Selasa, 29 November 2011

Celebrities Join 'Vogue' squad

KUALA LUMPUR: Stars lit up a room full of Puteri Umno members as they gathered in the name of charity at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.

 Puteri Umno
Puteri Umno chief Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin (right) and Voluntary Group for Everyone (Vogue) Squad chairman Jamilah Hanim Othman (second from right) checking the disaster relief items to be distributed to flood victims in Kelantan and Terengganu yesterday. Pic by Muniar Abdul Ghani

  Popular actors and singers came to pledge their support to the "Misi Bantuan Prihatin" programme, an emergency response team under Puteri's Voluntary Group For Everyone (Vogue) Squad.

  Actor Zed Zaidi,  TV3 show host Nas Ahmad and rock singer Asheed, or Mohd Ashid Ahmad, of Def-Gab-C, proved to be show-stoppers when they appeared before the eager members in the function.

  Puteri Umno Chief Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin launched the programme and revealed that its 200-odd volunteers would be supported by the celebrities.

  She said members of the Persatuan Karyawan Malaysia, led by its president, Datuk Freddie Fernandez, and Zed, who represented the Persatuan Seniman Malaysia, would team up with them.

  "Voluntary help can come in many forms and I believe the presence of popular celebrities will ease the concerns of disaster victims who are in distress," added Rosnah, who is also  deputy health minister.

  She said the volunteers would kick off the programme in Kelantan and Terengganu to help flood victims, adding  that rainfall was expected to increase between 20  and 40 per cent from  this month until March next year.

  "We have to prepare for the worse and this includes preparing the volunteers for all eventualities," Rosnah said, adding that the volunteers might also be despatched to help victims of other disasters.

  The group will also be moving to other states affected by the floods and  will distribute basic essentials, such as clothes, toiletries, food and water, to the victims.

PKR Takes Pre-polls Campaign to Johor

PARTI Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), trying to emerge from its recent setbacks, has been busy making plans to face the coming general elections.
  Yesterday, the party splashed on large TV screens its election campaign leaflets at the opening of its two-day national congress in the Umno stronghold of Johor.

During her opening speech, party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told the 2,000- strong crowd of the party's new election pledges.

Among others, she promised to raise the minimum household income to RM4,000 in five years and return Felda to the settlers from the present management, a weapon she said most feared by the BN ahead of the elections.

Not surprisingly, the 59-year-old Wan Azizah did not detail out how the party, the smallest of the three-party Pakatan Rakyat, would implement those pledges.

Johor had been chosen as venue of PKR's eighth national congress as a symbolic of PKR's intention and that of its allies Pas and the DAP, to break the BN's fortress if not, take control of it.

The party's  "show of strength" in launching the assault on Johor is believed to be part of the strategy to boost the morale of party members to face the mammoth BN machinery during the election campaign.

PKR hopes to revive the fighting spirit so that its foot soldiers will work hard to win more seats.

Unlike the speech delivered at last year's congress held in PKR's crown jewel Selangor, where she had defended her her husband, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim by describing him as a "God-sent leader" following a bruising internal party elections, her speech  this time around merely spelt out her party's plans to help the people.

"PKR is ready to face the people again, even the BN's mammoth machinery," said Halim Roslee, a  party supporter from from Senawang, Negeri Sembilan.

PKR began a weekend assault on Johor featuring Anwar and party leaders as speakers at night ceramahs in what is seen as attempts to deny the state from continuing to be fixed deposit for BN.

"It is not impossible. Selangor was also a BN stronghold," Azmin Ali, the party deputy president lamented.  Party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail was also confident of Pakatan taking over Johor, claiming the current sentiment on the ground is similar to Perak and Selangor prior to Election 2008.

It is uncertain how the party had come to that conclusion; its calculations were probably based on the sentiment of the Chinese in other parts of the country, which remain against the ruling BN.

Since Johor avoided the political tsunami that handed the opposition bloc power in five states and denied BN its customary two-thirds majority in parliament in the March 2008 general elections, PKR would have to do more than just organising ceramahs to realise its dream.

