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Friday, August 27, 2010

Najib says BN does not tolerate racism



Najib says the authorities need to check the ‘facts’ before acting. — Picture by

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the ruling bloc will not stand for racist remarks from anyone, in the prime minister’s first response to a heated debate surrounding two school heads for the past two weeks.

Najib said his administration must adopt a “zero-tolerance” policy towards racism and will take immediate action against those found to have made racial slurs.

“Our stand is not to tolerate any racist remarks by anyone. We must adopt a zero-tolerance policy not to play up racial issues,” he told some 400 people who turned up for the Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth Lab town hall meeting here.

Najib, however, cautioned that the authorities need to check the “facts” before acting as the issues could have been blown out of proportion.

“If indeed found to be racist, we will take action against them,” he said to loud cheers from the floor.

Earlier this month, two Malay school principals in Johor and Kedah were reported to have spewed racist words at their ethnic Chinese and Indian students and sparked a public furore.

The school heads of SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in Kulai and SMK Bukit Selambau in Sungai Petani have since apologised but various parties are still calling for stern disciplinary action against the duo, including sacking.

Last Friday, Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin broke his elegant silence on the issue and directed Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom to set up a task force and probe the incidents.

Alimuddin had previously claimed the matter settled.

The deputy PM’s delayed reaction did not go unnoticed by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) politicians, who hammered the Najib administration for its perceived tolerance of racism. - The Malaysian Insider

PKR decision will backfire in Sabah, say supporters

PKR decision will backfire in Sabah, say supporters  



By Luke Rintod

KOTA KINABALU: The recommendation by the PKR hierarchy to suspend 12 of its Sabah leaders has been met with silence here. But the ordinary party members and opposition supporters, however, are waiting to see how party leaders in Sabah and Kuala Lumpur will treat what most here see as PKR shooting itself in the foot.

"They are all waiting for the other shoe to drop," said a veteran political observer following the PKR disciplinary committee’s recommendation that the 12 be suspended for a year over their role in setting up Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) last year.

The 12 have received the news of their impending one-year suspension calmly and have refused to talk about their next course of action.

It may also be too early to speculate if the move will affect PKR's strength in Sabah.

But what is certain is that the will of the 12, all aligned to Jeffrey Kitingan, to pursue their case, is on the verge of breaking.

Sources here said that at least some of the 12 are considering writing appeal letters.

They are believed to have been advised to do so by Jeffrey, who met PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim during a political bureau meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday night..

Efforts to reach Jeffrey failed while the 12 are refusing to talk before they meet their mentor. Jeffrey was to have returned to Sabah late last night.

Two camps

Meanwhile, reactions from PKR grassroots members here have been mixed.

Supporters of Jeffrey are divided, with one group saying they should appeal right away to Anwar if the supreme council upholds the recommendation on Sunday, and stay with PKR.

But another group is against it even if the Sunday meeting adopted the suspension. They prefer Jeffrey, Christina Liew and the 12 to leave PKR and continue their struggle in a more friendly political party.

"Why appeal? Clearly this saga is yet another proof to Sabahans that Anwar has an agenda against them, especially the non-Muslims.

"If the 12 do appeal, where are they going to put their face? This too will only embolden Anwar and future leaders to adopt a condescending attitude just like Umno leaders," said a party member, who only wanted to be known as Francis.

The news of the suspension was, however, met with euphoria in the other corner of Sabah PKR.

Masikung Maluk is happy if the 12 are to be suspended. "They should go ahead with registering their PCS now. Or they can leave PKR and join DAP," he said.

It is an open secret that Sabah PKR is divided into two camps – one is the "the autonomy group" or "freedom fighter group" aka "Jeffrey group", while the other is the "the cium tangan group" or "Ansari group" aka "Azmin group".

Members puzzled

Ordinary members are puzzled and have questioned the timing and speed of the disciplinary committee in recommending a one-year suspension against the 12 when the inquiry was only held on Wednesday in Kota Kinabalu.

"If it is true the committee has recommended such a suspension (in such a short time), then it is unbelievable...

"It could well give credence to belief that everything is pre-planned by Kuala Lumpur to deny Jeffrey a chance to lead PKR in Sabah," Francis of Papar said, adding that there are many other disciplinary cases that the party should have paid attention to.

"We can name a few cases that have brought the party to public disrepute. What about Anwar's own sodomy case? Why is PKR not carrying out its own investigation?" he asked.

Under a reformed PKR, the state liaison chief will be elected by divisional heads, and Jeffrey’s group is said to be increasingly popular among members, bolstered by their solid and consistent stand on state rights and autonomy vis-a-vis state-federal relationship.

At least seven or eight of the 12 are eyeing to retain or seek top divisional posts in party elections slated for next month.

In fact, they had been busy preparing for party elections when the PCS issue, considered solved last year, was suddenly resurrected last month against them.

The 12, who are all aligned to Jeffrey, are Daniel John Jambun, Awang Ahmad Sah, Moses @ Mozes Michael Iking, Nicholas James Guntobon, Paul Kerangkas, Slyvester @ Balon Mujim, Innocent Makajil, Nasir Samie, Harry Kujukok Manisit, Rubbin Guribah, Gosibin Yosundang and Guandee Kohoi.

The PCS was mooted by some Sabah PKR leaders following a massive fallout between Jeffrey and fellow vice-president Azmin Ali, who was made Sabah PKR chief replacing Anwar, who had held the post of Sabah and Sarawak chief for a few months.



However, under a peace plan initiated by the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Jeffrey was made responsible for both Sabah and Sarawak and another person was put in charge of the state. Azmin was removed from the state line-up.

Most observers believed that the hastily cobbled peace deal had papered over the rift and there would be no witch-hunt against those who had allegedly plotted against the party at that time by aligning themselves with Jeffrey.

