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Monday, March 30, 2009

Hindraf - Press Statement- Call to PM to Release All ISA Detainees

By P. Waytha Moorthy

RE: Prime Minister’s one last good deed for the entire Malaysian society

There are currently over 65 ISA detainees with some being there for more than 6 years. Some are even advised to be released by the Advisory Board but not done so without any particular reason except for National Security.

All the ISA detainees were incarcerated without trial and just cause during the era of the current Prime Minister when he was the Home Minister (under Mahathir’s premiership) and later when he became the Prime Minister.

In his speech at the 59th UMNO general assembly he stated “In my years of public service, there have been times that I have erred. I too have not been able to fulfill my promises," He further stated, that “I seek your forgiveness. I have tried to carry out my responsibilities with sincerity and honesty".

In acknowledging his shortcomings, the Prime Minister is magnanimous.

HINDRAF appreciates the Prime Minister’s statement and urges the unconditionally release all the detainees held under ISA as his one last good deed before his leaves the public office.

In doing so, the Prime Minister can be assured that the Malaysian society that he served would forgive him for his errors made at the expense of the society.

Thank you.

P.Waytha Moorthy

Hindraf –Chairman

MCA: It was a multi-racial effort that won independence

(The Star) - The country’s independence was forged through the close cooperation of leaders of the Alliance party and was not the sole effort of Umno, said MCA central committee member Lee Wei Kiat.

He pointed out that it was the leaders of MCA, Umno and MIC in the Alliance, which preceded Barisan Nasional before Merdeka, who were all influential in negotiating with the British for independence.

“MCA will not allow efforts from any party in trying to rewrite facts of history or denying the efforts of the other races in helping to fight for the country’s independence 52 years ago,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Lee was commenting on Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein’s statement at the party general assembly that the process of independence and later developments were forged by “Umno and our Malay Rulers and no one else”.

Lee said: “If we look back at history in 1954, Tunku Abdul Rahman led a three-man Alliance delegation comprising himself, Tun Abdul Razak and Tan Sri T.H. Tan from the MCA to England to hold talks with the colonial authority.”

He said that Tunku Abdul Rahman also led an Alliance delegation to London to hold independence talks with the British with MCA represented by Tun H.S. Lee and Tan.

Lee, who is MCA information and communications bureau chairman, said the negotiations led to mutual consent for a draft constitution.

“We hope that Hishammuddin’s remarks are not aimed at gaining political mileage for himself after winning the Umno vice-presidency on March 26,” Lee said.

He urged the minister to show that he was a leader of all Malaysians and not just an Umno leader.

“Any deviation in history will not only affect the country’s harmony currently enjoyed by the various races but also hinder the government’s efforts in fostering racial unity between different ethnic groups,” he said.

He said Malaysian children must understand clearly that all races had to be equally recognised for their efforts and contributions to the country’s deve

Bodoh RPK!

Image

Keep lamenting. Keep grumbling. Keep complaining. Keep bitching. It is good you do all that. And then, come the next general election, go vote for Barisan Nasional, the only party that can look after Indian interests and guarantee Indian rights.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Now that you have finished with Bodoh Cina, Bodoh India and Bodoh Melayu, I think it is time we finish it off with a Bodoh RPK! What say you?

You must be smoking pot or drinking something way out to talk about Bangsa Malaysia as if it is here and now. This is absolutely what we must all strive to achieve, but are we anywhere near that at all?

Just because you and the rest of your family are half this and half that, that does not make for Bangsa Malaysia today for everyone. Every bloody corner we turn we are reminded that we are Indians, Chinese, non-Malays, non-Muslims, Malays, Muslims.

Whenever I help one of our discarded citizens (who, for your information, also happens to be Indian…...or is it that I am making it out to be Indian this and Indian that) to fill in a form for this or that to prove their existence so they can claim their rights guaranteed in the constitution, every form asks… Bangsa? Agama? Every bloody form, RPK, every bloody form! Now are you telling me that tomorrow if the opposition takes over that is going to away? Tomorrow?

This branding by race is something that’s been going forever, started by the colonialist who raped the country raw and left us where we are today. The way we identify ourselves has to do with this history of gross conditioning which suited the bloody colonialists and afterwards the Malaysian ruling groups. So, if you want to cure a problem, don’t hit at the symptoms, hit at the root cause – problem solving 101 bodoh RPK. Start at the cause of it all, the racist system.

You want to apply for a job – Bangsa? You want to start a business – Bangsa? You want to get a licence – Bangsa? You want to enroll your kids in school – Bangsa? You want to take a loan – Bangsa? You want to sell a house – Bangsa? You want to die – Agama? You want to claim your rights as a citizen in this country – Bangsa? Agama?

Except for the businesses that are owned by foreigners, look at the mix of races in the Malaysian companies. Look at Petronas. Look at Public Bank. You must be blind, not colour-blind, if you cannot see what is around, 360 degrees, 24 hours, in Malaysia. That is all not because I think I am Indian or because I say Indian this or Indian that.

So, Bodoh RPK, go hit at the root cause and leave the Bodoh whatever alone!!!

Naragan N

***************************************

Naragan N sent me the e-mail above and requested that I publish it, so I will. As I have always said, I invite criticism and I don’t expect everyone to agree with my views. However, I also reserve the right to reply, which I will now do.

Naragan has rightly pointed out what ails this country. And, as he said, we have to attack the cause of the disease, not the symptoms. I have repeatedly said the same thing myself in many of my articles. Whenever readers comment, lamenting about this and that, I have always reminded them that it is no use arguing about the symptoms of the problem. We should instead focus on the cause of the problem. In that sense Naragan took the words right out of my mouth.

In a way, Naragan is saying what I have been saying all this while. Why he even bothered to write this e-mail just to repeat my points is beyond me. It would have been more productive if he had argued some fresh points rather than argue my same points. Is Naragan trying to convert the already converted?

Naragan says he is an Indian. And he laments about the plight of the Indians since way before Merdeka. I can understand that because the Indians first came to this country around 1850 until the British Colonial government stopped bringing the Indians into Malaya around 1920.

The history of the Indian migration into Malaya is actually not that well known to most Malaysians. Before 1850, the British set up tea and coffee plantations in India, in particular in Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka. These plantations were one day hit with a disease that killed everything and at the same time contaminated the land. So the land could no longer be used to plant tea or coffee.

Malaya, which had the same conditions as Ceylon, was a suitable alternative for these plantations. So the British planters relocated to Malaya. But the Malays would not work these plantations so the British had to bring in the workers from Ceylon and Southern India, who already had the experience anyway, as labourers for these plantations.

And that was how the Indians came to Malaya. Of course, there are others who came not as labourers in plantations. These were the traders and Chetiahs who were in the money-lending business. Basically, the Chetiahs served as bankers to the small man who could never qualify for bank loans. Some also came as clerks and teachers to serve the British Colonial Government who needed English-speaking Asians and the Malays at that time were not yet schooled in English, at least not until the early 1900s.

