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Saturday, February 27, 2010

MBPJ - A sad reflection of Pakatan Rakyat, No Transparency, Accountability, Not Pro-People - Am I wasting my time?

I have made concrete proposals of how the MBPJ (Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya - Petaling Jaya City Council) could improve - become more transparent, accountable, informative, open...

Many were simple to implement, and they could have used their website to do this...
Some of the suggestions were:-

* Minutes/Decisions of MBPJ meetings [after all the Meetings should be open to the public, and it is already available. All that had needed to be done is to upload the minutes.] - NOT DONE

* Information of upcoming MBPJ Meetings, the Agenda, Time & Venue - so that the public is aware about it, and can make arrangement to come attend. This should be prominent in the Website. - NOT DONE

* Make all MBPJ (and MBPJ Committee meetings open to the public) - Now, only MBPJ meetings are open to the public (unless they decide otherwise), and the other committee meetings can be open if the MBPJ decides so. The power is in the hands of the MBPJ - NOT DONE

* MBPJ By-Laws, Regulations, Enactments, Laws - These set out the powers, procedures, rights, which applies to MBPJ, the people working/living within the MBPJ area, etc. Now the MBPJ makes mention of these laws - but it is not laid out in full so that all people know what it is. You cannot easily find or  purchase these 'laws' - and that is why it is important that MBPJ in their website (at the very least) lay out the law in full - so people will know what it is. - NOT DONE

Betrayed - Pakatan Rakyat is just like the Barisan Nasional, it seems. Just like the BN, they too do not listen to criticisms/suggestions for reform. Like BN, there was a lot of promises before elections - but after that,  promises are forgotten. Local Council Elections was promised - and we still have not yet had a Local Council Election in any of the Pakatan Rakyat states - let alone a real attempt to have it.

Should we give Pakatan Rakyat more time? more chances? OR should we just start looking for other options. 

See earlier posts:

MBPJ - More proposals for reform & wondering the reason for not implementing simple reforms already suggested..


MBPJ meeting are open to the public - but people do not know this, or when, or what is on the agenda....

Meeting of Local Council (MBPJ, etc) should be open to the public...

Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya - No changes because Mayor and staff following 'old policies and old ways...' of BN - so, not Pakatan's fault

Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya - Where is the transparency and accountability?


BN kills democracy in school. No elections only appointment by HMs...Schools no freedom of choice.

Democracy is something that must be promoted. The culture and value of democracy must be cultivated from young.

People choose their own leaders/representatives
- NOT the government choose and appoint the leaders
- NOT the Teacher choose and appoint the student leaders..prefects..etc

Now the UMNO-led BN Government  has ordered all schools - and told them to do away with 'students' participation' in the election of prefects? [Does this also apply to school societies, uniform bodies, sports teams - no more democracy, teacher-in-charge choose and appoint the leaders???]

GEORGE TOWN: Schools must stop conducting elections to choose prefects because such appointments are the prerogative of the principals.

State education director Ibrahim Mohamad said the directive came from the Education Ministry.
“I want to inform all schools to stop such practices. There is no need for an election for prefects.

“Headmasters and principals should appoint suitable candidates,” he told school heads during a Chinese New Year luncheon at the education department yesterday.

On Feb 12, some 2,000 students of SMK Raja Tun Uda in Bayan Baru experienced an election atmosphere when the school carried out its election for prefects over two days.

A total of 56 candidates from Form 1 to Form 4 stood for the election.

It was held with the help from the Penang Elections Commission.

SMK Raja Tun Uda is the only school in the state to have carried out such an election.

On a separate matter, Ibrahim urged schools to be prudent in managing their finances but that training for teachers must go on.

“Schools must continue conducting training courses for teachers – we are waiting for funding from the ministry and once we receive it, we will disburse it to the various schools.

“Meanwhile, you must not use that as an excuse not to train teachers,” he said, admitting that he was unsure if the federal training allocation of RM200 per teacher would be available this year.- Star, 26/2/2010, 'No' to prefect polls, appointments by principals

FREEDOM - schools, headmasters, teachers should have the freedom to conduct elections or not - why is the government depriving them of choice, freedom...?

DEMOCRACY - this culture and practice must be inculcated from a young age. Students should be allowed to choose their own leaders..

