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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Najib’s Penanti dilemma

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — Malaysianinsider

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is coming under considerable pressure from Umno to change his stand that Barisan Nasional should give the Penanti by-election a miss.

Some party officials, especially those aligned to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, have been parlaying straw polls and ground reports to push two messages: that the voters in the state constituency want Barisan Nasional to field a candidate and chances of victory are better than ever.

Others are stressing a more emotional point — that the ruling coalition has never backed down from an electoral fight before and to do so at a time when bragging rights is firmly with Pakatan Rakyat could be debilitating to the morale of party members.

A decision on whether BN will field a candidate in Penanti will be made tomorrow after Najib chairs Umno’s political bureau meeting.

The party president has all along said that he was not in favour of contesting the by-election, made necessary after PKR’s Fairus Khairuddin resigned following a clutch of allegations against him.

Najib’s rationale was that by-elections should only be held if the incumbent died or was incapable of carrying out his responsibilities for health reasons.

Contesting elections for flippant reasons, he argues, would be a waste of public funds.

He was also concerned that the Opposition would employ a strategy of forcing by-elections at regular intervals until the next general election to keep the political temperature throbbing.

Dr Mahathir, a regular commentator on party and national affairs since Najib became PM, wants Umno to contest the by-election, saying it would be bad for the morale of party workers if PKR were granted a free victory.

The former prime minister also has a personal stake in this battle.

He craves this opportunity to stuff it to critics who lampooned his effort in the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections.

The Malaysian Insider has learned that several senior party officials, including Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, believe that Penanti can be wrested away from the Opposition.

Their optimism is based on reports and feedback which suggests that the political intensity is dropping and that internal squabbling in PKR Penang over Fairus’s resignation will make it difficult for the Opposition to operate an effective election campaign.

In addition, Umno officials are convinced that the four per cent swing of Malay voters to the party in Bukit Gantang will be replicated in a bigger way in Penanti because the community is ready to give the Najib administration a chance.

Just under 73 per cent of the voters in this constituency are Malays.

On March 8, 2008 Fairus defeated Umno/BN’s Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid by 2,219 votes.

Government sources told the Malaysian Insider that reports by security agencies show that the Opposition still has the upper hand in Penanti.

These reports sketch a different picture from the rosy scenario outlined by party officials, noting that Umno Permatang Pauh is split into three factions.

Tomorrow, Najib and the political bureau will have to reconcile all the surveys and ground reports. They will also have to decide which of these two options to take.

Option 1: Keep Umno members happy by spending millions to try and win an election in a difficult seat.

Option 2: Give PKR a free victory on May 31 but start softening the ground for the next general elections by dishing out funds meant for the election machinery directly to constituents.

Zambry bertekad langkaui keputusan mahkamah untuk bersidang

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

SPR memansuhkan khidmat perayu undi dan pondok panas.

April 28, 2009 - SPR memansuhkan khidmat perayu undi dan pondok panas.

Mansor to be DCM if PKR wins Penanti

Malaysianinsider By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — PKR today announced its deputy Penang party chief Mansor Othman as the candidate for the Penanti by-election.

The announcement was made by the party’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at a public rally in the Penang state constituency which is situated within his stronghold Permatang Pauh.

With his candidacy confirmed Mansor is expected to be named the new deputy chief minister if he wins the seat, said Anwar.

“I have discussed this matter with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. If he wins and becomes the assemblyman his name will be proposed to be considered as a candidate for the deputy chief minister post,” declared Anwar. Lim was also present at the announcement.

The by-election was called following the resignation of Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin who had earlier stepped down as deputy chief minister amid allegations of corruption.

He was subsequently cleared by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission.

“So on May 31 our responsibility is big. We are not electing an assemblyman but also a possible candidate to be the deputy chief minister,” Anwar added.

Anwar said that the former USM lecturer was the most qualified candidate adding that the party’s leadership had agreed that the party nominates someone senior for the by-election.

“He earned a masters degree from USM and a Masters in Arts and a Masters of Philosophy from Yale University. He was an associate professor at USM and was also the director of the centre for policy research,” said Anwar.

His selection would also be seen as another attempt by Anwar to tighten his grip on the party and the administration of the state.

An Anwar loyalist, Mansor was the former deputy prime minister’s political secretary and also a founder leader of the then Parti Keadilan Nasional in 1999.

In the Permatang Pauh by-election last year, Mansor filed his nomination as an independent in the event Anwar was disqualified by the Election Commission, but he withdrew his papers once the returning officer confirmed accepting Anwar’s nomination.

In the last general election Mansor contested in the Pulau Betong state seat but lost narrowly to Barisan Nasional’s Muhamad Farid Saad.

Mansor had been expected to be nominated a senator by the state assembly yesterday but instead proposed Penang PKR secretary Mustafa Kamal Mohd Yusoff.

Anwar prepares PKR for long battle with Najib’s Umno

Malaysianinsider By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has made sweeping changes to PKR as Pakatan Rakyat (PR) prepares to face off with the resurgent Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

PKR insiders say there is an urgent need to hunker down for a long, tough battle with a Umno united under Najib and Anwar’s old nemesis Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Najib has been working simultaneously on several fronts — economic, financial and political — to consolidate his power base, mow down his political enemies and recoup the losses suffered by BN in the 2008 general elections.

“PKR is the main target as PKR is the glue that holds the Pakatan Rakyat together and it is we who will take the full brunt,” a PKR insider said of Najib’s strategy.

Anwar’s decision to give a bigger role as party spokesperson to Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail is significant because it was she, as the aggrieved wife and symbol of resistance, who had held the PKR together during the six-long years when Anwar was in prison.

Dr Azizah stepped back after Anwar’s 2004 release but remained as nominal party president.

She gave up her Permatang Pauh seat for Anwar in July 2008 at a time of great stress for Anwar and the PKR, with her husband again accused of committing sodomy with his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Anwar’s sterling victory in the Permatang Pauh by-election and his subsequent appointment as opposition leader in parliament helped considerably to overshadow the public fallout from the sodomy allegations.

The allegations however are set to reappear again and dominate the headlines with the opening of the sodomy trial soon and naturally the PKR is concerned about the political fallout of another trial.

It is felt that neither deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali nor the senior vice-presidents of PKR are able to handle a major crisis as well as Dr Wan Azizah who is experienced and enjoys a unique public appeal of her own unlike other PKR leaders.

Besides, she is also well known to and has developed a network of sympathetic editors and senior writers among the international media during the years in the political wilderness.

Such a network can be a powerful positive factor in times of crisis.