So the early Indians were mostly servants of the British, one way or another. When Malaya gained independence from Britain, some Indians went home but many chose to remain in this country and thereafter obtained Malayan citizenship.

The first election, the Municipal election, was held in 1955, two years before Merdeka. The Alliance Party won 51 out of 52 seats it contested. The second election, which was the first Parliamentary election, was held in 1959, two years after Merdeka. In that election, the Alliance Party won 74 out of the 104 seats up for grabs. PAS won 13, the Labour Party 6, Parti Rakyat 2, PPP 4, Parti Negara 1, Parti Malaya 1, and independent candidates 3.

Basically, the opposition depended on Malay and Chinese votes. And that is why the Islamic party, which had a Malay base, and what was perceived as ‘Communist’ parties, which had a Chinese base, grabbed 30 out of 104 seats. The Indians, since before Merdeka in the 1955 Municipal election, then two years after Merdeka in the first Parliamentary election, voted government. And the Indians continued voting government for another 50 years, whereby 90% of the Indian votes went to the Alliance Party and, later, to Barisan Nasional, right until they woke up in November 2007.

Yes, Naragan talks about the cause of the disease. We should attack the cause rather than the symptoms of the disease, argues Naragan. I agree. And the cause of the disease is that the Indians were solidly behind the ruling party in spite of all the problems the Indians (and Chinese as well, of course) had been facing since long before Merdeka.

Naragan laments about this and that. I am happy he is lamenting. Okay, maybe the Indians have just started lamenting since the last 18 months from November 2007. But I have been lamenting about all this, the same thing that Naragan is lamenting about, for more than 380 months since 1977. Naragan, 18 months, and me, 380 months. And Naragan’s 18 months of lamenting makes him more of an expert on Indian problems compared to me who has been harping on the same thing for 380 months.

I suppose, as they say, better late than never. Welcome to reality-land, Naragan. I am glad you finally woke up, although it took you 50 years to finally wake up. Keep lamenting. Keep grumbling. Keep complaining. Keep bitching. It is good you do all that. And then, come the next general election, go vote for Barisan Nasional, the only party that can look after Indian interests and guarantee Indian rights. Maybe we can start with Bukit Selambau where there is currently a by-election being held. Maybe the Indians can help swing a victory for Barisan Nasional so that the Indians can have a better future after getting a raw deal since 1850.

By S. Jayasankaran

MARCH 30 – Even as he was making his farewell appearance before Umno members, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi got upstaged by his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad.

Last Saturday, when Umno leaders, including Abdullah, were delivering their winding- up addresses, Dr Mahathir strolled in casually to rousing applause and even posed for pictures with the hapless Abdullah and soon-to-be premier Najib Razak.

Dr Mahathir had been scheduled to attend the assembly on Thursday but was a conspicuous no-show. He explained in his blog on Friday that it wasn’t because his son (Mukhriz) had lost in the contest for Umno Youth leader (to Abdullah’s son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin) but because “the Youth has openly accepted the practice of money politics”.

Two weeks earlier, Khairy had been found guilty of money politics by Umno’s disciplinary board but had been let off with a warning.

Dr Mahathir used that to assail him, Umno and his father-in-law, saying that the Youth “had destroyed the image of Umno and the Malays”. He concluded thus: “I felt that I would be tarnished if I was in an assembly of people who accepted corruption.”

The sentiment didn’t last long, apparently, because he was there the next day accepting all the adulation heaped on him by the very people he had scorned. You had to feel for Abdullah.

But even if Dr Mahathir hadn’t showed up, one wonders if the outgoing PM could have exited in a blaze of glory. His speech, for example, was brilliant except that it was marred by delivery: it was frequently interrupted by bouts of coughing that did little to add sparkle to what was otherwise splendid, content-wise.

And one went away with the distinct feeling that his party did not agree with what he said. When Abdullah warned against returning to “the old ways” of curbing dissent and clamping down on individual freedoms, the delegates sat on their hands and there was little applause.

Indeed, much of Abdullah’s tenure was like his speech: good intentions marred by poor delivery. His legacy is one of a fundamentally decent individual who may have been overawed by the enormity of the task facing him.

Najib has an even more enormous task awaiting him: he is beset with a sharply slowing economy and a need to inspire renewed confidence among a citizenry growing mistrustful of government.

He is aware of this and has repeatedly spoken about the need of “reforming” Umno and forming a “credible” government with a Cabinet line-up that inspires trust.

But Najib is shackled by tradition, and party tradition dictates that he look for Cabinet choices among the leaders that Umno elects. And although various commentators have tried to put a kind face on things, many among the 25-man Supreme Council the party elected last Thursday hardly inspire trust.

Najib gets sworn in this week. And he is likely to announce his line-up and his national agenda to a curious country next week. He will have much to ponder upon.

The only thing he can be sure of is that his predecessor Abdullah is unlikely to criticise anything he does. Dr Mahathir, on the other hand, will have no such scruples. – Business Times Singapore

7 ribu Altantuya Akan Menjelma Di Dua Bukit Mencari Pembunuhnya

Mulai hari ini kira - kira 7,000 topeng eksklusif Altantuya mencari pembunuh akan mula di edarkan di dua bukit.

Hari ini kira - kira 500 keping sudah diedar percuma, sempena penamaan calon. Kemudian topeng ini boleh didapati dengan harga RM 2.00 di siri ceramah atau gerai - gerai cenderamata. Atau bagi yang berminat mendapatkan dalam bilangan yang banyak sila hubungi Yasir 0126794704 harga boleh dibincangkan.

Ayuh kita banjirkan jelmaan Altantuya ini agar pembunuhnya dan mereka yang terlibat sentiasa dalam ketakutan.....

Selain itu Pusat Khidmat Rakyat Rembau juga ada menjual Buku KJ antara Sial dan Tuah, dan VCD pendedahan jenayah Menteri Umno.

chegubard

7 ribu Altantuya Akan Menjelma Di Dua Bukit Mencari Pembunuhnya

Mulai hari ini kira - kira 7,000 topeng eksklusif Altantuya mencari pembunuh akan mula di edarkan di dua bukit.

Hari ini kira - kira 500 keping sudah diedar percuma, sempena penamaan calon. Kemudian topeng ini boleh didapati dengan harga RM 2.00 di siri ceramah atau gerai - gerai cenderamata. Atau bagi yang berminat mendapatkan dalam bilangan yang banyak sila hubungi Yasir 0126794704 harga boleh dibincangkan.

Ayuh kita banjirkan jelmaan Altantuya ini agar pembunuhnya dan mereka yang terlibat sentiasa dalam ketakutan.....

Selain itu Pusat Khidmat Rakyat Rembau juga ada menjual Buku KJ antara Sial dan Tuah, dan VCD pendedahan jenayah Menteri Umno.

chegubard

Najib must be screened by a royal commission of inquiry

By Kim Quek

In a heated press conference at the end of the UMNO Annual Assembly on Mar 28, the newly crowned President of UMNO Najib Razak failed to dispel swirling rumours of his alleged links to the murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu.

