Monday, June 30, 2008

As Expected, Najib Has Denied Involvement In Anwar Sodomy Allegation

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has denied any involvement in the sodomy allegation against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. “I am not involved in the case in any way,” the Deputy Prime Minister told reporters at Parliament lobby here on Monday.

On Saturday, Anwar's former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan had lodged a police report alleging he had been sodomised by the PKR de facto leader.
A day later, Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail released a picture of Najib's special officer Khairil Anas Yusof with Mohd Saiful at the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, implying that he was behind the conspiracy against Anwar.

Najib said the picture was taken three months ago when Mohd Saiful went to his office to apply for a government scholarship.
“The accuser (Mohd Saiful) met with my officer (Khairil Anas) because he wanted to apply for a scholarship from the Government. The picture was taken three months ago.

“He was a student leader and met with my officer. He had also met other leaders. The main question is did the act take place. That is for the police to establish,” Najib said. (The Star Update)

***** Why not try sending a young man to the DPM's office on the pretext of applying for a scholarship and see if the person can get beyond the guardhouse. If he succeeds and also manages to get a photograph with some senior pegawai there, then we'll consider taking Najib's words as truth.

It is a sign of the times however that not many people will believe Najib's denial. For such is the credibility of our current crop of leaders.

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Anwar Ibrahim Files Suit Against Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has filed a suit against his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan for allegedly lodging a false, malicious and libellous police report against him.

The suit was filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court civil registry by Anwar’s lawyers R. Sivarasa, Ranjit Singh and William Leong at about 10.30am on Monday.

Saiful had on Saturday lodged a police report alleging that he had been sodomised by Anwar, a former deputy prime minister.

Anwar is residing at the Turkish Embassy here, saying that he fears for his life after receiving death threats. (The Star Update)

***** With the PM already convinced of Anwar's guilt it seems purposeless to file a suit. However it does publicize the issue and with the attendant publicity here and abroad, the government will perforce have to be restrained in the manner it plans to punish Anwar. Will the courts be able to provide him any relief? Doubtful, but worth a try.

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Iraq To Sue In U.S. Courts Over Massive Oil-For-Food Embezzlement. Will Pak Lah Be Implicated?

Iraq is expected to file an oil-for-food lawsuit in U.S. courts, seeking to recover damages against the Iraqi people brought upon them by the corruption within the UN program under Saddam’s rule.

The Iraqi government announced today that it intends to file suit in United States courts to recover funds allegedly embezzled from the United Nations oil-for-food program during Saddam Hussein’s rule.

A statement by government spokesman Ali Dabbagh said the lawsuits would target companies and individuals that conspired to corrupt the U.N. program.

Dabbagh did not name any companies or say how much the government hoped to gain by going to court, but his statement cited the findings of a 2005 U.N. inquiry into the program.

That investigation, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker, concluded that 2,400 companies and individuals participated in fraud that included $1.8 billion in kickbacks to Hussein.

After the inquiry several of those named were prosecuted in the U.S. and Europe, resulting in prison sentences for two Texas oilmen and restitution from several companies totaling 10 of millions of dollars.

But little has been done to recover larger sums from those named in the Volcker report in countries including Russia, China, Yemen, Egypt, Vietnam, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.


Iraq is right to do so. But rest assured this will get ugly, and fast. The oil-for-food program was intended to allow humanitarian goods to reach Iraq while the country was under international sanctions after its invasion of Kuwait, which precipitated the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

***** There has been much speculation that Pak Lah was one of the individuals involved in this mega embezzlement. Although he has previously denied any involvement, it remains to be seen what will surface if the Iraqis go all out with their threat to sue.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Arrest And Prosecution Of Anwar Will Isolate And Further Weaken Umno

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says he is leaving to the police to investigate to determine the authenticity of the sodomy allegation against Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim by a 23-year-old youth claiming to be his aide.

He said investigations must be carried out and not merely rely on Anwar's denial as was the usual case in any criminal case the accused person would surely deny committing the offence.

"It is the police who should take appropriate action. Since a report has been lodged, the police should investigate to establish whether the allegation was true or otherwise. What Anwar has said is not for us to decide. He will surely deny. Normally, it's like that. The accused will normally deny the allegation," he told reporters today.

Abdullah was responding to a police report lodged at the Jalan Travers police station in Brickfields by a 23-year-old man that he was sodomised by the former deputy prime minister last Thursday at a luxury apartment in Kuala Lumpur.

Anwar had denied the allegation, saying it was a "total fabrication" and a repeat of the methods used against him in 1998 when he was sacked as deputy prime minister over similar allegations.

Police are expected to question Anwar today.

Abdullah, who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, denied claims that the BN planned to curtail the resurgence of Anwar's political career by hurling all sorts of allegations against him.

"Umno has no intention to disturb him in this way. BN also does not intend to give him problems, to disturb him, create problems like this or to do something bad to him.

"There is no intention like this...it never crossed my mind at all to betray him. I and my friends, Datuk (Seri) Najib (Tun Razak) also harboured no such intentions. The person concerned wants to lodge a report, what can we do, what else. He has the right to lodge a report. We cannot stop him from doing so. "We don't have any plan to do something to him (Anwar) because he said he has made a political comeback," he said.

Asked whether Anwar would be detained by the police, the prime minister said: "I am not going to say anything about it, enough...no speculation, nothing. All that I know is that a report has been made to the police and the police will decide what they want to do and how." (Bernama)

*****
It is advisable that Umnoputeras don't take out their sirap glasses out too quickly for any premature celebration. On balance, even to the most Anwar-hating person, this sodomy accusation will clearly look like a set-up, the sole motive of which is to compromise the PKR leader. It has all the ingredients of a politically motivated hatchet job, replete with deceit and trickery, no matter how sincere Pak Lah's explanation may be. There is no lack of greedy and desperate scoundrels out there, who for a hefty 'compensation' will sell their souls and prostitute their reputation and dignity in order to satisfy the nefarious political intentions of certain government leaders.

