Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Penans erect more blockades, stage protests

MIRI: More protests and blockades have flared up all over Sarawak following escalating land disputes between natives with the state government and timber and oil palm companies.
On Wednesday, a series of simultaneous anti-logging and anti-oil palm plantation blockades happened in five different locations in northern Sarawak: Simpang Empat, Long Bangan, Long Belok and Long Nen in ulu Baram district and in interior Suai in the Niah district south of Miri.
The sudden flare-up in the number of simultaneous protests has made it difficult for even the environmental activists to keep track.
The protests in Ulu Baram are against four timber giants while those in Niah are against an oil palm consortium.
In Ulu Balingian in central Sarawak, another major protest is also being organised against an oil palm project.
In Kuching, a group of Penans staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the Chief Minister’s Office, to hand over a memorandum to protest against the construction of the Baram and Murum dams in northern and central Sarawak.
As at 2pm, they failed to hand over the protest note to Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
In northern Sarawak, anti-logging protests by the Penans in Simpang Empat, Long Bangan, Long Belok and Long Nen resumed after another attempt by Telang Usan state assemblyman Lihan Jok to find a peaceful solution failed.
There was a previous meeting three weeks ago that also failed.
The Penans in Ulu Baram are trying to stop logging in jungles that they claim belong to their ancestors.
In interior Suai in Niah district, some 100 plus Penans and other natives living in Suai staged a blockade across a road leading into an oil palm estate measuring some 20,000ha.
A protester named Jadam said villagers were angry that the oil palm company continued to bulldoze its way into areas where the natives have customary rights status.
It is learnt the company had sent two senior managers to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Suai natives.
In Ulu Balingian, some 500km south of here, a major protest that was supposed to be staged Wednesday, will instead be held within the next few days after a group of villagers decided not to go ahead with their protest yet. The Star

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Free toll at KL-Karak Highway, East Coast Expressway on Sept 18, 24

KUALA LUMPUR, Tues: Motorists using the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway and the East Coast Expressway will enjoy free toll from midnight to 5am on Sept 18 and 24.
MTD Group executive chairman Datuk Azmil Khalid said the free toll which applied to all class of vehicles including commerial was the its gift and way of thanking users in conjunction with Aidilfitri. He said motorists using the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway would save RM8 while East Coast Expressway users would save RM29 in toll for one way trip. "The free toll took into account peak travel hours between Kuala Lumpur and the east coast. Motorists still need to return their transit tickets when exiting.
"MTD expects about 200,000 vehicles will use the East Coast Expressway daily. It starts from Gombak in Kuala Lumpur and ends at Jabor in Terengganu. "Our records show that 60 per cent of motorists will travel during daytime," he told a press conference in Batu Caves near here today. The free toll is a first by a highway toll operator. PLUS had offered discounts of up to 20 per cent to those using the North-South Expressway during Aidilftri. Azmil said MTD had also introduced a time advisory to help motorists avoid "choke points" during traffic congestion. Additional booths would be set up to cater for the high volume of traffic while the staff leave has been frozen. -- BERNAMA

Chua confident of support at EGM

KUALA LUMPUR: Sacked MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek is confident of garnering the support of delegates at the party's upcoming extraordinary general meeting (EGM) where he hopes to be reinstated.
He hoped the EGM would resolve the internal rift for the party to move on to strengthen itself."This internal conflict within the party is causing a lot of harm to the party. We hope the EGM will settle the internal conflict so that we can move on to strengthen the party and to restore our credibility and image," Dr Chua said in a "live" forum with the public by a local daily today. Dr Chua said party leaders must abide by the delegates' decision as the agenda for the EGM was reached yesterday.
Party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has agreed to the five motions proposed by Dr Chua's supporters which include moving a vote of no confidence against Ong and to reinstate Dr Chua.Dr Chua was expelled on Aug 26 for tarnishing the party''s image after a sex video scandal.Chua said he was not ashamed to own up to his past mistake and reiterated that he would not join the opposition, "I want to die as a MCA member"."Whether I'm a good leader is up to people to judge me. I always try to do my best and people who work with me know that I'm a workaholic. For calling a spade a spade, I do invite controversy," he said.On the prime minister''s decision not to interfere in the MCA issue, Dr Chua believed that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was letting the members resolve the conflict without outside interference. He also said that with the EGM in place, it was too late for a mediator. - Bernama

Five ISA detainees released, only nine remain

PUTRAJAYA: The Government has released five Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees, all allegedly from the Jemaah Islamiah militant group.
With this, there are now only nine ISA detainees remaining, of which four are Malaysians. The rest are from Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Singapore.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the five were released conditionally after they were found to be no longer a threat to the country.
Of the five, Mat Shah Mohd Satray and Abdullah Daud had been in detention since 2002, while Mohd Nasir Ismail, Mohd Kamil Hanafiah and Mohd Amir Hanafiah had been detained since 2007.
Hishammuddin said they would be able to spend Hari Raya with their loved ones as their release came into effect immediately.
“All five detainees have shown positive response during the entirere habilitation period and have shown remorse for their actions in the past and is no longer a threat to the country,” he said.
Of the nine still in detention, Hishammuddin said six were allegedly involved in militant activities while the remaining three were detained for forging documents.
Terror suspect Mas Selamat Kastari, who was arrested in Johor Baru earlier this year, is the most infamous name among the nine.
In April, the Government released 13 ISA detainees, and another 13 in May. Among those released were five leaders of the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force movement.
Hishammuddin was speaking to reporters after meeting representatives of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, or Suhakam, and the Bar Council over the review of the ISA.
He said the groups were concerned over the possible abuse of the ISA and hoped in the interim that the Government would alleviate the people’s concern.
“The balance between national security and national interest and civil liberty is not easily achieved,” he said. The Star

1Malaysia F1 team to be formed

PUTRAJAYA: The 1Malaysia F1 Team, a joint venture between the Government and private sector, will participate in the F1 race beginning next year, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister said the project involved the combined expertise of Proton and Lotus with the support of the Sepang International Circuit (SIC), Motorsports Association of Malaysia, Naza Motor and AirAsia.
Najib, who is also the Finance Minister I, told reporters when making the announcement at the Finance Ministry that leading corporate figures such as Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and S.M. Nasarudin S.M. Nasimuddin were also involved in the initiative.
“This is the Malaysian team. The car was designed at the SIC, manufactured at the SIC, tested at the SIC and the car is Malaysian-made. Even the pit-stop team consists of Malaysians,” he said.
He said the 1Malaysia Team would identify a suitable Malaysian driver, adding that the project could lift the country’s image in the international arena.
Najib said the FIA had received Malaysia’s application to participate in the World F1 Championship next year.
Asked on the budget and the total investment by the Government, Najib said: “The Malaysian government’s investment is through Proton.”
Najib said the project was not a waste because it would provide a strong marketing element to the country when it competed in the F1 championship.
“If we want to export the Proton, we must ensure that the brand is strong. There is a strong element of marketing.
“It is not merely a sporting activity because there is an element of marketing for Proton and Malaysia while at the same time, the AirAsia and Naza brand names can be popularised,” he said.
According to a press release issued by a local public relations company for the 1Malaysia F1 Team, the national team will be based at SIC.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Petronas as well as Composite Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM), a leading local composite manufacturing expert, have already been engaged to participate in the project.
The statement said the national F1 team would integrate the Malaysian technical and pit crew totalling 200 people to be managed by one of Formula One’s most respected technical director, Mike Gascoyne.
He had already recruited a core team of international experts with a proven record in the various engineering, design and manufacturing disciplines needed to ensure that the 1Malaysia F1 team was of international standard, readiness and capable of competing with the world’s greatest drivers.
Currently, six local and international drivers have been shortlisted for evaluation and the team is expected to announce its two drivers by end of next month.
The statement quoted Najib as saying that the country’s participation in Formula One with the national team had far reaching objectives, mainly the advancement of the country’s automotive industry development from the technological aspect including initiatives in green technology.
“By establishing our racing centre within the country, we hope to also attract more foreign investments and the best technical minds which, in turn, will spur the growth of our automotive industry where we hope to see more R&D into lighter, safer and more cost-effective cars,” he said.
“We further anticipate higher commitment by organisations and attendance by individuals during the F1 Petronas Malaysian GP which will be coupled with increased tourism related returns,” Najib said.
He claimed that by creating a national F1 team, the country was taking “its motor sports to its pinnacle, thus ensuring its place in this internationally embraced sports that had scaled the heights of entertainment.”
The 1Malaysia F1 Team takes its name from the “1Malaysia People First, Performance Now” policy mooted by Najib in June this year as the unifying foundation for all Malaysians to come together in celebrating cooperation among its multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious society for the betterment of the nation.
Petronas, the national oil giant, has also made advancement in this arena via its sponsorship of the BMW-Sauber Team for the last four years. -- Bernama

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A(H1N1): 34 new cases, 12 locally transmitted

PUTRAJAYA: There were 34 new cases of Influenza A(H1N1) recorded Tuesday, of which 22 were imported while 12 others were locally transmitted, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

He said 335 or 72% of the total 468 patients infected with the virus had recovered and discharged from hospital.

