We Have moved . . . .
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
And according to the state police chief reveals Nga, BN have been given approvals for 12 political forums while the Pakatan coalition have only 3 approvals.
Leslie Lau is consultant editor for The Malaysian Insider
MARCH 31 — By banning any mention of murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu from the Bukit Gantang campaign trail, the police has reached a ridiculous new low.
The police are supposed to be responsible for public order and security.
It should not be legislating what words can or cannot be used on the stump.
What is next?
Will the police decide that the names of certain candidates cannot be mentioned? Or will the police decide what language can be used during rallies?
If local police police officers think they are doing Datuk Seri Najib Razak a favour by imposing the Altantuya ban, then are sorely mistaken.
The repeated linking by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) of Najib to Altantuya’s murder is arguably done in bad taste.
The accusations hurled at Najib have also not been backed by evidence.
But in banning the mere mention of her name will certainly fuel the rumours and speculation surrounding the murder.
There is no need for the police to ban the mention of Altantuya.
If any crime is committed by any politician then the police can initiate prosecution.
And if any body decides to make unsubstantiated accusations then he or she is subject to legal action in the law of defamation.
The police are not doing anyone any favours with such a ban.
What the police needs to do is to ensure political rallies do not get out of hand.
The job of the police is to ensure the safety of the public and to arrest anyone who commits an offence.
Mentioning the words “Altantuya Shaariibuu” is not a criminal offence.
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has confirmed that Bukit Lanjan assemblyman and state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, is on a flight back to Malaysia today from an unspecified location.
It was reported earlier that Khalid will be meeting with Wong this week.
He told reporters that he has not spoken to Wong since he has been busy with the state assembly.
“We want to have a real meeting. I have to spare her enough time to meet her. She wanted to come today but I suggested to her that we meet this weekend so that we will be able to have a sit in.”
Wong has offered to quit both as a state legislator and executive council member, following the public distribution semi-nude photographs of her.
Wong’s unpaid leave expired yesterday but Khalid said that he had the discretion to extend the leave. She also has permission from the Speaker to not attend the state assembly.
“She says that she will not be attending as our session will end either tomorrow or the day after. That is the reason why I do not need to see her these two days, because she is still on leave as far as the state assembly is concerned.”
Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the proposed increase in tariff is unjustified because of the poor performance of the water concessionaire and the state will take it to court as a last resort.
Khalid said the state would first try arbitration, as provided for in the agreement, should higher tariff be approved.
“The company has breached conditions in the agreement including reducing non-revenue water and any decision to increase tariff is untenable.”
Khalid said the matter has been brought to the attention of the Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Water together with a request for the concessionaire agreement to be terminated.
“No decisive action has been taken by the minister but there are indications Syabas will be allowed to be the licensee under a new restructuring plan, which is beyond the comprehension of the state government.”
Khalid added the decision goes against consumer interests and the original intention of restructuring the water industries in Malaysia.
Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) is requesting a 31 per cent price hike under the concession agreement and a decision will be made by the Cabinet tomorrow.
Any increase may jeopardise the 20 cubic meters of free water currently enjoyed by consumers in Selangor.
The state government has been at loggerheads with the federal government over the restructuring of the water industries in Selangor.
Suara Keamanan ganti Suara Keadilan
Disebabkan permit penerbitan Suara Keadilan telah digantung selama tiga bulan bermula 23 Mac lepas, KeADILan mengambil keputusan untuk tidak menerbitkan akhbar itu selama tempoh tersebut.
Sebagai ganti, akhbar Suara Keamanan akan m
enemui pembaca, secara mingguan setiap hari Selasa mulai hari ini.
Suara Keamanan adalah sebuah penerbitan tidak berkala dari segi namanya, oleh itu tidak memerlukan permit penerbitan dari KDN.
Pembaca boleh mendapatkan akhbar tersebut dari pengedar-pengedar dan penjual yang sama yang mengedar Suara Keadilan sebelum ini.
Campaigning for the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections has run into a bizarre roadblock, with the police stepping in to dictate what PKR cannot say or do in the intense battle to win votes.
They must not mention Altan … err, a certain Mongolian model, now deceased.
A PKR source said that was one of the conditions police imposed on the party when it applied for ceramah permits.
A certain Ruler’s decision, matters of race and religion and other “sensitive” issues are also forbidden.
In addition, PKR must also ensure that the crowd at its ceramah is confined to a specific area where the event is being held.
Perak PKR deputy chief Chan Lih Kang told a press conference that the party would not appeal against the restrictions but would defy them and face the consequences.
“They cannot stop us from exercising our freedom of expression,” he said.
The same restrictions do not apply, apparently, to Pas, who have only been told to stop their ceramah by 11pm.
The murder of Altan … err, she-who-cannot-be-named, has proven to be acutely embarrassing for Umno’s new president and prime minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Najib Razak, whose aide was acquitted of murder.
Najib has repeatedly denied ever meeting the woman.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Seramai lebih 1, 600 orang ahli komponan Barisan Nasional, termasuk Umno, Gerakan, MCA dan MIC, di kawasan Bukit Gantang telah menyertai KeADILan sejak berlaku krisis perlembagaan dan rampasan kuasa Umno /BN terhadap kerajaan Perak yang sah dari Pakatan Rakyat pada Februari lalu.
