29 October, 2009

Port Klang rep Badrul Hisham quits PKR to become a "BN-friendly" independent.

Port Klang state assemblyperson Badrul Hisham Abdullah today said that he is quitting PKR with immediate effect to become a BN-friendly Independent.

Under pressure Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah has announced that he is quitting PKR.

At a press conference on Thursday evening, he said that he had lost faith in the party's leadership.

He said he would remain an independent who will support the Barisan Nasional, and will not be relinquishing his state seat.

Earlier Thursday, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the state government has recommended to the PKR supreme council that Badrul Hisham resign from his seat for non-performance.

In a statement issued from his office, Khalid said he would be sending a delegation to “reiterate the matter to the assemblyman personally.”

“The state government is aware of the mounting complaints from the people of Port Klang over the non-performance of assemblyman Badrul Hisham.

“Since he was issued a showcause letter dated Aug 20, he has made no effort to improve his work.

“Despite stating his willingness to meet state and party leaders, he continues to be evasive in meeting them. He has also refused to answer calls or SMSes and has not re-opened his service centre for the people in Port Klang,” Khalid said in his statement.

“The state government cannot tolerate incompetent and irresponsible leaders as they will seriously undermine its efforts to improve the rakyat’s (people’s) economic and social lives,” he added.

Earlier this month, Badrul Hisham’s appearance at Klang Umno chief Datuk Mazlynoor Abd Latif’s Hari Raya open house raised question about his party loyalty.

Later Thursday, Khalid told reporters that having issued its statement, the state government would now “wait and see.”

“If Badrul Hisham still wants to serve the people, he will be given a chance to do so; if he does not, it’s better that he leaves regardless which party he belongs to.

“Since he promised the people, in his campaign during the 12th general election in March last year, that he would serve them, he should keep his promise,” he said.

When asked what would happen if Badrul Hisham decides to quit PKR to become an independent, Khalid said, “He can become an Umno member or an MCA member if he likes, but as an elected representative, he must serve the people.”

If Badrul Hisham refuses to quit his Port Klang seat, Khalid said the state government would study its next course of action.

- The Star


28 October, 2009

The spirit of 1Malaysia - BN and PR hold simultaneous 'meetings' in the same venue !

The Perak State Assembly sitting to approve the 2010 state budget today descended into pandemonium when two rival groups of assemblymen held their "meetings" with separate agendas in the same venue.

The Barisan Nasional state government led by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir approved his motion on the budget. The Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen led by Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin approved three motions.

The second session of the 12th Perak assembly sitting was possibly one of the shortest in the state’s history as it was adjourned sine die three hours after it started.

The sitting began at 10am minus the presence of Opposition assemblymen with speaker Datuk R. Ganesan reminding the elected representatives to adhere to the rules of the sitting.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir (BN-Pangkor) then proceeded to present his 2010 Budget.

After 15 minutes, shouts were heard from outside of the august House with Opposition representatives demanding that they be let into the hall without being stopped by police.

Moments later, the Opposition led by former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS-Pasir Panjang) entered the hall followed by ousted speaker V. Sivakumar (DAP-Tronoh).
Seeing this, Ganesan adjourned the sitting for an hour to 11.20am.

After being ushered to their respective seats, A. Sivasubramaniam (DAP-Buntong) took a jibe at Ganesan for allowing heavy police presence in the hall.
He also told Ganesan to vacate his speaker seat to allow Sivakumar to be seated.

Opposition representatives later proceeded to hold their own sitting in the hall by passing three resolutions.

The resolutions were that 1Malaysia camps be suspended following the Kuala Dipang incident, the satisfactory performance of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat state government last year as quoted in the Auditor-General’s report, and the nomination of former Perak PKR chief Osman Abdul Rahman as a senator.

At this juncture, Barisan backbenchers led by Pengkalan Hulu assemblyman Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali stood up and started to mingle with their political colleagues.

When Ganesan reconvened the sitting to allow Dr Zambry to continue presenting his Budget, the Opposition tried to disrupt him by shouting and jeering.

The voices of backbenchers, who stood up to second the Budget, were drowned by shouts from the Opposition.

The Opposition later left for the assembly library and a their press conference.

Meanwhile, AMNESTY International Malaysia (AI) is deeply concerned over the use of a blanket injunction reportedly obtained by the police for the 28 Oct 2009 Perak state legislative assembly. Such restraining orders allow for abuse of police powers, as any person within a stipulated range can be arrested without due process and proper examination of facts. This subjects the public to the risk of detention, torture, and other forms of ill-treatment and selective prosecution.

Blanket Injunction Undermines Fundamental Rights

Amnesty is disturbed to learn this is not the first time that the police obtained such a court order and that it has become the police’s standard practice to facilitate a mass crackdown on a peaceful assembly and to make blanket arrests arbitrarily.

Amnesty views such an injunction against the entire Malaysian public as a travesty and mockery of our Malaysian justice system.

This is because such applications are made and granted based solely on one party’s prejudice that undermines the subjected parties’ right to be heard in an open court and the right to answer the police’s allegations, unfounded grounds and concerns.

Amnesty is of the opinion that the court order is obtained purely to suppress and undermine the freedom of expression and assembly, and gives the police arbitrary powers to arrest citizens who were only exercising their Constitutional rights.

The court order also gives the police unlimited powers and enables greater abuse of power as it subjects the general public to a great risk of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and other forms of ill treatment and selective prosecution.

We believe the order undermines the fundamental freedom of assembly and movement guaranteed by our Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Amnesty would like to strongly remind the Malaysian police of their statutory duty to protect the interests and rights of the public.

The UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials spells out in Article 5 that no law enforcement official may inflict, instigate or tolerate any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or invoke superior orders or exceptional circumstances, such as a threat to national security, to justify these actions.

Amnesty International Malaysia views that policing in Malaysia must adhere and observe to a higher standard of human rights compliance.

Any policing and public order exercise must clearly reflect and demonstrate human rights compliance. The public must be assured of a professional, credible and human rights compliant police service.

We call on the Malaysian Police to respect Malaysians’ right to their fundamental freedoms and stop the current practice of obtaining a unilateral court order to crack down on peaceful assemblies in Malaysia.

K. Shan

Campaign Coordinator

Amnesty International Malaysia


27 October, 2009

Girl drowns, 2 children missing in river

How could the organisers of a camp in Kuala Dipang near here, allow 30 to 50 pupils to get on a narrow suspension bridge over a river that is swift-flowing and deep enough to be treacherous?

As can be expected of children in such a situation, some were jumping and shaking the bridge when they were crossing it at 10.30pm last night, according to witnesses.

The groups of pupils were walking across from the campsite to Sekolah Kebangsaan Kuala Dipang for their dinner or walking back after they had eaten. They were among 298 pupils from 60 primary schools in Kampar, Tronoh and Batu Gajah who were participating in a 1Malaysia camp organised by the Kinta Selatan District Education Department.

