Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Rhode Island Advances Gay Marriage Bill

Rhode Island senators advanced legislation on Wednesday that could make the state the 10th in the nation to allow gay marriage.
The legislation passed easily in the House in January, but the Senate vote was seen as a true test for the bill. But it passed 26-12, paving the way for the state to allow same-sex couples to say their vows.
The bill will now return to the House for a largely procedural vote. The vote will likely take place next week, then the bill will go to Rhode Island’s Governor Lincoln Chafee, who supports it.
Senator Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket), the bill’s main sponsor in the Rhode Island Senate, stated of the victory:
“This is a historic piece of legislation, one that literally has been in the works for more than 20 years. This is something that undoes centuries of discrimination against gay and lesbian couples.”
The bill’s chances in the Senate improved when the body’s President Teresa Palva Weed said she would let the bill move forward, even though she opposes gay marriage. The Senate’s five Republicans also announced this week that they would support the measure.
If the gay marriage bill passes in Rhode Island, same-sex nuptials could start taking place on August 1, when the legislation would take effect. However, civil unions would no longer be available as of that date. The state would continue to recognize the civil unions.
Supporters of the Rhode Island same sex marriage bill framed the problem as one of civil rights. They argued for the bill during daylong legislative hearings, explaining that gay and lesbian couples should have the same rights and protections as heterosexual married couples currently have.
The Catholic Church was the most significant opponent of the bill. But the legislation states that religious institutions will be allowed to set their own rules about who is eligible to marry within the faith. It also specifies that no religious leader is required to officiate at any marriage ceremony. No religious group is required to provide facilities or services related to a same-sex marriage.
The exemption helped to soothe concerns from some lawmakers that clergy would face lawsuits for turning away same sex couples. After Rhode Island, Deleware could become the next state to approve gay marriage.

GE13: Explosion rocks BN political campaign in Jawi, police have not ruled out foul play


An election campaign talk attended by about 3,000 people Tuesday was marred by an explosion at the Nibong Tebal Barisan Nasional (BN) operations centre in Jawi, seriously injuring a security guard, and causing panic among the people.

The explosion was believed to have triggered off at the rear area of a stage that was set up for campaign talks, situated next to the operations centre.

During the explosion at 10.15pm, about 3,000 people were gathered to listen to a political talk by Penang Gerakan chief Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan.

cheal, 39, said he had arrived at the location about 10 minutes before the explosion and was listening to the talk when the blast occurred near a pile of rubbish.

He added that he and his wife ran as fast as they could to leave the scene of the blast.

"The blast sounded just like a bomb and everyone was caught by surprise. The situation turned chaotic and I saw an injured person being carried away," he said.

Another witness who only wanted to be known as Ahmad, 58, said he was standing close to the stage when the incident happened.

"The impact of the explosion saw rubbish strewn all over the place. Fortunately I was not hit by the flying debris," he told reporters at the scene.

Penang deputy police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said the security personnel, in his 30s, was injured in his right leg and was sent to the Sungai Bakap Hospital for treatment.

He was reported to be in stable condition.

"We have called in the bomb and forensic unit to investigate the explosion and determine what was used for the explosion," said Abdul Rahim adding that a thorough probe would be carried out.

Meanwhile, state BN chief Teng Chang Yeow said the blast had tarnished democracy and expressed hope that political campaigns would not be marred by similar incidents in the future.

Monday, 22 April 2013

GE13: Ex-Selangor MB ‘Mat Tyson’ joins PAS, says it’s time for change

Former Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib joined PAS today, bolstering Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) campaign to retain Selangor in Election 2013. Muhammad, who helmed the country’s wealthiest state from 1986 to 1997, said Malaysia and Selangor had enjoyed development under Barisan Nasional (BN), but stressed that it was time for change.
Muhammad (pictured) says that Islam must shine from the Klang Valley, Selangor and Shah Alam. “Children will be messed up if development is soulless,” Muhammad told reporters at the PAS headquarters here.
“Look at Shah Alam. Which party can restore the soul? It must be a party that fights for religion,” he added.
Muhammad pointed out that although Islam was the country’s official religion, there were still Malay schoolgirls who did not wear headscarves.
“Say Islam, but look, there are school kids who wear skirts, they also wear baju kurungs, they also wear tudungs (headscarves), so it’s not clear,” he said.
Muhammad’s last post with Umno was as its information chief under former party president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who stepped down in 2009.
Muhammad said that Islam must grow in the cities as many Malays were living there.
“The Klang Valley, Selangor, Shah Alam must become centres that shine Islam,” he said.
Incumbent Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who is seen as a moderate voice in PAS, will be defending his seat against BN’s Datuk Zulkifli Noordin.
The Islamist party’s pull of Muhammad and several establishment figures will help hone its evolving image as a progressive party bidding for federal power in multi-racial Malaysia at the May 5 polls.
Several corporate figures and senior government pensioners, including high-ranking officers such as former secretary-generals, ex-envoys as well as those from the police and armed forces, have joined PAS at the end of their service.
Among them are former criminal investigation police chief Datuk Fauzi Shaari, former Land and Cooperative Development Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Nik Zain Nik Yusof and Datuk Ramli Buyong, the deputy vice-president of Felcra Berhad.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

