Policy (NEP) was not merely for the Bumiputeras as it also assisted the Chinese and Indian communities because the policy was not racially biased. He said the NEP was a national approach implemented to eliminate poverty regardless of race, enable equitable distribution to the people including enlarging the Bumiputera Commercial and Industrial Community (BCIC) and ensuring a robust economic growth to be enjoyed by all races.

Abdullah, who is also the chairman of the State Umno Liaison Body, reminded the 11 Umno Assemblymen, who represent the Barisan Nasional (BN), to fight for the cause of all races in the state.

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30,000 greet the king - NST

KUALA TERENGGANU: The rakyat and members of political parties, including from the opposition, were out in full force yesterday to welcome the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin at the Sultan Mahmud Airport.

The estimated 30,000-strong crowd created a massive traffic jam lasting nearly three hours from the Sultan Mahmud bridge to the airport, a distance of about 5km.

This was Tuanku Mizan's first visit to the state since the March 8 general election. He arrived with his son, Tengku Muhammad Ismail, who is the regent.

They were greeted by Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, state assemblymen and heads of department.

Ahmad, who was at the centre of a controversy over his appointment as the menteri besar, will be sworn-in before the Regency Advisory Council at Istana Maziah today.

State Umno liaison secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid said all state assemblymen, except for former menteri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, were expected to be present at the swearing-in ceremony.

"It is good to see people from all walks of life and members of all political parties coming out in full force to greet the king," said Rosol.

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Penang ferry to end once bridge is expanded - NST

BUTTERWORTH: The famous Penang ferry will be history once the Penang Bridge is expanded.

Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) said it was planning to discontinue its ferry service once the expansion work on the Penang Bridge is completed next year.

"We are not keen to operate the vehicular ferries as the operating costs have gone up tremendously," said PPSB chief operating officer Mohd Niana Merican Abd Kadir Merican yesterday.

While vehicles will use the expanded Penang Bridge, Niana said speed boats would be introduced to ferry people across the channel.

Besides being cost-effective, the speed boats can reduce the travelling time from 20 minutes to between eight and 10 minutes.

Costs was the main reason why the company does not want to continue with the ferry services, said Naina.

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Guan Eng among 300 to greet PM - The Star

PENANG: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was greeted by a crowd of about 300 people, including Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty Chew, when he returned to Penang for the first time since the general election.

Also present to greet Abdullah upon his arrival at the Penang International Airport at 6.15pm yesterday were Deputy Chief Ministers Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin and Dr P. Ramasamy, former chief minister and state Barisan Nasional chief Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, state Umno liaison committee deputy chief Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah and secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim, who is state Opposition Leader, and various elected representatives and political party leaders.

Lim said Abdullah was gracious and congratulated him and Dr Ramasamy, and he introduced Mohammad Fairus to the premier.

He also said that he would be calling on Abdullah in Putrajaya at 10am on Thursday to discuss state-federal relations.

Abdullah then proceeded to Tasek Gelugor for a thanksgiving dinner.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

重建民政威信‧家全暗吁子根交棒 - Guang Ming Daily






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Malaysian opposition slams government's refusal to free Indian lawmaker - AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- A Malaysian opposition party on Saturday condemned the government's refusal to release an ethnic Indian activist elected as a state legislator while in jail.

M.Manoharan - a leader of the Hindu Rights Action Force, or Hindraf - was arrested shortly after his group organized a rally in November in which 20,000 Indians protested alleged government discrimination. He has been held since December under Malaysia's Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial.

While behind bars, he contested the March 8 election as a member of the Democratic Action Party and won a seat in the Selangor state legislature.

Despite Manoharan's win, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said the government cannot free him because he is still a security threat, The Star newspaper reported Saturday.

Calls to Syed Hamid and his aides went unanswered Saturday.

Lim Kit Siang, who heads the opposition Democratic Action Party slammed the government's decision.

"It shows that the Cabinet is not really listening to the people's voice for change toward a more democratic, accountable, just and more progressive Malaysian society," Lim told The Associated Press.

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Dr Mahathir Explains Letter About Terengganu MB's Appointment - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 (Bernama) -- Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said his letter published in several newspapers on Friday was an explanation about the present political scenario particularly the appointment of Datuk Ahmad Said as Terengganu Menteri Besar.

The explanation was based on his understanding about the country's constitution, he said.

"I knew something about the consitution. So I thought there are a lot of confusion and a lot of worry regarding the role played by the Ruler. I feel I should explain based on what I knew.

"It is so that people who are suspicious of what was done by the Sultan will understand his action. His Majesty did not take action arbitrarily and there are reasons," he told reporters after a Perkim function here Friday night.

In the letter, Dr Mahathir said: "A concerned Malaysia has expressed his worry over the role being played by Sultans in the appointment of the menteri besar. His Royal Highnesses have clearly refused to take the advice of the chief minister i.e. the prime minister. Instead, they have chosen on their own a member of the state legislature to head the government."

Further down in the same letter, he said: "The prime minister, as prime minister has no role in the choice of the state menteri besar or chief minister. His naming of candidate who should be the menteri besar is purely a party matter."

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Azalina heads tourism promotion board - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has been appointed chairman of the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board while Datuk Seri Mahadzir Khalid was named the deputy.

The ministry's public relations unit in a statement yesterday also said AirAsia chief executive Datuk Tony Fernandes, Datuk Philip Chan of Skrine Advocates & Solicitors, Corston-Smith Asset Management managing director Shireen Muhiudeen and Umno Cheras branch head Datuk Wira Syed Ali Alhabshee were appointed to the new board of directors.

Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Victor Wee, Malaysia Airlines chief operating officer Datuk Idris Jala, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents president Ngiam Foon and Malaysian Association of Hotels president Datuk Mohd Ilyas Zainol Abidin were reappointed as members of the board.


Barisan’s 22 reps to back Ahmad - The Star

By R.S.N. Murali

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu Mentri Besar saga has ended with the 22 assemblymen who initially opposed the appointment of Datuk Ahmad Said now supporting his appointment.

Terengganu Umno liaison committee secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid said the 22, who had earlier backed former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, had reconciled with Ahmad.

He said they would now be a united front and support the decision by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to end the controversy over who should be appointed the state's Mentri Besar.

“We are now one big family and abide by the command of our general (Abdullah),” he said yesterday.

The 22, out of the state's 24 Barisan assemblymen, had earlier pledged support for Idris as Mentri Besar. However, the state's Regency Advisory Council appointed Kijal assemblyman Ahmad as Mentri Besar on March 23.

Idris also initially had Abdullah's backing but the Umno supreme council on Thursday decided to endorse Ahmad's appointment.

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Hamid: We can’t just free ISA detainee - The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Hindu Rights Action Force leader M. Manoharan who is being detained under the Internal Security Act cannot be released just because he was elected Kota Alam Shah assemblyman, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said.

“We cannot simply react to political parties’ calls. We have to give priority to public safety and peace and will give due consideration only if there is no threat to national security.”

