Articles from Free Malaysia Today
‘Najib’s apology is not genuine’
| March 6, 2012
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak ‘looks alone’ with his apology and attempt to change Umno.
PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s public apology to Malaysians over Barisan Nasional’s failures towards its people rings hollow and is merely an attempt by Umno to cling on to power, said Senator S Ramakrishnan.
Describing the apology as ‘not genuine’, he said Najib was looking ‘alone’ in his attempt to change Umno and that the party’s ‘little Napoleons’ were uncomfortable with his apology.
He said that Umno was also, amidst its discomfort, making a public relations exercise out of Najib’s apology.
“This makes the apology not genuine. After 2008 and especially after the appointment of Najib, the actions and words of Umno do not show any semblance of change for the better.
“Najib looks lonely in his attempt to change Umno. Can he (Najib) reform Umno from its entrenched racism, nepotism and corruption?, asked the DAP senator.
“Umno’s reaction to the 2008 general election losses was that the public have made grave mistakes in supporting Pakatan Rakyat and that Umno will hold on to power by any means.
“They were desperate and their inherent character of racial intolerance, corruption and nepotism started rearing their ugly heads.
“Change must come from the collective leadership and not just the top leader to be meaningful and effective”, explained Ramakrishnan referring to Kedah Umno information chief Jamil Khir Baharom’s dismissal of the PM’s apology.
Jamil had said that the apology gave Malaysians the impression that BN lost (in the 2008 polls) due to its own mistakes.
Najib’s deputy Muhyiddin Yassin had also trivialised Najib’s apology to Malaysians, claiming the country had made huge progress in the fields of socio-economy, culture, education, international relations and various others.
And to further add salt to injury Umno’s information chief Ahmad Maslan told Malaysians that BN (vis-a-vis Umno) would need a two-thirds majority to ‘fix its mistakes’.
“Looks like Umno’s little Napoleons cannot accept Najib’s open apology.
“Umno doesn’t know the meaning of apology. Najib’s transformation programs launched with high hopes have not yielded the desired outcome.
“The civil service is still inefficient and unable to improve the delivery mechanism.
“The Umno-backed bureaucrats are not zealous over the various transformational programs initiated by Pemandu.
“Hundreds of millions have been spent with little to show as achievements,” he said in a statement to FMT.
Ramakrishnan also pointed out that despite reports and claims of investigations “MACC, the police and the Attorney General’s office have not brought any charges against the alleged wrongdoers of National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) fiasco.”
Najib must earn people’s trust
He said there was still “no open tender” in the awards of government contracts and billions of ringgit in taxpayers money was still being siphoned out from government coffers.
“Racial marginalization is as rampant as before 2008. So what is the use of apology without any improvement in the implementation, checks and balance in civil service?” asked Ramakrishnan.
Ramakrishnan, who is also a Selangor DAP committee member, said Malaysians will trust Najib only if projects such as Lynas in Gebeng and the 1Care health scheme are scrapped. The premier must also find a lasting solution to curb stagnated salaries, brain drain and rising cost of living.
‘Revamp Remove Classes to stop dropouts’
| March 5, 2012
A senator says many pupils of vernacular schools who must attend Remove Classes are very poor in Bahasa Malaysia.
PETALING JAYA: Pupils from vernacular schools who are forced to attend Remove Classes are very poor in Bahasa Malaysia and this accounts for the high dropout rate.
Senator S Ramakrishnan wants the Education Ministry to transform these classes into an effective transitional bridge so that pupils entering Form One will have a good grasp of Bahasa Malaysia.
The DAP senator said there have been changes in the education system but the Remove Classes have not been touched on the last 55 years.
“Students from vernacular schools who fail to obtain a minimum grade ‘C’ for Bahasa Malaysia in their Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), are put in Remove Classes for a year before moving on to Form One.”
Pupils in Chinese and Tamil schools take Bahasa Malaysia papers of a lower standard in their UPSR. That’s why their C grade is considered not on par with grade “E” obtained by pupils from national schools.
“In SRJK (T) Bukit Beruntung, Hulu Selangor, out of 72 pupils who completed Standard 6 last year only 25 entered Form One while the rest went to Remove Classes. That’s about 65% of Standard 6 pupils entering Remove Classes due to poor proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia.
“I am surprised that this very high number of Tamil pupils going to Remove Classes due to poor proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia did not raise alarm bell among Tamil school teachers, headmasters and Education Ministry officers for the past 55 years”, said Ramakrishnan.
Ramakrishnan told FMT that the dropout rate among Remove Class pupils is high.
“If a Chinese Remove Class pupil drops out, he has many options in life. Imagine the Tamil pupils who drop out of Remove Classes: where can he or she go in this racially segregated country?
“Tamil school headmasters must take remedial actions so that pupils are proficient in Bahasa Malaysia will enter Form One and not Remove Classes.
