Saturday, March 22, 2008

BN Chairman, Deputy Chairman Responsible For BN's Dismal Performance - Kayveas - Bernama

KOTA BAHARU, March 22 (Bernama) -- Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and deputy chairman should take responsibility for the coalition's dismal performance in the March 8 general election, said PPP president Datuk M.Kayveas.

He said they had to study the reasons behind the downfall of four states which were previously held by BN and its failure to wrest Kelantan from the opposition.

Normally, the party leadership is responsible for its victory as well as its defeat, he told reporters at the wedding of a daughter of Kelantan PPP chairman Datuk Nik Sapeia Nik Yusoff here Saturday.

The marriage between Nik Sapeia's daughter, Nik Aidil Maria, 32, and Muzalman Shah Ismail Muzami, 34, was solemnised by Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.


Zaid Ibrahim Needs Six Months To Restore Public Confidence In Judiciary - Bernama

KOTA BAHARU, March 22 (Bernama) -- Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim said Saturday he needed six months to restore public confidence in the judiary.

"Six months may be good enough for me to clean up the judiciary and redeem its image, which was tarnished by certain quarters," he told a press conference at his residence here Saturday.

Mohd Zaid said he would ensure that the judiciary became more transparent.

"We have to take a closer look at the judiciary. This needs a thorough discussion and the judges' assistance.

"The people want to see changes in the way we appoint judges and promote them. They also want cases to be heard faster," he said.

Expressing his view that the government had made a mistake in sacking former Lord President Tun Mohd Salleh Abbas in 1988, he said the interference had brought disrepute to the judiciary, which was hardly restored until today.

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Don't Be Surprised If PKR Assemblymen Jump Ship - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) -- State assemblymen from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) are apparently disapointed and feel they have been played out by the party's de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim regarding their roles and positions within the state governments won by the opposition alliance.

Umno Youth assistant secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said in a statement here Saturday that he had received calls from a few young PKR assemblymen who wished to leave the party.

"I wish to remind Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim not to be surprised if it is PKR elected representatives are the ones who switch to the Barisan Nasional (BN) because they were not given and posts in the governments in Penang, Kedah, Selangor and Perak.

"There is no reason for BN Members of Parliament to switch camps as the coalition is only eight seats short of having a two-thirds majority in Parliament unlike the opposition which needs 30 more seats for a simple majority," said Abdul Rahman. When asked whether these PKR members would be joining Umno, Abdul Rahman said they were most welcome to do so.

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Hasrat Tengku Razaleigh keruhkan keadaan - Mohd Ali - Utusan

MELAKA 22 Mac - Naib Presiden UMNO, Datuk Seri Mohd. Ali Rustam menyifatkan hasrat Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah untuk bertanding merebut jawatan Presiden UMNO pada pemilihan parti akan datang, sebagai tidak wajar.

Beliau berkata, hasrat Tengku Razaleigh itu jika diteruskan juga dikhuatiri mengeruhkan suasana keharmonian parti tersebut.

Sebaliknya, kata beliau, semua pemimpin dan ahli UMNO perlu bersatu padu dan menyokong pucuk pimpinan demi menguatkan jentera UMNO dalam menghadapi cabaran yang lebih besar pada masa depan.

``Sepatutnya masa sekarang, kita berusaha meningkatkan perpaduan dan memberi sokongan yang tidak berbelah bahagi kepada pucuk pimpinan agar sokongan terhadap parti ini dapat dipulihkan,'' katanya di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika diminta mengulas hasrat Tengku Razaleigh untuk bertanding bagi jawatan Presiden UMNO pada persidangan agung parti akan datang.

Tengku Razaleigh menyatakan secara terbuka mahu bertanding bagi `merawat’ parti itu ekoran prestasi buruk UMNO dalam Pilihan Raya umum Ke-12.

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Najib Reiterates Support For Abdullah - Bernama

PEKAN, March 22 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today reiterated his support for Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and said both of them were working hard to rebuild Umno and the Barisan Nasional (BN) following the general election.

The deputy prime minister and Umno deputy president said all Umno members should focus on the efforts to galvanise Umno instead of getting carried away with the forthcoming party elections.

"Datuk Seri President and I are working hard to rebuild the party and for that we need unity within the party and the total commitment of all members. They should not get carried away with the (coming) party elections," he told reporters after presenting aid to flood victims in the Pekan district, here.

He responded thus when asked to comment on the offer by Gua Musang Umno Division chief Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to be considered for the post of president at the Umno General Assembly to be held later this year.

Najib said: "In our (party) system, anyone can offer himself or herself for any position. However, the offer must be made through the proper channel and in accordance with the provisions of the party constitution.

"For me, as the (Umno) deputy president, I support Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the party president."

Asked about many quarters regarding Tengku Razaleigh's offer as inappropriate at a time when Umno was rebuilding itself, Najib said: "It is up to the members to make an evaluation. As for me, I support Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the party president. Of importance now is for us to focus on strengthening the party after the general election."

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Malaysia's new information minister says he won't muzzle bloggers - AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysia's new information minister has pledged not to impose curbs on bloggers, who have been accused by other government officials of spreading lies and undermining public stability.

Internet commentators played a key role in recent general elections by catering to voters who wanted an alternative source of news besides television and newspapers, Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek told reporters late Friday.

"If there is something newsworthy, I don't see anything wrong in them posting it," the national news agency Bernama and New Straits Times daily quoted Ahmad Shabery as saying. "Everyone has the freedom to use the blogs as an information distribution center."