Considering the circumstances Dr Azizah is expected to play a prominent public role again as PKR leader even as Anwar battles his political enemies in court and in parliament — a role that only she can carry as the symbol of resistance.

Other changes involve the ever resolute vice-president Azmin Ali who has been taken-off as election campaign director and is expected to be given a major role in the PKR in a second round of changes the PKR is expected to undertake soon.

Azmin is expected to head a key state where PKR presence is dominant.

Another key PKR leader and Anwar-ally — the information chief Tian Chua has been made strategic director and his post given to human rights lawyer Latheefa Koya.

PKR sources said she is more “level headed” then Tian Chua who had several time angered top PKR leaders with his “theatrics” and “rash” media statements.

Like Tian Chua and troubled PKR lawmaker Elizabeth Wong, Latheefa is a well known human rights activist and a fixture in numerous demonstrations for justice.

Azmin is replaced as election director by Saiffudin Nasution, a former Umno youth leader who has shown his skills and organisational abilities in recent by-election battles.

“Saifuddin’s star is shining in the PKR…he is also close to PAS and well liked by the DAP,” PKR sources said.

.Back to High Court for MB vs MB

The Federal Court today sent back the MB versus MB case to the Kuala Lumpur High Court after dismissing Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadirs application for a fast-track hearing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Penanti vote is on

PUTRAJAYA, April 27 — The Election Commission (EC) today finally set May 31 as polling day for the Penanti state by-election in Penang.

Nomination day is set for May 23.

The announcement today ended days of intense speculation that the EC might reject the vacancy notification from the Penang assembly speaker, after former Penang Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin resigned on April 16.

The EC was supposed to reveal the dates three days ago but decided to delay it, resulting in the opposition questioning it’s independence but the commission said the postponement was caused by unresolved administrative matters.

“There is no delay, we postponed the announcement because we want to get an agreement from the returning officer and assistant returning officer, we needed to meet political parties on Thursday and we need permission from owners of the premises for nomination and counting,” said EC chairman Tan Sri Aziz Yusof when asked about the delay.

He also denied that the commission was waiting for the outcome of the Umno supreme council meeting last Friday before announcing the dates.

“Nothing to do with the supreme council meeting. We didn’t know anything about the meeting,” said Aziz.

He also told reporters that the EC would be more strict in enforcing election laws this time, including banning operation centres set up by political parties outside polling stations.

“No more pondok panas ... the centres are used by voters to check their registration details, the EC already sets up counters for this, so this time we are going to increase the number of counters,” said Aziz.

He added that the centres were normally used by supporters to campaign on polling day, which is an offence under the Election Offences Act.

“We have set the campaign period until midnight May 30. So on the polling day stop it,” he added.

But Aziz said political parties could still provide transportation facilities to voters.
On whether the commission would limit the number of supporters who turn up on nomination day, Aziz said there is no law stopping people from coming but he hoped that the political parties would take the initiative to reduce the number of supporters.

The Penanti by-election is the sixth since the general election last year and was described by Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a waste of public funds and the Prime Minister had indicated that Barisan Nasional (BN) could skip the contest.

In the general election last March, Fairus defeated Permatang Pauh Umno division chief Datuk Abdul Jalil Majid by 2,219 votes.

In 2004, Jalil won the Penang state seat by 667 votes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nizar wants full panel of judges for Federal Court

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24.2009 —By Debra Chong

In the latest development over the lawsuit to decide the lawful Perak mentri besar, Pakatan Rakyat’s Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is asking for the full panel of nine judges to hear his arguments next Tuesday when the case moves to the Federal Court in Putrajaya.

Nizar, who maintains he is the rightful mentri besar as he has not resigned from the post, is suing Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir for usurping the office.

He is also objecting to Zambry’s application to refer several constitutional questions to the Federal Court to decide, claiming the questions posed were irrelevant to his suit.

“They keep saying ‘Sultan, Sultan, Sultan’ but we’re not challenging the Sultan, only Zambry,” said one of Nizar’s battery of lawyers, Leong Cheok Keng, referring to the list of questions drawn up by Zambry for the apex court to answer.

Leong told The Malaysian Insider a letter was written to Chief Justice (CJ) Tan Sri Zaki Azmi earlier this week requesting the full bench of nine judges as it concerned the “life and death of a regime” in Perak.

Leong explained that a full bench sits in criminal cases where the mandatory punishment is death, to show the importance of the matter.

He pointed out that Nizar’s case was just as important and deserved to be treated with the same gravity, as the outcome of the court decision would decide the continuity or termination of Nizar’s administration.

Asked if Nizar was also requesting a fresh panel of judges to replace the five who had previously heard the matter when it was first brought up, Leong said the letter did not state as such but hoped the CJ would take into consideration the need for “fresh minds” to hear the arguments from both sides.

He noted that the judges who had heard the matter a short while ago are unlikely to change their minds so swiftly. But Leong stressed they were not trying to “dictate” what the CJ should do.

Let nine-judge Federal Court panel hear Nizar’s objection — P. Ramakrishnan

APRIL 16,2009 — Aliran

The request by the undemocratically ousted Perak mentri besar, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, for a nine-man Federal Court bench to hear his objection to Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir’s reliance on Article 63 of the Perak Constitution to determine who is the rightful mentri besar of the state is a fair one.

We earnestly hope that the Chief Justice will accede to this request in the interest of justice and fair play. What is at stake is the very foundation of justice itself.

What is to be determined by the Federal Court has far-reaching consequences for our democratic system of governance. It involves the fate of a democratically elected state government as reflected by the popular will of the people.

When 53 per cent of Perakians have spoken authoritatively through the ballot box to determine who should govern the State of Perak, can that mandate be nullified through the unethical conduct of three dubious characters who have betrayed the trust of the electorate?

Two of them are facing trials in a court of law after they have been charged with corruption, and this makes it reprehensible that these totally discredited characters should wield so much power now to frustrate the electoral process.

This very grave issue is so crucial that it is imperative to have the collective wisdom of nine judges to ponder over it so that justice will be better served.

We also agree that a new bench of judges should hear this case so that Malaysians will be inclined to accept their decision. Malaysians look forward to the inclusion of the newly elevated judges — especially Sri Ram — so that the issue will be judged fairly and justly.

P. Ramakrishnan is the president of Aliran

Working for Malaysia’s future

Nurul Izzah Anwar

By Nurul Izzah Anwar and Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad | malaysianinsider

APRIL 26,2009 – There has been a lot of negative attention on the Parti Keadilan Rakyat lately. We have come under scrutiny over the recent events in Perak, Kedah and now Penang. As young leaders who have faith in the party’s vision and future, we believe that it’s important to reflect on what we have achieved and examine the challenges ahead.