***But, then they are talking about school prefects - and these really are not the leaders of students, but merely the 'school police personnel', who serve the headmaster/teachers in ensuring that all the other students follow the 'laws' ...and catch them when they do not. Prefects are agents of HMs/teachers - and are really 'anti-students'.

But, in Malaysia, we do not have true democracy because the government still chooses and appoint community leaders (be it the Ketua Kampungs/Kampung Baru/Taman Perumahan/Kampung Orang Asli, JKKKK, JKKKT, Local Councillors or even Pakatan's Majlis Perwakilan Penduduk]

This kind of practice happens in a dictatorship, authoritarian regime, feudal society ....but certainly not in a democracy.

GOVERNTMENT SAYS YO THE PEOPLE
Oh people! You are 'immature'...stupid - incapable in chosing your own local leaders, so "WE" will choose them for you. You just listen and accept. Do not protest. WE know what is best. You have no CHOICE in the matter.

When Pakatan Rakyat also behaves in the same manner like the BN when it comes to the question of 'true democracy" - then the people really have not much of a choice, do they

Thursday, February 25, 2010

BN tidak hormati Warga Mas - Warga Mas diminta pergi Dewan, tunggu 3 jam, tanpa air minum, untuk 'sumbangan' RM100 selepas dengar ucapan YB.

Warga Mas daripada kawasan Parlimen Temerloh telah menerima surat daripada pihak Pejabat Daerah Temerloh untuk menghadiri diri di Dewan Mentakab pada jam 1.00 petang (25/2/2010) untuk menerima sumbangan Tahun Baru Cina dan Deepavali. Tidak ada agenda diberikan. Gambaran yang diberikan adalah datang Dewan, ambil sumbangan & pulang cepat.

Pada hari panas, kesesakan jalan berlaku dikawasan sekitar Dewan Sri Mentakab sejak lebih kurang 12.30 apabila Warga Mas Temerloh pergi untuk mendapat sumbangan kerajaan ini. Ada yang boleh pergi sendiri. Kebanyakkan terpaksa dibawa pada hari kerja ini oleh saudara dan kawan. Ada juga yang datang memakai kerusi roda.

Apabila sampai, mereka diminta mendaftar diri - di mana mereka tidak dibenarkan meletakkan tanda tangan, tetapi diminta meletakkan cap jari. Mengapa? Tidakkah tanda tangan memadai? Mengapa mereka didiskriminasi? Adakah kerana mereka tua?

Hanya lebih kurang pukul 3.00 petang (lebih kurang 2 jam selepas masa mereka disuruh hadhir) muncul YB-YB (dan YAB-YAB). Siapa yang hadhir saya tidak pasti. Saya percaya yang hadhir mungkin ADUN BN kawasan Mentakab, ADUN Kawasan Lancang dan mungkin MP Temerloh. 

Ucapan diberikan, dan selepas itu para hadirin diminta pergi mengambil sumbangan mereka yang merupakan duit dalam sampul surat tidak bernama/beralamat. 

Berapakah sumbangan yang diberikan? Hanya RM100-00 setiap seorang. 

Setelah menunggu dalam keadaan tidak selesa dan panas sejak pukul 12.30 tengahhari sehingga lebih kurang pukul 4 petang, ( 3 jam setengah), sumbangan yang diberikan adalah hanya RM100 setiap seorang.

Tidak ada air pun dihidangkan. Tidak ada makanan ringan. 

Surat daripada Pejabat Daerah dengan pandai tidak menyatakan jumlah sumbangan yang bakal diberikan - di mana jika diketahui bahawa semua susah payah pergi dan tunggu tersebut hanya untuk RM100, saya percaya ramai tidak akan membuang masa untuk kegiatan Barisan Nasional-pimpinan UMNO.

Mereka ini adalah Warga Mas, 65 tahun ke atas. Surat jelas menyatakan bahawa mereka perlu hadhir sendiri, dan tidak boleh menghantar wakil. Mengapa? Yang terlalu uzur tidak mungkin pergi ... yang tidak ada orang menghantar pada petang hari kerja tidak mungkin pergi - dan mereka tidak akan menerima sumbangan kerajaan ini. 

Sememangnya ADUN dan MP Barisan Nasional (dan kerajaan BN) serta pihak Pejabat Daerah Temerloh tidak ada perasaan hormat untuk warga mas ini. Tidak ada perikemanusian.

