Wednesday, April 2, 2008

No Outside Influence In Selecting Election Candidates, Says Hishammuddin - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 (Bernama) -- Umno Youth head Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the nomination of candidates from the movement to stand in the March 8 general election was according to the normal procedure.

It was not in any way influenced by a middleman as alleged by former Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday, he said in a statement Wednesday.

He said Umno Youth did not have a specific list containing the names candidates to stand in the election because the vetting process and selection of candidates were made jointly by leaders at the division and state levels.

"So, the issue of Youth candidates being nominated not according to the existing channel as far as I know, including Youth candidates from component parties, does not arise.

"This is the process we have practised all this while in selecting candidates in each general election," he said.

Hishammuddin said the process of selecting Youth candidates was discussed between the state Umno Youth head and state liaison chief before the whole list which included other candidates was submitted to party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for approval.

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Ahmad Said Meets Abdullah Over Executive Council Line-up - Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, April 2 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is satisfied with the Terengganu state executive council list submitted to him by Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said here Wednesday.

Ahmad held a 45-minute meeting with Abdullah at Perdana Putra, the Prime Minister's Office, to discuss the 10-member state executive council line-up.

"During the discussion, we ensured that all the districts in Terengganu are represented in the line-up. That is important," Abdullah told Bernama after the meeting.

He, however, declined to give details of the line-up as it has not received the consent of the Terengganu Regency Advisory Council.

"I can't release the names yet. I have looked at the list and I am satisfied with it. It is a good list," he said.

Abdullah said the list of names would be submitted by Ahmad to the head of the Regency Advisory Council soon.

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Muslim official visits church, temples - AP

By Sean Yoong

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- A lawmaker from Malaysia's Islamic opposition party said Wednesday he made rare visits to a church and temples to help assure non-Muslim minorities about their religious rights.

Khalid Abdul Samad, a Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party lawmaker, said he wanted to ease suspicions among non-Muslims that his party seeks to curb their religious freedoms.

"It's time to set the record straight," Khalid told The Associated Press. "We respect the rights of non-Muslims. There's no plan to stifle other religions or create problems for them."

Non-Muslims have been upset in recent years about how the government has handled religious issues, including the demolition of Hindu temples, a ban on the word Allah from Malay-language Christian literature, and court judgments favoring Muslims in disputes with non-Muslims.

Khalid's visit to the Christian church and two Hindu temples last week was a rare move by a Muslim politician. Many of Malaysia's Muslim public figures have been wary of appearing in places of worship other than mosques, fearing criticism by conservative Muslims. A few politicians have made such visits discreetly.

Khalid's party has long alienated minorities with its call for a hard-line theocratic state. But it toned down its religious rhetoric and allied itself with two secular, multiethnic opposition groups for elections last month.

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'People's Alliance' Merely A Political Ambition, Says Mahdzir - Bernama

ALOR STAR, April 2 (Bernama) -- The use of the term "Pakatan Rakyat" or "People's Alliance" to portray the agreement reached upon by Parti KeAdilan Rakyat (PKR), the DAP and PAS is nothing more than a political ambition to mislead the people, said Kedah Umno Liaison chairman Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

He said the alliance lacked clarity and sincerity because each political party in the coalition had their respective principles and direction which differed from one another.

"PAS and the DAP are clearly extreme in their stand right from the beginning which differed from the Barisan Nasional (BN)," said Mahdzir, who was the former Kedah Menteri Besar.

Commenting on the agreement reached by the three political parties to use the term "Pakatan Rakyat" which was announced by PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday, he said it was not as easy as it was pictured to be.

"The BN coalition started with the Alliance even before the independence and had taken such a long time, and furthermore, there are now many more parties especially in Sabah and Sarawak," said Mahdzir, who is also the Kedah BN chairman.

He said the coalition concept based on mutual understanding and power-sharing was the equitable reality proven by the BN all this while.

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Guan Eng Not Spared In NEP Probe, Says CPO - Bernama

PENANG, April 2 (Bernama) -- Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is not spared from being summoned by the police in connection with investigations into his statement that the open tender system will replace the New Economic policy (NEP).

Acting state police chief Datuk Salleh Mat Rasid said recording a statement was a normal procedure in police investigations.

"Anybody can be hauled up to give a statement to assist in investigations, including the chief minister.

"This is normal in the course of investigations," he told reporters after launching a blood donation drive in conjunction with the 201st Police Day at the northern region marine police base in Batu Uban.

Police are investigating the matter following a police report lodged by lawyer Abu Backer Sidek Mohamad Zain on March 14 that Guan Eng had made a "very sensitive statement" to the Malays.

Asked when police would call Guan Eng to give a statement, Salleh said it depends on the progress of investigations.

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Dr M drops support for Najib - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has withdrawn his support for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to be Prime Minister.

In the past, the former Prime Minister had, countless times, openly said he wanted Najib to take over from Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister.

“I feel we should not pick who the replacement should be. We should give the opportunity to a number of people so that we can evaluate them whether it is Pak Lah, Najib or (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin).

"For now, I can’t say who (should replace Abdullah). Although I have said before it should be Najib, I don’t know why for ‘some reason’ I have now changed my mind,” he said at a packed “Umno Post 12th General Election: An Assessment” forum organised by

Dr Mahathir said the Cabinet and Umno supreme council were not relevant anymore because they were all just “yes” men to Abdullah.

He said those who tried to speak up were chastised for supposedly being disrespectful.

“They are then invited by the Prime Minister and given an explanation why they should agree with him,” he said, adding that their mouths were kept shut because they were afraid of losing their position and power.

He said Abdullah preferred to seek advice on government and party matters from “outsiders” such as family members including his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin rather than his own Cabinet and Umno supreme council members.

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Plenty of drama at forum to assess polls performance - The Star

PETALING JAYA: There were hot speeches and plenty of drama at a forum held to assess Umno’s poor performance in the recently concluded general election.

From calling on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to take full responsibility and resign, there were accusations at the “Umno Post 12th General Election: An Assessment” forum that the party's top brass comprised of “yes men”.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad provided the keynote address while his son Datuk Mukhriz, who is the newly-elected Jerlun MP, and Batu Pahat MP Dr Puad Zarkashi were among the speakers.

Mukhriz came out and made his stand known, saying there was “something really wrong” with Abdullah’s leadership for his inability to check the rising cost of living, increasing crime, corruption and nepotism.

Dr Puad, who is also the Johor Umno information chief, wanted Abdullah to step down as Prime Minister.

He said people had lost faith in the present leadership.

“Umno has lost its soul,” he said, adding that the party needed huge reform to win back support of the people.

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Guan Eng keeps mum on Siva’s retraction - The Star

PENANG: Buntong assemblyman A. Sivasubramaniam retracted his resignation from DAP after a private conversation with party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Lim, who confirmed this yesterday, however refused to disclose if he had made any counter offer to persuade Sivasubramaniam to stay on in the party.

Sivasubramaniam tendered his resignation on Monday only to retract it six hours later.

His resignation would have put the DAP-PAS-PKR coalition government in a precarious position, as it would only have a one-seat majority in the house.

Barisan Nasional currently holds 28 out of the 59 state seats.

Asked if Sivasubramaniam’s dissatisfaction was due to the allocation of state exco seats which did not include any Indians from the party, Lim said the matter had been settled.

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