Sunday 31 May 2009

Penanti by-election: PKR's Mansor wins with bigger majority

PKR's Dr Mansor Othman has won the Penanti state seat by garnering 6,052 votes out of the total 7,100 votes.

His nearest rival is Nai Khan Ari, an Independent, who received 494, followed by Aminah Abdullah, a former PKR Penang Wanita chief who stood as an Independent, with 392. Kamarul Ramzu received 56 votes.

Mansor's majority is 5,558 votes. All the three independents lost their deposit.

This is the sixth by-election since Election 2008. BN has not won in any of the four previous by-elections in Peninsular Malaysia, only winning in Batang Ai in Sarawak.

Another by-election will be held in the rural Kelantan state seat of Manek Urai on July 14 after its five-term assemblyman Ismail Yaacob from PAS died on May 22.

Report by star online

Penanti: Mansor gets 6,052 votes out of 7,100 as of 7.17pm (Update 6)

BUKIT MERTAJAM: At 7.17pm PKR's Mansor Othman has won 6,052 of the 7,100 votes cast in the Penanti by-election.

He is trailed by Independents Nai Khan Ari (494), Aminah Abdullah (392) and Kamarul Ramizu Idris (56).

Mansor looks all set to become the next Deputy Chief Minister 1.

Polling ended at Penanti on Sunday with a low turnout of 46.1% or 7,100 voters despite fair weather.

Penanti has 15,384 registered voters.

Results are expected to be announced by 8.30pm.

Election Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said he was disappointed by the low turnout.

“We do not why but we will study the reasons for it,” he said, adding that he had expected a 70% turnout.

The usual buzz and excitement that surrounds by-elections was missing this time as Barisan Nasional had declined to contest.

The Election Commission had strictly enforced the no "pondok panas" rule within 50m of the polling stations, which meant there was no last-minute wooing of voters.

At about 3pm Sunday, 42.2% or 6,492 voters had cast their votes at the nine polling stations.

Although the weather was fine there was only a trickle of voters and traffic flow was smooth.

However, both FRU and police personnel remained on standby for any eventuality. No such eventuality has arisen.

Voters in Penanti comprise 72.68% Malays, 24.44% Chinese, 2.39% Indians and 0.71% of other races.

It was a four-cornered fight with PKR's Mansor Othman taking on three Independents - former Penang PKR Wanita chief, manufacturing manager Nai Khan Ari, 41, and businessman Kamarul Ramizu Idris, 42.

Among the earliest to cast his vote was Nai-Khan Ari at the Kg Tun Sardon community hall at 8.40am.

Earlier, Dr Mansor had visited the Berapit polling station with DAP's Lim Kit Siang and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Aminah has recently added in a twist to the otherwise peaceful campaign period by claiming that her former party has offered her RM80,000 and the Penang Municipal Council president's post if she withdrew from the contest.

She also alleged that PKR leaders had offered her the Deputy Chief Minister's post if she won.

She has since lodged a report with the Election Commission.

The Penanti seat fell vacant after Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin quit as assemblyman on April 16 after stepping down as Penang Deputy Chief Minister I on April 8.

In the last general election, PKR's Fairus polled 7,346 votes against the 5,127 votes obtained by his Barisan opponent Datuk Abdul Jalil Majid. There were 184 spoilt votes .

Friday 29 May 2009

Jaya Supermarket Tragedy: Stop-work order issued as death toll rises

Search and rescue personnel have uncovered the remains of the fourth victim from the rubble of the collapsed Jaya Supermarket building in Petaling Jaya this afternoon, Malaysiakini reported.

The remains of Annuaruddin, 38, the excavator operator, was found trapped under the machine.

At about 3am today, the body of the third victim - that of Muhamad Maskur - was found pinned under a concrete slap in the car park.

They were among nine workers who were trapped when the five-storey building collapsed after demolition works went awry yesterday evening. And hopes of finding the remaining survivors are fast fading with time.

Two of the workers, all of whom are believed to be Indonesian nationals, rescued yesterday are undergoing treatment at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre.

Yesterday, Petaling Jaya district police chief Arjunaidi Mohamad said all nine victims were on the ground floor at the time of the incident.

Meanwhile, Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Lajim Ukin said initial investigation indicated that the structure might have collapsed due to overloading as heavy machinery were used in the demolition work.

In a related development, the Selangor state government today issued a stop-work order on the demolition works in order for investigations to be carried out.

The decision was made following a briefing on the tragedy by the Petaling Jaya City Hall (MBPJ) engineering unit, Malaysian Public Works Institute (Ikram) and the Department of Occupational Safety and Hazard (Dosh) at the Selangor Economic Action Council meeting this morning.

In a statement, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim said the briefing revealed a serious lack of proper guidelines in monitoring the demolition of buildings.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Jaya supermarket collapses: two dead, seven trapped (update)

The landmark Jaya Supermarket building in Section 14 in Petaling Jaya collapsed this afternoon when demolition operations went wrong.

