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- Tun Abdul Razak, Dewan Rakyat (12hb. November, 1975)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wan Azizah -- from homemaker to Opposition Leader

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Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan IsmailKUALA LUMPUR, July 31 -- Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was the reluctant politican who was thrown into the spotlight, following the detention of her husband, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on corruption and sodomy charges.

Wan Azizah, 55, a mother of five girls and a boy, gave up her government job as an opthalmologist to be on Anwar's side when he was appointed deputy prime minister in 1993.

When Anwar was dismissed from Umno and detained for corruption and sodomy charges in 1998, she led the Social Justice Movement (ADIL), a civil rights non- governmental organisation (NGO) fighting for the release of her husband with assistance from her family, close friends and supporters.

From an NGO, Adil became the platform for the setting up of Parti Keadilan Nasional (Keadilan) on April 4, 1999, a political party, initially fighting for Anwar's freedom.

Wan Azizah was appointed its pro-tem president and later elected as its party president.

A few months later, the novice politican contested her first general election to defend her husband's parliamentary seat, Permatang Pauh, against Datuk Ibrahim Saad, who was then Permatang Pauh Umno division chief and deputy minister of transport.

She won the seat with a majority of 9,077 votes.

In the 2004 and 2008 general elections, she maintained the parliamentary seat against former National Mosque imam Datuk Pirdaus Ismail of Barisan Nasional.

In the March 8 election, Wan Azizah won by a majority of 13,388 votes against the Umno Youth executive councillor. She garnered 30,338 votes against Datuk Pirdaus' 16,950 votes.

In August 2003, Keadilan merged with Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) to form Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and she was elected the new president, a post which she held until Thursday.

With the party's big win in the 2008 general election, Wan Azizah was elected by the opposition parties as their leader in the Dewan Rakyat.

On Thursday, after holding on to the Permatang Pauh seat for three terms, she is letting it go to allow her husband to contest in the upcoming by-election to be held soon.

-TMB

Apex court reserves judgement on constitutionality of State Enactments

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Apex court reserves judgement on constitutionality of State EnactmentsPUTRAJAYA, July 31 -- The Federal Court has reserved its judgement on the constitutionality of certain criminal law provisions in the Selangor and Terengganu Syariah enactments.

This follows the hearing before Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamed, Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi and Federal Court Judge Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin today of submissions by all parties interested in the matter that arose from criminal proceedings instituted against a self-proclaimed prophet and three others.

The 57-year-old self-proclaimed prophet -- Abdul Kahar Ahmad -- and followers Mazli Mansor, 49, and Mat Razali Kasan, 44, sought a declaration that Sections 7, 8(a), 10 (b), 12 and 13 of the Selangor Syariah Criminal Enactment 1995 and Section 49 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 were invalid and contradictory to the Federal Constitution.

Meanwhile, Sulaiman Takrib, 59, a follower of the Ayah Pin deviationist sect, sought to challenge the constitutionality of Sections 10 and 14 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Discretionary Penalty) (Terengganu) Enactment 2001 and Section 51 of the Administration of Islamic Religious Affairs (Terengganu) Enactment 2001.

Kahar, from Kampung Kemensah, Ampang, has been charged under the Selangor Syariah Criminal Enactment at the Shah Alam Syariah High Court with declaring himself a Malay prophet, spreading deviationist teachings, insulting and breaching Islam teachings and acting against the edict and mufti.

Sulaiman is facing charges in the Besut Syariah Lower Court of acting in a manner which insulted religious authorities for disobeying the fatwa that the teachings propagated by Ariffin Mohamad or Ayah Pin, 65, were false, deviationist and digressing and could threaten public order and destroy the faith of Muslims.

In his submission, lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sawar who appeared for the four men, argued that the respective state legislative assemblies were not empowered to create the criminal provisions because the offences were not one against the precepts of Islam.

The power of the State Fatwa Committee was limited to creating law on offences against the precepts of Islam while the offences faced by his clients were offences under criminal law and therefore must be subjected to the legislature procedure under the Federal Constitution, he said.

He said the disputable provisions also created the fatwa committee as being an independent legislative body to enact substantive law and abdicating the essential legislative powers and functions in determining the propriety of certain actions concerning the religion of Islam to the fatwa committee through excessive delegation of legislative power.

Selangor Legal Advisor Datin Paduka Zauyah Be Loth Khan submitted that the applicants had improperly narrowed the meaning and scope of precepts of Islam in the Federal Constitution by interpreting the meaning of precepts as "rukun-rukun Islam" (fundamentals of Islam).

"By doing so, the petitioners have tried to limit the power of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly to enact laws on offences against the precepts of Islam," she said and added that the precepts of Islam had a wider meaning and not confined to the five pillars of Islam.

She also submitted that there was no delegation of essential legislative functions to the fatwa committee and mufti, instead the committee and mufti were only duty bound to prepare a fatwa on any controversial question relating to Islamic law.

"The power to enact laws to make an offence of any actions contrary to the fatwa is in the hand of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly," she said.

She said the offences for which the four men were being tried were offences under the precepts of Islam and within the state legislative assemblies' power to enact and not Parliament as it was not under criminal law.

Terengganu Legal Advisor Noorbahri Baharuddin argued that the state fatwa committee could enact laws because a state legislative assembly might be incompetent to do so relating to a Muslim especially when the state legislative assembly was dominated by non-muslim assemblymen.

"It is only the Sultan's assent to the fatwa and its subsequent gazette which makes the fatwa a binding fatwa on all Muslims in Terengganu," she said said.

She said both sections disputed by Sulaiman relating to "aqidah" and "hukum syarak" were validly enacted according to the Federal Constitution.

Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Kamaludin Md Said who represented Government of Malaysia, said the fatwa committee and religious council were not independent legislative bodies and their function was merely to investigate religious issues raised before submitting their findings and recommendations to the Sultan.

-TMB

Umno-Pas merger like a cat-goat crossbreed, says Dr M

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Dr Mahathir and wife Dr Siti Hasmah at the press conference. - Picture by Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 – Umno will not able to rule this country with only Pas as its partner, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today, adding that a merger is akin to a cat and goat crossbreed.

"Umno must not forget its partners MCA, MIC and Gerakan although they are only a shadow of their former selves. Tunku Abdul Rahman once said that if MCA only has three members, he will still stand by them," the outspoken former prime minister told reporters at his 86th floor office in the Petronas Twin Towers.

"So any negotiation must involve their partners as well. Sabah and Sarawak feel they deserve better treatment. And if there is any goodies being given to Pas, they wouldn't like that," said the retired politician.

For him, the current talk between his former party and Pas is a very strange thing.

"Of course, Datuk Seri Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi) would like to achieve his two-thirds majority and he can get it if Pas joins Barisan Nasional. Pas on the other hand is not very happy with being the smallest party in the opposition where the biggest say goes to PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat)," said Dr Mahathir, a trenchant Abdullah critic who quit Umno last May in order to force his successor to quit.

But to merge the two parties, he said, ”It is like crossbreeding a cat and a kambing (goat). We know that it is now a science but it is a difficult science and we have not been able to make such a clone yet."

"I would like to see how Pas gives up hudud law (Islamic criminal law) and Umno embraces it," he mused.

The former prime minister felt that first and foremost, Pas ought to come up with a distinct stand as its leaders seemed to be confused and kept changing their mind.

Dr Mahathir was speaking to the press on behalf of the Perdana Global Peace organisation who are protesting former British prime minister Tony Blair's visit to Malaysia. "It is sad that we should play host to a war criminal," he said, adding that he was disgusted that Blair had been invited to speak on the rule of law, good governance and human rights.

With him was his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah and son Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

Earlier today Dr Mahathir had written in his blog that Singapore was only claiming the waters surrounding Pedra Blanca as theirs because the present government has always been ready to entertain any claim by the island-state "no matter how ridiculous it may be."

"Thus the Malaysian government has agreed that it has no right to touch the Causeway even on its side of the Strait of Tebrau unless it obtains the permission of the Singapore government," he wrote.

He added that even though Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim had reacted against Singapore's claim, there was no guarantee that Abdullah would not reverse the stand.

"We have seen this before. When the deputy prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) said publicly that we would go ahead with the scenic bridge, he was made to look silly a few days later when the prime minister said we will not build the bridge at all, neither straight nor crooked."

-TMI

Pilihan raya kecil boleh diadakan: SPR

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PUTRAJAYA: Pengerusi Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR), Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman berkata, pilihan raya kecil boleh diadakan walaupun baru empat bulan selepas pilihan raya umum dijalankan.

Katanya, ini kerana undang-undang tidak menetapkan had tempoh tertentu.

Ditanya sama ada seseorang Ahli Parlimen boleh dengan sengaja mengosongkan kerusinya tanpa sebab kesihatan atau kematian, beliau berkata:

“Tak boleh jawab. Itu soalan Perlembagaan, walaupun saya ada jawapannya.”

Beliau diminta mengulas pengumuman Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Ismail yang mengumumkan meletak jawatan sebagai Ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh berkuatkuasa serta-merta bagi memberi laluan kepada suaminya, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim untuk bertanding pada pilihan raya kecil nanti.

Abdul Rashid berkata SPR akan mengambil tindakan lanjut sebaik menerima surat rasmi mengenai kekosongan kerusi itu daripada Speaker Dewan Rakyat.

“Bila terima surat itu, barulah kita membuat persediaan yang perlu untuk menjalankan pilihan raya kecil,” katanya.

