Thursday, January 31, 2008

No gentlemen’s agreement with Dr Mahathir

The” gentlemen’s agreement” between Abdullah and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that he will serve as prime minister for only one term before handing over the post to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was denied by Abdullah. Dr Mahathir, however, admitted that he had no way of proving it and Najib said:”I don’t know. You have to ask the parties concerned.” Is it interesting? What is the hidden agenda?

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has denied having a ”gentlemen’s agreement” with with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that he will serve as prime minister for only one term before handing over the post to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. "There is no gentlemen's agreement," the prime minister told reporters after opening the Pavilion shopping centre here today. Abdullah, however, declined to elaborate when pressed for further comments on the matter. He repeated, saying: “No gentlemen’s agreement”.

The prime minister was asked to comment on the so-called "gentlemen's agreement" between Abdullah and his predecessor Dr Mahathir as claimed by the former prime minister that Abdullah would serve as prime minister for only one term before passing the baton to Najib. Dr Mahathir said yesterday that since Abdullah was older than Najib, he should be prime minister for one term and then Najib should be able to take over. Dr Mahathir claimed the agreement was made in 2003 when he handed over the leadership to Abdullah. Dr Mahathir, however, admitted that he had no way of proving it.

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 31 (Bernama) -- Stressing that he was not aware of any "gentlemen's agreement" between Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he was committed to support and be loyal to the prime minister. "I don't know about that (gentlemen's agreement). I am committed to support the prime minister and be loyal to the prime minister," the Deputy Prime Minister told reporters after opening a seminar for Felda mosque officials. Najib said his focus at the moment was on the soon-to-be-held general election and "I want to ensure the Barisan Nasional wins big."

Pressed further whether he knew about the gentlemen's agreement, Najib said: ”I don’t know. You have to ask the parties concerned.” He was asked to comment on the so-called "gentlemen's agreement" between Abdullah and Dr Mahathir as claimed by the former prime minister that Abdullah would serve as prime minister for only one term before passing the baton to Najib. Dr Mahathir said yesterday that since Abdullah was older than Najib, he should be prime minister for one term and then Najib should be able to take over. Dr Mahathir claimed the agreement was made in 2003 when he handed over the leadership to Abdullah. Dr Mahathir, however, admitted that he had no way of proving it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Malaysian Still Support the government

Will the second 'strike' former Tun Dr. Mahathir lashed against Abdullah causing him to stand down? The first strike since April 2006 causes the drop of the overwhelming mandate rating of 91% in November 2004; then plunged to 78% and 63%, after Mahathir started criticisising him for gross incompetence.

But Malaysians ‘by and large still support the government’. To know further, read AFP story.

(AFP) - Malaysia’s former premier Mahathir Mohamad said Wednesday he never intended his successor Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to serve more than one term and suggested he should stand down.

Abdullah, who has had a very public falling out with the veteran leader, will contest for his second term in general elections expected to be held in March.

Mahathir previously said he made a mistake in picking Abdullah, and should have opted for influential deputy prime minister Najib Razak.

“That was my thinking, since (Abdullah) was older than Najib, he should be PM for one term and then Najib should be able to take over,” he told a press conference.

“I know it takes time to implement plans and projects but I think if that is to be used as an excuse to stay in power for 18 years then that will not be very welcome.”

Abdullah won a landslide victory in 2004 polls when voters were enthused by his plans to fight corruption, but since then he has been widely criticised for inaction and suffered a steep tumble in popularity.

In recent months he has faced an unprecedented wave of public protests over the rights of minority ethnic Indians, as well as electoral reform and rising food and fuel prices.

“They see a government that is retreating and they want to take advantage,” Mahathir said of the street rallies which would have been unthinkable during his term in power which ended in 2003 after more than two decades.

Abdullah was Mahathir’s hand-picked successor when he stepped down, but after the new leader dumped several of his pet projects he began launching accusations of economic mismanagement, nepotism and corruption.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

PM: Malaysia can ride out US recession

Fund managers especially Unit Trust managers shouldn’t exploit the scenario that the US equity markets were in trouble and immediately pressing down the prices. Bursa Malaysia was not spared, but fared better than other markets in Asia and has since recovered, closing on Friday at 1,405.40 points. Actions against the malpractices for the healthy investments is by far needed.

