Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Makkal Sakti Party - a "new" party that sounds like the MIC, looks like the MIC, but it's not the MIC?

The Prime Minister's acceptance to launch the Malaysia Makkal Sakti Party (MMSP) on October 10 is not a real surprise to many who have been following political development in the country.

Since assuming the post as Malaysia's sixth Prime Minister, Najib who has realised that he cannot rely on MCA and MIC to regain the non Malay support for Barisan Nasional (BN), has embarked on a strategy to woo non Malay support directly.

What surprises though is that while MMSP President R. S. Thanenthiran claims that they are an independent party, yet he is so quick and eager to show MMSP's support for BN.

Thanenthiran should ask himself these questions:-

1. Will a truly independent political party invite the BN Prime Minister to officiate its launching?

2. Will a truly independent party say they are working with the Prime Minister as partners?

3. Will a truly independent party pledge support for the BN in the upcoming Bagan Pinang by election?

4. Will a truly independent party have its application of formation approved by the Registrar of Societies "within a matter of weeks"?

It is therefore no surprise that the former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir says that MMSP could be Barisan Nasional’s trump card in regaining the support of the Indian community with the MIC losing grassroots support.

No wonder a reader has commented in a news portal that MMSP is a "new" party that sounds like the MIC, looks like the MIC, but it's not the MIC!

Thanenthiran must bear in mind that he could hijack the Makkal Sakti slogan, but he can never hijack the Makkal Sakti spirit.

Anyone or political party that betrays the spirit , hopes and sacrifices of Makkal Sakti will and must be rejected by the Indian community.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lantern festive event on 27th September 2009

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib said last night that the 1Malaysia Lantern Festival will be made an annual event and promoted as one of the country’s tourism products.

The Prime Minister also said that by organising this event, “we do not only accept the diversity of our multi-racial society but also celebrate the uniqueness of Malaysia.”

He further said the event was in line with the 1Malaysia concept and expressed hope it would be seen as another brick built upon national unity towards the concept.

It seems that following the launch of his 1 Malaysia concepts, many things and events are going to be called 1 Malaysia or interpreted as 1 Malaysia.

When a new trust fund was set up recently, it was called Amanah Saham 1 Malaysia .

Hari Raya open houses have been around for a long time , now Najib says it is manifestation of the 1 Malaysia concepts.

When Malaysia set up its own FI racing team , it will be called 1 Malaysia F1. Millions of taxpayer’s money would be spent to organize this event. Good money thrown away!

What actually is 1 Malaysia ? Many people are still unclear what it means. Some people have joked that does it means that were previously two or three Malaysia ?

Najib had explained before that the basis of 1Malaysia was the principle of justice for all races, and this meant that all the people would be taken care of and no one would be marginalised.

Why has the FI racing team to do with justice for all races? Has 1 Malaysia replaced our nation's name called Malaysia? Why can’t it be simply called Malaysia F1 team?

If 1 Malaysia is truly a concept where there is justice for all, it must mean there is equality for all. Every Malaysian, irrespective of race and religion must have an equal place under the Malaysian sun.

Many BN government's policies do not reflect and are not consistent with 1 Malaysia concept. Come next election, Najib must be judged not how loud or often he has shouted the 1 Malaysia slogans, but whether the government policies are just to all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wages Council ineffective in ensuring fair and just pay for workers

It is widely reported that thousands of workers in the private sector can expect higher salaries soon after the Human Resources Ministry reviews the Wages Council Act 1947. It says that these include those in the security, hospitality, electronic and textile sectors.Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the Wages Council had been reactivated to review salaries in several sectors. “In the next few months, you will get announcements on a few areas where we have already done our work,” .

Subramaniam had said that previously, the salary in the security industry was as low as RM300 to RM400. Most of them will need to work on 12-hour shifts to get salaries of between RM700 and RM800.” Subramaniam said the ministry intervened to make the changes to enable those working in the sector to earn meaningful salaries.

While this is welcomed news for those workers who will benefit from the review, it cannot be denied that the Wages Council has not been effective in ensuring fair and just pay for the nation's workers.

The question which Subramaniam did not address is the fact that the previous review was conducted about a decade ago. Why has the BN government subjected those in the field of security industry as well as other sectors to unfair, unjust and unreasonable pay all this while?
Does not the government realise that even after having worked for 12 hours per day, those who get paid RM 800 per month are still finding it difficult to make ends meet?

