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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

PKR to defy Agong says Johari Abdul

Posted: 31 May 2013 06:37 PM PDT

(TMI) - PKR stressed today that the Black 505 rallies will go on to show the people's disapproval towards the Election Commission (EC), and are not meant as a sign of disrespect against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The rallies will continue to protest against alleged electoral fraud during Election 2013, despite calls by the King, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, who wants the people of this country to accept the results of the 13th general election (GE13) which they themselves have determined. 

"The reason why we gather is to state our dissatisfaction towards the EC's action, there is no intention to disrespect Your Highness," PKR's Datuk Johari Abdul told The Malaysian Insider through a phone call here.

"That is why every time we end our gatherings, we would sing "Negaraku" to show our obedience and loyalty towards Your Highness," said the rally's programme director, referring to the national anthem. 

Johari explained that the rallies will continue until the chairman, deputy chairman, and every member of the EC that were elected by the King himself resign. 

"As a leader, I "menjunjung kasih" (honour with love) Your Highness' advice. However, the citizens under Your Highness ask to inform Your Highness that there is clear fraud that was done by the EC," he said. 

Last night, Tuanku Abdul Halim said that any political change in the country must be done in a peaceful manner, through the ballot box guided by the principles of the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law. 

"If there are differences of opinion, use the channels to resolve them as outlined in the Federal Constitution and the country's laws," Tuanku Abdul Halim said in conjunction with the official birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong today in his speech that was carried live by RTM last night. 

The King said: "The act of casting doubts on an institution that has been entrusted under the Federal Constitution to conduct the general elections in this country is very dangerous and might only cause a never-ending conflict. 

"Don't we ever weaken and destroy our constitutional monarchy system, parliamentary democracy and federal philosophy which all this while have formed the basic ingredients for Malaysia's success." 

Earlier this week, Johari had said that the rallies will continue next month and be held every week until all PKR's demands are met. 

This comes even as Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders and analysts criticised the rallies and called for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to accept the results and move on towards nation building efforts instead.


'Nurul Izzah barred from entering Sabah based on the law'

Posted: 31 May 2013 06:29 PM PDT

(Bernama) - The Sabah Immigration Department decision preventing PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar from entering Sabah on Thursday was based on the law.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said the Sabah Immigration Department had specific reasons to do so based on provisions of the law for the safety of Sabahans.

"Under our law, the Sabah Immigration Department belongs to Sabah. As such, it has the right to prevent or allow anybody to enter Sabah," he said when commenting on decision preventing Nurul Izzah from entering Sabah to attend 'Pesta Kaamatan.'

Mohamed Nazri believed the decision would not affect Sabah tourism as any individual who enters the state should produce identification card as stated in the agreement between the Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.

Yesterday, Sabah Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak fully supported the state government decision to ask the Sabah Immigration Department director to prevent Nurul Izzah from entering the state.

Sabah Immigration Department director Noor Alam Khan Abdul Wahid Khan said the decision preventing Nurul Izzah from entering was done under Section 65 (1) of the Immigration Act 1959/1963 on the order of the Sabah government.

Noor Alam Khan did not say why.

Mohamed Nazri said the Sabah government has good reasons to prevent any individual form entering to ensure the interest and stability of the state.

"While we all celebrate Pesta Kaamatan, we want the people to rejoice enjoy a peaceful life. We don't want any trouble as election is over and must accept the result but the opposition don't and hold demontration all over the country," he added.

Asked about Nurul Izzah's threat to sue the Sabah government and the Chief Minister, Mohamed Nazri said it was stupid and was not surprised as the Lembah Pantai Member of Pariament is not a legal expert and a novice in politics.

Karpal Singh congratulates Michelle Yeoh

Posted: 31 May 2013 06:10 PM PDT

(NST) - DAP national chairman Karpal Singh congratulated actress and Malaysia Brand Ambassador Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh for being conferred the title 'Panglima Setia Mahkota' by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah today.

Karpal, who is Bukit Gelugor member of parliament, said it was befitting for Yeoh, Malaysia's own Bond girl, to received the title, which was one of the highest honours conferred by the King to mark his birthday.

"She is a Malaysian who has brought the name 'Malaysia' into the international scene," he said this morning at a press conference here.

Karpal likened Yeoh's conferment to the knighthood presented by Queen Elizabeth II to famed James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery in July 2000.

Yeoh played Chinese spy Wai Lim in the 1997 James Bond movie 'Tomorrow Never Dies' opposite Pierce Brosnan.


Former assemblywoman Jenice Lee to take DAP to court

Posted: 31 May 2013 06:05 PM PDT

(The Star) - Former Teratai assemblyman Jenice Lee will be bringing the matter of her sacking from DAP to court, claiming that it was illegal.

She said she will seek a declaration that her automatic expulsion after she contested as an independent candidate was invalid since she was not properly notified.

"I cannot attend any party functions or meetings at all. The proper procedure is to give me my expulsion letter.

"This is not fair to me," she said, maintaining that she is still a life member of the party.

The party issued a warning that anyone who contested as an independent candidate in the general election would be sacked immediately, although they would be given 14 days to appeal. She did not appeal.

During a press conference at what used to be her service centre on Saturday, she questioned the party leadership over "double standards" in how they treated members with integrity issues.

"If they are trying to use these integrity reasons to drop me, then they should use by their same standards and apply it to the new assemblyman Tiew Way Keng," she said, slamming her successor from DAP.

She said that Tiew, who was a MBPJ councillor, had chosen Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng's law firm to handle a matter back in 2010.

Lee claimed that Lim had increased his legal fees from RM15,000 to RM55,000, and that Tiew appointed Lim's firm Messrs Stella, Lim and Co to represent the local council.