“Currently, 133 patients are still hospitalised,” he told a press conference after witnessing a handover ceremony of the Mobile Blood Donation Vehicle to the National Blood Bank here on Tuesday.

Later in a statement, Liow said the new cases involved 24 Malaysians and 10 foreigners -- five Indonesians, three Australians, one American and one Danish.

“Of the 22 imported cases, the number of patients who had visited affected countries were seven to Indonesia, six to Australia, five to Singapore, and one each to Britain, China, Denmark and the Philippines.

He said all 12 local transmission cases involved Malaysians and one of the patients was among the participants at the Asia Pacific Pharmaceutic Conference, which was held in Penang from June 27 to 30. Previously, it was reported that 25 participants of the conference had contracted the virus.

Liow said currently, 1,031 people were undergoing home quarantine and none of them showed any flu symptoms.

“As of 8am today (July 7), no new schools are closed due to the outbreak,” he said.

Najib hopes for friendly contest between PAS and Umno

LABIS: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hopes for a friendly contest between PAS and Umno in the Manek Urai by-election.

He said that both sides should not be involved in insults or mudslinging.

Both parties should just convey their agendas to the voters and let them decide, Najib said, adding that Barisan would do its best in the by-election.

He added that Barisan was committed to campaigning in a clean manner with the election machinery being supervised by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin and directed by Datuk Mustapa Mohamad.

“We have a new method to move our election machinery. Also our candidate is getting encouraging response based on his background and presently there are also no major issues in this by-election,” Najib said, adding that Barisan was promising change and a new era for the people of Manek Urai.

He was speaking to reporters after launching the Felda settlers day celebrations in Felda Maokil here Tuesday.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Unity talks: DAP says no, PKR to wait and see

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP chairman Karpal Singh said his party has no intention to join in any “unity talks” with Umno, while his Pakatan Rakyat partner PKR has adopted a “wait and see” attitude.

Karpal called for PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa to withdraw from the unity talks.

He said if Nasharuddin continued to insist on talks with Umno, he should quit PAS.

“DAP has no intention to join the unity talks. Hadi should scrap the idea.

“(PAS spiritual adviser) Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat spoke with wisdom,” he told reporters in the Parliament lobby here Thursday, referring to Nik Aziz’s outburst Wednesday in which he said Nasharuddin should quit the Islamist party if he persisted with such talks.

Karpal said PAS was once with the Barisan Nasional coalition back in the 1970s.

“The party never learns its lesson,” he said.

PKR’s Saifuddin Nasution and R. Sivarasa however that they would wait until Monday for a full Pakatan Rakyat presidential council meeting, in which Hadi Awang is expected to brief the alliance on the unity talks, before commenting.

PKR adviser and Pakatan leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is expected to meet with Nijk Aziz in Kota Baru this Sunday to discuss the issue, they added.

Meanwhile in KOTA BARU, Nik Aziz said he would be calling for a meeting soon with all pro-unity talks leaders in his party, including Hadi Awang and Nasharuddin, to resolve the issue, reports SYED AZHAR.

65yr-old grandpa among 47 busted for drug abuse

ALOR SETAR: A 65-year-old grandfather was among 39 fishermen who were arrested by police after testing positive for drugs, while another eight were nabbed for related offences.

They were arrested at two fishing jetties between 4am and 10am Thursday.

Kota Star OCPD Asst Comm Abdul Ghafar Rajab said 40 policemen were involved in the operation.

The 39 tested positive for drugs including heroin, morphine and ketamine, he told a press conference here Thursday.

ACP Abdul Ghafar said that the two of the men were Thai nationals with valid travelling documents.

He said police recovered a stolen motorcycle and drug paraphernalia, but did not find any drugs on them.

“The two jetties were among three spots that we have identified as being frequently used by drug addicts and we will continue to monitor these areas to curb drug abuse among fishermen,” he said.

He said that the men would be remanded for further investigation

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Unity talks only if PKR and DAP included: Mustapha

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS will hold talks on the “unity government” with Umno only if DAP and PKR are included in the process, PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said.

He said PAS would not leave its Pakatan Rakyat allies behind as it was un-Islamic to break a promise.

“If the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) wants to hold talks on government unity with PAS, he must include DAP and PKR.

“Otherwise, there will be no talks,’’ he told a press conference on Wednesday.

Asked if the alliance with PKR and DAP would ever be reviewed, Mustafa said in politics there was no “permanent seal.”

However, PAS was prepared to hold talks with Umno on certain issues of national interest, he added.

“Even back in 1989 and 1990 during the era of Tun Dr Mahathir, PAS held talks with the Barisan Nasional on issues of national interest,’’ he said.

He was responding to Najib’s statement on Tuesday that he was open to unity talks with PAS and that he believed the Islamist party was sincere in its desire for such talks.

The “unity government” issue was brought up at the recent PAS muktamar (annual general assembly) by party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, to the chagrin of many party members as well as PAS’ allies DAP and PKR.

Others however, such as PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa, supported the move.

Join Umno
In KOTA BARU, PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat told Nasharuddin to quit the party and join Umno if he was so interested in unity with the Barisan Nasional party.

He should also relinquish his seat as Bachok Member of Parliament, where he was elected under the PAS ticket in last March’s general election, Nik Aziz said.

“He is causing a lot of problems in PAS with all this rubbish talk about the unity government with Umno.

“It has never been on the agenda for PAS nor Pakatan Rakyat, and this is just his personal opinion and not a stand of the party,” he told reporters after chairing the weekly state executive committee meeting at Kota Darul Naim Wedsnesday.

Reiterating his allegations that those in PAS behind the unity talks were merely “puppets of Umno,” he described what Nasharuddin was doing as “immoral.”

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Hadi Awang remained committed to the Pakatan Rakyat alliance and would fully explain his talks on the unity government with Umno at the upcoming Pakatan meeting next Monday.

The lack of unity on the Pakatan front has Barisan treading gently. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that there has to be a united stand from all three Pakatan parties before Barisan can respond to talks on the unity government.

"The Barisan stand is clear, but they keep moving the goalposts," he said.

Haze: Air quality gets worse

PETALING JAYA: The air quality in the country deteriorated slightly on Wednesday, with only 23 areas posting good Air Pollutant Index (API) readings of between zero and 50 as at 5pm.

This is compared with 31 such areas on Tuesday.

Some 26 areas had moderate air quality reading of between 51 and 100 while Tanjung Malim was declared unhealthy (between 101 and 200) with an API reading of 116.

The area with the best air quality Wednesday was Limbang with a reading of 19.

A total 41 hotspots were recorded in Sumatra while 74 were found in Borneo.

Most parts of the country recorded visibility readings of above 10km while Sandakan had the lowest at 4km at 8pm Wednesday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Several Pakatan MPs ordered to leave Dewan Rakyat

KUALA LUMPUR : Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS) was kicked out of the Dewan Rakyat minutes after he took his oath as the new MP for Bukit Gantang.

Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia ordered him out as he was the person who started putting on black headgear bearing the words " bubar DUN" (Dissolve state assembly).

Several other opposition Pakatan Rakyats MPs followed suit by donning the headgear. Visitors at the public gallery, believed to be Nizar's supporters, also put on the headgear amidst shouts of "Bubar, bubar” while the Backbenchers shouted "Keluar, keluar ......"

Nizar, after his oath taking, put on the black headgear and shouted "Hidup rakyat, bubar dewan!" raising his left arm.

Pandikar ordered Nizar to remove his headgear. Nizar obliged but Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP - Beruas) and Nga Kor Ming (DAP - Taiping) who stood up and refused to remove their headgear, were ordered out by Pandikar. When both Ngeh and Nga left the House, Pandikar also ordered Nizar out as he had started it.

This was followed by Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PAS - Pokok Sena), N. Gobalakrishnan (PKR - Padang Serai) and Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS - Kuala Selangor ) leaving the dewan as well.

Shouts of “samseng, keluar” were heard amidst shouts of “bubar.”

“This is not a market place Please sit down, don't join him,” said Pandikar.

"This is how children argue in the streets. We have many issues to discuss for the rakyats' interests,'' he said.

The fracas took up 25 minutes before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak could stand up to answer Question 1 on 1Malaysia.

All in all, seven Pakatan MPs have been suspended for two days, DAP's Lim Kit Siang said in Twitter.

Ngeh returned inside the House when Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein answered about the Perak state assembly, which was after Najib's reply.

Pandikar spotted Ngeh and ordered him out again, saying : " If I have not told you how long the suspension is, now I am telling you that it is two days under Standing Order 42."

Later when approached by reporters, Pandikar said headgear was not allowed in the House and not part of the attire.

MPs must wear proper attire to attend a sitting inside the house.