What we need is a Minimum Wage Act which will ensure reasonable wage for the workers who have contributed tremendously to the nation's economic growth and development. I have raised on numerous occasions on the necessity for a Minimum Wage policy.

Employees need protection as they have very weak bargaining powere on wages. Thus it’s the duty of a government to enact a law on Minimum wages so that workers are not paid pittance by employers.

When asked about the government's rejection to impose minimum wage for the workers, former Human Resources Minister Dato Fong Chan On had said that it would impede foreign competition and discourage foreign investment in Malaysia. Present Human Resources Minister Dato Subramaniam ' excuse is a different one, giving slow economy as the reason.

If slow economy is the reason, Malaysians want to know why the government had not introduced the Minimum Wage Act when economy was good? Additionally, many countries like Japan and USA do have minimum wage but yet their economy is doing better than us. So the Minimum Wage Act is feasible, contrary to claims by the government.

As the government has defined the poverty line as RM 1200 a month per household in the Third Outline Perspective Plan 2001-2010, the government should introduce a Minimum Wage Act that imposes a minimum wage of RM 1000 and COLA of RM 200 per month for all employees in the country.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why face more humiliation, Datuk Seri Samy?

Under pressure from former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir's public comment that he has become a liability to BN, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said Friday he had already discussed his retirement plan with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last June and would stick to it.

It was obvious that Samy Vellu had revealed the existence of a succession plan so as to prevent further pressures and calls on him to quit his presidency. But his hope was dashed with comments made by the Prime Minister on Sunday.

Datuk Seri Najib had told the media Sunday that he would meet Samy Vellu for the second time this year to discuss the party's succession plan. Najib was quoted as saying , "He had outlined his plan to me. At that time, he said it was not possible for him to go as it would leave the MIC in an unstable situation."But now that the party elections are over, it is possible for Samy Vellu and me to discuss the future of the MIC in the context of Barisan Nasional without being seen as interfering in the party's affairs."

This is the first time that Najib has openly talked about MIC's succession plan . And the message is so clear . What does Najib want to discuss with Samy if his intention is not to hasten MIC's succession plan?

Two things are in fact very clear now. Firstly, although Najib has not said it as bluntly as Tun Mahathir that Samy has become a liability, he certainly holds the same view. That is why he told the media that if the MIC was not strong, it would be a burden to the BN.

Secondly, Samy is still unwilling to quit his presidency. That is why he said yesterday that he was prepared to hand over the leadership of the party "tomorrow" if his deputy Datuk G. Palanivel was ready to take over.

Will anyone within and outside MIC will ever believe that Palanivel can and will tell Samy that he is ready to take over the MIC 's presidency " tomorrow" or at any other time? .Surely Palanivel cannot be so ungrateful and rude to his political mentor who still has firm grip on the party.

Therefore, Samy's remarks that he is prepared to go even tomorrow if Palanivel thinks he is ready to take over the party presidency is nothing but just a political wayang kulit. But this will not change an important fact , that is , Tun Mahathir views him as a liability to BN and Datuk Seri Najib wants to hasten MIC's succession plan.

Najib's meeting with Samy to discuss MIC's succession plan is in fact an interference by BN or UMNO into MIC's affairs and succession plan.

Najib's earlier hint at the 63rd MIC Congress that a leader should be popular with the people and Tun Mahathir''s public call that Samy has become a liability to BN are politically humiliating. It is puzzling why Samy wants to subject himself and MIC to further political humiliation. He should know the honorable choice for him is -either he quits politics altogether or MIC quits BN.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Samy's honorable choice-- either he quits politics or MIC quits BN

At the recent MIC Congress, the Prime Minister had commented that a leader must not only be popular within the party but must be so among the people. It was clear to all that Dato Seri Najib was sending a clear message to MIC president Dato Samy Vellu.

Samy obviously knew he was the target of the message and had immediately responded to Najib's comments..He retorted that in last year's general election , the Indian community was fed up with Barisan Nasional (BN ), and not him.

Yesterday, Former Prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir had said he was worried that the people’s support for the BN would erode and the coalition would be the victim because Samy Vellu was still leading the MIC.He said that Samy Vellu must step down as party president because he must take responsibility for the party’s failure in the last general election and for his own loss.He also said leaders who resorted to money, pressure, abuse of power and threats could remain as party presidents but would not win elections.

The ball is now in Samy's court. Samy can continue to cling on to his position but he cannot deny the fact that never before in the history of BN history that has the chief of a component party been so bluntly told that he has become a political liability. If this is not political humiliation, then nobody will know what is humiliation.

