Monday, March 31, 2008

Doctors & Pharmacists....

..and to whom should you go to get your medicine?

There is an ongoing debate on this issue following the statement last week by the Health Ministry's director-general Dr Ismail Merican that soon, doctors would only be allowed to issue prescriptions but patients needed to obtain their medication from pharmacies.

Currently, doctors especially at private clinics diagnose diseases, prescribe medicines and dispense them to patients.

That is about to change.

I think I am comfortable with the current arrangement -- visiting my doctor and getting the medicine from him (at his attached dispensary). So easy and convenient. No hassle.

Doctors and pharmacists, of course, have differing views on this. Read this and this.

In arguing the case, the point on profit-making by either side has been made.

As far as I, the consumer, am concerned -- it should be about my convenience.

If patients have to get their medicine from pharmacies, make sure that the pharmacies are located near clinics and that pharmacies and clinics have the same operating hours.

I remember that some time ago, I needed to get a particular medicine after 6pm at a particular pharmacy but I was told that the pharmacist was working from 10am to 6pm.

So, my point is that any change to the present arrangement should only be effected when everything is in place.

You know how we are so good at introducing changes and these changes fail to meet the desired results because of poor management and administration and because not everything is in place.

Dr Ismail said "soon" we, the consumers, will have to do two things in order to get better -- 1. to have our condition diagnosed by a doctor who will prescribe the medication and 2. head to a pharmacy to get our medication.

Let's hope by the time that "soon" takes place, consumers will not be burdened.

Doctors and pharmacists can argue till kingdom come about the merits and demerits of the issue but ultimately, it is the interest, well-being and welfare of patients that are paramount.

By the way, this proposal is not new.

Bad Blogging and A Legal Suit

NST published 2 letters today. And they're both about blogging and the bad side of blogging.

Here they are:

Use of Internet: Unfair Blogging

I REFER to your report "Raja Petra ordered to pay RM4m in damages" (NST, March 27).

I agree with the judgment of the Alor Star High Court which ordered Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin to pay RM2 million in general damages to Universiti Utara Malaysia vice-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Nordin Kardi and RM2 million to the university over an article which he posted on his Malaysia Today website two years ago.

This should be a lesson to all bloggers that they cannot write or post articles on their website without considering the implications of their act.

I think other people affected by unfair blogging should consider taking similar action against bloggers.

By Ahmad Zazli Hamid, Ampang, Selangor

Spreading Rumours

MALAYSIANS must be more responsible in their use of alternative media like the Internet and blogs, which can be turned into gossip machines to spread unsavoury stories about everything and everybody.

This is becoming an unhealthy practice among the younger generation.
They give vent to their frustrations by posting rude and vulgar comments on blogs.

Some of the things being discussed have no factual basis and are spread as though they are the truth.

The danger is that people believe them and form judgments based on untruths and half-truths.

If this practice persists, it threatens to turn Malaysians into a nation of rumour-mongers.


I'm beginning to be very suspicious of NST's intention. I know that there is an ongoing defamation suit (it has) against bloggers Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan.

It looks like these letters are published to further demonise bloggers.

I'm not saying that NST or any other newspaper should publish only positive stories about blogging and bloggers.

NST's publication of the two letters further demonstrates its stance on bloggers, of which I am very aware. When I say NST, I don't mean the individual editors there. Oh, you know what and who I mean.

The NST's stance on bloggers is -- well, for very obvious reason(s).

I'm saying that NST has, more often than not, published articles that are aimed at discrediting bloggers.

I believe there is a "gentleman's" agreement or understanding between the two parties that no articles should be published that can be deemed subjudice in the court case.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Samy Vellu Calls For Release of 5 Hindraf Leaders

MIC president S. Samy Vellu today asked the government to release the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders under detention.

He said two of them should be freed sooner because one was ill and the other was now an elected representative.

Samy Vellu said R. Kenghadaran, 40, “is very sick” and M. Manoharan, 46, is now a Selangor State assemblymen, having won the Kota Alam Shah seat on a DAP ticket in the recent elections.

He also also said that V. Ganabatirau, 34, and K. Vasantha Kumar, 34, had not been very much involved in the massive rally organised by the unregistered Hindraf in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25 last year, which was a reason for the five to be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The fifth Hindraf leader under detention is P. Uthayakumar.

The MIC president said this at a news conference after opening a workshop on “Rebranding the MIC” attended by the party’s 150 divisional leaders, here.

He said Ganabatirau, and Vasantha Kumar were “not very much involved (in the rally), so the government has to make a decision.”

In case, you are doubting his motive for asking the government to release the Hindraf 5,
Samy Vellu said he was doing so not for publicity or a move to win back Indian support for the party.

(MIC is the largest Indian-based political party in the country.)

This is done in fairness, sympathy and, also, we feel that we as Indians have to do something about it. It is not a publicity stunt,” Samy Vellu said.

(Source: NST online. The rest of the story here.)

I'd like to record my support for Samy Vellu's call although if I were Samy Vellu I would have pressed for their release earlier. Much, much earlier.
In fact, I would have protested their detention under the ISA. If the government was so sure that the 5 Hindraf leaders had breached any law of the land, then the 5 should have been subjected to the processes of law.
Detention under the ISA is not a due process of law. It is unjust.

So, Uncle Samy -- do more than just call for their release. Make sure they are released. Press, press, press....

No No-Confidence Motion Against Ahmad Said...

This was an assurance by Ajil assemblyman Rosol Wahid today.

He said when the state assembly convenes, the Terengganu BN assemblymen will not move a no-confidence motion against Ahmad who was sworn in this morning as the new Menteri Besar.

Rosol said the crisis over Ahmad’s appointment did not do any good for the people of Terengganu and that it was best the state moved on.

“It is not in anybody’s interest to be revisiting it (crisis),” he told reporters after witnessing the handing over of duties between former MB Idris Jusoh and Ahmad at Wisma Darul Aman in Kuala Terengganu today.

Rosol, who is also Terengganu Umno liaision secretary, said all the 22 BN assemblymen who had earlier supported Idris now fully back Ahmad in administering the state.

Earlier, Ahmad, 51, took his oath of office before the Regent of Terengganu, Tengku Muhammad Ismail Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, at the Balairong Seri (Throne Room) of Istana Maziah.
After taking his oath, Ahmad signed the letter of appointment.

Ahmad, clad in black traditional Malay attire, was composed throughout the ceremony.

The ceremony was also witnessed by the President of the Regency Advisory Council, Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman, and the two members of the council, Tengku Sri Laksamana Raja Tengku Sulaiman Sultan Ismail and former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman.

All the Terengganu state assemblymen attended the ceremony, including Idris who is Jertih assemblyman, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang who is Rhu Rendang assemblyman.

Before leaving after the function, Ahmad shook hands with Idris and hugged his predecessor.

(source: NST online here.)

Sometimes you wonder what all that that rigmarole, hullaballoo and drama were all about, were all for....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

All's Well That Ends Well.....

Kijal assemblyman Ahmad Said will be sworn-in as the new Menteri Besar of Terengganu before its Regent, Tengku Muhammad Ismail Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, at Istana Maziah in Kuala Terengganu at 9am tomorrow.

Bernama quoted Comptroller of the Terengganu Royal Household Mohd Yasim Awang as saying that the ceremony would only involve the menteri besar’s post.

Mohd Yasim also said that all the assemblymen (including from Pas) and heads of government departments had been invited to attend the ceremony.

Ahmad, 51, was to have been sworn in on March 23 but he only received a letter of appointment from the State Regency Advisory Council.

Dispute and controversy surrounded the appointment of the Terengganu Menteri Besar because Jerteh assemblyman Idris Jusoh was re-appointed to the post by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi while Ahmad was the Terengganu Sultan's choice.

