Friday, April 29, 2016

#PRNSarawak : PKR-DAP clash the talk of Mambong town

The rural town of Mambong, some 40 minutes south of Kuching city, is in the limelight this election as one of six seats seeing a rare clash between Opposition allies DAP and PKR.

Barisan Nasional incumbent Datuk Dr Jerip Susil (pic) is well-liked by his constituents and is seen as having a good chance of retaining his seat.

However, it is the clash between PKR and DAP that has been the talk of the town since nomination day.

Coffee shop owner Jeff Low, 36, says while he supports Dr Jerip, he sees PKR candidate Willie Mongin as stronger than his DAP counterpart Sanjan Daik.

“PKR is stronger than DAP here. I think DAP fielded a new face, who is unfamiliar to the village folk.

“Willie has done more for the people here compared to Sanjan,” he said, adding that the PKR candidate extended a lot of help to the villagers during the flash floods earlier this year.

Kampung Mambong resident County Rudin said there is little to choose between Barisan and the PKR candidates.

“We can usually see Dr Jerip and Willie in the village a lot, but no so much the DAP candidate,” she said.

Meanwhile, PKR supporter Reding Kadun expressed his frustration at the clash between the Opposition allies.

“I feel geram (upset) because we were hoping for a direct fight, but this is a democracy so anyone can contest. But we hope that people will vote for Willie,” he said.

The 52-year-old former teacher said both the PKR and DAP candidates are of Bidayuh descent, which could give them a fair share of supporters and split the votes in Barisan’s favour.

Another PKR supporter, Philip Ayan, said DAP may have an ulterior motive in fielding a candidate in Mambong.

“We should never support DAP because they have never done anything for the village, unlike Willie,” said the 59-year-old Bidayuh pensioner.

But pensioner Sakim Risut, 57, has a different view, claiming that PKR has done nothing for the villagers.

“I worked with PKR before, but do not support them anymore because their candidate left us and went to Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

He was referring to Willie, who is said to regularly commute between Kuching and Kuala Lumpur, where his family is based.

Sakim added that he supports DAP candidate Sanjan because the party “fights for all races”.

#PRNSarawak : Govt resolving NCR land issues, says Najib

Everything possible is being done to resolve Sarawak’s native customary rights (NCR) land issues affecting its indigenous communities, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

The Prime Minister said the Federal government was doing its part by contributing some RM100mil for the survey of NCR land in Sarawak and Sabah.

“This is being done, it is work in progress and the results will come,” he said at a meet-the-people session here on Friday.

Najib was in Sarawak’s northernmost bordering Sabah’s Sipitang district to muster up support for Barisan Nasional’s Ba’Kelalan candidate Willie Liau who taking on PKR incumbent Baru Bian.

Present were PBB vice president Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Bukit Sari seat in Lawas who won the seat uncontested.

Najib said the opposition, including Baru, could no longer harp on the NCR land issue as it was being resolved by the ruling Barisan. Some 730,000ha of such land had been surveyed so far.

"This is what happens when there is a close working relationship between state and the Federal government. We get things done,” he added.

He said Tan Sri Adenan Satem had proven his mettle as Chief Minister by successfully implementing 53 policies in just two years into the post.

On the other hand, the opposition was a fractious lot bent on serving their own interests only, he added.

He said the RM16bil Pan Borneo highway linking Sarawak and Sabah would benefit Lawas as it would be stopover for travellers between both states as well as Brunei.

Najib said Malaysia was also negotiating with Brunei to simplify the entry and exit procedures for Malaysians travelling between both states without having to go through Brunei.

“We know that Malaysians will have to have their passports stamped eight times and we are working with Brunei to simplify this,” he added.

The Prime Minister said the construction of the dual lane highway was another example of how much priority he had placed in seeing the development of both states.

“Sarawak and Sabah are important. I have visited Sarawak 51 times, that is more than a predecessor who was Prime Minister for 22 years,” Najib said to the loud applause of the 3,000 people present.

He said Sarawak and Sabah was also important to him personally as both states are the best example of the 1Malaysia concept.

"Here people of all religions and races can sit side by side with no qualms,” Najib said adding that the government would continue to guarantee freedom of all communities to practice their religious beliefs.

“We are fair to all. But if there are any issues, we can sit down and discuss,” the Prime Minister added.

On the proposed new airport for Lawas, Najib said the project would be undertaken under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

Earlier, Awang Tengah said a new airport for the district was needed as the present one located about 2km from town tend to flood and part of the area was facing erosion problems.

Noting that the present airport could only accommodate the 19-seater Twin Otter aircraft, he said the new facility should allow the larger ATR72-500 to operate.

“This would not only benefit the people of Lawas but also Sipitang and Beaufort in Sabah as well,” he added.

#PRNSarawak : PBB sacks member for contesting as Independent

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) has sacked party member Wan Abdillah Edruce Wan Abdul Rahman for contesting as an Independent in Lingga in the state election.

PBB president and Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said Wan Abdillah Edruce, also known as Boudeng, is no longer a member of PBB.

"I have given orders for him to be sacked. We want to show our displeasure with him," he told reporters.

Adenan reiterated that he had already made it very clear that no independent candidate would be accepted into Barisan Nasional even if they won.

The Lingga constituency will see a three-cornered fight involving Wan Abdillah, BN candidate Simoi Peri and PKR's Abang Zulkifli Abang Engkeh.

PBB on Monday sacked Watson Bangau, a party Supreme Council member and former political secretary to the chief minister for contesting as an independent in the Bawang Assan seat.

#PRNSarawak : Weekly Cabinet meeting moved to Kuching

With eight Cabinet ministers who are from Sarawak, it is only appropriate that the weekly Cabinet meeting be held here - the first time it is held outside the Federal capital in 17 years it  - to coincide with the state elections.

Culture and Tourism Minister  Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz (pic) said it was more convenient for the ministers to meet in Kuching ahead of the elections on May 7.

The meeting is scheduled for the coming Wednesday held at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, which is now vacant due to the dissolution of the state assembly.

This was also because there are eight Federal ministers from Sarawak in the Cabinet, compared to three previously, Nazri told The Star Online.

"Next week is just a few more days before voting and of course the Sarawak ministers would not be able to attend the meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

“It is also convenient for other ministers in the relevant portfolios to be around during the Sarawak election and it is convenient for us too,” he said.

Nazri said the last Cabinet meeting held outside Kuala Lumpur was in 1999 in Langkawi during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima).

Palace says only one name nominated for Bank Negara governor

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, consented to only one name that was nominated for the post of Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), said Istana Negara.

"It is notified that there was no other name apart from the nominee that had been presented to His Majesty for consent," said Datuk Wira Awang Kecik Abdul Rahman, the Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja of Istana Negara,  in a statement, here Thursday.

"For the purpose that was stated, His Majesty had consented to give his signature for the appointment on Tuesday, April 26 2016," he said.

As such, he said, the allegation that there was a "U-Turn" in the appointment of the post was totally not true.

The statement from Istana Negara refuted foreign media reports on the a U-Turn in the appointment of Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim as the successor to Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akthar Aziz, 68, who retires as the Governor of Bank Negara on Saturday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Wednesday announced that Muhammad was appointed as Bank Negara Governor for a five-year term beginning May 1, 2016.

Najib said Muhammad's appointment had received the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

#PRNSarawak : Opposition is full of talk, says Salleh Said

The Opposition is "all rant and no returns", says Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.

"Their chief minister in Penang faces accusations that are now being investigated. It means that they only talk, but they never do what they say," he said during his visit to the Al-Muhajirin Mosque in Kampung Usahajaya Baru, here, Thursday.

Salleh Said was referring to issues surrounding the Pinhorn Road bungalow purchase by Lim Guan Eng, who is also DAP secretary-general.

Also present was Special Affairs Department (Jasa) director-general Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi.

