Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dr M issues ‘kick me out’ dare - The Malaysian Insider

By Debra Chong

PETALING JAYA, May 31 ─ Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad continued to challenge Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today, this time daring the government to remove him as advisor to several government bodies.

At a press conference after delivering his keynote address at the "Suntikan Semangat Satria" (Injecting a Knightly Spirit) forum here, organised by the Minda Melayu Kreatif, Kelab Cinta Amanah Melayu and Arena PJS 14, Dr Mahathir said he was ready to quit as advisor to four government organisations.

"They can take away my position as advisor (to Petronas). I'm not dependent on them, not even if they give me RM15,000 a month. I'm not interested. I didn't even ask for it to begin with.

"I'm also advisor to Proton, Langkawi (Development Authority) and Tioman (Island Development Authority). If they say, 'Get out', I'll get out. No problem ... but I'd prefer it if they kicked out me out," he smiled.

Dr Mahathir was also asked to comment on his son Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, who has also quit Umno and was asked to step down as chairman of the Sepang International Circuit by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, apparently because the position was a government appointment.

Dr Mahathir, however, refused to take the bait and said that it was his son's decision to make.

On whether he thought Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor, who a few days ago had applied to return to Umno, was a "Trojan horse for PKR", the former prime minister smiled broadly and said that “in politics, anything is possible; what I do know is that Anwar is quite anxious to be supported by Umno", referring to the latter's bid to become prime minister by Malaysia Day, which falls on Sept 16.

[More at]

PM announces benefits for Sabah - The Star

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi kicked off his two-day visit to Sabah by bringing good news to the people of the state.

The Prime Minister's "Kaamatan gift" covered a range of areas, many of which are seen by the people in the state as urgently needed to solve problems faced by Sabah and the neighbouring state of Sarawak.

He made the announcement during a press conference after meeting with Sabah Barisan Nasional leaders and civil servants Saturday.

Abdullah said many of the issues were raised during his visit to the state on April 7.

"We in the Federal government have considered the request made and acting upon it,” he said, adding that they needed to be done step by step.

Among the most significant were abolishing of the Sabah Federal Development Department (JPPS) which had come under a lot of criticism. The Sabah State Development Office will take its place.

[More at]

Dr M Likens Ezam's Action As frog - Bernama

PETALING JAYA, May 31 (Bernama) -- Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has described the move by former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor to rejoin Umno as that of a "frog".

The former prime minister said it was not impossible for Mohamad Ezam to do it again as he had left Umno before and joined PKR.

He also believed that Mohamad Ezam could be a "stepping stone" for PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to rejoin Umno.

"Anwar uses Ezam to rejoin Umno because he (Anwar) is aware that one of the way he could become the prime minister is to have Umno support.

"As such, whatever means to get Umno support will be done by Anwar. Therefore, be careful when Ezam jumps into Umno," he said at the "Suntikan Semangat Satria" (Injecting Hero Spirit) programme here Saturday.

On his son, Datuk Mukhriz (MP for Jerlun) becoming more outspoken of late, Dr Mahathir said, "If politicians can criticise before, why not now?"

[More at]

FUEL-BUYING FRENZY AT BORDER: Thai motorists start crossing over at 7am - NST

RANTAU PANJANG: Thai motorists are rushing to fill up at petrol stations along the border area although the government had postponed the ruling which prohibits them from filling up their vehicles' tanks with subsidised fuel to Monday.

Many Thais apparently did not know about the decision and thought that yesterday was the last day they were allowed to buy subsidised diesel in Malaysia.

A check at the border yesterday showed that people were coming from as far away as north Thailand and they had crossed over to Kelantan as early as 7am. Their number had swelled to 800 by afternoon.

Members of the General Operations Force (GOF) and officers from the State Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs were here to keep an eye on the situation, especially at the town's four petrol stations.

However, despite their presence, quarrels have been reported between motorists and petrol station operators.

A spokesman of the state Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs said the quarrels were the result of a misunderstanding.

[More at]

Put politics aside, says Tan - The Star

By Teh Eng Hock

PETALING JAYA: A defiant Federal Territory Gerakan chief Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong called on those who had asked him to resign for taking up a post in Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor to rise above politics.

He said with many issues currently troubling the people, it was time to rise above political interests for the greater good of the country.

Dr Tan, who was issued a show-cause letter by his party for taking up the post as co-chairman of Selangor’s special task force on land issues, said he had yet to decide whether to reply to the letter.

He told The Star that he fully understood the implications of the letter.

“As a former vice-president, I have previously taken part in many disciplinary actions, including sending out show cause letters.

“I have until June 7 to respond. I have not decided (whether to reply),” he said.

[More at]

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bandar Mahkota Cheras access road to remain open -

The cabinet has decided that the Bandar Mahkota Cheras access road will remain open until the court decision on the matter.

Ku Li Suggests Election Of Umno Leaders Through Polls By All Members - Bernama

KOTA BAHARU, May 30 (Bernama) -- Gua Musang Umno division head Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah suggests that leaders at all levels in Umno, including the president, be elected through the polls by all party members.

In doing so, he believed, it could restore the party's image which had been dented following the March general election.

"We give back the power to the people by allowing them to choose the leaders at all levels through votes or other mechanisms," he told reporters after opening the Kelantan branch of the Council of Former Malaysian Elected Representatives (Mubarak) here Friday.

Tengku Razaleigh, who is also Gua Musang Member of Parliament, said Umno's 3.4 million members should be allowed to decide on the leaders in the party, at all levels, through votes.

He also suggested that the person be appointed for the post of the party State Liaison Committee Chairman be decided by Umno division leaders in the respective states, instead of the party president.

Tengku Razaleigh said that as an Umno member, he felt it his responsibility to make the suggestions with the intention of restoring Umno's image.

[More at]

Ku Li: I will not drop out of race - The Star

By Ian McIntyre

KOTA BARU: Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah will not drop out of the race for the Umno presidency even if party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi steps down.

“I offered myself not because of the Pak Lah (factor) but to rejuvenate Umno and to restore direction as the future now looks bleak. It is also to revive nation-building,” he said.

Tengku Razaleigh, the Gua Musang Umno division chief and a former party vice-president, has offered to vie for the presidency in the party polls scheduled in December. However, he has to garner 30% nominations from the Umno divisions to enable him to contest.

Earlier, when launching the Kelantan Tomoi (Thai Kickboxing) Association at Kedai Buluh, Kuala Besar here, he said that among the reasons why he offered to contest the post was to bring back Umno’s “soul”.

He said that to revive Umno’s soul in its political struggle, he had to reach out to all levels, starting with the grassroots.

Tengku Razaleigh said he chose to kick off his campaign in the PAS heartland of Pengkalan Chepa because “PAS is strong here and Umno is disillusioned.”

[More at]

Parliament may follow British system, says Deputy Speaker - The Star

By Sim Leoi Leoi, Loong Meng Yee and Paul Choo

KUALA LUMPUR: Parliament should sit for the whole year to give MPs more time to debate and pass Bills.

This was the suggestion of Deputy Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar who said that in the new Parliament, more MPs were taking their time to debate Bills.

“For this meeting, we have had to postpone several Bills which were supposed to be debated to the next meeting because of time constraint.

“Maybe we will have to do a Westminster-style Parliament which sits for the whole year with holidays in between,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here yesterday.

He said that in Malaysia, Parliament meetings are fixed for three times a year.

Parliament had to struggle to finish debating and passing the Supplementary Supply Bill and the Pensions (Amendment) Bill despite the Dewan sitting for an extra two days.

[More at]

Dr M: I’m out, he’s (Ezam) in - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was his usual sarcastic self when commenting on former PKR Youth leader Ezam Mohd Nor rejoining Umno.

Saya keluar, dia masuk. Baguslah dia sayang Umno (I leave and he is back in. Good that he loves Umno),” he quipped.

The former premier and party president was asked to comment yesterday on Ezam's move to rejoin Umno this week although he had left the party to help set up what was then known as Parti Keadilan.

Ezam, who was once Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s political secretary, followed Anwar out of Umno in 1998 after the former deputy prime minister was sacked. He was also detained under the Internal Security Act for his role in the reformasi movement.

