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- Can Umno grab Manek Urai, a PAS fortress?
- Pakatan says no to unity government, aims to win f...
- Anwar Ibrahim and Mat Sabu at Bdr Baru Bangi 19/06...
- MB vs MB to be heard in Federal Court on July 9 an...
- HKL report says Saiful was never sodomised
- So what was Nizar thinking the day he was sworn in...
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- Nizar, Pakatan MPs thrown out after his swearing i...
- NASHARUDIN MAT ISA
- 'End is nigh for Jurassic Umno'(muktamar pas)
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The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party or the Islamic Party of Malaysia (Malay: Parti Islam Se-Malaysia), commonly known as PAS or Pas, is an...
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There are very few constituencies with over 99 per cent of Malay voters but Manek Urai in Kelantan is one such example. It is there that PAS's Mohamed Fauzi Abdullah, 50, a fish wholesaler, will face Umno’s Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat, 39, a manager with the Kelantan Selatan Development Authority or Kesedar in a by-election next month. And their July 14 battle has ramifications beyond Kelantan with political big guns, on both sides, descending on this small rural community bringing with them national issues. Voters who are pre-occupied with bread and butter issues like the price of scrap rubber, fish and the weather, can look forward to an entertaining time.
Manek Urai has enjoyed the charm and charisma of the late Ismail Yaakob, whose death caused the by-election, and whose departed presence clouds the by-election battle with both sides admitting he was “incomparable”. Legend has it that Yaakob once shot dead a tiger that had entered a kampung in Manek Urai and attacked villagers.
Politically he is legend, winning the seat for PAS five times even during the worst of times for the party like in the 1978 general election when Umno won 34 seats and PAS won only two, one of it Manek Urai. “That’s history. Manek Urai is fortress PAS,” PAS by-election director Cikgu Wan Abdul Rahim told The Malaysian Insider. “We are confident but we will also work very hard.” He said while big guns are raising national issues like oil royalty for Kelantan, the Port Klang Free Trade Zone fiasco and the loss of Perak, bread and butter issues would dominate the by-election campaign. The by-election comes as Umno is finding its footing in a changed political landscape with the majority of Chinese and Indians backing the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as evident in recent by-elections with traditional Malay votes divided between PAS and Umno.
Umno hopes to capitalise on its revival in morale it by championing Malay rights. At the same time it is trying to regain Chinese and Indian support with numerous "fair minded" schemes appealing to non-Malays. It is a doubled edged policy. On the one hand it still seeks to frighten Malays into Umno's embrace by raising fears that the Chinese are “advancing” and on the other hand assuring Chinese and Indians that they have a firm place under the sun. With nearly 100 per cent of voters in Manek Urai Malays, the by-election is an important test of how successfully Umno is in winning over Malay support by playing on their fears of “losing” the country to the "advancing" Chinese.
Such strategies revisits old ghosts that had worked well in the past but in today’s changed political landscape the impact might be minimal. But old fears seldom die easily especially if new fuel is added to relight the embers. What might work against PAS is the deep schism between the Nik Aziz-led faction that is against any deals with Umno and the faction led by PAS president Hadi Awang. The issue has divided the party rank and file. The by-election is being seen by the grassroots as a fight between the Nik Aziz-faction versus Umno, not a PAS-Umno tussle or even a PR-BN fight.
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Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders rejected Umno's unity government proposal, and proclaimed all issues surrounding the fiasco which brought the fledgling opposition coalition on the brink of collapse resolved. Following a meeting held in Parliament today, PR leaders in a joint statement reiterated their loyalty pledge to strengthen the alliance, wanting to focus instead on their preparation for the next general election and a potential takeover of the federal government. "The PR council of leaders reaffirms our rejection of the idea of forming a unity government with Umno/Barisan Nasional.
"It is a clearly malicious and desperate attempt to compromise the integrity of the increasingly popular PR," said PKR de facto Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at a press conference held after the meeting. Anwar Ibrahim has played a pivotal role in patching up the cracks among the three parties over the unity talks proposed by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and his deputy Nasharuddin Mat Isa. He held various private meetings with Hadi, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat in the past week, playing mediator by urging them to bypass the unity talks controversy and move on.