"They (the MPs) were ordered out because they refused to heed the Speaker's order. They were shouting. Headgear is not part of the proper attire."

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR - Permatang Pauh) said Pakatan Rakyat would be writing to Pandikar to reconsider the decision to evict Nizar and other Opposition MPs earlier Monday.

In a press conference at lobby, he said Parliament had too many rulings that restricted MPs from performing their tasks and that it was the right of MPs to voice their stance.

"The right of MP to wear marks of protest or support is allowed in any parliament around the world.

"If they can't show protest in parliament, where else could they show it? They will be restricted to gaining public support by going to the streets," he said.

He said Parliament did not allow the latitude required for MPs to perform their tasks.

"You don't expect us to take what happened in Perak as irrelevant to the proceedings of this parliament and outside its purview,'' he said

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Zaid has joined PKR, says Anwar

KAJANG: Former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who made the announcement during the party’s special convention to amend the party constitution, said Zaid’s inclusion will boost PKR’s agenda to promote democracy and freedom of expression.

He added that Zaid was known to be vocal against the Government’s arbitrary use of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Zaid had resigned from the Government last year due to dissatisfaction over the use of the ISA on a reporter, a web portal editor, and a Selangor state executive council member.

In welcoming Zaid on Saturday, Anwar commended him for his bravery in fighting for human rights, democratic principles and for the independence and reform of the judiciary.

“Zaid’s close friendship with colleagues from PKR, DAP and PAS will help strengthen the inter-party relations in the Pakatan Rakyat.

“His role in PKR will be formalised by the leadership later. Due to his experience Zaid may be given a seat in the supreme council and head the political bureau,” he told reporters.

Zaid said he had decided to join PKR and not the DAP or PAS as his political ideals were similar to PKR which he described as a multiracial party that fights for the rights of Malaysians.

“I choose this day to join because this is also a historical day for PKR (to amend its constitution). I’m offering my services as I also have friends in Pakatan Rakyat component parties, and I know Anwar is a good man,” he added.

Zaid resigned from the Government in September last year in protest after he criticised the arrests of DAP MP Teresa Kok, online portal editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, and Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng under the ISA.

The former Kota Baru MP was also seen mingling with Pakatan leaders at their functions before he was sacked from Umno in December last year.

DOE reports healthier and clearer skies

PETALING JAYA: Air quality in the country shows a general improvement as rain brought a brief respite from the haze.

Although satellite pictures showed an increase in hotspots in Sumatra from 49 to 86, API readings from the Department of Environment showed an improvement in air quality.

On Friday, there were three areas in the Klang Valley that had unhealthy air quality levels but this was reduced to zero on Saturday.

The highest API reading was recorded in Port Klang (89) as at 5pm. Port Klang had an API reading of 136 on Friday.

Overall, 24 areas recorded good air quality (API 0-50) while 25 areas recorded moderate air quality readings (API 51-100).

As for visibility, most parts of the country recorded readings of 10km and beyond.

Subang had the lowest visibility level at 6km.

Bernama reported the API report released by the DOE on its webpage as at 11am showing no area reaching the unhealthy API level.

The readings for Cheras, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam were at 83, 81 and 81 respectively.

Of the 48 locations monitored, 24 showed good API readings, including Langkawi (29), Kangar (23) and USM, Penang (30).

Allow Chin Peng to come home, says Anwar

KAJANG: Despite strong objections from various quarters on the return of former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng to Malaysia, PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim supported the move.

He said Chin Peng should be forgiven and allowed to return to Malaysia on humanitarian grounds.

Anwar added that the Government was being inconsistent in allowing former PKM Malay leaders such as Shamsiah Fakeh and Rashid Maidin to return.

“We stress that we oppose the militant actions of the communist terrorists on Malaysians and we are not supporting communist ideology.

“If Shamsiah Fakeh and Rashid Maidin can be allowed to return, why not Chin Peng. “If we are friends with China, which is a communist state, why is it we cannot have peace with Chin Peng?

“Is it because he is a Chinese that he should not return, while the others who are Malays can?,” he told reporters during the party’s special convention to amend the party’s constitution here Saturday.

Anwar said Indonesia, which is a Muslim country had already rehabilitated its communists who were involved in atrocities against its people.

He added that when Prophet Muhammad entered Mecca, he decided to forgive the infidel Quraish tribe who had fought and killed Muslims.

The Government should also do the same in Chin Peng’s case, he said, adding that he believed the mainstream media will manipulate his comments, by accusing PKR of acting as a “fifth column” for CPM.

On another matter, Anwar said the Pakatan Rakyat will not form a unity government with Umno but was prepared to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to discuss several issues including the political impasse in Perak but on several conditions.

“Such talks can be held if the Government agrees to stop its cruelty against the people, and reform the judiciary, the Election Commission and other important institutions. “This idea is also supported by PAS,” he added.

On the meetings by Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew with the Malaysian Government and opposition leaders, Anwar said it can strengthen relations and the understanding between both countries

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hotter and drier days ahead with El Nino

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians can expect hotter and drier days till September as an El Nino phenomenon is forming.

While the real extent of the El Nino impact could only be gauged sometime in August, more open burning was expected to contribute to more haze, the Meterological Department said in a report.

Malaysia experiences a hot and dry season in the months of June, July and August and temperatures range between 33C to 34C.

It is understood that temperatures could soar another 3C during El Nino.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) satellite report had identified 125 hot spots in the country since May 25 to June 7.

“The ministry has taken a pro-active measure by reviving the committee which monitors hot spots.

A national haze main committee meeting was held in February and June 8 and local government agencies have been ordered to be on a stand-by for any eventuality,” he said after launching the ‘Genting Goes Green’ at First World Plaza, Genting Highlands Resort Tuesday.

In a further preventive measure, the ministry has continued to increase its monitoring on the situation via daily aerial surveillance with co-operation from the police air unit and private airline companies, said Douglas.

“Emphasis is given to areas that are prone to fires such as Selangor, Pahang and Johor, especially peat swamps and garbage landfills.

“We have also roped in commercial airlines such as Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia to help report open burning cases that they spot while up in the air,” he said.

The ASMC report also showed that there is an increase of hot spots in Sumatera and Kalimantan, Indonesia, totalling to 996 and 108 hotspots.

Douglas added that the country’s Air Pollution Index (API) has slightly deteriorated and now stands at 51 to 100, which is moderate.

“This has caused it to be slightly hazy. This hazy situation happened because of a stable atmosphere with a high humidity level of above 85%.

“This leads to air pollutants such as dust and emissions from vehicles and industries to collect and continue increasing in the air space, thus causing poor visibility,” he said.

According to a Meterological Department report on June 8, visibility at certain areas in Prai, Bayang Lepas, Subang, Petaling Jaya, Malacca and Kuantan has deteriorate to between 6km to 9km

Monday, June 8, 2009

Shahrizat defends Sisters in Islam

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has come to the defence of Sisters In Islam (SIS), which PAS wants banned if its activities were against the religion, saying the Islamist party should learn to accept differing views.

The Women, Family and Community Development Minister said if PAS could not even accommodate the differing views of some Muslim women activists, “how can they tolerate the dissenting non-Muslim voices?”

Although the ministry did not always see eye-to-eye with any non-governmental organisations or individuals on certain matters, it had never called for any punishment against them, she said in a press statement Monday.

PAS adopted a motion on Sunday at its 55th muktamar, urging the National Fatwa Council to declare SIS haram if its activities were found to be contrary to the Islamic teachings and principles.

The party alleged that the group’s activities were “dangerous” as it could cause confusion among the Muslims.

The motion also urged the council to introduce special programmes to rehabilitate the group’s members so that they could come back to the “right religious track”.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat and DAP - PAS’ partners in the Pakatan Rakyat - are also disturbed by the motion.

PKR voiced its disagreement, particularly with the call for SIS members to be rehabilitated.

“Freedom of speech and association are cherished principles under a modern and democratic state. Differing and dissenting views (and association) are not only allowed but should be protected as these are the essence of a democratic and fair society,” said its vice president Mustaffa Kamil Ayub.

He said the correct way was to engage and debate with any organisation in a mature and civilised manner rather than seeking to ban it and punish its members.

DAP lambasted PAS over the motion, saying that it wanted the Islamist party to hold on the principle of democracy and freedom of speech of which the two parties has agreed upon.

Its Women National Secretary Teresa Kok said such a ban would be against human rights, adding that SIS was free to express its opinion.

“To ban or declare it haram means an iron fist way of doing things that should not be allowed to be turned into a culture,” she said in a statement.

Malaysian Bar president Ragunath Kesavan expressed alarm over the motion, also saying dialogue and debate should be the way and not silencing differing views.

“We call on PAS to move away from the typical Malaysian political approach of imposing a ban merely because of disagreement over differing viewpoints,” he said.

Wanita Gerakan secretary general Jayanthi Devi Balaguru said such a motion was a glaring reminder that the state of women’s affairs in Malaysia was still in its infancy.

