Archive | April, 2013

Najib pitches affordable homes as BN bids to win over Penang

30 Apr

By Opalyn Mok

GEORGE TOWN, April 30 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak gave a final push tonight in Barisan Nasional’s bid to wrest Penang when he announced a plan to build 9,999 new affordable homes in Air Putih, Air Itam and Paya Terubong here.

“The federal government, through 1Malaysia Development Berhad, has signed agreements to buy land to build 2,222 low-medium cost homes and 1,111 affordable homes in each of the areas,” he said in his speech at a 1Malaysia Night with the Prime Minister event at Rifle Range.

Affordable housing is one of the main issues that both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat is championing to win votes from Penangites due to the skyrocketing prices of homes in this island state.

In addition to the 9,999 units of housing, those living in 962 one-bedroom homes in Kampung Melayu will be given three-bedroom homes in the Air Itam affordable housing development.

The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) land in Rifle Range will also be joined with the current low-cost flats next to it and will be redeveloped where 4,800 new low-medium cost homes will be built.

Najib said existing occupants from the flats will be given bigger and better living conditions as the unit size will be double that of current size.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak launching the affordable housing project at Rifle Range in Air Itam, Penang April 30, 2013. – Picture by K.E. OoiThe launch of this 9,999 units is in addition to the earlier promise by Najib to build 20,000 units of affordable housing in the state.

“The lack of affordable housing in Penang is a major issue, this is why I am delivering my promise of affordable housing to Penangites,” he said.

In this project, 1MDB will be the master developer for the redevelopment projects spread out in the three different areas under the Bukit Bendera and Bukit Gelugor constituencies.

Najib, in officially launching the project, said the registration for the project is now open and called on voters to give their support to BN Penang chief Teng Chang Yeow.

He had also promised to scrap the controversial undersea tunnel by the PR state government if BN were given the mandate to rule Penang in this May 5 polls.

Najib said the free port status will breathe new economic life to Penang and agreed to grant the free port status to Penang if BN was given a new mandate.

Earlier, Najib had also announced the approval for Han Chiang College to be upgraded to university college status for its mass communications programmes once it completes all the necessary requirements of the Ministry of Higher Education.

“The federal government has approved the setting up of a new branch of Heng Ee High School,” he said.

Both Han Chiang College and Heng Ee High School were each given allocations of RM1 million from the Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia.

The PR had also promised to build a total 22,000 units of affordable housing in its Penang manifesto.


Najib gives assurance Umno will not claim Penang CM post

30 Apr

BUKIT MERTAJAM, April 30 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak has given an assurance that Umno would not claim the Penang chief minister’s post if the Barisan Nasional (BN) was returned to power in Penang in the General Election on May 5.

The prime minister said this was because BN was a coalition with a common understanding and clear objective.

“In whatever situation, Umno will not claim the post of the chief minister of Penang because we want to prove that BN is a coalition with a common understanding. Our objective is also clear.

“We (BN) are not like the parties on the other side which have no understanding among themselves, that they are always in conflict with one another,” he said when addressing a gathering at the Tapak Pasar Malam Perkampungan Juru here today. – Bernama


Najib’s visit historic for Juru villagers

30 Apr

BUKIT MERTAJAM, April 30 – Caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s visit to the Juru settlement here today is an historic occasion for the residents because it is the first time in 60 years that the country’s top leader is visiting the area.

Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Teng Chang Yeow, who said this, added that Najib’s presence had drawn response beyond expectation.

“The response is also most encouraging with the residents having to stand outside the tent because the seats were filled by people from around Batu Kawan,” he said at the meet-the leader session at the Juru settlement night market here.

Over 10,000 people attended the function launched by Najib. Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen were also present.

The Juru settlement, occupied by over 500 families from the Chinese community, is under the Bukit Tengah state seat in the Batu Kawan parliamentary constituency.

Teng, who is also the BN candidate for Bukit Tengah, said he had delivered on his promise to bring the prime minister there to listen to the community’s problems.

“I believe that Datuk Seri Najib, who always puts the people first, will listen to our problems and is sure to have an important announcement for the residents,” he said.

