Saturday, January 30, 2010

Government should declare Thaipusam a National Public Holiday



In 2007, Thaipusam was already a holiday in 5 states, namely Selangor, Penang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Johor.




In 2008, the government had declared Thaipusam a holiday in Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.



It has long been the wish of the Hindu community that Thaipusam be declared a national public holiday.



Based on the following grounds, I wish to urge the government to declare Thaipusam a national public holiday:-





1. Thaipusam is an important festival celebrated by the Hindus who constitute a large percentage of Malaysia's population.





2. Declaring Thaipusam as a national public holiday will further reflect Malaysia's religious diversity . Many different races come and watch the process of Thaipusam. Many of these people may not be active participants , but as they are from different walks of life and races is it self a very unique attraction.





3. Every year, more than 1 million people from all over the country will converge at Batu Caves and at other temples like in Ipoh about 300,000 make it yearly. Also Thaipusam has become a tourist attraction for many. Thousands more would come to see the process, if Thaipusam is declared a national holiday rather then only a state holiday in the above 5 states.





A national holiday will therefore facilitate Malaysians and Hindus to witness or participate in the celebrations .



Speech by M.Kula Segaran at the Pakataan Rakyat stall near the (Subraminar temple) Ipoh on 30thJanuary2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Why the delay in forming an Inter Religous Council or reviving the informal Inter Religous committee

The recent spate of attacks on places of worship has tarnished our nation's international image and this will as a result drive away FDI and tourist flow into Malaysia .

But what is more worrying is that such incidents which were though minor aberrations could threaten racial harmony and peace in the country.

The latest desecration of two mosques in Kuala Lumpur must be strongly condemned by all Malaysians who cherish peace and harmony.

While it is imperative that the Police must take swift action to bring to book the culprits, the government must also take urgent steps to resolve the Allah word controversy.

An important step which cannot be delayed is the formation of an Inter Religious Council.

It is puzzling that till today the government has still not decided to set up such a Council tasked with the responsibilities to promote mutual understanding and resolve religious issues.

On January 8 this year, the former president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism, Datuk Vaithilingam had said the arson attack on churches could have been averted if dialogues and discussions were held.

He also revealed that the Inter Religious Committee had not met for a year and urged the Prime Minister to ask the Minister in charge of national unity to reconvene the committee.
On January 16, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon said that there was no immediate need for the government to set up a specific council or committee to resolve inter-religious issues in the country because an informal structure was more effective.

He said that inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogues and discussions were best carried out in a manner which is comfortable to all sides rather than in an official, rigid structure.

Can Koh explain why the informal Inter Religious Committee has not met for more than a year?

It is simply unbelievable that after the Allah word controversy has led to a spate of attacks on places of worship, the government is neither interested in setting up a formal Inter Religious Council or even reviving the informal Inter Religious Committee

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quick solution needed for the Allah word controversy

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who had recently delivered his message at the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies' lecture said that ' violence cannot be allowed in the name of religion. No religion condones violence as a means to pursue an essentially religious objective'.

I totally agree with him.

The recent spate of firebombing and arson attacks on places of worship must therefore be condemned by all who cherish religious freedom and racial harmony. The Police should be commended for nabbing several suspects of the attacks.

According to the Bernama report, during a question and answer session, Muhyiddin had told the audience of messages he received from his non- Muslim friends from Sabah and Sarawak which said that there were Christians who felt that things would not have happened in the first place if "we, the Christians would just not use the word "Allah".

I am not surprised that there can be such reactions from Malaysians who are worried about peace and harmony in the country as a result of the shameful acts of religious extremists in attacking churches.

But some Malaysians who are Muslims and non Muslims , have asked me a very pertinent question. -- would we have faced such controversy over the use of Allah word if the Home Ministry had not banned The Herald from using the word in its publication?

Undoubtedly, the controversy and the spate of attacks on places of worship have hurt Malaysia's international image and therefore foreign direct investment into the nation.

The government must therefore seek a quick solution to the controversy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Violence against a place of worship is a sin of the highest order!

The attacks on the two suraus ( Surau Silaturrahim at Kg Sabak Awor and the Parit Beting Surau ), just like the spate of attacks on the places of worship since January 8, must be condemned by all Malaysians.