The dispute over the appointment heightened with Abdullah declaring that Ahmad's appointment was "unconstitutional" and 22 state assemblymen threatening to resign if Ahmad was sworn in as MB.

The PM brought himself to be pitted against the Sultan who is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Ahmad was also threatened with disciplinary action for "disobeying the party leadership" in accepting the appointment from the Sultan.

Abdullah had also sought an audience with Sultan Mizan. They met but their meeting was hushed-up and went unreported.

And before we knew it, everything was "kow-tim". Ahmad Said, the "unconstitutionally appointed" MB is Menteri Besar, after all.

Meanwhile, it was reported (by the Star) that some 25,000 people gathered outside the Sultan Mahmod airport this morning, and on the road leading to the airport, to welcome the Sultan.

Here's the report:

He arrived at the airport at about 10am. He was greeted with shouts of “Daulat Tuanku” (long live the king) and some among the crowd donned yellow attire and tied ribbons of the same colour on their vehicles in support of the King.

Tuanku Mizan waved to his subjects while making his way from the airport to Istana Maziah with the Regent of Terengganu.

The huge crowd also caused a bottleneck at the city's major bridge leading to the city centre which was choked with vehicles heading towards the palace.

Among those who gathered to greet the King were the 22 assemblymen who were earlier embroiled in the Terengganu Mentri Besar crisis.

State Umno Liaison committee secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid when met said all 22 Barisan assemblymen will be present at the swearing-in ceremony at Istana Maziah, on Sunday.

“We respect our Ruler and will be at the palace tomorrow,” he said.

Former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was not present at the airport and it is learnt that the Jertih assemblyman's home in Kampung Tok Has, Besut, was swarming with thousands of supporters who had been camped there since Friday.

An aide said Idris is still resting at his home and will not make any comments for now.

All's well that ends well?

You think the 22 assemblymen will say sorry?

Al Fatihah...

Sheih of Kickdefella lost his beloved mother today.

My heart goes out to him and his family.

I understand that he is in Pulau Redang and is only able to leave the island tomorrow morning.

He has told Rocky that his late mum will be buried at 11am tomorrow at the Muslim Cemetery in Section 26, Shah Alam.

May Allah bless her dear soul.

Al Fatihah.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Borrowed Time

Never has the leadership of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi been so openly under siege in the last few weeks.

It does look like our embattled Prime Minister does not have much going for him following the BN's worst election performance.

The dispute over the appointment of the Terengganu Menteri Besar leading to his face-off with the Terengganu Sultan, was yet another episode that had only served to further magnify Abdullah's ineptness at handling what many described as a simple & straightforward problem.

Until today, no one outside the political circles in Putrajaya and Terengganu know exactly why Abdullah was insistent on having Idris Jusoh re-appointed as Menteri Besar.

The rest of the world can only guess. But guessing with many stories -- some fact, some fiction -- as background.

In the last 48 hours, the burning question was whether Abdullah had offered to step down during the Umno supreme council meeting.

It seemed "everyone" was interested in the outcome of yesterday's Umno supreme council meeting.

Abdullah did not make that offer.

"Perhaps in December, the date the council fixed for party elections?", someone asked me in an SMS.

At this point, anything is possible.

What is certain is that Abdullah is on borrowed time. Of course, anything can happen from now until December.

A miracle of God may help strengthen his position or popularise his image. Who knows.

Perhaps he may decide to sack those people around him who've been masquerading as advisers.

Too little too late?

Abdullah can only hope to not continue digging his own grave with further display of his weak leadership, and and making inept decisions.

If that persists, then more and more people will press him to step down.

And they will come from within Umno's ranks.

Dr M Speaks Out....

On Rulers and Politicians.

This is on the front page of the Sun today.

I'll give you just a few paragraphs from the whole article and you can read the rest here.

"The Prime Minister, as Prime Minister, has no role in the choice of the State Mentri Besar or Ketua Menteri. His naming of candidate who should be the Mentri Besar is purely a party matter. Obviously, if the State is captured by the Opposition Party, he cannot name the candidate.

However, if the Ruler chooses someone who does not enjoy majority support, he could be deposed at a sitting of the legislative body through a vote of "no confidence".

After that, another member can be appointed by the Ruler to take his place. But if for some reason, there is no other candidate or the candidate with majority support is considered unsuitable by the Ruler, a new Government cannot be formed. The Ruler may then dissolve the legislative body and a new election may be held.

This new election may lead to the same impasse. The Ruler may not like the member with majority support.

However, it should be noted that this kind of thing had never happened during the premiership of the four previous Prime Ministers. Concerned Malaysians should wonder why.

Is it just that the particular Ruler is being difficult, unwilling to accept the principles of democracy, wanting to return to feudalism and the absolute authority of the monarch?

I do not think so. There must be a reason why the Ruler refuses to accept the candidate named by the party. But the Ruler chooses not to reveal the reasons and indulge in public debates. He merely expresses his displeasure by refusing to do what normally the Rulers would do.

Concerned Malaysians must ask what has the particular candidate done which is so wrong that it incurs the displeasure of the Ruler.

There are lots of talks in the town. Terengganu is blessed with petroleum deposits. It should get 5% of the total earning from oil production. The Federal Government; fearing the previous PAS government might use this money wrongly had withheld payment.

But when the Barisan Nasional (BN) regained Terengganu the money, now called "Wang Ehsan", was lavishly spent by the Federal Government on Terengganu. It is not a small sum. Over these years "Wang Ehsan" totalled several billion."

and then...

"Now my detractors are going to say I did worse things when I was Prime Minister. Well, if that is so, let us have the foreign agencies investigate me also. I am aware that people are looking into possible misdeeds by me during my 22 years so as to threaten me and ask me to shut up. So far they have not found anything.

Not only have I not taken anything that was not due to me while I was Prime Minister but I have given back to the Government and the people everything that I had received as gifts during my tenure of office.

The Government had offered me land in Kedah and Langkawi and I had refused to accept. I have a 5-acre plot in Putrajaya which I paid for even though the Government was offering it to me free.

Unless there is a frame-up, I think there should be nothing to pin on me. Even other accusations against me, including the dismissal of judges, were not my doing and I do not feel obliged to apologise. Ask the Tribunal to apologise.

The person asking that the Government should apologise for what happened to Tun Salleh Abbas may have forgotten that as President of the Muslim Lawyers Association, he fully supported the action that was taken. He castigated the Bar Council for condemning Tun Hamid Omar over the dismissal of judges. Now he wants to be more correct than correct. I wonder why."

Anwar Ibrahim..

The man has as many supporters as he has enemies.

In the Sun's issue yesterday, journalists R. Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez spoke to Parti Keadilan Rakyat de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

I'd just like to lift a few excerpts from the Q&A.

On Utusan Malaysia portraying him negatively:

"They were demonising us, saying that we are traitors to the Malays.
That's interesting. 'I am a traitor to the Malays'. I have not taken one share, no taxi permit, no contract in the name of bumiputra and all those so-called champions of Malays have taken hundreds of taxi permits, APs and contracts by the hundreds of millions of ringgit."

On what can be expected from the new Selangor government:

"First, its governance. There was so much of wastage,corruption, leakages and alienation of land. According to the reports I have, hundreds of millions of ringgit are literally down the drain. But we have to be careful. We cannot create the impression that we are going
to dismantle everything, because we will lose investor confidence. People want stability and continuity. The only major issue we accept is the mentri besar’s recommendation to review
the water agreement. The water agreement is virtually scandalous! And it is a burden
to consumers."

On media organisations who wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot pole but are now wanting to court him:

"I have no malice. You know, sometimes I laugh at these people. This is the quality of people and they think they are great. I have no personal agenda. They have. Some of them are scared. Dead scared! They came to see me saying we are sorry, but were forced to do this and do that. In a way it is good - not that it is fair for them to put me in prison and treat me that way … but
it is a good experience. And if people make mistakes and are remorseful, we should give them a chance. I always believe that."

