Wednesday, January 23, 2008

PM Abdullah – No Confidence Wining Big in Coming GE – Having “just begun” to Implement his Promises; Waiting for More Favorable times to call next GE

UPDATE: Day 8 – RCI - January 24, 2008 13:38 PM - another Tall Story from Lingam
Lingam-Eusoff Trip Was Coincidental, Court Told
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 (Bernama) -- Lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam told the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the controversial video clip Thursday that his holiday with former chief justice Tun Eusoff Chin in New Zealand in 1994 was a coincidence. Lingam, 57, denied that he stayed at the same hotel with Eusoff in Auckland and Christchurch. He said he did not follow Eusoff everywhere in New Zealand except for a few coincidental meetings at the zoo and bird park in Auckland and a few other places.

"I cannot recollect the exact time we decided to visit New Zealand but we (Lingam and his wife) thought that it was the best time since it was the Christmas and New Year holidays. "Because I was so busy, as well as my wife, who is running her dental clinic, our relatives who just got back from New Zealand told us we should visit the place," Lingam said. The inquiry is to determine, among others, the authenticity of the video clip purported showing Lingam brokering judicial appointments over the phone.

= == = = =January 24, 2008 12:00 PM
Lingam Must Answer Questions On His New Zealand Trip With Eusoff

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 (Bernama) --The Royal Commission of Inquiry ruled Thursday that lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam, who is implicated in the controversial video clip, must answer questions relating to his 1994 holiday trip in New Zealand with former chief justice Tun Eusoff Chin. The five-member panel headed by chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor unanimously allowed the Malaysian Bar's application to question Lingam on the matter. Bar representative Robert Lazar had said that evidence on that trip was relevant to show the close relationship between the two men to prove the existence of interference in judicial appointments and case fixings. Lazar had said that those facts should be allowed into the inquiry because they were referred to in the conversation in the video clip and therefore were within the scope of the commission's terms of reference.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry was set up to determine, among others, the authencity of the video clip allegedly showing Lingam brokering judicial appointments over the phone. However, Lingam, in his testimony, said he was unable to say whether the man talking on the phone in the clip was him and his stand was that "It looks like me, It sounds like me". Lingam's counsel, R.Thayalan, had objected to the line of questioning on the New Zealand trip, saying that the evidence on the trip was beyonde scope of the commission's terms of reference and that the inquiry should be be confined to evidence on the appointment of judges. Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, counsel for former chief justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, purported to be the man on the other end the telephone, and conducting officers Datuk Nordin Hassan and Datuk Azmi

Ariffin adopted a similar stand.

The conducting officers said it was certainly not the purpose of the establishment of the commission to ascertain or determine the truth or otherwise of all matters mentioned in the transcript of the conversation in the video clip. Today, Eusoff's recently-appointed counsel, Zamani Ibrahim told the commission that they also took a similar stand as Thayalan. Previously, Eusoff, who was questioned on the trip when he took the witness stand last Friday, was not represented by counsel. The commission put off his testimony to allow him to engage counsel.
= == == = == = == = == =Original Post Below

PM Abdullah is buying time and has a shocking revelation that

I have begun to implement practically everything that I promised. I have begun to do it and it is in the process of being implemented”.
It means he has really been sleeping all along and only after 4 years when he needs another mandate he woke up to implement his promises. The reality is that he is still looking for ‘the right time” to go to the Polls. The current happenings are just too harsh for him to get that fresh mandate. The 4th Floor guys have given him the warning. With the shortages and spiraling prices, especially the essential goods (cooking oil & flour) hurting the pockets of everyone are also hurting the votes for the BN. Others are the crude shock of the protests of the PIGB fees, the Royal Commission of Inquiry, the Hindraf hindrances. He is now asking the 5000 UMNO reps he met to explain to the people first and to resolve local issues and the setting up of the National Stockpile and National Call Centre would be established under National Price Council. What use is the release of the stockpile and to be smuggled out if there is no check on corruption in the anti-smuggling unit.