Suaram alarmed as Rela heads back to detention camps

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Suaram is alarmed that the government has decided to allow Rela volunteers back into immigration detention centres.
In a statement released today, the human rights group noted that Rela personnel were withdrawn from the detention camps last year following allegations that they had abused detainees.

Suaram was responding to reports that the government was planning to revamp the management of the detention centres and upgrade their facilities.

“We laud the government's move to revamp the facilities as many human rights organisations have raised concerns regarding the deplorable conditions and poor management of the detention centres.

“But we are concerned that the government is planning to bring back Rela officers into the detention camps,” said Suaram coordinator Temme Lee.

“We have repeatedly argued that Rela personnel should not be allowed to handle detention centres as they are not well-trained to handle migrants,” he said.

He also called on the government to stop treating illegal immigrants as if they were common criminals. Confining them to detention centres should be the last resort, he said.

“Their only guilt is flouting immigration laws,” Lee said. “If there is a need to detain them, perhaps the government can consider other alternatives like what Australia is doing — keeping the migrants in community detention premises.”

Welfare aspects ignored

Lee also said the proposed revamp did not take into account the welfare of detainees.

“It seems the government is only looking into the security aspects.”

“Suaram feels that adequate attention must also be given towards fulfilling the basic rights of the detainees, such as providing them clothing, clean water, bedding, proper healthcare and other basic needs.”

Suaram also urged the government to ensure that the detention centres comply with international human rights standards.

“The government can look into the United Nations' Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment as a guide,” Lee said.

“We also urge the government to hold regular dialogues with civil society movements and other stakeholders on how to improve the management of immigration detention centres in the country.”

BN Youth Lab disproves youth apathy

By Erna Mahyuni

KUALA LUMPUR: Panned before it even got off the ground, the BN Youth Lab has been called a publicity effort as opposed to a serious endeavour to engage the nation’s youth.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has been a prime mover behind the endeavour, fuelling speculation that BN Youth Lab is merely a vehicle to help his political relevance.

To be fair, Khairy has certainly leveraged on the public interest in the BN Youth Lab’s findings. But what politician could resist an opportunity to be seen as relevant to the younger set, who proved key to BN’s defeat in the 2008 general election?

For the youth, by the youth
What is BN Youth Lab all about? Basically it is Umno Youth’s attempts to engage Malaysian youth on key issues that interest them. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had mooted its formation in a meeting with key Umno Youth members.

Kicking off the effort was a telephone survey involving a sample of 1,000 respondents, youth were asked about what mattered to them.

The results were enlightening. Youth shared concerns about issues that embraced a broad spectrum that included the economy, media freedoms, education and the minimum wage.

A key question asked was whether the respondents would vote in the coming elections, and 75% of the respondents, many of whom would be first-time voters, emphatically said yes.

BN Youth Lab then progressed beyond a mere survey to engaging focus groups and then setting up a ‘lab’ that involved a cross-section of the target demographic. The end result? A report that compiled a list of recommendations made by the youth to be submitted to the prime minister.

Media commission ‘to be addressed later’
A month before the report was made public, Khairy had a personal audience with the prime minister to discuss the recommendations.

“He (the PM) was happy with the recommendations,” Khairy told a private audience with BN Youth Lab members.

However, a contentious portion of the report, pertaining to a proposed media commission was left out of the public report.

Khairy said that though the PM was amenable to the media practicing self-regulation as opposed to the current Home and Information Ministries’ involvement, it was a matter he felt needed “further thought” and revisited in depth on its own.

Following the encouraging response to the BN Youth Lab, the Youth and Sports Ministry is due to sponsor another youth lab. According to Khairy, this lab would likely build from the BN Youth Lab report as the foundation.

Moderate or cowardly?

A bit of disclosure here: this writer was a participating member of the Youth Lab sessions that led up to the final report. I agreed to joining on tacit knowledge that I would report on my experiences and assurances that the members were strictly non-partisan.

From observations, the members of the lab sessions were predominantly middle-class urbanites. What they also had in common was a bias towards leaning somewhat towards the centre, which could explain why the recommendations were generally tame.

On the subject of the ISA, instead of calling for its outright abolition, respondents instead called for key revisions to its terms as well as for greater transparency.

Among the ISA recommendations made were:

1. A maximum or cap to the detention period as opposed to two-year renewals.

2. Compulsory financial assistance for ISA detainees’ dependents

3. Amending Section 8 where the Home Minister’s approval would then be needed for all detentions, and not just for those exceeding one year

4. The police would need to inform the Home Ministry of an ISA detention within 14 days. Failure to do so would earn the detainee the right to immediate release.

Other recommendations included support for a minimum wage of at least RM1,000, better child care facilities, and monetary incentives to companies that employed more than one race.

The “bravest” recommendation perhaps was a call for the Universities and University Colleges Act to be amended to allow university students to participate and hold ranks in political parties.

From my own experience in the Lab, we were constantly reminded to suggest concrete, practicable measures as opposed to mere ideas. The limited time given, four afternoons on weekends, also restricted the depth particular issues could be explored.

Yet some allowance had to be made for the composition of the labs members. These were not scholars but for the most part civilians not vested in either civil service.

To their credit, BN Youth had a mostly hands-off approach to the lab and served as facilitators without attempting to influence the issues or directions conversations veered towards.

The aftermath
Mok Han Kit, another BN Youth Lab participant, admitted that he was initially skeptical about the whole process.

“I am skeptical anything will actually come out of this but I’m not totally discounting the possibility,” he said.

His fellow participant, Jillian Lau, considered the proceedings “eye opening”.

“It showed me that the ‘other side’ (government-affiliated) actually did care about what was happening in the country,” she said.

At the preview meeting for the BN Youth Lab members, Khairy was asked what reassurances there would be the measures proposed would be implemented.

The Umno Youth chief said that there would be tracking methods put in place to monitor the progress of the recommendations. Details on the exact methods were still sketchy at press time but the members were assured they would be kept in the loop.

