Monday, 31 March 2008

Umno to consider members' views on quota system - Najib

Umno is studying the views of its members before making any decision whether to retain or abolish the the quota system which determines who can contest top party posts including the No. 1 and No. 2 post, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.

Datuk Najib, who is also Umno deputy President, said however, the final decision on the quota system would be made by the Umno Supreme Council.

Najib said he was looking into the matter because he noticed "there are differing opinions on the matter" - apparently in reference to mounting pressure among party leaders who are backing the abolition of the system. (read here)

Among them is party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who said yesterday that he supports the abolition of the system because it ( the system) creates "an unhealthy political culture" and encourages "money politics as those who want to contest will buy enough nominations to contest."

The others are Domestic Trade Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad and Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin, both from Johor; and Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal from Sabah.

Muhyiddin, who is the International Trade and Industry Minister, hopes with the abolition, the party at all levels will have a healthy democratic election system. (read here).

Najib said the effects of the system that is being adopted should be studied as well as feedback from the members - whether they feel it should be reviewed "and so on".

Asked whether Umno was reviewing the matter, he said:

"I'm not saying it is being reviewed. I'm just saying that as a party we will have to listen to the views of the members.

"There is no commitment to abolish the system. It's just for us to listen to the views of the party members. I think we have to respect members of the party to air their views and then will decide what is the best interest of the party," he said.

To a question, Najib said his personal view was not important at this stage.

He said there were many arguments that were for and against the system, which was introduced to prevent challengers without extensive support from party members from contesting key positions in the party merely to oppose the top leadership.

Yesterday, Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib said the quota system in the Umno elections was still applicable and there was no necessity for it to be abolished. Click here for more.

The quota system was introduced after former Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself was challenged by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in 1987 and retained the post with a 43 majority votes.

On Saturday, Dr Mahathir had said that Umno should abolish the quota system which required nomination from a minimum of 60 umno divisions before a candidate can contest the party presidency.

Tengku Razaleigh had openly stated his willingness to contest the Umno presidency in the party elections scheduled for December.

Samy Vellu wants Hindraf 5 released

Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has asked the government to release the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders under detention, saying two of them should be freed sooner because one was ill and the other was now an elected representative.

The MIC president said he will raise the matter (their release) with the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) after he returns from Sabah.

He said R. Kenghadaran, 40, "is very sick" and M. Manoharan, 46, had won a seat in the March 8 general election. Manoharan had won the Kota Alam Shah state seat in Selangor on a DAP ticket.

Samy Vellu also said that V. Ganabatirau, 34, and K. Vasantha Kumar, 34, had not been very much involved in the massive rally organised by the unregistered Hindraf in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25 last year, which was a reason for the five to be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The fifth Hindraf leader under detention is P. Uthayakumar.

Datuk Samy Vellu said this at a news conference after opening a workshop on "Rebranding the MIC" attended by the party's 150 divisional leaders, here yesterday.

Continue wih the Bernama report:

"We are concerned about Kenghadaran and Manoharan. I spoke to the wives of both of them and, under the circumstances, I have decided to raise it with the government on these two people because they have made the approach.

"I will raise it (their release) with the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) after he returns from Sabah.If he (Abdullah) wants to release all (five) of them, it is up to him. We have no objection. We also don't want them to be kept inside for too long a period," he said.

"Kenghadaran is very sick while Manoharan is an elected member, so I think it is quite reasonable to ask the prime minister.

I will also meet Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar. I had already made some move on this earlier but I did not tell anyone. I will now make a firm move to see what can be done by the government with regard to their plight," he said.

He said Ganabatirau, and Vasantha Kumar were "not very much involved (in the rally), so the government has to make a decision."

The MIC supremo also said that his asking the government to release the five Hindraf leaders was not a publicity stint or a move to win back Indian support for the party, touted to be the largest Indian-based political party in the country.

"This is done in fairness, sympathy and, also, we feel that we as Indians have to do something about it. It is not a publicity stint," he said.

He said that though the party had received harsh criticism from certain quarters for failing to safeguard the welfare of Indians in the country, it would continue to do what it can on matters concerning the community.

"If they (those detained) go ahead with the advice of their lawyers, many things could happen. They should not simply be attracted to those people who want to argue for them. Many people like to argue for them so that they can get publicity. We don't want the publicity, we want the truth," the MIC chief said.

The Hindraf leaders were detained in December last year. Hindraf had also made several claims, which had been described as preposterous by most people and which were subsequently denied by the authorities.

Hindraf also submitted a memorandum containing various baseless accusations to the British High Commission here.

The five Hindraf leaders were detained under the ISA after the authorities found that they had touched on sensitive religious and racial issues and had made seditious
statements against the government.

Manoharan has become the third ISA detainee to contest and win a seat in a general election. Chan Kok Kit and Chian Heng Khai contested the Sungai Besi (Selangor) and Batu Gajah (Perak) parliamentary seats, respectively, on a DAP ticket in 1978 and won.

Umno EGM important for damage control, says Ku Li

Gua Musang Member of Parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah reiterated his call for Umno to hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to discusss the results of the March 8 general election saying it was important for damage control.

The EGM would be the best platform to face the results squarely and take the appropriate measures to ensure Umno regained its footing, he said.

But for this to happen, the divisions must first agree for the EGM to be held and move a resolution to discuss the election results, which saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) lose five states and its two thirds-majority in Parliament, report Bernama .

Here's the rest:

"It is time the leadership comes down from its ivory tower and listen to what the members have to say about this serious debacle. We leaders having failed, now must listen to the views of the members, who give us our strength.

He said by doing this, Umno would be able to rectify the situation, as it did after a similiar debacle in 1969.

"But 1969 was not as bad as this time and more so after we introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP) to uplift the bumiputeras.

Tengku Razaleigh said the meetings he held with Umno division leaders post-election in the capital over the last few days was to explain to them the gravity of the situation and thus the need for the EGM.

However, some of the division leaders feared they would lose their posts if they spoke up, he said, adding that this would be detrimental to the party as fear would be what would ultimately lead to Umno's extinction.


Tengku Razaleigh. had earlier this month written to 18,000 Umno leaders nationwide proposing the EGM which was backed by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Posthumous honour for Tunku Abdul Rahman

Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj will be posthumously honoured by The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in London, in conjunction with its 400th anniversary celebrations this year.

Malaysian Inner Temple Alumni Association secretary, S. Radhakrishnan, said that last November, the benchers of the Inner Temple agreed that some form of commemoration should be commissioned to honour Tunku Abdul Rahman, as one of its former students.

He said the executive committee of the Malaysian Inner Temple was considering various proposals on how best to honour the first prime minister.

“This includes having a portrait of Tunku Abdul Rahman to be placed in a prominent location in the building of the Inner Temple in London,” Radhakrishnan told Bernama here today.

The Tunku was a barrister of the Inner Temple where he was called to the English Bar in 1949. Prior to this, the Inner Temple has honoured its former student, the former English prime minister Clement Atlee, with his portrait near the fire place in the Inner Temple.

