Archive for August, 2009

Yahoo! Merdeka gift from bn govt: Gov’t announces petrol price hike

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

The government today announced increases in pump prices with RON95 petrol which replaces RON92 will be sold at RM1.80 per litre.

Meanwhile, the price of RON97 has gone up to RM2.05 per litre beginning tomorrow.

The government has earlier warned that pump prices would increase on Sept 1.

Perutusan Kemerdekaan: Semangat Kemerdekaan Menyanggah Perhambaan dan Membina Keyakinan Baru

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags on August 31, 2009 by ckchew

Apabila mendekati tarikh 31hb Ogos, ingatan kita akan mengimbas kembali rentetan peristiwa dan perjuangan rakyat yang berkemuncak dengan Kemerdekaan. Tarikh tersebut terungkap sebagai tarikh keramat ,menjanjikan kebebasan daripada cengkaman penjajah dan menyelamatkan martabat hidup rakyat.

Persoalan yang menerjah kita semua ialah; bagaimana kita menghayati makna tarikh tersebut hari ini. Pergulatan ini menjadi penentu kepada persoalan makna diri kita sebagai rakyat Malaysia.Tekad baru untuk memahami makna diri Malaysia sebagai bangsa merdeka juga menuntut kita untuk memahami bagaimana kita menjadi tidak merdeka; bagaimana kita hilang kemerdekaan sebelum kita memperolehinya kembali.

Lebih dua ribu tahun yang lalu, Brutus bertanya warga Kota Rom “siapakah yang begitu hina sehingga mahu hidup sebagai hamba ?” Ceasar mahu memiliki kuasa yang tidak terbatas. Nafsunya sebegitu besar dan mahu memastikan Rom dalam genggamannya.

Pertentangan antara Brutus dengan Ceaser adalah pertentangan antara kebebasan menentang nafsu kekuasan tidak terbatas. Sejak negara kita merdeka kita masih bergelut dengan pertentangan ini. Kebebasan – kebebasan bersuara, kebebasan media, kebebasan institusi kehakiman sentiasa mahu disekat oleh penguasa. Oleh itu kita menginsafi hanya bangsa yang pernah melalui gelita penjajahan akan mengerti makna cahaya kemerdekaan. Bagitu juga, hanya diri yang pernah kebebasannya diragut akan menghargai nilai kebebasan.

Syarahan Perdana Professor Dr. Syed Muhammad Naguib al-Attas yang berjudul Islam Dalam Sejarah Dan Kebudayaan Melayu juga menghuraikan dengan panjang lebar peranan paksi tauhid sebagai aqidah menambat keyakinan baru yang menolak faham tahyul dan perhambaan, seterusnya menjadi pelantar kepada pemikiran yang berakar dengan tradisi aqliyah dan mencernakan budaya segar dengan bahasa Melayu sebagai pertuturan kepustakaan(lingua franca) rantau ini. Ratusan tahun berlalu yang sewajarnya tambah memperkukuh dan memantapkan semangat dan keyakinan baru tersebut.

Cantik sungguh puteri Palembang,
Sayang bersunting bunga pudak;
Betapa keras dilambung gelombang,
Kucacak tiang, kulayar jua.

Manakala melangkaui separuh abad kemerdekaan, kita rakyat Malaysia sewajarnya mempunyai kesedaran betapa Bahasa Melayu bukan sekadar bahasa pasar, bahasa komunikasi basahan untuk berjual beli. Bahasa Melayu adalah bahasa ilmu, bahasa tamadun dan bahasa untuk mengungkapkan pengalaman kemanusian yang paling mendalam dan luhur. Bahasa Melayu telah menjadi bahasa intelektual dan kerohanian untuk umat Islam, makanya Bahasa Melayu juga seharusnya menjadi bahasa intelektual dan kerohanian umat Budha, Hindu, Kristian dan lain-lain keyakinan.

Bahasa Melayu yang saya sebutkan di sini bukanlah bahasa milik orang Melayu semata-mata. Bahasa Melayu adalah milik rakyat dan bangsa Malaysia yang berketurunan Melayu, Cina, India, Kadazan, Dayak dan lain-lain. Bahasa Melayu adalah milik semua rakyat Malaysia.

Kemerdekaan mestilah tidak terperangkap dengan bahana dari politik sempit dan kelam sesebuah parti politik tertentu. Kemerdekaan perlu di lihat dari perspektif rakyat keseluruhannya ; perjuangan pelbagai kaum, menggunakan pelbagai wadah, dan melibatkan pelbagai aliran pemikiran. Sejarah ternyata mengajar kita bahawa Perjuangan Menuntut Kemerdekaan menerbitkan kesatuan semangat untuk menentang penjajah dan imperialisme Barat ketika itu.

Generasi terdahulu yang sama-sama berjuang untuk kemerdekaan, dan mereka yang menempuh zaman mudanya di masa awal kemerdekaan menjadi saksi kepada kepelbagaian aliran dan wadah perjuangan rakyat. Tetapi penulisan sejarah kemerdekaan yang disampaikan kepada generasi hari ini masih belum berlaku adil kerana fakta yang bercampur propaganda. Ini merupakan beban dan tanggungjawab kepada ahli-ahli sejarah kerana tanpa pensejarahan yang adil, kita tidak akan dapat melihat dan menemui makna dan rupa diri bangsa kita yang sebenarnya. Nama pejuang kemerdekaan seperti Dato’ Onn Jaafar, Ustaz Abu Bakar Baqir, Dr Burhanuddin al Helmy, Ahmad Boestamam, Mat Salleh, Panglima Rentap dan Rosli Dhobi tidak sewajarnya digelapkan dari sejarah menuntut kemerdekaan.

Kemerdekaan adalah untuk kebebasan dan keadilan. Inilah yang dijanjikan kepada kita pada 31 Ogos 1957. Sekiranya kita mahu berdegil untuk meneruskan saki baki peninggalan feudal, atau mahu memperkokohkan lembaga-lembaga sistem otoritarianisme, sudah pasti kita menjadi bangsa yang terpinggir. Bangsa Malaysia tidak miskin dengan sumber daya manusianya. Dengan paras pembangunan yang telah dicapai dan kekayaan yang kita miliki Malaysia boleh menjadi negara yang besar. Dan kita perlu yakin bahawa Malaysia boleh menjadi bangsa yang besar. Tetapi kita tidak boleh menjadi bangsa yang besar sekiranya rakyatnya tidak bebas dan merdeka.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Malays speaking without fear

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 31, 2009 by ckchew
By Nurul Izzah Anwar

AUG 31 — I can’t say that I know Datuk Zaid Ibrahim very well. Our past encounters have been limited to a fleeting hello in front of the steps of my alma mater, the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in 2006, another chat during a reception in honour of Datuk Ambiga Sreevanesagan in June and, most recently, at the PKR’s recent EGM. It’s amazing, but perhaps unsurprising that he has in these three years evolved from an ambiguous reformist in Umno into the conscience of all Malaysians.

I had always been impressed by his outspokenness, and his willingness to fearlessly voice out his views on issues of national importance is nothing short of inspirational. Zaid does not mince his words where many hesitate to call a spade a spade, especially where it matters the most.

An articulate Malay speaking out for a multiracial and progressive Malaysia is terribly important in this current political climate. For our own community, Zaid epitomises how the Malays might redefine ourselves, to re-imagine a world where we do not think that we are inferior or threatened but are rather confident in whom we are.

In reading Zaid’s book Saya Pun Melayu, I sense the need for Malays to embrace a new paradigm on what it means to be Malay. Many indeed are doing so and this is a heartening. “Malay” need no longer carry connotations of dependency on the state, insecurity or the crippling feeling alienation and the lack of self-worth.

The word “Malay” can and must eventually mean a call to embrace a broader Malaysian identity, along with a true, inclusive nationalism that is proud of who we are individually but also in what we have accomplished together. We can be sure of our identities and yet still be a part of something greater than all of us — and this is something all the ethnic groups in Malaysia ought to aspire to.

Zaid’s book highlights that fact that we need to look beyond the stereotypes and take an objective, albeit positive look at our community’s accomplishments. We have made great strides in business, the arts, education and the professions. Our success extends from Lembah Pantai where Malays own vibrant businesses selling products made by Malays to the flourishing nasi lemak stalls in Kota Baru.

We attend leading universities throughout the world, increasingly through our own merit. We can count internationally recognised choreographers, painters, cartoonists, writers, and film directors amongst our numbers.

Beyond these markers, our success can more often that not be seen at home through our everyday acts of compassion and sensitivity to others, which spread to our fellow Malaysians to become a national virtue. The kindness shown towards our children, parents and neighbours is perhaps one of the most important signs of who we Malays are as a community. These are real achievements that no one can or would want to take from us.

I’m not denying that we still have a long way to go in moving our community forward, nor am I unmindful that a lot of our successes would not have been in possible without the NEP and its institutions. However, it has become patently obvious that these structures are now holding the Malays back, and that the world has changed since then.

The Malays and, as a-matter-of-fact, all Malaysians need to change as well if we want to remain relevant in this world. We need to step away from our obsession with all things racial and realise that the project of nation-building is not a zero-sum game. Malaysia can never succeed until and unless its entire people feel like they are truly a part of it.

Why then does the old paradigm of ethnic insecurity persist? Why does suspicion and acrimony towards our fellow Malaysians and they towards us still linger? Why are mainstream newspapers calling for ethnic conflict, accusing minority communities of all sorts of ludicrous plots?

The sad reality is that these myths are being perpetuated by Umno and Barisan Nasional for their own gain. The fact is that Umno wants to keep the Malay community under its suzerainty forever. They do this by focusing on what we have supposedly not achieved, rather than acknowledging our gains and potential.

They claim to want to protect and uplift the Malay community, but all they have been doing for the last few years is playing on their fears and prejudices. The same can be said for the Barisan components with the non-Malays. This glass-half-empty mentality is being used by Umno/BN to protect each other and to ward off challenges to their stranglehold on power.

We’ve seen from the case of Zaid of how Umno demonises anyone who steps out of the pattern of complete loyalty to the party and who have different ideas on how to improve the livelihoods of Malays and Malaysians. We have also as of late seen their scare tactics in action. They have labelled people as “traitors” for calling for a new path of development for Malaysia. They prefer to protect their interests rather than allow the Malaysian people — especially the Malays — to benefit from reform, less corruption and more inclusion.

Umno also regrettably perpetuates the myth that the Malay community is perpetually under threat from their non-Malay counterparts, and that Umno is the only party that can save them from this supposed “servitude”. This, rather than anything else, is why race relations have gotten worse in Malaysia.

You cannot expect harmony in a country where its largest ethnic group is constantly bombarded with the message that the minorities are supposedly out to get them and take away their rights. Yet, they chose to follow this tactic since they believe in the short term this will strengthen Umno and bring Malays back to the party.

They use these “attacking” tactics because they cannot offer anything else. They have shown that they would prefer to entrench those in power rather than allow new ideas and reforms to increase our chances for greater success. There is a real danger that their short-sightedness may cost future generations of Malaysians dearly.

The fact is that Malays have nothing to fear. We are demographically the largest ethnic group in Malaysia and the birth rate is going to keep it that way. Our position in the constitution is enshrined and this isn’t going to change either.

That is what Umno and the Malay extremists do not get, and what the community as a whole needs to understand. The non-Malays and Malays who challenge Umno are not seeking to reduce the position of the Malays in anyway, but to defend and uplift all Malaysians. We have to understand that we are all tied together and that we all have a stake in the land. We cannot survive individually as Malays, Chinese or Indians but as Malaysians.

Our non-Malay fellow citizens are not “challenging” our rights or “insulting” or culture and religion — rather they are calling for our nascent nationhood to be allowed to achieve it’s full potential than for us to remain stuck in our ethnic and mental ghettos. The liberals and moderates amongst the non-Malays also suffer from the depredations of extremists within their own communities — they deserve our support as well. The wave of reactionary politics that is engulfing us can only be turned back if progressive Malaysians stand firm against their threats and untruths.

While it is true that much more needs to be done to address those who have not benefited — for all Malaysians — the focus on what we don’t have rather on what we have accomplished only undermines us. We need to imagine a better future, for Malays and Malaysians — this will incidentally make it easier for all of us to achieve what we might lack.

The Malaysia of tomorrow cannot be one in which we are blinded by fear and negativity. The first step in imagining and defining a better future for all of us is to open our eyes and speak out like Zaid and others like him.

Perutusan Hari Kemerdekaan oleh MB yang dipilih oleh Rakyat, Dato Seri Nizar

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 30, 2009 by ckchew

Perakexpress

Upper hook punch from Malaysia Today landed on the chin: More allegations against IGP

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on August 29, 2009 by ckchew

A statutory declaration by a purported aide de camp of Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan has alleged that his former boss had triads links.

The document was posted on the Malaysia Today blog, but vital information such as the ADC’s name, current occupation and name of commissioner of oath, have been blacked out.

The author of the document alleged that Musa had allowed a triad figure to manipulate promotions, rank and posting of police officers.

“I have personal knowledge and involvement in that I was asked, as ADC, to compile and co-ordinate such posting orders based on the drafts and proposals made by BK Tan,” wrote the author, who attached copies of the alleged drafts.

The author claimed that the transfers were made, in some cases, as entrapment. In others, it was made to look as though Musa initiated transfers to eradicate corruption.

Musa was also alleged to have ordered a blog to be set up to implicate then internal security deputy minister Johari Baharom, according to the statutory declaration.

In 2007, an anonymous blog accused Johari of accepting RM5.5 million in bribes to free three underworld figures. He was later cleared of the allegations.

The statutory declaration also repeated claims that Musa had a hand in a conspiracy against former federal Commercial Crimes Investigation Department head Ramli Yusuff and other officers probing certain underworld figures.

Musa’s contract to expire soon

The author said he had informed many powerful figures of his allegations including many top police officers at the time and then notable politicians including Johari and then Barisan Nasional secretary-general Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.

“However, nothing much could be done when Musa was given an extension of service of two years in July 2007, but the previous prime minister (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) who was also the internal security minister. This served as a powerful endorsement that the government is fully behind Musa,” read the document.

Previously, Malaysia Today has published alleged statutory declarations from several police officers implicating Musa of having underworld links.

The ADC’s statutory declaration was published in an article allegedly penned by Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who jumped court bail in his sedition trial and his whereabouts are unknowned.

According to Raja Petra, there are signs that the government wants to extend Musa’s contract for a third time when the present contract expires on Sept 14.

“This means the Chinese underworld will continue to run the police force and decide on who gets transferred, promoted, demoted, and thrown into jail.

“Yes, they even throw police officers that do not ‘cooperate’ into jail. And, today, we offer the evidence of that,” wrote Raja Petra, adding that the ‘censored’ information on the latest statutory declaration would be revealed if Musa’s contract is extended.

Despite numerous attempts, Musa could not be reached for comment; when contacted, refused to comment. Mkini

Some of our politicians need this kind of treatment!!!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 29, 2009 by ckchew

Kg Buah Pala: Blatant Lies about COMPENSATION

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 29, 2009 by ckchew

KBP land title

By Rwindraj@Cryingvoices!

Please read the whole article. This is the real story. The Malaysian mass media misled the public by not publishing the real story of why the Kg. Buah Pala resident did not accept the offer. The worst part is the Penang Pakatan government only cared about the contractors and did not care about the peoples’ welfare.