Keadilan is a young party, the result of a 2003 merger between Parti Keadilan Nasional, founded in 1999 and Parti Rakyat Malaysia, founded in 1955. It came about in part due to the Reformasi movement that emerged following the dismissal and incarceration of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 1998. The movement, as laid out in the Permatang Pauh Declaration, was built on the idea of upholding the dignity of man and the need for the continuous betterment of society.

Both of us became involved in the party when the Reformasi broke out, though under different circumstances.

Izzah, who was a 17-year old university student then, was forced into the public eye as she was Anwar’s eldest daughter. Nazmi, who was a year younger and still in school, was reflecting on how the forces that were unleashed could somehow offer something new to Malaysian politics that had atrophied under Dr. Mahathir. As Izzah travelled the country giving ceramahs not only to defend her father’s innocence but also increasingly to articulate the meaning and significance of the Reformasi movement to ordinary Malaysians, Nazmi attempted to explore the possibility and meaning of a new politics for the younger generation as a writer in the alternative media.

We became acquainted in 2001, as part of a group of young Malaysian professionals finding ways as to how we could contribute to change in our country. In spite of the party’s small presence then, we were all excited and idealistic to be part of the cause to lay the foundations of a truly progressive Malaysian political party.

Three years later, the party was dealt a blow when Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi hijacked our message of reform and won an overwhelming victory in polls conducted under dubious circumstances. The party was left with a solitary Parliamentary seat. Soon however, Anwar was released and engaged in a conversation with those inside and outside the party. He charted a more multiracial agenda, against the advice of many. Some were clearly discomfited by this development, and left the party. They either could not accept the shift or felt that no matter how idealistically attractive this paradigm movement was, it spelt political disaster.

But like many young members of the party, we felt that this was the right path to take, the logical extension of Reformasi. Nazmi, in particular decided to take the next step by working for Anwar after completing his studies. We were joined by experienced professionals such as Ibrahim Yaacob and Din Merican, along with talented young Malaysians such as Harvard graduate and blogger Nathaniel Tan as well as UTM student leader and Silicon Valley engineer Sim Tze Tzin.

As the 12th General Elections loomed, both of us along with Sim and Ibrahim were considered as possible candidates for seats. We were reluctant at first, but as many others refused to run under Keadilan’s banner-feeling that the party would surely be defeated- we decided to do it. Izzah was 27, and Nazmi, 26, making us among the youngest candidates in the elections.

It occurred to us from very early on that the young Opposition candidates should work together. Together with our colleagues like Tony Pua and Hannah Yeoh from DAP, we campaigned hard in each other’s constituency, drawing inspiration from the courage and conviction of ordinary Malaysians who wanted change. It was truly people’s power – Makkal Sakti – that defied the odds and trumped cynicism. We were fortunate to win our respective seats and be a part of the now legendary story of the 8th of March.

Keadilan as a result increased its Parliamentary presence from one to 31 seats. Not only that, four states along the West Coast fell to a coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS that eventually became the Pakatan Rakyat. What was more impressive and significant was that a multiracial band of MPs and state assemblypersons won on Keadilan’s ticket, making Keadilan the most successful experiment in multiracial politics in Malaysia to-date.

But the reality of victory also dawned upon us as the euphoria of the 8th of March faded away. We had to meet the manifold expectations of our constituents who voted us in. We had to ensure that the voices of the people were heard in the legislatures and corridors of power.

Nazmi and many other state assemblypersons in the five states had the added responsibility of actually governing, trying to make a 50-year establishment embrace reform and progress.

We immediately saw the limits of operating within the confinements of a governmental system that had become dominated by the executive branch. The people of Kuala Lumpur as a Federal Territory remain dependant to the autonomous and powerful KL City Hall. With no say on budget allocations and choice of Mayor, improvements in housing allocation, delivery and services remain marginal at best. They, unlike their counterparts elsewhere do not have the right to vote for a State Assembly. That is why the movement towards holding local council elections – that can and will start in Pakatan Rakyat states – must persist.

Being wakil rakyats meant that we could no longer confine ourselves to criticising from the sidelines, but actually delivering on our promises to the voters. This involved meeting our constituents that brought their problems to us continuously at all hours. This touched and exposed us to the challenges they, the ordinary men and women of Malaysia have to face each and every day and how we have to do everything within our power to help them better their lives.

We also began to realise that change is unavoidable, especially in our own parties. All political parties evolve, and this process is more often that not tumultuous. In the US for example, the Republicans were the party that freed the slaves under Abraham Lincoln. Now, the Democrats, who opposed Lincoln’s reforms in the 19th century nominated Barack Obama as their Presidential candidate in 2008, who as we know is the country’s first African-American Commander-in-Chief. Nothing is constant in politics, least of all political parties.

In Malaysia, Umno, which was once a party of teachers and village officials, is now a party of racial demagogues and crony-capitalists.

On the other hand, DAP and PAS that used to represent a narrow range of constituencies have become more open and inclusive than ever before. The example of Bukit Gantang and the many mixed constituencies that returned a Pakatan representative last year is testament to this.

The growing momentum for change is bearing down not only on Umno and the Barisan Nasional but also on Pakatan Rakyat. The former responding to this challenge by dithering and relying on the most dishonest sort of triangulation. The latter is, though the path has not always been smooth, is heeding the call.

Keadilan grew from a small coalition of people that came together during Reformasi to a Malaysian political party that is based on hope, progress and a new brand of politics.

Just over a year ago before the elections, when we campaigned across the country, many were surprised that Keadilan still existed.

When we walked up the rusty elevators in Kampung Kerinchi and Desa Mentari, we had to convince ordinary Malaysians that we could offer a genuine alternative to the government.

When we called up our contacts and acquaintances to help out, we became used to both polite and direct rejections. The path we took was certainly not the path of least resistance, but it was the choice of our conviction.

Today, Malaysians from all walks of life, including Malay doctors, Indian college students and Chinese businessmen come together in good faith in our divisions.

We have committed Christians and pious Muslims in our committees. All are eager to hoist the party flag that the people hardly recognised before.

We have unsung heroes like Muslim activist Mohamed Ali Ghazali, small businessmen S. Meng Yee and Vinod Sharma, all working behind the scenes, doing their bit for the party without any thought or expectation of reward. Our victory has made it easier now to get people come and join Keadilan, but we still have to make sure that they understand the struggle and sacrifices that the road ahead demands.

We spoke about renewable energy, economic co-operation, climate change, refugees, urban planning and public transport in Parliament and the State Assembly, but all of this was swept under the radar of the controlled mainstream media.