Teng is involved in a three-cornered fight with Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) Ong Chin Wen and independent candidate A. Mohan for the Bukit Tengah seat. – Bernama


Get valid GE13 results from the Election Commission

30 Apr

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 – The public should get valid 13th general election (GE) results from the Election Commission (EC) and not base them on unsubstantiated information received from other parties.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof reminded agents of political parties outside counting centres not to spread information on the results before announcement by the EC to avoid confusion.

“The spread of such information not only interfere with the election process but cause irresponsible parties to take advantage of them. Wait for the election results from the EC,” he told reporters after observing early voting at Kem Wardieburn, Jalan Genting Klang and the Police Training Centre, Jalan Semarak here today.

Rejecting the notion by some quarters that the EC was subservient to the government, Abdul Aziz said that victory or defeat of candidates or parties can only be determined by the voters and not the EC.

He said that the EC was independent body and thus should not be disputed by any party.

“If the EC role is to ensure that BN wins, why these people work very hard. Look at our Prime Minister, he works very hard, how many hours daily I do not know. If they know they can easily win, why work so hard?

“In Malaysia, candidates win not because of help from the EC and those who lose are not because the EC did not help.

“The EC is independent, the kings are the voters who decide the winner or the loser and nobody can challenge them.”

Abdul Aziz also denied allegations that the EC was not transparent in conducting the general election.

“The EC will not cheat, not at all. The ballot papers are carried out and opened in the presence of agents of parties who together will open the envelope. We never take ballot papers from the box, impossible, really impossible.”

Abdul Aziz reminded the group planning to create chaos on polling day (Sunday) not to pursue the idea because the police have already identified them.

He hopes the election will proceed smoothly and urges the people, especially supporters of political parties, not to be too emotional as to impact national security but use common sense to ensure peace. – Bernama


Under-probe Sabah voter roll still legit, EC says

30 Apr

By Md Izwan

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 – Sabah’s electoral roll containing 60,673 dubious entries is still legit and cannot be junked as the royal panel looking into the citizenship-for-votes controversy has yet to conclude any wrongdoing, the Election Commission (EC) said today.

An independent polls watchdog had highlighted this morning that Sabah’s gazetted electoral roll used for the 13th general election was plagued with a large number problems, such as incomplete addresses and voters who shared the same identity card (IC) numbers, months after a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) had exposed much irregularities in the naturalisaton process for immigrants.

“The list of registered voters raised in the RCI is still legit, besides no final decision has been reached.

“The RCI has yet to end and make its decision, how can we discard the electoral roll,” EC chief Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof told The Malaysian Insider.

He also said that the names on the EC’s roll were Malaysian citizens, adding that the voter list had been on public display for two weeks starting from January 17 and no objections had been recorded during that period.

“EC had displayed the list for two weeks, if they objected, it should have been made in that period.

“Why raise it now and make all sorts of accusations?” Abdul Aziz asked.

An official with polls watchdog, Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) told a news conference today that 60,653 voters were registered in Sabah with incomplete addresses, 44 of them under a different gender, 193 under a different year of birth, and 123 under a state they were not born in.

“There should be some fundamental action taken to correct the electoral roll,” said MERAP research assistant Lee Wee Tak.

Lee pointed out that the highest number of registrations took place from 1990 to 1993 when Sabah was under the rule of then opposition party Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).

He alleged that the racial composition of the 60,653 registered voters is consistent with the testimony of a former Sabah National Registration Department (NRD) employee that the intent of “Project IC” was to increase the number of Muslim voters in Sabah to ensure they vote for Umno.

Lee also said the majority of these problematic voters are found in the parliamentary constituency of Silam.

Abdul Aziz said the election regulator did not have the authority to award citizenship and that election laws required it to register all voters who have the blue-coloured ICs denoting their Malaysian citizenship status.

“How they get the ICs or citizenship is not the EC’s job, when citizens bring the blue ICs to register as voters, we have to accept,” he said.

The RCI, led by the former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, has pushed its public hearing dates to resume after the May 5 polls.

A total of 62 people have testified. The 10-day session will resume on May 20.

It was initially scheduled for between March 5 and 9, but was postponed following violent clashes between Malaysians and armed insurgents from a Filipino Muslim clan claiming historic ownership over Sabah.

Both Sabah and Sarawak are regarded as the ruling Barisan Nasional’s voter banks that have kept the 13-party coalition in power for half a century.

