Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Edge publisher, TMI chief executive arrested for sedition

Police are reported to have arrested The Edge’s publisher Ho Kay Tat and The Malaysian Insider’s chief executive officer Jahabar Sadiq.

It is understood that Jahabar and Ho were arrested this morning at the Dang Wangi station over an article published by the news portal last week.

On Monday, police detained The Malaysian Insider’s managing editor Lionel Morais, Bahasa Malaysia features and analysis editor Zulkifli Sulong and Bahasa Malaysia news editor Amin Iskandar.

The portal had uploaded an article stating that the Conference of Rulers had rejected proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 during a meeting on March 11.

The article, which quoted sources, had said that the rejection of the amendments to the Federal Act were made at a meeting which was attended by all Malay Rulers or their representatives.

Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad however denied issuing any statement on hudud in Kelantan and lodged a police report last Thursday, calling for a police investigation into the matter.

PAS could be wiped out in next general election, says Kit Siang

PAS could be completely wiped out in the next general election as a result of the party’s move to implement hudud in Kelantan.

In a blog post on Tuesday, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang admitted that all three Pakatan Rakyat component parties would suffer dearly if the Opposition pact could not be saved but warned that it was PAS which would emerge the biggest loser.

“PAS is in danger of losing nearly all of its parliament and state assembly seats outside the northern states as a result of the enactment of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code 2015 and PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation.

“With a loss of 30% of non-Muslim votes, PAS will lose the seven parliament and 29 state seats it won in the GE13 in 2013,” he said.

The DAP adviser further noted that PAS could be completely wiped out in Johor, Perak and Malacca and suffer significant losses in Selangor, Pahang and Kedah.

“PAS will be left mostly with parliament and state assembly seats in the northern states,” Lim said, adding that the party could end up with only 14 parliamentary seats and 54 state seats.

He added that PAS’ loss in Terengganu in the 2004 general election and Kedah in 2013 should serve as reminders that the party must not take its support for granted and warned that it could even lose power in Kelantan.

Monday, March 30, 2015

DAP playing a double game, says Yong

DAP is playing a double game as it finds its partnership with PAS a liability to the party’s survival in Sabah and Sarawak, said Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president said DAP’s split with PAS at state level was an attempt to ensure its survival in the face of Sarawak chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s success in drawing urban Chinese support.

“The DAP lies about hudud (during the 2013 general election) are coming back to haunt them,’’ added Yong, a former chief minister.

“DAP is desperately trying to dig themselves out of their mess in Pakatan. With Opposition leader (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim in jail, DAP has abandoned Anwar and now openly solicits Umno to form a so-called ‘Save Malaysia’ alliance,” he said.

DAP and PKR made gains in both Sabah and Sarawak in the last general election with DAP promising that PAS’ agenda of implementing hudud in the country would not materialise.

PAS, however, failed to gain traction with the voters in Sabah and Sarawak, losing the few seats it contested.

DAP’s advisor Lim Kit Siang has also been slammed by Sabah Barisan leaders after he threw in the names of several incumbent state cabinet ministers to lead Sabah under a new coalition.

State leaders reacted sharply, saying that DAP was dreaming and some accusing Lim of being on a political “fishing” trip.

Sabah Umno deputy chairman Datuk Salleh Tun Said said DAP was trying very hard to split the Sabah Barisan coalition by talking about a possible new chief minister under his proposed coalition to replace the Barisan.

Umno’s Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor and Datuk Masidi Manjun, Parti Bersatu Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan as well as Salleh were among the names floated by Lim as possible chief ministers in the new coalition.
“Sabah Barisan is solid and the question of unity government does not arise. DAP is just dreaming,” Salleh said.

BN: Kit Siang lacks confidence in Sabah Pakatan leaders

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang seems to have lost his confidence in Sabah Pakatan Rakyat leaders by offering state Umno leaders the chief minister’s post in his proposed new “Save Malaysia” coalition to replace Barisan Nasional, says Sabah Barisan secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

“I wonder if Lim had sought their views on his proposal for a new alliance. It looks like he has no confidence in his own people,” he said yesterday.

Abdul Rahman said that Lim seemed to be delusional and lacked any understanding of Sabah politics when he floated the names of Umno's Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor, Datuk Seri Mohd Salleh Tun Said and Datuk Masidi Manjun and Parti Bersatu Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan to be chief minister in the new coalition.

Abdul Rahman wanted Sabah Pakatan leader Datuk Lajim Ukin, Sabah DAP chairman Jimmy Wong, Likas DAP assemblyman Junz Wong, Sabah DAP secretary Dr Edwin Bosie and other state Pakatan leaders to explain if they were consulted by Lim and if they agreed with him on the new coalition.

“DAP’s mantra to ‘agree to disagree’ with PAS does not work as shown by the PAS hudud law proposal.

“DAP should stop blaming anyone but itself for giving PAS its strength,” he said.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee said DAP was struggling to maintain its own political survival as it fought off accusations that it had failed to stop PAS from introducing hudud.

He added that the fallout between DAP and PAS over hudud spoke volumes of Pakatan’s poor record as a political alliance.

He said PAS had become a liability to DAP, especially to the Chinese and non-Muslim voters in Sabah and Sarawak.

“The lies by the DAP during the last general election that hudud will not become a reality has come back to haunt them,” Yong said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Salleh said that Lim’s move to rope in state Barisan politicians in his new coalition would not happen.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sarawak Minister Hits Out At Miri Community FB Page Over Forced Conversion Claims

The Miri Community Facebook has came under fierce criticism from the state goverment following the posting of the alleged forced conversion of a 13-year-old girl from a secondary school here that went viral instantly.

Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said individuals who posted the incident at the Miri Community should be held responsible as the posting did not tell the whole picture of the story.

"Instead it was biased and could incite religious tension and could destroy the harmony that had long existed in Sarawak," she said.

"First and foremost, the girl was never forced to convert to Islam, she is still a Christian, she voluntarily came to meet the teachers concerned to express her interest in Islam before the one-week school holiday started recently," she told reporters after chairing an emergency meeting with the girl, her parents and teachers here Friday.

Fatimah, who is in charge of education affairs in the state, said the teachers had repeatedly asked whether her intention was genuine and the girl gave a positive reply without anyone influencing or forcing her to convert.

"The only mistake the teachers had made was they never consulted the biological parents of the girl since she was being take care of by her grandfather," she said.

She said the girl even confessed that she had met the teachers voluntary and expressed her interest in Islam.

Fatimah also denied the accusation made by individuals through the Miri Community page claiming that the teachers concerned had "a long list of students and target to be converted to Islam" in selected areas here.

The controversy arose when pictures of a letter of complaint to the principal against the teacher concerned and a copy of a police report were posted to the Miri Community, a community-based Facebook page for sharing information in Miri City, alleging that the teachers had forced the girl to convert.

The picture went viral immediately with many sharing the photo of the complaint letters and police report that prompted the opposition PKR here to take necessary action.

Dr M deeply saddened by Lee Kuan Yew's death

They were not close, but Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is still deeply affected by Lee Kuan Yew's death on Monday morning.

In an article posted on his blog, chedet.cc on Friday, The former prime minister said that Lee's demise marked the end of an era for those who fought for - and understood the value of - independence.

"No matter how friendly or unfriendly we are, the passing away of a man you know well saddens you.

"Asean lost a strong leadership after (Indonesia's) President Suharto and Lee Kuan Yew," he said.
A combo pix showing the two former leaders in 1990 (left) and 15 years later in 2005.

Dr Mahathir also shared some of his experiences with the former Singaporean prime minister, including crossing swords with Lee in Parliament back in 1964.

