Sunday, August 31, 2008

Anwar: MPs won’t be lured with money nor threats - Star


PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says he will be busy the next few weeks meeting MPs from Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia to discuss matters pertaining to the proposed crossover of MPs to Pakatan Rakyat.

Anwar said he would spend time to fully concentrate on the meetings to prove his critics wrong about the possible crossover.

He was speaking at a luncheon yesterday with residents of Kampung Pelet in Permatang Pauh,

Later, after a tea reception with residents in Taman Sama Gagah, he told reporters that Pakatan would not use money, force or blackmail to attract Barisan MPs to cross over.

He said the coalition would not resort to unethical and illegal ways to lure the MPs, noting that none of them had been promised any ministerial post.

“Why should I promise them, when I myself am not sure where I will be (in the leadership when Pakatan takes rule of the country),” said the new Permatang Pauh MP.

He was asked to comment on whether his target to get 30 Barisan MPs to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat by Sept 16 would become a reality.

Anwar said Pakatan could only promise to be fair to all MPs and give them adequate representation in the new government.

He also said the MPs were mature enough to think for themselves.

“The MPs can see the trend among the people who are demanding a change by rejecting corruption, injustice and narrow-minded politics.

“That is why they are keen on making a decision to support a party that is fair to all races,” he added.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

PM to instruct Bkt Bendera chief not to repeat remark - Star


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi will personally see to it that Bukit Bendera Umno chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail does not repeat his remarks about the Chinese community.

“I’ll tell him not to do it again. You know during campaigning all sorts of things can come up. I don’t think he meant it. I’ll make sure to tell him not to say it again,” he said Saturday after chairing the Bertam Umno division meeting here.

Ahmad had allegedly called the Chinese "squatters" and said that "as the Chinese were only immigrants it was impossible to achieve equal rights amongst races" during a ceramah in Permatang Pauh on Aug 25.

He had allegedly made the remark in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Ahmad’s remarks have caused a furore among the Barisan Nasional component parties after it was printed in several Chinese newspapers.

Penang Gerakan Youth committee member Dr Thor Teong Gee lambasted Ahmad and alleged that Umno was still using racial ideology to achieve its personal political agenda.

Bukit Mertajam MCA division chairman Lau Chiek Tuan said disciplinary action should be taken against Ahmad.

“An apology is not enough to the Chinese community. We want Umno to take disciplinary action against him. We want him to leave Barisan and Umno because he has broken the racial harmony (of the parties),” said Lau, adding that the division had also lodged a police report against Ahmad.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary Ng Wei Aik has also called on Ahmad to immediately retract his statement and apologise to the community.

Ahmad could not be reached for comment.

In George Town, Tanjung Gerakan Youth division chief H’ng Khoon Leng lodged a police report at the district police headquarters in Patani Road over Ahmad’s alleged remarks.

Speaking to reporters after that, H’ng reminded people of all races to learn and be aware about the contribution of other races to the nation so that they won’t look down on others.

PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Umno leaders should stop using racial sentiments to seek support from the people.

“They (Umno leaders) do not seem to understand history very well.

“They are not being respectful and sensitive toward the feelings of the non-Malays,” he told reporters Saturday at a thanksgiving luncheon in Kampung Permatang Pasir, Permatang Pauh.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

SKMM 'right to act against Msia Today' - Star


The Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia or SKMM) was “only exercising its power” when it ordered the 19 Internet service providers (ISPs) in the country to block the Malaysia Today website.

“Everyone is subject to the law, even websites and blogs,” said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

“We do not intend to curtail people’s freedom or right to express themselves.

“But when they publish things that are libellous, slanderous or defamatory, it is natural for SKMM to act,” he said in Parliament lobby on Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, SKMM confirmed that it had instructed ISPs to block Malaysia Today.

When contacted, SKMM chief operating officer Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi, who is currently overseas, confirmed the order but declined to elaborate, saying a press conference would be held to explain why action had been taken.

It was reported on Thursday that notices to the ISPs were sent out on Tuesday in accordance with Section 263 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

Section 263 falls under the National Interest Matters part of the Act which states that an SKMM licensee would prevent their facilities from being used in, or in relation to, the commission of any offence under any law of Malaysia.

It also states that upon written request of the SKMM or any other authority, the licensee would assist to prevent the commission or attempted commission of any offence under any written law of Malaysia, including but not limited to the protection of public revenue and the preservation of national security.

Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin responded by saying that blocking access to his portal was a breach of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) charter and that he would turn it into "a big issue."

Under MSC Malaysia's 10-Point Bill of Guarantees, it is stated that that Government promised to “ensure no Internet censorship” as part of its commitment to ensuring the success of MSC status companies.

Also at Parliament, Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum said he was not aware of SKMM’s directive to the ISPs.

“SKMM may have briefed the minister on the issue but not me,” he said, adding that minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor, currently in Bali, Indonesia, would return to Malaysia either later Thursday or by Friday.

Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, when asked to comment, said, “I am aware of the issue but it is not under my jurisdiction.”

It is understood that only TMnet, the nation's largest ISP, has complied with SKMM's directive. Other ISPs contacted by The Star have declined to comment.

TMnet users can still access Malaysia Today through a mirror website however.

While unusual, SKMM's move was not unprecedented.

For example, last year, in a concerted effort with the Securities Commission, Bank Negara Malaysia and CyberSecurity Malaysia, it closed down several websites which were suspected of being involved in fraudulent investment schemes.

Dr Mahathir fires a salvo at Anwar - Star

PUTRAJAYA: Aug 28, 2008

Just a day after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim won the Permatang Pauh Parliamentary seat, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad fired his first salvo at him by claiming the PKR adviser could “convince even the devil to follow him”.

Dr Mahathir predicted that once back in Parliament, Anwar would make “life very difficult” for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Reaching out: Dr Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali entertaining a youth group from the Presbyterian Church of seven countries at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya yesterday.

“I don’t think Abdullah is a match for Anwar. He is going to raise all kinds of issues and questions and will demand and pressure the Prime Minister for answers. It is going to be a tough time for Barisan,” he said.

Dr Mahathir, however, felt that Anwar would not get 30 MPs to switch sides to form the government. He said the PKR adviser might think he could “buy” the MPs but it would be impossible for him to “outbid the other bidders who have more money.”

“The Permatang Pauh by-election results is a clear message for Barisan Nasional, Umno and its leaders. Within five months after the March 8 polls, Barisan lost the seat again, with a bigger majority than the last time.

“I believe this will be the trend at other places as well,” he saidwhen met at his office yesterday.

He said Abdullah, his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and other leaders should not close their “ears and eyes” to the people’s message and should not blame the Permatang Pauh defeat on sabotage or other elements.

“If changes are made two years from now, then Umno will face an uphill task to gain strength and the people’s confidence. If they fail to change, then Barisan can expect defeat in the 13th general election,” he said, adding he was willing to come back to the party if Abdullah stepped down before the scheduled handover to Najib in 2010.

He said Umno should be concerned that the party was losing popularity and appeal and even the DAP had become more appealing to the Malays, referring to former Transparency International Malaysia chairman Tunku Aziz Tunku Ibrahim joining the DAP.

Anwar sworn in as MP - Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Aug 28, 2008

PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as Permatang Pauh MP at 10.05am Thursday in a brief ceremony in Dewan Rakyat here.

Anwar, who turned up for the event in a simple black baju melayu, was accompanied by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and their daughter Nurul Izzah.

The moment he entered the Dewan, he was instantly surrounded by other Pakatan Rakyat members, including Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

Anwar Ibrahim swears in at Parliament house in Kuala Lumpur Thursday. - AP

However, only three ministers were present in the House for the swearing-in.

The swearing-in took place in front of Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

After the swearing-in, Anwar took his place on the first seat on the Opposition block.

Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun, who is from Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) took the opportunity to congratulate Anwar on his win as he stood up to field the first query in the question and answer session.

Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz also congratulated Anwar on behalf of the Government when he stood up to reply the first question.

He later said that the live telecast of Parliament proceedings is only meant to show the question time and not other matters, which is why Anwar's swearing-in was not aired.

