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Monday, March 7, 2011

Opposition repels onslaught as Libyan government declares victories

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Opposition forces claimed a major victory Sunday in Libya, managing to block an onslaught by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's troops and maintain control of the key city of Misrata, an eyewitness said.

Using machine guns, sticks and anything else they could find, crowds protected the courthouse, serving as an operations center by the opposition in Misrata, and successfully repelled Gadhafi militias armed with tanks and heavy artillery, the witness said.

"The will and the determination and dedication that people are showing here on the ground, it just makes you speechless," he said.

A doctor at Central Misrata Hospital said 42 people were killed -- 17 from the opposition and 25 from the pro-Gadhafi forces -- and that 85 people were wounded in the fighting, which continued on the city's outskirts. The youngest victim, 3 years old, was killed by direct fire, the doctor said.

Witnesses and other sources are not being named for their own safety.

Humanitarian and medical aid to the central Libyan city has been blocked, U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said in a statement Sunday. She urged authorities "to provide access without delay to allow aid workers to help save lives."

Fighting also raged in the town of Bin Jawad, where the sounds of booms -- either aerial bombardments or heavy artillery -- could be heard echoing. The opposition also worked to keep control of Ras Lanuf.

The battles came in stark contrast to the image Gadhafi's regime sought to portray in the capital, Tripoli. Throngs filled Green Square, cheering their support of Gadhafi, with some insisting they were celebrating the government's victory in Misrata. A government official said Gadhafi's regime was victorious in Ras Lanuf and in Zawiya, as well.

CNN was not allowed to enter Zawiya on Sunday, and could not reach people inside the city. Reports said communications had been cut off.

Libyan state TV also claimed that the government had gained control of the eastern port city of Tobruk. "Morning victory, oh people of Libya. Victory city of Tobruk from terrorist gangs," the station said.

Witnesses in Tobruk, though, said it was still under opposition control.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon talked Sunday morning with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kasa, appealing for an end to hostilities and discussing "the increasingly troubling humanitarian situation," according to a statement from his office. The release criticized Gadhafi's government for what it called "disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets."

After reports of the opposition successfully fighting off pro-Gadhafi forces in Misrata, Libyan state TV showed a graphic -- in both Arabic and English -- saying that "strict orders have been issued to the armed forces not to enter cities taken by terrorist gangs, who took civilians as human shields and threatened to slaughter the inhabitants of those cities." The report cited "military sources," and said those cities "are being circled by the armed forces except those neighborhoods where the terrorist gangs have sought refuge."

While the pro-Gadhafi rally in Tripoli was crowded and boisterous -- including the sounds of car horns and celebratory gunfire -- such demonstrations do not offer a clear sign of how much support the 68-year-old leader actually has.

Throughout the uprising, which began February 15, witnesses in Tripoli have described the government using all sorts of methods to drum up crowds, including forcibly dragging people to them, while keeping anti-Gadhafi demonstrators off the streets.

On Sunday, police forces searched cars to try to ensure that no anti-Gadhafi protesters were out on the streets, though some still managed to venture out, a witness said.

Traces of bullets and blood could be seen in some districts near Tripoli's Green Square, and people were mopping the streets and cleaning the walls, the witness said.

On Saturday, opposition forces had claimed two major successes: preventing pro-government forces from taking Zawiya and capturing Ras Lanuf along the coast.

Opposition forces in eastern Libya briefly detained a group of British special forces. The group was let go Sunday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.

"I can confirm that a small British diplomatic team has been in Benghazi. The team went to Libya to initiate contacts with the opposition. They experienced difficulties, which have now been satisfactorily resolved. They have now left Libya," Hague said in a statement.

"We intend, in consultation with the opposition, to send a further team to strengthen our dialogue in due course. This diplomatic effort is part of the UK's wider work on Libya, including our ongoing humanitarian support. We continue to press for Gadhafi to step down and we will work with the international community to support the legitimate ambitions of the Libyan people."

The strife engulfing the north African nation is reverberating across the country, the region and the world. Death toll estimates range from more than 1,000 to as many as 2,000, and the international community has been pondering strategies on how to end the violence and remove the Gadhafi regime.

The protesters are seeking the ouster of Gadhafi after nearly 42 years of ruling the country -- the kind of revolution that was seen in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt. But unlike in those countries, the uprising has turned into warfare.

Benjamin Barber, a fellow at the New York-based Demos think tank who had worked closely with the Gadhafi Foundation, told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that he felt Gadhafi, his son Saif and their supporters would likely "fight to the death" -- meaning a prolonged war, compared to the relatively quick and peaceful political transition that happened in Egypt and Tunisia.

Even if Gadhafi is somehow ousted, Barber predicted the violence could continue as tribes duke it out for supremacy in a nation that has few significant public institutions that could fill a potentially chaotic void.

Gadhafi's government has been reviled across the globe for violence against civilians, and the International Criminal Court has launched an investigation of Gadhafi, some of his sons and other leaders for possible crimes against humanity.

Opposition-controlled radio announced Saturday that the country's sole legitimate representative was now the National Transitional Council, a group with 31 representatives for most of the regions in Libya.

The council held its first meeting Saturday in the eastern city of Benghazi. It called Benghazi its temporary location until the "liberation" of the capital, according to a decree the council issued.

Former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdeljeleel, whom the council said had tried to resign from Gadhafi's government several times, was announced as the council's new leader.

The council also named a representative for military affairs and established a military council to oversee the "liberation" of Libya and reconstruct the armed forces, according to the radio announcement.

The council said its main missions are to represent all of Libya internationally, liberate the country, draft a constitution and hold elections.

Meanwhile, the fierce fighting has sparked the flight of Libyans and foreigners out of Libya, with nations across the globe scrambling to help people leave.

Almost 200,000 people have fled Libya with nearly equal numbers going to Tunisia and Egypt, the United Nations refugee agency said.

The United States announced Saturday it is contributing $3 million to the International Organization for Migration to help return home thousands of non-Libyans who fled to Tunisia.

Court stops Samy Vellu’s MIED expansion plans

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — Datuk S. Subramaniam won an injunction in the High Court today to block his old political foe Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu from going ahead with a meeting to allegedly cement the latter’s control over the MIC’s RM1 billion education wing.

