Monday, May 30, 2011

Power rates up 7pc June 1, gas prices also hiked

UPDATED @ 06:52:07 PM 30-05-2011
May 30, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

PUTRAJAYA, May 30 — The Najib administration announced today it will raise electricity prices by an average 7.12 per cent from June 1 in an effort to trim its burgeoning subsidy bill, but promised the hike will not affect some 75 per cent of domestic consumers.

Officials said natural gas prices would also rise by RM3.00 per mmBtu each six months until it reached market levels, according to a report by the Reuters news agency. The government said it will still spend some RM25 billion to subsidise the gas bill this year.

Power prices will now rise by as much as 2.3 sen per kilowatt hour.

The price charged by state oil company Petronas for power generation will also climb to RM13.70 per mmBtu from RM10.70, government officials said.

Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Peter Chin today said the 7.12 per cent increase in electricity tariffs was due to the rise in natural gas prices.

Industrial and commercial consumers will experience an average increase of 8.35 per cent in their power bills.

However, domestic consumers with a monthly consumption up to 200kWh (lifeline band), along with the next 100kWh (300kWh total), will not be affected by the tariff increase.

Domestic consumers in the 301 to 1000 kWh per month band will experience a “minimal” electricity bill increase, from RM0.07 to RM30.30.

“The lifeline band is maintained at 200kWh/month... around 3.3 million households will continue to enjoy the subsidised unit rate of 21.8 sen/kWh, and encompasses 200,000 poor households,” said Chin.

The increase will not affect 75 per cent of domestic users, he added, sparing around 44.4 million from a total 59.4 million households.

Chin also said the waiving of electricity bills for domestic users who record less than RM20 per month would cease this coming December. The government is currently spending RM122 million to provide free electricity to 900,000 users in this category.

A 10 per cent discount from the standard tariff price will be given to educational institutions which are partially funded by the government.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yackop said that despite the increase in gas prices, the government would still be spending an estimated worth of RM25.64 billion on gas subsidies alone this year.

He told reporters that the gas price increase is expected to cause an inflation level of 0.27 per cent this year.

“This decision is consistent with the government’s efforts in reducing subsidies in stages until it reaches a market price level,” said Nor Mohamed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

PR will continue, inside and outside Parliament, to demand withdrawl of the interlok novel as a school text

Just spoke at the Interlok forum organized by NIAT at the Chinese Assembly Hall, Kuala Lumpur.

PR will continue, inside and outside the Parliament, to demand the withdrawal of the Interlok novel as a school text.
On March 27, 2011, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced in Parliament that under no circumstances will the Interlok novel be withdrawn as a literature text for form 5 students.

It was obvious that the government had wanted to end the Interlok controversy.

Muhyiddin said that the issue was over as the Panel set up to review the book’s contents had made recommendations and some of which had been accepted.

How could the issue be over when voices of objection against the continued use of the novel as a school text are still strong?

Muhyiddin and the half past six Cabinet can choose to say that the issue has been resolved, but the people can see that the government is behaving like an ostrich that buries its head in the sand.

This is a government that refuses to see the truth and reality.

The truth is that the Interlok novel is unsuitable as a school text.

The reality is that the voices of objections are still strong.

At the material time when Muhyiddin was justifying the use of Interlok as a literature text, I had asked him if the decision to stay put with the novel by the Government was based on threats and pressures from Gapena, Malay NGO's and Perkasa.

He replied that the merits of the novel was the factor which resulted in the novel to be used in Zone 2, namely KL, Putrajaya, Selangor and Negeri Sembilian.

How could such a controversial novel which has hurt the feelings of the people and which cannot promote racial harmony in the nation continue to be used as school text?

I asserted that it was due to the pressure from Gapena, Malay NGO's and Perkasa that the Government has decided the novel as a text book.

I still believe today that the government’s decision was a political decision.

And it was a very wrong decision.

Interlok controversy is not about race or literature freedom. It is about respect for the people’s feelings and about using the right book as school text.

A government must listen to the legitimate, rational and justified voices of the people.

A government must not bow to pressures and objections which are not based on logic and reason but worse, are racially motivated.

The Interlok’s continued usage as school text will have long term negative impact on the efforts to forge better racial understanding and unity among the young, it is too important for Malaysians to regard and accept the issue as closed.

PR-DAP will continue, inside and outside the Parliament, to demand the withdrawal of the novel as a school text.

Let me remind the government that if it continues to stick to its political decision, then it will ultimately pay the political price in the next general election.

PR-DAP will certainly make Interlok controversy a major issue in the next general election

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ceramah Umum ‘Sejahtera Rakyat Malaysia’ di Pasir Gudang, 28 Mei

Dewan Himpunan Penyokong Pas Johor dengan kerjasama Lujnah Hal Ehwal Kaum Pas kawasan Pasir Gudang menganjurkan ceramah umum ’Sejahtera Rakyat Malaysia’ pada hari Sabtu, 28 Mei ini bertempat di Hotel Li Garden, Masai, Johor.

Program dijadualkan bermula jam 7.30 malam dengan membariskan pimpinan dari ketiga-tiga parti Pakatan Rakyat.

Antaranya ialah Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Perak yang sah dan merupakan Adun Tronoh, V Sivakumar, Ahli Parlimen Ipoh Barat, M Kulasegaran, Naib Presiden KEADILAN, Tian Chua dan Ahli Parlimen Kota Raja, Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud.