"We crossed swords many times during debates. But there was no enmity, only differences of opinion - which was good for the new-born nation," he said.

He also spoke of the time when Lee included him among the ultra Malays responsible for racial riots in Singapore.

"Actually, I never went to Singapore to stir up trouble. Somebody else whom I will not name did," said Dr Mahathir.

When Dr Mahathir became the Prime Minister in 1981, he paid a courtesy call on Lee, who immediately agreed to a proposal that the Malaysia and Singapore times were advanced by half an hour.

"I explained that it would be easier adjusting our time when travelling as we would fall within the time zones fixed for the whole world at one-hour intervals,"

However, Dr Mahathir added, "I am afraid on most other issues we could not agree,"

He also shared an incident when he had a heart attack in 1989 and required open-heart surgery.

He said Lee took the trouble to arrange for a top heart surgeon, a Singaporean living in Australia, to do the operation.

"He cared enough to call my wife (Tun Dr Siti Hasmah), asking her to delay the operation… But by then, I had already been given medication and was asleep prior to the operation the next day.

"My wife thanked him but apologised. She promised to ring him up after the operation. She did the next evening," said Dr Mahathir.

Sarawak DAP quits state Pakatan over PAS' hudud

Sarawak DAP has quit the state Pakatan Rakyat due to PAS' hudud move.

State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the party could no longer work with PAS as long as the push for hudud laws remained in the Islamist party's political agenda.

"As such, with PAS being a component party in Sarawak Pakatan, we have resolved and made the painful decision to leave the state Pakatan," he told reporters after chairing a state committee meeting here on Friday.

Chong said the decision was made unanimously by the committee and would take effect immediately.

He added that the state committee had the autonomy to make such a decision.

"The national leadership has been informed and they respect our decision," Chong said.

Sarawak DAP also urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak not to delay in making his stand and Umno's over the implementation of hudud in Malaysia.

Anwar no longer Permatang Pauh MP, says lawyer

Senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh says the petition for a royal pardon over Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy conviction by his family has been disposed, and he is no longer Permatang Pauh MP.

"Our stand is a decision has been made. The Constitution has spoken for itself," Amarjeet said to reporters.

However, Anwar's lawyers N. Surendran, Latheefa Koya and Dr Dheeraj Bhar said the decision by the Pardons Board was not confirmed and would only be made known in the Appellate and Special Powers Court here on Wednesday.

The decision was conveyed to Anwar's lawyers in the form of an affidavit issued by Datuk Nursiah Arshad, the Prime Minister's Department legal affairs director-general, who is also part of the Pardons Board secretariat.

Amarjeet said the applicants had asked for the delay in announcing the decision in order to convey it to Anwar first.

Surendran confirmed that neither Anwar nor his family was informed of the decision, which was made Thursday.

Masing: "Save Malaysia" more like saving DAP, Pakatan

PRS president Tan Sri James Masing dismissed any notion of his party joining the new "Save Malaysia" coalition government proposed by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.

"It's more like save DAP from Pakatan Rakyat's downfall," the Sarawak Barisan Nasional component party leader said.

Lim, who mooted the idea last Sunday, said MPs from both Barisan and Pakatan had voiced their support for it.

Masing said PRS was not interested in saving DAP or Pakatan.

"Pakatan will crash as PAS betrays them by introducing hudud," he said.

He said Barisan parties from Sabah and Sarawak would still remain in the coalition even though they would not support the hudud bill in Parliament.

Earlier this week, Masing had made it clear that PRS would not support hudud under any circumstances and had told his party's six MPs not to vote for it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

PMO denies Najib issued statement on hudud

The Prime Minister’s Office has denied that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had issued any statement on the proposed implementation of hudud law in Kelantan.

The statement was carried in a tweet by the PMO’s official twitter account @PMOMalaysia.

“The Prime Minister’s Office denies that PM @NajibRazak had issued any statement today on the implementation of hudud,” the tweet said.

The PMO said that the statement, allegedly made by Najib and which was circulated on social messaging app WhatsApp, was false.

MAS earmarks 4,000 contracts for re-negotiation

Newly-formed Malaysian Airlines Bhd (MAS) has identified 4,000 contracts for renegotiation under its recovery plan.

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said this was among the measures taken to turn MAS around following its takeover by Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

"Some 4,000 contracts have been identified under a comprehensive review of MAS contracts," he said in a written reply a question raised by Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR-Ampang) in Parliament Thursday.

The review, he added, includes novation of the contracts to create a new obligation from the previous one, termination and renegotiations.

"MAS is currently negotiating with Brahim's Airline Catering Sdn Bhd to enter into a new agreement," said Najib.

He added that MAS and Barhim had also reached a settlement agreement for a temporary period between Oct 1, 2014 and Mar 31 this year.

"The (settlement) agreement will see a reduction of monthly expenses in the period agreed, apart from resolving outstanding costs on the whole," he said.

As of Mar 2, Najib said that payments of RM1.38bil were made to shareholders under the approved Selective Capital Reduction plan.

He added that a corporate development centre would also begin operations this April 1 to provide retraining and job placements for MAS staff who will not be absorbed into the new entity.

The airline staff, who are based at Subang, he added, would move to KLIA by May.

Najib, who is also Prime Minister, added that an employee consultative panel and has since held meetings with MAS union and non-union representatives on Dec 8, 2014 and Feb 17 this year.

The Government announced the MAS recovery plan on Aug 29 last year and passed the Malaysian Airline System Bhd (Administation) Act 2014 to facilitate the airline's turnaround takeover in five years.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cigarette price list false, says British American Tobacco Malaysia

British American Tobacco Malaysia Bhd has urged the public not to spread a false cigarette price list on social media.

In a statement, the company said that the price list was false and a police report had been lodged over the matter.

"We therefore urge members of the public not to spread this false price list," said the statement.
The pricelist is believed to have been circulated on social media since March 24.

DAP ticks off Nasrudin over "DAP-friendly president" remark

Several DAP leaders ticked off Temerloh MP Nasrudin Hassan for accusing the party of trying to influence members to install a "DAP-friendly president" in the June party elections.

Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari said never at any point did DAP tried to influence the Islamist party to oust its president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, whom Nasruddin said "did not dance to DAP’s tune."

“How do we do that? No no no. This is entirely between DAP and PAS in the sense that we are reacting to what we see as a betrayal,” said Zairil, referring to PAS’ move to enforce hudud laws in Kelantan.

PAS is tabling a private member’s bill in Parliament to pave the way for hudud's implementation in Kelantan.

Zairil, who is DAP central executive committee member, said PAS had not consulted DAP or PKR over the hudud move.

“This is an act of betrayal and nothing more,” he told reporters at Parliament lobby on Wednesday.

DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng had said DAP will sever ties with Hadi but "will stay on" in Pakatan Rakyat and cooperate with PAS.

Nasrudin said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that by severing ties with Hadi, DAP wanted a "PAS president who follows their wishes.”

“Of course what DAP is wishing for cannot be materialised because Hadi is still the leader of the party. This means that DAP wants an upcoming PAS president who can fulfill their needs and wishes,” he wrote.

DAP's Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming said there was no way the party could influence how PAS members vote.

“We can’t influence how PAS members vote. We have just declared that it is difficult for us to work with Hadi at this point of time. PAS members have to decide for themselves,” Ong told reporters.

Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Loon said DAP was only severing ties with Hadi.

“We are not influencing other parties. Let the party solve their own problem,” he said.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PAS: DAP can't ‘cut ties with head, but not the tail’

DAP cannot maintain its cooperation with PAS while severing ties with party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

PAS’ Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said it was strange for DAP to “sever ties with the head, but not the tail”.

