Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Hello 2009!


“Let’s have the Audacity to hope for a better year to come...!”

I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and am looking forward to better days ahead!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Salaam Ma'al Hijrah 1430


Here's wishing all my Muslim brothers and sisters Salaam Ma'al Hijrah.

May Allah SWT countinue to bestow His Blessings on us.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas


May your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill...
And may the year ahead be full of contentment and joy.
Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, 22 December 2008

KT: Pas To Announce Candidate On Jan 1 - Malaysiakini

PAS will announce its candidate for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election on Jan 1 at the Stadium Negeri, according to Malaysiakini quoting Bernama.

Party president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the party had already identified its candidate who is a professional and people-oriented.

"We already have a candidate...(it's) in my pocket, Insya-Allah...wait for Jan 1 (for the announcement)," he said after chairing a special meeting of the PAS Central Committee at the Pusat Tarbiyah PAS Kuala Terengganu, Sunday.

Also present were PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa and PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub.

Abdul Hadi said the PAS candidate is more qualified than the candidate fielded by Barisan Nasional (BN).

On Saturday, Deputy Premier Datuk Najib Tun Razak named Wan Ahmad Farid, 46, who is deputy home minister, as the BN candidate for the by-election. His selection was not a surprise due to his popularity in Terengganu.

The seat fell vacant following the death of deputy education minister Datuk Razali Ismail on Nov 28.

Razali had garnered 32,562 votes against Mohamad Sabu from PAS, who got 31,934 votes, while independent candidate Maimun Yusof obtained 685 votes in the March general elections.


KT: PAS umum calon 1 Januari
Dec 21, 08 6:19pm

PAS akan hanya mengumumkan calonnya untuk bertanding dalam pilihanraya kecil Parlimen Kuala Terengganu, pada 1 Januari depan di Stadium Negeri di Kuala Terengganu.

Pada mulanya, PAS dijangka mengumumkan nama calonnya hari ini, selepas Barisan Nasional (BN) mengumumkan semalam pemilihan Timbalan Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh untuk bertanding dalam pilihanraya kecil tersebut.

Presiden PAS Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang berkata pada masa ini, parti itu telah menentukan calonnya itu, yang merupakan seorang profesional dan berjiwa rakyat, lapor Bernama.

"Kita sudah ada calon...dalam poket saya, Insya-Allah...tunggu 1 Januari depan (kita umumkan)," katanya selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat khas Jawatankuasa PAS Pusat di Pusat Tarbiyah PAS Kuala Terengganu hari ini.

Turut hadir Timbalan Presiden PAS Nasharuddin Mat Isa dan Ketua Pemuda PAS Salahuddin Ayub.

Abdul Hadi berkata calon yang akan diketengahkan oleh PAS itu merupakan seorang yang lebih layak daripada calon yang ditampilkan oleh Barisan Nasional (BN).

Beliau berkata calon PAS itu adalah individu yang mempunyai ketokohan daripada pelbagai aspek dan yakin akan dapat diterima oleh pengundi di kawasan Parlimen Kuala Terengganu.

Semalam, Timbalan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak mengumumkan pemilihan Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh sebagai calon BN.

Ditanya mengapa PAS mengambil masa yang lama untuk mengumumkan calonnya berbanding BN, Abdul Hadi berkata PAS tidak mahu terikut-ikut dengan cara BN dan tidak tergesa-gesa untuk berbuat demikian.

"Tidak lama, penamaan calon pun lambat lagi (6 Januari)," katanya dan menurutnya kelewatan pengumuman calon itu tidak akan meresahkan penyokong PAS kerana pada masa ini mereka begitu bersemangat menjalankan tanggungjawab dalam menghadapi pilihanraya kecil itu... Continue here



Read Shamsul Yunus's entry : Good luck BN . And, yes, I agree with him that KJ ( the s.i.l.) should be kept out of KT during the the campaign if BN wants to win this by-election.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Balik Kampung...

Boarding the Aeroline at the One Utama bus terminal

Singapore here we come

On the bus to Singa-Pura: Front row (L-R): Adel Hakim, Hafizuddin & Jazlan. Back row: (L-R): Nuraina & Liyana (partly hidden), Amalina and Shaira Nur

Ibu-ibu glamer kepada anak-anak teruna dan dara. L-R: Norlin, Nuraina and Raja Amelya (a good friend of Nuraina, who has been accompanying us on our annual trip.)

Ayra Qistina: Yaay! Am gonna visit tok mommy's kampung.

Are we there yet?

Finally! We're here ...at Nek Busu's

The whole bunch of us about to enter the lift to nek busu's flat on the fourth floor

Lunch at Nek Busu's (Cik Ah's Bedok Reservoir HDB flat). L-R: Lalin, Nik Aina Sofia, Sara Hamidah, Shaira Nur, Adel Hakim (partly hidden) & Norlin

My brother, Hamed & family. Next to him is his wife, Farah Chin Abdullah. Sitting infront are his daughters, Ellysha Nur (L) and Julia Nur (R)

Lepaking at Cik Ah's after lunch

Dinner at Swenson's which is about 10 minute's walk from our hotel. We had to book a table (give the exact number of people coming) otherwise you have to queue up for about 20 minutes before we could get in. Picture, L-R: Adam, Tok mommy, Norlin, Shasha Marissa, Sara Hamidah, Nik Aina Sofia (standing), Khairena, Jehan, Shahriman and Heiqal.

The Paragon on Orchard Road all lit up for Christmas

At the hotel lobby before leaving for Sentosa Island on Friday (2nd day)

From left. Haris (holding Sharmine), Adam, Sonia and Heiqal having a dip in the hotel pool.

Jehan feeding the hungry stingray at the Underwater World.

That, my dear, is a turtle.

The amazing phases of shark embryo development. The shark embryo can seen wriggling right before our eyes. That's Jehan and her daughter, Ayna Larissa.

Ayna Larissa: Yaay, I'm here at the Underwater World!

Taking a rest before proceeding to the Dolphin Lagoon. Top pic:Lil Sharmine . Front row. L-R: Nik Aishah Sonia, Adam, Nik Adam Haris and Ayna Larissa.


The bus which took us from the pick-up point at the Underwater World to the Dolphin Lagoon, about one km away






The tahlil (on Sat, Dec 13) at my niece's residence in Teluk Kurau was followed by lunch and later high tea. From left: my sister, Norlin, my niece Runis, yours truly, Nong, my cousin's wife and her youngest daughter.

My cousins & nieces who missed us earlier at the tahlil called on us at the hotel the night before we left for home.


All ready to leave Singapore for home after a four-day stay on the island.



Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa Claus - who gave lil Sharmine the fright of her life - bade us goodbye at the Waterfront harbour just before we departed for home.


Been meaning to blog about this but was caught up with more urgent matters. And I haven’t been feeling too well after the trip. On top of that I had to take my significant other half, who didn’t accompany us to Singapore, to see his doctor and for his physiotherapy sessions at SJMC. He has been unwell having suffered a slip disc three weeks before the family trip to Singapore.

The programme for the three-night- four-day stay in Singapore for the 28 of us - adults and children - was prepared by my youngest sister, Nina.

