Archive for the ‘Center for Development and Research (CEDAR)’ category

Misleading advertisement of FINAS

November 8, 2010

The TV advertisement of 1Malaysia promotion by FINAS in RTM/TV3/ASTRO during Deepavali celebration this year is inundated with encouraging religious conversion of Hindus to Islam. It shows how a Hindu youth married to Muslim girl can still celebrate Deepavali with his parents. The boy’s family initially hostile to his Muslim conversion but accept him after the birth of his children. Anyone marries to Muslim in Malaysia must convert to Islam and this fact is hidden in this advertisement. This deliberately hiding of facts is mischievous and misleading the Hindu viewers. It’s leading the viewers into the belief that religious conversion may be hostile in the beginning but will be accepted upon the birth of children into the family. FINAS is silently misleading Hindu youths into religious conversion as part of 1Malaysia campaign.

The girl who is married to this convert refuses to eat food cooked by Hindu family until she is assured that the food is cooked by another Muslim. This episode only depicts that the Hindus are inferior to Muslims that they can’t eat food cooked by Hindus, not halal I suppose. If that is the case what is the motive to show such an insulting and belittling advertisement during Deepavali which is a Hindu festival. This only shows the apparent intolerance of the authorities in reluctantly accepting the religious and cultural indifferences.    

The apparent pleasantries on the surface of the advertisement ignore the fact that converts over time will be subjected to directives from JAIS, MAIS and other religious bodies. Converts will be discouraged and pulled away from celebrating Deepavali but these underlying consequences are conveniently covered up. A Hindu convert is welcomed by FINAS but if a Muslim converts to other religion than it is apostasy. Why the double standard? The advertisement reveals the hidden agenda of BN government in dealing with culture and religious feelings and sensitivities of Indians and others. 1Malaysia seems to be not accepting the diversities of difference ethnics in Malaysia but subtly converting others into Muslim religion. Such hidden parochial agenda doesn’t augur well for the well being and future of minorities and their children. This episode also proves that the minorities in Malaysia are under fear that their legitimate rights to practice their religious festival might be under threat. The guarantees of religious freedom are under threat by the proponents of religious hardliners. This advertisement trail goes against the spirit of article 295-298A.

Articles 295-298A of the Malaysian Penal Code provides penalties for those who commit offenses against religion. The penalties range from up to three years in prison or a fine of up to US$1,000 (approximately). Prosecutions for blasphemy usually target those who offend Islam, but an insult to any religion can give rise to prosecution. Clearly FINAS and the film producer have violated the article 295-298A. Action must be taken against FINAS and the advertisement producer.

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June 29, 2010

Evenness of the Mind

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

See, you may do many acts. Every act is supposed to bring about its desired outcome. In fact, we take up an action only for getting a specific result. If an action is well designed and well executed, normally the desired result will come. Rarely, due to unpredictable and providential factors, the expected result may not come.

Now, in the language of the mind there are only three results: ishtha (desirable), anishtha (undesirable) and mishra (a mixture of the two). Bhagavadgeeta says, whether it is a desired outcome or an undesired outcome or a combination of the two, your mind should remain sufficiently profound and poised to assimilate it. Instead of taking a preferential and partial stand, always be prepared to receive any outcome that arises.

Suppose two teams are playing. If both of them always play with equal excellence and always it becomes a draw, will you be happy? Even if both the teams play their best, finally one team has to lose and the other has to win. So, if we have played our best we should be able to accept defeat also in the right spirit without getting afflicted or disturbed.

The point is that the multiple physical outcomes do not enter the mind. They remain outside. In the level of the mind, the responses are only three – desirable, undesirable and a mixture of the two. Bhagavadgeeta says: Try to have an even outlook towards the three. Perform well and never worry about the results.

Study well. Prepare well. On the appointed day, go to the examination hall and write as it comes to you. If you have not studied well, is it right that you wish to have good marks? If you have studied well then you will write well; why should you need to have any desire to score well? If you have not studied, then you have no reason to worry. If you have studied well, it is unnecessary and redundant to worry. So why should you worry at all? In this way, you have to rationalize and keep your mind resolved.

Now, this is an orientation you have to develop. And all activities, including study or appearing for examination, provide opportunities to bring about this inner orientation, whereby the preferences and prejudices are eliminated and we have a uniform, wholesome outlook. You must have a very broad comprehensive platform in your mind from which you start looking at things and interacting so that every interaction and interactional outcome will prove to be an enrichment. This is possible only because of the fact that our mind is basically spiritual in nature. Being subtle and spiritual, its dimensions are unlimited.