I fully agree with the President of Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hin­dusim, Sikhism and Taoism Rev Dr Thomas Philips who said in a statement today that any violence against a place of worship was a sin of the highest order.

Though such incidents of attacks were minor aberrations ( to borrow the words used by the Prime Minister) they have tarnished Malaysia's international image and could jeopardize the nation's racial harmony and national unity.

Hence, at a time when the extremists are out to destroy harmony and incite hatred , Malaysians must continue to display tolerance and pray for peace.

Most important of all, the police must swiftly bring to justice all the extremists who have committed the despicable and unforgivable acts of violence.

Home Minister Hishamuddin Tun Hussein had a few days ago said the situation was under control and not serious. He should know that Malaysians have taken his assurance of " under control " to mean " no further incident of attack on places of worship".

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The PM should make TEKUN NASIONAL for all MALAYSIANS

TEKUN Nasional was established in 1998 to implement the Program Ekonomi Kumpulan Usaha Niaga (TEKUN) which provides loans to small entrepreneurs who are bumiputras.

In 2008, the government decided to allocate RM 3 million to provide financial aid to young Indian entrepreneurs and the fund would be channeled through TEKUN Nasional and the MIC-owned Yayasan Social Strategic Foundation (YSS).

The allocation was increased to RM 15 million annually last year.

While the government’s move to provide such assistance to the Indian community is most welcomed, there are various problems and weaknesses which must be addressed and solved.

I had, on December 7th last year, raised two related issues in Parliament.

They were public complaints about the long time taken to approve their applications and the running out of application forms at TEKUN Nasional offices.

Although the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, Rohani Abdul Karim explained that the forms are available at the TEKUN offices and are free of charge, I mentioned that this was not the actual situation on the ground.

I believe a major reason for the occurrence of such problems is due to the fact that YSS is also involved in receiving and processing the applications.

Why should there be an extra body to handle the applications when the applications can be directly submitted to TEKUN Nasional offices?

The YSS involvement does not only lengthens processing time, it also gives rise to suspicion that political bias may come into play as YSS is an arm of the MIC.

I therefore call on the Government to allow TEKUN Nasioanl be the sole authority to directly receive process and approve all applications for loans from the Indian community.

As the Prime Minister has talked so much about his 1 Malaysia concept whereby all races will be given assistance, he should make it a policy that TEKUN Nasional funds should be for all Malaysians, irrespective of race.


When giving her parliamentary reply, Puan Rohani reveled that TEKUN Nasional set up in 1998 to assist the bumiputras, has until Sept 31 last year, made 188,708 disbursements worth RM1.385 billion to 150,988 small entrepreneurs.

Hence, the allocation provided for the Indians is peanuts compared to the TEKUN Nasional’s total fund while the Chinese are totally left out.

Najib has said that the central theme of his 1 Malaysia concept is “Justice for All"..

Is he prepared to walk the talk and make TEKUN Nasional for all Malaysians?

