Friday, February 29, 2008

Najib understands problems better – Dr M

FORMER Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has a reputation of being a feisty statesman. Today got the rare chance to meet him at his office in Putrajaya — the city that he personally designed — yesterday. He was all smiles and subtlety as he talked about the general election and his nation's political future, but his views are razor-sharp as ever, as Nazry Bahrawi ( found out.


The Barisan Nasional has just released its report card. What are your opinions on its achievements since 2004, when Mr Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's first term as Prime Minister began?

DR M: There are of course a lot of negative things that are not in the report card. For example, lots of money is being lost, the prestige of the nation has gone down and the fact is a lot of people cannot find work or business in the country. They have to go elsewhere.

Which achievements would you take issue with?

Islam Hadhari has caused a lot of confusion. There is only one Islam and now they are told that they are followers of Islam Hadhari or modern Islam as if it is a new religion. With regards to the new development corridors, they are just announcements. Nothing has happened on the ground. The amount of money involved is fantastic. It goes into trillions of ringgit and it will happen over a period of maybe 10 to 20 years. So, these are promises. Anybody can make a promise.

What do you think of the Barisan Nasional (BN) election strategy?

I think it is a good strategy and they will gain a lot of support from the people.


ELECTION 2008: No common goals, so how can they rule, asks Najib - PENDANG: Only the Barisan Nasional can ensure racial harmony and a shared future for all ethnic groups, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday. He told the Siamese community in Kedah the BN was the only coalition practising power-sharing and promoting consensus among the races. He said while the opposition claimed it would fight for the rights of all races, it could not even agree on the same goals and a single manifesto. "The opposition can only make pacts to oppose the BN during elections, but they cannot copy us. They don't have the same direction and cannot agree on policy and ideology. "Pas wants a theocratic Islamic state, DAP wants a secular state, while PKR changes according to the situation. So how can they share power? "They even have different manifestos. Whereas the BN has one manifesto that includes the Siamese community." Najib was speaking at a meet-the-people session at the Titi Akar Siamese temple in Sungai Tiang here. Sungai Tiang is a BN state seat in the Pendang parliamentary constituency, which is held by Pas.

ELECTION 2008: This is not the time for experiments, says PM - KEPALA BATAS: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday said the people should not wager the country's future by trying out the opposition. He said forming the government was a serious business and the people could not afford to "conduct experiments". "It is going to be disastrous if the experiment fails. The risks are just too high. "I hope such calls for the people to experiment with the opposition will not get any support." Abdullah was asked to comment on calls by opposition party leaders for the people to give them a chance, even if it was just for one term, by voting against the Barisan Nasional.

Musim pilihan raya: Mahathir kena main… Akhirnya kenyataan berbentuk sindiran bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad diambil serius oleh pembangkang apabila pembangkang dikatakan menyebar luas rakaman ucapan Dr. Mahathir yang kononnya mengaku menzalimi bekas timbalannya Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Dalam rakaman yang disebarkan itu Dr. Mahathir bukan sahaja mengaku menangkap Anwar tetapi dengan memek muka yang penuh dengan sindiran Dr. Mahathir berkata “saya tangkap saya taruk masuk dalam tahanan”.

Workforce: Estimated hours need to be trued-up for Feb 2008

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US ELECTION 2008: Democrats Bring in $80 Million, With Obama in Lead: Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton both had a record-breaking month of fundraising in February, bringing in more than $80 million combined, but with Mr. Obama again raising significantly more than his opponent. Mr. Obama’s campaign did not release an official estimate of its February fundraising on Thursday. But several major donors estimated it is about $50 million based on their calculations and knowledge of tallies during the month, when on many days the campaign took in as much as $2 million.
The unprecedented sum is sure to make it that much harder for Mr. Obama to agree to accept public financing for the general election and abide by the spending limits that come with it, something he indicated last year he would do if the Republican nominee also signed up for the campaign finance program. Senator
John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has recently hammered Mr. Obama for wavering on the issue. Obama campaign officials said they are still tabulating their final numbers and would only say that their total was “considerably more” than the $35 million that Senator Clinton’s campaign announced Thursday it had raised in February.
“It’s a leap year,” said Bill Burton, a campaign spokesman. “There’s one more day.”

MALAYSIA ELECTION 2008: CANDIDATES GOING ALL OUT WITH SEVEN DAYS LEFT - KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 (Bernama) -- After pacing themselves the past five days, election candidates begun their big push today, hitting states with weekend holidays as fear of flood looms in Kelantan. With just seven days left before the March 8 general election, the momentum is getting fast and furious in the 214 parliamentary and 501 state seats contested amid overcast skies and rain in several states. Political party leaders defending their respective constituencies continued to help fellow comrades, with particular focus on hot seats, especially in Kedah, Kelantan and Penang. Barisan Nasional leaders, led by its chairman and prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badaw, and his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, went for the assault in the east coast. Abdullah flew from his home base in Penang to officiate the ground breaking ceremony for Universiti Malaysia Kelantan campus in Tangok, Bachok, another sign of the federal government''s commitment to develop the state.

Thailand's Thaksin returns home from exile, vows to remain out of politics

Deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra flew home to Thailand after 17 months of self-imposed exile Thursday, kissing the ground at Bangkok airport to an ecstatic welcome from thousands of supporters.
He landed at 9:38 am (0238 GMT), an immigration official said, and quickly left under police escort to the Supreme Court to face corruption charges filed by the military regime that toppled him in a September 2006 coup.
The billionaire businessman flew out of Hong Kong early Thursday saying he would report to authorities as soon as he arrived, and told reporters on Thai Airways flight 603 that the graft charges against him were unfounded.
"My reputation has been tarnished. I have done a lot for my country," said Thaksin, dressed for his homecoming in a smart black suit and white shirt.
"The allegations are made up. They are made to justify the coup."
Thaksin's son was travelling on the flight, along with several businessmen and two footballers with English Premiership football club Manchester City, which Thaksin bought last year.
A cheer rose from the travellers as the plane touched down.
The charismatic entrepreneur emerged from the airport to cheering crowds, and got to his knees to bow and kiss the ground of his home country. Thaksin has spent most his time since the coup living in Britain.

Ex Thai Prime Minister Thaksin arrives home: vows to remain out of politics – Bangkok, 29 February, ( Thailand's former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned to Thailand amidst tight security Thursday morning, ending 17 months of self-imposed exile since the September 2006 military coup that ousted him from the country's leadership. Once stepping on the Thai soil, Thaksin knelt down, placed both his hands on the ground and bowed down. At least 600 policemen were deployed at Suvarnabhumi airport where a large crowd of Thaksin supporters, many of them carrying placards welcoming him back, waited anxiously for his arrival. Repeating his intention to stay out of politics, he announced that he would spend his time back in the country fighting charges against him and restoring his tarnished reputation.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

ELECTION 2008: PM: Economy doing well

JERLUN: Malaysia's 7.3 per cent economic growth in the fourth quarter of last year was unexpected and shows that the people and investors have confidence in the government's policies, the prime minister said.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the higher-than-projected figure meant that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) had achieved an overall 6.3 per cent growth rate for 2007.

Commenting on the figures released by Bank Negara yesterday, Abdullah said growth in the fourth quarter was initially estimated at 6.5 or 6.7 per cent.

"I did not expect the 7.3 per cent growth figure. Our economic performance is an achievement which makes me proud," he said.

Abdullah said many factors contributed to the improved economic performance, mainly increased domestic consumption, higher investment, and government measures to make the public sector more investor and business friendly.
The latter affected the rest of the economy and improved the productivity of businesses and the inflow of investment funds.

