Custom Search
This div will be replaced

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said the death of suspected car thief Kugan Ananthan in police custody should not be turned into a racial issue. “We must not take it as a racial issue. Just because an Indian is involved does not make it any less important,” said Anwar at a press conference here. “As a Malay I don’t think it is wise to defend the crime and abuse of the BN led government. We must defend the rights of all Malaysians,” he added.

Anwar said that Pakatan Rakyat MPs would “not be silent” until the Home Minister assures Malaysians that this incident does not recur. The Permatang Pauh MP also urged the government to form a royal commission of enquiry to uphold the integrity of the police force. “I call on the government to form a royal commission to investigate the continuous crime of a small number of the police personnel, who are protected by higher ups to restore the image and credibility of the police and to protect the good name, of the majority of the police who have been serving well,” said Anwar.

(Protest outside Bukit Aman)

Kugan, 22, died on Jan 20 at the USJ 8 police station, five days after he was detained while being interrogated by the police. Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar reportedly said that Kugan collapsed after he asked for a glass of water when questioned by a police officer. A post-mortem report later indicated that the suspect had died due to fluid in his lungs. Kugan’s family members who were unsatisfied with the police’s explanation stormed the Serdang Hospital mortuary and took pictures of his body to prove their claim of torture by the police. The family had also requested for a second post-mortem and the request had been granted by the authorities.


Datuk Nasarudin Hashim, Umno Perak’s assemblyman for Bota, has quit the party with immediate effect and crossed over to PKR, citing the interests of his constituents. The former civil servant said that he had only made his decision today and would be tendering his resignation to Umno tomorrow. Coming on the back of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) victory in the Jan 17 Kuala Terengganu by-election, this will be an additional fillip to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s long standing plans to take over federal government.

“The decision of Datuk Nasarudin is critical, reflecting the sentiment of his voters, primarily the Malays in his constituency,” Anwar told a press conference at the party headquarters today. The PKR de facto leader said that this reflected the demand of the pulic and saw it “as the beginning of a new wave,” when quizzed over the significance of the move. This may not signal the mass defection that Anwar had promised but failed to deliver last Sept 16 in a bid to topple the five-decade old Barisan Nasional (BN) regime.

But coupled with the Kuala Terengganu win, it rejuvenates the momentum that has ebbed and flowed since the opposition’s huge gains in the 12th general elections last March. This now adds to PR’s majority in Perak which stood at three seats last year and was the subject of an attempt to lure defectors by Umno Perak. Losing an elected representative just two months before assuming leadership of Umno, BN and the federal government will be a blow to the notion that prime minister-elect Datuk Seri Najib Razak is the man to steady the ship come March.

Najib has however, persistently dismissed talk that the Kuala Terengganu by-election was a referendum on his impending premiership, stating that in the big picture, the loss of one parliamentary seat does not change much. But it indicates, as Nasarudin told reporters today, that there are issues in “the direction of the public’s support” and “the situation that exists now in Umno and its leadership,” which were the reasons for his defection. “This decision has been taken after a long study and consideration of the public’s interest in general, especially my supporters and voters in the state assembly area of Bota,” the former Parit MP said.

His decision will also be a boost to PR’s desire to gain crucial ground among the Malay electorate, who have been unsure of the PKR-led coalition’s commitment to the special position held by Malays according to the Federal Constitution. “I am confident that PKR will uphold and respect the rights that are enshrined in the Federal Constitution especially the position of Bahasa Malaysia as the official language, the sovereignty of the Malay rulers and the position of Islam as the official religion,” Nasarudin said, who was formerly chairman of Felcra Berhad.

Whenever news on the Gaza attack by the Israeli forces was broadcast, J. I. Kamal would be a picture of sadness, pain and distraught. The incessant shelling, indiscriminate killing and the sanctions and the blockade on the Palestinian people. He should only know the situation, too well. In fact, better than most of us. He is a Palestinian. All the visuals, all the news are too difficult to bear. But we have to keep ourselves informed with the latest development in Palestine. What is even worse now is that communication with our families back home has become more difficult with the recent attack on our homeland. The only comfort was hearing from our family but that was only temporary before the anxiety resumed. At Anwar Ibrahim speech, he said that he will support Obama if he want to stop the war between the Israel and Palestine. But, we will wait the Obama action first. Hopefully he will not follow the criminal leader likes in Bush era.