HANSARD
My Parliamentry question no 4 which came up on the 7thDecember09

4. Tuan M. Kula Segaran [Ipoh Barat] minta Menteri Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani
menyatakan mengenai pinjaman TEKUN:
(a) berapakah bayaran yang perlu dilakukan untuk mendapatkan borang
tersebut dan adakah bayaran pemprosesan dikenakan untuk setiap
permohonan; dan
(b) seberapa jauhkah efektifnya sistem TEKUN ini.
Timbalan Menteri Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani II [Datuk Hajah Rohani binti Haji
Abdul Karim]: Tuan Yang di-Pertua, TEKUN Nasional ditubuhkan pada 9 November 1998 yang
melaksanakan Program Tabung Ekonomi Kumpulan Usaha Niaga (TEKUN). Program ini
diwujudkan bagi membantu usahawan kecil yang ingin memula dan meningkatkan perniagaan
melalui pembiayaan perniagaan dan khidmat sokongan. (a) Pembiayaan TEKUN disediakan secara mudah tanpa cagaran dan penjamin, dan pemohon hanya perlu memohon terus kepada Pegawai TEKUN di Pejabat TEKUN kawasan. Borang permohonan boleh diperolehi secara percuma. Permohonan yang berjaya atau lulus dikenakan yuran proses, iaitu sebanyak RM30 bagi pembiayaan yang diluluskan kurang daripada RM10,000, RM50 bagi pembiayaan di antara
DR. 7.12.2009
4
RM10,000 sehingga RM30,000 dan RM100 bagi pembiayaan melebihi RM30,000 sehingga RM50,000. Bayaran proses ini akan ditolak daripada jumlah pembiayaan yang diluluskan kepada usahawan. Sekiranya permohonan tidak diluluskan pemohon tidak dikenakan
sebarang caj. Bagi menjawab soalan,
(b) Program TEKUN adalah untuk menyediakan kemudahan pembiayaan secara mudah dan cepat kepada usahawan kecil untuk memula dan memajukan perniagaan tanpa memerlukan cagaran dan penjamin. Selain daripada pembiayaan TEKUN Nasional turut menyediakan
peluang-peluang perniagaan, peluang mejana pendapatan, khidmat bimbingan dan sokongan serta jaringan usahawan. Kerajaan mendapati sistem pembiayaan TEKUN yang dilaksanakan adalah efektif, di mana sehingga 31 September 2009 TEKUN Nasional berjaya mengeluarkan
188,708 pembiayaan bernilai RM1.385 bilion kepada 150,988 usahawan di seluruh negara. Daripada keseluruhan pembiayaan ini 31,716 usahawan telah mendapat pembiayaan ulangan berjumlah RM433.84 juta dan TEKUN Nasional tidak mengehadkan jumlah kali pinjaman yang boleh diluluskan kepada seseorang usahawan sehingga terdapat usahawan TEKUN yang telah
menerima enam kali pinjaman. Sistem pembiayaan yang diamalkan oleh TEKUN juga didapati efektif kerana proses permohonan dan kutipan bayaran balik yang mudah. Usahawan hanya perlu memohon di Pejabat TEKUN kawasan dan apabila diluluskan kaedah bayaran balik
bayaran adalah fleksibel di mana usahawan boleh melunaskan bayaran balik apabila staf TEKUN datang membuat kutipan di premis perniagaan mereka atau mereka boleh membayar di Pejabat TEKUN melalui bank yang dilantik atau melalui cek tarikh tertunda (post-dated cheque).
Selain daripada itu, syarat-syarat permohonan adalah mudah dan senang dipenuhi oleh usahawan dan pengalaman dalam perniagaan bukanlah merupakan syarat utama dan pemohon-pemohon yang bercadang untuk memulakan perniagaan juga layak memohon pembiayaan TEKUN. Melalui sistem pembiayaan TEKUN yang mudah ini usahawan di seluruh negara mampu memula dan membesarkan perniagaan masing-masing tanpa kerenah birokrasi yang merumitkan. Terima kasih. DR. 7.12.2009
5
Tuan M. Kula Segaran [Ipoh Barat]: Terima kasih, Tuan Yang di-Pertua. Soalan tambahan saya, saya difahamkan daripada akar umbi ini bahawa proses memperoleh apa yang
dikatakan borang-borang itu sangat susah. Saya mendapat laporan, ada orang yang datang
berjumpa dengan saya mengatakan apabila mereka pergi ke kawasan-kawasan di mana borangborang
patut diberikan tetapi dikatakan tidak ada. Mereka diarahkan untuk pergi ke NGO-NGO
untuk mendapat borang-borang tersebut, di mana mereka perlu membayar untuk mendapat
borang-borang tersebut. Jadi, dari segi micro level, yang mustahak adalah di mana pertamanya,
kita perlu mengadakan borang untuk menolong target group itu.
Kedua, mengenai wang yang dikatakan telah diagihkan kepada setiap pemohon antara
RM3,000 hingga RM30,000. Saya difahamkan ramai di antara pemohon yang permohonan
mereka masih belum diluluskan baru-baru ini yang telah memohon lebih daripada enam bulan.
Bagaimana perkara ini dapat diatasi supaya target groups yang telah dikenal pasti dapat manfaat
tertentu.
Akhir sekali baru-baru ini dalam belanjawan, kerajaan telah mengagihkan sebanyak RM35 juta untuk masyarakat India bagi menolong mereka dalam penglibatan perniagaanperniagaan seperti yang dikatakan oleh Yang Berhormat Timbalan Menteri. Setakat ini bukankah benar bahawa tidak ada apa-apa yang telah diberi publisiti supaya masyarakat ini mendapat manfaat tersebut? Adakah ini juga akan melibatkan Orang Asli, bumiputera Sabah dan Sarawak?
Terima kasih.
Datuk Hajah Rohani binti Haji Abdul Karim: Soalan three in one. Terima kasih, Tuan
Yang di-Pertua. Terima kasih kepada Yang Berhormat yang bertanya. Ada tiga soalan. Satu, mengenai borang yang susah didapati saya telah menerangkan tadi sebab ini memang boleh didapati dan dengan percuma pula, Yang Berhormat. Mungkin Yang Berhormat boleh memberi kepada saya dengan lebih spesifik supaya kita menyiasat sebab ini pun akan menjadi sesuatu. Kami pun tidak berkehendakkan perkara ini berlaku, Yang Berhormat. Ini boleh didapati di mana-mana Pejabat TEKUN dan ia adalah percuma. Jadi, Yang Berhormat berikan kepada saya maklumat itu supaya kita rectify, dengan izin.
Kedua, sebenarnya pinjaman pembiayaan TEKUN ini bermula daripada RM500 hingga
RM50,000 dan kepada semua bumiputera. Ianya kepada semua bumiputera Yang Berhormat, kepada semua bumiputera. Jadi Orang Asli Yang Berhormat sebutkan, kepada yang di Sabah, di Sarawak semua, ia adalah terbuka kepada semua bumiputera dan khasnya kepada kaum India, yang diluluskan khas oleh Jabatan Perdana Menteri untuk membantu kaum India miskin. Ini bermakna ia adalah terbuka kepada semua bumiputera termasuk kaum India.
Tadi disebutkan Yang Berhormat bahawa adanya melebihi enam bulan sehingga
sekarang belum mendapat pembiayaan. Jadi Yang Berhormat memang ada terjadi tetapi bukan
DR. 7.12.2009

