Archive for the ‘Barisan Nasional’ Category

Mathematics, Malaysian-style

June 28, 2007

From a Malaysian… 

Mathematics, Malaysian-style

I find it most alarming that Malaysian schools teach our children the
wrong things. I mean: can the children really apply what they are
taught in school later in life? For example, can you imagine a mathematics
question in a recent examination as follows?
“If an egg costs fifty Sen, and if you buy one-eighth of the egg, how
much would you have to pay?”
 Who in heaven’s name will want to buy one-eighth of an egg? The shopkeeper will probably think you are crazy and he will be equally stupid to break the egg and measure one-eighth for you. Yet, this is how they structure the questions in Malaysian schools. Why not pose questions that would be more useful later in life when you go out into the world to earn your living?To help Malaysia’s Ministry of Education bet to face the realities of life, we are suggesting some questions they could use in our classrooms. QUESTION 1

If you drive from Kuala Lumpur to Penang along the PLUS Highway and there are four speed traps along the way, and if each speed trap would cost you RM300.00 in fines, how much in fines would you accumulate by the time you reach Penang?

ANSWER (Choose one)

1. I would not suffer any fines as the oncoming cars would flash their headlights and I would slow down before coming to the speed trap. 2. I would only need to pay a total of RM80.00 as I would pay a RM20.00 bribe at each speed trap.
3. I would not be stopped as I am an UMNO Wakil Rakyat so I am exempted from speed traps.
QUESTION 2If your Bumiputera company is awarded a RM150 million government contract, and you make a 20% profit, how much profit would be at the end of the contract period?

ANSWER (Choose one)

1. I will not be making a 20% profit as I would have to pay the Minister 10% and UMNO 5%.
2. I would make 30% profit, which is the progress payment I receive,
after which I will abandon the project and let the government call for
 a re-tender.
3. My company will not make any profit at all as I will siphon out all
the profits and show a loss to avoid paying corporate tax.

QUESTION 3

If the ruling party obtained 54% of the popular votes the last
election and won 151 or 80% of the seats, and if it saw an increase of
10% in votes this election, how many more seats would it gain?

ANSWER (Choose one)

1. The ruling party will not show a 10% increase in votes, as it will  stuff the ballot box with another 20% to give it a 30% vote increase.
2. The ruling party will win all the newly created seats in the delineation exercise recently done.
3. The ruling party has already decided it will win 90% of the seats and the votes have nothing to do with it.

QUESTION 4

If the national petroleum company, Petronas, pays a 5% royalty to
Terengganu State and if the amount paid is RM800,000,000 per year,
how much should Petronas have in the bank accumulated over the last 25
years?

ANSWER (Choose one)

1. Nobody is supposed to know as Petronas need not show its accounts to
anyone except the Prime Minister and this information comes under the Official Secrets Act.
2. Petronas earns only 50% of its petroleum revenue from Terengganu so
Petronas’ total income accumulated in the banks over 25 years should be
RM800 billion.
3. Petronas has nothing accumulated in the bank as all the money has
spent bailing out companies and finance mega projects.

APCET II: Dr Nasir and I were stormed by the BN thugs

June 21, 2007
On the “day of trouble”, Dr Nasir and Selvam of PSM and I (then National Secretary of DAPSY) were given the task to look after security. The other DAPSY representative, Lim Ching How, has gone back to his office to attend to an emergency. We were shocked to see so many thugs suddenly appeared outside (they climbed up from the stairways instead of taking the lifts) the conference hall when we were performing our duty.We immediately informed the participants inside about the mob and three of us were trying our best to stop the thugs from braking into the hall. At that point of time, we did not know that these thugs were actually members and supporters of Umno, MIC, MCA (not sure whether there were any Gerakan members). I would not be surprised if some of them were SB officers.The mob (more than 300 of them) managed to bring down the doors after some 10 to 15 minutes. DAPSY chairman Lim Guan Eng and the participants were inside the hall.We were threatened to leave the hall at once but we refused to leave and decided to put our arms together in a circle. That’s when the mob lead by Azman Atar bacame unruly. They broke our ring and brought down Tian Chua (then NGO activist) to the floor.

Dr Nasir managed to call in the police (led by Dang Wangi OCPD Zainal Abidin Ali) only about one hour after the physical tussle. At our insistance, Zainal Abidin ordered the mob to leave the hall. We decided to stay and continue with our meeting despite of repeated warnings issued by the mob. The OCPD also ordered us to leave but he too gave up after failing to persuade us to leave.

When everything was calmed down, Guan Eng needed to leave for Melaka to attend to a demolition exercise and I too left the hall to attend to my recording session at a studio in Petaling Jaya.

When I was on my way back to the hotel, I was informed by Teresa Kok (then DAPSY vice chairperson) that she and several others were arrested. But she was “let go’ together with another participant from Japan at the car park while others were sent to the police station.

