Najib hit by theft of jet engines

By Kevin Brown in Singapore

The Malaysian government faces a fresh corruption crisis after officials admitted that two fighter jet engines had disappeared from an air force base after apparently being illicitly sold by military officers to a South American arms dealer.

Najib Razak, prime minister, said there would be a full inquiry into the thefts, which happened in 2007 and 2008, when he was defence minister. However, opposition parties accused the government of a cover-up.

Lim Kit Siang, parliamentary leader of the opposition Democratic Action party, said the authorities had been "super slow" and alleged the prime minister's response had painted a "frightening picture of a government of thieves".

Idris Ahmad of the allied Parti Islam SeMalaysia said "powerful people" had been involved. "We don't want only the ikan bilis [anchovies] to be arrested while the sharks are allowed to swim freely," he said.

The General Electric J85-21A engines, each worth about M$50m ($15m, €10.5m, £9.4m), were spares for the Royal Malaysian Air Force's Northrop Grumman F-5E Tiger II fighters, which fly from the Butterworth air base near the northern border with Thailand.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, defence minister, said the engines and associated equipment were "believed to have been sent to a South American country" after being moved to Sungai Besi air base in Kuala Lumpur for maintenance.

The defence ministry would not identify the country involved nor comment on media reports the engines might have ended up in the Middle East.

The F-5 went out of production in 1989 but is still used as a trainer by US forces and is in frontline or reserve service with many foreign air forces, including that of Iran.

The ministry said several senior officers were being investigated. General Azizan Ariffin, chief of the armed forces, said the thefts might have been the "tip of the iceberg", raising the possibility that other military equipment might also have disappeared.

The disclosure of the thefts is a serious blow to Mr Najib, who has promised to crack down on corruption as part of efforts to recover support for his long-serving National Front government, which lost many of its seats in a general election last year.

The prime minister unveiled a three-year action plan last week amid concern at declining investor interest and Malaysia's fall to 56th in the 2009 Corruption Index, published by Transparency International, down from 47th in 2008.

Mr Najib has denied any personal corruption, including opposition claims of involvement in an allegedly corrupt submarine deal while he served as defence minister.

Corruption charges were brought this month against a senior port executive and two other officials linked to a development near Kuala Lumpur known as the Port Klang free trade zone.

The arrests followed a damning parliamentary report that found widespread evidence of corruption and cost overruns at the project, which has run up debts of more than $1bn.

Najib announces RPGT reversal

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced tonight a reversal of his government’s decision to reintroduce real property gains tax (RPGT) on January 1 for all transactions, amid concerns that it would hit long-standing homeowners and foreign investors.

Instead, the government has now decided the five per cent RPGT would only apply to property sold within five years of purchase.

The five per cent tax, which was announced under Budget 2010 in October, is normally imposed to curb speculation but due to its flat structure does not differentiate between homeowners who have been holding a property for 20 years or those who are flipping properties within one or two years for a profit.

The property sector was taken by surprise by the announcement and had expressed worries that it would have sent a message to potential investors that the government has not been consistent in its policymaking.

An exemption on the RPGT was given in 2007 by the then-Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration in order to boost the property development industry.

Its removal two plus years later with little warning could have heightened the feeling of uncertainty among investors.

But speaking at a dinner with the federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia tonight, Najib allayed fears from the business sector, many of whom are from the Chinese community.

[Najib (second left) and his hosts share a light moment during tonight’s dinner. — Picture by Jack Ooi ] He said the decision to backtrack on the implementation of the RPGT will likely cost the government RM200 million in lost revenue.

Apart from this, Najib also announced that the hospitality industry will enjoy a 60 per cent reinvestment allowance from the government, to be handed out to hotels undertaking investments for renovation and refurnishing.

He said that in line with this new policy, the government will extend the investment allowance for 15 years.

The announcements were made following requests made by the Federation of Chinese Associations for the government to help the property sector.

“I hope the Chinese community will respond to the announcements accordingly,” he said.

Najib also said that he hoped to see the Chinese reciprocate his gesture by helping him realise his “1 Malaysia” concept.

Need Consensus for UMNO take over of BN seat in Penang

PM:Need BN consensus on Penang BN chairmanship issue

SHAH ALAM: Any decision on Penang Umno’s plan to take over the state Barisan Nasional chairmanship from Gerakan will be made based on Barisan’s consensus, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said as Barisan chairman, he would make sure that before any decision is made, all parties would be consulted.

“That is at a proposal stage. It’s all right but any decision will be by consensus according to Barisan’s spirit,” he told reporters after the launch of Ikatan Hati Warga Felda (Iktiraf) carnival here Sunday.

Najib was asked to comment on Penang Umno chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s statement that the party was seeking the state Barisan chairmanship as Umno held all the state seats won by Barisan in the last general election.

Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had later said that Gerakan would object to any official proposal to change the status quo.

Najib hails football team’s success in Laos

COPENHAGEN: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged the national football squad to use their success in the SEA Games as a “stepping stone” towards greater heights in future.

He said that he was very proud of their achievement and extended his congratulations to them for having won the gold medal in the final.

He, however, hoped the victory was not just a seasonal success or for a short-term only but represented a continuous path towards bigger achievements.

“I want to see improvements in the team in the context of our position compared with those of other countries,” he said.

Najib, who is here to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, was also happy with the contingent’s overall achievement in breaking their 35-medal target with 40 so far.

“We hope their success so far will further motivate the team to do even better in future,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also congratulated the Malaysian football team.

“I hope by winning the game, it will motivate our players to be consistent and excellent in the future,” he said.

Govt To Address Shortage Of Science Talent - Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 (Bernama) -- To address the shortage of scientific talent in the country, the government will do whatever it takes and provide financial support for university research, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said Malaysia needed more scientists, researchers, innovators and pioneers in the science and technology sector.

"In terms of manpower, to date, Malaysia had only achieved 18 per cent of the Ninth Malaysia Plan which targets to have 60 researchers, scientists and engineers for every 10,000 people in the workforce.

"The government is willing to do whatever it takes to address the shortfall in scientific talent, besides providing appropriate institutional and financial support for research in universities," added Najib.

The prime minister said this in his message in the souvenir programme for the 16th Malaysia Toray Science Foundation (MTSF) prize presentation Tuesday.

Najib said the sacrifices and long hours of hard work put in by scientists and researchers needed to be supported and encouraged for both public and private entities.

Najib said the government wished to see Malaysians equipped with contemporary skills and the right mindset to face the challenging future of the rapidly-changing world.

To build the knowledge-based economy, greater emphasis would be given to development programmes involving technology, innovation and discovery-driven.

"Being a critical part in this endeavour, research and development will remain inconsequential, as long as they remain on bookshelves and stay uncommercialised," he noted.

The MTSF prize was established since 1993 by the Japan-based Toray Industries to contribute to the progress and advancement of science and technology in Malaysia.

This year's top science and technology awards were presented to Prof Dr Ong Seng Huat and Prof Dr Tan Nget Hong, both from Universiti Malaya, who received RM30,000 each from MTSF chairman Tan Sri Law Hieng Ding.

Dr Ong, who heads the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, said the development of a country's economy and industry depended to a great extent on the prowess of its scientific advancement and innovation.

Feted for his research on image analysis and stochastic modelling, he said the research environment had become increasingly conducive, yet more challenging due to globalisation.

"Not only has the world economic axis shifted to the Pacific region but also the scientific axis. In recent years, we see a great number of research papers from this region appearing in top scientific journals.

"This is the reflection of the keen competition among countries in the Pacific Region to advance their economy and industry, and against this backdrop, it is imperative that applied fundamental scientific research in Malaysia should be given impetus," Dr Ong said in his speech.

Dr Tan, who is from the Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, was recognised for his research on toxinology of snake venom, proteins and enzymology and medical education.

PM: Govt is liberal on Chinese schools

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has assured all 60 independent Chinese schools in the country that they can continue without any interference.

The Prime Minister said the Government had amended the Education Act 1996 to guarantee the existence of such schools in the country when he was still the deputy Education Minister.

“This shows that Umno and the Barisan Nasional government has always been liberal and all-inclusive in its policies,” he said during the 90th anniversary celebration of the Chong Hwa independent high school here last night.

Also present was MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, leaders of other component parties in the Bari-san and Chinese community leaders.
Warm welcome: Najib waving to the crowd upon arriving at the Chong Hwa Independent High School’s 90th anniversary celebrations in Kuala Lumpur Monday.

