Anwar & Sodomy

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I'M enthralled by this drama that began to unfold late on Saturday which doesn't look like it's going to end soon. Honest, I'm over the moon because I have never been a fan of the dramas on local TV.

On one side there's the Anwar Ibrahim camp and on the other, the government. To no one's surprise Anwar has accused "those involved of trying to put a spanner in the works of his grandiose political schemes" of repeating the same (1998) script and modus operandi". The truth of the matter is that Anwar in fact is the one repeating 1998. It's the conspiracy theory all over again but just like 1998, he hasn't provided any evidence to back his claim.

To those who have asked me these last couple of days what my take is on this my response is simple. Here goes.

It is possible what was alleged by Mohd. Saiful Bukhari did take place just as it's also possible he may have fabricated the allegation. If you say Saiful was planted by elements within Barisan Nasional, it is also possible that the report may have been part of a grand design by Anwar and/or PKR to discredit the government and its agencies. Could it be part of the various acts and scenes in the drama being staged because Anwar realises that as he gets nearer to his own September 16 deadline to take over the federal government, his chances of success are dimmer and dimmer by the day. This could be a diversion, again not quite unlike the claim by his camp and their sympathisers that Saiful's allegation is a diversion by BN from the Altantuya murder case, the current inflationary pressures burdening the people and problems within the ruling coalition.

In short, everything Anwar accuses the government of doing he is doing just as diligently, if not two or three times more determinedly.

But I also thought long and deep about Saiful to consider if it was possible that he lodged the report because someone, anyone, may have paid him a few million or 10 million ringgit. That too is possible but it seems highly improbable that a good-looking 23-year-old who apparently is engaged to a pretty girl would want to sell his honour, his family's honour and that of everyone who considers him a friend for that kind of money, no matter how big the amount may be to many of us.

Would anyone allow himself to be shamed? Would anyone risk being harmed by the more fanatical Anwar believers? Given the current political scenario and the support the opposition has been enjoying since March 8, if anyone's life is at risk it is Saiful's.

If you sit down and make a level-headed analysis of all the statements made since late Saturday and link this to issues raised from 1998 till now, it is very clear that the government is in a lose-lose situation while Anwar and friends have it win-win. I can visualise the scene a few weeks or months from now.

Assuming that the police find sufficient evidence to prosecute most likely there will be street demonstrations. Expect to hear a statement saying that "we never had any confidence in the neutrality of the police anyway..... the investigation was not transparent".

If the case goes to court and Anwar is found guilty: there could be rioting here and there, maybe even attempts to prevent the authorities from sending him to prison, just like the Harun Idris case in 1978. Statement: "We are not surprised with the decision. After all it was a kangaroo court. The judiciary is still subservient to the executive...."

Today, on reaching his house after leaving the residence of Turkish ambassador Barlas Ozener the de facto opposition leader proclaimed to shouts from his supporters that the report by Saiful was to pre-empt the big plans he had and was due to announce this week. One was about his decision to contest in a by-election and the other the agreement by four Barisan MPs to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat.

I don't know about others but I am having a problem trying to see the link between the report and Anwar's plans. How are the two connected? But assuming that indeed that was the intention of the conspirators surely nothing should stop Anwar from proceeding with his announcement now. He's not in a police lock-up, he's not in jail and he hasn't been charged for anything. He's free as a bird just like 20 plus million Malaysians and no one can muzzle him. I can't see why he should not satisfy our curiosity by making the announcement, at least about the four MPs.

Having combed through the foreign news services, blogs and local news portals I've become more convinced of the wayang kulit being played before us -- PKR leader and Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail talking about a death threat Anwar purportedly received three weeks ago which strangely did not seem to affect his demeanour and movements in public; Anwar telling BBC News Hour on Sunday that he was taking refuge at the Turkish Embassy because he feared arrest and assault (similar to the one in 1998) without alluding to the threat of assassination against him, unlike as claimed by the PKR leadership at the press conference yesterday. There were many more hopes and gaps and contradictions.

Samy Vellu: Delegates decide on my position

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KUALA LUMPUR: "I am not leaving. My position is not decided by the MIC Youth, but by the 3,600 MIC delegates nationwide."

This was the response from MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu to calls by Kedah MIC Youth leaders for him to step down from the top party post.

"There will be a presidential election next March. The delegates will be voting again," said Samy Vellu, who has been at the party's helm for 24 years.

He was speaking after opening the 26th delegates' conference of Hindudharma, a Hindu-based non-governmental organisation, yesterday.

Samy Vellu said it was common practice to have one or two party members objecting to a party leader.

The former minister was commenting on the move by Kedah MIC Youth leaders, including its chief R. Nantha Kumar, who resigned en bloc from their posts three days ago as a sign of protest against Samy Vellu's leadership in the party.

They were also against Samy Vellu's call for MIC Youth national chief S. Vigneswaran to resign from his post because he had passed the 41-year age limit.

Samy Vellu said: "I am the one who put him (Nantha Kumar) there. But the Youth chief failed to keep his promise to have a proper organisation for Kedah (MIC) Youth."

On the reason for asking Vigneswaran to vacate his post, Samy Vellu said it was in accordance with the party's constitution.

"The ruling that states a youth chief has to resign at the age of 41 was made about three or four years ago."

Samy Vellu also said it was to give way for the younger generation to serve the party.

"There are a lot of young graduates who want to help the party but cannot do so as others are holding the post of Youth chief for too long.

"We are not asking those above 41 years old to get out. We want them. We still want them to go to the ground and help the community. But we have to give way to young blood."

Ease entry for foreign priests, Govt urged

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MALAYSIA Hindu Council chief Datuk R. Nadarajah has called on the Government to ease entry of foreign priests into the country, reported Malaysia Nanban.

Nadarajah, who is Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam chairman, said they had invited priests and musicians from India to conduct training courses to train locals but the response has been poor.

He said the younger generation was not interested in becoming priests as it involved the learning of many scriptures and the need to follow a strict discipline.

Furthermore, the income was not encouraging.

He said many temples in the country were having problems conducting daily prayers and rituals, solemnisation of marriages and other religious prayers as they do not have trained priests.

He urged the Home Ministry to look into the problems faced by the temples and make it easier for the recruitment of priests from India

MIC Youth chief Vigneswaran quits party

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SHAH ALAM: Former youth and sports parliamentary secretary S.A. Vigneswaran has quit the MIC over the move to force him to vacate his party Youth chief’s post.

Announcing his decision, Vigneswaran criticised party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for humiliating him by accusing him of supporting others against the party chief.

“I have no more confidence in the party chief so I am quitting and more people will follow because in the coming weeks I will open the Pandora’s Box.

Meeting the media: Vigneswaran smiling for the camera during his press conference in Shah Alam yesterday to announce his resignation.

“I hereby declare that I shall effective from 3.45pm today (yesterday) quit as a member of MIC, a membership I have proudly held for the past 25 years,” Vigneswaran said at a press conference here yesterday.

He added that he had no immediate intention of joining any other party or returning to MIC even if Samy Vellu quit.

Vigneswaran said he was also considering legal action against Samy Vellu over allegations that Vigneswaran supported the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

He said he was upset with claims made by Samy Vellu that a parliamentary seat candidate from Klang who lost the recent elections had been conspiring with Hindraf to organise a demonstration in front of the MIC office.

“If he is a true gentleman and is so sure of his sources then he should come out in the open and name me,” Vigneswaran said.

Vigneswaran said he had come to realise that all that he had done during his time with MIC had been to serve the party chief and not the organisation, so it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to continue serving.

“From the feedback from the grassroots, it is not the MIC that the people feel strongly against but the party president for failing to address the needs of the community and yet he announces that he will seek re-election for another term,” he said.

He said Samy Vellu should emulate MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, who refused a ministerial post despite winning his seat and decided not to stand in the next party elections.

The chronology of events that led to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim

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Saturday, June 28

5.45pm PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s 23-year-old assistant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan lodges a police report against him for sodomy at the Travers police station in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

10PM About 1,000 Anwar supporters gather at Quality Hotel in Shah Alam after news spreads about the sodomy allegation.

Sunday, June 29

1.20AM PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah holds an emergency press conference to refute the allegation. He reads out a statement by Anwar. Anwar was not present to meet the press, although he was still in the hotel where PKR was holding a supreme council meeting.

2.15AM PKR information chief Tian Chua says Pakatan Rakyat is fully behind Anwar.

5AM ADILnews sends out a statement via SMS that Anwar is in possession of new documents implicating Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail of fabricating evidence in court cases involving Anwar in 1998. PKR claimed there was an attempt to arrest Anwar.

8AM PKR’s supreme council meeting starts with two police cars parked in front of the hotel. An officer reportedly told PKR supporters they were there to prevent any untoward incident.

11AM Anwar is believed to have left the hotel and headed for the Turkish Embassy in Ampang. He has not left the building since.

1PM PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali conducts a press conference without Anwar or PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is Anwar’s wife. Halfway through, Wan Azizah turns up with her daughters, including Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah, to take over the press conference.

3PM Reporters get wind that Anwar has gone to the Turkish Embassy and head there. However, they fail to meet with Anwar or Turkish Ambassador to Malaysia Barlas Ozener.

6PM Several PKR leaders are seen outside the embassy. Reporters are told that Anwar was meeting his lawyers inside.

