May this blessed month bring peace, tranquility and happiness and may the Almighty accept our endeavours to gain His Blessings and Mercy.
Have a Blessed Ramadhan!
Yesterday that government-backed watchdog Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission had ordered all internet service providers (ISPs) in the country to block the website.
"It is also a desperate act by the BN government that is still reeling fromits repeated defeats and refusing to listen to the clear signals demonstrated by the rakyat time and again via the ballot box.
The grounds given that Malaysia Today is a seditious website are completely baseless and unfounded in any principle of law, given that there are ample laws which govern such activities and there has yet to be a single court in all of Malaysia that has found the website to contain seditious content," PKR secretary-general Salahuddin Hashim said in a statement today.
"PKR calls upon the MCMC and the government to keep its promise to the MSC and to immediately revoke this order, and resist any temptation to arrogantly show callous disregard for the right of Malaysians to access alternative information," he said.
Here’s what the Prime Minister, Datuk Abdullah Badawi, says of the result of the Permatang Pauh by-election.
(How does that sound? Delusional? Definitely – judging from the statement of the number One man in the country to the information Minister Shaberry Chik (read here ) and Home Minister Syed Hamid Al blur when the message is loud and clear. Barisan Nasional lost because the voters dont want the party you represent and are sick of government propaganda. You still don’t get it it, do you? Too much propaganda is counter-productive. [Read Zorro’s take on How and why Umno lost here and Malaysiakini: Umno's gamble fails spectacularly here]).
JOHOR BAHARU, Aug 27 (Bernama) -- The result of the Permatang Pauh by-election, which was won by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, cannot be interpreted as a trend that can happen in other constituencies, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today.
The prime minister said the Barisan Nasional (BN) which won 140 parliamentary seats in the March 8 general election still commanded strong support from the people.
"What happened in Permatang Pauh was not something so big as to change the situation that exists after the last general election.
"The Permatang Pauh by-election is one by-election that cannot be interpreted as something that can happen in other constituencies. I believe we can still continue the government." - Bernama
Sworn in, Anwar is Opposition Leader - Malaysiakini
Aug 28, 08 10:19am
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim is officially parliamentary opposition leader.
The newly-elected Permatang Pauh MP was sworn in this morning at the Dewan Rakyat.
Anwar arrived at Parliament at 8.55am and took his oath at 10.05am immediately after prayer recitals in the House.
Soon after, he took the seat reserved for the parliamentary opposition leader, vacated by his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
The opposition leader's seat is directly opposite the prime minister's seat in the 222-member Parliament.
Anwar was declared leader of the opposition, a decade after he was sacked as deputy premier and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges.
He came to Parliament together with Wan Azizah, who held his Permatang Pauh seat during his political exile, and his daughter Nurul Izzah, who is also parliamentarian for Lembah Pantai.
"I hope the member for Permatang Pauh will contribute to the proceedings of this House. I am satisfied he has been unanimously appointed leader of the opposition," said speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia. -Malaysiakini
Anwar to be sworn in tomorrow
Aug 27, 08 10:20am
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia announced this morning that Anwar Ibrahim, the new member of parliament for Permatang Pauh, will be sworn in tomorrow.
Anwar makes his return to the House in grand style after an absence of 10 years by winning the Permatang Pauh by-election yesterday with a majority of 15,671.
The de facto PKR leader is also expected to be appointed parliamentary opposition leader for the 81 Pakatan Rakyat MPs.
"The parliament speaker has said Anwar will be sworn in as an MP on Thursday," said Tian Chua, information chief of PKR, which leads the three-member alliance.
"We will all be there to welcome Anwar as the leader of the opposition and the parliament will be very different with his voice," said Tian, who is MP for Batu.
"It is a real morale boost for the Pakatan Rakyat in Parliament."
All eyes now on Sept 16
Anwar yesterday won the by-election in his old constituency of Permatang Pauh with a thumping majority, despite claims of a "dirty tricks" campaign mounted by the ruling coalition to sideline him.
The 61-year-old opposition leader spent six years in jail before the sodomy conviction was overturned in 2004. But he now faces new sodomy charges levelled by a former aide which he says have been concocted by the government.
Anwar has said that the Pakatan Rakyat will be able to form the next government by Sept 16.
He needs to secure the support of 30 government defectors in order to topple the coalition.
He told Malaysiakini two weeks ago that one of his first task as Opposition leader was to reconnect with those government MPs who had indicated their willingness to defect.
"The prime thing is to get back in contact with those MPs that have given their word that they would support (Pakatan) when I return to Parliament."
Statement on the Result of the Permatang Pauh By-ElectionToday, five months after we met with the biggest General Election loss in our history, UMNO has suffered a landslide loss at Permatang Pauh. This despite the mobilization of the entire leadership and resources of a party that has held the machinery of government without pause for fifty years. This despite a campaign that embarrassed and divided the nation with its ugliness. It is time to face the music: it is we who have been buried:
26 August 26, 2008
- Our leadership is rejected by the rakyat and, moreover, is rejected by our own members. BN’s vote count was less than the number of UMNO members in the constituency.
