Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Government should set up a special Cabinet task force or bipartisan Parliamentary Select Committee to address the pressing problem of low and declining non Bumiputra composition in the civil service

Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 28th April, 2015
Government should set up a special Cabinet task force or bipartisan Parliamentary Select Committee to address the pressing problem of low and declining non Bumiputra composition in the civil service 

In the recent parliamentary sitting, I had submitted a question about the racial breakdown of the civil service composition, reasons for the low non bumiputra composition and steps taken to attract more non bumiputras to join the civil service. 

On April 9, I had received a written reply from Datuk Joseph Entulu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

His reply, among others, stated: -

1.     The total number of civil servants as at December 2014 is 1,606, 463. The racial breakdown is Malays  78.8%, Bumiputra Sabah 6.1%, Bumiputra Sarawak 4.8%, Bumiputra lain 0.3%, Chinese 5.2 %, Indian 4.1%, other races 0.7%. 

2.     Low number of applications and low interest from the non Bumiputras are among the reasons for their low number in the civil service.

3.     In 2014, a total of 1, 605, 245 applications were received by Public Service Commission. The  breakdown are Malays ( 1,265,543 or 78.84% ), Chinese 33,099  or 2.06% ) Indian s ( 59,355  or 3.7.% ) , Bumiputra Sabah ( 123,374 or 7.7% ) , Bumiputra Sarawak ( 90,857 or 5.7%) and Peninsular Orange Asli ( 3.124 or 0.2% ) .

4.     For 2014, from the total 5,338 Chinese applicants who attended the interviews, 50.82% were recruited into the service. From 6,158 Indian applicants who attended interviews, 35.63 % were recruited. For Malays, from 146, 621 applicants who attended interviews, 27.99 % were recruited. 

Although the government has said that it has taken various steps to encourage non Bumiputra participation in the civil service, it is clear that the steps have not been effective. 

In fact, the statistics revealed by Joseph Entulu has shown that the percentage of non Bumiputra civil servants has been on the decline. 

In October 2004, then Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Kamsiyah Yeop had revealed in  a parliamentary reply that there had been a sharp drop of non-Malay civil servants from 29.7 per cent Chinese and 9.8 Indians in 1980 to 8.2 per cent Chinese and 5.2 % Indians in 2003.

Now at 2014, as revealed by Joseph Entulu, the percentages of Chinese and Indian stand at 5.2% and 4.1% respectively. 

Such low and declining percentage of non Bumiputra civil servants is certainly unhealthy for a multi racial Malaysia. 

Although the government has said that the low interest is a main reason for the low number of non Bumiputra civil servants, the number of applicants and those who were called for interviews show that many have actually shown interest to be civil servants. 

The question is why many who attended interviews were not recruited?  Were they not qualified? 

The undesirable and unhealthy racial composition of the civil service must be effectively addressed and the government should set up a special Cabinet task force or a bi partisan parliamentary select committee to look into effective measures to resolve the pressing problem.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Six years lost but mother keeps on battling

1:28PM Apr 22, 2015

By Hafiz Yatim

Six years lost but mother keeps on battling

As Prasana Diksa celebrated her birthday on April 8, her mother M Indira Gandhi longed to see her child who was snatched away from her six years ago while still on mother's milk by her former husband K Pathmanathan @ Ridhuan Abdullah.

Such is the fate of Indira Gandhi who never saw her child develop in her young formative years.

Hence, the kindergarten teacher now hopes the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar will abide by the recovery order issued by the Ipoh High Court for her to see her daughter.

In an unanimous decision today, the Federal Court gave Indira permission to hear a question of law posed by her to the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar and the police.

The court also dismissed Pathmanathan @ Ridhuan Abdullah's leave application on his right to be heard because he has ‎yet to purge his contempt for not returning their daughter Prasana Diksa to Indira since 2009.