She expressed disappointment that in this case, religion had apparently been used to divide and coerce.

Meanwhile, Selangor Islamic Religious Affairs Department (Jais) director-general Datuk Muhammed Khusrin Munawi was supportive of PAS’ call, noting that the group was too liberal when it came to issues relating to Islamic family law.

He said most of SIS members were not qualified to comment on Islam as they did not have an Islamic studies background.

Selangor Mufti Datuk Mohd Tamyes Abd Wahid agreed, saying SIS’ activities and efforts were contradictory to Islamic teachings

Kamarudin: Decision to retire made before Muktamar

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar, who relinquished his PAS secretary-general post immediately after the party’s Muktamar, is not seeking reappointment.

Kamarudin said that even if the party leadership wanted to retain him in the post, he would have to decline.

“I need to spend more time with my family. My wife is not well,’’ he said Monday.

Kamarudin, however, said that he would remain as central working committee member as he was elected to the post by the delegates.

He also denied talk that he was stepping down because his close ally Datuk Husam Musa had lost in the race for the deputy presidency.

“My decision to retire was made even before the Muktamar. The outcome of the party elections has no bearing on my decision,’’ he said.

Kamarudin, 58, said party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang would be appointing a new secretary-general and other office-bearers soon.

He said major changes was likely in the new line-up of office-bearers and that he was “confident the party has enough capable leaders to be appointed to the posts.”

Kamarudin, who is also Tumpat MP, served as PAS secretary-general for two terms from 2005. PAS holds elections biennially

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jaya Supermarket Collapse: 4 dead, search on for 3

PETALING JAYA: Another body was recovered from the rubble of the collapsed Jaya Supermarket building at 4pm on Friday, taking the death toll to four.

Indonesian Annuaruddin, 38, was the excavator operator and was found trapped under the machine, said OCPD Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed.

Early Friday morning another body - that of Muhamad Maskur, an Indonesian national aged 31, - was found at 3.30am pinned under a concrete slab in the car park.

On Thursday, after the building collapse, Alsuki Nahru, 58, and a yet to be identified man were the first two victims recovered.

He said that rescue personnel were trying to get to three more workers trapped under the debris of the collapsed Jaya Supermarket located by search dogs and a scope.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the trapped workers were near the bodies pulled from the rubble earlier.

He told reporters after visiting the site that rescuers were being hampered by the large amount of debris.

"I would like to get an explanation from the contractor involved in the demolition on the methods the company has used.

"I am going to put a working paper on this incident. A task force will also be formed to probe the collapse involving the local council, police and the Fire and Rescue Department," he said.

On Thursday, the building collapsed at 5pm while demolition work was going on, killing four Indonesian workers.

Two other workers were pulled out alive.

Bernama reported Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Lajim Ukim as saying that initial investigation indicated that overloading caused by heavy machines used in demolishing the former Jaya Supermarket building may have triggered the collapse.

He said eight heavy demolition tractors were in the building when the incident occurred.

Meanwhile, the Selangor government has issued a stopwork order on the project site.

This is to allow the Department of Occupational Safety and Health and Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram) to study and report on the incident.

"The stopwork order is for seven days from today," Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said when asked to comment on the incident after chairing the Selangor Economic Action Council meeting, here, Friday.

Meanwhile, in Petaling Jaya Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said in a statement Friday that the building collapse was another stark reminder that safety at the workplace should not be taken for granted.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman stressed the importance of carrying out risk assessments before construction work was done.

“The collapse of the old Jaya supermarket building highlights once again the consequences of not implementing good occupational safety and health practices at the workplace.

“It is sad that it takes another tragedy for people to realise what is going to happen if one takes safety at the workplace for granted,” he said in a statement Friday.

“Proper risk assessment is the most fundamental issue of commitment to safety. Unless and until this issue is addressed, accidents such as this will continue to happen in the future,” he said.

Sabah to get a heart centre ahead of schedule: Liow

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will get a heart centre almost five years ahead of schedule following the purchase of the private Sabah Medical Centre building at Jalan Damai here.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the cardiology and cardio thoracic services would be available almost immediately after the inking of the sales and purchase agreement for the takeover of the private hospital building.

“We expect the agreement to be signed very soon and the cardiac centre will be in place ahead by three to four years of the original plan,” he said, adding that the new building would be equipped with a cathlab, operation theatres and an Intensive Care Unit.

“Sabah will have its own heart centre and people need not travel to Kuala Lumpur or Kuching for operations as all facilities will be available locally,” Liow told reporters after a working visit to the SMC building Friday.

The government had agreed to buy the private hospital building at a cost of RM280mil to overcome the shortage of beds and other service problems following the closure of the unsafe Queen Elizabeth Hospital tower block.

Liow also clarified that the cost was RM280mil and not RM245mil as initially announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said another RM90mil would be spent on upgrading works for the establishment of two additional operating theatres on top of the three already in the building.

Liow said the Health Ministry would also look into the limited parking area at the SMC building and other issues that might crop up.

He also slammed opposition Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) for putting up billboards allegedly claiming that “the state has no general hospital following the Queen Elizabeth closure”.

“They are trying to gain political mileage through health issues. It is wrong to say that there is no general hospital here.

“The ministry has taken a lot effort to continue providing health services through commitment from all staff,” he said, adding there now 502 beds available at various hospitals in the state.

Liow said the ministry would also go ahead with plans to demolish the unsafe QEH tower block and construct a new twin tower block

Student arrested for throwing away baby

KUANTAN: A female student of a religious secondary school, near here, was arrested after admitting that she had thrown away a baby boy near a house in Balok Makmur.

She claimed she had been raped and the child was the result.

Kuantan police chief ACP Mohd Jasmani Yusoff said the 16-year-old's mother brought her daughter to the Kuantan police headquarters around 11am Friday.

"The student confessed and was arrested under Section 318 of the Penal Code for concealing the birth.

“However, she was then sent to the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital (HTAA) for postpartum treatment," he said when met by reporters, here.

He said the student had also filed a police report stating that a friend had raped her and that had led to her pregnancy.

"Police are investigating the student's report," he said. On Thursday, the body of a newborn baby boy was found wrapped in newspaper with a note in a village in Balok Makmur.

The body was found by villager Mohd Hafiz Ismail, 32, near his house while he was going out to work.

The note said, "please bury him as I am unable to." - Bernama

PKA chairman Lee hands over audit report to MACC

PUTRAJAYA: Port Klang Authority chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng has handed over the audit report on the Port Klang Free Zone to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office here on Friday.

Lee, who arrived at the office shortly before 8am, said he spent about 10 minutes with deputy commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohammad.

He also told reporters that both PKA and Price Waterhouse Coopers, which carried out the audit, pledged total cooperation with MACC in the probe.

Asked if PKA would take any disciplinary action against those named in the report, Lee said it would leave to MACC to investigate the matter first before PKA follow-up on it.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has directed Lee to submit a copy of the report to the commission and the Public Accounts Committee.

Ong said the authority had also been ordered to seek legal recourse for any contractual shortcomings or irregularities revealed in the report.

The report would be available online at for a period of two weeks while the appendices to the report would be available for public viewing during office hours at PKA at Jalan Pelabuhan, Port Klang until June 10.

Students to get discounts for motorbike licenses

KUALA LUMPUR: Concerned about the rising number of students who ride their motorcycles to school without a licence, the Road Safety Department and Safety Driving Centre has decided to offer them licences at a discounted rate from next month.

A survey conducted among secondary school students found that many of them did not possess a valid licence because the cost was beyond their reach, Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh said.

He said parents should not allow their children to ride motorcycles without a licence as the authorities would take stern action against them in addition to confiscating the vehicle.

“Under the motorcycle licence promotion campaign, those who are applying for the B2 class of below 250cc will get a 50% discount from June 1 to Aug 31,” he told reporters after signing a memorandum of understanding between the Road Safety Department and Safety Driving Centre here Friday.

The three-month promotion is targeted at secondary school students aged between 15 and 19 and the licence package starts from RM199.

“There are no more excuses for students who don’t have a motorcycle licence; they can apply for it at the Safety Driving Centre in Petaling Jaya and Kelana Jaya,” he added.

In conjunction with the school holidays which started Friday, Suret also highlighted the need for motorists to take extra precautions when returning to their hometowns.

Meanwhile, the Road Safety Department has kick-started a road safety campaign at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Chow Kit in an effort to create public awareness on road safety issues.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jaya Supermarket accident: Workers trapped, one dead

PETALING JAYA: The abandoned Jaya Supermarket in Section 14 here collapsed after demolition operations went awry on Thursday evening.

Part of the four-storey building, a landmark of the city, collapsed at about 4:45pm, trapping nine Indonesian construction workers. Others working at the site managed to escape.

The Fire and Rescue Department received a distress call at 5:08pm and about 50 firemen immediately rushed to the scene.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Soiman Jahid said the first worker was pulled out of the rubble at 5:45pm and followed by the second about fifteen minutes later.

