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Judge, Jury and Executioner September 7, 2008

Posted by rahulian in Uncategorized.
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I disagree with Pirated Victim (Shock over Puchong MP standing up for wanted criminals, The Star 7th September 2008). Pirated victim had been a victim of criminals and thus feels very strongly that any means could be used to eradicate criminals from our streets.

 

However, Pirated Victim must also understand that the police cannot be the judge, jury and executioner of criminals. The duty of the police is to investigate the crime, apprehend the suspect and the Deputy Public Prosecutor will prosecute that person in court. The suspect, as he is still not convicted will have a right to defend himself in court. Then only will the judge decide and the corrections institutions do their part if and when the suspect is sentenced. Only then is he guilty and becomes a convict.

 

This is the judicial process that we all must adhere to. The police cannot be given powers that allow them to kill criminal suspects. It is understandable that there will be casualties when a shoot-out happens. However, there are documented instances and empirical research that suggest the police have got it wrong when they have injured innocent people thinking they were highly wanted suspects.

 

The notion that the suspects are able to buy time through the wits of their lawyers is true but if the police had thoroughly investigated the case, produced all the sufficient evidence in court and had not made any technical errors, there would be no cause for concern. The police need more funds to get the high-tech equipments used by law enforcement agencies around the world and the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) needs to weed out the negative elements in the police force that help these criminals.

 

There are also many disturbing questions that all the other law enforcement agencies should look at. Why are there so many gun-related crimes in the last few years? Guns have never been a feature of criminal activities in Malaysia. How are these weapons being smuggled in? There have been many reports that illegal immigrants are committing these crimes. Why are these people still in the country? How did they get in? Where did they obtain the weapons?

 

Thus it is important in order to maintain law and order, that everyone involved behave professionally and ethically. We do not want to create a vigilante society that operates outside the scope of the law. The country cannot afford to have people taking the law into their own hands.

 

It is also important to note that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to defend themselves. This is the pillar of a comprehensive criminal justice system and the foundation of our believes in a truly democratic country.

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The Vanishing of a Vision July 24, 2008

Posted by rahulian in Current Affairs, Malaysia, Politics.
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The grave situation that the country is experiencing is not just the mismanagement of government funds by the present government.

 

It stems out from a culture where money has been channelled to many parties over previous administrations. There has never been a proper concept of open tender for all government projects.

 

If only all had practised this simple concept, the people would have saved billions of dollars. This of course would have helped our bottom line thus increasing our reserves and consolidated funds which would help strengthen our ringgit.

 

The new administration of Abdullah seems to blame the old administration of Dr. Mahathir for the problems the nation is facing now. The old master, Dr. Mahathir and his select crew have been defending their previous decisions and blame the present administration for the woes that the nation is facing.

 

Clearly this signals that there is a massive crack in UMNO in particular and Barisan National in general. There will be more than fifteen people contesting the vice presidents’ posts during the next UMNO elections. This provides evidence that given the opportunity, all of them in UMNO want to contest but previously, contesting without the approval of the UMNO cabinet would have been taboo.

 

This is a good change but the top two posts remains uncontested as there is an agreement that the transition of power will end in 2010 when Najib Tun Razak becomes the head of UMNO. Depending on whether the Barisan Nasional is still the ruling coalition at that time, Najib would also automatically become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Is this power transition still relevant today? Does it really ensure stability? One must wonder whether the electorate is still relevant in Malaysia when the Prime Minister is being appointed rather than being elected.

 

However, there is the argument that a vote of no confidence can be brought against the new Prime Minister if the Lower house collectively wants to. The keyword here is collective. With the whip system that we practise, all the Barisan MPs must vote for the interest of Barisan not their constituents.

 

Even in Britain, when Tony Blair left, there was a transition of power from him to Gordon Brown. However, as soon as Brown took over, he had many problems within his government and the opposition being very strong, they put considerable pressure upon him. They practise the system of vote of no confidence because they understand why it is important and that they are accountable to the people not to their political allegiance.

 

We do not practise such a system here as the opposition is getting stronger but still not strong enough and political allegiance is seen as far more important than what the constituents have in mind.

 

Even in MCA we can see unprecedented changes with many divisions having contest for their chairman’s post. Chua Jui Meng is contesting in a three cornered fight for the Bakri division. Chua Soi Lek on the other hand, will be Batu Pahat chairman uncontested.

 

The MIC are rebranding themselves so the Indians will trust the party more and vote for Barisan in time to come. The former youth head, Vickneswaran unceremoniesly left the party saying he has no confidence in the leadership of Samy Vellu. Some people followed in his footsteps. Since Samy Vellu took over, there has been many casualties in the war to control MIC. These would include S. Subramaniam, Pandithan and Pathmanaban who all tried to challenge him but failed.

 

The real rebranding the party needs is the removal of its top leader as this is the only way forward for the party. The party has been beaten by the public so it can regain its senses of what the party was really built for. No one would have imagined such turn of events if not for the results of the last general elections. The people must exercise the power that they have.

 

These may seem like a healthy trend but it also exposes Barisan for the political party that it is. The love of patronising those who are close to you regardless of their capabilities and capacity to do the job properly has caused Barisan to crack and if Anwar Ibrahim does form a new government, then even bigger cracks will come out of Barisan.  

 

The talk all over town about the Anwar sodomy – Najib Mongolia issue seems to be the same – people are fed up with all this drama and want those we elected from whichever side to get on with their jobs and help us reduce our financial burdens. The government defends the rise in fuel costs by attributing it to rising world fuel prices and that Petronas has given all its dues to the government.

 

There are two major problems here. The first is that unlike many countries around the world, we are an oil producing nation. Since Petronas first made money was through oil, the government can now tap the entire group funds to help subsidies our petrol problem. Secondly, we do not have a comprehensive public transport system like the ones in UK or Singapore. People would complain less if they have alternatives. The government does not provide alternatives; instead they build bigger highways charging bigger toll prices.

 

The average Malaysian spends almost 25% of his/her wages on fuel and toll. The fuel and toll prices would affect the select few who made money through closed government tenders as they have our money as their reserves. It affects people like you and me who struggle to make a living in a country that is full of resources. Malaysia has everything any nation in the world would desire for except a regime corrupted by funds from big business empires. These business empires want to keep corrupting the regime as well so their well will never dry up. The common man’s well has become non-existent.

