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Archive for September 16th, 2008

Malaysian opposition leader says he has enough votes to take power

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International Herald Tribune

Malaysian opposition leader says he has enough votes to take power

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

BANGKOK: The Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, on Tuesday missed a self-imposed deadline to bring down the country’s government but asserted that he had secured enough support in Parliament to take power.

“We want the transition to be peaceful,” Anwar said at a news conference Tuesday. “That’s why we are not giving an ultimatum.”

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, whose electoral setback in March gave Anwar an opening, scoffed at the idea. He called it “Anwar’s mirage” and insisted that he would not cede power.

If Anwar really has the numbers, the prime minister said, “he will storm into my room with hundreds screaming behind him, shouting, ‘Victory!”‘

Anwar said he did not want to identify the people who had defected to him from the governing party because publicity could put them at risk of harassment. But he said that he would like to show the list to the prime minister to persuade him to leave quietly.

Anwar’s opposition coalition unexpectedly won 82 seats in the 222-member Parliament in the general election on March 8. He now says that he has pledges of support from more than 30 defecting members of the governing party, which would give him a majority.

Support for Abdullah has eroded even within his party, the Barisan National, since the election. The vote marked the first time the party slipped below its two-thirds majority in the Parliament. On Monday, the minister for legal affairs, Zaid Ibrahim, resigned, saying that he did not rule out joining the opposition.

At the same time, Abdullah faces a challenge for leadership from Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Anwar’s campaign is the most serious threat to the governing coalition since it took power in 1957, when Malaysia gained independence from British colonial rule.

Malaysia, one of the most stable countries in the region, has been plunged into political turmoil, alongside its neighbor Thailand, whose government is in disarray after three weeks of protests.

The Thai Parliament was scheduled Wednesday to select a prime minister to replace Samak Sundaravej, who was forced from office a week ago because of a conflict of interest. On Tuesday an apparent rift in the governing party was healed when a dissenting faction agreed to support the candidacy of Somchai Wongsawat for prime minister.

As he outlines them, Anwar’s plans would overturn some of the central pillars of government and would open Malaysia to the possibility of democratic reforms. He says he will scrap the Internal Security Act, which allows the detention without trial of people who are considered security threats. He also would do away with special economic status for ethnic Malays and cleanse the government of corruption and nepotism.

If he succeeds, Anwar, 61, will have completed an extraordinary political rebirth after having been fired as deputy prime minister in 1998 and spending six years in prison on charges of sodomy and corruption.

Anwar had largely been written off as a factor in Malaysian politics, but with the governing party weakened by infighting, he put together a successful coalition that includes his own multiracial People’s Justice Party and the country’s largest Muslim and Chinese parties.

Anwar faces new charges of sodomy based on a complaint by a young aide, which he says are political fabrications similar to the charges of a decade ago.

Since returning to politics in April, he has been wooing disgruntled lawmakers from the governing coalition. “We have received firm commitments in excess of the number required to form a new government,” he said Tuesday. “It is increasing by the hour. I am not joking.”

So far, none of the governing party’s 140 members of Parliament have publicly declared support for Anwar’s opposition coalition, which is why Anwar has said he wants to show his list of defectors to Abdullah.

“I am very optimistic that the PM will grant us a meeting,” Anwar said Tuesday, referring to the prime minister. “We are giving him some time and space to set up an appointment.”

At a rally of 10,000 people Monday night, the opposition leader said, “We want to negotiate with the prime minister and ask him, ‘Do you want one week, do you want two weeks?”‘

The government took evasive action last week by sending a delegation of lawmakers to Taiwan on what was described as an agricultural study mission, effectively putting the lawmakers out of Anwar’s reach.

Then on Friday the government cracked down on its critics, arresting an opposition lawmaker, an anti-government blogger and a reporter under provisions of the Internal Security Act.

A government spokesman was greeted with derision even in the government-friendly press when he said the reporter had been detained for her own protection. She was freed Saturday, although the other two remain in jail.

“Our promise is that we will not follow the rule of the jungle,” Anwar said at the rally Monday.

“There will be no witch-hunting. What is done is done. What we want is to rule without corruption, detention without trial or theft of the people’s resources.”

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 16, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Burma's Geopolitics

Tagged with , ,

World focus on Burma (16 September 2008)


Suu Kyi accepts first food delivery in a month, India –
New Delhi – Burma’s detained pro-democracy leader has accepted two deliveries of fresh food supplies after rejecting such offerings for the past month, …

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi accepts food deliveries
International Herald Tribune, France –
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been in a political deadlock since 1990, when Suu Kyi’s party overwhelmingly won general elections but was not allowed to ..

