Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Risky ‘duty’ for Johor Umno

April 11, 2008

April 11, 2008

Johor Umno leaders will ask the Prime Minister to spell out a specific plan for his own political future when they meet him today.

ANALYSIS BY JOCELINE TAN

THE Prime Minister is not easily perturbed. He is able to keep his composure even in dire circumstances and those close to him attribute it to his inner strength and faith in God.

As such, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will be his usual cool and collected self when he flies into Johor today.

Ostensibly, he is there for a meeting of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority board which he co-chairs with Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman. But after Friday prayers, he is scheduled to meet the Johor Umno liaison committee.

The Umno president is quite aware of why the Johor Umno leaders have asked to meet him and aides say he is prepared to listen to them with an open mind.

The Johor leaders plan to convey their concern and misgivings about the state of the party following the losses suffered by the Barisan Nasional.

They also plan to ask the Prime Minister to spell out a more specific outline of his political future for the sake of Umno.

And they have stressed that the meeting will be conducted with décorum and respect because “Pak Lah is our PM as well as party president.”

The Johor group, said a senior MP from the state, is not asking him to step down.

“We are not talking about asking him to resign. We are a Malay party and we want to do it the Malay way. There will be no such thing as forcing anyone to resign as what some people have claimed. But it’s important that Pak Lah draws up his own plans and makes it known to the party. Our members feel that it will help stop people out there from attacking the leadership and party,” said the senior MP.

The Johor Umno committee discussed the matter at a meeting two Saturdays ago and Abdul Ghani, who is also the state Umno chief, has been tasked to convey the message to Abdullah at today’s meeting.

But there were also alternative voices and one of them was Johor Baru MP Datuk Shahrir Samad who insisted that Abdullah should be given time and that if he wished to stay on, then no one should pressure him otherwise.

Shahrir, who is Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, said Abdullah should not be the only one blamed for the disastrous election performance.

“Everyone has to share the blame and correct their own faults. Let Pak Lah face the Umno general assembly in December and in the meantime, let’s focus on our own work,” he said.

The Johor initiative has been the subject of great discussion among the rank and file because of its gravity as well as implications and consequences. But the leaders feel they cannot ignore the rumblings on the ground if Umno is to recover and regain ground.

Besides, Johor Umno leads the pack with six ministers and two deputy ministers in the federal government. There are six Johoreans among the 25 elected party supreme council members.

Abdullah, to his credit, has said that he would not overstay and that he wants to put things right before retiring.

When he visited Sabah on Monday, he said quite clearly that he would not stay any longer than he should, that he had not intention of remaining Prime Minister “for years.” He said that his successor and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak understood this more than anyone else.

A senior Johor politician who had tried to prepare Abdullah for today’s meeting said the Prime Minister has always been receptive to feedback.

“He is prepared for the message and he took what I had to say with such calm and dignity that I was the one who felt emotional. I would have cried if there had not been other people nearby,” said the politician.

There is really not very much that will surprise the Prime Minister given what he has gone through the last few weeks.

In fact, several days after the elections, the tough-talking Cheras Umno chief Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee had gone to see Abdullah at his Putrajaya residence.

Abdullah had greeted Syed Ali with a warm handshake, patted him on the tummy and said: “So, you want me to leave?”

Then he listened intently to what the Cheras chief had to say about the elections.

“It is not that we love Pak Lah less, but we love Umno more,” said the same senior Johor politician.

A key concern of the Johor group is preserving the dignity of the Umno leadership or what they call the institution of Umno.

They are worried about what will happen when the party’s branch and division meetings begin in a few months’ time.

“I can control my division but there are 20,000 branches all over the country and we cannot control them. We don’t want them making statements and passing resolutions on the leadership that will further damage the party,” said the politician.

The southern leaders are taking a huge risk but they feel it is “our duty” to bring up this thorny subject with Abdullah.

