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Lim defends Air Putih, state seat for Zairil

GEORGE TOWN ― DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng will be defending his Air Putih seat for the third time in the May 9 polls.

Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow, who announced DAP’s candidates in the Bukit Bendera constituency, said no one else offered to contest the seat.

“DAP has chosen Lim Guan Eng to defend the seat,” he said.

Chow also announced that Zairil Khir Johari, the incumbent Bukit Bendera MP, will be fielded in a state seat this time round.

Zairil will be running in Tanjung Bungah, which was contested and won by Teh Yee Cheu in Election 2013 under the “rocket” banner.

Teh has since resigned from DAP and will be contesting in the Sungai Pinang state seat under Parti Sosialis Malaysia, though he is not a member.

“This will be a different challenge for me but I am well versed with the local issues in Tanjung Bungah so I will be able to take on this challenge,” Zairil told reporters after the announcement.

He denied that the party’s decision to shift him from a parliamentary seat to a state seat was due to a scandal with his now fiancé and fellow DAP member Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud.

Zairil said he will focus on creating more green public spaces in the hilly constituency and plant more trees.

“We just launched a pocket park here the other day so there will be more in future,” he said.

Asked if he will be up for a state executive council post if Pakatan Harapan retains Penang, Zairil demurred and said his party leadership will decide on it.

“We will focus on winning first,” he said.

Lim’s political secretary Wong Hon Wai will be contesting in the Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat, taking over from Zairil.

Wong is a two-term Air Itam assemblyman and a state exco member between 2008 and 2013.

Penang Island city councillor Chris Lee Chun Kit, 36, was picked to contest the Pulau Tikus state seat previously held by Yap Soo Huey, who has decided to sit out this election.

Lee, who was born and bred and even landed his first job in Pulau Tikus, said he is ready to take on the challenge as a first-timer.

“I am a Pulau Tikus boy so I am ready to take on my political opponent to defend the seat for DAP in a fair battle,” he said.

Lee, who is expected to face Gerakan’s Jason Loo, believes voters will evaluate the candidates for the seat fairly.

Liew warns MCA it will lose more seats

KUALA LUMPUR ― MCA’s belief that someone is out to kill it may be true, said DAP’s Liew Chin Tong, who suggested it was not his party but rather Umno that is trying to do so.

The Ayer Hitam candidate, who is leading DAP’s assault on Johor, told MCA it was its own Barisan Nasional ally that was quietly claiming any remaining refuges from the party.

Liew reminded MCA it already lost Kuantan, Wangsa Maju and Gelang Patah to Umno in 2013, and said MCA appeared unlikely to regain the first two for the 14th general election.

“This time around MCA might also lose Bandar Tun Razak, Tebrau and Lumut,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“Can we see now who is trying to eliminate MCA?”

Liew further claimed MCA was clearly subservient to Umno, saying this was evident in the way it must refer to the party before announcing anything.

The DAP chief strategist warned his party’s rival about the inadvisability of this course, noting that Umno was also fighting for survival and keen to amass as many seats of its own as possible.

He further alleged the Election Commission’s redelineation was conducted for Umno’s benefit, and that the exercise has left MCA and other BN components more exposed.

MCA’s Datuk Ti Lian Ker accused DAP on Wednesday of plotting to kill off MCA and Gerakan to monopolise the Chinese vote and leverage this for a place in the federal administration.

DAP is shifting some of its biggest names to constituencies where it believes it can defeat the two parties’ leaders.

In Election 2013, DAP won 29 out of the country’s 30 Chinese-majority seats. The other went to ally PKR.

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In Paloh, DAP’s Sheikh Omar hopeful of Felda support

KUALA LUMPUR ― Sheikh Omar Ali, the DAP candidate for the Paloh state seat, remains upbeat his campaign in Johor would work in his favour.

The former PAS youth activist said he hopes to sway people to supporting Pakatan Harapan, including some 2,500 voters in Felda Kahang Barat who sided with PKR in the 2013 elections.

The Felda settlement was originally located within the Kahang state seat ― an area under the parliamentary constituency of Sembrong held by Umno vice president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

After the redelineation exercise on March 28, Felda Kahang Barat was shifted to the Paloh state seat, altering the demographics of voters to 45 per cent Malay, 35 per cent Chinese and 15 per cent Indian.

