Friday, June 26, 2015

SK Ibrahim issue: If Mary Yap lacks the courage to criticize the school, she should at least shut up



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 26th, June 26, 2015

SK Ibrahim issue: If Mary Yap lacks the courage to criticize the school, she should at least shut up

Deputy Education Minister II P. Kamalanathan was quoted to say that the Education Ministry will wait for the police to complete their investigations before taking action against a teacher of Sekolah Kebangsaan Ibrahim, Sungai Petani, who had allegedly asked non-Muslim students to drink their urine.

“Action needs to be taken to show the Education Ministry will not accept such jokes or behaviour,” he said.

It is good that the Education Ministry will not accept such insensitive joke. 

However, I find it a little strange that Kamalanathan has also said that he personally felt action should be taken if such allegations were found to be true. 

Why did he add the word “personally’?  Is this an indication that he is not confident that his view will not be shared and supported by the Education Ministry? 

I wish to say that if he needs DAP’s support on this issue; I am prepared to lend my voice of support in the coming parliamentary sitting. 

I wish to reiterate the two points which I have said in my press statement 4 days ago on the issue. 

Firstly, on the claim that the teacher had made a joke, the public are entitled to know if a thorough investigation was carried out whereby teachers and students were also interviewed, or explanation was only sought from the teacher concerned?

Secondly, there are two issues involved that must be looked with utmost seriousness and urgency by the Ministry, , namely, the allegation that the teacher had told the non Muslims students to drink urine and the question of the non Muslim students asked to drink tap water in the toilet. 

The Education Ministry cannot just focus on the urine joke only and ignore the question whereby the non Muslim students were asked to drink in the toilet, and to drink tap water! 

Why would a teacher advise students to drink tap water? And why can’t the non Muslims be allowed to drink and eat in the canteen? 

Three days ago, Deputy Education Minister I Datuk Mary Yap told Malaysakini that non-Muslim students should avoid eating and drinking in front of Muslim schoolmates during the fasting month.

"Out of respect to our Muslim friends, we as non-Muslims can avoid eating or drinking in front of our Muslim friends.

"Non-Muslims need to show some discretion on this matter during the fasting month," she said.
Can Mary say that her advice to the non Muslim students mean that the school can ask them to drink in the toilets? Why can’t they be allowed to drink and eat in the canteen?

What is at hand is a real issue whereby the non Muslim students have been unfairly treated; Mary should be bold enough to criticize the school instead of making a useless even unfair generalized statement. 

If Mary Yap lacks the courage to criticize the school, she should at least shut up. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

‘Weed out teachers who are bigoted’

6:00PM Jun 23, 2015

By Terence Netto

‘Weed out teachers who are bigoted’

The Education Ministry should weed out teachers who are ‘misfits’ for the harm they do to students in a plural society.

DAP MP for Ipoh Barat M Kulasegaran said the incident in Sekolah Kebangsaan Ibrahim in Sungei Petani where a senior teacher instructed non-Muslim pupils to drink water in the toilet and not elsewhere in the school during the fasting month was yet another example of gratuitous discrimination.

Initial reports of the incident say the senior teacher was alleged to have told non-Muslim pupils that they could drink their own urine if they wanted to.

“Two years ago, at a school in Sungei Buloh, non-Muslim students were asked to have their recess time refreshments in the space next to the shower stalls in the school,” recalled the national vice-chair of the DAP.

“That incident and this latest one in Sungei Petani show that racial and religious bigotry is spreading in the very arena where it should be nipped in the bud,” said Kulasegaran.

The federal legislator said pupils in their formative years in schools would be scarred for life if racial and religious bigotry is inflicted on them.

“They will grow up with the stigma in their make-up and things would be come worse if conditions in adult life reinforce what they have been inflicted with at a tender age,” he opined.

For that reason, he said teachers with bigoted mind-sets should be weeded out of the education system before they do more harm to the pupils under their care.

Kulasegaran urged the Kedah Education Department and the federal authorities to probe and punish those responsible for the incident in the school in Sungei Petani.   
 

Conduct thorough probe into the SK Ibrahim Sungai Petani “drink urine “incident



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 23rd, June, 2015

Conduct thorough probe into the SK Ibrahim Sungai Petani “drink urine “incident

Kedah Education, Transport and Housing Executive Committee chairman Tajul Urus Mat Zain has explained that a teacher  at Sekolah Kebangsaan Ibrahim, Sungai Petani had told non-Muslim pupils to drink their own urine is untrue .

However, his explanation does not mean that the issue is resolved and over.

The public are entitled to know if a thorough investigation was carried out whereby teachers and students were also interviewed, or explanation was only sought from the teacher concerned?

If only the teacher was asked to offer an explanation, then the authorities are guilty of failing to conduct a fair and thorough probe.

