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Monday, March 26, 2012

World | Philippines Non-Muslim Filipino expats in Saudi Arabia told to be cautious

Fatwa issued by Saudi Arabia's influential cleric "should be viewed as a warning", says official of migrant watchgroup

Manila: A migrant watchgroup urged Filipinos in Saudi Arabia to be more cautious in expressing their faith after the country's most influential Islamic scholar issued a fatwa against religious structures in the Arab Peninsula.

In a statement, John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said it is understandable why a religious leader of a kingdom hosting a large population of migrant workers would issue such a restriction on the exercise of religion other than Islam.

He said that Saudi Arabia is not just any other country hosting a large Muslim population but is considered as the centre of the Islamic faith.

"Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state. It is where the two Holy Mosques are located," Monterona said, referring to the Masjid Al Haram in Makkah and the Masjid Al Nabawi.

He urged fellow non-Muslim Filipino workers and the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia to exert extra caution and avoid violating the religious restrictions imposed by the host government to avoid being penalised.

"The fatwa should be viewed as a warning. The host government. and Saudi religious officials are well aware that there are religious activities being held discretely in homes and apartments by non-Muslims," Monterona said.

He noted that last year there were a number of Filipino workers and other nationalities that were arrested by Saudi religious police in Riyadh for illegally conducting religious worship and activities.

"The Filipinos, along with their pastors, were eventually released on the condition that they will stop their regular religious worships and gatherings," Monterona said.

Out of the 1.2 million Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, about 10 to 15 per cent are Muslim and about 5 per cent have converted to Islam, Monterona said.

Leaders of different Christian denominations--including the Russian Orthodox Church's Archbishop Mark of Yegoryesk and the Roman Catholic archbishops of Austria and Germany--have criticised the fātwa issued by one Grand Mufti Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al Al Shaikh.

The Grand Mufti issued the fātwa after a top Kuwaiti official had sought his opinion regarding the construction of Christian worship centres or churches in Kuwait.

The fatwa declared that temples, chapels, and churches of Christian denominations in Kuwait and the entire Arab Peninsula must be banned and that existing Christian edifices should be destroyed.

Prior to this, there had been an appeal from some Roman Catholic Church leaders to give the religious minorities some freedom in exercising their faith as Muslims in other countries, including the Philippines, have been given.

The Philippines has a population of mostly Christians. The country, just like most of Southeast Asia, boasts tolerant policies when it comes to the exercise of religious freedom.

Hindraf: Najib has smashed Indians' nambikei

One killed in pub brawl

Sunday March 25, 2012, The Star

KLANG: A pub brawl resulted in the death of a 25-year-old man here, with the victim sprawled on the roadside covered in blood and surrounded by broken liquor bottles.

P. Puvanesvaran was found in front of the pub at Jalan Stesen with injuries to the head and face early yesterday morning.

Police received a distress call at 3.49am and rushed to the scene to find the victim covered in blood and shattered glass from the broken bottles.

Paramedics were called in but they declared Puvanesvaran dead at the scene.

“It is believed that the victim was involved in a fight in the pub, and he was attacked by a group. He tried to run away before collapsing about 20m from the pub,” South Klang OCPD Asst Comm Mohamad Mat Yusop said.

Further investigations revealed that Puvanesvaran was hit with a blunt object, he said.

ACP Mohamad added that three men, aged between 35 and 40, had been detained to assist in investigations.

Dong Zong sees MOE conspiracy in Chinese teachers shortage

The educationists group claims the government was trying to engineer a change in the identity of Chinese schools. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KAJANG, March 25 — The United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong) today accused the Education Ministry of compromising Chinese education by “deliberately” not training enough Chinese school teachers.

Dong Zong president Yap Sin Tian said this was so the government could send in those without SPM Mandarin qualifications to fill the gap.

Yap also said at a protest rally here that the ministry’s apparent motive was to cause a gradual change the identity of Chinese primary schools by shifting the language of administration and medium of instruction.

“The Ministry of Education has deliberately, for a long, time failed to train sufficient numbers of teachers for the Chinese primary schools,” he told a rally of over 5,000 this afternoon.

“Then, purporting to resolve the teacher shortage problem in Chinese primary schools, the ministry began to send a large number of teachers, without required Chinese language qualifications to the Chinese primary schools.”

Yap alleged that key officials in the ministry were holding to a monolingual education policy, which he said was not in line with a multicultural and multilingual society.

He added that the ministry has been saying it needs to gather more information before any remedial action can be taken.