Mengapa perlu hadhir sendiri? Tidakkah lebih mudah menyertakan cek/wang pos bernilai RM100  sahaja bersama surat yang telah dialamatkan kepada warga mas berkenaan.Ini semestinya akan menjimatkan wang dan masa.

YB-YB BN juga menunjukkan sikap tidak hormat apabila hadhir, di maklumkan, hanya pada jam 3 petang. Meminta para hadhirin menghadirkan diri lebih kurang 30 minit sebelum acara resmi adalah wajar, tetapi pada hari ini warga mas Temerloh diminta menghadhirkan diri 2 jam sebelum acara resmi dimulakan...sungguh tidak hormat pada mereka yang tua (dan sakit).

Mengapa perlu hadhir? Satu sebab, yang saya boleh fikirkan, adalah untuk memberikan peluang kepada YB-YB BN berucap dalam dewan penuh sesak dengan warga mas. Jikapun, acara resmi bermula pada 3 petang, sekurangnyanya YB-YB boleh hadhir bermesra dengan warga mas mulai jam 1 petang.

Adakah ini makna 'bersama rakyat'?

Ada Warga Mas yang merasa sungguh marah dengan tindakan Barisan Nasional ini...yang bukan sahaja membuang masa, menyusahkan tetapi juga adalah satu 'penderaan' pada satu hari yang sangat panas di Temerloh, di mana air minum pun tidak dibekalkan? 

Ada juga warga mas di Temerloh (pengundi berdaftar) yang ingin mengetahui mengapa mereka tidak menerima surat undangan atau sumbangan kerajaan ini? 

Lain kali, khususnya untuk warga mas, hantarlah  sahaja hadiah(atau sumbangan) melalui pos. Hantarkan cek (atau lebih baik wang pos) atas nama warga mas berkenaan untuk memastikan mereka mkendapatkannya. Hormatilah  warga mas kami.  Hormati rakyat...Pentingkan rakyat...
ADUN dan MP Barisan Nasional  harus meminta maaf kepada warga mas ini. Kesusahan yang dialami untuk menerima wang rakyat RM100 tidak boleh dijustifikasikan.

Saya pun sangat marah dengan tindakan kerajaan BN ini...yang langsung tidak menghormati rakyat warga Mas Temerloh ini.

Home Minister can't cope with responsibilities? MOUs with Malaysian society? Odd...

Well, Malaysian Home Minister demonstrates his intelligence yet again... 
Which is the Ministry responsible the entry and exit of foreigners into Malaysia? 
It is the Immigration Department under the Home Ministry

Which is the Ministry responsible for the issuance of visas and passes, that allow foreigners be be in Malaysia as a tourist, worker, student, spouse, businessman, etc..?
It is the Immigration Department under the Home Ministry

Thus, it is obvious that the Ministry that should be responsible for all immigration related matters must be the Home Ministry - in particular the Immigration Departments.

WORKERS - Migrant Workers
- Well the Ministry that should be responsible for ALL the workers is  the Human Resources Ministry. But now the Home Minister seems to wants plantation migrant workers to be handled by Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, workers in the manufacturing sector to be under the International Trade and Industry Ministry, maybe the hotel & tourist industry workers will be under Tourism industry. The Human Resource Ministry apparently will only be concerned with workers in the service industry....This is really odd, or the newspaper report was wrong. All workers, irrespective of what sector they are involved in should come be taken care of the Human Resource Ministry.

Foreign Students - well, this would rightly be under the Education Ministry (or that strange 'Higher Education' Ministry)

Tourists - well, it makes sense that this be under the Tourism Ministry. But really, should this Ministry be made responsible for tourists movement, entry and exit of the country. Should not the Tourism Ministry be just responsible for the development of tourism, and the maintenance of tourist spots. Should they also be 'policing' tourist? I think the policing should be done by the Immigration Department (and maybe the police) - not the tourism Ministry.

He said plantation was put under the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, services under the Human Resource Ministry and manufacturing under the International Trade and Industry Ministry.

"Other ministries given responsibility are the Tourism Ministry for tourism, Higher Education Ministry for education and the Home Ministry for the security sector," he said in a statement Tuesday.
- Bernama, 23/2/2010, Foreigner Management And Monitoring According To Sectors
The Home Ministry seems to be delegating work that should be handled by that Ministry. Maybe, the current Home Minister is just not capable in handling what should be his responsibility.
Why is the Home Minister delegating work out to other Ministries - should it not be the Prime Minister (or his Deputy). Hishamuddin is, after all, just another Minister in Najib's cabinet. Or is is he a 'Senior Minister' by virtue of his close realtionship with Najib...or maybe his position as Vice President of UMNO? It's all so odd in the Cabinet of Najib.