This fact will not be lost on a large number of ordinary Malaysians. If their suspicion, that a legitimate candidate for the nation's prime ministership had been illegally struck down by foul means is even half-proven, the end result may well be a further 'haemorrhage' of public goodwill from Umno.

After all how many of our countrymen, except for those hard core specimens in Umno, would want to travel back to the bad old days of Dr Mahathir's tyranny? Even George W Bush's America is clamouring for change for the better. Why shouldn't we?

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Anwar Ibrahim Denounces New Sodomy Charges As 'Fabrication'

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday denounced as a "complete fabrication" new allegations of sodomy against him, the same charge that saw him jailed a decade ago, reports AFP.

Anwar's Keadilan party said one of his aides, Saiful Bahari, had been arrested and forced to make a report saying the opposition leader had sodomised him -- an illegal act in Malaysia.

"The police report lodged against me earlier today is a complete fabrication," Anwar said in a statement. "I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress," he said.

The charges have erupted after Anwar's spectacular return to political life at the helm of a resurgent opposition, after being sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and spending six years in jail on sex and corruption charges.

Keadilan said it feared Anwar would be arrested soon, but police said he would be investigated first.

"Yes, we have received a police report from an aide of Anwar Ibrahim that he was sodomised. But no, we will not arrest Anwar at the moment," said deputy police chief Ismail Omar. "We will investigate this report first. We will look into it and carry out the necessary steps before issuing any warrant of arrest," he told AFP.

The charismatic opposition leader said the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was striking after he gave evidence against the government and police over fabrication of evidence in the original case against him.

"This is clearly a desperate attempt by the Barisan Nasional regime to arrest the movement of the Malaysian people towards freedom, democracy and justice," he said.

"I urge the Malaysian people to stand against the repressive forces that will be unleashed by the government in the coming days and weeks."

Anwar was convicted of the original charges of sodomy and corruption, which he said were politically motivated. He famously appeared in court with a black eye after being beaten by the police chief. He was released in 2004 when the sex charge was overturned, but the corruption conviction kept him out of politics until recently.

In March he led an alliance of opposition parties to unprecedented gains, wresting a third of parliamentary seats and five states from the Barisan Nasional coalition which has ruled for half a century.

Since then he has said he is poised to form a new administration with the help of defecting government lawmakers.

***** Although Dr Mahathir may have left the government and party, it seems that his below-the-belt strategies and dirty tricks are very much in vogue at Umno HQ. Such is the fear of Anwar that these desperadoes are even willing to recycle old ploys and schemes to get rid of him and retain power. But we have gone too far down the road of real freedom recently to turn back and embrace dictatorships, racists and tyrants.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ali Rustam Says RTM Should Not Air Ahmad Shabery-Anwar Debate.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has called for a halt on any plans to air the upcoming debate between Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on RTM.

"It's not relevant and should be cancelled," he told reporters after opening the annual general meeting of the Malay Contractors Association Malaysia, Saturday.

He said it was not proper for the state-run television station to air the debate as it involved Anwar who had always been keen on bashing the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Ali, who is Melaka chief minister, was commenting on the debate -- themed "Hari Ini Membentuk Kerajaan, Esok Turun Harga Minyak" (Form the government today, reduce the oil prices tomorrow) -- scheduled for July 15 at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

Ahmad Shabery and Anwar have confirmed their participation in the debate which may be telecast live.

Anwar had previously said that the Pakatan Rakyat (People's Alliance) would reduce the fuel prices if it formed the government.

Mohd Ali said there were many other leaders who had the credibility and had worked hard to help the government, who could be invited for a televised debate on the issue. "We should invite members of non-governmental organisations who have been helping the government to explain the issue rather than a person who have nothing good to say about the government," he said.

Mohd Ali also objected to a proposed forum to discuss issues related to Malay supremacy and social contract, saying that such a forum could create racial tension. (Bernama)

***** In which part of the Malacca Air Keroh forest reserve has Ali Rustam been spending the past few years? The one important issue affecting most Malaysians today is the fuel hike and its attendant side-effects. Yet old Ali here says that it is 'irrelevant'!

Also isn't it sheer stupidity to invite some government well wisher to debate the minister when it was Anwar who claimed that he'll bring down prices if he forms the government? Bung Ali has absolutely no idea of what a genuine debate is all about. Can't blame him. After all he's been having sham debates in the Malacca state assembly all this while, so much so he has developed an aversion for the real McCoy.

He seems to have a great dislike for Anwar now. Apparently he has forgotten that at one time he used to crawl on bended knees before prostrating at Anwar's feet when the latter was DPM. Oh Rustam, Rustam.

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But The Snake Is A Phallic Symbol, Hamidah Osman. Or Didn't You Know?

At a time when Umno is at its weakest and the quality of its politicians already at the lowest levels since Independence, a Perak state assemblywoman, Hamidah Osman (BN-Sungai Rapat) hit rock bottom yesterday and proceeded to actively dig herself deeper into whatever slime she may have expected to find down there.

While the rest of the members at the Perak state assembly were dueling the way our politicians are wont to, with at least some relevant point being raised to hit out at each other, our lady Hamidah interjected in the midst of the debate to expose her filthy, racist mind as well as give free expression to her irrational preoccupation with snakes. Whether it ends with snakes or extends further to the level of a sexual obsession for phallic symbols and more, is something only that she and those 'close' to her can clarify.

It was reported in today's The Star that this racist Umno excuse for a pemimpin, Hamidah Osman (BN-Sungai Rapat) "earned the wrath of the Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen when she asked whether State assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar 'agreed to disagree' with the well-known fable of whether a snake or a man from a certain racial community should be killed first."

