Tuesday, July 2, 2013

National Reconciliation-is Prime Minister committed to it?

Speech by M.Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat when taking part in the parliamentary debate on the Royal Address on 2nd July2013

1. National Reconciliation-is Prime Minister committed to it?

When the Election Commission announced that the BN had secured a simple majority in the 13 th General Elections, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced at a press conference that the BN government will embark on national reconciliation efforts to unite the people who are seemed divided as reflected in the voters “polarisation trend” in elections.

He said that the move would be discussed by BN leaders as a way forward for more moderate and accommodative policies for the country and to reject politics of extremism, racism and religious extremism.

However, what the people have been witnessing after the May 5 poll results was the surfacing of race baiting remarks and provocational, racist, seditious speeches and articles.

Umno mouth piece Utusan Malaysia especially has been leading the nonstop attacks.

Recently, we also see the blatant act of political retaliation by Melaka government which decided to turn the 13 year old Jonker Walk into Jonker Drive.

Only political leaders with primitive thinking will want to punish voters for not supporting them.

What is sad and most disappointing is that the Prime Minister has chosen to remain silent when such race baiting and political vengeance are clearly against his call for national reconciliation.

The introduction of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Bill is certainly against the call for national reconciliation and is an unacceptable Bill.
Let me therefore ask the Prime Minister—are you committed to the process of national reconciliation?

2. Matriculation –transparency needed on intake

Yearly over 29, 000 students are accepted for the matriculation courses. Yearly only 506 seats have been set aside for the Indian community. Last year in February, the Prime Minister added 1000 extra places for the Indian community, making it a total of 1506 places. 

Even with this promise, only 945 places were actually offered and filled up by the Indian community. Thus 555 places meant for the Indian community were denied to them. No reasons and explanations have been satisfactorily given to the community for this short fall.

I had raised this issue for over three times in the 2012 sittings of Parliament.

Although I had reminded and brought to the attention of those in power, nothing concrete has taken place to address the short fall.

When I raised the issue last Thursday during question time, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin announced that for last year and this year intakes, 1500 places have been filled. Whereas Deputy Minister of Education P.Kamalanathan had earlier publicly revealed that for 2013 the intake details were: -

a. First intake, 1500 places were offered and 892 were taken up.
b. Second intake, 350 places offered. No information was provided on how many were actually taken up.
Based on the statistics revealed, the Indian community has doubts if the government has actually fulfilled its promise of increasing number of Matriculation places to the Indian community.

If only 892 places were taken up during the first intake, this means that there was a balance of 608 places reserved for the Indian community untaken. Why then were these untaken places immediately offered to other qualified Indian students?

Why was there another offer of 350 places when even 608 places were not fulfilled during the first intake?  
Is this not an attempt to give false public impression that a total of 1850 places were offered to the Indian community?

To make matter worse, the Deputy Prime Minister said that in order to increase the Indian students intake, even the entry qualification to matriculation was reduced from 92 to 88 points.

Is he is saying that despite such move, many students still fail to qualify for Matriculation?

Just two months ago, HINDRAF's Waythmoorthy signed a MOU with the Prime Minister whereby it was said that the number of places to be allocated for Indian students was to be increased to 2200.

Now the Government has failed to keep its promise on the 1500 places, what's more the statement of MOU. Is it worth the paper it has been written? What has Waythmoorthy done on this issue to date other than keeping quiet?

With intake to the matriculation so contradicting and confusing, who are we to believe?

Why the call by academicians and the Indian community to publish the names and particulars of all the successful students have gone unheeded? Why the secrecy and reluctance to announce the names.
What is the reason for such unwillingness to be transparent on the Matriculation intake when this is what that can clear all doubts?

I have with me a list containing 328 students who have been denied entry to pursue matriculation courses although they possess the necessary qualifications.

Out of this total, 322 are Indian students while 6 more are Chinese.

All the students are deserving cases and come from poor back grounds. Why deny their legitimate right to further their studies?

For example one Chou Yung Wei who comes from a poor family scored 9 A + in SPM and has failed to secure a Matriculation place.
Matriculation intake issue is one problem where the BN government is seen as practicing unfair policy.

Prime Minister has recently said that BN recently lost in the perception war in the 13 th General Elections.

Let me remind the Government that the unfair Matriculation intake practice, just like crime, fear of crime, corruption etc are not mere public perceptions, they are real problems.

