Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ezam meets PM, rejoins Umno -

Former PKR Youth chief Ezam Mohd Nor held a 30-minute meeting with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Parliament today to submit his application form and a RM100 in lifetime membership fee to rejoin Umno.

Najib Welcomes Ezam's Readmission Into Umno - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister and Umno Deputy President Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak Wednesday welcomed the readmission of former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth leader Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor into Umno, and said Ezam's move showed that he had lost confidence in PKR's struggle.

It also showed that Ezam was convinced of the credibility of Umno and that it was the right platform for his political struggle, he told reporters when commenting on Ezam's rejoining Umno Wednesday.

Ezam had handed his application form and RM100 life membership fee to Prime Minister and Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after calling on the latter at the prime minister's office at Parliament House.

Asked about the opposition to Ezam's readmission into Umno from several sections of Umno Youth, Najib said Umno should open its doors to those who chose to support the party.

"If we pick and choose, we will lose many of those who want to support us," he said.

Elaborating, he said Umno's history showed that the party had readmitted many who had opposed it at one time and, as such, Ezam's readmission was not an issue.

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Malaysia posts 7.1 percent economic growth - AFP

Malaysia's economy expanded at an annual rate of 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008, and faces only a modest slowdown later in the year, the central bank said Wednesday.

Bank Negara also announced an easing of foreign exchange rules, in a move it said would boost Malaysia's competitiveness by making it easier to gain access to finance and reducing the cost of doing business.

The strong outcome for the three months to March compared to 5.5 percent growth in the previous corresponding period, and 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. The economy grew 6.3 percent in 2007.

Bank Negara said expansion was broad-based across all sectors, including agriculture which hit 6.3 percent compared with 3.8 percent in the first quarter of last year.

"Generally our forecast for the year of 5-6 percent growth remains," said central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, adding that growth was fuelled by high commodity prices and civil service pay rises.

"The global economy is expected to moderate in the second half of this year... and while the Asian region has done well in this first quarter, including Malaysia, we are likely to be affected," she told a press conference.

"However our assessment is that the underlying strength of our economy is likely to support growth in the second half of the year," she said. "Therefore, while slowdown or moderation is expected, it is expected to be modest."

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Polls talk ploy to prevent defections: Guan Eng - The Sun

GEORGE TOWN (May 28, 2008): The Election Commission's talk about snap election appears to be a plan hatched by certain quarters to prevent any change of government by defections or crossovers, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.

"That's why I think it is important that this is not used as a device because there's some talk that to prevent people from jumping over, they are using the threat of snap election to stop them from doing so," he said in a press conference after announcing a RM115.2 million investment by Honeywell Aerospace here.

"Is this a device? It looks like it to me. They are saying, if you jump over, we can have snap election and you will get defeated," he said.

"Is that the real message they are trying to send out?"

Lim also asked EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman to reveal the identity of the party who had told him that there was going to be a snap election.

"Has he been getting indications from the Cabinet or the prime minister?" he asked.

Lim said it is the government of the day which has the power to call for a snap election and not the EC.

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Dr M flies back to rousing welcome - The Star

VIDEO: Dr M flies back to rousing welcome

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad came back to a rousing and emotional welcome when he arrived here from Tokyo yesterday.

Shouts of Hidup Tun (long live Tun) reverberated as the former Prime Minister addressed and thanked the crowd with a loud speaker from the sunroof of a four-wheel-drive vehicle after he touched down at the Subang airport about 6pm.

Dr Mahathir, had recently quit Umno, the party he led for more than two decades. He was accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.

“Thank you. If I’m not wrong, when I was an Umno member before, the welcome that I received was no different than now.

“When I was an Umno member, I was not treated like one, so there is no difference in becoming a member or not,” he said to resounding cheers.

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Standoff over Cheras barrier - The Star

By Rashitha A. Hamid, Fazleena Azia and Elizabeth Looi

KUALA LUMPUR: Tensions ran high at Bandar Mahkota, Cheras, when hundreds of residents gathered to remove a barricade which was rebuilt early yesterday to prevent access into the area.

Four people were arrested in the incident.

Grand Saga Sdn Bhd, the concessionaire of the Cheras-Kajang Highway, had reconstructed the barricade after it was taken down by the residents a few weeks ago.

A fracas ensued at about 7.15pm when a group of unidentified men armed with sticks and helmets attacked the residents. Several residents were taken to hospital.

Also injured was a photographer from Utusan Malaysia, Roy Azis Abdul Aziz, who was beaten up when he tried to snap some photographs.

Several cars parked at the roadside were also smashed by the group.

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