The honorable thing that Samy should do is to either quit politics altogether or to get MIC to quit BN.

Last Sunday, Samy was quoted in the NST report as saying "We cannot forget one important point... the Indian community was wounded for many years. No approaches (were made) by the government to see what was the problem. Now they (the government) are very interested to see something done. If we had done it five, 10 or 15 years ago, what is happening today would not have happened,".

Such remarks have clearly meant that Samy has admitted that both the BN government and MIC have failed the Indian community. Isn't such admission good enough reason for Samy to either quit as MIC president or for him to get MIC to quit BN?
In May last year, former Gerakan president Dato Seri Lim Kheng Yaik had told Sin Chew Daily that BN component parties like MCA, MIC and Gerakan ended up with status like that of "beggars" as they were not treated as equal partners in the BN coalition.

With the lack of confidence from the Prime Minister in his ability to regain Indian support, how could Samy change MIC's "beggar "status in the BN coalition and prevent the Indian community from being further wounded?

It will be Samy's choice if he chooses to remain as MIC president and continue to be wounded by humiliating remarks that he has become a political liability, but he should realise that the real and honorable choice for him is to either quit politics altogether or for MIC to quit the BN coalition of which he has claimed people are fed up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Police needs to address the problems of illegal jaga kereta and high crime rates

Local business community around the Ipoh Central Market area have complained that illegal jaga kereta has become a nuisance to the extent that even motorcyclists are forced to pay parking fees. When the motorcyclists refuse to pay, they will be threatened. In many instances, sticks are used by the illegal jaga kereta to extort parking fees.

Business community also in the process suffers, as customers are reluctant to frequent areas where illegal jaga kereta operate. Mr Kwan Chun Weng, the owner of Sin Meng Kee, a very well known vegetarian shop, has said that his business has been affected and he has also been threatened by the illegal jaga kereta.

Together with DAP Pasir Pinji branch chairman Mr.Lee Kin Chiew, my political secretary Sdr. Tanabalan, I had visited the affected areas. We had asked the local authority parking enforcement personnel to be present.

As we were discussing with Mr. Kwan Chun Weng, we saw an illegal jaga kereta demanding parking fee from a motorist. Immediately the parking enforcement officers sprang into action and the illegal jaga kereta was arrested and handed over to the police.

I later rang the local police head DSP Glean who agreed to ensure better security around the area immediately. Kuan also informs us that in the last 3 years 6 breakins has taken place to his shop. The Jaga kereta chaps are suspected to be involved in the breakins.

The 2005 Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police Police has recommended that Police Department to take steps to arrest the alarming increase of crime rate in the country.

However, Crime statistics from 1997-2004 have gone up by 29%. From 2004-2008, the Crime Index has increased by 35.5%. Incidences of crime for 2007 and 2008 are 209,582 and 211, 645 cases respectively.

The Royal Commission recommended that crime cases should decrease by at least 20% per year. But the opposite is happening!

Public confidence in the Police Force will continue to erode unless stern steps are taken to bring down the crime rate in the country. For a start, uniform police officers must be patrolling the streets openly and better still walking around.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The draconian ISA must be abolished

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein announced yesterday the conditional release of five Jemaah Islamiah members detained under the Internal Security Act ( ISA). Of the five, one had been detained since 2002 while the other four since 2007. 13 ISA detainees were also released on the first day Datuk Seri Najib became the Prime Minister a few months ago.

While the releases are welcomed, the government must be reminded that majority of Malaysians still want the draconian ISA to be abolished.

A Star report dated 8.8.2009 has quoted the Prime Minister as saying that the government will not use ISA to detain politicians. He said that ISA will only be used on those who jeopardize public unrest and security.

Given the government's past record of ISA abuses, can we trust Najib's assurance? Were not some politicians detained on the lame excuse that they had jeopardized public order and security?

The government cannot deny the fact that the history of ISA is a record of abuses by the previous Alliance and the present BN government. National security has often become an excuse for the use of ISA to detain political dissidents, unionists and activists.

In fact, Cabinet Minister Dato Shabery Chik had last year said that during Tun Dr Mahathir's leadership" many were detained under the ISA supposedly because they were a threat to national security when in actual fact they were a threat to his leadership"

Government's promises and assurance that ISA will not be misused or abused do not have credibility and cannot be accepted. Moreover, ISA cannot continue to exist as it provides for detention without trial which goes against the fundamental principle of the Rule of Law.The only right option is to abolish the ISA.