Would SAPP go for round two?

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THE Barisan Nasional must have sighed a big relief after successfully seeing through a government motion in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday by a convincing vote of 129 against 78. But what we were not able to know was how the two MPs from the delinquent Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) would have voted because they were not in the house.

It is also highly unlikely that the proposed motion of no confidence being planned by the SAPP against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will get to be accepted although who will actually try and table it is anyone's guess.

What appears to be happening is a hide-and-seek by SAPP orchestrated by its president Yong Teck Lee. In confirming that they had been called home Yong also claimed that MPs Eric Majimbun and Dr. Chua Soon Bui had been threatened via sms and through others means. But any problem relating to the purported threats seems to be confined to Sabah so it didn't quite make sense for the two to be going back to the lion's den.

The overal picture is very unclear. Majimbun has gone on record with the press to say that while he too no longer had confidence in Pak Lah's leadership he would not support a motion on this in Parliament. Which clouds the issue further but as I've always said, with politicians you'll never know.

The Barisan management committee chaired by DPM Najib Razak also met yesterday and had decided on the recommended action against SAPP but the final decision rests with the coalition's supreme council. In this respect Pak Lah must again show the tough side of his character, that he has it in him to do what it takes not matter how risky and how unpopular. Leadership is presicely what the issue is all about so there is only one way to go for Pak lah.


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IT'S amazing sometimes when you look at how a situation can change within such a short time. I remember that it was only 10 months ago when petrol station operators were warned not to reduce their business hours arbitrarily without approval from the government.

Their argument was that business between midnight and 6am was limited and the expenses did not commensurate with profits. Safety was another reason cited. That was then.

Now it's the reverse, with the government telling the stations to operate only from 6am to midnight. Anyone wishing to open round-the-clock will need permission from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry. Minister Shahrir Samad said earlier that the reason behind the shorter hours was to save energy.

When the operators wanted to reduce their operational hours last year a blame game and claims and counter-claims were heard. The petroleum companies said the operating permits stated that the stations must open 24 hours a day 365 days a year while the dealers insisted that the permits were silent on this, pointing out instead to a clause that only said a station cannot remained closed for a stretch of 24 hours. The ministry came into the fray and made clear the government position which was not in favour of shorter operating hours.

The other points of contention put forward by the dealers were commissions which remained unchanged despite increases in the pump prices and the commission imposed by the petroleum companies on payments by credit cards. The latter remains a contentious issue but the commissions on sales for both petrol and diesel have now been increased, giving dealers one reason less to be grumpy.

The real world of (political) governance
Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim yesterday insisted that he had never spoken on behalf of the Anti-Corruption Agency regarding the allegation of abuse of power by his former aide. Instead he said that based on a letter dated June 11 by the ACA he had merely stated that the "investigation had been completed".

For the record, the press at that time all quoted Khalid as stating that "the ACA said there was no abuse of power or involvement" by the officer. But never mind that because Khalid now appears to be facing a bigger test or challenge to his leadership of the Selangor administration in the form of dissatisfaction by a majority of the PKR division heads in Selangor.

That he has been bungling far too often for his comfort in just 100 days at the helm is a fact. The delay in naming the new local councillors is one and the money contributed by companies for the 100-day celebrations by the Selangor PR government another.

As we now know the monies donated were deposited into the PKR accounts, not a fund managed by the state. What is unclear is who asked the companies to donate. Khalid said he was going to ask the companies if there were any strings attached. Common sense tells me that no company will ever admit even if their arms were twisted before donating or that carrots were dangled before their very eyes.

Khalid had also admitted that the PR loose coalition may have been over-zealous in drawing up their election manifestoes. I think so and wrote about this earlier, drawing some unsavoury comments from PR followers. My suspicion was that people like Khalid may have not been involved in drawing up the manifestoes. I'm sure the brains responsible just wanted to first and foremost entice for votes and deal with the problems later. I can imagine the dialogue: "Ahh no problemla..... even if we can't deliver we'll look for the justifications later. Our priority is to first win the elections. For the next elections there will be new manifestoes anyway."

As I had pointed out I don't think those responsible went through the numbers although many of the major pledges involve money. For if they had they would have realised that it would have been near impossible to deliver even as little as 10% of the pledges.

What exactly do they want?
The federal government has decided that another round of high-level effort is what is required to resolve the illegal immigrants issue in Sabah and for this a task force to be headed by DPM Najib Razak is to be formed.

But Anifah Aman, a backbencher representing Kimanis who has been highly critical of the federal government over this problem, now says that the task force is unconstitutional as it goes against a provision in the federal Constitution which gives power to regulate and control immigration matters in Sabah and Sarawak to a state authority, in this case the chief minister.

Assuming that I agree with him, my question is why did Anifah all this while target the federal government for blame over this long standing problem in his state? This was a question I posed in an earlier post here. If indeed to him immigration is a state matter Anifah should be barking at no one else but his brother Musa the chief minister and vent his anger and frustration there. But no; Anifah and every other politician in Sabah has been blaming KL for this problem.

And now opposition politician Jefrrey Kitingan of PKR says the real problem is Project IC, not the illegal immigrants themselves because the latter to him is a "normal problem".

Enough confusion for now.

Suspect No 4 held in MIC murder probe

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JOHOR BARU: Police yesterday arrested another MIC member to assist investigations into the murder of former Tenggaroh state assemblyman S. Krishnasamy.

The 45-year-old man, believed to be a member of a MIC branch in Kluang, was arrested at his home.

This brings the number of people currently in police custody in connection with the case to four.

The spate of arrests started with a 46-year-old MIC senior leader, also from Kluang, on June 17. Two others were arrested three days later in Malacca.

Johor police chief Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Sharif confirmed the latest arrest but declined to elaborate.

Krishnasamy, 62, who was the Johor MIC deputy chairman, was shot in a lift at the Johor MIC headquarters in Jalan Segget here on Jan 11.

Others who had been detained and released in connection with the case were a female clerk at the MIC state head office, the victim's driver and a personal assistant to Johor MIC chairman Datuk K.S Balakrishnan.

Editor of Tamil daily laid to rest

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KUALA LUMPUR: MIC leaders, led by secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, yesterday paid their last respects to Malaysian Nanban chief editor K. Gurusamy who died on Tuesday.

Party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who is currently overseas, said Gurusamy was a dedicated and committed journalist.

"He devoted much of his life to his profession and to the community," he said in a statement.

The 60-year-old newspaper columnist, who was better known as Kapar Maan (Kapar Deer), is survived by his widow, Neela, and sons, Karthik, 30, and Vishnu, 29.

Gurusamy was cremated at the Jalan Lok Yew cemetery yesterday. - Bernama

Sultan to reclaim Pedra Branca 'whatever it takes'

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JOHOR BARU: The Sultan of Johor said he would never forget that Pedra Branca was part of Johor and would do whatever it takes to reclaim the rock.

Sultan Iskandar had used a significant platform to express his views on the Pedra Branca's sovereignty when he said this in his opening speech for the first term of the 12th State Assembly at the Bukit Timbalan here yesterday.

"I would like to remind all that I have not forgotten Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca). It was not Singapore's but Johor's. Forever, I shall look for ways to return it to Johor."

He earlier read a prepared speech calling the elected state assemblymen to fulfil their responsibilities with honesty, sincerity and full understanding of the people's needs.

At the end of the 10-minute speech officiating at the opening of the assembly, Sultan Iskandar continued with the impromptu remark, firmly expressing his feelings on Pedra Branca.

Meanwhile, Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, in response to the sultan's speech, said the state government was clear on the sultan's expression.

"We heard him loud and clear," he said but declined to elaborate.

On May 23, the International Court of Justice awarded the sovereignty of Pedra Branca to Singapore, and the ownership of nearby Middle Rocks to Malaysia.

Singapore had on Feb 14, 1980 protested against the 1979 map published by Malaysia clearly placing Pedra Branca in the country's territory.

Singapore then expanded its claims to the nearby Middle Rocks and South Ledge in February 1993. On Feb 6, 2003, Malaysia and Singapore signed a special agreement to refer the matter to the ICJ.

The 16-member court's final decision, by a 12-4 majority, rested largely on Singapore's consistent conduct over the last 100 years. Singapore had argued that it had exercised sovereign powers over the island since the Horsburgh lighthouse opened in 1851.

The ICJ also noted that the strength of Singapore's claim lay in a letter sent by the state secretary of Johor in 1953 to the Singapore government.

MIC to approve fewer student loans

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED), MIC's education arm, has been receiving more applications for student loans, but the number of approvals is likely to be reduced due to financial constraints caused by defaulters.

MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said although non-performing loans had been reduced to 17 per cent, the fact that other students were being denied access to these funds remained an urgent matter for MIED.

Besides legal action against defaulters, Samy Vellu said the loan programme had been restructured by allocating funds on a yearly basis and not for the duration of the course.

For instance, if a student pursued a three-year course, MIED would allocate funds for the first year only.

Money for the remaining two years would depend on the student's academic performance and additional funds provided by the student's family.

He said this after presenting MIED loans to 185 applicants, amounting to RM1.5 million at the MIC headquarters yesterday. Of the 185, 90 will pursue medicine.

He said since the loan programme was established in the 1980s, about RM90 million had been disbursed to 8,500 students to pursue tertiary education.