Party sources said the results of these meetings can be seen in the sudden reversal made by various PR leaders who, instead of attacking Hadi over his flirtations with Umno, said it was noble and democratic to make space for engagement with their rivals on matters of national interest. Hadi was the first to make such drastic turnabout, saying the unity government idea was ill-conceived – even by Umno themselves – and that PAS was only willing to “engage” Umno/BN on specific issues and not on Malay and Islamic unity as reported in the past. This was again reiterated by PR leaders in today’s meeting with Anwar, saying that PR is willing to engage Umno/BN on matters such as improving the quality of education, restoring the integrity of the judiciary and eradication of corruption.
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Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today slammed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for attempting to entice PAS into joining the ruling party. The Opposition leader said he had personally spoken to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang who reaffirmed the Islamist party's commitment to the oppostion coalition of Pakatan Rakyat (PR). “Clearly Najib requires some support because his support base is crumbling,” Anwar told reporters when asked about Najib's remark earlier today that he could sense PAS's sincerity in wanting to form unity government.
Anwar also said that the matter will be discussed at a PR leadership meeting next week but admitted that PAS will still engage with Umno but only on specific issues that are of national importance. Earlier PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa in response to Najib's remark said the party has no intention of joining Umno or Barisan Nasional (BN) but will continue to engage the Malay nationalist party. “I have been informed in no uncertain terms by the PAS president, and he will give a full view to the Pakatan meeting next Monday that he is committed to Pakatan and will only discuss with Umno leaders if Umno is committed to some reforms including including free and fair election and the judiciary,” he added.
Anwar was also asked about his remark made last weekend where he urged the government to allow Chin Peng to return to Malaysia. The Permatang Pauh MP has been heavily criticised by former servicemen and their family members for the remark. “I sympathise with their loss, no way do we compromise our stand on this, but why single out Chin Peng when others were allowed to come back and given financial support on humanitarian and compassionate grounds,” said Anwar adding that he does not condone violence.
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The Federal Court will hear toppled Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin’s appeal to be reinstated next month. The Federal Court registrar today fixed July 9 and 10 to hear his application for leave. Accompanied by his lawyer and a handful of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters wearing black headbands with gold-thread saying “Bubar DUN”(Dissolve the State Legislative Assembly), Nizar filed the appeal in person, dressed in a smart silver baju Melayu and black and gold kain pelikat. He had earlier attended Friday prayers at the nearby federal territory mosque.
He is appealing against the Court of Appeal’s decision on May 22 declaring his Barisan Nasional (BN) archrival Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir the rightful mentri besar (MB) of Perak. Nizar wants the top court to set aside the court of appeal’s decision and uphold an earlier high court decision declaring him the MB. Nizar said it was “regrettable” he had to file the appeal without being first given the grounds of judgment by the Court of Appeal as a reference point. He highlighted that the three-man panel had promised to deliver their written judgment within a week of their oral verdict but had failed to do so even on the date of his filing today.
Without it, he said, his legal team is handicapped. “They are quick to make judgments but slow to make the grounds,” Nizar said. Asked if he would be deprived of justice considering the judiciary’s behaviour, Nizar answered that he still believed the judicial institution was independent and neutral. “I’m not writing off all judges,” he was careful to add. The ex-MB also asked the Chief Justice (CJ) to set up the full panel of Federal Court judges to hear his case, which deals with crucial constitutional matters.
“Malaysians everywhere are eager for an impartial judgment of the law and I ask for no more and I believe I am entitled to no less,” he told reporters in a press conference. He added that a full bench would “dispel any suspicion of bias or judge picking” and show the judicial institution is independent. Nizar originally wanted 11 judges on the bench. But the Federal Court registrar confirmed there will only be 10 Federal Court judges available next month, including the CJ Tan Sri Zaki Azmi, as Justice Tan Sri Nik Hashim Nik Ab Rahman is retiring.