- Within and among our component parties we ran a poorly coordinated and listless campaign against a motivated Opposition.
- What scraps of credibility the Prime Minister and his Deputy had left after March 8 are gone.
Today’s report card, delivered to a Prime Minister who is accountable also as Liaison Chief of UMNO Penang and Chairman of BN, is impossible to hide: he does not have the minimal credibility needed to run the country day by day, let alone to take it in the new directions we need to go in a complex world. He may not have the credibility needed to keep the country together. This dangerous situation cannot continue, and it will not.
I appeal to the members of UMNO and of BN’s component parties to stand by UMNO in our hour of crisis, and to take a sober historical perspective. The people of Malaysia and along with them, Umno’s ordinary members, have found their
democratic voice. They demand leadership that can be trusted to unite our people, to restore confidence in our institutions, and forge a clear national direction. Today is proof that this wave cannot be held back. UMNO must change.
We must begin by renewing our Party leadership. I am confident that by December, we shall.
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Aug 26, 08 3:56pm
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's PKR said today its exit polls indicate he has won 61 percent of the votes in a by-election expected to return him to parliament.
"From our exit poll figures and what we are tracking, Anwar is safely leading in the polls and... I think that it is right to say about 61 percent," said Sivarasa Rasiah, PKR vice-president.
Sivarasa said that Anwar's opponent from the Barisan Nasional coalition, Arif Shah Omar Shah, had garnered about 39 percent of the vote.
"We are still not declaring victory as we will wait for the official election results from the Election Commission," he told AFP.
If the turnout is about 80 percent, this will translate into about 28,000 votes for Anwar against Arif's 18,000, with a majority of around 10,000.
This estimates discount the votes for the third candidate, Hanafi Hamat of Akim, who is not expected to pick up many votes.
Polling booths opened at 8am and are due to close at 5pm. Official results are expected to be known by 8pm.
Anwar has been widely tipped to win the vote in Permatang Pauh, an electorate in his home state of Penang which he held until he was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges.
'Lower turnout among non-Malays'
But political pundits said they will focus on the size of the winning margin, compared to that attained by Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who held the seat during his political exile.
"We are expecting Anwar's win to be the same as big as when Wan Azizah contested but we think that it will be less in terms of absolute numbers due to it being a working day for many," Sivarasa said.
Wan Azizah won about 64 percent of votes cast in March general elections, with a majority of 13,400. - malaysiakini
Polling over, counting to start soon
5pm: Polling ends for the Permatang Pauh by-election.
4.35pm: Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is understood to have left Penang to Kuala Lumpur, an early indication that the premier has accepted defeat and has no reason to stay back.
4.25pm: Voter turnout stands at 53.5 percent, according to EC secretary Kamaruzaman at 3pm.
He also denied rumours that the EC had extended the voting hours to 6pm. Polls will close at 5pm.
2.35pm: PKR vice-president Azmin Ali wants all party supporters to use motorcycles to go to the polling centres due to the massive traffic jams in all roads leading to these centres.
"From the indications we are getting, we are very confident of Anwar's lead," he said.
But he said that traffic gridlock on the narrow roads of the largely rural electorate had disrupted exit polling aimed at determining how voters cast their ballots.
"It is so bad that it's very hard for us to determine accurate exit polls due to the large number of people filling the polling centres and the long jams outside," he told AFP.
2.30pm: A worried-sounding BN candidate Arif Shah urged voters to come out to vote.
2.20pm: Malaysians for Free and Fair Election (Mafrel) spokesperson Ong BK said the election watchdog has recorded three cases of voters' names missing from the electoral roll this morning.He said these complainants have all voted in the previous elections but could not find their names on the roll today.
In one case, the complainant found his name missing despite his wife being allowed to vote."We don't know whether this is going to be a pattern as we have to continue to monitor the process until polling is closed" he told Malaysiakini.
1.27pm: The rain has stopped in certain areas, the traffic situation has improved in some parts and voters seem to be taking their time off for lunch first.
1.15pm: All roads leading to voting centres are going nowhere! Traffic has come to a standstill in most parts of Permatang Pauh.Najib attributed the massive traffic jams at the centres to narrow roads and on voters coming out early to vote.
1pm: Election Commission secretary Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor said voter turnout as at noon was 44.8 percent.However EC deputy chief Wan Ahmad Wan Omar told Malaysiakini that he estimated the turnout to be at about 53 percent as at 1pm.
12.55pm: Eyewitnesses claim of a tense situation at the SMK Penanti polling centre between supporters of BN and PKR over the former's pondok panas which is located very close to the polling centre. [See map]
The situation is still under control but the respective supporters are continuing to trade barbs. The police are keeping a close watch.
12.30pm: Najib says he is happy with the polling so far."No untoward incidents so far and everything is under control," he told reporters in Seberang Jaya.He also visited a BN pondok panas at the polling centre in Seberang Jaya, talking to party workers and volunteers.