Basically there were no sensible offers made by Nusmetro or anyone! No cash money or in any terms or value had been promised to the Villagers as claimed by some party to the value of 500K or 200K. No such thing! First of all why must Nusmetro prepare an agreement for the villagers? Nusmetro is not the land owner and they are not the developer for the villagers since no one from this village bought any properties from them!

Lets look at the Invalid agreement letter prepared for the villagers by Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd. A signed letter without a valid company stamp and Name signed under the name of Pengarah. Has anyone of you ever seen an agreement without a valid name and details on the signee and without a legal stamp on any agreement letter?

Details on the agreement stated: Tuan Tanah (Land Owner) stated as Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang Berhad joint venture with Nusmetro to develop Kg.Buah Pala and the land beneficial rights given by Penang State Government. Where was the so called Land Owner during the Demolition Riot on the 13.08.09?

Why were they not present at the scene? Only the police and the developer’s boss and the demolition team were present at the scene. Do they have anything to do with the villagers?

In the agreement it is also stated that the agreement is based on Humanitarian and Ex-Gratia grounds. Only if: The Villagers clear the Land to give way to the development; and if they withdraw all the Legal Actions taken against them; and there can’t be any legal action taken against them or the project in the future! This is the trick and Trap!

No legal action can be taken against Nusmetro or anyone or anything relating to the project and land! 2storey house to be built for each of the houses demolished in the village. The houses to be built on a ground decided by the developer (Nusmetro).

Ok, lets discuss this matter now. 2storey house? Wooden house? Box house? What material to be used to build the house? No detail has been stated in the agreement! How if the house is built with plywood? And when will the project be completed? In 2 years? 10 years? 100 years? What will the villagers do for such a long time, renting in a place until the project is completed? Who will pay their rental? Can they sue the developer in court? No way!! Because they have signed this agreement, and no legal action can be taken on any matter relating to this matter!

Can you see the trick here? What will be the quality and value of the house? It is not stated in the agreement too! Where will the house be built? In Johor? Indonesia? Or South Africa? Because it is also not stated in the agreement about the location! Once the villagers sign this agreement, they are bound to the rules that their house can be demolished at anytime. It could be the next day after signing!

One more shocking fact in the agreement is, if in any case the project is halted, stopped or any approval relating to this project is disapproved or unapproved; or if the state government or the Local Council or any related authorities did not approve any matter relating to this project, the agreement is considered CANCELLED and INVALID! That means if this village has been demolished and the new project is stopped halfway or if there is any problem related to any problem from any authority or any formalities, then the dream of getting the 2storey house will be like building castles in the air!

Now Judge for yourself! Will you sign an agreement that sounds exactly like what I explained? Are these people in Kg.Buah Pala making any ridiculous demands? Who is paying them 200K? 500K? Ask them to come forward and meet me or any of the villagers, we will be happy!

More on the same issue:

Kg Buah Pala: Penang CM urged not to mislead the public on issue of compensation

Anwar vs prosecutors: Submissions next week

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags on August 29, 2009 by ckchew

The High Court’s Special Powers and Appellate division has fixed next Thursday to continue hearing submissions from all parties in Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s leave application to disqualify seven prosecutors from his sodomy trial.

Judge Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin fixed the date after hearing preliminary submissions in her chambers from Anwar’s counsel Sivarasa Rasiah today.

The submissions will be heard in an open court on Thursday.

According to Sivarasa, today’s matter centred on technical issues as to whether this was the right court to hear the application and what they felt as a real danger of bias in allowing these prosecutors to continue.

“From the 1998 Anwar cases till the latest sodomy charge, we feel there is bad intention on the part of the prosecutors to implicate him despite further evidence adduced in (the cases of) Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja, Munawar Aness and the black-eye incident.

“We have also submitted to the judge that this is the right court to hear the judicial review application to remove the prosecutors,” he said.

Meanwhile Senior Federal Counsel See Mee Chun indicated that a preliminary objection will be made over the application on Tuesday.

Anwar states his reasons

On Aug 11, Anwar filed an application to disqualify all prosecutors involved in his ongoing sodomy trial.

The application was based on the opposition leader’s contention that Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail was “biased and/or prejudiced in the prosecution of our client.”

In his application, Anwar, who is PKR’s de facto leader, had named the seven prosecutors he wanted disqualified.

They are Solicitor-General 1 Idrus Harun who is leading the prosecution team on behalf of the AG, Solicitor-General II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden and prosecution officers Nordin Hassan, Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria, Wong Chiang Kiat, Shamsul Sulaiman and Noorin Badaruddin.

He claimed that the seven were unqualified to represent the AG’s Chambers to prosecute the sodomy case against him.

He wanted the court to order their removal or grant a prohibition against them from appearing on behalf of the AG.

Anwar also stated his reasons in seeking the removal of the prosecutors in his affidavit.

He said he feared that the prosecutors would act with bias in the case. Alternatively, he said, there was a reasonable apprehension of bias or a real danger of bias on the part of the prosecution team.

He said this was due to the role played by some of the prosecutors during his two trials in 1998.

He further claimed that there were also prosecutorial misconducts in the present sodomy case which prejudiced the case against him.

“There is a continuation of a conspiracy against me perpetrated by the prosecution team,” he said in his affidavit.

Political conspiracies

His counsel SN Nair had said that his client possessed evidence of the alleged political conspiracies in respect of the first two cases of sodomy and corrupt practices in 1998 and the black eye incident.

This also included Abdul Gani’s ‘stealthy involvement’ in the matter, he added.

He said all prosecutors worked under the control, direction and instructions of the AG, and as such, their actions were in no uncertain terms deemed to be that of the AG.

“Furthermore, Abdul Gani’s signing of the Section 418A certificate (to prefer the charge) is strongly indicative of the fact that he is the person behind the scenes, pulling and manipulating the strings of the prosecutors to his tune,” he added.

The lawyer claimed that allowing the AG to continue to pursue the sodomy action would undoubtedly be tantamount to a travesty of justice.

Hafiz Yatim/Mkini

KEPUTUSAN PENUH PILIHANRAYA KECIL N.11 PERMATANG PASIR 2009 MENGIKUT DAERAH MENGUNDI & SALURAN

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 26, 2009 by ckchew

Keputusan penuh PRK Permatang Pasir:

Bahagian 1

Bahagian 2

Hot! Hot! Hot! Online Subscription for Gedung Kartun: Even KDN or Malaysia Home Affairs Ministry searched high & low for it!!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 26, 2009 by ckchew

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Activists condemn raid on political magazine

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 26, 2009 by ckchew

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Media rights campaigners today condemned the seizure of hundreds of copies of a new political cartoon magazine and a raid on its offices, saying it was an assault on free speech.

Home Ministry officials yesterday confiscated 408 copies of the inaugural issue of “Gedung Kartun” shortly after the bi-weekly magazine hit the newsstands, the editor and a ministry official told AFP.

Zainal Abidin Othman, the home ministry’s chief enforcement officer in Selangor , said the magazine was confiscated because it has not yet received an official permit under Malaysia’s strict media licensing scheme.

However, editor Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar – disputed that claim and said the seizure of the inaugural edition – which had a caricature of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on the front cover – was politically motivated.

“Our permit was approved two weeks ago. We were told of the decision verbally and given the permit serial number, we are just waiting for the official letter,” he told AFP.

The caricature linked the premier to the sensational 2006 murder of a Mongolian model who was the lover of his former adviser – a case in which Najib has repeatedly denied any involvement or knowledge.

Harassment and censorship

The publication also carried cartoons on the recent mysterious death of a political aide to an opposition legislator, as well as a crackdown on a massive rally against controversial internal security laws.

“This is politically motivated… I don’t think (Najib) practises what he preaches when he said media should be given more freedom,” Zulkiflee said.

Media watchdogs Centre for Independent Journalism and Writers Alliance for Media Independence condemned the move, saying it showed the government was using licensing laws to “arbitrarily” curb freedom of expression.

“The confiscation smacks of harassment and censorship of discussion of current issues,” the groups said in a joint statement.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Malaysia 132 out of 173 on its global press freedom index, and says the government-linked mainstream media are “often compelled to ignore or to play down the many events organised by the opposition.”

– AFP/Mkini

Hungry ghosts in Permatang Pasir

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 26, 2009 by ckchew

Yesterday’s decisive opposition by-election victory in Permatang Pasir is among the most important markers of national sentiment since March 2008. In this semi-rural constituency in a Malay-majority area, Pakatan worked together to secure a victory that they knew they badly needed.

The stakes were high for all of Pakatan’s component parties and the ability to secure essentially the same share of the vote that they received in 2008, 65%, shows that when push comes to shove, Pakatan can deliver electorally.

Umno will claim that this loss was expected, in the heart of the opposition leader’s constituency, but this campaign revealed serious cracks within Malaysia’s dominant party and points to the limits of negative racially-biased campaigning.

The opposition was able to reign in the ghosts that haunted their campaign after a lackluster performance in Manek Urai – failure of effective cooperation, loss of Malay ground, threats of cutting into the non-Malay ground and the challenge to the unity to the opposition as a whole – while Umno remains haunted by the legacy of factionalism promoted under Dr Mahathir Mohamad and, more fundamentally, its inability to reform and transform itself into a party that moves beyond the racial one note that is out of tune with the majority of voters nationally.

Racial campaign

Like the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election almost a year ago, this election coincided with the month of the hungry ghosts and like that campaign, it was a nasty, personal campaign. The news of the Umno candidate, his professional and personal scandals, made the campaign a non-starter for Umno from the beginning, but it also forced the BN to dig further into the box of attacks. From traitor to puppet labels were placed on all the major leaders in Pakatan, often with different logics.

While the opposition highlighted the issue of qualifications, on the ground it joined the mud wrestling for votes. For example, the leader of the Umno campaign, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was questioned for his meeting with a representative of Israel. Character and mystery haunted the BN, as “zalim” or cruelty took center stage for the opposition.

Attention this time round moved from Altantuya, featured in last year’s Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election and the process of Perak takeover in Bukit Gantang to the death of Teoh Beng Hock. The parties appealed to emotive issues that reflect the current tenor of Malaysian politics, a move to the personal and a discourse dominated by race.

More than any by-election since he assumed the premiership, Najib took center stage. The reason is that the campaign was national, not local. The campaign was devoid of local issues, in part due to the fact that the state seat fell within the constituency of the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s 1Malaysia campaign was featured prominently, with few locals understanding the campaign beyond the symbolism of inclusion. The racial messages on the ground conflicted with BN’s national label or multiethnic inclusion.

Many voters highlighted the conflicting messages they were receiving, and most went with who ultimately they found the most credible or were more comfortable with. As an opposition stronghold since 1999, this gave the opposition in Permatang Pasir the advantage.

Umno’s strategy followed the pattern that has become entrenched post-March 2008, an effort to win back the Malay votes through an appeal to Malay unity and call that the Malay community is under threat. The message is appealing to traditional Umno core supporters, but in this semi-urban constituency with cordial ethnic relations, voters were not buying it. Negative campaigning is not working.

High stakes for Pakatan

For the opposition parties, the ability to address the increasingly racialised rhetoric posed a major challenge, particularly in light of the frequent spats among opposition parties over racially-linked issues such as beer and pig farming. The opposition turned to the core of its 2008 campaign, highlighting multiethnic inclusion and featured the working cooperation among the coalition parties in Penang. Permatang Pasir was an electoral litmus test for the coalition beyond the effectiveness of its multi-ethnic message.

For PKR, the contest reflected the strength of its leader. A loss of ground for Anwar among Malays would have added traction to the message that he was “betraying” the Malays and called into question his leadership nationally. For PAS, this state seat is their only stronghold in the state, and a loss would have devastated the party in Penang. For DAP, who will rely heavily on the performance in this state for the electoral future, the contest was a referendum on their state leadership.

All of the component parties of Pakatan had a lot to lose and the intensity of the campaigning reflected the high stakes.

A loss of support would have had devastating implications for the opposition. The spirits of division in the opposition were roaming in the shadows. The issue of Malay unity was haunting PAS internally – as the question of whether the party should stay with Pakatan, go it alone or join Umno remained on the table. It was particularly acute after Manek Urai cut into PAS support among Malays through the use of a racially oriented campaign.

For now, Permatang Pasir has served to strengthen leaders within PAS that articulate a strong tie to Pakatan and shows that if PAS wants to extend its support outside of its traditional Malay heartland Pakatan remains the most viable avenue.

The spirit of division extended to DAP, as pressure over religious principles and cultural practices had floated to the surface in the form of pig farming in Kedah and beer drinking in Selangor.

The non-Malay BN parties jumped on these issues to drive home a point that PAS was challenging non-Malay rights through restrictions and intolerance. The announcements of Hassan Ali on polling day only reinforced the alienation of non-Malays and liberal Malays that this route will take. For now, these issues that have the potential to deeply divide the opposition have been put aside as the opposition attempts to showcase that while differences will exist in their broad umbrella, they will be discussed and “managed”. The path of compromise will not be easy when these issues are seen as black and white questions of rights and religious missions.

The declaration of the scandal-ridden Kedah Lunas assemblymen as a pro-BN “independent” had minimal impact on Permatang Pasir voters. Its timing was intended to send the message that PKR representatives are not reliable and foster uncertainty and suspicion within the ranks of the opposition, as the trauma of Perak was apparently foreshadowed in Kedah. For voters, tired of the politicking and fed up with the tactics of cat and mouse games that bypass their mandates, the actions of one man had little impact on their lives. Yet, they know that sadly the defection games will continue in what clearly is a strategy to destabilise opposition state governments.

The sad fact is that BN fails to understand that any short term gain in a defection only strengthens the opposition long-term as it selects stronger, more loyal candidates, and works together as a unit more effectively. The strong Pakatan cooperation in Perak is illustrative of the long-term impact of the BN strategy of state government destabilisation. In Permatang Pasir the threat of another state government “falling” only served to strengthen the cooperative campaigning by opposition component parties.

Repeated electoral patterns

The results in this by-election reflect continued solidification of broader voting patterns over the past few years. First, the opposition is performing more effectively in semi-urban seats, particularly compared with rural seats. Part of this has to do with the fact that the opposition’s appeal among lower and middle income semi-urban voters has been growing, as the machinery of patronage that BN relies on to distribute “goodies” has weakened and the sheer number of voters has taxed the capacity of BN to deliver.

The other fact is the alternative sources of information are permeating these areas like never before. While Permatang Pasir is not yet “wired” as the Penang state government has promised will happen, it has access to the internet and these messages extended to the villages of Tanah Liat and Kampung Pelet, usually in the form of a printed article. Alternative media continues to shape the political terrain.

Since March 2008 the opposition is winning in mixed areas. While Permatang Pasir was a 75% Malay-majority seat, the share of non-Malay vote was substantial. Indian voters, numbering 246, did not affect the final outcome in this constituency. It was the Chinese who mattered.

The opposition continues to win the overwhelming majority of Chinese votes and in this case picked up votes slightly. In the Chinese area of Cross Street, for example, the share of Chinese support increased 5.6% when compared to March 2008, while in other Chinese areas the gain was only 1%. The BN campaign that focused on 1Malaysia and “giving Najib a chance” did not have traction in the context of Teoh Beng Hock’s death, unease with Utusan Malaysia‘s reporting and shrill of the Umno Malay rights campaign on the ground. In mixed areas, especially semi urban areas where people know each other well like Permatang Pasir; it is a mistake to believe that you can segment your campaigning to specific communities.

