Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rafidah accepts Cabinet exclusion but vows to defend Wanita chief post - NST

By : Marc Lourdes


For 20 years, she was the ‘Iron Lady’. She stood up and spoke fiercely on issues that mattered to the country, not giving an inch without getting a yard. For two decades, reporters who did not do their homework got a taste of her acid tongue.

Today, it was no different. For close to 40 minutes Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz was her ultra confident self, poised almost regally to answer questions thrown at her. She was feisty and, if the question was not to her liking, sarcastic. But when it was time to end the press conference and say her goodbyes, the tears flowed. Freely.

Earlier Rafidah, the world’s longest international trade and industry minister until today, showed why she is referred to as ‘Iron Lady’ when she stoically accepted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s decision to drop her from the new cabinet.

“I accept Abdullah’s choice with an open heart because everybody should know when it is time to retire,” she said. “I was told at 9am on the day of the announcement that he will not be including me in the cabinet. I asked him why and he said it is because he wants new faces. I accepted it because I have already served for so long and the time for retirement has arrived.”

Rafidah said she didn’t say anything to Abdullah, except to thank him and wish him luck with his new cabinet. Not only did Rafidah dismiss speculation that she would step down as Wanita Umno chief, she vowed to defend her post.

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Razaleigh to challenge Abdullah for Umno presidency, cites need to 'heal' party - NST

By : Alina Simon


MP for Gua Musang Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has made public his intent to challenge Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the presidency. He has offered himself to lead Umno to “heal the party”, which he described to be "in a bad way.”

While acknowledging that his advancing age might be used against him, the 71-year-old former Finance Minister, who held the Gua Musang parliamentary seat since 1969, expressed willingness to take up the challenge if he was given the opportunity.

Tengku Razaleigh, who challenged but lost to then Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the 1987 party elections, said he was “young” then and ever ready to challenge anyone with his ideas.

“I still have ideas, I am still brave because I am independent and I don’t depend on anyone. If my service is still needed and my strength can still be used, I am offering myself to work for the rakyat,” he told a press conference here today. “Even though I am old but I am still strong. If there are enough nominations for me to contest in the Umno election, I will give my service if I am needed.”

The Gua Musang Umno division chief, who described Umno’s defeat in the recent general election as the most painful and horrible moment in his political career, said he would call for a special meeting in his division tomorrow to discuss his proposal for the party to hold a special meeting to discuss the defeat.

Tengku Razaleigh had recently distributed letters to all Umno divisions and branch heads, urging them to utilise a section in the party’s constitution to call for a special Umno EGM on May 11, the party’s anniversary, to discuss the dismal polls performance.

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Khir Resigns As Selangor BN Chairman And State Umno Chief - Bernama

SHAH ALAM, March 19 (Bernama) -- Former Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo has resigned as the state Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and state Umno chief, effective immediately.

Speaking at a brief news conference here tonight, Dr Mohamad Khir said he was taking full responsibility of BN's defeat in Selangor in the March 8 general election.

He also apologised for the BN's poor performance in the election.

"I've discussed with (Umno) president (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) and he has agreed in principle to appoint Tan Sri (Muhammad Muhd Taib) as the new state BN chairman and state Umno chief," he said.

Muhammad, who is Rural and Regional Development Minister, is the Umno information chief and Selangor Umno deputy chief.

He said other posts in the state Umno liaision committee would be decided by Muhammad as the chairman.

Mohamad Khir said he would work together with Muhammad to unite Selangor Umno in the mission to return the state to the BN, and urged party members to do likewise.

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BN too strong to be toppled: PM - NST

By : Hamidah Atan


The Barisan Nasional-led government was strong and would not be easily toppled, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today. The Prime Minister also said the government had the full support of the people.

"Why should the government be toppled? It is very strong and we have the support (of the people, too). We don't go out purchasing people."

The BN chairman and Umno president said he was aware of attempts by the opposition to "buy" BN Members of Parliament to topple the government.

The BN won with a simple majority in the 12th general election which saw five states falling into the hands of the opposition. He was commenting on claims that the opposition, led by Parti Keadilan Rakyat de factor leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was trying to persuade BN MPs, especially those in Sabah and Sarawak, to join the opposition.

"He (Anwar) can claim so many things. Let him claims whatever he wants. I am aware of it (the attempts). This is what I have been hearing from people. I am just telling you (reporters) what I have been hearing from them."

On Umno Youth's decision not to take action against Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, Abdullah said it was a decision for the movement to make. "Whatever they have decided or thought is for the best interest of the party. I don't instruct them to do this or that. When the issue was raised, I already said that this matter was for the movement to decide and they have decided. It is okay."

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Defections could sink Malaysia govt - Anwar - Reuters

By Mark Bendeich

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Lawmakers from Malaysia's ruling coalition are willing to defect to the opposition, threatening to drag down the government, de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said in an interview on Wednesday.

Anwar, who made a dramatic political comeback at elections on March 8, told Reuters that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's coalition was cracking apart and was fast losing support from smaller constituent parties based on Borneo island.