Well...I know what the ani-Anwar guys are saying. But'll just have wait and see whether he delivers.
Whether (this is such a cliche) he walks the talk....etc etc..

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Umno Accepts Ahmad Said's Appointment

The Umno Supreme Council today endorsed the appointment of Ahmad Said as Terengganu Menteri Besar, ending a crisis that was further weakening the leadership of Prime Minister and Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The crisis had put the PM in conflict with Terengganu Ruler -- Sultan Mizan who is the Yang di Pertuan Agong.

Ahmad was the choice of the Sultan's while Abdullah had already appointed Idris Jusoh as MB.

After Ahmad accepted the appointment by the Sultan, he was threatened with disciplinary action for disobeying the party leadership.

Today's meeting, which lasted some four-and-a-half hours, was chaired by Prime Minister and Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

According to NST Online, the council also decided that party elections be held in December. The proposal to defer party elections to next year was rejected.

More here.

Umno Supreme Council Meeting Today

What will be the outcome of Umno's second supreme council meeting (after the general election) today?

They will be discussing the Terengganu fiasco/crisis/saga/drama including Pak Lah's scheduled meeting with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan who is the Terengganu Sultan, possible action against Ahmad Said for accepting the MB post, the proposal to postpone the party elections (exposing yourselves, your weaknesses and your insecurity) and the call by Umno veteran and Gua Musang division chief Tengku Razaleigh for an EGM.

What a load on the plate for today.

Let's hope the council members will tell it as it is in the meeting. Give their two cents worth.

And if good, sound and constructive views are forthcoming from the "floor", then let's hope the party president will listen, listen and heed.

BY THE WAY --- I was waiting, waiting and waiting for reports about Pak lah's meeting with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. I read a report about it in Star Online and Malaysiakini but there was none on it elsewhere. None also on Pak Lah's meeting with former Terengganu MB and his choice for the MB post Idris Jusoh.
ZILCH. Not even Bernama.

I had used Rocky's Bru posting for an update. It looks as though after all the unfolding drama on the appointment of Terengganu MB including Pak Lah's statement that he would be seeking an audience with the Agong, nothing took place. But we know it did.

Was there a directive to black out the story?
Well, if there wasn't (which is unlikely), I wouldn't put past certain media operators in blacking out the story.

You guys are not helping the old man, let me tell you that!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dear Noraini...Oh Dear!

Puteri Umno chief Noraini Ahmad seems to believe that young Malaysians are a gullible lot who believe in whatever is written in blogs, hate the Barisan Nasional and therefore voted for the Opposition.

She believes that young Malaysians are too emotional and impulsive. In fact, she pointed out that it is so possible that there were among these young people, those who "cuba-cuba mengundi".

Berita Harian has an article "Puteri Tangkis Serangan Siber" which quoted Noraini admitting that the "cyber attack" by "certain quarters" who backed the Opposition in the general election caused the slide in the number of votes and the people's support for the BN.

Here's the article.

I'd like to tell Noraini to get real and not to be so detached from reality.

She does not seem to understand what happened in the general election and the contributing factors for the Barisan Nasional's poor performance.

This is the kind of attitude that is not going to help the BN in redressing its weaknesses.

Perhaps not surprising from a "leader" who announced her expressed support for the proposal that the Umno elections be postponed because yada yada yada and the very same day retracted that statement.

What gives, ma'am?

Read it here.

And to Puteri of luck! I really believe that you need it.

Royal Dressing Down for PM

Rocky's Bru is ahead on this.

In his posting "Pak Lah Concedes Another Defeat", Rocky tells us that during the meeting, the Agong asked the PM to explain how the RM1 billion "wang ehsan" was disbursed by the State Government under former Menteri Besar Idris Jusoh.

The PM was also told to meet with Ahmad Said who was picked by the Agong (who is Terengganu Sultan) as the new Menteri Besar.

It was also reported (Star Online) that the PM was to have met Idris this afternoon.

Read Rocky's Bru here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Umno Elections Maybe Postponed to Next Year

The party supreme council decides this Thursday whether or not to accept the proposal by the respective Umno liaison committees for the postponement.

Party information chief Muhammad Muhd Taib said the committees, through their respective chairmen, agreed on the postponement during separate meetings with party president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi since last Friday.

The party elections, initially scheduled for last year was postponed to this year due to the 12th general election on March 8. The last party elections were held in 2004.

The postponement is still within the 18-month duration that is allowed.

Muhammad said the liaison committees feared that there would be havoc and disaster if the elections were to be held this year.

Read the Bernama story here.

Ok...tell me. What havoc? What disaster?

And let's cut the bull. We all know why.

Idris Jusoh Willing To Seek Sultan's Forgiveness

He will do what's best for the rakyat, the former Terengganu Menteri Besar said.

He is prepared to apologise to the Sultan of Terengganu Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin if he "had done anything wrong".

Idris is willing to accept any decision of the Umno leadership deemed best for the people, including forgoing the MB’s post.

According to
NST Online, he made the declaration at a highly-charged Press conference this afternoon at the Saujana Golf and Country Club in Subang.

The rest of the story:

When asked whether his acceptance would include stepping down, Idris responded: “If that is in the rakyat’s interests.”

On whether he would also accept Datuk Ahmad Said, who had been appointed by the Regency Advisory Council, as the new Mentri Besar, Idris repeated: “If that is in the rakyat’s interests.”

Idris, who has the backing of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resume as Mentri Besar, is also the key player in the confrontation between the Government and the Terengganu palace. The Sultan of Terengganu, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, is against Idris’ resumption of his MB’s post, ignoring the Abdullah’s endorsement and preferring Ahmad instead to take over.
Ahmad, the Kemaman Umno division chief, started official work knowing that he risks expulsion sacking from Umno because his appointment was not endorsed by the party leadership who preferred Idris to resume his post. Nevertheless, a groundswell of public backing has made its presence for Ahmad and he is also reportedly supported by four of the eight Umno divisions in the state.

There are reports that the 22 assemblymen who back Idris for MB are privately backing Ahmad, appointed by the Sultan of Terengganu, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, who favoured him over Idris, whom the Ruler viewed with disdain. However, Ahmad received orders to start work first even without taking his oath of office before the Sultan.

Ahmad’s presence at Wisma Darul Iman may precipitate a mass resignation of the 22 Umno assemblymen as threatened by state Umno secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid claimed all Terengganu BN assemblymen fully supported Idris and might relinquish their posts if Ahmad was adamant to be MB.

Abdullah had stated earlier today that he wants to meet Tuanku Mizan to thrash out the impasse.

But, it is not a question of "willingness", you know. If you think you have done the Sultan wrong, then you should just go and seek forgiveness. No hesitation. Just do it.

And how did it all get to this?

What a mess!

Pak Lah is only now seeking an audience with the Yang Di Pertuan Agong.

Shouldn't he have been advised to do that earlier?

PM To seek Audience with King....

PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he would seek an audience with the Yang DiPertuan Agong, who is also the Sultan of Terengganu.

"The matter needs to be resolved as soon as possible," he said in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, it was the first day at work for Kijal assemblyman Ahmad Said today. He begins his tenure as Terengganu Menteri Besar.

He was at the MB's office in Wisma Darul Iman in Kuala Terengganu at 8am today.

According to NST online, his supporters had gathered outside and there was a heavy police presence but there were no untoward incidents.

In one of his first statements as MB, he said he intended to continue the good work of his predecessor Idris Jusoh.

Here's the NST online report.

Tuesdays With Bapak

Driving Young -- Tuesday March 25, 2008

I wonder what Bapak and Mak felt back then when their kids turned 18 and were eligible to drive cars.
I think being parents with only their own teen experience to fall back on was beneficial to us all. They did not have the phobia or the paranoia of parents who'd "been through it all". They pretty much trusted us.