kepada semua. Ini disebabkan memandangkan ini adalah pembiayaan dan ia memerlukan
rolling fund dengan izin, jadi kita sebenarnya men target kan supaya setiap pembiayaan kita
boleh kutip dalam RM30 juta sebulan, tetapi setakat kini kita hanya dapat mengutip RM12 juta.
Oleh yang demikian ia teranjak Yang Berhormat. Akan tetapi arahan telah diberikan bagi mereka yang ada backlog ini, dalam masa dua bulan akan dibayarkan segala backlog, mulai daripada masa ini disebabkan arahan sudah diterima akan dibayar dalam masa dua bulan. Ini disebabkan shortfall kutipan Yang Berhormat. Ia disebabkan itu adalah satu rolling fund. Yang ketiga Yang Berhormat, saya tidak tahu dari segi publisiti tetapi pinjaman kepada yang kita namakan ini adalah Skim Pembangunan Usahawan Muda India dan setakat 30 September tahun ini Yang Berhormat, kita telah menerima dan meluluskan 926 pembiayaan yang bernilai RM6.673 juta kepada belia India di bawah skim ini. Jika mengikut negeri, negeri yang paling ramai memohon Yang Berhormat adalah daripada Perak, 296 orang dan selepas itu daripada Selangor 211 orang dan ketiga daripada negeri Kedah 185 orang dan lain-lain negeri semua ada kecuali Sabah dan Sarawak, sebab tidak ada daripada Sabah dan Sarawak. Jadi Yang Berhormat, saya mohon maaf Yang Berhormat kalau publisiti dan sebagainya, kita akan take your queue dan kita akan menguar-uarkan. Terima kasih Yang Berhormat.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

When will the Renewable Energy Bill be tabled in Parliament?

In his keynote address at the World Future Energy Summit which opened at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre two days ago, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak stressed that the challenge was to act now before it was a case of "too little, too late".He said countries promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, like Malaysia , should increase the breadth and depth of the initiatives taken to reflect the urgency of the challenge confronting them.