Another oddity in the Bernama report was that statement that the Malaysian government (or was it just the DPM) signing MOUs (Memorandum of Understandings) with a Malaysian Association. Normally MOUs are signed with other nations...not some registered Malaysian society.

What is that MOU about? About security companies hiring RELA and Civil Defence members as sewcurity guards. Why this discrimination? What about ex-police, ex-military personnel,...or just suitably qualified Malaysians? Why is the UMNO-led BN government finding jobs for certain people only?

Are they trying to get security companies to employ locals? This is very odd? Because before a security company is given permission to take foreigners as their employees, they need government approval. Why did the government give approval in the first place when they now seem to be saying that there are so many qualified Malaysians that could have been hired in this industry? Was there corruption involved when approval given in the first place for security companies to hire migrant workers? This has to be investigated. We have so many qualified ex-military personnel, more so since they are still young when they retire after 21 (+1) years of service. Who gave the approval for security companies to employ migrant workers in the first place? Investigate this. Explain this...

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 23 (Bernama) -- Foreigner management and monitoring in the country will be charged to ministries and agencies according to sectors, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said.

He said plantation was put under the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, services under the Human Resource Ministry and manufacturing under the International Trade and Industry Ministry.

"Other ministries given responsibility are the Tourism Ministry for tourism, Higher Education Ministry for education and the Home Ministry for the security sector," he said in a statement Tuesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday said the government had formed a managment laboratory to study the illegal immigrants issue.

Muhyiddin said the laboratory headed by the Home Ministry comprised eight ministries and 15 government agencies.

Hishammuddin said the ministry was taking measures to increase locals in the security sector, in line with the government decision to reduce dependence on foreign workers.

Last month, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with the Malaysian Security Guard Association to recruit Rela and Civil Defence Department members as security guards.

"I am confident that the ministries and agencies can become a platform to find strategies to improve the system in place. Focus is on entry procedures, legal, monitoring system and enforcement."

The government would draw participation from stake holders including business associations and employers to seek ideas to make the system more effective.

Hishammuddin said the government valued the service of legal foreign workers but feared that some foreigners not only entered the country illegally but also wanted to remain for good.

-- BERNAMA- Bernama, 23/2/2010, Foreigner Management And Monitoring According To Sectors
Najib better wake up - and see what his Ministers are doing. Maybe, PM  should also re-designate responsibilities of Ministries - not  some Minister of his. Or is Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, the spokesperson for the Prime Minister? or the new  'Deputy Prime Minister'?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ELECTRICITY: BN's failures causes more suffering to the people - do not increase electricity charges

Well, the UMNO-led BN government is now thinking about increasing electric tariffs again...

Help all Malaysians - for this BN government is really becoming 'oppressive' - and its recent actions are affecting the lives of ordinary people in Malaysia.

Where is the consultation? Where is the referendum? Where is the justification? 
Privatization - that is what it did to our basic amenities - and basic amenities suppliers. Lock stock and barrel was given to "private" companies. In truth, the government of Malaysia still is the substantial shareholder - but they love 'playing games' with the people....

They say TNB wants to increase the tariff - and our 'good caring' Barisan Nasional government is on behalf of the people  not agreeing to that....and maybe will get a 'reduced' increase in tariff....and they expect Malaysians to all applaud the efforts of this government. 
It should never have been privatized/corporatized  - because a company is only concerned with profits, and when it comes to basic amenities - the government should be in charge, and its objective/target must be to ensure that all Malaysians get electricity supply and at a nominal/affordable rate. 

In the financial year of 2009, there was about 16% increase in annual revenue...(i.e. from

In 2009, there were 2 increases in electricity tariffs  - one in March 2009, and another in

Why is the Malaysian Barisan Nasional Government still relying on coal for power generation? Why are we not looking at solar energy, wind, etc...

Solar energy - problem was storage but now what we can very easily do is to directly connect it to the national grid - This is something that France is doing (or planning to do). We are in the equator and we are blessed with year long sunshine - something that we can very easily take advantage of. So, why are we not doing this? 

