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Friday, January 20, 2012

Cow slaughtered inside Kerala temple compound

Tension prevailed on Wednesday in Perumbavoor, a satellite town of Kochi city, and surrounding areas following the sacrilegious act of slaughtering a pregnant cow inside the compound of the famous Sree Dharma Sastha temple there by three persons belonging to the Muslim community late Tuesday afternoon.

Three taluks of Ernakulam district – Muvattupuzha, Kunnathunadu and Kothamangalam – observed a dawn-to-dusk shutdown on Wednesday as per a call given by Hindu organizations and Sangh Pariwar outfits to protest against the gruesome slaughter of the pregnant cow by slitting the throat.

The shutdown affected normal life in all the three taluks. Incidents of mild stone-pelting were reported from some places. The police had on Tuesday itself taken three persons – Muhammad (49), his son Anas (23) and Razid (18) – into custody in connection with the cow-slaughter. One person managed to flee the scene.

The police registered cases against the three Muslims under Section 120b (criminal conspiracy) and 153 A (inciting enmity between groups) of the IPC, police sources said. Investigations were on to find out if they deliberately wanted to create trouble, they added.

A member of the Sree Dharma Sastha temple committee expressed suspicion that the slaughter was perhaps not meant for meat but to stir up tension. “If they wanted the cow for meat they could have simply stolen it. That they committed the heinous act right in front of the temple has only one explanation – their intention was perhaps to create trouble,” he said.

As per police reports, Perumbavoor and the surrounding areas have witnessed a rise in Islamist operations recently. The place is just 25 km away from Muvattupuzha, where activists of Islamist organization Popular Front of India had cut off the right hand of a college professor on July 4, 2010 alleging that he had blasphemed Prophet Muhammad through a test paper for students.

The sacrilegious act of cow-slaughter took place late Tuesday afternoon after the three Muslims reached the temple compound pretending that they wanted to give medicine to the cow which had developed some health problems two days ago. The cow had wandered into the temple area about two weeks ago.

The three men then put up a screen in the temple compound (to conceal the slaughter from the people) with plastic sheets brought from a nearby building and slit the throat of the cow after one of them, a Moulvi from a nearby village, said the prayers which was mandatory as per customs of the community.

As news of the outrageous act spread, thousands of Hindus including activists of Sangh Pariwar outfits rushed to the temple and blocked the evil-doers from escaping. The arrival of some members of the Muslim community to justify the slaughter caused escalation in tension. One of those arrested was from among those who came to justify the act, said protestors.

The protesting devotees and local residents refused to allow the police to take away the evil-doers and the carcass of the cow, leading to tension that lasted for several hours. Though a team of police officials tried to calm the people down but the efforts did not succeed.

As the people refused to move away from the area even late in the evening, personnel of the Rapid Action Force and Quick Reaction Team were deployed. The police removed the carcass and the three persons from the scene after carrying out a lathi-large. Four police vehicles were damaged.

Devotees, temple committee members and activists of various Hindu organizations and Sangh Pariwar outfits held protest demonstrations in the temple area and the Perumbavoor town later. Tension escalated in the town as another demonstration was held by those who wanted to justify the slaughter.

An all-party meeting convened by the Ernakulam District Collector on Wednesday evening decided to hold a peace rally in Perumbavoor town on Thursday morning. The parties that took part in the meeting also came to an understanding that nobody would make provocative statements in connection with the incident.

Seven PSC proposals accepted for 13th GE

The EC has agreed to implement seven out of 10 proposals, while the remaining three are still being studied.

KUANTAN: The Election Commission (EC) has agreed to implement seven out of 10 proposals presented by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) in the coming 13th general election, said EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

The remainder three which involved non-resident voters, absentee voters abroad and changing of registration areas were still being studied, he said.

“The seven proposals which would be implemented for the 13th general election are the use of indelible ink; early voting by police and armed forces and their spouses; extending the electoral roll display from seven to 14 days; abolishing the objection process and withdrawal period for candidates; cleaning up of the electoral roll; and strengthening the EC,” he added.

Aziz was speaking to reporters after a briefing to managers and assistant managers in preparation for the 13th general election, here today.