The five-hour-journey with a stopover at Pagoh in Johore was smooth. The children occupied themselves by watching video in the lower deck, playing with their psp or listening music from their i-pod.

We arrived at the harbour front in Singapore on Thursday afternoon (Dec 11) where three coaches were waiting for us. We boarded two and headed for my aunt’s (Cik Ah) place in Bedok Reservoir where lunch had been prepared for us . Nina and my son-in-law, Shahriman, took the third coach with our luggages, 38 altogether, for York Hotel in Mount Elizabeth, where she checked in on our behalf before joining us later.

Except for the visit to our aunt’s, uncle’s at Marine Terrace and tahlil at my niece’s place at Teluk Kurau, we had ample time to go shopping.

But unlike my sisters and the older nephews and nieces, who had helleva time scouting for bargains in Orchard road, I stayed at the hotel most of the time.

I ventured out to Swenson’s - down the road from our hotel - only to have dinner and breakfast. I guess age is catching up on me. I tire so easily.

But I acompanied my sisters, Nina, Lalin, my daughter, Jehan, her hubby and the younger ones - my grandchildren (three), nephew and nieces (eight) - for a half-day trip to the Underwater World in Sentosa Island, a popular island resort, on the second day of our trip.

Opened in 1991, the living museum has more than 2,500 marine and fresh-water animals of 250 species from different regions of the world.

The oceanarium is underground and has an 83 metre long travelator that moves visitors along a submerged glass-windowed tunnel from which they can look at an array of marine life including a coral reef, stingrays, moray eels, turtles, sharks and other fishes.

The trip to Underwater World also included a visit to the Dolphin Lagoon which is home to some Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, also known as the pink dolphins.

We left Singapore at 3pm on Sunday by Aeroline and arrived in KL at 8pm - exhausted but happy to be home.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Salam 'Aidil Adha


...to all my Muslim brothers and sisters.

And my prayers for the victims of the Bt Antarabangsa landslide who have lost their loved ones and homes.

Read this at Marina's:

Volunteers needed for surau Bukit Antarabangsa. Minta bantuan orang bersihkan sebab medics and police disitu sibuk menolong orang di surau. Kena bersih. Pls contact MARES/rescue (Aziz) 0169007763. Also bawa biskot & roti, dia orang tak makan. Pakai boots lecah. Bawa hp fully charged.'

and Rocky's

If anyone is able to offer help or volunteer, please get in touch with FATIMAH SULAIMAN of Malaysian Red Crescent Society, Selangor Branch. Her number is : 012-214-5157.or contact Encik Nasir from MRCS headquarters : 016-260-6037.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Landslide tragedy at Bt Antarabangsa: 4 killed, one missing - Malaysiakini (updated)

Update: PM: 'Enough is enough, stop the hillside projects' (read here)
No more permits for hillside projects: Najib (read here )
Be prepared for more landslides, warns environmentalist (read here )

Got the report from Malaysiakini


Dec 6, 08 8:41am (updated 8.30pm)

A massive landslide at 4 this morning buried 14 bungalows in Taman Bukit Mewah and Taman Bukit Utama in Bukit Antarabangsa, Selangor.

Four bodies have been recovered with one person still feared buried as at 8.30pm.

Three of the four who perished have been identified as veterinarian Dr N Yogeswary, 40, accountant Ng Yee Ping and Saiful Khas, 20. An Indonesian woman was pulled out of the rubble at around 7.30pm. Her identity has not been confirmed.

Those who were reported missing earlier have contacted the police, according to Selangor Chief Police Officer Khalid Abu Bakar.

The remains and some 15 others who were injured have been rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

Khalid said tonight that the search and rescue operation will continue for 24 hours a day unless the rain gets too heavy. He revealed that about 100 people have been rescued the site.

Earlier reports: The landslide has cut off the access road to the residential area, trapping hundreds of people at Bukit Antarabangsa in Hulu Klang.

Azmin Ali, the state rep for Bukit Antarabangsa told Malaysiakini over the phone that rescuers are now fighting against time to reach those trapped under the mud and rubble.

He said earth movement continued to take place and that electricity supply to several housing estates in Bukit Antarabangsa was disrupted.

The politician said he rushed over to the scene at 4.30am soon after he received word of the landslide.

Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar who was at the scene to direct rescue efforts told reporters that a total of 3,000 to 5,000 residents in the vicinity of the landslide have to be evacuated.

According to Bernama, a total of 160 police, army, Ampang Jaya City Council (MPAJ) and medical personnel are involved in the search and rescue operation. More than 10 ambulances were spotted at the scene.

The news agency also reported that one of the affected bungalows is owned by Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab, the principal private secretary to the prime minister.

Thajudeen and his family are safe. They were not at home at the time of the incident.

Eyewitness accounts

An eyewitness, businessman Hassan Saad, 48, told Bernama that he was watching television in his sitting room at 4am when he heard what sounded like strong wind but when he looked out, the air was still and the trees were not swaying.

He returned to watching the TV but suddenly he heard a bomb-like explosion. He ran out of the house and saw earth sliding down the hillslope, hitting his neighbour's house in front.

Hassan said he shouted to wake up his family and alerted his neighbours to run for their lives. His family of 10, including his mother-in-law and two cousins, managed to run to safety.

Meanwhile, a man who wanted to be known only as Chong, said his daughter and two-month-old grandchild were buried alive in the landslide while his son was still missing as at 9am.

He said he visited them last night and had gone home at 11pm but was told by a neighbour's son that his son's house had been buried in the landslide.

The landslide happened near the Highland Towers tragedy almost 15 years ago that killed 48 people when Tower One collapsed.

Also read 4 terbunuh, tanah runtuh di Bukit Antarabangsa - Malaysiakini ,Duniatiger's entry Tanah Runtuh di Bt Antarabangsa here , the Star's Massive landslide at Bt Antarabangsa and Personal account from ground zero .

Picture: (courtesy of the Star) One of the bungalows hit by the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide. More pics here .

Friday, 5 December 2008

Kuala Terengganu by-election on Jan 17

The Election Commission (EC) today announced that the Kuala Terengganu by-election will be held on Saturday, Jan 17, with nomination day fixed on Tuesday, Jan 6.

The announcememt was made by EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar in Putrajaya.

The seat fell vacant when incumbent Razali Ismail, who was also Deputy Education Minister, died of a heart attack last Friday.

The by-election is expected to see an intense fight between ruling coalition Barisan Nasional and the opposition, as the margin of victory in the previous two general elections has never been more than 2,000 votes.

In the 2004 general election, Razali defeated PAS exco Syed Azman Syed Ahmad by 1,933 votes.

In the last March 8 polls, Razali won with a slim 628 majority by defeating PAS bigwig Mohammad Sabu and 89-year-old Maimun Yusuf on March 8.

The EC also said there will be 80,229 registered voters, including 1,035 postal voters. The latest figure is slightly lower than the 80,325 voters recorded in March.

The Kuala Terengganu by-election will be the second by-election since the last general election.

The first by-election was held on Aug 26 in Permatang Pauh, Penang, after incumbent Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) stepped down to pave the way for her husband, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to make a comeback in politics.