Nazri said the opposition should not be over-sensitive about the matter.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anwar's victory press conference - Malaysiakini

"I thank the voters and consider this as a very defining moment in our history. This is in pursuant to the clamour and demand for change that you have seen during the March 8 general election," he told a packed press conference after he was declared as a winner.

More in

Koh: BN must show real results for various reforms - Sun

GEORGE TOWN (Aug 27, 2008):

The Barisan Nasional must strengthen its resolve and redouble its efforts to show real and concrete results for various reforms, Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said today.

“Only concrete results in the reforms as promised to the people would restore the people's confidence and repect for the BN as the ruling coalition and also for the judiciary, the executive, the civil service and the police,” he said in a press statement.

Koh pointed at the BN's defeat in the Permatang Pauh by-elections on Tuesday as another wake-up call for the BN.

“While the by-election results showed the preference of the Permatang Pauh voters, BN must take serious note that it may be reflective of the overall perception and feeling of Malaysians elsewhere,” he said.

He said BN must acknowledge and address the people's dissatisfaction and even disenchantment with the establishment for what was perceived as a lack of commitment, communication and concrete results especially in the past two years.

The Penang BN Chairman said reforms must also encompass the major nation-building policies and strategies for the country in the various spheres, such as the economy, education system, environment and quality of life, which should include improved public transportation, and affordable and better housing.

“The government should also find ways to enhance the opportunities for Malaysians to increase their income as well as to reduce the cost of living and the cost of doing business,” he said.

He urged BN and its various component parties to review and revive its policies and programmes to enable BN to continue to be relevant, especially to the younger generations.
“Gerakan will proceed with our own internal reforms, while pushing for major reforms within the BN and the government,” he said.

He added that Gerakan will continue to be a voice of the people within and outside the BN.

“We will also push for viable solutions,” he added.

Permatang Pauh: What happened? - Sun

BUKIT MERTAJAM (Aug 27, 2008) By Himanshu Bhatt

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had chosen a busy Sunday morning to make his campaign round for Barisan Nasional (BN) at the packed Seberang Jaya market in Permatang Pauh, only to find that his bitter foe Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was also arriving there.

The BN deputy chairman took a nippy walk around the premise and was about to reach his car when a din was heard. Anwar had arrived at an entrance further down the road.

Najib stopped. There was a pregnant pause as his security personnel stood still, holding his car door open, while he stayed rooted; his gaze fixed on the PKR crowd with flags and banners mobbing Anwar in the distance. It took a good moment before he slowly turned and got into his car.

It was a defining image of the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election.

For during the entire course of the scorching 10-day campaign, Anwar had seemed unstoppable - not just for the sheer enormity of his following, but also for the flowing reasoning he exhibited in his rhetoric.

From dealing with sodomy allegations against him to deflecting accusations he would jeopardise Malay special status, from eliciting sympathy for the mainstream media’s apparent bias towards him to igniting revulsion to perceived corruption in the government, Anwar maintained a crafty and compelling strategy.

Najib had appointed Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, the local assemblyman for Seberang Jaya, as the BN candidate to stop Anwar from making a return to Parliament. Arif may have been a local favourite, but his campaign was hardly as dramatic as Anwar’s.

Sportingly, he also avoided personal issues like the sodomy allegations on Anwar. Unfortunately for BN, its leaders harped on the matter, wanting to knock Malay-Muslim confidence away from Anwar.

The issue proved to be BN’s death knell in Permatang Pauh.

Anwar cleverly used the deep moral sensitivity of rural Malays to point to BN leaders as having cast "fitnah" (aspersions) on him.

He went through great lengths to describe the emotional pain he and his family had to endure from the profane nature of the allegations. And it moved the masses.

"They have beaten me, they have stripped me naked, they have robbed me of my dignity. But it’s alright. I shall get up and fight back again and again," he once said to a cheering crowd.

But the biggest, most decisive nail in the coffin must have the gripping appearance two days before polling of the imam who witnessed the swearing of Anwar’s accuser Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Ramlang Porigi’s confession that he did not believe the swearing was legitimate, and that he had been ordered to be witness, was made in the presence of no less than Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the revered PAS spiritual leader.

It was a moral coup that disintegrated any remaining doubts most conservative folks would have had about the allegations.

Anwar was also consistent in explaining his agenda on race. He stressed a good deal - both to Malay and non-Malay crowds - that Malay special status (he never called it "ketuanan" or supremacy) would be maintained. But he was quick to add that the Chinese and Indians must also be properly cared for.

He had an oft-rehearsed refrain: "Anak Melayu anak saya, anak Cina anak saya, anak India anak saya." (The Malay child is my child, the Chinese child is my child, the Indian child is my child.)

It brought applause wherever it was uttered. Intriguingly, while multi-racial crowds roared with joy, audiences in the Malay heartland also reacted with approval.

In fact, he once touched on this very theme at a service road next to the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) campus. Only two days before, the campus had seen some 5,000 Malay students protesting a proposal to bring in non-Malay students.

But when Anwar spoke on ethnic harmony, the audience which included students from the UiTM hostel broke into an ovation.

Then there was his promise for openness in the media. He smartly deflected the stream of negative reporting about him by certain media agencies, to bring repugnance towards them and the controlling government.

Right from the beginning, PKR assumed a modus operandi to name these agencies and question their credibility. This was done frequently during rallies and through the party’s own publications distributed widely throughout the constituency.

Anwar was similarly well-rehearsed in deploring the country’s economic management, as well as the nepotism and bribery.

He spoke eloquently about the nation’s oil wealth and natural resources, about the lack of transparency, and how the ‘anaks’ and ‘menantus’ may be unduly reaping from the land.

In contrast, the BN leaders relied to a large degree on an attempt to build a fear of Anwar - that he was double-faced, that he was a trouble-maker, that he was immoral.

It hardly seemed to work. Already riding on widespread resentment towards the BN government’s social and economic policies, Anwar made sure he presented an agenda that appeared intelligent, humane and well-defined.

As it is, there was high passion among supporters and even common citizens that was flowing over to the brink of physical aggression. It may have led to the sporadic violence. There were rumours about rioting or even curfew on the eve of the election. But by and large, reason prevailed.

If there is a lesson to be learned from the election, it is in Anwar’s dexterous use of charisma and logic to move the people.

"We have a clear and consistent agenda," Anwar once said. "You can see for yourself. Wherever I speak, people who hear me understand who I am, what I plan to do… They put their trust in me."

Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) has hailed the landslide victory of PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim - Malaysiakini

Aug 27, 2008

Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) has hailed the landslide victory of PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, saying it augurs well for non-racial politics in Malaysia.

“Sapp now calls on the people in Malaysia, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, to be ready for change,” said Sapp president Yong Teck Lee, strongly hinting at possible defections to the Pakatan Rakyat coalition led by PKR.

In a statement to Malaysiakini, Yong said the rejection of racial politics, as demonstrated in the March general elections, has been repeated resoundingly by the voters of Permatang Pauh, of whom 69 percent are Malays.

However, he added that BN, especially the Umno leadership, have not learnt their lesson.

“Instead of strengthening national unity among the people, Umno tried desperately to whip up racial emotions on the New Economic Policy issue by mob demonstrations in Penang immediately after the elections,” said Yong (photo, centre).

The orchestrating of student demonstrations at UiTM this month, the inflammatory speeches of Umno MPs in Parliament and racial instigation against Sapp MPs over the no-confidence motion in June all proved that the BN and Umno are still trapped in the old mindset of “racial compartmentalisation”, he added.

The outspoken Sapp leader said instead of changing for the better with people-friendly policies after the devastating losses at the March general elections, the BN government “played around with fuel prices at the whims and fancies of the prime minister, inflicting suffering on the people”.

permatang pauh by election results map 260808Yong added that when Sapp first declared no confidence in Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, almost all the BN component parties chose to condemn the party instead of solving the issues raised by his party.

“Sapp reminds the BN component parties to join the Sapp’s move of no confidence in the PM so as to effect change for the better in the country.

More news at:

PKR supremo to be sworn in tomorrow - Malaysiakini

Aug 27, 08 10:20am

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia announced this morning that Anwar Ibrahim, the new member of parliament for Permatang Pauh, will be sworn in tomorrow.