-BH

Tokoh PKR ditahan 'dalam 48 jam'

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PKR hari ini meramalkan penasihatnya Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan ditahan dalam "tempoh 48 jam" berhubung kes dakwaan meliwat bagi menghalangnya bertanding dalam pilihanraya kecil di Permatang Pauh.

Ketua penerangannya Tian Chua berkata PKR tidak menolak kemungkinan Anwar ditahan dalam tempoh terdekat.

"Kelihatannya mereka merancang mendakwanya (di mahkamah) pada Isnin depan," katanya agensi berita AFP.

"Mereka mungkin menangkapnya dalam tempoh 48 jam akan datang. Ia bertujuan menyekatnya bertanding dalam satu pilihanraya kecil."

[Berita penuh menyusul]

-malaysiakini

Anwar sticks to safe seat as arrest looms

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Dr Wan Azizah and Anwar at this afternoon’s press conference where she announced her resignation as MP of Permatang Pauh. — Picture by Choo Choy May
UPDATED - PETALING JAYA, July 31 — In the wake of rumours on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s imminent arrest, his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail today resigned as Permatang Pauh MP to make way for him to contest in a by-election.

Dr Wan Azizah, the parliamentary opposition leader who will keep her Parti Keadilan Rakyat president’s post, said she also sent the resignation letter to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia today.

Pandikar, who is in Sabah at the moment and will respond on Monday, is expected to notify the Election Commission immediately. A by-election must be called within 60 days after the notification date.

"I thank my supporters in Permatang Pauh who have stood by me in the most difficult times since September 1998 and have shared the joy of victory we all experienced on March 8," Dr Wan Azizah told a packed press conference at the PKR headquarters here this afternoon.

The three-term MP said her husband would be a good choice for voters as he had articulated a vision for Malaysia that had brought hope to the people.

A joyous looking Dr Wan Azizah, who was also accompanied by her daughters Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah and Nuruh Nuha, said she was merely keeping her promise to vacate the seat for her husband.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was also asked about her resignation, said: "A loving wife could do nothing better. I am quite sure if my wife was in the same place, she would get down and let me run because I run faster than she does."

Anwar thanked his wife for holding the family and the party since his ordeal a decade ago.

"I had intentionally wanted to contest in the Kulim Bandar Baharu parliamentary seat. Unfortunately the on-going petition in court is dragging and taking time.

"After some consultation with my legal team we realised that it cannot be resolved within one month," he said, referring to the Barisan Nasional's court petition to declare the parliamentary constituency in Kedah null and void after PKR won the seat in the recent general election.

Anwar was Permatang Pauh MP from 1982 until he was sacked by his mentor Dr Mahathir in 1998. He was subsequently jailed but was released in 2004 when the Federal Court upheld his sodomy conviction appeal.

The new twist came about amid strong rumours of Anwar being arrested soon pertaining to a fresh sodomy allegation against him by his former aide 23-year-old Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar today confirmed that the police had wrapped up investigations into the sodomy case. He also said the report had been sent to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

This could lead to Anwar's arrest any time now, prompting speculation that the PKR de facto leader chose the safe seat of Permatang Pauh to leverage his political position. Dr Wan Azizah won the seat on March 8 with a thumping 13,388-vote majority.

Is this his pre-emptive act in the face of a possible arrest?

"I can't respond to rumours and these rumours of my impending arrest have been going on since before the last general election. Right now I'm being monitored by the police all the time.

"Anyway why should I be charged? For what? They've been on a fishing expedition for quite some time… But with Umno, anything is possible. I don't want to anticipate anything in this nature," Anwar said.

He added that the sodomy allegation against him would not affect his plan to re-enter Parliament and to take over the government.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in an interview with AP today, believed Anwar was trying to bribe BN MPs to defect.

"It's immoral, unjust and unethical for the Prime Minister to cast such an aspersion. We don't have the resources Umno has. I would advise the Prime Minister to just manage the economy and subject himself to the rule of law," replied Anwar when asked for his response.

A PKR insider believed that this was the best move Anwar could muster in the light of a repeat attacks by the government against him as it was a decade ago.

"He is at the height of his popularity with the people and many see him as a victim of BN's conspiracy. And of course Permatang Pauh is a safe seat."

Barring possible legal implications, Anwar is expected to win his former constituency hands down.

With Pas leadership managing to toe the line by rejecting Umno's offer to cooperate, the combined election machinery could muster enough support for the former deputy prime minister.

In anticipating an all-out BN onslaught, Dr Wan Azizah was smiling when she said: "We welcome all the development projects for Permatang Pauh."

-TMI

Wan Azizah lepas kerusi Permatang Pauh

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Presiden PKR, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail telah mengosongkan kerusi parlimen Permatang Pauh untuk membuka laluan kepada suaminya Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim bertanding dalam pilihanraya kecil untuk kerusi tersebut.

Bercakap dalam satu sidang akhbar di ibu pejabat PKR di Petaling Jaya, Wan Azizah berkata, beliau bagaimanapun kekal sebagai presiden PKR dan pengerusi Yayasan Aman Malaysia.

Wan Azizah berkata, beliau telah menghantar surat peletakan jawatan tersebut kepada Speaker Dewan Rakyat hari ini.

Permatang Pauh dianggap sebagai kerusi yang selamat berdasarkan kepada keputusan pilihanraya umum lalu, Wan Azizah menang besar dengan majroti 13,388.

Beliau mendapatkan 30,338 undi, menewaskan calon Barisan Nasional (BN) dari Umno, Datuk Pirdaus Ismail yang memperolehi 16,950 undi.

Wan Azizah mewakili kerusi Permatang Pauh selama tiga penggal. Dalam pilihanraya 2004, beliau menang tipis dengan majoriti 590 undi, juga menewaskan Pirdaus.

Sebelum ini, disebut beberapa kerusi yang mungkin ditandingi oleh Anwar, termasuk Kulim Bandar Baharu, Bandar Tun Razak dan Lembah Pantai.

Kerusi Bandar Tun Razak diwakili oleh Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, Lembah Pantai (Nurul Izzah) dan Gombak pula diwakili oleh naib presiden PKR, Azmin Ali.

Ditanya mengapa beliau yang mengosong kerusinya untuk Anwar, Azizah berkata sejak dahulu lalu beliau bersedia berbuat demikian.

Katanya, sejak dari mula-mula bertanding dahulu lagi, beliau sedia mengosong kerusi Permatang Pauh untuk memberi laluan kepada Anwar.

Beliau juga berkata, keputusannya diambil setelah berbincang dengan keluarganya, dengan pemimpin PKR serta DAP dan PAS.

Katanya, beliau merasakan "inilah yang terbaik bagi Anwar sebab kawasan tersebut (mempunyai) majoriti yang selesa".

Reaksi Anwar

Sementara itu, Anwar pula berkata, beliau terharu dan terhutang budi kepada Wan Azizah.

"Selama ini Azizah telah memainkan tanggungjawab sebagai ahli Parlimen dan ketua pembangkang yang cemerlang dan efektif," katanya sambil menambah keputusan tersebut bukan mudah untuk diambil.

Anwar kata, keputusan itu juga diambil dengan melihat juga kerusi Bandar Tun Razak dan Gombak.

Katanya, pemimpin PAS dan DAP telah menghubunginya dan menyokong penuh beliau bertanding dalam pilihanraya kecil di Permatang Pauh.

Menurut, pemimpin DAP, Lim Kit Siang telah menghantar wakil parti itu menghadiri sidang akhbar tersebut, iaitu ahli Parlimen Cheras, Tan Kok Wai

Manakala PAS pula, kata Anwar, tidak dapat menghantar wakil sebab mereka sedang bermesyuarat di pejabat agung parti tersebut.

Ditanya mengapa beliau tidak bertanding di kerusi Kulim-Bandar Baharu, Anwar berkata, petisyen yang dikemukakan di situ akan mengambil masa yang panjang untuk selesai.

Mengenai jawatan ketua pembangkang yang kosong selepas Wan Azizah mengosongkan kerusi Parlimennya, Anwar berkata, ia akan diberitahu minggu depan.

-malaysiakini

BREAKING NEWS : CHE' WAN RESIGN TO ALLOW DSAI.

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Wan Azizah quits as MP to allow Anwar to stand in by-election. She has sent resignation letter to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

Dr M’s reaction

-“A loving wife can’t do anything better. I am sure my own wife will do the same.”

Pas rejects any coalition with Umno, commits to Pakatan Rakyat

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UPDATED - KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Pas has rejected any coalition government with Umno or the Barisan Nasional at both state or federal level, party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said today, ending the controversial unity talks with its ideological nemesis that have rocked both the ruling and opposition coalitions.

"The issue of Umno’s offer to Pas therefore does not arise," Abdul Hadi said after a rare joint meeting between Pas's central working committee and its highest decision-making body, the Majlis Syura Ulamak (religious scholars consultative council).

Pas has been embroiled with the secret meetings between its leaders including Abdul Hadi and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and Umno's offer to some state Pas leaders to form coalition state governments in Perak and Selangor — both now under the federal opposition's Pakatan Rakyat. Umno, however, has not invited Pas to join other Barisan Nasional state governments.

Abdul Hadi also reaffirmed the party's commitment to Pakatan Rakyat, the nascent coalition that groups the Islamist party with Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the Democratic Action Party that denied BN its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 222-seat Parliament with its 82 seats and unprecedented control of five states.

He said Pas was grateful to the non-Muslim community for supporting the party in the March 8 general election, adding it was prepared to meet political organisations and non-governmental organisations to discuss issues of mutual interest.

