Sunday, March 2, 2008

Malaysia PM enters Islamist den to win Muslim vote

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's prime minister waded into battle for political control of the Muslim heartland on Saturday, staging a rally of about 20,000 supporters at the site of a recent, bloody anti-government protest.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi used the rally to attack the opposition Parti Islam se-Malaysia, an Islamist party that poses one of his biggest challenges as he seeks to retain an overwhelming parliamentary majority at polls on March 8.

"Islam is a religion of development," Abdullah told the rally in northeastern Terengganu state, at the same spot where in September police shot and wounded two protesters as they tried to break up a PAS-backed demonstration.

He portrayed PAS as anti-development and promised that his multi-racial coalition, Barisan Nasional , would do more to advance the economy of the oil-rich state, which was controlled by PAS for four years until the coalition won it back in 2004.

"I believe the people of Terengganu want more development in the state. The BN will push for further development in the next five years," he said at the open-air rally in a public park. MORE HERE

ELECTION 2008: 'Terengganu success points to greatness': KUALA TERENGGANU: The Barisan Nasional government's success story in Terengganu over a short period is proof that it is on the right path to becoming one of the most developed states in the country, the prime minister said. Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Terengganu had broken the psychological barrier preventing Malays in the state from changing for the better. "Terengganu is a showcase of Islam. The leadership is dynamic. Many new things have been introduced and the people can expect more new ideas and development to be implemented in Terengganu. "To ensure that this becomes a reality, there must be continuity. The success achieved also proves that the feeling of inferiority and weaknesses among Malays are not natural. "People can change given the right tools and opportunities," Abdullah said when opening Multaqa Agamawan at Wisma Seri Iman yesterday.

ELECTION 2008: Friendship helps BN parties solve tough issues: KUALA TERENGGANU: The Barisan Nasional government is run by the unity and co-operation of component parties, enabling it to resolve difficult issues, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday. Speaking on vernacular schools, Abdullah said Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had been working hard together. The situation with Chinese education, he said, was improving. "We resolved the matter because we are good friends. We talk to each other. We may argue, but at the end of the day, we solve the problem. "It is like the Gerakan motto of Satu Hati (one heart). All leaders have equal rights and none is pushed aside. "This is the sort of co-operation and unity that Malaysians must support," he told a cheering crowd at the opening of the SMK Chung Hwa Wei Sin hall and the launch of a building project for SRJK (C) Chung Hwa Wei Sin. Abdullah said he could only ask the people to support BN but only the people could decide which party to vote for in the election. "We may not be the best, but we are better than other parties in Malaysia."

FREE EDUCATION FOR ALL, SAYS ABDULLAH: KUALA TERENGGANU, March 1 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the government will ensure that all Malaysians receive free education. He said the government placed strong emphasis on education as it was important in efforts to create a progressive community who would be able to continue with the country''s development in future. "We want education to be given free of examinations and free text books. I don''t want to see anyone in the country, regardless of race or whether he is rich or poor, to be deprived of education...this is unfair. "As the Prime Minister and leader of the government, I have made it (education) compulsory for all our children," he said in his seech at the gathering of the "People With the Prime Minister" at the Batu Burok Public Park, here today. Abdullah, who was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, arived here last night for a one-day working visit to Terengganu. Also resent at the function attended by more than 20,000 people was Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh. -- MORE

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