Although the US economy has been hit by rising mortgage defaults by "subprime" customers who were issued loans during the last housing boom despite patchy credit histories, but Malaysia's strong fundamentals and diversified trade links will shield it from a slowdown or recession in the United States.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said, "Yes, at one time we were very dependent on the US, but following our diversification efforts, Malaysia has started to export to other countries and is not as dependent on the US as before.”

Fears of a recession in the US sent shock waves through global markets in the days leading up to the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) and overshadowed talks which were supposed to centre around the theme "The Power of Collaborative Innovation".

Bursa Malaysia was not spared, but fared better than other markets in Asia and has since recovered, closing on Friday at 1,405.40 points, after a roller-coaster week.

The prime minister said Malaysia's trade with Asean was much bigger than that with the US, and it continued to expand trade links with China, Japan, South Korea and India.

"Our economy is also showing signs of resilience. Total trade is more than RM1 trillion, we have large reserves of US$101 billion (RM327 billion) and some 86 per cent of our GDP (gross domestic product) is from the strength of the domestic economy."

Abdullah said Malaysia's services sector was growing, the ringgit stable and the stock market strong with a market capitalization of more than RM1 trillion.

"Our economy is strong due to our forward-looking policies. If indeed there is a recession in the US, we can withstand it. And for this, we need a strong government.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Prof. Shih Choon Fong appointed president of KAUST

No matter who you are, as long as you are the exceptional researchers, faculty and students from around the world, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia will welcome you to fulfill the vision for the new institution as one of the world’s leading research institutions.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia
(KAUST) is a world-class graduate level science and technology research university which is anticipated US$10 billion, located on the Red Sea 50 miles north of Jeddah in Thuwal. Opening in September 2009, KAUST welcomes exceptional researchers, faculty and students from around the world.

KAUST aims to be a world-class graduate research university that will support scientific discovery and human advancement. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz laid the foundation stone for the university in October 2007, and it is expected to open in September 2009.

Professor Shih Choon Fong, president of the National University of Singapore, has been appointed as the first president of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz met with Professor Shih January 12 to congratulate him on the appointment. He is expected to assume his new duties in December 2008.

Shih received his PhD from
Harvard University in 1973. He led the Fracture Research Group at the US-based GE Corporate Research Lab before joining the prestigious Brown University in 1981.

A member of KAUST’s International Advisory Council, Shih is among the highly cited researchers in the world for engineering as compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). He has served a consultant to the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

America sneezes, the world catches a cold

If America sneezes, does the world still catch a cold? The question remains but the reality is positive. The world economy is in the fragile state and stock market turmoil.

The US economy has been hit by rising mortgage defaults by "subprime" customers who were issued loans during the last housing boom despite patchy credit histories.

Subprime credit woes and a housing slump have added to investor concerns that the US economy will shrink in the months ahead.

The US equity markets were in trouble and the immediate signs are the whole world equities lost steam with European stock markets turning lower despite bumper gains in Asia and after the European Central Bank hinted it was not about to cut euro zone interest rates.

Wednesday's Asia gains came on the heels of the first unscheduled interest rate cut by the Fed since just after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, as the US central bank moved to stop a global markets rout.

But there were immediate signs that the cut might not be enough to restore investor confidence, which has been badly shaken by worries about the longer-term health of the US economy.

Traders and analysts remain on red alert over the health of the United States economy, which is the world's richest.

“They are still concerns around a potential US recession, there are also concerns around a potential UK slowdown," Hunter said, adding that the FTSE 100 was down by 10 percent in value so far this year.

"The other thing to add into the mix is the continuing fallout from the US subprime crisis."

With the fragile state of the world economy and stock market turmoil, the 38th annual Davos World Economic Forum opened Wednesday; at the time the global economy grappled with huge slides in stock markets, fears of a US recession and rising oil, food and other commodity prices.