He urged Umno members to quit en masse and join the Pakatan Rakyat coalition members.

Abdul Hadi also said there will be no more secret meeting with Umno. "We have decided anyone can meet, but such meetings must be informed to the party, just like in the past (where the party was informed)," he added.

When asked whether future meetings with Umno would be referred to as muzakarah or muqabalah, he said: "I only said meetings in general, you can call it by any name."

The party president, who has been criticised for talking to Umno while being in Pakatan Rakyat, also declared Pas would continue to support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim despite fresh sodomy allegations against the former deputy prime minister.

"I have said before that this issue must be solved according to Islamic principles," Abdul Hadi said while quoting Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution that says civil courts have no jurisdiction over matters that are under the syariah court's jurisdiction.

"I don't want this issue to be politicised," he said.

Anwar, who announced today he would run for his former Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency just vacated by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, has slapped a qazaf (slander) complaint against his sodomy accuser Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

However, Anwar has refused to swear on the Quran as demanded by Saiful, who claims he will do so to prove he is telling the truth.

-TMI

Tiada maaf bagimu Pak Lah...

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Umno cawangan Kampung Tua dalam bahagian Langkawi tidak dapat memaafkan presiden parti itu, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi kerana kekalahan teruk Umno dan Barisan Nasional (BN) dalam pilihanraya umum lalu.

Lantaran itu, cawangan tersebut mengusulkan Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak bertanding jawatan presiden dalam pemilihan Umno Disember ini.

Dalam mesyuaratnya pada 26 Julai lalu, cawangan tersebut turut mengusulkan Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin bertanding jawatan timbalan presiden.

"Datuk Seri Abdullah perlu bertanggungjawab terhadap kekalahan tersebut...beliau perlu mengundurkan diri," kata ketua cawangan tersebut, Mansor Hashim.

"Kita mahu orang lain dan pada pandangan ahli-ahli cawangan, orang yang paling layak menjadi presiden parti ialah Najib dan timbalannya pula ialah Muhyiddin," katanya.

Najib dan Muhyiddin masing-masing merupakan timbalan presiden dan naib presiden Umno.

Keputusan tersebut, kata Mansor, dibuat oleh semua 41 ahli Umno cawangan Kampung Tua yang hadir dalam mesyuarat agungnya pada 26 Julai lalu.

"Tiada seorang pun yang membantah usul tersebut," katanya ketika dihubungi Malaysiakini hari ini.

Sebelum ini, dua cawangan Umno di Pahang - Bukit Kuantan 3 (bahagian Paya Besar) dan Kampung Ubai (bahagian Pekan) mahu Najib bertanding jawatan presiden dalam pemilihan Umno Disember depan.

Sehingga ini, kata Mansor, 13 cawangan daripada 91 cawangan dalam bahagian Langkawi telah mengadakan mesyuarat masing-masing.

Beliau mendakwa, ada beberapa cawangan lagi yang akan mengusulkan Najib untuk jawatan presiden dan Muhyiddin sebagai timbalan.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, sebahagian mereka tidak berani berbuat demikian kerana sebab-sebab tertentu.

Sementara itu, ketua bahagian sekarang, Datuk Abu Bakar Taib dijangka ditentang oleh timbalannya, Datuk Nawawi Ahmad dalam pemilihan ketua bahagian September ini.

Ahli jawatankuasa (AJK) bahagian, Mohd Amin Bahari memberitahu, sehingga ini Abu Bakar mendapat empat pencalonan, manakala Nawawi sembilan.

Abu Bakar merupakan ahli Parlimen Langkawi manakala Nawawi adalah Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Kuah.

Abu Bakar juga sudah empat penggal menjadi ketua bahagian Langkawi, manakala Nawawi tiga penggal sebagai timbalan ketua bahagian.

-malaysiakini

Skandal Seks VIP, KC UMNO Buat Laporan Polis

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Oleh: 'Deep Throat' Sabah

Walaupun memenangi kerusi parlimen Labuan pada pilihanraya umum 2008 dengan majoriti 8,457 undi, namun nasib dan masa hadapan Ahli Parlimen Labuan, Datuk Haji Yusof Mahal belum terjamin kerana terjebak dengan Skandal Seks bersama pegawai AMBank di Labuan.

Neraca politik Yusof kini bagaikan nasib calon PAS, Matusin Abdul Rahman yang kehilangan deposit kerana hanya memperoleh 1,106 undi, kini bertambah parah dengan laporan polis yang dibuat oleh Ketua Cawangan UMNO Tampi-Tampi Darat, Semporna, Azizul Sanarul.

Dalam laporan polisnya, SED/Rpt/3502/08 yang dibuat pada 30 Julai 2008, Azizul menyatakan bahawa;

"Pada lebih kurang jam 04.00 petang, saya terbaca laporan laman web Malaysia-Today.Net di sebuah kafe siber bertajuk "Skandal Seks Ahli Parlimen Labuan". Saya membuat laporan ini supaya polis dan Jabatan Hal Ehwal Agama Islam Labuan mengambil tindakan di bawah undang-undang jenayah terhadap Ahli Parlimen Labuan, Datuk Haji Yusof Mahal kerana bersekedudukan dengan Norazlina Asaplee sejak tujuh tahun lalu dan bersubahat melakukan pengguguran haram. Sekianlah laporan saya."

Azizul yang menghubungi Malaysia Today sejurus selepas membuat laporan polisnya berkata beliau terpaksa membuat laporan polis bagi membolehkan satu siasatan rapi dijalankan kerana dakwaan yang dibuat di portal laman web berkenaan begitu terperinci dan menjurus kepada salahlaku dan perlakuan jenayah Ahli Parlimen berkenaan.

"UMNO adalah milik semua orang Melayu dan kerana itu saya tidak mahu ada pihak yang menunggang UMNO untuk menghalalkan perlakuan jenayah dan bertopengkan kuasa untuk kepentingan diri," ujar Azizul yang turut membuat laporan polis terhadap Pembantu Menteri Pertanian dan Industri Makanan Sabah, Datuk Haji Musbah Jamli baru-baru ini.

Kata Azizul adalah menjadi tanggung jawabnya untuk membersihkan UMNO daripada pemimpin yang hipokrit, tamak serta salahguna kuasa, rasuah dan petualang kepada agama, bangsa dan tanah air.

"Sebagai VIP, Yusof sewajarnya tidak mengambil kesempatan menjalinkan hubungan sulit dan terlarang dengan gadis yang layak dipanggil anak atau cucu, apatah lagi bersubahat melakukan jenayah pembunuhan melalui pengguguran haram," tegas Azizul yang sering ke Labuan untuk menghantar anaknya yang melanjutkan pelajaran di sana.

Tegas Azizul, jika kejalangan Yusof dibiarkan berterusan, beliau bimbang ramai gadis Labuan akan menjadi mangsa dan tertipu oleh sikap playboy Yusof.

Kebimbangan Azizul diterjemahkan secara jelas oleh pengakuan seorang Ketua Cawangan UMNO, Sudin (bukan nama sebenar) yang tinggal berjiran dengan Norazalina di Kampung Sungai Lada, Labuan.

"Saya selalu nampak Yusof dan Norazlina bercumbu di dalam kereta dan memaklumkan perkara ini kepada Datin Isfahani, tetapi saya pula yang dimarahi kerana kononnya membuat fitnah kepada suaminya," ujar Sudin yang kesal kerana Yusof gagal menjaga martabatnya sebagai pemimpin.

Kata Sudin lagi, Yusof sering menghantar Norazlina pulang ke rumah atau mengarahkan pemandunya sehingga penduduk kampung jengkel dengan perlakuan mereka.

"Ada baiknya Yusof meletakkan jawatan sebagai ahli parlimen setelah Skandal Seksnya diketahui umum. Selama mana dia boleh simpan rahsia?" nasihat Sudin sekadar mengingatkan rakan seperjuangan yang lupa daratan kerana mabuk kuasa.

Manakala seorang lagi rakan rapat Yusof, Bongsu (bukan nama sebenar) mengakui kisah yang dipaparkan di Malaysia Today adalah lebih 100 peratus tepat dan merakamkan perlakuan sebenar Yusof.

"Saya sudah nasihatkan Yusof, tetapi dia terlalu degil dan bangga kerana mempunyai teman wanita. Saya mengucap panjang apabila beliau mengakui bahawa beliau telah mengarahkan Norazlina menggugurkan kandungan lebih daripada dua kali," ujar Bongsu yang semakin keliru kerana Yusof enggan menghentikan tabiat buruknya.

Bongsu menarik perhatian, beliau kasihan dengan nasib keluarga Norazlina yang menerima tempias cemuhan penduduk Labuan di atas Skandal Seks Yusof yang terdedah kepada umum melalui portal laman web berkenaan.

Manakala bekas rakan seperjuangan Yusof, Annuar (bukan nama sebenar) mengakui terkejut apabila Norazlina pernah cuba menyerang Yusof di tengah jalan dengan memecut laju dan menghentikan kenderaan di hadapan kereta Yusof ketika mereka sedang dalam perjalanan menuju ke suatu tempat.

"Tindakan nekad Norazlina ini dilakukan di khalayak ramai kerana merasa tertekan apabila mengandung anak di luar nikah dan Yusof enggan mengahwininya," ujar Annuar yang sering berulang alik ke Kuala Lumpur atas urusan perniagaan.

Annuar melahirkan rasa kasihan dengan nasib Norazlina dan keluarganya terutama kakaknya Sheila kerana bimbangkan keselamatan Norazlina.