Tiket amal dijual pada harga RM 10. Kepada mereka yang berminat untuk hadir digalakkan untuk mengubungi sekretariat program di talian 012-7501750.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Call on the Prime Minister to intervene to ensure Hemathaa and all deserving SPM top scorers are given the overseas scholorships

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Year after year, there have been SPM top scorers who complained about the unfair award of scholarships by JPA.
So much so that the annual phenomenon has been described as the annual “complaints and appeal season’.
This year is no different.
In fact, deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong even described the situation – where qualified students were unsuccessful in their scholarship applications – was the worst this year in all the years when he handled appeals.
The Minister in charge of JPA scholarships Datuk Nazri Aziz has come out to strongly defend the JPA.
But his explanations have not been convincing.
Datuk Nazri said that the government had allocated 1,500 overseas scholarships to top students but stressed that of the total; only 300 were given based entirely on merit to students scoring straight 9A+.
He explained that currently over 360 students fell within the merit category which offers only 300 awards, resulting in over 60 failing to obtain the overseas scholarships.
He also said -“This means they may or may not qualify for remaining 1,200 grants. It depends on how they fare in the interviews”.
Heamanthaa Padmanaban from Seremban is one of the many students who have failed to be given the overseas scholarship they have applied for.
Did she do so badly in the interview that she was not qualified for an overseas scholarship or even not entitled to be awarded a local scholarship to do medicine?
I have taken the position that for merit category, the award of scholarships should be based solely on academic result.
But even going by JPA‘s current evaluation method for the merit category, it is difficult to believe that Heamanthaa could have failed to qualify for an overseas scholarship.
It has been reported that for merit category, the criteria JPA uses are:-
1. Academic result (85%)
2. Co curriculum activities (10 %)
3. Interview performance (5%)
Heamanthaa scored 9 A+ and 1 A in her SPM and was very active in co curricular activities.
She was quoted in the media as follows:-"I qualified for cross-country runs and played hockey at state level, and was a schools champion in chess and badminton.In April last year I was among those chosen to participate in the Malaysia-America Soccer Exchange programme with 12 other women”.
Is JPA going to give the excuse that she has fared badly in her interview?
Heamanthaa's father Padmanaban has said that it is unlikely for his daughter to fail her JPA interview, as she had received good remarks from the US Embassy visa approval officer when she attended an interview last year.
No explanation by JPA can be convincing unless it is prepared to be totally transparent.
It should, firstly, publish how scores are awarded for all the factors, viz academic result, co curriculum activates, interview performance and economic background.
Secondly, it should publish the names of all successful scholarship recipients, with details like results and scores obtained by them, type and place of academic programmes approved by JPA to them.
Most importantly, the Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib must intervene to ensure that Heamanthaa and all deserving SPM top scorers are given the overseas scholarships.

Kula: Usah rancang sistem pengangkutan canggih jika gagal bina pondok bas

May 25, 2011 01:51:16 pm

Draf pelan Ipoh 2020 yang dirangkakan telah didengar oleh MBI daripada pelbagai pihak khususnya daripada beberapa persatuan bagi mengindahkan lagi tahap pencapaian yang dapat menaiktarafkan kualiti Bandaraya Ipoh dalam semua sektor.

Tidak juga dinafikan bahawa, salah satu sektor yang amat diberikan kepentingan adalah bagi mempertingkatkan sistem pengangkutan di Bandar Ipoh dan kawasan pertaliannya.

Tetapi, adakah melalui merangkakan satu draf rancangan, MBI boleh mengatakan telah mencapai tahap kemahuan dan harapan rakyat secara keseluruhan sedangkan kepentingan asas kecil rakyat dalam pengangkutan awam masih belum dilaksanakan?

Dua hari yang lepas, saya telah menerima panggilan daripada pelbagai pihak meminta saya turun padang ke kawasan Pantai Puteri Ipoh yang terletak di Jalan Raja Dihilir. Walaupun kerap kali menggunakan jalan itu, namun aduan rakyat sememangnya mempercikkan minda saya dengan persoalan, iaitu kenapakah perhentian bas yang sebelum ini dibina tidak lagi kelihatan di hadapan Hospital Pantai Puteri Ipoh? Apakah logiknya ketiadaan satu bas perhentiaan di hadapan sebuah Hospital? Di manakah tanggungjawab Jabatan Perancangan dalam memantau kepentingan rakyat?

Saya hanya dapat menyimpulkan bahawa warga pengurusan Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh tidaklah begitu komited dalam menyediakan satu perhentian bas sehingga wujud permintaan.

Apakah daya seorang rakyat awam dalam mendesak Kerajaan Negeri ataupun MBI dalam membina perhentiaan bas dikawasan itu? Adakah tangkisan rakyat akan diberikan keutamaan? Jika ya, kenapa tidak dilaksanakan sebelum ini?

Saya juga difahamkan dimana, sebelum wujudnya jambatan dan pelaksanaan kerja-kerja pelebaran di dipersimpangan Jalan Raja Dihilir, sememangnya terdapat sebuah pondok perhentian bas. Tetapi ianya hilang selepas kerja-kerja pelebaran jalan dilakukan. Betapa logikkah situasi ini?

Selain daripada itu, ingin saya menasihatkan pihak pengurusan MBI, supaya jangan asyik merancang untuk mahu menaiktarafkan sistem pangangkutan apabila gagal untuk membina sebuah pondok perhentiaan bas yang tidak wujud akibat ketiadaan rancangan terurus.

Pada masa ini, penumpang terpaksa menunggu dengan cabaran sama ada untuk berdiri dibawah cahaya matahari terik ataupun basah pada musim hujan. Dapatkah MBI Ipoh dapat memenuhi tangkisan rakyat dengan membina sebuah bas perhentian dikawasan ini pada kadar segera?

*Kenyataan media oleh M.Kulasegaran (gambar kanan) selaku ahli parlimen Ipoh Barat.