The opposition campaign had greater consistency comparatively across races, although it would be a mistake to say that they did not have their own “ethnically” focused messaging.

Part of the reason the BN failed to win back votes stemmed from the weakness of its non-Malay component parties. Najib Abdul Razak’s government, unlike Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s and Mahathir’s, has done little to support these parties, choosing to by-pass these parties in its engagement with non-Malays. The MCA and Gerakan were given different areas to cultivate and neither yielded a sprout of increased support.

Gerakan worked all out in the campaign, hosting popular “free” dinners galore, while MCA similarly tapped into their local machinery through its grassroots networks and gave out tasty packages of biscuits and useful bags of fertilizer.

Permatang Pasir voters took the “gifts” and continued to support the opposition despite real concerns about their cultural rights to drink and eat as they have done for generations. Deep internal factionalism in both parties in Penang limited MCA and Gerakan effectiveness, but it was the failure of the BN nationally to work as a coalition where non-Malay component parties have a voice that was the most damning for these parties. They were seen by voters as fighting themselves and thus providing little genuine representation.

The question of Malay voting has dominated coverage of this campaign, understandably since the issue of Malay rights has been so prominent under Najib’s government. When the dust settled in the emotive campaigning, the Malay vote stayed the same. PAS and Umno won their core supporters, with the Malay vote essentially split down the middle. Umno made small gains in some areas where the goodies were more effective, poorer areas, while PAS won some areas where the candidate was unpopular and there was dissatisfaction with how Umno selected the candidate.

These minor movements do not point to a major shift. The reality is that Malays are divided, and Umno has lost Malay ground from its base pre-2008. Given that this was Anwar’s parliamentary constituency, it is important to note that the high share of Malay support towards the opposition in this by-election is likely inflated from national trends. Irrespective, Umno continues to lose traction among its traditional share of Malays.

The reason has to do with the third macro national trend that persisted in this by-election, the defection of younger voters to the opposition. Umno used its tried technique of bringing young Puteri members into the village for home stays, a personal touch that connects, yet it did not yield the support among younger voters that Umno needed.

Most Permatang Pasir voters were cool in this relatively quiet campaign, unfazed by the “outsider invasion”, but it was the younger voters that were the most worked up on issues. There was noticeable anger towards Umno among younger Malay voters, who highlighted corruption and the failure of the party to provide opportunities for advancement within the party.

They also raised the serious issue of lack of jobs, especially for Malay males. The issue of livelihood was the fourth major trend in the campaign. When voters were asked what mattered – they responded with the same issues that have persisted – the economy, notably jobs, equal opportunity, education and crime. While racial issues were more important and prominent, they co-existed with real life concerns that affected the non-politicised majority of voters. Many voters found both the opposition and BN campaign largely devoid of issues that “mattered.” Addressing fear or insecurity was prioritised over delivering the goods. There was palpable political fatigue among voters who are fed up with political games and want their leaders to govern and solve “real” problems.

Umno’s Pandora box

While the results mattered most to the opposition in what was termed as “do or die” situation by some despite the low key public expectations that were touted publicly, the results will haunt Umno longer. The campaign results showcased some of the serious challenges the party faces.

The choice of candidate highlights that there is a lack of leadership in Penang Umno. This was the result of Mahathir’s leadership, in that he did not allow a younger generation to rise from within. The candidate selection process – carried out from outside Penang and led by influences with little ties on the ground – is illustrative of the obstacles the party faces in regenerating. The failure to connect with the young and attract untainted talent is a long term problem that has repercussions for the caliber of future national leadership.

While Umno has tried to improve its machinery – and this was evident in Permatang Pasir – a major challenge for Umno is credibility among voters. Its hardcore supporters will stay with them, especially the older generation, but the younger voters are questioning everything. They resent the patronising tone of some of the Umno leaders and expect more from their government. On the ground there were real concerns about the management of the campaign by Ahmad Zahid who has yet to prove himself nationally as a leader who can be trusted. Many of the campaign messages were too incredulous to accept.

While Umno is not alone in facing the issue of credibility, as this is also an opposition challenge especially for Anwar, it is particularly acute for the dominant national party.

In opening up a Pandora box by relying on racially-based campaigning tied to fear and insecurity, Umno is creating an even greater challenge for itself. In its fight to win back the Malays it has lost the national picture of itself as a national party governing the entire country. Traditionally Umno has based its legitimacy on maintaining stability, but the current campaigning thrust lacks this core. 1Malaysia aims to provide a rubric for a national picture, but it lacks substance, and in the context of racially based campaigning any traction. The other core technique is patronage – and yes, the goodies poured in Permatang Pasir. Money and promises of becoming the Anak Emas (Golden Child) flowed with estimated running as high as RM100 million. The reality is that no where near that was spent and most of this was unmet promises, but the inability of the traditional vehicle to woo voters in a by-election only serves to reemphasise the need for Umno to move beyond its old paradigms of political engagement.

The by-election will soon fade into oblivion as a new one takes its place. This is the year of by-elections. The opposition has the benefit of putting to rest some ghosts promoting internal division which will weaken it nationally, while the BN – particularly Umno – remains having to face the monster it has failed to battle effectively – the need to reform from within. Politics is full of individuals hungry to hold onto or win power. In remains to be seen that whether after this month, attention will focus less on appeasing the spirits and more on addressing the problems that voters really care about.

Bridget Welsh is Associate Professor of Political Science at Singapore Management University and observed the by-election in Permatang Pasir. She can be contacted at bwelsh@smu.edu.sg./Mkini

Permatang Pasir: PR menang di semua saluran

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 26, 2009 by ckchew

Pakatan Rakyat berjaya menyapu bersih kesemua saluran pengundian di Permatang Pasir, sementara menjauhkan jurang antara PR dengan BN dengan rekod 6-1, dalam pilihan raya kecil sejak Malaysia dilanda tsunami politik pada 8 Mac 2008.

UMNO-BN yang tidak meletakkan calon dalam pilihan raya kecil DUN Penanti, 31 Mei 2009, walau bagaimanapun mengekalkan rekod kekalahan 6 kali berturut-turut di Semenanjung Malaysia selepas PRU ke-12, dalam pertembungannya dengan Pakatan Rakyat.

Kemenangan mutlak PAS-PR

PAS dari PR semalam bernafas lega, apabila menundukkan calon UMNO-BN dengan kemenangan mutlak di kesemua saluran pengundian.  Menurut keputusan terperinci yang terpapar, BN hampir menembusi saluran pengundian kedua di Permatang Ara (97% pengundi Melayu) dengan 287 undi, bagaimanapun tidak kesampaian apabila PAS-PR memperolehi satu undi lebih daripadanya.

Begitu juga apabila UMNO-BN dihampakan dengan 10 undi sahaja, di saluran pengundian kedua di Kampung Pelet, kawasan yang terdiri daripada 72% pengundi Melayu.  PAS-PR memperolehi 185 undi, berbanding UMNO-BN dengan 175 undi.

Antara sembilan daerah mengundi, PAS-PR menang dengan margin majoriti yang paling selesa di Cross Street, dengan menyapu 75% undi.  Cross Street terdiri daripada lebih 80% pengundi bukan Melayu.  Sebaliknya, di daerah mengundi yang terdiri daripada 93% pengundi Melayu, Kubang Semang, menyaksikan PAS-PR merangkul 74% undi.

Di daerah mengundi seperti Sama Gagah, Permatang Pauh dan Permatang Tengah, PAS-PR berjaya mencatat nisbah jumlah undi 7:3, berbanding UMNO-BN.

UMNO-BN hanya mampu merapatkan jurang di daerah mengundi seperti Permatang Ara (43% undi), Kampung Pelet (42% undi) dan Bukit Indera Muda (40% undi).  Dari struktur kaum pengundi, kawasan tersebut adalah kawasan Melayu majoriti, dengan Permatang Ara 97% pengundi Melayu, Kg.Pelet 72% pengundi Melayu dan Bukit Indera Muda 96% pengundi Melayu.

Pengundi muda tetap memihak PR

Walau bagaimanapun, PR kekal dengan kelebihannya di saluran pengundian ketiga dan keempat, memperlihatkan sokongan pengundi muda terhadap pakatan politik baru ini.  Walaupun di kawasan yang majoritinya pengundi Melayu, misalnya di ketiga-tiga daerah pengundian di mana UMNO-BN “berjaya merapatkan jurang”, golongan pengundi muda tetap bersama PR.  Di Permatang Ara misalnya, UMNO-BN kalah dengan satu undi di saluran pengundian kedua, tetapi kalah dengan 152 undi majoriti (PAS 349: BN 197) di saluran ketiga.

Di daerah mengundi Permatang Tengah misalnya, dengan majoriti 89% pengundi Melayu, jumlah undi di saluran pengundian ketiga, keempat dan kelima menyaksikan bagaimana UMNO-BN tewas dengan 491 undi majoriti, apabila PAS-PR memperolehi 804 undi dan UMNO-BN mendapat 313 undi.

UMNO-BN dijangka tidak berubah

Jelas, kelebihan UMNO-BN hanya pada saluran pengundian pertama dan kedua, iaitu golongan pengundi yang umurnya lebih lanjut, di kawasan pengundi Melayu majoriti.  Peningkatan sokongan Melayu mungkin tidak jelas, khususnya di kubu politik Anwar Ibrahim.  Tetapi, mungkinkah keputusan ini cukup untuk memberangsangkan pemimpin UMNO?

Pengarah Strategi PKR, Tian Chua meramalkan bahawa UMNO-BN akan terus dengan propagandanya seperti “Anwar pengkhianat”, “DAP hina Islam” dan sebagainya, memandangkan peningkatan undi 1% pun mungkin memberi kepuasan kepada UMNO.

“Sememangnya kami (PR) juga bimbang akan kehilangan undi Melayu, tetapi selagi kami mengambil pendekatan yang sederhana, mengekalkan sokongan dari struktur pengundi yang sedia ada, maka UMNO-BN akan musnah dengan sendirinya,” jelas Tian Chua kepada MerdekaReview.

Kelas pekerja bersama PR

Ahli Parlimen Batu ini mengingatkan bahawa golongan yang tidak mengundi semalam adalah dari kelas pekerja, yang tidak mempunyai cuti, malah mungkin keberatan untuk balik mengundi kerana tambang kenderaan yang mahal.

Beliau yakin bahawa penurunan peratus pengundian sebanyak 10%, dikenalpasti sebagai pengundi pekerja yang akan mengundi untuk PR.  Maka, kemenangan PAS-PR semalam mengukuhkan keyakinan PR bahawa strategi dan pendekatan yang sama wajar diteruskan, untuk berdepan dengan PRU ke-13.

Cuma, bagaimana pula dengan UMNO-BN?

Untuk analisas lanjut sila klik: Lim Hong Siang/Merdeka Review

‘Commissions were paid to Dap’

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on August 26, 2009 by ckchew

The Teoh Beng Hock inquest today turned into a corruption hearing following revelations by MACC investigating officer Mohd Anuar Ismail over possible misappropriation of state funds into the accounts of political party DAP.

Mohd Anuar said the main party as well as the Serdang Aman and Sungai Long divisions had received commissions from state projects. DAP is a major component party in the Pakatan Rakyat-ruled Selangor.

In his testimony, Mohd Anuar said their investigations revealed that commissions were paid for non-existent projects and companies were used as a vehicle for such dummy projects for the commissions to be paid to the party.

Mohd Anuar, who is the 16th witness in the inquest, also said there were seven companies used as dummies for these projects, paying off commissions amounting to RM25,546.56

To questions posed by lawyer Abdul Razak Muda, appearing for the MACC, Mohd Anuar said that Teoh was also a beneficiary of one such transaction.

The witness also said that all the projects were approved by state exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah, who was also Teoh’s boss.

Ean Yong was represented by lawyer Salim Bashir at the inquest.

Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas also allowed Salim’s application to allow Ean Yong to hear the testimony by Mohd Anuar Ismail on the results of the investigation.

The inquest is being held to determine the cause of Teoh’s death, whose body was found of a fifth floor landing of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam on July 14. The Selangor MACC is located in the building and they had summoned Teoh for questioning at the 16th floor the previous day.

Hafiz Yatim/Mkini

Live Result for Permatang Pasir by election: official Pas majority – 4451

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 25, 2009 by ckchew

Mohd Salleh Man (PAS) : 9618

Rohaizat Othman (BN) : 5067

Majority : 4551

Turnout:  73.1% (14,832)

Spoiled votes: 83

PERMATANG PASIR, Aug 25 – PAS’s Mohd Salleh Man has won the Permatang Pasir state vote here in Penang by a big majority of 4,551 votes.

Official results show Mohd Salleh polled 9,618 votes while Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Rohaizat Othman received 5,067 votes.

The win for PAS was widely expected as the seat is within Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Permatang Pauh parliamentary stronghold.

Despite a massive onslaught by BN/Umno that was marked by heightened racial rhetoric, Rohaizat’s campaign had been a disaster from day one.

On nomination day, it was revealed that he was a disbarred lawyer because of misconduct involving a client’s funds amounting to RM161,000.

The entire campaign was dominated by the scandal with BN on the defensive.

But PAS’s majority today, just short of last year’s 5,433 margin when the turnout was higher, suggest the status quo in terms of support for both PR and BN remains the same.

Today’s turnout was 73.1 per cent compared to last year’s 82.57 per cent.

PAS’s handsome win also appears to indicate that in PR’s own backyard, they are unbeatable.

The win also comes despite Umno’s attempt to portray Anwar as a traitor to the Malays, while simultaneously playing the race and religion card.

If Permatang Pasir is any gauge, Umno’s attacks have not gained much traction on the ground except among its own core supporters.

The results of today’s by-election suggest a hardening of support on both sides of the political divide as PAS’s relentless attacks on Rohaizat’s candidacy also did not seem to have gained the party more votes.

Today’s win marks the seventh win out of eight by-elections PR has contested in since the March 2008 general elections.

Most of the contests had been in PR-held seats, while the one vote in which BN won was in Batang Ai in Sarawak, which the ruling coalition had held.

MI

Ceramah Anwar Ibrahim pada malam terakhir PRK Permatang Pasir

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 25, 2009 by ckchew

buletinonline

Comic mag with najib Altantuya waving Mongolian flag seized

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 25, 2009 by ckchew

The Home Ministry today confiscated 408 copies of humour magazine Gedung Kartun which featured a caricature of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak waving a Mongolian flag and shouting Merdeka on the front cover of its inaugural issue.

The 10.45am raid was carried out by the ministry’s Publication Control and Al Quran Text division at the publisher Sepakat Efektif Sdn Bhd in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

According to ministry officials, the bi-weekly magazine, which specializes in political satire, was being published without a permit thus violating Section 5 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

Magazine editor Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, better known as Zunar, said a verbal approval has been granted by the Home Ministry for the publication.

Did not expect this treatment

“We went ahead with publishing the magazine without getting the black and white due to government bureaucracy – it takes three months to obtain the letter.

“We definitely didn’t expect this kind of treatment. We expected a warning letter for the content,” said the former editor of PKR party organ Suara Keadilan.

Marketed as an ‘alternative comic magazine’, the publication touched on many current affairs.Among the issues featured were the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock, highway toll prices, teaching of science and mathematics in English, the Internal Security Act and the Port Klang Free Zone scandal.

Other than cartoons, the magazine includes various articles and political satires written by notable writers such as Hishamuddin Rais, Pyanhabib and Rahmat Haron.

