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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pakistan minister claims 100 women forced to convert to Islam

Hindu women at a recent Holi festival event.
MUMBAI: A Pakistani minister has claimed that 100 non-Muslim women, predominantly Hindu, have been forced to convert to Islam in the country in recent months.

Minister for National Harmony Akram Masih Gill, a Christian, said that if true, the practice went counter to all things established by Islam as the faith prohibits forced conversion.

“We will seek a religious decree from the Council of Islamic Ideology and a ruling by the Federal Shariah Court on the issue before introducing the required law,” Gill told The Express Tribune newspaper.

The draft of the proposed law is likely to be tabled in Parliament after the passage of the budget in June.

Gill said he was unsure about the exact number of forced conversions in the absence of accurate data, but believed that the “figure of such cases is about 100″.

But journalists in Pakistan say that many of the conversions are likely do to religious restrictions on marriage.

Kamal Javaid, a local reporter in Karachi, told Bikyamasr.com that “many of the women I have spoken with say they found love and that their families were against the marriage to a Muslim man, so they converted and ran off with him.

“This is not to say that all are this way, but we must always be weary of groups pointing to a large number like this without facts being investigated.”

Parliamentarians from minority communities have recommended that the federal government introduce legislation to check forced conversions, he said.

The minister’s remarks came against the backdrop of an order issued by the Supreme Court, directing authorities in southern Sindh province to produce three Hindu women, who were allegedly forcibly converted, in court on March 26.

Backing Javaid’s assertion, however, two of the women – Rinkle Kumari and Lata Kumari – have claimed in lower courts that they voluntarily converted to Islam and married Muslim men.

The issue of conversion has been a tenuous topic in recent months in Pakistan after reports of religiously induced violence and crimes have become more commonplace.

BM

'Kenapa saya keluar Umno' - Kadir

No Indian support for you, Najib

Mipas claims that as a result of the slow pace of reforms, Indian voters have become disillusioned with the BN government.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (Mipas) claimed today its “survey” indicated dwindling support for the Barisan Nasional from the Indian voters.

Its secretary-general, S Barathidasan, said that the slow pace of reforms has left many Indian voters disillusioned, contrary to popular belief that they are now flocking to the BN camp.

“It is not true that the ‘wind’ is blowing towards BN… the people still do not have full confidence and trust in the BN government, as many issues have not been settled,” he said in a statement.

Among the many unresolved issues that have corroded Indian support for the BN is the prolonged Lynas controversy.

Barathidasan cited the controversy over the setting up of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lynas as an example.

Opposition leaders have refused to be part of the panel after they claimed that the composition of the committee was unfair as it would not give fair representation to stakeholders who oppose the construction of the rare earth refinery in Kuantan.

They claimed that the PSC was just a public relations exercise, adding that the government has already made up its mind to allow the Australian mining giant to operate here despite concerns of radioactive pollution.

Barathidasan also said the government has failed to solve longstanding issues concerning the Indian community.

He claimed that discriminatory policies are still in practice: employment in the public sector among Indians is still low at 3.2% and many are still without proper identification documents despite living here for generations.

Eyewash

Education is also another major problem plaguing the country’s poorest voters.

While Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had announced the awarding of full scholarship to 100 Indian students with first-class degrees in public universities, the low number of Indian admission into them is still pitiful.

“How many Indian students are there in public universities? It could be fewer than 100. This full scholarship is just an eyewash… it is sandiwara politics [political gimmick] of the BN government,” Barathidasan said.

He added that the discrimination against the Indians is also reflected in the BN’s foreign policy.

Barathidasan charged that Malaysia, being a Muslim majority country, has been supportive of the Palestinian cause but abstained in voting on a United Nations resolution condemning ethnic cleansing of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

He claimed that sucha policy has alienated Indian support although Mipas gave no details of its survey.

Pundits claimed that Indian support has returned to BN as reflected in polling data collected from the majority of the by-elections held since the 2008 general elections, indicating that Najib’s intensified charm offensive on the Indian voters has been effective.

In another development, an MIC insider urged Mipas to reveal the findings of their so-called survey.

