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Friday, June 10, 2011

‘Third political force will split Indian votes’

The third force candidates will not support the opposition, instead it will act as spoilers to the advantage of BN candidates, according to the DAP.
GEORGE TOWN: The DAP is worried that the “third political force” will split the votes in many Indian constituencies and hand the seats over to the Barisan Nasional (BN).

DAP Bagan Dalam assemblyman, A Tanasekharan, said although the third force has every right to contest in elections, it should be backing Pakatan Rakyat if it wants to topple the BN.

He called on Malaysians to send a message in the next general election that they do not want a third force but a two-party system.

“They should give Pakatan a resounding victory,” he told FMT here today.

Observers say that the 13th general election will see a record number of parties and candidates contesting as independents.

While Pakatan is a three-party coalition, BN has 13 component parties with Umno as the dominant partner.

Since the 2008 general election, the country’s political landscape is dominated by the two-coalition and not two-party system.

The independent parties likely to contest in the coming general election are Kita, headed by former federal minister Zaid Ibrahim, Human Rights Party (HRP), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), Sarawak National Party (SNAP) and Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM).

The election is likely to see a socio-political movement, Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM), making its debut.

The movement is set to field its own candidates, which it believes would be better than Pakatan candidates or at least better than those who have defected.

However, Tanasekharan is convinced that all these groups would not be a force to be reckoned with, but rather would disrupt Pakatan’s march to Putrajaya.

Playing ‘spoilers’ role

Accusing the parties of just being spoilers, he said the imminent multi-cornered fights in many constituencies would be mainly a Pakatan versus third force contest, giving BN an easy ride to retaining the federal government.

He alleged that HRP, for instance, wanted only to defeat Indian candidates from Pakatan.
“HRP terms Pakatan Indian leaders as mandores. HRP is not going to win seats by fielding candidates in areas with sizeable Indian voters. This will allow only BN to win,” he said.

Led by former ISA detainee P Uthayakumar, HRP plans to contest 15 parliamentary and 38 state seats, including Bagan Dalam, that have a majority of Indian voters.

HRP central executive committee member S Thiagarajan said the established, capable and experienced Pakatan candidates should not be worried of HRP’s presence.

He said that HRP would rely heavily on Indian support to have any chance of scoring one or two upset wins unlike Pakatan, which can derive support from all communities with its multi-racial platform.
He added that HRP would not have decided to contest in the next election if Pakatan had fulfilled its 18-point demand for the betterment of the Indian community.

He said the Pakatan governments in Selangor, Penang and Kedah, for instance, should guarantee the Indian community in writing that all Tamil schools in the respective states will be given free land for their schools.

There are 98 Tamil schools in Selangor, 56 in Kedah and 28 in Penang.

He said under the National Land Code, this could easily be done by the respective menteri besar and chief minister with the stroke of a pen.

On Kita, Tanasekharan said that its main enemies are PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim and his PKR.

NATO official: Gadhafi a legitimate target

NATO has been ramping up pressure on the regime of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi.(CNN) -- A U.N. resolution justifies the targeting of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, a senior NATO military official with operational knowledge of the Libya mission told CNN Thursday.

Asked by CNN National Security contributor Fran Townsend whether Gadhafi was being targeted, the NATO official declined to give a direct answer. The resolution applies to Gadhafi because, as head of the military, he is part of the control and command structure and therefore a legitimate target, the official said.

NATO has been ramping up pressure on the regime, employing helicopters last weekend for the first time against Gadhafi's forces. Explosions are heard often in Tripoli, evidence of allied air strikes.


NATO began bombing Libya on March 31, under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians who have been targeted by Gadhafi's military.

Resolution 1973 said allied forces could use "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday it is time to start planning for what to do in Libya after Gadhafi's departure "because Gadhafi's reign of terror is coming to an end."

In statement broadcast on state media, Gadhafi vowed a day before that "we will not surrender," even as NATO airstrikes bombarded his compound in Tripoli.

NATO recently announced its decision to extend its mission in Libya by 90 days.

Key resignation, resentment hits new national innovation initiative

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Unik, the prime minister’s initiative tasked with restructuring the country’s public innovation ecosystem has hit a setback with the resignation of its technical advisor N Danaraj who was in charge of putting together the National Innovation Policy (NIP). 

His resignation earlier this week could come as a blow to Unik due to the loss of experience as Danaraj has a masters degree in public administration from Harvard, a doctorate from Oxford and was also technical advisor to the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC), a senior fellow at Khazanah Nasional and a research fellow at the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research.

His departure, which sources say was due to various disagreements with Unik CEO Dr Kamaljit Singh over the NIP, comes as several innovation agencies have been privately expressing concern over the Unik chief’s leadership style.

The innovation agencies are understood to be frustrated that their issues over proposed changes to the way federal grants are disbursed have not been adequately addressed and their growing resentment over the uncertainty could hamper Unik’s efforts to implement initiatives.

Their unhappiness came to a head when they learnt that Kamaljit had proposed a freeze on funding by innovation agencies by July at the Economic Council (EC) meeting earlier this month without consulting them.

Sources say that a decision on the proposed freeze was postponed following objections from several other members of the  EC, which is chaired by the prime minister.

Kamaljit is understood to be in favour of implementing a competitive bidding system where both government agencies and ministries that disburse technology related grants such as Biotech Corp, the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (Mosti) and the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) bid against each other for the funds which will be put in a common pool, but agencies say it is unfair for agencies under the ministry to bid against the ministry itself.

One industry veteran familiar with the situation said that while some people might appear to “play ball” with Kamaljit because they believe he has the prime minister’s ear, the opposition might get more serious if he doesn’t get buy-in from the agencies.

“If you push things through without getting agreement, do you think the agencies will help you?” said the industry veteran.

One industry player said Unik is a good initiative but the main issue is lack of clarity from the top and claimed that the affected parties were being asked to trust Kamaljit without knowing all the details.
“Nobody’s afraid of competition,” said the industry player when asked about competitive bidding. “If we don’t perform, shut us down.”

“But you can’t put parents and children in the same basket and ask them to compete (for grant money budget), that’s not market forces,” he added referring to the concept of agencies competing against their parent ministries.

Some industry observers say however that Kamaljit may be trying to push things through because he feels that things will not get done otherwise.

“Unik has an ambitious agenda and when you are short of time, you may be forced to step on the toes of those more used to a drawn out consultative process,” said one observer. “That’s why Unik is under the prime minister’s department.”

When contacted, Danaraj confirmed the resignation but declined to comment further.
Kamaljit also declined to comment for the story when contacted.

Unik, which stands for Unit Inovasi Khas or Special Innovations Unit, was established by Datuk Seri Najib Razak to develop and implement strategies to stimulate and support innovation in Malaysia.

Its website states that it is a special-purpose body designed to focus on two core priorities - improving Malaysia’s innovation eco-system and directly cultivating innovation.

Over a period of 18 months, Unik in its current form, will focus on developing policy in support of an improved innovation eco-system while a statutory body called Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) will be set up to take over implementation and policy reform. Leading global strategy consultants, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) were also engaged by Unik late last year to study the efficiency of funds disbursement in the public sector. The three key recommendations from the study, which leveraged best practice from Singapore, US and Korea, were for Malaysia to focus funding in strategic sectors where it has comparative advantage, to introduce a performance management system that allows standardised performance comparison on outcomes across funds, and for more comprehensive linkages within the innovation ecosystem — research, entrepreneurs, investors and the private sector.