The two injured victims Suriono, 31, and Salleh, 45 were sent to the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).

Rescue workers also recovered the body of a construction worker at 6:44pm.

Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed said Suriono was admitted to the emergency ward while Salleh received outpatient treatment.

“The dead victim has been identified as Maskor, 28,” he said at a press conference at the scene.

He said that six more construction workers were still trapped under the debris.

“We are working on the assumption that they are still alive. The search and rescue operation will continue untill all are accounted for,” he said.

A resident living nearby earlier said he had heard trapped workers shouting “Tolong, tolong (Help, help)” for a while, but there was only silence now.

One trapped worker apparently managed to call his boss on his handphone, and rescue workers are trying to trace him.

By nightfall, an operations centre had been set up and spotlights were used to help with the rescue efforts.

Soiman said the rescue operation involves over 150 personnel from his department, police, the Civil Defence Department, Petaling Jaya City Council and others.

“We are using the tracker dogs to search for the remaining victims,’’ he added.

The building has six storeys, including two basement levels. Most of the workers were on the ground and third floors when the incident, whose cause is currently unknown, occurred.

At one stage, the remaining part of the building was teetering dangerously, reporters on the scene said, with bits and pieces still falling off.

However, the Fire and Rescue Department has confirmed that there are no houses nearby and residents were not in danger.

Lucky survivors
An Indonesian worker Mohamad Iksan, 25, who was carrying out drilling operations in the basement, said he ran out immediately after some concrete slabs fell on the ground not far from him.

“Luckily I was near open space and managed to escape. I only realised part of the building had collapsed after I ran out of the building,” he said.

He said he was working with about eight colleagues during the incident and most of them were at the basement and the highest floor.

Andi, 30, who was on the fifth floor of the building, was taking a break with nine other construction workers when the incident happened.

“I was sitting down when I heard the loud sound of wind rushing past. Then the floor started tilting and we just ran for our lives.

“We rushed to the other end of the building. We are lucky to be alive,” said Andi, who had just started working on the construction site 20 days ago.

Rojak seller Faizal Md Yusof, 25, who was at his van nearby, saw the building “goyang” (sway) and then collapse.

“I saw six cranes falling down along with the building. I just left my van and ran for my life,” he said.

His van was located less than 50m from the collapsed building.

Store manager Lee, 37, said she heard loud booming sounds and looked out of her shoe shop to witness the building collapse.

“There is usually some noise from the construction. When I heard the loud noise, I knew something big fell but I never thought that the whole building would collapse,” she said.

Nomination and polling dates set for Manek Urai seat

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission (EC) has set July 6 as nomination day for the Manek Urai state seat by election while polling will take place on July 14.

The nomination and counting centre will be at Dewan Petra, SMK Sultan Yahya Petra I , Kuala Krai.

Nine schools will be used as polling centres.

“The by-election will cost the EC RM400,00 and 350 election workers will be employed,” its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof told a press conference on Thursday,

“The EC will set up two election campaign enforcement teams that will oversee the installation of campaign material and activities through the campaigning period.”

He reminded political parties to refrain from campaigning on polling day.

Asked about the fact nomination and polling will be held on weekdays, he said it should not be a problem as most of the constituents were farmers, fishermen and rubber tappers, who were not bound by office hours.

The seat fell vacant following the death of state assemblyman Ismail Yaacob last Friday after he suffered a heart attack

Robert Kuok (net worth US$9bil) still Malaysia's richest man

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Robert Kuok, the Kuok Group patriarch, remains Malaysia's richest with a net worth of US$9 billion, down from US$10 billion a year ago, according to the 2009 Forbes Asia Malaysia Rich List.

In a statement here today, Forbes said Kuok has held the top spot every year since Forbes Asia began ranking the 40 richest Malaysians in 2006.

Businessman Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan held on to his second place with a net worth of US$7 billion,just down from US$7.2 billion last year.

He has also maintained the same ranking every year since 2006.

Together, Kouk and Ananda account for 44% of the top 40's wealth.

They are also the two richest people in Southeast Asia.

The third richest is Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng, head of IOI Group, one of the world's leading operators of palm oil plantations.

He is worth US$3.2bil, down from US$5.5 bil last year but keeps his position in the top three.

Malaysia's 40 richest people are worth a combined US$36bil, down from US$46bil a year ago.

It said the 22% loss in wealth is largely in line with the 21% drop in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) and is not too bad, considering the fact that the Malaysian ringgit has lost 10% against the US dollar, the currency by which the net worths are measured.

Malaysia has nine billionaires who are collectively worth US$30bil or 84% of the total wealth amassed by the country's top 40.

This is the biggest wealth disparity among Forbes Asia's rich list.

Tan Sri Vincent Tan (ranked 10, US$750mil) of Berjaya Corporation Bhd is the only Malaysian to drop out of the billionaire ranks in the past 12 months as share prices in his companies have declined.

Three making their debut are IOI Board member Chan Fong Ann (ranked 18, US$209mil), gaming tycoon Tan Sri Chen Lip Keong (ranked 21, US$195mil) and software executive Goh Peng Ooi (ranked 34, US$112mil).

Four people have returned to the rankings after an absence of a year or more.

Among them are Tan Sri Syed Mohd Yusof Tun Syed Nasir (ranked 37, US$100mil) and Tan Sri Tan Teong Hean (ranked 39, US$95mil), who cashed out of Southern Bank several years ago and is now making new investments.

The latest issue of Forbes Asia also features Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, head of conglomerate YTL (ranked seven,US$1.8 billion).

The full list of Malaysia's richest and the story on Francis Yeoh can be found in the June 8 issue of Forbes Asia, which is now available on newsstands. - BERNAMA

quit PKR because I felt betrayed: Aminah

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Former PKR Wanita chief Aminah Abdullah says she quit the party because she felt betrayed after five male PKR leaders ridiculed her at a public function more than two years ago.

One of the five, she said, was state PKR chairman Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim.

Aminah claimed she had recorded the incident, but was not sure whether to release it or not.

“I do not think it is necessary (to reveal it for now).

“If he (Zahrain) throws me a very strong challenge, I will reveal it,” she told reporters at her operations centre in Simpang Tiga, Kubang Ulu here Thursday.

Aminah also claimed she had another “major surprise to announce” when the time was right, adding that it could probably be after the Penanti by-election on May 31.

She said Zahrain had lambasted her and made false allegations on her performance as the then state PKR Wanita chief, in front of the several Wanita division leaders and supreme council members.

She said the incident happened during tea break at a seminar that she had organised on women issues in a hotel in Jawi, South Seberang Prai.

Aminah, who is vying for the Penanti state seat, said she felt terribly humiliated.

“I did not expect them to chide me that way, but I thank God for giving me the wisdom to record the conversation for my own protection.”

She said she recorded conversations, including the recent one with the two PKR leaders Cheah Kah Peng and Peter Lim Eng Nam, because she did not want people “to cause her any trouble later on.”

Aminah, 56, had claimed on Monday that two PKR leaders allegedly offered her the Penang Municipal Council president’s post to withdraw from contesting in the by-election.

If she won, she would be given the Penang Deputy Chief Minister I post to rejoin the party as well as RM80,000 as compensation for what she had spent in preparing for the by-election.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Election Commission are investigating her claims.

On Zahrain’s allegation that she had not done much when she was state PKR Wanita chief, Aminah asked if he had done enough as the present state chief.

She said she did not have problems with Mansor Othman, who is among the three contenders in the Penanti by-election, when he was state PKR chairman before Zahrain took over.

Aminah claimed she did not want to make personal attacks, but said “Zahrain was the one who first started it.”

“He was the one who first challenged me to show proof over the allegation that two PKR leaders offered me positions and money,” she said.

On PKR’s legal notice demanding she retract her allegations against Cheah and Lim, and to make an apology, Aminah said she received it on Thursday and added that her lawyers would handle the matter.

She sarcastically thanked PKR vice-president Azmin Ali for allegedly calling her Minah Ronggeng (folk dancer) in a ceramah (public address), adding that he had previously advised her against name-calling during elections.

Zahrain, when contacted later, said he did not wish to respond to Aminah’s allegations for now, saying it was a waste of time.

“If she wants to sue me and take me to court, let her do so. But if she says anything out of context (about me), I will, in turn, sue her,” he said.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Transcript of the Aminah CD

BUTTERWORTH: An audio recording purportedly a conversation between Independent candidate Aminah Abdullah and PKR supreme council member Cheah Kah Peng and Peter Lim Eng Nam, revealed there were mentions of a Deputy Chief Minister 1’s post and council president’s post being offered.

However, the post of DCM I was offered if the PKR candidate Mansor Othman was disqualified on nomination Day.

