- PM: Bloggers may be asked to state identity
- No licensing of news portal - Najib
- PKR backs down from Parliament opening boycott threat
- Guan Eng: More Malaysians should be like Nazir
- MCA slams Malay group for vernacular schools shut-down call
- Only High Court can decide on by-election, says EC
- Home minister faces two election petitions
- In the Malay Press: Zam says Utusan's racism is subjective
- Woman sought over slur on Agong to turn self in, police say
- Rafizi: Pakatan adamant on Padang Merbok for June 22 rally
- The Malaysian Insider to lose many key staff to rival
- Jakim looking out for posts insulting Islam
- Many Netizens ignorant of the law, says blogger
- Bakri MP let off with stern warning over boycott mistake
- Time to give non-Malays bumiputra status: Tunku Aziz
- PKR should not boycott Parliament swearing-in, says its Wanita chief
- Najib’s brother accused of undermining Umno by backing AirAsia X CEO
- Stop the ‘Red Bean Army’, police told
- Ku Li resurfacing to lead ‘third force’?
Posted: 12 Jun 2013 06:40 AM PDT
(fz.com) - The government will study a proposal for all bloggers and portal owners to identify themselves on their sites, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.
This was to ensure that bloggers can be held accountable for their writings and to prevent the spreading of lies that could destroy the unity in the country.
The recommendation is part of a proposal for self-regulation among media practitioners to foster greater responsibility and to prevent the social media from being continuously abused.
"There will no longer be 'anonymous' writers in the social media, blogs or portals as there are now," he said. Earlier, Najib said that lies were found to be widespread in the social media especially during the 13th general election, and if left unchecked, this would be detrimental to the country's future.
He was speaking at the Malaysian Press Institute - Petronas media awards here tonight. Also present were Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Communication and Multimedia minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
Najib said that the relevant authorities will take action against those who fail to identify themselves.
Even though the Internet was not censored under the Communication and Multimedia Act, Najib said that self-regulatory measures would ensure that stern action would be taken against bloggers and portal owners who spread inaccurate information and slander.
"The government would not implement a licensing system for news portals as a neighbouring country has, but to ensure harmony is maintained, we will strengthen existing laws to ensure quarters that play the race, religious and language card to create divisions in society, mock the monarchy or try to subvert the parliamentary democracy will have action taken against them," he said.
Singapore has recently announced new rules governing websites that are seen as curtailing freedom of expression. Under the new rules, websites with at least 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore every month that publish at least one local news article per week over a period of two months must obtain an annual licence.
Earlier, Najib said the 'rakyat' was trying to grasp the notion of democracy and free speech, which the country has never been experienced before and has led to a butterfly effect.
The demand for free speech, he said, was not just due to globalisation but greater access to the Internet and an increase in the socio-economic status as well as a higher education level.
Najib also said that it was not wrong for people to have different views, although there was no need for such views to lead to extreme suspicion, which was alien to the country's culture.
"The varied and differing views must have roots in the Malaysian identity," he said.
Posted: 12 Jun 2013 06:33 AM PDT
(Bernama) - The government will not impose licensing on news portals as has been done by a neighbouring country, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
However, he said, to preserve the existing harmony in the country, the government would continue to enforce existing laws.
"...to ensure that no quarters try to cause disunity by using elements of race, religion, language or try to belittle the institution of the monarchy or try to subvert the system of parliamentary democracy (practiced by Malaysia), appropriate action will be taken in accordance to existing laws," he said.
Najib said this when addressing the Malaysian Journalists Night 2013 here today.
At the event, he also presented the prizes to the winners of the Malaysia MPI-Petronas 2012 Awards.
From June 1, Singapore has made it mandatory for news portals operating in the city-state that have more than 50,000 unique visitors a month to get an annual licence from its Media Development Authority.
Najib also said Malaysia was undergoing a transition from being an industrialised middle income country to a developed nation with its economy centred on modern services and high income.
He said the process changed the lives of the people, the majority of whom now lived in urban areas with the income level much higher and poverty level reduced as compared to when Malaysia just gained independence.
Besides these, he said with the national broadband penetration at 60 per cent, huge investments in the field of education and liberalisation of the higher education sector, had produced a middle class that was becoming increasingly vocal about their rights.