"Keluarganya pasti bimbang jika Norazlina akan mengalami nasib yang sama seperti wanita Monggolia, Altantuya Shariibu yang dibunuh secara kejam semata-mata untuk menghapuskan bukti," keluh Annuar yang menjelaskan Yusof pasti bimbang jika polis menghantar Norazlina menjalani pemeriksaan kesihatan berdasarkan laporan polis yang dibuat Ketua Cawangan UMNO Tampi-Tampi Darat.

Sementara itu siasatan Wakil Malaysia Today di Labuan mendapati penduduk Labuan kecoh dengan pendedahan Skandal Seks berkenaan yang tersebar secara pantas dan meluas kerana ramai pengunjung kafe siber mencetak dan mengedarkan berita berkenaan.

Mengikut maklumat terkini, Yusof akan membuat laporan polis di balai Polis Labuan esok dan telah menamakan beberapa orang musuhnya sebagai dalang pembongkaran Skandal Seksnya.

Manakala 'buah hati pengarang jantung Yusof', Norazlina telah menghubungi peguamnya untuk menyaman Malaysia Today yang mendedahkan Skandal Seksnya dan turut bercadang untuk membuat laporan polis kononnya atas tuduhan rambang dan fitnah yang dilemparkan kepadanya.

-Malaysia Today

50 bincang isu rundingan PAS-Umno

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Hampir 50 pemimpin atasan PAS bertemu hari ini bagi membincangkan dialog parti itu dengan Umno yang kini menjadi isu hangat sejak beberapa minggu - perbincangan khas pertama seumpama itu sejak pengakuan presiden PAS Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang awal bulan ini.

Mesyuarat dua badan tertinggi parti itu - jawatankuasa pusat dan majlis syura ulama - dijangka memakan masa beberapa jam.

umno and pas negotiate 031207Pertemuan yang bermula jam 10 pagi di ibu pejabat PAS di Kuala Lumpur dijangka panas susulan beberapa cadangan kontroversi daripada mursyidul amnya Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat agar dua parti itu dibubarkan dan Umno menerima pelaksanaan hudud jika mahu teruskan dialog.

Nik Abdul Aziz, yang juga menteri besar Kelantan, semalam berkata tawaran Umno untuk membentuk kerajaan campuran di Perak akan turut dibincangkan hari ini.

Ia juga dijangka membangkitkan gesaan ketua penerangan PAS Mahfuz Omar, dalam surat permohonan maafnya awal minggu ini, agar pemimpin-pemimpin yang terlibat dalam rundingan sulit dengan Umno berterus-terang dan tidak memberikan maklumat mengelirukan.

Isu perkongsian kuasa dua parti itu seperti didedahkan oleh perdana menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan bekas menteri besar Selangor Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo akan turut berbangkit.

Kehangatan perbincangan isu ini mendorong kira-kira 50 wartawan dan jurugambar berkumpul di lobi bangunan di Jalan Raja Laut, bersedia untuk menunggu keputusan terbaru PAS.

[Berita penuh menyusul]

-malaysiakini

Muzakarah: Majlis Syura, Jawatankuasa Pusat PAS sedang bermesyuarat bincang pendirian penting

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(Mutakhir) PETALING JAYA: Selepas dua minggu Presiden PAS, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang mendedahkan wujudnya siri pertemuan Umno-PAS, hari ini parti itu dijangka mengumumkan pendirian rasmi signifikan mengenai isu muzakarah dan muqabalah yang hangat diperkatakan sejak kebelakangan ini.

Yang menarik mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kerja Pusat itu akan disertai oleh anggota Majlis Syura - badan tertinggi PAS.

Mesyuarat yang bermula pukul 10 pagi tadi - di Ibu Pejabat PAS di Kuala Lumpur akan mendengar pendirian yang telah pun dibuat oleh Majlis Syura berhubung isu muzakarah dan muqabalah.

Ketika dihubungi semalam, Timbalan Presiden PAS, Nasharuddin Mat Isa mengesahkan pertemuan tersebut.

Setiausaha Akhbar kepada Abdul Hadi, Raslan Shahir memberitahu mStar Online pertemuan pagi ini dilihat penting memandangkan ia membabitkan mesyuarat yang disertai lebih 30 anggota Jawatankuasa Kerja Pusat dan Majlis Syura.

Ia penting dengan mengambil kira perkembangan isu semasa dan pertemuan tahunan PAS yang pertama selepas pilihan raya umum ke-12.

Kata beliau, mesyuarat jawatankuasa kerja dipercepatkan sempena muktamar ataupun perhimpunan tahunan PAS yang akan berlangsung bulan depan.

"Satu keputusan penting akan dibuat dalam mesyuarat kali ini. Pertemuan hari ini juga dianggap signifikan.

"Majlis Syura akan menjelaskan pendiriannya yang telah dibuat baru-baru dan penjelasan tentang siri (tiga) pertemuan Umno-PAS akan dibentangkan," katanya.

Mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kerja Pusat ini mengadakan pertemuan penting ini sejak Abdul Hadi dalam temu bual dengan Harakah mendedahkan siri perbincangan diadakan di antara Umno-PAS.

Ia diikuti dengan pengesahan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bahawa tiga pertemuan membabitkan kehadiran tiga pemimpin PAS termasuk Nasharuddin telah diadakan sejak pilihan raya umum ke-12 Mac lalu.

Bagaimanapun Mursyidul Am PAS Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat tidak bersetuju dengan perbincangan ikatan politik.

Kemudian pertemuan pemimpin kanan Majlis Syura dengan Nik Aziz pada 23 Julai lalu muncul dengan syor supaya muzakarah digantikan dengan muqabalah.

Majlis Tertinggi Umno yang bermesyuarat keesokan hari telah memberi lampu hijau kepada pertemuan susulan melibatkan kedua-dua parti berkenaan.

Ia disusuli dengan idea Nik Aziz, yang juga Menteri Besar Kelantan supaya Umno dan PAS dibubarkan untuk membentuk parti Islam baru bagi membela kaum Melayu.

Tiga hari lalu bekas Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli menyatakan kesediaan Umno membentuk kerajaan negeri yang baru dengan memberikan jawatan Menteri Besar kepada wakil PAS.

Semalam Nik Abdul Aziz mengemukakn pandangan mengenai pelaksanaan hukum Hudud dan Qisas menjadi satu daripada cadangan bagi PAS jika pergabungan antara parti itu dan Umno menjadi satu realiti.

-mSTAR Online

TIDAK IKUT SPESIFIKASI...

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TIDAK IKUT SPESIFIKASI... Jabatan Logistik Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) mengesan perolehan peralatan tugasan dan operasi polis, bernilia kira-kira RM100 juta, yang tidak mengikut prosedur kewangan dan spesifikasi sejak awal tahun ini.

Pengarah Jabatan Logistik PDRM, Komisioner Datuk Mashuri Zainal (gambar) berkata, penemuan itu dikesan oleh Jawatankuasa Kajian Perolehan yang baru ditubuhkan, mendapati sebahagian besar pembekalan tidak gagal menepati spesifikasi, menggunakan bahan-bahan kulit daripada khinzir, dan tidak memenuhi spesifikasi Institut Penyelidikan Sains dan Teknologi Pertahanan dan Jabatan Kimia.

Perolehan itu membabitkan pelbagai jenis peralatan dan keperluan PDRM, antaranya lampu visi untuk kegunaan pilihan raya umum ke-12, pembelian topi keledar antirusuhan, papan tanda awas, papan tanda berhenti, katil besi satu tingkat, parang, kon trafik, kasut but operasi PSP dan kasut kawad lelaki. Ia telah dibekalkan dan sedang proses pembekalan oleh 14 syarikat secara terus ataupun secara kontrak tender. Malah sebahagian pembekalan adalah untuk pasukan polis ditugaskan di Timor Leste.

Dengan langkah pengesanan itu, kata beliau, pihaknya berjaya mengatasi masalah penyelewengan dalam pembekalan peralatan keperluan PDRM. Tiada syarikat yang dikenakan tindakan tetapi telah dirujuk kepada peringkat atasan.

"Jika peralatan berkenaan diterima dan diguna pakai, ia boleh menyebabkan bahaya kepada anggota polis yang bertugas, mungkin juga kepada orang ramai," katanya.

Sehubungan itu, kata beliau, PDRM telah mengesyorkan kepada Kementerian Dalam Negeri supaya pembekalan syarikat-syarikat terbabit dihentikan ataupun ditamatkan.

Sekurang-kurangnya 12 orang termasuk anggota polis dan staf sivil telah ditukarkan dan disoal siasat berhubung perkara itu.

SEBAHAGIAN daripada peralatan dan keperluan PDRM yang dibekalkan tetapi tidak memenuhi spesifikasi ditentukan pihak berkuasa.

-mSTAR Online

Solicitor-General set to lead sodomy prosecution

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Datuk Idrus Harun KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — He is unknown, an anonymous name in Malaysian legal circles. But Datuk Idrus Harun has one of the toughest jobs in the country — he is going through the investigation papers prepared by police officers and is slated to lead the prosecution team if Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is charged with sodomy.

The Malaysian Insider has learnt that the investigation papers were sent by the police to the Solicitor-General late yesterday.

Investigators say that they have sufficient evidence to make a prima facie case against the former deputy prime minister but the final call rests with Idrus.

This controversial case landed on Idrus’s lap after Anwar accused Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan of fabricating evidence against him when he was assaulted while in detention in 1998.

After this, the government decided that both Gani and Musa should not be involved in the probe into the fresh sodomy allegation against Anwar.

