Ahad, 13 Oktober 2013

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What Asians did without Obama

Posted: 13 Oct 2013 08:57 AM PDT

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More difficult, but notable would be for American negotiating tactics on the TPP agreement to be balanced, to allow Asian partners to feel more like partners.

Simon Tay, Today Online 

More attention was given to United States President Barack Obama's late decision to cancel his trip to Asia than to what the region did without him. This is testimony to America's enduring power and the President's prestige.

Focus intensified also because of the circumstances that triggered the cancellation — dysfunctional Beltway politics that has brought the world's largest economy to the edge of default.

Continuing market concerns about the debt ceiling crisis may validate the decision to prioritise domestic concerns. But that does not mean — as some in America think — that there was little cost for the cancellation or that Asians did not move ahead on their own agenda.

What China did received much attention, but it is wrong to see Beijing's gains as being at America's expense. The new Chinese leadership always planned to make an early and strong impression across the region.

Visiting Malaysia and Indonesia, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to accelerate trade and investment — much welcomed as growth is slowing. In Jakarta, he became the first foreign leader to address parliament in the region's largest democracy and also provided a safety net for the weakening rupiah with a currency swap worth some US$16 billion (S$20 billion).

Attending the wider summits, Premier Li Keqiang set a new context for ties with ASEAN. China now aims to make the South China Sea a "sea of peace" and calm the disputes that have bedevilled relations. No claims were retracted, but concrete next steps identified are to establish communication hotlines, search and rescue cooperation, and an informal dialogue amongst defence ministers.

Beijing will also upgrade the free trade agreement with ASEAN, with ambitious trade and investment targets. The Philippines — vocal disputants over maritime issues — will not be pacified. But with others, these Chinese efforts can be persuasive.

ASEAN MOVES BEAR WATCHING


While host ASEAN itself made fewer headlines, this was largely because its journey towards becoming a community by 2015 
remains on track, notwithstanding challenges to deeper economic integration. Some initiatives do bear special notice.

One is the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund that will soon commence lending. While this begins with only US$1 billion, the fund, supported by the Asian Development Bank, can gather momentum to support connectivity needs.

Another initiative is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to tie together ASEAN's free-trade agreements, from Japan to India, and down to New Zealand.

The first RCEP Ministerial Meeting was held in Brunei this year and the effort, which excludes the US, bears watching in relation to the Obama-endorsed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

A third notable decision taken by ASEAN was the adoption of the Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System. Normally the domain of environment ministers, the fact that leaders signed off shows escalating concern over fires in Indonesia that this year severely impacted not just local communities, but also Singapore and Malaysia. This demonstrates that even sensitive issues of sovereignty are being addressed among Asians.

These are just some of the long list of items on ASEAN's agenda and each may not rank as urgent or earth-shattering. But taken together, they add up to an important signal: Asian regionalism is thickening to develop detailed and real measures.

'ASIA ALONE' REGIONALISM

Mr Obama's absence did not derail this. It only raises issues about whether the Americans want and can be present to participate, or if it will just become an occasional if honoured visitor.

Back in 1998, amidst the Asian crisis, another US President skipped a visit to the region. While Presidents Bill Clinton and then George W Bush did subsequently visit key countries in the region, that incident sparked the sense that Asia should deepen regional cooperation amongst themselves, excluding America.

Following that, the first summit among East Asians was held and, over the next decade, China's influence and ties grew exponentially.

READ MORE HERE 

Najib Sees Malaysia Escaping Fitch Rating Cut

Posted: 13 Oct 2013 08:53 AM PDT

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(Bloomberg) - Prime Minister Najib Razak said he believes that Malaysia can avoid a cut to its 
credit ratingwhile the government will try its "level best" to prevent a breach of its self-imposed sovereign debt ceiling.

"We will manage it," Najib said in an Oct. 11 interview in Putrajaya, the country's administrative center near Kuala Lumpur. "We're very closely monitoring how we manage our macro position as well as our fiscal and debt to make sure that we will not be downgraded."

Najib raised subsidized fuel prices for the first time since 2010 and said he'd delay some public projects after Fitch Ratings cut Malaysia's credit outlook to negative in July, citing rising debt levels and a lack of budgetary reform. The country, which has a long-term foreign-currency denominated rating of A- at Fitch, has run annual budget deficits every year starting in 1998.

At 53.3 percent, Malaysia's debt-to-gross domestic product ratio is the highest among 12 emerging Asian markets after Sri Lanka, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Moody's Investors Service said last month the budget gap may exceed Najib's target of 4 percent of GDP this year and warned fiscal targets will become "increasingly out of reach" unless further measures are taken. Moody's rates Malaysia government bonds A3 with a stable outlook.

The government will further cut state subsidies, broaden its tax base and manage spending "prudently," said Najib, 60, who is also finance minister, without elaborating. Cabinet will meet before the 2014 budget is released Oct. 25 to decide if there's enough public support to introduce a goods and services tax, he said.

Taxing Challenge

"We are quite positive on Malaysia," Enrico Tanuwidjaja, a Singapore-based economist at Nomura Holdings Inc., said by phone yesterday. "They are on a fiscal consolidation path and they will boost the revenue base if the government can push through the GST in the coming budget. A sub-3 percent fiscal deficit could happen in 2016, if not in 2015 as per the official aim."

The ringgit has fallen 3.8 percent this year, the fifth worst performer among 11 most traded Asian currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The currency could gain over time if the nation's fundamentals remain strong, central bank Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said in an Oct. 12 interview with Bloomberg News in Washington.

"We believe that, over the medium term, yes, it should reflect underlying fundamentals, and if the underlying fundamentals remain strong, then over time it should be an appreciating trend," said Zeti, predicting stronger economic growth in 2014.

The government earlier planned to introduce a 4 percent GST by 2011. It hasn't said what the rate may be if it now goes ahead.

'Level Best'

"We are one of the very, very few countries in the world which doesn't have a GST," said Najib, who was returned to power in a general election in May with a reduced majority as his coalition lost the popular vote for the first time. "But there are challenges. Anything to do with any new form of tax, like consumption tax in Japan, carbon tax in Australia, these are big issues that cannot be easily decided."

