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Friday, 31 October 2008

RAZAK ACQUITTED

RAZAK is acquitted. Cops to answer charges. Altantuya of course is long gone. I rest my case....


As Razak left the court house today he was surrounded by hordes of press photographers and reporters whom he calmly told to move aside so that he could go home.

After nearly two years the ordeal is finally over for him.

But for his close friend Najib, this will be a bitter-sweet moment.

His friend is acquitted, but the acquittal will almost certainly give rise to more allegations against him. MORE

Thursday, 30 October 2008

FROM THE PRISON WALLS

I KNOW. The font of this posting is extra large. Click on the link and you will know why I posted this. Am puzzled as to how RPK could write and post this in Malaysia Today. Will he be in trouble with the fact that he is still able to tell the world about what he thinks? What is prison then, in this context? Don't ask me. I am asking you. Whatever it is, whether it is the real RPK or a fake, the points raised merit discussion.....

Before I sign off, I would like to apologise for the quality of my articles. It is not so convenient to type from where I currently live so I need to just get my points across without much focus on the presentation. I hope this will not be for long and that I may soon be back with you. Anyway I was told that Malaysia Today is under control and in good hands. Till we speak again. MORE

PAK LAH REPORT CARD

THIS is what we call a transitional period. Pak Lah had clearly said he would be Prime Minister only until March 2009. Then, "I hope it will be Najib," he said. Najib is another story. For now, this piece by The Nutgraph is an attempt to see Pak Lah the last five years or so....


THE NUTGRAPH: Abdullah, who was known throughout his long political career as a clean politician, took office on 31 Oct 2003 in an atmosphere of good will and much anticipation. He promised a kinder, gentler form of governance. He vowed to do away with corruption and cronyism, and to put the people's interests first. To counter the threat posed by PAS, he put forth a progressive face for the religion by espousing Islam Hadhari.

In his first address in Parliament on 3 Nov 2003, Abdullah outlined his vision for the country, pledging to continue with his predecessors' policies. More importantly, he called on legislators, administrators, the private sector, political parties, the media and Malaysian citizens from all walks of life to "work with" him. MORE

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

REVISED BUDGET

JUST a brief note. I hope to be in Parliament when Najib speaks about the economy...

Clearer picture on Malaysia's economy after Nov 4

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 — November 4 could be a make or break day for many Malaysians. On that day, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will reply to questions raised during the Budget debate and is likely to lay out a buffet of new measures to cushion the effects of the world economic slowdown.

He is likely to redraw all the assumptions that went into preparing the Budget which was presented by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in September.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Najib could also downgrade economic growth forecast for next year from 5 per cent to 3 per cent. He has little choice. The recent freefall of palm oil prices and the sharp drop in crude oil prices will dent the government's revenue in 2009 and 2010 and impact on its ability to fund projects over the next few years. MORE

Thursday, 23 October 2008

UMNO TWIST

FRANKLY, I saw this coming. Many more twists to come. I believe so....

Umno election Dec, Pak Lah to be PM till March

OCT 23 - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi said today the Umno supreme council will meet next Thursday to consider bringing forward Umno polls to December.

However the Umno president said that even if the party holds its elections in December, he will still hand over power to the new Umno president only in March assuming Barisan Nasional (BN) remains in control of the government.

Abdullah has already announced he will not seek re-election as Umno president, and Datuk Seri Najib Razak is the favourite to take over the party's leadership.

The party's general assembly had been postponed to next March to ensure a smooth transition of power, but some senior Umno leaders have been asking recently for the polls to be held in December instead.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, was speaking in Beijing after opening the Khazanah Nasional Berhad Beijing Representative (BRO) office.

Abdullah said the timeline of the power transition in March next year remains unchanged.

Bernama reports the Prime Minister as saying "We already have a transition plan. The transition plan will be in March next year," he said after launching the Beijing representative office of Khazanah Nasional today.

Abdullah was asked by Malaysian newsmen on reports of moves by some Umno members to push for the party elections to be reverted to December this year.