*  *  *

News from Narayanashrama Tapovanam:

* Gurupoornima this year falls on 25th July.
* The Annual Jnaana Yajna in Malaysia start on 27th Aug.
* Anna Vastra Daana Satram 2010 (rice & clothes distribution) will start early July. (for more details click here)

Are Our Education Policies Ineffective In Coping With Discipline In Schools

May 31, 2010

31/5/2010

The recent outcry of deteriorating disciplinary problems among students in Sri Gading secondary school in Rawang, is a tip of the iceberg. Disciplinary problems have grown into a serious menace to the future of this country because of the indifferent and don’t care attitude of education ministry officials and police department. They are embroiled into a culture of reporting only pleasant news and pleasing their bosses. Many schools are withholding or sweeping indiscipline problems under the carpet hoping it won’t grow into public outcry. The heads, teachers and police all know what’s happening but they give excuses for the problem like nobody reported, small problem, action being taken etc. The decline of education quality in our schools started long time ago due to various reasons outlined below.

  1. Sri Gading secondary school has about 3500 students. This figure is too large to instill good values and discipline. To manage such a huge co-educational school there must be high powered and strong minded headmaster with good track record and not a mediocre headmistress who dare not report bad news to education Ministry. Our schools are managed by mediocre caliber headmistresses with no track record. 
  2. Many teachers today are not the dedicated and professional teachers of yesteryears. The ministry of education has gradually replaced dedicated teachers with teachers who will blindly follow instructions and be indifferent to discipline problems. Malaysians parents have given up on our educators and have turned to tuition teachers to educate their children. This is a failure of our education policies. Teachers don’t have the ability on their own and the support from ministry to handle problems. Everything needs approval from ministry.
  3. Education has been politicized by every subsequent education ministers since 1971. With the introduction of New Economic policy, education in Malaysia has lost critical thinking skills, independent and courageous debates and expressions and core competitive abilities. Today schools churn out compliant students to join the work force, if not drop out students. Local universities students find difficulties in getting jobs because they are unemployable.
  4. Schools and its administration are not able to cope with large classes of students of mixed abilities. Education system does not cater for students who need more guidance from teachers.
  5. The social economic backgrounds of students are far different compared to 20 years ago. Rapid urbanization without the parallel development in playing fields for sports and games, cramped low cost housing, mass illegal workers competing for living space and jobs have taken the toll on poorer Malaysians who find it difficult to provide for the family. Everything is politicized into race and religion by the government of the day.
  6. Malaysian police are oblivion of the crimes going on around them. Somebody must report to them and only then they will take action. But when complain is launched they will give all kinds of reasons and excuses why the vandalism and gangsters are thriving in Malaysia. They don’t have the political will and wish to keep criminals out of the streets. Corruption among police force is well known and tops the list.   

Malaysians need a political system that is accountable and in touch with ground reality. A system that is representative of all stakeholders be it minority or majority. We need to do away with parochialism and bigotry. When will the people truly stand up for such a political system?

Senator Dr. S. Ramakrishnan

MAIKA HOLDINGS BHD

May 27, 2010

27/5/2010

Maika holdings bhd finally caught UMNO’s attention during the Ulu Selangor buy elections. A group of private individuals got together under the banner of G Team Resources & Holding Bhd (G Team) and made an offer to purchase all Maika holdings shares for 80cents per shares from its current shareholders. These businessmen are not known for any services to Indian community. Yet they made the offer to buy Maika shares and to finally sell of the assets and finally close the Maika chapter once and for all. No businessman will invest (80cents per share for 125 million shares) for nothing or for purely corporate social responsibility purpose. The talk in town is that PM Najib finds Maika holdings becomes a contentious issue in every elections with the Indian community and therefore he has decided to settle this scandal. Only when Indian vote bank deserted BN his attention turned to settling the Maika issue.    

He must have approached Tan Sri Gnanalingam and a group his supporters from the business community settle the issue for him. Najib’s concern towards Indian community can be seen in the way he has decided to settle the issues. He could have used government assistance to revive and turn the poor Indians investment into profitable investment such as PNB. But inturn approached private individuals to settle off Maika holdings and in the process absorbed all those culprits who brought Maika holdings to this state. He is more concerned with removing the Maika holdings issue than to find a satisfactory compensation to the thousands of investors who did not see any profit what so ever for the past 27 years. He is only interested in securing Indian votes for BN than solving their problems. There will be enough businessmen to serve his purpose for they may not get an opportunity to do a favor to Prime Minister. The BN government has no commitment to uplift Malaysian Indians.        

PM Najib must initiate an investigation into Maika holdings scandal. Those who have abused or misappropriated in Maika holdings must be brought to justice. It is unfortunate that the Indian community could not see the callous attitude of UMNO in the Maika holdings scandal. Maika holdings went down the drain because MIC leaders had unlimited protection from UMNO. The Indian community could not remove MIC leaders from Maika because of the unreserved support from UMNO to MIC. Malaysian Indians have woken up and are holding MIC accountable for their investment. The shareholders approval for further action must be obtained before Maika holdings are sold to a third party. Najib should not take Indian voters for granted.

With all the lucrative offers given to GLCs, they must be financially strong and reinvesting by now. They must be in the for front of economic growth unfortunately not. Govt must rethink the way the GLCs are managed. GLCs must be performance based or else fired. Decision making management must be multi racial and get the best based on delivery. The GLCs now are not competitive, profitable no good governance e.g. sime darby,

  Senator Dr.S. Ramakrishnan

Indian Community in Malaysia Lack of Job and Business Oppurtunities, Educational and Welfare Support from Government.

