Penanti: Strong Endorsement for PKR-Pakatan Rakyat

penanti by election pakatan leaders ceramah sivakumar nik aziz anwar tian chua 280509 10

Latest from Penanti :

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim this evening paid tribute to the Pakatan Rakyat election machinery and the voters in Penanti for the victory of PKR candidate  Dr. Mansor Othman. “In the past 14 months, the voters have faced an election three times (including his own parliamentary constituency of Permatang Pauh).

Despite this, they have not wavered from supporting Pakatan Rakyat’s agenda for change. The results show that ‘justice’ is still supported by the people,” he said. Anwar also commended the people of Penanti for “making the right choice” in endorsing Dr. Mansor as their representative and the future Deputy Chief Minister of Penang.

Congratulations to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PKR-Pakatan Rakyat and Dr. Mansor Othman for this splendid victory and Terima Kasih to the People of Penanti for Your Unwavering Endorsement

May 31, 2009
Mansor wins with 5,558 majority
by Malaysiakini Team in Penanti

 penanti by election mansor victory7.20pm: OFFICIAL RESULTS Mansor wins the seat by garnering 6,052 votes. His nearest rival is Nai Khan with 494, followed by Aminah with 392. Kamarul obtained 56 votes. Mansor’s majority is 5,558 votes. All three independents lost their deposits. The win for Dr Mansor  Othman– after a series of three previous electoral defeats – now opens the door for him to be appointed as the new Deputy Chief Minister of Penang A blog entry by DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, whose son Guan Eng is the chief minister, said that Mansor will be sworn in on Wednesday.

Only 7,100 people cast their votes in what is clearly a historic low turnout – standing at only 46.15 percent. There were a total of 15,384 registered voters in the constituency. Nai Khan had done very well in two polling areas – Teluk Wang which has many Thai residents and Sungai Lembu, a Gerakan stronghold. Nai Khan is the first Thai descendant to contest in an election in Malaysia. He is also a former Penang Gerakan Youth leader.

In Teluk Wang, Nai Khan obtained 154 votes as opposed to Mansor’s 180, Aminah, 21, and Kamarul, 1. In Sungai Lembu, Nai Khan garnered 102 votes, coming behind Mansor’s 258. Aminah and Kamarul gained two votes each.

Aminah did well in the Malay areas of Mengkuang, Kuala Mengkuang and Guar Perahu. She also won the battle for the postal votes by getting 12, followed by Kamarul, 7, Mansor, 2, and Nai Khan, 0.

7.13pm: Mansor leading with 6,266 votes against Aminah (390), Nai Khan Ari (534) and Kamarul (48).

7.05pm: Mansor has now raced to a 4,980-vote majority. He has garnered 5,309 votes while Aminah has 329, Nai Khan (301) and Kamarul (44).

6.50pm: The independents are now looking at losing their deposits paid to the Election Commission. While Mansor is surging away with 4,289 votes, Aminah, Nai Khan and Kamarul are rooted at 258, 273 and 26 votes respectively.

6.45pm: Mansor now has 3,431 votes. Nai Khan has overtaken Aminah by polling 243, with the latter garnering 223. Kamarul has 24 votes. Mansor’s majority is now 3,188 votes.

6.35pm: PKR’s Dr. Mansor Othman wins the Penanti state seat. He obtained 3,222 votes while Aminah Abdullah got 180, Nai Khan Ari (235), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (24). The total number of votes counted so far stands at 3,661 and with only 7,100 people voting, it is mathematically impossible for the rest to overtake him now.

6.30pm: With about 40 percent of votes counted so far – PKR’s Mansor Othman (2,964), Aminah Abdullah (178), Nai Khan Ari (133), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (22).

6.25pm: PKR’s Dr. Mansor Othman (2,517), Aminah Abdullah (153), Nai Khan Ari (71), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (20). Mansor’s majority right now is 2,364 votes, beating the 2,219 majority achieved by PKR in the 2008 general election.

6.20pm: PKR’s Dr. Mansor Othman (2,089), Aminah Abdullah (114), Nai Khan Ari (63), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (16).

6.15pm: PKR’sDr. Mansor Othman (1,863), Aminah Abdullah (100), Nai Khan Ari (62), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (14).

Counting took place in 10 polling districts – Guar Perahu, Kuala Mengkuang, Telok Wang, Mengkuang, Sungai Lembu, Penanti, Kubang Ulu, Sungai Semambu, Tanah Liat and Berapit Road.

Polling over, PKR man set to win


Polling over, PKR man set to win

Malaysiakini Team in Penanti

May 31, 2009

Polling at the Penanti state seat by-election ended at 5pm with a very low voter turnout. The turnout at the end of the polling period stood at only 46.15 percent – meaning only about 7,100 of 15,384 voters had come out to vote. This is a sharp fall from the 82.1 percent voter turnout achieved in the last general election.

One reason cited for the poor turnout – believed to be a record low – was UMNO’s decision not to contest in the by-election. As a result PKR’s Mansor Othman had to compete with three independents for the seat. PKR leaders are quietly confident that their candidate would be able to retain the seat with a higher majority. Official results are expected as early as 7pm.

Penanti on Polling Day (May 31): Voter turnout improving since 12noon

May 31, 2009

Almost 30 percent turnout by noon

by Malaysiakini Team in Penanti, Penang

anwar penanti byelection 310509The Penanti state seat by-election got off to a slow start today at 8am with less than expected voters’ turnout. However the turnout picked up steam as the day progressed. As at 12 noon, the Election Commission secretary Ngah Senik revealed that about 29.86 percent of voters have voted. This figure translated to 4,593 out of 15,384 voters.

The EC had predicted a 70 percent turnout. Polling closes at 5pm. EC chief Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof told reporters this morning after making his rounds that the turnout was “encouraging”.

After the first two hours of voting, the turnout had stood at 14.6 percent – which means 2,252 voters had voted by then. And by 11am, about 23.5 percent of voters – 3,590 people – have come out to vote.

PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim acknowledged that the voters’ turnout had been lower by at least five percent in first three hours of voting compared with the same corresponding period in last August’s Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election and 2008 general election.

According to unofficial EC sources, the previous corresponding period in both the two elections recorded between 35 percent and 38 percent voters’ turnout respectively in first three hours of voting.

PKR’s election director Saifuddin Nasution meanwhile said that he would be “very happy” with an overall 65 to 70 percent voters’ turnout. He expressed optimism that PKR candidate Mansor Othman (right) could secure 7,000 votes from the party’s hardcore supporters, which could then give him a majority win of more than 5,000 votes. “I would be happy then,” he told Malaysiakini, acknowledging that balloting process had been slow so far.

PKR’s Batu Maung state assemblyperson Abdul Malik Kassim, however, was confident that record number of voters would come out to vote by 5pm. He also said that PKR’s candidate Mansor will win with a record majority.

PKR out to get more voters

The party’s strategy director Tian Chua said efforts were being undertaken to mobilise the voters to come out to vote in the afternoon. “We will go to voters’ house to bring them out to polling centres,” he said. He added that the low turnout rate might be due to the voters thinking that PKR will easily win this by-election.

Earlier in the day, policemen, journalists, cameraman and election workers were outnumbering voters at polling stations in Berapit,penanti by election 310509 mansor othman visit polling center 2.jpg Kubang Ulu, Tanah Liat, Guar Perahu and Mengkuang areas. The atmosphere near the polling centres have also been reported to be very calm. Not many party flags were visible. The police are, however, maintaining a watch at these centres.

The only political party to contest in this by-election, PKR, has set up polling booths at the polling centres despite a ban on such booths by the Election Commission.

And even at their centres, the PKR workers are only checking the voters list for potential voters. There are no last-minute campaigning being undertaken by them.

The three independent candidates however did not have any presence at the polling centres to woo voters.

The contest sees PKR’s Mansor fighting against independents Aminah Abdullah, Nai Khan Ari and Kamarul Ramizu Idris for the seat.

Nai Khan cast his vote at the Dewan Orang Ramai dan Tadika Tun Sardon at about 8.49am. He was accompanied by a handful of supporters. His attempt to hold a press conference outside the polling centre after casting his vote was stopped by the police. Nai Khan is the only candidate who will be voting today. The others are voters in other areas. Some PKR officials are saying that Nai Khan would fare better than the other two independent candidates.

“He (Nai Khan) may get more than 300 votes due to his Barisan Nasional and Thai roots,” predicted a local PKR leader from Permatang Pauh.

UMNO rejects boycott claims

Dr. Mansor meanwhile was making his rounds since voting started. He had gathered at the party’s operations centre with other leaders and undertook a visit to all polling centres. Likewise, other Pakatan leader, including Penang Chief Minister Guan Eng and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang too had been visiting polling centres.

Traditional contestants (UMNO) have opted to sit out of this by-election but their shadow looms large despite their action. PKR leaders have claimed – and lodged a police report yesterday – that UMNO was urging its members to boycott the by-election. This was, however, denied by the UMNO state deputy chief Zainal Abidin Osman.

“We have never forced our members not to cast their votes in the by-election. It is up to them to use their discretion to make the right decision,” he said. He also rejected claims that the party would be taking its members in Penanti for a holiday in Thailand today.

Official results are expected to be announced by 8.30pm although unofficially it could be known as early as 6.30pm. The commission is also testing out a pilot project in this by-election by enforcing the prohibition on campaigning on polling day, including preventing those contesting from canvassing for votes or erecting polling booths.

The Meteorological Department had said that it expected rain and thunder storms in the morning and ‘shower rain’ in the afternoon. And the state police chief Ayub Yaakub meanwhile warned supporters against organising a victory parade when the result was announced.

Dangerous to mention Altantuya and also Perak

May 30, 2009

Banned: First Altantuya, now Perak

by Athi

It is clear that any mention of a possible link between Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu can land a person into trouble.

PKR supreme council member and fiery orator Badrul Hisham Shaharin had to spend nearly five hours at the Central Seberang Perai police headquarters yesterday to answer questions over his by-election campaign speech in Penanti on Monday where he mentioned ‘Altantuya’.

Now, however, one cannot also link Najib to the four-month political impasse in Perak or you can be investigated for sedition and criminal defamation.

