Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ka Ting: Non-Muslims are not to be subjected to any form of Syariah law - The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (April 30, 3008): By Husna Yusop

Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (BN-Kulai) suggested in the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) today several measures to deal with the various messages sent out by the voters in the recent general election.
On the religious rights of non-Muslims, he said the last three years witnessed an unprecedented number of religious matters involving the constitutional rights of non-Muslims with controversial cases like the late M. Moorthy and Gan Eng Gor, Lina Joy, detention of Revathi and the custody battle for the children of S. Shamala and R. Subashini.

“In situations involving non-Muslims who became a Muslim due to marriage, they should be allowed to renounce Islam when the marriage has ended.

“Similarly, if a child who was unilaterally converted to Islam by one parent without the consent of the other parent, the child should be allowed to maintain his or her own religion.

“This is until he or she attains the age of majority by which he or she is free to enter into a religion of his of her choice,” the MCA president said in his speech when debating the Royal Address.

He also brought up incidences whereby statements were made that the proposed legal amendments will affect and protect both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Urging the government to be transparent to avoid a repeat of the cases above, Ong said non-Muslims are not to be subjected to any form of Syariah law.

“And, for any disputes or overlapping areas between the jurisdiction of the civil and Syariah courts, civil laws must prevail,” he added.

Ong said in the case where one parent embraces Islam, the religion of a minor must be decided by both parents.

“Should a dispute on the child’s faith arise, the religion must remain as status quo until the child reaches the age of majority that is 18 years upon which the child decides.

“In the event the convert dies, the property comprised in the estate of the deceased prior to the date of conversion should be subject to the civil laws of inheritance and succession for the time in force,” he added.

On gender issues, Ong said the government must make a full commitment to adhere to Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which assures equality before the law.

“Malaysian citizenship must be granted to children of all Malaysian mothers, irrespective of her marital status or place of residence. Denying her children the rights is both unjust and unconstitutional.”

On the establishment of a judicial commission, Ong expressed hope for it to devise a stringent vetting process of candidates to avert any accusation that only the connected are being considered for appointment of judges.

He also said the commission should be allowed to recommend candidates to be appointed as magistrates and sessions court judges.

Currently, they are appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission which is an executive body of the Attorney-General.

“There is concern that if this mechanism is still being used and not substituted by the new independent judicial commission, the magistrates and judges will be accused of not being independent if they should rule against the government even though their decisions are correct in the eyes of law,” he added.

Wan Azizah: Abolish ISA - The Star

PM's silence made Dr M look right - Malaysiakini

News Daily April 30, 2008 - The Star

MPs looking forward to the 12th parliament - Malaysiakini

Motion to discuss Terengganu petrol royalty rejected - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: April 30, 2008

An emergency motion tabled by Salahuddin Ayub (PAS - Kubang Kerian) in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday saw all Opposition MPs and an Indepdendent MP standing up to support him after speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia rejected his motion.

Salahuddin tabled the emergency motion to discuss the petroleum royalty signed between the Federal Government and the Terengganu state government since 1975.

Pandikar Amin rejected the motion saying the motion was specific, of public interest, but there was no urgency.

On a normal day, the house would move on to discuss other matters.

However, Salahuddin cited a clause from the Point of Orders and seeking the support of more than 15 MPs on the issue.

A total of 81 Opposition MPs stood up to show support, including independent MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali.

However, Pandikar Amin still ruled that the motion was of no urgency, saying that even if he were to allow the house to debate the motion, the situation would not change overnight.

Citing an example, Pandikar Amin said: "If I do not allow the motion to be debated and this will cause uproar and chaos on the street tomorrow, I will allow the motion.

"In this case, such a scenario will not take place. You can debate the matter in your speech later,'' he said and dismissed the motion again.

Tee Keat probes ERL deal - The Sun

PETALING JAYA (April 30, 2008): Terence Fernandez

The new administration of the Transport Ministry is probing the events leading to the contract which requires airline passengers from KL International Airport to subsidise the operations of the Express Rail Link (ERL).

Its minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat has requested information from Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) on monies remitted from airport tax to Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERLSB) which operates the service, following an expose by theSun last week.

The front-page report quoted sources as saying that airport tax of RM45 (international) and RM6 (domestic) at the KLIA and RM35 (international) and RM6 (domestic) at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang could be cheaper but for a deal between ERLSB and the government.

Under the concession agreement signed in 1997, a portion of airport tax, RM2 from domestic travellers and RM6 from international travellers, goes towards financing the ERL’s construction and operations.

The service began operations in 2002, and air travellers have been unwittingly subsiding the ERL irrespective of whether they used the service or not.

“I am taking a special interest on this issue and I want to get to the bottom of this agreement,” Ong told theSun. “I have asked my officers to get me the documents.”

He said he has asked MAHB to furnish him with details, while ERLSB has also submitted a brief report on the deal.

“As Transport Minister, I am duty-bound to ensure that all agreements which concern public transport are in the best interest of the public,” he said, when told of ERLSB’s refusal to reveal details of the agreement and how much it has received from the taxing of airline passengers over the last six years.

Conservative figures put it at RM80 million a year, a figure which ERLSB has refuted. It has declined to reveal what the real numbers are, saying it’s a private company.

Ong said it was too early to reveal what he had learnt so far but assured the public that he will do so once his investigations were complete.

“I need time to pore over the documents and the fine print. I will get legal and expert opinions on the agreement before taking the matter up to the cabinet,” he said.

ERLSB operates under a 30-year concession, including the option to extend for another 30 years to own and operate the ERL.

YTL Corporation holds a 50% stake in ERLSB, while Tabung Haji Technologies Sdn Bhd owns 40% and the balance held by NadiCorp Holdings Sdn Bhd.

More polls petitions filed in 4 states - NST

More polls petitions filed in 4 states

IPOH: April 30, 2008

An election petition has been filed at the High Court here, seeking to declare null and void the result of the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary seat which was won by Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz.

Rafidah won the seat by a majority of 1,458 votes, defeating Perak Pas deputy commissioner Dr Khairuddin Abd Malik.

Khairuddin, when contacted by the New Straits Times yesterday, said the petition was filed on Monday afternoon by a voter from Kuala Kangsar.

He said the voter had called into question the decision of returning officer Datuk Mohd Razali Jalal, who accepted Rafidah's nomination papers despite her not signing two of the three nomination forms.

When asked why he himself did not file the petition, Khairuddin said it was not a requirement for him to do so.

In Kuching, a voter and a defeated candidate filed petitions to declare the Bandar Kuching and Sarikei parliamentary election outcomes as null and void.

Kho Whai Piaw, a 54-year-old voter, wants the court to declare the election of Chong Chieng Jen in Bandar Kuching as null and void on grounds of undue influence.

Kho claimed that Chong was guilty of undue influence by using his blog to induce non-Muslim voters to vote for him.

Meanwhile, defeated DAP candidate Wong Hua Seh is seeking to declare the election of Ding Kuong Hiing in Sarikei as null and void on grounds of breaching and/or non-compliance with the provisions in the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003.

In Alor Star, Pas' candidate for the Belantek state seat, Muhammad Sanusi Md Noor, has filed a petition seeking a declaration that he was the victor. Muhammad Sanusi, who lost to BN's Tajuddin Abdullah, wants the postal votes to be omitted from the count.

In Sabah, at least seven petitions were believed to have been filed by the Opposition and Independent candidates.

Datuk Patrick Sindu, who contested the Papar parliamentary seat, is seeking to oust the winner, Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, claiming serious misconduct and irregularities during the campaign and on polling day.

It is also understood that Parti Keadilan Rakyat has filed at least four petitions, while the DAP has filed a petition challenging the result of the Sandakan parliamentary seat.

Petitions have also been filed challenging the results of the Pensiangan and Kota Marudu parliamentary and Api-Api, Petagas, Kundasang, Inanam and Bingkor state seats.

Among those who could be affected if the petitions were allowed are Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Dr Maximus J. Ongkili (Kota Marudu), International Trade and Industry deputy minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong (Sandakan), Rural and Regional Development deputy minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (Pensiangan) and Sabah Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai (Api-Api).

Anwar ugut saman Samy RM100 juta - Malaysiakini

Apr 30, 08 12:26pm

Selepas siri-siri saman terhadap beberapa tokoh BN, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tidak terlepas menghadapkan tindakan perundangan itu terhadap presiden MIC berhubung satu berita di sebuah akhbar harian dua minggu lalu.

Penasihat PKR menuntut Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu memohon maaf dan menarik kenyataannya di Berita Harian pada 15 April yang menyebut, antaranya, Anwar menggalakkan "penyokongnya menggunakan pelbagai taktik kotor pada pilihanraya umum" dan "negara akan lebih aman dan makmur jika tiada kelibat manusia seperti Anwar."

Menurut peguam mantan timbalan perdana menteri itu, Sankara Nair berkata jika Samy Vellu gagal berbuat demikian dalam tempoh 48 jam, beliau akan memulakan saman bagi menuntut RM100 juta.

Surat tentang perkara ini diserahkan kepada presiden MIC semalam.

Dalam akhbar tersebut, Samy Vellu dilaporkan berkata Anwar "menggunakan ugutan, tekanan, paksaan dan menakut-nakutkan pengundi bagi menjamin kemenangan calon pembangkang."

Bekas menteri kerja raya itu dipetik sebagai: "saya sudah lama kenal dia. Ini cara mereka meraih undi."

Parliament proceedings disrupted - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: April 30, 2008

Proceedings at the 12th Parliament started 30mins late Wednesday morning as Opposition MPs raised several procedural issues, with led to some name-calling between representatives.

First Gombak MP Azmin Ali asked about why Barisan Nasional representatives were allowed seven questions, and Pakatan Rakyat only three.