What is apparent is that BN seems to be making headway in the battle for young minds. What the opposition currently lacks are convincing youth leaders. It is overly dependent on NGOs to engage this key demographic.

The jury is still out on whether BN Youth Lab is more than a publicity exercise. What is clear is that the youth carry not just the hopes of the nation, but also the future of the political landscape.


Erna Mahyuni is a writer and BN Youth Lab permanent member.

RM1.5b needed to improve Sarawak’s healthcare

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: PKR in Sarawak wants the government to allocate at least RM1.5 billion to build several new hospital projects and upgrade divisional and district hospitals in order to provide medical services for the people in the state which up to now has been neglected.

“We urge the government to build at least three new hospitals for Greater Kuching to be sited at Petra Jaya to cater for people around the Santubong area, at Batu Kawa for people around Moyan and at Siburan to cater for the people from Padawan Municipal council and its surroundings,” said Dr Francis Ngu, head of PKR health services and welfare bureau.

He suggested that the Petra Jaya hospital should have 400 beds, while the Batu Kawa-Moyan and the Siburan hospitals should have 250 and 350 beds respectively.

Both Sibu and Miri hospitals should also be upgraded to cater for the central and northern regions respectively and their services should be on par with those provided by the Sarawak general hospital, he said, adding that several other divisional and district hospitals should also be upgraded to provide the minimal resident specialist services.

In addition, the beds of Sarawak International Medical Centre in Samarahan should be increased from 200 to 350 beds.

“For all these projects, a total development allocation of RM1.5 billion is sought, and increased annual operating expenditures of new and upgraded hospitals will have to be budgeted accordingly.

“All these projects should be implemented in the 10th Malaysia Plan and to be carried over to the next Malaysia Plan,” Ngu said in a discussion paper on health services in the state.

It will get worse

He said that the estimate were in addition to development and operational funds needed for the new and better polyclinics.

“PKR has been successively canvassed since 2006 both inside and outside Dewan Undangan Negeri for new hospital projects and to upgrade the services of existing divisional and district hospitals.

“We have even appealed for fast-tracked budgetary approval, but other than the ‘one-of’ promise for Petra Jaya general hospital, there has been no meaningful and substantive response from state and federal governments,” Ngu lamented.

He warned that under provision-versus-service needs, Kuching and other towns will get worse if no aggressive proactive planning is undertaken immediately.

“Apart from the rapid urban population growth which is underpinned by rural-urban migration, the slowly but steadily aging population adds to the service needs.

“The national doctor population target is 1:500, but in Sarawak it is 1:1,000+ and this is even a camouflage of the urban-rural disparity.

“The ratio is expected to greatly improve in three to five years, given the large numbers of medical graduates joining the service,” Ngu said.

Khairy wants Umno, BN to move away from Perkasa

Khairy says Perkasa is ‘hurting’ BN. — File pic

 KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has raised concerns that Barisan Nasional (BN) would lose non-Malay support if it does not immediately disassociate itself from Malay rights group Perkasa.

Khairy said there was a perception now to affiliate Umno with Perkasa, and this was “hurting” BN’s bid to gain non-Malay votes which severely dwindled in the last general election.

“Perkasa is hurting us, our chances in gaining non-Malay votes. For Umno, BN to win, we cannot afford to be associated with these people. They are alienating us from a large segment of voters,” he said.

Khairy, who is also BN Youth chief, told The Malaysian Insider Umno’s method of attracting Malay support was “acceptable” to other races because it was not done in a confrontational manner.

“The way in which Umno carries out its struggle is acceptable to non-Malays because it is not confrontational like Perkasa,” he said.

The Rembau MP dismissed Perkasa Wira chief Arman Azha Abu Haniffah’s claims that more Umno Youth members were joining the rights group because they were disillusioned with Khairy’s leadership of Umno Youth which they said no longer championed Malay interests.

“That is ridiculous. We don’t need them (Perkasa). Umno Youth is aware and in full support of Umno’s direction, where we must get support from not only Malays, but Chinese and Indians as well,” said Khairy.

Arman said yesterday that many Umno Youth members were unhappy that Malay interests were no longer prioritised.

“The sentiment on the ground is that Umno Youth is missing the presence of a Youth chief who prioritises Umno, Malay interests above everything else.

“Lately, Khairy’s statements do not reflect his position as Umno Youth chief. He should understand, his priority is to safeguard the interests of Umno first, but what is happening is that Khairy seems more concerned with his position as Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth chief. That is why Umno Youth members are joining Perkasa,” Arman told The Malaysian Insider.

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali later added fuel to the fire, claiming that Khairy could not get over the fact that he was not given a deputy minister’s post in the Najib administration, and that the Umno Youth chief was using Perkasa as an “excuse” to vent out his frustration.

“I find KJ’s (Khairy Jamaluddin) statement wanting to leave Umno if a majority of its members supported Perkasa very funny. What is KJ’s disease? (He is) mentally ill.

“Perhaps his frustration in not being selected as a deputy minister has reached its climax and he is now using Perkasa as an excuse,” Ibrahim told The Malaysian Insider via SMS.

Khairy refused to comment on Ibrahim’s remarks.

“No, I don’t want to comment on this, it’s not even worth commenting on... this will just give more fuel for him to use so that he can try and remain relevant (in politics),” he said.

At a Ramadan forum debate yesterday, PAS MP Khalid Samad claimed that Umno was “drowning” due to Perkasa’s influence.

“If there is a situation where Umno chooses Perkasa over me, I will leave (the party),” said Khairy at the same forum.

Khairy and Ibrahim have been at loggerheads, with the latter demanding that Khairy resign as Rembau MP for compromising Malay interests in defending MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong over the issue of scholarship allocations.

Perkasa was formed soon after Election 2008 by the independent Pasir Mas MP who claimed that it was a response to increasing threats to the Malays.

