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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

PR jamin asing kuasa PM-Menteri kewangan

'BN abused gov't agencies to persecute Suaram

4 lakh Bangladeshis go missing

altAmid renewed controversy over illegal migrants in Assam in the wake of recent ethnic clashes, about four lakh ‘detected’ illegal foreign nationals have vanished from the State in the past 26 years. Unbelievable, but true!

The Assam Government has no clue about the whereabouts of this huge number of foreign nationals —an overwhelming majority believed to be Bangladeshis — who had been detected as ‘illegal foreigners’ by the three-dozen Foreigners’ Tribunals in the State over the years.

According to official records, the 36 Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam detected a total of 3,83,790 illegal foreign nationals living in Assam between 1986 and 2012 (till July). However, shockingly, they have all done a disappearing act, or so the authorities concerned would have one to believe.

The figures of the Foreigners’ Tribunals further make an alarming revelation. The number of detections of illegal foreigners has been increasing every year.

While only 503 illegal foreigners were detected in 1986, a whopping 27,988 such foreigners have been detected by the Foreigners’ Tribunals in the first seven months of 2012 itself (January-July).

Assam’s Director General of Police Jayanta Narayan Choudhury said the problem lies with the Foreigners’ Tribunal Act.

“The suspected foreigners go missing as they cannot be arrested by the police till they are proved as Bangladeshis. It takes a long time — right from a case getting registered in the tribunals against any individual till they are finally confirmed as foreigners by the tribunals. The suspected people go missing, as according to the Act, police cannot even detain them for a longer period,” Choudhury said.

He also said that there is nothing that the State Government can do about this as a Central legislation is required to amend the act. Chief of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and two-time former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta charged the Centre for inaction.

“The Government of India has not taken up the matter with Bangladesh and there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

The detected illegal foreigners could not be pushed back due to lack of extradition treaty between the two countries. We have been repeatedly asking the Central and State Governments to trace these missing illegal foreigners and deport them,” he said.

The figures also assume significance in view of the recent change in the demographic pattern in at least six districts of Assam --- Dhubri, Goalpara, Barpeta, Nagaon, Karamganj and Hailakandi. Out of these six districts, only two districts had a Muslim majority in 1971. However, 30 years down the line all the six districts have Muslims as majority (Census 2001).

While Hindus comprised 34.80 per cent of population in Dhubri in 1971, Muslims made up for 64.46 per cent of the populace. In 2001, the Hindu population decreased to 24.74 per cent even as the Muslim population reached 74.29 per cent in the district.

Similarly, Goalpara district had 50.17 per cent Hindu population in 1971 compared to 41.46 per cent Muslims. According to the 2001 census, Hindus constitute only 38.22 per cent of the districts total population while the Muslim population increased to 53.71 per cent.

In Barpeta too, the Muslims constituted 48.58 per cent compared to 51.19 per cent of the Hindu population in 1971. In 2001, Muslims became a majority in the district with 59.37 per cent compared to mere 40.19 per cent of the Hindus. Ditto in Nagaon, where the Muslims constituted only 39.24 per cent of the population in 1971 compared to 59.57 per cent of the Hindus. In 2001 though, the Muslims became a majority in the district with 51 per cent. Hindus became a minority comprising only 47.80 per cent. Karimganj and Hailakandi districts have had a similar demographic change since 1971.

Recently, the 12-hour bandh called by the North East Students Organisation (NESO) to protest illegal infiltration from Bangladesh and demand Central Government’s immediate intervention to find a lasting solution to the burning problem drew a total response in all the seven North-Eastern States.

Justice BK Sarma of the Gauhati High Court in a judgment issued on April 21, 2011 too had said, “…in most of the cases, the declared foreigners have done the act of vanishing and the state administration is without any clue of their whereabouts. In various reports, it has been stated by the State administration that vigorous attempts have been made to nab them, but they could not be traced out. Thus, there is total failure of the State administration to nab the foreign nationals, who after invoking the writ jurisdiction of this Court, do the act of vanishing.”

In the same judgment, the court further instructed the state administration to detain suspected foreigners in detention camps so that with the closure of the proceedings and depending upon the outcome thereof, they can be deported to Bangladesh.

Sexual harassment awaits Egyptian girls outside schools

Egyptian school girls brace for another year of sexual harassment at the gates of their schools.