Indira (pix, right) and Pathmanathan@Riduan are embroiled in an interfaith child custody tussle which began in 2009 when the father converted to Islam before spiriting the child   away and converting her to Islam too without the mother's consent.

The case has travelled through both the courts and and the government system sparked by an Ipoh High Court decision in 2010 granting custody of Prasana to her mother.

After the child was not surrendered to her mother, the same court last year granted  Indira an order of mandamus (to compel) for the IGP and the police to recover the child.

The police, however, say they cannot act as a separate custody order was granted by the Ipoh Syariah Court to Ridhuan. The apex court today allowed Indira to question the police as to the legality of their stand.

Police refuse to act

"I only managed to send a text message to my daughter through my former husband's handphone to wish her a happy birthday.

"The number is still operational and I believe he (Ridhuan) is still in the country and has my daughter.  There was however, no reply to my message. I still harbour hopes of meeting her again," said the mother of three. Her other two children are staying with her.

Indira's lawyer M Kulasegaran (extreme left, pix below) said when the Ipoh High Court agreed to issue the recovery order last year, he tried to serve it on the IGP.

“I waited for hours at Bukit Aman to meet the IGP last year but he refused to see me. I tried to serve a similar order on the Ipoh OCPD, but again, as with the IGP, he refused to see me.

“We are the only country in the Commonwealth where the IGP and the police do not want to receive a court order,” he said.

Kulasegaran who is also Ipoh Barat MP, said he understands the police could be in a bind following the two court orders and jurisdiction.

However, he said this can be ventilated or argued out in court.

He further questioned the Attorney-General's Chambers in advising the police not to receive such court orders.

The federal lawmaker said he will bring the issue up in Parliament.

Unilateral religious conversion of a child has been a bone of contention in multi-racial and multi-religion Malaysia and following Indira's case in 2009, the cabinet ruled against allowing unilateral conversion.
However, this has not been reflected by the appropriate changes in the law.

Kulasegaran had previously questioned whether Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was committed towards implementing the Cabinet decision on the matter.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

In view of the rattling evidence in Court, will the Education Ministry conduct an inquiry for possible actions against the Examinations Syndicate officials?

Press Statement by M. Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Seremban on 16th April 2014

In view of the rattling evidence in Court, will the Education Ministry conduct an inquiry for possible actions against the Examinations Syndicate officials?
Subbarau, who teaches at SJKT Ladang Batang Benar, has been charged with five offences under Section 8 (1) (c) of the Official Secrets Act 1972 for allegedly involved in last year’s leak of UPSR papers (OSA). The charges under this Act are serious as if found guilty the accused gets a minimum sentence of 1 year for each offence with a maximum of 7 years. So for 5 offences he could be in jail for a maximum of 35 years!

Today the Court delivered its decision.

It was alleged that the accused knowingly sent out via WhatsApps UPSR question papers of 2014 which exam papers were apparently classified as “Official Secret” under the Act. The classification was done by the then Malaysian Examinations Syndicate director Dr Na'imah Ishak.

Dr Na’imah in evidence has said that she could not confirm who leaked out the questions.
A total of 44 exam papers were classified as "secret" by Dr. Na'imah. She had accordingly signed and dated the classification. These 44 papers are the total exam papers set for UPSR schools nation wide( National,Chinese and Tamil).Classifying the UPSR exam papers as "Secret" so it thus becomes a secret document under the OSA.

During cross examination she conceded there were amendments to 6 of the total 44 UPSR papers after they were classified as "Secret". Apparently the amendments were on the format and the contents of the UPSR questions.

The 6 papers were 1) Mathematics 2) Science SK 3) Tamil Pemahaman 4) Tamil penulisan 5) Mathematica 1 SJKT 6) mathematics 2 SJKT.

