Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fiery start in Parliament -

The first session of the 12th Parliament saw MPs wage a war of words. For the first time, the public got to view a 30-minute live telecast of the session.

Spreading the anti-ISA message in parliament -

Her husband has been held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) at the Kamunting detention camp for the last six years, as a suspected member of regional terrorism group Jemaah Islamiah.

Live telecast Cause Of Parliament Descending Into Chaos? - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 (Bernama) -- Was the 30-minute live telecast of parliamentary proceedings by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) the cause of the Dewan Rakyat descending into chaos Wednesday?

Backbenchers accused opposition MPs of using the broadcast media in trying to be "heroes" and looking for cheap publicity whereas the opposition members wanted it to cover the entire day's proceedings.

After what happened, Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the trial live telecast of 30 minutes of the question-and-answer (Q & A)session may be reviewed because he felt several Opposition MPs attempted to seek cheap publicity by raising trivial issues during the maiden broadcast.

The (Q & A) session in the Dewan Rakyat, which began its sitting Wednesday, was disrupted for almost an hour when several members of parliament, particularly from the opposition, raised questions on the meeting procedures, causing only three questions to be able to be answered when normally it is about 10.

Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal said: "I believe the telecasts are for the good and it will give the opportunity for the people to know the true nature of their elected representatives whom they deem heroes and have placed high hopes on."

"Some of them have been there for two or three terms but are still unable to behave," Shafie, who is the MP for Semporna, told reporters at Parliament's lobby.

[More at]

Achievement Of National Mission Calls For Commitment - PM - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 (Bernama) -- The Prime Minister has called on workers to be strongly committed to acquire more knowledge and to sharpen their skills so that they can be innovative and creative in efforts to develop the country.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the success of the National Mission called for commitment and collective efforts from Malaysian workers to ensure that racial harmony and national development were achieved.

"The national aspiration to emerge as a developed country requires commitment from every strata of society, including the workers, to always work hard and to equip themselves with the traits and attitude of a society with a first class mind," he said in his message in conjunction with Workers' Day 2008, which is celebrated Thursday.

The Prime Minister said the country would only achieve this objective if the people continued to strive with great determination and commitment to develop the country collectively to turn Malaysia into a prosperous, progressive, fair, resilient and competitive nation.

Abdullah also remined the people that the manpower sector today needed workers who were not only trained and skilled, but also innovative and creative in various fields.

He said that in the knowledge-based economy or K-Economy, the capacity to generate, disseminate and apply knowledge had become an important factor in determining the country's productivity and competitiveness.

He pointed out that the theme of the Workers' Day this year, `Innovative Workers, Competitive Nation', suited the important role played by every worker in joining the government's efforts to develop the country.

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New Malaysia parliament opens with rowdy name-calling - AFP

The opening session of Malaysia's new parliament descended into noisy name-calling Wednesday as a newly emboldened opposition took on the government.

"Monkey" and "Bigfoot" were two of the epithets hurled in a rowdy session during which lawmakers shouted and gesticulated in heated exchanges across the floor of the chamber.

The scenes, broadcast live on television, were an indicator of the new shape of Malaysian politics after Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's coalition suffered its worst ever election results last month.

The March 8 polls saw his Barisan Nasional coalition, which has ruled the country for the last half century, lose its two-thirds majority in parliament as well as control of five states.

In response to the chaos, Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek threatened to pull the plug on the telecast, which was being trialled for the first time.

"Maybe there are people who love to watch circus, but parliament is not a circus," he said, adding that he would obtain feedback before deciding whether to continue with broadcasting.

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Ka Ting: Non-Muslims are not to be subjected to any form of Syariah law - The Sun

BY Husna Yusop

KUALA LUMPUR (April 30, 3008): Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (BN-Kulai) suggested in the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) today several measures to deal with the various messages sent out by the voters in the recent general election.

On the religious rights of non-Muslims, he said the last three years witnessed an unprecedented number of religious matters involving the constitutional rights of non-Muslims with controversial cases like the late M. Moorthy and Gan Eng Gor, Lina Joy, detention of Revathi and the custody battle for the children of S. Shamala and R. Subashini.

“In situations involving non-Muslims who became a Muslim due to marriage, they should be allowed to renounce Islam when the marriage has ended.

“Similarly, if a child who was unilaterally converted to Islam by one parent without the consent of the other parent, the child should be allowed to maintain his or her own religion.

“This is until he or she attains the age of majority by which he or she is free to enter into a religion of his of her choice,” the MCA president said in his speech when debating the Royal Address.

He also brought up incidences whereby statements were made that the proposed legal amendments will affect and protect both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Urging the government to be transparent to avoid a repeat of the cases above, Ong said non-Muslims are not to be subjected to any form of Syariah law.

“And, for any disputes or overlapping areas between the jurisdiction of the civil and Syariah courts, civil laws must prevail,” he added.

[More at]

Siaran langsung Parlimen dikaji - Menteri Penerangan - Utusan

KUALA LUMPUR 30 April — Kementerian Penerangan mungkin mengkaji semula siaran langsung persidangan Dewan Rakyat berikutan sesi soal jawab lisan hari ini yang sering terganggu apabila beberapa Anggota Parlimen sentiasa mempersoalkan peraturan mesyuarat.

Menteri Penerangan Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek berkata siaran langsung selama setengah jam menerusi saluran RTM1 itu adalah percubaan sahaja dan beliau akan mendapatkan maklumat balas daripada semua pihak termasuk orang ramai sebelum membuat sebarang keputusan.

“Saya akan bincang sama ada kita masih memberi peluang kepada Anggota Parlimen untuk menggunakan sebaik-baiknya Parlimen dan siaran langsung yang diberikan,” katanya ketika ditemui pemberita di lobi Parlimen di sini hari ini.

Beliau mengulas demikian setelah beberapa anggota pembangkang sering mempersoalkan peraturan mesyuarat menyebabkan sesi soal jawab lisan selama satu setengah jam hanya sempat mendengar tiga soalan berbanding 12 hingga 15 soalan pada kebiasaannya. aAhmad Shabery berkata kementerian tidak akan menambah masa siaran langsung persidangan Dewan Rakyat.

“Saya sedar di negara-negara lain yang mengadakan siaran langsung secara penuh terutama sekali dalam negara dunia ketiga, inilah masalahnya. Anggota Parlimen tidak menumpukan perbincangan pada perkara yang penting kepada rakyat dan negara.

“Masing-masing hanya ingin menunjukkan kepentingan diri mereka, tentang peribadi mereka dan untuk tunjuk orang di luar sana tentang diri mereka, bukan negara,” katanya.

[More at]

“阿拉”字眼是否回教专有‧《先锋报》案下週裁决 - Sin Chew Daily







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Stop it, Samy Vellu and Khir told - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo have been told to stop their war of words.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said a directive would be issued to ensure all component parties and members stop pointing fingers at each other and warned them of disciplinary action.

When asked whether the warning would restrict freedom among the component parties, Abdullah said: “We have discipline in the party. Which party does not have discipline? It will be a problem if the party does not have discipline.”

The war of words between Samy Vellu and Dr Khir took place after the latter said in an interview with Malaysiakini that the MIC president had asked him on Nov 15 to demolish the Kampung Rimba Jaya Hindu temple near Shah Alam.

Samy Vellu defended himself by saying that the temple had been “demolished” in October when devotees removed deities from the temple and that what remained was just a structure and Dr Khir was to be blamed for the demolition.


It was Samy’s idea, says Khir - The Star

SHAH ALAM: Enough is enough. It is time to set the record straight on the demolition of the Hindu temple in Padang Jawa, said Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo.

The former Selangor Mentri Besar claimed it was MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu who asked for it to be torn down.

“I have been silent on the issue long enough. Datuk Seri (Samy Vellu) met me two days before Deepavali at the Grand Bluewave Hotel in Shah Alam where the Prime Minister was attending a function.

“The Prime Minister was there when Samy Vellu asked me to put off the demolition of the temple in Padang Jawa in the interest of the Indian community and we stopped the exercise despite having a court order to go ahead,” Dr Khir said yesterday.

