Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nasarudin: I still have the fighting spirit - Star

Jan 30, 2009 By CLARA CHOOI

IPOH: Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim said he is brave enough to leave Umno and join PKR.

“If I was weak, I would not have been brave enough to join PKR. I still have the fighting spirit in me,” he said after meeting his constituents on Friday night.

He said the decision to leave Umno was not made because he could not contest in the party’s division elections last year.

“It has nothing to do with the fact that I did not hold any position in the party. The thought never cropped up,” he said.

He urged other Umno assemblymen keen to join the PKR to do so now. “I believe they are mature enough to think for themselves.”

Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had described Nasarudin as weak for crossing over to PKR and that he had put his self-interest above that of Umno’s struggles.

“If you are strong, you will face up to all challenges that come your way,’’ Abdullah had said.

A large crowd turned up to hear Nasarudin and PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speak.

Nasaruddin said: “I have never seen such a large crowd not even for my ceramah (political address) during the general election (in March last year). It is clear that the people support me and they are happy.”

He told the crowd that PKR did not offer him anything.

“I was not given money or offers, nothing. I was taught to be truthful since I was a child. I was taught to never be a liar,” he said.

Anwar told the crowd that several Barisan Nasional assemblymen had contacted him to join PKR. He refused to elaborate on the matter when approached by reporters.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2 more express frustration - NST

Jan 28, 2009

Datuk Hamdi Abu Bakar says any decision to jump to PR would be made collectively with other Umno reps.

IPOH: Two Umno assemblymen rumoured to be on the verge of leaving the party said more defections to the Pakatan Rakyat could not be discounted.

Datuk Ahamad Pakeh Adam says he was frustrated when told not to contest Sungai Siput division chief’s post.

After Bota state assemblymen Datuk Nasarudin Hashim quit the party for Pakatan Rakyat on Sunday, three more Umno state representatives are said to have communicated with PR leaders.

Two assemblymen told the New Straits Times they were mulling over their options if the situation in Umno did not change.

Lintang state assemblyman Datuk Ahamad Pakeh Adam and Pengkalan Baharu's Datuk Hamdi Abu Bakar said Umno had to stabilise itself in Perak and show that it cared and respected senior members serving as elected representatives.

Both Ahamad and Hamdi, who were Sungai Siput and Beruas Umno division chiefs respectively, lost their posts at divisional elections last year.
Ahamad said he was "frustrated" when told by Perak Umno liaison chief Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali that he should not contest the Sungai Siput division chief's post.

"How can Tajol Rosli tell me not to contest the division chief's post? I am the only Barisan Nasional rep in the Sungai Siput constituency. Even Nasarudin was instructed not to contest the Parit division chief's post.

"Yes, I admit I met state PR leaders recently to discuss my deep frustration with Umno leaders' behaviour since the last general election.

"While I have not expressed my desire yet to join the PR, I may do so if things do not change for the better in Umno.

"People with money but who are not wakil rakyat have been elected as division chiefs because they were sanctioned to contest against incumbents who are elected reps," he alleged.

Ahamad said he was disappointed with the BN's policies when it was ruling the state and "impressed with the PR state government".

Hamdi, meanwhile, denied that he had met state PR leaders but admitted that, like Ahamad, he was frustrated.

"Ahamad, one or two other Umno state reps and I had discussed our frustrations with what is going on in Umno."

He also claimed that money had been used to win divisional positions in the state.

Asked if he would join the PR if his wish to see a changed Umno did not materialise, Hamdi said any decision in that regard would only be made "collectively" with other Umno members who felt the same way.

"If we jump ship to PR, we jump together. I will not do it alone, never.

"I hope incoming party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak will focus on improving ties between Umno members and stop factions within the party."

Guan Eng lauds Bota rep’s move to PKR - Star

Jan 28, 2009

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng lauded Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim’s defection to PKR, saying the move would strengthen the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak.

“The situation in Perak is not like Penang where the Pakatan has a big majority.

“With one more assemblyman (for the Pakatan government), we hope their situation will be strengthened and give them a boost to continue striving and working for the people,” Lim said after hosting a state Chinese New Year open house at his residence on Jalan Macalister on Monday.

Pakatan holds 29 out of 40 state seats in Penang while Nasarudin’s defection raises Pakatan’s majority in Perak to five.

“Perak Umno is constantly saying that they will soon overthrow the Pakatan state government, but so far, we only see Umno falling,” said Lim.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BOTA ASSEMBLYMAN RESIGNATION: Perak Umno elected reps pledge support for party - NST

Jan 27, 2009 By : V. Vasudevan and Adrian David


All Umno state assemblymen and members of parliament in Perak have pledged their support to the party leadership. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this after a meeting with Perak Umno representatives at his house in Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta, on Monday night.
Najib was responding to the resignation the day before of Bota state assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim from Umno to join Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

He also denied the claims of more BN lawmakers crossing over to the Pakatan Rakyat made by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and others.

“We will continue with our fight for the interests of Umno and the BN. We will also hold similar meetings with the BN representatives in the other states soon,” he told reporters. Among those present was Perak BN chairman Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali.

Najib said he was surprised by Nasaruddin’s defection. “We heard about it two days ago but it’s still a shock. I hope the assemblyman gave his decision some serious thought,” he said at the Gerakan Chinese New Year open house on Monday.
Najib urged all BN assemblymen and members of parliament to be realistic in their expectations and considerate of the coalition’s larger aims.

“It is not right if a member has a personal problem, or is dissatisfied with something, to leave the party in its hour of need,” he said.

At the Monday night meeting, Najib told the Perak Umno elected representatives to unite and work for the party.

He also told them that the party was preparing new strategies and policies to fight the opposition.

MP for Pasir Salak Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman described the meeting as a 'talk' to the elected representatives to focus on the job of serving the rakyat.

“Basically, he told us not to give up. He called on us to work hard and put aside differences for the sake of the party,” Tajuddin said.

An assemblyman who attended the meeting but asked to remain anonymous said seven of them spoke up.

“We highlighted some of the problems we faced and most of them appeared to stem from the party’s recent divisional elections,” he said.

It is understood that some former assemblymen who lost in the divisional elections felt they were being marginalised while incumbent assemblymen and division chiefs who had retained their positions complained of not getting enough support from the divisions.

Najib told the representatives the complaints would be addressed in the coming days.

He said the BN door was still open, at this point at least, for Nasarudin to return.

PR wooing three Umno assemblymen to defect - NST

Jan 27, 2009 By Jaspal Singh

IPOH, Tues:

Three more Umno state assemblymen are being wooed to join the Pakatan Rakyat, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said today.
Speaking to reporters at the Perak DAP Chinese New Year open house here on Monday, he told reporters the three Umno assemblymen had approached Pakatan leaders after the defection of Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim declared on Sunday to the Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

He, however, refused to disclose who the three were.

“I cannot give more specifics because we want to guard their security. Now Nasarudin is facing some problems after announcing that he is joining Pakatan Rakyat. So I cannot reveal who these three people are,” he said.

He said the Umno assemblymen had met PR leaders on their own volition.
“They came to see us after Nasarudin declared that he was joining the PR. So we have now started discussions with them.”

Nizar said he could not tell when the crossovers would take place, pointing out that it took Nasarudin at least three weeks to make his decision.

“Of course, time is of the essence and the negotiation is going on seriously. If you ask me to rate the chances of winning them over to the PR’s side, then it will be 50-50 at the moment,” he said.

Asked if any reasons were provided by the Umno men for wanting to join the PR, he said it was due to internal politicking.

“They wanted to contest for top division positions but were told not to by the party leadership. When they insisted on contesting, they lost their bids,” he said.

While the names of the three Umno assemblymen could not be confirmed, it is believed they are Pengkalan Baharu state assemblyman Datuk Hamdi Abu Bakar, Datuk Ahamad Pakeh Adam (Lintang) and Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (Kubu Gajah).

Both Hamdi and Ahamad, who were incumbents, lost their positions during divisional elections last year. Raja Ahmad’s bid to capture the division chief’s post was hampered when the Umno supreme council decided recently to suspend the divisional election.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't be too sure, Perak MB tells Najib - Malaysiakini

Jan 26, 09 7:58pm

Perak Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin today refuted a claim by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak that no other BN state representative will be joining the Pakatan Rakyat.

Instead the PAS leader said that three more Barisan Nasional assemblymen were expected to join Pakatan.

perak cm mb mohamad nizar jamaluddinHe added that discussions with the three assemblymen were ongoing and Pakatan was working at bringing them into its fold.

"We did not invite them to join us but they came to see us. We are holding discussions.

"After Nasaruddin (Hashim) announced his joining us yesterday, the three others came to see us and said they wanted to talk," he told reporters in Ipoh, reported Bernama.

Mohammad Nizar did not identify the three assemblypersons, only adding that the trio were disappointed with Umno.

"But it is only one of the reasons, as they were supposed to contest for the divisional chief posts (in the Umno divisional elections last October) but were ordered not to, while some lost in the elections.

"It was Umno's internal problem. Nasaruddin said his joining (PKR) was due to disappointment, internally," he said.

However, he said, the chances of Pakatan getting the BN assemblypersons to join the opposition pact was 50-50.

"They need time to consider as Nasaruddin took three weeks to decide," he added.

Bota assemblyperson Nasaruddin joined PKR yesterday after considering the interests of voters and his supporters in the state constituency.

With that, the Pakatan Rakyat-led Perak government now has 32 seats while BN has 27 (26 held by Umno and one by MCA).

Earlier today Najib rubbished all talks of more BN state representatives in Perak joining the Pakatan alliance. He said that such talks were only rumours.

