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Friday, April 16, 2010

Disquiet in Hulu S'gor: MIC factions see red

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA KUBU BARU: Barisan Nasional's decision to field P Kamalanathan for the Hulu Selangor by-election has enraged the supporters of MIC deputy president G Palanivel and local leader V Mugilan.

According to sources, both camps are contemplating casting protest votes in order to teach BN and Umno leaders a lesson.

“How can they embarrass Palanivel in this manner?” exclaimed a local MIC member, who declined to be named.

“He is the deputy president of MIC and a four-term MP in Hulu Selangor. They should not have done this to him. Mark my words, there will be protest votes,” he told FMT.

The MIC member pointed out that Palanivel has worked hard for MIC and BN for many years, and he should not have been treated in this manner.

“You cannot simply use and throw leaders like this, he won the seat four times for BN and nobody complained then. Suddenly, they talk about change and a new face,” he said.

Hitting out at the Umno top brass, the MIC member said: “Forget about Indian and Chinese votes, Let's see if they (Umno) can deliver the Malay votes.”

On the same note, a supporter of Mugilan also expressed outrage that the Hulu Selangor MIC Youth chief was sidelined despite having the backing of Umno leaders in the constituency.

“Former menteri besar (Dr Mohd) Khir Toyo and (Selangor Umno deputy chief) Noh Omar also wanted Mugilan and he (Mugilan) was made to believe that he will be the candidate.

“He stuck out his neck, but in the end, they slit his throat,” he said.

Meanwhile, a source close to Palanivel told FMT that the MIC deputy president has accepted the decision, and will campaign in the by-election.

“Whatever said and done, he is a MIC man and he will deliver the votes to BN,” he said.

On the speculation that he will be offered a senatorship and eventually be made a deputy minister, the source said Palanivel will “think carefully” about this.

'Give Palanivel senatorship and we'll back Kamalanathan'

In a related development, Hulu Selangor MIC information chief Raily Muniandy said the division will only back Kamalanathan if Palanivel is offered a senator post.

He also conceded that the last-minute change in candidate will have an impact in terms of votes for the ruling coalition.

“We in Hulu Selangor were hoping that it will be Palanivel. He was the MP here for four terms and is a well-known figure in this area.

“The decision not to field him will definitely see a decrease in votes for BN,” he told FMT.

“We wanted Palanivel, but we are forced to accept the BN leadership's decision. We are prepared to support Kamalanathan but the government needs to give a senator post to Palanivel," he added.

On his earlier threat to close down MIC branches in Hulu Selangor if Palanivel is not named as the candidate, Raily claimed that he was misquoted by the media.

MIC had nominated Palanivel for the parliamentary seat, but the BN leadership had rejected this based on opposition from Umno, which lobbied for Mugilan.

However, MIC threatened to take disciplinary action against Mugilan for allegedly using backdoor tactics to be named as the candidate.

Following an intense last-minute discussion between Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and MIC president S Samy Vellu, both parties agreed on Kamalanathan.

In a related development, local non-governmental organisation Persokemas said the controversy surrounding the candidate showed that it is Umno, and not MIC, which calls the shots.

"We, the people of Hulu Selangor are not stupid. What we want from BN and MIC is a capable candidate not a substitute," he told FMT.

“What does Samy Vellu think? He can change the candidate as he pleases, and we are expected to vote for him,” he said.

Death toll from China earthquake reaches 760

Jiegu, China (CNN) -- The death toll from the 6.9-magnitude quake that struck China earlier this week rose Thursday to 760, with more than 11,000 injured, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing Yushu Earthquake Relief Headquarters.
The relief headquarter said there were 234 people missing after Wednesday's earthquake, Xinhua reported. Of the injured, 1,174 suffered severe injuries, Xinhua reported, and 4,200 have been treated and released from the hospital.
Thursday's rescue effort was hampered by unstable bridges and collapsed roadways, making it difficult for heavy equipment to get to hard-hit areas like Jiegu, the town nearest the epicenter.
But rescuers were able to pull four survivors from a collapsed guest house in the area Thursday afternoon, state-run television reported. The rescue occurred after five hours of digging.
Authorities have said that more than 1,000 people have been saved in similar rescues.
The quake toppled about 15,000 homes in and around Yushu prefecture, and caused more than 100,000 people to flee the area, said Zou Ming, director general of Disaster Relief Department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Officials have sent 20,000 cotton tents, 50,000 items of winter clothing and 50,000 quilts to victims.
State-run Xinhua news agency said President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have postponed overseas visits because of the disaster.
Hu won't be going to Venezuela and Peru. Wen postponed a scheduled visit to Brunei, Indonesia and Myanmar on April 22 to 25.
The quake shook the region shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday (Tuesday 8 p.m. ET), when many residents were still at home and schools were just getting started for the day.
How to help: Impact Your World
Qinghai province in northwestern China, home to about five million people, is considered a gateway to Himalayan Tibet. More than half its people are Han Chinese, but the area is home to more than 40 different ethnic groupings, including Tibetans, Hui and Mongols.
Jiegu is in Yushu, a Tibetan region with a population of about 350,000 people -- about a third of whom live in Jiegu. Most are poor, making their living as farmers and herdsmen.
Can buildings be made earthquake-proof?
Qinghai province
Population: 5 million
People: 44 ethnic groups, including Tibetans and Mongols
Average elevation: Over 3,000 meters above sea level
Geography: Qilian Mountains, the Qingnan Plateau and the source of the Yangtze, Mekong and Yellow Rivers
GDP: US$3.2 billion; average GDP per capita US$639
Industries: Agriculture, hydropower, oil and natural gas
But the region is also rich in natural gas and marked by copper, tin and coal mines. The region has a long history of earthquakes -- 53 with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater since 2001, according to China's Earthquake Administration.
One Jiegu resident told CNN that when his house began to shake, he grabbed his family and ran outside. Then came another quake, and his house collapsed. His family is now in tents, he said, but he had managed to buy water. He said they had seen no government assistance.
World's biggest earthquakes since 1900
People were living in fear, the man said, and some were headed up into the mountains to escape the threat of flooding should the reservoir -- also cracked in the quake -- break.
More than 85 percent of the mostly wooden and earth-walled houses in Jiegu had collapsed, a prefecture official told Xinhua. In Yushu, 90 percent of the houses collapsed, leaving many homeless, the Hong Kong Red Cross said. Temperatures in the area are forecast to be around the freezing mark at night, the Red Cross said, so "provision of emergency shelters for the victims remains a high priority."

Anwar personally handles Hulu Selangor campaign

By Debra Chong and Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

HULU SELANGOR, April 16 — Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is the PKR choice for the Hulu Selangor by-election, but it is Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is personally leading the charge to keep the seat and the party momentum intact in the key vote.
The PKR and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader headlined a series of ceramahs in the parliamentary constituency the size of Malacca state last night, promoting the coalition’s multiracial face and slamming his political foes for their racial politics.
Anwar reserved the vitriol for his former party Umno, which touted the Barisan Nasional (BN) multiracial character by naming MIC information chief, P. Kamalanathan, as its candidate for the April 25 by-election, despite half the electorate being Malay.
“Umno thinks this is their land. They treat the Indians and Chinese like dirt. But we in PR, we do not believe in this. We believe we, all the races, must come together. We are here to work for all and not just the Malays,” he thundered to a multi-racial crowd at a ceramah here.
Selangor, under PR’s control since Election 2008, was testament of PR’s belief in multi-racialism, with PKR Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim practising people-oriented governance for all and not just in the interest of a single race, said Anwar
“Look at the former Umno MB and Khalid. When he gives out free water, it is not just for Malays but for the Indians and the Chinese.”