Anwar makes his return to the House in grand style after an absence of 10 years by winning the Permatang Pauh by-election yesterday with a majority of 15,671.

The de facto PKR leader is also expected to be appointed parliamentary opposition leader for the 81 Pakatan Rakyat MPs.

"The parliament speaker has said Anwar will be sworn in as an MP on Thursday," said Tian Chua, information chief of PKR, which leads the three-member alliance.

"We will all be there to welcome Anwar as the leader of the opposition and the parliament will be very different with his voice," said Tian, who is MP for Batu.

"It is a real morale boost for the Pakatan Rakyat in Parliament."

Anwar is back in Parliament - Malaysiakini

Aug 27, 2008

Anwar: Win a sign voters want change - Star

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Aug 28, 2008

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has described his triumph in the Permatang Pauh by-election as “the second political tsunami” and said it was the people's victory.

“This election has been won due to the commitment and courage shown by the people.

“People want change for freedom and justice. They want the economy to benefit all,” Anwar said while addressing supporters after being declared winner of the parliamentary by-election yesterday.

“They have rejected oppression and they are saying they do not want to be taken for granted any longer.

“The people have sent a strong message to the Government,” he said, adding that the people have rejected the unfair distribution of the country's wealth.

He said his victory brought new meaning to the word “Merdeka”.

Anwar added that Pakatan Rakyat was bringing new hope to the people with its reform agenda.

“We will stick to our promise that the price of fuel will be reduced when we form the government.”

During a press conference later, Anwar said although the date of his swearing-in was at the discretion of the Speaker, he hoped to be in the Dewan Rakyat for Budget Day.

“I have promised the people that I would scrutinise Budget 2009 which will be tabled on Friday and as such, I should be sworn in tomorrow.”

With regards to Pakatan forming the government on Sept 16, Anwar reaffirmed that the planned takeover would materialise.

Resounding win for Anwar with 15,671 majority - Star

Anwar is Permatang Pauh MP

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Aug 27, 2008

As expected Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim won the Permatang Pauh by-election, but what was impressive was the margin of victory.

The PKR leader was returned to Parliament with a majority of 15,671 votes, exceeding the 13,388-vote majority achieved by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the March 8 general election.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim acknowledging the cheers from the large crowd at the Tuanku Bainun Teachers Training College after the result of the by-election was announced. - Asri Abdul Ghani/The Star

Anwar garnered 31,195 votes to beat Barisan candidate Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, who garnered 15,524 votes, while low-key Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia candidate Hanafi Hamat lost his RM15,000 deposit after getting only 92 votes.

The closely watched by-election was called after Dr Wan Azizah resigned from her post as MP on July 31, barely five months after she had won the seat, to enable her husband to run for election.

Anwar held the seat for four terms before he was sacked from his Deputy Prime Minister's post in 1998 over corruption and sodomy charges.

Dr Wan Azizah, who had been known as a reluctant politician, won the seat for a third term in March.

A mammoth crowd comprising PKR leaders and supporters gathered early yesterday evening at the tallying centre at the Tuanku Bainun Teachers Training College in Bukit Mertajam to celebrate the party’s victory.

Supporters let off fireworks as returning officer Roslan Yahaya announced the results at about 10pm.

Voter turnout was relatively high, registering at about 80% of the total 58,459 eligible voters in the constituency.

Barisan was the underdog from the start in the hard-fought by-election that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak described as a titanic challenge.

Anwar’s convincing victory was reminiscent of his heyday, when he secured a stunning 23,515-vote majority in the 1995 general election by polling 27,945 votes, 76.7% of the total votes then.

The laid-back town of Permatang Pauh is where Anwar won four consecutive Parliament seats from 1982 to 1995, taking over the seat from what was initially a PAS stronghold.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

EC announces Anwar as winner - Star

BUKIT MERTAJAM: ug 26, 2008

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has won the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat with a majority of 15,671 votes.

The victory marks a return to Parliament for the PKR advisor after an absence of 13 years.

The Election Commission announced that Anwar polled 31,195 votes while his Barisan Nasional opponent, Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah received 15,524.

Hanafi Hamat of Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim), who contested as an independent lost his deposit, polling only 92 votes.

Anwar last won the Permatang Pauh seat in 1995 with a majority of 23,515 votes.

The by-election was held after his wife Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail quit as Permatang Pauh MP on July 31. She had won with a majority of 13,388 votes in the March 8 general election.

With his victory, Anwar will take over as the Parliamentary Opposition Leader.

Anwar wins with BIGGER majority - Malaysiakini

Latest Updates:

As at 10.05pm:

Final official EC tally - Anwar got 31,195 votes, Arif Shah, 15,524, Hanafi, 92. Anwar won with a majority of 15,671.

The official voter turnout was 81.1 percent, or 47,410 out of 58,459 registered voters - which was much higher than what the EC had stated earlier. There were 599 spoilt votes.

Meanwhile, outside Tuanku Bainun Teaching Institute, thousands of jubilant PKR supporters have gathered to embrace their leader's return to Parliament.

PKR vice-president Azmin Ali is already there to address the crowd numbering some 6,000. Other party leaders like R Sivarasa and Tian Chua are also there.

Anwar is expected to address this ecstatic group of supporters later as well. Tian said that the overwhelming victory showed that "the prime minister's racial politics is bankrupt".

The EC made the official announcement at 10.05pm. Only Anwar and Hanafi were present at the announcement.

As at 9.12pm:

Official EC result: With 11 more boxes to go, Anwar has won the by-election with a 14,551 majority. He garnered 27,977 votes while BN's Arif Shah obtained 13,426 while Akim's Hanafi Hamat got 85. His wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, won the seat with a 13,400 majority in the March 8 general election.

As at 9.25pm:

Official EC results: With final five ballot boxes to go, Anwar has bagged 29,526 votes, Arif Shah (14,444) and Hanafi (89). Majority so far: 15,082.

Crowd shouts 'reformasi' as Anwar votes

Azmin in fiery mood

Lim Guan Eng at PKR's huge final rally

BN concedes defeat in by-election
Aug 26, 08 8:55pm

The Barisan Nasional ruling coalition has declared defeat in a by-election against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who will return to parliament after a decade-long absence.

"Yes, of course, we have lost... we were the underdogs going into this race," said Umno information chief Muhammad Muhd Taib.

Anwar's PKR, which leads a three-member opposition alliance, claimed a "landslide" victory. It said Anwar had garnered at least 65 percent of the ballot and that the figure could rise as high as 70 percent.

"We declare victory, the margin is very huge," said PKR information chief Tian Chua.

Muhammad said Umno had been hampered by internal disagreement over the choice of its candidate in the by-election, Arif Shah Omah Shah, and was distracted by upcoming internal leadership polls.

Dismissed talk of defections

"There are factors that we have to be practical about but this does not mean that he is enjoying full support elsewhere in the country," he told AFP.

"He is the winner here because this is his hometown and the timing of the elections is to his advantage because Umno's party polls will be held in a month."

Muhammad also dismissed talk that the victory would help Anwar oust the government with the help of defecting lawmakers, after landmark March general elections that handed the opposition unprecedented gains.

"I don't think so. In the last general election, the people gave the Barisan Nasional the mandate to rule, so if the opposition wants to form a government they will have to wait for the next general election."

PERMATANG PAUH BY-ELECTION: Voters turn out in force as bad weather forecasted for evening - Sun

BUKIT MERTAJAM (Aug 26 , 2008)

Voters turned out in force to cast their votes at 25 polling centres this morning after the Meteorological Department had forecast rain and thunderstorms for the evening.

Anwar accompanied by Wan Azizah casting his voteat Sk Sri Penanti.

A total of 110 streams at 25 polling centres opened at 8am today for the 58,459 people in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency to cast their votes in the by-election.

Twenty-five of the centres were located in secondary schools and the rest in primary schools and community halls.

The by-election is a three-corner fight among Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, 61, Barisan Nasional's (BN) Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, 51, and Hanafi Mamat, 61, of Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia.

The official results of the by-election is expected at about 10pm.

Arif Shah, accompanied by his wife, Datin Latifah Asmawi, and son, Izwan Shah, arrived at the polling station at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seberang Jaya II in Lengkok Tenggiri at about 7.50am.