The 5.8% EPF dividends was a sweetener to the private sector and for the Public section he has the RM2billion in lieu of the Bonus announcement to win over the 1.2 Billion Government servant votes

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does not expect to retain 2004 election results

DrM: BN will win in the next general election; Husna Yusop and Bernard Cheah; theSUN

ABOVE: PM Abdullah speaking to newsmen after the UMNO PWTC Meeting

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 22, 2008): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says he does not expect to retain the same results as in the 2004 general elections this time around,."If I get the same mandate, I would be very happy," he told reporters after giving a two-hour briefing to some 3,500 Umno division leaders and information chiefs in the party headquarters today. He said the situation now was different compared with the last general election when the expectation was high as the country was going through a transition period following a change in leadership in the country and party.


"I don’t think so (can retain the 2004 results). If I get it, I would be very happy. I mean, I am being very very practical," he tadded. He said 2004 was an "exceptional time" as it was the transition period whereby there were high hopes but now is the time for implementation and this requires a lot of things and takes up a lot of time. "There was a change of stewardship in the party. There was expectation of a lot of things to change. But I cannot change everything. There was expectation that this has to be done, that has to be done. "It’s not that we have not done anything. I have begun to implement practically everything that I promised. I have begun to do it and it is in the process of being implemented," Abdullah added. Asked whether the time was right to call for a general election soon and that the briefing was part of the final preparations for the coming elections, the Umno president said: "No. There's still much more to be done."
On whether current issues were affecting people’s confidence in the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, he said people were troubled by the inflation but the government will continue with its efforts to reduce their burden such as by monitoring the price of controlled items, checking against cases of smuggling and hoarding and ensuring a good supply a food items. Asked whether people were influenced by the opposition's manifesto as they were seen to have gotten stronger and more united now, Abdullah said it was good that the oppositions were more united but the BN is also strong.

"I would not know whether they would be influenced or not but I think Malaysians now are better informed and capable of thinking better," he added. Asked whether BN sees Keadilan adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a threat in the coming elections, Abdullah said: "He is not a threat. Who is he to threaten us?"
Abdullah also congratulated the Employees Provident Fund for its 5.8% dividend for last year, compared with 5.15% in 2006, saying it is good and all contributors should be very happy. He added it was not an "election dividend" as suggested by some but it shows that there were more money to be given to the people due to companies making more money and having higher share values. Asked to comment on the decline in the share market, he said fluctuations were normal but they were not serious. "What matters is the country is fairly stable. There are times when it comes down a bit and there are times when it goes up, but we are performing at a very high level, beyond 1,000 index. I think that is very good.
"There is confidence in our market and this reflects confidence in many other things. The market would not have done well if we have not managed our economy well. That is the proof," he added.

January 22, 2008 21:15 PM

People's Continued Mandate Crucial To Implement Devt Projects - PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 (Bernama) -- The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) needs the people's continued mandate to helm the nation to ensure development programmes being implemented bear fruition, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today. Despite the weaknesses and shortcomings, the prime minister said the coalition had a wealth of experience both in administering the country and in handling crises. "We are rich in experience, we've the experience and expertise in planning the nation's development, managing crises, be they internal political crisis, economic slowdown or financial crisis and various other challenges. "All these lend credence to our party's ability to handle them efficiently. The Barisan has a proven track record to manage and overcome crises amicably," he told reporters after addressing 5,000-odd Umno leaders at a closed-door briefing.

Asked if he was confident of the 14-party coalition repeating its landslide victory in the 2004 general election, the Umno president and Barisan chairman, said: "I don't think so. If I get, I'll be very, very happy, (but) I'm very practical." Abdullah said the 2004 general election results were an exception as there was a change in government and party leadership that brought about high hopes and expectations. "There were high expectations, a lot of things to change, but I cannot change everything and there was an expectation. "This has to be done, that has to be done. It's not that we have not done anything, I've started to implement practically everything that I promised.