Anwar is headlining the PKR effort to retain Hulu Selangor. — Pictures by Jack Ooi
Anwar has been on a vigorous tour around Hulu Selangor since the death of incumbent Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad that triggered the country’s 10th by-election since Election 2008. The by-election here is crucial for Anwar and PR to restore faith in the coalition’s ambitions to capture Putrajaya in the next general elections, after it lost four PKR MPs recently.
It suffered another blow yesterday when PKR’s Batu Arang state assemblyman, Tan Wei Shu, quit the party citing loss of confidence in the party leadership. The timing of his resignation has dented PR’s full-throttled fight for Hulu Selangor, as sentiments on the ground put its rivals BN in a favourable position to win.
But Anwar appeared unperturbed by this as he continued to mesmerise the crowd and sought to win their hearts through his oratory skills.
The seasoned politician knew just how to charm the crowd as he interspersed his speech with choice Malay, Mandarin and Tamil phrases.
Speaking in Mandarin, the Permatang Pauh MP called Umno leaders “dirty liars”, while he said it was time to “wallop” MIC in Tamil.
Speaking to a thousand-strong and mostly Malay crowd in Bukit Sentosa earlier, he blasted his former party men who had accused him of selling out his race and religion.
“We do not sell the pride of Muslims. Islam is still the religion of the Federation,” Anwar stressed while making a pit stop at the Bukit Sentosa community hall.
“We do not sell the pride of the Malays, the Malay race… but we must follow the principle of mutual respect,” he expounded, adding that there was nothing wrong with maintaining the vernacular languages of the other races.
He took special care to suggest how corruptible his former party was for buying a stake in the San Miguel Corporation — the largest beer company in the Philippines — although the purchase was actually made by Datuk Mirzan Mahathir, the son of his political mentor-turned-nemesis, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamd.
He also spoke directly to the few Indian faces in the audience of the demolition of a temple at the hands of former Selangor mentri besar, Datuk Seri Khir Toyo, and linked it to Umno’s brand of Islam.
“Kita bukan Khir Toyo… Islam untung kalau pergi roboh satu kuil, macam dia roboh dulu (We are not Khir Toyo… Islam profits if a temple is demolished, as how he had done once,” Anwar said, to nods of approval from the floor.
He recounted yet again how the PR bloc had sent a memorandum protesting the increase of gambling licences by the federal Barisan Nasional government, which went against the Islamic code.
Alcohol and gambling are considered haram under Islam.
The Quran-quoting Anwar explained that the better way to promote Islam was to evangelise and explain its benefits through the Quran.
He urged voters in the area to look carefully at the PKR-led Selangor state government’s reform attempts to practise a more just brand of Islam by according fair treatment to all, regardless of race or religion.

Zaid sought to dispel the “moneybags” image being drawn of him.
The state economic adviser also reminded voters that he had pushed the state government to set up a RM50 million fund to give the low-wage group a financial boost. Zaid picked up the theme from where Anwar left off but chose a more direct and personal approach to win over the voters.
“Saya asal dari miskin. Saya tahu kemiskinan (I was originally poor. I know poverty),” he told the audience, in an attempt to connect them on a more emotional scale as well as to deflect the criticisms against him on his alleged deep pockets
He noted the economic disparity among the different social classes in Hulu Selangor and said PKR’s fight was to close that gap, to save the country from falling into greater trouble in future.
He told them the nation was wealthy but pointed out the uneven distribution of the wealth and asked them to allow him to be their “voice” to push forward reform.
Official campaigning period begins tomorrow after nomination takes place in the morning. There are 64,500 voters in the constituency with a sizeable Indian minority of 19.3 per cent.

Zaid to voters: I’ll give 100% of myself

By Stephanie Sta Maria
FMT EXCLUSIVE KUALA LUMPUR: Zaid Ibrahim has no qualms about calling a spade a spade. And in a world where most prefer to call it a rake, this hasn't won him any gold stars. But it has earned him something much better – the opportunity to be the second opposition MP for Hulu Selangor.
Named as candidate just days before official campaigning kicks off, one would assume that Zaid would be huddled with his team poring over the final details of his campaign blueprint.
But the lawyer-turned-politician confessed that he didn't have a sophisticated strategy.
“I've been an MP before,” he said in an exclusive interview with FMT, referring to his one term in Kota Baru. “My strategy now is no different than it was back then. Listen to the people and resolve their issues. There is no need for any fanfare. I want to win on the basis of the people's trust in my ability to serve them, not on any campaign promises.”
Zaid isn't called a troubleshooter for nothing. And right now, he has a decided list of Hulu Selangor grievances that he aims to strike off one by one.
At the top of the list is land rights, especially those of settlers on Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) schemes, and of the Orang Asli.
He said Felda settlers in Hulu Selangor have suffered immensely over the last 30 years simply because Felda has not shared its wealth with them.
“There are two sides to Felda,” he said. “One involves the 180,000 settlers who work the land, earn a monthly salary and receive dividends. Then there is the corporate Felda, which is the largest plantation company in the world. It is worth RM50 billion. The problem is that there is no bridge linking the two sides.”
“Almost 80 percent of settlers are still borrowing money from Felda to cultivate Felda-owned land. Felda then imposes various charges on them, makes deductions from their proceeds and even competes with them in the sale of produce.
“At the end of the day, the settlers are left with a small income of about RM1,500 a month and a mountain of debts. This is outrageous.”
Land titles to settlers
Zaid noted that Felda's original mission, set by former prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, was to give land to the landless, to cultivate and thereby earn a decent income. It strayed from this mission when it began dipping its fingers into other businesses.
“Felda is for the people,” Zaid asserted. “Whatever is done under the Felda name must be for the settlers' benefit. Felda cannot be used to create wealth for the industry or the country. Do the settlers have a say in Felda's investments? Do they know how the money is spent? Are they satisfied with how Felda is run?
“Of greater concern is whose interest takes priority — that of the settlers or of the business? There may be certain measures that need to be taken to enhance the settlers' wellbeing but which would not boost profitability. And if the business is badly run, do the settlers have to pay the price?
“The management of Felda has to be more transparent and the voice of the settlers must be heard at the highest level. They cannot just be ordinary workers helping the industry. They must be properly represented and their rights must be acknowledged because Felda is for them.”
Zaid said he would propose a task force composed of accountants, economists and lawyers to re-examine all of Felda's operations. The team would also push the state government to provide housing and employment opportunities for the children of second-generation settlers, as well as grant overdue land titles to settlers.
He would head this task force himself, and believes he would have enough influence with the state government to ensure that things get done.
“As for the Orang Asli, they fear that they will one day lose their land and be displaced,” he said. “I have been championing their rights for a long time now and I will make sure the state hears them.”
Another plan on his list is to give Hulu Selangor's economy a much-needed boost through investment in the district. Noting that Hulu Selangor had long been a neglected area, he said economic development would be a key focus if he won the seat.
“There has to be more factories to reduce the unemployment rate,” he said. “And it's time for the long-talked-about institute of higher learning to be built in the area.
“Lack of housing is another grave concern. There are so many abandoned housing projects in Hulu Selangor, particularly in Hulu Bernam, and I will work very hard to rescue as many of these projects as possible.”

A national dimension
Turning his attention to welfare and citizenship issues, Zaid said problems over these were “inexcusable”. However, he said they were caused only by administrative botch-ups and were not insurmountable.
“These are not new problems,” he said. “We can't provide instant solutions, but we can start facilitating the solutions by being more accessible to the people and by placing good, committed staff in the district office to serve them. The district office can definitely make it easier for these people and I will personally make sure of this.”
“But many of these issues are federal-related. Unfortunately, we are not running the federal government. So the outcome of our efforts will be limited. We can't issue identification cards, for example.
“What we can do, though, is to raise these issues with the federal government and keep pressuring it to take action.”
Zaid is certain that his election as Hulu Selangor MP would not constrict his service to the district alone. He believes every local issue has a national dimension and a good MP is one who can attend to the needs of the constituency and at the same time articulate and defend policies of national importance. He strongly believes that he is the man for that job.
The Pakatan Rakyat coordinator is also well aware that he will have his work cut out for him should he win. Not only will he have his hands full of unresolved issues, he will also be expected to be more visible than his predecessor was. But he remains unruffled by these expectations.
“I will have a lot of catching up to do,” he admitted. “But I believe the people understand the unfortunate circumstances related to the late Zainal Abidin Ahmad and won't punish us for it. The expectations are high but not unrealistic.
“I'm not a big-time businessman, nor do I hold directorships in 20 companies. I am a fulltime politician. And I'm committed to giving the residents of Hulu Selangor 100 percent of myself.”

