Friday, 31 October 2008

Abdul Razak Baginda acquitted - Malaysiakini

Breaking news :

Abdul Razak Baginda acquitted - Malaysiakini
Oct 31, 08

The Shah Alam High Court today acquitted political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda of abetting the alleged murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin ruled that the prosecution has failed to prove a case against Abdul Razak.

"I find there is no prima facie case for him to answer his charge. He is therefore acquitted and discharged," said Mohd Zaki.

Abdul Razak, a close associate of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak had faced the death penalty by hanging if found guilty of abetting the 2006 murder of his former lover Altantuya, whose body was blown up with explosives in a jungle clearing.

In one of the longest hearings in Malaysia's history, the court spent 151 days hearing testimony from 84 witnesses on whether Abdul Razak and two police officers accused of carrying out the murder should face trial.

The court however ordered chief inspector Azilah Hadri, 32 and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 37 - from the elite Special Action Force (UTK) which guards the prime minister and deputy prime minister - to enter their defence to the charge of murder.

Both have elected to testify under oath and will take the stand on Nov 10.

The prosecution is expected to file an appeal against Abdul Razak's acquittal.

Deputy public prosecutor Tun Majid Tun Hamzah said the decision could be contested.

"We will consider appealing the decision. The battle is not over yet," he said.

On hearing that he could walk free, Abdul Razak, 48, (pic left) hugged his wife and daughter from the dock while his elderly parents sat crying in the court.

"I just want to go home," he said as he was escorted out through a huge media scrum at about 10.10am.

Altantuya's father distraught over decision

Altantuya's father Setev Shaariibuu, who has repeatedly criticised the handling of the case, was left distraught by the decision.

"I am not satisfied. My daughter knows only one Malaysian and it is Razak Baginda. Now my daughter is dead and Baginda is freed... the country has lost credibility in the (eyes of the) world," he told reporters.

Karpal Singh, who represents the Altantuya's family, said that based on the evidence Abdul Razak should have been called to defend himself against the accusations.

"They should not have acquitted him at this stage of the trial," he said.

Najib, who is expected to be appointed premier next March when Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stands down, has vehemently denied any involvement in the case.

Top blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin has repeatedly linked Najib and his wife to the murder on his popular website Malaysia Today.

Raja Petra was detained since last month under the tough security law for insulting Islam.

Abdullah last month defended his deputy over new allegations that Najib interfered in the case, after Malaysia Today published an SMS text message exchange purportedly between the deputy premier and Abdul Razak's lawyer.

Altantuya, the mother of two sons aged four and 10, was allegedly shot before her body was blown up with explosives two years ago.Azilah and Sirul are jointly charged with murdering Altantuya, 28, at a location between Lot 12843 and Lot 16735 in Mukim Bukit Raja, Selangor between 10am on Oct 19, 2006 and 1am the following day.

Abdul Razak was charged with abetting them. He is a known confidante of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, having worked on government arms procurement projects while the latter was defence minister.

Anwar wishes Abdul Razak well

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, during the lunch break in his sodomy trial case, said that he wished Abdul Razak well.

“At the personal and family level, I wish Razak well. He is now back with the family, but the issue here revolves around the court procedure and the investigation (into the murder).

“There is growing perception that the investigation was not done professionally. There is a clear motive to cover up (the murder), a lot of evidence was not adduced.

"The prosecution has failed to conduct the case professionally from the beginning, changes were (also) made to the court and the judge.

“Now that there is more allegations involving DPM Najib - the SMSes and (other) evidence the public has raised a number of times - this case clearly is bigger (than just Abdul Razak).” - Malaysiakini

Thursday, 30 October 2008

High Court Judge Ian Chin has resigned

Justice Ian Chin, the controversial judge from Sabah, who made claims that former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had threatened and intimidated judges, has tendered his resignation.

Deputy Minister in Prime Minister's Department T Murugiah told Parliament today that Chin had submitted his resignation to the Yang di Pertuan Agong in a letter dated July 16, according to a Malaysiakini report.

He will step down from Dec 1, 2008. He is on leave from Aug 1 to Nov 30.

Chin, 60, who has served 16 years, is the most senior of all judges in the High Court. His resignation comes six years before he is due to retire.

Murugiah also said that the government has no plans for now to petition the Agong to appoint a tribunal - as provided for in the federal constitution - to determine whether or not Chin is guilty of misconduct.

In June, Justice Chin caused a stir when he claimed that Dr Mahathir had made a thinly veiled threat against the judges at the Judges Conference on April 24, 1997, that they could be sacked if they failed to deliver judgements in the Government’s favour.

He alleged that “errant" judges were sent to a boot camp in an "attempt to indoctrinate them to hold the view that the Government's interest was more important than all else."

Dr Mahathir had denied the allegations saying that the ‘boot camp’ was a tata negara (national creed) work camp and that Chin had absconded from the event.

He also denied ever issuing ‘veiled threats’.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Deepavali Greetings

Here's wishing everyone a Happy Deepavali.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Nur Jazlan withdraws from deputy presidency race - Malaysiakini

Pulai Umno Division Chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who announced his intention to contest for the Umno No. 2 post in the party elections next March, is dropping out of the race after failing to get any nominations so far.

He made the annoucement at the opening of the Pulai delegates' meeeting today.

A few Umno leaders have been critical of his intention - describing him as an upstart who is 'over zealous' in contesting for the second important post in the party.

Nur Jazlan Mohamed at 42, is the youngest among the four candidates contesting for the No 2 seat. The other three are Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Ali Rustam, (both of whom are Umno vice-presidents) and party Information Chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has described Nur Jazlan, along with Ali Rustam and Muhammad Taib as just "jokers", while endorsing Tan Sri Muhyiddin for the post.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin, the International Trade and Industry Minister is leading the race with 56 nominations followed by Datuk Ali Rustam with 18 and Tan Sri Muhammad Taib, 11 nominations.

