Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 - What Voters Learnt

1. Don't simply believe what other's say, verify your sources and ask for facts, eg. I have the numbers, it's growing by the hour!

2. Believe that Pakatan Rakyat is multi-racial coalition ensuring Fairness, Competency, Accountability and Transparency > Support for HINDRAF, Manikavasagam, Race based Exco's line up, Malay Head for PKNS (which by the way, stands for Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor)

3. Do not get excited when Indians hold PAS flags during elections, by all chance, they must have been those obssesed with 'Sivaji the boss' Ibrahim.

4. Do not be stupid to assume racism and race based politics are out after March 8 elections. eg, emergence of various race based NGO's wanting to protect their rights, ketuanan Melayu issue, protest against single school proposal. Racism and race based politics are well and alive.

5. Don't think that just because malaysians voted for Pakatan Rakyat in 5 states , Malaysians are matured politically. Eg Demo at Bar Council Forum on Conversion, Jerit, Nude squad, Protest at Selangor MB's proposal to open UiTM to non-malays etc.

6. Do not think that alternative media, especially opposition owned, tells the truth all the time, eg, Suara Keadilan's take on cross overs which includes latest breakdown of Parliament seats.

7. Indian Malaysians should not rely on anyone for their own growth. Believe in yourselves. eg Hindraf's precarious position now and Pakatan Rakyat's non-contribution(except for some piece meal handouts) thus far.

8. 'Hunger Strikes' now also means liquid diet.

9. Parliament is a reflection of what we, Malaysians, actually are in terms of respect, decorum, decency and politeness.

10. Now everyone can become an MP or State Assemblymen, not to worry if your Bahasa Malaysia is not good. Better if you are unemployed.

11. Do not complain about quality of elected representatives and debates in the parliament when we, Malaysians voted in someone whose expertise is in stopping phantom voters, someone who's an expert in throwing double meaning words and terms, a sex-offender, someone convicted for corruption and abuse of power, and an amateur cinematographer.

12. Do not expect an MP or State Assemblymen from opposition (BN or Pakatan, depending on which state) to fight for your rights in the parliament/state assembly. They would most likely be glad to demontrate with you at your constituency for some publicity photos and will claim that he/she can't do much as an opposition party.

13. Don't complain if the oil price rises again, be prepared as you know what to expect already based on 2008 experience.

14. You can get away with murder if you have a good lawyer or if you are prepared to swear in a temple or a mosque.

15. You can continue building illegal temples or shrines, PKR and MIC will be there to fight for your rights, perhaps a relocation plan plus some compensation. Forget the local authorities and law of the land.

16. Look to Samy Vellu if you need some ideas on re-branding your organisation, party or even yourselves.

17. Malaysians are proving yet again to be a caring lot, they are even willing to raise funds for millionaires.

18. Malaysians 'mudah lupa'. Eg Anwar's 'excellent track record' for 16 long years in BN, DAP on Hudud Laws & Malaysian Malaysia, Gerakan and PPP's whole hearted support for BN until 2008 over ISA.

19. Free Market is always the best option.

20. Phantom voters were non-existent in Perak, Penang, Kelantan, Kedah and Selangor on March 08, 2008. Postal votes were surprisingly missing too.

21. Blame federal government if you are not able to fulfill your election promises.

22. Blame Dr Mahathir for everything that failed in this country during his term. Then we do not need Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Director General of government departments, Judges, IGP, Pengarah- Pengarah of all government and state agencies, CEO's of GLCs and Privatised companies etc. Let the Prime Minister manage everything on his own.

23. Urge the use all archaic laws available when you don't like any suggestions that promotes unity. Does not matter if you were against the same law in the first place. It's ok to contradict yourselves once in a while.

24. Use children for your cause, does not matter whether it is for cycling or street demonstration. For sure, the public will be sympathetic to your cause.

25. You can have you own 'Kangaroo Court' and determine the outcome of a percieved flawed judgement decades ago, in your favour. Not sure how to do it, just call the bar council.

Happy New Year to all readers.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why Indian Malaysians Like Anwar

Like many others, I am quite baffled with Indian Malaysians obsession and support for Anwar Ibrahim as evidenced by the survey completed by Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research.

Indian Malaysians supports him as if he is their communal leader. Even the Malays and Chinese were outnumbered in terms of percentage of support for Anwar within their own community.

I tried to comprehend this baffling scenario and came up with several possible explanations. This may sound simplistic, outrageous but may well be true.


80% of Indian Malaysians are said to be Hindraf supporters, this is the around the same percentage of Indians who support Anwar. It is well known that Anwar, supports Hindraf’s struggle, although not explicitly. Many PKR and DAP members are also HINDRAF sympathizers.

Anwar is against UMNO and BN, so are Hindarf, so enemies became friends, Indians are more or less united behind Anwar.

What’s confusing is that Anwar has never (in my knowledge) agreed with the 18 point memorandum by Hindraf or agreed to address various issues raised by Hindraf, although he and many opposition party leaders shouted ‘Makkal Sakhti’ (Hindraf’s catch phrase) to excite the crowd during the election rallies. Neither did he sit in any Hindraf organized hunger strike.

Equally baffling is that Indians and Hindraf supporters also appeared to have conveniently forgotten that Anwar was a key UMNO figure for at least 16 of the ’51 years of discrimination, poverty, marginalization & ethnic cleansing’. They accused everyone from MIC, Samy Vellu to Mahathir for not helping Indians in the past but stayed silent in the case of Anwar.

PKR & Anwar’s Policies

From my conversations with several Indian Malaysians, none have a clear idea of what Anwar and PKR stands for except for the fact they Anwar has promised to do away with the current NEP and start a new policy that will be fair to all.

When I further stressed that DAP,PSM and even PAS have similar views, they seem confused, now not aware of what DAP and PSM stands for. When I highlighted that PKR lead Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor did not agree to a non-malay as the head of PKNS, they shrugged it off.

When I further added that Anwar, Lim Kit Siang, Abdul Hadi Awang signed the agreement on Sept 8 as proof that all three parties would uphold Malay rights. They (the Indians I spoke to) were further confused.

At the end I ended up confused as well not knowing why are they supporting Anwar & PKR! I may get similar responses from BN supporters, but that’s not the topic here.

So I went backwards and looked at what happened before and during March general elections to understand this (Indians support for Anwar) better and offer some mind boggling explanation. I realise that this may not be welcomed by PKRians, Anwaristas and Indian Malaysians in general but what the heck, this is my blog.


Indians, especially those originating from South India like heroism. They love cult personalities and worship them. Some even built temples for them. This is definitely related to Indian Malaysians love for movies, especially Tamil Movies, where heroism is still well and alive. While the world has gone on with sophisticated story telling and multi-starers, South Indian movies, especially Tamil and Telugu movies, are still hero oriented.

Perhaps Indian Malaysian wants someone in the same mould to worship as their their leader. Samy Vellu, Subra, Kayveas and the rest are outdated. Anwar is their hero for the moment.

I did a simply survey with some Malaysian Indians, asking them two simple questions ; Who is the President, Deputy President of PKR and Pakatan Rakyat, the answer, Anwar Ibrahim, when I said no, one adamantly told me to check my facts. President of Pakatan Rakyat!!. As for Deputy president, not a single soul gave me the correct answer…

Sivaji ‘The Boss’

For those who are not aware, ‘Sivaji The Boss’ was a record breaking Tamil Movies starring Tamil Super Star Rajnikant, playing a commoner fighting against a corrupt system and politicians. The movie was dubbed in all South Indian languages such as Telugu, Kanada and Malayalam and was a super hit too.

It was reported frequently that Indians supporters chanted ‘Sivaji, The Boss’ during Anwars campaign trail last and this year.
Anwar himself reportedly declared that he’s the Malaysian ‘Sivaji The Boss’ in rallies attended by substantial Indian Malaysians. There were various posters, stickers and T-Shirts distributed during the March elections with Anwar’s image superimposed to a ‘Sivaji The Boss’ movie poster.

This maybe another reason has probably endeared him to the Indians as I myself have heard the enthuasism expressed for Anwar from those who attended his rally. Most did not talk about any policy or manesfesto from his speeches but never failed to hide their excitement when Anwar say’s he’s “Sivaji The Boss”.

South Indian Political History

Apart from heroism and ‘Sivaji the boss’ factor, another related factor is that majority of the Chief Ministers of south Indian states of Andra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil are from the cinema and they are worshipped by Indians in those states. Cinema personalities such as MGR, NTR, Karunanithi, Jayalalitha, Raj Kumar have cult following which were translated into votes when they entered politics.

Most of their movies potray the hero as lower class do gooder, helping the poor, fighting against corruption, the government etc. None are really an Oscar materials though. For the fans, whatever they do in real life does not matter, even though several of the above Chief Ministers were known to be corrupt. Their fanatical supporters see them as god and close one eye on all their wrong doings. Sounds familiar?

