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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Own up to drink habit, Kit Siang dares Umno men

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — The DAP parliamentary leader, Lim Kit Siang, today challenged Umno ministers to declare if they had drunk alcohol in their youth, following recent attacks on Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s past dalliance with the bottle.


The veteran lawmaker said that the Cabinet would be half-empty if drinking alcohol “incapacitates one from holding office.”

Lim also questioned whether alcohol consumption fell within Section 6 of the Whistleblowers Protection Bill.

“Do the drinking habits of MPs fall under this term, as this has become the weapon used by Barisan Nasional in the Hulu Selangor by-election campaign in its alcohol attack on the Pakatan Rakyat candidate, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, [by] calling him ‘a drunkard.’

“I challenge Umno and Muslim ministers, in particular, the Umno Youth leader and MP for Rembau, Khairy Jamaluddin; the Minister in the Prime Minister’s department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz; the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein; the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin; and the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak whether they dare to declare that they had never drank alcohol in their youth in the past,” he said during the debate for the second reading of the Whistleblowers Protection Bill.

Under Clause 6 (2) (b) of the Bill, it is stated that whistleblowers can reveal any improper conduct even prior to the commencement of the law — rendering it retroactive if passed.

Lim also labelled the Umno-led Barisan Nasional as desperate in the Hulu Selangor by-election, for resorting to “gutter politics”.

“If having had drinks in the past incapacitates one from holding office, then we will lose half the Cabinet as well as the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States and we will need to have a by-election in Rompin.

“Let us have higher standards in politics and elections, as it is the avenue to serve to people and nation and not to indulge in personal attacks and character assassinations.

“We can do the same but we refuse to do so. Zaid has regretted his drinks in his youth. But he has gone one step further to declare that he will not follow the gutter politics of the Umno leaders,” he said.

Lim then questioned why the Whistleblowers Protection Bill only mentioned members of parliaments and state assemblymen, but made no reference to ministers, deputy ministers and chief ministers.

“No big fish had been caught by MACC and there is no response to my call in Parliament that the government suspend its RM770 million repayment this year to PKFZ turnkey contractor Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) which had raised bonds under misinterpretation and irregular circumstances, until the Cabinet task force under Chief Secretary had come out with satisfactory solution,” he said.

Lim added that the government should co-operate with people such as Raja Petra Kamarruddin and P. Balasubramaniam, if they were indeed serious in implementing the Whistleblowers Protection Bill.

“We are debating the whistleblowers protection bill but the two Malaysian whistleblowers par excellence are on the run outside the country. Firstly, Raja Petra Kamarruddin who has tonnes of materials and information on his Malaysia Today blogsite, and private investigator Balasubramaniam [with information] about the murder of Mongolian, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

“If the government is serious in wanting to fight corruption and to encourage whistleblowing, it should welcome and co-operate with these two whistleblowers par excellence instead of allowing an inclement environment which have driven [them] into exile overseas,” he said.

Now Anwar is whacked for doing the right thing


If people want to merajuk (sulk) and leave PKR and join Umno or Barisan Nasional because they have been ‘ignored’ and ‘are not being recognised as the warlord’ of that particular constituency and are not being ‘rewarded for their loyalty to the party president’ then I have only one thing to say: go to hell.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Ibrahim Ali in Hulu Selangor?

Now, what business does a political hydra have in Hulu Selangor?

If I were the campaign director of UMNO in HS (Hulu Selangor), I will refuse to associate UMNO with the head of Perkasa. UMNO is not a Mafia organisation, which treats an enemy of its enemy is its friend. Ibrahim Ali can't come into HS and say he is campaigning as an independent. Is Ibrahim Ali a political hydra with so many heads? Then there is only one option for UMNO -- lob of his head!

What is the philosophy of Perkasa? According to Ibrahim Ali and the organisation's other leaders, the prime objective is to fight for all Malay interests. Everything first for the Malay. Ibrahim has said this so many times. He has even unsheathed a keris to reinforce this conviction. Now, unless Ibrahim Ali is a congenital liar, we will hold on to this pledge to uphold the Malay and Malay interest at all times.

How do you then reconcile what Ibrahim Ali wants to do in HS with Perkasa's philosophy? Ibrahim Ali is abandoning a Malay in preference to a Malay uncle Amat? Ibrahim has disavowed the most fundamental principle of Perkasa's struggle.

UMNO must reject Ibrahim Ali. It must do so because Ibrahim Ali actually supports a particular type of Malay. The Malay Ibrahim supports is the 30 percenterism-Malay, the Malay who regards privileges as their birthright, the Malay who thinks his deprivation is due to the rapaciousness of non Malays. Ibrahim Ali represents the Malay free loaders. Ibrahim Ali represents privileged class.

And what does PM Najib intend to do? He intends to revise the NEP hacking off the vestiges of patronage and privilege. He wants to bring competition as the driving force of advancement. He represents the interest of all Malays who want to advance in life through the meats and potatoes way- work hard and use the brain way. PM Najib fights for the Malay who regards the crutches, which Ibrahim wants to offer as emblems of shame. Ibrahim Ali is the thorn in UMNO's flesh.

http://sakmongkol.blogspot.com/2010/04/ibrahim-ali-in-hulu-selangor.html

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That was what a pro-Umno Blog said today and I quite agree. What business does Ibrahim Ali have to campaign for an Indian candidate when his perjuangan (struggle) is about Malay domination? Does this not go against his ‘Malay first’ principle? He should instead support Zaid Ibrahim, a ‘fellow Malay’, rather than an Indian from MIC.

It was Ibrahim Ali who said that the non-Malays have robbed the Malays of their rights. Is not MIC an Indian party and therefore one of those he accused of robbing the Malays of their rights?

So you see, Ibrahim Ali has been caught in his own web of deceit. He talks about Malays first. Then he does business with Chinese towkays whom even the Chinese themselves despise. And now he supports an Indian candidate whom many Indians themselves reject.

Ibrahim Ali is demonstrating an extremely confused mind here.

On the other piece by another pro-Umno Blog below, I only have this to say.

Hantu Laut says that Anwar Ibrahim does not care about or value loyalty. Is he talking about loyalty to Anwar personally or loyalty to the cause? Our struggle is not about Anwar. It is about the cause. Who cares about loyalty to Anwar? It is loyalty to the cause that matters.

These people Hantu Laut mentions may have been Anwar loyalists or Anwaristas. So what? Who cares a damn? They can go screw themselves if they are loyal only to Anwar but not to the cause.

In the second paragraph, Hantu Laut says, “Zaid Ibrahim was parachuted in as a candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election, ignoring and by-passing local leaders in Hulu Selangor that have been with PKR and loyal to him for many years.”

Again, are elections about rewarding those ‘local leaders’ and those ‘loyal to Anwar’? Hantu Laut speaks like Umno. Local leaders and those loyal to the party president is a Barisan Nasional culture. It is a culture that Pakatan Rakyat should not ape.

Actually, everything that Hantu Laut raised is about what Umno would have done. And he is whacking Anwar because the latter is not enough like Umno.

If people want to merajuk (sulk) and leave PKR and join Umno or Barisan Nasional because they have been ‘ignored’ and ‘are not being recognised as the warlord’ of that particular constituency and are not being ‘rewarded for their loyalty to the party president’ then I have only one thing to say: go to hell.

This is not about you. It is not about glorifying what you have done. Is it not about recognising that you are the boss of that area and therefore should be given the top job. It is not about rewarding you. It is about what you can do for those who voted for you.

These people ask what the party can do for them and how they can be rewarded. They don’t talk about what they can do for the rakyat. And that is why they merajuk and leave the party when they feel that they have not been aptly rewarded.

This is Umno and Barisan Nasional culture. It is not the type of culture that we want to see. So why are the Umno Blogs whacking Anwar for not being like Umno and Barisan Nasional?

Podah! Local leaders and loyal konon! If they are true leaders and really loyal (to the cause) they would not merajuk just because they did not get the candy they wanted.

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Anwar's Can Of Worm

Hantu Laut

The exit of Dr Halili Rahmat from PKR to join UMNO shows Anwar Ibrahim doesn't care about or value loyalty. He prefers sycophants, apple polishers, those with fame and fortunes and those likely to serve his personal agenda.

Zaid Ibrahim was parachuted in as candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election, ignoring and by-passing local leaders in Hulu Selangor that have been with PKR and loyal to him for many years. Those who were sidelined must have felt insulted,unwanted and undeserving. Zaid, has done nothing for PKR, but he has fame and deep pockets. His can bankroll his own campaign trails.

Over the past two years PKR has lost many of its leaders including assemblymen and members of parliament due to disappointment with Anwar's leadership. The ominous dark clouds hanging over the party were results of Anwar's arrogance and dictatorial ways. All he cares about is himself and how to get to Putrajaya, by hook or by crook, it does not matter, anyone in the way would be ridiculed and ostracised. Those who do not see eye to eye with him would be on the chopping board.

Not only has he lost party members, even his so-called close friends and aides have abandoned him.Over the years, there were his dear friend and former PKR Deputy President Chandra Muzaffar, his 30-year old friend and tennis partner Nallakaruppan, his trusted lieutenant Ezam Mohd Nor, Anuar Shaari, Fairus Khairuddin, Zahrain Mohd Hashim, Zulkifli Noordin and many more that would have filled up Anwar's rogues' gallery.