Najib said Malaysia was a unique country because the Chinese were free to have schools of their mother tongue unlike other countries which practised policies of assimilation.

“In Malaysia, we have an understanding among the races and this is not based on assimilation but rather on integration,” he said.

Najib, who is Umno president, also encourage the Malay citizens to learn Mandarin because the language was one of the many assets of the country.

“When we learn the languages of other races, we learn more about each other. Only when we respect and honour one another can we become true Malaysians who support the 1Malaysia concept.”

He said he was also determined to ensure that each Malaysian irrespective of skin colour and creed would be given the support needed to achieve his or her potential.

“Only when there is a fair and democratic system can there be a sense of togetherness among the people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ong said he hoped other non-Chinese leaders would also visit Chinese independent schools so that they could learn more about them.

“Not many non-Chinese leaders understand much about the Chinese independent schools,” he said.

Najib ignores PI Bala’s claims

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has frostily ignored P. Balasubramaniam’s claims that the prime minister’s architect brother was allegedly involved in the private investigator’s disappearance and payoff for his silence in the Altantuya murder case.

The missing private detective has made a series of sensational claims that Najib knew murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu and his brother Nazim and a businessman linked to the prime minister’s wife made him retract a statutory declaration on the case.

“I will not entertain any frivolous statement,” Najib said icily before asking reporters to move on to the next question at the Umno supreme council meeting last night.

The Umno president has previously denied knowing Altantuya, who was killed in October 2006, despite claims by Bala and popularised by fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin. Najib’s close friend, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda was acquitted of charges of plotting her murder while two elite policemen are to hang for the offence. They are appealing the sentence.

In an interview with Bala carried in Raja Petra’s news portal, the private investigator claimed he had met architect Nazim, who is the younger brother of Najib, last year.

Bala claimed the meeting had been arranged by carpet businessman identified as Deepak Jaikishan, whom the investigator claimed was a close associate of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the PM’s wife.

He also alleged that he was offered RM5 million to retract his first statutory declaration and that his family was threatened if he did not do it.

The former special branch policeman further claimed he was forced to sign a second pre-prepared statutory declaration which he claims to have never read and was paid RM750,000 after he disappeared.

So far, no one knows the whereabouts of the private investigator but he claimed he had return three times to Malaysia this year since fleeing in July 2008 after issuing contradictory statutory declarations. Police are seeking him although he claimed to have given them his statement in Bangkok before travelling to India.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has begun investigating Bala’s claims by questioning two opposition leaders yesterday.

One of them was PKR youth chief Mohd Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin who lodged a report against Nazim on Wednesday.

The Pakatan Rakyat have used the Altantuya case in some of their campaigns in the nine by-elections in Malaysia since Election 2008, winning seven in most opposition-held constituencies. The only Barisan Nasional seat they wrested effectively was the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat.

Opposition leaders and Raja Petra have claimed Altantuya was linked to the Scorpene submarine purchase made when Najib was the defence minister. Malaysia has since received the submarines in a deal where Abdul Razak’s consultancy received a hefty commission.

Najib's peace plan working

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak's peace plan for the MCA could see the Nov 28 extraordinary general meeting being called off and fresh party polls being held.

The issues that appear to be contentious now are confined to the date of party polls and an acceptable electoral system.

MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who leads one of two opposing factions in the party, said in Kuala Terengganu yesterday that he would call off the Nov 28 EGM if all parties agreed to fresh elections.

Liow said this was the fastest way to resolve the current crisis, which has split the party following the Oct 10 EGM which rejected president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and his deputy, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, as MCA leaders.

"If it (fresh elections) can be determined before Nov 28 and if the proposed date is agreeable to all, then we will call off the EGM as the purpose of the meeting is to seek fresh elections.

"We were elected as Central Committee members by the present delegates and they will vote for us again.

"We have the list ready; we can call for an election. It can be done in a short time," he said at the state MCA building here on Friday night where he briefed state MCA members about the party's leadership crisis.

On the best time for fresh elections, Liow replied "as soon as possible".

On Friday, Dr Chua said he supported fresh elections, to be held at the earliest in March, provided the present electoral system was maintained. The party is still studying ways to revamp its electoral system.

On Thursday, Ong, Dr Chua and secretary-general Datuk Wong Foon Meng met Najib for 45 minutes.

Liow, Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong and Wanita chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun met him the next day.

Both sides said Najib indicated he favoured fresh polls.

However, Ong appeared sceptical about Liow's readiness to call off the EGM, reminding that he (Ong) had in fact proposed fresh party polls at the Oct 15 Central Committee meeting.

"But Liow's camp opposed the proposal. There are too many red herrings.

"He has said nothing new and his commitment to such a proposal (calling off the EGM) is questionable.

"Too many flip-flops have made any engagements with him futile," Ong, who is the transport minister, said via text message from London, where he is attending the International Maritime Organisation meeting.

Asked if he agreed to fresh polls and the date, he said: "I have made it clear if we want to have fresh polls, it must be based on a new electoral system involving a wider base of delegates at the divisional level."

Najib steps in to resolve MCA dispute

KUALA LUMPUR- PRIME Minister Najib Razak is finally stepping in to resolve the leadership crisis in the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) which may put the image of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) at risk.

Datuk Seri Najib, who is also BN chairman, had refrained from intervening in the past few months, saying he would do so only if invited.

The factional infighting came to a head on Wednesday when the chiefs of MCA youth and women's wings and seven other officials were removed from the presidential council.

On Thursday, Mr Najib said he would meet the MCA leaders individually, before Nov 28. 'I would find time to talk to them and see if there is a common ground. We will take it from there,' he was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.

MCA, the country's second largest political party, has been locked for months in a leadership dispute that has splintered it into at least three factions. The infighting intensified with the sacking of deputy president Chua Soi Lek in August over an old sex scandal, a move orchestrated by his rival, party president Ong Tee Keat.

At a special extraordinary general meeting last month, both leaders were rejected by delegates. Then, barely two weeks later, the two men sprang a surprise by ending their feud and pledging to unite the party.

APEC Leaders Adopt Firm Stand To Revive World Economy: Says Najib

SINGAPORE, Nov 15 (Bernama) -- The Asia-Pacific Economies Leaders' Meeting (AELM) has taken a "firm and concrete" stand to revive the sluggish world economy, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Sunday.

He said leaders of the 21 Apec-member economies strongly rejected any move towards trade protectionism and want the Doha Round trade negotiations to be concluded by end of next year.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the two-day AELM, Najib said the leaders also agreed to coordinate their actions in efforts to develop the regional economy to be more sustainable, inclusive and balanced.

"The leaders want to see this region enjoying balanced and open development, having social safety net, progress in the growth of small and medium enterprises and physical development that can be enjoyed fairly and justly by the people in this region," he said.

The AELM also deliberated on climate change as it is related to disasters that can happen at any time and to face them all the economies agreed to help in disaster relief operations.

On initiatives to consolidate regional economies, Najib said Apec leaders agreed to pursue efforts to lead their economies towards that objective.

"Even now there are already initiatives by a new group called Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which aspires to further expand the free trade area," he said.

TPP, a collaborative initiative among Brunei, Singapore, Chile and New Zealand, has now gained the attention of the United States, Australia, Peru and Vietnam.

In this regard, Najib said as there were more and more groups such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Asean 3, Asean 6 and now TPP, concerted efforts must be made to harmonise their roles towards one main objective -- expand free trade area.

The two-day AELM, which began yesterday, was chaired by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Renewed calls for PM to help resolve MCA crisis

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 (Bernama) -- There are renewed calls for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and former MCA leaders to step in to resolve the persisting crisis in the party.

Najib, who is the Barisan Nasional chairman, had said that he would not interevene unless he was asked officially, after similar calls had been made by party vice-president Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha and also Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Today, Rasa Jaya branch chairman Datuk Tan Kah Choun, who has called himself the spokesman for the MCA "third force", said he supported the "greater unity plan" (GUP) for the party but asked the prime minister to meet up with former party leaders to help put the MCA back together.

"In order to put an end to the MCA internal crisis and to rebuild the good image of BN, I sincerely urge the BN chairman-cum-prime minister to meet up and consult with 11 MCA party veterans who are the past presidents and deputy presidents," he told reporters.

