Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Shahrir defends Umno's 'Ketuanan Melayu'

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad has poured cold water on Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)'s rally cry of "Ketuanan Rakyat" (people's supremacy), saying "Ketuanan Melayu" (Malay supremacy) cannot be done away with unless the Federal Constitution, which accords the natives their special rights, is amended.

"In fact, it depends on how people interpret it (Ketuanan Melayu). To me, Ketuanan Melayu is linked to the survival of the sultanate system. To abolish "Ketuanan Melayu" means to change the constitution to do away with the sultanate system in favour of the presidential system," he said.

Shahrir, who was appointed Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister recently after an absence of 20 years from the cabinet, told Sin Chew Daily this when asked to comment on PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail's remark that if her party comes to power at the federal level, party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will champion "Ketuanan Rakyat" and not "Ketuanan Melayu".

Shahrir said he is not of the view that the sultanate system can be maintained as part of the "Hak Istimewa Melayu" (Malay special rights) (if Ketuanan Melayu) is replaced with Ketuanan Rakyat.

He said Ketuanan Melayu determines the present facets of the country and keeping the sultanate system is part of Ketuanan Melayu as prescribed under Article 153 of the constitution.

Shahrir said only by reforming the present government system, to one of presidential system, can Ketuanan Rakyat be practiced. Otherwise Ketuanan Melayu is not to be denied.

Ketuanan Melayu cannot be denied, because the constitution has institutionalised a system of Constitutional Monarchy for Malaysia. If the Ketuanan Rakyat as espoused by PKR is implemented, where will the sultans be?" he asked.

He felt that Ketuanan Rakyat that is being bandied about by PKR is just a political catchphrase.


IPF president and ex-MIC man Pandithan dies

Indian Progressive Front (IPF) president Tan Sri M.G. Pandithan (pic. left), formerly the vice-president of MIC, passed away after a battle with cancer at KL General Hospital at 8.20am today. He was 68.

His body will be taken back to his home in Serdang at noon today.The funeral will take place on Thursday at 3pm at a venue to be determined.

Pandithan was also formerly Member of Parliament for Tapah and parliamentary secretary to the Trade and Industry Ministry.

He leaves behind his wife Jayashree and 21-year-old son Jeyan, who’s studying medicine in the Ukraine.

Once considered a protege of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu until they had a falling out in 1988, after which Pandithan was sacked from the party. The two remained political enemies for nearly 20 years, but made up last year during the Ijok by-election.

Pandithan’s renewed friendship with Samy Vellu led to fears that IPF would be dissolved into or merged with MIC. But at a press conference last July, Pandithan declared that IPF would not be resolved (read here) as long as “I am alive.”

From hospital bed last week, Pandithan named his wife Jayashree as his successor in IPF, declaring her president. This has led to some dissent within the party.

Source: The Star

Anwar in Parliament - but only as spouse guest

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was in Parliament after a 10-year absence - but this time around only as a spouse guest.

Anwar, who is also the husband of new Opposition leader Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was at Dewan Rakyat to attend a special lunch for MPs and their spouses after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong opened the 12th Parliament.

Asked by reporters when he would be back in Parliament since he could now contest for a seat, he said:

“This is a new beginning; when I get in, I will not come out. I told my friends now that I am here, I will stay, and there will be no turning back." (read here) .

"I have not been here for 10 years, so of course I am happy ... It is timely for me to return."

Anwar also said he was very proud that both his wife and daughter were in Dewan.

“My daughter, who is the youngest MP, has to perform to ensure that we are a strong opposition, as we need to ‘shake’ Parliament,’’ he added.

On Dr Wan Azizah's claims (read here) that he had not received any invitation for the ceremony, he said apparently, the letter was not sent, adding that he was told that it was sent somewhere else. (PKR yesterday complained that an official invitation was not extended to Dr Wan Azizah and her spouse, Anwar)

“But on late Monday evening, we received the letter. I thank Azizah for reminding them. I also thanked the Speaker when I met him,’’ he said, adding that it was most probably a case of miscommunication.

Read the Star here

Go here for The Return.

Pic: Courtesy of the Sun: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim with Yang diPertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin after the Parliament opening.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

And now... about Balkis' accounts

Apparently Balkis' accounts had not been finalised before its funds were transferred out.

The external auditors for the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) said yesterday they were not consulted before the body transferred its RM9.9mil funds.

Yee Choon Kong & Co principal Yee Choon Kong said the firm was never consulted by Balkis president Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik, its executive committee members or former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo prior to the transfer.

He said the organisation’s financial statements remained unaudited till now and the firm had not issued a signed Audit Report on Balkis’ conduct and financial affairs for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2007.

“My firm had on a number of occasions called the organisation’s treasurer Datin Suraimi Sapuan to send the financial records including bank statements, official receipt books, payment vouchers, supporting documents, fixed deposit receipts, minutes of meetings and the details of membership and subscription for 2007,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said Balkis ignored the requests, adding that contrary to press reports, the accounts had not been finalised before the funds were transferred out.

Yee was commenting on a recent statement by Dr Khir that Balkis had consulted its auditors and legal advisors before transferring the funds to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) and there was no “hanky panky” involved.

Read the rest of the Star story here .

What "Ketuanan Melayu" means to Pak Lah

The phrase "Ketuanan Melayu" (Malay Supremacy) does not mean Umno or the Malays are out to dominate other groups.
The Prime Miniter Datuk Abdullah Badawi said Malay supremacy meant that the Malays, as the indigenous people in Malaysia, needed to strengthen themselves to ensure they were successful and developed.

“If they are not successful and developed, then they are not tuan (masters), therefore they will be coolies. I am sure we do not want to become coolies who do not play any role in development because we are weak and not able.

“So when we talk about that (Malay supremacy), we mean we must be successful in many fields. It is never about ruling over others, or forcing our power upon them,” he told reporters after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting last night.

Abdullah, who is also Umno president, was asked about Malay supremacy being weakened due to Barisan Nasional’s losses in the general election and because the Malays were split between Umno, PKR and PAS.

He added that there were still matters related to the Malays that needed to be further improved and enhanced, although their successes were evident.

“We are not going to be a race that dominates others. We want to be a party that represents the Malays and that is ready to co-operate for the future of Malays and the people, as Malays will also succeed when all Malaysians are successful.

“That is Malay supremacy and I hope people will understand it,” he said.

On Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s apology for wielding the keris (Malay dagger) at the party’s annual assembly that had upset non-Malays in the country, Abdullah said it was a brave act by the Youth chief.

“He wanted to put the issue to rest. I must say it is a brave move because he knows that many Malays might get angry with him.

“At least by his action, he has also made non-Malays understand about the function and position of the keris in Malay society. It would also no longer cause others to be frightened or worried.”

He said that Hishammuddin also wanted to clear the misunderstanding with the other component parties.

“We must acknowledge that we are friends in Barisan. This is Umno’s assurance to the other component parties,” he said.

