Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Umno Elections Should Not Be Further Postponed, Says Mukhriz - Bernama

By Azeman Ariffin

JERLUN, March 25 (Bernama) -- Umno's election scheduled to be held this year should not be postponed in order to respect the wishes of members to elect leaders of their choice, said Jerlun Member of Parliament Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

He said the party elections was something important and a democratic process it had to go through.

"I appeal to Umno's leadership not to postpone it and do as the party president said last year that it will be carried out this year," he told Bernama here Tuesday.

Mukhriz, who is also a member of Umno Youth's executive council, said that he was confident the party elections would not cause a split among members as they were wise enough to decide without being emotional.

He said Umno leaders must follow the party constitution and all Umno members must decide wisely and rationally on who to choose as their leaders.

Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib Tuesday said the party's state liaision chiefs wanted the polls to be postponed to June next year to prevent "chaos" if held this year.

[More at]

Malaysia's ruling party may postpone internal polls: officials - AFP

Malaysia's ruling party may delay internal elections, officials said Tuesday, in an apparent bid to shield Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from pressure to quit after poor poll results.

In the wake of the disastrous showing in March 8 general elections by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), officials said party leaders had urged Abdullah to postpone the meeting, which had been tipped for August.

"They have recommended that party elections be held next year," UMNO information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

"They said that if it is held this year it will spark havoc and disaster. So they said it will be good if it can be postponed to 2009," he said, adding that it could be held in June next year.

Muhammad said UMNO's supreme council will make a decision when it meets on Thursday. The party was scheduled to hold elections last year, but they were delayed due to the March 8 polls.

One party official told AFP there was a feeling that an open challenge to the premier could threaten the stability of UMNO, which has ruled Malaysia for half a century.

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Idris tidak tahu apa `dosanya’ terhadap Sultan - Utusan

KUALA LUMPUR 25 Mac – Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan UMNO Terengganu, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh berkata, hubungan beliau dengan Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin adalah baik dan tidak tahu apa kesalahannya terhadap Sultan Terengganu itu.

Menurutnya, beliau sedia menghadap Seri Paduka jika diberi peluang untuk memohon maaf terhadap sebarang kesalahan yang telah dilakukannya kepada pihak istana.

``Sebagai hamba Allah, saya tak terlepas daripada melakukan kesilapan,'' katanya.


Abdullah To Seek Audience With Tuanku Mizan - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Tuesday said he will seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, to discuss and resolve the issue on the appointment of the Terengganu Menteri Besar.

"I will certainly be meeting with Tuanku," he told newsmen after delivering a keynote address at Invest Malaysia 2008 Conference, here.

Abdullah said the meeting would be held as soon as possible.

"I wish I could have done it Monday," said the Umno president.

Abdullah earlier was asked to comment on party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's suggestion that Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and the Prime Minister should seek an audience with Tuanku Mizan and apologise if indeed there was a misunderstanding between Idris and the Palace.

On Saturday, the Terengganu palace issued a statement that Kijal Assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said was appointed as the new Menteri Besar to replace Idris.

However, 22 of the Terengganu BN assemblymen pledged their support for Idris who had received his appointment letter as Menteri Besar from Abdullah.

[More at]

Malaysia PM says 'big mistake' to ignore cyber-campaign - AFP

Malaysia's premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Tuesday his "biggest mistake" in disastrous elections was to ignore cyber-campaigning on the Internet which was seized by the opposition.

The powerful Barisan Nasional coalition suffered its worst-ever results in March 8 polls that left five states and a third of parliamentary seats in opposition hands.

The opposition, which was largely ignored by government-linked mainstream media, instead waged an enormously successful online campaign using blogs, news websites and SMS text messages.

"We certainly lost the Internet war, the cyber-war," Abdullah said in in a speech to an investment conference.

"It was a serious misjudgement. We made the biggest mistake in thinking that it was not important," he said.

"We thought that the newspapers, the print media, the television was supposed to be important, but the young people were looking at SMS and blogs."

The comments are a major about-face for the government, which had vilified bloggers, calling them liars and threatening them with detention without trial under draconian internal security laws.

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Malaysian row between king and PM deepens over choice of state chief minister - AP

By Julia Zappei

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A renegade lawmaker from the ruling party and backed by Malaysia's king took office Tuesday as the head of a northeastern state, openly defying the prime minister who wanted someone else for the job.

Hours before Ahmad Said arrived at his office in Kuala Terengganu, the capital of Terengganu state, for his first day of work, he smiled at reporters and said he was fully aware he "may not last long."

The dispute in Terengganu is the first time Malaysia's constitutional monarchy has got embroiled in a public spat with the executive, and adds to the headaches for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as he fights for his political survival.

Abdullah's National Front coalition suffered heavy losses in the March 8 general elections, holding on to power but losing its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority and five of 13 states. It also lost elections in five states, though Terengganu was one of the states where it won comfortably.

The victory turned sour, however, when Malaysia's current king, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, rejected Abdullah's candidate for the chief minister, instead appointing Ahmad, another ruling party lawmaker, over the weekend.

It is not clear how long Ahmad can stay in office because Abdullah's United Malays National Organization, the main party in the National Front, has vowed to expel him. Also, UMNO lawmakers in the state legislators have said they will pass a no-confidence motion against Ahmad as soon as the legislature convenes.

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Kayveas was misquoted - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas has said a report on Sunday quoting him as saying that the Barisan Nasional chairman and deputy chairman should take responsibility for the coalition’s dismal performance in the March 8 general election was incorrect.

“What I meant was that the Barisan as a whole should take responsibility for the dismal performance and, therefore, Barisan had to study why four Barisan-held states fell into opposition hands and why Barisan failed to wrest Kelantan from PAS,” he said.

“I never blamed them (Abdullah and Najib) for the loss,” he said. In the statement, Kayveas also reiterated PPP’s support for Abdullah and Najib.


Tengku Razaleigh: Give Ahmad Said test of confidence - The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Terengganu state assembly should be allowed to be convened properly and give Datuk Ahmad Said a test of confidence in due course, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said.

He said petitions, threats, coercion or declaration of support for the Prime Minister and his candidate Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh had no bearing on the legality of Sultan of Terengganu’s appointment of his own Mentri Besar.

Tengku Razaleigh said the situation in Terengganu was a crisis of government, not Constitution.

“The Sultan acted within his powers in appointing the person, who in his judgment, was likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the state assembly.

“Ahmad Said’s appointment is effective and he’s now the Mentri Besar. Perhaps we have forgotten what it is like to conduct ourselves with good manners and due respect for the Constitution and the sovereignty of the Ruler,” he said.