“In reality, the ministry is in possession of the most complete and up-to-date information on this matter,” he said.

“And yet, for the last 30-40 years, the problem has remained unresolved. Therefore, it can only be concluded that the ministry does not intend to settle the problem not because of lack of ability but because of lack of will.”

Yap noted that, in 1968, the then education minister said in Parliament that there was a shortage of 1,172 teachers in Chinese primary schools, and subsequent ministers have since been promising that the problems will be resolved.

Among Dong Zong’s demands made during the rally were for the government to remove teachers without SPM Mandarin qualifications from Chinese schools, including those teaching Bahasa Malaysia and English. It also wants special conversation courses for Mandarin teachers who had previously taught English or Bahasa Malaysia for three years or more.

Additionally, it is seeking a review of the present training system with the possible establishment of special divisions to train language teachers for Chinese schools and with SPM Mandarin as a minimum qualification.

The group is also pushing for a new Education Act to recognise schools from various mediums of instructions and to safeguard their existence.

In a press conference following the rally, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong acknowledged that the shortage of teachers was a problem and said that the government was giving it immediate attention.

“Of course we know this needs immediate attention; that’s why the Cabinet formed a committee (to look into it)”, he said.

“We will study each of their resolutions and demands and consider it. We have come up with strategies.”

He urged patience as the solution needed to be a holistic one.

“We need to identify the root of the problem. If we don’t know the root, how are we going to solve it? We cannot concentrate on one side and ignore the other side,” the MCA Youth chief explained.

Home Sour Home

Lifts that don't work, lights that don't work, railings that are stolen. These are some of the problems faced by the residents of a PPR flat in Kota Damansara.
SUBANG: A pregnant woman could not be rushed to the hospital and ended up giving birth in front of the lift door when the lifts in a low-cost flat here failed to function.
The residents of the PPR flat in Section 8, Kota Damansara, are living in extreme conditions, and this prompted a MIC leader to call on Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to set aside political differences.
MIC secretary-general S Murugesan said both the Federal Territory and Urban Well being Ministry and the Selangor state government must work together to resolve the residents’ woes.
“It is not about politics but a humanitarian issue. The welfare of the people is of importance and political differences should be set aside,” he told reporters after visiting the PPR flat yesterday.
Murugesan said he met with the maintenance company Nilsham Resources last week and was informed that the maintenance service was stopped after the residents did not pay rental.
However, the residents claimed that they had refused to pay rental after the maintenance overlooked their basic needs.
Speaking to FMT, B Paneer Selvam, who has been staying there for the past five years, said that the problems started after Pakatan took over Selangor.
The state government increased the rental from RM124 to RM250 in July, 2008.
“We were against the rental increase because we could not afford it,” he said, adding that a year later, the state government agreed to the old rate after a series of meetings.
“However, the new maintenance company appointed by Pakatan forced us to pay the one year arrears which is more than RM3,000. We are poor people who cannot fork out such a big sum and this led to the maintenance company withdrawing its services,” he said.
Faulty lifts are the main problem

Asked about the condition of the flats, Paneer said that faulty lifts were the main problem.
“There are three lifts for each block but only one functions. Furthermore, the lift stops automatically on each of the 18 floors, and it takes about 30 minutes to go up and down,” he added.
The flats was also littered with rubbish, and Paneer explained that it was because it took the residents a long time to take their rubbish to the ground floor.
He also said that drug addicts also frequented the flats, and there have been numerous robbery cases because the lights along the walkways were not working.
Relating another incident, Paneer said a child fell down the staircase because the railings had been stolen.
Murugesan said most PPR flats were in a similar condition and stressed on the need for action to be taken.
“I am here not as a politician but like I said, this is more of a humanitarian issue,” he added.
“We want a long-term solution to this PPR flats problem,” he said, adding that the state government could follow the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) where the latter oversees all the low-cost flats in the Federal Territory.
He added that the state government should form a special department to cater for all the PPR flats in Selangor.

Discussion on Indian economic woes

A Indian business organisations will hold a roundtable discussion on how to improve the economic standing of Malaysian Indians.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Indian Business Association (MIBA) will organise a roundtable discussion with regard to the economic situation of the Indian community.

MIBA president P Sivakumar said despite efforts by the government through Tekun and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, there has not been any major efforts taken to address this issue.

According to him, since the last general election, the government has taken several measures in order to placate the Indian community, which turned its back on Barisan Nasional in 2008.

