|Yet again the Malaysian Government under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Malaysian police have embarassed MALAYSIA and Malaysians - by their display of intolerance and unreasonableness - and a blatant disrespect for human rights. |
Their intolerance to peoples' rights of assembly and expression, and the use of unnecessary "violence" - in the form of tear gas and water cannons on ordinary un-armed non-violent Malaysians is SHAMEFUL. (Hopefully this time there will be no Minister or Human Rights Commissioner coming out and proclaiming that there was no violence on the part of the police)
It is said that about 400 persons have been arrested - another embarassment.
Who can now not say that the Malaysian government (and its police force) is not just like the Burmese government and its police force?
Malaysian government likes to campaign for PEACE and UNITY - and it is the peace of docile lambs that they want. It is the UNITY of wearing "Unity Bands" and singing "Unity Songs". But Malaysians are waking-up from their slumber and are no more FOOLS.
Now what we want is human rights and JUSTICE - and that is first. We want PEACE and UNITY but a peace and unity, which has as its foundation Justice and Human Rights and FREEDOM.
IMMEDIATELY RELEASE ALL THOSE ARRESTED AND STILL BEING DETAINED
(tomorrow's papers - we wonder what it will say or maybe there will be no report about any protest in Kuala Lumpur...or maybe it will be in page 2_...)
A Gandhi-inspired mass civil disobedience
Hindraf legal advisor P Uthayakumar, has declared the movement’s rally today “a success” despite not being able to hand a petition to the British High Commission.
“Despite the police attempts to torture us, we still manage to gather peacefully as united Indians. We have succeeded, the police have failed,” he told a crowd of nearly 2,000 supporters who clap and cheered whenever he finished a sentence.
“We felt very hurt after watching VCDs about how the government would destroy our temples. We are Malaysians but our government treats us like foreigners,” she said.
Tamachelvy, like many other Hindraf supporters, said that the government ban on the rally was unjust, as they have limited means to collectively voice their grievances.
IGP: Police exercise restraint
At about 8am today, police issued repeated warnings to a group of roughly 2,000 Hindraf supporters who had gathered near Plaza Ampang along Jalan Tun Razak, a stone’s throw away from the British High Commission.
“We were restraining ourselves not to use force. There was no body contact,” said Musa, who was heavily rumoured to have overseen police operations in a helicopter.
More than 400 detained
Sunday, November 25, 2007
|I was in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago and witnessed a large protest rally - which was a procession not just a gathering in one location. It was an opposition protest, and the chants were against the then current government and the police. The police, unlike the Malaysian police, was present 'unarmed', with no water canons or tear gas, and they just stood peacefully by the side monitoring ensuring that all went well. Business operated as usual. |
Several years ago, in South Korea, again I witnessed another massive protest and demonstration - and again the police were on the fringes - ready and waiting to get into the picture if maybe things started going wrong. Business went on as usual ....
The protest starts..ends....and all was peaceful....
In Malaysia, however, the problem is the police - who, by their very actions, cause traffic jams, get businesses to close down and violate the human rights and fundamental liberties of Malaysians.
Now, one thing about Malaysians, when they come out to protest, is that they behave very responsibly and in a peaceful manner
Most protests in Malaysia have been on Saturdays at about 3pm or on a Sunday or on a Public Holiday or during lunch-break - and that, by itself, shows a high level of maturity and a great sense of responsibility - Malaysians protest and strike during their "rest time" not during "working hours".
Malaysians also protest because they really have no other effective avenue of expression.
Letters to the Prime Ministers and/or Ministers and/or government departments generally do not even receive any response - not even a response that we have received your letter OR that we are looking into it.
Try to get it into the newspapers through letters to the editor, press releases, etc - and you find that it is never published.
Ask your member of Parliament or State Assemblyman to raise it - did I suggest that, oh no...just forget it (total waste of time most of the time..)
Let us take the fuel-hike protests - If you were to look at the Malaysian newspapers and other media, the impression that one will get is that Malaysians accepted the price increase (and all its consequences) and were happy and fine with it.
That is what disturbs people because it is so far from the truth - and that is why they come out to protest - because if you protest, it gets the attention of the government and its leaders (and it also gets the attention of the local and international media) - at least then (even with the risk of arrest, being sprayed by the water-cannons, being tear-gassed, being kicked and beaten-up...), I have had my opportunity to express myself and be heard.. That is why Malaysians finally protest.
