Sunday, March 30, 2008

Umno Denies Distributing "Suara Rakyat" Leaflets - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama)-- Umno has denied it is behind the distribution of leaflets titled "Suara Rakyat" (The People's Voice) to the public, particularly Umno members in the country.

Its secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor urged the public and UMNO members not to be influenced by the leaflets said to be distributed by Umno as it bore the party envelope, logo and headquarters address.

"The distribution of the leaflets is just another attempt to instigate and divide Umno," he said in a statement faxed to Bernama here Sunday.

He said the leaflets contained lies aimed at worsening the political situation in Umno.

Tengku Adnan urged those who received the leaflets to contact Umno headquarters by calling 03-404295111 or faxing to 03-40416955 for clarification.


Malays Will Be Made Tools By West If Anwar Becomes PM, Says Mahathir - Bernama

PENANG, March 30 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Malays will be made use of by foreign powers if they choose Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister.

Describing Anwar as a "a man of many parts", he said Anwar had a glib tongue and hence could draw the attention of people from different groups and backgrounds.

"When he talks about Islam, Muslims will think he's a champion of Islam. He's also good at talking to the kampung (village) folk and also to those at temples.

"We know the west believes that Anwar will become prime minister in the near future. They can then lead him by the nose," said Dr Mahathir during a question-and-answer session after he opened the annual general meeting of Persatuan Melayu Tanjong (Penang Malays Association) here Sunday.

Someone in the audience had asked him about western media reports that Anwar would soon become Malaysia's prime minister.

"If the Malays are willing to kowtow to the foreigners, then they can choose this person (Anwar). I am sorry... he had maligned me all over the world, accusing me of arresting him and throwing him in jail," Dr Mahathir said.

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Penang BN Appoints Own Exco To Monitor State Gov't Administration - Bernama

PENANG, March 30 (Bernama) -- The Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) Sunday announced the setting up of its own executive committee (Exco), dubbed as the State-Development Committee, to monitor the Opposition-led state's administration, as well as to be the people's channel for suggestions and opinions.

Penang BN chairman, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the state liason committee meeting Sunday agreed to the establishment of the committee, which comprised of the 11 state assemblymen who won in the March 8 general election.

He said each of them were given portfolios similar to the current state Exco and that they would monitor the development of their particular portfolios.

Speaking to the media after chairing the committee's meeting here Sunday, Koh said Opposition leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim would lead the committee while Bahang assemblyman Datuk Dr Hilmi Yahaya would be responsible for International Trade and Industry Development as well as the Land Affairs and Development portfolio.

Shabudin Yahaya (Permatang Berangan) will handle Religious Affairs, Cooperatives and Entrepreneur Development, Information and Social Affairs; Datuk Jahara Hamid (Telok Air Tawar) State Economic Planning, Education, Human Resource and Science, Technology and Inovation; Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah (Seberang Jaya) Local Government, Environment and Traffic Management; Datuk Roslan Saidin (Pinang Tunggal) Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

Datuk Jasmin Mohamad (Sungai Dua) will be in charge of Works, Utility and Transport; Farid Md Saad (Pulau Betong) Tourism Development, Culture, Art and Heritage; Datuk Mahmud Zakaria (Sungai Acheh) Health, Welfare and Loving Society; Datuk Azhar Ibrahim (Penaga) Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Flood Insulation.

Syed Ameruddin Syed Ahmad (Bayan Lepas) will handle Town and Village Planning and Housing and Zabariah Wahab the Youth and Sports and Women, Family and Community portfolios.

Koh said the committee was set up in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi call to BN assemblymen in the state to play the role of an effective opposition.

He added that the committee would set up a website soon to interact better with the people.

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在野党:技术层面“打转”‧国阵未正视败因 - Sin Chew Daily

(雪兰莪‧八打灵再)国內的在野党认为,虽然首相拿督斯里阿都拉已擬定重夺5州政权的3大政策,但国阵似乎还不愿意接受真正的败因, 反而还一直在技术问题上“打转”。




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Dr Mahathir: Impossible for BN to win back the 5 states - The Sun

By Regina William

PENANG (March 30, 2008): It will be impossible for Barisan Nasional (BN) to wrest back the five states which it lost to the opposition in the general election, says former prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir said those who voted for the opposition were no longer interested in the BN and would not return to the party.

"If the opposition governments succeed in governing these states well, even the Malays will be attracted and turn their backs on the BN.

"Even Umno members during this elections secretly voted for the opposition, not because they loved the opposition but for the love of the party (Umno).