However, on May 14 last year, MBPJ denied that Lim's firm was paid RM55,000 for the job, and said it was not Tiew who appointed the firm, but the mayor.

Meanwhile, DAP deputy chairman and the disciplinary committee chief Tan Kok Wai said he had "nothing more to say about her".

"I prefer not to reply anymore. I don't want to waste my time. As far as I am concerned, she is no longer a DAP member," he said when contacted.


French far right leader loses immunity, faces charges

Posted: 31 May 2013 05:54 PM PDT

(BBC) - French far right leader, Marine Le Pen, could face criminal charges for inciting racism, the BBC has learnt.

The French authorities opened a case against Mrs Le Pen in 2011 after she likened the sight of Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation of France.

As a European Parliament member (MEP), she enjoyed immunity from prosecution.

However, this protection was removed by a European parliamentary committee in a secret vote this week.

BBC chief political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue says he has been told that the vote to remove her immunity was "overwhelming".

It will need to be ratified by the full parliament, but that's expected to be a formality, our correspondent says.

When the parliament's legal affairs committee first tried to consider the case, Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far right National Front party, failed to turn up.

This week she sent a fellow French MEP in her place.

The move clears the way for the French authorities to pursue a case against the leader, who steered her party to a record 18% showing in the first round of last year's presidential election.

Mrs Le Pen made the remarks at a party rally in 2010 in the southern French town of Lyon.

She said that Muslims using the streets to pray because mosques were overflowing was an "occupation" of French territory.

Praying in the streets was banned in Paris in 2011 in response to growing far right protests.

By some estimates, as many as six million French people, or just under 10% of the population, are Muslims, with origins in France's former North African colonies.

Their integration has been a source of political debate in recent years, and earlier this year France became the first EU state to ban the wearing of the Islamic veil in public.

The BBC has so far been unable to reach her for comment.


Baik pulih persefahaman kebangsaan

Posted: 31 May 2013 05:02 PM PDT

Semua pihak, tanpa mengira kaum dan kepercayaan, menyokong usaha Perdana Menteri untuk membaik pulih semula persefahaman kebangsaan, titah Yang di-Pertuan Agong. 

(Bernama) - Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah menitahkan semua pihak, tanpa mengira kaum dan kepercayaan, menyokong usaha Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak untuk membaik pulih semula persefahaman kebangsaan.

Dalam titah itu, Seri Paduka mahu agar prinsip-prinsip seperti demokrasi berparlimen yang sihat dan matang, Raja Berpelembagaan sebagai teras kestabilan nasional, menghormati falsafah Persekutuan, meraikan kepelbagaian, menjunjung keluhuran Perlembagaan dan memuliakan kedaulatan undang-undang dijadikan teras panduan kepada proses itu.

"Membaik pulih semula persefahaman kebangsaan harus menjadi agenda nasional yang menjadi keutamaan semua pihak. Sama ada Malaysia terus berjaya dan mencapai tahap pembangunan berikutnya sebagai sebuah negara maju berpendapatan tinggi atau menjadi sebuah negara gagal, semuanya bergantung kepada permuafakatan yang akan sama-sama kita capai.

"Oleh kerana itu, Beta mahu semua pihak mengekalkan dan memperkukuhkan lagi ikatan perpaduan yang sedia wujud," titah Seri Paduka pada Istiadat Menghadap dan Pengurniaan Darjah Kebesaran Persekutuan sempena Hari Keputeraan Yang di-Pertuan Agong di Istana Negara di sini hari ini.

Seri Paduka turut mengingatkan sesetengah pihak yang cuba membaja permusuhan dan persengketaan di kalangan rakyat demi kepentingan agenda sempit mereka, supaya segera menghentikan perbuatan yang tidak berperlembagaan itu.

Seri Paduka bertitah usaha pengukuhan perpaduan nasional tidak boleh dianggap sebagai tugas serta tanggungjawab pihak tertentu sahaja, sebaliknya ia menjadi agenda setiap warganegara.

"Beta berkehendakkan agar kerajaan pimpinan Mamanda Perdana Menteri Beta supaya memastikan setiap dasar pembangunan negara hendaklah berpandukan kepada prinsip meraikan kemajmukan.

"Realitinya, masa depan kita saling berkait dan memerlukan satu sama lain. Semua rakyat Beta, tanpa mengira kaum dan agama seharusnya mendapat pembelaan," titah baginda.

Tuanku Abdul Halim melahirkan rasa sukacita kerana proses pilihan raya umum lepas berjalan dengan tertib dan harmonis.

Baginda turut mengulangi agar semua pihak menerima keputusan yang telah dibuat rakyat iaitu melalui peti undi yang selaras dengan prinsip keluhuran dan kedaulatan undang-undang.

"Jika terdapat sebarang perbezaan atau ketidakpuasan hati, maka gunakanlah mekanisme mahkamah yang sedia ada, sepertimana diperuntukan Perlembagaan dan undang-undang negara.

"Beta tidak mahu mana-mana pihak mengambil sebarang tindakan yang lampau undang-undang, mahupun lampau Perlembagaan," titah Seri Paduka.

Seri Paduka juga berharap agar kerajaan dan rakyat Malaysia akan terus mendukung cita-cita untuk menjadi sebuah negara maju, beretika, bermoral tinggi dan rakyatnya dikenali sebagai bangsa yang berakhlak, bermaruah serta disegani.