Today, Anwar has taken on a completely different image. He is in serious courtship with the non-Malays and promised them to abolish the NEP if he gets Putrajaya. This heavily baited campaign is well received by the non-Malays and strongly opposed by Perkasa, a champion of Malay rights organisation that wanted the NEP to be retained.

Irrational Exuberance Exits Asian Economies

The region is still shaky economically despite Asian government stimulus Image

Asian markets have suddenly run into some strong headwinds. But don't imagine that this is just fallout from Wall Street's reaction to the welcome (if belated) effort of the Securities and Exchange Commission to pursue a serious conflict of interests case against top shark Goldman Sachs.

For sure, Asia and emerging markets generally are still basking in the return of developed-market investors' faith in their valuations as reflecting their bright future, not an unstable past. The Financial Times reports that western fund managers are planning to double their investment in emerging markets, and India, China and Brazil particularly. But such funds overall don't have a good track record in timing Asian booms and busts.

For sure, the region's economic prospects are generally still the best in a dull world, and valuations are mostly not excessive. But Asia must now come face to face with several realities which suggest that at best markets will mark time for some months and could well induce a major correction.

Even the normally very positive Asian Development Bank noted in its recently published Asian Economic Outlook that not enough has changed since the onset of the crisis to provide a new impetus for growth. To date a combination of Asian government stimulus actions together with the very easy monetary policies in the developed world have combined to revive economies and markets from the despond reached in March 2009. But returning to the status quo ante is not much of a platform for continued expansion.

The ADB notes that interest rates are needed soon if inflation, now expected to average 4 percent for developing Asia over the next two years, is not to take off. This is already back to close to 2007 levels and without early action is likely to accelerate further. This may seem an obvious statement given that rates are still zero or negative almost everywhere and Asia mostly continues to take its monetary cue from the west rather than respond to local circumstances. There are some exceptions of course – Australia and India in particular, but they already showed the strongest signs of rapidly returning inflation.

China is furthest behind the inflation curve because its stimulus was biggest, its property price rebound strongest, its inflation figures more distorted and its political needs aoll the more pressing to keep growth growing in the lead up to the next party congress. Its belated efforts to rein in credit growth are focused on administrative measures more than interest rates. But the latter must follow sooner or later.

For everyone, the forthcoming return of more normal levels of rates presents a big challenge to asset markets.

That it has not happened sooner is more due to concerns to hold currencies in check and maintain competitiveness not just vis-a-vis the west but against a dollar-pegged China. As even the ADB points out, revaluations are badly needed to redirect growth. The dam opposing devaluations is about to crack. Singapore saw the writing on the wall and moved last week with a surprisingly sudden rise in its dollar, the subject of a closely managed float. China seems sure to follow now that some sort of compromise has apparently been worked out with the US. The won, NT dollar, ringgit and even the embattled Bangkok currency, the baht, have moved up in sympathy and will rise much further when China finally moves.

Currency moves will eventually benefit these economies – but not the asset markets which have been boosted by capital inflows attracted by under-valuations. (Only Hong Kong seems destined to keep its dollar peg, for now, and will probably see more asset price inflation as even more money flows from the mainland which will make its high and socially de-stabilizing wealth gap even bigger.)

Currency rises should not on balance be too bad for corporate profits, though there will be big winners and losers depending on the sector. However they will be a further reminder of how little has been achieved, except perhaps in China, in reducing dependence on exports as the main driver of growth. And of how hard it will be to grow fast again unless new regional and domestic markets are found.

That realization is about to dawn as second and third quarter export data come out. The past few months have seen hugely optimistic looking export rises. But comparisons with a year ago are highly misleading. For sure, there has been some pickup in consumer demand in the developed world, but the export gains have been largely caused by re-stocking, and a particularly sharp rebound in electronics. But from now on monthly sequential numbers will tell the story – and it is beginning to look not so pretty with signs of a plateau emerging.

Slow-growing OECD markets are still the bedrock of Asian exports and the consumer demand rebound in these countries has probably gone as far as it can for the time being given the need in many such as the US, UK, Spain, Italy to sustain increased levels of household savings. Currency declines against Asian units will also cause a shift towards domestic goods and services. The euro and sterling have already weakened a lot and the dollar is set to fall against most of developing Asia when China moves.

China of course remains a driver and a hope for the future and some see its March trade deficit as evidence that domestic demand is now the engine of growth and will help pull the rest of Asia. But there must be some question marks over this. China's import surge has been sudden and almost unprecedented. It looks to have been partly driven by speculative buying of raw materials and massive imports of machinery for the ongoing construction boom. Both will have to cool down. China's trade surplus is definitely going to decline as exports probably plateau and assuming commodity import prices (notably iron ore and coal) stay at their new high levels. But this will mainly benefit commodity exporters like Australia and Brazil rather than Asian trading partners.

There may even be some doubts about the strength of non-investment demand in China. The huge boom reported in car sales in particular may be fragile. The numbers are sales by manufacturers, not by dealers. Buyer finance for cars as well as property may also become more difficult as credit is tightened.

None of this suggests a return to crisis. But in many ways the rebound from a year ago has been too easy to be lasting. Meanwhile many Asian countries with the theoretical capacity to increase domestic demand prove unable to do in practice. Malaysia and Thailand for example remain far too reliant on government spending to maintain investment levels.

These countries are running huge external surpluses but private investment is weak for reasons which include political concerns and skill shortages. Singapore remains obsessed with building up its state-controlled foreign asset position at the expense of consumption and private investment. Indonesia lacks the organizational ability to spur badly needed infrastructure. And the Philippines public sector lacks both funds and organization while political issues and the short term horizons of the private sector keep Philippine private capital flowing out.

On the brighter side, India and Vietnam are pushing the limits of growth even at the cost of inflation and currency weakness. As for China its growth has been of big net benefit to most of its neighbors – but more the developed ones, the machinery suppliers from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. But China's future impact remains unclear. Will its import growth be sustained? Will other Asian countries gain from yuan revaluation? Will China's capital export – particularly for badly needed power, port rail and road projects – be a significant factor in sustaining neighbor's growth at a time when traditional export markets stagnate?

Until there are clearer answers to China's direction, and other Asian countries prove better able to achieve domestic demand led growth, stock markets are going to find the further rises hard to justify in the face of currency, inflation and interest rate obstacles.

Malacca Straits Security Good Example Of Multinational Naval Coalition

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 (Bernama) -- Pakistan Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Noman Bashir has commended the maritime security efforts at the Malacca Straits, citing it as one of the best examples of a successful multinational naval coalition.

He noted that the long-term commitment from the Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian navies had not only boosted maritime security but also effectively crippled piracy which was once rampant at the straits.

The 900km-long narrow straits is also one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, linking the Middle East and Far East.

"I think it is a good example of how Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean navies effectively man and safeguard the maritime security of the Strait.

"When I commanded a ship through this Strait, 15 years ago, I remember people were very scared of it, but it is not anymore," he told Malaysian reporters in an interview here on Tuesday.

Bashir is leading a 55-member Pakistani delegation to the Defence Services Asia (DSA) conference and exhibition currently held here.

On Pakistan, he said his country played an active role in the Combined Taskforce 150 (CTF150), a multinational coalition naval task force for counter-terrorism in the high seas, where it is also currently holding the command for the fourth time.

The CTF-150 conducts maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the North Indian Ocean, transversing some 2.2 million nautical miles.

On another development, Bashir hoped to seek better partnership with the Malaysian naval defence and was prepared to offer assistance, especially involving training in the submarine sector.

Yesterday, he met with his Malaysian counterpart, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar, and both leaders discussed the potential and scope of cooperation between the two navies.

"Malaysia and Pakistan enjoy strong bilateral ties where frequent joint trainings, visits were conducted. And we hope that this interaction can be further boosted.

"One of the fields that we have agreed to look into is the submarine, where we are ready to offer training and share our experience and expertise with our Malaysian counterpart," said Bashir.

Pakistan acquired its first fleet of submarines in the early 1960s, while Malaysia currently owned two French-made Scorpene submarines -- KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Razak.

Dr. Halili, keluar parti


Gambar sidang media Dr. Halili, keluar parti, jika diteliti gambar ini hahahaaa.... jelas ia sidang media orang di sebelah Halili bukan dia.....

Bila dapat sms subuh semalam menyatakan Halili akan keluar parti, selamba sahaja cheGuBard jawab 'Alhamdunillah...'

Siapa yang siap kata konon kata Dr. Halili ialah calon terbaik Hulu Selangor...? Kononya Anwar silap pilih Zaid dan kalau pilih Halili senang nak menang... hahahaaa... senang apa senang lompat ? Ingat kemenangan ramai sebelum ini kerana rakyat bukan kerana siapa dan siapa.... Jika kita rasa individu lebih besar dari perjuangan maka silalah cari pintu keluar.... alasan tidak susah pakailah alasan apa sahaja. Sudah tersedai buku menu alasan gunakan sahaja salah satu ada ambil beberapa seperti Anwar tidak bela Islam dalam isu Allah, Anwar anti Melayu atau paling tidak Anwar tidak tanya sudah sarapan atau belum hahahaaaaa....