A young DAP supporter (son of KL Wong, a lawyer) who was tasked to take care of the computers was taken to the teenager lock-up at the Sungei Besi police station. Cheras MP tan Kok Wai and I visited him in the evening. He was released the next morning. The ladies were all taken to a police station in Wangsa Maju and were locked up for a night. They were transferred to the police station near the Merdeka Stadium for several days together with othe men. Foreign participants were all deported to their respective countries the next day or two.

I remembered both Umno Youth chief and his deputy (Zahid Hamidi and Hishamuddin Hussein) claimed responsibility with “pride” for the incident after they have returned from overseas and Anwar Ibrahim, the then deputy Prime Minister, expressed regrets over the ugly incident. 

DAPSY was later ridiculed by some local participants for “not being arrested with the rest “:-). But that’s truly not our fault. Guan Eng and I left at the time when everything was cooled down. Little did we know that the police would return to the scene and arrest the participants. On the other hand, Teresa Kok could not understand why she and the Japanese participant were ‘let go’ soon after the arrest. 

A few years later, we were delighted to learn that the people of east timor succeeded in their struggle for independence. Timor Leste (total population slighjtly less than 1 million) is now a free and independent nation.

Apcet II: Megat ordered the mob attack

Beh Lih Yi
Jun 21, 07 6:52pm
Malaysiakini
Ex-deputy home minister Megat Junid Megat Ayob had ordered for an Umno Youth-led mob to stop an international conference on East Timor 11 years ago, a key witness in the ‘Apcet II’ suit told the court today.Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who was then Umno Youth secretary and had led the mob, also had the court in stitches when he revealed he was given a ‘nasi kandar’ treat by the police after the incident.He was the seventh plaintiffs’ witness in the RM83 million civil suit filed by 36 local activists and journalists against the Malaysian government and several police officers for wrongful detention and police negligence.The 43-year-old – who had tendered a public apology over his role in the mob in 2001 – has since joined the Opposition after he was sacked by Umno in 1998. He was also the ex-Lunas state assemblyperson where he contested on the PKR ticket.Megat Junid’s instructionIn his testimony at the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning, he recalled that the instruction to disrupt the conference was given to him by Megat Junid in a meeting held at the latter’s office.

Also present were Youth leaders from other BN component parties – MCA, MIC and PPP, as well as Umno’s Batu division head Azman Atar and several others whom he could not identify.

“Megat Junid started the meeting by telling us that a group of NGO activists will organise a seminar on East Timor in Kuala Lumpur. He said Malaysia’s stand is that the seminar is not permitted, fearing that we will be seen as interfering into problems in Indonesia,” he told the court.

“Megat Junid asked BN Youth to undertake the responsibility to stop the seminar as he said the government’s stand must be respected. I was asked to lead this task in my capacity as the Umno Youth secretary since the Umno Youth chief and vice-chief were abroad then,” he said.

“Megat Junid said Azman will head another group who will also be there. He said matters related to the police have been arranged and the police will arrive at the seminar hall in 30 minutes, where everything will be settled then.

“He added that a few of us might be arrested in this task,” Saifuddin told the court.

At this juncture, plaintiffs’ counsel Ranjit Singh asked Saifuddin to elaborate on Megat Junid’s instruction.

Ranjit: Did Megat Junid tell you how to stop the conference?

Saifuddin: Megat Junid asked me to mobilise BN Youth members. Secondly, he told me – as the head of the Barisan Bertindak Rakyat Malaysia (BBRM, the mob) – to meet with the Apcet II organisers at the hotel and tell them to stop the conference. Megat Junid said if the organisers refuse, I am to switch off their PA system.

Ranjit: You said “matters related to the police have been arranged”, what does that mean?

Saifuddin: Megat Junid said in carrying out this task, few (BN Youth) members and I will be arrested but he told us not to worry because everything will be over if I can successfully perform the duty.

Judge Wan Adnan Muhamad interjected: So Megat Junid only ordered you to switch off the PA system?

Saifuddin: Yes.

Asked to elaborate on Azman’s role, the witness said the former was known to be “an aggressive person and have a wide networking including those linked to the kaki-kaki pukul (gangsters)”.

Participants unhappy

Continuing his testimony, Saifuddin said on the day of the incident, he and about 300 BN Youth members had gathered at a stadium close to the conference venue at 8am and after he briefed the members, they marched towards the hotel.

He said many other BN Youth members were already present outside the hotel when they arrived and the Federal Reserve Unit personnel were stationed at the hotel entrance.

“As the number of those gathered grew, some of them had already broke through the FRU barrier and went up to the conference venue,” he said, adding that he also followed suit.

“As we arrived in the conference room, the door was closed and some of us tried to open the door. After it was opened, we went inside the room. The dining tables were scattered,” he added.