1 little, 2 little, 3 little Indians

Posted: 31 May 2013 04:19 PM PDT

Okay, so we have one Indian journalist working for an Indian/Chinese news portal that is financed by Indian/Chinese opposition activists quoting an Indian opposition leader from a Chinese political party complaining about an Indian Cabinet member from the government who is alleged to be remaining silent regarding the death of an Indian under police remand. And now we have the Chinese up in arms about one very charming Malaysian Chinese actress who, today, was awarded a Tan Sri title.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

I refer to the article that was published in Malaysiakini titled 'Kula flays Waytha for silence on custodial death' on May 27, 2013, written for him by the PKR herald Terence Netto.

The article is entirely baseless. Its basic premise is false. Its arguments are at best nothing more than self-serving political opportunism.

It is written by Terence Netto who claims a career of 40 years in journalism. It is shameful what that 40 years has come to be.

The comments section of the article and the Red Bean Facebook circuits will just amplify these lies and perform the greatest disservice to our country, spreading untruths in volumes.

Kula for his part, supposedly a senior legislator, exposes his shallowness and his political opportunism in the untruths in his utterances. It all ill-portends a Goebbellian new world for Malaysia.


The above is a response by one of the Hindraf chaps in response to the tons of criticism being thrown around regarding the death of an Indian under police remand and the alleged deafening silence on the part of an Indian Cabinet member. I am, of course, keenly following what is being argued in the media plus online.

So here we have one Indian journalist working for an Indian/Chinese news portal that is financed by Indian/Chinese opposition activists quoting an Indian opposition leader from a Chinese political party complaining about an Indian Cabinet member from the government who is alleged to be remaining silent regarding the death of an Indian under police remand.

Hmm…1 little, 2 little, 3 little Indians…..okay, let's move on to the next issue.

One of my many bones of contention with the opposition supporters is regarding the constant reference to the corrupt Malay government, corrupt Malay politicians, corrupt Malay police, corrupt Malay Election Commission, corrupt Malay Anti-Corruption Commission, corrupt Malay Monarchy, corrupt Malay businessmen, etc.

That is just one of my many bones of contention -- the mention of 'corrupt' and 'Malay' in the same sentence as if one equates to the other. I was always of the opinion that corruption is colour-blind. In fact, some of the most corrupt nations are 'white skin' countries. Some of the most violent and evil governments over the last 2,000 years are in fact not Malay governments at all. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours.

There are and were many corrupt governments in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, etc. But we never refer to them as corrupt Catholic countries or corrupt Protestant countries or corrupt Black countries or corrupt White countries or corrupt Chinese countries of corrupt Indian countries or whatever.

Do you know that all countries are corrupt? Do you know that all governments are evil? It is just the degree from country to country. Some are more corrupt and evil than others. And it also depends on what type of corruption and evil we are talking about. There are many types of corruption and evil. Not all corruption involves 'under-the-table' money. And not all evil involves killing. But it is still corruption and evil nevertheless.

My second bone of contention is regarding the constant comparison of the bad Malay government of Malaysia to the good Chinese government of Singapore. Again, what has race got to do with it?

Then we read comments about how Malaysia would be a Shangri-La and would become heaven on earth if Malaysia copies Singapore and becomes just like Singapore. Then we are constantly reminded about how great Penang is because we have a Chinese government in Penang, just like they do in Singapore.

Do you really want Malaysia to copy Singapore? Do you really want Malaysia to do what Singapore is doing? Do you really want Malaysia to become just like Singapore? Be careful with what you wish for. For starters, Malaysia would need to licence online news portals and websites, just like Singapore. And you will not be allowed free speech and the freedom to organise street demonstrations, just like Singapore.

Anyway, you say that Penang is a great place because it now has a Chinese government, just like Singapore. But did not Penang always have a Chinese government since the creation of Malaya in August 1957? Penang was always run by a Chinese government; never by a Malay government. And it has had three Chinese governments back-to-back.

Let me guess. You are now going to argue that the first two Chinese governments do not count because they were not opposition Chinese governments. That may be true for 12 years from 1957 to 1969. Thereafter the opposition Gerakan took over Penang. Then Gerakan joined the federal coalition and for almost 40 years the Penang Chinese kept this opposition-party-turned-ruling-party in power because the Chinese were happy with them.

In fact, the Chinese in Penang even kicked out the opposition giants like Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh because they were so happy with the opposition-party-turned-ruling-party Penang state government when at that time the Malays gave the Malay areas to the opposition and half the Malays voted opposition.

So it boggles the mind when I read all this talk about the good Chinese governments of Penang and Singapore. I just cannot reconcile this statement with the action the Chinese took over 51 years or so. What you are saying does not match what you did over 51 years.

Okay, so we have one Indian journalist working for an Indian/Chinese news portal that is financed by Indian/Chinese opposition activists quoting an Indian opposition leader from a Chinese political party complaining about an Indian Cabinet member from the government who is alleged to be remaining silent regarding the death of an Indian under police remand. And now we have the Chinese up in arms about one very charming Malaysian Chinese actress who, today, was awarded a Tan Sri title.

But many people of all races were awarded Tan Sri titles today. Many of them are Chinese as well. So why pick on just this one lovely Chinese girl? What about the many other Chinese who were also awarded Tan Sri titles today?

In fact, over the last many years, many Chinese tycoons, billionaires, millionaires and businessmen have been awarded Tan Sri titles. I have thus far not heard a single word or read a single comment regarding these many other Chinese who were not just given Tan Sri titles but some of them Tun titles as well.

Ah, hold on, is it because many of these Chinese tycoons, billionaires, millionaires and businessmen donate large sums of money to the opposition? Yes, I personally know some of these Chinese tycoons, billionaires, millionaires and businessmen. They are actually friends of mine. And I know for a fact that they donate money to both sides of the political divide. They give money to Barisan Nasional and they also give money to Pakatan Rakyat.