Source: The Star

Stop holding EGMs - Pak Lah

Datuk Abdullah Badawi wants Umno divisions to stop holding extraordinary general meetings (EGMs) to discuss the party’s problems and calling for leaders to step down.

The party president said there was no need to because such actions would split the party an would only cause the party's attention on rebuilding the party to be “diverted.”

So far the Gua Musang division in Kelantan has proceeded with an EGM which Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah proposed as an effort towards finding ways to rehabilate the party following its massive losses in the March 8 general election.

The other divisions which have held theirs are Cheras and Batu. The Bandar Tun Razak and Pasir Mas divisions will hold their EGMs on May 1 and 3 respectively.

The star has the report:

“There is no need,” party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi told reporters after chairing the party supreme council meeting last night.

“We have been given the mandate to form the Government and we need to focus on our work. We shouldn’t make people feel that we are not focusing on our duties and responsibility to them.

“But we are still chaotic and fighting among ourselves and this is not the image we want them to have of us. We don’t want the people to say 'you are all busy with your party problems and not paying attention to what we want you to do',” he added.

Abdullah stressed that Umno needed to pay attention to urgent issues such as price increases and shortage of food supply and reforms that the people were demanding.

“The time will come for us to have our (annual general) meeting and that is when we will decide. If you say you want to send a message, there is no need. There have been many messages sent in the newspapers and many have issued

“But if I talk like this they will say that Pak Lah can speak like this because he is also involved. I am saying this for everybody. If I don’t say it who else is going to say it?”

Advising Umno members to strengthen and unite the party, Abdullah said the people would support Umno if it could prove that it would not be side-tracked by internal bickering.

“The party’s democratic process will go on, and we can vote (for the leaders). There’s no need to create hoo-ha,” he said.

An oversight? No official invitation for Azizah & spouse (Anwar)

While other members of Parliament and their spouses have received official invitations for the opening of the 12th Parliament session by the Yang diPertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal tomorrow, Opposition Leader Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan ismail has not received hers.

Dr Azizah is Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) President and Permatang Pauh MP. Her husband, Datuk Anwar Ibrahim, is PKR advisor and de facto leader of Pakatan Rakyat.

Newly sworn-in Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said he would look into the matter.

"If I think that this needs to be corrected, I will correct it. I've just been appointed speaker... but the invitations were sent out earlier. We will invite those who should be invited," he told reporters here Monday. (read here )

PKR Vice-President Mohamed Azmin Ali had earlier told reporters that Dr Azizah had not received any official invitation card, unlike other members of parliament who had received theirs, with invitations extended to their spouses.

Azmin, who is PKR MP for Gombak, said the issue has been referred to Parliament secretariat.

(Is Dr Azizah the only one who has been overlooked? An oversight? Really? If it is, then it's kinda strange innit? Firstly, she is a Member of Parliament. She aint a new face. It's her third term as an MP and she IS the Opposition Leader in the House. And, what does the Speaker mean by "We will invite those who should be invited"? Is Anwar the reason?)

Monday, 28 April 2008

12th Parliament convenes today, 222 MPs to take oath...

The 12th Parliament which convenes today following the general election on March 8 will see the 222 Members of Parliament being sworn in.

Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia is scheduled to take his oath of office as the new Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat. A vote will be taken to fill the two posts of deputy speaker.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) has nominated Santubong MP, Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and Beluran MP, Datuk Ronald Kiandee while the DAP has nominated Kepong MP, Dr Tan Seng Giaw.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, will officially open the first session of parliament tomorrow (Tuesday). The first meeting is scheduled for 16days up to May 27.

The Dewan Rakyat is set to record history, 99 MPs will be new faces while the opposition will be represented by 82 MPs, more than four times the number in the last parliament.

Permatang Pauh MP, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is set to create history as well, as the first woman Opposition Leader.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat, (PKR) which she heads, has 31 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, the highest number among the opposition parties. The DAP has 28 and PAS, 23.

The Dewan Rakyat proceedings are expected to be heated this time around, considering the varied background of the MPs and the inclination of many of them to be vocal. The public will be able to follow the question-and-answer session in the House as Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) will broadcast live a 30-minute segment of the proceedings during meetings beginning Wednesday.

Before the dissolution of Parliament on Feb 13, the Dewan Rakyat had 219 seats of which 199 were occupied by the BN, 12 by the DAP, six by PAS and one each by the PKR and an independent MP.

Parliament snippets

BN MPs: 140

Opposition MPs: 82

New MPs: 99

Among the youngest MPs: Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Serdang) and Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai) - both 27

Longest serving MP: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (BN-Gua Musang); since 1969

Number of women MPs: 24

First woman Opposition Leader: Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh)

Mother and daughter: Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh) and Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai)

Father and son: Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) and Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan)Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) and Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong)

Father and son-in-law: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (BN-Kepala Batas) and Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau)

Brothers; Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad (BN-Johor Baru) and Khalid Abdul Samad (PAS-Shah Alam)

Some backbenchers to look out for:
1. Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz (Kuala Kangsar)
2. Khairy Jamaluddin (Rembau)
3. Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (Kota Belud)
4. Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun)
5. Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (Santubong)
6. Datuk Mohamad Aziz (Sri Gading)
7. Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan)
8. Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (Lenggong)
9. Datuk Halimah Mohd Sadique (Tenggara)
10. Datuk Ismail Kassim (Arau)
Pakatan Rakyat MPs to look out for:
1. Tony Pua Kiam Wee (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara)
2. Chua Tian Chang (Tian Chua) (PKR-Batu. read here)
3. Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PKR-Machang)
4. Wee Choo Keong (PKR-Wangsa Maju)
5.Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang)
6. Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor)
7. N. Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai)
8. Gorbind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong)
9. Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (PAS-Kota Raja)
10. Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj (PKR-Sungai Siput)
11. Jeff Ooi (DAP- Jelutong: read here )

Source: The Sun

Also read here, here and here

Balkis dissolved according to rules...

...says Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik and hopes that with the explanation, no one would make baseless accusations and slanders. Legal action would be taken if they did.

The wife of former Selangor menteri besar, Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik, said Sunday that the dissolution of the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) was according to its constitution.

The dissolution took place on March 11 before Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim was sworn-in as Selangor Menteri Besar on March 13, she told a press conference here.

"It means, I was the president at the time and had not relinguished the president's post. Therefore, the question of me not having to power to chair the general meeting called for the purpose Balkis' dissolution does not arise," she said.

According to
Bernama . she said Balkis was dissolved with the consent of over two-thirds its ordinary members during the special general meeting which was called by more than one-fifths of its ordinary members.

"The special general meeting and Balkis' dissolution were in line with Article 15(1) and 12 of Balkis Constitution and minutes of the meeting can confirm that all legal provisions have been complied with," she said.

Following the dissolution, Balkis' funds totalling RM9.9 million were transferred to the Wives of Ministers Welfare and Charity Organisation (Bakti) according to Article 15(2) of Balkis Constitution, Zahrah said.