Idrus is seen as a straight shooter in the legal service but there are concerns that he is a greenhorn when it comes to criminal prosecution.

Despite this misgiving, government officials believe that those involved in the probe should not have the baggage of 10 years ago when Anwar was accused of corruption and sodomy and spent six years in jail for both convictions. He was freed after the Federal Court overturned the sodomy conviction in 2004.

The fresh sodomy accusation was lodged on June 28 by 23-year-old Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan against the opposition leader. The male aide claimed Anwar committed sexual assault eight times with the last being at a posh Damansara condominium on June 26.

The university dropout lodged a report after going for a medical examination at the Hospital Pusrawi in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. The doctor on duty sent him for a further check-up in the Kuala Lumpur Hospital where he duly reported the sexual assault.

The first medical report was leaked on the Internet early this week and has fanned a controversy as it states there was no evidence of sodomy on Saiful. However, the hospital administrators have said it is inconclusive as the doctor is a general medical practitioner.

The Health Ministry is investigating how the report was leaked and made public, adding it will stand by the report made by the Kuala Lujmpur Hospital.

Anwar has seized on the leaked medical report as a vindication of his innocence, calling on the police to drop the investigations as it clearly was meant to implicate him. However, the police are continuing with their probe and have recommended to charge the former deputy prime minister.

Saiful himself stands by his accusations and called on Anwar to swear his innocence by the Quran. Anwar has traded accusations with Saiful by lodging a qazaf or slander report at the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department where he gave a statement yesterday.

Anwar has also sued Saiful for defamation.

-TMB

Pas to call for hudud, qisas if merger happens

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Pas to call for hudud, qisas if merger happensKOTA BARU: Pas will propose the implementation of hudud and qisas if the proposed Pas-Umno merger materialises.

Speaking after launching a building fund for the Baraah mosque, here yesterday, Pas spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said the proposal was in line with Islamic principles and could be implemented if both parties, which are currently having discussions on Malay and Muslim issues, agreed to form a new political entity.

In Islamic law (syariah), hudud refers to mandatory corporal punishments for certain crimes, including theft, robbery, illicit sex, alcohol consumption and apostasy.

Qisas (law of retaliation) refers to offences that involve bodily injury or loss of life. The punishment for these offences is death or imprisonment, but compensation in the form of money or property is accepted if the victim's guardian forgives the offender.

Nik Aziz, who is also menteri besar, said in the muqabalah spirit between Pas and Umno, any new political entity must be based on Islam, including implementing hudud.

"What worries me is that if the pact materialises, there'll be people trying to sabotage it by putting up a candidate who is against the proposal."

He said all quarters, including Malays, Chinese and Indians should hold discussions and give their views towards better understanding of Islam.

However, he said what was important was ensuring the success of the Pas-Umno dialogue before discussing the future of the Muslim community.

In Putrajaya, Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Nik Aziz's suggestion could be an excuse not to continue with the muqabalah.

"It is just a proposal by one leader and we should not take it as a final decision but I wonder what is the intention of raising hudud?

"Does Pas want to talk to Umno honestly or not? If one is not sincere, one can come up with a hundred excuses.

"If hudud is a condition Pas wants to set in order to continue with the talks, why do they only set conditions when talking to Umno but not with their Pakatan Rakyat partners?" Ahmad Shabery, who is also Kemaman Umno division deputy head, said.

He also questioned whether DAP had a "secret pact" with Pas on accepting hudud, since DAP had previously stated its objection to the proposal.

Ahmad Shabery said the issue of Pas re-joining Umno was not on the cards as the talks were about Malay unity.

-TMB

Flip-flop on $3.7b Maybank deal: Analysts fear fallout

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MaybankKL central bank's 11th-hour block could hurt other Malaysian firms with interests in Indonesia

NO GO: State-controlled Maybank announced on Tuesday that approval for it to acquire Bank Internasional Indonesia had been revoked.

THE move by Malaysia's central bank to block Maybank's purchase of an Indonesian bank could trigger an awkward diplomatic situation with Indonesia, say analysts and bankers.

They added that Bank Negara's shock decision on Tuesday night could also raise challenges for other Malaysian firms operating in Indonesia's highly regulated economy.

'This whole episode could have been handled better,' said a director of a Malaysian financial institution with operations in Indonesia.

'This will only add to the many problems we already have to contend with in Indonesia.'

State-controlled Maybank announced on Tuesday that Bank Negara had revoked an approval it granted in March for the US$2.7 billion (S$3.7 billion) acquisition of Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII).

Maybank had agreed to buy 56per cent of BII from Sorak Financial Holdings, a firm controlled by Temasek Holdings. It would pay US$1.5 billion and then tender for the remaining 44 per cent for about US$1.2 billion.

Maybank told the Malaysian stock exchange on Tuesday that Bank Negara was concerned about a new Indonesian takeover law.

This would have required Maybank to sell down its BII stake to 80 per cent over the next two years. Bank Negara feared this could lead to losses for Maybank.

What remains unclear is whether Bank Negara's decision will kill off the proposed transaction.

It it does, Temasek and its partner in BII, South Korea's Kookmin Bank, stand to pocket the US$150 million Maybank lodged as a deposit, say bankers close to the situation.

Temasek yesterday said it had received notification from Maybank on the matter.

'This is an unfortunate development. We are in consultation with our co-investment partner, Kookmin Bank,' said Ms Cheo Hock Kuan, director of Fullerton Financial Holdings, a Temasek unit.

Bankers said Temasek would have few problems finding new suitors for BII, which has a domestic network of 230 branches and about 700 automated teller machines.

But there is little upside for Malaysia. Bank Negara's decision has not gone down well in Indonesia.

Mr Fuad Rahmani, the head of Indonesia's capital market watchdog Bapepam, told The Straits Times by telephone: 'The regulation requires divestment in two years, so if the bank performs well then its share price will obviously increase and they can sell with gains.

'Unfortunately, their prediction is that they will incur a loss. That's speculative.'

Many independent analysts agree, noting that Malaysia's regulators and companies should take a longer view of investments in Indonesia.

'The chances that the price (for BII) could be higher and the rules could be relaxed are quite high in this case,' said Mr Rizal Ramli, a prominent Indonesian economist.

Many private economists and bankers have also questioned Bank Negara's 11th-hour decision, which appeared to be motivated by the financial impact the deal could have on Maybank.

'A regulator should be more concerned about the soundness of the deal from a legal standpoint and maybe on issues of national importance. The near-term financial impact of any deal is a risk that has to be borne by the private sector,' said the chief executive of a Malaysian telecommunications group with interests in Indonesia.

This executive and several other bankers fear the BII flip-flop could pose headaches for other Malaysian firms with Indonesian interests.

-TMB

Pump prices may drop with falling world crude prices

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Falling world crude prices has prompted the Cabinet to consider cutting pump prices in Malaysia that had sparked a record 27-year-high inflation rate last month.

Several Cabinet ministers said a reduction in pump prices was discussed during the weekly meeting yesterday but declined to elaborate, saying Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would make an announcement soon.

The government raised petrol prices by 41 per cent and diesel prices by 60 per cent early June, prompting protests and drove inflation to 7.7. per cent for that month as higher transport costs pushed other prices. Petrol is now sold at RM2.70 a litre from RM1.92 previously, while diesel shot up one ringgit to RM2.58 a litre currrently.

The government had said it could not afford fuel subsidies due to the soaring crude prices but is stilll providing a 30-sen discount to the market rate.

Crude oil fell from its lowest close in 12 weeks yesterday on speculation demand in Asia and the US may slow after near-record prices reduced consumption.

A US Energy Department report today may show that gasoline supplies rose for a fifth week, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Gasoline use has slipped for 14 straight weeks as high pump prices kept people closer to home, MasterCard Inc reported yesterday.

"The key consideration in the market this week has been demand destruction,'' said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Bache Commodities Ltd in London. "All the warning signs about the US economy have prompted speculators to reduce their exposure so that the next layer of support is at US$117 (RM386).''

Crude oil for September delivery fell as much as 94 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to US$121.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was US$121.94 at 12.52pm London time. On Tuesday, it fell US$2.54, or 2 per cent, to US$122.19 a barrel, the lowest close since May 6. Prices have dropped more than US$25 a barrel, or 17 per cent, from their July 11 record.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin said the Cabinet discussed lower pump prices and the mechanics was being worked out which Information Minister Datuk Shabery Cheek confirmed but declined to elaborate.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said Abdullah would make the announcement at an appropriate time. He was quoted on Tuesday as saying the government might reduce fuel prices if crude oil prices stay at US$125 per barrel for at least three weeks.

Shahrir said if that was the case then a reduction in prices could come within the year to enable the Government to keep its pledge of maintaining a 30-sen per litre subsidy.

"Why not, it would be good news, right?" he told the Bloomberg News service.

-TMI

Fuel prices may drop soon, say ministers

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PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians may pay less for fuel soon, as the Cabinet is mulling over the possibility of lowering the pump prices.

Several Cabinet Ministers disclosed that the matter was studied during their weekly meeting yesterday but declined to elaborate, saying that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was expected to make an announcement soon.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin said the possibility of consumers paying less for fuel was discussed and that the mechanics were being worked out.

Information Minister Datuk Shabery Cheek said the matter was studied by the Cabinet, but declined to elaborate.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad, when contacted, declined comment, saying that it would be best to wait for Abdullah to make an announcement at an appropriate time.