He said the committee, which was formed August last year has completed its nationwide public hearing sessions on Jan 13 in Johor Bahru.

“We understand that the committee’s final report would be presented in Parliament during the March sitting,” he added.

In relation to the cleaning up of the electoral roll, he said the EC has given a list of 12.4 million registered voters to MIMOS Berhad, for action early this month.

“We’ve given them a deadline but hope it can be completed before the PSC report is presented in Parliament in March,” he said.

Commenting on concerns that certain parties would still be dissatisfied with the implementation of the proposals, he said they could always put forward their suggestions to the EC through various mediums including letters.

On another note, he informed that the EC had terminated the services of 24 Assistant Registrars, while another 67 were issued warnings for various inefficiencies.

- Bernama

Nizar: Malays are back with us

Perak's former menteri besar says that PAS is gradually reeling in the Malay votes there.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malay majority areas in Perak have been fierce battlegrounds for Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat for the past three years.

With most of the 24 marginal state seats located in these areas the Malay electorate’s support is vital for the opposition coalition to reclaim the government that it lost in February 2009.

Pakatan suffered not only an excruciating handing back of the state to BN but also a sharp blow to the reputation of its menteri besar, Nizar Jamaluddin, who was scorned as a “DAP puppet” and a “traitor” to the Perak sultan for refusing a royal order to vacate his post.

Pakatan scrambled to get back on its feet but a year later Nizar admitted that both he and the coalition were unable to enter remote Malay areas where they most needed to set the record straight.

At the time Pakatan gauged that its popularity among rural Malay voters had dipped 7-8 % from the 40% it had enjoyed in the previous general election.

In February last year, PAS state treasurer Abdul Rahim Ariff was quoted in a Wikileaks report as saying that if elections were held there and then, Malay votes would split evenly between Umno and PAS unlike in March 2008 when there was a clear swing of Malay votes towards PAS and PKR.

Tide is changing again

But the tide appeared to be changing yet again. In an interview with FMT last week, Nizar said that PAS’ steady groundwork was paying off with Malay electorate support flowing back in its direction.

The Bukit Gantang MP and his party had finally broken the seal on the doors into Felda and Felcra where they were going all out to keep it open.

“There is a taskforce within PAS and PKR focusing solely on Felda issues and working closely with the Felda central committee,” Nizar said.

“We’ve been working on six Felda sites so far and are slowly inching deeper into the region. And what we’ve found is that the objection towards PAS isn’t as strong as before.”

Three elements lie behind this shift. The first is the relationship PAS had forged with the second generation of Felda settlers who were currently living outside their settlement and exposed to news sources beyond the mainstream spectrum.

“These youth are those who are bringing back our messages to their parents and convincing them to take a different point of view,” Nizar said.

The second element is the redemption of PAS and Nizar’s image through the re-telling of the coup d’etat through Pakatan’s eyes.

“Umno’s justification was that I represented a Chinese government and it would retain a Malay one,” Nizar stated. “Remote Malay village communities agreed and condoned Umno’s actions.”

“Over time they forgot about it but we have been reminding them through VCDs, flyers and ceramahs. And when we explained it in their language they began to understand. So this issue would continue to be the prime agenda of all our ceramahs.”

NFC scandal is a bonus

The third element is a bonus delivered by BN through the recent NFC scandal with which many Felda settlers could comprehend and identify. And this, Nizar stated, “tremendously boosted” Malay support for PAS.

He nevertheless warned his compatriots against basking in overconfidence particularly when BN’s top guns were making frequent descents upon the state.

“(Prime minister) Najib (Tun Razak) has been spending a lot of time in Perak and (Deputy Prime Minister) Muhyiddin (Yassin) is there twice a month,” he said.

“Four federal ministers were transferred to Perak last month where they gathered 12,000 civil servants for a ceramah in Kuala Kangsar. There is money being thrown around but I believe that the people would take it without giving their votes in return.”

Nizar added that PAS had also learned from its past mistake of neglecting to assure the Malays that their interests wouldn’t be upstaged by those of the non-Malays.

The Malays community forms 54% of Perak’s electorate with the Chinese at 32% and Indians at 13%.