Wikileaks: Malaysian firm tried to buy China missile parts

File photo of the Wikileaks’ Twitter page. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — A Malaysian company with links to Iran tried to buy gyroscopes used for guiding missiles from China, according to a leaked United States diplomatic cable. According to the cable released by whistleblower website Wikileaks, the US Department of State asked China in December 2009 to block the sale of TRS-500 gyroscopes from China firm VibTel Industrial to Electronics Component Limited (ECL).

The cable, which was published today on news portal Malaysia Today, said that the US embassy in Beijing was ordered to share information with Chinese officials to assist “your ability to prevent the transfer of these gyroscopes by VibTel Industrial Co. to ECL.”

“ECL is associated with a network of Iranian-controlled front companies that procure sensitive goods on behalf of a number of Iranian entities of proliferation concern,” said the document classified by the US State Department’s director of missile threat reduction Pam Durham.

According to the cable, China had agreed to look into the matter but asked for additional information on ECL’s relationship to Iranian firms.

The US said that ECL was linked to Iranian firms “Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which is Iran’s primary developer of liquid propellant ballistic missiles, and Heavy Metal Industries, a front company for the tactical missile developer Ya Mahdi Industries.”

“Both SHIG and Ya Mahdi Industries are sanctioned under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1737,” the cable said, adding that the gyroscopes, used in ballistic and cruise missiles as well as unmanned aircraft, are prohibited for export to Iran under the same resolution.

It also said that ECL had links with another Malaysia-based front company Skylife Worldwide Sdn Bhd.
It is the second time in recent years that a Malaysian company has been linked to Iran’s nuclear and missile ambitions.

Seven years ago the US named a unit of the Scomi group controlled by Datuk Kamaluddin Abdullah Ahmad, son of then-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as having shipped components for enriching uranium to Iran.

Sri Lankan businessman Buhary Seyed Abu Tahir was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly deceiving Scomi Precision Engineering Sdn Bhd (Scope) into manufacturing a component believed to be for nuclear weapons.

However, Tahir, who is a permanent resident of Malaysia, was released in 2008 subject to conditions which were reported to have been lifted a year later.

Isteri ibarat pelacur, minda wanita Melayu belum terbuka

Menurut Fauziah dari kritikan yang diterima, 90 peratus adalah golongan wanita Melayu, sedangkan golongan lelaki (suami) bersetuju dengan saranan dan penubuhan kelab itu.
RAWANG: Wanita Melayu belum berfikiran terbuka untuk membincangkan  isu seks, dakwa Kelab Taat Suami yang mencetuskan kritikan hebat ekoran saranan supaya golongan isteri patuh dan melayan suami ibarat pelacur kelas pertama.

Wakil Kelab Taat Suami di Malaysia Fauziah Ariffin berkata,  saranan itu hanya untuk mewujudkan layanan seks lebih hebat daripada  pelacur kelas pertama.
Menurut Fauziah dari  kritikan yang  diterima,  90 peratus adalah golongan wanita Melayu, sedangkan golongan lelaki (suami) bersetuju dengan saranan dan penubuhan kelab itu.

Beliau  berkata perkara sedemikian berlaku kerana wanita Melayu lebih cenderung dengan sikap malu malahan tidak terbuka untuk membincangkan soal seks.

Mereka, katanya tidak sedar perkara itu akan menimbulkan implikasi buruk terhadap hubungan intim bersama suami dan institusi kekeluargaan.

“Kalau kata kelab ini menyifatkan wanita sebagai hamba seks itu salah persepsi oleh masyarakat kerana isteri adalah hak suami.

“Apa yang dimaksudkan isteri adalah hamba seks? Sedangkan wanita perlu kembali kepada fitrah menjadi isteri yang taat, dan jika mereka gagal untuk melayan suami maka timbul pelbagai gejala tidak sihat seperti keganasan rumah tangga,pembuangan bayi dan suami beralih mencari pelacur bagi mendapatkan kepuasan seks.

“Orang Melayu bila berbicara hal-hal ini mereka sangat malu dan belum terbuka. Lihat sahaja di laman sosial Facebook, surat khabar kami terima pelbagai kritikan dan berpendapat bahawa perkataan pelacur itu tidak perlu diguna pakai.

“Inilah mentaliti Melayu..dah menjadi pantang larang masyarakat bila kita tidak terbuka membincangkan kegiatan atas ranjang sedangkan ia sebahagian hidup manusia.

“Kalau tidak tiadalah lesen dan rumah-rumah pelacuran kerana itu kenyataan yang gagal diterima masyarakat kita hari ini. Kami bercakap dalam banyak sudut. Orang Melayu bila cakap mengenai seks dan pelacur meraka kata hina, jijik dan mula terbayang lorong Haji Taib di Kuala Lumpur.

“Sedangkan jika kita lihat pelacur kelas pertama dari Thailand contohnya, cara layanan mereka mereka; pakai seksi, menggiurkan dan hebat di atas ranjang. Jika ini diamalkan golongan isteri maka tidak timbul lagi suami mencari pelacur,” katanya dalam temuramah dengan FMT di Bandar Country Homes di sini.


Penerimaan wanita Jordan luar biasa

 
Mengenai pelancaran pertama kelab itu di Jordan pada Mei lalu, Fauziah berkata penerimaan masyarakat di negara itu di luar jangkaan berbanding di Malaysia.

“Semua menteri dan isteri turun memberi sokongan terhadap penubuhan kelab ini. Perempuan Timur Tengah ini susah nak taat, tapi mereka sekarang boleh terima dan penerimaan itu di luar jangkaan. Mereka lebih tunjuk minat berbanding di Malaysia yang lebih kontra,” katanya.
Menjelaskan mengenai saranan kelab itu Fauziah berkata tidak timbul isu wanita mengalami masalah seksual sehingga menyebabkan lelaki mencari perempuan lain mahupun pelacur.

Masalah utamanya adalah golongan wanita gagal memberi layanan seks sedangkan mereka adalah kekuatan terbesar buat insan bergelar suami.

“Contoh jika lelaki itu adalah pemimpin negara dan tidak mendapat layanan sewajarnya daripada isteri, beliau akan menjadi kusut masai. Ibarat orang semput perut tak lepas maka akan sentiasa senak.
“Kalau suami puas dia akan ceria. Lihat sahaja para pemain Manchester United, Liverpool sebelum nak lawan mereka akan didatangkan pelacur agar keesokkan harinya mereka akan beraksi dengan bersungguh- sungguh.

“Ketika zaman Rasulullah para sahabat bila berperang mereka akan lawan berani mati,itu kerana apa? Kerana mereka dilayan dengan cukup baik oleh isteri-isteri yang taat ini,” katanya memberi contoh.
Mengulas mengenai saranan Ketua Wanita PKR Zuraida Kamarudin agar isteri Perdana Menteri menyertai kelab terbabit, Fauziah berkata beliau amat mengalu-alukan penyertaan bukan sahaja Datin Rosmah Mansor malah mana-mana isteri menteri.

India’s battle against black money


By Gautaman Bhaskaran
There has been a popular upsurge in India against corruption in recent months. Kickbacks worth millions of dollars have been taken by politicians during several state operations, including the Commonwealth Games and in the allocation of 2G spectrum for mobile telephone operators.