At least nine construction workers all believed to be Indonesians are still trapped under the debris with two having rescued. A body was recovered at around 6.50pm, identified as that of Maskor, 28. The second body was recovered late at night.

Click here for update. Also the Sun, here, the Malay Mail here.

Earlier report from the Star:
Jaya Supermarket accident: Workers trapped, one dead

The landmark Jaya Supermarket building in Section 14 in Petaling Jaya collapsed after demolition operations went awry Thursday afternoon

PETALING JAYA: Search and rescue operations are underway at the site of the landmark Jaya Supermarket here after demolition operations went awry Thursday afternoon.

At least five construction workers are still trapped, with two having been rescued. One body has been recovered.

A resident living nearby said he heard trapped workers shouting “Tolong, tolong (Help, help)” for a while, but there now was only silence.

More than 100 rescue workers are on the scene. Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Soiman Jahid said rescue workers pulled out the first worker at 5:45pm, followed by the second at 6pm.

Both were rushed to Universiti Hospital where they are reportedly in stable condition. Other workers are being examined by several medics on the scene.

At 6:44pm, rescuers pulled out a body of a construction worker, the first confirmed fatality, Soiman said.

“We believe that five more workers are still trapped under the debris, and we’re using tracker dogs to try and trace them,” he said.

The building has six-storeys, including the basement. Most of the workers were on the ground and third floors when the incident, whose cause is currently unknown, occurred.

The collapsed part is at the back of the building. About one-quarter of the building has collapsed, observers say.

At one stage, the remaining part of the building was teetering dangerously, reporters on the scene said, with bits and pieces still falling off.

However, the Fire and Rescue Department has confirmed that there are no houses nearby and residents were not in danger.

Numerous fire engines and ambulances are still on the scene, and police have barricaded the area.

Manek Urai: Nominations July 6 & polls on July 14

The Election Commission (EC) has set July 6 for nominations and July 14 as the polling day for the Manek Urai state seat by-election in Kelantan.

EC chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof who made the announcement at a press conference at the commission office in Putrajaya today said the eight days of campaigning period is the same as that allocated for the Penanti by-election, due on May 31.

The Manek Urai seat became vacant following the death of PAS state assemblyman Ismail Yaacob on May 23.

Ismail won Manek Urai in the 2008 general election with 1,352 vote-majority over Umno's Zulkepli Omar. He polled 5,746 votes against Zulkepli's 4,394. Voter turnout was 84.23 per cent.

Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has announced that Barisan Nasional would contest in Manek Urai.

BN is not contesting in the Penanti by-election citing frequent by-elections as waste of public resources.

The Menak Urai by-election is the seventh by-election after the March 2008 general election. - Malaysiakini

Friday 22 May 2009

Will BN skip this by-election too?

Malaysiakini reported that Manek Urai state assemblyman Ismail Yaacob, 60, passed away at Raja Zainab Hospital in Kota Bharu early this morning.

With his death, the Election Commission will have to call for yet another by-election - the seventh since the general election last year - within 60 days.

Ismail, a veteran PAS politician, will be buried after Friday prayers today.

Manek Urai, a seat in central Kelantan, is almost an exclusively Malay constituency with 99.3 per cent Malay voters.

In 2008, Ismail won the state seat by beating Umno’s Zulkepli Omar by 1,352 majority. He bagged 5,746 votes against Zulkepli’s 4,394.

Will Umno stay out of this by-election as it has decided with the upcoming Penanti by-election given the fact that Manek Urai is considered a safe seat for PAS?

ADUN PAS meninggal dunia
May 22, 09 8:11am

ADUN Manik Urai, Ismail Yaacob meninggal dunia kira-kira subuh hari ini di hospital Kota Bharu dan PAS memanggil satu sidang media di Kuala Lumpur berhubung perkara tersebut.

Difahamkan Ismail, 60, dimasukkan ke Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II pada 26 April lalu kerana menghadapi masalah di bahagian kakinya sehingga menyebabkan kesihatannya sering kali terganggu.

Allahyarham antara ADUN yang paling lama berkhidmat di Kelantan sejak memenanginya pada pilihanraya umum 1986.

Kecuali pada 2004, allahyarham sudah lima penggal dipilih mewakili kawasan tersebut - bawah parlimen Kuala Krai yang diwakili bendahari PAS Dr Hatta Ramli.

Pengarah pilihanraya PAS Datuk Mustafa Ali dijadual mengadakan satu sidang media di ibu pejabat parti itu di Kuala Lumpur jam 11 pagi ini.

Beliau juga dijangka mengulas pilihanraya kecil DUN Penanti yang akan bermula Sabtu ini sehingga 31 Mei.