Pengerusi Perhubungan KeADILan Osman Abd. Rahman berkata, mereka ini memasuki KeADILan kerana tidak puas hati dan tidak bersetuju dengan tindakan Umno/BN yang merampas kerajaan Perak secara tidak bermarwah.
Dalam satu majlis penyerahan borang di bilik Gerakan Induk, Jalan Simpang, Taiping, semalam, Osman berkata, KeADILan juga sudah menerima lebih daripada 1,000 borang keahlian di kawasan Bukit Gantang dan berjanji akan mengundi dan memberi sokongan padu kepada calon Pakatan Rakyat Mohammad Nizar.
“Semua mereka dengan rela hati menyertai KeADILan kerana sudah hilang kepercayaan kepada BN yang gagal membela rakyat golongan miskin,” katanya dalam sidang media di Pejabat KeADILan di sini semalam.
Sementara itu Osman berkata, KeADILan telah membuka empat bilik gerakan iaitu DUN Changkat Jering, bertempat di premis di hadapan Sekolah Kebangsaan Simpang, Dun Kuala Sepetang, iaitu jalan menghala ke Matang, Pekan Terong dan Bilik Gerakan Induk di Jalan Simpang.
Katanya, pilihanraya kecil P 59 Bukit Gantang adalah amat penting dan kemenangan calon Pakatan Rakyat, Nizar dari Pas adalah memberi mesej kepada BN bahawa tindakan mereka merampas kerajaan Perak yang dikuasai Pakatan Rakyat adalah satu perbuatan tidak bermarwah.
“Rakyat mahu Dewan Undangan Negeri Perak dibubarkan dan diadakan pilihan raya bagi menentukan kerajaan pilihan rakyat yang sebenarnya,” katanya.
Hadir sama dalam sidang media itu ialah Pengarah Pilihan Raya Negeri Parti Pakatan Rakyat (PKR) Ismail Yusop, dan Ketua Penerangan PKR Perak, Zulkifli Ibrahim.
Like peeling the layers of an onion, the Special Select Committee for Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) is slowly unravelling the extent of the Wives of Selangor Elected Representatives Welfare Organization's (Balkis) maladministration.
The public inquiry into the charity, which received millions of ringgit from state subsidiaries, today learnt that Balkis had not submitted audited accounts to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) since 2001.
State ROS deputy registrar Yunos Jamil, who continued his testimony today, described the discrepancy as an "oversight."
Selcat chairman Teng Chang Khim said he was shocked at the ROS's failure
to monitor the scandal-riddled charity.
However, Yunos said the state ROS had 13,000 societies under its care and did not have the resources to monitor all of them.
He said the main purpose of the ROS is to register the societies and monitoring them was among their other responsibilities.
This raised the ire of Teng who said Yunos's statement was like the police saying they could not fight crime because of lack of resources.
Yunos added the ROS received documents submitted by Balkis in "good faith" and any resolution passed by members were accepted without question.
He also refused to hand over a copy of the notice by Balkis notifying members of an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) on March 11, 2008 which was called to dissolve the charity.
Under Balkis's own constitution, 14 days notice and the reasons of the EGM must be given to members before an EGM can be held and Selcat is attempting to determine if this requirement was followed.
Yunos said he had been advised by the legal advisor of the Home Ministry not to provide the document to Selcat.
However, Teng said under the Section 10 of the Societies Act, member of the public can inspect documents submitted to the ROS for lawful purposes.
Yunos has been given till Wednesday to produce the notice or summonses would be sent to the Registrar of Societies and the legal advisor of the Home Ministry to appear before Selcat.
During a press conference after the inquiry, Teng said Selcat cannot legally compel civil servants outside Selangor to appear before the public inquiry.
However, he said these officers should co-operate with the committee if they have nothing to hide.
Teng said the inquiry is being broadcast "live" over the internet and it was better for all concerned to come explain their decisions rather than face public scorn.
Earlier Balkis past president Puan Sri Rohani Asnan, the wife of former Menteri Besar Tan Sri Mohammad Mohammad Taib, also testified before the inquiry.
Rohani, who was president between 1986 and 1997, was called to explain why she had written a letter, as president of Balkis, to allowed a staff employed by the State Islamic Affairs Council (Mais) to reside at Komplek Wawasan Balkis in April, last year.
The MAIS staff, Hafizutul Akmal, had just give birth at the time and had gone to see Rohani as she wanted to continue her confinement at the Balkis hostel.
Rohani said the letter was prepared by the supervisor of Komplek Wawasan Balkis and she had signed it to help Hafizutul.
She admitted that signing the letter was an oversight as she was not the president of Balkis at the time.
Meanwhile Rohani said she had voted to dissolve the charity because that was the decision of the majority of the members .
She was evasive as to why members chose to dissolve Balkis but admitted the EGM may have been called before the March 8 last year because Barisan Nasional had a feeling their husbands may lose the general elections.
Firstly, to vote on behalf of the people of Perak to reject the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak orchestrated by Datuk Seri Najib Razak sparking off a prolonged constitutional crisis with two Mentris Besar, a political stalemate and the grave erosion of the doctrine of the separation of powers, symbolised by the Democracy Tree in Ipoh which has entered into Malaysian political folklore and gained international recognition and admiration. Vote on April 7 for a return of the mandate to the voters of Perak by dissolving the Perak State Assembly and holding of state general election for Perakians to decide on the government of their choice.
