Sunday, March 30, 2014

'Is Hishammuddin Hussein, Voice Of Malaysia On Flight MH370, Headed For The Top?', South China Morning Post, 30 March 2014


After a brush with death and addressing world's media on flight MH370, Hishammuddin Hussein's personal journey may yet take a dramatic turn
Illustration: Craig StephensWhen Malaysia Airlines flight 370 went missing, the country's defence minister and acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, may have recalled his own brush with death.
Just last year, a helicopter he and his family were travelling in toppled over onto its side after landing at a site in Kuala Lumpur.
Strong winds were blamed. No one was hurt, but the incident left the minister dazed.
The 52-year-old would surely have never imagined that almost a year later, he would be behind efforts to co-ordinate more than two dozen nations to crack the biggest mystery in modern aviation history.
Hishammuddin has also become the face of Malaysia to the international media.
When the Boeing 777 went missing on March 8, Prime Minister Najib Razak initially turned to civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, an unknown civil servant, to hold the fort.
But after a series of blunders, the former air traffic controller was promptly replaced by Hishammuddin as the man to handle the intense global scrutiny at the daily press conference.
It was no easy task. Information about the flight and its possible fate came at a snail's pace and to make things worse, some of the statements were soon after retracted, leading to confusion and contradiction.
This fanned the flames of anger in Beijing - two-thirds of the passengers on the flight were Chinese nationals.
And all this took place under the relentless gaze of the modern 24-hour news operation and its incessant demand for information.
But as talking heads on television channels and angry relatives continued to attack the credibility of Hishammuddin and Malaysia over their jittery handling of the crisis, there could be a surprising twist in the tale.
Despite the controversies, the saga may unwittingly provide the extra impetus Hishammuddin needs to become the next prime minister of Malaysia, Southeast Asia's third-largest economy.
"If all these relentless foreign [media] attacks persist, Malaysian people may indeed rally around him as a reaction," said Oh Ei Sun, who was political secretary to Najib when he became prime minister in 2009.
"Domestically, it has actually enhanced his credentials as most locals perceive him as doing reasonably well under very tough circumstances."
Local reporters covering Hishammuddin's daily press conferences emphatically say there isn't anyone else in the Malaysian cabinet who could do a better job of handling the crisis. One of them, who works for a popular newspaper, said: "If you have met any of our other ministers, you will know why. Najib is the only one that can maybe do equally well, but probably not better."
And it's not just the Malaysian media that holds this view. A taxi driver, who wanted to be known only as Tan, said: "The government here is no good and there is always a lot of corruption.
"But Hishammuddin is not corrupt and he isn't embarrassing Malaysia on television. He is doing his best, I can see."
Malaysians are also favourably comparing Hishammuddin's handling of the MH370 crisis with his previous poor performance dealing with the country's biggest security threat of recent times, when a group of armed Filipino rebels who claimed allegiance to its former rulers invaded Sabah last year claiming the Malaysian state belonged to them.
"He wasn't good and there was much criticism from locals back then," said Sivamurugan Pandian, of the School of Social Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia.
"Now he's so much different and it's true that most Malaysians feel he is doing a good job."
Oh, who worked for Najib for two years, explained why there is an apparent dichotomy in terms of foreign and local perceptions of how Hishammuddin is handling the flight crisis.
"I think this is mainly because the foreign media is more used to confronting specialists who know the subject matter by heart and not politicians who depend on prior briefings, especially when it comes to press conferences. The local media, on the other hand, are mostly used to 'reporting' and not 'critiquing'.
"The local audiences are also more easy going [so] they might think what Hishammuddin has been doing is adequate enough," said Oh, now a senior fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
Hishammuddin's tilt at the premiership is still far from assured. Even though he beat the son of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad last October to become one of the three vice-presidents in the dominant party in Malaysia's ruling coalition, the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), it will take more than just popularity to become prime minister.
"Umno politics is not so much about being popular. It is about clever distribution of largesse to various interest groups in Umno, which in turn would usher in political support," said Oh.
"So far, it appears that his [rivals] are doing quite well on that score."
But Malaysia is no stranger to producing surprising political results. In the early 1970s Mahathir Mohamad didn't attract very favourable odds as a prime ministerial contender. He went on to hold the post for 22 years from 1981, making him Malaysia longest serving premier.
Pundits also thought it was unlikely that Abdullah Badawi would one day become the leader of the country before his six years as premier from 2003.
However, Hishammuddin has his fair share of controversial baggage that's weighing him down. In 2005, he waved a keris ( a Malay sword and symbol of Malay nationalism) while giving a speech at the Umno assembly. This angered the Chinese and Indian communities in the country who saw the gesture as a form of racial politics.
Then in 2009, when a Hindu temple was to be relocated to a Muslim majority area, some Muslims protested by marching with the severed head of a cow, a sacred animal in Hinduism.
Hishammuddin - the then the interior minister - defended the actions of the protesters.
Yet Hishammuddin does have a lot going for him on the political legacy front.
The social-media savvy minister, who recently quoted US hip hop musician Puff Daddy's lyrics on Twitter, is a cousin and close ally of Najib. His grandfather, Onn Jaafar, founded Umno and his father, Hussein Onn, was prime minister.
If that isn't enough to propel him to the political elite, he is also married to a princess from the state of Pahang.
Oh said: "Like Najib, whose father [Abdul Razak Hussein] was also a prime minister, Hishammuddin too is imbued with a sense of purpose of stepping into his dad's shoes as prime minister.
"But unlike cool-headed Najib, Hishammuddin has a more impetuous temperament. Like most shrewd politicians, if need be, he could get things done quickly."
Glimpses of his impatience have surfaced at the daily flight MH370 press conferences, but they have been rare. Even when asked silly questions, he has answered with good humour.
During a particularly enthusiastic media scrum, a calm Hishammuddin said to the crowd: "Guys, if you are going to behave like this, then you are going to get nasty visuals beamed all over the world. And then you are going to blame Malaysian officials for that. That is not fair."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