PAS’ provision of new hectares of land to Chinese communities, schools and associations was understandably met with unhappiness by the Malays who felt that their rights and privileges were being usurped by their new government. This further convinced them that only Umno was able to protect their interests.

“At the time we only had Barisan Alternatif and we built a state government based on which party won the most seats,” Nizar explained. “And since DAP won 18 seats most of the cabinet members represented the party.”

“But we now have an understanding within Pakatan of the importance of a balanced government. We have felt the negative implications of not showing a fair distribution among the communities and will now work on creating a balance based on racial composition.”

Probe Kadir’s vote buying claim, MACC told

“Who gave him money?” DAP man asks in anti-corruption report

SEREMBAN: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been asked to investigate former tourism minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir following his admission that he was involved in Barisan Nasional’s attempts to bribe voters.

The MP for Seremban, DAP’s John Fernandez, in a report lodged with the commission today, also urged it to investigate others who might have been involved.

Recent news reports quoted Kadir as saying that he used to receive “lump sums of money” during election campaigns to buy votes for BN in a strategy code-named “bomb”.

“I want MACC to investigate Kadir and find out who gave him the money,” Fernandez told reporters.

“He is a former cabinet minister, former Umno supreme council member and is still an Umno member. His statement as per reported clearly gives indications there is rampant vote buying by Umno and BN during elections.

“I also want MACC to investigate others involved and find out whether there has been any infringement of the current law. MACC should charge the relevant persons in court,” he said.

Another DAP man, Senawang state assemblyman P Gunasekaran, meanwhile questioned the MACC’s seriousness in investigating a report lodged some time ago against Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan.

“What happened to the report on allegations that Mohamad Hasan transferred RM10 million out of the country?” he asked, adding that MACC seemed to be dilly dallying in investigating BN figures.

“There are no feedbacks or updates after we lodge our reports. When we call them, the classic response is to say that MACC is still investigating or that the case has been sent to MACC headquarters in Putrajaya for further action,” he said.

Will Prosecutors Appeal Anwar Verdict?

Saiful wants to appeal
The complaining witness faces some sticky questions
By Jan. 25 – the day after the end of the Lunar New Year holiday, Malaysia’s attorney general, Abdul Gani Patail, must decide whether to appeal the not-guilty verdict in opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II case.

Unlike many western democracies, Malaysia allows the prosecution the right of appeal against a not-guilty verdict. Anwar was declared not guilty on Jan. 9 by High Court Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah, who said that “the court cannot be 100 percent certain” that the DNA evidence against Anwar was not contaminated.

The political temperature has been rising in Malaysia ever since the announcement of the not-guilty verdict, with a steady stream of announcements in the mainstream press demanding that the prosecution appeal. The United Malays National Organization, the leading political party in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, has reaped the reward of considerable sympathetic publicity, alleging that justice has been denied for Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the star witness against Anwar.

Saiful’s father, Azlan Mohd Lazim, held an emotional press conference demanding that: “For the sake of my son, I plead to the AG to file an appeal.” The prosecution team, led by Solicitor General Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, has also demanded that the case be appealed. Saiful himself, a baby-faced 26-year-old, has asked that the case be appealed as well.

Leading the charge to ask for an appeal is said to be a group of UMNO hardliners reportedly led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin despite the fact that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has claimed that the acquittal underscores Malaysia’s commitment to the premier’s extensive reform agenda.

Abdul Gani, as attorney general, has the sole discretion to grant the appeal and the matter doesn’t rest with either Saiful or UMNO. If the prosecution goes ahead with Saiful’s demand for an appeal of the case against Anwar, however, it brings back a difficult question that prosecutors have ignored since the onset of the case in June of 2008, when Saiful lodged a report claiming he had been sodomized by the opposition leader.

From the start, the prosecution has alleged that the reported contact between Saiful and Anwar was consensual. In court during the trial, which began in February of 2010, Saiful acknowledged that he had gone to Anwar’s condominium on the day the offense was said to have taken place with a tube of lubricant in his pocket, a clear indication that he knew what he was getting into. Anwar has said that he was meeting in the condo with a group of economists at the time, and while a CCTV camera picked up Saiful’s image in the lift, the former aide never entered the condo.