Sheikh Omar’s campaign includes handing out flyers door-to-door and organising talks alongside former Umno deputy president turned Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“Although the programme with Muhyiddin was not a big scale event, it was attended by some 40 to 70 people who are the first generation of Felda settlers here,” he told ProjekMMO, Malay Mail’s sister publication in Bahasa Malaysia.

“Before this, we couldn’t even make our way into the area. Back in the Reformasi era (1999), the roads leading up there were blocked by a group of women.

“Now, even if we put up the banners or party flags, nobody would take them down. To me, that signifies the people are more open and positive.”

In the previous elections, DAP’s R. Shanker lost in Paloh to Barisan Nasional’s Teoh Yap Kun by just 103 votes.

Sheikh Omar, however, admitted that Hishammuddin has a strong influence on the people there.

Since the Sembrong seat’s creation in 2004, Hishammuddin has retained the seat for the past three terms. In GE13, he won with a 10,631-vote majority, beating PKR’s Onn Abu Bakar.

Sheikh Omar admitted that using the PKR logo in GE14 has helped to remove the stigma the Malay voters generally attach to DAP.

“By using one logo, it is easier for me to access the support of Malay voters, especially in Felda,” he said.

“That is why I am optimistic the Felda area in Paloh will not be a fixed deposit to BN anymore.”

Sheikh Omar said he is no stranger to Paloh as he has heard various complaints made by residents at Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong’s office.

As a part of his campaign, Sheikh Omar also invited Felda activist Mazlan Aliman for a talk back in February, which he said “went smoothly with no obstruction”.

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Najib warns of RM1 trillion mistake

Barisan Nasional chairman says the national debt will almost double to RM1 trillion if Pakatan Harapan comes to power. Warning that Bursa Malaysia and the ringgit will also be adversely affected, he zeroed in on three main promises in the opposition coalition’s GE14 manifesto.

> ABOLITION OF HIGHWAY TOLL

> RELAXING PTPTN LOAN REPAYMENTS

> NO GOODS AND SERVICES TAX

>> SEE PAGES 2 AND 3

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Mour drama

JOSE MOURINHO left fans perplexed with his handling of Paul Pogba on Wednesday.

In Manchester United’s 2-0 win at Bournemouth, Mourinho first ignored Pogba after substituting him, then ordered him to sit and later praised his “top performance”.

Italian giants Juventus added twist to the drama by saying they are ready to “make an exception and sign a former player”.

See page 39

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Najib: Nation’s debt will soar to RM1t under Pakatan

BATU PAHAT — Malaysia’s stock market and currency will crash with sovereign debts surpassing RM1 trillion if Pakatan Harapan (PH) implements the policies stated in its GE14 manifesto, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman attributed the probability of the scenario happening if the opposition pact took federal power in the coming elections. He said the country’s national debt would increase to RM1 trillion or 80 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 50.8 per cent.

“It will have a bad effect on Bursa Malaysia… the currency will be affected… PNB will be affected.. unit trusts will be affected,” he said at the launch of the Malaysian Unit Trust Week at the Batu Pahat Stadium here yesterday.

“Bursa (Malaysia) is getting stronger. This is a closely linked to the far-sighted economic management of the country. This is not a trivial matter to be politicised.”

Based on the Ministry of Finance’s findings, Najib said the abolition of tolls, goods and services tax (GST) and the National Higher Education Fund Corporation would take a toll on the economy.

PNB is the country’s largest fund manager, managing funds worth RM200 billion through 13.4 million unit holders of various ASNB trust funds.

Last December, it paid out a total distribution of RM10.7 billion in dividends for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2017, benefiting 9.1 million unit holders of Amanah Saham Bumiputera.

The people’s investment in Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) will be affected if the Opposition were to wrest control of the government with their “Pak Pandir” policy, Najib said.

Pak Pandir, a popular character in Malay folklore, is depicted as a foolish and naive village idiot.

Najib said the total dividend (and bonus) payout of RM14.6 billion by PNB in 2017 was a boon to the people.