On June 4, the Government raised petrol and diesel prices, stating that it could no longer continue to subsidise fuel prices at the then rate. However, it would continue to provide a 30 sen per litre discount on the market price.

Currently, motorists pay RM2.70 a litre for petrol and RM2.58 a litre for diesel at the pump.

Shahrir was quoted by Bloomberg.com on Tuesday as saying that the Government might reduce fuel prices if crude oil prices stay at US$125 (RM408) per barrel for at least three weeks.

Shahrir said that it that was the case then a reduction in prices could come within the year to enable the Government to keep its pledge of maintaining a 30 sen per litre subsidy.

“Why not, it would be good news, right?” he said during the interview.

-The Star Online

Sub-standard equipment that was a waste of taxpayers’ money

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KUALA LUMPUR: The RM100mil police logistics scandal not only saw the delivery of sub-standard equipment, but would also have put the lives of police personnel at risk and wasted taxpayers' money.

Sources told The Star that it was “a case of greed, corruption and malpractice” involving senior government servants and police officers.

The Anti-Corruption Agency is collecting vital documents pertaining to the matter and is expected to interview a senior civil servant.

Among the shocking finds were:

> Machetes (parang) ordered for General Operations Force personnel were smaller than specified, and would rust and break easily;

> Bullet-proof vests not according to specifications and anti-riot helmets not subjected to safety tests;

> Boots supplied to traffic policemen were not waterproof, drill boot heels fell off easily, and boots used by Federal Reserve Unit personnel and UN duty officers were not nail proof;

> Single iron beds, mattresses and pillows used by recruits were not up to specifications, with the pillows being fire hazards.

A senior police officer said bulletproof vests and other equipment like anti-riot gear, including helmets, purchased through direct negotiations had been put on hold, as they had not been fully tested for safety features.

Related Stories:
Cops want drastic action

-The Star Online

Pertahan Kedaulatan Negara Sehingga Ke Titisan Darah Terakhir, Titah Tuanku Mizan

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KUALA LUMPUR, 30 Julai (Bernama) -- Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin meminta pasukan keselamatan negara untuk sentiasa bersiap sedia menghadapi sebarang cabaran yang mendatang serta mempertahankan kedaulatan negara sehingga ke "titisan darah yang terakhir".

Baginda bertitah kecemerlangan dan pengorbanan perwira-perwira terdahulu dalam memastikan agama, bangsa dan negara serta kedaulatan negara dipertahankan, wajar menjadi sumber inspirasi dan contoh kepada pasukan keselamatan negara sekarang.

"Beta ingin mengingatkan, walaupun negara kita adalah sebuah negara yang sentiasa cintakan kedamaian dan kesejahteraan serta menjalin hubungan baik dengan semua negara, namun isu-isu keselamatan global dan serantau memerlukan pasukan keselamatan yang kuat dan bersedia untuk menghadapi sebarang kemungkinan ancaman ke atas kedaulatan negara yang tercinta ini," titah baginda sempena Hari Pahlawan 2008.

Titah baginda disiarkan melalui RTM1 Rabu malam.

Baginda juga meminta rakyat menghayati semangat taat setia tidak berbelah bahagi oleh pasukan keselamatan terdahulu apabila hasil perjuangan dan pengorbanan mereka menyebabkan negara aman dan sejahtera.

Muzakarah: Majlis Syura, Jawatankuasa Pusat PAS buat pendirian penting hari ini?

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(Mutakhir) PETALING JAYA: Selepas dua minggu Presiden PAS, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang mendedahkan wujudnya siri pertemuan Umno-PAS, hari ini parti itu dijangka mengumumkan pendirian rasmi signifikan mengenai isu muzakarah dan muqabalah yang hangat diperkatakan sejak kebelakangan ini.

Yang menarik mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kerja Pusat itu akan disertai oleh anggota Majlis Syura - badan tertinggi PAS.

Mesyuarat yang bermula pukul 10 pagi ini - di Ibu Pejabat PAS di Kuala Lumpur akan mendengar pendirian yang telah pun dibuat oleh Majlis Syura berhubung isu muzakarah dan muqabalah.

Ketika dihubungi semalam, Timbalan Presiden PAS, Nasharuddin Mat Isa mengesahkan pertemuan tersebut.

Setiausaha Akhbar kepada Abdul Hadi, Raslan Shahir memberitahu mStar Online pertemuan pagi ini dilihat penting memandangkan ia membabitkan mesyuarat yang disertai lebih 30 anggota Jawatankuasa Kerja Pusat dan Majlis Syura.

Ia penting dengan mengambil kira perkembangan isu semasa dan pertemuan tahunan PAS yang pertama selepas pilihan raya umum ke-12.

Kata beliau, mesyuarat jawatankuasa kerja dipercepatkan sempena muktamar ataupun perhimpunan tahunan PAS yang akan berlangsung bulan depan.

"Satu keputusan penting akan dibuat dalam mesyuarat kali ini. Pertemuan hari ini juga dianggap signifikan.

"Majlis Syura akan menjelaskan pendiriannya yang telah dibuat baru-baru dan penjelasan tentang siri (tiga) pertemuan Umno-PAS akan dibentangkan," katanya.

Mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kerja Pusat ini mengadakan pertemuan penting ini sejak Abdul Hadi dalam temu bual dengan Harakah mendedahkan siri perbincangan diadakan di antara Umno-PAS.

Ia diikuti dengan pengesahan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bahawa tiga pertemuan membabitkan kehadiran tiga pemimpin PAS termasuk Nasharuddin telah diadakan sejak pilihan raya umum ke-12 Mac lalu.

Bagaimanapun Mursyidul Am PAS Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat tidak bersetuju dengan perbincangan ikatan politik.

Kemudian pertemuan pemimpin kanan Majlis Syura dengan Nik Aziz pada 23 Julai lalu muncul dengan syor supaya muzakarah digantikan dengan muqabalah.

Majlis Tertinggi Umno yang bermesyuarat keesokan hari telah memberi lampu hijau kepada pertemuan susulan melibatkan kedua-dua parti berkenaan.

Ia disusuli dengan idea Nik Aziz, yang juga Menteri Besar Kelantan supaya Umno dan PAS dibubarkan untuk membentuk parti Islam baru bagi membela kaum Melayu.

Tiga hari lalu bekas Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli menyatakan kesediaan Umno membentuk kerajaan negeri yang baru dengan memberikan jawatan Menteri Besar kepada wakil PAS.

Semalam Nik Abdul Aziz mengemukakn pandangan mengenai pelaksanaan hukum Hudud dan Qisas menjadi satu daripada cadangan bagi PAS jika pergabungan antara parti itu dan Umno menjadi satu realiti.

-mSTAR Online

Solicitor-General set to lead sodomy prosecution

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — He is unknown, an anonymous name in Malaysian legal circles. But Datuk Idrus Harun has one of the toughest jobs in the country — he is going through the investigation papers prepared by police officers and is slated to lead the prosecution team if Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is charged with sodomy.

The Malaysian Insider has learnt that the investigation papers were sent by the police to the Solicitor-General late yesterday.

Investigators say that they have sufficient evidence to make a prima facie case against the former deputy prime minister but the final call rests with Idrus.

This controversial case landed on Idrus’s lap after Anwar accused Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan of fabricating evidence against him when he was assaulted while in detention in 1998.

After this, the government decided that both Gani and Musa should not be involved in the probe into the fresh sodomy allegation against Anwar.

Idrus is seen as a straight shooter in the legal service but there are concerns that he is a greenhorn when it comes to criminal prosecution.

Despite this misgiving, government officials believe that those involved in the probe should not have the baggage of 10 years ago when Anwar was accused of corruption and sodomy and spent six years in jail for both convictions. He was freed after the Federal Court overturned the sodomy conviction in 2004.

The fresh sodomy accusation was lodged on June 28 by 23-year-old Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan against the opposition leader. The male aide claimed Anwar committed sexual assault eight times with the last being at a posh Damansara condominium on June 26.

The university dropout lodged a report after going for a medical examination at the Hospital Pusrawi in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. The doctor on duty sent him for a further check-up in the Kuala Lumpur Hospital where he duly reported the sexual assault.

The first medical report was leaked on the Internet early this week and has fanned a controversy as it states there was no evidence of sodomy on Saiful. However, the hospital administrators have said it is inconclusive as the doctor is a general medical practitioner.

The Health Ministry is investigating how the report was leaked and made public, adding it will stand by the report made by the Kuala Lujmpur Hospital.

Anwar has seized on the leaked medical report as a vindication of his innocence, calling on the police to drop the investigations as it clearly was meant to implicate him. However, the police are continuing with their probe and have recommended to charge the former deputy prime minister.

Saiful himself stands by his accusations and called on Anwar to swear his innocence by the Quran. Anwar has traded accusations with Saiful by lodging a qazaf or slander report at the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department where he gave a statement yesterday.

Anwar has also sued Saiful for defamation.

-TMI

Call to recognise the nation's highest gallantry award

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-TMI

Kanang is the sole surviving recipient of the SP. — Picture courtesy of Borneo Post


JULY 31 — You've been conferred an award that outranks Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's but people still call you by your name. You see, no honorific goes with the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP), the nation's highest gallantry award. Only about a dozen people have received this award.

The chairman of the Army Veteran Organisation, Kuching Division, Captain (Rtd) Johari Ibrahim told the Borneo Post it was "pitiful" that former Iban tracker Warrant Officer I Kanang Langkau is the sole surviving recipient of the award in Sarawak "and we still call him Kanang”.