However, several days after Deepavali, he said, Samy Vellu called him at 11pm and told him that the temple had been infiltrated by Hindraf supporters who planned to carry out a 40-day fast and prayers there to rile up nearby residents.

“It was during this conversation that he told me that we (the state government) should move in and demolish the temple to deter Hindraf supporters from capitalising on the temple issue,” Dr Khir said.

[More at]

Don’t take Kah Choon’s move lightly, says Dr M - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The decision by former Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon to accept a job under the Penang DAP Government should not be taken lightly by Barisan Nasional if it wishes to survive and regain the people’s support, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former prime minister said in a letter that Lee might be motivated by a genuine desire to work for the good of Penang and Malaysia but, “it may also be because loyalty to Barisan is now based on personal gains or fear of punishment of some kind.”

He said this was especially so among the leaders and there was no genuine love for the objectives said to be the raison d’etre for the coalition’s existence.

Dr Mahathir added that if the Opposition were able to provide a good government, look after the interests of ordinary people, and lead a Spartan lifestyle, those who voted for them out of anger against Barisan would transfer their loyalty permanently to them.

When that happens, he said Umno and the other component parties could forget about recapturing the states they lost to the Opposition and their turncoat members would remain turncoats who would actively work against Barisan in the next elections.

[More at]

Dewan Rakyat: Uphold people's trust, King tells Parliament

By : V. Vasudevan, B. Suresh Ram, Eileen Ng, R.S. Kamini and Arman Ahmad

LAWMAKERS must demonstrate good character and conduct, and protect social peace at all times, the King said as he opened a Parliament with the largest opposition ever.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin said Members of Parliament should not fail the trust placed in them by the people.

"Carry out the trust that the people have placed in you by participating actively and responsibly in the spirit of parliamentary democracy," he said in his Royal Address at the first meeting of the first session of the 12th Parliament.

Tuanku Mizan called on the members of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara to execute their duties and responsibilities with sincerity, honesty, trustworthiness, credibility and integrity for the good of the country.

He reminded MPs that they must place the country's interests above individual political gain.

"Let this august House be a platform for conveying constructive criticisms and sound opinions. Honourable members should have the national interest as their primary objective, and not make this august House a forum for the furtherance of individual political interests.

"The people's respect for and confidence in Parliament as the country's supreme legislative body is contingent upon the role of the honourable members," he said.

[More at]

Keng Yaik ‘should quit as adviser’ - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan adviser Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik has been told to stop interfering in party affairs.

He was also criticised over his remarks on the Datuk Lee Kah Choon affair.

Kuala Lumpur-Federal Territory Gerakan leaders yesterday said Lim should quit as adviser as he had done a lot of damage to the party's image over his remarks on Lee, the former Gerakan deputy secretary-general.

"He should not have labelled Lee an opportunist and political 'katak' (frog) because when Lee accepted the posts, he was only an ordinary Gerakan member," said KL-FT chairman Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong at a press conference yesterday.

He said there should be no question of "crossing over" as Lee quit all his posts two weeks prior to his appointment as director of the Penang Development Corporation and investPenang by the Pakatan Rakyat-led State Government.

He added that Lee's acceptance would not jeopardise the party's interest as it was just a job that would benefit the people of Penang.

[More at]

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Opening of 12th Parliament -

Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin attends the opening of the 12th Parliament.

Bungle in deputy speaker voting forces review of PR pact - NST

By : V. Vasudevan, Suresh Ram, Eileen Ng and S. Kamini


THE de facto leader of Pakatan Rakyat has called on its members to ensure better cooperation, after Monday’s embarrassment when an opposition MP refused to cast a vote for the pact’s candidate for a deputy speaker’s post. Even worse for the pact, 17 of its 82 MPs cast their vote for one of the rival candidates, Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (BN-Santubong).

Blaming the bungle on the pact’s failure to make a stand on the matter, Anwar said he had a discussion with leaders of the Pakatan Rakyat on Monday. “In future, we have to reach a consensus early,” he said after attending the Royal Address.

In Monday’s voting, all the 140 Barisan Nasional MPs voted for the coalition’s candidates. Wan Junaidi picked up 157 votes while his counterpart Datuk Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran) received 140 votes. However, Pakatan Rakyat’s candidate Dr Tan Seng Giaw received 81 votes instead of the expected 82.

Many opposition deputies felt Dr Tan could have been denied the one vote by Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who won his Pasir Mas seat as a Pas candidate but sits in the House as an Independent.

Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang played down the opposition vote bungle. “It shows that there is democracy in Pakatan Rakyat on matters where members could exercise their will. It also shows that we do not force Pakatan members to vote. It is also not a policy matter,” he said.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang said it was clear that the three parties — PKR, DAP and Pas — rooted for Dr Tan.

On the 17 votes to Wan Junaidi, Lim said it showed that opposition members voted only for the first deputy speaker and the votes did not go to the second deputy speaker.

[More at]

Royal address: What the MPs say -

The King Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin today expressed his regret over the abuse of subsidies by certain quarters in his opening address at the 12th Parliament.

Anwar 'back' in parliament -

Opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim today said "there is no turning back" in his political career after returning to Parliament after a 10-year absence.

Family To Be Informed After Conversion To Islam - Zahid - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 (Bernama) -- Non-Muslims who are converting to Islam may only have to inform their family after their conversion and not before, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said although he respected the decision of the 18th Syarak (Islamic)/Civil Law Coordination Conference Monday, the government was still studying the issue before making a decision.

"The proposal (by the prime minister that a non-Muslim must inform his/her family before converting to Islam) was acceptable and not rejected by the conference. But the announcement on conversion requires a suitable formula," he explained after the presentation of certificates to trainees of the Baitulmal Skills Training Institute at the International Youth Centre in Cheras, here Tuesday.

Zahid said this was important to avoid suspicions among non-Muslims, and therefore required careful study so that the conversion would not affect the convert's relations with his or her family.

Monday, the conference participants unanimously agreed that a non-Muslim does not need to inform the family first of his/her wish to convert to Islam.

The conference, attended by state legal advisers, muftis, state chief syarie judges and heads of state Islamic religious departments and Islamic religious councils, was held to discuss the proposal to make it mandatory for non-Muslim intending to convert to Islam to inform their family first.

[More at]

Utusan Melayu, Two Others Ordered To Pay RM200,000 To Former USM Lecturer - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 (Bernama) -- A former editor-in-chief of the Utusan Group, the Mingguan Malaysia newspaper and Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad were ordered by the High Court Tuesday to pay RM200,000 in damages to a former associate professor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) for publishing a defamatory article about her.

Judge Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus also odered the three defendants to pay costs to the plaintiff, Fatimah Busu @ Che Su, who was previously attached to USM's Humanities faculty.

Mohd Hishammudin said the facts presented before him favoured the plaintiff in this case.

In her suit filed on Aug 26, 1997, Fatimah had named Datuk Johan Jaafar as the first defendant, Mingguan Malaysia (second defendant )and Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad, the publisher and printer of Mingguan Malaysia, as the third defendant.

In her amended statement of claim filed on March 1, 2002, Fatimah, 67, alleged that the defendants had published a defamatory article about her in Mingguan Malaysia's edition of March 2, 1997.

She said the article had smeared her good name and tarnished her image as an academic and literary expert of 20 years, locally and abroad.

[More at]

Malaysia: Opposition leader Anwar returns to Parliament, but only as spouse guest - AP

By Sean Yoong

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Ten years after being kicked out, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim returned to Parliament on Tuesday - but only as a spouse guest.

"This is a new beginning. I have entered. I will never leave again," Anwar said after attending the formal opening of Parliament, where he was once deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Anwar was invited as the husband of Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who won a seat for their People's Justice Party and is now the formal opposition leader in Parliament.

Anwar said it won't be long before he is elected a lawmaker in a by-election.

He was ousted from government in 1998 by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in a power struggle amid accusations of corruption and sodomy. Anwar denied the charges, which were widely believed to be trumped up.

