Saturday, 28 February 2009

Chemical-laced water sprayed on crowd in brickfields - Malaysiakini

Police sprayed chemical-laced water into a crowd of about 300 people who had come to the Bricksfields police station to lodge a report against the alleged mistreatment of detained Hindraf leader P. Uthayakumar.

Police have arrested 17 people, (according to latest report) including Kapar MP S Manikavasagam and Police Watch and Human Rights Committee coordinator S Jayathas.

Malaysiakini has the report:

Chaos broke out at the Brickfields police station this morning as the police sprayed chemical-laced water into about 300 supporters of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar.

The Hindraf leader's supporters were demanding proper medical treatment for Uthayakumar.

Police arrested 12, including Kapar MP S Manikavasagam and Police Watch and Human Rights Committee coordinator S Jayathas.

Puchong MP and DAP leader Gobind Singh Deo was also present at the police station to show support.

However, at 12.45pm the crowd had dispersed, leaving only the police and some press at the scene.

The situation turned chaotic when the crowd was believed to have turned up to lodge “hundreds” of police reports against the authorities for alleged mistreatment of Uthayakumar.

This also came a week after Kapar MP S Manikavasagam had given a seven-day ultimatum to the police to give proper treatment to Uthayakumar, or else “hundreds” of police reports against the authorities would be lodged.

Previously, Uthayakumar’s friends and supporters had also warned that the authorities would face street demonstrations should he not be given proper
medical attention.

“If anything happens to Uthayakumar, the Malaysian Indians won’t keep quiet. We will fight (for his treatment),” Kapar MP S Manikavasagam told a press conference in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur last week.

Uthayakumar, a diabetic, has broken several toes on his left foot on Jan 31 while in the Kamunting detention camp.

Read Bernama report here
Picture: Riot police using water cannons on a group of protesters outside the Brickfields police station in Kuala Lumpur. - AFP Picture

Friday, 27 February 2009

Toll hike postponed indefinitely

The toll hike for five major highways that was set to take place on Sunday has been postponed indefinitely.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohammed said the decision was made due to the negative public reaction and the current economic situation, the Star reports.

“As a result, the Cabinet decided today (Friday) to postpone the toll hike indefinitely,” he told a press conference at the Works Ministry here on Friday.

The five affected highways are North-South Expressway (Plus), Sprint Highway (Sprint), Ampang Elevated Highway (Akleh), Sungai Besi Highway (Besraya) and New Pantai Expressway (NEP).

The toll hike, had it taken place, would have increased toll rates on the North-South Expressway by 0.68sen per km; the Sprint Highway by between 30sen and 50sen; the Sungai Besi Highway (Besraya) by 10sen; the Ampang-Kuala Lmpur Elevated Highway (Akleh) by 50sen and the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) by 40sen.

The announcement yesterday was met with strong opposition from consumer groups, lorry and bus associations as well as Members of Parliament from both sides of the House.

They said it was not a good time to increase toll rates considering the economic situation.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is in Thailand for the Asean Defence Ministers meeting, had also asked for the decision to be reconsidered.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

A concerned citizen’s plea to Malaysian politicians...

Blogger Anas Zubedy took a full page advertisement in The Star today with an appeal to Malaysian polticians to “stop the power chase, call for a truce and focus on the economy."

“Pls forward, email, blogpost, facebook this message if you share the same sentiments, thanx, anas zubedy, " he wrote in his blog .

I am reproducing his plea below because I believe he speaks for many of us.

===============================================

Dear Malaysian Politicians,

Please stop the power chase, call for a truce and focus on the economy.

I do not claim to speak on behalf of all Malaysians, but I have strong convictions that many share my sentiments.

Our concern today is not who rules the country or heads the state governments but the looming bad economy.

Whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat leads, it is meaningless if Malaysians have no job to go to, no money to pay rent and no means to put food on the table.

I am a business owner, like other business owners and managers of corporations I have a responsibility to ensure people under my care and payroll continue to have jobs and a decent income to take home. We work hard and willing to go the extra mile to make sure our nation not only survive this crisis but come out stronger and wiser. We need your help.

Let me explain. I am in the business of Training, Development and Consultancy and have 20 people in my team.

Saedah is 42. She keeps the office clean and helps organise the training rooms. She has four children and her husband is unemployed. She was first hired on a part time basis, because she is very hard working and has a great attitude, we offered her a full time job to help provide a stable income for her family. Even then, when her third child started school this year, it was a struggle for her to buy new school uniforms and other necessities. Saedah lives on a ‘kais bulan, makan bulan’ basis, so, if she is jobless, her tap runs dry.

Samsuri is 27 years old. He lives with his sister and her family in a low cost government flat in Sunway. He does our despatch, helps with various clerical works and occasionally acts as a driver. During the first week at zubedy, we learned that he not only did not have money to buy new clothes and shoes for work, he had no money for lunch. Like Saedah, if he has no job, his tap runs dry too.

Alicia in Client Servicing turns 26 this year. She lives with her dad who is 71 years old and retired. Her mom passed away when she was little. Alicia is a hard-working team member, has a gentle caring outlook and fun to be with. (We like to poke fun at her as she blushes easily). Last May her dad went through a major operation, thank God he has recovered well. Alicia needs a job, both for herself and her dad.

Sudesh, 38, is one of our facilitators. When his father passed away last year, he moved back and lives with his mother in Seremban. He shuttles between Kuala Lumpur and Seremban daily, leaving home sometimes as early as 4 in the morning and returning late at night. He is no stranger to hard work and sacrifice, he knows what he needs to do to survive and to care for his mother, but he too needs a job.

Like fellow Malaysians, every one of us in zubedy needs employment, those that live from hand to mouth like Saedah and Samsuri and others like Alicia and Sudesh with family to care for. We Malaysians need the Malaysian economy to be strong. We need you, our leaders, to work hard and to work together to make our economy viable.

So this is my plea.

Pakatan Rakyat, please stop your attempts to take over the federal government and persuade BN’s lawmakers to join you. Stop all legal proceedings, no more 916 and let go, just let go. The nation can wait till the next general elections if they want change. By doing so, Malaysians will see your party as caring, unselfish and gracious and give you their support in the next elections.

Barisan Nasional, please stop any attempts to take over PR states and win over PR’s lawmakers. You have proven your point with Perak. The nation can wait for the next general elections if they want your party. Focus all your talent, energy and hard work in steering the country out of an economic downturn. By doing so, Malaysians will see your party as caring, unselfish and smart and give you their support in the next elections.

BN and PR! Call for a truce. Get together and compromise. Someone has to give in. Or has hate consumed your heart till it blinds you? You can do it. You have enough intelligent people between you. I am sure you can find solutions. Take the nation to heart. That is why you are in politics in the first place.

Focus on the people.

Focus on the economy.

Anas Zubedy
Managing Director
Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

JC recuses himself from hearing case against Perak MB

(source: The Star)

Judicial Commissioner Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof has recused himself from hearing the judicial review filed by former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin challenging the validity of his successor’s appointment, saying he made the decision based on the principles of justice.

“The primary concern must be that justice must manifestly be seen to be done,” he said.

Justice Mohamad Ariff noted that his involvement would court controversy “whether rightly or wrongly”.

He said his decision was not an outcome or a reaction against adverse comments on blogsites or certain sections of the mainstream media.

“It will be a sorry day for the judiciary if a judge’s conduct has to be conditioned by these extraneous factors, since they will fetter the independence of the judiciary unduly,” he said.

Justice Mohamad Ariff noted that case laws did not point in a clear and consistent direction on the “real danger of bias” test.

“The pragmatic problem is this - how is a judge in my position to decide objectively that there is a real danger or possibility of bias if I am to proceed to hear the case? Continue here .

S’gor Sultan: It’s up to MB to decide on Elizabeth Wong’ fate - Malaysiakini

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has refused to get himself involved in the controversy involving Bukit Lanjan assemblywoman Elizabeth Wong over a photo scandal.

While he has expressed sadness over the controversy, he could not offer any guidance or advice over the issue because the case is still under police investigation. – Malaysiakini


"It is His Royal Highness' stance as the Sultan of Selangor to be above politics," said the sultan’s private secretary, Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani, in a press statement today.

The sultan added that he believes the decision to be made by Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim on the matter will be “fair and with wisdom” and will take into consideration the interest of the rakyat and the state.

"His Royal Highness is upset and worried as of late the intrusion of someone's privacy and private rights was being used to destroy one's dignity and reputation," said Mohamad Munir.

"It is a sad thing as one's life and private rights were being made public and subject to public scrutiny by publicising in the mass media."

The sultan expressed sympathy for Wong and hoped that she will "remain calm and be patient in continuing with her life henceforth".