Based on the number of backbenchers each coalition had, he said Pakatan should have been allowed six questions.

Then Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh brought up the issue of MPs not following the proper process in oath-taking and also questioned the seating arrangements.

This led to an altercation between Karpal and Bung Mokhtar, with Karpal calling the Kinabatangan MP "Big Foot."

Bung Mokhtar hit back, saying, "If I'm Big Foot, you're a Big Monkey."

This was the first time Parliament proceedings were telecast live.

Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek later said he may have to reconsider the live telecast of Question Time at Parliament.

He said the morning's delay was probably because some MPs "were playing to the gallery."

Don’t take Kah Choon’s move lightly, says Dr M - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: April 30, 2008

The decision by former Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon to accept a job under the Penang DAP Government should not be taken lightly by Barisan Nasional if it wishes to survive and regain the people’s support, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former prime minister said in a letter that Lee might be motivated by a genuine desire to work for the good of Penang and Malaysia but, “it may also be because loyalty to Barisan is now based on personal gains or fear of punishment of some kind.”

He said this was especially so among the leaders and there was no genuine love for the objectives said to be the raison d’etre for the coalition’s existence.

Dr Mahathir added that if the Opposition were able to provide a good government, look after the interests of ordinary people, and lead a Spartan lifestyle, those who voted for them out of anger against Barisan would transfer their loyalty permanently to them.

When that happens, he said Umno and the other component parties could forget about recapturing the states they lost to the Opposition and their turncoat members would remain turncoats who would actively work against Barisan in the next elections.

“To lose once is bad but to lose a second time is an unmitigated disaster,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said unless drastic action was taken now there would not be enough time to rehabilitate Umno and all the other component parties for the next general election.

Anwar Ibrahim - Finally Back in Parliment (29 April 2008)

Anwar 'back' in parliament - Malaysiakini

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shahrir defends Umno's 'Ketuanan Melayu' - The Sun

PETALING JAYA (April 29, 2008): By Kong See Hoh

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad has poured cold water on Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)'s rally cry of "Ketuanan Rakyat" (people's supremacy), saying "Ketuanan Melayu" (Malay supremacy) cannot be done away with unless the Federal Constitution, which accords the natives their special rights, is amended.

Said Shahrir: "In fact, it depends on how people interpret it (Ketuanan Melayu). To me, Ketuanan Melayu is linked to the survival of the sultanate system. To abolish "Ketuanan Melayu" means to change the constitution to do away with the sultanate system in favour of the presidential system."

Shahrir, who was appointed Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister recently after an absence of 20 years from the cabinet, told Sin Chew Daily this when asked to comment on PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail's remark that if her party comes to power at the federal level, party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will champion "Ketuanan Rakyat" and not "Ketuanan Melayu".

Shahrir said he is not of the view that the sultanate system can be maintained as part of the "Hak Istimewa Melayu" (Malay special rights) (if Ketuanan Melayu) is replaced with Ketuanan Rakyat.

He said Ketuanan Melayu determines the present facets of the country and keeping the sultanate system is part of Ketuanan Melayu as prescribed under Article 153 of the constitution.

Shahrir said only by reforming the present government system, to one of presidential system, can Ketuanan Rakyat be practiced. Otherwise Ketuanan Melayu is not to be denied.

Ketuanan Melayu cannot be denied, because the constitution has institutionalised a system of Constitutional Monarchy for Malaysia. If the Ketuanan Rakyat as espoused by PKR is implemented, where will the sultans be?" he asked.

He felt that Ketuanan Rakyat that is being bandied about by PKR is just a political catchphrase.

He said Ketuanan Melayu is something that exists under the constitution. What Umno is doing – in shouting for Ketuanan Melayu – is just defending the concept of Malay special rights as enshrined in the constitution.

He said although the sultans do not have executive power, they still have power (over their territories) as indicated by the flexing of power by state rulers in the selection of mentris besar in some states recently.

"This shows that sultans have their power and role under the system of constitutional monarchy, otherwise why should Pakatan Rakyat (PR) compromise (on the selection of mentris besar?

"If Pakatan is championing Ketuanan Rakyat, it would not have compromised," he said.

Meanwhile, Wan Azizah begged to differ, saying the so-called "Ketuanan Melayu" is a phrase coined by Umno, and has nothing to do with the special rights the constitution accords the Malays in language, religion and land matters.

She said Ketuanan Melayu is just a concept and when Pakatan Rakyat proposed to replace it with Ketuanan Rakyat, the coalition did not intend to abolish the system of constitutional monarchy – in other words, there is no change to the position of the Malay rulers.

Speaking to Sin Chew, the parliamentary opposition leader said: "We did not ask that Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees the special position of the Malays, be abolished.

"When we talk about Ketuanan Rakyat, apart from the special rights enjoyed by the Malays, we want all the people to enjoy equal rights.

"We reject Ketuanan Melayu because PR wants to be a government which looks after all the people, and not for a particular race to reign supreme."

Wan Azizah stressed that as a Malay and a Muslim, it would be wrong under Islam for her to ignore non-Muslims who need help.

She said she believed Shahrir said what he said to defend Umno.

SWOT test for BN - The Sun

April 29, 2008 by Tan Siok Choo

ANALYSING Barisan Nasional’s (BN) strengths and weaknesses as well as identifying the opportunities and threats (the SWOT test) it could encounter after suffering significant reverses in the recent polls suggests going forward, this country’s political landscape may be defined by what the ruling coalition does or fails to do.

One of BN’s major strengths is its claim to be the only political party able to safeguard the interests of all ethnic groups. Until recently, BN was successful in positioning itself as a bulwark against Chinese chauvinists and against Muslims calling for the application of Shariah law for all Malaysians. It is this fear factor that enabled the ruling coalition to perpetuate its political dominance.

Unfortunately for BN, its claim was undermined by the success of Keadilan, PAS and DAP in persuading the electorate their collective offer of multi-ethnic protection was superior. For example, Keadilan’s proposed Malaysian Economic Agenda is based on need rather than ethnicity.

This non-racial approach appealed to many urban voters. As several analysts have noted, for the first time, large numbers of Chinese and Indian voters cast their ballots for PAS candidates while Malay voters returned the favour for those on the DAP slate.

Another of BN’s strengths is its track record of winning power at federal level, thus ensuring its ability to dispense federal largesse and facilitate development. Although this may have attracted voters in less affluent states, for those living in Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, this "carrot" had passed its "sell by" date.

BN’s major weakness, however, is many of its members joined the coalition, not because of a commitment to common values but by the prospect of sharing power. But if BN’s political invincibility has been dented – whether temporarily or irrevocably remains to be seen – will its members stay together?

Prior to 1971, top leaders in Umno, MCA and MIC – members of the then Alliance – shared the same vision and a strong personal bond; a bond forged during tough negotiations in the months before Independence over special rights for the Malays as well as more liberal citizenship requirements for non-Malays.

In the 1969 elections, when the Alliance lost its two thirds-majority, ceded control of Penang and was stalemated in Perak and Selangor, it co-opted opposition parties like the Gerakan, PPP and PAS into an enlarged coalition, a move that side-stepped the need to deal with root causes of voter disaffection.

Today, can the BN utilise the same enlargement tactic to offset its electoral losses? More important, can BN afford to ignore the rising chorus of complaints by supporters of Gerakan, MCA, MIC and PPP that being members of the ruling coalition caused these parties’ near annihilation in the recent polls?

It is tempting to argue the opposition parties’ success signals Malaysians are ready to abandon the comfort of race-based political parties. This assumption may be premature.

For voters in urban areas, the dominant sentiment appeared to be an urge to teach the arrogant BN a lesson. This suggests the election was an indictment against the ruling coalition rather than an endorsement for opposition parties.

Furthermore, the 322,461 spoilt votes and 72,058 unreturned ballots suggests some constituencies were lost by BN, rather than won by opposition parties. And in nine parliamentary seats, these spoilt votes and unreturned ballots could have changed the outcome.

Since opposition supporters were strongly motivated to ensure victory for their candidates, they were unlikely to have deliberately wasted their votes. It is reasonable, therefore, to assume most of the spoilt votes and unreturned ballots were the work of BN supporters.

There were 14 parliamentary seats where the number of spoilt votes exceeded the winners’ majority. And in another seat – Hulu Langat in Selangor – the spoilt votes plus unreturned ballots outnumbered PAS’ majority.

Of these 15 parliamentary seats, six were won by BN while Keadilan, PAS and DAP collectively secured nine. But for the spoilt votes and unreturned ballots, BN could have secured 179 parliamentary seats and retained its two-thirds majority.

While the challenges the BN faces are apparent, the results of the recent polls also offer a unique opportunity.

Going forward, Keadilan, DAP and PAS will have to deal with the same conflicting pressures that Umno, MCA and MIC continually grapple with. For example, DAP can no longer try and outbid the MCA and Gerakan for support among the Chinese community without jeopardising Malay support for Keadilan and PAS.

Similarly, Umno should benefit significantly from Keadilan and PAS’ commitment to a non-racial approach on issues, a move that should reduce competitive pressure for Malay support.

Furthermore, DAP (with its call for a Malaysian Malaysia), and PAS (with its commitment to establishing an Islamic state), are an ideological mismatch. Together with Keadilan, all three are currently united by the prospect of sharing power. Whether the pragmatism displayed by DAP and PAS will continue to prevail over ideological purity is an open question.

In short, the results of the 12th general election have thrown up a near perfect symmetry – the challenges the opposition parties now face provide an opportunity the ruling coalition must seize if it hopes to remain politically relevant.