Jazlan tarik diri tanding timbalan presidenMalaysiakini

Oct 26, 08 1:45pm

Ahli Parlimen Pulai, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed mengumumkan menarik daripada menawarkan diri bertanding jawatan timbalan presiden.

Sejak bahagian mula bermesyuarat mulai 9 Oktober lalu, beliau yang juga ketua bahagian Pulai belum mendapat sebarang pencalonan.

Tiga lagi calon timbalan presiden, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin sehingga ini mendapat 56 pencalonan.

Manakala Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam dan Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib masing-masing mendapat 18 dan 11 pencalonan.

Sebanyak 191 bahagian mengadakan bermesyuarat perwakilan masing-masing sehingga 9 November depan.

The Star memetik Jazlan menyatakan sokongannya kepada gandingan Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dan Muhyiddin bertanding jawatan presiden dan timbalan presiden.

"Saya memberi sokongan penuh kepada Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein serta Datuk Zahid Hamidi untuk jawatan naib presiden," katanya ketika merasmikan mesyuarat perwakilan Umno Pulai hari ini. - malaysiakini

Umno Youth: It’s a three-cornered fight…

...for now, that is, when the third contender, former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Khir Toyo, succeeded in obtaining the magic number of 39 (nominations) needed to contest the Umno Youth leadership. (Malaysiakini - Khir makes it a 3-way fight)

MP for Jerlun and Youth exco member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is still in the lead with 66 nominations followed by his closest rival, the movement's deputy head, Khairy Jamaluddin, who finally received enough nominations yesterday to contest for the top youth post.

Khairy, the son-in-law of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, initially considered a favourite among the aspirants, received his 39th and 40th nomination from the Tangga Batu and Gua Musang divisions respectively, surpassing the 39 nominations needed to qualify.

As of yesterday has Khairy has bagged 44 nominations.

Dr Khir , who was still in the running with 12 nominations last week end, picked up his qualifying nomination from the Balik Pulau Umno Youth division in Penang and his 40th nomination from Tanjung Karang division in his home state of Selangor.

The Gua Musang Youth division had previously nominated Dr Khir for the post, but since the meeting was declared null and void, a fresh meeting was called yesterday and Khairy was nominated.

Mukhriz, the son of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, became the first to qualify just two weeks after the 191 Umno Youth divisions began meeting earlier this month.

Latest on nominations for Umno No 1 and No 2 posts: here
Umno youth: here.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Hindraf members arrested


Vwaishhnnavi and mum freed, 10 in court:

P Vwaishhnnavi, the six-year-old niece of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar, and her mother K Shanti were released today after spending a night at the Putrajaya police district headquarters.

Mother and daughter were with 10 others arrested yesterday when they attempted to submit a letter at the Prime Minister Department's office in Putrajaya, appealing for ISA detainees to be freed.

The duo were released late last night but they refused to leave the police station and stayed with the rest.

The remaining 10 were taken to the Kajang Magistrate's Court this morning where the police have applied for a two-week remand to facilitate their investigation. - Malaysiakini

Earlier report:

Twelve people, including a six-year-old girl, were detained when they attempted to submit a memorandum outside the Prime Minister's office here yesterday afternoon.

The memorandum called for the release of five Hindraf leaders detained under the Internal Security Act.

The six-year-old girl, P Vwaishhnnavi, is the daughter of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy who is currently in self-imposed exile in London. Her mother K Shanti was among those arrested.

Police Watch Malaysia coordinator S Jayathas, who was also held, claimed that they had been told that they were part of an illegal assembly for having gathered near the entrance of the building.

“We were trying to obtain permission from the security guards for Vwaishhnnavi to submit her letter. They said that we were from Hindraf, but we insisted that we were 'concerned Indians' who were accompanying Vwaishnnavi,” Jayathas when contacted . (read here )

They are currently at the Putrajaya district police headquarters, but police chief Abd Razak Abd Majid declined comment when contacted.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman confirmed the arrest but clarified that, Vwaishhnnavi, has not been arrested and is in her mother’s care.

Reports from The Star and Malaysiakini.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Najib accepts Malaysiakini’s apology…

…and praised it’s reporter, Wong Choon Mei, who had written a report on a manifesto from a 'support group' which was wrongly attributed to him, as having shown "high values of professionalism" in claiming responsibility for the error.

Wong had resigned yesterday. (read here )

The Deputy Prime Minister said he was satisfied with the apology issued by the news portal.

“I accept the apology or decision to seek an apology by the editor of Malaysiakini on the publishing of the completely untrue manifesto that I (purportedly) issued.

"Secondly, I want to state that the journalist who resigned over the said article has shown high values of professionalism as she has demonstrated her responsibility (and) accountability for the story which is not at all true," he said.

"The question is the guilty quarters - the real culprits - behind the report are still hiding and we still do not know who is responsible for the said story," added Najib, who is also Umno deputy-president.

Asked if any investigation would be carried out to determine those quarters behind the manifesto, Najib said he would "leave it to the authorities." – Malaysiakini full report here.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar was reported as saying that police will only investigate Malaysiakini's misleading report on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak if a report was lodged.

Syed Hamid Albar said this when asked to comment on the Internet news portal which carried the article on Sunday.

The news portal has since apologised to Najib.

Syed Hamid said Malaysiakini's apology was insufficient as it should be accountable for its publication.

"If you keep on putting in false reports and then you apologise, that's not good...I think the media has to be equally responsible for what they are doing," he said. ( The Sun here)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Malaysiakini journalist resigns...

... and takes responsibility for the error over Najib 'manifesto' report.

