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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shocking racial ‘imbalance’ in civil service - FMT

The Chinese community make up less than two percent of the Malaysian government service.

KUCHING: Change, like charity should begin at home.  Likewise Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should have begun implementing his 1Malaysia concept within the civil service first before attempting to ‘teach the world’.

Alas this has not happened and Najib, according to Sarawak DAP has failed miserably in improving the racial composition of the civil service.

The situation is a poor reflection of his seriousness in implementing the 1Malaysia concept.

“He (Najib) has been shouting about the concept for the past two years, and yet the racial composition between the Malays and Chinese in government departments has not improved,” said Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen.

According to Chong,  he had asked the PM, during the recent sitting of Parliament, to disclose the total number of civil servants in all the ministries and the racial breakdown of Malays, Chinese, Iban and Bidayuh staff.

He said he had asked for the update on number of civil service staff in the government’s employ up to 31 March 2011.

The revert, he received was shocking.

“In the Prime Minister Department, there are about 31,297 Malays to 797 Chinese. This is about two percent.

“And it is no better in majority of the other ministeries.

“Based on the reply given to my question in Parliament there is a big discrepancy between the Malays and Chinese civil servants.

“The worst is in the Rural Development and the Federal Territory Ministry where there are 2,442 Malays to 18 Chinese or less than one percent of the Chinese,” said Chong, who is also Bandar Kuching MP.

Listing out the detailed breakdown of Malay and Chinese civil servants, Chong said there was a clear ‘imbalance’ in racial compositions in all government departments, agencies and ministeries.

“It also clearly shows Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan is a mere slogan.

“There is no concrete policy to implement the 1Malaysia concept.

“There has been no improvement in the racial composition even after he announced the concept…even his department is worse than average.

He said: “There is no improvement in the racial composition based on the racial breakdown in the
“It shows that Najib is not the PM for all, but the prime minister for one single race,” Chong said after releasing the Malay to Chinese staff breakdown in the various ministries.

Breakdown

He listed out the reply from the PM’s department as below:
Ministry of Youth and Sports 2,980 Malays,32 Chinese,
Ministry of Home Affairs 40,263 Malays to 614 Chinese;
Ministry of Works 6,221 Malays to 156 Chinese,
Ministry of Health 130,106 Malays to 9,500 Chinese,
Ministry of Finance 15,835 Malays to 508 Chinese,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1,215 Malays to 53 Chinese
Ministry of Education 273,791 Malays to 43,669 Chinese
Ministry of Tourism 455 Malays to 19 Chinese
Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development 5,461 Malays to 75 Chinese
Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture 8,839 Malays to 402 Chinese
Ministry of Higher Education 15,012 Malays to 334 Chinese
Ministry of Transport 9,028 Malays to 205 Chinese
Ministry of Defence 12,078 Malays to 113 Chinese
Ministry of Housing and Local Government 11,363 Malays to 173 Chinese

Tuition centre accused of proselytising Muslims shut down

Perkasa supporters hold signs protesting against Christians outside the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, August 19, 2011.—Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — The Education Ministry has shut down a tuition centre at Old Klang Road here that allegedly tried to convert Muslim schoolchildren to Christianity.


Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia reported today Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi as saying that the tuition centre was shut down because it did not have a valid permit.

He added the police and the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) were currently investigating the matter. Proselytising Muslims is an offence in Malaysia.

Puad, who is also the Batu Pahat MP, said the Education Ministry discovered that three Malay students from Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Setia, Jalan Kuchai Lama, had been studying at the tuition centre.

Utusan Malaysia also reported today that two Malay children studying at the tuition centre — aged seven and 12 years — as saying that marks would be deducted if they did not sing along to Christian songs.

They also said they watched cartoons showing Jesus Christ’s birth and death, but did not inform their parents about such activities.

“He (Jesus Christ) is my teacher’s God. My friends who are also studying with me there told me that they pitied Jesus because my teacher said He died on the cross,” one of them was quoted as saying.

The siblings — who said they were from a poor family — added that the tuition teachers gave them and other children free English classes.

Malay rights group Perkasa demonstrated yesterday against the Christians and demanded a ban on Christian teachers from national schools.

Missionary schools have existed since the 1800s when the British first came to the Malay peninsula and many top politicians have studied there over the years.

Among them is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who received primary and secondary education at the St John’s Institution here.

The Methodist Church in Malaysia also said last May that private schools were a solution to the declining academic standards in public schools, and have begun building them in areas where government schools are absent.

Utusan Malaysia’s reports come on the back of heightened tension between Christian and Muslim groups following a recent raid by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) in Petaling Jaya.

Earlier this year, the Malay daily also accused the DAP of conspiring with church leaders to turn Malaysia into a Christian state and install a Christian prime minister.

The unsubstantiated report has further raised the mercury as the dispute over whether Christians can use the word Allah to describe their god remains unresolved.

HRP going through bureaucratic grind

The Registrar of Societies has maintained a silence over the HRP's application to be registered as a political party
ANALYSIS - FMT
Government departments in Malaysia, whether federal or state, have their respective Client’s Charter which spells out the A to Z details of the processes involved in getting anything done through the bureaucracy.

The Registrar of Societies (ROS) is no exception. Its Client’s Charter promises that any application to register an organisation would be speedily disposed of within four months. Applicants would be advised, irrespective of whether they succeeded or failed, within that period.

An exception seems to have been made by the ROS, for no rhyme or reason, in the case of the Human Rights Party (HRP) Malaysia. It was clearly not informed by the ROS about the status of its application within its own four-month timeframe. The ROS should explain this obvious discrimination against the party or risk being exposed as doing the bidding of the ruling Umno, and its poodle, the MIC.