Sivakumar said while some segments are contented with receiving the small hand-outs, the majority however preferred to see a more long-term plan put in place.

“The setting up of various bumiputera agencies to assist the bumiputeras in retail, construction and the service sector has proven to be successful.

“Why cannot similar agencies be set up to initiate and promote Indian businesses in infrastructure projects, vendor business with government linked companies, issue permits for construction, commercial vehicles and others?” he asked.

Sivakumar explained that the half day discussion organised by MIBA aims to:

*Articulate the current status of the economic development of the Malaysian Indian community noting what has been undertaken since 12thgeneral election

* Identify the root causes, are these attitudinal or structural

* Chart out recommendations and concrete programmes in capacity building

“MIBA’s objective is to give the Indian community a special opportunity to articulate the current situation and seek in a practical way to resolve the concerns. The half day forum will be held in Petaling Jaya on April 1st,” he added.

He also said that the findings of the forum would be submitted to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and MIC president G Palanivel.

MIC berjumpa pengundi bulan depan

"Kami akan memulakan langkah ini di Selangor, Perak dan Kedah. Tiga negeri ini amat penting bagi kami," kata G palanivel.
KUALA LUMPUR: MIC akan mengadakan sesi perjumpaan dengan pemilih di seluruh negara mulai bulan depan, kata presidennya Datuk Seri G. Palanivel hari ini.
“Jentera kami sudah bersiap sedia untuk tujuan ini. Langkah pertamanya ialah mengadakan perjumpaan dengan pemilih daripada parti sendiri. Kami akan memulakan langkah ini di Selangor, Perak dan Kedah. Tiga negeri ini amat penting bagi kami,” katanya.
Beliau berkata jawatankuasa perhubungan MIC tiga negeri itu juga akan menemui pemilih.
“Ia akan menjadi suatu cara perhubungan, di samping untuk mendapatkan maklum balas tentang isu penting. Tiga negeri ini merupakan medan pertarungan penting bagi kami kerana kami mahu menarik balik undi kaum India.
“Ini soal menawan kembali hati dan minda pemilih. Setiap pekerja parti perlu menjadi soldadu parti dan masyarakat. Kami perlu bersedia untuk bertempur. Parti pula perlu berusaha sepenuhnya. Kami sedang menguji jentera kami,” katanya.
Pada pilihan raya umum 2008, MIC bertanding bagi sembilan kerusi parlimen dan 19 kerusi negeri, tetapi hanya memenangi tiga kerusi parlimen – Tapah, Cameron Highlands dan Segamat dan tujuh kerusi negeri.

Indian Rhinos on the Increase

There's no viagra in that horn
As South Africa faces a poaching crisis that could lead to extinction, India succeeds
At a time when poachers are killing record numbers of rhinoceroses in Africa, Indians in the Assam region on the eastern side of the country appear to be scoring a dramatic success at saving the ponderous animals.

The population of Greater One-Horned rhinos, also known as Nepalese rhinos, is on the increase. In a recent census the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary near the capital city of Guwahati recorded 93 of the animals, up from 84 in the last census in 2009. Another 100 have been counted in another reserve, the Rajiv Gandhi National Park in Orang, up from just 64 in the last census. Authorities are now taking a census in Kaziranga National Park, the home of another 2,048 of the animals in 2009 – two thirds of the world one-horned rhino population.

The rising numbers are due to an intensive effort by authorities to guard the animals from poachers and to involve villagers living around the reserves. The protected areas are surrounded by dense human populations who have been indoctrinated that it is vital to save the animals because they can benefit economically from their presence as tourists flock to the area.

The latest census started on March 15 in Assam and is expected to be completed by March 27. Suresh Chand, the chief of the Assam Forest Department, said the census has been conducted with support from wildlife NGOs like WWF-India, WTI, Aaranyak, and Green Guard Nature Organization.

Mukul Tamuly, a senior forest official engaged in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, emphasized the community involvement in the conservation effort.

“We understand the importance of local people’s support on the endeavor. The villagers living around a forest reserve must be taken into confidence in the mission, because they can provide vital information about straying wild inmates into villages or any movement of poachers in their localities,” Tamuly said.

At one point in the 20th century, only 200 white rhinos remained in India. In the 19th century, the government offered bounties to kill the animals, which would eat their way through tea plantations, a factor that helped lead to their virtual extinction before conservation efforts took hold.

