- Umno polls: Six file papers for three vice-president slots
- Pas willing to have dialogue with Umno on Islam, Malay
- In Mukhriz, Zaid sees no trace of “Mahathirism”
- Decision on Chin Peng’s ashes: Umno polls a cause?
- Malaysia’s Multiracial Promise Marred by Bigotry and Political Persecution
- Move to ensure bumis have assets
- The world will laugh at us, says ex-top cop who negotiated 1989 peace treaty with Chin Peng
- Mukhriz’s VP bid first step towards new Dr M era?
- Accused soccer match-fixers scared of alleged ringleader Segaran 'Gerry' Gsubramaniam, court told
- ‘Mukhriz gave me his blessing’
- Mahathir: Reject corrupt candidates
- 146,500 delegates to decide Mukhriz fate
Posted: 21 Sep 2013 12:16 AM PDT
(The Star) - Two nominations for the Umno vice-presidency were turned in about an hour before the close of submission period for nomination forms, bringing the total number of people contesting to six.
They were from Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and former Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 04:36 PM PDT
(NST) - Pas is willing to have a dialogue with Umno on issues concerning Islamic religious and Malay community on a condition that it is done based on four main references, namely Al-Quran, Hadith, 'Ijma ulama' and 'qiyas'.
Its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said Pas had never shut its door for talks with Umno and stressed that the party was prepared to meet-up anytime based on issues and mutual interests.
However, he stressed that the talks would only between Pas and Umno, without the presence of neither components parties from Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat.
"We are ready to have talks with Umno on selected issues. Based on this spirit, we have never closed our door for Umno," he said after closing Muassasah Darul Ulum Islamic Education Carnival in Pokok Sena here today.
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 04:28 PM PDT
(MM) - Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir found an unlikely supporter today in one of his father's more strident critics, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who urged Umno members to give the vice-president hopeful a chance in the coming party polls.
Zaid, a former Umno man himself, said Mukhriz will provide "good balance" to the status quo and even dismissed talk that the latter's leadership would see a return to the era of "Mahathirism".
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 04:24 PM PDT
Political analysts say the impending Umno polls is one of the reasons why Chin Peng's ashes is barred from being brought to Malaysia.
Leven Woon, FMT
While debates surrounding the government's barring of Chin Peng's remains from being brought home continued, political analysts attributed the looming Umno polls as one reason behind the government's harsh response.
Center for Policy Initiatives chief executive officer Lim Teck Ghee and Merdeka Centre executive director Ibrahim Suffian concurred that Umno polls on Oct 19 had influenced the government's decision to prevent the return of former Malayan Communist Party leader's remains to his homeland.
They also pointed out that the anti-communist sentiment had traditionally been inculcated in Umno, and that Umno wanted the public to subscribe to that value.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was quick to announce a blanket ban on the return of Chin's remains to Malaysian soil when he died on Sept 16, with Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin joining the pack in demonising the deceased communist leader later in the day.
Lim said the ban was as a result of Umno leaders and supporters imposing their will on the government, and that Zahid's statement that the government would not allow any group to glorify Chin as an independence fighter was simply political bluster, ahead of the Umno general assembly.
"Both Zahid and Najib have to be extra vocal and play the Malay card as much as possible to ensure that they do not lose out in the coming Umno general assembly.
"Had Chin Peng died in the run up to the last election, they may have considered the impact on Chinese voters and could have softened the tone," he told FMT yesterday.
Lim, however, said Umno would have refused "at all times" the request of allowing Chin's remains to return because it was part of Umno's political ideology to view CPM and its members "in the worst possible light."
Lim said this was despite many historians – local and foreign – having acknowledged Chin as a true independence fighter who went against the British and Japanese.
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 12:12 PM PDT
(Time) - Race-based incentives, crackdowns on opposition figures, and an exodus of non-Malays: how Malay supremacists are creating a divided and fearful society
The return to court on Tuesday of 66-year-old opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim — who has spent the last five years fighting "sodomy" charges that he insists are politically motivated, and now awaits the verdict of a government appeal against his acquittal in January — is the latest fissure in the nation's fractious politics. Others include the announcement of $9.4 billion worth of race-based incentives and a worsening climate of racial bigotry and hate speech that has seen Malaysia declared one of the world's least tolerant societies.