“We highly doubt if they had done any surveys at all. They are just a small outfit trying to show that they are still relevant in today’s politicis…perhaps they want to hoodwink Pakatan into giving them seats for the GE,” said the inside.

Devotees want temple to reveal assets

A court decision over the protracted legal tussle involving the former trustees of the Bukit Gasing Sivan temple is to be known in May.

PETALING JAYA: Politics almost always rears its ugly head wherever there is money and a ready audience and that includes religious institutions.

The Bukit Gasing Sivan Temple with its spectacular view of Kuala Lumpur is no different.

The temple is mired in controversy and has drawn not only the ire of devotees who once enjoyed its serenity but also hungry politicians keen on championing a “just” cause in whatever form it takes.

In the ring of contentious issues is the ongoing legal tussle between the temple trustees and a new committee led by M Maharathan, who allegedly hijacked the temple administration and forced open the shrine.

The temple which was under renovation was “closed” three years ago after the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) declared that the land on which the temple was located was unsafe.

But since the protracted legal tussle began, all renovation works have progressively come to a full halt. The case is up for decision in May.

While the main structures of the temple have been boarded up, the shrine itself is open to devotees.

But now of greater concern to some devotees is the undisclosed properties belonging to the temple.

Speaking to FMT, a temple devotee, who declined to be named, said the former trustees are refusing to reveal details of the assets belonging to the temple.

According to the devotee, the temple was built during the British era by the residents living in and around Petaling Jaya.

“The temple became famous due to special prayers and the devotees around the Klang Valley very often visited the temple and this caused politicians to encircle the temple,” he said.

Report lodged with MACC

He claimed that in 2006, the former trustees bought the temple for RM60,000 from its caretaker.

“As far I know, this is the first temple that has been bought with the purpose of administration.

“Why were the trustees willing to pay RM60,000 to buy the temple? he asked.

The devotee claimed that following the purchase, an official committee was formed and former MIC president S Samy Vellu’s wife, Indrani, became the president.

Four others – R Ramasamy, Dr AP Gunasingam, M Ghandinathan and G Rajakrishnan – were appointed trustees.

“Since then, no one has questioned the affairs of the temple. The trustees had a free run on all the money donated by the public until the temple was closed to public,” he said.

He claimed that they (devotees) had lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) with regard to temple assets which were allegedly in the name of one of the trustees.

“We have no details of the properties worth RM11.9 million and a durian plantation worth RM800,000. We had already lodged a report with the MACC but nothing has happened,” he said.

He also alleged that one particular trustee controlled the temple administration, and that as a result of a fall-out with this trustee, another trustee, G Rajakrishnan, had resigned.

Call for independent probe

Rajakrishnan’s statutory declaration was forwarded to FMT and he confirmed that he had resigned due to his unhappiness over the manner the temple administration was being run.

According to the document, Rajakrishnan called for an independent body to be set up to probe into the whereabouts of the temple’s assets.

Meanwhile, a source close to Indrani told FMT that the “powerful” trustee had resigned from the board “sometime in late 2010”, citing health reasons.

The source declined to discuss the issue except to say that the court registrar had two weeks ago advised them not to make public statements as the case was in court awaiting decision.

However, the source did say that all documents was with their lawyers.

Indrani and the said trustee could not be contacted for comment.

Uncommon Sense with Wong Chin Huat: Has Najib won over Indian Malaysians?