Our young Pakatan colleagues, including Yusmadi Yusoff in Parliament as well as Amirudin Shari and Gan Pei Nei in the Selangor State Assembly have all made an impact in their speeches that impressed everyone in the legislature. In our constituencies we have set up free health clinics, voluntary tuition centres and crime fighting campaigns by empowering the community. Yet, the mainstream media prefers to focus on sensationalised stories rather than substantive news.

Obviously, any growing organisation will have its ups and downs. Just as we should be credited for our successes, it is just as important that we must be accountable for our shortfalls.

We cannot deflect our own undoing. Some are clearly our own weaknesses, but others reflect the lack of human capital and institutional structure that is a problem across the Malaysian political spectrum. As we continue to build Keadilan and Pakatan Rakyat as a party of the future, be prepared for more ups and downs.

But we are a democratic and open organisation, and we always prefer to resolve our difficulties in the open rather than under the cloak-and-dagger of spin.

The important thing is that in spite of all the difficulties we have faced, we continue to attract the best and brightest Malaysians to push for an inclusive political party, a party that upholds our main objective of establishing a just society and a democratic, progressive and united country.

We have, stated above done a lot for the people, but we do not for one second expect them to be satisfied with just this. We do not ask for support or gratitude in return, but simply that Malaysians continue the spirit of the 8th of March and pressure the Federal Government to increase our civil liberties and political freedoms.

Malaysia’s leaders need to always listen and learn from the people, and this is something that we, the young leaders of Keadilan and Pakatan pledge to do.

The service and dedication that we have rendered to the people will continue as long as we hold office and beyond. We consider this to be the true meaning of ‘putting the people first’. We will do this even in our own house.

Keadilan is in the process of revamping our constitution to ensure that the party is able to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. We want to empower to our grassroots. Our Youth and Women’s wings too, are engaged in massive training exercises from Perlis to Sabah to build the party’s human capital for the long-term. We have sought to improve our election machinery to complement the experience of our partners in Pakatan Rakyat.

We are also open to the idea of more far-reaching reforms to devolve power to the ordinary members of the party, including having party primaries for national leadership positions or even for to select Parliamentary, State Assembly and Local Council candidates.

We can institutionalise debate as part of the campaigning for party positions. We can go further in ensuring that one of the objectives of our Women’s wing is to make the idea of having at least 30 per cent of our leaders and election candidates as women a reality.

We understand that some Malaysians might get tired with all the drama that has transpired thus far. Some might be losing patience with us. But the choice is clear between the potential of Keadilan and Pakatan Rakyat driven by the young compared to the BN’s tired false power-sharing model where the shadow of the past looms large.

Keadilan will continue to fight for change. The first battle is to fight to change ourselves for the better.

NURUL IZZAH ANWAR, 28, is Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai as well as Keadilan Lembah Pantai Division’s Pro-Tem Head. She graduated from Universiti Tenaga Nasional in electronic and electrical engineering before furthering her studies at the School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, US in International Relations. She maintains a web presence at www.nurulizzah.com.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD, 27, is Political Secretary to the Selangor Menteri Besar and State Assemblyman for Seri Setia. He is also a Keadilan Youth committee member. A graduate of King’s College, University of London in law, Nik Nazmi blogs at www.niknazmi.com.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

In Perak crisis, frustration describes public sentiment

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — malaysianinsider- By Debra Chong

Tommy Thomas and Datuk Shafee Abdullah, two of Malaysia’s most prominent lawyers, turned a Bar Council forum on the Perak constitutional crisis into a courtroom today, debating fine legal points.

But it was Subramaniam Pillay, an unknown economist with social pressure group Aliran, who probably articulated public frustration over the power grab by Barisan Nasional (BN) which has plunged Perak into chaotic battle for control with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that is being played out in various courts.

“I've absolutely lost hope in our current judiciary,” said the Teluk Intan native.

Subramaniam was referring to recent court rulings which appears to have ignored the doctrine of separation of powers and also constitutional provisions which say the judiciary cannot rule on proceedings of legislative assemblies.

“Give everybody a chance so everything is aired and then we come to a decision, whichever way it goes then the public will understand why the decisions were made and were not simply arbitrary decisions,” he said in commenting about the swiftness in which various legal disputes are being disposed.

“This is the perception of not just me but many Malaysians. We’ve lost faith in the courts. That’s bad because it has severe consequences to the economy.

“All this is bad for the economy of a country because it will deter foreign investments,” said the economics lecturer, adding it reduced the public’s overall respect for the law at a crucial time when the country needed to create a climate of stability.

However, Subramaniam also pointed out the Perak crisis was a “blessing in disguise” as it would ultimately benefit the public, especially Perakians, even though they may have lost the government they had voted in at last year’s general elections.

He noted a greater public awareness of their rights, which would force the political parties to buck up and become more service-oriented or face the voters’ displeasure.

He called for an overhaul of public institutions such as the Election Commission and the recently-created Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) and raised the idea of creating an Anti-Hopping law, to ensure voters get the last say in who represents them in parliament.

Of the three speakers, Subramaniam received the loudest applause from the audience.

This was despite the presence of the two stars in Thomas, a constitutional law expert who represented Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar in court recently and Shafee, a veteran lawyer who had previously acted for BN.

Thomas offered the forum an insightful view from the Speaker’s perspective.

He questioned the federal court’s haste in wrapping up the legal wrangling between the two political rivals without carefully considering the consequences of its decisions.

“In constitutional law, there is no doctrine of automatic dissolution,” said Thomas, pointing to a lack of description for such under Article 36 of the Perak Constitution.

He attacked the idea put up by BN on the need to resolve the legal dispute before May 7, its self-imposed deadline to avoid an automatic dissolution of the state legislature.

Shafee presented arguments from BN’s perspective.

He argued that the “crisis” proper began right after the general elections on March 8 last year, when DAP, PKR and Pas formed a “loose federation” to persuade the Sultan of Perak to allow them to govern the state even though BN had the majority votes in the Assembly as a “solid federation”.

He explained the present “crisis” arose only because PR refused to admit defeat despite the alliance having realistically lost its majority.

Shafee defended the court’s apparent hasty rulings as a “sarcastic” attempt to follow the new Chief Justice’s directive to improve the delivery of justice as many court cases had piled up over the years.

Umno to use cyberspace to woo young voters

Saturday, 25 April 2009

(Bernama) - Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan said the party is aware of the important role of the new media in moulding the political minds of the young and will use cyberspace to attract voters.

"The new media has been very effective in influencing the young politically. We need to find new ways to engage the young in cyberspace.