The HRP had sent several reminders to the ROS since June 18, 2009 to March 14, 2011 but to no avail.
Before June 18, 2009 the registration bid was under the Parti Reformasi Insan Malaysia (PRIM) and after that under HRP. The party lodged all the necessary forms on Nov 25, 2010 when there was no reply to the June 18 letter requesting the forms. PRIM, in fact, first applied for registration in 2000.

The ROS waited until the matter was in court before mischievously replying to the HRP on Aug 4, 2011 that its application had been rejected on two specific grounds. The hands of the court were thus tied at the 11th hour. To add insult to injury, the ROS callously got an Indian civil servant by the name of Dasmond Das a/l Michael Das to convey the bad news vide a covering letter. The attached notification itself had to be signed, as it was, by the ROS, Abdul Rahman Othman.

The first ground for rejection was that the application was “not in order” in line with what the ROS wanted and, secondly, that “there were issues with the party constitution”.

The ROS did not spell out the specific details on the two grounds for rejection, thereby underlining that these were feeble attempts at afterthoughts. The ROS has obviously to work out the specifics which could be as simple as sending in the application forms in triplicate when the ROS needs four copies.

Splitting hairs

The ROS, generally, splits hairs on these two – organisation and constitution – subjective issues.
Besides, its hands are virtually tied and there’s little that it can do to prevent the registration, eventually, of any organisation.

Left unspoken was the stark reality that the “onus” is on applicants to get back to the ROS within two weeks of lodging an application to enquire on its status. The ROS would generally have some questions on the proposed constitution of an applicant’s organisation. These must be put in order before clearance is sought, it’s known, from the Special Branch on the applicants.

The HRP clearly did not get back to the ROS within two weeks and did not follow up personally with the department. HRP pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar, when asked about this earlier this year, rightly took the position that the onus should be on the ROS to get back to the applicant and not vice-versa.

He reiterated the same position when asked again recently. Nevertheless, he conceded that HRP treasurer A Sukumaran followed up personally, on his own accord, with the ROS on the party’s application but to no avail.

If an applicant has previously been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), as was the case with Uthayakumar, the Special Branch would not respond to any enquiry from the ROS. Otherwise, the Special Branch would signal that “there’s no file on the applicant”, meaning “the applicant is not a security threat”.
It’s not known whether other government departments and/or other interests have to be consulted as well.

In the case of the Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) it’s known that the Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), led by James Masing, objected to the former’s formation. Both were then making their bids for registration after the Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) was deregistered.

MDC was subsequently advised by the ROS, unofficially, that its application could not be approved “on national security grounds” and because “there were too many political parties”. MDC hesitated to take the matter to court to test these ROS theories despite the fact that it was in violation of Article 10 1(c) of the Federal Constitution.

Grounds for rejection

Moving forward, lawyers in the know feel the HRP would have to write officially to the ROS and ask for specifics on the two grounds for rejection of its application for registration.

The ROS is unlikely to reply, according to sources familiar with the mechanics.

It would be a different matter if Uthayakumar makes an effort to meet with the ROS personally and get the necessary details. But knowing the man, many of his supporters feel that he’s unlikely to bother with such an approach

This would clearly play into the ROS’ hands and set in motion a chain of events which will see Uthayakumar in court on yet another day on the same issue with the same applications in tow, thagt is, judicial review, mandamus and certiorari.

“Uthayakumar would have to decide whether he, like the ROS, wants to play politics with the issue of registering the HRP or call the latter’s bluff”, say political leaders in Kuala Lumpur who pleaded anonymity.

In short, according to them, he would be well-advised to march to Putrajaya, drop by the ROS and “take the bull by the horns”.

Writing numerous reminder letters to the ROS, no doubt, would not get him anywhere but would simply see him back in court before a judge whose hands would have been tied by both the parties in the dispute bent on engaging in what would increasingly be seen as a game of cat-and-mouse but to avail.

At this time of writing, the HRP is preparing to appeal to the home minister over the ROS rejecting the party’s application, according to Uthayakumar. The party would at the same time give the home minister/ROS two weeks to register the party, failing which they would be back in court once again clutching the same applications.

Cambodian maids tell of abuse by their employers

The government says it condemns abuse of maid but has not done anything to review the laws to protect them, say human rights activists .


KUALA LUMPUR: Hok Pov had never been beaten and never known hunger until she came to work in Malaysia in April.

In the six weeks that she worked as a maid for a Malaysian family, she says she lost 10 kilograms while toiling 20 hours a day with little to eat. Often she was slapped and punched by her employer, she says.

“I was so hungry that I even ate chicken bones,” a sobbing Hok Pov, 31, said at the office of Malaysian rights’ group Tenaganita that rescued her in June with the help of police.

“There was always lot of work to do and I had to suffer beatings. Once I was slapped so hard that my tooth fell off. Who can bear this?” Hok Pov said in her first media interview.

She is among 41 Cambodian maids rescued this year by the group, highlighting the frequent abuse and exploitation of foreign domestic workers due to inadequate laws .

Concerns of abuse of Cambodian maids came under the public spotlight after a Cambodian maid was found dead last month outside the home where she worked, while another was rescued by Malaysian police after she was allegedly abused and had her head shaved bald by her employer.

According to the embassies of Indonesia and Cambodia — which have supplied the bulk of more than 230,000 foreign maids in Malaysia — about 2,000 women come forward every year with complaints of abuse.
Although that’s a tiny fraction of the total number, rights groups say every instance of abuse shows Malaysia in poor light and emphasizes the government’s uncaring attitude to the problem.