Source: Thestar.com.my

Kedah and Penang Umno leaders want changes at the top

April 11, 2008

Kedah and Penang Umno leaders want changes at the top
By ZARINAH DAUD and SIRA HABIBU

PENANG: Umno leaders here and in Kedah have told the party management committee that the leadership needs to be changed in order to save the party.

The 250 division, Wanita, Youth and Puteri leaders in Kedah at a meeting held in Sungai Petani even went as far as to suggest who should take over as the party’s number one and number two.

“Umno is running out of time and a change is needed soon,” said a party member who was at the closed-door meeting yesterday.

The three-hour meeting was conducted by the party’s management committee headed by Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. It is part of a post-mortem exercise undertaken by the party after the poor showing in the March 8 general election.

Another division chief said it was a free-for-all session and the committee told them to speak frankly.

Some leaders also called on party leaders to stop “attacking” Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and for the committee to end the “expose” against the former Prime Minister in the media.

Later at a similar meeting at the Penang Umno building, the management committee was also told of the unhappiness of members there with the current leadership.

The leaders from the 13 divisions told the committee that the Barisan did badly because the people, especially the Malays, had swung to the Opposition as they felt that Umno leaders had lost touch with the grassroots.

“The divisional leaders called for new blood in the leadership and that the party needed someone who could bring back the Malay support.

“Most division leaders wanted the leadership to be transparent and to consult the divisions when choosing candidates in the election. They did not want ‘parachute’ candidates.

“The management committee only came to meet us when damage had already been done,” said one leader.

A state leader said the local leaders also wanted the leadership to take PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim seriously.

“It is a serious matter when PKR said it could form the government within six months,” he said.

Another leader also questioned why the leadership wanted to take action against members for alleged sabotage because party grassroots had actually worked hard during the elections.

“The people rejected Umno,” he said. “It is better for our leaders to close ranks than go on a witch hunt.”

Source: Thestar.com.my

Malaysia PM in deeper crisis as 2 Cabinet ministers seek leadership reforms

March 31, 2008

Mar 31, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Two Cabinet ministers have endorsed demands by ruling party dissidents to hold an open contest for the party leadership, highlighting the prime minister’s weakening control over power in Malaysia after disastrous election results.

The Star daily quoted International Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin on Monday as saying everybody should be eligible to run for the post of the United Malays National Organization party’s president.

At present, a contestant must be nominated by 30 percent of the party’s divisions, which is hard to secure by someone not endorsed by the party leadership. The party president automatically becomes the prime minister.

The nomination quota encourages an “unhealthy political culture,” Muhyiddin, who is the party vice president, was quoted as saying. “I hope that with the abolition, the party at all levels will have a healthy democratic election system.”

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is facing the biggest crisis of his political career after the March 8 general elections, in which the ruling National Front retained power but lost its traditional two-thirds majority. It also conceded five states to the opposition.

Being the dominant party in the coalition, Abdullah’s United Malays National Organization took most of the blame for the losses. The pressure on Abdullah increased after critics called on him to resign, a demand he rejected.

He also postponed party elections, which had been due in August, until December. But it will be difficult for a challenger to dislodge Abdullah in the elections because of the quota system, which was introduced by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1987 after he narrowly survived a challenge by then-Finance Minister Razaleigh Hamzah.

Mahathir, now an ordinary party member, is one of those calling for abolishing the quota system. Among the others is Razaleigh, who has openly declared he will try to challenge Abdullah.

Critics say the quota system ensures that members dissatisfied with the prime minister’s leadership cannot challenge him democratically. Supporters say it is necessary to ensure only serious candidates contest.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also the party deputy president, acknowledged there was unhappiness over the system but denied it was an impediment to democracy in the party.

“The system was introduced to prevent candidates that do not have strong support in the party to contest for top posts just to challenge the leadership,” he told reporters.

“It is not aimed at deterring democracy. Even though there is a quota system, democracy still flourishes in our party,” he said.