"It must be done fast as studies showed that the Internet played an important role in influencing young voters," he said after opening the parent-teacher association meeting of Sekolah Rendah Ayer Baloi here today.[ more ]

Toyota Camry kerajaan Perak

April 23, 2009 - kereta tersebut akan terus diguna selagi mahkamah belum memutuskan kesahihan perlantikan Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir sebagai Menteri Besar

Najib should answer – Is RPK to be detained under new ISA order and to be charged for treason?

The new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should answer two questions – has a new Internal Security Act (ISA) detention order been issued against blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and whether a decision had been taken to charge him for treason or equally serious capital offence?

If not, is Najib prepared to make two public commitments that under his premiership, Raja Petra will not be victimized and will not be detained under a fresh ISA detention order and will not be charged for treason or equally serious capital offence for what he had done so far?

Furthermore, is Najib prepared to make the further commitment for the withdrawal of the government’s appeal to the Federal Court against Raja Petra’s release under the ISA in November when the Shah Alam High Court ruled that his ISA detention was illegal.

Raja Petra’s absence from his sedition trial, the issue of a warrant of arrest against him and Raja Petra’s explanation in his news portal, Malaysia Today, of the reasons for his action yesterday have focused national and international spotlight not only on RPK but also on the new Prime Minister and his administration.

Although epithets like “coward” and “yellow” have been hurled at him, these are from a tiny minority as Raja Petra strikes a great resonance from a great number of Malaysians when he said that he has no confidence that he could get a fair trial and justice from the Malaysian courts.

It is a mark of the inability of Najib as the new Prime Minister to command public confidence that more and more Malaysians share Raja Petra’s grave doubts about the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary as the promises of judicial reforms in the past five years have failed to bear fruit.

[ Lim Kit Siang ]

DAP says EC is trying to prevent Penanti vote

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25,2009 — malaysianinsider - By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

The Election Commission told the DAP that logistical issues were behind the delay in announcing its decision on the Penanti by-election.

EC officials, in their meeting with the DAP two days ago, had informed party leaders that the authorities from the school chosen as the nomination centre had yet to confirm its availability.

Petaling Jaya Utara DAP MP Tony Pua lashed out at the EC, however, for giving the “flimsiest” of excuses which was totally unacceptable.

The EC had initially announced that it would announce its decision on the Penanti by-election known publicly yesterday but had postponed it to Monday despite having held a meeting on Wednesday.

The public was kept in the dark about the reason behind the EC’s decision to postpone the announcement, leading to speculation that the delay was to pander to the wishes of Barisan Nasional (BN).

Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the BN chairman, has floated the idea of the coalition skipping the by-election.

He has accused Pakatan Rakyat (PR) of using by-elections, which he said were a waste of public funds, to continue exerting political pressure on the administration.

But at its supreme council meeting yesterday, Umno also deferred making a decision on whether to contest the seat.

There is now also widespread speculation that the current assemblyman, Fairus Khairuddin, could retract his resignation, and suspicions among PR supporters that the EC’s delay was to allow time for the lawmaker to change his mind about resigning.

While there is still no concrete evidence to show collusion between BN and the EC, the fact that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) cleared Fairus from graft allegations this week has lend weight to speculation he could stay on as state assemblyman.

“The EC has had 43 years of experience and never once have they delayed their decision announcement but now, simply due to (simple) administrative reasons, the body is saying it needs more time,” said Pua.

He added that this indicated the EC was not independent.

“They are trying their best to stretch every legal means they have to not make Penanti happen,” said Pua.

In PAS they trust

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — Malaysianinsider — Straits Times

B. Balendran is just like any other devout Hindu who celebrates Deepavali and does not eat beef. But in his free time, he attends political rallies by PAS and helps to recruit new members for its Supporters' Club.

And he actively campaigned for the conservative Islamic party during last year's general election.

The 25-year-old engineer has roped in two of his sisters and several friends to join what he says is the best party to govern Malaysia.

Balendran's view: “If PAS takes over Malaysia, I will be very happy because there will be no more corruption and Malaysia will be in a good situation.”

The PAS Supporters' Club for non-Muslims was founded in 2004 with just 100 members, said its founder, Hu Pang Chow.

Its membership was at 10,000 last year, but has surged to 50,000 since the opposition made big gains in the general election and PAS joined the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance, he said.

Unlike ordinary party members, those who join the Supporters' Club become associate PAS members and cannot vote in office bearers.

So why do non-Muslims opt for PAS, instead of the secular DAP or the multi-racial Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)?

Hu said those who join the club see PAS as “being the most principled and sincere”. The bulk of the members are ethnic Indians.

Some members are avoiding PKR, which is seen by some Indians as not being strong in supporting Indian issues. And some Indians feel that DAP is too Chinese-centric.

Said N. Balasubramaniam, chairman of the Indian chapter of the club: “DAP and PKR have their own rules, but whether they follow them or not is up to them.”

He said it is different for PAS, which has to strictly follow Islamic teachings.

PAS has always been demonised by ruling Barisan Nasional coalition leaders as the party that will implement its strict version of Islam in Malaysia.

But Balendran said he is not worried about the PAS aim of setting up an Islamic state or implementing syariah laws — including hudud, which prescribes amputation and stoning — because he says such laws would apply only to Muslims.

The increasing acceptance of PAS by non-Muslims was displayed during the general election in March last year when Kumutha Rahman ran for the party. She contested under the PKR flag as the PAS constitution does not allow non-Muslims to run on its ticket.

Although she lost, her candidacy was seen as a breakthrough for both the Islamic party and the Indian community.

And during that election campaign, non-Muslim Indians and Chinese were openly waving the flag of the Islamic party and helping in door-to-door canvassing.

To be sure, part of the enthusiasm to join a political party by the Indians was a follow-up from the mammoth rally organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force in November 2007, which was met with police water cannon and tear gas.

Many of the party-less Indians opted for the opposition parties after losing hope in the MIC led by the unpopular Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

The steady 18-year rule by PAS of Kelantan has also boosted trust among some non-Muslims, said Hu.

Social scientist Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia also credits PAS's religious credentials for its popularity.

“It has religion as its backbone and the perception is that it is more sincere and will be able to uphold equality and the welfare of the people,” he said.

PAS has also toned down its rhetoric on an Islamic state with the emergence of more moderate-minded young leaders.

“It will become an alternative on its own in the future if Pakatan Rakyat fails to maintain its coalition with PKR and DAP,” he told The Straits Times.

PAS is now working towards setting up a full-member wing for non-Muslims within the party.

This is expected to happen by next year, pending approval from its central chiefs and an amendment to the party constitution.

“PAS leaders now realise, in this multiracial community, that they cannot survive alone. They need the support of the non-Malays, or else there is no way for them to win,” said Hu.

