Monthly Archives: August 2008

Desperation: Loyalty Pledge Proposed To Tie Down Sabah MPs

The Star


KOTA KINABALU: Many of the 24 Sabah Barisan Nasional MPs are rejecting a move to get them to sign a loyalty pledge to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

State Barisan Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Anifah Aman said the move proposed by Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal was an insult to the Sabah MPs. He added that the pledge should instead be signed by all Barisan MPs nationwide.

He said various Sabah MPs including himself had repeatedly voiced their loyalty to the Barisan leadership and pledged that they had no intention of crossing over to join the opposition.

“We did this during the Permatang Pauh campaign, on television and again in Kota Kinabalu. Is the frequency of denial equivalent to our loyalty?” said Anifah, the Kimanis MP and Kimanis Umno chief.

He said many Sabah Barisan backbenchers had called him asking about the pledge and some had said they felt that they were being treated like “cattle.”

Anifah questioned Shafie’s real intentions for proposing the loyalty pledge and wondered whether it was aimed at scoring “political points” in his bid for the Umno vice-president’s post in the party polls.

Ship is sinking: Barisan leaders’ talk of pullout from coalition worries Muhyiddin

The Star

SINGAPORE: Some Barisan Nasional component party leaders’ comments about the possibility of their parties leaving Barisan has Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin concerned.

“The is a new trend we have not seen in the past and this time around it is being done openly. I am concerned about that,” Muhyiddin told reporters, referring to remarks made by MCA and Gerakan leaders recently.

“Are these remarks brought up because of sheer disappointment? They have to explain,” he said, adding that any random survey would show that there was a mindset shift among the rakyat and not merely in Permatang Pauh.

Muhyiddin said Barisan should not underestimate the changes that are taking place.

“We can have a dialogue with the component parties but what else can we do? That is what we should be asking ourselves. [more]

Anwar: Budget 2009 not good enough to attract Foreign Direct Investment

The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 29, 2008): Parliamentary Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said the 2009 Budget is not good enough to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) which is important to propel the country’s economy.

“Nothing new. We reiterated that in the last four, five years when there was global pressure and slow economy, (but) the Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional were not able to give new incentives.

“The problem is that we have lost the competitive edge. There are no new FDI, slow management and corruption. These were not dealt with,” he said to reporters after the prime minister had tabled the budget in the parliament.

Describing it as a deficit budget, Anwar said for an oil-producing country, it is exceptional that Malaysia continues to register deficit. “It is understandable for a country that has no resources,” he added. [more]

Muzzling the Internet (Update 2): Malaysia censors blog after poor poll results

Financial Times, UK
By John Burton in Singapore

Published: August 29 2008 03:00 | Last updated: August 29 2008 03:00

Malaysia’s leading political blog was being blocked yesterday in what was seen as a crackdown on internet websites credited with contributing to government losses in this year’s general election.

The move came as former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was being sworn in as the new opposition leader following a by-election victory this week that returned him to parliament for the first time in a decade.

Mr Anwar vowed to mount a no-confidence vote against the government by midSeptember.

The Malaysia Today website was blocked by state-owned Telekom Malaysia, the country’s leading internet service provider, on the orders of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, which said comments posted on it were “insensitive, bordering on incitement”.

The MCMC action represents an apparent reversal of government promises not to censor the internet, except for pornographic websites. The policy was introduced in the 1990s to encourage foreign investment in the showcase Multimedia Super Corridor, near Kuala Lumpur. [more]

Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim stages Parliament walkout protest

8 hours ago

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has staged a walkout in Parliament with scores of other lawmakers.

The walkout took place amid a debate on a proposed law that would make it mandatory for criminal suspects to provide DNA samples. Critics claim the law is meant to bolster a sodomy charge against Anwar, though the government denies it.

Anwar caused the stir during his first day in Parliament after being sworn in as a federal legislator after a landslide victory in a by-election. [more]

Anwar Ibrahim returns as Malaysia opposition leader

Times Online,

Richard Lloyd-Parry

Ten years after being forced from power by charges of sexual misconduct, Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as the leader of the Malaysian opposition today and repeated his promise to drive out the government of the prime minister, Abdullah Badawi.