How do you like that for a quality debate? What does it tell you about this detestable woman who probably projects herself to her penyokong2 as a pious and God fearing member of society? With people like her at the helm of Umno what remote chance is there for a truly united and prosperous Malaysia? And do you for a minute think that she'll be the last of the racists from that accursed political party? God bless Malaysia.

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It's 'No Hair, No Passport' In UK!

If you are bald and in Britain, beware. Chances are you might be refused a passport.

It happened to Ian Down, a bald father of three who also happens to be the photo editor of the Daily Mirror.

He got the pictures taken at a photo kiosk and submitted them along with the application form at the passport office.

The clerk looked at the flash reflecting off Ian's bald head and asked: "What's this mark?"

Ian tried to explain in vain that he could not be made accountable for losing his fight with his hair.

"I was shocked. I told them what it was but they said some countries might not let me in if they saw it."

Ultimately he had to go back to the kiosk and return with fresh photographs. The shine off his pate was less glaring than last time. The clerk reluctantly accepted the form.

New rules have been introduced for the electronic reading of passports, but shining pates are a no-no.

Ian's tale might come as a shock to over seven million men in Britain, who surveys say are losing hair. About 40 percent of men suffer hair loss by the age of 35. (DNA)

***** Luckily our pegawai2 are more relaxed than the Brits. In fact here we are so lenient about what there should be on our head that even serbans are allowed in lieu of helmets in places like Kelantan. Never mind the fact that in the event of a serious accident, God won't be around to save the pious serban user from getting his head and brains bashed in.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Oil Jumps To New Record Near $142 A Barrel!

Oil leapt to a new record high near $142 a barrel on Friday, extending gains after surging nearly 4 percent in the previous session, as tumbling global stock markets triggered a wider commodities rally.

U.S. light crude for August delivery was $1.71 up at $141.35 a barrel by 5:25 a.m. EDT, off highs of $141.71. London Brent crude was $1.56 up at $141.39, off highs of $141.98.

World stocks fell to a three-month low as a fast deteriorating global inflation picture fanned concerns over the outlook for corporate profits, hastening the rush of investors' funds into commodities.

"It has a lot to do with asset allocations. The equity markets are under serious pressure, breaking support levels. When equities are going nowhere, the money is parked into commodities," said Olivier Jakob at Petromatrix.

The MSCI main world equity index fell more than 0.6 percent to its lowest since March, with the index on track for the worst monthly performance in percentage terms since September 2002, according to Reuters data.

By contrast, commodities fared better, with gold steady near a one-month record high while U.S. corn futures jumped to a fresh record high.

CURB SPECULATION


Oil's latest surge comes despite moves in the U.S. to curb energy market speculation.

U.S. lawmakers on Thursday have approved legislation which directs the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the futures market regulator, to use all its authority including emergency powers to "curb immediately" the role of excessive speculation in energy futures markets.

Oil prices have doubled from $70 a year ago on supply disruptions and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. Rising flows of cash into commodities from investors seeking to hedge against inflation and the weak dollar have also added to gains.

"It may be months away before the legislation comes into effect but just the fact that it was passed is definitely enough to give the market a little bit of a bearish sentiment," said Toby Hassall, analyst at Commodities Warrants Australia.

Oil, which had been trading in a range for most of the week, broke out of that range after Libya said it was studying possible options to cut output in response to potential U.S. actions against OPEC countries.

"We are studying all the options," Libya's most senior oil official, Shokri Ghanem, told Reuters, adding oil producers needed protection from what he viewed as U.S. attempts to extend its jurisdiction beyond its territory.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil's comments that prices could reach $170 a barrel in the coming months, also fuelled the rally. "I forecast prices probably between $150 and $170 during this summer. That will perhaps ease towards the end of the year," he told France 24 television.

Talks between oil workers and Chevron continued in Nigeria, with the oil minister saying he was confident a deal could be reached, but union officials left open the possibility of a strike early next week. (Reuters)

***** If like dis, die lah brudder!
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Expel Those With ICs, Too: Dr Jeffrey Kitingan

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) on Thursday said the Government should not only flush out illegal immigrants but also those in detention centres and illegal immigrants in possession of Malaysian identity cards (ICs).

Its Vice-President Datuk Dr Jeffery Kitingan said the operation should take into account the mostly Filipino refugees and the alleged "Project IC" holders.

He said PKR is perplexed as to how the Government is going to deal with illegal immigrants who possess genuine Malaysian ICs.

"How is the Government going to deal with this issue? Is it through the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry or Special Task Force or Select Cabinet Committee?" he asked.

Towards this end, Jeffrey reminded the Federal Government that immigration in Sabah is a State matter as pointed out by Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman.

Under Article 161E(4) of the Federal Constitution, immigration matters in Sabah and Sarawak lie with the State authority, the Chief Minister, to regulate and control.

Jeffrey said the Government should have also explained in detail the specific steps and action they are taking in the exercise to flush out illegal immigrants from Sabah.

"We want the Government to explain who are the targets and who will be involved in the exercise such as the police and Immigration Department, among others," he said in a press conference at Sokid Villa. "It is very unclear what specific steps the Government will be taking although we welcome their intended move."

He was commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's announcement that the Government would soon be launching a massive operation to flush out illegal immigrants from Sabah.

He said the announcement was long overdue and that it came a little too late considering the seriousness of the situation in Sabah now.

Jeffrey questioned why the Federal Government was only now making the move, which he said reflected its insincerity and non-committal stance over the matter despite repeated calls from Sabah leaders.

He suggested the Government form state, district and village committees as well as task forces that meet on a weekly basis. "The State Government should work out a policy of issuing work passes on an annual basis or half a year basis," he said.