Critics led by the former MIC deputy president and also those aligned with current party president Datuk G. Palanivel have accused Samy Vellu (picture) of seeking to hijack the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED).

This morning, Subramaniam and two other MIC leaders won an injunction to stop Samy Vellu, who is MIED chairman, from going ahead with a meeting that would have expanded the number board members in MIED.

Critics of Samy Vellu have claimed that he planned to appoint his supporters into the MIED board.

Besides Subramaniam, former MIC Youth chief A. Vigneswaran and former Kedah state assemblyman Datuk S. Ganesan, who is also a central working committee member, were among those who applied for the injunction

MORE TO COME

Dilema kaum India di Malaysia

Di tengah-tengah kehangatan kontroversi novel Interlok, penulis mengajak kita melihat isu lebih besar berhubung kaum minoriti ini.

Siapa sangka, kontroversi yang muncul berikutan langkah Kementerian Pelajaran memperkenalkan novel Interlok edisi murid (2010) sebagai teks Komponen Sastera Dalam Mata Pelajaran Bahasa Malaysia (Komsas) tetap membawa kesan positif, walau sekecil mana pun.

Pertama, kaum India yang dilabel pihak tertentu sebagai tidak meminati ‘sastera Melayu’ kini sudah berani tampil meneliti, memperkatakan, berhujah dan mengkritik sebuah novel karya seorang Sasterawan Negara secara ilmiah, akademik dan intelektual.

Kedua, semangat kesatuan semakin terserlah dalam kalangan kaum India tanpa batas ideologi politik, latar pendidikan, latar profesion dan kedudukan dalam masyarakat. Perkembangan ini pasti merisaukan mana-mana pihak yang mahu kaum India terus berpecah!

Ketiga, timbul semangat menimba ilmu dan memperkasa pengetahuan untuk menangkis segala fitnah, tohmahan, kritikan dan kenyataan berbaur perkauman yang dilontarkan pihak tertentu sejak tercetusnya kontroversi ini. Ilmu menjadi benteng paling kuat bagi manusia yang beriman. Ilmu jugalah yang mampu membawa mobiliti sosial dalam kalangan kaum minoriti ini.

Bayangkan! Bermula dengan hanya mempersoalkan perkataan ‘paria’ dan ‘kasta’ dalam novel Interlok edisi murid yang menyentuh sensitiviti kaum India, masyarakat itu sudah sampai ke tahap mampu berhujah secara berani untuk membuktikan bahawa watak Maniam dalam novel itu bukan daripada golongan ‘paria’.

Kaum India juga semakin berani bersuara lantang mempersoalkan pelbagai kesalahan fakta mengenai budaya India dan agama Hindu dalam novel berkenaan. Untuk mampu bersuara, pasti sahaja perlu ada kesedaran, ilmu, fakta dan keberanian sejati.

Selepas diasak, diperlekeh, dipersenda dan dibuli pihak tertentu yang ghairah mengangkat novel Untouchable (1935) karya Mulk Raj Anand untuk menegakkan benang yang basah, kaum minoriti ini secara keseluruhan sudah ada kesedaran bahawa selagi satu pihak berdiam diri daripada bersuara menuntut hak, selagi itulah pihak lain akan terus menggunakan pelbagai cara dan taktik kotor untuk menindas dan menafikan hak yang sah di sisi undang-undang.

Bagi memungkinkan kelompok yang ditindas itu bersuara, tentu perlu ada maklumat dan fakta intelektual yang bakal menyokong segala hujah. Hal ini berbeza dengan kelompok tertentu yang sudah terbukti hanya melalak di pentas terbuka tanpa sedikit pun sedar bahawa novel Interlok edisi asal sudah pun melalui proses penyuntingan sebelum dijadikan teks Komsas.

Cabaran awal yang terpaksa ‘ditanggung’ oleh kaum India adalah membuktikan hakikat itu kepada kelompok tertentu yang berjuang bermati-matian tidak membenarkan walau sepatah perkataan yang ditulis Datuk Abdullah Hussain diubah dalam novel berkenaan.

Koleksi paling komprensif

Sejak Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan (Kavyan) memikul tugas dan tanggungjawab melakukan kajian teliti dan tuntas terhadap pelbagai edisi novel Interlok (khasnya edisi 1996, 2003, 2005 dan 2010), saya sendiri berpeluang bertemu pelbagai lapisan masyarakat.

Dalam keadaan biasa, mungkin sahaja tidak timbul keperluan, ruang dan peluang untuk saya bertemu masyarakat pelbagai kaum daripada pelbagai latar pendidikan, umur, pekerjaan, ideologi politik dan taraf sosial untuk sama-sama berkongsi maklumat dan ilmu ke arah memperkasa diri bagi menghadapi cabaran dan asakan.

Pada masa sama, suatu khazanah bernilai yang sebelum ini terlepas dari pandangan masyarakat, mula kembali menggamit perhatian. Dalam usaha memperkaya ilmu dan mengumpul maklumat terperinci mengenai realiti kaum India di Malaysia sejak lebih 150 tahun lalu, Kavyan merujuk pelbagai sumber premier dan sekunder.

Namun, rupa-rupanya kebanyakan maklumat yang diperlukan itu sebenarnya sudah sedia terkumpul kemas dan diterbitkan dalam bentuk buku pada Mei 2009. Saya pula hanya mendapat tahu mengenai kewujudan buku itu pada 1 Februari 2011.

Selepas berpeluang membaca buku The Malaysian Indian Dilemma: The Struggles and Agony of the Indian Community in Malaysia (Edisi Kedua, Jun 2010), saya berani mengatakan bahawa buku ini adalah koleksi paling komprensif mengenai kaum India di negara ini sejak ratusan tahun dahulu.

Buku ini terhasil daripada kajian dan pengumpulan bahan/data selama hampir 17 tahun oleh Janakey Raman Manickam berkaitan isu sosial, ekonomi, pendidikan dan politik kaum India di Malaysia.

Janakey Raman bukan seorang pensyarah universiti atau memegang ijazah Kedoktoran. Namun, pengalaman beliau selama lebih 35 tahun sebagai aktivis sosial menjadikan beliau seorang ‘pakar’ dalam bidang yang diperkatakan.

