Sunday, March 16, 2008

Husam clarifies 'take-over' statement - The Star

By Ian McIntyre

KOTA BARU: PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa has clarified that his statement on the party taking over the Government at the federal level was taken out of context.

“I mentioned that we are hopeful of taking 30 more parliamentary seats to win power and not about forming an Islamic Government,” he said.

Husam urged the mass media to be careful in its reporting to avoid antagonising anyone unnecessarily.


Malaysia's Anwar accuses ruling party leaders of stirring racial hatred - AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim defended moves to reform an affirmative action policy for ethnic Malays and accused ruling party leaders of stirring racial hatred to deflect attention from their electoral losses.

Members of the United Malays National Organization, the backbone of the ruling National Front coalition, held street protests Friday over proposals to roll back the 37-year-old New Economic Policy, or NEP. It gives privileges in contracts, jobs, business and education to ethnic Malays, who make up 60 percent of the country's population.

Anwar, in a statement on his People's Justice Party Web site late Saturday, said the policy needs to be altered to create a "more just, more equitable" system that benefits the poor regardless of race and religion.

"I am therefore deeply concerned with the attempt being made by certain elements to stoke the flames of racial hatred," he said.

[More at]

Malaysian PM Abdullah defiant despite fading prospects - AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has defiantly claimed a mandate to rule despite unprecedented election losses, but observers say he is on borrowed time as calls for his resignation persist.

"I will run the government. I'm in charge," Abdullah said in a television interview a week after his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition was humbled by the loss of four states and a third of parliamentary seats.

"I do not believe that with a majority less than two-thirds we become incapable or incapacitated or we become lifeless and cannot do anything else," he said late Saturday.

After securing the support of his party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) which leads the coalition, he has made plans to unveil a new cabinet and implement a series of mega-projects.

Abdullah admitted that Malaysians were disappointed with his administration, which was criticised as weak and unable to deliver on promises made ahead of 2004 polls which he won in a landslide.

"People are unhappy over what has transpired over the last four years since I took over," he said in another nationally broadcast interview Friday.

"I accept in good faith the decision of the people," he said, noting that seething racial tensions, inflation and rising crime rates had led to voters punishing him in the polls.

[More at]

PAS certain it can set up Islamic federal govt soon - The Star

KOTA BARU: PAS is now confident that it can soon set up an Islamic form of government at the federal level, which it claims is gaining more acceptance, especially with non-Muslims, following the good showing of the Opposition coalition in last weekend’s elections.

Its vice-president Datuk Husam Musa said there was growing support among the Chinese and Indians in various parts of the country towards the party’s political struggle.

“We are now genuinely hopeful of ruling the country soon. We now only need over 30 parliamentary seats to seize control,” Husam said at a thanksgiving rally, which was held at the compound of the Stadium Sultan Muhammad Ke IV before a mammoth crowd on Friday night.

Husam said the Opposition must build on the breakthrough by making the five states under its rule as exemplary states compared to others.

“Previously, Selangor folk looked down on Kelantan as a poor state. Now, we rule their state. Their mosques will be open to allow us to showcase the real situation in Kelantan to them,” he added.

[More at]

Bernama says sorry to Guan Eng - The Star

PENANG: National news agency Bernama has apologised to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for the inappropriate inclusion of a paragraph as background in its news story on March 12.

The paragraph had mistakenly quoted Lim as commenting on the May 13 incident.

The apology was contained in a letter dated yesterday and signed by the national news agency’s editor-in-chief Yong Soo Heong.

“The inclusion of the fact was intended to give background on the establishment of the New Economic Policy in 1971.

“Nevertheless, upon a thorough review, the inclusion of that fact along with your quote may have been inappropriate,” Yong said in the letter sent to the Chief Minister’s office and sent by facsimile to newspapers here.

He assured Lim of Bernama’s co-operation with the new government, adding that Bernama shall always endeavour to help Lim promote the well being of Penang and its people.

Bernama had quoted Lim as saying that the NEP, which was introduced in 1971 after the May 13, 1969, racial riots to eradicate poverty and restructure society, was the source of “cronyism, corruption and inefficiency”.

[More at]

Fear not if NEP is dismantled, Malays told - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Breaking up the New Economic Policy (NEP) will not marginalise the Malays, a political scientist said.

“There was no suggestion to do away with a welfare system that help Malays in need but a safety net mechanism that will help and protect all Malaysians who are poor on the basis of merit in the DAP's manifesto,'' said Dr Farish Noor, a senior fellow of NTU Singapore's Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

“I think the Opposition managed to win the support of the Malaysian public as a whole including the Malays because it was inclusive and took into account all sections of the society,” he said.

It simply promises a fair chance to everyone because many Malaysians, including the Malays, have not been given an equal chance, he added.

“I am prepared to give them a chance. I want to see the emergence of non-racial politics in Malaysia,” he said.

Human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz said a new language needed to be used when addressing issues relating to the NEP because there were still deep-seated fears among some Malays.

[More at]

Mukhriz to know fate soon - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir’s fate will be known after the Umno Youth executive council meets soon to discuss the action to be taken against him for urging the Prime Minister to step down.

The movement’s chief, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, said the executive council, of which Mukhriz is a member, would discuss his unsanctioned action after the Cabinet line-up was formed.
“He has said (his letter) was his personal opinion so it shouldn’t be out on the Internet.

“I don’t know who released it.

“Even though he may have acted in his personal capacity, it is an irresponsible act and we will take action through the proper channel after the Cabinet line-up is announced.

“What Mukhriz has done is contrary to our stand to fully support the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister,” he said after a meeting with MCA Youth chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, Gerakan Youth chief Datuk Mah Siew Keong and MIC Youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran yesterday. On what action Mukhriz, who is the Youth wing’s International Relations and Non-Governmental Organisation bureau chairman, might face, he said the executive council would decide on it. Mukhriz had written a letter to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asking him to do the honourable thing and step down, following the ruling coalition’s dismal showing in the 12th general election.

He sent copies of the letter to Umno leaders, namely deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, vice-president Datuk Wira Ali Rustam, vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and secretary-general Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.

[More at]