He named Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu (MCA president from March 1958-July 1959), Tan Sri Lee San Choon, Tan Sri Michael Chen Wing Sum, Datuk Dr Neo Yee Pan, Datuk Mak Hon Kam, Tan Koon Swan, Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Tan Sri Lee Kim Sai, Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy.

Tan said should the prime minister be unable to meet up with all of them, he suggested that Najib meet Dr Ling and Chen or as a last resort, consult former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had dealt with at least three MCA crises.

Tan said as long as the MCA could move on peacefully, united and strong, it did not matter who became the president and deputy president.

He is also against the Nov 28 extraordinary general meeting (EGM) called by the group of 16 central committee members ahead of the party's annual general meeting on Dec 5.

He said they should instead adopt the GUP initiated by party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek last month as the two, once rivals, were prepared to work together for the sake of the party.

Meanwhile, MCA Petaling Jaya Utara secretary Datuk Dr Wong Sai Hou called for a halt to the leadership squabble.

"As a grassroot leader, I feel very strongly that there should be an end to all knee-jerk reactions," said Dr Wong in a statement.

He urged all quarters to attend the Nov 15 dialogue with the grassroot leaders from 191 MCA divisions planned by Dr Chua to clear many issues once and for all.

"It does make sense that all involved parties and especially the grassroots who form the silent majority should meet under one roof for a dialogue; to be briefed and updated on the current issues inclusive of any unity plan to put MCA back on its feet," Dr Wong said.

Wanita MCA vice-chairman Datuk Agnes Shim urged all party members to support the GUP.

"This internal bickering has been going on non-stop for a few months and the fact that it has not been solved till today causes the public to feel disappointed with the party. If this goes on, MCA will lose the trust and support of the Chinese community," she said in a statement.

Najib's Support Dropped Sharply

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Fewer people in Malaysia are expressing support for Najib Razak, according to a poll by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. 56 per cent of respondents are satisfied with the prime minister’s performance, down 10 points since July.

The United Malays National Organization (UMNO)—the biggest party in a coalition of 12 political factions known as the National Front (BN)—has formed the government after every election since the Asian country attained its independence from Britain in 1957.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as prime minister in October 2003, after the retirement of Mahathir Mohamad, who served for more than 22 years. In the March 2004 election, the National Front secured 198 of the 219 seats in the House of Representatives. Abdullah was sworn in as head of government with the biggest majority in three decades.

In the March 2008 ballot, the National Front won 140 seats in the legislature. The coalition’s share of the vote dropped drastically, from 64.4 per cent in 2004, to 50.27 per cent in 2008. According to Human Rights Watch, the most recent election was "grossly unfair" and marred by irregularities.

In September 2008, Abdullah announced his intention to step down in 2009. Najib—who served as deputy prime minister and finance minister—took over as head of government in April.

On Oct. 18, Najib urged UMNO members to work for the people and shed the party’s image of corruption, declaring, "No need for rocket science, just do what needs to be done for the people."

Polling Data

Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Najib Razak is performing his job as the prime minister?

Month of 2009 Satisfied Dissatisfied Not sure

Sept. 2009 56% 23% 21%

Jul. 2009 65% 22% 13%

May 2009 45% 16% 39%

Source: Merdeka Center for Opinion Research

It is a Painless Budget - PM Najib

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday described the RM191.5 billion 2010 Budget he tabled in Parliament on Friday as a painless one.

On grouses about the RM50 service tax proposed for credit cards in the Budget, he said it should not be of concern since the government had cut personal
income tax by one per cent to 26 per cent and at the same time raised tax relief by RM1,000.

It means that taxpayers will enjoy a RM1,000 increase in disposable income from the 2010 year of assessment.

The Budget has been widely seen as a “people first” budget as Najib announced measures not only to lessen the people’s burden in the currently weak global
economic climate but also to make Malaysia a high-income nation.

The Budget is about a tenth less than the budget for 2009 but will cut Malaysia’s fiscal deficit to 5.6 per cent, a move economists said reflected the government’s responsibility to keep the country’s finances in good shape.

Najib: RM50 for credit card not a big deal

PM: RM50 for credit card not a big deal

HUA HIN: Describing Budget 2010 as “painless”, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the people should not complain about the Government’s decision to impose a RM50 annual service tax on principal credit and charge cards.

Instead, the Prime Minister said they should look at the overall benefits offered by the Govern-ment in the Budget.

“They are getting the RM1,000 tax relief and those paying tax at 27% will now pay 26%.

“So, they get two (relief measures) and only have to pay RM50 (per credit card). Don’t tell me they cannot pay RM50?” he said after a meeting at the 15th Asean Summit here yesterday.

Najib, who arrived here on Friday after tabling the Budget in Parliament, had earlier asked the media on the reaction back home to his maiden Budget.

UMNO is not Racist : Najib

KUALA LUMPUR - PRIME Minister Najib Razak, who on Thursday saw Umno approve reforms he initiated to curb money politics, told his party it needed to become more inclusive or risk losing mass support.

'If the Malays are as racist as they claim, it's not possible that we are so accommodating to other ethnic cultures being practised, that we allow vernacular schools to be set up, and that we can work with other parties in the Barisan Nasional for decades.'

Mr Najib. He shouted 'long live Umno' at the end of his address yesterday.
... more
But he also defended the party from accusations of being racist.

Delivering an address that tried to assuage Malay insecurities while persuading Umno to accept change, Datuk Seri Najib won loud cheers when he slammed those who charged that Umno was racist.

Referring to the opposition parties, he said they should ask whether the mono-ethnic composition of their own parties reflected the openness that they claimed to champion.

Parti Islam SeMalaysia is almost entirely Malay, while the Democratic Action Party is almost wholly Chinese. Only Parti Keadilan Rakyat is fully multiracial.

'If the Malays are as racist as they claim, it's not possible that we are so accommodating to other ethnic cultures being practised, that we allow vernacular schools to be set up, and that we can work with other parties in the Barisan Nasional for decades,' said Mr Najib.

By Carolyn Hong / ST

Najib Promise To Reform UMNO

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S prime minister promised on Tuesday to reform his ruling Malay party to stamp out deep-seated corruption and make it more acceptable to ethnic minorities in efforts to revive ailing support.

Najib Razak said the United Malays National Organisation, which began its four-day annual congress on Tuesday, would radically change the way it elects its leaders as it seeks to 'eradicate money politics' and restore its credibility.

Party delegates are expected to approve the reforms on Thursday.

Umno is the linchpin of the National Front governing coalition, which has governed Malaysia since 1957 but suffered its worst results ever in March 2008 general elections under public perceptions of corruption and racial discrimination.

The opposition won slightly more than one-third of Parliament's seats.

Umno officials acknowledge the system of electing party leaders has bred a culture of patronage, with candidates sometimes offering bribes in return for votes. -- AP

Najib: Polls victory shows people responding to 1Malaysia

GEORGE TOWN: Barisan Nasional’s big victory in Bagan Pinang shows that the people are responding well to the 1Malaysia concept, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said Barisan Nasional would identify what factors had led to the coalition sweeping the seat with a resounding 5,435-vote majority.

He said: “We have found that the concept has received widespread support and has gained the acceptance of people from every strata.”

Najib expressed hope that Barisan’s overwhelming win would be a point of rejuvenation for the ruling coalition. He said the increased majority showed that the people were more confident with Barisan now.

“This may be a result of our policy changes, changes at the national and division levels, a reflection of the candidate himself or a combination of these.

“God willing, the Bagan Pinang win will be a breath of new life for the coalition’s members to keep fighting in order to achieve greater heights in the future,” Najib said.

Najib Losing Faith in his own Component Parties

Najib’s ruthless inclusiveness — The Malaysian Insider

Oct 10 — Perhaps today’s message was directed at the Malaysian Indian Congress but the Prime Minister’s declaration that he is willing to embrace political groups outside Barisan Nasional is the clearest signal that he has lost confidence in his component parties ability to recover their standing among the electorate — and deliver the resounding victory he craves.

For several months now, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has been troubled by the inability of the MIC, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), Gerakan and PPP to rise above petty politics, reform and reconnect with constituents that rejected their candidates in Election 2008.

Privately, he has told friends that he needs to reach out to the Chinese and Indian communities directly and even work with non-governmental organizations and other political groups that are not affiliated with the BN but are open to supporting his policies.

The reason: he believes that he has under 18 months to win over Malaysians, and lay the foundation for a strong victory by BN in the next general elections.

And with the clock ticking, he has little time to baby-sit MCA, MIC and others who are in infighting mode, and wait for these political parties to regain credibility on the ground.