The government will "try our level best" not to go beyond its debt ceiling of 55 percent of GDP, said Najib, a U.K.- educated industrial economics graduate. If Malaysia can achieve 5 to 6 percent GDP growth "we should be able to manage the debt ceiling," he said. "The weakening external global economy is of concern to us."

Southeast Asia's third-largest economy withstood faltering overseas demand in the past year as Najib gave handouts to voters and boosted investment ahead of the May vote. GDP expanded more than 4 percent in each of the 15 quarters through June 2013. \

READ MORE HERE 

Inside a church, a hundred times the sound of Allah

Posted: 13 Oct 2013 08:42 AM PDT

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Today, the Court of Appeals will make its ruling on the Home Ministry's appeal against the High Court's ruling that allowed the Catholic weekly publication, the Herald, to use the word, "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia section. 


Desmond Davidson, TMI


Inside the spotless white walls of the All Saints' Church tucked in the largely Dayak village of Kampung Tabuan, the common voice of the faithful at morning mass throbbed the walls.

In the Sunday service yesterday, the 400 or so said in one voice the word, Allah, no fewer than 100 times. It reverberated off the rafters in the church, which is literally going to raise its ceiling as the church builds a new roof.

Whatever the High Court rules on the "Allah" issue today, churches in Sarawak like this one that conduct their services in the native languages have no plans to change the way they worship, with many saying that "Allah" will continue to be used in their prayers.

At this church in Kampung Tabuan yesterday, which caters to the largely Iban villagers in the surrounding areas, the service was conducted in Iban.

The liturgy alone – the booklet that sets out the fixed set of Eucharistic rites and words to be used in worship – contained no fewer than 80 of the words "Allah Taala", which means God Almighty in Iban.

The word was also used in the hymns and in the sermon of Reverend Nelson Sinken.

The secretary of the Parochial Council of Churches, Maxwell Landong, told The Malaysian Insider after the service, "Since I started going to church, the words Allah Taala have been used by the church to refer to God. It's our language and there are no other words I know that were used to refer to God."

He added, "We have been using Allah in our liturgy, our Iban-language Bibles, publications, prayers and sermons for as long as I can remember. The Muslims in Sarawak have accepted that. So what is the fuss? Why now?"

He pointed out that if the court ruled against the Catholic Church's use of the word, it would be difficult to enforce the ruling here.

He said that on a personal basis he would still pray to Allah Taala and read Bibles that use the word Allah to refer to God "no matter what the court says".

For his part, Reverend Sinken was sanguine on today's highly anticipated Court of Appeals decision on the dispute between Christians and certain Malaysian Muslim authorities over the use of the word.

"I'm not worried," Reverend Sinken said. He did not offer prayers for divine intervention or speak on the subject in his sermon.

Echoing the exact sentiments of Landong, Reverend Sinken said of the Christians, "We in Sarawak have been using the word Allah for years without problem. It's also our language. I'm sure the court will take all those into consideration."

Like the majority of the churchgoers here yesterday, Dorothy Gregory is optimistic that the court will decide in the favour of "what is fair and just".

There are many similar words in the Iban and Malay languages. For example, "hutan" (jungle) in Malay is "utan" in Iban. "Jalan" (walk) in Malay is "jalai" in Iban and "makan" (eat) in Malay is "makai" in Iban.

When asked what could happen if the court ruled that Christians cannot use the word "Allah", both Landong and Reverend Sinken said it would be up to the Archbishop to determine what they should do next.

Datuk Bolly Lapok is the Anglican Archbishop for Sarawak and Brunei. 

READ MORE HERE 

Hwa Beng: ‘It’s time for the dictator to go’

Posted: 13 Oct 2013 08:34 AM PDT

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The 59-year-old speaks to The Malay Mail on the rationale behind ABC, who he thinks should be MCA president, and his next course of action against the party. 

Pearl Lee. The Malay Mail
 


Recently sacked MCA member Datuk Lee Hwa Beng only has one mission in life right now. Armed with 36 years of political experience, the former three-term assemblyman's daily mantra is now "ABC".

He says his "Anybody But Chua Soi Lek" movement, which is aimed at overthrowing MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, is his personal contribution to ensure the Chinese community in the country will get a chance at redemption, at least in the next five years.

The 59-year-old speaks to The Malay Mail on the rationale behind ABC, who he thinks should be MCA president, and his next course of action against the party. 

The Malay Mail (TMM): What prompted you to start ABC?

Lee Hwa Beng (LHB): I did not plan this. In fact, I retired from politics after my defeat in the 2008 general election. Chua had said he would step down from the party before GE 13 but it appears he is going against his words. That is why I started ABC. The Chinese turned their backs against the party because of Chua. How can we continue to have a tainted leader in the party?

TMM: So ABC only came about after GE13?

LHB: Yes, I returned to politics just to remove Chua. I was voted as a national delegate before I was sacked, so I had the right to vote for the central committee on December 22. I was also able to stand for a post.

TMM: Some may call you a "lalang" as you had openly supported Pakatan Rakyat (PR) prior to GE13 only to return to politics just to topple Chua.

LHB: Yes, I was pro-Pakatan before the election but I did not join the coalition and neither did I attend any of their election rallies.

TMM: Do you have a personal vendetta against Chua?

LHB: I have nothing personal against him. We were very close. I am not his enemy. I even voted for him when he was standing against (Datuk Seri) Ong Ka Chuan for the deputy president's post, which I now regret. He even brought his son (Chua Tee Yong) to see me once for advice on his educational path. Chua is an embarrassment to the party and the Chinese community. He must go … he is a dictator.

TMM: Who do you think should lead the party then?

LHB: It can be anybody … (Datuk Seri) Liow Tiong Lai, (Datuk Seri) Ong Tee Keat or even Ka Chuan. At least with either one of them helming the party, I am confident we can get at least 30 per cent of Chinese support for the party.


READ MORE HERE 

Court to decide on church's usage of 'Allah' today

Posted: 13 Oct 2013 08:22 AM PDT

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Qishin Tariq, The Star

The Court of Appeal will decide today if Catholic weekly The Herald can use the term 'Allah' in its Malay edition.