"The rakyat, the investors, traders and service operators are having more confidence in us and want to continue their economic relationship with us.

"We will continue to be a government that is private sector-friendly. We will also make the public sector more efficient as these will reduce the cost of business."

Abdullah also said strong domestic consumption had raised the confidence of investors and traders.

He said that other factors which had boosted the economy were growth in the agriculture and services sectors, a stronger ringgit, higher foreign reserves, increased trade volumes, political stability, and the transformation of government-linked companies.

During a meet-the-people session earlier, Abdullah spoke on oil subsidies and rising costs.

He said that while the opposition was using the issue for political mileage, the people should look at the concrete measures the government had taken to ease their expenses through subsidies and other forms of aid, such as reducing the cost of healthcare and education.

In tandem with subsidies, jobs were being created through investments and development of industries, while the new economic corridors were aimed at increasing incomes and diversifying sources of wealth.

"Many of these are projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan which is now being implemented. I hope the Barisan Nasional gets support from the people to continue with these plans," he said.

Present at the meet-the-people session were Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, the BN candidate for the Jerlun parliamentary seat Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, the Kota Siputeh state seat candidate Datuk Abu Hasan Sarif, and Ayer Hitam state seat candidate Datuk Othman Aziz. [source: Elizabeth John and Deborah Loh/NST]

In-fighting, complacency, slow money grind BN machinery into the mud

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 28 -- The Malaysian Insider has been told that BN chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been getting daily briefings on ceramahs, the frequency of house-to-house visits, the visibility of posters and banners, sabotage attempts by disgruntled politicians who did not make the candidates’ list.

What is clear to him and other BN leaders is that the Opposition has stolen a march on the ruling coalition since nomination day on Saturday.

The countryside is a riot of flags belonging to Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and Parti Keadilan Nasional while any visitor to Malaysia could be forgiven for thinking that urban centres are owned by the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

The underdogs appear to be ahead in the ceramah stakes with veterans like DAP’s Lim Kit Siang burning the ground with three speaking engagements a night.

In contrast, some BN candidates have yet to deliver one public address to their constituents.

Feedback obtained by BN headquarters suggests that a combination of complacency, infighting and the lack of meaningful funds reaching the ground have been behind the lackluster performance of the BN machinery.

Interestingly enough, while the BN candidates in Chinese and Indian heavy constituencies are working overtime to blunt the impact of the simmering anger by these two communities toward BN, in Malay-majority areas, where the vote for status quo is more certain, there is less anxiety.

This has translated to an almost cavalier approach to campaigning, with reports of operation rooms working at a pedestrian’s pace.

To wake them out of their stupor, Abdullah will be burning the rubber with visits to the North and East Coast.

ELECTION 2008: Najib: stop bickering

MACHANG: No more sabotage and clannish pride, Datuk Seri Najib Razak told Kelantan Umno leaders and members here yesterday.

The deputy prime minister and deputy Umno leader did not mince words as he exhorted the party faithful to stop the infighting that had hobbled the Barisan Nasional's chances in the past.

Najib said bluntly that subversion and factionalism in the party's ranks had cost it the state in 2004, and had to be scotched for the BN to win Kelantan.

If the BN candidates and their supporters truly wanted a change for the state, he said it would have to start from their hearts.

Najib, however, praised the top state BN leaders for their spirit of co-operation, singling out state BN and Umno liaison chief Datuk Seri Annuar Musa for his willingness to step aside for Deputy Finance Minister and Bachok parliamentary incumbent Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin to become menteri besar should the BN win. Awang Adek will be defending his seat against Pas deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa and contesting the Pas-held Perupok state seat.

"Annuar said he was also willing to act as campaign manager for Awang Adek during the campaign period. This is the spirit of co-operation that we want with the big three all in one boat," he said, referring to the top state leaders who also include Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed. MORE nstonline’s here

ELECTION 2008: BN can't stand to see Kelantan lag behind: PASIR MAS: Kelantanese should not let their fear of change prevent them from enjoying the benefits of development, the Deputy Prime Minister said. Datuk Seri Najib Razak said if the people allowed their worry over the negative impact of development to get the better of them, they would remain stagnant."Kelantan should not use its social ills as a reason to reject development," said Najib."It would be even worse for the poor here as they would remain sidelined with inadequate housing and roads, and the youth will continue to migrate elsewhere in search of jobs," he said.An estimated 300,000 Kelantanese youth are working outside the state. Najib said that the people should give themselves a chance to try out what the Barisan Nasional had to offer if it is allowed to rule the state."Just give us a term and see what we can do in that four or five years. If you still feel that we have not delivered, then you have the power to choose others. Four years is not a long time. But if you remain with Pas, you will get more of the same."

ELECTION 2008: People not gullible, says Abdullah: KUALA KEDAH: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the opposition, devoid of ideas, was resorting to pitting the people against each other in a desperate bid to win support.


PERSONAL ATTACKS ALLOWED IN ISLAM - HADI: BESUT, Feb 27 (Bernama) -- PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said PAS will resort to personal attacks against Barisan Nasional(BN) candidates aimed at garnering support of the people. He said personal attacks were allowed in Islam as with electing leaders who were clean and of noble character. "Islam allows us to make personal attacks. For example, during the time of Prophet Muhammad, a woman came and asked him how to choose a husband. "Muhammad replied: Between a pauper and a basher, marry the pauper. (this shows that women are given the choice to choose their husbands.) "This is only about choosing a husband, not a leader. In choosing a national leader we must find one who is clean and of noble character. In the process, personal attacks are allowed," he said at a PAS ceramah at Kampung Nail, Kuala Besut near here.

ELECTION 2008: Shocking that Hadi could issue character assassination ruling: PM - Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi expressed shock over how the Pas president could issue a ruling allowing its members to engage in character assassination of Barisan Nasional candidates. "I am surprised how a president of an Islamic party can issue a ruling like that,” he said in commenting on reports that Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had issued a ruling allowing party candidates to character assassinate their opponents. "It is totally against our religion. It is amazing that he does not understand this," Abdullah said. Hadi had quoted Quranic verses and claimed they meant it was all right for candidates to reveal the wrongdoings of their opponents to ensure righteousness prevail. Abdullah said Hadi's views clearly showed that although the latter was leading an Islamic party, he was asking the party followers to do something that was wrong.

ELECTION 2008: Hadi using Machiavellian tactics in election campaign: Annuar - Expressing his dismay at Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's greenlighting party candidates to resort to character assassinations, Kelantan BN chief Datuk Annuar Musa said Pas president seemed to be adopting a Machiavellian tactic where the ends justifies the means in order to win the election. "Go ahead, do your worse," he said. Annuar felt that this showed Hadi’s desperation to win that drove him to come up with such views. "I think he (Hadi) is leaning to Machiavelli and not the Sunnah. Most politicians have a tendency to do that when they are so desperate to win, all the don'ts become do's. However, we cannot change the religious tenets to suit the time. If the Quran clearly says that we cannot talk bad or call each other bad names.” However, Annuar said the BN members would not respond in kind to such provocations or engage in name callings. "I've made it very clear from day one that we would not stoop to their level or dance to their tune. We will stick to our campaign," he said.

