Prime Minister offered Senatorship but Datuk Seri Anwar turn it down


Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had offered Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim a senatorship on May 13, three days before the latter received full pardon and release over his sodomy conviction. The senatorship would have paved the way for Anwar to join the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution revealed that Dr Mahathir had made the offer when he visited Anwar at the hospital.

In an interview with a local media, Saifuddin said Mahathir made the suggestion on May 13, three days before Anwar received his full pardon and release over his sodomy conviction. “When (Mahathir) came to visit Anwar, I was at the ward with them. Mahathir invited Anwar to become a member of the administration and wanted to appoint him as a senator. “In a polite manner, Anwar said since Wan Azizah is the deputy prime minister, it’s better for him not to be part of the administration,” he said. “Meaning, the prime minister definitely wanted to include Anwar and there are two ways to do this, either by appointing Anwar a senator, or if he contests in a parliamentary seat (by-election),” he said. “Anwar just thanked the prime minister and said to him, the stage is yours, you should be the one who runs the show.”

This shows Anwar had full confidence and support for Mahathir, said the Kulim Bandar Baharu MP. When Mahathir asked about Anwar’s plan, the latter said he would travel overseas to give talks and tour around the country to thank the voters for supporting Pakatan Harapan, said Saifuddin. Saifuddin, who is also the domestic trade and consumerism minister, said Anwar had stressed that he would return to politics as a Dewan Rakyat member but was reluctant to do it via a by-election at the Pandan seat won by his wife, Dr Wan Azizah. Senators hold the same status as an MP and have commonly been used by BN as a back door to take on a ministerial post. Anwar became a free man on May 16 this year after serving 39 months in jail over a sodomy conviction.

While he had said that he would not seek an immediate return to politics, the PKR de facto leader was also reported as saying that he would be back in Parliament within months and might speed up the process. Saifuddin said PKR has not set a timeline for Anwar’s return to politics, and there was no need to do so. “He had been with the government since the 1980s, he has vast experience. “As much as we did not set a timeline for Dr Mahathir (to step down as the prime minister), we did not set a timeline for Anwar. He can determine himself, whether he wants to have it via a by-election or otherwise, he will decide himself,” he said. “He can determine himself, whether he wants to have it via a by-election or otherswise, he will decide himself,” said the domestic trade and consumerism minister.

“All the PKR parliamentarians have been requested by our PRK de facto leader Anwar and the party president Wan Azizah to support Tun Dr Mahathir and the government, so they can administrate confidently,” he said. Anwar is currently in Turkey undergoing a shoulder operation and recuperating from a spinal operation. Saifuddin also denied allegations that PKR’s internal factions and lobbyists were among the causes for the almost 10-week delay in Tun Dr Mahathir’s finalised 25-members cabinet to be all sworn in, after Pakatan Harapan won the May 9 general election. Tun Dr Mahathir had on May 12 appointed the first three members of his Cabinet while the second batch of ministers was named on May 18. The third batch of 13 ministers and all the deputy ministers were sworn in only on July 2. “It is not true and unfair (to make such an accusation).

The prime minister had asked every party to submit their names to the PH presidential council meeting and urged them to have trust in him, as this is the prerogative of the prime minister,” he said. PKR had submitted 10 names on May 14. “There isn’t any lobbying from PKR, (Not from) Anwar, Wan Azizah or myself, none. We left it to Tun Dr Mahathir,” he said. Some of the names submitted by PKR were not selected, he said. “It was the same for DAP and Amanah,” he said, but declined to divulge those in PKR who had been rejected. However, Saifuddin admitted party deputy president Azmin Ali, who was then Selangor menteri besar, was not in the list of PKR’s ministerial candidates. “PKR was very clear that a Menteri Besar cannot become a minister. Of course, PKR is not stupid, not knowing what is stated in the federal constitution,” he said.

He said it was Tun Dr Mahathir who appointed Azmin to the post of minister for economic affairs. PKR has six cabinet members out of 28 and at first glance, they are mostly aligned with Azmin. Brushing off allegations that the party is split into two factions – Azmin’s and vice-president Rafizi Ramli’s – Saifuddin said, “My view is that they are all part of the PKR team.”

Meanwhile in another interview, former minister Rafidah Aziz has cautioned that politicising race and religion will halt the country’s progress. Speaking at a business forum in Singapore, she was asked what would hold Malaysia back from realising its full potential. “Politicising things that shouldn’t be politicised, because that will cause a lot of divisiveness, friction and uneasiness. “For example, politicising education, politicising race – there is really no place for that. Politicising religion… no place whatsoever. “So, we should be colour-blind to race, religion, and gender, and get on with governance. Governing does not include all these other factors,” she was quoted as saying in Singapore news portal Today Online. The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) recently resurfaced in the news after Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki objected to how Pakatan Harapan intends to honour its election promise to recognise it for entry into public tertiary institutions.

PAS has also objected to the appointment of non-Muslims to key legal positions in the country, claiming this had caused “restlessness” among Muslims, and questioned if these appointees would be able to defend Islam in legal matters. The Islamist party was commenting on the appointments of Tommy Thomas as the attorney-general, senior judge Richard Malanjum as the chief justice and Warisan’s Batu Sapi MP Liew Vui Keong as the de facto law minister. On another matter, Rafidah brushed off concerns over Malaysia-Singapore ties under Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Asked for her take on the current state of bilateral affairs following Mahathir’s recent remarks about the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) and the “ridiculous” low price Malaysia sells water to Singapore, she said media reports of such remarks should be taken lightly.

