Thursday, June 19, 2008


Barisan component leaders stand by Prime Minister


Barisan Nasional component leaders vowed to stand steadfastly with Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in light of the announcement by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) yesterday that a vote of no confidence will be tabled against the Prime Minister in Parliament next week. MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said what the country needed now was political and economic stability as the country and the people were going through very challenging times. “It would be best that all of us, both the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat, accept the results of the 12th General Election. Our priority should be to continue to work hard to fulfill our election pledges, restore confidence and stability for the nation,” he said in a statement. SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee said that his party had lost confidence in Abdullah and the SAPP’s two Members of Parliament would support the motion to be brought up in Parliament on Monday. Meanwhile, Gerakan Acting President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the party would not support such a move as forcing a vote of no confidence in such a manner was not positive and constructive. “Malaysia is currently facing severe challenges from the global fuel and food crisis as well as the economic uncertainties. Hence, it is crucial to sustain the solidarity and stability of the Federal Government by our Prime Minister to overcome these challenges and to implement reforms,” he said in a statement. He said Gerakan was surprised by the announcement and felt that such a drastic political move would only add to the uncertainty, disrupting efforts in reforms. “I can still remember Yong announcing in May a deadline of August for the Prime Minister and Federal Government to address the grievances of the Sabah people,” he said.


No motion of no confidence yet, says Dewan Rakyat Speaker


Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia says he has not received any notice from any party with regard to any motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. “I have not received anything yet. No notice has been submitted to my office so far,” he told Bernama last night. He said any party could submit a request to table a motion based on two provisions under the Standing Orders. The first is Order 27(1) which provides for a motion to be tabled by any member of Parliament (MP) on any specific subject but the MP must give a 14-day notice while the second is Order 18(1) when the House debates a motion of public interest deemed as urgent. Unlike Order 27(1) where a 14-day notice is needed, Order 18(1) only needs a 48-hour notice or two clear working days. This mean, whoever is planning to table the motion on Monday must submit the notice to the Dewan Rakyat speaker by today at the latest. When asked would he accept such a requisition, Pandikar said any MP could propose a motion in the House provided it meets the provisions of the Standing Orders. “Whether it is going to be accepted or not, I would have to look at it first before making a decision,” he said. Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Yong Teck Lee in declaring that his party has lost confidence in Abdullah’s leadership, said the party’s two MPs (Sepanggar and Tawau) would support a motion for a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister in the Parliament sitting on Monday. Yong who is a former Sabah Chief Minister, said Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun, who is now overseas on official duty, had made his stand in a signed press statement while Tawau MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui read out her statement during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Kota Kinabalu. “Whether the motion will be tabled by our MPs or another MP will be decided in due course,” Yong said at the press conference. Yong said Eric was expected to return to Malaysia in time for the Parliament session on June 23. - Bernama


Mahathir denies ordering judges to boot camp


Former Premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday denied allegations that he threatened to sack judges and ordered them to attend boot camps for pro-government indoctrination. The 82-year-old Mahathir, who is criticised for suppressing judicial and press freedoms during his two decades in power, faced the claims from a top judge who made the revelations in open court. “At no time did Tissue any threat against the judges,” Mahathir said on his website. Mahathir admitted that authorities had conducted courses on the national ethos, where speakers explained Malaysia’s political system with reference to ethics, moral values and democracy. “Thousands of people from all walks of life attended these work camps. There were hardly any complaints,” he said. Justice Ian Chin said he was targeted by Mahathir after refusing to award “astronomical” payouts in two libel cases in 1997, while a judge who agreed with the then premier’s views was promoted to the Federal Court. Afterwards, Chin reportedly said he was packed off to a five-day boot camp with selected judges and judicial officers. It was without doubt “an attempt to indoctrinate those attending the boot camp to hold the view that the Government interest as being more important than all else when we are considering our judgement,” Chin said. Mahathir stood down in 2003 and his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been criticised for failing to carry out his promises to tackle corruption, which is deeply entrenched in politics and business. Chin’s allegations add to the pall cast over the country’s judiciary by a recent Royal Commission into a sensational Mahathir-era video clip that showed a top lawyer brokering judicial appointments with the help of politicians. -AFP