Abandoning the system would also mean changing the party constitution, which can only be done at an extraordinary general meeting. Party leaders have so far rejected calls for such a meeting.

Khaled and Muhyiddin, the two ministers, claimed they had opposed it when it was introduced by Mahathir but failed.

Muhyiddin stressed that his call did not mean he was against the current leadership or was encouraging members to challenge the president, The Star said.

Aides to Khaled and Muhyiddin confirmed they made the comments. The aides declined to be identified citing protocol.

Source: Iht.com

Undur PM: Mukhriz terlepas tindakan

March 19, 2008
 
Muda Mohd Noor | Mar 18, 08 6:53pm
kemaskini 9:20pm Exco Pemuda Umno Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, yang mendesak Perdana Menteri meletakkan jawatan, tidak dikenakan sebarang tindakan ketika mesyuarat pergerakan itu hari ini.

hishammuddin hussein 03Di sidang akhbar selepas mesyuarat, ketua Pemuda Umno Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein berkata pergerakan itu menyerahkan perkara itu kepada Perdana Menteri dan juga presiden Umno.

“Kita serah kepada perdana menteri untuk menyelesaikan isu Mukhriz,” katanya.

Dalam mesyuarat itu, tambahnya, Mukhriz memaklumkan surat itu memang ditulis olehnya dan diutus secara peribadi kepada Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan salinannya dikirim kepada semua empat pemimpin atasan parti.

“(Mukhriz kata) beliau tidak membocorkan surat itu kepada umum,” kata Hishammuddin.

Katanya, mulai sekarang Pemuda Umno tidak boleh lagi memandang rendah pada parti-parti pembangkang kerana mereka boleh mencatat kemenangan tanpa disangka-sangka.

Beliau juga memaklumkan Pemuda menubuhkan satu kumpulan khas untuk mengkaji perkembangan di lima negeri yang jatuh ke tangan PKR, DAP dan PAS, serta cuba mengatasi kelemahan untuk merampasnya kembali.

Mesyuarat pertama exco Pemuda Umno selepas pilihanraya umum 8 Mac turut menerima laporan prestasi calon-calon pergerakan itu di semua negeri, tambah Hishammuddin.

mukhriz mahathirSementara itu Mukhriz memberitahu media, beliau tetap dengan pendiriannya seperti tercatat dalam suratnya.

“Saya mendapat banyak panggilan telefon dan mesej SMS yang menyatakan pendirian yang sama,” katanya.

“Kita mahu parti jadi lebih relevan dan diterima semula oleh orang ramai,” tambahnya.

Anak bongsu bekas perdana menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad bagaimanapun menegaskan beliau tidak mengetahui pihak-pihak yang membocorkan suratnya kepada umum.

Surat bertarikh 12 Mac itu mula beredar di internet sehari selepas itu.

abdullah ahmad badawi pak lah 110907Melalui surat itu, Mukhriz mengulangi gesaan bapanya agar Abdullah melepaskan jawatan perdana menteri sebagai menerima tanggungjawab atas ketewasan besar-besaran BN.

“Hanya dengan peletakan jawatan Perdana Menteri dan presiden Umno oleh Datuk Seri sendiri dapat pemulihan Umno, BN dan negara dilakukan dengan jaya,” kata Mukhriz dalam suratnya.

Salinan surat itu diserahkan kepada timbalan Umno Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, dua naib presidennya Datuk Wira Ali Rustam dan Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, dan juga setiausaha agung Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.

Mengulas desakan tersebut, Abdullah minggu lepas menyerahkan isu Mukhriz itu kepada Pemuda Umno.

Ditemui media selepas mesyuarat Pemuda tadi, Mukhriz juga berkata beliau kini gembira kerana sudah wujud ruang bersuara dalam Pemuda Umno.

“Pemuda (Umno) perlu ada satu ruang untuk membolehkan ahli dan orang ramai meluahkan perasaan mereka terhadap parti,” katanya.