So, they dutifully did what they thought was the normal thing to do -- enrol us in driving schools when we turned 18.

Luckily, there had been no bad experiences on the road that would compel Bapak to ban us from driving.

Well....except in 1972 after Kak Olin got her driver's licence.

It was the coolest thing that Kak Olin got her licence. Kak Eda and I were the ones who got excited when Kak Olin got her licence.

Had we got plans for Kak Olin! Yes, yes...we'd get Kak Olin to take us places. So cool!
And, Kak Olin was such a sport!

So, Kak Eda and I excitedly persuaded Kak Olin to take us for a drive around the neighbourhood. You know, today the neighbourhood, tomorrow, who knows -- KL, perhaps?

It was an uneventful drive -- from our house, around Section 16 and back. But just before we reached the corner of the road in front of our house, we cheered Kak Olin on, telling to show us what she was made of, and that was to make a fierce "corner baring" into the road and then into our driveway.

Before we knew it, there was a loud "gedebuk" sound, followed by long scratching ..

And then the car came to an abrupt halt as Kak Olin stepped on the brakes.

Kak Olin was "as pucat as a ghost". Poor Kak Olin.

"Alamak", Kak Eda said.

"Oh-oh," I quipped.

Kak Olin was in shock and then, almost in tears. We were all too scared to check out the damage until Mak came running out of the house towards us.

She went towards the left side of the car, her face in a frown.

The car had hit the left brick structure that lined the side of the driveway outside the gate. This structure, built on both sides of the path, doubled as a low seating block for house owners in those days when people spent evenings outside, talking and gossiping with their neighbours.

I don't see these structure outside people's homes anymore.

The damage to the car -- an Opel Record -- was surprisingly not serious. It was a sturdy and strong car. But, a damage was a damage and Bapak would have to be told.

Kak Olin mumbled about mistakenly stepping on the accelerator instead of the brakes.

It was the longest afternoon. Will Bapak be angry?

Frankly, we had no idea how he would react, save the fact that he would probably really be angry.

Kak Olin felt that she had let Mak down.

When Bapak got home, Mak broke the news to him after dinner.

There was no rage and no anger. Just a stern warning to be careful the next time.

Looking back, perhaps Bapak was relieved the accident was minor and none of us were hurt.

Now, I'm not sure how I'd react if Adel told me that he had smashed my car. Of course, I know that I'd be relieved if he suffered no injury. Still, would I furiously nag him about his lack of care and caution?

Just yesterday Adel excitedly told me that passed his driving test -- his second attempt.

He had passed the theory but failed the practical in his first attempt last month.

When he told me he failed the practical the first time, I was not disappointed although I pretended to be. In fact, I was so glad he did not make it through.

When he told me that he had passed on his second attempt, I pretended to be thrilled. Pretended? Yes. I was hoping he'd not pass.

Over the years, I have known of young drivers killed in road accidents because of their wrecklessness or inexperience.

I don't know what kind of driver Adel will be. I know that I have given him tips on road safety and advised him to be responsible and careful on the road.

But I remember when I first got my driver's licence. What power I felt when driving on the federal highway!

One day in 1976, I was fetching Abang Med from his office - Pacific Chemicals - in Shah Alam. Abang Med had just got a job after returning from his studies in Australia. He hadn't bought a car yet.

I was driving Mak's Mazda 1000. No, not an Alfa Romeo. Just a Mazda 1000 and I was speeding.

Abang Med, not so impressed by my driving, remarked (a sigh was audible): "You're so young, Ena. So young."

It was not a compliment. And within moments, I slowed down and assumed a moderate speed. I felt a little ashamed.

As for Adel -- he has not insisted on driving to his college in Subang Jaya. But I know he will want to. Maybe by next week.

And why shouldn't he?

I'll continue to remind him to be safe to not speed like he's the king of the road, so that neither of us will be sorry.

And he will never know that I was "young on the road" once.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Palace Should Accept Idris Jusoh..

And withdraw the appointment of Kijal assemblyman Ahmad Said, as required by law, said Zaid Ibrahim who is Minister in the PM's Department.

That, he pointed out, was expected by the Constitution.

The palace appointment of Ahmad is not valid in the first place because he is someone without a majority, he said.

Zaid appealed to the palace to accept Idris, dismissing Ahmad's claims of support as hollow.

Barisan Nasional assemblymen have declared their backing for Idris, and BN chairman and Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi endorsed Idris.

According to NST online, Zaid, the minister in charge of legal affairs, said the impasse over the appointment of Ahmad against the objections of a majority of the state's assemblymen should not have arisen.

"It's important for everyone, including the monarch, to respect the law, and in this case the law is quite clear," he said.

"The discretion of the monarch in appointing the menteri besar is not an absolute personal discretion.

"It has to be exercised in a way that the constitution expects," he said, which is to appoint the person whose command of a majority in the state assembly was "very clear".

"It is only in cases of a deadlock, where multiple parties are involved, that the ruler has the discretion to appoint the person he thinks has the support of the majority."

Meanwhile, Attorney-General Gani Patail was quoted by NST Online to have said that according to Article 145(2) of the Federal Constitution, he was duty-bound to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on legal matters.

And the 23 assemblyman who are against Ahmad's appointment as MB have threatened to resigned if he is sworn-in.

State Umno liaison secretary Rosol Wahid told a Press conference last night that they all stood solidly behind Idris.

Read Bernama here.

Idris Jusoh Is MB....

Because he commands the majortiy support of the elected assemblyman.

The appointment of the MB is clearly spelt out in the state constitution and is in accordance to the principles of democracy.

This view was held by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Attorney-General Gani Patail.

Abdullah said the appointment by Kijal assemblyman Ahmad Said was unconstitutional.

Read the Bernama reports here and here.

And read the views of a consitutional law expert, Shad Faruqi here.

They're right on Perlis but not on Terengganu?

What happens next?

Never seen anything like this before. That's for sure.

And the crisis deepens.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

If You Can't Win 'Em....

Then, set up a blog...

That's what the Youth and Sports Ministry will do to be close to young Malaysians.

Its Minister Ismail Sabri Yaacob said this was in view of the popularity of blogs among young people as a channel of information.

Well, well, well....what can I say?

Still, it's not too late. And it is a good move. Just make sure you can sustain this blog of yours.

Here's the Bernama story:

BERA, Sun. -- The Youth and Sports Ministry will have its own blogsite soon in an effort to be close to and interact with the nation's youths. Its minister, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaacob said the move was made in view of the popularity of blogs among youths as a channel of information.

He said the existence of blogs should not be taken lightly as they had been effective in influencing voters to vote for the opposition in the recent general election.

"If we continue to rubbish the blogs, I am worried that it will one day take over the role of the mainstream newspapers," he told reporters after a function to celebrate his appointment as Youth and Sports Minister at the Rakan Muda Complex, near here, last night.

He said the ministry's blogsite, to be created in accordance with the needs of youths, would be light and easy. Ismail Sabri said the ministry would also study the status of youth organisations in the country, many of which were weak and in a state of malaise, after meeting up with the leaders this Tuesday.

"Perhaps these youth organisation have modules which are no longer in tune with current developments and the needs of youths today.

"Possibly this is also why more than 70 percent of the country's youths are not interested in joining youth organisations."

He said the ministry, therefore, needed to find a new approach to bring change so that youths were keen to be members of such organisations.

"We must remember that social ills involving youths are usually attributed to factors outside the home, but today these are also found within the home environment like the misuse of the Internet," he added.

Crisis in the Land of the Crystal Mosque...

There was no swearing-in ceremony for Terengganu Menteri Besar-designate Ahmad Said this morning.

And he has been stripped of his Umno membership.

Ahmad who is the Sultan of Terengganu's choice for Menteri Besar over Idris Jusoh was to have been sworn in as the new MB this morning but instead he only received a letter of appointment from the State Regency Advisory Council.