On the recent public university intake, he reminded Indian students who failed to secure a seat to submit their appeal to the MIC by June 26.

The party had requested for an eight per cent intake for Indian students, but had to settle for 6.84 per cent this year.

'Old' MIC Youth leaders must go

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KUALA LUMPUR: MIC Youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran and several other leaders of the wing have been asked to vacate their posts as they have passed the age limit.

Party secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the decision to ask them to vacate their posts was taken at the party's central working committee (CWC) meeting nearly two weeks ago.

"The party's constitution states that a youth leader or member in the youth wing should not exceed the age of 40.

"This means that when they reach their 41st birthday, they need to vacate their positions in the youth wing," Dr Subramaniam, who is human resources minister, said.

He said that apart from Vigneswaran, several other leaders would also be given letters requiring them to relinquish their positions.

Among them were deputy chief S. Ramis, secretary M. Kumaresan, information chief K. Raj Kumar and youth representative to the CWC, S. Murugesan.

Dr Subramaniam said: "We are going by the party's constitution regarding the age limit.

"Since all these leaders have passed the age limit, they have no choice but to let go their positions." - Bernama

No Confidence Motion?

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Sabah Progressive Party(SAPP) had dropped a powerful bomb at Pak Lah's administration this morning, as the party president Yong Teck Lee announced two of it's MP will submit or support a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister next Monday when Parliament sessions resumes. This will be the first no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister since independance. And I would regard this one of the most important political benchmark in our country's democracy history.

During this moment of time, when the Pak Lah's administration is being rocked by unrest and disputes across the nation, from inside UMNO to the angry rakyat,and now he's being bombarded by one of it's BN counterpart, launching a fatal attack to force him to step down. This is a serious blow to Pak Lah, being haven't recovered from the disastrous election result and internal UMNO problems, so what's next for Pak Lah?

There's no point of return for SAPP now, as SAPP is launching the attack straight towards Pak Lah, there's just two choices left - either Pak Lah is voted no-confidence in the Parliament and resign, or SAPP will have their ass kicked out from BN.

SAPP being the first party to react to the hoo-hah's of Anwar Ibrahim,had again proved that it's not simply a rumour that Pakatan Rakyat may form the next federal government before Hari Malaysia.Anwar kept saying he got the numbers of MPs who wanted to crossover,he would need at least 30 to do so. But, SAPP only have 2 MPs, people would ask - "Can this plan work out?" Well, I guess its not impossible.

Please bear in mind,Yong Teck Lee was one of the leader of Sabah Unity Party(PBS) who planned the 1990 crossover where we saw PBS came out from BN and ruled Sabah in that year's election.And,also he was also the mastermind who crushed PBS in 1994 by organizing crossover of PBS state assemblyman to BN and eventually helped BN to retain the power till now,in cooperation with the then Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.And from those previous record, it’s not possible for Yong to work things out once again with the same person,Anwar Ibrahim.He did it before, and I think he may have the ability to do it again.We shall see that.

And I believe things might even progress faster than we have thought. There might be a second political tsunami striking Malaysia soon after 8th of March.As it was reported, while Pak Lah was in Kota Kinabalu to do some "last minute rescue"(apparently it failed) with the state BN leaders and MPs,some of the important MPs were no where to be seen such as the Kimanis MP Anifah Aman and Kalabakan MP Abdul Ghapur Salleh.Both of them were the candidates who rejected Pak Lah's administration to hold the post of deputy ministers.And Yong Teck Lee was on the absent list too. This is something interesting...

But at the same time,while Parti Keadilan Rakyat(PKR) was in joy and welcome SAPP's decision,Democratic Action Party(DAP) seemed not so happy about something. The exit and joining of some Sabah BN component party into Pakatan Rakyat would weaken their position in Sabah.And this would threaten DAP's progress in Sabah to emerge as a strong party and expand their political map.Quiting BN and joining Pakatan Rakyat might be a "one stone killing two bird" plan by SAPP to maintain their political position in Sabah(to hold on DAP's strength) and at the same time doing something for the sake of Sabahans and Malaysian(changing the federal government).Well,why not?

Well,back to reality,whether will the no-confidence motion will be accepted by the Speaker of Parliament,this is still a question to be answered.Who will table the motion and how much no-confidence votes will be voted? And will other Sabah political parties such as PBS,LDP and UPKO etc follow the steps of SAPP to quit BN?

BN partners come to PM's support

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Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who came under pressure today following Sabah Progressive Party's decision to move for a motion of no confidence against him on Monday, received some good news from several BN coalition partners today.

The coalition's second biggest partner MCA, third most senior partner MIC as well as Gerakan today threw their weight behind the embattled premier.

Their support came at a time when several Pakatan leaders were lauding Sapp's brave decision to put the premier, also the BN chairperson, under severe pressure.

MCA was the first to give a lift to Abdullah by stating that it would stand steadfastly with Abdullah and the BN coalition.

"The Malaysian economy is suffering from escalating inflationary pressures, rising food and fuel prices now. The country and the people of Malaysia are going through very challenging times. What the country needs now is political and economic stability," said MCA president Ong Ka Ting in a statement.

"It would be best that all of us, both the BN and the Pakatan, to accept the results of the 12th general election.

"Our priority should be to continue to work hard to fulfil our election pledges, restore confidence and stability for the nation," he added. MCA has 15 members of Parliament.

Will not let PM down

Meanwhile MIC, which suffered a hammering blow in the general election, said that it would remain loyal with BN and continue to support the prime minister.

"We will continue working with all BN component parties that support and remain loyal to Abdullah," said MIC president S Samy Vellu.

"As for the three MIC members of Parliament, I've instructed them to support the prime minister especially in Parliament. This is the first time we have a BN component party not supporting the prime minister.

"We will not let the prime minister down because he was elected by the people," he added.

And Gerakan, another party which also suffered humiliating defeat in the general election, similarly said that it would not support Sapp's motion in Parliament. Gerakan has two members of Parliament.

Gerakan acting president Dr Koh Tsu Koon said that it was important to sustain solidarity and stability in the face of severe challenges from the global fuel, food crisis and economic uncertainties.

"Gerakan feels that such a drastic political move will only add to the uncertainty, disrupting efforts in reforms," he said in a statement.

Give him more time

He also added that Sapp president Yong Teck Lee was not giving Abdullah enough time and chance to make changes, overcome problems and address the issues concerned.

"These issues should have been deliberated more thoroughly and sentiments expressed more clearly within the BN Supreme Council and through other existing channels of communication.

"Forcing a vote of confidence in this manner is not positive and constructive. Gerakan therefore will not support such a move," he said.

Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman also expressed disappointment over the move by Sapp in making the unprecedented move to call for a motion of no-confidence.

"I'm not sure what Sapp's real motive is in making such a move," he said in a statement.

"As a BN component party president, Yong's act was uncalled for and unprecedented in the spirit of camaraderie adopted by BN all this while," said Musa who is also the Sabah BN chairperson.

In an immediate reaction, Abdullah said: "I have not been able to satisfy his (Yong's) personal greed."

According to Bernama, the embattled prime minister did not elaborate on the matter.

Shahrir: Others won't follow

Meanwhile, Rahmah Ghazali reports, Umno Supreme Council member Shahrir Abdul Samad expressed his confidence that other BN coalition partners would not be following Sapp's lead in going against the prime minister.

He also doesn't think that the BN component parties would be leaving the coalition to join Pakatan Rakyat.

"I don't think that Sapp will able to precipitate other BN members to leave the party because they do not have the leadership or consistency in their issue," Shahrir said.

He also said that Abdullah was holding up well n the face of severe pressure being piled upon him by various quarters.

"He is still making his decisions (to stay as PM) and exercising his responsibilities as one... I think the prime minister is holding it up quite well," Shahrir added.

Shahrir, who is also the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, was speaking in a press conference at his ministry in Putrajaya today.

He also said that Sapp seemed to be uncertain as to what it actually wanted - if they actually wanted to leave BN for Pakatan or if they just wanted the motion of no confidence.

"If they want to support the vote of no confidence, then they should say so. If they want to leave BN, then they would have to say so. So which is it?" Shahrir asked.

After the press conference, Shahrir also rubbished Pakatan's claim that it could form the new federal government by Sept 16.

"There is not even a shadow cabinet (formed by Pakatan) like the ones in the UK and Australia. This is a two-system party, where there's a federal cabinet and a shadow cabinet, led by the oppositions," he said.

SAPP not pulling out from BN but calls for PM to step down

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KUALA LUMPUR, WED (Updated: 3:01pm):

SABAH People Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee said the party is not pulling out from the Barisan Nasional but has called for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step dowe because they do not have confidence in his leadership.

Yong said the party would make its stand known in Parliament on June 23.

Two SAPP MPs will table a vote of "no confidence" on June 23. The party's supreme council will meet on Friday to discuss its membership in the Barisan Nasional.

The SAPP is making its stand now before the window of opportunity closes in August when the nation’s attention switches to the MCA and UMNO elections, the fasting month, public examinations and other year-end events.

The momentum is now on for Sabah to recover its autonomy, besides getting the 20 per cent of oil royalty and the return of Labuan.


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ENG/IT : 47
ETC: 37


BN's Sanglang state seat win 'invalid'

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The Sanglang state seat in Perlis, which was won by Umno, has been declared vacant by the Election Court in Kangar, paving way for a possible by-election.
Justice Zainal Adzam Abdul Ghani today ruled that Barisan Nasional's victory in Sanglang in the March 8 general election was invalid.