Opinions expressed in this article are the personal views of the writer and should not be attributed to any organisation she is connected with. She can be contacted at Comments:

Nation's interest above all else - The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (April 29, 2008): by Husna Yusop and Llew-Ann Phang

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin opened the first meeting of the 12th Parliament today, with a call to all lawmakers to have the nation's interests as their primary objective and not use the Dewan Rakyat for their individual political interests.

He expressed the hope that they will discharge their duties and responsibilities "with dedication, sincerity and honesty and show exemplary conduct".

"The people's respect for and confidence in Parliament as the supreme legislative body depends on the role played by the members of parliament. Use this august House as the stage to put forth constructive criticism and enlightening views," he said in his royal address.

Tuanku Mizan asked all quarters to take on the responsibility of ensuring unity among all the races and thwart attempts to disunite the people because the success of the nation resulted from political stability and racial solidarity.

Although the King did not elaborate on this in his address, the 11th Parliament had seen debates where some parliamentarians had made sensitive remarks that had offended certain communities, and some of these remarks became fodder for political campaigns during the last general election in which the Barisan Nasional (BN) lost its two-thirds majority and control over five states.

The royal address also touched on many matters of state. They include:

> Subsidies and other forms of assistance as a response to rising fuel prices
He said the government would strive to retain such assistance to enable the people face the consequences of rising world fuel prices. He said more than RM36 billion has been allocated for the purpose and so far various forms of subsidy and assistance had been made available to offset higher prices for goods and ease the burden of expenditure on the people.

The King said he was saddened to learn that certain quarters had abused the subsidy facility by hoarding essential goods and also smuggling them out of the country to make huge profits for themselves. "These are despicable acts which impose difficulty on the people and violate their rights."

He also reminded the people to be prudent in spending.

> Revamp of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and the setting up of a parliamentary committee on anti-corruption.
"I hope these efforts will raise the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of measures to wipe out corruption in the country," he said, adding that the economic achievement and development enjoyed thus far would be meaningless if corruption, abuse of power and irregularities continued to take place.

> Judicial reforms
This reflected the commitment of the government to ensure that the judiciary is just, respected and independent of any influence "A just and effective judicial system is important for raising the people's confidence in the national judicial system."

> Five regional economic development corridors
The King wants these regional projects to benefit all the people because they were not confined to specific areas but covered the whole country, and had the potential to create more than 12 million jobs in various sectors.

> The economy
"I extend my congratulations to the prime minister for leading the nation to economic success in the face of external challenges such as a moderate world economic growth, rising world crude oil and food prices, and stiff competition in terms of trade and investment."

He said the country's economy exceeded the 6% target to register a growth of 6.3% last year and the per capita income rose to more than RM23,000 while the inflation rate was kept low, at 2%, and the rate of unemployment maintained at 3.3%.

Tuanku Mizan said he also wanted the government re-evaluate the priorities accorded to the development programmes and projects of the ongoing Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) during the mid-term review of the plan so as to achieve the objectives of the National Mission.

"I appreciate the determination of the government in the implementation of the development projects under the 9MP. Up to last March, RM81.7 billion or a sum equivalent to 40.8% of the total allocation of RM200 billion, has been spent.

"This has given a positive impact to the nation's economic growth, particularly in the construction sector and construction-related industries. I hope this rate of sustainable growth can be maintained."

> Eradicating poverty
Tuanku Mizan said he was proud of the government's success in reducing the poverty rate to 3.6 per cent compared to the 75% when the nation achieved its independence, with the hardcore poverty rate having dropped to 0.7%. "I am confident that hardcore poverty can be wiped out by 2010."

> On social ills
The King wants the government to adopt firm integrated measures to fight social ills to ensure that human capital development and spiritual growth were in accordance with the Islam Hadhari (Civilisational Islam) approach. "I view with concern social ills such as drug addiction, deviation of faith and so on which can undermine the sanctity of Islam."

Gobind tells Kairy to apologise for 'beruk' remarks - The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (April 29, 2008):

Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) has challenged Umno Youth vice-chief Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) to apologise for calling Coalition for Free and Fair Election (Bersih) rally participants "beruk" (monkeys) last November.

"He should follow the example of his chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein who apologised for the keris act.," he told a press conference after the opening of the First Session of the 12th Parliament today.

"He has not disputed that he used the word against the rally participants and in fact, he threatened to sue me when I used this during my campaign before the March 8 general election.

"What Hishamuddin has done is perhaps the beginning of what the Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders should do. It is very degrading and unacceptable to address Malaysians as that. Khairy should take responsibility for it, own up and apologise," he said, adding that he is prepared to face Khairy in court.

Asked if the PAS spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat should also apologise to Barisan Nasional (BN) members for calling them "orang utan" in early February, Gobind said: "If the statement made had offended the people of BN, then the right thing to do is apologise."

At this point, his father Karpal Singh who was also present drew laughter when he quipped: "Well, the BN did not make a big fuss for an apology. Maybe what he said was right."

Jeff Ooi's car towed away in Parliament - The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (April 29, 2008):

Jeff Ooi (DAP-Jelutong) has a bone to pick with the Home Ministry and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).

Ooi had arrived in his wife’s seven-year-old Proton Wira in Parliament at 9.35am with a green sticker for him to park at Section E.

"When I arrived, I asked the police where this section was and they told me they did not know.

"I found a spot but I was told that I could not park there, probably because I was only driving a Wira and the spot could be occupied by a Mercedes-Benz or any bigger car," he said at a press conference in the Dewan Rakyat lobby today.

Ooi was instructed to park just outside the police post at the entrance and exit of the Parliament.

"However, after the proceedings, my car was missing and it was towed away. After some query at the post, the police made some calls and found that my car was towed by the Kuala Lumpur traffic police and not City Hall.

"This is a blatant dereliction of duty and double standards on the part of the Home Ministry and the IGP. It is an obstruction of the duty of MPs who have a respectable duty to listen to the Royal Address and debate on it when sitting convenes."

Anwar Happy To Be Back At Parliament, Accompanying Wife

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 (Bernama)

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is happy to be back at parliament after 10 years, although this time it is to accompany his wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the opposition leader in the Dewan Rakyat.

Anwar said it was the start for him and told his friends that he would be there always and that now was the right time for him.

"Overall, parliament is better now but the traditions and atmosphere are still the same," he told reporters after a luncheon with Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah in his capacity as the spouse of Dr Wan Azizah, after the opening of the first sitting of parliament's 12th session by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, here Tuesday.

Dr Wan Azizah, the PKR president, attended the luncheon with Tuanku Mizan and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Asked about the difference between appearing as the spouse of an MP and as a cabinet member previously, Anwar said 10 years was a long time and it made him feel humbled and respect for the opposition leader.

Asked whether he met the other MPs, Anwar said: "I am happy to meet some of my old friends including in the cabinet, they said very nice things. I greeted most of them...the prime minister, deputy prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak), Speaker (Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia) and ministers Datuk Nazri (Aziz), (Datuk Seri) Hishammuddin, (Datuk Seri) Syed Hamid (Albar)."

Anwar said he was pleased that Dr Wan Azizah, the MP for Permatang Pauh, was now the Opposition leader and his daughter, Nurul Izzah, 27, the youngest MP.

Asked on the possibility of him becoming an MP, Anwar said: "Now that I'm here, I'll stay and there's no turning back.

"I don't think there'll be much of a problem but we have to discuss with the other parties in the Pakatan Rakyat first. It's too early now."

Is there an ‘-ism’ uniting the Pakatan Rakyat?


After 50 years of Merdeka the people deserve to have choices, and hopefully a two-party system divided by some kind of ideological difference will emerge.

MANY people feel that the Pakatan Rakyat is nothing more than a cynical “marriage of convenience,” an alliance fuelled by a lust for power and money that will crumble within a couple of weeks.

While I have to agree that the Pakatan’s increasing proximity to the apex of power – namely Putrajaya – has made it more united, I’d also argue that there are some powerful ideological forces at work in the three component parties, and that these political philosophies do mesh.

If I am right (but let’s face it, I have been very wrong in the past!) the Barisan Nasional must respond to the Pakatan in an ideological and philosophical manner as well as politically.

Essentially, the Barisan has to figure out where it stands and what it stands for. Mere “politicking” – scare mongering, cancelling and or delaying federal development projects and threatening racial strife – is old school.

Such primordial, Mahathir-era strategies will not work going forward.

Indeed bullyboy tactics will only allow the Pakatan to stress its victimisation – thereby aligning its treatment at the hands of a mean-spirited, ungenerous Barisan with the rakyat’s sense of marginalisation.

This combination could prove fatal for the Barisan’s chances going forward.

Of course, the obstacles dividing the three Pakatan parties are formidable and we are right to be sceptical, but only up to a point. In the past, the Gagasan Rakyat and Barisan Alternatif withered under Mahathir’s scorn and the sheer brute force of the Barisan directed administration.

Certainly, the DAP, PKR and PAS’ difficulties over the formation of the Perak government and the ongoing Karpal Singh vs ‘Everyone Else’ spat over the Islamic State suggests that the Pakatan is by no means out of the woods.

There is no doubt that the “Islamic State issue” will remain the core ideological challenge facing the Pakatan.

Now, all of these concerns are perfectly valid, but a deeper analysis of the historical and ideological roots of the three parties reveals that they have much more in common than we give them credit for.

Let me begin with the DAP. We are all familiar with the DAP’s social democrat origins. As the “Malayan” half of the PAP after the 1965 Separation, the DAP inherited the socialist rhetoric without Lee Kuan Yew’s mean-spirited real politic.

Moreover the DAP has been a long-term member of the Socialist International, the worldwide grouping of socialist political parties that includes both the British and Australian Labour parties.

PKR’s socialist roots are even easier to identify.

The party came about after a merger between Keadilan and Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) in 2002.