High achievers PSD scholarship dreams dashed
S Pathmawathy-Malaysiakini
May 26, 11

Heamanthaa Padmanaban was among those had suffered this setback to follow her ambition to study medicine abroad and also did not qualify to take up a course in biotechnology locally.

The 17-year-old from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Tuanku Jaafar in Seremban, Negri Sembilan, scored 9A+ and 1A in last year's Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations and was an all-rounder in extra-curricular activities.

"I qualified for cross-country runs and played hockey at state level, and was a schools champion in chess and badminton.

"NONEIn April last year I was among those chosen to participate in the Malaysia-America Soccer Exchange programme with 12 other women," Heamanthaa (right) said told Malaysiakini.

All these, besides her academic qualification, were means to secure a Public Service Department (PSD) scholarship to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor.

"I got the letter from PSD on May 13 and when I saw it I was happy thinking I must have qualified.

"After reading the contents of the letter I felt as if all my efforts and everything I had strived for had shattered.

"I cried and when I told my mum about it she broke down crying, too, she couldn't take it," she recounted.

Instead of an opportunity to study medicine or biotechnology, the petite and athletic looking Heamanthaa was offered a Diploma course in English at University Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI).

"If it was my ambition to teach English, I would have taken up the offer but I want to be a doctor. It doesn't make sense," she said.

'I believed in the govt'

Although disappointed, she has appealed for an alternative offer as she is determined to become a doctor, specialising in oncology.

But without a scholarship, Heamanthaa's chances of achieving her dream are bleak as her family may not be able to sustain and fund her tertiary education if she decides to pursue medicine privately.

Her father deals in health products and her mother is a primary school teacher while her younger brother is in Form 4.

"Private institutions have offered scholarships but they are only enough to pay tuition fees. I worked hard to study overseas and I believed in the government's word that students with 9A+ will be given scholarships and also to study the courses of their choice," said Heamanthaa.

In July last year, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had announced that PSD scholarships would be awarded to all students, regardless of ethnicity, who managed to score 9As or higher, for either local or overseas studies.

On May 4, the cabinet decided that all students who scored 8As and above in the SPM would be eligible for PSD scholarships and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Aziz reiterated that the promise will be kept.

Later, Nazri had rubbished Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong's allegations of malpractice in the PSD's selection of scholarship recipients.

The minister also said the PSD's focus includes medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, engineering, science and technology and several areas under social sciences.

"Two of my peers were offered medicine, one at a medical college in New Zealand and another at the International Medical University (IMU).

"We all got more less the same grades but why didn't I get any such offers? I want to do medicine and it is one of the critical courses under PSD," said Heamanthaa.

'Think about our feelings'

She related that during her 45-minute interview with four PSD panel members on April 13, she was asked several perplexing questions.

"They asked me why doctors don't want to work in rural areas; why PSD scholars don't want to come back to the country to work; and what inspires me to be successful.

In PSD's merit category - 85 percent is based on academic excellence, 10 percent on co-curricular activities and five percent on the interview.

Heamanthaa's father Padmanaban (right in photo) opined that it is unlikely for his daughter to fail her PSD interview, as she had received good remarks from the US Embassy visa approval officer when she attended an interview last year.

At a press conference yesterday, Heamanthaa said she had appealed to MCA and MIC as well as to several NGOs.

"Please give it to those who are worthy, that's all I ask, give scholarships to all those who deserve them," she added.

Imagine the anguish when their applications are rejected or not offered the courses they want, she said.

Another who suffered the same fate as Heamanthaa was Chair Sheng Min from SMK St Joseph in Kuching, Sarawak who obtained 10As, wjho said that he was only offered a scholarship to study engineering at Universiti Technology Petronas, while his two friends with 4As and 5As respectively were awarded scholarships to pursue science degrees in the United States.

"I hope this doesn't get repeated again in the coming years and the issue is addressed once and for all," Hemanthaa said.
Every year, we hear stories of high achievers not being able to secure government scholarships to pursue the courses of their choice despite fulfilling the necessary requirements.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

PSD shatters brilliant student's dreams

B Nantha Kumar | May 25, 2011 FMT

Seremban schoolgirl gets 10A+ and 1A but she is not given a scholarship for medicine, instead she is given a teaching scholarship.

KUALA LUMPUR: She always wanted to be a doctor. P Heamanthaa burned the midnight oil for her SPM exams and her diligence and hard work paid off.

The schoolgirl from SMK Tuanku Jaafar in Seremban scored 10A+ and 1A in SPM. She thought her dream of becoming a doctor was about to be realised. She confidently applied to PSD for a scholarship in medicine.

But with one letter PSD shattered her dreams. She received the letter informing her that she only qualified for the PSD scholarship in Diploma in English at University Perguruan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Tanjong Malim.

A stunned Heamanthaa said: “I was saddened and did not sleep the whole night”.

Now she is requesting that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak take a personal interest in her case and grant her a Public Service Department (PSD) overseas scholarship in the medical field.

“Why am I am not qualified for the medical course despite scoring 10A+?” she asked.

Heamanthaa is the eldest in her family. Her father is a health product seller and her mother is a primary school teacher.

She is one of the top students in her school and she represented the state and district levels in hockey and athletics.

She was also among 13 students from Malaysia who participated in women’s football exchange programme held in the United States.

She said she would not continue her studies in Diploma in English if the government rejects her appeal.

Scrap the interview system

Meanwhile Malaysian Indian Student Association (MISA) president Kishur Goonasaran urged the federal government to do away with the PSD interview to choose the students for the merit quotas.