The cult personality worshipping cannot be more evident when at least 30 people who committed suicide when Tamil Nadu actor turned Chief Minister, MGR passed away in 1987.

Like them, Rajinikanth, who potrayed ‘Sivaji, The Boss’, although never been active in politics has huge fans base, who keep on, from time to time, urging him to dabble in politics. He is so popular than if he steps into politics now, he can be the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu without a sweat.

With Malaysian Indians’ affinity for South Indian movies and Anwar’s supporters ever closely associating him to ‘Sivaji, the boss’, Indians see Anwar as one of them.

Punch Dialogue & Rhetorics

Indian heroes are well known for their rhetorics or ‘Punch Dialoque although in real life they may not necessarily practice what they preach in the screen.

Fans literally clap and whistle when their favorite heroes let go a catchy line.
Perhaps they see the same with Anwar, whose strong oratory skills mesmerizes the crowd and he had been known to throws some quotes here and there

Here are some examples ;

My way is a unique way

If I say it once, it’s equivalent to having said it a 100 times

God commands. I obey

I’ll do what I say. I’ll also do what I don’t say

Only pigs come in herds. The lion always comes alone.

When I’ll come, how I’ll come, nobody knows. But when I need to come, I’ll be there.

You’ll be happier if you marry the one who loves you instead of the one you love.

Even if I come late, I’ll be the latest.

You’ll gain nothing without hard work. And even if you do, it won’t last for long

Finished. Finished. What’s done is done.

Yesterday I was a coolie. Today, I’m an actor. Tomorrow...

Some people say I’ll become like this I’ll become come like that. But only God knows how I’ll end up tomorrow.

Hey, wait a minute. This is not Anwar. Those are actual one liners loosely translated from the real “Sivaji the Boss”.

But they do sound familiar right…

Monday, December 15, 2008

HINDRAF Hunger Strike

15 on hunger strike over ISA

Fifteen Hindraf supporters launched a hunger strike on Sunday to demand the abolition of a tough security law which the government says is needed to combat terrorism, organisers said.

"The five-day hunger strike is to protest against the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) and to demand all detainees are freed," S. Jayathas, coordinator of the rights group Hindraf which organised the strike, told AFP.


"The hunger strike is also to demand the government end all injustices in Malaysia and stop discriminating against minority Indians."

The ISA, a relic of the British colonial era when it was used to fight a communist insurgency, allows for renewable two-year periods of detention without trial.

The government says it is a vital tool to fight terrorism, but rights groups say the law has been improperly used to silence government critics, and that detainees are mentally and physically tortured.

Rights groups say 70 people, mainly alleged Islamic militants, are being held under the ISA.

Hunger strikers to only take water

The protesters are staging their hunger strike at a small temple north of Kuala Lumpur.

Some of those taking part are relatives of five Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf) leaders, who are being held under the ISA.

The five, one of whom is a state lawmaker, were arrested after enraging the government last November by mounting a mass rally alleging discrimination against Malaysia's minority ethnic Indians.

Ethnic Indians make up less than eight percent of the 27-million-strong population of the mainly Muslim Malay country.

Jayathas said the protesters would only consume water during the strike. -- Malaysiakini

These bunch of jokers appears to have not learnt their lesson.

Hindraf or now disguised as 'Makkal Sakhti' appears to take cue from Tamil Nadu where numerous hunger strikes are held as a form of protest almost everyday.

It's quite funny that those held in India usually last a day, from 9am to 5pm and everyone goes back after that. Hindraf's hunger strike allows protesters to consume water. What 'hunger strike'?, they must be either joking or scared that the would not even last till the evening of the first day. They were also seen holding Gandhi's potraits. If they wish to emulate Gandhi, then they should not consume anything at all.

I think this is a first ever 'hunger' strike anywhere that allows protesters to consume water. Malaysia Book Of Records should have been there to record the moment of history made in our soil.

Hindaf's previous hunger strikes, reportedly in January and August met with poor support from their blood brothers, who had more important things, like job and family to take care rather than simply waste hours of their time.

The same is expected to happen this time, only 15 people are willing to participate. Whatever happened to thousands of their supporters!, I predict that the hunger strike will not last for days as expected.

Knowing well the characterictics of Hindraf supporters, I will not be surprised if participants run to nearest Indian restaurants for few servings of banana leave rice after a day.

I was at a Indian wedding last week, few of the staunch supporters spoke nothing of the hunger strike or Hindraf. One of them hosted the lavish wedding and another private bash at home, one has gone for a long holiday, one preparing for a birthday bash, while some came (few hundred kilometres) all the way from KL, put up a the nearest hotel to join the after dinner drinks.

This is maybe their version of "the result of years of discrimination, marginalisation, abject poverty and ethnic cleansing"..

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ban on student political activity upheld

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 —Parliament has amended a law to allow university students to join social groups but still bans them from political parties, a restriction slammed by critics today.
Lawmakers approved the amendments to the Universities and University College Act late yesterday to allow students to become members of social and other groups outside campus.

But they left untouched a clause that bans students from joining political parties, illegal groups or any other organisations that the government specifies. The law also states that students are not allowed to express support for any political party.
The amendments need to be approved by the Senate and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong before taking effect, but these steps are usually formalities.

"In many ways there is more freedom now, except that they cannot join political parties or express support for them. But they can express their views," said Rozaid Abdul Rahman, an aide to Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin.

Ridzuan Mohammad, coordinator of a coalition of eight student groups that campaigned for the act to be repealed, said the ban on political activities leaves students reluctant to speak up for fear of disciplinary action.

"Those changes are cosmetic," said the 22-year-old Universiti Malaya education student. "We want the UUCA to be abolished."
Government officials have argued that the law — introduced in 1971 to quell student unrest — is necessary so students concentrate on their studies and don't get influenced by politicians.

Opposition politicians voted against the amendments to the law, which they say restricts freedom of expression and fundamental human rights.
"It's strange to say this is an improvement," said Tian Chua, a lawmaker with the opposition PKR. — AP

As expected the opposition parties would never agree as they want students to be let loose and indulge in something that they are not supposed to be focusing on in the first place, unless of course if they are enrolled in courses related to politics.

I wonder why this is not an issue with private universities colleges. Why opposition parties are not seen anywhere near these institutions. Maybe because Parents don't want the children to waste their hard earned money, spending time supporting some chameleons and corrupt politicians instead of focusing on their studies.

What about us, the real taxpayers. (By the way, how many members of political parties actually do pay tax?) I am seeing the same rubbish coming out from the local universities, year after year. When debating this issue in the parliament, Datuk Tajuddin Rahman, the controversial MP, for once, spoke of something that strikes a chord.

He characterised graduates as “intellectually weak” and that "They don't go to the libraries and pursue additional knowledge to improve their minds. They are even lazy to read reference books as it is in English. They said it is difficult, gives them a headache. They only went for exams equipped with knowledge obtained from the lecture hall.” He further adds “Many had little general knowledge simply because they did not read enough,".

I had similar personal experience. In my course of work, I have interviewed more than 1,000 fresh graduates (no exaggeration here) in the last 5 years and I would hold similar view. I wrote some of it here.

Many have poor listening skills and can't even answer to the questions posed. I have done my surveys too and found that majority do not read anything other than those related to entertaintment.

Let's focus on improving quality of our universities and education as a whole. Politics can wait. Those who never worked with local graduates in large numbers will never understand the frustration. In fact, I had personally sacked many of them for many reasons including basic discipline (this is probably due to upbringing though). I admit that there are bright ones but they are in the minority.

Let the graduates develop basic skills like communication, interpersonal and leadership while in the universities before they get into something bigger like active politics. Our universities appear not to be helping them in all these crucial areas. This is the biggest headache cited by some of the MNC employers here in Malaysia apart from declining standard of English.

Political parties should focus on large number of Malaysians who has never voted and or even registered as a voter. That's a big number out there that can make a lot of difference to any elections.

Leave the students alone. Let's not send quality of our university and it's students further down the drain.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maths & Science in English - Let's Have A Referendum

The recent debate on teaching of Science and Maths in English has also brought about the worst in all of us, Malaysians. Every other group released and published research papers favoring their point of view.

Most of these research papers highlighted the failure of the policy citing recent years' UPSR, PMR and SPM results and concludes with how well the students education, upbringing and career would be if they are educated in the mother tongue, i.e Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil.

This year's UPSR results suggest that more students are now choosing to answer questions in English. I think the policy is fine, just that the implementation needs to be improved and enhanced further.

The roundtable discussion organised by the Education ministry is now reaching it's final stage. In a Malaysian give and take style, a compromise is apparently being worked out where teaching science and math would only be in secondary schools.

I cannot see what the benefit of this is. Fed up with the nonsense by education and political groups, a group of Parents (The Parent Action Group for Education-PAGE) has sprung to the defense of the policy. But PAGE is represented by parents around the Klang Valley therefore their views may be just of those in urban areas.

On the other hand, we have a serious threat from the Chinese Education Group. Read here.