Pilihan raya medan rakyat menghukum pemimpin - Haron Din: KUALA LUMPUR, 28 Feb (Hrkh) - Timbalan Mursyidul Am PAS, Dato' Dr Haron Din menegaskan Islam membenarkan kempen mendedahkan keburukan calon parti lawan bagi memastikan pemimpin yang dipilih oleh rakyat benar-benar berwibawa serta berkredibiliti. Sebelum itu beliau menyelar sikap pihak akhbar tempatan yang melaporkan kenyataan bercanggah maksud mengumpat yang dinyatakan oleh Presiden PAS, Dato' Seri Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang. "Saya sudah mendengar sebelum itu apa yang Haji Hadi sebut bukan seperti yang dilaporkan dalam utusan Malaysia," katanya. Menurut beliau, orang yang berkempen sama ada Umno atau PAS boleh menyebut keadaan sebenar iaitu keburukan orang yang bakal menjadi pemimpin (calon). Katanya, suasana sekarang kerajaan menjadi satu medan yang akan dihukum oleh rakyat dan perlu menghadapi tuduhan daripada pembangkang.

Dedah keburukan calon dibenarkan, bukannya mengumpat: KUALA LUMPUR, 28 Feb (Hrkh) - Apa yang diketengahkan Presiden PAS, Dato' Seri Tuan Guru Haji Abdul Hadi Awang mengenai pendedahan keburukan pihak lawan itu bukanlah mengumpat dalam konteks memilih pemimpin. Setiausaha Akhbar Presiden, Roslan Shahir Dato' Mohd Shahir, berkata mengumpat itu membawa makna sesuatu yang begitu negatif, sedangkan apa yang dimaksudkan oleh Ustaz Hadi ialah mendedahkan keburukan seseorang yang berasas dan bersandarkan fakta. "Apa yang diketengahkan Presiden bukan mengumpat kerana mengumpat ini satu benda yang sangat negatif. Apa yang dimaksudkan ialah mendedahkan keburukan pemimpin yang berasas seperti contoh Dato' Zakaria Derus yang digugurkan. Kalau dia dicalonkan, takkanlah tak boleh nak ceritakan dia buat rumah RM 8 juta. Itu fakta yang rakyat perlu tahu," jelas beliau dalam sidang akhbar, di Pejabat Agung PAS, hari ini.

Feb 29, 2008:
ELECTION 2008: 'Hadi fatwa against Islamic teachings'
: KEPALA BATAS: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday expressed dismay over the Pas leader's edict allowing party members to vilify political opponents. "I am surprised how a president of an Islamic party can issue a fatwa like that. It is totally against our religion's teachings. It is amazing that he does not understand this," he said. He was asked to comment on reports that Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had issued a fatwa (religious decree) giving the party's candidates permission to engage in character assassination of their adversaries. "Islam allows such action as long as we don't fabricate stories," Hadi was quoted as saying during a ceramah in Kuala Besut, Terengganu, on Tuesday night. Abdullah said Hadi's views showed that although the latter was leading an Islamic party, he was asking the followers to do something wrong. "He has issued all kinds of fatwa previously. It looks like he is very hardworking when it comes to issuing fatwa."

Malaysia's Islamic opposition blasted for permitting personal attacks in campaign: KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's main Muslim opposition party is allowing its members to make personal attacks against rivals while campaigning for next week's general election, party officials said Friday, despite the government's contention that Islam forbids such tactics. The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, told its candidates earlier this week that they can make public accusations about an opponents' misbehavior or personal flaws "based on facts," party secretary general Kamarudin Jaffar said. "We are all politicians. We are open to scrutiny by the public," Kamarudin said. "There are clear characteristics for (Muslim) leaders ... to live a clean life." Kamarudin did not say what specific leaders or officials might be targeted with personal attacks, but the party has often accused Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and other government leaders of being corrupt and immoral.

March 1, 2008:
MUSLIMS ADVISED TO BE WARY OF PAS' EDICTS:JERTIH, Feb 29 (Bernama) -- Be wary of the ''fatwa'' (religious edicts) issued by PAS leaders, as they are merely to fish for votes in the run-up to the March 8 general election. This advice comes from Minister in the Prime Minister''s Department, Datuk Dr Abdullah Md Zin who noted that PAS had also issued such edicts in previous general elections. He said the ''fatwa'' like allowing Muslims to indulge in character assassination, and that it was sinful for them to vote for Barisan Nasional (BN), should be corrected. "Actually, PAS has run out of issues," he told reporters after a meeting with the Chinese community at the Jertih MCA office here today. Abdullah said this when asked to comment on the ''fatwa'' issued by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, allowing PAS candidates to indulge in character assassination in this general election.

'Mengumpat Calon': Contoh Terbaik - Membaca akhbar Utusan Malaysia kita akan menatap berita muka hadapan mengenai Presiden Pas, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang yang dikatakan mengeluarkan ‘fatwa’ membenarkan semua calon Pas yang bertanding mengumpat, membuat tuduhan serta mendedahkan keburukan lawan masing-masing. Beliau dilaporkan berkata, Islam membenarkan tindakan tersebut kerana urusan memilih pemimpin merupakan satu perkara yang amat besar selain menepati sistem demokrasi moden.Untuk mereka yang belajar ilmu hadis sampai ke tahap PhD, mereka pasti perlu melalui satu disiplin ilmu yang hebat. Ilmu tersebut dinamai ahlu'l jarh wa ta'dil. Ilmu ini adalah sejenis ilmu yang bertujuan untuk menyiasat perawi hadis apakah mereka ini adil, atau pandai berbohong. Penelitian ulama dalamahlu'l jarh wa ta'dil membolehkan ulama silam menyusun sunan sittah yang merangkumi kitab hadis Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidzi, Nasa'ei, Abu Dawud dan Ibn Majah. Cabang ilmu yang membolehkan ulama ini mengumpat, menggunjing dan menyiasat dengan tujuan kebaikan (bukanlah tujuan untuk tak pasal-pasal mengumpat) ini pula banyak. Di bawah ilm ahlu'l jarh wa ta'dil sahaja kita akan menemui penelitian tentang cacat atau lurusnya seseorang calon perawi itu (Ibnu Abi Hatim ar Razi dikatakan ahli dalam cabang ini); penelitian samada calon perawi itu jujur atau tidak (Syamsuddin az Dzhabi ahli dalam cabang ini); penelitian kata-katanya apakah ada kontradiksi atau tidak (Ibn hajar al-Asqalani adalah contoh ahli dalam disiplin ini); penelitian terhadap kata-kata mutiara buatan (ahli dalam bidang ini ialah Jalaluddin as Suyuthi); juga penelitian tarikh lahir dan tarikh mati perawi supaya dapat dipastikan mereka benar-benar pernah 'berguru' serta tidak putus link (ahli dalam bidang ini ialah Ibnu Khalikan); dan ramai lagi. Pendek kata mereka memang menyelongkar dan membongkar peribadi calon. Tetapi niat dan matlamat akhir itu baik yakni untuk menyelamatkan umat dari salah pilih.Selepas meneliti calon perawi itu; mereka akan mengecap, melabel, dan merumuskan apakah mereka itu thiqah (boleh dipercayai), zindiq (atheis), syarib al khumur (peminum arak), kadzib (pembohong) dan pelbagai lagi. Senarai mereka panjang.Satu contoh yang paling menarik ialah bagaimana para ulama bidang ini (ahlu'l jarh wa ta'dil) menghakimi dan mengumpat seorang 'perawi' bernama Saif bin Umar.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sex, murder and corruption: Malaysia's ruling coalition dodges scandals in election campaign

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A close associate of the deputy prime minister allegedly orders the murder of a beautiful foreigner. The health minister is filmed having extramarital sex. A politically connected lawyer is accused of brokering top judicial appointments.