"The government has to be creative and innovative in managing this new reality. The middle class which has become more assertive wants a greater say on the formulation of national policies that concern their future and this has to be made a part of the national coalition that will remake Malaysia," he stressed.
Posted: 12 Jun 2013 06:30 AM PDT
(The Star) - PKR will not boycott the opening ceremony of the 13th Parliament sitting after all.
The party's political bureau made a unanimous decision Wednesday night not to boycott the sitting scheduled on June 24.
PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin confirmed that the decision was unanimous.
She claimed that PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's earlier suggestion to boycott the sitting in protest of alleged electoral fraud was spun.
"His statement was spun. We are not going to boycott," she said when contacted.
Zuraida had earlier said the Wanita wing did not agree to the boycott as they needed to be present at Parliament to effectively represent the electorate.
Anwar, who is also the Opposition leader, was quoted in media saying PKR should perhaps look into boycotting the sitting in protest of alleged electoral fraud.
DAP and PAS leaders did not agree to the suggestion.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 09:22 PM PDT
Opalyn Mok, TMI
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today commended Datuk Seri Nazir Razak for his outspokenness, even as the CIMB Group boss continues to come under attack for defending AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman Rani for the same trait.
Lim urged Malaysians to emulate Nazir in speaking their minds despite the risk of backlash.
"I hope his brother (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak) can be just as brave as him," he said while condemning a news article in Utusan Malaysia that had labelled Nazir as "anti-Malay" for his praise of Azran.
Azran had criticised Utusan Malaysia for an inflammatory headline, "Apa lagi Cina mau?", which it ran immediately after the Election 2013. This led to the newspaper to take aim at him and proclaim a boycott against advertising from the airline that he helms.
On Monday, Nazir defended Azran for his forthright attitude, saying that this is the "mark of a leader", leading to attacks against the banker.
Lim also accused Utusan Malaysia today of turning Malaysians on one another through what he called racially-toned articles.
"Malaysians do not want to be enemies with each other so I hope more Malaysians will be like Nazir," the DAP secretary-general said in a press conference at his office this afternoon.
Malay-Muslim groups have criticised both Nazir and Azran for their views, branding both of them as "anti-Malay" and for forgetting "their roots".
Yesterday, the Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia had in a statement reminded Nazir and Azran of their roots and told them not to be arrogant because of their wealth, position and property.
In a blog post reproduced by Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia today, former information minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin accused Nazri of plunging brother Najib and Umno deeper into a post-polls "crisis of confidence" by coming to Azran's defence.
He said Nazir, the CEO of CIMB Group and the younger brother to Prime Minister Najib, had likely thought that Barisan Nasional (BN) would recapture some of lost support from the Chinese had Utusan Malaysia not targeted the community.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 09:15 PM PDT
Syed Jaymal Zahiid, TMI
The MCA has blasted the Malay Muslim Consumer Association (MMCA) for calling on the government to shut down vernacular schools and implement a single stream education system as extremist and inflammatory.
Party Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong (picture) said today the demand, which was reported by Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia yesterday, had slighted the emotions of Chinese voters and could undermine racial harmony, adding that the party will be lodging a police report on the matter.
"The call by the Malay-Muslim Consumer Association for a single stream education system is extremist and inflammatory in nature.
"MCA Youth will not tolerate this and will lodge a police report against them as their remarks could undermine racial harmony," Wee said in a statement.
MMCA chief Datuk Nadzim Johan, with the support of 130 other Malay-rights NGOs, was reported to have pushed for a government review on its vernacular education policy.
Apart from calling vernacular schools a stumbling block to national unity, Nadzim appeared to have accused them of stoking anti-government sentiments among its students.
"What is happening in some private vernacular schools is the students are not only learning through their mother tongue, they are also taught of the history of other countries," he was quoted as saying.
Wee slammed Nadzim's argument as shallow and accused him of trying to pin the blame the country's racial problems on "mother tongue" education.
"It is regretful that there are still a handful of people who are still calling for the abolition of mother-tongue education and bringing up the issue of a single stream education system, as they believe that national unity can be achieved if everyone learns in the same language.
"This shallow-minded thinking of theirs is wrong and they are only attempting to pin the blame on mother tongue education," he said.
Wee, who is Ayer Putih MP, added such accusations are unfair to Malaysians of all races and argued that as long as the government continues to implement fair policies and measures, voters irrespective of race will continue to support the government.
