Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Opening of 12th Parliament -

Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin attends the opening of the 12th Parliament.

Bungle in deputy speaker voting forces review of PR pact - NST

By : V. Vasudevan, Suresh Ram, Eileen Ng and S. Kamini


THE de facto leader of Pakatan Rakyat has called on its members to ensure better cooperation, after Monday’s embarrassment when an opposition MP refused to cast a vote for the pact’s candidate for a deputy speaker’s post. Even worse for the pact, 17 of its 82 MPs cast their vote for one of the rival candidates, Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (BN-Santubong).

Blaming the bungle on the pact’s failure to make a stand on the matter, Anwar said he had a discussion with leaders of the Pakatan Rakyat on Monday. “In future, we have to reach a consensus early,” he said after attending the Royal Address.

In Monday’s voting, all the 140 Barisan Nasional MPs voted for the coalition’s candidates. Wan Junaidi picked up 157 votes while his counterpart Datuk Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran) received 140 votes. However, Pakatan Rakyat’s candidate Dr Tan Seng Giaw received 81 votes instead of the expected 82.

Many opposition deputies felt Dr Tan could have been denied the one vote by Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who won his Pasir Mas seat as a Pas candidate but sits in the House as an Independent.

Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang played down the opposition vote bungle. “It shows that there is democracy in Pakatan Rakyat on matters where members could exercise their will. It also shows that we do not force Pakatan members to vote. It is also not a policy matter,” he said.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang said it was clear that the three parties — PKR, DAP and Pas — rooted for Dr Tan.

On the 17 votes to Wan Junaidi, Lim said it showed that opposition members voted only for the first deputy speaker and the votes did not go to the second deputy speaker.

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Royal address: What the MPs say -

The King Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin today expressed his regret over the abuse of subsidies by certain quarters in his opening address at the 12th Parliament.

Anwar 'back' in parliament -

Opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim today said "there is no turning back" in his political career after returning to Parliament after a 10-year absence.

Family To Be Informed After Conversion To Islam - Zahid - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 (Bernama) -- Non-Muslims who are converting to Islam may only have to inform their family after their conversion and not before, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said although he respected the decision of the 18th Syarak (Islamic)/Civil Law Coordination Conference Monday, the government was still studying the issue before making a decision.

"The proposal (by the prime minister that a non-Muslim must inform his/her family before converting to Islam) was acceptable and not rejected by the conference. But the announcement on conversion requires a suitable formula," he explained after the presentation of certificates to trainees of the Baitulmal Skills Training Institute at the International Youth Centre in Cheras, here Tuesday.

Zahid said this was important to avoid suspicions among non-Muslims, and therefore required careful study so that the conversion would not affect the convert's relations with his or her family.

Monday, the conference participants unanimously agreed that a non-Muslim does not need to inform the family first of his/her wish to convert to Islam.

The conference, attended by state legal advisers, muftis, state chief syarie judges and heads of state Islamic religious departments and Islamic religious councils, was held to discuss the proposal to make it mandatory for non-Muslim intending to convert to Islam to inform their family first.

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Utusan Melayu, Two Others Ordered To Pay RM200,000 To Former USM Lecturer - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 (Bernama) -- A former editor-in-chief of the Utusan Group, the Mingguan Malaysia newspaper and Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad were ordered by the High Court Tuesday to pay RM200,000 in damages to a former associate professor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) for publishing a defamatory article about her.

Judge Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus also odered the three defendants to pay costs to the plaintiff, Fatimah Busu @ Che Su, who was previously attached to USM's Humanities faculty.

Mohd Hishammudin said the facts presented before him favoured the plaintiff in this case.

In her suit filed on Aug 26, 1997, Fatimah had named Datuk Johan Jaafar as the first defendant, Mingguan Malaysia (second defendant )and Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad, the publisher and printer of Mingguan Malaysia, as the third defendant.

In her amended statement of claim filed on March 1, 2002, Fatimah, 67, alleged that the defendants had published a defamatory article about her in Mingguan Malaysia's edition of March 2, 1997.