"I have started to do it and it is in the process of being implemented. That's what we are doing," said Abdullah. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister reminded the people that every planning and programme being implemented would take time before the people could see the results and reap the benefits. "Implementation requires a lot of things. We can promise to do a lot of things in one sentence, but to implement them will take time. "What I said before is not what we want to implement within the five-year Ninth Malaysia Plan. "We have to look beyond. 15 years ahead and beyond, then we've to plan for other things. We've to look beyond, ahead of more than one term," he said

Abdullah said the government realised the people were worried of inflation creeping in and was taking pre-emptive measures to ease their burden by not raising prices of price-controlled goods, increasing production of agricultural produce and had abolised school fees. Touching on his speech at the closed-door information session on issues faced by the government and Barisan, Abdullah said he reminded Umno members to protect the party's image and not breach rules by resorting to actions that would tarnish Umno's name in the eyes of the people. He said party members were also told to discharge party duties responsibly to win the people's mandate to form the government and to pursue the development programmes for the nation and the people. "I am satisfied with the work done so far and the high spirit shown by party members. Nevertheless, there are still some loose ends that needed to be tightened.

"According to reports I received, we need to give attention to certain states, no need for me to mention names," he said. On Opposition tactics to implement a "welfare state" policy to whip up support from the people, Abdullah said the people are wise enough to evaluate the idea.

"The people know better whether it is a tactic to influence them or whether these sort of gimmicks can sway them. Malaysians of today are better informed, they're knowledgeable, able to think rationally and analyse things," he said.To a question on the high rating for the Opposition, Abdullah said Umno and Barisan are also strong. On the controversial Lingam video clip issue which might dent the people's support to Umno and Barisan in the election, the Prime Minister said he did not see an erosion of support due to the video clip controversy.


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January 23, 2008 00:24 AM
Abdullah Wants Umno Members To Explain Current Issues To The People

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants all Umno members to go to the ground to explain to the people current and local issues so that these were not manipulated by the opposition political parties during the next general election. Several Umno leaders said Abdullah, who is Umno president, wanted the Umno members to explain, among other things, issues pertaining to education, the rise in prices of goods, and issues pertaining to each locality.

Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the prime minister wanted the government's decision to abolish the school fees and provide free textbooks to all students to enable everyone obtain an education to be explained to the people. He also wanted all party members to be united and work harder to ensure victory for Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates in the next general election, he told reporters after attending a closed-door briefing by Abdullah for more than 5,000 Umno representatives from throughout the country, here.

Hishammuddin, who is Education Minister, said Abdullah also stressed on the importance of the candidate than the party in the elections. Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal said Abdullah wanted Umno members to explain to the people the issue of the rise in the prices of goods and the measures taken by the government to lessen the impact on the people. Shafie, who is Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, said the people should be informed that price fluctuation was normal and that they should exercise thrift. Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the prime minister wanted Umno members to place party interests above self-interest and support the selected election candidates. "The selected candidates must serve the people and should not indulge in corruption," he said.
Umno Information Chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib asked all Umno divisional and branch leaders to resolve all outstanding matters in their localities, such as provision of adequate infrastructure. "The elected representatives should continue working regardless of when the election will be held," he said, adding that Abdullah reminded those who were not selected as candidates to support the BN candidates. Dropped elected representatives should also support the new candidates just as the party members supported them when they were candidates, he said.

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January 22, 2008 22:44 PM
PM Gives Assurance On Keeping Inflation In Check

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today gave the assurance that the government would strive to ensure that prices of controlled items were not raised in an effort to curb inflation and not impose greater financial burden on the people. He said he realised that the people lamented the recent increase in the prices of several goods and added that as an immediate measure the government would ensure that there was no smuggling out or hoarding of essential items. "You can flood the market with supply of food items. If we have much fish and meat (in the market), God willing, their prices will drop," he told reporters after a closed-door briefing for more than 5,000 Umno representatives from throughout the country, here. The prime minister advised the people to be prudent in their spending now that they had to spend more following an increase in the prices of goods. He said the government had also abolished the school fees in the hope that this would ease the financial burden of parents, especially those who had many school-going children. "And that is a lot of money... if you have many children in school," he

said. Abdullah said the government did not forget the people in the rural areas, adding that several programmes had been implemented to assist them, especially the poor. He also said that the small and medium industries were expanding in the rural areas and this could help the rural people earn a better income. The prime minister said the government was also drawing up strategies to create more employment opportunities for the people. Asked whether he was ready to have parliament dissolved soon to pave the way for the next general election, Abdullah said: "Let's see. Sooner or later, or much later." Abdullah said any of the 3.4 million Umno members stood the chance of being a candidate in the next general election, provided he or she fulfilled the criteria.