Secondly, to vote on behalf of the people of Malaysia to send a clear and unmistakable message to Najib, who is to succeed Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister of Malaysia, that to safeguard the honour of the highest political office of the land and that of the nation, he must address the many serious swirling allegations haunting and hounding him whether about mega-defence commissions or the C4 murder of Mongolian Altantunya Shariibuu as they affect public and international perceptions about his suitability, integrity and legitimacy as Malaysian Prime Minister – and public interests demand a Royal Commission of Inquiry to establish Najib ’s innocence and clear his name with regard to all these allegations; and
Thirdly, to vote on behalf of all Malaysians to endorse and reaffirm the March 8, 2008 general elections results to demonstrate that the political tsunami last year was not an accident or one-off phenomenon but represented the deep-abiding aspirations of Malaysians for political change and an end to Umno political hegemony and arrogance of power; that Malaysia can only move forward to become more democratic towards a two-coalition political system with effective checks and balances to prevent gross abuses of power and that there can be no retreat or return to the Mahathirism of the past under Najib.
(Lim Kit Siang - Speech at the Pakatan Rakyat Bukit Gantang by-election ceramah at Kuala Sepetang on nomination day, Sunday, 29th March 2009 at 10 pm)
Pastinya antara yang mencuri perhatian para pemerhati dan pengkaji politik adalah kaedah berkempen parti-parti atau calon-calon yang bertanding.
Salah satu kaedah kempen politik BN adalah melalui media-media arus perdana yang dikuasainya. Tatkala kerajaan BN bertindak menggantung permit akhbar rasmi PAS dan KeADILan selama tiga bulan (sehingga 22 Jun 2009), BN terus menggunakan media massa arus perdana untuk mewar-warkan kempennya di tiga kawasan pilihan raya kecil itu.
Sejauh mana keberkesanan kempen BN melalui media massa ini menjadi sesuatu yang menarik untuk dibincangkan. Ini kerana 'media konvensional' yang digunakan BN sudah kian hilang kredibiliti dan kepercayaan umum, berbanding 'media baru' yang digunakan Pakatan Rakyat.
Komen-komen para perwakilan Umno dalam mesyuarat agung parti itu 24 higga 28 Mac lalu tentang kegagalan BN dalam menyampaikan 'mesej dan maklumat yang benar' kepada rakyat pada kempen PRU12 tahun lalu secara tidak langsung lebih merujuk kepada kegagalan fungsi media arus perdana untuk bertindak sebagai 'jurucakap BN dan Umno'.
Sebenarnya kegagalan BN dalam menguruskan penyaluran maklumatnya kepada rakyat bukan sangat berpunca daripada kegagalan fungsi media arus perdana. Media arus perdana terus kekal berfungsi sebagai saluran kempen BN paling efektif kerana akhbar, TV dan radio masuk ke dalam hampir semua rumah kediaman rakyat. Apa yang tiada pada media massa utama ini adalah kebenaran dan keadilan.
Tanpa dua aspek penting itu (kebenaran dan keadilan), kehebatan liputan dan kecanggihan teknologi tidak dapat menawan hati dan pemikiran rakyat. Apatah lagi ketika berhadapan media baru yang lebih dekat dengan hati rakyat khususnya golongan muda.
Perlu disedari bahawa strategi berbohong dan memanipulasi fakta hanya berkesan dilakukan arus media perdana di saat ketiadaan media baru seperti internet (khususnya blog) dan khidmat pesanan ringkas (SMS). Media baru juga semakin berkembang seiring dengan perkembangan teknologi. Penghantaran SMS kini diperluaskan kepada penghantaran audio dan visual melalui telefon bimbit yang lebih efisien berbanding siaran TV dan radio.
Untuk memahami senario ini, diperturunkan dua contoh penulisan yang disiarkan oleh media konvensional dan media baru bagi penilaian pembaca. Dua penulisan ini merujuk kepada insiden yang berlaku di Masjid Simpang dalam kawasan PRK Parlimen Bukit Gantang, 29 Mac lalu.
Berita di bawah dipetik daripada mStar online yang dimiliki MCA. Insiden ini juga dilaporkan oleh akhbar Utusan Malaysia milik Umno bertarikh 30 Mac 2009:
Nizar 'rampas' acara BN di masjid Bukit Gantang
Oleh G. MANIMARAN
TAIPING: Bekas Menteri Besar Perak yang juga calon PAS bagi kerusi Parlimen Bukit Gantang, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin 'bertembung' dengan rombongan Barisan Nasional (BN) di Masjid Simpang malam tadi - mencetuskan sedikit kekecohan.
Semalam (29 Mac) merupakan hari pertama kempen pilihan raya kecil Parlimen Bukit Gantang.
Nizar yang dikatakan hadir tanpa undangan ke majlis bacaan Yassin dan solat hajat anjuran BN telah mencuba untuk mengimamkan solat Maghrib.
Ketua Umno Bahagian Bukit Gantang, Datuk Rosli Hussin ketika dihubungi mStar Online berkata, Nizar bersama beberapa penyokongnya memasuki masjid dan terus mengimamkan solat Maghrib.
