KOTA BAHARU, May 18 — Pasir Mas Member of Parliament Datuk Ibrahim Ali said he is not keen on joining Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) despite having been invited by a senior party leader.
The Independent MP, who had been courted by PAS, had been invited to join PKR by vice-president Saifudin Nasution.
"I need time to decide on which party to join. This is because of the bad experience which I had to go through in my earlier political days. Give me six to 18 months," he told reporters here yesterday.
Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat said recently PAS was willing to accept Ibrahim if he believed in the party's Islamic struggle.
Ibrahim said he was not keen on PKR because it was a multi-racial party comprising several races.
"I like to speak openly particularly when defending Malay rights. This will hurt the feelings of non-Malay PKR members," he added.
Ibrahim was the Pasir Mas Umno division chief until his sacking from the party several years ago.
In the recent general election, Ibrahim, who contested the Pasir Mas seat on a PAS ticket, defeated Ahmad Rosdi Mahamad of Barisan Nasional (BN) with a 8,991-vote majority. — Bernama
Menerima Anugerah kewartawanan Esso-Kawat (1997 dan 1998)
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Monday, May 19, 2008
Beliau berkata, isu berkenaan tidak pernah dibincangkan dalam parti dan tidak perlu digembar-gemburkan oleh pihak media kerana beliau mempunyai daya kesihatan serta kemampuan untuk terus menerajui Kelantan, yang telah dipegangnya selama lima penggal sejak 1990.
"Tak timbul lagi (lepas jawatan), umur saya ada lagi, Insyaallah," kata Mursyidul Am PAS itu kepada pemberita selepas mengadakan perjumpaan tertutup bersama Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Ir Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin di Kota Darulnaim di sini, hari Ahad.
Nik Aziz sebelum ini pernah membuat kenyataan ingin bersara sebelum pilihan raya umum Mac lepas bagaimanapun isu berkenaan dianggap selesai setelah pihak Istana Kelantan menyerahkan watikah pelantikan Menteri Besar kepada Nik Aziz.
Dalam edisi Pantai Timur, The Sunday Star hari ini melaporkan isu peletakan jawatan Nik Aziz semakin memuncak dan akan melepaskan jawatan itu kepada Timbalannya Datuk Ahmad Yakob apabila beliau menunaikan umrah di tanah suci Mekah. Nik Aziz menjelaskan semasa beliau bercuti untuk menunaikan umrah, Ahmad akan memangku tugas Menteri Besar.
"Saya akan bercuti dan telah menghantar surat cuti kepada Sultan Kelantan.
"Saya akan berlepas ke Tanah Suci pada 26 Mei ini dan tugas saya akan diwakili (dipangku) oleh timbalan saya sewaktu ketiadaan saya," katanya tanpa menyatakan berapa lama beliau bercuti.
Beliau berkata langkah kerajaan pusat menubuhkan JPP itu telah mewujudkan dua kerajaan dalam sebuah negeri dan menyebabkan berlaku bercanggahan dalam melaksanakan projek di negeri ini.
Ia tidak berlaku sebelum ini tetapi apabila saya dilantik Menteri Besar, JPP pun ditubuhkan oleh kerajaan pusat dengan alasan untuk menyalurkan peruntukan kepada Kelantan," katanya ketika berucap merasmikan Pusat Khidmat Ahli Parlimen Kuala Krai di sini, hari Ahad.
Nik Aziz berkata semua peruntukan kepada Kelantan disalurkan melalui agensi di bawah kerajaan pusat termasuk projek pembangunan dan kemudahan awam. "Kita nak buat apa-apa (projek) dengan duit, tidak boleh buat sebab kena orang dia (kerajaan Pusat) sendiri sama ada penghulu atau wakil rakyat yang buat," katanya.
Sehubungan itu, beliau berpendapat kewujudan JPP di negeri ini menunjukkan kerajaan pusat tidak percaya dengan kakitangan kerajaan negeri sedangkan daripada segi kelulusan akademik, mereka mempunyai kelayakan sama taraf dengan kakitangan kerajaan lain.
If you read his blog, you will find out that many things interest HAFIZ NOOR SHAMS. The environment, poetry, politics, and yes, economics. Some of you may also know him as the guy who mounted a solo protest for peace during the recent Olympic Torch Relay in Kuala Lumpur. He begins his weekly column with us today.
MAY 19 — Not all dilemmas are really dilemmas. Open up the lid and upon closer inspection, the dilemma unravels without much investment in effort. One such apparent dilemma concerns the production of fuel and biofuel. There is no dilemma between food and fuel however. Free price is the Gordian knot to end the debate.
In explaining the current food crisis, the production of biofuel has been named as one of the culprits which forced food prices to go up. Some sources typically harvested for food are now being turned into fuel as a solution to high crude oil prices and to some extent, as a solution to an environmental concern as well.