Though normally associated with more serious publications, national laureate A Samad Said and political scientist Farish A Noor also contributed articles to the first issue.

A total of 10,000 copies were printed for the inaugural issue which cost RM4 in Peninsula Malaysia and RM5 in Sabah and Sarawak. Copies have already hit newsstands.

Salhan K Ahmad/Mkini

umno-bn semakin parah: From win to reduced majority is now bn’s hope

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 25, 2009 by ckchew

The eight days of campaigning has come to an end in the Permatang Pasir by-election and the fate of BN’s Rohaizat Othman and PAS’ Mohd Salleh Man will be determined by the 20,000 odd voters today.

Both parties have had a tough time convincing voters of the suitability of their candidates, but BN’s Rohaizat had to battle non-stop attacks on his alleged monetary misdemeanours, his disbarment and allegations of having a second-wife whom he has neglected.

Despite the constant hammerings Rohaizat’s has received, BN and Umno leaders maintain that he is a trustworthy candidate and that a vote for the party would bring more infrastructural and agricultural development to this semi-rural constituency.

These leaders have confidently expressed that BN would surely bag the constituency despite the odds stacked against their man.

However, when speaking to reporters yesterday Umno vice-president and Permatang Pasir by-election director Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was no longer displayed his usual confidence.

“I am always confident but sometimes it increases and sometimes is decreased, but right now it is at its peak.

“But to loose is only ordinary especially since Permatang Pasir is a PAS stronghold, but if BN can reduce the majority, that will be a gracious gift from God,” said Ahmad Zahid adding that it has been the toughest by-election for BN.

Even Rohaizat, who spent most of the day making visits to party booths, looked rather glum and browbeaten from spending half the time assuring the voters that he is the best choice.

Development promises wins no votes

He said that this was the first by-election that was run without promises of development projects during campaigning by the BN.

“We learnt (it) from our past experiences, announcements and implementation of projects during campaign period did not transform into votes,” said Ahmad Zahid.

Citing a Malay saying, Ahmad Zahid advised voters that DAP was not interested if PAS won the seat and that the party would be equally glad if PAS lost.

“Do not be fooled by their sweet talk, which is like a concoction of honey mixed with poison… for the DAP, PAS is just a nuisance (and) DAP abuses PAS like a speck of dust in the eye.

“It does not matter to DAP if PAS wins, but a loss would be a relief to them,” he said, although he admitted that voters have become wiser after having to go through so many elections over the past 18 months.

“In a worst case scenario, the turnout rate will be 60 percent, but the ideal is if it hit 80 percent,” he said, hoping that the rainy weather and the pandemic influenza A(H1N1) will not hinder voters from casting their votes.

Meanwhile, although PAS’ Salleh Man has generally had a blemish-free reputation, he too has had his share of political bashings as well.

First, the PAS candidate has had to encounter a war of perception plaguing the Islamic party which he represents over perennial issues such as the alcohol ban in Selangor and the recent demolition of an illegal pig abattor.

There were also allegations of the PAS candidate embezzling RM600,000 from his own party but this failed to affect public perception.

‘One vote win still a win’

Although the by-election, which has been predicted to be definite win for PAS as it has been the party’s stronghold since 1999, the party is no longer hoping for the massive majority of 5,433 votes as in the last general election.

PAS election director, Mahfuz Omar, has expressed that they no longer have high hopes on retaining the previous majority based on voting patterns.

However, he stressed that even if it is by one-vote majority, it would still be a win nonetheless.

Permatang Pasir is one of three seats in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency and the sole PAS state seat in Penang that was won by Hamdan.

PAS Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman garnered 11,004 votes and defeated BN’s Ahmad Sahar Shuib by a 5,433-vote majority in the last GE.

The Permatang Pasir constituency has 20,290 registered voters – including one postal voter.

The voters comprise 72.36 percent Malays, 25.85 percent Chinese, 1.63 percent Indian and 0.16 percent others.

The election results are expected to be announce by 8.00 pm tonight.

S Pathmawathy/Mkini

Live Permatang Pasir polling day: Voters turnout is 73.1% or 14,832, a reduction of 1971 compare to 2008 GE

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 25, 2009 by ckchew

5.00pm: Polling centers closed & the process of counting will start in about half an hour time.

4.30pm: Counting agents have entered into the polling centers to prepare for the counting process.

4.18pm: Voter turnout as at 4pm is 70.5% or 14,300 voters. Permatang Pasir has 20,290 voters.

One hour to the closing time, EC target another 5% turnout before the poll close for the day.

3.17pm: Voter turnout as at 3pm is 65% or 13,172 voters. Polling ends in less than two hours.

2.19pm: Voter turnout as at 2pm is 59% or 11,979 voters. No untoward incidents except minor shouting matches between BN and PAS supporters outside polling stations.

2.16pm: DPM says there are positive signs voters in Permatang Pasir are much more receptive to BN now compared to March 8 general election.

1.00pm: Voters turnout has reached 53.3% or 10,812 voters.

12.17pm: At noon, voter turnout is at 47.2% or 9,573 voters.

11.24am: State assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin (Pantai Jerejak-PKR) to lodge police report following SMS circulating around urging voters to see him and collect RM100 after casting their votes.

11.19am: EC says until 11am, 38.9% or 7,894 voters have cast their votes.

10.39am: About 28.5% or 5,775 voters have cast their votes two hours after voting began.

10.07am: First-hour turnout at 14.6% or 2,966 voters.

10am: Number of voters turning up at polling stations increasing steadily.

9.58am: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Anwar visit all eight polling stations.

9.54am: Penang police chief Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob says police monitoring polling process, no untoward incidences yet. Police will advice supporters from both sides to stop parading party flags or action will be taken

9.22am: Vehicles bearing numbered stickers with political party colours ferry voters to polling stations since party flags and stickers have been banned by the EC.

9.18am: Anwar vague when asked on reports he met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Putrajaya. He says no, but adds he meets Najib all the time, during parliament and other occasions. He tells journalists to check with source of report.

8.53am: Anwar confident PAS’ Mohd Salleh will win by-election with comfortable majority.

8.43am: Despite EC warning to both political parties, more supporters than voters gather near polling stations with party flags.

8.41am: Phantom voters issue in Permatang Pasir also a concern for Pakatan Rakyat, says Anwar.

8.34am: Both candidates are not voters in the constituency but Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and husband opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim are in line to cast their votes at SMK Sri Penanti.

8.17am: Heavy police presence throughout Permatang Pasir constituency. Some party supporters defy Election Commission (EC) warning not to canvass for votes near polling stations.

7.58am: Polling begins for Permatang Pasir by-election amidst gloomy skies.

Eight polling stations opened at 8am and early voters have started to arrive. Permatang Pasir has 20,290 voters.

The seat fell vacant following the death of three-term PAS assemblyman Datuk Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman on July 31.  PAS is hoping to retain the seat via its state commissioner Mohd Salleh Man while Barisan Nasional (BN) is fielding Rohaizat Othman.

During the March 8 general election Hamdan secured 11,004 votes to defeat BN’s Ahmad Sahar Shuib by 5,433 votes. Voter turnout then was 84% but EC predicts 80% voter turnout today.

The results of the by-election will be announced at 8pm.

The Edge/Regina William

MB haram, speaker pun haram: Bar says bn Speaker filed notice after deadline

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 24, 2009 by ckchew

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — The Bar Council has clarified that Perak Speaker Datuk R Ganesan had only filed a notice of cessation of practice as a lawyer on August 17, ten days after a statutory deadline for him to do so expired.

A letter to the Bar Council which was received on August 17 was however dated August 6.

The actual “Notice of Cessation of Practice as an Advocate and Solicitor” was only field on August 17, as was an accompanying statutory declaration.

Last week, former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin revealed that the former Sungkai assemblyman had infringed Article 36A of the Perak Constitution by failing to relinquish his job as a lawyer within three months of his appointment.

Bar Council secretary George Varughese said in a statement today the Bar Council had acknowledged receipt of Ganesan’s letter dated August 6.

But he pointed out that the “Notice of Cessation” was dated August 17.

In the statement, Varughese said Ganesan had faxed a letter to the Bar Council on August 13, six days after the deadline expired, claiming that he had ceased being a lawyer on August 6.

But the notice of cessation remained dated August 17, ten days after the legal deadline.

The Bar Council statement appears to back Perak PR lawmakers in their argument that Ganesan had breached the state constitution and could no longer be Speaker.

In a joint media statement today, Perak PR lawmakers said that while they still maintain Ganesan had not been properly elected Speaker on May 7, he should be disqualified now even if his appointment was accepted.

“We all know that Dato’ R. Ganesan was never properly elected as the Speaker of the Perak State Legislative Assembly at the sitting on 7/5/2009 where the lawful and legitimate Speaker YB V. Sivakumar was illegally and forcibly removed from the State Assembly.

“The purported election of Dato’ R. Ganesan by the BN elected representatives holding a sub-assembly within the Assembly was carried out before the opening of the session of the Legislative Assembly i.e before the opening speech of his Royal Highness the Regent of Perak. How can a proceeding or a decision made prior to the commencement of a meeting be valid?” they said.

As such the PR lawmakers said Sivakumar should still be recognised as the legitimate Perak state Speaker. MI

Anwar remains the main crowd puller

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags , on August 24, 2009 by ckchew

Pakatan Rakyat candidate Mohd Salleh Man, 55, contesting the Permatang Pasir by-election is from PAS.

He faces off Barisan Nasional and Umno challenger, Rohaizat Othman, 38, who is hogging the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

But candidates aside, there is one man who stands head and shoulders above others in Permatang Pasir state constituency – Permatang Pauh parliamentarian Anwar Ibrahim.

Apart from certain areas with hardcore PAS voters, Anwar remained the biggest crowd puller.

The non-Malay voters are virtually Anwar loyalists. They are simply mesmerised by his oratory skills and anti-BN jibes.

Like Permatang Pauh by-election last year, some 90 per cent of the constituency’s nearly 5,800 non-Malay votes should go for PAS, largely due to Anwar.

The PKR de facto leader Anwar won Permatang Pauh by-election last August by a 15,671-landslide majority, securing 31,195 votes against his nearest challenger from Umno Arif Shah Omar Shah’s 15,524,

Relatively unknown Hanafi Hamat from Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) lost his RM15,000 deposit with mere 92 votes.

Anwar garnered more than 13,000 votes in Permatang Pasir constituency.

In several Pakatan rallies held in current by-election in pre-dominantly non-Malay areas, Anwar had appealed to voters to give full support to PAS state commissioner Mohd Salleh.

“Give him the same support you have been giving me,” Anwar said at last night rain-affected rally Kampung Cross Street, Bukit Mertajam.

Even Barisan Nasional leaders and grassroots campaigners tacitly conceded that Anwar would be the major difference in the contest.

“This is his territory. He is the towering political figure here,” admitted an Umno local leader.

The tribal king

Many BN campaign strategists are resigned to defeat partly due to Anwar’s presence and Rohaizat undermined credibility due to various surfacing allegations on malpractices and wrongdoings.

Their best hope now is to reduce the PAS majority.

Permatang Pasir, which has been PAS sole seat held by the late Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman in Penang since 1999, has 20,290 voters and one postal vote.

Some 72.36 percent of the electorates are Malays, 25.85 percent Chinese, 1.63 percent Indians and 0.16 percent others. It has 300 new voters.

The by-election was called after from Hamdan passed away on July 31.

One may claim that Permatang Pasir is PAS stronghold and can be retained without Anwar’s influence.

However, one shall not forget PAS first won Permatang Pasir in 1999 general election via Hamdan on the wave of Anwar’s sympathy votes.

The constituency’s most famous son, Anwar then was languishing in jail.

In 2004, general election, Hamdan won it again by only 679 votes before retaining it in March last with a majority of 5,433 votes beating Umno’s Ahmad Sahar Shuib.

Anwar secured more than 7,000 majority votes in Permatang Pauh by-election in Aug last year, 2,000 votes more than Hamdan.

Anwar’ undisputed position as Permatang Pauh ‘tribal king’ inevitably invites trouble.

Upset but unperturbed

The latest poison pen book on him – ‘50 Kemusyiklan Tentang Manusia Bernama Anwar Ibrahim‘ (50 doubts about a human named Anwar Ibrahim) is a testimony to the extent his adversaries fear his political strength.

Anwar though looks upset but seems unperturbed by the book, which has been circulated in several places in the Pakatan Rakyat-ruled state of Selangor

“Certain people are behind this book but they dare not identify themselves.

“But we know it must from Umno . . . circulated freely at bus and taxi stands,” he said after a rally last night.

Apart from this 193-page book, titled, another book titled ‘Nasib Melayu Selangor‘ (The fate of the Malays in Selangor) attacking the leadership of Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has also been circulated.

The two books, with no author or publishers’ names, emerged soon after the Selangor government supporters club claimed that there was an Umno-BN conspiracy to topple the state Pakatan administration.

Anwar drew similarities with the latest poison pen book on him with the ‘50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi PM‘ (50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become Prime Minister), which appeared more than 10 years ago.

’50 Dalil’ was distributed in 1998 just before Anwar was sacked from his deputy prime minister post and kicked out from the party over allegations of sodomy and corruption.

Anwar acknowledged that both books on him have hallmarks of malicious and vicious campaign to tarnish him.

But he felt that Malaysians, especially Malays, would not be influenced by such venomous propaganda.

“Malaysians and Malays are matured now. They would not believe all these slanderous lies,” he told Malaysiakini in between his busy by-election campaign schedule.

Voters fatigue?

Meanwhile, the voters in Permatang Pasir seemed to be hit by fatigue.

Perhaps the trial of a third by-election in their constituency within the last 17 months may have tolled them. Crowd turnouts in many rallies have not been encouraging.

Some voters are less keen to attend rallies, even those organised by Pakatan, partly because they have already made their minds and partly being bore down by rhetoric political statements.

Some observers predict a low voter turnout for the polling day on Aug 25.

Permatang Pasir will be the third by-election within a year in the Permatang Pauh parliament seat and eighth in the country overall since the last general election.

Pakatan has won six while BN took the Batang Ai state seat in Sarawak.

With just about 24 hour ago to Tuesday polls, BN election think-tank had acknowledged that the coalition was trailing Pakatan by 40-60 per cent among Malay voters and by 10 – 90 per cent in non-Malay areas.

While BN strategists believe they can win over 10 per cent more Malay votes, they are clueless about what to do with non-Malay votes.

“Most non-Malays seem friendly and were supportive to our candidate. Of course they are accepted all our gifts and instant projects.

“But I doubt they will vote for BN. They have not lost their hatred towards BN leaders, who they perceived as arrogant and corrupted,” said Umno local leader.

Although Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has openly stated that BN would make development promises to woo voters, BN campaigners were seen making promises to carry out small projects, such as to renovate surau, village homes and repair roads.

Anwar has already called on voters not to be shy of asking for cash and material aids from BN during the campaign.

“Ask BN to repair your suraus, homes, re-tar roads. . . ask their leaders to give fertilizers, tractors and other agro-aids.

“But when you vote, vote for the moon (PAS symbol),” said Anwar, drawing laughter and applause.

Permatang Pasir folks are highly likely to heed to their favourite leader’s call.

Athi Shankar/Mkini

rohaizat’s ‘father-in-law’ demands declaration

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 24, 2009 by ckchew

Perbualan telefon Bapa mertua rohaizat

=================================

The family of Rafizah Mohamad Ali is demanding that BN candidate for the Permatang Pasir by-election Rohaizat Othman openly declare that he has two wives, including Rafizah who resides in Pahang.

