Archive for May, 2009

Syabas, says Anwar

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on May 31, 2009 by ckchew

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today paid tribute to the Pakatan Rakyat election machinery and the voters in Penanti for the victory of PKR candidate Mansor Othman.

MCPX

“In the past 14 months, the voters have faced an election three times (including his own parliamentary constituency of Permatang Pauh).

“Despite this, they have not wavered from supporting Pakatan Rakyat’s agenda for change. The results show that ‘justice’ is still supported by the people,” he said.

Anwar also commended the people of Penanti for “making the right choice” in endorsing Mansor as their representative and the future deputy chief minister of Penang.

“Hopefully, he will honour the trust they have placed in him by working hard to serve the people,” he added.

Speaking to reporters at the counting centre later, Anwar said despite the low voter turnout, it was still a ‘convincing’ victory.

“I feel proud with the result we achieved. Although we faced the challenge of independent candidates, we still managed a commendable win,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mansor said he is looking forward to serve the people.

“I will seek guidance from my two leaders, Anwar and (Penang Chief Minister Lim) Guan Eng,” he said thanking all Pakatan leaders and supporters.

Lim said he will recommend Mansor as deputy chief minister I and will be sworn in on Wednesday.

“I welcome the fact that a capable leader with excellent academic qualification will assist me in governing the state,” he added.


Nai Khan disappointed

Meanwhile independent candidate Nai Khan Ari said he was disappointed with his defeat, especially as he had to lose his deposit.

“If not, I can treat my supporter to eat. I now only can use lesser budget to treat them,” he told reporters at the polling centre.

He said that he had expected to win in Teluk Wang and Sungai Lembu. In the final tally, he had come behind Mansor in these two areas as well.

The former Penang Gerakan youth leader was however glad that he had raised so issues in his campaign, especially on matters relating to poverty and the lack of basic amenities in Teluk Wang.

“I hope the federal and state governments will look after these people,” he said.

He also made it clear that he will not be rejoining Gerakan and will remain an independent so that he can freely voice out his opinion.

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Dr Mansor wins with 5,558 majority

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on May 31, 2009 by ckchew

7.20pm: OFFICIAL RESULTS Mansor wins the seat by garnering 6,052 votes. His nearest rival is Nai Khan with 494, followed by Aminah with 392. Kamarul obtained 56 votes.

Mansor’s majority is 5,558 votes. All three independents lost their deposits.

penanti by election mansor victoryThe win for Mansor – after a series of three previous electoral defeats – now opens the door for him to be appointed as the Penang deputy chief minister (1).

A blog entry by DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, whose son Guan Eng is the chief minister, said that Mansor will be sworn in on Wednesday.

Only 7,100 people cast their votes in what is clearly a historic low turnout – standing at only 46.15 percent. There were a total of 15,384 registered voters in the constituency.

Nai Khan had done very well in two polling areas – Teluk Wang which has many Thai residents and Sungai Lembu, a Gerakan stronghold.

Nai Khan is the first Thai descendant to contest in an election in Malaysia. He is also a former Penang Gerakan Youth leader.

In Teluk Wang, Nai Khan obtained 154 votes as opposed to Mansor’s 180, Aminah, 21, and Kamarul, 1.

In Sungai Lembu, Nai Khan garnered 102 votes, coming behind Mansor’s 258. Aminah and Kamarul gained two votes each.

Aminah did well in the Malay areas of Mengkuang, Kuala Mengkuang and Guar Perahu.

She also won the battle for the postal votes by getting 12, followed by Kamarul, 7, Mansor, 2, and Nai Khan, 0.

7.13pm: Mansor leading with 6,266 votes against Aminah (390), Nai Khan Ari (534) and Kamarul (48).

7.05pm: Mansor has now raced to a 4,980-vote majority. He has garnered 5,309 votes while Aminah has 329, Nai Khan (301) and Kamarul (44).

6.50pm: The independents are now looking at losing their deposits paid to the Election Commission.

While Mansor is surging away with 4,289 votes, Aminah, Nai Khan and Kamarul are rooted at 258, 273 and 26 votes respectively.