If Hishammuddin is not convinced that the majority of Malaysians want ISA repealed, then I will repeat my earlier challenge that the government should carry out a national referendum and let the people decide whether ISA should be abolished.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Education Minister must rescind the unpractical , unfair and outdated regulation

In its headline news report dated 11.9.2009 , Sin Chew Daily carried a statement by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of SJK ( C) Sentul , Kuala Lumpur which said that the Planning Division of the Education Ministry has notified that schools will have to prove that they have at least 80 % of the school building fund before the Ministry will approve their application to build schools or purchase land. It was also revealed that several Chinese schools have received the notification either orally or in writing

DAP strongly opposes this shocking and unfair move by the Ministry.

Due to the unwillingness of the BN government to build Chinese primary schools on a need basis, overcrowding of students in some schools and shortage of schools in certain areas in the country have been the result. Many schools have chosen to solve or alleviate problem by embarking on school expansion projects whereby more classrooms are built. The expansion projects will sometimes involve purchase of new land.

Although Chinese primary school is already part of the nation's school system, the responsibility of raising fund to build the extra classrooms has to be borne by the Board of Directors. The Chinese community always place education as a top priority and they have been playing very vital role with their generous support and contribution.

It is a normal practice that before any fund raising effort is carried out, a school will have to have its expansion project approved. Without the Education Ministry's approval, how can any school launch its fund raising project?

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong has explained that the regulation has long existed but flexibility has been allowed.

This is not a good enough explanation. The people are entitled to know if flexibility has been allowed, why has the Planning Davison now decided not to continue to be flexible with the regulation ?

Chinese primary schools have made great contribution to the nation by helping to educate so many citizens of this country. It is already unfair and frustrating that they have to raise funds from the public in their school expansion plans, it is even more unfair and frustrating that the Education Ministry is now hampering their efforts with a ridiculous regulation.

There is a saying that if you unable to help, at least you must not frustrate a person's efforts.Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must immediately rescind the ridiculous, unfair, outdated and unpractical regulation.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Can MIC assure that the Indian community will no longer be wounded ?

Obviously unhappy with what seemed to be the Prime Minister's hint at 63rd MIC congress that he was not popular with the people, MIC president Dato Samy Vellu had said that the Indian community did not vote for BN in the last general election because they were fed-up with it and not with him.

"We cannot forget one important point... the Indian community was wounded for many years. No approaches (were made) by the government to see what was the problem. Now they (the government) are very interested to see something done. If we had done it five, 10 or 15 years ago, what is happening today would not have happened," he said, according to the Sunday's NST report.

The questions which Samy did not address are:

1. why did he choose to stay on in the BN if the government did not help the Indians for so many years ?

2. was he not admitting that the BN and MIC had failed the Indians?

3. would he now be critical of the government if MIC had not suffered its worst electoral debacle in the 2008 March elections?

4. why did it take him so long to admit that BN had failed the Indian community?

In May last year, former Gerakan president Dato Seri Lim Kheng Yaik had told Sin Chew Daily that BN component parties like MCA, MIC and Gerakan ended up with status like that of beggars as they were not treated as equal partners in the BN coalition.

How effective could " beggar ministers' like Lim Kheng Yaik and Samy Vellu be? It is therefore no wonder that Samy, despite having been the longest serving MIC minister in the Cabinet, has failed the Indian community.

Since MIC has chosen to remain in the BN , is Samy now prepared to declare that MIC will not accept BN's beggar politics anymore? How is he going to assure that the Indian community who have been wounded for many years will no longer be wounded?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Why the hesitation to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry , YAB Prime Minister?

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib announced yesterday that the Cabinet has set up a special task force to look into the Port Klang Free Zone ( PKFZ ) project. The task force will be headed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek .

The question the people want to know is why has the Cabinet not set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the project which has become the" scandals of all scandals "?

The scandal is not a new issue and to date so many questions remain unanswered. Neither has any one been prosecuted although a special task force appointed has completed and submitted its investigation. What is causing the Cabinet's hesitation in setting up a RCI to fully investigate this RM 12.5 bil scandal?

Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had earlier said that a RCI should be set up . He should tell the people whether he did make such a proposal at yesterday's Cabinet meeting and if he did , why were Cabinet members not supportive of his proposal?

When columnist Baradan Kuppusamy had written in an article titled " Tee Keat takes the hard- but right course" that Tee Keat seemed to be fighting a lone battle for transparency and accountability, the Prime Minister's office had issued a statement to clarify that the government was not indifferent towards the PKFZ issue and that relevant authorities, including the Public Accounts Committee were already conducting their investigations.