Unless the CJ empowers judges from the Court of Appeal, the maximum number on the bench will be nine. The panel of judges must be odd-numbered, in case of a tie. The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled in his favour on May 11. Judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim in his written judgment explained that the MB can only be lawfully replaced if he resigns from his post or is ousted through a vote of no-confidence in the State Legislative Assembly. To date, it remains the only written judgment available.
KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claims that the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) found that his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan was never sodomised. In an affidavit filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday to strike out the case against him, the Opposition leader said the report dated July 13 last year backed another medical report by private hospital, Pusrawi. “No conclusive clinical findings suggestive of penetration to the anus and no significant defensive wound on the body of the patient,” read part of the report which was cited in the affidavit.
The HKL report was endorsed by three specialists from the hospital. Last year, Saiful lodged a police report against Anwar claiming that he was sodomised, resulting in the Permatang Pauh MP being detained by the police for one night. But a medical report from Pusrawi, which found no evidence of sodomy later surfaced on the internet and the doctor who performed the examination, Dr. Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid later went into hiding claiming that his life was in danger. Anwar said that the case is politically-motivated and is an abuse of the court procedure.
In his affidavit, Anwar added that the prosecution has yet to furnish his defence team with several items related to the case including the CCTV recordings at Desa Damansara condominium, where the alleged sodomy took place. “We have only received blur pictures from the recordings,” said his lawyer Amer Hamzah at a press conference here. They also have not received chemistry reports of various DNA samples taken from Saiful and other information that will support Anwar in the case.
“I would like to stress that the prosecution’s refusal to furnish me with testimony supporting my case is an act of suppression of evidence,” said Anwar. He also claimed that the alleged fabrication of evidence that happened in his first sodomy trial 10 years ago would probably recur again. Anwar’s Sodomy II trial starts on July 1.
It was a heart-wrenching moment, says ousted Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin when asked about the day he was sworn in as Bukit Gantang MP. There he was, reading out a pledge to uphold the laws embodied in the Federal Constitution which was, ironically, drafted by mostly Umno pioneers themselves and yet, his home state of Perak has been engulfed by a crisis started by the said party itself. “I am a human being. When I held my right hand up to swear in, with the deepest part of my heart, I pledged that I would serve and uphold the Constitution. (And at that time), I spontaneously shouted out Bubar DUN (Dewan Undangan Negeri or state assembly) Perak,” he told a press conference in Parliament today after returning from a two-day suspension.
Nizar was among seven other lawmakers suspended from the Dewan Rakyat on Monday following their open protest against the Barisan Nasional (BN) power grab in Perak. The seven wore headbands and armbands with “Bubar DUN” written on them. Nizar went one step further by shouting it right after he was sworn in and the rest is history. “It was my golden opportunity,” Nizar explained. “If I were to say it in (the state assembly) in Perak, I would have been handcuffed,” he added, referring to the police intrusion of the State assembly building on the chaotic May 7 sitting which saw a Pakatan Rakyat Speaker physically removed.
“In Parliament, I was among all the BN ministers. It was a chance to convey my message to him,” said Nizar further. The person he was referring to? Datuk Seri Najib Razak who was attending the sitting for the first time as prime minister.
PAS today vowed not to betray Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties but will continue to talk to Umno on specific issues. Secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said any attempt to form a unity government must include PKR and DAP. Yesterday Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he could sense that the Islamist party was “sincere” in forming a unity government. "If Najib wants to talk about unity government, not only he must talk to PAS but he has to be willing to talk to PKR and DAP," Mustafa told a press conference at the party headquarters here.
"If they are not willing to talk to PKR and DAP, PAS too is not willing to talk," he added. He said that as a founder of the opposition coalition PAS has remained with its partners despite the setback in the 2004 general election where PKR was almost wiped out. "In 2004 when PKR was weak, we did not abandon Barisan Alternatif," Mustafa said. But he added the coalition can still disagree on certain issues. "For example, on allowing Chin Peng to return PKR and DAP support, but PAS is against it," he said. Mustafa said the unity government idea mooted by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang must not be confused by the party's effort to engage other parties including Umno on specific issues.