Mahatma Gandhi who was called to the English Bar at the Inner Temple in 1891, has also been honoured by the Inn.Radhakrishnan said upon his retirement, the Tunku played an important role as secretary-general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

He said Malaysians should be proud that Tunku would join the ranks of some of the well-known world leaders and statesmen who were barristers of the Inner Temple.

The society’s 400th anniversary celebrations will be held in London in June.

Malaysia will send a large delegation comprising barristers of the Inner Temple led by Court of Appeal judge Datuk James Foong Cheng Yuen, to attend the celebrations.

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple is one of four Inns of Court around the Royal Courts of Justice in London which may call members to the Bar to entitle them to practise as barristers.

The others are Middle Temple, Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn.

Ahmad Said finally sworn in as Terengganu Menteri Besar


Kijal state assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said was sworn in today as the new menteri besar of Terengganu, bringing to an end the dispute over the appointment of the state's menteri besar that erupted on March 10.

All the 22 Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen who had not supported Ahmad's appointment as well as former menteri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, the BN's candidate for the post, attended the swearing-in ceremony.

The eight PAS state assemblymen also attended the ceremony, held three days after the Umno Supreme Council's endorsedment of Ahmad's appointment by the Terengganu Regency Advisory Council.

Here's the rest of the Bernama report:



Another swearing-in ceremony will be held, in about 10 days, for the state executive councillors after Ahmad prepares the line-up.

The BN won 24 of the 32 state seats in Terengganu. The remaining eight seats were won by PAS.

The Umno supreme council's endorsement of the appointment of Ahmad overruled the reappointment of Idris as menteri besar for the second term though he had received an appointment letter from the prime minister. Ahmad received his letter of appointment from the Regency Advisory Council at a closed-door ceremony at the Istana Tetamu here on March 23.

The letter was handed to him by the president of the council, Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman, with council members Tengku Sri Laksamana Raja Tengku Sulaiman Sultan Ismail and former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman as witnesses.

Two days after receiving the letter of appointment, Ahmad took office as the menteri besar at Wisma Darul Iman, the administrative centre of the Terengganu government.

Ahmad did not use the office of the menteri besar on the 16th floor of the 18-storey building but used the office on the sixth floor that he had occupied as the state executive councillor in charge of local government and housing in the previous administration.


Click here for more...

And Terengganu MB will not face no-confidence motion: here

Al Fatiha...

For Sheih's (kickdefella) beloved mother who passed away yesterday evening.

Sheih called up rocky to say that he was in Pulau Redang and is only able to leave the island early today.

His late mum will be buried at 11.00am today at the Muslim Cemetery in Section 26, Shah Alam.

May she rest in peace.

Al-fatiha.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Thousands cheer as King returns



Some 25,000 people gathered outside the Sultan Mahmod airport in Kuala Terengganu Saturday, and on the road leading to the airport, to welcome the Yang diPertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin.

The King who arrived at the airport at about 10am was greeted with shouts of “Daulat Tuanku”.

Some among the crowd donned yellow attire and tied ribbons of the same colour on their vehicles in support of the King, the star reports.

The huge crowd also caused a bottleneck at the city's major bridge leading to the city centre which was choked with vehicles heading towards the palace.

Among those gathered to greet the King were the 22 assemblymen who were earlier embroiled in the Terengganu Mentri Besar crisis.

State Umno Liaison committee secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid when met said all 22 Barisan assemblymen will be present at the swearing-in ceremony at Istana Maziah, on Sunday.

“We respect our Ruler and will be at the palace tomorrow,” he said.

However, former Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was not present at the airport. An aide said the Jertih assemblyman was at his Kampung Tok Has home in Besut with "thousands" of supporters who had been camping there since Friday.

Pic 1: Courtesy of NST: Thousands, GREET THE KING: The rakyat and members of political parties, including from the opposition, were out in full force yesterday to welcome the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin at the Sultan Mahmud Airport

Pic2: From tranumgkite.net

It's Earth Hour tonite - so switch off your lights

Be a responsible Earthling and do the right thing, fellow bloggers, readers and Netizens.

What: Switch off your home lights (or wherever you are). For ONE Hour.

When: From 8pm to 9pm tonight. Saturday. 29 March 2008.

Why: In conjunction with the Earth Day Campaign to reduce energy usage and wastage. Also in conjunction with Malaysia’s own Earth Day celebration.

Those interested to be part of this global campaign can also sign up at for Earth Hour at www.earthhour.org/user/SLC6.

For more info, go here. and on Earth Hour here

In an about-turn...

All the 22 Terengganu Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen who had backed Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh now support the Umno supreme council's endorsement of Kijal assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said as the Terengganu Menteri Besar.

The most vocal of them all, State Umno liaison secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid, who had opposed Ahmad's appointment, now says he will have no problem working with the new Mentri Besar.

He also said Datuk Idris, the main figure in the fight for the post of Mentri Besar, also accepted the decision of Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had earlier backed his candidacy.

And yes, they are not going to boycott the swearing-in ceremony at the Istana tomorrow because, as Rasol said, the "impassse" has been resolved.

(Didn't they also say they would resign if Idris wasnt made the MB? Or did I misread the report? Just have to excuse Tok Mommy's forgetfulness. She's getting on in years).

Bernama has the story: here .

Friday, 28 March 2008

Waiting for the appropriate time?

Nuraina Samad wrote an interesting piece "Borrowed Time’ in which she said that unless Prime Minister Datuk Abdullah Badawi put things right he will be digging his own grave through inept decisions.

And it will be a matter of time before he will be forced to step down – and that will come from within Umno's ranks.

The current situation in the party reminds me of the aftermath of the 1969 general elections when Umno and the then Alliance were badly beaten by the Opposition.

The late Tunku Abdul Rahman Al Haj, our first Prime Minister, was blamed for the party's disastrous performance: Umno and the then Alliance lost heavily in Chinese constituencies in Penang, Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur.

The Tunku won in Alor Star but with a slim majority over an unknown opponent, and had it not been for the votes from Langkawi he might have lost altogether.

Umno members, especially the young turks, had been unhappy with the Tunku over issues relating to foreign and economic policies, national culture and language.

Opportunity did not come their way - not that soon. But he had to go. That was decided soon after the 1969 election and the violence of May 13.

Tunku had said that he realized all along the feelings of the people because they had "thought aloud but I was not giving up until the appropriate time arrived."

"To leave just as they wanted me to do would be giving in to my enemies, and that would be a cowardly way out. That I was not prepared to do.

"But one thing must also be remembered: the choice lay with members of Umno
."

Wise words filled with honesty and humility.

Tunku finally stepped down, at the appropriate time, quietly and gracefully, in September 1970.

Perhaps Pak Lah, too, is waiting for the appropriate time.

Dr M speaks up on Rulers and politicians

The story appeared on the front page of the Sun. Too good to be ignored. The subject is "hot", current and relevent. Dr Mahathir touched on Umno’s problems in Terengganu with the royalty saying it seemed to be tied to the excesses of one man. Though he did not name names, it was abundantly clear he was referring to businessman Patrick Lim, who is also a family friend of the Prime Minister.