According to Kishur, interviews can lead to discrimination and abuse of power.

“We do not understand why the PSD is still keeping the interview system. They should award all top scorers who meet the government requirement of 8A+ and above .

According to Minister in the PM’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, the total number of scholarships offered are 4,000, of which 1,500 are for overseas and 2,500 for local universities.

From the 1,500 scholarships on offer, 300 are awarded under merit, 900 based on racial composition, 150 to Sabah and Sarawak bumiputeras while the balance of 150 are given to the socially disadvantaged.

Kishur said the government must give first priority to the 700 students who scored 8As.

“So, why has the PSD refused to award the 700 students overseas scholarships? ” he asked.

“A total of 8857 students applied for scholarships. And we do not know how many of them are awarded scholarship?”

In another development MIC leaders held a special meeting at party headquarters today to discuss the scholarship issue. It is learnt that MIC has received more than 400 complaints in the last few days.

July 18 decision on Indira Gandhi’s application

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 09:14am

Image©The Star (Used by permission)

IPOH: The High Court here will decide on July 18 on whether an application by kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi, who is seeking to quash her three children’s conversion to Islam, be moved to the Federal Court or be heard in a High Court.

Yesterday, the matter came up for case management before Deputy Registrar Najwa Che Mat who fixed the date.

Speaking to reporters later, Indira Gandhi’s counsel M. Kulasegaran said the case would be heard before Judicial Commissioner Tarmizi Abd Rahman, adding an application had been made on May 5 this year for the case to be heard before the Federal Court.

He said the case was fixed for case management because the matter had been dragging on for too long.

Indira Gandhi is seeking to nullify her children’s conversion to Islam by their father without her consent on April 3, 2009.

Despite an order by a separate High Court here last May for her estranged husband Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah to return their youngest child, Prasana Diksa, the mother and child have yet to be reunited.

The case, in which Indira Gandhi has also been granted custody of her two older children, Tevi Darsiny, 13, and Karan Dinish, 12, is pending following an appeal by Mohd Ridzuan, who has obtained interim custody from the Syariah High Court here.

JPA scholarships- Merit category should be based purely on academic results

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nazri said SPM students who scored 9As and above must meet the Jabatan Perkidmatan Awam’s strict guidelines which include passing the interview and special test, and having a good set of curriculum activities, as there were just 1,500 overseas scholarships available.

He also said that of the 1,500 scholarships, 300 (20%) were allocated under the merit category, 900 (60%) under the racial composition category, 150 spots (10%) under the Sabah and Sarawak bumiputera category and 150 (10%) under the socially disadvantaged category.

It is revealed in today’s media that for merit category, an applicant is evaluated according to the following criteria:-
1. Academic result (85%)
2. Co curriculum activities (10 %)
3. Interview performance (5%)

For the racial composition category, the following criteria are used:-
1. Academic result (75%)
2. Co curriculum Activities (10%)
3. Family background (10%)
4. Interview performance (5 %)

The major differences between the two categories are therefore the different percentages given to the academic result and the family background being the additional factor for the racial composition category.

Public perception has always been that for the merit category, the award of overseas degree scholarships is based purely on academic result.

The announcement has come as a surprise to many.

In previous years, there have been complaints by top scorers that despite their impressive co curriculum record and interview performance, they have also not been selected.

Cabinet intervention by way of increasing the number of scholarship places has always been the necessary solution.

This year, the same complaints have surfaced.

Many top scorers have complained that they have not been selected for the overseas degree scholarships.

The basic question is –why can’t academic result be the sole cterion of selecting the applicants for the merit category?

Using academic result as the sole criterion will mean comparing the marks obtained by the students for the subjects used as assessment for scholarship selection.

Surely JPA can easily obtain the students’ detailed results from the Ministry of Education.

I also wish to reiterate my call that the JPA must be transparent in the award of scholarships.

JPA should, firstly, publish how scores are awarded for all the factors, viz academic result, co curriculum activates, interview performance and economic background.

Secondly, it should publish the names of all successful scholarship recipients, with details like results and scores obtained by them, type and place of academic programmes approved by JPA to them


To call or not to call, that is the question

May 25, 2011- The Malaysian Insider

MAY 25 — The Malaysian political scene is living on frayed nerves right now. Every plan, strategy or decision has to take into account the possibility of an election that may be called at any time.

Even holiday plans cannot be made.

There are all kinds of speculation about when D-Day will be, and corresponding theories to substantiate the arguments. However, rather than attempting to add to the multitude of guesstimates out there, I would like to postulate that the timing of the 13th General Election will in fact reveal the underlying currents of the power struggle within Umno.

There is a clear tension developing within the walls of the Putra World Trade Centre. In a recent address to party members during Umno’s 65th anniversary celebrations, Prime Minister Najib Razak made a sharp call for an end to factionalism and to unite in the face of the coming general election.

He also ended with a plea for loyalty and to accept the choices of the party leadership. Internal discord is neither new nor unusual, but how does this fit into my hypothesis?

A quick study of Najib’s political philosophy over his three-decade-old career would reveal pragmatism, cautiousness and an aversion towards risk. In short, he is not one to make a bold or rash decision. His has been a career that can only be defined by the phrase "toeing the line", having always done what was expected of him.

Throughout his three decades in politics, he has filled every required role and climbed every required step before successfully summiting at the pinnacle with nary a scrape on his political gloves. Not once did he have to challenge anyone for a major party post.

An MP at the age of 22 (an uncontested win), he went on to fill the positions of deputy minister, menteri besar, and later took on the ministerial portfolios of youth, education and defence before being raised to deputy prime minister.