She hoped that with the explanation, no one would make baseless accusations and slanders. Legal action would be taken of they did, she said.

On Saturday, Khalid requested (read here) for Balkis' dissolution to be withdrawn and the RM9.9 million transferred to Bakti to be returned.

Zaharah said that under Article 8 of Balkis constitution, the organisation could receive contributions from the government and government-linked companies.

"When Balkis received a contribution, it became Balkis'. Therefore, the question of the money being channelled out or returned to the government or any government-linked companies does not arise," she said.

Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo, who was present at the press conference said the state government should talk to the legal firm appointed by Balkis, Sallehudin & Co, if it was not satisfied with the issue.

They are trying to politicise the issue and do not read Balkis Constitution orrectly," he said.

He said the RM9.9 million was donated specially for students adopted by Balkis and it was transferred straight to Bakti following Balkis' dissolution and Bakti gave a written reply that it had received the money.

A newspaper report which said the money went to the account of a third party before it was tranferred to Bakti was incorrect, he said.

Meanwhile, senior state executive councillor for Investment, Industry and Commerce Teresa Kok said Zahrah should not dodge the issue pertaining to the transfer of the RM9.9mil from the Balkis account. (Read here)

“Just give back the money and withdraw the application to dissolve Balkis. Yes, Zahrah said to go ahead with legal action but it is going to be bad for her and the most sane thing to do is end the episode by returning the money,” Kok said.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Return cash, Khir's wife told

The Selangor Menteri Besar is offering an olive branch to Datin Seri Zahrah Kecik to help resolve the issue of the missing RM9.9 million.

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim wants Datin Seri Zahara to give back the RM9.9mil, withdraw the application to dissolve the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) and the matter is settled.

This, according to Tan Sri Khalid, is the best offer to Datin Seri Zahrah who was the organisation's head when she and the other members decided to transfer the RM9.9 million from its coffers after Barisan Nasional lost the state during the March general election.

The group also decided to dissolve the organisation.

Khalid said his offer was the best solution to resolve the controversy.

“If not, the state will pursue the matter because the people want us to be correct. If there has been misconduct, then justice will take its course,” he told reporters yesterday.

The issue blew up when it was revealed that Balkis, lead by Zahrah, who is the wife of former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, transferred RM9.9mil to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) three days after the state fell to Pakatan Rakyat. Click here for more

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Did Balkis have the right to move out the RM9.9m?

Questions are being asked whether it was correct for the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) to transfer out the RM9.9mil it had in its coffers a few days after the state fell to the Opposition.

Defending the money transfer, then president Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik(pix. left) said she had the legal right because her husband Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo was still the caretaker Selangor Mentri Besar at that time.

Dr Mohd Khir said the money was “temporarily transferred” to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) to ensure the money would be spent according to Balkis' purpose, namely for the welfare of children.

The state government, however, is questioning the transfer of the money and seeking legal advice. It has also asked the Registrar of Societies to put on hold the dissolution of Balkis, which the committee, led by Zahrah, also unanimously decided to do.

The Bar Council is of the opinion that Balkis' action could be tantamount to criminal breach of trust.

Source - The Star

Background: According to The Sun's R Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez, Zaharah convened an extraordinary general meeting on March 11 (three days after the general election), of the committee "to dissolve Balkis and close its bank accounts. "

The following day, the accounts were closed, with the money transferred to another account and then to Bakti – the federal Organisation of Wives of Ministers which Balkis is affiliated to.

Ku Li to contest Umno presidency

Saturday, 26 April 2008

(The Star) KOTA BARU: Gua Musang Umno division head Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said he would contest the Umno presidency despite the transition plan of the top party leadership.

He said the succession plan between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had nothing to do with the party and he had the right to contest if he had enough nominations.

“It concerns Umno, not the Government. I will offer myself if I have enough nominations from the divisions. It has nothing to do with the Government.

“I am not contesting, I am offering myself to serve, so if I have enough nominations I will offer myself (for the contest),” he told reporters when met at the Sultan so far only Tengku Razaleigh has come up in the open with his intention. And Abdullah
has welcomed "any challenges as I can’t be running away".Ismail Petra Airport here yesterday.

Abdullah said recently that he would defend his presidency and he would discuss the transition plan with Najib after the Umno general assembly in December. –

(So far only Tengku Razaleigh has come up in the open with his intention. And Pak Lah has welcomed 'any challenges as I can’t be running away' . But can he get enough number of nominations to enable him to contest with the quota system stilk in place? Well, you never know. With mounting pressure for Pak Lah to step down and if there are enough members still unhappy with the top leadership, Ku Li might get more nominations to run for party president now compared with just one nomination that he received in the last party polls.)

I am sorry for wielding the keris - Hisham

Umno Youth Chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein Friday apologised to the Malays and non-Malays for wielding keris two years ago.

Hishammuddin said as a responsible party leader, he should apologise if his action in wielding the "Panca Warisan" keris at the Umno Youth general assembly, contributed to the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s losses in five states in the March 8 general election, according to Bernama.

He said the keris issue was among those being brought up openly at the Barisan Nasional (BN) youth committee meeting to look at the reasons for the BN's dismal performance in the election.

"I told them that I'm responsible for what I've done. If it had affected the performance (of the BN), we cannot run away from the reality."If the issue had affected anyone, I apologise to the non-Malays and the Malays," he told reporters after chairing the three-hour meeting from 3.30pm at the Menara Dato Onn here Friday.

Hishammuddin, who is also Education Minister, said the reality of why the keris was wielded had been manipulated by certain quarters.

"(I apologise) to the non-Malays for making them feel apprehensive about (the keris) symbol, and to the Malays for not being able to defend our symbol of heritage. (The wielding of the keris) is not what it was made out to be," he said.

Hishammuddin however said that as a leader, he would accept the reality if it was true that the keris issue had contributed to the BN's losses.

"I'm not an arrogant person who can't accept reality. This is a sad lesson indeed. But if that's how politics goes, we as a leader should be willing to put the party's interest above self-interest," he said.

Asked whether that would mean that the Panca Warisan keris no longer had any meaning, Hishammuddin said, it was still very meaningful to him as a Malay but not many had come to its defence.

"The keris will not go anywhere," he said, adding that the BN youth chiefs were unanimous in moving forward and concentrate on efforts to regain the people's confidence. Continue here...

(Finally! If only he had said it earlier, before the G.Elections, things might...might have turned out differently. Indeed it is a sad lesson, as he admitted, that it took the loss of five states for him to finally accept the fact that the keris was a contributing factor for the BN's dismal performance. )

Friday, 25 April 2008

Police not dropping molest case against ex-minister...

Police will not drop investigations into molest allegations by a woman against a former minister, despite the retraction of the report by the "victim".

City police chief Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Osman said the police will continue investigating the case and are waiting to talk to the former minister, who is currently overseas, according to the NST online.