The state BN under the leadership of Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman had not remain idle; in fact he had started touching base to address peoples' problems directly to check a possible slide in support based on reports that seats in Johor with 40 per cent Chinese voters and above are at risk.

For the record also, Pakatan won one Parliament and six state seats out of 26 and 56 respectively in the 2008 elections. PKR won none.

So the hype of taking over control of Johor from BN thus, could just be another of PKR's day dreams.

Whatever the case is, it is interesting to watch if Anwar, when he winds up the debate at the end of the congress later today, will be able to convince his troops that Pakatan is indeed still on track to Putrajaya.

Shahrizat all 'fired up' and ready

Wanita Umno chief to send ’clear’ message to detractors over National Feedlot Corporation issue

Wanita Umno
Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (second from right), accompanied by her deputy Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim (second from left), deputy treasurer Noraslina Zainal Abidin (left) and assistant secretary Rosni Sohar (right), fielding questions from the media at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Pic by Sairien Nafis

   WANITA Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil is all “fired up” to answer allegations linking her to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) issue if it is raised by
delegates during the movement’s annual general assembly tomorrow.

“I am all eager to send out a ‘clear’ message, especially to people out there who have linked me to the issue.
“I do not need to explain anything because I have nothing to do with the NFC. However, if the delegates raise this matter, then I have no problems in facing it.”
Shahrizat, who is also  women, family and community development minister, said  she had been very patient on the issue because she realised that as a leader, she must keep calm and not flinch.
“But I will be very clear about this: if you want to know about the issue,  ask the people from the NFC,” she said  yesterday in  response to questions on whether she would use the general assembly to clarify the issue and defend herself.
“I should be focusing more on my work as Wanita leader and not tied down by all this talk,” said Shahrizat, who initially displayed her usual soft demeanour but revealed her more serious side when questioned repeatedly.
The Auditor-General’s Report 2011 had highlighted irregularities in the NFC of which the executive chairman is Shahrizat’s husband, Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail.
Shahrizat said the “outsiders” were targeting the issue as they were intimidated by Umno’s strength.  
“They are scared because they see that Umno is working very hard on the groundwork.
“The people love us because we serve them and that is what these ‘outsiders’ are scared of,” said Shahrizat, drawing applause from Wanita  members present.
Shahrizat said some were jealous of the work being done by Wanita Umno so they resorted to finding ways to paint a negative picture on the movement.
“But they have underestimated the strong will of Wanita Umno to persevere,” she said, drawing an even louder applause.
On the  assembly, Shahrizat  believed that the delegates would use the opportunity to touch on  issues which would benefit the people in general.
 “Wanita members are  focused and speak cautiously.
“They are very careful when elaborating and I am confident that they will be  objective and provide fruitful suggestions.”
Shahrizat also expressed  hope that more Wanita Umno members would be fielded as candidates in the next general election.  
“As we know, the party president possesses extraordinary wisdom, therefore, I believe that he will give the opportunity to Wanita members if he deems them fit.”

Accurate information needed in preparing for polls

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

PUTRAJAYA: An independent third-party validator, which is not related to Umno or Barisan Nasional, will help counter-check all reports submitted by the party’s state liaison committees and divisions on their status and readiness to face the next general election.

 Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said this was important to ensure that the party leadership received the most accurate information when making decisions. These validators have been deployed and have yet to complete their task, he added.
The Deputy Prime Minister said BN’s experience in the previous general elections proved that some of the information supplied by the state and divisions did not reflect the real situation on the ground.
“They can say that they have already won the support of 60 per cent voters but that is not necessarily true.
“We need the most accurate information which can be verified ... if possible, 100 per cent accurate,” he said in an interview at his office here, in conjunction with the Umno general assembly next week.  
Muhyiddin however, admitted that reports from the state liaison committees and divisions were still important, and he would meet Umno and BN leaders soon for the latest updates.
During the one-hour interview yesterday, Muhyiddin also shared his views on the general assembly, expectations from members and Umno’s strategy to face the twisting and exploitations expected from the Opposition on issues raised by the party delegates.