The group has successfully turned into a pressure group in ensuring the government continues to protect what Perkasa calls the constitutional position of the Malays, in particular the pro-Bumiputera policy in awarding of government projects and scholarship.

Stand up and be counted, Malaysia

Azmi 


Brave New World (The Star)
26 August 2010


It is strange that in the 21st century, we are still having to face the problem of institutionalised racism.

______________________________


OVER the past week or so, there have been some developments in our country which are more disturbing than usual.
In particular, the two cases of alleged racist remarks by school heads; the accusations that Penang mosques have replaced the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with the Chief Minister’s name in their prayers; and the continued insistence that Article 153 of the Constitution is equal to an inalienable right that could not be questioned.
These events are interrelated and it seems to me that they indicate that there is a battle of ideology going on in the country now.
On one side is the idea that a person’s ethnicity and religion entitles him to be treated better than anyone else who is different. On the other side is the idea that equality is an aspiration that is both noble and necessary for nation building.
It is strange that in the 21st century we are still having to face the problem of institutionalised racism.
Looking at our history, one can see why this has occurred. The combination of race-based politics and poorly interpreted constitutional provisions have meant that the idea of racial and religious superiority has been allowed to grow and become the norm rather than something undesirable and out of the ordinary.
How else can one explain the possibility that teachers, the very people to whom we entrust the education of our children, can have such warped values and also have the gall to express those views publicly?
How else can we explain the near rabid attack on the Penang Chief Minister for something which he and the state religious department have vehemently denied and in fact would have been insane to attempt?
Let’s analyse this one step at a time. When the dominant political parties in this country do not have any political ideology to speak of and are instead, based on the principle that each race-based component has a duty to safeguard the interest of its community, what one has is a recipe for the kind of policy and rhetoric that divides rather than unites.
Historically, one can see the reasons why the politics of the nation was forged in this way. It was a necessary evil in the face of the divide-and-rule policy by the British to show that even when separate, the three major communities of the nation can still work together politically.
However, it is an unsustainable model and what started life as a fairly rosy example of racial cooperation too easily descended into crude racialist type politics.
Which is why the early aspirations that our founding fathers had for a society treated with equality has now been all but buried by the idea that one race is superior to others and in fact is the only race with any right to be here in Malaysia.
This is because in the battlefields of politics, it is easiest to appeal to base racialist emotions, especially when without those types of ideas, a party based on race will have no collateral to work with.
In this kind of political atmosphere, it is of no surprise that what has been forgotten is that the basis of this nation was one of justice and equality. And the document that is meant to protect that, the Federal Constitution, has been misinterpreted to the extent that there is no longer any trace of this aspiration in the mainstream discourse of the day.
Let us be absolutely clear on this matter, the Constitution does give powers to the government to take affirmative action and it does acknowledge the fact that Islam has a special place in the public life of the nation.
What it does not intend to do however is create a perpetual system of ethnic-based favourable treatment nor does it advocate the idea that all other religious beliefs must be subservient to Islam.
However, instead of this reasonable position, what we have today is the idea that affirmative action for Malays is unquestionable and to be continued in perpetuity becoming the norm.
This cannot be further from the truth as there are no legal justification for it at all.
Article 153 of the Federal Constitution is seen as the holy grail for those who hold this view. However, if we examine the provision closely we will notice two things.
Firstly, affirmative action is not a Malay right. Article 153 does not endow a right. What it does is to merely give government the power to take affirmative action despite the overarching ideal of equality which is enshrined in Article 8 of the Constitution.
To support this contention, we see that Article 8 clearly states that all citizens in this country are equal except for situations specifically provided for in the Constitution. Those “specific provisions” are found in Article 153 and there are not many of them.
They include the power to establish quotas for the civil service, permits and licences, scholarships and education.
Therefore anything other than these areas should not be subjected to affirmative action.
Furthermore, any affirmative action has to be reasonable. The idea of what is reasonable must surely be open to research and debate otherwise there will always be the risk of abuse and wastage of resources.
This being the case, although questioning the existence of such a power to have affirmative action is moot, discussion on the efficacy of affirmative action policies and programmes surely is not.
The way the discourse is today, and not merely by the racialist fringe but by mainstream politicians in power, is that even the implementation of Article 153 is not to be questioned at all.
This is surely wrong based both on the meaning of the Constitution as well as the principle held by the founding fathers that Article 153 was an unfortunate but necessary aberration from the ideals of equality and that it was to be used not in perpetuity.
With these kinds of distortion of law, is it any wonder then that we still get people actually classifying whole swathes of the citizenry as having no right to be here?
Is it any wonder then that a crazy accusation against a Chief Minister whose government has given twice as much money to the Islamic bodies in the state than the previous administration, can give rise to the belief that he is a threat to the faith?
If this country is to have any future as a true nation, the time has come for those who believe in the ideals of equality, ideals which were held by the political founding fathers of the country as well as the traditional Rulers of that time, to stand up and be counted.
To not be cowed by the bigots and to say that this is our country and it stands on noble humanitarian ideals, not opportunistic racialist thinking.

Eh, Tun dah lupa?

By Art Harun

Every year, during the first two or three days of fasting, I suffer from headaches. That is because my blood sugar level drops. Thank God this will go away after the 3rd day of fasting.

Low blood sugar level may cause hypoglycemia. In some cases, symptoms of hypoglycemia include impaired judgment; irritability; belligerence; confusion; belligerence, combativeness and rage. Thankfully, as far as I know, I don’t have those symptoms.

When Tun DrM said yesterday that meritocracy and “meritocrats” are racists, my first reaction was one of irritation. Then I was bemused. Later I was amused. And finally today I think it must have been the fasting month and the obvious low blood sugar level which was affecting him.

Meritocracy as I understand it is the act of rewarding or awarding an individual or a body of individuals or any entity with anything based on merit. Like awarding a student who has scored 13 As in SPM a place in the university. Or awarding X Sdn Bhd a contract to maintain a submarine because X Sdn Bhd has successfully maintained 15 other submarines before this without any problem at reasonable costs as compared to any other company who were bidding for the job.