Keputusan pilihanraya umum 2008 bagi N41 Manik Urai

Jumlah pengundi: 12,292 orang
Peratusan kaum: Melayu 99.25%, Cina 0.44%, India 26%, Lain-lain 0.02%

1. Ismail Yaacob (PAS) 5,746
2. Mohamed Zulkifli Omar (BN) 4,394

Majoriti: 1,352
Jumlah undi: 10,332
Peratus mengundi: 84.05%
Undi rosak: 192

(Al fatiha. Semoga rohnya dirahmati Allah SWT.)

Thursday 21 May 2009

Perak MB crisis: Judgment tomorrow

The Court of Appeal -- after hearing submissions and rebuttals from both sides -- will deliver its ruling at 3:30pm Friday on Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir’s appeal against the High Court decision declaring Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin the rightful mentri besar of Perak.

Perak MB crisis: Appeal Court to decide on Friday - The Star online

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal will deliver its ruling at 3:30pm Friday on Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir’s appeal against the High Court decision declaring Datuk Seri Mohd Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin the rightful mentri besar of Perak.

The three-man panel -- comprising Justices Datuk Ahmad Maarop, Datuk Md Raus Sharif and Zainun Ali -- announced this after hearing submissions and rebuttals from both sides earlier Thursday.

Among the issues it will have to consider is whether a mentri besar can be removed from office without a vote of no-confidence in the State Legislative Assembly, and how far the Ruler’s discretionary powers stretch.

Earlier, Nizar’s lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah argued that the question of Nizar resigning as mentri besar of Perak cannot arise because there had not been a vote of no-confidence against his leadership in the Assembly.

“The only way a mentri besar can be removed from office is by such a vote on the floor of the Assembly,” he said.

A key argument on both sides was what transpired between Nizar and the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, on Feb 4, on which day Nizar had sought -- but was not granted -- the Ruler’s consent to dissolve the Assembly to pave the way for fresh state elections.

Zambry’s lawyers had argued that this was tantamount to a loss of confidence in Nizar’s leadership, and therefore the Sultan had acted correctly in asking Nizar to step down as mentri besar.

“If His Royal Highness has the power to dismiss the mentri besar, it would come under Article 18 (of the State Constitution), but it does not. It does not come under any Article,” said Sulaiman, who began his submission at 2pm.

Article 18 covers the constitutional discretion of the Sultan, including the right to refuse a premature dissolution.

“If what they say is acceptable, then the Prime Minister can be woken up at 2am and be told that the Yang DiPertuan Agong has issued a statement that he has to resign because he has lost the confidence of the majority,” Sulaiman said.

“We are not challenging His Royal Highness’ prerogative, but it’s impossible to jump from there to say he has lost the confidence of the majority and has to resign,” he said, in urging the Appellate Court to no “disturb” the High Court’s ruling.

The Court of Appeal adjourned before it had time to hear Nizar’s application to set aside a stay of execution order granted to Zambry on the High Court’s decision on May 12. The order was handed down by Justice Ramly Ali. Continue here

Tuesday 19 May 2009

BN not contesting Penanti

Barisan Nasional (BN) not be contesting in the Penanti by-election on May 31, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak announced after a BN supreme council meeting he chaired yesterday.

The decision was expected as Datuk Najib had previously indicated that BN was not interested in 'wasting public funds' by taking part in the by-election, which he said was a political game being played by the Opposition.

The seat fell vacant following the resignation of the former Penang Deputy Chief Minister (I), PKR's Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin. PKR has already named Mansor Othman as its candidate

Barisan will not contest in Penanti: Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional has decided not to contest the Penanti by-election on May 31, coalition chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

Najib said the by-election was a political game being played by the Opposition and they did not want to play to their tune.

Despite calls for Barisan to contest in the by-election, Najib said the decision the coalition made on Monday was unanimous, after a lengthy discussion.

"Barisan’s priority is to serve the people and work to revive the country’s economy," said Najib, who is also Prime Minister, at a press conference here Monday evening.

He had earlier chaired the Barisan supreme council meeting where the issue was discussed.

Asked if the decision might disappoint Barisan supporters in Penanti, Najib said he did not think so as the coalition would still face the people during the next general election.

He added that the decision not to contest would not affect the service provided to the people, and the coalition would serve in Penanti and Permatang Pauh in its own way.

On whether there had ever been a by-election in which Barisan had not contested, he said was informed there was one instance before.

However, he added that there had never been a case before where one was held under the same circumstances as Penanti.

The Penanti state seat fell vacant on April 17, after the resignation of PKR assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, who also quit as Penang Deputy Chief Minister I.

Pakatan Rakyat has chosen PKR’s Dr Mansor Othman as its candidate for the by-election.

Nomination has been set for May 23. Ther Star

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Zambry regains MB's post

The Court of Appeal has granted a stay of execution on yesterday's High Court decision which recognised Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful Perak menteri besar.

In an immediate response Datuk Seri Nizar and his executive councillors vacated their office at 2.30pm, saying they respect the Court of Appeal's decision’ - seven hours after taking over the reins of administration again..