The danger to rhinos grew in 2007 and 2008 in the 430 sq. km Kaziranga Park as outnumbered park rangers began to be overwhelmed by poachers armed with high-powered rifles equipped with telescopic sights and silencers. Kaziranga was in crisis, a veritable paradise teeming with Asiatic elephants and buffalo, Bengal tigers, Indian bison, swamp and hog deer, sloth bears, leopards and other jungle cats, otters, gibbons, wild boar, jackals, pythons and monitor lizards. It is a refuge for nearly 500 species of birds, both domestic and migratory, including endangered species like the Bengal florican and the great Indian hornbill. The subtropical monsoon delivers 1,300 mm of average annual rainfall and summertime temperatures rise to 38° C, a combination that produces swamps and elephant grass that make it an ideal habitat for the rhinos, which are vegetarian.

In 2007, poachers took down10 rhinos within the first seven months of the year, the park’s highest toll in a decade. Two more were killed later in the year, bring the total to 12. The park normally loses 10 to 15 rhinos annually from natural causes and poaching. Rhinos live an average of 45 years. They are easy prey because they tend to defecate in the same place. Poachers find a patch of rhino dung and wait for the animals to make their way back to the same place.

Called “black ivory,” rhino horn is prized as an aphrodisiac and a cure for many ills in traditional Oriental medicine, selling for thousands of dollars per kilogram. As Chinese incomes have risen and more people have joined the upper-income economic classes, the price of a single horn has risen to as much as US$40,000. Sophisticated poachers are ranging farther and farther to fetch it although there is scant scientific evidence that powdered rhino horn has any medicinal or sexual value.

Having been in listed Chinese medicine texts for thousands of years, the horn is supposed to help cure maladies ranging from fever to gout to typhoid, carbuncles, food poisoning and more. Rhino horn is also believed by some to rouse desire, apparently because the hulking beasts are said to enjoy great sexual power, with a mating time that lasts at least 45 minutes. Many believe the powdered horn can deliver up that kind of sexual power, a kind of traditional Viagra. The horns, however, are nothing more than compact masses of agglutinated hair, according to Ranjan Talukder, a Guwahati-based veterinarian.

While India has been scoring its successes, however, news stories say the two-horned South African rhino could disappear as poachers have actually picked up their pace, hunting them ruthlessly for their horns. The southern rhino was nearly driven to extinction in the early 20th century but was protected on farms and preserves. But today, 1970, the world rhino population has declined by 90 percent, according to, a global preservation organization. News stories this week quoted Karen Trendler, a veterinary nurse who has been working with the animals for nearly 20 years, as saying that if the poaching continues in Africa at the present rate, the animals will be extinct.

Apparently, Trendler told David DeFranza, a writer on science and endangered species, dealers have been working to stockpile reserves as a hedge against extinction, with poachers redoubling their efforts to kill the animals.

"There are some incredibly good guys in the business who are doing amazing things and who would give their lives for those rhino," she told DeFranza, "but unfortunately we do have an element of corruption. There have already been prosecutions and arrests, where government officials are complicit."

Hindraf: Najib has smashed Indians' nambikei

(Malaysiakini) The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) brought a watermelon to a protest at the Prime Minister Office (PMO) in Putrajaya today to press home how the BN government has broken the Indian community’s trust.

hindraf watermelon rally 250312Playing on the word nambikei (trust) earlier used by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to woo the minority community, Hindraf said the Indian’s nambikei has been smashed on the ground like tembikai (Malay for watermelon).

In the second such rally this year, over 100 Indians converged  in Putrajaya at about 10am, requesting  a meeting with the PM on the group’s 18-point demand to solve issues concerning their commuity.

During the rally, Hindraf leaders held up a watermelon with nambikei written on it.

Hindraf de facto leader P Uthayakumar (above, right in photo) said the PMO on March 22 acknowledged their meeting request for either Najib, or in his absence, his political secretary.

They were however disappointed today when Putrajaya OCPD told Uthayakumar that no one from PMO could meet him.

hindraf watermelon rally 250312Upset, Uthayakumar led the crowd to chant "Umno racist" before smashing the watermelon on the ground.

"Our nambikei on you (Najib) has been smashed like this tembikai," he said.

Najib had bandied the Tamil term around during his Thaipusam speech at Batu Caves in February, in an attempt to encourage Indians to support him saying that would enable him to assist the community.
However Uthayakumar considered the no-show by Najib today as a clear indication that BN government will not address Indian concerns.

"We have asked him to send an official if he could not meet us, but not one of them is interested in Indian problems.

"We have lost confidence in Umno's rule of Putrajaya. Down Umno!" he said, leading the protesters in another chant.

