Sunday, March 22, 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Despite roiling speculation and the agitation of Pakatan Rakyat, the plans to swear in Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Malaysia’s sixth prime minister on April 3 remain unchanged.
Yesterday, tongues were wagging and the rumour mill went into overdrive after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did not bid farewell to the Cabinet.
He also did not announce the handover date during the weekly meeting.
A report by a news website had raised expectations that the transition date would be made public yesterday.
When Abdullah did not thank the ministers for their support and announce formally that he would be stepping down in favour of Najib, it set off a firestorm of speculation.
In recent days, remarks by a number of personalities had ignited speculation that Abdullah may not hand over power as planned.
This week, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who was sacked by Umno and is gaining traction among opposition supporters as a reformist, had made an impassioned plea for the King to consider not swearing in Najib as the new PM.
There has been talk among some opposition leaders about the possibility of forming a unity government.
PR leaders have also stepped up their attacks against Najib by constantly linking him with the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder.
Several ministers, who spoke to reporters after chairing post-Cabinet meetings yesterday, also added fuel to the fire.
Within a short while, the rumour had gained an air of authority but informed sources told The Malaysian Insider that plans for Abdullah to hand over power to Najib on April 3 remain unchanged.
The PM was never scheduled to bid farewell to the Cabinet yesterday — the last meeting before the Umno general assembly.
He is set to chair his final Cabinet meeting on April 1.
By then, his officials would have completed their tour of duty and cleared out their offices.
PETALING JAYA, March 21 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim avoided comment today on the cloud of suspicion over abuse of power allegations by Fairus Khairuddin, claiming instead that the Penang deputy chief minister had quit to pursue his studies.
Anwar claimed that Fairus wanted to pursue a post-graduate degree.
His resignation, which takes affect from April 8, was only made public today and was said to be related to the reports lodged by a party member that two senior PKR leaders were involved in corruption.
"It would not be easy for him to continue to function as deputy chief minister and state executive councillor. I accept and respect his decision," Anwar told reporters, adding that his relationship with Fairus was still good.
"We are still in communication. In fact he contacted me this morning," he added.
Despite Anwar's claims, it is understood the de facto PKR leader had instructed Fairus to quit his post because mounting allegations against the DCM had made his position untenable.
Rumour of Fairus's resignation began to surface on Wednesday but Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had issued an immediate denial.
Anwar had previously ticked off Fairus publicly because he was unhappy that the DCM failed to even visit his constituency.
Anwar said today that Fairus remains the state assemblyman for Penanti.
"He can still come to his constituency to perform his duties," he said.
When asked who would replace Fairus in the Penang government, the Opposition Leader said the matter did not arise.
"The chief minister had said that he will take over his duties," said Anwar.
On reported opposition to the selection of S. Manikumar as the PKR candidate for the Bukit Selambau by-election, Anwar said it was not possible to get a candidate who could satisfy every party and hoped that Hindraf would not field an independent.
"My relationship with Uthayakumar and Waytamoorthy is good. I hope they will consider the interest of the Indian community and Hindus rather than the interest of a few individuals," said Anwar.
Who will investigate MACC Chief Commissioner Ahmad Said for abuse of powers and charge him for “corruption”?
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) Chief Commissioner, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan is not shy in being seen as UMNO catspaw, not to fight corruption, but to further Umno’s ulterior motive and political agenda in its undemocratic, unethical, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak.
For the second time since his appointment as MACC Chief Commissioner this year, Ahmad Said has shown his open bias against Pakatan Rakyat when he said in Kuantan yesterday that there were “elements of misuse of power” in the suspension of the usurper Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six illegitimate executive councilors by the Perak State Assembly Committee of Privileges, headed by the Speaker V. Sivakumar.
The first time was last month when Ahmad Said turned the MACC into a national joke, becoming known as “Malaysian Agency for Car and Cows”, when he publicly declared that the agency had “good and strong evidence” of corruption against the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid over the car and cows controversy, destroying whatever credibility the MACC might have among Malaysians that it would be independent, professional and uninfluenced by the dictates of its political masters.