HSBC customer donates RM50,000 prize to charities


A generous gesture by a lucky customer gave a boost to the charity programme of Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Corp (HSBC) and benefited 10 charities in Sabah. HSBC Malaysia Premier and Corporate customer Datuk Victor Paul, who won the RM50,000 grand prize of HSBC ‘Festive Cash Giveaway’ credit card campaign, donated the prize to charities. Revealing this at the presentation of a RM100,000 donation to the 10 charities at the Bank here yesterday, HSBC Area Director for East Malaysia, Thomas Varughese, said: “Upon learning his win, RM50,000, Datuk Paul approached the Bank, informing he would like to donate the money to charities, suggesting that HSBC match his win ringgit for ringgit. “We agreed to his suggestion and we now have RM 100,000 to donate to various charities. “Datuk Paul and the Bank selected ten charities consisting of the orphans, hardcore poor and prisoners’ children, hospice care centre and homes for the disabled.” Receiving the RM10,000 donation each yesterday were Komiti Hospis St Francis Xavier Keningau, Darul Bakti, Sabah Cheshire Home, Rumah Kanak-Kanak Kota Kinabalu, Taman Didikan Kanak-Kanak Kurang Upaya Sembulan, Prison Fellowship, Sabah Society for the Deaf, Taman Sri Stella Tawau, First Step Labuan and San Damiano Hostel Kiulu. “HSBC, the world’s local bank, always strives to give back to the community in which we operate and it is heartening to know that our customers also share the same views and Datuk Victor Paul is a fine example of a true HSBC customer,” said Thomas during the presentation ceremony. Datuk Paul, who was unable to attend the event, was represented by Andrew Steven, Assistant Human Resource Manager of Timatch and Ellen Chung, Human Resource Executive of Timatch.


Supreme Council not consulted, says confused Tan


SAPP Deputy President Datuk Raymond Tan said that he is confused and embarrassed about the Party’s move to seek a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister. He also said that the Party’s Supreme Council had not been consulted over the issue of no confidence against Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tan said he believed that the action, was carried out arbitrarily by Party President Datuk Yong Teck Lee However, he said that he would attend the Supreme Council meeting on Friday despite wondering why the Party would want to announce something before a decision is made. “It is not proper for us to do it when Abdullah is the Barisan Nasional Chairman. It is disrespectful to the Prime Minister,” said Tan, who is Deputy Chief Minister cum infrastructure Development Minister. “It should be a decision made by the Supreme Council. I think the position would be more certain. I do not know what he (Yong) has in mind to decide at the Supreme Council. “If already pre-planned and done, what are we going to discuss? The damage is done. These are things going through my mind,” he said, adding that it was embarrassing as SAPP won its seats on BN tickets and now we are said to be working with the Opposition. Tan said that he was not making any stand on the issue at the moment and would attend the meeting though he remains confused over the developments. “I am not going to say anything about my future as I have no plans. We will hear Out what they have to say at the Supreme Council,” Tan said when asked if he would quit the party if he was against the move. He said SAPP was very vocal and even blunt on Sabah issues and the Federal Government had been responding to the various requests. Tan had on Monday denied speculations that SAPP would be pulling out of BN following media speculations, On Tuesday, Tan was among those who attended the Chief Executive Officers Conference which was officially closed by Abdullah.