They walked there from their house nearby accompanied by several supporters.

Arif, dressed in a white shirt and wearing a black songkok, left the polling centre at about 8.20am after meeting some of the voters there.

Meanwhile, Anwar, in a blue shirt and songkok, and Dr Wan Azizah arrived at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Penanti at 9.40am to cast their votes and left 10 minutes later.

Hanafi, the third candidate, is not a registered voter in Permatang Pauh.

Deputy Prime Minsiter Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak visited the polling stations at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seberang Jaya 2, Sekolah Menengah Penanti and Sekolah Kebangsaan Permatang Pasir.

The seat was vacated by PKR president, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, who resigned on July 31 to make way for her husband, Anwar, to contest in the area.

Azizah beat the BN candidate, Datuk Pirdaus Ismail, with a 13,398-vote majority to win the seat in the March 8 general election.

Since the 1999 general election, PKR had controlled the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency, a seat which Anwar won on a BN ticket in 1982.

Penang police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob said security was under control and the police air unit was monitoring the situation at the polling centres from the air.

Police had deployed 6,000 personal personnel to handle security and had advised those not involved in the polling not to crowd the area to avoid any untoward incident.

Traffic in the area was under control and vehicles bearing the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) logos were seen transporting the voters to the polling centres.

Penanti town was filled with vehicles ferrying the voters to the polling centres and about 600 BN and PKR supporters turned up at these places.

Hawkers plied their trade near the centres, selling food and drinks and even massage oil by the roadside.

DNA Identification Bill tabled despite protests - Star


The DNA Identification Bill, which is expected to face a rocky passage in the House, was finally tabled for second reading amidst accusations that the Government was pushing it forward.

This is despite various attempts by the Opposition to delay the reading or halt it altogether.

Among the Opposition MPs who had moved to block the reading were Fong Po Kuan (DAP - Batu Gajah), Lim Lip Eng (DAP - Segambut), Salahuddin Ayob (PAS - Kubang Kerian) and Mahfuz Omar (PAS - Pokok Sena).

The standoff came immediately after Wee Choo Keong (PKR - Wangsa Maju) had engaged in a 45-minute debate with Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin on the technical points of the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board Bill while Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee looked on with obvious impatience.

Fong stood up on a point of order even before Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar could present the Bill, accusing the Government of being “hasty” by pushing forward the second reading.

“Why has this Bill been put forward when the Universities and University Colleges (Amendment) was tabled first? Is there any malicious intention?” she demanded.

The Universities and University Colleges (Amendment) Bill had been tabled for first reading in the previous meeting while the DNA Identification Bill was only presented to Parliament last Monday.

As at last Thursday, the Order Paper had listed the AUKU Bill above the DNA Identification Bill in the schedule for second reading. However, the Order Paper this Monday showed that the DNA Identification Bill has now preceded the AUKU Bill.

Ronald told her that under the Standing Orders, the Government had the right to prioritise any Bill above others, prompting Fong to retort that the House should at least be told of such a move.

The Deputy Speaker then attempted to get on with the proceedings, amidst protests from Lim and Fong - who alleged there was “udang di sebalik batu” (ulterior motives).

Citing a point of order, Salahuddin then claimed the MPs had not been given time to prepare for debate on the Bill as they had previously thought to focus their “homework” on the AUKU Bill.

“The police have given a briefing to the backbenchers on the Bill but they have not invited the Opposition MPs; we are MPs as well,” Mahfuz pleaded with Ronald.

However, Ronald was firm in allowing proceedings to go on, adding that the Speaker had acceded to the Government’s request to push forward the Bill under Standing Order 15(2).

“Your preparations for debate is another matter. However, I take note of your concerns,” he said before calling on Syed Hamid.

Syed Hamid later said the bill was not intended for a particular person and there was no sinister motive behind the tabling of the bill.

At the Parliament Lobby, lawyers from Human Right Committee of Bar Council called for the Bill to be withdrawn from debate and have a proper public consultation with experts such as chemists, criminologists, lawyers and others.

Edmund Bon representing the committee, called for the setting up of a Parliamentary Select committee to research and make further amendments to the bill, add privacy rights, adopt a data protection regime and ratify the international covenant of civil and political rights.

“We are not against the setting up of a DNA data bank but it must be set up with adequate safeguards,” said Bon, who was present at a press conference after giving DAP MPs a briefing on the Bill.

Among others, Bon said there was no provision for mandatory destruction of the samples, all convicts would have their DNA profile in the data bank, the court has no role in determining whether the DNA data was true or false and the profile could be exported to other countries.

Friday, August 22, 2008

‘BN not using Chong Wei’ - Star

BUTTERWORTH: The grand ceremony to welcome home Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei in Bukit Mertajam on Wednesday in the midst of campaigning for the Permatang Pauh by-election has raised eyebrows here.

He was flown to the RMAF air base here in a private jet accompanied by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob and then chauffeur-driven to his hometown in Berapit.

Barisan Nasional candidate Arif Shah Omar Shah denied talk that the coalition was capitalising on Lee’s fame to fish for votes.

“It’s just a coincidence that he came back during the by-election.

“Since he had wanted to meet his family members in Berapit and Ismail Sabri was coming to Penang for functions, we decided to give him a proper escort to his hometown,” he said yesterday.

Arif Shah said Lee was put on a private jet since he had quite a number of people in his entourage and it was difficult for them to book seats on other airlines.

On the by-election, Arif Shah said he was confident of winning with a slim majority.

“This time, we should be able to get an additional 8,000 votes from the 20,000 votes we obtained in the March 8 general election.”

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Lee’s success had been “manipulated” by Barisan when he agreed to receive the RM300,000 cheque in Permatang Pauh.

“In fact, I understand that he’s back here (Kuala Lumpur) today. Why can’t the cheque presentation take place in Kuala Lumpur?

“It’s quite clear that he’s been manipulated and the Barisan Nasional is using the ceremony to their advantage for the campaign.

“The use of the Defence Ministry’s facilities for the by-election is improper, a form of abuse and a waste of public funds,” he told reporters at Parliament lobby.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Khairy: We've come to 'bury' Anwar - Malaysiakini

By Beh Lih Yi | Aug 21, 08 1:25pm

Barisan Nasional will not only defeat Anwar Ibrahim in the Aug 26 Permatang Pauh by-election, the ruling coalition will also bury his political career.

This bold prognosis came from Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

Speaking at a ceramah in Seberang Jaya last night, he riled up the audience by characterising the upcoming contest as one that would decide the fate of the nation.

During a fiery 30-minute speech, Khairy said BN candidate Arif Shah Omar Shah's true challenge was to end the career of the ‘power crazy’ opposition leader.

"We are here to bury Anwar’s political career. We are here to make history to ensure our nation’s future is free and safe from him!" he thundered to loud cheers from those present.

Standing on a makeshift stage, the Umno Youth leader fired a volley of scathing attacks, punctuated with biting jokes, against the PKR supremo.

Among others, he took a swipe at the opposition leader’s plan to form government, his alleged cronies, the explosive sodomy charge and the relationship between Pakatan Rakyat parties.

More news at:

Chong Wei ‘manipulated’ by BN, says Guan Eng - Star


Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei has clearly been "manipulated" by the Barisan Nasional when he agreed to receive his RM300,000 cheque in Permatang Pauh.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said there was no need to send Lee back to Permatang Pauh using an airplane provided by the Defence Ministry and landing at an airforce base for the purpose of the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign.

"In fact, I understand that he's back here today. Why can't the cheque presentation take place in Kuala Lumpur?

"It's quite clear that he's been manipulated and Barisan is using the ceremony to their advantage for the campaign.

"Similarly, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has also been using the ministry's facilities in his campaign by flying to Penang.

"The use of the Defence Ministry's facilities for the by-election is improper, a form of abuse and a waste of public funds," he told reporters Thursday at the Parliament lobby here.

Lim said on the contrary, neither he nor any other DAP members use their official state cars when they go campaigning.

"We drive our own private cars. This should be the way. Clearly, Barisan has not learnt its lesson from the March 8 general election," he said.

The badminton player received the cheque from Najib in a ceremony in Butterworth on Wednesday night.