Many of the BN component parties have branches and divisions in name only, especially in states governed by Pakatan Rakyat. For example, MIC has 3,600 branches but only half are said to be active. The picture is as dismal for Gerakan.

Najib has already started by-passing the MIC and handling Indian issues through the Cabinet Committee on Indian Affairs and with the help of Indian NGOs.

Next on the list will be initiatives to reach out the indifferent Chinese electorate.

But what about the fortunes of the BN partners? Well, they will have to get used to the more inclusive approach announced by Najib today at the launch of the Makkal Sakti party.

MIC officials were displeased that he agreed to officiate at the launch of the new political party but he tossed aside their views.

In this regard, he has the support of Umno officials who feel that BN component parties cannot carry their weight any longer.

During the Umno retreat last week the general sentiment was that Umno should be more clinical in the allocation of seats for the next general elections, and should place its candidates in constituencies where over 55 per cent of the voters are Malays.

Umno strategists believe that with Najib’s interventionist approach and a more pragmatic approach to seat allocation, Umno/BN will be able to regain its two-thirds control of Parliament.

The mathematics is simple. A 10 per cent voter swing in the next general elections and Umno/Barisan Nasional will obtain 195 seats, up from the 139 it has today.

Political pundits and analysts note that a 10 per cent national swing is not an everyday occurrence in Malaysia, but it has happened.

BN’s share of the vote in 1995 was 65 per cent, and it slumped to 57 per cent in 1999.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi led a resurgence of sorts in 2004 when the coalition snared 64 per cent of the vote. Four years later, he presided over a major dip in support for BN, only 51 per cent.

The way Najib sees it, Umno is already in good shape and able to deliver the Malay vote.

But the weaker coalition partners are going to be a major drag on his ambition of leading BN to a resounding victory in the next general election.

He can either be nostalgic about the contributions of MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP to the BN or be ruthless.

Today’s announcement suggests that he has chosen the latter.

Altantuya's Dad reminds Najib of his stake in the Altantuya affair

This must be the second time that Mr Setev Shaariibuu misses Najib Razak. Shaariibuu was at the Parliament in 2008, waiting in the corridors to speak to Najib, but the former left the Dewan early, right after lunch.

Shaariibuu managed to meet with then PM Abdullah Badawi and his son in law Khairy Jamaluddin but nothing came out of it.

While Najib is happily visiting Paris with Dotty, Altantuya’s still grieving dad has issued a statement in Mongolia, reminding Najib of his responsibilities as the government of Malaysia.

He would have been in Paris if not for his poor health. His full statement is reproduced below:

I am sorry I could not be in Paris, France to meet Mr. Najib Razak, while he is on his official tour as Prime Minister of Malaysia. I am sick and have been hospitalised due to poor health. I had so wished to speak to Mr Najib and send him this message and to shake his hand. I tried to meet him at the Malaysian Parliament in 2007, but he left the House early and my trip there was not complete.

“She died during the month of Ramadhan in 2006″

It’s been three painful years since my daughter Altantuya Shaariibuu died mercilessly in the hands of the Malaysian Royal Police. She died on October 19, 2006, during the month of Ramadham, which is one of the holiest months for the Muslims.

“How do I explain her murder to her two sons?”

She was blown up by military explosives and the reason for her grotesque murder is still unknown until today. Although the two policemen(Azilah Shaari and Sirul Omar) involved in her murder has been convicted and are facing a death sentence, my family and I are still unable to explain to my two grandsons, Altantuya’s sons- Altanshagai and Multanshagai – that their mother had died so violently and cruelly in a far away land called Malaysia.

“She died while working for Malaysia”

I hope PM. Mr. Najib Razak enjoys his trip to France, where a deal with a French company which his close friend Abdul Razak Baginda help brokered led to the circumstances surrounding my daughter’s murder. It cannot be denied that she died being a translator for a Malaysian company to purchase French submarines worth a billion Euros and know of many things that the neither the Malaysian nor the French public know about.

“Two more orphaned children in the world”

I have filed a civil suit against the two policemen and the Malaysian government to compensate for the death of my daughter. She was the soul bread winner of her two sons. Now her two children are left orphans and I am very uncertain of their future and my wife and I are growing in years and we are not wealthy people. It is only fair and just that the Malaysian government take responsibility for what had happenned to my daughter.

“Why did the court choose to ignore Musa Safri?”

The two policemen committed this most hideous murder of my then 28 year old daughter while being under the service of Najib Razak, who was then Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister. Najib’s aide de camp, DSP Musa Safri was reported to have told the policeman (chief inspector Azilah) to help Abdul Razak Baginda, deal with Altantuya, when she was said to be visiting him to ask for her commissions. However, Musa Safri was never asked to appear in court to be questioned about his involvement in this case.

“Najib acts as if nothing has happenned”

With so many closely linked to Najib in this murder, it is impossible and irresponsible for Najib to now wash his hands off this mater and act as if none of this tragedy has befallen my daughter and my family.

“Would she have died if the French deal was fair and transparent?”

The French company involved in the Malaysian deal also cannot escape with impunity. My daughter would not have met her cruel death if the deal had been transparent and fair.

“Let her not die in vain”

I appeal on behalf of my deceased daughter, my wife, my two grandsons and all Mongolian citizens, not to let my daughter Altantuya die in vain. Her body may have been blasted into a million unrecognisable pieces, but our hearts remain one: to seek justice for my beloved daughter, to put her spirit to rest, and to ensure her orphaned son have a reasonable future.

Thank you.

Sincerely, from a Mongolia citizen whose daughter was murdered by police in Malaysia:Dr Shaariibuu Setev.

Najib: Vote for the man who can resolve problems

PEKAN: Voters in Bagan Pinang should vote for an elected representative who can help resolve their problems in the constituency, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

He said the effectiveness of the elected representative should be the yardstick for voters.

”We must realise that a by-election like in Bagan Pinang is not about forming the Government of the day. Voters must decide which candidate and party is the most suitable to represent their interests,” he told reporters after presenting aid to 161 pilgrims at the Umno building here Saturday.

He was asked to comment on the straight fight between Barisan Nasional’s Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad and PAS state commissioner Zulkefly Omar for the state seat. Polling has been fixed for Oct 11.

On earlier views including that of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Mohd Isa was not a suitable candidate, Najib said the matter was no longer relevant since nomination papers had been filed and accepted.

”We must look ahead as the most important thing is the services that can be rendered to voters by the candidate of our choice,” he stressed.

On a minor brawl involving several Barisan’s leaders including Putera Umno chief and supreme council member Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim who claimed that he was punched by Opposition supporters, Najib that by right, there should not be any untoward incident or manhandling of supporters from either parties.

”We should show a good example by respecting the country’s laws in tandem with the democratic principles,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Najib urged those going to perform the pilgrimage to pray for Malaysia’s well-being and for the country to be free of harm and natural catastrophes.

Najib dismisses Dr M protests over Isa candidacy

PEKAN, Oct 3 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said voters in Bagan Pinang should choose wisely and pick the candidate who would be best able to serve them.

He said the by-election for the state seat on Oct 11 was not one that could alter the government but was only to choose an elected representative to serve them.

“As expected, it is a straight fight (in Bagan Pinang). As such, we urge voters to evaluate wisely as to who among the candidates can best serve them.

“In a by-election, what is important is the service an elected representative can render. He should be able to resolve the problems voters face, this is the yardstick. Like in Bagan Pinang,” he told reporters after presenting aid to 161 people from the Pekan parliamentary constituency who will be performing the Haj, here today. Najib is also the MP for Pekan.

The Bagan Pinang by-election will see a straight fight between the Barisan Nasional’s Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, who is also former Negeri Sembilan mentri besar, and Zulkefly Mohamad Omar, the Negeri Sembilan PAS commissioner.

Asked about comments by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Isa should not have been picked as the BN’s candidate in the by-election, Najib: “I do not think the matter arises any longer, we must look forward. What is important is the service the assemblyman can offer the constituents.”

On untoward incidents that happened during the nomination process today including an incident which involved Putera Umno chief Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahimm who claimed to have been punched by a supporter of the opposition, Najib said such incidents would not happen if everyone showed respect for the law.

“If he was punched, I hope he makes a police report. We should not be doing anything that is against the law and this includes roughing up someone.