"(DAP advisor) Lim Kit Siang himself admitted that in Sarawak, it will be Chief Minister Adenan for five more years. He has admitted defeat.

"And if we know the Sarawak chief minister is going to be from Barisan, we must make sure the state seats are Barisan also," said Salleh Said.

He was referring to the veteran politician's response to Adenan's warning that voting for the Opposition could result in the "grim possibility" of Sarawak being governed by Peninsular Malaysia parties.

Kit Siang had said that the most the Opposition could do was to deny Barisan a two-thirds majority in the state assembly.

Salleh Said's first stop in Sibu was to whip up support for the ruling party, which is in a five-cornered fight for the Dudong seat in this Chinese-majority area.

The incumbent, DAP's Yap Hoi Liong, won by a 317-vote majority over the current Barisan candidate Datuk Tiong Thai King in a three-cornered fight in 2011.

"This time, we can win if we ensure that every single supporter goes out and votes," Salleh Said told the villagers.

The other three candidates for this hot seat are independent Datuk Seri Benny Lee, who is the former Dudong SUPP branch vice-chairman; Mary Ting (STAR); and independent Casper Kayong.

However, Salleh Said was dismissive of the lot.

"STAR is no longer laku (viable) in Sabah, what more Sarawak? Independent, free to go where?

"DAP and PKR are fighting among themselves ... So the reason they are in politics is not to help the rakyat, but to get posts for themselves.

"Vote for Barisan Nasional, the ruling party that wants to solve problems," said the Sabah Umno deputy chief.

A simple lunch of plain white rice, half a salted egg, fried fish and tomato sambal was given to the guests at the mosque, who had packed the hall well before 10am in anticipation of the minister's arrival at 11.30am.

After his speech, Salleh Said handed out contributions of cooking oil and rice in Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia bags to 100 attendees, comprising 60 Malay Melanaus, 20 Ibans and 20 Chinese.

Also mentioned was a fund to sponsor activities at the mosque and provide infrastructure, such as two computer units.

Salleh Said posed for photos with the aid recipients before leaving for a newspaper subscription event at University College Technology Sarawak and another grassroots event in Kanowit, about an hour's drive from Sibu.

#PRNSarawak : Najib visits village named after his father

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak got a rousing reception at a village here named after his father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein who opened the settlement half a century ago. 

Kampung Tun Razak, was launched on Nov 13, 1966, with the visit of Tun Abdul Razak who was then deputy prime minister, something which subsequent generations of villagers have not forgotten. 

“On Nov 13, 1966, my father came to Triboh so now it is his son’s turn to come here. 

“History repeats itself, so if Tun Razak has done many good deeds, I also want to do good deeds to the people of Sarawak because the people of Sarawak have been sincere in supporting Barisan Nasional,” said Najib. 

The Barisan chairman and Prime Minister flew by helicopter to this village located about 80km from Kuching on Thursday. 

He was warmly greeted by hundreds of villagers and supporters who rushed to shake his hand as he arrived for a gathering at the village community hall. 

Outside the hall was a commemorative plaque explaining how the village, which used to be known as Kampung Triboh, was now Kampung Tun Razak, following the 1966 visit of Tun Razak. 

The multi-racial village has a large number of people from the Bidayuh and Iban Remun communities. 

Najib said a Barisan government would strive to bring development to all regardless of race or religious beliefs. 

“We don’t count whether we are Iban, Melanau, Malay, Bidayuh, Chinese or any other copy, we are all Sarawakians who are independent in Malaysia,” he said. 

Najib also said as the leader of the Federal Government, he would protect the interests of all communities. 

“I am Apai Besai (No. 1 leader) of Malaysia, and I have to look after all of the country from Perlis to Sabah and all of Sarawak. 

“I will make sure that the government takes care of all Malaysians because we are all one big family,” he added.

The village is located in the Bukit Semuja state constituency. 

Also present during Najib’s visit was the Barisan direct candidate for Bukit Semuja John Ilus. 

He is in a five-way fight for the new seat against Edward Luak from DAP, Johny Bob Aput from Star, Cobbold John Lusoi from PBDS Baru and independent Datuk Frederick Bayoi Manggie. 

Bukit Semuja has 13,365 voters comprising 47.8% Bidayuh, 21.7% Chinese, 17.2% Malay/Melanau, 12.6% Iban with the remaining 0.7% from other communities.

PM: Defend nation’s prosperity

Malaysians should defend peace and prosperity in the country which have improved over the years, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said the Government would continue to do its best for everyone in the country.
“As Malaysians, we should preserve and defend what we have,” Najib said in a short speech at the Darul Ibadah mosque in Batu Kawah here before joining in the congregational isyak prayers.

He also noted that the effect of the Arab Spring uprising for change in some Muslims countries had been disappointing.

He said there was foreign interference in some of these countries, which affected their peace.
“Therefore, we should not be taken in by any slander which can cause us to be unable to defend what we have,” he added.

Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, later attended a gathering at a nearby community hall located in the Batu Kawah constituency.

Also present was the Barisan candidate for the seat and SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.
The constituency in Kuching city is 62.3% Chinese, 17.7% Malay/Melanau, 9.7% Iban, 8.3% Bidayuh and 0.5% Orang Ulu, with other communities comprising 5.1%.

The Prime Minister, who arrived yesterday, is expected to be in Sarawak until Saturday.

#PRNSarawak : DAP-PKR seat spat continues

Three days into the election campaign, PKR and DAP are like cats and dogs with both parties openly blaming each other for the seat allocation fiasco that led to both sides clashing in six seats.

The parties, which are part of Pakatan Harapan, held simultaneous press conferences yesterday to counter each other’s attacks.

At the PKR operations centre, vice-president Dr Xavier Jayakumar made it clear that the party would not take up DAP’s suggestion to withdraw from five seats in exchange for Batu Kitang.

He said PKR’s candidates in Mambong, Ngemah, Simanggang, Murum and Mulu all had strong credentials.

“These are people with proven track records of fighting for the people of Sarawak,” he said, adding that DAP should not split the votes.

Dr Xavier, who is Sarawak PKR joint operations director, said the one-for-five exchange of seats proposed by DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke showed that DAP was not serious about Batu Kitang.

“In comparison with the DAP candidate who was fielded at the last minute, PKR’s candidate for Batu Kitang, Voon Shiak Ni, has been working the ground for nearly 10 years.”

Over at DAP’s headquarters here, the party’s state chief Chong Chieng Jen told reporters they would “leave PKR alone” for now.

“As far as we are concerned, our battle is against Barisan Nasional. Let’s leave PKR alone.

“They can say what they want. Let’s just ignore them as we are close to defeating Barisan,” he said.

However, Chong accused PKR of affecting DAP’s popularity by contesting in Batu Kitang.

Citing a survey, he said the findings indicated that DAP had a winning chance of 55% compared with Barisan’s 45% in the seats it was eyeing.

“But because of PKR, I’d estimate that this has reduced our chances to 45%,” he said.

“I believe we can turn it around. Whatever is said by PKR, let’s just put it aside.”

He said DAP would not bow out of Bukit Kitang despite its earlier initiative to offer it to PKR.

#PRNSarawak : PKR and DAP release separate manifestos

There appears to be no end to the rivalry between the state PKR and DAP after both parties opted to launch separate manifestos for the Sarawak election.

It is a far cry from the Opposition pact’s previous outing in Sarawak in 2011, when Pakatan Rakyat displayed a united front by announcing a joint manifesto.

PKR launched its five election promises and 18-point roadmap on Tuesday, while the DAP followed up with its own list of 10 key policy reforms yesterday.

At a glance, the manifestos appear to contain similar aspirations for the state by both parties, especially on key issues such as land autonomy, education, public transportation and forest restoration.

PKR vice-president Dr Xavier Jeyakumar acknowledged at a press conference yesterday that there were not many differences between the manifestos issued by both parties.