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This press conference had attracted unusual foreign press attention, due to heightened international media coverage over the scandal as Najib’s anticipated ascension to premiership nears. And as the name of Altantuya splashes in news features that pop up all over the world from France to Australia and from US to India, Najib seems to be irretrievably linked to this sex-corruption-murder scandal over an arm purchase.

Answering a barrage of questions from foreign journalists whether these persistent aspersions would undermine his premiership, Najib only repeatedly said: “These are malicious and baseless lies. I have already given my answers, but they persist. This is an opposition ploy.”

Najib sounded as if he had already given all the necessary explanations to exonerate himself from his apparently strong connection to the case, but actually all he had done was the repeated uttering of these few words: “I had never met the Mongolian woman, I had never known her”, full stop. In fact, he swore in public several times, using the same words.

SERIOUS QUESTIONS

If Najib thought those few words were sufficient to quell the mountain of suspicion arising from the myriad of burning questions as yet unanswered - in the face of dubious action or inaction by the law enforcers - he must have been terribly naïve and completely underestimated the intelligence of the public. Just to pick a few of these in random to demonstrate how serious these questions are:

  • Private investigator P. Balasubramaniam and his entire family mysteriously disappeared a day after he revealed a sworn statement giving intimate details incriminating Najib to the murder case in July 2008. Despite promises to investigate, the police have remained silent over the contents of this affidavit. And the court had also barred the admission of this document. Why did the police and the court keep a safe distance from this document that could have led to a break-through of this trial? What has happened to Bala and family – as nobody seem to know their whereabouts?
  • Why did the court – prosecutors, defence lawyers & judge – acting in unison, block further evidence from Altantuya’s cousin Burmaa Oyunchinmeg when she testified that Najib appeared in a photograph with Altantuya?
  • Why did the court block further evidence upon revelation in court that Malaysian immigration records of Altantuya and her two Mongolian companions had been mysteriously erased? Shouldn’t such erasure have been considered an important lead and an indication that some VVIP was involved?
  • Why were Najib and his aide-de-camp Musa Safri not investigated and called to the witness stand, since it was Musa Safri who gave instruction to the first accused (first and second accused were Najib’s bodyguards) to solve third accused Razak Baginda’s ‘woman problem’. Now that Razak Baginda (a close associate of Najib) has been declared innocent, the court is now left with the bizarre scenario of a murder without a motive, since the first two accused had no motive on their own to kill the victim.

It does not take a Sherlock Holmes or a legal expert to smell a rat in the handling of this murder case – a possible conspiracy to cover up for the real culprit.

During the press conference, not satisfied with Najib’s simplistic answer, journalists repeatedly asked the same questions. Finally, Najib snapped: “We will deal with it, we know how to handle it”. When asked whether this means possible crack-downs against his political opponents, Najib protested: “It is not fair to prejudge me. Give me a chance to take office first. Judge me by my action.”

So, Najib is pleading to be allowed to become the prime minister first, then judge him for what he does.

But is it fair to ask the nation to accept the risk of appointing a prime minister when such formidable dark clouds clearly hang over his head? If there is indeed incriminating evidence, would it not act as potential time bomb that could cause the PM to be r prosecuted or subject to blackmail by those in possession of such evidence? Even if such evidence is non-existent, Najib has no way of running away from this taint, which would surely undermine his standing and effectiveness as PM at home and abroad, so long as he refuses to submit himself to a proper investigation and subsequent vindication in a court of law.

INDEPENDENT INQUIRY A MUST

It is therefore imperative that a royal commission be set up to clear Najib of such suspicion before his appointment as PM (if he is innocent) to safeguard vital national interests. That would mean a delay of a few months to his impending appointment.

I can see no possible reason to object to such delay, as incumbent Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, whose term does not end until 2013, is fully capable of helming the state, fresh from accolades heaped upon him by his party for rendering invaluable service to the nation.

Najib in particular should welcome such an authoritative process to free him from the current tag and enhance his credibility as future premier and he should therefore have no objection to such delay. Unless of course, for reasons only known to him, he cannot afford to be so probed; neither could he afford not to be at the pinnacle of power at this very moment.

As for the nation at large, such an independent inquiry should bring a sigh of relief that the future premier is cleared of at least the taint of murder.

Kim Quek

What role will Dr M play in Umno?

(The Straits Times) KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s youngest son, Mukhriz, was waiting for his father at home when suddenly, he was told that the former premier had decided to drop in at the Umno assembly.

“He didn’t tell me. I think it was a decision made on the spur of the moment,” he told The Straits Times.

Neither did the former premier tell his second son, Mokhzani, who quit Umno along with his father and mother last year.

But Dr Mahathir, 83, is never predictable. Whether planned or impulsive, his entry was perfectly timed.

He walked in just as the newly elected Umno deputy president, Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, was in the middle of a speech that described Dr Mahathir in fond terms.

What a stir. The delegates gasped when the cameras focused on the beaming Dr Mahathir in a purple shirt as he took a seat in the VIP section.

Thunderous applause broke out.

“I think he came because he wanted to show support for the new leadership. He had said he wanted Muhyiddin to win the deputy presidency, and that happened,” said Mukhriz.

The euphoric response was not surprising, although there are grouses from Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s supporters. They felt that Dr Mahathir had stolen the thunder from the Premier’s show – it was, after all, his farewell.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Samad told The Straits Times that Dr Mahathir clearly demonstrated to the Prime Minister that he still holds the affection of Umno.

“Pak Lah would have seen the reaction, and the only conclusion is that the delegates were very happy to see him (Mahathir),” said Datuk Shahrir, referring to Datuk Seri Abdullah by his nickname.

A controversial figure, Dr Mahathir fell out with his handpicked successor in 2006 and left Umno last year. Abdullah’s supporters had dismissed his predecessor’s influence. But while Dr Mahathir no longer has a direct impact, the affection for him is still strong.

He was, after all, member 0000001 – an honour given after Umno re-registered as a party following a bitter leadership split in 1987 – and led the party from 1981 to 2003.

He steered it successfully through the fallout from his sacking of then Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim.

It is no surprise that Umno prefers him inside rather than outside. His bitter attacks on Abdullah left the Premier’s image in shreds, and Umno suffered.

His call to Malaysians to vote for clean candidates, not necessarily those from Barisan Nasional, did severe damage to the coalition in the last general election.

“One MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) candidate told me he lost because Dr Mahathir told the people that the MIC did nothing for the Indians,” Shahrir said.

Umno hopes that having Dr Mahathir back will mean one fewer formidable opponent. They need not fight him and Datuk Seri Anwar at the same time.

The burning question now is the role he will play in Umno and the government. He has already shown that he does not take kindly to being left out in the cold.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, the incoming premier, has said he will seek Dr Mahathir’s advice, but did not say if there will be a formal role for him.