'Kenapa PKR Gagal Hilangkan Deposit Calon BN?', Free Malaysia Today, 27 Mac 2014


 | March 27, 2014 FMT
Dalam mana-mana PRK, bukan mudah untuk menghilangkan wang deposit (calon lawan)
Chew Mei FunPETALING JAYA:  Kejayaan PKR dalam pilihan raya kecil (PRK) kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Kajang sudah dijangkakan namun kegagalan mereka untuk meningkatkan majoriti undi menarik perhatian ramai pihak.
Walaupun calon yang diletakkan PKR ialah presidennya sendiri iaitu Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, namun kemenangan mereka ini tidak besar mana ertinya kerana undi kaum Cina, walaupun hanya sekitar 7%, telah kembali kepada Barisan Nasional (BN) – MCA.
Apatah lagi, Lee Chin Cheh, penyandang jawatan ADUN Kajang yang melepaskan jawatan pada 27 Jan lalu, memenangi kerusi tersebut dalam Pilihan Raya Umum-13 (PRU13) Mei lalu dengan majoriti 6,824 undi, jumlah yang agak besar jika difikirkan apabila dia menang dalam pertandingan enam penjuru ketika itu,
Untuk rekod, Wan Azizah terpaksa dipertaruhkan PKR setelah penasihat parti tersebut Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hilang kelayakan untuk bertanding ekoran didapati bersalah oleh Mahkamah Rayuan pada 7 Mac kerana didapati meliwat bekas pembantunya Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan pada 2008 lalu dan dikenakan hukuman penjara lima tahun.
Chin Cheh melepaskan jawatan untuk memberi laluan kepada Anwar dalam strategi yang digelar ‘Langkah Kajang’ yang direncanakan oleh pengarah strategi parti, Rafizi Ramli.
Langkah Kajang itu, jelas Rafizi, merupakan usaha untuk mengukuhkan pentadbiran parti dalam negeri terkaya di Malaysia tersebut dan untuk menjadikannya batu loncatan Pakatan Rakyat (PR) ke Putrajaya, selain daripada usaha menangkis isu perkauman dan agama yang didakwa dimainkan oleh Umno dan sekutunya bagi melemahkan pentadbiran PR di Selangor.
Langkah Kajang ini juga dikatakan bertujuan untuk menggantikan tempat Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim dengan Anwar, kerana dikatakan sering membelakangi parti dalam membuat keputusan. Malahan Anwar sendiri memberi bayangan perkara itu akan terjadi.
Walaupun menerima tamparan besar apabila Anwar hilang kelayakan untuk bertanding, namun jika dihitung hari dari tarikh perletakkan jawatan Chin Cheh dan hari pengundian PRK Kajang Ahad lalu, ianya merupakan satu tempoh yang lama, 54 hari sebenarnya.
PKR pula sejak awal-awal lagi sudah mendekati rakyat Kajang melalui program-program mereka disana untuk menjustifikasikan ‘Langkah Kajang’ itu.
Dalam kempen mereka di Kajang, PKR menyeru supaya pengundi Kajang memilih calon mereka, malahan turut menyeru semua pengundi untuk menghilangkan deposit pertaruhan calon BN, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun dari MCA.
Bagaimanapun, PKR gagal berbuat demikian, dan tidak dapat dinafikan Mei Fun sedikit-sebanyak berjaya memberikan tentangan yang baik, apatah lagi jika difikirkan partinya kini hanya mempunyai tujuh kerusi parlimen dan 11 kerusi DUN di seluruh negara!
Keputusan PRK Kajang baru-baru ini menyaksikan Wan Azizah menang dengan 5,379 undi apabila meraih 16,741 undi manakala lawannya, Mei Fun pula meraih 11,362 undi
Wan Azizah dan PKR juga harus diberikan pujian. Disaat Umno mendabik dada bahawa orang Melayu masih bersama mereka dan BN, PRK Kajang kali ini menunjukkan bahawa perkara itu bukanlah satu realiti, setidak-tidaknya di Kajang.
Malah, undi orang muda kepada PKR di Kajang juga berjaya dipertingkatkan. Jika trend ini berterusan, mungkin ia dapat diterjemahkan dalam PRU yang akan datang.
Pengarah Komunikasi PKR Fahmi Fadzil berkata walaupun gagal menghilangkan deposit pertaruhan calon BN, PKR masih mampu berbangga kerana sokongan dari semua kaum masih kuat kepada PKR, terutamanya dari orang muda.
“Saya rasa trend sebenarnya yang lebih penting untuk kita amati ialah pengundi muda sebab merekalah penentu dalam PRU yang akan datang,” katanya apabila dihubungi FMT.
Sementara itu, penganalisis politik  Prof Madya Dr Sivamurugan Pandian berkata banyak perkara yang menyumbangkan kepada kegagalan PKR menghilangkan deposit pertaruhan Mei Fun itu seperti pertukaran calon mereka sendiri di samping keputusan BN meletakkan calon yang disifatkannya berbeza.
“Jika kita perhatikan dalam mana-mana PRK, bukan mudah untuk menghilangkan wang deposit (calon lawan) jadi tak tahu kenapa mereka war-warkan sebegitu,” katanya.
Namun, Sivamurugan berpendapat peningkatan undi orang muda kepada PKR dalam PRK Kajang baru-baru ini tidak boleh dijadikan penanda aras bagi kejayaan di masa depan.
“Kesetiaan parti pengundi muda tidak seperti pengundi-pengundi lama dimana mereka setia kepada satu parti. Pengundi muda lebih melihat kepada isu,” jelasnya.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