Sebelum ini cheGuBard dan kawan - kawan sering dituduh tak ada disiplin.... hahahaaaa sekurang kurangnya time perang cheGuBard faham untuk fokus dan tak lari balik sebab tak dapat makan..... tak apa simpan dulu lepas pilihanraya kita sembur....

Biarlah ini proses pembersihan cuma kesian dekat Anwar, cheGuBard bukan 'Anwaris', cheGuBard sering bertelagah dengan Anwar dalam banyak perkara dalam mesyuarat pusat bukan menikus macam sesetengah orang dan hanya banyak cakap belakang Anwar itu dan Anwar ini tetapi bila depan Anwar cium tangan tetapi bila 'offer' besar blah.... cium tangan Anwar bodek tetapi kerja tak buat.....

Kepada Anak Muda Malaysia ayuh kita rapatkan 'saf' perjuangan kita kayuh juga walau payah... bukan kerana Anwar tetapi kerana 'perubahan' yang kita sama citakan demi masa depan negara.



cuma siapa lagi nak istihar keluar yer...??? lepas pilihanraya Hulu Selangor ini jumlah keluar akan lebih ramai dari jumlah ahli nampaknya..... hahahaha

Najib dinasihati APCO guna tema BN Mampu berubah di Hulu Selangor...hahaha berubah apa ? Kempen beli pun tetap sama cuma berubah dari segi nilai kali ini besar sikit.

cuba baca posting dari blog Din Binjai ini :

Fairus orang kaya baru

Bekas Timbalan Ketua Menteri I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin (bawah, kiri) telah menyelesaikan bayaran pinjaman kenderaan untuk membeli sebuah Mercedez Benz dengan kerajaan negeri.

Timbalan Ketua Menteri I, Datuk Mansor Othman berkata Fairus telah menjelaskan bayaran itu dengan memasukkan RM109,000 ke dalam akaun Perbendaharaan Negeri di bank minggu lalu bagi menyelesaikan pinjaman itu termasuk faedahnya.

"Kami telah menerima jumlah itu daripada beliau selepas notis terakhir dihantar kepadanya bulan lepas supaya menyelesaikan pinjaman itu," katanya kepada pemberita selepas menghadiri majlis makan malam Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Balik Pulau.

Katanya notis itu dihantar kepada Fairus meminta beliau menjelaskan jumlah hutang yang belum dibayar atau memulangkan kenderaan itu dalam tempoh dua minggu.

Semua ahli majlis mesyuarat kerajaan negeri di Pulau Pinang layak mendapat pinjaman kenderaan RM130,000 selama lima tahun dan pinjaman RM100,000 bagi perumahan yang akan dipotong melalui gaji bulanan mereka.

Fairus membayar pinjaman itu sehingga beliau meletakkan jawatan Timbalan Ketua Menteri 1 dan Anggota Exco Kerajaan negeri pada 8 April 2009. Pada 16 April beliau meletakkan jawatan sebagai Anggota Dewan Undangan Negeri kawasan Penanti.
INGAT KATA EZAM..MANA ADA ORANG MASUK UMNO IKHLAS..
KAN SUDAH TERBUKTI....

Hulu Selangor: Stick to issues - Anil Netto

Quite a bit of mud-slinging has been going on in Hulu Selangor. In particular, allegations about PKR candidate Zaid Ibrahim’s past.

I would like to think that voters are more discerning and mature and want to know what each candidate (and his party) stands for in relation to specific issues.

If this is true, then it is time for both the BN and the Pakatan to focus more on concrete national and local issues that affect the people.

For instance, what exactly are they going to do about rising income inequality (which results in all kinds of social ills including the higher crime rates), difficulties in accessing quality health care and the rising price of essential food items?

What is their stand on GST and the Full Paying Patients scheme? Can they promise quality universal public health care for all? That sort of thing.

It’s a pity that we don’t have televised debates so that the candidates can explain their stand on these issues. Instead the main issue seems to be whether the candidate indulges in a drink or two.

Voters today are more mature and discerning than many politicians give them credit for. They can see through empty rhetoric and meaningless handshakes. What about the larger issues?

Dr M: Dalam cinta, perang, p'raya semua adil - Malaysiakini

Bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata tuduhan terhadap calon PKR bagi pilihan raya kecil bagi kerusi Parlimen Hulu Selangor, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim yang didakwa minum arak, adalah sesuatu yang tidak dapat dielakkan.

"Orang kata dalam Bahasa Inggeris all is fair in love and war and in election," katanya.

Beliau merujuk kepada kempen memburuk-burukkan pihak lawan dalam pilihan raya kecil Hulu Selangor di mana calon PKR Datuk Zaid Ibrahim menjadi mangsa pemalsuan gambar oleh beberapa blog mesra BN.


Dr Mahathir - veteran dalam kempen pilihan raya sejak pertama kali menjadi ahli parlimen pada tahun 1964 - berkata, beliau sendiri pernah menjadi mangsa taktik sebegitu.

"Saya dulu pun kena macam-macam. Dulu, ada orang kata saya ada isteri Cina di Singapura. Itulah politik. Orang yang dengar itu, patutlah buat penilaian sendiri," katanya berseloroh.


"Ditanya sama ada taktik sebegitu boleh memberikan undi kepada BN, beliau berkata, perkara itu masih sukar untuk diduga.

"Mungkin, mungkin tidak. Terpulang kepada pengundi untuk menilainya," katanya ketika ditemui pemberita selepas menyampaikan ucapan kepada guru agama dan ahli sebuah NGO Islam di Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan hari ini.

Karpal: Let the mosquito bite Nazri in jail

SHAH ALAM: Opposition stalwart Karpal Singh today urged the Coroner's Court to throw Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Aziz into the slammer.

The senior lawyer told the court, which is holding an inquest into Teoh Beng Hock's death, that Nazri had brazenly defied the doctrine of separation of powers by attempting to pre-judge a witness.

He was referring to the minister's statement branding famed Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojasnaunand as a “liar”.

Karpal, who acted for Teoh's brother, Meng Kee, told the coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas that Nazri's public statement was made as though Pornthip had committed perjury in the inquest.

He said the minister should not prejudge the witness and that it was for the court to decide whether she was a truthful witness.

"What the respondent (Nazri) has stated has a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice and amounts to serious contempt of court," stressed Karpal, according to Bernama.

He also noted that Pornthip was due to be recalled to give further evidence in assisting the coroner to arrive at a proper verdict in relation to Teoh's tragic death.

"Why not the court send the minister to prison and let the mosquito bite him in the prison?," asked Karpal, in relation to Nazri's comment at the Parliament lobby yesterday, that Meng Kee's action citing him (Nazri) for contempt was a small matter, akin to a "mosquito bite" and would not affect him.

Last Friday, Meng Kee filed a notice at the Magistrate's Court here to cite Nazri for contempt of court for allegedly branding Pornthip as a "liar" after she refused to attend the inquest tomorrow, claiming that she was under pressure from her own government and the Malaysian authorities.

British expert to testify next week

Meanwhile, the Coroner's Court has fixed April 26 to decide whether to grant leave to Meng Kee to cite Nazri for contempt of court.

Azmil said he needed time to look into the case laws submitted by Karpal before deciding on the matter.

The cornoer also fixed next Monday and Tuesday for British pathologist Dr Peter Vanesis to give his expert opinion on the first and second post-mortem carried out on Teoh's remains.

He fixed the dates after Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) head of prosecution Abdul Razak Musa confirmed Peter's attendance and that only flight interruption in London might force him to reschedule his flight.

"If (there is) any change in the flight, MACC will inform the court and all parties involved in this inquest before next Sunday," said Razak.

Earlier, Razak told the court that MACC and government-appointed counsel Tan Hock Chuan were very accomodative to Teoh's family counsel and Selangor- appointed counsel Malek Imtiaz Sarwar for Pornthip to be recalled as witness.

"This inquest was delayed for nearly six months and now they are saying that Pornthip could not make it and we (MACC) mainly engaged Peter to give his expert opinion based on the Thai phatologist's views on this matter," he added.

He said MACC did not intend to further delay the inquest proceedings and would facilitate Peter's attendance on Monday.

Car plunges into drain, killing mother and daughter

SHAH ALAM: A woman and her daughter were killed, believed to have drowned, after their car plunged into a large drain at Per­simpangan Jalan Plumbum 7/100, Persiaran Permai Seksyen 7, here

 accident


M. Kamalam, 56 and P. Kana­gapusanam, 34, were said to have died on the spot before they were sent to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang for a post-mortem.
Shah Alam Deputy Police Chief Supt M. Chandrasehkaran said in the 10.30am incident yesterday, the two were heading to the Shah Alam city centre from I-City here in their Proton Wira car.
However, the car was said to have grazed against a motorcycle ridden by a man in his 20s, at Persiaran Permai, near the entrance to Uni­versiti Teknologi Mara.
Kanagapusanam, who was driving, lost control of the car as it skidded and landed in the three-metre drain filled with water.
“Passers-by were unable to help as the drain was deep and the women were stuck in the car,” he said.
He said the women were believed to have drowned, while the motorcyclist sustained severe injuries and was sent to HTAR for treatment.
Supt Chandrasehkaran added that the bodies were extricated with help from the fire and rescue department.