He however disagreed to allow an application by the losing candidate, Hashim Jasin (right) from PAS - who had held the seat for two terms - be automatically installed as the winner.

Umno's candidate Abdullah Hassan won the seat with a majority of 149 votes, bagging 3,384 votes as opposed to Hashim's 3,235.

Hashim, who is Perlis PAS commissioner, claimed that he should have won Sanglang based on initial Election Commission records.

He said that he should be declared the winner as the vote tallied from all counting centres showed that he had polled 3,333 votes against Abdullah's 3,286 and had thus won by a 47-vote majority.

Apart from Abdullah, Hashim also named returning officer Muhamad Daud Abdull Hamid and the Election Commission as defendants.

Hashim was the incumbent of this state seat which he first won in 1999 but failed to retain in March this year. In 2004, he managed to retain the seat with a razor-thin 45 votes.

The defendants can appeal against the decision to the Federal Court.

In the last polls, BN won 14 out of 15 state seats and all three parliamentary seats. It lost the neighbouring Simpang Empat state seat to PAS.

Senior MIC leader held over murder

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JOHOR BARU: A senior MIC leader here was arrested in connection with the murder of former state MIC deputy chairman Datuk S. Krishnasamy.

The 46-year-old man was picked up from his house in Kluang at 12.30am on Tuesday and remanded for six days. The man, a former councillor, is the most senior politician ever to be arrested in connection with the Jan 11 murder of the former Tenggaroh assemblyman.

Police have, to date, arrested more than a dozen people in connection with the case, including several MIC members but no one has been charged so far.

Krishnasamy was shot once under the left eyebrow just as he entered the lift at the state MIC building in Johor Baru on Jan 11.

State police chief Deputy Commissioner Datuk Mohamad Mokhtar Sharif confirmed the arrest.

Ong: MCA MPs not quitting to join PKR

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KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional component parties should continue to stay united and not be swayed by rumours, said MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.

He said Barisan needed solid support from all the component parties, especially in these times.

Ong was responding to remarks by PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that several MCA MPs would join PKR soon and that the MCA would likely be the first to leave the coalition.

Ong reiterated that MCA Members of Parliament were loyal to the party and Barisan.

“MCA MPs are elected to serve the people. There is no question of them quitting to join the Pakatan Rakyat,” Ong, who is Housing and Local Government Minister, said after opening the 4th International Fire Protection Expo and Forum at the KL Convention Centre here yesterday.

He said the component parties had decided to set up four divisions to look into improving Barisan Nasional and to ensure it remained relevant.

The divisions would look into strengthening the Barisan leadership at all levels, improving the present mechanism, improving the racial composition of civil servants and its relationship with the media.

On housing, Ong said his ministry would obtain feedback on how higher petrol prices have affected the housing industry by this week.

He said he had discussed the matter with building material suppliers, the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association of Malaysia and Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) last week.

He said the ministry would study the proposals and suggestions from the industry on how to lessen the burden over the escalating cost of building materials.

He was commenting on a statement by MBAM president Patrick Wong that house prices needed to be raised by 30% due to the hike in building materials and petrol prices.

Ong admitted that the escalating building material cost would definitely burden the people, especially those from the lower income group.

“We are looking at restructuring taxes for certain construction materials such as tiles and toilet equipment,” he said.

Time to govern and show results, Koh tells Pakatan Rakyat government

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PENANG: The honeymoon period is over and the Pakatan Rakyat government should start “governing” the state and show results of their own efforts, according to Gerakan leaders.

Former Chief Minister and acting Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said it was very easy for the DAP and PKR leaders to criticise the Barisan on many issues while in the opposition.

“During the general election, the leaders made many promises which they thought they did not have to fulfil as they did not expect to be voted into power.

“However, now that they are in government, they are beginning to realise that it is not easy at all to practise what they promised, because of many practical constraints – technical, procedural, financial, social and political,” he said in a press statement.

Dr Koh noted that these constraints “may well become more pronounced” as Pakatan leaders moved beyond the “honeymoon” period of the first 100 days.

Gerakan secretary-general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye said the general impression on their first 100 days was that the DAP-PKR state government was more of a populist government rather than a “properly performing” government.

“The leaders seem to be more concerned with seeking popularity, criticising the previous government and claiming full credit for achievements which were obviously the result of the previous government’s efforts and federal support. They really have to start governing and to show real results of their own agenda and efforts,” he added.

Chia’s deputy, Teng Chang Yeow noted that the DAP-PKR leaders would have to face the great challenge of translating election promises that were popular and populist in nature into policies that were proper, practical and practicable.

“The impression is that they are still finding their footing and beginning to show conflicts and contradictions amongst themselves,” he opined.

State Gerakan secretary Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said DAP-PKR leaders seemed to be still operating with an opposition mindset, rather than a government mindset.

“They are still quick in criticising others, but not too tolerant of being criticised as a government should be,” he added.

Penang Gerakan Wanita chief Ng Siew Lai said DAP had promised to abolish the Sungai Nyior toll along the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway in their election manifesto for Penang.

“After coming into power, they cleverly pushed it to the Federal Government, then made yet another promise that the toll would definitely be abolished if and when they come into power at the Federal Government “by or before the next general election,” she said.

“They are very skilful indeed in spinning, pushing responsibility away and playing the politics of ‘hope in the future’.”

Khalid: Bandar Tun Razak least safe seat for Anwar

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SHAH ALAM: Bandar Tun Razak might be the least safe parliamentary seat for PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest, said Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Khalid, who is the Bandar Tun Razak MP, said although he would gladly make way if Anwar wanted to stand there, he felt that it would be a difficult seat to win in a by-election given what he had seen of the voters in the area.

He said after the March 8 general elections all 31 PKR members of parliament had offered to resign to allow Anwar to contest.

“He (Anwar) has his own method of calculating risks at each seat and will consider three or four seats before making a final decision,” he told the heads from various media organisations during a meeting at his official residence yesterday.

The Mentri Besar spent about two-hours fielding questions on various matters from privatisation projects, cohesion among the Pakatan Rakyat coalition members, local councils and attracting investors to the state.

On the establishment of an Islamic state or the implementation of the Hudud law in Selangor, Khalid said the people need not worry as the decision would need the Sultan’s consent and was not just up to the state government.

“The people have nothing to worry about it as I do not think that the Hudud law will be implemented in Selangor as it contravenes the right of non-Muslims,” he said, adding that the people also need not worry about all entertainment outlets in the state being closed down.

Asked to comment on the delay in announcing the list of local councillors, Khalid said, one of the biggest challenges was taking only four representatives from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in each council when there were 20 such organisations registered in some districts.

“But we have settled most of the lists which feature quality representatives that even include a former Public Works Department engineer, and we will make an announcement on June 20,” he said.

Sultan to PAS: Call off protest or I call off matches

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SHAH ALAM: An upset Sultan of Selangor has threatened to call off future Sultan of Selangor Cup matches between his state and Singapore if the protest by the state PAS Youth against two artistes performing for the event went ahead.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah described the protest over rock queen Ella and dangdut singer Mas Idayu as “hypocritical” and “trivial”.

He said there were more important issues that the party could focus on.

Subject of controversy: Ella has spoken out against Selangor PAS Youth which she feels is being judgmental of her and singer Mas Idayu (below, left).

“If this is going to be so difficult, we might as well hold this annual event in Singapore. I am sure they will be more than happy to play host,” he told The Star yesterday.

On Monday, Selangor PAS Youth submitted a memoradum to the Selangor Mentri Besar’s office to protest against plans to have Ella and Mas Idayu perform at the match on July 6.

State PAS Youth chief Sallehen Mokhyi said the movement felt that performances by the singers were inappropriate as it would be attended by many youngsters.

The youth wing threatened to stage a demonstration at the Shah Alam Stadium if Ella and Mas Idayu were allowed to performed.

Sallehen’s call came on the heels of a statement by national PAS Youth vice-chief Azman Shapawi that the party wanted all the Pakatan Rakyat states to implement Syariah laws.

The Sultan said yesterday Ella and Mas Idayu were chosen because they were good entertainers and that the organisers felt that they would be able to entertain the people before the match began.

The other singer is David Arumugam of Alleycats.

“The organising committee even planned for the performance by the singers to end before the maghrib prayers. They are performers suitable for the family and I don’t know what the fuss is all about,” he said.

The Tuanku said Selangor did not comprise of “just PAS and Muslims,” adding that the state had many political parties and people of other races and faith.

He said Pakatan Rakyat was a multi-racial coalition and the sensitivities of other races must be taken into account.

“The idea of holding the performance is to create goodwill and bring the people together before the match. Sports and music bring people together,” he said.

He added this was the seventh edition of the Cup and was organised to enhance friendly ties with Singapore through football, adding that the history of Selangor and Singapore’s friendly rivalry went back to before the Second World War.

The Sultan also clarified that the state government and its subsidiary Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd were not the sponsors of the match.

He said no government funds were used for the organisation of the match and so the issue of public funds for the performance and football match did not arise as it was all done through sponsorship.

He said organising chairman Datuk Karim Munisar, who is Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd president, was appointed by him to run the event annually because of Karim’s love for football and volunteerism.