The sodomy charge was later overturned but he served prison time after being convicted of corruption.

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Yang di-Pertuan Agong Opens First Session Of 12th Parliament - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 (Bernama) -- The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, today opened the first session of the 12th Parliament following the general election on March 8.

Tuanku Mizan and the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Nur Zahirah, were greeted on arrival at the Parliament grounds by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and their wives, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, respectively. Their Majesties were accompanied by Abdullah, Najib and their wives to the royal stage.

Their Majesties were also greeted by the new Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, and the President of the Dewan Negara, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Pawanteh.

Tuanku Mizan then received the Royal Salute and the national anthem "Negara Ku" was played by the Royal Malay Regiment central band led by music director Major Zailani Mohd Okhtat.

This was followed by the hoisting of the Royal Flag and a 21-gun salute was fired by the 41st Ceremonial Battery.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong then inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by four officers and 102 men of the First Battalion Royal Malay Regiment headed by Major Mohd Radzi Othman.

After inspecting the guard-of-honour, the King returned to the royal stage and received the Royal Salute for the second time, and the "Negara Ku" was played again.

Their Majesties were then accompanied by Abdullah, Najib and their wives into the Parliament House.

At 10.30 am, the ceremonial bell was rung and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong entered the Dewan Rakyat gallery accompanied by the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

Prime Minister Abdullah presented the text of the royal address to the King for the opening of the first session of the 12th Parliament.

The first meeting of the first session of the Dewan Rakyat begins Wednesday. The House will sit for 16 days up to May 27.


Hisham: I am willing to give up political career for Umno - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein explained that he was putting the party first in apologising for waving the keris.

“I took into consideration all aspects before making a decision. It is not as if I only wanted to think about my political position.

“Sincerely, I am willing to sacrifice my political career for the party. We will get nowhere if we continue to have conflicts,” he told reporters after the Umno supreme council meeting yesterday.

He was asked about some Malays who expressed disappointment with his apology and the Muar division which had asked him to resign over the issue

When asked if he was pressured into making the apology, Hishammuddin said there were no pressure whatsoever from anyone.

“I am willing to take the responsibility for anything that can affect the party. I will face the risk.

“The party has to come first before one does something to promote self-interest. Only then the people will see the willingness of Umno to defend Malaysians, especially the Malays,” he added.

[More at]

Pak Lah explains meaning of ‘ketuanan Melayu’ - The Star

By Jane Ritikos and Manjit Kaur

KUALA LUMPUR: The definition of ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) is not about the Malays being in a position to dominate, rule over and force their power upon other races, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said Malay supremacy meant that the Malays, as the indigenous people in Malaysia, needed to strengthen themselves to ensure they were successful and developed.

If they are not successful and developed, then they are not tuan (masters), therefore they will be coolies. I am sure we do not want to become coolies who do not play any role in development because we are weak and not able.

“So when we talk about that (Malay supremacy), we mean we must be successful in many fields. It is never about ruling over others, or forcing our power upon them,” he told reporters after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting last night.

Abdullah, who is also Umno president, was asked about Malay supremacy being weakened due to Barisan Nasional’s losses in the general election and because the Malays were split between Umno, PKR and PAS.

He added that there were still matters related to the Malays that needed to be further improved and enhanced, although their successes were evident.

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No formal offer to make way for Anwar - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: No Pakatan Rakyat MP has formally offered to step down in favour of Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“I've been offered informally, but not officially,” Anwar told reporters after attending a dinner hosted by Pakatan Rakyat MPs at Parliament House last night.

Anwar was asked if he would contest in a by-election following the end of the five-year ban on him from active participation in politics.

On speculation that the Opposition might present a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the Dewan Rakyat, Anwar said: “We'll think about it at the right time.”

In his speech earlier, Anwar urged the 82 Pakatan Rakyat MPs to be aware of their responsibilities in Parliament.

He advised them to cooperate with one another and present a stronger voice in Parliament.

Opposition Leader and Permatang Pauh MP Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, who is Anwar's wife, DAP adviser and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who is the Marang MP, also spoke.


Student apologises over Karpal death threat - NST

JOHOR BARU: An 18-year-old college student yesterday apologised to DAP national chairman Karpal Singh for posting a death threat against him on a website hosted by Pas Johor Baru.

The student, accompanied by his father and Johor Baru Pas representative, turned up at the Johor Baru (South) district police headquarters yesterday afternoon and admitted that he was responsible for posting the death threat.

Police recorded a statement from the student and released him.

The death threat had been part of the brickbats hurled at Karpal following allegations that he was a bigot for continuously opposing the formation of an Islamic state.

The student also went to the Johor Baru DAP office and met DAP Johor deputy chairman Norman Fernandez.

He handed over a letter of apology for Karpal to Fernandez.

Fernandez said in the student's handwritten letter, he claimed that he was not aware of the implication of posting the death threat.

[More at]

Youth chief's apology 'a bold step' - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has taken a bold step by apologising for raising the kris, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

"He made the apology knowing that there would be many Malays who would be upset," he said after chairing the supreme council meeting at Umno headquarters here yesterday.

"His aim was to clear any misunderstanding among the non-Malays. Datuk Seri Najib (Razak) and I did not advise him on the matter.

"There should not be any accusations about Hishammuddin having a hidden motive. The kris has always been there. I don't want this issue to be politicised further," he said.

Hishammuddin, who is also a supreme council member, said he would take sole responsibility for the consequences of the apology.

"If the Kris Panca Warisan, not the kris Melayu, is still haunted by the perception that it is feared by certain quarters, I will bear the responsibility.

"I am realistic and, if it affects the party, I will ensure that the party is given greater consideration than personal interests," he said.

[More at]

PM briefs BN reps on how to perform - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional MPs have been told to be more constructive in their criticism, questions and debates in the Dewan Rakyat.

This was the advice of BN chief Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in a 45-minute BN pre-council meeting at Parliament House yesterday.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the advice was also for senators who attended the meeting.

"He advised us on how to raise and handle issues... and be better prepared in facing the opposition," he said.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Johari Baharum said the prime minister told MPs to be more proactive in their approach.

"He also advised MPs to take care of all their constituents."

Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Kohilan Pillay said Abdullah advised MPs and senators to be on their best behaviour when taking part in proceedings.

[More at]

Balkis accounts 'not audited or finalised' - NST

SHAH ALAM: External auditors for the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) yesterday said the charity's accounts for 2007 were never audited or finalised, contrary to claims by Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

The former menteri besar on Sunday said the accounts of the charity for the previous year were finalised, before RM9.9 million was transferred to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti).

Yee Choon Kong & Co, in a faxed statement, said the financial statement of Balkis was unaudited and the accounts not finalised before the funds were transferred.

Company principal Yee Choon Kong said he never issued a duly signed audit report in respect of the conduct and financial affairs of Balkis for the financial year ending Dec 31 last year.

He said the firm was appointed as external auditors for Balkis at the last annual general meeting on June 30 last year.

Yee said his firm, on a number of occasions, had called the treasurer of Balkis, Datin Suraimi Sapuan, to send financial records for auditing.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Wakil rakyat BN Sabah tolak pembangkang - Utusan

SANDAKAN 28 April - Wakil rakyat Barisan Nasional (BN) di Sabah tidak pernah terfikir untuk menyertai pihak pembangkang seperti yang diuar-uarkan oleh Penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Timbalan Ketua UMNO Bahagian Libaran, Datuk Juslie Ajirol berkata, kenyataan Anwar itu cuma strategi baru politiknya untuk melemahkan BN di Semenanjung yang dilanda masalah selepas prestasi buruk pada pilihan raya umum lalu.

"Semua wakil rakyat BN Sabah tidak berhasrat untuk melompat ke PKR atau parti pembangkang lain yang ada di negeri ini. Di Sabah, kita menolak sepenuhnya parti pembangkang terutamanya PKR Sabah.

"Perkara ini telah dibuktikan pada Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-12 lalu," katanya semasa berucap pada majlis penutup Sukan Tahunan Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Tiram Batu 19 dekat sini semalam.