Whenever news on the Gaza attack by the Israeli forces was broadcast, J. I. Kamal would be a picture of sadness, pain and distraught. The incessant shelling, indiscriminate killing and the sanctions and the blockade on the Palestinian people. He should only know the situation, too well. In fact, better than most of us. He is a Palestinian.

“All the visuals, all the news are too difficult to bear. But we have to keep ourselves informed with the latest development in Palestine. “What is even worse now is that communication with our families back home has become more difficult with the recent attack on our homeland. “The only comfort was hearing from our family but that was only temporary before the anxiety resumed,” Kamal told Bernama when met at the “Save the Palestinians – Coalition of Malaysia NGOs Against Prosecution of Palestine’ gathering here today. The 36-year-old English teacher has been in Kuala Lumpur for the past 16 months, pursuing a PhD in Education at the International Islamic University.

Kamal, who was born and raised at the Balata refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in the West Bank, which is now “home” to about 30,000 refugees, also disclosed how he was thrown in prison and tortured thrice by the oppressor – all because he is Palestinian. “It is indescribable and unimaginable how our lives are, living as refugees in our own land. We have been humiliated too many times,” he said. Despite the psychological torture, Kamal said the Palestinians stood strong and would defeat their oppressors one day.

He was also overwhelmed with the support Malaysians showed for the struggle of the Palestinian people, adding that it would boost his people’s spirit to continue with their struggle. “They will never be able to break our spirit. We will prevail. There is hope and our hope is to live in our own land one day, peacefully like other countries,” he said. Fellow Palestinian Dr Ma’an Fahmi Al-Khatib yearns for the day when he can step on Palestine soil. “I dream of a free Palestine when I can return to the land of my ancestors,” he said.

Like millions of his generations, Dr Ma’an who was born in Jordan after his parents fled Jerusalem in 1948, was never allowed to return to Palestine. “... and although my immediate family is in Jordan, we still have many relatives in Palestine. It is just impossible, just to even visit,” said Ma’an who has been living here for the past 10 years. – Bernama

This video shows the documentary war between Palestine and Israel. John Pilger details the war in Palestine through interviews of Palestinian and Israelis. It details the progress of peace and the strategies and policies at work on both sides of the issue. This documentary describes about the history of war between Palestine and Israel or Zionis.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 – Malaysia’s opposition today hailed a victory in a parliamentary by-election, declaring it showed strengthening support for its campaign to topple the government nearly a year after landmark national polls. Opposition leaders and analysts also said Saturday’s win by Pas in Kuala Terengganu was a vote of no-confidence for Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, just three months before he takes over as premier.

The Islamic party, which is part of a three-member opposition alliance led by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, defeated the National Front coalition with a significant majority of 2,631 votes, the Election Commission said. This reversed the government’s 628 majority in general elections last March. The seat fell vacant after the incumbent, a National Front member, died in November.

Anwar said the victory, which increased opposition seats in Parliament to 83, showed momentum for political reform had gained strength, after his People’s Alliance won a third of parliamentary seats and control of five states in national polls last year. “The victory is proof that the people are still thirsty for change,” he said in a statement.

The by-election results will not change the National Front’s control of Parliament, where it still has a comfortable majority. But Saturday’s defeat nevertheless dealt a blow to the government, which had hoped to recapture support after its losses last year. It was the second consecutive electoral loss after Anwar won a by-election in September to return to Parliament as opposition leader after a 10-year enforced absence. “The results are disastrous for Najib. This was a battle between an incoming prime minister, Najib, and a wannabe prime minister, Anwar. Najib will be much weaker when he takes power,” said James Chin, a political science professor at Monash University in Malaysia.

KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 17 — Campaigning ceased at midnight yesterday for an important by-election in the parliamentary constituency of Kuala Terengganu ahead of voting later today. The election is essentially a contest between Datuk Wan Farid Salleh of Umno and Abdul Wahid Endut from the opposition Pas and, although it will be close, most analysts are scenting an opposition victory. In the March 8 general election, Umno beat off Pas by 620 votes.