Manoharan would not be able to attend state assembly sessions while under detention.

He could, however, take the oath as a state assemblyman at the detention camp as this had been done in the past, Syed Hamid said.

Chian Heng Kai and Chan Kok Kit, who won the Batu Gajah and Sungai Besi parliamentary seats respectively on a DAP ticket, were sworn-in in the presence of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker and secretary, and camp authorities in 1978.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Selangor To Supply First 20 Cubic Metres Of Water Free From June 1 - Bernama

SHAH ALAM, March 28 (Bernama) -- The Selangor government will forgo imposing any charge for the first 20 cubic metres of water for domestic users with individual meter beginning June 1, the office of the menteri besar said in a statement Friday.

The statement said the Selangor government had conducted a study on the mechanism to implement the policy in the interests of the state government, the environment and the public.

It said the objective of the state government in implementing the policy was to reduce the cost of living, particularly for the low-income group.

Nevertheless, the people must continue to use water wisely and responsibly to avoid wastage so that the state's water resources could be maintained for a long time, it said.

At the same time, the state government would introduce measures to diversify the overall sources of water supply soon, it added.

The provision of the free first 20 cubic metres of water was one of the promises contained in the election manifesto of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) for the March 8 general election.


Ong: MCA will say what needs to be said - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA will make adjustments to its approaches and say what needs to be said, party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting declared.

He said the people wanted to know if the party was as concerned as them about certain issues and the party took note of that.

Responding to questions from reporters on “silent politics” – where the party had been solving problems through internal channels within the Barisan Nasional – he said:

“The party will say what we need to say. On certain issues that the people want us to voice out, we will know how to voice it out in the correct way.”

The party would have to work very hard to win back the confidence of the people, he told a press conference after chairing a brainstorming session with party central committee members Friday.

“This will not happen by making one or two statements. The challenges ahead will be great and it needs our hard work, and strong stamina. It is going to take time,” he said.

[More at]

Malaysian Ex-Leader Warns of Frame-Up - AP

By Sean Yoong

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad claimed Friday that people were trying to dig up evidence that he committed crimes during his time in power to stop him from criticizing his embattled successor.

Mahathir was the first public figure to urge Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign after the ruling coalition suffered unprecedented losses in March 8 general elections. Several other coalition members, including Mahathir's son, have since echoed the demand.

Mahathir, who has repeatedly accused Abdullah's administration of corruption and nepotism during the past two years, said he knows his detractors believe he "did worse things" when he headed the government between 1981 and 2003.

"I am aware that people are looking into possible misdeeds by me during my 22 years so as to threaten me and ask me to shut up," Mahathir wrote in a letter to The Sun newspaper, without identifying the people.

"So far they have not found anything," Mahathir said. "Not only have I not taken anything that was not due to me while I was prime minister, but I have given back to the government and the people everything that I had received as gifts during my tenure of office."

He added that "unless there is a frame-up, I think there should be nothing to pin on me."

An aide to Abdullah declined to immediately comment. The prime minister has repeatedly rejected Mahathir's allegations of impropriety.

[More at]

Role of rulers in picking mentris besar - The Sun

By Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

A Concerned Malaysian has expressed his worry over the role being played by Sultans in the appointment of the Mentri Besar.

His Royal Highnesses have clearly refused to take the advice of the Chief Minister i.e. the Prime Minister. Instead, they have chosen on their own a member of the state legislature to head the Government.

We hear a lot of opinions on the propriety of the action by the Sultan. Some say he has the right to do this while others point out that as a constitutional ruler, he could not do this.

The Constitution says that the Ruler or Head of State must choose the elected member who enjoys the support of the majority of members in the legislative body to be the Prime Minister or the Mentri Besar. Subject to this provision, the Ruler it is who chooses and appoints the Prime Minister or Mentri Besar.

The Prime Minister, as Prime Minister, has no role in the choice of the State Mentri Besar or Ketua Menteri. His naming of candidate who should be the Mentri Besar is purely a party matter. Obviously, if the State is captured by the Opposition Party, he cannot name the candidate.

However, if the Ruler chooses someone who does not enjoy majority support, he could be deposed at a sitting of the legislative body through a vote of "no confidence".

After that, another member can be appointed by the Ruler to take his place. But if for some reason, there is no other candidate or the candidate with majority support is considered unsuitable by the Ruler, a new Government cannot be formed. The Ruler may then dissolve the legislative body and a new election may be held.

This new election may lead to the same impasse. The Ruler may not like the member with majority support.

However, it should be noted that this kind of thing had never happened during the premiership of the four previous Prime Ministers. Concerned Malaysians should wonder why.

Is it just that the particular Ruler is being difficult, unwilling to accept the principles of democracy, wanting to return to feudalism and the absolute authority of the monarch?

I do not think so. There must be a reason why the Ruler refuses to accept the candidate named by the party. But the Ruler chooses not to reveal the reasons and indulge in public debates. He merely expresses his displeasure by refusing to do what normally the Rulers would do.

Concerned Malaysians must ask what has the particular candidate done which is so wrong that it incurs the displeasure of the Ruler.

There are lots of talks in the town. Terengganu is blessed with petroleum deposits. It should get 5% of the total earning from oil production. The Federal Government; fearing the previous PAS government might use this money wrongly had withheld payment.

But when the Barisan Nasional (BN) regained Terengganu the money, now called "Wang Ehsan", was lavishly spent by the Federal Government on Terengganu. It is not a small sum. Over these years "Wang Ehsan" totalled several billion.

We know that since the BN regained Terengganu in 2004, all kinds of projects have been developed in Terengganu. This includes The Monsoon Cup, luxury housing for sale to foreigners, Crystal Mosque and theme park, university, etc. Some of these projects are very good but many are totally unnecessary and wasteful.

But what the Terengganu people are saying is that all these mega projects costing billions of Ringgit have been contracted out to people outside Terengganu. Terengganu contractors got practically nothing.

But additionally, they say the contracts all went to one person and they are suspicious that behind this person are members of the first family.The rumours also say that the previous Mentri Besar was responsible for these things happening and of course, they think that he might have benefited financially.

The rumours went on to say that the Prime Minister might have influenced the Mentri Besar into doing wrong things. These are all rumours. It will be quite impossible to prove anything as the perpetrators are skilled in hiding themselves.

This is not good for a Government keen to abolish corruption and be transparent. To clear its name, an investigation should be made.

But the public is leery of investigations by Government agencies and departments. Even Royal Commissions are not highly regarded. The people believe, not true of course, that the Government has been interfering with the work of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), the Police and the Attorney General (A-G)'s Chambers. The say this is borne out by the results of investigations by these agencies.

When a Deputy Minister was accused of accepting money for the release of a detainee, the A-G said there was no case because the detainee said he did not give any money to the Deputy Minister. It is so easy. If you have a case involving someone, all the enforcement agencies need to do is to ask him whether he was involved. If he says "no", then there is no case.