"For example, on the private religious schools issue, they can't talk to DAP or maybe PKR, they have to talk to PAS, because it involves PAS-controlled states" he added. "Our track record shows that we are willing to talk to the federal government on national issues," he said. Mustafa cited an example in 1989 when PAS was part of the National Economic Consultative Council. "Please differentiate between unity government and engagement," said Mustafa.
Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and seven other Pakatan Rakyat MPs were thrown out of Parliament and suspended for two days just moments after he was sworn in this morning as the new Bukit Gantang MP. He had led Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs in chants of “Hidup rakyat (long live the people)” and “Bubar DUN (dissolve the assembly)” as soon as the swearing-in ceremony ended, with some of them seen wearing headbands with the words "Bubar Dun". Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, who was annoyed by the Perak lawmakers, asked Nizar, M. Kulasegaran, Ngeh Koo Ham and Nga Kor Ming to leave the House, after they refused to remove the headbands. “Please remove the cloths. That is not part of our uniform,” he had said.
As more MPs joined in to protest the action of the Speaker, Datuk Mahfuz Omar (Pokok Sena), N. Gobalakrishnan (Padang Serai), Teo Nie Ching (Serdang), were also asked to leave. Pandikar later refused to deliver the customary welcoming speech, saying that Nizar had misbehaved. “Traditionally after an MP is sworn in, the Speaker's job is to welcome the new member, and in the welcoming speech, the Speaker will speak of his hope that the new member will be able to contribute to the House,” Pandikar told the House. “But this morning I find it difficult to say that, look at the behaviour of the member who was a mentri besar. I don't care how you behave outside the House, but inside the Parliament please watch your behaviour. And because of this I will not deliver my welcoming address,” he added.
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, Nizar said that Barisan Nasional (BN) was hypocritical as Parliament was sitting while the Perak assembly is in crisis. “In my oath I said that I will defend the constitution therefore I asked for permission from the Speaker to inform the members on the constitution which has been sidelined in Perak,” said Nizar. However, the Speaker did not have time to consider his request before Nizar began the chants. Mahfuz also pointed out that former Speaker, the late Tun Zahir Ismail, had allowed anti-ISA armband during the 10th Parliament session. Several Perak PR assemblymen were also present to show support to the ousted Perak mentri besar who was asked to step down by the Perak Sultan last February despite asking for fresh polls. Nizar won the Bukit Gantang seat in April in a by-election seen as a referendum on the takeover of the state government by BN through defections. A relatively unknown politician until his appointment as mentri besar last year, Nizar early this month was voted into the PAS central working committee and obtained the highest number of votes.
PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa reiterated today that dialogues with Umno does not mean that the Islamic party is considering joining forces with its arch rival. pas muktamar nasharuddin win post 060609 04As delivered by the president in his keynote speech (yesterday), we have never closed our doors to discussions with any party, let alone a political party, a NGO or an Islamic organisation, said Nasharuddin.
He stressed at a press conference after securing his post at the PAS muktamar today that his position within the party is to focus on enhancing the opposition's coalition Pakatan Rakyat. Quizzed on the PAS president's call for a unity government with Barisan Nasional, Nasharuddin said: It was wrongly quoted by the media... the president had stated that the suggestion was with the intention to work together in improving the sectors such as the judiciary, the anti-corruption agency and such.
In his outgoing speech, PAS Youth chief Salahuddin said he wanted the party to be the driving force of Pakatan Rakyat. The Islamic party leader also took a swipe at arch-rival Umno, calling it a "political dinosaur". "We are not a sleeping partner in Pakatan or just being there as a filler - we want PAS to be the backbone of Pakatan to end the cruelty, oppression and abuse of power in Barisan Nasional," he said at the Youth muktamar in Gombak this evening. Salahuddin, who will be contesting for vice-presidency, stressed that PAS Youth is key to realising this dream.
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