General elections on May 5 saw the incumbent National Front coalition government of Prime Minister Najib Razak returned to power despite only getting 47% to the opposition's 50% of the popular vote. But this translated to 133 to 89 parliamentary seats due to the "first past the post" electoral system, alleged electoral irregularities and apparent widespread gerrymandering.
The opposition Pakatan Rakyat (People's Alliance) coalition, led by Anwar, complained bitterly and tens of thousands took to the streets to demand an investigation. In response, several opposition figures were arrested amid a crackdown that saw democracy take "significant steps backward," according Bridget Welsh, an associate professor in political science at Singapore Management University.
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 12:07 PM PDT
(Bernama) - The Government will build more affordable housing to ensure the bumiputra do not lag behind in non-financial assets, said the Prime Minister.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said this would be implemented under the third focus of the Bumiputra Economic Empowerment measures.
"The affordable housing will be increased through Syarikat Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA), Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad and state governments nationwide," he said.
Last Saturday, Najib announced new measures and strategies to strengthen the bumiputra's economy under the Bumiputra Economic Council, to be established and chaired by him soon.
That council will replace the Bumiputra Agenda Action Council in implementing the five main strategies of the empowerment measures.One of the strategies is to handle the issue of bumiputra who still lagged behind in ownership of non-financial assets such as homes, industrial premises and commercial complexes.
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 11:44 AM PDT
Chin Peng, flanked by C.D. Abdullah and Tan Sri Rahim Noor, during the signing of the Peace Accord in Haadyai in 1989.
"I do not know why it should develop along this line (Chin Peng versus government). The fact is that good or bad - whatever Chin Peng was - the background is a peace treaty had been signed. We got to jolly well honour the terms and conditions," he said.
(TMI) - A former top cop has warned that Malaysia will be made a laughing stock if the government is adamant about its "naïve" decision to refuse to allow Chin Peng's ashes to be brought back to be interred.
Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor, a former inspector-general of police, said this would also help turn the ex-communist leader into an icon and that it was a step backwards in the government's attempts to win back Chinese support following the poor performance in the last general election.
"There is a hue and cry from the public not to even allow his ashes (back into Malaysia). My God... this is stretching the argument a bit too far. It's a bit naive I think.
"If the government succumbs to this public pressure not to allow Chin Peng's ashes to be brought back, I think, we are making Malaysia a laughing stock to the whole world," he said in an interview from the United Kingdom that aired on BFM yesterday.
Abdul Rahim, who was Special Branch director at that time, led the peace talks which culminated in the Haadyai Peace Treaty 1989. It officially ended the Communist Party of Malaya's armed struggle against the government.
The refusal to allow Chin Peng into the country even when he was alive, he said, also made a mockery of the 1989 treaty.
He said he convinced the government at that time to engage with the communists in talks, more than 30 years after the failed 1955 Baling negotiations.
He said that even though the 12-year Emergency was lifted in 1960, security forces were still battling communist remnants in the 1980s, but the decline of communism in the region was an opportunity for renewed peace negotiations.
At that time, there were still around 2,000 communists along the Malaysian-Thai border, with the two largest groups being the North Malayan Bureau and the 10th Regiment, which largely comprised Malays, he said.
He said that with the backing of then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Special Branch secretly initiated negotiations with the communists at the end of 1987 and early 1988 on Phuket Island over five rounds of talks.
As a result, the 1989 treaty was signed in Haadyai comprising two agreements, one containing the core terms and the other administrative details on how the terms would be implemented.
"I was involved in the drafting of both agreements, so I know full well that under the terms of the agreements, all the agreements applied are binding on every CPM member, from the highest topmost to the bottom.
"So if you say that Chin Peng, as secretary-general of the party (CPM) is the highest most member, then he qualifies to get all the privileges, advantages or whatever promises made in the agreement, which includes for him to be allowed to come back (to Malaysia)," Abdul Rahim said.
He said, according to the agreement, in the event these former communist members were not allowed to permanently return to Malaysia, they should be allowed to enter the country on social visits.