 

If things continue to be as they are with rising inflation and lack of governance, unemployment will hit roof high and at time, Vision 2020 will be Vanished 2020.

Can The Malaysian Indians Be Fooled AGAIN? February 25, 2008

Posted by rahulian in Current Affairs, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Social Justice.
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When Mahathir and Ling Leong Sik had gracefully retired from politics just before the last elections, the M.I.C. leader, Samy Vellu was asked to leave the helm of the party so as to allow the younger generation an opportunity to serve the Indian community in Malaysia.

 

However, Samy Vellu at that time said that he will serve the party as long as the Indians want him to serve them and the entire M.I.C. machinery was put into full gear with pledges and unwavering support coming from the other M.I.C. leaders. During that election Barisan National won a resounding victory and it looked certain that Malaysia was in for a change from the Mahathir regime. M.I.C. won all the seats they contested in.

 

Many Malaysian Indians realised at that time that the only voice of the Indians that can be HEARD by the world at large came from the media controlled by the government machinery i.e. through the offices of Barisan National and its component parties. Thus many Indians had no choice but to accept Samy Vellu as the head of M.I.C. and a self – proclaimed champion of the Indians.

 

What baffles me the most is that even yesterday, Samy Vellu had made the same statement that he is here because the Indians want him to be here. Is he getting too old that he has forgotten all the events that had happened in the last two years?

 

The Internet has opened up a different playing field all together as the government can no longer vet the information that is being given to all the people out there. This includes the Indians. Even those in remote areas have been able to keep up with the latest information on government misdeeds as many Indians, through their sheer hard work, had been able to give their children a decent education and these children are able to relate the news on the information super-highway to those in the rural parts of this country.

 

Being Indian does not mean being Hindu. That is an important distinction that all must accept. However, due to the fact that the majority of Malaysian Indians are Hindus, the Indians expect M.I.C. to protect their religious rites under the Federal Constitution through their active involvement in governance of this country as a member of the ruling coalition.

 

You can bend a person’s pride, not their belief. Samy Vellu made a grave error in allowing the demolition of so many temples. There would not be a need for Hindraf if M.I.C. had done what it had promised. The Barisan National government even refused to receive petitions from the rakyat about their plight. The Supreme Head of Malaysia was also not allowed to receive petitions from the rakyat. How arrogant of these Little Napoleons (in RPK’s words) that they even deny justice to be seeked from the King.

 

Only when the representation is inadequate that changes are requested. There is no need to form new parties and allies in order to combat the problem. People within M.I.C. must overthrow the regime so that the real ones still in the party can help represent the true plight of Indians in Malaysia. Hindraf was formed not to terrorise this country or to expend some form of religious fanaticism. It was formed with the pure hope that our temples, our sacred places of worship is not demolished and vandalised the way it has been done for many years.

 

Now that the M.I.C. knows that there are many channels that the Indians in Malaysia can use to voice their opinions, is it not time for them to take a vote of no confidence against the leaders in their parties and restore the pride and honour that the MALAYSIAN INDIAN CONGRESS once stood for.

 

There are hardly any professionals joining the M.I.C. and would this not be an indicator as to the underlying problems in the party. Many Malaysian Indians have come to the point that they believe M.I.C. is a party of thugs and gangsters, whether it is right or not. The inclusion of some new faces in the M.I.C. line-up would make you think this is indeed the case. The changes made by M.I.C. seem to show no difference on the national level as most incumbents are still there. There are many new faces in the state seats but how will this help the general Indian brothers and sisters in Parliament? The ones who remain contesting the Parliamentary seats have failed before in the eyes of the Indians thus why they are still they baffles me and many other political analyst around the country.

 

The Sabahans and the Sarawakians have come in defence of the Barisan National that all the tribes and races in their states are treated equally and rights given without prejudice. Due the fact that all rights are the same for all, anyone from any tribe has the same access to education and jobs. That is what the Indians here are also striving for. The Indians are not on the same playing field and they never have been as the Indian labourers were not educated too when they came here. There were a selected group of Indians and Sri Lankans who were educated and they occupied many government posts and positions during the pre-war and early post-war eras. However, the Indian labourers were never in that same playing field. They were more closely related to the Malay farmers of early independence in terms of education and socio-economy. The Indians are not asking for something that is not theirs. The statistics speaks for itself. If the M.I.C. has strived all these years for the betterment of the Indians, why does the statistics show otherwise?

 

There are many who benefited from the ruling coalition but the general public has suffered a great deal to satisfy the greed of a few. I wonder if I would ever come across a country where Capitalism runs amok among an elected dictatorship. The rich becomes richer and the poor poorer. The powerful little Napoleons dictate the course of the country so as to suit their personal capitalists’ gains. It always seems from the outset that the major problem is the redistribution of wealth and benefits among the races but the bare truth is that there is no redistribution of wealth outside ruling coalition. The race of a person does not have a bearing anymore. The only thing that matters is whether you are a party person or not.

 

By virtue of that error in judgement by the Barisan National Government, today they stand in tight spot trying to defend their majority. The Barisan National will win; nobody is living in denial about it. However, can they retain their majority in the House is a huge question mark that even their former boss, Tun Mahathir has publicly acknowledged.

 

Please vote sensibly and rationally.

  

The Scared Right January 21, 2008

Posted by rahulian in Asia, Current Affairs, Foreign Policy, Free Press, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Social Justice.
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Since the Hindraf march in November had taken place, there has been a lot of development in Malaysia especially in terms of socio-thinking and political strategy. Though the Right Honourable Prime Minister has said that the elections could be anytime within the next one year, the feeling in the nation is quite the opposite as everyone is expecting the elections soon as the party machineries are already at work.

The exposé of the whole episode during that faithful day in November and its aftermath in the foreign press has shown us that the government can no longer hide behind the draconian laws that the country has in restricting media here within the country. The world is now taking notice of the developments here and the impact of the rally should not be understated. In fact, the most unbiased reporting was done on Al-Jazeera which has one of its bases here in Malaysia. They have been linked to the Al-Qaeda many times thus many are apprehensive of their reporting and views but they have shown and they do not bend to the will of those in power unlike some of the western media that focused only on the American view of the war in Iraq and not the truth of what actually happened there.