GE13: Fine weather expected on Nomination Day

 Fine weather with several places expected to be cloudy in the morning.

MSN Travel
  The weather is expected to be fine on Saturday morning (April 20) in most places nationwide on nomination day for the 13th general election.

According to the Meteorological Department's website, intermittent rain was forecast in three parliamentary areas in Melaka, namely, Bukit Katil, Kota Melaka and Jasin.

Penang is expected to be cloudy and rain in many places in the morning to be followed by fine weather in the evening while several places in Johor are expected to be cloudy in the morning.

The nomination process will start at 9am.

DAP to field 11 new faces in Selangor

Lim Guan Eng said among the new faces were the party's election strategy director Ong Kian Ming who would contest the Serdang parliamentary seat.

 The DAP will be fielding 11 new faces in Selangor in the 13th General Election, according to its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

He said among the new faces were the party's election strategy director Ong Kian Ming who would contest the Serdang parliamentary seat, replacing the incumbent Teo Nie Ching who has been moved to the Kulai parliamentary seat in Johor.

Besides this, Teresa Kok Suh Sim who won the Kinrara state seat and Seputeh parliamentary seat in the last general election, is only being retained for the Seputeh seats.
Speaking at a press conference at the DAP headquarters here Thursday to announced the name of the party's candidates for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Sarawak and Melaka, Lim said Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew was not being renominated to defend his Pandamaran state seat and that his place would be taken over by Selayang Municipal Council member Tan Pok Shyong.

Another notable name to be dropped is Sibu incumbent and Sarawak DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng, who is suffering from brain cancer. He will be replaced by Oscar Ling Chai Yew.

Meanwhile, M.Manogaran, the incumbent for the Teluk Intan parliamentary seat will move to Cameron Highlands to take on MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

 Following is the DAP's list of candidates for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Sarawak and Melaka:

SELANGOR: PARLAMENT: P102 Serdang - Ong Kian Ming (new face) P103 Puchong - Gobind Singh Deo P106 Petaling Jaya Utara - Pua Kiam Wee P110 Klang - Charles Anthony R.Santiago STATE: N4 Sekinchan - Ng Suee Lim N6 Kuala Kubu Baharu - Lee Kee Hiong (new face ) N22 Teratai - Tiew Way Keng (new face) N30 Kinrara - Ng Sze Han (new face)(Subang Jaya municipal councillor) N35 Kampung Tunku - Lau Weng San N36 Damansara Utama - Yeo Bee Yin (new face) N27 Balakong - Ng Tien Chee (new face) N28 Seri Kembangan - Ean Yong Hian Wah. N31 Subang Jaya - Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan N34 Bukit Gasing - Rajiv Rishyakaran (new face) N44 Sungai Pinang - Teng Chang Khim N47 Pandamaran - Tan Pok Shyong (new face) N48 Kota Alam Shah - Ganabatirau Veraman (new face) N52 Teluk Datuk - Loh Chee Heng (new face) N56 Sungai Pelek - Lai Nyuk Lan (new face)

KUALA LUMPUR (All parliamentary seats): P114 Kepong - Dr Tan Seng Giaw P117 Segambut - Lim Lip Eng P120 Bukit Bintang - Fong Kui Lin P122 Seputeh - Teresa Kok P123 Cheras - Tan Kok Wai