Witnesses said there was a lot of swaying just before the newly-built narrow bridge collapsed. It happened because the metal pole holding one end of the rope bridge had been ripped off its base. One schoolgirl, identified as Dina Deve Nathan, 11, drowned. Two other girls were still missing.

The part of Kampar River where the bridge collapsed is about 30 metres wide and 1.5 metres deep.

Police, firefighters and emergency services personnel scoured the Kampar River in northern Malaysia where the students went missing late Monday,Perak state Chief Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir said.

"They are looking for the bodies,", he said.

The two-week-old bridge was built to replace an old one that had fallen apart with age,

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told reporters that Education director-general Alimuddin Mohd Dom will head a team to probe the fatal collapse of the suspension bridge.

Muhyiddin, who is also education minister said the ministry would give a bereavement donation of RM10,000 to Dina's family.

The search and rescue operation following the collapse of a suspension bridge across the Kampar River at a school in Kuala Dipang near here has been extended 15 kilometres downriver.

Kampar police chief Supt Abdul Aziz Salleh said the rescuers were looking for two primary schoolgirls who went missing after the bridge collapsed at 10.30pm Monday as pupils participating in a camp were crossing it.

The two pupils have been identified as Diryasree a/p Vasudevan, 12, of Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Gopeng and Davadharshini a/p Maheswaran, 11, of SJKT Mambang Di Awan near here.

Another schoolgirl of SJKT Mambang Di Awan, Dina Deve a/p Nathan, 11, drowned in the incident. Her body was recovered from the river at 8.40am Tuesday.


26 October, 2009

KL is open to an East Asia bloc

Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak believes the United States should be engaged in the formation of an East Asian Community. He also outlined his views on the controversial Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights with the Bangkok Post Group's Editor-in-Chief Pichai Chuensuksawadi in an interview yesterday in Hua Hin.

The East Asia Community idea proposed by Japan is not really a new one. Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad proposed the East Asia Economic Caucus in Bali, Indonesia in 1990. That has evolved into the Asean plus three (Japan, China and South Korea) summit. How does Malaysia view this proposal now?

We are looking forward to the vision of the East Asia Community. But it has to evolve as you say. It has to be at a pace that we are comfortable with. But the whole notion that we must have this viable economic grouping between Asean plus three to actually become an East Asia Community has already taken root in the sense that Free Trade Agreements have already been signed between Asean and the plus three. The nexus of various bilateral trade agreements as well, for example we have an economic partnership agreement with Japan. So we are moving ahead, we are moving forward and the three countries - China, Japan and South Korea - are very supportive of Asean. For example, the Chiang Mai Initiative - they have come up with a financial commitment. In fact they went beyond what they were asked to do. This is indicative of them giving Asean a high priority so we can evolve into an East Asia Community. There are some minor issues on the Chiang Mai Initiative and we hope we can overcome the minor technical glitches and our intention is that it should be operationalised as soon as possible, either at the end of this year or at the very latest early next year.

What will the role of the United States be in this East Asia Community? How would Malaysia view a US role?

I think we are quite open. The whole concept of Asean plus three, an East Asian Community, should be open in the sense that we should be able to relate to other countries as well. How that will emerge later on, I think we should take it in stages. But we should be open, we should engage with them and we should see to what extent we can integrate them within the concept of the East Asian Community.

There was some discussion (at Asean plus 3) that it should go further than that with the East Asia Free Trade Agreement involving India, Australia and New Zealand.

We agreed officials should study this and put it on the table at some point in time for us to consider it and we will be discussing this when we meet with the leaders of India, Australia and New Zealand.

The Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights was launched - but with some controversy. But Asean is not new to controversy......more

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25 October, 2009

What Next For Liow Tiong Lai ?

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 (Bernama) -- What is the next move for newly appointed MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai? While his appointment as the deputy president by the party's powerful Central Committee (CC) had placed him as the next in line to take over the presidency, his political future remained uncertain.

This vegetarian health minister is attributed to be the leader of 22 CC members who signed a letter demanding that Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat step down as the president during the CC meeting last Thursday following the vote of no confidence against him in the Oct 10 extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Although Liow has clarified that the letter was merely to express their opinion, and not to topple Ong, the greater unity plan brokered by Ong and bitter rival former deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, seems to have put his political future in uncertainty.

Liow was said to have been caught off guard by the plan, which party insiders described as a brilliant political move by Ong to check on Liow after he was accused of masterminding the alleged plan by some CC members to topple the president.

Although Liow knew that Ong and Dr Chua had met on several occasions in the aftermath of the Oct 10 EGM, party sources said he did not expect that the two could hatch a plan that could effectively curtail his influence in the party as the combined force of Ong and Dr Chua commands the support of more than 90 per cent of delegates.

On hindsight, the "high drama" prior to the news conference by Ong to announce the party's greater unity plan on Thursday afternoon was not surprising.

The news conference at the party's headquarters was delayed as Liow and vice-president Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha remained in the deputy president's office, just a door away, even when Ong was already prepared to start.

After an anxious 20 minutes or so, Liow and Kong emerged and joined Ong and other leaders including vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, and Dr Chua, who were seated and waiting for the news conference to start.

There were speculations that Liow was unhappy with the plan and initially refused to joined the news conference but this was denied by an aide of Ong who explained that there was a miscommunication between them and Liow.

Ong's posting on his blog on Friday did raised some hints on the current state of relations between him and Liow when he wrote, "I am also confident that Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and other central committee members will close ranks and see the rationale behind the need for an inclusive MCA".

While this may be perceived as Ong offering the "olive branch" to Liow, to party insider, it could be interpreted as "conveying a strong message" to Liow, asking him to accept the unity plan.

"It's like telling you that 'the game is over and that you have been checkmated; don't try anymore... just accept whatever it is that we are going to give to you'," a party insider told Bernama.

Ong planned the political manoeuvre as Liow was seen as "betraying a friend" for his alleged attempt to take over the party leadership.

Liow was known as Ong's trusted lieutenant and to a certain extent, regarded as Ong's right hand man but now some of Ong's loyal supporters branded him as "betrayer" and sometimes, "traitor".

A CC member, Datuk Ti Lian Ker did not mince words in his criticism of Liow. Naming him as the leader of the "third force" in the party, he said also said that Liow was now being perceived as an "evil man".

While the detail of the greater unity plan is not immediately known, it is learned that it will be similar to the MCA peace plan that ended the infamous "Team A-Team B fight" in 2003, with supporters of both factions being given important party positions, including in the CC and state liaison line-ups.

If this happened, it would greatly undermine Liow's faction, which may see some, particularly appointed CC members, losing their positions.

Up for grabs would be eight appointed CC posts, and state liaison chairmen, both of which are widely speculated to be reshuffled soon by Ong to accommodate some of Dr Chua's supporters.

There were also speculations that Dr Chua himself might be given position, including as the party state chairman for Johor.