12.10pm: As predicted it's raining in Permatang Pauh now!
11.20am An Election Commission official says that they are not allowed to reveal details of voter turnout."Only EC secretary Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor can give those details," she said when contacted.Kamaruzaman is presently on his rounds visiting the polling centres.
11.05am PKR polling agent at SK Seberang Jaya 2 Rodziah Ismail confirmed that there were no discrepancies in the electoral roll used in the polling station. She said that only the pages were different in the roll used today as compared to the previous one.
11am: The crowd at SK Sri Penanti has dispersed. However a small group of around 300 still remain at a distance. Police are keeping a watchful eye on them. No ntoward incident has been reported.
10.52am: Third candidate Hanafi Hamat told malaysiakini that he was on the way to visit a polling station in Kubang Semang.
"I think I have chance to win," he said.
"But even if I lose, it's okay as our message has gone down to the voters. They are aware of our message," he added.
10.42am: Penang police chief Ayub Yaakob is at the scene at SK Sri Penanti. The crowd is given five minutes to disperse. The FRU are slowly moving the crowd out of the place. PKR information chief Tian Chua is also at the scene, asking the police to give more time for their supporters to be there.
10.30am: A PKR supporters is arrested for allegedly throwing an object to the BN side at SK Seri Menanti polling centre. There are about 1,000 supporters from both BN and Pakatan still gathered at this centre. They are kept afar on either side of a road opposite the centre.
Eye-witnesses say that there are about 600 Pakatan supporters as opposed to 400 from BN. They are very boisterous. At least nine truck-load of Federal Reserve Unit personnel are on standby at the place.
10.10am: "I hope to take oath in Parliament tomorrow," said a highly-confident Anwar.
"We are entering Parliament with a clear agenda and they (BN) should wake up with the stark realities of the day."
He said that he was receiving a strong support from the people of Permatang Pauh. He said this in a short five-minute speech after casting his vote.
10.05am: PKR's election bureau deputy director Fuziah Salleh told Malaysiakini that they were checking with the Election Commission on the discrepancy in the voters' list at SMK Seberang Jaya 2 polling district.
10am: Anwar and Wan Azizah left after casting their votes.
9.43am: Anwar, accompanied by his wife Dr Wan Azizah, enters the polling centre. He is wearing a long-sleeved blue shirt and a songkok. Wan Azizah will also be casting her vote at SK Seri Menanti.
9.38am: Anwar arrives at SK Seri Menanti
9.35am: At SK Seri Menanti, almost all voters are using the PKR line to check their status before voting. Exit poll shows nine out of 10 favoured Anwar.
9.31am: Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Gerakan acting president Koh Tsu Koon are at SK Seberang Jaya 2 polling centre where they bumped into Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and DAP leader Lim Kit Siang. The political leaders shook hands and exchanged greetings. However their respective supporters were less cordial, with the Pakatan group shouting ‘Altantuya! Liar! Cheater!' at Najib. BN supporters responded by shouting 'Hidup Barisan!'
9.10am: A PKR alert states that the voters' list used in the SMK Seberang Jaya 2 polling district is different from that given earlier.
It is however learnt that only the page numbers are different, but with the same list of voters.
9.05am: The crowd at SK Seri Penanti has now swelled to about 1,000, with almost two-thirds of them being from Pakatan. They are waiting for Anwar to arrive to vote.
8.45am: BN and Pakatan Rakyat supporters have started gathering at SK Seri Menanti where Anwar will be casting his ballot. About 300 Pakatan supporters have been teasing and mocking their rivals from the BN camp. The 50-odd BN men are also not slow to retort,singing away ‘liwat' songs. Pakatan supporters respond by chanting ‘Altantuya'.About 30 voters are also in line to vote here.
8.30am: There are about 70 supporters from both sides at SK Seberang Jaya 2. Anwar supporters are seen with a mask of him, goading the BN supporters. Bantering between the two sets of supporters are jovial and in good mood
8.08am: BN's Arif Shah is among the earliest to vote. His polling centre at SK Seberang Jaya 2 is close by to his house. He told reporters that he was confident of winning today.
"I voted at 8.08am as eight is a good number for me," he told reporters with a beaming smile. His wife Latifah Asmawi and son Izwan Shah also cast their votes with him.
8am: Polling starts. Almost all polling centres have voters milling around to vote early.
7.30am: It's polling day in Permatang Pauh, with a total of 58,459 voters who can vote to determine their chosen elected parliamentarian.
The contest to be the elected MP is among PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, Barisan Nasional's Arif Shah Omar Shah and little known Hanafi Hamat from Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim).
This has been Anwar's fort since 1982 and in his absence in the past 10 years, the seat has been held for him by his wife and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
The by-election is necessitated by Wan Azizah's decision to vacate the seat in July 31, to allow her husband a way back into the Parliament.
Permatang Pauh has three state seats under it - the BN-held Seberang Jaya, PKR's Penanti and PAS' Permatang Pasir.