According to Saifuddin, he and Tajuddin Rahman – who is now Pasir Salak Umno division head – took turns to ask the conference participants to disperse while the police led by Dang Wangi OCPD Zainal Abidin Ali only arrived about an hour later.

“I overheard there were participants who were unhappy with our presence and asked the police to instruct us to leave the conference so that they could proceed with the conference. I objected and told Zainal that we will only leave after the conference is halted and the participants had left.

“Zainal then told me that I was arrested,” he told the court. Apart from him, several other Umno Youth leaders were also arrested.

Asked what happened at the police station, Saifuddin said the police recorded a statement from him but the process was not completed.

“They asked for my name, position and address. As I was telling them what I was doing at the conference venue, another police officer invited me to another room where nasi kandar was served,” he said to the amusement of those present in court.

He was released after the nasi kandar treat. Saifuddin was charged in court later for disrupting the conference. He pleaded guilty and was fined RM1,500.

The hearing was adjourned to Aug 15-16 as the team of federal counsel had requested for another date to cross-examine Saifuddin. The court will also continue with the cross-examination on the sixth witness, R Sivarasa.

Irrelevant questions

Earlier, Senior Federal Counsel Iznan Ishak objected to three questions in Saifuddin’s witness statement explaining why the latter was sacked from Umno in 1998 and his current political involvement.

Justice Wan Adnan upheld Iznan’s arguments that the questions were irrelevant to the case.

On Nov 9, 1996, over 100 people – including 10 journalists – were arrested on the opening day of the Second Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor (Apcet II), held to discuss human rights abuses in East Timor and its struggle for independence from Indonesia.

As the conference was about to begin, 400 members from the Umno Youth-led BBRM, or Malaysia’s People’s Action Front, broke down the doors of the conference halls, threw chairs and verbally and physically abused the participants.

Police then moved in to arrest the participants who were detained between one and six days, while 40 foreign participants were deported.

Online daily malaysiakini chief executive officer Premesh Chandran and editor-in-chief Steven Gan, both then journalists at The Sun, are also among the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs have named the government, then Inspector General of Police Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor and two senior police officers – then Kuala Lumpur chief police officer Ismail Che Rose and then Dang Wangi OCPD Zainal Abidin Ali – as respondents.

Voice of a concerned group: Be careful of BN

May 30, 2007

This is a letter emailed to DAP leaders yeasterday by a group of concerned Malaysians. I have taken the liberty to edit the letter to make it more readable. Happy reading!

Dear all,

Be careful of BN (Barisan Nasional) in this coming election, 

BN = Barang Naik  but income stays the same ?

Voice of rakyat Malaysia

      We are regretted to bring up our concern which have been kept in the
heart of Malaysian people where some of the Malaysians do not know how to
voice up or dare not highlight their problems which might be causing
trouble to themselves when commenting the faults of our government.

  Our government seems to be governing the country without listening to the voices of the rakyat.How Malaysians would survived under these leaders?

  Malaysian government leaders are great pretenders and blood suckers; they have cut the throat of the people by increasing the prices of everything. They were doing it without taking the negative impact to the people into consideration.

  The fuel price worldwide had gone down,and those countries like Singapore, China,Hong  Kong so on have reduced their fuel prices accordingly,but our government still pretending that nothing has happened. 

  The toll rates keep increasing every three years and some of the places like Prai, Penang
suddenly added toll booths to collect toll from the people. 

  The price increase has triggered an inflation. How are we going to survive? It will create more crimes when the people have no money.

  Most of the companies are at dying state with less earnings,and our factories were just working for 3 days a week because of no purchase order from the overseas and local markets.

  People have low earnings and poor buying power. Cash flow was slow and buinesses are under pressure, but how could the government continue to claim that the domestic economy is doing very well? 

  The n minister is bullshiting by giving false information and data. we are now lagging behind many ASEAN countries. 

  We are all suffering now ! If we still do not open our eyes, what is going to happen? ?Although we are
always a BN supporter,but it looks like we must change direction to BA now. We continue to support BN but we will ended up with more violence and criminal acts like robbing and stealing. Please do not blame  the police alone because the government should be responsible. Adding more policemen will not solve the problem.

  The ‘rasuah” and “close one eye” culture still exist in most of the government departments; for  example, ZAKARIA  has escaped. Nothing has happened to him.

  Recently, we sent our company vehicles to PUSPAKOM for inspection, but every time we must bribe to get a pass.; otherwise,they would make all sorts of excuses , such as paint no good,cushion no good …which were not related to the safety of the vehicles at all. There was once our company vehicle got a pass from the Puspakom but one of the wheels was actually damaged seriously and may cause accident. What is the use PUSPAKOM? The ministers are  still sleeping. Please close down Puspakom!

  Dear fellow Malaysian, please cast your vote carefully this time. BN will only bring more problems to Malaysians, making the country more insecure and chaotic. 