"It is my fault and I stand ready to take full responsibility and resign," said Wong Choon Mei, who wrote the news report DPM unveils manifesto for top Umno job from a ‘support group’ and which was wrongly attributed to Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

Wong joined Malaysiakini three months ago and has been a journalist for 10 years with stints in The Edge, Reuters and Channel News Asia.

Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan said the news organisation was upset over the incident, adding that the report should not have been published.

"It was a serious misjudgement on her part and we accept her resignation," said Gan.

Wong conceded that she had not verified the contents of the ‘manifesto’ with Najib's office. She had received it by e-mail on Sunday.

The report was uploaded late that night without going through the standard double-checking by a second editor. Wong was the editor on duty for that day.

"We deeply regret the error," said Gan. – Malaysiakini

Monday, 20 October 2008

Najib denies ‘manifesto’

“It’s a falsehood,” was the terse reply from a Najib aide this morning when asked about the manifesto, noting that Umno candidates do not usually issue manifestos in party election campaigns.

The manifesto, among others, said Najib will defend Malay supremacy, set up a council of presidential advisers apart from denouncing a string of allegations against him and vowing to use all means to destroy elements that threaten the stability and peace of the country.

Malaysiakini did not retract the report but issued a clarification that the manifesto came from a support group and was not sanctioned by Najib.

The deputy prime minister’s recently launched website — — did not have the manifesto but had a statement on the party elections datelined Oct 19. Continue... here.

Press statement from the DPM's office: here.

Shamsiah Fakeh dies: Al Fatiha...

Nationalist, woman rights activist and ex-communist guerrilla Shamsiah Fakeh passed away of old age at 9:00 this morning. She was 84.

According to Malaysiakini , Shamsiah has been unwell for some time now and was recently admitted to the UKM Hospital in Cheras last week.

She was buried at the Sungai Besi Muslim cemetery this evening after the Asar prayers.

Shamsiah was born in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan and became politically active during her student days.

During the height of nationalism right after the second world war, Shamsiah led the women's wing Angkatan Wanita Sedar (Awas) in Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya in 1946.

And upon the ban on PKMM in 1848 by the British, she joined the 10th regiment of the Communist Party of Malaya. This regiment was predominantly made up of Malays.

As a communist guerrilla, Shamsiah spend eight years in the jungle fighting the authorities. She eventually fled Malaysia to Indonesia and Vietnam first before eventually ending in China.

She officially left CPM in 1968 but remained in China, working in a steel factory before appealing to the Malaysian government in mid-80s to be allowed to returnhome.

She and her family were finally allowed to return to Malaysia in 1994.

She returned to Malaysia after an absence of 40 years, along with her husband, their three sons and their four grandchildren.

In 2004, she wrote about her experience in CPM in a Bahasa Malaysia book ‘Memoir Shamsiah Fakeh - Dari AWAS ke Rejimen ke 10'.A new edition and a Chinese language edition was published in 2007. - Malaysiakini

Semoga Allah SWT merahmati rohnya. Amin

Najib unveils manifesto – Malaysiakini


MALAYSIAKINI carried a quick clarification on the "Najib Manifesto" which contains, among other things, a vow "to defend till the last drop of his blood the supremacy of the Malay race".

Najib manifesto from support group, not official
Oct 20, 08 11:08am

A close aide of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said today that his office has not issued an official manifesto at this point in time.

“It is still a bit early and may be pre-emptive at this stage,” the aide told Malaysiakini.

The manifesto issued yesterday was from a support group of Najib’s, he said, adding that it had not been sanctioned. - Malaysiakini

Earlier report

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who has qualified to stand for election as Umno president with 59 nominations, has unveiled his manifesto for the Umno presidency, denoucing recent allegations made against him and vowing to defend the supremacy of the Malay race

His promises include:

* Defending till the last drop of his blood the supremacy of the Malay race.

* Setting up a Council of Presidential Advisors to be made up of Umno elders and past prime ministers

* Ensuring that his family won’t become involved in business or interfere in the administration of the country, and

* Carrying out his responsibilities without any influence from other countries

With the latest number of nominations he has garnered, Najib is not expected to be challenged for the post to be vacated by Prime Mninister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi next March.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, his only contender, has yet to receive a single vote.

Acknowledging that the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition did poorly in the March 2008 general election, Najib gave a warning that he would use all means to destroy elements that threatened the country’s stability and peace.

In what is seen as a warning to the Pakatan Rakyat, led by Oppositon leader Anwar Ibrahim, which swept to power in five states (Kedah, Perak, Selangor, the Federal Territory and Penang) after the recent March 8 general election. Najib said:

“I will also not hesitate to use all means to destroy elements that can threaten the stability and peace of the country.”

On recent allegations made against him – that he had performed some Hindu rituals (see doctored pic of Najib here) - he said: “I swear in the name of God that I am a faithful Muslim” .

As for the allegation linking him with the murder case of Altantuya, he said:

“I once again swear in the name of God that I never knew her.

"I am ready to face any court to clear my name which those who are envious of my achievements are trying their best to tarnish…”

He also denied that his SMS communication with Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was in any way an abuse of power and that he wasinvolved in the Eurocopter scandal.

The contract went through due process and procedures, he said.

The defence ministry accepted the decision and agreement from the ministry of finance was obtained in the selection of the Eurocopter tender. - Extracts from Malaysiakini.

Malaysiakini full report here.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Police extend blogger kickdefella's bail

Blogger Syed Azidi Syed Abdul Aziz (pic. right) who was arrested for posting allegedly seditious material in his blog has had his bail extended to Nov 21, reports malaysiakini.

Full report below:

Syed Azidi was arrested on Sept 17 for his alleged campaign to fly the Malaysian flag upside down and was freed three days later on police bail.