The Education Ministry should therefore step in and form a special committee comprising representatives from the school’s parent teacher association and complainants to carry out a thorough probe.

I should also remind the Education Ministry that there are two issues involved that must be looked with utmost seriousness and urgency.

Firstly, it involves the allegation that the teacher had told the non Muslims students to drink urine and secondly, it involves the question of the non Muslim students asked to drink tap water in the toilet.

Why has Tajul Urus failed to address the second question? Can he explain why can’t non Muslim students be allowed to drink or eat in the school canteen during the Ramadan month? 

And why were they told to drink tap water in the toilet? 

Two years ago, the Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Pristana in Sungai Buloh was heavily criticized  after a parent posted photos on Face book of non-Muslim students having their meals in the school’s shower area, next door to the toilets.

Below is part of an internet report dated July 23, 2013:

Angry netizens poured scorn on the school management for their decision to discriminate against the non-Muslim children by forcing them to have their meals in the shower area during recess.

One Facebook user, Harris Nasril, said that it was ridiculous for the school management to make non-Muslim children to eat in a shower room space next to the toilets as if there were no other rooms available.

“This school is nonsense. As a Muslim, I’m sorry to hear this. Islam never teaches this kind of thing. The headmaster can use any other room, even the library, This is totally unacceptable,” he said.

The SK Pristana, Sungai Buluh and SK Ibrahim, Sungai Petani incidents have shown how ridiculous and insensitive school teachers could be.

If schools could be allowed to practice policy of discrimination and intolerance, what will happen to religious harmony and racial unity in our multi racial nation?

The SK Ibrahim incident must therefore be probed thoroughly and the stern disciplinary action be taken when necessary and required.

The incidence as above is not isolated. We should not and cannot tolerate this teacher’s misdeeds. No excuse and no cover up for the wrong done by the teacher.

Teachers who are misfits and bring shame to the educational system should just leave the teaching profession.

Monday, June 22, 2015

'Hadi wants to have his cake and eat it too'

4:43PM Jun 20, 2015

By Terence Netto

'Hadi wants to have his cake and eat it too'

In denying that Pakatan Rakyat has expired, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang is behaving like “spoilt sport who wants to have his cake and eat it too,” observed a senior DAP leader.

MP for Ipoh Barat and national vice-chair M Kulasegaran, said
there were several contradictions in the positions taken by Hadi on matters affecting Pakatan such that a reasonable finding can be made that the PAS chief “will flunk elementary tests of logic.”

“He wants his party to be part of Pakatan but reserves the right to depart radically from its common policy framework (CPF) as in the case of hudud enforcement in Kelantan,” said Kulasegaran.

“He was not keen to attend presidential council meetings of Pakatan but reserved the right to repudiate decisions arrived by consensus at the same meetings,” elaborated the federal legislator.

“He wanted his party to cut ties with the DAP and did not allow the measure to be debated at the party's general assembly, making the decision a fait accompli which was highly undemocratic,” Kulasegaran (photo) expatiated.

After insisting on hudud in Kelantan, which is vigorously opposed by the DAP, and then moving to cut his party's ties to its secular partner, Kulasegaran said it was “illogical” for Hadi to proceed to fault the DAP for pronouncing Pakatan dead.

“Hadi had done the most to render Pakatan comatose but now he faults DAP for departing what has become a corpse of a coalition,” said Kulasegaran.

“The DAP has left a coalition that has had to take grievous body blows from PAS and now the PAS president says we have left off our own accord when the truth is that we left an entity that was struggling to stay alive from the devastating blow inflicted on it by the PAS chief,” he argued.

Kulasegaran said that Hadi “desires to have his cake and eat it too, something that was possible in a fantastical world but not in the rough and tumble of the political arena.”
 
 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hadi should totally blame himself for causing PR’s demise, instead of unfairly blaming and attacking the DAP



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 20th June, 2015
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Hadi should totally blame himself for causing PR’s demise, instead of unfairly blaming and attacking the DAP

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s insistence that Pakatan Rakyat ( PR) still exists is only an attempt by him to avoid more self inflicted embarrassment to PAS. 

After so much has been said by PAS leaders that the party’s 61 st Muktamar ( General Assembly ) decision to sever ties with DAP is not final, PAS Syura Council will have to  meet to do the “academic exercise” of accepting the Muktamar decision; hence it will be a great embarrassment if Hadi were to admit that PR no longer exists.

But the fact is crystal clear—PAS Muktakmar motion has killed off PR that came into being on April 21, 2008 after voters had given their strong support to the opposition parties in the nation’s 12 the general election.

Many supporters have found it strange that after having made the decision to sever ties with DAP and killed off PR, PAS has kept insisting that PR still exists and that business can go on as usual.
This is self deception by PAS and Hadi has to accept that PR no longer exists. 