The PRM itself was a successor of the old Malay leftist parties, such as the Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM) and Socialist Front of the Merdeka era – the late much-loved writer/academic Rustam Sani being an important link in the chain.

The presence of the old PRM leadership within the PKR (such as Deputy President Syed Husin Ali) shows that the latter has more capacity for “socialist” thought then we are willing to acknowledge.

Its worth mentioning at this point the obsessive focus on Umno in our mainstream media has side-lined a newly emerging force, namely, the Malay “left”.

If one wants to understand this world, it’s worth reading work by writers such as the late Rustam Sani, the historian Farish Noor and watching Fahmi Reza’s ground-breaking documentary.

At the same time we shouldn’t forget Anwar Ibrahim and his friends and allies from ABIM (including Kamaruddin Jaffar who’s since become a prominent PAS leader) have had a deep and abiding commitment to social justice and equity, albeit with an Islamist tinge; witness their protests back in 1974 over the poverty and hunger of Baling’s rice-farmers.

While the PKR’s socialist roots are relatively well documented, PAS’ connection with these political ideas is less well known.

The party is often mischaracterised – incorrectly – as a purely Islamicist political force.

However, a deeper examination of the party’s roots will reveal that pre-Hadi Awang, PAS had strong leftist inclinations.

Certainly, it’s often forgotten that prominent Malay “alternative” leaders such as Burhanuddin Helmy once played a major role in PAS.

Today’s PAS is dominated by the ulama and they are generally wary of all “-isms” with the exception of Islam-ism.

Figures such as Nik Abdul Aziz, Abdul Hadi Awang and the much feared Harun Din have done their utmost to eradicate Burhanuddin and his successor Asri Muda’s contributions to the party.

Nonetheless, the younger generation of PAS leaders – technocrats like Husam Musa, Nizar Jamaluddin and Nasaruddin Mat Isa – are clearly more attune with left of centre issues.

They’ve been careful to identify with the oppressed and the marginalised – the many Malays left behind by the Umno juggernaut – formulating their party’s manifesto around populist issues that resonate on the ground.

Of course over the past decades there has been an on-going vilification of socialism and other leftist ideas, often in the name of “defending” Muslims against the concept of atheism inherent in more extreme political ideologies such as communism.

Still, socialism, populism or social justice – call it what you will – is a vital unifying theme for the Pakatan.

Moreover this kind of rhetoric cuts across racial lines, since the dispossessed are themselves ethnically heterogeneous.

As this becomes the core ideology around which the Pakatan coalesces, I hope that we will in future be able to talk about a “Social Democratic” Pakatan which will in turn force the Barisan to respond by finding its own political “centre”.

Interestingly, the Barisan with its more moneyed, property-owning, aristocratic and traditionalist ethos will evolve hopefully into a Malaysian version of the British Conservative party or indeed the American Republican party – both of which are enormously successful political organisations.

I know this all sounds slightly far-fetched but the prospect of a genuine two-party system divided by some kind of ideological difference is a very exciting prospect and after 50 years of Merdeka the people deserve to have choices.

Ideologies aside though, the final lesson is that both coalitions will need to gradually make their way to the centre if either is to capture enough of the “middle ground” to rule effectively.

Anwar back in Dewan Rakyat - The Star


Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who made his first appearance in Dewan Rakyat after 10 years said now that he had stepped in, he will never leave.

Anwar, who is also the husband of new Opposition leader Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was at Dewan Rakyat to attend a special lunch for MPs and their spouses after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong opened the 12th Parliament.

Asked when he would be back in Dewan since he could now contest for a seat, he said:

“This is a new beginning; when I get in, I will not come out. I told my friends now that I am here, I will stay, and there will be no turning back."

Asked if he was seated at the same table as the King, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and if he chatted with the Prime Minister, Anwar said:

“No, I just said hello to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as I was seated at the table where the other spouses were sitting with the Queen. The Opposition leaders sat with the King,’’ he said.

Asked when he was planning to make a comeback, Anwar said he needed to discuss the matter with Dr Wan Azizah and other leaders first.

“It is still too early. Give her some time. Now is the time for the Opposition MPs to carry out their responsibilities accordingly,’’ he added.

Dr Wan Azizah said that when the time was right, her husband would contest, but for now, he had come to Parliament as a respectable leader.

On how he felt watching the ceremony from the spouses' gallery, Anwar said: “It is okay, I have accustomed myself. The fact is I have been away for some time now. Ten years is a long time.

“But I feel good to be back to accompany the Opposition leader. I managed to talk to some of my old friends, including those in the Cabinet. They said very nice things and they were polite,’’ he added.

Anwar said he was very proud that both his wife and daughter were in Dewan. “My daughter, who is the youngest MP, has to perform to ensure that we are a strong opposition, as we need to ‘shake’ Parliament,’’ he added.

On Dr Wan Azizah's claims that he had not received any invitation for today's ceremony, he said apparently, the letter was not sent, adding that he was told that it was sent somewhere else.

“But on late Monday evening, we received the letter. I thank Azizah for reminding them. I also thanked the Speaker when I met him,’’ he said, adding that it was most probably a case of miscommunication.

Gerakan branch leaders rap party adviser, defend Lee - The Star


A group of leaders from Kuala Lumpur-Federal Territory Gerakan are unhappy with party adviser Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik for calling former deputy secretary-general Lee Kah Choon a "political frog."

Kuala Lumpur-Federal Territory Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Tan Kwee Kwong was especially vocal, accusing the former party chief of causing a lot of damage to the party and urging him to quit.

Dr Lim was very critical of Lee after he accepted the Pakatan Rakyat-led Penang state government's offer to become InvestPenang executive chairman and director of the Penang Development Corporation.

This led to a show-cause letter being issued by the party, to which Lee did not respond; he instead resigned from the party. He was by then only a regular member, having quit all official Gerekan posts to take responsibility for the party's poor showing in the March 8 general eklection.

Speaking about Dr Lim's censure of Lee, Dr Tan said, "We regret that a capable leader who was deemed fit to be a potential Chief Minister of Penang by the party leadership just 60 days ago, was now being deemed 'inexperienced' and labelled an 'opportunist'."

"We regret that a capable leader has been forced out of the party as a result of the action by Dr Lim.

"By giving unsolicited advice publicly over party matters over the past few months, he has done a lot of damage to the party's image," Dr Tan said, adding that Dr Lim should quit his post as party adviser and not interfere in party affairs.

"Perhaps he should now retire graciously and devote more time to his family," he added.

Dr Tan also said he would not stand for state and division level elections. The Segambut Gerakan division chairman said he would however retain his post as Taman Bunga Gerakan branch chairman.

"I make the decision to make way for other people in the party and to concentrate on my business. I came to this decision after much consultation and thought," he told a press conference by a group of Kuala Lumpur-Federal Territory Gerakan leaders at the Federal Territory Gerakan office here Tuesday.

Asked whether he planned to contest for top posts at the national level, he said, "I don't know. There are many more months to go."

Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon earlier said that majority of the party members wanted its elections to be held this year, contrary to its January decision to postpone it to next year.

Be vigilant, Anwar tells opposition - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: April 29, 2008

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim called upon Pakatan Rakyat members, leaders and elected representatives to be vigilant and cautious in whatever they do.

He said this was necessary as Umno was going through internal problems and would seek to deflect this by making a big issue of any mistakes the tripartite coalition made.

In a speech at a dinner for opposition party members at the Parliament complex, he also called upon the opposition members to shed their shackles and old beliefs and make the Dewan Rakyat more effective.

Stepping into Parliament grounds for the first time in 10 years, Anwar said that despite these and other challenges faced, he was confident that the three opposition parties would be able to forge ahead in a stronger position.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said he would call upon the government to give the opposition leader's post ministerial status.

"I can propose changes as I am no longer the opposition leader," he said.

Lim also called for reforms in the legislative body, saying its function and status must be reflective of the separation of powers between the executive and the legislative.

"A true separation of powers will enable us to carry out our task in a more effective manner," Lim said.

Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the Pakatan Rakyat MPs' role would be to advise the government of their various functions and duties.

"It is our duty to advise the government as we represent the people who voted us in."

Abdul Hadi said opposition MPs should not let their guard down despite their large number, adding that they needed to be united in order to function in an effective manner.

Student apologises over Karpal death threat - NST

JOHOR BARU: April 29, 2008

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.

"He expressed remorse for his action and promised that he'll not post any more offensive messages on the Internet.

"The student, who is from a humble background, hopes that Karpal will withdraw the police report he had lodged at the Penang state police headquarters on Saturday," Fernandez said.

Penang police had transferred the case to the Johor Baru police headquarters as the death threat had been posted here.

Following the media publicity surrounding the death threat, Pas had apologised to Johor DAP for allowing the comment to be posted on its website.

The party had also apologised for the incident in a statement posted on the website,, on Saturday.

It had also removed the death threat.

Pas Johor commissioner Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamad had also stressed that the comment did not reflect Pas' stand.

No formal offer to make way for Anwar - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: April 29, 2008

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.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Stop Holding Emergency Meetings, Abdullah Tells Umno Divisions

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 (Bernama)

All Umno divisions have been urged to stop holding emergency meetings to demand a power transition in the party before December.

Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said it was better for such moves not made because the leadership had understood the wish and views of the grassroots towards the government.

"What the people want is for us to focus on matters relating to the people's interests with the energy that we have.

"The people support us because we have programmes that we will carry out. If we do not carry them out, however strong the party may be the people will not accept it.

"So, our promises to the people must be honoured," he told reporters after chairing an Umno Supreme Council meeting here Monday.

Abdullah said internal party problems should not be let to absorb into the responsibility to the people.