With all that, the food sector suddenly finds it’s competing with the fuel production industry for supply; cross-elasticity of demand ensures that. Cross-elasticity is basically a fancy way in economics of saying changes in prices of one item affect the quantity demanded for another item. This happens when a product could substitute another dearer item. Coming back on track, as crude oil prices continue to rise, so too demand for alternative fuel. In this case, it is biofuel.
Price is essentially a signal of scarcity. Price reflects all available information about the associated good. In a market free of state intervention, all market participants will face prices that reflect the true situation in the market.
With free prices, market participants including producers will base their decisions on the true market situation. Within the context of food and fuel production, when there is relative scarcity of one item to another, production of the scarcer item will see an increase.
In the end, there will be a dynamic equilibrium between food and biofuel production closely matched to the reality on the ground. Development and application of supply chain technology may potentially somewhat stabilise the dynamics by reducing lags that exist between implementation of policies and its results but I am not convinced this can totally eliminate the fluctuation typical in most market and much less business cycles.
With deeply statist policies in place, however, information about the reality on the ground does not get relayed to market participants. Through subsidies, prices floor and ceiling and other mechanisms set in place for purposes ranging from welfare to environmental and development of new technology, prices are unfree.
Under statist policies, prices basically stop acting as a signal of scarcity. As market participants, consumers and producers alike, choreograph their decisions based on these flawed prices, their actions will not approximate the true situation of the market.
The larger the effects of statist policies, the harder it is to estimate the true situation of the market, setting the stage for a painful fall. An extreme scenario would lead to a violent collapse of the state as the market would eventually overwhelm the state.
To a statist and even more to a populist, the question of food and fuel production is a dilemma. Price increases of food and crude oil require a hike of production of food and biofuel. Yet, there is a trade-off of production between the food and biofuel.
A statist in the end sits at his desk, trying to think which is more important to the society or in most cases, to the stability of the state. He has to devise a model, whatever the model may espouse, to decide on the matter.
An adherent of free market principles would deal with the question with an ease that would insult any statist. The free market solution is simple: let the market decide for itself.
Before that can happen, the prices have to be set free, especially from policies which suffer deadweight losses. This includes most if not all of welfare-based policies. As for policies on externalities and development of technology which could push the supply curve outward, it should be judged on a case-by-case basis. Let prices with true reflection of the market reach all market participants without unnecessary friction.
Once the market is free, the dilemma will dissolve into oblivion and everybody will eventually forget about it.
KOTA BARU, May 19 — Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat yesterday denied an English daily report that he would relinquish his post on returning from performing the umrah next month.
He said there was no reason for the media to highlight the matter as he was still in good health and capable of helming the state government.
"The question of me stepping down has never been discussed. I'm still healthy, God willing," he told told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin at Kota Darulnaim here yesterday.
The PAS spiritual leader had once said that he would retire after the 12th general election, but such talks faded when he was appointed menteri besar for another term when PAS retained power in Kelantan in the March 8 election.
A report in the English daily today said talks of the menteri besar resigning was rife and that he would do so after his return from umrah next month.
Nik Aziz said he would be take a leave for the umrah and his deputy, Datuk Ahmad Yakob, would be the acting menteri besar. He will leave for Mecca on May 26.
Meanwhile, speaking when opening the Kuala Krai MP service centre today, Nik Aziz said the existence of a Federal Development Department (JPP) in the state was against democratic practice.
He said JPP was creating a two-government situation in the state, causing overlapping as well as conflict in the implementation of projects.
"There was no JPP in the past. Only when I was appointed menteri besar that the federal government decided to set up the department, purportedly to channel funds to Kelantan. But the state government cannot utilise the funds because the projects they are meant for are carried out by their (federal government) own people," he said. — Bernama
SHARM EL SHEIKH (Egypt), May 18 — The investigation on the six individuals, including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, named in the report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam video clip, does not necessarily lead to prosecution or a case to answer, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.
The deputy prime minister said the scrutiny made by the five-member commission and the evidence to be adduced in court differed in terms of methodology and principle.
"This is the recommendation by the commission. When we have set up a commission and later it submits its report, it's difficult for us to not make the report public and not to accept the recommendations made," he told Malaysian journalists covering the World Economic Forum on the Middle East which started today.
Najib was asked to comment on the cabinet's instruction to the Attorney-General to initiate immediate investigations on allegations against individuals named in the 186-page report by the commission which investigated the authenticity of the video clip featuring lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam brokering judges' appointments and promotions over the handphone.
Individuals named in the report are Lingam, former deputy minister in the prime minister's department Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, two former chief justices Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin and Dr Mahathir.
Dr Mahathir said yesterday he was prepared to be investigated and charged in court with regard to the inquiry findings.