The party general assembly, originally planned for December, was moved to March to pave the way for a smooth transition of leaders.

Elections for the Youth and Wanita wings of the party will also be held at the general assembly. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

ANWAR GIVING UP

THIS is politics. It is what Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said: "political suggestion". Read this posting together with the one above this post. Then try read between the lines....

Anwar no longer in a hurry to take over

Pakatan Rakyat is not in a hurry anymore to take over the federal government, according to opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Amid rising confidence from the Barisan Nasional that the takeover threat from PR is diminishing, Anwar said he would not focus on the element of surprise in the attempt to take power.

“We are not in a terrible hurry. In the current economic downturn we want to engage the government to take the right measures,” Anwar said.

“We are exploring the possibilities with respect to the constitutional process. We are working on it and we need the element of surprise,” he said to explain a lack of any further details.

Anwar, who has missed several deadlines to unseat the government, said in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday that he is running out of options to replace the ruling coalition.

Seven months after reducing the Barisan Nasional’s majority in Parliament in the March general election, he has failed to get BN lawmakers to cross over to the opposition and to table a vote of no confidence in Parliament against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The premier's response has been to accelerate a power handover to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak, according to Bloomberg.

“I’m not saying we have no options left, but I’m saying it’s getting to be much more difficult,” Anwar said in the interview.

However, the former Deputy Prime Minister today rejected the idea that BN was re-establishing itself with the promise of Najib’s leadership after the Umno party polls in March.

“What makes you think they are more supportive of Najib than Abdullah?” was Anwar’s retort.

“To suggest Najib has consolidated his position is an exaggeration. Maybe within Umno but not BN and certainly not with the rakyat.

“This is the first time in history that a Prime Minister-designate is being hounded and haunted by such serious allegations which have gone unanswered.”

Najib has spent the past week fighting off a series of allegations, from his alleged involvement in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial to improprieties in the proposed procurement of helicopters for the Malaysian Armed Forces. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

FOOD FOR THOUGHTS

SORRY. It has been a strange week for me. Will post about it later. But I suppose life goes on. Sad to say, our political situation is still like that - lots of uncertainties. In Umno, MCA, MIC even in smaller parties such as Upko. We will fight on....

MUSA: Umno has lost its popularity

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno is in dire need of a drastic change and young blood with new ideas are the plausible solution, said former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam.

“I understand that the experience of seniors are needed for top posts like president or vice-president, but other than that, they should choose the younger ones,” he said.

Musa said the party had been raising the same issues which were raised 20 or 30 years ago, and bickering about emotional rather than substantial issues, such as the economy.

“Umno is already over 61 years old and is experiencing penyakit tua (old age sickness) which cannot be remedied by senior citizens but rather the younger generation with new ideas,” he said after launching the Bridges €“ Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace forum here yesterday.

He also claimed that Umno was “too introverted” by focusing on its own problems and looking for acceptance among its own members, but not the rakyat, whose perceptions would determine its future.

“It is important for Umno to realise that it has lost its popularity because of public opinion.

“The party has many problems that it cannot rectify, like corruption, accountability issues and abuse of power,” he said.

“The new generation will not accept wholesale what politicians are saying because they don’t accept the politicians,” he said.

Musa believed that certain politicians were fighting for their own benefit rather than for the benefit of the larger community.

“What the nation wants is a party that is sensitive to their needs and is one step ahead of the citizens’ thinking,” he said.

“These are hard words, I know, but I will only say it once. When I say it, I mean it and I’ve been thinking long and hard about it,” said Musa. THE STAR

Sunday, 19 October 2008

MCA NOT HAPPY

THIS is what MCA had to say during their congress over the weekend. Am one with Ong Ka Ting. Some times. It is a tiring journey though...

Umno is too dominant

KUALA LUMPUR: Outgoing MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting has outlined various issues - ranging from the Internal Security Act to the issuing of Government contracts and dominance of Umno in the ruling coalition - as reasons why the people had a negative perception of the Barisan Nasional.