  Unless BN is willing to listen and change the way they governed the country,we should not be supporting BN anymore.

  Before our government is getting more rotten,we need to take a stand for the sake of our future generations. 

  Once again, please be careful to cast your vote. We are not asking for more trouble by voting out BN. Continue support for an “unchangeble” BN only works against our interest. 

Peace upon all Malaysians.

Voice from a group of Malaysian people.

Dinner: Reclaim PJ Parliamentary and State seats

May 28, 2007

Congratulations to the PJ Action Team for the successful dinner held in Sg Way (Seri Setia) a while ago.

Sec Gen Lim Guan Eng and deputy sec gen Chong Eng came all the way from Bukit Mertajam and Kota Melaka respectively to give the potential candidates in PJ their greatest support.

Other speakers tonight include Lau Weng San (PJ Action Team Chairman), Ean Yong Hian Wah (Selangor state chairman), Liew Ching Tong ( DAPSY leader), Thomas Goh ( PJ Action Team Treasurer), Tony Pua ( Economic Advisor to Sec Gen DAP), Rama ( Chairman of Kg Tun Razak ).

In my speech, I criticised the MCA local elected reps for not helping the residents and villagers. I also explained what has happened to my OSA case ( no fruther development) and the compensation I won from the case against the former IGP some six months ago was still not paid to me.

I did an opinion poll on the spot and to our delight, majority of the supporters said Yes to opposition cooperation; only 3 persons said No. I have no time to ask them why but I did use the opportunity to explain why we should get the opposition parties to work together.

In my speech, I explained why DAP leaders believe that the coming GE will fall in November this year ( NOV 25, to be more precise) or latest by March 2008. 

I also expressed my deep regret that the voters who lived in Jalan 4 and Jalan 18, Sg Way were fooled by Chew Mei Fun and Dr Wong Sai Hau in the 2004 GE. They were promised land titles immediately after the GE but guess what, their homes were all demolished by the authority in 2006. Both Chew and Wong did not even give it a fight. Not only that, they even failed to get the rightful compensation for many of them: No monthly rental subsidy of RM120 per family. No transport/ moving cost subsidy. No homes for second family…

But it’s too late for the residents who have trusted Chew and Wong. Chew has even gotten a promotion after the 2004 GE. There’s nothing the villagers can do except for voting against the two in the coming general elections.

Other speaker touched on issues such as mother tongue education, quality of tertiary education, freedom of religion, the importance of voters registration, rampant corruption and abuse of powers, increasing crime rates in PJ and Selangor, the restructuring of police force to fight crimes, the reasons for strengthening the DAP and other opposition parties, the NEP and income divide, the sexist Umno MPs ( we played the video clips of the relevant Parliamentary seating) and what should we expect  from a state assemblyman and Member of Parliament.

Everyone in the audience agrees with DAP speakers that Malaysia is not a better place to live after Abdullah has taken over from Dr Mahathir. We were all greatly disappoineted with the performance of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Haris has got a good idea…

May 27, 2007

Save the Constitution: No 2/3 Majority for BN

 Haris Ibrahim

This is no longer an option.

It is imperative that the government be denied another 2/3 majority in Parliament, if we are to put a stop to any further destruction of the Constitution and to have any hope, at some time in the future, of restoring the Constitution to what it was before.

In the last general election, 219 Parliamentary seats were at stake. BN took 199 (90.87%). Opposition won 19 seats and 1 seat was won by an independent candidate.

Not accounting for increased Parliamentary seats arising from a redelineation exercise, if the government is to be denied a 2/3 majority in Parliament after the next elections, Opposition and Independent candidates would need to secure 74 seats.

The Parliamentary seats that did not go to BN after the 2004 elections were:

Pendang (PAS)

Tumpat (PAS)

Pengkalan Chepa (PAS)

Pasir Mas (PAS)

Rantau Panjang (PAS)

Kubang Krian (PAS)

Bagan (DAP)

Permatang Pauh (Keadilan)

Bukit Mertajam (DAP)

Bukit Gelugor (DAP)

Tanjong (DAP)

Ipoh Timur (DAP)

Ipoh Barat (DAP)

Batu Gajah (DAP)

Kepong (DAP)

Bukit Bintang (DAP)

Seputeh (DAP)

Cheras (DAP)

Bandar Kuching (DAP)

Sandakan (Independent)

These 20 seats must be retained by the Opposition after the next election. The last thing we need to see happen at the next election is BN making inroads in any of these 20 non-BN seats.

If we are serious about denying the government a 2/3 majority after the next election, my sense is that we cannot leave this to the Opposition parties alone.

We, the voters, whose rights under the Constitution are being imperilled by the very persons entrusted to protect them, must act.

I would therefore like to initiate a ‘Keep our MP’ effort in these 20 constituencies.