Speaking to Malaysiakini, Rafizah’s father Mohamad Ali Abdullah, 59, has given his ‘son-in-law’ until tonight to make the announcement.

Apart from mulling legal action against Rohaizat, Mohamad Ali is also considering asking Pakatan Rakyat ceramah speakers to explain this issue to the people.

Mohamad Ali said the nikah (marriage) ceremony between Rohaizat and his daughter took place in Pekan in 2005 and was registered the same year.

“He has to declare that he has two wives so that the voters have no doubts. Otherwise, it will be tantamount to lying to the people.

“What is there to be afraid of? Who should we be afraid of? Fear man or God… I would be grateful if he can make the declaration,” he said, adding that his 29-year-old daughter is the sixth of 10 children.

Mohamad Ali said if Rohaizat makes the declaration, then he should act fairly towards his second wife, especially on the issue of providing nafkah (subsistence).

Daughter ‘under pressure’

For the time being, he said his daughter will not make a public appearance.

Elaborating, he claimed that his daughter has come ‘under pressure’ from Rohaizat and BN politicians over the matter.

To a question, Mohamad Ali said he was aware that Rohaizat, 38, had a wife when he married off his daughter to him.

He claimed that he did so in order to prevent anything undesirable from happening since his daughter had agreed to marry Rohaizat.

Asked why he was only exposing this now, Mohamad Ali said he did not wish to interfere in the domestic affairs of his daughter.

Furthermore, he added that Rohaizat had been a responsible husband.

“I am only providing a solution in their best interests. I can only advise the couple, that’s all,” he added.

However, Mohamad Ali is confident that the problem between the couple can be resolved without the need for a divorce.

“A divorce would be the last resort, I do not want them to get divorced. This matter can be resolved through discussions without the need to go to court,” he said.

The ‘second wife’ revelation came from PAS and Rohaizat, who was already hit by news of his disbarring as a lawyer for financial misconduct made headlines, denied this.

PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan had alleged that Rafizah accused Rohaizat of treating her as a mistress and failed to provide adequate nafkah.

Nasrudin also said that Rohaizat would be unfit to represent the public if he cannot even handle his own domestic affairs.

Come Tuesday, Rohaizat will be facing PAS’ Mohd Salleh Man for the Permatang Pasir state seat by-election in Penang.

Abdul Rahim Sabri/Mkini

Contrasting religious’ messages in campaigns

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 22, 2009 by ckchew

The seemingly ideological polar opposites of PAS and DAP are being vigorously exploited in the Permatang Pasir by-election poster war.

In the Malay-dominated areas, Barisan Nasional are challenging incumbent PAS’ religious credentials in view of its alliance with the secular DAP.

Banners declaring that a ‘Vote for PAS = Vote for DAP’ best summarises the modus operandi in the Barisan Nasional’s campaign to persuade Malay voters to shun PAS.

Numerous banners are also mocking PAS’ famous rallying cry ‘takbir’ and scandalously rephrasing it as ‘take beer’ in reference to the Selangor alcohol ban controversy.

Umno has recently accused PAS of giving in to its DAP counterparts and rescinded demands for alcohol to be banned in Malay-majority areas in the state.

Another common banner pits PAS against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, because the party was not given a seat on the state cabinet.

Malays make up about 75 percent of the voters, which for the past three general elections have backed PAS.

‘One Malaysia supporter’s club’

But in contrast, BN’s banners in the Chinese-dominated areas are accusing PAS of being overly religious.

Yet again, the Selangor alcohol ban controversy takes centre stage.

This time however, the message is that PAS was trying to curb non-Muslim rights to consume alcohol.

Banners are also reminding the Chinese voters of the PAS-controlled Kedah government’s decision to demolish a pig abattoir (which was illegal, and given repeated warnings to relocate).

Huge billboards by dubious organisations aligned to the BN are also cropping up throughout the area.

The publisher’s name on one billboard read “One Malaysia Supporter’s Club” while another read “Malay-Race Lovers Association”.

At a press conference today, Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng urged BN to stop portraying Pakatan Rakyat as being anti-Malay or anti-Islam.

He lamented that on one hand, MCA is accusing DAP of selling out the rights of the non-Malays by working with PAS, Umno is accusing the PAS of being subservient to the DAP.

“The racial and religious attacks have intensified,” said Lim, adding that more neutral reporting in the Chinese press are also helping disseminate information to the Malay community.

Mailbox surprise

If huge eye-catching banners and billboards are not enough, campaign materials attacking Pakatan are also making their way into voters’ mailboxes.

One voter was seen bringing the offending materials to PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar this afternoon.

The envelope contained five coloured leaflets, mostly condemning PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the parliament rep for the area.

“Their intentions is to cause racial tensions. They are afraid to go door to door to distribute these materials so they opt to do it by post,” said Mahfuz.

He said that the inflammatory leaflets can cause problems to national security and he will forward the matter to the relevant authorities.

The envelope was stamped in Butterworth, Penang.

Additional reporting by Malaysiakini Penang correspondent Low Chia Ming/Mkini

EC busts ‘bn ceramah’ for abuse of gov’t machinery

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 22, 2009 by ckchew

The Welfare Department and a deputy minister were left red faced yesterday after a function they were involved in was stopped by the Election Commission.

The Barisan Nasional ceramah at Sama Gagah village was stopped following complaints by PKR officials that government machinery was being abused for campaigning purposes.

Led by EC officer Sulaiman Abdullah a team of enforcement officers visited the scene, accompanied by complainants, PKR treasurer-general William Leong, PKR, Youth deputy chief Faris Musa and Pantai Jerajak state rep Sim Tze Tzin.

Their surprise visit prompted Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Heang Siak Kee to stop her speech half-way and vanish from the scene.

Sulaiman and his team also inspected a bus bearing the the Welfare Department logo and later instructed the bus driver to take the bus away.

Later, Sulaiman ordered a counter run by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to be closed immediately.

Ministry officers were seen frantically taking down buntings and other materials, while trying to avoid press photographers, before leaving on another bus.

‘RM200 incentive for those over 60 years old’

With Heang’s departure, the function had only Seberang Jaya state assemblyperson Arif Shah Omar Shah as the only Barisan Nasional representative present.

Arif Shah said he happened to be passing the area and believed that the function was organised by “some NGOs”.

Contrary to his claim, large numbers of BN flags were draped all over the venue.

On the stage, the words “Please vote BN” were written in large Chinese characters. There were also several hampers on stage as well.

On Heang’s presence, Arif said she was here to “shake hands” with voters.

“We all happened to be here. But Heang was later invited on stage to give a speech”.

In another development, Sim claimed Heang’s had said in her speech that all participants above 60 were allowed to claim RM200 from the organisers.

“Under the election laws, this is illegal,” said Sim, who also urged the EC to take stern action against the event organisers.

Lee Way Loon/Mkini

bn candidate faces yet another allegation

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 22, 2009 by ckchew

Barisan Nasional’s campaign in Permatang Pasir, which is already marred by the attack on the reputation of its candidate Rohaizat Othman, faces yet another allegation, this time involving an unresolved land deal and the ex-lawyer.

PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar today made public a sales and purchase document, claiming that Rohaizat’s firm was hired to handle a land transaction in Mukim Tiga, Seberang Prai Tengah nine years ago.

He said that he was informed of the matter and given the documents relating to the purchase by one of the 16 buyers, who is also a voter in Permatang Pasir.

Mahfuz said that Rohaizat had received a 10 percent down payment of RM 1,737 as deposit to purchase the land worth RM17, 376.

“In total there are 16 buyers for the 2,896 square feet land which maybe be divided into 2.14 hectares,” said Mahfuz.

However, the buyers, who paid the deposit, have yet to receive any information on the status of their purchase, said Mahfuz.

“Although it is small, compared to the RM161,000, the question is whether the 16 buyers are still clueless about the land they had purportedly bought,” said Mahfuz.

The BN campaign has been plagued with questions of integrity after Rohaizat’s disbarment as a lawyer was revealed after he was found guilty of misconduct for failing to return RM161,000 belonging to a client .

‘Rohaizat must explain it to the buyers’

Despite pressure from the opposition to withdraw from the by-election, BN leaders have maintained that Rohaizat is the best choice for the people of Permatang Pasir and that it was his law firm partner Yusri Isahak’s mistake that led to Rohaizat’s disbarment.

However, Yusri denied the allegations and revealed that Rohaizat had used the money from the cooperative to help a friend over a land deal.

“Rohaizat is no longer a practicing lawyer, how is he going to settle the deal? The buyer came to us and she wants an answer” asked Mahfuz.

“I don’t dare to say that he cheated but I appeal to him to give an explanation because the buyer is clueless,” said Mahfuz.

Rohaizat, 38, faces PAS state commissioner Mohd Salleh Man, 55, in a straight fight in the Permatang Pasir by-election in Penang, held following the death of Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman.

S Pathmawathy/Mkini

Not one but three charges against Rohaizat

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 22, 2009 by ckchew

Barisan Nasional and Umno candidate for Permatang Pasir, Rohaizat Othman was actually facing not one but three charges of misconduct.

It is learnt that the two pending cases however, may not be heard, as Rohaizat  had already been found guilty and struck off the rolls on the first case.

A source confirmed that the two cases had been adjourned ‘sine die’ (adjourned without a date to be fixed).

“I can confirm there are three complaints lodged against Rohaizat including the allegations on the cooperatives fiasco involving RM161,000 owed to Koperasi Pekebun Getah Negeri Pulau Pinang Bhd.”

“However, no action has been taken on the two other complaints as Rohaizat had been disbarred for the first allegations. The two complaints maybe valid or it may not be,” said the source when contacted by Malaysiakini.

It is not immediately known what the two remaining cases are or whether they involved monetary matters as with the first case.

It is also reliably learnt that Rohaizat had also been fined twice for being allegedly late in renewing his practising certificate.

Malaysiakini contacted the Disciplinary Board, but it refused to divulge details on the two charges against Rohaizat.

“It is private and confidential,” a spokesperson from the board said.

Struck from Advocates and Solicitors Roll

Rohaizat, 38, who is also a syariah legal advisor, had been removed from the Roll of Advocates and Solicitors, on March 7, 2008, after the Disciplinary Board had found him guilty of misconduct.

This follows a complaint, that Rohaizat failed to refund almost RM161,000 to the co-operatives.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had on Wednesday defended Rohaizat and took the Bar Council to task for making such revelations.

Muhyiddin had said the Umno leadership was convinced that Rohaizat was not guilty of any wrongdoing and therefore the question on whether he was eligible to contest or not does not arise.

This led to the Bar Council to issue a statement yesterday where board chairman George Varughese had said the Disciplinary Board is an independent body and that the council was also authorised to issue statements on behalf of the board.

Rohaizat’s former partner, Yusri Isahak had vehemently refuted claims by Umno leaders that the party candidate was innocent from any wrongdoings.

“It’s a blatant lie to say that he never knew anything about the cooperative land and money transactions. Apart from me, he was also the legitimate signatory of the company accounts.

Hafiz Yatim/Mkini

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan Al-Mubarak

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 21, 2009 by ckchew

As the crescent moon is sighted,

And the holy month of Ramadhan begin….

May the blessings of Allah shower on you!

Ramadhan Al Mubarak

Mahfuz: Disbarment not a personal matter

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 21, 2009 by ckchew

Rohaizat Othman’s disbarment for monetary misconduct is no personal matter and it does reflect on his conduct as he is running for public office, stressed PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar.

Lashing back, Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appealed to the public and Opposition yesterday to not to drag the problems involving Rohaizat and his former law firm partner, Yusri Isahak, into the election arena.

“We exposed the fact about Rohaizat after checking with the Bar Council and we only exposed matters with the evidence we have at hand,” said Mahfuz, who is heading the PAS by-election campaign.

“But it was Umno leaders who made his business partner (Yusri) the scapegoat… they laid the blame on him,” he said.

Rohaizat has been under mounting pressure to gracefully withdraw from the Permatang Pasir by-election after news of his disbarment surfaced after the nominations.

He was found guilty by the Bar Council’s disciplinary committee of misconduct after failing to return RM161,000 belonging to his client, the Koperasi Pekebun Getah Negeri Pulau Pinang Berhad.

Attempting to iron out the damage, Umno leaders said that it was Yusri’s mistake that led to Rohaizat’s disbarment.

However, Yusri yesterday denied the allegations and revealed that Rohaizat had used the money from the cooperative to help a friend in a land purchase deal.

“Yusri was here to defend his dignity and his family’s name after being accused by Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan for solely being responsible for misusing the cooperative’s money.”

“That was Umno’s own doing and Yusri has come out to say that Rohaizat was equally responsible,” Mahfuz told reporters at the PAS by-election centre in Permatang Pasir.

Yusri was also seen attending PAS ceramahs to give his side of the story.

“PAS has been attacking his credibility as a candidate and his credibility is reflected on his conduct,” said Mahfuz, adding that they were attacking him on personal matters.

“Perhaps Zahid and (Deputy Prime Minister) Muhyiddin Yassin should check with former Umno disciplinary committee member Khalid Ahmad, who was (at that time) the chairman of the Bar Council disciplinary board and the person who had chaired the meeting to disbar Rohaizat,” said Mahfuz.

Furthermore, Mahfuz said that they will be exposing more misdemeanours involving the BN candidate in the coming days.

Embezzlement claim “a joke”

Meanwhile, on the latest revelation involving PAS candidate Mohd Salleh Man of embezzling RM600,000 from PAS during the Permatang Pauh by-election last year, Mahfuz said it was “a joke”.

“Do you think PAS have such hefty funds? This is truly a joke. If we had that kind of money, I wouldn’t be wondering on how we can finance this by-election,” said Mahfuz.

“Their claims on our candidate (Mohd Salleh Man) is baseless… it is just to show that he is just like their candidate, who has no morals and ethics,” blasted Mahfuz.

He added that PAS will not hesitate to lodge a police report if there is no evidence to the rumour of the embezzlement.

“We are confident that Salleh is the best candidate who is honest, trustworthy and with a vision,” he added.

Asked about a SMS which has been making rounds, claiming that Salleh owed a bank RM320,000 and on the verge of being declared a bankrupt, Mahfuz demanded “show us the prove. Do not make unjustifiable allegations.”

S. Pathmawathy/Mkini

Rohaizat’s campaign almost in tatters

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 21, 2009 by ckchew

Umno candidate Rohaizat Othman could not have imagined that his ‘licence revoked’ case would dominate the Permatang Pasir by-election campaign as it is happening today.

Neither Umno nor Barisan Nasional top brass would have envisaged it, either.

38-year-old Rohaizat’s loss of his legal practicing licence after being found guilty by the Bar Council to have misappropriated client’s money is no small matter.

It taints personal credibility and shatters public confidence on a candidate vying for election to a public office.

Buoyed by the strong party results shown in the Manek Urai by-election, Umno entered into Permatang Pasir by-election with full confidence to end its series of by-election defeats in the Peninsular since the last general election.

Permatang Pasir will be the third by-election, and eight overall, within a year in the Permatang Pauh parliament seat held by PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim.

Prior to this by-election, Pakatan Rakyat has won six by-elections while BN won the Batang Ai state seat in Sarawak.

Pakatan, especially PAS, was quick in going on the offensive from the start on Rohaizat’s credibility and putting Umno in the defensive.