Question: Many people believe that this will be the last Umno general assembly before the 13th general election. What will be its main focus?

Answer: This meeting will not only attract the locals but also foreigners and since we are nearing the general election. Whatever we raise in the assembly will determine the party’s ability and relevance to the people. For the Malays, they want to know whether Umno is still fighting for them and has transformed after the 2008 general election. After the meeting, the Malays should have realised the importance of Umno in safeguarding their rights while at the same time play an effective role to help others.  

Question : Based on previous experience, sensitive issues raised in the meeting were also being discussed outside the assembly. How will Umno tackle this?

Answer: We are open and have nothing to hide although many speakers are expected to touch on Malay rights and their future. But we must understand that the speakers will also touch on the rights of other races. We will continue with our approach and there will be no restrictions for others to listen and the media can report on the proceedings as usual.

Question : Some people claim that the 1Malaysia concept is not in line with Umno's struggles for the Malays.  

Answer: When we took up the 1Malaysia concept, it does not mean that we have abandoned the fundamentals that lead to the formation of Umno which is to safeguard the Malays and Bumiputera. As enshrined in Umno constitution and the Federal Constitution, the rights of other races and religions still exist. So Malays should not feel like they
have been abandoned. But maybe such a notion appeared because of perception as if we have gone off track lately. But it is just a perception. We have to face the political situation post 2008 general election where there was a big tsunami. We have to take into account the changes of mindset not only of the Malay community but Malaysians in general. Umno has to adapt to the changes so that it will not be seen as back pedaling or not parallel to the current development. Still we have never ignored the fundamentals of our struggles.

Question: You have been labelled as more racist nowadays, not only by the non-Malays but also the Malays. What is your response?

Answer: This is just a perception. I have never changed my views or actions when dealing with the struggles of the Malays and other Malaysians. Just like our prime minister and Umno president, who is not seen to be less or more Malay. We still have the same stand and views. Such a perception exists because there are those who want to
paint a picture as if we are more chauvinistic. In fact the opposition, the DAP in particular, is more chauvinistic. When Umno talks about the Malay agenda which has yet to be achieved, we are not being racist. If we cannot safeguard the rights of the biggest community and Umno leaders are scared to be labelled as a chauvinist, then we are not fulfilling our responsibilities and Umno will be seen as a failure. This is the opposition's game.

Question: What will be Umno's plan to handle the Opposition's tendency to use social networks to twist and exploit issues raised by delegates?

Answer: We do not curtail our delegates to raise any issues as they have the right to do so based on what they have gathered from the ground. I do not deny that the social media has been an influential tool and there are attempts to turn whatever good things the government had done into something bad. Just look at how they have called Umno as racist. But we also have social media users who are with us to explain things with facts.

Question: Why Umno is more defensive when the Opposition has been very aggressive in attacking?

Answer: Umno may be seen as defensive because we have been attacked continuously. But Umno has always been advocating good things and explaining on our roles and policies. We must also take into consideration the right of others. I admit that we don't have experts to conduct an offensive attacks before, but we have improved and are able to explain better. The opposition will always twist the facts to garner support.

Question: Is the situation in Umno so bad that its leaders have to remind party members not to sabotage the party?

Answer: We look at past experiences especially 2008 general election when the members did not like the candidates. We lost in some areas not because the opposition was strong, but due to internal bickering in Umno. We have to make sure not to repeat the same mistakes. The next general election is the "mother of all elections" and we will face it with different approach as what we have done in the previous by-elections which have been proven effective. Our defeats in some states before should remind us that we cannot "play with fire" in such a situation and when we ask them not to sabotage the party, it also means that Umno members must work harder to ensure that we remain in power.

Question: What about the voices of Umno Youth and Puteri?