The government goes out and tries to brainwash us into believing that protest and demonstrations are "EVIL", "BAD" - and is "NOT PART OF THE MALAYSIAN CULTURE" - which is all UN-TRUE - for it is universally accepted as being an essential and fundamental human right especially in a nation that claims to be a democracy.
HELLO Prime Minister and Malaysian Government - we do not want "Malaysian Cosmonaut", Malaysians climbing mountains, Highest Twin-Towers, etc - all we want is a JUST and FAIR government that is really democratic and allows for freedom of expression, assembly ...freedom of the media..
WHY DO YOU USE VIOLENCE ON PEACEFUL PROTESTORS ?
BERSIH PROTEST - all they wanted was a clean-up of the election mechanisms ( a good thing, is it not?)
HINDRAF PROTEST - was it not a protest against Malaysia's former colonial power (BRITISH) for bringing Indians to Malaysia as indentured labourers and exploiting them for 150 years - not even against the Barisan National government.
(Of course, I will also place BLAME on the Barisan Nasional government who have failed all Malaysians (i.e. all Malaysian individuals and families) in allowing us to now have one of the largest gap between the rich and the poor in Asia. The 10% richest in Malaysia is about 22 times richer than the poorest 10%, and control about 35% of our wealth...Of course the government hides this fact by only looking at race/ethnic classes..and not individuals/families.
****************20,000 Hindraf protesters rally in KLCC
About 20,000 protesters demonstrated under the shadows of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Twin Towers after their efforts to petition the British High Commission was thwarted by the police with tear gas and chemical-laced water cannon.
The protesters had attempted to gather outside the high commission early this morning but thousands were pushed back by the riot police to outside a two-kilometre radius of the venue.
The protesters – a mix of young and old Indian Malaysians from all parts of the country - were addressed with loudhailers by Hindraf leaders, including P Uttayakumar.
At 1pm, after negotiations with the police, Hindraf leader P Uttayakumar gave a short speech and urged the crowd to disperse peacefully. The crowd was seen walking back down towards Jalan Sultan Ismail, away from the British High Commission.
Lawyer Haris Ibrahim, who led a 10-member Bar Council monitoring team, was stunned by the heavy-handed police action against the protesters.
Today's memorandum was to petition Queen Elizabeth II to appoint a Queen's counsel to argue the case on their behalf.
Friday, November 23, 2007
And now they are to manage detention centres -- and they will be "..paid allowances to work full-time in shifts...". YES, they will still be volunteers being paid allowances.
Who then can work "full-time in shiftc"? And the answer can only be the unemployed in our community.
Rather than increasing the number of full-time professionally trained public officers, with regular salaries and other labour protetions, including pension rights - the Malaysian government is probably using RELA as a means to provide 'the unemployed' in the country temporary work and some financial relief... and this is very wrong.
Friday November 23, 2007
Rela to manage detention depots
PUTRAJAYA: Rela members will be trained to take over the full-time running of the country’s 14 immigration depots by the end of this year.
The Cabinet made this decision recently to give Rela control of all these detention centres, which currently house some 11,000 illegal immigrants.
Rela is a voluntary corps under the Home Affairs Ministry and is governed by the Emergency (Stipulated Powers) Act 1964.
Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said it would take about two years to train his ministry staff to run these immigration centres.
“So, for the time being, Rela members will be put in charge of these centres.
“They will be trained in aspects of crowd control, how to escort illegal immigrants and maintaining records, among others,” he told reporters at his office here yesterday.
Radzi added that Rela was already in charge of running two centres; one at the KL International Airport and the other at Pasir Gudang, Johor.
“And they are doing well there,” he said, adding that each centre run by Rela would have 20 to 30 of its members managing it.
They will be paid allowances to work full-time in shifts and members will be sourced from areas in the vicinity of the detention centres.
For instance, said Radzi, Rela members living around the depot in Lenggeng (in Negri Sembilan) will be given the opportunity to work there.
He said the running of the depots before this by the staff of the Prisons Department (which comes under the purview of the Internal Security Ministry) had made it difficult for Rela members to catch, detain and deport illegal immigrants.
This, in turn, had contributed to the overcrowding at the depots, he said.
So far this year, Rela had detained 30,332 foreigners for not having travel documents and had screened 156,070 others.
