Feb 24, 2010

Tun Mahathir backs direct BN membership

HETHEL (England), Feb 24 – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the proposal to allow direct membership in the Barisan Nasional (BN) should be considered as the situation has changed now and benefits will arise from such a move.

The former BN chairman and former Umno president said that the BN used to have such method in the past but problems started to arise when direct members wanted to become election candidates, resulting in other component parties becoming unhappy.

“Because of that, the direct membership of the alliance was ended. But maybe the situation is slightly different or has changed, so ... we should consider the proposal," he told reporters after a visit to the Lotus headquarters here on Tuesday.

He was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement last Friday that the BN would hold a convention end of this year to discuss amendments to the BN constitution to provide for direct admission of BN-friendly individuals, political parties and non-governmental organisations.

Dr Mahathir said some grassroot leaders might object to this as they did not want to be threatened or have their position jeopardised by better qualified candidates.

“In such a situation, direct members could easily join BN because there would be no objections or obstacles from these junior leaders who harbour ambitions to become candidates,” he said. – Bernama

Feb 23, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Lotus F1 Racing team must win

Tun Dr. Mahathir, ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia, today conducted the official opening of the Lotus Racing factory in Hingham, Norfolk. Tun Mahathir commented that Lotus F1 Racing team must win in order to maintain the Lotus image and brand.

NORFOLK (NORWICH), Feb 23 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia's formula one team, Lotus Racing, must perform well in Bahrain next month to maintain the Lotus image and brand.

He said he believed that the team had their own mission to do their level best as failure to deliver would tarnish the famous name that they carried.

Tun Dr Mahathir, who played an important role in setting up motoring sports in Malaysia, was speaking at the reporters after officially opening the team's factory here Monday.

He was joined by the team's principal, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, his deputies, Datuk Kamaruddin Meranun and SM Nasaruddin SM Nasimuddin, chief executive officer Riad Asmat and chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne.

Tun Dr Mahathir jokingly said that the team's ability in building the car in such a short span of time had caused him to "lose his bet."

"I came here because I did not believe that they could get the car ready in time so I challenged them. You get your car ready and I will come to visit, so they got their car ready. So I lost my bet..fortunately no money involved," he said.

He said it took at least a year to build up a car, even with a prototype, thus it was very impressive when a team as small as Lotus Racing managed to get it done only in five months.

"I'm very impressed and can see that they have been very lucky that they found a factory hall ready for making cars. The factory belonged originally to Toyota and Audi and everything is in place so they have little need to do or add anything," he said.

He said it was also amazing that the team managed to gather quite a number of people who were very familiar with car-making.

Earlier, during a visit to the factory, Tun Dr Mahahthir was given an opportunity to sit in the Lotus Cosworth T127 Chassis 02 while the engine was fired up.

Meanwhile, Fernandes said Lotus Racing was competing with the best in the world and he believed that it would do its level best despite having to operate with a limited budget.

It was not about having a lot of money but more about showing their true abilities to the world, particularly as Malaysians, he said.

Denying claims that the team had failed to attract sponsors because of its unknown abilities, he said: "I know there's a lot of scepticism here but first of all, we only had five months, other teams had 10 years. Just wait and see and we did not put any time frame to bring in the sponsors.

"Our target for now is we want to finish the first four races. No, we don't aim for any positions. You race with the Ferrari and they have been racing since 1930, that has been 80 years and we only five months of age.

"Ferrari's budget is substantially higher than us, so get behind us and let's show the world what we can do."

Many people, he said, had asked about the budget but history had proven that having tons of money was not a key to success.

"I have great people. The energy, the innovation is something that money can't buy so I'm not too worried about it. Of course we would like to have big sponsors who could have give us a large cheque and we can be more competitive but that doesn't happen and we will make do with what we have," he added.

Feb 9, 2010

Federal Court : Zambry is the lawful Perak MB

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 9 — The Federal Court today agreed with the Court of Appeal, effectively naming Barisan Nasional's Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir as the lawful Mentri Besar of Perak. This snuffs out the last hope of his toppled political rival and predecessor Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin to be reinstated to the position.

The five-man panel of judges comprised Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria and Justices Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Datuk Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff, and Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong.

The judgement is still being read out in court by Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria.

Nizar, 53, had challenged Zambry's appointment and won at the High Court, which noted that there was a loophole in the Perak Constitution to allow for another to be sworn in as mentri besar (MB) when the incumbent had not resigned.

In his decision on May 9 last year, High Court judge Abdul Aziz Rahim ruled that the Sultan was not constitutionally empowered to sack the MB, and that Nizar had always been the lawful head of the state government.

The judge added that the only way for the MB to be dismissed when he refused to resign was through a vote of no-confidence by his peers inside the state legislative assembly.

But the decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal later that month. The appeals court said the High Court judge's reading of the law was wrong and the latter had confused the issue of how the MB had lost the majority confidence with whether the ruler had the power to dismiss the head of government.