Let's Move On

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IF there is anything to be explained it is simply this; why was the quantum so big?

I find those who say that the Government should have explained the matter better a trifle insulting, because it infers that the Malaysian people do not understand that higher global oil prices will, one day or another make its impact felt here.

We are now beyond explaining the rationale, it has been a few weeks and now most people do not care about the rationale anyway because they have made up their mind that the Government's rationale may well be flawed in the first place.

If it’s flawed why bother listening.

What we need now is action from the Government to help Malaysians cope better with the new global reality that it says it wants to introduce to the country, a world where subsidy is a dirty word.

First of all subsidy takes place everywhere, especially in two areas of economic activities, food production and cutting edge industries that typically serve the military. Some countries, especially in Europe and Japan the Governments also bear a sizeable portion of the public transportation burden

If we want to become a developed nation then we will have to reconsider our subsidy strategies in these three areas of economic activities.

Beyond that the Government will need to convince thinking Malaysians that they actually have a long term plan for the country in terms of its global role and competitiveness in commerce.

That Malaysia seems to be stuck between the rock of a manufacturing economy and the hard place of a service or knowledge economy is old news and it is also tiring to read that we seem to be no closer to an exit plan from this potentially lethal vortex.

I say that we are groping in the dark because there has been no strong injection of effort and improvements in the areas which will determine our competitiveness in the future, namely higher education and professional education.

If we are serious about taking on the world in the field of high technology and service, the Government must pour a large chunk of its money into higher education which comprises research development and it must also make Malaysia's professionals among the most desired in the world.

In my mind the first priority must go towards higher education and research. Here the Government should simply make education freely available to everyone who wishes to continue their studies.

This will substantially increase the burden of public expenditure but it is an unavoidable position as the future of the country hangs on it.

At this point we should not make the mistake of simply building more universities and colleges but also give the students more room to stretch their intellect and not be too focused on getting a degree for the sake of a job.

We must inculcate a love for knowledge among the young because this is sorely lacking in the country. If a child wants to get a degree then more often than not it is because they want a comfortable job. The pursuit of higher education in this country is rarely about satisfying the hunger for knowledge or the desire to become a pioneer in a particular field.

This change of mindset is crucial to the future of the country. As a small nation we have relatively little natural resource that we can keep digging up and sell to the world so, more than America, Australia, China, Russia and many African nations Malaysia is heavily reliant on its people to guarantee future prosperity.

More than anything else Malaysia must reverse the brain drain and start on a new economic masterplan that revolves around the development of our intellectual infrastructure and capacity.

A master plan that involves the building of more universities and packing them with world class teachers will have far fewer pitfalls than one that centres around the building of physical infrastructure in the hope of attracting foreign capital.

While there is no doubt that we need foreign investment to keep the economy humming along we also have to keep in mind the importance of knowledge as opposed to manufacturing capacity in this modern world.
Manufacturing capacity or even the actual products themselves are fast becoming generic. Even cars, which are considered the most complex mass produced item is becoming nearly identical except in design and branding.

As modern manufacturing technology becomes cheaper, the actual production of many items will be farmed out to countries which have a large pool labour that can be harnessed cheaply and we will see semi finished products being shipped back to the country owning the intellectual rights for finishing, branding and marketing.

With many contract manufacturers springing up we will see margins narrowing very quickly and this is why we must have an exit plan from low end manufacturing and enter the world of services.

The new trend now is to farm our research and development work. At the moment most of the work farmed out involves product development as developed countries try to tap the relative low cost of engineering services and keep the more critical concept development and specifying work in their home country.

India, for example is firmly entrenched as the supplier of accounting services and customer relation management solutions. Their position as software developing nation is hardly challenged.

Singapore is fast becoming a research hub in many high technology fields and they are taking a lead in some areas of financial services as well.

Thailand on the other hand has decided to become a major regional manufacturer and food production hub.

Malaysia on the other hand is left dangling in no man's land, seeing our manufacturing advantages eroding fast and being left behind in the K-economy.

We need to get on this bandwagon quickly; I believe that we have the next five years to establish ourself as a service industry investment destination.

Apart from our current lack of capacity to take on the service industry, the country may also be suffering from an image problem.

While Singapore may practice a political system that is repressive by Western standards, it is known for efficiency and excellence in many fields, its professionals are well respected the world over while Malaysia's institutions of higher education are slipping in the global ranking.

We need to find a field to excel in and quickly attract the best minds into the country to lay the foundation for the future.

The field we chose has to be a sunrise industry and one that is growing fast and has few competitors and in my mind, there area few:

1. Energy - Sustainable energy because the world cannot afford oil in the future
2. Biotech - Stem cell research, specifically organ replacement
3. Money - Finance/venture capitalism (we can do a lot more in this field than what we are doing now)
4. IT - Information warehousing and processing incorporating artificial intelligence which is what Google is doing and making a lot of money out of it and the reason why everyone should be afraid of Google
5. Food - production and processing and marketing- food will never be a sunset industry.

Samy Vellu: Dr M failed the Indian community

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KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did very little for the Indian community when he was prime minister, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said yesterday.

Samy Vellu said the Indians had to struggle on their own for more than 140 years and achieved success only through sheer hard work .

"Despite the MIC appealing again and again for help, he refused to budge," Samy Vellu said in response to Dr Mahathir's remarks during a talk in Teluk Intan on Saturday.

The former prime minister had said the Malays were willing to admit other races into the country and endowed them with rights.

He had also demolished the notion of a Bangsa Malaysia and said Malaysians must accept the fact that they were just too different to be known as one race.

Dr Mahathir's remarks have drawn flak from non-Malay groups, who felt that national unity was crucial for the country to meet its future challenges.

Samy Vellu said Dr Mahathir should not be taking a racist approach at a time when Malaysians were working hard towards unity.

SAPP denies quit BN rumour

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KOTA KINABALU: A senior Sabah Progressive Party leader has dismissed reports that the party is on the verge of leaving the Barisan Nasional.

SAPP deputy president Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah said the party had no intention of ditching the coalition which it joined in 1994.

"No, it (leaving the BN) is absolutely not true," he told reporters here.

He said the speculation could have come about because of the party's vocal stance on various issues affecting the state.

"Despite the speculation, we will continue to be vocal when it comes to matters concerning the state and its people," said Tan, who is the deputy chief minister representing the Chinese.

Tan said the federal government had taken steps to address some of the issues raised by the party.

Talk about SAPP leaving the BN began circulating following a recent statement by its president, Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, that the party would review its position in the BN if no action was taken on the issues it had raised.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said he had spoken to Yong, who did not mention anything about SAPP quitting the BN.

"There is no reason for any of the component parties in Sabah to leave the coalition," he said.

Musa, who is state BN and Umno chief, considered the reports as just speculation. Yong could not be contacted.

Several SAPP supreme council members gave differing statements, with some saying that the possibility of the party pulling out of the BN could not be ruled out. Others said there was no truth to it.

"Anything is possible. Let us just wait and see," said a supreme council member.

Another supreme council member said the party was monitoring developments in Umno before making any decision.

‘MCA MPs won’t quit’

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PETALING JAYA: MCA Members of Parliament were elected to serve the people and they will continue to do so, said party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.

He said there was no question of them quitting to join the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance.

Ong, who is the Housing and Local Government Minister, said MCA MPs understood their responsibility as the people’s representatives and had signed a declaration of loyalty to the party.

“They have principles and are loyal to the party as well as to the Barisan Nasional. Anwar Ibrahim has used a dirty trick to drive a wedge between the Barisan component parties,” he said in a statement.

Ong, who is the Tanjung Malim MP, was responding to remarks by the PKR adviser that several MCA MPs would join PKR soon and that MCA would likely be the first to leave Barisan.

The party, which contested 40 parliamentary seats in the general election, has 15 MPs.

MCA Youth chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said he was confident that MPs would not be easily swayed.

“The MCA will always be with the Barisan Nasional as the party is one of the founders of the Alliance coalition,” he said.

Liow, who is the Bentong MP and Health Minister, described Anwar’s move as “trying to create instability to gain political mileage for himself”.

MCA Publicity Bureau chief Datuk Fu Ah Kiow hit out at Anwar, saying his remarks were nothing more than a cheap stunt to generate publicity for himself.

“Obviously Anwar is up to no good. This is part of his strategy to make his comeback with the whole purpose of chasing after the Prime Minister’s post,” he said in a statement.

Acknowledging that Barisan had gone through trials and tribulations, Fu said the ruling coalition had always stuck together “through thick and thin”.

On Sunday, Anwar said in Penang that MCA should top the list when he was asked which party he thought would leave Barisan.

“MCA is supposed to represent the Chinese community in Malaysia but the party has failed to do so.

“Therefore, it is time for it to review why Barisan has failed in addressing the interests of all communities in the country and in managing the country's economy,” he said after opening Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin's service centre in Bukit Jambul.

Federal Court allows Anwar to challenge his 1998 sacking

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PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here unanimously gave the green light to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to challenge the constitutionality of his sacking from Cabinet posts almost 10 years ago by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Following this outcome, the Federal Court will determine two questions of law – whether Anwar’s sacking was unconstitutional or not, and whether Dr Mahathir could sack his deputy, without first advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The court has yet to fix the date to hear Anwar’s final appeal. Anwar was ordered by the court to file the record of appeal within 14 days.