At the party level, he played the conservative and insular Youth leader, going so far as to utter rabid and racially inflammatory rhetoric during a party rally — bold for sure, but unremarkable considering the gallery he was playing to and the context in which it took place — and then quietly assumed his place in the senior hierarchy as a vice president before naturally progressing to deputy and then president.

Some may call it playing safe, others may label it playing smart. Yet for what may appear to be political reticence, one cannot deny that it has been nothing short of a winning strategy.

Which is all the more reason why he would be loathe to attempt a different tack. It would make no sense, especially to his mind, to attempt a new and uncharted course when the one he has known, tried and tested for over 30 years has never failed him once.

To better understand the situation facing the prime minister, one has to understand what the stakes are. He is currently prime minister by default, having never secured a personal mandate from the electorate.

More importantly, he has had no major political victory to speak of besides the Perak coup of 2009. His foothold at the summit is therefore not as firm as he would like, especially with an ever-restive retinue of would-be successors eyeing his seat.

Najib’s father, Abdul Razak, had succeeded to the premiership in similar fashion, but quickly set in motion an ambitious agenda that resulted in what was hitherto the Alliance/Barisan Nasional’s greatest victory in the 1974 General Elections.

The defeat of 1969 was immediately buried and his legitimacy was unquestioned, both as prime minister and as Umno president. Najib, therefore, knows that he has to repeat such a success in order to cement his own claim to the pulpit.

In today’s political scenario, there are only two realistic deliverables that would accord Najib his much-needed legitimacy: regaining two-thirds majority, or at the very least winning back Selangor, the richest and most developed state in Malaysia. Both would make him untouchable, but either one would be good enough.

And therein lies the reason why he cannot risk calling a snap election in the immediate future, as doing so would run the very risky possibility that Selangor may not dissolve concurrently.

If this happens, then Najib will be left with only one result to deliver — and the more difficult one at that. With the results of the Sarawak state election still fresh in mind, it would clearly not be wise to risk such an action.

Given that the Barisan Nasional’s current mandate will only expire in March 2013, Najib knows that he is under no undue pressure to call for an election. It would be much safer to wait it out, in part to ensure his machinery is well-primed and in part to ensure the possibility of delivering one if not both of the said objectives.

On the flip side, however, recent events seem to indicate that an election is very much around the corner. The two-pronged strategy of Malay unity and Malay scaremongering is being perpetrated with the kind of unsubtle co-ordination which leaves one with little doubt that Umno is the proverbial Rome to which all roads lead. But if that is true, then it is also clear that Najib is not the only conductor of the Umno orchestra.

This parochial strategy is one that practically alienates the non-Malay electorate. If their plan is to maximise Malay votes while discounting the others, then there is a great need to strike while the iron still smoulders.

Waiting too long would necessitate newer and more elaborate issues. With the "Anwar Ibrahim" video scandal still fresh and the Opposition leader’s trial soon coming to an end, and with the great drive on Malay and Islamic issues being blatantly pushed forward by Umno-linked NGOs, blogs and the mainstream media, they certainly can’t afford to wait.

But Najib of course, is not to be outdone. Seen in this context, the surprising revival of the GST and the recent increase in sugar and fuel prices may be the prime minister’s way of stalling the polls. Even those clamouring for an early election to "cut their losses" can surely see votes disappearing with every rise in the cost of living, Malay or otherwise.

There is a loud noise emanating from the Putra World Trade Centre, and if it appears to be alternating between a symphony and a cacophony, it may be because there are two conductors trying to direct one disorderly orchestra. And whether or not music will triumph over noise, only time, or in this case timing, will tell.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

JPA is above the law thus it needs not be transparent and accountable in the awarding of scholarships??

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nazri said that the government had allocated 1,500 overseas scholarships to top students but stressed that of the total; only 300 were given based entirely on merit to students scoring straight 9A+.

The remaining 1,200 overseas grants, he said, were distributed according to those qualified within four categories — Sabah Bumiputeras (five per cent), Sarawak Bumiputeras (five per cent), social composition or the population’s racial composition (60 per cent) and socially handicapped (10 per cent).

He explained that currently over 360 students fell within the merit category which offers only 300 awards, resulting in over 60 failing to obtain the overseas scholarships.

“This means they may or may not qualify for remaining 1,200 grants. It depends on how they fare in the interviews.

The first question that DAP wants JPA (Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam) to answer is how were the 300 recipients selected from 360 who qualified when the only criterion used was academic result?

All 360 students have scored straight A+, so how did JPA decide?

How much weightage is given to interview, even to the extent that who have scored all A+ could lose out when competing for the remaining 1200 places?

Second question is why can’t the Cabinet increase an additional 60 scholarships so that those straight A+ students will not have to compete for the remaining 1200 places?

Public complaints of unfairness against JPA have become an annual phenomenon.

It is unsatisfactory for the government to merely cite keen competition for limited places or performance in interviews as reasons why qualified students are unsuccessful in obtaining JPA scholarships.

A few days ago , Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong revealed that government officers who failed to follow Cabinet directives is one of the main reasons why top students failed to get the JPA scholarship awards.

He said that many students who deserved the scholarships did not get the grants, but those who did not deserve them had successfully obtained the financial assistance.

He even described the situation – where qualified students were unsuccessful in their scholarship applications – was the worst this year in all the years when he handled appeals.

It was also reported in the media that a student, Chai Sheng Min from SMK St Joseph in Kuching, had obtained 10A+ in the SPM examination but only got a scholarship to study engineering at Universiti Teknologi Petronas. He said his friends who got 4A+ and 5A+ were awarded scholarships to do Pure Science in the United States.

It is time that the JPA must be transparent in the award of scholarships.