He was told that his swearing-in has been scheduled in three days' time, which is Wednesday.

Read the NST story here.

Meanwhile, a state party official has confirmed that Ahmad, who is Kijal assemblyman, has been stripped of his Umno membership for disobeying the party's leadership.

The Star reports.

Six Months Is All I Need -- Zaid

The man whose job is to help restore public confidence in the judiciary says he needs six months to do so.

"Six months may be good enough for me to clean up the judiciary and redeem its image which was tarnished by certain quarters, said lawyer Zaid Ibrahim who is Minister in the PM's Department.

He was quoted by Bernama to have said that he would ensure that the judiciary became more transparent.

Here's the rest of the story:

"We have to take a closer look at the judiciary. This needs a thorough discussion and the judges' assistance.

"The people want to see changes in the way we appoint judges and promote them. They also want cases to be heard faster," he told a Press conference at his residence in Kota Bharu yesterday..

Expressing his view that the government had made a mistake in sacking former Lord President Tun Mohd Salleh Abbas in 1988, he said the interference had brought disrepute to the judiciary, which was hardly restored until today.

"The biggest mistake was to sack Tun Salleh Abbas and suspend several judges. But that was 20 years ago, now we open a new chapter. We appologise to those affected... We will repair the damage, change our attitude and our ways," he said.

Mohd Salleh was sacked while five Supreme Court judges were suspended during the judiciary crisis of 1988.-- BERNAMA

Trouble In Terengganu..

The palace has named the new Terengganu Menteri Besar --Ahmad Said -- but all 23 BN State assemblymen are protesting and have issued a warning that they are boycotting the swearing-in ceremony at Istana Tetamu scheduled this morning.

They have all declared their support for Idris Jusoh and want him to be re-appointed.

They assert that Idris who won the Jerteh seat, was the one who led Terengganu to victory and was the only one who could administer the state well.

The state assemblymen have also threatened to resign.

Ahmad Said is Kijal state assemblyman.

See the stories here, here and here.

Updates later to see whether Terengganu's trouble ends or deepens.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

We're Good, Says Rafidah....

Wanita Umno is still strong, says its chief Rafidah Aziz.

She denied speculations that the movement had been weakened by several setbacks such as her exclusion from, and the appointment of her number two Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (who lost her seat in the general election) to the Cabinet.

(Rafidah retained her Kuala Kangsar seat.)

In fact, she said, the movement is raring to go.

According to Bernama:

The Wanita Umno leaders also lambasted some people whom they branded as irresponsible who tried to portray a movement in crisis following the appointment of Shahrizat, who failed to retain her Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat, as adviser on women's affairs and social issues to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, with ministerial status.

"I hope nobody tries to push a wedge between the Wanita leaders. I mean, we are there. We want to make sure this party survives well. I'm very happy today because we did some soul searching and we now understand what we need to do to move forward," Rafidah said.

She also said that Wanita Umno was in total support of the current Umno and BN leadership.

The rest of the story here.

Here's the thing. Umno is in crisis. For as long as Umno leaders and members are in denial, then, they can never fix the problem.
Wanita Umno may not be in crisis but Rafidah may see her leadership being challenged.
The writing, as they say. is already on the wall. The message from the leadership is that they want a change,
That was why she was dropped despite the fact that she delivered (for Umno) in Perak and that she is Wanita chief. AND that she was damn good at her job.
The Umno president threw convention out the window.
That's his prerogative.
All this show of Wanita unity is, of course, expected. It belies the undercurrent that is building up.

It remains to be seen whether Rafidah will step down and pave the way for Shahrizat . I know that Shahrizat prefers the Wanita "tradition" of taking over without challenging the incumbent.

But, well... that was yesterday. Will she remain patient? We know that whatever it is, she gets the backing of the leadership -- at least for now.

Some people are wondering whether Rafidah is angry enough to want to challenge Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the presidency.

I don't know about that.
But, as we all can see, nothing is impossible....

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dr M Backs Ku Li's Call For EGM

The Former Prime Minister said today he supports the call by party veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for an emergency general meeting to be held to discuss Umno's weaknesses that led to its disastrous performance in the general election.

He said this at a Press conference after he launched "Managment Astray - Resuscitating Ailing Organisations", a book by the late Tan Sri Basir Ismail at Carcosa Seri negara in KL.

"I support his letter," Dr M said.

Ku Li had sent letters to Umno division leaders nationwide.

However, asked if he was backing Ku Li's move to challenge Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the Umno presidency, Dr M said that should be decided at the EGM.

He said it would not be easy for Ku Li to get the minimum number of nominations.

"You need about 60 brave divisions," Dr M said. He doubts that Ku Li would get that number because Umno leaders live in a "climate of fear".

"When I came out and asked the president to step down for the poor general election results, not one Umno leader came out to support me. Privately and behind his back, they want him to step down," he remarked.

Dr M also suggested that the EGM discuss issues such as amending the Umno Constitution, the setting up a Presidential Advisory Council, comprising of advisers who are independent individuals.

He also agreed that the EGM could also discuss limiting the term of the Umno presidency.

Read Rocky's Bru here
BigDog here
and Tok Mommy here

Raja Nazrin's Advice To Our Leaders..

--- learn from the fall of powers.

The Regent of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, yesterday advised the country’s leaders to refer to the records of world history to learn from the causes of the fall of many empires and governments, and even monarchs and national leaders.

He said there was historical evidence that many people were given the opportunity to become leaders but only a handful of individuals rose to be successful leaders who charted history and built civilisations.

“This happened because many of those given the opportunity to lead allowed the joy and passion of having power to lead them astray.

“Some among them became complacent, some went astray, some were ill-advised, some adopted wrong decisions and some made miscalculations.

“Such are the historical accounts available on leaders and leadership which the ummah (people) of today should use as the basis of reference so as not to repeat the mistakes,” he said at the state-level Maulidur Rasul celebration and presentation of prizes for memorisation of the Quran at the Banquet Hall of Bangunan Darul Ridzuan, in Ipoh.

The rest of the Bernama story here.

Well, Your Highness, I do hope they're listening!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wan Azizah Set To Be Opposition Leader

The coalition of Opposition parties has agreed that Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Dr Wan Azizah Ismail be named parliamentary Opposition leader as the party had the most number of seats.

She is warming the seat for PKR adviser Anwar Ibrahim and will vacate it when Anwar qualifies to stand for elections.

The proposal for Dr Wan Azizah to be opposition leader was supported by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, Pas president Awang Hadi and Anwar Ibrahim.


"And We did not send you, Oh Muhammad, except to bring Rahmat (blessings) to all mankind" -- a verse from the Quran.

My friends, have a blessed celebration today -- the 12th day of Rabi'ul Awwal which marks the birth of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

My Muslim brothers and sisters -- let us join in reciting the selawat!


Khir Toyo Resigns As State BN and Umno Chief

With immediate effect. And Muhammad Muhd Taib takes over....

Khir, former Selangor Menteri Besar is taking full responsibility for the BN's defeat in Selangor in the March 8 elections -- though I know the blame was not his alone. But he was the State BN chief......
Khir also apologised for the defeat.

Syabas, Khir!

Khir made the announcement at a Press conference last night.

APOLOGY accepted, Khir. I won't rub it in anymore. As I have said, I am not laying the blame wholly on you.

Mat Tyson's appointment?
Khir said Umno president and PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had agreed in principle (after discussion with Khir) to appoint Muhammad as the new State BN and Umno chief.

Ok ok... you may think -- rightly or wrongly that anyone is better than Khir! But Mat Tyson?
Besides, isn't he already a Minister?

I suppose we are desperate. And didn't someone say that Pak Lah and Khairy are impressed by that magical touch of his with the party grassroots?