Nazri may be cited for contempt

By Debra Chong- The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, April 20 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz will find out next Monday if he will be called to the coroner’s court for his controversial “liar” remark in the ongoing Teoh Beng Hock inquest.
Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abbas said he needed more time to research case laws and will decide on April 26 whether to initiate contempt proceedings against the minister for calling Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, the Thai forensic expert engaged by the Selangor state government, a “liar”.
“The respondent has brazenly defied the doctrine of separation of powers applicable in the country by pre-judging an issue, namely whether the Thai pathologist is a truthful witness,” said lawyer for the Teohs, Karpal Singh, in court today.
“What the respondent has stated has a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice and amounts to serious contempt of court,” he added, noting that Nazri’s unrepentant attitude towards the case, are carried in news reports today.
The DAP chairman told the coroner that Nazri had also shown he was willing to face legal action for his remark citing today’s New Straits Times on page 20: “I’m ready. Anytime. No problem.”
Karpal, who is also Bukit Gelugor MP  pointed out that Nazri’s remarks carried weight because he was a member of the Cabinet and the de facto minister of law and that Dr Pornthip could be charged for perjury, which is a serious offence that could land her in jail up to seven years on top of a fine, under Section 193 of the Penal Code.
The DAP lawmaker urged the coroner to do his “duty to ensure the dignity of the court.”
Backing Karpal’s bid to cite Nazri for contempt, lawyer for the PKR-led Selangor state government, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar stressed the gravity of Nazri’s allegations on the inquest.
He suggested that Nazri’s remarks suggested that he may have “special knowledge” on Dr Pornthip’s reported harassment, supposedly at the hands of senior-level federal government officials, which had led to her initial “He said: ‘She is a liar, categorically,” Malik said, citing Nazri.
“What does he mean by that? It seems to suggest he needs to come to court to give evidence,” the lawyer added.
Teoh’s elder brother, Meng Kee, had last week filed papers to cite Nazri for contempt, following Dr Pornthip’s initial pull-out from testifying in the inquest.
The flashy director-general of the Bangkok-based Central Institute for Forensic Science (CIFS) failed to turn up in court today owing to “prior commitments” as stated in an April 8 official letter from the Thai Ministry of Justice — which oversees the CIFS — and undersigned by a “Kittipong Kitarayak” the permanent secretary to the Thai justice minister.
Malik told the coroner today that Dr Pornthip had since “unofficially” indicated she was “more than willing” to return to the witness box, subject to approval from the Thai government, and back her previous conclusion that Teoh’s death was “80 per cent homicide” contrary to the Malaysian forensic experts who ruled a high likelihood of suicide.
But he added that the Thai government has officially yet to respond to a second letter dated April 13 written them by the state but added his client
Lawyer for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Datuk Abdul Razak Musa, however, suggested that the Selangor government appeared to be stalling for time, a charge Malik denied.
Abdul Razak noted that in any other “normal” court, Dr Pornthip would have been slapped with an arrest warrant for failing to turn up on the scheduled date to testify.
The MACC legal affairs chief told the coroner that his British-hired expert witness, Dr Peter Vanezis, had kept in touch and will turn up to testify next Monday, as scheduled, unless the Icelandic ash-cloud continues to ground all flights in and out of Europe.
Malik told reporters he had not spoken personally to Dr Pornthip over her reported complaints but stressed that his client, the Selangor government, was trying their best to bring Dr Pornthip to court.
“My client is also writing to the Minister of Home Affairs to see what other assistance can be given,” he added.
Teoh, a political aide to first-term Selangor executive councilor, Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16 last year nine floors below the MACC’s Selangor headquarters here after being interrogated overnight on claims his boss had misused state funds.
He would have been 31 today.
A group of DAP Youth led by Serdang MP, Teo Nie Ching, a close family friend, had brought a chocolate cake and a basket of flowers in purple hues in his memory, placing them on a table outside the courtroom earlier this morning.

Zaid’s wife takes to the stump in Hulu Selangor

Suliana (holding child) works her campaign charm in the sprawling constituency. - Picture by Jack Ooi
By Debra Chong
HULU YAM, April 20 — The daggers have been drawn against Datuk Zaid Ibrahim but the PKR candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election knows he can count on his wife to shield his back.
Datin Suliana Shamsuddin, Zaid’s wife for the past 31 years, is no shrinking violet.
Unlike most politicians’ wives who appear to prefer to support their husbands from the shade, the mother-of-three grown children has been boldly campaigning for her man all over the parliamentary seat the size of Malacca, without him.
“I don’t have a problem meeting people on my own,” the slender Suliana told to reporters after campaigning for her Kelantan-born husband in the tiny sneeze-and-you’ll-miss-it Chinese village here. “It’s hard work but satisfying,” she said, recounting the long hours she now keeps due to the extensive travel into the semi-rural seat.
The petite Perak-born showed she was indeed made of sterner stuff during her short walkabout through the village. She never once flinched or shrieked at the sight of the many strays that meandered around the street, scratching their furry bodies furiously.
Likewise, she unflinchingly tackled the thorny issue of her husband’s alleged drinking.
“If you want to ask bad things, ask your enemy; if you want good things, ask your friends. It’s just part of the process,” she said, shrugging off the allegations her husband is an alcoholic and a womaniser.
“That’s over already. The main thing is what he can bring to the people,” she added.
The energy and confidence with which she carried herself gave away her experience.
Suliana said she had campaigned for Zaid when he ran for the Kota Bharu parliamentary seat as an Umno man in 2004. He won it but was not fielded in the next general election.
She said she was on the campaign trail this time to help introduce the locals to Zaid and convince them why they needed to vote him in as MP come Sunday.
“He is a sincere person and not a hypocrite. He holds to the truth,” Suliana said in her speech earlier.
She told the 30-odd working-class men and women who turned up with their young children that Zaid has a generous heart. She spoke of the foundation for the less privileged he had set up in Kelantan, Yayasan Orang Kurang Upaya Kelantan (Yokuk) 11 years ago.
Her message, Suliana said, was simple: Zaid Ibrahim is the new hope to save Malaysia.

Save S'wak, Save M'sia, says Anwar

By Roselind Jarrow - Free Malaysia Today

SIBU: The newly formalised Pakatan Sarawak's battle cry is "Save Sarawak, Save Malaysia”. And in the process, said Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, "we will be saving our children”.

Anwar also noted that despite Sarawak being the richest state in Malaysia with it oil and gas, timber and resources, its people were the poorest in the country.
“This is because its resources have been squandered by the BN leaders and they are very rich. They give projects, tenders and contracts to themselves, to their wives and their children.
“They take away people’s land. Now what do the ordinary people have? Nothing!” he said, when he addressed more than 2,000 people at a dinner over the weekend in Sibu.
“In order to save Sarawak, save Malaysia and our children, I ask you to support Pakatan Rakyat. You vote the DAP candidate in this Bandar Sibu by-election.
“You will not go to jail by supporting us. I am the one they want to send to jail; they have beaten me, stripped me naked, and accused me of this and that. They want me to surrender.
“But I will tell you I will not surrender,” Anwar declared.
Urging them to play smart politics, Anwar said: “If the BN gives you money, you must ask for more, if the BN gives you projects, you must ask for bigger projects. But remember, you must vote for the DAP candidate.”
Lim Kit Siang, DAP national adviser, who also spoke at the dinner called on people of Bandar Sibu to vote for change.
“You must elect a DAP candidate in the Bandar Sibu by-election. And that is very important.
“We must win it so that we can shake the foundation of Barisan Nasional to its root,” he said.
DAP candidate to announced later
He admitted that it was difficult to win in the by-election, due to be held on May 16, as they are against the whole machinery of the BN state government.
“But with determination, nothing is impossible. You have done it before when you elected a DAP candidate against SUPP chairman and deputy chief minister Wong Soon Kai in 1982.
“Can you do it again this time?” he asked, pointing out that the victory here will be an indication of the support of the people for the Pakatan.
“From Sibu we begin our journey of change and it will certainly spread to other parts of Sarawak and to whole of Malaysia.
“Our victory will not only shake the foundation of the BN to its root, but it is also paving the way for the Pakatan Rakyat to march to Putrajaya and form the next Federal government,” he added.
PAS deputy President Nasaruddin Mat Isa who also spoke at the function described politics practised by the BN as very “dirty”.
He accused the BN of failing to fulfill many of the promises they made to the people.
The three leaders were in Sibu to select a candidate for the by-election and they had agreed that DAP will put a candidate on behalf of the Pakatan.
Meanwhile, the name of the Pakatan-DAP candidate will be announced at an appropriate time by the Sarawak DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng.
The Sarawak United People’s Party has picked up Robert Lau Hui Chew as its candidate for the by-election. Nominations will be held on May 8.
The by-election is caused by the death of MP for Bandar Sibu and Deputy Minister of Transport Robert Lau on April 9.

