|This is a good idea that can be followed at all levels - at churches, temples, residential areas, etc -- |
People should meet the candidates and choose the best "Wakil Rakyat" ...and these sessions should not stop at elections but possibly be held once every six months creating a regular forum for the constituents to meet their "wakil rakyat"..and that will ensure that "wakil rakyats's" are doing their job and expressing the view of the RAKYAT and not their own or that of their 'political party or coalition" or some select interest groups...
Donald booed at church forum
|Soon Li Tsin | Feb 28, 08 2:38pm |
It was proven in St Francis Xavier’s Church last night that comparing how Malaysia is better off than Burma will only result in boos and jeers.
This was the response that Petaling Jaya Selatan (PJS) parliamentary incumbent Donald Lim received when he used the same example on how well the country is doing - several times.
"Under the BN leadership, we are doing much better than Burma ..." he said before he was interrupted by boos and jeers.
In a closed-door election forum attended by 250 parishioners, voters in the church were given a rare chance to hear both Barisan Nasional and opposition candidate slug it out on stage.
The deputy tourism minister was pitted against his opponent PKR’s Hee Loy Sian while Bukit Gasing incumbent Gerakan’s Dr Lim Thuan Seng squared off with DAP’s Edward Lee.
The session kicked off with the soft-spoken Hee introducing himself before explaining PKR manifesto to the audience.
Boos and cheers
This was followed by Donald’s pitch on BN’s past successes and his PJS manifesto for the city which includes battling crime and traffic problems.
Thuan Seng - who was late - gave a speech on his past achievements and how he has given his best to help his constituents.
Last speaker Lee was clearly the ‘star’ of the night when he promised to lobby for local council elections should he be elected and urged the people to be more proactive in handling community issues which drew applause numerous times.
The question-and-answer session resulted in many serious discussion surrounding PJ’s traffic woes and high assessment rates.
Lee drew cheers when answering several questions but Hee remained silent throughout since most of the questions were directed to the two BN candidates.
However, the session was mostly punctuated by humourous moments most notably when Donald developed a trend in his answers by saying ‘That is an interesting question’ and ‘You can call me and I will get it done’ for every question directed to him.
Asked to comment on how to stop talented Malaysians from leaving the country, the three-term PJS parliamentarian said he was ‘okay with it’ before talking about the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ program which led to boos by the crowd again.
When a member of the audience asked Donald to talk about oil subsidies and profits by Pertonas, he said it was ‘not a state issue’ to more jeers from the audience.
The crowd also laughed at Donald’s expression as he passed the microphone to Thuan Seng several times to avoid questions.
Towards the tail end of the Q&A session, Maxwell Towers Residents Association chairman Victor Oorjitham had challenged the BN to sign a pledge that they help prevent Bukit Gasing from being developed and to get Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to make a public announcement that there will be no development on the 15.52 hectare secondary forest.
The crowd gave a standing ovation as Victor went up on stage to give the respective incumbents the pledge form.
Not signing pledge
However, Thuan Seng declined to sign it but promised to get the Kuala Lumpur City Hall to disclose their development plans.
"I am not going to sign this pledge. When you talk about your rights, about justice and fairness but we must think about other people’s rights.
"I won’t say I can do this and that and perform miracles like somebody’s manifesto, they are bluffing. At the end of the day I will walk away with my conscience clear.
"If you want to vote me in or not this time, it’s your choice. I’ll do what I can for you. I’ll let my records speak for itself," he said.
Meanwhile Donald said he can sign the pledge but is unable to get Abdullah to make a public announcement.
"If you come to see me, we can do something about it. What for I sign something that is impossible. Come see me, we can discuss ways to get around it," he said to the amusement of the audience.
DBKL has approved land owner Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd’s plans to build 142 bungalows on the green lung of Petaling Jaya.
Protests have taken place since 2006 from residents concerned with the possible land erosion due to the hill’s soil composition which may results in landslides.