I had said that such clarification would not convince the people that the government had taken serious and sufficient efforts to investigate the scandal. I am sure again that if a government survey is carried out to gauge public opinion on the setting up of the special task force headed by Tan Sri Mohd Sidek and a RCI , the result will be overwhelming support for the setting up of a RCI.

The Straits Times has reported that the findings of the special task force headed by senior Malaysian lawyer Vinayak Pradhan had identified former transport minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy as among people who had not carried out their duties with adequate care. New Straits Times also said that they read the yet to be released report.

Many Malaysians are now wondering whether it is true that the yet to released report has been leaked. Why is there no official reaction from the Government on this?

A special task force headed by lawyer Vinayak Pradhan was set up . Now a super task force headed by Tan Sri Mohd Sidek is formed. Malaysians are now joking that a super super task force headed by the Prime Minister himself may be formed when the super task force submits its findings to the Cabinet.

The joke simply shows that the Cabinet has failed to convince the people of its commitment to transparency and accountability on the PKFZ scandal . The Cabinet should know that the single most important issue which has baffled the Malaysian public and the most important answer that they want to know is this - why is the Cabinet hesitant in setting up a RCI to investigate the RM 12.5 bil scandal?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gerakan should be consistent and raise the repeal of PPPA in Cabinet

Gerakan secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow had on 7.9.2009 urged the government to abolish the annual licensing of newspapers immediately to promote a freer, fairer and more vibrant press in the country.He said in a statement that the need to renew the printing permit every year had in way affected the press to discharge its watchdog role impartially and effectively.

What Teng said was not something new as such call had always been made by the DAP and other Opposition parties as well as many NGOs.

DAP 's stand on this issue is very clear and consistent- that the annual licensing must be abolished. We have always , inside and outside the Parliament , fought for the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publication Act ( PPPA) which makes annual permit renewal application mandatory for publishers and printers.

Media is considered as the fourth estate in a democracy. A free Press is needed for democracy to flourish. People can only make informed judgment and decisions if they are given the full information by the free and independent media. The people will not be able to obtain full information if there is no press freedom. And there cannot be press freedom so long the annual licensing requirement exists.

While the BN component parties do not have to rely on their party organs to spread their political messages, Opposition parties which need to do so through their party organs have also to face the undemocratic decision of the Home Ministry. Besides having to apply for annual permit renewal, Opposition party organs too have been imposed with unfair restrictions, the most unfair being the one which restricts the organs' circulation to Party members only.

After having suffered their worst electoral setback in the 2008 general election, Gerakan leaders have obviously decided that they should be bold and open in articulating political issues.

However, Gerakan will be making a mistake if they think that they will impress the voters merely by being bold and open in articulating issues. What voters want from a political party in power is results , and not just words.

If abolition of annual permit requirement for newspapers is indeed the policy of Gerakan, then their President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon must be prepared to raise the repeal of PPPA in the Cabinet.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Are you serious, MACC?

A Sept 5 Bernama report has said that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will monitor campaigns carried out by candidates and the MIC party election process to be held on Sept 12 and 13 to curb political corruption.

The MACC 's move was being taken following a front-page report in a Tamil newspaper, Malaysian Nanban headlined "RM300 for MIC delegates in Melaka", that claimed that MIC delegates from the state were given the money as well as a compact disc by a candidate contesting in the party election.

The Commission also urged any delegate who had been offered cash to vote for the candidate concerned to lodge a report with the MACC so that further action could be taken.

I have two questions for the MACC. Firstly, will they carry out investigation on their own initiative irrespective of whether a report is lodged? Secondly, have they started investigations into the allegation made by MIC president that there was vote buying at the MIC Youth and Wanita elections held on 16.8.2009.

There have been past cases where MACC have initiated investigations following media report of alleged corruption, so there should be no reason why MACC cannot act on their own and investigate the alleged corruption reported by Malaysian Nanban.

Before announcing the results of the MIC Youth and Wanita polls held on 16.8.2009 , MIC president Dato Seri Samy Vellu was reported to have warned the 500 delegates that certain members were dabbling in money politics which was creeping into the party. The NST report also mentioned that Samy had said he had identified the culprits and would take actions against them.

If till today MACC have not started investigations into the allegation exposed by MIC president , how is MACC going to convince the people that they will take the " RM300 for MIC delegates in Melaka" claim seriously?

