Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indelible ink 'conspiracy': Report lodged -

Two polls watchdog groups today lodged a police report against Election Commission chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the last-minute cancellation of the indelible ink in the March 8 general elections.

Also named in the police report are two other key individuals who were allegedly responsible for the abrupt reversal in the use of the ink - inspector general of police Musa Hassan and attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.

Dr. Wan Azizah comments on Ezam's decision to rejoin UMNO - NSTP e-Media

Indelible ink fiasco: Poice report against PM, 3 others - The Malaysian Insider

By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 – Looks like Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has another headache to add to his expanding cluster.

At 11.30am today, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) and National Institute for Electoral Integrity (NIEI) lodged a report at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters against the government over the cancellation of the indelible ink at the March general elections.

Faisal Mustaffa and Amin Iskandar, from Bersih and NIEI respectively, in their joint report named the prime minister, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan as the parties responsible for causing the cancellation of the indelible ink, bought at a cost of RM2.4 million from India.

The two non-profit organisations, which have been keeping a close watch on the proceedings of the electoral process and maintain that the last general elections were conducted unfairly, want the named individuals investigated for what they allege was a conspiracy to tamper with the electoral process.

[More at]

Dewan Rakyat: ISA being reviewed - The Star

By Lee Yuk Peng

KUALA LUMPUR: Internal Security Act (ISA) and the deferred Special Complaints Commission Bill, are being reviewed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said.

He said the review of certain sections of the ISA was being re-looked into by Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Syed Albar, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and himself.

Zaid said the Cabinet had tasked them with review in its meeting on May 2.

"There is no plan to abolish ISA as we still need this preventive measure in this country but we are open minded and sensitive toward peoples' demands,'' he said while replying to points raised during the motion of thanks to the Royal Address.

As for the Special Complaints Bill, which originated from the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) bill, he said it was was tabled for first reading in Dewan Rakyat last year.

The bill, scheduled for its second reading on Dec 18, was deferred to this year.

[More at]

Mahathir fires back at Musa and Shahrir - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has shot back at two Umno veterans who criticised him and said their comments "has really tickled my heart."

He took a pot shot at his former deputy Tun Musa Hitam who had described him as 'thorn in the flesh' and chastised Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad whom he said had forgotten how he was allowed to return to Umno after being out of the party.

"Tun Musa Hitam claimed that I was a thorn in the flesh that has now been removed. Has Tun (Musa Hitam) forgotten that he was a thorn in the flesh in Umno back in 1986-1987 when he was the deputy prime minister appointed by me?"

"He resigned as deputy prime minister and Umno deputy president because he wanted me to step down as the Prime Minister and be replaced by him. Following an appeal by Supreme Council members, he returned as Umno deputy president as he still had intentions to bring me down.

"That is why he instigated his worst enemy, Tengku Razaleigh (Hamzah), to fight against me," Dr Mahathir claimed in his blog Thursday.

[More at]

It's for real: Anwar - TODAY

I will get the numbers to grab power, he tells sceptical journalist

By Nazry Bahrawi

A CONFIDENT Anwar Ibrahim met foreign correspondents based in Singapore yesterday and opened the door a wee bit more on his plans to grab power.

Once the former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and now torch-bearer for the Opposition has the numbers to make up a simple majority in Parliament, Mr Anwar said he will call for a vote of non-confidence in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government.

The numbers game is a simple one.

Twenty-nine more seats — that is what his grand coalition called Pakatan Rakyat needs to send an embattled Mr Abdullah and his ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) packing.

But his audience did not seem totally convinced. A sense of expectation mixed with scepticism was evident among the foreign journalists, some of whom have followed his sensational roller coaster political career with professional zeal.

Do you really have the numbers, or is it just good psychological warfare, asked veteran journalist Barry Wain, who is now writing a book on former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Mr Anwar smiled somewhat coyly, then replied: "I've said it on April 14. Yes, we have the numbers." Where does this confidence come from? Not wanting to give too much away, he said it came from reading the mood among the BN backbenchers. As though anticipating the follow-up question, the man who believes he is within kissing distance of becoming prime minister gave an example: Only three or four of Mr Abdullah's diehards — and not 30 or 40 parliamentarians — rush to his defence every time Umno's top leadership comes under attack.