According to Ti, who played an integral role in bringing Ong and Dr Chua together, the situation are more complicated for Liow now as supporters of both leaders no longer trust him to lead the party as "he is seen to lack the compassion of a leader and seems too brutal and cold to be a good leader".

"The immediate about-turn and revolt by some of Ong's strongest allies and inner circle had pained the president tremendously, causing him to rethink on the political morality of handing over the party (to Liow)," he said in a posting at his blog tilianker.blogspot.com.

Ti claimed that Liow's first meeting with Dr Chua was immediately after the Oct 10 EGM, offering "a power sharing plan in order to get the support from CC members that aligned to Dr Chua to take over presidency from Ong."

However, the plan did not materialise as he claimed that Dr Chua's supporters did not trust Liow.

Liow's supporters have denied that there was such a plan.

The health minister is now said to be in a more awkward position as he is no longer part of Ong's camp.

Vernacular newspapers reported that immediately after Ong's announcement of the unity plan, Liow held a meeting at a Chinese restaurant here with 15 CC members to strategise their next move.

Apart from that, there are also talks that some youth and Wanita members might want to push for an EGM either to reject the unity plan or to remove certain leaders aligned to Liow.

If that happens, the MCA will be heading for trouble again.

As some political analysts point out, the truce between Ong and Dr Chua is not the end of internal struggles in the second largest Barisan Nasional component party.


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23 October, 2009

"1Malaysia, Together We Prosper"

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has tabled Budget 2010 with the theme "1Malaysia, Together We Prosper". Totalling RM191.5 bil, he said it would be the foundation of a new economic model and precursor to the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Prime Minister Najib Razak promised to curb a burgeoning budget deficit while still supporting economic growth with a personal income-tax cut.

Najib told Parliament in his 2010 budget speech that the government will cut the individual income tax rate by 1 percentage point to 26%. But in addition to the surprise cut, he announced a 5% tax will be imposed from Jan. 1 on property gains. Najib also delivered an annual report that forecasts the trade-driven economy will contract 3.0% this year -- better than an earlier forecast of a 4.0% to 5.0% decline -- before rebounding next year to growth of between 2.0% and 3.0%, thanks to previous spending measures and low interest rates.

The report forecasts a budget deficit this year of 7.4% of gross domestic product, less than what most economists had anticipated and down from an earlier forecast of 7.6%, with the shortfall narrowing to 5.6% in 2010.

“Private sector activity is anticipated to pick up following signs of recovery, enabling the government to consolidate its fiscal position for greater policy flexibility in times of crisis,” the Ministry of Finance said in its 2009/2010 economic report today. “Emphasis will be on creating a conducive environment for businesses and entrepreneurship to thrive in a more liberalized environment.”

Najib, 56, has rolled back decades-old protectionist policies to spur investment since taking over as prime minister in April, opening up services industry to foreign investors and easing rules on ethnic-Malay ownership in companies. Najib told parliament today that he wants to transform Malaysia into a “high-income economy.”

“The budget signals the government’s intention to reduce its direct involvement in the economy and encourage a greater role for the private sector,” said Robert Prior-Wandesforde, a Singapore-based senior economist at HSBC Holdings Plc. “The new prime minister is at least trying to take the economy in a different direction.”

But Citigroup economist Kit Wei-Zheng called the budget "a mixed bag of goodies" as tax cuts and higher personal relief are offset by a rise in pension fund contribution by employees and a small service tax on credit cards. The government showed its intent to keep a lid on the deficit but offered scant detail on how it would do so, he said.

The prime minister said the government will privatize companies under the Finance Ministry while allocating six billion ringgit ($1.8 billion) for the agriculture sector and 9 billion ringgit for infrastructure development.

The government is in the final stages of studying a goods and services tax, Najib said, but offered no timetable.

These are the main highlights of the speech as per delivery.

* Time for country to move to an economy of innovations to face the challenges of the future

* GDP for 2009 expected to be -3%, better than previous projections of -4% to -5%

* Focus of Budget 2010 will be on well-being of the people

* Three strategies:

- driving the country towards a high-income economy,

- ensuring holistic and sustainable development,

- focusing on the well-being of the rakyat.

* Government to make it easier for skilled/qualified people to get permanent residence status. Visa to be granted for family within 14 days.

* CSR Fund of RM100mil to be set up to carry out social programmes.

* Tax breaks for registration of patents and copyrights.

* Big scale factory outlets to be set up to boost tourism besides having major events like KL Grand Prix Fest, National Water Festival, Malaysia International Golf Exhibition and Rain Forest Eco-Challenges

* Taxpayers will get tax relief on broadband subscription fee of up to RM500 from 2010 to 2012. Civil servants can apply for computer loans up to a maximum of RM5,000 from the govt once in every 5 years.

* RM6bil for agriculture sector for irrigation of paddy fields, fish production, fruit farming, livestock farming infrastructure, training

* RM2bil subsidy for farmers and fishermen including subsidies for fertilisers, incentives for padi yields and allowances for fishermen

* RM9bil to finance infrastructure projects including road and bridges projects and rail, sea ports and airports facilities

* RM1.5bil fund to promote green technology by providing soft loans to companies that supply and use green technology

* RM200mil Creative Industry Fund to finance film, drama, music productions, animation, advertisements through Bank Simpanan Nasional

* RM30bil to be allocated to enhance primary and secondary school education nationwide

* Rewards for students who excel in studies:

- 30 National Scholarships for the creme de la creme of students, stictly based on merit

- Conversion of PTPTN loans to scholarships for students who graduate with 1st class honours degree, beginning from 2010,

- Offer of netbook package, including free broadband service, to university students for RM50 per month for 2 years.

* The Permata programme, which emphasises on early childcare and education, including the gifted child programme, to get RM100mil

* Insurance industry to be improved to meet market demand.

* Govt to clamp down on the abuses committed by Ah Longs by enforcing Anti-Money Laundering and Anti Terrorism Financing Act 2001. Moneylenders Act 1951 to be also reviewed.

* Allow 100% foreign equity participation in corporate finance and financial planning companies compared with the present requirement of at least 30% local shareholding.

* To ensure rapid development of financial services, the existing tax incentives to be extended to 2015.

* Among steps to combat corruption is to set up 14 Special Corruption Sessions Courts and 4 Special Corruption Appeal High Courts.

* Tax of 5% to be imposed on gains from the disposal of real property from Jan 1, 2010. Existing tax exemption will be retained for gifts between parent-child, husband-wife, grandparent-grandchild.

* To promote prudent spending, a service charge of RM50 a year to be imposed on each principal credit card and charge card; and RM25 a year on each supplementary card, effective from Jan 1, 2010.

* To ensure that fuel subsidies only benefit targeted groups, Govt will implement a fuel subsidy management system in early 2010, which will utilise the MyKad.

* All ministries and govt departments are required to provide day care and education centres for children of civil servants.

* The maximum income tax rate for individuals to be reduced to 26% from assessment year 2010. Personal relief increased to RM9,000.