For some reason, judges are finding that people accused of murder are not guilty because of insufficient evidence by the police. Yet people who are totally not involved in a case, who were not accused of any misdeeds and who did not appear in court at all and been given a hearing are found guilty and publicly condemned.

The public cannot be blamed for not having faith in Government agencies doing investigations. The public cannot be blamed for suspecting cover-ups by the Government or worse still the Government may be using these enforcement agencies to threaten people.

To clear its good name, the Government should get credible foreign agencies to do the investigation. Of course, they must be given full access to the documents etc.

Now my detractors are going to say I did worse things when I was Prime Minister. Well, if that is so, let us have the foreign agencies investigate me also. I am aware that people are looking into possible misdeeds by me during my 22 years so as to threaten me and ask me to shut up. So far they have not found anything.

Not only have I not taken anything that was not due to me while I was Prime Minister but I have given back to the Government and the people everything that I had received as gifts during my tenure of office.

The Government had offered me land in Kedah and Langkawi and I had refused to accept. I have a 5-acre plot in Putrajaya which I paid for even though the Government was offering it to me free.

Unless there is a frame-up, I think there should be nothing to pin on me. Even other accusations against me, including the dismissal of judges, were not my doing and I do not feel obliged to apologise. Ask the Tribunal to apologise.

The person asking that the Government should apologise for what happened to Tun Salleh Abbas may have forgotten that as President of the Muslim Lawyers Association, he fully supported the action that was taken. He castigated the Bar Council for condemning Tun Hamid Omar over the dismissal of judges. Now he wants to be more correct than correct. I wonder why.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Umno Supreme Council meeting -

Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says the Umno Supreme Council has endorsed Datuk Ahmad Said as Terengganu's chief minister. He also set the dates for the next Umno general elections.

Umno Supreme Council Supports Appointment Of Ahmad Said As Terengganu MB - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 (Bernama) -- The Umno Supreme Council Thursday decided to support the appointment of Datuk Ahmad Said as the new menteri besar of Terengganu, ending the tussle for the leadership of the state government which has dragged on for three weeks after the March 8 general election.

The decision was reached at a meeting of the council at the party headquarters at Menara Dato' Onn, Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), here.

"The Regency Advisory Council has made its decision and the Barisan Nasional (BN) will give its full support to Datuk Ahmad Said who was selected by the Regency Advisory Council to be the menteri besar of Terengganu," Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told reporters after chairing the meeting of the Umno supreme council for four hours.

Abdullah said the supreme council arrived at the decision to support the appointment of Ahmad after taking into consideration the open statement by former menteri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh that he was prepared to accept whoever was selected to be the menteri besar.

"The important thing is for Terengganu to have a government," he said.

The post of Terengganu menteri besar was only filled on March 23, two weeks after the general election when Ahmad, 51, received the instrument of appointment from the Regency Advisory Council at a closed-door ceremony at the Istana Tetamu in Kuala Terengganu.

[More at]

Malaysian leader says he's willing to face leadership challenge as party postpones polls - AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia's prime minister backed down in a high-profile dispute with the king and postponed party elections Thursday, but insisted he was not running away from rivals challenging his leadership.

The two announcements by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi revealed his increasingly shaky hold over power after leading the ruling party to humiliating losses in the March 8 general elections.

"If they (rivals within his party) have the support and are ready to challenge me, why not? Go ahead. I'm not going to run away," Abdullah said after chairing a meeting of the United Malays National Organization party's policy-making council.

Abdullah said the council decided that the party will hold elections for top office-bearers during its annual congress Dec. 16-20 - four months later than previously planned.

The Malay party is the main element of the ruling National Front coalition. By tradition its president becomes the prime minister.

Since the election debacle Abdullah has faced open calls to step down. Some feared he would lose the post of party president if the elections had been held in August.

The 68-year-old leader has seen his authority erode rapidly after the National Front lost its traditional two-thirds majority in the general elections, although it was returned to power with a simple majority. The Front also lost elections in five states. The double defeats were the worst electoral performance by the Front in the 51 years it has been in power.

[More at]

Ghapur Resigns As Deputy Minister - Bernama

TAWAU, March 27 (Bernama) -- Kalabakan Member of Parliament Datuk Ghapur Salleh relinquished his post as Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister effective Wednesday.

He told Bernama on Thursday that he submitted his resignation letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya last night.

Dismissing talk that he would hop over to the opposition, which is said to be trying to lure several MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, Ghapur, who won the seat unopposed in the March 8 general election, said he would continue to be an elected representative and Kalabakan Umno division head.

He is the second MP from Sabah and the third person to resign as a federal deputy minister since the election.

MP Anifah Aman rejected his appointment as Deputy Transport Minister while Datuk Seri Tengku Azlan Abu Bakar, the MP for Jerantut, turned down the post of Deputy Foreign Minister.

Asked why he decided to quit eight days after accepting the post, Ghapur, 64, he said: "I don't want to be tied down with the duties of a deputy minister because I want to concentrate fully on the residents of Kalabakan.

He said he had many childrean studying overseas and being a deputy minister would curtail his time to visit his children.