Wong, 37, was thrust into the spotlight following the circulation of her photographs, which is now being investigated by the police.

The Selangor exco, who has repeatedly maintained that she is a victim, has since offered to resign from her exco post as well as her state assembly seat.

She left the country last Thursday for a break, saying she could no longer stand the immense stress brought on by the controversy.

Khalid had last week said he would seek the views of the sultan on how to handle the matter.

The menteri besar subsequently had an audience with Sultan Sharafuddin today where he briefed him on the Wong controversy.

In a press conference this afternoon, Khalid said that the state government would only be making a decision on Wong's fate of the police have completed investigations into the matter.

"After a discussion among all the exco relating to this matter at the cabinet meeting today, the state government has decided to extend Wong's leave while waiting for the police investigation."

Khalid also expressed appreciation for PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's show of support over allegations that he was involved in abuse of power.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has said it found "good and strong" evidence against Khalid and would recommend that he face prosecution.

Khalid is accused of spending taxpayers' money to buy 46 cows that were slaughtered and distributed in his constituency during the Hari Raya Korban festival last December.

He was also reportedly accused of using funds belonging to state-owned firms to buy a Lexus SUV worth nearly RM1 million, and maintaining it at government expense.

Khalid has denied all the charges.

According to the menteri besar, Sultan Sharafuddin was informed about the two issues at their meeting in Shah Alam's Istana Mestika.

"The sultan has stated his stand of not against the use of personal car as an official vehicle so long as all legal procedures are followed," said Khalid.

"With regards to cattle being sacrificed for meat for the poor, the sultan has no objection to such efforts and in fact, encourages such welfare work to be continued and expanded in all areas in Kuala Lumpur, including Bandar Tun Razak."


(Rightly so. I don’t understand for the life of me why the MB has to seek an audience with His Highness on something that he can handle himself. What does he expect the Sultan to do? )

Monday, 23 February 2009

PAS wants "heart-to-heart" talk with Khalid over "the cows & car" graft allegations - Malaysiakini

Selangor PAS wants a "heart to heart" meeting with Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim to enable him to clear the air over the ‘car and cows’ graft allegations leveled against him. - Malaysiakini .

In a 'less than full support' statement, Selangor PAS said Khalid should reveal the decisions that he expects to make in dealing with the allegations.

“If Khalid is to be prosecuted, we urge that his reaction is based on rationality in order to protect the image of the state government while respecting the rule of law.”

Though PAS did not specify what Khalid should do if he was charged in court, the Islamic party appeared to strongly hint that the menteri besar should step down.

The Islamic party, which had a special meeting on Saturday night, has nevertheless expressed sympathy to Khalid and his family over the controversy.

“We appeal to PAS members and the people of Selangor to remain calm and keep an open mind in facing this problem,” said the party, which met late Saturday night.

Selangor PAS has been seen trying to distance itself from the Pakatan-led government in recent weeks, especially in the wake of the controversy involving photos of PKR state assemblywoman Elizabeth Wong.

Last Friday, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said it has found "good and strong" evidence against Khalid, breaking its own policy of not commenting on ongoing investigations.

This was in relation to accusations that he has misused state funds in maintaining his luxury car, and the donation of cows to his Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary constituency for Hari Raya Haji.

The investigation papers have been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Khalid has denied any wrongdoing in the two matters and has sued Selangor Opposition leader Dr Mohd Khir Toyo for defamation.‘

Selangor PAS, while expressing support for MACC in the fight against corruption, said the commission must act “without fear or favour”.

“We hope that Khalid will not be victimised by any party with the intention of destabilising the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor,” read the statement.

“We are behind him fully and we support his efforts to place Selangor under the framework of clean, transparent and governance with integrity.”

The party said Khalid and his executive councillors have been consistent about implementing graft-free policies in the 11 months that the state has been led by Pakatan.

“In less than a year, Khalid and his excos have managed to create that clean and transparent environment...

"It is to be expected that certain quarters will try to tarnish the image of our top leadership,” it noted, adding that the state government should be ready for “more aggression’ in this respect.

Najib shuts the door on Labu LCCT

(Source The NST)

DEPUTY Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday quashed any possibility of reviving the proposed low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Labu,Negri Sembilan.

"We have decided. The project in Labu cannot continue because Sime Darby will not cover the infrastructure cost. They will only sell the land to the party developing the LCCT," he told the Malaysian media here.

Najib, who is also finance minister, said the infrastructure cost related to the proposed LCCT in Labu would amount to RM800 million."I received confirmation from Sime Darby.

If they are not contributing (towards the infrastructure cost), then there is no basis for the project to be considered." Najib said the new LCCT would be built at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.

He said AirAsia's requirements for the new LCCT, such as parking charges, were being negotiated.

It was reported last week that the proposal for the Labu LCCT was still under discussion.

A Bernama report quoted Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat as saying in a written reply in Parliament that a final decision had not been made on whether to proceed with or scrap the proposal to build the terminal.

The report said a comprehensive study was being done to ensure that the project was feasible and would benefit the people. Ong also reportedly said AirAsia Bhd would have to bear the cost of building the new LCCT as well as take on the connectivity costs, such as constructing roads and rail tracks and other infrastructure.

'MB didn't order cows and it's his Lexus' – Malaysiakini

The Pakatan Rakyat has hit out at corruption allegations against Selangor Menteri Besar who is accused of misusing public funds to maintain his luxury car and to buy cattle for Hari Raya Korban, Malaysiakini reported quoting AFP.

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) after complaints were filed by a Barisan Nasional leader.

Khalid is accused of spending taxpayers' money to buy 46 cows that were slaughtered and distributed in his constituency during the Hari Raya Korban festival last December.

He was also reportedly accused of using funds belonging to state-owned firms to buy a Lexus SUV worth nearly RM1 million, and maintaining it at government expense.

Khalid has denied all the charges.

His lawyer Sankara Nair dismissed the MACC's findings, which he said were"unjustified and appeared to be motivated by political consideration".

"The cattle purchase was never ordered by Khalid personally," Sankara told AFP on Sunday.

"The Lexus is his own personal car which he was using even before he became the menteri besar, while the maintenance expenses for official purposes were all approved by the state," he added.

The MACC's findings came under fire from opposition politicians who questioned the commission's motives in revealing details of the probe even before the attorney-general decides whether there is a case against Khalid.

"The law is clear. It states that a person is innocent until he is proven guilty," said DAP leader Karpal Singh.

The broadside against Khalid is the latest political drama in recent weeks, after the Barisan Nasional seized control of Perak.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Update: Of Car & Cows: S'gor MB could be charged – Malaysiakini

Updated 6pm:

Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim could be charged in connection with the allegations of abuse of power in the maintenance of a luxury car and purchase of cattle in conjunction with the Hari Raya Korban celebrations . - Malaysiakini .

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today said it has strong evidence against him.

Speaking to reporters in Penang, MACC chief commissioner Ahmad Said Hamdan (picture left) said investigations have been wrapped up and it is up to the attorney-general to take further action.

"The MACC can decide but it would be better for the attorney-general to consider and take action, it involves a VIP and we have to be fair to everyone," he said.

He was responding to a question on why MACC did not proceed to prosecute Abdul Khalid, which is within its powers to do so.

Two lawsuits filed

On Wednesday, Khalid had filed two suits against former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo regarding the 'car and cows' allegations which appeared in the New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia.

Mohd Khir had alleged that the current menteri besar had purchased a Lexus as his official car.

However, Khalid later clarified that the car was his own but he was using it for official purposes as well.

Following this, an anti-corruption watchdog filed a MACC report accusing Khalid of using public funds to maintain the vehicle.

On the cattle issue, Khalid was accused of misusing RM110,400 of state funds for the purchase of cattle for his Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary constituency in conjunction with the Hari Raya Korban celebrations.

The menteri besar later explained that the arrangements to purchase and donate the cattle were made solely by the state agency, Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) and the donor companies, without his or his officers' involvement.


Why the double standards?

Meanwhile, Khalid's lawyer Sankara Nair expressed deep regret over the statement by the MACC chief that there is strong evidence to show that the menteri besar had misused his powers.

"It has been the norm in MACC's practice hitherto not to make statements indicating or stating the culpability of a person who is being investigated or at the end of the said investigation.

"In this particular case, MACC had chosen to depart from the time honoured norm and as such it clearly reeks of double-standards," he told a press conference in Shah Alam.

Sankara said it is disturbing that MACC, in this instance, had singled out his client who is an opposition politician to "look guilty in the eyes of the public before he is charged in court or convicted."

"Let me reiterate that the protocol on the decision to prosecute places a very heavy burden on the prosecution and the mere stating of the technicality without the essential element of mens rea (criminal intent) does not certainly meet the standards to pursue prosecution.