However, Ezam quit Keadilan last year after a fallout with Anwar and an internal power struggle with current PKR vice-president Azmin Ali.

He then set up Gerak, a non-governmental organisation fighting against corruption and upholding judicial independence.

Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters after autographing 100 copies of his book, Dr Mahathir's Selected Letters to World Leaders. The autograph session was organised in conjunction with the international BookFest@Malaysia 2008 exhibition.

[More at]

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ezam on why he rejoin Umno - NSTP e-Media

Ezam Ready To Go For Umno Youth Chief Post If There Is Support - Bernama

PETALING JAYA, May 29 (Bernama) -- Former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth chief, Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor, said he was ready to contest the Umno Youth chief post if his leadership could help raise the status of the Malays as a respected race.

However, he said, being new in the party might not allow him to make such a big decision.

Still, Mohamad Ezam said, he would discuss the matter with other Umno leaders before making a decision.

"I have to discuss first with the leadership and with friends. If the post is for party and national interests and in the interest of the Malays, I will seriously consider," he said.

He was asked to comment on the possibility that his entry into Umno was to fill the post to be vacated by current Umno Youth chief, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.


Malaysian opposition shrugs off defections to ruling party - AFP

Malaysia's opposition on Thursday shrugged off a rash of defections to the ruling party, which have come as a much-needed boost for embattled Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Ezam Mohamad Nor, a former senior member of opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim's Keadilan party, is the most prominent of the six who are being welcomed back into the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

He left UMNO in 1999 after the sacking of Anwar, a one-time deputy premier who spent six years in jail on corruption and sex charges before being freed and storming back onto the political scene.

Ezam, who had served as Anwar's political secretary, quit Keadilan last year reputedly after a power struggle with another top party official.

"Ezam's decision will have little impact on the party. We are on an upward trend now," said Keadilan information chief Tian Chua.

Chua said the five others joining UMNO were associates of Ezam who had been "hanging in limbo".

"A few of them have nowhere to go, and UMNO desperately needs some event to show that they can reverse the trend of people leaving and the relevance of UMNO waning," he told AFP.

[More at]

University Act to be amended to remove doubts - The Star

By Mazwin Nik Anis

PUTRAJAYA: The amendments to the University and University Colleges Act will see provisions that are “no longer needed” removed in an effort to clear doubts on the purpose of the Act.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings related to the Act because part of its provisions are being politicised by certain quarters.

“Even though there is a need for the Act to be in place, it is not meant to control students’ involvement in constructive activities. This is evident in the level of thinking and understanding showed by student leaders who attended today’s meeting.

“With the amendments, there will be a clearer guideline because we want all students to participate in constructive activities. This is why we give them a chance to further their studies at the tertiary level.

“However, if there are any provisions in the act that are no longer needed, we will amend them to clear doubts on the purpose of having the Act,” he told reporters Thursday after spending almost two hours with student leaders at the student consultative council meeting.

Also present were Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin and Public Services director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam.

[More at]

Anwar Will Run for Malaysia Parliament Once Eligible - Bloomberg

By Haslinda Amin and Angus Whitley

May 29 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, freed from prison in 2004, said he'll ``immediately'' contest a parliamentary seat once he confirms his eligibility, part of a plan to topple the government by mid-September.

``If we're absolutely certain of my eligibility, we would opt to do it immediately,'' he told Bloomberg Television in an interview today. Anwar said he doesn't have confirmation from Malaysia's Attorney General that he can hold public office, after serving time in jail on corruption charges he denies.

Anwar, 60, a former Malaysian deputy premier, is seeking to overthrow a coalition that's ruled since independence from Britain in 1957. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, weakened in March 8 elections, is introducing measures to slow inflation and reduce corruption to win back public support.

Anwar, who has calculated he was legally able to be a lawmaker in mid-April, said he may instruct his lawyers to seek an official response from the Attorney General unless he has a ruling by the end of this month.

Malaysian Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail declined to comment when reached on his mobile phone today.

Anwar today repeated claims that his alliance has lined up the necessary 30 defections from Abdullah's coalition to take power. He also said the opposition coalition will discuss who might have the role of deputy prime minister in any potential government that he would lead.

[More at]

FT Gerakan Chief Confirms Taking Up Pakatan Rakyat's Offer - Bernama

By Alan Ting

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 (Bernama) -- Federal Territory Gerakan chief Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong Wednesday confirmed that he has accepted an offer from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) controlled Selangor government to head a special task force on land management.

Tan, 61, a former deputy minister, has followed the example of former Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon, who accepted the PR Penang government’s offer to head two key state agencies - InvestPenang and Penang Development Corporation.

"Yes, I have taken up the offer to be joint chairman of the six-member task force.

I'm thankful to the Selangor Government for the trust they have placed in me and to tap on my experience in dealing with land matters.

"A lot of things need to be done and we have been given three months to come out with a report to the Selangor government on the matter of land titles," he told Bernama when contacted late Wednesday night.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim Wednesday evening announced the formation of the task force comprising six members to be jointly chaired by Tan and Datuk Dr Nik Mohd Zain Nik Mohd Yusof.

Tan was deputy land and cooperative development minister from 1999 to 2004 while Mohd Zain had been the ministry’s director-general from 1996 to 2002.

[More at]

Gerakan’s Tan ‘joins’ Pakatan - The Star

By Dharmender Singh and Christina Tan

SHAH ALAM: Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong became the second Gerakan leader to take up a post with an Opposition-led state government.

The Federal Territory Gerakan chief and former Deputy Land and Cooperative Development Minister was named as co-chairman of Selangor's special task force on land issues.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the other co-chairman was former Land and Cooperative Development Ministry secretary-general Prof Datuk Dr Nik Mohd Zain Nik Yusof.

The appointment of Dr Tan means he will now be working for the Pakatan Rakyat state government.

Last month, Gerakan deputy secretary-general Lee Kah Choon accepted the Penang government's offer to take up the posts of InvestPenang executive chairman and Penang Development Corporation director. Lee later quit Gerakan.

Khalid said Dr Tan and Prof Dr Nik Mohd Zain would head a six-member task force that would study the management of land in Selangor and related policies, issues and problems before submitting suggestions for improvement.

[More at]

Foreigners to pay full price for fuel, says Pak Lah - The Star

By Elizabeth Looi

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said an announcement on how this would be done would be made when the time was right.

“Foreigners will definitely have to pay the full price when we make the announcement and (when we) enforce it immediately,” he told a press conference in Parliament here yesterday.

Abdullah said some people had taken advantage of the country’s cheaper fuel prices by smuggling it into other countries for a profit.

He also said the Government would decide on the use of the MyKad for petrol purchases soon.

On another matter, Abdullah said it was all right for Umno members, including those who were MPs, to make constructive criticism against the Government or party policies as long as they got their facts right.

“Our current practice is not like we are going to take serious action against them, but if what was said was factually wrong, then the party must take action,” he said.

[More at]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ezam meets PM, rejoins Umno -

Former PKR Youth chief Ezam Mohd Nor held a 30-minute meeting with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Parliament today to submit his application form and a RM100 in lifetime membership fee to rejoin Umno.

Najib Welcomes Ezam's Readmission Into Umno - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister and Umno Deputy President Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak Wednesday welcomed the readmission of former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth leader Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor into Umno, and said Ezam's move showed that he had lost confidence in PKR's struggle.

It also showed that Ezam was convinced of the credibility of Umno and that it was the right platform for his political struggle, he told reporters when commenting on Ezam's rejoining Umno Wednesday.

Ezam had handed his application form and RM100 life membership fee to Prime Minister and Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after calling on the latter at the prime minister's office at Parliament House.

Asked about the opposition to Ezam's readmission into Umno from several sections of Umno Youth, Najib said Umno should open its doors to those who chose to support the party.

"If we pick and choose, we will lose many of those who want to support us," he said.

Elaborating, he said Umno's history showed that the party had readmitted many who had opposed it at one time and, as such, Ezam's readmission was not an issue.

[More at]

Malaysia posts 7.1 percent economic growth - AFP

Malaysia's economy expanded at an annual rate of 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008, and faces only a modest slowdown later in the year, the central bank said Wednesday.

Bank Negara also announced an easing of foreign exchange rules, in a move it said would boost Malaysia's competitiveness by making it easier to gain access to finance and reducing the cost of doing business.