In any case, Saiful has never been charged by the prosecution for participation in an act of unnatural sex, as it is called in Malaysia. One lawyer in Kuala Lumpur, in an interview, compared the case to that of Anwar’s first sodomy trial in 1998, in which Munawar Anees, Anwar's former speechwriter, was sentenced to six months in prison on the same charge. It was alleged that Munawar took an overnight flight from the United Kingdom to Malaysia to be sodomized by Anwar, then turned around and got on a plane and flew back to the UK. Anwar served six years in prison in that case, which was universally condemned by human rights organization across the world as hopelessly rigged by the government to end his political career.

Both Munawar and another alleged participant in sex with Anwar later recanted their confessions, alleging they had been tortured into pleading guilty. Munawar’s appeal was rejected, however. Anwar was ultimately freed on appeal in September of 2004.

“When (Saiful) has committed the same act that Anwar has been charged with, why has he not been charged?” the lawyer asked. “Dr Munawar, who was basically a Saiful, was dragged into court and sentenced for six months’ jail for being the sodomee and not the sodomist. In this case the sodomist is charged with the same complaint, and the sodomee has got off. That is the situation.”

If Saiful is insisting that he wants to appeal the charge, the lawyer said, “the prosecution should begin initiating a charge against him as well. It is the prosecuting office that acts to protect the members of the public. I would like to see Saiful charged. He is part and parcel of this whole crime. One party cannot commit this crime alone. It takes two to commit the crime.”

Prime Minister Najib has reaped considerable praise for his statement that the government had nothing to do with Zabidin’s decision and that the case had been handled by the judge on its merits. During the trial itself, witnesses testified that Saiful had delayed for 104 hours in providing a DNA sample of Anwar’s alleged sperm.

Brian McDonald, a molecular geneticist, pointed out that no sperm after ejaculation could have survived 56 hours in Saiful’s rectum – during which he said he had neither gone to the bathroom nor eaten – and another 48 hours unguarded in an unlocked safe in the office of the investigating officer prior to being handed over to the chemical laboratory for analysis. It was this concern that led Judge Zabidin to say it was impossible to be 100 percent certain that the DNA hadn’t been contaminated.

If Zabidin’s assessment is correct, as he pointed out that leaves Saiful’s testimony as the sole link to a judgment against the opposition leader. But Saiful has never been arrested nor charged with consensual sex. Nonetheless, he continues to demand to be a complaining witness.

Ethics – an asset to justice

ImageThe Star 
by M. Veera Pandiyan

Getting judges to publicly declare their assets is a significant step towards improving the integrity of our judiciary and changing the perception of the bench.

DARE to declare! That seems to be the slogan of the moment, in the wake of the move by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his state executive council to declare their assets publicly last week.

Based on the list of properties, investments and cars along with the loans taken, Penang is being run by a motley crew of wealthy and not-so-rich politicians.

Lim owns two shop lots in Malacca, worth RM435,000 and RM530,000 respectively and has taken RM650,000 in loans to pay for them.

He has RM298,785 in fixed deposits, with more than RM53,000 in earned interests besides investments in Amanah Mutual Bhd and Public Mutual Fund.

But there were no clues about the assets of the spouses and relatives, though. When asked about this, the CM was reported to have replied that the pledge was only for the assets of its leaders to be disclosed.

In the case of Selangor, the declaration of assets by the Mentri Besar and exco members in 2009 was basically in the form of their current earnings in salaries and allowances.

They decided not to include assets owned before the exco members held office, on the grounds of not being able to assure security for them or their family members.

Excos disclosed their assets privately to the MB’s office. The information, however, can be released for legitimate reasons, subject to conditions set and approved by the Special Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency or Selcat.

For political parties, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) holds the record for being the first to deliver the promise of declaring the assets of its elected and appointed representatives.

Since 2008, it has made public statutory declarations about what they own.

PSM’s sole MP, Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj – who unseated MIC supremo Datuk S. Samy Vellu in Sungei Siput – has been quoted as saying: “Once you become an assemblyman or MP, you must reveal the assets of yourself, your wife and your immediate family every year.”

