May 28, 2008

Tun Mahathir returns from Japan

Tun Mahathir returns from Japan after attending the Nikkei International Conference in Japan last week. Soon after he touched down at Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Mahathir Mohamad couldn't resist firing yet another salvo at his handpicked successor-turn-nemesis Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

(Malaysiakini) Soon after he touched down at Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Mahathir Mohamad couldn't resist firing yet another salvo at his handpicked successor-turn-nemesis Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He's more afraid of Singapore than Umno members,” the former premier told a crowd of 300 supporters who had gathered to welcome him back from a week-long overseas trip.

Mahathir, who spoke to his supporters through a loud-hailer for about five minutes from the sunroof of a silver multi-purpose van (MPV), accused Abdullah as a traitor.

“Negara cet tu ja pun dia takut (He is afraid of even a tiny country). What kind of a leader is he?” he thundered as the crowd chanted, “Abdullah undur!” (Abdullah step down!)

While Mahathir did not mention Pulau Batu Puteh, he was clearly referring to last Friday’s International Court of Justice decision against Malaysia in its dispute with Singapore over the sovereignty of the strategic uninhabited island south of Johor.

The ex-PM has just returned from Japan after addressing the annual Nikkei conference which was also incidentally attended by Abdullah. The two protagonists however addressed the event on separate days.

“When I was Umno president, he was never loyal to me, but I never made it look like he was not loyal to the party. I let him contest for the vice-presidency, the deputy presidency and now he is the president,” he said, looking fresh in a pin-stripe light blue shirt and a smart grey jacket.

Mahathir also blasted Abdullah as a manipulator who “label those who oppose him as traitors to the party”.

“I am not acting on any pressure,” Mahathir continued, “I am doing this because Umno under Abdullah has forgotten its roots, its struggle for the party - for the Malays and for the nation.”

May 23, 2008

Tun Mahathir says Do Not Involve The King

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said here Thursday it was not necessary to involve the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to help resolve his spat with Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

TOKYO, May 22 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said here Thursday it was not necessary to involve the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to help resolve his spat with Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"This is a question of Umno politics. We should not take the issue to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong," he said when asked to comment on a suggestion by Umno veteran Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Tapa to seek the king's mediation in the dispute.

Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying today that the quarrel between Dr Mahathir and Abdullah had reached a stage where it could only be resolved by the intervention of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin as the mediator.

Dr Mahathir was approached for his comments after a dialogue session at the Nikkei International Conference on "The Future of Asia", here.

The former prime minister also said that he had no objections if Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wanted to meet him.

The dispute between Dr Mahathir and Abdullah reached a "shocking" stage last Monday when Dr Mahathir, who had served as Umno president for 22 years, announced that he was quitting the party after having lost confidence in Abdullah's leadership, and that he would only rejoin the party after Abdullah had stepped down as Umno president and prime minister.

Many quarters see the move as a last-ditch attempt by Dr Mahathir to remove Abdullah from Umno and the government.

May 21, 2008

Nazri Says Dr Mahathir Blackmailing Umno

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said the recent action by Tun Mahathir is blackmailing UMNO.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 (Bernama) -- The decision by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to quit Umno is deemed as blackmailing the party, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said Tuesday.

"Nobody, no matter how big he is, has the right to use dirty tactics to bring down a person who is democratically elected," he said in reference to Dr Mahathir's move to unseat Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Umno president with his decision to quit Monday.

"It's not something that we condone and it's undemocratic; that's blackmailing the party," he said at the Parliament lobby when asked to comment on Dr Mahathir's decision to leave the party.

Dr Mahathir announced Monday that he had resigned as an Umno member with immediate effect together with his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, saying that he had lost confidence in the leadership of Abdullah as the party president and would return to Umno only after Abdullah had stepped down or was no longer the prime minister.

Dr Mahathir, who had led Umno and the country for 22 years, also suggested that branch and divisional leaders in the party resign as well as a signal for Abdullah to step down as party president before the Umno elections in December. Abdullah has stated that he would contest the president's post in the forthcoming Umno elections.

Asked whether Umno would accept the former prime minister back if he wanted to rejoin the party in future, Mohamed Nazri said party leaders would decide on the matter when the time came.

"This is democracy. Nobody (in Umno) asked him to leave, he is no longer a child. I am sure he has given it thought and still wants to leave," he said.

Earlier, Members of Parliament (MPs) from Umno expressed their solid support for Abdullah as party president and gave the assurance that they would not leave Umno.