CAIRO: As the new school year begins next week in Egypt, school girls and their families are preparing to face yet another year of sexual harassment, this time waiting for the children outside their schools.
Egyptian mothers worry about their young daughters, who are subjected to sexual harassment outside their gated schools and daughters only pray to go home safely after the day has ended.
The phenomena of men waiting outside girls only schools to sneak a view, harass and self-expose themselves has made even school a difficult trip to take on a daily basis. Egyptian girls must join girls-only schools after elementary school in all public education, which has turned the gates of the schools into a pervert magnet.
I went to the Kolyet al-Banat school in Zamalek, an all-girls school from elementary through high school:
Right around the corner from our school is an all boys school similar in age group to ours, so we knew what was out there waiting for us every day after school. But it wasn’t exclusive to naughty school boy behavior, we had adult men who also used to wait for the final bell to ring and the thousands of girls to come out. We had a guy who looked like a father of any one of us, a lawyer or a businessman carrying a briefcase, who used to stand there outside of our school every single day. Once the girls started to leave the school he would swiftly move his briefcase, exposing his penis to us. As children we would run away, some laughing and some crying. But he wasn’t the only one. A building guard, or bowab as they are called in Egypt, who worked in a nearby building, a 60-something old man who wore the traditional male dress and sat on his bench watching the street. Once we passed by him, he would lift up his dress and expose his naked flesh to us. We stopped walking by that building and warned other girls as well.
When the problem became overwhelming and parents started to complain to the school and the police, the authorities and the Qasr al-Nil police station sent a police car that stood there outside of our school everyday during my senior year. Problems were getting out of hand and leaving the school meant being exposed to the worst of human nature. That was in late 1999, but the problem has not improved, not even slightly, since. In fact it became widespread to the point where mothers are hiding horror stories of what happens to their girls in school, fearing the father would prevent them from having an education.
Reem a young mother who knows of the atrocities waiting for her child outside of class, told
I tell my 14-year old daughter to look at her shoes at all times when she is leaving school and I make sure that I am there waiting for her before the final bell rings. “Her father made her wear a veil when she started exhibiting signs of puberty, thinking he is protecting her and for me to tell him of what lies outside her school will only make him sit her at home.
Now sexual harassment is no stranger to the experience of being a female in Egypt; in fact it became a fundamental element of being outdoors. Last week, the National Council for Women (NCW) said that Egyptian women get harassed 7 times every 200 meters, and a 2008 report by the Egyptian Center for Women Rights found that well over two-thirds of Egyptian women are harassed on daily basis. Even activists who protest the grotesque practice are also harassed, defying logic.
But a generation of back bent girls lying about the daily violations is not a very sustainable solution, nor is having an army waiting to protect them. So what is? Could it be tougher penalties for those who now cross the line between sexual harassment to pedophilia or having more and more theatrical campaigns that are met with solid concrete walls of reality? Or perhaps it should start from inside the family and schools who produce generations of child molesters and exhibitionists who come back to bite them where it hurts?
Threatening to take away girls education due to the perverseness of a culture that sees them as sexual objects, even when they are as young as pre-teens, rings more danger bells than our hearing seems to comprehend.
More Egyptian girls acquire higher marks in high school every year. More get into “top” schools such as medicine and media. And yet these girls have to go through that battle every single day. Bred from an early age to ignore sexual violations against them as they focus on their future.
In the 1980s, a popular play “Sook ala Banatak” or “Lock your girls,” a father is met with the challenges of raising girls in a patriarchal society. All he can do is try to forcibly marry them to his colleagues so he can move on and get married to the woman he loves. But at the end he comes to the romantic notion of how fathers should lock their girls, but give them the key.
A romantic notion that sees girls as the problem and the solution, in denial of their second grade status in the family, at work, or their own families afterward. But in a society where women’s existence itself in public is threatened, more than a key should be given to them; more like their dignity and their self-respect.
And mothers should teach their girls to straighten their backs, and face violations since burying ones head in the sand only grants more power to the monsters.

McDonald's 'made married couple sit apart' in Pakistan restaurant

McDonald's is at the centre of a row over Islamic values in Pakistan after a customer complained he was told not to sit beside his wife because managers feared it would damage the restaurant's family reputation.
McDonald's is at the centre of a row over Islamic values in Pakistan after a customer complained he was told not to sit beside his wife because managers feared it would damage the restaurant's family reputation.
Noman Ansari, who stopped at a branch in Karachi for a diet Coke on Saturday night, said the episode was a symptom of an increasingly intolerant nation.