In recent years the annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort has been held against a backdrop of bumper corporate profits, strong economic growth and tame inflation.

The agenda for the event reflected the prevailing mood, with debates on "planning for a global recession".

"The US not just going to sneeze and have a cold, it is going to have a protracted period of pneumonia," New York University economics professor Nouriel Roubini told delegates in a packed opening debate that featured a flurry of recession warnings and downbeat forecasts.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lingam: It looks like me, it sounds like me

Loh Gwo Burne said he was trying to take a picture of a vase when he realized his digital camera was on video mode. “I then continued to record the conversation between Datuk V.K. Lingam and the other person on the other line.”

Lingam said: “Irrespective of what others have said, it looks like me, it sounds like me.”

Although Loh Gwo Burne
confirmed that he had recorded it with a high-end camera and also identified lawyer Lingam as the person in the footage. But Lingam denied it and said Irrespective of what others have said, it looks like me, it sounds like me.

It is interesting, not like
Health Minister Dr Chua Soi Lek openly admitted that he is the one featured in a video depicting a man having sex with a woman purportedly in a hotel room.

That is the different between lawyer and Doctor as lawyer knew very well that
honesty does not always pay, so by denying, what you can do? Proof it or else you will be in trouble.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How confidential letters is confidential?

How the highly confidential letters between former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and ex-Chief Justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah were known by the man in video clip? How confidential letters is confidential? The leak of the confidential letters relating to the judicial appointments at the Lingam tape inquiry is under the national spotlight.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the V.K. Lingam video clip was left wondering as to how the man in the clip knew “official secrets” privy only to the Prime Minister, Chief Justice and Chief Secretary to the Government.

A series of letters between former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and ex-Chief Justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah between October 2001 and January 2002 gave an insight as to how judges were appointed.

These highly confidential letters, which were declassified and released to the royal commission of inquiry into the Lingam tape, showed a glimpse of how Mahathir can decide who to appoint as a judge and who to discard.

In one such letter, Mahathir did not explain why he dropped two candidates for the High Court positions in 2001 despite the names being forwarded twice to him.

Former chief secretary to the government Samsudin Osman, who testified before the inquiry yesterday and was privy to the letters, had confirmed the letters and their contents.

The inquiry was told yesterday that in one letter dated Oct 2, 2001, Mohamed Dzaiddin had recommended five names to Mahathir to be appointed to the High Court.

The five were the then solicitor-general Heliliah Yusof, judicial commissioners Ramly Ali and Ahmad Maarop, and senior lawyers Andrew Chew and Zainudin Ismail.

However in a reply to Mohamed Dzaiddin on Dec 5, 2001, Mahathir had only agreed to the recommendations of Heliliah, Ramly and Ahmad. Mahathir’s recommendation consisted of Zakaria Sam, Su Geok Yam, Sulaiman Daud, Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad and VT Singam.

Subsequently on Jan 11, 2002, the ex-CJ responded to Mahathir’s request by saying he agreed with the appointments of Sulaiman and Singam, after having discussed with the chief judges of Malaya and Sabah and Sarawak.

Mohamed Dzaiddin also thanked Mahathir for the latter’s consent on the appointments of Heliliah, Ramly and Ahmad but once again put forward the names of Chew and Zainudin.

“Since we have 12 vacancies of High Court judges, I humbly and respectfully appeal to Dato Seri (Mahathir) to reconsider my recommendation on Dec 5, 2001 for Chew and Zainudin to be appointed as High Court judges.

The ex-CJ explained to Mahathir that Zainudin’s legal experience included the latter’s 10 years of service at the legal and judicial services.

As for Chew, Mohamed Dzaiddin said the former has practised for 30 years and was very learned in laws.

“I am confident that their appointments will be an asset to the judiciary,” Mohamed Dzaiddin said in the two-page letter, adding that he attached the details of the duo’s biography to the letter.

He ended by saying that he wished Mahathir’s family always in healthy condition with the blessing from God.

Nevertheless, Mahathir again turned down the recommendation of the duo.