A string of scandals features heavily in the opposition's campaign for Malaysia's parliamentary election on March 8.

"It's not that we want to capitalize unnecessarily on these issues, but it's our moral duty to bring them out in our campaign to show that the government is rotten," said Hatta Ramli, an official in the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

The ruling National Front coalition is widely expected to win, but with a smaller majority than its landslide victory in 2004. The scandals are not the main factor, but they may be adding to voter discontent with the status quo.

"I think everything that has been made public is only the tip of the iceberg," said Voon Chin Joo, a 28-year-old information technology consultant. "My vote will be for the opposition because I want to see all the other scandals exposed."

But, analysts say, most voters are more focused on issues that affect their lives, such as inflation, crime and rising racial and religious tensions.

"Malaysians have a short memory," said Tricia Yeoh, a senior researcher at the Center for Public Policy Studies, a Malaysian think tank. "These scandals may contribute to some people's perception that Malaysia is in a mess, but they wouldn't drastically change voting patterns."

The government's first headache emerged with the slaying of Altantuya Shaariibuu in late 2006. Abdul Razak Baginda, a close associate of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, was charged with abetting the murder of the Mongolian interpreter, with whom he had had an affair.

Opposition parties worked feverishly to link Najib to the killing, in which two policemen allegedly used explosives to destroy Shaariibuu's remains in a jungle clearing in October 2006. But the opposition failed to come up with evidence to substantiate its claim that Najib had a hand in the killing.

The government has moved quickly to deal with the unusual spate of pre-election scandals.

READ AP’s article via Yahoo! News here and Malaysia-Today here

Najib dismisses DAP's manifesto as hollow and irresponsible

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has dismissed the DAP's election manifesto as hollow and full of irresponsible promises. "It is a typical work of the opposition," the Deputy Prime Minister said after a meet-the-people gathering at the DRB-Hicom plant here today.

"Unlike them, whenever we make any promise, we would do so with responsibility and based it on capability of the government. Anyone can make this and that promise but bear in mind that it must be done based on real capabilities."

The DAP's manifesto, among others, promises a bonus of up to RM6,000 per family for households earning RM6,000 or less per annum if the party wins the election. The party rationalised that the expected RM35 billion annual expenditure to be paid for the bonus would come from the income of national oil corporation Petronas which averaged at about RM70 billion per year.

Najib said DAP resorted to such promises because they know they could never form the next government and also changed its tune from forming a government to denying BN two-thirds majority in Parliament. MORE NST'S HERE, AND HERE

DAP challenges Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to a public debate on DAP’s proposed RM 35 billion fiscal stimulus plan granting an annual bonus of RM 6,000/- for working families earning less than RM 6,000 per month (and not earning RM 6,000 a year as reported in the New Straits Times).

ELECTION 2008: RM6,000 bonus part of long-term policy, says DAP: GEORGE TOWN: The DAP said its promise of a RM6,000 bonus per family for households earning RM6,000 or less a year is part of the party's long -term policy and vision. Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said this when he was asked why the party was making such a promise even though it had conceded that the Barisan Nasional would win the general election. Lim said the RM35 billion bonus promised in the party's manifesto unveiled on Monday was a superior and effective policy which could solve the country's economic problem in the long run. "Yes, we are not going to win in this election, but does it mean we are going to lose in other elections? As a political party, we have our own vision. We are presenting a vision of nation-building and good governance," he said after unveiling the state's manifesto, entitled "A Dynamic Penang for All" yesterday. Lim said the RM35 billion fiscal stimulus could help ease the financial burden of households earning less than RM6,000 a year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Woodgate winner signals Spurs' new dawn

Woodgate winner signals Spurs' new dawn
By Henry Winter at Wembley Stadium
Last Updated: 10:11am GMT 25/02/2008
Page 1 of 2
Have your say Read comments
Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1 Chelsea (1) 1 Aet 2-1
Jonathan Woodgate should be able to climb on to the London property ladder now. In the house of the rising sums, the £757 million Wembley residence that is the symbol of an exorbitant market that has so shocked Woodgate, the new arrival from Middlesbrough surely earned the deposit for a 'des res' in the capital.
· Alan Smith: Robinson vindicates Ramos
· Alan Hansen: Spurs show their mettle but Grant's is rusty
· Tottenham v Chelsea player ratings In pics: Spurs lift the Carling Cup
Woodgate certainly bought a place in history yesterday.
Having surprised many with his comments about how even wealthy footballers found London expensive, Woodgate will not be short of offers of spare rooms in the Tottenham area. Goals pay the rent and match-winning headers like Woodgate's are priceless.
To Woodgate the spoils, to Avram Grant the brickbats. Like a profligate heir, Grant has now squandered half the family silver he inherited from Jose Mourinho. Like a startled fawn, Chelsea's manager failed to react when the team cried out for guidance, for inspiration. Steve Clarke delivered the rallying cry before extra-time. Grant listened.
A manager who never lost a cup final in England, Mourinho would have raged against the dying of the light, exhorting his players to find something extra, enacting one of his substitute master-strokes to vary Chelsea's danger. The Blues' huge army of support, who became so used to trophies under Mourinho, deserve better than Grant. MORE

KeADILan Manifesto 2008: A New Dawn For Malaysia

KeADILan Manifesto 2008: A New Dawn For Malaysia - Petaling JayaFebruary 26, 2008: Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah, President, Parti KeADILan Rakyat announced the party’s Manifesto entitled ”A New Dawn for Malaysia” at a press conference in Petaling Jaya this afternoon (February 26, 2008). Also present were Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim,de facto Party leader, and Dr. Syed Hussin Ali, Deputy President. She said that the Manifesto”encapsulates KeADILan’s vision for putting Malaysia back on track. It describes how we will build a nation that reflects the true potential, talent and calibre of the Malaysian people. It centres on five central positions that the Party believes are key to start the healing process in the country”.

Pelancaran Manifesto KeADILan - DSAI bersama dengan Presiden Dr. Wan Azizah hari ini melancarkan Manifesto KeADILan 2008 - Harapan Baru Untuk Malaysia di pejabatnya di Petaling Jaya. Turut hadir adalah Timbalan Presiden Dr. Syed Husin Ali, Naib Presiden Sivarasa Rasiah dan Ketua Penerangan Tian Chua. Versi cetak akan dimuat naik dalam masa terdekat. Buat sekarang, manifesto tersebut boleh dibaca dalam di laman web KeADILan - Versi Bahasa Malaysia , Bahasa Inggeris , Bahasa Cina dan Bahasa Tamil.

ELECTION 2008: PKR's 5-point manifesto promises RM1,500 minimum wage: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) unveiled today a five-point manifesto themed A New Dawn for Malaysia, including the promise for a minimum wage of RM1,500. - The party pledged to: Make Malaysia a truly constitutional state, guaranteeing basic human rights, rule of law and an independent judiciary; Create a vibrant economy, eliminatingn discriminative policies, corruption and wastage; Make streets andn neighbourhoods safer through creating a professional and neutral police force; Make Malaysia more affordable by lowering petrol prices, ensuringn tolls and tariffs will never be raised unreasonably; and, Increase then standard of Malaysian education, including higher salaries for educators. The manifesto was launched by de factor leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at his office today. Also present was president and wife Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and other central committee members. Anwar was confident that the manifesto can stand up against Barisan Nasional’s manifesto. “Unlike the BN’s feel good blanket, the PKR proposed policies that actually address real issues,” he said. “BN policies is much a do with nothing.”