"Democratic processes in the party will run during December elections. At the time, we cast our votes. No need to blow it out, no need.

"Actually, we know them all and all people know what they are doing, what they are capable of, what they can do, what wrong they have done, what their shortcomings are.

"The time will come for us to meet and at that time, we will decide what should be decided," he said.

Abdullah said if the move to hold an emergency meeting was aimed at sending a certain message to him pertaining to a power transition, it was not necessary because many statements on the matter were published in local newspapers.

So far, three Umno divisions -- Cheras, Gua Musang and Batu Pahat -- have held emergency meetings calling for the power transition to be speeded up.

Asked on the number of votes received by Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar during the election for the post of Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker, Abdullah said it was a good development.

It showed Wan Junaidi's appointment received backings from opposition members of Parliament (MPs), he said.

Wan Junaidi who is MP for Santubong obtained 157 votes during the secret ballot whilst Barisan Nasional MPs totalled 140.

Anwar's Claim Of Defection By BN Reps Proven Untrue - Mohd Ali

MELAKA, April 28 (Bernama)

The claim by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that a number of Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentarians would be party hopping to join Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition, has proven to be untrue.

Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the smooth swearing-in of the MPs with no defections from the BN, for the first sitting of parliament's 12th session, which began Monday, proved that the BN representatives had the integrity that they could be proud of.

"I congratulate all the BN MPs who took their oath as they have upheld the people's trust and proved that Anwar's instigation and boast about defections from BN were nothing more than empty talk," he told reporters here Monday.

Also sworn in Monday was former Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker. He is from Kota Belud, Sabah.

As expected, Mohd Ali said, Anwar's claim was mere political gimmick which got himself trapped.

Last week in Kota Kinabalu, Anwar was reported to have said that several BN MPs had decided to join Pakatan Rakyat and what was withholding them was only the time factor as they had not been sworn in.

Mohd Ali, who is an Umno vice-president, believes that the Pakatan Rakyat itself would face problems as the opposition coalition parties -- PKR, PAS and DAP -- have different policies and ideologies.

Kelantan Wants Federal Govt To Apologise, Pay Compensation

KOTA BAHARU, April 28 (Bernama)

The Kelantan government wants the federal government to apologise and pay compensation for failing to channel a special fund to the state government, which it should have, in accordance with democratic principles.

Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said since PAS ruled Kelantan after the 1990 general election, the federal government had failed to provide a special fund for low-cost housing and purchase of equipment for the local authorities in the state.

"Terengganu is now asking for its oil royalty back. We too have the right to ask (for allocations or assistance) as we should be receiving it.

"Other states get (allocations), so why not Kelantan as we are living in a democratic country," he told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony for Kelantan state assemblymen at the Kota Darul Naim Complex, here Monday.

Nik Aziz, who is also PAS' spiritual leader, said he was making the call as the federal government had now realised its past mistakes and was willing to apologise for them.

He said this included its willingness to make ex-gratia payments to former Chief Justice Tun Salleh Abas and five other senior judges who were sacked during the 1988 judicial crisis.

Hisham told to show sincerity - The Sun

PETALING JAYA (April 27, 2008):

Several Chinese community leaders want Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to show that he is sincere in apologising over the keris incidents.

They said if he is sincere, he should use his position as the education minister to demonstrate that he is not a racist but a leader for all Malaysians.

Hishammuddin can walk the talk by, for example, reopening the original SJK (C) Damansara, reverting back to the use of mother-tongue language in the teaching of science and maths, they said.

They said unlike the kissing of the keris, which is done solemnly and gently, by kings during coronation ceremonies, Hishammuddin's wielding of the keris at Umno Youth's annual assemblies had strong racial overtones.

On Friday (April 25), Hishammuddin admitted the raising of the keris during the wing's annual assemblies was among the causes of the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s poor performance in the general election and apologised to non-Malays over the incidents.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) president Datuk Bong Hon Liong told Oriental Daily News Hishmmuddin's apology is "a good beginning" but felt that if he wants the Chinese to change their view about him, he has to walk the talk and show that he can look after the interest of all races.

Bong said Hishammuddin had promised before the general election to reopen SJK (C) Damansara and hoped it can be done this year.

KLSCAH chief executive officer Tan Ah Chai told the daily he has reservations about Hishammuddin's sincerity, saying the latter's action looked more like a political gesture. He said Hishammuddin did not really understand why people were not happy with him over the keris incidents.

Apart from wielding the keris, the people are not happy with his arrogance and body language while raising the weapon.

He said Hishammuddin's actions carried strong racial overtones.

Hua Zong (Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia) president Tan Sri Lim Gait Tong said in a statement that "Hua Zong would accept Hishammuddin's apology if it is made because he realised that his wielding of the keris has hurt the feelings and sensitivity of non-Malays and not just because theBN has suffered a big setback in the general election".

Lim hoped that Hishammuddin would consider the views of the masses in handling educational issues, especially the use of mother-tongue language in the teaching of science and mathematics.

Zaid: ISA unacceptable - The Sun

PETALING JAYA (April 28, 2008): By Kong See Hoh

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim says he finds the Internal Security Act (ISA), which has been regarded as draconian by the Opposition and the legal fraternity, unacceptable.

"I am against any unjust and harsh law, and ISA and OSA (Official Secrets Act) are unacceptable to me," the de facto law minister said of his stand on the two Acts during an interview with Nanyang Siang Pau.

"In fact, I have stated my stand (on these laws) in my books," he said.

ISA, a preventive detention law, was enacted on Aug 1, 1960, to replace the Emergency Regulations Ordinance 1948 that was meant to curb communist activities. It was amended in 1972.

Any person may be detained by the police under ISA for up to 60 days without trial for an act which allegedly prejudices the security of the country or any part thereof.

After 60 days, one may be further detained for a period of two years each, to be approved by the Home Minister, thus providing indefinite detention without trial.

Last Saturday (April 26), Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said preventive laws, such as the ISA, will not be abolished as they were needed for the purpose of maintaining public order.

He said countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom too have introduced such preventive laws.

"It (ISA) is not for the purpose of carrying out injustice but to protect the public's right to live in comfort without fearing for their lives," Syed Hamid said in response to a claim by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would abolish preventive laws should they rule the country.

On Islamic laws, Zaid stressed all laws should be able to address the dissatisfaction and problems of various races in the country.

He pointed out that in a multiracial country, the government should seek the views of the people, instead of acting unilaterally.

"For example, in formulating the Federal Territories Islamic Family Law, the government must make sure that it also takes care of the interest of the non-Muslim community.

"Any party which proposes to charge a non-Muslim with zinah for committing adultery with a Muslim should state clearly under which law and section can this be done.

"No one should be allowed to express their views without basis," he said.

He, however, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, as the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, "is the right man to answer any question regarding Islamic laws".

Zaid, who owned the country's largest law firm, Zaid Ibrahim & Co, before he gave up his practice upon being appointed a cabinet minister, agreed to the view that had the Barisan Nasional (BN) not suffered a big setback in the March 8 general election, the government may not have agreed to institute judiciary reforms.

Since his appointment to take charge of law, he has, apart from pushing for the judiciary reforms, proposed that the federal government apologise to victims of the 1988 judicial crisis.

Although the government has stopped short of apologising to the former judges, it has agreed to compensate them.

Zaid said he accepted the government's decision, saying an apology can take many forms.

Nazri: Good time for parliamentary reforms - The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (April 28, 2008):

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nazri Aziz, who is in charge of parliamentary affairs, today conceded that now's a good time for the government to consider former Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang's call for parliamentary reform.

“The prime minister has already announced measures on judiciary reform, more independent Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and the likes. So, this is a good time for a reform in parliament. But, this is something to ask the PM, not me,” he said.

Since 2004, the DAP had been calling for parliamentary reform and modernisation for Malaysia to have a “First World Parliament” not only in infrastructure, but mindset, culture, practices and performance.

Among others, Lim had proposed live telecast of parliamentary proceedings, daily two-hour question time and Prime Minister’s Question Time twice a week.

With the number of opposition MPs up from 20 in the last parliament to 82 now, this is the closest the country has ever got to a two-party system.

A step in the right direction would be the decision to have live-telecast of the first half hour of question time starting Wednesday (April 30).

Nazri said MPs from Barisan Nasional (BN) must be more prepared to face their Pakatan Rakyat (PR) counterparts because they will be "asking questions in detail, not like before". "I believe there will be more check and balance now,” he said to reporters after the swearing-in of parliamentarians today.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said MPs from both sides have been given the mandate to represent the people in the Parliament.

“As far as I am concerned, we are all representing the rakyat. And BN has got the mandate to govern and respond to questions, including those posed by the opposition,” he said when asked to comment on the opposition’s bigger representation in the Dewan.

“They have their responsibility as an opposition and ours is to govern. So, both sides have got a role to play. The opposition, with the bigger number of seats that they have, they may want to speak or criticise more but it is our (BN MPs) duties to respond accordingly,” he added.

Earlier, after the swearing in of 222 MPs and two newly-elected deputy speakers, Syed Hamid proposed a motion for parliament to ask the Inspector-General of Police to ensure roads leading to the parliament building are not closed or obstructed during the parliament session.

“We want to avoid any disturbances or chaos on the roads or at the parliament building as this will disrupt traffic flow of MPs coming to the parliament,” he said.

His motion was supported by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

The result of the 12th General Election saw BN winning by a simple majority of 140 parliamentary seats while Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) took 31, DAP 28 and PAS 23.

Opposition leader Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh) said she expects debates to be more upbeat, adding that priority would be given to issues like the economy, corruption and the judiciary reforms.

Asked if a motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister can be expected, she said: "At the moment, no."