SARAWAK (All parliamentary seats): P192 Mas Gading - Mordi Anak Bimol (new face) P195 Bandar Kuching - Chong Chieng Jen P196 Stampin - Julian Tan Kok Ping (new face) P199 Serian - Edward Anak Andrew Luwak@Edward Luwak (new face) P202 Sri Aman - Leon Jimat Donald ( had stood in a state seat before) P208 Sarikei - Wong Ling Biu (new face) P211 Lanang - Alice Lau Kiong Yieng (had stood in a state seat before) P212 Sibu - Oscar Ling Chai Yew (new face) P213 Mukah - Hai bin Merawin@Bonaventure (new face) P215 Kapit - Ramli Anak Malaka (new face) P217 Bintulu - John Brian Anthony Anak Jeremy Guang (new face) P219 Miri - Lim Su Kien P222 Lawas - Baru Langub (new face)

PARLIAMENT: P135 Alor Gajah - Yeo Shen Li (had stood in a state seat before) P138 Kota Melaka - Sim Tong Him

STATE: N14 Klebang - Liou Chen Kuang N15 Bachang - Lim Jak Wong N16 Ayer Keroh - Khoo Poay Tiong N19 Kesidang - Chin Choong Seong N20 Kota Laksamana - Lai Keun Ban (new face) N21 Duyong - Goh Leong San N22 Banda Hilir - Tey Kok Kiew N24 Bemban - Gandhi Rajan Nalliah (new face)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A Malaysian Spring in Bangsar

Over the weekend, some 20,000 'flowers' appeared at Lucky Garden roundabout, only to be taken down by DBKL officers. Angry residents stood by and resisted the act.

GE13: A Malaysian Spring in Bangsar (© Photos by pb4000xl)


A project initiated by Malaysian architect Ng Sek San saw 20,000 "flowers" planted at Lucky Garden roundabout in Bangsar by a group of citizen volunteers with PKR Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah on Sunday morning.
That same evening at about 5.30pm, DBKL officers were seen at the scene, removing the colourful flag "flowers", and hording them into a van. But 30 nearby residents converged at the roundabout to stop the officers from doing so, questioning who gave the orders and why the flags could not be planted. One resident even shouted, "Where is the democracy that was promised by 1Malaysia!"
The officers relented and allowed the residents to remove the flags from their van and continued to replant the "flowers" back on the ground.
GE13: A Malaysian Spring in Bangsar (© Photos by pb4000xl)In a Whatsapp interview, we asked Sek San the purpose of Malaysian Spring, to which he shared, "to spread the message of hope and change, and to get people to participate in the process of making a better Malaysia, through the simple gesture of planting a flower in the street.. Now we want Malaysians to snowball this effort by making their own flowers." His reaction to Bangsar residents who resisted the officers' actions surprised him and he was touched by their actions: "I'm very proud of my community here, I nearly cried on Sunday! Our message to others is that colour (of the skin) is not important to new Malaysia, so they can use whatever colours and material. It is the defiant act of planting a flower to welcome Spring which is more important."


  GE13: A Malaysian Spring in Bangsar (© Photos by pb4000xl) 

GE13: Rosmah denies meddling in selection of candidates

 The Prime Minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor today denied allegation by certain quarters that she meddled in the selection of Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates.

Describing the allegation as baseless, Rosmah said the BN candidates were chosen by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak together with the top BN leadership.

"In the run up to the general election, I have been the subject of much slander. As the wife of the country's leader, this cannot be avoided.

 "Some people said that I meddled in the selection of candidates. It's not true because if then, I would have known who were nominated or dropped," she said at a hospitality, culinary industry and cooking demonstration at Advanced Technology Training Centre (ADTEC) here Tuesday.

Also present were Selangor Wanita Umno chief, Datuk Raja Ropiaah Raja Abdullah and chairman of Kota Raja Barisan Nasional division, Raja Kamaruzaman Johari.

In her speech, Rosmah urged wives of BN candidates to accompany their husbands during election campaigns to ensure victory for the party.

"With the cooperation and support of various quarters, we (BN) can retain the leadership of this country, including capturing Selangor from the opposition."

On another note, she urged housewives to always serve a balanced diet to their family members because it was the best place to nurture a healthy eating habit.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

PAS flags 'banned in Putrajaya'

Voters in Putrajaya are finding it strange that PAS flags have been absent in Putrajaya despite the announcement that party vice president Husam Musa will be contesting there at the coming GE.

“PAS is contesting in Putrajaya, but not even a flag? Flags must be put up to boost the spirit,”

The scene was different during Husam’s first programme at Precinct 18 last Thursday, when roads were decorated with PAS flags.

Noticed that PAS’s Unit Amal was recollecting all the party flags once the programme ended.