He also suggested the Government conduct a re-registration exercise to determine who among the identity card holders are illegal immigrants. And once the exercise is completed, he said the State Government should take over immigration. (Daily Express, Sabah)

***** It is indeed a terrible disgrace that the genuine citizens of this country cannot trust their own federal government to get rid of illegal immigrants! Especially since the government itself was in the first place responsible for this mess.

By deceipt and subterfuge from the time of Dr Mahathir's administration, the federal government with the active connivance of the civil service, for ethnic and political reasons, sought to fill the two states with illegal immigrants to bolster the ruling government's vote bank and to give a marked tilt to the demographics favouring Muslims and 'Malays'.

The unchallenged and unproven theory then was that Muslim, rumpun Melayu 'citizens' would be steadfastly loyal and eternally grateful to Umno even if they may be from countries other than Malaysia. That religio-racist belief and myth have of course now been blown to smithereens.

As Dr Kitingan said the government has no sincerity in dealing with this matter and is in actual fact playing for time by talking about action against illegals. As a result of getting walloped in the last GE, with their backs against the wall and finding that their immediate survival now depends on East Malaysian goodwill, they have started to play out this sandiwara.

Now who would be stupid enough to fully trust such a government to clean up after the act?
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Japan Firm Scraps Ad After Racial Controversy

A Japanese mobile phone firm has halted an advertisement depicting a monkey as a political candidate after bloggers said the commercial was a racial slur against U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

An ad aired by the mobile unit of eAccess Ltd showed the firm's mascot, a monkey, addressing a political rally in Japanese and surrounded by supporters brandishing placards with the word "Change".

Some bloggers said the eMobile ad was racist because it seemed to refer to Obama and his campaign slogan advocating change. Earlier this week Britain's Telegraph newspaper ran a story saying the ad "apparently portraying Barack Obama as a monkey has provoked a new row about racial depictions of the Democratic candidate".

Monkeys, while revered in parts of Asia, are viewed in the United States as a racial slur if used to depict African Americans.

eMobile said on Friday that the firm never meant to malign Obama but was withdrawing the ad after the outbreak of criticism in cyberspace.

"We have decided to stop the commercial," eMobile spokesman Takashi Igarashi told Reuters in an e-mail. "We should avoid every possibility of misunderstanding and unintentional reaction."

eMobile CEO Sachio Semmoto said the advertisement, which he said was produced by WPP Group Plc's JWT unit, had meant to underscore his firm's commitment to change.

"For two years I've been saying that Obama has the capacity to change America, the kind of capacity that Japan needs," said Semmoto, who has a reputation as a maverick and whose company has carved out a niche in Japan with a pricing model that differs from more entrenched competitors.

Monkey deities exist in Hinduism, Buddhism and Shintoism, and monkey figures are common in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Japan, including the famous 17th century carving of three wise monkeys on the facade of the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko. In Hinduism, Hanuman is a monkey god revered for courage and power.

Semmoto is a director and trustee of Reuters Founder Share Company, which is charged with safeguarding Thomson Reuters independence, integrity and freedom from bias. (Reuters)

***** Trust the Japanese to come out with a racist ad at the worst possible moment! There are many who have stayed in Japan who will vouch that they are among the most racist and chauvinistic people on the planet.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

BN Backbenchers Club Upset With Nazri For Branding Them 'Childish' & 'Gangster-Like'

The Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBCC) is upset with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz for branding them childish and gangster-like for removing a barricade at the Parliament lobby on Tuesday.

The barricade was initially put up to ban reporters from the lobby.

BNBCC chairman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said the backbenchers felt insulted by the description as they were merely trying to rectify the situation.

He said BNBCC members felt that it was unfair to restrict the media's movement in Parliament it was there to do its job.

"When we felt this thing was not proper (not allowing the media to enter the lobby), we try to rectify it (situation). This was after we had checked with the Speaker who seemed to have no knowledge about it (barricade).

"Then, my colleague went to see Nazri who said he did not know. Later, we checked with the Parliament House Committee and they also said they did not have such ruling.

"Therefore, we felt we should open it. No point in having such (a) barricade as this will create unnecessary misunderstanding between the media and BN," he told Bernama here today.

Without naming the person who give the order to barricade the lobby, Tiong said: "Why did the person who made the decision (to have the barricade), does not dare to face the problem? (sic) Why run away?

"We must be brave enough. If we make a mistake, we must apologise. In this world, nobody can claim he did not make a wrong decision as we are human beings."

He said it was inappropriate to brand MPs in such a manner as they were elected by the people in their respective constituencies.

"If you think we (MPs) are not right, you must at least, respect our constituencies. Don't simply label us as gangsters and the BNBCC as a gangster club," he added.

Therefore, Tiong said, the BNBCC would hold a meeting this Monday to discuss the issue and decide on the next course of action to be taken, as they felt Nazri had gone overboard by branding them in such manner.

Meanwhile, BNBCC deputy chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin clarified that it was not just the Opposition MPs, but also the BNBCC members who had raised the issue in Parliament.

"However, there was no decision from the deputy speaker at that time. At lunch break, we went to see Tan Sri Speaker (Pandikar Amin Mulia). It was only after we removed the barricade as they did not make any decision on that," he said.

Bung said BNBCC was bold enough to take that action as they (members) believed the media was unfairly treated by such a ruling.

"We are not like Opposition MPs who only want to talk, but take no action. We talk, but we also take action," he added. (Bernama)

***** Typical of our Boleh-style of politics and governing - total absence of accountability. No one wants to take responsibility when the crap hits the fan. Not surprising really. As for Nazri, after lying low following BN's debacle in the last GE, he's slowly getting back into form. Expect more faux pas from the past master himself.

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Proton To Design ‘Malaysian’ Taxi

National carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd is likely to be the biggest beneficiary of a government plan to standardise taxis in the country, similar to the black cab in London or the yellow taxis in New York.