Some 13.3 million Malaysians are registered to vote in the 222 federal and 505 state seats in 12 states and three federal territories.


Two-thirds essential for decisive government, says Dr M

30 Apr


KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 – A two-thirds parliamentary majority is essential to create a more “decisive” Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today, lamenting that the present administration has had to pander to critics on issues like the New Economic Policy (NEP), because of its weak standing in Parliament.

He said his Vision 2020 targets was possible with such a strong government.

“Because of that weakness (from losing two-thirds), it appears as if it is difficult for the government to proceed with policies that were established before.

“It (the government) is exposed to threats and pressure from parties that oppose, particularly the NEP, and because the government is in a weak position, it has had to entertain some of these NEP critics,” he said during a discussion and book-signing session for his new release “Blogging to Unblock Book 2: A Citizen’s Rights” at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) this evening.

“If we want a firm government, we must support the government so that they get more than two-thirds in Parliament,” he added.

Dr Mahathir (picture) has been going on the stump for BN across the length and breadth of the country, urging voters to stay with the ruling pact that he led for 22 years during his tenure as prime minister.

The veteran leader, who took time off from the campaign trail for this evening’s book signing, said the current government appears to be heading in the right direction despite using approaches that may be “different from what we hoped for”.

“I find that there was a time between 2003 and 2009 when leaders were not so interested in the plans made by those before them,” said Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister from 1981 to 2001.

“The current leaders still speak about 2020… and that alone places us on the right track to achieve this vision.

“For certain some efforts may be different from what we had hoped for… however, I am confident that Malaysia can still achieve Vision 2020,” he said.

Despite his advanced years, Dr Mahathir has been keeping a tight schedule recently, touring every corner of the country, including across the South China Sea in remote villages in the two Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah as the face of BN’s fight to stay in power after Election 2013.

The fourth prime minister appears to be Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s campaigner-in-chief as he fronts the BN’s ceramah circuit to spread its power-sharing formula for stability as the world continues to be rocked by political and economic crises that have increased the number of jobless and created social unrest in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Senior members of the Mahathir Cabinet also appear to be ditching their low-public profile after retirement from the government to pitch similar messages and swing voter support for Najib.

Former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin emerged from his political cocoon recently and advised Najib to axe the deadwood from within the current Cabinet.

The 74-year-old government pensioner’s remarks appeared to be sharp criticism of the present administration, but Daim was also reported to have said that Najib was doing a “fairly good job” as the country’s sixth prime minister and was confident the BN would win the elections.

Most recently, former Works Minister Datuk Seri Samy Velly was reported declaring himself a “winnable candidate” to stand for elections although he lost his Sungai Siput federal seat by a substantial 1,821-vote majority to political greenhorn and socialist Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj in Election 2008.


Najib calls on Kepala Batas to support BN

30 Apr

By Opalyn Mok

KEPALA BATAS, April 30 – Caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on Kepala Batas voters to give Barisan Nasional a big mandate this May 5 in his brief visit here today.

“I can see that Kepala Batas is still very much a BN stronghold, a white area, so I am calling on all of you to continue supporting BN,” he said in his speech at a Meet the Prime Minister event in SMK Tok Labu here.

He said under no circumstances will this parliamentary constituency fall into the hands of Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

“My former boss, the former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has given his promise that he will work hard during this period for BN,” he said.

He told the Kepala Batas people that Abdullah, more popularly known as Pak Lah, had chosen to give way to new candidate Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican so the people should give the candidate their support too.

Najib giving a speech at Penaga, a state constituency under Kepala Batas, April 30, 2013. – Picture by K.E. Ooi“Please give the candidates the support they needed for a strong mandate this elections,” he addressed a crowd of about 5,000.

Najib’s visit to this BN stronghold is expected to rally together splinter groups within BN and gather more ground support for a relatively unknown candidate.

Penaga, state constituency under Kepala Batas, is in danger of being wrested away from BN by PAS due to the years of groundwork that the PR component grassroot members have been laying out through social and welfare programmes.

BN had fielded a relatively unknown candidate, Mohd Zain Ahmad, for the state seat which not only alienated locals but also caused factions amongst those who were eyeing the seat.

There were also talks of the Kepala Batas parliamentary constituency falling into the hands of PAS due to the internal factions within BN throwing a wrench in the campaigning.