The reason could lie with the Chinese community which has traditionally leaned towards the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in previous elections in the Malay-majority state. The BN is a 13-party coalition dominated by Umno.This time, however, various issues including dissatisfaction over the rising cost of living and the stunning showing by the Opposition in the March 8 general election may have conspired to push many of them into the Opposition's arms. Indeed, analysts agree that the Chinese vote could be crucial. They comprise 11 per cent of the constituency's 80,000-odd voters and both parties agree that the Malay vote could be split down the middle.

Mustafa Ali, the Pas operation director, told reporters that all he was sure was that “each party has at least 40 per cent Malay support” indicating that he wasn't sure which way the remaining 20 per cent would lean towards. Thus, a decisive swing towards the Opposition by the Chinese — which seems to be the probable outcome — could tip the balance.

KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 16 - Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday turned the tables on Barisan Nasional (BN) and demanded that Umno explain why it is creating fear over hudud laws. "Why is Umno silent? Why is Umno causing fear over hudud?" he asked at an event yesterday attended by a large Malay crowd in Kuala Terengganu. He said it was for Umno to explain its stand on hudud - the Islamic penal code that prescribes punishments like amputation of limbs for robbery - and why it was making this into an issue of fear.

This change of tack came after 10 days of campaigning in the Kuala Terengganu by-election, during which the BN played up the hudud issue, leaving the opposition on the defensive. Hudud is the weak link in the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition as Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas) has pledged to implement it if it came to power, while the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP) opposes it. DAP chairman Karpal Singh said the party would pull out of the coalition if Pas insisted on hudud. Anwar has taken a strictly neutral stand, saying hudud would apply only to Muslims and, even then, it would first be discussed by all Pakatan partners. "It has never been the intention of Pas to introduce legislation that will affect non-Muslims," Anwar said.

He and other top Pakatan leaders are in town for the last lap of the campaign for tomorrow's by-election, which was called after the Umno MP Razali Ismail died last November. Umno"s Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh is facing PAS" Abdul Wahid Endut and an independent. BN tailors its messages to the respective races. To the Chinese, who make up 11 per cent of the 80,229 voters, it warns that Pas would eventually dominate the opposition to the detriment of non-Muslims. To the Malays, who make up 88 per cent, Umno says DAP is blocking the implementation of hudud and has forced Pas to tone down its principles.

Hudud does not seem to be a major issue among the Chinese. A survey by independent pollster Merdeka Centre showed that half the Chinese said the issue was important, but 37 per cent said the matter had been exploited by the media to deter them from voting for PAS.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — Malaysian MPs agreed unanimously to condemn Israel’s incursion into Gaza. Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim proposed that the US ambassador should be summoned by the Malaysian government, in order to register the people’s objection to the support given by the Bush administration to Israel. “It is Malaysia’s hope that President-elect Barack Obama will be fair to the Palestinians as it is clear that he vehemently supports Israel.

“Malaysians of all races from various parties have shown their utter disgust to an administration which has sided with war criminals and were appalled by the lackadaisical attitude of the Arab leaders in championing their people,” he said. He was speaking at the special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat to debate a resolution against the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip. Anwar (PKR-Permatang Pauh) also proposed that Malaysia initiate a move along with Brunei and Indonesia, to make a stand against violence and genocide.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS-Marang) said Malaysia should take Israel to the international court for contravening the international law. Penang Deputy Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Dr P. Ramasamy (DAP-Batu Kawan) said Israel should be labelled a terrorist state for taking a unilateral action to perpetuate its stranglehold on Palestine. “We must talk to the European Union, Russia and other big powers to resolve the problem as the United Nations has failed to address the issue,” he said. Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) described the Palestinian issue as a global problem which could only be solved by the international community.

“The first step to resolve the problem is by imposing a ceasefire,” he said, adding that the world community should apply pressure on Israel, not excluding economic sanctions. Khairy also proposed that a peacekeeping force be dispatched to the Gaza Strip to protect civilians from being victimised by the Zionist regime. Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Independent-Pasir Mas) proposed that civil servants make a salary cut equivalent to one day’s work to be contributed to the Palestinian Fund.