Anwar won with a thumping majority of 15,671 votes, defeating BN’s Arif Shah Omar Shah and Akim president Hanafi Hamat. The campaign period was 10 days. - Excerpts from Malaysiakini.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Zaid not joining any political party for now - Malaysiakini

Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim will not be joining any political party despite being courted by Pakatan Rakyat parties PKR and DAP.

He will instead concentrate on the foundation he has set up - My Future Foundation - saying that there are other ways in which he could contribute for better understanding, for young people in this country, according to Malaysiakini.

Since his resignation from the Cabinet in September, speculation has been rife that he would be joining one of the PR parties.

Speaking at a Press Conference today - his first since he was sacked from Umno two days ago - Zaid said he was given the boot for his views, and not for attending opposition functions.

“I think they expelled me because of my ideas which they don’t like. It’s not because I attended one dinner.”

Zaid claimed that he is a victim of double standards in Umno. According to him he was not given the opportunity to be heard and was not aware of any specific violation that he had committed.

Here's the full Malaysiakini report.

Zaid: No intention to join any party now

Beh Lih Yi Dec 4, 08 10:55am

Recently-sacked Umno member and former minister Zaid Ibrahim today said he has no intention to join any other political party at the moment.

“I will not join any political party in the near future. I have always said that, when I leave the government, I (would) want to concentrate on the My Future Foundation that I set up.

“I think there are other ways in which I can contribute for better understanding, for young people in this country,” the former de facto law minister told a press conference at the Tropical Golf Club in Petaling Jaya this morning.

Saying that he is thankful and is touched by the gesture of opposition leaders to invite him to join their parties, Zaid said many things can be done, but not necessarily through politics.

The My Future Foundation aims to seek and encourage young Malaysians to bring about positive change regarding race relations.

The press conference was the first time that Zaid - an Umno member of 23 years - has spoken to the media after being sacked from the party on Tuesday, for 'breach of rules' including being seen in the company of opposition leaders and at their events.

The outspoken politician was at the opening of PKR congress last Saturday. On riday night, he had attended a DAP dinner in Penang.

Yesterday, Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim said that he would welcome Zaid into any of the opposition parties, however adding that he would allow Zaid to take his time to make a decision.

While his presence at the PKR and DAP events last week was widely seen to be the final straw in Umno’s decision to sack him, Zaid disagreed.

“I think they expelled me because of my ideas which they don’t like. It’s not because I attended one dinner. I can only explain that my expulsion was because they resent my views, (and) my more accommodating approach to the opposition and views of the people,” he said.

Although he did not name anyone, Zaid - answering another question - openly told Umno vice-president Muhyiddin Yassin (left), information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib and supreme council member Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz (right) to stop “belittling” him.

He also stressed that he had not provoked the party to sack him by showing up at these events.

“It was not my intention to provoke or to cause anger (within the party). When I was invited by friends, I attended [...] the opposition (parties) are not our enemies, they just have different opinions.”

Denied chance to be heard’

Zaid further claimed that he had become a victim of double standards in Umno, the dominant party in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

“If we look at Umno, there are people who have criticised (Prime Minister and party president) Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi), made fun of him, asked him to step down (and) ridiculed him, and who (have) uttered racist remarks and (committed) many serious violations (of rules), but no action was taken because they are powerful people. So maybe there are double standards here.”

He said this was further proven when he was sacked without being called to explain his actions and without a show-cause letter being issued to him first.

Saying he is still in the dark over the real reason for his removal - since has not received any letter sacking him officially - he said he has no interest in pursuing the matter in any way, including filing an appeal.

He was asked to comment on claims that he and legal firm, Zaid Ibrahim & Co which he founded and which is one of the country's biggest law firms, have benefitted a lot while he was in government due to his 'connections'.

However, Zaid brushed aside the question, saying that he had worked very hard through the years.

To a question whether the firm's business would be affected by his departure from Umno, he said he no longer has any interest in the firm as he had relinquished his shares when appointed minister.

However, Zaid said nothing should be read in the choice of venue.

“It is just that this place is close to my home and easy for my wife to come (to),” he laughed.

Zaid, an ex-senator, resigned his ministerial post in September over the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) against an opposition politician, a blogger and a journalist.He later wrote an open letter to the prime minister urging him to repeal the ISA.

Watch video 0:09:42 min

Police questioned Chua on "Ketuanan Melayu" - Malaysiakini

Deputy MCA president Chua Soi Lek was questioned by the police for 40 minutes Wednesday in relation to his controversial speech last week on Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) reports Malaysiakini .

The former health minister (right)arrived at the Bandar Sunway police station in Petaling Jaya at 9:15 in the morning. He had no lawyers with him.

"It is normal," Chua told reporters at the police station when asked to comment on the police request for him turn up to have his statement recorded.

He declined to say whether he thought this was a a result of a police report against him or whether it was a police initiative following protests by some quarters over the speech he made.

Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar, meanwhile, said Chua was being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948, reported Sin Chew Online.

Khalid said this followed a report lodged in Johor by a group in Batu Pahat.

In his speech delivered at the Kancil Awards Festival Speaker Series last Thursday,Chua had said the Chinese community could accept a Malay leadership but not Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy).

He described the Ketuanan Melayu concept as unacceptable because it implied a master and servant relationship.

An organisation of young Malay graduates - the Gabungan Graduan Melayu Muda - has demanded that Chua apologise to the Malays for the speech which they claimed was seditious.

They also want him to pay compensation amounting to RM2 million.

Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir also lashed out at Chua for questioning the Malay supremacy concept.

"When these leaders are making this kind of statement, it shows that they know nothing of our history or maybe they are trying to act as heroes to their community," said Mukhriz.

At a press conference Tuesday, the MCA No 2 claimed that his speech was being deliberately misinterpreted and twisted by certain quarters for their own gain. - For Malaysiakini subscribers read here to continue...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Anwar leaves it to Zaid to decide - Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini reports:

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Dec 3, 08 3:03pm


Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today said it was now up to Zaid Ibrahim (picture right)to decide if he wanted to join PKR or any other opposition parties following Umno's decision to sack him yesterday.

The PKR leader also said that while he would welcome Zaid into the Pakatan alliance, it would however only be apt to give the former minister some time to reflect his current situation.

Umno last night decided to sack Zaid after he was seen in the company of opposition leaders and at opposition events - the most recent being his presence at the PKR annual meeting last Saturday.

"It is his choice. He has been discussing with PKR leaders, DAP and PAS and they seem to be comfortable with him because we have seen him rather steadfast in defending the principles of human rights and very committed in his stance against draconian laws (like the) ISA.

"I think he is an asset to the nation. We welcome him to be more involved, we have been engaging in principle agendas together.

"We've had discussions but I don't want to be seen to be pushing him in the direction. Let him have the space to reflect now that he has been unceremoniously dismissed as a member of Umno," Anwar told a press conference in Parliament this morning.

Asked if there was an attempt to convince Zaid to join Pakatan, Anwar said that there was never an issue of him trying to convince the ex-minister.

He added that Zaid shared common principles with the Pakatan parties as far as human rights and other issues were concerned.

Zaid has often been perceived as a renegade in Umno and the government for his vocal criticism of various government policies, notably the judiciary and the ISA.