Arif is also the state representative in Seberang Jaya.
There are 25 polling centres, with 110 polling stream - all opened for voting since 8am. They will remain open until 5pm.
The weather in Permatang Pauh is clear and sunny. However, rain is expected throughout the day. Voters are being reminded to be ready with their umbrellas and raincoats.
It has been constantly raining in the evenings in this constituency for the past week- Malaysiakini http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88579
However, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has campaigned heavily for the government, defied the pundits and said he was convinced the public had lost faith in Anwar.Go to People's Parliament and read Haris Ibrahim's post on The countdown has begun! here .
"When I began the campaign, political analysts predicted that BN has no hope, but after almost two weeks there are signs that victory is in the hands of BN," he said during a visit to an opposition stronghold.
The Merdeka Centre research firm, on the other hand, said Anwar is likely to claim victory in the Permatang Pauh electorate in his home state of Penang, but that the new sexual misconduct accusations were a factor in the campaign.
"I think Anwar will win," said the centre's pollster Ibrahim Suffian.
"The issue of the sodomy allegations, while it gained some traction at the beginning of the campaign, by the end had reached saturation point and won't significantly affect his chances of winning," he told AFP.
A poll carried by the Centre found that voters were most concerned over Malaysia's faltering economy, and that 59 per cent believed the sexual misconduct allegations were politically motivated. Extracts from Malaysiakini http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88545
"I also wish to deny that I received any money to witness the swearing. I was only on instructions," said Ramlang in a hastily arranged press conference by PKR at 12.30am this morning.
Also facing the media for the first time after the incident at the Federal Territory Mosque, Ramlang said that Saiful made two mistakes that day.
"During the swearing, Saiful mis-pronounced one of the Islamic words because he had it written down in Malay instead of Arabic.
Ramlang also revealed a Freudian slip by Saiful."Saiful also made a mistake on when Anwar Ibrahim had allegedly inserted his penis into his rectum.
"Instead of June 26, Saiful said he was sodomised on Aug 26 before correcting himself," said Ramlang at PKR headquarters, Yayasan Aman in Permatang Pauh.
A fake Umno member
The Sabah-born imam also revealed that he is an Umno member, registered in Permatang Pauh in 2003.
But when asked if he was worried about the status of his membership in Umno, he said he was not.
"I only joined Umno because of a friend. And since I don't hold any positions in the party, I've nothing to be afraid of.
"I'm not active even and I can be said to be a fake member," Ramlang added .
However, Ramlang provided no further details on who instructed him to witness the swearing ceremony except to say that the order came from his superiors.
On what encouraged him to come forward now, Ramlang said that the criticism and pressure he has faced after the event was overwhelming.
He said that he also wanted to clear the air on his position in the FT Mosque.
Immediately after the press conference, which last for about 15 minutes, Ramlang was whisked away by PKR leaders to an unknown location.
Also present at the press conference was PKR vice presidents Azmin Ali and R Sivarasa as well as a host of other local leaders. PKR information chief Tian Chua was also present.
Pictures: courtesy of Suara sukj
Banner: US to be allowed to set up airbase.
These banners, spotted in Seberang Jaya, include one which said ‘Today Anwar becomes premier, Tomorrow Israel opens embassy in Kuala Lumpur, The day after the Americans open airbase in Butterworth.” (photo left)
These allegations coincide with Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s claim at a ceramah last night that he was privy to Anwar’s alleged discussion with the United States to open an airbase in Malaysia once the PKR leader succeeds in seizing power.
Anwar’s colleagues in Pakatan Rakyat were also not spared.
A banner spotted in the Malay-majority Permatang Pasir showed DAP secretary-general and Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng’s face accompanied with the words ‘Penang gua punya’ (Penang is mine).
Another banner carries PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s face said ‘Hadi is more qualified to be Pakatan’s prime minister’, an obvious reference to his non-committal answer when recently asked if he would support Anwar’s bid to be prime minister.
Two female election workers - who were wearing BN tags - were seen distributing a set of controversial leaflets during a function attended by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Seberang Jaya this afternoon.
The leaflets carried a ‘frontpage’ of DAP Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh clad in a traditional baju Melayu alongside Anwar, Hadi, Guan Eng, Anwar’s wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Karpal’s son Gobind Singh Deo. (photo)
The picture showed Anwar apparently holding the Quran, an obvious reference to his refusal to bow to his detractors’ demand that he swear on the holy book to prove he did not sodomised his ex-aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
BN candidate Arif Shah Omar Shah who was present at this afternoon’s function said he would look into the matter. However, Penang Umno deputy chief Abdul Rashid Abdullah denied his party was behind the leaflets and banners, adding that someone else could have done it in the name of Umno. - Malaysiakini
Read Melvin Mah's Oh, Dollah...You are My Master and My Savior!..? here
Aug 22, 08 5:34pm
The government announces that price of RON97 petrol will go down by 15 sen from RM2.70 to RM2.55 per litre at the pumps beginning midnight, a reduction of 5.6 percent.
