Friday, April 25, 2008

Hishammuddin: I take responsibility for the keris waving -

Barisan Nasional Youth chairman Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has acknowledged that the Keris waving incidents were one of the causes of BN's loss in the March general election. He said this after chairing the Barisan Nasional Youth meeting Friday.

Memo to King seeking release -

About 30 supporters of Hindu Rights Action Force gathered at Istana Negara this morning to submit a memorandum seeking a royal intervention to release five Hindraf leaders detained under the ISA.

Hishammuddin Says Sorry For Wielding The Keris - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 (Bernama) -- Umno Youth Chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein Friday apologised to the Malays and non-Malays for wielding keris two years ago.

Hishammuddin said as a responsible party leader, he should apologise if his action in wielding the "Panca Warisan" keris at the Umno Youth general assembly, contributed to the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s losses in five states in the March 8 general election.

He said the keris issue was among those being brought up openly at the Barisan Nasional (BN) youth committee meeting to look at the reasons for the BN's dismal performance in the election.

"I told them that I'm responsible for what I've done. If it had affected the performance (of the BN), we cannot run away from the reality.

"If the issue had affected anyone, I apologise to the non-Malays and the Malays," he told reporters after chairing the three-hour meeting from 3.30pm at the Menara Dato Onn here Friday.

Hishammuddin, who is also Education Minister, said the reality of why the keris was wielded had been manipulated by certain quarters.

"(I apologise) to the non-Malays for making them feel apprehensive about (the keris) symbol, and to the Malays for not being able to defend our symbol of heritage. (The wielding of the keris) is not what it was made out to be," he said.

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Tiada Ahli Parlimen Sabah sertai pembangkang – Musa - Utusan

KOTA KINABALU 25 April – Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) diminta tidak lagi memutar belit fakta mengenai kedudukan Ahli Parlimen Barisan Nasional (BN) negeri ini yang kononnya telah menyokong pakatan pembangkang.

Ketua Menteri Sabah, Datuk Seri Musa Aman berkata, tindakan itu bukan sahaja mengelirukan rakyat malah menjejaskan tumpuan kerajaan negeri dalam usaha membawa lebih banyak pembangunan ke negeri ini.

Beliau berkata, PKR sengaja menyebarkan khabar angin negatif itu kerana mereka tidak mempunyai gerak kerja untuk membela nasib rakyat selepas gagal menguasai Parlimen pada pilihan raya lalu.


We Are Taking The Rumour Seriously, Says Najib - Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, April 25 (Bernama) -- The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government is taking seriously the "threat" that there would be a crossover of 30 or more BN Members of Parliament (MP) to the opposition to enable Pakatan Rakyat to form the government, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said here, Friday.

"There are reports (of the crossover) but we cannot just dismiss the reports. Of course, there is an element of political gamesmanship, nonetheless, we cannot take things for granted," he told a press conference at his office.

He said this when asked on a statement by former deputy prime minister and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Anwar Ibrahim that the opposition had 30 or more MPs who were willing to leave the BN for Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition pact made up of PAS, DAP and PKR.

Following the just concluded general election, the opposition has 82 seats in Parliament while BN has 140 seats. If 30 or more BN MPs were to cross over to the opposition, the country would witness the BN losing the federal government for the first time since the independence 50 years ago.

Asked if BN would take measures to ensure all BN MPs remained with the ruling coliation, Najib said:"We will do something but I won't tell you exactly what we will do, but we will do something."

"We hear rumours (off the crossover) but no one has come and said we are saying goodbye to BN," said the Deputy Prime Minister.

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Subsidy on diesel to go first, says Shahrir - The Star

By Teh Eng Hock

KUALA LUMPUR: The restructured fuel subsidy scheme will see the removal of subsidy on diesel first.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said diesel would soon be sold at the market rate at the pumps when a mechanism to deliver subsidies directly to those entitled has been decided upon.

“We are looking at diesel first, and how to ensure that subsidised diesel gets to the right groups, especially to the transport sector and (those involved in) certain economic activities which require diesel subsidy so that we can cut out leakages.

“Schoolbuses for example. We have to have a mechanism on how to deliver the diesel (subsidy) to the schoolbus drivers so that the cost of transport will not go up,” he said.

Without the subsidy, diesel will cost more than RM2 a litre. The price of diesel at the pump now is RM1.581 a litre.

Shahrir said the move to restructure the fuel subsidy was necessary to ensure the money was not wasted through various ways such as diesel smuggling.

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Shaariibuu’s statement shocks consul - The Star

VIDEO: Altantuya's father speaks to media at PKR HQ

PETALING JAYA: The Mongolian honorary consul-general to Malaysia Datuk Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshi was shocked when he heard that Mongolia would sever political ties with Malaysia if the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case was deemed to be unfair.

He said the Mongolian government had not officially made such a decision.

“I was shocked when I heard that statement on television just now,” he said.

Syed Abdul Rahman said the Mongolians were monitoring the trial very closely.

“The Mongolian prime minister has written to the Malaysian Prime Minister three times but there is still no reply. Mongolia should not be taken for granted,” he said.