Dr Mahathir is, in fact, already seen as a mentor to Datuk Seri Najib, although that is probably overstating the case. This came about because of a series of government crackdowns on the opposition – something seen as Mahathirism.

Certainly, Dr Mahathir played a key role in the events that led to Abdullah being forced to step down.

But Najib’s supporters dismiss the claim that the incoming prime minister will be under the thumb of the former premier.

A party insider said he believed that Najib will find a space for both Dr Mahathir and Abdullah, and manage these relationships carefully.

“He will not let it deteriorate like before,” he said.

It is well known that Dr Mahathir’s quarrel with Abdullah began when he perceived that the Prime Minister and his young advisers were disparaging his legacy to bolster Abdullah’s reformist image.

It became worse when his pet projects, including a bridge to replace the Causeway to Singapore, were scrapped.

Najib’s first test of his relationship with Dr Mahathir will be over the possible appointment of the newly elected Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin – who defeated Mukhriz for the post - to the Cabinet. Dr Mahathir dislikes Khairy – who is Abdullah’s son-in-law – intensely, and has started to campaign against such an appointment.

The imminent return of Dr Mahathir to the party raises many questions.

He is likely to rejoin Umno when Najib becomes prime minister. He left for London last night, and will return on Friday – the expected date of the swearing- in ceremony.

Mukhriz insists that his father wants only to be able to contribute to Umno: “He does not have to be appointed officially.”

Banging drums an election offence?

A political scientist friend writes:

In the Bukit Selambau by-election, it was reported that ‘Deputy Election Commission chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar pointed out to police that using musical instruments on nomination day was an election offence and requested that they “advise the supporters to stop” but the supporters kept banging on’. (Malaysian Insider, 29 Mar 09).

Can you believe this Election Commission (EC) Deputy Chairman? Is he for real? Banging drums that make ‘noise’ is an ‘election offence’?!? But political parties giving bribes in the past, government ministers providing instant noodles projects and other development goodies (see preceding post for a sample); using and abusing government machinery; people gambling on election results; a dirty electoral roll; etc. are not ‘electoral offences’?

This EC has selective vision. It takes offence at good-natured ‘noise’ but sees nothing wrong or illegal in all the long-standing electoral abuses reported in the media, to the police and voiced out in the courts for years! Of late, it even appears to take partisan positions and ignores the Perak Speaker’s declaration of three seat vacancies.

Perhaps Wan Ahmad was upset because he could not concentrate on his simple by-election work of registering so many independent candidates given the noise. If this is the case, the next Prime Minister should seriously make it a priority to consider appointing a more competent individual to take his place - one who can handle the pressure of working under ‘noise’.

And by the way, where is the ‘indelible ink’? Or is inking one’s finger after voting also an ‘election offence’ since this is another incredulous thing that the EC does not condone?

Zubaidah Abu Bakar: Much at stake in 3 by-elections

New Straits Times
by Zubaidah Abu Bakar

LESS than 24 hours after the completion of its 59th general assembly and historic party elections, Umno as head of Barisan Nasional is once again being put to the vote in the by-elections of Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai.

Fresh from his crowning as Umno's seventh president, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be Pakatan Rakyat's main target as the opposition alliance strives to steal the thunder of the ruling party's new leadership.

Cyberspace is abuzz with talk of fresh allegations by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who had been conspicuous by his absence yesterday in the nomination centres of the three constituencies, and another attempt, after failing embarrassingly last Sept 16, at a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.

Coming just over a year after the March 8 general election, the three by-elections are being watched as a review of the relative positions of BN and Pakatan.

Pakatan leaders say they are out to prove its support has not waned despite problems in the states it controls and the recent BN takeover of the Perak state administration.

They say retaining Bukit Gantang in Perak will mean the people oppose the "backdoor" BN takeover of the state while a repeat victory in Kedah's Bukit Selambau will reaffirm the Pas-led state government's strong footing.

Winning Batang Ai in Sarawak, they add, will be the start of Pakatan's inroads into the state, which is key to its plans to topple the BN at the federal level.

With the stakes so high, and the political climate at fever pitch since the beginning of the year, the contests in all three by-elections are nothing if not intense.

The opposition's ranks have been stoked up by the continuing impasse in Perak, the use of water cannon to break up a rally in Bukit Selambau and suspension of Harakah and Suara Keadilan, the party mouthpieces of Pas and PKR respectively.

Among the three, the message that will be sent out by the voters of Bukit Gantang is the most awaited.

A win for the BN implies acceptance of the takeover by defections of the state government, silencing Pakatan's claims to the contrary.

Pas' decision to field ousted menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Nizar Jamaluddin is thought to have given Pakatan an edge over BN's Ismail Safian from Umno, who is a local boy but who has lived part of his working life as a civil servant in other parts of Perak and in Kuala Lumpur.

Independent candidate Kamarul Ramizu Idris is unlikely to make an impact on Bukit Gantang's 55,500 registered voters, of whom 63.5 per cent are Malays, 27.1 per cent Chinese and 9.1 per cent Indians.

Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who heads the BN machinery for all three by-elections, is also out to make a point.

"All by-elections are important, especially one that is done after the process of transition of leadership.

"We want to tell the people this is a team that means business," Muhyiddin told reporters in Bukit Gantang yesterday, as BN and Pakatan supporters faced off during the nomination process.

The exceptionally large number of candidates contesting in Bukit Selambau, 15 in all, is worrying the authorities and throwing the race open in ways the BN and Pakatan did not expect.

Scrambling for support from the constituency's 35,000 electorate, it is feared the candidates will pull out all the stops and resort to the racial card to woo the 17,000 Malays, 10,000 Indians and 7,000 Chinese voters.

Kedah police have already identified 17 hotspots in the part-rural, part-urban constituency.

Observers say as many as half of the non-Malay voters in Bukit Selambau are fence-sitters unlikely to vote for BN candidate S. Ganesan.

Those who voted for former assemblyman A. Arumugam last year may also not vote for S. Manikumar from Parti Keadilan Rakyat, choosing instead one of the independents.

A BN victory in Bukit Selambau will mean that the BN, which lost power in Kedah in the last general election, is turning the corner with the arrival of the Najib administration.

In Batang Ai, the odds appear to disfavour BN newcomer Malcom Mussem Lamoh, who will be up against PKR's Jawah Gerang, a five-term former Lubok Antu member of parliament.

But the remote constituency probably presents the least problems to the BN despite Anwar calling the by-election a test of Pakatan's support among the Dayaks.

The 8,600 voters, 95 per cent of whom are Ibans, are sparsely spread out in the 1,341 sq km constituency, posing considerable challenges to Pakatan.