“Perkara ini saya nyatakan kepada Datuk Seri Hishammuddin dan exco-exco yang hadir.”

Source: Malaysiakini.com

Tolak jawatan timbalan menteri

March 19, 2008
 
Mar 19, 08 1:07am
Ahli parlimen Kimanis, Datuk Anifah Aman, malam ini menolak jawatan timbalan menteri pengangkutan selepas namanya diumumkan dalam barisan kabinet baru Perdana Menteri tengah hari tadi.Penolakan seumpama itu dipercayai pertama kali berlaku, lapor Bernama tengah malam ini.

Anifah dilaporkan memberikan alasan bahawa beliau sudah berkhidmat selama dua penggal sebagai timbalan menteri perusahaan perladangan dan komoditi dan sewajarnya “memberi laluan kepada orang yang lebih muda”.

Ketika prestasi BN paling buruk kerana gagal mempertahankan majoriti dua pertiga di Dewan Rakyat dan hilang lima negeri ke tangan pembangkang, penolakan ini dijangka menjadi satu tamparan hebat buat Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

musa aman 02Menurut laporan itu lagi, Anifah, adik Ketua Menteri Sabah Datuk Seri Musa Aman (foto kiri), tidak menyebut alasan lain berhubung keputusannya itu.

“Saya berterima kasih kepada Perdana Menteri kerana melantik saya tetapi saya telah memutuskan untuk tidak menerimanya,” beliau dipetik sebagai berkata.

Anifah menang di kerusi Beaufort pada 1999 dan 2004 sebelum bertanding di kerusi parlimen barunya itu.

Belum jelas penolakan beliau itu akibat bantahan atau sebab-sebab lain.

Bagaimanapun BN Sabah dilaporkan kecewa apabila tidak diberikan lebih banyak jawatan utama walaupun negeri itu dan Sarawak menyumbang jumlah kerusi yang besar di Dewan Rakyat.

Daripada 140 kerusi BN di parlimen, 51 dimenangi di Malaysia timur. Parti-parti pembangkang kini memperolehi 82 kerusi – dua daripadanya di Sabah dan Sarawak.

mohd shafie apdalTimbalan ketua perhubungan Umno Sabah, Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal berkata pemimpin-pemimpin negeri itu meluahkan rasa kecewa selepas pengumuman tengah hari semalam kerana harapan mereka begitu tinggi untuk mendapat jawatan kanan.

Sebaliknya, lapor laman web New Straits Times, mereka perhatikan negeri-negeri yang berprestasi kurang baik dalam pilihanraya umum tetap diutamakan.

bernieTan Sri Bernard Dompok, presiden Pertubuhan Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Bersatu (UPKO), meluahkan sikapnya yang sama dengan pemimpin Sabah itu.

Pergerakan Wanita Umno turut membantah pengguguran dua pemimpin kanan mereka, termasuk ketuanya Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz (foto bawah) yang mengekalkan kerusi Kuala Kangsar.

rafidah azizNaib ketua Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, yang tewas di kerusi Lembah Pantai, tidak tersenarai sebagaimana janji Abdullah untuk tidak melantik calon BN yang kecundang.

Bagaimanapun beliau tiba-tiba dilantik penasihat khas Perdana Menteri bagi hal-ehwal sosial dan wanita petang semalam selepas Wanita Umno mengadakan mesyuarat khas membincangkan barisan kabinet baru itu.

Pelantikan mengejut Shahrizat dilaporkan gagal meredakan kekecewaan mereka.

Kira-kira 50 pemimpin Wanita bergerak ke pejabat dan kediaman rasmi Abdullah di Putrajaya lebih kurang 8 malam tadi untuk menyatakan bantahan mereka.

Mereka kecewa kerana Wanita Umno yang sering bertungkus-lumus memenangkan calon-calon BN tidak dihargai.