After the nation-wide outrage and furore over Ahmad Said’s statement reducing the agency into a “Malaysian Agency for Car and Cows”, a statement was issued early this month after a meeting of the MACC Advisory Board chaired by the former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamed that the top MACC officials will not comment on ongoing cases before the investigation papers on the cases are completed or a decision is made by the deputy public prosecutor.
As Ahmad Said has violated this MACC policy in making the premature, misplaced and highly prejudicial statement against the Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar by declaring that there were ”elements of misuse of power” in the suspension of Zambry and the six illegitimate executive councillors, who is going to investigate the MACC Chief Commissioner for “abuse of power” and charge him with corruption as the MACC chief has equated “abuse of power” with corruption under the MACC Act?
This is not the only instance of Ahmad Said’s blatant abuse of power , as even more serious is the MACC’s contempt and reckless disregard for the foundation principle of parliamentary democracy - the doctrine of separation of powers among the executive, legislature and the judidicary whereby every legislature is the master of its own house permitting no interference, harassment or intimidation from the other branches of government.
Whether Zambry and his excos had been properly suspended from the Perak State Legislative Assembly is a matter for the Perak state assembly to decide and not for the MACC to intrude and interfere on behalf of its Umno political masters.
The MACC harassment of the Perak Speaker and state assembly members are all the more reprehensible when there can be no doubt about the propriety about the suspension decision of the Perak Assembly Committee of Privileges as the rules of natural justice including prior notification of the charges and the right to be heard were fully accorded to Zambry and his retinue of six.
Last week, the DAP MP for Puchong, Gobind Singh Deo was suspended for a year without pay and parliamentary privilege in a kangaroo court-style of proceeding in Parliament.
Is the MACC Chief Commissioner going to countenance the summoning, questioning and investigation of the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin, for “elements of abuse and misuse of power” in not allowing Gobind the fundamental right to be heard before a vote was taken, or for the earlier decision in allowing the Ministerial motion to be tabled without proper notice as stipulated by the Standing Orders or for imposing a guillotine on the debate when there were many MPs who had wanted to speak on such an important issue and were unable to do so?
Of course not, the MACC Chief Commissioner would not dare to think of such an action and I fully agree that such a scenario is completely unacceptable, as the principle that Parliamnet must be master of its own House without interference, harassment or intimidation from the other two branches of government cannot be compromised.
But why is the MACC Chief Commissioner harassing the Perak State Speaker when the notion of committing the same contempt against the Parliament Speaker is so abhorrent?
If this is not abuse of power, I don’t know what is.
Disqualified UMNO Deputy President candidate, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam just don’t get it when he declared there was no reason for him to step down as Malacca Chief Minister after be was barred from contesting in Umno party elections for money politics.
He even came up with the riposte that “If that is the case, then they should also ask Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim to step down as they had been convicted and imprisoned before”.
Ali has made himself into a laughing stock by exhibiting his shocking ignorance of the law, ethics, politics and the great difference between him and the cases of Guan Eng and Anwar.
Both Guan Eng and Anwar were victims of an oppressive and vindictive political apparatus which used the system of justice to do its dirty work through malicious and selective prosecution, jailing and disenfranchising them from elective office for five years.
Is Ali seriously suggesting that he is in the same shoes as Guan Eng and Anwar – a victim of a pernicious and vindictive political system as represented by Umno?
However unfairly and unjustifiably, both Guan Eng and Anwar had paid their price, not only serving their undeserved jail sentences but also the five-year disenfranchisement from standing for elective office from the date of their release from jail.
Is Ali in the same shoes as Guan Eng and Anwar in having served a jail sentence and been barred from holding elective office for five years thereafter?
If Guan Eng and Anwar are convicted and imprisoned when they are Penang Chief Minister and Parliamentary Opposition Leader respectively, there can be no doubt that they will have to step down from their respective positions. Why is Ali claiming an exception?
For someone who could emerge as a “hot-favourite” for election as Umno Deputy President next week if he had not been barred because of involvement in money politics (euphemism for corruption), it is unthinkable that Ali does not know that his attempt to use the cases of Guan Eng and Anwar to hang on as Malacca Chief Minister is completely misguided, frivolous and baseless.
