Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Homeless fire victims see timber giant’s aid as insult


MIRI: The 600 Punans who were made homeless when a fire razed their longhouse in Ulu Tatau, central Sarawak, said they felt hurt, insulted and humiliated when a timber giant gave them aid in the form of packets of salt.

The hungry and tired victims from Rumah Ado, located five hours by timber road from Bintulu, had been appealing for help from the Government and some timber companies operating in the Tatau district after the fire on Thursday.

Yesterday, the manager of a private logging consortium, which has its headquarters in Sarawak but with several overseas projects, handed the fire victims two packets of salt each.

Punan leader Penghulu Sanok Magai received the salt at the fire site in front of hundreds of victims.

Meagre help: Magai showing the packets of salt given as relief aid
for fire victims by a timber company in Miri yesterday.

Magai was shocked but kept his cool and even managed a smile as he politely accepted the bags of salt.

However, the Punan National Association is fuming mad and its publicity chief Calvin Jemarang described the act as cruel and heartless.

“Why must this timber company insult the fire victims like this? If it is reluctant to give any aid, then do not give anything,” he said.

“These victims are homeless, have little food and drink and their future is uncertain, and yet this timber company humiliated them like this.”

Relief aid has been slow in arriving. The Bintulu Welfare Department has been sending rice, clothing and noodles in limited amounts because of logistic problems.

Jemarang appealed to politicians and private firms to give more aid.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


PERMATANG PAUH, Aug 26: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has won the Permatang Pauh by-election with a massive majority of 15,671 votes, topping the other two candidates in the count in all polling centres.

The opposition leader"s thumping victory of 31,195 votes to 15,524 garnered by the Barisan Nasional"s Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah was achieved despite just 65.25% of voters casting their ballots compared with 81.2% during the March 8 general election.

Third candidate Hanafi Mamat of Kelantan-based Parti Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) received 92 votes and lost his deposit.

Former MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail"s majority in the March general election was 13,398 votes, meaning Anwar has succeeded in increasing PKR"s majority. Earlier exit polls by both PKR and BN had not foreseen such a huge majority.

Anwar thanked everyone who contributed to his campaign after the returning officer had made the official announcement of his victory and proceeded to meet an estimated 50,000 supporters who had gathered outside the Tuanku Bainun Teachers Training Institute counting centre.

Appearing as if in pain but still smiling, the 61-year-old former deputy prime minister walked up and waved to the thousands around him, who began to sing the national anthem -Negaraku- and also shouted -Merdeka- repeatedly.

Earlier, Arif Shah had defiantly claimed that it was not a defeat.

-At least we know that Permatang Pauh still gives us support of 15,000 votes,- he said, insisting that his goal was always to win, not just reduce the margin of defeat, which he also failed to do.

He blamed his defeat on voters being attracted to the opposition"s -propaganda, promises and innuendoes-.

The BN"s campaign chief, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, graciously congratulated Anwar on his victory and called on him to -contribute to the country"s wellbeing and respect healthy democratic principles-.

-As I said from the outset, we were the underdogs,- he said. -His votes are similar to his wife, just an increase of 847 votes while BN votes slipped by 1,426. We will review our weaknesses.-

Wan Azizah had vacated the seat on July 31 to make way for her husband Anwar to contest in the by-election in what was thought to be a mere formality.

Anwar was barred from political office until April 14 this year, missing the March 8 general election by a hair. Wan Azizah held the seat for three terms and was said to be his proxy.

Anwar had been a hugely popular MP in the constituency before her, from 1982 until his high-profile sacking from the BN government in 1999 following Sodomy 1 and accusations of corruption that landed him in prison for six years.

The decision to run in Permatang Pauh came after allegations of sodomy by former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan which had resulted in the former deputy prime minister's arrest on July 16.

Anwar was charged in court for Sodomy II on Aug 7, but unlike a decade ago, he was released on bail and proceeded to begin his campaign immediately in Permatang Pauh even though nomination was on Aug 16.

One day before nomination, Saiful swore on the Quran in the Federal Territory mosque that his sodomy claims were true.

Courtesy of Malaysian Insider

Sunday, August 24, 2008


PERMATANG PAUH, Aug 24 - Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim faces a crucial election next week, seeking a victory that could put him in striking distance of Malaysia's premiership and help him fend off a sodomy charge that threatens his political career.

Every night, thousands of supporters turn out here among the rice fields and industrial parks of northern Malaysia as Anwar campaigns for a parliamentary seat in a by-election Tuesday.