Of goodies and buy-election


By Mustafa K Anuar

COMMENT We've seen it all these years, but that doesn't mean that it's kosher just because it has been done all this while. We're talking of the "goodies" the powers-that-be dish out prior to a general election or by-election.

To be sure, the goodies (at times popularly known as "instant mee development") come in various shapes and sizes – depending on the kinds of constituencies that are involved.

Fertiliser, kindergartens, sarongs, sampans and suraus, for instance, are promised or are in the process of being distributed to the folks in the countryside or in the agriculture sector. And in the case of Hulu Selangor that will face a by-election soon, a Permata Negara centre is even promised by the wife of no less than the Prime Minister.

For the urban dwellers, funding allocations are given out for new school buildings, new roads, community halls, mosques and bridges, among other material things.

These are "sweeteners" that are thrown to potential voters to win over their hearts and minds.



Often times, these supposedly heart-warming gestures are ephemeral in nature. It's calculated to be that way because the primary objective is to bait the voters to the hilt and in the shortest time possible.

Turning voters into pawns

But there's more to these goodies than meets the eye. In one sense, voters and human beings are treated like pawns in the political game. They are only seen to be important at that particular moment in time and for a very specific purpose.

Indeed, throwing such goodies in this fashion robs the people concerned of their dignity especially when the purportedly concerned politicians and political parties "disappear" into thin air immediately after the election to be never seen again until the next voting exercise emerges. The people in the constituency concerned deserve development projects and attention all the time – not just prior to an election.

Seen from another perspective, this is clearly a form of bribery practised by the politicians and political parties concerned, an act that should be of extreme concern to public institutions such as the Election Commission. Such acts include development promises that are made close to a political campaign period.

Such political manoeuvring only benefits politicians and political parties that have the wherewithal compared to smaller, ethical parties that are constrained by little political and economic power. And this situation certainly makes the playing field uneven.

Political bribery of this nature makes a mockery of democracy and humanity.

Mustafa K Anuar is assistant secretary of Aliran. He wrote this for Aliran's Thinking Allowed blog

Zaid Ibrahim, a convenient candidate.

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Zaid Ibrahim may easily be the best possible candidate for Hulu Selangor by election. After all, he is a former minister, highly principled, a well known face nationally, a corporate figure and a high ranking political figure in his party.
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Not only he may be the best, but also the most convenient candidate for Anwar Ibrahim and his team.
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Hulu Selangor constituency is won by PKR in the last election by a razor thin majority of just 198. What is more baffling is the fact that all three state seats within the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat are won by BN candidates. PKR cannot therefore foresee this election as for them to win. It is as good as saying, they have won the seat in the previous election by fluke!

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So, here comes Zaid Ibrahim. A heavy weight from PKR, so they said. PKR may be anticipating that Palanivel (another heavy weight) of MIC would be fielded in BN seat, thus thrusting a 'clash of titans' in the election. Is there another hidden agendas for PKR to field Zaid Ibrahim?
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Lets see.
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Zaid Ibrahim is a relatively new member in PKR. He was previously in UMNO and a member of the cabinet. He abandoned BN on a very noble principle of protesting against the use of ISA on several people, including to one journalist purportedly 'for her own protection'. Zaid soon join the PKR team and rose to the rank of importance within the party. In fact, it was not too long ago when existing member of PKR was said to be not too happy with his quick ascension. This is no less than the Vice President of the party himself (Azmin Ali).
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What about Anwar? Despite of his protracted trial in the court of law, not to mention the possibility of him going back to jail, he has not been very vocal about his possible successor. Many voices were heard to urge him to name a person to proverbially carry the torch when he is no more around. In fact, some favouring Zaid Ibrahim himself to helm the leadership of PKR. Just imagine how much feathers in PKR need to be ruffled if that is to happen.
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In short, Zaid Ibrahim has been both a pillar and thorn in PKR. Both Anwar and Azmin undoubtedly happy that Zaid is in their ranks, but at the same time cannot help but worry about the threat Zaid is posing to their position.
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So why field Zaid Ibrahim in Hulu Selangor? Will this not even quicken his ascension and credibility within PKR. If he win (that is a big IF), he will be a parliamentarian and as such he will be qualified to any post in PKR as well as within Pakatan Rakyat coalition. Nothing could stop him anymore.
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That where lies Anwar Ibrahim skill as master strategist. The fact is Hulu Selangor is no walk in the park to win. In fact, with all the troubles PKR has been having recently, PKR may actually lost the seat. While Zaid Ibrahim is PKR's best bet to win, his lost would be a blessing to both Anwar and Azmin. Now they can point at him and said, how can be a loser eyeing on my place. They will drum up, Zaid Ibrahim need to prove himself first before even thinking of becoming a Vice President or Deputy President or the President himself.
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So, there you go. Zaid Ibrahim is indeed the most convenient candidate for PKR in Hulu Selangor. In more ways than one, he is absolutely the best candidate both for PKR and most importantly for Anwar Ibrahim.

BN Hulu Selangor Candidate Election - The Public has been Fooled

UMNO & MIC were acting their best in this candidate selection. Palanivel has been made the sacrifice lamb in the whole process. It was already a foregone conclusion that Kamalanathan was already picked even before all the melodrama that we observed over the last few days.

By Mydin Baharuddin

This is how my conspiracy theory goes. Samy needed to get rid of Palanivel to make inroads within the Malaysian Indian community without having him in the forefront. Samy has enough baggage; even the very mention of his name spurs hatred from the Malaysian Indians. Palanivel is a simpleton, not some high flying maneuvering politican like Samy Vellu. Palanivel has served his purpose for Samy, so Samy now needs to get rid of him as his popularity has increased as Sam’s had decreased since HINDRAF highlighted the plight of the Indians under his mandorism.

If Palanivel won, it would have strengthened Palani’s position and that would have endangered Sam’s ambition to hand over the throne to his chosen ones.

Kamalanathan is a relative of Samy whom he can control, so Samy makes a pact with UMNO to play it for the public to ensure his hold on the party and the supporters are not affected. In this way, he would look good for the public as he can point out to the Indian voters that he had no choice but to abide by UMNO’s decision. Sam is thick skinned; you need to be that to be a politican so he does not care about the hue and cry of the general public but only concerned about how to play it to his audience ie the Malaysian Indians.

The pointers were already there but just that nobody actually picked it up - even the master of conspiracy theories, RPK.
On April 3, 2010, Baradan wrote a piece, see http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/58569-palanivels-biggest-foe-in-hulu-selangor-may-be-samy-vellu

Then on the same day, see how Kamalanathan had been lobbied: http://rockybru.com.my/2010/04/new-face-of-mic.html &

http://theunspinners.blogspot.com/2010/04/kamalanathan-calun-bn-hulu-selangor.html

We, the public, as usual get all excited but fail to actually understand when the writing is on the wall. UMNO & MIC know exactly what they are doing to maintain their hegemony in the Malaysian context and it us the public who keep it alive without much analysis but only for the heat of the day.

The whole time, the public has been taken around on a merry go round and even the Opposition is unable to smell the plot in this whole affair. These are all pre-planned and anticipated moves that the UMNO-led BN government with its coalition had planted from day one.

Oh yes, this Mugilan character and the support he received from UMNO in Hulu Selangor and of course KJ was part of the game plan to shore the sentiment of the public. I really don’t think UMNO is too worried whether Kamalanathan wins or not, but to ensure along with MIC & MCA they are able to ensure their control over the country by controlling their segment of the supporters.

The hate factor, at least amongst the Malaysian Indians, at the moment is Samy Vellu. They needed to engineer a way out to persuade those voters there to vote for BN. Samy played the role assisted by UMNO on how to hoodwink the public and get the result they want without bringing Samy into the picture. But when you dig deep enough, then you would understand how politically savvy these guys are. People!!! This is a typical good cop, bad cop scenario.

Hope Pakatan will exploit this as the central theme is Samy. Anything and everything to do with Samy is taboo for the Malaysian Indian society bearing their current marginalized and discriminated state.

You want to know how savvy Samy is? How do you think he kicked S. Subramaniam out, his nemesis, a favourite of Dr Mahathir and replaced it with S. Subramaniam the current Minister of Human Resources. See the same similarity? That is a story for another time.