Bekas timbalan perdana menteri, yang juga penasihat PKR, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim semalam meramalkan Umno akan terus bergolak susulan pengagihan jawatan dalam kabinet kali ini.

Source: Malaysiakini.com

New cabinet: ‘A zebra changes stripes?’

March 19, 2008

Mar 19, 08 8:56am

‘Whilst the changes appear promising, some quotes indicate that these changes may be merely window dressing attempts to plug a serious leak of integrity.’
On PM unveils ‘trimmed-down’ cabinet

Franklin Morais: External change is the easiest to confess and shows how difficult change truly is. Whilst the cabinet changes appear promising, the government-sponsored media and their reported quotes attributable to the PM, Muhammad Muhammad Taib and other BN leaders indicate that these changes may be merely window dressing attempts to plug a serious leak of integrity.

Internal change springs up from the well of values and principles in our core essence. Will a zebra really change its stripes? However, we must allow humans the gracious opportunity of the second chance.

Alberto C: Pak Lah’s new cabinet is evidence of his diffident approach to real politics. He is all for the middle ground that avoids facing the hard questions everyone else knows he has to face, in the wake of the drubbing and bloody nose he received at the just concluded General Election. It’s Pak Lah’s mixture of denial and oblivious indifference that somehow things would just turn for the better when evidence all around suggests otherwise.

He is a defeated PM and a vanquished Umno’s president, the scepter of power relinquished, yet he acts and speaks as if he was basking in the glory of his 2004’s electoral landslide and euphoria. Even at the last opportunity to exercise his real power in forming surely his last cabinet, he opted to please the orchestra than the audience. He is too unreal to be even Malaysian Prime Minister.

So the knifes and daggers are out and the darts will now fly. Umno’s Youth under Hishammuddin Hussein Onn is first to kick off the new power struggle as he removed his kiddy gloves by daring Pak Lah to sack Mukhriz Mahathir – that is a throw of dice to formally mark the beginning of the end of Pak Lah, the Umno way.

Let’s hope the transition to the next PM will be as peaceful as how we have witnessed Pak Lah’s political passage.

Lau Sue Chau: A few days ago before naming his new cabinet, the PM has announced that there will be no ‘back door’ to his cabinet. But what has happened with the newly named cabinet? Not only there are several newly-appointed senators finding their way into the cabinet, but one unfit past politician with a bad track record in Australia had also managed to wriggle in.

If we recall, this same PM had also tried to fool the nation that there would be no dissolution of Parliament but in the very next day, he announced the dissolution of the parliament.

Was he sleepy of just absentminded? Whatever the case may be, can Malaysians trust him?

KK Nantha: Doesn’t Pak Lah have the backbone to say ‘No’ to corrupted politicians? Muhammad Muhammad Taib was caught with a bag full of money (in the millions) in Australia. In spite of this, he has been appointed a minister. What a shame. Was Pak Lah pressured to appoint him a minister? Worse still, he has been appointed to look after the poor.

Sean Kan: Though the number of ministries have been slashed from 32 to 27, it is still a super-sized cabinet. More of pie-sharing rather than effective management. By integrating the still-overlapping portfolio, it can be reduced to 17 ministries as follows:

Prime Minister’s Department

Housing and Local Government + Rural and Regional Development

Energy, Water + Natural Resources and Environment

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry + Plantation Industries and Commodities

Women, Family and Community Development + National Unity + Youth and Sports

Information + Communication + Science, Technology and Innovation

Entrepreneurial and Cooperative Development + Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs

Defense, Internal Security & Home Affairs

Tourism + Culture, Arts and Heritage

International Trade and Industry

Education + Higher Education

Human Resources

Foreign Affairs

Transport

Finance

Works

Health

Just compare us with the US, a country 30 times larger than Malaysia, with a population more ethnically diverse and 12 times more than ours. In US, there are only 15 ministries.