Senior DAP leader Lim Kit Siang found out about this after a report was made by the police and a statement was taken on the matter .At a 3,000-strong by-election campaign rally in Guar Perahu, Penanti last Sunday, Lim accused Najib of engineering the Perak power grab.

The Ipoh Timur parliamentarian was quizzed by investigating officer ASP Norazizi Saad for nearly an hour from 11.30am today at his house in Island Park, Georgetown. Lim said he was being investigated for sedition and criminal defamation in blaming Najib for the Perak political stalemate. He added that he was being probed following a report lodged by an on-duty police officer at the Sunday rally.

“If I am charged and found guilty, I will be imprisoned … simple as that,” the DAP supremo told a press conference, flanked by his son and Penang Chief Minister Guan Eng, DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh and several DAP local leaders and assemblypersons.

Even Najib’s father did not do this

The senior Lim cautioned that the two-month-old Najib’s premiership was fast descending into a “police state” and into an “era of darkness”. He cited police crackdowns on candlelight vigils, hunger strikes, wearing black, the raid on DAP headquarters, and the harassment of Pakatan Rakyat leaders and social activists to back his claim. Over 160 people have been arrested in the past three weeks.

“This is a serious violation of human rights and civil liberties,” said the veteran opposition leader, the only opposition parliamentarian who has faced off the country’s six prime ministers.

“I don’t blame the police. They are acting on the directives from a higher-up power,” he said, suggesting that the Barisan Nasional government was increasingly spooked by the rapid loss of public confidence. Kit Siang recalled that even Najib’s late father, former premier Abdul Razak bin Hussein, had never investigated him for sedition or criminal defamation despite engaging in many political duels with him back in the 70s.

“We are facing a major political crisis at the same time when the country is facing its biggest economic crisis,” lamented the senior politician. Guan Eng, meanwhile, criticised the police for wasting their resources on petty political issues, and ticked them off for increasingly acting like “bodyguards to BN rather than to the people.”

Like Chegu Bard, as Badrul Hisham is fondly known, Kit Siang was slapped with a police order yesterday under Section 111 of Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) requesting him to be present at the Central Seberang Perai police headquarters this morning. However, the DAP leader had asked Norazizi to record his statement at his Penang home.

Karpal, who was also at the press conference after Kit Siang’s session with the police, slammed the police for applying Section 111 on his DAP colleague. The MP-cum-lawyer said that such an order could only be issued after a witness had failed to turn up at the designated police station to give a statement.

Karpal: Charge Khir Toyo instead

Karpal instead called on the attorney-general to press charges against former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo for taking part in an illegal UMNO Youth rally in Waterfall, Penang on February 13. The demonstration was to include a march from Waterfall to Karpal’s house nearby in Jalan Utama. However, it was called off after police warned UMNO Youth members that severe action would be taken against them.

Mohd Khir and Permatang Pauh UMNO Youth chief Mohd Zaidi were escorted to the Georgeown police headquarters for their statements to be recorded. They were later released. “It was an illegal assembly. Why none of them were charged?” asked Karpal, the Bukit Gelugor MP.

According to Kit Siang, he was approached by police officers at a Pakatan Rakyat rally in Berapit last night where he was informed about the investigation. At the same time, a police order was delivered to his house in Persiaran Besi, Island Park.

Police also served a separate notice to Chegu Bard at his homes in Seremban and Bangi on Thursday when he was in Perak.

During the Guar Perahu ceramah, Kit Siang had condemned the police raid on DAP headquarters in Petaling Jaya as “a shameful incident”, and called on Penanti voters to teach Najib a political lesson.

Pakatan candidate Mansor Othman from PKR is up against three independent candidates – Aminah Abdullah, Kamarul Ramizu Idris and Nai Khan Ari, in Penanti by-election.

Campaigning will end at midnight and polling is tomorrow.

UMNO is a racist party, says PKR’s Azmin Ali

May 30, 2009

UMNO is a racist party, PKR leader tells Malays

Athi Veeranggan @

UMNO is a racist party that had divided and ruled Malaysia for more than 50 years by playing, albeit dangerously, the communal cards, accused a leading PKR leader.

Azmin Ali, a former UMNO leader who is now PKR Vice-President, said the ruling party had exploited the issue of income disparity for its
pkr national congress 301108 azmin aliown ends and generated a fear syndrome among Malaysians.

“This has split Malaysians and the country along communal lines, which Pakatan Rakyat is now trying to mend. All Malaysians should reject UMNO’s racism and move ahead as one community, one nation,” the Gombak parliamentarian told a by-election rally in Kubang Semang, Penanti last night.

Describing the New Economy Policy (NEP) as a noble idea conceived to improve the standard of living of all poor Malaysians, he accused UMNO of abusing the policy to the extent that it had even marginalised the key target group, the Malays.

“The racist implementation of NEP has not only marginalised Indian and Chinese communities, but also the majority of the Malays,” he said, accusing UMNO of advocating patronage politics through NEP. “In then name of the Malays, UMNO has politicised the policy to benefit a handful few who have strong links to the ruling elites. UMNO’s racist policy has forsaken the majority of Malaysians, especially those from the lower-income group,” he told some 3,000-odd largely Malay crowd.

The by-election for the state seat of Penanti sees a four-cornered fight between PKR’s Mansor Othman and three independents – Aminah Abdullah, Kamarul Ramizu Idris and Nai Khan Ari.

Campaigning will end at midnight tonight and polling is tomorrow.

Back clean leaders, even if they’re non-Malay

Instead of helping poor Malays, Azmin alleged UMNO had preferred to keep squatter colonies for its political gains.He said UMNO had used the poor living condition of Malay squatters as bait to fish votes during elections by making “empty promises of aid and development”.

penanti by election pakatan leaders ceramah sivakumar nik aziz anwar tian chua 280509 09“Don’t ever think that all Malays benefited from NEP. The majority of them were sidelined and neglected while only a selected few gained from it,” accused Azmin, who is also the Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyperson.

Calling for the dismantling of the NEP, he said Pakatan would replace it with a new national economic agenda that would “manage, distribute and share the country’s wealth equally among all Malaysians”. Azmin called on the Malays to reject Malay leaders who are corrupt, such as former Selangor menteri besar Mohd Khir Toyo, and put their trust on clean and trustworthy leaders, even if they are non-Malay.

He cited the example of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“The state government under Guan Eng did not steal any Malay land or money under the pretext of development. But corrupt UMNO governments in other states have committed all these wrongdoings against Malays over the years,” he said.

Azmin also called on the Penang Pakatan government to carry out a thorough study to explore ways to uplift the standards of living of all marginalised segments of the populace, especially the Malays and Indians. “This would help address the disparity in wealth among Penang people,” he said.

PKFZ Scandal–MP Charles Santiago’s Perspective: It’s Institutional Failure

posted by din merican- May 30, 2009

May 29, 2009

PKFZ scandal: Freeze their bank accounts

by Charles Santiago

The PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit report on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fiasco has lend greater credibility to claims that have long been reported but swept aside by the government – that serious shortcomings, irregularities and abuses have from the very beginning plagued the publicly-funded project.

Among the facts confirmed by PwC is that PKFZ has been hobbled by inflation of costs, weaknesses in governance and management of the
port klang free zone pkfz white elephant 280509project, improper and poor decision-making, and conflict of interests by PKFZ and other officials.

However, the manner in which the PwC report has been unveiled by the Port Klang Authority (PKA) should also be questioned. Why is the report available only until June 10? Why restrict the number of hard copies available to only 15? It is also incredulous that PwC has not only stated that it is not obliged to respond to any queries, and does not owe a duty of care to any party other than PKA, but has also stipulated that readers are not authorised to use or rely on the report to arrive at any conclusion!

If PwC is so afraid of being identified with even the conclusions people reach on the basis of its own report, will the international firm stand by its own auditors? Why is there no party willing to defend the integrity of the document?

The decision to submit the 51-page report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should nevertheless be applauded. But will there be serious action taken against all those responsible for the shortcomings, irregularities and abuses in the scandal? If there is such action, to what extent and to what level will it be taken against these individuals?

The government should freeze the bank accounts of all persons implicated in the fiasco – and those in government positions should be immediately suspended – until MACC investigations have been completed. This may include – but not be confined to – MCA and UMNO figures, members of parliament and Selangor executive council, former or current PKA and PKFZ officials, developers, lawyers and consultants, as well as the various shareholders and directors.

Among the pressing questions for the government to answer pertains to the issue of the runaway project costs. Assuming the project costs RM7.453 billion – and may balloon to RM12.453 billion by 2051 – where will the government find the money, especially given the global financial crisis that has hit Malaysian shores?

RM7 billion is after all the total amount allocated in the government’s first package to stimulate the national economy and RM12 billion is one-fifth of the second RM60 billion stimulus package. How will this affect plans to address the economic crisis confronting us?

Many questions left answered

In light of the many failures and breaches of regulations brought to light by PwC, what do our domestic regulators have to say for themselves?

* In particular, the Auditor-General Department, which was instrumental in revealing the ballooning of costs of PKFZ and the financial viability of PKA to undertake the project. Could it not have done more? To what extent did it warn the government about the heavy price that taxpayers would have to pay when the PKFZ bubble bursts?

* Is the Auditor-General Department satisfied with merely crunching accounts numbers and stating these in its annual reports? How does the department today compare with the times during the likes of such vibrant, vigorous and vigilant auditors as the late Tan Sri Ahmad Noordin?  The RM2.5 billion BMF scandal that Ahmad Nordin investigated pales in comparison to the gargantuan RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.

* How far did the Attorney-General’s Chambers go to ensure that legal procedures, provisions and standards were adhered to? Were there any steps taken once it was determined that all these were bypassed by PKA officials?

* Could the Bar Council not have played a role in probing the possible breach of legal ethics – such as the element of conflict of interest – by lawyers involved in the PKFZ project? What can be done to lawyers who are supposed to represent the interests of the state – and thus its citizens – and yet act contrary to them?

* Bursa Malaysia had “reprimanded” the PKFZ developer in 2006 when it failed to inform the stock exchange and obtain the consent of its shareholders on the disposal of the land. Was that the best Bursa could have done?