Thus, instead of driving ahead from where it left in Manek Urai, Umno finds itself on a wrong footing, subsequently undermining its hopes for a change of fortune in by-election reverses.

Umno grassroots leaders and party workers are confused and demoralised in a way by this issue.

Local leaders’ anguish

Some local leaders have personally expressed anger and anguish at Rohaizat for having hid the truth behind his case.

“I think the party leadership did not know or realise the severity of the case because Rohaizat misled them by misrepresenting the facts,” said a local Umno assemblyperson.

However, that cannot be an excuse to shirk from responsibility in fielding a candidate with an unblemished legal record.

The candidate is from Umno, the federal ruling party of 52 years standing. In the past five decades, didn’t Umno see and recognise potential threats to national security? Using ‘threat to national security’ as an excuse, didn’t Umno act so swiftly on intelligence reports to detain leaders of so many organisations without trial under the draconian Internal Security Act?

How could Umno miss on Rohaizat’s threat to its own credibility?

It simply does not make sense that Umno failed to build a thorough vetting system to screen its own potential election candidates after all these years.

Publicly though, Umno leaders in Permatang Pasir are putting up brave faces.

They are portraying an impression that the Rohaizat case had not affected the voters despite Pakatan Rakyat efforts to turn it into a major campaign issue.

Penang Umno liaison leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (right) indeed claimed that the voters “were neither bothered nor cared” about the issue.

Ahmad Zahid could be right in a way.

Permatang Pasir is a largely rural area, dominated by paddy fields and Malays. The Chinese in the area are small time farmers or businessmen.

The constituency has 20,290 voters and one postal vote, with 72.36 percent or 14,681 of the electorate being Malays, 25.85 percent or 5,244 being Chinese voters, 1.63 percent or 330 Indian voters and 0.16 percent others. It has 300 new voters.

Umno members are nearly 7,000 in Permatang Pasir, but, as acknowledged by a Permatang Pauh division leader, not all of them root for their own party candidate.

Permatang Pauh is known to be among the most faction-ridden division in Penang.

Rival Umno camps in Permatang Pauh may even sabotage Rohaizat, the division secretary and close aide of its leader Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid.

Rohaizat’s personal issue could have an impact on the younger generation, who makes up about 40 per cent of the voters, and educated constituents due to their access to information provided by the online media.

However, for small farmers and businessmen, who constantly expect and depend on government aid, this would not be such a big issue.

PAS pressures Rohaizat

Although PAS leaders stepped up the pressure on Rohaizat to withdraw gracefully from the contest, grassroots party workers are pessimistic over whether the issue would win the hearts and minds of the rural voters.

“It may not affect rural folks because they do not understand the magnitude of the issue.

“They might just take it as a personal matter rather than an issue involving a candidate’s credibility and moral standing,” said a young PAS worker.

The issue actually blew up when Umno leaders slammed and blamed Rohaizat’s former partner Yusri Isahak for ‘wrongly’ implicating the candidate into the misappropriation of funds totalling RM220,000 belonging to a small rubber planters’ cooperative society.

Yusri reacted furiously yesterday accusing Rohaizat as ‘guilty as charged’ by the Bar Council.

Now, Umno needs to do damage control.

The best solution could be, as suggested by Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid, is to stop talking about it.

But Pakatan campaigners are not letting the issue rest.

Last night, Yusri turned up at the Pakatan rally in Kubang Semang and poured scorn on Rohaizat’s credibility.

However, Umno had not lost all hopes to, at least, reduce PAS’ winning margin compared with the last one.

Rohaizat faces PAS state commissioner Mohd Salleh Man in a straight fight in Permatang Pasir, which fell vacant when three-term PAS assemblyperson Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman died of an illness on July 31.

Permatang Pasir a PAS seat

Permatang Pasir has been a PAS seat in Penang since 1999.

In 2008, Hamdan won it by a majority of 5,433 votes last year, beating Umno’s Ahmad Sahar Shuib.

In the 2008 general election, PAS won in all nine polling stations in the constituency comprising Sama Gagah, Permatang Ara, Permatang Pauh, Bukit Indera Muda, Kampung Pelet, Kubang Semang, Tanah Liat, Cross Street and Permatang Tengah.

Of the constituency’s 39 streams, PAS lost in only two streams – Permatang Ara, by 7 votes, and Bukit Indera Muda, by 15 votes.

Umno believes it could win more than 50 per cent of Malay votes and steal a chunk of Chinese votes, albeit through promises of government agro-aid and loans to farmers and small businessmen.

A PKR local leader however, said promises of development and aid may not be enough to secure an Umno-victory in this PAS stronghold.

“Many have already made up their minds on whom to vote,” he said, adding however, that the BN tactic could in a way hurt PAS on the majority margin.

Pakatan is confident that Mohd Salleh would be able to win at least 70 per cent of the Chinese and Indian votes and 50 per cent of Malay votes.

Umno leaders put Rohaizat’s chances currently at 40/60, while rational Pakatan leaders predict a PAS victory with a lesser majority compared to back in March 2008.

Voters’ turnout on polling day is expected on both sides to be between 75 and 80%.

Assuming this and the fact that Permatang Pasir is PAS’ sole seat in Penang, the party should be able to retain it with at least a 3,000-majority margin.

Anything less would be a bonus to Umno.

Athi Shankar/Mkini

Surat misteri macc

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 20, 2009 by ckchew

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A crippled umno campaign in Permatang Pasir

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 20, 2009 by ckchew

All of a sudden, we have another by-election on our hands, this time at the Permatang Pasir state constituency in Penang, a straight fight between Umno and PAS.

The opening gambit has not been good for the Umno candidate Rohaizat Othman. The Bar Council had clarified that Rohaizat was struck off the rolls in March last year due to professional misconduct. The complaint involved misappropriation of some RM161,000 in a property transaction that was aborted.

For any lawyer, to be struck off the rolls because of misappropriation of clients’ account is probably the greatest disgrace possible. In one fell swoop, the lawyer’s integrity and professional reputation often go up in smoke overnight.

A client deposits a huge sum of money to a lawyer in full confidence that the money would never be lost in any way. That confidence is sacrosanct.

Pakatan Rakyat super big guns such as Lim Kit Siang of the DAP and Mahfuf Omar of PAS have painted the town red with this “scandal”, taunting Umno for having no properly qualified candidates and suggesting that they should withdraw this candidate to honour the process of democratic election.

Earlier, the Umno Vice president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had tried to defend Rohaizat, by blaming the latter’s partner for the problem that led to the revocation of his lawyer’s practising licence.

But the Malaysian Bar Secretary had come out with the damning revelation by saying that “The finding of misconduct is personal to Rohaizat, as the (advocates and solicitors) disciplinary board would not hold a lawyer liable for the actions of his/her law partner(s).” Rohaizat’s appeal to the high court over the board’s decision was dismissed on August 12 this year.

Victim of circumstances

It would appear that Umno heavyweights will spend the entire campaign period explaining to the Permatang Pasir voters why Rohaizat  is the victim of circumstances by blaming his former partner.

What if his former partner decides to stand up to clear his name by pointing the finger back at Rohaizat or even sue him for defamation? That would kaput the entire BN campaign!

A by election is different from a general election, in that the candidate is under the national microscope. He must be squeaky clean, with no personal or professional blemishes. Any personal stain no matter how minute will subject him to a deluge of verbal gunfire that puts the party on the defensive, thereby crippling the election campaign.

We can only speculate as to how Umno vet their candidate in this particular by-election. Umno Penang is reported to be plagued by warlordism, which explains why they have had the problem coming up with a better candidate.

The Permatang Pasir constituency is one of the state seats that form the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat. The Permatang Pauh Umno division has always been known for its internal strife involving several factions at one another’s throats. Factions have been known to sabotage their party candidates in past party and general elections.

Umno leaders warned

The problem is so severe that 2 days before Rohaizat was named the Umno candidate, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is also the Umno Penang Chief had issued a warning that Umno leaders and members found sabotaging the party during the Permatang Pasir by-election would be expelled within 60 days.

But the candidate’s moral integrity is just the beginning of Umno’s problem in Permatang Pasir.

After the slim PAS victory in Manik Urai by-election, some strategists sitting deep within the bowels of Umno might have interpreted the result as a resurgence of Umno among the Malay heartland of West Malaysia.

They probably thought of winning back the Malay votes lost to PAS and PKR in the next general election, and with that — coupled with some PAS defection — they can then hold on to power, irrespective of how other BN component parties shall perform.

In recent months, despite the PM’s slogan of 1Malaysia, Umno has reverted to the kind of visceral racial politics of the past, especially after the Teoh Beng Hock  affair.

The Umno propaganda sheet Utusan Malaysia has been particularly toxic in their reports and commentary in recent weeks, calling Anwar Ibrahim a traitor to the Malay race, and branding PAS as a tool of the DAP to oppress the Malays.

Whether this campaign of racial politics will draw Malay support in Permatang Pauh is yet to be seen; the Malays in Penang may be vastly different from the Malays in Kelantan. After all, in Permatang Pasir, the Malays have Anwar Ibrahim as their MP, and their only PAS state rep in a state government controlled by the PR coalition.

New politics birth throes

The Malays constitute some 72% of the voters in Permatang Pasir. If the Malay votes are more or less evenly split, the Chinese and Indian voters there could be king-maker, again.

The crucial question then is: how will the non-Malay voters pass their verdict on the spate of racial venom emitting from the Umno camp in recent weeks?

How will they express their rage on the tragic and mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock? How will all the voters decide on the financial haemorrhaging in the PKFZ black hole?

It all depends on how much DAP is going to campaign among the non-Malay voters in this PAS stronghold. Say what you like about the DAP, they are the undisputable leader in speaking out for the Chinese in Malaysia, drawing huge crowds to their dinners and ceramahs with their fiery speeches.

MCA and Gerakan are simply no match for them. This time though, they are speaking as the backbone of the Penang State government, a factor that counts the most among their Chinese constituents.

Young Malaysians may take it for granted, but we old dogs stare in amazement at the unimaginable sight of DAP campaigning alongside with PKR and PAS, a sign of the new politics that is struggling to be born.

The PR coalition may be unruly and component parties may be engaged in open ugly squabbles from time to time. But when it comes to the crunch, they still have this internal cohesion to stand side by side in their fight against their old enemy Umno.

Perhaps their common hatred for Umno far exceeds their dislike for one another!

Every by-election is an entirely new electoral contest. It is also a barometer of the current political situation in the country.

What the Permatang Pasir by-election shall tell us is whether the new politics of transcending racial and religious fault-lines practised by the PR coalition will prevail over the old politics of race still preached by Umno.

Pending last minute self-destruction by the PR coalition, PAS should win with a bigger margin in this by-election. Anything less should be seen as a set back for this opposition front.

SIM KWANG YANG can be reached at kenyalang578@hotmail.com

RM1 rental: the conman tiong feels ‘conned’ by MCA

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 20, 2009 by ckchew

The revelation by a MCA divisional leader that the party owns RM2 billion worth of assets has Bintulu MP and tycoon Tiong King Sing all riled up.

This is because the party approached him for help in order to secure the use of eight four-storey shoplots for MCA-owned Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) College campus in Penampang, Sabah.

Based on the tenancy agreement, TAR College only needs to pay Tiong’s company Wawasan Sdn Bhd a nominal fee of RM1 monthly for all units.

Speaking to Malaysiakini at his office in Petaling Jaya today, Tiong said he had allowed the deal to go through in order to help MCA in its pursuit to provide affordable education.

Now, Tiong is feeling deceived after reading China Press’ report quoting Setiawangsa division MCA head Ho Yoon Ping’s boast that the party had RM2 billion in assets.

Given the party’s financial standings, Ho said it made no sense for the party or its president Ong Tee Keat to seek RM10 million in donations from Tiong.

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“In a way, I have found out that I have been cheated,” said Tiong, “They are so rich (with) RM2 billion in assets and they tell me they are poor.”

“When they came to see me, they said that MCA had no money and couldn’t pay me (rent) or it would be charged on the students. I said ‘okay’, especially since the economy was not good at the time.

“I wanted to help reduce cost for the student and at the same time help to promote education.

“Do you think that by giving, I’m begging Utar (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman) for a doctorate?” asked Tiong.

Tiong vs Ong

Adding insult to injury was the fact that Tiong’s company spent RM200,000 to refurbish the buildings before they were handed over.

The tenancy agreement, sighted by Malaysiakini, showed that the deal was inked in 2007 and is set to expire in six months.

“No need to worry, it is still a long way to go,” said Tiong, when asked if he would still extend the tenancy agreement based on status quo.

He said he will take time to consider if the building should be rented to other causes.

Meanwhile, Tiong said he was not trying to find fault with MCA members who are trying to protect their party president Ong Tee Kiat.

However, Tiong said that if he is hit with accusations, he had the right to reply as in Ho’s case.

“I urge all the members. Please stop it. Let me (slug it out) with your president,” he said.

Andrew Ong/Mkini

Ex-legal partner: umno-bn man lying – “He dare not explain himself in such a major allegation. How can ahmad maslan call him a hero?

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 20, 2009 by ckchew

Yusri Isahak, the former business partner of Rohaizat Othman, today vehemently refuted claims by Umno leaders that the party candidate was innocent from any wrongdoings.

“It’s a blatant lie to say that he never knew anything about the cooperative land and money transactions.

“Apart from me, he was also the legitimate signatory of the company accounts.

“To suggest that he was implicated by my wrongdoing is a lie,” Yusri  told journalists at a press conference at Yayasan Aman, Penanti today.

Yusri’s startling revelation has surely put Rohaizat and Umno on the wrong foot again.

Since the issue of Rohaizat’s disbarment by the Bar Council surfaced last Friday, the Umno leadership at the federal level has been working hard to deny that the candidate has a tainted legal background.

‘Not guilty of any breach of trust’

“He is prepared to even make a statutory declaration if necessary to clear his name,” said Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.

In his press statement, Yusri urged Rohaizat and Umno to stop dragging him into the blame game alleging that he was solely responsible for the misappropriation of the cooperative money totalling RM220,000 in 2002.

“I am willing debate anywhere anytime in an open or close arena on this subject.

“He was also responsible for the misappropriation of the cooperative funds. It is unethical in the legal profession .. . Rohaizat was guilty of it.

He said that parties blaming him for being solely responsible for “swindling the cooperative money are lying.”

Yusri said that he had quit as a lawyer in 2003 and went into agriculture.

“I was never charged by the Bar Council or had my licence revoked.

“I did not renew my legal practicing licence because I thought I was not suitable for the profession,” Yusri said, explaining his career change.

He is now contemplating lodging police reports and filing civil suits against the parties who have made the “false accusations”.

‘Ambition to be a politician’

Yusri, 39, who left the law partnership in 2003, said his former partner may have misled the Umno leadership by misrepresenting the facts of his case “merely to fulfil his long time ambition to become an elected representative.”

“But that does not mean I should become the black sheep,” said Yusri, who was a partner in Rohaizat’s legal firm, Saif Ariff and Rohaizat, between 1999 and 2003.

He recalled that in 2002, the Penang Small Rubber Plantation Holders Cooperative Society had appointed the legal firm to manage a land deal.

Yusri, who prepared the land sales and purchase agreement, said the cooperative had successfully applied for a RM320,000 loan and the money was deposited into the firm’s Butterworth branch account.

Yusri and Rohaizat were signatories to the account.