Radzi said Rela members carried out 30 to 40 raids a night, adding that the Cabinet had approved RM26mil to build two more detention centres and to expand an existing one to resolve the overcrowding problem.
|Friday, 23 November 2007, 08:33am|
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Well, one development can be that if consensus cannot be achieved the matter can be referred to the ASEAN Summit (happens 2 times a year) for a decision. Maybe, after this there will be an ASEAN position on Burma, the happenings in Southern Thailand, etc...
Before this, the biggest FLAW in ASEAN was that the decision making is by way of consensus - and as such even when there is a gross human rights violations in one of the member states of ASEAN, there can never be a consensus and as such ASEAN cannot make a stance or take a position.
Likewise, when it comes to trade agreements, like the WTO - ASEAN could not take a collective position. Now, it is permissible for "ASEAN minus X" but that also depends on consensus. Will it work. To be an effective regional grouping - it must be able to also act as such where it matters.
Interestingly, the signing of the ASEAN Charter by the ASEAN leaders of the 10 ASEAN member states will not bring the Charter into force --- (only a P.R. exercise after all ????) -- it comes into force only after all ten(10) member state sign and submit their "instrument of ratification". ........
"After its signing, the Charter will have to be ratified (or formally accepted to be bound) in every Member State.
It will come into force on the 30th day after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification (or instrument of acceptance) with the Secretary-General of ASEAN."
ASEAN Leaders Sign ASEAN Charter
Singapore, 20 November 2007
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ASEAN CHARTER
For the first time after 40 years of regional cooperation, ASEAN Member States have codified organic Southeast Asian diplomacy, listed key principles and purposes of ASEAN.
The Charter represents a momentous occasion for ASEAN Member States to reiterate their commitment to community-building in ASEAN, as can be seen in the Preamble, and to reposition ASEAN to better meet challenges of the 21st century with new and improved ASEAN structure, as shown in Chapter IV.
ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong says that “the ASEAN Charter will serve the organisation well in three interrelated ways, such as, formally accord ASEAN legal personality, establish greater institutional accountability and compliance system, and reinforce the perception of ASEAN as a serious regional player in the future of the Asia Pacific region”.
The ASEAN Charter is, therefore, an historic agreement among the ten Member States to establish the legal and institutional framework for ASEAN as the premier inter-governmental organization of the region.
There are 13 Chapters, 55 Articles, and 4 annexes in the ASEAN Charter.
It was drafted by the High Level Task Force on the Drafting of the ASEAN Charter, consisting of one representative from each of the 10 Member States.
After its signing, the Charter will have to be ratified (or formally accepted to be bound) in every Member State.
It will come into force on the 30th day after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification (or instrument of acceptance) with the Secretary-General of ASEAN.
After that, the Charter will be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations.
ASEAN is moving from being State-centric to be more people-oriented. At least 10 of the 15 stated purposes of ASEAN in Chapter I concern the livelihood and well-being of peoples in ASEAN.
Adherence to democratic values, and respects for human rights and fundamental freedoms are stipulated in three separate places in the Charter : the Preamble, the Purposes, and the Principles.
This is to emphasize that all ASEAN Member States share the same aspiration and common desire to promote democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms, rule of law, and good governance.
ASEAN Human Rights Body
The Charter calls for the establishment of an ASEAN human rights body as a new organ of ASEAN. This is a new and important commitment in ASEAN as far as promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of peoples in ASEAN are concerned.
The terms of reference for the ASEAN human rights body shall be determined by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting.
The Charter includes these two among the key principles of ASEAN : “shared commitment and collective responsibility in enhancing regional peace, security and prosperity“ and “enhanced consultations on matters seriously affecting the common interest of ASEAN”.
In Chapter II, ASEAN Member States confer on ASEAN a legal personality, which is separate from theirs.
Details of what ASEAN can or cannot do with its legal personality will be discussed and stated in a supplementary protocol after the signing of the Charter.
The membership criteria are stated in Chapter III, Article 6.
Essentially, the improved structure will enable ASEAN to improve coordination, ensure prompt implementation of decisions and agreements, and speedy response to new opportunities and challenges.
Important changes include :
ENTITIES ASSOCIATED WITH ASEAN
Chapter V of the Charter concerns engagement with entities associated with ASEAN. Five categories of these entities are listed in Annex 2. First on the list is the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), which is the key partner in government of ASEAN.