A spokesman for McDonald's said it was investigating the complaint.

Mr Ansari said trouble started when he sat next to his wife and slipped an arm behind her shoulder.

A member of staff told the couple to move but when they again sat beside each other in an adjacent booth it became clear that the issue was not their location, but the proximity of a man and a woman in public.

In an account posted on his blog, Mr Ansari said he was told: "Sir, this is a family restaurant. Couples sitting together is against the policy of McDonald's Pakistan, as it goes against the family atmosphere of the restaurant."

Two managers then told him that couples sitting together damaged the "Islamic family atmosphere" of McDonald's, according to the account.

The alleged incident highlighted a difficult issue for Pakistan's restaurants, particularly fast food chains where loud music and glitzy American decor try to coexist with the country's strict rules on modesty.

Many – including some branches of McDonald's – have partitioned areas for families, to separate men from women.

Ali Arsalan, McDonald's Pakistan assistant marketing manager, said the company tried to foster a family atmosphere and confirmed it was looking into Mr Noman's grievance.

"If there is some physical action it is possible that a family might have raised a complaint and asked the couple to have sit on a separate seat because we have sisters or mothers there," he said.

Multinational fast food companies frequently struggle with local religious and cultural sensibilities.

Last month, Pizza Hut Pakistan was forced to withdraw its "all you can eat" offer during Ramadan in order to end what it called an "invitation to gluttony" as customers gorged themselves at the end of a day of fasting.
And in India, McDonald's is planning to open its first vegetarian branches close to two holy sites, leading to threatened protests by Hindus and Sikhs.

‘Government also funded foreign NGOs’

The Malaysian government provided financial aid to anti-apartheid and pro-Palestinian movements, said several NGOs.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government and several local corporations gave financial support to anti-apartheid movements in South Africa in the 80s, said Centre for Independent Journalism executive director Masjaliza Hamzah

“We are also providing support to pro-Palestinian cause. Civil society movements have to secure funds from wherever they can to manage their operations,” Masjaliza said at a press conference here today.

Earlier, over 130 NGOs voiced their solidarity with Suaram as the latter is currently under the government’s radar for allegedly breaching provisions under the Companies Act.

Among the NGOs present today were Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Tenaganita and Sisters in Islam.

Yesterday, English daily The Star reported that Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob as urging Bank Negara to investigate allegations that Suaram was receving funding from an American organisation linked to billionaire financial speculator, George Soros.

“This is because the issue involves the transfer of money from the United States. I hope Bank Negara will do something,” Ismail reportedly said.

It was also reported earlier that Suaram had registered itself under the Registrar of Companies (ROC) instead of Registrar of Societies (ROS).

Masjaliza said that many NGOs such as Suaram registered themselves with the ROC due to various red tapes imposed by the ROS on the registration of civil society movements.

“The Home Minister has the power to arbitrarily deregister a society under the ROS with no judicial review. However, the ministry cannot do so for companies,” said Masjaliza.

‘Buying submarines or cows?’

Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong pointed out that even former prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn, were not allowed to register human rights movement, Hakam, in 1989 and had to register it under ROC.

On receiving foreign funding, Kua said that receiving funds from other countries did not mean that the civil society movements were under the thumbs of foreign powers.

He said that Suaram was a principled civil society movement that stood firm on the tenets of human rights and had not wavered since its inception in 1989.

“But the same can’t be said about the Malaysian government. We supported the Palestinian and the Bosnian cause which was good but decided to support the Indonesian government on the East Timor issue,” said Kua.

Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas) executive director Tan Jo Hann challenged the Malaysian government to open its books on how it is spending taxpayers’ money instead of targeting Suaram.

“Tell us what are you doing with our money. Buying submarines or buying cows?” asked Tan.

Meanwhile, Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga said she was horrified on how Suaram is being persecuted by the authorities despite being a respected human rights movement.

She said that in a globalised world, it was common for anyone from anywhere to contribute on issues close to their hearts.

“It’s not a crime as long as the funds are accounted for. No civil society movement will have any issues with authorities investigating our books as we are transparent,” said Ambiga.