Meanwhile, Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen evaded questions from the media on the absence of a joint manifesto.

“There are many other reasons,” he said, although he refused to elaborate on what those factors were.

Parti Amanah Negara, which partners PKR and DAP, said it would not release its own manifesto as it was only contesting in 13 seats.

Instead, it would highlight issues faced by the constituencies in which it was contesting, said party deputy president Salahuddin Ayub.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#PRNSarawak : Sarawak residential property assessment rates slashed

Sarawak has reduced its residential property assessment rates for 2016 and is waiving payments for amounts below RM50.

Effective Jan 1 this year, those paying RM50.01 to RM100 yearly will enjoy a 90% discount, with higher rates receiving less reduction.

However, those paying above RM700 annually are not privy to a reduction in rates and have to pay the amount in full.

Those paying RM100.01 to RM150 will get an 80% reduction, RM150.01-RM200 (70%), RM200.01-RM250 (60%), RM250.01-RM300 (50%), RM300.01-RM350 (40%), RM350.01-RM400 (30%), RM400.01-RM500 (20%) and RM500.01-RM700 (10%).

The announcement was made by Sibu Municipal Council chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King (pic) at its monthly meeting. Tiong said 26 others councils state-wide had received the circular on the matter from the Local Government and Community Development Ministry.

In March, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said that the Government had agreed to make adjustments to the rate to ease the people's burden in view of the rising cost of living.

Tiong said property owners who had already paid the assessment rate would get the refund of the excess amounts.

#PRNSarawak : DAP-PKR deadlocked in seat dispute

DAP and PKR seemed to have reached a dead end in finding middle ground to solve the ongoing seat allocation dispute.

Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen said they will contest the Batu Kitang seat despite a proposal to withdraw its candidate if PKR agrees to withdraw their candidates in five other conflicting seats.

He stressed that it was better for them to “leave PKR alone” and focus on fighting against Barisan Nasional.

“Our battle here is against BN. As far as we are concerned, the battle is against them, let’s leave PKR alone.

“They can say whatever they want, let’s just ignore them as we are close to defeating BN,” he told reporters here Wednesday.

He said if it was not for PKR contesting Batu Kitang, DAP would still have the upper hand against their common contender.

Chong said this was based on the survey conducted by independent pollster Merdeka Centre which found that DAP had a winning chance of 55% compared to Barisan’s 45%.

“But because of PKR, I’d estimate that this has reduced our chances to 45%,” he said, adding that DAP would go “full swing” in the remaining nine days of campaigning to push for more support.

“I believe we can turn it around. Whatever said by PKR, let’s just ignore. Let’s put PKR aside,” he said.

Chong also denied allegations that the party fielded a Malay candidate, Abdul Aziz Isa in Batu Kitang, as an attempt to ‘test the water’ in a predominantly Chinese area.

“I think Batu Kitang stands the best chance. We want to see an Opposition front where you have Chinese, Iban, Orang Ulu, Bidayuh or Malay,” he said.

Earlier, DAP launched its 10-point manifesto namely “Wealth Sharing for All Sarawakians” which included free public bus service, autonomy in taxation and transparency in governance.

Chong however dodged questions when asked why the party did not make a joint manifesto with its partners in Pakatan Harapan.

“There are a lot of other reasons. These are our party policies…to show what the party stands for,” he said, further insisting to “ignore everything about PKR”.

DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke had on Tuesday said the only way a middle ground could be achieved at this point was if PKR agreed to withdraw its candidates despite their names being on the ballot papers.

The conflicting seats are Batu Kitang, Mulu, Murung, Mambong, Simanggang and Ngemah.
But PKR also refused to back down from the disputed seats.

#PRNSarawak : 'Dirty tactics' being used in campaign, claims SUPP

Just three days into the official campaign period for the Sarawak state elections, the situation is already getting very tense, with accusations of impropriety being hurled.

The Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) said it has uncovered attempts by certain quarters to smear its image and cheat voters in the hot seat of Senadin in Miri City.

SUPP's candidate Datuk Lee Kim Shin (pic) claimed certain people were distributing RM200 each to voters and saying that the money was from SUPP.

He said these unscrupulous people were claiming to be Senadin SUPP agents, and were allowed to collect voters' MyKads to vote on their behalf.

Lee said he had alerted the police on the matter.

"These groups of unscrupulous people are asking voters to hand over their MyKads … and need not go to the polling stations on May 7.

"SUPP wants to make it very clear that this is a scam. We have not appointed any agents to collect MyKads from voters. It is illegal to collect and keep the MyKad of another.

"SUPP does not give money to solicit votes.

"Do not give your MyKad to anyone. No one can vote on your behalf. A voter must go personally to cast his or her vote," Lee warned voters.

"We hope the police will investigate this immediately," he said.

Lee is the incumbent Senadin assemblyman and has held the seat for four terms.

He is facing DAP candidate Dr Bob Baru and Independent Philemon John Edan.

Philemon is from the Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak Baru, which was formed by leaders from the de-registered Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak.

I’m leaving it to PM, says Terengganu MB

Mentri Besar Ahmad Razifhas left his future in the hands of the Prime Minister.

Ahmad Razif while leaving Wisma Darul Iman after the weekly executive councillors’ meeting, which he chaired on Wednesday, declined to elaborate on his future as Terengganu Mentri Besar, only saying that he was leaving it up to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“I leave it to the PM to decide.

“No comments. I leave it to the PM,” he said.

Ahmad Razif arrived at Wisma Darul Iman at 9.25am to chair the weekly meeting, greeting the press with a smile.

He was also seen greeting all nine exco members who attended, with the exception of state secretary Datuk Osman Muda, who could not attend the meeting due to personal reasons.

#PRNSarawak : Not easy for "tycoon candidates"

Infighting and sabotage among the Chinese Barisan Nasional candidates could cost them a potential deputy chief minister (DCM) post.

Sarawak political expert Dr Jeniri Amir (pic) said that a "kill or be killed" attitude between SUPP and UPP could deny Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem the Chinese seats that he has been eyeing.

"Things would be very rosy for Adenan if not for this. It is not going to be a walk in the park for him in the urban seats," said Dr Jeniri who is a lecturer in Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

SUPP is a Barisan partner whereas UPP is a splinter party of SUPP. UPP is standing as independent candidates against SUPP and vice versa in a number of Chinese seats.

The leaders of these two parties used to be allies but are now out to destroy each other in the polls.

Dr Jeniri said that the DCM post may slip from the Chinese fingers again if SUPP does not deliver the Chinese seats.

Sarawak used to have two DCMs - one to represent the Dayak community and another to represent the Chinese.

The Chinese DCM post was not filled after the 2011 election after SUPP suffered a massive defeat.

"A two-thirds majority is in the bag for Adenan but there will be some big upsets on both sides," he said.

He said some of the big upsets could involve the "tycoon candidates" in the Sibu region as well as two urban seats in the Kuching city area.

These candidates are tycoons in their own right while some of them are backed by the "Big Six" as the top timber and business companies in Sarawak are known.

#PRNSarawak : Hot seats in the central region

There will be at least eight hotly-contested seats in Sarawak's central region.

SUPP and Barisan Nasional direct candidates will face off with DAP's in seats where voters predominantly vote for the Opposition.

Bukit Assek

There was initially much speculation whom DAP would field to defend the Bukit Assek seat, last won by the late Wong Ho Leng, but it all ended when his widow Irene Chang stepped up to the plate.

Chang is facing a tough fight with two other candidates, Chieng Buong Toon (SUPP) and Moh Hiong King (Star). In 2011, Chieng lost by a large majority of 8,827 votes to Wong.

DAP might retain this seat due to sympathy votes.

Bukit Assek has 28,341 voters.

Bawang Assan

This is another Sibu hot seat with the Opposition trying to unseat incumbent Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh. Wong has been renominated to defend his seat as a Barisan direct candidate.