One foot in the door - The Sun

Read this doc on Scribd: One foot in the door - The Sun
16 theSun | THURSDAY MARCH 27 2008 One foot in the door DESPITE A BAD BACK AND FATIGUE FROM TWO WEEKS OF CRISS-CROSSING THE NATION, PARTI KEADILAN RAKYAT (PKR) DE-FACTO LEADER AND FORMER DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER DATUK SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM IS ALL SMILES, FOLLOWING THE ALTERNATIVE FRONT’S UNPRECEDENTED PERFORMANCE IN THE RECENT GENERAL ELECTION AND HIS IMPENDING RETURN TO ACTIVE POLITICS. HE TELLS R. NADESWARAN AND TERENCE FERNANDEZ OF THE CHALLENGES IN GOING INTO THE POLLS AND THE EVEN BIGGER TESTS AHEAD. Nades: One of your biggest challenges was (prior to the elections) getting a cohesive team. You had three different parties with three different ideologies. How did you manage to unite and convince them on having straight fights? Anwar: What’s so different about Umno, MCA and MIC? Or PBB or PBS or PBDS. One talks about ketuanan Melayu, one talks about Chinese survival, one wants Indian affairs resolved. It does not seem to be contentious as in practice they were able to show a cohesive stance. Similarly within Keadilan, PAS and DAP. Other than what’s perceived from outside … look at the manner they conducted the election campaign, they were together and worked well. We have Chinese voting for PAS, Malays voting for DAP. The people have spoken. They said: “Look, we want a cohesive Opposition, so today, so-called contentious issues of the past, like the Islamic State and Hudud have been resolved. It’s neither their (PAS’) manifesto nor their agenda anymore.” Nades: How did you manage to get PAS to drop the Islamic State agenda which they had been so vociferous on in previous elections? Anwar: I’ve convinced them and they also know my position ... if you want me to be involved, this is my position. Similarly with Keadilan and DAP. They must be seen to be multiracial and not questioning the position of Bahasa or the Malay position. You can adjust but the paramount interest of justice, catering to those who are poor and marginalised, covering all races must be realised. I think what was achieved last night (a meeting between PKR, DAP and PAS) is a very important beginning. We sat down and discussed for hours and looked at the issues and it was agreed that we must unite and make politically expedient decisions. Terence: It seems that when you go into elections it is easy to have a common front. But like what happened in Perak shows that once you gain power, it is a different story altogether. Anwar: What happened in Perak is less problematic (than those) in Perlis and Terengganu (laughs). Because the media is controlled by them; that is why the focus is on Perak and Selangor. But I don’t deny that there are problems. Even within Keadilan, we have contending candidates, the DAP and PAS also have issues. But in the case of Perak, I understand the problem. PAS had the least number of seats so naturally, for DAP to take a tougher stance is quite understandable. (But) Why does the media play up this huge issue? We took a position that was quite tough too – we support the MB; we support the administration but we refused to participate in the administration unless the spirit of cooperation is there. I have enough problems in Penang with having eight non-Malays and two Malays. To have a similar arrangement in Perak would not be wise. It does not mean the Opposition is cracking up and to be fair to DAP, they made adjustments. And I have to record my appreciation. That’s in the past, now contrary to popular perception that the collaboration is merely prior to elections or prior to forming a government ... as of last night (March 18), we have now entered into this new arrangement. It will be a much more cohesive force as it will not be like the BN or PAS or DAP… here is the agenda, about constitutional guarantees, what about the Malaysian Economic Agenda, basic tolerance and the perceived dominance of one race against the others. Terence: You needed this new resolution because you were ill-prepared for the aftermath of the elections where Barisan Rakyat took five states and Kuala Lumpur? You never expected the results. Anwar: I was very confident that we will take over the whole government. We crossed the one-third mark a long time ago. Nades: Reading your comments in a Singapore interview, we said maybe Anwar is overconfident? Anwar is sounding cocky that he can form the government. Anwar: The interview in Singapore was given after they cancelled the indelible ink and the reason they cancelled the ink was because we were edging towards that (winning the election). We had passed 48% of the popular vote. Edging about 2% a day of the shift; and they knew that. That’s why they cancelled the indelible ink. Which means they had 3-4% votes to cheat. So imagine if they had used the ink? And the postal votes? We would have won easily. Nades: Should the postal votes be abolished as we are not at war or in emergency. It was (mostly) meant for our servicemen in the jungles during the Emergency and the war against the communists. Anwar: No. Postal voting can be conducted in a transparent and fair manner. These people … they virtually have robbed the people of their votes. Like in Setiawangsa (which was won by Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique) … we won. Then came 14,000 postal votes. Terence: We cannot prove this but is there any truth that in Lembah Pantai, where your daughter Nurul Izzah was contesting (and won against Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil), there were similar attempts? Anwar: Yes. But there was not enough to go around. In Teluk Kemang 7,000 postal votes were brought in, still our guys managed to win. Which means the number supporting us is big. That’s why I said, we will win if we get 55%. Even during the campaign I said you want to win with 50%, forget it! Nades: How are you going to put your economic plan into action while dealing with the sensitive topic of the NEP? Anwar: I drafted the MEA (Malaysian Economic Agenda) a year ago and gave a detailed explanation to civil servants about what we have planned for the poor and marginalised Malays, Chinese and Indians. We should start with regaining our competitiveness which we have lost, and attract more foreign direct investment. We have to build the economy upwards. With that in mind, then we can talk about distributive justice and equity. Terence: It seems that only Umno is opposing the MEA while the other BN component parties are keeping mum. You see, even in Umno there is disconnect between the thinking of the leaders and the grassroots. I will be meeting division leaders to explain this. I was portrayed negatively by Utusan Malaysia. They were demonising us, saying that we are traitors to the Malays. That’s interesting. “I am a traitor to the Malays”. I have not taken one share, no taxi permit, no contract in the name of bumiputra and all those so-called champions of Malays have taken hundreds of taxi permits, APs and contracts by the hundreds of millions of ringgit. So I said don’t enter into this (argument) otherwise I will smash them hard. Don’t use the racial card. If you say you are concerned about the NEP, it’s okay we can argue, we can discuss this but don’t start condemning us. I’ve appealed to them to stop this. Reviewing the NEP is not just (DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister) Lim Guan Eng’s view; of course in my mind we should craft the words properly. Coming from a Chinese they would immediately play the racial card. It is unfair to Guan Eng, although I would have advised him not to touch on the NEP, but it was unfair to him because his words were taken out of context. He did say it was for the poor of all races. Nades: Closer to Selangor, what changes can we expect from the new government? Anwar: Firstly, it’s governance. There was so much of wastage, corruption, leakages and alienation of land. According to the reports I have, hundreds of millions of ringgit are literally down the drain. But we have to be careful. We cannot create the impression that we are going to dismantle everything, because we will lose investor confidence. People want We have Chinese voting for PAS, Malays voting for DAP The . people have spoken. They said look, we want a cohesive Opposition, so today, so-called contentious issues of the past, like the Islamic State and Hudud have been resolved.” theSun | THURSDAY MARCH 27 2008 17 stability and continuity. The only major issue we accept is the mentri besar’s recommendation to review the water agreement. The water agreement is virtually scandalous! And it is a burden to consumers. Nades: What about land alienation to cronies? You cannot take the land back because the deal is done. Anwar: There are many ways to deal with this. If the land is given, we can go through the plans; we want to know why this is done in such a way. Terence: But you are not going on a witch hunt, are you? Anwar: I think it will be a problem for us, because it is endless. Then we will spend the next two years just doing this instead of running the states that we won. Immediately our plans are to move on by ensuring a vibrant economy. Drawing foreign investment, but problems affecting the poor are top on our list. Yesterday we went to Kampung Jawa (in Klang) to visit the Malay and Indian squatters. A contention was the demolished temple. So I told (Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul) Khalid (Ibrahim), you better deal with this immediately. In two weeks get it done; give them their land and pay compensation to rebuild their temple. Of course they will demand for this and that. That’s normal, but we draw the line. Then it’s their housing status. Khalid was concerned with Ijok where some areas