Friday, April 24, 2009

BN berusaha singkirkan V.Sivakumar.

KUALA LUMPUR, 24 April,2009 (SuaraKeADILan) Anna Yusof

Ura-ura menyatakan bahawa sidang Dewan Undangan Negeri Perak berusaha untuk menyingkirkan Speaker V Sivakumar.

Usaha sedemikain akan dilakukan pada Sidang Dun akan datang dengan undi tidak percaya terhadap beliau walaupun Sivakumar telah mengagguhkan sidang sehingga ke tarik lain yang akan ditetapkan kelak.

Laporan berita akhbar Berbahasa Cina dan The Sun hari ini menyatakan bahawa selepas Sultan Perak membuat titah ucapan merasmikan Sidang Dun tersebut, undi tidak percaya akan dilakukan bertujuan untuk menyinkirkan Sivakumar.

Semetara itu, Setiausha Dap Perak Ngeh Koo Ham berkata bahawa itu adalah usaha Barisan Nasional. “Walau bagaimanapun kita tunggu dan lihat,” jelas beliau kepada Suara Keadilan.

“Walaupun telah dijelaskan bahawa sidang Dun titangguhkan sehingga di satu tarikh yang belaum ditetapkan namun Kerajaan BN berusaha mahu mencuba menyinkirkan Sivakumar,” tambah beliau.

Royalti antara punca Umno Terengganu berpecah?

April 21, 2009 - Kumpulan pemerintah dianggap penghalang mendapat projek dari pembayaran wang royalti.

Najib names Rafidah, Ali Rustam to Umno council

Malaysianinsider - By Adib Zalkapli and Syed Jaymal Zahiid

Datuk Seri Najib Razak speaking to the new Umno supreme council members today in Kuala Lumpur. – Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 - Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam and Datuk Seri Rais Yatim were among 10 party leaders appointed to join the powerful Umno supreme council today.

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also reappointed Tengku Adnan as secretary-general while Finance Minister II Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah as party treasurer.

Najib loyalist and deputy Pontian Umno chief Ahmad Maslan cemented his position as a rising star in the party when he was appointed information chief.

Ali remains Malacca Umno chief while party vice-president Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein as Terengganu Umno chief.

Asked about the appointment of old faces into the council such as Rafidah, Najib said: "They can still contribute to the party."

Rafidah lost her Wanita chief post to Datuk Shahrizat Jalil in the recent party polls.

The Malaysian Insider understands Ali was appointed because of his popularity in the party. He had been a front runner to win the deputy party presidency until he was found guilty of being involved in vote-buying.

By appointing Rafidah and Ali, two of the most significant losers in the recent party polls, Najib could draw flak from the public in his push to put forward a clean party and government leadership team.

Najib also announced a reshuffle of state party leaders which saw the three vice presidents leading the party in "problematic" states.

Datuk Seri Hisammuddin Hussein takes over the post of Terengganu Umno chief from Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said who has lost the support of Barisan Nasional lawmakers in the state.

"The matter of mentri besar is a separate issue," said Najib.

In Perlis however the state party will be led by Menteri Besar Datuk Md Isa Sabu, who replaces local strongman and former MB Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

In Penang, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi replaces Tun Abdullah Badawi, the former prime minister, as state party chief.

Another vice president, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, is now the Kedah Umno chief replacing former Menteri Besar Datuk Mahadzir Khalid.

Najib himself will lead the party in Selangor replacing defeated Umno deputy presidential contender Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib.

Newly elected deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed Federal Territory Umno chief.

For Perak, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Zambry Kadir takes over the state party leadership.

In Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor and Sabah, the respective mentris besar or chief minister were retained as the state party chief.

Others appointed to the supreme council were Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim, Datuk Razali Ibrahim and Dr Wan Norashikin representing the three wings, Wanita, Youth and Puteri respectively.

Also appointed were Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Datuk Jamil Khir, Raja Nong Chik, Datuk Aziz Sheikh Fadzir, Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

Najib says political bureau to decide on Penanti

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24,2009 - malaysianinsider - By Adib Zalkapli and Syed Jaymal Zahiid

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the party's political bureau will decide whether Umno should contest in the Penanti by-election.

"We have given the mandate to the political bureau to decide," he told reporters after chairing a three hour supreme council meeting here.

The prime minister however refused to say when the political bureau would meet.

Najib, who heads the bureau, also reiterated his stand that the resignation of Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin as Penanti assemblyman was inappropriate.

Najib had previously argued that the by-election was a waste of public funds and floated the idea of Barisan Nasional (BN) skipping the vote, but former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had criticised the move saying the party should not give PKR an easy victory.

The Election Commission is expected to announce the date of the Penanti by-election on Monday following the resignation of the former Penang Deputy Chief Minister last week.

Today Najib also announced that the party constitution would be amended at the next Umno general assembly to be held this year, to reflect the party's renewal and rejuvenation.

He said that the amendment would make Umno more "transparent and open."

He added that a committee has been formed to study the amendment and its recommendation would be forwarded to the supreme council.

In his first speech as party president last month Najib had promised to amend the party constitution to allow more party members to vote in the party election in order to curb vote buying.

Zahid admits Umno to face tough fight in Penanti

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23, 2009 - Malaysianinsider | By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi now faces an immediate task of preparing the party towards the Penanti by-election now that he has been appointed as the new Umno Penang state liaison chief replacing former party president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

This task however, admits Zahid, won't be easy.

At the moment, Zahid said Umno has yet to decide if it wanted to contest or not but said that the matter would be referred to the party's political bureau where a decision is expected to be announced by the party president soon.

"The reality is, Penanti is a fortress for the opposition but if the party's political bureau decides that we should contest there, I will face it," he told reporters here today.

Penanti, a state constituency, falls under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, an indomitable opposition stronghold helmed by PKR advisor, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

But Zahid said he is confident that he is the right man for the job and said that although Penanti is a fortress for Pakatan Rakyat, the battle there is far different from the past by-elections.

Penanti has a 70 percent Malay population, something Zahid believes Umno can capitalise on as compared to other by-elections in which BN lost due to the swing of non-Malay votes.

However, Zahid said the Penanti issue was not discussed at today's first supreme council meeting, the first to be held under the leadership of its new president, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak but said that the matter would be referred to the political bureau in the immediate future.

Zahid, among others, became part of Najib's 'purgatory' plan for the party's supreme council which saw many of the old state liaison chiefs dropped and replaced by his supporters.

Commenting on his appointment, Zahid said although he is honored, there is no time for him to gloat in joy as he has been given a heavy task of strengthening the party in the state that is controlled by Pakatan Rakyat.