The question is if he will get the support of SUPP, whose potential candidate Robert Lau Hui Yew was not chosen to contest?

The fight for the seat this time is a crowded affair with five candidates in the contest, namely Wong himself, 40-year-old businessman Wong Sing Wei (Star); Stanley Chiew, a new candidate from DAP; and independent candidates Watson Bangau, the former Bawang Assan PBB branch chairman and Yeu Bang Kor from the Sarawak for Sarawakians movement.

Bawang Assan has a total of 18,340 voters and is a predominantly Chinese area with the community making up 55.1% of the voters, followed by Ibans (38.8%) and Malays/Melanau (5.3%).


Incumbent Yap Hoi Liong of DAP defeated former SUPP member Datuk Tiong Thai King by only 317 votes in the last election. Tiong's loss then was expected due to internal SUPP squabbles on its choice of candidate.

Tiong resigned as Dudong UPP branch chairman to contest as a Barisan direct candidate.

The fight for the seat in this Chinese-majority area is between five candidates, with the other three being independent candidates Datuk Seri Benny Lee, the former Dudong SUPP branch vice-chairman; Mary Ting (Star) and Casper Kayong.

Dudong has 29,028 voters.


Incumbent David Wong (DAP) is defending the seat he won in the last election by defeating Vincent Goh Chung Siong of SUPP by a majority of 6,391 votes.

The seat, once a Barisan stronghold, will see a three-cornered fight between Wong, Barisan direct candidate Kapitan Datuk Janet Lau and prominent lawyer Priscilla Lau from Star.

Lau is the wife of the late Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew, the former deputy works minister.

This constituency has 32,233 voters, making it the largest of the 82 seats in the state.


Three new faces are contesting the hot seat of Repok – Datuk Seri Huang Tiong Sii (SUPP), Yong Siew Wei (DAP) and former Sarikei DAP secretary Wong Ching King.

The incumbent, DAP's Dr Wong Hua Seh, is not contesting due to poor health. The seat was a Barisan stronghold until eight-term assemblyman David Teng Lung Chi of SUPP, who lost in the last election to Dr Wong by 2,679 votes.

There are 20,263 voters in Repok.


This is one of the smallest urban constituencies with only 16,882 voters. In the 2006 election, SUPP lost the seat to DAP's Ting Tze Fui due to infighting over its candidate, which eventually led to the formation of the breakaway party UPP.

This time around, it will be a straight fight between Ting and SUPP's Ding Kuong Hiing.

Similar to Repok, the Opposition could get to keep the seat for the third time unless UPP members decide to support Ding.

#PRNSarawak : Hot seats in the southern region

There are three seats of note in southern Sarawak this election.

A three-cornered fight Batu Kawah has been described as the hottest, while an interesting battle is brewing in Batu Kitang, with both PKR and DAP contesting in a five-way fight.

Batu Kawah

There may be no hotter seat in Kuching than Batu Kawah. The late entry of Liu Thian Leong, a Chinese education heavyweight, could possibly split the votes of Barisan Nasional supporters.

This is a three-way fight between DAP's incumbent Christina Chiew, Liu (who has declared himself a Barisan-friendly independent) and SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.

In 2011, Chiew, then 27, won this Chinese-majority urban seat with a slim majority of 543 votes.

Chiew, who keeps a low profile, is a diligent community worker and is also known for her strong command of Malay and is a pantun-writing (Malay poems) enthusiast.

SUPP's Dr Sim has built up quite a reputation as a humble people's leader. In the last state election, Dr Sim contested in Pending and lost to DAP's Violet Yong.

As such, the cardiologist-turned-politician knows the stakes are high for him. He is at the helm of a party that has seen better days.

Dr Sim will face stiff competition from Liu, who resigned from UPP (the breakaway party of SUPP) to contest. The duo were both vying for the Chief Minister's endorsement to be the Barisan candidate. Dr Sim may have won the Barisan nomination, but Liu should not be counted out.

Batu Kawah has 16,991 voters.

Batu Kitang

The new seat of Batu Kitang, a semi-urban area, was mostly carved out of Batu Kawah and Kota Sentosa.

Barisan may not have it easy in Batu Kitang. Of the 11 new seats, this is only one with a Chinese majority at 54.8%. The second largest voting bloc here is Malay/Melanau at 20.1%.

Recent history has shown that new seats can fall to the Opposition. In 2006, Barisan lost the then-newly-created seat of Kota Sentosa to DAP. In 2011, DAP retained Kota Sentosa with an even bigger majority.

As such, Barisan's SUPP candidate Lo Khere Chiang may not have a walk in the park in Batu Kitang. Among factors that could become Opposition strong points are recent spells of heavy flooding in Batu Kitang.

It is also worth noting that this new seat is carved out of two existing seats held by the Opposition.

One of Lo's opponents is PKR's Voon Shiak Ni, the Wanita wing's national vice-president. A teacher-turned-lawyer-turned-politician, she is soft-spoken and friendly.

Interestingly, Lo and Voon have organised and participated in community events in the past. The battle between these two friends should prove to be an interesting contest.

However, the temperature in Batu Kitang has been raised with the last-minute entry of DAP's Abdul Aziz Isa, who was originally slated to stand in Stakan. This 11th-hour move is seen as a retaliation against PKR for fielding its candidates in five other overlapping seats.

There are 17,494 voters in Batu Kitang.

Kota Sentosa

A DAP stronghold if there ever was one. State DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen has won this seat twice, in 2006 and 2011, the second time with a larger majority.

Chong has also won the Bandar Kuching Parliamentary constituency three times, the last time with a majority of almost 20,000 votes.

SUPP is fielding its public complaints bureau head Wilfred Yap for this seat. Yap, a lawyer (like Chong), is extremely outspoken.

But he is also a Barisan loyalist. In the 2013 general election, Yap was considered as Barisan's Stampin candidate. When he was dropped in favour of the incumbent, Yap conceded the ticket gracefully.

Chong might have the upper hand here, but Yap is always keen for a fight.

Voters here will enjoy the candidates' verbal boxing matches. Urban issues, including national ones, will feature heavily. Here, bread-and-butter issues will take a backseat to national issues like corruption and the high cost of living. Middle-class voters here would also be aware of allegations of gerrymandering and the sort.

Kota Sentosa has over 25,761 voters.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mukhriz must know actions one of betrayal

Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir’s decision to work with Pakatan Harapan is an act of betrayal to Umno and can never be justified, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.

He said Mukhriz, the former Kedah mentri besar, “must be very naïve” not to tell the difference between the implications of working with Umno leaders and of working with Pakatan Harapan leaders.

"If you work with Umno leaders, and if it is with the purpose of changing the party leadership, then this is done during the party election.

"However, if you work with Pakatan leaders, then it is with the purpose of changing the ruling party during the general election,” Salleh said in his blog on Tuesday.

Salleh said that Mukhriz’s action can “only be construed as an act of betrayal” to Umno as the general election is due to take place before the next party election.

"Mukhriz must surely know the consequences of his action,” he said, adding that he had no doubt that Mukhriz was trying to justify his action by raising “all sorts of excuses”.

"Mukhriz should know that the end can never justify the means and no amount of justification can legitimise the transgressions he has committed,” he said.

Earlier this month, Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said a motion to expel Umno leaders involved in the Citizen's Declaration calling for the ouster of the Prime Minister would be tabled at the party’s next supreme council meeting.

Mukhriz was among several political leaders and activists who signed the declaration.

#PRNSarawak : DAP says will pull out of Batu Kitang if PKR withdraws five candidates

DAP will withdraw its candidate from the Batu Kitang seat if PKR agrees to withdraw five candidates from conflicting seats.

The party’s national organising secretary Anthony Loke  said the only way a middle ground could be achieved at this point is if PKR agreed to withdraw its candidates despite their names being on the ballot papers.