'Kajang Move' Could Be Reason Voters Stayed At home', The Rakyat Post, 23 March 2014


IT was past noon and leaders from MCA and Parti Keadilan Rakyat were  already experiencing tense moments, worrying what effect a low voter turnout would have on their respective party’s winning chances.
They became more restless upon learning that the turnout only stood at 60.85% at 3pm.
When it climbed to 67.04% an hour later, many silently conceded it impossible to reach anywhere near the 88% turnout achieved in last year’s general election.
True enough, when polling stations closed at 5pm, the Election Commission announced that the voter turnout was 72%, even much lower than the 79.9% recorded in the 2008 general election.
The EC, too, did not see this coming since it had earlier projected a turnout of 80%.
Something is definitely not right as the voter turnout in Kajang was also much lower than in the last two by-elections in Kuala Besut and Sg Limau, which were both in the range of 80-90%.
The lowest voter turnout in by-elections held after the 2008 general election was during the Penanti state by-election, in which BN did not contest, at 46.1%.
Politicians from both sides had cause for worry as they had put in a lot of hours to campaign for their candidates and all of this would have meant little should voters decide not to come out and cast their ballots.
They were also aware that a low turnout would mean fewer votes cast, which also would mean that the votes of those who had stayed away for reasons known to them, could have tipped the balance either way.
The weather was bright and sunny and vote-wooing and campaigning had not stopped throughout the day.
In fact, supporters outside polling stations, like those lining part of Jalan Semenyih outside Kajang High School, even outnumbered the voters, who trickled into the school compound.
Was voter fatigue the reason why eligible electors decided to stay away?
Perhaps voters are not happy that the by-election was engineered by PKR as a tactical move to strengthen the party’s position in Selangor and to use the Kajang polls as a springboard to Putrajaya?
Or was it simply because to them, whoever won would not change the PKR-led state government?
Hopes go unfulfilled
Whatever the real reasons are, PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s hopes of increasing her winning majority from what was achieved by former assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh went unfulfilled.
This was although the percentage of total votes recorded was higher, giving Pakatan Rakyat leaders bragging rights that the Opposition coalition had been successful in turning the Kajang polls into a referendum on injustice, judicial fraud and extremism.
PKR’s initial analysis of the results showed support for Pakatan Rakyat had increased from 56.8% to 59.5%, which the party attributed  to a swing in support from Malay youths.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof had dismissed voter fatigue as the cause of the low turnout due to the long period between the seat falling vacant on Jan 27 and polling day.
And while Ibrahim Suffian, from independent pollster Merdeka Centre, believed Umno supporters did not go all out to vote in numbers, another analyst, Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, said protests against the Kajang Move could be a reason.
 ”Maybe some voters did not feel it was important to vote since the outcome does not in any way change the state government.
“Those who reside outside Kajang also did not return to vote,” said the academician from Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang.
A Selangor-based Chinese community leader, who attended public rallies organised by both BN and Pakatan Rakyat, did not rule out the possibility that the fence-sitters had opted not to vote.
He believed some were fed up with the unusual aggressive campaigning by both sides.
Voters could be bored with too much politicking during the 12-day campaign period.
This could hold true since only 70% of Malaysian voters are traditionally categorised as “committed voters” who would cast their votes by any means possible because they were either members or supporters of political parties taking part in the election.
The remaining 30% are fence-sitters who vote based on issues and personal experiences. Under normal circumstances, they are less eager to participate in the electoral process.
There is also the element of political alienation where voters feel they are  powerless and meaningless, not fully understanding the value or importance of their vote in an election.
All these had attributed to Wan Azizah having to contend with a reduced majority — 5,379 votes in the straight fight with MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.
Wan Azizah garnered 16,741 votes to Chew’s 11.362.
In last year’s general election, PKR’s Lee Chin Cheh won the Kajang seat with a comfortable 6,824-vote majority in a 6-cornered fight against BN’s Lee Ban Seng and four independents.
Lee won 57% of all votes. He resigned without giving a good reason, triggering the by-election in the constituency of 39,278 registered voters, with Malays making up 48%, followed by the Chinese at 41% and Indians at 10%.

Monday, March 10, 2014

'Wan Azizah Teruskan Agenda Terhalang Anwar Di Kajang', Bernama, 10 Mac 2014


KUALA LUMPUR, 10 Mac (Bernama) -- Pemilihan Presiden PKR Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail sebagai calon pilihan raya kecil (PRK) Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Kajang dilihat sebagai usaha meneruskan agenda politik suaminya yang terhalang.