Malaysia’s rising prosperity has meant that fewer locals want to do menial, low-paying jobs. The gap has been filled by foreigners, mostly Indonesians who can be seen on construction sites, palm plantations and in homes as maids.

But a string of high-profile abuse cases, including deaths, led Indonesia to ban its women in 2009 from working in Malaysia. The number of foreign maids fell from 280,000 three years ago to about 230,000 today. Some 50,000 of them are Cambodians, of which 30,000 came this year alone.

Stop sending maids here

The government says it condemns abuse of maid but has not done anything to review the laws to protect them. Malaysian immigration officials in charge of foreign domestic workers couldn’t be reached for comment on the issue, despite repeated attempts to contact them.

Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez said that maids who come from poor countries are all vulnerable to abuse, except for Filipinos who are better protected by their government.

She said abuse is institutionalized here as maids aren’t allowed to retain their passports and get no days off in a week.

“Instead of addressing the root problem of putting an end to abuse, the government is turning to other poor countries vulnerable to abuse to source for maids,” she said.

Tenaganita is urging Cambodia also to stop sending maids to Malaysia until the government puts in place tougher laws, or at least an agreement that protects the maids from abusive employers. Indonesia has negotiated such an agreement and is expected to lift the ban on its maids soon.

To ban or not to ban 

Hok Pov, who said her hair was cut short like a boy’s, was promised a monthly salary of RM650 — double her wage as a factory worker in Cambodia. She has not received any money from her employer.

“I just want my salary and get out of here. I don’t ever want to come to Malaysia again,” said Hok Pov, who is married and has an 8-year-old son.

“They are rich, educated and religious people but why don’t they have any compassion for the poor like me? I have no one to turn to. Every night I cried myself to sleep. It was one and a half months in hell,” she said.

Tenaganita official Liva Sreedhana said it was difficult to file criminal charges against Hok Pov’s employer as she has no physical injury or scars to show, and only has her words.

The group is now negotiating with the employer, who is refusing to give Hok Pov any money and is dodging meetings.

Men Chaveasna, who also lives in Tenaganita’s shelter with Hok Pov, completed her two-year work contract last August but never got her wages.

Her Malaysian employer bought her a flight home and ditched her at the airport.

Chaveasna, 30, who came to Malaysia to work to support her farmer parents, won a case in the labour court this year to demand wages totaling RM7,700 owed to her. But her employer appealed to the high court and the case is pending.

“It is better not to work in Malaysia because we may not get paid,” she said. “There are many new factories in Cambodia and I can find jobs back home.”

Cambodian Ambassador Norodom Arunrasmy said that Malaysia is the only country that recruits Cambodian maids, giving the poor a lifeline.

She said the Cambodian government was in the process of drafting a new law to protect its maids, including screening the employer to ensure the girls would be properly housed and not overworked.

“To ban or not to ban would be up to the high decision of my government … but they [the government] also know that our people need work and jobs in order to survive,” Arunrasmy said in an e-mail.
-Agencies

Azman Amin to head inter-faith panel

The Star 

PETALING JAYA: National Unity and Integration Department director-general Datuk Azman Amin Hassan (pic) has been appointed the new chairman of the Inter-faith Relations Working Committee.

He replaces the late Datuk Ilani Ishak, who died in February.

Azman Amin said it was an honour to be appointed to a role which promoted inter-religious understanding and harmony.

“This is a very important responsibility that has been given to me and the first thing that I need to do is to get the support of both the Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said.

Azman Amin, who has worked with the committee secretariat before, said he would have more interactions with those working on inter-faith relations to improve rapport.

“I will continue to work on the targets set by Ilani before she passed away.

“There are many things that need to be done as the work of the panel was halted for a few months after her death.

“Hopefully, we can progress further despite the religious tensions that we have been experiencing lately,” he added.

He said a meeting with the committee members and two Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom would be scheduled by next month.

Azman Amin, 58, is a mass communication graduate from Universiti Sains Malaysia and has been serving at the National Unity and Integration Department since 1977.

He will continue to hold his position at the department.

Pakistan: mosque suicide bomb kills 43

A suicide bomber has struck a crowded Pakistan mosque, killing 43 people and wounding more than 100 during Ramadan prayers, in the country's deadliest attack for three months.

Pakistan: mosque suicide bomb kills 43
A child injured in a blast lies on a bed at a hospital in Peshawar Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES/Hasham Ahmed
 
Blood was splattered across the mosque's main hall and walls, while the building's doors and windows were destroyed and its ceiling fans mangled by the blast, according to reports.
Ball bearings used in the suicide vest were also scattered across the mosque in Jamrud town, 25 kilometres (16 miles) from Peshawar, the main city in the Khyber tribal district where much of the violence in Pakistan is concentrated.
The attack came as a US drone strike killed four militants in the northwestern tribal area of Pakistan, which where US special forces killed Osama bin Laden on May 2.
More than 500 people had packed into the mosque. A senior official from the Khyber tribal district administration Sayed Ahmed Jan said that the bomb had exploded seconds after the main prayer ended.
The deputy chief of the semi-autonomous administration said that 43 people had been killed and 117 wounded.

"It was a suicide attack. The bomber was wearing about 8-10 kg of explosives and was on foot. He detonated in the main prayer hall," said Khalid Mumtaz Kundi.

Top administration official Mutahar Zeb told AFP that the injured had been taken to nearby hospitals while a bomb disposal squad was at the scene.

Witness Gul Jamal Afridi, 46, a local truck driver told AFP that he had been thrown to the ground in the intensity of the blast.