The Secretary-General of ASEAN is in charge of updating the list, upon the recommendation of the Committee of Permanent Representatives in Jakarta.
CONSULTATION AND CONSENSUS
The Charter reaffirms as “a basic principle” decision-making in ASEAN by consultation and consensus.
Where consensus cannot be achieved, the ASEAN Summit may decide on how a specific decision can be made.
If there is a serious breach of the Charter or non-compliance, the matter will be referred to the ASEAN Summit for decision.
FLEXIBLE PARTICIPATION IN ECONOMIC SCHEMES
The Charter permits flexible participation in the implementation of economic commitments in ASEAN, including the use of the ASEAN Minus X formula where there is a consensus to do so.
Under the ASEAN Minus X formula, a Member State may opt out from certain economic schemes that it is not yet ready to participate, although it has taken part in determining and approving such economic schemes in the first place.
NEW DISPUTE SETTLEMENT MODALITIES
ASEAN may establish new dispute settlement mechanisms where necessary.
Disputes in the ASEAN Economic Community may be referred to the 2004 ASEAN Protocol on Enhanced Dispute Settlement Mechanism for some solution.
The ASEAN Chairman and the Secretary-General of ASEAN can be requested to provide good offices, conciliation or mediation in a dispute. This is a new initiative in ASEAN.
Unresolved disputes shall be referred to the ASEAN Summit for its decision.
It is possible that the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) may also be included under the Single ASEAN Chairmanship.
The ASEAN Chairmanship will start on 1 January and end on 31 December.
ENGLISH AS THE WORKING LANGUAGE OF ASEAN
The Charter reaffirms that English is the working language of ASEAN.
(This is one of the few things that ASEAN has outdone the European Union, where every official EU document must be written in at least three languages.)
Under Chapter XI, the following will add to the creation of ASEAN identity:
(Two more things that ASEAN has outdone the EU : ASEAN will have the motto and anthem; whereas the EU has already abandoned its earlier plan to adopt “United in Diversity” as the European motto, and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as the European anthem.)
ACCREDITATION OF AMBASSADORS TO ASEAN
States that are Dialogue Partners of ASEAN and relevant inter-governmental organizations, such as the EU, may appoint and accredit Ambassadors to ASEAN. But there is no Jakarta residency requirement for these Ambassadors to ASEAN.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five founding Member States, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.
The ASEAN Secretariat is in Jakarta. It was established in 1976, 10 years after the organization was founded.
Its homepage is at www.aseansec.org
The five-year term of the incumbent Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Ong Keng Yong from Singapore, will end on 31 December 2007. He will be succeeded by H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, a former Foreign Minister of Thailand.
Interesting Changes to the ASEAN Institutional Framework
|Asean rights pact 'ignores migrant workers'|
Migrant rights groups in Southeast Asia have slammed Asean leaders for signing a charter that ignores the issue of migrant workers.
Yet, there is “not one word” that recognises the contributions of migrant workers towards the economic development of member-states, and neither are there provisions for the protection and promotion of their rights and welfare, said the groups in separate statements.
Kuala Lumpur-based Caram Asia noted that Asean is a mix of sending and receiving countries for about 5 million migrant workers - most of whom are from Asean countries - who have contributed to the region’s economic progress and prosperity.
|Thursday, 22 November 2007, 07:24am|
Fu said the prisons were now holding 40,821 prisoners, or 30% more than the ideal capacity of around 31,200 people.
|Now the question that we must ask is WHY did they renounce their MALAYSIAN citizenship? The other interesting point is why over 1,000 Malays have also renounced their citizenship? Maybe it was just migrating to "greener pastures" - or maybe it was marriage, etc. I wonder whether the answers given by the government were "guesses" or really the answers given by those who renounced their citizenships.|
|Renouncing citizenship: Chinese top the list|
Chinese Malaysians record the highest number of those who have renounced their citizenship, followed by the Malays and Indians, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
He also explained that 106,000 people have renounced citizenship since Independence in 1957.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
|Rights lawyer: KL lockdown illegal|
Police acted illegally when they locked down Kuala Lumpur ahead of the massive Bersih rally last Saturday, claimed human rights lawyer N Surendren.