"This will then lead to national unity," stressed the former deputy education minister.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 09:10 PM PDT
(Bernama) - Only the High Court can decide on by-elections in relation to the 13th General Election, said Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.
"The process does not just end at the High Court, however, as the final say is with the Federal Court," he said after an interview on the Nasional FM radio station at Angkasapuri here today.
He said the EC would only comply with a High Court or Federal Court order to annul a parliamentary or state seat and to hold a by-election.
"Meanwhile, the EC cannot just declare a by-election on the urging of certain parties," he said.
Furthermore, the EC has yet to determine the number of election petitions filed so far, he added."As of late yesterday evening the EC has not received a single petition, despite media reports saying a number of them had been filed," he said.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 08:57 PM PDT
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been accused of buying votes with cash and rice.
Anisah Shukry, FMT
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is facing two separate election petitions against him for alleged bribery, overspending and illegal employment while campaigning for the Bagan Datok parliamentary seat.
The petitions, filed yesterday by Perak PKR leader Madhi Hasan and Azmi Sulaiman at the Ipoh High Court, accuse him of bribing voters with cash and rice; spending more than the maximum RM200,000 allocated under the Election Offences Act 1954 for campaigning; and of illegally employing individuals to campaign for him.
According to the petitions, Hutang Melintang state assemblyman R Supramaniam had handed out five bags of rice weighing 1kg each and RM100 to every audience member holding coupons at a Majlis Mesra Rakyat event on April 19, 2013.
The Hutang Melitang state seat falls under the Bagan Datuk constituency.
In a video screened to the media, allegedly taken by an audience member, Zahid could be seen asking the crowd if they wished to become a BN campaign worker, to which they unanimously cried "yes".
"Barisan Nasional voters, Barisan Nasional campaign workers, we must go early (to vote). Aunties, sisters, cook your rice early…you need not purchase any rice, Barisan Nasional has provided us with rice because we are officers," said Ahmad Zahid, in the video.
Commenting on this, lawyer Edmund Bon, who is representing Madhi, said: "In his speech, although Ahmad Zahid supposedly said that this event was about appointing BN campaign workers, what he did was actually bribery and violates the law."
"There were about 1,000 audience members, which means for that event alone, he spent up to RM100,000 and gave out 5,000 bags of rice. This is bribery, and it is enough to set aside the election results," he added.
Meanwhile, in a separate video uploaded onto Ahmad Zahid's personal YouTube account, the home minister could be seen claiming he had 24,000 BN campaign workers at his disposal.
Adzmi's lawyer, Sin Yew, said this was a violation of Section 21 of the Election Offences Act, which deems the employments of individuals other than one election agent, one polling agent and "a reasonable number of clerks and messengers" for the purpose of campaigning to be illegal.
He also surmised that Ahmad Zahid had appointed the 24,000 officers with tactics similar to the ones depicted in the first video – through cash and rice.
"So if he has 24,000 officers, and he has given out RM100 to each one, that means he has spent RM2.4 million, when the maximum allowed for campaigning is RM200,000. We are saying that this is an illegal practice," he added.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 06:55 PM PDT
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 05:02 PM PDT
(BERNAMA) - An individual wanted by police on suspicion of insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, will surrender herself on Saturday upon returning from abroad.
Kuala Lumpur CID deputy chief ACP Abdul Aziz Zakaria said police investigation found the suspect will give her statement to the police upon her arrival home.
The case was investigated under Section 4(1) of the Seditions Act 1948, he told a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur Contingent Police Headquarters, here today.
On June 1, a Facebook user by the name of Melissa Gooi (PICTURE) was alleged to have issued statements that insulted the speech of Tuanku Abdul Halim in conjunction with his birthday. These later received responses from other Facebook users that were also alleged to insults to the Agong.Following the comments in Facebook, police received 35 reports from numerous groups including non-government organisations, which wanted stern actions to be taken against the owner of the Facebook account and her friends.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 04:58 PM PDT
Boo Su-Lyn, TMI
Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) "Black 505" rally will proceed at Padang Merbok here on June 22, despite the Olympic Council of Malaysia's (OCM) insistence that it needed the field then for an event the day after, PKR's Rafizi Ramli said today.