“As of 2013, there is no withdrawal period. Last time candidates had three days after nominations to withdraw, now they can’t.

“It means that once you are successfully nominated, your name will be on the ballot paper,” he said.

Loke added that the only way forward is for PKR to make an announcement with regard to withdrawing its candidates and did not campaign.

“If they do that, we will also do the same. If five of their candidates who are going against us can withdraw, then we will withdraw and not stand in Batu Kitang,” he said.

The Seremban MP, however, added that he did not foresee such a scenario as PKR had changed its mind at the very last minute.

“When it comes to contesting, there are a lot of things to do, the candidates need to prepare themselves because it’s a very serious process.

“Yet until the last minute, they were making changes,” he said.

Loke also pointed out that DAP had honoured its end of the agreement and that the party had instructed its Batu Kitang candidate Abdul Aziz Isa to file his nomination papers only after PKR made a final decision of the seats to be contested.

DAP will go against PKR in six seats in the 11th Sarawak state election.

The seats are Mambong, Ngemah, Siamanggang, Murum, Mulu and Bukit Kitang.

#PRNSarawak : Cops take statement of reporter who allegedly misquoted assemblyman

Police have warned against playing up racial issues during the Sarawak state elections, adding that authorities have already taken the statement of a reporter who allegedly misquoted a state assemblyman.

“That is why we have taken action against a Malaysiakini reporter for trying to raise religious issues,” Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters after launching the Auxiliary Police unit for ERM Property Management Sdn Bhd on Tuesday.

“We have taken a statement from the reporter and are discussing with the Attorney-General’s Chambers on further action.

“I want to advice the media and members of the public that issues of religion are sensitive and should not be played up by anybody.

“Just because you want votes you want to play up the issue. You are playing with fire so we will not allow that,” he said.

Sarawak police launched an investigation under Section 505(c) of the Penal Code for the causing public mischief after six police reports were lodged over a Malaysiakini article quoting Barisan Nasional’s Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee.

#PRNSarawak : Bukit Kota given to DAP and won by BN, says PKR's Xavier

DAP was supposed to field its candidate for the Bukit Kota seat but somehow Barisan Nasional ended up winning the seat uncontested, said its ally PKR vice-president Dr Xavier Jeyakumar.

Dr Xavier said PKR was not informed that a DAP candidate would not be fielded in Bukit Kota, which was given to DAP during seats negotiations between the Pakatan Harapan members.

DAP had contested the seat in the state election in 2011.

"They didn't inform us that they didn't have a candidate or that they weren't going to put a candidate there.

"If we were told, then PKR would have found someone as a replacement," Dr Xavier told reporters at the PKR operations centre on Tuesday.

Dr Xavier expressed regret at the oversight that allowed Barisan incumbents Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan to win Bukit Kota and Bukit Sari seats uncontested.

For the Bukit Sari seat, it was the PKR candidate, Jamal Brahim, who did not turn up to file his nomination papers on Monday for reasons yet to be known.

"As far as Bukit Sari is concerned, it is sad that the candidate chosen by PKR did not appear even though we have paid the deposit and the deposit slips had been given 24 hours before nomination," Dr Xavier said.

He added that PKR would seek an explanation from the candidate and investigate the matter after the elections.

PKR had earlier announced its five election promises and launched an 18-pooimt road map for the state. Polling for the 11th state elections is on May 7.

#PRNSarawak : No truth to candidate disqualification claim, PKR tells DAP

PKR has denied an allegation by Sarawak DAP that its Batu Kitang candidate, Voon Shiak Ni, was nearly disqualified because her proposer was a declared bankrupt.

Voon’s campaign manager, Simon Siah Sy Jen, told a press conference on Tuesday that her proposer, Narawi Palayan Miniandi, was not a bankrupt and this had been verified by the Insolvency Department.

He said that a bankruptcy search was done on the candidate, the proposer and the seconder the night before nominations, with all three individuals cleared by the department.

“The whole nomination process was very smooth and not once our candidate, proposer or the seconder from the party in Batu Kitang queried by the Returning Officer.

“The atmosphere in the nomination centre was peaceful and with not much drama other than a delay which we were not told the reason of,” Siah said.

He criticised state DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen for making false allegations without consulting PKR first, urging the latter to check his facts.

Siah said Chong’s accusation had also damaged the reputation of Narawi, who is a PKR grassroots member.

Narawi, who was present at the press conference, said he would contemplate legal action against Chong.

“Since we are entering into the second day of the election, we hope that we can all practise healthy and mature politics,” Siah added.

Chong alleged on Monday that the Opposition would have lost Batu Kitang to Barisan Nasional if not for DAP fielding its candidate there at the last minute.

He alleged that Voon nearly had her nomination disqualified because her proposer was found to be a bankrupt.

DAP is in a direct clash with PKR in six state seats, including Batu Kitang, following a breakdown in negotiations over seat allocations by Pakatan Harapan leaders.

At the last minute, DAP fielded its candidate for Stakan, Abdul Aziz Isa, in Batu Kitang, while a clash between the two allies will also be seen in  Mulu, Murum, Simanggang, Ngemah and Mambong.

Monday, April 25, 2016

#PRNSarawak : DAP set to go against PKR in Batu Kitang

Despite talk of agreement and negotiations, DAP has confirmed that its only Malay candidate, Abdul Aziz Isa , will be going up against Voon Shiak Ni from PKR to contest the Batu Kitang seat.

A source within the party confirmed ahead of the nominations on Monday that Abdul Aziz who was to contest at the Stakan seat will now be contesting in Batu Kitang.

Abdul Aziz was originally supposed to contest the Malay-populated area of Stakan  in the upcoming 11th Sarawak state election.

State DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen had named Abdul Aziz as the candidate for Stakan on April 21 and even added that he was the best candidate for the position.

On Sunday, Sarawak DAP issued a final call to PKR, urging its Pakatan Harapan partner to adhere to the agreement reached between leaders of both parties and warning it to expect additional competition for the Batu Kitang state seat if it did not.

Chong made the ultimatum after revealing a handwritten agreement signed by PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng on seat allocation for 13 areas.

Previously there was talk that there could be three-cornered fights in certain areas due to disagreement over seat negotiations.

Last Friday, state PKR chief Baru Bian, when announcing the party’s 35 candidates, said that Pakatan was still in the midst of negotiations and added that it would be resolved before nominations.
Chong, on the other hand, had said that he would stay true to the agreement signed between Lim and Azmin and had called on Sarawak PKR to do the same.

Both PKR and DAP have nominated their own candidates to contest the Batu Kitang state seat.
It is confirmed that the seat will see a five-cornered fight between Barisan Nasional, PKR, DAP and two independent candidates.

DAP has nominated the party’s only Malay candidate, Abdul Aziz Isa, will go up against Voon Shiak Ni from PKR.

Abdul Aziz was initially said to be contesting the Stakan seat.

Barisan will field SUPP’s Lo Khere Chiang.

Independent candidate Sulaiman Kadir, a former State Land and Survey Department officer, has also been nominated.

The other independent has been identified as businessman Datuk Seri Othman Bojeng, 59.

Friday, April 22, 2016

#PRNSarawak : Issues within state BN will be resolved, says former assemblyman

PBB’s Datuk Naroden Majais has admitted that there was some friction within Sarawak Barisan Nasional machinery but said it would be resolved under the leadership of the Chief Minister.

The former Simunjan assemblyman told The Star Online that Tan Sri Adenan Satem was the strongest leader the state had seen and stressed that he believed all internal party issues will be resolved before the May 7 polling day.

“Honestly, I believe they are actually all united. Yes, there are some problems inside, but at the end of the day, ahead of polling, it will get better and they will be united.

“Majority will be united and I am very confident that we will win more than a two-third’s majority,” he said, when met at Bank Negara headquarters here.

Naroden pointed out that Barisan has and will continue to do everything in its power to ensure the government is retained.