PKR Information Chief Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) said: "We are waiting for the debates to come. Even in the first round, we have seen some competition, so I think we can expect more debates. I am expecting the parliament to have a more refreshed atmosphere and I’m looking forward to having good discussions."

PKR wants more oral questions - The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (April 28, 2008):

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) wants the Dewan Rakyat to allot six questions to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs in the allocation of 10 daily oral questions.

PKR vice-president and Chief Whip Mohamed Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) told a press conference today with PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh) that the house's administration failed to realise that the PR members outnumbered the Barisan Nasional (BN) backbenchers.

"There are 82 PR members and only 77 BN. The house can only accommodate 10 oral questions daily and based on the ratio between PR and BN, it would be wise for the Speaker to allocate six questions for PR members and four to BN for every oral question to be answered by a minister,” he said.

"PKR is disappointed with Parliament's administration for not recognising and respecting the position of the Opposition Leader (Wan Azizah). "The first written question tabled for April 30, was not given to Wan Azizah as it is normally the case in other democratic countries like Britain,” he said.

Mohamed Azmin produced his copy of the Parliament’s Standing Orders which showed that Wan Azizah’s question was slotted for third in proceedings.

He said he raised these concerns in an official letter to the Parliament Secretary and added that he would be meeting with Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to address his concerns.

“It is further disappointing to note that the Opposition Leader was not given an official invitation to the swearing-in ceremony today (yesterday). She was only given a letter, and her spouse was not invited to the ceremony.

“All the MPs were given an invitation card with the official Parliament emblem bearing the MP’s name and his or her spouse. Wan Azizah was only given a letter but there was no invitation for her husband, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.

Other PKR MPs present in the press conference include Wan Azizah’s daughter Nurul Izzah (Pantai Dalam), Wee Choo Keong (Wangsa Maju), N.Gobalakrishnan (Padang Serai) and Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan).

Ahli 'ajar' pemimpin Umno dalam p'raya - Malaysiakini

Apr 28, 08 4:17pm

Mantan perdana menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata ramai pemimpin Umno menemuinya selepas pilihanraya umum lalu dan mengatakan presiden Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi patut berundur.

"Tetapi apabila tibanya mesyuarat Majlis Tertinggi, tiada siapa pun yang berani membangkitkan isu ini kerana takut dituduh tidak menghormati presiden dan parti.

"Jadi presiden tidak akan mendapat maklumat yang sebenarnya, tetapi hanya yang sedap didengar telinganya (presiden)," tulisnya dalam kolum - 'Che D.E.T Menulis - keluaran terbaru tabloid politik - Era Baru.

Sehubungan itu Dr Mahathir mengulangi cadangannya supaya ditubuhkan majis penasihat presiden.

Sebelum ini, setiausaha agung Umno Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor dilaporkan menolak cadangan tersebut dengan alasan Umno sudah ada biro politik dan jawatankuasa pengurusan parti yang masing-masing dipengerusikan oleh Abdullah dan Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Tengku Adnan juga dilaporkan berkata beliau juga tidak faham dengan cadangan tersebut.

Mengulas perkara tersebut, Dr Marathir berkata, jika tidak faham kenapa tergesa-gesa menolaknya.

‘Kerana takut'

"Apakah ahli biasa Umno tidak layak lagi untuk memberi apa-apa pandangan?

"Adakah yang layak dan pandai hanya presiden, timbalan presiden, naib presiden, setiausaha agung dan ahli majlis tertinggi sahaja?" soal Dr Mahathir.

Katanya, inilah masalah Umno dan kepimpinan parti yang ada sekarang di mana pemimpin dan ahli tidak lagi boleh menyuarakan apa-apa pendapat melainkan sokongan terhadap presiden parti.

"Sesiapa yang menyuarakan pendapat yang berlainan, atau membantah apa-apa keputusan, maka dia akan diherdik dan dicerca seluruh barisan kepimpinan Umno di dalam media massa, dihadap ke jawatankuasa disiplin," katanya.

Kerana takut, tambahnya, tidak ada mana-mana ahli pun yang bersuara.

"Tidak ada ahli yang menegur walaupun mereka sedar kepimpinan parti sudah jauh menyimpang dari perjuangan asal Umno.

"Ahli yang tidak puashati berdiam diri dan protes secara senyap.

‘Ajar pemimpin'

"Pada pilihanraya baru-baru ini, ahli Umno yang tidak puashati, tidak bersuara. Sebaliknya apabila mengundi, mereka undi parti lawan kerana protes dan hendak 'ajar' kepimpinan parti," kata Dr Mahathir.

Katanya mereka berbuat demikian kerana hendak tunjuk yang mereka sudah benci dengan kepimpinan Umno.

Akibatnya, kata beliau, Umno dan Barisan Nasional (BN) jatuh di empat negeri, tidak berupaya menawan Kelantan dan 'rebah' di Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.

"Walaupun menang di Perlis dan Terengganu, kepimpinan Umno, khususnya presiden parti ditolak Raja-Raja Melayu di kedua-dua negeri ini apabila istana dengan cara terbuka menolak calon menteri besar cadangan perdana menteri.

"Di Johor, usaha usaha (untuk) tukar menteri besar ditolak istana awal-awal lagi sebelum pun diadakan pilihanraya.

"Umno, khususnya presiden Umno ditolak oleh oleh ahli Umno, rakyat biasa serta Raja-Raja Melayu," tambahnya.

Mengenai majlis penasihat itu, Dr Mahathir berkata, ia perlu kerana ahli parti tidak boleh percaya kepada satu individu sahaja, dengan memberi kuasa yang begitu besar kepada individu tersebut.

‘Semak dan imbang'

Pada dasarnya, jelas beliau, ia bertujuan bertindak sebagai badan yang diberi kuasa bermusyawarah dan meluluskan keputusan yang diambil presiden.

"Ini bagi mengelak salahguna kuasa oleh individu yang berkepentingan. Walaupun kita sudah ada majlis tertinggi dan pelbagai biro, tetapi anggotanya terdiri daripada orang yang dilantik di kalangan yang berjawatan dalam parti.

"Sudah tentu mereka tidak berani menegur. Oleh itu, majlis pensihat ini mungkin boleh dianggotai golongan profesional dan ahli Umno yang berwibawa tetapi bukan dari kalangan mereka yang dilantik oleh bahagian supaya ia dapat berfungsi secara bebas," tambahnya.

Dr Mahathir berkata,mungkin juga pindaan perlembagaan Umno diperlukan untuk mengikat keputusan presiden parti kepada majlis penasihat agar terdapat ‘semak dan imbang' dalam urusan pentadbiran.

Dengan itu, katanya, presiden tidak boleh melakukan pelbagai perkara dengan sewenang-wenangnya.

Who did not vote for Tan Seng Giaw? - NST

KUALA LUMPUR, MON: April 28, 2008 - Bernama

The election for the two posts of deputy speaker proceeded smoothly, but many were puzzled why DAP national deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw only managed to get 81 votes when there were 82 Opposition representatives in the Dewan Rakyat today.

After the sitting was adjourned, media representatives especially, were trying to find out who among the Opposition MPs did not cast his/her vote for Dr Tan, a dermotologist by profession.

There were three candidates vying for the deputy speaker posts. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi nominated Datuk Wan Juniadi Tuanku Jaafar (Santubong) and Datuk Ronald Kiandee (Beluran) while DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang only named Dr Tan.

Wan Junaidi received 157 votes, Ronald (140) and Dr Tan (81) after all MPs cast their votes through ballot paper.

When met later, Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said all Opposition MPs voted for Dr Tan, except one.

She said that since the Opposition had only submitted one name for the two posts, it was only natural that they had to vote one of the BN MPs as the deputy speaker.

“All of us cast the votes, except one, for Dr Tan Seng Giaw. There are two names for deputy speaker, all of us voted for Dr Tan,” she said.

“We only nominated one, not two. So it is only natural they have to vote one of them. It’s doesn’t matter, actually,” said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (Bagan).

MPs, your presence matters - The Star

April 28, 2008 By SHAILA KOSHY

Physical presence is needed for the usual voice vote. But now, a fellow MP shouting louder to compensate for an absent voice is not going to cut it any more.

STAND up and be counted, that will be the message constantly drummed into the minds of Members of Parliament of both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. Their physical presence is crucial after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong opens the 12th Parliament tomorrow.

The presence of BN MPs or backbenchers is vital to ensure the Bills the Government tables are passed or Standing Order 46(4) could be used by the Opposition to scupper government Bills and motions.

Physical presence is needed for the usual voice vote. But now, a fellow MP shouting louder to compensate for an absent voice is not going to cut it any more.

“It may be possible that when a Bill is going to be passed, there are more Opposition MPs than backbenchers,” says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

“After the “ayes” and “noes” have been taken, it is certainly open to any one of them, if they are dissatisfied with the result announced by the Chair, to call for a division of votes under Order 46(4).

“If 15 or more members support the call, the division will be taken after the bell has been rung for two minutes to allow MPs elsewhere in the building the opportunity to return to the Dewan to state their vote,” said the Minister in charge of Parliament, who adds that he will be cracking the Whip to surmount the problem of absenteeism.

Just like in school, there will be “monitors” to check against truancy and indiscipline (use of offensive and unparliamentary language).

Apart from the calling for a division of votes, the two other most important Standing Orders in the Dewan Rakyat this Parliament, with Barisan Nasional having only a simple majority and so many new MPs, will be those calling for quorum and asking for clarification.

Standing Order 13(2) on quorum will be the one that the Opposition will be using to embarrass the Barisan government and leadership.

Previously, it was quite a common sight to see members relaxing in the MPs lounge or chatting in the canteen cut their conversations in mid-sentence, leave their teh tarik and kuih and make an Olympic-like dash back into the House when the bell for quorum is rung.