As for things in Malaysia, the rally that day opened up a large volume of quantitative and qualitative debates. There are still five people being detained under the Internal Security Act and this draconian law does not even have a place in the holy books of any religion. There is no religion that supports the detention of human beings without a fair trial. The key words are fair and trial. When there is not even a trial, how then can we expect fairness? Do we still need such laws? These laws were created during the EMERGENCY and it seems the power that may be wants us to remain always in a state of EMERGENCY.

We are all so busy during our teh tarik sessions and mee goreng moments talking about Mr. Lingam doing a constitutional duty reserved for the Supreme Head of Malaysia on the advice of his Right Honourable Prime Minister. Yes, the role of appointing the judiciary has come under public scrutiny as of late. Why blame the office boys when the real culprits are someone else? If the government itself does not have the confidence that the Courts will be able to deal will all matters fairly and justly, how can we have any confidence in the judicial system? The ISA undermines the powers of the Judiciary and the Lingam fiasco confirms that the government in all ways are undermining the ability and the jurisdiction of the Judiciary. The Judiciary is our last resort to resolve disputes and safeguard our Constitutional rights but if the Judiciary itself is in problems, what chances do we have?

Leaving the judiciary aside, let us look at the interviews given by our Right Honourable Ministers in the foreign press. The BBC and the Al-Jazeera interviewed among others, the de facto Law Minister, Mohammad Nazri Abdul Aziz, the Information Minister, Zainuddin Maidin and the Foreign Minister, Syed Hamid Alba. I was extremely disappointed at the way they carried themselves and the answers to the questions asked were either deflected or ambiguously answered. Maybe that is what many years of politics makes them an expert on…..the art of deflection.

The Information Minister while asked to comment on Terengganu’s chances this elections by RTM (midnight news), he was quick to say that they government has done very well in the state and the leadership of the Chief Minister has been excellent. However, he paused for a moment, for someone to remind him of the name of the Chief Minister. If it was just a memory lapse then fine, but is it not the duty of the Information Minister to have such vital information at his fingertips. They do mingle after their meetings while having the teh tariks and mee gorengs.

My intentions are not to condemn anyone but I expect as a voter and citizen of this country that those who represent me must do their jobs with the utmost professionalism and dignity. The world press must take note of our representatives and give better coverage to the country for the right reasons. The image shown by the representative is the image foreigners will have of this great nation.

If the qualities that the foreign press sees in our beloved country are always in the negative, how are the foreign investors ever going to invest their money here? Looking at the instability in regions like Africa and South America, would we invest there with all that’s happening? The foreigners will look at our situation the same. Would we be looking at a regional business block under ASEAN if we can compete against the new emerging economic superpowers, China and India? The reason we need to collaborate is that we are losing business and we are losing fast.

In the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) the main investors according to a local weekly were people from the Middle East. However, the weekly also said that the full details of investors will be clearer in March when the master plan is unveiled. IOI Properties and YTL have recently purchased properties in Singapore but have not pledged anything in the IDR. The implications may be insignificant come March, but how are foreigners going to invest here if Malaysians companies might still have reservations themselves?

The Right Honourable Prime Minister announced that Thaipusam will be a holiday for Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya as well. If the rally did not take place and the elections not coming, would the day be declared a holiday will never be known. Nonetheless, every Hindu in the country is happy with the announcement.

History bears witness that all our forefathers FOUGHT and LIVED as one so our home, this country of ours can prosper. We come from all kinds of different backgrounds whether it is race, religion, culture, financial status or just the different areas in the country. That should not be a reason to separate us. The powers that may be can only control when all are divided. It only took a fraction of society to start changes. It is time we all exercised the most sacred of our Constitutional rights, the right to VOTE. Many may say it is going to be the same whether we VOTE or not, but unless we try, we would never know. I rather live my live knowing I tried then to wake up thinking WHAT IF. 

The Fiasco November 14, 2007

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Last Saturday, a group of patriotic Malaysians gathered at the Dataran to make the march to see the Supreme Head of Malaysia, our DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-pertuan Agung. Their intentions were simple and humble. All they wanted was to hand in their petition of how they thought this country is being run and being sacrificed for the benefits of the fortunate few.

 

They requested for a permit but it was refused. They asked for protection from law and order, it was also refused. Instead, the entire machinery and governmental force was thrown at this innocent group of people just voicing out what they believed was their constitutional right under Art 10 of the Federal Constitution, the freedom of speech and association.

 

Once upon a time ago in our recent past, the son-in law of the highest commander in the land had sat and demonstrated with thousands of people when the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice visited Malaysia. At that time no permits were requested or were questioned but the rally went on. Under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, that was an illegal act but as usual, is not about whether you are the best candidate for the job but who you know in high places.

 

Being part of the business society that travels around the world, it is becoming very hard to defend the ridiculous behaviour of those in power. Logic and the art of politicking will tell you that the best way to control the situation on that fateful Saturday where the democracy of our nation was questioned is to award a permit permitting a said number of people to go and petition the His Majesty. They should be accorded police escort and protection.

 

This simple gesture would have stopped a lot of chaos and the saving of tax-payers money as there was no need for so many police personnel and tear gas being used. Why is the government so worried about the RAKYAT petitioning His Majesty if they have done nothing wrong and followed the principles that our forefathers followed when they were forming this nation of ours.

 

At the end of the day, the Agung cannot act by himself to change the wrong that has been going on. The Constitution clearly states that he must consult the Prime Minister on most matters of the state. However, by not granting a permit for a peaceful rally, the government has won itself condemnation and the creation of unnecessary chaos that could have easily been avoided. The world is changing, but the people in it is changing faster.

Law And Order September 23, 2007

Posted by rahulian in Current Affairs, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Social Justice.
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Without law there can be no order but without order, law can never be observed. The two important pillars of modern society live and breathe side by side. They protect us from all that is bad and all that is evil. Well that’s what happens in an ideal world.

Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. In fact we don’t live in an ideal country. The last week has brought up some issues that ought to be seen as the end of the road for the process of democracy our forefathers fought for.

Let us first look at the police force i.e. the guardians and protectors of this country. How are we to have any confidence in the police when they are more interested in OPS Bersih than they are in finding the worthless dog that did those terrible things to a child. They want to charge the parents with negligence. I believe it’s so ridiculous what the police are doing that it is self explanatory.

So many children are still missing and suddenly now the IGP starts to initiate a special victims unit to do more. Could not we learn from the west the bad things that happen as well? Could not we be more prepared to handle the situation?

Then we hear that a prominent police officer who is said to have 27 million in assets and so on. Maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t, but that should give us an implication on the volume of corruption happening in this country. What I am trying to impress here is not that that particular officer is corrupted but it seems the force is institutionally corrupted. We really and believe me really need a reform of the PDRM.

The judiciary represents all that is sacred about the protection of the law in a nation. It’s represents or stars as an icon of democracy. Being one of the three pillars that make a democratic country, the burden and responsibility on the judiciary is often great and underestimated.  

However, the judiciary is only as powerful as the members in it are. The integrity and the honourable conduct of its members make it the institution it is. Then we hear that a certain lawyer allegedly speaking to a certain judge about the appointment of judges and top judges. If the statements said were to be true, then we have a constitutional epidemic going on in this country.

There is the famous statements that the non-Malays are getting a bad deal in this country but if that conversation by the certain lawyer were to be used as evidence, it seems the Chinese i.e. prominent businessman and the Indian i.e. the lawyer are controlling the country by controlling the appointment of judges.  

Futhermore, we as the rakyat must also understand that what the judiciary is today is a knock on effect of the judicial crisis in the late 80’s. Just because this revelation has come out now, we cannot just blame the present administration. They only continued what was thought to them by their predecessors. There seems to be a systematic replacement of judges to suit the executive administering the country.

If one is conversant with the language of contractual law between a foreigner and a local, the foreigner always insist most of the time that the law governing the contract is to be English law and the seat of tribunal is to be Singapore. Is this not a sad state of affairs? The foreigners want to do business with us but they don’t want to be bound by our laws. Maybe the problem is not the law but how the law is administered.

On a global perspective, we do have a massive crisis of law and order in our hands. The only way forward is transparency and integrity in the way the judiciary and the police act. We need ROYAL enquiries into these matters and Parliament must hold the judiciary and police accountable for the state of affairs in this country if they are responsible. However, having a majority of the ruling coalition, are they really willing to do it?

The State of GLCs September 18, 2007

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Last week I visited Singapore during a working vacation. I chanced upon an interview given by Tengku Mahaleel on Channel News Asia, a Media Corp news channel. He highlighted a few things during that interview.

The first was the reasons why he believed he should have been allowed to continue the job but we are not going to dwell on that. What surprised me was that when he left, he said Proton had cash in the tune of two billion ringgit. He says they now only have 300 million ringgit.

If what he says is true, then one must wonder where the cash has gone. Has it been used to purchase more rediculous entities like MV Agusta or for designing vehicles like Tiara and Juwara that were a disgrace and should have been scrapped at the design stage itself.

Or there could be one more possibility. The money has been used to line the pockets of the rich and powerful few while we suffer here with the burden of Proton being protected through high tariffs for foreign cars. If Proton has the quality in it’s products, then fair and good. However, their standards are well known and why should we the public suffer the burden.

If Tengku Mahaleel is right, then I hope Proton will come forward and let us know what happen to all that money and how do they propose to safe the national car industry. The people are now more knowledgeable and thus we demand more answers. This is just one industry involving a government linked company. I wonder what kind of worms are in the tins of other GLCs.

Then I hear the Deputy Prime Minister saying on national television that the government has given 14 billion ringgit in subsidies for petrol while Petronas has forked out 13 billion ringgit in subsidies.

I can understand when his Honourable DPM speaks of the government subsidies but as for the subsidies by Petronas, well we all know that they must pay for the exclusive right of finding and getting petrol out of this nation. Do we have to beg for what is rightfully ours? Even if the government has given all these subsidies, it is not from the coffers of their party but from the taxpayers money. They are only returning the wealth belonging to every single Malaysian i.e. the oil and soil belongs to all of us.

The government privatised many national bodies with the idea of making them more efficient and to better serve the public. However, due to their monopolistic situation, the public is still not getting what they deserve.  The nature of monopolistic business is such that the consumer always gets a bad deal. The monopolistic situation even extents to private companies linked to the selected few.

The time is right for all to come clean. The road ahead may be a long one but if we start reforming now, maybe, just maybe we could achieve the dreams of our forefathers and live in a peaceful, modern and coherent society.

Merdeka – A Critical Evaluation September 5, 2007

Posted by rahulian in Free Press, Malaysia, Politics.
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Last Friday, Malaysia celebrated its independence from the British colonial rule with grandeur and in spectacular fashion. Though history suggests that only the Federation of Malaya gained independence in 1957, the government of the day seemed to have overlooked it.

Malaysia was formed on 16th September 1963 and from that day the Federation of Malaya ceased to exist and a new nation was born out of Malaysia Act 1963 and the Malaysia Agreement between Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and the United Kingdom. It was very gracious of the Sabahans to join in the Merdeka celebrations in the spirit of togetherness but for the whole country (I mean Malaysia not Malaya) to celebrate, then 16th September would be the appropriate day.

The British left in 1957 and Malaysia has come a long way since then. We have achieved a lot in all kinds of industries ranging from agriculture to manufacturing. We are now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Thus, the celebration of Independence from the shackles of the old colonial masters seems justified. However, a critical evaluation of the situation here in Malaysia would suggest all is not as rosy as it seems or sounds.

The first issue that has not been resolved is the special privileges or what we commonly call the Bumiputera rights. Because of the so called social contract that our former leaders had agreed upon, we as Malaysians have become too tolerant to the extent that we do not want to even discuss the issue openly. Whether the privileges are a good thing or not for the Bumiputera population is open to debate. Even now, being a Malaysian of Indian origin, I am already treading dangerous waters when I bring up such sensitive issues. However, I am a strong believer in reasoning and the ability of all Malaysians to reason.