Nizar who is the PAS assemblyman for Pasir Panjang was chosen to head the state executive council (exco) after his Islamist party won the groundbreaking March 2008 general elections and formed an alliance with two other federal opposition groups, the secular DAP and popular pro-reform party PKR.

He was ousted 11 months later when four Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen left the fledgling alliance to swear loyalty to BN.

Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasharuddin Hashim who had earlier crossed from Umno to PKR, rejoined his old party. The assemblymen for Behrang, Jamaluddin Mohd. Radzi; Changkat Jering Osman Jailu; and Jelapang, Hee Yit Foong declared themselves as Independents friendly to the BN.

Their defections meant PR only had the support of 28 representatives in the 59-seat state assembly while the BN had 28 members plus the support of the three Independents.

The Election Commission refused to accept the three resignation letters forwarded by the pro-PR state assembly speaker which would have barred the votes of Jamaluddin, Osman and Hee from being counted.

Nizar was granted an audience with the Sultan of Perak but failed to convince the ruler to dissolve the assembly and pave the way for state-wide elections, ending what he saw as a political impasse.

Instead, the Perak sultan ordered him to resign and subsequently appointed Zambry as Nizar's replacement.

Feb 4, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Never question the citizenship of the non-Malays

PETALING JAYA: The citizenship of non-Malays in the country should never be questioned, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

A provision in the Federal Constitution clearly stated that the Malays were the indigenous people of the country while the non-Malays had rights to citizenship, he said.

“That should not be questioned. The Constitution provides that you cannot take away citizenships,” he told reporters after opening the Malaysian Liver Foundation building at Ara Damansara here yesterday.

The former prime minister was asked to comment on alleged racist remarks made by Datuk Nasir Safar, a special officer to the Prime Minister, during a 1Malaysia seminar in Malacca.

“It is a very bad statement to make. Even if it is true, we don’t say things like that. They are in fact, the children of the people who came here. They have not just arrived,” said Dr Mahathir.

Johor Umno information chief Datuk Samsol Bahari Jamali said Nasir’s remarks did not reflect the views of Umno in any way.

He said Johor Umno always looked at ways to get everyone to work together and not hurt anyone’s feelings.

“I am shocked to hear it. He never struck me as a racist,” he said when contacted.

MIC vice-president Datuk Dr S. Subra maniam said the immediate action taken by Najib indicated his seriousness and commitment in ensuring the success of the 1Malaysia policy.

“This should act as a deterent to ensure that similar statements are not repeated by any quarters,” he said in a statement.

Penang Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said the alleged racist remarks had aggravated the already high political tension in the country

Meanwhile, non-governmental organisation Perkasa came to Nasir’s defence.

Its president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said the remarks would have been harsher had it come from him (Ibrahim).

He said he understood why Nasir had made that statement.

Kelab Belia Graduan 1Malaysia also came to Nasir’s defence, saying his remarks were misunderstood and taken out of context.

Its deputy president Najieb Mokhtar said Nasir never intended to offend anyone.

“Only a small number of those present at the function took offence and left the hall,” he said, adding that he was also at the same seminar.

Feb 3, 2010

Tun Mahathir refrains from criticising Tengku Razaleigh

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has refrained from criticising Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for using an Opposition platform to voice his opinion on the Kelantan oil royalty issue.

He said that he had also been critical of the Government in the past.

“I do not think it is acceptable to use the platform of the Opposition but I have also spoken out using smaller groups critical to the Government.

“I am not in a position to condemn,” he said when asked for his reaction to Tengku Razaleigh’s comment that the PAS-led Kelan-tan government was entitled to a 5% royalty for petroleum extracted off its waters.

Last Thursday, Tengku Raza-leigh, who is a former Finance Minister and founding chairman of Petronas, told a gathering in Kota Baru that Kelantan was entitled to the royalty.

Speaking to reporters yesterday after giving a talk at the Asean Logics Conference at International Islamic University, Dr Mahathir said he had been very vocal against some of the moves made during the administration of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Dr Mahathir said he was of the view that Tengku Razaleigh was placing greater importance to Kelantan compared to the Federal Government.

“I suppose as a Kelantanese, he wants to see Kelantan get money. I am only guessing,” he said.

Kelantan Umno Youth was upset that Tengku Razaleigh chose to make his stand at a gathering organised by the PAS-led government, where he shared the stage with Mentri Besar and PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat at the Sultan Mohammed IV Stadium in Kota Baru.

Asked if Tengku Razaleigh’s ac-tions would affect the voters confidence towards Umno, Dr Maha-thir said: “Maybe, maybe. But whatever we do, we cannot win back Kelantan. Kelantanese have their own way of thinking.”

In his speech, Dr Mahathir said that Asean countries, together with China, Japan and South Korea, should have a common trading currency in place of the US dollar.

He also renewed his calls for the formation of the East Asia Economic Group (EAEG) , which would boost economic solidarity among the 10-member Asean group with the three north-east Asian countries.