Much of this money is reportedly stashed away in tax havens, like Switzerland, and the simmering resentment among 1.3 billion Indians – 40% of whom are so poor that they go to bed hungry every night – has now broken out into sheer anger.

The latest to lead a mass movement is Baba Ramdev, a yoga guru living in the north Indian holy town of Hardwar.

A week ago, he came down to New Delhi and began a fast unto death, urging the federal government to tackle graft and bring the unlawfully hoarded money back to the country.

Some 50,000 men and women joined Ramdev in his fast, and when the United Progressive Alliance Government in New Delhi, led by the Congress Party, found things getting too hot for its comfort, sent its security forces in the middle of the night and broke the congregation with the help of tear gas.
About 70 people were injured, some seriously. Ramdev was flown back to Hardwar, where he is continuing with his hunger strike.

Roughly a month ago, Anna Hazare, who professes to be a Gandhian, began a fast unto death in New Delhi pressuring the government to legislate on an anti-corruption Bill, called Lokpal Bill, that will make everybody in the administration, including the prime minister, and the top judges accountable.

The Bill has been pending for 42 years. The government, nervous about the repercussions of Hazare’s fast, agreed to set up a joint panel of ministers and members of the civil society to draft the Bill.

Political shenanigans


When differences began plaguing the talks between the government and the civil society on the contents of the Bill (a key one being whether the prime minister ought to come under its purview), Ramdev jumped into the fray, though in vain, to add further pressure.

If he was a novice in political shenanigans, he was also suspected of hankering after publicity.
As it has become the norm and fashion in India for many to enhance their image (and possibly add to their financial fortunes) through politics, Ramdev’s efforts seemed like an attention-grabbing exercise.

It is also believed that the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, an important opposition political organisation, was behind the whole Ramdev episode. This was a vital difference between Hazare’s non-political fast and Ramdev’s.

The government, now pushed to the wall by the people, fed up with such plundering of national wealth, has been treading cautiously – choosing, for instance, to keep away from criminal-political legal processes
.
Corrupt clots

Some important politicians, like former Telecom Minister Raja, Member of Parliament Kanimozhi, chief of the Commonwealth Games Suresh Kalmadi are all in jail pending trials against economic crimes. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has scrupulously avoided interference, though all of them were connected with his administration.

However, what looks like a setback to the fight against graft is the assumption that the Lokpal Bill will not be ready by June 30, the deadline set by Hazare, when he agreed to call off his hunger strike. Perhaps, given the fact that the Bill has been in cold storage for four decades, it could wait a little longer, if that means a good draft.

More importantly, it will be entirely wrong to presume that the Lokpal Bill will be some kind of magic pill to dissolve the corrupt clots in India’s most significant arteries.

Dozens of commissions have, since the 1950s, probed the evil of unaccounted money. The dozens of commissions have made several hundred suggestions. Some of them have been made into laws, one being the reduction of income tax – from 97.5% in the highest bracket in 1971 to the current reasonable 30%.
Periodically, tax evaders have been given the chance to come clean with no penalties. Many restrictive trade practices have long gone, and far more realistic foreign exchange regulations (once an Indian could take just US$8 when he travelled abroad!) are now in place.

Yet, the black money economy has not shown any sign of a let-up. Rather, it has grown and grown enormously. Obviously, what we are talking about is an attitude problem that no Bill or Act can ever hope to tackle.

Aiding and abetting this are the criminals, who have infiltrated every sphere of governance from the Parliament to the State Assemblies to the judiciary to the police. Unless these men are jailed or kept away from positions of power, any number of Hazares and Ramdevs may not be able to turn India into pristine white.

Gautaman Bhaskaran is a Chennai-India based author, columnist and film critic, and maybe be contacted at gautamanbhaskaran@yahoo.in

WIKILEAKS: Malaysia-based firm involved in guidance systems of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles


In December 2009, the United States shared with China information regarding attempts by the Malaysia-based firm Electronics Component Limited (ECL) to buy TRS-500 gyroscopes from the Chinese firm VibTel Industrial Co. Inc. (Ref A). These gyroscopes, which are controlled by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and China's missile-related export controls, would be suitable for use in the guidance systems of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin

S E C R E T STATE 010900

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/03/2035
TAGS: MTCRE, PARM, PREL, MNUC, ETTC, KSCA, IR, CH, MY
SUBJECT: (S) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR CHINA ON THE MALAYSIA-BASED COMPANY ELECTRONICS COMPONENT LIMITED

REF: A. 09 STATE 130917
     B. 09 BEIJING 003476

Classified By: ISN/MTR DIRECTOR PAM DURHAM, REASON: 1.4 (C).

1. (U) This is an action request.  Embassy Beijing, please see paragraph 4.
2.  (S) Background/Objective: In December 2009, the United States shared with China information regarding attempts by the Malaysia-based firm Electronics Component Limited (ECL) to buy TRS-500 gyroscopes from the Chinese firm VibTel Industrial Co. Inc. (Ref A).  These gyroscopes, which are controlled by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and China's missile-related export controls, would be suitable for use in the guidance systems of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. 
We requested China investigate this information because ECL is associated with a network of Iranian-controlled front companies that procure sensitive goods on behalf of a number of Iranian entities of proliferation concern.
3.  (S) Chinese officials agreed to investigate this information, but asked for additional details on ECL's relationships with firms in Iran (Ref B).  To support their efforts in this case, we would like to inform them that ECL is part of a network of Iranian-controlled front companies that includes the Iranian firm Shahin Sefid Esta and the Malaysia-based front company Skylife Worldwide Sdn Bhd. 
This network procures sensitive goods on behalf of a number of Iranian entities of proliferation concern, including the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1737-designated entities Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG) and Ya Mahdi Industries.  We want to provide this information to Chinese officials and emphasize that we believe the transfer of this controlled equipment to a company linked to UNSCR-designated entities would be prohibited pursuant to UNSCR 1737.
4.  (S) Action Request:  Request Embassy Beijing approach appropriate host government officials to deliver talking points/non-paper in paragraph 5 below and report response.
Talking points also may be provided as a non-paper.
5.  (S) Begin talking points/non-paper:
(SECRET//REL CHINA)
--In December 2009, we shared with you information regarding attempts by the Malaysia-based firm Electronics Component Limited (ECL) to buy TRS-500 gyroscopes from the Chinese firm VibTel Industrial Co. Inc.
--TRS-500 gyroscopes are controlled by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and China's missile-related export controls, and can be used in the guidance systems of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
--We also noted that ECL is associated with a network of Iranian-controlled front companies that procure sensitive goods on behalf of a number of Iranian entities of proliferation concern.
--In response to this information, you agreed to look into this matter, but asked if the United States could provide additional details on ECL's relationships with firms in Iran.
--We now want to provide you with additional information indicating that ECL is part of a network of Iranian-controlled front companies that includes the Iranian firm Shahin Sefid Esta and the Malaysia-based front company Skylife Worldwide Sdn Bhd.
--This network procures sensitive goods on behalf of a number of Iranian entities of proliferation concern, including the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which is Iran's primary developer of liquid propellant ballistic missiles, and Heavy Metal Industries, a front company for the tactical missile developer Ya Mahdi Industries.
--Both SHIG and Ya Mahdi Industries are sanctioned under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1737.
--Additionally, the TRS-500 gyroscopes are controlled items that would be prohibited from being exported to Iran under UNSCR 1737.
--We hope this information is useful in supporting your efforts in this case and assists your ability to prevent the transfer of these gyroscopes by VibTel Industrial Co. to ECL.
--We look forward to future cooperation on nonproliferation issues and to hearing the results of your investigation into this activity at the earliest possible time.
End talking points/non-paper
6.  (U) Washington POC is ISN/MTR John Paul Herrmann (Phone: 202-647-1430).  Please slug any reporting on this issue for ISN/MTR and EAP/CM.
7.  (U) A word version of this document will be posted at www.state.sgov.gov/demarche.
CLINTON

UMNO Gusar Bila Rakyat Makin Celik




Pengguna Telefon Prepaid Pun Kena Tax 6%.