The statement of support was made at a special one-hour meeting Tuesday with the prime minister when the Parliament sitting broke for lunch.

Asked if Dr Mahathir's decision to quit Umno meant that he had cut ties with the party, Mohamed Nazri said it was not fair to pose such a question to him or other Umno members.

"Don't ask me ... ask him," he said in reference to Dr Mahathir.

"We did not sack him, so it is not fair to ask us in Umno because we did not leave Umno. He (Dr Mahathir) left Umno," he said.

Asked whether Dr Mahathir's son and Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz had attended the special meeting with the prime minister, Mohamed Nazri said he was not sure of that.

He said he hoped that the media would not put pressure on or force Mukhriz into a difficult situation over his father's move.

May 20, 2008

Mukhriz stays put but urges PM to go as soon as possible

Jerlun member of Parliament Mukhriz Mahathir today said he will not join his father in quitting Umno. Instead he urged party president and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down "as soon as possible".

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth executive council member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said he is not resigning from Umno, but reiterated his call for Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to step down as prime minister and party president.

The Jerlun MP, who is expected to contest for the post of Umno Youth chief in December, had previously called for Abdullah to step down after the March 8 polls that saw the Barisan Nasional coalition losing its two-thirds majority in Parliament.

On Monday, Mukhriz's father, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, resigned from the party, citing his dissatisfaction over the current leadership.

He urged other Umno members to also leave until there was a change in party leadership.

Father and son have both attributed -- directly in the case of the former -- Barisan's disappointing performance in the 12th general election to Abdullah.

After the polls, Mukhriz had written a letter to Abdullah urging him to take responsibility for the dismal results, but later denied that he had asked the Prime Minister to quit.

In April, Mukhriz said that a party leadership change should occur by the end of the year so that a tense contest can be avoided during the Umno annual assembly in December.

He said any contest during party polls could further fracture the party, and urged Abdullah to hand over the reins to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

On Monday, former premier Dr Mahathir announced that he would be quitting the party, much to the surprise of party members nationwide

May 19, 2008

Tun Mahathir quits UMNO

Former Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad today announced that he was quitting Umno with immediate effect and urged other members to emulate him. Tun Mahathir said he was quitting the party, which he led for almost 22 years until handing over the reins to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2003, as a sign of no confidence in his successor's leadership.

ALOR STAR: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced Monday at 12.35pm that he is quitting Umno.

He said this during a talk here on Monday.

He has been critical of his appointed successor Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, blaming the current Umno president for the party's disappointing performance in the 12th general election.

The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, of which Umno is the largest component party, won the March 8 election with a simple majority, and saw four more states join Kelantan under Opposition rule.

Dr Mahathir urged other party members to quit too, as a way of pressuring Abdullah into vacating his post.

However, he advised those who do quit not to join any opposition party.

Abdullah has so far refused all calls for him to step down, and said he would defend his presidency in the party polls in December.

Dr Mahathir joined Umno at its inception in 1946.

He became a Member of Parliament in 1964 when he won the Kota Setar Selatan seat.

He lost the seat in the following general election in 1969.

Following the May 13, 1969, riots Dr Mahathir was sacked from the Umno Supreme Council on July 12 because of the widespread distribution of his letter to first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman criticising Tunku’s manner of handling the country’s administration.

Dr Mahathir rejoined Umno on March 7, 1972 and was appointed Senator in 1973. He relinquished the senatorship post a year later to contest the Kubang Pasu seat in the general elections. He was returned unopposed and was appointed Minister of Education.

In 1975, Dr Mahathir became one of the three vice-presidents of Umno.

Tun Hussein Onn appointed Dr Mahathir Deputy Prime Minister on Sept 15, 1978.

Dr Mahathir was Prime Minister of Malaysia from July 16, 1981, until Oct 31, 2003.

Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said he was surprised at the decision, but added that it was Dr Mahathir's right to do so.

"Every member has the right to join or leave the party," he said.

Asked if Umno would convene an emergency meeting, the former Umno vice-president and Selangor Mentri Besar said that "we will wait and see."

The next Umno Supreme Council meeting is scheduled to be held within the next two or three weeks.

May 18, 2008

Tun Mahathir challenges government to charge him

In the recent news, several high-profile individuals were investigated, including former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, after a high-level inquiry found evidence that they were involved in a conspiracy to manipulate the appointment of judges. A five-member panel has found beyond doubt that a video clip showing lawyer V.K. Lingam brokering judicial appointments is genuine. Now Tun Mahathir challenged the government to charge him for his alleged involvement in a judge-fixing scandal during his rule.

JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia : Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on Saturday challenged the government to charge him for his alleged involvement in a judge-fixing scandal during his rule.

The government on Friday released a report that found evidence of an "insidious" conspiracy to influence the appointment of judges and had listed Mahathir, along with other top figures, as being involved.

Following the release of the report, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's cabinet agreed for the attorney-general's chambers to immediately investigate the allegations against those identified in the report, including Mahathir.

"I welcome it," the 82-year-old influential leader said at a meeting in southern Johor state.

"I want them to charge me in court. Only then will I have the opportunity to expose more conflicts faced by the judges, including those who have implicated me," he told reporters.

The report was prepared by a royal commission that investigated a video clip allegedly showing top lawyer V.K. Lingam brokering judge appointments.

"We are of the view that there was, conceivably, an insidious movement by (V.K. Lingam) with the covert assistance of his close friends," it said, citing business tycoon Vincent Tan -- Mahathir's close associate -- and secretary general of the ruling United Malays National Organisation, Tengku Adnan.

"In the process, Tun Mahathir Mohamad was also entangled," the report said, referring to the man who ruled Malaysia with an iron fist for 22 years.

The report said there was "sufficient cause" to invoke laws including those on sedition and corruption against "some of the principal individuals involved." But it did not specify who should face prosecution.

During the commission inquiry, Mahathir testified that he was not influenced by his associates when he selected judges.

His arch foe and former deputy premier, Anwar Ibrahim, unleashed a furore last year by releasing the clip, which apparently showed Lingam telling a person identified as former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz that that he would put him forward for a top job.

May 15, 2008

Tun Mahathir : "I've met Najib"


Video Link : Mahathir: I've met Najib


Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he met Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak four days ago after Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he would not stop such a meeting between the two.

The former prime minister today told reporters that he had a meeting with Najib but declined to give details.

"PM did not stop (Najib from seeing me) after I made the matter public. He said he didn't stop Najib. After the PM said that, (Najib) was allowed to meet me.

"I've met him (Najib). I've met him," he repeated several times.

The meeting, which lasted about two hours, is learnt to have taken place last Sunday evening at Najib's official residence Sri Satria in Putrajaya.

Last Wednesday, Mahathir claimed he tried to set up a meeting with Najib immediately after the general election to discuss current affairs - a move that purportedly did not go well with Abdullah.

However, the prime minister denied blocking Najib from seeing Mahathir with two brief words repeatedly: “Tak ada halang, tak ada (didn't block, didn't block)”

After launching a pictorial biography of the late Sher Mohamed Allah Baksh, Mahathir was cornered by reporters to comment on several issues.

He was asked to comment on Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s statement that he was approached to cross over to opposition party PKR.

The Umno Youth executive secretary alleged that he was offered a huge sum which can ensure “two or three future generations” of his family would enjoy an easy life.

'They want positions, all of them'

Mahathir curtly replied: “Everybody is obsessed with money. When they have money they can jump into any boat.

“All of them dare not speak up because of money. They want positions, all of them,” he said.

Another reporter also asked the former premier for his views on DAP chairperson Karpal Singh’s refusal to retract his statement in questioning Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah’s jurisdiction over the transfer of state Religious Department director Jamry Sury by Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

“This is what happens when the government is weak. The people don’t respect them anymore,” he said briefly before being ushered out of the hall by his aides.

The prime minister of 22 years has been critical of the current leadership after several monumental projects under his administration were stopped by Abdullah.

Mahathir has also openly voiced his preference towards Najib to take over Umno and government after the 12th general election.

But Abdullah has vowed to continue as prime minister despite calls from numerous quarters for him to step down.

In recent weeks, Mahathir appeared to have been disappointed with Najib for standing by Abdullah.

Mahathir subsequently called Najib a "coward" and at the same time he stepped up his attack on Abdullah, his hand-picked successor.

May 9, 2008

PM Abdullah Asks Police Report Be Lodged Against Karpal

Karpal Singh, chairman of the Democratic Action Party, faced a police probe for alleged sedition Friday (9 May) after he was accused of insulting a state sultan. Karpal Singh sparked an uproar when he claimed earlier this week that Sultan Azlan Shah, the titular head of northern Perak state, acted beyond his authority by interfering with the firing of a religious official.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has asked Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor to lodge a police report against DAP chairman Karpal Singh over his statement on the powers of the Perak Sultan.