If readers who are registered in any of the 20 constituencies mentioned above want to get together to work to ‘Keep our MP’, please send an e-mail to thepeoplesparliament@gmail.com

Even if the 20 seats mentioned above are retained by Opposition, that would still leave us short of 54 to deny the government a 2/3 majority.

How do we, the voters, even begin to try to wrest 54 seats from BN?

My thoughts on this in the next post.

Meanwhile, all ideas are welcome.

Human rights condition not improved under AAB

May 24, 2007

Report on Malaysia in Amnesty International Report 2007

State of the World’s Human Rights

Head of state: Raja Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin

*(Sultan Mizan took over from April 2007)


Head of government: Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Death penalty: retentionist
International Criminal Court: not ratified

The year ended without the government fulfilling its pledge to establish an independent police complaints commission. At least 80 men accused of links to Islamist extremist groups were held without charge or trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Freedom of expression, association and assembly continued to be constrained by restrictive laws. People suspected of being irregular migrants or asylum-seekers were harassed and detained in harsh conditions pending deportation. Hundreds of people, mostly alleged irregular migrants, were imprisoned or caned after unfair trials. Death sentences continued to be passed and four executions were carried out.

Police reform

Non-governmental organizations continued to press the government to create an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). In 2005 a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the police had recommended a wide range of reforms, including the establishment of an IPCMC by May 2006. Draft legislation to establish an IPCMC remained under consideration by the Attorney General at the end of the year. A range of other reform recommendations, including repeal or review of laws allowing for detention without trial or requiring police permits for public assemblies, were not implemented

Police brutality

There were continued reports of excessive use of force by police officers during peaceful
demonstrations. In March and May police armed with shields violently dispersed a series of peaceful protests in Kuala Lumpur against fuel prices, with batons and water cannon. Several people were reported seriously injured and dozens arrested. All were subsequently released. There was still concern over the effectiveness of safeguards to ensure the safety and wellbeing of detainees in police custody. At least five people, including one woman, were reported to have died in custody during the year.

Detention without trial

The ISA, which allows for detention without trial for periods of up to two years, renewable indefinitely, continued to be applied and also used as a threat. At least 80 men accused of membership of or links to Islamist extremist groups remained in detention at the end of the year. At least 20 detention orders were renewed, and the reasons were not made public.

• In May, 11 people were arrested under the ISA in Sabah for alleged involvement in an Islamist group known as Darul Islam Sabah.
• In October, at least 17 alleged members of Jemaah Islamiyah and the Malaysia Militant Group (Kumpulan Militan Malaysia) were released, but remained under orders restricting their freedom of movement.

At least 700 criminal suspects remained in detention under the Emergency (Public Order andPrevention of Crime) Ordinance (EO), which allows for indefinite detention without trial. Many were detained under the EO because the police did not have sufficient evidence to charge them. In October, the Federal Court ruled that the lawfulness of EO detentions by police could not be challenged in the courts once the Minister of Internal Security had issued a detention order.

Migrant workers, refugees and asylum-seekers

Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrant workers remained vulnerable to arrest, detention in poor conditions and deportation under the Immigration Act. Migrant workers were subjected to psychological and physical abuse by agencies and employers, and were often denied equal access to benefits and protections guaranteed to Malaysian workers, including maternity provisions, limited working hours and holidays.

Excessive use of force and ill-treatment were reported during repeated raids and mass arrests,mostly conducted by members of the volunteer civilian armed corps RELA (Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia), of suspected irregular migrant workers. Hundreds were whipped after being found guilty of immigration offences.

• In February, the bodies of five migrant workers who allegedly fled a RELA raid were found in a lake in Selayang, near Kuala Lumpur. Witnesses reported that at least one body bore signs of ill-treatment.

Freedom of expression and association

There was continued criticism of the Printing Presses and Publication Act which allows the authorities to refuse, revoke or suspend printing permits.

• During the year, two newspaper editors were forced to resign following their newspapers’ coverage of police abuses, and four newspapers were suspended after publishing drawings of the Prophet Muhammadfirst published in a Danish newspaper in 2005 and judged offensive.

• In May the opposition People’s Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) protested at the refusal to grant a printing permit for the party’s official paper.Two opposition parties, the Malaysian Dayak Congress and the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia), were denied registration under the Societies Act.

Death penalty and corporal punishment

In March the Malaysian Bar Council passed a resolution calling for the abolition of the death penalty and a moratorium on all executions.

Death sentences, however, continued to be passed during 2006, mostly as a mandatory punishment for certain drug-related offences. Four executions for armed treason were carried out. The authorities continued not to disclose regular statistics on capital punishment.

In May, Parliament passed a water privatization bill, which also extended the death penalty to cover serious cases of water contamination.

Caning, a cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, was also carried out.