The strong outcome for the three months to March compared to 5.5 percent growth in the previous corresponding period, and 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. The economy grew 6.3 percent in 2007.

Bank Negara said expansion was broad-based across all sectors, including agriculture which hit 6.3 percent compared with 3.8 percent in the first quarter of last year.

"Generally our forecast for the year of 5-6 percent growth remains," said central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, adding that growth was fuelled by high commodity prices and civil service pay rises.

"The global economy is expected to moderate in the second half of this year... and while the Asian region has done well in this first quarter, including Malaysia, we are likely to be affected," she told a press conference.

"However our assessment is that the underlying strength of our economy is likely to support growth in the second half of the year," she said. "Therefore, while slowdown or moderation is expected, it is expected to be modest."

[More at]

Polls talk ploy to prevent defections: Guan Eng - The Sun

GEORGE TOWN (May 28, 2008): The Election Commission's talk about snap election appears to be a plan hatched by certain quarters to prevent any change of government by defections or crossovers, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.

"That's why I think it is important that this is not used as a device because there's some talk that to prevent people from jumping over, they are using the threat of snap election to stop them from doing so," he said in a press conference after announcing a RM115.2 million investment by Honeywell Aerospace here.

"Is this a device? It looks like it to me. They are saying, if you jump over, we can have snap election and you will get defeated," he said.

"Is that the real message they are trying to send out?"

Lim also asked EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman to reveal the identity of the party who had told him that there was going to be a snap election.

"Has he been getting indications from the Cabinet or the prime minister?" he asked.

Lim said it is the government of the day which has the power to call for a snap election and not the EC.

[More at]

Dr M flies back to rousing welcome - The Star

VIDEO: Dr M flies back to rousing welcome

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad came back to a rousing and emotional welcome when he arrived here from Tokyo yesterday.

Shouts of Hidup Tun (long live Tun) reverberated as the former Prime Minister addressed and thanked the crowd with a loud speaker from the sunroof of a four-wheel-drive vehicle after he touched down at the Subang airport about 6pm.

Dr Mahathir, had recently quit Umno, the party he led for more than two decades. He was accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.

“Thank you. If I’m not wrong, when I was an Umno member before, the welcome that I received was no different than now.

“When I was an Umno member, I was not treated like one, so there is no difference in becoming a member or not,” he said to resounding cheers.

[More at]

Standoff over Cheras barrier - The Star

By Rashitha A. Hamid, Fazleena Azia and Elizabeth Looi

KUALA LUMPUR: Tensions ran high at Bandar Mahkota, Cheras, when hundreds of residents gathered to remove a barricade which was rebuilt early yesterday to prevent access into the area.

Four people were arrested in the incident.

Grand Saga Sdn Bhd, the concessionaire of the Cheras-Kajang Highway, had reconstructed the barricade after it was taken down by the residents a few weeks ago.

A fracas ensued at about 7.15pm when a group of unidentified men armed with sticks and helmets attacked the residents. Several residents were taken to hospital.

Also injured was a photographer from Utusan Malaysia, Roy Azis Abdul Aziz, who was beaten up when he tried to snap some photographs.

Several cars parked at the roadside were also smashed by the group.

[More at]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dr M flies back to rousing welcome -

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s supporters, including many Umno branch leaders from Jerlun, Kedah, gave him a rousing welcome at the Subang airport after he arrived from Tokyo Tuesday.

PM: Media should practice voluntary self-censorship -

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says no to the notion of unlimited freedom for the media. His speech was delivered by his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the opening of the Asia Media Summit 2008.

Dr M returns from Tokyo to some fanfare - The Malaysian Insider

By Debra Chong

SUBANG, May 27 — Some had been waiting since 4pm while others started gathering at the layby leading to the private airstrip where Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s plane would touch down from about 5pm. The former prime minister was due back from Japan.

The 300 odd supporters – some from as far as Jerlun, Kedah – and members of the media had gathered by the side of the road to greet Tun Dr Mahathir. Banners and placards welcoming him home were in evidence and every other person was seen wearing a blue badge which read "Perjuangan mu belum selesai." This line echoed the title of a poem Dr Mahathir wrote way back in May, 1996 – "Perjuangan Yang Belum Selesai."

Meanwhile, moisture-laden rain clouds were overhead. Finally, a metallic silver SUV with Dr Mahathir on board headed down the road. It was part of a convoy of cars leaving the area. The time was 6pm and a few drops of rain were beginning to fall.

He popped up through the sun roof and the crowd cheered: “Hidup Tun! Hidup Tun!” Although he looked cheerful, he sounded a tad tired as he addressed the crowd with a megaphone.

Even though he only spoke for a few minutes, he did not miss an opportunity to take yet another dig at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. In an obvious reference to the loss of Pedra Branca, Dr Mahathir said, "Dengan Singapura pun takut."

[More at]

MP Asks Why Philippines Has Not Dropped Claim To Sabah - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27(Bernama) -- A Member of Parliament from Sabah Tuesday questioned as to why the Federal Government was being overly diplomatic to the Philippines when the republic still did not want to drop its claim to the state.

Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) said the Philippines also still did not show they valued Malaysia's cooperation in trying to help resolve their conflict in Mindanao.

"Why are we being too nice to them when they have not even opened up a consulate in Sabah or dropped their claim to ownership of the state," said the Backbenchers Club deputy chairman when debating the Supplementary Supply Bill (2007) 2008 in the Dewan Rakyat Tuesday.

Monday, another MP from Sabah, Datuk Wilfred Bumburing (BN-Tuaran) had urged the government to act fast on the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah following statements by Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari that the dispute over Sabah be referred to the International Court of Justice.

On another matter, Bung Moktar also wanted the governmnet to investigate why Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras KL (RapidKL) did not use 1,000 buses valued at RM500 million used by Intrakota and Parkmay Sdn Bhd to improve public transportation in Kuala Lumpur when they were already available for use.

[More at]

MMA Regrets "Licensed To Kill" Remark - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Tuesday expressed regret over the remark made by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff that doctors were "licensed to kill", when replying to a question in parliament Monday.

MMA president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin said MMA did not condone the notion that doctors were licensed to kill.

"It is unfortunate that the Deputy Health Minister blurted out such a remark. The MMA wishes to impress to the public that doctors are only licensed to heal or alleviate the sufferings of patients from their illness.

"Any death which occurs during the course of treatment is due to the severity of the disease," he said in a statement.

Dr Abdul Latiff caused a stir in parliament Monday when he used the expression "licence to kill" when replying to a question on why the government decided to extend the housemanship period for trainee doctors from one to two years.

The remark caused Dr Abdul Latiff to cross swords with a few opposition lawmakers, prompting Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to order him to retract his remark.


Zero-death target for NS - The Sun

By Tim Leonard

KUALA LUMPUR (May 27, 2008): The Government is now pushing for zero deaths in National Service camps nationwide, ordering camp commandants to rush trainees to hospital even for a mild fever.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also Defence Minister, said the top most priority for camp commandants is to ensure no trainees die in camp during national service training.

"I have instructed the commandants to rush any trainee to hospital even though it is just a mild fever. We want to have zero percentage of deaths in the national service. The Government has been entrusted with a huge responsibility by parents and we can’t take this matter lightly."

Najib told reporters this after a meeting with camp commandants in a hotel here today.

A total of 16 deaths have been recorded since National Service started more than four years ago. These deaths took place while the trainees were directly undergoing training. There were also instances where deaths occurred a month or two after the trainee had left the training camp.

The last case was 18-year-old Too Hui Min from Taman Bayu in Selangor, who was undergoing training at the Geo Kosmo NS training camp in Kuala Kubu Baru.

[More at]

Dewan Rakyat: Motion to debate Batu Putih rejected - The Star

By Zulkifli Abd Rahman

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MPs stood in support of a motion moved by Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday to debate the loss of Batu Putih to Singapore.

Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) had sought permission for the House to discuss the weaknesses of the Malaysian legal team in handling the case and the consequences to other overlapping claims by Malaysia and other outstanding issues with Singapore.

