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Increase in Chinese support for BN in Sungai Limau, says Najib

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 06:50 PM PST

(Bernama) - The result of the Sungai Limau state by-election, at a glance, shows an increase in the Chinese support for Barisan Nasional (BN), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.

He said the results from the two ballot boxes where the majority of voters were Chinese, showed that they were in favour of BN candidate.

"At a glance, there is an increase, but we have to look further," he told a press conference after attending the national Maal Hijrah celebration at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) today.

The official result of the by-election yesterday saw PAS retaining the state seat with a 1,084-vote majority after its candidate, Mohd Azam Abd Samat, garnered 12,069 votes against BN candidate Dr Ahmad Sohaimi Lazim's 10,985 votes.

Najib said despite having lost the contest, BN had displayed encouraging performance because it managed to reduce PAS's majority in Sungai Limau which was regarded as a PAS stronghold.

"Previously, we lost the contest for the seat by 2,774-vote majority, but now, we have reduced it to 1,084-vote majority. It shows that there is a trend of increased support for BN.

"We know that the constituency is PAS's stronghold because we have failed to win the seat in five general elections. However, in the by-election, we managed to penetrate 10 polling centres compared with PAS, which only managed nine," he said.

"The result also shows that democracy and transparency are still alive in Malaysia and that the by-election process and result cannot be questioned," Najib added.

The prime minister also thanked the BN election machinery at the national level led by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, at state level led by Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir and divisional level led by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom.

"I would also like to thank the representatives of Kedah BN, Wanita, Youth and Puteri. It reflects a good teamwork between the state and divisions. These people have worked hard and displayed a good performance for BN," he said.


Najib vows to defend use of Allah as exclusive to Muslims

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 04:45 PM PST

Eileen Ng, TMI

Putrajaya has pledged to defend the use of the word Allah as the exclusive right of Muslims, even as the debate continued following the October 14 Court of Appeal ruling banning the use of the word in a Catholic weekly.

In his message marking the Islamic new year or Maal Hijrah today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said while Malaysia upholds the Federal Constitution and the position of Islam, it also subscribed to the concept of moderation, or Wasatiyyah, saying it is the foundation of the country's harmony.

"To appreciate the wider meaning of migration, we still uphold our religion and defend the name of Allah for religion, race and our beloved country.

"Malaysia which upholds the Constitution and Islam as the official religion of the country, will remain steadfast in defending the position of Islam in the country in line with Maqasid Syariah and the concept of Wasatiyyah," Najib said in his message posted on his 1Malaysia blog today.

Several Muslim groups have insisted that the word Allah belonged exclusively to Muslim, although Christians and other faiths have argued otherwise.

This followed the recent Court of Appeal decision not to allow Catholic weekly Herald to use the word Allah in its Bahasa Malaysia section, after a long legal battle over the usage of the word.

The decision overturned an earlier ruling by the High Court in  2009, which said that Allah, the Arabic word for God, was not the exclusive right of Muslims, and allowed the Herald to use it.

The ruling was challenged by the Home Ministry in its appeal in January 2010.

The Court of Appeal noted the Home Ministry's prohibition on the Herald from using the word was justified, arguing that Allah was not integral to the Christian faith.

The church has 30 days to file the leave application to appeal against the Court of Appeal decision.



After ‘Allah’ rebuff, Karpal demands de-registration of Muslim groups and political parties

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 04:40 PM PST

(MM) - DAP chairman Karpal Singh said today all religious and race-based professional or political bodies should be de-registered, singling out the Muslim Lawyers Association (MLA) as an example.

The vocal politician said the MLA should not have been allowed to be formed in the first place as the existing Bar Council was already an adequate professional body that represents all lawyers in the country.

"The Bar Council represents all lawyers in the country, the government should not allow a professional body to operate based on religious lines such as the MLA," he said in a press conference at Air Itam here today.

He said MLA's registration should be revoked, insisting it was a serious matter that Muslim lawyers are allowed to form separate associations based on religion.

"We don't want a situation where others want to do the same, we don't want a Hindu Lawyers Association or a Buddhist Lawyers Association," he said.

The Bukit Gelugor MP claimed that even Muslim lawyers do not support MLA as it was purportedly an association set up by just a handful of troublemakers.

His criticisms against MLA today come in light of the association's recent threat against the Malaysian Bar Council when it warned the body against backing Catholic weekly Herald's appeal against the Court of Appeal ruling that banned it from using the word "Allah".

MLA president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar had cautioned the Bar Council against taking a partisan stand in the spat that is deepening a gulf in multi-religious Malaysia.