Every time opposition MP Teresa Kok campaigns in the Chinese waterfront village in Kuala Terengganu, she is halted every few steps for a photograph. The DAP MP became a celebrity after being arrested under the Internal Security Act over claims that she had complained about noise from the azan (call to prayer) from a mosque. She denied the allegations.
Voters have obviously not forgotten the controversial arrests of Kok, a Chinese press reporter and blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, who is also a major hit as he hits the campaign trail here. The September arrest had particularly angered the Chinese. But in a twist of fate, they are now being assiduously courted in the Kuala Terengganu by-election to be held on Jan 17 after the MP from the ruling Umno died in November. “The Chinese could be the kingmakers,” Kok told The Straits Times.

That is why she and other prominent Chinese opposition leaders have made a beeline for this small seaside town to secure the Chinese vote for Pas candidate Abdul Wahid Endut. He is standing against Umno's Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh and an independent. The Chinese comprise only 11 per cent of the 80,229 voters, but analysts suggest they hold the key to victory. The 88 per cent Malay voters are believed to be split, with Pas having a slight edge over Umno.

Political analyst Ong Kian Ming's study of the March general election showed that the non-Malay support for Barisan Nasional, the ruling coalition, was 64 per cent, compared to 47 per cent for the Malays. Most of the Chinese are clustered in the touristy Kampong Cina by the sea. It is a picturesque area with restored pre-war shophouses, narrow lanes and an old Chinese temple at its heart.

“We just want our safety and to be able to do business,” said Tan Choon Bee, 53, who runs a Nonya restaurant. Like many Chinese, she is tight-lipped about politics. But there are hints. One was a well-attended dinner on Tuesday evening with DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, Raja Petra, Kok and other opposition leaders. Five hundred people turned up, paying RM30 each for the event. A few hundred others stood outside the hall to listen to the speeches. “The dinner was organised in just two days,” said DAP MP Liew Chin Tong.

When Kok hosted a lunch for 100 Chinese voters, the donations were almost enough to cover the cost. The outpouring of donations during the March general election was one of the signs of the political tsunami that swept BN from its iron-grip dominance. BN is working as hard. Its Chinese leaders are going from door to door, and some Umno leaders are also venturing into Kampong Cina. Two days ago, Wan Farid accompanied Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said to give away hampers to elderly Chinese.

The Chinese in Kuala Terengganu have always been pro-BN, largely because of their wariness of Pas. This sentiment, however, may sway now with the onslaught of high-profile Chinese opposition campaigners. “Without 'interference', we are safe. But with the influence of the opposition members who twist facts, people might be affected emotionally,” Terengganu's only Chinese assemblyman, Toh Chin Yaw, told The Straits Times. This is even though more than half of the 8,787 Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu are members of the MCA, a senior partner of BN.

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 1

part 2

part 3



Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim drew parallels last night between the conflict in Gaza and what he called the sufferings of Malaysians as he hit the campaign trail at a mammoth rally attended by thousands here. Attempting to touch a sensitive chord among the mainly Muslim constituency here, he accused Umno, the main party in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, of acting like Israel. "The leadership is busy collecting wealth. While Israel is punishing the Palestinian people for choosing Hamas, it is no different from Umno punishing Malaysians for choosing the Pakatan Rakyat," he told a ceramah here on the first day of campaigning for the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

Thousands of local residents had gathered to listen to a star-studded Pakatan Rakyat (PR) rally here where besides Anwar, the DAP's Lim Kit Siang and Pas president Hadi Awang were also among the top draws. The flag-waving crowd cheered loudly during Anwar's speech, punctuated with shouts of "Allahu Akbar", which translates as "God is Great," the standard clarion cry of the Pas faithful. With a majority of Malaysia's Muslims backing the Palestinian cause, Israel's ongoing invasion of Gaza is having a major impact on domestic politics.

Setting the tone for the campaign, Anwar told the huge flag waving crowd gathered at a beach behind the Astaka shopping centre here that the problem with Umno was that it was corrupt and ignored the suffering of ordinary Malaysians. Sticking to his Gaza theme, he said: "Umno, like Israel, does not recognise the chosen Hamas leadership." Pas vice-president Husam Musa's recent remarks that his party would want to introduce Hudud, the strict Islamic code which prescribes amputation, stonning and whipping as punishment for criminal offences, had touched off criticisms from non-Muslim groups, including PR partners DAP.