Dong Jiao Zong threatened to launch a massive protest action should the government decide to continue with its policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English. They claim that the teaching Science and Maths in English is the greatest threat to Chinese education.

They also continue to champion so-called mother tongue education and conveniently ignoring the fact that Mandarin is not the mother tongue for majority Chinese Malaysians. The same applies to the proponents of Tamil education in this country.

If their claims are true enough, Dong Jiao Zong should also undertake research on the impact of teaching in Chinese medium on all other subjects to thousands of Malay and Indian students in Chinese schools.

More importantly, if they do really defend mother tongue education, they should be principled enough to bar non-Chinese student from being enrolled into a Chinese school and advice non-Chinese parents to enroll their children in Tamil and National Schools.

This threat of massive protest only confirms that education groups like Dong Jiao Zong are the greater threat to the peace and security of this country rather than an education policy. They are willing to threaten the government if things don't go their way, no matter that the decision has not been made. How irresponsible!

Political parties, obiviously afraid of losing support of the Chinese, have so far, I believe, not responded to this threat.

I personally think that the people, apart from some racist education groups and the ministry should be engaged in the decision making. Most research papers undertaken are skewed to reflect the preference and opinions of parties with vested interest. So it highly unlikely that the views presented by these interest groups reflects the true wishes of rakyat, especially parents and future parents to be.

I call for a referendum to be undertaken throughout the country to decide on this issue once and for all. I think there has not been any referendum undertaken in Malaysia for a long time. It's about time we do it and not leave such an important decision to the whims and fancies of politicians, race based education groups and other pressure groups.

For Once, Let the Rakyat decide..

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Allow EPF Dividend Withdrawals

Moving away from politics and blame game for a while with a suggestion to help Rakyat.

Recent decision by the government to allow EPF contributors to reduce their mandatory monthly EPF contribution to 8% has received mixed reaction from analyst and contributors.

It is said that the governments intention is to encourage spending which will contribute towards expansion of the economy in these hard times. The government must have known that if we Malaysians have extra cash in hand, we are definitely likely to spend rather than save.

While the move may help those in the middle and low income groups, it must be acknowledged that these are the same group who end up with less savings when they retire, as suggested by many financial planners. Lowered mandatory EPF deduction for 2 full years can be quite substantial and affect future savings and dividends, if any.

What I would like to propose is that EPF should keep the mandatory 11% reduction intact and allow contributor to withdraw yearly dividends which is usually announced early in the year.

With many private sector companies unlikely to give bonusses or increments this and next year, withdrawal of dividends would definitely come in handy at the start of the year where many families spend more than usual for all kinds of expenses such as school fees, clothes for school schildren, yearly property assessments, quit rents, insurance etc.

Let's say a contributor has a balance of RM 10,000 in his EPF savings and dividend announced by EPF is flat 5%, he would be entitled to one off RM 500.00 withdrawal.

This measure, if implemented on voluntary basis would definitely help those in need without affecting EPF contributor's mandatory monthly deductions and existing savings.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mukhriz: Implement Single Structure In School To Enhance Unity

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth chief aspirant Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has called on the Government to abolish the vernacular school system to enhance unity among the people.
He said a single school system was the only way to check racial polarisation.

“The Government should consider introducing only a one school system with Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction, except for the teaching of Science and Mathematics, which is already in English,” Mukhriz told reporters at Parliament House yesterday.

“Of course, pupils should then be given the option to study their mother tongue. Under this system, the Malays will also have the option of studying other languages like Chinese and Tamil, and this will further boost unity among the races,” the Umno Youth exco member added.

In an immediate response in his blog (www.ongteekeat.net), MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat made a very short posting on the subject.
“Datuk Mukhriz is just one of the many who are now repeating the same polemics that are a few decades old, simply because of the advent of their party’s poll.
“It is saddening because politicians cannot think out of the box,” he said.

Earlier, Mukhriz said it was time Malaysia did away with the dual school system, which was practised by only a handful of countries in the world.
He expressed hope that the leaders of Barisan Nasional component parties would not view his suggestion in a negative light as it was meant to resolve once and for all the problem of racial polarisation.

“If they reject this suggestion, then they should explain why they are against it,” he said. “If you want equal rights then you cannot have a different school system. You cannot have your cake and eat it too,” said Mukhriz.

He also urged all parties to stop harping on issues that could create tension among Barisan component parties, including talk of Malay supremacy.

He said there had been many statements made by leaders of component parties that had the potential to create anger among the Malays and Umno members.
“If they insist on making such statements, then do not be surprised if the Malays start talking about the economic supremacy of the non-Malays,” he added.

“Despite all that has been said on the issue of Malay supremacy, the Malays do not feel in any way superior or that they are the masters when it comes to the country’s economy.”
I can't agree more with Mukhriz. Perhaps he is trying to do what, in my opinion, the single biggest policy shift that Mahathir failed to undertake during his perceived dictatorship.

This is also what I have suggested long ago and even recently . What we need in one school for Malaysians with languages such as Tamil and Mandarin taught and even made compulsory, if need be, in all schools.

This is the only way the unite Malaysians and this has to start young. Malaysians in the same neighborhood must be made to go to the same school from standard one to at least Form 5. There also would not be any issue of unaided schools.

Suggestion like these has always been coming from the UMNO with the exception of perhaps PPP Chief Kayveas, who supported this idea.

Not surprisingly, MCA and MIC, not wanting to lose support of Chinese and Indian Malaysian, will continue to reject this proposal.

I do not expect DAP and PKR, who claims that further to the March 8 election, people want a change and the direction is towards multi-racial approach to everything, to support this and they would not want to lose substantial non-Malay support that they gained in the elections.

Experts and education groups (and extremist) further claim that research shows that the young ones are better taught in mother tongue language in primary schools. They conveniently omit the fact that Tamil or Mandarin is not the actual mother tongue of many Chinese or Indian Malaysians.

There are also been no research undertaken to review the impact on non-Malays who went to national schools and also thousands of Malays and Indians who goes to Chinese schools. I never heard any student who blames the type of school they went to, for their failure in studies or career. Neither did I hear Indians or Chinese have converted to a Malay or even Muslim after going to national schools.

These are myths created by politicans and education groups.

Then we also have products of these vernacular schools, who are bent on defending their schools and language at any cost, never mind if Malaysians remain disunited. For them their schools and language is more important than national interest and unity.

What's the difference then, between MIC/MCA and PKR/DAP? It's all the same; they depend on certain races and its extremist groups for votes and don't dare to propose something that will definitely bring racial unity and national integration closer than ever.

We need strong leadership and resolve if we preach about multiracialism, national unity, integration and eventual formation of Bangsa Malaysia. I lament the fact that Mahathir did not use his so-called dictatorship to force a change and get everyone to the same school. Perhaps his son will do just that one day, even that will only happen when common sense (something that is no longer common) prevails.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hindraf - Then And One Year Later

1. It has been exactly one year since approximately 30,000 Malaysians of Indian origin marched towards Jalan Ampang purportedly to hand over a ridiculous memorandum seeking compensation from the British Government, blamed for bringing over hundreds of thousands of people from few states in India and exploiting them as cheap labor. The wanted to sue the UK Government for US$4 trillion (US$1 million for every Malaysian Indian) for bringing Indians as indentured laborers into Malaya, "exploiting them for 150 years" and thereafter failing to protect the minority Indians' rights in the Federal Constitution when independence was granted.
2. It was found later that the memorandum was never handed over but faxed to the British High Commission. While thousand s of Indian Malaysian started gathering in pockets around KL before the sunrise, the key Hindraf leaders only arrived after lunch hours, so much for their commitment to their cause. It was also reported that the so-called marginalized Indian Malaysians was seen to be having a beer bottle in one hand while holding Mahatma Gandhi's potrait on the other hand.

3. Well, what HINDRAF refuse to understand is that their parents and leaders agreed to the 'social contract’ and related constitution wholeheartedly before the independence was granted. If they have anyone to blame, if should be the people and Indian leaders during the period.

4. HINDRAF also missed the point that, Indians from India came on their free will to seek for greener pastures in Malaya. I cannot imagine what would have been thei fate if they remained in India. They would have definitely fared much worse.

5. Judging from official statistics from the 9th Malaysian Plan, the status of Indians in this country are far better than the Malays. Note that the Indian composition in Malaysia is 7.4% while the Bumis are 66.6% but the average Indian household income is even higher than the Malays. The poverty rate of the Malays is at 8.3% as compared to the Indians at 2.9% while the percentage of Indians becoming doctors and lawyers are way higher than their population percentage! The only sort of employment that the Malays can be proud of which is nearer to their percentage of population is ‘kerani’ at 56.7%. At least the statistics above proved that the NEP had worked since its establishment in 1970. The states of the socio economy of Malays and Indians prior to 1970 were much, much worse.