The remarks by Ahmad Shabery, who took over the ministry Wednesday, reflect a softening in the government's stance toward bloggers. His predecessor and other officials have repeatedly criticized bloggers and warned that new laws could be crafted to rein in bloggers who dispense malicious or false rumors that could stir tensions.

Some of Malaysia's most popular blogs offer political commentaries that include criticism of government policies, presenting themselves as a substitute to mainstream media that are controlled by or closely linked to ruling political parties.

Opposition groups credit the Internet for helping to convince voters to turn against the ruling National Front coalition in March 8 elections. The coalition stayed in power, but lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority and retained control of only eight of Malaysia's 13 states amid public dissatisfaction over rising prices, corruption and racial and religious tensions.

Ahmad Shabery said he planned to meet with bloggers soon to "better understand their sentiments and give them an avenue to express themselves," the New Straits Times reported.

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Claims on MP buyout 'baseless' - NST

KOTA KINABALU: Contrary to claims that the opposition is on the hunt for rogue members of parliament in Sabah, Barisan Nasional leaders here say they know of no potential turncoats.

The claims were either dismissed as rumours or a ploy that was certain to fail, as Sabah has a history of elected representatives switching sides with some of them losing in subsequent polls.

Sabah Umno secretary Datuk Yahya Hussin said none of the 13 MPs from the party had been approached by the opposition.

"There is no report from any of our MPs and I believe this is just a rumour. I want to remind all MPs from the party not to entertain overtures by the opposition, if this rumour turns out to be true."

Sabah BN won 24 of the 25 parliamentary seats in the state through Umno and five state-based component parties, losing only the Kota Kinabalu seat to the DAP.

On Monday, PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed that he had met a number of BN representatives, mostly in Sabah and Sarawak, to discuss their defections.

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Penang CM attends mass with 500 Catholics - The Star

PENANG: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng joined some 500 Catholics at a Good Friday Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Island Park here.

He arrived quietly around noon together with the big crowd and joined them in prayers and singing of hymns for about 90 minutes.

When approached by newsmen later, Lim said:

“I am here alone,” said Lim.

“I just wanted to join the ceremony and out of respect to the ceremony, I will not comment or talk on any issue here.

“I will attend all kinds of religious ceremonies and accept all blessings because I honour all the different faiths and religions in the country,” he said.

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Guan Eng: We will be investor-friendly - The Star

PENANG: Any proposal by investors or trade associations that would benefit the state will be considered, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“We want to assure investors that we are a friend and even though they may not be from Penang, we are willing to offer our assistance,” he said.

Lim said this when speaking to reporters after opening the ninth Intrenasionale Industrial Expo & iBusiness Solutions Expo which incorporated the Print & Pack Expo 2008 at the Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa) here yesterday.

“The state will offer whatever incentives within its means to attract new and renewed investments,” he said.

Lim appealed to trade associations and industry players to submit or re-submit their memorandums and proposals.

“Since the new state government started from ground zero when it moved into a practically empty office, the proposals and suggestions would be solely decided on merit,” he said.

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‘Barisan MPs want to defect’ - The Star

By Hah Foong Lian

IPOH: PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that he has met with Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak over the issue of crossing over without him needing to go to the two states.

“It is true that Barisan MPs from Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula have met me. I don’t deny that,” he said.

He claimed he had also been talking to MPs from Peninsular Malaysia and not only those from Sabah and Sarawak. He, however, did not say where the meeting took place.

Anwar was speaking to reporters after calling on Perak Mentri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin at his office at the State Secretariat here yesterday.

He said there was “good progress” in the talks but the Opposition coalition was in no hurry to form the Government.

“We have the time whereas our rival is short on time. It is up to you to interpret that,” he said.

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I am clean, says former Selangor MB Khir - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo says his conscience is clear and he has nothing to fear about SMSes and allegations of corruption.

“The decisions made during my tenure as the Mentri Besar were made at the state executive councillors’ meetings.

“These meetings are minuted. Everything is in black and white,” said Dr Khir when contacted yesterday.

He was commenting on an SMS going round alleging that Dr Khir, during his time as the Mentri Besar, had bought a temporary occupancy licence (TOL) piece of land in Kajang for RM2 per sq feet and made the state dvelopment corporation buy it back at RM22 per sq feet, hence pocketing RM59mil.

The SMS further alleged that he had given RM1mil each to all Kajang exco members. The SMS claimed this was discovered by the new Selangor government team as they were looking through the files.

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Hisham and Rafidah spurn EGM call - The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Umno Youth and Wanita chiefs have rejected Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's call for an Umno extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to discuss the polls results.

Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the offer by the veteran Umno leader and Gua Musang MP to contest the party’s top post was “unsuitable”, adding: “Everyone has pledged support for the top leadership and to work to rebuild the party.”

Speaking to reporters after chairing his first post-Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya, the Education Minister said he did not agree with the offer and that the time was not conducive.

Noting that the matter could lead to questions on whether Tengku Razaleigh’s intention was sincere or not, he said: “It is also unsuitable to offer himself when the party is not even in gear for the Umno elections,” he said when asked about Tengku Razaleigh’s offer to contest the top post in the party.

Recently, Tengku Razaleigh wrote to all divisions to ask them to push for an EGM on May 11 to discuss the results of the recent election.

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