Meanwhile, the lower grade RON92 petrol will be slashed by 22 sen from RM2.62 to RM2.40 a litre.
For diesel, the price will go down by eight sen, from RM2.58 to RM2.50.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made the announcement today - two
days after he reiterated that petrol prices would not be cut before Aug 31.It is believed that the announcement was made ahead the crucial by-election in Permatang Pauh to be held next Tuesday.
"The petrol prices were fixed after taking into account the real price of petrol from Aug 1 to Aug 21, as well as the fixing of 30 sen subsidy for both grades," he said in a statement.
"Apart from this, the cabinet also decided to reduce the price of diesel by eight sen. At RM2.50 per litre, the subsidy borne by the government for diesel will be 50 sen for every litre."
According to Abdullah, the reduction of the fuel prices was made possible due to a significant drop in global oil prices this month.
Help alleviate the burden
The prime minister also lamented that the inflation rate for July 2008 had increased by a whopping 8.5 percent compared to July last year - hitting a new 27-year
The drastic rise in inflation was due to the sharp hike in petrol prices in June - a 40 per cent jump - as well as an increase in electricity tariff.
"It is the government’s hope that the reduction in petrol and diesel prices will help alleviate the burden of consumers and reduce the pressure of inflation, especially for the lower and middle income groups.
"The government’s decision was also made based on current economic developments," he added.
On Aug 1, the government announced that the market price of petrol until the end of the year will be streamlined on the 1st of every month, with the subsidy set at 30 sen.
However, Abdullah said, this formula can only be implemented if the market price of petrol goes lower than RM2.70 per litre.
"If the market price is higher than RM2.70 per litre, then the price will remain at RM2.70 per litre," he added. - Malaysiakini
Bogus Pakatan 'shadow' cabinet list appears
Syed Jaymal Zahiid Aug 21, 08 6:50pm
A bogus list - purportedly the 'new' cabinet line-up to be unveiled by the Pakatan Rakyat alliance should they succeed in forming a new government - is being distributed in Parliament.
The origin of the list, which features PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister and finance minister, is unknown.
However, Pakatan MPs said it is not from them.
"It is ridiculous. It does not have me on it," quipped Dr Hatta Ramli (PAS, Kuala Krai).
"The list is ridiculous. I think the Barisan Nasional supporters might have done it," said Bukit Mertajam DAP MP Chong Eng.A copy of the list was found at Umno election operation centre in Permatang Pauh .
The 'shadow' cabinet line-up names three deputy prime ministers.
Deputy prime minister number one will be DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang. The MP for Ipoh Timur will also be placed in charge of internal security.
R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang) was listed as deputy prime minister number two and minister of legal and judiciary matters.
The third slot for deputy prime minister will go to SAPP supremo Yong Teck Lee, who will also be asked to head the Rural Development Ministry.
Hadi, Karpal to be senior ministers
Noticeably low on the list is PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang (Marang), whose party recently voiced hopes of him becoming premier instead of Anwar.
Hadi was named senior minister in charge of religious affairs, while another veteran Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) was picked to be minister for integrity affairs and federal ties.
William Leong (PKR-Selayang) will act as economics cum international trade and industry minister and PKR vice president Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) is poised to become the second finance minister.
Meanwhile, PAS Youth chief and Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub said the appearance of the list showed rising fear that Anwar's persistent claim of wresting control of the government from BN might come true.
"I think the list is the product of fear of the fact that Anwar is rising to power," said Salahuddin.
He was arrested at 10.30am yesterday morning when he surrendered himself to the ACA.
Jamaluddin (PKR-Behrang), the exco for entrepreneur development, agriculture and commerce was among six detained yesterday for alleged graft in relation to a RM180 million housing project in Seri Iskandar, about 30-minute drive south of Ipoh. yesterday following a public tip-off. (read here)
Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin told reporters yesterday that those who have been remanded are innocent until proven guilty.
"They are remanded for investigations and no charges have been laid against them... Let natural justice takes its course," he told reporters.
The incident is expected to send the Perak government into turmoil as the Pakatan Rakyat government only holds a slim three-seat majority over Barisan Nasional
Meanwhile, PKR deputy leader Syed Husin Ali said the manner the arrests were made "indicates the possibility that the individuals involved may have been victims of entrapment".
"The timing of this incident also gives reason to suspect a political motive given our close proximity to the by-election in Permatang Pauh," he said in a press statement yesterday.
The PKR leader called on ACA to conduct a "thorough, transparent and professionally conducted investigation" into the matter.
"If the investigation proves that alleged misconduct did in fact occur in this matter then PKR and our partners in the Pakatan Rakyat will take swift action against those involved in any impropriety consistent with our commitment to good governance, transparency and accountability." - Excerpts from Malaysiakini .
Goodies roll in…from all sides
On the PKR front, Anwar Ibrahim made an impromptu visit to Kampung Jalan Baru in Seberang Jaya, where some 100 households were affected by the flash flood.