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has obviously been trying to win the Indian Malaysian community’s votes ahead of the impending general election. The list of government initiatives for the Indian community in the recent months has been long. These initiatives range from funding new school blocks to increasing allocated seats for Indian matriculation students; the approval of myKad for over 4,000 Indian Malaysians to the building of a crematorium in Kapar; and recently the promise of 100 scholarships for top Indian Malaysian students.
Najib has asked Indian Malaysians to walk with him because the Barisan Nasional (BN) has delivered its promises to the community. He has asked them to partner the government in the spirit of “nambikei”, or trust, to bring Malaysia to greater heights.
Has Najib really addressed the issues which affect Indian Malaysians by making good on these promises? And what can we expect the community to do come the elections?
TNG: Is it true that Najib has not let the Indian Malaysian community down? Do the government measures and initiatives thus far warrant more Indian Malaysian support for BN? And the million dollar question — will these measures work to win the BN support from Indian Malaysians in the elections?
Najib is trying to win the Indian Malaysian community's votes
The marginalisation that Indian Malaysians face in general is structural. They are stuck at the bottom of society because of poverty, crime, police violence and social ills. A Tamil friend compared her community to the blacks in the US.
Since coming into power and making the offers he’s made, can we say that Najib has not let the Indian Malaysian community down? One would need to ask if the structural challenges the community faces have been overcome. On the surface, Najib’s “Indian-specific” solutions may have done the job. But in reality, this may not be the case for two reasons.
First, some solutions are too limited compared to the scale of the problem. For example, thousands of Indian Malaysian students drop out of school every year. One hundred scholarships for top Indian Malaysian students, while commendable, is not going to help much. What we need is full support for Tamil schools especially those in rural areas. Now, what has Najib offered to end the plight of Tamil school kids nationwide?
Second, some problems are not ethnic in nature. Poverty amongst the Indian Malaysian working class and rising crimes amongst the youth are caused by, amongst others, the absence of minimum wage. How can you solve Indian Malaysian problems without solving the Malaysian problem? Now, in that sense, what has Najib done to win the trust of the hardcore poor?
How have Indian Malaysians historically voted? How crucial was their vote in the last election and how crucial will it be in the next election?
If the electoral performance of MIC can be an indicator, Indian Malaysians were staunch BN supporters from 1974 to 2004. They do not constitute a majority in any parliamentary or state constituency partly because they are not highly concentrated in any one area and partly because gerrymandering works against them.
Local elections would have ensured the emergence of some Indian-majority wards but the champions of Indian interests in both BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have not shown much interest in this. Indian Malaysians, however, constitute a significant number in many constituencies. In Selangor for example, based on the 2011 electoral rolls, they make up at least 20% in 12 out of 56 state constituencies.
Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur, 2007 (© lastsham | Wiki Commons)
Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur, November 2007 (© lastsham | Wiki Commons)
Before 2008, Indian Malaysians strongly supported the BN but became one of the communities which benefited the least. In 2008, thanks to Hindraf, they rose up against the BN and that ushered in a whole series of friendly gestures from Najib.
In the next general election, Indian Malaysian voters will be the determining factor for whether BN secures a two-third majority or even a victory. Will they vote as they did pre-2008 or as in 2008? That will depend on how contented they feel about Najib’s offers so far. If they want more, they would vote against the BN.
How relevant is the MIC in winning the community’s vote? At the last general election, they only managed to capture three out of their nine parliamentary seats and had their president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu voted out as well.
I believe that MIC is increasingly irrelevant for two reasons. First, the PR parties, including PAS, are showing that so-called Indian interests can be championed by non-Indian parties and by non-Indian politicians.
Ramasamy (source: dapmalaysia.org)
Ramasamy (source: dapmalaysia.org)
Second, even if you return to the old thinking that you need some powerful Indian Malaysians high up in the government hierarchy, can MIC do better than Penang’s Deputy Chief Minster II, the DAP’s Dr P Ramasamy? While the in-fighting between DAP chairperson Karpal Singh and Ramasamy is a turn-off, it merely demonstrates that Ramasamy’s position is a powerful one in dispensing patronage.
Worse still for MIC, even if it has recovered slightly from its lowest point in 2008, a rise in Indian Malaysian support is no guarantee for victory. Most of their contested seats are not safe since Chinese Malaysian voters constitute a substantial minority and their rejection of BN and Umno is growing stronger by the day.
Rosmah Mansor (source: pmo.gov.my)
Rosmah Mansor (source: pmo.gov.my)
When even the more powerful MCA is viewed with disdain, there is nothing much MIC can do to win Chinese Malaysian votes. While Malay Malaysian voters are said to have returned significantly to Umno’s fold, there is no guarantee that this would be strong enough to rescue the MIC candidates. Many Malay grassroots voters are incensed with cowgate and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor‘s lifestyle. They may just vote against BN if a pro-opposition “wind” emerges.
How relevant is race-based politics as a whole in Malaysia? Can parties avoid having to woo specific ethnic communities as has been done in the past and continues to be done today?
Race-based politics will stay as long as the state remains centralised. Centralisation makes the control of the state a big prize, making every community count its gains and losses all the time. In this sense, the majority community which has the most to lose may be the likeliest to feel under siege. On the other hand, marginalised minorities may also feel under siege because of their relatively smaller size.
Indian Malaysian boys standing in front of a Chinese vernacular school (© visnu92 | Wiki Commons)
Indian Malaysian boys in school uniform, standing in front of a Chinese vernacular school (© visnu92 | Wiki Commons)
To get everyone away from ethnic politics, we do not need political unity where all citizens share the same political preferences — this would be either a myth or a disaster. Instead, we need new divisions. For example, new divisions along class lines may help poor Indian Malaysians see their common fate with poor Malay and Chinese Malaysians, and poor Sarawakians and Sabahans. They may see that they have more in common with other poor Malaysians than with rich Indians who may not even speak the same language or practise the same lifestyle. For that to happen, we would need decentralisation.
When there are many games i.e. many platforms for elections, and many more prizes i.e. in the form of more elected positions in the political system, we would be more daring in trying out new ideas, new identities and new configurations of interests. And having local elections can be a start because local elections would usher in more diverse political articulations and more pragmatism.