Under the plan mooted by the Cabinet recently, existing taxis comprising different makes and models will gradually be phased out and replaced with a standard model that would also be fitted with a fuel-saving device as well as the NGV kit.

Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperation Datuk Noh Omar said the government has asked Proton to design a taxi that could be uniquely identified as a “Malaysian taxi”.

“The existing taxis come in varying sizes and sometimes are not comfortable for foreigners, especially those of bigger built or with extra luggage since the smaller taxis retrofitted with NGV kits have less storage space. Therefore, we need a special model that would have the space and comfort, together with a unique design,” he said.

Noh said the government hoped that Proton would be able to roll out the taxi model by 2010.

Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said the company would study the request by the government as a change in design required extensive research and development. He estimated that about 50,000 taxis on the road in Malaysia were of Proton models.

Syed Zainal said there had been a higher demand now for cars fitted with NGV kits, both for taxis and retail vehicles.
He said the national carmaker would start fitting new taxis with the NGV kits at its factory as it would be cheaper and carry a warranty, rather than retrofitting as done elsewhere by taxi owners currently.

He said Proton expected to start rolling out its new taxis with the NGV kit by year-end. (The Edge Daily)

***** The government's decision and Proton's commitment should be lauded. However it is the quality of the drivers of these taxis which is seriously doubted and indeed very worrying.

A recent survey revealed that our cabbies are among the worst in the world. Quite a few of them are mercenaries out for a quick kill, both literally and figuratively, and this is one area which will require a lot of work. Care must be taken to ensure that not every Tom, Dick and Khairy be allowed to man these cabs. Easier said than done since taxi politics is inextricably intertwined with that of Umno's.
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Oh No, Not Again! M'sian Hindu Family In Court To Reclaim Relative's Body Set To Be Buried As Muslim
Islamic authorities in a Malaysian state are seeking custody of a man's body for burial, saying he was a Muslim convert, but his Hindu family disputes the claim, their lawyer said Thursday.

It is the latest in a series of religious conversion disputes that erupt regularly in this Muslim-majority country, straining ethnic and racial tensions. The case puts renewed pressure on the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had recently pledged that the rights of Chinese and Indian minorities would not be comprised in disputes with the majority Malays.

B. Elangesvaran, 34, committed suicide by hanging on Sunday, family lawyer R. Nethaji Rayer told The Associated Press.

After the autopsy, hospital authorities refused to release the body, saying they had been informed by the local Islamic Religious Department that Elangesvaran had converted to Islam. The department wants to give him a Muslim burial.

His family has filed a case in a high court in the northern state of Penang, seeking a declaration that he is a Hindu and that his body should be handed over to them, Rayer said.

The Star daily newspaper quoted Elangesvaran's brother, Selvan, as saying that Islamic authorities had failed to give him proof of conversion.

"I was only served with a police report alleging that my brother had embraced Islam at the Penang Islamic Religious Department ... and a letter with some scribbling allegedly done by Elangesvaran that he had converted," Selvan was quoted as saying.

About 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people are Malay Muslims, and Islam is the official religion. Non-Muslims — mostly ethnic Chinese and Indians — make up 40 percent of the population. They generally practice their religions freely, but often complain that Islamic authorities refuse to look compassionately at interfaith disputes and flaunt their powers over minorities.

In a bid to appease minority fears, Abdullah announced earlier this year that non-Muslims would soon be required to inform their family before converting to Islam to avoid post-death disputes.

But Elangesvaran's case showed that Abdullah's announcement had amounted to nothing, said A. Vaithilingam, who heads a prominent interfaith group. "It's again coming back to fighting for the dead body. People who never knew him want to bury him, and his family has no chance to get involved," said Vaithilingam, president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.

"It's the same old story. ... Every time there is a problem, the government makes a statement to ease tension and then forgets all about it," he told The Associated Press.

Malaysia has a dual court system with civil courts for non-Muslims and Shariah courts for Muslims. In interfaith disputes involving Islam, the Shariah courts typically get the last word, leading to fears that minority rights are being compromised. (International Herald Tribune)

***** Pak Lah needs this latest complication like he needs the HIV virus. The poor chap already has his hands full with political problems and is probably shaking his head in disbelief at the relentless avalanche of misfortune and bad luck which is besetting him. Perhaps it's time for him to consult a Feng Shui master!

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Salman Rushdie Is Finally Knighted

Indian-origin British author Salman Rushdie received a knighthood for services to literature from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday, saying he was proud of the honour and had ''no regrets'' over the controversy sparked by his work.

Sir Salman, as the Anglo-Indian writer will now be known, said the knighthood was in recognition ''not for any specific book but for a very long career in writing and I'm happy to see it recognized''.

Rushdie, 61, enraged opinion in the Muslim world with his 1988 novel ''The Satanic Verses'', which was considered blasphemous against Islam by Iran and made him the subject of a fatwa of death sentence by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Announcement of the British honour for Rushdie a year ago sparked worldwide protests in Muslim countries and caused considerable diplomatic tension between Britain and Pakistan.

The terror network Al Qaeda, in a chilling website audiotape, called the knighthood an ''insult to Islam'' and threatened a ''very precise response'' against Britain.

The British government of Gordon Brown said ''sorry'' if the award had caused offence, but refused a demand by the Pakistan government to withdraw the honour.

The decision to honour the author was taken by Tony Blair, Brown's predecessor as prime minister. There were also protests in Iran, Malaysia and other parts of the Muslim world.

After imposition of the fatwa in February, 1989, Rushdie was forced into hiding and moved 30 times in an attempt to keep his whereabouts secret.

Over the last 10 years, he has returned to public life, living in London and New York.

Speaking after the ceremony Wednesday, and displaying his knighthood medal, he said: ''I'm very proud, very happy.''