Instead of allowing people from all races and walks of life sit and discuss the issue, the powers that may be is quick to raise the racial card and curb the voice of those who want to discuss the future direction of this country. We Malaysians are tolerant, reasonable and intelligent people. We are not thugs who need to carry arms to get ourselves heard. No one is asking for the removal of the rights but people want to know who really has benefited from these rights. Has every single Bumiputera benefited from these rights?

I would like to quote an example. When buying houses, there is a 5% discount for the purchase by a Bumiputera. That is fine with all of us but who can exercise that 5% discount? Only those who can afford to buy these houses. What about all those Bumiputeras who are homeless or those who live in rented properties and in squatter areas. They need housing but they cannot afford. So only the affordable ones are enjoying these privileges. Since a person can afford to have a house, should it not seem right if they are not given that 5% discount and the developer uses that money to build low cost housing for the poor and underprivileged.

Please do not think that people of other races are upset over these rights. If it is given to those who are in real need (the idea behind its creation in 1957), well and good. It is when the powers that may be and the rich uses it enrich to themselves even more that it becomes a sad state of affairs. Thus it is important for the people themselves to know and evaluate the situation and the open voice of the media is needed for that.

The media in this country has been curbed by various measures and the famous ones are the Internal Security Act, the Seditions Act, the Publications Act and the Emergency Ordinance. If what the powers that may be are doing is not wrong, then why are they so worried about the media. In effect, the media could even be used to bolster their political aspirations. The internet has now opened a doorway that is difficult to be regulated. However, there are many people especially in the rural areas that are not connected to the net. They too need to know the truth thus the print media still plays a major role in the distribution of information.

An important question to ask after all these years of self-rule is whether we really have a rule of law. This is not a simple question to answer as there are many complex issues that needs to be addressed. The first is the power and scope of the Internal Security Act or more precisely the power it bestows on a minister that cannot be judicially reviewed. If a decision of the executive cannot be judicially reviewed i.e. the legality of that decision cannot be checked, then we have moved backwards since 1957. When the British left, the Courts had the powers to keep the balance of power in check but these have dramatically changed over the decades.

The Courts are also caught in a tight spot when issues of inter-faith affecting the Syariah Courts are brought upon it. The powers that may be have simply not helped the judiciary in determining the just outcome of these matters. As I have written in my previous blogs, we must sit and have a dialogue as to whether we live in an Islamic country or not. Having two legal systems side by side might not be the best possible solution and sweeping the issue under the carpet could have far reaching consequences. In order for the rule of law to prevail, the people must know what the law is regardless of whether it is the Constitution or Syariah. The emphasis here is on certainty.

The third issue is that of ‘policy’. It has now come to a point that when you go to a public office and enquire why certain things are done in a certain way, the answer you get is that it the policy of that department to do things that way. What we should now ask is where are these policies derived from? Is that the law that governs us or has the policies been derived from the laws of our nation? The word ‘policy’ seems to be a convenient way of saying that we will do things the way we like it not the way it is suppose to be. I believe this too should be judicially reviewed.

Do the people of Malaysia really know their full rights and protection under our Federal Constitution (the highest law of our nation)? Where is the education on the Constitution? It is vital and important that every student in our schools is taught the Constitution at an early age so they know their rights and cannot be taken for a ride by the politically motivated factions. Thus, on a question of rule of law, we are still in the darkness even after all these decades of independence.

The next issue is education. Malaysia wants to compete with other nations as a centre for education. This is very commendable as the revenue from this sector had helped finance many universities in England when they did the same drive in the 1990s. However, we must maintain the standards of our universities in order to compete with other countries. We must produce graduates of high calibre and quality, not mere quantity that will eventually clog up our employment system or the civil service.

The University of Malaya, the most prestigious university in Malaysia has been dropping down the rankings in the last few years. Our own students are denied places in our universities and we want to encourage foreigners to study here. It still beats me why only one Indian student got into the medical faculty in University Malaya last year when the Indian population in Malaysia in about 1.8 million people. It is the fault of the people? Definitely not. The real fault lies with the politicians who use the racial card to garner support from those who are not aware of the real things that happen behind the scenes.

The rich are getting very much richer in this country. The savings that people put in the banks are used by the rich to even enrich themselves. Their loans are sanctioned so easily that they can invest and if they are a crony, they can even afford to make a mistake. The powers that may be will be there to bail them out. The gap between the rich and poor keeps becoming bigger and bigger.

Has anyone thought about the man on the street? Let us take a man who lives in Kuala Lumpur with his wife and two kids. Say he earns RM3000.00 a month and the wife is a housewife while the children are in school. Can this man survive? Yes, but barely. The mortgage would cost five hundred a month, the car another four hundred a month, hundred fifty for personal allowance, seven hundred fifty for food, ninety for children school allowance, groceries another three hundred and the list does not even include bills and satellite television. Where is this poor man’s savings? What about the children’s education as it is not guaranteed under our education system?

The price of goods these days are ridiculous. Inflation is high. Pay is low and increments are at such a pitiful state. The average Joe is really living just to make money for the selected few i.e. the rich and the cronies. The government has increased fuel prices by cutting down the subsidy. The rationale behind it is that Petronas pays corporate taxes. Where are these taxes being channelled to or how are they being used?

Is the money being used to improve the environment that is damaged by the use of petrol fuelled vehicles? The rich or the cronies would not feel the rise in petrol prices but the average is directly affected by it. By the time the savings in tax is utilised for the average Joe, he might not be around to enjoy those benefits.

Let us look at our healthcare and the national health service. The best place to witness the seriousness of the problem is in the state general hospitals. The waiting time in the accident and emergency is very long and the wards are full until the corridors are sometimes overflowing with people on beds. There is a serious shortage of doctors in the government service as those who leave overseas do not want to come back to the hospitals here. Please do not say they are not patriotic enough and all that unnecessary ridicule. Would you take a 500% pay cut to join the government hospitals here when in the U.K they pay you much more? I thought not.