An increasing number of countries have adopted similar ethics and even have anti-corruption laws requiring public officials to declare their assets and income, in addition to that of their spouses and dependant children.

In the US, for instance, the main law governing this is the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Based on last year’s declaration, President Barack Obama has assets worth at least US$4mil (RM12.48mil).

The amount includes book royalties, retirement funds, US Treasury bills and notes and other holdings.

In Malaysia, would all elected representatives from both sides of the political divide agree to be subject to such scrutiny?

As it is, many of our YBs are seen to be extremely well-heeled. They always claim to champion the cause of the rakyat but live in mansions worth millions and lead luxurious lifestyles.

Of course, they can always declare that they were already rich before being elected or appointed.

So, instead of waiting until they are elected, why not make it mandatory for all nominated candidates for Parliament and state seats to disclose their wealth and means of income and those of their immediate family?

Perhaps one way to ensure this is through compulsion – by an Act of Parliament.

One wonders if there would still be many people clamouring to be elected representatives or appointed representatives under such rules.

But we are at least making progress when it comes to the judiciary.

Chief Justice Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria has made a laudable move towards getting judges to declare their assets.

It is indeed a significant step towards improving transparency and integrity of our judiciary and changing the current public perception of the bench.

“I’m sure all of you have nothing to fear, so we have to work together with the MACC on this matter,” the CJ said at the judges’ conference last week.

The MACC has since set up a task force to identify the process under the civil service for the implementation.

The CJ has also told judges to maintain the independence of the judiciary and not to put up with any interference, including from their spouses, when making their decisions.

According to Transparency International’s Bribe Payers Index of 2008, the judiciary was perceived by surveyed business executives to be one of the most corrupt institutions in the country.

Business executives surveyed by the World Economic Forum Global competitiveness Report 2010-2011 identified the judicial system as being under enough influence of members of government, certain individuals and companies to constitute a competitive disadvantage.

They also found the efficiency of the legal framework for private companies to settle disputes and challenge government actions and/or regulations as another disadvantage.

The CJ’s move to boost the integrity of the judiciary is noteworthy in view of such negative perceptions.

The country cannot afford to have a judiciary perceived to be ethically compromised. It would be a millstone around the neck of any anti-corruption strategy.

As such, it needs the full support and cooperation of the people, members of the Bar, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and more so from the political leaders.

> Associate Editor M. Veera Pandiyan likes to share these wise words of Gandhi: “There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.”

Police Detain Student Who Threatens PM On Facebook

ALOR SETAR, Jan 19 (Bernama) -- A female student, in Kuala Muda district, was detained for writing a statement with lewd and threatening undertones against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The student, 20, was detained after police received a report at about 10pm about her writings on facebook which contained obscenities and threat on the life of Najib.

State police chief Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim said police detected the owner of the facebook account, a student from a private institution of higher learning, after an investigation, and had detained her at 9am.

"We have been to her university, and from the university authorities, we have called the student, to have her statement taken on the matter," he told reporters here, tonight.

He said the police also seized a handphone and a laptop computer belonging to the student who is in second year at the university.

"We also called the parents of the student to help in investigation," Ahmad said.

He said, as the student was still in her week of examination, police had released her to enable her to sit for the examination.

"We will call several individuals to given information on the matter. We will also call the student again at any time if there is a need to do so," he said.

He said the police would investigate the case in detail and would always monitor the student.

"We have opened an investigation paper under Section 506 of the Penal Code," he said.

Umno tunjuk dangkal dalam spin isu cheGuBard hina masyarakat India

Di atas ialah keratan paparan yang mengandungi akaun twitter che'GuBard yang disiarkan dalam beberapa laman pro Bn. Kononya menurut mereka che'GuBard menghina kaum India dengan mengatakan masyarakat india kaum tani sebagai kasta rendah.

Kesian melihat kesungguhan blogger pro Bn yang bersungguh membuat 'spinning' dengan setiap apa juga yang diperolehi mereka. Namun mereka tidak sedar bahawa usaha mereka ini menunjukkan secara tidak lansung kedangkalan hujah dan ilmu.

Apa yang saya sebut tidak ada kena mengena dengan kasta tetapi teori sistem kelas yang digunakan pakai dalam banyak tulisan / tesis dalam mengupas atau menggambarkan kelas masyarakat.