He had been in office for less than 24 hours since the High Court decision.

Zambry regains MB's post, quickly overturns PR's reversions (The NST)

KUALA LUMPUR, Tues: 4:25pm: Barely 21 hours after the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin was Perak Menteri Besar, the post is now back to Barisan Nasional's Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

The Court of Appeal has allowed a stay of execution of the order pending an appeal filed by Zambry this morning, V. Anbalagan reports.

In an immediate response, Zambry overturned the key BN policy reversions declared by Datuk Nizar Jamaluddin earlier this morning, which includes suspensions of the State Secretary and Legal Adviser.

Nizar, in an immediate response, vacated the Mentri Besar's office in Ipoh along with his Exco members at 2.30pm, after gaining access at 7.45am.

On the topsy-turvy nature of the situation now, Nizar commented: "I will for my legal counsel. When everything is clearer, we will see the consequences to ascertain its level."

However, Nizar admitted that both parties need to stop the impasse in perak.

Pakatan Rakyat officials stressed that the decisions made by Nizar with his exco in an emergency meeting last night is valid, even if it lasted for only a mere 16 hours.

Zambry, in a Press conference in Ipoh after winning the stay of execution, declared that he had overturned all the decisions made by Nizar at the "so-called Pakatan Exco meeting."

"Everything is back to status quo," he said.

On whether he should called for an emergency State Assembly sitting, Zambry said he will first go through the grounds of the High Court judgment before reaching a decision.

Meanwhile, in his decision today, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Ramly Ali said he was satisfied that there were special circumstances to grant the stay as Zambry's appeal would be rendered nugatory if the stay was not granted, Bernama reports.

The court, he said, would fix an early date to hear Zambry's appeal. Continue here.

Ku Li: Dissolve the Perak State Assembly

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah hopes that the Sultan of Perak, who had earlier asked Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to resign, will now agree to the Perak MB’s request to dissolve the assembly and make way for fresh elections in the state.

“This is the decent thing to do, but also the only way out of a crisis which has already spiralled out of Perak, damaged the rule of law, compromised the judiciary, the police and the state civil service, and damaged the monarchy in public opinion,” he said in his latest blog posting .

The veteran Umno leader said that it is better for the Barisan Nasional to risk state elections that it may lose rather than to lose the entire country by being seen to be opposed to decency, the rule of law, and the will of the people.

Commenting on the court decision yesterday to recognise Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar as the lawful menteri besar, Tengku Razaleigh said the ruling had affirmed the primacy of the constitution.

“This judgement brings to a head some of the consequences of our constitutional misadventure in Perak.

“According to the constitution, Nizar is menteri besar until he resigns of his own accord, or is removed by a vote of no-confidence in a formal sitting of the assembly. The constitution makes no provision for his removal by any other means, including by petitions or instructions from any other authority.”

He said that the government led by Datuk Seri Zambry was all along illegitimate and all decisions and contracts made by that government are without legal status.

“The cascade of illegalities we warned of must now be unwound painfully. This includes the deplorable events of May 7 in Ipoh.

"It means the resolution to replace the Speaker was brought by an illegal state government,” Tengku Razaleigh said. Read full entry here .

Monday 11 May 2009

BN to appeal High Court ruling...

Datuk Seri Najib Razak says that the Barisan Nasional will appeal the High Court ruling that declared Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful Perak Mentri Besar, and not Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

He said the appeal would be filed on Tuesday (tomorrow)and in the meantime, the Prime Minister urged the people of Perak to remain calm while "the situation is resolved," according to the Star.

Pakatan Rakyat is however adamant that there is no "situation."

“This is a great day for the rakyat (people) because the Law and the Constitution are the true winners,” Nizar said in a statement.

“It is a historic day for all who love democracy and it will be remembered for years and years to come. Its positive effects for revitalising parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy is tremendous,” he said.

He said that everyone from both sides of the political divide would benefit from this ruling “because an independent judiciary is absolutely essential for the well-being of any country and its people.”

Nizar said that all previous decisions made by the Dr Zambry administration would be subject to review but not invalidated except for the tumultous May 7 sitting.

He also suspended the state legal adviser with immediate effect.

Nizar said that once he arrived in Ipoh, he would meet with his Pakatan colleagues and a press conference could be expected late Monday night.

Earlier, Zambry said he would apply for a stay pending appeal. This was immediately rejected by the court.

The court also ordered Zambry and the six executive councillors he had appointed to vacate their office.

An aide to Dr Zambry told the media that Perak Barisan Nasional will respect the court order and will vacate their offices at the state secretariat building immediately. Continue here .

High Court rules Nizar is legitimate MB

The Kuala Lumpur High Court rules today that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is still the legitimate menteri besar of Perak, reports the Star.

High Court judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim said the menteri besar can only be dismissed by a no-confidence motion in the state legislative assembly. This did not happen in Nizar's case.