The Court of Appeal had reserved judgment on the Government's appeal after the conclusion of submissions on Sept 10.

It had heard submissions from lawyers for the Home Ministry and the Government, interested Muslim groups and the Catholic Church.

The three-man panel, comprising Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali, who was elevated to Federal Court on Sept 30, Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh and Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, is expected to deliver its decision today.

The dispute on the use of 'Allah' by non-Muslims started when the Home Ministry prohibited the publication to use the word as a condition for permit renewal issuance in 2007.

In February 2008, the Church filed for a judicial review of the ministry's decision and, on Dec 31, 2009, the High Court declared the decision by the ministry was illegal, null and void.

The court also ruled the term 'Allah' was not exclusive to Muslims and use by the Christians was protected under the Federal Con­stitution as long as it was not used to preach to Muslims.

The Home Ministry and Government then appealed against the decision.

A rash of attacks against Churches – from vandalism to arson - broke out in the aftermath of the decision, a reaction believed to stem from certain groups that believed that the word should only be used to refer to the Muslim God.

The Herald editor Rev Father Lawrence Andrew said the publication had not used 'Allah' in the interim as the Government had been granted a stay against the execution while the appeal was still ongoing.

"Should the decision favour the Church, it would be a recognition of religious freedom, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. In fact, the Constitution is being tarnished by such limitations," he said.

On July 9, the Roman Catholic Archbishop filed an application to strike out the Government's appeal, arguing that a 10-point solution signed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak on April 11, 2011, allowed the importation and publication of Bibles in all languages, including Bahasa Malaysia with the word 'Allah' without restriction and, by extension, The Herald, which quotes the Bible, too, should be allowed to use the word.

This was disallowed by the Court of Appeal on the grounds that the subject of the appeal was still a live issue and that the controversy had yet to be resolved.

READ MORE HERE 

The story of Sabah’s two most powerful politicians and their gentleman’s agreement that ...

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 11:46 PM PDT

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On the morning of Sept 15, Musa called Najib to inform his decision and then later the same day, broke his silence to the media by announcing that he is not contesting the VP's post, let alone defend his post in the Umno Supreme council.

Sabah: Ground Zero 

The current political landscape in Sabah is dominated by two heavyweights – Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Federal Minister for Rural and Regional Development Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

It is a fact that Musa Aman and Shafie Apdal are currently the two most powerful politicians in Sabah, each with their own supporters and detractors.

But it is also no secret that Musa Aman and Shafie Apdal don't see eye to eye, let alone talk to each other.

Even if their paths do cross inadvertently, be it at official functions or party gatherings, they quickly shake hands, mumble greetings and turn the other way around.

But more than a decade ago, both men were good friends.
Situation, circumstances and the people surrounding them is certainly to be blamed for the animosity between these two astute, intelligent and shrewd politicians.
There is also a third force active in Sabah politics that want to see both men removed from their respective positions and this was the group that initially started to pit Musa with Shafie, and vice-versa.
This third force comprises few shadowy characters within Sabah Umno itself and from component parties in Sabah, not to mention those who have a beef with either Musa or Shafie.
Some party veterans in Sabah claim the political rift between Musa and Shafie is beyond repair, but others believe they will readily bury their hatchet if the situation warrants the need for them to work together for a greater cause.

Shafie hails from a family with deep political ties with Umno.
His uncle (mother's brother) is Tun Sakaran Dandai, Sabah's first Chief Minister from Umno.

For more than three decades, the families of Sakaran Dandai and Shafie Apdal have worked and struggled for Umno.

There is no question on their loyalty to the party.
Sakaran Dandai and his colleagues prepared the framework that played a pivotal role in Sabah Umno becoming a dominant party in the state in the 90s.

Shafie is a close confidant of Prime Minister Najib Razak and served as Deputy Defence Minister when Najib was Defence Minister between 1999 and 2004.
Over the years, Shafie has earned Najib's trust and their relationship has grown beyond politics.

Najib feels secure when he is with Shafie. He never has to second guess or doubt Shafie's loyalty unlike a few other politicians within the party.
Musa on the other hand, never had that kind of relationship with Najib.

But he made efforts to become close with the First Family and eventually earned the trust of First Lady Rosmah Mansor.
It is a known fact amongst senior Sabah politicians that Musa has Rosmah's ears.

And in his own way, Musa has proved his loyalty to Najib and takes great effort to maintain strong ties with Putrajaya.
Much of the bad blood between Musa and Shafie started more than a decade ago when both politicians' careers started to rise.

Shafie rose to prominence in the Federal scene while Musa took the top job of running the state.
While it is not really possible to pinpoint the one single cause that led to the cracks in their relationship, many believe it was over the way Shafie and Musa handled the state's coffers.
Shafie was known to be generous while Musa was very selective about spending, to a point that prudence was the keyword.
Camps aligned to Shafie become unhappy with Musa's management of the state while camps aligned with Musa became unhappy with Shafie's way of doing things in the state as well as federal level.
All this infighting gave a splendid opportunity for the third force within Sabah's political echelons to further aggravate the situation between Musa and Shafie.
There are also stories on how Shafie's powerful Rural Ministry with billions under allocation refused to hand over it funds for Sabah to Musa because of the people associated with Musa.
It is learned that Shafie's camp was concerned that the funds might not reach the intended people but end up in the wrong hands. 

Musa's camp, on the other hand, was angry that only people deemed aligned to Shafie were getting lucrative infrastructure contracts.
Each time the rift became wider, and more controversies surfaced, the third force was smiling gleefully.

Johor DAP chairman backs down, says shares Kit Siang’s Malaysian Dream vision

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 07:22 PM PDT

Eileen Ng, TMI

Johor DAP chairman Dr Boo Cheng Hau appears to have backed down from his earlier remarks on the Malaysian Dream Movement after coming under fire from party comrades.

Stressing that he shared party adviser Lim Kit Siang's vision of the movement, which is to stamp out racism and bigotry, Dr Boo said he was under the impression that Malaysian Dream was a form of declaration.

However, when it was later translated into various forms of activity, he felt the execution needed more input and coordination at various party levels to make it a bigger success.

