Mawi to wed Nora’Ashikin soon

Tuesday October 21, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: Popular singer Mawi is expected to announce today the much-anticipated news of him tying the knot with actress Nora’Ashikin Rahmat.

Mawi is scheduled to make his wedding announcement at a press conference in a hotel here.

It is believed the couple will tie the knot on Dec 20 in Johor.

The bersanding ceremony will be held in Stadium Bandaraya in Johor Baru the same night, while Mawi’s side will hold a reception on Dec 27.

A glamorous wedding reception is also being planned in Kuala Lumpur in January.


Rais: I’ve been asked to pay for my votes

Oct 20, 08 3:28pm
A veteran Umno leader today said he had been asked to pay for votes in an upcoming contest for top posts, and warned that money politics would destroy the organisation.


Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said “the majority” of Umno members were more interested in making money out of the election than in voting for the right person.

suhakam religion culture conference 090906 rais yatim speak“The majority of Umno people want to look for money and not for good leaders,” said Rais, a member of Umno’s decision-making committee who is vying for the vice-presidency.

“We have been approached under the cloak of assistance and cloak of contribution. (But) I’m not a player so you don’t see my marks going up very high.

“If you want to be a good player, you have to say yes (to vote-buying),” he told reporters.

Rais, who has been with Umno for over 33 years, said the problem of money politics within the ruling party should be eradicated or it “will surely kill the party.”

Umno, which has ruled Malaysia since independence, is holding meetings to nominate candidates for party posts after suffering major losses in polls this year. It will hold party elections next March.

“If Umno cannot curb this practice, Umno’s future is done for because this has been (talked about) for the past two decades and it has not been curbed,” he said.

In July, Umno asked the country’s anti-corruption agency to help it battle vote-buying ahead of the heated battle for top leadership positions in the party.

Rais has only garnered five nominations of the 19 needed to contest in the party polls.

Supreme council meeting tonight

Meanwhile, the party’s highest decision-making body, the supreme council, held a meeting which lasted for some four hours at the Putra World Trade Centre tonight.

The party was expected to discuss renewed calls made for the party polls to be brought back to December from next March.

However party president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did not hold a press conference at the end of the meeting.

“The press is not even supposed to be here,” quipped Abdullah when he was pressed by journalists on what had transpired at the meeting which started at 8.30pm.

Earlier today, when asked to comment on the calls to bring the party polls back to December, Abdullah told reporters to wait for the supreme council meeting to be over first.

“Wait. There, we will meet the media and we will inform you then,” he had said.

Although the party had adjourned its elections from December to next March, there have been calls from various party leaders for the polls to be brought back to December.

Many said that the campaigning period was too long before party polls in five months time while others argued that this was a move to make Abdullah step down much earlier than his earlier promise to do so in March.

In recent days, deputy president hopeful Muhyiddin Yassin also had backed such calls for the party polls to be brought back to December.

And tonight Muhyiddin informed reporters that the supreme council meeting had nothing to do with party polls.

Red leader dies at 84

Tuesday October 21, 2008


KUALA LUMPUR: Shamsiah Fa­­keh , the communist leader who spent nearly 40 years in exile in China, died at 9am yesterday at her home at Jalan Kuchai Lama here following a lung infection. She was 84.

Her businessman son Jama­luddin Ibrahim, 46, said: “She was in Hospital UKM for more than 20 days and finally she told us she felt it was her time to go and requested a discharge.

Within five days she passed away.

“She made a real contribution to the country before independence and we are proud of her. She was known as a communist, but her basic belief was to fight for a better life for the people.

“Even though she was in poor health, she maintained an interest in Malaysian politics. She still wanted the structure of the country to reform so that a just society could be developed.

“She believed that equality of the races was important for our progress. These were the values that she passed on to her own family.

“She belonged to a dying generation, she was a woman ahead of her time.”

An important figure in the struggle before Independence, Shamsiah led the Angkatan Wanita Sedar (better known as Awas, Malaya’s first nationalist women’s organisation) in the post World War II-era before joining the armed struggle of the Communist Party of Malaya in 1948.

After eight years in the jungle, she was sent to China in 1956 before returning to Malaysia in 1994.

The Kuala Pilah native, whose life was documented in the recent book Shamsiah Fakeh: Dari AWAS ke Rejimen Ke-10, was married five times and her husbands included nationalist leader Ahmad Boes­tamam and fellow CPM leader Ibrahim Mohamad.

Shamsiah was in poor health following a stroke in 1999 and in the years prior to her death was barely able to speak or walk.

She is survived by two sons and four grandchildren.

Zaid attacks race politics

Zaid says he joined the government for the wrong reasons.
By Leslie Lau
Consultant Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Amid widespread speculation over his political future, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has criticised his own party Umno for contributing to race relations problems.

He also urged Umno to engender a more fair-minded administration, and lead the Malays towards having better race relations with non-Malays.

Speaking to the mass-circulation Chinese-language Sin Chew Daily in his most extensive interview since resigning as a member of the Cabinet recently, Zaid also called for more open debates over “sensitive issues”.

He also pointed out that the results of the March general election were a clear message from the people that they wanted change, but the government had failed to change.

The former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, who resigned in protest against recent Internal Security Act arrests, said he had joined the government for the wrong reasons.

“I became a minister for the wrong reason. That reason was reform, but I have failed.

“I thought they would no longer use the ISA. I thought the government would be more open to the rule of law and the constitution, but I was wrong.”

There has been, in recent weeks, intense speculation over the political future of Zaid, but the Umno man did not address the issue in his interview with the Chinese-language daily.