"I saw smoke and fire. People were dying and crying for help, some were running in panic. I saw body parts and human flesh, it was horrible," he said.

Student Saqib Ullah, 24, said he had tried to help those lying near him after the bomb went off, but found most were already dead.

"I saw my uncle lying in a pool of blood. I ran towards him and picked him up to carry on my back, but he had already died," he said.

Today's bomb was the deadliest since May 13 when two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a police training centre in a town about 30 kilometres north of Peshawar killing 98 people.

MCMC quizzes photographer on Bersih shot

Najib: General election can be held anytime

The prime minister says the country does not have to wait for the PSC to finish its work on electoral reforms.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said today that the next general election can be held anytime and is not bound by the works of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reforms.

Najib said the government, however, would strive to implement any recommendation made by the committee before the coming election.

“We will try; there must be something that can be done immediately,” he told a news conference after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting at Menara Dato’ Onn here today.

“What we can do immediately, we will do immediately,” he added.

Najib, who is Umno president, said the committee, comprising representatives of political parties, would discuss and decide the types of improvements to be made to the electoral process.

Asked on the move by the opposition to wait for terms of reference before deciding on their participation in the committee, Najib said the committee was the government’s sincere offer so that decisions can be made based on consensus.

“This is a sincere offer on our part because we need to have discussions across the aisle so that there will be a consensus,” he said.

On the call by the opposition parties that the committee be headed by their representative, Najib said, it was impossible to accede to it because the committee must be headed by a leader from the majority party.
He also said that the request by the opposition for an equal representation in the committee could not be considered because the composition would depend on the strength of a party.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Nazri Aziz announced on Wednesday that the Cabinet had agreed to the setting up of the committee which would be responsible for strengthening the laws and regulations governing elections in the country.

It will comprise five Barisan Nasional members, three opposition members and an independent member.
Najib said the Umno supreme council had also agreed to the government’s decision to set up the committee but said that this did not mean that it was an admission that there was a major weakness in the legitimacy of the country’s elections.

He said the supreme council stressed that parliamentary democracy was a key principle in Umno’s struggle all this while.

“The legitimacy of the electoral process should not be questioned because we have proven that there were no manipulation done either in terms of the ballots or the electoral roll,” he said.

On claims made by the opposition that people with permanent resident status being listed as electors within a short period, Najib said the Election Commission should provide explanation on the matter in view of attempts by the opposition to highlight it.
- Bernama

Perkasa takes a swipe at Muslim leaders

Umno, PAS and PKR are keeping mum on proselytisation for the sake of a small number of Christian votes.
VIDEO INSIDE - FMT

KUALA LUMPUR: Muslim leaders of all political divide must unite earnestly to stop Christians from their attempts to convert Muslims, said Perkasa.

The right-wing movement’s secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali ticked off Muslim leaders from Umno, PAS and PKR for keeping mum on Christians proselytising.

“Just for the sake of a small number of Christian votes, our own leaders are ignoring the sensitivities of the Muslim majority,” said Syed Hassan.

He was flanked by 20 supporters at a press conference outside the National Mosque after Friday’s prayers.

On Aug 3, the Selangor religious department, JAIS, raided a church during a thanksgiving dinner over allegations that the church was converting Muslims.

The Damansara Utama Methodist Church and Komuniti Harapan, the organiser of the dinner, denied the allegations, saying it was a fundraiser for a HIV/AIDS support group.


Although there are laws prohibiting proselytising, Syed Hassan claimed that Christians were trying to work their way around it, and this has hit a raw nerves among Muslims.

He made an appeal to the Malay Rulers to intervene and take stern action against those who showed disrespect for Islam.

“We don’t see Hindus or Buddhist trying to convert our people. It’s only the Christians,” he said.

Perkasa against polls reform committee

Asked if Perkasa would play mediator should Muslim leaders from both political divide come together on the matter, he said: “They are adults and they can think for themselves.”

On today’s turnout, Syed Hassan conceded that he was frustrated with the attendance.

On another matter, Syed Hassan said Perkasa would welcome any decision to appoint its chief, Ibrahim Ali, into the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms. Ibrahim is an independent MP for Pasir Mas.

However, Syed Hassan said he did not support the formation of committee, saying BN and Pakatan can never see eye to eye on the matter.

“Some said the election should be called after the committee’s recommendation are adopted. It’s only going to drag the issue further,” he said.

On Monday, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced the setting up of a parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms.

This, Najib said, would put to rest any allegation that the government was tampering with the electoral process to stay in power.

Since then, the government had announced the committee would have nine members, five from BN, four from Pakatan and one independent MP.

‘Four Indian ministers’: Keep your word, Pakatan told

The Human Rights Party wants Pakatan Rakyat to come out and say four Indian ministers will be in the Cabinet if it captures Putrajaya.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Party (HRP) has dared Pakatan Rakyat to announce that it would appoint four Indian ministers, including an Indian deputy prime minister, in the Cabinet if and when it comes into power.

P Uthayakumar, the pro-tem secretary-general of the Indian-based political party, was referring to the recent statement by PKR’s Selangor state executive councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar that Pakatan would appoint four Indian Cabinet ministers when it becomes the ruling government.

Yesterday, MIC scoffed at Jeyakumar’s statement, calling it an “empty promise”. Its secretary-general S Murugesan said that Pakatan would definitely not appoint four federal ministers because even Selangor now has only one Indian state executive councillor.

Uthayakumar wants Pakatan to honour Jeyakumar’s statement and that PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim, DAP’s veteran Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang should bravely come out and say that there will be four Indian ministers if Pakatan forms the government.