Worst Labour Law Amendments in 40 Years - MTUC

The amendments, when passed, would completely remove security of tenure for thousands of workers in the country.
By G. Rajasekaran (Secretary General)

MALAYSIAN TRADES UNION CONGRESS 
PRESS STATEMENT
15TH APRIL 2010 
WORST LABOUR LAW AMENDMENTS IN 40 YEARS
TO PROMOTE PRECARIOUS EMPLOYMENT
Human Resources Minister Dato Dr S. Subramaniam has given the green light to amend the three major labour legislations.
The proposed changes to the Employment Act 1955, Industrial Relations Act 1967 and the Trade Union Act 1959 is seen as the worst in 40 years. The amendments, when passed, would completely remove security of tenure for thousands of workers in the country.
The amendment is deliberately designed to empower employers to employ workers on fixed term contract for as long as they please. Even workers who had ten years service on a contract basis will have no right to seek redress in the event of termination.
This is a drastic change from the current law and practice which accords the right to all workers, irrespective of their salary levels and length of service, including probationers to challenge their dismissals.
The Minister is also seeking amendments to permit employers to question a trade union’s representative status every five years. This will have a serious impact on trade unions right to negotiate on terms and conditions of employment. This will also encourage employers to intensify their efforts to encourage their employees to relinquish their union membership. MTUC is deeply concerned with the Minister’s retrogressive step.
Union leaders representing 200 affiliates will participate in an emergency meeting on Monday (19th April 2010) to discuss the draconian amendments, and decide on the course of action.
The proposed amendments, we believe, are done at the behest of Multinational Corporations and potential investors. 

(G. RAJASEKARAN)
Secretary General

By-elections and bumiputeraism

thenutgraph.com
WHILE by-elections can hardly be considered referendums, they are nevertheless mid-term elections and often have far-reaching implications.

The triple by-elections of April 2009
Remember the triple by-elections of April 2009? What if newly-minted premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak's Barisan Nasional (BN) had won all three handsomely? Would he then have been forced to repackage his party and government through the 1Malaysia campaign and management of ministerial key performance indicators? It was the BN's defeat in two out of the three by-elections that probably pushed Najib to woo back voters so aggressively.
Similarly, the upcoming Hulu Selangor and Sibu by-elections will likely shape Malaysian politics in more ways than can be expected from the two constituencies' nominal weight —1.8% of Parliament. In fact, I believe they will determine the future of bumiputeraism, and the debate about this within Umno.
It is thus important to first look at the ethnic composition of the two seats, since they are quite different.
Hulu Selangor has a bare majority of Malay Malaysians. Chinese and Indian Malaysians make up most of the remainder and are almost equally split in number. Except for the over-representation of Indian Malaysians, Hulu Selangor is almost a demographic microcosm of West Malaysia. While the parliamentary seat was won by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in 2008, its three state seats went to the BN. This suggests that it might have remained a BN stronghold had it not been for candidacy and ethnic factors.
Sibu, on the other hand, is an urban East Malaysian seat with about 60% Chinese Malaysians. The remainder are Christian and Muslim bumiputera in roughly equal numbers. The late Datuk Robert Lau's comfortable 3,235-vote margin in March 2008 indicates that Sibu is supposed to be one of the BN's "fixed deposits".
Two ground rules
Ground rules established in Malaysian politics
I am not suggesting that heavy state support for the bulk of Malay/bumiputera Malaysians might end on the grounds of economic backwardness. That is the first ground rule of Malayan/Malaysian politics that not even the March 2008 elections could sweep away. If you like, this is the 1957 legacy that was reinforced after the racial riots of 13 May 1969.
What the 2008 political tsunami did was lay down the second ground rule of Malaysian politics: the end of systematic discrimination against non-bumiputera Malaysians.
But how could these two ground rules be reconciled to form a middle ground position in Malaysian politics?
The answer can be framed by conceptually dividing Malaysians into four groups: better-off bumiputera; poor bumiputera; better-off non-bumiputera; and poor non-bumiputera.
terms and conditions
Equal treatment across
ethnic lines?
The first ground rule merely requires the emphasis on poor bumiputera. Bumiputeraism, however, goes beyond that ground rule and wants special treatment for both rich and poor bumiputera. In other words, bumiputeraism is really about the triumph of ethnic solidarity over class, and heredity over individual effort.
The second ground rule — on ending systematic discrimination against non-bumiputera — demands equal treatment across ethnic lines. This could mean a complete meritocracy where individual endowment and initiative are paramount. It could also mean equal treatment of bumiputera and non-bumiputera within some categories such as socio-economic class. The logic is that if poor bumiputera deserve state assistance, then so do poor non-bumiputera.
Which middle, Umno?
The meeting point between the 1957 and 2008 legacies can therefore be easily found in "need-based affirmative action" or "market-friendly affirmative action". The two are not really identical but share one similarity — rich bumiputera would have to bid farewell to state support and embrace competition.
For competitive, middle-to-upper class bumiputera, competition means opportunity, dignity and justice. For others, such as the rent-seekers amongst rich bumiputera, competition translates as the unforgiveable sin of assaulting their "race" and challenging the "social contract".
The middle ground position is unchallengeably held by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) but within Umno, the debate remains open: how far should the party move to the middle ground to remain in power?
The resistance is almost self-explanatory — Umno is actually home to rent-seekers in the name of bumiputeraism.
So, at the heart of the movement to the centre is a trade off between the party's collective interest to stay in power and the party warlords' personal interests to continue benefiting from rent-seeking.
But the trade-off mark varies depending on the degree of a stakeholder's dominance within the system. If a stakeholder sits on top of the food chain, his or her economic interest lies more in his or her position in government rather than the perpetuation of bumiputeraism per se. He or she would be willing to do away with bumiputeraism if that's what it takes to stay in power.
However, if he or she is just a small fry, he or she would benefit more from bumiputeraism than personal connections. He or she may thus want to keep bumiputeraism at all costs even if it could hurt Umno's chances of staying in power.
To further problematise the situation, because there is a natural anti-reform constituency in the party, even top leaders will be tempted to play to the gallery at the expense of the party.
Put simply, Umno deputy president and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's "Malay first, Malaysian second" announcement cannot be explained purely based on outlook or upbringing. In fact, there are built-in incentives for some ambitious leaders in Umno to court and back groups such as Perkasa.
And so, how should the pan-Umno camp—  the party itself, rent-seeking business interests, Malay-Muslim nationalist groups and the Umno-linked media — decide how far the party should move towards the centre?
The crucial determinant would eventually be the change in support for Umno/BN amongst Malay and non-Malay Malaysian voters.
If tacit support for Perkasa could substantially raise Malay Malaysian support for Umno/BN at the expense of PAS and PKR, then Umno can be assured of power even if its non-Malay Malaysian support were depleted. But this is highly unlikely as the PR should be able to count on at least 40% of Malay Malaysian support. For the BN, this means that its non-Malay Malaysian support must not be hurt by the doublespeak in the 1Malaysia and ketuanan Melayu "chorus".
Whither Vision 2020?
This is why the outcomes of Hulu Selangor and Sibu may shape the nation's political economy over the next 10 years.
Let's say the BN loses Sibu because of the desertion of Chinese Malaysian and non-Muslim bumiputera voters. The coalition should then worry about potentially losing 36 East Malaysian parliamentary constituencies where these two groups constitute the electorate's majority in the next elections.
For similar reasons, the BN must not only win Hulu Selangor but increase its non-Malay Malaysian support there. There are currently some 93 West Malaysian parliamentary constituencies where non-Malay Malaysians form at least a third of the electorate.

Defeats in both by-elections will send shockwaves to Umno. It could mean that Najib's 68% approval rating will not translate into votes come the next elections. It would mean that the electorate want real reform.
A double defeat would be an ultimatum: end bumiputeraism, enhance national competitiveness, and ensure the well-being of all the poor including East Malaysian natives, or just bow out.
However, if the BN wins both by-elections with substantial non-Malay Malaysian support, then Umno would not need to end bumiputeraism. A double victory would indicate to Umno that it merely needs to tone down, not end, bumiputeraist rhetoric in order to woo back non-bumiputera voters.
If that happens, the bumiputera/non-bumiputera divide will most likely accompany us in the New Economic Model until 2020. Therefore, let's see what kinds of Vision 2020 Hulu Selangor and Sibu have in store.