Simple ultimatum causes political ripples


It all started with a simple ultimatum. On May 13, Sabah Progressive Party(SAPP)President Datuk Yong Teck Lee gave Barisan Nasional (BN) until August to resolve outstanding issues in Sabah. “After August, there will be no guarantee that SAPP members will remain in Barisan,” he said. The grumblings did not stop there. SAPP continued to be vocal in voicing out numerous problems affecting the State, including the issue of illegal immigrants and “Project IC”. Many may have thought that the SAPP was merely “fishing in troubled waters” for political survival. On what is seen as a political strategy, SAPP Deputy President Datuk Raymond Tan on Monday denied the report that the party was on the verge of ditching BN, saying it was “mere speculation”. Yesterday, Yong, a former Sabah Chief Minister, dropped a bombshell by declaring that the Party had lost confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. At the same time, he announced that both SAPP Members of Parliament Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun (Sepanggar) and Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui would support a motion for a vote of no confidence on the Prime Minister in the coming Parliament sitting on Monday. “We must make a stand before the window of opportunities closes. This window of opportunity closes by August after which Sabah will be forgotten again. “We have voiced out Sabah issues including illegal immigrants to the Federal Government but they seem to be playing delaying tactics. We can no longer tolerate their insensitivities towards the Sabah issues that are real and serious,” he said. As to the future direction of the party, Yong said the party would hold its supreme council meeting on Friday. SAPP, a Sabah-based political party, was registered on Jan21, 1994 and it is one of the 14 component parties in the ruling BN coalition. Political observer Lesaya Lopog Sarudim said the decision by the two SAPP Members of Parliament was expected as there was a lot of dissatisfaction in Sabah. He said there must be enough reasons for SAPP making such a drastic move considering the party has been with BN for more than a decade. “Maybe they have come to a situation where they can no longer stay up to BN’s situation with regard to how they treat fellow component parties. “In my view, initially it will trigger a lot of discussions. In fact, currently the feeling of dissatisfaction is there, the only thing is that they do not want to discuss it openly. Whatever it is, the BN coalition is still intact at least for now,” he added. -Bernama


Declaration absurd and deplorable, says LDP

LDP President Datuk V K Liew has described the action by SAPP in declaring no confidence against the Prime Minister as absurd and deplorable. He said it was calculated to destabilize the BN Coalition Government and oust Abdullah who is a legitimate Prime Minister voted in by and for people in the last general election. “I find it absolutely deplorable for SAPP to make such an absurd and nonsensical move of no confidence on Pak Lah,” said Liew yesterday. The Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister was commenting on the declaration by SAPP President Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee, yesterday that the SAPP had lost confidence in the leadership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Liew said Yong’s move was personal and that the latter has no interest of the State and the people in mind. “He (Yong) is doing it for his own agenda. It is Liew calculated to destabilize the Coalition Government and to oust Pak Lah who is a legitimate PM. “This arm twisting tactic by Yong is politically unacceptable and should be discouraged,” said Liew. As for the LDP, he reiterated the Party’s undivided loyalty to the BN and dedication to its cause and struggle. “We will continue to throw our fullest support to Pak lah as our PM,” Liew assured.


Pakatan Rakyat to back no-confidence vote on PM

PAKATAN Rakyat will support a motion for a vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Parliament on Monday, according to Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim. “Yes,” he said when asked whether Pakatan Rakyat support the motion expected to be tabled in Monday’s Parliament session, after chairing the State Exco meeting in Shah Alam yesterday. Abdul Khalid said: “It is a good news to me but we, at Pakatan Rakyat, welcome participation by new members to the group... but we will, of course, work towards establishing a more people-oriented Malaysia,” he said. SAPP has made no mention of quitting the BN so far. Asked whether he would relinquish his Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary seat for Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Abdul Khalid said: “I feel there is speculation but I had given a would statement that every Keadilan Member of Parliament will offer their seats to Anwar, including myself.” Nevertheless, he said this matter needed to be discussed by Anwar. Khalid believed Anwar is focusing more on ensuring that Pakatan Rakyat would gain control of Parliament and the Government within a short period of time, instead of contesting in a by-election. - Bernama.


Musa disappointed with SAPP

SABAH Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Arnan has expressed disappointment over the declaration by SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee that his Party’s MPs will support a no-confidence vote on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. “I’m not sure what is SAPP’s real motive in making such a move,” he said in a statement. As a Barisan Nasional (BN) Component Party President, Yong’s act was uncalled for and unprecedented in. the spirit of camaraderie adopted by BN all this while, according to Musa. Musa, who is Sabah BN Chairman, was commenting on the declaration by Yong that SAPP had lost confidence in Abdullah, who himself was in Sabah Tuesday to close the Second International CEO Conference in Kota Kinabalu. Yong claimed that SAPP’s two MPs for Sepanggar Datuk Eric Majimbun and Tawau Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui, would support a motion for a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister in the coming Parliament sitting on Monday.