* Police force to get RM1bil to improve its services in govt's efforts to reduce crime. Major measures include to increase police presence, including mobile police stations in 50 crime hotspots.

* To promote house ownership, Govt will launch a scheme that enables EPF contributors to utilise current and future savings in Account 2.

* Employees' EPF contribution to be increased to 11% again, on a voluntary basis, effective immediately. However, from Jan 1, 2011 employees' EPF contribution will revert to 11%.

* Personal relief for EPF and life insurance schemes to be increased to RM7,000.

- The Star

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21 October, 2009

Samy Vellu, Muniandy and the old dog.

Samy Vellu and his driver, Muniandy, were cruising along a Sungai Siput country road one evening when an old dog loomed in front of the car.

Muniandy tried to avoid it but couldn't - the old dog was killed.

Samy Vellu told Muniandy to go up to the farmhouse and explain to the owners what happened.

About an hour later, Muniandy staggered back to the car with his clothes in disarray.

He was holding a bottle of expensive wine in one hand, an expensive Cuban cigar in the other and was smiling happily, smeared with lipstick.

"What happened?" asked Samy Vellu.

"Well," Muniandy replied, "the farmer gave me the wine, his wife gave me the cigar, and their beautiful twin daughters were so happy they kept kissing me!"

"My God, what did you tell them?" asked Samy Vellu.

Muniandy replied: "I'm Samy Vellu's driver, and I just killed the old dog."


20 October, 2009

While PAS fiddles , its opportunities are running dry ...

In March 2008, the government of Malaysia, in power since independence in 1957, was rocked by a general election, losing its extraordinary majority in the election, you would assume that the opposition had won.

"Political tsunami" is how it summed up.

But BN candidate Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad’s huge sweep in Bagan Pinang by election will be touted as a reversal of fortunes for Umno and BN since taking its hardest hit during the 12th general election in March 2008.

The ruling party has suffered defeats in all but one of the by-elections it contested in since that general election. It only won the Batang Ai state seat in Sarawak and opted to stay out of the Penanti polls.

The opposition coalition known as the Peoples Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat), bringing together the predominantly Chinese-Malaysian left-leaning DAP, the multiracial PKR and the overwhelmingly Malay-Muslim Islamists of Pas.

Despite decades of rhetoric about building a united plural Malaysia, none of the political parties and political elite of Malaysia has done much in bridging the cultural, religious and ethno-linguistic gulfs between them. Hence the predominance of a mode of absolutist politics where no single party or leader can even begin to accept the idea of genuine difference and alterity in their midst.

It is for this reason that trivial matters like the sale of pork and alcohol have become so contentious in states like Selangor and why even the simplest of things like linguistic differences can make or break the fragile coalitions we see in the country.

Even though all the wings in PAS, except for the Dewan Ulama, have rejected the idea cooperation with its arch rivals, Umno-BN, key players within the conservative-nationalists camp of the party seem to think that the party can gain more by collaborating with Umno-BN than with its current everyone-is-equal Pakatan Rakyat partners.

PR’s victories in 8th March 08 GE (and subsequent by elections) were not because of PR’s strength in terms of cohesiveness but largely because of BN’s unpopularity and weakness.

The problems of conflicting ideologies between DAP & PAS with opportunistic PKR in between come to sharp focus and is subject to the severest of test when PR’s component parties actually sit down to rule and govern! And when they do so they are faced with problems such as the Kedah’s abattoir and Kampung Buah Pala controversies.

PR has raised expectations of its supporters in saying that it transcends “race, religion and culture” that it is showing it is not in position to gratify/fulfill. PR, and DAP in particular, should draw lesson from Pak Lah’s predicament. No matter how good intentioned, if one raises high expectations that one cannot fulfill/gratify, the multitudes disappointed will punish one at the next polls

R&B star Beyonce Knowles postponed a planned concert in Malaysia, the decision was prompted by criticism from the Pas, the country's largest opposition group, which has called for the show to be scrapped because it would promote "Western sexy performances."

"We oppose the holding of such concerts and we will take action to prevent such a concert from taking place in Malaysia," PAS youth chief Nasrudin Tantawi said, without specifying what action would be taken.

"This performance is not suitable for Muslims as her skimpy attire and behaviour onstage are immoral and lead to unclean behaviour," he said.

If PAS continues this line of action, they will continue to drive away non-muslim votes.

Umno and other BN parties have successfully taken advantage of PR’s lack of cohesiveness to paint the coalition as one which has too many ideological differences to take federal power.

In a move to calm fears among its supporters that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was yielding to a resurgent Umno and its own differences, the coalition’s leaders announced dates for its inaugural convention in December where it hopes to unveil its common platform.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim played down the troubles that have plagued his own PKR and among the PR parties , and promised to reveal soon the coalition’s common platform.

And the discord between Azmin Ali and Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who has taken six months leave to "focus on a common policy platform for the Pakatan Rakyat".

Zaid’s decision stems from infighting and his decision to visit Sabah, where local leaders are in open revolt over Azmin’s appointment as the Sabah PKR chief.

Controversies involving the Selangor PAS chief Datuk Hasan Ali had also affected the party’s campaign in Indian areas.

Hasan, who is also a Selangor executive councillor, had tried to ban the sale of beer in convenience stores in Malay majority areas, empowered mosque officials to act as moral police and also criticised the state legislative special committee, Selcat’s investigations against senior civil servants.

The new Indian party Makkal Sakthi, led by former Hindraf leader RS Thanenthiran alliance with the Barisan Nasional had resulted in PAS losing the support of the non-Malays in Bagan Pinang by election.

In its first by-election defeat in the peninsula since Election 2008, PAS’s Zulkefly Omar lost the Negri Sembilan state seat by 5,435 votes. Last year, Umno only won Bagan Pinang by 2,333 votes.

The Islamist party also lost all 19 polling streams. It won five in Election 2008, four of which are dominated by non-Malays.

PAS must quickly and sincerely abandon its bigoted religious stance if it ever hopes of regaining the trust and support of the non-Muslims

The pragmatic and middle-ground Barisan Nasional (BN) is likely to win back more non-Muslim support going forward if the Pakatan parties (especially PAS) continue to fumble and fight each other.

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17 October, 2009


One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, ‘how was the trip?'

'It was great, Dad..'

'Did you see how poor people live?' the father asked.

'Oh yeah,' said the son.

'So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?' asked the father.

The son answered:

'I saw that we have one dog and they had four.

We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.

We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.'

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, 'Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are..'

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.

Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!

Pass this on to family, friends and acquaintances and help them refresh their perspective and appreciation.

'Life is too short and friends are too few.'


15 October, 2009

Ong Tee Keat has "unfinished business" involving MCA

I would like to thank my supporters from all races and all walks of life who have shown deep concern and showered me kind words and encouragement following the MCA 10/10 EGM. I am heartened by the call urging me to stay as President of the Party

Over the years, my political career has been guided by my conscience and the peoples’ aspirations. People who know me well know that I uphold my principles in my political practice. It has never been my practice to renege on my words, including what I had pledged earlier with regard to the outcome of the EGM.