“Kalau Mansor hilang layak, Kak Nah akan disokong penuh oleh PKR untuk lawan, menang kerusi itu, jadi TKM. Itu peluang nipis, tetapi kena kira juga. Malik (state exco member Abdul Malik Abul Kassim) and Maktar (Sungai Bakap state assemblyman Maktar Shapee) tak boleh jadi TKM. (If Mansor is disqualified, Kak Nah will get full support of PKR to fight, win the seat and become DCM. That is a small possibility but must be considered. Both Malik and Mohtar cannot become Deputy Chief Minister.),” the duo allegedly were heard saying this during the conversation involving Aminah and her husband, Mohd Rofi over a friendly discussion lasting more than three hours at her house on May 13. Their conversation was purportedly recorded on a cd.

The second offer of the Seberang Prai Municipal Council president’s post apparently would only materialise, if she withdrew from the contest and rejoined the party and sided with the state PKR leaders and Mansor in their quest to oust Penang PKR leader Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim.

Kalau terima counter offer, MPSP YDP siapa lagi? Kita pi rebut itu jawatan untuk Kak Nah, they said. (If the counter offer is accept, who else will become Seberang Prai Municipal Council president? We will go and grab the post for the Kak Nah).

There were also mention of compensation of RM8,000 if Aminah had to forfeit her deposit in the event she had to withdraw from the contest within three days of the nomination day.

The conversation involving Aminah, her husband Mohd Rofi and two other men also touched on the RM80,000 compensation offer either by Mansor or the party for the by-election.

As they discussed, they had lunch. There were sounds of cock crowing in the background and motorcycles passing by. It was also raining quite heavily at the time.

They also talked about two pretty Chinese newspaper reporters, one of whom who got married recently.

The following are the excerpts of the conversation:

One of the two PKR leaders tells Aminah he wanted to provoke Zahrain:

Datuk Zahrain, saya dengar you dan orang you nak biar Dr Mansor kalah ataupun u nak bertanding di Penanti. Joking lah. Orang kata you macam itu. Tak ada lah (quoting Datuk Zahrain). Bukan saya nak buat Mansor.. adalah Malik. Dia pi cakap kepada Lim Guan Eng ada orang lain mahu tanding, takmahu bagi Mansor tanding.

One of them say: Dr Mansor bagus, tetapi slow...dia lemah, lemah lah Dr Mansor ada bagi tahu saya, mungkin ada tengah orang yang mahu kerajaan Pulau Pinang yang lebih tulus (clean),

Memang tak ada dalam pimpinan Melayu, memang tak ada orang nak lawan Zahrain.

Mohd Rofi: Tak ada orang nak lawan Zahrain, tak ada orang. Kita orang sahaja. (laughter) lebih layak ialah Dr Mansor

One of them say: Kita datang sini bukan untuk bincang Kak Nan boleh menang Mansor tetapi buat analysis bersama. Rugi segi tenaga dan impak kita.

Keputusan akhir kita mahu bagi ajaran kepada PKR negeri Pulau Pinang. Ada satu kumpulan tulin dalam parti, kita terima juga dan bawa perubahan, kita mahu boleh bawa perubahan. Tetapi kalau kak tewas dengan tak cantik, itu pun perubahan dalam parti juga.

Kita cadang macam ini. Kita itu hari cadang kepada Tian Chua and Kah Peng, Tian Chua sokong dan terima. Kita bincang sahaja. Makin hari makin image kak tingkat saat akhir,Kak tarik diri dan beri peluang (Kak Min) wish, goodwill kepada Dr Mansor semoga dia berjaya di pilihan kecil ini, bagi teguran buat baik-baik,jangan lembut-lembut (Kak Mins husband)

Kalau you calun, BN ada calun, mungkin ada calun bebas..last minute Kak Aminah bagi teguran kepada Mansor dan undur Kita akan buat statement you undur diri untuk kepentingan (inaudible) dapat tepukan daripada akar ubi PKR and seluruh penyokong PKR, rakyat PP timing mesti cantik kalau terima package ini.

Lepas itu, lepas kemenangan Dr Mansor buat counter offer balik ke pangkuan PKR, Kak Nah balik punya time macam satu pemimpin memihak kepada Dr Mansor, gang kita, menentang Zahrain

Aminah: Bagaimana kita nak menentang Zahrain. Lim and Kah Peng say: Boleh, boleh, ada plan

Aminah: You tahu kah Anwar Ibrahim sayang sangat dia.

They said: Kita tahu tetapi perlembagaan kita akan bertukar bulan enam ini dimana kita nak tambah satu clause yang menyatakan ketua negeri dimasa depan akan dilantik tetapi mesti disokong oleh majority kebahagian kita control bahagian.

Aminah also then asked to return to PKR to attack from within.

Orang kuat seperti Umno kita dapat tewaskan. Apatah Kah Nah calun bebas, tak ada apa-apa kesan. You kena masuk dalam parti impact dalam, baru dia rasa, kita kerjasama, Kita satu kumpulan, tak mahu orang ambil kesempatan, kita halau keluar..kalau Anwar Ibrahim pun kita boleh marah dan serang dia juga. Kalau kita mahu jatuhkan orang, lebih senang dari di dalam.

They then discussed about chances of Barisan not contesting in Penanti and the possibility of Mansor winning without contest if Barisan, PAS and Aminah withdraw and whether for Aminah to withdraw before or after nomination and that she would lose the deposit then.

One of the two say: Tak apa, itu kita minta parti bagi balik RM8,000 kena bayar, Mohd Rofi quips : RM8 juta (laughter).

They also talk about Aminah going into the contest as insurance in case Mansor is disqualified.

Kalau Mansor hilang layak, Kak Nan akan di sokong penuh oleh PKR untuk lawan, menang kerusi itu, jadi TKM. ..itu peluang nipis, tetapi kena kira juga. Malik and Mohtar cannot possibly be TKM.

Aminah: Mansor itu baik orang, tetapi dia tak cakap banyak, dia punya pr kurang, lagi mahu senyum pun susah Kah Peng: Kalau terima counter offer, MPSP YDP siapa lagi? Kita pi rebut itu jawatan untuk kak Nah.

Aminah: Kah Nan survey juga. Dia orang cakap, apa lah image PKR, sudah taruh Fairus, sekarang bagi dia jatuh pula, ini mahu taruh Dr Mansor, ini siapa orang, kita orang tak kenal.

Kah Peng: Selepas penamaan tengok lah. Kalau one to one, kalau peluang pihak ke Aminah, Aminah terus lawan, kalau peluang u 34-40 sahaja, dia 60, lebih baik, bagi dia, tak payah..dia jimat duit, dia bagi gantirugi kepada pihak kita tetapi persetujuan mesti dibuat sebelum penamaan

Kah Peng: Kalau OK, kita bincang dengan Dr Mansor. Berapa yang you belanjakan di bayar oleh Dr Mansor atau party.

Mohd Rofi: Kita ada bukti. Kita rakamkan masa perhubungan negeri. You pun tak tahu. Kita rakam empat benda.

Kah Peng said even if there is agreement, Aminah must start with her campaign like operations room, banner

Mohd Rofi: Kita semua ada. Kita mahu angkat (symbol) kunci,

Kah Peng: Bila ada persetujuan, berapa yang kamu belanja Dr Mansor atau party akan bayar balik.

When asked about the budget, Mohd Rofi then tells him that they so far spent RM80,000.

They also talk about two possible by-elections in Kedah, about Anwar allegedly offering Fairus the DPM post and their plan to fight Zahrain

Monday, May 25, 2009

PPP state chief: What EGM?

IPOH: Perak PPP chairman Datuk Lee Heng said neither he nor his committee received any notice of the People’s Progressive Party’s extraordinary general meeting on Sunday that “elected” Datuk T. Murugiah as president.

“There were also party outsiders at the EGM that elected Murugiah as ‘so-called’ president,” he claimed at a press conference Monday.

Lee Heng, also PPP deputy president, said he and his committee pledged their full support behind party president M. Kayveas.

“Kayveas has built the party up to what it is today, with half a million members,” he said, urging Murugiah to resign from his senatorship and deputy minister’s post.

On Sunday Murugiah, who had earlier been expelled from the party, was elected “president” by about 1,760 supporters in what they claimed was an EGM.

The members also passed a resolution to reinstate six other members who were sacked along with Murugiah and for a no-confidence vote against Kayveas.

Aminah claims she was offered top posts, RM80,000

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Independent candidate Aminah Abdullah claimed she had been offered the post of Penang Municipal Council president and RM80,000 in compensation if she would withdraw from the May 31 Penanti by-election.

If she did contest and won, she would have been given the Deputy Chief Minister 1 post, she claimed at a press conference at her makeshift election centre in Kubang Ulu here Monday morning.

Aminah said that two “top PKR leaders” had approached her at her home in Jelutong on May 13 to make the offers, which she alleged had come with the blessings of PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Claiming she had as evidence, audio on CD and a video-clip on a handphone, Aminah, 56, said she would be lodging a report with the Election Commission on Tuesday at 11am.

Aminah later made a report at the Central Seberang Prai district police headquarters, saying she feared for her safety.