Daw Suu accepts food deliveries
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Sep 16, 2008 (DVB)–National League for Democracy spokesperson U Nyan Win said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has begun receiving food deliveries again after refusing …

11 Sakharov Prize winners call for the immediate release of …
Reporters without borders (press release), France –
Human rights organisations put the number of political prisoners in Burma at about 2000. They include Win Tin, a journalist held since July 1989. …

Thailand prepared to lead Asean, despite barbs
Nation Multimedia, Thailand –
His comment is somewhat vicious and can be compared with those of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who said Burma should be kicked out of …

Thai protesters sit tight while govt bickers
MorungExpress, India –
Investigators say Thaksin wrongly ordered the Exim Bank to increase a three-billion-baht (89.6-million-dollar) loan to four billion baht, so that Myanmar’s …

Undeterred: The People’s Desire, India –
The AAPP in its press statement said that in August 2008 alone Burma’s ruling junta arrested 39 activists and continued to detain at least 21 of them, …

Harnessing the Power of Pop Culture
Feministe –
Jeremy Woodrum, a founder of the group, believes Myanmar is near the top of the list of global priorities, even in a world full of troubles. …

After 10 years, what next for the CRPP?
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
When we joined, we had many hopes; we would try to form a parliament by joining hands with our ethnic brothers and build a peaceful Burma with love and …

Junta releases 70 year old Tin Tin Win, India –
Chiang Mai – Burmese military junta authorities on Monday released 70 year old Tin Tin Win, mother of a student activist, after detaining her for four days. …

KNU denies causing mine blasts, India –
The New Light of Myanmar, the government mouthpiece claimed that bomber, Saw Yar Ko (a) Saw Yangon was arrested on information from people. …

Burmese activist gets Human Rights award, India –
The most prominent political prisoner in Burma is pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained for more than 12 of the past 19 years. …

Burma seeks help to revive cyclone-affected rice region

Radio Australia, Australia –
Burma’s junta is seeking foreign help for seeds and fertiliser to revive its main rice-growing region, devastated by Cyclone Negris last May. …

YANGON (AFP) — Myanmar’s detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has accepted food rations for the first time in a month, an official said Tuesday, …


Burmese Activist Arrested (Nilar Thein)
Radio Free Asia, DC –
She had been in hiding since the junta suppressed widespread protests that began in August 2007 and came to be known as Burma’s “Saffron Revolution. ..


New arrest warrant for Thaksin
United Press International –

… was for his failure to appear in court for a hearing on a bank loan granted to the Myanmar government during his regime, the Thai News Agency reported. …

New arrest warrant for ex-PM Thaksin, India –

Fresh arrest warrant for Thaksin The Press Association –

Another arrest warrant issued for Thaksin ABC Online, Australia –

Thai court issues arrest warrant for Thaksin Independent Online, South Africa –

New arrest warrant issued for ex-PM Thaksin Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand –

MOST E-MAILED RTT News, NY – Thai Court Issues Another Arrest Warrant For Ex-P.M.


Activists and member states discuss ASEAN rights body
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Aung Myo Min, director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, attended the ASEAN meeting and said there was debate between nations on the source …

Impractical trade policy hits Burmese manufacturers hard, India –
Such businesses are irresponsible socially, ethically and environmentally in Burma, the academic added. However, the ruling junta when it comes to the …

Regional Workshop on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products to Be …
MedIndia, India –
… Burma, Bhutan, China, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timur-leste. …


70-year-old woman arrested and missing, India –
Most of the leaders of 88 Gen Students are now hiding but are circulating statements to the Burmese community by emails. Mizzima cannot reach them for their …

Burma arrests rebel over cafe bombing, Australia –
BURMA has arrested an ethnic rebel fighter over the bombing of a video cafe that left two dead, state media reported today, warning that insurgents could be …

On their way to ‘Bawa Kawng’
Battle Creek Enquirer, MI –
It’s why some 60 members of the Burmese community in Battle Creek — political refugees of the totalitarian regime in their Asian homeland, …

[AFP] The Australian parliament has heard that the continued detention of Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is a “major impediment” to any …

Censor Board tightens screws, India –
The print media in Burma is incurring heavy losses due to the overcautious and stricter censorship. The publishers of print media in Burma have to submit …

Iowa students among leadership graduates, IA –
Full scholarships will be offered to up to five orphan students from China’s earthquake and Burma’s cyclone disaster areas with the hope they can gain …