He also received RM3,000 being the pension reward the Government had promised for the feat. The payments which begin next month are for life.

Lim said Najib should differentiate between private political interest and his government posts.

Asked about the conferment by Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas of the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN) award on Lee on Aug 30, which carries the title "Datuk", Lim said the ceremony would take place after the polling date in Permatang Pauh.

"This is because we don't want to be seen as taking advantage of him," he said.

On the clash between Chong Eng (DAP - Bukit Mertajam) and Zulkifli Nordin (PKR - Kulim-Bandar Baru) in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday, Lim said it was up to PKR to discipline the latter.

In the disagreement between Chong and Zulkifli on the Bar Council "Conversion to Islam" forum, the latter had called Chong "racist" and "anti-Islam".

Lim said he knew for a fact that Chong was not racist as her husband is an Indian and she is extremely popular with Malay voters in her constituency.

"I am disappointed with Zulkifli. I would expect such a statement to come from Umno and not from him - a PKR member," he said.

ACA DG: Arrest of Exco members not politically motivated - Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Aug 21, 2008

The arrest of the two Perak executive council members by the Perak Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has nothing to do with politics, the agency’s Director-General Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan said Thursday.

He said he was disappointed with allegations by certain quarters who accused the agency of deliberately detaining the two men when there was by-election fever in the country. “I am disappointed when the ACA is accused of conspiracy, scheming with the ruling party, that is not true. This is a criminal case. We have nabbed many people ... Director-General of Immigration and senior police officers.

“Just because of the election (it does not mean) we put aside the case till later. The proof is there so we arrest them,” he told reporters after attending a forum titled ‘Independent Anti-Corruption Commission: Towards Effectively Combating Corruption and Enhancing Integrity’ at the Integrity Institute of Malaysia here Thursday.

Ahmad Said said the ACA conducted investigations on both the Exco members for more than three months and it was a coincidence that the arrests were made close to the by-election.

“It must be remembered that the ACA acts transparently without the involvement of political elements. Do not demean the ACA,” he said.

The ACA arrested the Perak exco members together with four other persons on suspicion of alleged graft and sexual bribery involving more than RM100,000. They are being investigated under Section 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 in connection with a RM180 million Seri Iskandar housing project. – Bernama

Five released on ACA bail as Ipoh High Court shortens remand - Star


Perak state executive councillor Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu and three others were released after the High Court shortened their remand order, from Friday to Thursday.

The four, and another man released earlier, had on Tuesday been detained for alleged graft involving a proposed housing project in Seri Iskandar, Perak Tengah, worth RM180mil.

Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim ruled that the magistrate had issued the order on valid grounds.

"All the procedures were followed under the Criminal Procedure Code and I find that there was no injustice," he told a packed courtroom at about 5.15pm.

However, he said he felt that the three-day remand order was too long and as such revised it to end Thursday.

Counsel Mohamad Asri Othman and seven other lawyers argued that the magistrate had been wrong to issue the order and to fix the remand period for three days.

Mohamad Asri said this represented a grave injustice as the defence team could not "read the mind of the magistrate" who had supposedly failed to record the reasons for granting the order.

Earlier, Mohammad Asri created a stir when he implied that the arrests could be politically motivated to coincide with the Permatang Pauh by-election.

This provoked a vehement objection from Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) Senior DPP Mohamad Jazamuddin Ahmad Nawawi who said it had nothing to do with the application.

Lawyers Faizul Hilmy Ahmad Zamri and Dexter Mah Kok Leong also took issue with the revelation that an ACA investigating officer was appointed only after the arrests.

However, Senior DPP Mohamad Jazamuddin countered that such was usually the case after a sudden "accident" or catching a criminal after a rape, provoking grumbles from Pakatan Rakyat supporters.

"I urge the court to reject the application. The magistrate has the discretion on whether or not to allow the remand order," he said.

The four were then produced before a magistrate and later freed at the state Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) office on a RM20,000 bail each with one surety.

Fellow PKR member and former Bota assemblyman Kapt (Rtd) Usaili Alias hugged Mohd Osman after they were released at about 6.30pm.

Remand for another Perak Exco member Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, who turned himself in on Wednesday to facilitate investigations into the case, ended Thursday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BPR tahan 2 exco Perak, taktik BN lemahkan kerajaan negeri - Suara Keadilan

Rabu, 20 Ogos 2008

Dua orang exco kerajaan Negeri Perak ditahan Badan Pencegah Rasuah (BPR) termasuk menahan enam orang lagi kerana disyaki terlibat dalam perbuatan rasuah berkaitan satu projek perumahan di Seri Iskandar, Perak.

Pengerusi DAP Perak yang juga ahli exco kanan kerajaan negeri, Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham menyifatkan penahanan dua pemimpin Pakatan itu sebagai satu tindakan Barisan Nasional untuk melemahkan kerajaan negeri.

Lima daripada mereka ditahan jam 6 petang semalam berusia antara 45 hingga 57 tahun termasuk tiga suspek terdiri dari anggota exco itu ditahan sejurus mereka menerima suapan berjumlah lebih RM105,000 sebagai balasan untuk mempercepatkan proses permohonan projek perumahan bernilai RM180 juta dan kenyataan BPR bahawa mereka juga disyaki terlibat dengan rasuah seks.

“Ini hanyalah satu percubaan untuk melemahkam Pakatan di Perak, dan satu percubaan untuk menyumbat mereka ke penjara,” kata Ngeh, ketika ditemui di lobi Parlimen hari ini.

Beliau berkata, perkhidmatan kedua-dua ahli exco itu tidak akan digantung sepanjang penyiasatan dijalankan oleh BPR, sambil menegaskan bahawa mereka telah dianiaya.

“Kami mengesyaki yang mereka telah dianiaya. Jadi, bagaimana perkhidmatan mereka hendak digantung? Apa yang paling mengecewa dalam hal ini, ialah mengapa BPR bertindak pantas sekali dalam mengambil tindakan terhadap kita, sedangkan selama ini kita juga telah membuat banyak laporan terhadap BN tentang perbuatan rasuah mereka?” soalnya.

Ngeh, yang juga ahli Parlimen Beruas, mempertahankan pemimpin Pakatan,sambil berkata mereka telah diingatkan supaya jangan terbabit dalam rasuah sebelulm kerajaan negeri ditubuhkan dahulu.

“Kita mahu mengisytiharkan bahawa kita telah memberi penekanan terhadap ketelusan dan penubuhan sebuah kerajaan yang bebas rasuah, sebelum kita menubuhkan kerajaan negeri,” tambahnya.

Sementara itu, mereka dibawa ke Mahkamah Sesyen Ipoh pagi ini untuk ditahan reman. Seorang daripada mereka dipercayai bekas
ahli dewan undangan negeri (Adun) Pakatan Rakyat.Lima daripada mereka ditahan reman selama tiga hari.

Menteri Besar Perak, Datuk Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin dan ibupejabat BPR di Putrajaya dijangka mengeluarkan kenyataan mengenainya.

Perak Exco reps Osman and Jamaluddin among 6 nabbed by ACA - Star

Two Perak state executive councillors are among six people arrested by the Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) for alleged graft, involving a proposed housing project in Seri Iskandar worth RM 180mil. The two Exco members are Changkat Jering assemblyman Kapt (Rtd) Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (RIGHT), 57, and Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (LEFT)

IPOH: Aug 21, 2008

Two Perak state executive councillors are among six people arrested by the Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) for alleged graft, involving a proposed housing project in Seri Iskandar worth RM 180mil.

The two Exco members are Changkat Jering assemblyman Kapt (Rtd) Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu, 57, and Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, 52.

State Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director Samsiah Abu Bakar confirmed the arrests.

Osman and four others were picked up at a hotel in Ipoh on Tuesday at 5.40pm while Jamaluddin was detained later when he went to the ACA office here.

Osman and the other four others - a PKR member, who stood and lost in the last general elections, a businessman, a Perak Development Corporation technician and a Perak Tengah district councillor - have been ordered to be remanded for three days to facilitate ACA officers in their investigations.

“We recovered RM100,000 in cash from the men but before that they have apparently been receiving (money) many times,” Samsiah told reporters at her office here Tuesday.

“They are also suspected to be involved in asking for sexual favours," she said, although she later confirmed that neither Osman or Jamaluddin had solicited sexual favours.