“This is news to me. I don’t know. It’s quite difficult to sever ties with the head, and yet you want to continue with the tail,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

She added it would create a “dilemma” within the pact, and that it required further discussion among party leaders.

Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa noted that despite DAP’s decision, the parties could still work “within the framework of Pakatan Rakyat”.

“Regardless of any doing of a PAS leader, we are still in that framework. If there’s one or two leaders in PAS that DAP does not like, this does not mean the whole organisation will be in jeopardy,” he said.

Earlier Pasir MAS MP Nik Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz has said that DAP could not single out a single person.

“They can’t single out one person in the party because Hadi represents PAS in Pakatan Rakyat. What they say has a double meaning.

“From what I understand from this is, they want to pressure PAS from within to reject Hadi. I want DAP to explain this further,” he said.

Nancy Shukri: Hudud could create situations of double jeopardy

Kelantan PAS’ bid to implement hudud in the state could create situations of double jeopardy, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri.

“It is not easy for hudud to pass through (Parliament). We have the Federal Constitution and we have to look at the offences under hudud.

“There might be double jeopardy,” said the Batang Sadong MP when met by reporters at Parliament lobby, Tuesday.

Nancy, who is also from Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), said she shared the sentiment of Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz who called talk on the implementation of hudud in Malaysia “silly”.

Nazri had said that the move to enforce hudud in Kelantan was “an exercise in futility and any amendment to the Constitution to allow hudud’s implementation required a two-third’s majority in Parliament.

“I am in agreement with Datuk Nazri. It is just not possible. (There are) a lot of provisions already under the Federal Constitution. There needs to be a fresh study if we were to allow hudud to pass through.

“In Sarawak, I don’t think they will get the vote for hudud,” she said.

Pokok Sena PAS MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar, however, brushed off Nazri’s remark, saying that it was “undemocratic” to label talk on hudud as silly.
“We can’t talk about it, does that mean we can’t dream about it?” he said, briefly.

Leave Pakatan, Guan Eng tells Hadi

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has told PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to leave Pakatan Rakyat if he insists on tabling the Private Member's Bills needed enforce hudud in Kelantan.

"Don't do it under the false pretence of representing Pakatan Rakyat. Do it as an MP, not a member of the pact," Lim told reporters at Parliament lobby, Tuesday.

It was reported that Hadi, as the Marang PAS MP, had made an application on March 18 to table a Private Member's Bill to allow the syariah penal code to be implemented in Kelantan. The application was made a day before the state assembly passed the Kelantan Syariah Enactment Code II (1993) 2015.

Lim said Hadi had lied to his Pakatan partners by failing to consult PKR and DAP before making his move.

"By breaking his own promise, it is no longer about his democratic right, it is about being cheated by Hadi. Don't promise things you can't deliver.

"I am not questioning his democratic right, he has the right. But don't do it as a Pakatan MP.
"Leave Pakatan if you can't deliver your promises. His action does not reflect a leader from Pakatan. Better for him to leave," said Lim.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sabah leaders: Hudud contravenes Federal Constitution

Two more Sabah Barisan Nasional party leaders have voiced their stand against PAS’ push for hudud to be implemented in Kelantan.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and his Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) counterpart Tan Sri Joseph Kurup are also in agreement that hudud contravenes the Federal Constitution.

At a time when many nations are moving towards abolishment of the death penalty “do we want a legal code that specifies amputating an arm as the punishment for theft?” Pairin, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said after launching the Sabah State level Water Day conference here on Monday.

Kurup further stated that hudud was unsuitable for multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia.

“Islam is the nation’s official religion as stipulated in our Constitution but hudud had never been intended by our nation founding fathers when Malaysia was formed.
“It goes against the expectation and the spirit upon which this nation was founded,” he said.

‘Kelantan’s passing of hudud amendments void’

The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) has urged all political parties to uphold the Federal Constitution following the unanimous adoption of the Kelantan hudud amendments by its state legislature.

Its chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari said the Constitution was the supreme law of the Federation and Article 4 provides that any law passed after Merdeka which was inconsistent with the Constitution shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.

“The recent passing of the Syariah Criminal Code (II)(1993) 2015 is ultra vires the Constitution and thusvoid under Articles 4 and 75 of the Constitution.”

Kuthubul said public order, criminal law and creation of offences in respect of any matter included in the Federal List came within the First List of the Ninth Schedule and hence fell under the jurisdiction of Parliament.

“Therefore, the state legislature cannot pass such laws,” he said.

The Concerned Lawyers for Justice (CLJ) group, however, has condemned a statement by the Bar Council that called hudud unconstitutional, discriminatory and divisive.

“Not only are the allegations uncalled for, they are also by and large based on an erroneous, misconceived and misconstrued understanding of our basic law due to selective – not to mention outdated – reading of the Federal Constitution, as well as the principles underlying hudud itself,” it said in a statement.

In Kuala Terengganu, Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman said his state government did not see a need to implement hudud at the moment.

When PAS ruled the state, the state legislature passed its own hudud laws in 2002.

“It is better for us to focus on integrity, which is one of the eight thrusts in the state’s vision. Integrity in itself is an important concept in Islam,” said Ahmad Razif after launching the Terengganu Integrity Consultative Council here yesterday.

“We (Terengganu government) fully support Kelantan in implementing hudud in their state. Umno has always supported it.

“But we want to wait and see if Kelantan can get Parliament to vote for it.

“If it is just supported by PAS and Umno, it would not be enough,” he added.

Ahmad Razif said his government promoted “Islamisation” in the state but unlike Kelantan, they were more focused on education than punishment.

“Before one punishes wrongdoers, there must be a proper explanation to the public so they can understand why we do certain things.

“We have to explain to the non-Muslims as well,” he added.

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister, dies aged 91

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding father, has died at the age of 91.

He had been hospitalised at the Singapore General Hospital for severe pneumonia since Feb 5.

In a statement issued on Monday, March 23, the Singapore prime minister's office (PMO) said Mr Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital at 3.18 am.

Arrangements for the public to pay respects and for the funeral proceedings will be announced later.

The PMO has been giving daily updates on Lee since Tuesday, March 17, when his condition took a turn for the worse due to an infection.

Lee leaves behind his sons, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 63, and Lee Hsien Yang, 57, daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling, 60, daughters-in-law Ho Ching, 61, and Lee Suet-Fern, 56, seven grandchildren and two siblings. His wife, Kwa Geok Choo, died in 2010, at the age of 89. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Najib's daughter did not receive USD500k, says Jawi

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's daughter Nooryana Najwa did not receive USD500,000 (RM1.85mil) as a wedding gift, said Federal Territories Religious Department (Jawi).

In a statement, Jawi director Paimuzi Yahya said the image of Nooryana Najwa's marriage certificate that went viral on social media was "fake" as the original document only detailed the amount of mas kahwin (dowry).

"We would like to stress that the marriage certificate was fake. This is because the amount of the dowry and the wedding gift is not true.

"The (fake) certificate was also not signed by Jawi's marriage registrar," said Paimuzi.

The copy of the original certificate, which was made available by Jawi, indicates that Nooryana Najwa received RM5,000 as a dowry.

However, the wedding gift column was left blank.

An image of the purported Nooryana Najwa's marriage certificate had gone viral on social media a few days before her wedding, alleging that she would receive USD500,000 as a wedding gift.

The 27-year-old wed Kazakh national Daniyar Kessikbayev, in a solemnisation ceremony conducted by Najib at Seri Perdana on Thursday night.

Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, together with Daniyar's family, will hold wedding receptions in Kuala Lumpur and Pekan, Pahang at the end of this month.