The Deputy Chief Minister 1 post and Penanti state seat were left vacant by Mohamed Fairus Khairudin earlier this year while he was under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged corruption.

The MACC has since cleared him of any wrongdoing, but Fairus said he now wants to further his studies.

Arrayed against Aminah in the Penanti by-election are Penang PKR deputy chairman Mansor Othman, 59, and independents manufacturing manager Nai Khan Ari, 41, and businessman Kamarul Ramizu Idris, 42.

“I have all the evidence on CD and will distribute this to the media soon to tell the people the truth about this man named Anwar Ibrahim,” Aminah said, accompanied by her husband Mohd Rofi and her eldest daughter Hernanie, 25.

She said her family members were witnesses to the meeting between her and the two PKR leaders, and they had recorded the full meeting which had lasted about three hours.

She said the same leaders also met her again twice after that, once more at her home and a third time at an office in Seberang Jaya, within a week.

“The offer was made as they claim that Dr Mansor is a weak and unpopular leader and might lose in the by-election,” she said.

Aminah, the former Penang PKR Wanita chief, first made the allegations last Saturday after filing her papers at the nomination centre.

PKR strategy director Tian Chua scoffed at her allegations, saying that PKR were the favourites to win the by-election.

He said the party would be initiating legal action against Aminah later Monday unless she retracted her statement and apologised for it.

He had previously urged her to also lodge a report with the MACC.

On Monday, Aminah said she would leave it to the Election Commission to take the matter up with the graft-busting agency.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Penanti by-election

BUKIT MERTAJAM: It is a four-cornered fight for the Penanti by-election on May 31.

The candidates were PKR's Mansor Othman and three independents - former Penang PKR Wanita chief Aminah Abdullah, company manager Nai-Khan Ari, 41, and motivational expert Kamarul Ramizu Idris, 42.

Returning officer Roslan Yahaya announced this at noon today.

Nomination papers from independent businessman Mohd Saberi Othman, 49, were not accepted.

When asked, Roslan told reporters that Mohd Saberi had not fulfilled all the conditions required for him to stand as candidate in Penanti but declined to elaborate further.

Attempts to get Mohd Saberi for his comments were unsuccessful.

Earlier, Mohd Saberi had joined the other four candidates in filing his nomination papers at the Youth Skills Development Institute here.

Six objections were raised during the objection period, including one against Kamarul's proposer, who is said to be not from Penanti.

Kamarul has stood as an independent and lost in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary against by-election.

The nomination process for the Penanti by-election was quieter than the other polls held previously.

Although some Pakatan Rakyat supporters have turned up at the nomination centre at the Youth Skills Development Institute here today, there was no taunting and shouting that have marred other by-elections.

However, the police were not taking any chance.

A police helicopter was spotted circling above the area while some 300 personnel have been mobilised to keep watch over the crowds.

The earliest to arrive today was Aminah, who came to the centre at 7.45am.

She was followed by Mohd Saberi and Nai-Kan, then Mansor.

Many of the Pakatan Rakyat leaders have turned up at the centre to give their support to Mansor.

Barisan Nasional has decided on May 18 to sit out on the by-election.

According to the 2008 electoral roll that was updated on April 16, the seat has a total of 15,384 registered voters, including 24 postal voters.

The electorate comprises 72.68% Malays, 24.22% Chinese, 2.39% Indians and 0.71% others.

The Penanti seat fell vacant after Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin quit as assemblyman on April 16 after stepping down as Penang Deputy Chief Minister (DCM) I on April 8.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Muhyiddin: Ahmad Said to remain as Terengganu MB

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu state government will continue to be helmed by Datuk Ahmad Said as the menteri besar, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, said a change of menteri besar was never raised or discussed.

“Who said (there will be a change in the menteri besar)? So far, I have not heard of anything like that,” he said when asked to comment on talks that there would be a change of menteri besar in the state soon.

Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, spoke to reporters after launching the national level Teacher’s Day celebration at the Islamic Civilisation Park in Pulau Wan Man Saturday.

There had been talks that several Terengganu Barisan Nasional assemblymen had voiced their dissatisfaction with Ahmad and wanted him to be replaced.

It was speculated that Barisan assemblymen would table a no-confidence vote against Ahmad in the state assembly in April but this did not happen.

However, 10 Barisan assemblymen stayed away from the assembly session on the second day sitting after three of them claimed to have received threats via SMS.

Muhyiddin said he hoped that with his clarification, the political situation in Terengganu would improve because it was more important for Umno and the Barisan to be strong in the state to face the next general election.

“I hope all Umno leaders, including the elected representatives and divisional chairmen, would adopt new approaches to foster greater understanding among themselves.

“The people have given their mandate. We have to focus on developing Terengganu because the state abounds with resources. It garners much revenue and has oil,” he said. -- Bernama

PPP's Murugiah and six party members sacked

KUALA LUMPUR: Senator Datuk T. Murugiah and six others have been expelled from the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) by its disciplinary board for allegedly tarnishing the good name of the party and trying to get it de-registered.

Party president Datuk M. Kayveas said Murugiah, a supreme council member, was sacked for using his deputy minister’s office in the Prime Minister’s Department to organise a press conference for his personal assistant Dr N.A. Shanmuganathan, and making defamatory remarks against the party and its leadership.

“Murugiah used a bankrupt to carry out the defamatory remarks so that the party would not be able to take any legal action against the bankrupt,” he said during tea break at the party’s supreme council meeting Saturday.

He added that Murugiah also threatened the party lawyer and a supreme council member by saying that he would use all his powers to get PPP de-registered.

The others who were expelled were M. Jeyaratnam, Shanmuganathan, K. Tanggaraju, S. Kanesan, S. Saravanan and R. Rajandran.

They can appeal to the supreme council in writing, within 14 days from the date of the decision, Kayveas said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, when asked if he would intervene in the dispute between Kayveas and Murugiah, said: “I am thinking about it. I have not decided what position to take.”

On a threat by Kayveas to pull out from Barisan Nasional, Najib said anything to do with the ruling coalition would be discussed at its supreme council meeting.

Meanwhile, earlier in IPOH, Murugiah had maintained that “everything was going well” between him and Kayveas.

Asked if he was willing to meet Kayveas over the matter, he said: “He is still my boss, my leader. I respect him as a leader. I am still loyal to him.” However, when pressed if he would meet his president, Murugiah declined comment.

Murugiah, who heads the Public Complaints Bureau, added that his relationship with Kayveas was “still the same” as he still considered the latter as his leader.

He also clarified that he met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and not Kayveas, to relate his side of the story after allegations of the money politics broke out.

He said he needed to clarify the matter with Najib because these were serious allegations that would affect the Government and the Cabinet.

Selangor PPP and supporters of Murugiah lashed out at Kayveas, accusing him of corruption and misusing his powers.

Disgruntled state exco members said they would call for an emergency general meeting next week and table a motion of no-confidence against Kayveas and Selangor PPP chairman Datuk Maglin D’Cruz.

“We are doing this because of his (Kayveas’) actions to sack members without consulting the disciplinary board as well Maglin’s negligence towards the members,” said PPP Selayang branch chairman, K. Tanggaraju in a press conference at Brickfields.

There were nine out of 18 Selangor PPP exco members who were present at the press conference but Tanggaraju assured that there are 12 in total who will support the motion of no confidence against Kayveas.

It also learnt that Dr. Shanmuganathan and Selangor PPP members filed a police report against Kayveas later today and requested MACC and ROS to investigate the party’s accounts.

Eleven more immigrants from Juru depot admitted for leptospirosis

GEORGE TOWN: Eleven more illegal immigrants from the Juru detention centre were admitted to Bukit Mertajam Hospital with leptospirosis on Friday.

State Exco for Health and Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Phee Boon Poh said they were sent to hospital after coming down with fever.

Thirteen out of the earlier 26 detainees infected with leptospirosis, have been discharged from the Bukit Mertajam Hospital, he said, adding that now 22 detainees remained at the hospital while another two are at the Seberang Jaya Hospital.

“The disease has been contained. The people should not panic as the outbreak was only confined to the centre. I assure the neighbourhood that there is nothing to be scared of. We believe the problem will die down in one or two days,” he said.

A 21-year-old detainee from Myanmar died of the bacterial disease on Tuesday after he was being admitted to the Bukit Mertajam Hospital on May 7.

Phee said the state health department has checked the water sources, the food and the handlers, as well as carried out fumigation, disinfection and extermination of rodents at all four blocks of the centre.

“When the disease first hit, the wardens, due to lack of medical knowledge, thought it was a normal everyday sickness and an isolated case. After the death of the first patient, the department moved in and acted quickly,” he said.

Leptospirosis outbreaks are usually caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, such as rodents, cattle, pigs, horses, dogs and wild animals.

People become infected through eating, drinking or contact with urine-contaminated water, food or soil. It does not spread from human to human.

Bukit Tengah assemblyman Ong Chin Wen said residents in the nearby Perkampungan Juru were worried that the disease might spread to the neighbouring areas.