On Dec 23, 1998, the High Court dismissed Anwar’s suit against Dr Mahathir and the Government, to summarily strike out his application for an order to declare Dr Mahathir’s decision to dismiss him from the Cabinet posts on Sept 2, 1998 was unlawful and null and void.

The Court of Appeal had held that Anwar’s sacking from the Cabinet posts was lawfully executed by Dr Mahathir since the power to appoint and dismiss ministers lay with the prime minister. – Bernama

MCA to Enter Pakatan?

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PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has dropped the clearest hint yet of impending crossovers to Pakatan Rakyat.
“I can safely say that several MCA MPs will join us soon,” he told journalists yesterday, after opening a service centre in Bayan Baru, Penang.

However, as with previous assertions of the same variety, that was all he was prepared to reveal.

Anwar has been keeping the public on tenterhooks since the general election on March 8, with repeated claims of crossovers by Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentarians, especially those in Sabah.

He said that discreet meetings have been held in Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore, to avoid scrutiny, and that “even a cabinet minister met me”.

At a rally held last night in City Stadium, George Town, the former deputy premier worked up the crowd with similar promises.

“It’s about time that we take over. It’s only a matter of time for us to take over. We are so close to Putrajaya,” he said to roars from some 30,000 people.

“It’s very soon. I will not say how (soon). But it will happen soon.”

He stressed that defecting MPs would have to accept the Pakatan tenets of good governance.

Anwar used the rally to obtain a ‘referendum’ on replacing the federal BN government and taking over as premier from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He and other Pakatan speakers exploited the escalating cost of living triggered by the fuel price hike, to bombard the BN government and raise the tempo of a disenchanted crowd.

“I can guarantee you all today that if Pakatan Rakyat were to form the federal government today, we will bring down the oil price tomorrow,” said Anwar.

Salvoes against BN

Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, DAP advisor and Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang and PAS leader Mohamad Sabu also spoke at the rally.

Anwar said the BN government is still in a state of denial over the electoral debacle and that it has remained arrogant.

It has further betrayed the people’s trust with an unreasonable and inhumane fuel price hike, he said, although it has contributed to this through economic and financial mismanagement.

Anwar also wondered aloud as to why BN partners are supporting Umno’s weak political leadership and wrongdoing.

Saying that BN has run out of ideas in overcoming inflation, he said only Pakatan could save the country.

“Let’s join force to topple this irresponsible and arrogant government. If enough numbers support us (in Parliament), we will form the next government. The people of Penang must lead others in backing us for change to a better life,” said Anwar.

Hinting that Abdullah could dissolve Parliament in a sudden move to “save his skin”, he cautioned Pakatan leaders and members to be ready for a snap election.

“We must fight to win till the end,” he said.

Anwar eyeing Kuala Kangsar

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IPOH: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is looking at the possibility of contesting a by-election in Perak, if the court were to rule against Barisan Nasional in the Kuala Kangsar election petition.

Responding to queries on his pending contest in a by-election, the PKR de facto leader said: “I think Perak would be a good idea. We’re waiting for a decision on Kuala Kangsar.”

Anwar said this after speaking at a closed-door convention held by Perak PKR Youth yesterday.

He also said a committee had been set up to look into him contesting in a by-election, adding that it would be done through Pakatan Rakyat.

Dissatisfied voter Ahmad Jamaluddin Abd Majid has filed an election petition to declare the results of the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary constituency null and void after Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz failed to sign two out of three sets of her nomination papers in the last general election.

Rafidah won the seat against Perak PAS deputy commissioner Dr Khairuddin Abd Malik. The case is still pending in court.

On talk that a Barisan Nasional component party was planning to pull out of the coalition, Anwar said: “I think we will monitor this closely. I’m sure you’ll know very soon.”

However, he was tight-lipped when asked if the component party was from Sabah.

Later in GEORGE TOWN, Anwar said those who wished to join the party must accept Pakatan Rakyat’s agenda for a multiracial Malaysia and a guaranteed Constitution.

“We would receive such a move well and we hope that it happens in the shortest time,” he said.

He also said there had been discussions between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan parties but such discussions did not mean the latter were joining them.

“They (Barisan parties) wanted to know how the Pakatan Rakyat parties work together and about the promises for change that we made.

“The discussions do not indicate they are crossing over,” he said.

PKR: We prefer a full-time Ipoh mayor

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IPOH: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has set several criteria for the potential candidate who will take up the post of Ipoh mayor.

PKR national vice-president Dr Lee Boon Chye said the candidate should be able to serve full-time, and should have sufficient experience to deal with civil servants.

»We don’t want the person to leave office to attend Parliament all the time« DR LEE BOON CHYE
“We don’t want someone who has to leave office to attend Parliament all the time,’’ he said yesterday. “It should not be held by an elected representative,” he added, commenting on PKR’s stand on the Ipoh Datuk Bandar post.

Speculation has been rife that Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran was keen on filling in the post but his interest has been shot down by several quarters.

The post has been vacant since the Datuk Mohamad Rafiai Moktar retired early this month.

Dr Lee, who is also Gopeng MP, said the person for the Datuk Bandar’s post should be able to handle city affairs on a full-time basis.

“We have a candidate. We want the person to be able to run the city hall well, a full-time person and one who is able to implement policies in the spirit of Pakatan Rakyat,” Dr Lee said, adding that the candidate should also be people-friendly.

“The candidate must also be experienced in dealing with government servants,” he added.

“We will be presenting our case at a meeting with Pakatan Rakyat leaders on Tuesday (tomorrow),” he said.

On Kulasegaran’s interest in the job, Dr Lee said Kulasegaran’s constituency was 100% within the Ipoh city limit.

As such, he said, certain policies implemented could be seen as a conflict of interest.

Perak MCA organising secretary Dr Mah Hang Soon had also called for the new Datuk Bandar to be apolitical.

Chua wins MCA branch polls

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MUAR: Former MCA vice-president Datuk Chua Jui Meng has managed to wrest the MCA Sungai Abong Tengah branch chairman’s post from incumbent chairman Yap Mia Lee.

Chua, who is also the Bakri division chairman, received 96 votes, while Yap, who is the division secretary managed only 53 votes, with one spoilt vote.

Chua said he had created history in the division for contesting for a branch chairman’s post as he had been the division chairman since it was formed 22 years ago.

Lights to go out during lunch time at local authorities, ministry

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IPOH: Local authorities have been directed to switch off lights and air-conditioners during lunch hour to save cost.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, who disclosed this yesterday, said the directive was made by the Chief Secretary to the Government.

»The MCA will forever be relevant to the people. Don’t listen to naysayers« DATUK SERI ONG KA CHUAN
“Local councils have also been told to postpone or cut down on beautification projects which do not benefit the people,” he said, adding that streetlamps should only be lit between certain hours.

Speaking after a working visit to Sungkai, Ong assured the people that projects such as flood mitigation works would continue.

“Hopefully through cost-cutting measures, we can brave the difficult period together,” he said.

He added that there would also be no foreign trips for ministry officers.

On another matter, Ong said the ministry was looking into the feasibility of a further reduction in stamp duty before proposing it to the Cabinet.

In the last Budget, he said, stamp duty was cut by 50% for houses below RM250,000.

“It still depends on the Government’s financial status as funds are still needed,” he told reporters yesterday.

Earlier in his speech to Sungkai MCA branch members, Ong, who is the party secretary-general, urged members not to give up hope although the party performed badly in the recent general election.

“The MCA will forever be relevant to the people. Do not listen to the naysayers,” he advised.

Ong also announced a RM60,000 allocation for Sungkai New Village and SJK(C) Khai Meng.

Abdullah reiterates he will defend Umno post

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PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has reiterated that he will defend his Umno presidency in the party elections in December.

Even though he has announced his plans for his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to take over, he has not decided precisely on the date of handover.

“Anytime doesn’t mean two or three months,” he said at a media briefing yesterday to media leaders attending the World Economic Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

Abdullah denied that political uncertainty had negatively impacted foreign investments and he had, in fact, received many enquiries from the Middle East.

On the economy, he said a growth of 5.5% was achievable and that some mega projects could be adjusted while those people-centric projects with immediate impact would be implemented under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

“This will be after the midterm review when we will also introduce new area soft development,” he said, referring to the corridor developments especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

On the criticism that some of the reform measures were still weak steps, he said:

“Reform has to be gradual. I will continue my work and it is not my attitude that just because you do not support me, I say forget it.”

His priorities would be to strengthen the Anti-Corruption Agency, judiciary and police force while ensuring quality opportunities in the development corridors to address the issue of an equitable income distribution.

On the proposal to repeal the Internal Security Act, he said there could be some aspects to be reviewed and amendments.

He would not be “completely doing away with preventive detention” although ensuring justice was equally important.

Samy: Anybody can contest against me

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KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said anyone can contest for the presidency when nominations are held next year.

“I will not stop anyone from contesting for the post,” he said.

The 72-year-old, who has been the president since 1979, completes his term on March 8 next year. Elections would have to be held within two months after that.

Speaking to reporters after presenting the President’s Merit Award to 411 SPM and STPM students here on Thursday, he said: "Lots of people want to see Samy Vellu finished."

“I don’t worry about it. I will keep on serving the Indian community and the MIC until they say that they don’t want me … then I will say goodbye”, he said.