Felda settler: We were cheated by Umno leaders

By Muda Mohd Noor - Free Malaysia Today
HULU SELANGOR: A Felda Sungai Buaya settler has urged the Selangor government to probe allegations that a Felda-linked developer had failed to pay premiums on 1,335 hectares of land to the state.
The company, Murnia Jaya Development Berhad which owed Felda settlers RM360 million, was believed to be linked to Selangor Umno and former Menteri Besar Muhammad Muhd Taib.
In calling for the investigation into Murnia Jaya, settler Aminah Alwi likened the issue to that of the Yayasan Pembasmian Kemiskinan (YBK) which the Selangor government had acted on for failing to pay land premiums.
“If the government can be firm with YBK because they did not pay their premiums since 2001, then why can’t they take the same approach against Murnia Jaya?.
“I was told by some settlers that the developer had failed to pay premiums to the state government on 1,335.46 hectares.
“Someone in the state government told us that the land has been mortgaged to the bank because the developer failed to make payments on their loans,” she said.
A disgruntled Aminah is among 363 settlers who are awaiting settlement on a land purchase agreement signed in 1994 between Murnia Jaya Development Sdn Bhd and the settlers.
The Felda Sungai Buaya settlers were promised RM1.2 million each when they sold their land to the developer after being persuaded by the then BN-led Selangor government.
(Former MB Muhammad Muhd Taib had aspired to develop the northern division and the interior of Selangor. He used this plan to persuade the settlers to sell their land to the developer.)
In the 16-year wait for their money, many of the settlers had died. Only 57 of them are left.
Hoodwinked by false promises
Aminah said the company had paid settlers a deposit of RM10,000 on signing of the agreement. The balance was to have been settled by the developer in stages within 48 months from the date of signing the agreement.
“But until now they have only paid 35 percent. We have tried many ways to get our money. We have approached many people but nothing has come out of it,” she said.
She said Murnia Jaya had failed to adhere to the terms of the payment agreement after the initial disbursements to the settlers.
On Sept 4, 2009, the Shah Alam High Court gave Murnia Jaya 18 months to settler the balance payment to 34 frustrated settlers who had initiated a legal action against the company.
But according to her, to date no officials or representatives have come forward to settle payment.
The 363 settlers signed an agreement to sell their collective land stretching 1,335.46 hectares to the developers on Dec 23, 1994. The company assured them that they would be millionaires.
Unfortunately they were only paid 35 percent of the total amount. The company is yet to settle the balance RM360 million it owed the settlers.
A former settler who preferred to be known only as Ismail said: “We’ve been cheated... hoodwinked by false promises given to us by Umno leaders who said we would become millionaires.
“A large percentage of settlers are Umno supporters. But despite that we were cheated by Umno leaders”
“Everytime an election comes around, they promise to settle the payment but until today nothing has happened.”
According to Ismail the 363 affected settlers from the scheme were literally “like dogs waiting on bending knees.”
“No one cares about us..But now they are here to persuade us to vote for them,” he said adding that if BN was desperate for their votes, they should just settle the balance owing to the settlers.
He said after loosing their source of income, many settlers were forced to work as security guards in factories in Rawang and in surrounding areas.
When asked why the settlers signed the documents, Ismail said all the documents were in English.
“It was only much later that that we realised there was something not right with the agreement. They deceived us.. Umno leaders and the MB. They were greedy and only wanted profits.
“If they were genuine and honest Umno leaders they would have settled the terms of the agreement with us much earlier, “ he said.

Kudos to Dato Zaid Ibrahim – Apologies Accepted

I am confident that a man who could walk out of a Ministerial post with the purpose of standing by his principles, a man who could further own up in public to his mistakes and apologise - is a man of high dignity. Don't we need more people of his calibre as our representatives?

By Babulal, A Malaysian

I find it rather amusing that UMNO-BN had to stoop so low by starting the campaign on a character assassination route. I personally do not care if Dato Zaid had consumed beer before – he was gentleman enough to own up to his mistakes and apologise. Well, it is accepted. I take his words by saying it was a mistake done some time back and a mistake done by a human. After all we are all human, I am fine with the fact that he has not squandered our money like the leaders of Kamalanathan. I also do not want to elaborate on the gay tag on Kamalanathan or is it Kamal.

Why Kamal? So you could be mistaken as a Malay? You are so lost now with the race factor until you are so confused to choose which race you should be? In Indian majority areas, you are Kamalanathan, in Malay majority areas you are Kamal, in Chinese majority you are what? Kam Lan? (Kam lan is suck cock in Hokkien or better still, cocksucker.) I have never come across such a low life. Kam Lan started selling his race even before he was elected.

Kam Lan said he agrees to Perkasa because they are fighting for their race, religion and language and he is doing the same fighting for his race, religion and language. Fight my balls. You are selling your race – lock, stock and barrel, that’s what you are doing.

Most of the UMNO guys I know drink – they booze more than some of the MIC guys I know. I find this revelation as just another desperate attempt by UMNO-BN. I once bumped into a present UMNO Minister in the PM’s department at the Ritz-Carlton guzzling away some red wine – he was so stoned that his volume became higher by the hour, until his bodyguards whisked him away.

As a citizen and a non-Muslim, I do not really care about these habits, what more when Dato Zaid has owned up to his mistakes. All I care is his ability for good governance without being partial to any race, religion or creed. Ability to bring in Change is what we are all longing for. This, I am sure, Dato Zaid would be able to execute with ease. Only a great man could own up to a mistake made boldly and my respect for you has doubled.

I am confident that a man who could walk out of a Ministerial post with the purpose of standing by his principles, a man who could further own up in public to his mistakes and apologise - is a man of high dignity. Don't we need more people of his calibre as our representatives?

If we review the Leadership in Customer Service: Delivering on the Promise report, we could see that Singapore is leading the index with 89% satisfaction and Malaysia with a poor 44%. This shows our present government has failed to deliver on its promise, if we base 50% as a passing point. We call this “cakap tak serupa bikin”, where the promises made are not delivered. This is international statistics, not doctored nor fabricated information. We lag way behind and if we keep having “thengga’s” (coconuts) running and managing this country, we would be doomed in due course. The report could be viewed at (http://nstore.accenture.com/acn_com/PDF/2007LCSReport_DeliveringPromiseFinal.pdf).

This is where one should gauge the performance of the delivery system of a particular government, not via biased, doctored and fabricated media. Put PR in Putrajaya, have professionals in the system, then we will note progress in this index. Have a dual party system for check and balance. Performance should be the objective, not gauging from which race I am from. Race based politics are no longer relevant.

The white elephant projects of the South, North, East corridors are money guzzlers and not churning out the revenue nor attracting investments as anticipated or projected. The projects are entirely funded by our reserves and Petronas money – and contracts are awarded to the bigwigs of UMNO-BN cronies. We are currently losing out in FDI to Indonesia and Vietnam – this is rather obvious. The fools can point the finger at the 2008 Financial Crisis, but don’t you think Indonesia and Vietnam had similar problems? What are the national policy changes being implemented to prevail Indonesia’s and Vietnam’s – None – we have only a concocted illusion of 1Malaysia – where the DPM himself is sceptical. It is simple why he is. It is because if he were to choose he is Malaysian First, the relevance of UMNO's existence would be in question – or at least his position in UMNO would be questioned, as this organization only champions for a single race.

I would also like to touch on the two new frogs, Dr Halili of Hulu Selangor and Tan Wei Shu from Kedah who resigned recently – jump now and as DSAI said “baik berambus”, we do not need such representatives. Dr. Halili got cheesed because he was not picked as the representative. From what I gather, he had already held talks with UMNO to jump if he is selected and wins. DSAI is getting pretty good at detecting frogs – well done – the frog detector is working, I guess. Tan got cheesed off because he was dropped from the state exco as they introduced a professional to replace him. We need professionals. If he was sincere, he would have stayed on and learnt from his predecessor – unless he is “bodoh sombong”.

With Kam Lan selling his race even before he is in an “official” position to do so, here comes another disappointing news. I was informed from a very reliable source from the inner-circle of movers and shakers of KL/Putrajaya that the PM’s team is in talks of power brokering with the Moorthy brothers for 15/38. It is not finalised yet as both teams are waiting to see if MIC is still relevant or not – and Hulu Selangor polls would be the deciding factor. More to come on this.

We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers – Emmeline Pankhurst Things the Indians of Hulu Selangor need to be reminded about MIC and Aiyoh! Aiyoh! Samy - Haris Ibrahim

“The NEP was introduced in 1970 and it came to an end in 1990. During these 20 years, promises were made by the Government assuring the Indian community that they too will benefit under the NEP. However these promises came to naught……. We had struggled to bring development to the Indian community in the last 20 years.
If we cannot develop the Indian community in the next 10 years, then there is no point in us being around. It is better to close shop.”
- Samy Vellu, quoted in the Tamil Nesan, 12th June, 1991.

Samy was appointed a minister in 1979.
He was part of the government from 1979 to 1990, during which time, he later lamented, the government promises to bring benefit to the Indian community came to nought.
Samy’s own admission.
Samy’s and MIC’s own failure to help the Indians.
Why?
They were too busy helping themselves.
MAIKA is a case in point. A story for another time,  and another set of questions for you to ask Kamalanathan.
Samy gave the government another 10 years to help the Indians, failing which, to quote him, it would be better for MIC to close shop.
Samy was still part of the government in those 10 years.
Hulu Selangor, ask Kamalanathan why MIC is still around?
They should have closed shop at the end of 2001.
MIC has done nothing for the Indians.
Samy did nothing for the Indians.
Palanivel represented the people of Hulu Selangor in Parliament for three terms.
Ask Kamalanathan what Palanivel did for the people of Hulu Selangor, Indians and non-Indians?
And after Kamalanathan smiles sheepishly at you after a long period of silence,  tell him to go and join PERKASA.
Tell him that the people of Hulu Selangor have no use for MIC, Samy or him.