We have to increase their pay so they will be happy to work and the service will improve. The police too are susceptible to bribes because their pay is too low. The average Joe above who earns RM3000.00 a month seems to be struggling, imagine the plight of a police constable. Everyone is quick to blame the civil service because of corruption but if the pay is so different from the scale in the private sector, then the urge to take will always be there.

What the future holds for this beautiful country is in the hands of the people of this country. As citizens, we must exercise our right to vote. Who we vote is up to the individual but more people must register and go to the polls if they want good things to happen here. Only the people can change the fate that awaits them and if you do not vote, you lose the right to decide what is best for your country.

There is no place like home and Malaysia is our home. In our house, we decorate the interior and plant flowers in our gardens. We water the plants and paint the house. The same goes to the beautiful Malaysia that I love. We must attend to her with the same tender loving care that she has given us over the years.

These questions need to be addressed as I do not want to see my beautiful Malaysia going back to the times when my grandfather made guns for the British during the Japanese occupation or when my father fought the communists in the jungles of Sarawak during the emergency. All I want is a peaceful place for young Rasyidi, Phing Thuan and Ragu to play together for years to come and feel as one proud people, the people of Malaysia.

The Invisible Enemy August 30, 2007

Posted by rahulian in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

It is common knowledge that in all the wars that have been fought justly, there has always been some kind of rules of engagement. The boundaries of what can be done and cannot be done is the interpretation of the warring parties.

 The trend now seems to be that all is fair in love and war. This means anything is acceptable when the war is on. However, what have we done about the political wars that go on and the invisible enemy that we fight?

We are just simple people trying to get a better deal for all in the country because the invisible enemy uses the powers that may be to manipulate and suppress us from the background. These group uses all kinds of tactics in order to stop the people from voicing out what they really feel.

If the invisible enemy thinks that by suppressing the freedom of speech that is guaranteed under the constitution will benefit the nation, I believe they are living in a different planet.

The problem the invisible enemy now faces is that there are voices that are invisible too. Before, they were hiding behind the curtain of the powers that may be, but today the fight is on and rules of engagement has changed too. Are they ready to come out of the closet and fight for what is just or just remain there, try to manipulate and eventually lose whatever they have been safeguarding so far.

This is a question of choice rather that force. The world is a smaller place now and the clock is slowly ticking towards changes that are inevitable. This country needs people on the forefront not those invisible enemies who undermine the entire Constitution and the political process by manipulating the system for their own ends.

At the end of the day, we Malaysians are people of faith regardless of what faith you believe in. One thing is for certain……there will be a judgement day and I hope to be on the right side of the path on that day. For the invisible enemy…..may god open your eyes before it’s too late.

It’s All About What Is Right To The Heart August 30, 2007

Posted by rahulian in Human Rights, Malaysia.
3 comments

By P. Uthayakumar

SAMY VELLU IS CORRECT:
DR.MAHATHIR DID NOT DO AS PROMISED FOR THE MALAYSIAN INDIAN COMMUNITY IN HIS 25 YEAR RULE AS PRIME MINISTER.
 

Independence in 1957 and through the New/National Economic Policies, OPP 1,2,3 and right up to the 8th Malaysian Plan the Indian poor have been marginalized and sidelined. In all the aforesaid national development programmes no affirmative action programmes have either been designed or implemented with the view to uplift the living standards of the Indian poor and taking them out of poverty/remaining in the lower income group. This has resulted in about 80% of the Malaysian Indians remaining in poverty and/or in the lower income group.The recent statement by Cabinet Minister Dato’ Seri S.Samy Vellu that Dr.Mahathir did not do as promised to help the Malaysian Indian Community istrue. Samy Vellu and the MIC have allowed themselves to be “used” by Dr.Mahathir and the ruling elite to shortchange the Indians in every
Malaysian Development Plan. This is to justify their continued existence in
the government and private sectors and being at the expanse of the poor
Indians. Samy Vellu and the MIC repeatedly claim to be able to solve Indian
problems but achieved almost nothing through government development plans.
Even the very basic human necessities have not been addressed even after 50
years of Independence. The truth is the MIC is powerless and the said ruling
elite have no regards for them even though the MIC is a very senior partner
in the ruling coalition.
This is so much so that over the last 25 years the Indian poor in Malaysia
have degenerated into the “negros” of Malaysia.

Dr.Mahathir is primarily responsible for the current pathetic state of
affairs befalling the Malaysian Indian poor as follows: –

1. KG.MEDAN GENOCIDE
The genocide against the innocent and unarmed people of Kg Medan in 2001
left 100 over killed and / or seriously injured still remains a mystery. The
Malaysian Human Rights Commission refused to hold an inquiry while the State
refused to hold a royal commission of inquiry. The courts / Attorney General
refused to hold Inquests into the deaths contrary to Article 5 of the
Federal Constitution and section 339 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Worst
still only USD526.00 to a maximum of USD6, 578 for some victims being
permanently maimed and / or loss of life cases was awarded for the said
victims though RM136.8 billion was approved for the 2006 budget (The Star
Online, Friday, September 30th, 2005)

2. VICTIMISATION BY POLICE /STATE
Studies have revealed that the Indian poor form about 60% of suspects shot
dead by the police including an 8-month pregnant Indian lady, 60 % of
innocent people dying in police custody, 60% of suspects / detainees in
police lockups and other detention centres. Latest update, Malay Mail,
October 3rd 2005 at page 4, 4 ethnic Malaysian Indian men (mere suspects)
were shot dead by the police in one day and in one incident. There was zero
outcry from the “Malaysian civil society” as opposed to the London
underground suspected bomber who was shot dead and getting worldwide
attention and the Prime Minister of the UK apologizing despite being a
country at war (Malay Mail, October 3rd, 2005 at page 3) and “Senior cop to
be charged” New Straits Times, October 9th 2005 at page 29.
Gory pictures for Items 1 and 2, click here
http://www.policewatchmalaysia.com/index.php?ucat=13
http://www.policewatchmalaysia.com/index.php?ucat=12