Isu tersebut dengan pantas disebarkan menerusi SMS, menjadi bahan kempen dalam beberapa ceramah anjuran BN di bahagian Bukit Gantang.
"Orang-orang dia (Nizar) minta mikrofon untuk Nizar berucap selepas Maghrib tetapi tidak diberikan, telah dihalang oleh Pengerusi Masjid (Yahaya Sulaiman).
"Kami berikan beliau peluang sertai majlis ini, anjuran BN tetapi beliau datang untuk buat kacau," kata beliau ketika dihubungi.
Rosli yang turut hadir ketika kejadian berkata, tidak berlaku apa-apa kekecohan besar dan kumpulan Nizar telah meninggalkan majlis selepas itu.
Timbalan Presiden Umno, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin turut hadir pada majlis tersebut.
Mengulas isu yang sama, Menteri Besar Perak, Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir berkata, Nizar bertindak keterlaluan apabila cuba mengambil alih jemaah dengan meminta mikrofon daripada imam dan cuba mengadakan ceramah sebelum menunggu Isyak.
Ketika bercakap dengan pemberita selepas memperkenalkan calon BN, Ismail Saffian di Tokong Nyee Wong Kong di sini malam tadi, Zambry berkata, tindakan itu telah dirancang oleh PAS dan sanggup menggunakan masjid sebagai tempat berpolitik.
Demikian berita yang dinukilkan oleh media massa pro-BN. Cuba kita lihat pula tulisan Menteri Besar Perak, Dato' Seri Ir. Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin yang juga calon PAS bagi PRK Parlimen Bukit Gantang dalam blog popular beliau, Kamparinn.blogspot.com :
Saya telah mengimamkan Solat Maghrib
Terlebih dahulu beribu maaf kerana lama sangat tidak update blog saya kerana maklumlah mengirakan kerenah pindah randah dan naik turun mahkamah Tinggi KL dan Persekutuan, Putrajaya. Pohon sembah derhaka!
Hari penamaan calon PRK P059 Bkt Gantang bejalan lancar dengan sedikit huru-hara sewaktu saya dan isteri bersama-sama pemimpin PAS lain memasuki pintu pagar Dewan Perbandaran Taiping jam 8.45 pagi (29 Mac).
Namun sewaktu pergi menunaikan solat maghrib di Masjid Simpang, saya diminta oleh imam Tuan Haji Hisham untuk mengimamkan solat tersebut dan saya bersetuju.
Sewaktu masuk ke masjid saya diberitahu Tan Sri Muhyidin Yasin, Timb Presiden Umno; Dato' Zambry Kader; calon (BN) Ismail Saffian dan ramai lagi pemimpin Umno Pusat dan negeri juga ada bersama. Pimpinan Umno berada di saf pertama.
Pada rakaat pertama saya telah membaca ayat "wa'tasimu bihablillahi jamii'an, walaa tafarraqu..." dan rakaat kedua surah al-Kaafirun.
Selepas solat saya membaca doa termasuk doa Qunut Nazilah yang turut diaminkan oleh semua ma'mum termasuk pemimpin tinggi Umno.
Umno menganjurkan solat hajat dipimpin oleh seorang imam import, Haji Jama'iy namanya. Habis solat, imam Haji Hashim bangun dan berucap di hadapan dengan menyebut nama pimpinan UMNO Tan Sri Muhyiddin dan Dato' Zambry. Nama saya juga disebut dan diraikan.
Imam telah mengundang saya menyampaikan tazkirah dengan memberi tafsir ayat al-Quran yang saya baca pada rakaat pertama solat maghrib sebentar tadi.
Namun beberapa pimpinan Umno setempat telah memprotes termasuk penasihat masjid (pakai songkok tinggi) yang menghalang dan mengarah supaya terus diadakan majlis bacaan Yaasin. Berlaku sedikit komosi (commotion). Saya mengelak bagi memelihara suasana.
Habis baca Yaasin saya pergi bersalam dengan Dato Zambry dan dia nampak berang dan menyatakan kepada saya, kenapa menggunakan masjid berpolitik dan tak sepatut saya jadi imam tadi.
Katanya lagi dengan nada kuat dan marah: "Jika mahu jadi imam saya boleh jadi imam, jika nak tafsir saya boleh tafsir". Saya tersenyum dan relaks sahaja dan terus meninggalkan majlis untuk acara lain.
Hujan sungguh lebat ketika itu. Semua makmum melihat dan menyaksikan adegan kelakar dan 'ajaib' tersebut dan ramai makmum mengiringi saya sewaktu meninggalkan masjid.
Sekadar makluman! Doakan PR menang besar di P059 Bkt Gantang.
Merujuk kepada berita yang disiarkan media BN, pastinya kita dapat melihat bagaimana insiden tersebut diputarbelitkan BN bagi kepentingan politik mereka. Jelas watak imam masjid yang bertanggung jawab menjemput Nizar untuk mengimamkan solat dan menyampaikan tazkirah tidak dilaporkan.
Malah sikap kasar Zambry (yang disifatkan Adun Sungkai, N Sivanesan sebagai 'kekanda saya') tidak pula dilaporkan media pro-BN.
