Khamis, 6 Februari 2014

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The Star Online: Nation

Sarawak strongman seems poised for Yang di-Pertua Negeri post

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

KUCHING: After continual speculation on his future over the past few years, Sarawak strongman Tan Sri Taib Mahmud looks set to finally step down as Chief Minister and seems poised to take over as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri.

Many in the political and media circles became certain of his intention to quit as Chief Minister after the announcement that the term for the Head of State Tun Muhammad Salahuddin would be extended from Dec 5, 2013 to only Feb 28 this year.

Fuelling their expectation of the exit of the man who has ruled the state since 1981 was his sudden calls for meetings of the PBB supreme council and with Sarawak Barisan Nasional MPs and assemblymen this weekend. They believe that Taib – whose 33 years in office make him the longest serving government leader in the country – wants to inform senior members of his party and Barisan's elected representatives of his decision.

News that Taib is expected to bow out as Chief Minister soon has badly hit Sarawak-linked counters on Bursa Malaysia. Cahya Mata Sarawak, which is some 43% owned by Taib's family, was among the biggest losers, finishing yesterday's trade 2.6% down to RM7.24.

While some politicians are sure that Taib will bow out as the head of government to become the Tuan Yang Terutama, others say "it will not happen so soon".

PBB senior supreme council member Datuk Idris Buang said reports of Taib quitting by the end of this month were just speculation.

"Taib is still needed for the development of SCORE (the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy) and the Sarawak agenda," he added.

Assistant Housing Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, who is also a senior PBB member, said: "He had indicated before the last state election that this could be his last term. Along the way there have been signals that he would step down midway through this term which will end in 2016. It could be tomorrow, it could be next month, it could be next year. It could be any time but it is definitely within this term.

"As much as we would like him to carry on as Chief Minister, age is catching up. Preparations need to be made for someone to take over the post. We will leave it to him to decide. He knows best when to retire and who to pass the baton to."

Housing and Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg chose to keep mum over the question of Taib resigning. "I cannot comment on speculation," he said.

PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Masing, asked whether the 78-year-old Taib would resign, said: "I believe he will. The day, month and year he retires will be up to him to decide. Just give him the time and space to do so. As for his successor, PRS will follow whomever PBB and top Barisan leaders decide on."

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak senior lecturer on politics and history Dr Jeniri Amir said Taib might announce his retirement this weekend.

"His time is up. He has promised many a time he would give up his post and the time has come for him to fulfil that," he said.

Asked on who would be the most likely successor, Dr Jeniri said Abang Johari has a proven track record as minister and is PBB deputy president. He has a better chance of succeeding Taib than Second Minister of Resource Management and Envi­ron­ment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan whom people still perceive as a "junior" for the position, according to Dr Jeniri.

He said PBB information chief Tan Sri Adenan Satem should not be ruled out as he had been a trusted ally of Taib's.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu has been ruled out as a candidate for the post, probably because he is from the Pesaka wing.

Taibs son worth between RM976mil and RM139bil

Hot and dry weather expected throughout M'sia until Monday

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: It is going to be hot and dry in most parts of Malaysia, with scorching afternoons to be followed by cold nights.

"It's going to be dry for most of the regions. Some showers here and there, but mostly dry and hot weather," said National Weather Forecast Centre director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah,

Muhammad said the dry spell was caused by regional wind patterns that were not conducive for rainy weather.

These, he said, were attributed to an inactive monsoon trough; a lack of a monsoon surge from China and the non-influence of easterly winds from the Western Pacific Ocean.

He added that rain clouds appearing north of Australia might have also been responsible for drawing moisture from our region, further drying the weather here.

Muhammad said lack of clouds in the region meant that cold nights and hot afternoons were going to be common.

As an example, he said rural areas such as Kuala Krai and Chuping may experience temperatures below 20°C.

This, he said, might also hold true for northern sides of Peninsula Malaysia and the eastern and western parts of Sabah.

"There will be some fluctuations in wind pattern, but we don't expect much different weather for the next few days," he said, adding that widespread rain was not expected.

According to a list by the Meteorological Department, it has not rained in more than 50 areas in all states in the peninsula for five or more consecutive days as of Feb 4.

They include Padang Besar, Langkawi, Seberang Prai Utara, Petaling, Klang, Kepong, Jasin, Cameron Highlands, Muar, Besut and Kota Baru.

According to the Meteorological Department's website, Kuala Lumpur was expected to see a constant maximum temperature of 33°C from now until Feb 10, with no rain on the horizon.

Speaker: Fake resignation letter tarnished name of assembly

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

IPOH: Perak assembly speaker Datuk S.K. Devamany said the issue of a letter sent to him that implicated Hutan Melintang assemblyman S. Kesavan has tainted the reputation of the august House.

"I don't know the intention of the person who did it but it has tarnished the good name of the state assembly," he told reporters here yesterday.

Earlier, Kesavan and several state party leaders had met Devamany to get a clarification on the letter that was received at the speaker's office on Jan 2.

In the letter, Kesavan allegedly declared he was resigning as an assemblyman and quitting the PKR due to a loss of confidence and dissatisfaction with the leadership.

Devamany said he was not in the office when the letter was handed to his clerk at about 2.30pm on that day.

When the clerk read the content of the letter to Devamany later, he called Kesavan to verify the document.

"Kesavan clarified he had not resigned and he did not send anyone to submit the letter," said Devamany, advising the public not to speculate on the matter.

Meanwhile, Kesavan has lodged a report at the district police station here.

Speaking to journalists, he said the letter was timed to create an image of disunity and confusion among party members when the PKR was gearing for the Kajang by-election in Selangor.

"I was shocked when I saw the letter with my name and identity card number on it and circulated on social media," he said, adding the signature was "not even remotely close" to his.

In a related development, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said he has asked the Speaker's office to lodge a police report on the matter.

"We will let the police carry out the necessary investigations," he told reporters after the state executive council meeting at his office here.

"I am sure once a report is lodged. the police will view the CCTV recording to see who handed over the letter," he said, adding that he sympathised with Kesavan who would be getting married next week.


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