Samy Vellu and Palanivel have completely lost face in the Hulu Selangor Barisan Nasional candidature farce while Umno hegemony in BN has reached new apex

By Lim Kit Siang,

MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and his deputy Datuk G. Palanivel have completely lost face in the Hulu Selangor by-election Barisan Nasional candidature farce while Umno hegemony in Barisan Nasional has reached new apex.

This is the most shameful and humiliating episode in the history of MIC, one of the oldest political parties in Malaysia, which was founded as far back as August 1946.

In the 64-year history of MIC, was there a single time that the MIC could not decide and determine who should be its parliamentary or state assembly candidate – that its choice could be blocked and vetoed by other political parties including UMNO.

If this had never happened before, why is it happening in the long 31-year reign of Samy Vellu as MIC President?

This is most ironic. The UMNO and BN leadership continue to the blind and deaf to the message of the March 8 political tsunami of the 2008 general elections two years ago – which is a massive national vote against Umno political hegemony both in Barisan Nasional and in Malaysian politics.

Ironically, the Palanivel-Kamalanathan candidature farce has seen Umno’s hegemonic grip in Barisan Nasional reaching new dimensions, as all the other Barisan Nasional component parties, whether MIC, MCA, Gerakan or the Sabah and Sarawak component parties have never been so weak and emasculated in their history as compared to Umno’s over-reaching hegemony in the BN coalition.

Now, Umno is not only usurping the right of individual BN component parties to determine who should be their candidates, but also taking over their right to determine the leaderships in the other BN component parties.

In eliminating Palanivel as a candidate in the Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election, the Umno leadership has virtually delivered a death knell to the political future of Samy’s heir-designate in MIC.

No wonder Palanivel was not present at the Barisan Nasional function in Ulu Selangor yesterday to announce the BN candidate.

No wonder Samy Vellu quickly announced that he would not seek re-election when his term of office as MIC President ends in 2012, when he had earlier promised to hand over the MIC Presidency to Palanivel before the expiry of his term.

The writing on the wall is clear – Palanivel has been eliminated not only as the BN candidate for Hulu Selangor, he has been eliminated as the successor to Samy Vellu as MIC President.

Will Palanivel drown his sorrows and setbacks with the consolation of a Senatorship with vague but clearly not-intended-to-be-fulfilled lure of a deputy ministership in exchange for his exit from the political scene?

UMNO Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin told Sin Chew that the selection of the Hulu Selangor by-election candidate must be decided collectively by the Barisan Nasional and not alone by Umno or MIC.

Is Khairy joking or taking Malaysians for four-year-old children?

The Barisan Nasional is a coalition of 14 political parties. Is Khairy seriously suggesting that apart from Umno objecting to Palanivel’s candidature, there were other BN component parties who objected? MCA? Gerakan? Can Khairy name them?

Can Khairy name a single instance since the formation of BN in 1973 that Umno had acted as such a “big bully” as to interfere in the selection of candidature of a BN component party by arrogating to itself the power of veto to the “one and only” candidate proposal of the BN component party?

Would Khairy agree to submit the decision-making of candidature for BN parliamentary or state assembly seats to majority decision of the Barisan Nasional parties in the BN Supreme Council – to the extent that the other BN component parties can decide by majority vote who should be the Umno President, Deputy President and UMNO Youth leader?

Khairy is just adding salt into the wounds of the MIC leaders and members, divisions and branches.

MIC Must Deliver Hulu Selangor Seat, Says Najib

From Tham Choy Lin

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Bernama) -- The MIC, which was again given the mandate to contest the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat, must deliver the seat for Barisan Nasional (BN), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

Najib, who is also the BN chairman, said it was important for the MIC to prove itself as a national party serving not only the Indians but all communities.

"I decided on (P.) Kamalanathan (as the BN candidate) to fulfil the demand of the local voters. This means that the people's views on a suitable candidate to be MP (is given priority).

"This is the first consideration because Hulu Selangor is a BN constituency. We temporarily loaned it to PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat). The time has come to end the loan and return it to the BN.

"So, we must field a winnable candidate," he told Malaysian journalists here Thursday before continuing his visit to New York.

BN deputy chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on thursday announced MIC information chief MIC P.Kamalanathan, 44, as the BN candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election on April 25. Nominations will be held Saturday.

Najib said that although MIC deputy president Datuk G.Palanivel was not selected again as a candidate, he acknowledged Palanivel's contributions as MP and deputy minister.

Palanivel was the Hulu Selangor MP for four terms starting 1990 before he was defeated by Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad of PKR in the 2008 general election. Dr Zainal Abidin died of brain cancer on March 25.

On the selection of former minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim as the PKR candidate, Najib said: "Everyone knows Zaid. There's no need for me to comment."

On his visit here, he described it as "most productive" because Washington's sentiment towards Malaysia had changed.

He said he noticed the change in sentiment not only in US President Barack Obama and his administration but also on Capitol Hill among the senators and Congress members and among the US businessmen.

On Monday Najib had a bilateral meeting with President Obama while attending the Nuclear Security Summit here.

Umno makin terdesak Institusi pendidikan terus dimangsakan

sila klik untuk besarkan imej surat di atas. cikgu dipaksa hadir program Umno ?

Volcanic ash cloud causes air travel chaos

London, England (CNN) -- A cloud of ash from a volcano in Iceland swept toward mainland Europe Thursday, causing air travel chaos as one country after another closed its air space for safety reasons.

Thousands of flights were affected as some of Europe's busiest airports closed, including London's Heathrow; Amsterdam, Netherlands' Schiphol; and Paris, France's Charles de Gaulle.

Volcanic ash can cause jet engines to shut down.

The prime minister of Norway was among those stranded by the closure of European air space.

Jens Stoltenberg, who was in the United States for President Obama's nuclear summit, is running the Norwegian government from the U.S. via his new iPad, his press secretary Sindre Fossum Beyer told CNN.

The United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands also announced the complete or partial closure of their air space, authorities in each country said. Norway also closed its ocean territory and canceled helicopter flights to offshore oil installations, according to Avinor, the Norwegian agency responsible for the country's airport network.

It's hard to predict how long it will be before air travel can resume, said Matthew Watson, a geophysicist, at England's Bristol University.

"You really need two things to happen: You need the volcano to stop emplacing ash to the altitude that commercial aircraft fly at, 30,000 to 35,000 feet, and you then need the upper level winds to blow the ash and disperse it out of the air space," he told CNN.

How long that will take "depends very much on the volcano. If this is it and it's stopped right now and it doesn't do anything else ... I imagine you are looking at 24 to 48 hours to clear U.K. air space," he said.

But the volcano was continuing to erupt and spew ash as of 5:30 p.m. local time (1:30 p.m. ET) Thursday, Icelandic Foreign Ministry representative Urdur Gunnarsdottir told CNN.

Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said the closure of British air space would last at least until 7 a.m. (2 a.m. ET) Friday. A further announcement would come later Thursday, it said.

France closed eight airports in the north of the country as of 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET), and is set to close another 16, including Charles de Gaulle, at 11 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET).

In all, around 3,000 flights across Europe were expected to be affected by the closures, according to Eurocontrol, the intergovernmental body that manages European air travel.

Many airports were already shut and flights were grounded across the United Kingdom on Thursday because of the ash, which came after an eruption under an Icelandic glacier early Wednesday, airport authorities said.

See how domestic flights in U.S. are affected

The eruption -- the latest in a series that began on March 20 -- blew a hole in the mass of ice and created a cloud of smoke and ash that went high into the air.
AIR SPACES CLOSED
Belgium
Full closure from 4.30 p.m. CET
Britain
Closed until at least 7 a.m. BST Friday
Denmark
From 6 p.m. CET
France
8 airports in North closed, another 16 from 11 p.m. CET
Ireland
From 12 p.m. BST
Finland
"Heavily restricted"
Netherlands
From 7 p.m. CET
Norway
From 10 a.m. CET
Sweden
From 10 p.m CET

The volcano was still active Thursday, creating floods in the area and producing a lot of volcanic ash, a spokesman for Iceland's Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management told CNN.