I welcome Najib's statement as he has also correctly pointed out that ""Our planet can no longer withstand man's unsustainable consumption and wastage. It's our moral responsibility to bequeath to our children a more pristine and healthy planet".

Secretary general of the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry Datuk Dr Halim Man had , in an opinion piece in the Star newspaper dated December 25 last year mentioned the need to put in place the Renewable Energy Act.

Dr Halim revealed that in November last year, Dr Hermann Scheer, the German parliamentarian who pioneered the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) programme in Germany was invited to Kuala Lumpur to share his experiences in driving national policies on renewable energies.

This was a wise move by the Ministry as I share the view that the FIT is seen as the most effective mechanism to drive renewable energy development aggressively.

I have long been interested in FIT programme but I was not able to raise the issue in the last Parliament sitting because my oral question did not come up.

Nevertheless, I had recently emailed to Dr Halim to enquire as to how FIT can become a reality in Malaysia .

I had also asked him when will the Renewable Energy Bill be tabled in the Parliament and which country's relevant Act is being considered.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

All schools treated alike?

Today's Bernama report quoted the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as saying that the government does not practice discrimination in the field of education as it treats all schools alike in Malaysia.

Muhyiddin was responding to dissatisfaction expressed by one student this during a dialogue with Malaysian student leaders at the Malaysian High Commission in London yesterday that there was a disparity in the government's treatment of schools, especially involving those in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.

According to Muhyiddin, there was no let up on the government's part to implement various improvement programmes for schools in the two states. "The problem the government faces is that there are not many teachers willing to serve in interior areas, especially in those two states," he was quoted as saying.

I am sure that the student who had raised the problem was not just referring to the lack of teachers in the interior parts of Sabah and Sarawak.

In terms of basic facilities, can Muhyiddin truly say that the schools in the interior parts of Sabah and Sarawak have been given the same treatment as other schools?

Since he said that all schools are treated alike in Malaysia, he should explain why there has been so much calls, whether inside or outside Parliament, for fair , just and equal treatment of national type primary schools in the country .

Can Muhyiddin produce government allocation statistics to justify his claim that all schools are treated alike , whether they are national or national type primary schools?

The answer is obvious. His claim that all schools are treated alike cannot hold water as official statistics previously produced through parliamentary replies have shown that Education Ministry's financial allocation does not practice " fairness to all ".

It is easy to say that the government treats all schools alike, but no one will be convinced unless the government practices what it preaches.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Time Ipoh should begin efforts to reduce usage of plastic bags by implementing a no plastic bag on Saturday campaign

Effective January 1 st this year, the Penang state government has decided to extend its “No Plastic Monday” campaign against the use of plastic bags to three days in a week.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng revealed that since the campaign kicked off in July last year, Penangites had saved an estimated one million plastic bags.

This is a tremendous success and I wish to congratulate the Penang state government and the Penangites for their commitment in making the world a cleaner and environmentally sustainable place.

Effective January 2010, every Saturday is a plastic bag-free day in Selangor.

Again, it is a Pakatan State government which is in the forefront of wanting to reduce the harm caused by plastic bags.

It is time that Ipoh must begin efforts to reduce usage of plastic bags by implementing a no plastic bag on Saturday campaign.

According to information available on the internet,

1. Plastic bags are made of polyethylene .Polyethylene is a petroleum product

2. Production contributes to air pollution and energy consumption.

3. Four to five trillion plastic bags are manufactured each year.

4. As polyethylene breaks down; toxic substances leach into the soil and enter the food chain.

5. Approximately 1 billion seabirds and mammals die per year by ingesting plastic bags.

6. These animals suffer a painful death, the plastic wraps around their intestines or they choke to death.

7. Plastic bag choke landfills. It takes 1000 years for polyethylene bags to break down.

I am confident that the Ipoh people if made aware of the harm caused by the plastic bags are prepared to support reduction of its usage.

Let Ipoh city take the lead in Perak to reduce environmental harm caused by plastic bags.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Central Bus station of Ipoh a fire trap?

Four buses at the Ipoh Central Bus Station caught fire this morning.