He said since the movement is meant to focus on rural folks in the context of West Malaysia, cultural sensitivity is important to endear the Malaysian Dream to them.

"I believe cultural sensitivity should be cultivated among youngsters, including DAP members, and more deliberations and discussions should be encouraged in order to promote the Malaysian Dream Movement effectively at all levels of the party," he said in a statement today. He added that cultural traits should not be ignored and feedback should be gathered from the grassroots to attract more voters.

DAP publicity chief Tony Pua had slammed Dr Boo for his earlier comments on the movement, describing it as "irresponsible" and "unfounded'.

Dr Boo had reportedly said on Friday the Malaysian Dream Movement did not have the approval of DAP's central executive committee.

He also allegedly said certain figures had been given unchecked authority to raise funds using DAP resources and carry out activities which usurped the powers of other party organs.

Pua had said the Malaysian Dream was not mere rhetoric, as it spawned the "Impian Sarawak" campaign which was launched to urge all Malaysians to be agents of change and to bridge the divide between east and west Malaysia.

In defending his remarks on Impian Sarawak, Dr Boo said he did not raise any objections to the campaign due to the uncertainty of the party's central executive committee position when the Registrar of Societies directed the party to hold fresh internal polls.

He also said he did not give any opinion as Impian Sarawak is under the jurisdiction of the Sarawak DAP committee.

READ MORE HERE

 

Khalid bidas Anwar, bukan senang kumpul lebihan dana kerajaan negeri

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 07:20 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (gambar) berkata pihaknya mempunyai alasan tersendiri dalam cara membelanjakan lebihan dana kerajaan negeri.

Beliau berkata ia perlu dilakukan dengan tertib agar rakyat tahu tujuan dana itu digunakan.
   
Proses mengumpulkan lebihan dana kerajaan negeri adalah sesuatu yang sukar dilakukan dan ia memerlukan strategi lebih teliti dalam membelanjakannya, katanya kepada pemberita selepas penyerahan lembu untuk korban sempena Aidiladha di Masjid Kampung Pendamar di sini hari ini.
   
Beliau berkata kritikan yang diterima daripada Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim pada forum di Petaling Jaya malam tadi yang melabelnya sebagai gagal membelanjakan perolehan negeri dengan baik sebaliknya hanya berbangga dengan lebihan dana itu, dianggap kritikan biasa.
   
"Pada saya, ia (kritikan) hanya perkara biasa dan saya anggap Anwar ibarat memberi galakan untuk melakukan lebih banyak perbincangan sesama pemimpin agar dapat menjana strategi terbaik menguruskan dana kerajaan negeri," katanya.

 

Umno wings flying strong into GE14

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 07:10 PM PDT

The outcome in yesterday's party polls has been described as consolidating Umno's preparation to face the 14th General Election

Free Malaysia Today

The victory of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Khairy Jamaluddin and Mas Ermieyati Samsudin as the Wanita Umno, Umno Youth and Puteri Umno chiefs, respectively, has been described as consolidating Umno's preparation to face the 14th General Election.

This was stated by the party's information chief,Ahmad Maslan, who said the first test for the three wings would be the by-election for the state seat of Sungai Limau in Kedah on Nov 4.

Ahmad said the chiefs of the three wings received strong support from the divisions, with the results as at 3.30 am today showing Shahrizat having garnered 100 votes; Khairy, 97 and Mas Ermieyati, 96.

Shahrizat retained the post after brushing aside the challenge from Maznah Mazlan and Raihan Suleiman while Khairy was returned after staving off the challenge from Syed Rosli Syed Harman, Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi, Irwan Ambak Khalid Izhar and Abd Karim Ali.

Mas Ermieyati became the new Puteri Umno chief after beating Jamilah Hanim Othman.

In Terengganu, Shahrizat and Khairy, who is the Youth and Sports Minister, secured the support of all the eight divisions.

For the post of Wanita Umno vice-head, all the divisions elected Azizah Mohd Dun except Kuala Nerus which voted for the other candidate, Suraya Yaacob.

For the post of Umno Youth vice-head, the Besut division supported Jamawi Jaafar, Hulu Terengganu supported Khairul Azwan Harun and Setiu picked Lokman Nor Adam.

Mas Ermieyati Samsudin garnered five votes from Terengganu while the other candidate for Puteri Umno chief, Jamilah Hanim Othman, received one vote.

The divisions which supported Mas Ermieyati were Besut, Kuala Terengganu, Marang, Hulu Terengganu and Setiu while Kuala Nerus backed Jamilah Hanim.

For the post of Puteri Umno vice-head, Zahida Zarik Khan and Norsabrina Mohd Nor received three votes each. Zahida got her votes from Besut, Setiu and Kuala Nerus while Norsabrina received hers from Kuala Terengganu, Marang and Hulu Terengganu.

The results for the Dungun and Kemaman divisions were not known yet.

READ MORE HERE

 

Stress on the Malay agenda

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 05:12 PM PDT

The Malays in Umno have not felt this vulnerable in decades and the mood in the party is that their political power is under threat. All this is simmering beneath the surface in the party's election campaign.

Shahidan is also not shy about projecting himself as the top political personality in Perlis. Some of his supporters were distributing pamphlets of him as Superman. A giant banner draped across the stage showed him alongside Umno's top two, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Joceline Tan, The Star

FEW expected much of the Kangar stop for the Umno campaign roadshow because Perlis is a tiny state with only about 2,000 delegates.

But the Friday event held in the hall opposite the Mentri Besar's house drew a huge and spirited crowd. It was taking place a day before the three wings were due to vote and there was a whole lot of pent-up feelings being released after weeks of campaigning.

The boisterous mood also had to do with the man playing host that morning, namely Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim who is synonymous with Perlis politics.

Shahidan has a big personality and he dominated the stage. Love or hate him, it is hard to ignore him.

He had everyone giggling when he welcomed them with a pantun: "Itik jantan pulang petang, itik betina ternanti-nanti. Dari jauh tuan datang, kami di Perlis sedia menanti". It was a cute rhyme likening the Perlis delegates to a hen waiting for the returning drake.

It is easy to forget that he is no longer the Perlis Mentri Besar (MB). However, he is the Perlis Umno chairman and although there have been two other MBs since he moved on, he still pulls the strings in the state's politics.

