Thursday, December 27, 2007

Who is Pastor Niemoeller

Inspirition from the side walk of Boston city :

For those who think they would not vote this coming election...think again.
For those who say that whats happening in the country is none of my business...think again
For those who think they can put their heads in the sand and wait it out....think again.
The caption below (too small to read )
Martin Niemoeller
Pastor Lutheran church
This statement, attributed to Pastor Niemoeller has become a legendary expression of the lesson of the holocaust. Ironically, Niemoeller had delivered anti-sematic sermons in the early years of the Nazi regime. He later opposed Hitler and was sent to the concentration camp.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

AMAZING GRACE...the movie

A movie that never made it to the Malaysian cinemas but yet ranked among my favourites; is the movie AMAZING GRACE; starring Iaoan Grafford. It has even inspired me to come out of hibernation. Thanks to the not so legal supply of videos, the movie is still made available to the Malaysian public. :>
In 1793, William Wilberforce had written to a friend:
"In every small question of politics, there appears to me room to consider the times and seasons. But where a real moral evil is in question, a man who fears God is not at liberty. Even if I thought that the immediate abolition of the slave trade would cause an insurrection in our islands, I should not for an instance stop my endeavors. Be persuaded then, if I would not stop because of the insurrection, I shall even less sacrifice this grand cause to motives of political convenience or personal feeling."
The question to us in Malaysia and that rings in my head is "How does God feel about the issues of racism in our country?" Is it a "real moral evil" that should move us too?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Children at IJOK

It was evidently a plan by BN to provoke the opposition from across the barricade. Start a fight and blame the opposition. Afterall they have the many government agencies squarely behind them. There is no clear distinction between BN the political party and the government of Malaysia. This is the sad result of 50 years of occupation. It breeds arrogance and many other immoral behaviour.
Their behavior is absolutely childish as can be seen in one photo of the MIC supporter.
Sad isn't it?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ijok sees sudden development

The people of Ijok was suppose to have an upgraded mosque allocated to them 10 years ago. They had to wait for the death of their assembly man before they can now see this become a reality. On Thursday, 12 April, the Selangor Chief Minister went to Kg Rantau Panjang, Ijok, to officiate a ground-breaking and ‘kiblat - determination’ ceremony of the RM 5 million Ubudiah Mosque at Taman Purnama.

What timing. After waiting 10 years, the Menteri Besar of Selangor finally found some time. He is a busy man indeed to have had such a long appointment list.

O and yes, the roads at Ijok are being re-paved. The dumpsite they long wanted closed was suddenly obliged. Why is it in Malaysia we need our representatives to die, and a by-election called before we receive any attention or see the much needed development?

Lets move beyond race.....

Its difficult to move beyond race after 50 years of living with racial discrimination...
Susan Loone on her blog
said it well:

Why should race of candidate matter?
Wednesday, April 18th, 2007 in

Malaysian blogsville is abuzz with news of the coming Ijok by-election. Though I am too far away to feel Ijok, I am rather annoyed at news reports about the situation. I don’t see why we should keep harping on the fact that Keadilan (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) had chosen a Malaysian Malay and not Malaysian Indian to run for the elections. When can we stop thinking along racial lines? And if newspapers want to be part of nation building, it should also stop reporting along such lines.

It reminded me so much about Lunas in 2000. I was there to cover the elections with journalists Zakiah Koya and Ng Boon Hooi. We were more interested in the blatant corruption that was going on and the evil use of phantom voters to secure votes than to bother that BN had chosen an Indian (Antonysamy) and PKR a Malay (Saifuddin Nasution) to contest in the by-election. The newspapers then, like now, went to town with the news that PKR had neglected the Indians by choosing a Malay candidate.

So a Malay cannot represent Chinese and Indians and a Chinese cannot represent Malays and Indians and an Indian cannot represent Chinese and Malays?
It’s disheartening to note that all we can come up with are arguments why an Indian should be chosen instead of a Malay or even Chinese. As you see, no problem there, coz even the DAP has decided to let it go because it’s not a Chinese hot seat. So, doesn’t it tell much about the DAP’s trend of thinking?
Is this what we want after 50 years of nation building?