However, Ambiga described the government’s move to single out Suaram as an attempt to divert attention from the Scorpene submarine purchase being investigated by the French courts.

“It’s attempt to kill the messenger. Remember that the more you try to kill the messenger, the louder the message becomes,” she said.

Perak’s ‘defected 4′ keen on contesting

The four Pakatan reps who contributed to BN's political coup in the state are hoping for another shot in the coming national polls.

TAIPING: The four former Pakatan Rakyat state assemblypersons who contributed to the fall of the Pakatan state government in Perak in 2009 are now planning for a new lease of political life in the coming general election.

The four BN-friendly independents are Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang), Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changkat Jering), Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang) and Keshvinder Singh (Malim Nawar).

The first three played a vital role in destabilising the elected Pakatan state government into falling into the hands of BN while Keshvinder left after the fall due to political differences.

While there was much speculation that the four had jumped ship due to monetary gains, they however denied this.

The four claimed they shifted alliance to BN because they were unhappy with their respective parties’ administration.

FMT spoke to them recently about their intention to remain active in politics.

“Yes! I shall definitely stand again in Jelapang for the third time on a BN ticket,” exclaimed an excited Hee, who is also the state assembly deputy speaker.

Hee had contested and won the Jelapang seat twice under the DAP banner in three-cornered fights in 2004 and 2008.

When told that Jelapang was a MCA area which may not be given to her and the alternative may be for her to stand as an independent candidate, she said: “Our BN leadership wants a performing, likeable and winnable candidate which qualifies me for the seat.”

“Anyway a four-cornered or five-cornered fight (in Jelapang) does not scare me as I have already faced two three-cornered fights before,” she added.

Asked about the alleged monetary gains for jumping ship, Hee retorted: “You think I am money gila [crazy] like them?”

“I left because I was unhappy with the party leadership of the two cousin brothers (DAP state chief Ngeh Koo Ham and secretary Nga Kor Ming),” she added.

She also said that her relationship with the Jelapang voters remained good despite DAP’s political propaganda to tarnish her name after her defection.

“You must remember that the two PKR assemblymen (Osman and Jamaluddin) had left earlier and BN had the majority in the state assembly before I resigned from DAP.

“My relationship with the Jelapang voters is good as I am constantly attending to their problems and needs,” she explained.

‘Voters want me’

Keshvinder, meanwhile, said his voters had urged him to stand in the Malim Nawar state seat again.

“They (voters) are happy with my good service and want me to contest again. The problem is that Malim Nawar used to be a MCA seat and they might not give me the seat again,” he added.

On whether he might stand as an independent if not given the BN seat, he said: “The possibility is there but we will wait and see.”

On the other hand, Osman was more bold and stressed that he would stand as an independent candidate in Changat Jering if BN failed to choose a winnable Umno candidate for the state seat.

Jamaluddin, however, just laughed and said his constituency belonged to MIC and he did not know whether he would be given this seat.

He stressed that it was still early and he had not made up his mind yet whether to contest as an independent if denied the BN seat.

According to BN sources, the proposed allocation of state and parliament seats for Perak had been sent to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for his approval.

MIC returns fire to Gobind

Pangsapuri Aman lift fixed, but other problems remain in Puchong, says MIC youth info chief.

PUCHONG: MIC has urged the Subang Jaya Town Council (MPSJ) to attend to problems afflicting flat dwellers around Puchong, accusing DAP’s Gobind Singh Deo of neglecting his duties as MP for the area.

In a press statement released today, MIC Youth information chief S Subramaniam thanked MPJS for repairing a lift at Pangsapuri Aman, which had been out of service for six months.

He commended MPSJ for resolving the matter “without waiting for the state government’s instruction”.

However, he said MPJS and the Selangor government had overlooked problems faced by residents of other low-cost flats. He mentioned Pangsapuri Aman, Pangsapuri Dahlia, Puchong Hartamas.

He also asked the authorities to attend to the threat of recurring landslides in Bandar Puteri Puchong.

Subramaniam, who also leads the Puchong MIC division, said Gobind should apologise to Pangsapuri Aman residents for his failure to resolve their problems.

Last week, Gobind rejected allegations that he had failed to respond to complaints about the faulty lift, saying he had forwarded to the state government quotations for the repair.