Ubah Suai Pejabat : Khalid Pertahan Hasan, Azmin Ditempelak

Who’s Hee? Get to know your MP

A little under 2 weeks ago, I was invited to join a meeting of a group of PJ Selatan voters who wanted to initiate an effort get to know more about our sitting MP, Yang Berkhdmat Hee Loy Sian.

I have long been in favour of citizens taking responsibility for what happens in this country.

Taking ownership of their constituency and its electoral process is, in my view, a positive step in that direction.

This effort by this group, I felt, was just the sort of thing we need to get the voters of PJ Selatan to step up and do the right thing.

I attended that meeting.

A second meeting followed a few nights ago.

What has since followed illustrates how a few good people coming together can achieve so much.

People Power!

Representatives from this group have secured a first meeting with YB Hee this 30th March.

Good on you, YB.

Amongst other things, they will be discussing with the parliamentarian a forthcoming town hall-style meeting between the MP and PJ Selatan registered voters.

A facebook group, ’105 – Petaling Jaya Selatan voters’, has been created, to help outreach to as many PJ Selatanites who might be keen to get involved in this initiative.

And for those who might not be in facebook, there is an email address to which you might send your inquiries.

105pjselatanvoters@gmail.com

In 2007, a group of PJ Selatanites started a ‘PJ Selatan get to know your MP’ initiative.

Then, of course, Donald Lim, was the MP.

We had fun with him, didn’t we, PJ Selatanites?

PRU13: Masa untuk menilai semula prestasi BN

PRU13: Masa untuk menilai semula prestasi BN PRU13: Masa untuk menilai semula prestasi BN

Cubalah kita bayangkan jika anda adalah seorang pemilik sebuah syarikat perniagaan dan apakah yang akan anda lakukakan jika sekiranya ada seorang “pekerja” anda yang tidak pernah mempamerkan prestasi yang memuaskan sepanjang tempoh penggajiannya dengan syarikat anda? Kenapa? “Pekerja” yang prestasinya yang tidak baik selama ini sudah tentunya akan menerima tindakan yang sewajarnya, sama ada penggantungan kerja ataupun penamatan perkhidmatan. Dan ini adalah merupakan suatu keadaan yang hampir sama sekali apabila tibanya pilihanraya umum ke-13 (PRU13) tidak lama lagi.

Kita semua selaku rakyat dan pengundi umum adalah merupakan “majikan” kepada kerajaan yang dipilih dan oleh itu, kita akan menilai semula prestasi kerajaan apabila PRU menjelang pada setiap lima tahun. Di dalam PRU 2008 yang lalu, rakyat telahpun memberikan satu peringatan dan amaran keras kepada kerajaan persekutuan BN agar berubah atau menghadapi penyingkiran di dalam PRU yang akan datang.