Pemilihan isteri Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim itu dibuat selepas Penasihat PKR itu yang sebelum ini dinamakan sebagai calon pembangkang pada PRK itu, dilaporkan tidak boleh bertanding bagi meneruskan apa yang dilihat sebagai usaha untuk menjadi Menteri Besar Selangor.

Jumaat lepas Mahkamah Rayuan menjatuhkan hukuman penjara lima tahun terhadap Anwar selepas mengetepikan keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi membebaskannya daripada pertuduhan meliwat pembantu peribadinya, kira-kira enam tahun lepas.

Beberapa penganalisis politik berpandangan pemilihan isteri Anwar juga antara lain untuk meneruskan kesinambungan dinasti keluarga Ketua Pembangkang itu dalam PKR. Anak sulung pasangan itu, Nurul Izzah adalah Naib Presiden PKR dan anggota Parlimen Lembah Pantai.

Dekan Jabatan Pengajian Kenegaraan dan Ketamadunan Fakulti Ekologi Universiti Putra Malaysia Prof Madya Dr Ahmad Tarmizi Talib melihat pemilihan Dr Wan Azizah sebagai strategi Anwar untuk meneruskan agendanya yang tersekat.

Perkara sama dilontarkan oleh penganalisis politik yang juga pensyarah di universiti itu, Dr Amini Amir Abdullah yang membayangkan kemungkinan Dr Wan Azizah hanyalah menjadi boneka kepada suaminya .

"Adakah Wan Azizah juga akan diangkat sebagai Menteri Besar Selangor kelak?," soalnya sambil menambah jika itu senarionya, Selangor mungkin hanya mempunyai boneka sebagai menteri besar.

Dekan Kolej Undang-undang, Kerajaan dan Pengajian Antarabangsa Universiti Utara Malaysia Prof Madya Dr Ahmad Marthada Mohamed menggambarkan pemilihan Dr Wan Azizah itu sebagai lebih kepada urusan keluarga Anwar kerana isterinya dipilih walaupun ramai lagi calon lain yang boleh diketengahkan.

Ia juga dilihat sebagai usaha kesinambungan dinasti keluarga Anwar dalam parti itu.

Timbalan Dekan Pusat Pengajian Sains Kemasyarakatan Universiti Sains Malaysia Dr P. Sivamurugan berpendapat pemilihan Dr Wan Azizah itu mungkin strategi Anwar untuk raih undi simpati susulan keputusan mahkamah itu.

Pertembungan Dr Wan Azizah dan calon Barisan Nasional (BN) Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun menarik perhatian ramai memandangkan kira-kira 50 peratus daripada kira-kira 39,000 pengundi DUN Kajang adalah wanita.

Timbalan Presiden MCA Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong berkata BN, pada dasarnya, tidak akan mengubah strategi pilihan raya mereka berikutan pemilihan Dr Wan Azizah sebagai calon.

"Sama ada Anwar atau Wan Azizah, strategi kita tidak berubah," katanya.

Chew pula mengulangi pendiriannya bersedia untuk menghadapi siapa jua di PRK Kajang dan akan terus berusaha agar BN boleh merampas semula kerusi itu daripada PKR.

Hari penamaan calon pada 11 Mac manakala pengundian 23 Mac.


Antara Personaliti Dan Parti, Yang Mana Jadi Pilihan?, Bernama, 10 Mac 2014


Fokus Berita Oleh Mohd Hisham Abdul Rafar dan S Kisho Kumari

KUALA LUMPUR, (Bernama) -- Ibarat siri drama, pilihan raya kecil Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Kajang pada 23 Mac ini adalah satu episod yang menarik perhatian banyak pihak, untuk mengetahui apakah kesudahan ceritanya dan siapakah yang akan dinobatkan menjadi wakil rakyat.

Seperti drama atau filem, umumnya pelakon utama dan skrip memainkan peranan penting untuk menjadikannya satu tayangan yang menjadi tarikan, begitulah perihal pilihan raya kecil yang penuh dramatik ini.

Drama permainan politik dalam pilihan raya kecil DUN Kajang ini, yang bermula dengan kejutan berikutan peletakan jawatan oleh wakil rakyat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) sebenarnya menjurus kepada personaliti individu yang menjadi calon pilihan raya dan parti politik yang diwakilinya.

Sehingga disahkan pencalonan pada 11 Mac, pemerhati politik dan pengundi di Kajang umumnya sudah mengetahui bahawa pelakon utama atau calon dalam pilihan raya kecil ini bukan calang-calang orang iaitu Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, yang mewakili PKR.

Barisan Nasional (BN), yang akan turun sebagai parti bukan pilihan, diwakili Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun daripada MCA.

Selain Chew dan Anwar, pilihan raya kecil ini juga menarik perhatian bekas presiden Parti Kesejahteraan Insan (KITA) Datuk Seri Zaid Ibrahim serta bekas rakan karib Anwar, Senator Datuk S Nallakarupan dan juga bekas pembantu peguam bela ketua pembangkang Yuktes Vijay yang menawarkan diri bertanding sebagai calon bebas.

Maka antara personaliti berkenaan, siapakah yang bakal menjadi pilihan pengundi Kajang?