Zaid’s promise for Hulu Selangor

thenutgraph.com

Zaid meeting estate workers at Ladang Sungai Air Jernih in Kerling in Hulu Selangor
WHICH would you prefer: a candidate who lies to cover up his past, or one who admits it? That could be the question Hulu Selangor voters, particularly Malay-Muslim Malaysians, are grappling with.
The by-election has started on a personal and predictable note. Given Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim's reformist credentials, there is perhaps little else Umno could use against him. And so, Zaid's "liberal" worldview, which includes drinking alcohol, has understandably become easy target.
The character assassination began on several blogs, which Umno leaders have denied sponsoring. Yet, Umno leaders and ceramah speakers have not hesitated to launch exactly the same attack as these blogs. Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam did it on 17 April 2010, the first night of campaigning. Umno Youth orators followed suit at a ceramah on the second night.
Meanwhile, the Umno-linked Mingguan Malaysia newspaper splashed, on its 18 April front page, a dare by PKR vice-president Azmin Ali for Umno to prove Zaid's drinking, which has now been turned into "alcoholism".
Zaid has pointed out Umno's hypocrisy and says he is willing to be judged by voters. "If I don't admit my wrong, maybe [the by-election outcome] might be better for me, but that would be lying. I prefer to be transparent, and if I lose because of that, that's my fate," he told reporters on the campaign trail on 18 April.
Zaid admits he drank, but in his younger days. That was the past, and he is now a changed man after joining PKR. PKR leaders have come to his defence, calling the BN "bankrupt for ideas".
The Malay Malaysian vote will be a challenge for Zaid. An average of 45% of this community's vote went to PKR in the 2008 election, according to PKR elections director Fuziah Salleh. Malay Malaysians comprise 53% of the electorate here, and PKR is hoping that Zaid's appeal among other ethnic groups will secure them the seat.

Flags lining the road leading to the rubber estate in Kerling
In an interview with The Nut Graph in Kuala Lumpur on 14 April after news of his candidacy was reported, Zaid shares his views on more substantive issues.
TNG: You're being cast as an "urbanite" who is unable to connect with rural people. How will you appeal to voters [in Hulu Selangor]?
Zaid Ibrahim: This is Umno propaganda. Some may believe it, but I think most people know my background. I am like many Malay [Malaysians] from the kampung. I treasure and cherish my roots. But I believe in justice and fairness for all. What's wrong with that?
[Umno] can't stand me because I believe their leaders have betrayed the trust of the Malay [Malaysians] and of other communities. So they use labels to discredit me.
How do you see your role as MP in Hulu Selangor?
Hulu Selangor has many issues that need to be addressed. The issue of Felda settlers not getting their titles. They work their guts out and still owe Felda so much every month. Another is land titles. People apply for land, but after all the years of BN rule, they still get nothing. So I'm trying, with [Selangor Menteri Besar] Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim's agreement, to expedite approval. This will be my first priority, to get something for these people, to improve their economic life.
In the long run, we need more investment and industries in Hulu Selangor, and that will take time. I will try, with the state government, to focus more on these areas. Then there is also the Orang Asli, whose land is being whittled down by development. The state government will have to allocate them reserve land and I think the state has agreed to this.
If I am elected, I can have more influence with the state government because I have more friends in there. So that's important. The Chinese [Malaysian] community also has issues like the general lack of new development. There are abandoned houses in Bukit Beruntung. Again, this takes time to resolve.
Are there other immediate solutions you can offer Hulu Selangor? Major development has escaped northern Selangor and gone south of the Klang Valley where the airport is. So what can be done quickly to revive the Hulu Selangor area?
Development and investment will take time; some may be faster than others. Setting up an institution of higher learning is something we can look at immediately. Land has been set aside by the state, but it's a question of talking to certain institutions to see if they are willing to set up a campus.
We could have many small projects or a big one, although we don't need another airport. You don't have to have a major project. You just have to have balanced development. Eco-tourism is a good way of taking development there.

(Orang Asli pic by Adzla @ Flickr)
What else do you think people in Hulu Selangor need?
There are local issues, but as for the national issues, I think the people of Hulu Selangor are just like other citizens of this country. They want a more responsible government, they want a government that takes care of their interest, they want a government that is not racist. They will decide whether they want a leader who talks about the interest of all communities, or do they want someone who is the Umno-Barisan-MIC type.
What is your assessment of the Malay Malaysian electorate in this constituency?
I'm quite confident the Malay [Malaysians] in this constituency will support me because they have issues with economic opportunity and with getting land. They want a more equitable stake in the country.
You've been labelled as someone who has betrayed the Malay Malaysian cause.
We have to see whether the label sticks or not on 25 April (polling day). They can use all the labels they want, but it doesn't bother me. The people will judge me for what I am. They have to be objective and assess for themselves.
In view of all this, do you have a special message for Malay Malaysian voters?
No, I just want them to look at the facts. Look at my background, look what I have stood for, what I have championed. Then they can judge for themselves, whether this is a man for the rakyat or a man who has vested interests. At the end of the day, the electorate has their own mind. And today is not like before; there are many ways to get information. I am confident [the electorate] will come to a fair conclusion.
If the BN campaign draws on your past, particularly the episode where the Umno disciplinary board found you guilty of money politics and suspended you, how will you answer this?
It's not an issue at all. Because, if I was really guilty of money politics in 2004, why was I later made a minister? Obviously they knew it was a setup, a conspiracy to suspend me.
And you must also remember, they suspended me because I refused to apologise. I refused to apologise because it was a conspiracy. I could have escaped punishment. People must remember that I was suspended because I refused to say sorry, not because I was guilty.
And people don't remember that when I became a minister, one of my first statements was to ask the then Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to investigate me for money politics. I said to the ACA, "Clear my name, I don't want to be a minister tainted with corruption." You go and ask ACA what happened to the case. So I have no problem. I think people are not stupid. They know better.
To you, what is this by-election about? Is it a sort of referendum on the prime minister and his policies?
It's not just about (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak). It's about (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin), it's about (Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad), it's about Perkasa. It's about injustice to (Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim). It's about local issues and national issues. There are mixed considerations and many things at stake in this election. I do not want to put things in one basket.
But, definitely, Pakatan has to win because after all the defections, we need a good story. We need a happy ending. This is one way to start.
Pakatan is now also dishing out goodies, just like the BN does during by-elections. Pakatan as the state government is now in the position to do so, but ethically, this makes it no different than the BN, does it?
That's for people to assess. But the point is this: if giving goodies determined the outcome of elections, Barisan would rule forever. It doesn't mean that if you give out goodies, people will select you.
On democratic issues
The Nut Graph has a project that asks all MPs questions on democracy, and since you're running for election, I'd like to ask you your stand on these issues. Firstly, would you support the abolition or review of the Internal Security Act?
I've always been clear on wanting a repeal of the law.
Should Malaysia be a secular or Islamic state?
That is a loaded question. It's a conceptual question. If you ask lawyers, some will say we are secular, some will say we are hybrid.
We are not truly secular because the state has massive influence over religion. We are secular in the constitutional sense, in that the Supreme Court, which is the highest court, has ruled that this is a secular state.
But in the sense that the state involves itself in and funds religious programmes, then it is not secular. That is the best I can answer. It is difficult to describe Malaysia, because as I said, in the constitutional sense it is secular, [but when we look at] the functions of government, it functions as a sort of hybrid situation.
Would you support a Freedom of information Act?
Yes, 100%. That's the only way to fight corruption.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
Change the ruling government.
Do you believe in the separation of powers?
That's what the constitution says. That's the original intent of our constitution, until Mahathir dismantled it. A Pakatan government will restore the original 1957 framework, which protects the judiciary's independence, and in which Parliament is also independent and the Speaker is not someone who takes instructions from the party. And the executive must not have too much influence on the other institutions. In other words, the prime minister cannot tell the chief justice what to do.

Satu Lawan Satu, Umno Tidak Menentu

Dari Harakah Daily
Oleh Dzulfikar Mashoor

Calon Pakatan Rakyat daripada PKR, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim bakal berentap dengan calon MIC (BN), P Kamalanathan apabila kedua-dua calon Bebas, Johan Mohd Diah VS Chandran menarik diri yang memungkinkan pengaruh Umno kian tidak menentu dan terus dilihat serong.

Dengan pertembungan satu lawan satu antara Zaid dan Kamalanathan pada pilihan raya kecil Parlimen Hulu Selangor Ahad ini, tentunya bakal menjadi aras tanda untuk Pakatan Rakyat dan MIC sendiri.

Sekiranya Zaid menang majoriti, bermakna rakyat seolah-olah kekal setia bersama-sama Pakatan Rakyat dan PKR.

Manakala, sekiranya Kamalanathan menang, sekurang-kurangnya Presiden MIC, Datuk Seri S. Sammy Vellu boleh mendabik dada mengatakan bahawa rakyat kian kembali percaya pada parti perkauman India itu manakala Umno tidaklagi dipandang di situ.