“We should also be showing good examples, showing respect to the democratic process is one of them.” said Najib. — Bernama

Najib Visits Earthquake Victim Felicia

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today visited Felicia Francesca Francis Dass, the Malaysian student who was injured in the earthquake that rocked West Sumatra, Indonesia, on Wednesday.

Najib and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, arrived at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital from Pekan, Pahang, at 5.15pm and were taken to Ward 2 (Orthopaedic) where Felicia Francesca, 23, is being treated.

Najib and Rosmah, accompanied by Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, spent about 15 minutes at the ward.

The prime minister had earlier hosted an open house in Pekan which was attended by about 50,000 people.

Felicia Francesca, a third year medical student at the Universitas Andalas, injured her spine, head, chest and neck when a concrete slab from the ceiling of her rented house fell on her in the incident at 5.16pm West Sumatra time.

Meanwhile, medical officer Kamarul Al-Haqq Abdul Ghani said Felicia Francesca's condition was stable.

She would have to wear cervical collar to support the neck and lumbar corset to support the spine during the recovery period which could take between two to three months, he said.


Najib woos new Indian Party

KUALA LUMPUR - PRIME Minister Najib Razak will launch a new Indian party next month as he seeks new Indian allies to win back support from the community.

'The Prime Minister has been invited, and will be attending the launch,' his senior press secretary, Datuk Tengku Shariffudin Ahmad, confirmed on Thursday.

The Makkal Sakti party was formed by one faction of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), which shot to prominence two years ago after it led thousands of Indians to protest against their plight. Hindraf splintered into factions after its leaders were jailed. They have since been released.

Datuk Seri Najib's attendance at the Makkal Sakti launch will be seen as a snub to the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) - a founding partner of the Barisan Nasional (BN) - which has been led by Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for 30 years.

Mr Samy Vellu has been seen as a liability after he lost his long-time Sungai Siput parliamentary seat in Perak in last year's general election. However, he has refused to step down from his MIC post. He kept his president's post unchallenged, while his allies were elected into key posts in a recent party election.

'Unless the MIC does some soul-searching, and for as long as the president is not accepted by the community, the Prime Minister has to look for alternatives,' said Professor Sivamurugan Pandian, a political analyst.

Mr Najib had already made this clear. When he visited the Batu Caves temple during Thaipusam, he did so without Mr Samy Vellu's presence.

When some Malays stepped on a cow's head last month to protest against the building of a Hindu temple in their neighbourhood, Mr Najib had conveyed his message to the community through Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam.

But while Mr Najib has made a new ally in the Makkal Sakti party, there is no move yet to bring it into the BN. Makkal Sakti is led by former Hindraf national coordinator R. S. Thanenthiran, 47, who insisted that the party will remain independent.

'We are working together with him as partner,' he was quoted as saying by a website. 'It is true the BN did not do much for us in the past 52 years, but the Pakatan Rakyat has done even less for us in the past two years.'

Najib meeting Samy Vellu on succession plan

By V. Vasudevan and Regina Lee

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he would meet MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for the second time this year to discuss the party's succession plan.

The Barisan Nasional chief said the former works minister had met him in June to discuss the MIC leadership.

"He had outlined his plan to me. At that time, he said it was not possible for him to go as it would leave the MIC in an unstable situation.

"But now that the party elections are over, it is possible for Samy Vellu and me to discuss the future of the MIC in the context of Barisan Nasional without being seen as interfering in the party's affairs."

Samy Vellu won the party presidency for a record 11th consecutive term in March this year.

Najib said if the MIC was not strong, it would be a burden to the BN.

"We want to see a strong MIC which would be able to win back the support of the Indian community and be in a position to win seats at the next general election."

Asked if he saw Samy Vellu leading the MIC for much longer, Najib said it was not proper for him to speculate.

"I will discuss with him. I don't want to make it public because the discussion will be in confidence."

Najib said he would disclose details only in agreement with Samy Vellu.

"I will have to agree with him on what is appropriate to reveal to the public," he said.

Samy Vellu's position as leader of MIC came under fire last week when former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described him as a liability to BN's effort to win back the Indian community's support.

However, within MIC, the president appeared to strengthen his hold when a majority of the candidates endorsed by him swept party polls last week.

On MCA, Najib called on delegates to an extraordinary general meeting on Oct 10 to use the occasion to solve the party's problems.

"This EGM should be considered as an effort to solve the party's problems and not as a means to bring destruction to MCA."

He reiterated that it was not the intention of Umno or BN to get involved in MCA's leadership dispute.

He said MCA had to solve its own problems, failing which support for BN would be affected.

"They have to hold the EGM to solve the party's internal crisis, and not destroy the party. The EGM is to ensure that the party regains its strength and it should emerge stronger."

The EGM was convened following the sacking of deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek last month.

However, on Saturday, the MCA central committee reviewed the sacking by its disciplinary board and presidential council, and decided to suspend Dr Chua.

He was suspended for four years with immediate effect.

The EGM would deliberate five resolutions, namely, to move a motion of no-confidence in MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat; to annul the presidential council's decision to expel Dr Chua; to reinstate Dr Chua as party deputy president; to revoke any appointment made before the EGM; and ensure that no disciplinary action is taken against those who petitioned for the EGM.

Najib's Hari Raya Open House

Najib's first open house as PM a huge success

PUTRAJAYA: Hosting his first open house as prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was visibly pleased with the way things turned out.

“This is my first time as host. My wife and I had to do a lot more in terms of preparation. I had to plan the open house and ensure that visitors did not have difficulty in coming here and meeting cabinet members,” he said this afternoon.
Najib said based on what he had been hearing from his aides all day, the open house had proceeded smoothly and visitors had expressed happiness with the arrangements.

He noted that the Information, Communications, Arts and Culture Ministry had also contributed in making the open house a success.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were pleasantly surprised when more than 50,000 people braved the rain to wish them a “Selamat Hari Raya” at the Seri Perdana.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were pleasantly surprised when more than 50,000 people braved the rain to wish them a “Selamat Hari Raya” at the Seri Perdana.

Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was pleasantly surprised when more than 50,000 people braved the rain to wish her and her husband a “Selamat Hari Raya” at the Seri Perdana here.

“I was apprehensive before the open house as I thought many would decide not to come with the influenza A (H1N1) outbreak and the fact that Putrajaya is just too far away for most,” she said.

Rosmah, who barely had time to grab a quick bite, spent the first day of the Raya celebrations meeting and greeting the throngs of people visiting them from 10.30am up to 3pm.

“I personally had a hand organising the entire event and I wanted to make sure everyone was in the mood to fiesta, which is why we had festive music playing all over the gardens and the tents over the residence.”

She was also touched that the crowed consisted of people of all races and religions and all levels of social background.

“It is a beautiful thing to see even people of the opposition party visit today and put aside their differences to unite and celebrate.”

Najib roll out Malaysian F1 Team

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, right, holds a F1 car model during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009. Malaysia will form its own Malaysia F1 team with the Formula One Federation (FIA) having accepted Malaysia's bid to enter the 2010 and future FIA F1 championships, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said.(AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

To Cane or Not to Cane - that is the question

Kartika holds her daughter Wann Kaitlynn Sari Dewi as she is escorted by religious officers out of her father's house in Sungei Siput yesterday for the caning sentence. The sentence was however called off and postponed to after Ramadan. —

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has advised part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno to appeal against her caning sentence by the Syariah Court for consuming beer instead of accepting the punishment willingly.

The prime minister’s remarks today appear to suggest he has been forced to wade in over the issue because his government is concerned that it has taken a life of its own with daily reports in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other foreign publications.

Yesterday, religious authorities gave a last-minute, temporary reprieve in a case that has stirred passions over the increasingly strict enforcement of Islamic law in recent years.

Kartika was detained by prison authorities yesterday but was then released.

Officials say the caning would be carried out after Ramadan. It will be the first caning for a woman under Islamic laws.

The case has been criticised by more liberal Muslims and also non-Muslims who fear Malaysia is drifting from its secular traditions.

Najib’s administration appears to be concerned with the kind of message the sentence sends out to the world as Malaysia has portrayed itself as a model for a moderate and progressive Muslim country.

“I think the affected party should appeal to the state authorities and not be so willing to accept the punishment,” Najib told reporters.

He also expressed confidence that the religious authorities would be considerate.

“There is room for appeal and the state authorities are always considerate on this matter.”

Najib said the federal government could not and would not interfere in the administration of Islamic law.

But he seemed to strongly suggest that the government was working to avoid the sentence from being carried out.