His motion was rejected by Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, saying that Malaysia had accepted the results on the island brought on by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

However, Salahuddin, who used Rule 18 (3) (b) of the Standing Orders, protested against the ruling and all Opposition MPs stood up to support his call on Pandikar Amin to change his stand.

Pandikar Amin told Salahuddin that he had thought hard about the motion before reaching his decision.

[More at]

Opposition: Boycott Malay papers for fanning racial hatred - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Rakyat alliance has called for an immediate boycott of Malay newspapers Utusan Malaysia and Mingguan Malaysia for what it said was unfair reporting and for allegedly fanning racial sentiments.

In a joint statement issued at a press conference in the lobby of Parliament, Opposition leader Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the mainstream media had shown signs of opening up since the results of the March 8 polls.

However, many publications still gave wider coverage to Barisan Nasional and its component parties, while stories on Pakatan Rakyat tended to be full of distortion and misinformation to discredit the alliance parties and their leaders, she claimed.

The Parti Keadilan Rakyat president was accompanied by alliance members DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and PAS deputy president Nasaruddin Mat Isa in reading out the joint statement.

Dr Wan Azizah said the worst were the two aforementioned newspapers, which she claimed unfairly criticised and demonised Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

She also alleged these publications were always trying to provoke narrow ethnic sentiments, "clearly with the intention of creating anger among Malays against Pakatan Rakyat component parties."


Malaysia takes steps to claim 100 isles, reefs - NST

By : Minderjeet Kaur

KUALA LUMPUR: Government agencies are working feverishly to gather information on islands and marine features which could be eyed by neighbouring countries.

This comes in the wake of the International Court of Justice's decision to award Pedra Branca to Singapore.

The court, however, handed ownership of Middle Rocks to Malaysia, while the status of South Ledge will be decided based on whose territorial waters it is in.

As the claim of ownership extends beyond islands to marine features such as reefs and even rock formations visible only during low tides, the number could exceed thousands.

A maritime expert, however, said the most urgent were about 100 islands, reefs, rocks and other marine features lying in the South China Sea, Straits of Malacca and off Sabah.

Among the claimants are China, Vietnam and Indonesia, a source said.

[More at]

All ministries except three to move to Putrajaya - The Star

PUTRAJAYA: All ministries, with the exception of the International Trade and Industry, Works and Defence, are expected to move to the federal administrative capital by 2010.

Putrajaya Corporation president Tan Sri Samsudin Osman said the construction of buildings to house several ministries was already ongoing while others were in planning stages, adding that the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, and Tourism Ministries were among those that would be moving here soon.

“The three ministries have decided not to move as they consider their location strategic. They will continue to remain at their present location while other ministries operating in Kuala Lumpur are preparing to move to Putrajaya in the next two years or so,” he told reporters yesterday.

Samsudin said there would be more commercial buildings in the federal administrative capital to meet demands for such outlets, adding that currently, the only commercial buildings were the Putrajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd (PjH) building and the soon-to-be opened 26 Boulevard at Precinct 3.


Border towns: No petrol sales to foreign cars - The Star

By Sim Leoi Leoi and Meera Vijayan

KUALA LUMPUR: Petrol stations located in border states like Johor and Perlis will be barred from selling petrol and diesel to foreign-registered cars starting Friday.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said the move, aimed at plugging loopholes in the current subsidy system, was decided during an anti-inflation committee meeting yesterday.

The ban will involve between 200 and 300 petrol stations in Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Perak and the Johor Baru and Kulai areas in Johor.

Currently, petrol stations are not allowed to sell more then 20 litres of petrol to foreign vehicles.

“This move is temporary until we come up with better management of our subsidy system,” he told reporters.

At present, Shahrir said too many foreign-registered cars, particularly those from neighbouring countries, had been crossing into Malaysia to take advantage of the lower fuel and diesel prices.

[More at]

Company sold for RM50,000 - The Star

Brisdale Holdings Berhad, a subsidiary of state-owned company Kumpula Hartanah Sdn Bhd has been sold for just RM50,000 and this this was enough for the Selangor state government to conduct an investigation.

In a research carried out by assemblyman Hannah Yeoh (Pakatan - Subang Jaya), Brisdale Holdings Berhad was sold to GMB Construction Sdn Bhd in a sales agreement that was concluded on August 10, 2007.

Yeoh said the sale was a public knowledge as it was announced at the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) and was also published in Kumpulan Hartanah's 2006 report.

“Kumpulan Hartanah had sold its subsidiary Brisdale through SAP Holdings Berhad (which is also part of Kumpulan Hartanah) to GMB Construction,” said Yeoh.

“Usually the shareholders' agreement is needed for a sale like this, but because the company was sold for less than RM250,000, no such agreement was needed.”

[More at]

Monday, May 26, 2008

'License to kill' - statement causes commotion in parliament - NSTP e-Media

SPM top scorers complain to MPs - The Sun

By Giam Say Khoon and Humayun Kabir

KUALA LUMPUR (May 26, 2008): Four students from Selangor and Johor, who scored 11 or 12 As in the SPM, today brought their grouse to Parliament about not getting the Public Service Department (PSD) scholarship, joining an annual list who bring up the same complaint.

The students were accompanied by Pulau Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin to Parliament and were received by Yusmadi Yusof (PKR-Balik Pulau).

They were Chew Kin Cheng, who got eight A1s and four A2s; Tan Kian Hin with nine A1s and two A2s; Tiow Zyn Ann with eight A1s and three A2s; and Lim Soon Seng with 10 A1s and two A2s.

In a press conference in Parliament lobby, Yusmadi said: "Our brightest students often do not get the opportunity to go for higher education to bring out the best in them. Eventually we would only encourage mediocrity and our nation would lose competitiveness in the process."

Yusmadi added that there was a rot in the selection system as no one seemed to know the details of the selection.

"The selection has failed us year after year. Often, the officials explained the system in general terms. However, we demand to know more. It should be transparent and fair," he said, adding that the social background of an applicant should also be taken into account as those in need should be given the priority.

[More at]

RM2mil worth of stolen microchips, components recovered - The Star

By Looi Sue-Chern

GEORGE TOWN: Police have busted a microchips theft gang here and recovered RM2mil worth of microchips and electronic components.

Balik Pulau OCPD Deputy Supt Lai Fah Hin said six men, aged between 30 and 50, were arrested in Bayan Lepas, Sungai Nibong, Taman Bagan in Butterworth, Bukit Mertajam and other locations last week.

"We believe the microchips and electronic components were sold to regular buyers," he said, adding that those arrested were buyers and factory staff, including a factory security supervisor and guard.

He added that police investigations since a month ago had led to the recovery of most of the stolen goods at locations in Bayan Lepas and Bukit Mertajam.

"The police recovered the stolen microchips in Permatang Damar Laut in Bayan Lepas; one box of electronic components in Sungai Nibong; two boxes and a sack of components in Bukit Tengah, and 10 sacks in Taman Limau Manis in Bukit Mertajam.

"This is the largest bust by the Balik Pulau police this year," he told a press conference Monday at the Balik Pulau police headquarters.

[More at]

‘No snoop squad in MCA’ - The Star

By Hah Foong Lian

IPOH: Allegations of a snoop squad set up to spy on rivals of MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting are baseless, said party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.

“It is totally baseless and has nothing to do with the party,” said Ong when asked about on-going investigations being conducted by a three-man panel of inquiry into the matter.

“I am the secretary-general of the party and as far as I’m concerned, it does not exist,” he said yesterday after closing the Ipoh branch Malaysian Red Crescent Society youth training camp.

The three-man panel of inquiry headed by Tan Sri Dr Sak Cheng Lum and assisted by party veteran Tan Sri Michael Chen and senior lawyer Roger Tan has been set up to investigate allegations on the existence of such a squad.

Ong pointed out that the party leaders had been very open-minded by forming a panel to investigate the allegations.

“By right, it is something we can just ignore but we formed a committee so that people’s doubts can be cleared,” he said.

[More at]

Nothing sexy about girls’ school uniform - The Star

PALOH: There is nothing sexy about the school uniform now worn by girls in government schools, says Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

He said he personally felt it was unfair to blame the students or their uniform for sexual crimes.

“From what I have seen, clothing is not the main consideration of those who commit despicable acts. Usually, there is an underlying problem, such as a disease, that makes them behave that way,” he said.