However, Subramaniam said this was not good enough. “I’m glad that the Puchong MP has responded to the memorandum, but when? He took two months.”

He dismissed Gobind’s claim that he often visited the flats and challenged him to explain how many programmes he had organised for the benefit of Pangsapuri Aman residents as well as other Puchong residents, especially the urban poor.

He also said Gobind had no good reason to ask the Pangsapuri Aman residents to contribute funds for the repair of the lift.

Referring to Gobind’s statement that Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim had visited the area, Subramaniam said: “It is not true. The MB was not focusing on the flats issue, but [his visit] was purely politically motivated. The programme was organised for him to hand over land titles to Kampung Tun Razak resettlers… a few hundred metres away from the flats.”

In his rebuttal last week, Gobind noted that among the residents of Pangsapuri Aman were local MIC leaders who could have used their influence to improve the conditions there.

Subramaniam told the MP to stop blaming MIC in the issue, saying such a responsibility should be shouldered by Pakatan Rakyat, which rules Selangor.

“I think he has forgotten about it,” he said. “MIC leaders residing in the flats have many times raised the issue to the relevant people and authority. The MPSJ area councillor has failed to visit the area since she took office.”

Choose quality candidates, DAP urged

Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran says a DAP candidate must not be a bankrupt, an alcoholic or a drug addict, or be involved in scandal or vices.

GEORGE TOWN: A DAP parliamentarian today called on the party to field only candidates with the highest integrity, dignity and capability in the next general election.

Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran said only candidates of these qualities would not be vulnerable to enticement and turn into political frogs after being elected as state representatives or MPs.

He said a DAP candidate must not be a bankrupt, an alcoholic or a drug addict, and must not have a criminal record, or be involved in scandal or vices.

In the fast-emerging new political culture in the country, he said the ever-demanding voters were now insisting on candidates of highest integrity and dignity.

He said the party must vet candidates thoroughly to make sure they have a clean background before nominating them for seats.

“Tainted characters should never be [picked as] candidates. Candidates should not betray the party’s trust and the people’s mandate,” he told FMT here today.

He indicated that lack of integrity and dignity were the main reasons for the defections of DAP state representatives in Perak – Hee Yit Fong of Jelapang in 2009 and Keshvinder Singh of Malim Nawar in 2010.

Hee’s defection in particular was a bitter pill to swallow as it caused the downfall of the infant 11-month-old Pakatan Rakyat government in the silver state.

Manogaran said the party should also seriously consider candidates selected by party branches since grassroots sentiments would reflect sentiments of the public.

He is particularly concerned about the quality of DAP’s ethnic Indian candidates in the next election.

He claimed that the community had been let down, shortchanged and betrayed by lack of quality Indian political representatives and leaders over the years.

This time, he said the DAP’s ethnic Indian candidates should have high qualities and a strong political conviction to work with and for the betterment of the community, especially the marginalised group.

“Indian representatives must also respect the people who voted them in,” said Manogaran.


Jayakumar to contest in Sungai Siput again….. but this time under PSM banner

(The Malaysian Times) - Sungai Siput MP Dr Micheal Jayakumar says that he would contest for the Sungai Siput seat in the coming 13th General Election (GE). “I will be contesting again for the seat in Sungai Siput under the PSM banner,” said Jayakumar to The Malaysian Times (TMT) today.

The Sungai Siput constituency in Kuala Kangsar, Perak, had been under the helm of Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu since 1974. It however, fell to Jayakumar of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) in the 2008 election. This was Jayakumar’s third attempt in regaining the seat from BN, with the first being in 1999 and the second in 2004.

The largest percentage of voters in the constituent is the Chinese community with 41 percent followed by the Malay community with 31 percent, Indian with 21 percent and seven percent Orang Asli voters.

With a total number of voters being 47,424, Jayakumar had managed to garner 16,458 votes while Samy Vellu received 14,637 votes. He (Jayakumar) won the election with a majority of 1,821 votes.

In speaking about the election in 2008, it was believed that Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had lost the seat in Sungai Siput due to the lack of Malays voters.

In confirming this, Jayakumar had said that Samy Vellu had not only loose the support of the Malays voters, but also the Chinese and Indian voters alike. This was due to the Hindraf issue which was aflame at that time.