May 13, 2010

11/5/2010

The local media announcement (financial daily) on 10th may 2010 reported that MIC might get an additional full ministerial post or a deputy minister’s post. This announcement shows the ignorance of UMNO led government of Malaysian on the cause and remedy to Indian community problem. Malaysian Indians have been long ignored and neglected by government. Malaysian Indians occupancies in government services, transport services, estates, menial work in other sectors have been slowly replaced by Malays and legal and illegal immigrants. They were pushed to the brims of hardship in urban squalors and a large section of the community became worse off economically. The many youths in these communities have turned to gangsters and alcohol addiction.        

The majority of the children of these affected groups did not have financial support and were ill prepared for the social and economic changes that came about from the fast development. In fact the plantation based Indians were victims of national economic growth. They were misplaced in these developments. These developments brought large number of foreign workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh and other countries who replaced the Malaysian Indians because the new comers were cheaper and desperate for work. Majority of Indians who worked in estate and other menial workers were old and worn out and the others were not trained to do the work. Not training the estate community for the development to come was the greatest led down by the government.

Malaysians Indians need affirmative action for urban poor for all races to be integrated into the mainstream of economy. Appointing an additional Indian minister or deputy minister does not solve any problem for Indian community. Datuk Palanivel was M.P and deputy minister for welfare and women’s development from 2004 to 2008. But poverty and social problems of Indians from his constituency never reduced. Datuk Dr. Subramaniam became minister for human resource in 2008. Did this appointment brought about any policy change for Indian working class. These appointments do not serve any purpose to the Indian community. Datuk Saravanan was appointed deputy minister for Wilayah persekutuan, does that solve any problem to Indians in federal territory. 

The prime minister must replace race based programs with need based affirmative action. Government policies and programs must be inclusive in the real sense and not merely slogans without any substance. After being left out for many years Indians do have hope on government help. Therefore government must reach out the support for education, welfare and business opportunities to those needy Indians and all other poor.

Senator Dr. S.Ramakrishnan

Malaysian Police Should Erase The Perception That It Is Trigger Happy

April 30, 2010

30/4/2010

Malaysian police need more tolerance and go the extra mile before taking decision to shoot the suspects. Erring in shooting decision is fatal and there is no turning back. Therefore shooting decision should not be used at all unless the police officer is absolutely sure that they are shooting a criminal.  

The shooting of 15 years old Aminulrasyid Amzad by police early on Monday is another judgmental error by Malaysian police. In all the previous fatal shooting incidences there was no proper probe and no police officer was charged or faced action. Police force is being less accountable and transparent lately.

On the 30th October 2009 police shot another innocent victim Norizan Salleh on the Gombak highway. Based on Suaram report there were 39 deaths from police shootings in 2009 and 44 similar deaths in 2008. These numbers do not take into account the death in police custody.

While it is the police duty to keep away robbers and criminals from the streets, shooting suspects should not be the way to solve it. There seem to be lack of police competency and diligence in executing their job. Police need to be more alert and vigilant but at the same time caring and concern for the general welfare of society at large.

In countries like UK with larger population than ours, the incidences of police shooting are negligible. We have to learn from them as to how they do it. Malaysians deserve better protection and service from our police forces. There must be compulsory independent inquests on police shooting and death in custody after every incident reported. There is a need for police force to be none political and partisan in executing their work. There is a clear need for more professionalism and skill in protecting a more urbanized and educated society.

Senator Ramakrishnan

Voting Results Reflects More Malaysian

April 27, 2010

27/4/2010

In the recently concluded Ulu Selangor by election, the voting trend shows an urban rural divide and less of race divide. Urbanites of all races voted for Pakatan rakyat and rural folks of all races voted for BN. BN has a strong influence over the flow of information to rural folks. They depend on main stream media which is heavily controlled and manipulated to provide biased and distorted information that favors BN. The urbanites have access to alternate Medias. I must commend the Chinese media for providing critical and analytical information to its readers so that they can make an informed decision.

MIC has used thugs, goodies, free flow of liquor and unlimited feasting for the last seven days to slowly turn the voters in estate and Taman2 to its favor. MIC thrives on the ignorance and poverty of estate and urban poor. Local Thugs and MIC leaders work hand in hand to turn the voters in its favor. MIC is the stumbling block for the alleviation of Indian working class from their current predicament.      

UMNO and BN have broken all moral decency in winning and ruling the federal government. They used and abused money media and government machinery without any regard for accountability and transparency. This prompts the next question that is will UMNO and BN ever change? All it matters to UMNO and BN is winning at any cost. Money was flowing in Felda and Malay areas. Is UMNO working towards making Felda and rural Malays dependent on them? They are not empowering the rural Malay minds but are constantly putting them on clutches.

Senator S.Ramakrishnan