He said the people understood that if the GST were to be abolished, there was no guarantee the price of goods would drop.

“The people also understand that even if the sales and service tax (SST) were to be implemented, the Opposition will increase them by 10 per cent and six per cent, respectively. (This will be) double jeopardy.

“The Opposition Pak Pandir’s policy will have a bad effect on the country’s economy,” he said.

Najib said the unveiling of the BN manifesto on April 7 had given a positive effect as three credit rating agencies revised the country’s growth with a more positive expectation.

The World Bank raised Malaysia’s GDP forecast to 5.6 per cent from 5.4 per cent previously.

The caretaker prime minister said JP Morgan and the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research were also optimistic of the country’s economic growth.

“The BN manifesto has been highly regarded. They (rating agencies) did not say anything about the Opposition manifesto as it is worthless,” he said.

Present were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin, PNB Group chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar and PNB Group president and chief executive Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad.

Najib also commended PNB for being a well-established institution since it was set up 40 years ago, and its impact worldwide, citing PNB’s property development activities in the United Kingdom as an example.

The week-long MSAM programme is an annual PNB event held since 2000 and attracted over 3.6 million visitors.

He said PNB’s success was also linked to the country’s economic development brought by the government through pragmatic policies that drove growth.

At the event, Najib launched the myASNB portal (www.myasb.com.my) which would enable unit holders to carry out investment activities, including subscribing to Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd’s unit trusts anywhere without having to go to a service counter.

Earlier, Abdul Wahid said PNB was the nation’s largest fund management company with funds totalling about RM200 billion through investments by 13.4 million unit holders in various ASNB trust funds.
— Bernama

‘Opposition divided, can’t govern country’

PONTIAN — There is no way the opposition pact can govern the country if the parties in it have no confidence in each other, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“After 17 days of announcing of his manifesto, their 93-year-old leader in an interview said it was impossible for it (manifesto) to be implemented or fulfilled,” he said during a “Leaders with the People” event at Dataran Kukup yesterday.

“He said many of his new ‘friends’ were socialists, meaning they are not on the same page. He has already labelled the other groups as socialists. How to govern the country if we are not even sure of each other, if we are already at loggerheads?”

Also present were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Tanjung Piai UMNO division chief Datuk Md Othman Yusof and Tanjung Piai MCA chief Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng.

In a recent interview with a Singapore daily, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged that Pakatan Harapan could not fulfil all the promises made in its manifesto, adding that his coalition partners were ‘very socialistic’.
— Bernama

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BN won’t tolerate threats from component party leaders, says Ahmad Zahid

BAGAN DATUK — Any thinly-veiled statement of threats issued by any Barisan Nasional (BN) component party leader is not welcome as it may jeopardise party harmony, said caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also BN deputy chairman and UMNO vice-president carrying out the duties of party deputy president, said as component party leaders, they must have a stand and respect the BN charter as the top priority over other priorities.

He said the problem stirred up by one of the 13 BN component parties should be resolved immediately, especially if the leader intended to contest in a seat already decided by another component party.

“Of course, the BN leadership will take into account the agreement on the seats that have been decided, whether they are on loan temporarily or swapped with another seat.

“However, if the leader concerned still wants to be insistent, I am certain he will eventually accept the reality that unity in BN is something that must be given priority,” he said after visiting the Parit 4 voting district centre in Sungai Sumun yesterday.

Ahmad Zahid, who is the Bagan Datuk parliamentary seat incumbent, said it was common in politics every time there was a general election because such problems occurred not only within the BN but the Opposition as well.

He expressed confidence that BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has a formula to deal with the problem after the 14th general election (GE14).

He said UMNO had even sacrificed seats for candidates of BN component parties in the last GE because the leadership and party members believed the individuals concerned could represent the BN.

“Any party victory still represents the BN and symbolises that any candidate contesting, as long as he is with the BN component, should be supported by all party members and leadership,” he said.

When asked on the action of the People’s Progressive Party (myPPP) president Tan Sri M. Kayveas who threatened to quit BN because he was unhappy that MIC was allocated Cameron Highlands, he said the issue would be resolved by Najib.