* What did the Finance Ministry do when it was determined that many Treasury regulations and procedural requirements had been trampled upon?

* Did Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee play its role when probing the PKFZ? Why did the investigations end with the exit of Shahrir Abdul Samad as the committee’s chairperson? Is the PAC truly serving as a watchdog of public accounts or merely posturing as one?

* The MACC’s predecessor, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), had also gone through the motions of “interviewing” PKFZ officials and carted away documents from PKA. Needless to say, nothing came out of that.

Our regulators fail to do their job

It has been five years since the first police reports were lodged against the PKFZ, shouldn’t the MACC take the issue more seriously? Scandalous as it is, the significance of PKFZ lies not only in the billions of ringgit of public funds involved, especially at a time when a global financial crisis of unprecedented scale looms over us.

The long-term implications of this debacle are equally troubling given the crucial and critical role that should be played by the nation’s regulatory agencies – such as the Auditor-General Department, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Securities Commission.

It is partly due to their dismal failure in performing their job that this scandal has exploded in our face. The country’s viability and prosperity lies in the hands of regulators such as those above. If they cannot be trusted to do their job, then what are they actually doing in the offices they are occupying?

Among the main factors said to have caused the global financial and economic crisis is the failure of US regulators to monitor and control the increasingly risky and adventurist instruments and activities of financiers and bankers.

Given the failure – or unwillingness – of Malaysia’s regulators and enforcers to do their job, it looks like we’re headed towards a similar disaster.

*CHARLES SANTIAGO is the DAP Member of Parliament for Klang.

Media Statement from Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Leader of the Opposition

29hb. Mei 2009

Untuk Edaran Segera

Pejabat Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim
A-3A-09, Merchant Square
No. 1 Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1
47410 Petaling Jaya
Selangor, Malaysia

Sikap Kerajaan Malaysia yang mengabaikan prinsip tadbir urus dan pertanggungjawaban amatlah membimbangkan. Pada ketika rakyat Malaysia terpaksa berjimat cermat dan resah samada pendapatan mereka mampu menanggung sara hidup, kerajaan kita pula terus menerus mencurahkan ribuan juta dana awam secara culas.

Pendirian sambil lewa umno di dalam menangani skandal Zon Bebas Pelabuhan Klang memperlihatkan sikap sebenar mereka yang sanggup menggadaikan kepentingan negara terutama apabila kecurangan itu membabitkan ahli parti tersebut. Kaedah kes itu ditangani mendedahkan sikap hipokrit mereka yang bertanggungjawab menyiasat skandal tersebut dan juga kes politik wang yang berlaku dalam umno. Kita melihat wujudnya pendakwaan terpilih terhadap mereka yang dianggap sebagai musuh pentadbiran Dato’ Sri Najib Razak.

Kerajaan mendabik dada kononnya sudah ribuan juta diagihkan dari kantung dua Pakej Ransangan Ekonomi tersebut. Namun tidak ada maklumat yang disediakan buat tatapan serta penelitian umum berhubung proses pemberian tender kerajaan. Ini membuatkan rakyat beranggapan pakej tersebut tidak memberi kesan kepada mereka dan menimbulkan rasa sangsi kepada kita bagaimana ekonomi akan pulih sekiranya dana yang ada hanya untuk kepentingan syarikat milik kroni pemerintah.

Ketidakcekapan dan pembaziran merupakan ciri utama birokrasi kewangan kita. Monopoli pastinya menghambat sebarang hasrat untuk memulihkan kedudukan ekonomi Malaysia dan program liberalisasi akan hanya terbantut kerana tidak ada iltizam untuk melaksanakan perubahan.

Sehingga kini tidak ada sebarang perancangan jelas untuk melaksanakan perubahan serta memulihkan ekonomi negara sepertimana yang dijanjikan. Kenyataan oleh Perdana Menteri bahawa negara kita akan pulih menjelang akhir tahun menimbulkan persoalan dan tanda tanya. Ini adalah kerana Perdana Menteri pada ketika yang lain menyatakan bahawa ekonomi negara kita bergantung kepada Amerika Syarikat dan Eropah yang sebenarnya mengakui ekonomi mereka hanya akan pulih menjelang tahun 2010.

Minggu ini Bank Negara mengesahkan apa yang perkatakan oleh rakyat Malaysia-kecuali menteri kewangan- selama lapan bulan ini. Negara ini diambang kemelesetan. Kadar pengangguran akan mendadak naik dan kilang akan lebih banyak ditutup. Berkemungkinan setengah juta orang akan kehilangan kerja. Pertumbuhan untuk tahun 2009 diunjurkan kepada negatif 5%(-5%), kedudukan eknomi terburuk sejak krisi kewangan terbaru.

Cabaran yang mendatang memerlukan pemimpin yang mampu menangani krisis ini dengan berani dan bertindak menentang rasuah dan kronisme. Sayangnya kualiti tersebut tidak ada pada pentadbiran yang baru ini.


May 29, 2009

For Immediate Release

Pejabat Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim
A-3A-09, Merchant Square
No. 1 Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1
47410 Petaling Jaya
Selangor, Malaysia

The administration’s lackadaisical approach to governance and accountability is deeply disturbing. At a time when Malaysian’s are forced to cut costs and worry if their hard earned money will cover the next month’s bills, our government continues to pour billions in taxpayer money down the drain.

The government’s neither-here-nor-there approach to the PKFZ scandal is a clear sign of UMNOs unwillingness to sacrifice its own delinquent members for the sake of the national good. The handling of the PKFZ affair amplifies the hypocrisy which was manifest in the investigations into money politics within UMNO and the selective persecution of foes of the new Najib administration.

The government has bragged that billions have been disbursed from the two fiscal stimulus packages. Yet there is virtually no information available to the public about the process of awarding tenders. We are left to assume that it is business as usual and have little confidence that the economy will benefit from the misappropriation of these funds that are being channeled to the same coterie of crony companies.

Inefficiency and largesse remain the prevailing traits of our bloated bureaucracy. Government monopolies preclude any significant change in the economic landscape of the nation and promises of liberalisation ring hollow when it comes to the lack of political will to implement change.

To date there is no plan in sight to resuscitate the economy and transform it as the Prime Minister has promised.  We hear from him incoherent statements predicting a recovery by the end of the year while at the same time admitting that our economy is beholden to that of the US and Europe, which by their own account will remain weak into 2010.

Bank Negara has this week confirmed what most Malaysians have known already for eight months, save the Minister of Finance. The country is headed for recession.  Thousands of jobs have already been lost and in the coming months we know that more factories will be shuttered and more will be laid off – by some estimates up to a half-million people. 2009 growth figures have been slashed to -5%, the worst economic scenario Malaysia has faced since the Financial Crisis.

These challenges require visionary leadership and the courage to act decisively against corruption and cronyism. Sadly both qualities are lacking in the current administration.


Happy Birthday, Cik Cun

May 29,2009

Dear Friends,


cik cun @ her office, morning may 30th

cik cun @ her office, morning may 30th

I cannot but feel a little sentimental today. It is for a very special  time for me: it is the morning of my cik cun’s birthday (May 30). The songs I have chosen here reflect my feelings for my wife, Dr. Kamsiah (picture). I hope she enjoys them as much as I have in choosing them to  remember, honour and celebrate the occasion.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart and many happy returns.  I am proud we met. Let me assure you that we will be together for a long, long time.

Those men whose loved ones (married or otherwise) share my cik cun’s birthday, please listen to these songs with your special ones by your side with a glass of orange juice, wine or champagne (depending on your religious injunctions). Forget all the problems of our country and the political screw-ups by politicians in power and enjoy yourself. –DJ Din Merican

Matt Monroe: A Tribute

Andy Williams–For My Cik Cun

Julio Iglesias and Anggun

Frankie  Avalon-Venus

Paul Anka-You are my Destiny

Husam Musa, Part 3

May 29, 2009

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, Part 3

by Terence Netto@

Husam Musa, particularly in the state legislative term 2004-2008, trimmed and streamlined the procedural requirements for starting up in business in Kelantan – a move that benefited small and medium-sized concerns.

This raft of measures and the acumen Husam showed in rolling them out marked him for elevation, not just in party and state but also at the level of Pakatan Rakyat, an outfit not exactly endowed with riches when it comes to talent among its notables.

Husam’s extra-party prominence has brought on him added fusillades from detractors within PAS who look askance at his supposed closeness to PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim, regarded by some quarters in PAS as a covert secularist, one adept at using the forms of Islamic discourse to garner support from Muslim activists and turn their extensive organisational network to secular advantage – in sum, the quintessential Erdogan.

“If Anwar can unite the races as he has demonstrated and if he can draw the votes for Pakatan to take power in this country, I see no reason why he cannot be prime minister, especially if the reform agenda that this country so badly needs can then be worked,” opined Husam.

“The way he has been treated since his sacking from UMNO is a disgrace to any citizen concerned about how things are done in this country. I don’t have to be carry a torch for him to have an opinion like that,” sniffed Husam, his disdain for the methods employed by the powers-that-be against the former deputy prime minister evident in his tone.

husam musa pas annouce contest of number 2 post 250509 06Husam’s rising prominence and imputed links to Anwar has had its downside: he has become the target of more than the usual dose of resentment, backbiting and vilification that is the lot of a fast-rising politico, even for one in an Islamist party zealous about keeping its ranks free of the sordid and grubby plays that are the common coin of the political arena.

“I cried,” said Husam improbably, about an incident where his tardiness in paying a RM200 utility bill saw graft busters scouring his home, pouring over bills and documents in search of a speck that could to bring down the high-flyer.

In the line of ulama fire

It’s hard to imagine that Husam, 48, can be a soft touch. A striking looking man with a guardsman’s height and bristling moustache that hints at toughness underneath, Husam, in public encounters, radiates calm and a poise that’s very nearly irenic.

The calm has been buffeted the last few months by petards launched at him on the Internet for his having the temerity to shape up for a position in the party considered as the exclusive domain of ulama for some three decades.