During his brief visit, the opposition leader made a few stops at some houses and visited the affected families.
After he left, a team led by the party’s Kedah chief senator Zamri Yusuf handed out rice packets and hampers to the families amounting to about RM6,000. However, no cash was given.
Zamri told reporters that the aid was from a donation drive initiated by party members after the incident yesterday.
Also present was PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. The former MP for Permatang Pauh said this was not an unusual practice as she used to give out such aid in her capacity as a parliamentarian before.
A check with the locals however revealed that they have not received such aid before, apart from a sum of RM300 they had allegedly received from Arif Shah during the 2004 general election.
Anwar launches election slogan
Earlier today, Anwar launched his election slogan called 'mermerdekakan rakyat’ (independence for the people) at an event held in Seberang Jaya witnessed by about 200 supporters.
Standing on a lorry and against the backdrop of a huge board carrying the words ‘this country does not belongs to Umno or BN, it belongs to the rakyat,’ Anwar appealed to the voters to make the right choice.
The opposition leader said somebody asked him why he chose the slogan since the country had gained independence 50 years ago.
"I said the independence is not for ministers or son-in-laws, it should be for the people," he told the audience. He then led the crowd in chanting ‘merdeka’ three times.
At a press conference later, he said Pakatan Rakyat will review projects which do not benefit the rakyat should it come into power.
As examples, he cited the RM15.2 billion high-speed broadband service project announced recently, the double-tracking railway and the undersea cable projects.
"(These projects are awarded) at a time when people complain of suffering and when the economy is not picking up, they (the leaders) are losing their sense of priority," he said.
The government is firm in portraying Saiful, the young aide, as the victim. In an interview last month with The Associated Press (AP), Abdullah denied any conspiracy.
“Instead of criticising the manner he had performed the swearing, one should admire his courage to do so.
"One should question the accused instead, not the accuser," said the Umno president during his first visit on campaign to Permatang Pauh yesterday.
Abdullah's visit to Permatang Pauh today indicated BN's need to bring in all their big guns to ensure victory.
He is also the member of parliament for the neighbouring Kepala Batas constituency.Meanwhile a quick survey in the constituency revealed that the sodomy saga had minimal impact on voters.
Like the pre-Quran swearing period, persistent rumours are widespread now
that pictures revealing ‘Anwar-Saiful' intimacy would be out soon.
Local Umno leaders however are worried that BN candidate Arif Shah OmarShah would face the wrath of voters' backlash if the saga dragged on.
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has finally received a copy of the police report made by his accuser, almost two months after the sodomy complaint was lodged, reports Malaysiakini.
The opposition leader had earlier made repeated requests for the report, which was lodged by ex-aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan on June 28.
The police however said they would provide a copy of the report only after Anwar had been charged.
But despite being charged for sodomy on Aug 7, Anwar did not get the crucial police report. Anwar’s lawyers have argued that without the report, it would be difficult for them to prepare his defence.
Last Thursday, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar - who oversees the police - was reported as saying that Anwar should be given the police report as he is entitled to it under the law.
Anwar, who revealed that he had finally got the police report, said at a press conference today that he found yet another inconsistency in Saiful’s complaint but he did not elaborate on the matter.
“We have found there was another inconsistency in the police report that was given to us - six weeks later, (and) on the instruction of the minister,” he told reporters in Yayasan Aman building in Permatang Pauh, where the party’s election campaign office is located.
The politician, who is contesting as a PKR candidate in the Aug 26 Permatang Pauh by-election, is making a bid to return to Parliament after a 10-year hiatus as he struggled to fight the fresh sodomy charge.
When contacted, Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair confirmed that the legal team had received a copy of Saiful’s report at about 5pm on Friday from the police.
He however declined to provide further details on the report.
“We have no comment to make until the legal team meets and deliberates on the report.”
‘I’ve seen both medical reports’
Anwar, in making the disclosure today, argued that there was no case against him in the sodomy charge.
He argued there were discrepancies on the number of times Saiful said he was allegedly sodomised as well as the medical examination done on the alleged victim.
The PKR politician now claimed that he has seen both medical reports - the first by Hospital Pusrawi which found no signs of sodomy and a second report by Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
The second report, which has yet to be made public, is widely believed to have supported the 23-year-old’s allegation that he was sodomised.
Anwar’s statement today however claimed otherwise.
“I have seen the first medical report and privy to the second medical report. Based on that, there is no case (for me) to answer,” he stressed during the 45-minute press conference.
Saiful had on Friday swore on the Quran that he was sodomised by Anwar.
However, the politician dismissed it as a political gimmick and questioned Saiful’s timing, who took the oath on the eve of nominations for the Permatang Pauh by-election. - excerpts from Malaysiakini - http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87973
As it stands now, PKR's Anwar looks a sure bet to win this seat which was vacated by his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on July 31. It was a move to get Anwar back into Parliament after an absence of 10 years.(BN expects a tough fight but BN confident of victory: read here )
His most potent challenger is still BN's Arif Shah Omar Shah, a local man just like Anwar, as well as the incumbent Seberang Jaya state representative.The third candidate is Hanafi Hamat, the president of PAS splinter party Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim).