His bail expired today and he was called in by the Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to have his bail extended.

According to Syed Azidi, the police required more time to investigate and will confirm if he will be charged when the extension expires.

"I don't know why they have to extend the bail, everything they need to know is there in my posting. It is quite unnecessary," Syed Azidi told a press conference outside the CCID headquarters.

Asked why the bail was extended, Syed Azidi said he believed that the authorities were trying to "stretch the psychological intimidation" on him.

"This is definitely politically motivated. However the police are just doing their job and follow instructions and I don't blame them.

"It's their superior that is doing this. They are trying to place a psychological hindrance," he said.

He reiterated that his detention treatment was fair and the police obliged his requests for medicine, prayer mats and soft drinks - in lieu of his low blood sugar.

‘Intimidation won't stop me'

The Kelantanese also vowed to keep going despite the intimidation he felt.

"The police had confiscated my laptop and they still have it. Once I get it back I will get back to writing. I wont stop," he said laughingly.

Azidi is not the first blogger to be arrested or allege government intimidation.

Penarik Beca webmaster Abu Bakar Mohd Rashid was
arrested for lampooning the Royal Malaysian Police logo.

And Raja Petra Kamarudin - MalaysiaToday webmaster - is in Kamunting detention centre under the Internal Security Act for his blogging. -

Watch 8-minute video clip here

Read rocky'sbru entry: "Evil" blogger's police bail extended here .
Picture: courtesy of Rocky'sbru

Zaki is new CJ

The Rulers Conference meeting in Kuala Terengganu yesterday has consented to the appointment of Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi to the post of Chief Justice of the Federal Court.

Zaki replaces Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamed who retires today. His elevation comes just one year after his appointment as a Federal Court judge.

A former legal counsel for Umno who had also served on the party's Disciplinary Committee, Zaki is the first ever person elevated directly from the Bar to the Federal Court.


Rulers nominate Zaki as new CJ
K Kabilan Oct 16, 08 5:47pm

The Conference of Rulers has today decided to stick to convention and name Court of Appeal president Zaki Azmi as the new chief justice to replace the retiring Abdul Hamid Mohamad.

The decision was made in Kuala Terengganu today, sources told Malaysiakini.

Abdul Hamid will retire tomorrow and Zaki, who is the second most senior person in the judiciary, will now assume the top post.

The federal constitution provides for the rulers to appoint the chief justice on the advice of the prime minister.

The appointment, yet to be made official, will surely cause an uproar following Zaki's previous links with Umno.

He was only appointed to the Federal Court last September and two months later he was made Court of Appeal president.

He is 63 and will be at the helm for at least three year unless his tenure is extended by the government.

The rulers also agreed to nominate Chief Judge of Malaya Alauddin Mohd Sheriff to replace Zaki as the Court of Appeal president.

Similarly Federal Court judge Arifin Zakaria has been nominated to be the new chief judge of Malaya. - Malaysiakini

Archives on Tan Sri Zaki: go here

Thursday, 16 October 2008

PAS leader, 26 others held during demolition - Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini reported that 27 people, including a local PAS leader and three women, were arrested in Kampung Baru Plentong Tengah, Johor Bahru, for attempting to stop the demolition of the squatter settlement.

Also arrested was the villagers' action committee chairperson Jameon Abdullah and secretary Taslim Nani.

Contacted on his mobile phone later, Taslim said they were taken to the Johor Raya police station.

He also revealed that Sameon had fainted when the police arrested him.

Continue below:

According to Taslim, the police had arrested them when they held hands and formed a human barricade on the road leading to the village inhabited by about 2,400 people.

He said PAS Johor state liaison committee member Syed Othman Syed Abdullah was also picked up.

The demolition exercise was carried out after the developer Bukit Lenang Sdn Bhd obtained a court order.

Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) president Hassan Karim, who is also the lawyer representing the villagers, said the demolition was not expected as discussions are being held between the villagers and the developer.

He said that the houses which have been demolished so far are vacant units.

It is learnt that some 100 Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel and some 200 police personnel, including those in plain clothes, were deployed in the area.

The predominantly Malay Kampung Baru Plentong Tengah is believed to have been in existence for nearly three decades.

Meanwhile, lawyers John Fernandez,Kuna Nadesan and Mathews George are attempting to meet with those arrested.

When contacted earlier, Fernandez said the lawyers were not allowed to meet with the detainees or the investigating officer. - Malaysiakini

Youth Chief: Mukhriz holds the lead in seven states...

… with 40 nominations, including five in his home base of Kedah. (Malaysiakini read here and here )

By the end of the first weekend round of Umno Youth divisions meetings on Sunday, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, the MP for Jerlun, had 40 nominations, more than the minimum 38 he needed to contest the Umno Youth post.

Yet just a week ago, Mukhriz was in second or even third place after deputy Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and another contender former Selangor Mentri Besar Dr Khir Toyo. But the trend seems to have changed since.

Khairy, (picture right) the son-in-law who is his closest rival, trails with 19 nominations, still 20 short of the necessary number to become eligible for candidacy. The only state clearly backing him is Kelantan, which has handed him four out of five nominations to date. (Read here - Khairy calon ‘pedigree’ meleset menjadi ‘under dog’?)

Nominations for the deputy Umno Youth chief in his home state of Negeri Sembilan - which is said to be solidly behind him - also went to Mukhriz.

To date, three divisions Rasah, Jelebu and Jempul in the state – have nominated Mukhriz to the post.

The Negri Sembilan results must sting for Khairy, the (in)famous son-in-law of Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi..

Mukhriz is also leading in Kedah, Terengganu, Sabah, Pahang, Penang and Johor.

However Mukhriz and Khairy received four nominations each from Perak

Khairy, who has a stronger standing in the rural divisions, seems to have a tough time in the urban division meetings where members are more informed and critical.