Have no effect on state BN

Meanwhile Perak BN chief and former MB Tajol Rosli Ghazali said Nasaruddin's decision to leave Umno does not affect the status of BN.

Tajol, also the state's Umno head, said Nasaruddin's move only brought change to the number of seats in the state legislative assembly.

He expressed confidence that the Perak BN was capable of wresting back the state from Pakatan in the next general election.

"We have three years to do so and the BN has put in motion all measures especially to get the votes of the youth.

"BN was left behind in the 12th general election in the third and fourth streams...we will strive to get youth votes in those streams," he said.

Anwar claims more BN reps to defect - Star


KLANG: Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claims his plans are still on track and more Barisan Nasional elected representatives would cross over to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

Saying it would occur on a “bi-weekly basis from next month” onwards, the PKR adviser said people have made up their minds and “it’s only a matter of time.”

Anwar told a crowd at the a Chinese New Year celebration held at the Hokkien Association Hall here that “change was imminent and we will surprise you from time to time.”

“Now the ox has come in, just be patient ... we are working hard just like the ox,” he said at the event that was organised by Selangor information chief Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew, in reference to it being the Lunar Year of the Ox.

After the Opposition’s strong showing in the general election last march, Anwar had promised that he had more than 30 Barisan MPs ready to cross over to the Pakatan Rakyat alliance by Sept 16.

None did and since failing to meet his own deadline, the former deputy prime minister’s voice had been relatively muted on the crossover issue until the defection of Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim on Sunday, who quit Umno to join PKR.

In IPOH, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin claimed that three more assemblymen could be crossing over from Umno.

He said talks were in progress between Pakatan and the three, who had approached the alliance following Nasarudin’s defection on Sunday.

“They came forward to meet us without us inviting them,” Nizar said after attending the Perak DAP Chinese New Year open house here Monday.

He however declined to reveal the identities of the three or which parties they had approached, alleging that they could be threatened.

Asked what the chances were of the three actually joining Pakatan, Nizar said there was a 50-50 chance.

Khalid warns Khir Toyo of new ‘revelations’ - Star

Jan 26, 2009

IJOK: Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo could be opening a can of worms with his allegations over the purchase of 46 cows, his successor as Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, has warned.

“Once the Officials Secrets Act (OSA) tag is removed from documents, the darkest secrets regarding the state opposition chief Dr Khir Mohd Toyo will come to light,” he said.

“Several letters on the issuance of land (to certain parties), on the allocation of contracts and even the purchase of cows for the former Barisan Nasional state government for Aidiladha by firms involved in the gaming industry, will be revealed,” he added.

Khalid said that things done by Dr Khir, which were worse, would be revealed in the Selangor State Assembly.

The latest spat came after Gerak Malaysia (Civil Movement Against Corruption) lodging a report on Jan 21, with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission alleging the state government had financed the purchase of cows worth RM110,400 and that they had been distributed in Khalid’s parliamentary seat, Bandar Tun Razak, which is not in Selangor.

In response, Khalid said the cows had been bought by subsidiaries of the state government.

Two days later, Dr Khir took a swipe at Khalid, claiming he had a copy of the minutes of a meeting dated Nov 28 in which the order was made.

Nasarudin is first BN rep to join Opposition - Star

Jan 26 2009 By JANE RITIKOS

PETALING JAYA: Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim is quitting Umno to join PKR, making him the first Barisan Nasional elected representive to join the opposition party after the general election last year.

News of his defection sent shockwaves in Umno circles in Perak and around the country.

Pakatan Rakyat will now have 32 assemblymen in Perak, with Umno having one fewer at 27.

Nasarudin, 58, said his decision to jump ship was due to political developments and people’s support for the Opposition during the general election and the current situation in Umno.

Big decision: Nasarudin speaking to the press as Anwar listens at PKR’s office in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

Nasarudin was introduced as a PKR recruit by party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at a press conference held at the party’s headquarters here yesterday.

The former Parit MP (2004-08) had won the Bota state seat last year by defeating Kapt (Rtd) Usaili Alias of the PKR by a 2,068-vote majority, polling 6,556 votes against the former’s 4,448.

Nasarudin, 58, who joined Umno in the 1970s, said he was entering PKR with immediate effect but would submit his resignation letter to Umno later.

“I am confident PKR will continue to uphold and respect the Constitution with regards to the position of Bahasa Melayu as the official national language, the position of the Rulers and Islam as the federal religion.

“I believe PKR and its partners in Pakatan Rakyat are able to be a better coalition of component parties for the people’s benefit,” he said.

Nasarudin. a former Felcra Bhd chairman, said by joining PKR he would be able to be a more effective assemblyman, especially with Pakatan Rakyat holding the reins of the state government in Perak.

Calling him an important leader in Perak, Anwar said Nasarudin’s decision was critical because it reflected the sentiments of his voters, particularly the Malay constituents.

“He is responding to that demand. We welcome him and I see it as a beginning of a new wave,” said Anwar.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Umno man joins PKR in Perak - Star


PETALING JAYA: Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim is quitting Umno to join PKR, bringing the total number of state seats held by the Pakatan Rakyat alliance here to 32, versus Barisan Nasional’s 27.

Nasarudin, 58, said his decision was based on the people’s growing support for Pakatan, and the current situation within Umno and with its leaders.

Speaking at a press conference with PKR advisor and de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday, the former Parit MP said he was joining PKR with immediate effect but would submit his resignation letter to Umno later.

Saying that he was doing this in the interest of the people, especially his supporters and voters, he added that he was confident in PKR’s commitment to protecting the rights and interests of all races.

“I am confident PKR will continue to uphold and respect the Constitution with regards to the position of Bahasa Melayu (sic) as the official national language, the position of the Rulers and Islam as the federal religion,” he said.

He added that by joining PKR, he would be able to more effectively represent the interest of his constituency since Pakatan Rakyat is the state government in Perak.

Nasarudin is former Felcra Berhad chairman and was an administrative and diplomatic officer in Wisma Putra, and also served at the Information Ministry. He joined Umno in the 1970s and had held the post of branch head since 1985.

Calling him an important leader in Perak, Anwar said Nasarudin’s decision was critical as it reflected the sentiment of the voters, especially his Malay constituents.

“He is responding to that demand. We welcome him and I see it as a beginning of a new wave,” said Anwar.

Unhappy Barisan

The defection left Barisan leaders in shock. In IPOH, Perak MCA chairman Datuk Kong Cho Ha described the move as a “selfish one,” adding that Nasaruddin needed to answer to his party and his electorate.

“I am surprised and shocked to hear of this crossover by a Barisan assemblyman,” he said.

“It is also up to his conscience on whether he should have first vacated his seat in Bota. He has to answer to his electorate because they had voted for him under the Barisan ticket,” he said.

Perak Gerakan chief Datuk Chang Ko Youn concurred, saying that Nasaruddin should have first resigned as Bota assemblyman.

“If you are elected under a certain party, you should stick with it.

“If you disagree with certain policies, then you should rightfully resign from your seat and later offer yourself up as a Pakatan Rakyat candidate in the by-election,” he said.

Elated Pakatan

Pakatan component party leaders were however elated by the news and some even claimed there would be more such crossovers.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who is also state PAS deputy commissioner, said there were unconfirmed reports that more Barisan representatives planned to follow in Nasaruddin’s footsteps.

“There will be more crossovers ... we are working on it,” he said.

Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham welcomed Nasaruddin into the Pakatan family, saying that the latter had told him in a phone conversation that he wanted to contribute more effectively to the alliance.

Monday, January 19, 2009

KT-by-election: It's the candidate - Sun

PETALING JAYA (Jan 18, 2009) : By Zainon Ahmad

The assertion that the mood that prevailed in Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan last March had finally caught up with the voters of Kuala Terengganu is probably true. It perhaps explains why they changed their March 8 decision.

Kuala Terengganu, which was narrowly won by the BN in the last general election, now belongs to PAS, a component of the loose Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition which includes PKR and DAP. The 2,631-vote majority was convincing enough.

With the win, PAS is now stronger in Terengganu with two parliamentary seats instead of only Marang, won by party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in the last general election. PAS is also stronger in PR which now has 83 seats. It now has 24 seats to PKR’s 31 and DAP’s 28.

There may be another parliamentary by-election this year and the question that is being asked is whether the momentum of March 8 and the mood for change can still be strong enough to affect the result.

Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who led the BN defence of Kuala Terengganu and who had
successfully led campaigning in all the by-elections after the 2004 general election, does not think so.

According to indications before nomination day, both BN or Umno and PAS, or at least their state leaders, recognised the mood in the people of Kuala Terengganu. Local Umno leaders heeded the mood but unfortunately for them they were overruled.

PAS local leaders heeded the mood which they assessed as not being too strong to carry them over completely but which they decided could be bolstered by a popular grassroots candidate.

They strategised and waited until after the BN named its candidate before springing their surprise. Meanwhile, they floated names of prominent PAS officials as possibilities – red herrings, some of them said.

Three days after BN named Deputy Home Minister Senator Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, also Kuala Terengganu division leader, as candidate, PAS announced that it was fielding Wakaf Mempelam assemblyman Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut.

In the end, candidates mattered most in this constituency where PAS had won three of the four state wards in last year’s general election. The BN, through MCA, took Bandar where the Chinese formed 36% of the electorate, the biggest in the overwhelmingly Malay constituency.

The contest saw Wan Farid, an electoral novice, versus battled-scarred but personable and folksy five-term assemblyman Wahid. Wahid was defeated in Bandar, where the Chinese voters are, in his first bid for a seat in 1986.