He also said all those detained had been released but may be charged for participating in an illegal assembly.
No. 13, 15 & 17, Leboh Pasar Besar, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2031 3003 (Hunting Line) Fax: 03-2034 2825, 2026 1313, 2072 5818
BERSIH Gathering: Police blockades and use of force unnecessary
The Bar Council sent a team of 40 lawyers to monitor the BERSIH gathering on 10 November 2007.
The gathering despite being attended by tens of thousands, was disciplined and peaceful contrary to recent statements by Ministers and the Inspector-General of Police. It proves once again that Malaysian citizens are rational and responsible people capable of exercising their rights of expression and assembly with mature restraint.
There were nevertheless several worrying features in the conduct of the police:
The large number of police personnel deployed to man blockades, to inspect and detain vehicles and persons, and further to prevent persons from entering the city to join the gathering was unreasonable. It was also a disproportionate use of resources which could have been channeled to other initiatives of crime-fighting.
The barricades around Dataran Merdeka with heavy police and FRU personnel aimed at prohibiting persons from entering the square forced large groups of people to be concentrated in the immediate vicinity of the square such as Central Market and Masjid Jamek. This caused more inconvenience to those who did not wish to be at the gathering, and strengthened the spirit of those who did.
The use of force around the areas of Masjid Jamek, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Raja Laut to disperse unarmed and non-provocative crowds without prior warning was unnecessary. Deploying physical aggression and violence, and spraying chemically-laced water and tear gas are measures of last resort, not of first instance. As a result, it was unfortunate that several people were injured and many others including bystanders hurt by the chemicals in the water and gas. It is noteworthy that the authorities initiated physical force on the crowds, and caused blockades and 'stand-offs' on the roads to prevent anyone from walking to Dataran Merdeka on to Istana Negara. Unsurprisingly however, and due to the sheer numbers of participants, the majority if not all of them found their way by different routes to the Istana Negara road.
The deployment of several police helicopters flying very low to the ground was extremely dangerous in addition to being provocative and a form of intimidation. Further, the noise the helicopters created interrupted essential communications for those who were at the gathering and the authorities on the ground.
Despite the recent introduction of section 28A of the Criminal Procedure Code, the police refused to give the Bar's Urgent Arrest Lawyers Team access to those who were arrested and detained. No accurate and adequate information on the detainees and their grounds of arrest was forthcoming. Our lawyers had to force their way into the police station to seek further information. A police report has been lodged, and the Bar Council trusts the police will investigate the complaint immediately.
At about 11.00pm on 10 November 2007, 34 persons were arrested and released in separate batches. There were several who needed medical treatment and were sent to the hospital by our lawyers.
The Bar Council reiterates its position that citizens must be allowed the right to peacefully assemble in exercising their democratic and fundamental human right. We urge the authorities to facilitate this fundamental right of freedom of expression and assembly.
The BERSIH gathering is clear evidence (a) that attempts to block assemblies would create greater unintended chaos than had the same be facilitated to proceed expeditiously and (b) that large yet peaceful gatherings may be organised in our country without the necessity of obtaining permits from the police. This requirement in section 27 of the Police Act 1967 that permits must be given before an assembly may be held must be repealed immediately.
12 November 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
|Bersih slams gov't over rally crackdown|
Opposition and human rights groups condemned authorities for attempting to suppress the biggest political rally in a decade with tear gas, water cannons and arrests.
Sunday's newspapers instead ran photos of the traffic jams that the roadblocks generated.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
|Journalists attacked by riot police|
A number of journalists covering poll reform group Bersih rally today were kicked and beaten by riot police as they sought to disperse protesters at the Masjid Jamek area.
The Bersih rally calling for clean and fair elections has attracted an estimated 40,000 people despite heavy rain, government threats and police roadblocks.
Protesters were unable to congregate at Dataran Merdeka after the venue was sealed off by the police, and were forced to gather at four alternative meeting points at Masjid Jamek, Pasar Seni, Sogo department store and Masjid Negara.
Malaysia police fire tear gas at protest
By JULIA ZAPPEI and EILEEN NG, Associated Press Writers 1 hour, 46 minutes ago
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Police fired tear gas Saturday to disperse hundreds of activists demanding electoral reforms in's biggest anti-government street protests in nearly a decade.
