Thursday, February 28, 2008


En bloc resignation blow to LDP’s bid in Sandakan


Nearly 200 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) members here announced their resignation on Tuesday night, dealing a blow to the party’s bid to recapture the Sandakan parliamentary seat for Barisan Nasional in next month’s general election. The en bloc resignation by Elopura division members led by the division Youth Chief Thien Lee Min came four days after State Deputy Youth Chief cum Tanjung Papat Youth Chief Fong Vun Fui quit his posts over the party leadership’s choice of an outsider to contest the Sandakan parliamentary seat. They pledged their support for Fong Vun Fui who is contesting on an independent ticket for the Sandakan parliamentary seat against Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Liew Vui Keong and Chong Chui Lin @ Shanty of DAP. Thien who is also the State Youth Wing vice chief, and his followers explained the move to resign from the party was taken after the party leadership’s decision to axe incumbent Merotai assemblyman Datuk Liew Yun Fah and pick an outsider to contest the Sandakan parliamentary seat. Meanwhile, The Borneo Post learnt more members who are unhappy with the leadership’s insensitivity to the views and feelings of the grassroots and Sandakan people, are quitting the party in the next days for similar reasons. Meanwhile, Sandakan Umno will support whoever is chosen as the BN candidate to contest the parliamentary seat here. “Sandakan Umno rejects the issue played up by certain quarters in calling the BN candidate Datuk Liew Vui Keong an outsider,” Sandakan Umno vice chairman Haji Alipuddin Haji Puyon said yesterday. This group were wrong if they think they could influence voters into not supporting him, he added. Alipuddin pointed out it was a non issue and Sandakan Umno would work to ensure BN recapture the Sandakan parliamentary seat. Meanwhile, Sandakan Umno division chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Ampong Haji Puyon said a vote for BN is a vote for continual development. “Sandakan Umno will continue to give its support to Datuk Liew Vui Keong and is confident BN will win back the Sandakan parliamentary seat from the independent this election,” he said. Ampong said the independent member of parliament was incapable of bringing development to Sandakan in the last four years. “For the future of the younger generations in Sandakan, we must not choose the wrong candidate this time round. By voting for Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Liew Vui Keong means we will have continuity in progress and prosperity for this town,” he added.


Chua better candidate than me, says Yong


Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee said that the party’s vice president, Datuk Chua Soon Bui, is a better candidate for the Tawau parliamentary seat than him. Yong said Chua continued to serve the people even though she was not their representative for nine years. “She is a political worker who still worked for the public even though she was not the Tawau Member of Parliament after the seat was taken over by Shim Paw Fatt,” he said at a lunch gathering with the Chinese community here yesterday. Yong noted that Chua had also handled the SAPP Apas and Balung divisions very well. “Therefore, I’m not suitable as a candidate for Tawau but I felt I will be more suitable to contest for the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat because I understand the system and needs there,” he said. Shim, who was also present, said he would continue to serve the people even though he is not contesting in the election.


PKR will suffer heavy defeat, says Masidi


Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun strongly believes that the opposition Parti KeadilanRakyat (PKR) will slowly be “crushed” by the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 12th general election. Addressing BN supporters at Kampung Mumpait here yesterday, he said there is no stopping for the BN in making a resounding victory in the March 8 election. “The PKR will be crushed during this election as the people are not easily influenced by their baseless allegation levelled against the BN,” he said. Masidi, who is locked in a straight fight with Atin Naisin from the PKR for the Karanaan state seat, assured that the BN elected representatives will go down to the ground to fulfil their wishes if they win in the election and the BN form the Government. He said that Ranau is one of the districts in Sabah that has many schools. Commenting on PKR’s promise to reduce oil prices should they win, Masidi said that the fuel price hike is a global issue and even a powerful nation like the United States is unable to control the oil price. He said the people should be grateful to the Government which had spent RM4O billion to subsidize the fuel price in order to keep it low. “In fact, apart from Brunei Darussalam, fuel is still relatively cheap in Malaysia. So be thankful,” said Masidi during a meet-the-people gathering in his village-to-village campaign. Masidi also said that the Government had identified Kampung Mumpait and other areas in Ranau have the potential for coffee plantation development under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).