The Catholic SFX parish has previously held a similar dialogue between the BN and opposition candidates in the 2004 election.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
|Report card: Excellence, glory, distinction|
|Feb 26, 08 4:06pm|
| On the eve of the 2004 general election, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition unveiled an impressive manifesto under the slogan of ‘Excellence, Glory, Distinction’. It contains a slew of breathtaking promises involving the economy, education and religion, among others.|
Four years later, with another election in two weeks, how did the BN fare in fulfilling its promises? Here’s our verdict.
In order to face future economic challenges, BN will:
Four economic growth corridors were introduced during this period; Iskandar Development Region (IDR), Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), Eastern Corridor Economic Region (ECER) and Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).
The report states that the richest 10 percent controls 38.4 percent of the economic income compared to the poorest 10 percent who control only 1.7 percent. As a result of this, Kuala Lumpur has seen increasing numbers of squatters and slums and an increase in petty crime such as snatch theft and robberies.
BN also did poorly on the protection of the environment. Here are some examples:
Currently there are several law suits in Sarawak where natives are suing timber giants for logging and having presence on native customary rights (NCR) land. Most natives have accused the state government to be in cahoots with the logging giants.
The government officially scrapped the Broga mega-incinerator in 2007 after dogged protests mounted by residents against the incinerator. Since 2002, villagers from Broga have protested against the 1,500-tonne incinerator plant on grounds that it posed a serious threat to public health, the environment and their livelihood.
The Save Bukit Gasing movement began after the land owner, Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd, has applied to build 142 bungalows on the 15-hectare land in 2006.
Bukit Gasing - considered the green lunch of Petaling Jaya - is highly susceptible to land erosion due to its soil composition and have gotten residents worried that development on the hill would cause landslides.
The movement recently filed for a judicial review by the High Court to compel DBKL to hold a public hearing on the proposed development application on Feb 11, 2008 after the city hall denied residents access to their meeting with the developers.
While the government appears to make headway in the fight against poverty, it doesn’t look like it has the political will to bridge the income inequality gap. More so, when it ignores intra-ethnic disparities in its bid to strengthen the New Economic Policy.
BN will advance our present education system as follows:
In July 3, 2006, Deputy Human Resources Minister Abdul Rahman Bakar revealed that some 70% of public universities and institutes of higher learning graduates in the country are unemployed. UiTM (Mara Technology University) showed as having the highest number with 3,278 unemployed graduates. This is in contrast with 26% for private institutions of higher learning and 34% for foreign graduates.
At the same time, Human Resource Minister Fong Chan Onn disclosed that his ministry has spent a whopping RM82 million from RM100 million allocated to run a graduate retraining programme to sharpen the skills of unemployed graduates.
Local universities continue to perform poorly according to influential Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) on world university rankings.
Universiti Malaya (UM) plunged from its 89th place in 2004 to 192 in 2006. Last year it fell out of the top 200 rankings altogether. Meanwhile, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) rose by 105 places to break into the top 200 ranked universities for the first time, climbing from 289 last year to 185 in 2006. It did not make the top 200 cut a year later either.
Meritocracy in education is still a pipedream. Meanwhile, expect our top educational institutions to continue to slide downwards.
Muslim-born Indian who was raised as a Hindu M Revathi was detained at the Malacca Syariah High Court in January last year when she attended a hearing over her application to have her official religious status be recognised as a Hindu. She was detained at the court and subsequently held at the Ulu Yam religious rehabilitation camp in Selangor for six months until she was freed in July 2007.
Islam Hadhari has appeared to fail miserably.
|Did we really expect the High Court to release the HINDRAF 5 -- after all note that the court can only look and see whether procedure was followed in the issuance of the Detention Order. The court cannot look and/or review the reasons forwarded for the Detention and/or whether there is any evidence whatsoever to support the said allegations..... |
Rejected - Hindraf 5 to remain under ISA
|Feb 26, 08 12:32pm|
The Kuala Lumpur High Court today rejected the habeas corpus applications filed by five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders held under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
Judge Zainal Azman Abdul Aziz told a packed courtroom that the detention order issued by the internal security minister was valid and met all the requirements under the ISA.
He said the court had taken into consideration the affidavits filed by the applicants and the affidavits filed in reply by the respondents, including the supporting affidavit by the minister.