Role of rulers in picking mentris besar

by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
PETALING JAYA (March 27, 2008): A Concerned Malaysian has expressed his worry over the role being played by Sultans in the appointment of the Mentri Besar.

His Royal Highnesses have clearly refused to take the advice of the Chief Minister i.e. the Prime Minister. Instead, they have chosen on their own a member of the state legislature to head the Government.

We hear a lot of opinions on the propriety of the action by the Sultan. Some say he has the right to do this while others point out that as a constitutional ruler, he could not do this.

The Constitution says that the Ruler or Head of State must choose the elected member who enjoys the support of the majority of members in the legislative body to be the Prime Minister or the Mentri Besar. Subject to this provision, the Ruler it is who chooses and appoints the Prime Minister or Mentri Besar.

The Prime Minister, as Prime Minister, has no role in the choice of the State Mentri Besar or Ketua Menteri. His naming of candidate who should be the Mentri Besar is purely a party matter. Obviously, if the State is captured by the Opposition Party, he cannot name the candidate.

However, if the Ruler chooses someone who does not enjoy majority support, he could be deposed at a sitting of the legislative body through a vote of "no confidence".

After that, another member can be appointed by the Ruler to take his place. But if for some reason, there is no other candidate or the candidate with majority support is considered unsuitable by the Ruler, a new Government cannot be formed. The Ruler may then dissolve the legislative body and a new election may be held.

This new election may lead to the same impasse. The Ruler may not like the bember with majority support.

However, it should be noted that this kind of thing had never happened during the premiership of the four previous Prime Ministers. Concerned Malaysians should wonder why.

Is it just that the particular Ruler is being difficult, unwilling to accept the principles of democracy, wanting to return to feudalism and the absolute authority of the monarch?

I do not think so. There must be a reason why the Ruler refuses to accept the candidate named by the party. But the Ruler chooses not to reveal the reasons and indulge in public debates. He merely expresses his displeasure by refusing to do what normally the Rulers would do.

Concerned Malaysians must ask what has the particular candidate done which is so wrong that it incurs the displeasure of the Ruler.

There are lots of talks in the town. Terengganu is blessed with petroleum deposits. It should get 5% of the total earning from oil production. The Federal overnment; fearing the previous PAS government might use this money wrongly had withheld payment.

But when the Barisan Nasional (BN) regained Terengganu the money, now called "Wang Ehsan", was lavishly spent by the Federal Government on Terengganu. It is not a small sum. Over these years "Wang Ehsan" totalled several billion.

We know that since the BN regained Terengganu in 2004, all kinds of projects have been developed in Terengganu. This includes The Monsoon Cup, luxury housing for sale to foreigners, Crystal Mosque and theme park, university, etc. Some of these
projects are very good but many are totally unnecessary and wasteful.

But what the Terengganu people are saying is that all these mega projects costing billions of Ringgit have been contracted out to people outside Terengganu. Terengganu contractors got practically nothing. click here to continue...

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Another resignation...?

Update:

Sorry to disappoint...no resignation. But Ahmad Said has been endorsed as Terengganu Mentri Besar and the Umno elections will be held in December.

The NST has the story.

The Umno supreme council has agreed to endorse Datuk Ahmad Said's palace appointment as Terengganu Mentri Besar, ending the crisis which had set up a confrontation with the state palace.

The meeting, which ended at 7.30pm, also shot down a proposal to defer party elections to next year by agreeing to a Dec 16-20 date, coinciding with the party's annual general assembly.

Party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who chaired the meeting, made the announcement at a Press conference.

Idris, who also took part in the meeting, had been directed to accept the endorsement, he said.

The priority now was for Ahmad to put togther a State Exco line-up as soon as possible, Abdullah said, denying that decision to endorse Ahmad "humiliated"him and the party.

On Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's proposal to hold a party extraordinary general meeting on May 11, Abdullah said the issue did not come up for discussion.

However, Razaleigh's challenge for the Umno presidency was discussed."I'm willing to accept any challenges to the presidency," Abdullah said.--The
NST


Earlier story:

Rocky has this big news...that a major annoucement will be made soon about another resignation. Wanna give a guess?

I've been getting smses for confirmation. But I've no way of confirming it.

Am reposting Rocky's s posting. Here it is.

earthquake at pwtc

The Umno Supreme Council meeting ends in half an hour or so. One of the items on the agenda is to recognize the new MB of Terengganu.

But I've been told to wait for an earth-shattering piece of announcement. Rumours have been flying about another resignation.

.

Now Tan Sri Mat (Tyson), are you telling the truth?

Let me see, didn't Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib on Tuesday say that it was the state liaison chiefs who wanted the party's polls postponed to prevent "chaos" if held this year?

Did you really speak to them, Tan Sri? Did they say in no uncertain terms that the polls should be deferred for the love of the party?

If that was the case how come we have reports of some state liaison chiefs saying to the contrary? (read here and here)

I say, Tan Sri Mat, are you telling the truth, nothing but the truth? Damn, he is the last person I should be asking...

Anyway, here's the latest group (members include party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin), the second-highest ranking committee in Umno, which wants the party elections to go on.

Thursday March 27, 2008MYT 12:22:33 PM

PETALING JAYA: The Umno management committee has unanimously agreed that the party should proceed with its elections this year.

Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said all members of the panel chaired by deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak were of the view that the polls should not be postponed under the pretext of reviving the party after its poor showing in the March 8 general election.

"We should have elections because the democratic process has to continue. There is nothing to be afraid of."

"We should take the bull by the horns," Muhyiddin told reporters at the Vietnam-Malaysia Economic Conference at the Sunway Lagoon Resort Thursday.

Source: the Star

So what happened...?

I was searching high and low for the outcome of the audience the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, was supposed to have with the Yang diPertuan Agong, Tuanku Mirzan, yesterday.

But I found nothing. Nothing from the mainstream media. Not even from Bernama, the National Newsw Agency. Only the Star had the story albeit a brief one. Nothing much was disclosed.

So where else do we turn to if not to those "lying" bloggers and the new media (read here and here) when such news weren't forthcoming from the msm?

Was there an instruction to blackout the story? Do I see the hands of the fourth floor boys? If so why...what are they scared of? The Truth?

Are they afraid that reporting the outcome of the meeting would be seen as a slap on the Prime Minister who has to accept the Palace's choice over his candidate, Idris Jusoh (whose Datukship , by the way, was reported to have been withdrawn) as Mentri Besar of Terengganu?

Just my two sens: You guys better get real . You are neither protecting nor helping him.

The flip-flop, flippant puteri chief...

Four hours after supporting calls for the Umno elections to be postponed to next year, Puteri Umno chief Datuk Noraini Ahmad made a complete u-turn and called for party polls to be held as scheduled.

She was asked in the morning whether the movement agreed with calls within Umno for a postponement of the election.

"Yes, because Umno needs time to address both it’s internal and external problems first. These problems can be resolved but not necessarily through party elections,” she said.

“The party needs time to adjust, especially since the dust from general election had not really settled. There is no urgency. Once we are back to normal, then only we should hold the party elections.”

However, four hours later, Noraini not only retracted her statement but called for party elections to be held as scheduled, according to the NST online.