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Department of Commerce (DOC)

Department of Defense (DOD)

Department of Education (ED)

Department of Energy (DOE)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Department of Justice (DOJ)

Department of Labor (DOL)

Department of State (DOS)

Department of the Interior (DOI)

Department of the Treasury

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Chuacj: Congratulation to Pak Lah for finalising the list of cabinet ministers and their deputies. Let us hope that there is a wind of change (for the better) for Malaysia. But Pak Lah, the main reason BN lost its 2/3rds majority is because the rakyat doesn’t trust it anymore. The following is what most of us want from you if you want to regain our trust:

1. Judicial reform

2. An incorruptible police force

3. An independent ACA which reports to Parliament

4. Respect for human rights

If you can do this, I may vote for BN next time.
On Ministers, deputies to declare assets

Del Capo: Is this the real reason why Khairy and Rafidah are not in the line-up? Muhd Muhd Taib’s declaration should be interesting….
On Bersih: Opposition could have won gov’t

Netty E Komattu: I am deeply shocked and disappointed to hear that despite the assurance by EC that the 12th general election will be transparent and clean, there are 72,058 ballot papers unreturned. This being 41,564 for parliamentary ballot papers and 30,494 for state ballot papers.

What in the world did the EC think they were doing? Is this what they call transparency? I strongly urge that a royal commission be set up to check on fraud, misconduct and irregularities during the 13-day election period up to March 8. Both the EC chairperson and secretary must be taken to task and a recount of the ballot papers must be carried out to ensure transparency lives.

Lame excuses given by EC are unacceptable and I for one am disgusted with the way the EC chairperson (being a one-sided man in favour of BN) has carried out the general election.

He is totally unprofessional and unfit to be the head of the EC. I demand for his immediate resignation and the royal commission must take him and his cronies to task.

Deric Chang: Since this issue is brought up, I would like to share my story. For the last two elections, my family and I have been sent to three different polling stations when we all share the same address. Fishy?
On Should voters apologise to Penang Umno?

FPH: Why should we apologise to them? No way. The people in Penang have exercised their right and chosen BR (DAP, PKR, PAS). Sorry BN guys ( Umno, MIC, MCA, Gerakan ) but the time says change. Fool us once, shame on us, fool us twice, shame on you.

If this is the way Umno Penang or whoever is going to react, than certainly it’s not a good level of education they have. Well, if they wish to stop all the projects planed by the former BN government, please go ahead. You will see more from us at the next elections, as simple as that.

If Umno cares for the people of Penang, they should stop such reactions in the first place. Such wild reactions don’t reflect their professionalism at all.

This only shows that they care for themselves and not for others. Common guys, wake up. Isn’t this called threatening the people of Penang? If you keep up with this trend, than the people will double their People’s Power.

Om Prakash: I refer to the incidences of demonstrations in front of Komtar Penang. How could the police say they used the ‘discretionary powers’ to allow the demonstration. Obviously, the organisers of the events have breached the law. Why are the police not consistent with their action? Afer all, they had no qualms using violence to break up the peaceful Hindraf rally.

The law seems to be sidelined to suit BN interests and this is what is all about. Well, this is truly the age of the renaissance of Malaysian politics.
On Give the five our wholehearted support

Kluang: I fully support the five new state governments on their initiatives to help the poor irrespective of race. At last, we are beginning to see a new beginning and hope for all Malaysians. DAP and PKR leaders should just do the right things for the people but be careful of the Umno troublemakers.

I can see that they are creating trouble in these states by illegal demonstrations. They are hoping that the situation will take a turn for the worse and the government will then be ‘forced’ to step in and run these states under emergency rule.
On Samy Vellu: Did he speak up or not?

Sham: Well, I think he did try to tell the people very loudly the things that MIC and he did.

However it was too late as by then the Hindraf had already ignited a fire so deafening that all other factors didn’t matter. The community self-destructed.

