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 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 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.