A Unit Amal member explained to us why:

“If we put up the flags at 3 in the morning, they will be removed at 4 am. We love our flags. When there is a PAS programme, we will put them up. Once over, we will take them out. That’s routine, I believe this will continue until election.”

He added that he had been warned against putting PAS flags within Putrajaya.

While flags may not be the effective weapon to capture voters' hearts, this ban on PAS flags only shows the great task ahead for history to be created in this city custom-made for civil servants.

PAS hopes for a historic win in Putrajaya

PAS vice president Husam Musa’s wish to run against UMNO secretary general Tengku Adnan Mansor in the Putrajaya parliamentary seat may not be fulfilled after all.

Immediately after Husam was announced as PAS's candidate, Adnan, the incumbent, had boasted that BN would win the seat again with a two-third majority. But according to sources, Adnan will not be re-nominated following a police report filed against him, alleging that he assaulted a local UMNO leader who had come to meet him.

Insiders have even speculated that former UMNO strongman Dr Mahathir Mohamad could be fielded as the BN candidate Putrajaya, seen as one of the safest federal seats for BN.

While others say that Zaki Zahid, close friend of UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, could also be running as BN's candidate. Zaki previously served at the Prime Minister's Office under Khairy's father-in-law, Abdullah Badawi, who was forced to resign in 2009.

Meanwhile, Nazri Deraman, who leads the Kelantan-based movement for oil royalty, 'R', said Mahathir was concerned that Putrajaya which is considered part of his legacy could fall into the hands of the opposition.

Nazri recalled the words of the late PAS president Fadzil Noor who said he wished Mahathir would live long enough to see the consequences of his policies, and Husam's victory in Putrajaya will serve as an apt symbol.

“Insha Allah, we believe the people of Putrajaya and Malaysia cannot wait to see the the fiercest election in Malaysia, especially in Putrajaya, come GE 13,” Nazri said.

“R fully supports Husam’s candidacy in Putrajaya and will direct the whole of its machinery towards assisting the campaign there."

15-day Election Campaign Period Appropriate - Mahathir

 The 15-day campaign period set by the Election Commission (EC) for 13th general election (GE13) is appropriate as it will avoid tension in the society.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said a longer election campaign period might rile up party supporters or voters and trigger chaos in the country.

"A long campaign like the six weeks in 1969, will worsen tension among the contesting parties and may lead to chaos. Two weeks is appropriate," he said after launching the Criminalise War Club (CWC) launched by his wife and club patron, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at Kolej Tunku Kurshiah, here Thursday.

 The EC yesterday announced that polling was set on May 5 with the nomination date of candidates set on April 20. Early voting was set on April 30.

Mahathir, who led the country for 22 years, also expressed confidence that Barisan Nasional (BN) could achieve better results in GE13 compared to GE12.

"It is not impossible for BN to win two-thirds of parliamentary seats in the coming general election."

Commenting on the debate challenge by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, he said it was unnecessary since he was not contesting and was not a party adviser.

"But if he (Kit Siang) were to ask, I can answer and vice versa," said Mahathir who is also patron of Kuala Lumpur Foundation To Criminalise War (KLFCW).

He said that a special law should be formulated to prevent war and resolve conflicts between nations.

This was to ensure that countries which wage war on others were considered as having committed a crime and legal action could be taken against them.

"Our aim is to make the war a crime. This ideology will be spread worldwide as we feel the young generation must understand that war is a crime.

"However, this does not mean that we can't make preparation and wage a defensive war when attacked," he adde

GE13: Time for people to ask Penang Government about promises - State Umno Youth

Penang UMNO Chief asks: "The general election this time is not for us to answer but to ask Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his fellow leaders (in PR) on their promises made to the people."

 The 13th general election is the time for the people of Penang to ask the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government about the promises it stridently made when it captured the state five years ago.

Penang Umno Youth chief Dr Ir Shaik Hussain Mydin who said this, noted that during the five years, the sate government did not bring about any transformation but instead, tried to cause disunity among the multiracial society.

"The general election this time is not for us to answer but to ask Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his fellow leaders (in PR) on their promises made to the people.

"We should be asking where are the affordable houses that the state government promised to build for the low-income group. They have built none," the Bagan Umno Youth head said in his speech at the launching of the "Blue Wave" movement for the Bagan parliamentary constituency, here, Saturday night.

 It was launched by Bagan Umno division chief Datuk Abdul Latif Mirasa where he also received 100 Umno membership forms from a PR representative, Syukor Hashim.