The PKR strategy director pointed out that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had informed PR that Padang Merbok was only booked from 6pm onwards on June 22, contrary to OCM's statement yesterday that logistics preparation for the June 23 McDonald's Olympic Run would start on June 21.
"DBKL told us at the beginning that we can only book up to 6pm because after that, another event will be held at Padang Merbok the next day," Rafizi told The Malaysian Insider today.
"We can sit down with the Olympic Council to discuss what kind of arrangement is necessary to allow both to proceed smoothly," he added.
OCM honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said yesterday that preparation for the Olympic Run in the city centre would start on June 21 after 3pm and June 22 after 6pm.
He noted that runners will pass by Padang Merbok, although the run will be flagged off from the iconic Dataran Merdeka here on June 23.
Sieh said that the Olympic Run ― which has been held annually on June 23 since 1994 in celebration of Olympic Day ― would involve 15,000 runners and that the venue was booked at the end of last year.
KL Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib urged PR last Monday to select another venue for the rally against electoral fraud, preferably a closed-door area such as a stadium, saying the field would be needed for "logistic preparations" for OCM's June 23 event.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 04:12 PM PDT
(fz.com) - Staff of The Malaysian Insider (TMI) are walking out on the five-year-old news website to start a new company that will run the rival web portal of The Malay Mail newspaper.
The brother and sister team of Leslie Lau and Joan Lau will lead the team of 30 who will leave TMI for Trinity Diligence Sdn Bhd, which has been contracted to manage www.themalaymailonline.com.
Interestingly, The Malay Mail newspaper has a content sharing agreement with another news portal MalaysiaKini.
"The print team and online team (of The Malay Mail) will be managed separately and the Insider team coming over will have no impact on the print partnership with MalaysiaKini," said a source familiar with what was happening.
Sources say the move, first reported by www.fz.com on April 23, was triggered by increasing differences between the TMI editorial team and its financiers on its editorial direction, especially during the run up to the May 5 General Election.
This, combined with very persistent wooing by the people behind The Malay Mail group, finally led to the collective decision to leave.
TMI was started in December 2007 by a group of businessmen and journalists close to then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as a counter balance against MalaysiaKini, which was deemed to be unfriendly to the Barisan Nasional (BN).
But after Abdullah stepped down in 2009, the group stopped the financing and the TMI top management, after talking to several people, eventually got funding with help from a 30-something Penang-born businessman with close ties to the current BN leadership.
The Malay Mail newspaper is privately controlled by Datuk Siew Ka Wei who, through his listed company Ancom Bhd, owns the Redberry Group which has in-store and outdoor advertising platforms.
Chan Thye Seng, the CEO and Managing Director of general insurer Pacific & Orient Bhd, which has an 18% stake in Ancom, is believed to have been the person who negotiated with the TMI team to cross over.
The deal was sealed after months of discussions and only after it was agreed that instead of being employees of The Malay Mail, the TMI team will form a new company to run the website. The Laus will be the main shareholders of Trinity.
When contacted, Chan said: "I have no comments to give you."
Since buying The Malay Mail four-years-ago, Siew has changed its management team and business model a few times, including from being a free to a paid newspaper. Among those who now work for him are media industry veterans Lee Yew Meng, one time head of advertising sales at The Star, and Rajjish Verron, who was formerly with MBf Cards.
Sources say Siew has also just signed on the Executive Editor of The Star, Datuk Wong Sai Wan, to be Director of Special Projects for The Redberry Group. Several months back, another senior newsman, Datuk Syed Nadzri Syed Harun joined from The News Straits Times Press.
"He has some heavyweights batting for him. But he has to get them to bat in sync instead of taking swings in different directions," says one media observer.
Industry analysts say the media landscape is heading for interesting times with re-alignments and businessmen sinking more money into it, despite the stiff competition and challenges facing the industry.
A new player, HCK Media Sdn Bhd owned by former Star Publications Executive Deputy Chairman Tan Sri Clement Hii, is expected to start a news portal call www.theantdaily.com very soon as well as a weekly lifestyle magazine.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 04:08 PM PDT
(NST) - The Islamic Development Department is working closely with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the Home Ministry and Radio Televisyen Malaysia to monitor social media, including blogs and Facebook, for postings that insult Islam.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said the team effort was to identify irresponsible parties out to disparage Islam and also disrupt the country's peace and harmony.
