Monday, March 24, 2008

TERENGGANU MB CRISIS: Sultan has discretionary powers to appoint MB: Ex-Bar president - NST


Former Bar Council president Sulaiman Abdullah said the ruler of a state may act in his discretion to appoint a Mentri Besar, pointing to Section 1 (2) (a) in the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

The section stipulates that the ruler shall first appoint as Mentri Besar to preside over the executive council a member of the legislative assembly who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly

“The ruler has the discretion and it is his judgment,” the constitutional expert said. “The constitutional theory is the legislative assembly is made up of individual members. The ruler has to look at these diverse members and decide who would command the confidence of the majority.”

Commenting on the controversial appointment of the Terengganu Mentri Besar, Sulaiman argued that the constitution requires him to exercise discretion according to his judgment and he has done so.

“If the Ruler has made the wrong choice, the test is the first meeting of the legislative assembly when a vote of no-confidence could be passed,” he said. “If that happens, the Mentri Besar either resigns or advises the ruler to dissolve the legislative assembly.”

Sulaiman said the ruler also had the discretion to withhold consent for a request to dissolve the assembly.


I Offer To Restore Umno For The Sake Of Party Survival - Razaleigh - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 (Bernama) -- Gua Musang member of parliament Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah said it he offered to play a role in restoring Umno for the sake of the Malay race and the party's own survival.

He said he was not in any way taking advantage of the situation following the Barisan Nasional's (BN) dismal performance in the March 8 general election.

The former finance minister said his suggestion that a special Umno assembly be convened to evaluate the poor performance in the election, and his offer to contest the president's post, was made to enable to party to get back on its feet and not stumbled further.

"I stated my readiness to lift the spirit of Umno members which has been weakened after the Barisan Nasional's (BN) defeat in four states and the failure to wrest Kelantan from PAS in the general election. It's my sincere wish to see the party regain its strength.

"I feel that I've been called forth to help restore the party," he told Bernama at his residence here last night.

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Terengganu MB (or not), he's going to work - The Star

By Paul Choo

KEMAMAN: Datuk Ahmad Said said he is the legitimate Mentri Besar of Terengganu and will go to his office at Wisma Darul Iman at 8am Tuesday to officially assume his role.

He said his appointment was in accordance with the state’s laws and that he did not need to be sworn in for the post.

The Kijal state assemblyman said that the appointment letter bestowed to him on Sunday by the Regency Advisory Council was testament to this.

At his family home at Kampung Teluk Kalung, Kijal, here on Monday, Ahmad told a packed press conference that his swearing-in would be decided at a later date.

He said he hoped state Umno members would not continue with the "kekecohan" (fracas) that has engulfed the state and would lend him their support.

“I understand the confusion that has arisen from my appointment, especially since many state assemblymen were against it.

“However, the Council has appointed me, and I will abide by its decision," he added. Ahmad said that not all assemblymen were against him, adding that he also had the support of the rakyat (citizens).

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Malaysian king, prime minister in conflict over appointment as constitutional crisis looms - AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's ruling party struggled Monday to resolve a dispute pitting the prime minister against the country's king in an unprecedented constitutional crisis over the appointment of a state leader.

The royal row in Terengganu state is the first time that Malaysia's constitutional monarchy has openly come in conflict with the political leadership, adding to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's numerous headaches as he fights for political survival.

Abdullah is under pressure to resign after the ruling National Front coalition suffered heavy losses in the March 8 general elections, retaining power but losing its traditional-two thirds parliamentary majority as well as control of five state legislatures.

His latest problem is over the appointment of the chief minister of the northeastern state of Terengganu, where the National Front won the election. Abdullah's United Malays National Organization, the main party in the National Front, wants incumbent Idris Jusoh to continue leading the state.

But the palace of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, who is the titular head of Terengganu as well as the current king of Malaysia, appointed Ahmad Said, another UMNO lawmaker, as the chief minister on Saturday, taking the country by surprise.

Malaysia's royalty consists of nine hereditary state sultans, who rotate as Malaysia's king and perform ceremonial duties including appointing state chief ministers.