Penganalisis politik Che Hamdan Che Mohd Razali berkata dalam pilihan raya, personaliti seseorang calon mampu memberikan impak yang besar sesuai dengan peranannya, selain didokong oleh manifesto dan parti yang diwakilinya.

Mengambil contoh Kelantan pada pilihan raya umum 2004, beliau yang juga pensyarah kanan Sains Politik Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Dungun, Terengganu berkata PAS hampir kalah di negeri itu memandangkan personaliti calon yang diketengahkan parti ketika itu tidak digemari rakyat.

"Namun, ada sesetengah tempat, faktor personaliti tidak memainkan peranan penting tetapi ada juga tempat yang mementingkan personaliti. Semua bergantung kepada sentimen di kawasan itu," katanya kepada Bernama baru-baru ini.

Selain personaliti, adakah jenama parti mampu memberi nilai tambah kepada seseorang calon dalam meningkatkan sokongan?

Pensyarah Pusat Pengajian Sains Kemasyarakatan, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain berkata dalam menentukan arah sokongan, pengundi juga menitikberatkan jenama parti yang bertanding dalam sesuatu pilihan raya.

Mengambil contoh DUN Kajang, beliau berkata kawasan itu dilabelkan sebagai kawasan PKR dan BN diramal sukar menang di situ dengan bacaan peluang semasa adalah 50-50.

"Untuk menyaingi Pakatan Rakyat, BN perlu bekerja kuat... namun untuk menang, amat sukar saya ramalkan. Pun begitu, pemilihan calon BN daripada MCA Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun adalah tepat dan terpulang kepada pengundi Kajang sama ada memilih PKR atau BN," katanya.

Beliau berkata jika 15 peratus daripada jumlah 15,823 pengundi Cina di DUN Kajang itu memihak kepada MCA, bermakna parti itu masih menerima sokongan meskipun tewas.

"Setakat ini, menurut bacaan saya, pengundi Cina di Kajang masih belum mengalih sokongan mereka kepada MCA dan mereka masih lagi mempertimbangkan," katanya.

Sementara itu, Panel Pusat Demokrasi dan Pilihan Raya Universiti Malaya (Umcedel) Dr Zulkanain Abdul Rahman berpendapat calon BN daripada MCA itu berupaya memberi saingan.

"Saya yakin bakal calon itu nanti berupaya untuk menambahkan bilangan undi bagi BN atau sekurang-kurangnya mengurangkan majoriti... 'that is good enough' (itu sudah cukup baik)," katanya kepada Bernama baru-baru ini.

Lebih-lebih lagi, ini adalah pilihan raya kecil pertama di bawah kepimpinan baharu MCA, diketuai Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, yang boleh dijadikan sebagai kayu ukur sokongan masyarakat terutamanya pengundi Cina kepada BN.

Sependapat dengan Zulkanain, penganalisis politik Pusat Pengajian Sains Kemasyarakatan Universiti Sains Malaysia Profesor Madya Dr Sivamurugan Pandian berkata calon BN perlu memberi keyakinan kepada penduduk Kajang bahawa kepimpinan baharu MCA berupaya memberi perkhidmatan yang baik kepada rakyat.

"Kalau tidak dapat menang, sekurang-kurangnya mengurangkan majoriti. Mereka perlu fokus kepada isu-isu tempatan yang masih tidak diselesaikan sehingga kini," katanya.

Bagaimana pula dengan strategi yang perlu digunakan oleh BN bagi mendekati hati pengundi-pengundi Kajang?

"Kita harus ingat, sebenarnya kebanyakan pengundi Kajang terdiri daripada golongan professional," katanya.

Zulkanain menjelaskan pengundi-pengundi Kajang semakin matang dan bijak dalam membuat pemilihan wakil rakyat yang dirasakan dapat membawa perubahan positif terutamanya daripada segi pembangunan dan taraf hidup.

Selain itu, katanya perhatian serius perlu diberikan kepada isu-isu tempatan di Kajang seperti isu pemilikan tanah, sampah sarap, kesesakan lalu lintas, air, kehadiran warga asing di rumah-rumah urut, masalah tempat letak kereta dan keselamatan.

"BN perlu 'show off' kali ini... sekurang-kurangnya sebelum hari penamaan calon pada 11 Mac ini, kalau kedua-dua perkara ini diberikan perhatian, saya yakin BN boleh beri satu saingan sengit dalam PRK Kajang ini," kata beliau.

Kerusi DUN Kajang kosong selepas penyandangnya Lee Chin Cheh daripada PKR meletak jawatan pada 27 Jan lepas bagi memberi laluan kepada Anwar, yang juga Ketua Umum PKR, bertanding di kerusi itu.

Pada pilihan raya umum lepas, Lee menang dengan majoriti 6,824 undi dalam pertembungan enam penjuru melibatkan BN, Berjasa dan tiga calon bebas.

Pengundi di Kajang, yang menjadi juri hakim, pastinya boleh menilai ketokohan personaliti dan jenama parti untuk memilih siapa yang bakal menjadi 'Yang Berhormat' mereka.


'Wan Azizah Continues Anwar's Hindered Agenda In Kajang', Bernama, 10 March 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 (Bernama) -- The selection of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the party's candidate for the by-election for the Kajang State Legislative Assembly seat is seen by political analysts as an effort to continue the political agenda of her husband that was hindered.