"In Setiawangsa, there were jeers from the floor when Khairy’s name was proposed and few were surprised when Mukhriz won with 53 votes against 29 for Dr Khir and 7 for Khairy. Khairy had an even tougher time in Johor although he secured three nominations there. In Tenggara, delegates shouted tak mahu! when his name was proposed. In Batu Pahat, he got only three votes compared to 95 for Khir and 186 for Mukhriz. That is the kind of scenario he is facing in some places." – Jocelyn tan – The Star Tuesday October 14, 2008

Despite the setback, however, Khairy is expected to obtain the nominations to contest the Umno polls next March.

Dr Mohd Khir is still in the running with 12 nominations up to now. He may finish third but is expected to make the cut.

Four of his nominations have come from his home state of Selangor, which also gave Mukhriz three nominations and Khairy one.

Dr Mohd Khir has obtained one nomination from Johor, Sabah and Penang respectively.

The fourth hopeful, Zahidi Zainul Abidin, has only one nomination - from his Padang Besar division in Perlis. He is likely to stay in the race to raise his national profile, even if nominations don’t come his way.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Petrol prices reduced...

Petrol prices will be reduced by a further 10sen to 20sen effective midnight tonight.

RON 97 petrol is reduced by 15sen to RM2.30; RON 92 petrol is reduced by 10sen to RM2.20; and diesel is reduced by 20sen to RM2.20.

This was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today, reports Malaysiakini - Gov't cuts petrol and diesel prices.

The cut in fuel prices, the third time in as many months was aimed at tracking falling world oil prices and curbing rising inflation in the country, said Abdullah.

"The government decided to speed up the reduction in retail prices so that the people can enjoy the benefit sooner," Abdullah said in a statement issued this afternoon.

Since hiking prices by 41 per cent in June, the government has cut fuel price once in August and the second time in September.

RON97 was RM1.92 per litre in June before the hike. - Malaysiakini .

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Umno nominations in full swing: Mukhriz & Hishamuddin first to qualify

Reports from Malaysiakini

Jerlun MP Mukhriz Mahathir became the first to qualify for election as Youth chief when he collected 39 nominations leaving his rival, incumbent Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin, trailing behind with 20 nominations.

Two other contenders, former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo won 11 nominations, while Perlis Umno liaison deputy president Zahidi Zainul Abidin one (1).

In the race for the No 1 party post, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has received 24 nominations.

International Trade and Industry Minister and front-runner for the No 2 post, Muhyiddin Yassin, has obtained 21 nominations.

Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam has three (3) nominations, while Umno information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib has 2.

Pulai division head Nur Jazlan Muhamed has not received any nominations yet. Neither has Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who offered himself for the No 1 post.

To qualify for election due to be held at the Umno annual general assembly next March, candidates for the No 1 party post need to secure a minimum of 58 nominations, while aspirants for the No 2 post need to have at least 38 nominations.

So far, 11 candidates have received nominations in the race for the Vice-President post. Thirteen 13 aspirants have expressed interest for the party’s third most powerful position.

Outgoing Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein received 23 nominations - making him the first to qualify to contest the post.

Former Youth chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who dropped out of the race for deputy president post, has the second highest nominations at 12.

Sabah Umno deputy chief Shafie Apdal, who suffered an early setback when Kimanis division in his home state did not select him, rebounded with 11 nominations.

Minister of Higher Education Khalid Nordin is next with eight nominations, followed by Home Ministeri Syed Hamid Albar with six, while Foreign Minister Rais Yatim collected five nominations.

Former chief ministers - Mohd Isa Abdul Samad of Negeri Sembilan has four nominations while Shahidan Kassim of Perlis booked three.

Former Minister of Science Technology and Innovation Jamaludin Jarjis and Negeri Sembilan state liasion chief Mohamad Hassan have two nominations each, while Kelantan liaison committee head Annuar Musa has one nomination.

To qualify for election, candidates for the vice presidency need to have at least 19 nominations.

Here’s the full list as of 8pm.

Click the above for an enlarged view.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Who will be Najib’s running mate?

Will it be Umno vice-presidentTan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin the latest candidate to join the race for the post of party deputy president?

It’s too early to tell says the deputy Prime Minister who will be contesting the post of Umno president left vacant now that Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi has decided not to defend his post.

Besides him, Gua Musang Member of Parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Arau Umno division Youth wing’s permanent chairperson Ismail Hashim, 43, have offered themselves to contest the president’s post.

Najib said he will “wait and see' before deciding on his running mate for the Umno top leadership contest next March and has dropped hints that his choice would be based on the number of nominations received by the candidate.

Muhyiddin, Mohd Ali Rustam, party information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib and Pulai MP Nur Jaslan Mohamed have offered themselves for the deputy president’s post.

“I believe only serious and genuine candidates, whom members deemed fit, will finally prevail and secure enough nominations to contest,” Najib said.

“Let’s wait and see. It will be too early for me to comment on it,” he said.

According to him the number of nominations can be used as a yardstick to differentiate between a serious candidate and an uncommitted one’s decided on his running mate for the number two post.(
Malaysiakini - Najib to decide later on running mate )

Of the aspiring candidates so far, Muhyiddin who is the International Trade Minister, seems to be the favourite contender. Garnering the 38 nominations needed to contest for the deputy president post will not be a problem for Muhyiddin.

Some 40 divisional leaders, mainly from Johor and Pahang, were with the former Johor Menteri Besar at the press conference held yesterday to announce his candidancy.

Muhyiddin, who has served as MP for Pagoh, Johor for several terms, has already been nominated to the post by the Machang Umno division in Kelantan.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Muhyiddin goes for No. 2 spot - Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini reports that Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced this morning that he will go for the no. 2 post in the party election in March.