The RM100,000, she added, was supposedly found inside a bag in the Osman’s possession.

Samsiah estimated that the group had received altogether over RM120,000 from a contractor of the project in Seri Iskandar, Perak Tengah.

Samsiah said the ACA was first alerted about the solicitation of payments by “a member of the public” last week.

Jamaluddin turned himself in at the state ACA office here at about 10am to give his statement. At press time, there is no word of him being remanded as he was still under 24-hour detention by the ACA.

He appeared at the lower courts but left with lawyer Mohd Azri Osman for the state ACA office 10 minutes later.

The former postman turned politician appeared to be in good spirits and even greeted and joked with the media.

At about noon Tuesday, the five arrested at the hotel were taken to the magistrate’s court here to be remanded.They arrived at the courts in separate vehicles at 11am.

Reporters and members of the public were kept guessing over the identities of the five handcuffed suspects because they either had jackets over their heads or hands covering their faces.

They were immediately whisked inside and remained in the courtroom for over an hour.

The handcuffed Osman, who appeared panic-stricken, was the first to emerge but this time with his face uncovered at 12.24pm.

Magistrate Noor Aini Yusof issued a three-day remand order against each of the five pending investigations under Section 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997.

State executive councillors Tai Sing Ng and Thomas Su Keong Siong and Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran were also present to lend moral support.

PERMATANG PAUH BY-ELECTION: Anwar denies telling Koh not to take action to recover RM9 mil - Sun

SEBERANG PERAI (Aug20, 2008) by Himanshu Bhatt and Bernard Cheah

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has refuted a claim that he had, as the finance minister in 1998, told then chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon not to act against a company that had defaulted in its payments to the Penang government.

Calling Koh a "desperate politician" trying hard to salvage Gerakan, Anwar said his office had merely sent a letter to Koh to "study and address" an appeal by Business Focus Sdn Bhd (BFSB) to renegotiate its repayment scheme.

"There was a letter. He should not say that 10 years ago I had whispered to him. I am clearly disappointed," Anwar said today in response to a statement by Koh yesterday that Anwar had telephoned him to ask him not to act against the company.

Anwar said Koh had lost the support of his Chinese base and was now trying to "kow-tow" to the Umno leaders.

"If this is true, why bring it up now during this by-election?" he asked reporters after a campaign walk-about in Penanti.

Koh had said that Anwar, who was also deputy prime minister at the time, had telephoned him to tell him to let BFSB renegotiate its repayment scheme.

PKR candidate Datuk Anwar Ibrahim greets Taib Abdul Rahman, 75, a voter in the constituency during his walkabout in Penanti.

BFSB, which had bought Penang Shipbuilding Corporation Sdn Bhd (PSC) from Penang Development Corporation in 1992 for RM29 million, had defaulted in his payment by RM9 million.

Anwar said his relations with Koh had been "civil" before this.

Meanwhile, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is also the PDC chairman, said today Koh should not try to blame Anwar for the RM9 million loss.

He said Koh should show proof of his allegation that Anwar had telephoned him to tell him to let BFSB renegotiate its repayment scheme.

"To date, RM 9 million has still not being paid and BFSB has since being wound up. Most disturbing is that PSC has now been sold, and the land in Pulau Jerejak owned by another company," Lim said.

He said Anwar's then private secretary, Anuar Shaari, had written to the PDC to ask it to "study and report back" on the proposal by BFSB to settle its outstanding payments.

"There was no instruction by Anwar to extend the payment period by another five years," Lim added.

Two Pakatan reps clash in Dewan Rakyat - Star


Two Pakatan Rakyat MPs openly clashed in the House over the disruptions at the Bar Council's forum on conversion to Islam.

It took another Pakatan MP - Khalid Samad (PAS - Shah Alam) to step in before both Chong Eng (DAP - Bukit Mertajam) and Zulkifli Nordin (PKR - Kulim-Bandar Baru) would back down from attacking each other verbally.

Zulkifli has been fingered as one of the key players for the disruption at the forum on Aug 9, which has generated controversy among the public and has put him in trouble with the PKR leadership.

The din began when Chong, during her debate on the Education (Amendment) Bill, has criticised Government policies that seemed to suggest that other languages were not of the “same status” with Bahasa Malaysia.

“It’s just like saying that because Islam is the country’s official religion, other faiths have inferior status to it.

“I don’t think this is so because one of the basic tenets of Islam is the principle of equality,” she said.

Zulkifli then stood up to interrupt Chong, saying that she had been mistaken in her understanding of Islam.

Chong retorted that nobody should use force to halt a peacefully convened forum, adding that the protesters on that day had frightened women attending the event.

This drew a sharp response from Zulkifli who claimed that the event of that day had been manipulated by certain parties via “cyber-media” and other newspapers into a violent protest while the gathering had actually been peaceful.

John Fernandez (DAP - Seremban) and Charles Anthony Santiago (DAP - Klang) then complained that Zulkifli’s point “was way off topic”, which led Zulkifli to comment that “there were always various excuses when he tried to speak on Islam.”

When Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee tried to bring matters on track by reminding Zulkifli that he was merely seeking clarification from Chong, and not debating, the MP sniped that Chong was “taking an opportunity to criticise Islam and that she has a racist attitude.”

Khalid then played peacemaker by saying that although Islam was the official religion, the policy was not to make believers of other faiths to acknowledge that theirs were inferior.

“Although Muslims believe Islam to be the one truth faith, this doesn’t mean everyone else must acknowledge that it is a better religion. This is not reasonable,” he said, adding that such a similar argument must also be applied to the issue of Bahasa Malaysia as the official language.

“To have a national language is necessary for communication between the different races.

"It’s not meant to be chauvinistic move and that other languages are inferior to us.

"It’s not to show that one race is supreme over the others,” he said.

Chong later thanked Khalid for being a “moderate Muslim” while Zulkifli kept his peace.

Perak MB: Let law run its course - Star

IPOH: Aug 20, 2008

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin kept his composure, when pressed for comments that two of his Exco members had been arrested for graft.

Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat here Wednesday, Nizar said: "Let the law run its course. At this point, nothing can be said for every individual is innocent until proven guilty.

A grim-faced Nizar added that the Perak government would offer its full cooperation to the investigation.

"As far as I am concerned, any of our Exco members are open for investigation and should there be enough evidence to charge them, then they will be charged. Let the court decide," he said.

To a question on whether Pakatan's credibility would be tarnished by the arrests, Nizar said: "Anybody can get remanded.

"A remand is just for the purpose of recording statements and so on. It will not affect the government."

ACA detains 6 over housing project kickback

PUTRAJAYA: The ACA has arrested six people including two Perak state exco members for alleged graft, involving a housing project worth RM180mil.

Perak ACA director Samsiah Abu Bakar confirmed the arrests on Wednesday.

Five of them, including one exco member, were arrested on Tuesday in Perak following a report lodged by a complainant. The second exco member was arrested this morning.

Three of them were said to have collected RM100,000 as kickback to help process the housing application.

They are believed to have helped expedite and approve the application.

Five of the detained have been remanded for three days.

Heated debate over national integration - Star


A question on national integration veered dangerously into a heated exchange on Malay rights in Parliament on Wednesday after DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang (DAP - Ipoh Timor) commented on the lack of a festive mood in the run-up to Merdeka.

Deputy Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Teng Boon Soon had told Datuk Mohd Jidin Shafee (BN - Setiu) that the national integration programme had been successful when Lim stood up for a supplementary question.

Pointing to the lack of a "festive atmosphere" 11 days before Merdeka, he asked if this could be due to recent talks about "Malay supremacy and rights" by certain parties in the country, particularly Umno Youth.

"Doesn't this show that efforts to achieve national integration have failed?" he asked.

In reply, Teng said everybody should work towards national unity, especially politicians who must take care not to instigate any group.

As Lim tried to field another query, this brought the backbenchers' wrath on him - including from Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN - Pasir Salak) and Datuk Lilah Yassin (BN - Jempol).

"Don't always challenge the bumiputra all the time!" shouted Tajuddin while Lilah was heard telling Lim that "this is not China."

Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia later brought the situation under control, who commented "how could the people be expected to unite like this?"

Coincidentally, the next question, which was fielded by Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, was on achieving national integration despite the existing bumiputra policies.

Later, Minister in Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz told Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (BN - Pulai) that as at July this year 22 companies had had their operating licences with Petronas suspended for not adhering to certain conditions.

"Eleven of these companies are owned by bumiputras," he said.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Noraini Ahmad also told William Leong Jee Keen (PKR - Selayang) that as at June this year, 47,910 graduates had registered to find jobs under the ministry's electronic labour exchange.

"Out of this, 41,813 are Malay graduates, 1,403 Chinese and the rest Indians. Most Chinese and Indians however prefer to use job recruitment services from the private sector," she said.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anwar need not swear on Quran: Penang ulama - Star


Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim need not swear in the name of Allah as the Syariah Court is the best place for him to prove his innocence.

The Penang branch of the National Ulama Association’s chairman Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Nor said the basic principles of Islamic law should be followed by producing four witnesses to testify in Anwar’s sodomy allegations.

“If the accuser fails to bring four witnesses as required by the hudud law, then the case should be dropped,” he told a press conference Tuesday at the Sunway Business Centre in Seberang Jaya, here.

Dr Wan Salim said if under certain circumstances the four witnesses could not be produced in the Syariah Court, the prosecutor could use DNA evidence to prove the case but such evidence was not solid.

PERMATANG PAUH BY-ELECTION: We will review maga projects, says Anwar - Sun

Aug 19, 2008 by Giam Say Khoon


Mega projects which do not benefit the people will be reviewed or cancelled if and when the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) takes over the federal government, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

He said projects involving high costs and are not people-oriented will be stopped but those that benefit the people will continue.

"The Barisan Nasional (government) will only allow projects that benefit its cronies and family members and this has affected our economic growth and caused hardship to the people," the Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser and candidate in the Permatang Pauh by-election told reporters after launching his campaign slogan "The nation does not belong to Umno or BN but the people".

"The prices of goods are increasing but still the BN announced a RM15 billion project to develop broadband. We question the cost because it is extremely high.

"This shows we have Umno leaders who ignore the difficulties faced by the people."

Asked what projects would be reviewed, Anwar named, as an example, the double-tracking and undersea cable projects.

Asked whether the projects awarded by BN leaders to their family members will be reviewed, he said: "Is this legitimate? This cannot be accepted."

Anwar also commented on other issues:

>> Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan being at the Jawi office today.
Anwar said: "He (Saiful) was ordered to go and see Jawi after one month of evasion."

Asked if the latest development in the case will help him in the by-election, he said he "never considered" if the development will help in the by-election.

If Saiful wanted to following the Islamic procedure, "let's follow the syariah court (procedure), he said.

>> The choice of the next parliamentary opposition leader.
Anwar said when his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail resigned as the MP for Permatang Pauh last month, Pakatan Rakyat had proposed that if he were to win the by-election, he would become the next opposition leader.

>> The tabling of the DNA bill in Parliament.
Anwar said: "Now they (BN) are really interested in DNA."

Asked to comment on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's statement that the bill had nothing to do with the by-election, Anwar said: "It is up to him to say whatever he wants."

Anwar launches election slogan - Malaysiakini

Aug 19, 2008

Earlier today, Anwar launched his election slogan called 'mermerdekakan rakyat’ (independence for the people) at an event held in Seberang Jaya witnessed by about 200 supporters.

Standing on a lorry and against the backdrop of a huge board carrying the words ‘this country does not belongs to Umno or BN, it belongs to the rakyat,’ Anwar appealed to the voters to make the right choice.

The opposition leader said somebody asked him why he chose the slogan since the country had gained independence 50 years ago.

"I said the independence is not for ministers or son-in-laws, it should be for the people," he told the audience. He then led the crowd in chanting ‘merdeka’ three times.

At a press conference later, he said Pakatan Rakyat will review projects which do not benefit the rakyat should it come into power.

As examples, he cited the RM15.2 billion high-speed broadband service project announced recently, the double-tracking railway and the undersea cable projects.

"(These projects are awarded) at a time when people complain of suffering and when the economy is not picking up, they (the leaders) are losing their sense of priority," he said.

PKR leader: If Anwar wins, 13 Sabah MPs will cross over - Malaysiakini

Aug 19, 08 5:35pm

As the clock ticks down for what has been dubbed as the mother of all by-elections, more news on the possibility of an imminent change in government is filtering in.

According to Sabah-based PKR leader Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, 13 MPs in the state will cross over to the opposition if Anwar Ibrahim wins the Aug 26 duel for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency in Penang.

Anwar who is on the verge of making a comeback to Parliament after a 10-year hiatus has earmarked Sept 16 to form a new government.

His rivals, however, have dismissed this as nothing more than a gimmick.

Meanwhile, Kitingan also claimed that the 13 MPs had met with him and expressed their support for the opposition stalwart.

anwar ibrahim permatang pauh by election campaign 190808"We speak the truth. I am talking about the 13 MPs who will join Pakatan Rakyat after Anwar wins this (Permatang Pauh) by-election ... they are just waiting (to cross over)," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

The PKR vice-president said two of the MPs were from the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and the rest from Umno.

More news at:

Anwar campaigns in hawker centre - Malaysiakini

Anwar is escorted by overwhelming numbers - Malaysiakini

Anwar: Name my ‘cronies’ - Star

BUTTERWORTH: Aug 19, 2008

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has challenged his detractors to name the people who allegedly benefited from his position when he was deputy prime minister and finance minister.

“There was no such thing. If you know of the people who benefited, you should identify them. Do not just make claims,” he said.

The PKR leader, who is contesting the Permatang Pauh by-election, was asked to comment on his involvement in bumiputra policies when he was in the Federal Government and the award of projects without tenders.

Speaking to reporters during a break from his morning campaign yesterday, Anwar said bumiputra youths did not have any problem embracing a multiracial philosophy.

He said the recent issue with Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s proposal to allocate a 10% quota for non-bumiputras in UiTM was a ploy by Umno leaders to make PKR look bad and anti-Malay.

Friendly reception: Seberang Jaya residents welcoming Anwar and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail during their visit to the Seberang Jaya Food Court in Penang yesterday

“(Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave the same proposal in 2002. What Umno is doing is manipulating Khalid’s statement,” he said, adding that he did not think Umno could sustain the racial line.

“It is time for the Malays to take the step (towards a multiracial philosophy), but it will not be easy initially,” he said, adding that he himself was amazed how well Malay youths had responded to him championing for the interests of other races.

Declaring he is a leader of all races, Anwar said his main objective was to bring prosperity to all Malaysians.

“Yes, I am an agent for the Malays as well as the Indians and Chinese,” he said yesterday, while hitting out at Barisan leaders for allegedly portraying him as anti-Malay.

He stressed that he would never betray the Malays or sacrifice Islam to achieve his plan of leading Pakatan Rakyat to take over the Federal Government.

He claimed that Barisan Nasional leaders had been using the racial line in their campaign rounds to sway Malay voters away from him in the by-election.

“Playing on the racial line is a very dangerous game. The people are not that stupid now compared to years ago. Umno is a sinking ship and its leaders are holding on to it to stay in power,” he said.

On contesting against his former protege Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, Anwar said he had nothing personal against the man and that he was a good friend.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gerakan leader endorses Anwar - Malaysiakini

Dr. Toh Kin Woon, interviewed! Part I

Malaysiakini Special: Dr Toh Kin Woon (Part 2)

Toh quits Gerakan - Malaysiakini

By Chan Kok Leong | Aug 18, 08 5:24pm

Barely 24 hours after he voiced his support for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in the Permatang Puah by-election, Gerakan leader Dr Toh Kin Woon has quit his party.

The Gerakan central committee member turned in his resignation today, addressed to secretary-general Chia Kwang Chye.

In a telephone interview, Toh said he has quit the party to concentrate on NGO work - particularly in the field of Chinese education and with reform movement Aliran.

"I've already retired from electoral politics and feel that it is better for me to concentrate on NGO work," said Toh.

"Furthermore, by freeing myself from any political parties, I will be able to express myself more freely and not embarrass the party, should my views be different from theirs."