With the announcement earlier this week of his acceptance – following months of playing coy – of nominations to contest the party’s No 2 post, Husam Musa, dyed-in-the-wool scion of ulama, has placed himself squarely in the line of clerical fire.

However, Islam recognises no clergy, so the principle of clerical supersession of the laity in politics is tenuous at best. That suits Husam’s instincts for he appears to believe that while revelation provides him with the essential truths with which to navigate the world, interpretation of these truths is not fixed.

This must have been what he sensed in an intuitive way years ago when he hastened to his dying father’s side from the airport in Kota Baru where he was to take a flight to Saudi Arabia. Ustaz Musa Yahya was rushed to the hospital after a road accident the same evening of his eldest son’s departure for abroad.

The previous day, after evening prayers the father’s last sermon, written out as usual, dwelt on the subject of death. The homily was in the brief and unadorned style characteristic of Musa senior.

As Husam bent low over his father’s mortally injured body, hoping to speak or listen to a few last words, all he could hear were the muffled gasps of laboured respiration.

Both father and son had been close, more in an intuitive than demonstrative way which is why for Husam, the religion imbibed from his father could never be a matter of rites only, because, as one famous critic of religion observed, the sure way to destroy a flock of sheep is through teaching it incantations, and slipping in with it a certain quantity of arsenic.

To Husam, in all his compelling intellection, notable achievement, considerable valor and not-a-little frailty, it has been a lifelong mission to mind the incantations and watch out for the arsenic that now and then tends to be slipped in.

Sodomy II Trial: Najib and Gang are all out to get Anwar Ibrahim

May 29, 2009

Sodomy Trial II: The knives are out


anwar ibrahim mansor othman pkr penanti by election ceramah 290509 03The recent efforts to smear the reputation of former Kuala Lumpur CID chief Mat Zain Ibrahim is to help shore up the attorney-general’s position ahead of July’s sodomy trial, said Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The sodomy trial, Anwar’s second in 10 years, will kick off on July 1 and the hearing will continue for three weeks. Without deliberating much on the trial, parliamentary opposition leader Anwar indicated that he would certainly raised the issue of the alleged fabrication of evidence in his black-eye case during the trial.

AG Abdul Gani Patail and Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan are both embroiled in the infamous 1998 black-eye episode for allegedly tampering with evidence in the bid to protect the culprits who had assaulted Anwar while he was held in police custody.

“The personal attack on Mat Zain is an effort to strengthen AG’s position and defence in my upcoming trial,” said Anwar, the Permatang Pauh parliamentarian. Given that the testimony of Mat Zain, who had led the investigation into the black-eye incident, would be vital, he believes a concerted character assassination campaign is being carried out against the retired top cop.

Anwar said the May 14 bankruptcy notice against Mat Zain was issued a month after the former CID chief had submitted an appeal to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission seeking a review to the findings of the three-member independent panel which cleared Gani and Musa of criminal wrongdoings in the black-eye incident.

Mat Zain’s bankruptcy order was widely reported in the media on Wednesday (May 26), which prompted the former chief investigating
anwar ibrahim mansor othman pkr penanti by election ceramah 290509 02officer in the police force to suggest that “powerful hidden hands” were at work to destroy his credibility. “It would only enhance my resolve to disclose the whole truth of the ‘black-eye’ episode. Believe me, this is not the only case the duo (Gani and Musa) had their fingers in. There are others which are just as sensational. The truth shall prevail,” Mat Zain had vowed.

Speaking to journalists after a Pakatan Rakyat rally in Mengkuang Titi during Penanti by-election last night (May 28), Anwar described the smear campaign was to spook Mat Zain from testifying in the upcoming trial.

“I sympathise with him … I know he is upset, and feel alone and embarrassed. (But) he has the courage from the very beginning to reveal the truth,” said Anwar, the PKR supremo.

Malays urged to reject ‘racist’ UMNO

On July 7 last year, Anwar filed a police report accusing Gani, Musa and one Dr Abdul Rahman Yusof and Mat Zain of falsifying a medical report on the black-eye incident. “The issue of fabrication of evidence involving top public officers in the country is a serious issue,” said Anwar.

Earlier at the political rally, Anwar slammed UMNO of being intolerant of non-Malays where many of them were arrested during a series of candlelight vigils. He called on Malays to denounce such an arrogant show of power.

Anwar added that the recent police raid on DAP headquarters in Petaling Jaya exposed UMNO’s racism where it is widely seen as an attempt to crack down on a leading predominantly Chinese party.

“UMNO is trying to demonstrate that it can wield its power at will against the non-Malays. Malays should be ashamed of this.The Malay populace shall only revere a Malay leadership which has earned respect from non-Malays through its goodwill, not by abusing its power and acting unjustly,” he told the 500 mostly Malay crowd at the ceramah. Anwar also questioned the sincerity of UMNO in seeking to win over the non-Malay electorate on one hand while “victimising” them at the same time.

“Is this the leadership that the Malays want? A true Malay Muslim citizen should reject such leadership,” said the Pakatan leader.

Port Kelang Free Zone: Rm12.25billion? Fix It Najib,if you dare

May 29, 2009

“We cannot be judgmental. We will wait for the outcome of the MACC investigation before looking to see if the staff have done anything wrong,” says Lee Hwa Beng (picture below). What nonsense !! He has got the cheek to say that. All he has to do to is to appoint a committee of his Board directors to initiate internal investigations on his staff with the help of Port Kelang Authority’s internal audit department (that is, if PKA has such a department). Don’t wait for MACC report as the “independent” agency will not touch ministers,former ministers and their cronies. Also what Dato Azmi Khalid, PAC Chairman can do? The former Minister and current MP for Padang Besar has yet to finish his work on the Eurocopter deal and the Maybank purchase of an Indonesian bank. He is too busy.—Din Merican.


Port Klang Authority chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng spent an hour  inside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building where he had a 10-minute meeting today (May 29) with Deputy Director-general Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed. He had handed over a copy of the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit which detailed how a RM1.9 billion project now costs RM7.5 billion and could be a potential RM12.5 billion controversy with several Barisan Nasional leaders implicated.

He told reporters including Shannon Teoh of The Malaysian Insider after the meeting that PKA “could go no further as it has no investigative powers, but that all staff cooperate with the anti-corruption body and “open all books” for investigations. The former Subang MP added that there would be no internal discipline pending the results of the MACC probe. “We cannot be judgmental. We will wait for the outcome of the MACC investigation before looking to see if the staff have done anything wrong,” he said.

Lee will also deliver a copy to Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid, who chairs the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, later today. He added that PKA would appoint a team of external lawyers and accountants to look into the books to see if it could recoup lost funds.

source: http://www.themalaysia

Ex-CID boss cries ‘black-eye’ conspiracy

May 28, 2009

Ex-CID boss cries ‘black-eye’ conspiracy


Ex-KL CID chief Mat Zain Ibrahim, who was declared a bankrupt, has claimed that several ‘powerful hidden hands’ wanted to destroy his credibility.

And their reason for doing so – “to paralyse my capabilities and prevent me from giving evidence against Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan for  fabricating evidence in the Anwar Ibrahim ‘black-eye’ case.”

In a statement emailed to all media organisations today, Mat Zain said his friends and relatives were wondering why his case, which is a non-issue and not worthy of publication, was given tremendous prominence by the media.

The issue was reported in the media today.

“I was just a common retired senior assistant commissioner II who went on optional retirement some eight years ago. I am not a member of any political party and have no intentions of being one. Surely you too are curious to know the reasons why the news on me had to be played up as such,” he said.

“No ordinary person can influence the entire media (radio and TV) to run this sort of news simultaneously. I say with certainty there are anwar black eyevery powerful hidden hands that wanted it so,” he added.

The former CID chief was the investigating officer of the black-eye incident, and pledged that the probe was done “professionally without fear or favour.”

On July 7 last year, Anwar filed a police report accusing Gani, Musa and one Dr Abdul Rahman Yusof and Mat Zain of falsifying a medical report. The matter was also investigated by the then Anti-Corruption Agency (now renamed Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency).

Commenting on the corruption watchdog’s probe, Mat Zain said: “My detailed statement was recorded no less than five times by the investigating officer.” “I made full disclosure and provided  the MACC with documentary evidence which I believe,was more than sufficient to proof criminal wrongdoings on the part of Gani in particular,” he added.

MACC Board clears Gani and Musa

On March 1 this year, MACC chief Ahmad Said Hamdan announced that a three-member independent panel appointed by the solicitor-general to scrutinise the investigation papers had cleared Gani and Musa of any criminal wrongdoings.July+21+-+Anwar+Musa+Gani

Ten days later, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Aziz repeated that Gani and Musa are both cleared of any wrongdoings except with regards to Gani, where one of the panel members dissented, leaving Dr Rahman’s and my position in jeopardy,” said Mat Zain.

“In view of this, on April 15, I submitted my appeal to the chairman of the advisory board of MACC and extended copies of the same to all committee members as well as to the chairmen of the other panels, including all members of the select committee to review the above findings.

“I provided the members with detailed arguments and attached supporting documentary evidence that I believe would be sufficient to proof that Gani and Musa were involved and/or abetted in the falsification of the medical reports on Anwar and that they should not have been cleared. I have yet to receive any response from the board but believe it is still under their consideration,” he added. On May 5, Mat Zain said he followed up on his appeal and extended copies to the solicitor-general as well as to the solicitor-general II.

“Once again, I provided them with arguments and submissions which I believe could show that Gani not only falsified one medical report as alleged by Anwar, but three, with Musa believed to be involved in at least two of them. I hope this too is being looked into seriously,” he said.

Pak Lah was not told the entire truth

Mat Zain also believes that former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was never told the truth or the entire facts concerning the case. Should the truth have been told, the former police officer was certain that Abdullah would have taken the appropriate action.

As for his bankruptcy case, Mat Zain said the notice was issued on April 21, 2009 while the order was issued on May 14. “Why was it only publicised yesterday?” he asked. “I have reason to believe that the notice was obtained about a week after I  filed my appeal to the MACC board on April 15 after Anwar vowed that he would provide a tough defence in the sodomy charge against him fixed to be heard beginning July 1.”