Dulu, masa cukai yang dikenakan hanya 5%, pihak telekomunikasi berbesar hati untuk menyerap kos tersebut untuk pelanggan bagi pengguna telefon prepaid. Tapi, sejak diumumkan bahawa cukai naik 15 kepada 6%, akhirnya pihak telekomunikasi dah tak boleh nak serap lagi.Cukai tersebut sekarang dibebankan pula kepada pengguna telefon prepaid bermula Julai ini.

Untuk pengguna telefon postpaid, memang cukai tersebut dah dikenakan.Dengan pengguna yang semakin bertambah dan juga persaingan yang kompetetif, penyerapan nilai cukai untuk pengguna prepaid telahpun menjadi satu beban yang besar bagi korporat telekomunikasi.

Kita tahu bahawa, terdapat 3 syarikat telekomunikasi terbesar di Malaysia iaitu Digi, Celcom dan juga Maxis.Jumlah pengguna talian prepaid adalah 43%, merangkumi ketiga-tiga syarikat telekomunikasi terbabit iaitu sebanyak 13.2 juta orang..Dengan Digi mewakili hampir 83% untuk pengguna prepaid, dan cuma 23% bagi Celcom (AXIATA) dan Maxis.

Sekiranya setiap pengguna prepaid mengisi purata RM 40 setiap bulan, jualan prepaid menjangkaui RM 6.3 bilion sebulan.Memang banyak!.Dan daripada jumlah besar tersebut, selama ini syarikat telekomunikasi mensubsidi hampir RM 378 juta sebulan hanya untuk menyerap kos cukai yang dikenakan kerajaan.

Oleh kerana jumlah yang tersangat besar itu,syarikat telekomunikasi gergasi yang ada, sudah tidak mampu lagi untuk menyerap cukai tersebut setelah dinaikkan lagi sebanyak 1% oleh kerajaan bermula 1 Januari 2011 lalu.Jadi, terpaksalah sekarang, pengguna telefon prepaid menyerap kos tersebut.

Bagi yang selama ini pakai talian postpaid, mungkin dah terbiasa dengan caj cukai ini, namun kalau yang selama ini menggunakan prepaid, mungkin akan ada terasa kesannya.Yelah, selepas ini, kalau beli topup RM 10, baki yang tinggal dah jadi RM 9.40.Nampak macam sikit, tapi kalau dah 13.2 juta orang, dah berapa banyak pula.

Pertama rakyat perlu sedar bahawa negara ini dibina dari hasil cukai wang rakyat, maka rakyat harus ada hak untuk bertanya ke mana dan bagaimana wang mereka dibelanjakan ? Regim pula tidak harus menyekat kerana semua termasuk gaji menteri dibayar oleh rakyat.

Rakyat adalah tuan di dalam negara ini, maka cuba kita fikirkan adakah patut bila tuan bangun menyatakan pendapat atau menuntut hak, kuli (menteri) yang dibayar gaji oleh rakyat menghantar polis memukul tuannya.... tiba masanya kita sebagai tuan memecat kuli-kuli kita kerana mereka jejas gagal menjalankan tanggungjawab.

bila nak cukai, naik harga maka rakyat didahulukan, pemimpin capai saja apa yang dapat untung bagi mereka.

Setuju anak malaysia tetapi perlu juga pertegas sekolah satu aliran

Sehari dua ini kecoh mengenai anak bangsa bangsa Malaysia. Perkara ini wujud apabila seorang Ahli Dewan Undangan negeri dari Selangor yang baru melahirkan anak gagal dalam cubaan beliau mendaftarkan anaknya sebagai bangsa Malaysia. Tindakan beliau mendaftarkan anaknya sebagai bangsa Malaysia kerana menurutnya dia berbangsa cina yang berkahwin dengan lelaki berketurunan India, maka anaknya tidak mungkin menjadi India atau Cina tetapi anaknya harus menjadi anak Malaysia.

Seperti biasa tindakan ini dilihat dari perbagai aspek. Ada yang mengambil perkara ini dari aspek negatif. Ada seorang ahli parlimen bekas PKR dengan sengaja menulis komentar mengenai perkara ini dengan meletakkan gambar anak beruk mungkin sebagai menggambarkan anak bangsa Malaysia yang tidak ketahuan identitinya. Malah rata-rata blogger pro Umno yang melihat tindakan ADUN ini dari aspek politik semata lantas memberikan komen negatif termasuk sanggup menulis komen-komen lucah berkaitan dengan status anak ADUN ini.

Ini semua jelas mengecewakan. Selaku anak muda kita harus membicarakan perkara ini dalam ruang yang lebih luas lagi.

Apa niat ADUN tersebut terpulang kepada dia tetapi kita harus mengambil peluang ini untuk membincangkan secara terbuka dan jujur mengenai pembentukan negara bangsa dan kesepaduan rakyat dalam negara.

Suka mengungkap semula tulisan Rustam Sani yang pernah menulis kita pernah cuba dengan serius merdeka sebagai negara bangsa tetapi usaha kita gagal kerana dihalang oleh British kerana gusar kita akan muncul sebuah negara yang kuat, mandiri dan menyaingi mereka. malah selaku negara bangsa yang kuat, Negara Rakyat ini juga tidak akan mudah memberi jaminan untuk mengikut telunjuk demi menjaga kepentingan pemodal Inggeris. Usaha pembinaan negara bangsa ini juga mudah dihalang British apabila Umno menjadi agen dalam negara yang menjalankan usaha sabotaj menggagalkanya.

Tidak dinafikan terdapat banyak tafsiran tentang makna negara-bangsa. Namun menurut Abdul Rahman Embong (2001:12), persoalan negara-bangsa secara konseptual menjadi permasalahan penting disebabkan terdapat beberapa kekeliruan mengenainya. Ini kerana ada pihak yang menganilisis perkara tersebut secara legalitis dengan menghubungkannya dengan konsep ‘warganegara’ dan ada pula yang melihatnya berdasarkan konsep ras yang dihujahkan sebagai sukar untuk terbentuk.

Malaysia telah merdeka sejak 1957, itu proses yang lama namun kita masih terperangkap dalam 'lamunan perkauman sempit' kita. Ini semuanya ialah impian penjajah kita dahulu. Semasa menjajah mereka memisahkan kita dengan dasar pecah perintah. Lebih malang lagi selepas merdeka dasar mereka kita teruskan dengan politik perkauman sempit yang diwarisi melalui Perikatan dan kini barisan nasional.Malah lebih parah malangnya apabila politik perkauman ini menjadi azimat sakti yang sering diperguna oleh regim pewaris penjajah setiap kali tergugat sokongan.