“We will make sure that it’s a Barisan Nasional government and under the strong leadership of Adenan, we can all stay united and win,” he said.

Naroden was responding to questions on recent seat tussles among Barisan component parties in the state, namely SPDP and SUPP.

On another note, he said the state would also see a massive shift in support from the opposition to Barisan in the upcoming 11th state election.

“There will be a lot of swing from opposition to Barisan under Tuk Nan’s leadership.
“As for Chinese voters, I believe at least 20% to 30% will shift their support,” he said, adding that there has been an evident shift of support in the city.

#PRNSarawak : Clear positive swing in Chinese support for BN in Sarawak

There is a noticeable positive swing in sentiment of the Chinese towards the Barisan Nasional government in Sarawak, says MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

Speaking at a press conference at Miri Airport, Liow said the state Barisan has been doing many good things under the leadership of Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

“The Chinese community values those who can deliver results in terms of implementing good policies that benefit the rakyat.

“That is why there is a positive swing in support of the Chinese towards the BN in Sarawak.

“This augurs well for the BN, not just at the state level, but also at the national level,” he said.

Liow added that MCA has been cooperating with Sarawak Barisan and in particular the Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) to uphold and improve the welfare of the Chinese nationwide.

He also praised SUPP vice-president Datuk Lee Kim Shin and SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting for their hard work and dedication to the people of Sarawak, and in particular Miri.

#PRNSarawak: Adenan reiterates call for campaign to focus on local issues

Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem continues to emphasise that the Sarawak elections should be fought on state issues.

In a video posted online on Thursday, Adenan, who spoke in a mix of Bahasa Sarawak and Malay, told voters that the May 7 polls "is to determine who is the Chief Minister of Sarawak, not the Prime Minister of Malaysia".

"That is why, when you go to vote, you will only be given one ballot paper. It's for the state election," Adenan said in the four-minute clip.

Adenan called on Sarawakians to come out in droves to vote. He said voters should use their smarts to choose the best possible elected representative.

He also thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for his many visits to Sarawak and development allocation. In particularly, Adenan said the Pan Borneo Highway, which was approved under Najib's premiership, will spearhead development in rural areas across Sarawak.

"It is because of our good relations with (the) Federal (Government) that we got RM16bil for the highway (in Sarawak). It will be like the North-South Highway. Sarawak is such a big state. We need this infrastructure. This is why I am good friends with the Prime Minister," Adenan said.

He then turned his focus to his usual campaign points, including abolishment of toll charges, reduction in electricity tariff and ferry charges.

"It cannot be denied that lots of development have taken place in Sarawak. This is because we have had a stable and strong government. Give me five more years as your Chief Minister. Two years is not enough time to do all that I intend to do."

Adenan pledged to deliver on his promises, saying his track record spoke for itself.

Speaking in Miri earlier this week, Adenan challenged the Opposition to take him on at the polls on Sarawak issues and not drag in national matters.

“I dare the Opposition parties, especially DAP. Don’t drag national issues into Sarawak. Fight me and my team on local issues. Those issues have nothing to do with Sarawak and they should not be dragged into the state election,” he said.

The Chief Minister is going into the campaign period with an approval rating of over 80%. A recent Merdeka Centre survey showed the state government's popularity standing at 62%.

The same survey found 35% of Sarawakians supporting Adenan's immigration bans, which have been imposed on Opposition and Umno extremists, as well as civil rights activists.

Adenan scored the highest on his policy on English as a second official language in Sarawak alongside Bahasa Malaysia (83%) followed by the state's recognition of the Unified Examinations Certificate (68%).

Nomination day is next Monday. The campaign period is 12 days and there are 82 seats up for grabs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#PRNSarawak : Sarawak laksa on the boil as state election heats up

As election fever grips the state, the pots are boiling over for the delicious and justly famous Sarawak laksa.

With the influx of visitors in recent weeks, business is booming, especially for the laksa sellers in many parts of the city.

For a bite of the "breakfast of the Gods" - in the words of world-renowned travelling chef Anthony Bourdain - people head for Choon Hui Cafe in Jalan Ban Hock where the strong aroma of spices tickle the nostrils even before they join the morning queue.

Chie Yat Ming, the owner of the Sarawak Laksa stall in the cafe, said preparing the local favourite is no easy task.

The still spiritedly 58-year-old wakes up at 3am every day to prepare the ingredients, soaking the rice vermicelli in warm water before she cooks the spice paste on medium heat for about two hours, stirring it constantly.

Cooked chicken meat has to be deboned and shredded for the topping before she goes to the Kenyalang Park Market to buy fresh prawns and coconut milk. Then it's off to the cafe to start her business at 7am. By 11am, the laksa will be sold out.

"It is difficult to prepare a bowl of laksa. I prepare the ingredients all by myself. That's why I only do a small quantity.

“I'm thinking of retiring but none of my family members, including my sisters-in-law, are interested in taking over the stall," she said.

Like other Sarawak laksa sellers, Chie has her own recipe and secret ingredients.

A short drive away, Laksa Sarawak Ambal is the latest hit in town.

Nor Ryezan Raduan introduced it, using 'ambal' (local bamboo clams) as the shellfish is very popular locally.

"Sales has been soaring after the announcement of the Sarawak election. I had to order extra ambal," said the 31-year-old whose stall is at Warung Nusantara at iCom Square in Jalan Pending.

So popular is Sarawak Laksa that it has spawned an industry for producing the mildly spicy paste that is made with over a dozen spices including lemongrass, shallot, long red chili, cumin seed, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander seed and galangal.   

Packets of these paste are sold across supermarkets and the city’s Main Bazaar near the Kuching waterfront for about RM7 each.

Bourdain, who returned to Choon Hui caf last May after a decade to shoot for CNN's travel programme 'Parts Unknown', picked Sarawak Laksa in his top 10 wish list of foods for his new New York City food market venture.

Asked if her famous laksa can be replicated in New York, Chie said: That would be difficult because it would be hard to get the same ingredients ...I remember the 'ang moh' (white foreigner) who came and filmed me preparing the laksa.

Looks like Mr Bourdain will have to return to Kuching if he wants to feast once again on his Breakfast of the Gods.

#PRNSarawak : Sabotage could still affect election outcome, says analyst

Barisan Nasional could yet face internal sabotage if unhappiness over candidate selection is not resolved even though all its 82 candidates have been finalised, says a political analyst.

Assoc Prof Jeniri Amir (pic) of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said the fact that Barisan's candidates were only settled so close to nomination suggested problems in choosing who should contest from SUPP, SPDP and the breakaway parties of UPP and Teras.

"This is the first time that Barisan has released its full list almost at the last minute. It's a manifestation of the problems between SUPP and UPP as well as SPDP and Teras," he told The Star.

The candidates had been introduced in batches over the past few weeks, with the final three announced on Monday. Of the 82 named, 40 are from PBB, 13 from SUPP, 11 from PRS and five from SPDP. The rest are direct candidates comprising seven from UPP, three from Teras and three who resigned from PBB.

Nomination for the May 7 polls is on Apr 25.

Jeniri said the problematic candidate selection would have created animosity and intrigue among the parties concerned, which could lead to sabotage.

"When people are not happy with the decision, it may backfire later on. They could sabotage by supporting opposition candidates in terms of resources, urging their supporters to back the opposition, not giving any help to Barisan candidates or keeping quiet during the campaign.

"And judging from the statements of certain individuals who were not selected, probably some of them will stand as independent candidates," he said.

As such, he said it was important for Barisan to close ranks and unite or risk opening the door for the opposition to win.

In his estimation, about 22 seats could currently be considered problematic for Barisan.

"I think the parties concerned have to accept the fact that the candidates have already been chosen. Now they have to work together and be united.

"There are certain seats where they can win if they really work together," he said.