"I therefore urge the MACC to act professionally at all time," he added.

In a another development, the MACC would also investigate allegations of abuse of power by Perak state assembly speaker V Sivakumar for suspending Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six state executive councillors from the assembly."If it's true that there has been abuse of power, the MACC will take appropriate action," said Ahmad Said.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Al Fatiha: Artist Datuk Ibrahim Hussein dies of heart attack

One of Malaysia's finest artists, Datuk Ibrahim Hussein (picutre right), passed away early today aged 72.

Ib, as he was affectionately known, was buried at the Bukit Kiara cemetery this afternoon.

He leaves behind Sim, his wife and soul-mate of 35 years, and daughter Alia, 30.

The widely-recognised artist is perhaps better known outside Malaysia, with one international critic describing his abstract work as “futuristic and it is through a distinctive ordering of lines that he expresses differing complexities of form and dimensions.”

Ib used a medium he called “‘printage”’ - a mixture of printing and collage.

He was also founder of the Ibrahim Hussein Museum and Cultural Foundation in Langkawi.

More on Allahyarham; here

Semoga rohnya dirahmati Allah SWT. Amiin.

Picture: Taken from 3540 Jalan Sudin (without permission)

Embattled Elizabeth Wong goes overseas – Malaysiakini

Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson and Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong (picture left), currently embroiled in a nude photographs controversy, today left the country for an undisclosed location overseas.

Wong also confirmed her determination to relinquish all her posts, despite the numerous calls for her to change her mind. – Malaysiakini

In a statement released to the press, Wong said:

“This is the darkest episode in my life. I have never felt so alone, vulnerable and humiliated. I need to rest and to search for peace of mind to get away from the stormy events surrounding me.

“I have informed my party leaders that I am determined to relinquish all my positions, as a Selangor state exco member as well as the state assemblywoman for Bukit Lanjan.”

Wong on Tuesday offered to resign from her state cabinet post and state assembly seat after nude photographs of her were distributed in public.

She has since lodged a police report, seeking an investigation into the matter.It is believed that the photographs were taken while she was sleeping and without her consent.

Although Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar yesterday said police will record a statement from Wong’s former boyfriend, she warned that the controversy was far from over.

“I have been informed that they will continue to publish even more lewd graphical, sensational stories of my private life. I have also been told there will be a fresh assault, with more photographs and videos released and circulated in order to completely degrade and bury me,” Wong said.

However, the former boyfriend has gone missing and is believed to be overseas.

In a moving SMS message to her close friends today, Wong wrote:

“Please remember me as the person I was, not what they are now making me to be.”

Cancelled: Arrest warrant for Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman

(Source: The Star)

IPOH: The arrest warrant for Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Jailu was cancelled after he produced a medical certificate (MC) to justify his absence from his corruption trial last week.

Sessions Court Judge Azhaniz Teh Azman Teh cancelled the order after receiving Mohd Osman’s MC, which was issued for four days from Feb 9 to 12 by the Selayang Hospital.

“My client was warded at the hospital’s cardiac care unit as he was unwell.

“He is due for his next appointment on Feb 27,” defence counsel Abdul Roni Rahman told the court Thursday.

The MC was issued on Feb 10, the day corruption charges were scheduled to begin against Mohd Osman, 57, involving a multimillion-ringgit project in Seri Iskandar, Perak Tengah.

Last August Mohd Osman, together with four others including 52-year-old Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, claimed trial in separate courts to 16 corruption charges amongst them.

The other three were PKR politician Usaili Alias, 56; Perak State Development Corporation technician Ruslan Sahat, 46, and then Perak Tengah district councillor Zul Hassan, 45.

A month later, businessman Fairul Azrim Ismail, 31, was charged with accepting a woman as sexual gratification from one Mohamad Imran Abdullah to help the latter secure the project.

Met outside the court later, Mohd Osman, whose grim expression in the dock had been replaced by a smile, told reporters he would be returning to his kampung (village) to rest.

Asked what had been wrong with him, he said: “Sakit jantung (heart ailment). I had heart pains and was admitted to the CCU.”

Mohd Osman appeared healthy and was puffing away on a cigarette while speaking to reporters.

Asked to comment on state assembly speaker V. Sivakumar’s move to suspend and bar Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and his six exco members from state assembly sittings, Mohd Osman said:

“I reserve my comments.”

Hearing of the case will continue on June 15 and 16.

Mohd Osman's resignation from PKR, part of the Pakatan Rakyat alliance which took control of Perak after the general election last march, played a big part in seeing Barisan Nasional taking over the state government.

Najib slams Pakatan for linking BN to nude photos - Malaysiakini

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak yesterday lambasted the opposition for linking Barisan Nasional to the circulation of Selangor state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong’s nude photographs.

He challenged the opposition to prove its claim and not make wild allegations. - Malaysiakini.

Saying that the BN was not involved in the incident, the BN deputy chairperson said the opposition should not accuse without proof.

"Accuse for what... prove who did it. I don't know anything about the matter, suddenly it erupted in the newspapers.

"One should show proof if one wants to accuse. Don't just talk, don't just accuse wildly," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Several PKR members, including its advisor, Anwar Ibrahim had accused BN of being responsible for the circulation of the nude photographs of Wong, who is also the Wanita PKR information chief and Bukit Lanjan state assemblyperson.

In a related development, the Women's Parliamentary Caucus released a statement expressing sympathy and regret over the incident.

"We are of the opinion that one's privacy is a fundamental right and it must be respected by all parties... taking photographs without her consent is a despicable act and we condemn it," said the caucus presided by 23 women MPs.

The caucus also demanded that stern legal action to be taken against the perpetrators as photographing and distributing such material is akin to sexual harassment.

They also pleaded to the public to avoid distributing the photos and to destroy them in order to protect Wong's dignity.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Nizar vs Zambry: Judge offers to recuse himself

The Kuala Lumpur High Court Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Arif Md Yusof has offered to recuse himself from hearing the lawsuit filed by former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin against his successor Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

The suit was filed after the Pakatan Rakyat government lost the state to Barisan Nasional with the resignation of three assemblymen from their parties, and the defection of a fourth, according to the Star.

Nizar wants the court, by way of judicial review, to declare him the legitimate mentri besar and for an injunction to stop Dr Zambry or his agents from carrying out the duties and functions of the mentri besar.

At the onset of the proceedings Wednesday, Mohamad Arif said he has been a legal advisor and counsel for PAS on a number of election petition cases. Nizar is a member of PAS, which together with PKR and DAP, makes up the Pakatan alliance.

“I have also been involved in PAS legal matters from time to time, and have advised PKR on legal issues,” Mohamad Arif said.

“I have also acted for Barisan in an election petition in Sarawak,” he added.

“I tend to think that to preserve justice and the integrity of the institution, perhaps I should recuse myself from hearing this matter,” he said.

He set Feb 23 for counsel from both sides to brief him on whether they had any objection to him hearing the matter, as well as on two other issues:

First, whether the matter should be referred to the Federal Court over the question of law for determination and finality, over intepretation of Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution.

Second, on the standing of Perak’s state legal advisor Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid acting as counsel for the respondent since Dr Zambry is being sued in his personal capacity.

The five-page suit, filed last Friday, also asks for “punitive, aggravated and exemplary” damages to be awarded to Nizar. Continue here

Exco Elizabeth Wong's fate to be decided next Wed? - Malaysiakini

Feb 18, 09 6:34pm

Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim will meet the state ruler next Wednesday to brief him on the controversy surrounding executive councillor Elizabeth Wong. - Malaysiakini .

Khalid said he will seek the views of Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah on how to handle the matter.

"Special secretary to the sultan, Mohamad Munir Bani, informed that the sultan is currently abroad and has informed that he will be ready to meet the menteri besar next week during their weekly meeting," he said in a statement.

Wong, 37, was thrust into the spotlight following the circulation of her nude photographs, which is now being investigated by the police.

The PKR politician, who has repeatedly maintained that she is a victim, has since offered to resign from her exco post as well as the state assemblyperson for Bukit Lanjan.

"The state government hopes that the audience will result in the best solution for the state. Pending the decision, Wong will be on leave and her duties will be carried out collectively by the state exco members," added Khalid.

The mentri besar urged all parties to stop circulating the contentious photos out of respect to Wong’s privacy and called on the police to take stern action against those doing so.

Decision on Wong ‘within a month’

Elaborating on his intention to “seek guidance” from the sultan, Khalid said that it was necessary because he had previously sought royal advice when setting up his exco lineup.

“He has accepted the names, and the least we can do (now) is to get back to him to say one of my excos has decided to tender her resignation and I want to discuss the matter,” he said.

“Most likely, Tuanku would leave it to the exco to decide (on whether to accept the resignation),” he added during a press conference at the Selangor state secretariat building after chairing his weekly exco meeting.