“I have reasons to believe that the prosecution team anticipated that Anwar would certainly raise at a certain point of his trial the issue of fabrication of evidence in the black-eye case. My evidence would be vital at this stage. Their only option was to destroy my credibility,” he said.

Although conceding that the news about his bankruptcy would affect him and his family, Mat Zain however said that he took it as a blessing in disguise.

“It would only enhance my resolve to disclose the whole truth of the ‘black-eye’ episode. Believe me, that this is not the only case the duo (Gani and Musa) had their fingers in. There are others which are as sensational. The truth shall prevail,” he added.

With regards to the bankruptcy matter, Mat Zain said he has instructed his lawyer to look into the matter which came as a surprise to him “especially when I was never served personally of any notice of the hearing.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman faces a rm100million lawsuit

May 27, 2009
Anwar sues Anifah for RM100 million
by Hafiz

It was a high-priced baptism of fire for the newly-appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman, whose first international press conference has courted a RM100 million lawsuit.

Filing the suit was Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is no stranger to exorbitant demands through legal suits.The suit was filed this afternoon at the Kuala Lumpur High Court through his lawyer N Sankara Nair.

The matter in dispute was Anifah’s claim that Anwar had offered him the deputy premier’s post if the former turned his back on Barisan Nasional and joined the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat. The minister had revealed this during a press conference with United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in Washington on May 15, which Anwar vehemently denied the next day.

“I was personally offered a very lucrative position, like a deputy prime ministership. These facts are not known to the world at large,” Anifah reportedly told the Washington press conference. “And he has started trying to buy other legislative members,” he told the group of foreign journalists.

The legal action was put in motion after Anifah refused to retract his statement and issue a public apology. On May 18, Sankara’s office had sent a letter of demand to Anifah’s office in Wisma Putra, asking him to retract his remarks,  apologise and give an undertaking he would not repeat the claim.

The seven-day deadline for response expired two days ago, resulting in the suit being filed.

Federal government also named

In his statement of claim, Anwar named Anifah and the federal government as defendants. He is seeking RM100 million in compensatory damages, along with aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as an injunction to prevent Anifah or his agents from repeating or publishing the defamatory statement.

Anwar claimed the “defamatory and libelous words” in its ordinary meaning had meant that he (Anwar) is dishonest, liar, untrustworthy, unfit to hold public office, unprincipled and corrupt [...] unethical and abuses (his) position in public and private office”.

Anwar claimed that Anifah’s remarks and portrayal of him are “bereft of truth, deliberate, malicious” and in gross negligence. He alleged that the statement was made in bad faith and had exposed him to public hatred and scorn, as well as lowered his esteem in the eyes of the public.

Anwar claimed that Anifah has caused irreparable damage to his character, credit and reputation both nationally and internationally, as an opposition leader, the Permatang Pauh MP and adviser of PKR.

Lawyer: Anwar cannot sit back and let it go

Meanwhile, Sankara said Anifah’s allegations were part of a government campaign to undermine the opposition leader, who served as deputy prime minister until he was sacked and jailed in 1998. “They’re trying to suggest he’s not trustworthy, he’s lying, and that he makes all these political deals,” he told AFP after lodging the suit.

“If you sit back and let it go, it’s as good as admitting all these things are happening,” he said. Anwar is pursuing several defamation actions against government figures, but none has yet come to trial.

Articulations on Perak

May 27, 2009

Articulations on Perak
by Art Harun


“To adopt a literal approach would vest a certain level of absolute power in the Ruler where such power does not exist in the first place. Can we imagine a situation where the Ruler may decide mid-term to change a Menteri Besar (MB) because he thinks that MB does not command the confidence of the majority anymore?”

art3The above was part of my comment at Malik Imtiaz’s blog, Disquiet, on his article Crisis In Trengganu? What Crisis? That comment was posted on March 25 last year, when the whole nation was discussing the crisis in Terengganu and Perlis, where the Rulers in both states refused to agree to appoint the candidate nominated by the leadership of the winning party to be the Menteri Besar.

There was a populist school of thought then that the Rulers were well within their power to do so. I took a different stand. I had always thought that the notion of “absolute power” rested in the Rulers is, with respect, misconceived. I ended my comment with a word of caution:

“But let us not allow our emotion to colour our judgement by creating, or allowing to create, a dangerous precedent, a precedent which we all may live to regret later.”

Fair enough, what I said above has now become true. His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak had decided in  mid-term to change the MB because he thinks that the previously appointed MB did not command the confidence of the majority anymore.

Hafarizam Harun’s Article

My learned friend, Hafarizam, is one of the Counsels for the BN in the Perak crisis. After the decision of the Court of Appeal reversing the High Court’s decision on the Nizar vs Zambry case, he publishes his take on the issue on his blog. As he was one of the lead Counsels in the case, and considering the fact that the Prime Minister had openly admitted that the BN had been advised by Lord Lester QC, I would presume that Hafarizam’s position on the issue echoes Lord Lester’s.

Over the weekend, Hafarizam kindly invited me to link his article to my blog and I told him that I would post a reply. And so, here it is.

My Advice to Hafarizam’s Attachment Student

But first, there is some house cleaning to do. In The Tree Injunction – an opposite view from someone, I reproduced verbatim an e-mail which was sent to me from Hafarizam’s office daring me to do the same. In that e-mail, I was labeled a lawyer who:

*is misguided;
*one track minded (yes, this is partly true because I am a keen track racer); and,
*lacks judicial appreciation.

I was also asked to read the case of Stephen Kalong Ningkan again. In addition, the writer also said that “it is useless to talk to a lawyer who ‘confused’ others.” The icing on the cake is the accusation that my 22 years of  legal practice just consists of “Ali Baba partnership”, whatever that may mean. I am told by Hafarizam that the e-mail and the whole post was written by an attachment student at his firm who assisted Hafarizam in the cases respecting the Perak crisis.

First of all, let me tell him or her that as a lawyer, I could receive as hard a blow as I give. That is the nature of my job. It is within his or her right to disagree with me or my opinion. But the mere fact that you disagree with me on an issue does not mean that I am misguided or that I have confused you or others. It also does not mean I lack judicial appreciation. It is after all a discourse.

Although you are only a student, I have to respect your opinion despite the fact that I have more than 22 years of practice. The number of years in practice does not ipso facto mean that I am correct or more knowledgeable than you.

Secondly, please do not insult my partners by saying I have an “Ali Baba” practice. What do you mean? Does it mean that I maintain a practising certificate and sell it to my non-Malay partners like  those so-called UMNO connected  cronyMalay businessmen who sell APs or contracts? Or does it mean I get cases and “sub-contract” those cases to my non-Malay partners? For your information, I brief   my non-Malay lawyers on technical aspects of legal cases which my firm handles. Your statement as such is an insult not only to my firm but many other firms with non-Malay partners.

Thirdly, please take your time whenever you are free to read the etiquette rules. Yes, there is such a thing. While doing your pupilage later, you even have to attend classes on it. In the legal profession, we do not insult fellow lawyers and we address them as our “learned friends” no matter how strong our disagreements are. As an attachment student, you have a long way to go. I am sure you would do well in the future and I wish you all the best.

Hafarizam’s first point – the practice in “other Commonwealth countries” I am reproducing verbatim the relevant part of what was said by Hafarizam:

“Today’s decision by the Court of Appeal is another high-watermark case on Constitutional law in Malaysia. It not only proves the point that I have been trying to make all along, but has placed Malaysian Constitutional jurisprudence at par with other Commonwealth countries, to wit a few, Australia, Canada and England itself, that the constitutional logic of the Constitution of Perak and the democratic imperative upon which the Constitution of Perak is based on the following thesis…

The powers to grant a dissolution of Dewan Negeri Perak and to appoint the Mentri Besar and State Executive Council members are among the prerogatives of HRH the Sultan of Perak. Consensus amongst parliamentarians and commentators is that there are instances in which the Monarch may refuse to grant a dissolution, especially to a minority government. For example, minority Labour Government of Ramsay McDonald requested for a dissolution, Herbert Asquith (Prime Minister between 1908 and 1916) stated in The Times for 19 December 1923, which was quoted with approval in Marshall, Constitutional Conventions (1986), page 38: “The Crown is not bound to take the advice of a particular minister to put its subjects to tumult and turmoil of a series of general elections so long as it can find other ministers who are prepared to give it a trial. The notion that a Minister – a Minister who cannot command a majority on the House of Commons – is invested with the right to demand a dissolution is as subversive of constitutional usage as it would, in my opinion, be pernicious to the general and paramount interests of the nation at large.”

In Canada, Governor General, Lord Byng, in 1926 refused to grant a dissolution to Prime Minister King after the latter’s government had lost the support of members of other parties who provided its majority. There was no vote of confidence, but Prime Minsiter King imemdiately resigned. Mr Meighen, the opposition leader was invited form a government (see Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada, 5th ed, at 9-30). Thus, the lauds and cries for ‘Bubar Dewan’ by fellow opposition members of ‘Pakatan Pembangkang’ are not only pernicious but has created deep division amongst the people of Perak. In hindsight, if YB Dato’ Seri Ir Nizar has conceeded defeat on 4th February 2009, the people of Perak would not have to pay the heavy price of confusion, humilation and frustration the culmination of all was the the 7th May 2009 sitting.” [please note that I have re-paragraphed Hafarizam's post for ease of reference in this post.]

It is ironic that Hafarizam had referred to the Ramsay McDonald affair and the “King-Byng” crisis in his post. I say it is ironic because these two instances actually support my postulation that the practice in the Commonwealth is that the Ruler had always dissolved upon being requested and the Ruler had no absolute power to ask the Premier to resign. I, however, admit that in the King-Byng crisis, the Governor General, Lord Byng had refused to dissolve upon King’s request. However, there were extenuating and special circumstances in that case. I will touch on this later in this post.