Tuduhan bahawa Nizar menyalahgunakan masjid untuk kepentingan politik juga meleset kerana BNlah sebenarnya yang bertindak sedemikian kerana mengadakan majlis membaca Yaasin sempena kempen pilihan raya di masjid.
Apapun terpulanglah kepada pembaca untuk menilai kebenaran dua sumber penulisan di atas. Tetapi apa yang ingin ditegaskan sekali lagi, strategi berbohong dan memutarbelitkan fakta oleh media arus perdana tidak lagi berkesan di era kewujudan dan percambahan media baru seperti blog.
Apa yang lebih utama dalam kempen-kempen politik adalah kebenaran, ketelusan, intergriti dan kredibiliti sumber maklumat. Tanpa ciri-ciri itu usaha mempengaruhi atau meyakinkan rakyat umpama mencurah air di daun keladi.
Cuma satu yang ingin diulas... Zambry ketika memarahi Nizar mendakwa kononnya beliau juga mampu mengimamkan solat dan menyampaikan kuliah tafsir.
Demikian, detik-detik yang yang dilalui oleh calon untuk kerusi Parlimen Bukit Gantang, Dato' Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin sejak semalam.
Malam tadi, di Masjid Simpang Taiping, Nizar telah mengimamkan solat Maghrib dan di kalangan jemaahnya adalah Timbalan Presiden Umno, Dato' Seri Muhyiddin Yassin dan Dr Zambry.
Sementara itu, pada pagi tadi dalam siri lawatan dan temu mesra Nizar bersama para pengundi di Bukit Gantang beliau ditemani oleh para blogger tempatan.
Antara blogger tempatan yang mengikuti dan dilihat menyantuninya adalah, Haris Ibrahim, Zorro Ummasked, Del Capo dan Shah Obe.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
From MAFREL blog
Batang Ai: 56% eligible voters not registered!
This is part of a Bernama report today which expose the extremely low rate of voters registration in Batang Ai! Something must be done to facilitate the registration of these voters or else it amount to disenfranchising them as citizens! For 22 000 people if we take away the 20% as those who are too young there are still some 18 000 eligible voters. With only 8000 registered this amount to about 44% registration-which is much lower than the national average at about 67%! With such a low registration rate it is possible that the choice as Assemblyperson by these registered voters may not reflect the overall people’s sentiments! Whatever happen to the regard for `the will of the people’?
Monday, 30 March 2009 04:06 | malaysiaToday
Just before 11 pm last night (Sunday), DAP Perak State Assemblyman for Tebing Tinggi, Ong Boon Piaw was arrested at the Chin Woo Hall, Ipoh for the production of a DVD on the internationally-famous “Democracy Tree” - shortly after the launching and the public viewing of the DVD.
He has been taken to the Pekan Baru police station in Ipoh for the police arrest formalities.
Latest example of the increasing intolerance towards fundamental liberties like freedom of speech, thought and expression in Najib’s Malaysia!
Lim Kit Siang
TAIPING, March 29 – reproted by malaysianinsider– Bernama
Efforts are being made to solve the land issue faced by residents who, for a very long time, have illegally settled on Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) land in Kuala Sepetang, near here.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said most of the squatters were fishermen who had stayed on the land which was laid with a railway track connecting Port Weld (now Kuala Sepetang) with Taiping.
“It’s an old problem. There’s a lot of such land used for the railway line but now still occupied by people, mostly families of fishermen. After such a long time, they want to know the status of the land.
“I have instructed KTMB and the Railway Asset Management Corporation to carry out a census to find out the number of households occupying KTMB land there and we will try to solve the problem,” he said after a closed-door dialogue with the Chinese community in Bukit Gantang, here, today.
Also present was new Umno deputy president and International Trade and Industry Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Ong, who is also MCA president, said he had gone to Kuala Sepetang to look at the problem, besides holding a dialogue with the community leaders there on solving it.
He said among the solutions was to grant the squatters a temporary occupation licence (TOL) but this must be carefully studied and approved by the land owner (KTMB).
The suitability of the area like its sewage system must also be taken into consideration before a final decision could be made, he added.
“I hope we can find a solution to the problem in the next few days.”
Ong revealed that the local community leaders also voiced the concern of transport operators in the area over the weight of their lorry loads for fear of action by the authorities.
With regard to this, he urged the Road Transport Department director-general and Puspakom officials to discuss with the transport companies to resolve the issue, like what had been done in Sabah, Johor and Kedah recently.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 –The three by-elections in Bukit Selambau, Bukit Gantang and Batang Ai on April 7 will see contests by 15, three and two candidates respectively.
The biggest field of candidates is in Bukit Selambau where 15 aspiring candidates filed papers, including Barisan Nasional’s Datuk S. Ganesan and Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s S. Manikumar. When the objection period ended at 11am, all candidates were accepted when the nine objections filed were rejected.
In Bukit Gantang, ousted Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin is facing Barisan Nasional’s Ismail Safian and businessman Kamarul Ramizu Idris. There were three objections but all were rejected.
In Batang Ai, BN’s Malcolm Mussen Lamoh squares off in a straight fight with PKR’s Jawah Gerang. Two objections were filed but both were rejected.