However, he refused to divulge the details of what he intends to discuss with the sultan.

As a matter of courtesy, Khalid said Wong may also need to personally write to the sultan in order to express her intention to quit.

To a question, Khalid said he has personally instructed Wong to go on leave and a decision on her offer to resign would be decided “within a month”.

PAS ‘sympathises with Wong’s predicament’

Khalid also brushed off a Sin Chew Daily report which claimed that PKR was “warned” about the existence of Wong’s intimate pictures several months ago.

Asked on the possibility that more pictures would surface, Khalid said: “That is another speculation.”

Selangor PAS chief Dr Hassan Ali, who was also at the press conference, said that his party symphatises with Wong’s predicament and stressed that all state reps need to be of high moral fibre to safeguard the integrity of the government.

“We will take steps, along with our Pakatan friends, to help clear her name,” said Hassan, who is also a state exco member.

When Malaysiakini visited Wong’s office this afternoon, her staff were working as usual and there were several bouquets outside her office from well wishers and supporters.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Update: Elizabeth Wong to resign in the interest of party - Malaysiakini

Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong (pic. left) today offered to quit from her state cabinet post and state assembly seat following her nude photographs controversy .- Malaysiakini

Wong, who first appeared calm, could not hold back her tears when announcing her decision to quit during a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Tropicana.

"I have received overwhelming support from my family, my constituents, colleagues in Pakatan Rakyat, friends and the public.

"However, in the interest of the party, I have decided to offer my resignation as exco and state rep," she said.

"I will discuss with Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim to arrange for the proper hand over of my responsibilities. I will continue to serve the people and fight for justice.

"I have done no wrong and I am not ashamed of my sexuality as a woman and as a single person. I have broken no law and everyone has a right to privacy," she added.

Her announcement was met with cries of protest from some 30 supporters who had gathered with placards and flowers urging her to stay on.

It is now up to Khalid and the party leadership to decide on whether to accept her resignation.

Also present at the press conference were Pakatan Rakyat leaders R Sivarasa, Teresa Kok and Xavier Jayakumar.

Both Teresa and Xavier later urged Wong to reconsider her decision.

Met later, Jayakumar, who is a PKR supreme council member and Selangor exco, denied that there was any 'internal pressure' for Wong to quit.

PKR media coordinator Ginie Lim said Wong's resignation letter had been sent to the MB's office in Shah Alam this morning.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar in the meantime said that PKR will make a decision on Wong's status when she returns from extended leave.

Despite being pressed repeatedly, Anwar refused to provide a direct answer as to how long the embattled politician will be on leave.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, he said:

"I can only use the strongest possible terms to condemn the smear tactics used against her.

"One can only wonder to what depths the people behind this will stoop to achieve their ends."

The PKR supremo also described the Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson as a responsible and courageous leader who has been with the party since 2004.

"She has spoken at length to (Anwar's wife and PKR president Dr Wan) Azizah (Wan Ismail) and me. We have discussed the issues and we understand her reasons and the decision she has taken."

Earliert report here.

Related Stories:
PKR to decide after rep returns from break

The victim should not be punished, says Guan Eng

Nude photos: Elizabeth Wong offers to quit - Malaysiakini

Feb 17, 09 8:32am

Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong will offer her resignation from her state cabinet post and state assembly seat following her nude photographs controversy. - Malaysiakini

She is expected to make the annoucement at a press conference at 11am to be held at the PKR headquarters in Tropicana.

It was reported yesterday that nude photographs of Wong, who is PKR Wanita publicity chief, were being distributed in public.

It is believed that the photographs were taken - most likely by a former boyfriend - while she was sleeping and without her consent.

Apart for the photos, it is learnt that a video clip is also in circulation.

Wong, 37, has been serving as state executive councillor in charge of tourism, consumer affairs and environment for the past 11 months.According to sources, top PKR leaders who met late last night to discuss the scandal have decided to end the controversy swiftly ahead of two key by-elections.

By-election in Bukit Lanjan?

Wong was elected to the Bukit Lanjan seat - one of the three state constituencies in the Subang parliamentary seat.

The constituency covers parts of Damansara, Bandar Sri Damansara and Bandar Utama.

Should her resignation be accepted, the Election Commission will have to call a by-election in the mostly middle-class constituency within 60 days.

In the general election last year, Wong was one of the many opposition candidates who was unexpectedly swept into power on the back of widespread dissatisfaction with the Barisan Nasional.

The PKR politician, in her maiden campaign, polled 12,125 votes against incumbent assemblyperson, Gerakan’s Yong Dai Ying, who bagged 6,970 votes.

Wong won with a majority of 5,155.

If the seat is vacated, one likely PKR candidate is former Gerakan Federal Territory chief and ex-deputy minister Dr Tan Kee Kwong, said sources. The former MP for Segambut joined PKR last August.

Another possible contender is ex-MCA Klang Wanita chief and former Klang MP Dr Tan Yee Kew, who also defected to PKR last year.

However, PKR may opt to run a younger candidate.

Meanwhile, Kajang state assemblyperson Lee Kim Sin of PKR is favourite to fill the exco post if Wong steps down.

Monday, 16 February 2009

PKR Exco files police report over nude pictures – Malaysiakini

Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, whose nude photographs are being circulated in public, has made a report urging the police to investigate the matter. – Malaysiakini

According to the Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson, she lodged the report at the Damansara police station in Petaling Jaya at about 11pm last night.

It is believed that the photographs were taken using a camera phone without her consent most likely by a former boyfriend while she was sleeping.

Malaysiakini has seen a couple of the photos, one of which shows the tourism, consumer affairs and environment exco, asleep naked in bed.

The 37-year-old Pakatan Rakyat politician has been severely traumatised by the release of the photos.

She told Malaysiakini that it was a gross invasion of her privacy.

"I'm a little speechless and at loss of words," she said, adding that she would leave to the police to find the culprit who circulated the photos.

The photos have been sent to a number of newspapers, including The Sun and Malay Mail, which today ran reports on the matter.

According to one of her supporters, the release of the photos is aimed at casting aspersions on her and Pakatan ahead of two crucial by-elections in April, in Kedah and Perak.

In a statement released this afternoon, Wong said she was informed that some people are trying to distribute photos/videos showing her asleep in partial nudity and also in intimate positions.

"The distribution and publication of these photos/video is a malicious attack on my personality.

"This constitutes a gross outrage on my modesty, a gross invasion of my privacy, and in particular the sanctity of my personal life. It is being done by unscrupulous persons to embarrass and discredit me.

"I am a victim in this incident," she added.

Contacted this morning, Petaling Jaya police district chief ACP Arjunaidi Mohamed confirmed that a police report had been lodged last night.

"We have not seen the photographs yet. We have to determine how the photos are being distributed before classifying the case.

"Different methods of distribution will fall under different sections (of the law)," he said, adding that police will definitely investigate the matter.

Nik Aziz: Karpal's statement was his personal opinion

The PAS spiritual leader says DAP chairman Karpal Singh is alone in his bid to file a suit against the Sultan of Perak in as far as as he is concerned.

Nik Aziz, who is the Kelantan Menteri Besar, said that Karpal's remarks on the issue were his personal opinion and not reflective of Pakatan's stand or action.

"We cannot take his statement into consideration. He is an old man; in fact, many among the young in the DAP are no longer taking him seriously," he told Bernama when met at his resident in Pulau Melaka Saturday night.

Nik Aziz said the statement by Karpal, however, would not affect relations among Pakatan parties.

Asked on the special statement by the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, expressing regret over the disputes relating to the appointment of the new Perak state government, Nik Aziz said, he had nothing to say about the matter.

"I normally refrain from making comments on any issue relating to the royalty," he said.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Perak assembly to suspend Zambry? - Malaysiakini

Zambry Abdul Kadir is now facing the possibility of being suspended from the Perak Legislative Assembly following a complaint lodged by a DAP state rep to the speaker yesterday. – Malaysiakini.

State assembly speaker V Sivakumar said today that the BN-appointed menteri besar and his excos have been summoned to face the Committee of Privileges on Wednesday.

“After studying the complaints I received from Canning state assemblyperson Wong Kah Woh, the committee in which I chair has found that there is a prima facie basis for the complaint.

“As such, the committee unanimously decided to refer all seven (Zambry and his excos) to the Committee of Privileges under the House standing order number 72,” Sivakumar told a press conference in his office yesterday.

The speaker said the committee convened a meeting on Thursday. One member, Umno’s Hasbullah Osman, however did not attend.

“He had faxed me a letter saying that he would not be attending. Nevertheless, we have sent out letters to Zambry and six others to face the committee,” said Sivakumar.