His "common touch" skills are good...I can attest to that, having seen him in action. But that was years ago! I suppose he has never lost it.

So never mind his reputation in other departments, but as far as this leadership is concerned -- Muhammad Muhd Taib is DE MAN for Selangor Umno. Maybe he is...
Talk about resurrection of a political career!

Well....good luck, Selangor Umno!

Read Bernama on Khir's resignation here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ku Li To Challenge Pak Lah For Umno Presidency

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has offered himself for the Umno presidency.

The 71 year-old Gua Musang MP told a Press conference in Kota Baru today that if there are enough nominations for him to contest in the Umno election, "I will give my service if I am needed.”

He is offering "to heal the party" which he described to be "in a bad way".

In 1987, Tengku Razaleigh challenged then Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad but lost.

The Gua Musang division chief said he was “young” then and ever ready to challenge anyone with his ideas.

“I still have ideas, I am still brave because I am independent and I don’t depend on anyone. If my service is still needed and my strength can still be used, I am offering myself to work for the rakyat.

"Even though I am old but I am still strong."

Read the story here,

No Hard Feelings -- Rafidah Aziz

Really. She's okay about being excluded in Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's new Cabinet line-up.
She bears no grudges, she told a Press conference today.

The former International Trade and Industry Minister however confessed to having been surprised when told on Tuesday that she was out of Pak lah's list.

She insists she's not disappointed, though, and has accepted the Prime Minister's decision.

And Rafidah has decided to not quit as Wanita Umno chief.
She ain't budging. She's staying put.

The Star has the story here.

And the NST has more details -- here.

Phew....and I thought I could already hear her giving Pak Lah a piece of her mind and a good tongue-lashing.

Stay cool Kak Dah! I know it's hard to.

The New Cabinet

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has announced his Cabinet.
It is a smaller one -- from 32 down to 27 ministries.
And a smaller women representation.

There are surprises, one of which : Khairy Jamaluddin's not in it, contrary to popular fears. Perhaps here's why. Ok, so this is not such a surprise after all.

Now the real surprise: He dropped Rafidah Aziz (former International Trade and Industry Minister) and Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis (former Science, Technology and Innovation Minister).

Also dropped were Azmi Khalid (former Natural Resources and Environment Minister), Radzi Sheikh Ahmad (former Home Affairs Minister) and Tengku Adnan Mansor (former Tourism Minister).

I'm surprised because Rafidah is Wanita Umno chief and she did win her seat in a state that's now controlled by the opposition, I might add.
(Muhyiddin Yassin has taken over her former portfolio.)

And JJ -- whatever many of you may think of him -- also did win his Pahang seat.

Didn't the PM say that those who won (in the elections) could be sure of remaining in Cabinet? I must have imagined this statement then.

Rafidah and JJ weren't performing in Cabinet?

But just as I was wondering aloud about Wanita Umno's representation in the Cabinet, in came a statement from the PM's Department that Wanita Umno deputy chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil had been appointed the PM's special adviser on women's and social development.
The appointment with ministerial rank, will be effective from today (Wednesday, March 19).
Shahrizat who was Women, Family and Community Development Minister, lost her Lembah Pantai seat in the March 8 general election.
She had been MP for three terms since 1995.
In carrying out her duties and responsibilities, Shahrizat will work closely with her previous ministry which is now helmed by Wanita MCA chief Dr Ng Yen Yen.
(Now, if I were Yen Yen, I'd be a trifle stifled.)

Now, what do I make of this? That Shahrizat is Abdullah's preferred Wanita Umno leader in his Cabinet?
Rafidah must be really pissed.

Another surprise? -- Muhammad Muhd Taib's political career has been resurrected. He's been made Rural and Regional Development Minister.
Lucky him! It sure wasn't divine intervention.

And a comeback kid -- Shahrir Samad who is Domestic and Consumer Affairs Minister.
(A bit of a "junior" post, no?)

Abdullah also appointed non-MPs -- lawyer Zaid Ibrahim and corporate figure Amirsham Abdul Aziz.

Here's our Cabinet:

Prime Minister
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Umno)

Deputy Prime Minister
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (Umno)

Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department
Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (UPKO)
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (Umno)
Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Umno)
Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim (Umno)
Datuk Amirsham Abdul Aziz (Umno)

Deputy Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department
Datuk Johari Baharom (Umno)
Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim (Umno)
K. Devamany (MIC)
Datuk Hasan Malek (Umno)

Minister - Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Umno)
Second Finance Minister - Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop (Umno)
Deputies - Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, (Umno) Datuk Kong Cho Ha (MCA)

Minister - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop (Umno)

Internal Security and Home Affairs
Minister - Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar (Umno)
Deputies - Datuk Chor Chee Heung, (MCA)
Senator Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh (Umno)

Housing and Local Government
Minister - Datuk Ong Ka Chuan (MCA)
Deputies - Datuk Robert Lau (SUPP) Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin (Umno)

Works Minister
Minister - Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Yong Khoon Seng (SUPP)

Energy, Water and Communications
Minister - Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor
Deputy - Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry
Minister - Datuk Mustapa Mohamed (Umno)
Deputy - Datin Paduka Rohani Abdul Karim (Umno)

International Trade and Industry
Minister - Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Umno)
Deputies - Datuk Liew Vui Keong (LDP) Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan

Foreign Affairs
Minister - Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Seri Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar (Umno)

Minister - Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (Umno)
Deputies - Datuk Wee Ka Siong, Datuk Razali Ismail (Umno)

Higher Education
Minister - Datuk Khaled Nordin (Umno)
Deputies - Dr Hou Kok Chung (MCA) Datuk Idris Harun (Umno)

Minister - Datuk Ong Tee Keat (MCA)
Deputy - Datuk Anifah Aman

Human Resources
Minister - Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam (MIC)
Deputy - Datuk Noraini Ahmad (Umno)

Women, Family and Community Development
Minister - Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen
Deputy - Noriah Kasnon

National Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage
Minister - Datuk Shafie Apdal (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Teng Boon Soon (MCA)

Science, Technology and Innovation
Minister - Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili
Deputy - Fadilah Yusof

Entrepreneurial and Cooperative Development
Minister - Datuk Noh Omar (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Saiffuddin Abdullah

Natural Resources and Environment
Minister - Datuk Douglas Unggah Embas (PPB)
Deputy - Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh (Umno)

Minister Rural and Regional Development
Minister - Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib (Umno)
Deputy - Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Joseph Entulu Belaun

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs
Minister - Datuk Shahrir Samad (Umno)
Deputy - Jelaing Mersat

Plantation Industries and Commodities
Minister - Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui (SUPP)
Deputy - Senator A. Kohilan Pillay (Gerakan)

Youth and Sports
Minister - Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaacob (Umno)
Deputy - Wee Jeck Seng (MCA)

Minister - Datuk Liow Tiong Lai (MCA)
Deputy - Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad (Umno)

Minister - Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Tan Lian Hoe (Gerakan)

Minister - Datuk Seri Azalina Othman (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib (PPB)

Federal Territories
Minister - Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique (Umno)
Deputy - Datuk M. Saravanan (MIC)


ANIFAH AMAN has turned down his appointment as Deputy Transport Minister in the new Cabinet line-up.

Read Bernama to know why. Click here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

No Action Against Mukhriz

The Umno Youth movement will not take any action against the Jerlun Member of Parliament, Mukhriz Mahathir for writing a letter to PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last week urging him to step down.

The decision was made after Mukhriz explained to the Umno Youth exco that the letter was leaked to the public.

Hmm....private letter made public? What about the contents of the letter?

Actually, I had expected Mukhriz to have been appropriately dealt with by Umno for sending that letter to the Umno president.
And appropriately means "suspension" no less.

Here's the full story in Bernama.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ku Li's Letter To Umno Members...

Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who is MP for Gua Musang has sent letters to Umno division and branch chiefs nationwide asking them to hold emergency general meetings to identify weaknesses in the party that had resulted in Umno's very poor performance in the recent general election.