“Although the party has until June next year to hold the elections, Puteri Umno is of the opinion that party elections should be held by this year,” she said in a faxed statement.

Noraini said if at all the elections could not be held by August as originally scheduled, then it should take place by December at the latest. click here to continue.

Judging from the response of a few divisions so far (read here ), the proposal to postpone the party election does not seem to enjoy the consensus of all party leaders.

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who is also the Negri Sembilan mentri besar and state liaison chairman, said he was all for the party elections to be held this year. (Read here)

"We must not run away from problems but should face them. Action must be taken as Umno members want the Malays to be united and strong again. However, if those in Umno are not interested in unity, we can postpone it and the problem will not be resolved forever," he told reporters.

His view runs counter to the statement by Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib on Tuesday that it was the party's state liaison chiefs who wanted the polls postponed to prevent "chaos" if held this year.

Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir was the first to oppose the proposal.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Another slap in the face?

Well Rocky has the latest here, that the Prime Minister has agreed to the Palace's choice of Datuk Ahmad Said as Menteri Besar.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, who was granted an audience with the Yang diPertuan Agong, Tuanku Mirzan Zainal Abidin before this morning's weekly Cabinet meeting, has agreed to the appointment of Ahmad as Terengganu Mentri Besar.

Last Sunday Datuk Abdullah described the appointment of the Kijal assemblyman as unconstitutional and as far as the Umno President was concerned his choice of Datuk Idris Jusoh as a candidate (for the post of Menteri Besar) remained unchanged.

Updated: by Malaysiakini at 6.32pm; It is learnt that after an audience with the king, Abdullah had agreed with the appointment of the palace-backed Ahmad Said for the post.

Here's the update from rocky'sbru
update! 4:15pm

During the meeting with the Agong, my sources told me, the PM was asked to explain how the RM1 billion "wang ehsan" was disbursed by the State Government under former Menteri Besar Idris Jusoh.

Since winning back Terengganu from PAS in 2004, the BN government has been paying the State Government some RM1 billion a year (the "wang ehsan" did not exist when PAS ruled Terengganu). Terengganu has the second highest number of poor people in Malaysia, after Sabah. The present Yang diPertuan Agong hails from Terengganu. The PM was also told to meet with Ahmad Said, the Sultan of Terengganu's choice for MB. The Star said half an hour ago that the PM would also meet Idris.

Here's the report from the Star



Wednesday March 26, 2008MYT 3:27:55 PM
PM meets King


KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin on Wednesday morning.

It is believed that the meeting was to discuss the issue of the state's Mentri Besar, but there is no word yet on its outcome.

Abdullah is meeting with Terengganu Barisan Nasional chief Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh in Putrajaya in the afternoon. The former Mentri Besar was accompanied by several Barisan Nasional assemblyman from the state.

Don't keep postponing Umno elections ...

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, the Jerlun Member of Parliament, who asked Prime Minister Datuk Abdullah Badawi to "do the right thing" following the Barisan Nasional's disastrous performance in the recent polls, have urged the party leadership not to postpone the Umno election and to respect the wishes of members to elect leaders of their choice.

"I appeal to Umno's leadership not to postpone it and do as the party president said last year that it will be carried out this year," he told Bernama here Tuesday.

He said the party elections was something important and a democratic process it had to go through.

Mukhriz, who is also a member of Umno Youth's executive council, said that he was confident the party elections would not cause a split among members as they were wise enough to decide without being emotional.

Datuk Mukhriz was, of course, referring to the statement of Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib who said yesterday that the party's state liaision chiefs wanted the polls to be postponed to June next year to prevent "chaos and disaster" if held this year.

However, Muhammad Taib failed to explain what havoc and disaster would befall the country if Umno holds its general assembly and election this August.

The Umno elections, initially scheduled for last year, were postponed to this year due to the 12th general election on March 8. The last party elections were held in 2004.

Under the party's constitution, the party President can postpone the elections up to June next year.

Mukhriz said Umno leaders must follow the party constitution and all Umno members must decide wisely and rationally on who to choose as their leaders.

Even if there was a contest for the top two posts, it would not cause a split in Umno especially if done in a gentlemanly fashion.

"If there is no money politics and is done in a controlled manner without members becoming emotional, I do not see any problems," he said.

(Just wondering if the postponement is the wish of state liaison chiefs or that of the top party leadership in view of what is happening in the party.

There are already moves initiated by veteran Gua Musang divisional chief Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who has
called for an extraordinary meeting of the party at divisional and central levels to discuss contemporary issues affecting the party.

Last night the Cheras Umno division passed a resolution urging the leadership to allow all top posts in the party, including those of president and deputy president, be contested at its upcoming elections. (read
here) .

It would certainly be a "hot" general assembly given the circumstances and development in Umnno of late. )

Bernama has the story here.

Read Hantu Laut's Blur:Double-barrelled Mohammad here.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

And Idris is prepared to seek the Sultan's forgiveness...

Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, the key player in the confrontation between the Government and the Terengganu palace, is prepared to apologise to Sultan of Terengganu Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin if “I had done anything wrong” .

He is willing to accept any decision of the Umno leadership deemed best for the people, including forgoing the Mentri Besar’s post.

He made the declaration at a highly-charged Press conference this afternoon, according to NST online.

“I am prepared to accept any decision which the leadership feels is in the best interests of the rakyat,” he said.

When asked whether his acceptance would include stepping down, Idris responded:

“If that is in the rakyat’s interests.”

On whether he would also accept Datuk Ahmad Said, who had been appointed by the Regency Advisory Council, as the new Mentri Besar, Idris repeated:

“If that is in the rakyat’s interests.”

Idris has the backing of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resume as Mentri Besar.

However, the Sultan, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, is against Idris’ resumption of his MB’s post. He ignored Abdullah’s endorsement and had Ahmad appointed instead to take over.

Abdullah had stated earlier today that he wants to meet Tuanku Mizan to thrash out the impasse.

The NST online story, here .

PM To Seek Audience With Tuanku Mizan

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Tuesday said he will seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, to discuss and resolve the issue on the appointment of the Terengganu Menteri Besar.

"I will certainly be meeting with Tuanku," he told newsmen after delivering a keynote address at Invest Malaysia 2008 Conference, here.

Abdullah said the meeting would be held as soon as possible.

"I wish I could have done it Monday," said the Umno president.

Abdullah earlier was asked to comment on party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's suggestion that Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and the Prime Minister should seek an audience with Tuanku Mizan and apologise if indeed there was a misunderstanding between Idris and the Palace.

On Saturday, the Terengganu palace issued a statement that Kijal Assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said was appointed as the new Menteri Besar to replace Idris.

However, 22 of the Terengganu BN assemblymen pledged their support for Idris who had received his appointment letter as Menteri Besar from Abdullah.

Following this, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was quoted as saying that Ahmad could face disciplinary action if he accepted the appointment.

Ahmad was reported to have been sacked for disobeying the party's leadership in accepting the post.

However, Abdullah said he would leave it to the Umno Supreme Council which is expected to meet on Thursday to deal with the matter.

Bernama has the story here .

