Archive for September 2010

DBKL and other local councils in Malaysia are lords unto themselves

September 29, 2010

The sun newspaper reported under the head line CITY HALL CRITISED FOR DOUBLE STANDARD on September 28 2010 where two brothers were denied business license to operate a cendol stall for 10 years under the pretext that the place is not suitable. But two others who carried the same food and drink business in the same location received business license. On top of that the brothers, who were denied license, have to ward off confiscation of their van by city hall officers. Besides the harassment, they were served with summons totaling RM20000 over the years. Calls and text messages for a response to this report by SUN newspaper reporter were not responded by city hall and its mayor.

Looking at the information reported I am sure the other two who got the license are Malays. Therefore this is a case of clear day light double standard practiced by DBKL. This discrimination is worse than apartheid because hear the discrimination is discrete and dishonest. Why can’t the mayor and city hall respond to the media inquiry and DBKL should come clean to say whether they discriminate or fair to all. The two youths who were denied business license Yuganthiran Sukumaran and Vijendran Sukuman said “we are trying to make an honest living, but the system is not allowing us to do so”. The lamenting by them and the opportunity denied to them goes against the very grain of 1Malaysia. DBKL would have done a great national service if it had given the business to all four of them and make them think that Malaysia is their country and make them proud of it. This episode is another example of how hallow the 1Malaysia is and looks like it’s just a political rhetoric and meant to hoodwink the non Malays.

The undeclared and devious racial discrimination by DBKL is not an isolated case but rampant and common in all municipalities in Malaysia. DBKL and other municipalities in Malaysia are all headed by just one race and 95 over percent of the staffs who work for these municipalities are the same one race. Municipalities in Malaysia are not competent, accountable nor transparent. They fail to recognize that the bulk of quit rent and other revenues that they receive come from other races in Malaysia. The local councils in Malaysia waste the revenues by paying higher prices and undertaking projects which are unworthy. All contracts given out also go to the same one race. Isn’t all these practice reminds us of apartheid? But when you point out that they are practicing apartheid, they will deny and get very angry and threaten us.

What surprises me is that, UMNO is totally in harmony with these injustices and discriminations meted out to other races in Malaysia and have the guts to claim the moral high ground. These guys are incredible. But what these UMNOPUTRAs with all their religious fervor fail to understand is that inequality, unfairness and duplicity are not sustainable and it’s against their very religious values and principles. History has shown time and again that racial segregations and discriminations have destroyed governments and regimes. South Africa is our latest example to learn from.

May we as Malaysians reflect and emulate upon our common goals and values for lasting peace and prosperity. Let’s all work towards a political change to bring about a political system that do not discriminate based on race. ‘Let’s be the change that we want to see in the world’ as mahatma Ghandhi said.

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Reasons why Tamil and Chinese students go to vernacular schools

September 28, 2010

The UMNO MPs and senators think that Tamil and Chinese schools are the root cause for racial disunity in this country. They always argue and blame in parliament that Indian and Chinese parents are not concerned about national language and unity. Many non Malay MPs and community leaders have spoken and written about this issue many times. But these UMNO leaders who are like the frog in the well which has never seen the sea, just cannot understand. The Chinese and Indian parents send their children to Tamil/ Chinese school because they are worried that the quality of teaching and learning in national schools is not comparable with that of the Tamil/Chinese schools. Not only the Chinese and Indian parents are concerned about this but there are also some Malay parents who feel the same. 70000 Malay students study in Chinese schools. There are lot of elite Malay students who study in international and private national schools. There are also Malay parents who have initiated organised campaign for bilingual schooling system.  It shows that all is not too well in national schools.

The teaching and learning in Tamil and Chinese schools encourages and promotes the students to learn mathematics and science. They are given a lot of homework and school work. The teachers in these schools are concerned about the welfare and performance of their students and the Indian and Chinese parents and also some Malay parents feel from their experience that the environment in the national school is not comparable with that of the Tamil and Chinese schools. What are the actions being taken to increase the number of non Malay students in national school? We can take one product as an example, if the product is good for sure it can attract a lot of customers. If the customers don’t come, we must re-examine and improve our product and not find fault with customers. That is the way we can succeed.

