Sunday, June 8, 2008

Anwar: Defections to proceed as planned -

PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim today said that the Sept 16 deadline for a high number of BN MPs to defect to Pakatan Rakyat remained on target.

Rais: More should rap quota for Umno polls - The Star

By Sarban Singh

KUALA KLAWANG: Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Rais Yatim is upset that party members have not come out to openly express unhappiness with the quota system for those wishing to contest posts in the party's top decision-making body.

Rais, who had indicated interest in contesting the vice presidency in the November party polls, said members should be brave and let the leadership know if they were unhappy with the system.

“Since not many are coming out to oppose the system, there are no signs that it would be abolished,” he said.

"The only other leader who has spoken about abolishing the quota is (International Trade and Industry Minister and party vice president Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin). I must say that I am quite unhappy about this."

Under the quota system, a candidate wishing to contest the presidency must obtain nominations from 30% of the 191 divisions, while those vying for the deputy president’s post should bag at least 20%. Those going for the vice presidency must get 10% and for a supreme council seat, 5%.

Rais, who is also Foreign Minister, said the need to retain or abolish the quota syetem was also discussed during the two-day retreat in Shah Alam for supreme council members last week.

The Jelebu MP however conceded that the decision to abolish or retain the quota system should be decided by party members.

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Rising fuel prices: Mega projects to be reviewed - The Star

By Yeng Ai Chun

BUTTERWORTH: The government will review some of the mega projects to reduce the country’s economic burden arising from the impact of the escalating global fuel price.

Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said the review was one of the measures the government had to seriously look into to mitigate the rising fuel price.

“Projects planned by the government were based on the previous costs before the price increase. These projects might cost more now and we need to look over them again.

“But the government would still go ahead with people-friendly (mesra rakyat) projects that bring benefits to the people.

“We would look into everything before making a decision,” he said after launching the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary constituency service centre on Sunday.

On whether the second Penang bridge project would be affected, he said he did not know, adding that no decision had been made (as of Sunday) to cut any mega projects in Penang.

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Govt Working On Several Mechanisms To Offset Fuel Price Hike - Bernama

BUTTERWORTH, June 8 (Bernama) -- The government is working on several mechanisms to offset the fuel price hike and not depending solely on the restructuring of the subsidy package.

Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said due to the escalating crude oil price in the world market, the government had to find other means of easing its burden and that of the people.

He said the government had spent RM33 billion on fuel subsidies and there was no sign that the price would drop.

"The fuel price restructuring has enabled the government to save RM4 billion but when the crude oil price went up to AS$138.54 a barrel (RM450.25) on Wednesday, the saving was wiped out," he told reporters after opening Tasek Gelugor Member of Parliament's service centre at Taman Merbau Indah, Sungai Dua, here today.

He said with the rise in the crude oil price every day, the cost of subsidies borne by the government could reach RM40 billion, a huge sum and as big as one year allocation for development. Nor Mohamed said the geopolitical risk factor following the Israeli threat against Iran could surge the world crude oil price even further.

The government had to consider several other mechanisms to lessen the effects and ensure that the people would benefit from them, he added.

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Malaysia's Anwar says fuel hike aids bid to seize power - AFP

Malaysia's opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim said Sunday his bid to seize power with the help of defecting government lawmakers had been boosted by an unpopular fuel price hike.

Anwar said that at least 30 parliamentarians are willing to cross over to the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance, and that if the opposition gained power, the fuel price would immediately be cut.

"According to our timetable it is still on. Now it is more attractive after the price hike," Anwar said at a press conference after a meeting with members of his Keadilan party's supreme council.

"In the light of the political and economical uncertainties led by the government, we have seen clearly more interest and support for Pakatan Rakyat and this applies even to members of parliament," he said.

"There is absolutely no reason... for them to remain and support the leadership that has failed the nation."

Anwar said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's decision last week to hike the price of fuel by 41 percent and restructure the country's oil subsidy system was an "ill-conceived" plan.

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