Conversely, if someone becomes Chief this or that just because he or she has good contact with the appointor, that is not meritocracy. It is also not meritocracy if a person obtains something just because he or she is of a particular race, religion or even has a particular sexual preference.

In the sporting arena, Datuk Nicole David has been a world champion for so long because she is so good at what she is doing that there is no other living creature could be as good as her. Therefore, Datuk Nicole is a champion by virtue of meritocracy. God forbid that Tun DrM thinks that the good Datuk is a racist or that the World Squash Championship people are!

The same thing with our badminton teams. We have won the Thomas Cup umpteen times just because we are the best. Are we racists or the organisers of the Thomas Cup racists?

The Spaniard recently won the World Cup because they played the best football. Are they or FIFA racists?

At King’s College, London University, students who top their class are given a Merit award on their post-graduate degree. That is because those students qualify for the said award by being top students. They are not given a Merit just because they are of a particular race or profess a particular religion. In other words, the students get the award based on merit. Is King’s College racist?

I believe Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar is the chief of Khazanah because he is really good at what he is doing. And he is appointed by the Prime Minister. The same goes with the new Petronas chief who replaced Tan Sri Hassan Marican. Recently, Dato’ Bakke was appointed as the new Sime Darby chief because it is said that he is the most suitable person to be the chief of Sime Darby. He has done a great job at FELDA. Again, the PM must have had a hand in his appointment.

The PM also chooses all the members of his cabinet. I am sure the PM appoints all the cabinet members because the PM thinks those people are the most qualified persons to be in the cabinet. Thus we have people like Idris Jala and Amirsham in the cabinet. These are proven people from the corporate sector.

Tun, is the PM racist then?

Dear Tun, allow me to say this. Malaysia could be a united nation, with a confident Malaysian society, infused by strong moral and ethical values, living in a society that is democratic, liberal and tolerant, caring, economically just and equitable, progressive and prosperous, and in full possession of an economy that is competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.

But we cannot be so until and unless we overcome the nine central strategic challenges. They are:

1.

the challenges of establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny. This must be a nation at peace with itself, territorially and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one ‘Bangsa Malaysia’.
2.

the challenge of creating a psychologically liberated, secure, and developed Malaysian Society with faith and confidence in itself, justifiably proud of what it is, of what it has accomplished, robust enough to face all manner of adversity. This Malaysian Society must be distinguished by the pursuit of excellence, fully aware of all its potentials, psychologically subservient to none, and respected by the peoples of other nations.
3.

the challenge of fostering and developing a mature democratic society, practising a form of mature consensual, community-oriented Malaysian democracy that can be a model for many developing countries.
4.

the challenge of establishing a fully moral and ethical society.
5.

the challenge of establishing a matured,liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practise and profess their customs,cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation.
6.

the challenge of establishing a scientific and progressive society, a society that is innovative and forward-looking.
7.

the challenge of establishing a fully caring society and a caring culture, a social system in which society will come before self, in which the welfare of the people will revolve not around the state or the individual but around a strong and resilient family system.
8.

the challenge of ensuring an economically just society. This is a society in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation, in which there is full partnership in economic progress. Such a society cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race.
9.

the challenge of establishing a prosperous society, with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.

Tun, with all due respect, we cannot run away from those challenges. We, as a nation and as a people, have to confront those challenges and by hook or by crook, overcome them in order to be a developed country.

What we are doing now is to forget those challenges. To assume that they are not there. To sweep them under the carpet and pretend that everything is okay when it is quite obviously not.

We are letting racism and communal interests rule the day. We are not working as one nor living as one. We are not even willing to attempt to do so. We have abandoned the ideals of this nation when this nation was at the brink of achieving independence. The ideals and aspirations of our forefathers have been betrayed, destroyed and consigned to our archives and treated as if they are not worth the paper they are written on.

Where is the nation at peace with itself, territorially and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ stated above?

Have we even attempted to achieve a psychologically liberated, secure, and developed Malaysian Society with faith and confidence in itself? How are we to be liberated if days in and days out we keep reminding a particular race that they are weak; that they are not good enough to compete; that they always need crutches to walk; that they should unite lest they would be destroyed and various other negativism?

Have we even thought of establishing a matured,liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practise and profess their customs,cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation?

What liberalism are we talking about when some headmistress who outwardly is a Muslim allegedly spouted racial hatred to her students, describing non-Malays as mere passengers in a car who can be asked to leave the car anytime and anywhere? Yet some hot shot Minister dismissed that incident as isolated and almost irrelevant? What liberalism are we talking about when cartoon books are seized just because some people are lampooned in it; when radio DJs are sacked just because he dares to speak out on sensitive issues; when candle light bearing people congregating to propagate the abolishment of a draconian Act of Parliament were met with batons and riot police? What liberalism?

What about establishing a fully caring society and a caring culture, a social system in which society will come before self? Sorry, but I am suddenly enveloped by this uncontrollable need to laugh. What caring society are we talking about when there are Ministers who suggested that baby dumpers should be sentenced to death knowing full well that those who do so are mere children who have acted irresponsibly by having unprotected sex?

What about ensuring an economically just society. This is a society in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation, in which there is full partnership in economic progress? Have we even had a plan for this? Or are we in self denial mode still?

Have we realised that such a society cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race?

I don’t think we have. Because all I could see now is the identification of everything under the sun with the colours of our skin.

By the way, before you dismiss those nine challenges which I had referred to above as being the unachievable ideals of an idealist, allow me to remind you dear Tun, in case you have forgotten, that those are the nine challenges that you YOURSELF have identified for all of us to overcome if we ever want to achieve the status of a developed nation by 2020 in your Vision 2020 speech.

