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Saturday, February 21, 2009

RPK not landing up in Kamunting tomorrow

In a surprising development, RPK announces that he will not be landing up in Kamunting tomorrow. This might mean that he could still be free to campaign in the by-elections in April - a prospect Najib will not relish:

… lo and behold, my lawyers just called to say that my appeal against the three-member Federal Court’s decision to reject my four applications is going to be reviewed by another quorum of judges. I suppose that would mean the Federal Court will not be able to send me back to Kamunting on Monday after all — at least not until after the judicial review, and only if the second quorum of judges upholds the Federal Court’s decision. If the judicial review is of the opinion that the Federal Court had erred, or was indeed biased, then back to the drawing board we go. I will then be able to get a second bite of the cherry.

Hmm….my ‘Bon Voyage to Kamunting’ party tonight is instead going to be a celebration party after all. We appear to have at least been able to delay my departure, even if ultimately I am still going to lose. I suppose winning one battle is good enough at this stage even if I am not going to win the war in the end.

Okay folks, let’s party. I have been given a few extra days of freedom. And if things work out well in the end, I might still be around to campaign fo

Anwar claims evidence on Kulim

Car 'n cows: S'gor MB could be charged

Nizar to vacate MB’s official residence tomorrow

IPOH, Feb 21 —Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin will vacate the Perak menteri besar's official residence here tomorrow but will only hand over the keys on Friday.

His special officer Amran Harun said the keys would be handed over in accordance with a letter from Perak State Secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim.

"Until then, we will hold religious events including hajat and tahlil prayers at the residence. We will be handing over the keys on Friday as stated in our letter last week," Amran told Bernama today.

Mohammad Nizar will shift to a rented house in the state capital, said Amran, adding that "let us keep the location a secret for security reasons and to respect his family."

He said Nizar's furniture and souvenirs had already been shifted to his house.

"We thank the media for the coverage since the takeover of the state government on Feb 4. As gratitude, we are inviting the media to a special function at 10am tomorrow," said Amran. — Bernama

Zambry confident ‘people will come to their senses’

Zambry is aware that public sentiment is against him. — Picture by Choo Choy May

By Shannon Teoh-The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Feb 21 — Acknowledging that there is negative sentiment against him from the ground, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir has lashed out at Pakatan Rakyat for "poisoning the minds of the people".

But the Pangkor assemblyman, who has been in power for just over two weeks, is confident that "the people will come to their senses" after assessing the situation objectively.

He said this to The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview yesterday when pressed on whether snap elections would present a clear picture of who Perakians wanted in government following the Feb 5 power grab by Barisan Nasional.

It has led to a constitutional crisis and an impasse that many say can only be resolved by going to the polls but Zambry insists that the call by PR to dissolve the assembly only begun after it realised that BN had the majority.

"I do not think snap polls will solve the matter at this juncture. The way they have gone to the ground and created tension has created a volatile situation," he said, citing the episode when protestors laid down in front of the palace in Kuala Kangsar in an attempt to block his swearing in as menteri besar.

"I do understand the feeling on the ground. But I think people will come to their senses because this is due to them poisoning the minds of the people so they seem to be slanting towards them," he insisted.

Zambry questioned why his predecessor Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin had not wanted to dissolve the assembly right from the start.

"He said in the beginning, why should we dissolve? If you feel that people support you when you are menteri besar, then you do it. When you have lost your office, then you go around making demands," he said.

Zambry added that PR's stand that it is not up to the Sultan to appoint a menteri besar betrayed a duplicity.

"They were fighting among themselves to see who would be menteri besar, but then agreed that Tuanku would pick, so they knew that the power of appointment lies with the Sultan," he said.

Zambry further added that at that point, PR assemblymen each went to commit to the coalition before the Ruler and BN had done the same, and not just by BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who masterminded the takeover, claiming he had the majority.