3. NO EFFECTIVE LEGAL AID
Out of the aforesaid 60% suspected ethnic Indian criminals, almost 95% of
them plead guilty when they may not necessarily be guilty. Most of the
crimes they commit (if any) are poverty related. They cannot afford legal
fees and neither is there an effective legal aid system. They spend long
prison sentences and come out of prisons to be more hardened criminals and
potential terrorists.
4. UNIVERSITY INTAKE
University intake for Indians reduced by about 50% from the over 10% quota
in 1970 to 5.2% in 2003. In 2004 the supposed meritocracy system was
introduced but it turned out to be “meritocracy without merits” Hundreds of
especially poor ethnic minority Malaysian Indian students were deprieved of
their basic right to education. Matriculation courses for entry into public
universities are almost exclusively for the majority Malay Muslim community.
5. MEDICAL SEATS
Medical seats in the University of Malaya was reduced by 98% from 16 seats
in 2001 to only 1 seat in 2003. This in effect means that the almost 1.8
million Indians have to compete for just one (1) medical seat at this
university. When they opted to study at affordable Universities overseas,
the government in June 2005, in an effort to reduce the number of ethnic
Malaysian Indian medical students studying overseas acted in the most
hostile manner. The Crimea State medical university’s medical degrees were
derecognised for dubious and questionable reasons. In an effort to reduce
the number of Indian medical doctors most other foreign medical universities
with high ethnic Malaysian Indian student enrolment is currently having its
status reviewed and is also expected to be derecognised.
6. TAMIL SCHOOLS
80% of the 523 Tamil schools (ethnic minority Malaysian Indian schools) are
in dilapidated conditions with almost no sports, recreational, computer,
library and other basic facilities accorded to National Schools and is still
not made fully aided government schools when primary school education has
been made compulsory by law. To the contrary, the prime minister announced a
sum of RM1.8 billion for primary and secondary schools in the 2004 budget
(NST 13/9/2003 at page 12 (Note: all the above are in breach of Article 8
(equality before the law and Article 12 (rights to education) of the Federal
Constitution and the Education Act 1968. About 95% of these Tamil schools do
not have kindergartens unlike 99% in national schools which has the same.

7. HINDU TEMPLE DEMOLISHMENT
Malaysia is about the one and only country in the world where one Hindu
temple / shrine is unlawfully broken down by the state authorities in every
three weeks contravening article 11 (freedom of religion) of the Federal
Constitution and the Penal Code. The emergency ordinance (outdated by about
40 years) is often used to legalise their actions. There have been reported
cases of policemen torching temples, motolov cocktails thrown into temples
by policemen and state authorities or they are simply burnt down or
bulldozed down.

8. MAJORITARIAN RULE THROUGH THE CIVIL SERVICE, POLICE AND ARMED FORCES
About 97% of the Civil Servants, police and armed forces personnel are form
the majority Malay Muslims. This “force” is used to rule by “majoritarian
might” at the expense and violations of fundamental Human Rights and
victimization of this ethnic minority Malaysian Indians.

9. TOKEN PARTICIPATION IN THE CIVIL SERVICE
Discrimination in employment in the Civil Service sectors (Indian
participation in the civil service reduced from about 40% in 1957 to about
2% in 2003. This remaining 2% of these Indians largely work in the clerical
and industrial manual group (IMG) levels. Senior, Middle level and executive
level civil service jobs are almost exclusively for the majority Malay
Muslims. For promotions etc there is no equal opportunity. This is contrary
to article 8 (equality before the law) of the Federal Constitution.

10. DISCRIMINATION IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR
The economy is controlled by the ethnic Chinese minority. The Government
has “forced” the Chinese to “accept” average Malay Muslims into the top
levels of the business and corporate sectors. Only the cream of the ethnic
minority Indians (about 1%) make it in the private sector

11. NO BUSINESS LICENCES / OPPORTUNITIES
Mearge or no business licences / opportunities / small businesses /
commercial licenses for Malaysian Indians to run businesses resulting in
less than 1% Indian participation in the country’s economic wealth. (and
that too believed to be largely held by one state sponsored Indian
millionaire).

12. LOWEST PER CAPITA
Studies have revealed that Indians have the lowest per capita income of only
about RM 1000.00 per month when the national per capita income is projected
at RM17,741 in the 2006 budget (The Star Online September 30th 2005) This is
about 98.3% below the national average. At the ground we are aware of many
ethnic Indian families earning a mearge RM450.00 (USD 118.00) per month.

13. ABUSE OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Everyday even ethnic minority Indian women and children are not spared. As
part of interrogation by the police, an Indian lady was told to perform oral
sex on another male detainee at the Rawang police station. Her husband was
then brought in naked before her and her daughter. She was then told that
her 18 year old daughter would be raped later that night.
Another 14 year old ethnic minority Indian boy was arrested from his house
and was told to do 150 push ups in police custody. When he stopped at 20 he
was kicked with police boots which broke his leg.

14. LABOUR CLASS
Hopelessness, poverty and lack of opportunities leads to high Indian
involvement in crime arising out of poverty. 80% of ethnic Malaysian Indians
have degenerated into becoming laborers, Industrial Manual Group (IMG)
workers, office boys, security guards, public toilet cleaners, general
workers, road sweepers, beggars, squatters, criminals, gangsters etc, as a
result of the nearly 50 years of direct discrimination by the state /
government.

15. ETHNIC MALAYSIAN INDIAN POOR
Indians form sixty percent (60)% of urban squatters and forty-one (41)% of
beggars (the economist 22/2/2003). About 80% of this community is in the
poor and / or hardcore poor bracket but receives the least attention as they
don’t have any political clout locally and / or their plight not properly
ventilated by the NGOs, Opposition parties and the Malaysian civil society
locally and / or internationally.

16. POVERTY AMONG ESTATE WORKERS / URBAN LABOURERS
Fifty-four (54%) of Malaysian Indians work as plantation or urban underpaid
laborers. (Asiaweek 26/1/2002)

17. PATHETIC MONTHLY WAGES
After 46 years of independence the state has capped the monthly salary of
plantation workers at RM325.00 (USD85.00) per month and RM 350.00 (USD92.00)
per month for rubber tappers.

18. POOR STUDENTS
RM200 million was allocated to assist poor students to continue with their
education (NST 13/9/2003 at page 12) but it is doubtful if even 1% of the
ethnic minority Indians benefit from this allocation.