Possibly depletion of coal ...increase in coal prices are all things that could have been forseen long time ago - and we could have got things ready in 'good times' but alas, the problem in Malaysia have been poor money management (paying so much more for projects that really needed - and, of course this may have enriched some...) It is sad to see that Mahathir's son and Najib's brother sitting in that list of top 40 richest Malaysians. [Of course, there are other richer people - but many may be 'hidden' rich persons - using proxies and Bank nominee system to stay below the radar...] 

Corruption, 'unjustified excess spending' and un-trustworthiness  has put Malaysia in the bad light of lending institutions. The recent refusal/delay to settle the bill for election paraphernalia would have seriously jeopardized Malaysia's credibility.
Malaysians are still suffering from the effects of the economic crisis. So many workers are receiving part wages...or no wages. Some have had their factories stop operations - and they wait eagerly for the unpaid wages. Many of these are the smaller factories/companies - and the government seem not too concerned or helpful. To make matters worse, the banks in Malaysia are going after these 'struggling companies' - and by doing so, these companies will literally die. A good government would have got the banks to not commence suits (and/or chase for their monies) at this stage. We need financial assistance to be given to these companies. The government need to help develop new markets ...or even help these local companies re-structure their productions/etc - but alas, the Malaysian BN government is not interested.

Rather than being there for the people, Malaysia's BN government has been doing things that make things even worse. 

GST - everytime you buy things, you pay tax -and this will mean that this will automatically increase the cost of things.

Fuel Prices - now there is talk about removing subsidies - hence increasing prices.

Sugar - subsidy cut, and prices go up not just for sugar but all other stuff that uses sugar - i.e. canned/packet drinks, kicap, etc..

Now, electricity tariffs

Rumah kedai (Shop houses) - traditionally the small shop owners will stay on top of his shop. Why? convenience ...as well as for security reasons. A lot of 'migrants' (Malaysians coming from other towns to study and work) also stay in these shop houses. Why? It is close to their place of work/study and have easy access to food, shops and other entertainment - and you save on public transport (taxi). Then Malaysian BN-government classified these 'shop-houses' as commercial property - and people who stay here will have to pay commercial rates for electricity, water, indah water, telekoms, etc.. Why? In the smaller towns, people suffered a lot because of this...

KUALA LUMPUR: The cabinet will decide today on the new electricity tariff which will take effect next month, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui said. 



He declined to provide details on the new tariff structure, which would start on March 1, but said the welfare of the poor would be protected even if there was an increase in rates.

He said the ministry had submitted a proposal about reviewing the power tariff to the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.

“If the cabinet approves, there will be some increase ... it can’t be a reduction,” he said at Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s Chinese New Year gathering here yesterday.

Chin, however, said the new tariff structure would retain the free electricity scheme for households that used power below a certain level.

On the percentage of increase, Chin said: “I can’t tell you, because the cabinet may decide otherwise tomorrow (today).” Chin said recently that his ministry had studied the triennial basic tariff adjustment proposal by TNB, adding that the hike could not be avoided because of increasing coal and gas price worldwide.

TNB requested for a tariff increase in 2006. Recently the national power supplier announced that the cost of coal was about US$80 (RM271.6) per tonne for the first quarter of the year.

Coal prices are expected to increase further because of severe winters in the northern hemisphere.

On the current dry spell, Chin said the situation at dams and catchment areas nationwide was good. However, he said the water level at the Sembrong Timur water treatment plant in Kluang, Johor was reported to be critical because Sungai Sembrong’s water level was decreasing.

Chin said if supplies dropped to a dangerous level, water conservation would be carried out.

Present at the open house were Deputy Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Noriah Kasnon, TNB director Tan Sri Lau Yin Pin and its chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh. - New Straits Times, 24/2/2010, New power tariff from March 1

Lies - the report seem to suggest that the Government has not allowed for a tariff increase despite the fact that TNB has asked for it since 2006. I looked at the TNB Annual Report, and the CEO himself says that for the 2009 Financial Year, there have been 2 tariff adjustments, i.e. on 1/7/2008 and 1/3/2009.

The TNB CEO earns about RM92,000 per month in 2006/7(based on 2007 Report) - surely now it is even higher. This means that he earns more than a Member of Parliament...more than a Menteri Besar...more than a Minister...and more than the Prime Minister.. - this is so wrong. Is this not a government company? Money should be used in keeping price of electricity down - not wasted in excessive salaries.