"My chances are very good. I am confident of winning." - Muhyiddin

Muhyiddin checks in for No 2 spot
Oct 10, 08 8:56am

Umno vice-president Muhyiddin Yassin has declared his candidacy for the deputy president’s post in the party elections next March.

“With the support of Umno leaders, I am confident of winning,” he told a packed press conference in a Putrajaya hotel this morning.

“My chances are very good. Insha' Allah with the support from delegates and leaders - some of them are here to give moral support - I will be able to make it,” he added.

Some 40 divisional leaders, mainly from Johor and Pahang, were with him at the press conference.

Muhyiddin is a former Johor mentri besar and has served as the MP for Pagoh in Johor for several terms.

The international trade and industry minister’s announcement did not come as a surprise. The 61-year-old Umno stalwart has been touted as the best running mate for prime minister-designate Najib Abdul Razak who announced his candidacy for the president’s post yesterday.

Asked if he was Najib’s running mate, Muhyiddin replied, “that is not for me to say”.

However, he said his decision to contest was based on the belief that Najib will become the new party president.

“My decision to contest was made after considering my strong belief that Umno will be led by Najib as the new president because the party needs a strong and united leadership to face current challenges,” he said.

Muhyiddin also expressed confidence that he would have a good working relationship with Najib if he (Muhyiddin) was elected deputy president as “I have been working with him for a long time.”

Two days ago, party president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi confirmed that he would not be defending his post, and has designated Najib as his ideal successor.

Apart from Muhyiddin, other leaders going for the No 2 slot are vice-president Mohd Ali Rustam, Umno information chief Muhammad Muhd Taib and newcomer Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

By convention, the deputy president of the party also becomes the deputy prime minister.

Restore confidence in Umno

Muhyiddin was confident that his partnership with Najib would be able to regain the people’s trust and confidence towards Umno.

“It is important that we have a strong, united stand to (make that happen),” he said.

Muhyiddin was also the first Umno leader to request that Abdullah steps down earlier than 2010 and has since been labelled as the most ‘vocal’ among the Umno hierarchy.

He however asserted that he would only be vocal towards Najib if there are pressing issues that needed to be addressed if they were to work together.

“I think it is not a matter of being vocal. I have never been vocal. I was of course (only being vocal) for a reason as I was actually concerned for the Malays and Malaysians on what’s happening in the country,” he said.

One of Johor's most famous sons, Muhyiddin can expect a smooth trail in garnering nominations for his bid. Johor has the most number of Umno divisions - 27.

If all 27 divisions nominate him, he only needs 11 others to put his name up for contest.

On fellow Johorean Nur Jazlan's bid for the same position, Muhyiddin brushed aside the notion that Johor votes would be split between them.

“I do not think so. I may also get some votes from that (Jazlan’s) division too,” he said with a laugh.

Asked what makes him stand out from the other deputy presidential contenders, Muhyiddin replied tongue-in cheek, “because I am Muhyiddin Yassin,” drawing laughter and cheers from supporters present.

Earlier report:

Umno vice president Muhyiddin Yassin this morning announced that he would be contesting for the deputy president post in the party polls next March.

"My chances are very good. I am confident of winning," he told reporters, accompanied by about 30 party leaders.

His announcement did not come as a surprise as it was expected that he would be the ideal running mate for Prime Minister-designate Najib Abdul Razak.Najib offered himself for the top post yesterday.

Party president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is not defending his post and has agreed to hand over powers to Najib, if he wins the party polls, next March.

Apart from Muhyiddin, the other big guns going for the No 2 slot are vice president Mohd Ali Rustam, Umno information chief Muhammad Muhd Taib and newcomer Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

By convention the deputy president of the party also becomes the deputy prime minister. - Malaysiakini

Picture: Courtesy of BIGDOGGIE

Thursday, 9 October 2008

And Najib goes for No.1...

As expected, deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has offered to contest the Umno presidency.

His announcement comes a day after Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he would not defend the party presidency.

Najib is the second person making a run for the top post after party veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Read here - Malaysiakini , the star here .

Heat is on in the race for Umno No 2 post ...

Umno information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib is the latest candidate joining the already overcrowded race for Umno No 2 post.

Those who have already offered themselves as candidates are former Umno Youth Chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam ( read here ) and Pulai MP Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Ahmad Zahid was the first to announce a bid for the post of Deputy President and he was quickly followed by Ali and Nur Jazlan.

However, Zahid has since been reported as saying that he is willing to drop out of the race. (Confirmed by Bernama - Ahmad Zahid Changes Mind & Will Go For Only VP Post here)

Ahmad Zahid is a Supreme Council member and Ali is one of the party’s three vice-presidents.

Mat Taib, is a Council member by virtue of being Umno Information Chief, and was appointed to the post by the party president, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, who announced yesterday he will not defend his post and will step down as premier next March, clearing the way for Najib to move up and leaving the No 2 post open to contest.

Nurjazlan is Pulai Umno division chief but he is not a council member.

Vice-president and International Trade Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, said to be a favourite contender for the post, is expected to announce his candidancy tomorrow.

Mat Taib to go for Umno No 2 post
Oct 9, 08 2:36pm

Umno Information Chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib today offered himself as a candidate for the deputy presidency of Umno, setting the stage for a heated and crowded contest.

The Umno stalwart is the fourth prominent Umno leader to join the chase after former Youth chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, vice president Mohd Ali Rustam and Pulai division head Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Another heavyweight, vice president and International Trade and Finance Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is widely expected to announce his candidacy tomorrow.