Malaysia's Anwar vows to dismantle race policies: Malaysia's opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim vowed Tuesday to end race-based discrimination policies, lower fuel prices and fight corruption in a policy manifesto ahead of March 8 polls.
Anwar, who was deputy prime minister until being sacked and jailed in 1998, said long-running policies favouring majority Malays had only benefited cronies of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).
"The New Economic Policy has been abused to enrich the family of UMNO leaders and their cronies," said Anwar who is campaigning for the Keadilan formally led by his wife. "If you really want to deal with the issue of poverty, why can't we just say we have an affirmative action policy helping the poor and the marginalised. It should not be racially based."
Malaysia has pursued an affirmative action program for Malays and indigenous groups known as "bumiputras" since the 1970s to close a wealth gap with the minority Chinese community.
However, it has been criticised for failing to pull a large number of Muslim Malays out of poverty, and of ignoring the minority ethnic Indian community, which is also disadvantaged.
The manifesto entitled "A New Dawn for Malaysia," centred on battling rising inflation, which has triggered public anger and rare public protests as the prices of food and fuel edge higher.

ELECTION 2008: PM unveils BN manifesto of security, peace and prosperity

ELECTION 2008: PM unveils BN manifesto of security, peace and prosperity : Security, Peace and Prosperity. That is what the Barisan Nasional is offering Malaysians in the next five years as outlined by BN chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in a 24-page manifesto launched today at the Putra World Trade Centre. The manifesto emphasised the Barisan Nasional plan in eight areas over the next five years: economy, balanced development, education, law and order, public services, reducing corruption and improving governance, religion and unity; and foreign policy.The manifesto not only underlines what the BN hoped to achieve but also what it had accomplished under Abdullah’s leadership since the 2004 polls. In the manifesto preface, Abdullah said strong economic management and a commitment to ensure no one will be left behind have put Malaysia on a solid footing.“Our economy grew by 6.3 percent in 2007 the best it had performed since 2004, our fiscal deficit was brought down to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product, international trade crossed the RM1 trillion mark, some 1.3 million job opportunities were created, our stock market hit historic highs and five strategic corridor developments were launched,” he said.Abdullah said the BN government had brought down poverty rates significantly, closed the urban-rural gap and ensured a good quality of life for the lower income groups. These targets were achieved during challenging times, with global oil and food prices at record level. Rising oil prices and other significant international events could affect the domestic economic landscape.
“But we stand ready to anticipate, preempt and take measures to safeguard the well-being of the people, whatever the challenge,” he said. “The confidence is borne out of the fact that the Barisan Nasional I lead is tried and tested. We understand the needs of the people and have delivered on our promises over the years.”

ELECTION 2008: A vote for peace and prosperity, says PM Abdullah: KUALA LUMPUR: Security, peace and prosperity. That is what the Barisan Nasional is offering Malaysians in the next five years. BN chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi outlined the coalition's programme in a 24-page manifesto, launched yesterday at the Putra World Trade Centre. Unlike previous BN manifestos, the document outlined the progress Malaysia had achieved under the Barisan Nasional since its last mandate in 2004. These include sustainable broad-based growth, narrowing income gaps and reducing hardcore poverty.

ELECTION 2008: BN launches official campaign website - Barisan Nasional’s election campaign has extended into cyberspace with the launch of its official campaign website at unveiled on the same day as the BN manifesto yesterday. It is aimed at presenting the government’s achievements and progress as well as countering the Opposition’s allegations.

Malaysian govt targets inflation anger in manifesto: Malaysia's ruling coalition touted its economic credentials in a policy manifesto launched Monday ahead of March 8 polls, in a bid to ease public anger over rising prices of food and fuel. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whose leads the Barisan Nasional multi-ethnic coalition, acknowledged unhappiness over the government's plans to dismantle fuel subsidies that are draining state coffers. "When oil prices go up, we must have an action plan to reduce the burden of the people," he told hundreds of cheering party faithful. "We want to ensure that the people do not suffer."
The manifesto, entitled "Security, peace and prosperity," also dealt with issues including rising crime rates and ethnic tensions, which are expected to reduce the government's thumping majority at the general elections. Barisan Nasional claimed 90 percent of parliamentary seats in 2004 polls but the opposition is hoping the gripes will take the coalition's majority below two-thirds for the first time in the nation's history. Abdullah derided a loose pact between the opposition parties, who will field just one candidate against the government in each seat, as an "alliance of convenience". "They cannot convince the people, they have a sharp divergence in their ideologies. People do not believe they can bring development," he said.

The Exile: The Jews of Bani Nadir & Co. – take warning O ye with eyes!

After the battle of Badr, the Jews of Bani Nadir accepted the fact that the Holy Prophet was the messenger of Allah whose advent has been clearly mentioned in their scripture and made a pledge not to help or abet the enemies of Islam.

The hypocrites had sympathized with the Jews of Bani Nadir, whose opposition had grown strong since the Muslim reverse at Uhad (when many well-known companions had fled), and had promised to side with them if it came to a collision with the Muslims; and to emigrate with them if they were forced to emigrate.

When the Holy Prophet visited their habitation to conduct an inquiry concerning of killing of some Muslims, they tried to kill him. Then, because of their treason and projected murder of the Holy Prophet, they were asked to leave the strategic position which they occupied, about 3 miles south of Madina, endangering the very existence of the Muslims:
  • At first they disagreed, relying on their fortresses and their secret alliances with the pagans of Makka and the hypocrites among the Muslims.

  • When the Muslims marched against the Bani Nadir and besieged them while they were in their strong towers, the hypocrites did nothing; and when at length they were exiled, the hypocrites did not go with them into exile.

  • Some (of the Bani Nadir) went to Syria and some joined their brethren in Khaybar.
The Bani Nadir deserved punishment for treason and projected murder of the Holy Prophet, but their lives were spared, and they were allowed to carry away their goods and chattels.

“It is He Who got out the Unbelievers among the People of the Book from their homes at the first exile (of the forces). Little did ye think that they would get out: And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But the (Wrath of) Allah came to them from quarters from which they little expected (it), and cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their dwellings by their own hands and the hands of the Believers, take warning, then, O ye with eyes (to see)!” [59:al-hasyr,the exile:2]

Monday, February 25, 2008

Anwar's wife to help him return to office in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24, 2008 (AFP) - The wife of Malaysian political dissident Anwar Ibrahim said Sunday she will give up her parliamentary seat to make way for her husband's return to public office, state media reported.

The opposition Keadilan party president, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, will defend her parliamentary seat in Permatang Pauh in northern Penang state in the upcoming March 8 polls.

Anwar was sacked and jailed for corruption in 1998 and cannot stand for office until April this year, but he could return to parliament by running for any Keadilan-held seat in a by-election after the ban expires.

"If I win, I will make way for my husband to contest for this seat in a by-election after the ban under the law, which bars him from contesting until this April, ends," she was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Wan Azizah has held the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in Anwar's homestate of Penang since 1999. Anwar has said he aims to return to parliament by contesting a by-election in a Keadilan-held seat after April.

Wan Azizah is Keadilan's only lawmaker in parliament, after the party, which had previously held five seats, suffered a setback in 2004 polls.

Keadilan will contest about 100 of the 222 parliamentary seats, its strongest effort so far as it aims to deprive the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government coalition of its two-thirds majority.

Anwar's eldest daughter, 27-year-old Nurul Izzah Anwar, will contest the elections for the first time, going for the seat representing the urban Lembah Pantai constituency in central Selangor state.