He pointed out that the insults hurled against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and more recently, Prophet Muhammad, as acts that could not be tolerated.
"I see this as some sort of a plan by irresponsible parties and it is the duty of the government, including religious officers, to counter them.
"These parties are unhappy with the present situation where Muslims and non-Muslims live in harmony, so, they try to create tension so that things turn for the worse in this country," he said after opening a meeting of district religious administrative officers from across the country here, yesterday.
Jamil Khir was commenting on the several police reports filed by non-governmental organisations that called on the authorities to investigate several blogs, which they claimed had insulted and defamed Prophet Muhammad.
The minister said district religious officers should also play a more proactive role and act against those involved.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 04:03 PM PDT
(NST) - Netizens who post derogatory and seditious remarks on social media are oblivious to and ignorant of the country's cyber laws, said bloggers and analysts.
Blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan said the majority of cases of people abusing social media involved those who were ignorant of the consequences and were oblivious to the laws governing the Internet.
"Netizens must understand that they are not operating in a vacuum. They can be sued for what they post on social media because there are laws enforced for cyber users," he said.
Ahirudin, who runs the "Rocky's Bru" blog, said many took the freedom they currently have on social media for granted by resorting to posting content that could harm the country and disrupt peace.
"The ignorance to check on the authenticity of information available on the Internet can be cited as one of the causes, as many of these postings can be misguiding."
Ahirudin added that educating the public from an early age was crucial and the government should strengthen the current campaigns like the "Click Wisely" campaign.
Another blogger, Y.L. Chong, who runs the "Desiderata2000" blog, said social media served as the only channel for Netizens to express their thoughts freely as many were under the impression that they were restricted from voicing out their thoughts publicly.
Chong, who lauded the government's plans to revamp cyber laws based on American, British and Australian models, said Netizens should practise self-regulation despite growing frustration among some quarters as cyber laws covered Internet abusers.
Counselling psychologist Charis Wong said posting allegedly seditious remarks on the Internet were not psychological issues but rather users voicing their frustrations over the recently concluded 13th General Election.
"If they don't have personal contact with the people they mentioned in their seditious remarks online, we can't label it as a psychological disorder," she said.
"Rather, these are people who are addicted to the social media and choose to vent their frustrations and anger."
She stressed that whatever their frustration, they should not cross the line of ethics when posting online.
The Communications and Multimedia Ministry on Sunday said it had identified two individuals who allegedly insulted Prophet Muhammad through their Facebook pages on Friday.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, said their usernames were "Calvin Gani" and "Rakyat Anarki" on Facebook.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 03:58 PM PDT
Clara Chooi, TMI
DAP has let off Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa with a stern warning for breaching party discipline when he violated a boycott order by attending yesterday's parliamentary briefing.
In a statement here, party whip Anthony Loke said Er would not be referred to the DAP's disciplinary committee as he had admitted his mistake and apologised for it.
"This should be a lesson for Er and all DAP MPs to always act collectively and obey the decisions of the party's top leadership in carrying out their duties as DAP parliamentarians," he said.
Loke said the decision was made after he discussed the matter with DAP Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang and a show cause letter was issued on Er.
He added that the party viewed the discipline breach as a serious matter.
Er raised eyebrows in Parliament yesterday when he was the sole MP from the 89-member opposition bloc to attend a scheduled briefing.
When approached by reporters, Er said he felt the briefing was important and that his decision to attend was of his own initiative.
"Briefing day is important, we want to see if there are new rules and so on," said Er, an MP well known among Parliament circles for his halting Bahasa Malaysia and persistence in the Dewan Rakyat.
In a press statement after causing an uproar for his attendance, Er apologised to his party for the mistake, explaining that he had missed the email instruction sent to all 38 DAP lawmakers last week as he had not gone through all correspondence in his email inbox.
"This is my mistake for not thoroughly going through all the messages and email for this specific order to boycott today's briefing and stirring up more controversy on [the] current political scenario.
"I would like to express my most sincere apologies for my inappropriate actions and humbly accept any dicispline action that might be taken against me," he said.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 03:47 PM PDT
(The Sun Daily) - Former DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim (pix) says it is time the Barisan Nasional government considered allowing non-Malays to enjoy bumiputra status and giving fair amount of aid to all races to promote national unity.