According to Order 13(3-4), the Chair is obliged to adjourn the sitting until the next sitting day, if there is no quorum two minutes after the summons was made.

Although the number of members has increased from 216 to 222, the quorum remains 26 as long as there is no amendment.

And since the Opposition make up 82 this time to Barisan’s 140, of whom only 79 are backbenchers, the latter cannot afford to play truant or the day’s sitting could be adjourned after just two hours, wasting the taxpayers’ hard-earned monies and drawing ire from the Whip and the public.

In previous Parliaments, a few Backbenchers have resorted to the same order towards the end of the day’s sitting when an Opposition MP is trying to table a motion to adjourn the sitting to discuss a matter. They can also do it this time if Opposition MPs decide to play truant.

An oft-cited order by Opposition MPs is Standing Order 18(1) by which members ask for leave to move for an adjournment of the day’s business to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance.

An MP wishing to move a vote of no confidence might be able to use this. However, the Chair will only allow the motion if he is satisfied that all three criteria – definite, urgent and public importance – have been met.

With so many MPs in the House of Representatives, those wanting to debate or ask supplementary questions may find they will have to be wily as well as knowledgeable of the Standing Orders to catch the eye/ ear of the Chair.

An important one to know is Order 37 as it prescribes how and for what purposes interruptions may be allowed.

Under 37(1)(a), a member who wants to raise a point of order must rise in his place, direct attention to the point and submit it to the Chair for decision; and 37(1)(b) states that an MP may seek clarification on some matter raised by the member speaking, if the Chair has called on the member wishing to interrupt and provided that member is willing to give way.

PKR: Azizah bukan ketua pembangkang lemah - Malaysiakini

Apr 28, 08 1:07pm

Presiden PKR Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail - dengan gayanya yang lemah lembut dan tidak agresif - tidak akan menjadi ketua pembangkang yang lemah di Dewan Rakyat, kata naib presidennya Mohd Azmin Ali.

"Walaupun dalam kelembutannya tetapi mesej yang akan disampaikan itu cukup tegas untuk memastikan agenda reformasi diteruskan.

"Dan saya percaya beliau sedang menyiapkan ucapan sulungnya yang akan disampaikan pada pertengahan minggu depan," kata Azmin, yang juga ahli parlimen Gombak, dalam wawancara dengan Malaysiakini, Jumaat lepas.

Wan Azizah, ahli parlimen Permatang Pauh, terpilih sebagai ketua pembangkang selepas partinya menguasai 31 kerusi, manakala DAP 28 dan PAS 23.

Beliau mencipta sejarah sebagai ketua pembangkang wanita pertama di parlimen. Ketua pembangkang sebelum ini Lim Kit Siang, seorang tokoh utama DAP, memegang jawatan itu hampir tiga dekad.

Sesi pertama penggal ke-12 bermula hari ini dengan upacara angkat sumpah semua anggota Dewan Rakyat dengan dimulakan dengan yang dipertua dewan Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia dan diikuti perdana menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Seramai 222 ahli, termasuk 82 ahli parlimen Pakatan Rakyat, menyertai upacara itu di depan yang dipertuanya pagi ini.

Ia diikuti timbalan perdana menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, menteri-menteri kanan dan menteri-menteri yang baru sebelum disusuli ahli-ahli Dewan Rakyat.

PKR: Hisham tidak jujur isu keris - Malaysiakini

Apr 28, 08 12:29pm

Pergerakan pemuda PKR menyifatkan permohonan maaf ketua Pemuda Umno Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein berhubung isu kerusi sebagai "gimik politik yang tidak menunjukkan keikhlasannya".

Angkatan muda parti itu (AMK) berkata Hishammudin juga menunjukkan "sifat lidah bercabang" kerana selain mohon maaf kepada bukan Melayu, beliau juga memohonan maaf kepada orang Melayu "kononnya gagal mempertahankan simbol warisan orang Melayu itu".

"Hasutan bentuk ini akan menimbulkan perasaan tidak puas hati yang menggalakkan bangkit semula sentimen perkauman golongan ekstrem yang akan menafsirkannya sebagai orang bukan Melayu yang mengakibatkan Melayu gagal mempertahankan simbol warisan orang Melayu," kata ketua penerangan AMK Lau Tek Hai.

Dalam satu kenyataan semalam, beliau juga menyifatkan Hishammuddin sebagai "seorang munafik kerana permohonan maafnya berasaskan punca kekalahan BN dalam pilihanraya umum lalu tetapi bukan mengakui hakikatnya Pemuda Umno telah secara langsung menjejaskan persahabatan antara kaum yang mengakibatkan syak wasangka antara kaum yang lebih parah."

"AMK menasihatkan Hishammuddin agar menyedari bukan sekadar aksi menghunus keris yang menakutkan orang tetapi aksi ini dalam suasana perhimpunan Umno telah mendorong peserta supaya menjadi lebih ekstrem," katanya.

AMK juga mendesak supaya naib ketua Pemuda Umno Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar berkongsi tanggungjawab yang sama dengan Hishammuddin.

Khairy, dalam perhimpunan Umno tahun lalu menegaskan akan menghunus keris pada setiap perhimpunan agung Pemuda dan menganggap sesiapa yang tidak berbuat demikian boleh dianggap pengkhianat bangsa.

"(Kenyataan) ini merupakan satu hasutan yang lebih berbahaya yang turut menggalakkan golongan ekstrem dalam Umno," kata Lau.

Angkata muda PKR turut mencabar Hishammuddin dan Khairy berundur daripada arena politik sebagai tanda tanggungjawab penuh sekiranya apa yang dikatakannya itu ikhlas dan benar.

Sementara itu, AMK Pulau Pinang merancang mengadakan konvensyen pergerakan itu pada 24 Mei ini dengan tema 'Membina Harapan Baru Generasi Muda Pulau Pinang' di bangunan Komtar.

"Kita mahu generasi muda di Pulau Pinang sedar bahawa kami sentiasa mendengar pandangan dan komen-komen daripada mereka bagi menjamin keadilan untuk semua rakyat terjamin," kata penganjurnya Amir Ghazali dalam satu kenyataan semalam.

"Setiap AMK bahagian dipertanggungjawabkan membentangkan usul-usul yang telah difikirkankan oleh jawatankuasa konvensyen. Usul-usul ini merupakan antara suara-suara generasi muda yang mahukan keadilan, kesejahteraan dan keamanan terjamin."

Konvensyen sehari itu dirasmikan ketua AMK pusat Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin dan majlis penutupannya disempurnakan oleh timbalan ketua menteri Pulau Pinang, Muhamad Fairus Khairuddin.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


April 27, 2008


Among the youngest is 27-year-old Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Serdang).

Tabling a Private Member’s Bill on Freedom of Information (FOI) will be her first priority. The first-timer said the Bill may not be passed, but it would be an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of having an FOI Bill.

"Civil society groups have been campaigning for legislation on FOI to promote greater transparency and accountability, especially in the public service.

Currently, there is limited access for the public to information, especially to government documents as they are often classified as "secret" under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)," she said.

Teo, a lawyer, would also like to push for local council elections. "But our main focus now is to finalise the FOI. If we put too many bills at one time, people will lose focus," she said.

She will also raise issues of public interest such as the building of vernacular schools, highway contracts, repeal of the Internal Security Act and the Universities and University Colleges Act.

Teo, who was dubbed "Serdang Cili Padi" due to her fiery oratory skills while on the election campaign trail, feels it is not going to be easy for her to stand out and get noticed in Parliament as she would be among many other good orators.

She also believes a parliamentarian should put the people’s interest before anything else, including the party’s interest.

"Yes, we should protect the party’s interest. But, if the party is trying to control us, then I don’t think there is any meaning in becoming an MP. I don’t think I want to let the people down," she said.

On Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Teo said Anwar was the crucial factor in helping the opposition "pass the election with flying colours".

However, she does not deny that there are many who do not trust him.

"To me, we should appreciate him for his role in helping our country reach a two-party system. For those who do not trust him, they should judge him later should he come into power," she added.

Parliament snippets - The Sun

April 27, 2008

Parliament snippets

BN MPs: 140

Opposition MPs: 82

New MPs: 99

Among the youngest MPs: Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Serdang) and Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah

Pantai) - both 27

Longest serving MP: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (BN-Gua Musang); since 1969

Number of women MPs: 24

First woman Opposition Leader: Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh)

Mother and daughter: Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh) and Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai)

Father and son: Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) and Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan)

Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) and Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong)

Father and son-in-law: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (BN-Kepala Batas) and Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau)

Brothers; Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad (BN-Johor Baru) and Khalid Abdul Samad (PAS-Shah Alam)

Some backbenchers to look out for:

1. Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz (Kuala Kangsar)

2. Khairy Jamaluddin (Rembau)

3. Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (Kota Belud)

4. Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun)

5. Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (Santubong)

6. Datuk Mohamad Aziz (Sri Gading)

7. Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan)

8. Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (Lenggong)

9. Datuk Halimah Mohd Sadique (Tenggara)

10. Datuk Ismail Kassim (Arau)

Pakatan Rakyat MPs to look out for:

1. Tony Pua Kiam Wee (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara)

2. Chua Tian Chang (Tian Chua) (PKR-Batu)

3. Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PKR-Machang)

4. Wee Choo Keong (PKR-Wangsa Maju)

5.Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang)

6. Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor)

7. N. Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai)

8. Gorbind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong)

9. Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (PAS-Kota Raja)

10. Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj (PKR-Sungai Siput)

12th Parliament Convenes Tomorrow, MPs To Take Oath

KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 (Bernama)

The 12th Parliament convenes tomorrow following the general election on March 8.

The first meeting of the first session will see the 222 MPs being sworn in. Just before that, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia is scheduled to take his oath of office as the new Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat.