Referring to the situation after the March 8 general election last year, he said that as BN had 28 assemblymen, it could have been allowed to form a minority government as DAP had only 18 members, PKR, seven, and Pas, six.

He claimed that the Sultan could have allowed for a floor test period, a convention in certain legislative bodies, whereby parties could try to form a coalition with the most number of seats.

Zambry said that this clearly disproved the belief that Sultan Azlan Shah was in favour of an Umno-led government.

"If the Sultan was behind us, we would have been given this floor test period. But in his fairness, Tuanku told us that PR had 31, so they would form government," he said.

The menteri besar also stood by his view that PR was committing "derhaka" or treason towards the crown.

"It is real derhaka. You may argue that Umno has also derhaka before this but it was never to this extent.

"In Terengganu, after it was resolved, we accepted the decision of the Sultan and we never went to the extent of telling Tuanku, ‘patik mohon derhaka’," he said referring to the dispute over who should be Terengganu MB after the 12th general election in which Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was sidelined by the palace in favour of Datuk Ahmad Said.

Cops quiz Samy Vellu over MIC college probe

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Federal police in Bukit Aman and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are investigating MIC's education arm, Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED), an entity entrusted to construct and run the political party's Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST).

Police also earlier this week met MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu over the case.

Bukit Aman commercial crime division director Datuk Koh Hong Sun today confirmed that his department had begun investigations into the construction and maintenance of AIMST, which saw its initial cost estimate of RM230 million balloon to RM500 million at the end of the construction period early last year.

AIMST, located in Semeling, Kedah, opened its doors 18 months ago as an MIC endeavour to own and run its own university.

A brainchild of Samy Vellu, it was built from contributions by well-wishers, donations and collections from each MIC branch in the country.

"We started investigations after several police reports were lodged on the matter. We have also interviewed several MIED office-bearers and investigations are continuing," Koh told Bernama.

It is learnt that the police reports were lodged by individuals alleging financial mismanagement in AIMST's construction and maintenance.

Police sources revealed that commercial crime officers spoke to Samy Vellu for five hours at the MIC headquarters on Wednesday and that some files on MIED and AIMST were taken to facilitate investigations.

"The Bukit Aman commercial crime division director is directly monitoring investigations. This is a big case. We might also question several other MIC leaders.

"Once investigations are completed, we will talk to MACC if there is a need for further action. The MACC is also monitoring the case and if we need their assistance, we would ask them to move in... only if the need arises," a senior officer involved in investigations told Bernama.

Samy Vellu, it is also learnt, has briefed the MIC central working committee on the visit by the police to the party headquarters, at the CWC meeting on Thursday.

Asked if Samy Vellu had been questioned, Koh declined comment, saying that it was not right to divulge any information on the case as the probe was under way.

MIED, which runs AIMST through MIED Capital Sdn Bhd, has been mired in controversy after it was found that the cost of AIMST doubled from its early estimate.

Last December, Tan Sri M. Mahalingam, a signatory of MIED cheques, was removed as MIC treasurer-general by Samy Vellu, who said the move was part of an MIC rebranding exercise.

The party president had also said that there was a need to inject new blood into the party.

MIED chief executive officer P. Chitrakala Vasu, on the other hand, has been asked by Samy Vellu to go on leave since the controversy broke out.

Samy Vellu had also sent Chitrakala several show-cause letters, to which she had replied.

There have been news reports of some irregularities with regard to the awarding of the contracts, especially those involving landscaping and providing security at AIMST.

The saga took an unexpected turn last month when MIC vice-president and MIED director Datuk S. Sothinathan lodged two police reports over missing files belonging to MIED.

The reports, lodged at the Dang Wangi police station and Sentul district police headquarters, alleged that files pertaining to the AIMST contracts were missing from the party headquarters in Jalan Rahmat, off Jalan Ipoh here.

Last week, a former MIC member lodged a report at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, saying he had surrendered proof to the commission on alleged mismanagement in the awarding of construction contracts.