Uthayakumar said HRP does not want third rate ministerial posts but the “empowered” positions such as a deputy prime minister, home minister, finance minister or education minister.

Uthayakumar said the Indian ministers should also be in charge of the Implementation and Coordinating Unit (ICU), Central Coordinating Unit (CCU) and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).

He pointed out that Singapore also has four Indian ministers, namely Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam (also Finance and Manpower Minister), Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran.

“Only empowered Malaysian Indian ministers who are allowed by the top leadership of PKR, DAP and PAS to discharge their duties without fear or favour can undo the injustices done to the Indian poor over the last 54 years,” said Uthayakumar.

They could also end all “Umno acts of racism and religious supremacy”, which he said targeted the Indian poor.

Uthayakumar said having Indian Cabinet ministers would help the poor Indians who have long been denied petty trading business licences and business opportunities, and bank loans.

“This is necessary because in the last 54 years the Indian poor have been denied the 442,000 ten-acre land ownership schemes for agricultural industries,” he said.

Police gatecrash ceramah, arrest six

Officers interrupt Michael Jeyakumar's speech to about 100 people and detained two of the organisers and four protesting supporters.

PETALING JAYA: Six people, including PKR’s Teja state assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, were arrested after police swooped in on a ceramah at a housing area in Tapah, Perak, last night.

Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael D Jeyakumar was addressing a crowd of about a 100 people when police moved in 10 minutes into his speech and and made the arrests.

Chang along Perak PKR assistant secretary Tan Kar Hing, the organisers, were arrested when they tried to negotiate with police for more time to continue with the ceramah.

“Usually we have permits, but we decided to go on with the ceramah when an application for a permit was rejected at the 11th hour, ” said Chang, the PKR Perak vice-chairman.

Chang said police informed him he had commited an offence under Section 37(3) Police Act for taking part in an illegal gathering .

Another four were arrested when a group of people protested outside the Tapah police headquarters, calling for the two men’s release from the police lock-up.

They were PSM members Patrick Vincent and S Nagenteran (Jeyakumar’s assistant), PAS Supporters Club’s J Appalasamy, and PKR women’s wing member Chua Yee Ling.

‘No reason to reject permit’

Police charged that the four were disturbing the peace. All six were released by 11pm after their statements were recorded.

They have been asked to report back to the police headquarters on Sept 19, said Chang, who added that he is uncertain if they would be charged for any offence.

“The arrest was totally unprovoked and unnecessary because we were doing something very common to us,” said Chang, who was among the guest speakers last night.

Other speakers include Selangor exco Elizabeth Wong, Jalong state assemblywoman Leong Mee Meng, PKR state treasurer Yap Yit Thong.

Chang said there was no reason police to act the way they did as the it was a “small-scale ceramah in a garden and we were not disturbing anyone.”

“There was no reason to reject our permit in the first place. This has further ruined the reputation of the police. Everyone sees them as a the tool of the BN. They confirmed this yesterday,” said Chang

WIKILEAKS: MALAYSIA’S CHINESE MINORITY: THE POLITICS OF MARGINALIZATION


Nevertheless, Chinese voters have poor alternatives. DAP and KeADILan are not sufficiently organized to provide a real alternative to BN, particularly given the disproportionate powers wielded by the UMNO-led coalition. The Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS), the strongest Malay-based opposition party, holds no appeal for the Chinese electorate. Without better alternatives, MCA and Gerakan will not lose their dominance of the Chinese vote.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KUALA LUMPUR 001975

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/18/2016
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ECON, MY
SUBJECT: MALAYSIA’S CHINESE MINORITY:  THE POLITICS OF MARGINALIZATION

REF: A. KUALA LUMPUR 942
     B. KUALA LUMPUR 1935
     C. KUALA LUMPUR 1942
     D. KUALA LUMPUR 1913

Classified By: Political Section Chief Mark D. Clark for reasons 1.4 (b, d).