Shahidan is also not shy about projecting himself as the top political personality in Perlis. Some of his supporters were distributing pamphlets of him as Superman. A giant banner draped across the stage showed him alongside Umno's top two, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Shahidan kept the event lively. If the candidates tried to run up to the stage, he would tell them not to be so eager and to take their time. If they walked too slowly, he would tell them to hurry up because voting day was around the corner.

He also made a song and dance about his ballot number, 01. The number is easy to remember and that is important when it is time to vote.

Friday's roadshow covered Perlis, Kedah and Penang and it was the final leg for delegates to meet and evaluate candidates.

The roadshow, as a whole, has turned out to be somewhat of a farce. The method worked when there were only 2,000 delegates.

But there are now more than 145,000 voting delegates and it is estimated that barely 20% of the delegates have been able to attend the roadshows for various reasons – the events were held during weekdays and had an urban bias because they were held in the state capitals. The mainstay of Umno is still quite rural and they were left out.

There have been complaints about candidates having to rush through three states in a day. It was like running a crazy marathon especially on the east coast leg where people were expected to start in Kota Baru in the morning, rush to Kuala Terengganu by 3pm and be in Kuantan by 8pm.

And all this to be paraded onstage for a few minutes and to meet just a fraction of the delegates.

In Selangor, the venue was so cramped and unsuitable that some are clamouring for another session.

The southern leg was equally impossible for some to keep up with. Candidates were expected to hop from Seremban in the morning to Malacca in the afternoon and down to Johor Baru by nightfall. The next day, they had to be in Kota Kinabalu.

Some have described the whole exercise as a "pretend campaign" or what the Malays call melepaskan batuk di tangga (half-hearted effort).

"It had no impact at all. In Perak, about 1,000 delegates came but we have more than 10,000 delegates in the state," said a delegate from Batu Gajah.

It explained why most of the top guns did not bother to attend the official roadshows. For instance, most of the vice-president (VP) candidates did not join any of the events, leaving delegates disappointed because they want to see their heroes in the flesh.

This has been a sharp contrast to the last party polls where everyone, whether top gun or small fry, turned up for the roadshows.

Those who held government positions preferred to go through the state Umno machinery to hold "official gatherings" of their own where they could make speeches and address their audience in a more personal way.

It is time for a revamp.

But as incumbent VP Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein pointed out, there has not been the usual flurry of poison pen letters and agenda-loaded political books this time and that is a good trend.

The maligned roadshow system has, however, inspired others at a more local level where it has worked much better.

In Kapar, Selangor, incumbent deputy Umno chief Datuk Faizal Abdullah has been organising mini roadshows for the 50 or so candidates vying for posts in his division. All posts in Kapar are being contested. Faizal himself is vying to be the new division chief against Datuk Abdul Rashid Asari.

All aspirants have been introduced to branch level leaders at a series of group sessions. Candidates for division chief are allowed to speak for 10 minutes, the deputy and vice chief candidates for five minutes while those going for committee posts are introduced by name.

"It is amicable and aboveboard, no dirty tricks or name-calling. We are all in one family and we want to stay friends, win or lose," said Faizal.

Faizal's usual pitch goes like this: "My friends, if you think that my good friend Datuk Rashid is the better candidate, please give the vote to him. I will accept your decision with an open heart. But if you think that I am a little bit better, I accept the responsibilities that come with it. There is no menu or Team A, B or C. If I am elected, I am ready to work with anybody."

The VP race has become a more level playing field now that it is clear that the top leadership did not give any instruction about the contest. Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is taking a hands-off position, whether for the VP posts or the supreme council.

Most chief ministers and mentris besar, including Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, are also going with the flow on the VP race.

The forerunner Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is still in pole position despite an embarrassing incident in Malacca where he threatened to close down the newspapers if the reporters did not leave a closed-door event where he was speaking.

The Home Minister has acquired a reputation for his hardline stand on organised crime and he has probably been carried away by his tough-guy image. The incident will hurt his public image but it will not dent his campaign, given the way the crowd at the event was cheering him on in the background.

But the Zahid campaign team has advised him not to over-react and to keep his mouth shut. He is only a few metres from the finishing line, and they do not want any more trip-ups.

During an interview on a TV talk show, he said that he was willing to risk his political career in defence of the Malays and Islam. The quote has been resonating on the Malay ground.

After all, Umno is the abbreviation for United Malays National Organisation. Its members are essentially Malay nationalists, patriotic to king and country and bound together by the religion.

The Malays in Umno feel politically vulnerable as a result of events in the last few years. The last time they had felt this way was during the 1970s. They feel that their opponents are chipping away at all the symbols of Malay power – the royalty, the religion and their party.

There is a mood in Umno that the party has strayed from its origins and that it must once again assert its voice. Those articulating the Malay agenda will win support.

For instance, the Alor Setar event began with the singing of the Negara Ku followed by the Umno and Barisan Nasional songs. Then a new song came on. It had a nostalgic melody accompanied by images of the rough politics that took place in 2008, of street protestors challenging the law.

The message was crystal clear – Umno is under threat. There were watery eyes even among some of the men as the song drew to a close.

Those who thought that VP candidate Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has been playing it rather cool changed their minds when they arrived at the Alor Setar stop of the campaign roadshow.

Two giant banners hung from the complex next to Mentaloon, the grand official residence of the Mentri Besar where no Mentri Besar wants to live because it looks rather haunted inside. Everywhere around the spacious grounds were colourful banners from various Umno divisions in Kedah declaring support for him.

Somewhere along the campaign trail, Mukhriz and fellow VP aspirant Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam have bonded and they have taken to wrapping their arms around each other when posing for the media.

The full results for the three wings will be known today but for aspirants for the VPs and supreme council posts, it will be a mad dash for the finish line.

Many delegates have already decided on the three VPs they want. The combination varies, depending on the state. Shahidan played the teasing game when asked about his VP selection.

"I will vote for Zahid and ... errr ... I cannot remember," he said with a laugh.

There are three VP posts to fill but with Zahid in such a dominant position, the VP race has boiled down to five people vying to fill the two remaining slots.

