Thursday, September 11, 2008

5 PKR members leave for Taiwan

Friday September 12, 2008 MYT 1:48:48 PM

5 PKR members leave for Taiwan

KUALA LUMPUR: Five PKR members flew to Taipei, Taiwan, on Friday. Following close on the heels of the Barisan Nasional backbenchers, the PKR leaders have been sent to Taiwan “to see how agricultural progress can be made.”

Election bureau deputy head Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan MP) flew off on Friday morning, while information chief Tian Chua (Batu MP), strategic director Saifuddin Nasution (Machang MP), supreme council member Low Chee Cheong and Elizabeth Wong (Selangor state executive councillors) are flying off at 2.20pm.

Anwar's target MPs returning home tomorrow

TAIPEI, Sept 12 The four dozen Malaysian MPs who are on an -agriculture- tour of Taiwan will officially end their trip tomorrow, and some of them had already left for home, said lawmaker Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, who organised the trip.

Their return would blunt any excuse by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim if he is not able to deliver on his promise to topple the government through crossovers by Tuesday because some of the potential defector MPs were in Taiwan.

As the deadline looms, four leaders from Anwar's Parti Keadilan Rakyat are expected to travel to Taiwan today to meet the MPs, said party strategist Saifuddin Nasution.

Tiong, chairman of the ruling Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club, said: -Officially, our tour finishes on Sept 13. In fact, about five to six MPs had already gone back on Wednesday.-

-So there is still time to Sept 16,- he told The Straits Times yesterday in an interview.

However, he was quick to add: -But I cannot rule out that some of them may want to extend their stay by one or two days.-

But he said he did not know about any MPs making such plans, even though personally he is planning a private trip to China and possibly Vietnam before heading home.

Anwar has promised to take over the government by his self-imposed deadline of Sept 16, although PKR officials yesterday acknowledged that they might not be able to make it by that date.

The MPs, who arrived in Taiwan on Monday, were earlier scheduled to return to Malaysia around Sept 17.

The hastily arranged tour during the Muslim fasting month has been panned by the opposition as a panic reaction of a government unsure of the loyalty of its MPs.

Nearly half of the backbenchers hail from Sabah and Sarawak the states with a clutch of MPs rumoured to be considering defecting to the opposition.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Henry Chen said he was not aware of any impending visit by Anwar or his party officials.

-There is no need for them to inform us because Malaysians travelling to Taiwan are granted landing visas,- he told The Straits Times.

Anwar has claimed that he has made tacit pacts with dozens of lawmakers who could potentially join his camp.

Asked about PKR's claim that its officials had set up meetings with the MPs, Tiong said the lawmakers could decide for themselves whether to meet them.

-Can the MPs meet them? Why not? They have their own passports with them.-

But BN Backbenchers Club deputy chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said the allegations that some of the MPs were considering Anwar's offer were baseless.

Over the past days, the MPs have visited Taiwan's agricultural counties such as Ilan in the north and Pingtung in the south.

As part of the tour, they visited a leisure farm in Ilan and learnt about the cultivation technology for tropical fruits at the National Ping Tung University of Science and Technology, a top-notch agricultural school in Taiwan.

The MPs headed back north to Taipei yesterday after visiting southern Kaohsiung earlier in the day.

They are expected to spend the remaining days meeting agricultural officials in the capital. The Straits Times

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