In the unprecedented 15-way fight for Bukit Selambau, Ganesan faces the task of wresting the state seat from PKR which held it until V. Arumugam quit last month.
In addition to the two main players, the aspiring candidates are L. Sarala, T. Chandrarajan, R. Loganathan, Tan Hock Huat, Zaharan Abdullah, Major (R) Mohd Fadzli Wahab, Anuar Abdul Hamid, A. Jayagopal, Husaini Yaacob, Abdul Rahim Abu, S. Moganakumar, Venason Michael and Kamis Awang.
Among the 15,000-odd BN supporters accompanying their candidate were Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, MIC president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu and MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.
The PKR supporters were led by the party's vice-president, Azmin Ali.
Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and vice-president Datuk Zahid Hamidi led the BN charge for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat as they walked to the nomination centre with Ismail and Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.
Nizar's contingent included Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng.
The third Umno vice-president Datuk Shafie Apdal is in charge of the Batang Ai state seat campaign.
Bernama reported that the weather was fine at all the three nomination centres, at which the candidates’ supporters started arriving as early as 6.30am.
In Taiping, police closed up five roads leading to Taiping town – Jalan Sultan Mansur, Jalan Kota, Jalan Taming Sari, Jalan Temenggong and Jalan Berek – at 6am.
Meanwhile, in Lubok Antu, Sarawak, the 38km road leading to Lubok Antu from the junction with the Sri Aman-Miri trunk road was jammed since early morning as many vehicles carrying party supporters, election workers and dignitaries, headed there.
Bukit Gantang has 55,562 registered voters, including 136 voters, of whom 63.5 per cent are Malays, Chinese (27.1 per cent), Indians (9.1 per cent) and others.
Bukit Selambau has 35,140 voters (15 postal voters) with Malays making up 50.2 per cent, Indians (29.5 per cent), Chinese (19.3 per cent) and others (1 per cent).
In Batang Ai, there are 8,006 registered voters (43 postal voters)with the Ibans making up 95 per cent and the rest being Malays, Chinese and others.
The April 7 balloting is primarily a contest between the National Front ruling coalition and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's three-party People's Alliance, which made major inroads in general elections a year ago.
The seats - one in Parliament and two in state legislatures - became vacant recently after two incumbents died and one resigned.
Candidates had their petitions to run for office approved Sunday by the Election Commission.
The elections will not change the balance of power in any of the three bodies. But they will test the leadership and organizational skills of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is scheduled to become prime minister within a week, and newly elected leaders of the United Malays National Organization ruling party.
The party's new deputy leader, International Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, led some 10,000 government supporters at Taiping town, in Perak state, to back their candidate, who filed his papers to contest the Parliament seat.
However, they were outnumbered by about 20,000 opposition loyalists, many of whom were upset at tactics used by the National Front to wrest control of Perak from the opposition earlier this year. The Front coaxed three lawmakers to leave the opposition, tipping the balance of the state legislature in its favor.
'We believe the opposition will win (in Perak) because of the public's anger, but we cannot be so sure about the other two seats,' said opposition supporter Ismail Samsuddin, who was selling umbrellas decorated with political emblems.
The National Front's popularity has plunged to its lowest levels in 52 years of rule. It retained power with less than its longtime two-thirds parliamentary majority in national polls a year ago and lost two subsequent by-elections.
Penyokong Pakatan yang tiba seawal 6.00 pagi memenuhi sekitar kawasan Wisma Majlis Perbandaran Taiping dan kawasan Jalan Alang Ahmad.[more]
Saturday, March 28, 2009
“Pilihan raya di Bukit Gantang pada kali ini agak ’special’ berbanding pilihan raya di Permatang Pauh kerana rakyat di Bukit Gantang masih segar dengan rampasan kuasa yang dilakukan oleh Barisan Nasional pada 5 Februari lalu, ianya merupakan satu insiden yang besar sekaligus dapat mengubah landskap Bukit Gantang dan seluruh negeri Perak amnya,” kata beliau.
Tragedi yang memberi kesan kepada seluruh rakyat Malaysia ini merupakan satu kebangkitan oleh rakyat Malaysia khususnya rakyat Bukit Gantang yang dahagakan keadilan dimana ianya dapat diterjemahkan melalui peti undi.
Menurut beliau lagi, selama 50 tahun BN memerintah negara ini, mereka telah banyak menyalahgunakan kuasa yang telah diberikan oleh rakyat.
Justeru, beliau menyeru supaya rakyat Bukit Gantang bertungkus lumus untuk membantu Pakatan Rakyat dalam pilihan raya ini dengan cara keluar mengundi pada 7 April nanti sebagai satu tanggungjawab dan amanah besar bagi penduduk Bukit Gantang.
Beliau mengakhiri ucapan beliau dengan merasmikan tapak Ekspo Rakyat di Dataran Nik Aziz, Jalan Kuala Kangsar-Simpang semalam.
Pelbagai jualan terdapat di Expo ini. Orang ramai dijemput datang beramai-ramai bagi membantu usahawan-usahawan kecil ini.
Menurut Setiausaha Jabatan Pilihan raya PAS Pusat, Wan Nik Wan Yusoff, khemah dan pondok polis juga telah mula didirikan di sekitar kawasan pilihan raya kecil Parlimen Bukit Gantang.