Mari kita fikirkan adakah kita semua ini Melayu, apa yang menjadikan kita Melayu atau apa bangsa identiti kita ? Seorang Melayu kahwin dengan cina anaknya bangsa apa ? Sepasang suami isteri Melayu yang hidup dengan penuh meninggalkan cara hidup melayu adakah anak mereka melayu ? Keluarga cina yang hidup dikalangan orang jawa mengamalkan kehidupan berbudaya jawa, makanan jawa, cakap jawa lebih fasih dari cakap cina, adakah mereka cina ?

Kita telah membuang masa, seharusnya perkara ini sudah diselesaikan lama. Ini masa globalisasi, amat menyedihkan apabila nilai sempadan negara mula menjadi kurang nilai kita masih melipat lengan baju bertekak soal sempit perkauman dalam negara sendiri.

Memang sudah terlambat kita harus mulakan segera sekarang jika tidak kita akan hilang daya saing. Kita harus jujur dalam membincangkan perkara ini, ke arah mana negara ini hendak dibawa. negara ini tidak boleh sentiasa terawang dengan banyak taboo yang konon tidak boleh diungkap dan harus didiamkan. Ini negara kita, jika kita tidak mahu bincangkan siapa lagi yang mahu diselesaikan. British sudah lama pulang kita harus berdiri sendiri mengendalikan negara kita mengikut acuan kita.

Jika tidak negara ini akan hilang daya saingnya. Jika kita masih diam dan taboo untuk bicara hal pokok negara akan terus hilang warganya yang bagus untuk bangun negara. Ganerasi baru yang bosan dengan negara ini akan keliru identitinya. Mereka akan melihat negara ini hanya tempat cari makan kerana mereka dihalang itu dan ini, seolah negara ini bukan milik mereka. Maka mereka akan berhijrah ke mana mereka selesa cari makan. Rakyat harus melihat bumi ini bukan hanya tempat cari makan sahaja. Ini tanah air kita.

Walaupun kamu keturunan cina kamu sudah tidak ada kawloon untuk balik kerana orang kawloon sudah tidak kenal kamu, kamu beranak di Nibong Tebal maka ini tanah air kita yang harus kita bina bersama. Jika kamu keturunan india kamu sidah tidak ada Kerala untuk balik, kamu beranak di Kombok, Negeri Sembilan maka sinilah kampung halaman kamu. Semangat ini harus wujud dan ia hanya akan wujud apabila kita ada rasa milik sama negara ini.

nota ringkas lemparan idea bangsa Malaysia ini saya akhirkan dengan dengan pertanyaan pada diri kita semua secara detik hati, adakah kita jujur hendak sama mencari ke mana arah dan bagaimana nak bentuk negara bangsa malaysia ini. Adakah kita jujur dan sedia berkorban beberapa 'permata' kecil dalam genggaman yang disayang untuk mendapat belian besar yang jauh lebih bernilai.

Cuba renungkan jika kita ke Singapura. Suatu ketika dahulu, selepas Singapura mencapai kemerdekaan (dari Malaya), urusan kebudayaan dan keagamaan disekat. Sekolah-sekolah beraliran Cina dan Tamil dibubar untuk mengurangkan semangat “kecinaan dan keindiaan”. Atas iltizam dan visi Lee Kuan Yew, Singapura telah berjaya menjadi sebuah negara-bangsa. Walaupun pada awalnya wujud sedikit kekangan kebebasan berbudaya dan beragama, Singapura kini terus bergerak ke hadapan. Lee Kuan Yew telah berjaya menyatukan kebudayaan Singapura. Lee Kuan Yew dilihat berjaya mengasimilasikan masyarakat Singapura. Kita boleh meletakkan Singapura sebagai contoh negara-bangsa yang maju dan berjaya. Kita boleh berbangga kerana Singapura adalah jiran kita yang kuat
memberi saingannya.

Mana mungkin nak bina negara bangsa apabila pada peringkat awal pendidikan lagi majoriti anak malaysia terpisah-pisah. Jika kita semua tidak jujur dalam bab ini maka saya ungkap blogger A. Kadir Jasin (dan tolong jangan labelkan saya rasis) dalam tulisan beliau di Malaysia Today yang berkata “…Sebaliknya mempertahankan hak bangsa-bangsa lain di bumi yang sama adalah ‘hak’. Natijahnya, orang Melayu mempertahankan haknya dia dianggap rasis, tetapi apabila orang bukan Melayu melakukan yang sama ia dikatakan hak mereka…” Mungkin ada kebenarannya apa yang dikatakan oleh beliau.

dan cerita mencari identiti negara ini akan menjadi cerita tak sudah - sudah dan terpusing - pusing. Maka sama kita nyanyikan lagu, bangau oh bangau..............

sekadar mengajak diri berfikir.

Lawyers: Youths kneeling when shot by cops

Glenmarie shooting was murder, says lawyer

According to the post-mortem report, at least one of the three youths was kneeling when police shot him, N Surendran tells reporters.
PETALING JAYA: It was murder in cold blood, according to a lawyer for the families of three youths whom police shot dead in Glenmarie last year.

Addressing a press conference at the PKR headquarters here, N Surendran produced a report of the post-mortem examinations on two of the youths, Syamil Hafiz Shafie, 15, and Mohd Khairul Nizam Tuah, 20.

Police shot them at close range, he said.
“The report also indicates that Syamil was shot on the forehead at a 45-degree angle,” he added. “That can only happen if the boy was kneeling when he was gunned down,” said Surendran.

The shooting happened last November. Police said they shot Syamil, Khairul and Mohd Hanafi Omar, 22, from a distance. They alleged that the three were members of a criminal gang called Geng Minyak and that the shooting occurred after they had robbed a petrol station.

The police said they shot the youths after they had tried to attack them with a parang.
Surendran rejected the police version. “Syamil had gunshot residues on his shirt,” he said. “Residue can only be transferred if shots were fired at a close range.”

He said Hairul was shot on the left side of his head.
“The police version of what transpired is not consistent with the post-mortem report, unless the police have bullets that can curve through the air.”

Surendran challenged the police to prove him wrong.
“The police are also unable to show the parang the youths allegedly used against them,” he said.

Lawyers for Liberty coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, who attended the press conference, urged Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail to charge the policemen with murder.

“We have to stop this culture of impunity among policemen,” she said. “We cannot afford to lose more lives just because the police acted irresponsibly.”
Syamil’s mother, Norhafizah Mohd Razali, said she had no confidence that she would get justice.
“Why was he murdered? He was no criminal,” she said, weeping.

Hanafi’s father, army veteran Omar Abu Bakar, said he agreed with Surendran that Syamil was kneeling when police killed him.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izaah was also at the press conference. She said she would raise the subject in Parliament at its next sitting.

“We don”t want such an incident to happen again,” she said.