This is because it was reported that her husband, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is also PKR advisor, could not contest in the by-election which would have paved the way for him to become the Selangor Menteri Besar.

Last Friday, the Court of Appeal sentenced Anwar to five years in jail after rejecting the decision of the High Court to free Anwar from the charge of sodomising his aide six years ago.

The Dean of the Department of Nationhood and Civilisation Studies, Faculty of Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Tarmizi Talib perceived Wan Azizah's selection as Anwar's strategy to continue his hindered agenda.

The same view was also expressed by a political analyst, who is also a lecturer at the university, Dr Amini Amir Abdullah who hinted the possibility that Wan Azizah was merely a puppet for her husband.

"Will Wan Azizah also be made the Selangor Menteri Besar later?" he asked, adding that if this was the scenario, Selangor might have a puppet for a menteri besar.

The Dean of the College of Law, Government and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Marthada Mohamed described Wan Azizah's selection more as an Anwar family affair because Wan Azizah would still be selected although there were many others who could be featured.

It is also perceived as an effort at continuing the dynasty of the Anwar family in the party.

The Deputy Dean of the Social Science Study Centre, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Dr P. Sivamurugan was of the opinion that Wan Azizah's selection could be Anwar's strategy to gain sympathy votes following the decision of the court.

The face-off between Wan Azizah and the Barisan Nasional candidate, Chew Mei Fun draws much attention as about 50 per cent of the approximately 39,000 voters in the Kajang state constituency are women.

MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said that the BN, basically would not change its election strategy following the selection of Wan Azizah as a candidate in the by-election.

"Whether it is Anwar or Wan Azizah, our strategy does not change," he said.

Chew, meanwhile, reiterated her stand that she was prepared to face anyone in Kajang and would continue to strive so that BN could recapture the seat from PKR.

Nimonation day for the by-election is March 11 while polling day is March 23.


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

'Anwar’s MB-Tion: Anyone But Anwar', The Rakyat Post, 4 March 2014


The people of Selangor prefer locals as Menteri Besar and are "fussy about outsiders".
A comic strip by cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, or Zunar, sees Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim shouting different slogans through time.
In 1974, it was demonstrasi (demonstrate); in 1986, it was “democracy”; then in 1998, it was reformasi (reform); and, in 2004, it was “wait and see”.
“Wait and see”, might still apply today for Anwar, who hopes that via the Kajang by-election, he will be able to fulfil the dream of becoming the country’s next premier.
It is after all, PKR’s motto “From Kajang to Putrajaya”, and part of the “Kajang Move” is to see the opposition leader replacing Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as menteri besar.
Anwar becoming the Menteri Besar will fit in snugly with plans to use the PKR-led state as a model on how Pakatan Rakyat will run the country should it win the next general election.
Naturally, Anwar’s political rivals are quick to criticise the idea although it does not mean that the former deputy prime minister’s allies are supportive either.
Earlier last month, PAS Youth — the youth wing of the Islamist party which is part of the loose opposition coalition — openly stated it did not want Anwar to replace Khalid.
In admitting that views in the party were split on the issue, Selangor PAS secretary Mohd Khairuddin Othman explained that most of its members were comfortable with Khalid.
The Selangor MB, he said, was performing well and attributed the increased number of seats PR gained in the last general election to Khalid.
Khairuddin added the people of Selangor preferred locals as a menteri besar and were “fussy about outsiders”.
A recent poll by University of Malaya Centre of Elections and Democracy had revealed that 59% of Kajang voters wanted Anwar to replace Khalid, but that did not reflect what the people of Selangor wanted.
Anwar, he pointed out, is a national figure.
“I don’t think he should come down to the state,” Khairuddin told The Rakyat Post.
Political analyst Dr Sivamurugan Pandian shares that sentiment, stressing that Anwar should focus on the national level.
With PR having 44 seats in the state compared with Barisan Nasional’s 12, Sivamurugan said there was no reason for Anwar to replace Khalid, who he said, had been performing well.
“If Anwar was thinking about a road map to Putrajaya, he should have thought about it before the general election.”
For entrepreneur Syed Khaled Al Asrar, Anwar’s previous stint in the government has not convinced him that the former finance minister is suited as a menteri besar.
Policies Anwar implemented when he was a Cabinet member, he argued, were former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ideas.
“There are better people than Anwar to lead the state.”
Graphic artist Isma Zari points out that Anwar comes with a lot of baggage and is “scandal hit”.
The Permatang Pauh MP has the appeal of his acquittal on sodomy charges hanging over his head.
Former Umno and PKR politician and Kajang by-election candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim claims the process has been engineered so that Anwar can use his position as menteri besar to shield himself, if found guilty.
Isma said he did not see any of Anwar’s contributions when he was a minister and, therefore, would not know what he would bring to the table.
“Anyone but Anwar,” he said.