In September, Zaid tendered his resignation as law minister in protest after a fallout with the government after it invoked the ISA to arrest several opposition figures.

To many Umno leaders and members, his outspokenness against his own party and government was unacceptable.

They felt the final straw was Zaid's attendance at the PKR congress last Saturday. The day before, he was seen at a DAP dinner in Penang.

His presence at the congress, as well as his statement that he was "keeping his options open", further fuelled speculation that he had intentions of joining the opposition.

Sacking reflects Umno's intolerance

Commenting on the sacking, Anwar said that it was "extreme" and reflected on the lack of tolerance the Malay-based party had for differences in opinion.

"We have seen even in our parties people engaging with Umno leaders, participating in functions and giving statements not particularly reflective of our party position but we speak to them and persuade them to tow the line.

"This only shows the intolerance of Umno towards any difference of opinions and what is weird for me is that discussions with other parties should not be an issue but that is the party's problem.

"We hope that Zaid would take this as a challenge and step into the arena," said Anwar.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Najib, Mahathir live on Al Jazeera next week - Malaysiakini

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be appearing separately live on Al Jazeera's Riz Khan show next week, according to Malaysiakini.

Both are expected to talk on the current political situation in Malaysia and the implications of the global economic crisis.

Najib will be making an appearance on 10 pm on Monday, Dec 1, while Mahathir is scheduled to be on air at the same time three days later on Thursday, Dec 4.

Those keen to participate can call in or email questions to Riz’ email (riz@aljazeera.net) or call in live to the show at +1 202 275 2360.

Riz will also be having blogger and ex-Internal Security Act detainee Raja Petra Kamarudin on the show to talk on the ISA, culture and politics. Playwrights Kee Thuan Chye and Jo Kukhatas will appear on the same panel.

This show will air in between the Najib and Mahathir interviews on Wednesday, Dec 3, with a repeat at 10 pm the next day. - Reports from Malaysiakini

Friday, 28 November 2008

Deputy education minister Razali dies - Malaysiakini

Deputy Education Minister Razali Ismail, 59, died today after collapsing while playing badminton at the teachers training college, Aminuddin Baki Institute, in Genting Highlands at about 6.30pm. Malaysiakini reports .

He was at the college for a Terengganu Umno retreat. His body was subsquently brought to Hospital Bentong. The deputy minister left behind his wife, Nooraini Lob Yusoff, and five children.

Razali, who was a two-term Kuala Terengganu parliamentarian for Umno, defeated PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu and 89-year-old Maimun Yusuf in the March 8 general elections.

He won with a slim majority of 628 by bagging 32,562 votes against Mohamad’s 31,934 and Maimun’s 685.

Razali, a first-time deputy minister, was chairman of the Higher Education Fund (PTPTN).

The Election Commission is expected to call a by-election within 60 days.

Let this be the 'wake-up call' to employers - Irene Fernandez

Migrant workers' rights group Tenaganita has reiterated its call for a better protection of foreign domestic workers in the wake of a court decision against homemaker Yim Pek Ha.

Yim was sentenced to 18 years in jail after she was found guilty of grievously hurting her domestic helper Nirmala Bonat.

Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez said that the jail sentence imposed on Yim "must bring out a lot of soul searching in how domestic workers are treated and employed in the country".

"Will the 18 years imprisonment be a wake-up call to employers and to all of us?" asked Fernandez in a statement yesterday. (Read Malaysiakini here)

She said that it was time for everyone to critically address the conditions that enabled employers' such as Yim to systematically and continuously harm her domestic worker.

"The power of the employer to hold her domestic worker's passport; the non-recognition of Nirmala as a worker under the Employment Act: no off-day but work very long hours for seven days a week ; and kept in isolation gave Yim the confidence and the power to abuse and belief that Nirmala will never be able to seek redress.

"It is these conditions that must be addressed. Yim will pay through her jail sentence for the grievous hurt caused on Nirmala," she said.

However, she blamed the government too for being equally responsible because the conditions of work are not regulated.

There is neither a law nor a standardised contract to protect Nirmala and all other domestic workers.

"The government provided the condition of isolation by not giving a paid day off. And consequently, it opened the doors for abuse and exploitation," she said.

Fernandez said that while it could be an end for Nirmala's case, there were many more Nirmalas in the country who were in a vulnerable situation.

Irene who was acquitted on Monday on a charge of publishing false news on ill-treatment and abuse of migrant workers after a 13-year court battle, should know what she is talking.

Tenaganita has handled more than 188 cases of domestic workers who have been abused, raped and exploited with intense human rights violations.

According to her, the government must attack the root causes of such forms of abuse and exploitation. As a priority, it must immediately recognise the conditions under which these domestic workers were working.

"There is a need to give a paid day off to all domestic workers and a standardised contract that will clearly state the terms and conditions of employment," she added.

She also urged the Human Resources Ministry to stop being silent as it is part of the abuse and exploitation of domestic workers.

"The ministry must do justice to more than half a million women who are working as domestic workers in this country.

"It is only when domestic workers are recognised as workers and protected through an effective legislation that we can say justice is done to Nirmala and all domestic workers," she said.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Irene Fernandez acquitted - Malaysiakini

The High Court today freed Tenaganita Sdn Bhd director Irene Fernandez after quashing her conviction and 12-month jail sentence for publishing false news in 1995, Malaysiakini reports .

Judge Mohamad Apandi Ali had initially fixed Oct 28 to 30 to hear her appeal but this morning made his surprise decision to acquit Irene, an activist and a Parti Keadilan Supreme Council member, on a charge of publishing false news on ill-treatment and abuse of migrant workers after a 13-year court battle.

Read the rest of the story below:

The High Court judge made the decision after deputy public prosecutor Shamsul Sulaiman said that the prosecution had decided not to fight the appeal.

"In the light of the prosecution not opposing the appeal by the appellant, there is no necessity to deliberate on the appeal further," said Mohamad Apandi, drawing cheers and applause from Fernandez's family and friends who were gathered at the court as early as 9am.

"I hereby reverse the findings and sentence, and acquit and discharge the appellant. Conviction and sentence is hereby set aside," said the judge.

Prior to the judgment, the lawyers had met with justice Mohamad Apandi in chambers for about an hour. The court resumed open hearing at 11.30am and soon after announced the verdict.

Shamsul said that the prosecution had decided to not pursue the appeal as there were "recently discovered systemic error which are manifested in the notes of proceeding” as well as “the peculiar set of circumstances of this appeal".

DPP: AG decided to drop appeal

Shamsul added that the government’s decision to drop the appeal was made by attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.

The Tenaganita executive director's was put off time and again after statements of important prosecution witnesses were found to be missing.

On Aug 5, the case was brought to a standstill when Fernandez was told a computer virus had wiped out a portion of a specific volume of notes required for the trial.

Two months later, Fernandez's lawyer M Puravalen said that the 8,988 pages of handwritten and typed notes amounting to a total of eight volumes of documents were "incomprehensible”.

Judge Mohamad Apandi had subsequently set today to hear arguments on the issue.

Fernandez’s 13-year ordeal began in 1995 when she exposed the poor conditions at immigration detention centres in a memorandum entitled 'Abuse, Torture and Dehumanised Conditions of Migrant Workers in Detention Centres'.

