Thursday, April 3, 2008

PM: No Petronas funds for 2nd bridge -

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today rejected a proposal by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to use Petronas money to construct the second bridge across the Penang channel.

PM meets Guan Eng: 30 mins, 2 statements, no feelings hurt - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi met for 30 minutes in Putrajaya today and both of them came away with something — no loss of face.

The island’s newly-minted chief executive was able to raise all the issues on his agenda, including the need for Petronas to fund the construction of the second Penang bridge, and said so at an impromptu press conference outside the PM’s office.

Careful not to be outflanked, Abdullah issued a statement through Bernama and said that he had advised Guan Eng to be careful with his statements as he was now a chief minister. Their different take on what was the news point of their discussion shows how important posturing is to politicians.

Guan Eng said he received the assurance that major infrastructure projects in the state will continue to be funded and driven by the Federal government.

He also made the case for Petronas to fund the Penang Second Bridge, a point he has repeatedly pushed since Election 2008 vaulted him and other members of the People’s Pact into the state assembly.

It was always going to be a tough sell but Guan Eng showed that he was not awed by the setting.

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Lim Guan Eng's first official visit to PM -

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng met with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the Prime Minister's office in Putrajaya on Thursday. He said the federal government has agreed to co-operate with the state government to complete the second Penang Bridge project.

Samy Vellu To Seek Release Of Hindraf Leaders Under ISA Detention - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 (Bernama) -- Though he is no longer in government, MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu says he will continue to pressure the government to release the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders detained under the Internal Security Act.

Since the general election was over and everything had been settled, the five ISA detainees should be given due consideration to be released, the former Works Minister said.

"I will continuously pressure the government to seek their release," he told reporters after chairing the party's central working committee meeting.

Samy Vellu had come under fire after announcing on Sunday that he would seek the release of the five Hindraf leaders being held at the Kamunting detention centre in Taiping.

The MIC supremo had said he would help to seek their release after family members of two of the five leaders had contacted him for his help. The detainees are R. Kenghadaran, 40, M. Manoharan, 46, V. Ganabatirau, 34, K. Vasantha Kumar, 34 and P. Uthayakumar, 47.

Samy Vellu said he would meet Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar in Putrajaya Thursday on the matter.


Malaysia's top politician admits ruling party has slipped into deep crisis after polls - AP

By Eileen Ng, AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia's ruling party has slipped into a deep crisis after its recent election debacle and needs strong leadership to carry out reforms, a top party official said Thursday.

"There are concerns that it might lead to a full blown crisis if it is not managed well," International Trade and Industry Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told reporters.

Muhyiddin is one of the three vice presidents of the ruling United Malays National Organization, and his candid warning indicates growing dissatisfaction with the leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the party's president.

"In any political party, you need a strong leadership to be able to move things through, to improve things and regain lost confidence," he said.

Muhyiddin, however, dodged a question on whether Abdullah could provide the leadership needed or whether he should step down, a demand that has become increasingly vocal in recent weeks. Leading the call is former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Muhyiddin would only say that party members have the right to call for a leadership change, adding that the party has slipped into a "very dangerous zone."

"It's a call which we will leave entirely to members. I can't forecast how it will be but we need to deal with the situation at hand. Members are in a daze ... they feel that they are lost," he added.

But Muhyiddin also said speculation over Abdullah's leadership could be detrimental to the economy.

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Abdullah Tells Guan Eng To Be Careful In Making Statements - Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, April 3 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Thursday advised Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to be careful in making statements as he is now a leader of a state government.

He should not be a populist, Abdullah told Bernama after he had a 30-minute meeting with Guan Eng, who is also DAP secretary-general, at his office here.

Abdullah said: "I told him that we have been observing closely what is happening in Penang. I advised him that he is now the leader of the government there and that he should be careful in making statements."

Referring to Guan Eng's recent comments on the New Economic Policy (NEP), the prime minister said he should not be making sweeping statements that equated the NEP with corruption.

Abdullah said he could not accept such a sweeping statement as it would cause anger and misunderstanding which would be hard to undo.

The prime minister asked Guan Eng to eradicate poverty and ensure that there was growth with equity in Penang.