The demonstrators were stopped by a police cordon near a mosque in centralas they tried to march to a square. Police estimated the crowds at between 10,000 and 30,000.
Shouting "God is great," protests fled when police fired tear gas and a water canon, many of them running into the mosque. When they re-emerged, police fired the water cannon again.
Protest organizers said 10 people were arrested, though there was no immediate confirmation from police. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The protest was organized by some 70 non-governmental organizations and opposition political parties demanding reforms ahead of general elections widely expected for early next year.
They demanded the removal of phantom voters from electoral rolls, a crackdown on government workers using absentee ballots, access to state-controlled media by all political parties, and an end to vote-buying and other irregularities.
"This is our right," said Rosli, a 40-year-old government worker who refused to give his full name, fearing retribution. "We just want to correct what is wrong. We just ask for fair elections."
The government had declared the demonstration illegal and blocked all roads leading to Merdeka Square.
The protest was the biggest since supporters of former deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim took to the streets for several days in September 1998 to protest his dismissal by then-leader Mahathir Mohamad.
Anwar subsequently formed the People's Justice Party, one of three opposition parties supporting Saturday's demonstration.
"It is a good signal that Malaysians want freedom and democracy, and they want free and fair elections," Anwar told reporters.
Mahathir retired in 2003 after 22 years in office, handing over the reins to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
|Who’s to blame for Asia’s highest income disparity?|
Since Malaya’s ‘independence’ from British rule on Aug 31, 1957, the control of the government has been in the hands of the Barisan Nasional. All prime ministers of Malaysia have been from Umno. Hence Umno, MCA, MIC, in short the BN government, is responsible for the manner in which our nation has developed economically, socially and politically.
The BN government has failed the Malaysian people when it was disclosed in the United Nations Human Development Report for 2004 that Malaysia is now embarrassingly one of the countries with the highest income disparity between the rich and the poor in Asia.
Malaysia has the largest gap where the top 10 percent is 22.1 times richer than the poorest 10 percent. Malaysia’s income gap is higher than Philippines (16.5), Thailand (13.4), Indonesia (7.8) and Vietnam (8.4). The richest 10 percent in Malaysia control 38.4 percent of the country’s economic income as compared to the poorest 10 percent controlling 1.7 percent.
Who is to be blamed for this state of affairs? It has to be the BN government and nobody else. Over the years, BN has embarked on an odd development strategy that has resulted in the rich becoming richer and the poor getting poorer. Interestingly, we have today a prime minister with a son and a son-in-law who definitely cannot be said to be poor and with the capacity of possibly plucking millions of ringgit when needed.
Taking a look at the political leaders in the BN, we cannot but wonder whether all of them are in that elite group of the 10% of Malaysians that control about 38% of the country’s wealth.
The New Economic Policy’s (NEP) primary objective for the eradication of poverty surely would not have been achieved. We really have to wonder as to the actual number of persons and families that are really poor even though the government says that poverty is being eradicated in Malaysia .
The Malaysian government has been playing smart by always talking about the big picture – the nation’s economy and not the individual or the individual’s family economy. The government’s resistance to the call for a minimum wage is just another indicator of a government not so bothered with the welfare of individual Malaysians.
Traveling along the many non-privatised highways, we see that the Malaysian roads have not been upgraded and look like they were 20 to 30 years ago. We also recall that in late 2005, the Education Minister had revealed that out of the 4,036 national schools, 794 were without electricity, and another 1,555 without toilet facilities. For this, there can be no other government to blame other than the BN government.
What about police stations and fire stations? Have there really been an increase in numbers over the years? But oh yes, this would not be a priority with a government preoccupied with the economy.
Then, we must note that the number of judges in the country is still too low compared with other Commonwealth nations. The Malaysian ratio is 2.4 judges to a million people - a far cry from the ratio in India (10.5), Australia (57.1), Britain (50.1) and Canada (75). Of course, courts, judges and justice are not a priority for a government bent on making some individuals richer.
Most likely nothing much will change. In fact, many would just go the ballot box and vote for BN again. In the last general elections, it was ‘give the new prime minister a chance’. What will it be now? Give him another chance?
The biggest problem with Malaysians has been self-centeredness and fear. Fear of being persecuted if it is known that they voted for the opposition. To this, I would say think about the future of your children and their children (or just other Malaysians) and bravely express your dissatisfaction with the BN government with your vote in the coming election.