''It's been a long time - my first novel was published 33 years ago but I think the thing you hope to do as a writer is leave behind a shelf of interesting books and it's great just to have that work recognized.''

Asked about the controversy surrounding his knighthood, he said: ''At this stage, you know, it's certainly not a day to talk about controversy, it's a day for myself and my family to celebrate this.''

Asked if, with hindsight, he had any doubts about writing The Satanic Verses, Rushdie said: ''I really have no regrets about any of my work. If you're lucky enough to have one book that gets into people's consciousness in that way then it's fortunate.''

''The fact that that book, 27 years after it was published, it still interesting to people, I'm very proud of that,'' he added.

But Rushdie said he was really ''more interested'' in his recent work. He would write another children's book next. (NDTV.com)

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Raja Petra's Statutory Declaration - 'Garbage' Says Najib

A full week after the astounding claim on the Internet, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dismissed Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s statutory declaration linking Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansur to the Altantuya murder as "politically motivated, fabricated garbage."

Raja Petra, editor of online news portal Malaysia Today, filed the declaration at the High Court here on June 18, naming three individuals who were purportedly present when Mongolian translator Altantuya Sharibuu was murdered in 2006. Apart from Rosmah the two other individuals named were acting colonel Aziz Buyong, who is described as ‘a C4 expert’ and the latter’s wife, known only as Norhayati, who is also said to be Rosmah’s aide de camp.

Raja Petra had further alleged that he had also been 'reliably informed' that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi knows of Datin Seri Rosmah's alleged involvement and that Pak Lah had received a written report from military intelligence confirming the allegation and that this report was subsequently handed over to his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin for safekeeping.

The PM has since denied any knowledge of such a report.

Najib said the police have taken a statement from his wife, but described Raja Petra’s allegations in the statutory declaration as "a desperate and pathetic attempt to taint my political image."

On Monday the police had said that they were investigating Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin on his statutory declaration over purported facts related to the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu under Section 203 of the Penal Code.


Federal CID director Comm Datuk Mohd Bakri Zinin had said that it was an offence punishable up to two years’ jail or a fine, or both, for anyone to give false information.

He said police had yet to pick up Raja Petra for questioning as they were still studying the allegations filed by the 58-year-old blogger on June 18.

This allegation is naturally causing quite a stir and concern right up to the higher echelons of power. Of course the veracity of such a surprising revelation is in itself doubtful and one must wonder what Raja Petra's long term strategies are. As for the immediate consequences, suffice to say that his statutory declaration has got tongues wagging, politicians all riled up and the Malaysian blogosphere working overtime to make some sense out of it. And let's not forget that the Mongolians and the rest of the world are carefully watching and I'm sure wondering, "what the devil is going on?"
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Indonesia Becoming Terrorist Complacent; Malaysian Government Fuelling Radical Islam - Study

The decline of the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) has led some Indonesian political leaders to believe that further counter-terrorism measures are unnecessary, a new study says.

Security experts Dr Carl Ungerer and Dr Peter Chalk also warn that Malaysian ruling party polemics, designed to win the ethnic Malay vote, appeared to be producing an environment conducive to the emergence of Islamic extremism.

The study, released on Wednesday by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) surveyed the evolving terrorist threat in Southeast Asia.

That includes Muslim radical movements in the Philippines and southern Thailand, but most importantly for Australia, the activities of JI in Indonesia.

JI is blamed for terrorist attacks on Bali in October 2002, which killed 202 people including 88 Australians, and in October 2005 which killed 23 including four Australians.

JI also is blamed for the attacks on the Jakarta Marriott Hotel in August 2003 and on the Australian embassy in Jakarta in September 2004. Each attack killed 11.

The study said JI had been hard hit by Indonesian security forces, assisted by Australia, with key members captured or killed. It had now split into a small pro-bombing group and another, more moderate group.

Dr Ungerer and Dr Chalk said JI could still count on a hard core of 900 militants and continued to represent a significant threat to Australian and regional security interests.

"Complacency will remain one of the biggest challenges Australia faces in pursuing its counter-terrorism strategies in the region. There are already some signs of this in Indonesia," they said.

"According to one Indonesian analyst, elements of the political leadership in Jakarta believe that the terrorist problem has diminished and that further counter-terrorism initiatives against JI are unwarranted or, at the very least, are unnecessary.

"Moreover, there appears to be little genuine effort across the Indonesian government to understand the underlying support dynamics or the continuing role of religious schools associated with the JI movement and affiliated jihadist groups."

Dr Ungerer and Dr Chalk said Australia needed to pay close attention to the internal dynamics of states not presently afflicted by Muslim conflicts.

Cambodia had been identified as a potential extremist logistics hub because of lax border controls, endemic corruption, entrenched criminal activity and the presence of a substantial Muslim population.

They said another state to watch was Malaysia, praised for its effective counter-terrorism stance, but which produced some of JI's most infamous leaders. "It has become increasingly apparent that radical Islam is being fuelled, somewhat paradoxically, by the policies of the central administration," they said.

"Various commentators have observed that a troubling enabling environment for extremism may have begun to surface as a result of the polemics of the ruling United Malays National Organisation, which aims to give institutional expression to a more fundamentalist ideology in order to win the Malay ethnic vote and, thereby, outflank the Parti Se-Islam Malaysia opposition." (THE AGE, Australia)

***** The irony is that Pak Lah's much touted Islam Hadhari was to supposed to usher in a more moderate face of the religion. Instead, like the state of our politics, the reverse seems to be the reality. What our PM had intended to do and what really happened are glaring opposites. Eliminate corruption he said, but we are deeply entrenched in slime at the moment. He talked the talked, but when push came to shove he didn't walk, he balked. And therein lies the tragedy of good intentions, roughly wrestled down and shattered by a lack of genuine leadership.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

China Demolishes Mosque For Not Supporting Olympics - Exiled Group

Chinese authorities in the restive far western region of Xinjiang have demolished a mosque for refusing to put up signs in support of this August's Beijing Olympics, an exiled group said on Monday.