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The Sun Front Page (24/3)

Read this doc on Scribd: The Sun Malaysia Cover (24 Mar 2008)
The nation’s FREE newspaper 30 sen for delivery to your doorstep MEMBER AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATIONS (MALAYSIA) 275,000 COPIES DAILY Award winning newspaper for public service reporting and opinion writing. No. 4476 PP 2644/12/2008 (020369) Monday March 24, 2008 TELLING IT AS IT IS Doing it the Caillat way UALA TERENGGANU: Despite the threat of expulsion from Umno, state assemblyman for Kijal Datuk Ahmad Said received a letter of appointment as the new Terengganu mentri besar from the Regency Advisory Council at a closed-door ceremony at Istana Tetamu here yesterday morning. Ahmad, 51, received the letter of appointment from council head Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman, witnessed by two other council members – Tengku Sri Laksamana Raja Tengku Sulaiman Sultan Ismail and former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman. The ceremony was attended by six members of the council, State Secretary Datuk Mokhtar Nong, State legal adviser Mohamad Sekeri Mamat and state police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob. According to Terengganu palace official Mohd Yasim Awang, the date for the swearing-in of the new mentri besar has yet to be fixed. In an immediate response, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi defended his choice of former mentri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh for the post, saying “the appointment of anyone other than Idris is unconstitutional and invalid”. He said this was because the majority of the assemblymen in Terengganu want Idris, the Jertih assemblyman, to be reappointed the mentri besar. “There will be no change to this,” Abdullah said after presenting the prizes to the F1 winners yesterday evening. The ceremony in which Ahmad received his letter of appointment was held with policemen maintaining tight security outside the palace grounds. It started at 8.20am and ended about eight minutes later. All members of the media, except for the photographer and TV cameraman from Bernama, were prevented from entering the palace. Ahmad was not reachable after the event. Just before that, 22 Barisan Nasional state assemblymen, led by state Umno liaison committee secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid, who opposed Ahmad’s appointment as the mentri besar, arrived at Istana Tetamu to hand over a letter of protest against the appointment. Rosol, who » No state land for DAP reps pg4 » Final hurrah for Scholes pg35 sports pg22 K Abdullah: It’s unconstitutional assemblymen (including Idris), who protested against Ahmad’s appointment, had threatened to resign to enable a re-election to take place if there was no solution to the impasse. “We have to think of the people. If, within two weeks, a state government cannot be formed and function, then there’s no point for us being the people’s elected representatives. The 23 of us are willing to step down if that is the best solution to the issue,” he said. Asked if their action to hand over the protest letter could create a rift with the Terengganu palace, Rosol said it did not arise as they had acted in accordance with the Federal Constitution. “We have also received the mandate and support of the people,” he said. Idris, meanwhile, said he would seek the advice of his lawyer on the appointment of Ahmad before taking any action. “I know the prime minister and deputy prime minister are together with me ... I have the support of the top party leadership as well as the state assemblymen and the people ... that is important,” he said. On his relationship with Ahmad, Idris said Ahmad had been a good friend for a long time. However, since Ahmad’s name was touted as the potential candidate for the post of mentri besar, Ahmad had not contacted him at all. On Saturday, Umno secretarygeneral Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said disciplinary action could be taken against Ahmad if he were to accept the menteri besar’s post as he would be going against the instruction of Abdullah, who as the BN chairman and Umno president, had issued a letter nominating Idris to the post. – Bernama BERNAMAPIX Ahmad receives his letter of appointment from Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman. was not allowed to enter the palace, handed over the letter to Regency Advisory Council secretary Shafie Ali. Met by reporters, Rosol said the letter reiterated the support of the 22 BN elected representatives for the re-appointment of Idris as the mentri besar and rejected Ahmad’s appointment. “Our support for Datuk Seri Idris is unanimous. There is no other person qualified to hold the mentri besar’s post,” Rosol said, adding that Ahmad’s appointment was invalid. He said that if Ahmad were to proceed with taking the oath of office, he would be violating the party rules and action could be taken against him, including expulsion from the party. Later, at a separate press conference held at the mentri besar’s official residence, Seri Iman, Rosol said the 23 Raikkonen reigns at Sepang PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi hands the winner’s trophy to Ferrari’s defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who ‘cruised’ to victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang yesterday. Robert Kubica finished second in his BMW and Heikki Kovalainen was third in his McLaren Mercedes-Benz. Lewis Hamilton, who won in Australia last week, battled through a topsy-turvy race and various problems with pit-stops and tactics, to finish fifth behind Jarno Trulli in a Toyota. It was Raikkonen’s seventh win for Ferrari and his second win in Malaysia. “It was a pretty easy race,” he said. “We had quite a difficult weekend in Australia and we were not 100% sure it was going to be any different here.” BERNAMAPIX » Reports Back Page and Page 34

Koh: Arrogance of power led to crushing loss - NST

By : Eileen Ng and B. Suresh Ram

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan has blamed its own arrogance for its crushing defeat in the 12th general election.