Arif Shah, 51, was the first to submit his nomination form.Dressed in a yellow baju Melayu, he was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to the nomination centre at Dewan Aminuddin Baki of the Tuanku Bainun Teaching Institute.
He submitted his nomination papers to returning officer Roslan Yahaya as soon as the centre opened at 9am.He was followed by Anwar who wore a light blue baju Melayu.
The opposition icon once again exuded confidence in winning the seat as he entered the nomination centre at about 9.05am
"I feel good", Anwar replied when asked by Malaysiakini how he felt about contesting again after 10 years in hiatus.
Senior to Arif Shah by 10 years, Anwar was the Permatang Pauh division chief at the time the former was its youth chief.
At the nomination centre today, the former deputy premier looked cheerful in the presence of his wife, children, Pakatan leaders and thousands of his supporters.
Also present was PAS' spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who despite being unwell still insisted on being there.
BN also had a strong presence. Seen lending their support today were Gerakan acting president Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who is also Penang BN chairperson, MIC president S Samy Vellu, MCA vice-president Ong Tee Keat, BN Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein, Wanita Umno vice-head Shahrizat Jalil and Umno information head Muhammad Muhamad Taib. - malaysiakini
More reports on nomination day go here, here and here .
Picture : Courtesy of the Star: The BN Candidate Arif Shah (left) shaking hands with PKR candidate Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (right) and Independent candidate Hanafi Hamat,61, (centre) looks on after completing their nomination at Maktab Perguruan Tuanku Bainun in Mengkuang, Bukit Mertajam, Saturday.
Below is an excerpt from Malaysiakini
Saiful's bombshellAnd here are the questions posed to Saiful and his answers during the press conference.
This evening, Saiful dropped a bombshell on his former employer when he surprised everyone by taking a religious oath.
After declaring the authenticity of his allegations in the mosque, the former PKR volunteer proceeded to give his first press conference in a hotel at Jalan Ipoh.
Flanked by his father and lawyer, Saiful said that the timing of his "revelations and oath-taking" was not politically motivated and that it was his own undertaking.
He also said it was a coincidence that he was making this revelations one day before the nominations for the by-election.
Who witnessed the oath-taking at the mosque?
Saiful's lawyer Zamri: All the FT Mosque imams.
Where have you been hiding all this time?
Saiful: I've not been hiding but I was quietly gathering enough courage to answer all the allegations against me, especially by Anwar Ibrahim.
Why did you pick today and the FT Mosque?
I've been intending to do this for some time now but it needs mental and spiritual strength as taking an oath is not something trivial or easy. The consequences can be very dire in the eyes of God. Nevertheless, Allah has given me the strength to take the oath today.
Is it because tomorrow is the nomination date for Permatang Pauh by-election?
How do you feel after taking your oath?
I feel relieved and for the first time, I feel that I've been given the strength by Allah to face reporters.
Was it consensual?
I wish to stress here that it was done without my consent.
Do you intend to campaign in Permatang Pauh?
This is not a political matter, it is a private matter between me and Anwar Ibrahim.
Are the allegations you've made against Anwar frivolous?
Everything happened without my consent.
Some people have said that you were sodomised more than once?
I will answer that in court later.
Were you examined at Hospital Pusrawi?
I will answer that in court later.
Why did you go to Hospital Pusrawi first?
I will answer that in court later.
You did go to Hospital Pusrawi, right?
I will answer that in court later. I'm not like Anwar Ibrahim and do not wish to conduct a trial by media. I will give my statement in court and cooperate with them later.
Is this the first time you have been sodomised?
Yes, first time.
The timing of your swearing is very close to the nomination date for the Permatang Pauh by-election. Please explain.
It's all a coincidence. We don't know that Anwar is going to contest and I wish to stress here that I need strength and God has given it to me now. It so happens that it is Friday today. (We/he didn’t know? Liar! Didn't you wish him 'good luck' in your blog on Aug 1st? 'Kepada DSAI, saya mengucapkan selamat bertanding! ' Read here and here).
Were you ever in love with Anwar?
Have you made a police report and can we have a copy of it?
I made the police report at 5.30pm but at 6.30pm it's already everywhere via the SMS and Internet. I wrote the police report myself.
How many times and why did you go and see Najib Abdul Razak?
I will answer that in court later.
Read also: Malaysiakini's Hadi: Saiful's swearing a stupid act here.
(This is an act of sheer desperation. How low can they go? Using virtually every trick to stop Anwar from contesting the by-election. Saiful, you’re a downright liar. Stop invoking the name of Allah. You are making a mockery of Islam. You got the strength from the people who are giving you protection lah. This whole episode is a private matter between you and Anwar, you said. Then why the hell did you tell the whole world (and blogged about it too) that your butt had been poked? Moron!)