If MACC have not started investigation on the vote buying allegation made by Samy Vellu, then they must publicly explain why?

Monday, September 7, 2009

MB Tan Sri Khalid's decision to shelve the temple relocation is a disappointment.

Anyone who watches the video of the dialogue between the Selangor Mentri Besar and residents of Section 23 of Sham Alam held on 5.9.2009 can easily tell that those who constantly shouted and disrupted the meeting had no intention of engaging in a discussion on the issue of temple relocation.

It is so clear that right from the beginning, these people were there not to listen or discuss, but merely to disrupt the meeting.

I am surprised that Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim did not tell those present that the dialogue would only proceed if there was no shouting and disruption.

I am shocked that he even announced shelving of the temple relocation at the meeting after he had on 21 August vowed that he would not buckle under Umno's threat to apply for an injunction against the temple relocation.
Many opposition supporters I spoke to have voiced their disappointment with the Mentri Besar's announcement. While they believe that the Selangor state government will finally find an alternative site for the temple relocation, they feel that his decision will give very wrong messages to the people.

The first wrong message is that these who are unhappy with a state government 's decision can exert pressure by shouting and disrupting at a dialogue and carrying out cow head demonstration.

The second wrong message is that grounds like Muslim majority area is an acceptable reason for rejection of a building of an Indian temple, even if the location is some 200 m away from the nearest house.

If the Muslim majority ground can be accepted, then how many places in Selangor are non Muslim majority areas where their places of worship can be built? In other countries where Muslims are the minority, is there a suitable place for them?

We live in a multi racial and multi religious society and mutual respect for each other is of utmost importance . Malaysians must always be sensitive to each other's feelings and sensitivity.The residents' therefore have the right to object and protest but the ground for doing so must be reasonable , fair and justified.

Before the cow head demonstration took place, Pakatan Rakyat ( PR ) Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad had publicly explained that the most practical and strategic location for the temple is in Section 23, where it will be 200m from the nearest house and 200 m from a surau.

There are areas in Malaysia where places of worship of different religions are situated not far from each other and there has been no problem or complaint of not respecting one's sensitivity.

5.9.2009 was a day the protestors prevailed but it was a black day for 1 Malaysia.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Don't try to defend the indefensible!

Obviously under pressures from public and heavy criticisms of his defending the cow head protest, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein had issued a statement two days ago saying that he wanted those who brought the cow head charged in court.

Though he has now said the right thing, it is baffling to me how he could have defended and justified what is indefensible.

In this regard, former Selangor Khir Toyo and Deputy Minister Datuk Mukriz Tun Mahathir must apologise for defending the demonstration .

A report says that Khir has defended the protest, saying no offence was meant , and that the protestors wanted to compare what he said was the stupidity of the animal to the Pakatan Rakyat state government.

I have been given to understand by some Chinese friends that sometimes they do use the term "ben zhu" ( silly pig) to describe a silly person. If a pig head protest is carried out by some people against the building of a mosque by Barisan Nasional government, will Khir accept their argument that the pig head is only meant to symbolise the stupidity of some BN leaders?

It is shocking that Mukriz has not only supported Hishammuddin's earlier defence of the demonstration but has also said that charging the protestors will only cause more public unrest.

What message will the government send to the protestors and the people if those who have committed act of sacrilege against a religion are not charged? The protestors have not only hurt the feelings of the Hindus, they have also threatened bloodshed. Can they be let off?

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin has realised his "mistake" and has assured Malaysians that those responsible for bringing the cow head to the protest be charged in court. Khir and Mukriz should know they must never defend the indefensible. Both of them must retract what they said and apologise for their mistakes.They should publicly support Hishammuddin's position that the culprits be charged in court.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Politicians are rats from gutter. And people?

I remember watching a movie sometime ago in which two friends were engaged in a conversation of a peculiar topic. The woman comes from an ideal family as opposed to the man who is from a family that has gone through indescribable hardship.

In the conversation the woman poses a question to the man,

The woman: If a wolf enters a house of a farmer and takes the farmer’s child away into the woods and eats up the child, do you think the wolf is bad?

The man: The answer depends on the question asked. Since the question is about the character of the wolf, you need to be a wolf yourself to get the right answer.

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Hishammuddin should resign as Home Minister - 3rd Sept 2009

Media reports have said that after meeting the Shah Alam Section 23 residents committee members 2nd Sept 2009 over the cow head demonstration, Home Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein had explained that the demonstration last Friday was not meant to incite racial hatred but to show their dissatisfaction to the state government.He even said that the organisers were not aware that somebody was going to bring the cow head to the demonstration .