While Wahid was almost always punctual for his meetings with the rakyat, excusing himself even if other PR big guns were around at any of them and cleverly blaming his handlers for his daily crowded schedules, Wan Farid was not always able to desert his prime minister, deputy prime minister, and the mentri besar.

One function that was particularly embarrassing to him and the BN was when he arrived late for the "bubur asyura" making function. The cooking was over and the picture of him stirring the bubur carried by most newspapers was posed. The people of Kuala Terengganu knew that.

BN thought it was stealing a march on PAS when it named Wan Farid early.

He was already on his rounds smiling and shaking hands but talk about him being snooty was also making the rounds and people began to scrutinise his every move.

But after nomination day, PAS, backed by its PR partners, went on the offensive and conducted a coordinated campaign to wrest the constituency from BN. PR leader and PKR supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim led the charge.

With DAP leaders, especially Lim Kit Siang and Teresa Kok, concentrating their firepower in Bandar where most of the Chinese are and who were told that Umno must be punished so that it would institute reforms, the BN was quickly put on the defensive.

PR campaigners exploited every issue and threw everything – abuses, failures, allegations of corruption and wild accusations – at the BN which was forced to respond as convincingly as it could.

That Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was disallowed to continue as mentri besar after March 8 was also played up and to it was added the punchline "do we want to allow those who backed him at the federal level to influence us?"

Even the late Datuk Razali Ismail, the Kuala Terengganu MP and deputy education minister who died in November, was championed by PAS and its partners.

His family’s grief and hurt were exploited to such an extent that the government had to honour him by naming a school and a training institute after him.

But the complaints and the allegations, even after they were responded to, did not stop.

Early indication on Saturday that the BN was losing was when it was reported that the voter turnout was about 3% lower than the 82.4 achieved on March 8. It has long been contended that a high voter turnout of around 90% benefits the BN.

Maybe the BN can blame the main stream media for this as from the word go they had been making upbeat reports of the coalition’s chances. They could have influenced some of the Malay BN supporters that it was no longer necessary for them to go to the polling stations.

In the end, fear of the BN parties that the Chinese voters were against them this time was baseless as more Chinese voted for the coalition than they did last year. But if they feel somewhat consoled by this, they should count themselves lucky as 30% of those Chinese working outside Kuala Terengganu stayed away.

They are generally young and therefore would have voted for Wahid.

If the election is to be seen as a referendum, it cannot be just on Najib, but also a referendum on Prime minister Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, the BN and Umno as well.

Rather than being a referendum, it is perhaps a signal to BN and Umno that they may be able to turn the tide if they undertake a proper post-mortem of March 8 and to embark on the necessary reforms.

The 2,631-vote majority that PAS obtained is big enough. The election could thus be an endorsement of PAS’s attempt to establish an Islamic administration in the state which was cut short by its defeat in 2004.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pakatan Form Council Of Menteris Besar/Chief Minister - Bernama

ALOR SETAR, Jan 18 (Bernama) --

Five states under Pakatan Rakyat (PR) today endorsed the formation of a council of Menteris Besar/Chief Minister and an Exco to ensure they will not be sidelined by the Barisan Nasional government.

The decision was made after an official meeting attended by Menteris Besar of Kedah Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (Selangor), Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat (Kelantan), Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin (Perak) and Penang chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The meeting chaired by Khalid was held at Seri Mentaloon" the official residence of Kedah menteri besar.

Guan Eng said the formation of the council would be a platform for the menteris besar of the Pakatan Rakyat ruled states to be on par with other states when attending meetings held by the Prime Minister during Rulers Council meetings.

Be gracious winners: Nik Aziz to PAS and Pakatan - Star

Jan 18, 2009

KOTA BARU: PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat wants his party’s and Pakatan Rakyat leaders to be gracious winners and not utter “snobbish remarks” that could hurt the feelings of those who lost in Saturday’s Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election.

The Kelantan Mentri Besar said any negative statement following the victory would put the party in a bad light.

“Don’t hurt the feelings of opponents because if they are hurt, it will be difficult for us to convince them of our struggle,” he told reporters here.

In the by-election, PAS won the Kuala Terengganu seat by a 2,631-vote margin. Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh polled 30,252 votes while PAS’ Mohd Abdul Wahid, who is Wakaf Mempelam assemblyman, polled 32,883 votes.

Independent candidate Azharudin Mamat @ Adam polled 193 votes and lost his deposit.

In KUALA TERENGGANU, Azharudin said he was not disappointed with the defeat and would consider contesting again in future elections.

Saying that he accepted the result with an open heart as he had done his best, he added that the experience had taught him a lesson on the need to make thorough and early preparations.

“I don’t feel disheartened at all ... . I am aware that the people are voting for parties and not individuals,” Azharudin, a traditional medicine practitioner, said when met at his clinic in Jalan Sultan Sulaiman.

Asked whether he would join any political party in the future, he said it was not “impossible.”

On his disappearance throughout polling day Saturday, Azharudin said he was at a mosque praying for the best.

He also urged the winner to fulfil the promises made and for Barisan not to be discouraged by the result. -- Bernama

Show us the money, TI tells political parties - Star

Jan 18, 2009 By WONG WEI HWANG and M. SHAMINEE

KUALA LUMPUR: Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-Malaysia) has launched a project called “Money In Politics, People’s Concern” to encourage transparency and accountability in the financing of political parties, especially during elections.

“We work to fight against corruption particularly money politics because it is the mother of all corruption,” TI-Malaysia president Tan Sri Ramon V. Navaratnam told reporters at Wisma FMM on Sunday.

The project would research existing legislation and evaluate actual local and foreign financing of political parties.

TI-Malaysia exco member Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas said during general elections, all political parties seemed to have ample money to spend.

“The public usually wonders where the money comes form. Hence this project. We hope the question will be answered when the financial aspect of the party becomes transparent,” he said.

Anwar: KT bukti rakyat tolak kepimpinan Najib - Suara Keadilan


Gambar ehsan The Star

KETUA UMUM KeADILan Anwar Ibrahim berkata kemenangan Pakatan Rakyat dalam pilihanraya kecil Kuala Terengganu membuktikan rakyat tidak lagi menerima Barisan Nasional dan kepimpinannya.

“Umno telah hilang kekuatan di kubu mereka sendiri. Kekalahan di Kuala Terengganu bermakna rakyat menolak kepimpinan Najib (Razak),” kata Anwar.

Anwar menambah kekalahan BN juga adalah kekalahan peribadi Najib kerana sebelum ini dia berkata pilihanraya ini adalah kalah mati (do or die) bagi beliau.

Mengulas lanjut, Anwar berkata perpaduan di kalangan parti-parti dalam Pakatan Rakyat merupakan faktor kemenangan di dalam pilihanraya ini.

“Kemenagan di Kuala Terengganu ialah kerana, Pas, KeADILan, DAP telah berkerja sebagai satu pasukan seperti mana yang ditunjukkan ketika pilihanraya kecil Permatang Pauh tahun lalu. Tahniah diucapkan kepada Pas dan Pakatan Rakyat,” kata Anwar kepada Suara Keadilan.

PAS wrests Kuala Terengganu from BN - Sun

KUALA TERENGGANU (Jan 18, 2009) :

After days of intense campaigning by contesting parties, voters in the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary constituency by-election yesterday gave their verdict -- electing PAS' Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut as the new member of parliament.

True to perception that Kuala Terengganu voters were unpredictable, they had left the decision to the last moment.

The outcome was that Mohd Abdul Wahid garnered 32,883 votes, defeating Barisan Nasional's (BN) Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh by 2,631 votes, while independent candidate Azharudin Mamat @ Adam obtained only 193 votes.

After the votes were counted, the ballot boxes from the 143 voting centres were brought to Stadium Negeri as early as 7pm yesterday for tallying of the votes.

Immediately after the by-election results were announced at 9.30pm, PAS supporters, carrying party flags on motorcycles and cars, took to the streets to celebrate their victory, causing a massive traffic jam in this waterfront heritage city.

The results prove that democracy still flourishes in the country amidst claims of phantom voters and vote buying by the Opposition.

In the last general election, BN's late Datuk Razali Ismail defended the seat he won in the 2004 general election, by a slim majority of 628 votes, defeating PAS' Mohamed Sabu and Independent Maimun Yusof who obtained 689 votes.

Of the constituency's 80,229 registerd voters, 63,967 or 79.73% turned up to cast their votes yesterday -- rather low by its standard which recorded more than 80% turnout in the last general election.

The by-election outcome shows that no one could claim that they had an upper hand when it came to the Kuala Terengganu constituency, for in the last two decades the seat had changed hands several times.

The seat which used to be under BN, went to Semangat 46 in the early 1990's before it was wrested back by BN. Then it went to PAS in 1999 and returned to BN in 2004 and retained it in 2008, only to lose it to PAS again in yesterday's by-election.

There are several factors as to why PAS managed to wrest the seat this time, but one of it is probably due to the fact that its candidate is also a five-term Wakaf Mempelam state assemblyman.

The results showed that 2,022 votes of Mohd Abdul Wahid's 2,631 winning majority came from his state seat.

While PAS savours victory, BN on the other hand has to go on another soul-searching as to why it was unable to defend the seat.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who led the BN campaign here, said BN accepted the decision of the people.

"In accordance with democratic principles, the people's voice is a sacred voice," he said.

Najib said despite the defeat, BN would continue to serve the people in Terengganu.

Despite everything, this by-election will be remembered as the most peaceful democratic process in the country's election history.