“I believe the authorities concern are sensitive on this matter and realise the implication of this case,” he said.

Kartika was fined RM5,000 and sentenced to six strokes of the cane for drinking beer at a hotel in Najib's home state of Pahang.

Legal experts have criticised the caning as it could open up the state government to legal action.

Najib: Party elections to be free of money politics

PEKAN, Aug 8 — Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Umno needs an election system which is capable of shutting out elements of money politics or other unhealthy tactics which can undermine the party’s credibility.

The Umno General Assembly in October was therefore crucial to ensure the party would become a more democratic and clean organisation and a party which empowers its members to elect their leaders, he said.

The prime minister said the general assembly, scheduled for October 13-16, would decide whether only 60,000 members at the divisional level, as opposed to 2,500 delegates previously, or all the three million members, would be given the rights to elect party leaders.

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak wants party leaders and members to listen to the people, serve them well and help them solve problems in the efforts to restore the party's strength.

The prime minister said this was important to ensure that Umno was able to defend its position as the backbone of the ruling coalition and supported by the people.

"Firstly, we should adopt the culture of listening... we should always listen to the voice of the people.

PM says no plan to censor the Internet

Yesterday, 7 August, 2009, 6:12:56 PM
By Adib Zalkapli
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has firmly denied a plan to police the Internet citing technical obstacles and strong public displeasure over it, just hours after Datuk Seri Rais Yatim confirmed a possible “green dam”.

“The government has no desire to implement Internet filtering,” the prime minister said when commenting on Rais’ remarks that the government wants to shut out smut.

“This matter will be decided by the Cabinet but all this while we have never intended to filter the internet,” Najib added despite the information, communication and culture ministry’s tender exercise to evaluate such a feasibility.

Najib visit Teoh Beng Hock's family

PUTRAJAYA, July 28 - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today met the family of the late Teoh Beng Hock and gave the assurance that every effort would be made to find out the cause of the political aide's death.

Present at the meeting, held at the invitation of the prime minister at the Prime Minister's Office, were Beng Hock's father, Teoh Leong Hwee, 62, mother Teng Shuw Hor, elder brother Teoh Beng Kee, younger sister Teoh Lee Lan and fiancee Soh Cher Wei.

Najib once again conveyed his sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the family. He told them that he himself and the whole Cabinet viewed the sudden death of Beng Hock with grave concern.

Najib first 100 days in Office

A photo slideshow of YAB Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak taken during his first 100 days in office as Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Mahathir Criticises Najib's Liberalisation Policy

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has dismissed the efforts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to liberalise the economy, saying they were “not going to help anybody”.

The plan seemed designed to make Najib popular, said Dr Mahathir, adding: “It will not help the Chinese, Malays or Indians.”

Dr Mahathir was asked to comment on Najib's steps to open up the economy to make it more attractive for foreign investors.

The steps included relaxing a host of restrictions on foreign investment, including a rule requiring businesses to be partly owned by Malays.

Listed companies will no longer be required to allocate 30 per cent of their stake to Malays as part of an affirmative action programme for the country's Malays.

Among other measures were allowing stock brokers and unit trust management companies 70 per cent foreign ownership, up from the current level of 49 per cent.

Najib also announced a government private equity fund to invest in high-growth industries and promote Bumiputera ownership of Malaysian businesses.

Najib said the Bumiputera rule for companies was neither benefiting poor Malays nor sustainable amid the global economic slowdown, which would force Malaysia into its first recession in a decade.

But Dr Mahathir was not impressed.

“I think it's a kind of move more designed towards becoming popular. I don't know if it will help the economy, because Malaysia has been growing since independence,” The Star newspaper on its website quoted Dr Mahathir as saying.

“Now that there is a lack of growth, this is due more to external reasons. It's not about internal things,” he told reporters.

He also said Malaysia should be cautious of foreign investors keen on total ownership of fund management companies as they “owed no loyalty to the country”.

“They are here to make money. When they can't make money, they go out and we pay the price,” he was quoted as saying.

He asserted the potential hazard of capital flight should investors no longer find the Malaysian market lucrative saying: “In some instances, they come to build factories and produce things for export. Well, that's fine. But when they can openly go into the market, well, that's not good,” he said.

Najib tries desperately to sell his fading 1-Malaysia with songs and dances

Yesterday, 27 June, 2009, 11:57:19 AM
By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s concept of 1 Malaysia, disparaged so relentlessly by the opposition since its introduction, was distilled this morning into a cultural song-and-dance.

In a seven-minute speech at Dataran Merdeka this morning at the launch of the 1 Malaysia logo, the prime minister made fleeting reference to the difficulties his administration has faced in pitching the 1 Malaysia concept to ordinary Malaysians.

“When 1 Malaysia was introduced many were asking what does it mean, but I found out generally people have accepted the 1 Malaysia concept,” he said in his speech before thousands of colourfully dressed Malaysians brought in by the Information Ministry to help launch the 1 Malaysia logo.

“Our assembly this morning, an assembly of people in red, in blue, in yellow and in white, although we are in different colours, but we are here today aiming for the same objective,” added Najib in explaining the 1 Malaysia concept.

The prime minister’s well-worn remarks did not offer much more beyond the message of national solidarity.

“It will be of little use to have intellectuals, abundant natural resources and the highest of technology if the people are not united,” he said.

After unveiling the giant logo, Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor accompanied by some members of his Cabinet, including Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, joined the crowd for a specially-choreographed group workout called the ‘Malaysian cultural workout’.

The workout, which lasted for 30 minutes, was a combination of traditional dances from all major ethnic groups in the country.

The crowd, largely made up of civil servants, was also entertained by six songs on 1 Malaysia, one of which will be chosen by the ministry to be the official theme for 1 Malaysia.

Ultimately, the event which was the brainchild of Information Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, suggests the beginning of a public relations and publicity campaign to ensure Malaysians buy in to the 1 Malaysia concept.

The 1 Malaysia theme song is expected to be played regularly on all government television and radio stations.

The Malaysian Insider understands the chosen song will also likely be played at most government functions, in the same vein as the indoctrination campaigns made popular by Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 1980s.

Private radio and television stations would also be expected to do their part in the 1 Malaysia campaign.

Since introducing it as the platform of his new administration, Najib has been struggling to explain and defend the 1 Malysia concept, which he said was formulated to forge unity among Malaysians.

He has denied that the concept is similar to Malaysian Malaysia, introduced by the opposition in the 1960s and which is opposed by the strong right-wing faction in Umno who champion the idea of Ketuanan Melayu, or Malay Supremacy.

His party’s recent overtures towards PAS over the idea of Malay unity has also put the spotlight on his 1 Malaysia, attracting attacks from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and concern even from among non-Malay BN component parties.

Najib has said that 1 Malaysia does not deviate from the Federal Constitution, which provides for the special position of Malays and other bumiputeras, without providing details of how his administration plans to address race relations.

Sultan of Johor rejects Najib's third bridge

Najib may have to drop third bridge idea
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Whether he likes it or not, the prime minister may have to drop the third bridge to Singapore idea simply because Johoreans don’t want it and that is all there is to it.

The Sultan of Johor rejected the idea yesterday after it was reported that he was not consulted on the project.

The rejection left Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was in Sarawak at the time, moving into damage control mode at a press conference where he told reporters that the third bridge was only at a conceptual stage and the Johor ruler would be consulted once a feasibility study is done.

Whether this is enough to placate the sultan is not known but if Najib believes he’s got it all sorted out, he may be wrong.

Many Umno leaders from the southern state have rallied behind their ruler on this issue. They believe that when the sultan rejected the third link, he was not only speaking for himself, but for the people of Johor.

“What was said by the sultan reflects the beliefs of his subjects,” Tenggara MP Datuk Halimah Mohd Sadique said in Parliament yesterday.

Backing her is Umno deputy youth president and Muar MP Datuk Razali Ibrahim who told The Malaysian Insider that the anti-third link sentiment among Johoreans has always been there.

“Many Johoreans don’t want the third bridge. This sentiment has been expressed through the sultan and the prime minister must heed it,” he said.

Among the issues linked to the third bridge is the possibility that the 12-year-old ban on the sale of sand to the republic may be lifted.

Johor Baru MP Datuk Syed Shahrir Samad said he agreed with the sultan, and reiterated his stand that the third bridge is unnecessary and that Johoreans will never agree with the lifting of the ban on sale of sand.

“Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said it was necessary to resolve all outstanding issues between us if we want to talk about the third bridge.

“This is typical of the Singapore government, I haven’t seen a shift in policy since there is no generational change in their leadership,” he said adding that Najib will have to think carefully about this matter.

Najib's policies attacked by Mahathir

Dr M says no to third bridge, and no to unity talks
By Neville Spykerman

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad added today to the growing chorus of criticisms against Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s proposed third bridge to Singapore. He also warned Umno against pursuing the so-called unity talks, in a sign that he is beginning to disapprove of some of Najib’s policies.

The former prime minister said it would be a bad idea to have a government comprising only Malays.

He also revived the idea of building a crooked bridge to replace the Malaysian half of the Causeway, since Singapore was not in favour of a new bridge to replace the structure.

“I think it’s better for the government to build the crooked bridge instead of third bridge,” he told reporters after attending a book launch today. He fears a third bridge would affect operations at the Pasir Gudang Port, adding that replacing the existing Causeway between Johor and Singapore would be more beneficial.

Besides reducing traffic congestion at the Causeway, he said it would allow the free movement of water which would make the straits cleaner.

Dr Mahathir also said that the new Customs, Immigrations and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at the Causeway was not operating at what should be the optimal level.

The CIQ was built to accommodate a new bridge which would have replaced the Causeway but the project was cancelled when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was prime minister.

On the stand by the Johor Sultan, who also objected yesterday to a third bridge, Dr Mahathir said the “Sultan has his rights and so does the Federal Government”.

The cancellation of the the crooked bridge by Tun Abdullah was one of the significant reasons for the falling out between the two men.

Dr Mahathir eventually left Umno last year and only returned to the party this year when Najib replaced Abdullah as prime minister.

Since then he has refrained from openly criticising government policies.

Besides backing growing concerns that the construction of a third bridge would result in Johor having to lift its ban on the sale of sand to Singapore, Dr Mahathir also expressed his disapproval of the proposed unity talks between Umno and PAS.

He said a unity government with PAS could jeopardise Umno’s relationship with other Barisan National (BN) partners.

The former prime minister said the government needed to explain what their objective was and if they were willing to leave their ‘friends” to form a government which only comprised the Malays.

“I don’t the country wants a government which is 100 per cent Malay”

He said the government has always included non-Malays and cautioned there would be difficulties if non-Malays were excluded.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea”.

Malaysia-Singapore to build New Bridge; Causeway remains

SINGAPORE : Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to work together to improve the connectivity and ease of movement of people and goods on both sides of the Causeway.

The options include broadening the Causeway, and a new bridge to link the eastern part of Johor to Singapore is also being explored.

The prime ministers of both countries also want to move forward with implementing the Points of Agreement (POA) signed between Malaysia and Singapore almost two decades ago.

A ceremonial welcome awaited new Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Istana where he was received by his Singapore counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong.

Both leaders said they had a good discussion, first between themselves and when they were joined by their ministers.

One outcome of the talks is a study on a new physical link between both countries.

Mr Najib said: "The eastern side is less developed and there is huge potential there, and we both agreed we should look at it in the medium and long term. There is no hurry. Let us commission a proper study and look at the viability of that."

Mr Lee said: "Malaysia is developing Penggarang, Desaru, linking up - there is a bridge across the Johor River which is being built. So for the medium to long term, the needs should be considered, and perhaps we should consider a new bridge linking up eastwards to that part of Johor.

"We agreed that these were areas we should get together and study, and this is something the joint ministerial committee can look into."

The joint ministerial committee will also study the possibilities of developing a wellness centre and an integrated township within Iskandar Malaysia.

On the growing volume of traffic along the Causeway, both leaders agreed that facilitating movement with ease is important.

Mr Lee said: "I expressed my full support for enhancing the connectivity and the ease of movement on both sides. And I suggested there might be other alternatives like broadening the Causeway or improving a rail link between the two sides, maybe linking up the two rail transport systems so that we could make it easy for people to travel back and forth in large numbers."

Mr Najib said: "With respect to the Causeway, I told Prime Minister Hsien Loong that I would not want to go down the same road and end up with another problem or another disappointment. We should agree on what to do. We agree on the objectives and let us look at how we can achieve those objectives. There could be other ways of achieving the objective."

The two prime ministers also discussed the POA, which was signed between Malaysia and Singapore nearly 18 years ago. Both leaders agree that this matter has dragged on for too long, and so they have now asked the two foreign ministers to look into the the Points of Agreement and implement them.

The POA states that the KTM railway station would be moved either to Bukit Timah first, or directly to Woodlands. But Malaysia wanted variations of the POA after it was signed.

Mr Lee said: "They are not easy issues. Otherwise, they would have been solved before. But they need to be resolved, otherwise they would continue to potentially trouble our relationship for a long time to come.

"I think one of the difficulties has been over the years, the issues have taken on their practical significance, but... because they have been explained and argued over, debated and positions have been taken... it is difficult to have the flexibility in discussions which are pragmatic and forward looking."

Mr Najib said: "We should not wait for another 18 years to resolve this problem, so let us put our minds together and put this behind us and move forward in terms of our relationship. We both recognise that there is much more to gain from productive and cooperative arrangement, rather than allowing these things to hamper and dampen the relationship.

"The basic principle is to make sure it is in the classic win-win mood in terms of moving the relations. We do not have to quantify that we win exactly the same amount as Singapore wins, or Singapore wins exactly the same amount as we win.

"As long as generally speaking, we have been seen as benefiting from resolving these problems, if we can have this kind of spirit, I do not think the problems are so insurmountable. I am confident we can move ahead resolving these legacy issues."

Meanwhile, another positive outcome is that a new consular office will be set up in Johor to attend to the needs of Singaporeans there. - CNA/ms

Najib - The Most Shameless and Unscrupulous PM in Malaysian History

Do the honourable thing, Najib - By Tunku Aziz

MAY 15 — The last three months have seen a flurry of activity on the Perak political front. All of this was without any doubt occasioned by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s blatantly cynical, barefaced manipulation of human greed. Najib is no novice when it comes to money matters. He succeeded spectacularly in seducing the three most unremarkable and positively unpleasant Pakatan Rakyat characters to declare themselves independent supporters of the Barisan Nasional.

They have, as to be expected, denied most vehemently that they had succumbed to any such unworthy and degrading temptation as money. Conventional wisdom, on the other hand, says that Malaysian politicians will only transfer their party allegiance for cash, and not principle. I leave you to draw your own conclusion in this particular case.

Video of shameful swearing act by Najib.

Najib’s single act of subterfuge has been remarkable for the damage, and repercussions, to the Malaysian body politic, quite apart from damaging further his own already seriously bruised reputation. If he thought what he had done was an example of cutting edge political sophistication, I suggest he should think again. He has by his reckless adventure only succeeded in portraying himself as nothing more than a common garden variety, and not the statesman that we thought he would become given his father’s honoured place in our history and his family credentials.

In the event, he seems to me to be no better than Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the roughneck street fighter. What a bad start for someone who begins his premiership on a discordant note, encumbered with enormous baggage to boot: any chance of redeeming himself has gone down the Sungai Perak, baggage and all. However, all is not lost. If he has any sense of self-worth, justice and integrity, he should take immediate steps to untangle the political mess he created. My father’s injunction to me as a very playful boy was, “Don’t start something you can’t finish.”

It is still relevant and appropriate advice, in my view, to give particularly to Najib who desires so devoutly to be loved and embraced as a people’s prime minister. He should practise what he is preaching so fervently about the importance of “feeling the pulse” of the people. If his close advisers are not telling him what really is going on in the towns and cities, big and small, as well as in the poor and neglected villages and hamlets up and down the country, then let me tell him some inconvenient truths about Perak that he might not particularly want to hear.

The people of Perak and, by extension, the overwhelming majority of the people of this country want to see an immediate end to the unseemly and totally disgraceful and disgusting display of political opportunism by the Umno-BN axis that has dragged the much-loved Sultan of Perak into political controversy that could have been avoided in the first place. His Royal Highness could have been spared the indignity of being reviled and ridiculed if Najib had thought more carefully about the fallout from his politically immature act.

As a responsible “people’s prime minister”, he has a duty to the people and the Sultan of Perak to return some semblance of order to their state which has since become the butt of some very unkind jokes. Najib does, of course, recognise that what the people want is for the state assembly to be dissolved so that fresh elections may be held. He is on record as admitting this as a way out of the current impasse, but claims that it is really up to the Sultan to decide.