It should, firstly, publish how scores are awarded for all the factors, viz academic result, co curriculum activates, interview performance and economic background.

Secondly, it should publish the names of all successful scholarship recipients, with details like results and scores obtained by them, type and place of academic programmes approved by JPA to them.

Akhbar web DAP Roketkini dilancar

B Nantha Kumar

| May 24, 2011

Pemimpin DAP Teresa Kok mengakui sudah tiba masanya parti itu mendekati semua bangsa.

PETALING JAYA: Parti pembangkang DAP hari ini melancarkan sebuah portal berita bahasa Melayu bernama

Roketkini yang menyasarkan golongan Melayu, menampilkan rencana, berita dan wawancara. Wawancara dengan ahli majlis negeri Selangor, Teresa Kok adalah yang akan menarik minat orang Melayu.

Dalam wawancaranya, Teresa mengakui sudah tiba masanya untuk DAP untuk mendekati semua bangsa.

Satu lagi artikel yang menarik adalah ‘Mengenali DAP’ di mana rencana mengenai salahsilah DAP.

Dalam Roketkini juga terdapat berita politik, seni budaya, kenyataan akhbar dan lain-lain.

Politik perkauman

DAP sebuah parti majoriti ahlinya kaum Cina itu sering diserang oleh Umno, dengan menggunakan media perdana bahawa DAP adalah sebuah parti yang mengamalkan politik perkauman.

Naib presiden DAP Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim pernah mengakui bahawa parti itu telah gagal menarik sokongan orang Melayu yang disasarkan kerana Umno cuba melabelkan DAP sebagai sebuah parti cauvinis kaum Cina.

Jadi, tujuan DAP melancarkan portal berita Roketkini dengan harapan dapat mendampingi orang Melayu dengan maklumat terkini.

Menurut Zairil Khir Johari yang menganggotai lembaga penasihat portal berita berkata, DAP tidak berniat hanya menyediakan maklumat bagi penduduk bandar sahaja, tetapi ia juga akan bertindak sebagai alat untuk mendampingi masyarakat Melayu luar bandar.

Roket bahasa Malaysia

Zairil juga berkata DAP tiada sokongan akar umbi di kawasan luar bandar walaupun ada akhbar Roket versi Bahasa Malaysia.

Parti, katanya sukar mengedarkannya kerana masalah permit Kementerian Dalam Negeri.

“Dengan adanya Roketkini masalah ini akan dapat diselesaikan meskipun orang Melayu berpendapatan rendah kemungkinan tiada komputer, tetapi mereka masih akses kepada Internet,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan akhbar.

Roketkini juga menyediakan rangkaian sosial seperti Twitter dan Facebook supaya para pengguna internet mudah akses kepada Roketkini.

Dengan adanya Roketkini, DAP dilihat bakal bersaing menguasai pengundi Melayu dan juga penduduk luar bandar.

Masalah tidak pernah selesai

Sinar harian - 24/05/2011

IPOH – “Aduan sudah dibuat banyak kali, turun padang pun sudah puas dilakukan, tetapi masalah penduduk Taman Ipoh Grove tak pernah selesai,” kata Ahli Parlimen Ipoh Barat, M Kula Segaran.

Masalah itu dialami penduduk Taman Ipoh Grove selama 15 tahun.

“Sejak awal lagi, punca sistem perparitan di kawasan perumahan yang dibina, tidak bersesuaian kerana paras longkang dan paras keluar air berada pada tahap yang sama,” katanya kepada Sinar Harian semasa melawat taman berkenaan, semalam.

Katanya, bulan Februari lalu aduan diajukan, beliau bersama Ahli Majlis MBI, Datuk Francis Lee Yew Hean telah melawat Taman Ipoh Grove bersama penduduk tempatan.

“Waktu itu, kami difahamkan selain masalah banjir, lampu jalan dan jalan juga dikatakan tidak dipedulikan dan tiada pemantauan.

“Sampai bila penduduk dapat menahan sabar? Pihak itu seolah-olah mahu mengambil tindakan tapi tidak selesaikan,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, tinjauan bersama penduduk serta kontraktor membuktikan Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) hanya menyelesaikan satu daripada pelbagai masalah di situ iaitu melebarkan serta membersihkan longkang kawasan itu.

“Tawaran kerja yang dilaksanakan MBI melalui kontraktor itu, menunjukkan tiada perbincangan awal diadakan antara MBI dan Jabatan Pengairan dan Saliran (JPS).

“Sebahagian kerja sahaja di kawasan MBI tetapi sebahagian pula harus mendapat kelulusan JPS

“Apa motif melebarkan serta mendalamkan longkang sedangkan ia tidak menyelesaikan masalah banjir,” katanya.

Kula Segaran turut, mempersoalkan adakah MBI mengadakan bancian terhadap kadar limpahan air ataupun kecerunan saluran air dari Taman Ipoh Grove ke luar tali air.

“Apa yang menyebabkan pihak MBI gagal melaksanakan sistem penyelenggaraan di kawasan sebegini

“Walhal punca banjir disebabkan ketiadaan sistem perparitan mencukupi yang menyebabkan air melimpah ke taman setiap kali hujan turun.

“Struktur longkang itu sememangnya berfungsi, tetapi tidak cukup dalam untuk menampung air hujan malah kontraktor yang melaksanakan kerja-kerja naik taraf meninggalkan sisa tanah di sebelah longkang,” katanya.

Menurutnya, beliau kurang senang dengan pihak yang tidak peka dalam penyeliaan kawasan banjir.

“Apakah rancangan pelan Ipoh 2020 dapat menyelesaikan masalah penduduk di sini ataupun akan menjadi janji manis pada lakaran sehelai kertas?