In one of his hardest hitting policy speeches in his five years as party president, Ong pointed out that these perceptions had continued against the Barisan even seven months after the March 8 general election because most of the issues had not been resolved.

“What is worrying the MCA is that although we have raised these issues many times to be addressed by the Government, the solution has not been satisfactory. MORE

Thursday, 16 October 2008

THURSDAYS WITH...

EEBOT: Oh my, what a weekend. The 12th Upko Delegates Conference was a very taxing event. And I thought I had prepared myself well for it. I was wrong.
BUDDY: But did alright, my friend. And that is all that matters. Sure, you could be exhausted but it was for a good cause. It was worth it.
MINNIE: Judging from the coverage Upko received in the newspapers, am sure a lot more non-Upko know you all better now, Eebot.
BUDDY: Not to mention your comments that were carried even by national papers about who should elect the Prime Minister. Eebot, am proud of you. In a way, you have suddenly stepped up a gear. Hope you will not forget this coffee shop.
EEBOT: Frankly, the publicity is a pleasant surprise to me too. And don't worry, while its true that I have more responsibility now especially within the political arena, deep down, I am still Eebot. I know you two and a whole lot of other people will support me in one way or another. This shop, this is our second home.
BUDDY: Second home? Come to think of it, how can we ever call Malaysia our home country, our beloved nation if the gaps between its people are widening rather than decreasing?
MINNIE: First class them. We are second class. Its not fair. Am with you on this Buddy.
BUDDY: Surely, there are things we could do. Perhaps Eebot can show us the way.
EEBOT: Now, wait you two. Just because am elected a Supreme Council member of Upko doesn't mean am now Mr All Knowing. But its a challenge and I intend to do well.
MINNIE: Buddy, Eebot, want to order something to bite?
BUDDY: A bite? Had we not been bitten enough?
EEBOT: No pain no gain... not that that is how it must always be.

FIREBRAND BINGKASAN

I googled 'Albert Bingkasan' on the net, and this is what I got. Was travelling the last few days. And the fact that the national paper comes rather late to Sabah caused me to miss this article, though my friends did tell me about it. Am posting it anyway for archive purposes.....(thanks Roy!)

Dompok: Do not hesitate to take up controversial issue

By Roy Goh

PENAMPANG, 13 Oct 2008: In the March 8 general election, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun and Murut Organisation (Upko) came up with a battle cry that the party would be "truthful, sincere and courageous". It worked.

To those who envy them, the party appears to be "annoying and arrogant", not that it matters to Upko.

Being controversial, whether by accident or by design, appears to have been the party's key staying power and now there is growing acknowledgement from the grassroots.

In his keynote address at the opening of the party's 12th triennial delegates conference over the weekend, its president, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, urged members to keep it up.

"Position in government is never permanent. Our positions as ministers, assistant ministers, members of parliament and assemblymen are temporary.
"Our elected representatives must be ready to take up issues without having to think that it may jeopardise their chances of securing appointments to important positions or maintaining what they have.

"Despite the smaller allocation (of seats under the Barisan Nasional) for us, we have used them well, not just in terms of winning all of them but also in post-election delivery to the rakyat on the floor of Parliament, state assembly and in the cabinet (state and federal) meeting rooms."

In the general election, Upko won all its four parliamentary and six state seats. It also had a senior leader appointed as a senator.

It had also set itself up to face the post-election turbulence as a BN component member with all the main posts in the party -- president, deputy president, Wanita and Youth chiefs as well as the five vice-presidents -- being returned unopposed.

Apart from Dompok, Datuk Wilfred Bumburing retained his post as deputy president while Datin Jainah Sintiah and Arthur Sen are the new Wanita and Youth chiefs respectively.

The five vice-presidents are incumbents Datuk Wences Angang, Datuk Tan Yong Gee, Datuk Ewon Ebin, Datuk Maijol Mahap and outgoing Wanita chief Datuk Christine Tibok.