6. Apart from statistics, the reality on the ground maybe a bit skewed. The massive movements of Indian Malaysians from estates and rural areas to town did cause pockets of urban poverty. It cannot be denied that Indian Malaysians found it difficult to survive and adjust to urban life especially when their means are limited. These Indian Malaysians, usually in their 40s-50s, are the ones who are still struggling as their may still have to support their families and education. They are the ones who end up being odd job workers, scrap metal traders, lorry driver and some employed by the local councils.

7. On the other hand, education opportunities and aids provided by the government, political parties (including MIC) and NGOs have somewhat helped to elevate their status from urban poor to middle class, no different from middle class Malays. There are at least one degree holders in a family as compared to say 10 - 15 years ago. Indian Malaysians also seen to be generally doing well in the new economy as evidenced in Cyberjaya where they overwhelm other races in terms of employment as evidenced by the fact that half of HSBC Cyberjaya (Cyberjaya's biggest employer) employees are Indian Malaysians.

8. With this shift and continued emphasis on education, Indian Malaysians are bound to be doing well in the coming years. As pointed out by many others, Indians and Chinese Malaysians always have their survival instincts to bank on when times are hard.

9. Some of HINDRAF's claims do have some merits though. They are opportunities in participating in government contracts, permits of all kinds, share allocations, credit facilities etc. These are bound by priorities given to Bumiputra and probably NEP. I know a few friends in the transportation bossiness who until today rents transportation permit from Malays although the own their business and lorry. This is perhaps where the government, more precisely the MIC, specifically Samy Vellu, failed. Even recommendation letter from a MIC Deputy Minister failed to get them individual permit from the local 'Little Napoleons'.

10. HINDRAF's concerns on the memorandum with regards to temples and Tamil schools contains blatant lies. Many schools were closed due to poor enrolment more than any other reasons while Indian Malaysians habit of building temples everywhere illegally are the root cause of some of the recent temple demolition. Their claims of 15,000 temples demolished over 50 years are gross exaggeration.

11. Indian Malaysians are generally emotional people still influenced tremendously by events in Tamil Nadu and not to mention, the movies. Generally they are doing fine as evidenced by official statistics. Like other Malaysians, they have this cow herd mentality where when someone shouts 'injustice', 'Oppression', 'Apartheid' etc, they just follow suit. They simply forgot how their poorly their parents and grandparents lived before in Malaya and Malaysia before them.

12. To exploit the Indian Malaysians further, you wont go wrong if you use Tamil Schools and Temples. There you go, emotions run high and suddenly they cry discrimination. This is what the learned lawyers of HINDRAF did, using temples and Tamils schools as examples of discrimination without basis. They also went on threatening the governement that they might use force/violence if their demands are not met.

12. A lot of HINDRAF supporters who went to the streets are the same ones who waste their money on booze, gambling, womanizing etc. Indian Malaysians also do not know to live within their means, they have the habit of borrowing money to hold various functions and events in their homes just in the name of religion, tradition and culture.

13. Many of HINDRAF supporters may be well read, but not well educated. They still have the inferiority complex that stops them from feeling proud to be Malaysians first. Their lack of confidence and ability to think on their own has led them to the path of HINDRAF and opposition political parties. Until today, I have yet to come across any of Hindraf supporters (many of whom are my friends and relatives) who can briefly summarise and tell me the contents of the 18 point memorandum.

14. Just before the March general elections, HINDRAF has already gained the support of 80% Indian Malaysians by the way of sympathy towards 5 leaders in ISA as well as continued nationwide gatherings where they continued to incite hatred towards MIC and UMNO. They urged their supporters to vote for opposition and the cows followed the cowboy's order without thinking. Thanks you very much says, Anwar Ibrahim and his partners in Pakatan Rakyat. This is when we saw Indian Malaysians voting for PAS. 'Makkal Sakhti' shouts Anwar in most of the rallies in urban areas and HINDRAF supported believed him outright.

15.Pakatan wins 5 states, Anwar, while claiming that he's still Sivaji, the Boss, went on pursuing his dreams of becoming the Prime Minister. Hindraf on the other hand has disintegrated into several factions while there were many accusations of misappropriation of funds donated by their supporters.

16. So what did HINDRAF do with the win of opposition in 5 states, so far absolutely nothing! Since most of their issue concerning land and local issues, they should have by now, pressured all the Pakatan Rakyat states to convert or allocate lands for Tamil Schools and temples, provide employment in local council and the state government, pressure state governments demanding equal opportunities in permits, contracts etc.

17. What have the Pakatan Rakyat government done in appreciation of HINDRAF's support, also absolutely nothing. So, what have they (HINDRAF) been doing then, nothing else but organising prayers all around Malaysia hoping for the release of 5 HINDRAF leaders detained under ISA, until the government outlawed HINDRAF.

18. So one year later, HINDRAF have lost their plot, so are the leaders from Pakatan Rakyat who amassed their support during the recent elections. Everything is back to square one. I have seen a decline in support of HINDRAF. Some Indian Malaysians realised that they have been hoodwinked by both HINDRAF and Pakatan Rakyat leaders. Sigh..., at least some of them have started to think, never mind it's about one year late, its still better than never.

19. HINDRAF supporters are in a serious denial mode. They have to realise their own weaknesses and work on improving them. Their future is well within their own hands, many know and realise that but they are told otherwise by some foolish lawyers. They are often reminded indirectly of their inferiority complex and constantly urged to fight for their rights when issues like temples and schools are brought up where the actual facts are misrepresented. They also have a serious problem of believing in half-truths and rumours without taking the effort to verify facts.

20. It has come to a stage where, there are no point of blaming one party and relying on another party to uplift their socio-economic status. What they need now is confidence, continuous education, resourcefulness and ability to chart their own future.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sri Lankan Conflict, BN's Protest & Tamil League

Protest In KL

Hundreds of members, party supporters and NGO representatives were bussed in from all over the country for the .

This time they were joined by about 200 Putera Umno members led by Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim. There were also small representations from the youth wings of Gerakan, PPP and MCA.

Last Friday had similar but smaller demonstration at the same site.
At about 3pm, the crowd armed with placards and banners marched some 100 metres towards the Sri Lankan embassy and gathered there for about 30 minutes.

At that point the crowd had swollen to about 1,000 people, including children.
They chanted slogans such as “Don't kill the innocent”, “No war” and “Stop the killings” in Tamil. The protestors also donned black arm bands to show they were mourning for the dead civilians in the conflict.

Memorandum handed

By about 4pm, representatives handed a memorandum to Sri Lankan embassy officials - as representatives of BN Youth demanding the Sri Lankan government to cease their military aggression.

The Sri Lankan government was also urged to allow international aid organisations into the affected areas and resume negotiations with combatants.
Speaking to reporters later, chief organiser of the and deputy chief S Murugesan told reporters that the protestors represented a cross-section of Malaysians who are opposed to the violence in Sri Lanka

Abdul Azeez said that Umno Youth and youth wings of other Barisan component parties had joined the initiated demonstration on the basis of friendship.
“We give full support to this action initiated by especially in opposing the use of violence against civilians and the bombings of hospitals and schools,” he said.

He said that the was not meant to be a political action, but it should be seen as a humanitarian appeal for the Sri Lankan government to end military violence.
The event was closely watched by 50 police personnel who did not intervene except to halt the protestors 50 metres from the embassy.

Asked if a police permit had been obtained for the , Murugesan did not give a direct answer.
“We have applied for it! We were told in that in principle, they (the police) have agreed,” he said.
Tamil League

November 19th, 2008 - 3:01 pm ICT by ANI - Kuala Lumpur, Nov 19 (ANI): The Malaysian Indian Congress Youth has proposed the setting up of a Tamil League in a move to attract international attention to the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Adviser S. Vell Paari said the league should be a United Nations-recognised body, similar to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
I believe a new league of Tamils representing their resident country should be established in Tamil Nadu to diligently and vigilantly guard over the political, economic and social agenda of Tamils living all over the world, he said in a statement.

The Star quoted Vell Paari as saying that the Tamil League should have a similar framework and diplomatic status like that of the UN and each Tamil representative from member countries should be given an ambassadorship entitling them to diplomatic immunity.

I say this to sanction a valid representation from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who can also sit within this Tamil League to voice its concerns and grievances without the fear of being detained, he said.

Vell Paari said the Tamil League could set up a committee to discuss and negotiate with the Sri Lankan Government for a peaceful solution. (ANI)
Protest In Malaysia

The MIC jokers has done it again. The civil war in Sri Lanka has been there for decades. I believe, the protest follows through various other low key protest in Tamil Nadu. What may have caught their attention and prompted them to do the same was the recent one day fast and protest held by the top Tamil Movie stars. As we all know, Indian Malaysians are strongly influenced by movies and movie stars.

This is the second protest by MIC, this time joined by youth wings of BN component parties and some small time NGOs. Solidarity it seems.

Not sure what they aim to achieve by this protest. Even the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh's request for protection of Lankan ethnic Tamils and an immediate ceasefire was bluntly rejected by Sri Lankan Premier last week.