Anwar was a highly regarded finance minister and deputy premier before being sacked by then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1998. He was jailed on corruption and sodomy charges, which he said were politically motivated.

The sex charge was overturned but the corruption conviction still stands, and Anwar has accused the government of timing the March polls in order to stall his return to politics.

ELECTION 2008: Najib hits out at Anwar's post-election bid to become MP - The general election is for the people to determine the course of the country’s future and not a stage for individuals to promote their political careers, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.
He was referring to the contests for Permatang Pauh and Lembah Pantai, whose opposition candidates have declared their willingness to step down in favour of Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim if they win.
The seats are being contested by Anwar’s wife, PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, and their daughter, Nurul Izzah, respectively.
“These elections are not about any individual,” Najib said today after inspecting the Barisan Nasional election machinery here, where he is contesting to retain the seat.
“We must instead see these elections as an opportunity where every voter is given the right, according to the Constitution, to choose which party should set up the government, “ he said. “This should be the main consideration of the voters, particularly those in Lembah Pantai and Permatang Pauh. It should not have anything to do with any personality.”

Feb 26, 2008:
ELECTION 2008: Anwar still determined to make a comeback: One way or another, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is determined to make a political comeback. Alleging he has been denied the right to contest in this general election, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor announced yesterday he would make a grand return to the parliament via a by-election.
Anwar is serving a ban from holding political office due to his jail sentence after he was convicted on corruption charges. The ban ends on April 14.
PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Ismail was recently reported as saying she would gladly vacate her Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, if she wins again for the third time, to make way for her husband.
At the launch of PKR’s manifesto at his office here, Anwar said that besides his wife, others who agreed to step down for him were his daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar and the party’s information chief Tian Chua.
Nurul Izzah and Tian Chua are facing an uphill task against incumbent Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and newcomer Lim Si Pin, respectively for the Lembah Pantai and Batu parliamentary seats.
Denying accusation of nepotism, Anwar said his wife and daughter were not contesting for his sake. “They are contesting for the party on the party’s platform and my eventual ascension into politics via a by-election is something that has been agreed upon by party leaders,” he said.

P85: Najib faces Malacca union officer in Pekan

PEKAN: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is being challenged by a young first-timer from Parti Keadilan Rakyat here in what will probably be one of the most lopsided contests this general election.

Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainuddin, a 31-year-old education officer of the Peninsular Malaysia Carpentry Workers' Congress, is neither a local nor a resident here.

Khairul, who hails from Masjid Tanah, Malacca, admitted that he had only visited Pekan several times previously to meet union members.

Najib, asked on the opposition's choice of candidate, said he was treating his young rival just like his opponents in previous elections.

"It is okay. It is a normal thing as I have faced all sorts of candidates. Some were young, others old."
This general election will be Najib's eighth as a candidate here.

He first became a wakil rakyat after winning uncontested in a by-election in 1976, following the death of his father, second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the member of parliament for Pekan. Najib defended the seat in 2004 by beating Pas' Datuk Zakaria Dahlan by a majority of 22,922 votes.

On BN winning several constituencies uncontested yesterday, he said [CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY]

P121: Puteri Reformasi’s induction of fire at Lembah Pantai

On the eve of Nomination Day, Nurul Izzah Anwar, the PKR parliamentary candidate for Lembah Pantai, reflected on how much she was a figure tossed on the rapids of history and how much her candidacy was due to self-propulsion.

Understandably, this 27-year-old eldest child of reformasi icon Anwar Ibrahim, found it difficult, in the rush of eleventh hour preparations for her electoral campaign, to attain a zone of visibility as far as the past was concerned.

Nine years ago, Nurul was preparing to go off to Petronas University in Tronoh, Perak for a course in engineering when history bore down on her - her father, the deputy prime minister, was sacked and dragged through a legal and political maelstrom whose reverberations are still being felt.

Of a sudden a pre-university student on the threshold of entry into the world of academic theory was catapulted into the university of hard knocks where you learn from a succession of experiences.

“It was hard for me to make much sense of things as they happened,” she said in an interview with Malaysiakini before hurrying off to a meeting with campaign aides. MORE DINMERICAN’S HERE

Election 2008: Shahrizat: Age won't count in contest for Lembah Pantai - KUALA LUMPUR: Any suggestion that age will be a factor in the battle for the Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat was dismissed by incumbent MP Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil after nominations closed yesterday. "The beautiful thing about the Barisan Nasional is we don't age," said the Wanita Umno deputy head. "We are constantly on the go, we are on the ground and we know what the needs of the people are. So for us, it is not about the age but our performance as MPs." It was a point that arose in view of her main challenger for the seat, Nurul Izzah Anwar, eldest child of former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, now de facto leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat. Nurul Izzah seemed eager on her debut in electoral politics, speaking passionately on strategies and issues she wished to work on in the constituency. However, Anwar, who accompanied his daughter to the nomination centre at the Bangsar sports complex, intimated to reporters that Nurul Izzah was standing as his proxy, and would give way to him once he was eligible to stand for election again. Commenting on her father's statement, Nurul Izzah said: "I am representing the people of Lembah Pantai and if they themselves would like him to represent them, that will be decided later." Born and bred in Lembah Pantai, the 27-year-old Nurul Izzah, whose first child was born last September, is keen to garner support from young voters. Shahrizat, going for a fourth term, is unfazed. "We have no problems relating to the young," she said. "We know when to re-energise ourselves and when to improve on our mission and vision. So for me, in Lembah Pantai, age is not a criterion at all."

Feb 27, 2008:
ELECTION 2008: 'Opposition thinks it is so easy' - Since 1995, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil had battled big names in ensuring she remains the wakil rakyat. They include former Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas, contesting under the Semangat 46 banner, former Parti Keadilan Rakyat strong man, lawyer Zainur Zakaria and the now-defunct Parti Rakyat Malaysia's secretary-general, Sanusi Osman. She has taken all these battles in stride and is preparing to face yet another -- this time from PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar, 27, daughter of PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and its de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Shahrizat thinks the big guns are attracted not by the personality but rather the constituency. "It is the 'kawasan' (area). I have been blessed to be at Lembah Pantai. It is a microcosm of Malaysia," she said. She believes the opposition think that it is easy to influence the voters here. The area consists of Malays (54.5 per cent), Chinese (27.6), Indians (18.2) and others (1). Shahrizat said during an election the opposition would come over and incite the voters and once the election was over, they would leave."They promise all sorts of things that they cannot deliver. I have to pick up the pieces. I pening kepala lah (I get a headache). "The people here are my family. If they are not happy, they tell me. I have a comfortable relationship with them."

Feb 28, 2008:
Anwar's daughter steps into political wilderness: (Reuters) - The eldest daughter of Malaysia's opposition leader is making her electoral debut in next month's election that could make or break her family's political future. Nurul Izzah Anwar, a 27-year-old who has just given birth, has joined her mother to fight the government in the March 8 poll many say could be Anwar Ibrahim's last hurrah if his party loses badly.

Pilihanraya : Kisah Payung & Kotak – amatilah!

Di Malaysia di musim pilihanraya, memang banyak payung & kotak di tepi jalan dan ada pula ceritera suasana yang panas tentangnya. Begitu juga di Australia di musim pilihanraya, memang banyak payung & kotak di tepi jalan tapi di sana, di barat, ada kisah pencerahan yang cukup menarik tentangnya --- tentang suasana pilihanraya, payung & kotak di tepi jalan. Menelaahlah kisahnya berdasarkan pengalaman & pengamatan penulisnya di sana, di Australia, moga ianya bisa mencerahkan suasana di sini, di Malaysia. - ed.