Soekanto (1993) dalam ‘Kamus Sosiologi’ dalam mengupas prasangka kelas secara jelas merujuk beberapa kali menyebut kelas bawahan sebagai rakyat tertindas dan kelas atasan sebagai elit yang dekat dengan kekuasaan. Teori Sosiologi yang dicetus Karl Marx yang kemudian dikupas dalam banyak tulisan turut merujuk kelas bawah sebagai kelas pekerja dan kelas atas ialah kelas pemodal atau penindas. Malah dalam silibus tajuk Konsep Hubungan Etnik yang terpakai di banyak IPT tempatan turut merujuk 'kelas bawahan' sebagai kelas masyarakat pekerja dan miskin.

Merujuk semula kepada twitter ucapan selamat Ponggal yang ditulis che'GuBard tidak ada salahnya. Apabila che'GuBard mengajak semua yang merayakan ponggal mengambil kesempatan semangat kaum tani untuk penyatuan 'kelas bawah' bangkit melawan penindasan sistem ekonomi yang kaya semakin kaya yang menindas sekarang ini.

Persoalanya benarkah juak - juak Bn ini begitu bersemangat dalam kononya memperjuangkan perpaduan kaum atau melawan penghinaan mana - mana kaum. Di Negeri Sembilan sendiri dua kali dalam dua sidang berbeza seorang adun Bn yang sama jelas membangkitkan penghinaan kepada masyarakat India dengan mencarut menyebut alat sulit wanita dalam bahasa Tamil. Kejadian ini berlaku apabila YB Ravi (Port Dickson) bangun membangkitkan permasalahan masyarakat khususnya orang India termasuk janji PRU yang tidak ditunaikan, berang dengan fakta yang dibangkitkan oleh YB Ravi seorang adun Umno bangun dan mencarut dalam bahasa tamil secara sengaja untuk menghina. Malah institusi dewan pula menghina seluruh rakyat negeri ini dengan gagal mengambil tindakan terhadap dua kali tindakan kurang ajar Adun tersebut. Tetapi pada ketika mana juak - juak yang bising dengan memusing belit mengenai twitt che'GuBard ???

India gives Mahathir a lesson on true democracy

Last month, Dr Mahathir gave a speech in India which stirred one Indian activist to retort in an open letter to the doctor, titled ‘Dr M, in India we have bad roads but true democracy’ by Siddharthya Swapan Roy .

The author is a freelance writer and activist based in Maharashtra. The article is reproduced below in full:

Dear Dr Mahathir,

A couple of days back I woke up to newspaper reports which quoted you as saying that India’s democracy is a hindrance to its development and, if we did away with the nuisance of democracy, we will become developed.

Well, sir, it is heartening to see your concern about India’s future, especially now that our own elected government has orphaned us. To read that someone from the outside cares about our development sounds so very nice.

But you see, sir, your (apparently) good intentions notwithstanding, your advice to Indians is, well how should I put it… ill-advised.

I’m not really sure if you know much about the history of our nation. Don’t get me wrong.

Going by facts like the general absence of news from Malaysian newspapers; the absence of anything but song and dance in your electronic media; the absence of bookstores that sell knowledgeable books (for example, ones from which you can learn about history and not how to get rich in six steps); the abundance of malls and the stark absence of libraries; the abundance of coaching centres that can make masseurs, air hostesses and a host of quick-fix technicians and the relative absence of centres of higher learning especially in the social sciences; and, above all, the fact that this insanely consumerist and hedonist Malaysia was made under your tutelage, makes me doubt your knowledge of the history of India or any nation for that matter.

So allow me to apprise you of the story of our independence.

We won independence from colonial rulers waging a long and tortuous battle. A battle that sought to replace a discriminatory, unjust and violent regime that had enslaved huge populations with one which was based on the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.

India was home then, as is now and as will always be, to an immense diversity of people who spoke different tongues, prayed to different Gods, wore different clothes and had different political beliefs. These diverse people said to each other that – we, despite our differences, will strive to live and flourish together and make a sovereign nation which will be democratic, socialist and secular.