Ahmad to start work as Mentri Besar...

Ahmad Said who has been appointed Mentri Besar by the Palace is starting work today at Wisma Darul Iman.

He said he will be at his office at 8am to officially assume his role as the legitimate Mentri Besar of Terengganu.

Ahmad said his appointment as Mentri Besar - which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi described as unconstitutional - was in accordance with the state’s laws and that he does not need to be sworn in for the post.

The Kijal state assemblyman said that the appointment letter bestowed to him on Sunday by the Regency Advisory Council was testament to this.

At his family home at Kampung Teluk Kalung, Kijal, Ahmad told a packed press conference yesterday that his swearing-in would be decided at a later date.

Earlier, Ahmad said that he was no traitor to Umno as he had worked tirelessly for the party and nobody should doubt his loyalty (to Umno).

He said the crisis might have arisen due to a misunderstanding and he hoped that the Umno top leadership would be patient and view the serious issue in the best way.

"As a party member, I know the rules. So we need to be patient in finding a solution. It's easy to sack someone but you know better the repercussions."

It is understood that he had just returned from Kuala Lumpur after being granted an audience by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin.

The Kemaman Umno division chief said he had no intention of dividing or destroying Umno.

The star has the story here and Bernama, here.

Ku Li: PM Abdullah is wrong

Former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said today Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's statement yesterday that "the appointment of anyone but Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as Terengganu Mentri Besar is unconstitutional" is wrong.

"The Sultan acted within his powers in appointing the person who, in his judgment, is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the State Assembly," said Razaleigh.

"Ahmad Said's appointment is effective and he is now the Mentri Besar of Terengganu," he said, adding that the situation in Terengganu is a crisis of government, not of the Constitution.

"Perhaps we have forgotten what it is like to conduct ourselves with good manners and due respect for the Constitution and the sovereignty of the Ruler," said Razaleigh, adding however that it is up to the properly convened State Assembly to test Ahmad with a vote of confidence in due course.

"After 50 years of independence, I am sure we should be capable of resolving our issues in a efficient and respectful manner."

"The storm in Terengganu is just the latest in a series of crises brought on by an apparent failure to understand how State powers work relative to Federal ones," said Razaleigh, adding that in the recent crisis in Perlis, "the Prime Minister’s actions suggest stunning ineptness in managing fundamental relationships and straightforward functions of government".

"This is alarming because the Barisan Nasional (BN) government now has five Opposition-controlled states to contend with out of the nine in Peninsular Malaysia.

"The mis-handling of chief ministerial appointments in Perlis, and now in Terengganu, mean that our leadership in two other states is now in jeopardy," he added.

Constitutional law expert Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari of the International Islamic University said matters had reached such a stage that there is nothing that can be legally done to force an immediate reversal of the Regency Council's decision to appoint Ahmad at this point.

The appointment letter was given to Ahmad yesterday morning.

"The only thing that can be done now is to abide by the Regency Council's decision and wait for the State Assembly to be convened to pass a vote of no confidence. This would put the ball back in the Palace's court to decide afresh," said Abdul Aziz.

He said the Regency Council has the means to get the "best information", as it has the power to call up assemblymen and speak to them in private to gauge personal support.

Abdul Aziz said besides the vote of no confidence move, another way to resolve the matter is for the State Assembly to be dissolved, and fresh elections called.

"Under the Federal and State Constitutions, a ruler may dissolve the State Assembly, and this is a situation where this can be used, and the people should be allowed once and for all to decide who governs the state,"he said.

Meanwhile, he said Ahmad has time to negotiate support for himself as Mentri Besar by negotiating support from 17 assemblymen for a simple majority, before the State Assembly, which according to the Terengganu State Constitution, must convene within 120 days of dissolution.

He can try to persuade his Umno colleagues to join him, and approach the eight PAS assemblymen, to give him a legal platform for the Regency Council to appoint him.

Twenty-three of the 24 Terengganu assemblyman had pledged support for Idris as Mentri Besar.

Asked whether Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, which gives the federal government the power to declare an emergency in a state, could be used in Terengganu, as was used in Sabah in 1966 to remove Stephen Kalong Ningkan as Chief Minister, Abdul Aziz called it a politically disadvantageous act becaues "times have changed."

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has said Ahmad's status, and whether he breached party discipline by accepting the appointment as Mentri Besar, would be decided by the Umno Supreme Council in its meeting on Thursday (March 27).

Source: The Sun
Read here on why "Palace should accept Idris Jusoh..."

Monday, 24 March 2008

Idris Jusoh IS the Terengganu MB

The appointment of Kijal assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said as the new Menteri Besar of Terengganu is unconstitutional, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi.

Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh is the Mentri Besar because he commands majority support (among the elected representatives) and as far as the Umno President is concerned this (Idris's appointment as Menteri Besar) has not changed.

"There will be no changes to this as the majority of them support Idris' re-appointment as MB. Therefore, other appointments made other than this is against the constitution and is not valid," Datuk Abdullah said.

The office of the Sultan of Terengganu had announced Ahmad as the new MB despite objections by 23 assemblymen who unanimously wanted Idris to be re-appointed.

They have all threatened to resign if Ahmad is sworn-in to the post.

"What happened this morning in Istana Tetamu did not have our agreement and this is different from the case of Perlis. Ahmad Said is alone in this matter," the state Umno liaison secretary, Datuk Rosol Wahid, told a press conference last night.

Ahmad Said was subsequently sacked (read here) from the party for disobeying the party's leadership.

Bernama has the story here and here.

Read the views of a consitutional law expert, Shad Faruqi here.

Kronologi krisis MB Terengganu here

Also read here

Bloggers have changed the face of Malaysian politics


Bloggers have changed the face of Malaysian politics and become a vocal group that the government has to deal with, says media analyst and blogger Nuraina Samad.

"Many bloggers who turned to opposition politics before the last elections won the seats they contested,” she said.

Many of these bloggers took up the issues people were talking about before and during the elections which were totally ignored by he mainstream media.

“Despite this, the points raised became major issues among the people during the election campaign, with the government parties forced to address these issues that had been blacked out in their media.”

Nuraina, was among the bloggers interviewed by AFP in reponse to the statement of the new information minister, Shabery Cheek , who said he wanted to reach out to bloggers.

Ahmad Shabery said he is "trying to build a bridge between the government and the people so that we can have a two-way dialogue — and bloggers are a key part of this."

Wellknown blogger Ahirudin Attan of rocky'sbru, who met with Ahmad Shabery on Friday, said the offer of talks with bloggers needed to reflect the political will of the government.

“We welcome the government’s move to engage bloggers but we are not in any hurry to meet them,” said Ahirudin, who is National Alliance of Bloggers president.

“The success of the talks will depend on what kind of mandate he has from the cabinet,” he said of Cheek’s proposal.

“He is going to be acting against the popular stand of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that bloggers are a nuisance.”

Read the AFP report In shift, Malaysia reaches out to bloggers here.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Sultan's choice of MB stripped of Umno membership

Kijal assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said, who was supposed to have been sworn in as Terengganu Mentri Besar today, has been stripped of his Umno membership for disobeying the party's leadership.