Nonetheless, the disciplinary action was a collective decision of the Presidential Council and Central Committee. Hence, the onus and responsibility is not on me alone, but collectively.

That being the case, I had proposed to have fresh polls to seek a fresh mandate from the Party, especially the outcome of the EGM was inconclusive and indicate that the grassroots were divided. The best way out of this situation is to seek the re-affirmation of the MCA leadership.

However any hopes for fresh poll was dashed because certain quarters are worried that I would renege on my words and decide to stay as the Party president. This is absolutely baseless.

Because of this, today I have decided to go back to the grassroots. I have directed MCA secretary-general to call for an EGM under Article 30.1 of the MCA constitution to decide whether the Party should hold fresh poll for the Central Committee. The EGM/AGM will allow delegates to end the impasse over whether the Central Committee should seek a fresh mandate.

I still have a long list of unfinished business involving Party and public interests, like the direct election of the MCA presidency and the Port Klang Free Zone issue. It is my wish to see such issues be addressed without any abrupt disruption.

I also would also like to congratulate Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai on his election as the deputy president after due deliberations by the Central Committee.

Last but not least, I need to tender my apologies to the people if they felt that I have not lived up to their expectations. I want to assure them that so long as I continue as a Member of Parliament and remain a discerning Malaysian, I will continue to pursue the PKFZ case in whatever capacity available to me. To my aspiring MCA colleagues, I must apologise if I stand in the way of your political ascendency. That has never been my intention.

To the genuine Party members and workers, please do continue with your endeavour to help strengthen the Party but do refrain from playing into the hands of manipulators and opportunists.

Life has to go on and I have no regrets over any decision and endeavour I had embarked upon.

- Ong Tee Keat

Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat is hanging on to the presidency of the MCA, saying he has "unfinished business" involving the party after the MCA central committee today elected Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai as deputy president.

Ong said he had directed party secretary-general Datuk Wong Foon Meng to call for another extraordinary general meeting (EGM), this time to decide if there should be a fresh election of the CC.

Ong extended his congratulations to Liow, who was previously vice-president, for his election to the deputy presidency which Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek lost after he was sacked. The sacking was later replaced with a four-year suspension.

Prior to this, there were speculations that the CC could call for fresh party elections to pick a new leadership or elect Liow as president and elevate another vice-president, Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, the Housing and Local Government Minister, to the deputy president's post.

Since getting elected in Oct 2008, Ong has been sidetracked by Chua. Right from the start, Ong had not wanted Chua to be his No. 2 because he believed the latter’s involvement in a 2007 sex scandal would tarnish the party’s image.

The situation was made worse when Chua - who was believed to have the backing of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and past MCA strongmen like Ling Liong Sik - began demanding for more government and party posts for his supporters.

The Ong-Chua feud culminated with the presidential council sacking Chua in August

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14 October, 2009

Now, everyone can be a leader ?

"MCA is capable of solving its own problems through its own internal mechanisms. The crisis that the Party is facing right now is typical of any organisation that calls for change and reforms, particularly the eradication of unacceptable and decadent practices. The Party is now at a crossroad. We can either change or carry on at our own peril." said Ong Tee Keat.

"Rest assured I will do what needs to be done in the best interest of Party."

With our naked eyes, we see leaders being followed by their followers and followers being led by their leaders, sometimes blindly.

In fact, this is the bond that ties a leader and a follower as one.

While the dust has yet to settle on the leadership impasse in the MCA but it seems that a fresh round of internal strife is emerging from among the ‘pretenders’ to the throne.

It has been widely reported that a group of presidential council members of the party met at a hotel here Sunday night to discuss several proposals to be tabled at central committee meeting.

The CC meeting will discuss the next step forward for the party following last Saturday’s EGM which created a stalemate for the party’s internal problems.

The meeting of several key leaders Sunday night was reportedly called by vice-president Liow Tiong Lai. Among those present were another vice-president Kong Cho Ha, Wanita leader Chew Mei Fun, CC members Loke Yuen Yow, Liew Yuen Keong and Lee Wee Kiat. One senator from Kelantan was also present.

Malaysian Mirror learned that among the proposals brought up was to let Liow Tiong Lai take over as party president and Kong Cho Ha be made deputy president.

Soon after this was suggested (supposedly by Liow), Kong reportedly left the hotel in a huff – a sign of his unhappiness and surely a notification that he was not one to play second fiddle to Liow.

Kong was elected vice-president with the highest number of votes at the party elections last year. Liow, Dr Ng Yen Yen and Tan Kok Hong were the other veeps elected and in that order.

There are genuine concerns that another round of leadership tussle will take place if they become the Number One and Two of the MCA.

Then there is Dr Ng Yen Yen, another vice-president who has tried her best to stay out of the Ong Tee Keat/Chua Soi Lek fight but is known to harbour great political ambition nonetheless, to contend with.

“She has offered to be the first female MCA president, but no way are Liow and Kong who has backed Ong Tee Keat all the way going to let that woman get her way.”

Also, Youth Leader Wee Ka Siong and Wanita chief Chew Mei Fun may also want to be appointed full minister should a vacancy exist.

There isn't enough ministerial positions to go around for so many ambitious aspirants

Such a tussle for Cabinet posts may trigger another round of internal strife in a party which can certainly do without one for the moment.

Who are the "third force"?

Unnecessary whining and inflammatory remarks and actions that does nothing but painfully afflicts and bring chaos to none other but our very own Chinese community.

If the third force really forms a new leadership through EGM, causing the efforts of the two confronting factions to be wasted, Ong and Dr Chua can only blame themselves for keep attacking each other over the past month.

Their fight has dragged in a lot of personal grudges and bored the Chinese community, as well as the party's members, who then started to look for the “third option”.

The fight between the two factions has nothing to do with the interest of the Chinese community. Instead, they are just fighting for power. Ong said that Dr Chua is desperate for the party president position while Dr Chua said that Ong is trying to eradicate dissidents.

The 3R (Reject, Reunite and Rejuvenate) manifesto of Dr Chua proposed a future direction and duty for MCA but it did not touch on how to reform the political system of the party and the country.

Ong focused on “anti-corruption” but he did not mention how to resolve conflicts within the party, adjust the leadership style, enhance MCA's status in BN and how will MCA, a party based on racial politics, adapt to the two-line system.

Regardless what is the outcome, the history is going to record a meaningless political struggle, which will be as well the most shameful page in MCA history.

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13 October, 2009

Tee Keat is stepping down as MCA president ?

Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has told his close associates that he is stepping down as MCA president,amid calls by certain leaders for Tee Keat's resignation and for fresh party elections.