Postpone fare hikes Cabinet tells SPAD

The Cabinet has asked the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to postpone the increase in public transport fares, as the timing was not suitable.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Saturday that while the Cabinet understands the necessity for an increase, the timing for the hike was not right at the moment.

"The fares should not be increased just yet especially since the implementation of Good and Services Tax (GST) is just around the corner and it would only add burden to the people.

"The request to postpone the fare hike was discussed during a Cabinet meeting on Friday," he added.

Dad of hudud video presenter: Are we safe to raise our children?

The father of the presenter in a hudud video by radio station BFM who was threatened with death and rape questioned whether Malaysia "is safe for our children."

Prof Dr Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi said if a "simple point of view is raised against such issue as hudud can produce outburst of murder, what does it say about our country."

"Where did this culture come from," Dr Tajuddin said in a letter to a news portal in response to the threatening comments made against the video's presenter Aisyah Tajuddin.

Dr Tajuddin said he was ready to "forgive them because I know it was our society that have created such a culture."

BFM has taken down the satirical video from its website and YouTube channel after Aisyah became the target of the threats.

BFM said they regretted the personal attacks on Aisyah who was merely a stand-in cast member of the video and not its regular presenter.

Dr Tajuddin said he assumed that Malay-Muslim netizens were behind the attacks.

"Is this country safe for our children to live in? If a simple point of view is raised against such issue as hudud or even such issue as democracy and clean elections can produce outburst of murder, rape and burning people alive, what does it say about our country, its citizens and our leadership? Where did this culture come from?

"I have noticed that the ones making threats of this nature come from mostly Malays who I assume are Muslims.

"Where did we, as a nation go wrong in educating these Malays? What are we teaching in our secondary schools? More importantly are our public universities producing people of such culture?

"I sincerely hope that those who made the threats have never stepped foot in our public universities because if not, I would like to ask these Vice Chancellors, what kind of Malay Malaysians are you producing?

"Yes, they are passable engineers and architects but are they barely passable Malaysian citizens, or passable Muslims or worse are they even passable human beings with a humane conscience?" he said.

Dr Tajuddin asked "Apa sudah jadi?" (What had happened?) that led to such outbursts.

"I have been to mosques and I have listened to thousands of Youtube ceramah by our so called eminent ustazs and I know that their understanding of Islam is a strong contributor to the kind of comments made by these young social media users.

"Although I feel anger towards these netizens who have made the threats like it was just a “terminator” movie of mowing people down with a big machine guns, but I am ready to forgive them because I know it was our society that have created such a culture.

"Perhaps future generations may accept my message if these people do not at the present time.

"With this incident I ask Malaysians again… are we safe to raise our children in this country? If not, should we start looking elsewhere and create a much safer place for our children to have a future?

"I write these words with a heavy heart. I write these words as a concerned Malaysian citizen and as a simple Muslim for the sake of all our children.

"And finally, I write these words as the father of Aisyah Mohd Tajuddin, the BFM girl," he said.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Now Sarawak DAP wants to leave Pakatan over hudud

Sarawak DAP sees no other option but to quit Pakatan Rakyat after the passing of hudud amendments by Kelantan PAS.

Chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the party had no choice but to consider taking the final step to leave the opposition coalition.

"I see no other option but the break-up of Sarawak Pakatan.

"However, as this is the most important decision to be made since I took the helm of the state committee in June 2013, I shall convene a state DAP committee meeting and get endorsement from the full committee," he said in a statement.

Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP, reiterated that DAP had taken a strong stand against the implementation of hudud law in Malaysia.

Noting that the Kelantan hudud amendment bill was fully supported by Umno, Chong urged Barisan Nasional component parties to make their stand not only to PAS but also to Umno.

He called on all political parties in Sarawak to condemn the passing of Kelantan's Syariah Criminal Code II 1993 and any attempt by any party to undermine the nation's secular status.

Radio station removes hudud video after presenter threatened

A journalist from radio station BFM received threats after a video in which she appeared as a presenter on the tabling of hudud laws in Kelantan went viral online.

Pictures of Aisyah Tajuddin were widely circulated on Facebook with users saying all sorts of nasty things.

BFM has since removed the video from the BFM YouTube page.

The station said it regretted the personal attacks on Aisyah who was merely a stand-in cast member of the video and not its regular presenter.

In the two-minute satire video “Hudud Isi Periuk Nasi” that was posted on Thursday, Aisya had criticised the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly for passing amendments to state's Syariah Criminal Code II 1993.

“You have made noise about hudud for a long time now. I am lazy to comment on it. But I have one thing to ask. What has happened to the flood victims in Kelantan. It has been three months and they don’t have a home,” she said in the BFM Kupas programme.

The video was produced and directed by Projek Dialog, a platform to discuss pertinent issues in the country.

Aisyah went on to say that religion was being used to distract people from the real issues such as the economy and high rates of drug use and divorce.

The video was posted on the Kelantan Story & Jj Stall Story Facebook page and was subsequently shared over 16,500 times at time of writing.

Many Facebook users had commented asking why Aisyah was questioning God’s laws and asked her to repent.

BFM said Aisyah was not the author of the script and so the views on the video were not her personal stance on the issue.

“We wholly and unreservedly condemn the vile and vicious threats that have been levelled against Aisyah Tajuddin. Such threats are not only against the laws of our country but have no place in a society that espouses peace and tolerance,” said BFM and Projek Dialog in a statement on Friday.

They also apologised for any offences that might have arose from the video.

“We have taken the decision to take down the video in view of the offence it might have caused,” added the radio station.

In another development, Gerakan legal team said they also received threats for filing an originating summons to declare the passing of the amendments illegal and void.

Sisters in Islam (SIS) assistant manager for legal advocacy and public education, Afiq M. Noor, condemned the threats as unIslamic.

“The hudud laws in Kelantan can be criticised by anyone because they are man made laws and not from God. It can also be reviewed in the courts,” he said adding that Aisyah had the freedom of speech under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

Penang Dapsy to freeze ties with PAS over hudud

Penang DAP Socialist Youth (Dapsy) has agreed to freeze ties with its PAS counterparts in support of their Dapsy National counterparts with immediate effect.

Its chief Ng Wei Aik said they will no longer have any form of contact, attend meetings, talks or even activities and programmes held by the Pemuda Pakatan Rakyat, PAS Youth or PAS.

"This is best approach to reaffirm our stand that we do not agree with PAS' move in passing the amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code 1993," he said at a press conference in Komtar Walk on Friday.

He added that the reason why Pemuda Pakatan Rakyat activities will be boycotted was because PAS is also part of it.

"We have no issues with PKR and will continue to show our support for them in the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign as Penang Dapsy and will continue to work with the Angkatan Muda Keadilan," he said.

When asked why not break away or severe ties with PAS Youth, Ng said although it is an option for them, they will continue to assess the political scenario and progress on the hudud issue.

"We will see whether UMNO will show their support when the private bill or motion is being tabled in the parliament.

"That is also critical for us," he said.

"We agree that Penang PAS and Kelantan PAS is different but we hope that some action can be seen.

"Definitely Penang PAS will not try to move any hudud bill in Penang," he added.

Najib sues Harakahdaily for defamation

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is suing Harakahdaily portal over a defamatory article in relation to the 1MDB fund and Riza Aziz, who is the Prime Minister’s stepson.

Writer and managing director Dr Rosli Yaakop as well as editor-in-chief Taufek Yahya were named as defendants.

The suit was filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Registry via Messrs Hafarizam Wan @ Aisha Mubarak on Wednesday.