It is baffling that Hadi has said that PR continues to exist because DAP had no right to make the announcement on PR’s dissolution and that DAP did not understand the meaning of the pact.

Why has he not defended that PAS Muktamar decision to sever ties with DAP is not final because the Muktamar is not the highest decision making body in the party? 

Hadi knows very well that on the issue of severing ties with DAP, the Muktamar is the highest decision making body in PAS. 

As such, instead of giving laughable explanations, Hadi who has also violated the decisions of the PR leadership council prior to the Muktamar motion, should be bold enough to admit that PAS has killed off PR.

While Hadi is so powerful in his party that he could instruct that the motion to sever ties with DAP to be tabled and passed without debate at the Muktamar, he still has much to learn about joining and the meaning of a pact.

When a party joins a pact, it has to abide by the agreements and decisions made by the coalition.
Yet Hadi has been guilty of serious violations of the PR Common Policy Framework and the PR consensus operational principle.

Hadi should therefore totally blame himself for causing PR’s demise, instead of unfairly blaming and attacking the DAP.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Global MPs agree strategy on hot issues

12:25PM Jun 16, 2015

By Terence Netto

Global MPs agree strategy on hot issues

The Malaysia chapter of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) will organise an event in November to publicise their campaign to abolish the death penalty.

This was decided last week after a visit by the campaign manager of the PGA, Maia Trujillo, who was accompanied by Mario Marazziti, a PGA luminary who is chair of human rights of the Italian Parliament.

Both campaigners from PGA got together with their Malaysian counterparts, led by the chair and deputy chair of the Malaysia chapter of PGA, Mohd Nazri Aziz and Nancy Shukri, who were joined by a slew of DAP and PKR MPs.

The group discussed strategies for dealing with the common objections to the abolition of the death penalty with a view to making its abolition a mark of mission civilisatrice, which literally
means ‘civilisising mission’.

This, of course, has pejorative connotations because it harkens back to an era when western colonial powers felt that their rule over possessions in Asia and Africa entailed a duty to bring civilisation to the peoples they found in those territories.

Though both Trujillo and Marazzitti would disavow the colonial antecedents of their mission to have the death penalty abolished, they maintained that its abolishment has become increasingly the mark of a civilised polity.

PGA Malaysia chapter chair Nazri (photo), who is Culture and Tourism Minister, and deputy chair, Nancy, who is the de facto Law Minister, assured the European campaigners that they have lobbied their government to have the death abolished.

Nancy said she had written to attorney-general Gani Patail to ask for the results of a government study on the issue and had received a reply as recent as June 9 that the matter was still under scrutiny.

Nazri took the opportunity during the meetings with the PGA visitors from Europe to praise the work of DAP MP M Kulasegaran in not only pushing for the abolishment of the death penalty but also in obtaining Malaysia’s accession to the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its signing on to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the trade in conventional weapons.

The Malaysian cabinet had agreed in mid-2001 to become a member of the ICC, but AG Gani has raised a host of reservations which he said must be ironed out before Malaysia can join.

Similarly, Malaysia agreed to sign on to the ATT in 2013 but is now dragging its feet on completing the formality.

It’s a case of the spirit being willing but the flesh sporting goose pimples when it comes to signing on the dotted line.
 
 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

PGA Malaysia will play the role of the promotion and advancement of abolition of death penalty in Malaysia



Press Statement by M. Kula Segaran, DAP MP for Ipoh Barat and Secretary of PGA, Malaysian Chapter, in Ipoh on Saturday, on 13th June 2015.

PGA Malaysia will play the role of the promotion and advancement of abolition of death penalty in Malaysia
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Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) is a non-profit, non-partisan international network of committed legislators that informs and mobilizes parliamentarians in all regions of the world to advocate for human rights and the rule of law, democracy, human security, non-discrimination, and gender equality. Currently it consists of over 1,100 legislators in more than 140 elected parliaments around the globe.

PGA Malaysian Chapter is headed by Dato Seri Nazri Aziz, Tourism and Culture Minister. The Chapter has held a meeting in Kuala Lumpur on June 11.

Among those who were present were Dato Seri Nazri,  Datuk Nancy Sukri, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department and Deputy Chair of PGA Malaysia,  Guest of Honour Hon. Mario Marazziti Member of Parliament ( Italy) and  Ms Maia Trujillo from PGA Secretariat. 

The meeting started off with welcome speech by M Kula (speech attached) 

Among the issues which were discussed were the abolition of death penalty, arms trade treaty
and Malaysia’s accession to the Rome Statute of the International Court (ICC). 

On the death penalty abolition issue, Dato Seri Nazri reaffirmed his belief that the death penalty (DP) should be abolished, but that in the current context with the pressure of the society, PGA Malaysia has to realistically first focus on the repealing of the mandatory DP. 