Summary
1.  (C) Malaysia's Chinese minority struggles to find new footing in national politics.  In September Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew ignited a nation-wide debate on the marginalization of Malaysia's Chinese minority. 
Leaders from across the Chinese political spectrum agreed, at least privately, with LKY's conclusion and confided that most Chinese Malaysians feel marginalized by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO)'s race-based, Bumiputera policies. 
As the Chinese community grows restless, Chinese parties of the UMNO-led National Coalition (Barisan Nasional, BN) fear losses to opposition parties in the next general election.  The People's Movement Party (Gerakan) faces change at the top and candidates have begun to vie for the coveted chief minister's job in Penang. 
Many Chinese have questioned their own leaders after Prime Minister Abdullah humiliated current Penang Chief Minister and claimed the Gerakan-led state government is marginalizing ethnic Malays in Penang.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) stands to gain Chinese votes, but remains unorganized and ill-prepared to capitalize on Chinese discontent.  Opposition parties in general fail to present a valid alternative to the BN.  A think tank report on Bumiputeras' economic share created another rallying point for the Chinese community's expressions of marginalization.
While post-Mahathir political openings allow Chinese political discontent to bubble to the surface, ethnic Chinese voters appear to have no realistic alternatives.  End Summary.
Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew Ignites a Fire
2.  (SBU) In September, Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew ignited a political firestorm when he commented during a seminar that Singapore's neighbors, Malaysia and Indonesia, systematically marginalized their Chinese minorities.  Cries of outrage were heard from Malaysia's ethnic Malay leaders.
Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi publicly demanded an apology from Lee, and the two exchanged highly-publicized letters demanding and feigning apology.  Dozens of senior Malay officials derided Lee for his comments and a few Chinese members of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government came to the defense of GoM and denied there was any systematic marginalization of Malaysia's minorities. 
But most Chinese Malaysians agreed with Lee, and Chinese politicians that denied the accusation are now viewed with growing disdain.
MCA admits marginalization and fears backlash
3.  (C) Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Vice President Ong Tee Keat, who also serves as the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, was one of the few ministerial level Chinese politicians who refused to deny publicly or privately the fact that Chinese Malaysians are marginalized. 
In a private meeting with poloff Ong commented that although Chinese leaders from MCA and the People's Movement Party (Gerakan) were bound to support government (i.e. UMNO) positions, their Chinese constituents were not satisfied with their responses.  Ong commented that in cases such as this, "silence is sometimes our only valid response."  But he acknowledged, "of course we are marginalized, big business to small stall owners know that -- but MCA cannot admit it." 
So when pressed by reporters for a public response to Lee's accusation, Ong related an old Chinese proverb -- "Whether the water in the tea cup is hot or cold, he who drinks it knows best."
4.  (C) According to Ong, MCA will face its greatest electoral challenge ever in the next two years.  In his opinion, there was great dissatisfaction with the status quo in the Chinese community that was only partially seen in the Sarawak elections when the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) won six seats (Ref A).
"Sarawak was a wake-up call for all Chinese parties," Ong told poloff.  MCA and Gerakan have studied the results of the Sarawak elections, but are not sure they can counter the growing discontent in their communities.  The Chinese component parties of BN no longer have community focused development projects to show their constituents, as these have all been redirected to Malay communities. 
"There was once a day in Malaysia when MCA would get the left-overs, but now we are just hoping to get some crumbs from the UMNO table," said Ong.  Ong admitted that an example of only getting the crumbs could be seen in the Ninth Malaysia plan wherein the government planned for the construction of 180 new elementary and secondary schools, none of which would be vernacular schools for either the Chinese or Indian communities. 
Only after loud outcries from the Chinese community did the Ministry of Education "cave in" and announce that two of the 180 schools would be designated as Chinese vernacular schools.  Again, MCA could not provide a proportional voice for the Chinese minority, and Ong believed the community took note.
Prime Minister claims Malays marginalized in Penang
5.  (C) In an ironic exercise in hypocrisy and political expediency prior to the UMNO district meetings in September, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi echoed the earlier remarks of his son in law, Khairy Jamaluddin, and publicly charged Penang's Chief Minister Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, with systematically marginalizing the ethnic Malays of Penang. 
Penang is Malaysia's only Chinese majority state (but only by a razor thin margin) and is led by BN coalition partner Gerakan.
Despite the conflict resolution principles touted by the Barisan Nasional, at an UMNO divisional meeting in Penang, Abdullah publicly chided Koh and demanded immediate action to address the needs of the marginalized Malay community.
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak later called for the Penang Chief Minister to more equally divide his executive powers with the Malay deputy chief minister, while federal Education Minister Hishamuddin Tun Hussein demanded Koh take unconditional immediate action to address the needs of the Malay community in Penang.  According to sources who attended the meeting, Koh was dumbfounded and unprepared to respond to the Prime Minister's accusations. 
Penang State Executive Councillor Dr. Toh Kin Woon later admitted in a private meeting with poloff that the PM thoroughly humiliated Koh, and although Malays in Penang have a higher per capita income than Malays in many other states, Koh was unprepared and unable to respond. 
Gerakan Central Committee member, Lee Kah Choon, stated to poloff that Koh was viewed by the whole Chinese community as weak:  "it is just his personality, and everyone comes to expect it."  It was this type of weakness, opined Toh, that places BN's Chinese component parties in danger of losing ground to DAP or the People's Justice Party (KeADILan) in more mixed districts. 
(Comment:  Chief Minister Koh is an intellectual, who holds a doctorate in physics from Princeton.  His technocratic style makes him popular with corporate leaders, who appreciate his business friendly approach to governing, but is ill-suited to the cut-and-thrust of party politics.  End Comment.)
Gerakan plans for leadership change
6.  (SBU) Koh, who in addition to duties as the Chief Minister of Penang is also Deputy President of Gerakan, is expected to become the Gerakan president in April 2007 when current president Dr. Lim Keng Yaik steps down.  Koh's elevation to party head will likely mean he will move from state politics to a federal ministerial position, and several Gerakan politicians are already jockeying for the anticipated vacancy as Penang Chief Minister. 