So she had to reclassify these 6 papers as they are now considered as new exam papers. She accordingly inserts signatures at all the 6 papers when classifying them as "Secret". Unfortunately no dates were inscribed on the amended items. Thus the 6 UPSR exam appears have no dates mention to classify it as "Secret". So strictly the 6 UPSR exam papers are not SECRET documents within in the meaning of OSA.

For mathematics paper 015/1 she had wrongly classified it as mathematics paper 2 when the paper code would have been mathematics paper 1. When asked about this discrepancy she replied “ terlepas pandang”. Also she conceded she has been careless and accepted responsibility for all the mistakes.

On 27th January this year, the two senior Examinations Syndicate officials who were suspended last September over the UPSR exam paper leaks have been cleared of wrongdoing by Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh. Malaysia Boleh!

The Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin has, when suspending the officials, said that incidents like this will raise questions about the integrity of the examination syndicate and the overall public examinations system in the country.

In view of the rattling evidence in court will the Ministry conduct an open inquiry for possible action against the officials? Can we expect changes and improvements in the system? Or will these be treated as trivial matters which will be swept under the carpet?

The investigation officer (IO) is one ASP Irwan. The IO gathered from a police report lodged by Nik Suhaimi that a teacher had sent all these questions from Johore to a top examination Officer Nik Suhaimi. When I asked the IO did he call up the teacher from Johore for investigation he said no. Why was this teacher from Johore not charged like all others?

He further said the accused was remanded for 4 days although he had asked the court for 7days. When I asked what he had investigated on day one of arrest, he had replied he wasn’t sure. He gave the same answer for the second and third day. Only on the fourth day, he took down a statement and released the accused.

Why the need to remand the accused for four days when investigation was completed by taking a statement. Why the need to handcuff from his house and dragged to police lock up? Subrao was treated inhumanly. This was a gross abuse of police powers.

The IO had abused his position by detaining a citizen for more days than required, thus due action should be taken against him.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Set up a bipartisan parliamentary select committee to study the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code

Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP fro Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 12th April, 2015
Set up a bipartisan parliamentary select committee to study the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code
On the 3rd of April 2015, eleven new bills were tabled in Parliament for approval. One of the bills was the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) D.R. 9/2015    2015    Rang Undang-undang Kanun Tatacara Jenayah (Pindaan) 2015.
Three days ago, the second and third readings of the amendments to CPC were however deferred following heavy criticisms from both government and opposition MPs.
It was good that BN MPs had taken the right stand in opposing the amendments.

I had part in the debate and raised a few issue of public concern. I had first questioned why the bill was only tabled a few days ago, thus hardly allowing MPs time to understand the detail workings, meaning and effect of the bill.
I said the amendment to Section 282, which requires the Court to impose a consecutive sentence if a person is convicted at one trial for any two or more offences, was against the rules of natural justice.

Parliamentary sittings time table for 2015 was already out in public domain way back last year. So the relevant Ministry and its legal officers should be in the know of the time table. There was therefore no reason for them to give such short notice for MPs to study all the 11 bills.
Further, the contents of the bill were not even discussed with stake holders like the Bar Council and NGO's. Why was there a sheer lack of consultations with interest groups?
Many of the provisions of the of the proposed amendments were  very much in draconian in nature and contrary to accepted human rights values. Many of the amendments were vague. The provisions also took away the discretion of the Judges and encroach into the province of the independence of the courts.

The tabling of the CPC showed clearly that the Home Minister wanted to bulldoze it through Parliament simply because the government has the majority. Such attitude reflects the government’s treatment of Parliament as mere rubber stamp.
But the Minister made a wrong decision as even BN MPs spoke against the amendments.
MP for Kinabatangan Datuk Bung Moktar Radin who is well known for being dogmatic about BN political stand said the Parliament is not a rubber stand and he went on to say the back benchers will not blindly agree to all amendments just because they are in BN. A few BN MP s subsequently spoke against the amendments.
Seeing the “revolt ”by BN MPs, the Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi subsequently announced the withdrawal of the bill.