It was served at the portal's office in Jalan Pahang on Friday morning.

In Najib’s statement of claim, he alleged that Harakahdaily portal published an article entitled, Dana 1MDB biayai syarikat filem Riza Aziz (Bhg 2), containing defamatory words against him on Feb 19 this year.

Counsel Fahmi Adilah is acting for Najib who is suing in his personal capacity.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

PasMa leader fears that hudud amendments will spell end of Pakatan

Persatuan Ummah Sejahtera Malaysia (PasMa) is worried that Pakatan Rakyat will break up after Kelantan passed the amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code II 1993 on Thursday. 

PasMa president Datuk Pharolrazi Zawawi said that the gap between PAS and coalition partner DAP was too big at the moment and that he could only see a break up at the moment.

“I hope they can settle this issue for the existence of Pakatan Rakyat but at this stage I believe it will be very difficult,” he told the Star Online.

He said that PAS had the right to table the hudud laws as it was their main agenda, even before Pakatan Rakyat was established seven years ago.

“Hudud is an old issue for PAS while DAP have strongly made their stand against hudud. The gap between them is too big at the moment,” he said.

When asked what PasMa would do if there was a break up, Pharolrazi said they would wait until the time came.
“We at PasMa support Pakatan Rakyat and hope they can settle the issue because otherwise Barisan Nasional will be too strong,” he said.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sharir: Umno MPs to vote according to conscience on hudud law

Muslim lawmakers from UMNO will vote according to their conscience if PAS puts forward the private member’s bill to pave way for the implementation of hudud in Kelantan.

Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said each lawmaker has to decide for themselves as this was a matter of “faith and religion”.

“I believe since it is a matter of religion, it would have to be a matter of a vote of conscience for each individual,” the Johor Baru MP told reporters at Parliament lobby, Wednesday.

Despite staunch objections from its political partner DAP, PAS had today tabled the amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code II 1993, a move many said would spell the end of Pakatan Rakyat.

The proposed amendments to seven key criminal offences seek more rotan lashes under the hudud, apostasy, illegal sexual intercourse, alcohol consumption, making unproven accusations of illicit sex, theft and robbery, causing hurt and murder.

Kelantan Mentri Besar Ahmad Yaakob said the amendments to the law that will supersede the present Penal Code, will be inserted in thee private member's bills to be tabled in Parliament by this year that needed a simple majority to enable Hudud to be practised in Kelantan.

When asked whether Umno would lend its support to PAS in order to form a simple majority, Shahrir it will all fall back to the matter of conscience.

“There is no directive from Umno, whether or not to (support). I believe it’s a matter of conscience of vote.

“So it is up to each MP whether he wants to support or not,” he said, adding that the lawmakers do not necessarily have to toe the party’s line in making decisions.

“In Barisan Nasional, we are not robotic. We don’t always say this is the party line that we must follow. We must take into consideration what the people’s interests are,” said Shahrir.

He said the Umno Kelantan lawmakers, who supported the Kelantan hudud bill, had voted based on their conscience.

“I believe so because I think it is a matter of faith and they would want to support this,” he said.

Asked on MCA’s stand that it would review ties Umno should it lend support to PAS’ hudud, Shahrir said the party needs to recognise that this was a “matter of faith”.

“I’m sure if given assurance that it is just specifically meant for Muslims, then it should not affect them,” he said.

Asked on the possibility of forging a relationship with PAS amidst Umno’s support on the bill, Shahrir said one should not speculate the matter.

Should the bill tabled in Parliament, the decision will rest on 222 members of Parliament, of whom 133 are from Barisan Nasional and a combined 89 are from DAP, PKR and PAS.

All Kelantan PAS needs is a simple majority of 112 votes to carry the bill. There are a total of 149 Muslim lawmakers in Parliament.

Selangor MB has been ill-advised over water deal

The Selangor Mentri Besar has been ill-advised when he claimed that the Federal Government wanted free land as part of the water restructuring deal in the state, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

Dr Ongkili said it was stated in the water agreement signed last Sept 12 that the assets would go together with the land and even on that matter, the Federal Government had compromised.

Selangor, he said, claimed that it had over RM14bil worth of assets – RM10bil worth of pipes and RM4bil worth of treatment plants and reservoirs.

“If that is the case, they should go with the land because if the new concessionaires want to lay new pipes, they need access to them.

“So, we compromised and said, ‘Never mind, even if you cannot give us the land, you can assign to us rights to the land,’” he said after launching the Second International Water Association Malaysia Young Professionals Conference here yesterday.

Mentri Besar Azmin Ali had reportedly said that Selangor decided not to go ahead with the water restructuring deal because the Federal Government wanted “free land”, particularly in relation to the transfer of ownership of land involving 26,000km of pipes.

He had also claimed that land was not part of the main agreement but only the handing over of assets by the concessionaires.

Dr Ongkili also denied Azmin’s claim that the Federal Government would take over the land after the 45-year lease, describing it as “nonsense”.

“Under our lease agreement, the land goes back to the state government. He has not been properly advised,” he said.

Dr Ongkili said he had written to Azmin about the outstanding issues and confusion, and suggested that their officers meet as soon as possible.

“And thereafter, we two can meet,” he said, adding that he was still looking forward to finding a solution or the “option would be tougher. There is no need for re-negotiation”.

However, in Shah Alam, Azmin said he had received Dr Ongkili’s letter stating that the Federal Government was prepared to go back to the negotiation table.

“If they are willing to return to the terms stipulated in the master agreement (signed on Sept 12), we are prepared.

“The problem is that the Federal Government started coming up with new suggestions that are not in the original agreement,” said Azmin.

He also said that Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash) had received an operating licence because it was given a year to comply with Selangor’s water restructuring exercise.

The licence given to Splash, he said, was an extraction licence for the concessionaire to tap and treat raw water before this was channelled to consumers.

Former Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had questioned Azmin over the awarding of the licence to Splash at a time when the water deal was at a stalemate.

State-owned Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) will be taking over the state’s water industry from its four concessionaires – Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Konsortium ABASS and Splash.

The first three concessionaires had agreed to the state acquiring them except for Splash.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Masing tells Dr M to let Najib do his job

It is disappointing and unacceptable for former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to go all out in his criticism against Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, said Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri James Masing

 "After all, Tun Mahathir was given 22 years to administer Malaysia and he did an excellent job despite criticisms against his administration then, Please give Najib the time to prove his worth. Don't interfere prematurely," he said in a statement Tuesday.

Masing said the strength of any political organisation depends on its solidarity and its members to stay together.

"Criticism within by its members are acceptable only if they are meant to strengthen the party and not to topple its leaders," he added, stating that Umno was no exception to the rule.

He further urged Najib's critics to allow "him and his boys" time and space to carry out the work needed for the betterment of Malaysia

"The Prime Minister has asked the relevant agencies to do an audit on it. Let them do their work," he added

New Malaysian-owned airline launched at LIMA '15

A new Malaysian-owned airline, flymojo, was launched Tuesday at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) 2015 exhibition.

The airline will be based out of Johor Baru and Kota Kinabalu, and is scheduled to start its operation in October this year.

Fly Mojo Sdn Bhd and Bombardier Commercial Aircraft have signed a letter of intent (LOI) for the sale and purchase of 20 CS100 aircraft with options for an additional 20.

The airline is set to become the first customer and operator of the CS100 aircraft in the region.

Based on the list price of the CS100 aircraft, a firm order would be valued at approximately US$1.47bil (RM5.44bil) and could increase to US$2.94bil should flymojo exercise all its options.