Ucaptama ‘Forum Krisis Ekonomi Sejagat & Masa Depan ASEAN’ di Bangkok

–SIARAN MEDIA UNTUK EDARAN SEGERA–

30 Mac 2009 - Ketua Pembangkang Dewan Rakyat Malaysia, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, akan menyampaikan ucaptama di Forum Krisis Ekonomi Sejagat Dan Masa Depan ASEAN di Universiti Chulalongkorn, Bangkok pada 30hb Mac jam 1.30 PM. Mantan Timbalan Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang juga bekas menteri kewangan itu akan membicarakan krisis kewangan mutakhir ini di dalam konteks kepimpinan beliau pada tahun 1997; sewaktu krisis kewangan yang melanda Asia. Beliau juga akan menawarkan beberapa pandangan di dalam membentuk Asean yang stabil serta makmur.

Professor Pirom Kamolratanakul, Rektor Universiti Chulalongkorn akan menjadi hos forum tersebut manakala HRH Sukumphan Paribatra Boriphat, Wizurai Bangkok dan mantan Timbalan Menteri Luar Thailand akan menyampaikan ucapan pendahuluan.

Acara ini adalah sebahagian dari siri syarahan oleh pemimpin ASEAN terkemuka bagi berkongsi pandangan, pengalaman dan cita-cita untuk pembangunan demokrasi serta perkembangan rantau di tengah dunia yang melangkah pesat ini. Forum ini dianjurkan oleh Thailand Political Database Project.

PEJABAT DATUK SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM

—————

–PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–

MARCH 30, 2009 - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will deliver a keynote address on the “Global Economic Crisis and the Future of ASEAN” at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on March 30th at 1:30 PM. Anwar Ibrahim, the former Malaysian Minister of Finance will discuss the current global recession in the context of his leadership during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and offer perspectives on forging a more stable and prosperous future for the Asean region.

Professor Pirom Kamolratanakul, rector of Chulalongkorn University will host the event and HRH Sukumphan Paribatra Boriphat, the Bangkok Governor and Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, will deliver an introductory speech.

The event is part of a broader series of lectures by outstanding ASEAN leaders to speak in order to share experiences, concerns and visions regarding the development of democracy and development of the region in a fast changing world. It is organised by the Thailand Political Database Project.

The lecture will take place in Room 212 Mahitalatibej Building at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. A press conference will follow beginning at 4:15 PM in Room 208 of the Mahitalatibej Building. Please RSVP at +6622618951,+6622618953, Fax : +6622618950 (Miss Aruchita Auttamapokin)

E-mail: thaiswatch2007@gmail.com
http://www.thaiswatch.com/anwarliveinbangkok

THE OFFICE OF ANWAR IBRAHIM

Zahid Hamidi Heads Kelantan Sultan Birthday Honours List

KOTA BAHARU, March 30 (Bernama) -- Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi heads the list of 641 people who will receive awards and medals in conjunction with the 59th birthday of the Sultan of Kelantan, Tuanku Ismail Petra Ibni Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra, on Monday.

Zahid is the only recipient of the Ahli Yang Kehormat Yang Pertama (Seri Paduka) of the Jiwa Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (SJMK) which carries the title "Datuk".

Fifty-one others will also receive awards carrying the title "Datuk". Chief of Navy Admiral Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Jaafar and Army Field Commander Lt Gen Datuk Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor will receive the Ahli Yang Pertama (Seri Paduka) of the Kesateria Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Perkasa (SPKK).

Bank Rakyat Malaysia Berhad managing director Datuk Kamaruzaman Che Mat and Kelantan Mufti Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad will receive the Ahli Yang Pertama (Seri Paduka) of the Setia Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Terbilang (SPSK) while Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung; Boustead Holdings Berhad group managing director Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin; Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar and former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Seri Mohd Shariff Omar will receive the Ahli Yang Kehormat Yang Pertama (Seri Paduka) of the Setia Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Terbilang (SPSK).

Kelantan Public Service Commission chairman Ismail Md Noor and Kota Baharu High Court judge Datuk Mohd Azman Husin will receive the Ahli Yang Kedua (Datuk Paduka) for the Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (DPMK) while Wijaya Baru Global Berhad group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Treasury deputy secretary-general (management) Datuk Zalekha Hassan will receive the Ahli Yang Kehormat Yang Kedua (Datuk Paduka) of the Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (DPMK).

Kelantan Islamic Development, Education and Missionary Committee chairman Mohd Amar Abdullah and Tengku Indera Pahlawan Diraja (Selangor) Tengku Putra Alhaj Tengku Azman Shah Alhaj will receive the Ahli Yang Kedua (Datuk Paduka) of the Jiwa Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (DJMK).

Thai businessman Anupasna Suwanmongkol; Wijaya Baru Global Berhad group executive director/deputy chief executive Faizal Abdulla; CIMB Bank Berhad executive director Tunku Datuk Ahmad Burhanuddin Tunku Datuk Seri Adnan and LCL Corporation Berhad managing director Low Chin Meng will received the Ahli Yang Kehormat Yang Kedua (Datuk Paduka) of the Jiwa Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (DJMK).

Eighth Infantry Brigade commander Brig Gen Azizan Md Delin; Chief of Intelligence 4, Defence Intelligence Staff Division, Ministry of Defence, Brig Gen Mat Rashid Ashaari; Royal Malaysian Navy Education and Training commander Admiral Muda Datuk Musa Omar and Second Infantry Brigade commander Brig Gen Zulkifli Mansor will receive the Ahli Yang Kehormat Yang Kedua (Datuk Paduka) of the Kesateria Mahkota Kelantan (DPKK).

Fifteen people will receive the Ahli Yang Kedua (Datuk Paduka) of the Setia Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Terbilang (DPSK). They are Immigration under-secretary Alias Ahmad; Kelantan Customs director Azis Yacub; Finance Ministry's Remuneration Policy, Public Money and Management Services Division deputy under-secretary Bukhari Hasan; Kelantan deputy mufti Che Mohd Rahim Jusoh; Taiping High Court judicial commissioner Hassan Ab Rahman; Prime Minister's Department Economic Planning Unit director Mat Noor Nawi; Kelantan Economic Planning Unit director/deputy state secretary (development) Mohd Azamli Jamaluddin; Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation professor, Prof Dr Nik Anuar Nik Mahmud.

Inland Revenue Board deputy director-general (policy) Dr Siti Mariam Che Ayub; Prime Minister's Department Wakaf Department director-general Dr Sohaimi Mohd Salleh; Road Transport Department director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan; Risda deputy director-general (management and corporate) Wan Mohamad Zuki Mohamad; Universiti Malaysia Kelantan vice-chancellor Prof Ir Dr Zainai Mohamed; Kelantan deputy state secretary (management) Dr Zainuddin Ibrahim and University of Malaya Islamic Studies Academy's Department of Al-Quran and Al-Hadith professor, Prof Dr Mohd Yakub alias Zulkifli Mohd Yusoff.