"Upko comes with a firebrand tag when it comes to controversial issues but that's fine with me," said former journalist Albert Bingkasan, who was among 24 aspirants for the 16 supreme council posts at stake at the congress.

Bingkasan, whose campaign card depicts a silhouette of himself facing the rising sun, said the party had been consistent in raising issues.

"Our struggle is universal but, at the same time, it's focused towards the Kadazandusun and Murut communities.

"Our theme in the congress is 'New Hope', hence my choice of the picture for my calling card. It symbolises our effort to seek a better tomorrow," he said.

Today, any mention of religious issues, illegal immigrants and citizenship status or Petronas, and the attention will go to Upko.

The latest is the case of Yong Lee Hua alias Piang Lin, 78, who lost her citizenship after having her MyKad stolen, an issue brought up by the party's citizenship and security bureau headed by Moyog assemblyman Donald Mojuntin.

Other thorny issues include religious freedom, the 500km Kimanis-Sibu gas pipeline project, the Borneonisation process as well as the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the illegal immigrants problem.THE NEW STRAITS TIMES

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

RAIS, HAMID SAY....

AFTER The New Straits Times used my say which was originally published by Daily Express in Sabah, another surprise awaited me today when the Foreign and Home Ministers commented on it. Also, I received scores of sms, phone calls and emails from friends and strangers about the issue. Thank you, one and all, and especially to your excellencies Rais and Hamid.....

UPKO'S CALL A POLITICAL SUGGESTION

KUALA LUMPUR: United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun and Murut Organisation's (Upko) suggestion that Barisan Nasional component parties be involved in the election and appointment of the prime minister has been described as a "political suggestion".

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said the prime minister is appointed under Article 43 of the Federal Constitution and read together with Article 38.

"The appointment is by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong who believes that the person has substantial support from the Dewan Rakyat," he said in response to Albert Bingkasan's suggestion. Bingkasan said such a mechanism should be developed for all BN component parties to have a say in the selection of the prime minister and his deputy.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamid Albar said tradition should be left as it is, with the Umno president assuming the prime minister's post.THE NEW STRAITS TIMES

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

BINGKASAN SAYS...

I was pleasantly surprised to know that I made the national news with this piece, one of the points I raised during the debate in the Upko congress over the weekend. What next?

Upko wants BN say in choosing PM

PENAMPANG, Tuesday, 14 Oct 2008: Barisan Nasional component parties should be involved in the election and appointment of the prime minister, an Upko leader said.

Albert Bingkasan of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun and Murut Organisation said a mechanism should be developed for all BN component parties to have a say in the selection of the prime minister and his deputy.

Speaking at Upko's 12th Triennial Delegates Conference on Sunday, he said: "Why must the decision of who would be the prime minister and the deputy prime minister rest only with the delegates from 191 divisions of Umno?" said Albert, who represented the Inanam division.

"I believe this is something we need to look at in the future," said Bingkasan when contacted to elaborate on his comments.

The delegates conference ended with the passing of 10 resolutions, including the move to downsize the number of divisions from 60 to 25 according to the number of parliamentary seats in Sabah. Bingkasan was elected as a supreme council member.

Another resolution called for the government to set up a royal commission of inquiry to address the problems related to the huge presence of illegal immigrants.

Upko also called on the prime minister to be steadfast in his decision to scrap the 500km gas pipeline project between Kimanis and Sibu and the state government to ensure villages affected by the Forest Management Unit parcels were not alienated and its residents are provided with facilities for them to improve their standard of living.