‘MIC a toothless tiger in BN’

MIC has lost its clout in the fight for the betterment of the Indian community, according to Perak DAP.
IPOH: Perak DAP has accused MIC of being a “toothless tiger” in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition with no political bite to fight for the social and economic betterment of the Indian community.
Party state deputy chief V Sivakumar said, “MIC is just a small party in the BN coalition with no political voice to either fight or champion the rights of the Indian community for the past 53 years.”
He listed 10 points that have greatly affected the community which MIC leaders had allegedly failed to take up with Umno leaders:
  • MIC has failed to take up the scholarship issue of deserving, bright SPM Indian students who were denied the right to study overseas;
  • MIC did not do anything concrete to ensure that the controversial Malay literature book “Interlok”, which had hurt the feelings of the Indian community, is removed from the SPM syllabus;
  • MIC has failed to increase the percentage of Indians working in the civil sector which is less than 5% now;
  • MIC has failed to address the social grievances of thousands of Malaysian Indians who have failed to get birth certificates and proper citizenship rights like blue identity cards;
  • MIC has not played its role in ensuring that plantation workers get a minimum wage for the past 53 years;
  • MIC has not done anything positive to improve the equity share of the Indian community which still stands at about 1.5% after 50 years;
  • MIC has not ensured that the Tamil literature subject in SPM examination is given importance as a compulsory subject for the selection of scholarship awards and as admissions into the local universities;
  • MIC has not been proactive in ensuring that all partially-aided Tamil primary schools in the country are converted into fully-aided government schools to ensure that the Indian pupils enjoy all the education facilities and benefits that national primary school pupils enjoy;
  • Why did the MIC remain silent when Perkasa leader Ibrahim Ali had warned both MIC and MCA not to touch on the allocation of scholarships given by the Public Service Department?
  • Why did MIC choose to remain silent when the prime minister’s former special assistant, Nasir Safar, had made a seditious statement that all Indians came to Malaya as beggars?
Sivakumar scoffed at reports that 20,000 Pakatan Rakyat Indian members have joined the MIC.
He was responding to MIC chief G Palanivel who reportedly said that 20,000 unhappy Pakatan Indian members had allegedly joined MIC recently.
“MIC’s claim is ridiculous. It is easy to make such a sweeping statement without data and figures to back up,” said Sivakumar who was the former ousted Pakatan Perak state assembly speaker.
‘MIC politically desperate’
Sivakumar claimed that MIC, now politically desperate, is attempting to paint a rosy picture to Umno of its increasing support among the Indian community just to get back the seats it had lost in the 2008 general election.
“MIC is trying to give this figure (20,000) just to satisfy its political master, Umno, which will think that MIC is gaining popularity as a rejuvenated Indian party,” said the DAP leader.
Sivakumar, who is DAP Tronoh assemblyman, also claimed that Umno has lost confidence in the political ability of MIC to pull in the Indian votes for BN in the coming general election.
Thus, it has resorted to supporting other mosquito Indian-based parties like Malaysian Makkal Sakthi as an alternative to the MIC.
“Many Umno leaders in their public speeches have said that they can win more seats without the support of (MIC’s) Indian votes,” he alleged.
Sivakumar said that even Umno leaders like Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz was reported as saying that Perak MIC should not be given any state seats as the party allegedly does not command the support of Indian voters in the state.
He also alleged that Umno is now prepared to go alone without the support of MIC in the coming general election.
“MIC has become irrelevant now to Umno as it (MIC) does not command the support of the Indian community ,” Sivakumar alleged.
“Also, it makes no difference whether MIC is in or out of the Cabinet as it does not have the political voice to speak out,” he said.

DBKL’s bid to strike out Bkt Jalil suit set for July 5

Bukit Jalil Estate residents seeking court order to stop demolition of their houses.
KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court set July 5 to hear Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) application to strike out a suit by Bukit Jalil Estate residents relating to the eviction notice and demolition of their houses.

Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof set the date in chambers after meeting counsel Muhammad Afiq Mohamad Noor representing the 41 residents who were former workers of the estate when the case came up for case management.

Muhammad Afiq told the media that the court directed the plaintiffs (the residents) to file an affidavit-in-reply to DBKL’s application to strike out the suit by June 15.

On March 14, the residents filed a suit against the Kuala Lumpur mayor seeking a declaration that the plaintiffs had an exclusive right and had equity in the land, as well as seeking an injunction to stop DBKL from demolishing their homes.

On May 10, Zabariah dismissed their application for an interim injunction to stop the DBKL from demolishing their homes.

However, they obtained an interim injuction from the Court of Appeal after they won the appeal over the High Court’s ruling.

The Bukit Jalil Estate, formerly made up of 18,000 acres, had been reduced to 26 acres after recent development of the land.

During the hearing of the injunction on April 27, the court was told that DBKL had given the land (26 acres) to JAIS (Selangor Islamic Religious Department) to build a Muslim cemetery.

The residents’ co-counsel Ragunath Kesavan had submitted that the residents were not squatters, as they did not trespass on the land and they had been living there for some time after the estate was sold to a private developer.

Counsel Ashmadi Othman representing the mayor had submitted that the mayor was only carrying out his public duty by issuing the eviction notice and that the suit against the mayor was improper.
- Bernama

Women of class and taste: name the women contest


The Birkin bag is a handmade purse by Hermès and named after actress and singer Jane Birkin. The bag is a symbol of wealth due to its high price and elusiveness to the public. Its prices range from US$9,000 to US$150,000. Costs escalate according to the type of materials. The bags are distributed to Hermès boutiques on unpredictable schedules and in limited quantities, creating scarcity and, intended or unintended, exclusivity. It is highly coveted and, for several years, was reputed for having a waiting list of up to 6 years; the longest wait for any bag in history. (read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birkin_bag)
NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin







AND THE PRESENTS FROM ROBIN TAN, VINCENT TAN'S SON, TO MALAYSIA'S FIRST LADY, AT USD120,000 PER BAG AND PAID FOR BY SPORTS TOTO 




Vernacular Education In Malaysia

By Zhi Wei Lee
A consideration of the debate on vernacular schools, and the important roles that both national and vernacular schools have to play in Malaysia.

The debate on vernacular schools in Malaysia is often misleading, unconstructive and damaging. I say this because much discourse and opinions about vernacular schools have a dangerous tendency to suffer from oversimplification; you are either for the vernacular school, or you are for its abolition. This is little more than politicised banter — on one hand, it preaches to the choir; but on the other, it unnecessarily stirs up divisive communal frustrations. We must acknowledge that this recurring controversy is deeply-rooted in the convoluted web that is the fabric of Malaysian society — some of which our own doing, others an indirect result of British colonialism. Either way, its complexity demands greater attention and certainly, deeper analysis.

To be clear, this article will advocate no position for or against the vernacular school; rather, it aims to highlight three key issues that matter — culture, nation-building and general quality of education — and to finally assess what they mean for the vernacular school (and indeed, its counterpart: the national school) in the future of the Malaysian educational landscape.

VI
When discussing any Malaysian affairs with ethnic undertones, we must keep in mind one key thing: as much as an idealist would like to believe otherwise, the current Malaysian society does not yet view itself as a collective; rather, we identify ourselves — both consciously and unconsciously — as distinct entities which make up a whole. As such, our perspectives on issues that affect us are often viewed through communal lenses, depending on which entity we believe we belong to and our communal upbringing. This context rings strongly for the issue of vernacular schools, which is why culture should be at the crux of any discussion regarding its condition.

In particular, the survival of the vernacular school is often strongly associated with the survival of the minorities’ culture; in this case the Chinese and Indians. Traditionalists, especially those from previous generations, are usually quick to defend the vernacular school with the idea that it represents their identity as a people. The use of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction is seen to keep the young connected to their cultural roots, and the lessons culturally enriching through history, literature and ethics, all of which are believed to be exclusive to the vernacular system. As such, an attack on the vernacular school is held to be tantamount to an attack on culture.

There are two dimensions to this association.