The mosque was in Kalpin county near Aksu city in Xinjiang's rugged southwest, the World Uyghur Congress said.

The spokesman's office of the Xinjiang government said it had no immediate comment, while telephone calls to the county government went unanswered.

"China is forcing mosques in East Turkistan to publicise the Beijing Olympics to get the Uighur people to support the Games (but) this has been resisted by the Uighurs," World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in an emailed statement.

Beijing says al Qaeda is working with militants in Xinjiang to use terror to establish an independent state called East Turkistan.

Oil-rich Xinjiang is home to 8 million Turkic-speaking Uighurs, many of whom resent the growing economic and cultural influence of the Han Chinese.

Dilxat Raxit added that the mosque, which had been renovated in 1998, was accused of illegally renovating the structure, carrying out illegal religious activities and illegally storing copies of the Muslim holy book the Koran.

"All the Korans in the mosque have been seized by the government and dozens of people detained," he said. "The detained Uighurs have been tortured."

The Olympic torch relay passed through Xinjiang last week under tight security, with all but carefully vetted residents banned from watching on the streets and tight controls over foreign media covering the event, reports Reuters.

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Four PKR MPs Cycle To Parliament As Mark Of Protest. SAPP MPs Nowhere To Be Seen

Four Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) MPs - Tian Chua (Batu), Hee Loy Sian (PJ Selatan), N. Gobalakrishnan (Padang Serai) and Zulkifli Nordin (Kulim Bandar Baru) - cycled to Parliament Monday as a mark of protest against the recent fuel hike.

Tian Chua said move was also to "appeal to the Cabinet Ministers to understand the difficulty in using bicycles or public transport" in the country. "Changing of lifestyles is not as easy as what the Government claims," he told reporters.

He said that he and the three others had taken about 20 minutes to cycle from Bank Negara to the Dewan Rakyat.

"It's a difficult task because the road transport system here is not designed for bicycle use and cyclists will face problems cruising around town," he said.

Asked if they would cycle to Parliament again, he said the MPs would discuss it further.

"Today, because of the debate on petrol price hike, we rode our bicycles here to make a point," he said. (The Star)

Meanwhile the much awaited tabling of a vote of no-confidence against Pak Lah has apparently fizzled out, at least for the time being as the two SAPP Members of Parliament, Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun (Sepanggar) and Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui (Tawau) were not seen at the august house today, where a business as usual mood prevailed. Any idea where the mavericks are at the moment? At some lock-up perhaps?

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Perlis Mufti Denies Joining PKR

Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has denied talk he has joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or other political parties as he wants to remain apolitical.

"At this point of time it has not crossed my mind to join any political party but instead wants to remain apolitical without being aligned to any party. I think there are already enough members in the party. I don't want to be seen as a spoiler," he told reporters after appearing as a panelist in a forum entitled "Premier Discourse -- Pakatan Rakyat 100th Day Administration".

His participation in the forum, jointly hosted by the state government and the Kota Baharu Municipal Council, fuelled talk he had joined PKR.

Dr Mohd Asri said he accepted the invitation to be a panel member at the forum as it was part of his duties as an Islamic preacher. "I've also attended similar events organised by others," he said.

"As a mufti, I cannot be involved in politics and be a member of any political party. I want to be at liberty to talk about the truth preached by Islam irrespective of the political ideology.

Refuting that his attendance at the forum signifies his support for the PKR-led alliance and opposed the federal government.

"It's not so, my attendance is merely to honour the invitation and to give my independent and neutral views and not to support any party," he said, admitting that he supported some policies of a certain party and opposed other policies as well. (Bernama)

***** It looks like in the present fluid political climate even muftis are not spared from rumours of 'defection' and support for the opposition.
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Dr Mahathir's Blog & Speeches - Defending The Indefensible; Beginning To Grate On Our Nerves

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claims that former judges removed during the 1988 judicial crisis were “bribed” into making allegations against him.

It was evident, he said, that the former judges who received ex-gratia payments from the Government had been made to say negative things about him.

“It’s been five years since I stepped down (as prime minister) and they had all these years to come out without fear to say I am bad. But why is it that only now, after having gotten money, are they saying so?'' he questioned when speaking to over 1,000 supporters here yesterday.

“Give all the judges some money so they all say the same thing,” he added.

Dr Mahathir, who regarded the billions given to Sabah and Sarawak as bribes in exchange for support, said a government which practised such corruption could not expect its people and followers to be different.

“When people oppose, make them senator or minister, give them money, give them a Tan Sri title but is this the Government that we want, is this what we call democracy? We can give money to Sabah and Sarawak but that doesn’t mean we will get their support,” he said.

During his one-hour speech, Dr Mahathir also suggested the setting up of an advisory panel to the prime minister.

“When power is given to only one person, there is a tendency to misuse that power and it becomes hard to separate the person from that power,” he said.

The same, he noted, should also be applied to the post of Umno president. (The Star)

***** Displaying signs of paranoia or senile decay or both, Dr Mahathir seriously voiced his concern yesterday that former judges had been 'bribed to throw dirt' at him! Dr M was of course referring to the comments made by retired Federal Court judge Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin who alleged that the former PM had wanted to amend Article 121 of the Federal Constitution because he wanted the judiciary to be under his control.

As a consequence of his convoluted thought process and a mind which is impervious to hearing the harsh truth about his misrule,
Dr Mahathir cannot or will not perceive that it was his pernicious impatience in complying with the rule of law as well as his politically calculated wrongdoings which turned the lives of these honest judges into living hell.