Namum demikian, nampaknya rakyat jelata dilihat akan memberikan BN satu lagi peluang apabila kerajaan BN tanpa segan silu merasuah kita semua, selaku “majikan” dengan pemberian RM500 seorang, permohonan maaf yang tidak begitu ikhlas dan pelbagai-bagai janji-janji manis kononnya mereka akan berubah menjadi lebih baik.

Jika sekiranya amalan ini berlaku di sesebuah syarikat swasta di mana seorang pekerja yang cuba merasuah majikan untuk terus bekerja di situ, sudah tentu pekerja tersebut akan disingkirkan serta-merta kerana cubaan merasuah majikan. Perkara yang sama inilah yang kini cuba dilakukan oleh kerajaan BN terhadap rakyat jelata.

Apakah jenis “pekerja” ini? Dari masa ke semasa, kerajaan BN sering merayu rakyat agar mereka diberikan peluang dan kita senantiasa memberi laluan yang begitu mudah untuk kerajaan BN untuk kembali berkuasa pada setiap PRU. Akan tetapi, BN sering memungkiri janji-janjinya dengan tanggapan rakyat akan mudah lupa. Ini sememangnya sikap para pemimpin BN, seringkali menabur pelbagai janji dan akhirnya memungkirinya apabila PRU berlalu.

Jika anda adalah “majikan” di dalam keadaan di atas, sudah tnetu “pekerja” sebegini akan disingkirkan dan digantikan denhan pekerja baru yang lebih berkebolehan. Inilah yang kita perlu tunjukkan kepada kerajaan BN siapakah yang sebenarnya Bos di negara ini.

Dan dengan kad laporan prestasi BN inilah akan dijadikan sebagai satu daya pengukur di dalam persidangan parlimen yang telahpun berlangsung dari 12 Mac hingga 12 April dan berdasarkan keadaan yang terkini, sidang parlimen ini mungkin menjadi seesi yang terakhir buat BN.

Isu-isu hangat

Antara isu-isu yang dijangka “akan cuba dibangkitkan” oleh ahli-ahli parlimen gabungan pembangkang, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) adalah seperti yang berikut:

1) Skandal kondo-lembu NFC,

2) Penetapan kadar gaji minimum,

3) Skim kesihatan 1Care,

4) Pembinaan kilang penapisan sisa toksik Lynas,

5) Kos Lebuhraya Ekspres Kinrara-Damansara (KIDEX) yang semakin meningkat,

6) Janji BN untuk membina enam buah sekolah jenis kebangsaan (Tamil) yang masih tinggal janji,

7) Pembiakan nyamuk yang diubahsuai secara genetik,

8) Penyenaraian saham Felda.

Perkataan “akan cuba dibangkitkan” digunakan pada perenggan yang lalu kerana di kebanyakan seesi persidangan parlimen yang lalu, ahli-ahli parlimen PR tidak diberikan masa yang mencukupi untuk mengemukakan soalan ataupun membahaskan sesuatu perkara demi kepentingan rakyat dan negara.

Pertama, siasatan terhadap skandal kondo-lembu NFC itu telah mengambil masa yang begitu lama sekali di dalam menentukan sama ada para pengarah syarikat berkenaan harus didakwa atau sebaliknya. Malah pihak polis dan pejabat peguam negara saling tolak menolak hasil kertas siasatan sebelum ini. Adakah ia merupakan suatu taktik kerajaan BN untuk melengahkan masa dan keadaan agar rakyat akan mudah melupakan kes tersebut? Akan tetapi, para pemimpin PR terus berusaha memberikan tekanan yang menyeluruh terhadap kes tersebut yang akhirnya berjaya dikemukakan ke mahkamah untuk didakwa para pesalahnya.

Kita tengoklah apa yang telah berlaku pada kes skandal Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) yang menyebabkan kerugian berjuta-juta Ringgit. Walaupun bekas presiden MCA dan bekas menteri pengangkutan Dr Ling Liong Sik yang kini sedang didakwa berkaitan kes berkenaan, namum, satu demi satu bukti-bukti skandal dilesap atau dihilangkan dengan begitu sahaja agar kerajaan BN tidak akan menerima tamparan akibat daripada siri perbicaraan tersebut.