6.45pm: Mansor now has 3,431 votes. Nai Khan has overtaken Aminah by polling 243, with the latter garnering 223. Kamarul has 24 votes.

Mansor’s majority is now 3,188 votes.

6.35pm: UNOFFICIAL PKR’s Mansor Othman wins the Penanti state seat. He obtained 3,222 votes while Aminah Abdullah got 180, Nai Khan Ari (235), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (24).

The total number of votes counted so far stands at 3,661 and with only 7,100 people voting, it is mathematically impossible for the rest to overtake him now.

6.30pm: With about 40 percent of votes counted so far – PKR’s Mansor Othman (2,964), Aminah Abdullah (178), Nai Khan Ari (133), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (22).

6.25pm: PKR’s Mansor Othman (2,517), Aminah Abdullah (153), Nai Khan Ari (71), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (20).

Mansor’s majority right now is 2,364 votes, beating the 2,219 majority achieved by PKR in the 2008 general election.

6.20pm: PKR’s Mansor Othman (2,089), Aminah Abdullah (114), Nai Khan Ari (63), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (16).

6.15pm: PKR’s Mansor Othman (1,863), Aminah Abdullah (100), Nai Khan Ari (62), Kamarul Ramizu Idris (14).

Counting took place in 10 polling districts – Guar Perahu, Kuala Mengkuang, Telok Wang, Mengkuang, Sungai Lembu, Penanti, Kubang Ulu, Sungai Semambu, Tanah Liat and Berapit Road. Mkini

Gobi Investigated by cops: cops tried to stop Gobi from talking about Perak crisis, Altantuya, jibby Altantuya & his husband, rosmah

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on May 31, 2009 by ckchew

Anwar slams gov’t for PKFZ wastage and economic recession

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , , on May 31, 2009 by ckchew

By Anwar Ibrahim

The administration’s lackadaisical approach to governance and accountability is deeply disturbing.

At a time when Malaysian’s are forced to cut costs and worry if their hard earned money will cover the next month’s bills, our government continues to pour billions in taxpayer money down the drain.

The government’s neither-here-nor-there approach to the PKFZ scandal is a clear sign of UMNOs unwillingness to sacrifice its own delinquent members for the sake of the national good.

The handling of the PKFZ affair amplifies the hypocrisy which was manifest in the investigations into money politics within UMNO and the selective persecution of foes of the new Najib administration.

The government has bragged that billions have been disbursed from the two fiscal stimulus packages. Yet there is virtually no information available to the public about the process of awarding tenders.

We are left to assume that it is business as usual and have little confidence that the economy will benefit from the misappropriation of these funds that are being channeled to the same coterie of crony companies.

Inefficiency and largesse remain the prevailing traits of our bloated bureaucracy. Government monopolies preclude any significant change in the economic landscape of the nation and promises of liberalisation ring hollow when it comes to the lack of political will to implement change.

To date there is no plan in sight to resuscitate the economy and transform it as the Prime Minister has promised.  We hear from him incoherent statements predicting a recovery by the end of the year while at the same time admitting that our economy is beholden to that of the US and Europe, which by their own account will remain weak into 2010.

Bank Negara has this week confirmed what most Malaysians have known already for eight months, save the Minister of Finance. The country is headed for recession.

Thousands of jobs have already been lost and in the coming months we know that more factories will be shuttered and more will be laid off – by some estimates up to a half-million people. 2009 growth figures have been slashed to -5%, the worst economic scenario Malaysia has faced since the Financial Crisis.

These challenges require visionary leadership and the courage to act decisively against corruption and cronyism. Sadly both qualities are lacking in the current administration.

[Anwar Ibrahim is the Opposition Leader and de-facto head of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition] SK

Saifuddin: EC flip-flop

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on May 31, 2009 by ckchew

LIVE COVERAGE: It’s polling day for Penanti!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on May 31, 2009 by ckchew

By SK English News

7.15pm Official Results PKR’s Mansor 6,052, Aminah Abdullah 392, Nai Khan 494, Kamarul 56. [Suara Keadilan closes its live coverage here. We will revert to normal format for further updates and thank all readers for their support.]