have no water supply. It cost just RM200,000 to supply the water, so Khalid has announced that water will be supplied. These things must happen whether it’s a Malay area, Chinese area or Indian area, it must happen. There are huge problems in Selangor and he (former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo) has the audacity to talk about governance! I don’t deny that there are problems. Even within Keadilan, we have contending candidates, the DAP and PAS also have issues. But in the case of Perak, I understand the problem. PAS had the least number of seats so naturally, for DAP to take a tougher stance is quite understandable.” likelihood, with the dawn of the two-party system. Anwar: Yes, well, like I said, we actually won the election. Terence: While Anwar can become PM, there seems to be a dearth of individuals who would be able to govern and this brings me to the formation of the shadow cabinet. Anwar: Yes, when all these fellows took over … (former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) … they had no administrative experience. Myself too … so was the first generation of civil servants. As long as we have a clear programme and agenda, and more importantly here and now, clearer ground rules we will be all right. No way are we going to tolerate alienation of land to your son, daughter, son-in-law. No way! I think we have to work as a team. As far as qualified people are concerned, you look at (DAP stalwart Lim) Kit Siang, he is still there. We were discussing some election laws last night and he brought up some laws which I don’t remember. (laughs) He says, “Anwar you were finance Santiago on water and R. Sivarasa on human rights. Anwar:There you are! Some of them of course are not as well-known as I am but Siva is a Rhodes scholar … very articulate. Syed Husin Ali is one of the more renowned scholars. Nades: How did you manage 13 days of campaigning with a bad back? It was not easy. We were using my Dad’s car a Mercedes since it was bigger. I had to duduk bersila like in yoga. (laughs) Also, we had (PKR deputy president) Dr. Syed Husin Ali. He didn’t want to stand in this election, but he was here manning the fort, while I was travelling all over the country. I was wondering who would be doing this as (former PKR Youth chief) Ezam (Mohd Noor) is gone, Nik Nazmi (Nik Ahmad who won the Seri Setia state seat in Selangor ) is gone; (Sim) Tze Tzin (who won the Pantai Jerejak state seat in Penang) is gone … then I realised I was handicapped. My staff was making all the arrangements. to put you on Page One? Also associates who once had no time for you, but now are queuing up to see you? Anwar: (Laughs) I have no malice. You know, sometimes I laugh at these people. This is the quality of people and they think they are great. I have no personal agenda. They have. Some of them are scared. Dead scared! They came to see me saying we are sorry, but were forced to do this and do that. In a way it is good - not that it is fair for them to put me in prison and treat me that way … but it is a good experience. And if people make mistakes and are remorseful, we should give them a chance. I always believe that. Nades: What are your plans after April 13 when you are eligible to contest for political office? Your wife is Opposition Leader - a position which is being warmed for you. Anwar: Yes, but it is still early. Parliament only convenes in May. We still have time. I have to travel overseas for some engagements and I have to resign from my Terence: Do you positions (in several think the media As long as we have a clear proforeign think tanks and has been fair with academic boards) … the new state gramme and agenda, and more meetings and lectures importantly here and now, clearer governments under in Harvard and at Barisan Rakyat? ground rules we will be alright. No way Kennedy School … Anwar: They have are we going to tolerate alienation of we’ll see. But now the not been fair to them. focus is on having a land to your son, daughter, son-in-law. What with these cohesive Opposition loaded questions and No way!” and make sure the state their own agenda. governments are on Give them a chance track. to do something like minister, how can you not how I suggested to Guan Eng Terence: Are you ready to know this?” that he should go to the Malay take over? I said: “Yalah Kit, I don’t villages, no one highlighted Anwar: This is for the MPs remember.” Then he reminds it when he went to Tanjung and the people to decide. We me. Tokong. just want to make sure that I think he is certainly That’s why I was very the states are running well, qualified to serve. You have rough with the Utusan guy. It’s and that we are prepared for (PAS president) Hadi (Awang) not their fault though, I know Parliament. We have time to who has four years experience that when they start pushing, come to that. of being mentri besar of they have their instructions but Terengganu … and many repercussions can be great. Terence: If you asked me others. two weeks ago, one would Terence: Can we touch a dismiss Anwar Ibrahim Nades: Come to think of little on some of the media being prime minister. it, you have some experts organisations that used to But today, there is such on your side like Charles blacklist you but now want back the IGP and tell him, I cannot be a Penang leader if I can’t settle this problem.” Nobody wanted to go! Koh Tsu Koon, Shariff Omar, all the excos semua tak nak pergi! So I went. You know the problem? I told the mosque people, azan five times a day is ok but there were some announcements, touching on Melayu and Islam, some hints ... so I told them: “Lima kali. Lebih daripada itu, I have a problem. I kena rampas you punya mike.” (Five times. Anything more, I will have to seize your microphone.) So they said: “Jangan Datuk.” So I said: “You know I’m with you, don’t overdo it.” I also told Koh Tsu Koon to give them the land for the (relocation of the) temple. Nades: But what was your So, I told the (Muslim) problem with (former PKR people, you pukul budak Hindu vice president) Chandra umur 12 tahun, (hit a 12-yearMuzaffar? He came out very old Hindu boy) is not right. So scathing against you. they settled and shook hands. Anwar: I was in prison when Done. he first decided to attack and I only brought my smash me to pieces prior to plainclothes guards. Even the the 2004 elections. He had police were not allowed in the problems within the party, temple because people were initially with the Youth Wing already angry as they tear… Ezam, later (former PKR gased the neighbourhood. vice-president) Marina Yusof. I said the same thing to the I was still backing him but he temple committee: “I know came out very strong against your prayer times.” I was me. I still wonder why. studying in Malay College Kuala Kangsar where there Terence: After Chandra was was a temple next door. You released from the ISA, he don’t have to look at your seemed to be more prowatch. Teng! Teng! Teng! establishment. Teng! 6am. Teng! Teng! Teng! Anwar: Well, he went through Teng! 6pm. a lot. I can’t deny So I told that and I do them don’t That’s interappreciate his provoke initial contributions esting. ‘I am a because during to Keadilan. I did the Muslim traitor to the not want to pursue prayer times Malays’. I have not litigation (over his they were taken one share, statements against ringing the no taxi permit, no Anwar during the bells even election), but my contract in the name louder. lawyers advised me of bumiputra and So I told (to proceed) and the them that all those so-called letter (of demand) I warned champions of was already sent. the mosque committee that Malays have taken Terence: Do you I will seize the hundreds of taxi want to retort microphone. permits, APs and against Chandra’s So, to the contracts by the allegations about temple hundreds of millions committee, I the words you uttered when said if you do of ringgit.” you visited the the same thing, Hindu temple I will also in Penang? rampas your (Background: In March bells. 27, 1998, a group of And what did Chandra say? Muslims marched from the That I threatened to silence all Kampung Rawa mosque bells in Hindu temples across to the nearby Sri Raja Raja the nation?! It’s not true. Of Madurai Veeran temple, course I had to sound very angered by the loud ringing tough also. How do you solve of the temple’s prayer bells. the problem when they are The resulting clash between fighting like that? 500 Muslims and Hindus It is totally wrong what they resulted in several people are trying to portray me as. I being injured. The dispute am very indebted to the Indian was settled when the state community. They have helped government provided an me a lot. You see the Bukit alternative site for the Selambau fellow (Independent temple.) candidate V. Arumugan)? He Anwar: These accusations are said he will join PKR if I come excessive. Did he ask me what there and hold his hand. So I happened at the mosque? I was did. And he won, and now he DPM at that time and nobody has joined Keadilan! wanted to go down there. I went to the mosque and then Terence: What is your take the temple. on the new cabinet? Some (Then) IGP (Inspector say that it is very UmnoGeneral of Police Tan Sri) centric. Rahim Noor called up the Anwar: Ya! First I can see that Penang CPO (chief police there are attempts to respond officer) and told him: “Tell to the electorate but overall it Anwar not to go down to the is a disappointing line-up. It is mosque as the police cannot not catered for the expectations guarantee his safety.” of people. There seem to be (Incidentally it was Rahim some shift in policies but then Noor who gave Anwar his some characters tainted with black eye that inspired the PKR corruption continue to be in symbol). office… well, these are exciting I told the CPO: “You call times!