To me, the Election Commission has much role to play in this sad state of affairs. Election after elections, the first thing it does, is present figures about the percentages of racial breakdown. Do we really need this? For me, I’d like to know how many live below poverty lines, how many are in need of a hospital or schools or even public transportation. Can we have these figures instead?
Political parties should be really choosing candidates who can negotiate, speak out and understand policy making, instead of those who are only apt at inciting racist sentiments. I hope we don’t immitate these jokers by giving them a spot in our blogs to fan their insidous and hopeless propaganda.

After 50 years of Merdeka, most Malaysians should know how to deal with people of other ethnic groups, cultures and religions. Which is why, I didn’t mind Parti Socialis Malaysia’s argument about the matter.

PSM said it believed that potential elected representatives must be a person who is concerned about the welfare of the working class and urban settlers.
Yes, Khalid Ibrahim, the PKR candidate was a former Guthrie CEO, but he has left his post. Yet he needs to answer, can he really understand the grassroots needs and represent the Ijok people? That is the crux of the matter. That is the answer we should all seek.
Else, what PKR is doing is nothing but giving its new knight a chance for training and publicity to prepare him for the coming general elections.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Interview with Business Week recently

What are the lessons learned from the Asia Financial Crisis?
What went wrong 10 years ago was that our economic fundamentals in the region were very weak. There were huge and rising current account deficits, balance of payment issues, huge foreign debts, low level of foreign reserves.Financial institutions in Asia were weak and not properly regulated. Banks were lending money to cronies of the owners or cronies of those in power, or making all sorts of government-directed policy loans. There was no risk management or assessment whether borrowers had the ability to pay. So the symptoms were all there. The crisis was waiting to happen. It was a question of when, not if.Then the blame game started: It was all because of the speculators, or foreign agents, conspirators, or the Jews. In Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir blamed [billionaire hedge-fund manager] George Soros. Now he embraces Soros, says he wasn't to blame for the crisis. So who was to blame? The government leaders who built the corrupt system or perpetuated it basically were.

What's the situation now?
A lot has changed in Asia since the crisis. In some of the [crisis-hit] countries, the system has been overhauled, new processes have been put in place, regulations have been tightened. But for the most part—and I'm including Malaysia—not much has changed, and it's still business as usual. Have we learnt anything? I don't think so. There's still nepotism, corruption, shady backroom deals with cronies who are amassing wealth.

Are Southeast Asia and Malaysia losing critical foreign investment to China and India?

Singapore is still attracting foreign investments, and it's even smaller than Malaysia. The real reason we aren't attracting foreign investments is the lack of transparency, openness, corporate governance, [as well as the] inefficiencies and rampant corruption. Sure, there are investors who want to go to China and India because of their market size, but there are others who are still setting up in Singapore or Vietnam.Really, whatever investments we're getting in Malaysia are because Southeast Asia is still viewed generally very positively by investors from Europe, North America, and Japan. The key is new investments in new areas that will allow us to move up the value chain. Unfortunately, we aren't getting those. What we need to do is to look at our policies and ask ourselves: What can we do better to make ourselves a better investment destination?

You have called for an end to Malaysia's affirmative-action policies. Isn't that political suicide in a country like yours?

I'm not against helping the poor, the marginalized, or the disadvantaged. But what we need to see is if 37 years later, the policy today is really helping the Malays or bumiputras [indigenous ethinc groups] or has become a license to rob most of the people in the name of affirmative action. Over the years, the policy has become a tool for elite Malays to benefit at the expense of everyone else, including poor and middle-class Malays.The government has created an opaque system behind which it is able to dole out everything to the elite. It's not through competitive bids in a transparent open system. If we still need some affirmative action, it should be through an open, transparent, competitive system.

Where does Malaysia fit in a region dominated by China and India?
There are several issues here, but yes, I believe in this new world where China and India are the rising stars, there will be plenty of niches for us. We need to look at our competitive advantages and build on our expertise, even as we're squeezed out of certain low-end sectors where China, India, and Vietnam clearly have the advantage over us. We're rich in natural resources. We have oil and plantations. We have had big multinationals like Intel (INTC) here for over 30 years.In the late '70s, Malaysia was at par with Taiwan and Korea. Look where are they now. Sure, we have come a long way and the country is better off than it was 30 or 40 years ago, but my point is that we're no longer competing in the same league. It's no use anyone telling me that Malaysia is better off than Somalia or Zimbabwe when were always fighting in a different class.