Yes. It is you who have said all those. Not me. Not Dato’ Sri Najib. Not Lim Kit Siang. Not Anwar Ibrahim. It was you who said it.

Perhaps Perkasa, MPM whatever should now lodge a police report against you. Just as they did to Dr Chua Soi Lek.

What has happened since you espoused those ideals Tun? What has happened to your plan for a Bangsa Malaysia? It’s been hijacked by Harris Ibrahim, has it?

In addition, you also said the followings:

1.

Of the two prongs of the NEP no one is against the eradication of absolute poverty -regardless of race, and irrespective of geographical location. All Malaysians, whether they live in the rural or the urban areas, whether they are in the south, north, east or west, must be moved above the line of absolute poverty.
2.

This nation must be able to provide enough food on the table so that not a solitary Malaysian is subjected to the travesty of gross under-nourishment.
3.

The second prong, that of removing the identification of race with major economic function is also acceptable except that somehow it is thought possible to achieve this without any shuffling of position. If we want to build an equitable society than we must accept some affirmative action. This will mean that in all the major and important sectors of employment, there should be a good mix of the ethnic groups that make up the Malaysian nation. By legitimate means we must ensure a fair balance with regard to the professions and all the major categories of employment. Certainly we must be as interested in quality and merit. But we must ensure the healthy development of a viable and robust Bumiputera commercial and industrial community.
4.

A developed Malaysia should not have a society in which economic backwardness is identified with race.

Oh, what was it that you said about merit then? Yes, you said, “certainly we must be as interested in quality and merit.”

Interesting. And yet yesterday you said meritocracy and “meritocrats” are racists.

What gives?

What the NEP meant and means

The Star 
Question Time By P. GUNASEGARAM

We need more debate and less rhetoric in ironing out the real issues of affirmative action.

WITH all the brouhaha over Malay and non-Malay rights and the relentless rhetoric of race-based politics coming to the fore in the economic arena yet again, it is time to revisit the tenets of the original New Economic Policy (NEP) and separate fact from fiction.

Sadly, the major problem with the NEP is that the 30% equity target for Malays and other bumiputras became the very visible and de facto criterion for measurement of the very success of the NEP.

The other contentious part was quotas for all manner of things and preference given to bumiputra companies and individuals when it is related to procurements and contracts from the Government, often as a means to achieve that 30% target.

Both of these were administrative measures and targets and did not even form part of the policy aims of the NEP.

Very few people, if any, are likely to disagree that the broad twin aims of the NEP, formulated in the wake of the racial riots of 1969, were to eradicate poverty irrespective of race and to eliminate the identification of race with economic function.

The first aim, according to government figures, was very much achieved with hardcore poverty being virtually eradicated. And there have been major strides made in terms of Malays and bumiputras, and jobs with them making major inroads into all areas.

These are achievements of the NEP which no one can deny, although there are valid arguments and concerns such as whether the poverty line figure is a realistic one and whether there is too high representation of Malays in Government services even as they made inroads into the private sector.

While no one questions the twin aims of the NEP — everyone, including the Opposition, is in agreement — the problem is with the administrative measures that have been put in place.

These are being challenged by all sides: some sides want more and some less, some want them to be dismantled and others want them to not only be continued but reinforced.

So, let’s agree on the aims – and move on from there.

Thus, it will not be seditious if someone questions the 30% bumiputra equity target or says the measurement criteria are seriously flawed.

If someone said quotas should be reconsidered given the progress that Malays have made in some areas, that should not be interpreted as questioning Malay rights. Under the Constitution, the Government has the right to undertake affirmative action provided it is justified and it has the right not to.

The NEP (technically, the NEP has expired but the present policy still relies on the original NEP) and its future form will benefit substantially from the right kind of debate about it without emotions clouding the issues.

But there are some bodies and people who are bent on bringing in emotions precisely because it will cloud the issues. They must not be allowed to have their way.

Let’s take the 30% equity target for instance. It cannot be taken as the sole or even the most important part of NEP achievement because there are other things which are far more important – poverty eradication and racial balance in employment to name just two.

There is therefore nothing wrong in asking that this target be reviewed so that we can have better measurement of Malay and bumiputra participation in the economy and to avoid all the perils of patronage that come with this.

The same applies to quotas and bumiputra discounts for high-end property.

It is because the NEP has done so much in narrowing the gap between the races that there is a need to review some of its administrative targets to ensure that the wrong people do not benefit from it.

Bumiputras who have already made it don’t need quotas and affirmative action anymore. But others might.

But we must expect that some of those who will lose their so-called privileges will fight a rearguard action to preserve them, for that’s a way to quick riches when abused. These are the people who will benefit most by obscuring the real issues under a cloud of emotional rhetoric.

The time has come for all Malaysians to see beyond these and do what is right for everyone. Help everyone who is needy and if any particular race is more needy than another, it will automatically be helped more too.

Move to a needs-based system and you eliminate racial posturing and fighting just like that.

> Managing editor P Gunasegaram believes too many sins are committed in the name of race.

School’s tudung ‘ruling’ leaves parent fuming

The Sun 
by Maria J.Dass

PETALING JAYA (Aug 26, 2010): A Muslim parent in Labuan is outraged over her daughter being harassed by school authorities of Sekolah Menengah St Anne for not wearing a tudung to school during Ramadan.

Sunita Klinck took the school to task after her daughter was issued with a "summons" and threatened with caning for not adhering to the "ruling".

"When my daughter said neither she nor her parents saw it necessary for her to wear a tudung seeing that no such rule appears to have been formalised, two teachers attempted to intimidate her into complying,” Klinck told theSun today.

"Two male discipline teachers even held her captive in an office with the doors shut for about 20 minutes, while brandishing a cane to threaten her into complying with the rule," she said.

"They even went as far as to suggest that she borrow a tudung and secretly wear it during the school day, 'so that her parents would not know about it'."