Buku setebal 400 halaman ini terbahagi kepada 10 bab serta memuatkan hampir 200 foto nadir yang membantu pemahaman umum mengenai segala cabaran, perjuangan, masalah, penderitaan dan dilema yang dialami kaum India dalam membangunkan diri, masyarakat dan negara sehingga ke tahap serta kedudukan Malaysia seperti yang dapat kita perhatikan pada hari ini.

Percayalah apabila saya katakan bahawa buku ini adalah teks yang wajib dibaca setiap individu kaum India di Malaysia untuk memahami sejarah silam serta membantu memantapkan perjuangan mempertahankan hak dan jati diri di tanah air tercinta ini.

Sejarah silam nenek-moyang

Buku ini juga teks wajib bagi setiap individu ‘Bukan Kaum India’ yang berminat memahami suatu kaum minoriti yang sebenarnya menitiskan peluh dan darah serta berkorban tenaga dan nyawa demi membangunkan negara ini sejak ratusan tahun dahulu.


Bagi generasi muda kaum India, inilah buku paling lengkap yang mampu membantu anda mengenal sejarah silam nenek-moyang yang datang ke negara ini untuk memulakan hidup baru.

Malah, sepanjang novel Interlok edisi murid menjadi teks Komsas (2011-2020), buku ini wajar dijadikan teks iringan untuk membantu guru dan pelajar lebih memahami kisah ‘Keluarga Maniam’.

Tentu sahaja segala fakta yang terkandung dalam The Malaysian Indian Dilemma: The Struggles and Agony of the Indian Community in Malaysia tidak terdapat dalam buku-buku Sejarah yang digunakan di sekolah dan institusi pengajian tinggi negara kita.

Bukan lagi suatu rahsia bahawa pelbagai fakta dan realiti berhubung kaum India dan Cina sudah ‘hilang’ daripada lipatan sejarah negara dan ‘terpadam’ daripada halaman buku teks Sejarah di sekolah. Realiti sosial, fakta dan sejarah kedua-dua kaum itu nampaknya hanya seperti yang terpapar dalam novel Interlok edisi murid!

Buku Janakey Raman yang diterbitkan Nationwide Human Development and Research Centre memberi sinar harapan bahawa generasi muda kaum India khasnya dan Bangsa Malaysia amnya, masih berpeluang mengetahui pelbagai fakta dan sejarah yang cuba disembunyikan ‘tangan-tangan halus’ dan dinafikan pihak tertentu demi kepentingan peribadi.

Mungkin agak keterlaluan untuk melontarkan cadangan supaya orang ramai segera mendapatkan buku ini sebelum ada usaha dan desakan berbaur hasutan untuk menarik balik buku ini dari pasaran. Namun, bukankah segalanya mungkin di negara bertuah ini?

Uthaya Sankar SB adalah presiden Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan (Kavyan) dan beliau boleh dihubungi melalui e-mel uthayasb@yahoo.com.my untuk maklumat lanjut mengenai buku berkenaan.

Hindraf to submit memo on racism to king

Royalty urged to set up a royal commission to end all kinds of discriminative policies.

PETALING JAYA: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi will be submitting a proposal to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin to urge for the setting of a royal commission to investigate institutionalised racism allegedly practised by the Umno-led government.

A memorandum containing the recommendation will be sent to the king on March 21 to mark International Day for the Elimination of Racism.

“The royal commission should report on the damage racism has caused and dismantle all racist policies in the country.

“The commission can also propose new policies and legislations that will embrace all citizens as equals in accordance with Article 8 of the Federal Constitution,” Hindraf Makkal Sakthi chairman P Waythamoorthy said.

He said that a royal move to dismantle discriminative policies would be in line with Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Waythamoorthy also said that cases of racial discord in Malaysia have accelerated at an alarming rate over the years.

“The minority races are hurt and neglected as they are unable to live freely with equal rights due to Umno’s racist policies.

“Now is the time to nourish our understanding and provide equality and freedom with policies that are colour blind,”said Waythamoorthy.

Jeffrey’s Borneo Agenda gets more supporters

The Borneo Agenda, flagged by United Borneo Front, is making an impression on Sabah's political landscape.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Peoples Progressive Party (SAPP) and Sabah PKR seems to have thrown their support behind Jeffrey Kitingan’s Borneo Agenda.

Judging by the response at a recent inter-party dialogue, Jeffrey’s United Borneo Front (UBF), which is is touting the Borneo Agenda, has made a mark on the political landscape of Sabah.

Several SAPP and Sabah PKR big-shots had turned up at the dialogue and seminar on Saturday endorsing their support of a Borneo Alliance, which UBF is scheming.

With SAPP and Sabah PKR joining the Borneo Agenda campaign, UBF now has three political allies to push for reform along with the Sarawak National Party (SNAP).

Noticeably missing at the dialogue, hwever, were Sabah DAP as well as Barisan Nasional coalition members – Parti Bersatu Sabah and Upko.

SAPP leader and former chief minister, Yong Teck Lee, who led party leaders to the dialogue, presented a talk on the special rights, autonomy and equal partnership status.

Among the SAPP leaders who attended were deputy president and Likas assemblyman Liew Teck Chan, women’s wing chief Melanie Chia, secretary-general Richard Yong and information chief Chong Pit Fah.

The seminar started with UBF founder and leader Jeffrey presenting a talk titled “Moving Forward with UBF”, followed by a panel discussion chaired by former Suhakam vice president Simon Sipaun.

The topics discussed at the dialogue covered a range of grievances felt by the Borneo states including non-compliance of the Malaysia Agreement, cabotage and unfair trade policies, land rights, revenue sharing, federal roles and parliamentary seats to name a few.

Common agenda

Christina Liew, deputy chairperson of Sabah PKR endorsed Yong’s call to the leaders and people of Sabah not to continue to fall for the federal leaders’ “divide-and-rule” tactics, and to stay unite to achieve their common agendas and goals.

“Let’s unite together for our common destiny. There should be no more fighting among the opposition. It has to be a one-to-one fight against the Barisan Nasional in the coming general election,” she urged.

Jeffrey earlier told participants that at least one BN party, Upko, had tentatively thrown their support for the Borneo Agenda but would not say whether it would work with UBF towards that goal.