Is this why you do not whack them -- because while they give money to Barisan Nasional they also give money to Pakatan Rakyat? And since Michelle Yeoh does not give any money to Pakatan Rakyat -- although she also does not give any money to Barisan Nasional -- you whack her.

At the end of the day, everything boils down to just one issue -- race. And you dare say that Pakatan Rakyat is not about race? Yeah, right, Barisan Nasional is about race. Pakatan Rakyat is not about race.

In that case why are you all whacking Paul Low, the Chinese Senator-Minister? Why are you whacking P. Waythamoorthy, the Indian Senator-Minister? Why are you silent about the third man, the Malay Senator-Minister who is NOT Chinese or Indian?

No, this is not about race at all. It is about democracy and freedom of speech. Yeah, right.


S’pore licenses news sites

Posted: 31 May 2013 02:26 PM PDT

In a historic move, 10 top websites have to register if they want to continue to report on the republic's news and current affairs.

(The Star) - IT is happening! In a historic move, the Singapore government is moving into the Internet to regulate news reporting by requiring – for a start – the 10 biggest news-sites to be licensed.

From today, these websites must renew their registration every year if they want to continue to report on Singapore news and current affairs.

Some observers believe that the principal target is the rising number of Singaporeans who post comments attached to, rather than, the news reports themselves.

These public reactions and discussions are overwhelmingly anti-government.

Many Internet users have accused the government of trying to dampen free discussions.

A performance bond of S$50,000 (RM122,206), similar to that required for TV broadcasters, is required.

Offenders will be ordered to remove portions assessed to be "in breach of content standards" such as undermining racial or religious harmony, within 24 hours.

There was no mention of political boundaries, but given the tradition here, dissent is likely to be a top target.

A survey by The Straits Times had found 36.3% of people between the ages of 21 and 34 cited the Internet as their top source of domestic political news, compared with 35.3% who preferred newspapers.

Failure to do so could be severe.

The owner may be fined a whooping S$200,000 (RM488,824) or imprisoned up to three years or both.

Legislation will probably dilute the intensity of online discussions since all are commercial enterprises.

If it works, it may create history, not only here but possibly elsewhere too.

The Singapore experiment will undoubtedly be watched with interest by

Governments outside Singapore, particularly China, to see if they can also adopt a similar method of controlling web dissent.

A bigger issue will be if – and when – the measure to regulate is extended to cover blogs that are operated by small groups or individuals. A few are highly popular with Singaporean Internet users.

Presently, they are excluded said a spokesman nut he added: "If they take on the nature of news sites, we will take a closer look and evaluate them accordingly".

Some bloggers are already discussing possible options to take in case the authorities move against them. One was quoted by a news agency as saying: "You can try to shut us up. We will find a way around it."

The chosen 10 are obviously easier targets, vulnerable because they are large commercial enterprises.

But blogs, which exist like little cells, are another matter. Many are anonymously edited; some may operate from outside Singapore.

Some bloggers say if the crunch comes, they rely more on FaceBook and Twitter.

People who have their own pages – including Prime Minister Lee and several cabinet ministers – are already writing and posting without control.

Another possible means could be mass e-mails, in which a writer can send articles to a designated list of thousands of people simultaneous with a press of a button.

Of the chosen 10 websites, nine belong to the two giant media companies, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Mediacorp.

Since both are staunchly pro-government, they are unlikely to be the principal targets since any reporting excesses can easily be rectified by a phone call without resorting to laws.

The tenth, Yahoo Inc Singapore, however, is a different kettle. In the past few years, this US-based web browser has gained rising popularity among Singaporeans for its objective news coverage.

It has reserved comment pending receipt of details of the new regulations.

The sweep may be extended to include foreign websites that regularly report on the city, like The Financial Times, CNN and BBC.

This means that they, too, like Yahoo Inc will have to obtain a license or stop reporting on Singapore.

According to AFP, Yahoo has a team of reporters whose coverage of Singapore's major news has become "a magnet for anti-government comments posted by readers in reaction to local news.

Actually, this is a similar problem for many operators, including the pro-government media. Quite often, it is not their reporting, which is pro-government, but the critical comments it attracts from angry readers.

It is understood that the new measures will attribute any "excessive" or "extremist" reader comments to the web operators.

Early this year, PM Lee had given a strong hint that such legislation was forthcoming when he warned that sensitive, extremist views were being raised over the web.

"We don't believe the community in the social space, especially online, moderates itself. It doesn't happen anywhere in the world."

"It's in the nature of the medium, the way the interactions work and that's the reason why we think it cannot be completely left by itself," he added.

Apparently, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has a slightly different view.

Some bloggers were quite thoughtful, said Tharman, who is also Finance Minister, though more balance is needed.

"Well, it cannot be ignored and I think so far, on balance, the fact that you've got an active social media is a plus. It'll go through phases," his deputy PM told The Straits Times.

Politically for the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), moving to stamp out web dissent is a tempting proposition with the general election due in 2016.

The party has been losing popularity among its core supporters who had kept it in power for nearly half a century.

But for PM Lee Hsien Loong, there are political risks. He had obviously acted out of conviction that it is necessary.

A journalism student remarked: "Now people are saying half-jokingly that father started to control the print media, now son wants to do the same the with Internet news media."


'It was Anwar who pursued deal'

Posted: 31 May 2013 02:17 PM PDT

TRUE PICTURE: Pakatan leader wanted to ensure Najib accept GE13 results, says former Indonesian minister

(Bernama) - PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had pursued a deal to ensure that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak ceded power if Pakatan were to have won in the 13th  General Election (GE13).