The National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia recently condemned the uniform as being too sexy and encouraging rape and pre-marital sex.

Hishammuddin said although he believed that changing the school uniform would not reduce sex crimes committed against schoolgirls, he would refer the matter to experts within his ministry to listen to various ideas before making a decision.

He also said that the uniform, which has been there for so many years, would not change very much in the next few years.

[More at]

Be prepared for snap polls, officers told - The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission (EC) has informed its officers to be prepared for a snap election, said chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

Stressing that he was not one to speculate, Abdul Rashid said the EC was prepared “for anything” and was capable of handling a snap election as it had all necessary infrastructure in place.

In an interview with mStar Online yesterday, he revealed that after the post-mortem of the 12th General Election, he had instructed all returning officers (RO) to be prepared for any eventuality.

Similarly, the 140,000 people involved in the general election have also been advised to not refuse when called upon again for duty in the event of a snap election.

“But I don’t want to speculate, and it is not for us to speculate, but we are prepared for anything. In the past two months of meeting with the ROs, I’ve already told them to be prepared as it may be called anytime,” he said.

Abdul Rashid was responding to talk on recent events that have led to speculations of Umno members defecting from the party en masse and even party hopping following Barisan Nasional's dismal showing in the elections.

[More at]

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gerakan Rebrands Itself to gain more support! -

Gerakan Acting President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon launched a rebranding exercise in conjunction with the party's 40th anniversary on Sunday.

Najib Tells People To Make Unity Main National Agenda - Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, May 25 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Sunday launched National Unity Month with a call to the people to make unity the main national agenda, saying it was an important basis for a nation's success.

The deputy prime minister said the people were not prohibited from having differences of opinion but they should express them with consideration.

"They must be aware of the racial sensitivities. They must not hurt the feelings of other communities. They must ensure that their demands are reasonable," he said at the launch at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, here.

Najib said every community would not necessarily get to fulfill all its demands, and must continue to maintain a give-and-take attitude.

The very existence of the Federal Constitution reflected the spirit of compromise and placed unity as the main basis of the nation, he said.

Najib said the spirit of consensus among the people was clearly evident, for example, in the presence of vernacular schools which did not exist in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

Speaking to reporters later, Najib said unity among the people was getting more resolute.

He said the concept of "bangsa Malaysia" (Malaysian race) was in the minds of the people regardless of race because the people regarded an individual based on his or her nobility of character rather than racial background.

[More at]

Stay Away From Middle Rocks For A While - Najib - Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, May 25 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Sunday advised Malaysians to stay away from Middle Rocks for a while until further advice from the government.

He said the country's technical committee was still preparing the recommendations, following the International Court of Justice ruling on Friday that Malaysia had sovereignty over Middle Rocks and the recommendations were expected to be ready in two weeks' time.

"The best thing is, wait for the technical committee to come up with its recommendations and then we will advise accordingly.

"Otherwise, there will be some confusion on the ground," he told reporters after launching the national-level Unity Month Celebration at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here.

Najib was asked to comment on conflicting news reports that local fishermen could now operate freely in the waters off Middle Rocks while another news report advised them to stay away from Middle Rocks for the time being.

[More at]

‘Sexy’ school uniforms to stay - The Star

By Meera Vijayan

PALOH: The Education Minister dismissed talk that the current uniform worn by girls in government schools, which has been in use for decades, was too “sexy” and that it contributed to rape and other immoral acts.

Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein said the uniform would probably not change much in the next few years.

He said that he personally felt it was unfair to blame the students or their uniforms for sexual crimes committed against them.

“It is unfair to punish women and children for the clothes they wear for the act of the rapist,” he said, adding that he could not allow such stereotyping to continue.

“Clothing is not the main consideration for those who commit despicable acts like these,” he said, in reference to the National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia’s condemnation of the uniform for being too sexy.

[More at]

Government to review fuel subsidy - The Star

PEKAN: The Government will review its fuel subsidy as the global crude oil prices had pushed subsidy costs beyond its budget for development programmes.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday the Government was looking for appropriate measures to ensure the increase of fuel prices will not burden the lower and middle-income groups as well as not cause the price of other goods to increase.

He added that the Cabinet Committee on Inflation would meet on Tuesday to find ways on what would be the best measures to solve the problem.

Najib said it was hoped the outcome from the meeting would be the new model for government subsidies.

In principle, it will be appropriately applied to the lower-income group while the higher-income group or those who used more fuel would have to pay more, he said.

“Currently there is no indication that fuel prices will go down and once the price is down, the Government will review again,” he said after witnessing the ceremony of the “berkhatan”, “berkhatam al-Quran” and “bertindik” for students in SK Sri Maulana, Kampong Pulau Jawa.

[More at]

Dr Mahathir on loyalty to party and Umno chief - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Criticising or pressuring the Umno president to step down does not mean one is disloyal to the party, said former party president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir went on to question the rationale of some claims that those who were not loyal to current president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi were not loyal to Umno.

“Is Umno Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and is Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Umno?

“Only those with individualistic interest will spread and support the concept that Umno is Datuk Seri Abdullah and not being loyal to Abdullah meant that members were not being loyal to Umno,” he said in his latest blog posting at on Friday.

Dr Mahathir also cited past incidences where Umno leaders disagreed with the party presidency due to their loyalty to the party.

“Tun Razak and several Umno leaders disagreed with Yang di-Pertua Umno Datuk Onn Jaafar’s suggestion to open to all races which eventually caused Datuk Onn to back down.

“In 1969-1971, they also disagreed with Tunku Abdul Rahman’s leadership in the party and he stepped down. But does this mean that they did not love the party or were disloyal to it?” he asked.

[More at]

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Police Report Lodged Against Tun Dr Mahathir Over Lingam Video Clip - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (Bernama) -- A police report was lodged by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) against former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and five others alleged by the Commission investigating the V.K.Lingam video clip to be involved in lobbying for the appointment of judges.

The five other individuals are lawyer Datuk V. K. Lingam, business tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, former chief justices Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Tun Eusoff Chin, and Putrajaya member of parliament Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

The police report was made by PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohamad Akindi at the Dang Wangi Police Station, here Saturday afternoon.

"The police report is to enable the PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police) to initiate investigation on the individuals concerned and submit the report to the Attorney-General for further action.

"This is important to regain the confidence of the people and the world in the country's judicial system which had been declining of late," he said when met by reporters after lodging the police report.

"The report by the Commission suggested that the Sedition Act 1948, Legal Profession Act 1976, Official Secrets Act 1972, the Penal Code and others be enforced on the individuals concerned for obstructing justice," he said.


Malaysia Loses Pulau Batu Puteh Not Due To Weak Arguments, Says Rais - Bernama

From Nor Faridah A. Rashid

THE HAGUE, May 24 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's failure to get sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh was not due to the weakness of its arguments presented before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said Friday.

"The fact that we have lost Pulau Batu Puteh is not due to the weakness of our arguments but to the lack of exercise by the authorities (on that island) for some 100 years," he told Malaysian journalists at the Malaysian embassy here.

He said that what was important to note was that the explanation given by the ICJ in its decision to award sovereignty was based on the fact that beginning from 1850 until 1953, Malaysia did not, in terms of evidence, effect any action or grounds which could be accepted as proof of sovereignty, be it in terms of occupation, conducting checks or supervision activities on Pulau Batu Puteh.

The Court had also emphasised that the map drawn up and produced by Malaysia in 1962, 1965, 1974 and 1975 had actually reflected on Singapore's claim, he said.

Rais said that another reason was the letter written by the Johor Acting State Secretary dated Sept 21, 1953 which the Court regarded as proof that there was a handover of power and sovereignty over the island.

The letter stated that "Johore Government (did) not claim ownership" of the island. Singapore had argued that the letter had expressed disclaimer of title of Pulau Batu Puteh.

[More at]

Mukhriz refuses to back down - NST

ALOR STAR: Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has refused to heed calls to stop exerting pressure on Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign as prime minister and Umno president.

He insisted that he had not contravened the Umno constitution and was merely expressing his views on ways to strengthen the party.

Mukhriz was commenting on calls made by the Jerlun Umno division at a special gathering organised by division chairman Datuk Abdul Rahman Ariffin on Thursday night.