Ahli Parlimen Libaran itu berkata, Anwar hanya berangan-angan kosong dan perbuatannya jelas sedang mengelirukan rakyat terutamanya di negeri ini.

Beliau berkata, Anwar sememangnya sedia maklum, senario politik di Sabah amat berbeza dengan Semenanjung dan menyedari tidak ada wakil rakyat BN yang akan menyertai pembangkang.

[More at]

Pertahan ketuanan Melayu - Utusan

KUALA LUMPUR 28 April - UMNO akan terus berperanan memperjuangkan ketuanan Melayu supaya kaum itu tidak dipandang rendah dalam negara sendiri, kata Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Presiden UMNO berkata, orang Melayu tidak boleh hidup sebagai 'kuli', sebaliknya mereka perlu dilihat berada pada satu kedudukan yang sama dengan kaum- kaum lain.

Justeru, katanya, usaha untuk memajukan dan memperkasakan orang Melayu akan diteruskan tetapi dalam masa yang sama hak-hak kaum lain tetap terpelihara.

Ujarnya, masih terdapat orang Melayu yang perlu diperkasakan dan diperkuatkan meskipun ada dalam kalangan mereka ketika ini telah menempa beberapa kejayaan.

''Orang Melayu merupakan penduduk asal di negara ini dan tidak boleh hidup sebagai kuli. Oleh itu untuk menjadi 'tuan' kita perlu berjaya kerana kita mahu orang Melayu berperanan dalam pembangunan negara.

''Inilah yang dikatakan ketuanan Melayu dan bukannya hendak perintah orang lain atau memaksa kuasa terhadap orang lain,'' kata Abdullah kepada pemberita selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat Majlis Tertinggi (MT) UMNO di Menara Datuk Onn, Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra (PWTC) di sini hari ini.

[More at]

MPs looking forward to the 12th parliament -

Newly elected lawmakers took oath of office in parliament today after March 8 general elections which changed the political landscape.

MP Bloggers -

New MPs Jeff Ooi and Tony Pua are famous for their blogs and both are committed to blogging while they are seated in the Dewan Rakyat.

Altantuya's father comes to parliament -

The plight of the family of murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu was
taken to Parliament today, while the 222 newly-elected members gathered
for their oath-taking ceremony.

Altantuya's father, Dr Shaariibuu Setev (photo), was in the building
this morning with a one-page letter appealing for the help of the MPs
in relation to the case.

Shaariibuu had hoped to personally deliver the letter to both Prime
Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul

People's Needs, Priorities Come First Than Party's, Says Abdullah - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 (Bernama) -- The government will always give importance to the people's problems and interests, particularly to meet the needs of the low-income earners, by initiating programmes to ease their burden, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Monday night.

The prime minister said though the Barisan Nasional (BN) was facing various setbacks, the coalition would ensure the people's agenda was accorded priority over everything else.

"Serious attention will be given to the masses' woes. The BN is still the federal government and is governing the nation from the mandate given by the people. Issues concerning the people will be given prompt attention," he told a press conference after chairing a meeting of the supreme council, Umno's powerful decision-making body.

Abdullah said the government viewed the fuel price hike issue seriously as it could lead to an increase in prices of consumer goods and other problems that might surface due to global food shortage.

In this regard, he said, the government would expedite measures to set up a food stockpile and the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry had drawn up a proposal paper to implement the national food security plan.

Abdullah said the proposal paper would be tabled in the Cabinet soon for perusal.

[More at]

Malaysia's new lawmakers take oath - Channel NewsAsia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's new parliament session got off to an exciting start on Monday with the highest number of opposition lawmakers being sworn-in in history. Of the 222 MPs sworn in, half were fresh faces.

Hogging the spotlight in parliament were the first mother and daughter MP team dressed in turquoise, the party colour of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Opposition Parliamentary Chief, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has made it into the history books as the first woman to lead the opposition.

Despite the noticeable absence of her husband, de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, she has other reasons to celebrate.

She said: "I am proud that my daughter has actually made it to the parliament together with me. Both of us are committed to work for the people. We are grateful that the people have confidence in us."

Despite being a political rookie, MP for Lembah Pantai, 27-year-old Nurul Izzah Anwar, is eager to take on the government MPs and has vowed not to let the people down.

She said: "Peoples’ aspirations rest on our shoulders. I feel this is a huge responsibility. But (at) the end of the day, if you are sincere to your country (and) constituency, you will do your best."

[More at]

Anwar's Claim Of Defection By BN Reps Proven Untrue - Mohd Ali - Bernama

MELAKA, April 28 (Bernama) -- The claim by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that a number of Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentarians would be party hopping to join Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition, has proven to be untrue.

Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the smooth swearing-in of the MPs with no defections from the BN, for the first sitting of parliament's 12th session, which began Monday, proved that the BN representatives had the integrity that they could be proud of.

"I congratulate all the BN MPs who took their oath as they have upheld the people's trust and proved that Anwar's instigation and boast about defections from BN were nothing more than empty talk," he told reporters here Monday.

Also sworn in Monday was former Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker. He is from Kota Belud, Sabah.

As expected, Mohd Ali said, Anwar's claim was mere political gimmick which got himself trapped.

Last week in Kota Kinabalu, Anwar was reported to have said that several BN MPs had decided to join Pakatan Rakyat and what was withholding them was only the time factor as they had not been sworn in.

Mohd Ali, who is an Umno vice-president, believes that the Pakatan Rakyat itself would face problems as the opposition coalition parties -- PKR, PAS and DAP -- have different policies and ideologies.


Guan Eng: It’s a new form of colonialism - The Star

By Carolyn Ooi

PENANG: Re-routing the Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Ministry funds via a different body such as Mara is a new form of colonialism, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

Lim hoped Minister Datuk Noh Omar would reconsider the decision as such a move would give a wrong impression to the public.

For years, it has been the practice by the Ministry to channel funds worth RM100 mil a year to the respective State Economic Development Corporations.

The money was used for purposes such as upgrading facilities and financing programmes for the benefit of the people.

However, on Saturday Noh announced that the funds would be channelled via Mara, to prevent the rakyat from being "victimised". He did not explain what he meant by the word "victimised".

Such a move was tantamount to forming a parallel government, Lim told reporters during the Mount Miriam Hospital "Ho Chiak" Charity Food and Fun Fair on Sunday.

[More at]

Kadar Shah: Hisham should resign - The Star

MUAR: The Muar division wants Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to resign over the keris issue.

Datuk Kadar Shah Tun Sulaiman Ninam Shah, claiming to speak for several branch leaders, made the call yesterday after Hishammuddin admitted that the keris issue was among the causes of Barisan’s poor performance in the March general election.

To admit the mistake is not good enough if the Youth chief does not take the responsibility and resign from all party and government posts, he said.

Hishammuddin had agreed that the keris issue was one factor which had caused Barisan to lose the people’s support, Kadar Shah said here yesterday.

Kadar Shah said besides resigning, Hishammuddin should also seek forgiveness from all Umno and Barisan members as the DAP had manipulated the keris issue to woo supporters.

He said that as a Cabinet minister for several terms, the Youth chief should be mature enough to know what a leader could do, and brandishing the keris could hurt the feelings of other races.


Nizar, Guan Eng call for end to preventive laws - The Star

IPOH: Two Pakatan Rakyat state leaders have called for the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

While Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said certain provisions Act at least needed to be reviewed if not repealed, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng went step further, asking for the Official Secrets Acts (OSA) to be done away with as well.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar had on Saturday said that preventive laws, including the ISA, would not be abolished.

Commenting on a claim by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that Pakatan Rakyat would abolish preventive laws should it rule the country, Syed Hamid had said that such laws serve the purpose of maintaining public order.

Lim said he regretted Syed Hamid's decision.

“The fact that you have the ISA and OSA (shows that) you want to frighten the people,” he told a press conference at the Mount Miriam Hospital “Ho Chiak” Charity Food and Fun Fair in Penang yesterday.