Sementara isu yang kedua pula adalah mengenai penetapan kadar gaji minima yang kini hangat diperkatakan ramai. Apabila PR mengemukakan cadangan gaji minimanya pada kadar RM1100 sebulan melalui pembentangan Bajet Alternatif 2012 ppada 4 Oktober 2011 yang lalu, para pemimpin BN dengan lantas mentertawakan cadangan tersebut bagaikan jenaka.

Kini tiba giliran BN pula yang akan mengemukakan cadangan gaji minimanya pada kadar di antara RM880 hingga RM900 sebulan yang dianggap rakyat jelata terlalu rendah berbanding dengan kenaikan kadar inflasi yang begitu mendadak. Seperti biasa golongan pekerja akan terus menjadi mangsa. Suatu perseimbangan kadar di antara majikan dan pekerja perlu diwujudkan bagi menangani masalah inflasi yang kini semakin meningkat agar suatu kadar gaji yang adil dapat dilaksanakan dan tidak membebankan kedua-dua belah pihak.

Isu yang ketiga melibatkan skim insurans kesihatan 1Care yang penuh dengan misteri. Adalah difahamkan bahawa 10 peratus daripada gaji pekerja swasta akan dipotong pada setiap bulan untuk disalurkan kepada 1Care. Menurut BN, insurans sedemikian adalah untuk membantu mereka yang memerlukan rawatan bagi penyakit-penyakit yang serius. Tetapi, apakah yang akan berlaku jka sekiranya wang di dalam 1Care itu tidak digunakan oleh mereka-mereka yang sentiasa sihat dan tidak mempunyai sebarang penyakit? Ahli-ahli parlimen PR kini sedang memberikan tekanan yang menyeluruh terhadap timbalan presiden MCA dan menteri kesihatan Liow Tiong Lai agar mengemukakan maklumat yang lebih terperinci, namum sehingga hari ini Liow masih membisu dan enggan menggulas lanjut.

Kontroversi yang seterusnya adalah pembinaan kilang pemprosesan sisa toksik Lynas di Gebeng, Pahang. Sebelum projek pembinaan itu dilaksanakan kerajaan BN telah merahsiakan tujuan pembinaan kilang itu daripada rakyat. Namun, akhirnya rakyat tetap juga mengetahuinya dan keluar beramai-ramai untuk membantah projek Lynas tersebut. Apakah yang telah berlaku pada slogan “Rakyat Didahulukan” uang sering dilaung-laungkan oleh perdana menteri dan presiden Umno Najib Razak sebelum ini?

Kalaulah Lynas itu merupakan satu projek yang selamat dan berfaedah seperti yang didakwa oleh Najib, kenapa pula merahsiakannya daripada rakyat sebelum ini? Dan kenapa pula kilang tersebut tidak dibina di atas tanah Australia itu sendiri oleh kerana syarikat itu milik pelabur Australia?

Walau macam manapun, ahli-ahli parlimen PR akan tetap meneruskan tekanan mereka di dalam parlimen agar kilang tersebut segera ditutup demi memastikan keselamatan dan kesihatan rakyat jelata tidak tidak tergadai begitu sahaja demi keuntungan sesetengah pihak yang didokong oleh BN.

Bagi projek Lebihraya Ekspres Kinrara-Damansara (KIDEX), kita juga dapati bahawa kos projek pembinaan tersebut telah meningkat secara mendadak sehingga mencecah RM2 bilion dan persoalannya adalah kenapa projek pembinaan tersebut tidak ditawarkan melalui proses tender terbuka seperti yang diwajibkan mengikut undang-undang?

Selain daripada itu, kerajaan BN sebelum ini telah berjanji kepada masyarakat India bahawa 6 buah Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SRJKT) akan dibina tidak lama lagi, namum sehingga pada hari ini, janji tersebut hanya tinggal janji dan kerajaan BN masih tetap menjanjikannya tetapi tidak memberikan sebarang tarikh perlaksanaan tersebut. Persoalannya adalah bila? Adakah ianya hanya merupakan suatu tipu muslihat agar masyarakat India kembali menyokong BN pada PRU yang akan datang?