Muhd Muhd Taib, a former Selangor Chief Minister is regarded by party insiders to be a staunch loyalist of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Abdullah had yesterday announced he would not be defencing the Umno presidency, clearing the way for his deputy Najib Abdul Razak to move up the ladder and in turn leaving the No 2 Umno post open to contest.

By convention, the Umno president and deputy president respectively become the country's prime minister and deputy prime minister.

Delegates set to nominate

Party election for the top posts in the country's largest political are due to be held next March, but division meeting to nominate candidates officially begin today.

The Umno veteran, who joined the party in 1964 and was elected as vice president and Selangor deputy state liaison committee head in 2004.

He resigned as Selangor Chief Minister in 1997 after being charged in Australia for holding currency worth RM 3.8 million.

He was found not gulity and appointed a senator in 2006 by Abdullah.

Other Umno leaders that party watchers speculated might join the No 2 bandwagon include vice president Mohd Isa Abdul Samad and Foreign Minister Rais Yatim. - Malaysiakini

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Pak Lah won't contest and will step down in March

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will not defend his Umno presidency in the party polls next March, paving the way for his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Najib is expected to run for president, and if he wins, would become the nation’s sixth prime minister.

By tradition, the Umno president and deputy president become the prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively.

Datuk Abdullah, however, told reporters that he would "stay on as Prime Minister" till March. And according to rocky, he will go on a two-month leave before handing over the premiership to Najib.

Malaysiakini has the story:

PM not contesting, to quit in March

Malaysiakini Team Oct 8, 08 4:39pm

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has decided not to defend his Umno president's post and will quit in March next year when the ruling party meets for its annual general assembly.

The embattled premier announced this today to a packed press conference after chairing a 90-minute BN special supreme council meeting.

He added that his decision not to contest in the Umno polls was not to create a rift in the party.

"I am announcing I will not seek the presidency of Umno in the upcoming elections. I do not want a divided party and governing coalition, but one that is united and harmonious," Abdullah, 68, told a packed press conference, referring to the party's internal leadership vote in March.

Under the power transition plan agreed between Abdullah and his deputy, Najib Abdul Razak, 55, the deputy premier will take over as soon as Abdullah steps down.

"At some point I will have to hand over to my successor," he added.

He said that he hoped the person who will take over from him would be Najib.

"I hope it is Najib. Why do I say hope? Najib has to stand for Umno elections first. Once he wins the elections and becomes party president then we will discuss it (the transition)," he said.

"It is not the time for us to indulge in infighting or engage in narrow politics, it is now time for us to strengthen our unity and cooperate among ourselves and place the interests of the country above all."

Abdullah also said that he would want to implement his promises in reforming the judiciary and to give more bite to the Anti-Corruption Agency to fight graft before he leaves.

He added that Najib had agreed to back these initiatives.Cleaning up the judiciary, police force.

In pursuing these reforms, he said that he will be tabling two key bills in the Parliament before the end of his term - the Judicial Appointments Commission and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The outgoing premier also vowed to push through the controversial Special Complaints Commission, which has been stalled in Parliament.

Abdullah had spoken much about these reforms in the past but to date no concrete action has been taken to get them moving.

"These initiatives are important because they are necessary to move our country forward. These initiatives are needed to regain our country's competitiveness. They are necessary to enable our nation and our society to face the challenges that the world has in store for us."

Earlier a component party leader told Malaysiakini that after Abdullah's announcement,the BN leaders took turns to thank him for his leadership over the past five years.

While Abdullah was briefing BN leaders on the power transfer plan at the meeting, scores of his supporters had gathered outside the PWTC building to urge him to stay on.

Armed with banners, the supporters called on the embattled premier to continue until 2010 amid the now confirmed speculation that he might be forced to step down earlier. - Malaysiakini .

BN leaders to be briefed on the leadership transition plan


Abdullah - will he now stay or go?

Syed Jaymal Zahiid Oct 8, 08 12:22pm

Embattled Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has decided to defend his post after a three-hour meeting with his supporters that dragged into the wee hours of the morning.

In a posting on his blog (read here), Umno leader Ruhanie Ahmad said the meeting, which started at about 11pm, was held at the prime minister’s official residence in Putrajaya.

Ruhanie, the former Backbenchers Club (BBC) chairperson and three-term Parit Sulong parliamentarian, added that some 200 supporters had attended the meeting, including some of the staunch supporters of Umno vice-president Mohd Ali Rustam.

He said that Abdullah is expected to announce his decision to stay on at the BN special supreme council meeting scheduled for 3.30pm this afternoon. To continue: here (for subscribers only).

Earlier posting:

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will be meeting Barisan Nasional component leaders in the afternoon to brief them on the leadership transition plan.

The meeting is scheduled for 3.30pm at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC). This was confirmed by BN secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (

Under the original plan, Abdullah, the Umno president, was to have handed over power to Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Najib Abdul Razak in June 2010.

However, it was decided later that the transition of power take place earlier than that date, and the Umno general assembly scheduled for December this year has been postponed to March next year to facilitate this.

Last week, Abdullah
told reporters that he would be briefing BN component leaders on the new transition plan after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.

Will Pak Lah do the right thing today? asks rocky. That’s a sixty-four millon ringgit question. Well, like you , we're waiting - with bated breath for the announcement to be made. And, put an end to this "Guessing Game" of "will he or won't he - defend his post". )

Read Sakmongkol AK47's entry The Plot thickens and The Star Supporters provide moral support for Abdullah .

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Anwar clears first hurdle in sodomy trial (update)

Report by Malaysiakini

Anwar clears first hurdle in sodomy trial
Beh Lih Yi Oct 7, 08 12:09am

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim cleared the first hurdle in his sodomy trial today when the court rejected a technical objection raised by the prosecution in the high-profile case.

The technical issue was in relation to the prosecution's bid to transfer the case to a higher court, which opposition supporters fear could be politically motivated.

