Archive for September 2011

Letter sent to Ministry of Transport on Electrified Double Track Project Gemas-JB’s matter

September 30, 2011

Surat kpd TSUB EN. Esparan – Landasan berkembar elektrik

Letter sent to IGP on no action taken to Dr. KD Sivakumar

September 30, 2011

Surat kpd KPN – Dr. KD Sivakumar

Thanks to Bersih 2.0 for ISA repeal

September 20, 2011
Finally PM Datuk seri Najib and UMNO/BN are glossing and floating over the euphoria of ISA repeal announcement. That‘s the advantage, the ruling party has. When it suits they can enact and impose ISA and at the same when it is to their disadvantage they can announce the repeal of ISA and take the credit all for themselves. Never mind the hardship and torture undergone by many patriotic Malaysians who fought for justice and suffered under this draconian law. The opposition and thousands of ordinary citizens marched and stood up against this repressive law risking police arrest and imprisonment under ISA. Worse still the PM Datuk Najib and UMNO/BN won many elections using the ISA as tool of instilling fear and punishment against the opposition and their supporters.
So is the announcement come about after genuinely realizing that we Malaysians are deprived of civil liberties or due to political expediency? UMNO/BN till the announcement was never concerned about civil liberties to Malaysians at large leave alone the opposition. The deputy prime minister himself was surprised at the ISA repeal announcement. Even after the PM’s announcement UMNO still speak with arrogance as though they fought hard for ISA repeal.  Is racist UMNO capable of genuine civil liberties or more democracy for Malaysians of all races? Judging from the past actions and reactions of UMNO, it will only act when they are losing political grounds or popular support. Based on the same argument UMNO will only conceit grounds when they are under threat.  After the announcement the home minister and right wingers in UMNO are brooding with the 2 replacement laws in place of ISA.  
Therefore the announcement of ISA repeal is to reverse the growing unpopularity of PM and UMNO/BN among Malaysians at large. The Prime minister has started his election campaign with the ISA repeal announcement which was abruptly brought an end by Bersih 2.0. Just 2 months ago even a peaceful gathering was not allowed but now the PM is telling the world that Malaysia wants to be more democratic. Bersih leaders and proponents were threatened with arrest under emergency ordinance and ISA. Bersih 2.0 is all about clean and fair election. UMNO/BN has ruled for past 54 years with repressive and punitive laws which are implemented selectively and discriminatively. Therefore is UMNO with the prime minister is repealing these draconian laws. The 2 laws to be implemented can be more restrictive and punitive than the one repealed.   
But Malaysians are very used to paying tribute and praises the moment announcement is made. We got a long way to go to be more democratic. Parliament must repeal the ISA and not PM. How about repealing the emergency ordinance, OSA, universities and university college act 1971 and printing and publishing act 1984? How about the independence of judiciary and set up of IPCMC for police abuse? Mr. PM needs to walk his announcement now. Has UMNO reformed to make bold changes in law? I wonder!