Under standing order 72 (3), the committee has the power to summon those found to have violated House regulations and rules.

On Friday, Wong filed a complaint against Zambry accusing him and the BN of taking over the Perak government unconstitutionally.In his complaint, Wong said he wants Zambry to explain “under which provision of the Perak Constitution do they base their right to form the state government.”

Given that Pakatan Rakyat has six reps in the seven- member committee, it is likely to find Zambry and company guilty.

The findings of the committee will then be tabled at the state assembly and should Pakatan manage to garner enough support to back the committee’s findings, Zambry and his excos may be punished with suspension or even expulsion.

However, Sivakumar said it is still too early to make such conclusions.

“What is most important right now is I want to inform that Zambry and six others will be referred to the committee after I found the complaint made by YB Wong to have a strong basis.

Asked if action would be taken against Zambry and the six, Sivakumar said it was not up to the committee to decide as it has to be tabled in the state assembly first.

“Only the state assembly can decide on what to do with them,” he added.Sivakumar denied that the action taken against his rivals was a form of ‘counter-attack’.

“What is done is within the rules and regulations. I am just doing my job,” the speaker said.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Simultaneous by-elections on April 7 - Malaysiakini

The Election Commission yesterday announced that the by-elections for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and the Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah will be held simultaneously on April 7. - Malaysiakini

The commission has fixed March 29 for nominations and campaigning would last 9 days.

Nominations come a day after the Umno general assembly which will be held from March 24 to 28.

This will be the first by-election for Najib Abdul Razak in his capacity as prime minister should the power transition between him and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi take place as promised next month.

Speaking after chairing a meeting in the EC headquarters in Putrajaya yesterday morning, its chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said it would be better to hold the by-elections simultaneously to avoid a long campaign period for the two seats.

"If we fix the by-elections on different dates, other issues will arise and this could threaten public security," he said.

Abdul Aziz denied that the by-election dates were fixed after taking the Umno general assembly into consideration, saying: "It has nothing to do with the Umno polls."

Everyone is comfortable with this decision because we feel the date would be suitable for the by-lections."

Even though polling falls on a working Tuesday, the EC chairperson rejected suggestions that it would negatively impact voter turn-out.

"If they feel responsible to vote, then they can always balik kampung and do their duty," said Abdul Aziz, adding that the schools involved in the by-elections will also be closed.

"But I will remain positive that the turn-out would be more than 90 percent. The higher we aim, the better," he said.

The by-elections were called after PAS parliamentarian for Bukit Gantang Roslan Shaharum died of heart attack and Bukit Selambau assemblyperson V Arumugam from PKR resigned last Monday.

The Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau seats have 55,562 and 35,140 voters respectively.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Tussle for Bukit Selambau ...

The date for the Bukit Selambau by-election has yet to be set but a tussle has already erupted between component parties namely Umno and MIC as well as DAP and PKR while the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has proposed that one of its Internal Security Act detainees be fielded.

Kedah DAP and Merbok Umno felt that they should reclaim their right to contest the seat that was once allocated to them.

DAP contested the seat up till the 2004 general election while MIC contested the seat in the last four general elections, the Star reports.

In last year’s general election, PKR’s V. Arumugam defeated MIC’s S. Krishnan by a 2,362-vote majority.

The rest of the report:
State DAP chairman Thomas Su said a proposal would be submitted to the central executive committee to field a DAP candidate.

“Traditionally, we have been contesting the seat. We allowed PKR to contest the seat last year,” he said,adding that they had three candidates in mind.

Merbok Umno chief Datuk Tajul Urus Md Zain said Umno and MIC swapped Bukit Selambau and Kuala Ketil seats in 1995.

“I propose Umno field its candidate in Bukit Selambau instead of MIC as sentiment against MIC is quite strong in the area. Umno could return the Kuala Ketil seat to MIC in the next general election,” he added.

State Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said there was nothing wrong in making such a proposal but the Umno leadership would decide.

State MIC chief Datuk V. Saravanan said: “We will not demand that MIC be given the seat, but we expect Barisan will allow the party to field its candidate.”

Meanwhile, handwritten letters from ISA detainees – Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan, V. Ganabatirau and R. Kengadharan – proposed that fellow detainee K. Vasantha Kumar be the candidate for Pakatan Rakyat.

The 36-year-old Vasantha Kumar was born and bred in Bukit Selambau.

Manoharan said he had full confidence in Vasantha Kumar who was detained under the ISA in December 2007 and would be grateful if Pakatan Rakyat nominated Vantha Kumar as a candidate.

The majority of voters in Bukit Selambau are Malays (50%), followed by Indians (29%) and Chinese (19%).

IGP: State police to decide ban on political ceramah - Malaysiakini

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said it is up to the respective state police to decide on whether a ban should be imposed on political ceramah following the political turmoil in Perak. –Malaysiakini reports.

He said the issuance of permits for the gatherings should be referred to the state police chiefs as they are responsible for the safety of their states, when contacted byMalaysiakini.

Perak has been enveloped in a political turmoil after Barisan Nasional seized control of the state last week.

Musa was responding to a PKR leader's allegation that the police have banned political rallies nationwide following the Perak turmoil.

PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin has accused the police of cancelling a ceramah permit in Bayan Baru, Penang on Sunday in view of the situation in Perak.

The ceramah was supposed to take place at a field near Sungai Nibong Tengah but after the permit was cancelled, the venue was shifted to nearby house belonging to a Pakatan Rakyat supporter.

The police's directive to clamp down on rallies comes at a time when Pakatan Rakyat is engaged in a series of daily roadshows throughout the state to explain their position to the masses.

The menteri besar's residence is also a regular hive for ceramah attended by thousands.

In an immediate reaction, Perak PAS deputy commissioner Asmuni Awi told Malaysiakini that a ban on ceramah would be unfair.

"The authorities should give us an opportunity to defend ourselves in form of a ceramah as certain media organisations are slandering us," he saaid.

"A ban won't do any good for the state of Perak but it will cause
more dissatisfaction and cause the situation to deteriorate," he added.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

PM: No ISA against Karpal, Nizar

There are no plans and need to use the Internal Security Act (ISA) on DAP chairman Karpal Singh and (former) Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Commenting on calls by several quarters to punish Karpal Singh under the act for allegedly jeopardising the security of the country by contemplating legal action against the Perak Sultan, he said: "There are no plans to use ISA and no need to do so."

However, "investigations are still ongoing and when it is completed, a report will be presented to the Attorney-General for the necessary action to be taken." he said.

Several groups have been calling for action to be taken against Karpal Singh and Mohammad Nizar for insulting the Sultan of Perak who is regarded as an institution which upholds and symbolises Malay rights and Islam, in addition to being honoured in the second tenet of the Rukun Negara.

Karpal indicated legal action against the Sultan for the ruler's decision to appoint Barisan Nasional (BN) as the new state government following defections by four assemblymen from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to BN.

The trio Mohamad Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering), Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang) resigned from their parties and remain as independent assemblymen aligned to the BN.

Nizar has to date refused to relinquish his post as Perak Mentri Besar as ordered by the Sultan (Azlan Shah).

Abdullah also said that there were no plans to force Mohammad Nizar out of the official residence which he is occupying.

"Newly appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir has been casual about it saying that he had his own car and house to work out of," he said.

"But I believe he (Nizar) will leave, it won’t be long as the state government has sent him repeated reminders to leave his office and official residence," he said.

"There is no need for force, we will stick to stern advice," he added. - The Sun

EC to meet Friday on by-elections - Malaysiakini

The Election Commission (EC) will be meeting this Friday to discuss the status of the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and the Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah. - Malaysiakini .

Both these seats fell vacant Momday following the sudden death of Bukit Gantang's parliamentarian and the resignation of Bukit Selambau state representative.

EC public relations officer Sabri Said said in a statement that the meeting will consider if by-elections should be held for these two seats - both won by Pakatan Rakyat in the March 8 general election.

He said that EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof will hold a press conference after the meeting at 11am to announce the commission's decision.

If the EC decides that by-elections should be held for the two seats, Abdul Aziz is then expected to announce the nomination days and polling days for the two seats.

PAS Bukit Gantang member of parliament, Roslan Shaharum, 50, died Monday of a heart attack in Batu Gajah, Perak.

Allahyarham Roslan defeated Umno treasurer Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi in the March 8 general elections last year.

Several hours after Roslan's death, the Kedah state government announced that PKR's V Arumugam had resigned from his seat.

In the general election, Arumugam stood as an independent candidate to defeat BN/MIC's S Krishnan.


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Arrest warrant for Changkat Jering assemblyman - Malaysiakini

The Magistrates Court here has issued a warrant of arrest against Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu for failing to turn up in court for his corruption trial. Malaysiakini .