PBS, which is led by his brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the state deputy chief minister, is still “malu-malu” (shy), he said.

Jeffrey also said that the UBF will remain a non-governmental organisation and will not be involved in politics to enable members from any political party to work with it.

However he added that “as far as I am concerned, I will eventually, maybe, have to form a political party or have a political vehicle…but that will not disturb the UBF. It will be done as soon as possible.” he said.

He said the important thing is to form the Borneo Alliance because “without that we will be playing sendiri-sendiri (play alone)… when what we need is to unite.”

Asked whether he was certain of not returning to PKR, Jeffrey said that what really mattered for him now is to strive to unite all political parties in the state and to forge a better cooperation with each other, in order to achieve the common objective and goal to bring about positive change to Sabah.

“God has given us the opportunity hence we must seize it; we, the leaders of the various political parties and the people of Sabah must unite to achieve our common goals, so that Sabah and Sarawak can be the deciding factor for the federal government in future, and so that we can achieve the Borneo Agenda.

“For me, political leaders in the state, regardless of their parties must unite, let bygone be bygone, we must unite to save the state,” he stressed, adding that this was also the rationale behind the organizing of the seminar.

Campaign to save MIED cancelled

The proposed demonstration over MIED was called off after organisers failed to to obtain police permit.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former MIC deputy Youth leader V Mugilan made an about-turn today by cancelling his demonstration over Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED) issue.

The protest was planned as part of his “Save MIED” campaign.

When contacted today, he claimed that he had sent a notice of cancellation via SMS yesterday, but news agencies including Bernama claimed that they were not notified about the notice.

“We decided to cancel the demonstration yesterday after discussions with Bukit Aman police headquarters,” Mugilan said.

His SMS read:

“The Save MIED assembly scheduled for March 7 has been postponed to a date and venue which will be announced later.

” The postponement is due to concerns over security for supporters. Authorities have advised me to postpone the assembly as there is no police permit. The future assembly would be held at a hall. I will continue to struggle for MIED. V Mugilan Founder, Save MIED Movement.”

Meanwhile, the MIED meeting on Saturday to discuss about a proposal to enlarge the MIED membership base by adding another 10 members was held behind closed doors.

MIED chairman S Samy Vellu mooted the suggestion which came under fire from several members who accused him of wanting to hijack the party’s education arm.

Sukar menang di kubu BN

Kekalahan di Kerdau kerana kegagalan SPR membanteras rasuah, pembelian undi, penggunaan jentera kerajaan dan ugutan oleh BN.

KERDAU: PAS kini mengaku sukar untuk menang di kawasan yang menjadi kubu kuat Barisan Nasional (BN).

Naib Presiden PAS dan juga Pengarah Pilihan Raya PAS Pahang, Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man berkata, kawasan Felda dan kampung tradisi masih menyokong kuat BN.

Bagaimanapun kekalahan di Kerdau menurutnya disebabkan kegagalan Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya (SPR) membanteras rasuah, pembelian undi, penggunaan jentera kerajaan dan ugutan oleh BN.

“Tetapi ini kekalahan sementara. Keputusan keseluruhan Kerdau menunjukkan peningkatan undi yang diperolehi PAS. Ia sama dengan Ijok, PAS kalah pada pilihan raya kecil tetapi menang dalam pilihan raya umum 2008.

“PAS juga mendapat peningkatan undi di tiga kawasan Felda di Kerdau,” katanya dalam sidang akhbar di sini malam ini.

Calon PAS Hasanuddin Salim pula berkata, beliau kecewa tetapi hanya sementara. Malah Ketua Penerangan PAS Pahang itu bersedia untuk bertanding sekali lagi jika parti memilihnya.

Manakala Pengerusi DAP Pahang Leong Ngah Ngah berkata kekalahan PAS kerana politik wang yang melampau di Kerdau.

Scavengers who put Sarawak to Shame

Waiting hopefully at the re-cycling dump for something they may be able to use or sell to buy food
While Taib Mahmud used his BN party convention (staged at the new Borneo Convention Centre, which he corruptly hired his own family to build and manage) to lash out at the ”liars and cowards”, who dare criticise his policies of ’progress and development’, Sarawak Report took receipt of a tape, some interviews and photographs.
The material shows the scavengers who scrounge their living out of the re-cycling dump in the car park of his own Borneo Development Corporation!  The scenes take place every day just 150 meters from the office of his political secretary Karim Hamza, who also enjoys the job as Chairman of the BDC.
Sarawak is Malaysia’s richest state and has a small population.  Billions have been raided from the jungles and from oil and all this wealth is plainly reflected in the vast homes and wealth of the Taib family and theirbusiness associates.  However, it is clear that sharing some of this wealth with the people he took it from is not part of that policy of ‘progress and development’, for which Taib so loudly refuses to apologise.

We have learnt that many of these scavengers, who wait to crowd around the cars drivers who come to dump their old and broken things, have come from the Stampin Resettlement Scheme – they had been promised a better future by BN, but as so often, the promises turned out not to be straightforward.
Waiting for the car to stop and the rubbish to be chucked out!
Each tiny plot costs RM 10,000 and if the settler cannot pay it they cannot claim title to the land, even if they have shouldered the cost of building a house.  This swamp land also needs earth filling to be suitable to build on and this costs another RM 8,000 for the impoverished natives, making ‘resettlement’ even harder to achieve. Most of these low-paid or un-paid settlers have no hope of meeting such costs.
As the Chief Minister sets out to destroy even more of the country with his new mega-industrial ‘development’ programme, SCORE, the half million further natives who are threatened with displacement as a result should consider these scenes, which show their fellow people who suffered first.