Should Ali step down as Malacca Chief Minister after being barred from standing for UMNO Deputy President although he is the “hot favourite” because of involvement in money politics and corruption?
He should seek enlightenment from his old master, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who had described it most aptly, as reported by the Malaysian Insider, as follows:
He (Mahathir) said that Mohd Ali should be treated the same way former Umno vice-president Tan Sri Mohamed Isa Abdul Samad was treated in 2005.
”Isa was thrown out because he was involved in money politics but he also lost his position as a minister. But here we have a very strange decision.
“He was found to be corrupt but he can remain as the Chief Minister (of Melaka).Now we have a person who is confirmed corrupt but the party accepted him as the chief minister.
“If you pass judgment, you must be consistent. It must apply to everybody in the same way and in the same amount.
“You cannot say, well, he killed that person so he should be hanged. And then he killed another person but this other person is not important, so let him go,” he said.
What say you, Ali Rustam?
NST, March 21 2009 -- SEREMBAN: Two former boyfriends of murdered bride-to-be Kasturi Doraisamy are expected to be questioned over the double murder of the 26-year-old and her father.
"We are not treating them as suspects in the case, but we believe they can assist in the police investigation.
Osman also said that Kasturi's ex-boyfriends would help police establish a motive for the killing, which is believed to be jealousy.
He added that police had concluded recording statements from the victim's family members.
Her fiance, policeman S. Dilip Kumar, 26, had said Kasturi told him that she lodged a police report three years ago against a former college mate who has been harassing her for several years.
Kasturi and Dilip, who is attached to the district police station here, were to marry today after having dated for more than two years.
The father and daughter were found dead at their Taman Tuanku Ampuan Najihah home in Senawang by Kasturi's elder sister, Kogilavani, at 12.40pm on Wednesday.
Kogilavani, who had gone to the house to help prepare for Kasturi's wedding, found the victims in separate rooms on the second floor of the double-storey terrace house.
Doraisamy suffered wounds on the neck and the right hand was almost severed, while Kasturi had head injuries and her fingers were severed.
Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin relinquishes the post as Penang Deputy Chief Minister I to further studies. He would remain with PKR as Penanti assemblyman. .Pic: K. GanesonPENANG, March 21 (Bernama) -- Penanti Assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin tendered his resignation as Penang Deputy Chief Minister I and state executive councillor today.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, in confirming this, said the resignation letter was faxed to his office this morning.
"We have accepted his resignation after a discussion with (PKR de facto leader) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and (state PKR liaison committee chairman) Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim," he told reporters here today.
However, Lim who is also DAP secretary-general, declined to comment on the reasons behind Fairus' resignation.
He said the state government accepted Fairus' resignation as a deputy chief minister and state Entrepreneurial, Cooperative Development, Information and Community Relations Committee chairman.
"I believe Fairus has his own reasons for resigning, but he will still remain with PKR as Penanti assemblyman," Lim said.
When asked who would replace Fairus, Lim said: "the position at the moment will be vacant until Fairus' resignation takes effect on April 8."
He added that Fairus would be on leave until April 8.
There had been speculation that Fairus was asked to vacate his government posts by last Thursday, but party leaders had dismissed it as mere rumours.
Yesterday, Lim had said that Fairus had taken leave for the rest of the week and should be back by Monday unless he planned to extend his leave.
Wong called on Abdul Khalid at his official residence at 9am and the meeting lasted for more than one hour.
Speaking to reporters after flagging off an expedition in conjunction with the first year anniversary of the opposition state government, Abdul Khalid declined to disclose details of the discussion.
The state executive council will decide on Wong's status after hearing her explanation on Wednesday, he added.
Abdul Khalid said Wong, who was still on leave, underwent a minor surgery on her back recently but gave no details.
Wong had offered to quit as assemblywoman and state executive councillor following semi-nude pictures of her surfacing on the Internet last month but was asked to go on leave instead until the Selangor government made a decision on her political future.
It is possible that Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin may not appoint Najib Abdul Razak as prime minister despite being Umno president, said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Razaleigh, a veteran Umno leader, pointed to last year's decision by the king, who is also Terengganu sultan, in refusing to endorse the Umno leadership's nominee Idris Jusoh as menteri besar for his state.