Discriminatory policies do not contribute to national unity, he noted, adding that all Malaysians born and bred in the country should enjoy bumiputra status.
Tunku Aziz said allowing non-Malays to enjoy bumiputra status will make some who are enjoying the status unhappy, but he felt this group should be prepared to sacrifice and share with others for the sake of the nation's future.
In an interview with China Press published today, he pointed out that Malays are not the only people facing poverty and as such, the government should assist the various ethnic groups through equitable policies.
"We should look at it in the interest of the majority of the people. For the good of the country, the government should let non-Malays enjoy bumiputra status too," he said.
Tunku Aziz also felt that the May 13 incident is part of history and should not be considered a taboo or used for finger-pointing purposes.
"We should not talk anymore about who instigated May 13 but to learn a lesson from it and to understand history."
He said the various races in the country still did not have a deep understanding of one another, adding that "we may not even know our own neighbours".
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 03:35 PM PDT
(The Star) - PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said that all Pakatan Rakyat MPs should not boycott the Parliament swearing-in ceremony.
"In my opinion, we should attend the swearing-in. It is only after we are sworn in as Members of Parliament that we can sit in the Dewan.
However, she was unrepentant over the boycott of the briefing session for MPs in Parliament on Tuesday.
"All of us in Pakatan already agreed not to attend the briefing.
"But the swearing-in is important to the constituents and those who voted for us to raise their concerns in Parliament," she said in a press conference here Wednesday.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua previously suggested that all Pakatan MPs boycott the ceremony, but the idea was shot down by both DAP and PAS.
All Pakatan MPs except one, Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa boycotted the briefing in Parliament in protest of the election results.
Meanwhile, DAP Whip and Seremban MP Loke Siew Fook said in a statement that MP for Bakri Er Teck Hwa was given a stern warning but would not be referred to the DAP disciplinary committee.
"Party leaders took a serious view of the matter and has issued a show cause letter to him on Tuesday to explain.
"Er has given a written explanation and apologised for his actions.
"This should be a lesson to Er and all DAP MPs to always act collectively and to comply with the party leadership decisions in the exercise of their duties as DAP MPs," said Loke in the statement.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 03:28 PM PDT
Clara Chooi, TMI
Datuk Seri Nazir Razak was today faulted for plunging brother Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Umno deeper into a post-polls "crisis of confidence" following his defence of AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman Rani's against criticism from Utusan Malaysia.
Former Umno minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin, or "Zam" as he is popularly called, accused Nazir of failing to understand that the ruling party may not have maintained its Malay support in Election 2013 without the Umno-owned newspaper.
He said Nazir, the CEO of CIMB Group and the younger brother to Prime Minister Najib, had likely thought that Barisan Nasional (BN) would recapture some of lost support from the Chinese had Utusan Malaysia not targeted the community.
"But in truth, Nazir only added to the problems faced by Datuk Seri Najib and Umno," the former minister said in a blog posting that was published in Utusan Malaysia today.
Utusan's "brave" backing of Umno in fighting off the anti-Umno elements that have eroded public confidence in the government had also opened the newspaper to financial risks, Zam said.
But this resulted in a stronger Umno representation in Parliament, its twin success in recapturing Kedah and Perak, and a larger number of state seats in the Kelantan legislative assembly, he noted.
On Monday, Nazir defended Azman for his forthright attitude in daring to criticise Utusan Malaysia, saying that this is the "mark of a leader".
Zam asked if labelling Azman forthright and frank meant Nazir was joining the ranks of those who have accused Utusan Malaysia of being racist.
"To me, the assumption that Utusan is racist is subjective. It depends on the school of thought or the leaning of a person, as well as his or her educational background... and this is every individual's respective right," he said.
"But what I feel was unsuitable was Azran's intolerant behaviour. Just because he disagreed with the paper's stand, he threatened to withdraw AirAsia advertisements.
"Sentiments and prejudice influenced his actions," Zam wrote.
"Is this the behaviour of an educated person who believes in freedom and democracy, openness and globalisation? Is this not considered an abuse of power or irrational action?" he asked.
Zam suggested insolence on Azman's part, accusing the AirAsia X chief of assuming that because Utusan Malaysia should follow his political leanings because it carried advertisements from the airlines.