"There will be an immediate impact today in terms of passengers not being able to travel," said independent air transport consultant John Strickland, of JLS Consulting in England. "The key thing is we don't know how long it's going to last. ... But even if that were to be resolved, it will take some significant time for airlines to recover."

Flights to the United Kingdom from Japan, Hong Kong, India and Australia were affected, and Etihad Airways announced that five flights between Abu Dhabi and England were canceled Thursday.

The U.S. Air Force said two of its bases in England, RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath, would be shut down for at least two days. That meant dozens of U.S. Air Force F-15s and other fighter jets and tankers were not flying, and flights to Iraq and Afghanistan that would have flown through that air space were being diverted to other routes.

iReporter captures footage of eruption

The ash wasn't necessarily visible in the air, but Manchester Airport spokesman Russell Craig said it can still pose a threat to aircraft.

"If you think about the way an aircraft engine works, it sucks in air, it compresses it, forces it out on the other side. That creates thrust," Craig told CNN. "If that air were mixed with ash, it can cause engine failure and electrical difficulties with an aircraft. It's happened before, and the aircraft didn't come out the other end in one piece."
ASH AIR EMERGENCIES
April 1982 -- British Airways flight 009 en route to Auckland, New Zealand, from London, England, flew into a cloud of ash thrown up by the eruption of Mount Galunggung, Indonesia, causing engines to fail. Crew were eventually able to restart three engines and land safely in Jakarta after gliding through the cloud.

December 1989 -- KLM flight 867 en route to Anchorage, Alaska, from Amsterdam, Netherlands, flew into a volcanic ash cloud caused by eruption of Mount Redoubt in Alaska, resulting in failure of its engines as it tried to climb out of the cloud. Pilots were able to restart engines, two at a time, before landing the badly damaged airliner.

Eric Moody was the pilot aboard a British Airways flight in 1982 that managed, barely, to fly through volcanic ash thrown up by Mount Galunggung in Indonesia. All four of the engines stopped because of the ash, and the plane glided through the air for about 15 minutes, he told CNN on Thursday.

"The engines just ran down," Moody said. "We couldn't see out the windscreen and half the electronic aids to landing weren't working, either."

Passengers were told to prepare for an emergency crash landing, with Moody making this now-famous announcement to passengers: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, it's Captain Eric Moody here. We've got a small problem in that all four engines have failed. We're doing our utmost to get them going, and I trust you're not in too much distress."

Eventually, at 13,000 feet, the engines started working again and the plane was able to land. That, said Moody, is why this Icelandic ash could be so dangerous.

"I don't know how thick this ash is, but I wouldn't go anywhere near it," Moody said.

Explainer: Why ash cloud endangers aircraft

Nick Grahame, a chief forecaster at Britain's weather service, the Met Office, said it is hard to predict where the ash cloud will go next.

"The Met Office forecast at the present time, based on the emissions at the moment, suggests that the plume will come across the UK, and also Scandinavian countries in particular, over the next 24 to 36 hours," Grahame told CNN. "If the volcano continues to erupt through Friday into the weekend, then obviously the ash will spread further, but that's something we are not clear about at the moment."

Capt. Bob Jones of the Civil Aviation Authority said Britain will not reopen its airspace until the threat is over.

"It very much depends on the location of the ash, but needless to say, we're taking extreme caution," Jones told CNN.

Kamalanathan janji rampas Hulu S'gor

KJ continues to drive wedge between Zaid, Azmin

Zaid challenges Muhyiddin to declare assets

Dr.Jeffrey Kitingan/Cigma-HRP Consensus on the Third Force


CIGMA-HRP 9 (1) CIGMA-HRP (4)
Wed, 14th April 2010, Kuala Lumpur
In a 3 hour meeting today night at the HRP office, the Common Interest Group, Malaysia (Cigma) and the Human Rights Party (HRP) reached a consensus of the need for a third force in Malaysian politics.
The East Malaysian delegation led by Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan said ‘the minorities in Malaysia including Sabahans, Sarawakians, Indians and Orang Asli, have common interests as they have been marginalised and there is a need to work together’. He was accompanied by activists Nicholas Bawin of Sarawak, Daniel John Jambun of Sabah, Granda Aing, Kanul Ginpol, and Saidil Simoy.
Among the issues discussed were the presence of 1.7 million foreigners in Sabah which amounts to about 55% of Sabah’s population and who drain resources, Project IC, the disasterous rotation of CMs, the issues relating to Orang Asli in the peninsula which Cigma is championing, the plunder of Sarawak’s resources, the rising of Dayak consciousness and Dayak nationalism, the neglect of the 20 Point and 18 Point Agreements with Sabah and Sarawak, the need for review of the Malaysia Agreement as Britain is also a signatory to the Agreements, as well as the upcoming Hulu Selangor by-election where the Orang Asli form a critical 2,000 votes.
The Human Rights Party led by it’s protem Sec-Gen P. Uthayakumar thanked and briefed the delegates about the discrimination and marginalisation of the Indians including the non issuance of birth certificates and identity cards without which education employment and business is not possible.
Both parties unequivocally agreed that the irresponsible BN government must be removed. The parties agreed on the mutual common interests and work towards this same goal as the third force in malaysian politics, and sought ways as to how this can be made to happen in Hulu Selangor by-elections. HRP make known that the need for land allocations for all the 97 tamil schools in Selangor is long overdue and the onus is on the two year PKR government to win over the voters. HRP leaders also impressed upon the visiting delegates of the difficulty of challenging an entrenched political heavyweight like Datuk G. Palanivel.
Earlier in March 2010, Nicholas Bawin, Daniel John Jambun and P. Waythamoorthy presented their case at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in the House of Commons, London, which is expected to be followed up with a parliamentary committee.
Cigma agreed to convey the consensus of the group to PKR and the Orang Asli.
  CIGMA-HRP (3) video
 CIGMA-HRP (5) CIGMA-HRP (2)
CIGMA-HRP (8) CIGMA-HRP 9
CIGMA-HRP (6) P4150010 
CIGMA visits HRP/HINDRAF Struggles Lock-up Gallery
CIGMA-HRP
CIGMA visits HRP/HINDRAF Struggles Lock-up Gallery
CIGMA-HRP (1)

HRP to BN: Seize the day, make fresh start (refer malaysiakini.com)

The Human Rights Party (HRP) has a wish – that the dawn of the Indian New Year today will mark a new beginning in uplifting the socio-economic status of the Indian Malaysian community.
NONEPro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar (left) told Malaysiakini that BN has used the community’s vote bank to its advantage and in return has only given out titbits.
He said Indians are only given importance whenever an election is called. Promises are held out, but the community has been taken for a ride for the past 52 years.
BN politicians visit voters only every election year, to sing sweet songs of economic progress. Once their votes are in hand, they are swiftly forgotten until the next election comes along, he said.
The latest round of such political manipulation was seen during the Bagan Pinang by-election in Negri Sembilan last year – the community there is still waiting for pledges to be fulfilled, he claimed.
"The Indian community should not be mere voting statistics but put on economic par with the other races," he said.
At the same time, HRP wants the community to look beyond misleading short-term election measures and to reflect on the long-term interests that will affect future generations in terms of education and business opportunities.
"Thirty years ago, many Chinese were involved in crime activities but now they have improved their socio-economic status and have moved on. They have been replaced by Indians (in crime)."
Emphasis on education
Uthayakumar also said Indians should not be deprived of access to modern educational facilities and a conducive learning environment.
The excuse that Tamil schools are situated on private land should be replaced by political will in the BN-led federal government to upgrade these to the level of national schools.
Scholarships, job opportunities in the civil sector and bank loans for business should be extended to Indians who are marginalised, to uplift them economically, Uthayakumar said.
HRP also wants the community to change its mindset to accept the opportunities offered, rather than remain trapped in a ‘fatalistic’ state of mind.
Uthayakumar noted that, on the social psychological level, many Indians are caught between an older school of thinking and new trends that have led to changes in larger society.
Some parents, for example, do not give much importance to education, but stop their children’s education at primary level to force them to help boosting the family’s income.