“We hope the state health department and Seberang Prai Municipal Council will ensure the depot is thoroughly cleaned and closely monitored to contain the disease,” he said.

Perkampungan Juru Village Security and Development Committee chairman Chiam Thcek Owing, 49, said it was time for the centre to be relocated elsewhere because the nearest residential area was about 30m from the camp.

“SJK(C) True Light is also just behind the camp. We are not prejudiced toward the detainees, but we fear of any outbreak that may affect our densely populated area,” he said.

A (H1N1): Second confirmed case in Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: A second Malaysian has been confirmed with the Influenza A (H1N1) virus at the Penang Hospital, said Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat.

Dr Ramlee said the patient, a female student in the United States, was admitted after she sought treatment for fever at the Penang Hospital on Friday evening and it was found that she had been travelling on the same flight as the first patient.

As in the first case, she too only developed a fever after returning home and the results of medical test by the Medical Research Institute yesterday morning confirmed she had the influenza, he said.

He said she was one of 16 suspected A(H1N1) patients warded at various hospital around the country as at yesterday evening but 12 others had been tested negative while the remainder three were still waiting for results.

The other suspected patients, he said, were warded at the Sungai Buloh Hospital (9), Tengku Fauziah Hospital in Perlis (2), Malacca Hospital (2), Penang Hospital (1) and Sultan Aminah Hospital in Johor (1).

Dr Ramlee said the latest patient was part of a group of four friends, including the 21-year-old confirmed with the virus at the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Friday, who had travelled on the MH 091 flight from Newark, United States and arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Wednesday morning.

The two other friends and the family members of the female student, he said, had been placed under quarantine at home but none showed signs of the symptoms linked to the H1N1.

“Both the patients confirmed with the influenza virus are receiving treatment and are being closely monitored but they no longer have any fever and are in stable condition,” he told a press conference here.

He said the ministry had also placed under quarantine at home staff at a private clinic who came into contact with the first patient when he sought initial treatment there but they and the five family members of the first patient, who are also under quarantine at home, were healthy.

Dr Ramlee also said that 81 Malaysians and 38 foreigners of the total 192 passengers and crew members on board flight MH091, were still in Malaysia and their contact details obtained from the flight manifest had been sent to the respective state health departments so they be contacted and their conditions monitored.

As for the remainder 73 passengers, he said, their details would be handed over to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be forwarded to the respective countries they had travelled to.

“I also want to thank 35 passengers on the flight who called us after the first case was highlighted through media reports and we have forwarded their details to the respective state health departments to be quarantined at home and monitored,” he said.

Health officials will visit all those under quarantine at home twice daily to offer assistance since those affected cannot leave their homes for seven days to even perform simple tasks like going to the market, he said.

He said the ministry also identified three passengers from the same flight, including a Malaysian, who were to leave Malaysia on Friday and placed them under quarantine at the Sungai Buloh Hospital since they had checked out of their hotel rooms and had no where else to stay. They will be allowed to continue their journey on May 20.

Asked is the ministry would take action against any flight passengers who tried to avoid being contacted, Dr Ramlee said it could take legal action under the Infectious Disease Control Act 1988 but hoped those involved would act responsibly by cooperating with the efforts to control the disease.

On whether it was advisable to wear masks in public due to the outbreaks of diseases like A(H1N1) and meningitis, he said it was more sensible for those coughing, sneezing or having running nose to wear masks and avoid infecting others since anyone within a metre of patients with A (H1N1) was in danger of being infected.

He also reiterated the ministry call for people not to panic after the second case surfaced as the detection of the patient proved the health authorities were on top of things and had the problem under control.

“We have been conducting non-stop screening of travellers coming from countries where there are A (H1N1) cases and have screened 88,644 since WHO issued an alert; yesterday alone we screened 7,528 passengers comprising 400 coming in by sea, 773 by land and the rest by air,” he said.

Malaysia Airlines has located and grounded its crew members who were on flight MH091 from the United States, said its director of operations Datuk Tajuden Abu Bakar.

He said the 15 crew members had been taken off the roster for a seven-day home quarantine as a precautionary measure.

“Malaysia Airlines confirms that the flight MH091 from Newark arriving at KL International Airport on May 13 at 7.15am was on transit at Arlanda, Stockholm where 80 passengers disembarked.

“From Arlanda, 199 people including 184 passengers and 15 crew members arrived in Kuala Lumpur,” he said, adding that the national carrier has since been in contact with the Arlanda authorities to provide them with the passenger list for monitoring purposes.

“Malaysia Airlines would like to reiterate that it will continue to monitor the situation closely and co-operate with the Health Ministry and relevant authorities to ensure all preventive and control measures are in place,” he said. MAS has also clarified that none of its pilots were warded as reported yesterday.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin urged Malaysians not to panic with the confirmed cases of A(H1N1) as the Health Ministry is well prepared and has taken the right measures from the very beginning.

He said the ministry’s past experiences with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) have equipped it well to deal with the present situation.

“The Government is doing its part in trying to contain the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) by screening passengers at airports, putting in place quarantine procedures and treatment of proven cases with the relevant anti viral,” he said in a statement.

He added that although the virus is not as virulent as first expected, and recovery is the norm, the public is advised to abide by the ministry’s guideline and to co-operate with the authorities to help contain the disease.

“Members of the public with flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches and cough should see a doctor immediately especially if they fall under the high risk group such as young children, the elderly and those who have chronic diseases.

“The MMA has already sent out the ministry’s diagnostic guidelines to its branches to disseminate the information amongst all its members. Doctors are advised to keep a high index of suspicion and to report suspicious cases to the relevant authorities,” he said.

He added that doctors are also advised to educate their patients as to the risks, the precautions to take and how to seek help without causing alarm.

All passengers on the said Malaysia Airlines flight are urged to contact the Health Ministry at 03-8881 0200 or 03-8881 0300. They could also go to any hospital, clinic or health office for a follow-up action

Friday, May 15, 2009

Malaysia confirms first case of A(H1N1) flu

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Friday confirmed its first case of the A(H1N1) flu in a 21-year-old student who returned from the United States on Wednesday morning.

All passengers on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH091 from Newark on Wednesday are urged to contact the Health Ministry by calling 03-88810200 or 03-88810300

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the case made Malaysia the 36th country to be affected by the virus.

Health officers at the Sungai Buloh Hospital on high alert after the first A (H1N1) flu case found in a 21-year-old student who returned from the United States on Wednesday morning.

“Malaysia is now on high alert,” said Liow, who is in London now, enroute to Geneva, for a World Health Organisation meeting. He added he would return earlier than his scheduled return next Friday.

Liow said Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha who is now the acting Health Minister would hold a press conference with the deputy health director general Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat at Putra Jaya at 3pm

Meanwhile, A statement by the Health Ministry's director-general, Dr. Ismail Merican, said the young man was hospitalised on Thursday for fever, sore throat and body aches.

Tests confirmed that he was infected with the A(H1N1) virus, the statement said. He is receiving anti-viral treatment and was in stable condition, it said.

Ismail said the ministry had contacted members of his family but they have not been placed under quarantine.

Ismail said his department was taking steps to protect public health and that there was no reason to panic.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that a man from Bukit Mertajam held under observation at the isolation ward of the Penang Hospital has been declared free of Influenza A (H1N1).

"We just got a report that the blood test on the 26-year-old man was negative," State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said when contacted by Bernama Friday.

A test on a sample of his blood had been sent to Kuala Lumpur.

The man was kept for observation Thursday after he was found to have fever and symptoms similar to those of Influenza A (H1N1) on his return from the United States.

Two weeks ago, a New Zealand tourist was admitted to the isolation ward of the hospital for suspected Influenza A (H1N1) but a blood test also showed up negative.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Perak State Election Does Not Have To Happen - Najib

PUTRAJAYA, May 14 (Bernama) -- A fresh state election is only one of the options to resolve the Perak political crisis and not something that has to happen, said Dato' Sri Najib Razak.

The prime minister said it was up to the Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan to decide whether a fresh election should be held for Perak.

Speaking to reporters after attending the public sector's Workers Day assembly here, Najib said Barisan Nasional was not afraid of facing any eventuality, including a fresh state election, if that was the decision.

"We are ready to face the people," he said.

Najib was asked about the possibility of another election for Perak to end the current political crisis in the state.

On Monday, the High Court ruled that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is the rightful Menteri Besar after finding that the post could only be deemed vacant through a vote of no-confidence in the state assembly.

But Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir filed an appeal against the decision in the Court of Appeal, allowing him to remain as Menteri Besar while waiting for the decision on the appeal case.

On the Barisan Nasional Convention which was supposed to be held early this year, Najib said it would be held later after some important matters had been sorted out.

On the position of Senator Datuk T. Murugiah as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department following the crisis in the People's Progressive Party (PPP), he said a decision had not been made.

"We have to first look at the situation and developments," he said.