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Petra free! 3.30 pm at Shah Alam High Court November 7, 2008

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Congratulations to all those fine lawyers who worked on the habeas corpus case.

Be at Shah Alam High Court 3.30 pm to greet a free man!

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Obama is PRESIDENT ~ woo-hoo! November 5, 2008

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Finally, something to cheer me and my office!

Thank you America, for voting for change we can believe in!

Tourism Minister misled Parliament November 5, 2008

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There I was, wading in chicken dung, while being surrounded by irate residents and MP for Kuala Selangor Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad to check on a ‘smelly’ problem, when SMSs started to come in.

“Azalina whacking you!”
“You kena whack on live TV!”
“Wah, got riot in Parliament and you’re mentioned!” (etc. etc.)

Those SMSs threw me a little off-guard. But I thought it best to find out the details later in the Hansard, as the residents were close to baying for the blood of the organic fertiliser representative.

It was only this morning I saw the misleading statements uttered in Parliament and published in all major newspapers. Unfortunately, I am not an MP and have no recourse to reply or demand for a retraction. And it will forever be in the records of the Hansard. I can only imagine the MB and Big Boss reading the articles and shaking their heads.

Azalina owes me a public apology, or else she will be referred to the House Committee of Privileges for official censure.

****************************************
Press Statement: 5 November 2008

TOURISM MINISTER MISLED PARLIAMENT
APOLOGISE OR BE REFERRED TO HOUSE COMMITTEE OF PRIVILEGES

I am aghast by the false statements made by the Minister for Tourism, Azalina Othman during Question Time in Parliament on Tuesday 4 November 2008, which were aired live on RTM1 and reported by major newspapers and blogs today.

From the news reports, she had misled the august House, among other misleading information, on the following:-

1. That I did not attend the opening of the Ministry of Tourism’s launch of ‘ZOOM’ (‘No party sentiments in promoting tourism’, Bernama, 5 November 2008)
2. That I was invited to Pulau Carey during the Minister’s visit there. (‘Pelancongan: Negeri pembangkang tidak dipinggir, Utusan Malaysia ms 8, 5 November 2008)
3. That I lied to the Honourable Member of Parliament Shah Alam, Khalid Samad (‘We’re fair to all states: Azalina’, The SUN, page 6, 5 November 2008)

For the record, I was present at the Ministry’s launch of ‘ZOOM’ where Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi graced the event. The Exco for Tourism from Kedah, Penang and I even had the opportunity to speak to the Prime Minister, who was seated on the next table.

The Minister challenged me to prove that I was never invited to Pulau Carey in her programme there (Berita Harian, 5 November 2008). Allow me to state publicly that I was never invited to Pulau Carey by the Minister. In fact the Minister herself has never stepped foot officially on Pulau Carey.

In Selangor, the Minister has visited the following sites – Batu Caves, Pulau Ketam and Royal Gallery Klang. On those occasions, I was left out on purpose, whereas by convention, I should have been informed to host or to to accompany the Minister.

Similarly, I have never received an invitation to programmes organised by the Selangor Tourism Action Council (MTPN-Selangor).

It is an open secret that since the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry and state governments was cancelled after the General Elections, and with the chairmanship of the State Tourism Action Councils in the 5 Pakatan Rakyat states relegated to BN officials, there has been very limited communication and cooperation of the Ministry with Pakatan Rakyat states.

Even the General Manager of the Selangor Tourism Action Council, when invited to meet me for discussions on tourism matters, was too frightened to meet officially. In the end, he only spoke to me on a personal basis.

The disconnect between the state governments and State Tourism Action Councils is glaringly unproductive and unhealthy for the nation. Further, the signal sent to the tourism industry is extremely negative and jeopardises the tradition of close collaboration of the state government with related government agencies.

I do not wish to prolong this unnecessary protracted war of words with the Minister. It has been 7 months since we took office, and the Minister should be looking into revamping the current communication channels to foster closer and productive ties with state governments. To carry on in this current mode of operations and communications is detrimental to the nation.

Nonetheless, Pakatan Rakyat states’ Excos on tourism will continue to soldier on despite the odds, as we are mindful of the national importance of tourism to the economic health and wealth of the nation.

Tourism is a national agenda and all parties should be mindful that success in this sector needs proper official channels and access to plans, programmes and decision-making by the state governments to the Ministry of Tourism. Political interference serves only personal agendas. To this end, I have from very beginning, instructed state officials, including local councils, to cooperate fully with the Ministry of Tourism.

I call on the Minister to apologise publicly as her statements, assertions and insinuations have gravely affected my credibility and that of the Selangor state government. Failure to do so will compel me to refer the Minister to the House Committee of Privileges for censure.

Released by,
Elizabeth Wong
EXCO for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment
Selangor State Government

Zaid Ibrahim resigns November 1, 2008

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Former defacto Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim resigns as Senator, at the behest of the BN government.

Which goes to show, reforms will never happen under Umno, whether it’s led by Abdullah Badawi, Najid Razak or Mickey Mouse.

Steve Jobs takes the stage now! October 15, 2008

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It’s that time of the year. Live from Cupertino

It’s like old times – JerryWho and Smoothriver are still up too, but hundreds of miles away, and we’re holding our breaths.

Selamat Hari Malaysia :) September 16, 2008

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Land grab at Bandar Utama August 29, 2008

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Kudos to The Sun for running this story on its frontpage today.

In any new development, it is compulsory to set aside land for social and community needs.

Somewhere down the line, some would have access to information of these lots and this is how it begins. Powerful people would start getting approvals here and there, including from the local councils and Land office. Then the Exco would have approved them and MB would sign them off. This is how forest reserves, public spaces and recreational areas shrink overtime. 

