Friday, April 4, 2008

Mukhriz confirms Umno Youth chief candidacy, welcomes challenges - NST


Confirming his candidacy, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said he did not want an easy passage in his quest to become Umno Youth chief. “I welcome challenges. We should allow as many Umno Youth members to offer themselves to lead the movement and to contest for other posts,” he said.

“I hope the party elections in December will give members room to offer themselves for any posts to help Umno,” he told reporters yesterday after giving away donation to 50 villagers in Kampung Manggol Bongor near here whose houses were damaged by a storm on Thursday.

Mukhriz, the MP for Jerlun and an Umno Youth exco member, was asked if he would compromise with former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo, who is also contesting for the movement’s top post following Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announcement not to seek re-election in December.

Mukhriz said there was no dearth of capable candidates for the posts in the movement.

He was also confident that contests in the coming elections would not split the party as long as the campaigning was carried out properly.

“In the past, we had a six-cornered fight for the Umno Youth chief’s post but it did not cause any problems to the movement, although I have heard from some members that contests at the higher levels in the party would cause a split.

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丹回青:回教党应主导民盟‧以实现回教国梦想 - Sin Chew Daily





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Samy Vellu Will Seek Re-election For His Last Term - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 (Bernama) -- MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu will defend his post for the last time in the presidential election in March next year.

The former Works Minister reiterated that it would be his last term leading the party and that he would not contest in the next general election.

"I will definitely contest for the president's post. I've already said I will retire after 2012.

"But I will not contest anymore in the general election. It's enough," the veteran MIC leader told reporters after presenting UPSR (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah) revision books to Tamil school pupils.

Samy Vellu, who lost in the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat in last month's general election, said he welcomed contest from anyone who wanted to challenge him for the top post which he had held for 27 years.

"Let anyone contest, I don't want to say who will contest or what. Anybody can contest and I will be very happy because I want to see what is my strength (in the party)," he said.

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First crack appears in Malaysia's ruling party - Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Dissidents in Malaysia's main ruling party formally opened hostilities with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Friday, demanding an urgent party meeting to discuss its poor performance in elections last month.

Abdullah's United Malays National Organisation, which has led the government since independence in 1957, suffered its worst-ever reverse at the March 8 poll, winning just over a third of seats in the federal parliament, less than the opposition.

The National Front ruling coalition, in which UMNO is the dominant partner, lost its two-thirds majority in parliament for the first time in four decades but retained a simple majority, enabling Abdullah to remain in power.

But an UMNO division led by party dissident Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah voted unanimously on Friday to call for a special general assembly to discuss "the direction of the party", state news agency Bernama said. It was the first UMNO division to do so.

"We need to discuss the problems in our own house and find the true and right path to make ourselves better and prevent a situation that may become worse in the next general election," Tengku Razaleigh said in a speech to about 400 party delegates at the division meeting in the northeastern state of Kelantan.

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The Sun Front Page (4/4)