What's the outlook for the stalled Malaysia-U.S. free-trade agreement?
I'm in favor of free and open trade. The free-trade agreement would have opened doors for our goods and services and brought jobs and benefits for Malaysia. So, yes, I believe we have lost an opportunity.But having said that, there were some issues relating to the services sector, agriculture subsidies, etc., that needed to be looked at and resolved. In any agreement, there's give and take and compromise. I guess if we were serious, the U.S. would have made concessions on some of the issues we were concerned about, just as the U.S. made concessions with South Korea. But really, there's vested interest in Malaysia that didn't want the FTA, and they prevailed. They don't want transparency, open tenders, and so on.

What's next for you?
I'm just going around articulating ideas, meeting people. The government isn't making it easy for me to speak, because we need permits for any kind of political activity and we have been denied permits when I have wanted to speak.I have said I will be candidate in the next election. I think people are listening when I talk about issues like corruption, nepotism, income disparity, freedom, and transparency. These are issues that impact people in their daily lives. It's no longer a development vs. freedom debate. Why can't we have both? Why have just development and no freedom?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Expose Communal Politics for what it is..."

I think this letter in Malaysiakini today wraps up my very feelings about politics in Malaysia. Communal politics today is the cause of many of our woes but ow do we get out of this rut we've been in for the last 50 years? I have never met Umar Mukhtar, but every letter he has written makes sense...

You can’t defeat BN with communal politics
Umar MukhtarMar 29, 07 4:28pm

Wouldn't we like to know how the non-bumiputera voters really feel about the way they are treated? Or whether bumiputera voters really do not mind all the plundering done in their name? Will we ever find out in the Machap by-election as a precursor to the coming general elections? Manjit Bhatia chose to condemn the Malaysian lot to a hopeless political purgatory - that their true feelings will not be translated into votes because they will forever vote out of fear of civil unrest. LCH, on the hand, advised caution, but with defeatist undertones.

I beg to differ with Manjit, and I would urge LCH to change his elitist mindset. Many of us who are still in this country by choice or by default, do not have the luxury of armchair commenting our predicament, no matter how big the chip on our shoulders. We deal with the reality of our lives with hopes and efforts - until we get it right. That's how the Australians did it before Australia became the haven that it is now for Manjit.

As for Machap, chances are we will not get the answers to the questions I posed. Not because the voters are afraid, but because the voters are not presented with a coherent choice. And that, Manjit, is the fault of opposition leaders, not the man on the street. Machap is an example of where communal politics - the bane of our political existence - will be further perpetrated by the very opposition party that screams of a Malaysian Malaysia.

DAP will be rolled over by BN, but DAP does not care for as long it can appear as the champions of the Chinese. The racial divide gets more and more cemented. That is no way to build a country for our children. If DAP leaders choose to be a big fish in a small pond, they will remain so. The last time they tested the waters of a bigger pond, they scampered away because they couldn't get along with other big fish, proving exactly the very point of BN supremacy. It is not about niching in a fragmented arena. It is about working it out, no matter how impossible it seemed. We do not have the proportional representation system, and this is not likely in the near future. In our first-past-the-post system, BN thrives on the likes of DAP stalwarts. And DAP leaders keep banging their heads against the wall, whining constantly that the wall is in the way.

The challenge to overcome that wall can only be answered with a collective effort to expose communal politics for what it is, and not, like the DAP, perpetuating it. It is the life and soul of corrupt BN politics. Deprive them of it, and BN will die a natural death. So in mixed-constituency Machap, this time around, it's communal politics all over again.

The 38 percent Malay voters will not be voting DAP, for the same reasons as the Chinese not voting PAS, wishful thinking aside. A majority of the Malays will vote for BN because it is a Malay-led coalition. In such a situation, do they have a choice except abstain? The million-ringgit question that we all know the answer to is - will Chinese voters overwhelmingly support DAP? Therein lies the folly of DAP's mindless political struggle. In 2004, DAP got a total of 1,285 votes in an electorate where 4,518 Chinese votes were available. That is nothing short of pathetic, considering all of DAP's communal rhetoric. Why is that so? ....................................................................How will there ever be one if the opposition is too wrapped up in reactionary and divisive politics themselves – inadvertently giving credence to BN's communal posturing?