'Khalid's Political Gamble', New Straits Times, 3 March 2014

Sunday, March 02, 2014

'Perpecahan Mungkin Berlaku', Sinar Harian, 2 Mac 2014

'Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang Ikon Terbaharu Bakal Lonjakkan Pembangunan', Bernama, 28 Februari 2014

Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang Ikon Terbaharu Bakal Lonjakkan Pembangunan

Oleh Sharifah Nurliza Syed Mohammad dan Samantha Tan Chew Ting

GEORGE TOWN (Bernama) -- Pulau Pinang, negeri yang terbahagi kepada dua bahagian oleh Selat Melaka, mempunyai satu lagi mercu tanda menghubungkan bahagian pulau dan tanah besar apabila Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang dibuka secara rasmi pada Sabtu malam oleh Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Dijadual mula beroperasi untuk orang ramai mulai 12.01 tengah malam selepas perasmiannya, jambatan bernilai RM4.5 bilion itu dijangka dapat menarik sehingga 25 peratus daripada 100,000 kenderaan yang menggunakan jambatan pertama setiap hari, sekali gus mengurangkan kesesakan lalu lintas di jambatan pertama.

Jambatan sepanjang 24km iaitu jambatan terpanjang di Asia Tenggara, menghubungkan Batu Kawan di tanah besar dan Batu Maung di bahagian pulau, merupakan jambatan kedua merentangi laut menghubungkan kedua-dua bahagian negeri itu.

"Kami jangkakan 25,000 kenderaan sehari menggunakan jambatan ini terutama kenderaan dari selatan," kata Pengarah urusan Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB) Datuk Dr Ismail Mohamed Taib.

Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang atau dikenali sebagai (JK2PP), merupakan projek kerajaan persekutuan dalam usaha mengurangkan kesesakan aliran trafik di jambatan pertama terutama pada waktu puncak, turut dilihat bakal meningkatkan pembangunan dan ekonomi kawasan perindustrian di Batu Kawan dan Batu Maung serta merancakkan sektor pelancongan negeri.

"Jambatan itu bakal menjadi ikon baharu kepada industri pelancongan Pulau Pinang dan Malaysia," kata Pengerusi Persatuan Agensi-Agensi Pelancongan dan Pengembaraan Malaysia (Matta) cawangan Pulau Pinang, Johari Shafie.

Beliau berkata jambatan baharu itu mampu menarik lebih ramai pelancong tempatan dan asing, selain dapat memberi nafas baharu kepada produk pelancongan di Batu Maung dan Bayan Lepas seperti Muzium Perang, Akuarium Batu Maung dan Tokong Ular.

"Selain itu, jambatan yang unik strukturnya ini dapat menarik perhatian pelancong asing dan pelancong tempatan, yang ingin cuba laluan jambatan terutama pada waktu malam kerana ia dihiasi lampu warna-warni," katanya.

Johari berkata jambatan baharu itu juga dapat memberi peluang perniagaan kepada penduduk setempat jika industri pelancongan dapat mewujudkan produk pelancongan kepada pelancong pada waktu malam untuk bergambar serta menghayati pemandangan di situ.

JK2PP, projek mega hasil perancangan kerajaan persekutuan itu, turut memberi rangsangan ekonomi kepada kerajaan negeri pimpinan DAP dan membuka peluang pekerjaan kepada penduduk sekitar, sekali gus menguntungkan rakyat Pulau Pinang.

Kawasan Batu Kawan di tanah besar, yang sebelum ini agak kosong dan sunyi kini mula membangun dengan projek-projek perumahan, malah gedung perabot terkenal dari Sweden, Ikea, akan membuka cawangan keduanya di kawasan itu.

Limpahan ekonomi itu jelas dapat dilihat apabila Ikano Pte Ltd iaitu syarikat francaisee bagi Ikea di Malaysia, Singapura dan Thailand bergabung dengan syarikat tempatan, Aspen Vision untuk membangunkan kompleks beli-belah serta kawasan perniagaan dan kediaman di Batu Kawan.

Bagi memenuhi hasrat itu Aspen Vision telah membeli tanah seluas 98 hektar berharga RM483.95 juta daripada agensi negeri, Penang Development Corporation.

Naib Presiden Persekutuan Pengilang-pengilang Malaysia (FMM) Dr Ooi Eng Hock berkata jambatan baharu itu akan merancakkan kawasan industri di Bayan Lepas dan Batu Kawan di seberang.

"Jambatan baharu itu bukan sahaja akan menarik lebih banyak kilang-kilang baharu di zon perindustrian Bayan Lepas dan Batu Kawan, malah pengilang yang sedia ada dapat menikmati kemudahan selesa dari segi logistik dan pengangkutan.

"Jambatan itu harus dilengkapi aspek keselamatan kerana ada lori-lori yang membawa muatan berharga dan jambatan itu dapat memendekkan masa perjalanan," katanya.

Pelan untuk membina JK2PP itu terkandung dalam Rancangan Malaysia Kesembilan dan pada 12 Nov 2006, upacara penanaman cerucuk besi Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang dilakukan oleh Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, yang merupakan perdana menteri pada ketika itu.

Walaupun Pulau Pinang kini di bawah pemerintahan DAP, kerajaan persekutuan tetap komited untuk melaksanakan pembangunan demi kepentingan rakyat negeri itu.

Timbalan Dekan Pusat Pengajian Sains Sosial Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Dr Sivamurugan Pandian berkata jambatan baharu itu merupakan usaha kerajaan persekutuan untuk memberikan kepercayaan dan keyakinan kepada penduduk setempat dan pelabur.

"Apa yang kita lihat di Pulau Pinang hari ini adalah hasil usaha pentabdiran sebelum ini iaitu kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN)," katanya.