His sister told the court that he was unwell but failed to produce a medical certificate (MC) on his behalf.

Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi also failed to turn up for the trial but managed to produce the necessary documentation to prove he was unwell.

The two state representatives left PKR to become Independents and together with a defector from DAP have thrown their support behind Barisan Nasional in Perak which led to the BN taking the control of the state.

Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman face 16 charges, including allegedly soliciting or accepting bribes of between RM400 and RM100,000 during a two-week period between Aug 6 and 19 last year.

The court postponed the hearing to Feb 15 and 16.

By elections in Kedah and Perak - Malaysiakini

...when Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) state executive councillor and assemblyman for Bukit Selambau V. Arumugam resigned from his seat, reports Malaysiakini.

Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak confirmed the resignation yesterday at his official residence in Alor Star.

The by-election in Bukit Selambau means that Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat would have to face simultaneous election campaigns as the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat also became vacant yesterday (Monday) following the death of PAS' Roslan Shaharum.

A by-election will be held within 60 days for both seats.

Azizan said that he received Arumugam's resignation letter dated Feb 8 at 5pm Monday. The rest of the report below.

According to Bernama, Azizan said, Arumugam had sent two letters through a representative - one stating his resignation as assemblyperson to the speaker and the other to him to inform that he was stepping down from both posts.

Asked about the reasons for Arumugam's resignation, Azizan said the former had mentioned about receiving threats to defect to Barisan Nasional.

He added that Arumugam mentioned that he was offered RM5 million to crossover.

"I respect his stand in rejecting the RM5 million offer and according to the letter, he (Arumugam) had been receiving threats since March 2008 and fearing for his and his family's safety, he took the decision to resign," he said.

This was Azizan's second announcement in regards to Arumugam.

First resignation

Earlier today, the menteri besar had said that Arumugam had relinquished his post as the exco member but will continue as Bukit Selambau state assemblyperson.

Arumugam was in charge of trade, consumer affairs, welfare of the estate workers and Indian community affairs.He was an independent candidate who joined the PKR after the general election.His decision today comes after weeks of speculation that he would be giving up politics altogether.

He had recently complained that he was being threatened to defect from the Pakatan Rakyat-led state to BN.

In more recent weeks, certain details of his personal life have been used against him to force him to step down as a state representative.Arumugam, 54, could not be contacted for confirmation.

He has been incommunicado since last week.

Speaking to reporters in Alor Star earlier today, Azizan said that Arumugam had sent his resignation letter as an exco member to Sultan Kedah Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah today.

"The letter was sent from Kuala Lumpur to the sultan's office at Wisma Darul Aman," he said.

Arumugam had also conveyed his decision to Azizan's aide this morning, citing personal reasons for his decision.

"I tried to call him but he was not contactable. I don't have a copy of his resignation letter," added Azizan.

Azizan said that portfolio would now be taken up by another representative from PKR.

Early this month, Arumugan had lodged a police report claiming, among others, that there was an attempt to kidnap him.He also claimed that he and his officers have received numerous threats.

"All of this is being done in order to force me to leave PKR and move to Barisan Nasional," he had said after lodging the police report.

He had said that apart from the threats, he was also approached with lucrative offers in order to coax him into leaving PKR.

Last week, talks of Arumugam leaving PKR heated up again, especially when he could not be contacted by anyone.

His party colleagues then revealed that he was on leave.

Kedah - which was an Umno stronghold fell - into the hands of Pakatan Rakyat following the March 8 general election.

A retired Royal Malaysia Airforce mechanic Arumugam won the Bukit Selambau seat by defeating Barisan Nasional/MIC candidate S Krishnan with a majority of 7,695
votes.

He emerged at the last minute as the independent candidate when the returning officer rejected the nomination papers of Saiful Izham Ramli of PKR on technical grounds.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Al Fatiha: PAS MP Roslan Shaharum dies - Malaysiakini

PAS member of Parliament for Bukit Gantang Roslan Shaharum passed away this morning of a heart attack. He was 50.

PAS Info chief Mahfuz Omar told Malaysiakini that Roslan was out cycling near his home in Changkat Lallang, Batu Gajah, when he suddenly collapsed.

He leaves behind 10 children.

Roslan was formerly the human resource director of Perak Economic Development Corporation, and last July was named chairperson of Perak’s education foundation, Yayasan Perak.

In last March's election, Roslan defeated Umno treasurer Azim Zabidi by a majority of 1,566 votes. Bukit Gantang is a Malay majority seat with 27% Chinese and 10% Indian votes.

His death will pave the way for yet another by-election which must be held within 60 days. The by-election will be a referendum on the political situation in Perak and conducted at an awkward time for Umno when it will be having its general assembly due in late March.

The parliamentary constituency of Bukit Gantang includes the state seat of Changkat Jering which was won by PKR's Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu who recently threw his support behind BN.

Semoga rohnya dirahmati Allah SWT. Amin.

Anwar: It's his (Karpal's) personal view - Malaysiakini

Datuk Anwar Ibrahim said that Karpal Singh's call for him to step down as leader of the Alliance was his personal view and did not reflect the official stand of DAP. (Malaysiakini )

Anwar, who is MP of Permatang Pauh, said that the DAP chairman was disappointed with him for not agreeing with the senior lawyer in filing a suit against the Sultan of Perak over the sacking of the Pakatan government in the state.

"Our opinions differ on the suit against the sultan. What he said was his personal opinion."

Anwar said this to reporters after attending a Pakatan rally in Ipoh last night.

He also dismissed Karpal's allegations that he had caused disarray in Pakatan with his calls for BN elected representatives to defect to Pakatan.

Anwar said he had discussed Karpal's outburst with DAP leader Lim Kit Siang and will be talking to Karpal too. He also said that a Pakatan meeting yesterday did not discuss the matter.

Earlier in the day Karpal attacked Anwar for the disarray Pakatan was in at the moment, especially in Perak.

The rally held at the Perak menteri besar's official residence in Ipoh last night attracted more than 8,000 people. Among the Pakatan leaders present were PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP leader Tan Seng Giaw.

Kit Siang and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng were conspicuously absent although they were supposed to be at the function.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Cracks appearing in the Pakatan alliance? - Malaysiakini

DAP chairman Karpal Singh has called on Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to step down as head of the Pakatan Rakyat blaming him for creating trouble in the opposition alliance.

Pakatan, needs a new leader, he told a press conference in Georgetown adding that it was time for Anwar to repent because he has created enough trouble.

Karpal Singh said members of PKR and DAP had fallen sway to the rhetoric of Anwar, who had supported the cross-over of elected representatives.

Karpal to Anwar: Step down as Pakatan head - Malaysiakini
Feb 8, 09 5:54pm

In an outburst that could have deep implications for the Pakatan Rakyat alliance, DAP chairperson Karpal Singh today openly urged Anwar Ibrahim to step down as the leader of the alliance.

He blamed Anwar for the disarray in Pakatan which was caused by the PKR leader's continuous rhetoric of forming government with the aid of defectors from Barisan Nasional.

Karpal also had harsh words for his colleagues in DAP, especially party veteran Lim Kit Siang and party secretary general Lim Guan Eng - for their inconsistent stand on party hopping.

But the brunt of his anger was on Anwar, whom the veteran politician said had caused trouble in the opposition alliance.

Karpal did not mince his words when he said that Pakatan needed a new leader.

"He (Anwar) has created enough trouble and it is time for him to bertaubat (repent).

"It's time Pakatan got itself another leader," he said in an amazing attack which will surely be picked up by BN leaders to portray the Pakatan alliance as a loose one waiting to collapse.

Karpal's biggest complain was Anwar' support for defections of elected representatives.The Pakatan alliance took shape after the big victory enjoyed by PKR, PAS and DAP in the last general election. Together they took over four states, retained Kelantan and denied two-thirds majority for BN in Parliament.

After that Anwar had claimed that he had enough defectors from BN to form the federal government. However despite his repeated assurances, the takeover never materialise.

Then on Jan 25, PKR accepted an Umno state representative in Perak, with Anwar beaming in delight that this was to be followed by more defections.

However the tables were turned on Anwar and Pakatan when two Perak PKR state representatives and one DAP ssemblyperson left their parties to become independents. Even the defected Umno man returned to his party.

As a result Pakatan lost control of the state government, allowing BN to take over. - Continue here ...

======================================

Read the Bahasa Malaysia version (free): Karpal desak Anwar letak jawatan ketua Pakatan here


(This is the last thing Anwar needs. Bad for Anwar – definitely not at this juncture. And I wonder if this sentiment is shared by the other Pakatan, especially DAP leaders and what they have to say.)

Perak Umno Youth: Wear yellow ribbons to show loyalty to the Sultan...

Perak Umno youth and 12 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are embarking on a yellow ribbon campaign to remind the people to stay loyal to the Sultan.