Very important person?
Of course, such petty problems, which affect so many thousands of natives who have been displaced from their lands by ‘development’, appear to be beneath the attention of Taib Mahmud, who arrived at the convention in his customary Rolls Royce.
Even less so his politician son Rahman, his once rumoured successor, who was too busy enjoying his skiing and jet-set lifestyle (according to his facebook) to bother to turn up at all.  However, Sarawak Report thinks it is appropriate to report some of the stories of anguish behind the stampede as each car arrives at the dump, especially during the week of International Womens’ Day.
Everyone matters – women struggling to survive
We however do think it is worth investigating the human stories behind the mainly women who are waiting at the dumps all over Kuching.
Just a squatter, so who cares?
Nuratiqah binti Abdullah told us she is 34 years old and has three children aged 8, 9 and 15. Her family lives in resettlement area but on land without a Temporary Occupation License. Therefore she is unable to access basic utilities such as water and electricity. At night, her house is lighted up with only one bulb running from a car battery.
The home was partially damaged when fire broke out 3 weeks ago. The children’s school uniforms were lost in the fire. Her husband is jobless and occasionally joins her at the recycling centre. Invalid father-in-law lives together with them. He receives RM150 in welfare monthly.
A generous RM 200 a month to take care of her children and elderly Dad?
Nanong binti Sidek is aged 37. She lives within the resettlement scheme. Her dependents are two young children; son 12 years, daughter 9 years, for which she receives RM200 in child welfare support monthly. Her husband deserted the family 4 years ago.
She lives with an aged father, who suffers from diabetes and heart ailments. She formerly worked as waitress in a coffeeshop, but was unable to withstand constant scolding by employer. She has been scavenging since 2008.
Kiat anak Resat is 69 years old. She too resides in Kampung Stutong Baru, which forms part of the Stampin Resettlement Scheme. The resettlement scheme itself is made up of 1154 lots of land. She formerly worked at a construction site for 6 years before she took to scavenging for the last 4 years.
Hardship in old age.
Her husband is wheelchair bound due to a stroke, for which they used to receive welfare of RM60 per month for 2 years until it stopped. She has 5 grown up children; her 3 sons have no fixed income (one is an alcoholic), her 2 daughters are already married with families and contribute little support.
Down the road from the dump can be found some of Kuching’s wealthiest developments.  Taib’s other son Abu Bekir’s apartment at Village Grove is about 300 meters away and he must pass them every day.
Abu Bekir’s fabulous wealth is un-earnt, because it came in state hand-outs in the form of contracts and concessions given by his Dad.
However, the old man clearly does not believe in extending such generosity to the mothers and old women who are suffering in his resettlement schemes. They are expected to pay impossible sums to take advantage of the housing schemes advertised by BN as opportunities for the poor.
At 22 the sole breadwinner and no support
Betty anak Gelangyan is 22 years old and the newest to the group. She is also from Kampung Stutong Baru. Her mother is 43 years old and unable to work as she suffers from epilepsy, for which she received welfare of RM70 per month for 2 years before it stopped.
Betty works in coffeeshop RM400 per month to support her family and a 19 years old school-going sibling. To try and supplement their income she started scavenging 4 months ago.
Our source told us that according to the ladies, although they keep some of the salvaged items for personal use, they also try to use it to barter for foodstuff such as rice with the neighbours or with the local grocery shop where they live.
As they do not own transportation, they travel to the recycling centre in Borneo Development Centre by bus, which is about 5kms from Kampung Stutong Baru.  It is not believed that Taib referred to this form of ‘progress and development’ when he lectured his supporteres on launching “an all out battle” on the opposition, who are calling for more fairness in the distribution of Sarawak’s wealth.
Has struggled with 4 children, 3 disabled one now dead.
One male scavenger was Hipni bin Bahdi, who is 35 years old. Unlike the others, he lives in Kampung Tabuan Hilir. He has 4 children; 12 yrs, 6 yrs, 4 yrs and 3 yrs. The 3 youngest has neurological deficiencies. Arising from it, the 6 year old died in April last year.
Receives RM300 monthly disability allowance for the children. Aside from his wife (34 years), he also supports his 64 year old mom and 28 year old brother who suffers from a hole-in-the-heart. Has a night job barbecueing Satay for RM25 a night. Aside from scavenging from the recycling centre in BDC, he also scavenges from another 3 locations as he owns a motorcycle; Kenyalang, Tabuan Laru and 3rd Mile.
These are the people forgotten in the so-called 30 years of ‘progress and development’ by BN.  There are nearly 10,000 squatters in Sarawak and many more in resettlement schemes after losing their lands to ‘progress and development’.  Nearly all have discovered that life in a resettlement is costly and hard and that there are huge expenses demanded by the government, but no jobs to pay for them.
Hipni bin Bahdi’s children. Life-long burden without help.
Cheek about democracy!
If Taib returns to office and starts rolling out SCORE, then many tens of thousands more Sarawakians will face the same disastrous fate as these squatters and re-settlers.  However, as BN has failed to register three quarters of the people in so many of the areas that stand to be affected, these people will have no chance to vote one way or the other!
His his speech Taib had the cheek to quote Abraham Lincoln on democracy, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”.  In fact, as everyone knows, Sarawak is governed by the Taibs and only for the Taibs and most other people don’t get a look in!

Opposition Facing Political Tsunami - Analyst KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 (Bernama) - The big win by Barisan Nasional candidates at Merlimau and Kerdau by-elections has restored the people's mood and confidence in the party.

Political analyst Datuk Dr Zainal Kling said the double win can be used as a benchmark of public support although the political tsunami that swept during 2008 general election has not subsided.

"This is because we are yet to be sure of support by urban voters but there are signs that public support has returned to BN," he told Bernama here Sunday.

Zainal said this was due to hard work by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who created policies like Government Transformation Plan (GTP), Economic Transformation Plan (ETP) and National Key Result Areas (NKRA).

"The BN government has to double efforts to maintain the existing momentum, because the opposition always come out with plans and agenda to attract interest of the people," he said.

INTI International University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid said BN cannot be too comfortable with the wins as history showed that small errors can lead to political tsunami like in 2008.

"However, Barisan Nasional is now on the right track to face the next general election," he added.

Lecturer of Law, Government and International Studies College at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Mohamad Faisol Keling said likens recent by-election defeats by the opposition as a political tasunami.

The opposition had tasted back-toback defeats since Galas by-election in Kleantan on Nov 4 last year.

Faisol said this proves that the people no longer accept the ideology promoted by DAP, PKR and PAS.

He feels that the results at Merlimau and Kerdau show the return of fencesitters especialy young voters to BN.

"We have to maintain this momentum as young people lost confidfence in BN in 2008. Recent by-election reasults show that voters are now rational and can differentiate good from bad," he added.