No violence nor major disturbance was reported during campaigning or on polling day despite the intense race to win the hearts of the Kuala Terengganu voters.

The results also indicated that the Election Commission (EC) meant business when its new chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said it would further improve its transparency and efficiency. -- BERNAMA

Saturday, January 17, 2009

PAS’ Wahid wins KT seat - Star

Jan 17, 2009


PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (right) holds up KT by-election winner Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut's hand at Stadium Negeri on Saturday night.

PAS candidate Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut has been declared the winner of the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat by-election by the Election Commission.

Wahid polled 32,883 votes to Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Salleh who garnered 30,252 votes for a majority 2,631 win

Independent candidate Azharuddin Mamat received 193 votes while there were 665 spoilt votes.

A total of 63,993 of the 80,229 voters cast their votes in the by-election.

With the victory, the Opposition now has 82 seats in Parliament. Barisan has 137 seats and the remaining three seats are held by independents.

Setakat jam 8.15 malam, PAS atasi BN 2072 undi - Harakah

Sat | Jan 17, 09 | 7:17:51 pm MYT


Terkini setakat jam 8.15 malam ini, menurut maklumat tidak rasmi PAS mengatasi Barisan Nasional dengan kelebihan 2072 undi berdasar kepada jumlah undi yang dibilang setakat ini.

PAS ketika ini mendapat 23,956 undi berbanding BN - 21,884 undi. Manakala calon Bebas - 138 undi. Jumlah majoriti yang dimenangi PAS - 2072 undi.

Jumlah undi yang dikira setakat ini 41.42 peratus.

Manakala undi pos, PAS hanya meraihkan undi sebanyak 86 undi, dan BN - 1039 undi. Dan Bebas hanya mendapat satu undi.

Maklumat tidak rasmi itu dikeluarkan di Markaz Besar PAS di Kuala Ibai.

Turut kelihatan di markaz tersebut Presiden, Dato' Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, timbalannya, Ustaz Nasharuddin Mat Isa, bendahari, Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli, dan pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Anwar accuses gov't of vote-buying - Malaysiakini

M Jegathesan | Jan 15, 09 4:30pm

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today accused the government of vote-buying and coercion as campaigning for a critical weekend by-election intensified.

The vote in Terengganu state, which pundits say is too close to call, is seen as a referendum on the coalition government's performance since a disastrous performance in general elections last year.

A Merdeka Centre poll released this week found Malay voters were split between the two sides, while minority ethnic Chinese - who may swing the result - were leaning slightly towards Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition alliance.

Anwar accused the ruling party Umno of buying votes for RM300-RM400 from Malays, whose support Umno can no longer take for granted after the shock general election results.

"I am concerned how the Malay voters will vote. The Malays here are poor, money is being thrown by Umno to fish for votes," he told AFP.

"They are threatening civil servants. They are saying - we know who you will vote for."

"Umno is really desperate, you can see by the tone of their campaign. It is shocking," he said after going on a walkabout in the state capital Kuala Terengganu, where the vacant electoral seat is located.

"I am confident that we will win, but I'm concerned about the onslaught by (the government) which is very strong."

'I want to win fair'

Umno candidate Wan Ahmad Farid rejected the allegations and said the opposition was making excuses to soften the blow of a defeat.

"I want to win fair and square. I want to win this election without any element of unhealthy practices," he told AFP.

"The opposition is trying to hype it up. They say there is going to be phantom voters, they will say Umno is using money to buy votes, they will make all kinds of allegations as to why they can't win this seat."

Security was tight ahead of Saturday's vote in the seaside state capital, with groups of police stationed at major junctions and riot squad officers patrolling the streets in jeeps.

The city was awash with posters, banners and photos of political leaders and candidates.

"With two days to go we are gearing up our campaign, and preparing for a showdown," said Mustapha Ali, state chief of the Islamic party PAS which is fielding the opposition's candidate for the vote, Mohamad Abdul Wahid Endut.

"The mood is good. We can feel the wind of change is blowing. But it is a neck-and-neck battle."

DAP threatens to leave Pakatan Rakyat over hudud - Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 14, 2009) :

The DAP today threatened to withdraw from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), which also comprises PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), if PAS insists on implementing "hudud" laws (Islamic penal code) if the opposition alliance comes to power in the country.

DAP chairman Karpal Singh, in issuing the warning, reiterated that the hudud laws did not make up the DAP principles and were not contained in the PR manifesto for the general election held last year.

"By right, PAS should consider the views of the DAP as a member of the Pakatan Rakyat and respect our stand," he told reporters outside the Istana Negara.

Earlier, Karpal Singh handed over to the palace a letter for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, on the appointment of Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi as the chief justice.

The letter was received by the secretary of Istana Negara, Zainab Muhammad, outside the palace rear entrance.

The issue of hudud laws cropped up again on Dec 21 after PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa said the party had never forgotten its struggle to bring about Islamic administration in the country, including implementing hudud laws. - Bernama

DAP stalwart ready to be charged with criminal defamation if proven wrong - Sun

By Tan Yi Liang

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 14, 2009): DAP chairman Karpal Singh today challenged Chief Justice (CJ) Tan Sri Zaki Azmi to sue him for defamation or charge him with criminal defamation if his statements accusing the CJ of corruption are proven to be wrong.

"I dare the Chief Justice to sue me for defamation if he thinks he's right. It's as simple as that. I dare him to sue me, because that is the only way out. One has to go, either he goes or I go," said Karpal.

"If what I have said is not correct, it amounts to criminal defamation, and I can be charged under Section 500 of the Penal Code. I can be fined and be imprisoned. It is a very serious matter to defame the Chief Justice of the country, but I am prepared to take the risk," said Karpal, who spoke to reporters after submitting a letter to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin on the issue of Zaki's appointment.

"I have written a letter to the King, requesting that there be an emergency meeting of the Conference of Rulers to consider the status of Zaki, and considering what has happened, that the Conference of Rulers revokes its advice (to appoint Zaki)," said Karpal, adding that he was speaking up "in the interest of the people".

"I have to speak up, and I am prepared to take the risk of being sued for defamation, to pay damages. I am prepared to take the risk of going to prison, prepared to take the risk of losing my parliamentary seat or stand for the next general election, and those are the odds against me," he added, saying that the odds were "similar" for Zaki.

He then dismissed an attempt by Zaki to clarify the controversial comments made by him as reported by the New Straits Times last Nov 8.

In his statement, Zaki had been quoted as saying that it took him "six months (as a practicing lawyer) to be nice, to bribe each and every individual to get into their good books before our files were attended to".

Zaki later clarified that the reporter had misinterpreted his statements about corruption.

"He has not denied it. All he has tried to do is make a clarification, but even the clarification condemns him because he says that he was aware of corruption in the court registry in 1987, and that the reporter might have misinterpreted that as him saying that he was involved in corruption. But even that is impossible," said Karpal, adding that Zaki had not sought a retraction or apology from the New Straits Times.

Karpal had previously filed an emergency motion in Parliament last year to debate the statements made by Zaki on Nov 7, which was rejected by Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia on Nov 12 as the house was not allowed to debate the conduct of the judges unless a quarter of the total MPs supported it, as stipulated in the Federal Constitution.

On Nov 26, Karpal managed to get the signatures of 57 Members of Parliament in filing a motion to discuss the conduct of the CJ in the Dewan Rakyat.

He had also sent an open letter to the Prime Minister last Dec 8 and another to the offices of the CJ on Dec 16, calling for the removal or resignation of Zaki.

Karpal had also mentioned on Nov 18 that he had managed to obtain an audio recording of Zaki's admission of corruption.

KT by-election returning officer has quit - Star

Jan 15, 2009

KUALA TERENGGANU: The returning officer for the Kuala Terengganu by-election has quit less than 48 hours before polling day Saturday.

Datuk Mat Razali Kassim's resignation has been accepted by the Election Commission and will take effect immediately.

Election Commission's secretary Datuk Ngah Senik in a statement said Kuala Terengganu City Council secretary Wan Mustafa Wan Hassan has been appointed to replace Razali who is also the mayor.

The commission, he said, acknowledged Razali's contribution towards the smooth nomination process last Tuesday.

He said the appointment of Wan Mustafa who was the deputy returning officer was made according to Section 3(c) and 5(1)(a) of the Election Act 1958.

"The Election Commission held a special meeting with Razali today (Thursday) and after carefully studying his reasons for resigning, we have accepted his request to pull out as the returning officer for the Kuala Terengganu by-election with immediate effect," he said.

PAS on Wednesday had accused Razali of having committed offences under the Election Offences Act.

The party had also asked for his immediate removal.

SPR perlu jelaskan undi sulit atau tidak - Mustafa - Harakah

Lanjusoh, Mohd Nor Yahya | Foto Nasir Sudin
Thu | Jan 15, 09 | 5:42:49 pm MYT

KUALA TERENGGANU, 15 Jan (Hrkh) - PAS mahu Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) membuat kenyataan bagi menjelaskan dakwaan seorang pegawai kanan kerajaan kononnya mengundi tidak sulit.

Pesuruhjaya PAS Terengganu, Dato' Mustafa Ali mendakwa seorang pemimpin memberitahu pada satu perjumpaan dengan kakitangan kerajaan dengan menyebut pengundian tidak sulit.

"Kita minta SPR membuat kenyataan terbuka mengenai status pengundian yang dimaksudkan pemimpin terbabit tidak lagi sulit," katanya pada persidangan media di sini, hari ini.

Mustafa mendakwa Datuk Bandar Kuala Terengganu, Dato' Mat Razali Kassim memberi kata dua kepada lebih 500 kakitangan Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu (MBKT) supaya mengundi calon BN, Dato' Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh.