"Never mind, this is the last time we are going to see them in Putrajaya. (Come the next general election), Umno will be chased out from Putrajaya," Uthayakumar said to the applauding crowd.
'Incoming prime minister'
The former ISA detainee also announced that Hindraf was ready to hold another round of talks with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, whom he called "the incoming prime minister".

"We are going to meet Anwar on April 22 in Klang and we will ask him to tell the Indian community what can he do for them, What Pakatan has done for the Indians.
hindraf watermelon rally 250312"His answer will determine our strategy in the coming general election," he said.

Hindraf had staged a similar protest last month demanding the Najib government recognise their 18-point demands and urimai (rights) of the Indians.

The demands, Hindraf argued, were for basic rights that would help uplift the Indian community.
A document outlining the 18 points was handed over to then-prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2007, and it was a key factor  leading to the Hindraf rally in November that year.

A prelude to GE, send in the clowns

VOXPOP 'As the winds of war gather strength, political opportunists like Nallakaruppan are having a field day resorting to plying their infamous trade...'

Nalla to Anwar: See you in court

vox populi small thumbnailChuath: We have more important things to worry about - like corrupt police, wastage of public funds, illegal immigrants, graduates who are unemployable, etc, etc - than waiting with bated breath to see PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim's private photos.

I wish they would use their money to plant more trees in Kuala Lumpur instead of putting up front-page advertisements for a character assassination campaign.

Anonymous: What a shame. I pay taxes to put scums like senators S Nallakaruppan, Ezam Mohd Nor and Shahrizat Abdul Jalil in Parliament. Najib, please return the tax money I have paid.

Trueglitter: As the winds of war gather strength on our horizon at the approach of the next GE, political opportunists like Nalla are having a field day resorting to plying their infamous trade, a profession Nalla is well adept at, by resorting to and indulging in character assassination of especially Anwar.

The embittered and treacherous turncoat is well-known for his ambitious greed for power and position, even when he was with Anwar, and it was mainly due to his inconsolable disappointment at not being given a high position in the party that had caused him to abandon ship, and hopefully in the process be courted by the BN and be Najib's favourite lapdog.

Alongside with the obnoxious and much-despised Nalla, the rakyat will once again be treated to a tantalising floor show of sorts by the political harlot of Umno, Ummi Hafilda, who has promised to bare all - not her own bodily self though - but of Anwar's alleged misdeeds upon the announcement of the election date by her political master, Najib.

Anonymous: The goal is to create doubt in the minds of Pakatan Rakyat supporters. Is it true? Is it not? But here's a question we need to ponder - why are they not equally questioning the morally questionable leader of the corrupt and crony-infested Umno-BN?

So when these trio go about their poo-pooing, and the fact is that their agenda seems very personal and nothing to do about the nation, we who are in doubt, need to disregard them as ultimately, Najib's and Anwar's sexuality will not determine our economic and family's future.

It's corruption and cronyism that will destroy us.

Inspektor Klueso: Firstly, the fact that Nalla chose to do the press conference at Perkasa's HQ says it all. Secondly, his ‘senatorship' is the second giveaway as to his sponsorship.

Lastly, we don't give a rats arse about Anwar's sexuality, as long as he delivers justice, transparency and democracy to the long suffering rakyat.
Scandal-ridden BN on the ropes?

Kairos: To Neil Khor's five problems, let me add two more.

Firstly, the constant harassment of Christians by religious Islamic zealots is counterproductive to the BN cause. The lack of rebuke and, in fact, the tacit support of some Umno top guns on the raids and the anti-Christian rallies send the message that the Christian vote is unimportant.

Secondly, the untimely emergence of interest in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case here and the forthcoming judicial enquiry in France is a huge headache to BN.

People are moved by the brutality of the murder and are of the opinion that there is as yet no just closure of the case in spite of the court judgment. People feel that somebody big is being protected here.

Blind Freddo: It is fine to talk about all these scandals as though BN's loss is a foregone conclusion. But the author forgets that Malaysians are immune to scandal. They are exposed to a constant barrage of scandals and they know nothing will be done about them.

There is no clear evidence that Pakatan will do anything serious about addressing all these. You also can't expect elected politicians to spend the next five years sniffing out the crimes of BN, although that seems to be all they are capable of doing.

The second point that is conveniently overlooked is that Umno/Islam have been working for generations to keep the Malays downtrodden, ignorant and dependent on the officers of Islam to tell them what to do, and those in turn will tell them what Umno wants to tell them.