"Perhaps, power had gone to our heads after leading Penang for 39 years. We have not done enough in our own approach and attitude," said acting party president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

Speaking to the press after a closed-door meeting with 1,500 central delegates, Koh was merciless in analysing Gerakan's defeat in Penang, and its similarly disastrous performance nationwide where it won only two parliamentary and four state seats.

Koh blamed the dismal performance on its leaders losing touch with the grassroots as well as "arrogance of power" in Barisan Nasional.

He said due to their busy schedule as government officials, the needs of the rakyat were neglected.

"The general election results were also due to the people's dissatisfaction with perceived arrogance of power within BN, especially over certain Umno leaders whom through their words or actions have resulted in resentment," he said, adding that BN also needed to change its way to survive. But Koh also described the results as a "blessing in disguise".

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He says he has support - NST

KUALA TERENGGANU: Newly-appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said is confident of a smooth transition of power.

"Give me two or three days to sort things out. I will then have a list of prospective state executive council members," said the 51-year-old Kijal assemblyman, who received his appointment letter from the Regency Advisory Council yesterday.

He claimed he had support from the majority of Umno members in seven of eight state divisions.

Ahmad, who was an exco member for local councils and housing in the outgoing state administration, said he was certain that not all the elected assemblymen were against his appointment.

"I am also certain of the backing of the people here, including those in the civil service."

Meanwhile, Kuala Nerus division chief Datuk Mohd Nasir Ibrahim, who won the parliamentary seat in the recent elections, declined comment on Ahmad's appointment.

"I've been abroad for the past several days and have yet to learn of the latest developments in the tussle for the menteri besar's post," he said.

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Umno may act against Ahmad - NST

By : Rosli Zakaria

KUALA TERENGGANU: In an almost simultaneous exchange of documents, Datuk Ahmad Said received his letter of appointment as menteri besar yesterday, while 22 state assemblymen petitioned the palace to reject him.

Ahmad arrived at Istana Tetamu at 7.25am and received the letter of appointment from the head of the Regency Advisory Council, Tengku Seri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman, at 8.15am.

The swearing-in is expected to take place on Wednesday after Ahmad confirms the line-up of executive councillors but palace official Mohd Yasim Awang told Bernama the date had not been set.

The boycott of the event announced on Saturday by the 22 Barisan Nasional assemblymen did not take place as none of them was invited to the function at Istana Tetamu, but they nevertheless arrived at 7.55am to deliver two letters.

The first letter was to indicate to the council that all 22 state assemblymen - the entire government bench except for Ahmad and outgoing menteri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh - wanted Idris as leader of the state.

The second letter was to Ahmad to warn him that stern action would be taken by Umno should he accept the appointment.

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Concern over fate of Malays in Perak - The Star

By Hah Foong Lian

IPOH: Some 20 Perak Malay non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have voiced concern over the fate of Malays under the new DAP-PKR-PAS government in the state.

The group, which held a special meeting at Tambun Heights here yesterday, will submit a memorandum to the Sultan of Perak.

Among those who attended the meeting were leaders of the Perak Malay Teachers Association, Perak Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS), Perak Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim), Perak Association of Muslim Students, Perak 4B Youth movement, Perak Council of Former Barisan Elected Representatives (Mubarak), Perak Malay Traders Association and Perak Wanita NGO.

Nonee Ashirin Mohd Radzi, who chaired the meeting, said they could not accept the six-three-one formula to be used in the make-up of the state executive council.

Nonee Ashirin, who is one of the founder members of Perak Pertubuhan Profesional dan Pewaris Bangsa (Prowaris), said the formula did not reflect the composition of the state population with the Malays being the majority.

The formula agreed upon by the new state government would see the DAP taking up six exco posts, PKR three and PAS one.

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Guan Eng: No state land for DAP reps - NST

By : Audrey Dermawan

GEORGE TOWN: DAP elected representatives in Penang will not be allowed to apply for state land.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he would not entertain any such application and he would take action against those who persisted in doing so.

He said the decision was reached following a meeting with all seven DAP members of parliament and 19 assemblymen here on Saturday.

Lim said those who wanted to own land should submit their applications through the normal channel and these would be processed according to the law.

"We have decided that all our elected representatives will not be allowed to have any dealings in land matters in the state.

"This is our commitment to the people," he said after a visit to the Air Itam market yesterday.

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