BN's Arif: 'Who can defeat Anwar? I can'
...The 52-year-old Arif Shah - who is also the Seberang Jaya state assemblyperson - said his selection was unexpected.
He broke into tears hearing the announcement, and his supporters were up on their feet applauding him. It is not BN's norm to select a by-electioncandidate who is already holding office- in a state assembly or Parliament.
The candidate nevertheless took the podium without haste and declared his readiness for the uphill battle, to the approval of the 1,500-odd BN supporters gathered.
In his short speech - punctuated with Mandarin sentences - he asked voters to give BN a chance and pledged to serve all communities equally.
The Umno man, popular among locals, is known for his constituencyservices and can speak fluent Mandarin, an advantage in BN's bid to woo back Chinese voters.
He successfully defended his state seat in the last general election, whilst his Umno colleagues faltered. - Malaysiakini
By-election: Arif Shah is BN's choice
Najib later told reporters that Arif Shah was picked because he had successfully defended the Seberang Jaya seat in the last general election, which was an exception when almost all other Umno/BN candidates had tumbled.
The Seberang Jaya state constituency is one of three state seats under Permatang Pauh. The other two - Permatang Pasir and Penanti - are presently held by PAS and PKR respectively.
On the rare BN practice to select a standing state representative to contest for a by-election, Najib said "this is not a BN tradition but there is nothing to stop us from making this decision as it is not against (BN) constitution".
"There are a few opposition leaders who also contested on both parliamentary and state seats in the last general election," he said.
As for the candidate himself, Arif Shah said that he was confident of wrestling the seat away from PKR. He however added that he might not be able to do so with an overwhelming majority.
"Anwar may be good in one thing but not everything. People need a service-oriented MP," he added.
The seat fell vacant after its incumbent Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail vacated it on July 31 to allow her husband Anwar to contest as a way back to the Parliament.
Nomination is on Aug 16, coming Saturday.
Arif Shah was among the front-runner to be chosen by Umno to run for this by-election. The other favourite candidate was party state treasurer and former deputy minister of rural development Zainal Abidin Osman.
Local residents told Malaysiakini that Arif Shah had "multiracial and youthful appeal" and was "well-liked beyond communal boundaries, are enterprising and untainted clean personality".
Arif Shah's ace in the sleeve is that, he is familiar with Anwar's political style, having served as Permatang Pauh Youth chief when Anwar headed the Umno division there.
The are 58,459 voters - of which 490 are postal voters - as of July 31 at this constituency. - Malaysiakini
"If the government thinks there has been any wrongdoing (by the Bar Council), there are other ways to arrest the problem," Salahuddin clarified today (Tuesday).
"But I'm not in favour of using the ISA against anyone," he reiterated.
Salahuddin also claimed that he was wronged in the portrayal of his role last Saturday.
He said he was not there to disrupt the proceedings and merely there to ensure that "matters did not go out of hand".
"When I realised that other Muslims would be attending the forum, including PAS and other Islamic NGOs, I joined in.
"However, my attendance was to ensure that PAS supporters did not become unruly and cause any problems," he added.
Forum title not apt
Salahuddin was nevertheless apprehensive of the forum's title and said it was misleading and had caused confusion to the public.
"They should have worded it better instead of calling it ‘Conversion to Islam'," said Salahuddin.
He also suggested that future similar forums should be held behind closed doors.
"I appreciate intellectual discussions but they should not make it public. They should also invite more PAS, muftis and other Islamic scholars."
Another Pakatan Rakyat coalition MP, Zulkifli Noordin, who was among the key players in the demonstration, has since gone missing.
Family, friends and fellow parliamentarians from PKR have also failed to contact him since then.
However, the police have denied that the Bandar Baru Kulim MP was detained for his role in last Saturday's protest.
PKR deputy leader Syed Husin Ali had ticked him off for his role in the demonstration.
Related report Rival groups unified in protest
Wanita Umno has reportedly declared a “jihad” or holy war to prevent Opposition leader Anwar returning to Parliament in a by-election this month.
“It is a jihad because the individual should not be given the chance to destroy the country’s political stability and prosperity,” its women’s wing deputy chief Shahrizat Jalil said according to the Star which was carried by Malaysiakini
Sharizat (right), a former cabinet minister lost her seat in Parliament to Anwar’s daughter Nurul Izzah in landmark March elections that handed the opposition against the ruling coalition.
"If we allow him to lead the country, he would lead us to destruction,” she said as she launched the women’s wing campaign for the Aug 26 by-election in Anwar’s home state of Penang.
"A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market, is a nation that is afraid of its people." - John F. Kennedy
Israel's failure to learn
By Nir Rosen (Aljazeera)
When George Bush, the US president, first entered the White House as the commander-in-chief in 2001, Palestinians were being killed in the al-Aqsa intifada.
Eight years later, as Bush prepares to leave office, Israel is carrying out one of the largest massacres in its 60-year occupation of Palestine.
The US, then and now, strongly backs Israel's offensive, justifying it as being, in fact, defensive.To continue read here ...