"I am honoured by the appointment but a heavy task awaits me. I will consult with other Umno leaders including Abdullah on how we can unite the Malays in the state and also consult with BN component party leaders to see how we can consolidate the party there," he said.

He added that his main focus now is to regain the trust of the voters in the state.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pilihanraya kecil: BN salah guna peserta PLKN

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 April 2009 SuaraKeADILan : Anna Yusof

Badan pemantau pilihanraya Malaysian for Free & Fair Election (Mafrel) berkata ia mempunyai bukti bergambar rekrut-rekrut PLKN dan Y2Y berseragam dikerah dalam perarakan Barisan Nasional semasa hari penamaan calon serta berkempen di pilihanraya kecil N29 Batang Ai awal bulan ini.

BN didakwa melanggar undang-undang pilihan raya dengan menyalahgunakan kedua-dua peserta Program tersebut untuk kepentingan mereka semasa kempen pilihanraya kecil tersebut.

Pengerusi Mafrel Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh dalam sidang akhbar di Kuala Lumpur hari ini berkata, satu laporan lengkap memperincikan penyalahgunaan sumber kerajaan oleh BN dalam tiga pilihan raya kecil lalu akan diserahkan kepada Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya dalam masa terdekat ini.

“Penyalahgunaan prasarana awam dikesan dalam ketiga-tiga pilihan raya lepas. Ini termasuk pengunaan prasarana awam seperti dewan masyarakat, kenderaan kerajaan dan majlis rasmi kerajaan untuk tujuan kempen,” tegas beliau

Menurutnya lagi mobilisasi pelatih-pelatih dari program khidmat negara semasa hari penamaan calon di Batang Ai adalah amat dikesalkan,

Selain itu, Mafrel turut mendakwa BN menyalahgunakan sejumlah besar wang rakyat untuk tujuan politik dalam pilihanraya Batang Ai.

“Di Batang Ai sahaja, BN menjanjikan projek-projek bernilai lebih dari RM175 juta termasuk pembinaan kompleks polis bernilai RM58.7 juta, pusat jalur lebar bernilai RM2.5 juta, projek turap jalan bernilai RM62 juta dan penambahbaikan dan pemulihan rumah panjang bernilai RM2 juta,” tegas beliau.

Kit Siang slams EC for Penanti delay

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang today criticised the Election Commission (EC) for postponing the Penanti by-election announcement, asking if its pandering to the ruling federal coalition.

The EC delayed its announcement to next Monday from tomorrow although it had met yesterday.

The Ipoh Timur MP asked if the EC was waiting to see the Barisan Nasional’s decision to contest any possible by-election in Penanti as the coalition supreme council meets tomorrow.

“It is a creature dependent on the BN government’s directives. This has never happened before. They had a meeting and have already stated that they would announce their decision tomorrow but now there is a deferment," Kit Siang said in a statement.

“They are apparently waiting for the signal from BN. This is shameful. EC should not act as the appendage of the ruling coalition,” he said bluntly.

He added the new EC chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, has stooped lower than his predecessor who Kit Siang said was at least more ‘subtle’ in displaying his ‘allegiance’ to the ruling coalition.

The veteran opposition leader said the postponement was a clear indicator that the EC was not an independent and professional body.

Busy day in court for Nizar in Perak government impasse

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Bernama

The High Court here today allowed Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to intervene in Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s suit challenging the legitimacy of Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir’s appointment as Perak mentri besar.

Justice Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim, in his oral decision, said the AG, as the guardian of the public interest, should be allowed to intervene as the issue was of public importance and public interest.

He also said that the issue involved interpretation of Article 16 of the Perak Constitution which is similar to Article 43 of the Federal Constitution.

“Of course the court can invite the AG as a friend of court, but after considering the main issue here, it is my view to allow the AG to intervene and to help the court, more so when the issue here is a novel one.

One mentri besar is appointed and the other one has not resigned,” said Abdul Aziz who is the third judge to hear the application after the Federal Court sent it back to the High Court.

The first judge was Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof who recused himself while the second judge, Lau Bee Lan, had referred the matter to the Federal Court for determination of constitutional isssues.

Earlier, senior federal counsel Datuk Kamaluddin Md Said submitted that the AG should be allowed to intervene as the application for judicial review required the interpretation of the Perak Constitution which would also affect other state constitutions with similar provisions.

Sulaiman Abdullah, counsel for Mohammad Nizar, objected on the ground that the AG had failed to show any necessity for him to intervene in the proceeding.

“This is a Perak matter. The actual situation here is that the applicant (Mohammad Nizar) and the respondent (Zambry) are both claiming to be the mentri besar. There is no direct involvement of the federal government in this issue.

The judge also fixed May 4 to hear the application by Mohammad Nizar to cross-examine Perak legal advisor Datuk Kamal Md Shahid on the statement which he claimed was inconsistent with Mohammad Nizar’s statement in the affidavit filed in the suit.


Late yesterday, Nizar filed an objection to Zambry’s application for the Federal Court to declare him the legitimate mentri besar.

Nizar made the objection through an affidavit in reply filed at the court’s registry here through legal firm Messrs Leong & Tan.

In the affidavit, Nizar said among others that the questions suggested by Zambry for the court to decide could not solve the political impasse.

He said the issues, whether the post of mentri besar could and/or had been vacated in the situation where the mentri besar wished, and had advised for the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly under several circumstances including the absence of a motion of no confidence being passed and adopted in and by the Assembly against the mentri besar, could still not be answered.

He said, the questions suggested by Zambry for the court to decide were irrelevant to his judicial review application and it would not resolve the contentious issues in the application.

Nizar is also challenging the validity of Article 63 of the Perak State Constitution which was used to refer the matter to the Federal Court.

He said the Federal Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the Article 63 application because the term “Supreme Court” in Article 63 did not refer to the apex court in the Federation of Malay States because the apex court at that time was the Privy Council.

Nizar said he did not dispute the prerogative of the Sultan of Perak which was enshrined in Article 16(2) and/or Article 36(2). He said, the Sultan of Perak’s prerogative did not arise at all in his judicial review application.

Zambry filed the application to refer three legal questions regarding the interpretation of Article 16(2) and 16(6) according to Article 63 of the Perak State Constitution.

In his notice of motion, Zambry said that if the Federal Court decided in his favour regarding the three questions, the court should declare that on Feb 6, 2009, he had been properly appointed as Perak Mentri Besar.

The Federal Court has fixed Tuesday to hear the notice of motion application.

Nizar filed the judicial review application at the High Court to challenge Zambry's appointment as the legitimate mentri besar.