At rally after rally, Anwar stirs the crowds with vows to topple the National Front government and pursue an agenda of political and economic overhauls.

The charismatic Anwar is widely viewed as the only Malaysian politician who can unite a broad alliance of opposition parties and attract voters who are increasingly alienated from the National Front.

In March, the coalition he heads won almost half the total popular vote and came within 30 seats of toppling the government in national elections.

That prospect has rattled the National Front, which has ruled Malaysia for almost 51 years, but has seen its popularity wane in recent months amid internal bickering and a slowing economy in this resource-rich Southeast Asian country of 27 million.

The by-election campaign has taken on a sharp edge because Anwar is also fighting a sodomy charge filed against him earlier this month by state prosecutors, who say he broke Malaysian law by having sex with a male aide -- an allegation the 61-year-old father of six calls "preposterous" and politically motivated.

His pending prosecution makes it is possible that Anwar, who is free on bail while awaiting trial, could win next week's election only to lose his seat if he is later convicted of sodomy.

That hasn't stopped the National Front from deploying its biggest guns to Permatang Pauh to campaign against Anwar. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, for example, has portrayed Anwar as a power hungry politician who is willing to say anything to get elected, while denying the government has anything to do with the sodomy charge against him.

Despite the National Front's attacks, most political analysts expect Anwar to comfortably win in the predominantly Muslim Permatang Pauh constituency where he grew up and where his wife previously held the parliamentary seat that is being contested.

Anwar's government-backed opponent, Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, attracts much smaller audiences at his rallies and spends much of his time in meetings with his entourage of campaign workers. He declined to be interviewed for this article.

The size of Anwar's expected triumph will be watched closely, however; should he poll fewer votes than his wife did, the National Front would trumpet the result as a moral victory. In an interview, Anwar acknowledges he needs a convincing win "to send the message that there is a strong alternative agenda to that of the government."

Getting elected could prove to be an easier task for Anwar than maneuvering his unwieldy opposition alliance into power -- even if he manages to avoid being convicted of sodomy.

Anwar leads a diverse and sometimes fragile opposition alliance that cuts across Malaysia's fractious multiethnic society of Malays, Chinese and Indians. It includes the left-leaning, mostly ethnic-Chinese Democratic Action Party and the Malay-centered fundamentalist Parti Islam, known as Pas, as well as Anwar's own secularist People's Justice Party.

That is a potentially unstable mix in Malaysia, where about 60% of the population consists of Malay Muslims, who are often wary of the country's large non-Muslim minorities.

Once a firebrand Islamic student leader, Anwar has since nurtured a reputation as a thoughtful moderate, committed to democratic principles and free-market economics.

"Anwar is the glue that binds the opposition alliance together," says Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, an anthropology professor at the National University of Malaysia.

"He's the only one who can bring these disparate groups together in protest. And that's why his opponents are ready to knock him down at any cost."

Still, Anwar concedes that the opposition alliance still needs work to bind it firmly together. Of particular concern is Pas. While the conservative Islamist party's leadership frequently repeats its support for Anwar and the opposition alliance, some Pas members worry that a potential Anwar-led government will be too secular and give too big a voice to non-Malays.

Meanwhile, Anwar's election campaign is making the most of his image as a political martyr and would-be scourge of Malaysia's establishment.

In 1998, the politician was sacked from the government as he prepared to challenge then-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the premiership.

He was later arrested, beaten by Malaysia's national police chief and jailed for six years on sodomy and other charges in what Anwar contends was a political conspiracy to end his career.

Malaysia's highest court overturned Anwar's sodomy conviction in 2004. Dr. Mahathir has denied there was a political conspiracy. - Asian Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Anwar: Taib's dominance must end

Tony Thien | Aug 20, 08 11:51am

Seen to be just a step away from winning in Permatang Pauh, Anwar is already turning his sights on a bigger target, calling for change in Sarawak.

Opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim, who has promised to take control of parliament and form a new government by Sept 16, has called for change in Sarawak, saying the East Malaysian state has been dominated by one man - chief minister Taib Mahmud - for too long.
  • Gap between rich and poor too wide

Other stories:

Anwar 'has over 40 govt MPs'

THE STRAITS TIMES - August 20, 2008 Wednesday (Updated 3.04 pm)

PERMATANG PAUH AND IPOH - ONCE Anwar Ibrahim wins the Penang by-election on Aug 26, he is expected to reel more than 40 government MPs into the opposition coalition within weeks, sources close to the three-party alliance suggest.