However, party insiders say Tee Keat's resignation will not resolve the worsening leadership tussle triggered by the split decision of the 2,307 central delegates who rejected the wishes of both Tee Keat and his former deputy Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in Saturday's extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

"Only two-thirds of the Central Committee (CC) members can call for fresh party elections. That's remote because many CC members would be reluctant to step down and pave the way for elections," he added.

"Even the president cannot call for party elections."

Already, party insiders say key leaders have started lobbying to fill the vacuum created by the Ong-Chua leadership saga.

The key players are vice-presidents Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. Others include MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, former secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan and former veep Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai.

Even Soi Lek and former veep Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn are still harbouring hopes of contesting should elections be called.

Former presidents and deputies like Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy are also said to be working behind the scene backing their choice.

Sources told theSun there was an informal meeting in a hotel on Sunday night by several leaders attempting to strike an agreement to resolve the leadership crisis.

Among those present were Cho Ha, Tiong Lai, Wanita chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and deputy secretary-general Datuk Loke Yuen Yow.

Both Cho Ha and Tiong Lai offered to take over as president but no agreement could be reached when the discussion turned heated.

"That is only one meeting among leaders that we have heard. A key player to watch is one of the Ong brothers, Ka Chuan.

"Ka Chuan is thus far the smartest, lying low, watching and waiting for the right time to pounce," said the party insider.

Another who was not present at the meeting is Yen Yen who is said to have expressed her wish to become the first MCA woman president, citing her seniority as a Cabinet member.

Tee Keat is expected to return from leave to chair a presidential council meeting on Thursday followed by a CC meeting. He is likely to tender his resignation for the CC to deliberate and decide on his leadership.

The task of rebuilding the party, which suffered big losses in last year’s general election, now falls on another new leader.

With a general election expected in two to three years, time is not on its side.

Analysts said it is unlikely the party will be able to rebuild in such a short time or increase its level of Chinese support by much.

“I have received many calls from the Chinese non-governmental organisations, clans and community leaders who told me point-blank that it was better for the MCA to ‘da bao’ (close shop),” MCA veteran leader Datuk Yap Pian Hon was quoted as saying by Bernama.

“They said there was too much vested interest in the delegates’ decision, that the community’s interest does not seem important. We can’t save the party from the public perception now.”

The days ahead, however, are likely to remain tumultuous for the party.

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11 October, 2009

Obama's Nobel Victory - Will he actually deliver ?

Obama has won the coveted Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." The Nobel Committee decided in favor of Obama after deliberating over 172 people and 33 organizations, the highest number of nominees in the history of Nobel Peace Prize.

Let's take a turn from the domestic impacts of this mind boggling victory of Obama and focus our attention towards the Muslim World. After all, it was Obama's efforts to bring peace into the region that caught the attention of the Nobel Committee. His address to the Muslim world in Egypt was a turning point in the U.S. foreign policy when the president accepted some grave mistakes of the US in handling the issues of terrorism and extremism.

His promise of a new policy towards the Muslim world was largely appreciated in the Muslim world with some dissenting voices. These people were of the opinion that although he has signaled a shift in US policies, there would hardly be any real changes on the ground. Although it is too early to say anything on this issue, his critics in the Muslim world are citing the deteriorating situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Pakistan, on the other hand, is going through its own quagmire and terrorism is eroding the very roots of Pakistani society (A recent bomb blast in Peshawar took 49 lives).

Indonesia and Malaysia, once known for their pluralistic and secular societies, are also seeing a shift towards extremism. Amid all this mayhem in the Muslim world, Obama has not yet mentioned his strategy for the broader interaction with Muslims. Additionally, there are concerns about him following his predecessor's policies with some "sugar-coated" changes.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/saad-khan/obamas-nobel-victory-and_b_315325.html

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10 October, 2009

Delegates reject Ong but Reinstates Dr Chua Only As A Member

Party chief Ong Tee Keat loses motion of no confidence by 14 votes, Chua Soi Lek reinstated as full member but fails to remain as deputy chief.

Embattled MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat lost in a vote of no-confidence against him while suspended Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek was reinstated as a party member but not as the deputy president at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the party here on Saturday.

A total of 1,155 delegates voted for the no-confidence motion, which was the first resolution, while 1,141 voted against it. Eight ballot papers were spoilt.

A total of 1,204 of the delegates agreed that the presidential council's decision on Aug 26 in accepting the recommendation of the disciplinary board and the subsequent decision of the central committee to expel or suspend Dr Chua be annulled, as per the second resolution, meaning that he would be reinstated as a party member.

A total of 1,184 of the 2,304 delegates also decided against the third resolution - that suspended Dr Chua be reinstated as the deputy president.

The results were announced by Speaker Datuk Yip Phooi Hong at 4.10pm after two recounts of the votes for the first resolution.

Ong was evasive when asked if he would resign after losing the confidence vote.

"You cannot simply don't follow what I say," he answered in cryptic fashion to a question of whether he was resigning.

"Any development and action to be taken will be discussed collectively by the central committee.

"There is nothing much we can elaborate on at this juncture," said Ong.

While it may appear to be Barisan Nasional’s (BN) biggest nightmare come true with the second biggest party in the ruling coalition split like never before, it could also provide an opening for the party to move forward.

The central committee may decide to appoint an interim president and vice-presidents Liow Tiong Lai and Kong Cho Ha have already been mentioned as possible candidates.

But what is clear from today's results is that the biggest loser is Ong who while he has not immediately done so will have to resign.

Dr Chua may not have been reinstated as the party No 2 but he has shown that he remains a potent force in the party and Ong had made a mistake in trying to sideline him.

But uncertain days lie ahead for MCA with both camps not expected to give up the fight easily.


I would like to thank MCA central delegates and all party members for their enormous support that lead to my reinstatement as a MCA member.

I accept the decisions made by all central delegates and I hope that the MCA central leadership will respect decisions made by the central delegates in the MCA EGM.

Thank you.

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09 October, 2009

Corruption is corruption, Mr Prime Minister !

Statement by P Ramakrishnan, President of ALIRAN:

Corruption is corruption, Mr Prime Minister. There are no two ways about it. You cannot minimise the crime by camouflaging the offence under some other label. Neither can you make it disappear by simply declaring “that the offence committed by Isa was not an offence under the law”.

It is not true that Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad only breached party ethics. That would be a lie. He was found guilty of indulging in money politics to secure his victory in the Umno party elections for the post of Vice-President in 1994. He won the post with the highest number of votes. In fact, he wasn’t satisfied with the number of votes he garnered. He then quipped that he expected to win his position with an even higher majority!

Following his victory, complaints were lodged with the Umno Disciplinary Board accusing Isa of having resorted to money to secure his victory. The Disciplinary Board instituted an investigation to probe into the allegations of money politics. It called up witnesses to collect evidence and establish proof of the allegation. Isa was given ample opportunity to defend himself. After what must be deemed as a very thorough and fair investigation, the Disciplinary Board found him guilty. He was stripped of his position and suspended for six years, a two-term period. On appeal, his sentence was drastically reduced to three years, a 50 per cent reduction.