At the signing ceremony, flymojo was represented by its managing director Datuk Janardhanan Gopala Krishnan and Bombardier by its Asia-Pacific regional vice-president (sales) Frank Baistrocchi.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tony Pua to be hauled up over "Royal" tweet

DAP national publicity chief Tony Pua can expect police to come knocking on his door over a tweet he posted after the detention of PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar.

"@PDRMsia akan panggil YB Ini menjelaskan apa maksud beliau dgn 'Royal my foot'. Adakah di tujukan kpd Raja2 Melayu? (@PDRM will call this YB to explain what he means by 'Royal my foot'. Is it directed to the Malay rulers?" Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar tweeted via @KBAB51 on Monday.

Pua, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, had earlier tweeted "Bastards. Real bastards. Royal my foot" along with a link to an article on Nurul Izzah's arrest.

The post has now been edited to just read "Bastards". Pua could not be reached for comment.

Nurul Izzah was remanded overnight at the Jinjang police station under the Sedition Act. Her remand hearing is expected at 10am on Tuesday.

She was alleged to have made seditious remarks while delivering a speech in Parliament on behalf of her father, jailed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, last Tuesday.

The Lembah Pantai MP was detained at the Dang Wangi police station on Monday at 3.30pm after giving her statement on the March 7 “Kita Lawan” rally.

Nurul Izzah detained under Sedition Act

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (pic) has been arrested under the Sedition Act for allegedly making a seditious remark in a speech in Parliament last Tuesday.

The PKR vice-president was detained at the Dang Wangi police station on Monday at 3.30pm, soon after appearing at the station to give her statement on the March 7 “Kita Lawan” rally.

"ASP Muniandy informed me that I have been detained on orders from the D5 deputy director general in Bukit Aman," she tweeted at 3.25pm.

“The police haven't told us yet which parts of the speech are seditious or whether the entire speech is seditious,”  PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said when contacted.

According to him, Nurul has been held under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act.

Last Tuesday, Izzah read out Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s speech in Parliament, where she spoke out against her father’s imprisonment for sodomy and allegedly attacked the judiciary.

PKR’s Padang Serai MP N. Surendran said in a statement earlier that the sedition investigation initiated against the Lembah Pantai MP was “unconstitutional” as it interfered with the rights and privileges of Parliament.
“Article 63(2) of the Federal Constitution confers immunity from any proceedings in court for anything said by an MP in the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

Umno Youth: Jawi should not abuse its power to intimidate

Umno Youth social media bureau chairman Ibdilillah Ishak says that the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) should not abuse its power for the purpose of intimidation.

"I am against the decision of Jawi to prosecute the Borders Midvalley manager Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Raina in the case of the sale of Irshad Manji’s controversial book Allah, Liberty and Love," said Ibdilillah in a statement Monday.

"Prosecution should be fair, and not used to scare the other party or to show their strength," he said.

Ibdilillah claimed that the manager has become the victim due to the mistake committed by Borders board of directors.

Hence, the Syariah High Court acquitted her because they felt that the manager is not the one who decides what books are sold at the bookstore chain.

"It is common knowledge that Jawi's authority only falls on Muslims, and that is why the Jawi decided to prosecute the manager rather than Borders as a company," said Ibdilillah.

He further questioned why Jawi did not charge a Muslim in the board of directors of Borders instead.

"Was this done because it is easier for Jawi to prosecute the manager rather than a member on the board of directors," asked Ibdilillah.

Although Jawi declared the sale of the book as illegal before the date of arrest, Ibdilillah questioned if the notice to all the bookstores given in sufficient time.

"This raises many questions about the motives of Jawi," he said.

"Do they want to establish the religion of Islam or create public hatred against Islam?"

Ibdilillah said that the March 2012 raid and arrest of Borders Midvalley store manager was "contrary to Islamic law".

On Sunday, news of Jawi filing for an appeal against the Syariah High Court’s Feb 26 decision last month to discharge Borders bookstore manager broke.

Nik Raina was charged under Section 13 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997 in June 2012 for the offence of "disseminating and distributing" by way of selling the books deemed contrary to Islamic law.

On Dec 30 last year, the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya ruled that Jawi’s seizure of the books was unlawful.

Mass resignation by Batu PAS committee members in protest over Hadi’s leadership

In an act of protest against party president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, more than half of Batu PAS  branch committee members have resigned from their posts.

Batu PAS chairman Ishak Surin (pic) said that the resignation of 17 out of PAS Batu’s 25 committee members was due to the dissatisfaction that the members felt towards the party’s central leadership.

“We feel disappointed and sad for what we feel is the failure of PAS’ central leadership, especially the president, for failing to manage the party’s internal issues which have led to prolonged crises in the party.

“The president should hold discussions with grassroots party members to address internal issues within the party that have led to disunity among members,” explained Ishak at a press conference on Monday.

He said that many grassroots members of the party felt that they have been left in the dark over important issues in the party.

He added that they also did not agree with Hadi’s behaviour towards the other two parties in Pakatan Rakyat, PKR and DAP, which they felt might jeopardise the coalition.

“We hope that the president will not be indecisive on issues that involve PAS and Pakatan Rakyat, as he did during the Selangor mentri besar issue,” he said.

PAS Batu vice-chairman Datuk Tarmizi Mohd Jam added that it is especially important that Hadi maintained the unity between PAS and other parties in Pakatan Rakyat.

“This (the mass  resignation) is for PAS and Pakatan Rakyat, as without Pakatan Rakyat, PAS will be stronger,” said Tarmizi, adding that it is important for Pakatan Rakyat to stay united for the next general election.

He hoped that the resignation of PAS Batu committee members will spur the party’s central leadership and other members of the party to work towards addressing both the party’s internal issues and its issues with other parties within the Pakatan Rakyat.

“Let us become the candle (lilin) and be burned in sacrifice to ensure a better future for PAS,” he added.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Two aerobatic planes crash at Lima practice session

Two airplanes of Indonesia’s Jupiter aerobatics team crashed during a practice session at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) 2015 exhibition on Sunday.

In the 2pm incident, the KAI KT-1B Woongbi planes were said to have grazed each other before crashing. Plumes of smoke were seen in the crash site near the Langkawi International Airport.

One of the pilots is seen on a stretcher after being rescued by firemen following the crash in Langkawi. Photo by Fire and Rescue Services Department

The pilots of both planes landed safely on their parachutes after ejecting from the planes. They were located by Fire and Rescue Services Depratment staff and rushed to the Langkawi Hospital.

The wreckage of the planes were found scattered over a wide forested area at the edge of the airport. One of the planes' seat was found near to a house.

An eyewitness, Markus Chong, said he saw two pilots ejected before the planes crashed.

“Two in mid-air collision from Jupiter Aerobatic Team. Both pilots ejected. Hopefully no injuries on ground,” he posted on Facebook.

It is learnt that all practices and aerial displays were halted immediately as search and rescue helicopters were deployed to find the missing pilots.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Muhyiddin: Malaysian students surprisingly below par

Malaysian students are surprisingly not on par with their foreign counterparts, despite the nation having one of the biggest budget allocations for education worldwide, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

"What has become an issue for us is why  our students' performance still isn't as good as those in developed nations, despite huge funds pumped into the education sector," said the Education Minister.

Muhyiddin, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said that 21% of the 2015 Budget was invested in the education sector, from pre-school up to university level.

He added the amount allocated was the same or even more than some foreign countries, including developed countries such as the United States.

He added that it was no secret that Malaysian students were at the bottom third of international examinations such as Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

Admitting that he was shocked at the findings, he said he had to accept the facts.

"Let us acknowledge that we have to accept this as a fact," said Muhyiddin, adding that a solution could be found to have students who are on par with others in developed countries.