19. EMERGENCE OF A NEW ETHNIC MALAYSIAN INDIAN CRIMINAL CLASS
Over the last 25 years a new ethnic Malaysian Indian criminal class has
emerged as a result of the aforesaid years of direct discrimination,
oppression and suppression. High incidences of crime, violence, slashings
and killings largely among themselves take place even over the most mundane
issues and / or is poverty related.

20. SQUATTERS
Due to rapid development large plantations have been developed resulting in
the plantation workers being displaced and forced to become squatters. Their
squatter colonies are in turn demolished to make way for development with no
or little alternative housing. Classical case of poverty leading to further
poverty.

21. ORPHANS / OLD FOLKS
The majority of orphanages and old folks homes are filled up with members of
this ethnic minority Indian community. This is yet another clear indicator
of poverty.

22. SKILLS TRAINING
Access to even the lowest level skills training Institutions are deprived
for this community resulting in most of them remaining unemployed or
unskilled workers. Even at the NTS Arumugam Pillai skills training Institute
which was build on funds derived from the dissolution of the South Indian
Labour Fund, not even a single ethnic Malaysian Indian student was admitted
in the first intake.

23. UNDOCUMENTED ETHINC MINORITY MALAYSIAN INDIANS
Despite 48 years of Independence, there are thousands of ethnic minority
Malaysian Indians left being undocumented, without birth certificates,
identity cards, marriage certificates etc. This in effect precludes and
excludes them from even the formal primary schooling structure what more
obtaining licences to run a business or from securing employment. (c/f
almost all aboriginal people in the remotest areas Malaysia are documented)

24. HIGHEST SUICIDE RATE
Indians have the highest suicide rate in the country because of primarily
poverty or poverty related matters, loss of loved ones for example, divorce,
etc. Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek stated ,”For Indians, 21.1 persons
for every 100,000 suicides, Chinese 8.6 persons for every 100,000 suicides
and for Malays 2.6 persons for every 100,000 suicides (Sadatul Nahir and
Rosli, Utusan Malaysia 12/9/2005)

25. NO INDEPENDENT MEDIA
The local print and electronic media gives this community the lowest
priority though they suffer the most serious discrimination, victimisation
and violations of human rights. The local media too plays to the gallery and
almost often highlighting “majoritarian issues”/ issues which carries
mileage. The International media prefers Iran, Africa, Katrina terrorist etc.

26. UNCARING INDIAN PROFESSIONALS / BUSINESSMEN.
Indian professionals and businessmen do not care and / or shy away and / or
out of fear of the government keep away from the real problems befalling on
this community. They want to be seen to be “multi-racial” / “non racist”
and / or championing “majoritarian” issues arising out of minority complex /
inferiority complex syndrome.

27. LEAST ATTENTION BY THE OPPOSITION PARTIES NGOS’ AND CIVIL SOCIETY.
Because this community is politically, economically and internationally
insignificant and where there is not much “mileage” to be made, and / or no
local and / or international funding, even the opposition parties, NGOS’ and
the Malaysian civil society generally give this community the least
attention and /or prefer to play to the gallery and / or the “majoritarian
issues” and / or rather focus on where there is local or
international “mileage” to be made. In short they too are
generally “selective” in championing even the worst violated cases / issues
and / or Human Rights issues. (Refer Latest Open Letter dated 5/9/2005 by 30
Malaysian NGOs campaigning for all issues concerning merely the majority
community / internationally acclaiming issues except the most serious
affecting the Malaysian Indians) Click here for the open letter
http://www.policewatchmalaysia.com/index.php?
subaction=showfull&id=1128570956&archive=&start_from=&ucat=16&28. THE MALAYSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AND THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE
POLICE REFUSE TO REPORT THE TRUTH
The Malaysian Human Rights Commission and the Royal Commission on the Police
have continuously refused to report even the most serious violations of
human rights by the state against this community. For example the Kg.Medan
genocide, shootings to death of suspects, some deaths in police custody and
the gunpoint attack on a human rights lawyer.
29. INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY?
The independence of the judiciary has been put to question in the aforesaid –
Kampung Medan genocide for example when the High Court struck out with costs
a civil suit by a victim bring a class action against the Malaysian Human
Rights Commission for failing to hold an Inquiry without even hearing the
merits of the case which the victims believe is because all the victims were
ethnic minority Malaysian Indians and the attacks are believed to be state
sponsored. Most other such cases against the state authorities are dismissed
in a similar fashion or at the end of the trial.
30. INDEPENDENT ATTORNEY GENERAL?
The Attorney General has not been independent in many instances where he has
acted partially in prosecuting lawyers / activists for defending the rights
of this community and / or for failing to initiate Inquests into custodial
deaths / deaths by police shootings of suspects and / or for failing to
prosecute police criminals / authorities and / or for failing to act without
fear or favour.

31. GOVERNMENT BODIES / INSTITUTIONS NOT INDEPENDENT
Almost all government institutions including hospitals, police, chemistry
registration department etc are biased and in favour of the government and
have been known or engaged in “covers up” in favour of the authorities and
against the people and in particular the ethnic minority Malaysian Indians.

32. NO FUNDING FOR NON PRO-GOVERNMENT NGOS
No funding is granted by the Government for almost all non pro-government
NGO’s with which they would be a million times more effective.

33. FEAR FACTOR
This community as a result of the years of oppression and suppression and
the factors hereinabove mentioned has turned out to be a fear riddled
community. They are fearful to stand up for even the worst form of
violations, victimisation, discrimination and human rights abuses against
them. The fatal factor is that they even get the least support from even
NGOs, Opposition parties and the “Malaysian Civil Society”.

CONCLUSION

We hereby call upon the Prime Minister and the Government of Malaysia to
stop the sidelining and marginalising especially the Malaysian Indian poor.

We call upon for the creation of equal opportunities for all Malaysians
including and not excluding the Malaysian Indian poor. As an immediate and
urgent step forward we call for the extension of all affirmative action
plans and programmes for the majority Malay/Muslim community also to be
extended to all the Malaysian Indian poor.

We finally hope that Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi does not also “do a
Dr.Mahathir” at the end of his tenure as Prime Minister.

Thank you