The first one is politically and emotionally charged. Passionate defenders of the vernacular school will not hesitate to express their fears that without vernacular education, the younger generation will slowly forget their own culture and thus their identity. Coming from a national school, I can see where such fears come from: after all, when I compare myself to my peers who underwent vernacular education, they are clearly superior in their cultural awareness. The combination of passion, pride and fear creates an incredibly fragile atmosphere.It necessitates discourse that rises above the aforementioned for-and-against positioning; it calls for empathy and acknowledgement of these cultural insecurities. Put simply, taking this into account, an outright advocacy for abolition is politically unfeasible and counterproductive to the national cause, as it will exacerbate social discord.

The second dimension is more moderate and encompasses both cultural and quality concerns: some segments of the minorities associate the survival of culture with the survival of the vernacular school simply because they lack faith in the state’s ability to effectively protect (let alone execute) the education of culture through the national school system. When juxtaposed against the firmly established and time-tested machinery of the vernacular institutions, some are unconvinced that the national schools can even compete on the grounds of cultural education, let alone provide a superior option. To add further detriment, proponents of vernacular schools are quick to point out that the general quality of education in vernacular schools is simply higher, as evidenced by better results.

While traditionalists and the older generation are concerned with cultural politics, the second dimension is much more reflective of most parents today — they demand a quality, wholesome education for their children, and their children will be sent to institutions that meet that demand. The current status quo — with 90% of Chinese children and 60% of Tamil children attending vernacular schools — suggests that the vernacular school offers just that. Being a student from a national school and a firm believer in nation building, this is personally disappointing but the fact of the matter is, I have little reason to dispute the decisions of the parents.

However, the cause of national schools is all but lost. Merit must be given to national schools because they are potentially superior for nation building purposes. Nation building is a desirable goal because it lays down the appropriate social, cultural and political foundations upon which a country can effectively and efficiently utilise its resources. While the extent to which education systems can be relied upon as the state’ s instrument to shape society is a debate in its own right; what is certain, though, is that education systems are a strong reinforcing agent of values and perspectives. In the pursuit of nation building, the kind of values and perspectives we should seek to reinforce in schools should be those which celebrate diversity and recognize each ethnic community’s cultural complexities and nuances. In other words, our schools should be a microcosm of the real Malaysian society.

This idea of nationhood goes beyond sentimental patriotism; from a practical standpoint, the inability of a nation’s own citizens to feel a sense of belonging and a sense of shared destiny can lead (and in Malaysia, has led) to an outflow of human capital. In the domestic economy, lack of a "collective" view can be an impediment to fulfilling our full economic potential as we allow diverging communal interests to constantly act as a destabilising force — this is becoming increasingly relevant in Malaysia.

With these values and perspectives in mind, the national school is clearly superior. Albeit all its imperfections, the main positive of the national school, as it stands — from both a national and parental viewpoint — is that it serves as a much better platform for a child to grasp the idea of the Malaysian society; that is, the racially and culturally diverse Malaysia. If we accept that the environment is very capable of influencing the beliefs and behaviour of children, then we must accept that children who grow up in national schools are less likely to grow up in ignorance of their ethnically distinct peers. Consequently, with cross-cultural experiences, they are more likely to develop crucial skills in effectively engaging and communicating with a wider mix of people.

Based on experience of my own and my peers, this is a compelling argument which goes beyond rhetoric, especially when we look at less urbanised parts of Malaysia, where physical communal separation is relatively significant. Again, returning to the idea of schools as a reinforcing agent of values and perspectives, an arguably more "Malaysian" environment is primarily absent in vernacular schools. As a result, those who come from communities with a more monolithic cultural background (a highly common phenomenon in less developed areas) and go to vernacular schools are more likely to reinforce the biased cultural lenses through which they view the world.

Drawing upon these two fundamental elements of culture and nation building, there are important practical considerations for both national and vernacular schools. As national schools are essentially under the aegis of the state, their responsibility cannot be excluded from this discussion. The first step for Malaysian politicians and educationists is cease thinking about what to do with vernacular schools; rather, they should worry more about what to do with the national schools. Even if a one-school system, presumably under national schools, is the final goal, staunch opposition is not constructive.

Instead, a market-oriented view must be adopted; in layman’s terms, since parents dictate the terms of what they demand from the education system, the state must be responsive to these demands. If the state can rise up to the challenge, then surely, on a behavioral level, parents will be incentivised to send their children to national schools. As it stands, there are two primary demands from parents: one, they want cultural education; two, they want quality education. The state must seek to incorporate effective teaching of Mandarin and Tamil alongside the national language, and perhaps even compel every student to master all three languages from a primary level. It cannot afford to attempt to relegate cultural education to the household and assume that it will be sufficient; parents are clearly sending a different signal. In fact, instead of viewing vernacular schools with hostility, the state can be proactive and see how things are done differently in vernacular schools; surely, there are valuable lessons to be learnt by the national school system.

Source: flickr.com/xiangxi
Source: flickr.com/xiangxi

With regards to improving the general quality of education, the state needs to go beyond the idea that more spending is better; in fact, a reconsideration of the way funds are allocated and managed is required. There are two reasons for this.

The first is political; given the delicate state of affairs and the relatively low funding for vernacular schools, pumping more money into the national schools may serve only to galvanise the convictions of proponents of vernacular schools — particularly pro-vernacular parents — that the government cares little for their respective communities. What matters is not whether these claims are real, what matters is that they exist and that they are very legitimate in the minds of pro-vernacular parents, a formidable interest group in its own right. And because of that, the ignorance of these conditions — by increasing spending on national schools while starving vernacular schools of funding — will only widen the wedge between communal and national perspectives. The state’s aim of nation building that strives for a society that is able to view Malaysia as a collective whole will fall on deaf ears if the state itself will not listen to these political fears.

The second involves the systemic problems of our national schools. The state needs to deal with a multitude of things: various incentive problems within the teaching profession, the selection and training of our teachers, national schools which don’t really seem "nationalised" — the list goes on. These problems reflect much wider concerns about the implementation of our educational policies and can only be effectively elaborated in an article of its own (perhaps even that would not suffice). The truth is, many of the less traditional-minded parents would send their children to national schools — if only it would not compromise their children’s quality of education.

As for the vernacular schools, they are clearly in a better standing at the moment. Despite the little funding that they receive from the government, they continue to thrive and attract new students. This displays remarkable resilience on the part of the vernacular schools; their strengths as well as their unique educational culture are valid calls for preservation. Assuming that national schools do rise up to the occasion and eventually provide enviable standards of education, it still does not mean that vernacular schools will become an anachronism in Malaysia.

Having said that, the vernacular schools — as part of our nation’s education services — still have a responsibility in nation building as well. In the collective interest of the country, vernacular schools should detach themselves from their perceived role as the stalwarts of Chinese and Indian identity. Vernacular schools should not be on the defensive; they enjoy success and are very reputable academically — they should exploit this. To be more precise, they should thus actively pursue a wider demographic mix that is more reflective of the national population. Increasingly, more Malay parents are beginning to send their children to vernacular schools — vernacular schools should welcome this.