He reminded the Bar Council that the majority of its members were Muslims, and stressed that the views of a "few scattered Muslim members" in support of the Church did not represent the sentiments of its mainstream that number in the "thousands".

"The Muslim Lawyers Association, whose considerable members are also members of the Malaysian Bar, wholeheartedly supports the decision of the Court of Appeal.

"Our Association strongly oppose [sic] any partisan action by the Bar Council over the issue," he said in a statement.

"The Bar Council should lodge a police report against MLA for issuing this threat and not be intimidated by them," he said.

Responding yesterday, the Bar Council urged the authorities to stop turning a blind eye to threats after a Muslim law group warned it against backing the Catholic Church's court appeal for the right to call God "Allah".

Council president Christopher Leong also stressed that the Malaysian Bar and the Bar Council are secular bodies that are not partial to any religious beliefs.

"It unfortunately appears that some parties or segments of our society deem it appropriate to resort to issuing threats or fear-mongering as a means of getting their way," Leong said in a statement today.

"The Malaysian authorities for their part should cease pandering to, or legitimising such practices, as it only serves to encourage those who resort to threats or violence as a means of getting their way or silencing others. Such behaviour also seeks to stifle discourse, growth and understanding," he added.

Apart from the MLA, Karpal added today that all other political and professional bodies that operate along religious or racial lines should also be de-registered.

"Such organisations operating along religious and racial lines is dangerous for a multi-racial society and a threat to unity," he said.

"Unfortunately, this includes PAS but they have taken the first step by setting up a unit for non-Muslim supporters," he said.

This means Umno, MCA and MIC, and all Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties that are race-based, should also be de-registered, he said.

On whether this was against freedom of association, Karpal said freedom of association doesn't mean racist associations can be set up as there should be certain limits in place. 


In Sungai Limau loss, Najib sees swing to BN

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 04:35 PM PST

(MM) - PAS's reduced majority in yesterday's battle for Sungai Limau showed increasing support for Barisan Nasional (BN) in the rice-bowl state of Kedah, despite the pact's failure to wrest the seat, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

He noted that the farming constituency had always been a stronghold of PAS, which had held the seat since 1995, but the results showed that BN had made major inroads.

"We knew the area is a PAS stronghold, but we managed to win in 10 voting centres compares to nine for PAS," he said at a press conference after attending the national Maal Hijrah celebrations here.

In yesterday's by-election, PAS candidate Mohd Azam Abd Samat won by a 1,084-vote majority, securing a total of 12,069 votes over BN's Dr Ahmad Sohaimi Lazim's tally of 10,985 votes.

The late Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak, whose recent death paved way for the contest, retained the seat for a fifth straight term during the 13th General Election last May with a 2,774-vote majority.

Najib said there were a few positive indicators that BN has gleaned from yesterday's results, not least being the apparent increase in Chinese support for the ruling coalition.

He said there was a clear uptick in Chinese support in at least two polling streams where there was a visibly larger base of Chinese voters.

"Looking at the snapshot, it is an increase in support. But this needs a deeper study. The result was largely due to good teamwork and the national and state machinery have to work together as a team," said the prime minister.

Najib, who is also BN chairman, added that the outcome of the Sungai Limau contest should lay to rest any complaints the opposition Pakatan Rakyat have about the country's electoral system.

The electoral system and the Election Commission (EC) have long been the opposition's whipping boys for allegedly giving the BN an unfair advantage in any contest, with the latest being the results of the May 5 national polls, when the ruling party emerged victorious for a 13th straight time despite losing out on the popular vote.

The results led to a spate of protest rallies, dubbed Black 505, and the arrest and subsequent charging of several people from the opposition for allegedly failing to meet requirements under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

"I believe that with the results, the opposition won't blame the EC which is what they usually do when they lose... this is proof that democracy is fresh and transparent in Malaysia," he said. 


Karpal: Sungai Limau loss a slap in the face for Dr M and son

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 04:30 PM PST

(MM) - DAP's Karpal Singh dismissed today the reduced majority for political ally PAS in the Sungai Limau polls, insisting the victory was clear-cut and signalled the waning influence of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysian politics.

The DAP national chairman said Barisan Nasional's (BN) loss in the farming constituency in Kedah, despite having parked its entire election machinery there for the duration of the campaign, was a clear rejection of the former prime minister and his son Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who is currently the state's mentri besar.

"So, this win by PAS is certainly a slap in the face for both Mahathir and Mukhriz," he said in a press conference here this morning.

Karpal added that he hoped that with this loss, Dr Mahathir would quit interfering with the affairs of the country.

On PAS retaining the seat with a reduced majority, the Bukit Gelugor MP insisted this was no major sign of any shift in support.