Sehingga ke hari ini, sering aku teringat kepada sekaki payung besar yang terpacak di tepi jalan. Di bawahnya ada sebuah kotak di atas meja. Ia terletak di luar pagar Ironside State (Primary) School, St Lucia, Brisbane, Australia, di tepi jalan laluan seharian aku dari rumah ke kuliah di University of Queensland, sekitar tahun 1985. Walaupun lebih 20 tahun telah berlalu dan telah banyak negara serta kejadian yang aku tempuhi selepas itu, namun bila duduk-duduk sendiri merenung nasib umat kita di Dunia Ketiga ini, payung dan kotak di tepi jalan itu juga yang kembali menjelma dan mengisi ruang fikiran. “Ambillah iktibar walau (wahai –ed.) orang-orang yang mempunyai penglihatan” (Al-Hasyr:2).

Kotak itu adalah salah satu peti undi semasa Pilihanraya Umum di Queensland, Australia ketika itu. Hanya seorang duduk menjaganya. Terletak di tepi jalan supaya mudah pengundi yang memandu atau lalu lalang di situ untuk membuang undi. Di antara mereka yang singgah mengundi di kotak itu, ada yang pulang dari membeli belah di kedai-kedai berhampiran. Hari itu tenang, setenang hari-hari lain sepanjang musim Pilihanraya tanpa perhimpunan, ceramah apatah lagi buuu membuuu, penyelewengan atau penipuan. Begitulah suasana musim Pilihanraya Umum yang pernah aku saksikan sendiri di sana. Peralihan atau pertukaran parti yang akan memerintah sudah menjadi lumrah mereka, menuju kepada pentadbiran oleh kerajaan baru yang lebih layak dan akan lebih memberikan menfaat kepada Pengundi.

Setiap 4 tahun rakyat ditabal menjadi Hakim Negara dalam Mahkamah Pilihanraya. Hasilnya, rasuah dan penyelewengan wang rakyat sangat jarang kedengaran. AMATILAH PILIHANRAYA DI SINI

Hood: Congrats!

The amazing thing about your nature, dear Hood, is that, like a good politician, you have just the right tone of voice and catch phrases for every situation.

You can put on your smile and charm, and talk your way out of just about any pickle you get yourself into.

Embrace this incredible gift at all times, but just make sure that your overall goals are noble as opposed to self-centered or vengeful.

Wish you all the best!

- ghutghut

Sunday, February 24, 2008

P41: PM Abdullah In Straight Fight With PAS Candidate [In Kepala Batas]

PENANG, Feb 24 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is in a straight fight with a Pas candidate in defending his Kepala Batas parliamentary seat in the March 8 general election.

His opponent is independent missionary Subri Mohd Arshad, who in the 2004 general election lost to the Barisan Nasional's (BN) Datuk Azhar Ibrahim in the Penaga state seat within the Kepala Batas parliamentary constituency.

For Abdullah, who is BN chairman, this is the eighth time he is seeking re-election to the seat he has held since the 1978 general election.In the 2004 polls, Abdullah defeated by 18,122 votes Pas committee member Abdul Khalid Rasid who had been his opponent since the 1999 election.

Abdullah, leading… MORE BERNAMA'S HERE

UNDI INFO: PENANG: P41 – Kepala Batas

Malaysian PM Abdullah hopes to get two-thirds majority in parliament - SINGAPORE: Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi faces what is likely to be one of the most hotly contested elections in Malaysia's recent history, and he hopes to get two-thirds majority in parliament. Analysts say with anything less, the prime minister might face pressure from his party to step down. Four years ago, Mr Abdullah led the ruling coalition to a record election win. This time his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads the coalition, is intent on claiming the only state left in opposition hands. Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) holds Kelantan by just a one-seat majority, and a victory there would be a huge morale boost for Prime Minister Abdullah. Ooi Kee Beng, a fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said: "I think if I were Abdullah, at this point in time I would want to go down in history as the UMNO leader that got Kelantan back."

Malaysia's former DPM Anwar remains a force on the sidelines - SINGAPORE: Malaysia's former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, has been banned from running in any election until April this year, but he remains a force on the sidelines that the ruling coalition has to contend with.

Malaysia's political parties kick off election campaign, ruling party expected to win easily

KEPALA BATAS, Malaysia - Malaysia's political parties formally started campaigning Sunday for general elections with fractious opposition groups joining forces in a bid to deprive the ruling coalition of a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Hundreds of political heavy-hitters and first-time aspirants filed their nomination papers to contest 222 parliamentary constituencies and 505 state legislature seats. The process officially marked the start of a 13-day campaigning period ahead of the March 8 ballot.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was among the first to file his papers for the ruling National Front coalition in his traditional stronghold of Kepala Batas in northern Penang state.

Abdullah urged voters not to be swayed by the opposition, saying "their obsession is they want to deny the (government) the full support of the people."

More than 1,000 government loyalists thronged the nomination center to support Abdullah against a challenger from the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS. MORE YAHOO!'S HERE

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Malaysian election reform activists threaten mass rally

Malaysian activists have accused electoral authorities of dirty tricks ahead of March 8 polls and are threatening to hold a mass rally in Kuala Lumpur in protest.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) which last November gathered some 30,000 people in the capital to demand reforms, slammed last-minute changes to electoral rules ahead of nomination day Sunday.

They said that opposition candidates, particularly in northern states where Friday and Saturday are holidays, could be disqualified by a rule announced Thursday that they must pay stamp duty on their applications to contest.

"How are opposition candidates in states like Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu supposed to get the stamps especially when Friday and Saturday is the weekend here?" BERSIH organiser Mohammad Sabu told a crowd of 5,000 supporters.

If opposition candidates are disqualified over the issue, "we will get half a million people in KL for several days," he told a rally in northeastern Terengganu state late Friday. MORE HERE

Malaysia's PAS warns of tension ahead of polls: MALAYSIA's Islamic opposition party has warned its supporters could 'run amok' if the election authorities block its candidates from standing in next month's general election. Saying that Malaysia should avoid post-election violence that gripped Kenya, leaders of Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) told a rally late on Friday that the March 8 election could turn into one of the country's dirtiest. 'We anticipate this election will not be free and fair,' party leader Syed Azman Syed Ahmad told the 5,000-strong rally in Kuala Terengganu, the northeastern city that saw a violent anti-government protest last September

Peraturan baru SPR boleh kecohkan hari penamaan calon: Belum pun hari penamaan calon, wibawa Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) khususnya Pengerusi badan tersebut, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman dipertikaikan parti-parti pembangkang. Malah peraturan baru yang dikuatkuasakan pada saat-saat akhir hari penamaan calon bakal menimbulkan kekecohan pada hari penamaan calon, kata Pengerusi Lajnah Guaman dan Undang-Undang PAS Pusat, Mohamed Hanipa Maidin. Ini ekoran arahan yang diterima daripada SPR pada Khamis, 21 Februari lalu agar Surat Akuan Berkanun, Borang 5 (bagi Parlimen) dan 5A (bagi Dewan Undangan Negeri) perlu disertakan dengan stem duti.

ELECTION 2008: Stamp duty requirement in accordance with law, says Commission: The stamp duty requirement for candidates’ statutory declarations for the March 8 general election is in accordance with the law, EC secretary Datuk Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor said. It was not implemented to create problems for the candidates, he said in response to a claim that the move was an attempt to disqualify the opposition parties candidates.Kamaruzaman said that the EC has obtained legal advice concerning the implementation on Thursday and has informed all the parties on the same day.