While the Hudud issue has caused uneasiness in other parts of the country, it has little traction in the east coast states, where a huge majority of the population, are conservative Muslims. Still, with a tight race anticipated, both the BN and PR campaigns are mindful of the need to secure the Chinese vote, which represents around 11 per cent of voters here.

How close is the battle for Kuala Terengganu going to be? Pretty close, judging by results of a recent survey commissioned by Umno. Results of the poll in December showed that 48 per cent of the voters would support Barisan Nasional while 47 per cent were backing Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas). Five per cent of the voters were undecided.

But there is one caveat, and a major one at that. The polls were conducted before BN named Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh as its candidate and Pas picked Mohd Abdul Wahid Endot for the seat. Independent Azharuddin Mamat is also contesting the by-election.

Umno officials are worried that the campaign to portray Wan Ahmad Farid as an elitist politician, someone with little in common with the everyman, is gaining some traction. At a closed door briefing for branch leaders yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak reminded Wan Ahmad Farid on the power of perception and urged him to work doubly hard to get close to the voters on the ground.

Not a day has gone by in the past week without mainstream newspapers carrying photographs of the BN candidate meeting voters in humble surroundings. The implicit message is that the former Deputy Home Minister is not elitist but a man of the people. In such a close contest, he cannot afford the elitist perception to persist.

There are 80,229 voters in the constituency. An analysis of the March 8 elections won by the late Datuk Razali Ismail of BN showed that 53 per cent of the Malay vote went to Pas while 64 per cent of the Chinese vote went to BN. Chinese voters make up nearly 11 per cent of the electorate. The voter turnout on March 8 was 87 per cent.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 – Four-term Wakaf Mempelam assemblyman Abdul Wahid Endut, who was once challenged to a fist fight by current Terengganu mentri besar Ahmad Said, has been named Pas's candidate for the Jan 17 Kuala Terengganu by-election in an eleventh hour decision that took many by surprise.

His selection is seen as a compromise decision as rival factions in the party could not agree on either Batu Buruk assemblyman Dr Syed Azman Nawawi or state party chief Datuk Mustafa Ali. The announcement of Abdul Wahid as the Pas candidate is seen as an attempt to appease both the party’s “Erdogan” faction who are strong supporters of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the “Ulama” group who are close to the party president. Pas will be hoping that Abdul Wahid’s candidacy will put to rest the uncertainty which has gripped the Islamist party amid factional disputes and the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) surprise early naming of heavyweight Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh as their candidate, in a move which clearly put Pas on the defensive.

Mohd Abdul Wahid, 52, is a four-term assemblyman, Kuala Terengganu PAS chief and state PAS treasurer. A Fisheries and Marine Science graduate from Universiti Putra Malaysia, he has never been defeated in the four elections he has contested. It is learnt that Abdul Wahid was not on the initial list of candidates. Nationally unknown, the 52 year old, who used to serve as a Terengganu state executive councillor, from 1999 to 2004 when Pas held the state government, is a popular party leader in the east coast state. After BN wrested the state in 2004, he remained a vocal assemblyman and once accused the BN government of allegedly being “worst than the Jews” for tearing down some a settlement. This had resulted in Ahmad, the current mentri besar who was then a state executive councillor, challenging him to a fist fight outside the state assembly.

About 500 people made up of Pas supporters and members of non-governmental organisations today held a demonstration outside the United States embassy to protest against Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip that have killed more than 360 Palestinians. The protestors gathered outside the Tabung Haji building in Jalan Tun Razak before moving to the front of the embassy at 11.30am while shouting slogans to protest the open US support for Israel's actions.

Six representatives then handed over a memorandum of protest to an embassy official at the gates of the mission. Batu Burok state assemblyman of Pas, Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad, said the memorandum was addressed directly to US President George W. Bush and Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Dr Syed Azman said a relief squad comprising doctors and professionals would be sent to Palestine to help victims. Cheras police district chief, Supt Abdul Rahim Hamzah Othman, said the gathering, which did not have a permit, dispersed at 12.30pm, adding that the situation was under control and no arrests were made. Huge demonstrations had been held in major cities around the world to condemn Israel's atrocities against the Palestinian people. - Bernama

Template by - guahensem - 2008