Fourteen people will receive the Ahli Yang Kehormat Yang Kedua (Datuk Paduka) of the Setia Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Terbilang (DPSK). They are Malaysian Friendship and Trade Centre president Abdullah Mohd Salleh; Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (D7) principal assistant director SAC II Ahmad Sofian Md Yasin; Police Training Centre commandant SAC II Amar Singh Ishar Singh; Kelantan deputy chief police officer SAC II Amir Hamzah Ibrahim; Retirement Fund Incorporated chief executive officer Azian Mohd Noh; Selangor Criminal Investigation Department chief SAC II Hasnan Hassan.

Kota Baharu district officer Ismail Ghani; Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order deputy director SAC 1 Muhammad Fuad Abu Zarim; Bukit Aman IGP Secretariat (Discipline) deputy chief SAC II Mohd Zulyadaen Ismail; Royal Thai Police officer Maj Gen Pichet Pitisatetapan; Bukit Aman IGP Secretariat (Administration) assistant chief P/SAC II Razali Ab Razak; Cyberview Sdn Bhd managing director Redza Rafiq Abdul Razak; Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Berhad general manager corporate services/secretary Datuk Rosely Samsuri and Royal Malaysia Police College commandant SAC I Datuk Shabudin Abdul Wahab.

The sultan also conferred the Ahli Yang Ketiga (Taulan) of the Paduka Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (PMK) on three people and the Ahli Yang Ketiga (Taulan) of the Jiwa Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (JMK) on five.

Twelve people will receive the Ahli Yang Ketiga (Paduka) of the Kesateria Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Perkasa (PKK) and 30 the Ahli Yang Ketiga (Paduka) of the Setia Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Terbilang (PSK). The investiture for these awards will be held at the Istana Balai Besar on Monday.

Meanwhile, 48 people will receive the Ahli Yang Keempat (Bentara) of the Setia Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Terbilang (BSK); 72 the Ahli Yang Kelima (Ahli) of the Setia Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Terbilang (ASK); 23 the Bintang Seri Mahkota Kelantan (SMK); 60 the Bintang Seri Kelantan (SK); 91 the Bintang Ahli Kelantan (AK); 44 the Pingat Bakti (PB); 78 the Pingat Setia Mahkota Kelantan (PS); 45 the Pingat Taat (PT); 50 the Pingat Perangai Baik (PPB); 16 the Surat Kepujian and 12 the Jaksa Pendamai (JP). These people will receive their awards and medals at a separate function on April 30.

Tensions run high in Bukit Gantang

Regarding About our system

Dear Sirs,

Chinese and Indian students are being interviewed separately from the Malay students when applying for on-campus accommodation????

What THE FUCK is going on? I am pissed off with this nonsense. I shall now revert to foul language to show my disgust.

You fuckers are taking us for a ride after the last general election. You are now only focused on bringing down BN and not with meeting the expectations of people like me who hate BN policies and trusted you with my future, my children's future, and their children's future.

Get off your arse and ask these questions in Parliament. DO NOT HIDE BEHIND BRAVE PEOPLE LIKE KARPAL, GOBIND, RAJA PETRA, LIM KS and some of the heroes languishing in the ISA cells. If you cannot do your job with sincerity and dedication, SIMPLY FUCK OFF AND LET SOMEONE ELSE DO IT!!!

You certainly have earned my displeasure. I don't think even God can help us now.

Yours Disgustingly,

Major A R Ramachandran (Retd)

KJ : No out-of-the-ordinary programmes

Samy Suffer Verbal Abuse

Samy introduces Ganesan

MIC bigwigs at Bukit Selambau

Umno has keris, DAP the rocket, why not the 'clenched fist'?

Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM), which recently won a decade-long battle for recognition, faces a new hurdle after authorities rejected its "clenched fist" symbol as too violent.

MCPX

psm with wording logoPSM has used the symbol - an iconic image for the political left around the world - since 1998 when it first applied for registration.

"The Election Commission has rejected our fist symbol. In a letter in February they said the symbol is morally not suitable and demonstrates violence," the party's secretary-general S Arutchelvan told AFP.

"Now we can't stand for an election since the logo is not approved. We are angry. The ban comes as a surprise to us," he said.

Arutchelvan rejected any negative connotations linked to the symbol and said it was being unfairly singled out compared to the ruling party Umno.

"For us, it is a logo to reflect our struggle to uplift the welfare of the people and promote people's powers," he said.

"Umno is allowed to use the dagger logo while the opposition Democratic Action Party uses the rocket symbol. So why can't we use the fist?"

Gov't tightening the screws

The small opposition party, which has one lawmaker in the national parliament, finally won approval to be registered last August.

Arutchelvan said the latest setback in its quest for full recognition raised fears that Malaysia faces an era of repression as new leader Najib Razak prepares to take power.

"Now it looks like the government is tightening the screws. We fear it is the beginning of the rule of suppression in Malaysia," he said.

Najib is expected to be sworn in as premier in coming days, after Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was forced to agree to step down in the fallout from disastrous elections a year ago.

Recent moves including the banning of two opposition newspapers, and the use of tear gas to break up a rally by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, have raised concerns Najib may adopt a hardline approach.

-AFP

Rifts in PKR over Bkt Selambau choice

bukitselambau-byelection-signpost.jpgBy Shannon Teoh - The Malaysian Insider

SUNGAI PETANI, March 29 – He may be de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s choice, but not all PKR supporters have fallen in line with the decision to field enterpreneur S. Manikumar as the Bukit Selambau candidate.

The Malaysian Insider understands that a group of local party members will pull out of PKR as a result of dissatisfaction with the choice of the 35-year-old political novice.

Also, PKR has a headache since no less than three of the independent candidates running in Bukit Selambau have past or current affiliations to the party.

This comes even after Anwar had to come to Bukit Selambau to soothe tensions among disgruntled members here.

After a spate of scandals involving PKR elected representatives recently, including V. Arumugam himself who was accused of bigamy, Anwar was forced to place a clean record ahead of other considerations in the selection process.

But with the Bukit Selambau seat offering the carrot of an executive council place for an Indian candidate, everyone including the DAP and Hindraf have been lobbying for it since Arumugam first vacated the seat in early February.

Within PKR, various candidates had also believed each of them was the best choice.

One of them is A. Jayagopal, the 57-year-old independent candidate who is likely to have his membership revoked.

He was one of 15 who went through the interview process with Kedah PKR chief Ahmad Kassim and was found wanting.

“Even before this, they would bring outsiders like N. Gobalakrishnan. Do we need them to teach locals about politics?” the Alor Setar native told The Malaysian Insider today.

After Manikumar’s candidacy was announced, there were murmurs of discontent over the selection of an ordinary member without any political distinction or service.

At today’s nomination, Manikumar seemed jittery and more than willing to let his vice president Azmin Ali do the talking.

Members from Padang Serai and Merbok divisions have gone on record to state their dissatisfaction and even Hindraf has warned that relations with PKR could suffer from this.

Hindraf were backing the choice of either its national coordinator S. Thanenthiran, lawyer R. Surendran or Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Vasantha Kumar.

Its national events coordinator R. Kannan had warned that Indians were unhappy with the choice of Manikumar.