Abdullah said this was to enable the matter to be referred to the Attorney-General and then brought to court.

He said Karpal's statement had incurred the ire of the public, including non-Malays.

"It is seditious and seen by the people as ridiculing the Sultan as though the ruler did not know his duty," he told reporters when asked about Karpal's controversial statement.

Earlier, Abdullah had opened the 5th Halal Industry International Exhibition hosted by Malaysia, here Thursday.

Abdullah said the Malays and other races felt aggrieved and offended by Karpal's statement, and he was made to understand that more people would be making police reports against the lawyer.

On the case of blogger and 'Malaysia Today' website editor, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Abdullah said anyone who contravened the law would face action.

"When there's a report lodge against them, then action will be taken. If they are guilty, they will face the penalty."

On the statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in parliament Thursday that the government would not draw up a law on "whistle blowers", Abdullah said the government had no plans yet on the matter.

"If there is a proposal, we will consider," he said.

May 7, 2008

Malaysia Today's Blogger Raja Petra charged with sedition


Video Link : Raja Petra charged, chooses jail over bail


Video Link : Raja Petra charged with sedition

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian government has charged a prominent blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, with sedition for an article he wrote on April 25 on his website, Malaysia Today.

The article has linked Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, to the gruesome killing of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaaribu in October 2006.

The 58-year-old blogger has also accused Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi for withholding crucial evidence in a bid to protect his deputy.

Raja Petra, who is known by his initials 'RPK', has pleaded not guilty and has insisted that the charges were trumped up against him.

He said: "UMNO or Barisan lost the internet war and they said Malaysia Today is one of the leading culprits. This is merely an excuse to arrest me, detain me and to charge me."

Raja Petra has vowed to continue blogging even if he is put behind bars. His lawyer Karpal Singh said this is a test case with serious, far-reaching implications.

"It appears to be a warning to all bloggers. As I said, I only hope this is not the beginning of other bloggers being dragged to court. Let this be a test case as to how far the government can go to charge bloggers for an offence under the sedition act," said Karpal, who has urged the prosecution to withdraw the sedition charge, saying it is more appropriate for the affected parties to sue Raja Petra for defamation.

While a campaign is on to raise funds for his bail, Raja Petra – who will be tried this October – has been put behind bars.

If found guilty under the sedition act, he may be fined up to US$1,500 or be jailed for up to three years, or both.

May 2, 2008

Tun Mahathir starts his own blog


KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is now a blogger.

He is blogging through his website www.chedet.com, which is named after the pseudonym he used when he wrote articles for the newspapers.

In his profile, Dr Mahathir lists himself simply as the "Prime Minister of Malaysia 1981 – 2003".

Dr Mahathir wrote that the site was dedicated to publishing his writings as and when he was able to pen his thoughts and opinions.

He added that interested parties, including the media, were allowed to reproduce or quote materials published in his site but to credit them to chedet.com.

Comments and feedbacks accompanied by names or pseudonyms were welcome, while anonymous ones and those containing profanities and obscenities would be rejected, he wrote.

His first article, posted at 1.27am yesterday, was on the appointment of judges, in which he posed a few questions on the setup of the proposed commission on the appointment of judges, and how recommendations would be made.

Dr Mahathir wrote that it would be interesting to know the full details of the procedures especially with regard to the role of the Prime Minister in the appointment of judges.

He pointed out that any changes to the appointment of judges required the Constitution to be amended and, as the Government did not have two-thirds majority in Parliament, it needed votes from the Opposition.

"Is the Government proposing to work with the Opposition on these issues, and so display its weakness? Will there be a quid pro quo, a bargain with the Opposition? It would be interesting to see how the PM proposes to deal with this," he wrote.

Dr Mahathir's blog received more than 10,000 visitors by 5pm yesterday. Many commentators welcomed the former prime minister to the blogosphere and said they had been waiting for him to start blogging.

Many said they were eager to hear his thoughts on various issues and welcomed the fact that they could interact with him through the blog.

Some who left comments on his first posting disagreed that it would be a weakness on part of the Government to work with the Opposition to reform the judiciary. They felt that national interest should prevail over partisan politics.

One commentator also asked Dr Mahathir if he thought that the ex-gratia payment for the judges affected in the 1988 judicial crisis was tantamount to contempt of court.