Read this doc on Scribd: The Sun Malaysia Cover (4 April 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. 4485 PP 2644/12/2008 (020369) Friday April 4, 2008 TELLING IT AS IT IS » Mugabe’s biggest battle yet pg18 » Dancing to different tune pg38 Entertainment Hisham makes way UMNO YOUTH CHIEF NOT DEFENDING TOP POST by Husna Yusop PUTRAJAYA: Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein declared yesterday he will not defend his post in the party elections in December, refusing to openly endorse a possible successor. “We have to look forward. We have to do changes and reforms, re-build the party and the wing. And if the Youth is still in a situation where they don’t know what my plans are come December, that becomes a barrier for us to move forward. “I feel today might be the right time for me to tell them about my plans after 10 years of building the Youth from the time when it was split to where it is now,” he said when asked about the timing of the announcement. Hishammuddin, who is also education minister, was speaking after announcing the ministry’s second report card for the Education Development Master Plan (2006-2010). His announcement fuels speculation that he is going for a higher post. But when asked if he was going for the deputy president or vice-president post in Umno, he said it was something for the delegates to decide. Umno has three vice-presidential seats, one of which became vacant after Tan Sri Isa Samad was suspended for dabbling in money politics. The other elected vice-presidents are Datuk Seri Ali Rustam and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. On whether Youth members are courageous and mature enough to choose a new leader, he said yes and he welcomed a contest. “Previously, what had hindered the two who had offered themselves was my own position. So now I am making it clear. Let there be no hindrance and those who feel they are qualified, they should offer themselves according to the normal process and let the delegates decide,” he said. It was reported on Wednesday that Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo had said they would offer themselves as candidates for the Youth chief post if Hishammuddin declined to defend it. Asked whether his deputy Khairy Jamaluddin agreed with his decision not to contest, Hishammuddin said it was his right to do so. “When I make a decision, it is usually in the interest of the party. Not for the posts, material or money,” he said, adding that he was not pressured to let go of the post. Asked if he wants Khairy to contest for the Youth chief post, Hishammuddin said: “It is not for me to decide. I can only answer what is within my control.” Asked if he had a personal preference of a successor, he said he had his own favourite but he would rather keep it to himself. When suggested that it is a tradition for the deputy to move up the ladder once the seat is vacated, he said it was not necessarily so, as “(listening to) the voices from the ground, clearly they are in power.” On whether he would accept any nomination for the top two posts in Umno, he said he would not respond to that as it did not matter at this point of time. “Our duty now is to rebuild the party, look at how we have fared (in the elections) and listen to the grassroots. We have no time to think of certain posts or chase after this or that. Our task is to rebuild the spirit of our members in certain states,” he said. Hishammuddin, the son of third prime minister Tun Hussein Onn, also said he did not expect a tough fight for the Youth chief post, “unless people are not sincere and honest in offering themselves”. When contacted for a response, Khairy said he did not have any comments for the time being while Mukhriz could not be reached on his mobile phone. New kids in the House ... B ATU MP Tian Chua (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) and Khairy Jamaluddin (Barisan Nasional), no strangers to speaking their minds and taking their causes to the streets, have another thing in common. They are newly-elected people’s representatives and will be making their Dewan Rakyat debut later this month. They joined other MPs for orientation at Parliament House yesterday. » Full report Page 2 PM meets Penang CM... New initiatives to contain inflation KUALA LUMPUR: The government is working on new initiatives to curb inflation and is expected to announce some of them soon, International Trade & Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday. “Some of these matters (pertaining to the inflation issue) were highlighted by the prime minister during the meeting,” he said when asked to comment on the outcome of his meeting in Putrajaya last Tuesday with Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and other ministers on efforts to curb inflation. “He (PM) also highlighted certain things that must be looked at more closely and what certain ministries and agencies need to do. “Once (Second Finance Minister) Tan Sri Nor (Mohamed Yakcop) comes back to the cabinet with his full report on studies (on the country’s current state of inflation and economy), then the government will decide on the new initiatives to curb inflation and (at the same time) put more income into the pockets of consumers,” he said after an official visit to the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd. Muhyiddin declined to elaborate on the new initiatives other than to say that it will be a package to be announced by Abdullah soon, with some of them expected to be implemented before Budget 2009 is tabled. When announcing his new cabinet line-up recently, Abdullah had said his priority was to support lower income groups suffering from higher prices of consumer goods. Bank Negara Malaysia in its 2007 Annual Report released recently noted that Malaysia was expected to post a higher average headline inflation of 2.5-3.0% this year compared to 2% last year as a result of the pass-through effect of global inflation as well as the continued strength of domestic demand. The central bank said the period of high uncertainty surrounding global growth and inflation prospects was evident from the second half of last year and was expected to continue this year. – Bernama ATUK Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi welcomes Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at Putrajaya. Lim received an assurance that federal projects planned for the state will be fulfilled. Abdullah in return advised Lim to be careful with his words as he was now a government leader. D » Full report Page 4 SHARIL AMIN/THE SUN

Billions spent on Chinese, Tamil schools - NST

PUTRAJAYA: Contrary to popular belief, the Education Ministry has spent huge sums of money on both Chinese and Tamil schools in the past.

The National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 second report card states that since 2006 and up to last year, RM2.27 billion had been given to Chinese schools while RM923 million were for Tamil schools in 2007.

The blueprint also states that nine Chinese schools have been relocated to densely populated Chinese areas for the sake of the community's convenience.

Three schools were also being built, which includes two Chinese schools in Selangor and Kulai, Johor, and a Tamil school in Paya Lunas, Kedah.

Despite the billions of ringgit allocated in 2006, Chinese and Tamil schools received an additional RM174.3 million and RM64.8 million respectively.

For this year alone, the ministry had approved an additional six Chinese schools in various areas while 13 Chinese schools will be relocated to new areas.

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Quotas for Umno nominations stay - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Quotas for nominations in Umno elections are set to stay, party deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.

He said yesterday the December party elections must comply with current party rules.

Commenting on the 30 per cent divisional nominations needed to contest for the Umno presidency, Najib said that unless an extraordinary general meeting was called to do away with the quotas, the elections would have to abide by them. Party rules state that only the Umno supreme council can call for an EGM.

Najib reminded Umno members that while they had the right to contest the party polls, it was also their duty to restore public confidence in the party. "The elections must be conducted in a respectful and orderly manner."

Najib also announced that he would be leading a management committee of senior Umno leaders to go to the four newly captured opposition states and speak to the party rank and file.