McCain and Obama on China
Mid Columbia Tri City Herald, WA –
Both say they will press China to lean on such allies as Burma, Iran and Sudan. One side note to all this, while much of the world is mesmerized by the US …

Plainclothes Informers Planted in Sittwe
Narinjara News, Bangladesh –
Sittwe: Arakan State capital Sittwe has become a major city in the opposition movement against the Burmese military junta due to government misrule in the …

Myanmar’s Junta Eases Restrictions on Opposition Leader Under …
New York Times, United States –
… May 2003 she has rarely been allowed to see visitors outside her gated, guarded compound in downtown Yangon, the main city in Myanmar, formerly Burma. …

Myanmar warns against more bomb attacks in Yangon
Xinhua, China –
… Light of Myanmar, the bombers, sent by the organizations including the Kayin National Union (KNU) and the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), …

US: Congress Acts to Prosecute Recruiters of Child Soldiers
Human Rights Watch (press release) –
… 2008 will permit the United States to prosecute foreign military commanders who recruit child soldiers abroad, Human Rights Watch said today. …

Five Activists Win Human Rights Watch Awards (Bo Kyi for Burma )
Human Rights Watch (press release) –
(New York, September 15, 2008) – Five brave and selfless advocates of human rights from Burma, Congo, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan have been …

A Caribbean Burma
Voice of America –
When a cyclone devastated Burma this spring, that country’s famously secretive military junta refused to allow Western aid groups to enter the country to …

Burmese Activists Petition for Seat at the United Nations
Free Speech Radio News, CA –
Burmese in exile are challenging the legitimacy of the military junta this week at the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, claiming the repressive ..

Restrictions Eased on Burmese Opposition Leader
New York Times, United States –
“I share the frustration many feel with the situation in Myanmar,” he said. “We have not seen the political progress I had hoped for. …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 16, 2008 at 1:20 am

Day 22 – Anti-government protesters Vs Thaksin’s new puppet

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Thaksin Relative Has Party Backing for Thai Prime Minister Voice of America –

thailand: Political turmoil puts off tourists and investors Monday Morning, Lebanon –

Thailand’s political crisis grows over Parliament Philippine Star, Philippines –

Thailand protest Cambodia over troop intrusion Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Somchai expresses confidence if elected as new PM Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Security at parliament tightened Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Thais Say Asean Summit Is On Schedule Bernama, Malaysia –

Thailand ready to host ASEAN summit despite political turmoil Xinhua, China –

Bangkok ready to host Asean meetings : Govt spokesman Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Thai ruling party claims consensus Washington Times, DC –

UPDATE 1-Thai ruling party rebels agree on PM candidate Forbes, NY –

Dissident PPP faction to back Somchai as PM, after all Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand –

Thailand: Faction Of Ruling Party Rejects Somchai As Next PM Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysia –

Thai Ex-PM: No need for gov`t of national reconciliation yet Mathaba.Net, UK –

Thai party rallies behind Somchai BBC News, UK –

Somchai moves step closer to PM job as split in PPP ends Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Thai court issues arrest warrant for Thaksin The National, United Arab Emirates –

Thailand issues arrest warrant for Thaksin CNN International –

Far more bizarre Cebu Daily News, Philippines –

PM pick splits Thai ruling party, Qatar –

Thailand’s great train push derails on politics (Feature) Monsters and –

No election – for now Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Thai MPs haggle for posts ahead of PM vote Reuters –

Thai protesters sit tight while govt bickers The Associated Press –

Thailand’s new economics and politics have collided Pattaya Today, Thailand –

Coalition parties oppose house dissolution Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Reason to grumble Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Thailand protests: Conflict of elites Global Voices Online, MA –

Sign Asia no-shows reflect crisis impact Bangkok Post, Thailand –

THAI RATH COMMENT : Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Somchai’s track record suggests he’s just not right for the job Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Academics support Somchai as next PM Bangkok Post, Thailand –

‘People’s govt’ proposal fails to win support Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Ruling party backs Thaksin relative for PM, UK –

Thai leaders face new puppet claim Scotsman, United Kingdom –

Anger as Thaksin ally is nominated Thailand The National, United Arab Emirates –

Thai protesters sit tight while government bickers over political … The Canadian Press,  Thailand –

Thaksin clan in power play The Standard, Hong Kong –

Thai protesters sit tight while govt bickers The Associated Press –

Astrologers benefit from Thai turmoil Denver Post, CO –

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 16, 2008 at 1:19 am