It is such a pity that multi-racial PKR is not contesting in Machap where in 1999 it had done better than the DAP in 2004. By PKR not contesting, the voters of Machap are deprived of an opportunity to at least peer beyond the wall and dare visualise a colour-blind Malaysia for their children. But PKR says it is too busy focusing on the Big One. In the words of the late John Lennon, "life happens when you are busy making other plans...".

Monday, March 12, 2007

Vote Alternative for the sake of democracy

Malaysia needs a strong opposition party with the prospect of being in government - this is to hold the government of the day accountable to the people. Every four years the people get to evaluate the government policies and vote accordingly. We must not be held hostage by threats of violence propogated by certain quarters.

Without accountability this is what you get:

MPs who have little brains but speak loudly. The government for the last 50 years have become arrogant and complacent to corruption and other social ills.

Monday, February 26, 2007

BN MP's 2M allocation IMMORAL

Herein lies the root of MONEY POLITICS. If Pak Lah and the BN component parties want to stop money politics; then consider stopping the community development fund allocation handed out by BN MPs.

Currently only BN MPs have an allocation of 2 million Ringgit to be disbursed (without any need for accountability or reporting) to whosoever they wish or who would get them reelected. This is wrong and immoral for 2 reasons:

1) It is public funds which should not be given only to BN MPs. By allocating it to BN MPs only, it means that it is political in nature. This is not party funds and therefore should be enjoyed by every tax paying Malaysians. The allocation of these funds is illegal and clearly meant for vote buying!!

2) There is no accountability for these funds and MPs have the sole discretion of disbursing these funds. Another leak in government funds and a lack transparency in the way these funds are disbursed.

It was unanimously agreed by our government’s MPs that for the sake of UNITY, there will be NO reporting of how these funds are disbursed. So dear rakyat, another slap in our faces; “Pay your taxes and don’t ask how we spent it!!!!”

Saturday, February 17, 2007


May this year bring us all much Joy, Peace and Prosperity..."Fook Tao Le"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Perdana Global Peace Forum....

The following excerpt from Amnesty International report 1999 on Malaysia....

On 29 September Anwar Ibrahim was brought to court after being in incommunicado detention for nine days. He showed visible signs of ill-treatment including a swollen eye and a bruised arm. (PM Mahathir said it was self inflicted!) He complained that after his arrest he was handcuffed and blindfolded and that the police then “beat him severely, causing serious injuries” until he “virtually passed out until the next morning”. He was not allowed to see a doctor until the fifth day of his detention.
Anwar Ibrahim lodged a formal complaint over beatings he received while in custody and the court granted a request for doctors to examine his injuries. A doctor who examined him on 29 September released a medical report stating that Anwar had been assaulted 'over the left forehead and neck and received blunt trauma that resulted in residual bruises over the left upper and lower eyelids...' .

After being transferred to Sungai Buloh prison on 14 November, Anwar was placed in solitary confinement and subsequently allowed weekly family visits and access to his lawyers.
In an affidavit submitted to his lawyers Dr. Munawar Anees also protested his handling by police - which constituted degrading treatment - while being held in incommunicado detention. After being arrested under the ISA on 14 October, Dr Anees was driven, blindfolded and handcuffed, to an unknown location. He stated he was made to strip, insulted and shaved bald and held for one day in a solitary confinement cell without bedding, in which the lights were left continuously. He was repeatedly blindfolded and handcuffed when taken from his cell to be interrogated which he described as “systematic humiliation... to the extent that I ended up... a shivering shell of a man willing to do anything to stop the destruction of my being”.
(No it was not Guantanamo Prison under US care! )

As he was arrested Dr Anees had complained of chest pains. He was not taken to hospital until a day later and, after his trial and conviction, was transferred from Kajang jail to a hospital coronary rehabilitation ward where he was given access to lawyers and family members. While in the ward Dr Anees was reportedly verbally pressured by police officers not to appeal his sentence.
Sukma Darmawan, was detained under the Criminal Procedure Code for police investigation on 4 September and held incommunicado for 15 days. Amnesty International is gravely concerned at reports that Sukma may have suffered severe physical and psychological pressure and ill-treatment, including being stripped naked in a very cold room, beaten and threatened with indefinite detention under the ISA. After his trial and conviction, in an unexplained move, he was transferred from Kajang jail back to incommunicado detention at Bukit Aman federal police headquarters where
he has been denied access to lawyers appointed by his family.