A frantic week lies ahead.

 

Leaders cement their positions

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 05:07 PM PDT

Akhramsyah's candidature was seen as a last-minute thing. He is a big name in the youth NGO network, but he lacked the track record in Umno Youth.

Joceline Tan, The Star

BY sunset, the word going around was that Khairy Jamaluddin was on his way to a tsunami-style victory as the Umno Youth leader.

Unofficial results from the divisions indicated that Khairy passed the midway point shortly after maghrib. At that point none of his three opponents had yet to secure a single endorsement from any division.

Akhramsyah Sanusi, seen as the strongest among the challengers, could not even secure a single divisional endorsement from Kedah where his father was once the mentri besar.

Even the Langkawi division, where his father used to be a strongman, gave its vote to Khairy.

Khairy has finally arrived in a big way. The sweet taste of success this time around was in sharp contrast to his acrimonious victory four years ago.

He arrived at the PWTC with a small entourage shortly before 10pm. An Umno official could be heard congratulating him but he remained tight-lipped as he made his way up the escalator.

Suddenly, the escalator came to a halt. One of those behind him called out: "Even the escalator stopped for you."

Unofficial results also placed incumbent Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil with 187 divisions giving her the vote. She had left her challengers Datuk Maznah Mazlan and Raihan Sulaiman far behind.

Sources said that Maznah had secured four endorsements – one from her own division Rompin and three more from Kuantan, Jerantut and Cheras.

Meanwhile, at the PWTC, the official results were being released at snail's pace because of the strict vetting process by the Umno election committee.

The media had turned up in droves for the event, but waiting for official updates of the result was like waiting for little drops of water to fill up a big pail.

This is the first time that the party's new election system is being put to the test and there were reportedly disputes in several divisions.

But the elections for the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings had taken place far more smoothly than the election committee had dared hope for.

Maznah's supporters had thought she would be able to secure support from at least 45 divisions but they were over-optimistic.

The experience of Maznah and Raihan shows that one cannot wake up one fine morning, decide to run for a top post in Umno and expect to do well. It does not work like that. Apart from having a track record, one needs to have the network, do the groundwork, set up a campaign team.

Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said made the same mistake. She had no Wanita network or experience and barely a month after jumping in, she realised she was out of her depths and got out before she could lose more face.

Basically the challengers to Shahrizat's leadership took the women's loyalty and expectations of leadership for granted.

Raihan's fate was not surprising. She had failed to get even one nomination in a previous attempt for the Puteri Umno leadership and no one expected her to make progress in the Wanita wing.

Raihan's story of living up to the legacy of her late father Sulaiman Palestine was touching during her Puteri days, but it is starting to stale.

If she is serious about being somebody in Wanita, she will need to put in some real contribution rather than ride on her father's name every time there is an election.

Otherwise, she will be known as a publicity seeker rather than a serious politician.

The same could be said of the contest for the Youth leadership.

Akhramsyah's candidature was seen as a last-minute thing. He is a big name in the youth NGO network, but he lacked the track record in Umno Youth.

He could have utilised the connection if he had been serious about the post.

But not long after he jumped in, it was evident that he was not as serious about winning as he should be. It is a good thing he has a famous father in Tan Sri Sanusi Junid or else no one would remember his name one year down the road.

Some claimed he was there just to kacau daun or stir up things so that Khairy does not win unopposed or has it too easy. If that was true, it was all in vain.

In the Puteri Umno wing, Mas Ermieyati Samsudin is on her way to becoming the new chief. She had a formidable campaign machinery that was hooked up to the popularity of her mentor Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.

Her campaign team had a real presence everywhere they went and they overwhelmed the contender Jamilah Hanim Othman.

An SMS that Shahrizat sent to all her ladies the day before the election demonstrates her political style and also helps explain her sweeping victory.

In it, she said she had just returned from a Quran reading programme in her Kepong division.

She had dropped by her mother's house to ask her to pray for God to shine His grace on the ladies and for a smooth election. She said she was planning to spend the hours after maghrib in the kitchen to do some cooking.

She signed off by sending them her love.

 

Tony Pua called RoS “running dogs” because it’s a Malay organisation, says Utusan

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 04:57 PM PDT

(TMI) - Malay daily Utusan Malaysia continued its attack on DAP national publicity chief Tony Pua today for calling the Registrar of Societies (RoS) Umno's running dog.

In its attack on Pua, the paper's columnist Awang Selamat took a racial approach, describing the RoS as comprising of mainly Malay staff.

Awang Selamat, the pseudonym for Utusan's editorial team, referred to a statement by Kedah PAS member Wan Johari Wan Omar chiding Pua.

"Wan Johari told Pua to stop calling the RoS, which comprised mainly of Malay workers, dog because it was only carrying out its duties," the column said in its weekend edition, Mingguan Malaysia.

"The message is clear, Pua's words are disgusting and racist. It is up to the Malays to decipher Pua's message and read between the lines," said Awang Selamat.

The column suggested that Pua thought it was more satisfying to call a "Malay organisation" as "dogs", and asked if he would have done the same to a Chinese-majority organisation.

"For Awang, it is no longer a question of moral inferiority but a very extreme racial symptom.

"The provocation and insults towards Malays are not something new among the leaders of this party. They are ungrateful.

"Awang recalls the May 13 racial riots, which everyone knows were caused by provocation towards the Malays. Is Pua trying to sow the seeds for a repeat?" said the column.

READ MORE HERE

 

Islam under threat if Putrajaya buckles at Geneva review, Muslim NGO warns

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 04:53 PM PDT

(MM) - Islam will come under the threat of apostasy and secularism if Putrajaya caves to pressures from civil rights groups during its human rights review in Geneva this month, the Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association warned today.

In a statement here, association president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar urged the government to ignore the demands of Comango or the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR (Universal Periodic Review), which had recently issued its list of recommendations ahead of the October 24 review by the Human Rights Council.

According to Zainul, the coalition of over 50 NGOs had recommended far-reaching proposals purportedly to improve the country's human rights record but this would also effectively usurp Islam and Malaysia's sovereignty.

Among others, the leader pointed out that Comango had sought for Malaysia to be signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a convention to protect freedom in religion that he said would encourage apostasy.