To their credit these senior judges kept their opinion and counsel to themselves until now, when the government itself has accepted the gross injustice done to them. The ex-gratia payment is a poor substitute to the way their lives had been traumatised by Dr Mahathir's devious strategies and unbridled ambition. If some of them don't speak up now, then when can they get to tell their side of the story? - The horror story of one man's total domination of a country for 22 years during which he successfully either destroyed, dismantled or substantially weakened every single institution of the state. But now that some of them have directly pointed to Dr M as the culprit-in-chief, his only defense is that they have been bribed! Only a graft-ridden mind can so clearly smell bribery where there is none.

It is rich that Dr Mahathir should refer to Pak Lah by saying
“when power is given to only one person, there is a tendency to misuse that power and it becomes hard to separate the person from that power.” That very statement totally embodies Dr M's tyrannical rule of the nation and it grates on our nerves to listen to this kind of argument from him ad nauseam, for there is this arrogant assumption that we are a bunch of suckers who'll believe all the misinformation which he feeds through his blog and speeches.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

PKR Claims BN Brought 10 Sarawak MPs To Beijing To Prevent Crossover! Fact Or Fiction?

In the wake of the political drama in Sabah following Sabah Progressive Party's (SAPP) announcement that they will go ahead with the vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has stepped up its sabre-rattling.

It has made a claim that 10 Sarawak Members of Parliament (MPs) were taken overseas in an effort to prevent them from leaving Barisan Nasional (BN) to join PKR.

PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali claimed that they had been taken to Beijing.

Not all the 10 would join PKR, he told reporters after officiating the PKR's Kaamatan celebration here Saturday.

PKR vice-president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan when asked whether other Sabahan MPs are also considering to join them, said: "Yes, definitely, there are some from Sabah."

Syed Husin said so far SAPP had not made any application to join PKR but if the party did, it would be accepted.

In Miri, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president Datuk Seri Abang Johari Tun Openg Saturday likened SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee to a political cowboy who smeared the image of other politicians in the country. (Bernama)

***** With so many claims and counter-claims from so many sources over so many issues, the mind reels at the info coming in every day. At times it becomes so difficult to distinguish the truth from the manufactured story. The above PKR claim is one such instance. Can someone please verify this?

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Price Of Paper, Stationery, Printing & Packaging Go Up By 10% - 40%! The Greed Merchants Have Started Their Plunder

The price of paper, stationery, printing and packaging products will go up by 10% to 40% starting Sunday, and possibly by 50% by the end of the year.

The Malaysia Paper Merchants Association, Selangor & Federal Territory Chinese Printing Presses' Association, Malaysia Printers Association and the Selangor & Kuala Lumpur Stationers & Booksellers Association jointly announced the increase on Saturday.

Selangor & Federal Territory Chinese Printing Presses' Association secretary Alexander Lee told reporters at a press conference that the price hike was inevitable.

"There has been a tremendous increase in the global price of raw materials, especially pulp.

"The industry has tried to absorb the global raw material price surge without increasing product prices, but it cannot sustain this anymore," he said. (The Star)

***** These buggers had been waiting for an opportune time to screw the nation and now with the fuel price hike and with the government more concerned about trying to stay in power than worry about rising prices, these greed merchants have struck this weekend. This is just the beginning. Let us await the thousands of other avaricious bastards who feed off our economy and are now eagerly standing in line to take their turn at right royally pillaging us. I wonder what Shahrir Samad has to say about this?
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"Anwar Offering Yong Teck Lee DPM's Post," Says KJ! What Rubbish

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee's declaration that his party has lost confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is believed due to him being taken in by former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's offer.

Umno Youth vice chief Khairy Jamaluddin said he was made to understand that Yong would be appointed to the number two post in government if Anwar was to be Prime Minister.

"I heard loads were offered (to Yong) like the deputy prime minister's post and oil royalties. Actually I want to know what was the offer which came individually from Anwar to Yong. Was Yong offered the DPM's job if Anwar becomes PM?. If this is true, it proves it is not a stance based on principles but with conditions because they did meet," he told reporters.

He also criticised the move by Yong and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser who held the meeting in Hong Kong.

"In terms of morality this is wrong because after admitting he had met Anwar and then wanting to support a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister, he still not being direct and said not leaving Barisan Nasional (BN). This raises questions.

"Why would they meet in Hong Kong? Afraid of people seeing? This raises a lot of questions. We know the Anwar and Yong history in 1994 which brought down the Sabah government. This is not something new," Khairy said.

The Rembau Member of Parliament said SAPP's move to table a motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister also showed the party's inconsistent stance. This was because, he said, it was inconceivable that BN component parties would want to support the motion of no-confidence against the BN chairman and at the same time wanted to champion the politics brought by the BN.

He said Yong had also been alleged to have used his position as party president to get their support on his stance with regard to the motion. "I was made to understand most SAPP Supreme Council members disagreed with Yong's stance but he managed to get their approval. The question is, will those in SAPP who do not support Yong come forward to make a different stance that is more consistent, namely if they want to continue with the BN, must support the BN chairman? There is no choice for any party in the BN not to support its chairman," he said.

As a member of Parliament also, he said, he would see whether SAPP members of Parliament -- Chua Soon Bui of Tawau who is also the party's deputy president and Datuk Eric Majimbun of Sepanggar -- would table and support the motion.

"I hope the BN chief whip will take proper action if they proceed with the plan," he said. (Bernama)

***** This is an outright lie from a barefaced liar. Khairy spins his view by stating repeatedly that he "was made to understand" this and that. Perhaps we should ensure that he be made to understand that Anwar is not so stupid to offer a DPM's post to a minor politician, Yong is not so naive to accept even if it were symbolically given on a silver platter and that the public are not that dumb to be taken in by such a patently idiotic spin. Grow up KJ.
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