The Terengganu Palace announced yesterday that Ahmad Said would be the new Mentri Besar of the state instead of Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and the swearing-in ceremony was to be held this morning.

However, the scheduled swearing-in ceremony did not take place.

Ahmad Said, the man chosen by the palace over Datuk Idris for the post, merely received a letter of appointment from the State Royal Regency Advisory Council.

He was told that his swearing-in has been scheduled in three days' time, which would be this Wednesday.

Read the NST report here, Bernama, here and here.

Terengganu heading for a constitutional crisis?


Umno (politicians) vs Palace?

The Terengganu Palace Saturday announced the appointment of Kijal state assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said (picture right) as the new Menteri Besar of the state and the swearing-in ceremony will be held at 8.00am Sunday(today).

However, 23 BN assemblymen, including Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh - the man they want as Menteri Besar - immediately responded by threatening to boycott the ceremony.

The group had sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Friday urging him to retain Datuk Seri Idris as Mentri Besar, after hearing news that he might not be retained for the post due to a "fall-out " with the palace.

Idris was widely expected to be made Mentri Besar for a second term after he led the state Barisan Nasional to victory in the recent polls, but talk of palace objections to the move surfaced just days after the conclusion of the general election.

The stand-off has resulted in Terengganu being the only state left without a Mentri Besar or Chief Minister.

The following statement has been issued by the palace:

"In accordance with Clause 14 Paragraph (2) (a) of the Terengganu State Constitution (Chapter 2), the Regency Advisory Council, in undertaking the function on behalf of the Regent, hereby appoints Datuk Ahmad Said as the Menteri Besar of Terengganu to head the Terengganu State Executive Council."

“What we have now is a royal constitutional crisis,” constitutional law expert Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi said, according to NST online.

Faruqi said the legal implications facing Terengganu following the boycott threat and the warning of no support for Ahmad is a “serious development.”

“There is a possibility that the new state government leader might face a vote of no confidence when the state assembly is called in session,” he said.

“However, the new Menteri Besar does not have to call the state assembly session for at least 90 days after the general election. The state assembly must be convened on May 13 at the earliest and does not have to face the elected state representative until such a date.”

Until the situation is resolved, Idris could continue to play the role as the state government care-taker leader, Faruqi said. Click here for the NST online report.

In an earlier Bernama report, here, Datuk Ahmad was warned that Umno will take stern disciplinary action against him if he accepts the post and attend the swearing-in ceremony.

Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said Datuk Ahmad should not put individual interest before party interest and "bear the consequences" if he went ahead.

He said the Umno President had issued an appoinment letter to Datuk Seri Idris as the Menteri Besar and it was not right for Ahmad Said to take the oath for the position.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Mukhriz backs Tengku Razaleigh's EGM push

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has the right to offer himself to contest for the post of Umno president, MP for Jerlun Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said today.

Mukhriz also said he supported the Gua Musang MP's move to call for an extraordinary general meeting on May 11 to discuss on BN poor performance in the recent election.

Speaking to reporters on his personal capacity, Mukhriz said:

"I respect Tengku Razaleigh's decision to contest for the presidency as it is part of the party's democratic practise.

"This is a positive thing for the party, as now members are entitle to options based on their own opinions, and not just receiving orders from their leaders.”

Mukhriz's support for Tengku Razaleigh is in contrast to the calls by senior Umno leaders - with the exception of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin - that the Kelantan prince back down from his EGM bid .

Yesterday, Tan Sri Muhyiddin, who is Umno vice-president said Tengku Razaleigh was free to do what he likes as long as it is not against the party's constitution.

Mukhriz had earlier this month written to the Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi calling for him to quit after the ruling the Barisans Nasional's unprecedented election setback.

However, no action was taken against him by the Umno Youth Exco for writing the letter much to surprise of many who had expected him to be appropriately dealt with.

Ku Li is free to do what he likes - Muhyiddin

Veteran Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is free to do what he likes as long as it is not against the party's constitution, says its vice-president, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Going against several party leaders' disapproval (read here and here ), Tan Sri Muhyiddin does not foresee any problems on holding a party extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on May 11.

"As a member of the Umno Supreme Council, I believe in the party constitution . He is free to do what he likes as long as it is not against the constitution," he was quoted as saying to Bernama.

Muhyiddin, who succeeeded the iron lady, Wanita Chief Rafidah Aziz, as International Trade and Industry Minister, was commenting on the call by Tengku Razaleigh, the Gua Musang MP, for an EGM to discuss the party's terrible performance in the general election and his plan to contest the Umno presidency at the coming general assembly.

"It's up to Ku Li (Tengku Razaleigh), he said. But advised members that whatever action taken will not weaken the party. "

"If it can strengthen the party, then we cannot prevent it," he said

Friday, 21 March 2008

Dr M backs Ku Li for Umno EGM...

Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said that he supports a call by veteran Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for an emergency general meeting for the party to discuss its terrible performance in the general election.

Speaking to reporters after launching a book, "Managment Astray - Resuscitating Ailing Organisations" by the late Tan Sri Basir Ismail, here Dr Mahathir said he fully supports the letter the former Finance Minister wrote to Umno leaders nationawide.

Asked if he'd back the Kelantan prince's move to challenge Abdullah for the Umno presidency, Dr Mahathir said that is something the EGM can decide.

The EGM can discuss among other things, amending the Umno Constitution, the setting up a Presidential Advisory Counci, consisting of advisers who are independent individuals; and putting a limit on the term for presidency.

On Ku Li's offer to challenge Abdullah, Dr Mahathir said it would not t be easy to meet the requirement because a challenger must get nominations from at least 30 per cent of the Umno divisions.

To qualify as a candidate for the post of a party president, the challenger needs about 60 nominations.

Dr Mahathir said that Umno leaders live in a climate of fear.

He said not one Umno leader supported him when he came out and asked the President to step down for the poor general election result.

"Privately and behind his back, they want him to step down."

Go to Rocky's here and bigdog's Tun Dr M: Tiba masa Melayu perlu menderhaka...: here

Ku Li told not to "create trouble"

Umno veteran leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who has offered himself to contest the party’s top post has been advised not to “create trouble” in the party.

Newly-appointed Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor ( one of the people named in the famous “Correct, Correct, Correct” Lingam video clip), who succeeded Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad who resigned from the post, said:

“I don’t understand Ku Li (Tengku Razaleigh) for wanting to go against the Prime Minister. Please don’t create any more trouble.

“Let’s focus more on strengthening our party from within to face our enemies outside and not cause break-ups among our ranks,” he told reporters after participating in a parade to celebrate Maulidur Rasul at the Putra Mosque here yesterday.

Tengku Adnan said this was particularly important when Barisan Nasional and Umno were facing the task of trying to reclaim the five states that had fallen to the Opposition in the recent general election.

On party elections, which must be held within this year, Tengku Adnan said a management committee meeting might be called next week to discuss the matter.


“The meeting must be called by the Umno deputy president and it will dwell on preparations for the party elections,” he said.

Raja Nazrin - Don’t let power lead you astray

...and learn from the failures of empires and nations, and even monarchs and leaders.