However, he said there was nothing to show that the requirements were violated.
The judge also stated that based on previous cases, the minister could order a person to be detained under Section 8 of the ISA.
Hundreds of supporters
In their habeas corpus applications, the five stated that their detention was unlawful because of the vague grounds given for their arrest.
The five - P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, T Vasantha Kumar, V Ganabatirau and R Kenghadharan were held on Dec 13 for allegedly organising an illegal assembly on Nov 25 and for making seditious statements against the government.
Disappointed with the judgment, some 300 Hindraf supporters outside the courtroom shouted 'Valga Hindraf' (long live Hindraf) and 'Valga Makkal Sakthi' (long live people's power).
The detainees' counsels Karpal Singh and his son Gobind Singh Deo told the crowd that an appeal would be filed with the Federal Court tomorrow.
Gobind said while they respected the court’s decision, they were not happy with it and vowed to fight for justice till the end.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Back to the PM’s “proven track record”, surely the year 2007 was a very “revealing” year and there was so much that the ordinary citizen of Bolehland could fall back on to help them decide who they should vote for this coming GE.
As one BN MP had so proudly declared in parliament last year, Bolehland had great cause to celebrate Merdeka, for we are “10 times more (economically) advanced than
Why bother with former European Commission Ambassador to Malaysia Thierry Rommel’s remark that the NEP amounted to protectionism against foreign companies? It is only “loglokal” that Umno still needs not only an unleveled-playing-field but also to move the goalposts from time to time.
2007 was another
Even government backbenchers doubted the positive economic indicators by the government and expressed disappointment that the grassroots were not benefiting from domestic economic development. It is difficult to gauge what is going on in the grassroots when you are governing from the fourth floor!
Corruption allegations were also made against the Deputy Internal Security Minister, the Sabah and the Sarawak Chief Ministers and the Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief! It was revealed that 40% of the senior police officers could be arrested without further investigations – strictly on the basis of their lifestyles!
Another first was when the parties suspected of corruption investigated each other! The police investigated the (then) chief of the ACA; the ACA investigated the Internal Security Deputy Minister and the IGP….and the Attorney-General decided that all three were clean!
What the Mahathir administration took to “achieve” in 22 years – pervasive corruption and criminal breach of trust, mismanagement and wastage of public funds – Pak Lah’s regime did even better in his first four years, made evident especially in the 2006 Auditor General’s Report.
Dr M’s administration ended with
The crime rate soared from 156,315 cases in 2003 to 224,298 cases in 2007 – a sharp rise of some 45% in the past four years of Pak Lah’s premiership. The number of serious crimes increased by 13.36% nationwide, with gang robbery without the use of firearms rising by more than 159% .
Shocked by the crime statistics of 2007, Pak Lah came up with a multi-pronged anti-crime strategy. What was really needed was the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), a key proposal by the Royal Police Commission.
The PM had in fact in principle agreed to the setting up of the IPCMC on 24 January 2006, but by the end of 2007 his track record showed that his biggest “crime” was to shelve the IPCMC and replace it with a toothless Special Complaints Commission proposal.
It was quite a record – they intimidated bloggers with police reports (and yet could not pinpoint what they were complaining about!), law suits, arbitrary arrests, police interrogations and threats of the government’s use of the ISA, the Sedition Act and a host of other laws.
On International Women's Day, Tourism Minister Tunku Adnan bin Tengku Mansor put on record how the government (also read as Umno) felt about bloggers: “All bloggers are liars, they cheat people using all kinds of methods. From my understanding, out of 10,000 unemployed bloggers, 8,000 are women.”
But bloggers were not bothered. (Raja
Najib added that the role of the country’s legislature “should be given due respect not only from the elected representatives but also the people”. It was difficult to take Najib seriously especially when one takes into account:
The PM himself declared that the ISA “is still relevant and useful” and that “matters pertaining to the rights of detainees will be given due consideration and assessment”. How can this be done when the basic tenet of the ISA is to detain a person without trial?
In a landmark decision the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that ex-ISA detainee Abdul Malek’s arrest was unlawful and that he was assaulted under police custody. He was awarded RM2.5 million in damages.