Jeffrey Kitingan @ HRP office (Refer Malaysiakini.com)


dr jeffrey kitinganMoves are abroad to stitch together two Indian-based parties’ cooperation in the opposition bid to hang on to the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat with the help of East Malaysia.
And the middleman attempting this feat of cobbling together the Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRPM) and the Hindraf Makkhal Sakthi is Sabah strongman Jeffrey Kitingan.
ANONEs a first step Jeffrey apparently met with HRPM secretary-general P Uthayakumar and officials of the party for four hours yesterday on the topic helping out Pakatan Rakyat candidate Zaid Ibrahim (right).
Former Sabah PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) deputy chair Daniel John Jambun confirmed this last night in a telephone conversation with Malaysiakini.
Jeffrey, who has close ties with Zaid, could not be immediately contacted after his meet with Uthayakumar.
Jeffrey is expected to meet Zaid, also PR pro-tem chair, sometime today on the results of the meeting and return with the response to Uthayakumar.
"We had a good meeting this evening (yesterday) with Uthaya and his people at their office in Bangsar," said Daniel who assisted Jeffrey at the four-hour meeting.
"Uthaya promised to mull over Zaid’s candidacy and get back to us soon. He also needs some feedback from Zaid."
Nudging aside neutral stance
In the meantime, according to Daniel, HRPM and Hindraf are committed to remaining neutral in the Hulu S’gor by-elections.
The possibility of a change of stance on Hulu Selangor by both outfits seems quite remote at this juncture.
Uthayakumar had always had strong reservations about de facto PKR Chief Anwar Ibrahim, disclosed Daniel, "but he was willing to give Zaid the benefit of the doubt".
The meeting was set up by the Penang-based Hindraf advisor Ganesan Naragan.
Daniel claimed that both Jeffrey (left) and Uthayakumar hit it off during the meeting which is a first for both.
Jeffrey was following up on a meeting he had in Singapore last week with Hindraf chair P Waythamoorthy a day after Zaid had met the former on Hulu Selangor.
Zaid, it is learnt, was earlier scheduled to join Jeffrey at the meet with Uthayakumar but apparently both the Hindraf brothers advised that the PR chief " not enter the picture at this juncture".
Waythamoorthy, according to reliable Hindraf sources, was particularly concerned that Zaid did not embarrass himself by meeting a known hawk prematurely.
Uthayakumar said that he had learnt that the Sabah and Sarawak activists were going to hit the campaign trail in Orang Asli kampungs in Hulu Selangor.
Late yesterday morning, Jeffrey also met with several Orang Asli activists led by Persatuan Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia Chief Majid Suhut.
Several other Orang Asli activists including from PKR and Upko (United Pasok Momogun KadazanDusunMurut Organisation) and other Orang Asli associations were also present.
Jeffrey when contacted after the meeting confirmed that the purpose was to discuss pulling in the Orang Asli votes for Zaid.
NONE"We are quite optimistic now that we can bank on up to at least 50 per cent of the Orang Asli votes for Zaid," said Jeffrey. "The party itself has set a modest target of 10 per cent of the Orang Asli considering they only picked up one per cent the last time."
He noted that there were conflicting reports about the actual number of registered Orang Asli voters in Hulu Selangor.
While most estimates gave an average of 1,000 registered Orang Asli voters, others reckoned it as high as 2,000 or as low as 721.
The meeting with the Orang Asli was set up after a late Tuesday night meeting the Sabah and Sarawak activists held with Dr Colin Nicholas, the Co-ordinator for the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns

This is the kind of Judicial system and Judiciary that we have inherited under the 53 year old rule of UMNO.

cow head This is the kind of Judicial system and Judiciary that we have inherited under the 53 year old rule of UMNO.
When the 25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally case came up, when a few out of the scores of chargees were not present, the sessions Court Judge insisted that the case goes on after having issued a warrant for their arrest.
But for the UMNO cow head incident a different set of standards were applied. The case was postponed without any fuss by the “learned UMNO Judge. The Attorney General was not personally present to prosecute and apply for no bail which the UMNO court “gave in” without any difficulty.
In P. Uthayakumar’s ethnic cleansing “Sedition" trial the learned biased Sessions Court Judge Sabariah Othman at all Court hearing dates made it extremely difficult to grant a postponement despite there being two appeals having been filed at the High Courts.
The judge made it very difficult for an adjournment even when P. Uthayakumar was in London for his medical treatment. Even on subsequent hearing except the last date this biased Judge made it extremely difficult.
But when it comes to the UMNO cowhead incident case, the UMNO appointed Judge gives in, contrary to Article 8 of the Federal Constitution provides for equality before the law. Unless these UMNO cowheads are relying on article 153 of the Federal Constitution and are claiming for Malay special Privileges in these UMNO Courts an easy adjournment.
Our assessment is after a few such post ponements, this case will dissaper in thin air just like how the Kg. Medan ethnic cleansing racial attacks on the Indians scores of such cases just disappeared in thin air.
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice.
this is

Students may not express support of or opposition to political parties

The government is worried that students may get involved in the coming Hulu Selangor by-election so this letter was issued by UKM in anticipation of that. Clearly, in Malaysia, students do not have any rights in expressing their views. The key word in this letter is 'menyatakan, which means to state verbally.

My challenge to Hindraf: let’s fight for a New Deal


The problems that the Indians are facing is NOT the disease. It is merely the symptoms of the disease. If we can eradicate the disease then the symptoms will disappear. We can't cure the symptoms. We need to cure the disease.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

You can read Dr Kua Kia Soong’s article called Stop labelling Hindraf as 'racist', which I ‘stole’ from Malaysiakini without their permission.

First of all, let me reiterate what I had written earlier, which I must stress was never rebutted by Hindraf or anyone who claims to represent the movement. And that is YB Ronnie Liu, Bala of Bangsar, my wife, and I, went to Manoharan’s house in the run-up to the 8 March 2008 general election to speak to his wife about the Hindraf 5 contesting the election on a parliament ticket.

The Hindraf 5 -- P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kenghadharan and T. Vasantha Kumar -- were at that time under Internal Security Act detention in Kamunting. Only Manoharan agreed to contest and he is now the Selangor State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah. The other four refused to contest.

I did say in my earlier article that we were devastated. We took all the trouble to talk to the three Pakatan Rakyat coalition partners to get them to offer the Hindraf 5 seats to contest (maybe two each from DAP and PKR and one from PAS -- or all five from PAS if DAP and PKR have no spare seats) but only one wanted to contest the election. And even then Manoharan wanted a state and not parliament seat (when parliament would have been a better platform seeing that the Indian cause is a national issue).

Instead of replying to this, Hindraf challenged me to state my stand on Article 8 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. I accepted Hindraf’s challenge and not only stated my stand on Article 8 but on the many other Articles in the Constitution as well.

So, I have accepted Hindraf’s challenge. I spoke out against the violation of Article 8. I also spoke out against the violation of the many other Articles as well. If you have been following what I have been saying the last many years you will know that I labelled the New Economic Policy as unconstitutional and Ketuanan Melayu as Apartheid. How much stronger than that can I speak? Many Malays already label me as a traitor to my race. Some even suggest that my citizenship should be withdrawn for my act of treason.

Do I need to fall on my sword to prove my stand?

Now, why did the other four of the Hindraf 5 refuse to contest the general election? I still insist that they would have won because they would have been given ‘safe’ seats. Looking at some of the Pakatan Rakyat candidates who won, many who are half-baked, there is no reason the Hindraf 5 would not have won. Then, today, we would have five Hindraf leaders in Parliament who could further their movement’s cause at national level.

They refused to contest the election because they were worried they would antagonise the government and would give the impression that they are still defiant. And this would mean they would have an extended stay in Kamunting and would not be able to see an early release. In other words, they were scared. They did not want the government to detain them longer. So they ‘behaved themselves’ by not contesting the elections.

What could I say to that? When I was under detention I continued writing and continued whacking the government even though I too wanted to get out. I was not happy with being detained. In fact, some of the Hindraf 5 had to console me while I was in Kamunting because I kept breaking down and cried like a baby. I was a mental wreck and it was some of the Hindraf 5 who offered me ‘counselling’. If not I would have become totally mental.