He had also alleged that some politicians awarded contracts to their friends without a proper tender process.

It is learnt the MACC has opened a file on the matter and investigations have already begun. However, the current batch of leaders involved in MIED and AIMST have yet to be interviewed.

Mahalingam, when contacted, revealed that officers from the Bukit Aman commercial crime division had recorded his statement on the MIED and AIMST accounts.

"Yes, I spoke to the police. It was for about four hours, a few days ago. I explained some matters that were referred to me. I can only tell them what I know," he said, adding that MACC officers had not contacted him.

It is learnt that Chitrakala is overseas and is expected to return home at the end of the month. — Bernama

Once an Anwar man, Zambry now says Pakatan leader is ‘Machiavellian’

By Shannon Teoh-The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Feb 21 — Once a supporter of the deposed deputy prime minister, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir says that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has changed into a "Machiavellian" character.

Claiming that the opposition leader now had one set of moral standards for himself and another for his opponents, Zambry added that Pakatan Rakyat had first hailed defections as a "halal" or legitimate democratic right but has now declared it as "haram" or immoral.

"He has changed and is now struggling between his ideals and reality. I am against projecting a holier-than-thou image and then telling the whole world that because you are pure, everything is justifiable.

"When we do it, it is haram, for him it is halal, so it is two different parameters of morality. It is very Machiavellian," Zambry said, referring to the term that denotes the employment of cunning duplicity in politics or general conduct.

The two-term Pangkor assemblyman was in Umno Youth when Anwar was sacked in 1998 and was briefly held under the Internal Security Act together with several other Umno Youth leaders in the aftermath, after criticising the sacking during the heady Reformasi period.

He was released weeks later but Anwar spent six years in jail for sodomy and corruption convictions before the Federal Court freed him on Sept 2, 2004.

The 47-year-old was said to be close to many of Anwar's associates including Anwar's former political secretary Ezam Mohd Noor who has since rejoined Umno. Zambry is said to be one of those who facilitated the former PKR Youth chief's return to Umno.

In an exclusive interview with The Malaysian Insider yesterday, he said that Anwar has had to "justify all means to achieve his end" of taking over the federal government.

"He started this whole episode of crossovers and party-hopping," Zambry said, referring to the PKR de facto leader's unsuccessful attempt to topple Barisan Nasional on Sept 16 last year by getting over 30 MPs to defect.

"Do you remember when they celebrated the crossover of Nasarudin?" he added, referring to Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim who defected to PKR and returned to Umno in less than two weeks to help BN take over Perak.

"They said, 'Biasalah, siapa nak keluar, terpulang kepada dia (It is normal, whoever wants to leave, it is up to him,) It is a democracy, it is his right,'" Zambry said.

MALAYSIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION (MACC) 'BIAS'


Malaysians were actually very sceptical when the 'uncaring, useless, arrogant and corrupted UMNO-led Barisan Nasional federal government initiated the formation of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to replace the already ineffective and inefficient Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) due to their authority.

Today the thoughts of Malaysians were actually revealed. While various important and old matters are still not attended to by the MACC, the MACC had ventured in collaborate with this 'unscrupulous' UMNO to undermine the Opposition leaders in their quest to 'materially' benefit from their position.

As far as Malaysians are concern, UMNO and Barisan Nasional have committed various serious crimes to the Malaysian society and this is camouflage by the investigating authority, whether Police, AG Chambers, Judiciary or the MACC.

The UMNO-led Barisan Nasional have been using public funds to meet their agenda and federal and State government officials of BN States have been misusing public funds to gain political mileage which is against the trust granted by the Malaysian rakyat to them.

Rather than taking immediate action against these officials, the MACC ventures to take action on Opposition leaders like Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, by claiming that they have strong evidence of abuse of authority and seem to collaborate with UMNO to 'fabricate' evidence.

The time has come for every Malaysian to voice their concern over the bias attitude undertaken by the MACC in their investigation and priority.