In addition, from the parent’s experience, national schools are not serious about teaching POL. Usually in national schools, POL is taught after school session or on Saturday. This shows that the national schools are not serious about the teaching of Tamil and Chinese language and the parents are worried that if they send their children to national schools, their mother tongue is lost. In Singapore, there’s no Tamil/Chinese school. But the students in that country can speak and write their mother tongue well. This is because their national school takes this task seriously and makes the learning of vernacular language compulsory to all students in their national schools. The government has proven that it is serious about the learning of vernacular language in the national schools. Therefore, no one request for Tamil/Chinese school. But in Malaysia, the parents of Indian and Chinese students do not trust the government because for the last 50 years, they have not shown any sincere effort in teach vernacular language in national schools. I ask the Minister of Education, are there any plans to improve the teaching of vernacular in national school?

Moreover, the national schools looks like religious schools. This is also one of the reasons why Indian and Chinese parents refuse to send their children to study in national schools. I call upon the Minister of Education to address this suspicion and doubt of Malay, Chinese, and Indian parents and reveal the actions to be taken to improve the quality of teaching and learning in national school to be better than that of the Chinese and Tamil schools. The following activities in national schools drive away non Malay children from national school.

  1.  While reciting prays in morning assembly the HM should remind the non Muslim students to pray to their own God. Do not ignore them. Do unto others what you want others to do to you.
  2. There are lot of signboards written in Jawi surrounding the school, especially in the rural area. Does the HM expect the non Malay children to read these signboards?
  3. There are a lot of prayers – when the Muslims pray, remind the non Muslims to prayer to their own God. Do not ignore. The teachers treat them as though they do not exist in the school.
  4. The teachers entering classes only acknowledge and greet the Muslim students and straight away start teaching without greeting the non Muslim students, they don’t exist in the class.
  5. During festival or religious celebration – there are only programs for Muslims but don’t have any class or programs for non Muslims students. They waste the whole day doing nothing but lazing around.
  6. When quoting or showing examples, the teachers just quote from Muslim scripts or Islamic books but do not even mention about the non Muslim leaders. The contributions of non Muslim leaders in the field of politics, social, science, and so on are ignored. May be the teachers don’t know. But they should be aware of this if they want the Indian and Chinese parents to send their children to national schools.
  7. During the JQAf – the non Muslim students go to QI class and they are allowed to do their own work because the teachers don’t know what the syllabus in QI entails.
  8. Name tags of the teachers are also in Jawi. How can the non Muslim students read Jawi?
  9. Canteen – there are non Muslim students who don’t eat beef or are vegetarian. There are no tags that indicate what kind of meat. Not bothered about the sensitivity of other races.

10.  The numbers of non Muslim teachers are very minimal in the national schools. The national schools are short of capable teachers who can lead the Malaysian students to the real 1Malaysia.

With all the short comings in national schools and its management the UMNO leaders are blaming others for not sending students.

Will abolishing UPSR/PMR resolve the deteriorating quality education

September 20, 2010

The deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin started the great debate on abolishing UPSR/PMR. There were public comments on newspapers and consultations meetings held but after all the noise there were no announcement on the outcome of fact findings and consultations. Credible common evaluation strengthens and gives a sense of purpose to the education process.

The former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir wanted Mathematics and science to be taught in English and overnight billions of dollars spent to prepare the syllabus, lab tops and teaching materials and even automated power point teacher. But only after 6 years(2003-2009) the teaching was reversed back to Bahasa Malaysia. In fact Malaysian education system is full of flip flops. There are a group of parents under the name PAGE clamoring the restoration of teaching mathematics and science in English. Therefore we don’t want another multi-billion dollar flip flop. Common public transparent examination should not be abolished as it will lead to another reversal after finding that it was a mistake abolishing. How would abolishing the examinations help to improve the learning and teaching system?

Internal examinations lack credibility and education ministry cannot manage complaints of favoritism, examination paper leaks and manipulations. All changes to education must be based on empirical research and not at the vim and fancy of politicians and bureaucrats. However the quality of learning and teaching has declined considerably over the years. The introduction of NEP in 1971 started the beginning of decline in education services. Dedicated and experienced teachers were slowly replaced with teachers who should not be teaching at all. Nearly after 40 years the education service has undergone a complete transformation.         