Places of worship and schools to pay only RM1 - The Star

By Wani Muthiah and Edward Rajendra

SHAH ALAM: All registered places of worship and schools in Selangor will soon no longer pay quit rent and assessment rates. Instead, they will be charged a token annual fee of RM1.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said this would allow places of worship to channel funds for their own activities while schools would no longer be bogged down by fund-raising work.

The decision was made at the state exco meeting yesterday.

Former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo had three months ago waived close to RM500,000 in quit rent arrears owed by vernacular schools, to allow them to concentrate on education activities.

Klang Valley Taoism Association chairman Yeoh Choo Beng, 59, said the RM1 nominal fee for places of worship showed the caring approach of the new government.

Former Sree Selvavinayagar Temple chairman N.P. Raman lauded the move, while proposing that 100-year-old Hindu temples be gazetted as heritage buildings.

[More at]

Husam: MPs may file no-confidence motion against PM - The Star

KOTA BARU: PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa has raised the prospect that some MPs would file a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when Parliament commences.

Husam said many MPs were unhappy with what was going on in the Government, especially after Barisan Nasional suffered stunning losses in the recent 12th general election.

He said such a prospect was possible especially when it was widely perceived that the country’s leadership was weak.

This was why the party was pressing for a leadership change in the country, said Husam, a state executive councillor.

Speaking at a mammoth ceramah held at the state PAS religious centre here, Husam said PAS was ready to capitalise on its new political gains, in the context that many Chinese and Indians now supported the Islamist party.

This was evident in Kedah, Perak and Selangor, he said, adding that the Indians even marched in Perak to demand that the new Mentri Besar be from PAS.

[More at]

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Penang Malay Chamber supports DAP's open tender push - NST

By : Lee Keng Fatt


The Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of the open tender system to be introduced by the DAP-led state government. Its president Rizal Faris Mohidden said today the chamber would give its full support because they support a competitive market economy, especially in implementing an open tender system for all government procurement and contracts.

"However, this must be done on a level playing field for all races," he said after meeting chief minister Lim Guan Eng at the latter's office at Komtar here. Also present at the meeting were the chamber's management committee members along with representatives from the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC), the Penang Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PICCI) and the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MICCI).

They met Lim to throw the business community's support behind the state government. The four chambers form about 80 per cent of the business community in the state.

Lim recently announced that the state government intended to scrap the old methods of awarding state contracts and replace it with the open tender system. To further promote transparency, information about tender bids would be uploaded to an internet portal which would be accessible by members of the public.

Rizal said the chamber also wanted the state government to ensure all races would be given a fair chance because there was a big gap between races.

“We are hopeful that the state government will co-operate with us in addressing the matter," he said. “Malay entrepreneurs support the state government's plans to practice transparency.”

[More at]

City Hall plays vengeful politics - The Sun

By Tan Yi Liang

PETALING JAYA (March 26, 2008): Ten of the 11 MPs in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur today slammed Kuala Lumpur City Hall for "involving itself in politics" and being pro-Barisan Nasional (BN).

The MPs from the DAP, PAS and PKR alleged that this was apparent from heightened enforcement against hawkers, petty traders and City Hall tenants following the March 8 general election, ostensibly to punish them for the overwhelming support for the Opposition, leading to BN's loss and rejection in the FT.

In a press statement, the 10 Opposition MPs criticised City Hall's "swinging into action to victimise hawkers, petty traders for the miserable performance of BN in the 12th General Election".

They claimed that two months before the elections, inspections by City Hall against hawkers and petty traders were lax.

"There has been a four-fold increase in snap inspections by City Hall officers, compared with two months before the elections," said Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun.

"After March 8, City Hall began to regularly summon hawkers for not having licences and confiscating their goods. In some parts of Kuala Lumpur, it has become a daily affair," he said.

[More at]

PM meets King - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin on Wednesday morning.

It is believed that the meeting was to discuss the issue of the state's Mentri Besar, but there is no word yet on its outcome.

Abdullah is meeting with Terengganu Barisan Nasional chief Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh in Putrajaya in the afternoon.

The former Mentri Besar was accompanied by several Barisan Nasional assemblyman from the state.


PM: Polls showed we were slow in carrying out reforms - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The result of the recent general election was a strong message that the Government had not moved fast enough in reforms which were promised, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“I thank the Malaysian people for this message. Point well made and point taken,” said the Prime Minister.

He said this in his keynote address at the Invest Malaysia 2008 conference here yesterday.

Abdullah said the Barisan Nasional also lost the cyberwar during the elections and it was a serious misjudgment to have ignored such methods of information dissemination.

“Young people were looking at SMSes, the Internet and other tools to get information.

“We did not think that it was important to respond. It was a serious misjudgment. It was a very serious mistake on our part,” he said.

[More at]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Umno Elections Should Not Be Further Postponed, Says Mukhriz - Bernama

By Azeman Ariffin

JERLUN, March 25 (Bernama) -- Umno's election scheduled to be held this year should not be postponed in order to respect the wishes of members to elect leaders of their choice, said Jerlun Member of Parliament Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

He said the party elections was something important and a democratic process it had to go through.

"I appeal to Umno's leadership not to postpone it and do as the party president said last year that it will be carried out this year," he told Bernama here Tuesday.

Mukhriz, who is also a member of Umno Youth's executive council, said that he was confident the party elections would not cause a split among members as they were wise enough to decide without being emotional.

He said Umno leaders must follow the party constitution and all Umno members must decide wisely and rationally on who to choose as their leaders.

Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib Tuesday said the party's state liaision chiefs wanted the polls to be postponed to June next year to prevent "chaos" if held this year.

[More at]

Malaysia's ruling party may postpone internal polls: officials - AFP

Malaysia's ruling party may delay internal elections, officials said Tuesday, in an apparent bid to shield Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from pressure to quit after poor poll results.

In the wake of the disastrous showing in March 8 general elections by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), officials said party leaders had urged Abdullah to postpone the meeting, which had been tipped for August.

"They have recommended that party elections be held next year," UMNO information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

"They said that if it is held this year it will spark havoc and disaster. So they said it will be good if it can be postponed to 2009," he said, adding that it could be held in June next year.

Muhammad said UMNO's supreme council will make a decision when it meets on Thursday. The party was scheduled to hold elections last year, but they were delayed due to the March 8 polls.