Isa was such a powerful force within Umno with wide ranging influence. It would have been very difficult to find such a personality guilty but the evidence surely must have been overwhelming that the Board had no other alternative except to convict him. Eminent people sat on the Disciplinary Board among whom were Tan Sri Zaki Azmi, the present Chief Justice, and Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen, a one time long-serving cabinet minister and lawyer. So the verdict has total credibility and substance to quash any question of impropriety in their decision.

For the PM to claim that the offence was merely a technical one and that it was not an offence under the law is preposterous. Money politics is a criminal offence, it is an act of corruption, and if the PM has any other notion, then this matter should be referred to the MACC to seek their professional opinion! It is rather disappointing that the MACC did not move in to investigate Isa for corruption. If an Opposition person was embroiled in similar circumstances, there would be no doubt as to how the MACC would have acted.

Umno did Isa a favour by not referring Isa’s money politics to the MACC. If that was done then, today Umno will not have this shameful episode of offering a corrupt politician as its candidate at the Bagan Pinang by-election.

P Ramakrishnan
7 October 2009


08 October, 2009

Bendera - 'Invasion' postponed !

Indonesians who volunteered to go to war with Malaysia take part in a martial arts drill in Jakarta. (JG Indonesia)

WHEN the Royal Malaysian Navy’s biggest landing craft, KD Sri Inderapura, was ablaze at the Lumut naval base early Thursday morning, the twittering world was abuzz that the invasion had begun.

This was, of course, in reference to the so-called plan by Indonesia’s Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat (Bendera) plans to wage war with Malaysia.

Although their plans have been widely condemned by officials, the People’s Democratic Defense (Bendera) announced that they are ready to invade Malaysia and would start to dispatch volunteer vigilantes on October 9.

Speaking at a press conference in Jakarta, Bendera coordinator Mustar Nona Ventura said they would not be deterred.

“We will dispatch volunteers as we’ve scheduled. Nothing will stop us from doing it, including threats from the Malaysian National Security Council or the Indonesian Police.”

He said that around 1,300 volunteers would depart for Malaysia between October 9 and 22, including 50 medics.

“They will enter through pathways that will be unexpected for Malaysian security,” he said.

“Besides the volunteers, there are already 8000 Indonesian migrant workers [in Malaysia] who have committed to support what we do.”

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government does not take lightly the threat by Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat (Bendera), but believes Indonesia will take necessary steps to contain the situation.

"We leave it to the good judgment of the Indonesian government to manage such things. It is their internal affair. I believe they understand and know best what to do.

"We hope something will be done so that our good relations will not be affected," he said.

Meanwhile, the Royal Malaysia Police have stepped up security at all entry points from West Kalimantan to Sarawak as a precaution following threats from the Indonesian extremist group to attack Malaysia.

Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Mohmad Salleh said patrols by the General Operations Force had been doubled, especially at the Tebedu and Serikin border posts and several illegal trails at the Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

Indonesia and Malaysia have the same kind of relationship that the UK and France have had for centuries: a little rhetoric here and there but nothing ever happens.

There's a continuing spat over maids, claimed that Malaysia's national anthem is a copy of an Indonesian song, accused Malaysia of entering its territorial waters when a warship went to Ambalat.

Indonesians are still smarting over a 2002 International Court of Justice decision which decided that two bits of barren rock called Sipidan and Ligitan belonged to Malaysia.

Several weeks ago, Indonesians noticed that a promotional video for Malaysia included an Indonesian dance in its "Malaysia, Truly Asia" campaign. They claimed that Malaysia was trying to steal tourists from Indonesia, and that Malaysia has no culture of its own to display.

Then there were calls to declare batik to be defined as an Indonesian craft.

Some Indonesians consider the whole of Borneo to be Indonesian territory and resent the fact that it is partitioned.

Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat ( Bendera ) claims that its mission is to "avenge all the wrongs done to Indonesia." It claims to have a slogan of "Kill Malaysians" and reportedly set up illegal roadblocks in parts of Jakarta last month, saying that they intended to "sweep our streets clear of Malaysians."

The group claims to have built a stock of Samurai swords and pointed bamboo poles, plus bows and arrows ready for their invasion of Malaysia.

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07 October, 2009

Will Makkal Sakti become an alternative party ?

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 7, 2009) : News of the launch on Saturday of new political party Makkal Sakti has raised questions among the Indian community over a hidden agenda.

Will Makkal Sakti become an alternative party or is it just to push for change in the MIC which has represented the Indian community for 63 years, they ask.

Dr S. Sivamurugan, political analyst at the Social Science Faculty of Universiti Sains Malaysia, said Makkal Sakti should not be seen as an alternative party to MIC.

"There is no chance for another party to replace MIC. Makkal Sakti can be an alternative party to address problems of the public which had been overlooked by MIC," he said.

Makkal Sakti could function as a platform to get component Indian parties like the Indian Progressive Front and People's Progressive Party, which refused to cooperate with MIC but which still support the Barisan Nasional, to contribute to the community, Sivamurugan said.

"Indian political parties can cooperate to help the 30% of Indians living below the poverty line. They can help the younger generation get access to job opportunities, educational and welfare aid."

A random survey on Jalan Brickfields and Lebuh Ampang, two shopping areas popular with Indians, yielded similar reactions.

"The MIC had been championing the rights of Indians for a long time but is now disliked as several leaders refuse to allow change in the party.

"The anger of the Indian community is directed at the leadership, not the party," former teacher S. Thiagarajah, 40, said.

M. Alice, 58, hoped the presence of a new party would make MIC leaders and members sit up.

"They have been awakened from their sleep and now realise the importance of support from the Indians. If not, they will forget their responsibility as it is the people who put them there," she said.

Nanthini, 33, an officer in the private sector, said the new party would give the MIC competition, which was good for the party.

S. Tamilmagan, 28, a private sector employee, said: "If a new party can bring the Indians together, why not?"

P. Ganesh, 23, a student at a private college, said the emergence of Makkal Sakti would make MIC leaders realise that the party needed change.

- Bernama (Via)


06 October, 2009

No report on Isa Samad's suspension from Umno, No talk on cow's head please !

At least two Chinese-language dailies have been ordered not to report on Isa Samad's suspension from Umno, after he was found guilty of buying votes during the party polls in 2004, according to Malaysiakini.

… a source in a Chinese daily said the ban prevents any mention of Isa’s suspension in either news reports or commentaries.

“The reason given was that the suspension is a widely known old fact and that Isa has already been punished. As such, it would be best to let the voters to decide for themselves,” said the source.

“BN is also worried that the issue could become another blow to its campaign, given the internal problems between Isa and current Menteri Besar Mohammad Hassan.

Recently, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk T. Murugiah warned the public that anyone bringing up the Shah Alam cow's head incident during the Bagan Pinang election campaign will be detained immediately and could face charges of inciting racial tensions.

Isa, who won the Umno vice-president's post in the 2004 party elections, was found guilty of the charge. His suspension took effect on June 24, 2005.

