Friday, June 20, 2008

Barisan supreme council to meet

The Star : Thursday June 19, 2008 MYT 11:46:16 AM
Barisan supreme council to meet over SAPP (updated)

PETALING JAYA: The Barisan Nasional Supreme Council will hold an emergency meeting at 2.30pm to discuss Sabah Progressive Party’s (SAPP) no-confidence motion on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The party had yet to decide if one of its own Members of Parliament would table the motion in the next sitting of Parliament on Monday, or whether the motion would be tabled by an MP from another party.

The Barisan Supreme Council emergency meeting would take place at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur at 2.30pm Thursday, Barisan secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said.

Reaction within Barisan ranks to SAPP’s announcement on Wednesday was varied. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the party can accommodate dissenting voices and didn’t think there was a need to expel SAPP from the coalition party.

“It’s their right to express their views,” he said.

However, other leaders came down hard, with Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam asking for SAPP’s expulsion, describing its motion as “undisciplined, undemocratic and irresponsible.”

SAPP’s unprecedented move was announced on Wednesday by party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee, who said the no-confidence motion could spark off a groundswell within Barisan in the peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah.

Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun or Tawau MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui could propose the motion, said Yong, who also revealed that he had met Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor and de facto opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim twice.

Yong cited the “continued insensitive attitude of the Government towards serious issues in Sabah” as the main reason SAPP decided to move a motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister.

These issues included getting 20% oil royalties instead of the present 5%, the return of Labuan, poverty eradication, rural development, racial politics, illegal immigrants, crime and drugs.

He added that the people of Sabah were also suffering from high inflation because of recent “astronomical” and “unexpected” fuel price hikes, which was contrary to a Barisan election promise.

The SAPP blog is also running two polls on the matter. The first is on whether its no-confidence motion was relevant at all. At press time, 590 had voted, with 559 (94%) saying yes.

The second, which began yesterday, was on whether SAPP should remain in Barisan. As at press time, 6,423 had voted, with an overwhelming majority (5,566 or 86%) saying it should leave Barisan and join the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance.

Only 195 or 3% urged it to stay with Barisan, while 662 (about 10%) wanted it to leave Barisan but remain unaligned.

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