Ahmad Zahid said he understood Kayveas’ action as he knew him personally as a kind person and felt that his action was aimed at safeguarding the feelings of party members.

“I have met him and I have stated that there is a formula to resolve it and becoming a candidate is not the ultimate solution.

“There are several ways to provide opportunities to the party concerned to be part of the administration as well as in other bodies under the government of Malaysia,” he said.

Earlier, Ahmad Zahid BN said state chairmen would announce the names of candidates contesting for the parliamentary and state seats in their state.

He said Najib had empowered all state BN chairmen to announce the candidates for the parliamentary and state levels.

He said this when commenting on rumours over the last few days that the prime minister would hand over the nomination credentials to BN candidates at the Putra World Trade Centre in stages today, tomorrow or on Sunday.

Ahmad Zahid denied the allegations and said: “Rumours are normal, do not write news based on rumours. I am talking as the BN deputy chairman, this is not a rumour, it’s true.”

The Election Commission has set polling day for May 9, nomination date on April 28, while early polling is on May 5.
— Bernama

Kit Siang to rivals: You can only destroy yourselves

KUALA LUMPUR ― DAP cannot destroy Barisan Nasional components MCA and Gerakan if it wanted to, Lim Kit Siang said.

Responding to MCA publicity secretary Datuk Ti Lian Ker’s claim his party was trying to wipe out the two rivals, the DAP leader said political parties can only be wiped out by their own doing.

“(No) other political party can eliminate MCA and Gerakan, as political parties cannot be eliminated by other political parties, but can only commit suicide or self-destruct because of their own betrayal of their founding principles,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Lim said the allegation only served to reveal the depths to which the two parties have sunk to become as “irrelevant and marginalised” as they are now.

Saying DAP’s ambition was to defeat BN in the general election, he asked MCA and Gerakan to consider what their fates would be if this could be achieved.

Lim said DAP’s deployment of heavyweights to constituencies held by MCA and Gerakan leaders was simply part of Pakatan Harapan’s bid to win the elections.

The incumbent Gelang Patah MP pointed out that victory and defeat were the norm in politics, and cited the rise, fall, and rise again of political parties in other countries.

He said if MCA and Gerakan believed they would not survive such a defeat, this meant both were no longer contributing to the nation and “do not deserve to exist”.

Most state leaders to retain positions after polls

KUALA LUMPUR ― Most menteri besar and chief ministers are expected to retain their posts after the elections, while others may vie for federal office instead.

Wanita PKR chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said there were “many” qualified candidates for the Selangor menteri besar post if caretaker Selangor MB Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, who is also the PKR deputy president, goes “federal”.

“But our support is for him to continue doing a good job in Selangor as per Selangorians’ expectations and support. Governing Selangor is like controlling half the country,” Zuraida told Malay Mail.

Azmin, touted by some youths in Pakatan Harapan (PH) as their choice for prime minister, is the incumbent Gombak MP and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman.

It is understood that Zuraida may move from the Ampang parliamentary seat to the Lembah Jaya state seat under the same constituency.

Perak

MCA chief Datuk Mah Hang Soon said he believed Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir, who has been Perak menteri besar for almost two terms, would remain in office after the polls, even though Zambry has been tipped to run for both state and federal seats.

Penang

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng will be reappointed Penang chief minister if PH retains the state, Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow said.

The party’s election campaign deputy director Steven Sim pointed out that it has already been announced Chow would be Lim’s successor if Lim was convicted of corruption over the purchase of a house.

Johor

BN is expected to retain Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin as menteri besar if the coalition keeps the state.

State Umno information chief Datuk Samsolbari Jamali said Khaled has not only fulfilled BN’s Election 2013 manifesto, but also holistically improved development of the southern state according to current needs.

Pahang

Bentong MCA deputy chairman Wong Choo Yak said he believed caretaker Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob would continue running for a state seat in the elections.

Terengganu

It is unclear if Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman will remain as MB if BN retains the state, even though Umno vice president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi reportedly hinted he would. Malay Mail’s sister publication, ProjekMMO, quoted Umno sources as saying the question of Razif’s replacement has emerged, with talk he might be replaced by the caretaker prime minister’s political secretary, Datuk Jailani Ngah, who may run in Batu Rakit.

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