Pertemuan itu difahamkan diadakan di Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman. Mat Razali juga merupakan pegawai pengurus pilihanraya kecil parlimen Kuala Terengganu.

Image"Kita ada cukup bukti pegawai terbabit membuat ugutan tersebut kerana ada orang yang memberi laporan kepada kita yang berada dalam majlis terbabit," kata Mustafa.

Beliau juga mendakwa Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Dato' Seri Najib Razak dan Menteri Besar, Dato' Ahmad Said menghadiri majlis memperkenalkan calon BN kepada kakitangan kerajaan di wisma Darul Iman.

"Sedangkan memperkenalkan calon kepada kakitangan kerajaan adalah salah di segi peraturan pilihan raya," katanya.

Sementara itu, petang ini seorang penduduk Raja Arizal Raja Arif, 32 dan Mohd Fadzil Wahad membuat laporan polis terhadap pegawai pengurus pilihan raya kerana membuat ugutan terhadap pengundi.

Laporan itu dibuat kira-kira jam 4 petang tadi di Ibu Pejabat Polis Daerah Kuala Terengganu.

Laporan tersebut menyebut pegawai terbabit menyalahgunakan kuasa dengan merayu kakitangan MBKT mengundi calon BN.

Program berkenaan didakwa berlaku di Dewan Besar Wisma Darul Iman dan Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman Kuala Terengganu pada 11, 13 dan 14 Januari lalu.

"Mat Razali juga memberi arahan kepada warga MBKT supaya berterima kasih kepada BN. Kalau enggan berbuat demikian kakitangan tersebut diarah berhenti dari MBKT," katanya kepada pemberita selepas itu.

Turut hadir peguam dari Wan Abd Mutallib & Co.

Semalam Ketua Angkatan Muda KeADILan, Mohd Fariz Musa juga membuat laporan serupa terhadap Mat Razali. - mj _

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ezam gagal pikat pengundi KT - Malaysiakini

Muda Mohd Noor | Jan 12, 09 8:38pm

Kemunculan bekas orang kuat PKR Ezam Mohd Nor dengan isu yang hampir sama tidak begitu berjaya memancing ghairah pengundi dalam dua program ceramahnya dalam pilihanraya kecil Kuala Terengganu.

Kehadirannya bersama sejumlah bekas aktivis muda parti itu kelihatan tidak lagi memikat daya gerak orang ramai untuk mendengarnya dan isu-isu yang dibangkitkannya tidak lagi bergaung dalam kalangan penduduk di bandar raya ini.

Orang ramai kelihatan lebih terpukau dengan gaya dan suara Ezam yang saling tidak tumpah mirip suara Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, bekas bosnya yang kini menjadi sasaran kecamannya.

Orang ramai bertepuk tangan setiap kali Ezam meniru gaya pidato Anwar.

Ceramahnya di dua tempat dalam DUN Bandar dan Ladang sejak dua hari lalu disertai kira-kira 400 orang sahaja. Bagaimanapun jumlah pendengar ini sudah cukup besar berbanding beberapa penceramah Umno yang lain.

Kehadirannya juga sekurang-kurangnya berjaya memeriahkan perjalanan pilihanraya kecil ini sewaktu Anwar dan isterinya Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail bersama jentera PKR bertungkus-lumus menggempur kawasan parlimen ini, khususnya di Bandar.

Pilihanraya yang disertai calon BN Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh dan calon PAS Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut dirasakan agak sunyi biar pun tinggal lima hari lagi sebelum pengundian, Sabtu ini.

Dekat rumah pangsa Kampung Kolam di DUN Bandar kelmarin, ceramah bekas ketua Pemuda PKR dihadiri oleh hampir 200 orang, manakala di rumah pangsa Bukit Kecil - terletak satu kilometer dari pejabat perhubungan PKR Terengganu - malam tadi, ia dihadiri jumlah yang hampir sama.

Kebanyakan pendengar terdiri penduduk sekitar yang berusia 40 tahun ke atas. Beberapa puluh anak muda yang hadir turut bertepuk tangan mendengar kecamannya terhadap Anwar.

Hampir separuh pendengar berdiri tidak jauh pentas ceramah di Blok C pangsapuri tersebut.

Isu-isu yang dibawa Ezam termasuk enam kotak yang mengandung dokumen rahsia amalan rasuah pemimpin-pemimpin BN yang, menurutnya, disimpan oleh Anwar. Isu ini bukan lagi isu baru.

Bekas setiausaha Anwar itu sebelumnya pernah menyatakan sedemikian, termasuk dibangkitkan dalam pilihanraya kecil parlimen Permatang Pauh yang ditandingi mantan timbalan perdana menteri itu, Ogos lalu.

Sama ada pendedahannya di dua tempat itu mampu mempengaruhi pengundi Kuala Terengganu atau sebaliknya, ia tidak dapat dipastikan.

Di Permatang Pauh, isu ini tidak memberi kesan kepada Anwar.

Beliau juga mendakwa Anwar seorang pemimpin tidak konsisten apabila menyerang Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sehari sebelum cuba berdamai dengan perdana menteri waktu itu sejurus selepas dipecat September 1998.

Ezam juga berkata Anwar memintanya menunggu untuk mendedahkan dokumen-dokumen sulit tersebut dan maka itulah beliau meninggalkan PKR selepas tidak bersetuju dengan tindakan ketua pembangkang itu.

Bagaimanapun, bekas setiausaha Angkatan Muda PKR, SD Johari Mohd Yassin mendakwa siri pendedahan Ezam berjaya memberi kesedaran pengundi supaya memangkah Wan Ahmad Farid.

"Kita tidak mahu pengundi di sini terperangkap dengan mengundi calon PAS.

"Mengundi calon PAS bermakna mengundi Anwar kerana beliau yang mengawal parti itu," katanya.

PAS pujuk Cina melalui DAP, PKR - Malaysiakini

Muda Mohd Noor | Jan 12, 09 1:03pm

Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Bandar yang mempunyai lebih 7,000 pengundi Cina dijangka menjadi penentu kemenangan calon BN atau PAS dalam pilihanraya kecil Kuala Terengganu, 17 Januari ini.

Kawasan ini satu-satunya kerusi DUN yang dimenangi oleh BN dalam dalam parlimen Kuala Terengganu pada pilihanraya umum Mac lalu.

Kerusi tersebut diwakili oleh Toh Chin Yaw daripada MCA setelah mengalahkan calon PKR Dr Abdul Manaf Che Mat dengan majoriti 1,142 undi.

Tiga kerusi DUN lagi dalam parlimen itu Wakaf Mempelam, Ladang dan Batu Burok dimenangi oleh PAS.

Bagaimanapun, kerusi parlimen Kuala Terengganu dimenangi oleh Datuk Razali Ismail setelah mengalahkan calon PAS, Mohamad Sabu dan calon bebas Maimun Yusuf dengan majoriti 628 undi.

Razali, waktu itu timbalan menteri pelajaran, meninggal dunia ketika bermain badminton di Genting Highlands, 28 November lalu.

Pengundi bukan Melayu khususnya Cina di DUN Bandar seramai 7,502 orang daripada 18,953 jumlah pemilih berdaftar.

Daripada jumlah itu, 235 pemilih India dan 31 kaum-kaum lain.

Presiden Gerakan, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon menggesa BN memberikan lebih perhatian kepada pengundi muda kaum Cina bagi memastikan mereka menyokong calon BN.

Katanya, berdasarkan maklum balas, golongan berkenaan cenderung menyokong pembangkang berbanding pengundi berusia 35 tahun ke atas yang mampu menilai jasa dan sumbangan kerajaan BN.

PAS menyerahkan usaha kempen di DUN ini kepada DAP dan PKR yang boleh "berbahasa pengundi Cina agar dapat menyentuh hati mereka secara langsung."

Dua parti Pakatan Rakyat itu mengingatkan Cina bahawa Umno sebuah parti yang bersifat perkauman melalui beberapa kenyataan dan belum insaf sejak pilihanraya umum Mac tahun lepas.

Oleh itu, wajar pengundi Cina memilih calon PAS Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut kerana kemenangan BN akan menjadikan Umno semakin angkuh.

Kedua-dua parti itu, seperti juga MCA dan Gerakan, cuba menggunakan pendekatan berbahasa yang lebih spesifik untuk memenuhi tiga suku kaum terbesar di sini - Hokkien, Hainan dan Teochiew.

MCA pula menepis serangan pembangkang dengan mendakwa Umno sudah berubah sejak prestasi buruk BN dalam pilihanraya umum lalu.

Dalam tinjauan awal Malaysiakini, dengan kerja keras PKR dan DAP, petugas-petugas PAS di DUN berkenaan mendakwa mereka telah berjaya menembusi kawasan berkenaan termasuk di kawasan Kampung Cina.

Seorang petugas PAS peti undi Pantai berkata, tiada lagi kawasan hitam bagi parti itu di DUN Bandar.

"Semua tempat telah berjaya kita masuki... orang Cina telah menerima PAS sebaiknya.

"Apatah lagi di kawasan-kawasan Melayu lain, kita telah menyampaikan mesej kita kepada pengundi.

"Kerana itu kita yakin kerusi ini akan ditawan PAS. Kalau kerusi ini ditawan PAS, BN akan kalah besar," kata Awang Jantan malam tadi.

Menurutnya, isu-isu yang mendorong pengundi menyokong PAS termasuklah masalah kemiskinan yang dihadapi mereka.