She alleged incidences of torture as well as deaths of illegal immigrants who were detained in the camps.

Fernandez was arrested and charged a year later under Section 8A (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

Her case, which became the longest-running criminal trial in Malaysian history, ended in 2003 with the court finding her guilty and slapped her with a 12-month imprisonment.

'Light at the end of the tunnel'

Met outside court, 62-year-old Fernandez appeared jubilant after the court decision, saying that she could at last see "light at the end of the tunnel".

"(I am) relieved that truth and justice had prevailed and the conviction has been set aside but it also tells us that the courts have to be more systematic in what they do so that the technical errors do not surface."Still, the main point is I am free now after 13 years of struggle...," said Fernandez, who vowed to continue her fight to support migrant workers.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Shahrizat: I was forced to accept June Transition plan

The verbal war between the top two Wanita leaders has begun with Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz firing (read here and here ) her first salvo a day after her deputy Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil announced her intention to challenge her in the coming party polls.

Rafidah hit out at Shahrizat for breaking the promise made earlier that she would not challenge her.

In her 11-page handwritten statement to the press yesterday, Rafidah said her deputy even said ‘My word is my honour’, that she would abide by the advice of the party’s top leaders and had accepted the (June) transition plan.

But Shahrizat disclosed - as many have suspected - that she had agreed to Wanita’s transition plan under duress.

“Can you imagine if I had declined the transition plan in front of 700 to 800 people, including the Prime Minister,” she told the Star.

According to Shahrizat, Rafidah had sprung the June 2009 plan on her at a Wanita function at the Putra World Trade Centre on the day it was announced (Aug 4), without any prior consultation with her or the executive council.

Shahrizat, who admits that she has always been a “yes man” to Rafidah said:

“I am always listening to Tan Sri. I have positioned myself as her deputy. It is not my habit to offer anything that I was not asked. This is something I have conditioned myself for over the years. I am a party person.

"She is my boss.”

The rest of the report below:

“Throughout the years, you never find me offering opinions, because Tan Sri is a very strong leader and she speaks her mind. I look at myself as a backbencher. This is to maintain peace,” she said.

Shahrizat said she took time to come to a decision because she had to consider the effect of her decision on the movement.

“But once I have made up my mind, I don’t turn back,” she said.

She said although she had called for divisions to respect the transition plan, the ground was volatile.

“The mood was that they don’t want top leaders to make decisions for them. They were resentful that we assume they will accept the plan. And I bore the brunt for a long time.

“The women wanted to be given a choice and felt that their right to exercise their right had been taken away. This was putting the Wanita structure in danger. The women were angry with me for agreeing (to the plan) because the Wanita chief will be acting and there would be no deputy.

“They wanted me to stand up and fight against it. But at that time, I did not have the strength to fight,” she said, adding that the straw that broke the camel’s back was the last Wanita exco
meeting, where she was not given a chance to express her views. The Star


Rafidah, who earned the nickname 'Iron Lady' while serving as Trade Minister for two decades before being dumped from the cabinet earlier this year, had hoped to remain as Wanita chief until June 2009.


Friday, 21 November 2008

"I will defend my post" - Rafidah

Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz announced on Friday that she will defend the Wanita Umno chief's post in the party's elections in March, Bernama reports.

Rafidah, 65, said she appreciated and respected the nominations she received from 117 divisions.

"I leave it to the delegates, who represent the grassroots, to determine their preferred leader for the 2009-2011 period," she said in an 11-page statement today.

On Thursday, Wanita Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who received 73 nominations, announced that she would contest for the movement's top post.

The decision has effectively scuttled the movement's leadership transition plan in June 2009 as announced by Rafidah in August.

In the statement, Rafidah also expressed disappointment that the transition plan was being disputed and rejected three months after she made the announcement.

She added that Datuk Seri Shahrizat herself who had agreed to abide by the transition plan was willing to change her stand when she received enough nominations to contest for the top post.

Had the matter been brought up before the nomination process started, the Wanita Umno executive council would have scrapped the transition plan, said Rafidah.

"And there would be no hesitation on my part to allow the divisions to nominate whomever they want for the posts of Wanita chief and deputy chief," she said.

The objection, however, only came to light after sufficient nominations were obtained for the posts, she said.

"Only then they come out with all kinds of excuses to object the plan," she said. Read here to continue...

In August, Rafidah had agreed to step down in June next year to pave the way for Shahrizat to take over the movement's leadership, but the postponement of the party polls to March made many Wanita Umno leaders urge Rafidah to reconsider the transition plan.

Last weekend, the Wanita Umno exco reaffirmed its earlier decision for the top two posts in the wing not to be contested, but Kuala Kangsar Wanita chief, Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim, who has already qualified to run for No 2, insisted that the Wanita Umno exco had no right to decide on the movement's leadership.

Kamilia, who is also a Wanita Umno exco member, has won the No 2 post uncontested since Shahrizat has decided to go for the top post.

Rafidah: "We will meet 'di gelanggang' in March"...

"'It is not a question of whether or not I am accepting the challenge....there is a challenge and I will have to defend my post.

"We will meet di gelanggang in March," the incumbent Wanita chief, Rafidah Aziz, told Nuraina Samad of 3540 Jalan Sudin in response to her deputy's decision to challenge her for the post in the party elections in March.

Rafidah, in an interview with the blogger, said she was shocked by Shahrizat Jalil's "about-turn" - by going against her earlier pledge.

Shahrizat had assured her, the Wanita exco and the public that she had no intention of contesting the top post and had agreed to the transition plan to ensure a smooth transfer of leadership in June.

Yesterday, Shahrizat as expected - following recent development in the movement - announced her decision to challenge Rafidah.

Asked if she would hand over the leadership to Shahrizat in June if she wins in the March elections, Rafidah said:

"If I win, then I will have to lead the wing for another three years."- continue here.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Confirmed: Shahrizat to go for top Wanita post - Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini reports

Confirmed: Shahrizat to go for top post
Nov 20, 08 4:37pm

Wanita Umno deputy chief Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil today announced that she will contest for the wing's top post next year.

Sharizat, who was appointed as a special adviser to the prime minister after the March 8 elections, made the announcement via a two-paragraph statement this afternoon.

"Wanita Umno must be united in strengthening the party as well as be bold in bringing about changes and renewal," she said.

The announcement ended speculations as to whether or not Shahrizat would accept the 73 nominations for her to contest against incumbent chief Rafidah Aziz, who received 117 nominations at the division level.

Previously, Rafidah had stated that she would defend her post and hand over the reins to Shahrizat in June.

Strong backing for Shahrizat

However, Wanita exco member Kamilia Ibrahim threw a spanner into the works by announcing that she would contest for the number two post.

She had received 55 nominations, which is more than the minimum number required to be a candidate for the contest.

Kamilia's announcement led to speculations that Shahrizat had been left with no hoice but to go against Rafidah for the number one slot.

Kamilia, on the other hand, is expected to win the deputy chief post uncontested.

Some of the divisions which had nominated Rafidah were also said to have switched their allegiance to Shahrizat.

The Bahasa Malaysia version below:

Shahrizat sah cabar Rafidah
Muda Mohd Noor Nov 20, 08 3:24pm

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil hari ini mengumumkan akan bertanding jawatan ketua Wanita Umno.