A vote will be taken to fill the two posts of deputy speaker. The Barisan Nasional (BN) has nominated Santubong MP Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and Beluran MP Datuk Ronald Kiandee while the DAP has nominated Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, will officially open the first session of parliament on Tuesday. The first meeting is scheduled for 16 days up to May 27.

The Dewan Rakyat is set to record history. Ninety-nine MPs will be new faces while the opposition will be represented by 82 MPs, more than four times the number in the last parliament.

Permatang Pauh MP Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is set to create history as well, as the first woman Opposition Leader. Parti Keadilan Rakyat, (PKR) which she helms, has 31 seats in the House, the highest number among the opposition parties. The DAP has 28 and PAS, 23.

The Dewan Rakyat proceedings are expected to be heated this time around, considering the varied background of the MPs and the inclination of many of them to be vocal.

The public will be able to follow the question-and-answer session in the House as Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) will broadcast live a 30-minute segment of the proceedings during meetings beginning Wednesday.

Prior to the dissolution of parliament on Feb 13, the Dewan Rakyat had 219 seats -- 199 occupied by the BN, 12 by the DAP, six by PAS and one each by the PKR and an independent MP.

A redelineation exercise has given Sarawak three more parliamentary seats, raising the total number of seats in the House to 222.

In the general election last month, the BN won 140 seats to win by a simple majority. The opposition, comprising the PKR, DAP and PAS, won the remaining 82 seats.

Johor police asked to investigate death threat against Karpal Singh - NST

PENANG, Sun: April 27, 2008

The Penang police are asking their Johor counterparts to investigate a death threat made on an Internet website against DAP national chairman Karpal Singh.

Penang acting chief police officer Datuk Salleh Mat Rasid said although a police report on the threat was lodged in Penang, the case was being referred to Johor Police because it was made in the state.

He told this to reporters after closing a seminar on integrity for police personnel conducted by Anti-Corruption Agency director-general, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan.

Karpal Singh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bukit Gelugor, lodged a report on the matter at the Penang police headquarters at 2.30pm yesterday.

The person who made the threat had alleged that it was permissible under Islam to kill Karpal Singh because the latter had allegedly opposed Malaysia being turned into an Islamic state. — BERNAMA

Muhd Taib didakwa sabotaj pertemuan Ku Li - Malaysiakini

By Nash Rahman | Apr 27, 08 3:16pm

Pemimpin veteran Umno Selangor, Datuk Mazlan Harun mendakwa bahawa ketua penerangan Umno Malaysia, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib telah mensabotaj majlis pertemuan ahli parlimen Gua Musang dengan pemimpin dan Umno sekitar Subang Jaya petang semalam.

Katanya, beliau telah memaklumkan hasratnya untuk mengadakan perjumpaan tersebut kepada Muhd Taib serta menjemputnya sekali untuk menghadirinya.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, Muhd Taib sebaliknya telah membawa ketua-ketua cawangan Umno dalam bahagian Kelana Jaya, yang meliputi kawasan Subang Jaya, ke Sarawak dan Melaka.

“Sebenarnya mereka sabotaj. Muhd Taib kalau datang boleh beri pandangan, cerdik pandai boleh menilai,” katanya ketika berucap di majlis tersebut di sebuah hotel di Subang Jaya semalam.

“Sebagai ketua bahagian, beliau harus hadir beri pendapatnya jika pandangan kita tidak sesuai dengan kehendak pucuk pimpinan parti.

“Tapi apa yang dibuat (ialah) dia angkut ketua cawangan Kelana Jaya ke Sarawak, ketua Wanita pergi Melaka, inilah jadi masalah kita. Inilah penindasan dari pihak atasan,” kata beliau yang juga bekas exco Pemuda Umno, disambut tepukan kira-kira 500 hadirin.

Keadaan seumpama itu, katanya, menyebabkan ahli-ahli tiada tempat untuk meluahkan perasaan tidak puas hati mereka.

Sayangkan Umno

“Dalam pilihanraya lalu, pemilih Barisan Nasional (BN) berpaling tadah (mengundi pembangkang),” katanya lagi.

Menurutnya, jika dikaji pada tahun-tahun kebelakangan ini, boleh dilihat keangkuhan pucuk pimpinan Umno sehingga mantan perdana menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad turut membuat teguran.

“Di kawasan ini (parlimen Kelana Jaya) kita kalah kepada calon PKR. Kalau dulu BN letak kayu pun menang…sekarang pembangkang letak kayu pun menang.

Selangor adalah antara empat negeri yang jatuh ke tangan pembangkang - Pakatan Rakyat - dalam pilihanraya umum 8 Mac lalu.

Negeri-negeri lain adalah Kedah, Pulau Pinang dan Perak. PAS pula berjaya mengekalkan Kelantan. Di Parlimen pula BN memperolehi 140 kerusi dan gagal mengekalkan penguasaan dua pertiga.

“Kita bukan marah pada Pak Lah, tapi nak selamatkan Umno. Bukan kita sahaja, di kalangan pucuk pimpinan Umno juga mereka berbelah bagi mengenai soal kepimpinan (Umno),” tambahnya.

Menurut beliau, Umno tidak boleh menang dalam pilihanraya jika bergantung kepada ahli-ahlinya sahaja, tetapi parti itu memerlukan sokongan semua orang Melayu dan bangsa lain.

“(Oleh itu), bila kita tengok pokok nak reput dari akar umbi, kita kena bertindak, jika tidak kita akan hadapi satu bencana paling besar pada pilihanraya umum akan datang.

“(Naib presiden Umno), Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yakin dah sebut dalam wawancara dalam Utusan Malaysia minggu lalu, bahawa Umno hari ini dalam zon bahaya, kerana kuasa Melayu dan habis.

"Kerusi parlimen Umno sebanyak 78, PAS pula 23 kerusi, jumlahnya 101 – tidak sampai separuh daripada jumlah keseluruhan 222 kerusi parlimen. Itupun jika PAS dan Umno bersatu,” katanya.

Bring that lecherous politician to book if guilty - Malaysiakini

Posted by JJ Ray | Apr 25, 08 3:44pm

I refer to the Malaysiakini report MP under probe for sexual harassment.

Once again power play has interfered in the course of law and crippled the effort of a sexually- violated woman from seeking justice. It was reported that the woman has withdrawn her police report on her own free will.

How can a woman ever ‘misunderstand’ an attack on her honour? As for this former minister, it is obvious that he probably had done it before but perhaps the matter was never reported due to his still being a minister then. Having such a lecherous politician who is very ‘body comfortable’ touching other women under the pretext of making jokes is scary news for women. Where did he ‘earn’ the right to touch a woman who is not his spouse?

This former minister must be reprimanded for his sickening sense of humour, sexist attitude and refusal to accord due respect to women.

Sadly, his latest victim has not only succumbed to external pressure and failed herself but also the womenfolk collectively. Why did the complainant chose to withdraw her report? What were the circumstances that forced her to retract her complaint, that too when it was a matter of her honour?

This is not the first time and will not be the last when women who fall victim to sexual violation have taken back their complaint and live a demoralised existence. Fear of the stigma facing them, the shame they have to endure and often times the threats made by the perpetrator or his family have resulted in such victims purging their allegation.

If this approach continues, the perpetrators will always get away scot-free. And in the case of perpetrators who wield influence, there is no denying their ‘involvement’ in making sure the case never makes it to court.

In this most recent case involving a former minister, it is obvious that something has gone wrong somewhere for the woman to retract her complaint. It is a frustrating fact that a lot of rape survivors and sexual harassment victims choose to keep quiet instead of lodging a police report for fear of being ostracised by the society. In the case of sexual harassment, the threat of being dismissed from their jobs forces many women to be silent about the crime.

While the woman in this latest case has withdrawn her case for reasons known only to her, it is a correct move by the police not to close the file of this case. The police knows only too well why and what causes a woman to withdraw her case.

Do women now have to carry pepper sprays with them when they are working? Or would be it wrong for them to slap a pervert who attacks them physically or verbally? Women’s groups have cried out many a time for ages for safe spaces for women, but it appears that their calls have been given no respect.

This latest issue involving a former minister points to the truth that men, regardless of their race, age and status in life, still view women as sex objects. No matter the achievements of women, they are not seen as respect worthy by men. That explains why in the past several of our members of Parliament (MP) took great delight in sexually harassing women, through words, that is.

What is frustrating, too, is to see the silence from the women’s representatives in Parliament. No one has come to the aid of this young restaurant worker or insist that this former minister - who is still an MP - be admonished. The new Women, Family and Community Development Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen and Shahrizat Jalil, who is special adviser to Abdullah Badawi, are both silent on this case.

As for the former minister concerned, a word of caution. ‘Scientifically’ you assume there is no proof but there are tools of technology that can prove otherwise. Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment.

EC appeals to families of deceased voters

PUTRAJAYA: April 27, 2008

The Election Commission has appealed to family members of registered voters who have passed away to submit death certificates to help the commission to "clean up" the electoral roll.

The effort to update the roll was a continuous and on-going exercise that required assistance from the public, the EC said in a statement.

Family members could inform the EC by submitting a death certificate or burial permit.

"If it is too much of a hassle for them to come to our office, they can just send the documents to us via fax or post. The public's assistance is greatly appreciated as we want to ensure a clean and updated electoral roll," the EC said.

According to the EC, a total of 75,484 people have registered to become voters in the first three months of this year, and 18,000 voters had asked for a change in their polling stations.

The EC will be displaying the additional electoral roll for the first quarter of 2008 at 855 places nationwide for a week beginning Monday.

Newly registered voters can check their status at all state EC, post, government, district or land offices nationwide, and designated multi-purpose halls.