[More at]

Mat Taib to do ‘sleepovers’ - The Star

By V. Chandrasekaran

BALING: Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said he would visit villages nationwide once every three weeks in a move to address urgent problems there.

He said he would sleep overnight in the respective village to find out more about the pressing needs of the people.

The new approach, which got the nod from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, kicked off with his first visit to Kampung Kuala Kerik in Sik, Kedah, on Sunday.

He spent a night at the village and took part in a gotong royong the following morning before leaving for a special meeting with 1,938 Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) chairmen at Dewan Rakan Muda here.

“It is sad to note that some villagers are still living in a deplorable state. They don’t even have proper road and basic amenities while those in the urban areas enjoy good facilities.

“Something must be wrong somewhere. It is high time we help improve their living standards and other facilities urgently,” he said.

[More at]

Khir: Balkis didn't need approval - NST

SHAH ALAM: Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has challenged the state government to take legal action over the dissolution of Balkis (Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation) and the transfer of RM9.9 million funds.

In response to criticisms of the transfer the former menteri besar said: "Please don't talk rubbish and refer to our lawyer."

Dr Khir was defending his wife, Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik, the past president of Balkis, who has come under fire for calling an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on March 11 to dissolve the charity.

He said the dissolution of Balkis and transfer of funds to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) was done in accordance with the charity's constitution.

An EGM was convened after one-fifth of Balkis members requested for it, while the dissolution and transfer of funds to Bakti received approval from two-thirds of members, he said.

He said there was no need for auditors of Balkis to be informed or consulted before the charity was dissolved and the funds transferred.

[More at]

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kampar Umno Sends Petition Asking Tajol Rosli To Resign - Bernama

KAMPAR, April 27 (Bernama) -- The Kampar Umno division has sent a petition to party state liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali asking him to resign as he has failed to carry out his duty as a leader.

The petition was signed by 111 representatives of the division and its Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings, as well as the branch heads at a special meeting recently.

Division secretary Abdul Rahman Md. Som said a copy of the petition was sent to Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

This followed a call from the division head Datuk Mohd Radzi Manan on April 14 for Tajol Rosli, the former Perak Menteri Besar, to step down to make way for a more energetic leader.

Speaking to reporters after meeting about 500 members from the division at Changkat Tin, near here, today, Abdul Rahman said the petition also conveyed the division's disappointment over Tajol Rosli's lack of initiative to revive the spirit of Perak Umno members following Barisan Nasional's dismal showing in the March 8 general election.

He said the members were under stress as Perak Umno had lost its direction and there was no specific plan of action for its strength to be restored as soon as possible.


Mara will handle money, not Pakatan governments - The Star

IPOH: The Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Ministry has rerouted its funds meant for the five Pakatan Rakyat states, claiming that the move would prevent the rakyat from being “victimised”.

Its minister Datuk Noh Omar said the funds would be channelled through Mara in those states. He however did not explain what he meant by the word “victimised”.

“Previously, the funds were channelled through the respective State Economic Development Corporation,” he told reporters after opening the Perak Malay Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting here yesterday.

Noh also criticised the Selangor and Perak state governments for their decision to charge rental on the land occupied by the ministry’s training centres in the two states.

“The centres provide training for everybody regardless of their political beliefs.

“But the state governments are more interested in profit and failed to see the services provided by the ministry to the people,” he said.

[More at]

'MIC president was not making a threat' - NST

By : Suganthi Suparmaniam

KUALA LUMPUR: There was mixed reaction to MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu's statement that he would seek support from other countries if the government continues to ignore the Indian community.

MIC Puteri chief J. Usha Nandhini said the statement must not be taken negatively as Samy Vellu had spoken as a guardian of Indians in the country.

"I don't think it's a threat. Previously, he spoke as a cabinet minister, now he is speaking at a different platform. He has to speak for the 600,000 MIC members and the 1.7 million Indians in the country," she said.

"As the party president and former senior cabinet minister, for him to say this shows that the government has to be fast in implementing whatever policies that it has promised."

She said gone were the days when people were satisfied with mere promises. They now wanted to see how soon a promise could be delivered.

Usha said Barisan Nasional had always looked after the Indians, but sometimes it failed to look at some of the issues affecting them.

[More at]

Karpal: I'm no bigot - NST

By : Sharanjit Singh and Syed Umar Ariff

GEORGE TOWN: DAP national chairman Karpal Singh yesterday dismissed allegations that he was a bigot for continuously making a stand against the formation of an Islamic state.

Karpal, who has come under fire in blogs and also received death threats, said he had never insulted Islam and that Muslims should not turn him into another Salman Rushdie.

"I cannot understand why some people are saying that I have insulted Islam.

"What I have been against and will continue to be against is attempts by Pas to turn this country into an Islamic state," he said, adding he was just standing up for what was stated in the country's Constitution, that Malaysia was a secular state.

He said anyone who opposed his stand could be deemed to be challenging the constitution.

Karpal said he would continue to fight against the Islamic state issue despite being criticised in blogs, including a call to kill him on the Johor Pas website.

[More at]

Return cash, Khir's wife told - The Star

SHAH ALAM: Give back the RM9.9mil, withdraw the application to dissolve the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) and the matter is settled.

This is Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim's offer to Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik who was the organisation's head when she and the other members decided to transfer the RM9.9mil from its coffers after Barisan Nasional lost the state during the March general election.

The group also decided to dissolve the organisation.

Khalid said his offer was the best solution to resolve the controversy.

“If not, the state will pursue the matter because the people want us to be correct. If there has been misconduct, then justice will take its course,” he told reporters yesterday.

The issue blew up when it was revealed that Balkis, lead by Zahrah, who is the wife of former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, transferred RM9.9mil to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) three days after the state fell to Pakatan Rakyat.

[More at]

Najib: Let’s put keris issue to rest - The Star

PEKAN: Umno hopes the issue of party Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein wielding the keris will now be put to rest after his apology.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Hishammuddin's apology was something great and noble.

Najib was speaking to reporters after launching Al Taqwa Mosque's new water distillation tank and dispensers in Peramu Jaya near here yesterday.

On Friday, Hishammuddin admitted that the raising of the keris during the wing's annual assemblies was among the causes of the Barisan Nasional’s poor performance in the general election and apologised to the non-Malays over the incidents.

He also apologised to the Malays for failing to uphold a symbol of their heritage.

Najib reiterated that the unsheathing of the keris did not signal an intention to declare war or bear any racial overtones.

[More at]

No need to be fearful, Malays told - The Star

VIDEO: Anwar admits Pakatan governments have fewer Malays

SHAH ALAM: PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has admitted that Malay representation in Pakatan Rakyat state governments was lower than in previous governments.

However, he said the agenda and policies of Pakatan Rakyat was to affirm the Supremacy of the People.

“This means we will champion the cause of all people,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after the launch of a book by the late Rustam A. Sani entitled Failed Nation? – Concerns of a Malaysian Nationalist and Social Roots of the Malay Left here yesterday.

Anwar said given that Malays made up the majority in Kedah, Perak and Selangor, their welfare would definitely be taken care of.

He said that since the Chinese made up the majority in Penang, they should be made to feel that their rights were well protected.

[More at]

Hamid: ISA will remain in place - The Star

By Farik Zolkepli

KOTA TINGGI: Preventive laws, including the Internal Security Act (ISA), will not be abolished, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

Such laws serve the purpose of maintaining public order, he said when commenting on a claim by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that Pakatan Rakyat would abolish preventive laws should they rule the country.

“The measure, which was introduced before the country’s independence, has been continued and improved.

“The ISA is not for the purpose of carrying out injustice but to protect the public’s right to live in comfort without fearing for their lives,” he said, adding that the Government could not wait for anything bad to happen before taking action.

He added that Anwar never did anything when he was deputy prime minister and it was easy for the Opposition to promise things than actually implement them.

On the five Hindraf members held under the ISA, Syed Hamid said people should look at what they had done in the first place.