“The recommendation to appoint Chew and Zainudin as High Court judges was not agreed,” the ex-premier stated briefly in the letter without any further explanation. The list of candidates forwarded by Mohamed Dzaiddin to Mahathir is important as Lingam was caught talking about it to former Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim - then chief judge of Malaya - in his telephone conversation, said to be recorded in December 2001.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Conversation between Lingam and Ahmad Fairuz

Can the conversation between Lawyer VK Lingam with Tun Ahmad Fairuz , then Dato Fairuz and Chief Judge Malaya indicate the alleged politics within the judiciary? Malaysian public is eagerly awaiting the development of the issu.

Read the draft Transcript between Lawyer VK Lingam with Tun Ahmad Fairuz ( then Dato Fairuz and Chief Judge Malaya – No 3 in the hierarchy ) :

The CJ said he is relative to now Agong, so he wants to stay on to 68, so, Tengku Adnan, I told Tengku Adnan, yesterday I had a meeting with him.

He said PM is already very angry with him, he said no problem he is going to make you acting err.. confirm your position as PCA, working very hard then working very hard to get Tan Sri Mokhtar as CJM.

Ah, we just keep it confidential. I am working very hard on it. Then there is a letter, according to Tengku, I am going to see him tomorrow, there is a letter sent to CJ, I mean Tan Sri Dzaiddin, that Datuk Heliliah, Datuk Ramli, Datuk Ramli and Datuk Ma’roop be made judges, and he rejected Dr Andrew Chui and apa itu Zainuddin Ismail lah. Because Zainuddin Ismail condemned your appointment and Tan Sri Mokhtar’s appointment.

And then you also, you seems to wrote a letter for the remaining five be confirmed as judges. As per our memo I discuss with Tun Eusoff Chin and we sent the same memo to PM.

I just want to get a copy letter that that has been done.

And then Tan Sri Dzaiddin said he is going to recommend six people for the court of appeal, but until today the letter hasn’t come to PM. He never discuss, but neither he has sent the letter to PM. Yes he has not sent. I know it is under the constitution for judges all that is your job Datuk to send, but we don’t want to make it an issue now.

Ah. Ok Actually I told tengku adnan to inform PM, PM to call you for a meeting. I organize it so that Tengku Adnan will call you directly. And then I got your number, I will tell him to call you directly to for you to meet PM lah. So should be ok, then ar.. correct correct, it is very important that the key players must be there.

Correct x3. correct x2. You know that the same problem that Tun Eusoff Chin has. He tried to do all this and yet he has run out of soldiers. He couldn’t do it because many are from the other camp. Last time was unfortunate because Tun Daim was doing everything sabotaging, otherwise how are things with you - everything is ok?. No, don’t worry. You know sometimes Tan Sri Vincent that half the time they are talking about judiciary rather than doing the work. But if I don’t do this part my work will be useless.

Ha ha ha. Ah yes.Correct x5, right x3 correct. Ah right susah. You see he has now up for six court of appeal judges, so that he can put his men before he retires.

Correct x3, ah and then ah, correct. But never-mind, I will do this, I will get Tengku Adnan to arrange for PM to call you and Tan Sri Vincent Tan for PM to call you. And you know why, actually, I am very grateful with Tan Sri Vincent Tan you know why, I brainwash you so much even I quarrel with him. One day I went to Vincent Tan house, I fire him at the night in his house. I said very hell if you don’t do this who will do it?

All these people Tun Eusoff Chin, Datuk Ahmad Fairuz, Tan Sri Zainon all fought for that. Then he called Tengku Adnan. Tengku Adnan he said, saya bukan Perdana Menteri Malaysia lah, you know. If the old man doesn’t want to listen to me, go to hell.

He quarreled with me. I said nevermind, nevermind, you talk to PM again tomorrow morning to put Datuk Ahmad Fairuz to CJM. So next day morning he went and he called me back 9.30 that he said PM has already agreed. So I said nevermind, we hope for the best. So I said no harm trying, the worst that it can happen is that you lose. Being the old man, he is 76 years old, he gets whispers everywhere, and then you don’t whisper, he get taken away by the other side. But, now PM is very alert because every time he gets letters from Tan Sri Zaidin, he called Tengku Adnan, he said discuss with Vincent, come and discuss.