“Saya minta MBI dan JPS cari jalan penyelesaian lebih proaktif demi menjaga kepentingan hak pembayar cukai,” katanya.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Siasat isu biasiswa JPA

Sinar Harian, 23/05/2011

IPOH – DAP mendesak kerajaan supaya segera melakukan siasatan ke atas skandal biasiswa Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA).

Ahli Parlimen Ipoh Barat, M Kula Segaran berkata, skandal bertambah buruk apabila Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran, Datuk Wee Ka Siong mendedahkan terdapat pegawai kerajaan yang gagal melaksanakan arahan Kabinet merupakan faktor pelajar cemerlang tidak menerima biasiswa berkenaan.

“Mengapakah pelajar yang mempunyai keputusan cemerlang tidak ditawarkan dengan biasiswa JPA berbanding dengan pelajar-pelajar yang hanya mendapat keputusan 4A atau 5A?

“Bukankah situasi ini memburukkan lagi sistem pelajaran di mana yang cemerlang diketepikan dan kurang cemerlang diberikan keutamaan,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan di sini, semalam.

Menurutnya, Perdana Menteri dan Timbalan Perdana Menteri disaran campurtangan dalam menguruskan aduan dengan menawarkan biasiswa kepada lebih ramai pemohon.

“Faktor utama yang menyebabkan aduan diterima adalah disebabkan oleh pelajar dengan kelulusan cemerlang tidak ditawarkan biasiswa luar negeri.

“Alasan tradisi yang seringkali diberikan oleh JPA adalah ada persaingan yang cukup hebat dan pihak JPA hanya pilih selepas menilai prestasi melalui temuramah yang tidak lagi dapat diterima oleh rakyat,” katanya.

Urban settlers denied "promised" housing lots!


Over 75 families have been residing on a piece of government land located at Benaria, Gunong Rapat since the 60's.
Sometime in 2005, the squatters were asked to move out by the Perak state government. They were promised re settlement.

Interviews were conducted on the squatters and a total of 40 families were given land and the balance of 35 was neglected by the authorities.

All most all are from the lower income group and many are still homeless.
We have been told that one G.Ramadas was the person who coordinated with the land office in the allotment of housing lots.
In 2008, police reports were made by a few of the squatters alleging that Ramadas had taken monies with promises that housing lots would be given by the land office.

Till today, this promise has not materialized

It is puzzling why no proper investigation has been done and why the guilty party has not been hauled up to the Court.

It has been brought to our attention that a family has been granted 4 housing lots as all the children were successful in obtaining housing lots. We also notice that some new houses built by those who were given the housing lots are worth over RM 200, 000.We demand an independent investigation on the unfair allotment of housing lots.

The investigation must look into the following questions:-

1. Why some squatters were not given housing lots?
2. At what premium price were the lots were given?3. Who and why many outsiders who never ever resided at this place were given the housing lots?
We also demand that the authorities publicly reveal the names of those who were given housing lots as well as to make the investigation result public.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

S’pore gains from M’sia’s brain drain

Patrick Lee | FMT
May 21, 2011

Malaysia's brain drain is both heavily Chinese and concentrated just below the border, says a report by the World Bank.

PETALING JAYA: A large portion of the best and the brightest Malaysia has to offer have taken root in Singapore.

According to a 2011 World Bank report entitled “Malaysia Economic Monitor: Brain Drain”, 121, 662 highly-skilled Malaysians migrated to the island nation by 2010.

This accounted for nearly half of the 276, 558 Malaysians registered as “brain drain” individuals by 2010.

Additionally, the report said a total of 385, 979 Malaysians were residents of Singapore in 2010.

“Singapore alone absorbs 57% of the entire (Malaysian) diaspora, with most of the remainder residing in Australia, Brunei, United Kingdom and the United States,” the report added.

On top of that, it said that 88% of Malaysians residing in Singapore were ethnic Chinese, with Malays and Indians accounting for 6% and 5% respectively.

It has been estimated that there are more than one million Malaysians residing overseas.

Top reasons for migration

According to respondents interviewed by the World Bank, the top three drivers of brain drain included career prospects (66%), social injustice (60%) and compensation (54%).

The report also noted a worrying fact: one out of every 10 Malaysian with tertiary degrees in 2000 migrated to countries listed under the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

This, the report said, was twice the global average. It added that if the list included Singapore, it would have been two out of 10.

The report also revealed that Malaysia’s brain drain had gone up, claiming that the “skilled diaspora” was three times larger than it was 20 years ago.

However, the report said that the true number of Malaysians in Singapore might be much larger, especially with non-residents working there.

Every day, thousands of Malaysians cross the border over the jam-packed Causeway from Johor Baru to work in the island nation.

Strong sense of attachment

However, the report said that many overseas Malaysians did not scorn their place of birth. “Surveys of the Malaysian diaspora point to a strong sense of attachment to the motherland,” it said.

Numbers showed that almost half of the the Malaysian diaspora possesed a strong sense of patriotism or emotional attachments to the country. Another 20% remained undecided.

“This seems to suggest that many Malaysians remain connected to home even though they are living or studying abroad,” the report added.

It said that many Malaysians were likely to return if “enabling conditions were satisfied”, especially over “talent management policies”.

Respondents surveyed in the report largely suggested a paradigm shift from race-based towards needs-based affirmative action. A large portion also called for a change to take place in the government and public sector.

Adding to these thoughts, the World Bank said there was some progress made with the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

However, the report said in order to have a lasting impact, the country needed more broad-based productivity and “investment climate enhancements.”