Abdul Aziz, in his decision on the judicial review application filed by Nizar, ruled that as such, there was no vacancy in the menteri besar post.

Datuk Seri Nizar is on his way to Ipoh to seek an audience with the Sultan of Perak to ask for his consent to dissolve the State Assembly.

Nizar is rightful MB: High Court

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here ruled on Monday that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is the rightful Perak Mentri Besar, and not Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

In an immediate response, Zambry said he would apply for a stay pending appeal.

In his ruling, Justice Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim said that a new mentri besar could not be appointed as the office had not been vacated.

He said a mentri besar can only be dismissed by a vote of no confidence, and upheld the Stephen Kalong Ningkan ruling.

He noted that the Perak State Legislative did not hold a vote of no confidence.

In 1966, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Stephen Kalong Ningkan was ousted when the state governor showed him a letter of no confidence issued by 21 out of 42 legislators and asked Ningkan to resign.

Ningkan refused, saying the letters were not tantamount to a vote of no confidence in the state legislative assembly. He was sacked by the governor but eventually reinstated by the Borneo High Court, which saw the necessity of a formal vote of no confidence.

According to the Nutgraph, the judge ruled ruled that the governor can only dismiss the chief minister when both these conditions are satisfied:

(a) The chief minister has lost the confidence of the House, and

(b) The chief minister has refused to resign and failed to advise a dissolution.

Nizar had filed for a judicial review on Feb 13, seeking a declaration that he is the rightful mentri besar of Perak and an injunction to bar Dr Zambry from discharging his duties as the mentri besar.

On March 6, Justice Lau Bee Lan had ruled that there were constitutional issues involving the interpretation of Article 16 (6) of the Perak Constitution and later referred four consitutional questions to the Federal Court for determination.

However, on March 23, the Federal Court ruled that the case of who the rightful mentri besar is should be heard by the High Court.

Nizar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah, in wrapping up his submissions last week, said the Constitution was the “genius of the Malaysian people”, adding that the court had a duty to uphold it.

Over the last few days, he had submitted that the Sultan, while granted powers in the Perak Constitution to appoint a mentri besar, could not dismiss him.

The only way Nizar could be dismissed, he said, was through a vote of no-confidence in the House.

He also said that a mentri besar could request for the State Assembly to be dissolved in the middle of a term without losing the confidence of the majority of the House.

Dr Zambry’s lawyer Datuk Cecil Abraham, however, argued that Nizar went by Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution when he sought an audience with the Sultan – this article specifically provides for the mentri besar to request for a dissolution when he has lost the confidence of the majority in the House.

Under the article, Nizar is required to tender the resignation of his executive councillors when his request was rejected, he said.

Nizar is expected to seek an audience with the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, to get his consent to dissolve the Assembly and call for fresh state elections.

Nizar vs Zambry - the outcome today

The Kuala Lumpur High Court will decide today who is the legitimate Perak menteri besar.

The court is expected to make a decision based on an application by ousted Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (left pic on the right) at 2.30pm today.

The decision by justice Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim can either bring an end to the ongoing political turmoil in Perak or start a fresh round of battle for power between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan.

The state has been in a political impasse since February after Sultan Azlan Shah urged Datuk Seri Nizar to step down and appointed Datuk seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir (picture above, on the left)as the menteri besar.

The sultan's decision was based on the defection of three Pakatan elected representatives to become BN-friendly independents.

Datuk Seri Nizar has, however, questioned the legitimacy of Dr Zambry's appointment and is pushing for the state assembly to be dissolved so that fresh elections could be held.

Last Thursday, BN gained an upper hand in the state assembly by removing the Pakatan appointed speaker V Sivakumar and replaced him with Datuk R Ganesan from MIC.

Datuk Seri Nizar's case was filed on Feb 13, in which he sought a declaration that he is the rightful menteri besar and to prevent dr Zambry from discharging his duty.

Datuk Seri Nizar's lawyers previously argued in the court that if he got the declaration, he would seek a fresh mandate to resolve the political deadlock.

Meanwhile, security is tight at the Jalan Duta court complex with extra police personnel placed in the court complex.

By 1.20pm, the police have started vetting those wanting to enter the courtroom.

Three Federal Reserve Unit trucks were also on standby, ostensibly to control the crowd if things get out of hand following the decision. - Malaysiakini

Saturday 9 May 2009

Happy Vesak Day

Wishing my Buddhist friends and visitors a Happy Vesak Day

May you have abundant of blessings;

Good health, good fortune and happiness.

Friday 8 May 2009

Bersih activist Wong, lawyers and protesters released

Malaysiakini reported that Wong Chin Huat, the Bersih activist, was released from police custody at 3.30pm at the Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

His release came soon after five lawyers arrested during a candlelight vigil outside the Brickfields district police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur last night were freed at 2.50pm.

At about the same time of Wong's release, 15 other protestors who were arrested yesterday were also released at the Brickfields police station.