The party also proposed that the Kadazandusun language be made a compulsory subject for all students in government schools and the government provide intensive courses on the language at teacher training colleges and give special allowance to those who teach it.THE NEW STRAITS TIME

Monday, 13 October 2008

EXPERIENCE


Date: 12 October 2008 (Sunday)
Time: From 2pm-4.30pm
Place: Sabah Cultural Centre, Penampang


WAS I nervous!
Leaders and friends from Upko Inanam urged me,
sometimes ago to contest for a seat in the Upko Supreme Council.
Yes, I said. What have I got to lose.
And if I believe Upko is the best vehicle for me to contribute to
Malaysians in Sabah, then, Why Not?
Then over the weekend, it all happened like a flash.
My friend sponsored a campaign material
in the form of a name card, 200 copies in all.
I also took an advertisement in Warta Kinabalu
the newly revived mouthpiece of the party
(which, I came to know, was not read much by the delegates,
so that advert was not really smart thinking...)
I also put extra effort to meet as many delegates as possible
(it dawn on me that they forget you the moment we parted!!!)
I remember thinking, if it was this difficult to get votes
why bother...
Then the election. Was one of 24 to contest for 16 posts
in the Upko Supreme Council.
The polling itself was fun. We, including the candidates were
even joking around. Its a family contest, remember.
Soon after, the atmosphere turned sombre
when the counting started.
It was my first time contesting for such (high?) post
and I tell you, I was soooo nervous
I went to the rest rooms a few times
my heart beat was pumping so hard
I thought Wong Thien Fook and friends near me could hear...
Am thankful to Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh
he showed me a video clip on his handphone set
"to release the tension a bit," he said
I tell you, the waiting was a thrilling, heart-pumping, anxious moment
Put simply, I never had such an experience.
I mean, one could actually get a heart attack
(Then I realised, I didn't prepare myself for the waiting...
but how does one prepare for such moment?)
Half way, my friend, Johnny Ng, who represented me to see the counting process
text me: "Good chance, though the basket is not full"
How vague can you be, Johnny?
And I could feel my blood pressure sky-rocket...
May be I was pale and my smile didn't seem usual.
But, hey, even the seasoned Wong Thien Fook was nervous!!!
Then the result was announced.
The rest, they said, is history.
I got 200 votes (Wong was highest with 225 out of 263 votes)
I was ranked 6th best
A bonus, because I was the best among the rookies
because the top five were all incumbents
Will I contest again in future?
Hehehehehe
Let me digest this experience first
Who knows what the tides will bring
(the tides being this Supreme Council seat...
as if you don't know)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

SUPREME COUNCIL


THE 12th Upko Delegates Conference ended today with nine resolutions and an amendment to its constitution.
Overall, it was very evident that the delegates had matured quite a bit. The debates were lively and filled with good insights.
Among the highlights was the elections for the Supreme Council. It was a unique and nerve-wrecking experience for me, this being my first time contesting for such a position. But thats another story I will later write about. For now, allow me to list down the Supreme Council line up....

Permanent Chairman: Datuk Herman Tiongsoh (252 votes)
President: Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (uncontested)
Deputy President: Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing (uncontested)
Vice President: Senator Datuk Maijol Mahap, Datuk Ewon Ebin, Datuk Wences Angang, Datuk Tan Yong Gee, Datuk Christine Vanhouten (all uncontested).
Supreme Council members:
Wong Thien Fook (225 votes)
Petrus Francis Guriting (223)
Tailin Mainan (209)
Philip Benedict Lasimbang (204)
Denis Gimpah (202)
Albert Bingkasan (200)
Biou Suyan (195)
Lightson Kohiya (194)
Datuk John Angian (190)
Ronald James Majaing (186)
Muji Ampau (182)
Johnny Intang (177)
YB John Teo Mau Sing (174)
Basari Sarkun (165)
Tuan Haji Suip Saniman (165)
Sylvester Taing (164)

All together, there were 24 contestants for the
16 elected Supreme Council members.
A friend pointed out that being 6th on the list is
in itself an achievment considering
its my first time contesting and all the top five
were incumbents.
I thank all the delegates for being there,
thanks to to those who voted for me
and those who thought that
they should give others a chance.
Harapan baru. New hope
...
(The picture above, yeah, I know,
my favourite photo, was used in
my simple campaign namecard... will post it soon)


Saturday, 11 October 2008

APOLOGISTS

Just a quick note. I have been rather tied up with the 12th Upko Triennial Delegates Conference. It was graced by my boss today. Following is the speech. We had debated it today. More debates tomorrow. And of course the election for the Supreme Council seats, of which I am the candidate Number 3. Will post about it in time to come.... meanwhile, have a great weekend, or what's left of it...