State Umno Youth chief Zainol Fadzi Paharudin said in Ipoh yesterday that the gathering is to show appreciation and loyalty towards the Sultan, and urged the people to wear yellow ribbons on their arm as a symbol of support for the royal institution.

Some of the 12 NGOs are the Ga­bungan Pelajar Melayu Se­­menanjung, Kesatuan Anak-anak Muda Islam Perak, Persatuan Putera Perak, Gabungan Anak Perak, Gabungan Belia DUN Manjoi and Persatuan Melayu Muda Perak.

The venue and date of the gathering will be announced soon, he said.

“We are targeting at least 5,000 people.” He added.

He had earlier lodged individual police reports against Pakatan Rakyat leaders for allegedly being disrespectful to the state ruler.

According to Zainol Fadzi, Pakatan leaders, including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Karpal Singh, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, had made statements that insulted the Perak Sultan.

He said their statements ( read here and here) contained elements that may incite and confuse the people, and may result in the public rebelling against the royal institution, such as the demonstration in front of Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar on Friday.

The Star has the story here...

Najib: God willing, BN will survive in Perak – Malaysiakini

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is confident that the newly-formed BN government in Perak will survive, albeit with a slim majority.

He is also confident that the three independent state asemblymen in the state who have pledged support for the BN will not return to Pakatan, reports Malaysiakini .

Justifying the BN take-over of the state government from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) najib reiterated there was “nothing unconstitutional about it.”

The deputy prime minister told Bernama that if the state assembly members were loyal, the government would survive even with a mere majority of one seat.

"Remember the PAS government in Kelantan which survived for many years with just a single seat majority.

"Even with that, if the members are loyal you can survive. God willing, we intend to survive," he said after opening the 27th World Customs Day in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

Najib reiterated what had happened was done within the framework of the constitution and there was "nothing unconstitutional" about it.

He also said the BN would abide by the decision of the Sultan of Perak, who had acted in accordance with the state constitution.The BN officially took over the Perak administration Fridayerday, with Pangkor assemblyman Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir being sworn in as the new menteri besar.

The swearing-in ceremony took place before the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar, amid refusal by the Pakatan former state government to accept the reality that it was no longer in power.

Pakatan lost its majority in the state assembly when four of its legislators quit their respective parties recently.They are Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang), Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changkat Jering) and former deputy speaker Hee Yit Fong (Jelapang) who have pledged their support to BN. This also included Bota assemblyman Nasaruddin Hashim, who within 10 days, re-defected to Umno after joining PKR.

‘They will not return to Pakatan’

Asked what would happen if the three independent assemblypersons in the state who had pledged support for the BN returned to Pakatan, Najib said there was no need to speculate and if that happened, he would answer.

He said the BN-led government must be a clean government, not only a people-friendly government but also one with integrity.

On how the BN government would convince the people of Perak of its sincerity, Najib said it would depend on the leadership and policies undertaken by the new government

I will stress that firstly, we want to be fair to all races and all communities and we will make sure this will happen.

"We will also make sure that it is an effective and efficient government. In other words, all our programmes will be delivered according to the wishes of the people, " he said.

To a question, he said the takeover of the Perak state government by the BN was done correctly.

"Please ask Pakatan why they started this. They were talking about forming the government on Sept 16. This is the principle that they mentioned, that they accepted and tried to put into practice.

"They wanted to topple the federal government by stealing 31 BN members of parliament. It was not the BN. Ask them," said Najib who is also the Perak BN chair.

He said the BN, as the government in Perak, must now concentrate on serving the people.

Asked to comment on Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's refusal to step down a menteri besar in defiance of the sultan's order, Najib said whatever decision made by the ruler must be respected and any attempt to challenge the decision would tantamount to contempt of the institution of constitutional monarchy.”

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Zaid: BN’s new majority dubious – Malaysiakini

The political calculation that allowed BN to form the new Perak state government is legally questionable, according to former law minister Zaid Ibrahim.

In an email to Malaysiakini , he said that the notion that BN now has a three-seat majority itself is dubious for several reasons.

“Can someone explain why BN is deemed to have a working majority? If the three letters of support from the defectors are genuine and valid, and not executed under duress, then why not just convene a special session and pass a vote of no confidence?

“(But) it would seem that all we need to do in cases like this is just convince our constitutional monarchs that we have a working majority by bringing them to the palace, or wherever suitable, and then call the press to announce the takeover,” he said.

The former minister further said that such a scenario reflected a total disrespect towards the will of the people who had clearly voted for a Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak.

“Tabling the motion of no confidence against the menteri besar is the more democratic option as it is the best indicator as to whether or not Nizar (the Pakatan MB who was asked to step down) commands the majority of the assembly.

“(BN) should let the rakyat see for themselves in the august chamber of the state assembly whether or not their government has lost support. What’s so difficult about that?

“(But) of course we can go back to the days when the rulers can decide on matters affecting the rakyat and don’t have to explain anything to anyone.

“If that’s where we are and we want to keep it that way, than stop kidding ourselves that we have a workable parliamentary democracy,” said Zaid.

On the decision by Sultan Azlan Shah not to dissolve the Perak assembly and sack Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin as menteri besar, Zaid Ibrahim said any decision by His Highness affecting public policies and interests should include basic ideals like justice and fairness.

Zaid is not the only legal authority to have labeled the Perak political imbroglio as a legal and constitutional crisis.

Other legal experts like the president of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam) Malik Imtiaz and former UN special rapporteur for judicial independence Param Cumaraswamy had also voiced similar sentiments.

Ku Li: Why Nizar is still the MB

Friday, 6 February 2009

Zambry sworn in as new Perak MB

Pangkor state assemblyman Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, 47, was today sworn in as the new Menteri Besar of Perak.

The swearing-in ceremony took place before the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, at the Istana Iskandariah in Bukit Chandan.

He replaced Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, whose tenure had come to an end following the switch in majority in the state assembly as a result of defections of four Pakatan Rakyat representatives to the Barisan Nasional.

The ceremony, which was boycotted by all 28 Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen, took place in the aftermath of a clash between the police and Pakatan supporters who had earlier blocked the road leading to Istana Iskandariah, the venue for the ceremony today.

Zambry received his letter of appointment from the sultan and then took his oath of office.

The ceremony was over by 4.15pm.

The state exco will be sowrn in next Tuesday at 10am.

Zambry is a second-term Pangkor assemblyman.

According to a Bernama report Zambry started his political career as Pangkor Umno Youth chief in 1992 and went on to head Perak Umno Youth. He is now the Lumut Umno division chief.

He is credited for developing the state's Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) development during his tenure as Perak State Executive Council (Exco) member tasked with multimedia.

During his tenure as a state exco, Zambry had served as chairman of education, human resources and multimedia committee from 2004 until Sept 26, 2006.

Then in a minor reshuffle, he became the chairman of higher education, science and technology and innovation committee and wielded with more authority to further develop ICT in Perak.

Active writer

He was born in Pulau Pangkor on March 22, 1962, graduated with a Bachelor's degree in economics from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in 1987 and four years later a Master's degree in Islamic thinking from the same university.

He has also obtained a Master's degree in political philosophy and religious comparison in 1992 and three years later a doctorate with distinction in contemporary politics from Temple University, United States.

He has also been described as an active writer who had authored several books and won several awards in writing competitions.

His books include Umno dan Jiwa Merdeka (1998), Pemuda Umno Menebus Maruah, Menuju Arah (2000) and Islam Malaysia & Amerika (2002).

He is married to Saripah Zulkifli, with five children - three girls and two boys. - Malaysiakini

Picture: Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah (left) handing the instrument of appointment to new Menteri Besar , Pangkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir in a swearing-in ceremony at Istana Iskandariah, Bukit Chandan.

Mayhem in Kuala Kangsar - Malaysiakini

LIVE REPORTS by Malaysiakini

Protest and tear gas rock royal city
Feb 6, 09 2:36pm

(The Sun's chronology of today's events here, the Star here)

The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) fires several rounds of tear gas as 3,000 Pakatan Rakyat supporters converge for a protest march about 1km from Iskandariah palace in Kuala Kangsar.

4.55pm: The BN entourage is leaving the palace leading the convoy. Few minutes later Perak regent's car also passed by. All these vehicles were jeered and booed by the crowd.

4.30pm: Police confirm earlier that nine people have been arrested. The majority of the crowd have dispersed. Only a few hundreds are lingering in Ubudiah mosque.

4.01pm: Zambry is sworn in before Sultan Azlan Shah. About 1,000 people are still gathered near the mosque with the police keeping a close watch.


4.00pm: A man claiming to be a Perak PAS representative addresses some 1,000 protesters using a loud-hailer from a police truck.