7.00pm Pakatan workers at the main counting centre are becoming excited at the prospect of a sweeping win. They have been working round-the-clock for days and were initially alarmed by the weak voter turnout, but it looks like all’s well ends well.

6.50pm PKR’s Mansor 4,289, Aminah Abdullah 258, Nai Khan 273, Kamarul 26. 6.35pm PKR’s Mansor 3,222, Aminah Abdullah 180, Nai Khan 235, Kamarul 24.

6.30pm Mansor Othman surging ahead with 2,964 votes, Aminah Abdullah 178, Nai Khan Ari 133, Kamarul Ramizu Idris 22.

6.25pm Unofficial count has PKR’s Mansor leaing with 2,517 votes, Aminah 153, Nai 71 and Kamarul 20.

6.00pm In an immediate response PKR’s Saifuddin expressed satisfaction, saying the turnout while lower than expected confirmed that the Pakatan’s core support was intact. In 2008, the coalition’s popular support in the seat was 47 percent versus the Umno’s 33 percent.

“So if you add today’s turnout of 46 percent to Umno’s 33 percent, you get about 80 percent which is not far from the 82 percent turnout of 2008.

“Take into account all the scare tactics by the Umno-BN even though they didn’t contest but you can see it is evident in the eleventh hour police questioning of our leaders like Kit Siang and Gobala.

“Of of course, not all the 46 percent turnout today belongs to the Pakatan, but as long as we have above 40 percent, we have managed to progressed despite all odds,” Saifuddin told Suara Keadilan.

5.30pm According to the EC, as at 5pm, the turnout was 46.15 percent, or 7,100 out of 15,384 voters had cast their votes at the nine polling stations spread across Penanti. Vote counting has begun and the results expected to be announced only after 8 pm.

5.00pm Polling closes. A quiet but busy day for main competitor, the Pakatan Rakyat. As expected, the low voter turnout feared by the coalition left its mark on the contest, but thanks to its hardcore supporters there, Pakatan leaders are confident of a thumping win.

4.30pm According to the EC, as at 4pm the turnout was 44.36 percent, or 6,824 out of 15,384 voters had cast their votes at the nine polling stations. 4.00pm PKR election director Saifuddin Nasution is confident of approaching the 7,000 target by5pm.

“If we obtain around that level, we are extremely happy. It would prove that despite all the efforts by the Umno-BN to dislodge us, we have not lost our core voter support. In fact, despite knowing we would win anyway, they still came to stand up for us. Now, that speaks volumes – not just how they feel about us but also very tellingly, how they feel about the Umno-BN.”

3.45pm According to the EC, as 3pm the turnout was 42.2 percent 6,492 out of 15,384 voters had cast their votes at the nine polling stations.

3.30pm PKR election director Saifuddin Nasution is confident that Pakatan candidate Mansor had bagged at least 75 percent of all votes cast so far.

Based on the 2pm turnout of 5,964, this roughly translates to 4,500 PKR votes, which means, it needs only another 2,500 votes until 5pm to hit its internal target of 7,000 votes.

The PKR had been assured of victory right from the start because Penanti is part of Anwar’s Permatang Pauh stronghold.

3.15pm Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin, who like Mansor was a former political secretary to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, is hopeful for another 20 to 25 percent in the next few hours to 5pm. However he cautioned this was provided it did not rain. The Pakatan had days ago announced it expected a weak turnout of 55 to 60 percent, lower than the 70 percent forecast by the EC.

“After going to the ground, we found that everyone was sure we would win. That’s why we factored complacency very heavily into our calculations and erred on the side of caution. So, provided the weather holds out, if in the next three hours till 5 pm, we get another 20 to 25 percent turnout, that would be great,” said Sim.

3.00pm The smiles are back in the Pakatan camp after an early scare. Thanks to efforts by party workers and their strategists, a lunch-time surge in turnout has put the their forecast for retaining the 7,000-odd votes it obtained in 2008 back on track.

“It’s better now and we continue to hope for the best,” PKR candidate Mansor Othman told Suara Keadilan.