One party official told AFP there was a feeling that an open challenge to the premier could threaten the stability of UMNO, which has ruled Malaysia for half a century.

[More at]

Idris tidak tahu apa `dosanya’ terhadap Sultan - Utusan

KUALA LUMPUR 25 Mac – Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan UMNO Terengganu, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh berkata, hubungan beliau dengan Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin adalah baik dan tidak tahu apa kesalahannya terhadap Sultan Terengganu itu.

Menurutnya, beliau sedia menghadap Seri Paduka jika diberi peluang untuk memohon maaf terhadap sebarang kesalahan yang telah dilakukannya kepada pihak istana.

``Sebagai hamba Allah, saya tak terlepas daripada melakukan kesilapan,'' katanya.


Abdullah To Seek Audience With Tuanku Mizan - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Tuesday said he will seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, to discuss and resolve the issue on the appointment of the Terengganu Menteri Besar.

"I will certainly be meeting with Tuanku," he told newsmen after delivering a keynote address at Invest Malaysia 2008 Conference, here.

Abdullah said the meeting would be held as soon as possible.

"I wish I could have done it Monday," said the Umno president.

Abdullah earlier was asked to comment on party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's suggestion that Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and the Prime Minister should seek an audience with Tuanku Mizan and apologise if indeed there was a misunderstanding between Idris and the Palace.

On Saturday, the Terengganu palace issued a statement that Kijal Assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said was appointed as the new Menteri Besar to replace Idris.

However, 22 of the Terengganu BN assemblymen pledged their support for Idris who had received his appointment letter as Menteri Besar from Abdullah.

[More at]

Malaysia PM says 'big mistake' to ignore cyber-campaign - AFP

Malaysia's premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Tuesday his "biggest mistake" in disastrous elections was to ignore cyber-campaigning on the Internet which was seized by the opposition.

The powerful Barisan Nasional coalition suffered its worst-ever results in March 8 polls that left five states and a third of parliamentary seats in opposition hands.

The opposition, which was largely ignored by government-linked mainstream media, instead waged an enormously successful online campaign using blogs, news websites and SMS text messages.

"We certainly lost the Internet war, the cyber-war," Abdullah said in in a speech to an investment conference.

"It was a serious misjudgement. We made the biggest mistake in thinking that it was not important," he said.

"We thought that the newspapers, the print media, the television was supposed to be important, but the young people were looking at SMS and blogs."

The comments are a major about-face for the government, which had vilified bloggers, calling them liars and threatening them with detention without trial under draconian internal security laws.

[More at]

Malaysian row between king and PM deepens over choice of state chief minister - AP

By Julia Zappei

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A renegade lawmaker from the ruling party and backed by Malaysia's king took office Tuesday as the head of a northeastern state, openly defying the prime minister who wanted someone else for the job.

Hours before Ahmad Said arrived at his office in Kuala Terengganu, the capital of Terengganu state, for his first day of work, he smiled at reporters and said he was fully aware he "may not last long."

The dispute in Terengganu is the first time Malaysia's constitutional monarchy has got embroiled in a public spat with the executive, and adds to the headaches for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as he fights for his political survival.

Abdullah's National Front coalition suffered heavy losses in the March 8 general elections, holding on to power but losing its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority and five of 13 states. It also lost elections in five states, though Terengganu was one of the states where it won comfortably.

The victory turned sour, however, when Malaysia's current king, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, rejected Abdullah's candidate for the chief minister, instead appointing Ahmad, another ruling party lawmaker, over the weekend.

It is not clear how long Ahmad can stay in office because Abdullah's United Malays National Organization, the main party in the National Front, has vowed to expel him. Also, UMNO lawmakers in the state legislators have said they will pass a no-confidence motion against Ahmad as soon as the legislature convenes.

[More at]

Kayveas was misquoted - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas has said a report on Sunday quoting him as saying that the Barisan Nasional chairman and deputy chairman should take responsibility for the coalition’s dismal performance in the March 8 general election was incorrect.

“What I meant was that the Barisan as a whole should take responsibility for the dismal performance and, therefore, Barisan had to study why four Barisan-held states fell into opposition hands and why Barisan failed to wrest Kelantan from PAS,” he said.

“I never blamed them (Abdullah and Najib) for the loss,” he said. In the statement, Kayveas also reiterated PPP’s support for Abdullah and Najib.


Tengku Razaleigh: Give Ahmad Said test of confidence - The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Terengganu state assembly should be allowed to be convened properly and give Datuk Ahmad Said a test of confidence in due course, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said.

He said petitions, threats, coercion or declaration of support for the Prime Minister and his candidate Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh had no bearing on the legality of Sultan of Terengganu’s appointment of his own Mentri Besar.

Tengku Razaleigh said the situation in Terengganu was a crisis of government, not Constitution.

“The Sultan acted within his powers in appointing the person, who in his judgment, was likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the state assembly.

“Ahmad Said’s appointment is effective and he’s now the Mentri Besar. Perhaps we have forgotten what it is like to conduct ourselves with good manners and due respect for the Constitution and the sovereignty of the Ruler,” he said.


Monday, March 24, 2008

TERENGGANU MB CRISIS: Sultan has discretionary powers to appoint MB: Ex-Bar president - NST


Former Bar Council president Sulaiman Abdullah said the ruler of a state may act in his discretion to appoint a Mentri Besar, pointing to Section 1 (2) (a) in the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

The section stipulates that the ruler shall first appoint as Mentri Besar to preside over the executive council a member of the legislative assembly who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly

“The ruler has the discretion and it is his judgment,” the constitutional expert said. “The constitutional theory is the legislative assembly is made up of individual members. The ruler has to look at these diverse members and decide who would command the confidence of the majority.”

Commenting on the controversial appointment of the Terengganu Mentri Besar, Sulaiman argued that the constitution requires him to exercise discretion according to his judgment and he has done so.

“If the Ruler has made the wrong choice, the test is the first meeting of the legislative assembly when a vote of no-confidence could be passed,” he said. “If that happens, the Mentri Besar either resigns or advises the ruler to dissolve the legislative assembly.”

Sulaiman said the ruler also had the discretion to withhold consent for a request to dissolve the assembly.


I Offer To Restore Umno For The Sake Of Party Survival - Razaleigh - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 (Bernama) -- Gua Musang member of parliament Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah said it he offered to play a role in restoring Umno for the sake of the Malay race and the party's own survival.

He said he was not in any way taking advantage of the situation following the Barisan Nasional's (BN) dismal performance in the March 8 general election.

The former finance minister said his suggestion that a special Umno assembly be convened to evaluate the poor performance in the election, and his offer to contest the president's post, was made to enable to party to get back on its feet and not stumbled further.

"I stated my readiness to lift the spirit of Umno members which has been weakened after the Barisan Nasional's (BN) defeat in four states and the failure to wrest Kelantan from PAS in the general election. It's my sincere wish to see the party regain its strength.

"I feel that I've been called forth to help restore the party," he told Bernama at his residence here last night.