Wong was arrested on Wednesday night from his home in Taman Sri Sentosa in Kuala Lumpur under the Sedition Act.

It is believed he was arrested following a call he made urging the public to wear black to protest the ongoing political impasse in Perak at a Bersih press conference on Tuesday.

But Wong told reporters that he was informed that he was arrested following a police report lodged by Malay NGO Pewaris member Jais Abdul Karim on Monday.

He has been asked to report to the Jalan Duta courts on May 22. It is uncertain if he will be charged with any offence under the Sedition Act.

Meanwhile, the five lawyers have also been asked to report back at the Brickfields police station on May 22.

They are Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Syuhaini Safwan, Puspawati Rosman, Ravinder Singh and Murnie Hidayah Anuar (photo left).

The five of them were arrested after they went to the police station to provide legal assistance to a group of the 14 protesters who were picked up for illegal assembly. Also arrested along with them was the Suara Keadilan Chinese version editor Law Teck Hao.

The 14 protesters and Law have also been released from the Brickfields police station at about 3.50pm. They were arrested after taking part in a vigil to protest the arrest of Wong.

And in Penang, Suaram activist Ng Eng Kiat, 25, who was arrested yesterday for taking part in a vigil in support of Wong was released this afternoon. He has been instructed to report back to the police in two weeks' time.

In Kuching, Joseph Tawie reports that Padungan state assemblyperson Dominique Ng, his wife Lim Phang Lian, and nine others were released at 2.30am on police bail after their statements were taken.

Thursday 7 May 2009

Chaos in Perak Assembly: BN speaker appointed, Pakatan speaker thrown out (update)

Live coverage by the Star -battleground Ipoh - here and Malayasiakini here.

Malaysiakini Bahasa Malaysia version (free), here

4.05pm: New speaker Ganesan adjourns the assembly to a date to be decided after the Regent of Perak, Raja Nazrin, delivered his his royal address.

Update (2): 3pm Malaysiakini :

BN speaker 'appointed', Pakatan speaker thrown out

After six hours of pandemonium, dozens of plainclothes police physically removed speaker Sivakumar (picture left) from his chair and dragged him out of the hall.

Earlier, Pakatan reps tried to shield him (Sivakumar) but more plainclothes men entered the House and managed to breakthrough the human barricade. At present, there are scores of plainclothes men wearing tags which read 'official' in the House.

Several Pakatan reps were also dragged out and the ensuing melee saw several flower pots being smashed.

When the assembly resumed at 2.15pm, the. Pakatan reps had tried to physically stop Ganesan from entering the chamber.

There was a lot of pushing and shoving among the state reps. A few punches were being thrown about as well. A number of reps climbed up the table. It was complete pandemonium in the assembly.

BN and Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen get into a scuffle before the start of the afternoon session of the Perak state assembly sitting on Thursday. - 7 May, 2009

Update ( 1):

Chaos in assembly, BN speaker 'appointed'

Perak BN reps 'appoints' MIC's R Ganesan (picture left) as the new speaker. But V Sivakumar declares him 'illegal'. Nevertheless four motions 'passed' by BN reps. Ganesan adjourns assembly.

Reporters inside the assembly said there was mayhem in the chamber, with legislators shouting at each other. (Read Bernama's report Chaotic Perak Assembly Sitting With Two Speakers )

earlier report:

Ipoh Barat MP (second left) arguing with Ipoh OCPD Azizman Alias after he and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang were banned from entering the state secretariat building in Ipoh.

Police confiscate two boxes of the banned "One Black Malaysia" T-shirts from a Pakatan Rakyat supporter's stall in Manjoi. - 7 May, 2009

Two more politicians have been arrested by the police for breaching the injunction against gathering at the state secretariat.

They are Siput MP Dr D Jeyakumar (PSM) and PAS' MP for Parit Buntar Mujahid Yusof Rawa (picture right).

Also arrested was Malaysiakini columnist and activist Helen Ang.

Police had earlier nabbed 11 people and herded them into a police lorry inside the state secretary compound.

They include one MP (Ampang PKR MP Zuraida Kamaruddin) and and three state assemblypersons - DAP Ayer Keroh state rep Khoo Poay Tiong, DAP Teratai state rep Jenice Lee (picture left) and DAP Bahau state rep Tey Kok Seong.

Some were hauled in for gathering outside the assembly, in defiance of a police ban, while others were dragged out of nearby restaurants, reports Malaysiakini.

Hundreds of police and riot squad were deployed at the state assembly which was blocked off with barricades to prevent black-clad protesters from reaching the building.

Pictures: Courtesy of the Star and Malaysiakini

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Three more political activists arrested

The Star reported that PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu (aka Mat Sabu) and PKR Youth leader Badrul Hisham (aka Chegu Bard) were arrested in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon, believed to be in relation to a planned gathering at the sitting of the Perak state assembly on Thursday (tomorrow).

It is believed that a third person, an unidentified political activist, was also arrested.