[More at]

Ku Li: Democratic and fair election the only way to end internal strife - The Star

By Ian McIntyre

KOTA BARU: Gua Musang Umno division head Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah does not believe that contests for the top posts can cause a split similar to the 1987 episode, which resulted in Umno breaking into two groups.

There would not be a lingering split as the party now has the maturity and conviction to overcome differences of opinions, he said, adding that Umno members should treat each other as “brothers-in-arms”.

Tengku Razaleigh, 71, said only a democratic and fair contest during the party elections can put to rest issues about leadership capabilities.

Such a contest would also mark a process to elevate Umno back onto its rightful position, he said.

“The president's post in Umno is not decided by a handful of leaders. It must be decided by grassroots members,” he said.

He was addressing a gathering of some 2,000 people at Balai Islam here on Friday evening.

[More at]

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ku Li on the possibility of Sabah crossover -

Another leader within the Barisan Nasional fold warned today at a forum in Subang Jaya that Sabah MPs may yet abandon ship.

Speaking to a gathering of Umno members this afternoon, Gua Musang parliamentarian and Umno stalwart Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, also known as Ku Li, explained that the opposition's repeated boasts to the media about taking over is not far-fetched at all.

Anwar admits Pakatan governments have fewer Malays -

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim acknowledges that Malay representation in Pakatan Rakyat state governments is lower than in previous governments. He spoke to reporters after launching two books by the late Rustam A. Sani in Shah Alam on Saturday.

林冠英:无惧国阵压力‧檳不取消新格局政策 - Sin Chew Daily








Government May Scrap Penang Monorail Project For Lack Of State Cooperation - Bernama

PENANG, April 26 (Bernama) -- The federal government will not proceed with the monorail project in Penang if the state authority does not give its cooperation, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said Saturday.

"So far, we have not received any approvals from the state government. If the state government has other plans with regard to the monorail, we are not doing it. The project is scrapped," he told reporters here.

The 51.2 kilometre monorail project costing RM1.2 billion is among mega projects proposed for implementation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) to complement the present public transport system network in Penang.

Nor Mohamed said it required full cooperation and approval from the state government because it involved the development of land and under the constitution, land matters were under state jurisdiction.

"If there is no cooperation, how are we to proceed," he told reporters after chairing the first meeting of the Federal Action Council of Penang. The council comprises government department heads, senior government officers and Barisan Nasional assemblymen. Nor Mohamed who is Member of Parliament for Tasek Gelugor, said the DAP-led Penang government had not given its approval because several issues relating to land acquisition and tender had not been finalised.

Other mega projects under the 9MP would also be shelved if the state government disagreed with them or if there was lack of understanding, he said.

[More at]

Opposition Playing 'Psy-war' To Gain In Politics, Says Rafidah - Bernama

KOTA KINABALU, April 26 (Bernama) -- The opposition party is playing a psychological war in order to gain in politics, but their threats should not be taken lightly, Wanita Umno Chief Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said Saturday.

She said the game the opposition were playing in the political arena was to give the impression that they were gaining grounds.

"No doubt the opposition have won in five states which had come as a surprise even to them.

"Maybe it's our weaknesses that have allowed them to win. But we will not take their threats lightly," she told reporters after a meeting with the Sabah Wanita Umno leaders here.

She said having won in those states have given the opposition extra motivation and strength to take over the other states too.

Nevertheless, Rafidah said the rakyat and the BN members of parliament would not be influenced and stay strong in not succumbing to the promises made and the various strategies used by the opposition.


Apology Over Kris Won't Derogate Malay Dignity, Says Najib - Bernama

PEKAN, April 26 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein's apology over the "kris issue" will not derogate from the Malays' dignity because kris is a mere symbol, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said on Saturday.

The dignity of the Malays would only remain redeemed if they were successful in strategic fields to continue to compete with other races, said the deputy prime minister who is also Umno deputy president.

"I hope the issue will not crop up again. Datuk Seri Hishammuddin has done a very solicitious and noble act, meaning he is ready to seek apology though some people say it was not his intention to declare war or has a conviction in any racist move," he told reporters here today.

He was commenting on the Umno Youth head's apology for drawing and kissing a kris at the last Umno Youth assembly which was said to be among the factors to Barisan Nasional's dismal performance in last month's general election.

Najib said: "Kris is a weapon in the context of our culture, not more than that. But because there are people playing up the issue, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin's move, I hope, will be accepted as something positive, sincere and noble so that the issue will not crop up again."

[More at]

Several SNAP leaders waiting for the right time to join PKR - The Star

KUCHING: Several leaders in Sarawak National Party (SNAP) are ready to defect to PKR, said party secretary Edmund Stanley Jugol.

Confirming his intention to join PKR, Jugo said it was a matter of timing for the leaders to move.

“There is so much more prospect in the Pakatan Rakyat. I will prefer to be part of this bigger group than to remain in SNAP,” he said yesterday.

Jugol, a former political secretary to the Chief Minister, indicated that his son, Darrel Walter Entrie, who is also SNAP youth leader, would also join PKR.

He said two other SNAP central executive committee (CEC) members Frankie Bedindan and Sylvester Belayong were also interested in joining PKR.

Jugol, Entrie, Bedindan and Belayong were among the SNAP members and several other Dayak leaders who met up with PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during his visit here on Thursday.

None of them are elected representatives.

[More at]

ACA blames translation - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: The Anti-Corruption Agency has cleared the air on allegations that the Women's Sports and Fitness Foundation Malaysia (WSFMM) spent RM1.4 million on entertainment at a sports event last year.

In a statement, it said WSFFM's auditor had wrongly translated the word persembahan, which means performance, as entertainment in the annual report.

The agency also clarified that former youth and sports minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was only a patron of the foundation and was not involved in financial management .

The statement said the word persembahan was related to the opening and closing ceremonies for the National Women's Games last year attended by participants nationwide.

The event was opened by the Raja Permaisuri Agong.


Penang CM to continue picking competent people to serve state - The Star

By Nik Khusairy Ibrahim

PENANG: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has given a personal guarantee on his policies of appointing Barisan Nasional members to positions in the state in an effort to placate his own party members.

He said he would continue with the policy to give opportunity to anyone with good credentials and capability to serve the state, in line with his competency, accountability and transparency (CAT) approach.

“I will not run away from taking responsibility over the decisions that I have made.

“I am confident the party (DAP) will support my decision. We want to implement the CAT approach, and we must start somewhere,” said Lim who is also DAP secretary-general.

Lim said this in response to mixed reaction from DAP leaders over the appointment of former Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon as InvestPenang executive chairman and director of the Penang Development Corporation.

Among those who opposed the move was DAP chairman Karpal Singh.

[More at]

MCA pledges to fight for everyone, work on mutual respect - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA will stand firm on what the Federal Constitution has provided for all races and will not let its spirit and definition be misinterpreted, said party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting.

As part of efforts to transform the party, he said MCA would break away from racial politics to fight for the rights of all races in religion, education, economy, politics and culture as stated in the Constitution.

“We are still a Chinese-based political party but our ways, direction and approach are for all races.

“We will give equal attention to what the multiracial community is concerned about and the MCA will speak, work and fight for them,” he said.

He added that the party would help build multiracial relationships on the basis of respecting and understanding each other as well as correct people’s perception that it was Umno’s running dog.

“It is only fair that we have genuine partnerships. There will be no more (perception of) who is on top or who is the follower,” he said, adding that the party wants mutual respect.

[More at]

‘RM9.9mil belongs to Balkis’ - The Star

PETALING JAYA: The RM9.9mil in the bank account of the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) belonged to it. And Balkis was within its rights to hand the money over to another organisation.

This is the stand of the president of the organisation at that time, Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik.

“We have sought legal advice and our lawyers advised us on the options available – either to put the money with any organisation or give it to the state.

“After some deliberations, we decided to give the money to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti),” Zahrah said yesterday.

The money was moved after a March 11 emergency meeting of Balkis, just days after the state government fell to the Pakatan Rakyat.

The current Selangor government is questioning the legality of the transfer of the funds.