The Ramsay McDonald Affair

Allow me to first clear a misconception in Hafarizam’s post, where he says:

“….the Monarch may refuse to grant a dissolution, especially to a minority government…”

The Nizar-led Government in Perak is not a “minority Government”. It is a coalition Government. There is  an obvious difference there. A minority Government is a Government consisting of a party with the single largest number of seats in the Assembly but that party’s seats are less than the total seats held collectively by other parties in the Assembly. For instance, if DAP has 60 seats, while PKR has 30 seats and the BN has 40 seats, a DAP government would be a minority government because its seats are less than the total seats held by PKR and the BN. However, in Perak, the situation is not such. There, PAS, DAP and PKR formed a coalition and the total number of seats in their coalition was higher than the seats held by the BN. Thus, it is a coalition government.

Secondly, Herbert Asquith could not have made the statement on 19th December 1923 in relation to Ramsay McDonald’s request for a dissolution as quoted by Hafarizam because at that time, Ramsay McDonald wasn’t even the Prime Minister yet! The whole affair must be told in sufficient detail if we were to use this affair as a precedent.

McDonald became Prime Minister in 1924 when he formed a minority Government. As the Conservative had more seats, McDonald’s Labour Party had to rely on the support of the Liberal Party. That made it difficult for McDonald to pass the necessary laws as his position was precarious from the start.

His position became untenable when he rejected the Attorney General’s advice to prosecute John Ross Campbell under the Incitement to Mutiny Act 1797 at the behest of some Labour backbenchers. Arising form that, motions for censure were initiated. McDonald quickly resigned when the motions were amended to be one of no confidence. Had the motion been debated, McDonald would have lost. However, the day after the amendment, he asked for dissolution from the King.

And what did the King do? Even though McDonald’s Government was only 9 months old, the King dissolved the Parliament and called for a fresh election. The Conservatives won in the ensuing election and they formed a Government.

However, McDonald made a comeback in 1929 after the May election of that year. Again, this time, he formed a minority Government as Labour only had 288 seats to the Conservatives’ 260, with 59 to the Liberals. Again, he had to depend on the Liberals who undoubtedly made life very difficult for his Government yet again.

To cut a long story short, his second minority Government did not last as well. During the Great Depression, his Government did not have any solution the economic depression. His own cabinet was even split on the issue of public expenditure. He then submitted his resignation.

The King, however, persuaded him to form a “National Government” (something akin to the much talked about “Unity Government” which was being proposed by PAS recently). Note however that at this time, McDonald did not ask for dissolution. He again resigned. But he accepted The King’s request to form a National Government.

McDonald formed a National Government, which was actually a coalition between all the parties in the Parliament. This was viewed as a betrayal by his own Labour party. He even sacked some of his senior ministers from the Labour Party. Needless to say, in 1931, the Conservatives forced him to agree to a general election.

Now, how does the Ramsay McDonald affair support Hafarizam’s position? If at all, it supports my position that the Ruler (or in the UK the King) would dissolve the Parliament upon being requested. It also supports my contention that the Ruler did not have the power to sack the Premier. Never at any time did the King ask for McDonald’s resignation although it was crystal clear that McDonald did not command the confidence of the majority on both occasions (in 1924 and 1929).

The King-Byng Crisis

This crisis and its aftermath redefined the Canadian Constitutional position respecting the independence of the Governor-General in making decisions on his own (without having to consult the British government). It involved Prime Minister MacKenzie King and the then Governor General, Lord Byng. In September 1925, King requested a dissolution. Byng granted it. During the general election which ensued, Arthur Meighen’s Conservative Party won 115 seats to 100 for King’s Liberals while the Progressive Party had 22 seats.

As the incumbent PM, King did not resign. He went to see Byng after the election and told Byng that he wanted to form a minority Government with the support of the Progressive Party. During that meeting, Byng had actually expressed his thoughts that perhaps King should resign and let Meighen  form a government as his party had the majority seats. In Byng of Vimy (by Williams, at page 305), Byng was quoted to have said to King that he (King) ought not to ask for dissolution in the future unless Meighen was first given a chance to govern. King apparently tacitly agreed to this. King then went ahead to form a minority Government.

His Government then was involved in a corruption scandal. The Progressive party’s support was dwindling. King’s Government then lost 2 motions in the Parliament and was about to face another confidence motion. Against what was agreed previously, King asked for a dissolution. Byng refused it. King presented an order-in-Council seeking a dissolution. Byng still refused dissolution. King then resigned. Byng appointed Meighen as Prime Minister and asked him to form a government, which he did.

Whatever was the motivation of Byng, he was heavily criticised for his refusal to dissolve. de Smith in his book, Constitutional and Administrative Law (at page 106) viewed Byng was  as being in an “embarrassing” situation. In fact, Byng’s position became even more embarrassing when Meighan’s Government only lasted for less than a week. Within a week of its formation, Meighan lost a vote of no confidence by one vote. Meighan quickly asked for a dissolution which Byng duly granted.

de Smith argued in his book (in the same page) that the fact that Byng granted dissolution to Meighan while refusing King’s request for one would open Byng to allegations of bi-partisanship. That would taint the office of the Governor-General, which was supposed to be above politics. In a speech in 1997, the Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Michael Hardie Boys expressed the opinion that Byng had been in error in not re-appointing King as prime minister on the defeat of Meighen in the vote of confidence.

Byng and Meighan were humiliated during the ensuing general election. King went to town to critisise Byng’s initial refusal to dissolve parliament. The result of all that was a victory with a clear majority for King, who was seen by the voters as a victim of Byng’s indiscretion. Meighan was seen by the voters as the villain and he even lost his seat.

Central to Byng’s refusal to dissolve at King’s request was also the tacit agreement that both of them had when King had insisted that he should continue to be the Prime Minister even though Meighan was clearly the majority holder in the Parliament earlier.

This, needless for me to point out, was not the case in Perak. HRH the Sultan had appointed Nizar as the MB of a coalition Government with a majority. As far as information which are in the public domain is concerned, there was no understanding between the Sultan and Nizar that Nizar ought not to ask for a dissolution and in the event Nizar lost the confidence, Zambry ought to have been given a chance like Meighan.

Furthermore, King was losing support from the Progresive Party, an integral part of his minority Government. Whereas Nizar did not lose any support from within his coalition, except for the 3 who had jumped ship. In addition, there was also, at the point in time where dissolution was requested by Nizar, uncertainty over the position of the 3 “independent ADUNs” and their case were in Courts waiting for adjudication. Thus, even the loss of confidence was in doubt. Contrast this to the clear and certain loss of confidence on King’s Government when the dissolution was requested by him.

If we superimpose the scenario in the Byng-King affair and the Perak affair now, and considering the underlying disbelief by the people of Perak at what is currently happening, would it be too far fetched for me to conclude that the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional would be badly defeated if an election is called now? I would even venture to ask whether Zambry would be able to hang on to his seat in that event. Meighan and the Conservative party, of course, found out the hard way in the ensuing election.

With all due respect, Hafarizam’s reliance on the Byng-King crisis appears to be misplaced. It is clear that Byng was driven by a tacit understanding between him and King in not granting dissolution. However, history proved beyond doubt that what he (Byng) did was not in accordance with constitutional spirit.

History also, I am afraid, will judge HRH’s refusal to dissolve the Assembly.

Refusal to dissolve – the discretion of the Sultan and the role of Constitutional Conventions

On the power to refuse dissolution, Hafarizam said:

“The powers to grant a dissolution of Dewan Negeri Perak and to appoint the Mentri Besar and State Executive Council members are among the prerogatives of HRH the Sultan of Perak. Consensus amongst parliamentarians and commentators is that there are instances in which the Monarch may refuse to grant a dissolution, especially to a minority government.”

Hafarizam then went on to quote the McDonald and Byng-King affairs as examples. I have shown above that the two incidences do in fact support my position that refusal of dissolution was uncalled for in the circumstances. I have also explained above that Hafarizam’s position that the Perak Government is a minority one is not correct.

Article 18 (2) (b) of the Perak State Constitution provides that the Sultan may act in his discretion in, among others, withholding of consent to a request for dissolution of the Assembly. However, it does not necessarily mean that the Sultan has absolute power in the matter. The question is, and has always been, how should the Sultan exercise that discretion rather than whether he has absolute power or otherwise.

At this point, I must refer to a creature known as constitutional conventions. A constitution is the mother of all laws. In jurisprudential terms, it is the “grund norm”. It is a living and breathing document. It is impossible for any constitution to provide for each and every probabilities and possibilities. Thus a constitution may be as brief as the US Constitution or as long as the Indian one. It could also be unwritten as it is with the British one. But what maintains the order of the state administration in matters where the constitution is silent are the conventions, or accepted practices. It is when conventions are thrown out of the window that crisis happens.

de Smith in the same book (page 55) says that “law and convention are closely interlocked.” Foremost of all, Jennings, in The Law and the Constitution, says that constitutional conventions “provide the flesh which clothes the dry bones of the law, they make the legal constitution work; they keep in touch with the growth of ideas.”

de Smith summed up Dicey’s position on adherence to conventions (in Dicey’s Introduction to the Study of the Law of Constitution as follows:

“Dicey contended that the sanction which constraints the boldest political adventurer to obey a convention he might feel inclined to break was his fear that breach would almost immediately bring him in to conflict with the Courts and the law of the land.”

de Smith then concluded that “obedience to conventions was, therefore, buttressed by the sanctions of strict law”. He further explains that “the sense of obligation and the fear of disagreeable consequences which tend to induce people to comply with conventions are broadly similar to the corresponding feelings which conduce to observance of the criminal law”.

Such is the importance of constitutional conventions that any breaches of or departure from conventions might bring untold consequences. The fear of these consequences drives the compliance with the conventions.

In my humble view, and I say this with the greatest of respect to the Sultan of Perak, the crisis in his state was not caused by a lack of power. It was driven by a departure from conventions in the exercise of his Royal discretion.

What is the convention or accepted practice in relation to the refusal of dissolution under a constitution which draws its form and substance from the Common Law and a Westminster styled democracy? HRH the Sultan of Perak himself succinctly put in his book, “Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance” that “under normal circumstances, it is taken for granted that the YDP Agong would not withhold his consent to a request for dissolution of Parliament. His role under such situation is purely formal.”