Perak police are expected to hold a press conference soon to brief the media on the reasons for the arrests.

The arrests come less than 24 hours after Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) representative Wong Chin Huat was arrested for alleged sedition.

Wong who was earlier expected to be released this evening has his remand extended until Friday, May 8.

Related articles: From Yellow to Black, Court Order to prevent illegal assembly
Archived article:The Yellow March...

Bersih Activist Wong Chin Huat Wong remanded for a day (update)

Update: 9:15pm
Bersih activist Wong Chin Huat will be remanded until Friday (May 8) because the police needed more time to interrogate him and complete their investigations.

Kuala Lumpur magistrate Naziah Alias had originally granted a one-day remand order this morning but the police went to the court again to seek an extension.

The second remand order was granted by magistrate Nazran Mohd Sham after hearing submissions in her chambers from the police.

Earlier report:

The Kuala Lumpur magistrate's court today remanded Bersih activist Wong Chin Huat for a day and he could be released as early as this evening, according to Malaysiakini.

The police originally asked for a four-day remand order to complete their investigations but magistrate Naziah Alias only granted a remand order until tomorrow.

However, Wong's lawyers Latheefa Koya and Amer Hamzah Arshad told journalists that they would press for his release today.

Latheefa said she was hoping that Wong would be released by 6pm.

Earlier today, Wong was brought to the court complex in handcuffs and dressed in the compulsory orange police lock-up uniform.

He was arrested at 8pm yesterday under the Sedition Act at his home in Taman Sri Sentosa in Kuala Lumpur and then taken to the Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) headquarters for questioning.

He was later whisked away to an undisclosed location about 12.18am.

CCID chief Koh Hong Sun yesterday said that Wong was being investigated under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act.If found guilty, he could face a jail term of up to three years.

Wong's arrest was linked to Bersih's campaign - dubbed as 1BlackMalaysia - for the public to wear black tomorrow to protest the Perak government takeover by Barisan Nasional.

Wong had issued the call yesterday on behalf of Bersih, the Coalition for Free and Clean Elections.

Bersih activist Wong Chin Huat arrested for alleged sedition

Police have arrested activist Wong Chin Huat(picture left)of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) for alleged sedition, Federal Commercial Crimes Investigation Department Director Comm Datuk Koh Hong Sun said.

A police team from the Federal Commercial Crime Investigations Department (CCID) picked up Wong at his home in Seri Sentosa here at 8pm on Tuesday under Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act 1948.

It is learnt that the police team seized a laptop and a cellular phone belonging to the university lecturer, political scientist and columnist for The Nut Graph web publication.

Comm Koh, who confirmed the arrest, said Wong was detained to assist in police investigations into allegedly seditious SMSes.

“We will interview him to gather more details and we are checking if the SMSes were initially distributed by him,” he said.

Wong is said to have been brought to the CCID headquarters in Bukit Perdana here.

It is believed that the arrest is linked to a press conference Wong had held earlier Tuesday in which he urged the public to wear black on Thursday to protest the Perak state government takeover by Barisan Nasional.

Newly-appointed Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir is convening the Perak state legislative assembly on that day. - The Star

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Now Najib says BN Supreme Council will decide on Penanti... the near future.


From the NST online

BN Supreme Council to decide on Penanti

KOTA KINABALU, Tues: The Barisan Nasional (BN) Supreme Council will decide whether the party should contest the Penanti State seat in Penang on May 31, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

"I don't think it (Penanti) is only an Umno issue because when we contest, we do so on the Barisan Nasional ticket.

"We are in no hurry to decide. We are a party that works very hard to look after thepeople''s welfare," he said at a press conference, here today.

Najib,who is also the BN chairman, said the decision on the BN's position on Penanti would be made in the near future.

(Huh? I thought he said earlier on that the decision whether to contest the Penanti seat will be referred to the Umno political bureau.)

Penanti: Muhyiddin's not telling...

Although the Umno political bureau met yesterday, deputy party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin did not say whether Barisan Nasional (BN)will contest the state seat of Penanti come May 31.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin confirmed that the party’s political bureau met but he declined to say what was discussed.

Earlier, it was speculated that Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who chaired the political bureau meeting, would announce the party's decision in Sabah last night.

Datuk Seri Najib had said that unnecessary by-elections are a waste of public resources following which he announced that BN might give the up-coming by-election a miss.

However, BN has been receiving mixed responses from its coalition partners who said the opposition should not be given a walkover.

And last week Datuk Seri Najib said after the Umno Supreme Council meeting that the party would leave it to its political bureau to decide whether to contest the seat.

The state seat, a PKR stronghold, fell vacant following the resignation of former deputy chief minister 1 Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin.

It comes under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is its MP.

Monday 4 May 2009

Nik Aziz: Leave Penanti to PKR

Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat today told PAS members to stop demanding that the party fields its own candidate in the upcoming Penanti state by-election supposedly to fulfill the grassroots’ wish although it is not the party's stronghold.