Rata-rata mereka yang bekerja sebagai nelayan dan bekerja sendiri merungut kerana kehidupan mereka yang daif di tengah-tengah bandar raya Kuala Terengganu.

Seorang lagi petugas PAS peti undi berkenaan, Mohd Judin Samad berkata, pihaknya mengutamakan kempen rumah ke rumah kerana ia lebih berkesan.

"Dengan cara ini kita lebih mendekati mereka... seolah-olah mereka dihargai," katanya, yang datang dari Pasir Putih, Kelantan sejak hari penamaan calon bagi membantu jentera PAS.

Bagaimanapun, petugas BN pula mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza.

Menurut mereka, pengundi secara umumnya berpuas hati dengan layanan kerajaan negeri terhadap mereka terutama mengenai kebajikan.

"Kalau ada pun masalah, yang kecil-kecil seperti atap rumah bocor, masalah longkang dan yuran sekolah," kata naib ketua Umno Kampung Tanjung Pantai, Busu Yaakub.

"Tetapi kerajaan negeri telah memberi bantuan kepada mereka walaupun dibuat secara berperingkat-peringat berdasarkan peruntukan kerajaan negeri."

Ramai pengundi di kawasan parlimen ini pula mungkin boleh terpengaruh dengan dakwaan bahawa calon BN Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh sombong dan sukar bergaul dengan orang ramai.

Bekas timbalan menteri dalam negeri ini juga sering didakwa meminggirkan Razali sehingga allahyarham gagal mendapat sebarang tempat dalam pemilihan bahagian beberapa bulan lalu, termasuk kumpulan tujuh perwakilan ke mesyuarat agung Mac depan.

Selain serangan terhadap peribadi dan ketokohan Wan Ahmad Farid, PAS juga terus memainkan isu wang royalti minyak yang gagal dikembalikan setakat ini dan beberapa projek mega sepert Piala Monsun dan Masjid Kristal yang didakwa membazir.

Jika isu-isu ini terus dimanipulasi, PAS mempunyai sedikit kelebihan untuk menang.

Bagaimanapun, Naib Presiden Umno, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin berkata, "kadang-kadang raut muka pun diambil kira."

"Wan Farid orang kata tak selalu senyum macam saya dan kadang-kadang kita terpengaruh dengan fakta itu seolah-olah perkara itu lebih besar daripada keupayaan dia," katanya selepas majlis perjumpaan bersama pengusaha keropok lekor di Losong dalam DUN Wakaf Mempelam baru-baru ini.

"Saya pasti Wan Farid ada keupayaan."

Mengikut pecahan kaum, kumpulan pengundi Cina kedua terbesar - seramai 1,152 orang - berada dalam DUN Ladang, diikuti Batu Burok (339) dan Wakaf Mempelam (89).

Sementara pengundi Melayu mengikut pecahan DUN pula: Batu Burok seramai 23,538 orang, Wakaf Mempelam (20,437), Ladang (15,363) dan Bandar (11,451).

Daripada jumlah keseluruhan 80,229 pemilih, 1,035 orang pengundi pos.

PAS cabar Umno debat isu royalti - Malaysiakini

Muda Mohd Noor | Jan 12, 09 4:03pm

PAS Terengganu mencabar pemimpin Umno berdebat mengenai isu pembatalan bayaran royalti minyak ke kerajaan Terengganu.

"Saya boleh berdebat bila-bila masa," kata timbalan pesuruhjaya PAS negeri Datuk Wan Abdul Mutalib Embong.

"Panggillah peguam terbaik dia (Umno), saya boleh berdebat," katanya dalam sidang media harian PAS hari ini di Kuala Terengganu bersempena pilihanraya kecil parlimen tersebut.

Beliau tidak berpuas hati dengan kerajaan negeri sekarang yang beranggapan isu tersebut telah selesai pada Mac depan dan akan menarik balik saman terhadap kerajaan persekutuan yang berbuat demikian sejak 2000.

Tindakan mahkamah itu dijangka dibuat selepas Terengganu mendapat maklumat lengkap baki wang tersebut sejumlah RM1.5 bilion dari Kuala Lumpur, termasuk yang dihabiskan di beberapa negeri lain.

Kerajaan negeri dilaporkan sedang menunggu maklumat lanjut Kementerian Kewangan berhubung perkara itu, selain RM700 juta wang royalti Terengganu yang telah disahkan digunakan oleh Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) untuk projek di negeri-negeri lain.

Sementara itu, Wan Abdul Mutalib mendakwa ada pihak tertentu yang hendak menampal poster BN sehingga mengganggu poster PAS di Kampung Nibong, Kuala Terengganu.

Katanya, lima lelaki yang lengkap dengan alat komunikasi walkie-talkie berada di kampung tersebut selepas tengah malam tadi.

"Orang kita yang ada di situ takut... mereka tidak berani pergi dekat.

"(Tetapi) kalau mereka buat lagi, kita akan buat laporan polis," katanya.

Bekas exco kerajaan Terengganu itu menambah, kehadiran begitu ramai anggota polis telah "menakutkan pengundi" Kuala Terengganu.

"Saya dimaklumkan ada kira-kira 10,000 anggota polis, menjadikan anggota polis paling ramai dalam pilihanraya kecil," katanya.

Polis sebelum ini dilaporkan menyatakan hanya 6,000 anggota di tempatkan di beberapa lokasi strategik dalam kawasan parlimen tersebut bagi mengawal keselamatan.

Setiap empat DUN dalam parlimen ini diawasi oleh sekumpulan besar anggota polis yang didatangkan dari seluruh negara.

Wan Abdul Mutalib berkata kehadiran polis ini bertentangan dengan kenyataan pasukan itu sendiri yang telah mengisytiharkan pilihanraya kecil kali ini lebih terkawal daripada pilihanraya kecil Ijok, Selangor dua tahun lalu.

Sementara itu, calon BN, Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh berkata beliau tidak akan menyertai debat dengan calon PAS, Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut berhubung kontroversi royalti minyak.

Debat tersebut hendak dianjurkan oleh sebuah NGO yang berpejabat di Terengganu.

Wan Ahmad berkata, tidak ada isu yang hendak didebatkan kerana royalti minyak telah dikembalikan kepada kerajaan negeri Terengganu.

"Saya tidak menerima sebarang jemputan (untuk debat tersebut). Jika saya dapat pun, say atidak akan berdebat mengenai perkara yang telah diselesaikan," katanya dalam satu sidang akhbar di ibupejabat Umno Kuala Terengganu hari ini.

Awal hari ini, Majlis Perpaduan Rakyat Terengganu (Mampat) mengumumkan yang ia telah menghantar jemputan kepada kedua-dua calon untuk menyertai debat tersebut.

Presiden Mampat, Mohd Fauzi Abdul Samad berkata, debat itu dicadang diadakan pada jam 8 malam Khamis depan di Kelab Ekuestrian Terengganu.

Run-up to K. Terengganu by-election: Pakatan gives Pas full backing - NST

Jan 12, 2009


Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail appeared here yesterday in a show of unity with other Pakatan Rakyat chieftains.

At a joint press conference with DAP and Pas leaders, Wan Azizah denied claims that the opposition alliance was a fragile pact of parties with conflicting ideologies.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the hudud issue had not driven a wedge between the Pakatan partners.

Lim repeated DAP's stand that Pas' intention to implement hudud was not part of Pakatan policy and had not been agreed upon by the coalition.

"In Pakatan, we only do things through discussion and consensus among all partners.
"This is not going to divide Pakatan and we are going into this by-election as a team."

Hadi claimed hudud was being used as an issue by BN in the by-election to divert attention from other concerns.

Anwar: 2 pendedahan Ezam sudah tidak relevan - MStar

Jan 12, 2009 Oleh ARIFFUDDIN ISHAK


Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim enggan memberi respon atau menjawab sebarang pertuduhan seperti yang dicabar oleh bekas Setiausaha Politiknya, Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor mengenai dua perkara penting yang didedahkannya sewaktu berkempen di Kuala Terengganu kelmarin.

Beliau sebaliknya mendakwa Ezam diperalatkan oleh Umno dan Barisan Nasional (BN) dalam kempen pilihan raya kecil Kuala Terengganu untuk meraih undi.

"Saya tidak pernah respons kepada Ezam, sejak bila saya respons kepada dia?

"Di Permatang Pauh mereka gunakan dia, setiap pilihan raya kecil dia akan digunakan," katanya dalam sidang media di bangunan Parlimen hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian bagi mengulas mengenai cabaran Ezam supaya menjawab pendedahan terbaru berhubung

Semalam, Ezam yang juga bekas Ketua Angkatan Muda Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) mendedahkan bahawa bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri itu pernah memintanya supaya menguruskan langkah berdamai dengan Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad tidak sampai seminggu selepas dipecat.

Malah Ezam turut mendedahkan tarikh tepat beliau melihat kandungan enam kotak rahsia yang dikaitkan dengan kononnya bukti gejala rasuah pemimpin-pemimpin Umno dan Barisan Nasional (BN) semasa berada dalam kerajaan.

Ditanya sama beliau ingin menafikan atau mengakui mengenai pendedahan Ezam itu, Anwar berkata, isu merupakan isu lama yang sudah tidak relevan.

"Dia cakap mengenai isu bila, 1998? Sekarang sudah 2009, dia tunggu 11 tahun untuk fikir," katanya.

Bagaimanapun Anwar yang juga Ketua Pembangkang di Parlimen berkata isu yang dibangkitkan Ezam tiada kaitan dengan pilihan raya kecil Kuala Terengganu.