A timely advice , indeed, for our leaders from the Regent of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, lest they forget.

Historical evidence showed that many people were given the opportunity to become leaders but only a handful rose to be successful leaders who created history and built civilisations, said Raja Nazrin Shah.

“This happened because many of those given the chance to lead allowed the joy and passion of having power to lead them astray.

“Some among them became complacent, some went astray, some were ill advised, some adopted wrong decisions and some made miscalculations.

Such are the historical accounts of leaders and leadership which the ummah (people) of today should learn from so as not to repeat the mistakes,” he said at the state-level Maulidur Rasul celebration and presentation of prizes for memorisation of the Quran at the State Secretariat here yesterday.

Click here to continue.

Sultan wants S'gor exco line-up resolved...


...the horse-trading and apparent bickering among the political parties who will make up the new Selangor government are cause for concern for the Sultan of Selangor.

While he has to remain apolitical, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has, over the last two weeks, found himself having to play arbitrator to the coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS in resolving the executive council line-up as well as the position of deputy mentri besar, the Sun reports.

It is a difficult task for the ruler, as while giving advice, he cannot be seen to be interferring, according to a palace aide.

The aide said the Sultan was worried about the state of affairs of the state and wants the matter to be resolved soon and that his primary and only concern is that of the rakyat.

They should be served and not be affected by any internal conflicts among the political parties, the palace aide said on Thursday.

The swearing-in of the executive councillors has yet to take place as the coalition of Barisan Rakyat has yet to resolve over who gets what, and how many.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is expected to present the final list by today, with the swearing-in to be held on Monday.

The aide stressed that while the Sultan remains apolitical, it is the ruler’s right to express concern or apprehension and offer suggestions.

“That does not mean they (the political parties) have to take the advice,” he said, referring to a newspaper report on Thursday that seemed to indicate that the Sultan had insisted that the 10-man exco line-up should have a Malay majority.

He said a 5-5 formula was bandied around during the discussion, but Sultan Sharafuddin reminded Khalid that should there be a deadlock, the mentri besar has the deciding vote.

He said it was the ruler’s opinion that the exco line-up should represent the demographics of the electorate.“Tuanku will never titah (decree). He will advise. That’s all,” said the aide.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

In case you miss ...

...Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's press conference offering himself for the Umno presidency, you can go over to kickadefella's and watch his video clips here: p1 , p2 and p3.

And by the way, according to blogger pasquale, Ku Li has the support of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his challenge against the Umno President.

Pasquale says his source told him that: "it was Tun Mahathir who prompted Ku Li to mount a challenge on Dollah Badawi in view of the critical last general elections..."

Dr Mahathir then met with Ku Li "... and it was then decided that the latter must challenge Dollah to save Umno and Malays from falling over into a political oblivion. "

However, Ku Li's camp said the Number two post will not be touched "...as it will belong to Najib for sure."

So Naijb terselamat?

Pasquale's entry is here

Read rocky's Razaleigh tagets Abdullah here

Khir takes the blame, quits as Selangor Umno chief


Former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo has quit as the Selangor Umno and Barisan Nasional chairman with immediate effect - the second senior Umno leader to do so after Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.

Radzi resigned from his posts as Umno and Barisan Nasional Secretary-general earlier in the day.

The two posts previously held by Dr Khir will now be taken over by newly-appointed Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, who is also the Selangor Umno deputy chairman.

Speaking at a press conference at the Selangor Umno, held midway through the state Umno meeting, Dr Khir said he felt responsible for Barisan’s poor showing in the state during the recent general election and decided it was best for him to quit.

He said he made the decision to quit two to three days ago and discussed the matter with Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“The Prime Minister asked me to do what is best for the state Umno and Barisan Nasional and I feel this is the best way.

“The party president has accepted my resignation and also agreed with my decision to hand over the state leadership to Tan Sri (Muhammad),” Dr Khir said, adding that he would leave the decision on the other state Umno posts to Muhammad.

“It is not a hasty decision, I decided to announce it now (before the post-mortem on the general election is concluded) because I fear that if delayed it would give rise to problems that will split the party and hamper efforts to win back the state,” he said.

Ku Li to challenge Pak Lah for Umno presidency

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has offered himself for the Umno presidency to “heal the party”, which he described to be "in a bad way.”

The 71-year-old former Finance Minister, who held the Gua Musang parliamentary seat since 1969, expressed willingness to take up the challenge if he was given the opportunity.

“I still have ideas, I am still brave because I am independent and I don’t depend on anyone. If my service is still needed and my strength can still be used, I am offering myself to work for the rakyat,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

Tengku Razaleigh challenged the then Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the 1987 party elections but lost.

He had recently distributed letters to all Umno divisions and branch heads, urging them to utilise a section in the party’s constitution to call for a special Umno EGM on May 11, the party’s anniversary, to discuss the dismal polls performance.

Full story here.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Radzi "merajuk"? ...quits all party posts, denies split


Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, who was dropped as a Cabinet member yesterday, has resigned from all party posts but denied that the move heralded a split caused by growing unhappiness in the premier's party.

(But Rafidah says she'll stay on as Wanita chief despite being excluded from the new line-up)

"When you are not made a minister, you cannot work effectively as a secretary-general for Umno," the former Home Minister said.

Radzi is the first top level Umno official to quit after the March 8 general elections - which makes one wonder if the move points to cracks in the party. *

Asked if he had resigned over not being included in the new Cabinet, he replied: "You can take it that way."

Radzi, 66, said Abdullah had accepted his resignation with immediate effect from the position of secretary-general, both in Umno and BN, but denied that his departure signalled a split in the party.

He was replaced by Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor who, like Radzi, was dropped from the Cabinet

The Sun has the story: here and Bernama here .

* Read Dr Khir offers to quit as state Umno liaison chief here

NST picture: OUT AGAIN: Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad hugs a supporter after announcing his resignations as Umno and BN secretaries-general.

Khairy - I wont accept Cabinet post as long as F.I.L is PM


That's what Khairy Jamaluddin (pic) said.

The Umno Youth vice-head, who is also the Member of Parliament for Rembau, said he had informed his father-in-law of the matter before the general election on March 8, and Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi had acepted his stand.

He said this in response to question asked why he had been left out in the new cabinet line-up and allegations that he has great influence on his father-in-law, the Prime Minister, on matters concerning government policies.

There has been a a lot of speculation that Khairy, who has been cited as one of the major factors contributing to the Barisan Nasional's worst defeat , will be appointed a Cabinet Minister.

"That's not fair to PM (Prime Minister). I stayed out of his way as much as possible. I'm just a normal MP and want to focus on my job. There are people who are there to help and assist him," he told reporters after attending the Umno Youth Exco and State Umno Youth Chiefs meeting.

On the claim that he was the cause for the BN defeat, Khairy said the defeat was a joint responsibility and the actual reason for the defeat would be studied. Click here for more...

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

PM announces new Cabinet line-up

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced his new trimmed cabinet-line up (from 32 to 27 seats) of which more than half are new faces - and has sprung a few surprises.

Abdullah, who retained his Finance portfolio, scrapped the post of parliamentary secretary.