Beliau mengumumkan demikian dalam satu kenyataan rasmi yang dikeluarkan petang ini.

Menurutnya, beliau menerima pencalonan dan sokongan untuk bertanding jawatan ketua Wanita Mac depan.

Shahrizat merupakan naib ketua Wanita dan penasihat hal ehwal pembangunan wanita dan sosial kepada Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Beliau akan berdepan dengan Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, tokoh ketua Wanita yang paling berkhidmat selama 21 tahun, sekiranya ahli parlimen Kuala Kangsar itu tetap mahu mempertahankan jawatan tersebut.

Pengumuman Shahrizat itu menjawab teka-teki selama ini sama ada beliau akan menerima pencalonan untuk bertanding jawatan tersebut.

Ini berikutan desakan supaya Rafidah supaya mempercepatkan peralihan kuasa dari Jun kepada Mac depan.

Bagaimanapun, mesyuarat exco Wanita baru-baru ini memutuskan supaya pelan peralihan kuasa kekal pada Jun tahun depan dan tiada pertandingan bagi jawatan ketua dan naib ketua.

Bagaimanapun seorang lagi calon yang layak bertanding jawatan naib ketua, Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim bertegas akan tetap bertanding jawatan tersebut.

Kamilia mendapat 55 pencalonan dan layak bertanding jawatan naib ketua.

Ekoran itu, timbul desas-desus yang mengatakan Shahrizat tiada pilihan kecuali bertanding menentang Rafidah bagi jawatan ketua Wanita.

Dalam kenyataan dua perenggan itu, Shahrizat menegaskan bahawa Wanita Umno mesti bersatu dalam mengukuhkan parti serta berani membawa perubahan dan pembaharuan.

Dengan itu, Kamilia dijangka menang tanpa bertanding bagi jawatan naib ketua.

Selepas 191 bahagian selesai mesyuarat awal bulan ini, Shahrizat memperolehi cukup pencalonan untuk bertanding jawatan ketua.

Penyandang jawatan tersebut Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz memperolehi 117 pencalonan, manakala Shahrizat mendapat 73 pencalonan.

Malah, sebahagian bahagian yang mencalonkan Rafidah pun kini beralih sokongan kepada Shahrizat.

Menurut exco pergerakan itu, Raja Ropiah Raja Abdullah, lebih 100 bahagian menyokong Shahrizat bertanding jawatan ketua Wanita Umno Mac ini.

Katanya, sekurang-kurangnya lima negeri memberi sokongan penuh kepada Shahrizat untuk mencabar penyandang Rafidah.

Razak Baginda: Najib not involved - Malaysiakini

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda said today that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had never met the Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was brutally murdered two years ago, according to a report by Malaysiakini

Speaking to the media for the first time since his acquittal from the case on Oct 31, Abdul Razak said that neither Najib nor his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, had met Altantuya.

"I know that Najib and his wife had never met the deceased Altantuya," Abdul Razak told a packed press conference at a hotel here and pleaded for the media and the public to stop spreading "lies about Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife."

So much 'fitnah' (lies) have been thrown towards the DPM and his wife. he said.

"Those who have spread such lies can never produce any authentic evidence because there are none."

Here's the rest of the report:

He also said that Altantuya was never involved in any arms deal as was mentioned by various quarters for the reason of her killing.

The former Najib aide said that the arms deal took place in 2002, and he met Altantuya two years after that.

He added that he could do nothing about the public perception on the matter, urging everyone to stop linking Najib and Rosmah to the murder.

Abdul Razak also said that Najib would make a good prime minister.

The political analyst was originally charged with abetting with two elite police officers to murder Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu in November 2006.

Surprise acquittal

He was however acquitted without having to enter defence on Oct 31. The other two will have their defence heard next year when the trial continues.

Abdul Razak's acquittal came as a shock to many observers as the prosecution had claimed to have a strong case against him.

Claims of alleged political interference in the case grew stronger when the prosecution did not appeal against the acquittal.

In his 50-minute long press conference held at Hotel Maya in Kuala Lumpur this morning, Abdul Razak blamed bloggers and opinion makers in creating a negative impression on the case.

He also said that he planned to finish his doctoral degree in international relations at Oxford University.

The press conference was also attended by his father and brother.

Both his wife and daughter were not there.Abdul Razak is a known confidante of Najib, having worked on government arms procurement projects while the latter was defence minister.

He was to have held a press conference on Nov 6 but it was cancelled at the last minute.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The fight for Wanita Chief post is on…

The latest I read is that Datuk Shahrizat Jalil, the Wanita deputy Umno chief, will challenge incumbent Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz for the Wanita Chief post in the party election in March.

Highly placed sources said that Shahrizat is expected to make the announcement tomorrow, according to Malaysiakini .

Shahrizat has been under pressure from her supporters to go for the number one post since she has bagged 73 nominations, which makes her eligible to contest and challenge Rafidah, who has 117.

Since the transition plan was revealed on Aug 4, Rafidah has been criticised by Wanita grass root members for her unwillingness to let go of her post which she has held since 1984 - with the exception of three years when she lost to Datuk Dr Siti Zaharah Sulaiman.

Under the plan, the top two posts aren’t to be contested and Rafidah will only step down in June 2009 when she will pass over the movement leadership to Shahrizat. This means that Shahrizat will be acting Wanita chief for three years until the next party election is held.

Shahrizat initially agreed to the plan but on Sunday Nov 9 she asked Rafidah to reconsider bringing it forward to March because of “development” in the movement.

The Wanita exco held a meeting on Monday during which it rejected Shahrizat’s proposal and endorsed the original plan.

However, exco member Kuala Kangsar Wanita chief Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim sprang a surprise the very next day by announcing that she’d challenge Shahrizat. Kamilia, who has 55 nominations for the post of Wanita deputy chief, by the way, didn't attend the Monday exco meeting to show her objection against the transition plan.

The challenge mounted by Kamilia is the reason, many believe, why Shahrizat is now going against her earlier pledge of not contesting the number one post. She is left with no choice - sudah tersepit - but to go for it. Damn she does and damn she doesn’t.

Another reason is the increase in support she is getting from divisions who seem to have a change of heart. Ten out of the 13 Penang divisions have rejected the transition plan yesterday. And shifting loyalties point to a Shahrizat win. (read here , here , here and here).

Jainab Ahmad, the information chief for Sabah Wanita wing, has asked Rafidah yesterday to reconsider her transition plan, according to Bernama.

And Perak Deputy Wanita Chief , Datuk Rusnah Kassim, was quoted as saying that the movement "hope to have a leader in March not an acting chief.”

Watching the drama unfolding, the top two Umno leaders have declared they are not going to interfere in the decision of the women’s wing,

Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, the Umno President, however, has expressed his concern and intends to meet the wing's leaders when he returns.

And what has Rafidah, who is holidaying in Hong Kong, to say about this latest development?

She will comment on the matter upon her return.

All the best to Shahrizat & Rafidah.