Yusri said when the land deal was cancelled after a communication breakdown with the Acheh-based land owner, he had signed and issued a cheque for the sum of RM100,000 to the cooperative.

The remaining RM220,000 had remained in the firm’s accounts.

Friend borrowed RM100K

In the meantime, said Yusri, a friend of Rohaizat borrowed RM100,000 of the cooperative money deposited with the law firm to finance a land deal.

When the friend failed to repay the money, Rohaizat then took over ownership of the land and attempted to sell it.

However, he failed to sell it off and subsequently could not reimburse the cooperative from the firm’s accounts.

Yusri alleged that part of the remaining RM120,000 in the cooperative account was loaned out to yet another of Rohaizat’s friend, who again faced financial constraints.

Part of the co-op’ money was also used to manage the firm’s new office in Ipoh.

Yusri said he then took charge of the management of the Ipoh office while Rohaizat remained in charge of the Butterworth office.

“After I moved out to Ipoh, I don’t know what transpired at the Butterworth office accounts,” he said.

He said Rohaizat was lying if he claimed that he never knew about the company’s accounts transactions.

He also chided Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan for calling Rohaizat a hero for returning the money to the cooperative.

“He refused and failed to attend the Bar Council disciplinary hearing on his case on Sep 14, 2007.

“He dare not explain himself in such a major allegation. How can Ahmad Maslan call him a hero. Either Ahmad Maslan does not know the truth or is pretending not to know it,” he said.

The Bar Council has already disclosed that Rohaizat’s practicing licence was revoked because of his personal misconduct.

Later when approached by newsmen, during his a door-to-door campaign in Taman Penanti, Rohaizat declined to comment on Yusri’s disclosure today.

“I have to read Yusri statement first before I can comment anything about it,” he said.

Pull out now

Rohaizat faces PAS state commissioner Mohd Salleh Man in a straight fight for the Permatang Pasir by-election.

Polling is set for Tuesday Aug 25.

Meanwhile, PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar called on Rohaizat to pull out from the contest immediately to avoid public humiliation.

Otherwise, he warned Rohaizat that PAS would not hesitate to expose more about the Umno man’s other wrongdoings and malpractices, including those involving Permatang Pasir voters.

“The best option for Rohaizat is to quit now,” he said, pointing out that today is the last day for candidature withdrawal.

Athi Shankar/Mkini

Kenyataan Ahkbar Yusri, bekas rakan kongsi rohaizat

Pada tahun 2002, Koperasi Pekebun Getah Pulau Pinang Berhad mencadang membeli sebidang tanah untuk meluaskan perniagaan mereka dan telah melantik Firma Guaman Saif Ariff and Rohaizat untuk menguruskan pembelian tanah tgersebut.

Saya dan Rohaizat telah berbincang dengan lembaga pengarah koperasi tentang syarat syarat perjanjian jual beli. Setelah semua dipersetujui saya telah menyediakan perjanjian jual beli tanah tersebut.

Untuk tujuan pembelian ini, koperasi telah memohon pinjaman RM320,000 dari Jabatan Pembangunan Koperasi. Pinjaman tersebut telah diluluskan dan wang tersebut dideposit ke dalam akaun klien di firma guaman.

Namun atas sebab masalah komunikasi dengan penjual, yang tinggal di Acheh, jual beli tersebut telah tidak disempurnakan.

Dalam pada itu, koperasi memerlukan sejumlah wang untuk tujuan pengembangan perniagaan mereka. Yusri telah menandatangan satu cek berjumlah RM100,000 atas nama koperasi dan diberikan kepada pihak koperasi. Maka baki RM220,000 masih tersimpan di dalam akuan firma.

Sementara itu, seorang pelanggan, kenalan Rohaizat yang telah membeli sebidang tanah dengan harga RM130,000 telah memohon jasabaik firma (guaman) untuk membiayai bayaran baki RM100,000. Beliau terdahulu telah membayar RM30,000 kepada penjual.

Firma telah bersetuju untuk meminjamkan RM100,000 yang diambil dari wang koperasi kepada pelanggan (tersebut) untuk menyempurnakan jualbeli tanah tersebut dengan syarat beliau membayar balik pinjaman.

Setelah pelanggan gagal membayar balik pinjaman, Rohaizat telah berbincang dan bersetuju untuk mengambil alih milik tanah berkenaan dan melupuskan pinjaman tersebut.

Malangnya, firma gagal menjual keseluruhan tanah (tersebut) sebagai pecahan lot dan tidak dapat membayar kembali wang koperasi yang telah digunakan.

Sebahagian daripada baki dalam akaun pelanggan dan akaun syarikat telah digunakan untuk memberi pinjaman kepada salah seorang pengarah sebuah syarikat pemaju perumahan yang juga kenalan Rohaizat yang menghadapi masalah kewangan yang teruk dan juga untuk pengurusan cawangan baru firma di Ipoh.

Saya bertanggungjawab menguruskan cawangan firma di Ipoh, sementara Rohaizat menumpu sepenuhnya di firma Butterworth.

Saya tidak lagi memantau akaun-akaun pelanggan di cawangan Butterworth sehinggalah saya meninggalkan firma pada November 2003.

Merujuk kepada kenyataan yang dibuat oleh Ahmad Maslan seperti yang dilaporkan oleh Utusan Online bertarikh 19 Ogos 2009 bahawa Rohaizat tidak mempunyai apa-apa penglibatan dan tidak tahu menahu tentang perkara tersebut, saya ingin tegaskan bahawa ia adalah satu pembohongan.

Ini adalah kerana segala urusan pembelian tanah tersebut dan penggunaan wang koperasi di buat dengan pengetahuan dan penglibatan Rohaizat seperti yang dijelaskan di atas.

Mana mungkin pengaliran keluar dan masuk wang dalam sesuatu akaun syarikat tidak diketahui oleh Rohaizat yang juga penandatangan yang sah untuk akaun-akaun tersebut.

Sepatutnya Rohaizat menceritakan perkara sebenar dan tidak meletakkan tanggungjawab dan kesalahan hanya kepada rakan kongsi untuk membebaskan dirinya sendiri.

Merujuk kepada kepada kenyataan Ahmad Maslan yang mengangkat Rohaizat sebagai “wira” kerana membayar balik wang koperasi baru-baru ini, saya ingin tegaskan sesungguhnya beliau sewajarnya menyelesaikan pembayaran pada 2003 lagi ketika cawangan Ipoh telah menjana pendapatan yang agak lumayan.

Seyugia diingatkan bahawa cawangan Ipoh ditubuhkan dan diuruskan dengan sebahagiannya menggunakan wang dari akaun klien koperasi pekebun getah Pulau Pinang.

Layakkah title itu diberikan oleh Ahmad kepada Rohaizat? Saya percaya Ahmad Maslan tidak sedar akan kedudukan sebenarnya atau lebih malang lagi kalau beliau sengaja berpura-pura tidak tahu?

Wirakah Rohaizat ketika enggan, cuai, dan gagal menghadirkan diri di hadapan Majlis Peguam pada 14 September 2007 untuk memberi penjelasan ke atas satu kes besar yang beliau hadapi.

Dakwaan Ahmad Maslan bahawa Rohaizat tidak mempunyai apa-apa penglibatan atau pengetahuan mengenai transaksi jual beli tanah itu, menggambarkan Rohaizat selaku senior partner di dalam firma tersebut, tidak tahu apa-apa tentang urustadbir pejabat.

Apakah dakwaaan Ahmad Masalam ini lojik dan munasabah? Transaksi sebesar ratusan ribu yang dijalankan rakan kongsinya, didakwa tidak diketahuinya?

Tidak masuk akal langsung sebagai seorang yang berpendidikan tinggi!

Saya berharap dengan penjelasan ini, saya dapat membersihkan diri saya daripada dikambinghitamkan dalam kes kecuaian Rohaizat yang membawa kepada pembatalan pendaftaran beliau sebagai penguambela dan peguamcara.

Sodomy trial: Raja Aziz is Anwar’s new lead counsel

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags on August 20, 2009 by ckchew

Former Bar Council president Raja Aziz Addruse will now head the defence team in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial.

The prominent lawyer replaces Sulaiman Abdullah, another former Bar Council president, who has excused himself due to health reasons.

Raja Aziz is also one of the three Malaysians to have been appointed commissioner of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists.

He will be joined by an all-star cast of lawyers including Param Cumaraswamy (former UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers), DAP chairperson Karpal Singh and CV Prabakharan.

All other existing legal team members will remain as before.

“In making this announcement, our client, his wife and his family would like to express their deepest and most sincere gratitude to Sulaiman for having rendered exemplary services to our client and would like to wish him all the best,” Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair said in a statement today.

Anwar’s trial is scheduled to resume on Sept 2 with an application for a judicial review to quash a written statement by the prosecution.

Anwar is appealing against a High Court order which prevents him from obtaining documents from the prosecution that are he deems crucial to his defence.

Anwar, 62, is accused of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 24, at a condominium in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur on June 26 last year.

I’m not BN’s ATM, says deep pocket MP

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 20, 2009 by ckchew

Tycoon turned politician Tiong King Sing who has been opening a ‘bank vault of worms’ regarding his charitable acts towards MCA has denied being a cash dispenser for the ruling coalition.

The 49-year-old politician, who owns a fleet of companies, landed in the spotlight last week with the allegation of having donated RM10 million to MCA through its president Ong Tee Keat.

Since then, Ong has denied the claim, lodged a police report, sent a legal letter and gathered his grassroots leaders, who came armed with banners of support, to explain the issue.

When he came under fire from MCA Wanita chief Chew Mei Fun, the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) treasurer retorted by saying that she too had received money from him.

Yesterday, Tiong revealed to several newspapers that he allowed the MCA-owned TAR College to utilise eight of his four-storey shop lots in Sabah for a nominal rental of RM1 for each unit.

MCA was ‘upside down’

The MP’s deep pockets and reputation for providing financial aide to his ruling coalition colleagues had earned him the nickname ‘BN’s Automatic-teller Machine’.

However, Tiong looked surprised when quizzed on this.

“Don’t say that… do you know how many Chinese schools that I am helping? What ATM machine?” he said.

Elaborating on the donation to MCA, Tiong said a ‘friend’ – whom he declined to identify – had asked him to help the party and so he met Ong to discuss the matter.

Tiong said it was necessary to help MCA as the party fared poorly in the last general election and Sabah and Sarawak BN component parties were worried about waning Chinese support in the peninsula.

“They (MCA) were ‘upside down’ (after the elections). I did it because of BN and the whole nation, especially for the Chinese community,” he added.

Tiong said when he met Ong, the MCA president never asked for a specific amount.

To be fair to him, he didn’t ask (for a specific amount). I was the one who offered,” he added.

According to Tiong, “three requests of support were made” and he provided “whatever he could afford” on each occasion, bringing the total to RM10 million.

‘He’s not disabled or a single parent’

He also clarified that the money was not meant for Ong’s personal use but to be disbursed to the party.

“Why should I donate money to him? He is not disabled or a single parent. I respect him as a leader. I take it that he knows how to utilise the money for the party,” he added.

Tiong also denied that he was trying to curry favour from Ong in his capacity as transport minister in relation to the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

The businessman said his company Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, which is linked to the project, had already fulfilled its contractual obligations.

Ong had initiated an audit into PKFZ which found a slew of irregularities, including Kuala Dimensi allegedly inflating claims between RM500 million to RM1 billion.

Detractors claimed that Tiong’s revelation about the RM10 million donation was an attempt to deflect attention from the PKFZ fiasco, which the audit report estimated may cost tax payers up to RM12 billion.

Kuala Dimensi has repeatedly cried foul over the Transport Ministry’s insistence to go public on the matter as they were never given a chance to defend themselves to the auditors or the committee investigating the PKFZ scandal.

The Q & A:

When the RM12 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal erupted, fingers were pointed at turnkey developer Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd.

In an interview yesterday, Kuala Dimensi’s major stakeholder and Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing cried foul over the manner in which the issue has been handled.

Adding a culinary twist, the Sarawak tycoon turned politician said the trial by media was akin to char koay teow, a colloquial term for cooking up a small issue.

Last week, Tiong – who is Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) treasurer – made headlines when he revealed that he had donated RM10 million to MCA through its president and Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat.

Ong has since denied the claim, and detractors have accused Tiong of attempting to deflect attention from the PKFZ imbroglio.

Malaysiakini: You said there were three occasions where you brought the RM10 million. Do you remember exactly when?

Tiong: I can’t remember exactly when because I have no intention to do anything to harm people. That is why I don’t have the exact date. But I remember the venue.

Where was that?

When the time is right, I will tell you.

Was it the first or second half of the year?

I can’t remember. I just want to look forward to a united MCA, where everyone works together, so we can go down to the grassroots and work towards a better future.

You said before that Ong had sought money from you…

No. He didn’t request money. He was asking for support. So we discussed how to work together and I mentioned to him that it is very important that we must all be united. I told him that you all here (Peninsula Malaysia) must work hard.

If we can maintain Sabah and Sarawak, but you all can’t, then we are finished. So we must all work together. We must accept that now, the Chinese are not with us (Barisan Nasional). We must go to the grassroots to understand why.

From the few by-elections, there are many simple issues which we never resolved. That is why they are angry. We talk everyday (during ceramah), but once (the crowd) finish eating, they wipe their mouths and forget what we say.

We must change our attitude and our way of (providing) service. We must prove to the rakyat that we have really changed and not take up issues to be goreng (fried) in the papers everyday for political mileage like the opposition. That is wrong!

You want to investigate PKFZ, you are welcome to do so but don’t make any ‘hoo-ha’. Please read the agreement (the contracts) in detail. Read all the terms. Even if you say we over-claim, the money can be adjusted at the last or second-last payment. So what is the issue?

What did Ong tell you the money was for?

He told me that it was for party activities. To be fair to him, he didn’t ask (for a specific amount). I was the one who offered.

So the total is RM10 million? Is there any other instances where you donated money to him?

Why should I donate money to him? He is not disabled or a single parent. I respect him as a leader. I take it that he knows how to utilise the money for the party. Of course I gave it to him… If his grassroots hit me… I have a right to clarify. If I’m not allowed to, what kind of a country is this?

What do you hope to get in return for your donation?

What is there to hope? Would (the MCA-owned) Utar (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman) give me a doctorate? What is there to hope? We as humans, if we help people don’t expect anything in return.

Just like when you date someone, for which I have a simple philosophy, if the man breaks up with the woman, does he ask her to return everything? Is he going to kill her? Cannot lah! If they can’t be together, so be it. Apa boleh buat? (What can be done?)

What is the point of me trying to buy (Ong’s favours). You already finished the contract. What is there to buy? Only minor things need to be resolved, but no one seems to be interested in resolving them.

Are you referring to PKFZ?

Yes. Only a little bit of issue left to be resolved, but no one is interested. People are only char koay teow . They only want to goreng and char the koay teow. No one is interested to resolve it.

Do you feel victimised?

I don’t know. People are saying that I am “sucking the blood of the rakyat.” I can’t say anything (in reply). Let them say what they want. If they want to report (to the authorities), let them do so and let (the authorities) investigate.

At the time when the donation was made, PKFZ was already a controversy. Weren’t you worried that your donation…

I’m not worried. We look at it as separate issues. Let’s not complicate matters.

Public perception might see…

Never mind public perception. When I raised the gangster issue (in Sarawak) last year, I ended up in the hospital for five days. Who symphatised with me? What benefit would I get? If you were the one, would you dare to raise up the gangsterism issue? You think I did that for publicity? In that case you raise lah next time. I follow you.