Jeniri also said the selection of direct candidates was a short-term measure to resolve the SUPP-UPP and SPDP-Teras tussles.

"The biggest question now is what's next for these candidates if they win. Are they going back to Teras and UPP? If so, that will be status quo, back to square one. Then you repeat the whole process in the coming general election and next state election," he said.

Jeniri added that he saw no alternative but to dissolve the two splinter parties if Barisan wanted to move forward and ensure harmony within the coalition.

Otherwise it would be destabilised by ongoing conflict.

On the opposition front, Jeniri said DAP and PKR should come to a compromise on their five or so disputed seats in order to face Barisan one-to-one.
"If not, it will negate the effect of any Barisan infighting. If they do not compromise, they will be sending the wrong message to the rakyat," he said.

Australia confirms Mozambique debris 'almost certainly' from MH370

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released a Technical Examination Report Wednesday, which says two pieces of debris found in Mozambique "almost certainly" originated from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Australia's transport minister Darren Chester said the stencils of key words and numbers fully matched the font used by Malaysia Airlines, which differed from the font used by the Boeing factory when delivering aircraft.

He said this link proved that both pieces, one from the horizontal stabiliser and the other from the wing, were from the missing Boeing 777 which went missing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.

"I welcome the Technical Examination Report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirming the debris almost certainly originated from MH370," Chester said in a statement released on Wednesday," he said.

"Stenciling on both parts of debris provided investigators with evidence of the link. The font and colour of a number stenciled on the first part conforms to that developed and used by Malaysian Airlines.

An illustration from the ATSB report showing where the missing part with the words "No Step" stencilled on it came from. An illustration from the ATSB report showing where the missing part with the words "No Step" stencilled on it came from.

"The second part contained the words 'No Step' with stenciling consistent with that used by Malaysian Airlines and a fastener attached to the part provided evidence linking the part to the aircraft's production line.

"I thank the team from ATSB, Geoscience Australia, Boeing and the Australian National University for their work," said Chester.

He said the search for the missing jetliner would continue, and it was once again ready to search the final 20,000 square kilometers in the search area.

MH370 was a scheduled passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

#PRNSarawak : SUPP members who release statements without approval can face disciplinary action

SUPP has issued a warning to its members that any press statements must be approved first by the party's central operations room during the election period.

Operations director Datuk Matthew Chen said those who released statements without approval could be disciplined by the party.

"Whoever wants to release press statements within this period of time, with immediate effect from today, they must get approval from the operations centre, without which disciplinary action can be taken against them," he told a press conference at SUPP headquarters here on Tuesday.

The warning comes following Pending candidate Milton Foo's outburst against Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem on Sunday, when he claimed in a statement that he had chosen Barisan Nasional candidates unilaterally without consulting the other component parties.

After PBB members hit back at him, Foo on Monday said the matter had been settled and that Adenan was a good leader who was opened to criticism and different views.

Chen declined to say whether any action would be taken against Foo as the matter was now settled.

He also said any party members who sabotaged other Barisan candidates would face disciplinary action.

"As a Barisan component party we will not 'kacau' those constituencies not contested by SUPP. We will concentrate on our 13 seats to make sure we can win them for Barisan," he said.

In addition, he urged supporters to give SUPP's "new team" of candidates a chance in the election.

"If you do not give them a chance, how do you know whether they can serve or not? You can judge them after five years," he said.

On SUPP's manifesto, Chen said it would be released soon after nomination on Apr 25.

He added that the manifesto was ready and printed in booklets in three languages.

Najib: Strengthening ringgit augurs well for country

The strengthening ringgit has made it the region’s top performing currency, achieving its highest level of 3.8650 against the US dollar on April 14, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

The Prime Minister said the ringgit’s increase was 11% since the end of 2015 and the rising commodity prices would augur well for the local unit.

He said the prices of commodities, especially crude oil, were projected to increase with the Brent, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Dubai Fateh poised to exceed US$40.99 per barrel at the end of 2017 (2016: US$34.75 barrel).

“Indirectly, this recovery is expected to have a positive effect on the ringgit as its movement follows the trend of world crude oil prices.

“The Government’s revenue from oil resources is expected to increase and bolster the Government’s fiscal position,” he told the Dewan Negara here yesterday.

Najib was replying Senator Datuk Mariany Mohammad Yit who wanted to know the projected economic growth for 2016 and the prospects of global economic recovery.

He said Malaysia’s economy was expected to grow between 4.0 and 4.5% this year on the back of the challenging economic and financial landscape.

The Prime Minister said domestic demand, which was projected to grow 4.3% this year, would continue to be the main driver of growth, supported mainly by private sector spending.

He said the external sector was expected to continue to contribute to growth through export diversification in line with moderate external demand.

Exports were expected to grow 3.2% this year from 0.7% last year, while imports were projected to continue to grow 3.4% from 1.3% in 2015, he said.

Najib said Malaysia’s economic growth forecast for this year took into account the slowing global economic recovery.

“The slowdown in the world’s economy, especially in China, moderating commodity prices following oversupply and the world’s financial market volatility, will become contributing factors to Malaysia’s economic slowdown,” he said.

For 2017, Najib said Malaysia’s economic growth was expected to be better, riding on the wave of the global economic recovery.

Based on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook in April 2016, the world’s economy is forecast to grow at a higher rate of 3.5% in 2017 from 3.2% in 2016.

The world’s trade was expected to be more robust next year, growing 3.8% from 3.1% this year, Najib said.

He said investor sentiment in 2017 was also expected to be more positive as the national economic prospects would grow in line with the world’s economic growth.

In addition, public investments were expected to improve following steps taken by the Government to encourage Government-linked companies and Government-linked investment companies to repatriate their profits from abroad to invest in high-multiplier effect projects at home, he said.

Najib said as the international economic and financial landscape was anticipated to be more favourable in 2017, the country’s economic growth was expected to be stronger.

“Malaysia’s ability to cope with external shocks will also continue to be reinforced by the availability of sufficient buffers, robust policy framework, economic adaptability and adequate policy space,” he said.

Monday, April 18, 2016

#PRNSarawak : No more Teras, UPP after polling day

There will be no more Teras and United People's Party (UPP), both splinter parties of SPDP and SUPP, after the state election.

SPDP president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said this was conveyed to him by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Sunday in the presence of Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

"Prime Minister confirmed there will be no Teras and UPP after the election," Tiong told a press conference after chairing a three-hour supreme council meeting of SPDP on Sunday night.

Adenan previously said that members of Teras and UPP who were picked to stand in the election as Barisan Nasional direct candidates  have to join Barisan parties if they win.

But in an about turn last week, Adenan said they could also choose parties loyal to the Barisan.

Asked whether Adenan agreed with Najib that Teras and UPP have to be dissolved, Tiong said: "Agree or not, I don't know. How can I put words into people's mouth?"

Tiong added that any winning candidate could join SPDP.

"They need to apply first to become members. As for positions in the party, it is for the delegates to decide," he added.

#PRNSarawak : PBB's Idris Buang slams 'arrogant' Foo of SUPP

SUPP's Pending candidate Milton Foo is at the receiving end of brickbats from PBB members.

PBB supreme council member, Datuk Idris Buang, has taken to Facebook calling for Foo "to be out of Barisan Nasional" for showing disrespect to Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

"Foo has shown no qualms in defiling the conventions and etiquette of being a Barisan member," Idris said of the aspiring SUPP politician, who criticised Adenan in two statements over the weekend over candidate selection disagreement.

Idris said Adenan, as the coalition's state chief, had the authority to decide on candidates.

Idris, a lawyer and former Senator, said Adenan had based his selection on the winnability of the candidates, adding both SUPP and its brekaway party UPP, had candidates who can win in the elections.

He also said that, at this late stage, whoever was given the mandate to contest under the Barisan banner should "vow to give their fullest support to ensure Barisan victory."