But it did not deter the government from ordering the arrest of five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) under the ISA on the false notion linking them to terrorists without a shred of evidence. Samy Vellu would later confirm that was no such evidence.
“I think this government under Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is a very, very liberal government,” Nazri tried very hard to convince himself as he spoke at a National Union of Journalists (NUJ) forum in September.
· Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin (Zam) told the top editors of the media that there was “no need to tell the PM the truth”?
· Chief secretary to the government Mohd Sidek Hassan instructed the media to avoid emphasising on news deemed negative against the government, such as the 2006 Auditor-General’s report?
· Chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Halim Shafie ordered broadcasters against giving airtime for speeches by opposition political parties?
· the media were barred from covering the public hearing on crime held by the
· all editors were rounded up to take specific instructions from the 4th Floor Boys in Putrajaya as to how to report the wedding of Pak Lah?
· Zam told local newspapers not to quote from Internet blogs or use them as sources of information?
· the Internal Security Ministry issued a directive to mainstream media not to publish any news on the issue of Malaysia being an Islamic State and only to publish statements from Pak Lah and his deputy?
· Bernard Dompok’s disagreement with the PM and deputy PM that the country was an Islamic state was blacked out by the mainstream media?
· editorial interference led to self-censorship which in turn had resulted in stories being slanted heavily towards the government such as the public rallies by Bersih and Hindraf?
Here too Pak Lah and his government achieved a record of sorts. The two main players were then Chief Justice (CJ) Ahmad Fairuz and Nazri who is also the de facto Law Minister. Both were ready to do whatever it took and to utter the most naïve and nonsensical in order to maintain the status quo.
For the first time, the country did not have a Chief Judge for eight months, and the Nazri would insist that there “is no law that says the Chief Justice cannot act as the Chief Judge of
It was also the first time when a de facto Law Minister of Bolehland openly declared that he is the Minister for the Chief Justice! It showed how nascent Nazri was.
For the first time too the country heard a CJ confess the existence of judges who
(a) were often seen socializing with lawyers, prosecutors and corporate figures while hearing their cases in court;
(b) were “constantly angry and foul-tempered”, portraying themselves as being the most brilliant or perfect judge in court;
(c) accepted bribes.
No action was taken against all these judges!
The super fast-track appointment of Umno lawyer Zaki Azmi as the president of the Court of Appeal was also unprecedented. The government was passing a vote of no confidence on the judiciary and saying there was no one else in the judiciary worthy of the position!
Fairuz would go on to advocate the abolition of Common Law and favouring its replacement by an Islamic law system. He would challenge Karpal Singh to reveal the name of a Federal Court judge who had not written judgments in as many as 35 cases. When the latter did, the then CJ kept an elegant silence.
With his track record, Fairuz was put on a fast-track to retirement. It was perhaps the most “correct, correct, correct” thing that Pak Lah and his government did. It would also give Fairuz a lot of time to recall his supposed infamous telephone conversation with V. K. Lingam.
And so they told Pak Lah the truth –
on 8 Sept. when 750 people gathered near Batu Buruk, in Trengganu for a Bersih ceremah;
on 26 Sept. when 2,000 lawyers and others marched to the PM's Department in Putrajaya to hand over a memorandum asking for a Royal Commission to investigate the lingering Lingam tape scandal.
On 10 Nov. 40,000 converged at Istana Negara to express their concern over the conduct of elections in Malaysia;
on 25 Nov., about 40,000 ethnic Indians protested against the marginalisation of the Indian community;
on 9 Dec., a 100-odd crowd attempted to conduct a march commemorating Human Rights Day.
The tell-me-the-truth government could not handle the truth. Predictably each assembly was labeled “illegal” – is the Federal Constitution illegal? We were told it is not our culture to demonstrate – ask Umno, its in their history. It will damaged the country’s good name – peaceful assemblies are a common democratic feature overseas. There will be violence – only when the police “riot”.
In sharp contrast was former deputy PM Musa Hitam, who, when asked in an interview whether
Pak Lah’s ministers stammered, stuttered and struggled to make some sense in front of the international media and to justify the government’s desperate responses such as charging the peaceful Hindraf assembly for “attempted murder”!