Abdullah said he also told Lim that the federal government would honour all its commitments, including several big projects, as planned in Penang.

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Hishammuddin tidak pertahan jawatan Ketua Pemuda UMNO - Utusan

PUTRAJAYA 3 April – Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein tidak akan mempertahankan jawatan Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO pada pemilihan parti itu Disember ini.

Bagaimanapun beliau tidak menyatakan jawatan yang akan ditandingi dan menyerahkan kepada perwakilan untuk menentukan kedudukannya dalam parti pada pemilihan itu.


Najib Reiterates Unwavering Support For Abdullah - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today reiterated his unwavering support to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the leader of the government and Umno despite calls to the prime minister pressuring him to step down.

He said Abdullah still commanded the support and respect of the Cabinet and Umno members for his leadership.

"The prime minister has expressed his intention to continue leading the nation as he still enjoys the support and respect in the Cabinet and among party members.

"He (Abdullah) has decided to continue with his leadership and has the right to do so," he told reporters after meeting the new Royal Malaysian Navy chief Admiral Datuk Abdul Aziz Jaafar at the Defence Ministry.

Najib, who is also Defence Minister, was asked to comment on Abdullah's denial to speculations that he would step down as prime minister.

Abdullah reiterated his stand yesterday that he would not run away from his responsibilities as the prime minister.

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Azalina: Tourism MoUs with Opposition-ruled states to be terminated - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism memorandums of understanding with Opposition-ruled state governments will be terminated given the change in leadership, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

She said this was in line with the termination of Tourism Action Councils in the states which were previously chaired by Barisan Nasional’s state executive councillors in charge of tourism in each state.

“Normally, the council works together with the state executive council and local authorities.

“But now that the leadership in the state governments have changed, we have to terminate the MoUs and the councils,” she told a post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday.

Perak, Penang, Selangor and Kedah fell to the Opposition in last month's general election.

Azalina said that a committee would instead be set up, with members appointed by the Federal Government similar to the format implemented in PAS-held Kelantan.

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Muhyiddin keeps them guessing - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is keeping his cards close to his chest as to which position he will contest in the party election.

He said he would be contesting for a post, but refused to say what he was aiming for.

During a candid press conference after closing a seminar on government financial assistance for Malaysian companies at the Matrade building here yesterday, he also denied sending an SMS that he and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had formed a political partnership.

He said that party leaders would go down to the ground to gather feedback from the grassroots on how to rejuvenate the party and make it relevant.

He said the members were free to express their views on the nomination quota system or anything pertinent to the party.

Muhyiddin said deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who heads the Umno management committee, will lead the initiative. The leaders will visit Kedah and Penang on April 10, followed by Perak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur on April 14.

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Proposal to prosecute non-Muslims for khalwat - The Star

By Izatun Shari

KUALA LUMPUR: A seminar on Syariah Law review wants non-Muslims found committing khalwat (close proximity) with Muslims to also be held liable.

This was among the proposals made at the two-day seminar organised by the Islamic Institute of Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) and the Syariah Judiciary Department Malaysia.

Syariah Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mohd Asri Abdullah said the seminar had proposed that non-Muslims committing khalwat with Muslims should also be sentenced accordingly, but in the civil courts.

“We don’t have the jurisdiction to sentence non-Muslims committing khalwat with Muslims,” he told reporters after closing the seminar on behalf of department director-general Datuk Ibrahim Lembut at Ikim here today.

“The Muslims can be sentenced in Syariah courts, and the non-Muslim partners can probably be sentenced in the civil courts, to be fair to both parties.”

He said the proposal, contained in a draft resolution at the seminar, would be forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

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Lim: Another scam uncovered - The Star

NIBONG TEBAL: A special panel set up by the state government to investigate “land improprieties” in Penang has stumbled upon yet another scam.

This time it involves an RM13mil land deal.

“This is a fresh case. We just uncovered this when the special panel was investigating the other cases,” Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said on Tuesday night.

“We will get to the bottom of the case and find out how it occurred,” he said but declined to reveal details of the case.

Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddi, Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy and state Health, Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh form the special three-member panel.

Lim said that the three were expected to meet tomorrow to discuss further on this matter as well as the other land impropriety cases.

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