"A reduction in majority doesn't mean PAS has no support as we must take into account the millions spent by BN during the campaign period," he said.

The Sungai Limau state seat was vacated after the late PAS leader Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak, who has been the state assemblyman there for five terms since 1995, passed away on September 26.

Azizan's protege, Mohd Azam Abd Samat, retained the seat for PAS with a 1,084 majority votes in the polls yesterday, a drop of 1,690 votes as Azizan had obtained a 2,774 majority during the May 5 polls.

During campaigning, BN had announced various allocations and funding for the mostly agro-based village that PAS had claimed were more than RM15 million in total.

Karpal's party colleagues had echoed the same views when weighing in on PAS's victory last night, insisting the reduced majority took no skin off the Islamist party's nose but spelled a setback for the ruling BN that had been banking on Dr Mahathir and his son to win the polls.

DAP Kedah interim chief Zairil Khir Johari and the opposition party's adviser Lim Kit Siang insisted that PAS's success in retaining the Kedah state seat was a major blow to the BN's mighty machinery under the leadership of Mukhriz, whom they claimed had followed his father's style and pulled out all the stops in his bid to wrest Sungai Limau.

"It is clear that Mahathir's influence has receded with this win," Zairil, the son of a former Umno minister, told The Malay Mail Online last night after the official results announced a PAS victory by a lowered 1,084-vote margin.

He alleged BN was free with its wallet on the campaign trail but claimed such tactics had failed to dent Sungai Limau's support of PAS despite the ruling coalition's hopes.

"Considering all the carnivals, programmes and resources they have put into the campaign, any kind of victory by PAS, against all odds, even with a lesser majority, is considered a great success," Zairil said.

When contacted, Lim reiterated his previous statement that PAS's latest win in Kedah was the third and probably final, setback to the election playbook he named "Mahathirism" in the six months after the May 5 general election.

"This is his third setback in six months and this showed that he has failed to make any mark even in this by-election in Kedah," the Gelang Patah MP told The Malay Mail Online.

The veteran opposition politician alleged that Dr Mahathir had mounted a campaign of "lies, falsehoods and character-assassination", which he added, had formed the staple tactic ahead of polling day in Sungai Limau.

Lim noted that it was similar to the campaign his 88-year-old arch foe had initiated against him ahead of the 13th general election, citing Dr Mahathir's accusations that he was contesting in Gelang Patah to make the Chinese "dislike and hate the Malays", and claiming that the DAP wanted to remove the Malays from political dominance to set up a Christian state.

Out of the 27,222 registered voters in that constituency, only 23,249 or 85.5 per cent voters turned out to cast their votes yesterday compared to 89.43 per cent voters during the 13th general election in May. 


Musa predicts more PKR defections in Sabah

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 04:27 PM PST

(MM) - Datuk Seri Musa Aman predicted today more defections from Sabah PKR after Kadamaian assemblyman Jeremy Malajad's departure yesterday, fuelling speculation of more troubles for the peninsula-based party in its east Malaysian chapter.

In a report on The Star Online here, the state Barisan Nasional (BN) chief said the defections were to be expected as many members in the peninsula-based PKR have begun to lose confidence in the party's leadership, post-Election 2013.

"There is a realisation among the PKR leaders that only by cooperating with Barisan Nasional can they help their constituents," he said after the Maal Hijrah gathering in Kota Kinabalu, the English news portal reported.

Yesterday, Malay daily Utusan Malaysia reported Malajad as saying at a press conference that he quit all his party posts and relinquished his PKR membership to become a BN-friendly independent state assemblyman.

Party insiders who were contacted by The Malay Mail Online confirmed that the issue had long been brewing in PKR's state leadership, with both Malajad and Matunggong assemblyman Jailani Hamdan said to have been unhappy over the lack of representation of the KadazanDusun-Murut at the state's top leadership.

Jailani is also speculated to drop out of the party soon.

Jailani confirmed with The Malay Mail Online that Malajad's departure was long expected, and said that it is not long before he does the same.

"All the stories you heard about us being unhappy over the absence of the KDM at the top are true. We even raised this with Datuk Seri Anwar and Lajim, but they treated it as a small matter," he said, referring to opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"It's confirmed that Jeremy is out, and I will officially announce my decision to quit this weekend either in Kota Kinabalu or in my constituency of Matunggong... my resignation is expected, but I will be springing a surprise during my announcement," he said, declining to give anything away.

Malajad is the second opposition assemblyman to go the way of a BN-friendly independent.

The first to do so was Luyang assemblyman and former Sabah DAP chief Dr Hiew King Cheu, who resigned as state party advisor after it was long speculated that he was going to leave the party. 



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