Related articles:
Aziz Hassan's entry A Plan Goes Awry -- And A Politician Refuses To Let Go
Nuraina's Heated And Hot In Wanita Umno (Part 2)



Monday, 17 November 2008

Ronnie Liu charged, claims trial - Malaysiakini

Selangor Exco member Ronnie Liu was today charged at the Petaling Jaya magistrate's court under Section 109 and Section 186 of the Penal Code with abetment in obstructing a Subang Jaya Municipal Council enforcement officer from closing down a hotel on Nov 2 last year, Malaysiakini reports.

He pleaded not guilty.

PJ magistrate Mohamad Ibrahim Mohammad Ghulam granted Liu, a DAP central committee member, bail of RM3,000 in one surety and set Feb 10 for mention.

Liu, 49, a Pandamaran state assembly person and also the Local Government, Study and Research Committee chairman, was arrested at the state secretariat building in Shah Alam last Wednesday and released on RM2,000 bail on the same day.

On Thursday, he filed a notice of motion at the Shah Alam High Court to set aside the warrant of arrest issued and served on him.

A lesson or two on what is money politics by Dr Khir Toyo…

There is a vast difference between what is political money and money politics, according to the former Selangor Menteri Besar.

Before anyone accuses him of being involved in political bribery which he, of course, denied, please gather your facts and please do not confuse these two terms - wang politik and politik wang.

Mohd Khir, who is vying for the post of Umno youth chief and who has bagged the second highest number of nominations, says that people should learn to differentiate between “political money” (wang politik) and “money politics” (money politics)

In politics, we need to spend money for various expenses, especially for logistics."

According to him, in the United States, political parties will ask for political donations from companies and individuals to finance their campaign activities.

This is not bribery," he said.

"Bribery is when you give in cash or in kind, like promises of datukships or positions, in return for support.”

Dr Khir said this in an interview with the Star in response to allegation that he is involved in money politics – the contender who is said to have spent the most during the divisional meetings.

“That’s total rubbish,” he said.

“When I was mentri besar, I received only my salary and nothing else.

The Selangor state government dealings during my time were always transparent. I do not believe in money politics or other types of political bribery.

Please do not insult the delegates’ intelligence. They vote based on ability and leadership qualities, and not because of money.” Read the rest of the interview here.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Anwar's sodomy trial faces further delay - Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini reports:

Court hearing for Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial has been put off after the prosecution applied for a stay of proceeding pending an appeal for the case to be transferred to High Court.

The Sessions Court this morning was to have fixed a date for the trial to be heard before Sessions judge SM Komathy Suppiah.

Last Friday, Komathy had
dismissed an application by the prosecution to have the case transferred to the High Court.Her ruling was based on her finding that the
transfer order signed by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail was invalid.

"This case raises a unique situation where it is evident that any involvement by the AG in this case would seriously undermine public confidence in the administration of criminal justice," she had said.

However, the prosecution had
filed an appeal against the decision on Nov 11.

The appeal will be heard at the High Court on Nov 20 and 21.

Anwar was charged three months ago with sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in jail. He is currently out on a RM20,000 personal bond.

Anwar objects stay application

This morning the prosecution applied to Komathy not to fix a date pending their appeal against her decision.

"Under Section 35 (2) of the Courts of Judicature Act, allows for a stay of proceedings at the lower court if a revision is filed in the upper courts.

The stay would allow for the notes of proceedings to be handed to the upper courts.

"Hence, it would not be proper to set a hearing date at this juncture as the matter would be heard at the High Court for revision on Nov 20," lead prosecutor Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden said. To continue read
here .

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Nazri: I made a mistake, it is true the judges were sacked – Malaysiakini

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz, admitted today that the six former Supreme Court judges, embroiled in the 1988 judicial crisis, were indeed sacked.

He also explained that his remark in the Dewan Rakyat regarding the 'retirement' was based on the pensions the six judges had received over the last 20 years, according to a report by Malaysiakini .

He revealed that it was the former Yang dipeartuan Agong who had requested the government to pay pension to the six sacked judges.

"It is true, they were sacked, " he said.

"I regret my statement has caused some misrepresentations. I did not mean to do as I did not know the contents of the letter," he explained.

King wanted pension for sacked judges
Rahmah Ghazali Nov 13, 08 2:01pm

Former Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Iskandar Ismail had requested the government to pay pension to the six sacked judges who were embroiled in the 1988 judiciary crisis, Parliament was told.

Revealing this today, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said the king had expressed his wish in a letter about 20 years ago to the then chief secretary to the government.

Nazri said he discovered this letter after a thorough investigation and conceded his mistake in claiming earlier that the six judges were not sacked but forced to retire.

He also explained that his remark in the Dewan Rakyat regarding the 'retirement' was based on the pensions the six judges had received over the last 20 years.

"This (letter from the King) is the thing that I did not know. But I want to say that I regret my statement based on the fact they received pensions," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Normally, he said, government service pensions will not be given if the civil ervants were sacked.

"That is why, I said, 'maybe, maybe they were not sacked because they received pensions'... but it is true, they were sacked.

"I regret my statement has caused some misrepresentations. I did not mean to do as I did not know the contents of the letter," he explained.

The minister added that he would also explain the matter in the House.

'Parliament asked, so we revealed

'The six judges, including former Lord President Salleh Abas, recently received RM10.5 million in ex-gratia payment from the government.

Salleh received RM5 million while former Supreme Court judges, the late Wan Suleiman Pawanteh (RM2 million), George Seah (RM2 million), Azmi Kamaruddin, the late Eusoffe Abdoolcadeer and Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh (RM500,000).

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

But Kamilia wants to go for Wanita No 2 post...

So where does this leave the incumbent deputy chief, Datuk Shahrizat Jalil (picture right)? What options does she have now that she is being challenged by the Kuala Kangsar Wanita chief? Will Shahrizat defend her post or will she go for broke and try to unseat her boss, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz?

According to the Malay Mail Shahrizat may still go for the movement’s top post.

In an exclusive interview with the paper, Shahrizat was quoted as saying she would wait for Kamilia Ibrahim's next move and seek the views of the grassroots before making up her mind.

It is rather strange coming from her right after the Wanita exco yesterday met and called for the two top posts to be left uncontested and decided that the leadership transition between Rafidah and her deputy in June stays as planned, rejecting the latter’s proposal to bring forward the transition to March.

And now that Kamilia (picture left) has announced her decision to contest the deputy chief post, will Shahrizat heed the call of her supporters and be brave enough to go for it - the number one post? (read here)

What if Shahrizat insists in defending her post and is defeated by her challenger? If she loses, Shahrizat will be left with nothing - and come June next year Rafidah will step down and hand over the leadership to Kamilia, assuming that she wins, of course.

Interestingy enough, Kamilia’s division nominated Rafidah - who is also MP of Kuala Kangsar - and her for the two top posts in the movement. However, Shahrizat maintained her lead with 114 nominations and Kamilia, 55 nominations.

The Star has the story below

Wednesday November 12, 2008

Kamilia to go for Wanita Umno No. 2 post

KUALA LUMPUR: Wanita Umno executive committee member Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim will contest for the wing’s number two post in the March party elections.

She said she would go up against Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil if she had to. Kamilia said she did not recognise the Wanita Umno’s leadership transition plan between Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and her deputy Shahrizat, set for June.

She said there were no provisions in Umno’s constitution for leadership transitions.