2.45pm Pakatan leaders admit they wished turnout was higher but point out that – provided the latest EC numbers were reliable – then they are likely to meet expectations.

Given that Umno’s 5,000-odd supporters have been instructed to boycott the balloting, the numbers that were being hit were in line with Pakatan expectations of achieving 7,000 votes – the same number it had achieved in the 2008 general election. This was of course on the assumption that the majority of those who voted so far were Pakatan supporters.

2.30pm According to the EC, the voter turnout at 2pm was 38.8 percent, with 5,964 out of 15,384 having turned out to cast their votes

12.15pm According to the EC, the voter turnout at 12noon was 26 percent, with 4,000 out of 15,384 having turned out to cast their votes. [Suara Keadilan will take a break for lunch now. Be back soon!]

12.00pm Perhaps in line with lunchtime, more voters have continued to arrive at the polling centres. But the overall situation is still quiet.

11.45am The number of voters strolling into the polling centres has perked noticeably, but the overall number is still sluggish. Pakatan officials remain concerned especially as rain has been forecast in the afternoon by the Meteorological Department.

11.30am According to EC, voter turnout at 11am is 23.5 percent, or 3,590 out of 15,384 voters.

11.15am It has been easy for police to maintain order throughout the morning. In fact, with the police outnumbering voters, their presence has become intimidating. So far, there have been no untoward incidents worth mentioning. However, with the EC irregularities over missing voter names, PM Najib may not need to create any physical ruckus to keep Pakatan supporters away from the polling booths.

10.55am PKR candidate Mansor says he is surprised at the EC’s data, saying that on-the-ground reports showed the response was lesser than the EC’s 14.6 percent turnout by 10am. “I am concerned,” he told Suara Keadilan.

10.40am Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has arrived at the Berapit polling station. 10.37am Just released data from the EC shows that up to 10am, 2,252 voters have cast their ballots representing a 14.6 percent turnout.

10.30am Complaints to the EC chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof of missing names from the electoral roll appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

Visiting the Tanah Liat polling station, he said the voter response was encouraging and is sticking to his forecast for a 70 percent turnout.

10.00am As to be expected, the increasingly controversial Election Commission has done it again, by transferring out voters to another state seat at the last moment.

PKR’s Mansor says 8 voters have complained to him. Guan Eng, who was with Mansor, has chided the EC for its unprofessional conduct.

9.45am By avoiding Penanti, PM Najib had hoped to avoid the political consequences of yet another electoral loss after losing in four of the past five by-elections. However, it is doubtful he has succeeded given the keen interest shown by Penanti folk at the ceramahs held by the Pakatan. According to PKR officials, many clamored to hear about the Perak crisis and of course the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder-and-commission scandal, apart from the near term economic prospects for the country.

9.25am PKR candidate Mansor Othman visited Berapit polling station with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang in tow.

9.20am The weather is still holding out but the Meteorological Department expects rain and thunder storms later in the morning and drizzles in the afternoon.

9.15am Nai Khan, who was denied permission to hold a press conference after casting his vote, has left the polling centre with his supporters.

9.00am Polling is taking place at 8 schools and 1 community hall. Voters are starting to file in steadily though with little fanfare. Which makes crowd control easier and the overall mood more pleasant for those who prefer a less noisy and quarrelsome environment.

8.50am Mansor, who revealed a 5-point plan to Penanti voters, will be appointed Deputy Chief Minister (I) of Penang, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim repeated in a message to Penanti folk.

8.45am PKR strategic affairs director Tian Chua expects Pakatan to garner 80 percent of votes from the town areas, but 50-50 in the interior areas, where the bulk of Umno supporters are based.

8.40am Police still outnumbering voters at the polling station. Though still thin, voters are filing in.

8.35am Despite eleventh hour scare tactics from the police, who hauled up Pakatan Rakyat leaders Lim Kit Siang and N Gobalakrishnan over speeches they made at Penanti ceramahs, PKR expects to retain the same level of voter support of 7,000 that it obtained in the 2008 general elction.