The mainstream media sank to a new low. At the 50th year of our nationhood we still have a servile press sucking up to their political superiors and giving stories a spin and a slant that suits, soothes and serves the government.
The police pranced, pounced on and provoked. They pushed and pulverized. They pummeled and reduced to a pulp. They pounded with chemical-laced water and pierced the air with tear gas.
But the people, especially in the Bersih and Hindraf assemblies showed they were no longer afraid. There were even moments when they stood their ground. The police lost all authority and respect Fully armed, they were helpless!
Rage on Race & Religion
The PM, of whom well-known writer M. Bakri Musa calls “His Hollowness the Imam of Islam Hadhari” failed to put a leash on the increasing number of lower echelon zealots or those whom columnist Helen Ang calls “Little Mullah Napoleons” running riot with their brand of religion.
Marina Mahathir’s Musings in May 2007 highlighted the existence of a “new association registered for the propagation of the shallow and superficial (SS)” and meant for those “who have nothing better to do with their lives than look for monsters under their beds, enemies in their blankets or crosses in their buns”.
“Just as we don't see the supreme irony of trumpeting our religious superiority while at the same time claiming that it only takes biscuits to destroy us, we don't see the irony of extolling ourselves as a superior race while at the same time insisting on crutches and handouts,” was Marina’s marvelous conclusion.
“2007 has proved to be one of the most divisive and troubled years in the half-a-century of Malaysia's nationhood – with religious polarization assuming its most serious dimension, compounding an already difficult problem of racial polarization in the nation-building process,” observed Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang.
In 2007, Pak Lah would create a record of sorts by contradicting himself time and again on matters concerning race and religion. For example, he would preach the virtues of inter-religious dialogue but would go on to ban the Building Bridges Conference, a seminar meant to bring together Christian and Muslim scholars of international repute.
The PM would insist on Malaysians being sensitive to each other but he would defend Hishammuddin’s brandishing of the keris at the Umno annual general assembly. He would also give his blessings to Umno holding its annual general assembly – on Deepavali!
He would emphasise that Malaysia is not a secular nor a theocratic state but would later decide to follow his deputy in declaring that Malaysia is an Islamic state – and made sure that the mainstream media carried his and Najib’s views only – what a dialogue!
In his Christmas message of 2007 he would call on Malaysians to move forward and put the country’s interest before any “narrowly-defined demands”. He would then be so “narrow-minded” as to ban the use of the word “Allah” by those of non-Muslim faiths, and its use in the Herald, a Catholic weekly!
Anwar Ibrahim provides a good comment on Pak Lah's track record in this regard: “The ruling BN coalition is appealing to Muslim sentiment to reinforce its support in elections which could come in March…Malaysia's problem is not radicalism…The real issue is what I would describe as state-sponsored Muslim puritanism more by racist sentiments than religious principles.”
Flip-flopping into the future?
After four years, the PM has no concrete results to show – just cheap claptrap. The only significant change of Pak Lah was when he made an amendment to the Federal Constitution to allow the then 65-year-old Election Commission Chief to serve until the age of 66 – do you smell a rat?
Will the citizens of Bolehland re-elect the “flip-flop” PM and continue to stomach the farce, flaws and fraud flung at our faces by the 4th Floor Boys? Will Malaysians want to bring back the many soiled reputations, spent characters and self-seeking politicians of UMNO and the BN?
It is time to get real. Even the part-time model “space participant”, who came close to a moonwalk at the cost of RM90 million of our hard-earned money, had to come down to earth, and is probably busy back at the catwalk.
Indeed, ratting through the past four years it does not take very much for one to see that Pak Lah has ratted on his promises of 2004. Surely, enough is enough! A
Happy Rat Year!
14 Feb. 2008
Pulling up bosses who abuse foreign workersBy : Suganthi Suparmaniam
KUALA LUMPUR: The Labour Department will go all out this year to prosecute employers who mistreat their foreign workers as they have tainted Malaysia's good name.
To date, the department has 45 cases pending. They include unpaid wages, unfair deductions of salaries and abusive employers.