Samy Vellu failed to retain his Sungei Siput parliamentary seat in the March 8 general election.

Under the party constitution, anyone who wants to contest for the president’s post must garner 50 nominations signed by 300 branch chairmen before being eligible.

NAJIB: I am a true party man

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“I am a true party (Umno) man” and not the son who destroys the party that his father has helped to set up in a move to gain control of it, said Umno Deputy President Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The eldest son of Malaysia’s second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein said he “believed the transfer of power (in Umno) should be done in the traditional, conventional way rather than by creating factions”. He said this during a question-and-answer session after delivering a talk on

“Malaysia in the Face of New Gobal Challenges” at Chatham House, the home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, yesterday.

The talk was jointly organised by the institute and the Asean-United Kingdom Business Forum (AUBF).

Najib, who is the Malaysian deputy prime minister, said this when asked by a participant why he had not taken over the leadership of the country after the poor performance of the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno in the recent general election.

The BN had failed to recapture Kelantan from PAS and lost Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor to the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance in the general election on March 8. It also failed to garner a two-third majority in Parliament.

Najib said people could give their views and that it was not a question of having courage or being a coward, but “it is just (that) as a person you have core values”. “And I believe what is important (is that) whatever position you take, it must be a core value personal to you.

“I come from a family where my father helped build the party, and I am not the son to destroy the party. I want to continue to build the party further,” he said.

Najib said Umno was now at its lowest point and “if you create a serious fight for the leadership, Umno will be further weakened and not be able to face the challenges of (the next) general election”.

“What is there in inheriting a position when you lose in the general election. I don’t want to lead the party to defeat,” he said.

Earlier, in his speech, Najib touched on the need to revitalise bilateral relations between Malaysia and Britain, saying that it was now “in a state of benign neglect”. Najib said he hoped to see a British prime minister lead a strong delegation to Malaysia. The last visit by a British prime minister was in 1993 when Prime Minister Sir John Major visited the country.

“There is a need for a strong signal from time to time. It is important. We do need to underscore the relations at the highest level,” he said.

Perak to have an opposition leader

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IPOH: The Perak Constitution will be amended soon to create the post of a state opposition leader.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin said this would be the first time that such a post would be established in any state legislative assembly.

The move, he said, was to recognise the duties, responsibilities and contributions of the opposition leader which previously had only been accepted thro-ugh convention, but was not provided for under the law.

"We (the Pakatan Rakyat state government) will table the amendment to the constitution of the state so that this post will be recognised officially," he said after chairing the state executive council meeting here yesterday.

The amendment would be tabled during the state assembly meeting which begins on June 24.

"I hope all the 28 Barisan Nasional state assemblymen will support the amendment.

"The PR state government recognises the choice of the people who elected them (BN representatives) and as a mark of respect, the state exco has decided to recognise the post of the opposition leader."

It is widely tipped that former Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali, who is Perak BN liaison chairman, would be elected as the opposition leader.

Mohamad Nizar said the state government would provide an office for the opposition leader at the Perak state secretariat.

"Office equipment and necessary assistance will also be provided."

On another matter, Mohamad Nizar said the state government had decided to abolish the levy imposed on property transaction involving foreigners.

"The abolition of the RM5,000 levy imposed by the previous state government will attract foreigners to purchase property in the state."

Asked if the move would deprive the state government of added income, he said it would actually attract foreigners to purchase properties, whether house or land.

"I do not see it as depriving the state's coffers. The long-term benefits are greater."

The abolishment would also benefit Malaysian parents whose children had become citizens of other countries.

At present, their children are required to pay RM5,000 levy, as a form of transfer fee, to enable them to own their parents' properties in the state.

Nizar also announced that the state government had allocated 70ha of land to be given to squatters living along the proposed Ipoh-Padang Besar electrified double-tracking project.

"This is our goodwill gesture to the federal government as we want the ties between the federal and state governments to be enhanced. We hope the relocation will speed up the completion of the federal government's project."

He said the squatters would be relocated to the Larut, Matang and Selama districts in a one month.

Samy Vellu going for his 11th term

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KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has declared that he would contest the top post for a record 11th term at the party's presidential election in March next year.

"I will not stop anyone from contesting the president's post.

"We are a democratic party. I am elected by popular vote, so it is the members who will decide.

"I will continue serving until the members say they don't want me. My term ends on March 8," Samy Vellu said after handing over the president's merit awards to excellent SPM and STPM Indian students at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.

Samy Vellu, 72, has declared that he would quit active politics in 2012 and this bid would be his last as party president, a post which he has held since 1981, after serving two years before as acting president.

The MIC supremo lost the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat in the March 8 general election, and speculation has been rife that the veteran politician would contest the post for the last time next year before handing over the party to the chosen successor.

To contest the president's post, a potential candidate needs to amass at least 50 nominations from the 3,600 MIC branches nationwide.

Samy Vellu, who joined the party in 1959 as an ordinary member, garnered 528 nominations to contest the post in the last presidential election, which he won uncontested.

He moved up the ranks in the party from being an ordinary member to taking over the highest position in the MIC after 22 years.

In 1971, he became the Youth chief, was elected vice-president in 1975 and became deputy president in 1977 after defeating Datuk S. Subramaniam who was then party secretary-general.

He became a member of parliament in 1978 and following the death of Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam in 1979, he was made acting party president.

He was elected president on March 22, 1981, a position he had held since despite a challenge by Subramaniam for the post in 1990. -- Bernama

Karpal files police report against Dr M

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KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Karpal Singh lodged a police report against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed yesterday over allegations that the former prime minister had interfered with the judiciary during his tenure.

Karpal who is also Bukit Gelugor MP, lodged the report at the Tun H. S. Lee police station here yesterday evening.

In the report, Karpal said if the allegations made by the High Court judge was true, then it amounted to an offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code, amounting to obstructing a public servant from discharging his duties.

Karpal also called for an emergency session of parliament to debate on the allegations made by Chin.

"The session must be called to regain public confidence in the judiciary," he said.

Karpal also questioned why it took Chin 11 years before coming out with this allegation.

He also hit out at the other judges who attended the same conference on April 24, 1997, for remaining silent.

The veteran lawyer also challenged Dr Mahathir to publicly rebutt the allegations.

"Not joining issue with the allegations amounts to admission of guilt," he added.

Fuel Subsidies Must Go

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Personally, I think fuel prices in Malaysia need to be UNsubsidised. Subsidies are a downward spiral and are nothing less than switching of the burden of higher cost from consumers to taxpayers.

However, subsidies cannot be looked at in isolation. All national budgets are simple creatures. What is the cash inflow, and how is it matched by the cash outflow. Cash inflows are few, mainly taxes and returns from govt investments. Cash outflows are more complex, from govt spending, to govt investment, to these fuel subsidies.

I think the issue here is not the fuel subsidies. It is unrealistic for the public to expect the govt to 'PREVENT' the increase in fuel prices. Malaysia is insignificant to the overall crude oil dynamics as a producer, or a consumer. Trying to hang on to the subsidies in the face of current oil price trends is like trying to hold back a tidal wave with your bare hands. Everybody still gets drenched, and we'll also drown in the process - because we stubbornly stood on the beach staring down the incoming tsunami instead of running for higher ground.

In my mind, there are 3 connected issues:

1. Since Malaysia is a net oil exporter, the net profit from oil will always increase as oil prices increase. Because we produce more than we consume, the increased profit from selling oil that we produce, will always be more than the increased costs of paying for (including subsidies) the oil we consume.

The matter is whether the govt (via Petronas) should spend their oil production profits to 'subsidise' the consumption of oil. For me, that's a matter for the public to decide. BN and PR have made their intentions know (albeit after the elections) in that BN wants to eliminate the subsidise while PR (via Anwar's statements) promises to use Petronas profits to subsidies consumption. So vote wisely.

Me, I prefer that the govt spend the money on improved public transport, better schools and better infrastructure so that the public can increase their earning power in order to cope with the additional cost of living, rather than trying to subsidise living costs. There is no benefit in subsidise (other than delaying the inevitable doom). Additionally, subsidies are so easily and rapaciously abused as I'll show in point 2 below (only one example of many).

2. The consumption of oil itself is fraught with problems. Namely, which consumers do you subsidise? Right now, everyone is subsidised. From the kapcai riders earning RM800/mth to the biggest towkays and royalty driving Mercedes S-classes and Aston Martins. But my thinking is that individual consumption of fuel for private transportation is actually a small proportion of oil consumption.

It's the transportation industry, power generation industry and the smugglers to Thailand (by road) and Indonesia (by boat) who are the biggest users of these subsidies. Should they be entitled to it?

Smugglers... definitely not. But subsidies are like banning liquor and gambling. The more you do it, the more illicit and illegal activities will occur.

And take the power generation industry. Tenaga buys fuel feedstocks from Petronas at subsidised prices. That is justified as electricity prices to the public are also controlled. And electricity tariffs are staggered in that smaller consumers pay less, and larger, commercial & industrial consumers pay more - which is somewhat fair.

But the IPPs (independent power producers) like YTL and Tanjung also pay ridiculously subsidised prices for their fuel feedstocks. If they were selling the power back to Tenaga at Tenaga's cost of production (maybe with a small premium of for the IPP's smaller scale vs Tenaga), that would be okay. However, IPPs sell power to Tenaga at cost+ (ie. guaranteed profits), and the most ridiculous thing is that Tenaga has to buy everything the IPPs produce, even if it is in excess of Tenaga's needs. This means that the IPPs will produce as much as they possibly can to maximise profits, and therefore they are consuming the maximum amount of oil as well... at subsidised prices.