"The sentiments in Sabah and Sarawak are strong with a number of people approaching us," Anwar said, referring to Malaysia's two resource-rich but relatively undeveloped states on Borneo.

"They are approaching us because they realise -- for Sabah and Sarawak -- we have a better deal for them," he said, adding that the opposition would offer them more royalties from Borneo's natural resources, more development and more help for the poor.

"Events are unfolding fast. Things are changing," Anwar said in an interview in the front garden of his office, a bungalow in a leafy suburb of the capital.

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Malaysia swears in new ministers as discontent brews - Reuters

By Niluksi Koswanage

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia swore in a new line-up of ministers on Wednesday, but unhappiness over the premier's choices roiled his party's ranks and the opposition said several ruling party MPs were ready to switch sides.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak led the 32 new ministers and their deputies in the colourful swearing-in ceremony at the Malaysian king's imposing domed palace in the capital, state news agency Bernama reported.

Later, the cabinet gathered for its first meeting at 0630 GMT in the administrative capital of Putrajaya.

But discontent is bubbling in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's ruling party, and its parliamentary deputies are willing to defect to the opposition, in numbers sufficient to trigger a change in government, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said.

"You cannot rule out that possibility," Anwar told Reuters in an interview, when asked if the opposition would have enough defections for a change of government.

But he refused to say how many MPs were willing to switch sides. Asked if it was more than five, he said, "Of course it's more than five," but would not say if the number exceeded ten.

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Dr Wan Azizah Picked As Parliamentary Opposition Leader - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 (Bernama) -- The opposition alliance of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), DAP and PAS have agreed to nominate PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the parliamentary opposition leader for the current parliament session.

The parties' leaders -- Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR de facto leader), Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS president) and Lim Kit Siang (DAP adviser) conveyed the decision in a joint statement today.

According to the statement, the three leaders, in a meeting last night, agreed that Dr Wan Azizah would be the opposition leader until Anwar contest and win a parliament seat.

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Mixed reaction from Opposition to new Cabinet - The Star

PENANG: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made some “unusual choices” in his new Cabinet line-up, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

He said, however, it was the Prime Minister’s prerogative to choose his team, adding that he would have had his own reasons for doing so.

Among the unusual choices were the exclusion of Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz and the inclusion of an “old face” like Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, which was a name he did not expect to surface, Lim said.

He said he would try to fix an appointment to meet with Abdullah after the swearing-in of the new Cabinet to determine what was in store for Penangites.

“We hope the Federal Government will cooperate and keep its promises made to Penangites before the election,” he said after receiving a courtesy call from a PAS delegation from Kelantan.

PAS vice-president and Kelantan state executive councillor Datuk Husam Musa, who led the delegation, said it was not the size or faces in Cabinet that mattered.

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The Abdullah Administration 2008 - NST

Read this doc on Scribd: The Abdullah Administration 2008
40 New straits tiMes wednesday, march 19, 2008 41 THE ABDULLAH ADMINISTRATION 2008 Deputy Prime Minister, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak Works Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui Education Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Datuk Mustapa Mohamed Information Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek Tourism Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said Federal Territories Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique Youth and Sports Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (senator) Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Amirsham A Aziz (senator) Finance Minister II Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop Prime Minister, Finance Minister I Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Home Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar International Trade and Industry Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad Human Resources Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam Transport Datuk Ong Tee Keat Housing and Local Government Datuk Ong Ka Chuan Higher Education Datuk Khaled Nordin Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili Energy, Water and Communication Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor Rural and Regional Development Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (senator) Foreign Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim Health Datuk Liow Tiong Lai Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Datuk Noh Omar Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Datuk Shafie Apdal Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas DEPUTY MINISTERS Prime Minister’s Department Prime Minister’s Department Prime Minister’s Department Prime Minister’s Department International Trade and Industry International Trade and Industry Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Housing and Local Government Housing and Local Government Plantation Industries and Commodities Finance Finance Defence Home Home Human Resources Works Transport Datuk Johari Baharum Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim (senator) S.K. Devamany Datuk Hasan Malek Datuk Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah Datuk Kong Cho Ha Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop Datuk Chor Chee Heung Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh (senator) Datuk Liew Vui Keong Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan Jelaing Mersat Datuk Noraini Ahmad Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew Datuk Hamzah Zainudin Datuk Yong Khoon Seng A. Kohilan Pillay (senator) Education Education Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Higher Education Science, Technology and Innovation Energy, Water and Communications Rural and Regional Development Rural and Regional Development Health Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Women, Family and Community Development Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Higher Education Natural Resources and Environment Information Tourism Federal Territories Youth and Sports Foreign Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong Datuk Razali Ismail Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim Datuk Dr Hou Kok Chung Datuk Fadillah Yusof Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum Tan Sri Joseph Kurup Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah Noriah Kasnon Teng Boon Soon Datuk Idris Haron Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh Datuk Tan Lian Hoe Datuk Seri Sulaiman Datuk M. Saravanan Abdul Rahman Abdul Taib Wee Jeck Seng