Contrast their household income with the remuneration of the Tenaga Nasional Bhd CEO, who earns over RM1 million per year:
Basic salary RM600,000
Bonus RM302,000
EPF contribution RM113,280
Car allowance RM42,000
Flexible benefits RM50,000
Total RM1,107,280
Figures are from TNB’s 2007 Annual Report.
That translates to RM92,273/month for running what essentially amounts to a monopolistic service. Has he succeeded in renegotiating the Power Purchase Agreements with the IPPs? Tenaga is bleeding from these PPAs, under which it has to pay the IPPs ‘capacity payments’ for electricity it doesn’t really need. - Anil Netto's Blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Same healthcare benefts for all 'Golden Citizens' as now given to 'Pesara'..

Pesara (Pensioner) are taken care rather well by the government - their healthcare is free..(yes - totally free), and this is very good. The UMNO-led BN government do care for the elderly - the Golden Citizens (Warga Mas).

But wait, this is not true.

Their care is only for the retired public servants (and spouse) - those who are pensioners. I wonder why this kind of special treatment is accorded to them.

Did they contribute more to the country than other Malaysians?

All persons, from the shop keeper, the restaurant worker, the lorry driver, the farmer, the fisherman, the construction worker, the government hospital workers, the police, the military personnel, ... all contributed to Malaysia and Malaysians as a whole..

Therefore, this discriminatory practice of just taking care of former 'public servants' - and not the others is very WRONG. Do not tell me that those public service have contributed more to this country that those in private services. [Public service already do have the extra benefits, i.e. job security (right up to retirement age), wage security (their salary,overtime, etc all get paid for sure), loan benefits (entitlement to loans at very low interest rates), pension (they will receive this until death - and thereafter the spouse until death), housing/uniform allowances/benefits, etc..]. Hence, when it comes to old age - other old folks (not those who were former public servants) should also be accorded the same benefits as 'pesara'.

With regard to preferential treatment, it must be accorded to all Golden Citizens (Warga Mas), irrespective of whether they were in public service (i.e. working in government departments) or in private services (working in private companies, farms, fishing boats, for private persons, self-employed)...

All privileges currently provided for the 'Pesara' (Pensioner) should automatically be extended too all Golden Citizens (Warga Mas). Free healthcare, discounts in public transportation, special living allocations, etc ....

Our old folks have done their part for Malaysia, and Malaysia now will take care of them...

What age?
Reasonably, it should be for all those above 55 years old.





Sunday, February 21, 2010

56 Groups Letter to ASEAN - Plight of Workers in Burma

Open Letter
 
19 February 2010

 
Dr Surin Pitsuwan,
Secretary General of ASEAN,
The ASEAN Secretariat,
70A Jl. Sisingamangaraja,
Jakarta 12110 , Indonesia
Tel : (6221) 7262991, 7243372
Fax : (6221) 7398234, 7243504

 
Heads of Government of
Brunei Darussalam , Cambodia , Indonesia ,
Lao PDR, Malaysia , Burma ( Myanmar ), Philippines ,
Singapore, Thailand & Viet Nam ,
c/o Secretary General of ASEAN


 
Dear Sirs/Madam,

 
Re:      Justice for Workers in Burma
            3,600 Workers Protest for Worker Rights – February 2010

 
On 8/2/2010, about 3,600 factory workers, mostly women, from 3 factories in the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone in Rangoon , Burma , protested against low wages and the substandard working conditions they are forced to endure in the factories.

 
It was reported that the workers at the Taiyee shoe factory and the Opal 2 garment factory began protests on Monday calling for higher daily wages, overtime payments and several other demands. On Tuesday, workers from the Kya Lay garment factory joined the strike action.

 
The workers, mostly women, staged protests outside the factories and inside a factory compound, where they sat down and refused to work. The three factories employ a total of about 3,600 workers.

 
The monthly income of most factory workers in Burma is very low, ranging from 20,000 kyat [USD20] to 40,000 kyat [USD40], thus forcing many workers to work overtime. Most workers work from 7 am to 11 pm daily. Many factory owners employ temporary workers who have no legal recourse if they are fired without compensation, according to former factory workers in Rangoon . More than 80 percent of factory workers in Rangoon work on a day-to-day basis. Most are young women between 15 and 27 years of age who come from the countryside in search of a better living.
[The Irrawaddy, Authorities Threaten Violence at Rangoon Strike – http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=17771]

 
The workers’ demands in these actions, for example, with regard to wages, as was reported, are for a mere USD10 increase per month.