Kamilia, who has not attended the last two exco meetings including the one on Monday, said her absence was a clear message that she did not agree with the plan.

The Kuala Kangsar Wanita Umno head added that it was not up to the exco to decide who should lead.

On Monday, the exco had called for no contests for the Wanita chief and deputy chief’s posts in the interest of unity and strengthening the wing.

The meeting also rejected Shahrizat’s proposal to speed up the transition to March when the party polls would be held.

Kamilia has qualified to contest after garnering 55 nominations from 191 Wanita divisions. The minimum needed to qualify is 39.

Asked whether Rafidah and Shahrizat knew of her stand, Kamilia said: “I feel both of them know.

“I do not see the need for negotiations as I have made up my mind.”

In Kota Kinabalu, a senior Sabah Wanita Umno leader called for the movement’s leadership transition to be conducted simultaneously with the March handing-over between the party president and his deputy.

Kalabakan chief Datuk Hamisah Samat Hamisah, who is also Tanjung Batu assemblyman, said that if Shahrizat took over as Wanita Umno chief in March, it could be endorsed by the general assembly.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Shahrizat will not challenge Rafidah

Datuk Sharizat Jalil, the deputy Wanita chief, will not challenge incumbent Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz in the coming party election in March, allowing the latter to retain her post until June when she hands over her leadership as planned.

The decision was reached after the Wanita Umno executive council held a six-hour meeting yesterday.

Rafidah, had on Aug 4, revealed the transition plan saying that she will stand for election this year and step down and hand over her post to Shahrizat in mid-2009.

She also asked members to support her decision not to have any contest for the top two posts. Sharizat accepted Rafidah's decision.

But on Sunday Shahrizat had said in a press statement that she wanted the leadership transition plan between her and Rafidah to be brought forward to March in line with the transition of power between Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. In other words, she’d like Rafidah to step down earlier than planned.

Many members had asked her to declare her stand on the transition plan she said. She has received 73 nominations for the post of Wanita Umno chief, making her eligible to contest for the movement’s top slot. The number of nominations she has picked is also an indication that Wanita members wanted her to lead.

At the press conference after the meeting, Shahrizat explained that as a lawyer she was just putting down her thoughts into words and taking into consideration the views of the grassroots.

Here's Malaysiakini's report

Shahrizat will not challenge Rafidah

Nov 10, 08 8:11pm

Wanita Umno deputy leader Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will not challenge incumbent Rafidah Aziz in the party polls next March to allow the latter to retain the post without a fight.

And as planned, Rafidah will hand over power to Shahrizat in June, thus enabling the younger woman to act as the acting head of the movement.

These were the decisions made by the members of the Wanita Umno executive council in a six-hour meeting held today.

Their decisions were unanimous, although executive council member Kamilia Ibrahim - who has secured enough nominations to contest the post held by Shahrizat now - did not attend today's meeting.

It is still uncertain how Kamilia can throw the spanner in the decisions reached by the women's wing today.

As it stands, Shahrizat has enough nominations to stand in the election for the top post but she has decided to bide her time and wait for the June handover by Rafidah.

"I will take the initiative to negotiate with Kamilia together with Rafidah. I believe a wise decision can be reached," she told reporters.

To ensure solidarity

Rafidah also told reporters that she had the backing of the executive council to pursue with her transition plan.

"We had an in-depth discussion on the nominations. The executive council have agreed with the transition plan which was decided earlier and it will take place in June 2009."

Shahrizat who was present at the press conference, said she accepted the executive council's decision.

"I still respect the transition plan announced by Rafidah in August and today when we met, I personally asked her: Do you agree that about the transition plan, we open it for discussion?

"They have asked for it for the sake of Wanita Umno solidarity and to strengthen it; so we are maintaining the status quo until June," she said.

"I listen to the grassroots, I thanked them. I listen to what the executive council wants but most of all, I believe in the Rafidah's leadership.

"So, I say okay. This is for the good of the nation, for the party. Then I accept it," she said.

The dark horse Kamilia

The consensus reached by the executive council today was indeed a surprise as it was reported only yesterday that Shahrizat was going to ask Rafidah to bring forward her transition plan, preferably to March to coincide with the party polls.

Shahrizat's position is quite shaky with the present set up as she could face a tough battle - and lose - to Kamilia, leaving her with nothing.

If that happens, Rafidah would then be forced to hand over the leadership as planned to her deputy in June.

Many Wanita members also feel that the June transition plan would put a lot of pressure on the incoming chief - be it Shahrizat or Kamilia - as that person would have to prepare for the next general election on her own, without the aide of a deputy.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Umno issues show cause letter to Zaid - Malaysiakini

Former de facto Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim (picture right) today said that he had been issued with a show cause letter by Umno, asking him to explain his open letter on the Internal Security Act to the prime minister, according to the news portal Malaysia kini. Read the report below:

"The letter also wanted me to explain my participation in an ISA event organised by the Pakatan Rakyat in Parliament," he told reporters today.

He said that he received the show cause letter sometime last week. He added that his lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, would be responding to the matter soon.

Zaid left the cabinet after objecting the use of ISA against member of parliament Teresa Kok, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and Sin Chew journalist Tan Hoon Cheng in September.

Last week he also resigned from his post as a senator.

On Sept 29, he wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, urging him to repeal the ISA.

He was embroiled in another controversy last week for questioning the status of Malays in a speech. This prompted several Umno leaders to urge the party to take action against Zaid.

Umno Polls: Muhyiddin looks set to face a tough challenge...

It’s not going to be a walkover for International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He will be facing Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam and Umno Information chief Muhammad Muhd Taib for the second most powerful post in the party election in March - making the contest a three-way battle.

Ali Rustam, who is also Umno vice-president has secured enough nominations to contest for the post in the party polls. His 39th nomination - the minimum required - came from the Pasir Putih Umno division in Kelantan on Saturday.

Muhammad Taib, the last among the three contenders to be eligible to contest for the post succeeded in getting more than the required numbers on Sunday, the last day of the party’s divisional meetings, with nominations from Kelana Jaya and Hulu Terengganu divisions. He now has 43, three less than Ali Rustam's 46 nominations.

The former Selangor Menteri Besar, said to be fiercely loyal to current party President Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, was forced to step down from his post in 1997 after being charged in Australia for holding currency worth RM3.8 million. He was found not guilty and appointed a senator in 2006 by Abdullah.

Muhyiddin, the former Mentri Besar of Johore and frontrunner for the post, has already bagged 90 nominations. He qualified to contest four weeks ago.

But Umno president-elect Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who won the party's top post uncontested last week, has not publicly declared his preference for the party No 2 spot, and this has turned the contest wide open.

In fact, his division of Pekan abstained from nominating candidates for the party Supreme Council posts, including the deputy presidency, to avoid influencing the delegates in the party election.

Datuk Seri Abdullah had also recently pointed out that there was nothing wrong with any contest for No 2, which many read as tacit support for Ali Rustam.

The race is particularly significant because the Umno deputy president is traditionally appointed Deputy Prime Minister, and will be considered a potential future Prime Minister.

The post was last contested in 1987 party elections – between the then incumbent Tun Musa Hitam and the lateTun Ghaffar Baba.