“It is not up to us (police) to drop the case. We will record a statement from the VIP when he returns from overseas to find out what actually transpired,” he said.

The 30-year-old woman had, on Wednesday, retracted a report she had lodged last week alleging molest by the former minister, in his 50s. (Read here).

The woman had given him a statutory declaration to retract the police report, claiming that the whole situation was a misunderstanding.

Muhammad Sabtu said police may recommend that the woman be charged with lodging a false report if the investigation sows that the report "leads to this".

Meanwhile, lawyer Karpal Singh said the woman cannot withdraw the report, according to law.

“ A person who lodges a report cannot at his whim and fancy withdraw same by way of a letter of statutory declaration,” he said in a statement.

Karpal said action against the former minister should be taken if the contents of the report were found to be true, even though the report had been withdrawn.

“However, if the probe reveals that the contents of the report are false, then the woman should be charged with giving false information to the police.”

Thursday, 24 April 2008

So why did she retract her statement?

The woman who alleged that a former Cabinet minister had outraged her modesty now wants to withdraw her report, claiming she "misunderstood” the incident.

She regretted lodging the police report, as there was no intention on the part of the former minister, who is still an MP, to outrage her modesty or act inappropriately.

“I am afraid I may have misinterpreted or misheard (him). The VIP concerned is known to always joke like that and it is normal for him to be like that,” she said, and apologised for lodging the report.

“When he jokes, he sometimes likes to touch my shoulder or arms but it is something that I accepted as normal among friends especially those we have known for a long time,” she said.

The Star has the story:

Ex-minister had no intention of outraging my modesty, says lounge promoter

KUALA LUMPUR: The woman who alleged that a former Cabinet minister had outraged her modesty now wants to withdraw her report, claiming she misunderstood” the incident.

The 30-year-old promoter at a lounge in a five-star hotel here, in a statutory declaration sent to Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail through her lawyer Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said she was “sensitive and moody” at the time of the incident last Thursday.

She said she had known the former minister over the past five years, and that he had acted in jest without any bad intention.

However, she said she felt offended at that time due to her “complicated mood which led to her lodging a police report the next day.

“I realise now that I may have misunderstood the entire episode that took place last Thursday.

“When he jokes, he sometimes likes to touch my shoulder or arms but it is something that I accepted as normal among friends especially those we have known for a long time,” she said in her statement.

The woman also said she regretted lodging the police report, as there was no intention on the part of the former minister, who is still an MP, to outrage her modesty or act inappropriately.

She said she was used to the VIP’s jokes and “rough ways” and had never objected to his actions nor felt offended by it previously.

“I cannot remember exactly the conversation between me and the VIP although in my statement to the police I may have said something else.

“I am afraid I may have misinterpreted or misheard (him). The VIP concerned is known to always joke like that and it is normal for him to be like that,” she said, and apologised for lodging the report.

Gani confirmed he had received a fax copy of the statutory declaration from Muhammad Shafee.

“I will forward this request to the police and it is up to them to investigate and get back to me,” he said. - Source the Star.

(This is so pathetic. Why would she do that? Why the retraction? Was she forced to do so? Was there any money involved. Was she paid? She seems to have a selective memory. Now, should the police charge the promoter for lodging a false report? Will the ex Cabinet Minister still be charged?)

At this week's MRT...

We had small celebration for Daphne Ling who has been offered a scholarship to study abroad, in Canada, at a University of her choice.

Daphne came all the way from Ipoh with Pi Bani. Pi had sms-ed me a few days earlier that they both would be driving down here for MRT and that Raden Galoh was "cooking " something" for Daphne.

I've never met Daphne - got to know her through reading her blog. Nice girl - young enough to be my daughter - who's committed to the voluntary work she is involved in. She and Pi are neighbours and they live within a five-minute-drive away from each

And what do you know. While some bloggers were greeting one another and others tucking in their mee rebus, MarinaM walked in holding the Olympic Torch which she carried at the Olympic Touch Relay. You just couldn't imagine the excitement the torch stirred. Of course, everyone was curious and eager to touch the torch and have a picture taken holding it. (see pix below)

The mrt regulars were there but we have a recent addition, blogger Jordan, who is a sub-editor with the magazine, Tell. Oh yes, Jacqui, who has been here since early April from the US, where she has been residing since her marriage, was present too. It was her second visit to mrt. She'll be going back on Monday. Have a safe trip home, Jacqui! And to Daphne, all the best to you. We know you're gonna do us proud!

L-R: Raden Galoh, Marina holding the torch, Tok Mommy and Daphne. Back row: Nuraina and Pi Bani.

All "smiles" before Daphne cut the cake bought and brought by Raden Galoh especially for her ( Pix fro L-R' Rockybru, Zorro, Tok Mommy. Daphne. A voice, the Ancient Mariner, Marina, Raden Galoh

L-R: Daphne, Elviza, Marina, Tok mommy with the Torch, Raden Galoh. Seated (l-r): Pi Bani , Jacqui (J.T.), and Husna .

L-R: Bigdog, The Ancient Mariner and Jordon

L-R: Pic 1 :Zorro looks as if he's ready to whack someone: Pic 2. Daphne...kongsi pegang dengan Marina pun jadi ler; and pix 3: Jordon...this is estasy, gonna hold it tight and aint gonna let it go!

Pix: Courtesy of Rikey (wattahack), Daphne and Jordon.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Rustam A. Sani passes away

Innalillahi wa inna illaihi ro ji uun.

Academician, author, social activist and blogger (read here and here) Rustam A Sani (pic. left) passed away passed away suddenly at about 2.30am at his Gombak home. He was 63.

Rustam, a a noted newspaper columnist, writer and poet, was involved in a multitude of political, social and literary activities.

He is survived by his wife, Rohani, his children (Azrani and Ariani) and grandaughter, Arissa.

He will be buried at the Taman Ibukota Muslim Cemetery in Gombak after Zuhur prayers.

My deepest condolences to his family.

Al -Fatiha.

Also read here and here. More about Rustam here .

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Dr Mahathir: I'm Not Anti-Western

Here's an excerpt of the Bernama report on former Prime Minster Dr Mahathir Mohamad's interview in "Hard Talk" aired by BBC in London, Monday.


"I am not anti-western, I'm against the bad things done by the western countries."
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he is not anti-Western but will continue to speak up about their wrongdoings against other people.

"I am not anti-western, I'm against the bad things done by the western countries."

He said the Westerners, especially the British, had given the Malays many negative labels like lazy and incompetent, and expected them to like it.

He stressed that therefore, the Western people should also be ready to hear what others think of them.

"The British used to call us lazy Malays, incompetent Malays, untrustworthy Malays. We couldn't say a thing about you, so when I was in a position to say what I think about you, and then said it, you don't like it. When you say it to us, you expect us to like it, we don't like it but we don't have a way for our voice to be heard."

He admitted saying that Anglo-Saxon Europeans were proponents of war, slavery and the holocaust.