At that time, Umno had secured 5,000 votes but because of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s decision to skip this time, the party has instructed its supporters not to cast their ballots. Free trips to northern border towns have already been organised to ferry them out of town!

8.30am Voter turnout, the greatest concern for the PKR, is still thin. Nevertheless, party leaders expect the momentum to pick up a little later.

8.25am  Apart from Nai Khan, none of the other candidates are entitled to vote today. He is already at the polling centre waiting to cast his vote. Nevertheless, they are expected to show up later although any last-minute campaigning is strictly prohibited.

8.20am  There are some new ground rules set by the Election Commission for this by-election. For example, no ‘pondok panas’ or voter-service stops are allowed within 50m of the polling statiuon. Election watchdog, Mafrel, has been complaining they are allowed to station only 8 observers although there are 32 polling streams.

8.15am  According the EC, there are 15,384 registered voters include 24 postal ones at Penanti. There are also nine polling station, with 32 polling streams.

8.10am  Police presence is light and despite the reduced razzle-dazzle with Umno skipping the contest, there is still an an of expectancy. The weather is fine so far and the mood cheerful.

8.05am  The town area is still quiet, with the bulk of voters expected to come out only a little later. Most are still enjoying their breakfast.

8.00am  Voting has flagged off in Penanti, with PKR’s Mansor Othman facing three Independents – Aminah Abdullah, Nai Khan and Kamarul Ramizu.

A slow start in Penanti

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on May 31, 2009 by ckchew

The Penanti state-seat by-election kicked off at 8am this morning to a slow start.

Eye-witnesses told Malaysiakini that not many voters have come out to vote when polling opened this morning.

However it is still early in the day and the 15,384 voters have until 5pm to cast their ballot.

The early voters have largely been senior citizens.

The atmosphere near the polling centres have also been reported to be very calm. Not many party flags were visible. The police are however maintaining a watch at these centres.

The only political party to contest in this by-election, PKR, has set up polling booths at the polling centres despite a ban on such booths by the Election Commission.

And even at their centres, the handful of PKR workers are only checking the voters’ list for potential voters. There are no last-minute campaigning being undertaken by them.

The three independent candidates however did not have any presence at the polling centres to woo voters.

The contest sees PKR’s Mansor Othman fighting against independents Aminah Abdullah, Nai Khan Ari and Kamarul Ramizu Idris for the seat.

Nai Khan casted his vote at the Dewan Orang Ramai dan Tadika Tun Sardon at about 8.49am. He was accompanied by about five supporters.

His attempt to hold a press conference outside the polling centre after casting his vote was stopped by the police.

Nai is the only candidate who will be voting today. The others are voters in other areas.

Mansor meanwhile was making his rounds since voting started. He had gathered at the party’s operations centre with other leaders and undertook a visit to all polling centres.

Likewise, other Pakatan leader, including Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang too had been visiting polling centres.

Umno rejects boycott claims

Traditional contestants Umno have opted to sit out of this by-election but their shadow looms large despite their action.

PKR leaders have claimed – and lodged a police report yesterday – that Umno was urging its members to boycott the by-election.

This was however denied by the Umno’s state deputy chief Zainal Abidin Osman.

“We have never forced our members not to cast their votes in the by-election. It is up to them to use their discretion to make the right decision,” he had said.

He also rejected claims that the party would be taking its members in Penanti for a holiday in Thailand today.

PKR’s Batu Maung state assemblyperson Abdul Malik Kassim however was confident that record number of voters would come out to vote today.

He also said that PKR’s candidate Mansor will win with a record majority.

Official results are expected to be announced by 8.30pm although unofficially it could be known as early as 6.30pm.

The EC is expecting a voter turnout of about 70 percent.

The commission is also testing out a pilot project in this by-election by enforcing the prohibition on campaigning on polling day, including preventing those contesting from canvassing for votes or erecting polling booths.

The Meteorological Department had said that it expected rain and thunder storms in the morning and ‘shower rain’ in the afternoon.

And the state police chief Ayub Yaakub meanwhile warned supporters against organising a victory parade when the result was announced. Mkini