Umno Disciplinary Board suspended Isa,for two terms or six years after finding him guilty on five of the nine charges of money politics during the 2004 party election.

Isa emerged top for the vice-president's post for the 2004/2007 term, garnering 1,507 votes, ahead of Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Ali Rustam and the then Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (now International Trade and Industry Minister).

Following the guilty verdict, Isa was suspended from all party posts including as Negeri Sembilan Umno chief and Teluk Kemang division head.

Isa's suspension was reduced from six to three years upon his appeal on July 6, 2005.

He resigned as Federal Territory Minister on Oct 17, 2005 following his suspension from Umno.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was against Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad nomination as candidate for the Bagan Pinang state by-election.

He said UMNO's image would be affected because it would be regarded as not being serious in fighting money politics if it chose as candidate those who were already found guilty of political corruption.

"Tan Sri Isa has already been found guilty. If UMNO fields him, it means that UMNO is not serious about such cases.

"Even if he can win there, (we) have to consider what the whole of Malaysia thinks of UMNO," he said.

Meanwhile, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad has reminded the Opposition not to play up his “money-politics” case if he is picked by UMNO-BN to contest the Bagan Pinang by-election.

“Saya tengok, pembangkang keluar penjara pun jadi calon. Ada dalam penjara pun boleh jadi calon. Jadi, apa masalahnya?

“Saya cuma dikenakan tindakan disiplin dan bukan jenayah. Tapi pembangkang, yang dipenjara, didakwa dan masih dalam pendakwaan pun boleh bertanding. Cita-cita besar lagi.... Takkan saya tak boleh?”

- Sinar Harian – Sept 11, 2009


03 October, 2009

Bagan Pinang by-election - No talk on cow's head, but racist books ok ?

Anyone bringing up the Shah Alam cow's head incident during the Bagan Pinang election campaign will be detained immediately and could face charges of inciting racial tensions.

The warning was made by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk T. Murugiah, who said that it applied to Barisan Nasional and the opposition.

"We will assign officers to keep tabs on all ceramah and other activities during the campaign and they will alert the police immediately if the issue is raised."

Murugiah is the deputy minister in charge of the National Unity and Integration Department.

"We want a clean and fair campaign and to ensure no racial or religious issues are raised to incite the people."

Meanwhile, even before the beginning of the official campaign period for the Bagan Pinang by-election, the Pakatan Rakyat received the first blow when books containing various allegations against the coalition's leaders were distributed in the constituency.

The two books were found placed on the windscreen of every car parked along the road in Batu 7 near here, and it is still unclear who was responsible for the distribution.

One book, entitled “Wajah Sebenar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim: Nasib Orang Melayu Selangor” (The Real Face of Tan Sri Ibrahim: The Plight of the Selangor Malays), accused the Selangor mentri besar of sidelining the Malay community in the state.

“They wanted People Supremacy so much after they were fooled by Pakatan Rakyat, and were willing to risk the future of their children,” reads the opening chapter of the 49-page book.

“After ruling the state for 16 months, Pakatan Rakyat led by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has done a lot of things that have disadvantaged the Malays and Islam,” it adds citing, among other things, Selangor's proposal to hold elections for local councils.

“If this happens almost all local councils will be controlled by the Chinese because they live in towns while the Malays live in villages,” said the book.

Another book, also published and written by unknown parties, questioned opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's commitment to the Malay community.

Titled “50 Kemusykilan Tentang Manusia Bernama Anwar Ibrahim” (50 Questions on The Man Called Anwar Ibrahim), it is believed to be inspired by another book, “50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become the Prime Minister”, published 12 years ago and which subsequently caused his downfall from the government.

This latest book accused Anwar of being unhappy with the success of the Malays.

“Anwar accused the NEP as unfair for sidelining the Chinese and the Indians, which means he is not happy to see the Malays becoming as successful as the Chinese,” said the book.


02 October, 2009

Five risks to watch in Malaysia

Oct 2 (Reuters) - Malaysia's ruling United Malays National Organisation holds its annual meeting this month in a turbulent political climate for a coalition that has had 52 years in power.

Following is a summary of key Malaysia risks to watch:


Prime Minister Najib Razak is trying to assert his authority on the ruling coalition and stop the opposition from engineering a change in government. The National Front recorded its worst defeats in last year's general election, losing control in five states and its once iron-clad two-thirds control of parliament. Voters, especially the Chinese and Indian ethnic minorities, abandoned the National Front in favour of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's opposition. The political situation is likely to remain fluid, and the trial of Anwar on renewed sodomy charges will provide a flashpoint. Malaysia's political stability has deteriorated significantly over recent years, and investment will be further damaged if that trend continues.

Key issues to watch:

-- Najib will be looking to retain a state seat in Negeri Sembilan in an Oct. 11 by-election to give him a stronger hand in pushing forward reforms to UMNO at its Oct. 12 annual meeting. A drift away from reform pledges by UMNO, would worry investors.

-- The Malaysian Chinese Association, the second-biggest party in Najib's coalition, holds an extraordinary meeting for a confidence vote on its president on Oct. 10. Divisions in the MCA are a further headache for Najib's efforts to bolster support.


The government has promised further economic reform to attract increased foreign investment. Najib has rolled back elements of a four-decades old Malay affirmative action policy, including relaxing a rule that companies must offer stakes to indigenous ethnic Malays. Despite the moves, Najib is wary of upsetting Malays, a critical vote bank, and treads carefully on economic reform. This may cause him to dilute or abandon his plans as he attempts to remain in power.

Key issues to watch:

-- Government policy announcements. Markets will react negatively if Najib appears to be backing away from reform. Portfolio investors MYFLOW=ECI have pulled out of Malaysia and show few signs of coming back and really want to see reforms being executed rather than just promises.


Race and religion have always been explosive issues in Malaysian politics, and although Najib took power pledging a more inclusive approach to ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, UMNO may cast this approach aside to try to prevent further loss of support amongst its Malay powerbase.

Key issues to watch:

-- If the government tries to woo Muslim voters with more conservative policies based on Islam, investors may be spooked.


Malaysia used to be regarded as one of the region's more reliable countries but worsening corruption and a perceived lack of judicial independence have damaged investment. UMNO's policy of handing out government contracts to what critics say are cronies of the government under a long-entrenched system of patronage within the party has hit Malaysia's competitiveness.

Key issues to watch:

-- How Najib handles the dilemma of bolstering his core support bloc while also cracking down on corruption. Investors are watching to see whether promised reform materialises.


The insurgency in southern Thailand has implications for Malaysia, particularly if it starts to draw more attention and sympathy from Malaysians for the ethnic Malay fighters across the border. A less likely danger is that al Qaeda-linked groups manage to establish a foothold in the area. Key issues to watch:

-- Signs that the insurgency is becoming more of a political issue in Malaysia.

-- Any evidence al Qaeda is gaining traction in the region.

( Source )