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.