But he was highly critical of the “culture of fear” in Malaysia, which he appeared to blame on Umno and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

“When we face an issue we cannot discuss it, we cannot debate it. We only use fear or we take to the streets. That is not the way things are done in a mature society,” he said.

He said the leadership style of “those with political power” had resulted in race relations being a sensitive issue even after 50 years of independence.

The former minister said race politics had been constantly used because it was easy to get support that way.

“Umno feels that it is a party needed by the Malays. Umno leaders keep telling the Malays that they are constantly in danger and therefore need Umno.

“They always feel that only they know what is good for the Malays.”

He said there was no need for “real Malays” to feel any fear or insecurity.

The real question, he said, was that too many people did not understand or respect the historical fact that for the last 100 years, the Malays, Chinese and Indians have contributed to nation-building.

He said Malaysia’s status today as the 19th largest trading nation in the world was due to the contributions of all races.

Zaid also felt that under today’s circumstances, a “May 13” race riot is not likely to happen again.

“I am not afraid of the Chinese being smart, because I too am smart. We keep talking about the Chinese having more shops and how we should be worried. The fact is we should not be worried. We should think of how to catch up,” he said.

He added that it was no longer necessary for “one party to represent one race” anymore.

Tsu Koon urged to mend relations with Penang Umno


NIBONG TEBAL, Oct 5 – Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has been urged to patch up relations between Penang Gerakan and the state Umno.

Penang Umno Liaison Committee deputy chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah said efforts should be undertaken to resolve the crisis between both parties.

“However, if Gerakan is not interested to remain in the BN (Barisan Nasional), never mind.

“If that is the case, we have to find ways to ensure that the Malays, Chinese and Indians continue to unite under BN,” he told reporters during an Aidilfitri open house hosted by Nibong Tebal Umno Division here today.

Penang Gerakan has severed all ties with the state Umno after Bukit Bendera Umno chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail had called on Dr Koh to be stripped of his state Barisan chairman’s post.

On the Nibong Tebal Umno division election on Oct 19, Abdul Rashid hoped the delegates would accept a transition plan decided by the division as he would not be defending his post as division head.

He said former member of parliament for Nibong Tebal Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman would take over as division head while deputy head Datuk Mahmud Zakaria and vice-head Datuk Ahmad Ramizun Kamaruddin would remain in their positions.

Abdul Rashid said division Wanita chief Sofiah Sharif and division Puteri chief Jamilah Awang would also keep their posts.

Division Youth chief Shafie Kassim would vacate his post for vice-chief Roshidi Zainol due to the age limit, he added. – Bernama

First Malay to contest a Gerakan top post in years


Dr Asharuddin Ahmad wants to debunk the misconception that Gerakan is a Chinese party
Dr Asharuddin Ahmad wants to debunk the misconception that Gerakan is a Chinese party

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan vice-president aspirant Dr Asharuddin Ahmad is the first Malay to contest a top party post since the 1980s.

The last time Malays helmed top posts in Gerakan was in the 1970s.

Founding member Prof Syed Hussein Alatas was the party’s first president, while former Penang speaker Datuk Harun Sirat and Penang’s first deputy chief minister Datuk Mustafa Hussein held senior positions.

Currently, Wanita vice-chief Azmar Md Ilias is the highest-ranking Malay.

Dr Asharuddin decided to contest to debunk the misconception that Gerakan is a Chinese party.
“I’m offering myself for the vice-presidency because I feel I can contribute more in that capacity.

“I believe my participation will encourage more non-Chinese to join the party,” he said after filing his nomination papers at the party’s headquarters yesterday.

He is one of the 10 candidates vying for the three vice-president posts.

The soft-spoken 49-year-old is confident about his chances.

“I’m a grassroots man. I’m not unknown to members. I consider my chances as quite good.”

He said he chose to join Gerakan in 1998 instead of Umno because he believed in the party’s struggle in championing a Bangsa Malaysia.

“I don’t encourage race-based politics. The Malay community is mature and we want to have a level playing field.”

Despite his busy schedule as the chief operating officer of the International College of Health Sciences, Dr Asharuddin said he would find time to campaign and to meet as many delegates as possible.

Zahid: I’m not trying to force change in party



ALOR GAJAH: Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said his offer to contest the deputy president post was not to force a speedier transition of power in the party.

Stressing that he was offering himself “in obedience” to the wishes of  the party grassroots, Zahid said he respected the power transition plan which had been agreed between party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“I am not trying to force a change in Umno by considering to run for the deputy president post. Whatever change in Umno would eventually take place and I would allow the changes planned by the leadership to take its course.

“I am not trying to overtake other Umno leaders, but my intentions are based on my prediction that Najib would take over as Umno president from Abdullah once the transition takes place.

“Then, the No 2 position would be vacant, and I have been asked by the grassroots to contest for the post of deputy president,” he said, when met at his mother-in-law’s Hari Raya open house at Kampung Durian Daun in Masjid Tanah, here, yesterday.

Zahid said he would soon make an official announcement. He also revealed that he had received mixed reactions on his intentions to contest the No 2 post in Umno.

“Of course, there have been many positive reactions but there were also some who wanted me to contest for the vice-presidency.

“But I have stated my intentions to go for the No 2 post in Umno and it would be difficult for me to go back on my word.

“I would be meeting Umno members throughout the country after Oct 9 (the date on which Abdullah is expected to make an announcement on whether he would be seeking re-election).

“I want to gauge the situation before making an official announcement,” said Zahid, who was also a former political secretary to Najib.

Last Friday, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he would step down as prime minister much earlier than the planned date of June 2010, possibly by March next year.

Abdullah had said the party’s annual general assembly and polls had been postponed to next March and he would decide by Oct 9, when the 191 Umno divisions start nominating leaders for party posts, whether he would seek re-election.