 
The Burmese government’s response to this legitimate industrial action by workers was excessive and oppressive It was reported that, the “…Authorities used barbed wire barricades to block roads leading to the factories in the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone in the city's north-east, and more than 50 truckloads of riot police carrying batons and shields were deployed and at least six fire engines and five prison vans were parked near the factories…” [AP - Straits Times, 10/2/2010, Myanmar workers on strike]

 
Today (19/2/2010) although the workers are back in the factories, they continue demanding for their rights. In Burma , they are even more vulnerable and powerless without a change in the existing laws to allow the right to assembly and to allow workers the right to form unions.

 
Burma is a member of ASEAN, and as such we call upon ASEAN and all ASEAN member countries to do the needful to ensure that workers in Burma, just like other workers in other ASEAN countries, also receive just wages, have a safe and healthy working environment, enjoy the right to form unions and all other universally acknowledged worker and human rights.

 
We also call on ASEAN, and ASEAN member countries to closely monitor the current situation at the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone, and ensure that these workers rights are recognized and respected, and that the Burmese government refrains from further interfering in this pursuit of rights by workers in Burma .


 
Further, on 23 October 2009, the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN presided over the Inaugural Ceremony of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), during which they also announced the “Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Inauguration of the AICHR” to pledge full support to this new ASEAN body and emphasize their commitment to further develop cooperation to promote and protect human rights in the region.

 
Noting that the primary purpose of the AICHR is to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of the peoples of ASEAN, we hope that the AICHR will begin proving that it is not merely a toothless tiger by ensuring that the human rights of these workers in Burma are promoted and protected.

 
Many ASEAN member countries, like Malaysia , Singapore and Thailand , invest significantly in Burma . We hope that these economic and other self-interest considerations will not affect the way ASEAN, and its member nations, response to human rights violations of the ordinary people and workers in ASEAN.

 
I look forward to hearing your response,

 
Yours sincerely,

 
      -sgd-
Pranom Somwong
Charles Hector
 
3585A Kg Lubuk Layang,
Batu 3, Jalan Mentakab,
28000 Temerloh, Pahang, Malaysia. Tel+60192371300
 
 
For and on behalf of the 56 Organizations/groups listed below:-

 
ALTSEAN-BURMA
All Kachin Students and Youth Union
All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Foreign Affairs' Committee)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and development (APWLD)
Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
Asian Migrants Center(AMC)
Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) – Youth and Women
Amnesty International Philippines
Batis Aware, Philippines
Burma Global Action Network
Burmese Women's Union (BWU)
Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan
Burma Campaign , Malaysia
Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB)
Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) Philippines
Center for Overseas Workers (COW)
Coalition against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific
Chin Democracy and Human Rights Network ( South Korea )
Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre Bhd(LLGCSC), Malaysia
Committee for Asian Women (CAW)
Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM) Asia
Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS)
Empower Foundation , Thailand
Free Burma Coalition Philippines (FBC-Philippines)
Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (Women's Committee)
Foundation for Education and Development, Thailand
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB)
Human Rights and Development Foundation ( Thailand )
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
JERIT (Oppressed People's Network , Malaysia )
Kachin Development Networking Group
Labour Behind the Label, United Kingdom
MAP Foundation , Thailand
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)
MSC/NWC-  Sri Lanka , 
MAKALAYA (Women Workers Network)
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
National League for Democracy [NLD (LA)], Malaysia
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)
Network for Democracy and Development
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia , PSM)
Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan (KAISA-KA)
Piglas Kababaihan
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM - Workers' Party)
Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants' Trade union (MTU), Korea
Studio Xang Art for Migrant Children, Thailand
Thai Labour Campaign (TLC), Thailand
Think Center ( Singapore )
The Action Network for Migrants (ANM), Thailand
The Shan Refugee Organization (SRO), Malaysia
Task Force on ASEAN and Burma (TFAB)
Worker Hub for Change (WH4C)
Women Health, Philippines
World March for Women - Philippines
 
 
 
c.c.     Workers in Burma -  solidarityburma@gmail.com