DAP welcomes the decision withdraw the bill.  Presently the Attorney General Chambers through Parliamentary Drafting Committee formulates all laws in our country. Thus the need to establish a Law Commission to formulate laws must be looked into and done the soonest possible.

As for the withdrawn CPC, the government should set up a bipartisan parliamentary committee comprising MPs from both divide to study the amendments. For his correct stand in opposing the draconian amendments, I am prepared to suggest that Datuk Bung Moktar Radin be the chairman of the proposed select committee.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Time for tough actions against culprits of excesses, abuses, wastage and leakages

Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 7th April, 2015

Time for tough actions against culprits of excesses, abuses, wastage and leakages

Excessive wastage, leakage and abuses revealed in the past annual Auditor General Reports have always angered the public. 

Yet every year such occurrences are repeated.  It is clear that wrongdoings highlighted in past Auditor General Reports have not been taken as lessons to learn.

It is therefore no surprise that in the first part of 2014 Auditor General Report tabled in Parliament yesterday again reported various wastage and leakage. 

What I find most shocking is that eight reproductive clinics under the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) have been “endangering patients” with their use of improperly serviced autoclave machines. 

How could the officers be so incompetent or irresponsible to continue using machines which certificates of competency that had expired up to even 100 months!

DAP Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian  Ming made a study and estimated that the government might have wasted around RM6.5 billion in the 64 cases studied under the 2012 audit report.

He noted that the RM6.5 billion that was wasted by the government was twice the amount of the funds the government could save by reducing the subsidy for petrol prices by 20 cents.

The question is what are the effective steps the government has taken or can take to curb such excesses which have been happening year in year out.

I have no doubt that the public general impression has always been that the federal government has not been tough with dealing with culprits.

In the 2013 report tabled last year, it was revealed that several health offices had mishandled funds meant for food to feed malnourished children.

It was reported that the funds intended to feed the underprivileged children were used instead to buy meals such as nasi lemak, kuih and teh tarik to be served at meetings by Jerantut, Gua Musang and Kota Kinabalu district health offices. According to the Report, a total of RM 87 851.38 was swindled by the health officers.

Such abuse ought to have been treated as a very serious matter and tough actions ought to have been taken against the errant officers. But it was revealed that an internal investigation committee was set up by the Health Ministry to investigate the matter and the officers involved were reprimanded.

The government must realize that the public have had enough of such excesses and it is time that tough actions must be taken. Time to show that the government has zero tolerance for such excesses.

I therefore call on the government to form a special committee tasked with the responsibilities of investigating all abuses and excesses cited in annual Auditor General Reports and recommending the necessary disciplinary actions including court prosecutions against the culprits.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Indian icons lend weight to 'Save Ashram' protest

7:00PM Apr 5, 2015 Malaysiakini

By Terence Netto

Indian icons lend weight to 'Save Ashram' protest

The presence of two renowned exponents of the Indian community’s welfare at the 'Save Vivikenanda' demonstration today gave the campaign "unexpected moral boost", a DAP lawmaker said.

The protest was held to express disappointment with the ashram board of trustees’ rejection of the offer by the Heritage Department to designate the premises as a heritage site under Section 27 (2) of the National Heritage Act.

Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran said that Uma Sambanthan and Devaki Krishnan, both in wheelchairs, braved their disabilities to be at the protest in front of the Vivekananda Ashram in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

Uma is the widow of late MIC president VT Sambanthan and Devaki has long been a stalwart of the MIC, especially in community welfare schemes.

They both spoke at the protest to express support for the preservation of the ashram, which sits on a 0.4 hectare plot along Jalan Tun Sambanthan, as a heritage site.

Devaki traced the history of the ashram, emphasizing the educational and welfare thrusts of its activities over the 111-years of its existence.

This gave protesters a grasp of the ashram’s historical significance its contributions to the welfare of the Indian community long-domiciled in Brickfields, Kulasegaran said.