At Merlimau, BN's Roslan Ahmad beat PAS' Yuhaizad Abdullah with 3,643 majority while at Kerdau, BN's Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad beat PAS' Hassanuddin Salim with 2,724 majority.

Gaddafi's men launch counterattack


Muammar Gaddafi's forces continue to launch counterattacks on anti-government rebels along the central Libyan coast, with air raids and ground battles reported in the towns of Bin Jawad, Ras Lanuf, Az-Zawiyah and Misurata.

Conflicting claims about the capture and recapture of these strategic cities and towns by pro-Gaddafi forces and anti-government rebels came amid reports of shooting in the capital, Tripoli, an area still controlled by the Libyan leader, which has so far been relatively free of violence.

Gaddafi is facing an uprising since February 17 that has posed the biggest challenge ever to his more than four-decade rule.

It was unclear who was carrying out the shooting in Tripoli, which started early on Sunday, or what caused it, Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught reported from the city.

Automatic weapon rounds, some of it heavy calibre, echoed around central Tripoli along with pro-government chants, whistling and a cacophony of car horns as vehicles sped through the vicinity, witnesses said.

However, a government spokesman denied any fighting was under way in Tripoli. "I assure you, I assure you, I assure you, I assure you, there is no fighting going on in Tripoli," Mussa Ibrahim told the Reuters news agency.

Our correspondent, reporting from Green Square in Tripoli, said that thousands of people had turned out to show their support for Gaddafi.

“The square is absolutely packed with supporters of Gaddafi," she said, adding that some of these "supporters" had admitted to a British journalist on Sunday that they were army and police personnel in civilian clothes.

Ibrahim, the Libyan government spokesman said: "Everything is safe. Tripoli is 100 per cent under control. What you are hearing is celebratory fireworks. People are in the streets, dancing in the square."

Conflicting claims

Libyan state television said the shots in Tripoli were in celebration of the government forces' success in reclaiming the cities of Misurata, about 200km east of Tripoli, and Az-Zawiyah, just 50km west of the city, a day after anti-government fighters repelled repeated attacks by forces loyal to Gaddafi.

However, residents of Misurata told Al Jazeera that reports the city had been recaptured were false.

"There's absolutely no grounds for that claim whatsoever," Sadoun Mistrai, one resident, said.

Our correspondent said "locals [in the Green Square] are still out on the street celebrating a military victory that hasn't happened ... you have to wonder what these people have been told".

Later, residents of Misurata said government tanks had begun shelling the town.

"Misurata is currently under attack," a resident told Al Jazeera.

Reporting from north central Libya, near Bin Jawad, Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley said there had been four air attacks in the area on Sunday, one of which was witnessed by Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland.

Reporting from Ras Lanuf, Rowland said an aircraft flew in and dropped a bomb on the area on Sunday.

"We think that the pilot was targeting some heavy anti-aircraft guns that were along the roadside," she said.

The area, in the country's central coast, houses a major refinery and petrochemical complex.

'Pressing forward'

Ras Lanuf, and the nearby town of Bin Jawad, have seen fierce fighting between Libyan government forces and rebels, with reports of opposition fighters having shot down a government helicopter earlier on Sunday.

After Sunday's air attack caused some rebels to briefly flee the area, Rowland reported fighters again heading west towards the frontline.

"We are seeing people loading up with ammunition and guns, vehicles and also ambulances, tearing down the road, pressing forward in the direction of Bin Jawad, which is a town about 30 to 40km to the west of here, where there is still fighting going on in the streets between pro and anti Gaddafi forces," she said.

Earlier on Sunday, rebels said they had come under sniper fire and air attack on the frontline. Al Jazeera's Birtley said rebels were coming under "quite a sizeable force" of heavy resistance from pro-Gaddafi forces.

He described the rebel groups as being "driven by enthusiasm and not really experience".

While the rebels have a strong presence in Ras Lanuf, they told Al Jazeera's Rowland that the town was still held by Gaddafi loyalists.

"What we're seeing is a lot of movement, for the first time in days," she said, adding that the rebel forces are completely disorganised, constantly swinging between euphoria and panic.

"I think that their biggest strength, as far as the rebels are concerned, is the sheers numbers of volunteer fighters. People with no previous military experience came to the call, learning pretty quickly how to operate ... an anti-aircraft carrier."

Earlier on Sunday, the Associated Press news agency reported that Libyan fighter jets had launched attacks

on an anti-Gaddafi force advancing towards the city of Sirte.

Government assault

In another development, Libyan state TV showed pictures of tanks, armoured-personnel carriers and other weapons it said were seized on Saturday from rebels in Az-Zawiyah.

But witnesses told Al Jazeera that rebel forces there were able to repel heavy government assaults on their positions when Gaddafi's forces encircled the city.

More than 30 people were killed and as many as 200 people are feared to have been wounded in the fighting that drove out government forces.

Youssef Shagan, a spokesman for the fighters in Az-Zawiyah, said that Gaddafi's forces had entered the city at 6am local time (04:00 GMT) with hundreds of soldiers, along with tanks and armoured vehicles.

Gaddafi's forces had broken through defences into Martyrs' Square, in the heart of the city, but hours later were pushed back, Shagan said.

Benghazi, Libya's second city, is the stronghold of protesters and is firmly in the hands of anti-government forces, but Libyan state television said on Sunday that forces loyal to Gaddafi were on their way to take back the city.

Evacuation efforts

Meanwhile, the European Union sent experts into Libya on Sunday to get "real time" information on humanitarian and evacuation efforts there.

"I have decided to dispatch this high level mission to provide me with first-hand, real-time information to feed into the discussions leading up to Friday's extraordinary European Council when I will update heads of state and government on the situation," said Catherine Ashton, EU foreign minister.

Firas Kayal, of the United Nation's refugee agency, UNHCR, told Al Jazeera between 12,000 and 15, 000 people - most from Bangladesh - have crossed the border from Libya into Tunisia over the last couple of days.

There are plans to try and arrange a chartered flight to transport them home, he said, adding that some 100, 000 people have crossed the border in total.