AI country reports/visits

Report

• Malaysia: Amnesty International’s campaign to stop torture and ill-treatment in the ‘war on terror’
(AI Index: ASA 28/003/2006)

Visits

Amnesty International delegates met government officials in March, and local civil society groups in June to discuss progress in the implementation of police reform.

Samy the sexist, shame on you!

May 23, 2007

Lat week, I commented that the sexist duo reflects the culture of Umno. Now, I may have to reword it to “the sexist trio reflects the culture of Barisan Nasional”.

According to Chong Eng, there are plenty of sexists among the current batch of BN MPs. The former MP of Ipoh Timur from the MCA was one of them. They were fond of using words like “bagi masuk sikit (allow to enter a littel ), ” saya nak sentuh wanita” ( I wish to touch women)… they find poking fun at the women a folk a nice past-time.

Samy joins ranks of sexist politicians

Malaysiakini-May 22, 07 7:14pm 

 Just as the dust was about to settle over the sexist remarks made by two parliamentarians, a senior minister has kicked it up again. Veteran politician S Samy Vellu yesterday drew a parallel between the dilapidated state of the 43-year-old Parliament House to the looks of a woman of 50 years.

“A woman may be pretty but after 50 years she would not be pretty,” he was quoted as saying at a press conference yesterday after officiating an engineering exposition.

A women’s group today ticked Samy Vellu off, saying that it was inexcusable that one of the country’s longest-serving ministers chose a sexist comment to make his point on the need for renovation works on the Parliament House.

 “His remarks reinforce the gender stereotype that a woman’s worth lies with her extrinsic attributes (looks) and not with her intrinsic qualities as a human being,” said Loh Cheng Kooi from the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality.

“His statement and comparison are demeaning and an affront to women of all ages as they reduce women to objects of beauty, depreciating in value over time.”

Samy Vellu’s sexist remarks came hot in the heels of the furore over those made by two parliamentarians – Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin and Jasin MP Mohd Said Yusof – early this month. The parliamentarians, during debate on the lack of maintenance resulting in leaks in the Parliament building after heavy downpours, had attacked a woman opposition representative who raised the issue. “Where’s the leak? The Batu Gajah MP leaks every month too,” Bung said referring to DAP representative of the constituency, Fong Po Kuan. The duo have since apologised following intense criticisms from the public.

Samy did it before

Loh lamented that it was not the first time for Samy Vellu to make such sexist remarks – in October 2005, the works minister was quoted to have compared “toilets to new brides”. He was reported to have said: “Toilets are like new brides after they are completed. After some time, they get a bit spoiled. Even if you do not use them frequently, you need someone to clean them every 25 minutes.”

“For far too long, elected representatives have repeatedly made derogatory remarks against women, ranging from comments on their bodily functions to statements on their physical attributes, and have gotten away with such sexist language.

“These comments show a complete lack of gender sensitivity and reflect a deeply ingrained culture of patriarchy as well as a total lack of respect for women.” She called on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is chairperson of the Gender Cabinet Committee, to take this matter seriously and put an immediate stop to sexist comments from his cabinet and Parliament. If not, Loh said that Malaysians should then send a clear message at the ballot box.

“Gender insensitive leaders should just be voted out.”

All indicators point to an early GE in November

May 22, 2007

The salary increment for 1.02 million government servants is just one of the indicators for an early general elections.

The pay rise will no doubt lessen the burden of the lower ranking civil servants and has an impact on retaining their votes and loyalty to BN. Without the pay rise, it’s likely that some of them(and their spouses) would not vote for BN.

I still believe that AAB and his think-tank would not be relying on this salary increment alone to fish for more votes to secure another big victory for Barisan Nasional. Some of the non-Malays were not too happy with the quantum of increment because they know the money actually comes from the taxpayers like them collectively. And they have doubts that the public delivery system will be improved or corruption would be reduced very much.

AAB ‘s team knows that while AAB is still popular to many Malay voters especially in the rural areas, they can kiss and say goodbye to the “feel good factors’ created by AAB in 2004. They can now only depend on more goodies, plus some threats and massive frauds (with the help of Election Commission) to win elections.

AAB and his company will certainly turn the coming Budget in September into an ‘election Budget’, using it to woo Chinese and Indians who were not benefited from the pay rise in general.

They will also make use of the 50th anniversary of Merdeka as an opportunity to push nationalism and the so-called patriotism to ‘sky-high’ in order to create a ‘euphoria’ to drum up more support from the unsuspicious rakyat.

After more goodies and hand-outs were given out from July right up to September and October, that would be the right time for AAB to reap the harvest in November.

AAB and company have been saying that Anwar is a spent force or a non-entity after the Ijok ‘buy-election’. But deep down in their hearts, they know what kind of damage Anwar  was capable of if he was allowed to contest. The latest date for AAB to hold the GE would be March 15. There would be no more best dates for him after March 15.

