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Malaysian minister elected CPA chairman

Jaishree Balasubramanian in Kuala Lumpur | August 09, 2008 11:00 IST
Last Updated: August 09, 2008 11:42 IST

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Malaysian Unity and Culture Minister Mohammedd Shafie Apdal was on Saturday elected chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in a bitter contest defeating British Parliamentarian of Indian origin Lord Swraj Paul.

Out of a total 255 votes polled, Apdal, backed among others by India, got 152 ballots while Lord Paul, a nominee of Britain and Canada [Images], bagged 102 with the remaining one vote declared "spoilt".

Reacting to his election as the new chairman of the CPA, which has 15,000 members covering 177 branches, Apdal said, "It is an honour."

When the results were announced, Lord Paul went and hugged the Malaysian minister.

"It was a good election," said Paul, a Labour member of the House of Lords. "I pointed out what needs to be done by this CPA. The UK will support the new chairman to reach that aim."

Ahead of the election, the British delegation had alleged that India and Malaysia were involved in "shocking deals", a charge rebutted by the leader of the Indian delegation Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee [Images] who said the British comments were "not in good taste."

"It shows some little agony is felt somewhere," Chatterjee had said referring to a statement by Hugh Bayley, leader of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, that deals had been struck between the Indians and Malaysians three years ago when West Bengal speaker H A Halim was elected chairman.

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