PM says he has not been able to satisfy Yong’s greed


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee’s latest action in declaring no confidence against him (Abdullah) has been due to the fact that “I have not been able to satisfy his personal greed.” Abdullah did not elaborate but his aides told Bernama that the Prime Minister would elaborate at a later date. Yong has declared his Party, a Chinese-based BN Component Party, had lost confidence in Abdullah Of late, the former Sabah Chief Minister, who served for two years under the controversial System of Rotation, had been critical of Abdullah’s political decisions on Sabah as well as the move to increase fuel prices. — Bernama.


No confidence vote on Abdullah
- Yong declares SAPP MPs will support vote against PM
- Key SAPP leaders absent when declaration announced
- SAPP faces sack? Party’s BN membership talk on Friday


Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has lost confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership, the Party President Datuk Yong Teck Lee declared yesterday. In a strong statement at a packed Press conference here, Yong announced that SAPP’s two Members of Parliament - Datuk Eric Majimbun (Sepanggar) and Datuk Chua Soon Bui (Tawau) will support a vote of no confidence on the PM in the coming Parliament sitting on Monday. The shocking declaration was made by the former Chief Minister at the SAPP Headquarters in Luyang, a day after a supposed meeting with Abdullah failed to materialise. “Some people were trying to arrange a meeting between the PM and me. I did not take up the offer because I do not see much coming out of it,” said Yong when making the announcement to a room thronged by Party division leaders and reporters. Yong first explained the purpose of the Press conference, and this was followed by Chua reading her statement which said if the top leadership could not perform, then he should make way for another able leader to take over. Majimbun sent a written and signed statement as he is overseas on an official duty. But he will return in time for the parliamentary sitting on Monday. “We have lost confidence in the PM’s leadership and this is done according to the Malaysian Constitution and democracy. The vote of no confidence is an existing process stipulated in the Constitution, the law and Standing Orders in Parliament; it is nothing extraordinary,” Yong said. Several key SAPP leaders namely its Deputy President, Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, Luyang Assemblywoman Melanie Chia and Likas Assemblyman Datuk Liew Teck Chan, to mention some, were not present during the announcement. But, Yong had an explanation, saying “they are either overseas or engaged with other urgent matters”. Stressing that they are not alone in the struggle, Yong said other Party leaders, including those in Umno, had also voiced out similar views. But he added: “There are many people including MPs and Component Parties’ leaders who have expressed a similar loss of confidence in the PM and some quite firmly and clearly called for a change in the Government. But as we all know, there is some distance between having a will and making a stand. So whether we are alone, as far as the issues affecting the Country is concerned, we are not; but as far as they are willing to make a move and declare a stand to firmly call for a change, we will have to wait and see.” Yong said his intention was made clearly to Abdullah as well as other political leaders, including Chief Minister, who is also the Saba BN Chairman, Datuk Seri Musa Aman. “In my last meeting with him (Abdullah) on May 13 in Kuala Lumpur, it was very cordial. That was when I made it clear so that I would not be misunderstood. I said it three times that although there would be no crossovers as speculated some newspaper reports of MPs, on the following day (May 14), but the PM must not rule out the possibility of this happening some time in the future because the issues are real and that the MPs are serious. “His response was basically the usual ... that we had been interviewed before, we have this press conference before, we will look into the issue, we are committed to the issue, we want to stop the issue but because I had the impression that the actual act of urgency was still not there, I therefore told him (Abdullah) not to rule out possibilities that something might happen in the future,” Yong said. Yong said he was not talking about SAPP alone as other parties like Umno and other Components of the BN, including those in Sarawak, would have to make a decision and stand somewhere in the future. Stressing that his decision was nothing personal, Yong said the SAPP is still part of the BN. “Technically, we are still in BN. But BN is no more in Sabah. It is there only in form, but not in spirit and substance. Nevertheless, our status of membership in BN will be addressed during our Supreme Council Meeting this Friday (tomorrow). “Does the Party expect to be sacked before