The three front runners for the job in Penang are currently Lee Kah Choon, Gerakan Deputy Secretary General and Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Health; Dr. Teng Hock Nan, Gerakan Vice President; and Chia Kwang Chye, Gerakan Party Secretary General.
7.  (C) In a separate meeting with poloff, Lee Kah Choon admitted that, like MCA, Gerakan too would face a strong political challenge in the next general election, as they have not been able to overcome the perception that the Chinese community is continually discriminated against by the Malay majority government. 
Lee's only hope was that DAP "would continue to run dishwashers and truck drivers" for state and federal parliamentary seats, and thus would remain uncompetitive in the general elections in Penang. 
In another meeting, Dr. Toh Kin Woon lamented that UMNO was resorting to "blatant racist tactics that Malaysia has not seen since the late 1980s."  He attributed the rise in UMNO's racist rhetoric to PM Abdullah's weakness as a leader. 
"Malaysians need a strong leader who knows when to be ruthless.  Mahathir knew how to be ruthless, but he became cruel, and that's when he lost respect.  Abdullah is not cruel, but neither is he ruthless when he needs to be.  He is just weak; so he resorts to racist tactics to hold on to the majority Malays." 
He faulted Koh for not standing up to Abdullah regarding his accusations of the Chinese marginalizing ethnic Malays in Penang, and opined that such weakness in the party opened the door for the opposition to make significant gains in then next general election.
The Democratic Action Party lacks a national strategy
8.  (C) Notwithstanding their successes in the Sarawak elections (ref A), DAP has not yet formulated a national campaign strategy aimed at capitalizing on the growing discontent in the Chinese community (also see ref B). 
In Penang, Member of Parliament Chow Kon Yeow (DAP - Tanjong) admitted to poloff that his party traditionally has had very little success in recruiting high caliber candidates for parliamentary elections.  Such past failures have influenced the party's motivation to recruit more viable and electable candidates. 
According to Chow, DAP often struggled with supporting issues germane to the Chinese community, such as promoting vernacular schools, and therefore, at times seems to alienate itself from its natural voting base.  Chow indicated that DAP's current plan was to continue to run young party activists who had previously contested elections in Penang and hope that discontent with BN policies would draw voters to vote merely for the party rather than the quality of the candidate. 
Since many of the seats in Penang currently are held by third term parliamentarians, term limit laws prevent the incumbents from seeking re-election.  DAP hoped for a more level playing field if their candidates were not battling incumbents, Chow said, and thus anticipated better electoral results in Penang and other metropolitan areas of the country where Chinese voters are concentrated.
9.  (U) DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng has completed his term of exclusion following his conviction under the publications act, and DAP insiders expected him to contest for another seat in parliament in the next election. 
Lim and his wife have fallen out of favor with party members in Melaka, so Lim likely would challenge a seat in Penang or in Kuala Lumpur.  Such mobility is common among Chinese candidates, and due to his relative popularity, party officials were quite optimistic of Lim's election and ability to join his father Lim Kit Siang as a leader in the opposition.
Bumiputera Equity:  Chinese cry foul
10.  (SBU) The GOM's negative reaction to the recent public release of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI)'s analysis of bumiputera equity in the marketplace has stoked the fires of Chinese discontent (Ref C).  With characteristic cries of sedition for daring to challenge government statistics, ethnic Malay politicians, including PM Abdullah and DPM Najib have done all in their power to discredit the ASLI report. 
Despite pressuring the Malay president of ASLI, Mirzan Mahathir, to retract the report, the Prime Minister and UMNO have not been able to quiet the discussion of bumiputera equity and their race-based policies aimed at perpetually increasing Malay market share.
(Comment:  Mirzan Mahathir is the son of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.  Ironically, the elder Mahathir and his two sons, Mirzan and Mukhriz, continue to publicly champion bumiputera set-asides, leading one to question the possible political maneuvers behind the release of the ASLI report.  End Comment.)
11. (SBU) Perhaps emboldened by his announcement that he will retire as Gerakan president in April 2007, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Minister of Energy, Water and Communications, stepped forward to challenge the government to release its statistics and explain how Bumiputera equity is only 18.9 percent rather than the 45 percent ASLI found. 
DPM Najib replied that the GoM can certainly release its methodology for its more "exhaustive study" and that Lim should not imply that the government is not transparent.  Despite Najib's remarks, the GoM has not released its methodology, and UMNO continues to hope that this issue will die a quick and quiet death.
Chinese politicians and activists, however, do not yet seem willing to let the issue die, and although the study reiterates what many Chinese have long believed, it now gives quantifiable evidence to support their feelings of discrimination.
Comment
12.  (C) The increasingly strong Islamic identity of the dominant Malay population has a natural corollary -- an increase in race based politics.  As Chinese sensitivities heighten regarding Malay-centric policies, discontent with the status quo grows.  Of note, political openings in the post-Mahathir era have allowed greater public airing of such discontent, albeit with limits. 
Abdullah's inability to shut down the divisive debate stands in stark contrast to Mahathir's firm control.  Comprising 25 percent of the total population, ethnic Chinese Malaysians have the most to lose of all the minority groups from the Bumiputera policies aimed at ever increasing Malay equity in the marketplace, often at the expense of Chinese equity.
While no one is yet predicting the collapse of the coalition Barisan Nasional, growing discontent in the Chinese community has led many political pundits to forecast that many Chinese will abandon MCA and Gerakan and vote for DAP in the next election.  We anticipate the next general election will be held in the fourth quarter of 2007 or first quarter of 2008, and although UMNO is not in danger of losing significant numbers of votes, Chinese component parties fear they will take a hit.
Nevertheless, Chinese voters have poor alternatives.  DAP and KeADILan are not sufficiently organized to provide a real alternative to BN, particularly given the disproportionate powers wielded by the UMNO-led coalition.  The Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS), the strongest Malay-based opposition party, holds no appeal for the Chinese electorate.  Without better alternatives, MCA and Gerakan will not lose their dominance of the Chinese vote.
LAFLEUR