It is also clear that the Prime Minister has the power to request a dissolution at any time of his own choosing. Wade and Phillips, in “Constitutional Law” posits that ” no sovereign could constitutionally refuse to grant a dissolution of Parliament at the time of his (the PM’s)choice”. It is also of considerable interest to note de Smith’s view that “some modern writers have argued that the usage of acceding to request has hardened into a binding convention never to refuse a request, or the power to refuse exists in theory but not in practice, or that the monarch is too remote from political realities or too likely to be swayed by conservative influence or prejudice or too vulnerable to criticism to exercise an independent discretion. Hence such a refusal would now be highly controversial, unless the request itself was manifestly improper; and this fact alone must make any attempt at definition highly tentative.”

Events in Perak in the past few months have elevated the above statement to a prophecy of sorts. Just look at the controversy surrounding the crisis now. Just look at the public ridicule over the entire issue nowadays. None of these would have occurred had conventions been followed.

The Perak crisis has morphed itself into a black hole which is sucking the whole administrative system of this country. Affected by the crisis is not only the 3 leaping ADUNs and the respective political personages who are jostling for power but also the various institutions which happen to be connected – by close proximity, usages or entanglement – to the crisis.

The Assembly is in a shamble. Its Speakers are in doubt. The Royal House has been ridiculed, though I must hasten to add, mostly unwarranted. It has even been used during by-elections as shouts of “derhaka” were provoked and relished by some politicians. The independence of the MACC (in postponing the case against the 2 leaping ADUNs), the Police, the AG chambers and even the Courts has been questioned. Malaysia is, in fact, a laughing stock. That is the price which we, Malaysians, are paying for the Perak mess. Perhaps we should read more and ponder on the wise words of learned writers, whose words now have become nothing short of prophetic.

Consider what de Smith said: “…the burden thrust upon the Courts when they are called upon to determine whether prescribed rules have been complied with in a politically sensitive situation is liable to be excessive. Whatever the outcome, the prestige of the Judiciary will probably suffer. If the rules have been set down, do not require the Courts to decide whether, for example, a Prime Minister has been validly dismissed. This is pre-eminently a question about the reins of power. If the constitutionality of such an act is disputed, the controversy is unlikely to be resolved by the pronouncement of a court.”

The above statement could have been written as a real-life commentary of what has been happening in Perak and in our Courts recently. But that was written a good 36 years ago. And that is the high price all of us pay when conventions are not followed.

Hafarizam opines:

“What it means, in layman’s term is simply this, that YB Dato’ Seri Ir Nizar should have resigned the day he met HRH the Sultan of Perak on February 4, 2009. His defiance on that day has dragged the constitutional crisis to where it was until the Court of Appeal decided today!”

I beg to differ. As shown above, authorities, constitutional precedents and conventions have shown that, when faced with a no confidence vote, a Premier is entitled to seek dissolution. When sought, conventions dictate that the Ruler should not refuse dissolution. In the Perak case, however, dissolution was inexplicably refused. The MB was asked to resign instead. And a new MB was appointed.

Nizar was just exercising his right as the incumbent MB in asking for dissolution. That was his constitutional right. He did not cause the crisis. The crisis was caused by events taking place after he exercised his right as such.

Dismissal of the MB

Suffice to say that the notion that the Ruler has the power to dismiss the MB  under circumstances where the MB has lost the confidence of the Assembly, without more, is misconceived. Conventions dictate that firstly, dissolution must be granted when requested.

This is in line with the fact that under the Perak Constitution, by article 16 (7), the MB does not hold office at the pleasure at HRH the Sultan. L. A, Sheridan, in his book “The British Commonwealth – the Development of its laws and constitutions” noted that “in the temporal sphere of politics the Ruler has been since 1957 a constitutional Ruler….a Ruler with limited powers….and that the MB or Executive Council should not hold office at the pleasure of the Ruler or be ultimately responsible to him but should be responsible to a parliamentary assembly and should cease to hold office on ceasing to have confidence of that assembly.”

However, when the Constitution was framed, it makes the Executive Council to hold office at the pleasure of the Sultan but not the MB. And of course, when faced with a no confidence vote, the MB may request dissolution first.

de Smith agrees with this when he says:

“If a Government, having lost its majority…were to insist on remaining in office instead of offering its resignation or advising a dissolution, the Queen would be justified, after the lapse of a reasonable period of time, in requesting the Prime Minister to advise her to dissolve Parliament and, if he were to refuse, in dismissing him and his Ministers.”

So, the exact methodology is this:

The first scenario:

1.the Premier loses majority
2.the Premier offers resignation – if this happens, the Queen appoints a new Premier and the matter ends there.

The second scenario:

1.the Premier loses majority
2.the Premier requests dissolution
3.the Queen dissolves Parliament
4. a general election is called

The third scenario:

1.the Premier loses majority
2.the Premier refuses to resign
3.the Premier refuses to advise dissolution
4.the Queen waits
5.after a reasonable period of time, the Queen invites the Premier to advise her to dissolve
6.the Premier refuses
7.the Queen sacks the Premier

The Perak situation falls under the second scenario. Unfortunately, dissolution was not granted.(In any event, it has to be pointed out that the loss of majority was, at the time of the request for dissolution,  not established clearly in the Perak crisis).

It is clear that the power to dismiss is just a residual power. It is a power which is necessitated by events rather than a power which is naturally imbued in the Ruler’s armoury of discretions or prerogatives. It would be wise to take heed of what de Smith later said:

“A change of Prime Minister may be necessary because of the resignation, death or dismissal of the incumbent. The last possibility, dismissal, would arise only in highly exceptional circumstances and, one would suppose, in a near revolutionary situation.”

Thus this residual power cannot be exercised by the Sultan without having explored the possibility of executing any other Constitutional power. It is a power, which, in my humble opinion, is to be exercised as a definite last resort and after having explored all other possible avenues. Since Queen Victoria came to the throne, all vacancies in the PM office have arisen through either death or resignation and never dismissal. de Smith pointed out that the last unambiguous dismissal of the Government took place in 1783!

Even if the Queen were to dismiss the PM, de Smith posits that the new PM must be prepared to advise dissolution of the Parliament at the “earliest practicable moment.”

So,  the new PM (or in the Perak case, MB), appointed upon the dismissal of the previous one under this residual power, is not appointed to rule but to advise the Ruler to dissolve the Parliament (or in the Perak case, the Assembly) so that power can be returned to the people through an electoral process. That is in the true spirit of the Constitution. The true spirit in the case of Perak has been forgotten or put aside due to political expediency.

That being the case, even on the assumption that Nizar had lost the majority support and that he Sultan was right in dismissing Nizar, Zambry’s function is not to rule but to advise the Sultan to dissolve at the “earliest practicable moment”.

Mahathir Mohammad, the former Prime Minister, thought that the Perak coup was wrongly done and handled. He then admitted that if an election is called in Perak, the UMNO-led BN would lose. It is, therefore, clear that the UMNO leadership is uncomfortably possessed of the knowledge that they would lose in an election, if it is called. Hence their refusal to advise the Sultan to dissolve the Perak state assembly.

Startlingly, de Smith had foreseen this situation when 36 years ago, he wrote: “She (the Queen) would also, it is submitted, be justified in dismissing her Ministers if they were purporting to subvert the democratic basis of the Constitution – for example, by prolonging the life of a Parliament in order to avoid defeat at a General Election…”

In the circumstances, where the UMNO-led BN government knows full well that it is going to lose in an election, if it is called, it is my humble view that it lacks the moral, and even legal, ground to rule Perak. That is, with respect,  an attempt to  subvert the democratic basis of the constitution by prolonging the life of the Assembly in order to avoid defeat in an election.

It is, therefore, submitted with respect that the HRH the Sultan of Perak is now possessed with the residual power to invite Zambry to advise him to dissolve the Assembly. In the event Zambry refuses, constitutional conventions would equip the Sultan with the power to dismiss the government and appoint a new one just for the purpose of advising the Sultan to dissolve the state assembly. The real power could then be returned to the people through the ballot box.

I rest my case.

Husam Musa: His time come as PAS embraces change with a passion, Part 2

May 27, 2009

Husam Musa – cometh the hour, cometh the man, Part 2
by Terence Netto

A bookish Husam Musa had from his days as a boy in Salor, on the outskirts of Kota Baru, argued with his friends after religious classes on questions concerning the physical world and the spiritual.

“My friends used to say that the world was flat and I would try to explain to them that it was not,” he recalled of his early battles with a mindset skeptical of worldly knowledge.

“They would laugh at me for trying to argue with them as if the worlds of faith and physical reason were opposed,” he elaborated.

Though descended on both sides of his family from religious scholars, Husam inclined early towards the empirical and the analytical.

Perhaps it was from his father, Musa Yahya – an ulama who used to write out his sermons before delivering them and was able to calculate the Islamic calendar with precision – that Husam inherited his respect for science, but combined that with a watchful sense of its limitations.

It seems his father, Musa, had ingrained in him a desire to marry the worlds of faith and reason. That would have explained his choice of economics as his subject while a student at University of Malaya in the early 1980s.   “I wanted to show that you could be a good Muslim and be comfortable in the worlds of science and rational inquiry,” offered Husam about his undergraduate days where he was quickly tagged ‘PAS Commissioner for University of Malaya’.

In that putative capacity, he attended the PAS congress at Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka in late 1982 which was a momentous occasion as it saw the resignation of the long-reigning Datuk Asri Muda, the party’s nationalist leader, and the enthronement of the concept of ulama leadership.

Husam was in sympathy with that development in PAS and after graduation, he went to work for the party in Kelantan and was paid out of the monthly contributions of his fellow graduate friends who saw in him the necessary empirically-minded complement to the party’s new found thrust in ulama-guided leadership.

When PAS took control of the Kelantan state government in 1990, Husam gained the opportunity of honing his aptitude for administration and financial planning in the upper echelons of a government that placed Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat as its fountainhead.

By most accounts, a rapidly maturing Husam got along very well with the other worldly religious teacher-cum-menteri besar, who had been marinated in the argumentative traditions of the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence (most Malay Muslims are of the Shafii sect) in Deoband in Northern India in the 1950s – an experience that must have slowed the Tok Guru’s religious PASsion for truth from congealing into the ideologue’s PASsion for dogma.