It is just unbelievable that Hishammuddin Tun Hussein could defend the cow head demonstration !
Why should he , as the Home Minister, meet the residents before the Police have completed their investigations? How could he even defend the demonstration before the Police have submitted their investigation papers to the Attorney General?
Hishammuddin should also explain why he said that the cow head demonstration was not the first incident where animal head was used in a protest. He revealed that a pig's head, wrapped in the Umno flag, was left at Menara Tun Hussein Onn at the Party organisation.
Is he trying to play down the cow head incident with such revelation?
Whether it is a pig head or cow head protest, the Home Minister must condemn it and ensure that the culprits are caught and prosecuted.
Although Hishammuddin was quoted in a NST report that " any one who causes strife, hurt and instability would face action" , public confidence in such assurance has been eroded by his defence and justification of the demonstration.
A responsible Home Minister cannot and must not defend a protest which involves an act of sacrilege to any religion. Surely Hishammuddin cannot be so blind not to know that the cow head demonstration has hurt the feelings of the Hindu community.
It is his right if he wants to defend and justify the cow head demonstration as an Umno political leader, but he must be prepared to resign as the Home Minister.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cabinet should set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the PKFZ scandal

In his article titled " Tee Keat takes the hard- but right-course " which appeared in the Sunday Star dated 30.8.2009, columnist Baradan Kuppusamy said that " as far as whistle blowing goes, there is simply no comparison to what MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has done with the Port Klang Free Trade Zone (PKFZ) issue".

I am sure no Cabinet minister would feel comfortable when they read what Baradan further said.

Baradan had further written that " For some baffling reason, however,Ong, who is a Cabinet member and president of a party seems to be fighting a lone battle for transparency and accountability. Thus far,he has only got lukewarm support from the Barisan Nasional and the Government both of which are pinning their hopes on reinventing themselves to regain lost support."

In the face of such comments, the Government has no choice but to make a clarification and the clarification came in the form of a statement from the Prime Minister's office. The clarification was published in the Star on 31.8.2009.

The statement denied that the Government is indifferent towards the PKFZ issue. It has stated that the relevant authorities , including the Public Accounts Committee were already conducting their investigations.

Surely Baradan is aware that various authorities were already conducting their investigations. The Government must ask itself the right question -- why Baradan has mentioned the lukewarm support from the Government ?

In fact, I believe that if a survey is carried to find out public opinion on whether they agree that the Government has taken serious and sufficient efforts to investigate the RM 12.5. billion PKFZ scandal , I believe the result will be a big NO.

To date, so many questions about the PKFZ scandal remain unanswered. No one has been prosecuted.

If the Government wants to convince the public of its commitment towards transparency as well as its seriousness in getting to the bottom of the PKFZ scandal, it should set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry ( RCI ) to investigate this " mother of all scandals" and not merely clarify through a press statement from the Prime Minister's office.

The Prime Minister should know that actions speak louder than words. The action that the Malaysians want from his Government on the RM 12.5 billion PKFZ scandal , which is the scandal of scandals in Malaysia, is very obvious.

Until and unless he makes the right decision to set up the RCI, Malaysians will continue to doubt the Government's commitment towards transparency and accountability.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pakatan reps arrested, state secretariat blocked

The Perak Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives are determined to proceed with their planned state assembly sitting today despite a police order barring anyone from gathering at the state secretariat.

MCPXOusted menteri besar Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin and some of the Pakatan state reps started arriving to the state secretariat at about 8.45am. Some 150 supporters were present.

The police meanwhile have thrown a heavy security cordon around the state secretariat with Federal Reserve Unit trucks and water cannon blocking the rear entrance of the building.
The police have also cordoned off the tree under which the last Pakatan-held state assembly was held in March. About 100 police personnel are on standby.

At 9.45am, all the Pakatan representatives and their speaker V Sivakumar began walking from the Perak DAP office towards the state secretariat. They were accompanied by some 50 supporters.

Three reps arrested

When stopped by police, Perak DAP head Ngeh Koo Ham argued with them about the court order prohibiting the gathering.

"The court order says the public cannot be in the vicinity, but is silent on state assemblypersons. It is illegal to stop state assemblypersons fromperforming their duties...
"Furthermore, Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code says that such an order must be gazetted."

The group then attempted to march on, but was blocked by a row of riot police. Ngeh was arrested at 10.10am.
Also arrested was Stanley Tan, a photographer with Nanyang Siang Pau, who was said to have been kicked in the process.