Looking into who would be the possible candidate to go against Jayakumar, iIt is rumoured that MIC Secretary-General, Datuk S Murugesan may be contesting in Sungai Siput under the Barisan Nasional (BN) banner.

The voters in Sungai Siput may see a fight between two capable Indian leaders should Murugesan and Jayakumar indeed contest in Sungai Siput. This may also turn Sungai Siput into a ‘hot seat’ during the coming election.

It is said that the odds of him (Murugesan) winning the seat against Jayakumar was 50-50. This was based on the current support that the PSM leader had gained during his term at the constituency.

When asked on how PSM was faring in Sungai Siput, Jayakumar said that the party is doing fairly well and is well supported by the people there. However despite his dedication in wanting to serve the constituents, Jayakumar lacked the funds to address the woes.

“The only downfall is that PSM is not able to provide monetary goodies for the people as BN can. We have instead helped the people in getting housing loans and looking into the people’s Social Security Organization (SOCSO) woes. We are also providing counseling for those who are facing family problems,” said Jayakumar.

Asked on whether PSM will be able to retain its seat there, Jayakumar said, “We have a fighting chance. We have and are serving the people. They recognize our services.”

Jayakumar on June 25, 2011, was among the 24 people who were picked up in Penang during the widespread pre-Bersih clampdown.

They were later slapped with accusations that they had attempted to revive communism and wage a war against the King. He and five others – PSM deputy chairman M. Sarasvathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M. Sugumaran, Sungai Siput branch secretary A. Letchumanan and Youth chief R. Saratbabu were however released on July 29, 2011.

Indigenous Malaysians Miss School, Agency Finds

KUALA LUMPUR — Human rights advocates have raised concerns that thousands of indigenous children in Malaysia are not attending school, which they say exposes them to greater risk of living in poverty in adulthood.

A report released last week by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, a government agency, showed that 7,000 indigenous children aged 5 to 18 who live on the Malaysian Peninsula were not attending school in 2007, based on government figures.

Among those aged 7 to 12, the number not attending school rose to more than 2,700 in 2010, up from 1,962 in 2007.

The commission was unable to obtain more recent figures for other age groups but said the overall number of indigenous children not in school could have increased because of population growth.

Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah, a human rights commissioner, said many indigenous people on the Malaysian Peninsula, called orang asli in Malay, lived in remote areas.

“Based on our observations and our visits to the orang asli villages, still there are issues of no schools in the villages or the schools are very far away,” he said by telephone.

While the report focused only on the Malaysian Peninsula, some rights advocates say the number of indigenous children not attending school is likely to be higher in Borneo Island states like Sabah and Sarawak, which are home to the majority of the indigenous population.

In Malaysia, there are about four million indigenous people from a total population of 28 million, according to the Center for Orang Asli Concerns, a private group. About 190,000 indigenous people live on the Malaysian Peninsula.

The commission’s report, based on interviews with students, parents and teachers, found that the distance to the closest school was a major concern.

Colin Nicholas, coordinator of the Center for Orang Asli Concerns, cited as an example two indigenous villages in Pahang State, where the nearest school is 30 kilometers, or 20 miles, away.

“The kids there don’t go to school,” he said. “They say it’s too far and they don’t have transport.”

While there was a student hostel at the school, many parents did not want to leave their young children there.

Mr. Nicholas added that some students felt discriminated against by teachers and parents worried about their safety.

Mr. Sha’ani said that while the government was supposed to provide students with transport to schools, often the vehicles did not show up and could not reach the children in bad weather, raising questions over how often the children attended.

“There’s an effort to improve transport, to increase the number of schools, but still we find lots of gaps,” he said.

Mr. Sha’ani said that children aged 6 to 7 were too young to live in hostels and that the commission wanted to see schools catering for students in their first three years of primary school in every village.

The commission also found that some children without identity papers did not attend school because parents and teachers mistakenly believed such documents were a condition of enrollment.

Mr. Sha’ani said that if children did not have identity papers, their village head could vouch for their identity and help enroll the children.

He also expressed concern about the state of schools in areas populated by indigenous communities, saying that some lacked clean water and electricity.

Mr. Nicholas said that a higher proportion of indigenous Malaysians lived in poverty compared with the general population and that education was essential to help improve the lives of the younger generation. “The cycle of poverty remains,” he said.

Mohammad Shafie Apdal, the rural and regional development minister, said that the government had set up rural schools.