Yes yes, ya. Correct x2, ya, but you see although I know PM, I am a lawyer in practice my views are.. I go through them, I go through them lah. Ah x4.

And then Zaidin will call them telling that you went saw PM and you make a big issue out of it. Oh ya, I think so, I think so.

Ok, fine x4 ok x4

Ah x2 correct x2. Now I heard Raja Aziz, Raja Aziz huh, spoke to my lawyer Thayalan, and another lawyer Ailan, in the high court, they have a case each other. So, Thayalan and Ailan asked Raja Aziz, how is Tan Sri Wan Adnan?

He said he is on his way down. But you know what is the shocking thing he said? Datuk Fairuz became CJM. He overruled everybody, in three months time, he is going be made VCA, and 6 months time he is going to be CJ. He said he cant think he shocked. He told us.

Ha, it seems that they are going to organize a campaign to run you down. But you just keep quite don’t say anything. Even the press asked, you said I leave it to God, that’s all. Don’t say. I really like your message. You said you work very hard, what can I do? I leave it to God.

That’s the best answer datuk that you can ever be.

Ah… I will also get Tan Sri to remind PM to put a Tan Sri ship this year lah. This will elevate you, you know.

Oh yes x4. ha. XX got so fast, Tan Sri Chong waited for whole year to get Tan Sri Ship.

Ah.. My god that’s why, ah. Correct x4, ya x4 right x3 correct x2

Don’t worry, we organize this. If Tan Sri Vincent and Tengku Adnan want to meet you privately, they will, I will call you. We organize in a private arrangement, in a very unusual place.

No don’t worry, Datuk, I know how much you suffer for Tun Eusoff Chin. And Tun said Datuk Ahmad Fairuz 110% loyalty. We want to make sure our friends are there for the sake of the PM and the sake of the country.

Not for our own interest, not for our own interest. We want to make sure the country come first. Well, you suffered so well, so much you have done. For the election, Wee Choo Keong, everything. How much, no body would have done all these.

Yes, you know. Good lah. Don’t worry. I am constantly working on this.

Ya ya, don’t worry x2. We work hard on this. And Datuk, and then if Tan Sri Vincent and Tengku Adnan want to see you, I will organize it in such a confidential place.

Ok Datuk very best. God bless you and your family.

Ok. Thank you thank you. Bye.

Citroen apologized for the "inappropriate" ad

Commercial advertisement is a communication whose purpose is to inform potential customers about products and services and how to use and obtain them. But if the advertisement is insulting, the adverse effects may result the drop in sale and damage the image of the company. Bad to worst, it might cause the consumers to boycott the company.

Read this BBC story about inappropriate ad by Citroen.

In the ad, carried in Spanish newspaper El Pais, Mao scowls at a hatchback.

"It's true, we are leaders, but at Citroen the revolution never stops," reads the text below the portrait.

Citroen apologized for the "inappropriate" ad, which Chinese chartroom users had complained "hurts our national pride".

"This is no small thing," said one visitor to a chartroom about the ad - based on the famous portrait of Mao which hangs in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

"It has an influence on the whole country. It damages the whole Chinese people."

Another writer pointed out those other national leaders - such as US President George W Bush - had also been made fun of in the media.

"But our traditions and customs must nonetheless be respected," the writer added.

Nearly 32 years after his death, Chairman Mao remains revered by some Chinese, despite his promotion of policies such as "Great Leap Forward" which ended in the deaths of millions, and the profound social and economic changes China has since seen.

In a statement, Citroen said it regretted any "displeasure" caused, and said it had ordered the advert to be pulled immediately.

"We repeat our good feelings towards the Chinese people, and confirm that we respect the representatives and symbols of the country," said the statement in Chinese.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

MIC Krishnasamy shot dead in JB office

Tenggaroh state assemblyman and Johor MIC deputy chairman Datuk S. Krishnasamy was murdered gangland-style Jan 11, 2008 at the MIC headquarters here.