"But in the case of Chin Peng, he was not allowed both. To me, it's absurd, totally absurd. It's unfair, grossly unfair... There were other ex-communists who were allowed to come back and they were mainly Malays," he said.
"Abdullah CD (CPM chairperson) was allowed to come back to Malaysia and was even given an audience with the current sultan of Perak. Rashid Maidin (CPM central committee member), I was told, performed his pilgrimage through KL with the help of the Malaysian authorities. What's all this?"
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 11:10 AM PDT
(MMO) - Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's entry into the Umno vice-president's race portends his father, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's desire to reassert a hold over the Malay nationalist party, said a political analyst.
According to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's Professor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, this was because Umno — the dominant party in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) — was seen as holding the keys to the country's economy.
"With billions of dollars in the offing, nothing is better than being in the centre of Umno," Shamsul was quoted as saying by the Astro Awani portal in a report yesterday.
On Thursday, the Kedah mentri besar ended speculation on whether he would aim for one of the three VP spots when he came out to announce his candidacy in Alor Setar. Days before that, Dr Mahathir warned Umno of a pressing need for new blood in the party, saying in party mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia that the older generation of leaders should not overstay their welcome.
"... they have to realise how important it is not to exceed their time. Sooner or later people will feel bored, even get disgusted of leaders that are outdated but still don't want to accept the truth," the country's longest-serving prime minister wrote in his column in Utusan Malaysia on Monday.
Observers suspect, however, that call was a pre-emptive volley for his son's then-unannounced campaign.
The Malay Mail Online previously reported that Mukhriz's bid for ascendancy was symptomatic of a desire from Umno's "old guard" to preserve the right wing leanings in the party.
"A win or lose is not the point. The point is to signal their presence," Shamsul said further in the report.
The emergence of Akhramsyah Sanusi, the son of Tan Sri Sanusi Junid and loyal ally to Dr Mahathir, to challenge Khairy Jamaluddin for the post of Umno Youth chief further bolstered perception that an orchestrated effort was being conducted to entrench the conservatives' hold over Umno.
When announcing his candidacy today, Akhramsyah was forced to deny he was a stand-in for Dr Mahathir's camp in the Umno Youth race.
"I deny that I belong to any faction… if you say I am a proxy I would say yes I am. I am a proxy that represents the aspiration of grassroots members that want change," he said here yesterday.
The contest for a seat of power in Menara Datuk Onn also has bearings in faraway Putrajaya.
A victory by Mukhriz in the vice-presidency race would put him on the path to mount a challenge for the number two spot in the party ahead of the 14th general election, which, if successful, could make him Malaysia's next deputy prime minister.
Already, the Umno-linked blogs that rose to prominence during Dr Mahathir's vitriolic — and successful — campaign to unseat successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have begun to promote Mukhriz's bid for the vice presidency, introducing a #MM4VP hashtag to generate grassroots support for him on social media sites.
In him, they see the promise of a return to the days of Dr Mahathir's uncompromising rule over Malaysia and a reverse of the reforms and policies that they allege have allowed the special position of the Malays and the sanctity of Islam to be challenged.
Dr Mahathir was prime minister from 1981 to 2003, but has remained active in Malaysian politics despite his retirement.
Still, Mukhriz, the "young" 48-year-old politician, will not have an easy task to win one of the three coveted spots, even with the support of his father and the latter's loyalists.
He faces a crowded field that includes powerful incumbents Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal; and aspirants Datuk Seri Ali Rustam and Tan Sri Abdul Isa Samad, both wily old campaigners.
Adding to the uncertainty of the race this time around is the enlarged voter pool.
This year's election will see some 146,500 delegates directly elect their top leaders after the party amended its constitution to allow more members to vote, up from the previous 2,500.
Nominations for the Umno supreme council elections will be held on September 28 and voting on October 19.
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 11:04 AM PDT
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 11:03 AM PDT
Akhramsyah (in brown) being flanked by his supporters during a press conference.
(The Star) - Umno Youth chief aspirant Akhramsyah Sanusi said he has received endorsement from Kedah Umno chief Datuk Paduka Mukhriz Tun Mahathir to contest the post.
And, I am not being a proxy to any leader, including Mukhriz, to take on incumbent Khairy Jamaluddin, he said.