This morning, Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge SM Komathy Suppiah ruled that she has the jurisdiction to hear the defence team's argument against the transfer of the case.

She said this when dismissing a preliminary objection raised by the prosecution, which had earlier argued that the judge "had no choice" ut to transfer the case to a higher court.

Lead prosecutor Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden ater attempted to apply for a stay of the ruling, hich was turned down by the judge as well.Before delivering her ruling today, justice Komathy had turned towards Mohd Yusof and dropped a remark puzzling those in court.

"Do I look nervous? I am," she said, without elaborating.

Prosecution seeks revision

By the afternoon, the prosecution had filed a letter seeking for revision to the High Court on the ruling made by justice Komathy. A copy of the letter was given to the defence team.

Anwar, accompanied by his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and daughters as well as scores of PKR leaders were present in court today to follow the proceedings.

On Sept 24, Komathy had reserved her judgment after hearing submissions from both the prosecution and the defence team.

Then the prosecution argued that the court "had no choice" but to allow the transfer as it had no power to reject the move.

This position was challenged by Anwar’s legal team.

The opposition leader's lawyers objected the transfer certificate as it was signed by Attorney-General (AG) Abdul Gani Patail.

Their objection was on the basis that the AG should not have played any role in this case as he was being investigated following a complaint that he had allegedly tampered with evidence in Anwar’s trials 10 years ago.

The defence lawyers based their objection on a statement made by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who assured that the AG would not be involved in the latest sodomy case.

'He has an axe to grind'

With the ruling this morning, the proceedings continued later with Anwar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah submitting on why the defence team was against the transfer of the case.

Among others, he reiterated that the AG should not be involved in the case by signing the certificate seeking the case transfer as it could constitute to conflict of interest and likelihood of bias.

"Based on past records and events, it is abundantly clear that the accused (Anwar) and the AG have a bad relationship and unresolved matter which required further investigation.

"There exists a reasoned perception that the AG has an 'axe to grind' against the accused," said the senior lawyer, who also told the court about Abdul Gani’s alleged act of tampering with the evidence in the previous Anwar cases.

Sulaiman also stressed that the AG was 'incompetent' in signing the certificate. - Malaysiakini

Anwar sodomy case: No decision on trial transfer

Sodomy trial transfer: No decision today - Malaysiakini

Beh Lih Yi Oct 7, 08 12:09am

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim will likely have to wait a little longer to find out if his sodomy trial will be transferred to a higher court.

This morning Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge SM Komathy Suppiah dismissed a preliminary objection raised by the prosecution that she had no choice but to transfer the case to a higher court.

She said that she had the jurisdiction to hear the defence team's objections against the transfer notice. This was then followed by a submission by Anwar's lead lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah.

While much of the morning session today was taken up by arguments on technical matters between the defence team and the prosecution, Komathy nevertheless ruled that she would be hearing further submissions from Sulaiman after lunch on their objection to the transfer.

And tomorrow morning she would be hearing submissions from the prosecution as to why the matter should be transferred to the High Court.A decision on the matter is only expected after that.‘

Court has no choice'

On Sept 24, Komathy had reserved her judgment after hearing submissions from both the prosecution and the defence team.

Then the prosecution had argued that the court "has no choice" but to allow the transfer as it has no power to reject the move.

This position was nevertheless challenged by Anwar's legal team.Anwar's lawyers had objected the transfer certificate as it was signed by attorney-general (AG) Abdul Gani Patail.

Their objection was on the basis that the AG should not have played any role in this case as he was being investigated following a complaint that he had tampered with evidence in Anwar's trials 10 years ago.Anwar had claimed trial on
Aug 7 when charged with sodomising his former aide, 23-year-old Mohd Saiful
Bukhari Azlan.

If convicted, he could face a 20-year jail term. He is currently out on a RM20,000 personal bond.

The police presence at the Jalan Duta court complex this morning was nominal, unlike previous times when truckloads of federal reserve unit members were positioned and stringent checkpoints were set up.

Anwar arrived at the court room at about 9.50am, accompanied by his wife and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. - Malaysiakini

The Star report here and Bernama here.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Abdullah to decide within two days

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will announce his decision on whether he would defend the Umno presidency either tomorrow or by Wednesday. (read Malaysiakini here and the Star here ).

“I will decide tomorrow or Wednesday,” said Abdullah at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, after meeting the international advisory panel members for Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation.

He said that his decision would be conveyed to the Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council which will hold a meeting on Wednesday.

Political pundits are already predicting that Abdullah will call it a day, paving the way for his deputy Najib Abdul Razak to take over the reins of Umno.

By convention, the Umno president becomes the prime minister and head of the BN.

On Sept 26, the Umno supreme council postponed its annual general assembly and supreme council elections to next March to facilitate the early transition of power.

Abdullah had also said then that he would decide by Oct 9 on whether to defend his Umno presidency.

As of now, at least three leaders — Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed — had indicated their willingness to contest the No 2 post. - Reports from the Star & Malaysiakini.

Raja Petra in Court to face sedition trial

Raja Petra in PJ to face sedition charge - Malaysiakini
Oct 6, 08 9:15am

Internal Security Act detainee Raja Petra Kamarudin was bought to the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court this morning to face a sedition trial.

The popular blogger arrived at the court in an unmarked police vehicle at about 8.30am.

He was seen wearing a while collared black T-shirt. A handful of his supporters were also present at the court. Also seen in the court compound were some opposition leaders, led by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.

The sedition trial is fixed for a week over his article titled 'Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell' which he has posted on Malaysia Today on Apr 25.

He was
charged on May 6.

Raja Petra was served with a two-year detention order on Sept 22 and is presently placed at the Kamunting detention centre in Perak. -
Read the Star here