Hindraf regards me as racist because I do not specifically fight for the Indians. I also do not fight for the Malays, Chinese, Orang Asli, Ibans, Dayaks, Penans, Bajaus, Kadazans, Bugis, Thais, Minangkabaus, Acehnese, Javanese, Portuguese, Mamaks, and whatnot. I suppose that makes me a super-racist. Why am I a racist only when I do not fight for the Indians? Am I not also a racist because I do not fight for the Malays, Chinese, Orang Asli, Ibans, Dayaks, Penans, Bajaus, Kadazans, Bugis, Thais, Minangkabaus, Acehnese, Javanese, Portuguese, Mamaks, etc?

Okay, let’s say, today, I declare I will fight for the Indians. Am I now no longer a racist even though I do not also fight for the Malays, Chinese, Orang Asli, Ibans, Dayaks, Penans, Bajaus, Kadazans, Bugis, Thais, Minangkabaus, Acehnese, Javanese, Portuguese, Mamaks, etc? Does racism come in only when it involves the Indians but not when it involves non-Indians?

According to Hindraf, I am racist by exclusion. I am not racist because I fight AGAINST the Indians. I am racist because my fight is not SPECIFICALLY for the Indians. Going by this argument this would mean even if I do fight specifically for the Indians I would still be considered racist because my fight has excluded the others such as the Malays, Chinese, Orang Asli, Ibans, Dayaks, Penans, Bajaus, Kadazans, Bugis, Thais, Minangkabaus, Acehnese, Javanese, Portuguese, Mamaks, etc. Therefore, fighting for the Indians would not remove my racist label, if we go by the definition of ‘racist by exclusion’.

Okay, I have written a lot about this matter the last week or so. I am prepared to lay the matter to rest and meet Moorthy to see what I can specifically do about the Indian cause. And if because I am Malay then I have no place in Hindraf then I rest my case.

I doubt there is any confusion that my fight is to end corruption, end extrajudicial killings, end police brutality, end detention without trial, end abuse of power, end oppression, end discrimination, end wastage of public funds and taxpayers’ money, end racial quotas in government and education, end manipulation of the judicial system, end cronyism and nepotism, and much, much more.

My fight is also about respecting the Constitution, abolishing draconian laws and laws that violate our fundamental human rights, seeing the emergence of two equally strong parties so that Malaysia can have a true two-party system, reforming the electoral system so that we can see a level playing field, seeing more transparency and accountability in government and seeing good governance emerge, etc.

Now, many (maybe the majority) of the victims of the above abuses are Indians. This I do not deny. I never said that most times Indians are not the victims. But we do not need to fight specifically for the Indians. If we can end all those abuses that I mentioned above then the Indians would AUTOMATICALLY get a better deal, a New Deal. And so would the Malays, Chinese, Orang Asli, Ibans, Dayaks, Penans, Bajaus, Kadazans, Bugis, Thais, Minangkabaus, Acehnese, Javanese, Portuguese, Mamaks, etc. Everyone benefits.

The problems that the Indians are facing is NOT the disease. It is merely the symptoms of the disease. If we can eradicate the disease then the symptoms will disappear. We can't cure the symptoms. We need to cure the disease.

Is this message too difficult to comprehend? Which part of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ do you not understand? It is about being fair to all and about everyone being treated equal regardless of race, religion, age, status and gender. Is this not a good platform to fight on? Does this make me a racist?

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Stop labelling Hindraf as 'racist'

Listen all you people who have been flinging the 'racist' label at Hindraf – if the November 25, 2007 uprising organised by Hindraf had not happened, we would not have had a political tsunami on March 8, 2008!

We can flail our arms and criticise the Hindraf leadership all we want but let us be 'politically correct' about racism and who the racists are in Malaysia.

Yes! It's important to be politically correct on this issue because otherwise our political analysis becomes erroneous, leading to incorrect practice and, more importantly, we let off the real villains!

Hindraf happened because the marginalised Indians in this country are a specially oppressed section of the working class. It is an oppression that has taken on a racist character through the years, so much so that even middle class Indians, especially the youth, have often become the victims of police brutality.

The Indian working class is among the poorest in the country and they do not have the benefit of affirmative action because they have been classified as non-bumiputera.

Indians are a minority in this country but they form the majority when it comes to statistics on deaths in police custody or police killings.

We should be glad the Hindraf uprising happened and the political ripples it created after the 2008 general elections. Credit should be given to their leaders for achieving this feat and for breaking the decades of MIC patronage and pacifism.

The uprising certainly did not happen through the MIC nor did it happen through the other political parties in this country no matter what they say now. It is pointless being wise after the event or to advertise your pristine party – the fact is, Hindraf succeeded where the other political parties failed to do, namely, to mobilise the Indian masses to come out and make their stand on Nov 25 2007.

Right to a specfic identity

Being a specially oppressed and marginalised section of the masses, it is the right of the Indian masses to organise themselves just as the Black Power movement developed in the west during the Sixties. Similarly, women have the right to organise themselves through their special circumstances as an oppressed section of the population.

But to then say that Indians or Blacks are “racist” or that feminists are “sexist” is to expose your own shortcomings and more importantly, to let off the culprits who cause racial oppression and gender oppression in our society.

Racism or more specifically, 'bumiputeraism' has been the dominant ideology of the Malay capitalist class ever since May 13, 1969. It has been practiced under the guise of the New Economic Policy and that racism has been covertly disseminated through state institutions such as the Biro Tata Negara all these years.

It is a marvel that it has taken so long for this racist garbage perpetrated through the BTN to be exposed! Before long, we will hear of racist propaganda in other state institutions especially schools and hostels since the Seventies.

In 1986, this racism was flagrantly espoused by Abdullah Ahmad in his infamous 'Malay Dominance' speech in Singapore but the cat was let out of the bag when Mahathir (left) had a spat with Nazri recently and they were calling each other 'racist'.

Umno's alter-ego

More recently, we have seen the formation of Perkasa, which is none other than Umno's alter-ego. It has been delegated the role of the racist lobbyist traditionally played by Umno Youth while Umno tries desperately to change its spots to win over the non-Malays after the 2008 debacle.

The stereotypes created by this racism to justify the New Economic Policy remain in circulation: We recently heard Perkasa shouting the old refrain that the Chinese still dominates the Malaysian economy.

It was a cue for Umno to continue the NEP in another guise, the New Economic Model. While this has populist appeal to win over the Malay voters, the main beneficiaries are the well-connected capitalists of diverse ethnicities under Umno hegemony.

The marginalised Indians who make up some of the poorest and most oppressed sections among West Malaysians have been portrayed in a racist light. Yet Indians have been the main victims of racial killings such as at Kampong Medan in 2001, deaths in police custody as well as trigger-happy police shootings. (See 'Policing the Malaysian Police', Suaram 2005)

Our indigenous peoples and migrant workers have also been portrayed in a racist light and the recent historic demonstration (right) at Putrajaya recently by our Orang Asli community was truly uplifting.

Whither Hindraf?

Having a separate organisation does not of course guarantee that its leadership will be necessarily progressive. Since 2008, we have seen the Hindraf leadership split into various factions.

It is in the common interest of all communities to fight racism on a class basis. In this day and age, affirmative action is not justifiable for any ethnic community which has undergone class differentiation. Thus, I would think that neither the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazanmurut nor Iban communities can justify any affirmative action.

However, communities that are not yet class differentiated such as the Orang Asli and Penan communities may justify affirmative action as a particular community.

The best non-racist approach to progress is still affirmative action based on class or sector.

All progressive Malaysians must unite around their struggles and stop flinging the 'racist' label about. The racists are the Umnoputras who control the Malaysian state.

We hope that the true Hindraf leaders will stay faithful to their just cause and correctly identify the primary role of capitalism and the state in causing racial oppression suffered by the Indian masses. The struggle against the Malaysian state can only succeed if it is anti-racist.

At the same time, Hindraf must also work alongside other campaigns for justice, democracy and human rights. We can only mobilise the whole masses if we fight on all fronts, against all oppressions and against the divisions within the masses. As the Black Panthers said in the sixties:

“We do not fight racism with racism…

We fight racism with solidarity”.

DR KUA KIA SOONG, a former MP, was principal of the New Era College, Kajang. He is also a director of human rights group Suaram.