Isu yang ketujuh pula adalah berkenaan projek pembiakan sejenis nyamuk yang dibuat secara genetik bagi memerangi ancaman nyamuk aedes, namum tidak ada maklumat terperinci yang dapat dikemukakan oleh kementerian kesihatan bagi memastikan pembiakan baka baru nyamuk tersebut tidak mengamcam orang ramai khususnya kanak-kanak. Apa yang pihak kementerian berikan sehingga pada hari ini adalah hanya maklumat-maklumat yang masih kabur dan tidak jelas.

Cadangan penyenaraian Felda di dalam Bursa Saham oleh kerajaan BN turut menerima bantahan yang begitu hebat daripada para pemimpin PR dan sebilangan besar peneroka Felda itu sendiri yang telah melihat penyenaraian tersebut bakal mengancam kedudukan dan kebajikan mereka sebagai peneroka di masa yang akan datang. Walaupun kerajaan BN sebelum ini telah menjanjikan pulangan yang paling lumayan daripada penyenaraian Felda, namun para peneroka Felda masih tidak berpuashati mengenai maklumat-maklumat urusan tersebut yang dikatakan tidak telus dan kurang jelas serta tidak mudah difahami.

Oleh yang demikian, kajian semua terhadap penyenaraian itu adalah perlu bagi memastikan kebajikan para peneroka Felda ini tidak tergadai dengan begitu sahaja pada masa yang akan datang.

Ketidakseimbangan dalam parlimen

Masalah yang utama sekarang adalah di kebanyakan seesi persidangan parlimen, ahli-ahli parlimen PR selalunya tidak diberikan peluang yang mencukupi bagi membahas dan mengemukakan soalan-soalan yang berkaitan. Selain daripada itu, ramai di antara menteri-menteri kerajaan BN juga gagal atau tidak dapat memberikan jawapan yang sempurna apabila disoal mengenai beberapa perlaksanaan dan projek di bawah kelolaan kementerian masing-masing.

Maklumat mengenai persidangan parlimen yang diperolehi daripada rekod Hansard sering menunjukkan ahli-ahli parlimen BN dan menteri-menteri khususnya daripada Umno suka menunjukkan tingkahlaku yang tidak profesional apabila sedang bersemuka dengan ahli-ahli parlimen PR yang lebih giat menumpukan perhatian mereka terhadap tanggungjawab mereka sebagai ahli parlimen.

Sementara speaker dan timbalan speaker parlimen yang kedua-duanya ahli BN juga asyik menghalang seesi perbahasan yang efektif daripada berjalan dengan lancar khususnya di pihak PR dengan alasan “masa tidak mencukupi” dan pada masa yang sama akan memberikan masa yang lebih panjang kepada ahli-ahli parlimen BN untuk berbahas dan mengemukakan sokongan mereka.

Keadaan tersebut juga telah menyebabkan ketidakseimbangan kuasa di dalam parlimen dan mengakibatkan keseluruhan persidangan tersebut menjadi kurang berkesan dan tidak adil sama sekali pada akhirnya.

Tibalah masa untuk rakyat untuk menunjukkan kepada BN siapakah “majikan” sebenarnya daripada terus dibuli sedemikian. Lebih baik BN ini digantikan dengan seberapa segera yang boleh, agar negara ini dapat kembali ke pangkal jalan demi kepentingan rakyat jelata.

Malaysia Chronicle

BN has failed the Indian community

MARCH 26 — The Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS) has done surveys, studies, gained information and feedback from the rakyat showing that it is not true that the rakyat’s support for Barisan Nasional (BN) is peaking based on the party’s record of fulfilling its promises, as claimed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

MIPAS feels that it is not true that “big winds” are blowing towards BN.

The rakyat still does not have confident and full trust in the BN government as many issues have still not been fulfilled.

An example is the Lynas issue. The Parlimentary Select Committee (PSC) should investigate and study the plant’s safety standards. It should be fair and hear the concerns of the people in Kuantan. But it has failed!

Another example is the anger and frustration of the Chinese community over education. A rally was organised by the United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong) over the problems faced by Chinese educationists over four decades and regarding the transfer of non-Chinese-speaking teachers to Chinese schools. The BN government has failed to meet Dong Zong’s demands.