As mentioned earlier, the civil war has been there for decades and this is a mere publicity stunt by MIC, joined by aspirants for next UMNO elections youth posts.

Tamil League

Only now I realise that Vell Paari is MIC Youth's advisor, in another word, de facto leader.

Vell Paari says Tamil League should be set up in Tamil Nadu to "diligently and vigilantly guard over the political, economic and social agenda of Tamils living all over the world"

He further adds "Tamil League should have a similar framework and diplomatic status like that of the UN and each Tamil representative from member countries should be given an ambassadorship entitling them to diplomatic immunity"

What on earth is he trying to do? Is he saying that Tamil League can interfere if Ethnic Tamils in other countries are discriminated in some way?

Imagine what will happen if the proposed Tamil League ambassadors are entitled to diplomatic immunity?

What a ludicrous proposal. Where on earth, would this come from except for in Malaysia.
While we sympathise over the issues facing Sri Lankan Tamils, we cannot but think that there are more pressing matters in Malaysia. MIC and BN Youth would get more publicity and trust if they concentrate on their motherland. Let the government handle international issues.

I also think that there's this stupid ill-concieved notion that youth wings of any political parties (mainly BN) must be aggresive and hold some form of protest, on the streets or otherwise to prove their existence. How immature!

MIC should start realising that Malaysia is their motherland, not tamil Nadu. They did not protest over attacks on various other ethnics groups in India over the last few years including those on the muslims,sikhs etc.

Why only focus on Ethnics Tamils. This indirectly insinuates that MIC represents ethnic Tamils and not all ethnic Indian groups in Malaysia.

Now the Tamil League proposal, what's next? 'Ketuanan Tamil' in Malaysia.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Anwar: Pakatan committed to ensuring Malay rights


SHAH ALAM: Malays in the five Pakatan Rakyat-held states need not fear that their rights would be eroded as the three parties in the coalition have signed an agreement to uphold the rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and he, had signed the agreement on Sept 8 as proof that all three parties would uphold Malay rights.

The agreement, he said, clearly stated that the coalition would uphold the principles in the constitution and protect the rights of bumiputras and uphold the status of Islam as the official religion.

It also states that Bahasa Malaysia is the national language and upholds the status and rights of the Sultans.He said even the social contract between the races was already agreed upon by all members of the coalition.

“We signed an agreement that cannot be changed by any party so there is no truth to claims that Pakatan Rakyat will take away the rights due to pressure from members within the coalition,” he said during a briefing for religious school teachers in the state that was organised by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department yesterday.

The four-paragraph agreement signed by the three parties also said opposition leaders rejected race-based politics as it would disrupt the unity and harmony of the community.

Anwar said the people, especially teachers in religious schools, should not fear that the Pakatan state governments would no longer look at developing Islamic studies in the five states.

He said the people should not be taken in by false accusations hurled at the Pakatan states as the governments were working to improve religious education and needed the cooperation of the teachers to implement new programmes.
This appears to be a strategic move by Pakatan Rakyat to allay fears of the Malays owing to few incidents and misteps in states governed by them. As reported in some dailies and news portals recently, Pakatan Rakyat is fast losing the support of Malays.

Why issue such a vague statement? Why can't they spell out clearly their interpretation on Malay Rights and Social contract. Is NEP equvailent to Malay rights? What about all the quotas, contracts, shareholdings etc.

Aren't DAP want equality for everyone with Lim Guan Eng pledging to do away all elements of NEP at State Level.

We also read about Kelantan MB, Nik Aziz rejecting Ketuanan Melayu as Islam does not discriminate according to race.

From what I have observed, Pakatan Rakyat has the habbit of issuing joint statements, while individual parties and their members within Pakatan Rakyat continue to speak in the contrary, according to their own Party stand.

I have nothing against NEP but it would be better that for everyone to have a clear cut, black and white interpretation on what is actually Malay Rights.

Pakatan would definitely win more support from Bumiputra and assure non-Bumiputras if they spell out clearly what they mean by this statement.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

For those who have not read this before. Enjoy..

Why did the chicken cross the road?

The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The
chicken wanted CHANGE!

My friends, that chicken crossed the road because it recognized the need
to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other
side of the road.

When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken cross the
road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from
Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it
deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.......

We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to
know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is
either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

We have installed crossing lights at all traffic junctions. All chickens
should follow instructions while crossing the road.

Gantry points have been set up. All chickens wanting to cross the road
are advised to top up their cash cards first.

What chickens? I don't know any chickens... especially those from
Mongolia .

We have to be fair to all chickens. Some want to cross over the road,
some do not. ........ Zzzzzz .......zzzzzz ........ Now what were we
talking about? Ah yes, chickens. We will form a Royal Commission to
decide whether it is right for them to cross the road.

Now even non-bumi chickens want to cross the road! How can they
disrespect and disregard apa nama bumi chickens? We must be allowed to
cross over first. It is our special privilege and no one can challenge

We have enough chickens waiting to cross over in September.

All foreign chickens are welcome in Malaysia but they must not cross over
the road within 50km of the border. (on foreigners buying Petrol)

Note, this was updated at the end of September 2008 by http://grouchydays.blogspot.com/

Why cross there. They should come over, because we are rebranding MIC. MIC needs lot more young chicks, I mean, chickens to help the Indian society.

Whatever decision the chickens make is for the good of the country. I leave it to the PM to decide when the chicken should cross the road. I hope all the BN members will support the decision made my the chickes on the crossing.

I will decide when the times comes about these chickents. You can keep on guessing. I know when is the right time for the chickens to cross.

It is up to, apanama, chickens to cross. Why the must the leadership decide whether the chicken should cross or not? Only time the chicken can cross the road peacefully is when the current PM resigns.

We have enough chickens waiting to cross over in September. Shit, its end of September already. We need to have a special sessions in parliment to allow the chickens to cross over.

And last but not least:

I pray and wish that all you chickens will cross the road successfully. I will try and lobby support from as many leaders as possible from this nice safe abode where I am now.
Waythamoorthy, London, UK.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Malaysia's Obama?

All the euphoria over election of Barack Obama hasn't settled yet, so allow me to join in the fray. Various politicians, analysts and leader hailed his election and hoped that Malaysia one day has it's own Obama.

M Bakri Musa article (http://rockybru2.blogspot.com/2008/11/m-bakri-musas-malaysian-obama.html) implies that Mahathir was Malaysia's Obama way back then. The only link that I see is the mixed parentage of both Mahathir and Obama. Nothing else, full stop.

US elections has some similarity with the current situation in Malaysia, Malaysians rejected Pak Lah while Obama was elected over unpopular Republicans, especially George Bush. At the same time, we had record numbers of young voters this year, similarly happened in the United States.
Obama does not even have a track record to speak of. Speak, he can but he has nothing else to show. He has gathered a group of advisors, mainly from the Clinton's administration, who are mainly past their prime.

He is unlikely to change his policies over Palestine and will continue to support the Israelis. So Malaysians, who felt equally excited over his elections must remember that there are strong Jewish, white and all kinds of lobbyist who will harras him throughout his presidency. His aging group of advisors will keep reminding him indirectly that he is inexperienced.
So we may see the same old America, maybe in the 'Clinton' mould, where they were quite reasonable then.

Obama just brought about something direct from Hollywood, the 'feel good' factor. His speeches, debates and talks has been nothing but reminded me of Anwar Ibrahim, all talk, grand sweeping statements and no action or substance.

He harped on the need to change, something that Anwar and his Pakatan partner did in the recent elections. It's just that Obama is not in office yet, so we do not know if he would deliver his promises.

I am not sure why Malaysians are excited with his appointment.If anything that exciting, it's probably because there appear to be more political awareness among the young eligible voters both in US and Malaysia. Recent report suggest that malaysia will have another 4 million new and young voters before the next general elections.

And the young Malaysians would probably get excited with some young leaders with fresh ideas. I don't see anyone in that mould. We still have veterans Anwar,Lim Kit Siang, Karpal, Najib, Muyiddin , Nik Aziz, Abdul Hadi, Samy Velu controlling their respective parties.

Mukhriz, KJ and Lim Guan Eng may represent the new generation but we dont see them as national leaders yet. Like Obama, none have proven track record and generally not seen as a true Malaysian leader. We need not even think about Khir Toyo bringing a Tempe induced 'change', should we?

Come on people, let's not get excited unnecessarily.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bahasa Malaysia

This article is actually a response to invitation to give my comments by another blogger on this article http://deminegara.blogspot.com/2008/11/racial-polarisation-and-forging-of.html
Thanks for inviting me to comment. I think I missed all the fun. It took me quite sometime to read through this extra long article. Perhaps DemiNegara should come up with a book ala TDM on his blog.

The issue and comments thereafter have digressed quite a bit from the original article, I think.
Anyway. I quite agree with the article and assertions that Bahasa Malaysia should be given it's adequate respect and used as a unifying tool of all races in the country, hence was my suggestion that we should only have one school and close down all vernacular schools.

