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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Zimbabwean sings for social change

Prudence Mabhena, a Zimbabwean singer-songwriter born with arthrogryposis, is now a star at home, after a documentary based on her life won an Academy Award last month.

Mabhena has long struggled against discrimination, and she hopes the Oscar success will bring a change in social attitudes.

Haru Mutasa has the story.

Perkasa lodges police reports on Anwar & PKR sec-gen

Mahathir launches Malay-rights group Perkasa

What position should HRP take in the Hulu Selangor By-elections.


I am simply awed by the extent to which our people out there in cyberspace are victims of wishful thinking. Let me quote from one self assured Kgen a commentor in Malaysiakini “HRP ('Hindu', not 'Human' Rights Party?) can only be a spoiler for Pakatan as they cannot hope to win this seat. If Pakatan loses in a tight contest, HRP will be condemned by all races as Umno's stooge and Uthayakumar will be hailed as the backhanded Umno 'mandore'”.

I say wishful thinking, because what we have staring at us in our face is a clean BN win, with or without HRP participation. Yet some like Kgen seem not to be able to see this simple fact. The only way that PKR can win this election is if they put up a real credible candidate like Zaid Ibrahim and get a strong endorsement from a strong grassroots Indian organization like the Human Rights Party. Any other way, no one can stop a BN win.

That this cannot be seen simply amounts to wishful thinking.

Let me explain: The electorate was 63,600 strong in 2008 March. The number of people who voted on that fateful day was 47,600. Let us assume for the purpose of this analysis that the 25% who did not vote on that day were evenly spread between the Malays, Chinese and Indians. There were some 1500 spoilt votes. Given that the BN candidate was Indian, it is likely that most who spoilt their votes that day would have been Malay voters, because of their indifference. The Chinese and Indian voters were all charged up to vote out UMNO.

If 53% of the voters on that day were Malay, and 1500 votes were spoilt it would mean 23,700 Malay voters voted on that day. 13,300 Chinese and 9,000 Indians also voted that day. G. Palanivel of MIC received 22,979 votes that day. His opponent the late Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad (may his soul RIP) of PKR got 23,177 votes. Almost even.

It would be reasonable to say that at least 60-70% of the votes of the Indians went to PKR or 5,500 to 6,300 Indian votes went to PKR. And it would also be reasonable to say that at least 70-80% of the Chinese votes went to PKR or 9,200 to 10,300 votes. So the non Malay votes that went to PKR were from 14,700 to 16,600.

That means PKR only received 6,500 to 8,400 Malay votes. Of the votes PKR received that day only 28% to 36% were Malays votes. 40-45% of the votes they received were Chinese votes and 20 – 32% of the votes were Indian votes.

If there is going to be a swing in the votes it would not be too unreasonable to assume that the swing will come from both the Malay as well the Indian votes and they will be both away from PR. The Chinese votes are solidly anti –establishment and will remain with PR.

UMNO will play up the Malay insecurity feelings of losing out to the non-Malays – a theme it has begun playing up through Perkasa. What with Muhiyddin Yassin leading the bye election campaign in Hulu Selangor. PKR does not have much to go on except Anwar’s sodomy case this time around. The rural voters anyway are the backbone for UMNO and rural Malays are not the forte of PKR. That is why PKR received so few Malay votes the last time in rural Hulu Selangor. So after all the plusses and minuses, in our ethnocentric system, UMNO will come out ahead of PKR for the Malay votes compared to the 2008 elections.

The Indian vote swing will be even more significant as there is a growing disenchantment among the Indian voters that PR has done a number on them in the last two years just like UMNO did in the preceding half century. With the Deputy President of MIC who is the present candidate coupled with the ethnocentric nature of our politics and in the absence of a countervailing force like an endorsement from Hindraf for PR, the swing of Indian votes away from PR is inevitable. There is not much difference between the devil and the deep blue sea – both ways you will die, but which is the less painful way, will be the decision criteria.

This trend was already set in Bagan Pinang, now the same will happen in Hulu Selangor. The Indians in PR will not be able to reverse that. They could not do much in Bagan Pinang. A PR win will require no less than a clear endorsement from the Human Rights Party for the Indian votes to keep them from sliding away to BN.

So what do you have – a PR victory? A PR victory that HRP is about to spoil?

Subramaniam Bharathy

Nepalese guard caught playing doctor

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 —A Nepalese has been caught operating as a “doctor” running an illegal clinic in the city, despite having arrived in the country with a permit to work as a security guard

The 42-year-old’s “clinic”, located on the fourth floor of Plaza Taleju in Jalan Silang, bore a signboard in Nepalese, to prevent detection by the authorities.

It catered only to the “doctor’s” compatriots who were diagnosed and prescribed medicine for a reasonable fee.

However, the masquerade came to an end today when an integrated operation mounted by the authorities uncovered the illegal clinic.

The authorities involved officers from the immigration department, police, Rela and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

DBKL health and environment assistant officer Shafie Phen said: “The ‘doctor’ entered Malaysia using a work permit for security guard, but we wonder how he could open a clinic instead.