He acknowledged that outsourcing companies, which bring in workers in large numbers before contracting them out to work with different employers, have caused many problems.
"We will do our best to inspect the outsourcing companies," he said, adding that cancelling the permits of such unscrupulous companies was not under his jurisdiction.
The conference, jointly organised by the Bar Council and the International Labour Organisation, was attended by about 300 participants.
Khamis said his department had also proposed that employers pay for the insurance for their domestic workers, failing which they would be fined a maximum of RM20,000 or jailed for two years.
He said foreign workers should seek the help of the labour department if they were mistreated by their employers.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Now, if we were to look at the distribution of wealth in Malaysia based on ethnicity, of course the figures will not be reflective of the wealth of individual households within that particular ethnic group.
The government must provide us with the statistics that show us how much wealth or income that households do have...and I am sure we will find that the majority of households are really not well off - if not poor...irrespective of whether the are Malay, Chinese, Indian, Semai, Kadazan, etc..
After all, Malaysia has been shown to have the biggest gap between the rich and the poor...whereby the richest 10% own 22 times more than the poorest 10%.
"Malaysia has the largest gap between rich and the poor in Southeast Asia, 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 controls 38.4 percent of the country's economic income as compared to the poorest 10 percent controlling 1.7 percent."
In fact, it should not just be the Indian poor out there in the streets claiming discrimination - it should be the Malaysian poor...
I am sure that some of the "rich" are not listed as they are clever in concealing their wealth...and after all this list is based on 'public records' i.e. of "value of stakes in listed companies..". What about lands and property they own? What about non-listed companies? What about other assets?
As mentioned before, the only one to blame for this unequal (or inequitable) distribution of wealth amongst Malaysians and Malaysian households, families and individuals is our government --- oh yes that Barisan Nasional government (before the Perikatan government) - the one and only government we have had...
Maybe time for a change is here...
Kuok's still 'Mr Richest'
|Feb 16, 08 2:56p|
Sugar King Robert Kuok Hock Nien remains the richest Malaysian, ahead by a wide margin from closest rival T Ananda Krishnan, according to Malaysian Business magazine's list of 40 Richest Malaysians.
The magazine in its Feb 16 issue puts Kuok's wealth at RM58.11 billion, which accounts for nearly 36 percent of the total wealth of the 40 richest.
The Hong Kong-based tycoon added a whopping RM25.7 billion to his vast fortune last year, due to the higher equity prices of his stable of listed stocks.
It said Ananda Krishnans fortune however registered a marginal drop to RM19.63 billion.
IOI Corporation Bhd's Lee Shin Cheng, said the magazine, has for the first time etched himself in the top three position of Malaysia's richest by doubling his fortune to RM14.94 billion.
YTL patriarch dislodged
Others in the top-10 ranking are Quek Leng Chan of Hong Leong Group (RM11.098 billion), Syed Mokhtar Albukhary of the Albukhary Foundation (RM8.550 billion), Teh Hong Piow of Public Bank (RM8.060 billion), Lim Kok Thay of Genting (RM3.168 billion) and Tiong Hiew King of the Rimbunan Hijau Group (RM3.87 billion).
The magazine said two tycoons found their way to the Top-10 - Vincent Tan of Berjaya Group (RM3.409 billion) and Azman Hashim of Amcorp Group (RM2.87 billion).
"They dislodged YTL Corp patriarch Yeoh Tiong Lay who slips to 13th position (RM1.747 billion)," it said.
Among the notable new entrants to the list is Singapore-based Ong Beng Seng who, at RM1.74 billion, ranks number 14.
The others are Tony Tiah Thee Kian of TA Enterprise Bhd, Lau Cho Kun of Gek Poh Holdings, Lin Yun Ling of Gamuda Bhd, Liew Kee Sin of SP Setia Bhd and Kwan Ngen Chung of Kwantas Corporation Bhd.
The full list of the 40 tycoons and details of their wealth appears in the magazines Feb 16 issue. Their wealth was assessed based on the value of their stakes in listed companies as at Jan 18, 2008," the magazine said.