Tuesday, April 15, 2008


PM: I don’t want to leave Party in state of turmoil


Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says he wants the power transition to his successor to be smooth as this is important for the country. “I don’t want to leave the Party in a state of turmoil but in a good, stable condition. I can say to (Deputy Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Najib (Tun Razak), ‘good luck, that’s your problem not mine.’ But that should not be the way. We don’t want it to be so sudden. ..where’s Pak Lah (Abdullah)? He has quit. That’s not the way,” Abdullah said. The Prime Minister was speaking at a press conference after meeting with Senators, Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen from the Barisan Nasional at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday. “It was the same before, when (Tun) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) wanted to hand over power to me. That’s how we do things,” he said in response to calls from some Umno members for him to transfer the reins of power to his successor. He said he received various views on the power transition, with some wanting it to be as soon as possible while others gave him more time. “Never mind. I just listen. I have two ears. I am not deaf. In a democracy, everyone wants to talk. So what can we do? If we don’t allow them to speak out, they say we are scared... there’s no freedom, so let them talk,” added the Umno President. Asked further on the power transition, Abdullah said it was only the view of some quarters and not all the grassroots. On his meeting with Johor Umno last week, he said it was clear that they supported him as Umno President and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as Deputy President in the December party election. He said after this, he and Najib would think about matters pertaining to the power transition. Asked if he would go for the President’s post if there is a contest for the post, he shot: “Why shouldn’t I contest? You tell me.” On Umno divisions holding their extraordinary general meeting, to discuss, among the matters, the nomination quota system and for an EGM to be held at the central level, he said they should follow the procedures if they wanted to hold it. On the statements made by Umno Vice-President Umno Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, Abdullah said: “They can announce anything they want. They can say anything they want. The decision is mine, people can say anything they like.” Rais was reported to have said that it was the Party members’ right to ask Abdullah to step down as Prime Minister and Umno President or to announce a power transition. On Sunday, Muhyiddin was reported saying that Umno would fade away and not be able to make a comeback if there was no leadership change at the top. Abdullah, meanwhile, said that he was confident of the support and loyalty of the BN MPs although the opposition had claimed that there would be a vote of no confidence against him at the coming Parliamentary sitting. Meanwhile, Najib said that what was important was for the power transition to be orderly. “The Prime Minister will discuss this with me when the time comes so as to avoid any problems and for the party to remain strong.” He said he was not .the one to determine the power transition period, but it would depend on the Prime Minister’s wisdom to decide when it should take place and how it should be done. Asked about him being given the chance to lead the party, Najib said: “I will only answer when the time comes.” On the sabotage among BN component parties in the recent general election, he said the issue should not be addressed in a hasty manner but to be investigated thoroughly for the facts and rationally before action could be taken. He, however, admitted having received such reports. - Bernama


Raising racially sensitive issues in Parliament is sedition, warns PM


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has cautioned Members of Parliament not to debate on issues touching on racial sensitivities at the Dewan Rakyat sitting as the Sedition Act could be enforced in the august House. “They must ensure that the debate is of quality and at the same time remember that issues that touch on racial sensitivities, issues that breach the Sedition Act, must be avoided. “This is because the Sedition Act can be enforced in the Dewan Rakyat, in other words, the Sedition Act is also applicable in the Dewan Rakyat. “They are not free to talk on anything that breaches the Act,’’ he said after a meeting with Barisan Nasional (BN) Members of the Dewan Negara, Dewan Rakyat and the State Legislative Assemblies at the Dewan Tun Hussein Onn at Putra World Trade Centre yesterday. He said such issues should be avoided as they could create tensions and problems in the country. Abdullah also advised the MPs to understand the issues at hand as well as the Standing Orders so that the debates would be effective. “If you don’t know and speak wrongly (in the debate), then there is no meaning, it gives no significance at all. They (MPs) must be firm and confident to come up with good debates,” he said. On the handful of MPs who used coarse language, he said such words would not have been uttered if they truly understood the Standing Orders. “Those who utter such words are also admonished by the Speaker. Don’t speak as you like, waiting for the Speaker to reprimand, don’t speak on matters that will invite a reprimand from the Speaker. “Such words cannot be used in Parliament. It is un-parliamentary. That’s why I said they should read the Standing Orders,” Abdullah added. - Bernama


Race boxes in job form under fire
Human rights body says it is unnecessary


There is no need to have four boxes on the job application form to specify one’s race. “Why not just have one box and let the applicant decide whether she or he wants to put what his or her race is. After all, are all Malaysians, and that is what counts most,” stressed Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Vice President, Tan Sri Simon Sipaun. The former State Secretary also told The Borneo Post yesterday that instead of emphasising on the differences, it is better to give priority to the similarities. “And that is being Malaysians. It is regardless of what your race is as long as you are able to perform well in your work. This is especially important when promoting national unity.., there should be no race differences to be a Malaysian,” he said. Sipaun was commenting on a statement by United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) Deputy President, Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, that the Federal Civil Service Department (JPA) does not recognise the natives in East Malaysia states. He said the JPA’s application form, whether via internet of hard copy, would have a section where an applicant is required to enter his or r race, and only four racial categories are provided Malay, Chinese, indian and Others. “The Bumiputeras in Sabah and Sarawak are grouped as Others, and It is as though, the natives are not recognised and do not exist on earth,” he said, calling for similar recognition from JPA, although the natives only represent nine percent of Malaysia’s overall population. Bumburing said Sabah and Sarawak had contributed 54 parliamentary seats to Barisan Nasional in the March 8 polls and hoped that their voices would be heard in Parliament. Sipaun, on the other hand, said whether the JPA recognises the natives or otherwise is not for him to comment. “It is for them (JPA) to answer on the part whether the natives are recognised or otherwise. But, if I have my way, I will not ask for the race as we are all Malaysians. “Speaking as an indigenous person, I would feel like an outcast when filling up the application form, as Jam just under the Others group, as Jam not a Malay, or Chinese or Indian. “Why can’t we only have one box instead of four boxes? It would put a stop to all racial differences and in a way, better promote national unity,” he added.


Anwar says has enough defectors to topple BN Government


Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said last night he has the support of enough defectors from the ruling coalition to seize power, although he will not act until he has a bigger majority. “Yes, we have enough MPs to topple the Government,” he told a press conference after a rally to celebrate the end of his ban from politics, which was broken up by police. “We are saying here for the first time that we are ready (to rule the country),” he said. “But we will only enter when the majority is comfortable.” Earlier police halted a speech by Anwar and closed down the rally celebrating the end of his ban from politics which had drawn more than 10,000 people. “The police chief has asked us to stop so we are stopping, but remain peaceful because soon we will be running this country,” Anwar told the crowd. Political gatherings are strictly controlled in the country, and police had threatened to break up the event, held at a private club in central Kuala Lumpur, because they said it was illegal. About 300 officers including riot police, backed up with water cannon trucks, formed a heavy security presence, but the event went ahead on schedule and Anwar spoke for an hour before the authorities intervened. Anwar’s Keadilan party had rejected the objections to the rally and questioned why police changed tack after earlier being involved with security and traffic arrangements for the event. The rally marks the expiry of Anwar’s official ban from public office, a decade after he was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister. Once seen as the heir apparent to long-time leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he was subsequently convicted on sex and corruption charges and spent six years in jail, before storming back to prominence in March elections. With Anwar at the helm a reinvigorated Opposition seized a third of parliamentary seats and five states in the worst ever showing for the Barisan Nasional coalition that has ruled for half a century. -AFP