Pembelian Saham ESSO Oleh San Miguel


Pembelian saham beberapa aset hiliran Esso oleh San Miguel Corp, menimbulkan beberapa persoalan. Pembelian saham itu bernilai USD 610 juta, suatu jumlah kurang dari nilai harga pasaran serta menyebabkan sahamnya merudum sebanyak 18% semalam.

Sungguhpun jumlah itu barangkali berasaskan alasan komersial, namun ianya memberi tamparan buat pemegang saham minoriti kerana jualan kurang dari nilai pasaran tersebut. Saya menggesa semua yang terbabit termasuk Suruhanjaya Sekuriti dan Badan Pemerhati Pemegang Saham Minoriti untuk meneliti pembelian tersebut demi memastikan kepentingan pemegang saham minoriti tidak terjejas.

Saya juga perihatin apabila beberapa aset utama seumpama kompleks pemprosesan serta stesyen petrol diambil alih oleh syarikat yang hampir tiada pengalaman berurusan di Malaysia.

San Miguel menempa nama di negara ini hanya apabila anak mantan Perdana Menteri, Mirzan Mahathir dilantik sebagai pengarah konglomerat tersebut selepas membeli 19.9% saham yang bernilai RM 2.9 billion.

Sungguhpun Mirzan Mahathir telah meletak jawatan sebagai ahli lembaga pengarah San Miguel Corp pada April 2010, dia masih memegang jawatan sebagai pengarah Petron Corporation, syarikat bersekutu San Miguel yang memiliki jaringan pusat pemprosesan serta edaran petrol di Filipina.

Justeru, tidak hairanlah persoalan muncul berkaitan pembelian saham aset sektor hiliran Esso tersebut samada semata-mata menguntungkan pihak Mirzan Mahathir. Manakala itu saudaranya Mohkzani Mahathir mendapat manfaat besar dari sektor huluan industri petroleum dan gas melalui Kenchana Petroleum; terutamanya ayahnya masih merupakan penasihat PETRONAS.

Pembelian tersebut juga memunculkan beberapa persoalan terhadap iltizam pentadbiran negara untuk memupuk budaya tadbirurus korporat yang lebih tegas. Dunia korporat wajar menuruti amalan ketelusan dan pertanggungjawaban sekaligus meninggalkan amalan korporat yang merugikan rakyat sepertimana yang menjadi kebiasaan sistem payung pimpinan Umno-Barisan Nasional.

DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
KETUA PEMBANGKANG
DEWAN RAKYAT MALAYSIA
19 OGOS 2011

Loyalty to King and Country II

by drrafick
  1. Words can’t describe the anger and pain that I felt with the MAF Chief over his political partisanship comments that disgraced the serving and retired members of the Malaysian Armed Forces. It is unbecoming for a General to call retirees a traitor to the service when he does not have the facts on hand. Anyone who can tell the truth and stand by what they said deserves much more respect than this General whose chest wall is pasted with tin medals. Half of them are probably earned while sitting at a desk and pushing papers.
     
  2. We expect our generals to lead and provide leadership to the man in uniform. We expect him to defend the integrity of the nation and not defending any political party. Loyalty to the government of the day has its limits. It does not include having a blind loyalty to the political party. In our country the civil service is lame and dictated by politicians, the police are crippled and now the MAF leadership has defamed itself. He send a strong message to the public that confirms that the brass are spineless and their past career growth has been dependent on politicians. They continue to look at politicians for their post retirement career.
     
  3. Aren’t there any officers with strong character and conviction to serve the King and the country today? Has the phrase loyalty to the King and country has been change to blind loyalty to BN? It worries me as the 2nd and 3rd layer of our civil service, police and military has been groomed to be politically loyal to BN first and country second.
     
  4. To the MAF chief, as a retired military officer I demand that you stand tall and apologize to the nation. If you don’t have it in you to do so, then does the next best thing i.e. resign! The same goes with the service chiefs that stand behind him during his press conference. They have disgrace the flag, country and the people. There are men and there are officers. Which one are you?

Najib: General Election Can Be Held Anytime, Not Bound By Committee On Electoral Reform

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today that the next general election can be held anytime and is not bound by the works of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms.

Najib said the government, however, would strive to implement any recommendation made by the committee before the coming election.

"We will try; there must be something that can be done immediately," he told a news conference after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting at Menara Dato' Onn here Friday.

"What we can do immediately, we will do immediately," he added.

Najib, who is Umno president, said the committee, comprising representatives of political parties, would discuss and decide the types of improvements to be made to the electoral process.

Asked on the move by the opposition to wait for terms of reference before deciding on their participation in the committee, Najib said the committee was the government's sincere offer so that decisions can be made based on consensus.

"This is a sincere offer on our part because we need to have discussions across the aisle so that there will be a consensus," he said.

On the call by the opposition parties that the committee be headed by their representative, Najib said, it was impossible to accede to it because the committee must be headed by a leader from the majority party.

He also said that the request by the opposition for an equal representation in the committee could not be considered because the composition would depend on the strength of a party.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz announced on Wednesday that the cabinet had agreed to the setting up of the committee which would be responsible for strengthening the laws and regulations governing elections in the country.

It will comprise five Barisan Nasional members, three opposition members and an independent member.

Najib said the Umno Supreme Council had also agreed to the government's decision to set up the committee but said that this did not mean that it was an admission that there was a major weakness in the legitimacy of the country's elections.

He said the supreme council stressed that parliamentary democracy was a key principle in Umno's struggle all this while.

"The legitimacy of the electoral process should not be questioned because we have proven that there were no manipulation done either in terms of the ballots or the electoral roll," he said.

On claims made by the opposition that people with permanent resident status being listed as electors within a short period, Najib said the Election Commission should provide explanation on the matter in view of attempts by the opposition to highlight it.

Tough times ahead for Najib administration

Just over a month after a large rally in Kuala Lumpur to demand clean and fair elections rattled Malaysia’s ruling elite, Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced that a bipartisan parliamentary select committee will be set up to review the electoral system. The move comes as Najib’s government faces rising pressures on several political fronts, including a speculated challenge to his leadership from inside his own party.


Najib’s announcement has been interpreted as an attempt to placate disquiet about the integrity of the electoral process before the next general election, which must be held before mid-2013, and to prevent any repeat protest rally to press home the demands. The political opposition has claimed elections are structurally set up to favor the long-ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
Full article in Asia Times.