We did not anywhere say that we want to be Malaysia or for that matter China or the US.

In India, no one is above the law

We want to become a nation with a system that treats all its citizens as equal unlike your country that officially accords special rights to Malay Muslims calling them first-class citizens while relegating thousands of people of Tamil, Chinese and other ethnic origins.

Despite the fact that they have known no other land than Malaysia as their own, you denigrate them with the tag of being second-class citizens.

We try to work towards having a system wherein a person will grow according to his merit and hard work earning what she or he has rightfully earned.

You may be surprised to know that here in India making cartels based on identity, even if under the name of a holy cow called “Bumipuetra” or son of the soil is looked down upon by most of us.

Here, promoting the selective interests of one’s self or that of his kin is called corruption and nepotism and not, as you call it, development.

We are in fact fighting tooth and nail to arrest the scourge of corruption and (you’ll be shocked to know) get the guilty punished.

Here in India no one is above the law and many a times powerful public figures go to jail for being corrupt or subverting the law.

Now that we are at it, sir, I’m sure it would be interesting to know what the minorities of your country have to say – especially the jailed and beaten ones – about the development-democracy debate.

In fact, sir, your idea of development is largely at odds with many of us here.

Development is no substitute for values

What you did to the tropical forests and water bodies of Malaysia (that is, raze vast acres of them into oblivion to make way for big-buck oil palm plantations and piggeries and so on) would cause huge outrage among many of us who are looking for sustainable development.

We are yet to be unanimously convinced that making cemented roads – however broad, lining them with buildings, even if glass-covered and glossy, and putting cars on them, however fast – is a substitute for our valued bio-diversity.

Many of us are very convinced that displacing huge populations of native people for useless things like racing tracks is a blot on the word “development”.

There are many of us who find it a shameful and cruel hypocrisy that while your country has abundant and openly advertised sex tourism, it still whips women for being licentious!

Thanks to the culture of reading here, many of us know of your penchant for cruelty in your personal career.

A career during which you enacted despotic and violent acts at times in the name (your contorted version of) Islam and at times in the name of security and national interest.

We could recount how you rose to power annihilating huge numbers of your opponents and stayed there for over two decades, continuing your devious rule using tactics and schemes which are far beyond Machiavelli.

Many of us know about your vile Internal Security Act, which you used to crush political opposition – jailing them and putting in place a frail and near-sham democracy and placing the entire nation under a one-man rule of Umno for over two decades.

You will note that I have used words like “most of us”, “many of us” and have tried to stay away from absolute claims.

Misconstrued understanding of ‘development’

Besides the age-old Indian practice of accommodating different opinions, it is meant to recognise that there are people in this country, too, who think like you and will have applauded you for saying what you did.

They, too, think that roads are all that important and not the humans who walk on them or the ones who sleep beside them.

They have misconstrued the word development as development of personal wealth and that this “development” is a holy cow and everything including the rights and lives of fellow humans is of lesser priority.

Their money power helps them buy a lot of print space and electronic bandwidth so they may appear like the majority, but thankfully the truth is they aren’t.

The majority of us recognise and are willing to admit – and even discuss at length – that there are problems in our nation – including bad roads.

But they’ll quickly add that we intend to solve those not by lessening democracy but by increasing it.

- Siddharthya Swapan Roy

The above article was sent to me by a friend. The article depicts the true Malaysian scenario. To start off check out the prevailing mentality of a section of our community. ‘Cerai Isteri kerana longgar’ - this was headline news in a local newspaper recently.The paper knows what thrills people. In other cultures, this would have made people vomit knowing there are more important matters at hand for the papers to report.

Its very regrettable to know thousands of our children leave school without being able to speak a word in English - a vital international medium for educational, social and economic growth. No grand transformation program can work without English.

An ocean of knowledge is available in English. Regard it like a computer. Without it there is no progress. Even whatever progress is made is aided by the presence of English in key areas such as the Registrar of  Companies and the legal system.

For heaven sake realise that when you cannot guarantee the next meal for a child, at least give him the tools for survival. The vast population of school leavers and university graduates are stupid by international standards. Don’t play with the future of the children.
They know nothing. As elders, we have the responsibility to provide for them in this competitive world.