My political secretary Sdr. Tanabalan and I went to the scene and spoke to the people at the bus station and also the watchman “Jaga”. We were told that the fire broke out at 3.15am today and four public transport buses were damaged.

According to the Jaga, smoke was evident at 3.15am and he rushed to the scene when he realized that a bus had caught fire and was spreading fast to the other buses.

The buses were all parked under concrete roof which is only some 5 feet higher than the parked buses. Thus the fire spread swift and fast to the other buses.

According to the Jaga, the workers could not contain the fire with the fire extinguishers.

Although the Fire Brigade was informed of the fire at 3.15am, the firemen only arrived at the scene at about 4am. The Jaga said that the fire was not caused by arsonist or was a result of any foul play.

If it is true that the Fire Brigade was informed at 3.15am, they must explain why the firemen had taken almost 45 minutes to reach the fire scene. As the roads were free from traffic jam in the early morning, it should have taken them not more than 15minutes to reach the scene.

From one look at the fire extinguishers, they were small and thus were inadequate to put out the fire. As the supervisory authority on fire extinguishers, the Fire Brigade has to explain whether there were enough fire extinguishers at the Central Bus Station? Were the extinguishers issued with the annual license for this year?

The Central Bus Station is located opposite Medan Kidd and has been in operation since the early sixties.

When the Pakatan Government was in power, there was a proposal to move the bus station to Jelapang. What has happened to this proposal?

Given the low roof which can enable fire to spread fast to adjacent buses as what happened this morning, can the Fire Brigade assure the people that the Bus Station is a safe place or it is a potential fire trap area?

Besides, the authority must investigate why the bus had caught fire and make public its report. It was fortunate in a way that the fire did not take place when the bus was carrying passengers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is the Prime Minister's I Malaysia concept for real?



Each new Prime Minister will want to have his own slogan. Tun Dr Mahathir had his Amanah Bersih Cekap ( ABC) slogan and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi adopted the ' Cemerlang, Gemilang dan Terbilang ' theme when he led Barisan Nasional ( BN) in the 2004 general election.

Today the people will only know ABC the Air Batu Campur. Not even Mahathir who still makes comments now and then cares to talk about his ABC. He has either forgotten about it himself or may be he is just too embarrassed to talk about it.

Why? Simply because his ABC was mere empty slogan which did not achieve much result.

Just look at the malpractices revealed in the annual Auditor General reports and the Malaysia 's unsatisfactory placing on the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index will tell us that ABC became an empty slogan.

Similarly, today everyone in the BN has also chosen not to talk about the ' Cemerlang Gemilang and Terbilang ' slogan. However, some people still remember the Opposition joke that the BN's ' Cemerlang, Gemilang and Terbilang ( CCT ) ' slogan should have been changed to ' Cemerlang, Gemilang and Temberang ) '.

If CCT is not a mere slogan , action will have been taken against the ' sounds like me, looks like me , but it's not me " lawyer after the Royal Commission of Inquiry report was released.

If CCT is not a slogan, deserving and qualified applicants will not have to wait for 20 years before their citizenship applications are approved.

If CCT is not a slogan, the incident of two fighter jet engines would not have disappeared from the air force base .

If CCT is not a slogan, the "seizure" of state power from Perak Pakatan Rakyat would not have taken place!

The new Prime Minister launched his 1Malaysia slogan about 9 months ago.. Since then we have heard of 1 Malaysia F1 racing team, 1 Malaysia camps and now 1 Malaysia klinik.. Not too long ago, a school talked about implementing even 1 Toilet policy !

Someone asked me a month ago why is there a government slogan of 1 Malaysia ? Does this mean that we used to have 2 or 3 Malaysia ?

Despite heavy promotion of the 1 Malaysia concept, many Malaysians still do not fully understand what it means. Is the concept so new and complicated that makes it so difficult for people to understand it?

The answer is that it is not a new concept.

The Prime minister himself has said this "The 1Malaysia is not a new concept or formula but its ultimate objective is national unity, which is the primary vision of previous administrators translated into various forms over the last five decades or so".

So let me tell the Prime Minister that when the people say they do not understand the concept, they are simply saying that the government cakap tidak serupa bikin ( that the government does not do as it preaches).