[More at]

Terengganu MB (or not), he's going to work - The Star

By Paul Choo

KEMAMAN: Datuk Ahmad Said said he is the legitimate Mentri Besar of Terengganu and will go to his office at Wisma Darul Iman at 8am Tuesday to officially assume his role.

He said his appointment was in accordance with the state’s laws and that he did not need to be sworn in for the post.

The Kijal state assemblyman said that the appointment letter bestowed to him on Sunday by the Regency Advisory Council was testament to this.

At his family home at Kampung Teluk Kalung, Kijal, here on Monday, Ahmad told a packed press conference that his swearing-in would be decided at a later date.

He said he hoped state Umno members would not continue with the "kekecohan" (fracas) that has engulfed the state and would lend him their support.

“I understand the confusion that has arisen from my appointment, especially since many state assemblymen were against it.

“However, the Council has appointed me, and I will abide by its decision," he added. Ahmad said that not all assemblymen were against him, adding that he also had the support of the rakyat (citizens).

[More at]

Malaysian king, prime minister in conflict over appointment as constitutional crisis looms - AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's ruling party struggled Monday to resolve a dispute pitting the prime minister against the country's king in an unprecedented constitutional crisis over the appointment of a state leader.

The royal row in Terengganu state is the first time that Malaysia's constitutional monarchy has openly come in conflict with the political leadership, adding to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's numerous headaches as he fights for political survival.

Abdullah is under pressure to resign after the ruling National Front coalition suffered heavy losses in the March 8 general elections, retaining power but losing its traditional-two thirds parliamentary majority as well as control of five state legislatures.

His latest problem is over the appointment of the chief minister of the northeastern state of Terengganu, where the National Front won the election. Abdullah's United Malays National Organization, the main party in the National Front, wants incumbent Idris Jusoh to continue leading the state.

But the palace of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, who is the titular head of Terengganu as well as the current king of Malaysia, appointed Ahmad Said, another UMNO lawmaker, as the chief minister on Saturday, taking the country by surprise.

Malaysia's royalty consists of nine hereditary state sultans, who rotate as Malaysia's king and perform ceremonial duties including appointing state chief ministers.

[More at]

The Sun Front Page (24/3)

Read this doc on Scribd: The Sun Malaysia Cover (24 Mar 2008)
The nation’s FREE newspaper 30 sen for delivery to your doorstep MEMBER AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATIONS (MALAYSIA) 275,000 COPIES DAILY Award winning newspaper for public service reporting and opinion writing. No. 4476 PP 2644/12/2008 (020369) Monday March 24, 2008 TELLING IT AS IT IS Doing it the Caillat way UALA TERENGGANU: Despite the threat of expulsion from Umno, state assemblyman for Kijal Datuk Ahmad Said received a letter of appointment as the new Terengganu mentri besar from the Regency Advisory Council at a closed-door ceremony at Istana Tetamu here yesterday morning. Ahmad, 51, received the letter of appointment from council head Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman, witnessed by two other council members – Tengku Sri Laksamana Raja Tengku Sulaiman Sultan Ismail and former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman. The ceremony was attended by six members of the council, State Secretary Datuk Mokhtar Nong, State legal adviser Mohamad Sekeri Mamat and state police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob. According to Terengganu palace official Mohd Yasim Awang, the date for the swearing-in of the new mentri besar has yet to be fixed. In an immediate response, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi defended his choice of former mentri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh for the post, saying “the appointment of anyone other than Idris is unconstitutional and invalid”. He said this was because the majority of the assemblymen in Terengganu want Idris, the Jertih assemblyman, to be reappointed the mentri besar. “There will be no change to this,” Abdullah said after presenting the prizes to the F1 winners yesterday evening. The ceremony in which Ahmad received his letter of appointment was held with policemen maintaining tight security outside the palace grounds. It started at 8.20am and ended about eight minutes later. All members of the media, except for the photographer and TV cameraman from Bernama, were prevented from entering the palace. Ahmad was not reachable after the event. Just before that, 22 Barisan Nasional state assemblymen, led by state Umno liaison committee secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid, who opposed Ahmad’s appointment as the mentri besar, arrived at Istana Tetamu to hand over a letter of protest against the appointment. Rosol, who » No state land for DAP reps pg4 » Final hurrah for Scholes pg35 sports pg22 K Abdullah: It’s unconstitutional assemblymen (including Idris), who protested against Ahmad’s appointment, had threatened to resign to enable a re-election to take place if there was no solution to the impasse. “We have to think of the people. If, within two weeks, a state government cannot be formed and function, then there’s no point for us being the people’s elected representatives. The 23 of us are willing to step down if that is the best solution to the issue,” he said. Asked if their action to hand over the protest letter could create a rift with the Terengganu palace, Rosol said it did not arise as they had acted in accordance with the Federal Constitution. “We have also received the mandate and support of the people,” he said. Idris, meanwhile, said he would seek the advice of his lawyer on the appointment of Ahmad before taking any action. “I know the prime minister and deputy prime minister are together with me ... I have the support of the top party leadership as well as the state assemblymen and the people ... that is important,” he said. On his relationship with Ahmad, Idris said Ahmad had been a good friend for a long time. However, since Ahmad’s name was touted as the potential candidate for the post of mentri besar, Ahmad had not contacted him at all. On Saturday, Umno secretarygeneral Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said disciplinary action could be taken against Ahmad if he were to accept the menteri besar’s post as he would be going against the instruction of Abdullah, who as the BN chairman and Umno president, had issued a letter nominating Idris to the post. – Bernama BERNAMAPIX Ahmad receives his letter of appointment from Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman. was not allowed to enter the palace, handed over the letter to Regency Advisory Council secretary Shafie Ali. Met by reporters, Rosol said the letter reiterated the support of the 22 BN elected representatives for the re-appointment of Idris as the mentri besar and rejected Ahmad’s appointment. “Our support for Datuk Seri Idris is unanimous. There is no other person qualified to hold the mentri besar’s post,” Rosol said, adding that Ahmad’s appointment was invalid. He said that if Ahmad were to proceed with taking the oath of office, he would be violating the party rules and action could be taken against him, including expulsion from the party. Later, at a separate press conference held at the mentri besar’s official residence, Seri Iman, Rosol said the 23 Raikkonen reigns at Sepang PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi hands the winner’s trophy to Ferrari’s defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who ‘cruised’ to victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang yesterday. Robert Kubica finished second in his BMW and Heikki Kovalainen was third in his McLaren Mercedes-Benz. Lewis Hamilton, who won in Australia last week, battled through a topsy-turvy race and various problems with pit-stops and tactics, to finish fifth behind Jarno Trulli in a Toyota. It was Raikkonen’s seventh win for Ferrari and his second win in Malaysia. “It was a pretty easy race,” he said. “We had quite a difficult weekend in Australia and we were not 100% sure it was going to be any different here.” BERNAMAPIX » Reports Back Page and Page 34