"This is so disgusting! Really disgusting!" said Klinck who has taken up the matter with the state education department and the Education Ministry.

She said the teachers, at a recent meeting, told her she could write in to say she does not want her daughter to wear the headscarf, but Klinck sees no need for this as the policy imposed by the school is not one endorsed by the education department.

She said before enrolling her daughter in the school last year, she had specifically asked if, other than the standard uniform, there was a requirement for the tudung to be worn in the school, and was told it was "not mandatory".

Klinck who is married to a British Muslim, said her daughter has been traumatised by the whole incident and now refuses to go to school as she is afraid of what the two teachers will do to her.

"I want the school to assure me that my daughter will not be in contact either directly or indirectly with the two teachers, and that she is not in the same vicinity as them," she said, adding that she is contemplating legal action.

"These two discipline teachers need to be disciplined themselves, and appropriate action should be taken against them," said Klinck.

In a Daily Express report published on Wednesday, SM St Anne principal Chan Kwi Fong admitted that the ruling was not sanctioned by the ministry but said that if the parents did not want their child to wear the tudung, the school could have been informed and no confusion would have arisen.

She explained that Muslim students were asked to wear the headscarf because of the fasting month.

The aim of the rule she said, was to encourage mutual respect for different religious beliefs.

When contacted, Education Ministry Director-General Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said he was not aware of the case but would check on the matter.

Auto Draft

Much work to attend to, but just a quick chronicle of yesterday’s events. First stop was a press conference on the confiscations of Kim Quek’s book.
Along with Body 2 Body, 1FunnyMalaysia, Where is Justice, and hot on the heels of dismissals of TV producers and radio DJ’s, I think we are seeing a systemic clampdown on responsible free speech.
Thereafter, went upstairs for the launch of Say Sorry Day, inspired by the case of Yong Vui Kong.
I think it’s a great initiative with universal appeal – hope everyone will stay tuned!
Went to seen an ex-colleague who filled me in on lots of recent political dynamics, after which had a nice visit to Pasar Ramadan!

Merdeka Coming Soon

Pakatan leadership still non-committal over hudud

Protest memo against M'sian's death sentence

'Allot RM53 billion to assist Indians in next budget'


By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: The Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP) wants the federal government to set aside RM53 billion in next year's budget for the socio-economic development of the Indian working class community.
Heeding to the public call by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to share ideas with him for Budget 2011, HRP pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar has written in requesting the country's chief executive to allocate the fund.

Although the demand would raise eyebrows in the Putrajaya, Uthayakumar claimed the multi-billion ringgit budget request for the Indian poor was actually a bargain deal.

“The RM53 billion proposal is merely to undo all the injustices done to Malaysian Indians for past 53 years,” he told FMT.

He said HRP had only proposed 'a mere billion ringgit retribution for a year' of injustices and racial discrimination carried out by the Umno government to marginalise, sideline and isolate Indians from the country's mainstream political and socio-economic development.

He said due to Umno's half-century racist programme, the Indian working class were badly hit in both public and private sectors.

He pointed out that majority of Malaysian Indians were poor and comparatively, in real terms, were the poorest community in Malaysia.

He claimed Indians were even poorer than the poor Orang Asli, Malay, Kadazan and Iban, who have their traditional villages and ancestral lands as their “social safety net”.

He pointed out that even the Chinese poor have their Chinese new villages as their social safety net.

“The Indians don't have this . . . even if they were to have it, it would be destroyed,” he said.

He recalled that only last year Penang Indians lost their last traditional village on the island - Kampung Buah Pala, courtesy of the Pakatan Rakyat government.
“Due to the racist policy, Malaysian-born Indians have been systematically excluded and segregated from the national mainstream development,” said Uthayakumar, who is also the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) legal advisor.

20-point demand


HRP had also enlisted a 20-point demand for the federal government to fulfil in a year's time for the betterment of the Malaysian Indian community.

1. Grant each of the 450,000 hardcore Indian poor in the country the 10-acre land ownership that had been distributed to some 442,000 poor Malays under the Felda, Felcra and Risda schemes.

2. Grant land titles to all Hindu temples, burial grounds and crematoriums, Tamil schools and Indian settlements to execute permanent solution to this long running problem.

3. All Tamil schools must be converted to fully financially aided government schools by December 2011 on par with national schools.

4. The 12,650 places in the 39 MRSMs, fully residential schools and 20 elite public colleges such as MCKK, Tengku Kursiah, Cyberjaya College to be opened to all deserving poor Indian students. And, these students shall never be coerced into involuntary and forced conversion to Islam under any circumstances.

5. Grant all poor Indian students, who had scored 5A1s and above, JPA, Mara, Petronas, Yayasan Negeri,  GLC Yayasan, TNB, TM scholarships.

6. Grant to all other poor Indian students, PTPTN loans for them to pursue their ambitions even in fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, bio-medicine at local private and overseas universities and institutions of higher learning.

7. No poor Indian student to be denied or deprived of higher education, and the sky should be their limit as is the case for any Malay Muslim student.

8. A minimum monthly wage for all Malaysians across all sectors be capped at RM1,300.00 per month.

9. Socso be made the poor man’s insurance scheme and be given round-the-clock insurance coverage, unlike the current coverage of only accidental death and disability at, to and from work.  The minimum Socso pension should be capped at RM750, which is the marker for poverty in Malaysia.

10. Scrap metal, car wash, petty trading, stall and food stall, lorry, taxi, buses, tourist vans and other similar operational licences and bank loans be granted to all deserving poor Indians.

Participation in policy planning meetings

11. Licences, permits, direct projects, contracts, bank loans and business opportunities be granted to all deserving Indians craving but denied upward mobility opportunities.

12. Indians shall not be segregated from serving in the Malay-Muslim controlled civil service and GLC-owned banks and corporations.

13. Racial discrimination shall not be practised in career growth, salary increment or top civil service jobs such as secretary-generals, director-generals, managers and officers.