"I respect the division's views but I would never budge (from asking Abdullah to resign as prime minister and Umno president)."

About 200 people, including the division's committee members and its 156 branch chairmen were present at the meeting

Mukhriz said while he accepted the views of others, he did not expect them to always share his views.

[More at]

Karpal : Probe Dr Mahathir’s allegation - The Star

GEORGE TOWN: DAP chairman Karpal Singh has lodged a police report against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over his remark that certain judges had approached the former Prime Minister to lobby for promotion.

He said any judge seeking promotion, or anyone who had lobbied Dr Mahathir to be appointed a judge, had committed an offence under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997.

“Dr Mahathir himself may have fallen foul of Section 17 of the Act for not having lodged a police report on the overtures of the judges or persons concerned.

“I raised this matter in Parliament on Thursday and even Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nazri Aziz agreed that such acts could amount to corruption,” he told reporters before lodging the police report at the state police contingent headquarters in Penang Road yesterday.

On May 17, Dr Mahathir was reported as saying that he was prepared to be charged in court so that he could reveal many things about the judiciary, including lobbying.

He also said that he wanted to reveal about judges who had come to him to lobby, adding that if lobbying were wrong, then these judges should be investigated.

[More at]

A sad Abdullah accepts ICJ ruling - The Star

TOKYO: Malaysia accepts the decision of the International Court of Justice on Pulau Batu Puteh, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Expressing sadness over the court's verdict in handing over sovereignty of the island to Singapore, the Prime Minister said what was significant was that the decision was made at the international level.

“There will be people who will be emotional, especially in Johor. I can understand this. But, the important thing is we have done this through the available legal channel,” he told Malaysian journalists accompanying him on his working visit to Japan.

He said Malaysia was grateful that the ICJ had awarded Middle Rocks to the nation, adding that the next step was for officials from both sides to meet to decide on the maritime demarcation line as soon as possible.

“Any discussion to be held or action to be taken with Singapore must be done in a peaceful manner and with understanding from both sides. We do not want any conflict to arise,” he stressed.

The Prime Minister also said that action must also be taken to determine the location of South Ledge.

[More at]

Decision resolves 28-year-old dispute - The Star

PETALING JAYA: The 28-year dispute over the ownership Pulau Batu Puteh is over with the International Court of Justice awarding it to Singapore.

However, the court in The Hague awarded Malaysia the ownership of Middle Rocks, a group of rocks located 0.6 nautical miles (1.1km) south of Pulau Batu Puteh, or Pedra Branca as it is known in Singapore.

The ICJ did not determine the ownership of South Ledge, a smaller group of rocks 2.1 nautical miles (3.8km) south of Pulau Batu Puteh, stating that its sovereignty would depend on whose territorial waters it was located in.

Case acting president and ICJ vice-president Judge Awn Shawkat AlKhasawneh delivered the decision, which is binding and not subject to appeal.

The 300-page judgment took about two hours to be read. The judgment was telecast live by RTM1.

Twelve of the courts 16 judges ruled in favour of Singapore on the question of the sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh.

[More at]

Three reasons why island went to Singapore - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Failure to show ownership over Pulau Batu Puteh, maps that indicated Singapore's sovereignty over the island, and a reply from a Johor state official saying that the state did not have sovereignty over the island were some of the reasons why Malaysia lost its case.

International Court of Justice case acting president Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh, when delivering the court's decision in The Hague yesterday, said Johor initially had sovereignty over the island.

However, Johor and subsequently Malaysia lost its ownership to Singapore because of those reasons.

“The Court recalls their (United Kingdom and Singapore) investigation of marine accidents, their control over visits, Singapore’s installation of naval communication equipment and its reclamation plans, all of which include acts à titre de souverain (acts consistent with sovereignty), the bulk of them after 1953,” said Awn Shawkat.

He said Malaysia did not respond to Singapore’s conduct on the island, including the flying of its ensign, except for the republic’s installation of naval communication equipment.

“Further, the Johor authorities and their successors took no action at all on Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh from June 1850 for the whole of the following century or more,” he said.

[More at]

Friday, May 23, 2008

Rais Yatim comments on Batu Puteh's verdict - NSTP e-Media

Malaysia lost Batu Puteh to Singapore, gets Middle Rock - NSTP e-Media

School uniform not sexy: Pas - NST

By : Arman Ahmad


KUALA LUMPUR: The baju kurung worn by schoolgirls to government schools is not that sexy, Pas said today. Pas Youth chief Salahudin Ayub said there was no problem with the school uniforms from an Islamic perspective.

“As long as the baju kurung is tailored according to the traditional Malay interpretations of the garment and not too tightly, I don’t see any problem,” he said.

On Wednesday, National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia vice-president Munirah Bahari was reported as saying that the school uniform worn by schoolgirls was sexy.

Her comments generated a furore of responses from teachers, students as well as various women groups, who said that her claims were baseless.

Munirah was reported as saying: “The white blouse is too transparent for girls and it becomes a source of attraction”, and that it could encourage “rape, sexual harassment and even premarital sex”.

Salahudin said, however, said it was unlikely that the school uniform contributed to such social ills.

[More at]

S'pore takes Pulau Batu Puteh, M'sia gets Middle Rocks - The Star

THE HAGUE: The International Court of Justice has ruled that Singapore has sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh while Malaysia owns Middle Rocks.

As for the South Ledge, the ICJ ruled that it belongs to the state in whose territorial waters it is located.

ICJ vice-president, Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh read out the judgment, which was carried live over RTM1 Friday.

Pulau Batu Putih, which Singapore calls Pedra Branca, an isle no larger than half a football field, is about 14.3km from Tanjung Penyusop in Johor and 46.3km from Singapore.

Middle Rocks is about half a nautical mile from Pulau Batu Putih and 1.7 nautical miles from South Ledge.

The 17-member bench heard oral arguments from Malaysia and Singapore between Nov 16 and 23 last year.

The judgment ends the 28-year old territorial dispute between Malaysia and Singapore and both countries had earlier pledged to abide by the decision of the ICJ that is final and not subject to appeal.

[More at]

Khalid: Previous government undertook 62 risky projects - The Star

By Wani Muthiah and Edward Rajendra

SHAH ALAM: The previous state government had embarked on 62 joint venture projects worth RM36bil with private companies which the current government deems very risky.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim told the State Legislative Assembly Thursday that the joint ventures could result in the loss of close to 5,000ha of state land.

He said the previous government had provided the land for joint venture projects with private developers through state-owned corporation Permodalan Negri Selangor Bhd (PNSB).

He said the companies held a 70% stake in the joint ventures while the state only held 30%.

At a press conference later, he explained that the state was not protected as far as the issue of completion of the projects was concerned.

What made matters worse, he added, was that the deciding factor was not based on the companies’ capabilities and track records but on the “individuals behind them.”

[More at]

Dr M: I’m offering alternative for Barisan - The Star

By Mergawati Zulfakar

TOKYO: Umno is preparing its own demise and that of Barisan Nasional if it continues to have Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the helm, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Thursday.

He also said that his son Datuk Mukhriz, who decided against following his move to quit Umno, might face “difficulties” staying on should Abdullah continue to be the president.

“Yes, Umno can consider me irrelevant. It is their funeral and not mine. Today the Barisan has been destabilised by Abdullah not being able to lead it to victory in the general election.

“Barisan, in some cases, has become irrelevant. Gerakan has become irrelevant, MIC could not win. All this was due to him. He not only destabilised Umno, he destabilised component parties and he destabilised Barisan,” Dr Mahathir told The Star Thursday in an interview here.

Dr Mahathir, who is here for a dialogue session at the Nikkei conference, said he predicted Barisan would be finished in the next elections if Abdullah continued to serve as Prime Minister.

[More at]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indelible ink 'conspiracy': Report lodged -

Two polls watchdog groups today lodged a police report against Election Commission chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the last-minute cancellation of the indelible ink in the March 8 general elections.

Also named in the police report are two other key individuals who were allegedly responsible for the abrupt reversal in the use of the ink - inspector general of police Musa Hassan and attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.