A thorough study and correction is needed to see why eligible students are not taken in as it is obvious that something is not right. Unfair policy and practice that kills the bright spots of our children's future must be stopped. Failure to address the problem will also result in brain drain.

The Special Implementation Taskforce on the Indian Community (Prime Minister's Department) was established in June 2010. Minister Dato Subramaniam had said that it was to ensure that Malaysian Indians are able to access the services, programs and projects of the Federal government in a just, fair and equitable way. But for matriculation matters, the SITF is unable to assist when it's most wanted by the Indian community.

I suggest the Government to build a few more matriculation colleges to accommodate more students to pursue their studies.

3.Parliamentary Reforms –time parliament must ubah too.

Malaysians have spoken loud and clear about Ubah. Ubah must happen too to our Parliament. For a start, I will suggest that we adopt a system whereby Bills can be studied and debated in details by Special Committees rather than the present system whereby the entire House acts as a Committee.

 We need to look into other countries’ Parliamentary models especially the UK and India. In both systems, there are many committees which which deal in detail the functions and roles of a certain Ministry. Not all matters will come before the House as they are disposed of at the Committee stage. In this way Parliamentary sittings are shortened and monies and time can be saved.

Daily now only One and half hours of the Parliamentary proceedings are live telecasted. It would be better if live telecast is in full as it will enhance the standard of debates. People can also better judge the performance of their MP s.

The present facilities for MPs are sorely inadequate. One of the most important facilities that MPs should be provided with is professional research assistants as this will help to enhance the quality of parliamentary debates.

The position of the opposition leader must be enhanced. At least it should be accorded Ministerial status with all the necessary perks being added to.

4.International Criminal Court-there must be no more delay by Malaysia in ratifying the Rome Statute

World countries gathered together in Rome in July 1998 to discuss the establishment of a special court to try heinous crime ie crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes and war crimes.
 By consensus the court was formally established after a minimum of 60 countries signed the treaty. Presently 122 countries have formally ratified the Rome Statute.

The Parliament of Malaysia convened the Second PGA Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Consultation on the Universality of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Immediately after this important conference, the Malaysian Cabinet formally announced Malaysia's decision to ratify the Rome statute.

It's already over two years; we are yet to ratify the Rome statute. The Attorney General and Malaysian Parliamentarians attended Conferences in Europe late last year.

At the meeting ICC Implementing Legislation (precondition for Malaysia's ratification): The Attorney General promised to President Song at the end of November 2012 to have a draft law tabled in Parliament by June 2013! This draft law is based on the Commonwealth Model Law (adopted since July 2011): The Malaysian draft law may accommodate certain positions of the AG on the immunities of Monarchs.

We should have taken the lead to ratify the Rome statute many months ago. The delay is unacceptable. The procrastination does not speak well of our country which is looked upon by many countries around the world. A detailed explanation is being awaited from the Government.

5. IPCMC, SJKT, SJKC, Tourism

There must not any more delay in implementing IPCMC as custodial deaths continue to happen. 

The Police cannot be allowed to investigate themselves and IPCMC will be an effective solution to end the spate of custodial deaths in lock ups. 

Two years ago, the government ha d announced that 7 new Tamil schools will be built but till today this promise has not been fulfilled. Neither has the government revealed details like location of the new schools.

I also wish to ask if the government has indentified SJK Tamil and SJK Cina in the rural areas which have low student enrolment and if there are plans to relocate them to urban areas to alleviate problem of urban school shortage.

There are many caves in Perak which hold potential to be developed as tourist attractions and I hope the new Tourism Minister will give due attention to this area.
I wish to ask if the government intends to reduce the fixed deposit amount required for the My Second Home scheme so as to ensure that the scheme become attractive.

6. Medical Qualifying Exam and Re recognition of CSMU.

There are about 450 doctors who have graduated from Ukraine and Romania whose medical degrees are not recognized by Malaysian Medical Council (MCC). They are now in limbo because MCC has cancelled this year’s Medical Qualifying Examination. 

Crimea State Medical University was derecognized by MCC a few years ago. Now that MIC Deputy President is the new Health Minister, is he prepared to re recognize CSMU? 

( Due to time limit imposed on each speaker, I had prepared to speak on first 4 items . Then when I found there was time left, I squeezed in  Items 5 and 6.)

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