"They wanted to send a warning to the party leadership but unfortunately the leadership is still in a slumber and in denial about the losses.

"Not only has Umno been destroyed, but also MCA, MIC, Gerakan and even BN," Mahathir said in his speech when officiating at the Persatuan Melayu Tanjung (Permata) annual general meeting in a hotel here today.

The former prime minister was in his element, raising laughter among those present though his speech was laced with hard hitting comments on the present government leadership.

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Ng Yen Yen Concerned Over Perak's All-men Line-up - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama) -- Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen today expressed her concern over Perak's all-men state executive council line-up.

The Wanita MCA chief said she would put forward the concern over the non-existence of a woman state executive councillor in Perak to the new coalition state government.

She was speaking to reporters after attending Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)'s convocation at Wisma MCA here Sunday.

At Saturday's swearing-in ceremony, all the 10 Perak state executive councillors from the DAP-PKR-PAS coalition government were men, despite DAP having three assemblywomen -- Lim Pek Har (Menglembu), Hee Yit Song (Jelapang) and Leong Mee Meng (Jalong).

In the previous Barisan Nasional state government, the executive councillor for Women, Family and Community Development had been a woman.

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Lee Kah Choon Resigns From All Gerakan Posts - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama) -- Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon Sunday announced his resignation from all party posts with immediate effect.

Lee, former parliamentary secretary to the Health Ministry, said it was his personal decision to step down as he felt responsible for the party's dismal performance in the recent general election.

"Yes, I resigned from all the party positions with immediate effect Sunday. However, I will remain a party member," he told Bernama when contacted here.

Lee said that besides resigning as party deputy secretary-general, he also gave up six other party positions -- member of the party's powerful decision-making body, the central committee (CC) and the party's central working committee (CWC); Penang Gerakan deputy secretary; member of the Penang Gerakan working committee; Gerakan Jelutong Division chairman and Gerakan Jalan Jelutong Branch chairman.

Lee, who was one of the three persons named by the Barisan Nasional (BN) as its candidate for the post of Penang chief minister, lost to Tan Hock Leong of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in the contest for the Machang Bubok state seat in the general election on March 8.


Majority Malaysian Indians voted for opposition - IANS

An estimated 69 per cent Indian settlers voted for the opposition in this month's general elections in Malaysia, severely restricting and denying the two-thirds majority to the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, a study said on Sunday.

The vote swing in favour of the opposition was as high as 42 per cent in the case of the Chinese, who constitute 33 per cent of the 28 million population.

Ten per cent of the local Malays, mainly in the cities, voted with the opposition.

Ethnic Indians, most of who came to Malaysia during the British era, number over 2.5 million. Majority of them are Tamil Hindus, but there are also large pockets of Punjabis and other north Indians besides other language groups from south India.

Ibrahim Suffian, director of programmes at the Merdeka Centre, an independent polling agency, said dissatisfaction was most evident among Indian voters.

"We heard so many stories of how Indian voters and youths volunteered to help the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) in many places throughout the country," he said.

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Samy Vellu Calls For Release Of Hindraf Leaders - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama) -- MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu today asked the government to release the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders under detention, saying two of them should be freed sooner because one was ill and the other was now an elected representative.

He said R. Kenghadaran, 40, "is very sick" and M. Manoharan, 46, had won a seat in the March 8 general election. Manoharan had won the Kota Alam Shah state seat in Selangor on a DAP ticket.

Samy Vellu also said that V. Ganabatirau, 34, and K. Vasantha Kumar, 34, had not been very much involved in the massive rally organised by the unregistered Hindraf in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25 last year, which was a reason for the five to be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The fifth Hindraf leader under detention is P. Uthayakumar.

The MIC president spoke at a news conference after opening a workshop on "Rebranding the MIC" attended by the party's 150 divisional leaders, here Sunday.

"We are concerned about Kenghadaran and Manoharan. I spoke to the wives of both of them and, under the circumstances, I have decided to raise it with the government on these two people because they have made the approach.

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Ahmad Said Sworn In As New Terengganu Menteri Besar - Bernama

KUALA TERENGGANU, March 30 (Bernama) -- Kijal state assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said was sworn in Sunday as the new menteri besar of Terengganu, three days after the Umno Supreme Council endorsed his appointment by the Terengganu Regency Advisory Council.

Ahmad, 51, took his oath of office before the Regent of Terengganu, Tengku Muhammad Ismail Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, at the Balairong Seri (Throne Room) of Istana Maziah here. After taking his oath, Ahmad signed the letter of appointment.