He said it was more important that Umno members gave their support to the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates in the election. Umno would hold steadfast to the spirit of camaraderie prevalent during the by-election in Ijok, Selangor, last year when Umno helped ensure the victory of the BN candidate from the MIC though certain quarters wanted Umno to contest in the Malay-majority constituency, he said. K. Parthiban of the BN won the by-election, beating Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) by a majority of 1,850 votes.

= == = == = == = =BN will win no doubt but with a reduced majority

DrM: BN will win in the next general election
KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 22, 2008): Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he has no doubt the Barisan Nasional (BN) will win achieve a subtantial win in the next general election. "Oh, they will surely win. No doubt about it," was Mahathir's response to a reporter's question after the official opening of The Loaf bakery in Pavilion shopping complex here. "When I was Prime Minister, I would call for elections when I believe I could win. When the government thinks it can win, that is when they it will call for elections," he added.

Asked when he thinks Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would call for the 12th general election, Mahathir said: "When the time is ideal. When everything is up. "Bila semua naik, harga barang naik, stock market naik, roti pun naik!' (when everything rises, prices of goods rise, stock market rises, even bread rises)" he joked. To another question, Mahathir said: "I don't know the percentage. They have not told me yet. But I think BN will win substantially."

Updated: 09:15PM Tue, 22 Jan 2008

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January 23, 2008 20:47 PM

Govt Unveils Mechanisms For Adequate Supply, Price Stability
PUTRAJAYA, Jan 23 (Bernama) -- The Government today announced two mechanisms to ensure essential goods are readily available at stable prices. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the National Stockpile and National Call Centre would be established under National Price Council to protect consumers' interests following the surge in global crude oil prices. The National Stockpile would stock up essential items to be released to consumers should there be a short supply in the open market, he told reporters after the National Price Council closed-door briefing at his official residence "Sri Satria", here.

Najib said the council, chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, would decide on the essential items that should be stocked up by the government. For instance, during the recent cooking oil shortage, the National Stockpile would come in handy to address the short supply immediately by releasing the stock into the market, he said. The National Call Centre, which would operate round-the-clock, would receive consumer complaints on essential items to facilitate immediate remedial measures to be taken by enforcement agencies, he said. The Deputy Prime Minister said public complaints would serve as timely feedback on the supply and prices of essential goods in the market.

"Consumer complaints and public feedback will be valuable inputs for the National Price Council," he said. Najib said an advisory council comprising representatives from the Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca), Cuepacs, Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and chambers of commerce and industry would be set up to assist the National Price Council. He said the National Price Council would convene its first meeting next week after Abdullah returns from attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Najib said setting up of the council did not necessarily mean prices of essentials would tumble because the main aim of the council was to ensure sufficient supply of essentials and price stability. Najib said the council would be charged with the task of monitoring, advising and providing oversights for the government on price policy, competitive market structure, efficiency in subsidy schemes and prevention of unfair and collusive trade practices affecting supply andprice of essential goods and services by broadening the terms of reference of the Cabinet Committee on Controlled Items. "The overriding objective of the council is to minimise the impact of rising prices on the cost of living and the decline in the people's purchasing power," he said.
He said the government's latest initiative was the continuity of its efforts in taking comprehensive and action-oriented measures to control prices of essential items and adequate supply. Asked whether more items would be listed under the price-controlled goods list by the National Price Council, Najib said it would be decided later.

He said anti-smuggling enforcement operations would be intensified to curb smuggling out of controlled items. He said foreigners can buy controlled-price goods but are not allowed to take them out of the country. Najib said the country would not have registered a two per cent inflation rate between January and November last year had the government not taken pre-emptive measures from time to time in managing the national economy.

Najib will be the National Price Council deputy chairman. Other members are Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Energy, Water and Communication Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy. Meanwhile, the council's Group of Experts chairman Datuk Dr Kamal Salih said his team would study the subsidy mechanism in the national economy to rectify the shortcomings.
For instance, he said, the government's fuel subsidy is being enjoyed by all Malaysians currently, regardless of whether they are poor or rich.


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