He tells them that they have already 'conveyed their message to the world' and calls on them to disperse.

3.58pm: Swearing-in ceremony for new Perak Menteri Besar, Zambry Abdul Kadir, begins.

3.50pm: There are about 1,000 protesters still in Ubudiah mosque. About 10 people have been arrested during the 40-minute fracas between the crowd and riot police.

The remaining crowd is expected to wait for the swearing-in ceremony at the Iskandariah palace. According to PAS state assemblyperson Khalilul Rahman Abdul Samad, the protesters may attempt to block the main road again.

Swearing-in ceremony yet to begin at the palace.

3.45pm: No protesters could be seen in front of the Iskandariah palace where the new Perak Menteri Besar, Zambry Abdul Kadir, is about to be sworn in.

3.33pm: State PAS leaders arrive at the scene and urge Pakatan Rakyat supporters to calm down. Swearing in ceremony for new MB is about to begin.

3.25pm: The situation calms down at the mosque and several people are seen crying.

3.20pm: Police have finally cleared the blockade by the crowd and all cars are able to proceed to Iskandariah Palace.

3.19pm: A vehicle with a yellow (royal) registration plate is pelted with stones by angry supporters.

3.18pm: Tear gas still being fired into the mosque compound. Deputy Premier Najib Abdul Razak's car enters the palace.

3.11pm: A group of protesters are lying on the road to block the passing cars.3.10pm: FRU personnel manage to remove the bloackade and cars are passing through to the palace.

3.08pm: Tear gas is fired at those blocking the road. The FRU are also arresting those blocking the road.

3.06pm: About 300 people are blocking the road leading to the palace, stopping dignitaries and BN politicians from attending the swearing-in ceremony, which is to kick off at 3.30pm.

3.04pm: The crowd is dispersed. Some are trying to block the road leading to the palace.

3.01pm: FRU charges at the crowd. A handful are seen throwing stones at the police.

2.59pm: More tear gas is fired into the mosque carpark.

2.58pm: Crowd retreats to the mosque.

2.50pm: Another round of tear gas is fired. Crowd refuses to back down with some throwing rocks at the FRU personnel.

2.43pm: Police tells the crowd to disperse.

2.41pm:The crowd swells to about 3,000 with some carrying banners calling on the sultan to dissolve the state assembly. FRU personnel are moving into position.

Earlier report

Some 500 Pakatan Rakyat supporters broke through a police barricade outside the Ubudiah mosque in Kuala Kangsar - about 1km from the Iskandariah Palace - during a protest march this afternoon.

At precisely 2.22pm, the supporters, which included a large group of women, had gathered outside the mosque after Friday prayers.They had wanted to march from the mosque to the Iskandariah Palace where the swearing in of the new Perak menteri besar is scheduled to take place at 3.30pm

.At 2.26pm, the crowd breaches the police barricade, and at 2.28pm, the police retaliate by firing several rounds of tear gas.

This forced the supporters to retreat back into the mosque.The police have deployed some 30 Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and 20 uniformed personnel.

At 2.40pm, the crowd regroups outside the mosque as police sirens are heard blaring in the background.

It is learnt that several truckloads of FRU personnel are being deployed to the scene.

Mohd Nizar shooed away from office - Malaysiakini

Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin today clocked in to work as usual at 10am, along with his exco members, but 45 minutes later they were out of the state secretariat building, according to Malaysiakini

In that 45 minutes, Mohd Nizar's press conference was interrupted twice by State Secretary Abdul Rahman Hashim and Ipoh police chief Azisman Alias.

Mohd Nizar refused to hold a meeting with Abdul Rahman and left with his convoy to his official residence where he is expected to hold a press conference later.

Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin had put on a brave face when he 'clocked in' for work despite the inevitable replacement of his Pakatan Rakyat government this afternoon.

Clad in a light green baju melayu, Mohd Nizar arrived at the state secretariat building in his official vehicle at 9.40am accompanied by seven exco members.

Mohd Nizar appeared jovial and jokingly told reporters that he hadjust enjoyed a good breakfast.

Building security personnel, however, refused entry to Mohd Nizar and his exco members but later relented after a brief standoff.

Once in the building, Mohd Nizar proceeded to his office, only to find all his belongings gone.

“This is how the office looked when I first took office,” he said while smiling.

An impromptu press conference immediately took place at his desk where Mohd Nizar vowed to perform his duties as normal.

“I will talk to the investors and consultants who have a priorappointment. I will tell them that I'm sorry I have to postpone the meetings,” he said.

He said he had not recieve any written notice to vacate his office orhis official residence.

Sense of humour intact

Mohd Nizar also scoffed at suggestions of attending the swearing-inceremony of 31 Barisan Nasional state representatives at 3.30pm today.

“That is not the legitimate government elected by the people,” he said.

Despite the fact that a new menteri besar would be sworn in later today, Mohd Nizar was still able to joke about his predicament.

"I'll probably share office with him tomorrow. It is good to have a ship with two captains isn't it?" he quipped.

When a phone suddenly rang on his table, Mohd Nizar answered the call and put up a hilarious play-act in front of reporters.

“Mr Barack Obama. Thank you for your support. I think you arewonderful," he said.

But all fun and games came to an end 10-minutes into the press conference when Abdul Rahman Hashim entered Mohd Nizar's office to reprimand reporters and ask them to leave.

Following this, the police removed journalists in batches but did not ask Mohd Nizar or his exco members to leave.

Eventually, Mohd Nizar left in his official vehicle at about 10.42am and headed back to his residence.

He is scheduled to attend Friday prayers at a mosque near the Kuala Kangsar palace this afternoon.

Below is the chain of events as it happened this morning beginning with the latest entries:

12.40pm: Perak state assembly speaker V Sivakumar said he will be sending a letter to Sultan Azlan Shah seeking consent for a special state assembly sitting.

The sitting is to determine who actually controls the assembly.

He also said that he will be urging the sultan to postpone the swearing-in ceremony of Zambry Abd Kadir as the BN menteri besar today at 3.30pm.

The letter will be sent as soon as possible, he said. The brief press conference was held at DAP headquarters in Ipoh.

11am: The police closed the road in front of the menteri besar's official residence until 7pm to prevent illegal gatherings.

10:45am: Perak CPO Zulkifli Abdullah said the police have secured the state secretariat building upon a request by the state secretary.

10.42am: Mohd Nizar and his convoy drive out of the state secretariat, back to his official residence. He said that he had been allowed to use his official car until new MB Zambry Abdul Kadir is sworn-in this afternoon.

10.20am: MB Nizar and his group move to Perak DAP head Ngeh Koo Ham office in the state secretariat building.

They then continued their press conference but once again it was interrupted by Abdul Rahman.

The state secretary then asked Mohd Nizar for a meeting to which the latter disagreed.
Reporters are led out of the state secretariat building.

"I will go about as usual. I have to meet some consultants and investors later. However I will have to tell them that we have to reschedule our appointments," said Mohd Nizar.

10.15am: Mohd Nizar and his exco members hold a press conference but it is interrupted by State Secretary Abdul Rahman and the state police chief.

Abdul Rahman rudely told reporters to leave the room.Senior exco member Ngeh Koo Ham was overheard telling the police chief to follow proper procedure. "We can hand over properly," he said.

9.40am: Mohd Nizar, in a green baju Melayu, and convoy arrive at the state secretariat building. The gates are closed but after a brief standoff with the security, the MB and his exco members are allowed in.Mohd Nizar goes straight to his office and finds it bare.

"It was just as empty and bare as when I first took charge last March," he said.

9.30am: Pakatan state exco members gather at MB Mohd Nizar's official residence.

Ku Li: Dont take power by dubious means - Malaysiakini


Ku Li: Not right way to take power
Malaysiakini

Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has warned party leaders that gaining the Perak state government without resorting to elections would result in enmity of the Perak voters come the next general election.

Razaleigh, who is also Gua Musang MP, said Umno and BN should try and win the hearts of the people and not gain the government by dubious means.

"If the Ruler decides not to accede to the MB's request for the dissolution of Parliament, and BN is invited to form a state government on the basis of these dubious crossovers, I think it would anger a large section of the Malaysian public," said the Kelantan prince in his blog.

"Our taking control without resorting to elections would cement the enmity of the very people we should be trying to win back at the next election. Come the next general election, they are likely to reject both our state and parliamentary candidates with greater vehemence, and not just in Perak."

Calling the BN celebration as "premature", Razaleigh said the constitution states the role of the Ruler in crisis must be respected.

He said the Sultan of Perak is sworn to uphold and protect this constitutional process and the Ruler's powers and those of the legislative assembly act as checks and balances on each other to prevent abuse of power.

"Defections are not the basis for the formation of a government. Elections are."