Friday? Some people may think so but we are just making a stand and will bear the consequences. “Are our days numbered in BN? We will wait till Friday. We have two more days, so maybe, we can number it two days,” he replied to a question at the press conference. Yong also disclosed he had met Parti Keadilan Rakyat Advisor, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, on two separate occasions, once in Hong Kong and the other in KL, in addition to meeting other leaders, in and outside BN, including Umno, and discussed several issues affecting the country including their effects on Sabah. He described the meetings as normal ones. Yong was mum about whether there was any possibility of SAPP quitting the BN, saying that he would only make the announcement after the Friday meeting. “My Supreme Council members know what I am thinking but I want to know what they think. I have to respect my Supreme Council members, so let us just wait till Friday,” he said, adding that the issue of pulling out of BN has many patterns. “It does not necessarily mean in or out. The decision will depend on the many patterns in the political scenario,” he said. To a question whether there was a possibility of SAPP joining Opposition Pakatan Rakyat, Yong said the issue whether he would remain in BN or join another national Coalition does not arise. “All we want here is to recover our political autonomy as a party in Sabah and that means that there is no urgency or desire to surrender he autonomy by joining another National Coalition. We want an authentic Sabah political autonomy. “Of course we are trying to produce an objective. So if there is any party which understands and agrees with our issues, we will work it out with them. And I mean work with them and not join them,” he stressed. He said the decision to publicly declare the vote of no confidence against Abdullah was made as finally, after 45 years, Sabah has gotten its ‘window of opportunity’ to voice out its needs and demands to the ruling Government. But he fears that this opportunity is running out of time as the window closes in August when the Nation’s attention is switched to MCA and Umno elections. Later the people would be preoccupied with the fasting month, Hari Raya, school exams and year- end events and Sabah would, soon, be forgotten again, according to him. He went on to explain that; “For 45 years, whatever Sabah asked for is put up against the wall, whether it is State of Federal finance or other matters. That happened a lot of times. But after 45 years, for the first time, we have this window of opportunity to recover our political autonomy.” He continued: “When the Sabah Government was strong (in the past), we surrendered Labuan (to the Federal Government). Now we want it back. After June 6, 1976, we surrendered petroleum and now we want 20 per cent. And all these opportunities are rising from the political, tsunami in West Malaysia affecting Barisan Nasional today. “We were there all along, supporting BN, campaigning for the Coalition and our candidates in the last election, all this in respect of candidacies. But it is time for us to make a stand.” Yong stressed that unfair Federal laws, excessive taxes and structural imbalances in the economy would remain entrenched if the opportunities were not seized quickly. “Sabah will remain the poorest State subservient to the central leadership. Labuan bridge, poverty eradication and rural development will remain elusive. Racial politics and wasteful monopolies will continue as usual while the illegal immigrant problems will reach the boiling points. “Grown up street kids, illicit drugs and crimes will continue to strike fear among the people. Police and law enforcement will remain understaffed and under-resourced. In other words, Sabah will lose out badly again. We will not get this window of opportunity for another 50 years, if ever again,” he stressed. With all these in mind, Yong stressed that there is a need for an immediate declaration of no confidence in Abdullah and the Government to tell the BN Federal Government that they could no longer tolerate their insensitive attitude towards the Sabah issues that are real and serious. Asked on what would make him change his mind, Yong replied: “I worry about the delaying tactics. They would say there is no need for this or that, this will take time, this has to go to Parliament, that the laws need to be amended and without realising, the window of opportunity is closed. I am suspicious with all these delaying tactics and soon they will ask, what is there to talk about.” SAPP, which was formed in 1994, is running a poll on its blog, asking members of the public whether it should stay on in BN, leave the Coalition but remain independent, or join Pakatan Rakyat. At Press time, there were 2,828 votes tallied, with 85% (2,411 votes) asking SAPP to join Pakatan Rakyat. Only 2% (80 votes) urged it to stay on with BN, while the remainder suggested it should quit BN but remain unaligned.