"Apa isunya? Saya tak nampak sebarang isu yang cuba beliau bangkitkan," katanya.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

BN denies buying votes - Star

Jan 11, 2009


KUALA TERENGGANU: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has dismissed opposition claims that the Government is trying to bribe the people of Kuala Terengganu by approving projects for them ahead of the Jan 17 by-election.

He said all projects announced for the area thus far were projects that were approved earlier by the Government as part of its stimulus package announced late last year.

“All the announcements that we have made here in the last few days were just the implementation of it.

“This is not a political bribe as those projects belonged to the people here.

“We are not buying votes. We are simply implementing plans and projects that have already been identified and approved even before there is a necessity for a by-election,” he told reporters after presenting cheques to government-aided people’s religious schools (SARS) here yesterday.

For instance, Najib said, the allocation given to the schools was part of the RM50mil ap­­proved by the Government last year and was not a new allocation meant to fish for votes.

The money would be disbursed to all 154 SARS nationwide that are registered with the Education Ministry, he said, adding that of that number, 14 were in Terengganu.

Asked about his closed-door meeting with Chinese groups on Friday, Najib said he reminded the Chinese that they had always been treated as part of the society.

He said the Chinese community in Kuala Terengganu had never been side-lined, either by the state or the Federal Government.

“Whatever is allocated to the Malays, they will also get. In the case of Chinese schools here, they are not just getting assistance from the Federal Government but also from the state government.

“So I had appealed to them not to forget what the Barisan Nasional government had done for them and not to be so easily swayed by sweet talk from groups from outside the state,” he said.

'When I came close to resigning' - NST


Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman regrets agreeing to the indelible ink request.

A magnet for controversy and a target of constant attacks, former Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has never shied from the limelight. He talks to ANIZA DAMIS and ELIZABETH JOHN

Q: In the 25 years with the Election Commission (EC), do you regret any decisions you have made?
A: My only regret is I should not have agreed to the request for the indelible ink. I agreed in good faith because I wanted to show that if this could assure voters and put to rest all allegations of cheating, then we would go ahead and do it. And because we could not do it, I regretted the decision to have the indelible ink.

This was the worst thing that happened in my career. The government rejected our proposed law.

Q: Did they reject it because it was unconstitutional or because it was disadvantageous to them?
A: I don't think it was disadvantageous to them because the prime minister and the deputy prime minister agreed.

I went to see them long before, and told them: what has the party in power got to hide? Nothing. There's no cheating in the elections. If this is a way to ensure there is no cheating, why not? It doesn't cost us very much. So they agreed.

But the attorney-general felt we were going beyond our right to impose conditions and possibly put hurdles in voters' way that they might not turn up.

That meant we were trying to deter people from voting or imposing some kind of 'roadblock'.

So, the government said we should give people a choice. If you don't want (to be inked) it's okay. We still have to give you (the right to vote). But that's ridiculous. What kind of law is that? It's not conclusive.

Q: In the end, what was the reason given for the cancellation?
A: It was ultra vires the Constitution -- Article 119.

Q: What about those police reports?
A: That was also another reason. But the constitutional issue was strong enough a reason. I had the feeling that if I continued with it, I would be impeached in Parliament. I was trying to find the means but the A-G said no, don't take that risk.

Q: Do you think he was justified in making that decision?
A: They are the law experts. I cannot say it is not a justifiable decision. They know what they are saying. If people are not happy, they can go for a judicial review. Take it to court.

Q: What happened to the indelible ink in the end? Were we able to sell it and recoup our losses?
A: I was told it has been disposed of. How, I don't know. I was told it had been disposed of through the proper channels.

Q: It's been nearly a year since the elections. Do you see that the government has changed its mind about introducing indelible ink?
A: Opposition parties will have to get the party in power to talk. If they are really interested in getting all this done, they should get the government to review the law.

Q: When the indelible ink thing happened, you were very quiet at that time. Usually you have lots of things to say.
A: I was working very hard, running here and there. I felt very sad I was not able to do that (use the ink). I was trying my best to think of how to do it. I didn't want to talk to people about anything. People were asking when I was going to do the training (on applying the ink on voters' fingers) but I couldn't tell them as the government had told me that I couldn't do this (introduce the indelible ink).

But still I tried, until I was told that I would get into trouble if I did it, that I could be impeached. That's when I abandoned it.

That's why it was only on the 4th (of March) that I announced it. I should have announced it on the 13th (of February) when I was told -- the day when Parliament was dissolved. I thought: mati lah saya itu macam (Oh no, I'm done for).

I felt like resigning but I was persuaded by my staff not to. If I had resigned, there would have been a big crisis.

Q: But it might have sent a very clear message about yourself.
A: A clear message, yes. But it would have been very bad for the country. I discussed it with my staff.

Q: When the government told you on the 13th, didn't you ask them why they didn't tell you earlier?
A: The cabinet only sat on the 13th just before the dissolution. They did not indicate to me that they were going to reject it.

Q: But even so, there would have been a need for parliamentary amendments.
A: They could have stood their ground and let us use it. And then, let the people challenge (its constitutionality) in court.

And who would have wanted to challenge it?

The opposition wouldn't have challenged it because they are the ones who asked for it. It would be stupid for them to challenge it. I was told: "We were advised by the A-G".

I asked: "Who persuaded him?"

Q: Who persuaded him?
A: I don't know.

Q: You said the stamp duty issue arose because someone from the legal fraternity pointed it out to the A-G. Who was that person?
A: From the A-G's Chambers. I think somebody alerted the A-G's Chambers.

And we were blamed for that. All these years, we never had stamp duty. Suddenly, we were told to impose it. If they had ignored it, it would have been all right, because that's been the practice all along.

Q: But about the possible impeachment, was that brought up by the A-G's Chambers also?
A: No. I was asked to think deeply about it, because I would be going against the Constitution. That was when I knew it was over.

Q: In hindsight, do you wish you had created a fuss at the time?
A: No. I wouldn't do such a thing.

Q: But you were very disappointed?
A: Completely disappointed. I could not do what I wanted to do, as my last service.

By right, if there is a big demand for that kind of thing, the EC has to comply because it relates to public confidence.

Q: On your first day of retirement, you announced that you were going to sue some politicians. Why?
A: They said things which indicated that I was corrupt and biased towards the government.

These people will have to prove that in court. I want to know exactly what I did.

Q: Why not just leave all that behind instead?
A: No, I cannot keep quiet. I cannot let it go just like that. Why did that fellow have to say that? Why did he have to tarnish my image?

I can go on stage and talk if I want to but I am bound by the Official Secrets Act. That's why I take people to court.

You tell the country, you tell the court what I took. Prove it, don't just say it.

Q: Who are the people you intend to sue?
A: I will not say. It is with the lawyers. It may not even go through. The lawyers may advise me to forget it.

Q: How many do you intend to sue?
A: Below half a dozen.

Q: For how much?
A: It's not for the money. I want an apology.

Q: Why did you wait until you retired before you sued these people?
A: I don't want to get the Election Commission involved. I want to do it as Rashid, because they attacked me as Rashid.

Q: Are you going to join a political party?
A: I am studying all these political parties. If I join, I would want one that is multiracial.

There are some multiracial (parties) in terms of their constitution but not membership.

Q: Is there any party that you feel is truly multiracial?
A: There is.

Q: After all these years of being a civil servant, you would consider being a member of a political party?
A: I may consider.

Q: Do you have any aspirations to run for elections?
A: No. If I join a political party, I may be able to help that party in electoral matters.

To change from being an administrator to being a politician is tough.

Q: So, you might join a political party, but not run for elections?
A: No. I have never aspired to be a candidate. I may join, not that I'm certain of it.

Q: Have you been approached by any political party to be an election consultant?
A: No. But I've been approached by a university to be a professor.

Q: Are you going to take that up?
A: No, I have not replied. But I am hanging on to that letter.

Q: Why are you interested in a multiracial party?
A: I think it's time this country looked at the people's representative as a representative for all. Not just Umno for Malays, and MCA for Chinese.

You cannot go on in that manner. I think it's time we relooked this.

A wakil rakyat must represent all. Just because he's Indian, he shouldn't only talk about the Indians.

I wonder what this representative in Kapar is trying to do. He talks so much about the Indians suffering, as if the Chinese and Malays there are not suffering.

I know Kapar very well. If you go beyond the main road, it's terrible. It's a slum, and people from all backgrounds are suffering.

They need help badly in Kapar. I wonder why this man only talked about the Indian community.

Of course, maybe they need the most help; but you can't talk that way.

I think this country needs multiracial solutions to multiracial problems. We should not go separate ways in tackling problems. Poor is poor, no matter what.

Take care of every Malaysian. Make sure they have enough to eat, clothes to wear, schools to attend.

Q: The political party that you identify, is it in the government or opposition?
A: Where is there a multiracial party in the government?

People misunderstand me. Even Parti Keadilan Rakyat thought I supported the party in power because when I gave a talk somewhere, I said given the multiracial, multireligious setup in the country, the only party that can run it is the party that appeals to all.

The party that can solve all these problems is the Barisan Nasional because it is the marriage of so many racial parties. Together, they can strike a balance and an understanding. They sit down and they run the country.

So, in the absence of any other party that has the same kind of appeal and ability, the BN is the only party that can run this country.

That's what I said, within that context. But they took as me saying that only BN can run this country.

Q: Does the opposition think you are anti-opposition?
A: Because their demands are not met. And they are not met because I have no power.

They should be grateful to me, because of what I say. If you want to run this country, there must be a two-party system. You must offer an alternative.

I'm glad to see that they got together even though in terms of ideology, they are far apart.

They may quarrel every day until the end of the five-year term, but I hope they stick together because they are running the state governments.