Syukor, from Parti keadilan Rakyat (PKR), who represented his group of friends from PKR, PAS and DAP, said their decision to join BN was because PR failed to bring about change after being given the mandate to govern the state five years ago.

"This time, we wish to turn course, we want to feel the transformation brought by BN, which could bring progress and development to the state and country," he said when speaking before some 1,000 people at the event.

Also present were Bagan parliamentary constituency BN coordinator David Chua and Bagan Dalam state constituency coordinator M.Karupannan, who is also Penang MIC secretary.

Who is the Leader, Who the Follower?

Who has the better manifesto – the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Rakyat?
As the build-up to election day on May 5 continues, some voters might want to consider this before they go to the polls while some will not bother because they have already made up their minds anyway.
The main topic of conversation surrounding BN’s manifesto has been its promise of more cash handouts. Critics have been running it down as blatant vote-buying while simple-minded people may be swayed by the offer of more BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia) with higher cash values and yearly payout frequency.
To be sure, giving free handouts annually is a negative sign. It is an admission that BN has not been managing the country’s economy well from Independence till now to ensure that a huge proportion of Malaysians are earning enough to be self-sufficient.
It is also sending out a negative message to the people, telling them that they can get money without working for it. This reinforces the culture of dependence emerging from the implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP).


If voters fall for the promise of more BR1M, it will show they are willing bribe-takers, that they are people who are prone to being dependent.
AP, Lai Seng SinTo woo Indian voters, BN pledges RM500 million in seed funding towards raising the equity of the Indian community to at least 3 per cent. Pakatan, however, does not pander to any ethnic community, preferring to take a broad multi-racial approach in its plans for the country’s future without favouring any particular race. This augurs well for a better Malaysia and shows up once again BN’s attempt at blatant vote-buying.
On the whole, the BN manifesto is nothing new. As a veteran economist who has served in the civil service notes, it is structurally the same BN manifesto that has been used in past general elections for decades. It is superficial and short-term, particularly in its focus on cash handouts. He would have wanted BN to tackle the key issues of improving education, for instance, and removing the fixation on the NEP and the accompanying idea of Ketuanan Melayu. Both of these are comprehensively addressed in the Pakatan manifesto.
Moreover, BN’s promise of a 20 to 30 per cent gradual reduction in car prices is lifted, ironically enough, from Pakatan’s manifesto. And the increase in taxi permits being granted to individuals is another Pakatan-inspired promise. The difference is, Pakatan offers a better deal – it will abolish the current system of granting permits to selected companies and give these permits directly to all taxi drivers.

There are other ideas borrowed from Pakatan, including the uniformisation of the prices of essential items so that Sabahans and Sarawakians don’t have to pay more for them. This goes to show that Pakatan is the one that is much more the mover while BN is the follower.
Lai Seng SinBN may say that it came up with these ideas on its own, but the fact that Pakatan unveiled its manifesto a few weeks earlier gives the impression that BN copied from the latter. More important to note is the other well-known fact that this is not the first time BN has adopted Pakatan’s ideas.
Even as early as last year, political observers had noted that the BN-led government was carrying out reforms that Pakatan had originally proposed, like the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Sedition Act; the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah; and the review of oil royalties.
Wan Saiful Wan Jan, chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), pointed out in August 2012 that the Government “should be the ones leading” because “copying is not really leadership”.
He added that “it shows that it’s good for a country to have a strong Opposition” because it was Pakatan’s pressuring that made BN copy its ideas, but that it was risky for BN to continue doing so.
“People may start questioning who is the real leader,” he said, and BN might “lose leadership status and become a follower”.
On election day, voters will have to decide whether they want in government a coalition that is the mover or the follower.
Bersih, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, has invited BN Chairman Najib Razak and Pakatan Leader Anwar Ibrahim to take part in a public forum to let the people hear which side has the better vision for the next five years. So far, Anwar has agreed to it, but Najib, as expected, is silent.
On previous occasions, Najib has turned down invitations to engage in public debates, saying that such debates were “not part of our culture”. It’s the same fallacious excuse given for street demonstrations.
Funnily enough, even when it comes to a simple thing as a public forum, Malaysians can see which side is quick to seize the initiative. Anwar is ready, but Najib is hesitant.
Which one is the leader and which one the follower?
Prime Minister Najib's afraid of losing his job
Gift or nightmare for Najib?