Dr. Wan Azizah comments on Ezam's decision to rejoin UMNO - NSTP e-Media

Indelible ink fiasco: Poice report against PM, 3 others - The Malaysian Insider

By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 – Looks like Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has another headache to add to his expanding cluster.

At 11.30am today, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) and National Institute for Electoral Integrity (NIEI) lodged a report at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters against the government over the cancellation of the indelible ink at the March general elections.

Faisal Mustaffa and Amin Iskandar, from Bersih and NIEI respectively, in their joint report named the prime minister, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan as the parties responsible for causing the cancellation of the indelible ink, bought at a cost of RM2.4 million from India.

The two non-profit organisations, which have been keeping a close watch on the proceedings of the electoral process and maintain that the last general elections were conducted unfairly, want the named individuals investigated for what they allege was a conspiracy to tamper with the electoral process.

[More at]

Dewan Rakyat: ISA being reviewed - The Star

By Lee Yuk Peng

KUALA LUMPUR: Internal Security Act (ISA) and the deferred Special Complaints Commission Bill, are being reviewed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said.

He said the review of certain sections of the ISA was being re-looked into by Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Syed Albar, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and himself.

Zaid said the Cabinet had tasked them with review in its meeting on May 2.

"There is no plan to abolish ISA as we still need this preventive measure in this country but we are open minded and sensitive toward peoples' demands,'' he said while replying to points raised during the motion of thanks to the Royal Address.

As for the Special Complaints Bill, which originated from the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) bill, he said it was was tabled for first reading in Dewan Rakyat last year.

The bill, scheduled for its second reading on Dec 18, was deferred to this year.

[More at]

Mahathir fires back at Musa and Shahrir - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has shot back at two Umno veterans who criticised him and said their comments "has really tickled my heart."

He took a pot shot at his former deputy Tun Musa Hitam who had described him as 'thorn in the flesh' and chastised Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad whom he said had forgotten how he was allowed to return to Umno after being out of the party.

"Tun Musa Hitam claimed that I was a thorn in the flesh that has now been removed. Has Tun (Musa Hitam) forgotten that he was a thorn in the flesh in Umno back in 1986-1987 when he was the deputy prime minister appointed by me?"

"He resigned as deputy prime minister and Umno deputy president because he wanted me to step down as the Prime Minister and be replaced by him. Following an appeal by Supreme Council members, he returned as Umno deputy president as he still had intentions to bring me down.

"That is why he instigated his worst enemy, Tengku Razaleigh (Hamzah), to fight against me," Dr Mahathir claimed in his blog Thursday.

[More at]

It's for real: Anwar - TODAY

I will get the numbers to grab power, he tells sceptical journalist

By Nazry Bahrawi

A CONFIDENT Anwar Ibrahim met foreign correspondents based in Singapore yesterday and opened the door a wee bit more on his plans to grab power.

Once the former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and now torch-bearer for the Opposition has the numbers to make up a simple majority in Parliament, Mr Anwar said he will call for a vote of non-confidence in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government.

The numbers game is a simple one.

Twenty-nine more seats — that is what his grand coalition called Pakatan Rakyat needs to send an embattled Mr Abdullah and his ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) packing.

But his audience did not seem totally convinced. A sense of expectation mixed with scepticism was evident among the foreign journalists, some of whom have followed his sensational roller coaster political career with professional zeal.

Do you really have the numbers, or is it just good psychological warfare, asked veteran journalist Barry Wain, who is now writing a book on former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Mr Anwar smiled somewhat coyly, then replied: "I've said it on April 14. Yes, we have the numbers." Where does this confidence come from? Not wanting to give too much away, he said it came from reading the mood among the BN backbenchers. As though anticipating the follow-up question, the man who believes he is within kissing distance of becoming prime minister gave an example: Only three or four of Mr Abdullah's diehards — and not 30 or 40 parliamentarians — rush to his defence every time Umno's top leadership comes under attack.

Want more evidence? Well, look no further than what the grand old man of Malaysian politics, Dr Mahathir, said recently.

Said Mr Anwar: "Even Mahathir has conceded: Yes, there is a possibility of Anwar taking over. He didn't say it is going to be a turmoil, or a disaster or politically disastrous for the country."

Earlier this month, Dr Mahathir warned Umno members to take Mr Anwar's threat seriously. In that conference at Putrajaya on May 7, Dr Mahathir said: "I first wanted to dismiss this possibility but on studying the situation I feel that there is a great danger."

With the opposition now controlling 82 out of 222 parliamentary seats, Mr Anwar said he needs just 30 BN lawmakers to cross over for the new opposition government to run the country with a simple majority.

[More at]

MPs refuse to be dictated by Dr M's personal agenda - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: After failing to get even a single Umno MP, including his own son, to walk out of the party with him, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad unabashedly appealed to MPs from Barisan Nasional component parties to do so -- with the same result: zero.

The MPs were wise to the fact that if they did so, they would destabilise the government and help the opposition achieve its cherished goal of forming the government.

But as Dr Mahathir walks alone, lurking in his shadow for an opportunity to pounce is his former deputy-turned-nemesis Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"I do intend to topple the government; we have the numbers," Anwar told reporters in Singapore. "I'm looking forward to early elections," he said, adding that he hoped these would take place before September.

"The moment we are sure we can contest, we move. If you have a one to two majority, the government will be too fragile ... You don't need a two-thirds majority."

He wanted a majority of five or six and saw a vote of no-confidence in Parliament as the best course of action.

Barisan MPs were obviously wiser. They said as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had led the coalition to victory, he should only be disposed of through a ballot -- not by asking BN MPs to become independents.

Opposition stalwarts also dismissed Dr Mahathir's call as wishful, gleefully pointing out that even his son, Datuk Mukhriz, was not taking his call seriously.

[More at]

Mukhriz faces action over call for Abdullah to quit - The Star

By Loong Meng Yee and Teh Eng Hock

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth will refer Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir to the party’s management committee for action to be taken for asking Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down as party president.

Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein hit out at the Jerlun MP, who is also an executive council member of the movement, saying: “Mukhriz pressuring the president to step down is nothing new, but what I am sad and disappointed over and cannot accept is that he set conditions by saying that if the president did not resign by July, he would not hesitate to leave the party.”

In an immediate response, Mukhriz said he was prepared to face any possible action but hoped “we are not told to shut our mouths”.

“I am prepared. Had I not been, I would not have made public statements. As for my position, I have made it known I will remain in Umno. I will also not leave Barisan Nasional. That will be my very last option,” said Mukhriz at the Parliament lobby Wednesday.

He said Hishammuddin had misunderstood his remarks, adding that he had not issued an ultimatum for Abdullah to resign by July because “the cause and effect is not as direct as that”.

“I said the branch meetings would start in July and hoped changes would occur before the meetings start,” he said.

[More at]

Ezam to rejoin Umno - The Star

By Joceline Tan

PETALING JAYA: Former PKR Youth leader Ezam Mohd Nor will be rejoining Umno after receiving the green light from the top Umno leadership.

He will also cease to head the anti-corruption NGO, Gerak, from June 1 in preparation for his return to Umno. Mohd Nazree Yunus has been named to take over as chairman of Gerak.

Sources said he has met both the Umno president as well as deputy president for discussions in connection with his move.

His return to Umno is expected to be announced soon and will be seen as a blow to PKR.

Ezam, 40, was a rising star in Umno when he chose to follow Datuk Seri Anwar Irahim out of Umno after the latter’s sacking in 1998.

He was then Anwar’s political secretary and had also gone to jail under the ISA and OSA.

He resigned from PKR last year after an internal power struggle with PKR vice-president Azmin Ali. At the time of his resignation, he criticised Anwar for his “dictatorial politics” and accused Azmin of being “a schemer who dominates Anwar.”

[More at]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Umno Supreme Council special meeting -

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak spoke to reporters at a press conference after the Umno Supreme Council held a special meeting to discuss Dr Mahathir’s resignation at the party’s headquarters Wednesday night.

Hishamuddin to propose action against Mukhriz - NSTP e-Media

Now it is Mokhzani who follows dad out of Umno - NST


Two days after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced his shock resignation from Umno, his second son, Datuk Mokhzani, followed suit today. The 46-year-old businessman also made the same demand as his father that the Prime Minister and Umno president steps down.