She said the article had smeared her good name and tarnished her image as an academic and literary expert of 20 years, locally and abroad.

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Malaysia: Opposition leader Anwar returns to Parliament, but only as spouse guest - AP

By Sean Yoong

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Ten years after being kicked out, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim returned to Parliament on Tuesday - but only as a spouse guest.

"This is a new beginning. I have entered. I will never leave again," Anwar said after attending the formal opening of Parliament, where he was once deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Anwar was invited as the husband of Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who won a seat for their People's Justice Party and is now the formal opposition leader in Parliament.

Anwar said it won't be long before he is elected a lawmaker in a by-election.

He was ousted from government in 1998 by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in a power struggle amid accusations of corruption and sodomy. Anwar denied the charges, which were widely believed to be trumped up.

The sodomy charge was later overturned but he served prison time after being convicted of corruption.

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Yang di-Pertuan Agong Opens First Session Of 12th Parliament - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 (Bernama) -- The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, today opened the first session of the 12th Parliament following the general election on March 8.

Tuanku Mizan and the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Nur Zahirah, were greeted on arrival at the Parliament grounds by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and their wives, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, respectively. Their Majesties were accompanied by Abdullah, Najib and their wives to the royal stage.

Their Majesties were also greeted by the new Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, and the President of the Dewan Negara, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Pawanteh.

Tuanku Mizan then received the Royal Salute and the national anthem "Negara Ku" was played by the Royal Malay Regiment central band led by music director Major Zailani Mohd Okhtat.

This was followed by the hoisting of the Royal Flag and a 21-gun salute was fired by the 41st Ceremonial Battery.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong then inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by four officers and 102 men of the First Battalion Royal Malay Regiment headed by Major Mohd Radzi Othman.

After inspecting the guard-of-honour, the King returned to the royal stage and received the Royal Salute for the second time, and the "Negara Ku" was played again.

Their Majesties were then accompanied by Abdullah, Najib and their wives into the Parliament House.

At 10.30 am, the ceremonial bell was rung and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong entered the Dewan Rakyat gallery accompanied by the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

Prime Minister Abdullah presented the text of the royal address to the King for the opening of the first session of the 12th Parliament.

The first meeting of the first session of the Dewan Rakyat begins Wednesday. The House will sit for 16 days up to May 27.


Hisham: I am willing to give up political career for Umno - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein explained that he was putting the party first in apologising for waving the keris.

“I took into consideration all aspects before making a decision. It is not as if I only wanted to think about my political position.

“Sincerely, I am willing to sacrifice my political career for the party. We will get nowhere if we continue to have conflicts,” he told reporters after the Umno supreme council meeting yesterday.

He was asked about some Malays who expressed disappointment with his apology and the Muar division which had asked him to resign over the issue

When asked if he was pressured into making the apology, Hishammuddin said there were no pressure whatsoever from anyone.

“I am willing to take the responsibility for anything that can affect the party. I will face the risk.

“The party has to come first before one does something to promote self-interest. Only then the people will see the willingness of Umno to defend Malaysians, especially the Malays,” he added.

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Pak Lah explains meaning of ‘ketuanan Melayu’ - The Star

By Jane Ritikos and Manjit Kaur

KUALA LUMPUR: The definition of ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) is not about the Malays being in a position to dominate, rule over and force their power upon other races, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said Malay supremacy meant that the Malays, as the indigenous people in Malaysia, needed to strengthen themselves to ensure they were successful and developed.

If they are not successful and developed, then they are not tuan (masters), therefore they will be coolies. I am sure we do not want to become coolies who do not play any role in development because we are weak and not able.

“So when we talk about that (Malay supremacy), we mean we must be successful in many fields. It is never about ruling over others, or forcing our power upon them,” he told reporters after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting last night.

Abdullah, who is also Umno president, was asked about Malay supremacy being weakened due to Barisan Nasional’s losses in the general election and because the Malays were split between Umno, PKR and PAS.