In Bandar Utama, this is just the beginning of a long protracted war to stop this practice. This will be a key case to put an end to realienation of public land for personal profits. Heads will roll and powerful people will be named. And there is no doubt more of these cases in the state constituency of Bukit Lanjan, including Kampung Sg Kayu Ara, and probably in all state constituencies in the state of Selangor. 

To find out who the culprits who literally gave out these lands and then to recover them will not be easy. Powerful people and political parties are involved in this, and will not give up without a fight. We urge for your continued support to find remedies to this terrible wrong, to compensate the public for the loss of these lands, and to put a stop, once and for all – the practice of public land grab.

 

Public land gone!
by R. Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez, The Sun


PETALING JAYA (Aug 29, 2008):
 What was supposed to be land for facilities for the people in the up-market Bandar Utama township has ended up in private hands.

All it took was for the previous members of the Selangor Executive Council to agree and for the then mentri besar to alienate the land to individuals, bodies, corporations – and even political parties.

The result: the sprawling township does not have a fire station – on the land designated for it sits a used-car dealership. Even land meant for surau is in private hands – a car showroom and furniture centre.

All in all, seven parcels of land meant for public amenities have been misused.

When developer Damansara Jaya Development Sdn Bhd, submitted the layout plans for the entire area, the State Town Planner had indicated that land must be set aside for the common use of the residents, including schools, bus shelters, post office, etc.

In this instance, the layout plan was submitted and approved in 1991 but the sale of the land took place much later – before March 8 when the people voted in a new government.

Apart from the loss of the fire station and surau, what was meant to be a food court is now another car showroom, and what should have been a balai raya (community hall) is now someone’s home!

Apart from this illegal use of land, an apartment complex sits on land meant for a secondary school.

However, not all of these parcels of land have been alienated to individuals. Political parties have also got into the action and hijacked some of them.

The land on which Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan)’s building is located was meant for a telecommunications exchange, while the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) now owns a parcel of land designated for a Tamil school.

‘The whole process of alienating the land could be illegal’

Planning expert and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) councillor Derek Fernandez believes that the whole process of alienating the land was illegal since it is incumbent on developers to provide basic infrastructure when developing a township or residential area.

 

“I can’t go into specifics as I don’t have the full facts, but according to the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) 1976, such land can be used only for the purposes specified in the layout plan presented by the developer.

“Any attempt to amend that use will require a public hearing and I doubt this was done, judging from how the previous administration was doing things,” he said, adding that any change in the designation is illegal unless the zoning has been changed in according with the TCPA.

Fernandez said as far as the present administration of MBPJ is concerned, any amendment to the developer’s layout plan, requires a public hearing.

“Even after the hearing is held, we will ultimately decide on the propriety of the development, guided by the principles of public interest,” he said, adding that he will discuss with his colleagues at the council on the available remedies to this situation.

Ubah gaya hidup? June 5, 2008

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[Youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhWW5hTpS7s”%5D

An online video done by a bunch of young fellas for 12th GE.

Still applicable today.

(Malay Mail) Sitting heats up on last day May 27, 2008

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Selangor State Assembly > Sitting heats up on last day

27 May 2008

THERE were several angry moments on the closing day.

Gombak Setia Assemblyman Datuk Dr Hassan Mohamed Ali got heated up while he spoke of carpet being ripped off from the floor and sparse furniture when he took office after the swearing-in ceremony.

An angry Dr Hassan asked: “Apa ini? (What’s this?)” Speaker Teng Chang Kim quickly interjected asking Dr Hassan to calm down.

“Jangan marah sangat, nanti darah tinggi (Don’t be so angry, or you’ll have high blood pressure),” said Teng, drawing laughter from the House.

Bukit Lanjan Assemblyman Elizabeth Wong was also aggressive but with Templer Park’s Datuk Subahan Kamal who wanted to interject during her winding-up speech.

Subahan was harshly refused by Wong, who is also the Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment exco, who sternly said: “Saya tak akan memberi laluan kepada budak-budak suruhan Menteri Pelancongan (I’m not giving way to the Tourism Minister’s lackeys).” Wong’s speech also prompted Sekinchan’s Ng Suee Lim to ask if there were plans to turn the Exco Village in Section 7, Shah Alam into a tourist attraction.

“The State Government can generate revenue from entry fees into the Exco Village as I am sure many members of the public are eager to see what it is like in there. They can see for themselves an example of corruption,” said Ng, who was applauded by fellow Assemblymen.

Whether in jest or otherwise, Wong replied she would bring the idea up with the menteri besar, adding there were similar suggestions for Istana Zakaria.

This prompted Morib’s Hasiman Sidom to ask if the new pig farms can also be included, to which Wong replied: “We will certainly consider your suggestion.”

Mahathir follows tradition of ex-PMs May 19, 2008

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Tun Dr. Mahathir’s opting to get out from UMNO should not have surprised anyone.

The question was not ‘why’ but ‘when’, as it followed the age-old tradition of former Prime Ministers and/or ex-UMNO presidents (with the exception of the late Tun Razak who passed away when in office).

Datuk Onn Jaafar.
Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Tun Hussein Onn.

The gift of clarity descended only when they were not in power.

It remains to be seen if sitting Members of Parliament from his faction will leave the party too en masse, which must naturally be led by his son, Mukriz “May 13 was a blessing….” Mahathir. (Sorry, but ex-MB Sanusi Junid doesn’t quite make the grade.)

The future which will see the first woman Prime Minister in the short history of our country is in sight. 🙂