First of all, 1 Malaysia should mean One Dream, One People, One Nation , as once mentioned by Najib.

In April last year, Najib has said that no Malaysian should consider himself a second-class citizen nor feel sidelined or left behind in the nation’s progress.

But how could Malaysians have one dream when the Barisan Nasional government still practices race based politics and implements policies which divide the races rather than unite them?

2 months ago, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reiterated that there is no such thing as a first or second-class citizen in the country and that all citizens have equal rights.
I believe he was only saying things which he himself was not convinced about.

Just look at the government policies whether in the economic, education , culture or other sectors, do you find the 1 Malaysia spirit which ensures fairness to all Malaysians? Are SJK (C) and SJK ( T ) getting the fair treatment from the BN government ? Why is it that Chinese are left out of the TEKUN programme?

How could we achieve genuine unity if Biro Tatanegara is allowed to continue with its agenda of brainwashing ? If 1 Malaysia is for real, no Biro Tatanegara course participant will be told that " the Chinese are the Jews of Asia " . Neither will there be promotion of the Ketuanan Melayu concept.

How could 1 Malaysia be real when BN politicians do not behave like Ministers for all Malaysians and choose to play the ' Allah ' word controversy to suit UMNO's political interest?

The real test of Najib's sincerity and commitment to 1 Malaysia is not how loud he shouts his slogan or how beautiful his slogan sounds but whether he can walk the talk or he can cakap serupa bikin.

I wish to remind Najib that so far his ' 1 Malaysia , People First', Performance Now slogan is still unconvincing and some people have said it merely means " 1Malaysia, Publicity first, Propaganda now ".

Allah word controversy- Home Ministry should explain facts to the people.

Media report says that PAS central political bureau has endorsed the use of the word "Allah", saying that it was consistent with the Federal Constitution and Islamic principles.

It was reported that Party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who chaired the meeting, only warned that the word "must not be misused or abused so as not to affect the racial and religious harmony in the country".



I commend PAS for coming out to state that the use of the word is consistent with the Federal Constitution and Islamic principles.



In fact, many people may not realise that the word has long been used by Christians in Sabah and Sarawak .

A Cabinet member, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok has revealed that the term had been used for a long time, even before Sabah decided to form Malaysia with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore in 1963.
“The Sabah communities have always used Bahasa Melayu as it is the regional lingua franca and Christianity has been in Sabah since 1881,” he said in a statement yesterday.



There are people who have reacted against the High Court’s ruling as they are not aware of the historical fact revealed by Bernad Dompok.



In fact, due to this historical background, the Home Ministry should not have imposed a ban on the use of the word in the first place.



Undoubtedly, the Allah word controversy is a sensitive issue which can threaten racial and religious harmony if exploited by irresponsible people, the Home Ministry therefore has a responsibility to explain to Malaysians the existence of this historical fact and the Federal Constitutional guarantee on freedom to practice one's religion.

Allah word controversy- Home Ministry should explain facts to the people.

Media report says that PAS central political bureau has endorsed the use of the word "Allah", saying that it was consistent with the Federal Constitution and Islamic principles.

It was reported that Party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who chaired the meeting, only warned that the word "must not be misused or abused so as not to affect the racial and religious harmony in the country".



I commend PAS for coming out to state that the use of the word is consistent with the Federal Constitution and Islamic principles.



In fact, many people may not realise that the word has long been used by Christians in Sabah and Sarawak .

A Cabinet member, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok has revealed that the term had been used for a long time, even before Sabah decided to form Malaysia with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore in 1963.
“The Sabah communities have always used Bahasa Melayu as it is the regional lingua franca and Christianity has been in Sabah since 1881,” he said in a statement yesterday.



There are people who have reacted against the High Court’s ruling as they are not aware of the historical fact revealed by Bernad Dompok.



In fact, due to this historical background, the Home Ministry should not have imposed a ban on the use of the word in the first place.



Undoubtedly, the Allah word controversy is a sensitive issue which can threaten racial and religious harmony if exploited by irresponsible people, the Home Ministry therefore has a responsibility to explain to Malaysians the existence of this historical fact and the Federal Constitutional guarantee on freedom to practice one's religion.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Automatic registration of voters-EC must stop finding excues or give unacceptable reasons

5/01/10

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohdhad said on December 30 that the EC was studying two reforms -a 24-hour cooling off period prior to polling day and three-day nomination.