Eventually Umno backed down and the king's choice, Ahmad Said, became menteri besar.
"He (the king) could probably appointed someone other than the man nominated by the party," said Razaleigh, a Kelantan prince and uncle of Sultan Ismail Petra.
Razaleigh was asked by Malaysiakini to comment on former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim who had on Wednesday urged the king not to appoint Najib as PM.
Going gets tough for BN
Razaleigh also said that Barisan Nasional will face a "tough" fight in the next general elections, expected to be held in three years.
“Don't forget, there are going to be six million new voters, so we've been told - two million who missed the vote in the last election and the four million others in the coming years. So you have six million plus who will be testing us.”
He said that the ruling coalition will find it difficult to win the April 7 bellwether by-election in Bukit Gantang - a parliamentary seat in Perak that will be a ‘referendum’ on the BN takeover of the state government there.
Razaleigh, 71, a former finance minister, was a heartbeat away from becoming prime minister in 1987 after a power struggle within Umno in which he challenged Dr Mahathir Mohamad for party president and lost by a wafer-thin majority of 43 votes.
He had since ran twice for Umno presidency - in 2004 against Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and more recently against Najib Abdul Razak. But both times he failed to secure the required nominations from Umno divisions to qualify for the contest.
Interestingly, Razaleigh said he “cannot see” Najib resorting to repressive measures against his critics when he becomes prime minister.
“If he wants to improve his image with the people then he has to come clean. You have ways, go to the court or do things that will be accepted by the people - not to use force or power because that will put him in a worse position that he is experiencing now.”
The following is the second of a four-part interview conducted at Razaleigh’s palatial home-cum-office in Ampang dubbed as the ‘White House’.
Malaysiakini: Zaid made a hard-hitting speech urging the king not the appoint Najib because he is seen to be tainted. What's your view on that?
Razaleigh: That seems to be the talk everywhere. People are not happy with the way things are happening - Perak, here, and because of that, it prompted people like Zaid to say all these things which otherwise would only be whispered in coffee shops and offices.
Do you expect the king not to appoint Najib as PM?
You can never tell, because you never thought the king would move to appoint a different person to head the government of Terengganu.
He is no longer the sultan of Terengganu when he became the Agong, yet because he felt strongly about the situation in his own state, he decided to function also as the ruler of Terengganu. He could probably appointed someone other than the man nominated by the party.
Seeing that Najib will be PM, how is he going to be different from Abdullah? What do you expect from a Najib government?
You are asking a very unfair question, he is not even PM yet. He is a ‘play safe’ chap from my knowledge of Najib. It is very difficult to say anything much more about him. And because of that, it is very difficult to compare (him with Abdullah) because he hasn't started (as PM).
But he did show his hand somewhat, such as the Perak takeover…
The Perak takeover is in a mess. The (second economic) stimulus is also not bearing fruits, it's not effective.
Zaid said he expects a little more repression, a reversal of democratic opening...
I normally associate repressive measures with people who are weak. If Najib is as strong a personality as he tends to portray, then he wouldn't adopt repressive measures. He would adopt repressive measures if there is a ‘war’, you know, not being able to fight back democratically, then he would use all the instruments (of power) in his disposal.
He has to do something to bring the party back together again. But whether he could do it or not, that's another matter. We are in a very unique position today.
Previously the party was strong, and although there maybe divisions but because of the strong representation of the party in Parliament and at the state government level, whatever divisive forces taking place within the party did not mar the party’s performance.
But Najib, to some extend, is being pushed to the corner. The opposition is getting stronger.
I see no necessity for him to do otherwise other than accept what is coming to him.
But do you expect him to impose repressive measures?
I cannot see, I cannot see.
Most people would say that they expect Najib to be…
Yes, a lot of people say that, but I cannot see.
What for? If he assumes power, he has all that power to exercise and there is nothing in the way that will obstruct him. In Parliament, he has the majority; he does not need to do things to stop the opposition from obstructing his action.
But he does have an image problem. If people out there continue to throw mud at him, like the Altantuya case, he would have to respond.