It seem the time has come for Malaysians to demand a SNAP GENERAL ELECTIONS to elect new and calibre leaders who can make Malaysia a proud , well-managed and rich nations.

picture courtesy of Malaysiakini n Might of the Pen

MACC reduced into “Malaysian Agency for Car and Cows” – Ahmad Said should resign

What a letdown!

Members of Parliament and Malaysians were promised when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 2008 Bill was debated in Parliament last December that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was finally going to honour his most important pledge when he became Prime Minister five years ago – to eradicate corruption and create a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.

Parliament and the nation were told that MACC was going to become another ICAC (Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption) respected world-wide for its uncompromising and no-nonsense commitment against corruption without fear or favour for position, status or influence.

In less than two months, the MACC has become a joke. Instead of building public confidence in its journey to become another ICAC, feared and respected by all, it has quickly become a joke, reduced into a “Malaysian Agency for Car and Cows” for the Barisan Nasional government to victimize Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

The unprecedented statement by the MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan that the MACC has “good and strong evidence” of corruption against the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid over the car and cows controversy has destroyed whatever credibility the MACC might have among Malaysians that it would be independent, professional and uninfluenced by the dictates of its political masters.

Although Ahmad Said said the matter would be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action, the MACC Chief Commissioner has already taken the unprecedented step of proclaiming that Khalid had been guilty of corruption – which had never be done before in the history of ACA of over four decades!

Equally shocking was Ahmad Said’s statement that the MACC would also investigate allegations of abuse of power by Perak state assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar for suspending the illegitimate Perak Mentri Besar Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir and his state executive councillors from the assembly, pledging: “If its’ true that there had been abuse of power, the MACC will take appropriate action”.

When did the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) ever declare in the past 40 years that it would take action against the Speaker of Parliament for any “abuse of power” although there had not been any lack of controversies over decisions and rulings of the Speaker during the period?

Yesterday, I had called on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to provide the leadership in the Barisan Nasional to co-operate with Pakatan Rakyat to keep the Rulers above the political fray in the Perak political and constitutional crisis as the issue in contention is not about the institution of constitutional monarchy but the people’s will on the elected government of their choice in a system of parliamentary democracy.

It is a matter of grave concern that the MACC has jumped into the Perak politic al crisis when it has no business whatsoever to get involved, as it raises the question whether the entire apparatus of state in the hands of the Federal government, including the MACC, the police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers would be abused and arrayed against the Pakatan Rakyat in the Perak political and constitutional crisis?

If so, this will be a pathetic end for the fifth premiership of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and a most ominous start for the sixth premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

There have been calls for undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional arrogation of powers to deal with the Perak political and constitutional crisis, such as the declaration of an emergency, the misuse and abuse of draconian powers under the Internal Security Act and Sedition Act, to prop up the illegal and unconstitutional Umno power grab in Perak.

This must be resisted for Malaysia’s democracy, international standing and competitiveness will be the greatest casualties.

The dissolution of the Perak State Assembly and a snap state general election within 30 days to resolve the political crisis state is the best solution in the circumstances.

Ahmad Said should resign as MACC Chief Commissioner as he has reduced MACC into “Malaysian Agency for Car and Cows” for the BN to victimize PR instead of another ICAC respected worldwide for its fight against corruption.

How can the MACC win the confidence of the people in its credibility, independence and professionalism when it is blind, deaf and mute to the mega scandals in the country, whether the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal or those involving top leaders whether in Barisan Nasional or in the public service like the Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General but only interested in Khalid’s “car and cows” controversy or Sivakumar’s decision as a Speaker which has nothing to do whatsoever with MACC?

The Perak Crisis: Karpal stumped by Sivakumar's decision

New Straits Times

IPOH: Pakatan Rakyat members are shaking their heads in disbelief over the suspension of Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six exco members by Speaker V. Sivakumar for 18 months and 12 months respectively.