Note the many Human rights abuses....

Perdana Global Peace Forum......

A Story of TORTURE......................where?

96. Sometime during this interrogation the original four officers entered the room and joined this fifth officer. They
then took over the interrogation while the fifth officer left the room. The four reverted to the trend of the first two days. They warned me and then threatened me and abused me in turn. They threw questions at me but did not wait for answers. Each cut into the other's line of questioning and kept interrupting my train of thought. I was warned that I had been sacked from my jobs, that the US investigators had completed their work and were about to return with their recommendation that my green card and citizenship be revoked, that I still had time to co-operate to save myself and my family, that they would tell me how I could help the nation and myself. They kept on drumming into me that my perception of things was wrong, that I had forgotten, that I had to listen to them. The abuse centered around my penis, its length and size, human genitalia, vaginal and anal sex. They never stopped talking about sx, repeatedly stating that they had to fuck Anwar. They made me simulate anal sx by lying down on the floor. They instructed me to first `fck' someone and then be `fked' by someone. They asked me to groan and moan while I was doing it.

98. It became apparent that this routine and the haranguing was going to go on for ever. Truth and my denials were getting me nowhere. I was at the point of collapse and could not go on. I knew I had to play along with them.

99. The fifth officer took out a cigarette from a pack that was in his pocket and offered it to me. I was always given a cigarette from a black pack. The officers when they smoked always seemed to take cigarettes from other packs. The cigarette tasted unusual but good. Every time I smoked one of their cigarettes I felt strangely lightheaded and `woozy'.

100. He suggested that it was natural in Pakistan. I looked at him. He stared at me and then pointed at my ans. I was dead tired. I nodded my head. He smiled and said `good'. 102. At one point in their haranguing and their suggestions that I was a homosxual I asked if they knew biology and suggested a medical examination would confirm homosexuality. They ignored this and for a long time made me talk about the male and female sex organs. They wanted graphics and made me draw these, over and over. They talked incessantly about anal sex, giving me extensive biological details about the size and shape of the pnis in relation to the male anus.

53. While this was going on I heard the door behind me being violently kicked open. I turned and saw a man walk in. The four behind the table stood up. The man who walked in was carrying a thick heavy file. He walked up to me and hit the back of my head with the file and then shouted at me that they knew everything and that there was no need for me to misguide them or to hide. He said that they knew everything I did with Anwar. When I tried to protest that I did nothing except help write speeches, this officer menacingly said " I am giving you 24 hours. Within that period come up with what we want or we will be very very nasty with you." He went on to say that his superiors wanted the information from me within 24 hours, that by tomorrow they must complete the matter. He then hit the back of my head again with his file, thumped the floor with his shoes, shouted `Hidup Malaysia', turned and left. The door was heavily slammed shut behind him.

More of the story here.....

This forced confession was not IRAQ but in our very own backyard. This is one story of inhumane treatment under Mahathir's Royal Malaysian Police back in the late 90's!!
Thus his PERDANA GLOBAL PEACE initiative as Param Cumarasamy said, is a farce. Its hypocrisy. There should be a trial and a royal commission held on all the abuse and crime against humanity in our very own country. Should we not clean up our backyard, before meddling with the world?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Nonmalay models belittles local models....?

This takes the icing on the cake!!! Of all the absurd comments by Malaysia's Information Minister, this has gotta be the dumbest of them all.......what do you all think?

Government reasons that non-Malay models belittle local models
By Bardan Kippusamy
South China Morning Post

The Malaysian modelling and advertising industries are in shock after the government announced it was reviving a ban on the multiracial Asian faces that dominate billboards and magazines. Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin said yesterday that models with so-called "pan-Asian" features were not representative of Malaysian demographics."Using pan-Asian faces means downgrading local faces," he said. "We have to give priority to models with local looks." Pan-Asians are popular in ethnically diverse Malaysia, where advertisers tend to use their neutral features to avoid alienating any customers.

A prime example is model and actress Maya Karim, 27, who is of Malay-Chinese-German parentage and is the latest poster girl for L'Oreal Malaysia.

A ban on pan-Asian faces is already in force at two government-owned television stations that cater mainly for majority Malays, who form 60 per cent of the population.The announcement on Sunday extended the ban to advertising carried by private television stations, the print media and billboards.The minister said the ban would eventually cover all media, but it was unclear when it would take effect.The ministry would have the power to decide on whether a model's features were appropriate, and be backed up by the weight of law. ....(They have the time???)