“We have set up schools that are tailor-made to meet the needs of the orang asli,” he was quoted as saying last week by The Star, a Malaysian newspaper. “But because a lot of them are staying in the interior, we face difficulties in getting them to send their children to school away from home.

“We try to relocate them to places that are closer to schools but many are reluctant to leave their ancestral land. To bring the infrastructure to them is very costly.”

Video Rakaman Jelajah #MerdekaRakyat Rantau Negeri Sembilan 7 September 2012

Tsunami over FELDA — Sakmongkol AK47

SEPT 11 — If my friend, Pirates of Putrajaya had been a little bit more patient, he will find his views on the FGV vindicated. Probably he underestimated the will of the government to use GLCs under its control to shore up the FGV price.

Nevertheless, his views will be vindicated soon and I and millions of others hope he will come back into blogosphere to share with us, his rapier sharp analyses.

What Najib is doing right now is just putting out fires. He forgot that it all needed but a single spark to light up the prairie fire.

He has given an advance of RM15,000 each to Felda family. I hear, full payment hasn’t been given out yet. Perhaps Felda will use its gain of RM5.99 billion to pay the balance of what has been promised by Najib. Felda pays unto itself using its own money.

He has given almost RM43 million as raya bonus. Each family got around RM382. That amount was useful to buy cookies, lemang , fresh meats and maybe new curtains for the missus. Because of the drop in FGV share price, he has also announced that Felda will pay for the settlers’ purchase of FGV shares. Once again, that will probably come from the RM5.99 billion.

Finally to placate the settlers’ anger, he has announced that Felda will pay for PTPTN loans taken by the Felda children.

That is his economic strategy. We don’t have to go the Chicago, Princeton, Oxford or Cambridge to do that. Not even Nottingham.

What was the real agenda really? Maybe all this corporate bullshit was about saving FGV. It has done extensive futures trading and had incurred huge losses. That was why some brainy people came up with the idea, the only way to save FGV was to have it buy out KPF’s share in Felda Holdings and go for listing.

At closing time today, FGV share was RM 4.68, earning the holders of the stock a premium of 13 sen. If Najib hadn’t come up with the brilliant idea of ordering Felda to finance settlers’ purchase, each settler ends up with a RM94.70 loss.

Actually FGV bought out Felda Holdings to save itself. It has incurred heavy losses doing futures trading. We don’t know how much FGV got by selling its shares. There was no cash payment involved as the purchase was financed by the issue of new shares which were sold to the public through the IPO. Part of the proceeds were used by Felda to pay its EPF loan amounting to RM6 billion. Then EPF is instructed to buy FGV shares, now it owns 7% of FGV bought for RM 1.2 billion. Foreign interests are selling down to cut down losses.

What is even more pernicious and atrocious is the betrayal to Felda people. 360,000 hectares of land have been forfeited which could be used in future to create 80,000 new settlers.

It's dark days looming over Felda and no amount of PR exercise can mitigate the anger that is shoring up. There is a tsunami looming over Felda. —

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Bersih 3.0: Cop oblivious to Article 10

The Sun Daily 

KUALA LUMPUR: A police officer in charge during the Bersih 3.0 rally admitted he was not aware that the public has a right to freedom of expression and assembly.

Insp Farid Sairi from the Dang Wangi district police station was responding to lawyer Roger Chan from the Bar Council who cited Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which protects a person’s right to freedom of expression and assembly.

Chan, who held a watching brief at the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) inquiry into the rally yesterday, has suggested that Farid, as a police officer, should be well versed with the law.

Farid, who during the April 28 rally was in charge of some 100 personnel in an area designated as ‘Sector 3’, replied: “I only know a little bit.”

He also said he was not aware that the public has a right to oppose any government’s policy deemed to be not in their favour.

“As a police officer who is upholding the law, is it an offence for the public to voice resistance against any government policy?” asked Chan, to which Farid replied that he was not sure.

Earlier, responding to ACP Jamaluddin Abdul Rahman who held a watching brief for the police, Farid also admitted that he did not know the real reason behind the day’s rally which was organised by electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0.

“As far as I know, the rally is organised to sit down and protest,” he said, adding that he only acted based on orders given by his superior ASP Ahmad Jais Ujang during a briefing held at about 6am the same day.