This has been done in Singapore although their medium of instruction is in English. I don't see any Indians or Chinese in Singapore losing their culture of identity by just going to same school. This is a proven fact and education extremist in Malaysia conveniently omit this fact when arguing their case.

I am a Indian with Malayalam as my mother tongue, a national school product and have had unique experience of studying in a various different schools due to the nature of my father's job.

The most unique experience was when me and my brothers were the only non-malay in 2,000 student in a Felda school in Kota Tinggi in the late 80s. I think non-malays today would shudder to think of sending their children to such a school. This remains the point of contention by Education groups, extremist and parents for not sending their children to national schools.

Did I experience discrimination, yes I did but that's in the begining where students and teacher looked at me differently. We did get all the nasty stares, racist comments and even 'Keling' was used regularly. As the months went by, we made friends with Malays there, played with them and even hanging out with them off school hours. We were also there in the Agama classes, joined in some religious related functions (can't remember what but i do remember having a meal with my malays friends in a Dulang).

We did end up being influenced by them, Our bahasa was better and even superior than the malays themselves, that includes the dialect. As teenager, it was not a surprise that we also started to follow the dressing and hair ala rock stars. Point to note that these were the Search And Wings era. I was hooked by the rock music and we even went to the extend of analysing their lyrics. On the other hand, we still spoke our mother tongue at home, watch tamils movies without fail and not fogetting the Tamil Radio Six.

At no point I felt threatened or being forced to accept anything, including the religion. In fact we learned to understand Islam better. My understanding and the message I get from the teachers at that infacy stage is that there's nothing wrong with Islam, it's just the people who proclaim themselves Islamic and promote their own agenda the wrong way. I think the problem remains the same today. I also think that the over-islamisation of some schools and massive negative publicity they recieve when something goes wrong in national schools, prompts parents to run for cover and their cover is Tamil and Chinese Schools.

Coming back to the language, I am, at times (now becoming more regular) ashamed at the way the language is spoken by non-malays, even by non-malay graduates. I understand that at least a credit in Bahasa malaysia is required to enter unversities but then if you look at the quality of spoken Bahasa from the graduates, some are downright atrocious. This I believe, is a result of Bahasa Malaysia being taught only to pass exams begining from primary school, hence the verbal/spoken Bahasa were not given equal emphasis.

I agree that ASTRO and various radio channels available made things worse. Those days, before ASTRO came into the picture, I remember the during prime time,we are made to watch news in Bahasa Malaysia/Melayu or at one point Baku. Now we have a choice and naturally, non-malays switch to news in Tamil or Mandarin. The government, in their effort to please non-malays, allowed this freedom to continue until now where non malays do not watch Bahasa Malaysia news unless there's some controversial news in the town.

I have written on teaching maths and science in English,I do support the policy as it would definitely benefit everyone and would prove to uplift the socio-economic condition of the majority poor, regardless of race, in the long run, provided adequate support and structures are in place to undertake the effort without compromising the status of Bahasa Malaysia. The compulsory pass in Bahasa Malaysia and a Credit requirement to enter universities are a good measure to ensure students are forced to learn and master the language. In Malaysia, we may have to use this form of force to make things happen.

I would have probably repeated some of the point made by others and readers would have been bored by now. I will end my comments with this; (please apologise if there are any mistakes)

Bahasa Malaysia perlu dihormati dan diberi pengiktirafan sepenuh hati oleh semua kaum jika kaum kaum yang ada dinegara ini menganggap dirinya sebagai warganegara Malaysia yang taat dan setia. Taat and setia juga bermaksud menghormati asal usul dan suasana negara masyarakat majmuk. Inilah kesilapan TDM. TDM kata 'Melayu Mudah Lupa', saya ingin perbetulkannya, 'Rakyat Melaysia mudah lupa'.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Close Down All Tamil Schools

This article was first published by malaysiakini.com on 21st Sept 2000 and not surprisingly, never came in any mainstream newspapers.

Recent figures released by police on the increasing number of Indians involved in gangsterism is a cause for concern.

While many has commented on the issue and some even blaming government for not helping and taking action, I hold MIC solely responsible for all the ills in the community. After all, it is MIC who claims that they are the only party representing the Indian community.

MIC leaders have been issuing one statement after another, outlining their strategies and proposed activities only after the issue of gangsterism among Indian youth was highlighted and widely debated in the media. What were they doing all the while?!

One of the contributing factors leading Indian youth to gangsterism and other criminal activities is their inability to excel in education, particularly when they enter secondary school.
The new environment and being not conversant in Bahasa Malaysia which is the medium of teaching in secondary school have resulted in students dropping out after their PMR and SPM.
The reason this happens is the poor quality of Tamil schools in the country. Most of the Tamil schools in the country are poorly managed, lack facilities and are helmed by substandard headmasters and teachers.

Is there really a need for Tamil schools in the country? What are the pros and cons of being Tamil-educated in this country?
Indians may benefit if they are in Tamil Nadu but here in our country, the most one can achieve from being conversant in Tamil is to become a Tamil school teacher. Do Indian parents want this future for their children?

I studied in a national school and learnt to read, write and communicate in Tamil without much problem although my mother tongue is Malayaalam. Isn't that enough?

I believe most of the problems would be solved if we were to close all Tamil schools and have children enrolled in the national schools. This will put them on par with students of other races and not disadvantaged due to poor command of Bahasa Malaysia.

Tamil language can still be taught as an alternative but a compulsory subject and classes can be held while agama classes are being conducted for the Muslims. This measure will also help in our aspirations of seeing a united "Bangsa Malaysia" in the future.

MIC should stop pointing fingers and seriously think for the future generations of Indians in this country. It is not enough just to claim to be the only party representing the Indians.
I ask Indians, especially those who are Tamil-educated, to come forward and support this view.

Recap: This article met with fierce criticism from various quarters including this (http://www.indianmalaysian.com/violence_tamil_school.htm). I would still stick to my assertion that Malaysia should have only one school and that should be the school for everyone regardless of race or religion.

A compromise would be that languages such as Mandarin and Tamil must be taught or even made compulsory.

Educationist (I would rather label them education extremist) may not agree and staunchly defend the need to have mother-tongue education.

That's fine, can the same educationist defend the rights of mother tongue education for minor ethnic groups such as portuguese, Punjabis, Malayalees, telugu and many other ethnics in Sabah and Sarawak. Everyone know that this not possible as it would really bring about various issues and stretch government resources. But these education groups or political parties are not bothered as these minorities mean nothing in terms of votes or influence.

Various groups also opposed to the idea of having Vision Schools mooted by Dr Mahathir, giving lame excuses that they fear losing their identity. What a lame excuse.

The simple idea of having different schools in the same compound has met with fierce rejection. Are their vernacular education quality is so poor that they fear that their children would be easily influenced by kids of other races within the school compound and lose their identity.

As far as physical identity is concerned, I never seen any non-national schools with any different stuctures as compared to a national school. So it's quite baffling to hear their reasons for rejection of Vision Schools even though Dr M promised that government would assist financially.

The recent debate on teaching of Science and Maths in English has also brought about the worst in all of us. Every other group released and published research papers favouring their point of view.

Most of these research papers highlighted the failure of the policy citing recent UPSR, PMR and SPM results and concludes with how well the students education & upbringing and career would be if they are educated in the mother tongue, i.e Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil.

In a malaysian give and take style, a compromise is apparently being worked on where teaching science and maths would only be in secondary schools. I cannot see what is the benefit of this.

Fed up with the nonsense by education and political groups, a group of Parents (The Parent Action Group for Education-PAGE) has sprung to the defence of the policy and now we have a good fight.

When cornered, everyone runs to hide behind their favourite curtain or kain ; their rights within the constitution.

In the end, race still matters to most in this country. How many actually have Mandarin and proper Tamil as their mother tongue? It's all about the quality and the systems in place and not really language.

Children can be multi-lingual if they are taught various languages at young age. How do we explain the enrollment of thousands of non-chinese in chinese schools? Have they (mainly Malays) lost their identity, faith or even forgot their mother tongue or dialects?

I regret that few non-chinese in Chinese schools and non-malays in national has come forward to defend the policy and strongly espouse the notion that young malaysians can be taught various languages at the same time in any type of school without losing their identity, culture, faith or their mother tongue.

We can do away with insignificant subjects such as history, moral studies or geography in primary schools and replace it with language classes.

Issues relating to racial unity and national intergration will continue to haunt this country generations to come until and unless young malaysian go to the same school, Full Stop...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Manholes Are Dangerous Too

Away from politics again, this Letter To The Editor was first published in January 2002 in the New Straits Times.

I refer to recent proactive measure taken by the new Datuk Bandar Of Kuala Lumpur to form a pothholes busting team to repair and resurface potholes in roads around the city.

The bold move seems to be a good start for the new Datuk Bandar and also good news to the long suffering motorists. The public wishes more of this action oriented initiatives will be taken with public welfare and safety in mind.