His grasp of economics evident

When in 1999, PAS captured 27 seats in Parliament on the back of a wave of Malay/Muslim resentment against the treatment meted out to felled deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, Husam, representing Kubang Kerian in Kelantan, proceeded to distinguish himself among the new slate of MPs with speeches that were carefully reasoned and analytically cogent, his grasp of economics abundantly evident.

His parliamentary performance and his earlier record in the Kelantan state administration were embellishments to a career that began attracting compliments not only from within PAS, but also from UMNO leaders as diverse as Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. (In 2003, Husam was named Malaysiakini’s Newsmaker of the Year).

Razaleigh, in particular, found Husam to be a Muslim gentleman with admirable panache in economic and administrative matters, not usually a strong suit of PAS leaders. In the 2004 general election, Husam gave up his parliamentary seat to concentrate on state administration, representing the constituency of Salor where he grew up as a boy. His stellar performance and the influence he gained from it propelled him to one of three vice-president’s posts in the party.

He was responsible for such innovations as the decision of the party to locate its administrative headquarters from Gombak to Jalan Raja Laut, a risqué part of Kuala Lumpur. He was instrumental in convincing the Tok Guru that having popular singer Mawi perform in carefully choreographed concerts in Kelantan would help soften PAS’ puritanical image and smooth the way to winning over young voters, who are apt to be put off by a conception of Islamic rectitude that precludes music and song.

Also, executive councillor Husam’s handling of the welfare portfolio saw to it that efforts to reduce hardcore poverty, whose incidence is high in Kelantan, gained traction.

Not having had an inclination to sport since youth, Husam nevertheless saw the potential in promoting football in soccer-loving Kelantan through his welfare portfolio by encouraging idle teenagers to go to the playing fields if they would not to the mosques.

Part 3 to follow

The Goofer Aminah Abdullah: “I’m not sure it was bribery”

I’m not sure it was bribery, Aminah now says
May 26, 2009

aminah abdullah election commission penanti by election 260509 03Penanti’s independent candidate Aminah Abdullah today said she did not know the offers she claimed to have received from two PKR leaders amounted to bribery until the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) explained it to her.

“The officials told me that the offers amounted to corruption. Only then did I really know it was bribery,” she told journalists, after handing over similar evidence to the Election Commission (EC) office at 11am today. EC officer Noormah Shaari accepted the items from Aminah and her husband Mohd Rofi Osman.

Aminah’s latest statement, however, contradicted what she said last Saturday after the nomination process, when she told journalists that she had been offered a cash bribe.

The duo implicated but not named by Aminah - supreme council member Cheah Kah Peng and Lim Eng Nam, a special officer to Penang state executive councillor Law Choo Kiang - have briefed the party leadership on the issue.

“They have categorically denied that they had attempted to bribe (Aminah) and told the leadership that they went on their own initiative to see her and persuade her to withdraw,” Law (left) said when contacted. He also said that PKR strategic director Tian Chua is heading an internal investigation into the allegations.

When going public with her allegations yesterday, Aminah said the duo had come to her house in Jelutong on May 13, and told her that they had the blessings of PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Disclosing details of the alleged offers, she said they had offered to reimburse her campaign expenses to date – about RM80,000 – and offered her a top post in a municipal council if she pulled out of the by-election and returns to PKR. An alternate scenario was that, if she contests and wins, she would be rewarded with a Penang government post for returning to PKR.

In Sunday’s by-election for the state seat, she will face PKR’s Mansor Othman and fellow Independents Nai Khan Ari Nai Keow and Kamarul Ramizu Idris.

‘We were close friends’

Aminah claimed the duo met her three times and made several phone calls to her to persuade her to withdraw. The conversations, she said, were recorded in three parts in separate compact discs. Asked if she was the one who had demanded the RM80,000, she said she had only told the PKR officials that she had spent this amount, including the election deposit of RM8,000.

As to whether the duo are Cheah and Lim, she replied: “Why ask when you already know their identity?” Aminah, the former Penang PKR women’s wing head, related that Cheah and Lim were her close friends while she was in the party for almost 10 years. She vehemently refuted the suggestion that she had betrayed close friends and failed to honour their friendship when she had recorded their conversation without their knowledge.

“I did not betray my friends. I only took precautionary steps to safeguard myself,” she said angrily, alleging that PKR leaders routinely record discussions. She reiterated that she would not have revealed the details except for the challenge by PKR state chief Zahrain Hashim, and insisted that her disclosure was to “uphold justice and truth”.

On another claim that her safety was at stake after making her allegations, Aminah said she has not received any threats up to now. She lodged a report yesterday seeking police protection for herself and her family. Aminah had left PKR in 2007 under acrimonious circumstances after a fallout with the state party leadership.

MACC starts investigation

Yesterday, Aminah responded to the Penang MACC’s instruction to report to its office where her statement was recorded over six hours – from 4.30pm to 10.30pm. She handed over a copy of the audio recording of her conversation with the two PKR officials and photographs taken with them. Aminah is continuing with her statement today and is currently at the MACC office.

When contacted, MACC Penang director Latifah Md Yatim said the commission has opened an investigation file on Aminah’s report, and will soon call up relevant parties for their statements. “We will try to complete the probe as soon as possible,” said Latifah.

Husam Musa: His time come as PAS embraces change with a passion

posted by din merican-May 27, 2009

May 26,2009

Husam Musa – cometh the hour, cometh the man
by Terence Netto @

For almost four months now, one could be forgiven for thinking that the battle over who should rule Perak is the most important issue in Malaysian politics. It’s not.

Only federal incumbency lasting 52 years and the enormous advantages that accrue from it, particularly control over the civil service, the police and mainstream media, have enabled the UMNO-dominated Barisan Nasional (BN) to sustain the fiction that they have a credible claim to be in the saddle in Ipoh.

Two signal judicial precedents – one in 1966 in Sarawak and the other two decades later in Sabah – have already lit the constitutional trail out of the political stalemate that presently afflicts Perak.  No amount of UMNO manipulation of institutional levers can conjure away the power of well-reasoned judicial precedents, even if some members of the third estate presently profess amnesia about them.

When BN finally decides against evading the inevitable which is a snap poll, they may well find themselves adrift of the required majority by far more than the three seats that only recently separated erstwhile winners from unquenchable hopefuls in the Perak legislature.

Two sharply differing factions

Rather removed from the legislative-cum-judicial arena in which the Perak battle is being fought is another contest whose decibel level is low by comparison but is no less intense and, more importantly, whose outcome is certain to be crucial to the future cohesion of Pakatan Rakyat.

This is the battle for the deputy presidency of PAS that is being billed as a contest between the orthodox wing of the country’s second biggest political party (after UMNO) and its progressives. It was joined yesterday when Husam Musa, after weeks of swirling speculation in the alternative media of blogs and web news portals, announced that he had accepted nominations to contest the post of deputy president, taking on incumbent Nasharuddin Mat Isa, an ulama (religious scholar), at the party’s muktamar in Shah Alam on June 5-7.

Although there is a third contestant in the fray – another incumbent vice-president, Muhammad Sabu – the speculation is that closer to the date of the party congress, Sabu will bow out in favour of a more focused battle between two sharply differing factions in the party.

One faction is in favour of fortifying ties with Pakatan allies PKR and DAP, led by PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat and strongly backed by Husam; and the other inclined towards talking with UMNO about intra-Malay/Muslim cooperation, led by party president Abdul Hadi Awang and Nasharuddin and supported by the orthodox among the party’s theological wing.

The PAS-UMNO talks started on the day after the March 8, 2008 general election which saw Pakatan make unprecedented gains in the federal parliament by denying BN its two-thirds majority and securing control of four state legislatures in addition to enhanced control of a fifth.

To PAS’ progressive wing, the election results were a confirmation of their belief that the party could win non-Muslim support if it modernised and allowed professionals a greater say in the way it is run and portrayed to Malaysia’s multi-ethnic, multi-religious population.

The election results elicited a quite different reaction from the party’s conservatives. They felt uneasy over the increased non-Malay/non-Muslim presence in state governments won by the Pakatan coalition and were led by their fears of a potential watering down of Malay/Muslim domination of Malaysian politics to seek common ground with UMNO, unabashed exponents of Malay hegemony.

This divide between the two factions in PAS separates the modernists, among whom the professionals are prominent, from the conservatives, among whom the party’s ulama, with the singular exception of Tok Guru Nik Aziz, are in plentiful evidence.

The litmus test of an Islamist

The battle for the deputy president’s post has crystallised the divide in the party with contending forces coalescing around the protagonists – Husam, a prominent Kelantan state executive council member in charge of administration, financial planning and welfare; and Nasharuddin, a not particularly distinguished ulama whose path to the upper reaches of the party was eased through fortuitous circumstance than by personal distinction.

Already the media has publicised it as the battle between the Erdogan (after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister) faction and the ulama wing of PAS. The ‘Erdogan’ label has come to be the pejorative term for a Muslim politician who attaches more importance to political rather than religious victories. They are regarded with suspicion by theologians who hold Islam as not only an ethical ideal but also a polity.

A few months ago, Husam moved to solidify his credentials with this faction in PAS when he deliberately took the bait dangled by UMNO’s Khairy Jamaluddin by coming out and saying outright that he will support the implementation of syariah (Islamic law) when and if Pakatan takes over the federal government.

The occasion was a debate in Kota Baru between the then aspirant to the UMNO Youth chief’s post and Husam, both in their separate ways exuding the potential for leadership of their perennially contending parties.

While that assurance of support for syariah implementation from Husam predictably saw him challenged by DAP’s Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang, arch defenders of secularism in Malaysian politics, it is doubtful whether it eased his path to acceptance by PAS’ conservative wing.

“A good Muslim, which is what Husam is, must support the implementation of syariah,” said Wan Zainal, a businessman friend of Husam’s from University of Malaya days where the embryonic PAS leader studied economics in the early 1980s.

Presumably, support for syariah, not so much endorsement for the principle of ulama leadership in politics, is the litmus test of an Islamist.

Part 2 to follow