[More at]

Did Balkis have the right to move out the RM9.9m? - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Questions are being asked whether it was correct for the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) to transfer out the RM9.9mil it had in its coffers a few days after the state fell to the Opposition.

Defending the money transfer, then president Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik said she had the legal right because her husband Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo was still the caretaker Selangor Mentri Besar at that time.

Dr Mohd Khir said the money was “temporarily transferred” to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) to ensure the money would be spent according to Balkis' purpose, namely for the welfare of children.

The state government, however, is questioning the transfer of the money and seeking legal advice. It has also asked the Registrar of Societies to put on hold the dissolution of Balkis, which the committee, led by Zahrah, also unanimously decided to do.

The Bar Council is of the opinion that Balkis' action could be tantamount to criminal breach of trust.


MCA to transform itself - The Star

MCA is set to transform itself and change the negative perception that it is subservient to Umno.

Party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, in an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily, said some people have such a perception of the relationship between Umno and MCA when in fact the two parties are partners that respect each other.

“MCA hopes to see its transformation take shape in the next six months. This will enable the people to see the changes in MCA in three years or sooner,” he said.

Ong also said that the six-month time frame had nothing to do with the party election.

“We want to let people see the changes in MCA in terms of style, strategy and action within a short period of time.

“Such changes will not be window-dressing tactics which cannot withstand the test of time,” he said.

[More at]

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hishammuddin: I take responsibility for the keris waving -

Barisan Nasional Youth chairman Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has acknowledged that the Keris waving incidents were one of the causes of BN's loss in the March general election. He said this after chairing the Barisan Nasional Youth meeting Friday.

Memo to King seeking release -

About 30 supporters of Hindu Rights Action Force gathered at Istana Negara this morning to submit a memorandum seeking a royal intervention to release five Hindraf leaders detained under the ISA.

Hishammuddin Says Sorry For Wielding The Keris - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 (Bernama) -- Umno Youth Chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein Friday apologised to the Malays and non-Malays for wielding keris two years ago.

Hishammuddin said as a responsible party leader, he should apologise if his action in wielding the "Panca Warisan" keris at the Umno Youth general assembly, contributed to the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s losses in five states in the March 8 general election.

He said the keris issue was among those being brought up openly at the Barisan Nasional (BN) youth committee meeting to look at the reasons for the BN's dismal performance in the election.

"I told them that I'm responsible for what I've done. If it had affected the performance (of the BN), we cannot run away from the reality.

"If the issue had affected anyone, I apologise to the non-Malays and the Malays," he told reporters after chairing the three-hour meeting from 3.30pm at the Menara Dato Onn here Friday.

Hishammuddin, who is also Education Minister, said the reality of why the keris was wielded had been manipulated by certain quarters.

"(I apologise) to the non-Malays for making them feel apprehensive about (the keris) symbol, and to the Malays for not being able to defend our symbol of heritage. (The wielding of the keris) is not what it was made out to be," he said.

[More at]

Tiada Ahli Parlimen Sabah sertai pembangkang – Musa - Utusan

KOTA KINABALU 25 April – Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) diminta tidak lagi memutar belit fakta mengenai kedudukan Ahli Parlimen Barisan Nasional (BN) negeri ini yang kononnya telah menyokong pakatan pembangkang.

Ketua Menteri Sabah, Datuk Seri Musa Aman berkata, tindakan itu bukan sahaja mengelirukan rakyat malah menjejaskan tumpuan kerajaan negeri dalam usaha membawa lebih banyak pembangunan ke negeri ini.

Beliau berkata, PKR sengaja menyebarkan khabar angin negatif itu kerana mereka tidak mempunyai gerak kerja untuk membela nasib rakyat selepas gagal menguasai Parlimen pada pilihan raya lalu.


We Are Taking The Rumour Seriously, Says Najib - Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, April 25 (Bernama) -- The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government is taking seriously the "threat" that there would be a crossover of 30 or more BN Members of Parliament (MP) to the opposition to enable Pakatan Rakyat to form the government, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said here, Friday.

"There are reports (of the crossover) but we cannot just dismiss the reports. Of course, there is an element of political gamesmanship, nonetheless, we cannot take things for granted," he told a press conference at his office.

He said this when asked on a statement by former deputy prime minister and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Anwar Ibrahim that the opposition had 30 or more MPs who were willing to leave the BN for Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition pact made up of PAS, DAP and PKR.

Following the just concluded general election, the opposition has 82 seats in Parliament while BN has 140 seats. If 30 or more BN MPs were to cross over to the opposition, the country would witness the BN losing the federal government for the first time since the independence 50 years ago.

Asked if BN would take measures to ensure all BN MPs remained with the ruling coliation, Najib said:"We will do something but I won't tell you exactly what we will do, but we will do something."

"We hear rumours (off the crossover) but no one has come and said we are saying goodbye to BN," said the Deputy Prime Minister.

[More at]

Subsidy on diesel to go first, says Shahrir - The Star

By Teh Eng Hock

KUALA LUMPUR: The restructured fuel subsidy scheme will see the removal of subsidy on diesel first.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said diesel would soon be sold at the market rate at the pumps when a mechanism to deliver subsidies directly to those entitled has been decided upon.

“We are looking at diesel first, and how to ensure that subsidised diesel gets to the right groups, especially to the transport sector and (those involved in) certain economic activities which require diesel subsidy so that we can cut out leakages.

“Schoolbuses for example. We have to have a mechanism on how to deliver the diesel (subsidy) to the schoolbus drivers so that the cost of transport will not go up,” he said.

Without the subsidy, diesel will cost more than RM2 a litre. The price of diesel at the pump now is RM1.581 a litre.

Shahrir said the move to restructure the fuel subsidy was necessary to ensure the money was not wasted through various ways such as diesel smuggling.

[More at]

Shaariibuu’s statement shocks consul - The Star

VIDEO: Altantuya's father speaks to media at PKR HQ

PETALING JAYA: The Mongolian honorary consul-general to Malaysia Datuk Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshi was shocked when he heard that Mongolia would sever political ties with Malaysia if the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case was deemed to be unfair.

He said the Mongolian government had not officially made such a decision.

“I was shocked when I heard that statement on television just now,” he said.

Syed Abdul Rahman said the Mongolians were monitoring the trial very closely.

“The Mongolian prime minister has written to the Malaysian Prime Minister three times but there is still no reply. Mongolia should not be taken for granted,” he said.

Altantuya's father Dr Shaariibuu Setev had earlier told reporters at the PKR headquarters here yesterday that Mongolia would sever political ties with Malaysia if the judgment in the high-profile Altantuya murder case was deemed “irresponsible and unfair.”

[More at]

Shabery: PKR MPs more likely to defect to Barisan - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat should not be shocked if its MPs defect to Barisan Nasional instead of the other way round, said Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said Barisan was not worried about its MPs crossing over to the Opposition coalition but it was Pakatan Rakyat that should be afraid.

Asked whether Barisan was worried about PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's statement that many Sabah Barisan MPs were ready to defect to the Opposition given that the state has a history of MPs party hopping, Shabery said: “We are not worried especially with what is being done by PKR. He should realise that the Malays are very angry.

“It's not that I want to play up racial sentiments with regards to pig-farming issues. But is this the priority of the government led by PKR? Does it mean that PKR's efforts to have a clean government and transparency start with a pig-farming project?” he asked.

Shabery, who spoke to reporters after inspecting preparations for the live telecast of the Parliament session, said Pakatan Rakyat component parties shouldn’t be surprised if this will cause their MPs to defect.

He said Anwar had been dreaming for a long time of becoming the Prime Minister, adding it would also be just a dream for him to win over Barisan MPs.

[More at]

MP: Anwar is power crazy - The Star

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is power crazy, the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BBC) claims.

BBC deputy chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said the Opposition figure head was trying his best to undermine the strength of the ruling coalition.

Bung Mokhtar said claims by Anwar that Barisan MPs were ready to crossover was a political gimmick that showed that he was suffering from a craze for power.

He said Anwar must accept the fact that Barisan holds the majority in Parliament and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition had lost the general election.