Answer: I agree that to some extent, Umno Youth and Puteri Umno are seen as not as active as before. We want them to realise this. They may have done many
programmes, but we have to make sure they will touch the pulse of the young generation. Still, both wings are still very important and their role is more critical to the party nowadays.

Question: Is it true that Umno receive better support in rural areas and not among urban voters?

Answer: Umno cannot ignore those living in the urban areas as they are as important as those in the rural places. Especially now, when between 60 and 70 per cent of the Malays are now staying in the cities. Looking at the geo-political changes, the urban votes are becoming more important for the party as they reflect the overall political perception. Urban voters will not necessarily vote in the cities where they are staying but will go back to their hometown to vote just like myself.

Question: There are those who claim that Umno is not ready for the general elecion?

Answer: I don't think so as ve have to be prepared at all time. I have already set up the election machinery at all levels. Knowing Datuk Seri Najib (Razak), he will decide after gauging all aspects (including) party preparation, conducive situation, economy and people's acceptance to the party. Whether the opposition states will
dissolve their state assemblies simultaneously, it is up to them. They cannot even agree on the matter when Kelantan said the state will follow us, but not for Selangor and Penang. For us, it is not an issue since we are ready to face them anytime. If they dissolve after the general election, the full force of BN can focus on these states.

Question: Will the 13th general election be the last one for BN as the ruling party? Is it true that the professionals prefer the opposition?

Answer: We will not lie down without a fight and will face them with all our strength. The people will decide and we must not take things easily. We must fight to the death as this is an uphill battle. We must work 10 times harder than before.I have consistently told grassroots leaders to go to down to the ground and engage with the people. There must be a two-way interaction between them and the people. By doing so, the people will understand an issue better. Not all the young and the professionals are supporting the opposition. It may seem like it because the few who join them are more vocal.Umno should not stop professionals from joining the party.   

The Last UMNO Founder Wants Malay To Unite

KUALA LUMPUR – This 2011 UMNO General Assembly is very special when it received the presence of a special person, Harun Datuk Awang, the only UMNO founder who is still alive today.
Harun, 87, who is also the grandson to the founding party eminent founder, Datuk Onn Jaafar, was present at the assembly and also celebrated by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
To appreciate Harun’s struggle and all of UMNO founders, Najib and also the party’s key leadership took memorable pictures with a giant photo background that features the UMNO founder group that was captured at     the Istana Besar Johor, May 11 1946.
When asked about his struggle and expectation of the Malay generations, Harun emphasized that the Malay race must unite in all matters and not disagree between one another.
“I only want to see the Malays race unite, do not disunite!,” he said firmly despite looking weak and a little ill.
Harun was also present at the third Malay congress conference which brought to the establishment and formation of the biggest Malay party that took place at the Istana Besar Johor on May 11 1946.
According to records, he is the only individual present at the meeting who is still alive since all who were involved in forming UMNO on that sacred day had passed away.

Isnin, 28 November 2011

Umno General Assembly 2011 Begins With President's Message

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 (Bernama) -- The 2011 Umno General Assembly will kick off with a pre-council meeting this afternoon where party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to deliver an important message to the delegates.

The president's message has been anticipated by many as the most important message in view of the party's preparation for the upcoming 13th general election.

Wanita, Youth and Puteri assemblies are also scheduled to be opened simultaneously by Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at 9pm today.

In the afternoon, Muhyiddin is also expected to officiate the closing of the International Forum on The Politics of Economic and Social Transformation in The Era of Global Crisis, which began yesterday.

A total of 5,447 delegates will attend the assembly, comprising 2,627 from 191 Umno divisions, 944 Wanita, 942 Youth and 934 Puteri members nationwide.

Fifty-eight foreign delegates from 20 countries, including six from the Communist Party of China, 11 from Mamafisoa Party of Madagascar, three from the Palestine Liberation Movement (Fatah) and two from the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean (Coppal) will also attend the assembly.

Seventy-four Umno Overseas Clubs are also sending their representatives.

A total 1,540 members of the media from 74 local media organisations and nine international organisations are covering the assembly.