The danger now for PKR is that a number of its local supporters would instead vote for Jayagopal or two other independents running with a PKR past, former Baling chief Radzi Md Lazim and S. Moganakumar who was Arumugam’s special assistant.

Reporting from Bukit Gantang

BY Haris Ibrahim

The Barisan Rakyat blogging team got into Taiping yesterday around 3pm, complete with our new look.

br-team

Front view of the new Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia t-shirt

Front view of the new Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia t-shirt

With a simple message at the back

With a simple message at the back

8pm last night, headed out to the Markas PAS at Air Kuning, for a briefing, together with the Perak bloggers.

Perak bloggers and BR bloggers at the briefing

Perak bloggers and BR bloggers at the briefing

Caught up with the Pakatan candidate at the Markas. Nizar addressed the bloggers shortly after

Caught up with the Pakatan candidate at the Markas. Nizar addressed the bloggers shortly after

This morning, we were up and out of the hotel by 7.15am.

The plan was first to have a quick breakfast and then head out to the nomination centre.

No such luck.

The Pakatan crowd of supporters was already starting to make its presence felt, streaming towards the nomination centre, and the team was caught up in the mood of the morning.

Duke getting into the thick of the action

Duke getting into the thick of the action

I estimated that about 30,000 were out there with Nizar this morning.

I estimated that about 30,000 were out there with Nizar this morning.

pcpcrowdpcrowd1pcrowd2

pbannerpbanner1pbanner2pbanner3pbanner4

On another street parallel to that where the Pakatan supporters were slowly making their way to the nomination centre, the BN supporters were assembling to start their march to the nomination centre. I nipped over to take the following shots.

bn-buildupbn-buildup1bn-buildup2bn-buildup3

As I noted earlier, I made the number of Pakatan supporters at and around the nomination centre that spilt over on to a hillside and the road leading up to the centre at about 30,000. Some of the others in the team thought my figure was too modest.

The number of BN supporters?

I put it at about 3,000 - 5,000. Many in the team thought I had overstated their numbers.

I’ll leave you with the photos below and photos and two video clips posted by delCapo and let you try to make your own estimate.

The Pakatan crowd.

Part of the Pakatan crowd outside the nomination centre

Part of the Pakatan crowd outside the nomination centre

Another segment of the Pakatan crowd outside the nomination centre

Another segment of the Pakatan crowd outside the nomination centre

Del’s photos and video clips can be viewed HERE.

NOMINATION DAY FOR 3 AREAS - BUKIT SELAMBAU (KEDAH), BUKIT GANTANG (PERAK) & BATANG AI (SARAWAK)

Surprising events were install at the Bukit Selambau State by-elections when 15 candidates submitted their nominations papers which included Barisan Nasional's S Ganesan and PKR's S Manikumar.

At Bukit Gantang Parliamentary by-elections, the contest is between 'ousted' and legitimate Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Ir Nizar Jamaluddin from PAS, Barisan Nasional's Ismail Saffian and an Independent candidate Kamarul Ramizi.

While at Batang Ai, Sarawak State elections, its a straight contest against Malcolm Mussen of Barisana Nasional and Jawah Gerang for the PKR.

Looking at the public sentiments, it seems that the Opposition will win the elections but it is still too earlier to speculate since the Barisan Nasional would induce 'goodies' to buy the hearts of the voters and people in the respective areas as usual.

It would be a 'pesta' time in these areas until voting day on 7 April 2009.

picture courtesy of Malaysiakini

Karpal attacked by missile torrent of loaded plastic “water bottles”

DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh was attacked by a missile torrent of loaded plastic “water bottles” by Umno/Barisan Nasional members/supporters at the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election nomination centre at Taiping town hall this morning.

At least some 50 to 60 of these missiles were flung at Karpal’s MPV when he arrived at the nomination centre with his wife and supporters.

It was fortunate that there was no physical harm to Karpal and his entourage, and the MPV withstood the missile attacks but not without leaving behind tell-tale signs of the disgraceful, disgusting and despicable incident on the MPV windscreens and bodiwork.

Karpal has subsequently lodged a police report in Taiping against the latest example of growing nastiness and beastliness in Malaysian politics. Only last month, wheelchair-bound Karpal was mobbed by Selangor UMNO Youth goons in the parliamentary precincts seeking to interfere and intimidate him from discharging his parliamentary duties.

Will the police take against the latest UMNO culprits introducing an unacceptable and intolerable culture of violence in Malaysian politics?

Will the new Umno President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak apologise to Karpal for this shameful episode of Umno/BN gutter politics?

Batang Ai: Ho! Ho! Ho! The White-Haired One arrives…

By Anil Netto

Due to climate chaos wreaking havoc to Santa’s North Pole winter detection system, he has mistakenly set out to balmy Asia ahead of schedule.

Having been tipped off, my contact in Sarawak has been keeping an eye out for his early arrival. Hark, are those sleigh bells he hears? The ring-a-ling of the bells draws closer and then… with a mighty flourish, the sleigh comes into view and screeches to a halt. As the jolly White-Haired One, a huge sack of goodies slung over his shoulder, disembarks and bellows, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”, his band of faithful cronies… er, I mean, elves dances a jig.

It’s Santa and his elves bringing the politics of ‘instant noodles’ development to the good folks of Batang Ai.

RM2 million for Longhouses in Batang Ai
By Churchill Edward; Borneo Post; Sunday, March 29th, 2009

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=49427

Land titles

…Sarawak is conducting a census among people in the Batang Ai resettlement area to resolve the long-standing issue of land titles after they were displaced by the construction of the Batang Ai hydro-electric dam in 1982…(NST, 27 March 09)

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Friday/National/2516060/Article/index_html

Projek RM60 juta bukan ‘mi segera’

Borneo Post, 26 Mar 09

Pelbagai projek di DUN Batang Ai sudah lama dirancang: Masing

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=49304

RM45 juta kos subsidi
Oleh Edwin Raoh, Borneo Post, 23 Mar 09

Jumlah tersebut adalah bagi seragamkan harga petrol dan diesel di Sarawak di bawah pelaksanaan Projek Komuniti Drumming

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=49152

Rural grants

“…federal government had allocated minor rural project (MRP) grants amounting to RM420,000 for Batang Ai…” (Borneo Post, 22 March 09)

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=49073

Road improvements

“…priority to tar-seal the 10km Batang Ai settlement area ring road and two other roads at a cost of RM42 million…” (Malaysian Insider, 15 March 09)

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/20428-bns-battle-royale-for-batang-ai

Fish breeding course

“…The next catfish breeding course will be held at Batang Ai Hilton Resort from March 23 to 25. It is targeted at community leaders from Batang Ai…” (Borneo Post, 20 March 09)

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=48980

PKR’s bad political maths
By Samuel Aubrey, Borneo Post; Thursday, March 19th, 2009

…Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Numpang “…hands over RM345,000 in rebates to 692 outboard engine owners….”