Dalam perkembangan yang lain, Ahli Parlimen Bebas, Datuk Paduka Ibrahim Ali (Pasir Mas) dilaporkan membuat sokongan terbuka kepada Kamalanathan.

Beliau yang sebelum ini cuba membuktikan dirinya sebagai Bebas serta pejuang sebenar Melayu berbuat demikian demi memastikan calon MIC tersebut memenangi pilihan raya kecil kali ini.

Suatu sumber memberitahu bahawa, walaupun Ibrahim dilaporkan berkempen untuk seorang calon yang bukan berbangsa Melayu, beliau konsisten mempertikai tindakan kerajaan Pusat dan Umno sendiri menjalinkan hubungan dengan Firma Perunding Antarabangsa APCO Wordwide (IAC).

Seperti yang dipercayaai umum, Ibrahim juga dilihat seakan menganggap bahawa APCO merupakan firma perunding yang mempunyai hubungan tidak langsung dengan Zionis-Israel, sebagaimana yang dibongkarkan oleh Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim di Dewan Rakyat dua minggu yang lalu.

Bagaimana pun, ramai juga yang menganggap bahawa pendirian Ibrahim itu sekadar menuruti pendirian Penasihat Perkasa sendiri, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed.

Most important issue in Hulu Selangor by-election – send stirring message to all Malaysians that time has come for Putrajaya change of power

The most important issue in the Hulu Selangor by-election on April 25 is to send the stirring message to all Malaysians all over the country that the time has come for national change of power in Putrajaya come the 13th General Elections.

Yesterday at the launch of the DAP SuperSunday 18 Walkabouts by DAP MPs, SAs and party leaders in 18 locations in the Hulu Selangor constituency, I had said that the Hulu Selangor by-election is no sure-winner for the Pakatan Rakyat and our candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and there must be no complacency on the part of any Pakatan Rakyat campaigner, whether DAP, PKR or PAS.

I had used some wrong data for the 2008 general election results for the Hulu Selangor parliamentary and the constituent three state assembly constituency results for Hulu Bernam, Batang Kali and Kuala Kubu Baru, but the underlying thrust of my warning remains unchanged.

To put the record straight, the Barisan Nasional polled a total majority of 6,176 votes in winning the three state assembly seats of Hulu Bernam, Batang Kali and Kuala Kubu Baru but for the Hulu Selangor parliamentary contest, the BN incumbent candidate G. Palanivel lost the seat to the PKR candidate Datuk Zainal Abidin in a wafer-thin majority of 198 votes.

Palanivel secured 22,979 votes for the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat, which is 3,285 votes less than the total of 26,264 votes cast for the three BN state assembly seats.

Clearly over 3,000 voters for the BN at the State Assembly elections in 2008 did not vote for Palanivel but split their votes by voting for PKR at the parliamentary level.

Will these 3,000 voters go back to BN in the by-election?

It is clear that the BN strategists are also zeroing on these 3,000 “split” votes in the last general elections, which explains the talk emanating from Umno camps about BN winning the by-election with 3,000 majority on April 25.

Undoubtedly, the resort to very dirty and unscrupulous election campaigning by Umno, including character assassination of Zaid, is meant to enhance Umno’s chances of ensuring BN victory in the by-election.

All Pakatan Rakyat election workers should be on notice that the Hulu Selangor by-election is of paramount importance not only to the constituency and Selangor state but also the future of Malaysia and go all out to ensure that every vote counts if Zaid is to win in the uphill by-election on Sunday.

[Speech at the Pakatan Rakyat Hulu Selangor by-election ceramah in Kalumpang on Monday, 19th April 2010 at 10 pm]

Hulu Selangor: A critical political litmus test

By Bridget Welsh | Malaysiakini

The Hulu Selangor campaign has begun in earnest as Malaysia heads into a record 10th by-election since March 2008.

Admittedly, many Malaysians are fed-up – they are tired of the empty promises that by-elections bring, the disappointments that come with politicians on both sides of the political divide not delivering on electoral promises, the pettiness of the campaign mud-slinging and the distraction from addressing the problems the country is facing.

This election, however, is one where people should take notice. The fact of the matter is that more than any other by-election since March 2008, this is a critical political litmus test for the country’s future. It is a national contest, with national stakes.

Allow me to briefly elaborate:

1) Referendum on Najib Razak

Foremost, this is a referendum on the prime minister. One year on, this election provides voters an opportunity to provide an assessment of his tenure.

The record of Najib’s one year in office is mixed. For Malaysian voters, the crucial electoral issue has historically been the economy. Here the BN has the advantage. Najib has benefitted from the rebound in the international economy, which have contributed to increased economic growth in the last few quarters.

Malaysia’s economy is now returning to the levels it was pre-crisis in 2008. Inflation levels have stabilised, and fuel and food prices do not appear as high as they did two years ago.

This advantage is shallow, however, and will come down to perceptions. Not much of this growth has trickled down to this large constituency, around the size of the state of Malacca. In this area where population numbers have been growing as part of the sprawl of the suburban growth around Kuala Lumpur, the challenges of affordable housing, rising healthcare and education costs, sky-rocketing crime levels, stagnant wage levels and unemployment remain paramount.

Hulu Selangor is comprised of diverse economic backgrounds, but the overwhelming share of voters in this constituency is struggling to make ends meet and fulfill their dreams. On Sunday, Najib’s popularity will be tested by an election poll, rather than public opinion polling.

2) Referendum on Selangor government

Voters will struggle to assess credit and blame, as Hulu Selangor also falls within the rubric of a Pakatan Rakyat-run state government. While its three elected state representatives are from the BN, the most-contested opposition government (after Perak of course) is also facing a test.

A loss for Pakatan at the parliamentary level will translate as a loss of support and faith in Pakatan at the state level. Hulu Selangor is a constituency that has undergone considerable land development, yet remains largely semi-rural.

It has not seen large inflows of capital, just more people. It is not clear how this constituency fits within Pakatan’s plan for Selangor.

Selangor Pakatan – like Najib – faces a struggle in demonstrating concrete benefits of their efforts in government to the voters. This is particularly acute for the state government, since it has limited machinery in the area – traditionally a safe BN seat.

This contest will force Selangor Pakatan to reflect on what it has achieved and how it will deepen its efforts to bring better governance to Hulu Selangor voters.

3) Signal on rebuilding the BN

For Malaysia’s as a whole, the candidate selection within the BN has highlighted another key test for the BN. Can BN work effectively as a unit?

Since March 2008, Malaysia has been predominantly a Umno government, as the MIC and MCA have been embroiled in crises and have yet to move beyond the massive defeats they faced in the last general election.

By choosing a MIC candidate, Najib has sent a signal that he genuinely wants to rebuild the non-Malay component parties. He did not bow to pressure from Umno warlords, and in particular from Muhammad Muhammad Taib, to give the seat to one of its own and a Malay.

This is an indication that Najib respects the established model of seat allocations and still believes in the multi-ethnic coalition. He has opted to give the seat to arguably the weakest link in the BN party structure. It also shows the recognition that Umno cannot hold national power without its multi-ethnic parties.

Now the problem of working together looms. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has noted that he will follow a new electoral strategy of BN cooperation. Seeing is believing.

Relations among the component parties within the BN are frayed. Deep factions persist. Many in Umno in Selangor are deeply unhappy with the MIC choice.

The fact that a Shah Alam Umno member is an independent candidate shows that the issue of Umno fielding its own candidate runs deep. Many have a vested interest in seeing the MIC candidate lose, since it would boost the chances of this seat being given to Umno in the next general election.

The mixed ethnic composition of this constituency requires effective ethnic cooperation to win, however. The Hulu Selangor contest will test whether the support for BN at the top translates into substantial rebuilding and cohesiveness on the ground. From the perspective of strengthening BN cooperation electorally, this contest will be a real challenge.

4) Test of new blood in MIC

Part of the reason for this challenge lies with the fact that in order to field a MIC candidate, Najib has chosen to directly interfere in MIC politics. Ditto, the decision to field the ‘local’ candidate P Kamalanathan from the neighbouring constituency of Rawang has put MIC president S Samy Vellu on notice.

Najib has not supported his choice of successor, G Palanivel. Najib has apparently rebuffed the party president’s candidate choice and vision for the future of the party. He has used his prerogative to chose the candidate, rather than allow the MIC to choose the candidate on its own.

The candidate selection raises serious questions about the future leadership of the MIC and whether the party has autonomy over its own affairs. Is this the pattern for the future? Will leaders in the weak BN component parties be chosen by Umno leaders?

One major effect is that this move has given an opportunity for MIC to bring a new face into parliament. Kamalanathan has strong professional credentials, and is seen (so far) are relatively clean.

He is a young leader from the Indian Malaysian community. He does not seem to be completely under the thumb of the MIC party president. His victory has the potential to bring some new life to the MIC.

The issue of when S Samy Vellu will give up power and to whom, however, still looms. On the ground, the contest will test whether the party is able to bring in the new blood it needs or is riddled with infighting. The independent candidacy of disgruntled MIC member VS Chandran points to the latter rather than the former.

5) Referendum on Pakatan as national opposition

The nomination of Kelantanese Zaid Ibrahim for Pakatan continues the tradition of using this seat for national politicians. Zaid has played a major role in institutionalising the opposition, building bridges among the component opposition parties and been a spokesperson on issues of the judiciary and the rule of law, among other issues.