"Setakat pemerhatian yang pihak jentera PAS jalankan, terdapat pondok dan khemah-khemah polis yang diwujudkan sepertimana yang dibuat di pilihan raya kecil Kuala Terengganu," katanya kepada Harakahdaily.
Namun jelasnya, keadaan tersebut kali ini dijangka akan mengalami sedikit perbezaan memandangkan pilihan raya tersebut diadakan secara serentak bersama dengan Dun Selambau dan Batang Air.
Mengulas lanjut mengenai situasi tersebut, Wan Nik berkata pihak polis kini semakin menambahkan bilangan anggotanya selain menggiatkan operasi mereka sehingga menyebabkan orang ramai menyedari kehadiran mereka.
"Kita boleh rasai bilangan mereka yang semakin ramai dengan bilangan pondok yang didirikan selain, van, kereta, trak, motorsikal yang mempunyai logo polis.
"Malah anggota polis cawangan khas juga turut sama membanjiri kawasan yang menjadi tumpuan ramai seperti kedai makan dan program anjuran Pakatan Rakyat," ujarnya.
Jelasnya, program ceramah dengan kapasiti besar yang dijalankan oleh Pakatan Rakyat juga tidak diberikan permit oleh polis dengan alasan belum memasuki tempoh kempen yang sebenar.
"Alasan mereka membatalkan ceramah kita adalah apabila ceramah yang dikategorikan besar itu boleh mengganggu lalu lintas selain belum sampai ke tempoh kempen selepas proses penamaan selesai," katanya lagi.
Dalam pada itu, Wan Nik juga meminta pihak polis agar bersikap adil terhadap kedua-dua belah pihak pada hari penamaan calon di Bukit Gantang nanti.
Ia adalah berhubung kenyataan pihak polis Perak yang mengehadkan bilangan penyokong bagi calon yang bertanding berhimpun di hari penamaan calon pada 29 Mac.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — It was a vintage end-of-assembly for Umno, as it bid farewell to its sixth president and fifth Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
As in all previous assemblies leaders, including Abdullah, asked for forgiveness and forgave for mistakes and slurs, intended or otherwise.
And as in previous assemblies, especially when divisive party polls are held, they all hugged each other, some cried, most were emotional, and all promised to be one family — kekeluargaan — as stressed by all their leaders in their closing speeches.
Until next year, at least, or when the next party polls are held.
But perhaps the biggest surprise was the unannounced entry of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, towards the end of the party assembly, to all-round applause from the delegates.
Dr Mahathir has been Abdullah's most vitriolic critic, perhaps, most unkind, given that he himself chose Abdullah as his successor.
Dr Mahathir quit Umno last year and said he would only rejoin when Abdullah quit as president.Today, the planned grand entrance was a master stroke for new party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Najib managed to get Abdullah and Mahathir to shake hands and hug and promised to bring them together in discussions to chart a path for Umno to regain its lost glory.
The delegates applauded at this possible scenario of the ex-prime ministers becoming "buddies" again.
Yet, there was serious disquiet and unhappiness among some, especially Abdullah's supporters and older delegates.
They felt Dr Mahathir had come to claim victory and marred the traditional farewell in the Malay "beradab dan sopan santun" way.
Abdullah has always been gracious and hardly hit back when Dr Mahathir attacked him.
When Dr Mahathir went on to the stage, disrupting the planned farewell Abdullah would have gotten, the stark difference between the two men was there for all to see.
Abdullah’s supporters wanted him to be feted and sent off in the same way that Dr Mahathir was sent off in October 2003 — with grace and gratitude.
Not having to pay second fiddle to a man who slammed him in a statement as late as 24 hours ago.
Dr Mahathir took his pound of flesh today and stole the show.
But in days to come, as those steeped in the Malay tradition think more deeply about today, will Najib's PR coup continue to be viewed as a good deed in bringing two feuding leaders together?
Or will it be seen as the final humiliation of a decent man who, unfortunately, could not hit the heights he promised?
KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today pulled off a major public relations coup by brokering a rapprochement of sorts between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The former prime minister and the current prime minister shook hands on stage at the end of the five-day Umno General Assembly.
Najib told the delegates earlier that he would try and bring Dr Mahathir and Abdullah together and consult both of them on party and national issues.
But while party members loved the idea of Dr Mahathir returning to Umno and the prospect of the two former party presidents putting their differences aside, not everyone was elated over today’s sideshow.
Abdullah’s supporters in Putra World Trade Centre burnt the lines, telegraphing their dismay that he had to share the same billing with his most trenchant critic on what should have been his special day.
They acknowledged that the move to get Dr Mahathir and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, to attend the party assembly was good but questioned their dramatic entrance midway through Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s speech.
Rapturous applause greeted Dr Mahathir and his wife as they made their way to the VIP seats in the balcony overlooking Dewan Merdeka.
A beaming Muhyiddin, a strong supporter of the Dr Mahathir, paused for a couple of minutes before saying that he hoped that the former prime minister’s presence indicated a willingness to rejoin Umno.
Dr Mahathir’s entry into the hall caught many by surprise, including Abdullah.
A supreme council member said: “This was arranged for maximum effect but the people behind this plan should have taken into account Pak Lah’s feelings. Was there a need to humiliate him like this? Today we needed to give him a proper send-off for his service as the president and for doing the gracious thing and giving way to Najib.”