"Foo should not criticise and question the state Barisan chairman's decision. He forgot there is only one captain on the state Barisan ship," Idris said.

On Saturday, Foo stunned many by releasing a hard-hitting critique of the Chief Minister on his Facebook page written in Chinese. On Sunday, he followed that up with an English version.

Foo said Adenan should not have given in to UPP in seats like Pelawan (in Sibu) and Pujut (Miri), accusing the Chief Minister of unilateral decisions without consultation with other parties.

“Don’t do to others that which you don’t want done to you. You want Sarawak to get back its autonomy, yet you trample on the dignity of your political allies,” Foo wrote.

When UPP broke off from SUPP in 2014, its elected representatives described the new party as Barisan friendly. Members remained in the state Cabinet. Following the split, SUPP had two state assemblymen, while UPP had four.

Another Barisan component SPDP, had also broken up at the same time, with six assemblymen forming Teras.

Until now, the original parties, despite having fewer elected representatives, insisted on contesting the same seats as before.

But so far Adenan has allowed incumbents from UPP and Teras to stand as "Barisan direct candidates", provided they resign from their parties, which remain outside the coalition officially.

Foo, a first time candidate, is going up against DAP's twice elected Violet Yong in Pending, an urban seat.

In his weekend statements, Foo said was not afraid to lose his candidacy for “speaking the truth”.

“People want to see a Chief Minister who walks the talk, not an authoritative and dictatorial leader to lead Sarawak towards regaining its autonomy and protecting state interests. So, I don’t hesitate to speak the truth, because you should listen to the truth, not flattery," Foo said.

Move on, Zahid tells Dr M

Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has told Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to move on after the explanation by the Saudi foreign minister over the RM2.6bil donation.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the matter – which had haunted the people, including Dr Mahathir – was now deemed over following Adel al-Jubeir’s confirmation last Friday that it was a genuine donation from Saudi Arabia to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, with nothing expected in return.

“We need to have a big heart to accept the explanation,” Dr Ahmad Zahid told reporters after launching the Bumiputra Fund Outreach Expo at the Indera Mulia Stadium yesterday.

“There should be a full stop to the issue, which has brought a lot of polemics.

“His (Dr Mahathir’s) own hidden agenda has seen his hatred overshadowing the reality of the matter,” he added.

On the Automated Enforcement System (AES), Dr Ahmad Zahid said the Cabinet had received a memorandum on its implementation.

He reiterated that AES should not be seen as a punitive measure but a preventive one.

“If we don’t want such punitive steps to be taken, then the people ought to change their driving behaviour and habits.

“I know there will be different opinions about it. Its implementation has been delayed too long,” he said.

It has been reported that the Transport Ministry hopes to finalise the concession agreement for the AES once the Bill to amend the Road Transport Act is tabled in Parlia­ment.

Armed Forces Fund Board and Conglomerate Boustead Holdings Bhd will take over the operation of the AES.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said he was embarrassed that Malaysia was one of the countries with the highest number of road accidents.

He noted that China, with over one billion people, had a lower rate of road fatalities than Malaysia.“Malaysia saw over 6,500 deaths in road accidents last year.

“We also recorded an average of 445,000 traffic accidents annually.

“In comparison, populous China recorded 40 deaths daily from accidents,” he said.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Bring it on, Arul Kanda tells Pua on 1MDB debate challenge

1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy has accepted Tony Pua’s challenge to a debate following the conclusion of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigation into the government investment arm.

In a statement on Friday, Arul Kanda questioned the Petaling Jaya Utara MP's remarks calling him a liar and asking him to resign from 1MDB just hours before issuing the debate challenge on Thursday.

“It is clear that YB Tony is confused and contradicts himself. He does not know if he loves me or hates me.

“He says I should resign, then says I need to stay on and debate with him,” he said.

Arul Kanda also said that he hopes Pua, who is a member of the PAC, had consulted the Parliament Speaker before issuing the challenge.

“To avoid being embarrassed a second time, I hope YB Tony has first checked with the Speaker of Parliament before issuing this debate challenge,” he said.

Arul Kanda said that despite questioning him for two full days at the PAC hearing, Pua still wanted “to spend quality time” with him.

“Far be it from me, to deny YB Tony this pleasure.

“I hereby accept the debate challenge. Bring it on!” he said.

On April 7, the 106-page PAC report on 1MDB was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.

This is the second time Pua has challenged Arul Kanda to a live debate over 1MDB.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia had said that to safeguard Parliament’s integrity, Pua should first resign from the PAC if he wanted to debate with Arul Kanda.

Donation to Najib came from Saudi Arabia, confirms Saudi's foreign minister

Saudi's foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir has admitted that the donation to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak came from Saudi Arabia.

"We are aware of the donation and it is genuine with nothing expected in return. We are also fully aware that the Attorney-General of Malaysia has thoroughly investigated the matter and found no wrongdoing.

"So, as far as we are concerned, the matter is closed," he told Malaysian reporters here on Thursday.

Earlier, Adel held a bilateral meeting with Najib on the sidelines of the 13th Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali had, on Jan 26, cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in relation to investigations into SRC International Sdn Bhd and the RM2.6bil alleged to have been deposited into his personal bank account.

Mohamed Apandi said investigations revealed that the amount deposited was RM2.08bil, which was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family in 2013, of which RM2.03bil was returned to the contributor the same year.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Jamal Yunos barred from entering Sarawak

Red-shirt rally organiser Datuk Jamal Md Yunos has become the latest political personality to be barred from entering Sarawak. 

In a message to his media WhatsApp group on Thursday noon, the Sungai Besar Umno chief said he was stopped by Immigration upon landing in Kuching at 11.30am. 

He was served with a notice refusing him entry by Immigration officers, joining a list of Opposition leaders banned from the state ahead of the May 7 polls. 

He claimed no specific reason was given for the ban. 

Jamal said he had already booked a return flight and would hold a press conference upon landing in KLIA at 4pm. 

On Wednesday, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said he would not be lifting the ban anytime soon, adding that it was necessary to protect the interests of Sarawak from "unsavoury elements".

#PRNSarawak: State BN could lose seats due to sabotage, says analyst

Sabotage within Barisan Nasional due to Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem's (pic) inability to resolve the SUPP-UPP and SPDP-Teras issues could cost the coalition more than a few seats, an analyst says.

"Some seats are getting 'blacker' for Barisan like Mulu and Ba'kelalan. And then there are seats like Marudi, which Adenan announced the candidate for last year; but he has now discovered there could be better candidates. In Tasik Biru, he is also caught between the incumbent and a new, perhaps more winnable guy," Assoc Prof Jeniri Amir told The Star on Wednesday.

Late last year, the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak political scientist conducted a poll which found Adenan with a 85% approval rating. However, tussles could "negate" his popularity, the academic said, adding that Pakatan Harapan could gain as a result.

"Candidate selection has become Adenan's biggest headache. He has to be careful. A wrong strategy would create a lot of problems. Very messy. It seems like there is bound to be sabotaging," Jeniri said.

Dropped candidates could "on paper" pledge support but "real politik doesn't work that way", he said.

At the same time, Adenan could be courting the anger of other Sarawak Barisan component parties by fielding PBB-linked "direct candidates".

PBB is getting stronger by the day by virtue of seats it will directly have influence over. And this could upset the balance within the state Barisan's four parties.

"Tan Sri James Masing has been very vocal on this. It's a threat to his party," Jeniri said, referring to PRS president.

Officially, PBB is contesting 40 seats in the coming election, in which there are 82 up for grabs. But on Tuesday, Adenan announced three new "direct candidates", all of whom resigned from PBB in order to stand.

Of the three seats, Mulu was eyed by component party SPDP, while SUPP had expressed interests in Bukit Semuja.
Compounding the situation is SPDP losing the newly created Samalaju seat to PRS, while SUPP has already lost several to incumbents currently with UPP.