Dr Sivamurugan berkata hakikat bahawa kerajaan BN tetap meneruskan projek jambatan kedua itu walaupun Pulau Pinang tidak lagi di bawah BN, menunjukkan kerajaan pusat mahu Pulau Pinang terus menikmati pembangunan lebih baik supaya rakyat mendapat manfaat daripadanya.

Beliau berkata kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang perlu memberi penghargaan kepada BN dalam usaha merancakkan sektor pelancongan dan perindustrian, demi faedah rakyat.

Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Pulau Pinang Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman berkata Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang juga dijangka menaikkan harga hartanah di kawasan seperti Bayan Baru, Batu Kawan dan Nibong Tebal kerana ia terletak dalam kawasan jaringan pembangunan.

Projek pembinaan jambatan usaha sama antara China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Ltd dan UEM Builders Bhd itu bermula pada 2008. Jambatan itu mempunyai empat lorong dengan dua lorong motosikal dan enam persimpangan lebuh raya serta dilengkapi 29 CCTV.

Sepanjang 17km dari jambatan itu akan merentasi Selat Selatan, selat yang menghubungkan Pulau dan Seberang Perai, 1.5km berada di kawasan Batu Maung, manakala 6km di kawasan Batu Kawan.

Jambatan itu juga mengaplikasikan penggunaan Bearing Getah Redaman Tinggi (HRDB) dalam pembinaannya, yang berkeupayaan menahan gegaran gempa bumi sehingga 8.2 pada skala Richter.


'Second Penang Bridge Latest Icon To Propel Development', Bernama, 28 February 2014


By Sharifah Nurliza Syed Mohammad and Samantha Tan Chew Ting

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 28 (Bernama) -- Penang will have yet another iconic landmark in the form of the Second Penang Bridge when it is officially opened on Saturday night by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

Scheduled to be opened to the public from 12.01 am on Sunday the RM4.5 billion dual carriage toll bridge is expected to draw up to 25 percent of the 100,000 vehicles which cross the first bridge on a daily basis and help ease congestion.

Spanning 24 kilometres it is not only the longest in Malaysia but Southeast Asia as well and connects Batu Kawan on the mainland Peninsula to Batu Maung on Penang island.

"We expect 25,000 vehicles to use the bridge daily, especially from the south," said Datuk Dr Ismail Mohamed Taib the managing director of the special purpose concession company Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB).

The Second Penang Bridge, which is also known as JK2PP, is a federal government project aimed at easing the heavy volume of traffic on the first bridge, especially during peak hours when it is frequently grid locked.

It is also viewed as a key catalyst to further develop the Batu Kawan and Batu Maung industrial areas and boost tourism.

"The bridge is set to become the newest icon for the state and country's tourism sector," said the Penang Branch Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) chairman, Johari Shafie.

He expressed confidence that the new bridge would draw more local and foreign visitors and provide fresh prospects for tourist destinations such as the War Museum, Batu Maung Aquarium and Snake Temple in Batu Maung and Bayan Lepas.

"The bridge's unique architecture will attract tourists who would want to experience crossing it, especially at night when it's lighted up colourfully," he said.

The JK2PP mega federal government project would also stimulate the economy in the DAP-led state, open up job opportunities and benefit Penangites on the whole.

Batu Kawan, which used to be rather deserted, is now showing signs of development with housing projects and even Swedish furniture company Ikea set to open its second branch in the state there.

The economic impact is also clearly seen in the joint venture between local company Aspen Vision and Ikano Pte Ltd, the Ikea franchise company for Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to develop a shopping mall, business centre and residential area.

Aspen Vision has bought a 98-hectare piece of land for RM483.95 million from the Penang Development Corporation for the project.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) vice-president Dr Ooi Eng Hock said the new bridge would stimulate the industrial area in Bayan Lepas and over in Batu Kawan as well.

"The bridge will not only attract more new factories to the Bayan Lepas and Batu Kawan industrial zones but also provide better logistics, transport and other facilities to the existing companies," he said.

The JK2PP project was unveiled in the Ninth Malaysia Plan on Nov 12 2006 and its groundbreaking ceremony was performed by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who was the prime minister at the time.

Although Penang is still ruled by DAP, the federal government is committed to its development for the sake of the people in the state.

Universiti Sains Malaysia's Social Science Study Centre deputy dean, Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said the new bridge was the federal government's effort to maintain the trust and confidence of the local people and investors.

"Whatever we see in Penang today was left by the previous administration, the Barisan Nasional (BN) government" he said.

He said the Penang state government should give BN the due credit for boosting its tourism and industrial sectors.

Penang UMNO Liaison Committee chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman said the second bridge was also expected to hike real estate prices in places including Bayan Baru, Batu Kawan and Nibong Tebal which were located within the corridor of development.

The construction of the bridge was undertaken by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Ltd and UEM Builders Bhd in 2008. It has four lanes with two motorbike lanes, six intersections and equipped with 29 CCTV.

Seventeen kilometres of the bridge will span across the Southern Straits which separates the island and Seberang Perai while 1.5 kilometres will stretch over Batu Maung and 6 kilometres through Batu Kawan.

It is a seismic-resistant bridge incorporating the High Damping Rubber Bearing (HRDB) application to withstand earthquake tremors of up to 8.2 on the Richter-scale.


Saturday, March 01, 2014

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