Datuk Nik Aziz, who is also the Kelantan Menteri Besar, said that he did not want the party members to create problems by going against the agreement reached by the PAS-DAP-PKR pact by making such a demand.

Nik Aziz, also said that PAS must keep its promise made before with PKR on the allocation of seats

Nik Aziz Tells PAS Members To Leave Penanti To PKR

KOTA BAHARU, May 4 (Bernama) -- PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has told party members not to create problems by demanding to field its candidate for the Penanti state seat by-election on May 31.

He said PAS must keep to the agreement made with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), one of its partners in the opposition pact.

"If it's a PKR area, then it's their right (to contest the seat). We should go back to the agreement made. As Muslims, we should keep our promise, so we should not create problems now.

"Just like in Kelantan, we follow the agreement. When we give a seat to PKR, whether they win or lose, it's their business," Nik Aziz said when met by reporters at his residence in Pulau Melaka, here, today.

He was responding to the demand made by Penang PAS Youth chief, Mohd Hafiz Mohd Nordin, that the party leadership consider fielding a PAS candidate in Penanti after the seat fell vacant following the resignation of the incumbent assemblyman and former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I, Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, 32, on April 16.

The Election Commission has fixed May 23 for the nomination of candidates and May 31 for polling.

Yesterday, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang reiterated the party's stand to support the candidate chosen by PKR, Mansor Othman, and that the decision was final.

Meanwhile, Barisan Nasional (BN) has not decided whether to contest in the Penanti by-election. Continue here .

Sunday 3 May 2009

All is well in Pakatan...

Says Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Whatever differences (read here)they had were things of the past and Pakatan Rakyat component parties are now ready to take on the might of Umno and Barisan Nasional as a united front in the upcoming Penanti by-election in Penang on May 31.

Playing down the differences that existed and dismissing them as normal minor problems that would occur in any political coalition, he said:

"I will gladly say that whatever differences in opinions and views expressed by Pakatan leaders at local and national-level on the Penanti by-election are now resolved. "

"All Pakatan parties and leaders will be firmly united to back PKR," he told some 500 Penanti voters in Yayasan Aman, Permatang Pauh last night.

On reports of differences with PAS leaders in Permatang Pauh who had wanted to field a candidate of its own to contest the state seat, Datuk Seri Anwar said he had personally met PAS state commissioner Mohd Salleh Man, who had assured him that the party would fully back PKR in the by-election.

Differences in opinions have prevailed publicly between PKR and its Pakatan partners – DAP and PAS since last month in connection with the Penanti by-election, which comes under Datuk Seri Anwar’s Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency – a PKR stronghold.

The seat fell vacant when incumbent representative, former Deputy Chief Minister 1 Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin resigned on April 16.

Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was reported to have been upset with Datuk Seri Anwar early on when the latter seemd to have dragged his feet in deciding on the party nominees to fill up the posts of DCM 1 and state executive councillor.

Both positions, vacated by Fairus effective April 8, were PKR’s quota in the Pakatan Penang state government.

The chief minister was also upset when PKR announced Fairus’ resignation as Penanti representative before duly informing him.

However, the issue was quickly settled after Anwar personally apologised to Lim.

Then a discord surfaced between local PKR and PAS leaders over which party would be the best to represent Pakatan in the by-election even after Datuk Seri Anwar had named former university associate professor Mansor Othman as candidate.

Anwar said the request by PAS Permatang Pauh to contest in Penanti were not signs of cracks in the Pakatan coalition as alleged by Umno.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Salleh Man, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang and Guan Eng have all pledged full support for Mansor’s candidacy and were happy that PKR has chosen the right candidate.

Datuk Seri Anwar said Mansor was the right person because he can provide a strong and vibrant Malay leadership in the current Penang government.

Saturday 2 May 2009

Mustafa Ali: PAS will NOT contest in Penanti

The PAS top leadership has rejected calls made by the party's youth wing in Penang to field a candidate in the Penanti by-election on May 31.

The Permatang Pauh PAS division had also made a similar call that PAS should place its own candidate for the seat as this was what the grassroots wanted.

Permatang Pauh PAS division leaders, in a meeting on Tuesday night, decided that they would not activate their election machinery if some of their demands are not fulfilled by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), which has announced its candidate for the seat.

Division head Omar Hassan said the party wanted to contest the seat because people in Permatang Pauh had no confidence in PKR.

PAS election director Mustafa Ali however yesterday clarified the matter by saying that the party will not be fielding a candidate in the Penanti by-election.

He said that PAS, DAP and PKR had an understanding that there shall be no infighting among themselves in elections.

The state seat fell vacant following the resignation of PKR's Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin on April 16.

"As such, Penang PAS Youth's intention to field a candidate in the by-election has been denied," Mustafa was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Nomination for the polling is on May 23 and the Barisan Nasional has yet to announce whether it would be contesting the seat.