14. Legislation shall be passed and enforced strictly to ensure Indians are not discriminated in the Malaysia Chinese-controlled private sector.

15. A specific Act shall be passed to protect Malaysian Indians, to secure and safeguard the interests of the poor, defenceless and politically powerless ethnic Indian community.

16. The 209 Giat Mara colleges, vocational and technical schools and colleges, and all government funded and aided skills training institutions should be fully open and available to every poor Indian.

17. Full legal aid for all criminal cases beginning from remand proceedings onwards for all Malaysians earning RM5,000.00 and below.

18. Affordable three bedrooms with a minimum of 1,000 sq-ft state funded homes at nominal rentals of RM50 per month or purchase price of RM25,000 made available to all poor Indians. Government loans must be ever available for those blacklisted, those above 55 years of age or those rejected of bank loans. This is to avoid cases such as 21 Indians, including a three-month-old baby, living in a low cost apartment, as reported in the media last month.

19. The estimated stateless 150,000 Indian children and their 300,000 Indian parents, who have been denied birth certificates and identity cards, are issued those documents by end of December 2011.

20. All Indian-based welfare homes for orphans, senior citizens, single mothers and disable persons are granted full annual financial funds and facilities.

Uthayakumar also offered Hindraf and HRP participation in the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Implementation and Co-ordination Unit (ICU) and the Central Coordinating Unit (CCU) to help the government implement all the demands.

“This would effect permanent solutions to pressing and critical daily problems faced by Indian poor,” he said.

Malay muslims protest in front of Hindu temple. UMNO police allows it. UMNO A.G does not prosecute. Imagine if other way round.

url malay muslim
(See SH 7/8/10 at page S25).
If only the PKR led Selangor State government had granted land to all Hindu temples  in one go as had previously been done by UMNO for all mosques and suraus, there would be no room for this.
P. Uthayakumar

malay muslim1

MCA claims Pakatan’s hudud dilemma shows not ready for Putrajaya


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 – Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said today that the hudud debate between PAS and DAP reflects Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) inability to potentially form a legitimate federal government.
The MCA president stressed that Malaysians must consider public welfare before experimenting with PR.
Malaysians should not vote a government that will end up quarrelling after winning, Dr Chua (picture) told reporters after chairing the party’s presidential council meeting here.
He accused the DAP of being willing to sacrifice public interest for political power.
“I say that the philosophy of the DAP, maybe vote DAP and Pakatan Rakyat first and then quarrel later, meanwhile the rakyat suffer if they make it to Putrajaya,” he said.
Dr Chua also warned non-Muslims about PAS’ intention of establishing an Islamic state.
“So it is an eye opener to all citizens in this country that PAS would never never give up on its Islamic agenda. So it is wrong to say why not we try to vote for them. It is wrong because it concerns the welfare of the rakyat,” he said.
Leaders from DAP and PAS have been embroiled in a debate over the implementation of hudud laws after DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said that it was not part of PR policy.
PAS responded by saying that DAP did not understand the concept of hudud and its vice-president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the implementation of hudud would only affect Muslims.
However, DAP has been adament that it will never accept hudud laws should PR take over Putrajaya.
Lim said the party had always been fighting for a secular Malaysia.
DAP chairman Karpal Singh had also said that PR would not support the implementation of hudud if the coalition takes over the federal government.
Hudud or the Islamic criminal law, imposes strict punishment, which includes amputation for stealing and stoning for fornication.
The Kelantan legislative assembly passed the Syariah Criminal Code II in 1993, which encompasses hudud law.
A similar law was enacted in Terengganu in 2003 when the state was ruled by PAS.
The law however has not been enforced in both states. - the malaysian insider

Pakatan chides BN for using race card but dodges hudud issue


PETALING JAYA, Aug 26 – Pakatan Rakyat (PR) accused the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) today of stoking racial sentiments to divert the nation’s focus from the missing RM52 billion in Bumiputera equity but itself dodged questions over its stand on hudud.

“We now seem to be talking about Malay interests, Bumiputera interest. Where is the RM52 billion? Were these allocations given to ministers and their children?” Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) raised in a media conference after chairing the PR leadership meeting here.

But he was not forthcoming over the issue of hudud, the divisive Islamic criminal law that once buried the precursor to PR – the Barisan Alternatif (BA) in late 2001 despite some success in the 1999 general elections.

“What’s wrong with hudud law? The Muslims know what hudud law is. If anyone raises this, it is Umno. What is their stand on hudud?” he fired back after being repeatedly quizzed on PR’s stand.

“In the context of Pakatan Rakyat, we are reminded that we are living in a consensus … If any specific proposal is raised, we should not deny their right to represent their case.

“There is space for us to dialogue and discuss … no problem,” Anwar added.

PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng who were also present readily echoed Anwar’s view.

“PAS has issued a statement and its stand on the policy of mutual respect, despite the differences in opinions ... We know each other’s agenda but we can sit together and fight for the common interest of the rakyat,” said Nasharuddin.

“The parties do have their different views but it has never stopped us from fighting … against the [challenges] reflected by the BN. The bigger the threat, the more they try to fan racial sentiments … to cover up the RM52 billion share scandal,” said Lim, who is also Penang chief minister.

The trained accountant repeated his claim last week that the BN coalition had “stolen” RM52 billion worth of Bumiputera shares from poor Malays.

Lim said the numbers cited were supplied by the prime minister himself.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak had reportedly admitted in June last year that only RM2 billion out of the RM54 billion of Bumiputera shares given out since the inception of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1971 remained in the hands of the Malays.

“Now there’s only RM2 billion left, who will grab it? Certainly BN leaders. Is that why they don’t want to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate it?”

The NEP, which officially ended in 1990, has frequently been attacked by PR politicians and businessmen alike for failing its original goal of curbing poverty and instead enriching well-connected Malays.