While most Barisan Nasional politicians were expressing their confidence in winning the Permatang Pauh by-election, Toh was seen visiting the PKR election operation centre yesterday.

During the visit the veteran politician expressed his support for Anwar and feels that the PKR leader's addition to Parliament can help strengthen democracy.

The vocal politician stressed that he was not supporting Anwar-led PKR as a party but the movement and the cause which the PKR politician has been fighting for.

'Thank you, Toh'

The open pledge of support from a Barisan Nasional leader has given an added boost to opposition stalwart Anwar Ibrahim's campaign in Permatang Pauh.

Describing it as a positive sign, the PKR leader expressed his gratitude to Penang-based Gerakan leader and former state exco Dr Toh Kin Woon.

"I am very encouraged by Toh's support," he told reporters after visiting a market in Seberang Jaya this morning.

"He is not only a friend but known to be one of the few political leaders who is highly principled and consistent."

Anwar, who will be contesting in the Aug 26 Permatang Pauh by-election, also revealed that he and Toh have maintained contact despite being on opposite sides of the political fence.

"It's important for people to realise that on issues of democracy, (fighting against) corruption and human rights, we have been very consistent," he added.

'It's a good sign'

Anwar said his wife, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, their family and the Pakatan Rakyat leadership also welcomed the gesture by the Gerakan veteran.

"We think it's a good sign. (It shows) people with principles with the BN will finally choose a Pakatan with principles.

"I think for Toh (right) to do that, it must be a very serious issue and he must have given it much thought," he added.

Toh's pledge has undoubtedly given the BN campaign a headache, especially when he was an ex-colleague of Umno candidate Arif Shah Omar Shah in the Penang state assembly.

The outspoken Gerakan leader had expressed his support after visiting a PKR election campaign office yesterday.

"I feel if Anwar (is elected to) Parliament, the voice of the opposition will be stronger and the chances of strengthening democracy and widening the democratic space will be better.

"For these reasons, I support him," he said, adding that Anwar has been "very consistent and courageous" in articulating a new Malaysian agenda.

However, he refrained from commenting on his BN colleague Arif Shah's candidacy.

More news at:

The ulama take charge again - Star

Aug 18, 2008 Analysis by JOCELINE TAN

By the time the PAS muktamar ended, the party’s three ulama superstars had shown that they were again in total control of the party.

THE Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammed Nizar Jamaluddin is much better looking in person than in pictures.

He is tall, has his mother’s fair Chinese skin and speaks Cantonese with the Chinese reporters covering the PAS muktamar in Ipoh. But it is his polished English that sets him apart.

He is also the new star of PAS and party members have been lining up to have their photographs taken with him.

Nizar, whom party people refer to rather quaintly as “Datuk Seri Engineer Nizar,” now ranks among the “professionals” in the party.
Nizar: Ranks among the 'professionals' in the party.

The professional group has been on the rise in PAS since 1998 when the Anwar Ibrahim sacking sent droves of well-educated Malays into PAS.

Their technocratic style and broader worldview was like fresh air blowing into a closed room.

This group did so well in the 2007 party polls they almost eclipsed the conservatives.

But the ascent of the professionals is about to be checked because the three-day muktamar ended yesterday with a clear mandate for the ulama (religious scholars) group to play a more influential role in the party’s future direction.

“The more conservative ulama group will be the ones to watch at next year’s party elections,” said Zulkifli Sulong, editor of the political newsletter Siasah.

The perception is that the young Turks, including deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa, are a little too impetuous about taking the party forward. They think the party is in uncharted waters and needs the guiding hand of more experienced and conservative ulama.

“We were also dissatisfied with the way the leaders handled the issue. It caused a lot of confusion,” said PAS Youth exco member and lawyer Abdullah Abdul Karim from Pahang.

Members are still unhappy with Nasharudin’s role in the PAS-Umno talks although they have not attacked him directly at the muktamar.

His mistake was going alone to meet the Umno president even though he had the green light from the top. He has been the target of what his friends call fitnah or slander in cyberspace and he will take time to recover.

Nasharudin is seen as part of this new school of ulama who is too modern for the liking of some members.

At last year’s muktamar in Kota Baru, banners hung all over the Kelantan capital had featured Nasharudin alongside Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Datuk Seri Hadi Awang.

This year, the banners put up in Ipoh featured only the two senior Tok Gurus.

Nasharudin is no longer seen as a potential party president.

But this muktamar was successful in soothing the misgivings of members over a number of issues.

PAS Perak deputy chief and lawyer Asmuni Awi said the party’s top ulama figures were able to resolve the PAS-Umno talks or muzakarah issue by explaining that such engagement is perfectly permissible under Islam.

The grassroots also had a chance to tell the leaders that any engagement must not extend to joining or cooperating with Umno.

“We also made our stand on Pakatan Rakatan. We will stay with the coalition despite the problems,” said Asmuni.

Members were also assured that the party intends to be the dominant partner or king-maker in the coalition and that their party president Prime Ministerin-waiting.

“Many of us are not in favour of grabbing the federal government. If a party wants to leave the Barisan, that’s fine but I am against enticing individual MPs to jump,” said Asmuni.

Party leaders knew that they were facing an angry group of delegates when the muktamar began on Friday. But they managed things really well, getting their top ulama, including the highly respected Datuk Dr Haron Din to explain things.

“They are the creme de la creme in our party and they put things into the Islamic perspective,” said Kuala Lumpur delegate Dr Rayney Ali.

Members reacted well to Nik Aziz’s statement that any engagement with Umno would be done on PAS’ own terms. He was greeted with cheers from the floor when he said PAS leaders intend to ask Umno leaders why they had failed to implement Islam.

Nik Aziz was ill throughout the muktamar while Dr Haron has been suffering from heart problems for several years and Hadi has lost so much weight because of health problems.

The three ulama superstars are not in the pink of health but they are in total control of the party.

DNA Bill tabled for first reading - Star


KUALA LUMPUR: Aug 18, 2008

The DNA Identification Bill was tabled for first reading by Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar in Parliament on Monday.

The Bill met with criticism from Lim Kit Siang (DAP - Ipoh Timor) who claimed it was timed with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's contest in the Permatang Pauh by-election.

However, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin asked the MP to raise issues during the debate on the Bill later.

Later, Syed Hamid told reporters that the Opposition should not think that the tabling of the Bill was "politically motivated" as the drafting had begun in 2001.

"The Bill makes it compulsory for anyone charged for offences under the Penal Code to give their DNA sample to the authorities," he said.

Earlier, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha told Lim that each state government had their own scheme and concessionaire to maintain their fleet of official cars.

"Besides, the acquisition of Mercedes for the Terengganu state exco has been explained by the Prime Minister," he said, adding that it was up to ministers, deputy ministers and exco members to ensure that their official cars were not misused by their drivers.

International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (BN - Pulai) that Malaysia received more foreign direct investment per capita than China.

"With our population of 27 million, we received US$234.88 (RM775.10) per person for foreign direct investment as compared to US$52.84 (RM174.37) per person in China last year," he said.

Go ahead, sue me: Selangor MB - Star


SHAH ALAM: Aug 18, 2008

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has welcomed Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UiTM) decision to take legal action against him over his statement calling for 10% of the varsity’s intake be opened to non-bumiputras.

Khalid said he welcomed the suit announced by UiTM Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah last Saturday as it would provide an opportunity for the truth behind the statement to be highlighted to the people.

He said the suggestion he made on Aug 9 was not something that was altogether new and had been raised even before this.

“I feel the Malays and Malaysians as a whole are more matured and they know that such efforts (to open the intake to the non-bumiputras) are needed as we head towards globalisation.

“The openness in education is necessary to raise the skills of each member of the workforce in Malaysia as a means to ensure the country can effectively compete with other nations,” he said.

Khalid had on Aug 9 asked for UiTM to open 10% of its intake to the other races to raise the level of integration, competitiveness and the quality of graduates.

Prof Ibrahim and the student body council later slammed the Mentri Besar over the comment as the state government had no jurisdiction over the university and this was followed by student demonstrations in several states.

Khalid had on Wednesday defended his statement and said he would not apologise for his suggestion and the university then decided to initiate legal action against him.