No Tun, no Tan Sri, not even a Datuk for the 63-year-old, Sarawak's finest war veteran.

The SP is conferred on a person who exhibits great valour and "extreme courage" during war time in ensuring peace and security of the country. In this case, it was during the Indonesian Confrontation.

Johari called on the government to come up with an honorific for those who had been bestowed the SP.

"One would think that for a person who has been awarded the SP he would be seated next to the highest ranking official including the Agong at functions where he is present but I have yet to see Kanang given this kind of honour at any function," he lamented.

Kanang, born on March 2, 1945 at Karangan Manok, Nanga Meluan, Saribas, in Sri Aman Division, is the fifth child of six siblings. He joined the Sarawak Rangers as a tracker in April 1962, and was also attached to the 42nd Royal Marine Commando before joining the First Battalion Malaysian Rangers.

He started to make a name for himself when he joined the Eighth Battalion Malaysian Rangers in 1973. On Gawai Day in 1976, his party killed three insurgents and seized a quantity of the enemy's equipment.

Kanang, then a sergeant attached to the intelligence unit of the Eighth Battalion, joined Operation Gerak Setia 8/79 at Korbu in Perak to fight the communist insurgents. For his bravery, he was awarded the Panglima Gagah Berani on June 4, 1980.

During Operation Pukat at Tanah Hitam in Perak on Feb 20, 1980 insurgents ambushed a party of 25 soldiers including Kanang at Ladang Kending in Sungai Siput. Kanang was shot three times — in the chest and stomach — but still put up a fight and became a source of encouragement for the others to continue fighting.

For this, he was awarded the SP on June 3, 1981.

Kanang only receives RM400 a month as an SP despite the obvious distinction in the battlefield required for the conferment of the award.

Johari believes that more respect and support should be given to these heroes especially now that "Hari Pahlawan" is here.

"Maybe, we should start addressing Kanang as 'Seri Pahlawan'. We have to start somewhere," Johari said.

Peruntukan pilihan raya polis hanya RM75 juta, bukan RM98 juta didakwa MCPF

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KUALA LUMPUR: Pasukan Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) menerima RM98 juta sebagai peruntukan pilihan raya?

"Tidak," demikian tegas Pengarah Jabatan Logistik, Pesuruhjaya Datuk Mashuri Zainal ketika ditemui di pejabatnya di sini hari ini.

Kata beliau, PDRM hanya diperuntukkan RM75 juta, bukannya RM98 juta yang dilaporkan oleh media memetik seorang exco Yayasan Pencegahan Jenayah Malaysia (MCPF) Tan Sri Robert Phang Miow semalam.

Mashuri berkata, daripada RM75 juta yang diterima sebagai peruntukan pengurusan pasukan polis ketika pilihan raya umum ke-12 pada Mac lalu, sebanyak RM68 juta telah dibelanjakan dan masih terdapat baki kira-kira RM7 juta.

"PDRM tidak terima RM98 juta dan tiada penyelewengan dalam peruntukan yang disediakan," kata beliau.

Hari ini pegawai Badan Pencegah Rasuah (BPR) telah menemui Jabatan Logistik untuk mendapatkan keterangan lanjut mengenai isu berkenaan.

"Kami sudah pun menjelaskan isu ini," kata beliau sambil menambah, beberapa anggota polis yang didapati bertindak melanggar peraturan dalam penggunaan peruntukan itu telah pun dipindahkan sebelum ini.

Oleh itu, kata beliau tidak timbul isu penyelewengan dan penyalahgunaan wang berkenaan.

Hari ini BPR menerima dokumen-dokumen berhubung pembelian peralatan berkenaan daripada seorang exco Yayasan Pencegahan Jenayah Malaysia (MCPF) Tan Sri Robert Phang Miow Sin.

Semalam, Phang berkata, beliau pada 23 Julai lepas menerima lima salinan dokumen berhubung salah guna kuasa oleh Jabatan Logistik PDRM yang melibatkan kontrak RM98 juta, yang dilakukan semasa pilihan raya umum ke-12 membabitkan enam pegawai berpangkat dari ASP hingga CP.

Dokumen itu tidak menyatakan nama pengirimnya dan antara yang dikaitkan dengan salah guna kuasa adalah merujuk kepada pembelian pelbagai keperluan polis seperti kenderaan, pakaian seragam, anjing, dan sebagainya.

Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Musa Hassan semalam berkata satu jawatankuasa sudah ditubuhkan bagi menyiasat perkara itu dan sekurang-kurangnya 12 pegawai dan anggota sudah diarah bertukar.

Mashuri menjelaskan, peruntukan yang diterima itu tidak digunakan kesemuanya di peringkat pusat.

Sebaliknya menurut beliau, wang berkenaan diagihkan dalam bentuk waran kepada pasukan polis di seluruh negara iaitu kepada 15 kontinjen dan lima briged.

Mengenai pecahan dan jenis perbelanjaan, beliau berkata, RM30 juta digunakan untuk perbelanjaan perjalanan dan sara hidup,, RM418,045 (pengangkutan barang-barang), RM3.36 juta (perhubungan dan utiliti), RM2.75 juta (sewaan), RM1.8 juta (bahan-bahan makan dan minuman), RM16 juta (bekalan bahan mentah dan bahan untuk penyelenggaraan dan pembaikan kecil), RM8 juta (bekalan dan bahan-bahan lain), RM5 juta (penyelenggaraan dan pembaikan kecil dibeli) dan RM8 (perkhidmatan iktisas dan perkhidmatan lain dibeli dan hospitaliti).

Dalam pada itu Bernama melaporkan, segala dokumen berkaitan pembelian pelbagai peralatan tertentu oleh PDRM sejak awal tahun ini sedang diteliti oleh pegawai-pegawai BPR, kata Timbalan Ketua Pengarah BPR Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed.

Beliau berkata, pihaknya sedang mengkaji dokumen-dokumen yang berkaitan untuk melihat sekiranya terdapat sebarang unsurunsur rasuah dalam urusan pembelian peralatan tersebut.

"BPR sedang kaji dokumen itu, jika ada elemen yang dilihat boleh diambil tindakan, kami akan ambil tindakan," katanya kepada pemberita di ibu pejabat BPR di sini, hari ini.

Abu Kassim berkata siasatan akan diteruskan jika wujud asas yang kuat berhubung dakwaan itu.

-mSTAR Online

Kutipan tol Gunung Raya, Langkawi dibatalkan

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KUALA LUMPUR: Kutipan tol Gunung Raya di Langkawi dihapuskan mulai Jumaat ini (1 Ogos), Menteri Kerja Raya, Datuk Ir Mohd Zin Mohamed mengumumkan hari ini.

Keputusan itu dibuat sebagai salah satu langkah untuk mengurangkan beban rakyat berikutan kenaikan harga minyak dan barangan keperluan ketika ini, katanya.

Tol yang beroperasi sejak 1993 itu mengenakan caj RM0.50 kepada setiap kenderaan ringan yang melaluinya. “Di bawah Akta Tol, Jalan dan Jambatan 1995, keputusan pembatalan kutipan tol Gunung Raya di Langkawi berkuatkuasa 1 Ogos ini,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas mesyuarat pasca-kabinet kementerian itu di sini. Mohd Zin juga berkata keputusan kajian menyeluruh tentang terma perjanjian sedia ada dengan syarikat konsesi tol bagi mengurangkan atau memansuhkan kadar tol di seluruh negara akan siap dalam tempoh sebulan lagi. “Semua data telah dikumpulkan dan kita (kementerian) sedang merumuskan perkara ini, mungkin dalam masa empat minggu lagi akan diselesaikan dan saya akan kemukakan kepada kabinet untuk dimuktamadkan keputusannya,” katanya.

Mohd Zin juga mengumumkan semua kenderaan berat tidak dibenarkan menggunakan Jambatan Pulau Pinang dari pukul 6.30 pagi hingga 8.30 pagi dan dari pukul 5 petang hingga 7 malam setiap hari berkuatkuasa 15 Ogos ini. Keputusan itu dibuat bagi mengurangkan kesesakan di jambatan itu berikutan kerja naik taraf yang dijangka selesai pada September tahun depan, katanya.

“Sesudah kerja naik taraf ini yang bakal secara optimanya mampu untuk menampung trafik pada kadar hampir 150,000 kenderaan selesai sepenuhnya pada September 2009, kementerian akan membatalkan larangan itu,” katanya.

“Pengusaha yang menggunakan kenderaan berat bagi menghantar barang-barang keperluan penting boleh membuat rayuan kepada Pengarah Lebuh Raya Wilayah Utara jika ada keperluan untuk mendapat pengecualian,” katanya.

-BH

YL personality – Nor Erini Bt Mustapha Kamal

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YL personality – Nor Erini Bt Mustapha Kamal1. Boleh anda cerita serba sedikit mengenai perjalanan anda di dalam menjalani alaman guaman?

Saya mula bekerja sebagai seorang peguam di Kota Bharu pada tahun 2004 sehingga sekarang.

2. Sebagai seorang peguam di Kota Bharu, apakah pandangan anda mengenai peguam-peguam terutamanya peguam muda yang kebanyakan lebih berminat untuk bekerja di bandar besar seperti Kuala Lumpur berbanding di Kota Bharu?

Saya bersetuju kerana peguam-peguam muda merasakan gaji yang akan diperolehi di bandar-bandar seperti Kuala Lumpur adalah lebih tinggi dan juga mereka boleh menimba pengalaman di dalam menyelesaikan bidang undang-undang yang lebih luas dan khusus. Tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa terdapat pelbagai kes di Kuala Lumpur yang boleh membantu dalam menambah pengalaman seorang peguam.