Want more evidence? Well, look no further than what the grand old man of Malaysian politics, Dr Mahathir, said recently.

Said Mr Anwar: "Even Mahathir has conceded: Yes, there is a possibility of Anwar taking over. He didn't say it is going to be a turmoil, or a disaster or politically disastrous for the country."

Earlier this month, Dr Mahathir warned Umno members to take Mr Anwar's threat seriously. In that conference at Putrajaya on May 7, Dr Mahathir said: "I first wanted to dismiss this possibility but on studying the situation I feel that there is a great danger."

With the opposition now controlling 82 out of 222 parliamentary seats, Mr Anwar said he needs just 30 BN lawmakers to cross over for the new opposition government to run the country with a simple majority.

[More at]

MPs refuse to be dictated by Dr M's personal agenda - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: After failing to get even a single Umno MP, including his own son, to walk out of the party with him, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad unabashedly appealed to MPs from Barisan Nasional component parties to do so -- with the same result: zero.

The MPs were wise to the fact that if they did so, they would destabilise the government and help the opposition achieve its cherished goal of forming the government.

But as Dr Mahathir walks alone, lurking in his shadow for an opportunity to pounce is his former deputy-turned-nemesis Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"I do intend to topple the government; we have the numbers," Anwar told reporters in Singapore. "I'm looking forward to early elections," he said, adding that he hoped these would take place before September.

"The moment we are sure we can contest, we move. If you have a one to two majority, the government will be too fragile ... You don't need a two-thirds majority."

He wanted a majority of five or six and saw a vote of no-confidence in Parliament as the best course of action.

Barisan MPs were obviously wiser. They said as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had led the coalition to victory, he should only be disposed of through a ballot -- not by asking BN MPs to become independents.

Opposition stalwarts also dismissed Dr Mahathir's call as wishful, gleefully pointing out that even his son, Datuk Mukhriz, was not taking his call seriously.

[More at]

Mukhriz faces action over call for Abdullah to quit - The Star

By Loong Meng Yee and Teh Eng Hock

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth will refer Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir to the party’s management committee for action to be taken for asking Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down as party president.

Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein hit out at the Jerlun MP, who is also an executive council member of the movement, saying: “Mukhriz pressuring the president to step down is nothing new, but what I am sad and disappointed over and cannot accept is that he set conditions by saying that if the president did not resign by July, he would not hesitate to leave the party.”

In an immediate response, Mukhriz said he was prepared to face any possible action but hoped “we are not told to shut our mouths”.

“I am prepared. Had I not been, I would not have made public statements. As for my position, I have made it known I will remain in Umno. I will also not leave Barisan Nasional. That will be my very last option,” said Mukhriz at the Parliament lobby Wednesday.

He said Hishammuddin had misunderstood his remarks, adding that he had not issued an ultimatum for Abdullah to resign by July because “the cause and effect is not as direct as that”.

“I said the branch meetings would start in July and hoped changes would occur before the meetings start,” he said.

[More at]

Ezam to rejoin Umno - The Star

By Joceline Tan

PETALING JAYA: Former PKR Youth leader Ezam Mohd Nor will be rejoining Umno after receiving the green light from the top Umno leadership.

He will also cease to head the anti-corruption NGO, Gerak, from June 1 in preparation for his return to Umno. Mohd Nazree Yunus has been named to take over as chairman of Gerak.

Sources said he has met both the Umno president as well as deputy president for discussions in connection with his move.

His return to Umno is expected to be announced soon and will be seen as a blow to PKR.

Ezam, 40, was a rising star in Umno when he chose to follow Datuk Seri Anwar Irahim out of Umno after the latter’s sacking in 1998.

He was then Anwar’s political secretary and had also gone to jail under the ISA and OSA.

He resigned from PKR last year after an internal power struggle with PKR vice-president Azmin Ali. At the time of his resignation, he criticised Anwar for his “dictatorial politics” and accused Azmin of being “a schemer who dominates Anwar.”

[More at]