“I am glad to be back after a decade. I really feel vindicated. I feel great,” Mr Anwar said after being sworn in as a member of parliament and immediately elected as leader by the three party opposition coalition. “Clearly the prime minister has lost the mandate of the country and the nation.”

Mr Anwar won a convincing victory in a by-election on Tuesday in the state of Penang, just four months after the expiry of a ban on standing for public office. It was in 1998 that he was precipitated from the job of deputy prime minister after being accused of corruption and sodomy with his male driver, a grave crime in Malaysia.

He always insisted that the charge had been trumped up by the ruling United Malay National Organisation (Umno), because of the challenge which Mr Anwar, the deputy prime minister, was planning against his boss, the then prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad

Anwar takes oath as Member of Parliament

By REUTERS, Manila Bulletin Online

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) — Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister and now leader of Malaysia’s opposition, took his seat in parliament on Thursday after a decade- long absence following convictions for sodomy and corruption.

Anwar, 61, won a sweeping victory in a by-election on Tuesday and has now set his eyes on the country’s premiership, vowing to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi by a self-imposed deadline of Sept. 16.

The charismatic father of six remains dogged by his past, however, and faces prosecution on Sept. 10 to answer new charges of sodomy after allegations by a male aide.

Anwar says the latest sodomy case is politically motivated and designed to scuttle his quest to lead Malaysia and reform the economy.

Before his fall from grace in the late 1990s, Anwar was deputy prime minister in the government that has ruled Malaysia for 50 years and widely viewed as heir apparent to then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.

But in 1998, after Malaysia plunged into the Asian financial crisis, he took up a campaign against the corruption, collusion and nepotism he said characterised Malaysia’s business and political nexus.

Mahathir immediately sacked him from his posts, and charges of sodomy and corruption soon followed — allegations Anwar still insists were concocted to thwart his ‘’reformasi’’ (reform) campaign.

Anwar’s case drew international outrage after he appeared in court on the 1998 charges with a black eye and bruises after getting beaten up behind bars by the police chief, who was later fired for it.

Human rights groups called him a political prisoner, and his supporters compared him to former South African President Nelson Mandela, who rose to power after years in jail. [more]

Muzzling the Internet: ISPs ordered to cut access to Malaysia Today website

The Star on Line


PETALING JAYA: All 21 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country have been ordered by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block the controversial Malaysia Today website, an industry source revealed.

The notices were sent out on Tuesday in accordance with Section 263 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

“This means that MCMC is allowed to block any particular website which has committed acts that contravene the local laws of the country, for example, sedition,” the source said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin lashed out against the blocking of the online portal, saying it was a breach of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) charter. [more]

Critics want Malaysia PM to resign over Anwar win

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Dissidents in Malaysia’s ruling party demanded the prime minister’s resignation Wednesday after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim returned to Parliament with a sweeping election victory.

Anwar regained his Parliament seat in the north by a landslide in Tuesday’s by-election, delivering a demoralizing defeat for the government. Anwar’s success came on the heels of big gains the opposition made in the March general elections.

Veteran government lawmaker Razaleigh Hamzah, who wants to challenge Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the leadership of the United Malays National Organization ruling party, said the results meant that “what scraps of credibility (Abdullah) had left” were gone.

Abdullah, however, played down the significance of Anwar’s triumph.

“I believe we can still continue the government,” Abdullah was quoted as saying by the Bernama national news agency. “What happened … was not something so big as to change the situation that exists after the last general election.” [more]

Anwar Ibrahim threatens to pull down government by Sep 16

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 27 (IANS) Malaysia’s controversial opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who has just won a parliamentary by-election, says he will bring down Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s government by mid-September. His opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would take over by Sep 16, The Star newspaper quoted the leader, who comes back to parliament after a decade, as saying.

Ibrahim has termed his election in a parliamentary by-election Tuesday as Malaysia’s “second political tsunami”, an allusion to the outcome of the March elections when the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) was for the first time denied a two-thirds majority.

The opposition leader, who has earlier issued threats that he would bring down the government, said his victory brought new meaning to the word “merdeka” (freedom).

Ibrahim, 63, promised that his opposition alliance that emerged strong with 82 members in parliament and control of five of the 13 states in the March polls would bring “new hope to the people with its reform agenda”. [more]