And because IPPs are currently producing excess power that Tenaga doesn't need, the excess power is wasted because it can't be stored, translating into higher costs for Tenaga and higher tariffs for the public. That also means that billions in fuel subsidies are being spent to subsidise IPP production of wasted power. Everyone loses, much is wasted and the only party gaining from this arrangement are the IPPs... and of course, their politician sponsors from BN in the background.

3. Lastly, is govt spending itself. What's the alternative spending if public funds are not spent on subsidies?

How can the govt justify such drastic moves to reduce overspending on subsidies, when we don't seem to be doing anything to reduce overspending on guaranteeing profits for IPPs, highway toll operators, GLCs like Proton, Bernas, Class F contractors, AP permit holders, govt dept waste etc?

I hope government would review the fule price.

Indian populace now smaller

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THE Indian population is on the decline and action must be taken to stop this, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said, in a Tamil Nesan front-page report.

He said the current Indian population stood at 7.8% and this was expected to fall to 7% in five years.

Samy Vellu was speaking to reporters after opening Pahang MIC’s 62nd annual delegates conference in a hotel in Genting Highlands yesterday.

He said currently, the Government gave allocations based on the population of the Indian community

Spotlight: Subra: Help rebuild MIC, not point fingers

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The MIC's polls debacle has opened the door for former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam to make a 'front-row' comeback, which is not exactly welcomed by everyone, including his diehard supporters. Subramaniam tells SUGANTHI SUPARMANIAM why he's returning to national-level party politics.

Q: Where were you after the party election in 2006?

A: After my defeat, I remained in MIC as a member and Seputeh division chairman. I continued with my work and offered services to people throughout the country. I just kept a low profile.

Q: You were out of mainstream MIC politics since the last party election. Why are you willing to return?

A: I feel compelled to help rebuild the party after its dismal performance in the March 8 general election. There is no point in pointing fingers. Many misread this and say I am now joining hands with party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu. Naturally, to rebuild the party, I will have to work with the president and need his co-operation.

Q: What about your supporters?

A: My supporters, who are still active in MIC, are happy and welcome my move. But, my supporters who are outside MIC are unhappy with the patch-up. I don't understand this because I have always been in the party. I am not doing it because I am after any position. Samy Vellu has also agreed in principle to revive my supporters' defunct branches, so the party will become stronger.

Q: What about calls from within and outside the party, rejecting your return to the MIC mainstream politics?

A: People who are unhappy with Samy Vellu and others who treated me as a threat are not comfortable with our patch-up. I only came to offer my services. I even declined the central working committee position that Samy Vellu offered.

Q: How will your presence help MIC?

A: I have given my views to Samy Vellu on the re-branding of the party and I think he is implementing it. He is talking to people and is much more accommodating.

Q: There are allegations that caste politics is still at work in MIC. Your views?

A: Caste is not really a factor in MIC but was exploited by some people. In politics, people would use any issue unethically.

Q: Some say the party will be in deeper turmoil if you come back to mainstream politics.

A: It is baseless and illogical. People know me. I'm always a peaceful man, I even work with people who differ with me. I have also remained in the party even after I lost the deputy president post to Datuk G. Palanivel. I also went around during the general election supporting the Barisan Nasional.

Q: What is your view on calls by certain quarters asking for Samy Vellu's resignation as party president?

A: Many people forget the tremendous support Samy Vellu has from within the party. He is well liked by members, especially for his hard work. I think everybody should remain and rebuild the party.

Q: You have been with the party, through thick and thin. Any thoughts of retiring from MIC and politics?

A: The question of retirement does not arise now. I'm the MIC Seputeh division chairman and involved in various activities.

Q: Any plans to contest in the next party election?

A: No plans at the moment. My interest now is to help make the party stronger and getting the Indians to once again recognise MIC as a strong political party which will serve their interest.

Q: Let's talk about the re-branding exercise recently announced. How will changing the colour of uniforms, letterhead, logo and song help to re-brand the party.

A: The president has just announced it so it would be better for him to speak on the concept.

No free water for Selangor?

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KLANG: The free water deal for Selangor consumers may not materialise as concessionaire Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) and the state government are unable to come to an agreement.

Syabas chief executive officer Datuk Ruslan Hassan said in a statement that the company and state investment arm Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB) could not agree on “terms and conditions” over how the free water was going to be compensated.

Ruslan said Syabas could not accept KDEB’s offer to compensate the company for the free water in September after the proposed restructuring of water services in the state.

The proposal, he said, would adversely affect the water concessionaire’s cash flow and daily operations.

Syabas, he added, was also of the opinion that the proposed free water by the state government “had nothing to do with the restructuring programme in the state”.

Ruslan said Syabas had made an offer to KDEB to bill the state at the end of every month and payment to be made within 14 days after that.

KDEB’s failure to meet this requirement would result in Syabas having to scrap the free water plan.

He said Syabas would continue to issue monthly water bills and charge for the first 20 cubic metres of water until it received favourable terms from KDEB.

Ruslan said Syabas received letters and documents on the instruction to give rebates from KDEB yesterday. The letters were signed on June 6.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had assured consumers in the state recently that the water rebate, which was to take effect on June 1, was still on and that it would be reflected in this month’s water bill.

Spotlight: The Samy Vellu factor in revamp

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IT looks like nothing has changed in MIC despite the so-called rebranding of the party. For speaking out against party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, Klang division chief P. Thiagarasan, better known as Alex Thiagarasan, was given a show-cause letter.

Thiagarasan had raised questions about Maika Holdings and the allegedly hijacked Telekom shares. Nothing new actually, as other MIC leaders of various ranks have in the past questioned the party over this issue. But then again, neither is the action against Thiagarasan.

Former Maika Holdings managing director Tan Sri G.K. Rama Iyer was told to resign in 1992 following a dispute with Samy Vellu over the shares' allocation. Former MIC public relations committee chairman V. Subramaniam, better known as Barat Maniam, was removed from his post in 1994 for implicating party top leaders in the controversy.

The Maika-Telekom share controversy started in 1992 when Lim Kit Siang, then the DAP secretary-general, claimed in Parliament that Samy Vellu had "hijacked" nine million of the 10 million Telekom Malaysia shares originally allotted to Maika Holdings.

The nine million shares were allegedly channelled to three companies - Clear Way Sdn Bhd, Advanced Personal Computers Sdn Bhd and SB Management Sdn Bhd - which were allegedly associated with Samy Vellu.

The Anti-Corruption Agency began investigations into the case in April that year. Although it subsequently cleared Samy Vellu of any wrongdoing, the controversy has continued to haunt the MIC.

Many are convinced that the re-branding exercise as announced by Samy Vellu cannot take place without settling the Maika Holdings/Telekom shares controversy.

But is the show-cause letter to Thiagarasan merely to shut him up for raising old issues or is this another case of Samy Vellu going after his critics and challengers?

History may be a good guide. Since Samy Vellu became party supremo he has seen away former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam from the MIC mainstream and expelled Datuk S. Nallakaruppan for challenging him in one way or another.

Former deputy health minister Datuk K. Pathmanaban was often sidelined from the MIC mainstream for being aligned with Subramaniam as were many other members aligned with Subramaniam.

The late Tan Sri M.G. Pandithan, who was then a vice-president and one-time blue-eyed boy of the president, was also sacked for going against Samy Vellu.

After the disaster suffered by most of the Barisan Nasional component parties in the 12th general election in March, the leadership of parties which fared poorly in the polls has come under heavy fire from disgruntled members.

The presidents of MCA, Gerakan and even Umno have all been taken to task and even asked to step down, but how have they reacted?

MCA's Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting is facing a battle with the Save MCA campaign, set up to pressure him to resign over the party's dismal performance in the general election. There is also the allegation of a snoop squad, allegedly set up to spy on his rivals.

And how did Ong act? He set up a three-man panel of inquiry to investigate whether a snoop squad exists or existed. When the accusers did not like the make-up of the panel, he changed it.

Gerakan's acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon is facing an even worse time, with two party stalwarts having taken up jobs with their political enemies.

Even Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is not insulated from criticism and open challenges by party members, some of whom are very far down the pecking order.

Yet, neither Abdullah, Koh or Ong have given any of their detractors show-cause letters.

They are also talking about rebranding their parties.

The leaders also want to stay to right what is wrong with their parties. They believe they have a duty to do that before leaving. It is their right to believe that. It is also Samy Vellu's right to believe that.

But none has taken Samy Vellu's move to sack former Kapar division chairman Jumbo Maniam for questioning the Aimst University accounts and ask another member, a potential presidency challenger, at that, to show cause.

This smacks of continuing a feudal style of leading the party rather than rebranding.

Former vice-president Tan Sri K.S. Nijhar agrees that silencing critics is no longer a viable option.

"You cannot expect to close one chapter and hope that it would not open somewhere else as another person will bring back this issue. You have only removed the symptoms, not the disease."

Unless the MIC top leadership especially Samy Vellu is willing to take criticism in its stride, it may as well change its theme from MIC Cares to MIC Scares, as part of its rebranding exercise.