BN faces uphill task to retain KK parliamentary seat

Lawyer Chin Tek Ming, the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary constituency, said he is facing a tough battle to retain the seat for the BN. The 38-year-old lawyer from the ‘cowboy town’ of Kota Belud said there were numerous hurdles ahead including warding off the strong challenge from the opposition especially the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and DAP. In the upcoming election, Chin will face DAP stalwart Hiew King Chiew, PKR’s Christina Liew Chin Jin and independent candidate Kong Yu Kiong. “I’m a new person in politics. What I have now is of course a very tough fight or uphill battle. “It’s a four-cornered fight between the PKR, DAP, an independent and myself. The DAP is represented by state DAP chairman, PKR is represented by the Sabah PKR deputy chairman who is another well-known figure, and a very experienced independent candidate... they are all much senior to me,” he told Bernama here yesterday. Despite the odds, Chin still believed he had a “50-50” chance of prevailing in the Kota Kinabalu Parliamentary seat although his opponents were bracing to create an upset against the mighty BN machinery. “I look at it positively, and most of the promises by the Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) have been implemented. Other things like renewal of the lease for land in the whole of Kota Kinabalu has been extended and contribution given to churches, temples, independent or private schools. “I believe our intelligent voters should be able to assess all that and not be fooled by the opposition by giving empty promises which they can’t deliver because they are not in the capacity to do so,” he said. In the 2004 election, Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai (BN) won the Kota Kinabalu seat with a majority of 10,860 votes. Chin, a debutant and former Kapitan Cina Likas, said Kota Kinabalu was a unique city “with a lot of modern facilities and comfortable way of living”. However, he said there was still much work to be done to further develop Kota Kinabalu, the state capital and gateway of Sabah. As such, he said the people of Kota Kinabalu should continue supporting the government for continued development, thus benefiting them in the long run. Asked on his vision for Kota Kinabalu, Chin said as a new person in the political arena and a graduate from a Chinese independent school, he would continue highlighting, among others, the problems faced by independent or private schools to the Government. -Bernama


Keadilan will review federalisation of Labuan


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will review the federalisation of Labuan and return its administration to Sabah if it wins the general election next month. Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the tax-free island was federalised without the consent of Sabahans and therefore political and administrative control aver the island should be returned to Sabah. “We in Sabah seem to have forgotten about Labuan as if it was never part of Sabah. Come March 8, vote for us and give us the mandate and the status of the island will be reviewed and returned to Sabah,” he said when launching the PKR Sabah manifesto. About 300 party leaders and supporters attended the launching ceremony held at his house in Bukit Padang yesterday afternoon. Jeffrey in reading the manifesto, also promised that PKR will also reduce the fuel price and have the fuel royalty paid to Sabah increased to at least 20 percent should the people choose to put the party into power.


Probe on Kurup assault case completed: Police


The police have completed their probe on the incident where PBRS president Datuk Joseph Kurup was allegedly punched after he was returned unopposed for the Pensiangan parliament seat on nomination day, Feb 24. Keningau Police Chief, Deputy Superintendent Zahari Mohamed yesterday said police had recorded the statement of a 41-year-old local farmer in connection with the incident, which occurred at about 1pm outside the Nabawan Community Hall. He said the case is investigated under Section 323 of the Penal Code for causing hurt, and anyone found guilty of such offence faces a maximum of one year’s jail or a fine up to RM2,000 or both. “Only a statement was recorded and there was no arrest,” Zahari said, adding that they would be submitting the investigation papers to Deputy Public Prosecutor’s office for further action. It was learned that the suspect is a former member of Kurup’s party and was standing among opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat flag-bearers outside the nomination centre before the alleged assault. Sabah PKR chief Ansari Abdullah said recently they would be filling an election petition to challenge the validity of the result in Pensiangan that saw BN candidate Kurup returned unopposed. He said PKR candidate Danny Andipai, his proposer and seconder claimed that they had entered the nomination hall by 9.35am on that day but Danny’s nomination was rejected on the grounds that his papers were filed after the legal time. Kurup, who is the incumbent state assemblyman of Sook, replaced incumbent member of parliament for Pensiangan Datuk Bernard Maraat in the election, which prompted the latter to quit all his posts in the party and threatened to challenge the former as an independent.


PKR candidates offered millions of ringgit to withdraw: Jeffrey


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidates have been offered millions of ringgit by certain individuals trying to persuade them to withdraw from the March 8 general election, claimed party vice president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan. He said many of the party’s 77 candidates vying for state and parliamentary seats, including himself, have been approached or contacted by these individuals. “I was told that some of them were offered up to millions of ringgit. I myself have been offered money,” he told reporters during the launch of the Sabah PKR manifesto at his residence in Bukit Padang here yesterday. According to him, the people offering him money have even gone to the extent of suggesting he use his health condition as an excuse not to contest in the election. “They suggested I tell my people that I want to rest and not contest in the election as I am not in good health,” said Jeffrey who did not reveal the identities of the people he was referring to. He said that, like the other PKR candidates who hold on to their commitment to bring about changes for the people in Sabah, he has rejected the offer. Jeffrey stressed that he and other PKR leaders who truly believe in the party’s struggle to fight for the people would firmly stick to their course and put the interest of the people above the opportunity to make a quick fortune. “So far none of the leaders took the offer and I hope this will continue for the sake of the party and the people,” he said. PKR State Liaison Chairman Ansari Abdullah supported Jeffrey’s claim, saying no candidate had abandoned the party so far and hopefully it would continue that way until the cooling period ended last night.