3. Adakah anda melihat mengamal undang-undang di Kota Bharu lebih baik dari bandar-bandar besar yang lain? Mengapa?

Saya berpendapat bahawa mengamal undang-undang di bandar-bandar kecil seperti Kota Bharu ada kebaikannya berbanding bandar-bandar besar kerana para pengamal undang-undang disini mengenali satu sama lain dan boleh menggunakan kelebihan untuk menyelesaikan kes ini secara baik. Setiap perjumpaan di bilik peguam juga meriah kerana ramai kenalan. Keburukannya adalah kadang-kadang kita mengambil mudah kawan-kawan sepejuangan kita. Disebabkan oleh jarak diantara pejabat dan rumah yang dekat, saya dapat sampai di rumah lebih awal.

4. Setiap hari, berita hangat mengenai tingkah laku ahli parliament di dalam parliament boleh dibaca di dalam surat khabar dan juga dilihat di televisyen. Apakah pandangan anda mengenai tingkah laku ahli parliament di Malaysia?

Sebagai wakil yang dipilih, ahli-ahli parliament perlulah mengutamakan kepentingan dan kebajikan rakyat, tetapi apa yang dipaparkan adalah jelas menunjukkan perangai yang kebudak-budakkan, dan saling bertelagah untuk memberi pendapat masing-masing. Saya berharap ahli parliament kita dapat berbincang dengan lebih matang and tidak diganggu oleh emosi.

5. Kes berhubung pendatang tanpa izin kerap timbul di negara ini. Ada pihak yang menyatakan pihak berkuasa hanya membazir sumber kewangan dan tenaga kerana ramai pendatang yang selepas dihantar pulang ke negara asal, akan kembali ke Malaysia. Apakah pandangan anda mengenai isu pendatang tanpa izin ini dan apakah cadangan yang mungkin diambilkira oleh pihak berkuasa dalam membanteras isu pendatang tanpa izin?

Isu pendatang tanpa izin ini adalah masalah Negara yang sudah lama. Mungkin ia boleh diselesaikan dengan cara mengetatkan kawalan di sempadan-sempadan pintu masuk Negara, mengenakan denda yang tinggi kepada pendatang asing dan juga menandatangani masalah rasuah yang berlaku di kalangan pegawai yang terlibat. Situasi terkini menunjukkan kerajaan adalah serious dalam menandatangani isu ini.

6. Harga barangan yang naik mendadak kebelakangan ini memaksa ramai orang mengubah cara hidup untuk lebih berjimat. Adakah kenaikan harga minyak dan lain-lain memberi kesan kepada anda?

Kenaikkan harga minyak menyebabkan perbelanjaan perlu difikirkan secara teliti dan tidak membazir. Walaupun ia memberi sedikit sebanyak tekanan kepada saya, saya melihat sebagai satu cabaran yang perlu ditempoh. Rancangan untuk berkunjung ke luar Negara akan ditangguhkan.

7. Apakah nasihat anda kepada ‘chambering student’?

Chambering Student perlu menimba ilmu pengetahuan dan pengalaman sebanyak mungkin semasa tempoh latihan dan banyak merujuk kepada peguam-peguam yang lebih berpengalaman. Ia adalah satu tempoh yang sangat singkat. Sikap suka membaca dan belajar harus ditanam di dalam individu. Apabila seseorang diterima sebagai peguam, tangungjawabnya adalah lebih berat. Terdapat ramai pengamal undang-undang yang bagus. Ini bermakna chambering student atau peguam muda harus bekerja lebih keras untuk berjaya di dalam kerjaya pengamal undang-undang.

Other YL Personalities:

Teng Siew Yik
Sia Teng Teng
Alvina Mun Sook Kwan
Melisa Tai Mein-Sze
Vincent Tan Boon Siang
Muhammad Syamsulfaiz Zainuddin
Ummi Kalthum Bt Zakaria
Mohd Taufik Bin Md Tahir
Goh Chuan Chean
Hemalatha Parasa Ramulu
Kho Yieng San
Ng Li Lin
Karthigesan a/l Shanmugam
Juna Binti Jusoh
Syamsuriatina Ishak
Albert Ding Choo Earn
Sulaiman Bin Abu Bakar
Nasdrul Umur Bin Shamsulhuda
Elaine Daly
Devkumar Kumaraendran
Sandesh Kabir Singh
Edelina Sophia Binti Sophian Pulle
Mohd Busyairy Bin Che Muda
Wong Fook Meng
Fadiah Nadwa Fikri
Lee Chooi Peng
Angeline Cheah Yin Leng
Mishant a/l Thiruchelvam
Shahrizal Bin Mohd Zin
Rezalman B. Bahran
Gavin Tang Cheng Loong

Noreen Ahmad Ariff
Nadia Ashikin binti Maduarin
David Dinesh Mathew
Nizam Bashir Bin Abdul Kariem Bashir
Amer Hamzah Bin Arshad
Ernie Suffiani Binti Salim
Ahmad Syukri Bin Yusoff
Dipendra Harshad Rai
Soo Wee Loon
Tracy Hah
Aminuddin bin Abdullah

-TMB

How much is my information worth?

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Human Rights and the LawRECENTLY, I had gyms calling me up on my mobile phone inviting me to participate in their latest promotions. Hotels are doing the same. Are they implying that I am getting fatter and uglier by the day and so must patronise their gyms and spas or are they just conducting a telemarketing exercise?

I hope it is the latter. I am convinced it is. Which worries me – how did they get my details? I had not at any point in time provided my contact details to any of these gyms and hotels. So who gave them my details?

Did they get it from a credit card company? Hospital? The local doctor? Department store (through their membership card database)? Bank? Telephone company?

I can only deduce that it could be any of these, a list which could also include any government department (which of course includes the National Registration Department), airline, travel agent, and yes, hotel or gym.

In this knowledge era, companies, government departments and even individuals are personal data collectors, even if they are not aware of it. This is perhaps due to the fact that we have computers to digitise and store information.

There are many real life instances where personal data may be divulged without the owner’s consent. For example, a newspaper reported just a few weeks ago that a deputy minister had urged civil servants not to leak secret documents, regardless of their position to any third party.

There is also an article in a British daily which reported that a batch of secret government documents were found on a train bound for London on the same day that another batch of secret documents on Al Qaeda and Iraq were handed to the British Broadcasting Corporation after being found on another train. In these instances, personal data may be divulged if the secret documents contain personal details of individuals.

In the private sector, a quick check on the websites of department stores at home and abroad will show that one could be enticed into providing personal data to get membership club cards. The benefits include the right to redeem free gifts ranging from rubber duckies to walkie talkies with points collected through purchases made at the stores. Purchase points are recorded with a swipe of the plastic cards issued to members. Such swipe cards are a means to identify members and manage matters such as membership, purchase points, gift redemptions, etc.

The reality sinks in. In Malaysia, there are numerous personal data collectors that are either entrusted with statutory authority or specifically set up by private companies to collect personal data. I can imagine that these data collectors could sell, manipulate, use without authority and forward any or all of the information that they collect if they have a mind to, without being detected. As an individual, I believe that any of these activities would amount to a breach of my personal privacy, notwithstanding that it may not be so under Malaysian law.

However, I have my reservations on such scenarios taking place on a big scale, especially in regard to government departments. I also doubt that the entities would have a hand in such breaches, although I do not dismiss the possibility of a certain select few of their employees resorting to “making a quick buck” by committing any of the said breaches. This is why I feel paranoid. I do not have any guarantees from the law or otherwise that these scenarios would not take place. There is no pre-emptive mechanism in place to prevent such scenarios from occurring.

Such a mechanism is commonly known as a Data Protection Regime. Malaysia does not have a complete set of laws or an act to put in place such a regime to govern the collection, use, management, administration and release of personal data akin to that in the United Kingdom and the European Union. We had set out with a Data Protection Bill some time in 2001 to achieve this objective. But until today, we are still waiting for the draft bill to be tabled in Parliament.

Ideally a Data Protection Regime must ensure that Malaysians are not subjected to “harassment” or security breaches due to the wanton disregard of their privacy.

An individual’s data has value and is something that should be protected from being misused and abused. An individual’s consent should be obtained prior to his/her information being divulged to another entity unknown to him/her. Also, an individual must be given the right to choose the level of protection that suits him/her, an idea akin to how one sets the security level of one’s browser whilst surfing the Internet. Such practice and culture demonstrates a mature and civic-minded society, wherein due respect is given to private individuals and their privacy.

Until such time as Parliament enacts data protection laws, what can we do? The data collectors may set in place their respective data protection regimes. Implement and practise standard operating procedures that protect the privacy of the data that they collect. And make available at all times a system allowing individuals to enjoy the right to manage the level of security that they prefer.

As for the individual, one could shop. Indeed, go shop for the bank that respects your privacy. Shop at the right department stores. Shop for the airlines that truly appreciate your privacy. As consumers in Malaysia, we have many options, hence we are at liberty to exercise our right to shop. We should exercise such right. As for my exercise regime and the numerous gym offers, no thanks, I think I will stick to the shabby squash court at my apartment building.

Sonya Liew is a member of the Human Rights Committee, Bar Council Malaysia. For more information, see www.malaysianbar.org.my/hrc. Complaints of rights violations may be forwarded to oysim@malaysianbar.org.my for the consideration of the committee. However, we make no assurance that all cases will adopted for action.

-TMB