“Although he claimed to have experience as a paramedic in Nepal’s military service, it is not recognised here,” he told reporters at his office after the raid.

Shafie said the man was believed to have “provided” medical services for over a year.

“He was handed over to the immigration department to facilitate investigations under the Immigration Act 1963,” he said.

The two-hour operation which began at noon, was aimed at rounding up illegal immigrants at several locations in the city.

During the operation, 15 hawker stalls operated by foreigners in Selayang were sealed, while closure orders were issued to six other premises in Jalan Silang for law violations.

Ninety-one people from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal, aged between 20 and 50, were also nabbed at Central Market, Chow Kit and Petaling Street areas for not having valid travel documents. Nineteen of them are women.

All of them were taken to the immigration department’s temporary detention depot in Putrajaya for further investigation. — Bernama

Tea with the Economist

Mahathir has come full circle – from an ultra back again to an ultra repudiating Bangsa Malaysia and Vision 2020

By Lim Kit Siang,

Two events held almost simultaneously today highlighted the two facets in the battle for the hearts and minds of Malaysians – the launching of neo-NEP Perkasa by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at PWTC and the launching of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s book “I, too, am a Malay” (Chinese edition) by Dr. Chen Man Hin in Subang Jaya.

Almost at the same time that the former Prime Minister was awarded the Bintang Perkasa Pribumi Negara after launching Perkasa, Dr. Chen formally launched Zaid book.

What a sharp contrast in the imageries evoked in the two events – the launching of Zaid’s book invoking an inclusive and all-embracing hopes of all Malaysians for a progressive, prosperous common future regardless of race, religion or region with the launching of Perkasa anchored in a hankering for the past, oblivious of 52-years of nation- building, even dismissive of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia concept, all to allow Umno-putras to perpetuate the abuses of NEP by exploiting the name of bumiputras.

As the press have contacted me for my reactions to the Perkasa launch and its inflammatory speeches, this is my preliminary response until I have full access to the speeches concerned.

From the incendiary speech of the Perkasa President, Datuk Ibrahim Ali, it is clear that Perkasa is built on stilts of lies.

It is a lie that DAP and the Malaysian Malaysia slogan were among the main factors that caused the May 13 riots.

Has Ibrahim Ali taken 41 years after the 1969 tragedy to make this “discovery”.

If DAP and Malaysian Malaysia were the causes of May 13 in 1969, DAP would have been banned long ago and DAP leaders would have languished in jail and unable to participate in Malaysian electoral politics in the past nine general elections.

Or is Ibrahim suggesting that the Special Branch and the past five Prime Ministers had been remiss in their national duties in failing to take action against DAP, which he alleged as a threat to national security and perpetrator of May 13 riots?

It is a lie that the DAP is against the Malays, Islam and wants to do away with the Malay Rulers.

In the seventies, Ibrahim frantically sought my help as Parliamentary Opposition Leader when he was trying to escape detention under the Internal Security Act for his activities as a student leader.

Why sought my help if DAP leaders were so anti-national and disloyal as he now wants to depict?

Ibrahim Ali is not important. What concerns me more is the patronage given to the neo-NEP Perkasa by Mahathir.

Mahathir has come full circle, from an ultra back again to an ultra – repudiating Bangsa Malaysia and Vision 2020 which he enunciated in 1991.

This is the greatest tragedy.

Women Should Enhance Intellectual Capital, Says Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 (Bernama) -- Women in the country should enhance their intellectual capital in line with the transformation process taking place in the country, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

He said Malaysia would undergo a massive transformation under the New Economic Model (NEM), and women, as the country's asset, should continue to progress under the new initiative which was aimed at creating a high-income Malaysian society, among others.

"How do we create high-income Malaysians is an issue that has to do with women empowerment, and the source of wealth under the NEM is the strength of mind and the power of intellect.

"So the intellectual capital among women should undergo a shift and when this is done, when the transformation of Malaysia is completed, women will become a true asset which we can be proud of," he said when opening the Women and 1Malaysia Convention here on Saturday.

Also present were Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor who is the patron of the convention, and Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

The prime minister said Malaysian women had achieved progress by leaps and bounds not only in terms of position but also the sectors they ventured into.

"I am proud to see that Malaysian women are in high spirit and more determined than ever to achieve success; they are there in all initiatives launched by the government.

"When I introduced 1Malaysia, they are there to support the vision," he said.

This proved that Malaysian women were also undergoing a transformation process in terms of thinking and this augured well for the country's progress, he said.

This would be the kind of spirit that would spur Malaysian women towards greater success, he said.

He said the government, through gender equality principles and the 1Malaysia concept which upheld justice for all, would continue to provide as wide an opportunity as possible for women to achieve success.

The one-day seminar, themed "Empowering Women Through 1Malaysia", comprised three parallel sessions each for teenagers, professional women and civil society organisations.

Hisham/Musa Photo Caption Contest Pt. 2! :)

not as funny as the last one, but…. :P :)

Hisham: .. When this photo op finish, will you stop standing so damn close!!

Musa: … Ala shaddupla you, you look like a wanker

MMSP: Another split in the party