PetroSaudi dismisses 'inaccurate' online criticism

PetroSaudi International (PSI) has dismissed online criticism of its former joint venture with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), labelling them as "inaccurate".

The Saudi Arabia-based oil exploration and services company

"Any suggestions of wrongdoing in the online allegations about the partnership are simply false. All the capital invested by 1MDB has been returned – with profits," an unnamed spokesperson for the Saudi-based oil exploration and services company was quoted as saying in a statement Friday.

It said that the joint venture, which ended in 2012, was in fact a 'win-win' for Malaysia and PetroSaudi, and any information relating to the joint venture was publicly available in the audited accounts of 1MDB at the Malaysia Companies Commission.

"Unfair or false attacks on investors and partners of Malaysia only serve to damage the country," said the statement.

It said PetroSaudi was committed to delivering successful projects in the petroleum sector globally, working with its partners to international standards of corporate governance and due diligence.

"We will not be deterred by inaccurate or malicious stories that have circulated online.    

"Some of those reports appear to be based on selective and distorted extracts of copies of internal company emails and documents, the originals of which we believe to have been obtained unlawfully and in some cases altered.

"We are actively considering our legal options," it added.

PSI, a global oil exploration and services company operating in Latin America, Asia and Africa, is headquartered in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia with offices in London, Geneva, Houston, Jakarta, Carupano and Caracas.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bung Moktar: PAS' prayers for Umno's downfall led to Kelantan floods

The massive floods which hit Kelantan and the Sultan Muhammad IV stadium in particular was due to PAS' prayers for the downfall of Umno, Datuk Bung Moktar Radin claimed.

In his debate during the motion of thanks on the Royal address, the Kinabatangan MP hit out at PAS for accusing the Federal Government of not assisting when floods ravaged the state late last year.

"Umno was often accused of being cruel and yet, we still went to Kelantan to help the people in need.

"When you prayed for Umno's destruction at that stadium, which was never touched by flood for hundreds of years, suddenly in return floods hit the stadium too," Bung said in Parliament on Thursday.

On Nov 2012, PAS, in conjunction of its muktamar, had held prayers for the fall of Barisan Nasional and Umno's destruction at Sultan Muhammad IV stadium in Kota Baru.

Bung pointed out that even the Kelantan Mentri Besar had admitted that "he could not do anything" during the recent floods, before Umno offered assistance.
He also noted that Government agencies such as the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra) had spent some RM13mil to help the flood victims in the state.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Govt did not breach Selangor water deal, Ongkili tells Azmin

Putrajaya has not breached the water agreement with the Selangor state government, said Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

The Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister noted that the deal had not come into force due to Selangor’s failure to fulfil certain conditions precedent.

He said that unresolved issues by the Selangor government, namely the transfer of assets and finalisation of the listing of assets, had caused the delay in the agreement taking effect.

“We hope the Selangor state leadership under the current MB will honour the previous agreement. If not, the lives of the people of Selangor will be affected and they will have to suffer,” said an exasperated Ongkili in reply to Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday.

The minister urged Azmin to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim who had held 32 meetings to conclude the agreement last September.

On Monday, Azmin announced that Selangor would not extend the water agreement between the state government and Putrajaya as it had lapsed.

Free Anwar petition removed from White House website

A petition to free jailed Opposition leader Datuk Sri Anwar Ibrahim on the White House website has been removed for violating “terms of participation”.

“The petition you are trying to access has been removed from the site under our Moderation Policy because it is in violation of our Terms of Participation,” read the link on the website on Tuesday.

The website allows Americans to ask the Obama administration to take action on a range of important issues facing the country.

It states that the White House will review a petition if it gets enough support. The government will then send it to appropriate policy experts and issue an official response.

It is unsure how the Anwar petition violated the website's terms.

Under the terms of participation, petitions that contain threats of unlawful violence, lewd material or defamatory statements could be deemed to have violated the terms.

Petitioners however have the right to seek reconsideration of the removal of the petition.

At about 10am, Tuesday Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang tweeted that another 3,733 signatures were needed to reach 100,000.

As a result of the petition’s removal, supporters of the jailed Opposition leader have bombarded the Facebook page of the United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur with messages.

Many people have posted comments on Embassy’s posts, questioning why the petition was removed.

“Hello, I am a supporter of ‘Make the release of Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim from prison a top priority for US policy toward Malaysia’ petition. I do not agree that we have violated your Terms of Participation and your removal of this petition is an act of suppressing our freedom of speech. Please tell us how we violated the rules or recover the petition immediately. Thank you,” read the comment.

The United States in February released a statement on its official website (whitehouse.gov) saying it had “serious concerns” regarding the Federal Court’s decision to uphold the guilty verdict and five-year jail sentence on Anwar for sodomy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

MACC nabs Felda subsidiary CEO over Port Dickson hotel purchase

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency confirmed on Monday that two people were arrested over alleged misappropriation of funds belonging to a Felda subsidiary.

Special operations director Datuk Bahri Mohamad Zin said one of two - the 44-year-old chief executive officer of the subsidiary - was arrested on March 1 and would be remanded until March 10.

He said the other suspect, a businessman, also 44, was nabbed on Feb 26 and was released when his remand ended on March 7.

The two men were detained in connection with the purchase of a hotel in Port Dickson worth RM40mil.

Bahri said the MACC have recorded statements from 23 people over the case.

It was earlier reported that the son of Felda group chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad was among two businessmen quizzed by the MACC over the purchase of a hotel in London.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

No protection if misconduct detected in 1MDB, Najib assures Umno leaders

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given the undertaking that no one will be protected if any misconduct is detected in the running of 1MDB.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, who was tasked with speaking to reporters after Najib had briefed some 160 Umno division chiefs on 1MDB at a closed-door meeting at Putra World Trade Centre on Sunday, said all those present at the meeting "fully supported" the explanation given by Najib.

Ismail said Najib gave the assurance that he would ensure that "no one would be protected" if misappropriation in the government-backed fund was discovered.

"This means that there is nothing to be protected by the Prime Minister and there is nothing that the government is trying to protect. This is what the president has explained and all division heads are satisfied with the explanation," said Ismail.

According to Ismail, Najib said the 1MDB accounts had undergone a more detailed "forensic audit," and no elements of misconduct, fraud or embezzlement were discovered by audit firm Deloitte.

Najib, after the weekly Cabinet meeting, had directed that the 1MDB accounts be scrutinised by the Auditor-General and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to ensure a clean bill of health.

"The commitment of the president is the same as that decided by the Cabinet. The president has explained that we will not protect anyone if misconduct is found within 1MDB," said Ismail.

Ismail said the additional steps and explanation by Najib, who is Prime Minister, was necessary amidst "accusations and slander" hurled on him on 1MDB.

He said Najib had called for solidarity and the strengthening of Umno ahead of next year's party elections.

He said Sunday's meeting was a "usual meeting" and arranged by the division leaders for the purpose of hearing a response from the party president on current issues.

He said it would be part of a biannual meeting to be chaired by Najib.

According to Ismail, the estimated 160 division chiefs accepted Najib's explanation and there were no questions from the floor. Umno has 191 divisions throughout the nation.

Notably absent from the meeting was Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin.

Ismail said Mukhriz, who is Jerlun Umno division chief, had to accompany the Sultan of Kedah at a function.

However, Ismail explained that the absence of other division chiefs was due to their prior commitments and should not be interpreted to mean anything else.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Kota Baru PAS set to name Hadi’s challenger

Kota Baru PAS is expected to name a candidate to challenge party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (pic) for the No. 1 post in the upcoming party elections, a local news portal reports.