The Straits Times learnt that the 40-plus ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs who are ready to jump ship include 'several federal ministers'.

They also include MPs from Umno, the Malaysian Chinese Association and Parti Gerakan, a source said.

Related stories in Malaysiakini

Monday, August 18, 2008

Not the road to expect after 45 years of independence!

The Borneo Post Online
By Yu Ji

KUCHING: It took a staggering 13 hours for Sarah Freda Wilfred Peerok, a teacher, to travel from Miri to Kuching by bus, yesterday.

FREDA (left): I’m disappointed the conditions have not changed much over the last 20 years.

Arriving just before noon at the Mile 4 express bus terminal here, Freda said: “I was expecting better roads and more rest stops along the way.

“The journey took me 13 hours and I’m disappointed that the conditions have not changed much over the last 20 years.

“I’ll gladly pay toll for a faster and safer journey.”

Mohamad Basir Kipli, station supervisor for Syarikat Bas Baram, shared a similar sentiment.

He said buses traveLling along the state’s trunk road frequently failed to arrive on time.

“It’s too slow lah!” Mohamad told thesundaypost at the ticketing counter.

“The bad road means that our customers will not be happy to pay more, despite higher operation cost like expensive fuel and heavy wear and tear.”

Enduring 13 hours between Miri and Kuching is not what a fast developing state should be offering.

That’s a clear consensus among passengers and industry personnel.

Highway in Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) financed from the incomes derives
from natural resources of Sarawak such as Petroleum, LNG, Timber, etc.

Comparisons with the roads in Peninsular Malaysia are also inevitable.

For example, Freda felt that development between East and West Malaysia “should be parallel”.

“We Sarawakians need to feel that whatever is taken from the state must be worthwhile for us eventually,” she said.

Meanwhile, most express bus companies are ‘forced’ to charge a standard rate of RM80 one-way between Miri and here - for both VIP and standard buses.

VIP buses boast of having fewer seats (because they are bigger) carrying a maximum of 28 people at any one time.

Standard buses can accommodate up to 40 people.

The rates are the same because operators are trying to encourage more people to book tickets earlier.

Operators are not out of their minds; it’s just a necessity because of poor infrastructure.

The road that stretches across Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah is the most extensive on Borneo.

Beluru - Lapok - Long Lama trunk road in the Baram Parliamentary Constituency (P220)
and state DUN N66 Marudi which is won by SPDP candidates (BN component party)

Just within Sarawak, the trunk road connects an estimated 5,000 villages, with varying degrees of quality.

The short stretch between Padawan (Mile-10) and Serian is without a doubt the most developed part.

It’s common knowledge that long stretches between Sibu-Bintulu and Bintulu-Miri are appalling. These are where the slowdowns occur.

It’s like a bottleneck effect: No matter how fast your car is, you’re limited by too few lanes, and pot holes along the way.

An express bus driver, who declined to be named, said Bintulu-Miri is the slowest part of any journey and that his management would advise drivers to slow down.

“It’s not just for the passengers’ safety, but to minimise repair and maintenance bills,” he pointed out.

It seems like the only group of people happy with the trunk road are Indonesians.

“We can’t really complain because the roads beyond the border to Pontianak is worse that the one this side,” said Julia Goh, who was with her parents.

She accompanies them here every three months for medical treatment.

“Its 10 hours between Kuching and Pontianak, but only 30 minutes to travel by air!” Goh quipped.

“So yes, I believe there is room for improvement; it gets quite boring to spend that much time on the road between places that are not really that far.”

To put this into perspective, 13 hours flying will get you from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to London, and 10 hours will get you to Auckland!

Sarawak Modern Highway which CM Tan Sri Taib Mahmud and his State Kitchen Cabinet proud of after 45 years of Independence and being the longest serving
Chief Minister for 26 years...

The difference is quite literally like day and night.

Perhaps a letter to The Borneo Post from Victor James, a Kuching resident, published in yesterday’s edition, summed it up best.