“Productivity and inclusiveness lie at the heart of Malaysia’s transformation programme. Implementing these forcefully will go a long way towards turning the brain drain into a gain,” it said.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

‘Racist Uthayakumar a BN agent’

Humayun Kabir

| May 21, 2011

Perak DAP leader A Sivanesan shreds the HRP leader, calling the latter a racist whose logic of winning seats did not make sense.

IPOH: Human Rights Party (HRP) leader P Uthayakumar has been accused of being a Barisan Nasional agent out to destroy Pakatan Rakyat’s chances of taking Perak and Putrajaya in the next general election.

Perak DAP state vice chief A Sivanesan told FMT that HRP just wants to be a spoiler and they do not have the numbers to win the state and parliamentary seats that they have demanded.

“Uthayakumar’s political aim is always focused on attacking Pakatan and its elected representatives but not BN. Why doesn’t he ask BN for the 15 parliamentary and 38 state seats? His political moves and actions indicate that he is a BN agent,” he added.

Sivanesan said he cannot make sense of Uthayakumar’s logic of taking seven state seats and three parliamentary seats in Perak with only Indian votes.

“He is a racist by only talking about Indian rights and will not get the support of the Chinese and Malay voters,” added the Sungkai assemblyperson.

Sivanesan said while Uthayakumar always degraded Pakatan’s Indian elected representatives as being “mandores”, these “mandores however do not betray the people like him.”

“He does not have the numbers (voters) to win the seats and he wants to threaten us by demanding to ride piggy-back on our support to win the seats. If they are so sure of getting all the votes of the Indian community then let them stand on their own and lose their deposits,” he said.

‘Money bait for Hindraf rally’

As for the Hindraf rally in 2007, Sivanesan said the huge turnout was because Uthayakumar and his brother Waythamoorthy had baited the Indians with the promise of monetary rewards.

The brothers promised to file a Four Trillion British Pound law suit against the British government at the British court and claim US$1 million compensation for every Indian residing in Malaysia.

“So, why was the lawsuit not filed to get the so-called compensation as promised. So, it was all a sandiwara on their part to get the support of the Indian community and now Indians have realised the ulterior motive of the brothers and have boycotted all their road shows,” said Sivanesan.

The DAP leader demanded that the brothers show all the accounts for the public funds collected in the name of Hindraf from 2007 till now.

Uthayakumar had wanted to contest in 15 parliamentary and 38 state seats in the coming general election to safeguard the interests of the marginalised Indian community. He had also warned Pakatan that the coalition would lose Perak if it did not come to the negotiation table with HRP.

PSM: What has he contributed?

Meanwhile, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) also saw red over Uthayakumar’s labelling of Indian representatives as “mandores”.

PSM national coordinator K Kunasekaran said: “Uthayakumar is only good at calling Pakatan leaders as mandores and making media statements but what has he done to improve the socio-economic welfare of the Indian community?

“What are his programmes to improve the social status of the Indian community and can he produce his track record of services rendered by him for this marginalised community?”

“HRP is taking a racist stand as a short-cut for political mileage but in the long run it wont get the support of other races and will die off like other mosquito Indian-based parties,” he pointed out.

DAP will continue the demand on the withdrawal of INTERLOK

Speech by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat at the Indian ceramah held in Malacca on Friday, May 20, 2011

DAP will continue to demand that the Interlok novel which has hurt the Malaysian community’s feelings to be withdrawn as a school text.

Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib launched the 1 Malaysia concept and slogan more than a year ago. This concept is basically about ensuring fairness for all and forging the people’s unity.

While BN has been successful in publicising this slogan, 1 Malaysia slogan still rings hollow because the BN government cannot walk the talk.

Unfair policies which have been in place for decades still remain unchanged despite BN having suffered its worst electoral defeat in the 2008 general election.

A good example is the continued lack of fair treatment to Tamil schools.

1 Malaysia concept stresses on unity but can Najib proudly say that the nation’s ethnic relation is at its best of times since we achieved Independence from the British?

The truth is that the nation’s ethnic relation is at one of its lowest ebbs today. The BN government must take the rap for such a situation.

The BN government talked about zero tolerance against racism yet when school principals uttered derogatory racial slurs against Chinese and (Indian students, they got away with lenient penalty.

Utusan Malaysia has been indulging in irresponsible reporting which can cause racial misunderstanding, tension and hatred in the nation and yet no action has been taken against it.

Recently, Perkasa chief made the seditious speech about launching a crusade, yet the Home Minister has chosen inaction as the answer.

BN government cannot get its priorities right. It lacks the will to do what is right. Worse, it is not prepared to listen to legitimate voices of the people.

This is why till today the BN government has still not decided to withdraw the offensive Interlock novel from the schools in spite of the fact that the novel’s contents have especially hurt the Indian community and will sow the seeds of racial misunderstanding among the young.

If the government is serious about 1 Malaysia concept and the civil servants have understood this concept, the novel would not have been introduced as a school text in the first place.

It is ridiculous and irresponsible even for the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin to say that the Interlock issue is over when the truth is otherwise.

May be the Indian voter support for BN in the recent Tenang and Merlimau by elections have made Muhyiddin to think that Interlok is no longer an important issue to the Indian community.

Perhaps the MIC has convinced the BN leaders that the Interlok issue will not hurt BN in the next general election.

DAP will continue to demand that the Interlok novel which has hurt the Indian community’s feelings and that of the Malay and Chinese to be withdrawn as a school text.

If the BN government is not willing to do what is right but continue to ignore the calls and feelings of the Indian community, then the Indian voters must once again teach the BN a lesson in the coming general election, just like what they did to BN in the 2008 general election.