Thousands are fleeing Libya's unrest, many being flown out of neighbouring Tunisia. Four US military planes carrying more than 300 Egyptian refugees left for Cairo on Sunday, but many nationals from other countries are still stranded with nowhere to go.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Video: HINDRAF Arrest: S.O.S Bail Money

Undi majoriti BN meningkat, petanda kejatuhan pembangkang

Kemenangan itu satu petanda adalah memberangsangkan malah majoriti undi diterima BN adalah seperti yang dijangka.

MERLIMAU: Kemenangan Barisan Nasional pada pilihan raya kecil Dewan Undangan Negeri Merlimau (Melaka) dan Kerdau (Pahang) disifatkan sebagai kejayaan cemerlang dan ia isyarat jelas bahawa pengundi kini menolak perjuangan pembangkang.

Menurut Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, kemenangan itu satu petanda memberangsangkan malah majoriti undi diterima BN adalah seperti yang dijangka.

Muhyiddin berkata kemenangan itu disebabkan sokongan rakyat terhadap BN tidak berbelah bahagi.

Malah katanya faktor jelas kemenangan BN disebabkan pengundi Melayu tidak melihat PAS memperjuangkan nasib mereka tetapi lebih kepada perjuangan parti.

‘Feel good factor’ dapat diteruskan dan diulang malah momentum kemenangan ini dapat ditingkatkan lagi.

“Ini satu lagi petanda yang memberansangkan terutama kejayaan kedua-dua pilihan raya di Merlimau dan Kerdau dengan peningkatan majoriti mengatasi pilihan raya lalu.

“Kemenangan ini signifikan kerana apa yang diperjuangkan PAS ditolak rakyat termasuk perkara-perkara membabitkan perjuangan rakyat, konsep negara Islam dan tohmahan yang dilemparkan,”katanya dalam sidang media di Dewan Platinum, Politeknik Merlimau sebentar tadi.

Katanya, undi BN di kawasan Melayu menggalakkan termasuklah undi kaum India.

Undi kaum Cina katanya wujud peningkatan walaupun tidak sebesar undi Melayu.

Calon yang berwibawa

Mengenai kriteria calon BN pada pilihan raya akan datang, beliau berkata calon yang berwibawa serta bersih daripada skandal akan menjadi keutamaan.

“Calon muda menjadi salah satu faktor kemenangan. Kami akan letakkan calon yang sesuai untuk meningkatkan sokongan pengundi.

Kita ambil semua perkembangan dan ia jadi pendorong untuk kita bekerja lebih keras,” katanya yang juga Naib Presiden Umno.

Di Merlimau, BN memperoleh 5,962 undi manakala PAS 2,319 undi dengan undi majoriti 3,643 undi.

Manakala di Kerdau, BN memperolehi undi majoriti 2,727. BN memperoleh 5,060 manakala PAS 2,336 undi.

Sementara itu, Roslan Ahmad pula pula berkata beliau berikrar untuk menjadi wakil rakyat yang terbaik.

“Saya berikrar akan berkhidmat sebaik mungkin selaras dengan hasrat Ketua Menteri agar Melaka negeri maju.

“Saya akan berkhidmat dengan baik dan berterima kasih kepada seluruhjentera parti daripada seluruh Malaysia dan saya akan bantu pastikan BN mendapat kejayaan cemerlang,” katanya.

Turut hadir Menteri Besar Melaka, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam , Presiden Parti Progresif Penduduk(PPP), Datuk M Kayveas dan Menteri Pertahanan, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi.

‘Kitten killer’ apologises

The 21-year-old woman apologises for the brutal attack, and says that she has since repented.

SERDANG: The woman responsible for attacking several kittens and bludgeoning one of them to death has apologised for her action while animal lovers vented their frustration outside the building.

Chao Xiao Wei, 21, told a press conference here that she would never repeat the mistake.

“I would like to apologise for my mistake in torturing the kittens. I could not control my emotions then,” she said.

“I didn’t know the kitten died until I saw the video. I repented after that,” she added.

Chao, who is unemployed, also claimed to be suffering from depression since her mother got divorced.

She added that she was prepared to face the consequences and was willing to spend time at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (SPCA).

“I am also not afraid if people verbally abuse me because of this,” she said, adding that she had also recieved death threats since the incident was highlighted and had lodged a police report.

The press conference was held at Sri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah’s office here.

Chao’s mother, Cheong Poh Lin, 49, also pleaded for her daughter to be given a chance.

“My income is affected. I am forced to stop my business at the market because some people from the press started looking for us,” she said.

Gathered outside the building were representatives from groups such as Petpositive and Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB).

Animal lover K Jeevananthan, who told FMT on Friday that he would track down the perpetrator and get even with her, was also presemt.

“I want to break her arms and legs,” he shouted to applause from the crowd.

A video on the incident, entitled “Happened in Malaysia – Serdang”, is being circulated on Facebook.

Worst is over for BN, says Ibrahim

KUALA LUMPUR: Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali has hailed BN’s twin victories in Kerdau and Merlimau as a clear sign that Barisan Nasional’s (BN) “2008 nightmare” is over at last.

He said in a statement that he had already foretold the majority increase in both by-elections as Malay voters were beginning to return and unite under Umno.

BN won with a 2,724 majority in Kerdau and 3,643 in Merlimau.

“The Muslims have seen PAS and DAP’s antics,” he said. “They are tired of (Pakatan Rakyat leader) Anwar Ibrahim’s political theatrics and the confusing stands of the Kelantan Menteri Besar (Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat).”

“These two wins also prove that Anwar and Pakatan’s dream of capturing Putrajaya is nothing more than a hallunication.”

“The question now is, how far can BN go in wresting back the four Pakatan states (Selangor, Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, and Kedah), defend Perak and retain its two-third majority?”

Ibrahim, who is also Pasir Mas MP, said that this was his personal observation as an independent and neutral party.

“This is reality,” he said. “And all the attempts by certain parties to tarnish Perkasa’s image via leaflets just to win votes for the opposition obviously didn’t work.”

This was a swipe at PAS which earlier this week accused Perkasa of being behind racist leaflets being circulated in a residential area in Merlimau.

I will defend to the end KITA’s right to associate with frogs

By Haris Ibrahim,


Star reports that KITA’s CEC member Firdaus Christopher feels it was unbecoming of me, as an advocate of civil liberties, to have, in my ‘KITA or KITAR?’ post, criticised KITA’s admission of froggie Tee Beng into the party as a member.