Why? At the end of the day even the opposition didn’t recognise the Indian factor in the elections. Where is the Indian MB? I ask this as the opposition was fighting for a Malaysian Malaysia.

Gandhi: Whatever framework of crisis management or planning Samy comes up with, it is not going to salvage the supposedly Indian representative political organisation, the MIC. It’s beyond repair in my opinion but perhaps with some earth-shattering changes, its reincarnation could help the frustrated Indians.

Firstly, Samy Vellu should leave the party so that the ‘Yes, boss’ mentality is eradicated completely. He failed our trust in him when he conveniently avoided settling the Maika issue. Only people who have a sound education, new ideas, independent thinkers and are bold in questioning the wrongs happening in the party may give some hope. Intimidation must be history.

A new group like Hindraf must take over and instill a new culture with accountability, decency and humility. Choose potential leaders who are willing to serve the community without any desire of becoming rich overnight.
On Khalid: Water agreement to be reviewed

Silent Majority: I wish to draw your attention to an interesting experience in trying to get a water meter reinstalled by Syabas to a premise which was vacant since I received the keys in October 2001. Most of the small shop lots around this area remained empty till that day. Sometime in November 2007, I finally managed to get someone to rent my lot for RM500 and went to Syabas on Nov 23 last year to get the water supply reconnected.

To my horror Syabas demanded RM420 for ‘Buka Ferrule’ and another RM30 as ‘caj’. The terminology ‘Buka Ferrule’ is only there to confuse and mislead the public. When I asked what ‘Buka Ferrule’ meant they explained that they have to send their contractor with a ‘JCV’ (an excavator) to reconnect the meter – .what nonsense! After much argument they finally agreed to give a 50% discount on the RM420 ‘Buka Ferrule’ charge. To me, this is still daylight robbery. To reconnect the meter does not take more than 10 minutes!

Further, they demanded a ‘tunggakkan’ (arrears) of RM490 on top of the deposit of RM500 which they have forfeited. There was practically no water consumption since the key was handed over in October 2001! So in total they wanted me to pay them RM940 plus a new deposit of RM500 which means I have to fork out RM1,440 just to get my meter reinstalled! So now you know how the rakyat suffers in silence.
On Should Malaysiakini go free?

Virtualmystic: As much as I wish to see a free and balanced media for all the people of Malaysia, I have to disagree making Malaysiakini free for all. The proposal of taking advantage of traffic to earn all revenue from advertising may look sound initially. But if Malaysiakini were to go down this road, it, like any other mainstream media, it could easily be put out of business by an ‘interested’ party. How? If orchestrated properly, Malaysiakini could unknowingly be funded by advertisements coming from only one source. Should this source one day decide to withdraw it’s advertisements at the appropriate time, Malaysiakini, it’s staff and it’s contributers will be left high and dry.

I would rather see it draw revenue from a paying public interested in a more balanced view. After all RM150/year, equates to RM12 a month. This is still much cheaper than buying into the biased view of mainstream media dailies at the cost of RM1.20 a day.

As for competition, I say all the better. Those who cannot afford the RM12 monthly could and should have an alternative and decide if what they read is biased or not. There are, after all, enough bloggers to deisseminate what is written in Malaysiakini and other sites to all who care to look for the information.

Jeff Balan: It is touching to read the comments with regards to your online newspaper. Whilst I highly admire your newspaper, I wouldn’t go as far as some to say that the BN was defeated because of the Internet.

But I would admit that the Internet (and Malaysiakini) certainly played a crucial part. My personal feeling is that it was the BN itself that caused itself to implode and self-destruct with its failed policies and empty promises.

Regarding being free for all, I don’t think so. Malaysiakini at RM15 a month is a good deal for most people. I think it is the least that readers can do to help pay the salaries of your dedicated and bold journalists and writers.

However, the only people that I think that Malaysiakini should consider giving free subscriptions to is to the handicapped and elderly Malaysians because these special groups usually have either reduced or no income at all. They should be allowed to qualify for complimentary subscriptions by producing their special cards.