He suggested that they hold their EGMs on May 11, the anniversary of Umno’s formation in 1946.

Tengku Razaleigh, 71, the country’s longest serving MP, would call for the Gua Musang division EGM on Thursday.

Read Rocky's Bru here

BigDog's here.

Also, if you feel strongly that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should step down as Prime Minister, you can sign the petition initiated by Mukhriz Mahathir here.

The Star here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Puteri Umno Lodges Police Report Over Anti-Pak lah Posters..

....and is convinced it was the work of the Opposition.

According to Bernama, Puteri Umno has denied having anything to do with the posters.

Its chief Noraini Ahmad was quoted by Bernama today, to have expressed regret that irresponsible elements were trying to tarnish Puteri Umno's name by linking it to the misdeed.

"They have nothing better to do. We suspect it to be the work of opposition parties as it was a well organised effort with the posters having the same size and form," she told reporters at Puteri Umno's headquarters at the Putra World Trade Centre here today.

Bandar Tun Razak Puteri Umno information chief Sharifah Aminah Syed Mohssain lodged the report on behalf of the movement at the Wangsa Maju police station last night. -- Bernama

Mukhriz's Letter To Pak Lah

According to Rocky's Bru, Mukhriz Mahathir has sent a letter to PM and Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, appealing for his resignation.

I am reproducing the letter which Rocky reproduced in his blog.
Here it is.

12th March 2008

Dato' Seri,

Let me take this opportunity to thank you and the party's leadership for the faith in me and the chance to contest in Jerlun as a Barisan Nasional candidate. With the blessing and hard work of the party's leadership and machinery as well as the people of Jerlun, I have won the elections and am now a new Member of Parliament.

However, sadly enough, my victory is rendered meaningless in view of the defeat that Umno and the Kedah BN suffered in the hands of the opposition. Apart form Kedah, four other states as well as the Federal Territories also received similar humiliation in defeat.

In fact your own state of Penang was wrested by the DAP from the BN. Kelantan is again under Pas rules. In other states, the BN also suffered a similar humiliation when the level of BN support by the people has tremendously reduced. This, Datuk Seri, has never happened in the history of BN rule.

The sole intention of my letter to you is meant to save UMNO and BN from being rejected further by the people and from being no longer relevant to our religion, race and nation.

Dato' Seri, the people are unhappy and the message from them is very clear, and that is they have rejected you as the nation's chief executive.

Contrary to your claim that you still have the support of Umno and other component parties, the reality is that even our own party members had reneged in their voting pattern by supporting the Opposition and inflicting the BN its defeat.

Dato' Seri, when the people held street demonstrations you openly dared them to resort to the ballot boxes to demonstrate.

They took your challenge by coming out, especially tho people in the Peninsular, and they demonstrated their feelings by voting us out at the BN at State and Parliament levels.

It is therefore clear that your leadership and your handling of the issues faced by the people and the nation are no longer accepted. Let's not deny the truth just for the sake of keeping your seat as Prime Minister.

For the love of this country and the people, I beg that you take responsibility for the defeat. We can save UMNO, the BN and the nation only if you relinquish your positions as Prime Minister and the President of UMNO.

Dato' Seri, I hope you will understand that I make this plea with the intention of salvaging a very dire situation. A move has been made to woo the BN representatives to join the Opposition. The enemy needs just 35 seats more to topple the government of your leadership.

If you do not resign in the near future, I fear that the situation will become untenable and that the Malay support for Umno and BN will be a thing of the past.

This plea I make without malice, and I am aware that your reaction and that of other UMNO members could very well be hostile.

But come what may, I am prepared, for the sake of the Malays and UMNO, to face the consequences of my action. With all humility, I leave my fate to Allah SWT.

Dato' Seri, I am sure that you will do the right thing for the sake of the people and the nation. May Allah SWT bless you for the sacrifice you make by stepping down.


Yours Sincerely

Mukhriz Mahathir
Jerlun Member Parlament

Read Rocky's Bru here and here.

Read BigDog's here.

I said it once, and I'm saying it again -- you're one brave boy, Mukhriz because you're the only one in Umno (besides your father TDM) who berani berkata demikian, knowing the repercussions.

The rest of Umno who I know are as angry?
Senyap sahaja biar orang lain "put their head on the chopping block"?
Let others voice out your anger and frustration, let others take the fall?
Fear? Yes, fear.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

But The Ceremony Is Postponed..

That's the decision of the Regent of Perak seeing that the Opposition -- DAP, PKR and PAS - have not reached a strong consensus in forming a coalition government.

Here's the story. Read-lah.

DAP Apologises.....

Perak DAP leaders have defied the directive by the party's central executive committee to boycott the swearing-in of PAS' Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Menteri Besar.

State DAP secretary Nga Kor Ming said the party's elected representatives will be attending the ceremony scheduled at 4pm at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar.

Read the Star story here.

Meanwhile, party advisor Lim Kit Siang has apologised for his statement yesterday that the party's CEC was protesting the appointment of Perak PAS liaison secretary Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Menteri Besar.

Lim said his three-paragraph statement at 7 last night that the DAP CEC emergency meeting on March 9 had not given approval for a PAS Menteri Besar to head a Perak coalition state government was not made out of disrespect to the Perak Regent whom he had always held in the highest regard.

"I apologise for any offence caused," he said in a statement today.

He said the statement issued yesterday was made based on the DAP's position at the time.

"There have been further discussions and developments on the matter in the hours after the statement.

"Announcements of the latest position will be made," he added.

Last night, Lim, who is MP for Ipoh Timur said that the party was shocked over the decision.

He said the party's central executive committee had given approval for the formation of a Perak coalition government headed by DAP or PKR but not by PAS.

As a result of this decision, Lim instructed all its 18 state assemblymen to boycott the swearing-in ceremony today.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

DAP To Boycott PAS MB Swearing-in

....because it is unhappy over the appointment of Mohamad Nizar as Perak Mentri Besar.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said this was because PAS represents the third and smallest political party in the proposed coalition.

As Nizar's appointment has not received the mandate of the CEC, DAP Perak assemblymen will stay away from the swearing-in ceremony for Perak Mentri Besar scheduled Thursday, he said in a statement.

“The DAP CEC has given approval for the formation of a Perak coalition government headed by DAP or PKR but not by PAS."

Lim said DAP leaders, members and supporters are shocked at the decision to appoint a PAS assemblyman as Perak MB.
“DAP is prepared to accept DAP chairman and assemblyman for Sitiawan Ngeh Koo Ham or PKR Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi as Perak Mentri Besar," he said.

Sigh sigh sigh.

Because the DAP is still playing race politics?
Let me remind the DAP and the rest of the Opposition parties that not all who voted for you guys love you. The angry votes out there were of those who simply rejected the Barisan Nasional.
The Ali's and the Minah's voted for DAP's candidates, most of whom are Chinese. And yes, the Wongs and the Lims voted for PAS candidates.
Malaysians did not care about race or what colour their candidates were -- they voted for a better Malaysia. At least they thought they did.
They wanted to give a chance to the devil that they do not know to better run the country. I mean, the state.

So, now, Mr Lim Kit Siang. What in heaven's name do you think you're doing? What were you thinking?

Give the whole deal a chance, man!

A New Cabinet By Monday..

PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will be revamping his old Cabinet, filling vacancies left by members who lost in the general election.

(Bernama story here.)