Najib said the people should not draw any conclusion on the matter yet.
"At this stage, let's not come to any conclusion yet. Let the Attorney-General play his role in looking into this matter and make a decision," he added.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said the inquiry report will be available for sale to the public on Tuesday. — Bernama
This was the finding of the Royal Commission on the Lingam video clip. This is what commission members concluded about:
Datuk V.K. Lingam
The key question in the hearing was whether Lingam was the Indian man captured in the video clip speaking on the telephone to presumably the former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz.When confronted with the clip, Lingam told the commission that "it looks like and the voice sounds like me."
Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor and other members of thecommission were not impressed with this opaque answer, noting that there were direct accounts by witnesses that the man in the video clip was the lawyer.
"It is our considered opinion that Datuk V.K. Lingam had virtually emasculated himself on the issue of his credibility by admitting to his identity in the photographs but refusing to admit his identity in the video clip...Datuk V.K. Lingam took an oath before us to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In refusing to accept that he was the person in the video clip we hold that his credibility was worthless."
They said that at no point during the proceedings did Lingam offer any evidence to show that he was not the person in the clip, offering only bare denials. In fact at the later stage of his testimony, he admitted that he was the one in the video clip but that the statements by him were made in the privacy of his house and that he was drunk and was bullshitting and bragging.
They also gave little weight to opinions expressed by his overseas experts on the authenticity of the clip, noting that one of the experts offered her advice without even seeing the video clip.
The commission noted: "Question that begs to be answered is why if Lingam placed such store in his experts, he did not ask them to take live tests of the person featured in the video clip so as to prove that the Indian man was not him? He provided overseas experts to condemn the Malaysian expert’s qualifications, methodology and conclusions but he had nothing in the other end of the scales!"
Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim
The commission drew adverse inference from the former chief justice's behavior after the video clip implicating him became public knowledge. Fairuz denied that he was the person on the other end of the line to Lingam in letters to the prime minister, deputy minister and the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department on Sept 21, 2007.
The commission said that the letters were bare denials and volunteered no information as to why his name should be mentioned in the video clip. "In a situation of such national gravity it is usual for a public officer to invite a full scale public enquiry to clear his name and in certain cases the officer concerned would even offer to suspend himself from further duties whilst his name was being cleared.
"That did not happen here. Whilst it could well have been a Freudian slip we also think that it is not irrelevant that when he was asked by counsel why he described the conversation as a monologue, he said that his voice could not be heard at the other end of the line."
The commission also noted that after the video clip was made public, Fairuz retreated into silence and refused to respond to call from the media. “Tun Ahmad Fairuz could have publicly denied that he was the person at the end of the line and informed the nation that pending a public enquiry into the matter, he was voluntarily suspending himself from further duties. That step would have allayed public confidence in the system."
The commission also noted that judges have been given powers to punish any contempt or conduct by lawyers which scandalises the judiciary. Fairuz explained to the commission that did not exercise the court’s power because he did not want contaminate himself.
"We cannot accept this as a valid reason. He did not himself have to issue Datuk V.K. Lingam a letter to show cause why he should not be held liable for contempt. He could have directed any other judge to do it. At the very least a formal letter could have been issued to Datuk V.K. Lingam to explain," concluded the commission.
Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor
The commission noted that Tengku Adnan’s name was mentioned 11 times in the video clip and every time it was in the context of what the former deputy minister would or could do to push Fairuz up the judicial ladder.
When the passages in which his name was mentioned was read out to him during the hearing, he denied the truth of the content and said that he never had a conversation with Lingam about these matters.
Later he suggested that Lingam was drunk when captured on the video clip. That was why he kept bringing up Tengku Adnan’s name in the conversation during the telephone conversation.
"This explanation is too facile to be accepted. The Datuk V.K. Lingam we saw on the video clip was certainly not drunk…So why give such an explanation which was no explanation at all? Again, it was one man’s word against another and in all the circumstances of the case we regret to say that it is our opinion that Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was too economical with the truth to be believed."
The commission said it was puzzled why Tengku Adnan did not take any action against Lingam if the statements made by the latter were untrue. "Criminal offences by way of leaking Official Secrets were being alleged but Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor seems to have been quite unfazed," the commission noted.
Tan Sri Vincent Tan
The commission was left incredulous by the businessman’s testimony during the hearing, saying that his answers were a faithful echo of Lingam’s. For example, when he was asked if the Indian man in the video clip was his close friend, Tan remarked: "It looks like him, it sounds like him but I cannot be 100 per cent sure."
The commission noted that the congruence of his answer with that of Lingam’s was too exact not to draw adverse comment. "Tan Sri Vincent Tan is talking about a man he has known intimately for over 20 years and he still refuses to give mouth to reality before his very eyes.
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