MIPAS also believes the BN has failed the Indian community. Najib’s Nambika (trust) has not fulfilled their needs as many of them are still without MyCards, birth certificates. Statistics show Indians only comprise 3.2 per cent of employees in the government sector. It should be increased to seven per cent.

Recently the PM announced that the government would give full scholarships to the top 100 students from the Indian community who graduate with first-class honours from public universities. How many Indian students are there in public universities? And only the top 100 get full scholarships? It’s just an eyewash!

Our country has been independent for 54years now but we still have race or ethnic division/segregation. Every vote is equal but when it comes to policy and implementation it is not equal. For example, the BN government asks Indians to vote BN but whenever there is an issue over appropriation of estate land (e.g. Bukit Jalil Estate) the government says it cannot do anything because it is private land.

Malaysia so keen to support and help the Palestine struggle but when it comes to the ethnic cleansing of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the BN government abstained from voting against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council in a resolution mooted by the US. The BN government is against any violation of human rights in Palestine, South Africa, Somalia, South Thailand and many Islamic countries. But why when it comes to Sri Lanka the BN government keeps quiet?

MIPAS believes BN can expect an easy victory only in Johor, Malacca and Pahang in the 13th general election.

* S. Barathidasan is secretary-general of the Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS).

Drop in number of racial dispute cases

The Sun (Used by permission)
by ELLY FAZANIZA

> Increasing tolerance and maturity helped reduce discontent: Koh

KUALA LUMPUR: Cases related to racial disputes in Malaysia have dropped by 30% since 2007, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said.

According to him, 1,315 racial disputes were recorded in 2007 by the police while only 912 similar cases were reported last year.

Koh said increasing tolerance and maturity had helped reduce discontent.

“Our community continues to mature annually although there are still misunderstandings among races. At the grassroots level, the people have managed to settle their disputes without intervention from the police,” he said after officiating a seminar for accredited community mediators.

Koh said the 1Malaysia vision and spirit that have been inculcated in society also helped different races to understand one another’s culture. 

“This vision promotes values such as tolerance and respect for our community which have been embraced by everyone and practised in their daily affairs,” he said. 

In addition, Koh said the certified mediators that took part in the seminar may have contributed to the reduced number of disputes in their community.

Koh said mediation is important to resolve unresolved conflicts related to the community. “Mediation is a process which aims to resolve a conflict. This may involve two parties from the same race or different social status. The act of mediation allows conflict to be solved quickly,” he said.

“Mediation also allows problems to be solved before they are made known to the public,” he said, adding that 220 participants of the seminars have been officially certified as mediators since 2009.

“Previously, these officials and individuals resolved community matters on their own accord. They are the unsung heroes and as such, we recognise them for their efforts.”Koh admitted there are not enough mediators in the country.

“There are currently only less than 500 certified mediators registered,” he said, adding that he hopes to increase the number within the year.

“Support to help mediators act as a catalyst to resolve conflicts at the community level must be given by relevant government officials and authorities."

Najib Wants Information Ministry Officers To Help Explain Government Policies To People

PUTRAJAYA, March 26 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak urged all officers of the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry and its agencies to help explain government policies, including 1Malaysia, to the people.

The prime minister said this was important to prevent the public from being confused by the opposition's propaganda and lies about government policies.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said this was stated by the prime minister when he met with officers and staff of the ministry.

In this regard, Rais said his ministry would be printing and distributing 50,000 booklets containing information on current issues to avoid the public from being influenced by the opposition's twisting of facts.

He said among the issues featured would be the Lunas rare earth plant project in Gebeng, Pahang, listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) and the Malaysia Airlines-AirAsia share swap.

The other issues are the National Feedlot Corporation, price increase of goods, corruption, credibility and integrity of leaders, and the demands made by the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Jiao Zong).

"The booklet will contain scientific, economic and social facts that can be easily understood by the public," he told reporters, here, Monday.

Rais said copies of the booklet would be given out to, among others, officers and staff of the Information Department, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), Special Affairs Department (JASA) and Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) as guideline.

"We will get ready the booklets as soon as possible for distribution to the urban and rural areas," he added.