In is the hope of people in the other cities, towns and districts that their respective authorities will emulate city hall's bold initiative in the interest of public.

Although the measure to have a pothhole busting team on standby with information relayed through the hotlines introduced is a good move, the city hall has to look at the actual and overall conditions of the roads in the city where potholes is not the only problem.

Manholes along the roads in the city is also a problem and equally dangerous for both motocyclist and other motorists.

If city hall care to notice, manholes are usually located everywhere on the roads and majority of it were uneven with the road surface. The most probable cause is that the manholes perimeters were not covered evenly with the road surface when resurfacing of roads were done. The contractors or the JKR seems to be ignorant and leaves to manhole perimeters uneven after resurfacing the roads.

Many accidents happened due to motorist's action to avoid these uneven manholes. A very good example would be Jalan Ampang and Jalan Sultan Ismail. The manholes are everywhere and it is impossible to avoid every other manholes.

I would also suggest that the Datuk Bandar and other city hall authorities take a drive along these roads on a normal proton and he would understand that extend of damage these manholes can inflict to vehicles. He should also take a ride on a motocycle and try avoiding all the uneven manholes in a normal traffic situation.

The city folks has been suffering for a long time dealing with this menace and it is hoped that the new management of city hall will take notice and take some concrete measures to solve this problem.

RECAP : Sad to say, after 7 years, the sufferings continue with the problem gone from bad to worse. I am now working in downtown KL and still have problems avoiding manholes along Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Raja Chulan although I should have been familiar, been driving on these roads almost everyday.

I went back to Johor last week and did drive through an estate road. Surprisingly, the road, although narrow and leaves the tyres red, was far more easier on my wheels and to manoeuvre as compared to Jalan Raja Chulan.

Not sure why DBKL personnel don't feel the same. Maybe because they are now driving SUVs and MPVs (not sure why they need them though, maybe they need 4WDs to wade through KL's concrete jungle or even for the same reason, manholes would be easy on their huge wheels).

Again, the reason is development, new development requires additional laying of underground cables, drainage etc and due to this, more manholes are added.

There appears to be no effort to ensure that the manhole covers are on level with the road surface. Contractors who resurfaces the road after adding the manholes are not made accountable for the mess they leave behind.

Anyone still remember the pothole busting team? Whatever happened to them!

The same situation persists in all major and even small towns. Although Malaysia is known to have good road networks and connectivity, the quality is questionable. I would still prefer driving through the old granite roads.

Sounds trivial but these are the basic needs of the people, and these are the things that MPs, Councillors and media should be pressuring DBKL to deliver, not focussing on some road signs, 30% quota, which MP is buta, or even who is the next Mayor of KL. Somehow or rather, it leads to politics!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

RECAP : Felda Sungai Buaya Residents Are Still Waiting

This letter, highlighting the plight of residents of Felda Sungai Buaya, Rawang was first published in the New Straits Times somewhere in December 2000.

I am writing on behalf of settlers of Felda Sungai Buaya. Currently there are about 300 families residing in this Felda Scheme which began in 1960. Each family was given about 425 acres and 4,845 acres of land for housing and agricultural activities respectively.
Over the years, the settlers of the Felda Scheme (Peneroka) lived moderately by cultivating rubber crops in their designated land areas with the assistance of Felda. In 1986 land titles were given progressively to settlers depending on individual remitance of development fees to Felda. By 1990 almost all settlers were proud owners of their land.
The settlers lived peacefully and moderately until 1990, when a developer (close to state & federal Government) offered to purchase their agricultural and also land where their houses are situated for a massive real estate development.
The promised purchase price would make each Peneroka an instant millionaire. The settlers found the offer too much to resist and agreed to sell their land, which were their life and soul for decades.
With the advice of developer and others, the residents formed a company that would represent all residents in all transactions related to sales and purchases of the land. The company would also handle all payments to the settlers from the developer.
Agreements to sell their land was signed in 1994 and each resident were also given 1,000 shares of the company. The first phase only affected their agricultural land and the residents still maintained their houses in the settlement. According to the agreement, payments for the land was to have been paid progressively for four years and would have been completed by the year 1998.
However, now, six years after the agreement was signed, only about 30% of total payment was made. The reasons given were many including non-payment from the developer and economic crisis.
Some of the directors of the company, who were once felda settlers themselves, still resides in their lavishly renovated homes in the Felda with luxury cars in the compound while few of the directors fled elsewhere to avoid the onslaught of settlers. Demands for explanation from other residents were either not entertained or they were told to wait for announcement by post.
The residents then sought the assistance of the member of parliment, state assemblymen and even the then Menteri Besar but none of them helped to take the cause to the responsible parties. The residents suspects that people in the high places are also involved in what perceived to be an attempt to deceive the settlers. The TV3 even highlighted the issue in the Buletin Utama news back in 1997.
Several meeting held by this company with the residents resulted in heated exchanges between the residents and the directors (ex-settlers).
The latest meeting few months ago ended abruptly with the police arriving at the scene to calm down the situation. A crew from a local television channel were also there to cover the event and even interviewed many affected settlers but strangely, it was never broadcasted.
The settlers also attempted to hire lawyers to take this issue to the courts but it was too costly and some lawyers hesitated to take up the case.
Many residents are struggling to make ends meet with only small plots of land left behind their houses for agricultural activites. Most of the residents are already too old to work and depended on their children.
The residents have exhausted all avenues and can only hope that justice will prevail one day but many worry that they may not be alive to see it happen or benefit from the sale of their precious lands.
Hope that the authorities will look into the plight of these 300 felda settlers who were unjustly treated and manipulated.

After about 8 years, no solutions seems to be in sight. Nothing has changed despite the issue being highlighted in the press and TV channels. The residents voted overwhelmingly to the opposition in the last elections hoping that Pakatan Rakyat will at least fight for some form of compensation.

Many residents and land owners had passed away not enjoying the fruits of their labour while many are too old to enjoy anything anymore.

The developer , Land & General has since gone down after the 97-98 crisis. We are still seeing such manipulations by huge conglomerates and well connected companies. In this case, the previous MP for the area was a deputy minister and he was powerless to do anything.

It's sad that Selangor State government (past and present) is more interested in playing the blame game, filing law suits for defamation for some trivial articles, playing politics over road names etc rather than solving real people issues like this, in Felda Sungai Buaya.

Monday, October 20, 2008

RECAP : Time To Rejunavate Malaysian Soccer

This Letter was first published in the New Straits Times somewhere in July 2001.

Over the last decade, Malaysian Soccer has seen a slump in performance owing to many factors which are some natural and some self inflicted, the second factor being more prominent.

Our own M-Leaque, modelled after the Japanese J-League was quite a success when it started especially when foreign players turned out for almost all the state teams. The presence of Singapore and Brunei only made the leaque more merrier. Singapore, especially, draws huge crowd whenever they play in malaysian states and who can forget the lion's very own 'Kallang Roar'. Droves of Singaporean fans also travels to malaysian states to watch and support their team especially when they are playing arch rivals Selangor and Johor.
The stadiums were always full and even small cities are congested during the M-League match days.
The crackdown of bribery, the ouster of Singapore from the M-League and the departure of foreign players in the mid 90s has made M-League uninteresting prompting fans to stay away from the stadiums. Even live telecast of matches has seen lower viewership. Back in 80s and early 90s, enthusiastic fans would be always waiting till match hours to check whether there are any live telecast, which are always kept a secret until the last minute.

Stadiums are now empty and only the top teams are capable of drawing big crowds but not as huge as before when the foreign players turned out for all teams.
The FAM seems to made a big blunder by stopping the teams from enggaging foreign players.

Malaysia seems to be the only country where their national football association felt that having foreign players in the league was bad. The decision was taken at the same time as UEFA decided to allow players from eroupean union (EU) free to play in any clubs in europe without restictions. Only players from outside of Europe are considered as foreign players.
The real problem faced by the malaysian soccer is the management of the game and lack of consistency and direction from the authority of the game, the FAM.

The FAM is seen to be always changing their plans and also rules and this unpredictable decision making process has led to lack of direction and inability of place long term programs to improve the state of soccer.
The presence of politicians in the FAM and the state football associations has made the situation worse. The politicians, some who hardly have kicked a ball always interferes in the planning and coaching of the teams and always jostles for posts and publicity. It is no secret that these politicians are ever present in almost all state FAs to meet their political agenda. There is no enthusiasm or honesty in them to help improve the standard of soccer in the country.

The lack of knowledge, passion for soccer combined with their political agenda results in poor management of the state associations and also state academies.
Hardly any of the state teams have enough funds to sustain on the own and depends on FAM grants every other year to compete in the M-League. Often the grants given by the FAM are mismanaged and usually not much is spent on youth development resulting in poor quality players turning out for state teams year after year.

These factors coupled with the lack of will by the FAM to taken stern action over mismanagement of state FAs has resulted in poor and sometime shameful performance of the national team.