He is a national Malay leader that has strong appeal across the racial communities. His selection shows that the opposition is committed to strengthening its relationships internally and reaching across the ethnic divisions.

His choice also points to the fact that there is a deficit of national leaders in the opposition with governing experience, and by slating Zaid, the opposition is strengthening its national profile. It is sending the signal that it is serious about winning national power.

Zaid faces major challenges. He has crossed the political divide, so there is intensity to those who want to defeat him especially in Umno. His possible defeat will weaken PKR especially, which has suffered a slate of defections.

He is an outsider. It remains to be seen whether he can connect with the Hulu Selangor voters who want strong representation. Hulu Selangor voters will decide whether the opposition will strengthen or weaken nationally.

6) Referendum by non-Malays

This seat is a fitting place for this to happen if it does. Traditionally Hulu Selangor has been a safe seat for BN. BN even won the seat in 1999 at the height of the reformasi movement. Yet there was a change in the last round.

The change took place largely in Indian and Chinese areas. The main swing in 2008 was in Indian majority areas such as Ladang Kerling, Cangkat Asa and Sungai Coh Barat where there was a 53.8%, 42.5% and 40.7% swing respectively toward the opposition.

The opposition gains among the Indian community were significant and the critical factor that swung the seat in their favour. This contest will be a test of whether the Indian community is satisfied with the opposition, or would prefer to return their loyalty to BN, where it has traditionally been. The Indian community is rightly asking what have either side done for them.

The swing in this seat extended to the Chinese community as well. In Chinese majority areas such as Kampung Baharu Cina, Hulu Yan Lama, Hulu Yam Timur there were 38%, 31.7% and 28.8% swings.

The Chinese votes for the opposition were as important as the Indian voters, given the closeness of the race. Hulu Selangor will provide the testing ground for the new MCA leadership and be an important bellwether of non-Malay support nationally.

Underscoring this will be the 1Malaysia concept and its viability. It has already come under attack on the first day of campaigning by the opposition. Zaid will rely heavily on non-Malay support if he is to win.

7) Referendum by Malays

Since March 2008, Umno has used the issue of the lack of Malay unity to instill insecurity in the Malay community. Polls show that the Malay community is deeply divided over the New Economic Model and religious issues.

The divisions have been capitalised on by ultra nationalists in Umno and played out recently over the formation of Perkasa. The ultra perception that has been created is that Malays are under attack. This has been a strategy to bring back Malay support to Umno.

Fittingly, Zaid’s candidacy puts these issues to the test. He has written on how important his ethnic identity and directly spoken to what it means to be Malay.

Voters in Hulu Selangor will have a simple racial test – to choose a Malay or Indian candidate. If indeed race is so important for the Malay community, then one would expect a boost to Zaid.

The fact of the matter is that Hulu Selangor Malay voters did not vote purely racially in 2008. In fact, the BN made gains in many of the Malay areas, such as in its strongholds of Felda Sungai Dusun, Felda Sungai Tengi and Sungai Selisik, to name just a few. In Bukit Rasa, the BN won an increased share of 24.3% of the vote in 2008 by fielding MIC candidate Palanivel.

Given that the BN won on average an estimated 60% of the Malay votes in Hulu Selangor, it will be interesting to see if this trend continues. The nationally heated racial context will undoubtedly bring Malay issues into the campaign, from concerns over the NEP to the form of their representation.

The BN has the most to lose here, given that they depended heavily on Malays for keeping them in the race in the first place. Umno has machinery in place in these areas, which will allow them to dampen any possible Malay race-based voting.

Ironically, by not fielding a Malay candidate, the BN has hurt its chances in this contest, given the racially oriented focus of the party of late.

Umno is likely to respond to this by engaging in personal attacks on Zaid that focus on his loyalty to the Malay community. This contest will be a test of how much the ultra-racially agenda has permeated the ground and the campaign.

8) Referendum by young people

Beyond the ethnic pattern of voting, the other striking feature in past voting is age. The overwhelming majority of younger voters in this constituency voted for the opposition. This trend was across ethnic communities.

There are a 1,000 additional new voters registered. For either side to win, they have to win over these crucial decisive voters, whose proximity to Kuala Lumpur will assure that they will likely go home to vote. Which campaign has the most appeal to the young will win. This will mean that both parties will have to use different campaigning techniques – Internet and canvassing – to gain support.

Every vote will count. The need for a fair fight in this important constituency is crucial. Expect high voter turnout, a tense dynamic contest and ultimately important national markers for the future of Malaysian politics.

Based on trends in polling and the traditional advantage of the BN machinery in this constituency, in contrast to the views of others, I believe that BN has the advantage.

For me, this constituency has the potential to be more easily swayed by financial rewards, which give the BN an advantage and are the norm in a by-election where the money flows in.

The campaign has begun, however, and it is a highly competitive race that can go either way. If the opposition wants to win this seat they will have to fight hard for it.

BRIDGET WELSH is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Singapore Management University and can be reached at bwelsh@smu.edu.sg.

Najib Conferred Honorary Doctorate By Meiji University

From Khairdzir Yunus TOKYO, April 20 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was today conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the Meiji University.

Meiji University President Hiromi Naya conferred the honorary degree on Najib at a special ceremony at the university here this morning.

Present were Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim who is the acting Foreign Minister and Malaysian Ambassador to Japan Datuk Shaharuddin Md Som.

In his acceptance speech, Najib said he felt honoured to be conferred the honorary doctorate from the Meiji University, a university that was held in a very high esteem in Japan for its many contributions and sterling achievements.

He said he strongly believed that Malaysia and Japan can engage in various initiatives at different levels to achieve mutual benefit and shared goals.

"First, both nations can foster closer understanding and collaboration through smart partnership, academic engagements and corporate joint ventures.

"Secondly, we can share resources to create value in an open innovation ecosystem that will benefit both countries at various levels.

"For example, there can be increased student and staff mobility between universities engaging in innovative projects in various areas of concern that will benefit all parties," he said.

He said in addition, both countries could extend the existing framework such as the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) with the Malaysian Vice Chancellors Council on areas of importance such as sustainability and innovative technology.

Najib said another initiative could be to revisit the idea of the establishment of Malaysia Japan University as a symbol of their renewed commitment in bilateral relations and in the quest for a more vibrant and dynamic ecosystem for intellectual collaboration.

"Nevertheless the success of this endeavour hinges upon our mutual commitment to move forward," he added.

He said the Japanese government has long supported Malaysian academics resulting in high-impact academic collaboration and joint research, while encouraging the mobility of experts between the countries for many years.

In addition, he said, Japanese companies such as Hitachi and Panasonic had also provided scholarships and fellowships for higher degrees and joint research projects.

"In relation to this, I am happy to announce that Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, one of the top tier universities in Malaysia, will be setting up a UTM Tokyo Satellite Office based in Meiji University which will further enhance the academic ties and research collaborations already existing between our two nations in areas of concern," he said.

He said through Research University Collaborations, nations could be linked through effective engagements in pertinent research areas that would contribute to knowledge and expertise in relevant fields such as sustainability and innovation as well as other economic and socio-environmental issues currently impacting the world.

The Prime Minister said at the same time, Malaysia was committed to provide facilities and incentives to welcome Japanese research companies to set up operation in Malaysia.

"We are ready to create a more vibrant and fertile research environment that would support a more creative and innovative investment ecosystem, contributing to the synergistic well being of both nations," Najib said.

He also said that without doubt the Look East Policy which was now entering its 28th year had managed to become a magnet attracting Japanese companies to invest and to set up their businesses and bases in Malaysia.

These investments, he said, had allowed Malaysia to move up the ladder to become an upper middle income nation within the space of a decade.

He said Malaysia and Japan were two old friends and their friendship was an enduring relationship predicated upon a common and mutual worldview.

"Ours is not a relationship of fair weather friends, it is one that has withstood the test of time over the years as both nation work on the possibilities rather than being fixated by the past," he said.

He said Malaysia was indeed appreciative of Japan's participation in Malaysia's progress and development over the years.

Najib also said that Japan could play a pivotal role in helping Malaysia's transformation from an industrial economy to an innovation economy.

He said in the field of education through the Look East Policy more than 15,000 Malaysians have benefited, a big number of them engineers and professionals that graduated from universities in Japan, with many of them currently occupying mid to high level positions in the public and private sectors in Malaysia.

He said Malaysia could indeed benefit from a much broader education, human resources and capacity building cooperation, especially between institutions of higher learning.

He said their collaborations must take their relationship to new heights.

"The synergy can create new avenues of cooperation not only in science and technology but also in the cultural milieu.

"For as much as Malaysia can learn from Japan's strength in terms of science and technological advancement, Japan can also gain from Malaysia's diverse expertise; from oceanography to forestry, from palm oil to tropical medicine, and from Islamic finance to multi-cultural engagement," he said.

Najib who is currently on a four-day official visit to Japan since Sunday had earlier had a breakfast meeting with Japanese parliamentarians at the New Otani Hotel here.

After the conferment ceremony, he was slated to address the Japanese business community at a luncheon held at the same hotel, attend a closed door roundtable meeting with Japanese captains of industry, and a dinner with Malaysians and Malaysian students before leaving for home.