These were the casualties in the elections:

S Samy Vellu (works ministry)
Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (women, family and community development ministry)
Zainuddin Maidin ( information ministry)
Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin (rural and territory development ministry)

Deputy ministers:
Chia Kwang Chye (information ministry)
G Palanivel (women, family and community development)
Tan Chai Ho (home ministry)S Sothinathan (natural resources and environment ministry)Donald Lim (tourism ministry)
Fu Ah Kiow (internal security ministry)
M Kayveas (Prime Minister’s Department)

Parliamentary secretaries:
Chew Mei Fun (women, family and community development ministry)
P Komala Devi (education ministry)
Lee Kah Choon (health ministry)
Ng Lip Yong (plantation industries and commodities ministry)
S Vigneswaran (youth and sports ministry)Rahman Ibrahim (home ministry)
Dr Mohd Ruddin Ab Ghani (science, technology and innovation ministry)
Yew Teong Look (federal territories ministry)

Also, MCA chief and former Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Ting had said that he would not be offering himself for a Cabinet post, preferring instead to devote his time and energy to rebuild and reform the party.
Read here.

There's a whole lot of thinking to be done to fill the vacancies. Who will be put where?
Good luck, Pak Lah.
Let's hope it'll be a good Cabinet.
You know what I mean.

Let Bygones Be Bygones -- MIC president Samy Vellu and his old-time rival S Subramaniam have decided to chart a new beginning. Forgive and forget for the sake of solidarity of the community.
It took an excruciating hard knock on the party -- an unprecedented defeat in the just-concluded general election, for this to happen.
The party won only three of the nine parliamentary seats it contested.
Samy, his deputy Palanivel, vice-presidents S Sothinathan, S Veerasingam, Youth chief S.A Vigneswaran and wanita head Komala Krishnamoorthy were were swept by the political tsunami of March 8.
The survivors were MIC sec-gen S Subramaniam, information chief M Saravan and CWC member S.K Devamany.

Much soul searching, I'm sure.

And for many MIC members -- indeed a hope for a new beginning.

Here's the Bernama story.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

In Opposition "Country" -- Tuesday, March 11 2008

I had been covering the country's general election since 1982 as a journalist with the NST. This GE was the first I was observing and monitoring as "an outsider".

My first GE (in 1982), I was sent to Kedah where Dr Mahathir Mohamad was campaigning for the first time after becoming Prime Minister.
He was promoting the Barisan Nasional's "bersih, cekap, amanah" slogan.

Of course, I was a little nervous. And Kedah was pretty foreign to me. I'd been to the US, Europe and back but had never been to Kedah.

Those days, I'd often turn to Bapak for tips on what to look for in a political story. And he'd offer me his analyses of the situation and his "prediction" of the outcome.
In every general election, until this year's, of course.

On Sunday -- the morning after, Nina told Bapak that Parti Keadilan Rakyat had taken over Selangor.

Here's her report:

Nina: Bapak, the Opposition now rules Selangor.

Bapak: Yah kah? Siapa?

Nina: Yang banyak seats PKR.

Bapak: PKR?

Nina: Parti was called Keadilan dulu.

Bapak: Yah-kah? Barisan? Aaah...Well, you cannot be arrogant....

Nina: Mmm...I suppose.

Bapak: What about Kelantan?

Nina: Still with Pas.

Bapak: (Smile and grin).. They (BN) can't win Kelantan unless they think like the Kelantanese......

When Bapak was a journalist covering elections in the 60s and 70s, he'd be away from home for days.
I learnt later that he was travelling across the country, going down to the ground, meeting his contacts, and talking to constituents in the kampungs and towns
to write his analyses and articles.

This time, I did not want to trouble him with "election talk". I did not ask him for his "prediction".
I suppose I did not have to.

Syabas, Dr Koh!

I think we all agree that former Penang Chief Minister Dr Koh Tsu Koon is a gentleman. A man who is honourable in defeat.

Today, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Dr Wan Azizah Ismail praised Koh's leadership, saying that he had governed the state well.

Dr Wan Azizah, who defended her Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat by a bigger majority (than that obtained in 2004) against Umno's Pirdaus Ismail, said that under Koh's leadership,
Penang became the best example of corporatisation, especially in water supply management.

Koh contested the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat and lost to DAP's Dr P Ramasamy.

Here's the Bernama story.

Al Fatihah - Zakaria Md Deros

From The Star

KLANG, Tues: Former Port Klang assemblyman Zakaria Md Deros died after suffering a heart attack early this morning.

The controversial 62-year-old politician was dropped from the Selangor Barisan Nasional line-up for the general election.

He was replaced by his daughter-in-law Roselinda Abdul Jamil as the candidate for the seat, which she did not win.

Also a former Klang municipal councillor, Zakaria hogged headlines last year when he had a run-in with the law for not submitting building plans for a mansion that was described as a virtual “istana” (palace) by his critics.

He was also found to have not paid the assessment for another property for 12 years, while his family was caught operating an illegal satay restaurant on government reserve land.

Due to these controversies, Zakaria gave in to mounting pressure and withdrew from being a municipal councillor.

His mansion has 21 bathrooms and 16 bedrooms, including 11 that occupied by each of his children, as well as a VIP room, three living rooms, a dining hall and a prayer room.

The house also has a swimming pool, several gazebos, an orchard, a two-hole golf lawn, an office, a storeroom, two rooms for maids as well as a wet kitchen and a dry kitchen.

He is expected to be buried in Malacca.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Take Heed of Election Results: Mukhriz

In StarOnline:

PENANG: Voters in the recent general election have sent a clear message to the country's leaders, Umno Youth exco member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said at a press conference in Seberang Jaya here on Monday.

The Jerlun MP said the leadership should take heed of the election results, but he stopped short of calling for party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down.

On Sunday, Mukhriz told foreign wire agency AFP that "I hope he (Abdullah) takes heed of that message and does the right thing."

Are you alone in this, Mukhriz?
You're one brave boy!

Pak Lah Chairs Umno Supreme Council Meeting

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was sworn in as the prime minister earlier Monday, chaired a meeting of the Umno Supreme Council here this afternoon.

The Umno president arrived at the party headquarters at 1.05pm for the meeting, the first following the general election on Saturday.

Abdullah, clad in a black traditional Malay attire, was welcomed by Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and greeted with shouts of "Kami Sayang Pak Lah" (We Love Pak Lah) by a group of party supporters who had gathered at the vicinity of the Umno headquarters at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).

The supreme council meeting is expected to discuss the outcome of the general election. The Barisan Nasional (BN) garnered 140 of the total 222 parliamentary seats to garner a simple majority and form the government.

This evening, Abdullah, who is the BN chairman, is scheduled to chair a meeting of the coalition's supreme council at which the appointment of Cabinet ministers is likely to be discussed.-- BERNAMA

Let Umno Decide

It is not for the people to decide the position of the Prime Minister.

It is now up to Umno,
The people have gone to the ballot box to be heard.

You can make all the noise you want to urge him to step down as PM because of the Barisan Nasional's very dismal performance, but, really, if he refuses to budge, there's nothing you can do -- except make more noise.

As the rakyat, you have exercised your democratic right to vote the people you want to represent you.
See how powerful the ballot box is.
But you cannot force the PM out. Ok, you can tell him to but he does not have to listen to you.

Abdullah is PM by virtue of being Umno president. He is the chairman of the coalition.
As long as he is Umno president, he will remain as PM unless, of course, he steps down. He did not.

So, here's the is up to Umno now. So, let the party decide whether he should continue to be president.

Najib Says....

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 (Bernama) -- Following is the statement in full issued by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak pertaining to the outcome of Saturday's general election.

"The 12th general election was conducted in a smooth and transparent manner in accordance with the democratic practice of the country.

"The people of Malaysia have expressed their stand and made their choice, and we are grateful that the Barisan Nasional (BN) has been given the mandate to administer the country.

"Although the BN is disappointed over its failure to retain power in five states as well as its failure to obtain a two-third majority (in Parliament), we accept the people's decision with an open heart.

"We will continue to strive to regain the confidence of the people.

"We ask Umno members to close ranks in facing this challenge.

"As the Deputy President, I will assist the YAB President in facing this big challenge."-- BERNAMA