He added that there were still matters related to the Malays that needed to be further improved and enhanced, although their successes were evident.

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No formal offer to make way for Anwar - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: No Pakatan Rakyat MP has formally offered to step down in favour of Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“I've been offered informally, but not officially,” Anwar told reporters after attending a dinner hosted by Pakatan Rakyat MPs at Parliament House last night.

Anwar was asked if he would contest in a by-election following the end of the five-year ban on him from active participation in politics.

On speculation that the Opposition might present a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the Dewan Rakyat, Anwar said: “We'll think about it at the right time.”

In his speech earlier, Anwar urged the 82 Pakatan Rakyat MPs to be aware of their responsibilities in Parliament.

He advised them to cooperate with one another and present a stronger voice in Parliament.

Opposition Leader and Permatang Pauh MP Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, who is Anwar's wife, DAP adviser and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who is the Marang MP, also spoke.


Student apologises over Karpal death threat - NST

JOHOR BARU: An 18-year-old college student yesterday apologised to DAP national chairman Karpal Singh for posting a death threat against him on a website hosted by Pas Johor Baru.

The student, accompanied by his father and Johor Baru Pas representative, turned up at the Johor Baru (South) district police headquarters yesterday afternoon and admitted that he was responsible for posting the death threat.

Police recorded a statement from the student and released him.

The death threat had been part of the brickbats hurled at Karpal following allegations that he was a bigot for continuously opposing the formation of an Islamic state.

The student also went to the Johor Baru DAP office and met DAP Johor deputy chairman Norman Fernandez.

He handed over a letter of apology for Karpal to Fernandez.

Fernandez said in the student's handwritten letter, he claimed that he was not aware of the implication of posting the death threat.

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Youth chief's apology 'a bold step' - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has taken a bold step by apologising for raising the kris, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

"He made the apology knowing that there would be many Malays who would be upset," he said after chairing the supreme council meeting at Umno headquarters here yesterday.

"His aim was to clear any misunderstanding among the non-Malays. Datuk Seri Najib (Razak) and I did not advise him on the matter.

"There should not be any accusations about Hishammuddin having a hidden motive. The kris has always been there. I don't want this issue to be politicised further," he said.

Hishammuddin, who is also a supreme council member, said he would take sole responsibility for the consequences of the apology.

"If the Kris Panca Warisan, not the kris Melayu, is still haunted by the perception that it is feared by certain quarters, I will bear the responsibility.

"I am realistic and, if it affects the party, I will ensure that the party is given greater consideration than personal interests," he said.

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PM briefs BN reps on how to perform - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional MPs have been told to be more constructive in their criticism, questions and debates in the Dewan Rakyat.

This was the advice of BN chief Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in a 45-minute BN pre-council meeting at Parliament House yesterday.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the advice was also for senators who attended the meeting.

"He advised us on how to raise and handle issues... and be better prepared in facing the opposition," he said.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Johari Baharum said the prime minister told MPs to be more proactive in their approach.

"He also advised MPs to take care of all their constituents."

Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Kohilan Pillay said Abdullah advised MPs and senators to be on their best behaviour when taking part in proceedings.

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Balkis accounts 'not audited or finalised' - NST

SHAH ALAM: External auditors for the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) yesterday said the charity's accounts for 2007 were never audited or finalised, contrary to claims by Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

The former menteri besar on Sunday said the accounts of the charity for the previous year were finalised, before RM9.9 million was transferred to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti).

Yee Choon Kong & Co, in a faxed statement, said the financial statement of Balkis was unaudited and the accounts not finalised before the funds were transferred.

Company principal Yee Choon Kong said he never issued a duly signed audit report in respect of the conduct and financial affairs of Balkis for the financial year ending Dec 31 last year.

He said the firm was appointed as external auditors for Balkis at the last annual general meeting on June 30 last year.

Yee said his firm, on a number of occasions, had called the treasurer of Balkis, Datin Suraimi Sapuan, to send financial records for auditing.

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