Dompok speech
Saya meminta ahli komponen yang lain memahami bahawa demikianlah Upko melihat peranannya dalam Barisan Nasional. Kita komited kepada perjuangan Barisan Nasional yang menjanjikan tempat dalam Malaysia bagi setiap rakyat Malaysia. Kita bersedia menghadapi pilihan raya bersama Barisan Nasional dan kita tidak takut menghadapi keputusan yang tidak baik daripada rakyat. Walau bagaimana pun kita mahu mempertahankan Barisan Nasional dengan bermaruah dan bukanlah sebagai boneka kepada sesiapa pun.
I have to ask for the understanding of our component members that this is how upko sees its role in the BN. We are commited to the struggle of the BN for a place for all Malaysians under the Malaysian sun. We are prepared to face the elections with the Barisan Nasional and we are not afraid to face an unfavourable decision by the rakyat. However we want to defend the BN with dignity and not as apologist for any body. MORE

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

PM TO QUIT IN MARCH

WHAT happens next? No, am not asking whether it will be Najib or somebody else taking over as PM. I am asking what is going to happen from now till March? If a week is a long time in politics, what more five months? Who knows what the tides will bring....


Oct 8: Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has decided not to defend his Umno president's post and will quit in March next year when the ruling party meets for its annual general assembly.
The embattled premier announced this today to a packed press conference after chairing a 90-minute BN special supreme council meeting.
He added that his decision not to contest in the Umno polls was not to create a rift in the party.
Under the power transition plan agreed between Abdullah and his deputy, Najib Abdul Razak, the deputy premier will take over as soon as Abdullah steps down.

Abdullah also said that he would want to implement his promises in reforming the judiciary and to give more bite to the Anti-Corruption Agency to fight graft before he leaves.

He added that Najib had agreed to back these initiatives.

Earlier a component party leader told Malaysiakini that after Abdullah's announcement, the BN leaders took turn to thank him for his leadership. MORE

Sunday, 5 October 2008

ACT? WHAT ACT?

AM tempted to say, "See, I told you...." but lets not complicate things further. I have always been saying to my friends in Semenanjung and foreigners to "come and experience" Sabah to know what harmony between races mean. It is real.

Race Relations Act may not be necessary for Sabah: Najib
KOTA KINABALU - The Race Relations Act may not be necessary in Sabah because of the open attitude adopted by the various ethnic groups in the state, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the open attitude of the people of various races and religions in the state enabled them to be closer to each other and reach a consensus.
"The spirit of openness, the intimate ties between the various races and religions enable them to accept the various peculiar elements of the other races.
"If we instil these values in the various races, then we may not need to formulate the Race Relations Act," he said at a Hari Raya Gathering with the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties, here. MORE

Thursday, 2 October 2008

KU LI NAJIB ANWAR TEAM?

SELAMAT Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Malaysians, and the world over. I post this article from the newly launched THE NUTGRAPH mainly for file purposes. I mean, if you really have nothing better to do, and somehow you miss the old Malaysia Today, then, be my guest, read this posting......

Najib's premiership is not guaranteed

That's because they are not students of history. It could be that to have Anwar lead a grand coalition, or to have Abdullah lead, would be unacceptable to "the other side".

So it would have to be a new face — a third choice. Of course it has to be a Malay — we all accept that — so they might point to Tengku Razaleigh, for example. Then he might say Anwar becomes minister of finance, and Abdullah foreign minister, or whatever. So Abdullah leaves as PM and Najib is appointed defence minister...the main portfolios are given to the senior leaders.

I think the country would welcome it. I think people are tired of all this politicking. MORE