“Another weakness in Remove Classes is that the teachers do not know the pupils’ mother tongue thereby creating communication problems between teachers and the pupils,” he said.
“The poor communication hinders the teaching for weaker students, thus making the whole transition process ineffective. This creates frustration in the piupils and they don’t know where to complain,” he added.
Ramakrishnan wants the lessons for Remove Classes restructured to capture the pupils’ interest.
He said since Remove Classes are for weak and slow learners, the teachers must know the pupils’ mother tongue and be specially trained to handle weak pupils.
“Teachers and headmasters in Tamil schools are obsessed with getting 7As and neglect the weaker pupils.
“Weaker pupils are larger in numbers and therefore there must be strong focus on this group. The community must wake up to this reality and do the needful,’’ he said.
Kick out BN to save vernacular schools
| March 2, 2012
DAP Senator S Ramakrishnan urges Pakatan Rakyat to bring vernacular schools into the mainstream education system.
PETALING JAYA: Vote out Barisan Nasional and get Pakatan Rakyat to include vernacular schools in the mainstream education system to salvage mother tongue education, said DAP Senator S Ramakrishnan.
In a blog posting, Ramakrishnan said currently there was no unit at the Education Ministry to oversees implementation of any development programmes for Tamil and Chinese schools.
“Najib can announce building of new schools and so on, but which unit at the Education Ministry is in charge of making sure the plans are carried out?” asked Ramakrishnan.
On Tuesday, the NST quoted Najib in a report saying that over the past three years, the government had spent RM340 million on Tamil schools nationwide.
Najib was reported to have said this at a Ponggal celebration in Kapar on Sunday.
However, Hindraf Makkal Sakthi leader P Uthayakumar dismissed Najib’s claims, saying Tamil schools like the one in Jalan Tajol in Kota Tinggi has no canteen or a proper working toilet despite being a fully aided vernacular school.
On Tamil schools, Ramakrishnan said the government was only concerned over the status of national schools and had left the vernacular school at the mercy of MIC.
“The docile political party is given the responsibility to coordinate with various ministries to build or repair the schools.
“With Umno dominating the Education Ministry, Tamil and Chinese schools are left with no one to turn to and this how Umno controls the vernacular schools,” said Ramakrishnan.
Putrajaya urged to back UN vote on Sri Lanka
B Nantha Kumar
| March 5, 2012
BN must condemn civil war abuses or lose support from Malaysian Indians, says DAP’s Manogaran.
KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional risks losing votes from the Indian community if Putrajaya fails to support a United Nations resolution on alleged human rights abuses during the Sri Lankan civil war.
This is according to the MP for Teluk Intan, DAP’s M Manogaran who, along with Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul (PKR) and Senator S Ramakrishnan (DAP), went to Sri Lanka last May to assess the humanitarian situation there in the aftermath of the conflict, which ended in 2009 with the defeat of Tamil rebels.
The UN resolution is being considered by its Human Rights Council (UNHCR), which has been meeting in Geneva since last week. The session ends on March 23. The resolution, sponsored by the United States, France and Norway, urges the Sri Lankan government to investigate alleged abuses during the 26-year civil war, but Colombo says it interferes with the country’s internal affairs.
Manogaran told FMT that he and other Pakatan leaders last Friday sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak asking him to ensure that Malaysia support the resolution.
“The Malaysian government must take into account the Malaysian Indian community’s opinion,” he said. “It must support the resolution or BN will be overlooked by the Indian community in the next general election.”
Malaysian Indians, most of whom are Tamils, generally sympathised with the rebels during the war.
The sponsors of the resolution propose, among other things, that an international mechanism be established to protect Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims from structural genocide.
There have been widespread allegations of atrocities against Tamils during the conflict, especially in its closing stages. Colombo has denied any wrongdoing. However, there have been reports that at least 40,000 civilians lost their lives in the last stages of the war and tens of thousands more disappeared.
On May 27, 2009, 10 days after the final government assault, the Malaysian government supported a Colombo-sponsored UNHCR resolution that claimed justifications for the military solution to the conflict.
Hindraf Makkal Sakti has also urged Putrajaya to support the new resolution, saying it would be one way for the Najib administration to prove that it respected human rights, especially the rights of minorities.
“Malaysia must demonstrate that it deserves its place in the UNHRC,” Hindraf coordinator W Sambulingam told FMT’s Athi Shankar in George Town. “Or else, it will be ridiculed for tacitly supporting crimes against humanity and promoting racism.”
He called on Pakatan Rakyat to table an emergency motion in Parliament next week to compel Putrajaya to support the new resolution.
He said Pakatan state governments should convene emergency state assembly sittings to pass similar motions.
Twenty-five of the 54 member countries of the UNHRC have already backed the resolution, which can lead to international sanctions against the Singhalese-dominated Colombo administration.