I still think AAB will stick to one of the best dates (this year) given to him by his Chinese fortune master. That will be soon after the Hari Raya Celebration i.e. 25 November. He has won big in 2004 using the winning date given by the same fortune master. There’s no reason for AAB to disregard the advice of his master.

There are people in the Opposition even talking about August 2007 as the month for elections. I beg to differ. Yes, the Opposition is not ready by August ; but I believe even BN is not ready by August too. And more importantly, that’s not one of the best dates given by his fortune master.

Is the gov’t preparing for early polls?

Malaysiakini- May 21, 07 7:24pm

Former deputy prime minister and adviser to the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat Anwar Ibrahim said the pay increment for civil servants announced today indicated the government was preparing for an early election.

“Clearly the whole intention and purpose of announcing it in this period shows that it is around the corner,” Anwar told reporters, flagging an end-2007 date for the poll. “It will ease a lot of problems faced by the common folks, particularly with the rising petrol prices and price hikes impacting negatively the welfare of the people. “That means that election is very close,” he said, after attending the launching of Islamist party PAS’ new headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.

Anwar is barred from formal politics until April 2008 over a corruption conviction, and analysts have said a poll could be called as early as the end of 2007 to exclude him.

Mohammad Agus Yusoff, head of political science at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the salary hike was long overdue but added changes would not be enough of a sweetener ahead of an election.

“The cost of living has gone up. It’s a logical thing for the government to do … but they cannot rely on these sorts of goodies that they give,” said Mohammad Agus.

Good economic performance

Earlier today, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the government will spend RM4 billion this year on pay rises for some one million civil servants. Under the hikes, approved earlier this month, 1.0 million civil servants will see rises of between 7.5 to 35 percent, while the police and armed forces will receive an additional 20 percent on their increment, Abdullah said.

They will also get a 100 percent increase in cost of living allowances, with all the rises effective from July 1 this year, he said.

“Overall, the pay hike is worth RM3.4 billion for this year, or an additional expenditure of RM6.8 billion annually,” Abdullah told a gathering of over 2,000 civil servants in Putrajaya, the adminstrative capital.

“The increase in the cost of living involves an additional expenditure of RM600 million for this year or RM1.2 billion per year,” he said, as the workers cheered and applauded the news.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at the function told reporters the hikes were not calculated to raise spirits ahead of an election. Malaysia must hold a general election by early 2009, but a poll is expected by the end of this year or in early 2008.

 Abdullah, who earlier this month said civil servants deserved the pay hikes, hailed Malaysia’s economic performance as a reason for the change. – AFP

About salary increment for 1.02 million civil servants

May 22, 2007

Do you think the quantum of salary and allowance increase for the 1.02 million civil servants reasonable, too low or too high?

Before answering my question, please take note of what an expert on human resource has told me this afternoon. He told me that the lowest ranking government servants are getting less than RM500 a month. So, the increment of 35% for this group is around RM175 per month. Plus the 100% increase on COLA, that’s another RM150. This pay rise(about RM 325) will be ‘nullified’ by the prices increase of flour, milk powder, water, electricity, transport cost, toll and petrol hikes in no time.

Should our brothers and sisters in the civil service  vote for the BN coalition in the coming general elections because of this increment? A friend of mine (who’s a civil servant) told me that  he wil still vote for the Opposition because the increment was long overdue, and the money does not come from the BN leaders personal pockets but from the taxpayers. He also said that the increment at this point of time is tantamount to blatantly buying votes and such move was an insult to the intelligence and integrity of  the civil servants.  After all, the quantum of increment is no big deal if you factor in inflation. He also remarked that this is not the first time Najib made a ‘stupid’ comment ( Najib openly said that the increment was not an election goodies). He reminded me that it was Najib who made the silly ‘change our lifestyle’ remark at the time of fuel hikes,  and ‘drink less teh tarik‘ at the time of shortage of sugar.

Up to 35% pay hike for civil servants
May 21, 07 2:22pm Malaysiakini 
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today announced a hefty pay rise for civil servants which observers view as a strong indicator of a general election being around the corner.Effective July 1, Abdullah said government servants will get a pay raise of between 7.5% and 35%.The cost of living allowance, or Cola, will also be increased by 100%.

Meanwhile, members of the police and the armed forces will receive 20% over and above the announced increase in pay.

Abdullah’s announcement at a Workers Day gathering in Putrajaya drew a huge round of applause from those present.

He was later given a standing ovation and the crowd chanted ‘Hidup Pak Lah‘ (Long Live Pak Lah).

On the whole, the premier said the pay rise will amount to RM3.4 billion for this year or an additional expenditure of RM6.8 billion a year.

Whereas the increase in Cola will involve an additional expenditure of RM600 million for this year and RM6.8 billion annually.