Source: Malaysiakini.com

Publicity boys AKI tertidur: AbdulKhalidIbrahim.com

March 10, 2008

Publicity boys AKI tak cekap kerana tak mahu dapatkan AbdulKhalidIbrahim.com. Tengah sibuk celebrate agaknya.

Jika lambat AbdulKhalidIbrahim.net dan AbdulKhalidIbrahim.org pun akan tiada lagi.

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Malaysia opposition win down to cyberspace

March 10, 2008

Malaysia’s weak opposition was up against a hostile mainstream media and restrictive campaign rules, but it can chalk up much of its stunning success in Saturday’s election to the power of cyberspace.

Voters exasperated with the unvarnished support of the mainstream media for the ruling National Front furiously clicked on YouTube and posted comments with popular bloggers about tales of sex, lies and videotapes in the run-up to Saturday’s election.

Jeff Ooi, a 52-year-old former advertising copywriter who made his name writing a political blog, “Screenshots” (www.jeffooi.com) won a seat in northern Penang state for the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Elizabeth Wong, a human rights activist and political consultant who runs a blog (http://elizabethwong.wordpress.com), won a state assembly seat in the central state of Selangor.

YouTube, the phenomenally popular video Web site, did as much damage as any opposition figure could hope to inflict, after netizens uploaded embarrassing videos of their politicians in action on hot-button issues.

One YouTube video in January showed ruling party MP Badruddin bin Amiruldin causing a ruckus in parliament over whether Malaysia was an Islamic state. “Malaysia is an Islamic state”, he declared. “You don’t like it, you get out of Malaysia!”

Muslim Malays form the majority in multi-racial Malaysia, but ethnic Chinese and Indians account for a third of the population and they deserted the ruling National Front in droves, partly in outrage over the religious debate.

SEX, SLEAZE, CORRUPTION

Another YouTube video that got wide distribution shows a rambling and incoherent Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin, in a live interview with al-Jazeera, excitedly defending a police crackdown against peaceful protesters calling for changes to the electoral process in November.

Zainuddin was one of several “big guns” in the National Front that fell to the opposition’s onslaught.

Sex, sleaze and corruption were election issues and they all had video soap operas on websites.

Malaysia’s health minister resigned in January after admitting he and a female friend were the couple in a secretly filmed sex video uploaded on YouTube. That cost some votes.

“We were concerned about the morality of our leaders,” said Maisarah Zainal, a 26-year-old teacher in Kuala Lumpur. “It didn’t help that Chua Soi Lek was involved in a sex video.”

Loh Gwo Burne, who secretly videotaped a phone conversation, allegedly showing a high-profile lawyer trying to fix judicial appointments with Malaysia’s former chief judge, was elected to a seat in parliament from a seat in suburban Kuala Lumpur.

The grainy video hit a nerve in Malaysia, whose judiciary has been under question since the late 1980s.

Malaysia’s blogging community offer alternative views in a country where the government keeps a tight control on mainstream media. The government said last year it might compel bloggers to register with the authorities to curb the spread of malicious content on the internet.

Government backers doubt whether bloggers turned opposition politicians could make their presence felt. “Beyond the major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang, there’s not much the bloggers can really hope to accomplish,” says Mohamad Norza Zakaria, a leader in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s UMNO party (www.umno-online.com)

The Chinese-backed DAP, by contrast, appointed blogger Ooi to head the party’s “e-campaign.”

Even a barely literate 89-year-old grandmother running for parliament with little money and only a bicycle to get around on, hopped the cyberspace bandwagon with a Facebook profile and her own blog, courtesy of some Internet savvy supporters. Mamin Yusuf, however, lost. It wasn’t clear how many of her potential voters were hooked up to the Internet in northeastern Terengganu.

Source: Stuff.co.nz