He had shouted at the police: "You nak kerja, kita pun nak kerja." (We both have duties to perform.)

Also arrested were Malim Nawar state rep Keshvinder Singh and Simpang Pulai assemblyperson Chang Ming Kai. Three other members of the public were also arrested.

By 10.20am, the Pakatan reps and their supporters retreated to the state DAP headquarters which is located just behind the state secretariat.

Here Sivakumar told reporters that the assembly would be convened at the nearby Heritage Hotel based on the doctrine of necessity.

Nizar meanwhile slammed the police over their high-handed approach in arresting the three state representatives and the others.

"This is the holy month and yet they behave in such manner," said Nizar.
It was also learned that Keshvinder was hurt in the process of being arrested and has been taken to the Ipoh Hospital for treatment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Acceptance over Tolerance : The severed head of sacred cow.

I must thank a local TV Channel for reminding me about the 8 values of 1 Malaysia in their talk show on the 52nd Merdeka Day with Lee Lam Thye (Tan Sri) and Dr. Chandra Muzzaffar as their guests.
Something that one of the hosts said attracted me more than all other insignificant murmurings and mutterings. The body languages of everyone present seem to suggest that one of the 8 values and that is “Acceptance” as opposed to tolerance should be the new approach that all Malaysians should embrace.
A quick check on the prime minister’s website reveals the following:-
On the importance of acceptance over tolerance
I think there's quite a big difference between the two (tolerance and acceptance). I think when you say you tolerate, you don’t quite like it, but you accept it because you have no choice. But if you talk in terms of acceptance, it indicates a state of mind that you are embracing something positively. I think it's important for us to migrate from this concept of mere tolerance to acceptance. Acceptance in the sense that you are ready to accept things. If you’re willing to accept things, if you embrace things willingly, then I think your capacity to look at things in a more positive manner is much better than mere tolerance.”
I am afraid the prime minister though in his heightened consciousness and sharpened conscience endeavors to rebrand and promote a new culture but the prime minister too must understand that there cannot be a universal and total substitute for tolerance by acceptance.
The complexity of a multicultural society complicates the usage, performance and spirit of words and phrases. Some areas are best tolerated as gray area rather than accepting it and we must allow time with an honest reflection to devise a mechanism in which there will be mutual respect for each other.
So when the prime minister said that “I think when you say you tolerate, you don’t quite like it, but you accept it because you have no choice.” perhaps the prime minister had not considered that it is only a state of physical appearance by a deceptive mental projection that reveals a false sense of visual manifestation of “no choice” and any person who observes the physical state would appreciate and understand that there exists a revolting energy vibrating around the person who is in a state of tolerance and given time this energy would eventually translate into a combined, cumulative and potent force that may translate into mental and physical force sufficient to rebel against the elements that break the threshold of tolerance.
The simplistic interpretation of acceptance over tolerance opens up a plethora of colliding questions that touches on personal values on the sophisticated debate between Fate and Freewill.
I can, for now accept somethings as fate, that a child in birth must meet death in old age but this does not mean that I must sit and accept everything that happens to me that brings me unhappiness and this is where I would like to exercise my freewill to tolerate it for a time until it reaches a critical point of unacceptability in which I must make choices in life to confront it.
I can accept that people kill animals for food but as it is not within my power to prohibit the killing of animals for sporting purposes like the slaying of bulls by matadors, I can only tolerate it and at the same time display my displeasure in such a way that one day we may reach a critical mass of people to implement an outright prohibition of killing of animals for sporting events.
But my value of killing of animals for a certain purpose may collide with a vegetarian who for now may tolerate killing of animals for food and may engage in the same process above to attain a critical mass for change but until then he too can only tolerate.
Now it brings me to this final analysis of acceptance over tolerance.
Am I now supposed to sit back and accept the conduct of some individuals parading a severed cow head with blood splattered all around it?
No matter how I look at it, either from a religiously sensitive issue to cruelty to animals, one thing is certain and that is, I cannot accept this despicable act. And as it is not within my power to act against the people involved in this uncouth behavior, I could only tolerate it and translate my unacceptability into writings that may eventually draw like minded people into a critical mass that can demand change for mutual respect.
A state of acceptance may give rise to a phenomenon where the strong and powerful are likely to abuse the weak and meek and the weak and meek can do nothing but accept this predicament.
However an environment where there is mutual respect may promote a society in which the strong and powerful are just and fair whilst the weak and meek are protected and secure.
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