“Ask the Deputy Works Minister, who happens to be from Sarawak a SUPP Vice-President Stampin MP Datuk Yong Khoon Seng, to travel by road from Kuching to Miri…and ask this question:

Do we deserve this type of road after 45 years and countless contributions the state has made to Malaysia?” James wrote.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Perak Gerakan mulls over pullout idea from BN

The Star Online
Sunday August 17, 2008 MYT 10:40:29 PM

Perak Gerakan wants the party to pull out of Barisan Nasional in view of coalition leaders adopting a political culture that garners support from only particular communities. About 80% of the delegates expressed that view during the Perak delegates’ conference yesterday. “We still see politicians playing race and religious issues and this is not good for the country,” said Perak Gerakan chief Datuk Chang Ko Youn, who was re-elected to the party's top post in the state after thrashing his opponent Liew Yiew Aw with a 175-vote majority. “Such ways cannot be accepted by members of Gerakan, which practises a non-racial and non-religious approach,” he said. However, he said there was a need to discuss the matter of whether the party would pull out or remain in Barisan at the coming national delegates conference in October.

In Butterworth, Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon quashed talks of the party pulling out of Barisan. Chang said that since the March 8 polls, there has emerged a new trend and many members felt the need to debate the issue of pulling out of Barisan or remaining within the coalition. “As this is the first state to hold its conference, we will have to find out the mood among delegates of other states,” said Chang, who is also Gerakan vice-president.

Perak Gerakan Wanita chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe, who is also national Wanita chief, said initial feedback from the delegates indicated that they were dissatisfied with Barisan leaders who used racial issues to garner support from members. Dr Koh said he would discuss the matter with party leaders, noting that there seemed to be differences in opinion among its members. “To leave Barisan or not does not arise now, as we are busy campaigning for the Permatang Pauh by-election,” he said

On Permatang Pauh by-election -Gerakan leader endorses Anwar

At a time when most of the BN top brass are expressing great confidence in winning the Permatang Pauh by-election, one top level Gerakan leader today risked party and BN irk by giving his stamp of approval for PKR's Anwar Ibrahim. The outspoken Toh Kin Woon says he supports Anwar because the PKR leader will strengthen democracy and make the opposition's voice stronger in Parliament.

The open pledge of support from a Barisan Nasional (BN) leader has left opposition stalwart Anwar Ibrahim feeling 'encouraged'. Anwar Ibrahim thanks his Gerakan 'friend' Dr Toh Kin Woon for the support, saying it is a sign that even his political foes will finally accept a party with principles.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kuan Yew: Money Politics Root Cause of Problems

SINGAPORE (14 August, 2008): The political problems faced by many countries in Asia are due to money politics but the problem did not take root in Singapore because "we have a Division One team in charge", said former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

He said that in many Asian countries, money politics was simply the "code word" for buying votes to gain power and, after that was done, "to recover your expenses plus some profit for the next round of vote-buying".

"One of the big problems they now face, in other countries, is the people in power want to reserve the money, keep it for themselves. So, they exclude young able people who want to join their team.

"The result is, there is no talent inside the existing parties," Lee, who is Minister Mentor, was quoted by the local Today newspaper as saying at a gathering of his Tanjong Pagar constituents last night in celebration of Singapore's 43rd National Day which was last Saturday.

"In other countries, elections do not put up a Division One team. They are a Division Three, either a B team or a C team in charge. In Singapore, we carefully select our candidates," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

"Over the years, with each election, we see the quality of the MPs, their education levels, their competence, their abilities, their energy.

"Their youthfulness is renewed and we have a leadership thats able to meet the rising standards of the population," Lee said.

But today's younger generation did not understand all this, Lee said, adding that "they say, oh, lets have multi-party politics. Lets have different parties change and be in charge of the Government."

"Is it that simple? You vote in a Division Three government, not a Division One government, and the whole economy will just subside within three, four years. Finished!" he said.

Lee said such proponents should study Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines, where rotating party governments had led to more mismanagement.

"And a 'free-wheeling press' has not cleaned up corruption, although according to American 'liberal' democracy theories, it is designed to do so," he said.

Lee said that even in the face of a global recession, Singapore had enough long-term investments to buffer the setbacks.

"Why are we on top of our problem? Because there's a government that's planning ahead, seeing ahead, calculating ahead, making the right decision," Lee said. -- BERNAMA

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Undilah BN

Undilah Barisan Nasional (BN) jika kamu mahukan kehidupan saperti ini. Pemimpin BN hidup mewah, rakyat jelata merana kerana kemiskinan dan kebuluran - barang2 keperluan harian semuanya naik harga. Rakyat disuruh ubah gayahidup sedangkan pemimpinan BN hidup mewah dan membazirkan wang rakyat untuk hidup lebih bergaya. Adakah ini keinginan anda (pengundi) sebabnya anda memilih BN sebagai parti pemerintah? Keinginan anda melihat pemimpin BN hidup mewah?