"Mukhriz has given me his endorsement, just as he has given other candidates from Kedah who will be contesting in the party election," said Akhramsyah.
"I am grateful for the support and at the same time, I will also throw my support behind him as the candidate for the vice-presidency.
"But this does not mean that I am a proxy. If I am, I want to be one to the grassroots and those who vote for me."
The contest for the Umno Youth chief post is expected to be a four-cornered fight. Apart from Akhramsyah, it has been reported that a relatively unknown wing member Karim Ali, who is Merbok division Youth chief, and Syed Rosli Syed Harman Jamalullail from Pandan Umno division will be joining the fray.
Akhramsyah, 39, who has a masters degree from London's Imperial College in chemical engineering and son of former Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Sanusi Junid, admitted to being an "underdog" in the race.
"Khairy has an advantage, being the incumbent and a minister. The party leadership has taken great pains to carry out political transformation so I should use this opportunity to take part in a healthy contest," he added.
His decision to have a go at the post was prompted by the realisation that many at the grassroots level felt that the movement was no longer playing its role as a pressure group to fight for the Malay agenda.
He observed that the past years saw Malay-based non-governmental organisations emerging to champion the Malays but did so with no political clout.
"I may not be that well-known, but support for me will come from like-minded people who wants Umno Youth to champion for them, to look after their interests and to ensure that well-intended Government policies reach the grassroots," he stressed.
Should he be successful, Akhramsyah pledged to revive what he believed was the movement's responsibility – defend the Malay cause.
However, he stressed that his plans for the movement should not be seen as practising right-wing politics.
"What I am offering is based on Islamic principles. The Malays have led the country for decades and what Umno is doing is just a continuity," he said.
With his campaign motto "Hidup Melayu" (Long Live the Malays), Akhramsyah will be touring the country to introduce himself to Umno Youth members.
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 11:00 AM PDT
(The Star) - As Umno goes into election mode, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called on the 146,500 delegates to reject corrupt candidates.
He said voting in corrupt leaders would be detrimental to the party, as they risk facing the brunt of the electorates in the next general election.
"If we choose corrupt leaders, they would have no qualms selling out the race," he said on his blog.
Dr Mahathir also called for the weeding out of deadwood and replacing them with young blood in order to rejuvenate the party.
He said Umno should get as many youths with nationalist spirit to join the party.
He also took a swipe at detractors who claimed that he was trying to remain in power by proxy through his son Mukhriz, who is vying the vice-president post.
"If I want to help my son, I would have done that when I was the Prime Minister.
"But I did not do that," said Dr Mahathir.
Mukhriz, meanwhile, said that if his father had any intention of creating a dynasty, he would have allowed him to be active in politics while he was in power.
"But my father only allowed his kin to be active in politics after his retirement," he said.
Posted: 20 Sep 2013 10:56 AM PDT
(Bernama) - Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir said that he had his parents' blessings to contest for one of the three Umno vice-president seats at the party election next month.
"I have met with them and my dad (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) left it to me to make the final decision, but he did give his advice and opinion based on his experience in contesting for the vice-president post.
"However, this year's election will be decided by 146,500 delegates. No more nomination system. There's a big different between his (Tun Dr Mahathir) time and the current situation," he said.
Mukhriz, who is Kedah Umno Liaison Committee chairman, was met at the ceremony to introduce Jerlun Umno candidates for the divisional elections at Wisma Umno Jerlun, 30km from here today.
Apart from Mukhriz, former Melaka Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam and Felda chairman Isa Samad are also vying for the Umno vice-president post, while the three incumbents – Mohd Shafie Apdal, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and i Hishammuddin Tun Hussein – have made it clear that they will defend their seats.
Mukhriz said if he won the contest and joined the other two vice-presidents, they would definitely have something to offer to the party based on their experience in solving people's problems at the grass roots.
"It's not about policy or policy-making, but it's a responsibility to solve the people's problems, as well as poverty and employment issues depending on financial ability, human capital and the many aspects that have to be taken into account.
"In this aspect, my experience as a Menteri Besar, although only four months, is really needed at the central level.
"I'm confident that I can contribute by sharing my opinions and experience because I have came across many situations that demanded immediate decision," he added.
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