BN to make clean sweep in Tuaran, says Musa


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said he is confident of a big win for all the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates in Tuaran come polling day on March 8. He said the candidates were selected because the party leadership knows they are capable, committed, sincere and honest in their work. “I am confident of a big win because of my faith in our leaders here. We have always won by a big majority because the people of Sabah are smart. They will not be tricked (by the opposition),” he said in his speech at a talk with BN supporters in Kampung Kota here yesterday. Musa, who visited Tuaran after attending a roadshow for the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) in Ranau in the morning, said the BN has a clear mission and vision in developing Sabah for the benefit of its people. “The federal leadership has always been attentive to the needs of the people of Sabah, which is why they have given us RM2O billion to develop Sabah over the next 18 years through the SDC. 1f the government was corrupted, how could it come up with RM2O billion for Sabah? If Yayasan Sabah was corrupted how can it have RM 1.7 billion in reserves? “What is the plan of the opposition? All they are doing is telling lies and giving empty promises,” he said. Musa said he was doubtful that the opposition, particularly Parti Keadilan Rakyat, is capable of forming the Government here and stressed that should an opposition candidate be elected it would only break down the line of communication between the people and the State leadership. “If for example I serve another term as Chief Minister, they would probably be ashamed to see me because they are in the opposition and I may not see them, so this will break the line of communication. “When there is no communication then what will happen to the people? Nothing, and this (situation) saddens me,” he said, referring to fulfilling the people’s needs for development. Musa meanwhile was proud of the spirit of BN leaders in Sabah, especially those who readily accepted the party leadership’s decision to leave them out from the list of candidates for the coming elections. “I am proud with the spirit of the BN leaders here, who are not selfish and think only of the party struggle, which is the struggle for the people of Sabah,” he said while reminding BN candidates that winning a seat is a big responsibility in fulfilling the mandate of the people.


PKR Sabah manifesto promises equal revenue sharing


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah yesterday launched its manifesto promising a new and reformed State Government for Sabah. A supplement to the party’s national manifesto, the state manifesto emphasises on improving livelihood of Sabahans as well as restoring the just and equal revenue and power sharing between the State and the Federal Government. PKR Vice President, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan in launching the 15-page manifesto at his residence in Bukit Padang here yesterday afternoon, said it is specifically designed to address the various longstanding issues facing the people in the State, such as illegal immigrants and unchecked increase in prices that has resulted in an extremely high cost of living and worsening poverty. He stressed that the party’s national manifesto which focuses on five points aimed at reforming the country’s economic and political structures, is applicable to the whole nation but Sabah has been allowed to present its own specifically tailored manifesto to effectively bring about changes to the State’s current economic, social and political landscape. Jeffrey said the manifesto among others focuses on providing better education, health and welfare assistance for the people of Sabah apart from protecting the rights of the natives, especially the native customary rights land. He said that under the PKR land reform policy, the role of the Native Chiefs in approving applications for native customary rights land will be restored. The land approved for government agencies such as FELDA will be reviewed, with the uncultivated land belonging to these agencies to be given to the natives to actively involve them in agriculture and economic development. To ensure balanced economic development, focus will be given to ensuring rural development is not merely involving the provision of infrastructure and basic amenities but also creating opportunities for the rural people to actively participate in economic activities, he said. Apart from education, the health care for rural people will also be given attention to help improve their overall livelihood. Among the measures towards this objective, said Jeffrey, is providing free water supply and health care services for rural people. To help the poor cope with the high cost of living, the prices of fuel will be reduced. A better revenue sharing equation between Sabah and Federal governments will also be formulated so that the State can enjoy a better deal for its fuel royalty. The employment opportunities and distribution of senior positions in federal departments and agencies in Sabah will also be improved with more posts to be given to locals. According to Jeffrey, the PKR Sabah manifesto represents a long-waited revolution that will restore the rights of the people in Sabah as Malaysians, which have been long eroded under the total domination of the State Government by UMNO. “As usual, BN manifesto this year contains loads of sweet promises, similar to the promises they gave in their last manifesto. Last time, they promised Sabah Baru which until today they have not delivered. Now they promise the same thing in the form of Sabah Development Corridor (SDC), which they claimed will bring changes. But they are just fooling the people,” he said. Jefrrey said the BN manifesto, which emphasises on the BN Government economic credentials and promising development through SDC, is just another instrument that BN intends to use to get the people to keep them in power, but it should be totally rejected. On the contrary, he said, PKR through its manifesto promises the people a truly democratic and progressive Government that is transparent and focuses on protecting the rights of the people. Should PKR be given the mandate to govern the State, it would first and foremost restore the balance of representation in Parliament between the Peninsular and Sabah and Sarawak to ensure equal rights and power between the states in deciding national progress, he said. Under the PKR, he said, there will be better and significant roles for Sabahans in Federal Cabinet, foreign missions and federal agencies. Also, PKR would return to the State its authority in deciding its own development as well as its rights on certain aspects as stated in the 20 Points, the minimum safeguards that Sabah founding fathers demanded as a condition for joining the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. In this regard, he said PKR will adopt the Tambunan Declaration which highlights urgent issues including, among others, the imbalance in royalty distribution and representation in Federal Cabinet.