"Their presence gave us an unexpected moral boost," said Kulasegaran, a staunch champion of the ashram's preservation.

The ashram was built to mark the visit to Malaya of Swami Vivekananda, an symbol of interfaith dialogue, which the Hindu holy man espoused in visits to America, Europe and Asia in the late 19th century.

Spririt will be lost

The board of trustees of Vivekananda Ashram contends that a planned 23-storey apartment block with 264 units and an eight-storey car park would generate revenue that would fund cash-starved educational institutions and welfare projects run under the auspices of the ashram.

This prompted Raja Singham, the founder of Brickfields Asia College to last November pledge RM500,000 to preserve the ashram as a heritage site. BAC lies cheek by jowl with the ashram.

Raja Singham’s offer was a lifeline for the ashram, which would encourage ethnic Indian Malaysians to come forward to donate towards the preservation of a venerable institution, Kulasegaran said.

"The planned redevelopment would change the character and ambience of the area," he said.

He said although the planned redevelopment would see a cantilever built over the ashram to preserve it, the project cannot avoid altering the ashram’s current ambience.

"The ashram would be dwarfed and something of the spirit emanating from the site would be lost irrevocably," he said.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

“Tell the truth boldly, whether it hurts or not. Never pander to weakness. If truth is too much for intelligent people and sweeps them away, let them go; the sooner the better.” – Swami Vivekananda

Press Statement by M. Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat at Vivekananda Ashram, Brickfields KL on 5th April 2015

“Tell the truth boldly, whether it hurts or not. Never pander to weakness. If truth is too much for  intelligent people and sweeps them away, let them go; the sooner the better.” – Swami Vivekananda

Numerous open protests and signature campaigns have been carried out by concerned citizens to show their objections to the proposed redevelopment of the Ashram and the surrounding area. The Vivekananda Ashram has been earmarked for redevelopment that will see a 23 story residential tower with 264 units and a 8 story car park at the site. All this commercial development is contrary to the peace and tranquility teachings of Vivekananda the icon.

This proposed redevelopment will change the character of the Brickfields forever and will erase the Ashram an icon sitting in this area permanently.  This must not be allowed to happen. 

After I had raised the issue of heritage status for the Ashram in Parliament late last year, the Heritage Department has as promised, issued a notice on January 14 to designate the Ashram as a heritage site under Section 27(2) of the National Heritage Act.

All good minded and caring people thought for sure the Board of trustees of the Ashram would agree to accept the Departments’ proposal.  Yet what happened was most shocking. The Board rejected the government’s proposal and as a result, the government cannot automatically gazette the old building a heritage site.

The stand taken by the trustees is most shocking, objectionable and unjustifiable. 

The Ashram is not the only site where places of heritage are in danger of redevelopment. Many other places in the country if left unchecked in the name of “modernization” will erase our cultural and heritage links by the overriding and powerful interest of the commercial people.

It is obvious and sad that the trustees of the Ashram have lost touch with the needs of the people. They should just leave. Let it be managed by people who have the heart and soul to manage the Ashram in the interest of the people.

We should  all remember the great words of Vivekananda on truth.

 He said “Tell the truth boldly, whether it hurts or not. Never pander to weakness. If truth is too much for intelligent people and sweeps them away, let them go; the sooner the better.”

 So let us tell the Trustees the so called “intelligent people” the truth and demand they leave the sooner the better.

Last Thursday I had the privilege to meet and discuss the issue of heritage status with the Minister in charge of Heritage status in Parliament, namely Datuk Nazri. He has promised to do what is best for the community and the people of Brickfields, that is, to bestow heritage status to the Vivekananda Ashram.

I had earlier submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister enquiring on the latest situation of the Ashram. The Minister has agreed to make an announcement in Parliament on the issue this coming Tuesday. I am sure the Minster will stand by the people and announce a far reaching and a ‘” win win formula” on this issue.