"Which is true... I am stating a fact. This is their character and I will continue to say so," he said.

On democracy, Dr Mahathir:

"It is not necessary that the system will work for everybody, but if they have a bad leader, even a democratic system will fail.

"You must remember that it is a democratic country that dropped the atomic bombs killing more than 200,000 people."

He said if one were to look at the history of the West, they would find that the Westerners normally came up with all kinds of ideologies.

"They used it for some time and then they found it to be defective. They dump it and they start on another.

"One day, they are going to forget about democracy because in some countries, democracy usually ends up with anarchy, and there is practically no government."

Dr Mahathir said democracy was not a system that could fit everybody.

"You must have a certain understanding of the limitation of democracy in order for it to work."

Asked to comment on the recent general election result where the ruling party lost five wealthy states to the opposition coalition allegedly due to the racial division pursued by him during his tenure.

"I know that was a wishful thinking on the part of foreign critics but the fact is that in this election result, it is due to the dissatisfaction on the part of the ruling party's supporters with the present decisions."

On the New Economic Policy which was said to be the cause of the loss, he said that it was a necessary step to correct the imbalances that existed since the British days.

On questions regarding Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Mahathir said if Anwar were to become the new Prime Minister, he was welcomed to conduct a full and thorough inquiry on his (Dr Mahathir's) so-called misdeeds.

"Well, he is welcomed to do so, but I hope that he finds people who are neutral, who are impartial, probably foreigners because I don't trust people they are putting in charge of the people they don't like."

Dr Mahathir was also asked whether he regretted what he did to Anwar.

"Why should I regret, he was arrested under the laws of the country, he was tried and sentenced by the court, if he was not wrong, I don't think no matter what you think about the our judiciary, I don't think he would have been sentenced to prison."

On the judicial system in Malaysia, Dr Mahathir vehemently denied that he appointed judges in the Supreme Court and stressed that he always had faith in the system.

"I didn't appoint the judges, the judges were recommended by the chief justice, and my duty is to check whether they had any record or not, and after that it was presented to the King who then appoint the judges."

On the move by Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to make ex-gratia payments to judges removed during his time, he said:

"It's a political move, something a man who is very unpopular now wanting to show that he has to do something right."

Dr Mahathir also accused Abdullah of making use of the system in the worst ways.

"Nobody can say anything against him, he has newspapers who duly report about him and how great he is, and he was misled by his own supporters into believing that he would win big in the recent election."

Asked why he chose Abdullah as his predecessor, Dr Mahathir said:

"These people, they are very smart in hiding their true character, he was known as Mr Clean and I thought I should appoint a clean person to succeed me... although he was not the one with the highest votes (as vice president) in the party but I thought that he was older and I appointed him thinking that he is not going to do anything very wrong. "

He was also asked why he could not keep quiet after he retired.

"Why should I, they are doing something very bad to my country and I should not let it happen.

"I would be irresponsible if I do that."

Go to bigdog's Tun Mahathir on Hard Talk.

(I sat through the programme. Say what you like and all you want about Dr M, but he was certainly his witty self. I don't believe any of the current cabinet members could perform better, let alone you-know-who.)

Monday, 21 April 2008

Najib: I'm Not A Coward

"It is not a question of being 'Mr Yes Man' or being not brave enough or afraid because I hold to the principle that the best way is to have an organised transfer of power, in a respectable way."

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Monday brushed aside a claim by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that he was a coward for failing to speak up about the real reasons behind the Barisan Nasional's dismal performance in the recent general election, according to Bernama.

"I'm not a coward," the Umno deputy president said when asked to comment on Dr Mahathir's claim made in Manchester, England, on Saturday after the latter had given a talk at the University of Manchester.

Dr Mahathir had said that he had second thoughts about Najib becoming the prime minister because the former prime minister claimed that Najib was not "brave enough" to directly say anything that was not liked by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Najib said: "It is not a question of being 'Mr Yes Man' or being not brave enough or afraid because I hold to the principle that the best way is to have an organised transfer of power, in a respectable way. That would be meaningful and would determine that the party's interests are not undermined," he told reporters.

The deputy prime minister said Umno's history would show that the transfer of power from the first prime minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, to Tun Abdul Razak Hussein proceeded smoothly.

"The late Tun Hussein Onn handed over the office of prime minister to Tun Dr Mahathir also in a proper way, with tradition dictating the best way practised in the party.

"In my opinion, that's the best way and method for us to execute a change in the country's leadership, as was stated by the prime minister and party president," he said.

He said the transfer of power should be given the chance to take place in a respectable way as all decisions in the short term would have an impact on Umno.

"If we do anything at this time, when Umno and BN are not as strong as they were prior to the general election, we will need time to rehabilitate Umno," he said.

He said disputes and friction would definitely take place and result in two or three factions in the party, which would weaken Umno and the BN.

"We cannot afford to allow such a situation to take place in the party, which can cause a major problem for the government and country," he said.

Najib, who refuted claims that there were cracks in Umno, did not rule out the possibility that the party would be split if there was a tussle for power and the leadership.

"I am not saying that there is a split but if there is a leadership crisis, there may be a repeat of the 1987 and the (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim crises. The question is whether the BN and Umno can afford to undergo such a scenario again," he said.

Source: Bernama

(Am sorry to say this Datuk Seri: Rightly or wrongly, that seems to be the general public perception of you. A person who is playing it safe, is non-committal, waiting for his time and simply doesn't want to rock the boat.)

Muhyiddin - It is Umno members' Right...

Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that Umno members have the right to determine the position of the Prime Minister because they were responsible for putting Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to the post by voting him as party president.

“Abdullah was actually elected by Umno members who had voted him as party president and according to convention as Chairman of Barisan Nasional he is chosen as Prime Minister,” he told Utusan Malaysia.

( The post of Barisan Nasional Chairman has always been held by whoever is the President of Umno).

Muhyiddin, who is International Trade and Industry Minister, said that he had never asked Datuk Abdullah to resign although he had made several statements on the need for changes to the party leadership.

Muhyiddin said this in response to the statement by supreme council member Datuk Nazri Aziz who said that no one in Umno has the right to call for Abdullah step down as Prime Minister ( read here).

Nazri, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, had called those those who demanded for Abdullah to step down as "foolish" and who did not understand what democracy was all about.

For more, read "Ahli Umno berhak tentukan kedudukan PM" here.

(With due respect, Tan Sri, please don’t backtrack. What else would you mean by change in the top leadership? And since you said that Umno members have the right to determine the position of Pak Lah, now please ask them to do the right thing. Use that “Right” wisely and persuade him to retire. Boleh kan?)

Sunday, 20 April 2008

We didn't seek to declare Umno unlawful

The so- called "Umno 11" group Saturday claimed that it did not seek to have Umno declared unlawful in 1988 as it had been so accused by certain quarters.

Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, who claimed to represent the group, said all 11 of them only sought to have the party conduct its elections again because several delegates to the April 1987 general assembly came from unregistered branches of the party.

He spoke at a news conference to clarify a newspaper report that the group's claim was granted by then High Court judge Datuk Harun Hashim and the outcome was the declaration of Umno as unlawful because it had unregistered branches.

Abdul Rahim said the group took the matter to court because its appeal within Umno following the party elections was not entertained, according to a report by Bernama.

"That statement is wrong because the fact is that it was a request by the Umno group including myself that we, Umno members, seek a court declaration that the general assembly was null and void. There was nothing in our petition to have Umno declared unlawful or anything associated with banning Umno.

"For 20 years or two decades, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Umno secretary-general then Tan Sri Sanusi Junid and others had accused us Umno 11 as those responsible for having Umno declared unlawful," he said.

He wanted to clarify the matter now because they had not been able to get the chance to refute the accusations.

(Background: The group had filed the petition to have the results of the 1987 Umno elections - in which Dr Mahathir won the Umno presidency against his challenger, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah - declared null and void after learning that several unregistered branches with illegal members had attended the general assembly and voted as delegates.)

Saturday, 19 April 2008

The Kris-wielding issue: a contributing factor for BN poor performance - Khairy

Update: The Keris not main factor for reduced in support - Hishammuddin

Earlier story:
Umno deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin admitted that the issue of "keris-wielding" was among the factors why Umno and Barisan Nasional(BN) lost support among the voters in the March 8 polls.

However, he dismiseed the notion that it was the MAIN factor why voters, especially the non-Malays, didn’t support the BN candidates.

“We need to study and analyse the issue with an open mind," said Khairy, who is also the MP for Rembau.

He was speaking to reporters at a "retreat" for Barisan Nasional Members at a local hotel here yesterday.

Malaysiakini has the story:

Naib ketua Pemuda Umno, Khairy Jamaluddin hari ini mengakui bahawa isu keris menjadi satu daripada beberapa punca sokongan kepada BN merosot dalam pilihanraya umum 8 Mac.

Beliau bagaimanapun menolak tanggapan bahawa isu keris menjadi punca utama pengundi, khususnya bukan Melayu, tidak menyokong ramai calon BN dalam pilihanraya umum tersebut.

"Kita perlu mengkaji dan berfikir untuk melihat isu keris ini secara terbuka," kata Khairy, yang juga ahli parlimen Rembau. Beliau berkata demikian ketika ditemui media di "retreat" ahli-ahli parlimen BN di sebuah hotel terkemuka di Kuala Lumpur hari ini.

Kelmarin dua akhbar bawah Kumpulan NSTP, yang dikaitkan dengan Khairy,Berita Harian dan New Straits Times menyalahkan ketua Pemuda Umno Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein kerana menghunus keris 'Panca Warisan' selama tiga tahun berturut-turut mulai 2005.

Bagaimanapun, kata Khairy, beliau tidak pasti sama ada isu keris tersebut akan di bawa ke perhimpunan agung Pemuda Umno hujung tahun ini.

"Saya juga tidak tahu sama ada isu keris ini akan dibangkitkan dalam mesyuarat exco pergerakan Pemuda Umno," tambah Khairy.

Beliau berkata, pada keseluruhannya, isu keris merupakan salah satu punca sokongan kepada BN berkurangan dalam pilihanraya umum ke-12.

"Kita perlu kenal pasti sebab-sebab timbul isu keris," tambahnya.

Isu keris menjadi polemik besar selepas Astro membuat siaran langsung perhimpunan agung Umno pada 2006 sewaktu 'Panca Warisan' diarak masuk ke dewan dan kemudiannya dihunus dan dikucup oleh Hishammuddin. click
here for more...

(Now see what happens when you play around with the keris? Padan muka - keris sudah makan diri sendiri. It's a bitter lesson to be learnt. Let's hope keris-wielding Hisham wont do the honour this time around if he knows what's good for the movement.)

No right to call for PM’s resignation - Nazri

No one in Umno has the right to call for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down as Prime Minister, party supreme council member Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said on Saturday.

He said the Umno president was also chairman of the Barisan Nasional which was handed a majority in parliament by Malaysians during the March 8 polls.

What right has anyone in Umno to deny the wishes of the people?" said Nazri, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Those who demanded for Abdullah to step down were "foolish" and did not understand what democracy was all about, he said in Kota Kinabalu.

When reporters pointed out to Nazri that among those who called for Abdullah to step down were his fellow cabinet colleagues, he said: "Just because you are a minister does not mean you are always right."

He however said that he was not surprised that ministers were asking for Abdullah to quit as even a former Prime Minister was making the demand.

Nazri said the people now wanted the Barisan-led government to administer the country instead of "Umno telling the rakyat that Pak Lah is not fit to be the Prime Minister."

It was crucial for Umno to respect the people's wishes as without their support, the party could collapse, he added.

He said his comments may not make him a popular figure "but at least I think I'm right."

Source: The Star

Setting up of Judicial Commission not because of Opposition pressure

The government's move to set up a judicial appointments commission is not aimed at satisfying the wishes of opposition parties, according to Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had long wished for the judiciary to be a strong and independent pillar of government.

"As such, the question of fullfilling the wishes of the opposition does not arise," he said yesterday when asked to comment on remarks by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail that the opposition parties had championed this for a long time.

Ahmad Shabery said the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had addressed this issue even in its 2004 election manifesto.

It could not be implemented in the BN's previous term of office as there were other more pressing issues then, he said.

These included emphasis on the concept of integrity, attending to the Ninth Malaysia Plan's economic needs and setting up development corridors to ensure equitable distribution of the economic pie, said Ahmad Shabery,

"The decision by the Prime Minister (to set up the commission) should be viewed positively and supported by all as it is aimed at strengthening the judiciary," he said.

"Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Wan Azizah should remember (PKR advisor Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim) himself did nothing to rectify the situation when he was in the government," he added.

The setting up of the council was announced by Abdullah at a dinner organised by the Bar Council here last night. - BERNAMA

(Ok- lah shabery if you insist in saying so. But let me ask you this - if the BN had not lost so disastrously in the recent March 8 polls, do you think Pak Lah would bother about setting up a Judicial Commission?)

Friday, 18 April 2008

Ex Gratia Payment Is Not An Apology, Says Najib

The ex gratia payment by the government for six former judges involved in the 1988 judicial crisis is not a form of apology to them, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Friday.

"The ex gratia payment does not tantamount to revisiting whatever that has been decided. It is not to be construed as any form of apology but this is our way of addressing some of their personal considerations and some of the personal experiences, hardship that they have gone through.

"That is it is to be seen in that light. It should not be construed as anything beyond that," he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a joint-venture agreement between automakers Chery Automobile Co Ltd and Alado Corporation Sdn Bhd, here.

The six former judges were the late Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh, and Tun Salleh Abas, Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed and Datuk George Seah.