JHEOA was set up to keep Orang Asli as backward community

September 20, 2011
The takeover of Orang Asli hospital in Gombak by the ministry of health shows the complicity and lack of political will in caring and uplifting the Orang Asli community by the Jabatan hal ehwal orang asli (JHEOA). JHEOA is the sole department that was set up in 1953 to uplift the socio economy and quality of life of the Orang Asli community. Yet this very department which has enormous power and control over the Orang Asli community failed to provide proper and adequate medical care to them. The hospital which was set up by the British in 1957 was taken over by ministry of health due to the deteriorating standards of medical care and facilities at the institution under JHEOA. A visit to the JHEOA website will display their grand vision and mission to uplift and develop the Orang Asli community into a premier community. But in reality JHEOA can’t even provide proper medical care to the sick and malnourished children. JHEOA has clearly failed in its duties.
All the allegation of neglect and sub-standard care and service to Orang Asli community by the management of JHEOA is due to the fact that JHEOA is not administered by Orang Asli community or activists who care for the Orang Asli community. The UMNO led government has clearly denigrated on the Orang Asli affairs. In the long run Orang Asli community will only benefit if the UMNO led government eradicate the racist policies and supremacist attitudes of the management of JHEOA. As a leopard can never change its spots, so do UMNO can never drop its racist and jingoistic attitudes.
Orang Asli community does not have political voice to champion their cause. Their sole guardian JHEOA does not have any policy or plan to preserve Orang Asli heritage, culture and beliefs. They are just interested in assimilating Orang Asli community into Muslim Malays which is resisted and opposed by Orang Asli community. The Orang Asli tradition, culture and heritage were all sent to the museum systematically. UMNO led government closed one eye in the marginalization process of Orang Asli by JHEOA for the past 54 years. Respected Orang Asli leaders like Colin Nicholas and Tijah Yok Chopil were always kept on the sideline and outside the decision making circles. UMNO yes men were appointed as community leaders.     
Under JHEOA, 76.9% of orang asli are living in poverty whereas the national average is 6.5%. More than 33% orang asli are hardcore poor compared to the national average of 1.4%. Malaysia’s infant mortality rate is 8.9% compared to 51.7% for Orang Asli infant mortality rate. One Suhakam report in 2006, points out that the dropout rate from standard I to form 5 is 94%. If 100 students enroll in standard 1, only 6 out of them will reach form 5. Standard 1 to form 1 the dropout rate is 43.9%. All this happened right under the JHEOA nose. The Orang Asli woes were never addressed till now and the community continues to languish behind other Malaysians.
Therefore the way forward for Orang Asli community is get them out of the JHEOA grip. Till date the ministry of rural and regional development could not give an acceptable answer as to why no one Orang Asli is appointed as head of JHEOA? Much has been researched debated and written about the Orang Asli plight but there is no change on the ground for Orang Asli people. This community is held captive by the BN government for voting purpose. Selangor government is more amiable was able to endear themselves to Orang Asli community.  Therefore the PR government is the only viable alternative for this community to safeguard their traditions and heritage.

Fight against corruption starts with electoral reform

September 12, 2011
Bersih 2.0’s demand for electoral reform has made the general public well aware of the urgent need to reform the entire election process. The onus is on Election commission which is giving lame excuses for their inability and lack of political will to reform. The mission of election commission is to conduct free and fair election. Therefore Election commission has to be proactive and take it upon themselves what is required of them to do. It’s the duty and responsibility of election commissioners to ensure that the Election Commission enjoys complete autonomy and is insulated from any kind of executive interference and stop lamenting that they don’t have legislative authority to do so.
Recent media reports show that the election commission and the electoral process are far from what is expected from them. A permanent resident one “Mismah”, has become a voter within hours. This creates doubt as to how many such “mismahs” in the electoral roll. 1,579 similar cases have been found in less than 24 hours mostly in Selangor. This is just the tip of the iceberg. In Sabah illegal immigrants were given blue ICs overnight and become voters dislodging the local’s choice of government. Many such reports have appeared all over the country. And in each incidence the response from election commission is very unprofessional and cast more doubts. With millions of illegal and legal foreign workers all over the country, the possibilities of fraudulent voter registration is very real and appears as a national threat. Election commission must be made independent and accountable to the parliament on the electoral reforms. Their responsibility is to the nation and its people and not blindly following the political master who is struggling to remain in power forever.
In countries like India, Thailand, Indonesia the election commission is highly respected by the people from all divides because of their impartiality in conducting far and free elections. India has 700 million voters and the election commission is respected by the people and feared by the political parties running for office. All because the election commission officials take it up themselves the responsibilities to conduct an election which is unbiased, free from money politics and free from vote rigging. The people respect and accept the elections result without any question. But in Malaysia people has to protest to bring about electoral reforms. Bersih 2.0 calling for electoral reform is considered unlawful and people voicing out support for Bersih 2.0 gets arrested. It’s high time that the election commission realize that the general public is more aware and well exposed to electoral process in other countries.
If only the election commission could support and work towards the Bersih 2.0 demands, the commission will win the support and respect of people. It’s their religious duty to be independent and conduct fair and free elections. The government that gets elected through fraudulent means will not be accountable to people. It will be corrupted and people will be robbed of good governance. Therefore electoral reform is a prelude to the war against corruption, nepotism and cronyism. If no change forth coming then there may be Bersih 3.0 and so on until change takes place.

Senator S. Ramakrishnan