Ahmad, clad in black traditional Malay attire, was composed throughout the ceremony.

The ceremony was also witnessed by the President of the Regency Advisory Council, Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman, and the two members of the council, Tengku Sri Laksamana Raja Tengku Sulaiman Sultan Ismail and former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman.

All the Terengganu state assemblymen attended the ceremony, including former menteri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, the elected representative for Jertih, and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, the elected representative for Rhu Rendang. Terengganu Mufti Datuk Ismail Yahya read the "doa selamat" prayer.

Before leaving after the function, Ahmad shook hands with Idris and hugged the former menteri besar as emotion got the better of him.

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Open Tender Doesn't Guarantee Fairness, Says PM - Bernama

BUTTERWORTH, March 30 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Saturday lashed out at the Penang state government for adopting a fully open tender system as it does not guarantee fairness to those who are financially weak to compete.

He said in principle the proposal by the state government to emphasise on equitability appeared to be good but this would actually result in only those who were financially strong benefiting from the system.

"The transparency, open tender and open bidding approach is certainly good and gives comfort to everyone but we have to remind them that not everything that is said to be equitable is fair. Actually, only the strong and those with financial capacity will derive benefits from it.

"This is our reminder to them because it is our (Barisan Nasional's) responsibility as the opposition party (in Penang) to give our views and we will become an opposition that is active, sensitive and curious about what is happening in Penang. We are not around just to keep the seat warm," he said at a thanksgiving gathering held by the Penang Umno Liaison Body, here Saturday night.

He clarified that the New Economic Policy (NEP) was not merely for the Bumiputeras as it also assisted the Chinese and Indian communities because the policy was not racially biased. He said the NEP was a national approach implemented to eliminate poverty regardless of race, enable equitable distribution to the people including enlarging the Bumiputera Commercial and Industrial Community (BCIC) and ensuring a robust economic growth to be enjoyed by all races.

Abdullah, who is also the chairman of the State Umno Liaison Body, reminded the 11 Umno Assemblymen, who represent the Barisan Nasional (BN), to fight for the cause of all races in the state.

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30,000 greet the king - NST

KUALA TERENGGANU: The rakyat and members of political parties, including from the opposition, were out in full force yesterday to welcome the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin at the Sultan Mahmud Airport.

The estimated 30,000-strong crowd created a massive traffic jam lasting nearly three hours from the Sultan Mahmud bridge to the airport, a distance of about 5km.

This was Tuanku Mizan's first visit to the state since the March 8 general election. He arrived with his son, Tengku Muhammad Ismail, who is the regent.

They were greeted by Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, state assemblymen and heads of department.

Ahmad, who was at the centre of a controversy over his appointment as the menteri besar, will be sworn-in before the Regency Advisory Council at Istana Maziah today.

State Umno liaison secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid said all state assemblymen, except for former menteri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, were expected to be present at the swearing-in ceremony.

"It is good to see people from all walks of life and members of all political parties coming out in full force to greet the king," said Rosol.

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Penang ferry to end once bridge is expanded - NST

BUTTERWORTH: The famous Penang ferry will be history once the Penang Bridge is expanded.

Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) said it was planning to discontinue its ferry service once the expansion work on the Penang Bridge is completed next year.

"We are not keen to operate the vehicular ferries as the operating costs have gone up tremendously," said PPSB chief operating officer Mohd Niana Merican Abd Kadir Merican yesterday.

While vehicles will use the expanded Penang Bridge, Niana said speed boats would be introduced to ferry people across the channel.

Besides being cost-effective, the speed boats can reduce the travelling time from 20 minutes to between eight and 10 minutes.

Costs was the main reason why the company does not want to continue with the ferry services, said Naina.

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Guan Eng among 300 to greet PM - The Star

PENANG: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was greeted by a crowd of about 300 people, including Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty Chew, when he returned to Penang for the first time since the general election.

Also present to greet Abdullah upon his arrival at the Penang International Airport at 6.15pm yesterday were Deputy Chief Ministers Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin and Dr P. Ramasamy, former chief minister and state Barisan Nasional chief Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, state Umno liaison committee deputy chief Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah and secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim, who is state Opposition Leader, and various elected representatives and political party leaders.

Lim said Abdullah was gracious and congratulated him and Dr Ramasamy, and he introduced Mohammad Fairus to the premier.

He also said that he would be calling on Abdullah in Putrajaya at 10am on Thursday to discuss state-federal relations.

Abdullah then proceeded to Tasek Gelugor for a thanksgiving dinner.