Friday, September 19, 2008

Anwar:: D-Day fizzles but day after sizzles

ANWAR Ibrahim's self-proclaimed D-Day for him to take power - 16 Sep - came and went with a whimper.

All the opposition leader could do was repeat what he had uttered for weeks - that he had more than 30 defecting MPs to topple the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government, leading commentators to pour scorn on his lack of action to match his words.

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, 17 Sep, events in Malaysian political landscape turned faster than you can blink. Here's how things heated up:


NOON TO 2PM, PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi exchanged portfolios with his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He passed his finance ministry portfolio to Mr Najib and took over the latter's defence portfolio.

He also said he may hand over power to Mr Najib before his self-imposed 2010 deadline.

This is the first time he has said he may be willing to leave the office earlier.

He said he is now 'more flexible' about when to retire, but 'won't be staying more than 2010, naturally'.

'If I should want to go earlier, that is flexible. That is the flexibility we have arranged,' he said.

'It depends on the progress of the role I am giving to Najib. Let's see what he can do.'


SAME TIME, PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Abdullah hinted at the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The PM accused Datuk Seri Anwar, who was sacked and jailed a decade ago, of 'lying to the public and confusing the people' on the 16 Sep takeover that didn't happen.

'He has become a threat to the economy and national security,' he said.

'As a result of his actions, certain fund managers had made reports that Malaysia was not a good investment destination because of political uncertainties.

'I will not indicate what plan I will take, what I do will be in the best interests of the people and the country.'


4.30PM, SABAH PROGRESSIVE PARTY (SAPP) HQ: After a four-hour meeting, SAPP announced that it was quitting the BN alliance.

Reading out a statement, party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee expressed his party's disappointment in BN for not including it in six major meetings since SAPP's 18 Jun declaration of no confidence in the PM.

He said SAPP, which has two federal MPs and four state assemblymen, has lost faith in the PM as he 'appeared drifting, not knowing what has been happening around him' and appeared not to have given Sabah and Sarawak due attention.

Datuk Yong said his party was unhappy with BN operatives instigating its members and leaders to destroy the party and no longer thinks BN is capable of practising good governance and non-racial politics.


3-5PM, PARLIAMENT: Some 50 opposition MPs formed a 'Free Teresa and Abolish ISA Caucus' to pressure the government into releasing recent ISA detainees like Seputeh MP Teresa Kok.

It also sought to free all ISA detainees and abolish the act, which provided for detention without trial.

Spotted at the PKR-led event is Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who denied political involvement saying he was there to show his support against the act.

The group plans to rally support from the Commonwealth and South-east Asian parliamentary bodies.

Yesterday at 5pm, another blogger, Mr Syed Azidi Syed Aziz, better known as Sheih 'Kickdefella', was detained under the ISA. His blog sparked outcry for instigating Malaysians to fly the flag upside down as a mark of protest for a nation 'in distress'.


LATE AFTERNOON, PUTRAJAYA: The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) is investigating allegations by several MPs that the opposition offered to 'buy' them, said ACA director-general Ahmad Said Hamdan.

He said: 'This is part of our pro-active steps to confront corruption in the country.'

He called on other MPs with similar offers to come forward, saying failure to do so is 'an offence and action can be taken'.

He declined to name the MPs until investigations end.

Bernama said Datuk Hasan Malek, a deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department, was among those who claimed to have been approached.

He said the opposition had approached him five or six times since the 8 Mar general election, the latest being last month after Mr Anwar had won the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in a by-election.

source: D-Day fizzles but day after sizzles
Electric New Paper, Singapore - 6 minutes ago