P5: Dr M yes to Mukhriz contesting but no to campaigning

Former prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave his son his blessing to contest in the general election but will not campaign for him.

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has been nominated as the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Jerlun parliamentary seat in Kedah.

“My advice to him is to be serious and work hard,” Dr Mahathir said after launching the National Educational Guide for Youth Seminar 2008 at the International Islamic University in Gombak.

“If the people want to choose him, then they will choose him. I have no say on his nomination. It is up to the party leadership to decide,” he said, adding that the BN would win the general election.

“I am not sure if the BN will win with a big or small majority. But win, that’s for sure.”

He said pre-election tussles in Umno were a regular occurrence. “The main thing is how to resolve them,” he said.

Feb 25, 2008:
Dr M not campaigning - JERLUN: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will not be going around the country campaigning for the Barisan Nasional as he did last year. He won't even be on the trail in Kedah. If at all, he'll be focusing his attention on Jerlun, where his son Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is a candidate for the parliamentary seat.

P131: 'My focus is Rembau people'

"This is the place for me."

Those were the first words deputy Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said when he was named as the candidate for the Rembau parliamentary seat.

Khairy, whose late father was from Negri Sembilan, said:

"If I was given other places, I would not have contested in the election. My focus is the people of Rembau," said Khairy, 32, who is also the BN Youth deputy chairman and Rembau Umno Youth chief.

Khairy, who appeared a little overcome, said he was touched and thankful that he was chosen to stand in Rembau and vowed that he would try to be the best wakil rakyat (representative) for the people of Rembau if he was given the mandate in the March 8 polls.

Khairy also regarded his candidacy as a sign of BN's recognition and appreciation of the role of Malaysian youth.

"I would like to thank the national and state BN for putting their trust in me and I promise to work hard and repay that trust.”

Asked about his chances of winning, Khairy said: [CLICK HERE]

Election 2008: Khairy among new faces in Negri line-up: Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin was among 16 new faces named by the state Barisan Nasional yesterday to contest in the general election. Also in the list was Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, who will be defending his Jelebu parliamentary seat. Khairy, who is also the Rembau Umno Youth chief, will contest the Rembau parliamentary seat.

Salahuddin harap Dr M bantu kalahkan Khairy: Ketua Pemuda PAS, Salahuddin Ayub berharap bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad bersama-sama menyekat kemenangan menantu Perdana Menteri, Khairy Jamaluddin yang bertanding untuk kerusi Parlimen Rembau. Beliau juga menggesa para pengundi di Rembau agar meminta ulama yang mereka yakin kesalehannya untuk bersolat istikharah bagi mendapatkan petunjuk dari Allah sama ada mereka patut mengundi Khairy atau tidak. Salahuddin memberi jaminan bahawa Barisan Alternatf (BA) sedang meneruskan usaha yang giat dan bersungguh-sungguh dengan para pemimpin dan ahli-ahli Umno yang mahu memastikan kekalahan Khairy.

ELECTION 2008: Khairy refuses to resort to personal attacks in Rembau campaign: Deputy Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin will not resort to personal in campaign to win the Rembau parliamentary seat. “However, I expect the opposition to do so against me,” Khairy said, pointing out that the opposition had been making personal attacks on him in the hope that he will resort to the same tactics.“What is important to me is the voters, not the opposition,” Khairy told reporters after a 'tahlil' at Kampung Gadong here today.

P44: Pirdaus Asks PKR, PAS To Prove Good Service Record In Permatang Pauh

KEPALA BATAS, 23 Feb (Bernama) -- Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat Datuk Pirdaus Ismail wants Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and PAS to prove their good service in the constituency in the last two terms.

He said PKR which held the Permatang Pauh seat and PAS the Permatang Pasir state seat must show their service record and not just make empty promises.

"The people want to see changes in their areas which could improve their living standard and not hear promises only."

Besides Pirdaus who received his letter of candidacy, four candidates for parliamentary seats and 15 for state seats in Penang also received theirs from state Umno Liaison deputy chief Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah.

He said after losing the contest for the seat to PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah in the last general election, he was more prepared this time around to wrest the seat for the Barisan Nasional.

He believes Permatang Pauh would see changes if the seat was under BN.-- BERNAMA


Feb 25, 2008:
Election 2008 / Penang: Wan Azizah and Pirdaus slug it out again -BUTTERWORTH: Barisan Nasional and opposition supporters at the Permatang Pauh nomination centre yesterday were only 100m apart. They were there to support Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Ismail, who is defending her seat, and her second-time challenger, Datuk Pirdaus Ismail.

Wan Azizah declares she is Anwar proxy: Keadilan plans by-election once ex-Deputy PM is eligible to run for politics - IF the show of support yesterday was anything to go by, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is going to breeze through her defence of her Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat. The president of opposition party Keadilan and wife of former Deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim has openly declared that after her victory this time, she will step down so he can contest the by-election - when he becomes eligible less than 40 days after the polls.

Pakistan Opposition Considers Candidate for PM after Election Victory

The party of Pakistan's late former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, met Friday to discuss their choice for the next prime minister after securing victory in Monday's polls.

Party officials say a top contender for the post is PPP Vice President Makhdoom Amin Fahim. Friday's meeting ended without an announcement and party officials say discussions will continue over the next few days.

On Thursday, the PPP and the other big winner in general elections, Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party, said they would work together to form a government of national consensus.

Ms. Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari, now the head of the PPP, says he wants to form a broad government, but one excluding the main party that backs President Pervez Musharraf. That party came in a distant third in the balloting.

In a move that might spell trouble for Mr. Musharraf, the PPP and Mr. Sharif's party could - with support from smaller parties - gain the two-thirds majority in parliament needed to impeach the president.

In an opinion editorial in The Washington Post newspaper Friday, President Musharraf said he is ready to work with the new parliament to address key issues affecting Pakistan.

The president has said he hopes for a "harmonious coalition" following the defeat of his political allies in Monday's parliamentary elections. Some opposition leaders have called his resignation, which he has brushed off.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Focal Point Review: Is Abdullah Ahmad Badawi a mediocre Prime Minister?

PM to present progress report for 2004-2007: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday he would present a progress report on the government's performance from 2004 to 2007. "Members of parliament and administrators have given me their reports and, as the prime minister, I am responsible for presenting the progress report to the people." He said this to loud applause from 3,000 leaders and members of the Malaysian Malay Chamber of Commerce at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre. Also present were Second Finance Minister, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Aziz Shamsuddin and the chamber's president Syed Ali Mohamed Al-Atas. Abdullah said difficulties and challenges were actually opportunities to spur one to do better, a philosophy he had always upheld in discharging his responsibilities. There were no challenges or problems that could not be overcome, the prime minister added."If we are capable physically and mentally, there is nothing that can stop us. Whatever opportunities available must be taken."

Abdullah Gives Report Card On Progress Made From 2004 To 2007: With the elected representatives having given their report cards to the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Thursday that it was now his turn to give a report card to citizens on the progress made by the country from 2004 to 2007. "Parliament members have to give me report cards on their performance. I as the Prime Minister of a government given the mandate by the people, am also responsible to give a report card on the progress achieved by the nation from 2004 to 2007," he said. He said this at the Solidarity Assembly with members of the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM) held at the Putrajaya Convention Centre here. Abdullah said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 18 per cent from RM427 billion in 2004 to RM504 billion last year.

What do you think? Is Abdullah Ahmad Badawi a mediocre Prime Minister?