School heads don’t have the managerial expertise and ability that will help students compete and creative value. Education system do not promote the teaching of teamwork skills, problem-solving skills, critical-thinking skills, communication skills, lifelong learning skills, and the attitude of fostering creativity and innovation. Majority of teachers are uncommitted, negative attitudes and callous. They are not interested in excellence and nation building. Mediocre teachers are promoted as school heads and only yes man senior officials in ministry gets promoted to higher positions. What kind of product can such a system produce? Looks like only crisis and suffering will teach the current bureaucrats the will to change for a better education system.

Najib’s reform initiatives is lacking in will but plenty in wish

September 20, 2010

Prime Minister Datuk Najib Tun Razak’s ambitious RMK10’s plan to remove investment obstacles to attract more FDI are scoffed and belittled by his own party men and Malay ultra groups. But he has not given up and is going ahead with public consultations. The mere thought of reform and liberalization sends shivers to Malay extremist being so used to clutches and special aids. So far the reforms penalize the poor with subsidy cuts but remain indifferent to cut unnecessary wastages and leakages incurred to appease the cronies. Foreign investors and general public seem to resign to the fact that his proposed changes may not be realized.

Our past FDI favorite destination status seems to fade away and those sleepy, war torn countries around us are moving ahead. Our productivity decline, human resource incompetency and lack of talent pool, poor quality of education and bureaucratic delays have pulled back the investment growth to minimal. A survey last week by the World Economic Forum showed Malaysia slipped two places in its global competitiveness rankings to 26th spot out of 139 countries while neighboring Indonesia surged 10 places to 44th spot. The quality of Malaysia’s institutions, ranked 17th by the WEF five years ago, has plunged to 42nd place since then.

Under the RMK10 per capital income is targeted to reach RM38845 by 2015 from the current figure RM23841. For this target to be achieved the economy must grow at an unrealistic rate of 10%. Besides are the systems and required skills and talents in place? Most of all are the resolve and political will strong enough to bulldoze the resistance and obstacles of extremist within the ruling coalition? The voice of Perkasa seems to be louder than UMNO. Prime Minister wants to accommodate the demands of Perkasa and expect the non Malays to understand this and remain faithfully. The non Malays have suffered tremendously by giving in to the demands of ultra Malays.       

The prime minister expects the FDIs and SMEs to play a big role in the economic growth but are they included in the development plans. RMK10 shows the generous and non negotiated awarding of development projects to GLCs and crony companies. There is no room for MNIs, SMEs and even non Malay listed companies.  Yet the slogan 1malaysia is mentioned all over the RMK10 along with NEP and special privileges to Malays. If the prime minister is really sincere in 1Malaysia why is he flip flopping and back pedaling on Perkasa and other racist?  

Even if the Prime Minister gets the NGO support will the 1.2 million civil servants accept the dismantling of privileges and economic clutches? Their support and acceptance of equality and the real 1malaysia is crucial to the success of RMK10. These unresolved issues have to be settled for RMK10 to be successful. Malaysians are looking forward for an all inclusive economic plan. Can prime minister deliver one?

All is not too well in Malaysian police force.

September 16, 2010

Local people long harbored suspicion in what’s happening in Ladang gadong farm except the police.  The people dare not speak about it because the ‘DATUK BROTHERS’ have powerful connections. That looks Malaysia. In Malaysia powerful connections can open doors to important people. Its common to find a ‘Datuk’ involved in fraudulent and criminal cases. The palace authorities must have a vigilant look out for people who carry royal titles and enter into criminal acts. Their misdoings can bring disrespect for the palace institutions. This ‘Datuk Lawyer’ is suspected to be the cause for about 17 killings. How did he escape the long arms of law so far with so many murders and moving around comfortably with VIPs.