All party divisions kicked off their annual general meetings Saturday and according to the report, the Kota Baru division has already picked its candidate.

Saturday’s meeting will decide if the candidate is accepted by all members in the division.

On Tuesday, a senior PAS leader predicted that president’s post would be contested in the upcoming party elections.

He said he expected more than one candidate to challenge Hadi if he decides to defend his post.

Judging from the mood on the ground, there could be several nominations for the top post, said the leader who requested anonymity.

PAS secretary-general later Mustafa Ali’s later predicted that the No. 1 post would be uncontested because there was no capable leader in the party to take on Hadi, who has the backing of the ulama faction.
Hadi has not been challenged since he took over as acting president following the death of Datuk Fadzil Noor in 2002.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Najib sues Tony Pua, portal owner for defamation

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is suing PJ Utara MP Tony Pua and MediaRakyat portal owner Chan Chee Kong for defamation. 

Najib filed the suit through Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak at the KL High Court civil registry on Thursday.

A copy of the suit will be served to the defendants’ solicitors on Friday. 

In the lawsuit, Najib said Pua had delivered a speech at a DAP fund-raising dinner on Nov 3 last year relating to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).  

He said the speech was then uploaded by Chan or his agents onto MediaRakyat's YouTube channel and MediaRakyat's webpage. 

Najib is seeking an apology, a retraction of the statement and compensation.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Najib instructs A-G to vet 1MDB's accounts

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) has instructed the Auditor-General to verify 1Malaysia Development Berhad's (1MDB) accounts and forward the findings to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

In a statement on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that the A-G’s report would be passed for transparent inspection to the PAC, which is bi-partisan.

“If any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception,” Najib said.

1MDB and its auditors were asked to brief Cabinet on Wednesday over its current situation and responded to questions posed by the ministers, including the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Cabinet was told that recent allegations directed at 1MDB were related to transactions undertaken by third parties and not 1MDB.

All SPM 9A scorers to get bursaries

All students who scored 9A+ and above in the 2014 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) will receive bursaries from the Education Ministry.

The bursary will cover the students’ pre-university studies to be done locally before continuing with their first degree either locally or overseas.

The pre-university studies being offered are the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), Matriculation, Foundation, A-Levels and A-Levels and International Baccalaureate (IB).

The Education Ministry said in a statement that the bursary would be automatically offered to all students who scored 9A+ irrespective of ethnicity, race and family background and covers academic fees, cost of living and accommodation allowances.

Students can check their offers through the Education Ministry’s Bursary Online Application System at www.moe.gov.my from today (March 4) to June 30.

Students need to read and understand the requirements and update their information through the Bursary Online Application System.

For more information, they can also contact the minitsry’s Sponsorship Division at hotline 03-8321 7086 or e-mail bt.bursary@moe.gov.my.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hadi will be challenged, predicts PAS leader

A senior PAS leader has predicted that president's post will be contested in the upcoming party elections.

He expects more than one candidate to challenge PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang if he decides to defend his post.

Judging from the mood on the ground, there could be several nominations for the top post, said the leader who requested anonymity.

"PAS is a very democratic and that there will be a keen contest this time around as there are a lot of issues in the party," the leader said.

He commenting on PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali’s prediction that the number one post would be uncontested because there was no capable leader in the party to take on Hadi, who has the backing of the pro-ulama faction.

“Let the presidency be contested. Constitutionally, all positions of executive are open to nomination and contest. This is what you call a democracy," he said.

Hadi has never been challenged since he took over as acting president following the death of Datuk Fadzil Noor in 2002.

The leader, who is aligned to the "moderate" faction in PAS, said a contest was as an important form of check and balance to bring forward any political party.

“It would be in the best interests of the party for every post to be contested. Nobody should ever imagine himself to be indispensable and could do no wrong,” he said.

He said that leadership was multi-dimensional and that the most knowledgeable person might not be the best choice to run the party.

“There are other competencies such as strategising and management coupled with the demands of coalition politics,” he said.

The leader was agreeable to suggestions by some moderates that Hadi should be "promoted" to the spiritual adviser role previously held by the late Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

“Give him (Hadi) some face and dignity. Let him go up rather than being demoted,” he said.

The leader said that PAS was not short of leaders such as Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, Ahmad Awang, Datuk Husam Musa, Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Salahuddin Ayub.

“By allowing a contest, delegates will have the chance to listen to new ideas and ways of solving problems,” he said.

A candidate needs at least two nominations from a division to qualify for a contest.

The Bar Council’s credibility problem

In 2012, after three years in the civil service, I left to complete the last phase of my legal education. Despite graduating in law in 2008, I postponed my chambering or pupilage (as it is known in England and Wales) and I believed that after four years it was wise for me to complete it.

The chambering process is a nine month legal training that is conducted jointly by the Bar Council, the relevant state bar committee and also the law firm in which the chambering student’s master is practicing in.

However, a lot of the seminars I attended during the course of my legal training as a chambering student was informative but was heavily peppered with critiques of the government and government policy.

As a former civil servant, I was obviously perturbed by this trend but I also found that my colleagues who were undertaking the training with me were not necessarily sold on this anti-government slant that was adopted most of the time.

While some tension between the legal profession and the government is a necessary feature of any democracy but at the same time one should never oppose for the sake of it.

In 2011, the Bar Council in an Extraordinary General Meeting condemned the government’s handling of the Bersih 3.0 rally even before any official findings could be made by the authorities or the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM).

By jumping the gun, the Bar Council hurt its own credibility because no one should be pronounced as guilty of any wrongdoing before a full and proper investigation and hearing.

Fast forward to 2015, the Bar Council claimed that the government was persecuting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after he was found guilty by the Federal Court for sexually assaulting his former aide.

Malaysia is a constitutional democracy that practices the doctrine of separation of powers and to insinuate that the executive influenced the judiciary in Anwar’s case is mischievous.

There have been a myriad of instances when the courts have decided against the executive and the government as a whole be it in defamation and other cases.

In times like this the Bar Council should highlight the judiciary’s independence and not seek to undermine the administration of justice and the rule of law by constantly painting a picture of judicial manipulation by the executive every time a decision is made that some members of the Bar find disconcerting.

I have many good friends who practice as lawyers and I welcome the scrutiny that the Bar Council seeks to provide however they must do so in a just and fair manner minus their personal political proclivities.

The Bar Council must work with the government of the day to ensure proper and effective administration of justice and the rule of law is upheld.

by Ivanpal S. Grewal

Telcos throw support behind Government's cheaper broadband call

Local telecommunication companies have thrown their support behind the Government's call for more affordable broadband Internet access.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Datuk Seri Dr Halim Shafie, who met chief executives of the service providers last Friday, said they shared the concern on the issue of affordability, particularly among the lower-income group.

He said several important issues such as quality of service and the future direction of the industry focusing on innovation and content to enrich user experience were discussed at the meeting.

"This is a positive response from the industry and I hope that the support by the industry CEOs will speed up the consultation process," said Dr Halim said in a statement.

In the statement, Axiata's group CEO Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim said the move to lower service charges would benefit the industry in the long run.

DiGi chief operating officer Albern Murty also expressed his support, saying the company's aspiration to deliver Internet for all is rooted on the principle of affordable access for broadband and mobile Internet services.

Maxis CEO Morten Lundal said that as a digital enabler, they were continuously helping their customers to have better Internet access by delivering the very best and worry-free propositions.

"There is a fundamental change in the way we are using the Internet today and Maxis is in full support of having affordable mobile services which will help complement that change," he said.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek recently said the Government would suggest structural reviews on payment for broadband services as the cost of installing fibre optic cables had declined following the drop in global oil prices.