On the setting up of a Judicial Appointments Commission he said:

"The formation of this commission, it must be emphasised, is only in an advisory capacity. The final authority still lies with the prime minister to make the formal recommendation to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and the Council of Rulers."

On Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that the government, apart from paying the ex gratia to the six former judges, would set up a Commission to nominate, appoint and promote judges in a transparent and representative manner.

(bernama has the story here)

Justice was served

PM pays tribute to Tun Salleh and Supreme Court judges sacked in 1988

It was a dinner for lawyers and friends, graced by former judges, and the guest of honour was the Prime Minister.

But as expected, it turned out to be much more.

The Malaysian Bar Council dinner saw the closure of a very painful chapter in the history of the country’s judiciary and hopefully the start of a new one to renew the public’s trust in the courts.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced several measures to reform the judiciary but to many in attendance, what was more important was the tribute he paid to the six Supreme Court judges who were sacked in 1988, which he described as a legacy that still haunted the nation.

Turning to former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas, Tan Sri Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Datuk George Seah, the families of the late Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawan Teh and Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, the Prime Minister said the Government wanted to recognise “their commitment towards upholding justice and to acknowledge the pain and loss they have endured.”

Stopping short of an apology as suggested by his de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim a few weeks ago, Abdullah said:

“For me and for many other Malaysians, these towering judicial personalities represent a very different era for the nation’s judiciary. Many feel that the judiciary then was a venerable institution that could be trusted to deliver justice.

Some even hailed Malaysia’s judiciary as a model for other countries – independent and credible.

“This level of trust and respect for the judiciary, we must all admit, is simply not as strong as it was before.”

Abdullah also announced goodwill ex gratia payments to the six sacked judges and their surviving families as recognition of their contribution, but quickly added:

“I do not presume to equate your contributions, pain and loss with mere currency, but I hope that you can accept this as a heartfelt and sincere gesture to mend what has been.”

He also addressed the need to renew the public’s trust in the nation’s judiciary and “to ensure that justice is consistently delivered.”

Abdullah urged the judiciary, lawyers and the nation to move on, as it was not “wise or helpful to revisit past decisions as it would only serve to prolong the sense of crisis – something our nation can do without."

At the end of his speech entitled Delivering Justice, Renewing Trust, Abdullah was given a standing ovation.

Among those who got off his seat first was Salleh, who shook the Prime Minister’s hand warmly as he got down from the stage.

In the words of Abdullah, the time had come to write a proud and new chapter. --- The Star

Read also here: A New Chapter in the Malaysian Judiciary

Pix:(Courtesy of The Sun) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi shakes hand with former chief justice Tun Salleh Abbas during his attend Bar Council dinner. Also with them chief justice Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad (right))

Thursday, 17 April 2008

"God is great prayers for a moral victory have been answered" - Tun Salleh

Tun Salleh Abbas, who was sacked as Lord President twenty years ago, said it did not matter if the Prime Minister Datuk Abdullah Badawi did not say sorry.

"God is great prayers for a moral victory have been answered," Tun Salleh said to bloggers Nuraina A. Samad and Ahirudin Attan when asked how he'd feel if there was no apology forthcoming from the Prime Minister at tonight's dinner jointly hosted by the government and the Malaysian Bar Council.

"If Pak Lah doesn't say sorry it doesn't matter to me. Let the public judge and God deal with them.

"I've waited for 20 years...God wants to give me only that, and they cannot open their hearts to say sorry, what can I do?

"Perhaps God has not opened their hearts.

"Why should I feel sad about this...I have been sad enough," said Tun Salleh.

Read Nuraina's here.

* Nuraina and Ahiruddin are working on Tun Salleh Abbas' upcoming auto/biography.

PM to announce judiciary reforms tonight

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is set to announce major reforms to the judiciary at a dinner tonight.

The reforms are expected to include the setting up of a Judicial Commission on the appointment of judges, a move likely to be seen as restoring the judiciary's independence, lawyers said.

At the special dinner hosted jointly by the government and the Bar Council tonight, the premier is also expected to make an expression of regret over the 1988 judicial crisis which led to the sacking of the then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and two Federal Court judges, according to a report in the Star.

Apart from that, the former judges are also expected to receive some goodwill compensation in the form of back pay pensions for the sad episode.

Salleh, had in March 1988, written to the king on behalf of the judges expressing disappointment with accusations made by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad (now Tun) against the judiciary.

He was suspended and then brought before a tribunal for misconduct. In response, he filed a suit in the High Court challenging the constitutionality of the tribunal. He also applied for an interim stay against the tribunal but it was denied.

Five judges of the Supreme Court - Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawan Teh and Datuk George Seah - convened and granted Salleh an interlocutory (interim) order against the tribunal which was later set aside.

In August 1988, Salleh was officially removed from the post of Lord President.

Azmi, Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Wan Hamzah, Wan Suleiman and Seah were suspended. In October, Wan Sulaiman and Seah were sacked while three other judges were reinstated.

Related entries, read here, here, here, and here.

Muhyiddin: I won't run

Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he had no intention to contest the two top posts in the party's election in December.

He said whatever statements he made before were to voice the views that he had gathered at grassroots level.

"I want to sincerely help the party and have no intention to compete for the top posts," he said after attending a two-hour meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Selangor Umno leaders yesterday.

Previously, Muhyiddin was reported as saying that Umno would fade away (read here) if immediate changes were not made to the leadership.

The international trade and industry minister had said the general election results showed the people's misgivings about the party leadership.

Source: nst-online

I cannot demand definite time frame of succession plan - Najib

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says it is improper for him to demand that Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi gives a proper definite time frame to set the succession plan in motion.

"Not for me...I cannot demand, it would be proper if it comes from the president.

"He has the wisdom to decide what is best for the country and I believe that," he told a press conference Wednesday after heading the party's management committee in a closed-door meeting with Selangor Umno leaders in Subang Jaya.

Najib, who is Umno deputy president, said the succession plan was among issues raised at the meeting apart from selection of candidates to vie for posts in the party polls in December.

He said clear guide on the succession plan will be given to Umno members when the time was ripe but at the moment, there was no indication whatsoever on when to implement the transition plan, he said.

"There is no indication of timing yet. When the right time comes, we will give a clearer guide," he said when asked to comment on the pressure from certain quarters on the succession talks.

Bernama has the story "Clearer Guide On Succession Plan When The Time Comes, Says Najib" , here .

( A picture tells a thousand words. What about two pictures? I think the Selangor Umno has spoken - read here. But does Pak Lah get the picture?)

Pictures: courtesy of Kawan.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Alternative media is not untouchable - Ahmad Shabery

The alternative media are not as untouchable as the public might think they are, Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Tuesday.

As such, he said, even though the people had the right to write whatever they wish through blogs and other online media, they could still be subjected to actions under the law if they spread slander online.

"People think that the alternative media could do what they want. This is not true. Recently there were cases against some of these bloggers," he told reporters after launching the First International Journalism Fellowship organised by the Malaysian Press Institute at the University of Malaya here.