Add to all that the tactics of the Elections Commission (EC) and you have an almost foregone guarantee that BN will win.

Plus it's time someone started talking about what will happen if BN does lose and they fail to step down gracefully. BN leaders have been shown to have no regard for ethics or principles, and they have the police and the armed forces eating out of their hand.

On top of all that negativity, there is the most negative aspect of this campaign, that Pakatan has offered nothing to Malaysians to show what their future will be.

You commented that many people are surprised that Pakatan has held together so long. The answer is Malaysian greed and Malaysian lust for power. That's all they are after and that's why they have no philosophy, because they cannot agree on anything other than Anything But Umno (ABU).

A nation governed on that basis is guaranteed to fail. But Malaysians seem to be as unaware of that as they are unaware that they haven't a clue and don't care what they are voting for apart from ABU.

Not Convinced: So Blind Freddo, what's your answer? Vote for more of the same? Didn't someone say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

Yes, Pakatan is not perfect. But shouldn't citizens be better served when there is real competition between political parties? We need a two-party system. And the only way to achieve that is to vote BN out of power, at least for one or two terms.

And should Pakatan fail to deliver, something which you are so certain of, we can always bring back BN.

Senator: Homosexuality equals prostitution

Malay Mail 
by Ram Anand and Hamzah Nazari

KUALA LUMPUR: Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (LBGT) lifestyles have been equated to social ills like prostitution and drug abuse by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mashitah Ibrahim (pic).

Responding to a question from Mohd Nizar Zakaria (Parit-BN) on steps to curb homosexuality, Mashitah said it was a "social problem".

“The (LBGT) issue has its own after-effects, which can lead to prostitution, drug abuse, psychological problems and also mental illness. We have been raising awareness on our fatwa against LBGT tendencies with heavy media publicity on the issue to raise awareness, and also about the bad effects homosexuality has on health.”

She said it was only provided to punish Muslim offenders under Syariah laws. "But then again, no religion in this country endorses such lifestyles."

Mashitah said Malaysia did not support freedom for the LBGT community although it was discussed at a United Nations convention last year.

“Part of the LBGT problem is caused by natural reasons, such as being born with two private parts and mental illness.”

Mashitah was non-committal when asked by Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan-PKR) if the federal government would consider giving the opposition funds to implement career-change programmes for transvestites in Pahang. "We already have such programmes, so you are welcome to join us in implementing those programmes," she said.

Indonesia’s poverty rate falls

There was much ado in the press here about Indonesia flexing its muscles over the tasks that domestic workers have to perform in Malaysia. Could it be that, with the poverty rate in Indonesia reportedly falling, there is less desperation to work in Malaysia?

The poverty rates in Indonesia has plunged from 27 per cent in 1999 to around 12 per cent now.
At the rate things are going, will there come a time when the poverty rate in Indonesia falls below that of Malaysia’s? Will more Malaysians then have to find work in Indonesia? How far-fetched is this possibility envisaged in Kenny Gan’s article?
While we are focusing on ETP, GTP and what-not, Indonesia appears to have a comprehensive poverty alleviation programme that includes “low-cost housing, cheap electricity, cheap foods and others … under coordinated programs. A welfare index would also be formulated to map out the people’s welfare.”
See this Antara report from Kompas:
Indonesia’s Poverty Rate to be Lowered to 11.7 Pct
Kamis, 5 Januari 2012 | 10:40 WIB
JAKARTA, – The government will lower the poverty rate from 12.36 percent in 2011 to 11.7 percent this year, Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono said.
“It is expected the rate will drop to 11.7 by March 2013 and to achieve the target all parties need to work hard,” he said in his new year speech here on Wednesday.
He said in September 2011, the poverty rate was recorded at 12.36 percent and in March 2011 at 12.5 percent. In March 2010 it was recorded at 13.3 percent while in March 2009 it stood at 14.1 percent.
“The number of poor people continues to drop according to the National Statistics Agency (BPS).”He said various efforts would be made to optimize the
implementation of poverty alleviation programs among others by increasing the effectiveness of the implementation of the programs.
“The community-based poverty alleviation program must continue to be increased.” Apart from that he said a social security package would also be made to increase the effectiveness of and expand poverty alleviation programs.
Programs such as low-cost housing, cheap electricity, cheap foods and others would also be carried out under coordinated programs. A welfare index would also be formulated to map out the people’s welfare.
“People empowerment-based programs also need to be integrated into the national people’s empowerment program.”