Altantuya's father Dr Shaariibuu Setev had earlier told reporters at the PKR headquarters here yesterday that Mongolia would sever political ties with Malaysia if the judgment in the high-profile Altantuya murder case was deemed “irresponsible and unfair.”

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Shabery: PKR MPs more likely to defect to Barisan - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat should not be shocked if its MPs defect to Barisan Nasional instead of the other way round, said Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said Barisan was not worried about its MPs crossing over to the Opposition coalition but it was Pakatan Rakyat that should be afraid.

Asked whether Barisan was worried about PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's statement that many Sabah Barisan MPs were ready to defect to the Opposition given that the state has a history of MPs party hopping, Shabery said: “We are not worried especially with what is being done by PKR. He should realise that the Malays are very angry.

“It's not that I want to play up racial sentiments with regards to pig-farming issues. But is this the priority of the government led by PKR? Does it mean that PKR's efforts to have a clean government and transparency start with a pig-farming project?” he asked.

Shabery, who spoke to reporters after inspecting preparations for the live telecast of the Parliament session, said Pakatan Rakyat component parties shouldn’t be surprised if this will cause their MPs to defect.

He said Anwar had been dreaming for a long time of becoming the Prime Minister, adding it would also be just a dream for him to win over Barisan MPs.

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MP: Anwar is power crazy - The Star

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is power crazy, the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BBC) claims.

BBC deputy chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said the Opposition figure head was trying his best to undermine the strength of the ruling coalition.

Bung Mokhtar said claims by Anwar that Barisan MPs were ready to crossover was a political gimmick that showed that he was suffering from a craze for power.

He said Anwar must accept the fact that Barisan holds the majority in Parliament and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition had lost the general election.

“The people have made it clear that they support the Barisan government,” he said when dismissing Anwar’s claims that the Pakatan Rakyat government had enough Barisan MPs to form the Federal government and it would be done by Malaysia Day (Sept 16).

The Kinabatangan MP said Anwar was using unethical methods to woo Barisan MPs so that he can take over the Government.

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CM: We’ll keep offering posts - The Star

By Shahanaaz Habib

PETALING JAYA: The Penang Government will continue to offer posts to people who are “competent, accountable and transparent” regardless of which political party they belong to.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he was serious about wanting to forge a new paradigm that cuts across the political divide and brings people together, including those “who did not vote for us” to contribute to the betterment of the state.

He said while this was “something new and ground-breaking” he certainly did not expect the move to be “criticised and condemned in such strong terms by top national (Barisan Nasional) leaders.”

“Are we going to grow up and grow out of the outdated mindset? The time has come to look at the content of character rather than colour of skin or the gods you pray to or the respective political beliefs that you hold,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He stressed that the DAP-led Penang government would have no second thoughts about offering other clean and competent Barisan leaders in the state a post.

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Penang Government under fire - The Star

By Christina Chin

PENANG: The state government has come under fire for appointing more political representatives than non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the local councils.

Commenting on the appointment of 48 new Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) councillors, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) vice-president K. Koris said the state was the “birthplace” of NGOs.

“We have hundreds of NGOs to represent the people yet political representatives were chosen instead,” said Koris.

A total of 19 councillors are from the DAP, 15 from PKR and two from PAS. For the first time in over 40 years, six NGO representatives are among the state's local council appointees. The remaining six are civil servants.

He also chided the state for placing “financial gain” above public interest by appointing four representatives from the business community as councillors.

“The new administration has shown itself to be too money-minded by giving four of the six NGO places to representatives from the business sector.”

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Najib regrets Lee chose job over party - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday described the resignation of Gerakan's Datuk Lee Kah Choon from the party as "unfortunate".

"It is unfortunate that he has chosen to accept the positions," he said, referring to Lee's appointment as director of the Penang Development Corporation and investPenang from the Pakatan Rakyat state government.

Gerakan had issued a show-cause letter to Lee on Tuesday.

The next day, the former Health Ministry parliamentary secretary and Gerakan deputy secretary-general, who had quit all party positions two weeks ago, announced that he was leaving the party.

Najib, the deputy prime minister, said Lee's acceptance of the two positions made his membership of a BN component party untenable.

"That is a clearly stated policy of BN," Najib said on the last day of the Defence Services Asia 2008 exhibition and conference here yesterday.

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MIC man: Explain Hindraf 5 detention - NST

GEORGE TOWN: The MIC has called on the government to explain how the five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), now being detained under the Internal Security Act, pose a threat to national security.

Party Youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran said the five should be released if the authorities could not come up with an answer.

"If their detention is simply because of their involvement in street demonstrations, then the government should release them immediately.

"Otherwise, the people should be told what kind of threat the five pose to national security."

The five, M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kengadharan, and K. Vasantha Kumar have been slapped with a two-year detention order by the Home Ministry for their involvement in a street demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25.

Vigneswaran said the call for the release of the five did not mean the MIC condoned street demonstrations.

He said the MIC initially supported action against the Hindraf group to defuse the situation then.