Nancy Shukri agreed on this point and she has raised this many times with the Government. She also wrote a letter to the AG where is the study on the matter, and his last answer on 9th June was that the study is still ongoing.

Mr. Mario Marazzitti , MP and Chair of Human Rights Committee- PGA, detailed his experience in getting the people and the elected representatives to support the abolishment of the death penalty. He has written books on the abolition and had been instrumental in pushing for the abolishment of death penalty in various countries in the world over.

Other members present namely YB Sim Tong Him, YB Alice Lau, YB Shamsul Iskandar, YB Thomas Su and YB Manivanan contributed their views.

It was agreed that PGA Malaysia will play the role of the promotion and advancement of abolition of death penalty in Malaysia.

Regarding Arms Trade Treaty and the ratification of the Rome Statute of the international Criminal Court, the  meeting  agreed with M. Kula’s suggestion to urge the Attorney General ( AG)  and Minister of Foreign Affairs to swiftly move forward with their ratifications. The anniversary of 17th July of the downing of MH17 could be a key to pressure the AG to transmit the implementation bill to Parliament so as to ensure that victims have finally access to justice.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Note: Attached herewith speech delivered by M Kula at the meeting)
Speech by M. Kula Segaran,  MP for Ipoh Barat and Secretary PGA, Malaysian Chapter, in Parliament Committee Room in Parliament House on 11th June 2015
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PGA must form a Working Committee to speed up the process of accession to the Rome statute and the ATT immediately
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Hon. DS Nazri Chairman of Parliamentary for Global Action (PGA) Malaysian Chapter, Hon. Nancy Minister in PM Department and Deputy Chair of PGA Malaysia,  Guest of Honour Hon. Mario Marazziti MP ( Italy) PGA Secretariat, Ms Maia Trujillo, MP’s and fellow members of PGA; 

On the 9 and 10 of March in 2011, Malaysian Parliament , together with the PGA had organised the second PGA Asia- Pacific Parliamentary Consultation on the Universality of the Rome statue of the International Criminal Court in Malaysia Parliament. The event was attended by regional MPs and elected representatives. Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Patail also attended the consultation process.

Thereafter on 19th March 2011, the Malaysian Cabinet announced that Malaysia will accede to the Rome Statute of the International Court (ICC) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Criminal_Court ).

It has to be remembered from the start the AG has been against the accession for one reason or the other.

As regards Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Malaysia signed its acceptance on 26th September 2013. The treaty became effective on 24th December 2014 and as at that date, 54 countries had ratified the treaty. Unfortunately Malaysia is still dragging its feet on this treaty too.

Many excuses are being dished out by the AG’s office which has delayed the accession process of the ICC. Initially, it was said that the Rome Statute was inconsistent with the special standing of the Malays rulers. It was only after we explained that an absolute Islamic country like Jordan has become a member of the ICC that this ground of objection was dropped.

Just two weeks ago on 26th May 2015,  when a parliamentary question was posed as to the reasons for the delay in ratifying the ICC and the ATT , the official written reply for not ratifying as yet are:

1) the issue of Genocide, Crimes against humanity, Crimes of aggression and War Crimes need to be clarified to be absorbed with our local laws;

2) to get ready the local laws in tandem with the Rome statute;

3) Article 120 of the Rome Statute which states “No reservations may be made to this Statute”;

4) The definition of “brokering” in the ATT need to be relooked into as there is a similar term in our local law;

5) There is a need for meetings between competent Government departments at the national level to streamline issues;

6) A guide line need to drawn up to facilitate the treaties implementation;

The answer reflects  a further attempt to delay accession to the Rome statute. The reasons rather the latest excuses/ reasons given are most unfortunate and unacceptable.

When the Cabinet is the approving authority on accession, who else can derail the High Call of the Malaysian Cabinet?

I suggest that PGA Malaysia sets up a Working Committee (WC) to accelerate the process of accession to the treaties.

The WC could hold consultation meeting with the Foreign Ministry (as the Ministry in charge of treaties ) and the Attorney General to speed up the process of accession without further delay

Death Penalty

There is a strong movement now to bring an end to the death penalty. Malaysia still has laws on mandatory death penalty. In 2012 Prof Roger Hood, Professor
Emeritus of Oxford University published findings on Mandatory death penalty after a lengthy survey. In essence, Malaysians were not against abolishment of the mandatory death penalty.

In 2010, then Law Minister DS Nazri said that the Government was considering abolishing death penalty. Further this was strengthened when the AG asserted in 2012 that laws would soon be introduced to abolish death penalty.

Although the above are positive developments, real changes into the abolishment have yet to materialize.

Further public pressure and discussions with all stake holders are required to bring real and long term changes to abolish the death penalty.