This strategy projects an important idea: that vernacular schools — contrary to popular belief — are not exclusive to those of a particular ethnic origin. This is important because it would represent a significant paradigm shift: no longer will vernacular schools be viewed as institutions that propagate and defend culture. Rather, they become institutions that are inclusive and offer a unique educational experience.
Ultimately, with regards to the issue of vernacular schools in Malaysia, the onus lies on the national schools (and thus the state) to prove itself as a better option to the general public. The idea of forcibly imposing one-school system under the name of nation building is out of the question, at least until the immense popularity of vernacular schools diminishes — and that is extremely unlikely. Thus, the government today has a clear ultimatum: it can either rebuild the good reputation that our national schools used to carry proudly; or, it can choose to allow that to remain as a forgotten relic of the past. For our country’s sake, I pray it does the former.

Zhi Wei is big fan of music, big ideas and enjoys a good debate every now and then. He believes in the power of the simpler things in life, and expresses them vicariously through daily doodles of a fat penguin at www.afatpenguin.tumblr.com

Umno Youth And NGOs Lodge Police Reports On 'Bersih' Organisers

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 (Bernama) -- Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the Umno Youth movement Thursday lodged police reports at the Dang Wangi District Police Headquarters, here on the 'Perhimpunan Bersih' or Clean Gathering expected to be held on July 9.

The police reports were lodged by the Pemuda UMNO Malaysia, Pemuda Umno Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Pemuda Umno Bukit Bintang, Bumiputera Traders and Hawkers Associations, Pertubuhan Peribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa), the Urban Affairs Secretariat (Sheb), The Kepong Muslim Youth Association, and the Terengganu-Born Association (Gertak) at about 12.30pm.

Umno Youth exco member Tengku Azman Tengku Zainol Abidin said the report was made in order to prevent chaos during the gathering.

Meanwhile, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Tian Chua recently said that 60,000 people would attend the gathering.

Among other things, the gathering aimed to demand that the government reformed the postal voting system and that permanent ink be used for the election.

Meanwhile in PUTRAJAYA, the Putrajaya Concerned Youths Movement or the 'Gerakan Pemuda Prihatin Putrajaya' (Gempur) and 'Wira Perkasa Putrajaya' Thursday urged Malaysians, especially the young generation, not to be involved in the gathering to be held in Kuala Lumpur.

Gempur chairman Hisamudin Yahaya said the gathering, to be organised by the opposition pact (PR), would not bring any benefit but could instead destroy Malaysia which had gained independence 54 years ago.

As such, Gempur and Wira Perkasa Putrajaya lodged a police report at the Putrajaya District Police headquarters at 12.30pm Thursday.

In GEORGE TOWN, the Penang Al-Ehsan Islamiah Welfare Organisation lodged a police report on the move by the Penang state government to hold mosque elections in the state.

The police report was lodged by the chairman of the Barat Daya Penang Al-Ehsan Islamiah Welfare Organisation, Arshad Kassim at the Bayan Baru Police Station at about 4.30pm.

Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein Onn's Brother, Haris, Still Owns 180,000 Shares in Liberal Technology

Read here for more in The Age (Australia) by Richard Baker and Nick McKenzieandHERE

Home Minister Hishamuddin Says He is Ignorant of Link to his Brother, Haris Hussein Onn in the Scandal

Malaysian company, Liberal Technology, accused of being hired by Australian company Securency for political leverage said yesterday that Haris Hussein Onn, the cousin of the prime minister Najib Razak, and its purported link to Malaysias top leadership, sold his shares in 2006.

Liberal Technology Sdn Bhd said in a response to the June 6 The Age article, that Haris ceased to be a shareholder of the company when he sold his stake of 180,000 shares on September 4 2006 to a Shazal Yusuf.

It also said that in its last annual return on June 30 last year, it had listed Hafidzuddin Che Din and Mohamed Hanif Che Din as the sole shareholders of the company with 500,000 shares each.
But Companies Commission data shows OTHERWISE. Companies Commission of Malaysia records show the minister's brother, Haris Onn Hussein, to be Liberal Technology's LARGEST individual shareholder, WITH 180,000 shares.

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The Age asked the company yesterday why its records still showed Haris Onn Hussein as a shareholder. Liberal Technology did NOT respond.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister,Hishamuddin Hussein ! Onn says he had NO idea a company associated with his brother (Haris Hussein Onn) was hired as an agent by troubled Reserve Bank of Australia firm Securency.

The brothers (Hishamuddin and Haris) are COUSINS of Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak. Their late father Hussein Onn was Malaysia's prime minister between 1976 and 1981.

Malaysian' POLITICAL ROYAL FAMILY
(INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEALINGS WITH HIGH LEVEL POLITICS)

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(High Flying Businessman)

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(LEFT) The Brother, Hishamuddin Hussein Onn, (Home Minister)
(RIGHT) The Cousin, Najib Razak, the Prime Minister

Malaysia's Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein- who is negotiating the asylum seeker swap deal with the Gillard government - also told Malaysia's Sun Daily newspaper this week that he did not think an Australian company would engage a company linked to politically-connected figures in the hope of furthering its business interests in Malaysia.

n the June 6 article Securency money trail nudges Malaysias political royalty, The Age claimed that Securency had hired Haris Onn Hussein in 2009 with the hope that he would offer it access and influence over Malaysias top politicians a! nd also said that in 2006, the Malaysian finance ministry told cigarette and alcohol manufacturers that they would need to buy security labels provided by Liberal Technology to legally sell their products.

The Age claimed that Securency, a leading supplier of plastic dollar bills, had hired Datuk Haris Onn Hussein, who is Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Husseins brother and the cousin of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in an effort to win banknote contracts.
The report noted however that Securency has not won any banknote contracts in Malaysia since its last major one in 2004 and added that it is not suggesting that Najib or Hishamuddin are involved with Sucerencys deals.
The Age said that Securency, which is 50 per cent owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia, has been under investigation by the Australian Federal Police and the British Serious Fraud Office for allegedly bribing public officials in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria to win banknote supply contracts.
Securencys managing director, Myles Curtis, and chief financial officer, John Ellery, were forced out of the company in March last year while its deputy chairman, English businessman Bill Lowther, resigned in October following his arrest by the Serious Fraud Office.
The Age report comes at a sensitive time as Malaysia and Australia are about to seal a deal on a refugee swap and the Melbourne paper said that Australias international relations could be harmed if foreign officials allegedly linked to Sucerencys bribes are named.The Najib administration has also been pushing the message of reform and transparency in an effort to improve Malaysias business climate and boost the countrys competitiveness.
Securency is being investigated by the Australian Federal Police and Britain's Serious Fraud Office for allegedly bribing public officials in Vietnam, Malaysia, Nigeria and Indonesia in return for winning polymer banknote supply contracts.

Lib eral Technology's official corporate records obtained yesterday from the Companies Commission of Malaysia listHaris Onn Hussein as the holder of 180,000 shares.

Bersih

New look Pas heralds new era

The new look Pas has given many Malaysians reason to hope that a more inclusive brand of politics is possible.
This is a piece I wrote for Asia Times:
Once viewed as a promoter of fundamentalist Islam in politics, the times are changing for Malaysia’s opposition PAS party. For the first time since 1983, party delegates last weekend elected a candidate who is not an ulama, or religious leader, as its deputy president and with him a slew of other progressive politicians into the party’s top leadership positions.
It’s the clearest sign yet that PAS intends to broaden its electoral appeal ahead of what many anticipate will be a hotly contested general election later this year or next. With PAS’s new leadership, many political analysts believe the party’s goals and strategies, including a shift from promoting the creation of an Islamic state to a welfare state, will take on more populist themes in a strategic bid to expand its political base.
Full story in Asia Times