Hamid Awaludin, the former Indonesian minister of law and human rights who witnessed meetings between former Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla and the two Malaysian leaders, said: "Nothing jeopardised the agreement in the run-up to the election or on election day but things changed after Najib was declared the winner."

He said Anwar had sought the agreement of the GE13 results because Anwar had "convinced himself that he would win the election" in light of opinion polls that were often in his favour and crowd turnout at Pakatan rallies.

Hamid, who was also Indonesia's ambassador to Russia and Belarus from 2008 to 2011, said Jusuf had accepted Anwar's request to mediate.

"He (Jusuf) did not take the initiative and approach Anwar."

Anwar, in media reports recently, denied that he reneged on a peace pact brokered by Jusuf and claimed that the former was the one who reached out to him to offer his assistance in ensuring an orderly outcome to the elections.

However, it was reported that Anwar acknowledged that he had made the agreement with Najib, with Jusuf as mediator, but claimed that Barisan Nasional had reneged on it by the way it ran its campaigns.

The GE13 saw the Najib-led BN return to power by winning 133 of the 222 parliamentary seats, resulting in Anwar and Pakatan staging rallies across the country since May 8 claiming electoral fraud.

Hamid also pointed out that Anwar knew that Najib did not sign the agreement, "but Najib gave his word that he would honour the agreement".

"He consented to the agreement," he said and added that Najib delivered on his promise and called for national reconciliation during his acceptance speech.

"Najib's deeds matched his words," Hamid said.

He said that even a day after Najib's victory: "I was optimistic that a deal is a deal and both sides would abide by it. But Anwar broke the deal.

"I feel that Anwar still does not accept the political reality."

The following is the full interview:

Question: Anwar Ibrahim claims it was Jusuf Kalla who approach- ed him whereas Jusuf said he was approached by Anwar. Which is true?

Answer: I was present during Jusuf Kalla's discussions with both Anwar and Najib. It was Jusuf who accepted Anwar's request to mediate. He did not take the initiative and approach Anwar. Jusuf does not have any political and economic interests in Malaysia. He is busy with his affairs in Indonesia. So why would he take the initiative and approach Anwar? It isn't logical.

Jusuf considers both Anwar and Najib as good friends. He wanted to help because they were competing fiercely with one another. That is how he saw this.

Question: Anwar claims there were several "preconditions" in the agreement e.g. free elections, fair media, etc. Can you outline any preconditions?

Answer: I am very sure that there were no preconditions discussed between Jusuf and Anwar. For me, a deal is a deal. And there was a deal that both parties -- Anwar and Najib -- agreed to. Some people always try and find a loophole after the event, or an excuse not to deliver on their promise. Some people are different in character to others.

Question: Anwar now claims Najib didn't sign the agreement and it was, therefore, not valid. Jusuf says Najib did give his verbal agreement and, therefore, the deal was agreed by both parties, and was valid. Is Anwar correct or is Jusuf?

Answer: Anwar knew that Najib did not sign the agreement. Najib had reasonable political reasons for not signing it and Anwar understood and accepted it.

But Najib gave his word that he would honour the agreement. He consented to the agreement. Basic morality teaches us that a man's word is more important than his signature. And deeds are more important than any declaration. Najib delivered on his promise. He called for national reconciliation during his election result acceptance speech. Najib's deeds matched his word.

Question: On election day, did you feel that the agreement was still in place? Had anything happened before election day to invalidate the agreement?

Answer: I am very sure that nothing jeopardised the agreement in the run-up to the election or on election day. The agreement still stood.

Things changed after Najib was declared the winner. Even the day after his victory, I was personally optimistic that a deal is a deal, and both sides would abide by it.

But Anwar broke the deal. Perhaps, he was unable to manage his followers, especially because DAP had won more seats than Anwar's own party.

Anwar found himself in a difficult position. But a leader must lead, not be led.

Question: Do you and Jusuf feel Anwar broke the deal? If so, how?

Answer: I feel that Anwar still does not accept political reality. Perhaps, he has things he will not say because he doesn't want to hurt people. I don't know.

Question: Do you feel Anwar is sincere in wanting national reconciliation in Malaysia?

Answer: I believed that Anwar had sincerity and I still hope he has.

Question: Why do you think Anwar is denying the agreement, refusing to accept defeat and organising protests across Malaysia?

Answer: From the beginning, Anwar had convinced himself that he would win the election. He had struggled for so long and he thought that this was the end of the struggle. He thought he would win the battle and defeat BN.

His belief was strengthened by opinion polls that were often in his favour. And at each rally that Anwar held during the campaign period had attracted massive crowds.

But in the end, the people's choice is the ultimate factor in a democracy.

Anwar believed he would win the election but he was afraid Najib would resist and not hand over power.

So Anwar wanted insurance against this scenario. That is why he came up with the idea of the deal.


Umno to file more than 50 election petitions

Posted: 31 May 2013 02:12 PM PDT

(FMT) - Umno will file more than 50 election petitions to challenge the 13th General Election results, its president, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last night.

Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, said the matter was discussed at the party's supreme council meeting last night — the first after the May 5 polls that saw BN returned as the ruling government.

"Yes, we will file the petitions," the prime minister said yesterday at a press conference in Menara Dato Onn at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (picture) said Umno would contest the results of more than 50 parliamentary and state constituencies, but did not elaborate on the locations of the seats.

"Our lawyers are looking into the matter. We will file them by June 11 (a day before the deadline)."

Tengku Adnan also said Umno was also mulling to file petitions in 37 other constituencies.

"We haven't decided on these 37 yet. We may or may not file the petitions."

The loose Pakatan coalition was the first to announce that it would challenge the results of 31 constituencies.