Do you think the RM10 million issue would affect the PKFZ investigations?

Why should it? I already said this issue is between me and him.

What was your relationship with Ong like?

Before this, things were normal. Now, I’m disappointed.

Were you two very close before?

What is there to be close for? I donated not because of him but because a friend wanted me to help MCA. They are ‘upside down’ (at the time). I did it because of Barisan Nasional and the whole nation, especially for the Chinese community.

This ‘friend’, is he Ong?

I didn’t say it’s him. I didn’t say who. You don’t worry. No need to find out so fast. Slowly lah.

Is your ‘friend’ willing to prove that you have given Ong the money?

My friend is not in the picture. He only ask me to talk to Ong and work out how we could work together.

You have mentioned before you have a ‘friend’ who witnessed the money being handed over.

Oh! That one is another issue altogether. Of course, don’t worry. When the time comes, it will come.

People will find it strange that someone from SPDP would finance MCA activities…

I didn’t just finance the MCA. When others ask for help, I financed them too.

What do you mean by others?

Do you know how many students I’m financing for further studies?

What about political parties?

Don’t talk about politics. It’s not just politics. You ask ‘Vicky’ (former MIC Youth chief S Vigneswaran). Ask him if I support him.

(Contacted later, Vigneswaran said Tiong had donated RM1 million to the MIC’s Aimst university several years back. He has also donated to several temples).

There is this rumour going around which labels you as the Barisan ‘ATM Machine’…

Don’t say that. As I was telling you, do you know how many Chinese schools that I am helping? What ATM machine? If anyone wants to help society, if they can help, we should be happy. Then our society can grow better. When we help people, we should not look at race, then our country will be in harmony.

How else have you offered aid to MCA?

Don’t need to open all (to the public). Don’t force me please. I urge all the MCA members (to stop attacking me). Let me deal with your president. If I continue to open (up more), then MCA members must not blame me later if people lose confidence in you.

Other than Ong and Chew Mei Fun, who did you ‘help’ in MCA?

No need lah. Don’t drag in others. I didn’t want to ‘hit’ Chew Mei Fun. She ‘hit’ me first mah. What wrong did I do? If she wants to support her president, she could but she shouldn’t attack me.

Have you talked to Ong about PKFZ?

What is there to talk? But on PKFZ, it is best to talk to (Wijaya Baru Global Holdings Bhd deputy chief executive) Faizal (Abdullah) because I’ve not been involved in PKFZ for a long time.

My deputy CEO and COO run the show. Sometimes, people misunderstand (my limited role in the matter). Sometimes, I won’t even come to this office for months.

Andrew Ong/Mkini

dap needs to fortify Pakatan partnership

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 18, 2009 by ckchew

Soon after his victory in the 2008 general election, Khalid Samad, the PAS MP for Shah Alam, held an open dialogue session with parishioners in a Catholic church that was located in his constituency, the first for any Malay MP in Peninsular Malaysia on either side of the political divide.

Since then, other PAS leaders such as Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, MP for Kuala Selangor, and PAS Mursyidul Am Tok Guru Nik Aziz, have made important gestures and statements that signaled their intention to show a more moderate face of PAS to the non-Malay electorate, many of whom had voted in PAS MPs in Perak, Selangor and KL.

By taking these important steps, PAS has done much to ‘protect’ its coalition partner in Pakatan Rakyat, the DAP, from being attacked by the non-Malay BN component parties by using the tactic stating that a vote for the DAP represents a vote to establish an Islamic state in Malaysia. Sadly, the moves made by some of the PAS leadership have not been reciprocated by the DAP, leaving PAS and to a lesser extent, PKR, open to attacks that the opposition coalition is betraying the cause of Islam.PAS-DAP relations have come a long way, especially after the 2008 general election and the formation of Pakatan Rakyat. DAP leaders openly campaigned for the PAS candidate in the Kuala Terengganu by-election and more recently, for deposed Perak MB, Nizar Jamaluddin, in the Bukit Gantang by-election.

I am sure that DAP will be out in full force to campaign for the PAS candidate in the upcoming Permatang Pasir by-election. Such a situation would have been unthinkable, even prior to the 2008 general election, given the extent to which DAP was harmed politically by its association with PAS under the Barisan Alternatif (BA) in the 1999 general election.

But while the DAP has been sincere in its attempts to win crucial non-Malay votes for PAS candidates in the Kuala Terengganu and Bukit Gantang by-elections, it has been less vigilant in protecting PAS from being ‘tainted’ by its association with the DAP.The mainstream media, especially the Malay language press, have always portrayed the DAP, unfairly in my opinion, as being anti-Islam and anti-Malay. The most recent manifestation of this was by associating, without basis, a blog site that was purported to have written anti-Islam and anti-Royalty posts to Anthony Loke, DAP MP for Rasah.

Do no harm

I have no doubt that much of this negative portrayal have turned off many Malays from voting for the DAP. While this may not significantly harm the DAP politically, as long as it manages to retain a high level of non-Malay support, this negative portrayal may yet come back to haunt PAS among the Malay voters.It is not sufficient for DAP leaders to insist that their remarks have been taken out of context or to protest violently against unfair portrayals by the mainstream media that they are anti-Islam or anti-Malay.

Given that it is operating within the context of a multi-racial and multi-religious opposition coalition and given that this coalition needs to make electoral inroads among Malay voters in the next general election if it is to replace the BN, the DAP actually needs to go out of its way to convince the Malay electorate that it is not only anti-Islam but pro-Islam, in the same way that it is pro-other religions.

To help Pakatan achieve this end, I propose the following three simple rules for the DAP.Firstly, ‘do no harm’. By this, I mean that DAP leaders should avoid making any statements that could be misrepresented as being anti-Islam.

Sometimes, this may not seem as easy as it appears. For example, Jeff Ooi, DAP’s MP for Jelutong, was having disagreements with a councilor from PKR over his role in blocking certain development projects but made the error of lashing out at a Muslim NGO, JIM, which the councilor belongs to.

Understandably, this statement provoked a slew of protests against Jeff among Muslim NGOs and raised many an unhappy eyebrow among PAS and PKR members and leaders, some of whom had and still have close associations with JIM. This situation could easily have been avoided if Jeff had separated the supposed intransigence of the PKR councilor in question from the Muslim NGO which he belongs to.

I applaud Anthony Loke’s principled stand when he criticized a column written by Ridhuan Tee in Utusan Malaysia which focused not on the tragic circumstances under which Teoh Beng Huat died but cast aspersions on him having a child out of wedlock. Tee’s column was certainly distasteful and uncalled for but there were more than enough bloggers who quickly denounced Tee’s remarks.

Strategic thinking out of the box

Strategically speaking, there was little to be gained politically by criticizing Tee. The downside is that Anthony’s statements could easily be used against him and ‘spun’ as if he was criticizing a Chinese convert to Islam or that he was condoning having children out of wedlock.Secondly, ‘think outside the box’. The DAP, after many years of denying accusations that it would help PAS establish an Islamic state, has built up an internal knee-jerk reaction towards issues such as the sale of alcohol and gambling.

The latest manifestation of this was then Hasan Ali, the senior PAS exco in Selangor, proposed a ban on the sale of alcohol in Malay majority areas in the state. Ronnie Liu, the DAP state exco for matters to do with local government, was right in interpreting this as a matter of what the law allows or does not allow. But instead of making this strictly a matter of local ordinances, he could have turned the situation around to say that the state government was concerned about the sale of alcohol to minors in general as well as to Muslims. He could have announced a state wide campaign that would look into the sale of alcohol to minors and to ask all grocery stores, in Malay majority and non-Malay majority areas, to ensure that alcohol is not sold to Malay customers. It could have been dovetailed with a state-wide campaign to reduce drunk driving. Instead of harping on the differences that exist between the DAP and PAS, they could instead work on common areas of interest which most Malaysians, regardless of race and religion could agree on.At the national level, the DAP should be secure enough in its position within Pakatan to propose that the opposition coalition would consider restricting the growth of 3D / 4D outlets and other gambling outlets if the opposition came to power at the national level. Such a move would give PAS an easy campaign tool for it to use among its conservative Malay supporters. If the DAP, which is led by non-Muslims, is willing to consider restricting gambling activities, what kind of light does it shed on the UMNO-led BN coalition?Thirdly, ‘be sincerely opportunistic’.

If the Malay electorate was asked which DAP leader they most admire, my guess is that Lim Guan Eng would come out tops and by a wide margin.

Standing up for Malay rights also

Most Malays would remember that the current Chief Minister of Penang was convicted and incarcerated under the Seditions act because he stood up for a rights of a young Malay girl who was allegedly raped by a former Menteri Besar of Melaka. Subsequent examples of DAP leaders standing up for the rights of Malays have been few and far between.

I am sure that DAP leaders have helped countless number of Malays in their work as MPs and ADUNs, in the same way in which they have helped countless number of Malaysians of other races. But politics is about perception and without more of such examples, the DAP would find it hard to convince the electorate that its political interests are not anti-Malay or anti-Islam.

The political sense of the DAP leadership is especially attuned when it comes to making political capital associated with issues that are of concern its non-Malay voting constituency. But with PAS increasingly coming under attack for supporting the DAP, a few well placed moves, even symbolic ones, to show that DAP empathizes with the Malay population in Malaysia is much needed.

For example, a few days after the anti-ISA gathering in KL, PAS Youth publicized that one of the protestors from JIM was involved in a traffic accident on the way back to Penang. A visit to the hospital by a DAP leader from Penang, with a small donation that would help cover the hospital expenses incurred, would have done much to quell some of the criticism arising from Jeff Ooi’s statement regarding JIM.

To make itself aware of these opportunities requires a change in the political ‘senses’ of the DAP leaders. It requires DAP leaders to go out of their way to acquire information from unfamiliar networks so as to be aware of the ‘hot topics’ which are of concern to the Malays. It requires DAP leaders to go out of their way to engage with the Malays including having regular dialogues with Muslim NGOs, arranging for Muslim speakers to address DAP leaders so that they are aware of the latest happenings in the Muslim world and to have reciprocal visits to places which DAP leaders would otherwise be unwilling to venture, including mosques and religious schools.

As the month of puasa begins later this month, perhaps it could be a time of reflection for the DAP and its leaders, most of them non-Muslim, to think of more concrete steps in which they could show solidarity with their fellow citizens. I am sure it would be more than welcomed by their compatriots in PAS and if done in a sincere and respectful manner, could protect PAS from many of the attacks and allegations which have been and will continue to be thrown their way.

Ong Kian Ming is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Duke University. He can be reached at im.ok.man@gmail.com/Mkini

umno represented by disbarred lawyer !!!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 18, 2009 by ckchew

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 – Nearly as soon as he filed his papers to contest the Permatang Pasir by-election yesterday, Umno candidate Rohaizat Othman ran into controversy.

Rohaizat, 38, was bombarded with questions from reporters after it became known that he was disbarred as a lawyer last year over allegations of fraud that implicated his law firm.

According to the Malaysian Bar website, he was disbarred on March 7 last year. This means that he cannot practise as a lawyer or appear before a court, but he is allowed practise syariah law.

It also does not preclude him from standing as an election candidate, but it is certainly not an advantage.

He and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) Penang commissioner Mohd Salleh Man,

52, were the only two who registered as candidates for the by-election on Aug 25.

The by-election for this state seat on mainland Penang was called after the previous PAS assemblyman died, making it the country’s eighth by-election since the general election took place in March last year.

The opposition will certainly capitalise on the controversy to illustrate their claim that Barisan Nasional (BN) is a patronage machine which disregards moral principles routinely.

Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is the party’s Penang state chief, insisted that Rohaizat was innocent of the alleged fraud in his firm.

“This is an issue of public perception. We will explain to the voters what really happened,” Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid said.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin told The Straits Times that it was Rohaizat’s business partner who was involved in the fraud and who dragged the entire firm into the mess.

He said Rohaizat had settled the problem after his partner disappeared.

Rohaizat, who graduated from the International Islamic University in 1995, has stopped practising law.

The controversy will be fodder for the opposition, which has the upper hand going into this contest.

This state seat is part of the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat held by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

But the opposition is also on the defensive after nearly losing the most recent by-election in Kelantan last month. The PAS candidate won the Manek Urai seat – also a stronghold – by a mere 65 votes.

“In the aftermath of the Manek Urai state by-election and the steps taken to reform and change the country, the winds of change are beginning to blow and I think it has reached Permatang Pasir,” Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday.

Political analysts are not as confident, although many believe that the BN may be able to slash the majority.

The Manek Urai by-election showed that internal bickering among parties can severely damage their electoral showing.

The opposition is also fending off accusations that it has sacrificed Malay interests to win support from the minority communities.

“It will be a test as to whether the attacks against the Pakatan will stick. It is significant as this is the power base of Anwar,” said law professor Abdul Aziz Bari.

Permatang Pasir is not as Malay-dominant as the Manek Urai. Of its 20,290 voters, about 72 per cent are Malays, 26 per cent Chinese and almost 2 per cent Indians. But the Malay votes are large enough to be visible, especially as the Chinese voters are expected to remain in favour of the opposition. The number of Indian voters is negligible.

The campaign kicked off yesterday with a noisy nomination process filled with the chanting of slogans, the waving of banners – and the wearing of face masks due to the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic.

There was a brief scuffle when police tussled with opposition MP N. Gobalakrishnan outside the nomination centre. The Parti Keadilan Rakyat supreme council member had failed to heed two warnings by the police to stop using a loudspeaker to make provocative remarks. He was handcuffed and taken away. – The Straits Times

umno tipu, rohaizat yang lari duit pelanggan

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on August 17, 2009 by ckchew

Written by Regina William, The Edge

The offence for which Permatang Pasir Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Rohaizat Othman was struck off the Malaysia Bar Council’s list involves the individual lawyer.

Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan told The Edge Malaysia that the proceedings under Section 103D of the Legal Profession Act 1976 involved misconduct of the individual lawyer.

“The offence was for personal liability and does not involve any other persons as Rohaizat was named by the complainant, and not his partner.

“Rohaizat was disbarred on March 7 last year and he appealed against the Bar Council decision to the High Court, which also dismissed his appeal on Aug 12 this year,” he added.

Ragunath said the offence committed by Rohaizat involved stakeholders’ money from Koperasi Pekebun Getah and there was no account for it.

“When the board looked into this matter and the order was made, there was no reimbursement to the stakeholders involving the sum of RM140,000.

“Even if you pay, the offence has been committed and it is a serious offence as this involves dealing with client’s money.

“If you are an innocent party, you would not be found guilty by the disciplinary committee and the charge leveled under Section 103D is tantamount to criminal misconduct,” he added.

Ragunath said the other partners only would be penalised if it involved negligence of the law firm concerned, but the offence committed under Section 103D was for personal misconduct.

On Sunday, Penang Umno chief Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told a press conference that it was Rohaizat’s partner who was involved in the scandal which resulted in Rohaizat being struck off.

Meanwhile at the nomination centre, when asked whether Rohaizat’s credibility would come into question following the revelation of him being disbarred, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said: “There is no controversy with regards to his candidacy as we have done our homework.

“As far as the law is concerned, he has been declared eligible to contest and we believe the voters will understand when we explain to them what actually happened.

“We have our ways of explaining to the voters, the opposition can do whatever character assassinations they want.

“We will expose all their lies and the rakyat can judge for themselves,” he added.