"Utusan knows a lot of negative issues about AirAsia and has kept it under wraps, like the other papers, for the sake of advertisements or money from it, but it looks like this alone is not good enough for AirAsia CEO Azran," he said.
"Surely his spirits will soar even higher with the support of Nazir, brother to Najib, the prime minister of Malaysia, who does not understand the crisis of confidence that Najib and Umno now faces," Zam added.
In the just-concluded May 5 polls, BN retained power but with a reduced seat margin, scoring 133 seats to Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) 89 seats in Parliament.
Amid the reduced victory, Umno emerged the most victorious among all BN component parties, sweeping up 88 seats ― 11 seats more than the 79 it won in Election 2008.
A divided Malaysia emerged after the election and in his first speech to declare BN's victory, Najib said the results showed that a "Chinese tsunami" had occurred and declared the need for national reconciliation.
This set the tone for the post-polls discourse as many Umno and BN leaders, taking a leaf from the prime minister, set out to paint the general election as a Chinese versus Malay contest.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 03:08 PM PDT
Upset over the cyber war team's comments regarding Prophet Muhammad and the royalty, Penang Malay Congress president Rahmad Isahak calls for action.
Athi Shankar, FMT
A local civil society group wants the police to take immediate action against the cyber war team known as the Red Bean Army (RBA).
Penang Malay Congress president Rahmad Isahak urged the police to take firm action against those who established RBA.
He said no matter who or which group was behind the formation of RBA, those responsible must be hauled up to face appropriate judicial punishment.
He said RBA's activities have gone overboard in inciting racial hatred and spreading malicious lies to the public.
"RBA has crossed its limits of public patience. We fear that the group's activities would deepen racial polarisation, disharmony and hatred. It must be busted and their leaders must be nabbed.
"They must be charged and punished. The police must not compromise on national harmony and security," he added.
Referring to some online comments related to Prophet Muhammad and royalty, Rahmad claimed that such rudeness and sarcasm must be kept in check.
He said the police cannot afford to allow subversive elements to rear their ugly heads to halt nation building.
He claimed that these subversive elements were being used and manipulated by certain quarters to usurp the Malays' political power.
"We cannot allow these elements to achieve their goal. They must be crippled immediately," he added.
Posted: 11 Jun 2013 03:01 PM PDT
Insiders claim that some of BN's Sabah and Sarawak MPs who are in Kuala Lumpur wanted to explore "possibilities" of a positive change for both East and West Malaysia's politrical landscape.
Calvin Cabaron, FMT
The alleged recent meeting between several MPs from East Malaysia and Umno veteran leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has rekindled rumours of uncertainty within Umno in Peninsular Malaysia is still fluid.
Old speculations about Ku Li and a 'third force' have resurfaced.
The thinking here is that if at least 25 MPs from Barisan Nasional in Sabah and Sarawak leave the ruling party and teamed up with say 10 disgruntled BN MPs from Peninsular, they would be able to change the political equation.
The grapevine in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching are tossing up probabilities that "change" could happen in the next few days.
Political blogs and news portals have picked up on these rumours and riding on the alleged meeting between Ku Li and the MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, are spewing fresh scenarios.
Insiders claiming to be in the know said that some Sabah and Sarawak BN MPs who are already in Kuala Lumpur wanted to explore "possibilities" of an alternative plan that would have a positive change for both East and West Malaysia's landscape.
"They are mulling the idea of getting Ku Li as Prime Minister for at least two years and see if he could unite the nation, minus Umno, but without succumbing to Anwarism .
"They are talking about a more sober personality to lead the country out of a stagnated democracy," said one local leader in Kota Kinabalu who described those in the group as politically adventurous but not 'big' risk-taker.
According to the rumours going round here, the "hands engineering the change" want Ku Li to get at least 10 MPs from Peninsular out of BN.
These MPs will then team-up with about 25 or 28 MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to ensure BN loses its majority.
BN currently controls 133 of the 222-seats in Parliament while opposition Pakatan Rakyat holds the remaining 89 seats. BN controls 47 of the 57 MP seats in East Malaysia, including one in Labuan.
Their calculation is that if 35 MPs opt out of BN and throw their support behind Pakatan then BN's 133 seats would be reduced to only 98 and Pakatan which has 89 seats will gain from the shift in allegiance and now have 124. This would be enough for Pakatan to "form" a new federal government.
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