Ahmad Shabery also said that the government had the responsibility to protect others from untruths and slander.

With technology available today, cyber forensics would be able to trace and detect the identity of online writers or slanderers even though they might use the anonymity of the Internet or a different name as a shield, he said. here

(Most bloggers are responsible for what they write. I think bloggers who post "lies" and "untruths" should be hauled up. But it is unfair to lump them all together. However, if you may recall, YB Datuk, some of the "untruths" which bloggers have been accused of have turned out to be true. There have been cases when credible bloggers - like him - have broken and uncovered important stories which the msm failed to do (read this, this, and this ), and succeeded in mobilising public opinion and support for their cause (read here). Need I say more? )

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

PKR slams police action

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has criticised the police for showing up at four party leaders' homes at 6am Tuesday.

The leaders were issued with summonses requesting them to be present at the Dang Wangi police station at 3pm to answer questions on the gathering held Monday night to celebrate the return of party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to active politics.

PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali said the police were waiting in front of the homes of party president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, vice-president Azmin Ali, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and his personal assistant Yahya Sahri.

The police served them with Police Notice 111 asking them to show up for investigations at the police station.

At a press conference Tuesday, Dr Wan Azizah (pic right) said PKR considered the police action against its leaders as an act of intimidation and provocation, the Star reports.

"We also consider this action mala fide (in bad faith),” Syed Husin said, adding that PKR lawyers are requesting for a copy of the police report made against the four leaders.

As for last night's gathering, he said the party had not applied for a police permit as it was held on private property, the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur.

He said the gathering proceeded peacefully. “It was confined to the compound of the club's premises."

The gathering ended soon after a police officer requested Anwar to wind up his speech.

“There was no protest from the gathering, the organisers or Anwar. The gathering ended peacefully and in an orderly manner at 10:30pm,” Syed Husin said.

Also read here and here.

Thousands welcome Anwar's return to electoral politics

About 10,000 people thronged the Sultan Sulaiman Club Monday night to welcome Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to electoral politics.

Among the crowd was Parti Keadilan Rakyat president and Anwar's wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, daughter Nurul Izzah, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, PKR vice president Azmin Ali and Batu MP Tian Chua. DAP and Pas leaders also turned up for the event.

When Anwar arrived at 8.50pm, there were shouts of reformasi but no untoward incidents.

Police, including the Federal Reserve Unit and Light Strike Force patrolled the area but people were allowed to move about freely.

There was also a large foreign media presence, including television crew.Anwar, the PKR adviser, was banned from contesting any elections for five years after his release from jail following his conviction of corruption and abuse of power charges.

At midnight, the ban expired, allowing Anwar to be active in electoral politics. During the last general election he went around the country giving ceramah for his party's candidates as well as those from Pas and DAP.

However, about 30 minutes after Anwar spoke to the crowd, a dozen policemen went on stage to stop Anwar on grounds that he was addressing the rally, which had no police permit.

"The police chief has asked us to stop so we are stopping, but remain peaceful, because soon we will be running this country," Anwar told the crowd, who jeered police as the event was stopped.

At a press conference held minutes later, Anwar said he has the support of enough defectors from the Barisan Nasional to seize power.

“However, I will not act until I have a bigger majority,” he said.

“Yes, we have enough MPs to topple the government. We are saying here for the first time that we are ready (to rule the country) but we will only enter when the majority is comfortable.”

( YB Wee Choo Keong's estimate was 20,000 . And I would think so, judging from the size of crowd in the photo.)

Source: the NST online

Pix: Courtesy of Hard-T

I have two ears. I am not deaf – says Pak Lah

Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi has said it again. He has two (big ) ears. He is also not deaf, mind you. And he does various views.

The Prime Minister said he received various views on the power transition, with some wanting it to be as soon as possible while others gave him more time.

"Never mind. I just listen. I have two ears. I am not deaf. In a democracy, everyone wants to talk. So what can we do? If we don't allow them to speak out, they say we are scared... there's no freedom, so let them talk."

He says he wants the power transition to his successor to be smooth as this is important for the country.

"I don't want to leave the party in a state of turmoil but in a good, stable condition.”

He said this to reporters after meeting with Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentarians and state assemblymen in the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) Monday.

Abdullah, however, declined to give a timeframe for the transfer of power because he wanted a smooth transition.

When commenting on party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin's call for an immediate change to the party leadership (read here), he said:

"They can announce anything they want. They can say anything they want. The decision is mine; people can say anything they like."

Abdullah also said he would seek re-election as UMNO's President in the party election to be held in December.

"Why shouldn't I contest? You tell me," when asked if he would go for the president's post should there be a contest for the post.

Here’s the report from Bernama:

Abdullah: 'I Don't Want To Leave Party In State Of Turmoil'

KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says he wants the power transition to his successor to be smooth as this is important for the country.

"I don't want to leave the party in a state of turmoil but in a good, stable condition.

"I can say to (Deputy Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Najib (Tun Razak), 'good luck, that's your problem not mine.' But that should not be the way. We don't want it to be so sudden...where's Pak Lah (Abdullah)? He has quit. That's not the way," Abdullah said.

The prime minister was speaking at a press conference after meeting with senators, members of parliament and state assemblymen from the Barisan Nasional at the Putra World Trade Centre here Monday.

"It was the same before, when (Tun) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) wanted to hand over power to me. That's how we do things," he said in response to calls from some Umno members for him to transfer the reins of power to his successor.

He said he received various views on the power transition, with some wanting it to be as soon as possible while others gave him more time.

"Never mind. I just listen. I have two ears. I am not deaf. In a democracy, everyone wants to talk. So what can we do? If we don't allow them to speak out, they say we are scared... there's no freedom, so let them talk," added the Umno president.

Asked further on the power transition, Abdullah said it was only the view of some quarters and not all the grassroots.

On his meeting with Johor Umno last week, he said it was clear that they supported him as Umno president and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as deputy president in the December party election. He said after this, he and Najib would think about matters pertaining to the power transition.

Asked if he would go for the president's post if there is a contest for the post, he shot: "Why shouldn't I contest? You tell me."

On Umno divisions holding their extraordinary general meeting, to discuss, among the matters, the nomination quota system and for an EGM to be held at the central level, he said they should follow the procedures if they wanted to hold it.

On the statements made by Umno vice-president Umno Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, Abdullah said: "They can announce anything they want. They can say anything they want. The decision is mine; people can say anything they like."

Rais was reported to have said that it was the party members' right to ask Abdullah to step down as prime minister and Umno president or to announce a power transition.

Sunday, Muhyiddin was reported saying that Umno would fade away and not be able to make a comeback if there was no leadership change at the top.

Abdullah, meanwhile, said that he was confident of the support and loyalty of the BN MPs although the opposition had claimed that there would be a vote of no confidence against him at the coming parliamentary sitting.

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