PKR strategic director  Rafizi Ramli had said  Pakatan planned to file 31 petitions by the end of this week.

The party, he said, would file 20 petitions, Pas eight and DAP three.

Deputy solicitor-general II Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah had been quoted as saying that the High Court must complete the hearing of a petition within six months after it had been filed, while appeals to the Federal Court must also be completed in the same period.

However, Election Commission deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar told the New Straits Times yesterday that it had yet to be notified of any such filings by the court.

Once a petition is filed, the court would inform the EC.

Meanwhile, Najib said Umno would despatch teams throughout the country to explain the new format of the party elections to members. The teams would also seek feedback from party members.

The teams will be led by former Perak menteri besar Tan Sri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali and assisted by the party's executive secretary, Datuk Ab Rauf Yusoh and other leaders. The teams need to complete the briefings before the start of the party's branch-level meetings, which have been set for July 15 to Aug 31.

"Details of the new format needs be scrutinised as it will involve almost 150,000 members. This will be a challenging and complex process."

Najib, who confirmed that Umno's polls would be held this year, said the new format would allow more members to be involved in electing the party's top leadership, in accordance with amendments to the party's constitution in 2009.

Some 150,000 Umno members will now be able to vote for top leadership posts, including the president, deputy president, vice-presidents and members of the supreme council.

Previously, only 2,500 delegates attending the general assembly would elect the top leadership in the triennial party polls.

Najib said the delegates would cast their vote simultaneously at a date to be announced after the nationwide briefings. The dates for the division-level elections would also be announced later.

He said Umno supreme council members had noted the party's improved performance at the recent general election, which saw it capturing 88 seats compared with 79 in 2008.

"According to our research, the total number of votes that went to Umno had increased by 30 per cent in this election. Umno has emerged as a strong party in the 13th General Election as evident from our improved performance.

"If we compare Umno's performance as a single party with the opposition, which is made up of three parties, we fared better as a single party."

Najib said the supreme council had also accepted a proposal from the Umno management committee, chaired by deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to beef up various technical aspects of Umno's management. He said these improvements would be in the management of the headquarters and the setting up of committees to handle research and social media.

On election offences by party members, Najib said the disciplinary board had received 99 complaints related to sabotage throughout the election. The cases would be handled by a special committee under the disciplinary board.

He said 192 party members were expelled after they had contested as independent candidates in parliamentary and state constituencies.

On a proposal to make BN a single multiracial party, and how it would affect Umno, Najib said: "Umno is well loved by its members, so, suggestions such as these must be studied carefully. We will leave it to the lab sessions and gauge its acceptance."

The myth of a two-party system in Malaysia

Posted: 31 May 2013 01:45 PM PDT

The absence of a two-party system in Malaysia would mean that the ruling party enjoys absolute power as a two-thirds majority is all it needs to amend the Constitution, with the exception of clauses pertaining Bumiputera Special Rights, the Monarchy and Islam as the Official Religion of the country. 

by Nicholas Chan & Koay Su Lyn,

A contention has arisen after the 2008 general election, be it academic in origin or generated by propaganda, that Malaysia will benefit greatly from a two-party system. 

