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Monday, 20 December 2010

TAIB: WE ARE READY

TAIB OK WITH JOINT STATE-FEDERAL POLLS

KUCHING, 20 Dec 2010: Sarawak Barisan Nasional is ready to go with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak if the latter decides on joint polls.

Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said the state's four-party coalition of Pesaka Bersatu Bumiputera (PBB), Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Democratic Progressive Party (SPDP), would accommodate any request that Najib has.

"If Najib is inspired to hold the election soon, it is probably better for both parties to synchronise it with the state polls,” he said.

Taib has todate not announced the state polls which must be held before June 2011. He sparked rumours of a December polls when on his return from Mecca, he said "he was inspired".

But Kuching-based political analyst, Stanley Bye Kadam Kia, once said Taib was unlikely to hold polls before early April because March 26 was Taib's 30th anniversary as chief minister.

"Also, April is a month of rejuvenation. The weather in Sarawak at this time of the year is favourable for campaigning and, above all, it is also a time of celebration for the BN people," Kidam had said.

At stake in Sarawak are 71 state seats, 63 of which are held by the state BN coalition. PBB holds 35 seats, SUPP 12 (after Engkilili's Johnical Rayong was accepted into BN fold and as an SUPP member) and both PRS and SPDP have eight each.

The opposition in Sarawak hold the rest. Sarawak DAP holds six while PKR and an independent have one each. At parliamentary level, BN holds 30 of the 31 seats. DAP wrested the Sibu parliamentary seat from SUPP in the May by-election.

An empowered opposition in Sarawak is confident of creating a bigger dent in the BN shield. Already speculations are rife that DAP is confident of winning 15 seats in the coming polls which Taib is yet to announce.

Several online polls run by the local media show that PKR will win more than “one seat” this time round.

PKR has been in the frontline campaigning on native and native customary land (NCR) issues.

No level field

State chairman Baru Bian, who is also a well-known lawyer on NCR matters, has said that on a “level field” PKR stood a very good chance of winning.

But he added that it was unlikely to be so. Bian is expecting BN to sweep in at the final hour with the combined force of money, machinery and media.

Meanwhile, Taib has to put up with the opposition issues ranging from the Bakun Dam to NCR lands and his personal and family accumulated wealth.

The impoundment of the RM7 billion Bakun Dam continues to be a thorn in Taib's side as does the state's proposal for 12 more dams under the Sarawak economic corridor plan.

Opposition and activists are against these projects which they alleged have already had adverse effects on the state's ecology.

The recent logjam ecological disaster along 250km of the Rajang River is “only one such incident”, noted an activitist.

"These are unnecessary projects that affect native lives and livelihood. The logjam disaster simply crippled the lives of the communities dependent on the river.

"Bakun Dam has displaced the native community. It has been almost 15 years and many issues including compensations are still unsettled," the activist said.

Thus far, Taib has not commented on the numerous police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Corruption Commission (MACC) reports made against him over allegation of widespread corruption.

For now, he appears to be preoccupied with a government proposal to publish a White Paper aimed at gagging the opposition and stiffling its activities.

Claiming that the White Paper was a preventive and not a punitve measure, he, however, said that it could be implemented anytime – before or after the state election.

Earlier, Taib had directed PBB to set up a unit to monitor all the exposé on the Internet following a series of explosing character-crippling revelations by online news portal Sarawak Report's investigating team.

Taib's response, as shown on YouTube, to this was to tell a longhouse audience that he was indeed wealthy and left it to his family to look after the wealth. Free Malaysia Today

Thursday, 9 December 2010

DAP READY BY FEB

HEY all. I know, its been a while since I last updated this blog. Well, more to come. This is all about the supposedly snap polls. There is merit and demerit. My personal view? Let us live as if today is the last day of our life.

DAP READY FOR SNAP POLLS

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — The DAP is preparing for possible snap polls and will be ready to take on the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in as little as two months, a party leader revealed.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua revealed that the party held an election committee meeting yesterday afternoon to discuss preparations for the next general election, widely speculated to be called as early as next March.

“We have to ramp up, there’s no question about it,” the Petaling Jaya MP said last night.

During the meeting, party leaders discussed “reviews, steps, setting up the sub-committees, leaflets” and other election machinery-related issues to prepare for the 13th general election, Pua said.

He stressed that DAP could go to polls tomorrow if needed, and that these preparations were to merely ensure “near-peak condition” for the party.

“We hope to be not so much ready — I mean, you can call elections now and we can still do elections — but we hope to achieve near-peak condition in two months,” Pua said.

He said in the months following that DAP will “maintain and sustain” the momentum by focusing on leaflet designs, campaign teams and manifesto production.

The first-term lawmaker also revealed that committee members had disagreed on when elections will be held, with some settling on March or April while others thought June or September more likely.

“But, to us, we have to prepare for the worst case, which is when it’s early — March, April — so we have to get ready by then,” he said.

He explained that he was “ambivalent” about whether Selangor should dissolve its state assembly to coincide with the general election as there were “pros and cons” to both, but declined to comment further as the decision was not his to make.

On the election outcome in Selangor, Pua said Pakatan Rakyat (PR) “had the edge” for the moment but cautioned that the coalition cannot rest easy and must continue to send a message that it was better at governing than BN.

“We are in continuous improvement mode. We want to make better policies, and the key difference between our government and the Barisan government is you don’t find our mentri besar enriching himself by improper means,” he said, in a thinly-veiled reference to former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

Khir was charged on Monday in the Shah Alam Sessions Court with land fraud under section 165 of the Criminal Procedure Code in connection with the purchase of two plots of land and a bungalow in Section 7, Shah Alam.

If found guilty, the 45-year-old Khir faces up to two years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both.

Pua said all three PR component parties would meet up some time soon to discuss election preparations but did not furnish a date.

In Election 2008, PR won 17 out of 22 parliamentary seats in Selangor and 36 of the 56 state assembly seats, losing one as a result of defection.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang noted last month that eight PR parliamentary seats in Selangor were won with less than 10 per cent majority, namely Hulu Selangor, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat (these were won with less than five per cent majorities) and Selayang, Gombak, Ampang and Kelana Jaya.

In a recent by-election, PR lost Hulu Selangor, which was won with the slimmest majority of 0.4 per cent in 2008, he added.

For the state assembly seats, PR won 10 seats with less than 10 per cent majority, namely Sekinchan, Bukit Melawati, Cempaka, Damansara and Teluk Datuk (these five were won with less than five per cent majorities) and Ulu Kelang, Bukit Antarabangsa, Lebah Jaya, Kota Anggerik and Selat Kelang.

BN won only three parliamentary seats and 12 state assembly seats in Selangor in 2008 with less than 10 per cent majorities, Election Commission records show. The Malaysian Insider