Nizar argued that according to the Perak State Constitution, he was the legitimate mentri besar because he had advised the Sultan to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly, did not resign and no motion of no confidence had been passed against him in the Assembly.

The High Court will hear the judicial review application on May 5 and 6.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It appears like there is going to be a by-election in Penanti after all. The Penanti state seat comes under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constitue

Tuesday, 21 April 2009 | Raja Petra Kamarudin

It appears like there is going to be a by-election in Penanti after all. The Penanti state seat comes under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency. And the Member of Parliament for Permatang Pauh is Anwar Ibrahim. Tun Dr Mahathir has said he will lead the charge in Penanti. Expect this to be a ‘proxy war’ between Dr Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim.


First, the results of the last three general elections:


Total Voters: 14,112
Total Votes cast: 10,827
Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Kadir (PKR): 6,405
Zulkefly bin Bakar (BN-UMNO): 4,422
Majority Votes: 1,983


Total Voters: 14,808
Total Votes cast: 11,915
Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid (BN-UMNO): 6,195
Anuar Shaari (PKR): 5,528
Majority Votes: 667


Total Voters: 15,421
Total Votes cast: 12,667
Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin (PKR): 7,346
Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid (BN-UMNO): 5,127
Majority Votes: 2,219

And for 2009?

So, what will we see in Penanti this by-election? What about a win for Pakatan Rakyat (PKR) with a majority of not less than 2,500 votes? Would this be possible?

The Barisan Rakyat Bloggers will certainly go down to the ground and work very hard to meet this aspiration. Menang, kalah, tak kisah. Janji kerja kuat dan cuba habis-habis.

Malaysian elections are heavily rigged in favour of the ruling party. Let me count the ways.

There is the gerrymandering of the electoral boundaries. Those seats which are strong opposition seats have as much as 120,000 voters while those seats that Barisan Nasional can win with both eyes closed and two hands tied behind their backs have as low as 5,000 voters.

What does this mean? This means even if the opposition garners 100,000 votes it will still be just one seat while Barisan Nasional can win four or five seats with that same number of votes. This is why, in the last general election, Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional won almost 50:50 of the popular votes but Pakatan Rakyat won only 82 seats against Barisan Nasional’s 140.

Then there are the 500,000 or so postal votes which will be increased to more than one million soon when the army volunteer reserve camps are created all over the country and in every parliamentary constituency. This gives Barisan Nasional a handicap advantage even before Nomination Day. Therefore, Pakatan Rakyat needs to garner one million votes just to come back to zero.

Then there are the unknown number of phantom voters -- where it is not uncommon to find 100 voters registered in one house that has only two or three residents. These are foreign workers issued with Malaysian identity cards or Umno people issued with more than one identity card so that they can vote half a dozen times at different polling stations throughout Polling Day.

Yes, the opposition must garner one million voters just to break even. And soon it would need two million votes to break even.

Last year, Anwar won the Permatang Pauh by-election with a majority of around 15,000 instead of 20,000 because of this. The same went for Nizar in the recent Bukit Gantang by-election where he could have won with a majority of 5,000-6,000 instead of half that if not for the cheating. Kuala Terengganu was the same. Wahid could have won with a majority of 6,000-8,000 if not because the police had closed all the roads two hours before polling ended and many voters could not reach the polling stations in time to vote. The police also did the same in Bukit Gantang.

I therefore do not expect a majority of more than 2,500 in Penanti. On a level playing field I would even dare put my money on a majority of 5,000.

That is all I want to say in this posting. Short and to the point! Let’s give Pakatan Rakyat a win with a majority of 2,500 votes.

See you all in Penanti on Nomination Day after we see you on 7 May 2009 in Ipoh where we shall storm the Bastille.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 - He pleaded, appealed and even cajoled Sultan Azlan Shah to dissolve the Perak state assembly, saying that with the resignation of the three Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers there was deadlock in the House between the coalition he led and Barisan Nasional.

Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin said that at no time during his audience with the Sultan did he ask the monarch to dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections because he had lost the confidence of the majority of the members of the state assembly.

Nizar cleared this important point in an affidavit which was filed in the High Court yesterday as part of the judicial review application challenging Datuk Seri Zambry Kadir appointment as the Mentri Besar of Perak.

The Perak state legal advisor in his affidavit said that when Nizar appeared before the Sultan on February 4, he asked the Malay Ruler to dissolve the house because he had lost the confidence of the House.

This point is important because it gives some legitimacy to the Sultan's actions in asking Nizar to quit as the Mentri Besar, an act which paved the way for Zambry to be made the chief executive of the state.

But Nizar in his affidavit noted that the state legal advisor was an interested party in the case, having represented and taken instructions from Zambry.

His description of the events on Feb 4 were wrong, said Nizar. Nizar recalled that on Feb 4 he informed the Sultan that three Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers had resigned.

They could not be contacted and seemed to have gone missing.

He then asked the Sultan to dissolve the assembly because it was appropriate to have fresh elections given the deadlock situation in the House with Pakatan Rakyat and BN having equal number of seats.

The Sultan said he would study the matter further and told Nizar that Allah is with those who are patient.

At no point during the audience, did the issue of Nizar losing the confidence of majority of the assembly crop up.

On Feb 5, the Sultan informed Nizar that he was rejecting the request to dissolve the assembly.

Hearing this, Nizar interjected and spoke for 15 minutes, urging the Ruler to allow the people of Perak to exercise their rights and elect their own government.

"When the assembly is dissolved, the rakyat will view the Sultan as someone who is fair and not partisan. They will in turn respect the institution for returning to them their rights to elect the government.
This is also consistent with the constitutional monarchy system and democratic principle here…

"In contrast, if the people were denied their rights, the people may lose respect for the institution and the Sultan…I pointed out that history showed that in countries such as Egypt and Iran the institution of the monarchy was diminished or completely wiped out when decisions not in the interest of people were made.''

To support his case, Nizar also read out a passage from the book "Constitutional Monrachy: Rule of Law and Good Governance .

It said: "Under normal circumstances, it is taken for granted that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong would not withhold his consent to a request for dissolution of Parliament. His role is purely formal.

The book was given to Nizar by Sultan Azlan Shah when he was installed as the MB last year.

As soon as Nizar finished his 15 minute plea, the Sultan looked up at him and declared that he would not dissolve the assembly and urged Nizar to resign.

Meanwhile, in a supporting affidavit, Perak Speaker V Sivakumar said that on Feb 6, he wrote to the Sultan to convene a state assembly sitting so that a vote of confidence could be held.

Till today, he has not received a reply from the palace, forcing him to take steps to protect the name and integrity of the assembly.