It is a concept constantly thrown around but highly vague in its actual meaning, or at least in the public understanding of it. 
Hence, after all these years of political shakeup, did we achieve the two-party system? If yes, how far did it go? Are we enjoying the fruits of it or did it come at a cost, like the political gridlock that has been plaguing Washington?
In introducing the two-party system
By definition, the most commonly agreed feature of a democratic two-party system is that it is a political environment dominated by two major political parties, with either party winning in almost all the elections held.  
Although the system does not negate the existence of other splinter parties or independent candidates, it usually thrives in an "either-or" situation whereby the ruling party is just one or the other.  
The most notable example of a two-party system is the United States, as the Congress is populated by politicians from two major parties while the Presidency is always a tussle between a Republican and a Democrat candidate. 
A two-party system is not an engraved certainty as the United Kingdom, which had witnessed a two-party system between the Labour and the Conservative for decades (except for the case of a hung parliament in 1974), was struck by an embarrassing situation in its most recent 2010 elections, whereby neither party earned the simple majority to form the government, resulting in a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.
Malaysia and its traditional single party monopoly
So, why is such a system much heralded in Malaysia?  The most obvious reason is that it offers an option to the people who do not agree with the governance of Barisan Nasional (BN), which reigned for 56 years and counting.  
Without a viable opposition to challenge the hegemony of the ruling party, BN has until recently enjoyed the monopoly of power without any serious checks and balances, to the point of being able to bulldoze through big detrimental changes to our Constitution, ala the 1988 Judiciary Crisis. 
The absence of a two-party system in Malaysia would mean that the ruling party enjoys absolute power as a two-thirds majority is all it needs to amend the Constitution, with the exception of clauses pertaining Bumiputera Special Rights, the Monarchy and Islam as the Official Religion of the country. 
The fact that Malaysian politicians tend to vote en-bloc as well as a diminutive and oppressed public sphere (back then) add to this convention of power without boundaries for the incumbent. 
Post 308: A monopoly broken and the birth of a two-party system
The status quo changed drastically after the March 2008 elections as Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has posed itself as a formidable foe to BN, winning close to 47% of the popular votes. No doubt PR has finally presented itself as a united and viable front in securing the confidence of the voters. 
It is noteworthy that this political tsunami also coincides with the social media boom, where the Internet became a congregational space for Malaysians to communicate, discuss and educate each other on national matters.  
Some would say that a two-party system in the country contributed to higher political awareness as well as greater participation in the political/decision-making process. 
But it is more of a synergistic process - as more people demand their voices to be heard, and BN does not represent those voices, they would gladly vow for the alternative. 
And if the alternative is capable of consolidating such voices or opinions, a two-party system is born. 
Today, politics in Malaysia is no longer business as usual. Public discourse and contention is rife and vocal; the media (or at least the alternative media) took Malaysian journalism to a new direction, and politicians are quick to compete for a place on the various platforms buoyed by public voices to gain political clout. 
With more states administered by the opposition, a comparison of governing standards is inevitable.  Everyone is kept on their toes. The existence of a resurgent opposition ensures that the government is not a mere 'talking shop' and promotes a sense of accountability and transparency, as in order to retain power, the government of the day will be pressured to be transparent in its governance. 
As long as better, more empathetic and accountable governance is what the rakyat wishes, a two-party system would ensure the continuity of such wishes.
How far did we enjoy the fruits of a two-party system?
There is a joke on how ironic our country is - when we had economic progress in the 80s, we lacked democratic freedom; now we have a greatly improved democratic freedom, but lack a robust economy.  
It is certain that economic progress and democratic expansion is not a zero sum game, but the saying amusingly highlights the kind of democratic freedom we have. 
Three Bersih rallies with a huge crowd have so far been organised, among the many smaller assemblies held by different political parties or NGOs. 
Public assembly or demonstration is the present norm of the day to the extent that the government has to acknowledge it by enacting the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, removing the need for police permits for gatherings as laid down in Section 27 of the Police Act. 
While these are mere baby steps towards a full recognition of freedom to assemble, such steps are nevertheless seen as taking strides in multiple directions. 
The ISA was repealed and replaced by the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA), the need for an annual printing licence under the Printing Presses and Publications Act was scrapped, the ban of student participation in politics in the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 was lifted among other legislative changes. 
While dissent against these legislative constraints existed long ago, it was not until the rise of a two-party system that such unimaginable reforms (why would the government do away with something that is beneficial to them?) were implemented. 
This paradigm shift to end the "government knows best" era happened only at the instance of BN sensing a tangible threat of losing power if they don't address the voices of the public. 
This also signals the role of a two-party system, as compared to one that has a government against multitudes of opposition, be it from the public or politicians, because it is vital for one party/coalition to pose itself as the second-in-line for the incumbent. The message is simple, if you can't do your job well; there is an alternative ready to take over.
A race exists whereby both parties not only seek to outperform each other, but also to outmatch each other in exposing the other's scandals and transgressions. 
Although this would lead to some gutter and vitriol politics, it keeps a proper check on the governments in power. Exposés like the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal by Rafizi Ramli and the Talam Scandal in Selangor by the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) mark the fruits of a system where both parties attempt to catch each other red-handed, thus ensuring that the government runs its daily business in a clean, uncorrupted and dignified manner.  
The nation is also geared towards the frequent hosting of political and policy debates/forums aimed at keeping the public informed and engaged with government plans and dealings due to such competitive environment. 
This inadvertently promotes sufficient awareness and knowledge of the government's doings and thereby enabling them to keep a more efficient electoral check on the government. 
An extra bonus also exists where incumbents are no longer guaranteed a place in the government (be it state or federal) if they did not perform to the levels as expected by the voters. 
Although expectations vary over constituencies, this newborn uncertainty will foster competition between both parties to grab the best talents to field in the elections, thus effectively ending the 'warlord' culture, notoriously entrenched in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) as well as introducing new ideas, view and policies in the form of new blood/fresh faces to the parties. 
In the 13th General Election, one-third of the BN candidates were new faces. It would seem that the two-party system provides a mechanism for the renewal of candidates, which is good for ideas and the shedding of old bureaucracies. 



Wan Ahmad denies involvement in 2003 delineation, demands apology

Posted: 31 May 2013 01:39 PM PDT

Pathma Subramaniam,

Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar had demanded newly-elected Serdang parliamentarian Ong Kian Ming apologise for accusing him of having a hand in the electoral delineation exercise last conducted in 2003.

"I was not the deputy chairman then. I was the secretary to the then seven member panel comprising of the chairman and deputy chairman who have since retired," he told when contacted.

"I was only appointed in December 2004. The delineation exercise started in 2002 and ended in March 2003.

"This is a very irresponsible coming from the young MP, who has made assumption without double-checking his facts," he said in rebuking Ong, who is the DAP stategist.

Ong, in statement yesterday, said the EC did not perform their duties according to the law and was biased in redrawing the electoral boundaries during last exercise while Wan Ahmad was deputy. He alluded that with the Wan Ahmad's continued service in EC in the proposed upcoming delineation would be equally problematic.

Ong cited Kedah as an example, where voters were moved in and out of constituencies arbitrarily.

He stated that he has no confidence the delimitation will be done "transparently and fairly" as long as Wan Ahmad remains a part of the commission.

Ong insulted the EC

Wan Ahmad, however, refused to entertain claims of irregularities posed by Ong but countered by advising the latter to take his woes to the then chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, for clarification.

"I didn't have a say in the previous exercise. I don't want to comment on it. The decision to authorise delineation is taken after a series of stakeholders' consultation and public inquiry.

"Once that's done the redrawn boundaries are displayed for public scrutiny for two months before it is passed in Parliament and legislative assemblies.

"Ong insinuated that one person makes the decision. He insults the credibility of the seven member panel which was appointed by the Agong and a panel which made the decision collectively based on many discussions and groundwork," said Wan Ahmad.

"If he has a complaint he should go after the previous panel, not me.

"This is nonsense. I would like to extend an invite to him to my office and he can check the documents himself. He was probably in college when the exercise was conducted in 2003. This is very unprofessional of him," he said.