Even DAP chairman Karpal Singh, a prominent lawyer, is stumped by Sivakumar's decision to order the suspension.

Karpal told a press conference at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur Sivakumar must call for the assembly to meet to endorse his decision to suspend Zambry and six executive councilors.

He said Sivakumar's decision must be endorsed by the house.

He recalled his own experience in 2004, where he was referred to the privileges committee for saying that members of parliament were required to raise their hands before taking their oath of office.
The committee's report was tabled in Parliament and Karpal was suspended for six months without pay or privileges.

Several PR lawmakers here said the move was totally unexpected as they had painstakingly gone through the state constitution and the assembly's Standing Orders prior to Wednesday's hearing before the Rights and Privileges Committee.

"I was shocked upon hearing Sivakumar's decision. We had discussed about this (possibility of suspending Zambry and his exco members) and strongly advised against it.

"By doing so, we have fallen into our own trap, akin to stepping on a banana peel planted by ourselves.

"I honestly do not know whose advice he (Sivakumar) took before making up his mind," said a PR lawmaker.

Sivakumar might have just relied solely on Order 89 of the Standing Orders to justify the suspension of the recently sworn-in Barisan Nasional administration.

Order 89 states that the decision of the speaker upon any point of interpretation of any of these Standing Orders, or upon any matter of practice, shall be subject to a substantive motion moved for that purpose, be final, and the speaker may from time to time issue rulings thereon.

While this clearly means that the speaker's decision is final and cannot be challenged, Order 72 which governs the Committee of Privileges must also be taken into consideration.

Order 72(2) specifically states that when the assembly is not sitting, a member may bring an alleged breach of privilege to the notice of the speaker who may, if he is satisfied that a prima facie breach of privilege has been committed, refer such matter to the committee, which shall report thereon to the assembly.

The Perak state assembly is not sitting and is only scheduled to do so in April.

Sivakumar told reporters last Saturday that the findings of the committee would be submitted only at the next sitting of the state assembly.

Something must have happened after Saturday for him to suspend Zambry and his exco members in such a hasty manner.

Canning DAP state assemblyman Wong Kah Woh got the ball rolling by writing to Sivakumar asking to hold an inquiry against the seven BN leaders for allegedly violating the sanctity of the Perak constitution by getting themselves appointed as menteri besar and exco members.

Pahang Speaker Chides Suspension Orders

KUANTAN, Feb 21 (Bernama) -- The suspension of Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and six state executive council members by the Rights and Privileges Committee of the state assembly is against the Standing Orders, said Pahang State Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Wan Mohamed Razali Wan Mahussin.

Wan Mohamed Razali said the committee could only hear and discuss the case of members of the House, who were deemed to have committed a breach of the Standing Orders, and recommend the form of punishment that could be imposed.

"In Pahang, the Speaker is required to present the recommendation of the committee to the House for deliberation and endorsement.

"A decision is taken by the state assembly only when it is in session," he said when commenting on Perak State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar's decision to slap Zambry and six executive council members with the 18-month and 12-month suspension orders.

In KUCHING, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said Zambry and the six executive council members had the right to attend the state assembly sitting as their appointments were consented by the Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah.

Jabu, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president, said the Sultan's decision could not be overruled.

"The matter should be interpreted according to the Perak state constitution," he said after opening the annual general meeting of the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association here.

In PENANG, Penang State Assembly Speaker Abdul Halim Hussain said the suspension orders should adhere to the Standing Orders and the Perak state constitution.

He said all parties should respect the committee's decision if the suspension orders abided by the two criteria.

"I will support the suspension orders if they adhere to the Standing Orders and the Perak state constitution.

"I am not saying the decision is right or wrong because the constitution of one state differs from another. Whatever it is, we must consult the constitution of the state concerned," he said when contacted by Bernama.

Asked whether the decision had to be endorsed by the state assembly, he said, "It depends on the powers conferred on or vested in the Speaker under the Standing Orders but it is open to interpretation."