Krishnasamy, 61, was shot once in the neck at point-blank range by an unknown gunman just as he entered the lift on the ground floor of the building at 2pm.

He had been dropped off by his driver and was on his way up to the second floor for a meeting.

Witnesses in the building in Jalan Segget heard a shot that sounded like a firecracker but thought nothing of it.

Two party members waiting for the lift were shocked to discover Krishnasamy lying face down in a pool of blood as the doors opened.

V. Kamala, a secretary, was on the fifth floor with Johor MIC Puteri chief R. Vitiya Mohan. They were on their way down to the second floor for the meeting.

“The doors opened and Vitiya almost fainted when we saw a man lying in blood. We did not know who he was as we could not see his face. We did not dare go near the body.

“The doors closed and we took the stairs down,” said Kamala at the crime scene.

On its way down, the lift stopped on the second floor where Sri Gading division chairman V. Murugan also saw the body.

“I thought it was Datuk (Krishnasamy) because I recognised his shirt. But I was not sure. I was in shock and before I could do anything, the lift doors closed and I took the stairs down.”

By this time, a small group of people had gathered around the lift as it had reached the ground floor. Krishnasamy’s driver confirmed that it was him and an ambulance was called.
Another witness, Taman Datuk Chellam MIC branch chairman Arumugam Suppiah, said he could see a bleeding wound in Krishnasamy’s neck.

Krishnasamy’s body was brought to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital for a post-mortem. His body was later taken to his home in Segamat.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Top MCA leader was behind the controversy

The downfall of Dr Chua Chua Soi Lek in the wake of a sex scandal is a “political plot” and top MCA leader was behind the controversy! Read this interesting story by Malaysiakini.

MCA Youth No 2 Ling Hee Leong has questioned party president Ong Ka Ting’s view that the downfall of Vice-president Dr Chua Soi Lek was not due to a political plot, as alleged.

"If lightning strikes, certainly it is from the sky. If this is not a political plot, then tell me what it is?” was the outspoken Hee Leong’s response when contacted to comment on Ka Ting’s statement.

Hee Leong is the son of long-serving former MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik, who had handpicked Ka Ting as successor in 2003.

Ka Ting, in rejecting Hee Leong’s call for an internal investigation into those behind recording and revealing sex scandal, had yesterday asked for any concrete proof to be submitted to the police.

He said that he too was “curious” to know whether any top MCA leader was behind the controversy, but that the probe should be left to the police.

The younger Ling had earlier attributed Chua’s downfall in the wake of a sex scandal to a “political plot”.

His open war of words with Ka Ting signals an escalation of tension by a faction - the majority of who are Liong Sik loyalists - who were already unhappy with the president’s handling of issues. A factional fight appears to be looming within the party.

Chua, who was health minister and is married with three children, resigned abruptly last week after a DVD of him having sex with a female “personal friend” was widely distributed in his political base of Johor.

The footage was apparently recorded with four hidden cameras in a hotel room in Batu Pahat.

The 61-year-old politician - known to be a staunch supporter of Liong Sik during the latter’s 17-year presidency - also quit as party vice-president, as Johor chief and Labis MP. The seat had been passed on to him by Liong Sik.

The controversy has triggered speculation that this could have been the work of party insiders seeking to kill Chua’s political career.

He was said to be eyeing the top two posts in the next party election and was set to pose a strong challenge to Ka Ting or his deputy Chan Kong Choy, if he chose to challenge them.

Members who wanted to see Chua to take on Ka Ting in the presidential race apparently were also unhappy with how the president is seen to be laying the ground for his elder brother and MCA secretary-general Ka Chuan to take over the party.

For instance, observers see Ka Ting’s appointment as acting health minister to replace Chua as paving the way for Ka Chuan to assume the post after the next general election.

Hee Leong, in making the call on Monday for internal investigation into the sex scandal, had said in sarcasm: “We must get to the bottom of this because this is not the president’s or secretary-general’s party. I was born and brought up in this party too”.