…According to Jabu, Batang Ai can look forward to several projects soon and these include building of new roads and upgrading of present roads which are estimated to cost in the region of RM12 million…

…These projects which include the RM5 million Batang Ai ring road, the resettlement road and the RM4 million Lubok Antu-Nanga Bulu road would be implemented under the second stimulus package announced recently by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, he added…

…Later, another ceremony to hand over cash rebates took place at Serubah, Lemanak which was also officiated by Jabu and attended by Masing. They also took the opportunity to introduce Mussen to the people there…

…In Serubah, 177 people received cash rebates totalling RM87,000…

…In total, there were 869 recipients and RM430,000 in total cash rebates were paid out in Lubok Antu, which was the first area in the state to receive this assistance….

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=48941

RM12 mln for roads in Batang Ai; project state’s priority: Masing
By Churchill Edward and Connie Banji; Borneo Post; Monday, March 16th, 2009

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=48821

Lubok Antu folk first to receive cash rebate
By Samuel Aubrey, BP; Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Outboard engine owners to get RM400,000 from scheme

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=48566

Lubok Antu folk to enjoy phone, Internet service soon
By Jacob Achoi; BP; Monday, March 9th, 2009

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=48499

Abdullah to seek audience with Agong on Thursday (Update)

The Star

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is stepping down on April 2, which is next Thursday.

The former Umno president made the announcement in his last address on the final day of the 59th Umno General Assembly here on Saturday.

He said he would seek an audience with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin that day to tell him of his intention to resign as Prime Minister.

“I hope that the official handing over ceremony can be held on the same day,” he said.

There was an applause from the delegates, when he made his announcement, which was towards the end of his speech.

Later, when asked to explain at his press conference on what would happen on April 2, Abdullah said he would meet the King to inform him of his intention to quit.

“I do not want to say anything more for the time being as it will be up to the King’s discretion to decide,” he said.

Abdullah had announced last year that he would not be defending his party post and would hand over the leadership of the country to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

For the past few months, the handover date had been the topic of speculation and discussion.

Abdullah, however, had refused to reveal the date until Saturday.

Abdullah admitted that he felt “in a way relieved” that he had finally made the announcement.

Asked why he was being exceptionally calm at an emotional moment like this, Abdullah smiled and said: “That’s me. Not really (sad). I will still be in Umno and I am still a division leader in Penang.

“Perhaps I would like to hand over my post to them later. It’s not a goodbye in a sense that I will disappear into space or leave the country for a journey around the world.”

Abdullah said he would continue to contribute to the party because when one was a fighter for the party, he would “forever be one”.

On whether he would join Barisan Nasional leaders in their campaign for the by-elections in Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai, Abdullah said he would be “away on a break then.”

Asked if he would start blogging his opinions and views like his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah said he would not be doing so.

Abdullah took office as the country’s fifth Prime Minister in October 2003, taking over from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Abdullah has had a colourful political career, having served under all four previous Prime Ministers, first as a young civil servant, then as part of the ruling coalition and as Deputy Prime Minister.

Day 1 of Campaign - BN loser talk already begins! 3 more Kuala Terengganus?

pre-script: If you haven’t seen delCapo’s pics from Bukit Gantang, you really should :)

Almost all BN politicians had begun downplaying expectations as the Kuala Terengganu campaign began. And now, we see exactly the same thing! Perhaps we can look forward to the same result :P :)

Remember, people like Najib and gang have access to police (and some say military) intelligence reports the likes of us will never get to see. Basically, they tend to know something we don’t about voter trends.

Anything is possible, but I imagine if reports were favourable to bN, they would be posturing like crazy, either setting themselves up for a big win, or rallying the troops to clinch a tight victory.

It doesn’t quite make sense to me why they would say the following, if their chances were good. Najib:

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the results of Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Air by-elections may not necessarily be a good indicator of people’s support.

“The trouble of by-election is that it is very hard to say to what extent it reflects the national consideration.

“Of course the pundits will be quick to make conclusion one way or the other… the party members are highly motivated with the challenges ahead and we will do our level best,” he told reporters after the party’s general assembly here today.

He said the by-elections are not a referendum.

“The only referendum is only when the general election comes. You will know whether the people support you or not. By-election may not be necessarily a good indicator,” he said.

Ahaha, then call for a general electionLAH mr. pm in waiting.

Shabery Cheek:

Meanwhile, Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the Batang Ai by-election cannot be treated as a barometer for the coming Sarawak state election.

“There have been numerous by-elections in Malaysia’s history and the winners can be from the opposition and government but the result at the general election is another matter,” he told reporters at the nomination centre.

Loooooser talk.

In Bukit Gantang, there seems to be only one issue to play up:

Meanwhile, BN Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir expressed confidence that Ismail will pull off a win, judging by initial feedback from voters.

Muhiyiddin:

“On the opposition side, they are going to play up national issues. But when it comes to Perak, they have to be very careful because it all boils down to the sultan,” he said.

“I believe that the voters would not be easiliy taken in because the Perak government is legal and received the consent of the Perak sultan…”

Aha, but the question is, my dear mr. dpm in waiting, did it receive the consent of the RAKYAT?!

I guess we’re about to find out.

Quick credit to Karpal where it’s due:

DAP chairperson, Karpal Singh, however were given a harder time by BN supporters who pelted his MPV with water bottles while he was on his way to the nomination centre.

“There were quite a few (bottles thrown)… Umno must stop this culture of violence. In any event, it will not hinder Pakatan from going all out to ensure a thumping majority,” he told reporters later.

Ironically, Karpal - who once sarcastically declared that there would be an Islamic state over his dead body - was seated next to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang at the nomination centre.

The wheelchair-bound presence of Karpal to support PAS in this election is significant as he has had several run-ins with the PAS leader.

Much better political maturity :D What a contrast to people who throw bottles at someone in a wheelchair.

So, I think we’re off to a pretty decent start, 13 independents notwithstanding :P Let’s watch close and try to do our part!

Parties Told To Apply Early For "Ceramah" Permit

TAIPING, March 29 (Bernama) -- The police today advised political parties to apply early for permits to hold "ceramah" (talks) in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election.

Perak Chief Police Officer Datuk Zulkefli Abdullah said the applicants could appeal to him if their applications were rejected by the district police chief.

He said, however, that the police would not hesitate to act against any political party which organised ceramah or political gatherings without a permit.

Zulkefli said the police had approved 15 applications for ceramah for the first day of campaigning today, 12 of them from the Barisan Nasional (BN) and three from the opposition.

He expected more applications for permits to hold ceramah to come in over the next few days.

Zulkefli said the nomination today at the Taiping Municipal Council hall went without any incident undermining public order despite a large turnout of supporters.

"We received only one police report, made by (DAP chairman) Karpal Singh who claimed water bottles were hurled at his car," he said.

Zulkefli said he believed the incident occurred because Karpal Singh had used the path meant for Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters and not for those from the opposition.