During the delimitation in 2003, the EC proposed 25 new parliamentary and 53 new legislative assembly constituencies, bringing the total number of federal and state seats to 222 and 604 respectively.

Despite the EC's assurance that the delineation was done in accordance to regulations stipulated by law, political parties and electoral reforms groups have consistently raised grievances on the irregularities to which the EC has remained unresponsive.

Opposition are driven by 'hatred'

Wan Ahmad asserted that he has been straightforward in dealing with the assaults by the federal opposition, Pakatan Rakyat.

"Every time they raise an issue, I have answered their queries with numbers and statistics. But they insist on gunning us down with perception.

"I think they (the opposition) have completely lost focus because of the hatred they nurture," he hit back.

Reiterating that the remark is disparaging to his reputation, Wan Ahmad asked Ong to be "fair" and "to start his political career on a clean slate".


Federal awards: Michelle Yeoh now a ‘Tan Sri’

Posted: 31 May 2013 01:21 PM PDT

(Bernama) -  International film actress Datuk Seri Michelle Yeoh, 49, is among personalities in the creative arts to receive federal medals and awards in conjunction with the birthday of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah today.

Yeoh who has acted in several movies including Tomorrow Never Dies, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha and The Lady receives the Darjah Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM), which carries the title "Tan Sri".

Renowned international shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo and New York-based fashion designer Zang Toi receive the Darjah Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN), which carries the title "Datuk".

Language expert Prof Dr Awang Sariyan, who is also the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka director-general, also receives the PJN.

Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa heads the list of 1,574 recipients of federal medals and awards for 2013 in conjunction with the birthday of the King.

He will receive the Darjah Panglima Mangku Negara (PMN) which carries the title "Tan Sri". 

Also receiving the PMN is the founder and president of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing. 

Other than Yeoh, 44 other individuals will be conferred the Darjah Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) which also carries the title "Tan Sri".

They include Federal Court judge Datuk Ahmad Maarop, Public Service Department director-general Datuk Mohamad Zabidi Zainal, Treasury secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, head of the Implementation Coordination Unit under the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Shukry Mohd Salleh, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed, chief private secretary to the Prime Minister, Prime Minister's Office, Datuk Seri Ab Aziz Kasim and the prime minister's special adviser Datuk Othman Abd Razak.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar will also receive the PSM.

The other recipients of the PSM are Kedah Regency Council member Tunku Laksamana Kedah Datuk Seri DiRaja Tunku Abdul Hamid Thani ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, Sarawak Islamic Welfare Association (Perkis) president Datuk Seri Abang Abu Bakar Datu Bandar Abang Haji Mustapha, Perkayuan Seng Liang (Pahang) Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Lim Sing @ Lam Kam Sang, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Sabri Ahmad, DRB-Hicom Berhad group managing director Datuk Mohd Khamil Jamil.

Eversendai Corporation Berhad executive director and group managing director Datuk E Nathan, Impressive Communications Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Wira Abd Halim Karim, Kumpulan SAPURA president and CEO Datuk Seri Shahril Shamsuddin, Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA) patron Datuk Chen Lok Loi, MMC Corporation Berhad chairman Datuk Wira Syed Abdul Jabbar Syed Hassan, Kim Company Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Ong Gim Huat.

Sime Darby Group president and chief executive Datuk Mohd Bakke Salleh, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa, CP Energy & Services Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Tan Kean Soon, Mahsuri Ria Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Safri Awang Zaidell, Harbour-Link Group Berhad executive director Datuk Seri Celestine Ujang anak Jilan.

Former commissioner of Law Revision in the Attorney-General's Chambers Datuk Seri Dr Visuvanathan Sinnadurai, Petra Energy Group director Datuk Bustari Yusuf, IRDK Land Sendirian Berhad group managing director Datuk Seri Dr M Ramasamy, Frencken Group Limited chairman Datuk Low Hock Peng, Widetech (Malaysia) Berhad executive director Datuk Cheng Joo Teik and MKH Berhad group executive chairman Datuk Chen Kooi Chiew @ Cheng Ngi Chong.

Former Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief, Admiral (Rtd) Datuk Mohd Ramly Abu Bakar and former Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) chief, General (Rtd) Datuk Seri Suleiman Mahmud will also receive the PSM.

The others are former energy, green technology and water minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui, former information, communications and culture minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, former home minister Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, and former Public Accounts Committee chairman and former natural resources and environment minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid.

Also receiving the PSM are former federal territories minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique (picture), president of the Federal Territory Council of Former Elected Representatives (Mubarak) Abdul Aziz Mohd Yassin, former Kedah menteri besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak, Federal Territory MCA adviser Datuk Tan Kim Hor, 1MCA Medical Foundation trustee Datuk Lee Fook Long, SEG International Berhad group managing director Datuk Seri Hii Chii Kok @ Hii Chee Kok, Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) treasurer Datuk Seri Yit Ming Yik @ Yek Min Ek and religious adviser to the prime minister Datuk Seri Prof Dr Abdullah Md Zin.

Apart from that, 59 people are awarded the Darjah Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN), which carries the "Datuk" title, 24 individuals receive the Johan Mangku Negara (JMN), while there were 89 recipients of the Johan Setia Mahkota (JSM), and 434 individuals will receive the Ahli Mangku Negara (AMN).

The sole recipient of the Panglima Gagah Berani award is sergeant major (Rtd) Apot anak Saad, while the general manager of the New Istana Negara Project  Asri Arjan is conferred the Johan Setia Diraja.  

As for the other awards, 273 people are conferred the Kesatria Mangku Negara (KMN), nine the Kesatria Setia Diraja (KSD), 615 the Pingat Pangkuan Negara (PPN) and 16 the Bentara Setia Diraja (BST).


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