I think the country is moving towards a two-party system, which is good, because you provide alternative solutions.

Q: How serious are you about joining a multiracial party?
A: Serious, but nobody has asked me to join their party.

Q: How would you rate your 25 years with the Election Commission (EC)?
A: I'm quite happy to have been there for at least six general elections.

We have delivered free and fair elections and, most importantly, we have given the country a legitimate government.

People have not had their rights taken away.

There is a choice in this country. Voters are able to vote freely and political parties have been able to take part in the electoral process.

Q: Bukit Bendera member of parliament Liew Chin Tong called your term as EC chairman "an unmitigated failure". He said you did not carry out any electoral reforms.
A: It is not our job to do that. That's not in our terms of reference. We merely give indications. It is for political parties to pressure (the government) because reform depends very much on political will.

Q: You keep talking about the laws that the EC has no power over and that the government does. Are you implying that ruling parties do not play fair?
A: No, these laws are just there. The EC is only given half or three-quarters of the powers it should have. That's why I made the demand to put us in full control.

The power over security during the campaign lies with the police. Then, the Information Ministry takes the major part of the function to control the media.

For corruption, there is the anti-corruption body. And for other things, it is other authorities. The right to put up posters and banners is under the local authorities.

So, many people play a role during the elections. And if people don't like them, it reflects on the electoral process. If that reflection is bad, it boomerangs onto the EC.

Although we have made tremendous achievements in the elections, nobody seems to be thankful to us.

People don't see it in that light because people don't understand electoral laws.

Q: Is it possible to achieve the perception of free and fair elections here?
A: It's possible. It's not difficult. You review the law. I told the prime minister all the problems.

Q: Do you think there is sincerity in the government or opposition to ensure a free and fair election?
A: Is the country ready to take on changes in the electoral process? That's debatable.

When we began introducing electoral laws in 1957, we had these three very big sensitive matters: racial, religious and cultural.

On top of that, we had a rural-urban divide.

I consider these as matters that influenced the government then to limit the EC to handling only the basic things in an election. There must be a debate on this. The government should have taken the initiative to call for some kind of forum.

So, what extent of freedom, what basic fundamental rights are people going to be given as candidates or voters?

Are we ready to have changes in our democratic practices? Can we give total freedom to everybody? Can they go shouting all over the place, touching on sensitive matters?

When you talk of an electoral democracy, you have to think of all this. Are you not going to impose a permit for people to go canvassing?

They don't do this in other countries. Just tell the police: "I'm going to have a gathering in front of Bangsar Village."

Is that possible here? No. But in some countries, it is.

Q: Do you think the EC's public relations are not well handled?
A: We have meetings and dialogues. But when we tell them that something is beyond us, they are not happy.

We are being handicapped by the fact that within the law, there are missing components.

All the demands that came to the commission are beyond our powers. You have to ask the government, because the commission doesn't make laws. How we wish we could comply.

Q: How much sway do politicians or the government have over the EC?
A: In terms of law-making and the interpretations of laws, we have to go through the government.

In other words, when we are seen to be handicapped and there is no will on the part of the ruling party to correct that handicap, we are under their control.

Whoever is controlling the government will have the advantage to call the shots.

They have the advantage of deciding when to dissolve Parliament or to control the media. But it should be under the EC during the elections.

Q: Have you ever had to fix an election?
A: No.

Q: Have you ever been asked to assist in the outcome of an election?
A: No, never. Had I been asked, I would have resigned long ago. I would not want to do that kind of job.

Will they bite the 'hand that feeds'? - Malaysiakini

Andrew Ong | Jan 11, 09 3:18pm

The battle for the 8,787 Chinese votes in Kuala Terengganu is now in full swing with both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat pulling all the stops to ensure support from the community.

Chinese voters were believed to have helped BN clinch victory in the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat during the last two general elections and all eyes are on whether they would reprise their role on Jan 17.

PAS, who is fielding five-term Wakaf Mempelam assemblyperson Abdul Wahid Endut, has practically left all the campaigning for Chinese votes to coalition partners DAP and PKR. This was confirmed by PAS deputy-president Nasharuddin Mat Isa yesterday.

DAP and PKR leaders are going all out to 'educate' locals on national issues such as corruption, the slump in the economy, the teaching of maths and science in English, the Internal Security Act and deteriorating race relations.

"A parliamentary by-election is not to gauge the state government. Instead, it is an opportunity for the Chinese voters to vote PAS as a protest against Umno and BN’s bad policies at the national level," said Teja assemblyperson Chang Lih Kang (PKR) who has been campaigning here since nomination day.

The opposition ceramah in Chinese areas have been able to draw larger crowds than usual and DAP and PKR activist believe they are making a breakthrough just six days into the campaign.

Gov't has been 'fair'

On the BN front, particularly MCA, has a far better grassroots following among the Chinese community.

Unlike the opposition, BN campaigners are leaving aside national issues and banking on reminding voters of their long standing quid pro quo relationship with the state government.

The logic behind this is that the state government, through MCA, had looked after the needs of the Chinese community and voting for the opposition would be deemed an ungrateful act.

"The government is rich and has been fair in distributing the state's wealth. There may be problems faced by the Chinese in other states but not here," summed up Terengganu Chinese Assembly Hall president Foo Chih Wan.

Foo said BN has shored up significant amount of goodwill from the Chinese community since PAS' religious conservative reign of the state between 1999 and 2004.

According to Foo, the Chinese community has enjoyed the benefits derived from oil royalties through the federal and state governments funding of schools, places of worship and Chinese guilds since 2001.

Election goodies

For this by-election campaign alone, a cursory look at the federal and state government pledges and distributions specific to the Chinese community total in excess of RM12 million, according to media reports over the past week.

The most significant allocation took place on Jan 5, a day before nomination day, where the state government distributed about RM2.7 million in cash to about 9,000 needy and elderly Chinese.

Menteri Besar Ahmad Said has thus far pledged RM3.3 million for the construction of a hall for the Chinese community in Bukit Kecil, with the ground breaking ceremony slated for Jan 13.

The state government further approved RM2.8 million for the refurbishing of the sole Chinese school in Kuala Terengganu, SJK (C) Chung Hwa Wei Sin. The school's brass band will receive another RM200,000.

Another RM110,000 was allocated to 40 Chinese religious organisations.

In addition to the allocations from the state government, the state MCA has obtained federal allocation worth RM205,000 for two temples while Education Minister Hishamuddin Hussien on Jan 5 announced a RM2,926,000 allocation for 10 Chinese schools in the state.

'Don't bite the hand that feeds'

Several Chinese guild leaders when approached have expressed hope that Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu would not bite the hand that feeds, especially since the community forms a mere three percent population in the state.

Chinese guilds in Kuala Terengganu are highly influential among the community and this has prompted high-profile meetings between BN leaders and guild leaders.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak himself held a closed-door dialogue with guild leaders for more than two hours on Friday night, while MCA president Ong Tee Keat and Gerakan president Dr Koh Tsu Koon held similar meetings as well.

Meanwhile, MCA appears to have another ace up its sleeve in the form of its state assemblyperson for Bandar constituency, Toh Chin Yaw.

MCA's campaign is portraying Toh as the sole Chinese representative in the state assembly whose position cannot be guaranteed should BN candidate Wan Abdul Farid Salleh loses.

Despite the odds stacked against them, DAP and PKR hope to ride on the wave of discontent among non-Malay voters to secure a victory in Kuala Terengganu.

Terengganu PAS supporters club spokesperson Chin Fook Cheen expressed confidence that voters would not buy into the ’candies’ being doled out by BN.

However, Chin conceded that trying to get the young voters working in other states to return home to cast their ballots would be a problem.

"It is now very close to Chinese New Year. It is likely that many will be unable to obtain leave from work," he said.

A popular estimate is that about 2,500 Chinese voters are currently outside Kuala Terengganu.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dr M: Wan Farid a proxy for Pak Lah - Malaysiakini

By S Pathmawathy | Jan 5, 09 4:01pm

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressed disappointment with the selection of Wan Ahmad Farid as the Barisan Nasional candidate in the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

Wan Ahmad will contest the parliamentary seat that had been held by deputy education minister Razali Ismail up to his death on Nov 28 last year.

“The choice of the candidate by BN is really very bad because everybody sees him just as a proxy... someone to be used later on if Najib becomes the prime minister,”

Mahathir (left) claimed at a press conference in Putrajaya today.

While Mahathir did not elaborate, he was obviously referring to Wan Ahmad being closely linked to his successor-turned-nemesis Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Umno candidate had served as political secretary to Abdullah when he was home minister in 2003.

Wan Ahmad had been appointed deputy home minister after the general election in March last year, and was reappointed a senator last month.

He resigned his ministerial post last Friday and his senatorial post today, in order to contest the by-election on Jan 17.

'PM’s particular choice'

Mahathir also dismissed claims that the by-election is an important battle for Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is leading the election campaign.

wan ahmad farid terengganu 221007“They are trying to project it as Najib's test (because) if he becomes the prime minister then these are people (including Wan Ahmad, right) who will be surrounding Najib,” said Mahathir.

Asked whether he felt the opposition has a chance of bagging the seat, Mahathir said: “I don't know about the opposition having an upper hand but I think it is an even tide.”

He said the by-election would not bring about much difference for the BN as “it is not a major fight”.

“But of course, the candidate (from) Umno was the prime minister's particular choice, because he is working with the prime minister,” he said.

Wan Farid will stand against Mohd Abdul Wahid of PAS and possibly Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia vice-president Harun Moham.