Abdul Aziz's revelation shows that EC was not giving priority to important and fundamental reforms which are essential to fair , clean election and a vibrant democracy.

Instead of proposing cosmetic changes, EC should give urgent consideration to the many proposals made by the DAP many years ago. .

One proposal which the DAP has made is the automatic registration of voters as the EC has consistently failed to register 90% of eligible citizens as voters.

Last month, in a media report it was stated that the number of total voters should have been more than 16 million , but Malaysia has only about 11 million registered voters

EC has mentioned that political apathy is a major reason why the EC and even agents appointed by political parties have had limited success in their efforts to register new voters.

But does this not mean that it is all the more important that EC should introduce automatic registration of voters ?

I have asked a question in Parliament on this issue and I find EC's reasons for not implementing the automatic registration of voters totally unacceptable.

The first reason given is that Malaysia is a " highly mobile society" and hence there will be frequent change of addresses which are not updated on their MyKad.

If this is the problem for automatic registration of voters, then it is also a problem for non automatic registration too. Is the EC saying that the people's failure to update their address is a technical problem that is insurmountable?

Surely if other countries can do it, there is no reason why Malaysia cannot handle it.

The second reason given is that automatic registration contains the force or compulsion factor which is against the Malaysia's democracy as well as the Federal Constitution.

This is a most ridiculous ground as I cannot see how automatic registration of voters can be interpreted as such.

There are countries which have implemented compulsory voting, yet the EC is still trying to argue against compulsory registration!

The effective and only solution for EC's past failures to register 90% of eligible citizens as voters is for the EC to introduce automatic registration of voters.

If the EC is serious about ensuring that qualified citizens become registered voters , it must stop finding excuses or give unacceptable reasons.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Call on the Federal Government not to appeal against the High Court's decision allowing use of the word 'Allah'

The High Court's landmark ruling that allows the Catholic paper " The Herald ' to use the word ' Allah ' is most welcomed.

When declaring that the government's ban was illegal, Judge Lau Bee Lan said that the applicant has the constitutional right to use the word Allah.

Indeed, Malaysia's constitution guarantees the people's freedom to practice their religion , and this must therefore include the freedom to us the word Allah , a termilogy which is widely used in Indonesia and Arab nations.

Minorities in Malaysia are increasingly concerned that their rights are being threatened by institutionalized interference and discrimination. The government's acceptance of the Court's decision will send out the signal that under the Prime Minister's 1 Malaysia concept , the constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion shall be protected.

As such, I call on the Home Minister not to appeal against the High Court's decision

In fact, In February last year, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok , a Cabinet member himself, has said that the word is a universal termilogy used in the Christian world and the Home Ministry has no reason to continue harassing the Catholic Herald.

When hitting back at him Bernard Dompok , an UMNO Cabinet member Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Mingguan Malaysia: "There are some non-Muslim leaders who are asking that permission be granted so that the word 'Allah' can be used," using Indonesia as an example.

"This is Malaysia. Do not equate us with another country. We are an Islamic country as stated in the Constitution," he said, adding that there was a hidden agenda to use the word "Allah" in the Herald, the Catholic publication.

He even said that a small group of non-Muslim leaders was trying to question the position of Islam in Malaysia.

Such emotional and hawkish stand taken by an UMNO Cabinet member offers the best explanation why the Cabinet did not do what should have been done earlier-- to rescind the Home Ministry's decision to ban the use of the word Allah.

As a result, Malaysia international image as a moderate and tolerant nation has been affected due to worldwide media coverage of the ban.

Following the landmark Court's decision, the time and opportunity has come for the Federal Government to do what is right. All other component parties of the Barisan Nasional should also welcome and support the decision and urge the government not to file an appeal in the higher Court.

Majlis penyampaian pakaian sekolah kepada murid-murid miskin di kawasan Kg. Tawas, Bercham



Seramai 34 murid-murid mendapat bantuan 1 set pakaian sekolah daripada sumbangan DAP Ipoh Barat & DAP Taman Loke Lim.