All said, Najib and Muhyiddin were probably looking foremost at trying to give the party they are inheriting a boost.
They know that there is considerable affection for Dr Mahathir in the party and must have figured that getting him to bury the hatchet with Abdullah would infuse Umno with a feel-good factor before three important by-elections on April 7.
Dr Mahathir has been a harsh critic of Abdullah since 2005, accusing him of allowing his family members and his close advisors to run the country.
Much of his anger towards Abdullah stems from the belief that his successor did not consult him on government policies and went out of his way to undermine his legacy.
In the run-up to the general election in 2008, Dr Mahathir urged Malaysians to vote for the opposition and in May last year he quit Umno, saying that he had lost confidence in Abdullah’s leadership.
He was invited to attend the opening of the party assembly on Thursday but did not show up in protest against Umno Youth voting Khairy Jamaluddin as the Youth chief, instead of his son Datuk Mukhriz.
In his speech at the opening of the assembly, Abdullah acknowledged his debt of gratitude to Dr Mahathir for appointing him as the deputy prime minister in 1999 and then prime minister in October 2003.
Today, in his final address, he did not mention Dr Mahathir by name but said that he forgave all those who bore ill-feelings against him.
Dr Mahathir showed little emotion throughout Abdullah’s speech but was visibly pleased when Najib acknowledged his presence and urged him to rejoin the party.
Najib also told party delegates that he planned to get Dr Mahathir and Abdullah to sit down with him and discuss party and national issues.
This suggestion brought the house down.
The first meeting may be awkward but once the ice was broken, there could be free-flowing discussion between them in follow-up discussion, he suggested.
Najib’s move to bring Dr Mahathir back into fold and consult him on policy matters is understandable.
Not many people in Malaysia relish the idea of crossing swords with the battle-hardened former prime minister.
At the closing of the assembly, Dr Mahathir and his wife made their way down from the balcony to the main stage where they exchanged greetings with senior Umno officials.
All eyes were on him as he made his way to the centre of the stage. Abdullah shook his hand and whispered something into his ear.
There will be one photograph on the front page of all the newspapers tomorrow. It will show Muhyiddin, Najib, Dr Mahathir and Abdullah with their hands raised in unison.
A definite PR coup. But not everyone in PWTC was united in their belief that Dr Mahathir would let bygones be bygones and stop attacking Abdullah or his son-in-law.
KUALA LUMPUR: Moments after Datuk Seri Najib Razak had finished his acceptance speech as Umno’s seventh president, he found himself appealing for a chance to demonstrate his leadership.
Faced with a barrage of questions on unsubstantiated accusations, Najib asked reporters not to pre-judge him.
"Judge me by my actions. Don't judge me on rumours and baseless allegations,” said the soon-to-be prime minister at a press conference this afternoon.
"This is not fair. As a journalist, you must uphold principles of fairness," Najib said, adding that his actions had yet to be seen as he had not taken office yet.
Calling the allegations against him "malicious and baseless lies," the 55-year-old said it were part of an "opposition ploy" and that he would be able to manage them, although he did not say how.
"We'll deal with it. We know what to do," Najib told reporters at Putra World Trade Centre.
Even before the press conference began, Najib pre-empted questions on the anticipated handover of power, telling reporters to wait until outgoing prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has had his audience with the King on April 2.
Najib reiterated that he would concentrate on reforming the party and the country, adding he was aware of concerns that politicking would distract from the more important economic issues.
When asked, Najib disagreed that the three by-elections were referendums on the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and that the results were not necessarily a good indicator of the nation's sentiments.
"The only referendum is the general elections. That's where you will know whether people support you or not," he said.
With its party elections out of the way, Umno now faces three crucial by-elections in Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai. Nominations are set for tomorrow (March 29) and polling on April 7.
KUALA LUMPUR: Home minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Syed Albar confirmed that prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will chair his last cabinet meeting on Wednesday, April 1.
Abdullah has yet to announce his handover date to new Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak despite being asked repeatedly in press conferences.
“Maybe, he will say something today,” said Syed Hamid at the Home Ministry office in Putra World Trade Centre this morning.
“But Abdullah will chair his last cabinet meeting on April 1,” he added.
Syed Hamid, who lost in the vice-presidents’ race on Thursday, said this in response to a question on whether he will follow domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Datuk Shahrir Samad’s decision to quit the cabinet after losing in the Supreme Council race.
The Johor politician said he was not unhappy after losing and would not be disgruntled either if he is left out of Najib’s new cabinet.
“Losing is part and parcel of competition and this is the nature of politics. I knew of the odds against me and the three who won were the favourites from start to finish,” he added.
“My problem was that I could not reach out to the grassroots due to my position in the home ministry. I had a lot of problems, which affected my image and could not please everyone,” said the Kota Tinggi division chief.
Some of the problems he cited were related to the way he handled the Allah issue, Perak constitutional crisis and foreign workers matter.
“The Home Ministry is not a populist job and I acted with fairness and justice and did my utmost to protect the government and cabinet," he said.
As for not coming yesterday, Syed Hamid said it was because of a sinus problem and not his disappointment at the results.