A similar ban was imposed in 1997, but the law was later shelved amid an outcry. Now, the government is again under pressure from cultural and religious purists who want to promote "local faces" in the media.The issue is often debated in Muslim publications and websites, where Eurasian models are criticised for dressing scantily, smoking and visiting night clubs.

Model Betty Ibtisam Benafe, 28, who is of Malay-Arabian-Javanese parentage, said the ruling would affect her work and income."We might end up jobless," she said. "The government should have an open mind ... we are also selling Malaysia to the world."Copywriter Alwin Tan said the ruling, if it took effect, would seriously damage the advertising industry, which was already held back by more than 30 different rules."We are a multicultural society and pan-Asian faces like Maya Karim are neither Malay, nor Chinese or Indian, but all of them put together," he said."We should celebrate diversity instead of banning it."Karim told Kosmo! magazine that the ruling was "confusing and unfair"."Our looks may differ but we are all Malaysians," she said.

Human rights lawyer Anuchuthan Sivanesan said the government should let the advertisement industry manage itself."Anyway, who is to decide whether a face is Malay or Chinese or pan-Asian," he said. "This is ridiculous."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I was in Subang Parade when there was a gun fight!

Tonight I came within 10 feet of a gun shot!!! It started out a nice evening in Subang Parade, having a Japanese Sushi meal. All of a sudden there were gun shots ringing all over the shopping complex. The quick thinking restaurant manager, pulled the shutters and encouraged everyone to keep he heads down. It was a robbery, on Saturday night in the busy shopping complex in Subang Jaya!!!!

The robbers ran out the front exit and just kept shooting as they crossed the road towards Alliance bank. One of the shots hit the front glass window of the restaurant we were in. On the way out we were passed the goldsmith shops and saw 3 guards sprawled on the floor in front of the shop. A scene from a TV show!!! My family was a bit shaked, so we made our way to the basement and drove home quickly.

This is not good!! This is the type of violence we only hear about in neighbouring countries like Phillipines or Indonesia.....gunfights in a crowded shopping mall is not indication of a civil society with a certain sense of peace. Our city has been under threat from snatch thieves, robbers, car jackings and violent crimes. Something is terribly wrong with our country as law and order breaks down and the sense of peace we should get as citizens begin to evaporate.

The government MUST recognise the problem. Our policemen need higher salaries, modern equipment and greater discipline. We need to bring a certain amount of law and order back to our country and the government must put priority on this.

Friday, February 02, 2007

We have lost our way on education....

Time for holistic relook at education system - The Sun 31st January
A new education plan to improve primary school pupils' proficiency in English is about to be tried out as a year-long pilot project in 50 schools. It will see Mathematics and Science lessons, of which there are seven and three periods respectively, turned into English lessons.
The Mathematics and Science teachers will continue teaching their pupils but their focus this time will be to make their pupils more comfortable with English. Effectively it will mean year one pupils will now do 18 periods of English per week from their present eight.
The programme is called ELiTE or Early Literacy Through English. With so many recent innovations - like the recently launched National Education Blueprint 2006-2010) - and the virtual alphabet soup of plans and programmes like Kia2M, JQAF, Kafa, PIP, BCK, BTK, Mekar and Rimup that have been introduced by the Education Ministry it is little wonder that many people are quite confused with the present education system of the country.

Oh no
…not another plan from MOE! This article in the Sun is most disconcerting. Lets not experiment any longer with our children’s future….please! Come up with a holistic plan to educate our young bearing in mind current and future world trends. 37 years ago, nationalist leaders decided to raise a generation of Bahasa Malaysia speaking adults by conducting a medium of instruction for all subjects in Bahasa. The result, a generation of Malaysians today cannot hold a simple conversation in English. I was fortunate enough to go to a Mission School where our headmasters and teachers were still comfortable with the language and were determined to make us proficient in it.

Then, 5 years ago, a knee jerk response to the poor command of the language by our leaders. English and Mathematics to be taught in English and overnight our teachers were expected to speak and teach in this foreign tongue! It would have been wiser to begin with standard 1 and to upgrade the English textbooks for all years to include literature. There is no better way for one to grasp the English language then to read and critique.