“The people have made it clear that they support the Barisan government,” he said when dismissing Anwar’s claims that the Pakatan Rakyat government had enough Barisan MPs to form the Federal government and it would be done by Malaysia Day (Sept 16).

The Kinabatangan MP said Anwar was using unethical methods to woo Barisan MPs so that he can take over the Government.

[More at]

CM: We’ll keep offering posts - The Star

By Shahanaaz Habib

PETALING JAYA: The Penang Government will continue to offer posts to people who are “competent, accountable and transparent” regardless of which political party they belong to.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he was serious about wanting to forge a new paradigm that cuts across the political divide and brings people together, including those “who did not vote for us” to contribute to the betterment of the state.

He said while this was “something new and ground-breaking” he certainly did not expect the move to be “criticised and condemned in such strong terms by top national (Barisan Nasional) leaders.”

“Are we going to grow up and grow out of the outdated mindset? The time has come to look at the content of character rather than colour of skin or the gods you pray to or the respective political beliefs that you hold,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He stressed that the DAP-led Penang government would have no second thoughts about offering other clean and competent Barisan leaders in the state a post.

[More at]

Penang Government under fire - The Star

By Christina Chin

PENANG: The state government has come under fire for appointing more political representatives than non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the local councils.

Commenting on the appointment of 48 new Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) councillors, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) vice-president K. Koris said the state was the “birthplace” of NGOs.

“We have hundreds of NGOs to represent the people yet political representatives were chosen instead,” said Koris.

A total of 19 councillors are from the DAP, 15 from PKR and two from PAS. For the first time in over 40 years, six NGO representatives are among the state's local council appointees. The remaining six are civil servants.

He also chided the state for placing “financial gain” above public interest by appointing four representatives from the business community as councillors.

“The new administration has shown itself to be too money-minded by giving four of the six NGO places to representatives from the business sector.”

[More at]

Najib regrets Lee chose job over party - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday described the resignation of Gerakan's Datuk Lee Kah Choon from the party as "unfortunate".

"It is unfortunate that he has chosen to accept the positions," he said, referring to Lee's appointment as director of the Penang Development Corporation and investPenang from the Pakatan Rakyat state government.

Gerakan had issued a show-cause letter to Lee on Tuesday.

The next day, the former Health Ministry parliamentary secretary and Gerakan deputy secretary-general, who had quit all party positions two weeks ago, announced that he was leaving the party.

Najib, the deputy prime minister, said Lee's acceptance of the two positions made his membership of a BN component party untenable.

"That is a clearly stated policy of BN," Najib said on the last day of the Defence Services Asia 2008 exhibition and conference here yesterday.

[More at]

MIC man: Explain Hindraf 5 detention - NST

GEORGE TOWN: The MIC has called on the government to explain how the five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), now being detained under the Internal Security Act, pose a threat to national security.

Party Youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran said the five should be released if the authorities could not come up with an answer.

"If their detention is simply because of their involvement in street demonstrations, then the government should release them immediately.

"Otherwise, the people should be told what kind of threat the five pose to national security."

The five, M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kengadharan, and K. Vasantha Kumar have been slapped with a two-year detention order by the Home Ministry for their involvement in a street demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25.

Vigneswaran said the call for the release of the five did not mean the MIC condoned street demonstrations.

He said the MIC initially supported action against the Hindraf group to defuse the situation then.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Altantuya's father speaks to media at PKR HQ -

Altantuya's father Dr Shaariibuu Setev spoke to reporters at PKR headquarters Thursday after the court notified him that proceedings on his daughter's case have been posponed for the third time.

Lim Guan Eng on Kah Choon's appointment -

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng responds to furor over Datuk Lee Kah Choon's appointment.

Hishammuddin Sees Anwar's Prediction As Political Game - Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, April 24 (Bernama) -- Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has described the statement by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that the Pakatan Rakyat would be able to form the federal government no later than Sept 16 as a political game.

"Three weeks ago he said there would be changes in the country's leadership in two weeks. Now two weeks have gone and he said it would happen in September.

"He can do a lot of prediction, and if its does not come true, then it will only damage his own credibility," said the education minister here Thursday.

Hishammuddin said the public had started to see the political game the former deputy prime minister was playing when one by one of his statements and accusations proved to be baseless.

He was met after presenting a donation of RM21,800 from the teachers training institutes for Sharlinie Mohd Nashar's parents, here today. Sharlinie, five, has been missing since Jan 9.

On Umno Youth exco member Datuk Idris Haron's view expressed yesterday that the post of Umno Youth chief should be filled by someone well groomed for the post rather than through a contest, Hishammuddin said it was up to the movement.

[More at]

Makkal Osai's Publication Permit Renewed - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 (Bernama) -- The Home Ministry has approved the application by Tamil daily, Makkal Osai, for renewal of its publication permit.

The daily's general manager S.M. Periasamy said the letter of approval from the office of the Home Minister was received at 9.30am Thursday.

"After getting the letter, we went to Putrajaya and paid for the renewal of the permit," he told a news conference at his office here.

He said the newspaper company would resume operations tomorrow.

Periasamy said the Home Ministry did not give any reason or condition in renewing the newspaper's publication permit.

"But we will be more cautious in our writing from now and will not publish articles which touch on racial sensitivities," he added.

[More at]

林敬益怒轰李家全‧眷恋权位没原则 - Guang Ming Daily








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Anwar: We have the numbers, however, we’re in no rush to replace Barisan - The Star

By Muguntan Vanar

KOTA KINABALU: The Opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat is in a position to form the federal government and it will be done no later than Malaysia Day which falls on Sept 16, claimed Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Repeating that they have the numbers and were in no rush to replace Barisan Nasional, the former deputy prime minister said yesterday that it would all be in the timing of the announcement.

“God willing, we will be there. If not next month, the following month, then if not June or July, (it will be) on Merdeka (Aug 31) or Malaysia Day. I think we should not go beyond that,” he told reporters on arrival in Sabah.

As to when exactly the announcement will be made, Anwar said discussions with the Pakatan parties were needed because Umno and Barisan were known to be rough on those intending to move.

“They are using threats and intimidation. I am for example being monitored more closely now,” said Anwar, adding that he would not be discussing with the Barisan MPs interested to move while he was in Sabah and Sarawak.

He said he has his way of discussing with Barisan MPs who have given their commitment to team up with Pakatan.

[More at]

Teng explains why DAP changed position on headgear - The Star

By Loong Meng Yee

PETALING JAYA: For years, he refused to wear the songkok, even turning down invitations which required him to wear the traditional Malay headgear.

But now that lawyer Teng Chang Khim from the DAP is the new Selangor Assembly Speaker, he understood the need to conform.

“Much attention was on whether I would wear the songkok and the ceremonial robe after taking the oath of office. Well, I did.

“I have already explained why we have to change our position before the swearing-in of the state executive council members last month. It should not be an issue anymore,” wrote Teng in the latest posting at

He even put up a picture of himself in full Speaker outfit and smiling outside the State Assembly after the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.

In the posting, Teng explained that when DAP was in the Opposition before the March 8 polls, leaders had the option not to attend any official function which required the songkok to be worn as part of the dress code.

[More at]

'He wants to move up the ladder' - NST

IPOH: It's a ploy aimed at climbing the political ladder.

This is what Gerakan vice-president Datuk Chang Ko Youn thinks of former party deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon's acceptance of the offer of two senior posts by the Penang Pakatan Rakyat administration.

He alleged that Lee accepted the posts of director of the Penang Development Corporation and investPenang as he did not get what he wanted from Gerakan.

"His accepting a post from the Penang state government is a political gimmick and not in the interests of the people," said the Perak Gerakan chairman.

"Lee has played into the DAP's political game. I know what he wants."


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

DAP 'graftbusters' to fight corruption -

There is a new team in town whose raison detre is fighting corruption - meet the DAP's 'graftbuster' squad.

At a press conference today, several DAP politicians announced that the team will complement the work of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) inaccepting complaints from the public.