It is now time to act. The FAM has to do something to correct the situation. The state FAs needs to be scrutinised and probably a professional advisor needs to be attached to state FAs so that their activities, management of academies and also funds are always scrutinised and not be subject of abuse by the state FAs.

The M-League needs to be rejunavated. The inclusion of foreign players is very much welcomed. The youngsters will definitely gain much by playing against the much bigger and skillful foreigners.
The FAM should also think hard on the sponsorship of the M-League. There are many companies out there who are willing to sponsor the state teams and also the league in whole but the the current sponsor's overwhelming presence is seen to be a drawback. Nobody would want to sponsor any teams if three quater of the stadiums are filled with billbords advertising only one particular sponsor.
The same applies when all team jerseys carries the same sponsor's logo. The FAM should take cue from the English Premier League where the main sponsor of the Premier Leaque is not forced upon to be advertised by the premier one clubs and only a certain portion of stadiums are filled with billboards from the main sponsor.

The FAM should also consider inviting Singapore back to M-League. Since now Singapore has their own S-League, FAM should consider proposing the merger of these two small leagues. This could lead to a bigger league and of course more matches all year round. Other proffesional leagues have players competing up to 60 - 80 matches a year. In both M-League and S-League players compete in only about 60 matches a year.

If this materialises, then sponsors from both Singapore and Malaysia will definitely come forward to sponsor and benefit from advertising to a bigger and broader audience. More matches also means more advertising opportunity. Teams should be asked to find their own sponsors while funds from the main sponsor should be strictly chanelled towards youth development. Teams who can't find sponsors should not be allowed to play in the league.

FAM should never neglect youth development. With the help of Olympic Council Of Malaysia(OCM), discussion should be held with the education ministry to encourage the game at schools level. Current education system does not allow students to prosper in sports and parents doubts that sports, especially soccer can promise a bright future for their children. This misconception must change.

FAM should take cue from other sports association like Bowling and Squash on their youth development programs. Perhaps a visit or discussion with these successful sports associations will do a lot of good for FAM.

Doing away from politics once in a while. Unfortunately, there are politics in Malaysian Soccer scene too.

RECAP : It has been a good 7 years since I wrote this article but nothing much has changed. FAM allowed foreign players in 2003 and again, in a shocking 'ala Flip Flop Abdullah' move, banned foreign player for next season.

Grass roots development leaves much to be desired. Parents and schools are not much of a help in this 'education first' society. Squash has produced Datuk Nicol Davids while our keglers has maintained their standing as one of the best in the region, if not the world. These are results of long term grass root development.

Bribery made a comeback recently and Malaysia, instead of becoming a soccer power, has now become famous all over the world for high technology match fixing.

FAM did not change much, just that Tengku Abdullah had since resigned from FAM. A well intentioned man, Tengku Abdullah simply couldn't bring about a change to the patronage-politics influenced state FAs.

When Khairy Jamaluddin joined FAM as it's Vice-President (won uncontested), many thought that Malaysian football will receive a boost and perhaps some Oxford inspired strategies to improve the pathetic state of soccer in the country. It was unfortunate that even with Khairy, FAM decided to go backwards with the ban on foreign players.

State FAs are still managed or rather mismanaged by politicians and they are still bent on putting brakes on club sides, which has shown good potential in recent times.

Singapore has seen reasonable success with their league and has done well in international tournaments.

I would still believe that merger of M-League and S-League would bring about benefits to the standard of soccer in both countries and may well be financially viable.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Malaysian Hypocrisy

Malaysians apparently voted for more democracy, transparency, improved human rights, better judiciary, ACA and Police. Time and time again, we get bombarded by the same argument on why BN lost 5 states and lost their two third majorities in the parliament.

Some had used the same arguments into books and laughing all the way to the bank.

Normal wage earner like me begs to differ. If we look at the Merdeka Independent Survey, the bread and butter issues are the main worry for man in the street and not transparency, democracy etc. Only armchair analyst, opposition politicians and their supporters kept harping on saying that these elements that really influenced public to vote for the opposition.

How many people are affected by these (Judiciary, Police, ISA, Accountability , Transparency etc) on a day to day basis?

If these analysts are correct, then it would be also correct to say Malaysians are generally hypocrites. Do not get angry, please read on, you will realise why.

1. Malaysians love to park illegally everywhere. You can always see cars of all kinds parked and at times double parked illegally and the owners are in a shopping mall, lunch, supper, outside a bar etc. Malaysian don't mind paying more than 10 Ringgit for everything else but parking. The also forget that they are denying the RIGHT of way for others when they double park.

2. Malaysians pay their Astro bills, club memberships, fitness/slimming centre bills on time but delay paying assessment and quit rents. Malaysians don't bother about the RIGHT of local councils to collect their due.

3. Malaysians don’t know the difference between credit card and debit card. Most Malaysians spend what they do not have and yet complain, more often than not that the government is not doing anything.

4. Malaysians don't mind throwing rubbish everywhere except near their homes, then run to the nearest politician and claim that local councils are not doing their job. Malaysians don’t mind to deny the RIGHT of others to have a clean environment.

5. Malaysians don't mind demonstrating in public place disrupting businesses and movement of others. They don't mind to deny the RIGHTS of others to earn a decent living and move around in public places without disruption.

6. Malaysians jump to the defense of their children when they are disciplined by teachers in schools. The don't care about the RIGHT of teachers to discipline their children, who are with the teachers more than the parents nowadays.

7. Malaysians complain about higher fuel price but still line up to collect the rebates.

8. Malaysians don't mind paying bribes and yet support the call for Police reforms.

9. Malaysians don't mind believing half truths and rumors about anybody without thinking about hearing the other side of story, thus denying the RIGHTS of the aggrieved party to defend themselves.

10. Malaysians don't mind cutting the queue while taking the bus, trains and open houses, denying the RIGHTS of others who line up properly.

11. Malaysians talk about equal opportunity but practise discrimination when it comes to who they do business with, promotions in work place, job recruitments, denying the RIGHTS of other who fit the bill or have the necessary requirements.

12. Malaysians built anything everywhere illegally and cry that they are oppressed and discriminated and they do not care about the RIGHTS of the landowners.

13. Malaysians loves everything subsidised and complains when government exercise their RIGHTS to withdraw the same and redistribute it elsewhere.

14. Malaysians don't mind taking the short cut route for any dealings with officials or government although they realise that they may deny the RIGHTS of others who may have their request/transactions waiting in the queue.

15. Malaysians didn’t mind enjoying the prosperity during the Mahathir years and claims otherwise now, when he’s no longer in office.

16. Malaysians don’t mind under declaring when they fill the Income Tax form denying the RIGHTS of government to collect what is due, which could have helped another Malaysian elsewhere. Yet they clamor for accountability and transparency from government.

17. Malaysians moan about the lack of transparency and accountability by the government but do not ask the same from the Opposition Parties. eg, have any opposition leaders ever declared and published their assets.

18. Most Malaysians work properly two-third or even half of their working time (even though they claim to work late) but expect civil servants to be super efficient.

19. Malaysians don't mind help to destroy the environment to get hold of their dream property and yet complain and threaten the government with civil suit when another developer starts a project nearby, using the excuse of environment, safety and population density, something that we never heard of or concerned about before.

20. Malaysians don't mind nominating and voting in someone who can't speak Bahasa Malaysia, someone who's only expertise is in stopping Phantom Voters, someone who's an expert in double meaning, a sex-offender, someone convicted for corruption and abuse of power, and yet complain about the quality of elected representatives and debates in the parliament and state assemblies.

21. Malaysians seeks compensation three or four times the value when they are asked to make way for public development projects and yet complain about lack of accountability when government does the same eg, MAS and Maybank purchase of BII.

22. Malaysians don't mind spending on unnecessarily but complain when they perceive government or local councils are doing the same.

23. Malaysians complain about wastage of taxpayers money by government but the fact is only a fraction of the population pay tax. A large section either under-declares their tax statement or do not declare at all. So much about transparency and accountability.

24. Malaysians don't mind spending tones of money on sms on the favourite reality tv show but complain when the toll rates are raised by few cents.

25. Malaysians actually don't pay fines on time waiting for discounts, but complain when their pay, claims or refunds are a day late.

26. Malaysians are happy with the government when they (govt) announce free water but complain when there are no water, mainly due to their own wastages over the time.

27. Malaysians complain when they are not covered under any scheme of rebates for free books, free electricity (eg recent budget- for bills below RM 10.00) and exemptions under any other social Safety net schemes that are meant to benefit the needy.

28. Malaysians complain about RM 300.00 passport fee but don't mind paying thousands for their holidays.

29, Malaysians complain about high food prices but don't mind wasting food and drinks at home and public functions when it is free.

30. Malaysians don't mind paying RM 10 for coffee but complain when sugar price goes up by 10 cents.

There are many more. In summary, we should look at ourselves in the mirror. Before we ask for a better deal from the government and politicians in terms of accountability, transparency and good governance, we should be doing the same.