Asked by inquiry panel chairperson Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee on specific instructions given during the briefing, Farid said he was told to stand guard and prevent entry into Dataran Merdeka.

In his testimony, Farid said his troop was stationed next to the Royal Selangor Club, from the food court to the church at the end of Jalan Raja.

Despite insisting that no incidents had occurred under his watch from 7am to 9.30pm, Farid noted that there was a “constant increase” in the number of personnel on duty – from 100 in the morning to about 300 at the end of the day. The club and its surrounding areas have been identified as the sites where alleged police brutalities had taken place against arrested protesters who were brought to a holding area before being taken to the Police Training Centre (Polapol) at Jalan Semarak.

PM Announces Setting Up Of New Low Cost Airline

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today announced the setting up a new low cost airline known as Malindo Airways.

Najib said the airline, borne out of a collaboration between National Aerospace and Defence Industries Sdn Bhd (Nadi) and Indonesia's PT Lion Group, would begin operations on May 1 next year and be based in KLIA 2.

The collaboration, said Najib, not only marked another milestone in the nation's aviation industry, but also represented yet another facet of the close relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia.

"To my mind the acronym Malindo- the melodic combination of the names of Malaysia and Indonesia has very significant historical connotations, reflecting the long intertwined history of the peoples of our two countries,".

"In terms of this to be established airline, I believe the name reflects the bridging of the two countries by way of a wide network of flights that will connect various cities and towns region-wide, opening new destinations for travellers from within the Nusantara and beyond," he said after witnessing the signing ceremony for the establishment of the airline between the two companies, here.

Najib said, with huge challenges faced by the airline industry today, including escalating operational costs and soaring fuel prices, the smart partnership such as the one formalised today would provide the new airline various savings and efficiencies in terms of fleet maintenance as well as the opportunity to tap a robust market that was ripe for the entry of a new low cost carrier (LCC).

"Airlines would need to be innovative and creative in order to continue to be profitable, and sustainable as a business, without compromising on service levels, reliability and affordability," he said.

Sharing a broad projection for global aviation, Najib indicated that the world air traffic was expected to grow at an annual rate of 5.1 per cent over the next 20 years, whereas air travel within the Asia-Pacific region was expected to grow by 6.7 per cent.

"The Asia-Pacific region accounts for 34 per cent of global passenger traffic and this is expected to almost triple from 779.6 million in 2010 to over 2.2 billion in 2030 with Malaysia expected to account for 200 million passengers.

"This is a staggering number. But one that represents an enourmous opportunity for the region's airlines, and aviation players in general.

"We must be ready to tap into this lucrative market and readiness means adapting and making changes today for the market conditions we anticipate tomorrow," he added.

Najib said the entry of the new airline was a timely move to meet the burgeoning market demand, both for low cost flights and maximum connectivity across the region especially between different cities in Malaysia and various parts of Indonesia.

He said, with significant experience in Airline Operations, MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) services, Supply Chain Management and Human Capital development, NADI and PT Lion Group would not only be able to provide quality services to their consumers in the region, but also to the global aviation industry. "This will fortify the Aviation Business ecosystem both in Malaysia and Indonesia. Furthermore, the partnership will provide the regional low-cost air travel market with healthy competition, ultimately benefiting low-cost travellers in both countries," said Najib.

According to the prime minister, the Malaysian Aerospace Industry which has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, will be well poised to meet the challenges and to seize the opportunities of the future if it be continuously built and nurtured.

In 2011, Najib said, the industry generated RM26 billion in turnover, employing approximately 54,000 workers, 15,000 of whom were skilled in various vocations. "This is something that we, as Malaysians, can take pride in, particularly because it is a testament of the success of the National Aerospace Blueprint (NAB) that was introduced in 1997," he said.

The Blueprint laid out 45 recommendations covering aerospace manufacturing, commercial aviation, general aviation, systems and space, to provide Malaysia with the essential framework to develop itself as technologically and competitively competent global aerospace player by 2015.

The introduction of the Government's Economic Transformation Program (ETP) further bolstered Malaysia's Aerospace industry, identifying two Entry Point Projects,namely "EPP1-Growing MRO Services" and "EPP2-Growing Large Pure Play Engineering Services", which were expected to contribute RM16.9 billion to Malaysia's Gross National Income (GNI) and create over 32,000 jobs by 2020, added Najib.