Kedah and Penang will be Najib's first two stops on April 10, followed by Perak on April 12 and subsequently Selangor.


‘Rulers just exercising their rights’ - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The recent show of power by the palace in Perak and Terengganu should not be seen as an intervention, as long as the provisions in the constitution are observed, panellists in a forum said.

The forum entitled Interventionist Monarchs: A Complement or A Challenge to Democracy? saw five speakers citing the incident of the appointments of Mentris Besar in the two states as examples to debate the role of the monarch.

PAS think-tank head Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad said in the recent incidents in the two states, the rulers were merely exercising their rights and using their prerogatives.

He said it was not wrong for the monarch to intervene if the role was provided for by the constitution.

“The significance of the (March 8) general election is the empowerment of the monarch. They have realised that they too had been marginalised. Now they are out to assume their role,” he said.

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Muhyiddin: Stop speculating - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Stop speculating that the Prime Minister is stepping down because it creates political uncertainty, said Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said whatever speculation involving the country’s leader was not good and it might be a deliberate ploy by certain parties with ill intent.

“Such talk may affect the country’s image and create worries among local and foreign investors,” said the International Trade and Industry Minister after his official visit to the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) here yesterday.

“Political uncertainties caused by such speculation in any country, will not benefit the country. It will lead to great losses because the people worry what will happen and whether there will be changes in terms of leadership and government. That is what we don’t want.”

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had on Wednesday denied the speculation following calls by some leaders, including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, that he should step down to assume responsibility for the Barisan Nasional’s poor showing in the March general election.

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Gerakan: Free Hindraf five - The Star

IPOH: Gerakan wants the Government to release the five Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) leaders detained in Kamunting under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Gerakan National Legal Bureau chief Datuk Chang Ko Youn said the detention of the five leaders had created unnecessary tension and unhappiness, especially among advocates of democracy and human rights.

“We are seriously against any Act that prescribes detention without trial, such as the ISA and Emergency Ordinance as they are against the cardinal principles and law, that is, each person is entitled to a fair trial and right to be heard,” he said yesterday.

When the five were detained last December, he said, the party had voiced its concern over the repercussions.

“True enough, it was an issue during the March general election and voters turned against us partly because of the use of the ISA against the five Hindraf leaders,” he said.


New Malacca tower to open on Monday - The Star

MALACCA: The state’s next tourist attraction, Menara Taming Sari, is expected to be open to the public on Monday.

Several setbacks in the past had caused a delay in the construction and operations of the 110m tower.

With its peak shaped like a keris, it stands tall in the middle of the busy tourist hub surrounded by heritage museums, shopping centres, and the Malacca River.

The tower was built at a total cost of RM23mil funded by Kumpulan Melaka Berhad and will be run by its subsidiary Melaka Taming Sari Berhad (MTSB).

The air-conditioned viewing cabin, which can accommodate up to 80 people at a time, revolves as it rises from ground level to the top of the tower. It also revolves on its downward journey.

Among the extra services offered are kiosks, a restaurant and limousine services.

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‘Punishing non-Muslims for khalwat against Constitution’ - The Star

PETALING JAYA: It is unconstitutional to punish non-Muslims for committing khalwat (close proximity) as there is no provision in law for it.

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism president Datuk A. Vaithilingam said yesterday that Article 121(A) of the Constitution allowed for separation between the Civil and Syariah courts.

“Khalwat is not recognised (as an offence) under civil law.

“It is not wrong for non-Muslims. Syariah law is only applicable to Muslims,” he said yesterday.

He was commenting on a proposal made during a seminar on Syariah Law review for non-Muslims who commit khalwat with Muslims to also be held liable.

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

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Dr M: Vote Abdullah out in upcoming Umno polls - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno members should vote Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi out in the upcoming party elections if they are concerned about the situation in the party and country, said former party president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said party members should “find a better leader” who was conscious and concerned of the people’s feelings.

The Opposition won many votes in the general election because Umno members voiced their unhappiness against the leadership and made a massive vote switch, he said after launching the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards 2008 organised by the Melawati Rotary Club yesterday.

To a question that an extraordinary general meeting was unlikely to be held to abolish the nomination quota for members to contest Umno’s top posts, and that Abdullah had reiterated that he would not step down as Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir said: “The only way for members, if they really feel strongly about it, is to ensure that Pak Lah gets defeated in the election. Unfortunately, this will result in Umno also being defeated.”

“They say we will split the party if there is a contest. Which is better – to split the party with the possibility of the party coming back, as in the case of Tengku Razaleigh (Hamzah who challenged him in 1987) or lose the (general) election completely and people regard Umno as irrelevant?” he said.

He said that if Abdullah was not going to step down, he should give the people the “chance to make their choice” and convene an Umno EGM.

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