Wanita chief Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, who is the former International Trade and Industry Minister, has been dropped.

Others who have been axed included Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid (former Natural Resources and Environment Minister), Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad (former Home Affairs Minister), Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis (former Science, Technology and Innovation Minister) and Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor (former Tourism Minister).

Only 17 of the 32 ministers in the previous cabinet have been retained - with five keeping their old posts while 12 moved to new profolios.

Among them are Dr Rais Yatim, who has been named Foreign Minister and Ong Tee Keat, TransportMinister.

MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (former Housing and Local Government Minister) asked not to be reappointed so that he could focus his energies on rebuilding the MCA after its disappointing performance in the election.

Abdullah also merged the Home Affairs and Internal Security ministries, saying that they had many overlapping functions, and named former Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar as its minister.

Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin, formerly Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister, is now the Higher Education Minister.

Khaled took over the portfolio from Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, who is now the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Shahrir Samad is back in the cabinet as Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister and given a new lease of life just like former Selangor Menteri Besar and Umno information Chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib who has been appointed Rural and Regional Development Minister.

Datuk Shahrir last served as a Minister in 1986. Tan Sri Muhammad, who was no fielded, quit as Mentri Besar after he was charged for breaching Australian financial regulations in bringing in huge amount of undeclared cash. He was later acquitted.

Abdullah also appointed two corporate figures, who will be sworn in as senators later today as ministers in the Prime Minister's Department.

They are lawyer Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the former MP of Kota Baru who was not chosen to contest in the recent general election, and Maybank chief executive officer Datuk Amirsham A. Aziz.

full list:

Prime Minister
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Umno)

Deputy Prime Minister
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (Umno)

Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department
Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (UPKO)
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (Umno)
Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Umno)
Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim (Umno)
Datuk Amirsham Abdul Aziz (Umno)

Deputy Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department
Datuk Johari Baharom (Umno)
Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim (Umno)
K. Devamany (MIC)
Datuk Hasan Malek (Umno)

Finance
Minister - Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Umno)
Second Finance Minister - Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop (Umno)
Deputies - Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, (Umno) Datuk Kong Cho Ha (MCA)

Defence
Minister - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop (Umno)

Internal Security and Home Affairs
Minister - Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar (Umno)
Deputies - Datuk Chor Chee Heung, (MCA)
Senator Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh (Umno)

Housing and Local Government
Minister - Datuk Ong Ka Chuan (MCA)
Deputies - Datuk Robert Lau (SUPP) Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin (Umno)

Works Minister
Minister - Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Yong Khoon Seng (SUPP)

Energy, Water and Communications
Minister - Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor
Deputy - Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry
Minister - Datuk Mustapa Mohamed (Umno)
Deputy - Datin Paduka Rohani Abdul Karim (Umno)

International Trade and Industry
Minister - Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Umno)
Deputies - Datuk Liew Vui Keong (LDP) Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan

Foreign Affairs
Minister - Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Seri Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar (Umno)

Education
Minister - Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (Umno)
Deputies - Datuk Wee Ka Siong, Datuk Razali Ismail (Umno)

Higher Education
Minister - Datuk Khaled Nordin (Umno)
Deputies - Dr Hou Kok Chung (MCA) Datuk Idris Harun (Umno)

Transport
Minister - Datuk Ong Tee Keat (MCA)
Deputy - Datuk Anifah Aman. Update: He has declined the post

Human Resources
Minister - Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam (MIC)
Deputy - Datuk Noraini Ahmad (Umno)

Women, Family and Community Development
Minister - Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen
Deputy - Noriah Kasnon

National Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage
Minister - Datuk Shafie Apdal (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Teng Boon Soon (MCA)

Science, Technology and Innovation
Minister - Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili
Deputy - Fadilah Yusof

Entrepreneurial and Cooperative Development
Minister - Datuk Noh Omar (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Saiffuddin Abdullah

Natural Resources and Environment
Minister - Datuk Douglas Unggah Embas (PPB)
Deputy - Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh (Umno)

MinisterRural and Regional Development
Minister - Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib (Umno)
Deputy - Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Joseph Entulu Belaun

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs
Minister - Datuk Shahrir Samad (Umno)
Deputy - Jelaing Mersat

Plantation Industries and Commodities
Minister - Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui (SUPP)
Deputy - Senator A. Kohilan Pillay (Gerakan)

Youth and Sports
Minister - Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaacob (Umno)
Deputy - Wee Jeck Seng (MCA)

Health
Minister - Datuk Liow Tiong Lai (MCA)
Deputy - Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad (Umno)

Information
Minister - Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Tan Lian Hoe (Gerakan)

Tourism
Minister - Datuk Seri Azalina Othman (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib (PPB)

Federal Territories
Minister - Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk M. Saravanan (MIC)

Full report here
Go to New Cabinet here

Abdullah to announce Cabinet today

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is expected to unveil his new Cabinet line-up today at a press conference to be telecast live.

Aides said Abdullah would have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin in the morning and then return to his office to make the announcement at around noon, the Star reports.

The swearing-in of the ministers before Tuanku Mizan will take place on Wednesday,” said a source.

It is learnt that Istana Negara has already sent out the invitations for the ceremony.

Speculation has been rife about the size of the Cabinet but it could be the reduction of the entire administration – including deputy ministers and parliamentary secretaries – that could be the surprise today.

Before dissolution, Abdullah’s total administration numbered a whopping 90 people – 32 ministers, 39 deputies and 19 parliamentary secretaries.

At present, Barisan Nasional has 140 MPs and the size of the administration has to be cut down, otherwise there will not be enough backbenchers to supportgovernment bills in the Dewan Rakyat.

With the Opposition having 82 MPs, the Government must ensure there were enough backbenchers to neutralise them when it comes to voting on any matter.

A senior Barisan politician expected the number of deputy ministers and parliamentary secretaries to be cut down substantially.

“The administration could be around the 70 mark and I think the number of parliamentary secretaries could be less than 10,” the politician added.

However, there has been talk of maintaining the size of the Cabinet by bringing in non-politicians to handle key ministries that required specialised know-how.

“The Prime Minister brought in Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop in 2004 by making him a senator. This will be a good way of tapping talents outside the normal political circle,” said the same Barisan man.

Monday, 17 March 2008

House-to-house search for missing boy Asmawi

More than 2,000 posters of 11-year-old Muhammad Asmawi Jalaludin have been distributed to police stations in the Klang Valley and a house-to-house search has begun, according to the Star.

At the same time, police will continue with the search for five-year-old Sharlinie Mohd Nashar, the City police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Osman said.

Asmawi went missing on March 9 while he was on his way back to his house in Pantai Permai, Pantai Dalam here, after playing at a playground located about 200m from his house.

Sharlinie was abducted on Jan 9 while playing at a playground near her home at Taman Medan, Petaling Jaya. The search for little Nini was suspended because the police wanted to concentrate on the recent general electiosnon the polls. She has yet to be found.

Datuk Mumahhad urged the public not to provide false information on Asmawi's whereabouts.

Only one such SMS had been sent to the little boy's mother . Police have identified the sender who demanded a RM5,000 ransom but investigations revealed that the person is not linked to the missing boy.