Dr Mahathir's third son, Datuk Mukhriz, is, however, not following into his father's footsteps, preferring to remain as a member and Jerlun MP, rationalising that it would be better for him to fight the PM from within the party.

Dr Mahathir's wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali, had also resigned together with her husband.

The ex-Prime Minister's resignation triggered a party wide condemnation and shock, with many Umno leaders either criticising Dr Mahathir or appealing that he re-consider his decision.

Umno's 70-odd MPs had yesterday pledged support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to continue leading the party and Government during a meeting at Parliament House.


Muhkriz Denies Having Said He'll Quit Umno In July - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 (Bernama) -- Umno Youth Executive Council member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir Wednesday denied he had stated he would quit Umno in July should Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi not step down as Umno president and prime minister by then.

He said he had only said that he had the right to change his stand at any time according to developments and had also not stated that there was only one way out, and which was to quit the party, when there were many other options.

"I did not say that by July if the prime minister does not step down, then I will quit the party," he told reporters at the lobby of Parliament House, here.

Mukhriz, who is the Member of Parliament for Jerlun, said the reference to July was because of the Umno branch meetings scheduled to begin then and he hoped that a drastic change would take place before the branch meetings begin, and not that he would quit the party.

He had said Tuesday that he would not quit Umno as his father, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, did two days ago because there was much work to be done and his struggle was not for the party alone but for his parliamentary constituency as well.

Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein had expressed regret over Mukhriz's statement and said he would refer the matter to the party's management committee.

[More at]

ACA ordered to reinvestigate Eusoff - The Star

By Lourdes Charles

PUTRAJAYA: The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has been ordered to reinvestigate former Chief Justice Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin and lawyer V.K. Lingam.

The directive came from Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail who wants investigations to be centred on the New Zealand vacation in 1994 when the former top judge and his family were photographed holidaying with Lingam’s family.

It is learnt that Abdul Gani issued the directive to the ACA yesterday morning.

The investigations will focus on certain issues raised by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the V.K. Lingam video clip.

The ACA had in 1998 investigated the case following information from the public but it was ordered closed by the then Attorney-General due to lack of evidence.

It is learnt that the ACA has set up a team to study the commission’s findings and to see if it can unearth new evidence.

[More at]

Mat Taib: History not on Dr Mahathir’s side - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: All former Umno presidents except for Tun Abdul Razak ended up outside the party, yet support from the grassroots continued to be strong, said Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib.

“(Founder) Datuk Onn (Jaafar) left to start Parti Negara but the Malays stayed (with Umno). Tunku Abdul Rahman, (and) Tun Hussein (Onn) were not in Umno when they died.

“The irony is that Umno members remained (each time a former leader quit the party) and continued to support the leadership at that time,” he said.

Tun Abdul Razak was Umno president and Prime Minister when he died.

However, Muhammad said it was unprecedented for a former party leader to ask for the removal of the present leader.

Muhammad urged party members to stay in the party and make it stronger.

“We hope they will remain calm and not resort to actions that will weaken the party. What is important is for the party to remain intact,” he said.


Expert: Dr Mahathir’s decision will hasten rise of Anwar - The Star

THE decision by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to quit Umno will catalyse the rise of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, reported China Press.

Current affairs commentator Datuk Dr Cheah See Kian was quoted by the daily as saying that the current political scenario could pave the way for Anwar to become the next prime minister.

He believed the current “battle” between Dr Mahathir and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would certainly cause dissatisfaction among Umno leaders and members.

As such, he foresees some of them jumping ship and collaborating with Anwar, which would ultimately lead to Anwar regaining political power.

Dr Cheah said Dr Mahathir was keen to see a “reshuffle” within Umno.

He added that Dr Mahathir was hopeful that his “preferences” would move up the ranks.

Dr Cheah believed that Dr Mahathir would not like to see his nemesis Anwar rise and gain control, but at the same time, he also did not like Abdullah to be at the helm.

[More at]

Crisis in Umno getting worse, says Anwar - The Star

PETALING JAYA: The resignation of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed indicates a worsening of the crisis in Umno and Barisan Nasional, said Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The internal problem of the party was deteriorating beyond any hope of recovery, and the welfare of Malaysians was being neglected, he said in a statement.

He added that Malaysians must avoid being trapped by personal agendas to replace leaders.

PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the whole issue was just about Umno’s internal politics and it showed that Umno had no direction.

“We, however, welcome it if it makes our party stronger and they (Umno members) are also welcome to join us,” she said.

[More at]

Rafidah: Dr Mahathir is disloyal - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s resignation was an act of disloyalty to the party, said Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz.

She said she was shocked to hear about Dr Mahathir’s departure, considering that he was someone who always talked about being loyal to Umno.

“We understand that the issues raised by Tun was about leadership but this is a process that must take place graciously and it should not come to (the level of) bringing people down.”

Rafidah said that Umno’s position as the backbone of the Government also had to be taken into consideration.

“What he did was to be disloyal but I think most members are still loyal and that everyone will remain calm,” she added.

In Malacca, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam called on Dr Mahathir to reconsider his decision.

[More at]

I'm no hero, says man who dared Dr M - NST

By : Noor Adzman Baharuddin

ALOR STAR: Ismail Wan Teh is regarded by some, especially Pas supporters, as a hero of sorts.

The reason, they say, is that he dared to challenge former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to take the lead in quitting Umno after he had goaded party members to leave the party temporarily as a sign of protest against the leadership of his successor, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

But the 42-year-old Ismail, who is Jerlun Pas division deputy chairman, resented the hero tag.

"No. I never intended to challenge or dare him to make the first move," Ismail said here yesterday.

"I have been following his statements in the newspapers and I think many people would have expected him to make such a move and that it was just a matter of timing, and I am no hero.

"Honestly, I wasn't challenging him although he had responded by saying that he thought I was issuing him a challenge.

"I also did not ask him as a politician because the organisers had reminded us that it was an event to discuss the future of the Malays, regardless of their political affiliation."

[More at]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mahathir using dirty tactics -

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz briefs the press on the prime minister's meeting with the Umno members of Parliament.

Mukhriz defies dad's call to quit, will fight PM within Umno - NST

By June Ibrahim


Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is not following his father former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad out of Umno. But the first-term MP for Jerlun said he was not backing Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Umno president.

“My friends and I are of the opinion that the prime minister should relinquish all three positions held by him which are the post of prime minister, Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman immediately,” he told a packed press conference at a hotel here today. “This is the decision that I have made for now. I will not hesitate to change this decision if things do not change for the better in due time,” he said.

Mukhriz reiterated that his father’s decision to resign from the party was because he loved Umno.

“I also believe that there are many ways to skin a cat, hence I am announcing that I will stay on in Umno, as the parliamentarian for Jerlun and an Umno member. I will be loyal to the party as a member but I will be a strong voice that will criticise the deficiency of the party’s leadership,” he said, reading from a press statement in Bahasa Malaysia.

He claimed several other members have given Abdullah an ultimatum, that is to quit all three positions before the branch elections start in July.

On whether his father Dr Mahathir welcomed his decision to stay on in the party, Mukhriz replied: “My father is unaware of my decision. I have yet to speak with him and tell him about this.

[More at]

Live bullet sent to Karpal -

DAP leader and member of Parliament Karpal Singh received a live bullet in an envelope at his law firm in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.

The live bullet was accompanied with a note warning him against speaking out on the controversial issues of Malay rights and the constitutional powers of the sultans.

Federal Territories Ministry Will Not Be Abolished - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 (Bernama) -- The Dewan Rakyat was Tuesday told that the Federal Territories (FT) Ministry will not be abolished because its establishment was under an act of Parliament.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique said the call for its dissolution by Wee Choo Keong (PKR-Wangsa Maju) because there was an overlap of functions with Kuala Lumpur City Hall, was not accurate.

"On the question of the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur being elected, it is a matter for the Housing and Local Government Ministry to consider. The FT Ministry has no say in this. It has to be brought up to the Cabinet for decision," he said when winding up debate for his ministry on the motion of thanks for the royal address.

His explanation was supported by Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) who interrupted and said : "If you (Wee) want to abolish the FT Ministry, wait until you become prime minister."