For the avoidance of any doubt, let me state here that even as I criticised KITA in that post for admitting a froggie into their ranks, I will be the first to acknowledge and defend their legitimate and constitutional right to keep company with frogs.

Just as I will respect the right of the KITA leadership to say one thing today and quite another the day after.
As such, if my posting left Firdaus with the impression that I was disputing KITA’s right to fraternise with amphibian politicians, I trust that this post will put to rest those concerns.

I have also sent a press statement to The Star in response to Firdaus’s several statements in the news report.
I reproduce the same below.
______________________________________
In The Star article on March 5, 2011, KITA central executive committee member Firdaus Christopher said:
“Some elected representatives have clearly stated they were quitting because they had lost confidence in the leadership. Therefore it is wrong to assume that all those who quit are traitors.”
In my post, I had alluded to KITA’s Zaid Ibrahim having said on 4th March, 2010, that the excuses given by the three MPs for the reasons behind their departures were merely “made up”, Zaid having first categorically stated:

“… We have enough evidence to show that this was something that was orchestrated some months back. The approaches… the inducements… the meetings… it all happened a while ago …”


Is Firdaus now confirming that there was in fact no such evidence as claimed by Zaid in March, last year, and that Zaid had then unfairly called former PKR member and the present Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng a traitor?

Is that the case also with Zahrain Mohd Hashim (Bayan Baru) and Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri (Bagan Serai)? If so, perhaps Zaid should now do the honourable thing and publicly apologise to both Zahrain and Mohsin.
Perhaps Zaid will do just that if and when KITA admits those two into the party.

Firdaus was also quoted by The Star as saying:
”Haris’ statement was unbecoming of a leader propagating “civil liberties” …”


If Firdaus carefully studies my post, he will find that the criticism of KITA’s admitting Tee Beng into the party as a member was entirely premised on what Zaid had said of Tee Beng’s defection from PKR last year.

Surely it has not escaped Firdaus attention that MCLM was launched in October last year, following growing concerns about defections from PKR and the implications this posed to the possibility of a similar frog festival post the 13th GE if individuals like these defectors were again picked to stand. In this regard, KITA’s admission of Tee Beng as a member without any further clarification has many wondering if we have witnessed an about-turn by Zaid from his statement last year that:
“We promise that in the next round, our candidates will be better. The vetting process will be more strict and we will select only those who are truly there for the purpose of upholding justice and protecting the interests of the people — not those who have no interest in their jobs”.


Firdaus would do well to first scrutinize the statements made by his party leader prior to the latter exiting PKR to lead KITA so as to ensure that the he does not make senseless statements that only serve to embarrass his party leader.

HARIS IBRAHIM
Moderator, The People’s Parliament

Why Chua Soi Lek dare not declare that Ling and Chan were innocent and that they are victims of selective prosecution by Attorney-General?

By Lim Kit Siang,

Just saw the unusual Merlimau and Kerdau double by-election polling day statement by MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek, which is reported by The Malaysian Insider under the headline “Dr. Chua: Kit Siang using PKFZ as vote bait”.

Congratulations! The MCA President has issued a statement which even MCA leaders and members don’t believe, let alone the Malaysian people at large.

I am not interested in trading accusations.

What is obvious is that Chua continues to avoid the issues raised by the corruption charges preferred against the former No. 1 and No. 2 of MCA when they were Transport Ministers in connection with the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, including:

Firstly, why the MCA President dare not declare that the MCA and in particular the MCA leadership are convinced that the two former top MCA leaders were innocent of the corruption charges made against Ling and Chan in connection with the PKFZ scandal?

Secondly, why he dare not declare that Ling and Chan are victims of selective prosecution by the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail, when no other political personalities particularly from UMNO, have been charged for the same PKFZ scandal?

Or is Chua seriously suggesting that if he declares that Ling and Chan are innocent of the corruption charges, and that he is confident that their corruption trials will clear them of all charges of corrupt practices, he would be interfering in the process of the judicial system?

Clearly Chua has very poor legal as well as political advisers – as in believing that these questions are only pertinent to the Merlimau and Kerdau by-elections!

Or are there anyone in the MCA leadership who think that both Ling and Chan should have been charged with more serious offences, as those recommended by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, in the PKFZ scandal – apart from hauling the court all political personalities including from UMNO involved in the RM12.5 billion “scandal of scandals”?

Jika gagal di bandar, kembali ke estet, saran Palanivel

Presiden MIC Datuk G. Palanivel hari ini meminta kaum India kembali bekerja di estet milik syarikat berkaitan kerajaan (GLC) jika mereka gagal menyesuaikan diri di bandar.

Ini kerana katanya, taraf kehidupan pekerja ladang kini semakin baik berikutan keputusan kerajaan menaikkan kadar upah minimum golongan itu kepada sekurang-kurangnya RM700 sebulan.

"Pada pendapat saya, estet menjanjikan kehidupan yang selamat berbanding hidup di tengah bandar. Hubungan masyarakat di estet juga lebih rapat, keselamatan terjamin dan bukan mudah pengaruh luar hendak masuk ke estet yang dikawal 24 jam oleh pengawal keselamatan," katanya, di sini hari ini.

Beliau yang ditemui pemberita selepas melawat Pusat Khidmat Masyarakat di Wisma MIC, berkata langkah itu juga dapat membantu menampung keperluan tenaga kerja di estet.

Jika kaum India kembali bekerja di estet, maka sektor ini tidak perlu lagi bergantung kepada tenaga kerja asing seperti dari Indonesia dan Bangladesh, kata Palanivel yang juga Timbalan Menteri Perusahaan Perladangan dan Komoditi.

Mengulas isu berbeza, Palanivel turut menempelak penyokong pertubuhan haram Hindraf yang pada pandangannya langsung tidak membantu meningkatkan taraf kehidupan kaum India di negara ini.

"Saya mahu tanya anda, adakah Hindraf ini membuat demontrasi kerana membela masyarakat India, mengetengahkan masalah kemiskinan? Apa yang mereka buat di ibu negara dengan berdemonstrasi pada Februari lepas adalah masalah novel Interlok. Mereka tidak membela masyarakat India," katanya.

- Bernama