Well, by not using (state) power. I think he has to come clean with the public. If he wants to improve his image with the people then he has to come clean. You have ways, go to the court or do things that will be accepted by the people - not to use force or power because that will put him in a worse position that he is experiencing now.
Will Umno survive the next general election?
Tough, very tough. In fact, I'm not so sure we could win in Bukit Gantang. We have a good candidate, but depending on the voter turnout, we don't know whether we can make it or not.
After all, we lost that seat in the general election and we may not be able to recover unless the voters come out, but with what is happening in Perak, and the economy - people are losing their jobs - I think it is going to be very tough for us.
What about Bukit Selambau?
Even Bukit Selambau, because of the MIC's position today - it’s not being able to give leadership or direction. Again, I think it is going to be tough.
There is a lot of defection to PKR. I've not been there, but I think all three by-elections are going to be tough for us.
You've mentioned a number of times about the need for reforms in Umno. Do you think the party can really reform itself?
It depends on the leader. If the leader genuinely demonstrates that he honestly wants to bring about changes, then I think he could get the support and get the reforms. But if he does not show or demonstrates that he wants reform, then I don't think he will get that support.
If you look at other countries, the ruling party would have to lose power before it would reform itself.
I'm not suggesting that we should lose power; I don't think the Malays are going to see Umno lose power.
But on the other hand, we can never really tell, because nobody in power thought we were going to lose that badly on March 8 in 2008, but there you are, we lost - we lost five states and we lost two-thirds majority in Parliament.
But this time around, I think the voters may put us to test, and we may lose, or we may not lose very badly, depends on how the leadership shape things.
You mean the voters in the next general election?
Yes, next general election, because don't forget that there are going to be six million voters coming in, so we've been told - two million who missed the vote in the last election and the four million others in the coming years. So you have six million plus who will be testing us.
Umno has always been getting support from the rural areas, do you think in the coming general election they will enjoy the same support?
Yes and no, it depends on how well the people find us, whether we have serve them well, and of course like I said, even in Bukit Gantang, things are not going to be favourable to the government. So it's going to be very tough for the government to go around making the voters happy. It's not going to be easy.
Wima Saraswati, VivaNews
Ada 60 kasus eksploitasi seksual komersil anak (ESKA) yang tak pernah terungkap di media difilmkan. Ini diangkat seorang produser film asal Singapura, Michael Chick saat menggelar jumpa pers di Sanur, Kamis, 19 Maret 2009.
Film berdurasi 2 jam ini mengangkat cerita di kawasan Asia Tenggara yang dianggap telah mewakili peristiwa di dunia. "Saya tidak membedakan kasus yang terjadi di Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam juga terjadi di belahan dunia lain," kata Michael.
Dalam pembuatan film yang memakan biaya hingga 1,5 juta ringgit atau sekitar Rp 525 juta banyak menemui sejumlah kendala karena untuk membuat janji dan wawancara pihak korban memerlukan waktu sampai enam bulan lamanya.
"Selain itu juga ada faktor bahasa di sana sehingga komunikasinya terhambat," ujarnya. Dalam film itu ada penderitaan seorang Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (TKI) asal Sumatera yang bekerja di Malaysia kemudian dia harus di penjara selama tiga tahun.
"Selama di penjara, dia justru di diperkosa oleh polisi diraja Malaysia hingga setiap tahun melahirkan anak," kata Michael miris. Tak hanya itu saja, saat keluar dari penjara, TKI ini dibotaki rambutnya dan dibuang ke laut.
Beruntung nyawanya berhasil diselamatkan oleh kapal yang melintas dan dipulangkan ke Sumatera. Tak sampai di situ saja, penderitaannya bertambah ketika suaminya menikah lagi dengan perempuan lain di Medan.
Cerita lain lagi, justru terjadi di sebuah wilayah di Jakarta. Michael menuturkan ada sebuah tempat pelacuran anak yang dihuni 10 anak usia 12 tahun, yang tiga anak diantaranya hamil.
Disinggung kasus di Bali, Michael enggan untuk membeberkan lebih lanjut lantaran belum tuntas menghimpun data. "Saya nggak mau diskusikan hal ini di forum ini," katanya sambil tertawa.