Zainul said Comango had also asked Putrajaya to sign Malaysia on as part of the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), another human rights treaty that he claimed would infuse western laws into the local justice system, without offering any consideration to local cultures and values.

"Malaysia was asked to submit to the ICERD, which will force the country to follow the dictates of the secular West, as well as accede to universal values that are contrary to local norms and will threaten the country's sovereignty," he said in the statement.

Zainul noted that Comango had also urged Putrajaya to endorse SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) righs or rights of the LGBTIQ group, better known as Lesbians, Bisexuals, Gays, Transgender, inter-sexed and queer persons.

"In fact, there are also pressures calling for the elimination of, inter alia, Section 277A of the Penal Code, which criminalises consensual anal or oral sex, on the basis of human rights," he said.

"If these LGBT rights are permitted, then the first step that the Malaysian government has to take is to repeal laws on sodomy, allow same-sex marriages and many others," he warned.

Comango had also created "confusions" over the issue of freedom of religion in Malaysia, Zainul claimed, citing the coalition's stand on the controversial "Allah" legal tussle between Christians and Muslims here.

"PPMM insists that such claims not only challenge the position of Islam as the religion of the federation and the country's sovereignty, but it is also done through an invalid platform like Comango," he said, referring to the association by its Malay initials.

"PPMM urges the Malaysian government not to entertain or accede to Comango's demands as they had not taken into account the cultures, practices and religions of Malaysia.

"No religion in this world endorses adultery and homosexuality," he said.

"It is extremely important that the government does not cave to these pressures and defends Islam as the religion of the federation," he added.

Comango comprises NGOs like Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), the Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower), Christian Federation Malaysia, Amnesty International Malaysia, KLSCAH Civil Rights Committee, Centre for Independent Journalism and others.

Malaysia is expected to face a beating for its human rights record when the government faces its second UPR this October 24.

The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said in a recent statement that in particular, the government will come under grave criticism for approving the latest amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959.

Among others, the amendments allowed the return of detention without crime, a highly-contentious element in the Internal Security Act that was done away with when the law was repealed recently by the Najib administration.

"(The) current legislative initiatives in the interest of public security ... in particular the amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959, will open the country to scrutiny and criticism by the international community," its chairman, Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, said in a statement recently as quoted by The Sun daily.

Malaysia was first came under the UPR review on February 11, 2009, and consequently accepted 62 of the 103 recommendations issued by the UPR working group.

The UPR, according to media reports, is a United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council mechanism that was established in 2007 to improve the treatment of human rights in all 193 UN member states. 

 

Archbishop prays for ‘enlightened’ decision in ‘Allah’ appeal

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 04:45 PM PDT

(MM) - After meeting thousands of Catholics at a mammoth rally here, Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam offered today a prayer of "enlightenment" for the decision-makers in tomorrow's highly-anticipated "Allah" case, a long drawn out dispute that has sullied religious ties between Christians and Muslims in Malaysia.

The Catholic Church head, when met on the sidelines of the country's maiden Marian Rally at the Kelana Jaya stadium, would not expound further on his prayer but only said he hoped for a "wise" decision from the court.

"Pray for words and the courage for the ones concerned to make an enlightened judgement.

"We pray god will enlighten the people and give them the courage to make a wise decision," he told The Malay Mail Online.

The Court of Appeal is expected to decide tomorrow on the protracted legal tussle between Catholic weekly The Herald and the Home Ministry over the use of "Allah", the Arabic word that many Muslim groups here have insisted should be exclusive to those who practice Islam.

Should the church lose the appeal, it can still challenge the decision at the Federal Court - its final avenue before all attempts to fight the case are exhausted.

The tussle over "Allah" first erupted in 2008 when the Home Ministry threatened to revoke the Herald's newspaper permit for its reference to God as "Allah", prompting the Catholic Church to sue the government for violating its constitutional rights.

The Church has argued in court that the word predates Islam and that Christians' right to use "Allah" in a non-Muslim context was affirmed by the government's own 10-point solution issued in 2011.

The 2009 High Court decision upholding the Catholic Church's constitutional right to use the word "Allah" had shocked many Muslims that consider the word to only refer to the Muslim God.

It also led to Malaysia's worst religious strife, with houses of worship throughout the country coming under attack.

Christians are Malaysia's third-largest religious population at 2.6 million people, according to statistics from the 2010 census, behind Muslims and Buddhists.

Today, more than 20,000 Catholics from all walks of life, locals and foreigners, filled the MBPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya, the first of its kind in Malaysia, the Marian Rally of the Archdiocese of KL

There were no masses in churches today as this event brought all Churches of Archdiocese together.

The rally included a procession of the statue, the Rosary which was recited in 20 different languages, including Bahasa Malaysia and concluded with a Mass. 

 

‘Allah’: Bukan hak esklusif untuk Muslim sahaja

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 04:35 PM PDT

"Sebagai seorang Muslim, saya takda masalah agama lain guna kalimah Allah," ujar Datuk Seri Chazy Chaz

William Mangor, FMT

Keputusan penggunaan kalimah 'Allah' bakal menentukan sejauh mana kejayaan kerajaan dalam berhadapan isu yang melibatkan agama dan keberkesanan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dalam merealisasikan impian '1Malaysia'.

Walaubagaimanpun, rakyat Sabah Sarawak tetap tenang berhadapan isu ini meskipun laporan FMT kelmarin memaklumkan Jakim melalui khutbah Jumaat menggesa umat Islam mempertahankan kalimah tersebut.

Pengguna Facebook terutama sekali penduduk Sabah Sarawak baik Kristian dan Islam mempunyai persefahaman mengenai isu ini.

"Sebagai seorang Muslim, saya takda masalah agama lain guna kalimah Allah," ujar Datuk Seri Chazy Chaz

Pengguna Facebook yang lain pula, Abdul Halim berkata: "Sebenarnya, penggunaan kalimah "Allah" telah ada sebelum kerasulan Nabi Muhammad SAW.

"Digunakan meluas di jazirah Arab yang pada ketika itu berada dalam zaman jahiliyah lagi. Jika kita mengkaji dengan mendalam, nabi-nabi diturunkan lebih kerap ke kawasan Jazirah Arab yang banyak didedahkan dalam al-Quran."

