Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dr M says it again: Don't question Malay rights - The Malaysian Insider

TELUK INTAN, June 15 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told non-Malays that they should stop questioning the special rights of the Malays and count themselves privileged, having been given citizenship and other rights in this country.

He urged them to understand history and realise that an agreement was reached before independence in 1957 when the Malays were willing to accept other races as people who could "share the wealth of this land". Part of the formula saw Umno allow MCA and MIC to administer the country.

"Finally, with the agreement of all parties, immigrants were accepted as citizens of Tanah Melayu and people of other races accepted the reality that Malays had special rights as indigenous people of this land. Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra willingly gave one million citizenships to Chinese and Indians. Which country in the world has given immigrants equal rights?

"If the Malays were willing to accept the immigrants we should not let other people now question our rights," he said, drawing applause from a Malay majority audience, at a resthouse in Teluk Intan on Saturday. The speaking engagement was organised by a non-governmental organisation.

Defending Malay rights and painting a doom's day scenario for Malay political power have been recurring themes in Dr Mahathir's speeches across the country since election 2008. He was criticised heavily for playing the race card in a speech several weeks ago in Johor, with Malaysians accusing him of trying to drive a wedge between different races in the country.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali even wondered whether Dr Mahathir was laying the foundation for racial strife with his incendiary comments.

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PM: I'll defend my post! - The Star

By Yap Leng Kuen

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has reiterated that he will defend his Umno presidency in the party elections in December.

Even though he has announced his plans for his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak to take over, he has not decided precisely on the date of handover.

“Anytime doesn’t mean two or three months,” he said at a briefing on Sunday to media leaders attending the World Economic Forum on East Asia here.

Abdullah denied that political uncertainty had negatively impacted foreign investments and he had, in fact, received many enquiries from the Middle East.

On the economy, he said a growth of 5.5% was achievable and that some mega projects could be adjusted while those people-centric projects with immediate impact would be implemented under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

“This will be after the midterm review when we will also introduce new areas of 'soft development',” he said, referring to the corridor developments especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

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Ku Li: Don't mind Najib as No 2, but up to members - The Star

By Nik Naizi Husin

MENTAKAB: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who has offered to contest the Umno presidency in December, said he would not object to Datuk Seri Najib Razak staying on as deputy president.

However, he said he would leave it to party members to decide on Najib's post.

Describing his relations with the Deputy Prime Minister as good, he said he had worked well with Najib back in the days when he (Razaleigh) was finance minister.

Tengku Razaleigh, who is the Gua Musang MP, said “power in the party should be returned to members” by abolishing the existing quota system.

He called on the Umno leadership to be grassroots orientated, with leaders at all levels to be elected by the party. “They should also be able to choose supreme council members without any restriction," he said during a dialogue session with the Umno branch leaders at Dewan Sri Mentakab on Sunday.

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Kit Siang Supports Call For Petronas Accounts Be Made Public - Bernama

ALOR STAR, June 15 (Bernama) -- DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has come out in support of the call by Rembau Member of Parliament Khairy Jamaluddin for Petronas' detailed statement of accounts be tabled in parliament.

He said it would be an appropriate move to explain to the people so that they would understand the real situation of the national petroleum company, besides its responbility to the people.

"The world oil price increase to US$136 a barrel recently is meaningless to the people who are burdened by the increase when Malaysia is also an oil exporter," he told reporters after calling on Kedah Menteri Besar, Azizan Abdul Razak, at Wisma Darul Aman here.

Khairy had recently said that Petronas should make its accounts public so that the people would not endlessly question its contribution (to the economy), its oil output and production cost.

Lim, who is also Ipoh Timur MP, said the increase by 41 percent of petrol price in the country and 63 percent for diesel since June 5 was too high for an oil-exporting country like Malaysia.

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Malaysia Islamist party pushes for sharia penalties - Reuters

By Niluksi Koswanage

KAMPUNG PULAU MELAKA, Malaysia (Reuters) - A leader of Malaysia's Islamist party, which made surprising gains in March elections, wants its secular allies to apply strict sharia law, which include amputations and stonings for Muslims.

The hardline Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) has enacted such laws in its Kelantan stronghold to punish rapists and adulterers with stoning to death, while thieves would lose their limbs.

However, the country's Federal government has barred PAS from enforcing the laws.

PAS and other opposition parties wrested control of five of Malaysia's 13 states in the March election as voters punished the ruling coalition for concerns ranging from rising crime to racial tensions.

But analysts have said it would be tough for PAS to broaden its appeal due to its advocacy of the punishments called for by strict Muslim religious law, known as sharia or hudud, which scare off non-Muslims who see the party as a fundamentalist clique.

"Islam is a moderate, soft religion," PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat told Reuters late last week in the northeastern state of Kelantan, the party's stronghold for the past 18 years.

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Abdullah: Terengganu to manage the 5% oil royalty once again - The Star

By R.S.N. Murali

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Federal Government has agreed to revert the management of the five per cent oil royalty back to the state government.

The payment of oil royalty to the state stopped in 2000 when the opposition took control of the Terengganu.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made the much-awaited announcement yesterday after a closed-door meeting with state Umno leaders and high-ranking Government officers at a hotel here yesterday.

“The handing over of the royalty will be done once a detailed summary on the matter, including the procedures of how the royalty should be channelled to the state’s coffer, is done.

“The Federal Government agreed today to return the royalty payment but we have to outline the procedures, measures and other particulars,” he said.

The issue of oil royalty came up when Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said recently asked the Federal Government to hand over the management back to Terengganu in a bid to implement more people-oriented projects.

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Dr M: Why cut subsidies and then reduce toll rates - The Star

By Christina Koh

TELUK INTAN: There is no point in reducing toll rates when the Government has already cut fuel subsidies, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Responding to reports that toll rates would likely be reviewed to lighten the burden of people, the former prime minister said it would be a case of money moving from “the left pocket to your right pocket”.

“What use is cutting fuel subsidies and yet increasing subsidies for tolls and other expenses?” he told a public forum entitled The Future of Malays in Malaysia yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said that the Government had to pay compensation to the concessionaires, adding that a thorough study should be done to determine if the move was truly viable.

On the fuel price increase, Dr Mahathir said the move was inevitable, noting that crude oil had increased to US$138 (RM441) per barrel from US$30 (RM96) when he first took over as prime minister.

Dr Mahathir said that while the fuel price increase could not be avoided, it should have been done gradually to lessened its effects on the people and give them time to make adjustments.

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