It is no wonder many today opt for private schools and Chinese schools. Heck, even some minister’s I am told sent their children to private schools. Leave the poor rakyat to attend the mediocre Kebangsaan schools. I sent my children to a Chinese medium school for lack of a good Kebangsaan school. Afterall why should I want to subject my children to all the pressure and the longer hours having to study maths and science in 2 languages unless the Kebangsaan schools are far short of what it should be?

Lets not be proud, the honourable minister of education could benchmark with countries who are far more ahead in this arena. Countries leading in science, technology and innovation. Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Australia and even gulp…Singapore (that would take a whole lot of humility).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Honourable MP hints of dismantling race-based parties

Malaysiakini - 26th January Race but not racist parties - the way forward
Any realistic effort to improve race relations must be carried out through the ruling party and existing political framework, argues outspoken Umno MP Zaid Ibrahim.

The existing political framework of the BN is one of a coalition of race based parties. The UMNO representing the malays, MCA- the chinese and MIC -the indians. Each party seek to represent their own ethnic community and to enure that the needs of that community are met. Often each community seek to ensure that their rights are protected and that they obtain fair allocation of national funds for the development of their respective community. For example, to the chinese community; Chinese Schools and government allocation to these schools are important. To the malays and indians; other priorities.

The problem with this formula, is that each political party seeks the good of their own community which may not be good for the nation as a whole. There are many cases in point. Also, each politcial party, in order to survive and continue their relevance, fight for the rights of their respective races and THIS has been the cause of declining race relations in Malaysia. After 50 years of Independence and supposedly the "right formula" or "winning formula" ;why is it then that race relations have deteriorated? Why are there still "sensitive issues" deemed seditious and which we cannot talk about? Why do we still use words like"tolerate", "Ketuanan melayu" (lordship of malays), or "bangsa pendatang"(immigrant race) ? Is this the kind of unity we have been "struggling" for over the last 50 years? If it is, we have succeeded and yes, MP Zaid Ibrahim is right in saying that the BN is the "winning formula."

Suppose we put sentimental notions behind and dream for a second that another political framework exists in Malaysia. One that seeks to level the playing field for all Malaysians and the allocation of funds is not based on the color of your skin or the ethnic group you belong to but the level of economic standing in our society. For a change we have one General Assembly for the ruling political party where real issues facing the nation is discussed. The rakyat is able to gauge the ability of this political party to govern the nation from this singular event which is meant for the consumption of all Malaysians. (as opposed to 3 General assemblies now held behind closed doors) What is there to hide unless there are shameful things said.

This way, Malaysians can close ranks and 5 decades of division can be safely put behind us as we respect each others ethnic differences and focus on what we can contribute to the table rather than what we can take from it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

50 years is a long time....

In a Parliamentary democracy which we inherited, there are clear divisions of government. The 3 main divisions intent on keeping law and order and to ensure that the law is respected irregardless of position in government are the Executive, the Judiciary and the House of lawmakers or Parliament.

In Malaysia, we have improvised the system by making the concept of separation of powers less and less clear. A single party system in government for the last 50 years and with almost half of those 50 years under the authoritarian leadership of Dr Mahathir have slowly but surely usurped the powers of the Parliament and Judiciary. Over the last 22 years, Dr Mahathir’s vision to achieve a developed nation status by 2020 have sought to remove whatever was in his way. Unfortunately whatever was in his way was often the system of checks and balance put in place to ensure accountability in government.

Today, we suffer its consequences. Leaders in government do as they please and a sense of anarchy and lack of rule of law exist. Dr Mahathir himself sees the indicipline and the problems which now exist but it was he who tore down the accountabilities that were in place. From the recent murder of a Mongolian woman with a hint of scandal linked to the ruling elite and to the involvement of the Executive’s family members in business and government including all the various accusations of corruption and election improprieies, money politics etc. exist solely because we have lost all forms of checks and balance necessary in government.

50 years is too long! In order for the rakyat to restore their rightful power there must be the opportunity for all opposition parties (BN included since they are technically “opposition” when Parliament dissolves) to prove their capabilities. As such opposition parties must be looked upon not just as a watchdog but “Government in waiting”.

I was in a taxi and the taximan said there can never be any change. BN will be in power forever and ever. I said Why? There is no where in the constitution that says so. Its just that we have never had the opportunity to think that way.