Sementara itu, Gillan Lee menambah: "Tetap akan gunakan kalimah Allah dalam upacara keagamaan terutamanya kerana saya di Sarawak.

" Apa pun keputusannya, saya berhak mengunakan kalimah suci bersama dgn jutaan umat Kristian lain. Dan paling penting sekali Muslim di Sarawak tidak mudah 'terkeliru' seperti di Semenanjung maka tiada masalah remeh."

Pendirian gereja?

Dalam masa yang berasingan, Pengerusi Persektuan Gereja-gereja di Sabah dan Sarawak  Bolly Lapok (Sarawak) dan Thomas Tsen menegaskan bahawa larangan penggunaan kalimah 'Allah' oleh orang Kristian melanggar Perjanjian Malaysia 1963 dimana asas pembentukan negara ini.

"Ini adalah penghinaan, keseluruhannya tidak boleh diterima dan pengkhianatan terang-terangan ke atas Perjanjian Malaysia yang menjamin hak-hak orang bukan Islam di Sarawak dan Sabah untuk bebas beragama," tegas Bolly Lapok dalam satu kenyataan

Sementara itu, Thomas Tsen berkata: "Dengan menghormati kepada pihak berkuasa pentadbiran, sama ada perundangan, badan eksekutif atau kehakiman kerajaan, kami meminta ketaksuban agama, perkauman dan ekstremisme tidak harus diteruskan dan dibenarkan membarah dan racun negara Malaysia."

Keputusan bakal diketahui pada Isnin ini. Kes sudah tertangguh sebanyak beberapa kali setelah difailkan sejak 2009.

READ MORE HERE

 

Umno is mightier than Allah, says PKR’s Chua

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 04:31 PM PDT

Chua said that even the Prophet knew that the term 'Allah' predates the arrival of Islam

K Pragalath, FMT

Johor PKR chief Chua Jui Meng last night blamed Umno for the controversy over the use of 'Allah' because they considered themselves as being greater than the Quran, Allah and Prophet Muhammad.

"Almighty Umnoputra Muslims consider themselves greater than the Quran and its Prophet, and even God by banning Christians from using 'Allah',"said Chua via micro-blogging site, Twitter. Chua is a Christian by faith.

He added that even the Prophet knew that the term 'Allah' predates the arrival of Islam and is a common word referring to God by Muslims, Christians and Jews.

His statement echoes PAS' president Abdul Hadi Awang's announcement that non-Muslims are not committing an offence when they use 'Allah' as long as it is not misused.

"There is no law that does not allow other people to use the word 'Allah', but if they interpret it wrongly to Muslims, they need to answer because 'Allah' means He is the only God to be worshiped," said Hadi yesterday after launching a sharia seminar in Universiti Selangor, Shah Alam.

Both these comments favoring the use of 'Allah' by non-Muslims comes in less than 24 hours before the Appeals Court in Putrajaya decides whether the Catholic Church would be allowed to use 'Allah' in their weekly publication, the Herald Catholic.

READ MORE HERE

 

6 corner fight for PAS vice presidency?

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 04:27 PM PDT

Speculations are rife that there may be 6 possible candidates vying for the vice presidency seats during party polls in November

K Pragalath, FMT

Three new personalities within PAS have been speculated to be making bids for the vice presidents' posts. However the trio are not known to have made a pact to unseat the incumbents.

The current vice presidents are Salahuddin Ayub, Husam Musa and Mahfuz Omar. Of the three, Salahuddin lost both the Pulai parliamentary and Nusajaya state seats in Johor during the 13th general election.

In an interview with FMT Salahuddin said that he would only defend his post if he received 70% support from the delegates.

Husam lost his bid to wrestle Putrajaya but increased his majority in his state constituency, Salor in Kelantan. He however was dropped from the exco line-up.

Only Mahfuz has maintained his political career in the national level. He is Pokok Sena MP and also the Kedah PAS commissioner currently; following the death of former commissioner and ex – Menteri Besar, Azizan Abdul Razak.

Salahuddin, Mahfuz and Husam are all aligned to the non-ulama faction.

One of the three newcomers is Bukit Gantang MP Idris Ahmad who is also a current PAS central committee member. Within PAS, he comes from the ulama faction and has a double degree in Islamic Studies.

Another PAS leader who is tipped to bid for the vice presidency is a lesser known figure outside the party – Abu Bakar Chik. He is currently a PAS central committee member and the party's education bureau chief.

There are speculations that Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa would also be vying for the post. However he is not seen as campaigning hard for it now.

READ MORE HERE

 

What’s your next move Nasrudin?

Posted: 12 Oct 2013 04:21 PM PDT

Will the newly minted Temerloh MP defend his current position or move on to contest the vice-president's position; is still left to be seen

K Pragalath, FMT

Currently there is uncertainty on whether PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi would defend his position or eye for one of the three vice president's post in PAS.

Nasrudin, from the ulama faction, is also the newly minted Temerloh MP who won during the 13th general election in May this year. He won the PAS Youth chief post uncontested in 2011.

Three weeks ago, Nasrudin lost to Suhaimi Saad in his bid to clinch the Indera Mahkota division's deputy head post in Pahang. There are also talks that he is eyeing for the vice president's post, but it is still unconfirmed.

Under the current circumstances, it would be difficult for Nasrudin to defend his Youth chief post, or even eye for a higher position.

"If grassroots members themselves can't accept him as a division leader, how is he going to be accepted by delegates from elsewhere?" said a local PAS member who did not want to be identified.

A contender for the PAS Youth chief's post is eyeing the position even as criticisms are rife that the movement have mellowed; resonating at the grassroots level.

There are talks that Johor's PAS Youth leader Suhaizan Kaiat would make a bid for the top youth's post. Yesterday the Batu Pahat PAS division nominated Suhaizan for the post.

Suhaizan is no stranger to the race, as he had attempted to contest for the PAS deputy youth post in 2011.

However he lost to Nik Abduh in a four cornered tussle with only 107 votes whereas Nik won with 260 votes.

READ MORE HERE

 

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