But the tension may have been slightly defused with an announcement yesterday to appoint Chua’s ally as the MCA Johor chief - a post which Ka Ting was said to have been eyeing for a long time.

The post is deemed an influential one in party politics as the biggest number of elected representatives are from the state. It is also one of the states with the largest number of central delegates to the party.

MCA controls 23 parliamentary and state seats in Johor. A popular saying in the party is that ‘the man who rules Johor (MCA) is the man who rules MCA’.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The press helped to kill Malaysian “Hell” Minister

Former health minister Chua Soi Lek today accused his "political enemies" of orchestrating the release of a video showing him having sex with an unidentified woman in a hotel room.

"The press helped to kill me, to be honest," Chua, who is married with three children, told an impromptu press conference after clearing out his office.

The scandal engulfing Chua, 61, who resigned yesterday, is the latest in a series of problems facing Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government ahead of elections which he is expected to call this year.

Chua -- the most senior minister to leave the government so far -- said the media's role in highlighting his work had led certain groups to target him, but he did not name any specific organisations, state news agency Bernama reported.

Chua was also vice-president of MCA, a key part of Abdullah's coalition government, before the scandal over the widely circulated tape sparked his resignation.

"The press will always say Dr Chua is one who may be mounting a challenge against the (MCA) deputy president, against the (MCA) president," he told Bernama.

"Who my enemies are, I really don't know."

Chua admitted on Tuesday that he was in the video, which has been splashed on the front pages of newspapers since the DVD started circulating in his home state of Johor last week.

Attempting to control the fallout from the scandal, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak downplayed the impact of Chua's resignation.

"I do not think that the matter will provide political mileage (for the opposition)," he said.

"It is not easy for a leader to arrive at such a decision," he was quoted as saying by Bernama, praising Chua for placing the interests of the party and government above his own by resigning.

Sex scandals among politicians are not uncommon in Malaysia, with several members of the ruling Umno having been forced to resign in recent years.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Honesty does not pay, Chua Quits All Posts

Embattled MCA vice-president and Health Minister Dr Chua Soi Lek has quit politics altogether by relinquishing all his party and government posts with immediate effect.

He has also stepped down as the member of
parliament for Labis. Up until his resignation today, he was also the party’s Johor state chief as well as the Batu Pahat division head.

He expressed disappointment that the public has adopted a holier-than-thou attitude on the issue and noted sarcastically that "maknanya semuanya golongan ulamak" (it must mean they are all very pious).

“I thought that by my admission, the people would forgive my weaknesses,
but I thought wrong. This shows that honesty does not always pay, (but) it is up to the public to judge me,” he said.

“My mistake was to go to the same hotel and the same room all the time. I thought it was convenient,” he lamented.

Saying that his resignation
would stop people from “following me everywhere (and) placing hidden cameras to capture my every movement”, he described this as a “very sick and unhealthy political culture”.

“The prime minister has personally told me that he would investigate who is behind the video, so let’s leave the matter at that.”

Chua had previously hinted at the possibility of a political motive on the part of the person who recorded the footage, said to have been recorded with cameras placed at four spots in a hotel room. Two videos were produced from the footage.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Sex DVDs show Malaysian Health Minister

Health Minister Dr Chua Soi Lek openly admitted that he is the one featured in a video depicting a man having sex with a woman purportedly in a hotel room that is being circulated in Johor becomes one of the most popular stories in the world now.

According to BBC, Malaysian minister becomes unwitting star of sex video. Read this BBC story. Malaysian Health Minister Chua Soi Lek has admitted that he is the man who features in two widely circulated DVDs of an unmarried couple having sex.

He said he had apologised to the prime minister and other ruling party leaders but would not resign, and his own wife and children had accepted his apology.

Mr Chua said he had taken no part in the making of the DVD recordings, one of them said to be almost an hour long.

The video is CCTV footage taken in a hotel, according to one newspaper.

It is the latest in a series of difficulties to confront the administration of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who is expected to call an election in the coming weeks.

According to Malaysia's Star newspaper, copies of the DVDs were initially left at various locations in the town of Muar, in Johor State, on Saturday "for people to pick up".