We naturally respect his concern not to be seen to interfere with royal prerogatives. However, we wish he would stop playing poker and drop the hypocrisy because the reality is that he exercises considerable influence in matters of state, and he jolly well knows it.

The Perak crisis is pregnant with potential for mischief making, and you do not have to be the director of the Special Branch to know that unless something was put right quickly, the seething public anger could be exploited by enemies of the state to the detriment of our nascent democracy, peace and security. Najib must finish the dirty job he started by going back to the people. His Royal Highness the Sultan will not stand in the way of a just and popular solution. This is the only way to stop the rot that has already paralysed the government of Perak. Another day’s delay to dissolve the state assembly is another opportunity lost to return Perak to political sanity. Najib cannot just sit tight and look the other way hoping the crisis he fomented would just blow away.

The choice for the prime minister is a simple one: either elect to conduct himself like a common, opportunistic politician and face the dire consequences of his perfidious behaviour or a statesman who is concerned more with nation building on a lasting basis than opting for short-term political gains that may well turn out to be illusory. His 1 Malaysia, already riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies, will not amount to anything if the Perak crisis remains stuck in limbo. The ball is in his court.

Perak Debacle - Najib says Don't blame me

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — After more than four months, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak attempted today to put together a cogent case on why the power grab in Perak was justified.

He also moved to absolve the Sultan of Perak and himself from any blame for the defections from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and the installation of a Barisan Nasional (BN) mentri besar.

The Umno president was quoted by Bernama as saying the Sultan of Perak had adopted the principles and spirit of democracy when appointing the mentri besar from PR last year and also BN this year, and should not be blamed for the political crisis in Perak currently.

The prime minister said he too should not be blamed for purportedly causing the crisis which had dragged on for more than four months.

“In practicing our democracy, the people will choose their elected representatives and the Sultan will appoint the candidate from the party that has gained the majority as the mentri besar,” he said at a media conference with Malaysian journalists at the end of his two-day working visit to Manado, North Sulawesi in Indonesia to attend the Summit Meeting of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI).

Najib’s comments come as public sentiments seem to be against BN as the Perak crisis drags on.

This week, the Kuala Lumpur high court declared PR’s Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful MB, but the ruling was stayed following an appeal by BN’s Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir.

In recent days, Najib has been distancing himself from the problem in Perak. His ally Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also pointed out this week that he thinks it is a foregone conclusion that PR will win the state if fresh polls are called.

The coverage of the Perak crisis in local newspapers, especially those with close links to Umno, had also suggested BN was now distancing itself from the Perak palace.

Speaking today in Indonesia, Najib said the Sultan of Perak had adopted the same procedure when appointing Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir from the BN as the mentri besar just like he did when appointing Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin from PAS after the 2008 general election, Bernama reported.

According to the report, Najib said Sultan Azlan Shah had appointed Mohammad Nizar after obtaining the agreement of the majority of the State Assemblymen who had nominated him as mentri besar.

Najib said that after the opposition parties had lost the majority, the Sultan of Perak then appointed the candidate nominated by the BN after three opposition assemblymen had declared themselves as Independents and gave their support to Zambry as mentri besar.

“Don’t forget... don’t blame Tuanku. In the 2008 general election, the BN was the only party that had the majority in the State Assembly with 28 seats... the opposition pact is not registered and remains as three separate parties.

“At that time, if Tuanku had wanted to appoint Tan Sri Tajol Rosli Ghazali (the former mentri besar), he would have had the right because the BN was the only party that had the biggest majority.

“The Tuanku, in the spirit of democracy based on the resolution made by the elected representatives from the three opposition parties... (After) the Tuanku had received their written pledges, the Tuanku then appointed Nizar as the mentri besar,” Najib explained.

But now, the opposition had lost the majority in the state assembly and Sultan Azlan Shah had appointed Dr Zambry who was nominated by the BN using the same approach and based on legitimate principles without breaching the democratic system and constitution.

“This transpired according to procedures in line with the Perak State Constitution and parliamentary democracy.

“This must be explained and that’s why I say that the election is an option and discretion... not a must. The problem is that they (the opposition) do not accept this and hinder this (democratic) process as was done in the state assembly.

“Who asked for the suspension of the MB and BN Executive Councillors. This is against the spirit of parliamentary democracy. If that’s the case, we (BN) have the majority in Parliament...we can suspend 20 Opposition members of parliament if we want to. Using the same principles (as in the Perak State Assembly), we have the power...discretion, we can do what we like,” said the prime minister.

“(But) the Opposition disputed the appointment of Dr Zambry and challenged it in court. We too challenged in court when they suspended the state assemblymen. Is it reasonable that in a democratic system, when there is a majority, the Speaker suspends six assemblymen? If that’s the case, we too can suspend six assemblymen,” he said.

Commenting on party-hopping, Najib said this was allowed by law and had happened in other countries such as a former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill who had switched parties several times, and the latest was a senator in the United States who defected.

Najib pointed out that the BN did not seize power in Perak because the change in government was made according to regulations and the law, which, if accepted by everyone, would clearly show that the present BN government could administer Perak as it had received a sufficient majority.

“Don’t forget that on Sept 16 last year, who had wanted to steal 21 of our members of parliament. But when he failed, and we succeeded in Perak, we were then said to be undemocratic. We have been accused of seizing power.

“It was the opposition who first tried to seize power but without success... we (the BN) did not start it,” Najib stressed.

Court rules Nizar as legitimate MB - your say

From: Politikus
Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 07:42:08 -0700 (PDT)
Local: Mon, May 11 2009 10:42 pm
Subject: On Court rules Nizar as legitimate MB

(Formerly) confused: I am confused no more! The constitution is valid!
I pray that all is done right by the people this time ... To the

Perak Citizen: Congratulation to Nizar and his Pakatan team, and
thanks to lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah and team. The court has finally
declared Nizar as the legitimate Menteri Besar of Perak. The
legitimate Menteri Besar should have an audience with the Sultan of
Perak and dissolve the State Assembly immediately.

Baiyuensheng: I have a question now Nizar has been declared the
legitimate MB. Let's say if the present MB losses confidence of the
majority of the assembly but manage to cling on to power since he is
able to cohort with the Speaker who can reject motion of a vote of
confidence, what is the alternate recourse? I think there is a
similarity with the Terengganu state government. Anyway, thank
goodness the constitution is upheld.

Now that the court has ruled. Can the people take Zambry, the police,
state secretariat and the rest that have violated the constitution for
treason? Or, they have committed no crime?

CK: If the speaker refuses to accept a motion of no-confidence, I
suppose the opposition can invite the Sultan to the State Assembly
Hall to table the motion. We are all glad that the judiciary seems to
be no longer under the shadow of the 1988 judiciary crisis and it
proves that the judge can make his judgment without fear or favour.
Let's hope that the government's appeal to the upper courts will be

Selvadurai: With this ruling it should establish that the meeting
under the tree legitimate. This then means that all the resolutions
passed are also legitimate. Way to go Nizar Jamaluddin and company.
Please make sure all the civil servants who went out of the way to
thaw your rule are transferred to positions where they can not disrupt
the election process before the assembly is dissolved.

Najib: We will appeal against decision

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 – The prime minister said that Barisan Nasional (BN) will appeal the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision declaring Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful mentri besar of Perak.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this evening that BN will file an appeal tomorrow.

“We are appealing against the decision. We hope for an early date for the appeal,” he told reporters after meeting Pemudah, the special taskforce established to simplify business dealings with the government. “We feel we have a strong case.”

The High Court had today also ordered Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir and his executive officers to vacate their offices, and the judge also rejected an appeal from Zambry for a stay of the declaration.

When asked by reporters if the state assembly should be dissolved and elections held, Najib replied that it was the Sultan of Perak’s decision to make.

He added that he has not made any arrangement to meet the Perak ruler.

However, Nizar is seeking an audience with the Perak Sultan to ask for consent to dissolve the state assembly.

When asked about moving a motion of no-confidence against Nizar instead of appealing the court decision, Najib replied that their first action will be to appeal.

Najib also asked Perakians to keep calm.

“Don’t get overexcited,” he said. “We will solve the problem.”

Several police Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) trucks have been observed pulling up at the Perak State Secretariat in Ipoh and state police chief Datuk Zulkefli Abdulah has warned the public not to gather near the secretariat complex to prevent any untoward incident.