“Relationships are built over many decades. Just one wrong interaction does not reflect the kind of relationship we have built up over the years. What you read in the media is not necessarily what transpires. I must be the nastiest person around if you just judge by this,” she was quoted as saying. Singapore had previously said it had not received Putrajaya’s official stance on the HSR, to which Mahathir retorted that the island state “should know what is it we (Malaysia) want to do”. In response to the prime minister’s intention to raise water prices, Singapore had emphasised that the 1962 Water Agreement, which stipulates water be sold at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons, must be honoured. Rafidah is a close ally of Mahathir’s and came out of her retirement from politics to support Harapan during the 14th general election.

She had been part of Mahathir’s cabinet as international trade and industry minister for the most part of his first tenure as premier.

Dr Mazlee : No Flip Flop, No U-Turn and No 60 years to recognise UEC


There is no conflict in the federal government on recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said today. Pakatan Harapan (PH) would not reverse its decision on it. The only conflict in the matter is among the BN leaders, he said. It will not take Pakatan Harapan 60 years to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), says the Education Minister.

Taking a jab at Barisan Nasional, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said Pakatan Harapan would stick to its manifesto and recognise UEC as a legitimate entry requirement for tertiary education. “The only one in conflict is Barisan National (BN), with (MCA deputy president) Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong and MCA saying something else, and (Umno Youth chief) Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki saying something else,” Dr Maszlee told reporters in Putrajaya today. “We are going to make sure that in whatever policy decision we make, there will be no U-turn, there won’t be any flip-flop, and it must be holistic” he said. Dr Maszlee also said it would not take “60 years like BN” to get the certificate recognised. Dr Maszlee was speaking to reporters after delivering his monthly address to ministry staff yesterday.

UEC is issued to graduates of Chinese independent high schools and the United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia has been pushing for it to be recognised for years. Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching on Sunday said she planned for the UEC to be recognised by the end of the year. In his speech, Dr Maszlee said the Prime Minister had given him three missions – to instill moral values among students, especially honesty and integrity, to strengthen English proficiency and to increase the use of technology in the teaching and learning process in the classroom. To achieve the first mission, he said the Islamic Studies Department (BPI) and other bodies would prepare a manual on cultivating moral values from preschool right up to public higher learning institutions. On the English language mission, Dr Maszlee promised that Bahasa Malaysia would not be sidelined.

He said Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) had been tasked with the responsibility of organising a campaign dubbed National Language Decade. He also expressed his wish to raise the standard of DBP to the same level as the British Council and Goethe Institute, which are world-renowned language centres. Dr Maszlee also announced that the National Library would now come under the purview of his ministry, as libraries and resource centres should not be separated from education institutions. Meanwhile, MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong pointed out on Facebook that UEC was introduced in 1975, and hence only has a history of 43 years. He urged Dr Maszlee to fulfil Pakatan’s promise in recognising UEC in a straightforward and clear-cut manner and to stop dragging on the issue.

He said Dr Maszlee’s dilly-dallying had resulted in Chinese independent high school leavers missing out on the September intake at local universities. The UEC, which is issued to graduates of Chinese independent high schools, is currently recognised by local private higher education institutions and many universities overseas. It has received limited recognition as an entry qualification in Sarawak, Selangor and Penang.

Meanwhile, two major Chinese education movements have informed Putrajaya that they have no objections to including Bahasa Malaysia qualifications as a criterion for government recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC). United Chinese School Committees’ Association (Dong Zong) and United Chinese School Teachers’ Association (Jiao Zong) had expressed this position to Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching today. Following the meeting at the Education Ministry, Dong Zong president Tan Tai Kim told reporters that this was among several issues raised with the deputy minister. “Pakatan Harapan promised to recognise the UEC and allow Chinese independent secondary school leavers to enrol into local universities. “Dong Zong and Jiao Zong are agreeable to the criterion of a credit in the Bahasa Malaysia paper in SPM as a requirement for the government to recognise UEC,” he said.

To maintain the trust of the people, he stressed that Harapan is obliged to fulfil their manifesto promise. He revealed that the association representatives had suggested meeting regularly with the ministry to discuss various issues faced by Chinese schools. They had also requested to meet Education Minister Maszlee Malik. Jiao Zong president Wang Chao Qun added that the Harapan government should employ a new way of thinking and develop a more diverse education policy. Several Muslim groups, such as Majlis Pembangunan Pendidikan Islam Malaysia (Mappim) and Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah), are now calling for a rally to oppose the recognition of UEC, claiming that the unity of the nation will be destroyed otherwise. Referring to this, Dong Zong deputy president Tan Yew Seng replied that the associations welcome any opportunity to have a rational discussion with anyone who has doubts about UEC’s official recognition.

“If there are any particular groups who don’t understand (the issue), we welcome the opportunity to engage with them to look at it rationally and discuss some of the details. ” He denied claims that the UEC syllabus did not reflect a Malaysian context. “Such accusation is misleading and it is not true. The history curriculum is very much localised, the majority of it is talking about our local culture.” Meanwhile, he also stressed that BM is a compulsory subject in all Chinese independent secondary schools, and it is also “part of our national identity”. The UEC is a standardised test which has been administered by the Malaysian Independent Chinese Secondary Schools Working Committee (MICSS) since 1975, which in turn is represented by members of Dong Zong and Jiao Zong.















勿过度解读媒体报导 拉菲达:马新关係非一朝一夕建立


(新加坡13日讯) 马来西亚前国际贸易及工业部部长丹斯里拉菲达呼吁,马来西亚和新加坡人民不要过度解读媒体报导和评论,马新关係並非一朝一夕建立,勿因报导和品论而影响两国多年的建交关係。她说,马新关係是数十年来建立,一次错误的交流不能反映两国友好关係,民眾不应「过度詮释」媒体报导。「若你从媒体报导来判断,那么我一定是討人厌的傢伙。」