Careful decision

Abdullah said the main factor behind the government’s decision for the pay hike was the strong GDP growth over the past five years at a rate of 5.6 percent a year.

The second factor, he added, was the need to attract and retain qualified and motivated personnel in the public sector.

The third factor is the increase in the cost of living due to global oil prices which is impacting the lower income group, he said, adding that the fourth factor is the capabilities of the government’s finances.

“In deciding on the pay rise, the government is careful on its impact on the country’s financial situation. Any pay increase will also involve pension and other allowances.

“In view of this, the quantum of increase was decided carefully. The government has successfully reduced the its expenditure deficit from 5.3% in 2003 to 3.5% last year and this good fiscal management will continue,” he said.

Not election goodies

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at the same function told reporters the hikes were not calculated to raise spirits ahead of an expected early general election.

Malaysia must hold a general election by early 2009, but a poll is expected by the end of this year or in early 2008.

“It does contribute a feel-good factor. Civil servants will welcome any form of increment,” independent political analyst Khoo Kay Peng told AFP.

“But at the end of the day, there will still be some people who can barely make ends meet given their low salary base,” he added.

Mohammad Agus Yusoff, head of political science at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the salary hike was long overdue but added changes would not be enough of a sweetener ahead of an election.

“The cost of living has gone up. It’s a logical thing for the government to do … but they cannot rely on these sorts of goodies that they give.

Dompok and Kah Kiat set fine example

May 20, 2007

First, you have Chong Kah Kiat who resigned as the Sabah deputy chief minister in protest over the stoppage of Mazhu statue in Kudat . Kah Kiat was upset by his boss Musa Aman who scrap the project without any justification. Before the Mazhu incident, Musa Aman has also interfered with Kah Kiat’s portfolio as the state tourism minister.

And now, you have Bernard Dompok who resigned as the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity over the sabotage of NRD officials. Earlier, Dompok was apparently upset with Nazri Aziz and other ministers who help blocking the ACA Director General from attending the hearing by the PSCI. 

Both Dompok and Kah Kiat have set a fine example for other BN leaders who hold on to their positions shamelessly with no principle and courage whatsoever. They will be remembered as political leaders who have the courage to defend their integrity in the larger interest of the people. Incidentally, both of them hail from Sabah.

While we werte disappointed with the reaction of the Prime Minister (he remarked that Kah Kiat’s resignation has no impact with BN Sabah), we were heartened to note that the Transparency International KL Chapter and the Council of Churches in Malaysia have voiced their support with Dompok.

Kit Siang and groups support Dompok
May 19, 07 4:52pm Malaysiakini
Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang has come out to defend Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Bernard Dompok after he was criticised by cabinet compatriot Nazri Aziz.Lim’s response came in the wake of Dompok’s shock resignation as the head of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity (PSCI) on Wednesday.

However, Nazri said the resignation was seen as being influenced by the committee’s deputy chairperson which happens to be Lim.

Nazri pointed out that the committee was set up to meet people, obtain feedback and formulate a programme or find ways to improve on policy, not investigate people.

He also said Dompok was frustrated that Nazri had objected to the PSCI calling the then Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Zulkipli Mat Noor to appear before the Select Committee.
The committee was set to meet Zulkipli and whistleblower, former Sabah ACA chief Mohamad Ramli Manan but the meeting was eventually cancelled three times.

Dompok’s decision to resign from the bi-partisan committee followed Lim’s question on why a scheduled committee meeting yesterday with National Registration Department (NRD) into a fake identity card scandal in Sabah dubbed ‘Project M’ was suddenly cancelled.

Test of strength

The NRD has refused to appear before the committee – a move which Nazri has supported.

Lim then pointed out that this appeared to be a test of strength between Nazri and Dompok with the former having the upper hand.

“Even if Dompok is prepared to reconsider his resignation as chairman of PSCI, it is not clear that the cabinet would agree to his continuing to serve in this capacity,” he said.

Meanwhile. Transparency International president Ramon Navaratnam expressed regret over Dompok’s resignation and over the NRD’s refusal to comply with the committee’s request.

“It is a serious matter and indicates an unbecoming attitude of an agency when a meeting called by the Parliamentary Select Committee can be rejected.

“This is also disrespectful to Parliament and reflects the standard and quality of administration of this country,” Ramon said in a statement today.

He also called for Dompok’sposition as chairperson of the PSCI to be reinstated and that the NRD be held accountable for the issuance of identity cards in Sabah where there is apparent widespread abuse.

“Tough disciplinary action must be taken against individuals and agencies that do not heed parliamentary meetings seriously,” he added.

Echoing their support for Dompok is the Council of Churches of Malaysia who is appealing to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to implement his stated policies of integrity, accountability and transparency by reinstating Dompok to the PSCI post.

“As much as we regret his resignation, we applaud his courage based on his conviction that issues related to transparency in the government administration should not be compromised,” their statement added.