Something is seriously wrong with the Malaysian society and its authorities. Police reports on missing persons are brushed aside as non actionable by police themselves. Yet the police higher ups do not know what’s happening on the ground. Only after the intriguing findings from this murder case the IGP issues statement that police reports must be attended and action must be taken. If more than one report made against one person the police alarm should trigger immediate actions. Where is the KPI/NKRA on police reports made?  There seem to be no accountability and responsibility on the part of police department. Yet the police get praises for the hard work on this murder investigation during Hari Raya breaks. Had the police took action on all the previous police reports the murder of Datuk sosilawati and three others could have been avoided. It is the Police under watch in this murder case for all the past inaction and non investigations of reports people made.

To the police personnel it may be just one of another report but to the person making the report it may be a matter of live and death to him or her. Belittling the police reports made by grieving parties is denying the prevention and detection of crime and the maintenance of public order. This attitude and work culture of police personnel could be the contributing factor for the high incidence of snatch thieves, pick pockets and gruesome murders thought the country.   A number of lawyers murdered with no further action taken. Where is the people first performance now action.  Enough of empty slogans hanging all over police stations.

Police department always gets priority in their wants and needs from the government yet the performance of police department in Malaysia is far from desired. It’s time for police authorities to wake up and start investigations on police reports that are gathering dust in various police stations. They owe an explanation to the general public on the past inactions to Malaysians who have made police reports. They need more professionals who are race and religion blind with positive and proactive mindset. Instead of going after political activist, police must target criminals and frauds that seem to be well connected.

The real enemies of the Malays are not the non Malays but the corrupted UMNO leaders

September 12, 2010

UMNO having ruled for 53 years is for the first time in history facing the possibility of defeat in the 13th general elections. The non Malays who were once the back bone of Barisan National have all deserted the coalition and feel for the first time that they have a viable alternative party to the UMNO led Barisan National which has been weakened due to unchecked corruption, racism and nepotism. UMNO has lost the moral high ground long time ago but the non Malays felt they don’t have viable alternative and therefore continued supporting grudgingly all this while. But the result of 12th general election has unveiled this myth. The fear of May 13 recurrence, racial backlashes and Malays losing political dominance are being outgrown. Slogans like 1Malaysia to cover up the underlying racial discriminations of non Malays are losing its appeal.  

The present UMNO leaders are confronted with one scandal after another starting from the premiership of the champion of Malay race Dr Mahathir Mohammad, the fourth prime minister. The absolute power in the hands of UMNO leaders have allowed greed and opulence to color and influence all policies and decisions. To strengthen their grip on the economic goodies UMNO leaders with their cronies have all along built artificial walls and wedges between Malays and non Malays. The non Malays were completely removed from all decision making bodies and processes within the government. The self snobbery and arrogance of UMNO rule has brought about incompetence in government machinery, billions of tax payer’s money wasted and leaked through government procurement, Malays still remain dependent on government subsidy and support, drop in FDI, 34% of workers earning below RM750, brain drain among professional and educated Malays themselves. Malaysia is no more the choice for FDIs. Worse still local SMEs are investing in other neighboring countries that were way behind as investment destinations.

To regain the economic footing and move forward the government of the day must rule out any form of favoritism and practice meritocracy in all policies and recruitments and selections. Malaysians of all racial background must be recruited to build this country and not the corrupted UMNO leaders. Malaysia has all the brains, muscles and determination to create a great nation. All it takes to build this country is to get rid of race and religious bigotry in national politics. We had the people and system in place but the UMNO politicians messed up for their own political expediency. It’s time to realize that injustice, inequality and unfair practices are not sustainable. Only fairness, equal opportunities and best practices in the interest of its people can uplift this country.

Proposal for a Race Relations Act in Malaysia was made in Dewan Negara in July 2009

September 10, 2010

Question: Urges this house government to legislate Race Relation Act to eliminate racial discrimination in public and private sector, entrance to university and matriculation levels, in awarding the federal, state and local government tenders. The main purpose of this act is to promote harmonious and healthy relationship among all races in Malaysia with the elimination of racial inequities and discriminations. Therefore, it is proposed that the government must be concern and takes a serious view on the racial discrimination and inequality of other races in these sectors. This act can be enforced and mandated to ensure that the local authorities, federal and local government, private companies, government linked company (GLC), and local universities to introduce race equality program which is based on merit in all employment aspects especially in the aspect of hiring manpower and student enrolment, promotion, training, and learning opportunity in local and overseas. At the same time, the government need to set up a Race Relation Commission under this act to ensure the enforcement and implementation of Race Relation Act”.

Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon replied this question as follows

Yang Berhormat Senator Dr. Ramakrishnan propose Race Relation Act been enacted to eliminate racial discrimination. Tuan Yang Di-Pertua, the suggestion to legislate the Race Relation Act in this country has emerged during the Dewan Rakyat sitting after the 2008 elections. Some members of Dewan Rakyat raised and debated issues that deemed sensitive and spoke on certain specific matters which can worsen the fragile relation among races. These issues including special rights of Malays and legal interest of other races, royal institutions, status of Islam and freedom of religions, judicial issues, freedom to say issues and others.

During the debate in Dewan Rakyat the situation tense and emotions were running high. The debate on race relations issues has got wide coverage in mass media and electronic media. As a result of this debate political, societal, academic and general public gave their respective views and opinions.  One of the suggestions which have been brought out was that an act on race relation to be enacted to control certain self interest groups or certain individuals from politicising, fabricating and twisting and turning racial issues that are set in the in the Federal Constitution and also to prevent debate or implement matters by the way which can abrade and distant the relation among races in this country.

Since several of reactions, opinions, and suggestions which showed in mass media has become quite heated up, so the cabinet Ministers in their meeting on 10th September 2008 gave instruction to Department of National Unity and National Integration (JPNIN) which at that time under the Ministry of Unity, Culture arts and heritage brink opinion on the need to enact a Race Relation Act. Thus, government through Institute of Ethnic Study or in other words KITA, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) under Professor Shamsul Bahrin has a held one day roundtable discussion regarding the proposal of Race Relation Act enactment in Malaysia.  

On 30th October 2008, this discussion was joined by academicians, representatives of NGO, public sector, and private sector. The purpose of this discussion is to collect early opinions and suggestions to legislate the act. The outcome was that only small a group supported the enactment of the act, while the rest disagreed. The disagreed group thought that:

         i.            Federal Constitution is national trait, which taking into consideration the interest of all races in our country. In addition, the present act is sufficient to address the racial issues. Only the implementation and certain act may need to be focused. If needed, the present act can be conscientious and make improvement anywhere necessary;

       ii.            The new proposed act might dissent with the certain clauses in the Federal Constitution;

     iii.            The act cannot force someone to like others. Instead to engrave unity values through education and socialization process, deemed will give more positive impact;

     iv.            Usually only a few politicians and certain mass media which make the racial issue very sensation. Not the people who were always not too involved, even sometimes they are worried;

       v.            Generally the race relation issue involve Peninsular Malaysia and not too obvious and serious in Sabah and Sarawak.

The group which support the act to be enacted thought that:

         i.            The government need to establish a race relation commission to address the racial  issues;

       ii.            The race relation act can avoid discrimination happened among races and prevent unexpected manner;

     iii.            This act can be a guide to all races in order not to stir up the issues that can abrade the race relation.

According to the result of this discussion summary, the cabinet Minister on January 2009 has decided that was no need to legislate a new act. This is because the present act such as Internal Security Act, Sedition Act, Printing Machine and Publication Act are enough to control any party which stir up issues that can abrade relation among races. Government thought that it is better the present acts to be reviewed, cleared, strengthen anywhere needed and implemented with more effective and more fairly.

As a way to stop, protect and strengthen the national unity, the government has introduced a few initiative which included in 1Malaysia concept and Government Transformation Program and also New Economic Model that urging unity in diversity which is drived by unity thrusts and engraving aspiration values with also inclusiveness concept so that all races benefit from the principles which are implemented by the government, and no group of citizen is isolated or denied their rights. Besides that, the government will continuously improving the present programmes and introducing new program to manure understanding and unity like Rukun Tetangga and Volunteer Patrol Scheme in the housing areas under JPNIN, Student Integration Plan and social interaction for youth and women. Encouragement and support also have been given to private companies and NGOs to play positive roles in organizing activity to encourage interaction among ethnic groups. Hence, the government thought that focus should be given towards concrete steps like that in order to be more effective compared with enacting a new act at this time.