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Thursday, 24 July 2008
PITA POLITIK (62): "THE THORN IN THE FLESH" OF UMNO POLITICS
The Scrap from New Straits Times
The recent UMNO's "Baca Yasin" night in Kuala Lumpur.
Thursday July 24, 2008 State exco members will use newly-purchased Mercedes cars
KUALA TERENGGANU: Terengganu executive councillors will go ahead and use the newly-purchased Mercedes E200 Kompressors although a Treasury condition says members of the administration can only use Proton Perdana executive cars.
Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said the government would stand by its decision to use the Mercedes as official cars for exco members and other state government officials.
However, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said Terengganu could have misunderstood the condition imposed by the Treasury regarding the type of cars it could purchase.
“There is a clause by the Treasury that members of the administration can only use the Proton Perdana executive cars,” said Shahrir in Putrajaya yesterday.
“Even Cabinet stated that there were no changes to the conditions imposed by the Treasury that those in the administration, like me, can only have the Proton Perdana,” he said, adding that locally-assembled cars were meant for those who were not in the administration.
Stating that the matter was discussed by the Cabinet yesterday, Shahrir, who had a press conference at his office, said the Prime Minister would announce the Cabinet's decision on the issue later.
Later yesterday, Ahmad said the state government was willing to auction off all the 14 Mercedes E200 Kompressors if the Federal Government scrapped the use of the German-made cars.
“We will do it on condition that the Federal Government bears the maintenance cost of the national car fleet.
“If they (Government) tell us to dispose of the Mercedes cars we will do so, but the state government cannot go on absorbing the high cost of maintaining the Proton Perdana cars,” he said.
Earlier in the day Ahmad had claimed that the decision to use the German-made cars was in accordance with a 2008 Treasury circular on the usage of official cars by state governments.
He said paragraph four of the circular states that exco members, state secretaries, state financial officers, state legal advisers and state Treasury officers were eligible to use Mercedes-Benz cars. (The Star Online)
Comment: There is a general saying that one action leads to the other. Political analysts aren't so sure if among the UMNO circle there are those who now believe that the Terengganu MB is becoming what the Malay proverb says "a thorn in the flesh" to the Federal Goverment.
UMNO Vice-President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, vying for the Deputy.
A newspaper cutting on Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's nomination for the Gua Musang UMNO Division
Some UMNO leaders will now say the "weak" and undecisive central government leader (s) will embolden individual state governments, especially those controlled by BN, to make state decisions, contrary to collective or cabinet decisions made in Kuala Lumpur. Such ineffective central control will lead to further political chaos. More importantly, the PM succession plan for a 2010 premier hand-over to his deputy would be in jeopardy. At the moment the Rakyat are looking forward to two important deadlines: The 16 September date for the Pakatan Rakyat's move to take over control of the Central Government and the December 2008 outcome of the UMNO Elections.
Meanwhile political leaders to watch for the coming few months: UMNO's Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Dato' Mukhriz Tun Mahathir; PKR de-facto leader Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and of course the independent Tun Mahathir Mohamad. Toining them, to a lesser extent, wiill be Dato' Ahmad Said of Terengganu and Dato' Seri Yong Teck Lee of SAPP, Sabah.